FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, or just “be” better, I’ll include it below.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@LisaKDeam) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

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How I Met My Inner Ezer: 7 Suggestions for Ditching the Past and Embracing Your Truest Self via Amy R. Buckley (finding the fullest expression of God’s purposes for us)

Blogging Benedict: Sleep with your clothes on via MJ Hos (what we can learn from one commandment in the Rule of St. Benedict)

The Totality Effect: Thoughts for a New Year via Melanie Bishop (on learning to see the phenomenal in everyday life)

Best Spiritual Books of 2017 via Spirituality & Practice (check out this great reading list)

Capturing the Numinous: Mary Karr’s Sacred Carnality via Annelise Jolley (lessons from Karr’s writing on putting the spiritual into words)

I Copied the Routines of Famous Writers and It Sucked via Nick Greene (a long read but very funny on the desperate bid of writers to find a writing routine that works)

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The Contemplative Writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous donations of our readers. Even a gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support can keep this website running: Support Us Today

 

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites! This month, FF will focus on the Advent season — a rich time of waiting, prayer, and expectation as we prepare for the coming of Christ. I’ve included some wonderful resources below. Let me know about others you’ve seen that you are finding helpful this year.

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I love the online, interactive Advent calendars I’ve been seeing in many places. Here are three of my favorites:

Advent Calendar 2017 – Best Books of 2017! via Englewood Review of Books (a new book every day)

2017 Advent Project via Biola University’s Center for Christianity, Culture, and the Arts (includes scripture, devotionals, art, video, and music each day)

Bodleian Libraries Advent Calendar via the Bodleian Libraries (a beautiful manuscript or work of art every day)

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Elsewhere, the web offers some lovely resources on journeying through the Advent season. Feast on these podcasts and articles/posts as you prepare for Jesus this year.

First Sunday of Advent 3-Minute Retreat via Loyola Press (take an online 3-minute retreat to begin the Advent season)

Finding Time for God in Advent via Chuck DeGroat (tapping into ancient rhythms and sacred story this season)

The journey to Christmas via Simon Parke (you do not have to put your wonder into words this Christmas – silence is okay)

The Liturgy of Waiting via Richella Parham (a Renovaré podcast)

The Dark Storm of Advent, a Humble Light of Christmas via Gwen Jorgensen (why the darkness at this time of lights?)

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Keep the Contemplative Writer Sustainable 

The Contemplative writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous donations of our readers. Even a gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support can keep this website running: Support Us Today

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Friday Favorites are back this week! I hope you enjoy this round-up of posts on prayer, writing, and the contemplative life.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@LisaKDeam) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

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Feeling Frayed? Me Too. That’s Why We Need Advent via Tina Boesch (with the help of Annie Dillard, Tina explores why we need Advent in our wreck of a world)

The Image Advent Calendar via Image Journal (today, Image is launching an interactive Advent calendar!)

Marriage as a Spiritual Practice via Sarah Wells (what is the practice of marriage and how does it help us become more complete followers of Jesus?)

Gaining Me: A Plea for Self-Care via Cara Meredith (sometimes we need to advocate for ourselves as much as we advocate for others)

Rhythms of Gratitude in a Mass-Produced World via Ashley Hales (“how we can recover the simple art of remembering, nurturing small moments of sustained attention?”)

Kazuo Ishiguro: ‘Write What You Know’ Is the Stupidest Thing I’ve Ever Heard via Emily Temple (lots of hot writing tips from noted author and Nobel Laureate Kazuo Ishiguro)

Is It Too Late to Start Writing After 50? via Julie Rosenberg (yes, you can begin a successful writing career later in life)

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Keep the Contemplative Writer Sustainable

The Contemplative Writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous donations of our readers. Even a gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support can keep this website running: Support Us Today

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites! Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, or just “be” better, I’ll include it below.

I really like today’s finds — from walking a labyrinth to being more playful to overcoming doubt in our writing life. I hope you will read them and be enriched.

Friday Favorites will take a break for Thanksgiving next week. We’ll see you again soon!

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The Paradox of Getting Lost to be Found via Karen Gonzalez (what the practice of walking a labyrinth can teach us about our spiritual journey)

A Conversation with Marlena Graves via Anita Lustrea (listen to Marlena talk with Anita about passages from her book, A Beautiful Disaster)

The Lord is my Shepherd, it’s going to be okay (A Psalm for weary women) via Bronwyn Lea (really, I think just about everyone could use this psalm)

What Is Play? via Phil Steer (what does it mean to be more playful in our busy, oh-so-serious lives?)

