Before writing, preaching, and perhaps even blogging, we all need to pray. So today, I’m featuring a prayer before writing from Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274), a Dominican friar, theologian, and Doctor of the Church. Aquinas’s Feast Day is January 28.
O Creator of the universe, who has set the stars in the heavens and causes the sun to rise and set, shed the light of your wisdom into the darkness of my mind. Fill my thoughts with the loving knowledge of you, that I may bring your light to others. Just as you can make even babies speak your truth, instruct my tongue and guide my pen to convey the wonderful glory of the Gospel. Make my intellect sharp, my memory clear, and my words eloquent, so that I may faithfully interpret the mysteries which you have revealed.
Welcome to Friday Favorites! As we continue along in the first month of the new year, enjoy these posts and podcasts that will help set a good tone for living faithfully, creatively, and communally. Praying that 2021 will be a good year for all of us.
Lisa and Prasanta
10 Fresh Ways to Read Your Bible in 2021 via Traci Rhoades (practical ideas for getting started or picking the Bible back up again)
What Are We Expecting in the New Year? via Ed Cyzewski (are we expecting to find God each day? or are we expecting the worst to happen?)
Homesick via Elizabeth Gatewood (finding home and rest in a community that is bound together in mutual concern)
Hospitable Hospitals and Space to Grieve What’s Lost via Lore Ferguson Wilbert (finding space to doubt, fear, and grieve all that has been lost)
And All Shall Be Well via Marjorie Maddox (a poem with no beginning or end)
Creating Courageously During Difficult Days via Shawn Smucker and Maile Silva (how should creative people engage with culture during these difficult days?)
Welcome back to Friday Favorites! The new year has gotten off to a bit of a rocky start, but we hope you will still find joy in Jesus, in your faith, and in community. We find community partly through listening to one another and sharing our experiences, and with that in mind, we hope you’ll enjoy the roundup of posts below.
Lisa and Prasanta
Pray Every Day: Isaiah 10 via Mary DeMuth (on this podcast, Mary prays us through the Bible every day; today, listen to Isaiah 10)
Keep Your Lights Up via Aarik Danielsen (a plea to leave your Christmas lights up for as long as you need)
The Gate of Heaven Is Everywhere via Fred Bahnson (perhaps the contemplative tradition is what’s missing from American Christianity)
Yeats’ The Magi (and a poem of mine) via Malcolm Guite (to mark Epiphany, listen to Malcolm read Yeats’ poem)
On the Streets Where They Lived via Eleanor Parker (the more you learn about the history that’s all around you, the more companionship you will find)
Resolved to Write a Nonfiction Book This Year? Let’s Do the Math! via Ann Kroeker (you can write your book this year)
Welcome to Friday Favorites! Click the links below to explore poetry, Advent resources, and gratitude as we continue our journey through the season.
May God bring light into your darkness.
Lisa and Prasanta
Turning Darkness into Light: A Soft Shroud’s Folding via Emily Polis Gibson (Rowan Williams and the beauty of Advent)
Untitled via Trischa Goodwin (a poem)
The Advent Project via Biola University (a daily devotional series celebrating the Advent season through art and Scripture)
Advent Calendar via Visual Commentary on Scripture (discover an artwork each day during the Advent season)
12 Tiny Things to Grow Gratitude in Your Home via Ellie Roscher (small practices to grow gratitude)
10 Best Books to Buy a Writer for Christmas via K. M. Weiland (writing-craft books for the scribbler on your list–or for you)
Welcome back to Friday Favorites! As we head into the Advent season, here are some lovely links — including liturgy, caregiving, and poetry. We hope they’ll help you on your journey through the season.
Love and blessings,
Lisa and Prasanta
The Shaking Reality of Advent via Alfred Delp (“Here is the message of Advent: faced with him who is the Last, the world will begin to shake”)
Journey Through Advent via Dorinda Miller (a series of reflections, practices, and resources for the season)
A Liturgy for Celebrating the Holidays Apart from Loved Ones via Sandy Ovalle (a liturgy as we reimagine this holiday season)
Braiding: a Caregiving Detour via Dheepa R. Maturi (a beautiful personal essay on the immediacy and anchoring of caregiving)
Angels everywhere via Luci Shaw (a poem)
Poet Laura: The Generosity of a Poem via Laura Boggess (poetry gives and makes a great gift)
Welcome to Friday Favorites! This week, Prasanta Verma and I were struck by the number of posts and podcasts that wisely and gently help us through difficult times. And, dear friends, you may have noticed that the times are difficult. We urge you to keep your hope and faith alive. The words below may help — soak up these writers on finding God and tranquility in disruption and sorrow.
Be well and be blessed.
