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A lined paper notebook sitting open to blank pages on top of some soil.

The Words

The Words
Fall 2017

A lined paper notebook sitting open to blank pages on top of some soil.

The blank page.

 

That they do not come is

a trouble to me,

And that trouble—at times stacked

carelessly among other troubles—

accuses me, like other aspects

of a self-doubting mind,

Of negligence to my vocation, of

insufficient time spent

on any given task.

 

And yet, I might not hear the

Call, proper, in time at all, but

only in retrospect,

As a song sung back from the end of all things,

to their beginning,

my ears picking up only

a faint melody

in any given moment,

which is, itself, troubling.

 

When I was laboring to birth a

child, I was permitted

To trust myself, to sink down into

myself long enough

and deeply enough

to get something born.

 

But, day to day, cries from the

surface dissolve the thoughts

before they are born

onto the page, their

intentions never

ripening, clarifying, or even

declaring themselves fully,

even to me.

 

“No one knows the hour, not

even the Son of Man.”

Indeed.

 

The surface, the moment, calls,

and thus is not given

what it needs,

A woman delivered of the words.

Sometimes We Need the Lines: A Review of the Adult Coloring Trend

adult coloring bookColor me skeptical. When I first noticed craft-store and grocery-store displays of mandala coloring books, artist-quality colored pencils, and overpriced pen sets, all marketed to adults, I winced. Don’t get me wrong. As an artist and former art teacher, I’m excited when the mainstream crowd gives a nod to the arts. And as a children’s minister, I’m equally jazzed when adults trade their carefully constructed decorum for childlike fun. (My sixty-something, always elegant senior minister once raced through an enormous, inflatable bouncy house at our church picnic, and I count it a blessing to have witnessed such joy.) And yet, I felt uneasy about the adult coloring trend. The commercialism of all the mass-produced coloring books raised an initial red flag for me, but the nagging feeling in my stomach didn’t stop there. At first I couldn’t put my finger on the cause of my growing grumpiness, but then it hit me: all the intricately drawn coloring pages seemed controlling. Sure, marketers were touting these books as creative and meditative outlets, but weren’t they really just enticing us to color inside the lines? Read more

The Language of My Prayers

I don’t like words in my prayers.

It’s the writer in me. I’m too busy editing. Once the words fall off my lips, I’m correcting it. I’m explaining to God that’s not really what I mean. I’m tripping over the correct words instead of exploring the feelings and emotions behind those words.

So, about a year ago, I stopped using words. Not entirely. They still pop up in the words that I cherish from the Bible or the words that I mutter between silences – but most of my prayers and now found in black lines upon a page.

I started like I was in art school. That is, I started like an art student that went to seminary. I gathered all my materials. I sat down with some paper and I started to think about the end product before the seminary student interrupted. She knew better. She knew it wasn’t about the end product but about the process. And so, I practiced my own form of lectio divina using the cycle of readings provided in Between Sundays: Daily Bible Readings Based on the Revised Common Lectionary, but instead of writing or sitting in silence, I drew. I drew images from my living room and my neighborhood that spoke to the words I heard in the sacred text. This introduced a different critic. Instead of editing my words, I was thrown back into the studios of my college years. I hated the images I created. They were ugly. They were poorly drawn. They were unskilled. Read more

Reflections on the Sacred Center

God brings many things to birth in and through us, no matter what our circumstance of life, family or vocation might be.

 

motherhood. ministry. life. creativity. partnering. loving. being a neighbor.

each part of life merges together through the many hats i wear. as i reflect on life’s successes and near misses, i come to view my life focusing on the sacred center, the space in which God resides and flows into me, from me, and into all other parts of my life. each of the concentric circles i create are becoming more a focus of the sacred circles, or the sacred center. in my work of art + spirituality and in living the creative life, i so often return to these simple structures: circle on circle. i think of my life more as a mandala: a movement from the outside in, or from the inside out, with God as the sacred center. my many roles are the circles moving from God to the outside, and some days from me to the God-side. each breath is a sacred moment. each stitch is a prayer. each color speaks to me and comes from the Creative Spirit within. Read more