Walking in Womanhood via Michelle Warren (hear what one woman has to say about the Ruby Woo Pilgrimage that has been going on this week)

What Flannery O’Connor’s College Journal Reveals via Karen Swallow Prior (see what O’Connor’s journal can teach us about doubt and faith in the writing life)

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Keep the Contemplative Writer Sustainable

The Contemplative writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous donations of our readers. Even a gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support can keep this website running: Support Us Today

 

New Book: Love Letters to Writers by Andi Cumbo-Floyd

Love-Letters-to-Writers_screen_72dpiThis is a great month for new books in our contemplative community! Last week, I reviewed Ed Cyzewski’s new book, Independent Publishing for Christian Authors. And TODAY is release day for a wonderful new book by Andi Cumbo-Floyd — Love Letters to Writers: Encouragement, Accountability, and Truth-Telling. I’m thrilled to offer an excerpt from this book below.

Andi’s book consists of 52 letters (love letters!) to writers. The letters share bits of Andi’s own writing journey and offer wisdom and encouragement for others on the writing path. For the times we’re in need of practical guidance, Andi’s book has advice, suggestions, and practices for getting our writing done each day. What about when we need a dose of hope? Yep, this book’s got that, too. With honesty and love, Andi’s letters encourage us and keep us company when the writing path is difficult.

Enjoy this excerpt from Love Letters to Writers on creating space so that our words can breathe.

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Giving Space

Dear Beautiful People,

If you would, close your eyes and imagine the most beautiful thing you’ve ever experienced. Let it pull you close . . . see the colors, hear the movement stilled for a split second, and lean into the void of nothing around the color or sound you experience. What I want you to feel, my friends, is the emptiness there. Let it tug at you, pull you in.

Now, sit where you are in this moment. Turn down the music. Dim the lights if you can. Walk outside or into a closet to quiet if you need. Feel the nothingness that is most of the space around you . . . then feel deeper, feel the energy there. Take a deep breath. And another. And another.

 

I’ve been taking a lot of deep breaths lately. This morning, I went out to the garden to harvest, as I do each morning this time of year. Usually, I put in earbuds and listen to a podcast or book, but this morning, I went out bare with the gentle intention of holding space for whatever I needed to hear or see.

I picked cucumbers and then started to walk by the asparagus beans, taking note that they had their purple blossom dresses on. But then, I slowed and bent nearer . . . and there were beans, three-foot long beauties that had been there for days—days when I had walked past this trellis fifty times. But each time, I had been so busy doing whatever it was I thought needed me that I had missed them . . .

I spent the next minutes twisting the bean vines up onto the trellis with gentle twirls so that I wouldn’t miss the beans again.

Here’s what I take from those few moments: I have to hold space to be surprised. I have to hold space to see the fruits of what I’ve done. I have to hold space for my words to find new climbing trellises. I have to hold space wide open and take the gifts that are given. 

Maybe you are much better at this than I am, but if you’re not, try this week to hold space for two things:

  1. Hold space for nothing. Intentionally create short periods (or long periods if you have them) of time where you just wander or sit on the porch and stare or look out the window at the rain. Notice what you think about, what your mind feels like, how your breath slows.
  2. Hold space for your words. Writing is not something that happens spontaneously, at least not in my experience. We have to be creating space for it, space to think, space to let ideas percolate, space for the actual manifestations of language to be noticed, and space for the physical act of extracting those words and writing them down.

So this week, my friends, try slowing down. Stare at beautiful things. Listen to music without doing anything else. Read a book for three hours in a row if you can. Give yourself space so that your words can breathe, too.

Much love,

Andi

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Andi Cumbo-Floyd head shot
Andi Cumbo-Floyd is a writer, editor, and farmer, who lives at the edge of   the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband, four dogs, four cats, six goats, three rabbits, and thirty-six chickens.  She writes regularly at andilit.com

Buy Andi’s new book on Amazon!

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, or just “be” better, I’ll include it below.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group or follow me on Twitter (@LisaKDeam) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

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Quieting the Mental Committee to Hear God by Jan Johnson (a Renovaré podcast on contemplative prayer)

Who Are You? by Rich Lewis (how does one become the authentic man or woman that they truly are?)

The Shout of Sacred Consent by Eric Leroy Wilson (learning to live from a place of sacred consent)

My Friend, Francis by Abigail Carroll (on finding spiritual friendship with a beloved saint)

Returning to Rest by Tina Osterhouse (going to the the other side of fear, into a place of rest and companionship with God)

Why I Write (because don’t we sometimes need to remember?) by Leslie Verner (concerning one of my favorite questions – why does a writer write?)

