FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites, where each week I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. Today, I especially want to share some posts to help us begin our journey through Lent. And I’m continuing to highlight the talented writing of #WOCwithpens (“women of color with pens”).

Dig deep, and may God bless you as you journey through the Lenten season.

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Was Blind, But Now I See: My Sankofa Story via Nilwona Nowlin (a journey to Ghana and the hard work of reconciliation)

Caught Between Two Languages: Unlocking discoveries to God and family via (writing as discovery, language as distance)

The Making (A Lenten Poem) via Prasanta Verma (read this beautiful poem for Lent)

On Lent and What To Do About It via Tina Osterhouse (check out this list of resources for Lent, including a devotional to which Tina contributed)

The Wilderness Is Where Christians Go to (Eventually) Move Forward via Ed Cyzewski (a step that uncertain evangelicals can take, which happens to coincide well with the season of Lent; while you’re there, take a look at Ed’s new book)

Midlife Is Like Lent via Michelle Van Loon (on a season of life that carries with it a reminder that we are dust)

Dani Shapiro On the Hard Art of Balancing Writing and Social Media via Dani Shapiro (on sorting out the quiet from the noise…good for writers…good for Lent…warning: spicy language in this post)

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites! This week, FF is participating in #WOCwithpens, an effort dedicated to recognizing and highlighting the talented faith-based writing of women of color from around the web. Read more about #WOCwithpens here and join in!

This week’s posts will bless you. They include poetry, essays, and a list of voices to watch for in 2018. Enjoy!

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18 People of Color to Follow in 2018 via Ruthie Johnson (check out this list of great voices that tell us what faith looks like in various communities of color)

Healing From Race-Based Trauma via Sheila Wise Rowe (read this powerful essay in the Redbud Post on soul-care for the journey of healing from race-based traumatic stress; while you’re there, check out the other articles in this month’s Redbud Post on “the holiness of diversity”)

Signs via Natasha Oladokun (an amazing poem published in Image Journal and based on1 Samuel 3:1)

I Am Loved: Nikki Giovanni’s Poems for Kids, Selected and Illustrated by Beloved 94-Year-Old Artist Ashley Bryan via Brain Pickings (a set of Giovanni’s poems brought to life by the vibrant artwork of Ashley Bryan)

How Amazing is Grace via Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros (a beautiful poem on . . . amazing grace!)

Walking When Stuck, Staying When Free via Dorcas Cheng-Tozun (how God points us toward pathways out of even the toughest of stalemates)

 

 

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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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

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.

Today, in honor of Monday’s celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we begin with three posts (well, one is a podcast) that help us explore his legacy of love, justice, and nonviolence. Don’t miss the other posts in today’s round-up, too!

As always, I’d love for you to send me your suggestions (find me on Twitter @LisaKDeam) by Thursday at noon each week.

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Finding the Strength to Love from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. via Lesa Engelthaler (choosing love in the new year and every year)

Daily Lectio Divina: Nonviolence is absolute commitment to the way of love via Laura Cavanaugh (a podcast episode for meditating on some of Rev. King’s words)

Hearts & Minds Bookstore BEST BOOKS OF 2017 – PART THREE via Byron Borger (noteworthy books on race, racism, multi-ethnic ministry, cross-cultural concerns, and racial justice)

Charitable Living via Elizabeth Bruenig (what does St. Augustine tell us about a distinctly Christian economic ethic and the practice of charity?)

David Byrne Launches the “Reasons to Be Cheerful” Web Site: A Compendium of News Meant to Remind Us That the World Isn’t Actually Falling Apart via Open Culture (I just kind of need a little more cheerfulness right now; same with you?)

It’s Not Talent That Gets Books Written via Ann Kroeker (to be filed in the “don’t give up” section of your brain)

 

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Happy New Year! And welcome back to The Contemplative Writer. I want to thank you for being part of this community. May God bless each of you in 2018. May he lead you into deeper waters of prayer and writing. May he bring you joy in your life and vocation. I’m glad we’re on the journey together.

Friday Favorites are back, and we begin our first installment of 2018 with a prayer for the new year, a prayer for the world, and some fun articles on the book and (coming) movie versions of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. Plus some other other wonderful posts! Enjoy, and, as always, let me know if you have something to recommend for next week’s Favorites. I’d love to hear from you.