A Liturgy for Embracing Both Joy & Sorrow via The Rabbit Room (a liturgy that feels particularly appropriate for this time)
Open or Closed: Welcoming an Expansive View of God via Gem Fadling (an Unhurried Living podcast episode that walks us through a practice to cultivate a greater vision of God during overwhelming times)
Searching for Certainty: Finding God in the Disruptions of Life with Shelly Miller via Sally Clarkson (how difficult times can become purposeful times of spiritual growth)
Poems for All Saints Day via C. Christopher Smith (from the Englewood Review of Books archives, some poems by and about the saints)
Bookish, Tranquil, and Wise via Joy Clarkson (in this podcast episode, Alan Jacobs discusses how to recover our tranquility by reading old books)
Hilary Mantel on How Writers Learn to Trust Themselves via Literary Hub (Mantel talks about routines, early readers, and trusting your writerly self)
Welcome to Friday Favorites! Prasanta Verma and I hope you enjoy this week’s roundup, which includes wonderful words on creativity, kindness, poetry, saints, and spiritual practices. Enjoy and be blessed.
Touching Sacred Earth: Expressive Art and Spiritual Practice with Christine Valters Paintner via EarthRising podcast (disciplines that cultivate a connection with creation and the Creator)
A little more kindness, a little less madness via Cara Meredith (could this kindness be the Christ?)
Seven Suggestions for Living a Creative Life via Dorothy Greco (creativity is part of our spiritual DNA . . . get inspired with these suggestions)
The Return via Marilyn R. Gardner (holy moments and the peace of belonging)
Beyond Juan Diego and Kateri: Meet other indigenous American saints via Meg Hunter-Kilmer (learn about lesser-known saints who embraced Christianity without rejecting the beauty of their own cultures)
Book Launch Interview with Luci Shaw via Writing for Your Life (hear the prolific poet read her poems and talk about writing, divine creativity, and advice for new writers)
Welcome to Friday Favorites! This week, Prasanta Verma and I bring you a collection of links on poetry, stories, witness, writing, and . . . eternity! We hope they prompt you to reflect and to hold on to faith. Read, listen, and be blessed.
Water; A Poem via Ana Lisa de Jong (a beautiful prayer poem about trust)
Matins via Louise Glück (a poem from the Nobel Prize winner in literature)
This eternal moment via Simon Parke (when eternity pricks the present moment, we can see past our past and believe that all is well)
Stories as Service via Festival of Faith and Writing (this podcast episode looks back at past FFW speakers on this theme)
Your Witness Is Showing via Collin Huber (speak, post, debate, and vote, but do so with your allegiance to Christ on full display)
Letter Writing as a Powerful Prompt via Stuart Horwitz (how the quaint art of letter writing can benefit our other writing projects)
Welcome to Friday Favorites, our weekly roundup of life-giving posts and podcasts. This week, Prasanta Verma and I bring you links on spiritual practices, Scripture, and being broken and remade by God. These are such good links for a disorienting time. Be blessed!
To Bleed and Break via Sarah Rennicke (we’re able to love others because God first loved us)
What Breaks and Remakes Us via Tasha Jun (through every shock and transition, God is with us)
Prayer Walking a Labyrinth — With a Printable Guide via Tongua Williams (an ancient spiritual practice with a guide to help)
Four Practices For Staying Alive Until November 3 (and long after) via Steve Wiens (in this podcast episode, learn practices for engaging in respectful and peaceful disagreement)
The Best Way to Memorize Scripture Has Little to Do with Learning Words via K. J. Ramsey (how neuroscience can help us to be doers of the Word)
Lauren Winner and Marilyn McEntyre on Words, Empathy & Disorientation via Jen Pollock Michel (listen to two prolific writers discuss the role of words and reading during this time)
One of the greatest joys of being a writer and, well, a person, is that of being in community. It’s always a joy to discover the words of fellow writers and then to bring them to you. This week, Prasanta Verma and I are sharing a collection of links that we hope will inspire you. So much beauty! Be encouraged, and be blessed.
Day Begins via Linda Hoye (after dark comes dawn)
My Prayer Mat via Kevin Driedger (channeling Brother Lawrence in the kitchen)
My Cross I’ll Carry via Aarik Danielsen (when you pick up a cross to justify yourself, that cross gives up its meaning)
When You’re Stuck–A Reflection on Exodus 14:19-31 via April Fiet (when we get stuck, we want to turn around and go back–but is “back” where we’re meant to go?)
Days of Awe: A Gentile Discovers Jewish Poetry via Melanie Weldon-Soiset (the poetic history and possibilities of the Days of Awe)
You Do Have Agency: Your Morning Walk with Sophfronia via Sophfronia Scott (as creatives and as people, we can do much more than we think)