What a Social Media Break Taught Me about Soul-Care by Karen Gonzalez (on developing practices, social media and otherwise, to foster a healthy pace of life)

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, or just “be” better, I’ll include it below.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@LisaKDeam) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

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Resting Takes a Lot of Work? via Ed Cyzewski (Why is rest so much work?? Read Ed’s take.)

The Spiritual Practice of Honoring Milestones via Jean Wise (honoring the stones along the path of life)

For the Well-Seekers via Caris Adel (“there is a place for you, where your words are wanted, where your feelings are not too much, where the loneliness can be abated.”)

The Belly of the Whale via Richard Rohr (the way of descent in the spiritual life)

Are You Real? via Seth Haines (in a digital world, what does it mean to be real?)

The Adventurous World of Medieval Maps via Lisa Deam (on the Spark My Muse podcast, I am interviewed about medieval maps as guides for our spiritual journey)

State of the Blog Union via Tsh Oxenreider (what does the changing world of blogging mean for you, your writing, and your voice?)

Tweet of the week:

 

BOOK OF THE MONTH: THE ILLUMINED HEART

Week Four: The Jesus Prayer

Illumined Heart cover

This month we’ve been reading The Illumined Heart: Capture the Vibrant Faith of Ancient Christians. In this short book, Frederica Mathewes-Green explores the wisdom and practices of the early Church to guide us on our walk of faith today. Our previous posts looked at repentance and fasting. Today, we’ll examine the Jesus Prayer.

The Jesus Prayer arose in the early centuries of eastern Christianity. The prayer involves repeating a single phrase: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.”

Mathewes-Green explains the rationale behind this prayer:

The Jesus Prayer arose as a way to practice unceasing prayer. It offered a short and simple form that can be repeated in an unhurried way no matter what else a person is doing. Since the prayer is silent and interior, it can be kept going in all situations.

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Why ask Jesus for mercy?

We keep lapsing into ideas of self-sufficiency, or get impressed with our niceness, and so we lose our humility. Asking for mercy reminds us that we are still poor and needy, and fall short of the glory of God. Those who do not ask do not receive, because they don’t know their own need.

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What about when we just can’t do it?

Do not cease praying when prayer comes hard, for fear of doing it imperfectly. If you cease praying when you can’t do it right, the devil gets a victory. So keep offering a broken prayer, and remember that you are only an unworthy servant, and yet Jesus wants you.

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Read more.

For Reflection:

Mathewes-Green week 4

BOOK OF THE MONTH: THE ILLUMINED HEART

Week 3: Fasting
Illumined Heart cover

In The Illumined Heart, Frederica Mathewes-Green explores the wisdom and practices of the early Church.

Fasting is one such ancient practice. Mathewes-Green discusses details of how and when early Christians fasted. Just as important is her exploration of Christian attitudes toward the body:

Our bodies are a part of the creation God pronounced “very good,” and Jesus demonstrated God’s blessing on the human body when he became incarnate. He made the blessing more emphatic when he was resurrected, not as a mere spirit, but in a scar-marked body capable of eating fish. He sealed the blessing in the Ascension, taking that body into the very courts of heaven.

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So why do we need to fast?

Our bodies are blessed, but we don’t know how to live harmoniously in them. We drive them like vehicles, use them like tools to dig pleasure, and in the process damage them and distort our capacity to understand them. Fasting disciplines help us quiet these impulsive demands, so that we can better hear what they need and how they are meant to work. It is a turning toward health, a way of honoring creation and preparing for eternity.

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Read more.

For reflection:

Mathewes-Green week 3

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, or just “be” better, I’ll include it below.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@LisaKDeam) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

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Exit Through the Wilderness via Zach Hoag (a guest post on grace and giving up at Shawn Smucker’s website)

Daily Riches: The Practice of Waiting via William Britton (we all have to wait sometimes- how can we wait well?)

What You Can Learn From Declaring a Mystery via Tania Lombrozo (on learning from unexplainability)

Before you can be with others, first learn to be alone via Jennifer Stitt (in case you’re still not convinced of the benefits of solitude!)

7 Slippery-Slope Reasons Writers Shouldn’t Blog via Leslie Leyland Fields (so interesting considering just about everyone I know still has a blog)

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Hey y’all, I wanted to let you know that Friday Favorites will be taking a break next week. We’ll see you on July 28!