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May Our Illusions Wilt Under God’s Love for Us via Ed Cyzewski (a prayer for God’s grace in the coming year)

Encountering Silence in Relationships via Encountering Silence Podcast (some paradoxical approaches to silence, for example, in the midst of our noisiest relationships)

The Epiphany: The Journey of the Magi via Exile Liturgy (in this Lessons From Dead Guys podcast, learn about the significance of Epiphany in the life of the Church and in our lives)

Praying for the World with Aelred of Rievaulx via The Contemplative Writer (given the events of yesterday, we may want to revisit this medieval abbot’s thoughts on holding the whole world–not just some countries–in one embrace of love)

Hollywood’s Once and Future Classic: Why it took 54 years to turn A Wrinkle in Time into a movie via Eliza Berman (in case you’re getting ready, like me, for the film release of Wrinkle in March)

My First Love, Revisited: A Wrinkle in Time (a reader and writer reflects on her favorite book and gives a piece of advice: read the book [if you haven’t already] before you see the movie)

The Secret of Great Memoir: The Mature Self via C. S. Lakin (memoir is a popular genre for writers; here’s what you need to know before you tackle it)

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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. This week, we continue to explore posts, podcasts, and videos that enrich us in this season of Advent. We end with a beautiful prayer for writers that will help our creative work. Enjoy and be blessed!

As always, if you have suggestions for Friday Favorites, let me know in 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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Bringing Down the Wonder via Tammy Perlmutter  (keeping Advent when our hearts are heavy with waiting)

Preparations in the Dark via Lisa Colon DeLay (in this podcast, Lisa reflects on Advent practices and preparations and shares three rich poems)

The God That Is Coming via Kelly Brown Douglas (an Advent video reflection on how God is always moving toward us)

When You’re Not Feeling Very Adventy via Michelle DeRusha (how do we celebrate the Advent when we’re just not feeling . . . Adventy?)

An Advent of Falling Apart via Lisa Deam (this is a post I wrote last year about the darkness that sometimes comes upon us during this season)

A Writer’s Prayer via Nicky Gant (a prayer for our creative work)

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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!

Book Review: Independent Publishing for Christian Authors by Ed Cyzewski

Ed's book cover
Today I’m thrilled to review Independent Publishing for Christian Authors: A Guide to the Why, When, and How for Writers, the newest (independently published!) book by Ed Cyzewski. Most of you here know Ed. He’s an author, contemplative, writing coach, and the founder of The Contemplative Writer. Geared toward Christian authors, Ed’s new book explores the ins and outs of commercial and independent publishing. The book grew out of Ed’s conversations with writers, who often ask him just which publishing path they should pursue.

Ed’s book is a wonderful combination of facts, practical tips, and spiritual guidance. At the heart of the book is a series of chapters weighing the pros and cons of commercial versus independent publishing. The title of the book makes it clear which path Ed prefers, but his goal is to lay out all the facts — the benefits and drawbacks of each process — so that writers can make the best decision for their own work and life.

Ed also guides writers through the steps they will need to take if they decide to publish their books independently.

For me, a really helpful section of the book is in chapter two, where Ed outlines a possible career trajectory for a new writer. He shows how a writer might begin with blog posts and from there start writing short eBooks and, later on, print versions of these books. From there, the writer can decide whether to continue in independent publishing or to try a commercial publisher. I really like this organic model of career growth, and I appreciated seeing it laid out step by step. Are you a new(ish) writer? Read this section of Ed’s book!

These practical guidelines are invaluable. But what makes Ed’s book shine is the spiritual guidance. It’s possible that a reader could get some of the facts about publishing from other books, blog posts, and articles. But here’s what you won’t get anywhere else — mentoring on the spiritual implications of publishing your book. Over and over, Ed reminds his readers to separate their writing ministry from the business of getting published. Here’s what he says about his own work:

If my mission is to help people pray better rather than hitting a particular sales goal, I have a very clear idea of what “success” looks like and the steps I should take. My goal isn’t necessarily to find the authors with the most influence, the social media users with the most followers, the podcast with the most listeners, or the blogs with the most readers. My goal is to find people who share my vision and goals who will partner in helping me minister to those who need help with prayer.

It can be a lifesaver, Ed says, to get some clarity about your mission and why you want to write and publish in the first place. This will also help you decide which publishing path to take.

Ed also has some hard questions for his readers. In your desire to be published, have you lost sight of your mission and ministry? Are you serving your ministry or serving a publisher’s demands? Is this the publishing career you wanted? I’d rather not be asked and have to think about these questions, but I know I need to. Maybe you do, too?

Facts and guidelines + spiritual guidance = a great book on publishing. Writers, do yourself a favor and get a copy of Independent Publishing for Christian Authors. Let it be well with your publishing soul. You can find Ed’s book on Amazon.

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Ed Cyzewski is the author of Flee, Be Silent, Pray and A Christian Survival Guide. His books on writing include Write without Crushing Your Soul, Pray, Write, Grow, and The Contemplative Writer. He writes regularly at http://www.edcyzewski.com. He has spoken about independent publishing at the Festival of Faith and Writing and the Indiana Faith and Writing Conference.

When he’s not publishing books, he works as an editor, author coach, writer for online magazines, and blogger for small and medium-sized businesses.