more random madness

I had every intention of writing this week.

I think the previous week’s high from attending the writers

conference was replaced by a bit of a dip.

The blinking cursor seemed extra bold and although

I had a list of post topics, it just didn’t happen.

If you think I abandoned my recap of the conference,

I decided to add the last bits and pieces to the end of the

post titled agendas.

I just forgot to let you know. Check it out.

Also, sometimes you take a step outside of your own

world and attempt to view someone else’s reality and

it can make writing a random post seem a bit insignificant.

If you would be so kind to lift a prayer for Steve Stern and the

Stern family.

You can read more of their story here.

I innocently left the house yesterday to meet a friend for breakfast which

could have turned into a late lunch due to our lengthy chatting.

When I returned home, I found my March Madness bracket all in

disarray.

All I can say is as long as Michigan State wins it all, my beat up and bruised

bracket will be somehow be redeemed.

Spring break is upon us and I will probably only be watching basketball with

one eye now that the upsets are happening.

I thought I would share a few books I have read and what is on my list

to read in the weeks to come.

I set a ridiculously high reading challenge goal on good reads and

I need to pick up the pace.

A few books I have enjoyed since the beginning of the year:

Product Details

Pursue The Intentional Life

Such a tender and wise book about numbering our days right.

…a book to help me live my highest until the Lord calls me home.
I long to see Christ’s life formed in me. I want to become the person
God had in mind when He created me. I yearn to touch the world
for God’s glory and advance His kingdom. The substance of this 
book represents my earnest desire to “number [my] days…that
[I] may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
Product Details

Made to Crave

I have circled this book for quite a while.
I finally took a chapter a day and finished it.
Great wisdom and spiritual help for food issues.

I underlined quite a number of passages but this

verse was the gold I mined from this book:

“You have circled this mountain long enough.
Now turn north.”
Deuteronomy 2: 3

Leaving Church

Barbara Brown Taylor wrote a book on my top ten list,

An Altar in the World.

Leaving Church chronicles the season in her life as an

Episcopal priest and her decision to leave the pulpit.

This  is not the life I planned or the life I recommend to others.
But it is the life that has turned out to be mine, and the central
revelation in it for me–that the call to serve God is first and last
the call to be human–seems important enough to witness to on paper.
This book is my attempt to do that.
Like every believer I know, my search for real life has led me through
at least three distinct seasons of faith, not once or twice but over
and over again. Jesus called them finding life, losing life and 
finding life again, with the paradoxical promise that finders will be
losers while those who lose their lives for his sake will wind up
finding them again.

The Invisible Girls

Sarah Thebarge spoke at the writers conference

and I found her book at the library.

Our public library has what are called Lucky Day books.

They are high demand books which you can check out only for

one cycle. They must be completed in 3 weeks and cannot be

renewed.

It was a lucky day to find The Invisible Girls waiting for me and it

took me 2 days to read it. If life could have stopped it would have been

a few hours.

This book is brilliant and heart wrenching and redemptive.

Go back to the agendas post and re-read what I wrote about Sarah’s

talk.

God is writing your story.

Definitely one of my favorite reads of the year.

On the teetering stack now.
For some reason, my book cover images
don’t want to cooperate so click on the
links.
It’s Friday…perhaps the blog is
ready for the weekend or just plain
rebellious.

The Memoir Project

Truth & Beauty

Let Your Life Speak

Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred
Rhythm of Rest and Delight

Divergent

Tattoos on the Heart

What are you reading?

agendas

I could tell you a story,

paint you a picture,

hand you a book or

buy you a movie ticket.

Whether heard or witnessed, experiences are rarely identical.

I might smirk while you laugh until tears escape.

It’s doubtful the same sentences would be underlined or the faintest  of brushstrokes

hiding in the corner of a frame would be celebrated in one accord.

I believe conferences are like a collective fellowship

revealing the tandem fibers woven into our lives.

I mentioned on Monday, I attended the Faith and Culture Writers Conference.

I would love to share my thoughts knowing I won’t capture even an

ounce of what each person’s perspective.

Let’s call them footnotes.

I am usually a prolific note taker but I didn’t take as many notes this year.

I chose more often to put the pen aside and step into the stories told by others.

For clarity and length sake, I will provide the link to each speaker mentioned so

you can read their bios and have a firmer place to land.

Four speakers shared with over 300 writers and creatives on Friday night.

Standout quotes and thoughts:

Tony Kriz

We tend to make ourselves the hero of every story. 
Jesus was good at making others the heroes of the story.

We must be willing to lay down our agendas. (my paraphrase)

You must write for art, for beauty, never for the career.

At the end of his talk, Tony instructed the audience to turn in their seats
in such a way where our eyes could land on the greatest amount of people.
One by one he read statements for us to raise our hands if the answer was yes.
We were given time to scan the faces unlike our own but united
in lifted hands.
Statement by statement we stood together in honesty as we were stripped down
until we arrived at the final statement of
I am a writer.

You can read those statements here.

Sarah Thebarge

I was riveted and only wrote her name on the page 🙂
She shared that we are writers because we write.
We need patience in our writing as God may have only unfolded
half of our story.
When the other part arrives, it will illuminate the first part
and bring completion to the whole story.

Randy Woodley

Our stories are stretched through diversity.

Allow new adventures and people to stretch us and our stories.

Remember God says I am doing a new thing, will you not see it?

Deidra Riggs

Deidra shared a day when she abandoned her routine and agenda and
simply allowed God’s whisper to lead and teach her.
He showed her things she would have never seen had she been
unwilling to let go of her plans.

Go closer.

Choose a different way.

Go off the prescribed path.

Whether you are a writer or not,

God is writing your story.

Be willing to wait,

to lay aside agendas and control.

Wander away from

the concrete path and allow your

feet to tread in squishy

and muddy terrain.

Our stories possess more

colors than contained in the

largest Crayola box.

Will you let Him?

Will you listen so you can write it down?

Will you share your story in spoken words

or words upon a page?

His glory is supremely magnified when we utter our stories.

Saturday marks the point when brains become saturated with

information, thoughts and dreams.

It’s here where life-giving water floods our

once solitary paths and unites them with a multitude of footprints

gently treading upon our souls.

Eric Larson

The memorable final dance sequence of Flashdance provided a visual

reminder to “take our passion and make it happen.”

God has not given us a spirit of cowardice but of love and

a sound mind.

Be brave in life and in your writing.

Paul Louis Metzger

Our lives and our writing should be shaped by the object of our affections.

Our lives should be shaped by sacred literature.
Keep learning from the literary guild.

The best writing is often not found in the place of comfort,
but often in the margins through suffering.

Don’t hide what you want to write because you believe
no one wants to read it.

Stay thirsty, my friend!

Sarah Bessey

We were blessed to hear from Sarah twice over the weekend.

I did a lot of listening and not a lot of jotting down.

Our dear friend from the north brought her Canadian sensibilities,

her passion for Jesus and blessed us with prayer.

Writing is my spiritual discipline, my prayer,
my cloister, but it is also my offering.

Quit writing with an agenda, a motive or a strategy.

Begin with your own life-giving life, 
not a copycat life,
but a life brimming life.

His words are not an addition to our lives.
They are life.

Write in the midst of the mess as it is where we meet God.

Deidra Riggs

We ended our time with Deidra gently urging us to

not discount the blessedness of rest.

You know she was speaking my language 🙂

Rest is our heart’s true home.

When we deny ourselves rest, we deny our true home.

Rest is where our feet find solid footing.

Rest is holding things loosely…our callings
our gifts and letting them go.

Don’t forget God’s promise that we will enter
into His rest.
An intimacy designed just for us in the private place.

Don’t rebuff God’s advances to you.

Take this life and make it an offering.

Take your life passions and make it happen.

What will you do with your

calling,

gifts

and life?

Will you fully give it away?

I repeat,

Will you share your story in spoken words

or words upon a page?

Live a great story!