Wake up!

Have you awoken to the story God is calling you to? My friend, Daisy, says, “If you can think it or imagine it, you can be sure God hasn’t done his part yet.” 

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I am finally beginning to see more clearly this passion that hunts me through the day and night hours. I write because I know there is territory to be discovered and conundrums to be solved…in the process of the writing itself. 

It was not until recently, however, that the fuller truth of why I write, and why I mashed around the topic of caring for one’s soul through writing came to light. Natalie Goldberg in Old Friend from Far Away, provided my long-awaited epiphany. She said, “To write is to be in love.”

In Writing Down the Bones, Goldberg asks, “Let’s dare to talk about love for a moment, shall we?”

No one says it but writing induces that state of love. The oven shimmers, the faucet radiates…Right there, sitting with your notebook on your lap, even the factory town you drove through heading north to Denver, the town you hated and prayed no flat tire, no traffic jam would hold you there, even that place while writing about that trip, that day, that year, you caress now. Your life is real. It has texture, detail. Suddenly, it springs alive (22).

Whether it be writing fiction or memoir or journaling, the very act of seeing and attending to the details is itself the miracle of art… and formation.

Anthony DeMello says in the opening lines of his book, Awareness, says that most people, without knowing it live asleep, “marry in their sleep, they breed children in their sleep, they die in their sleep without ever waking up.” They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing we call human experience.

“Waking up is irritating,” says DeMello. “We become comfortable and complacent in our slumber. And it takes time, persistence. It comes oh, so slowly much like meditation, learning to breathe and learning to be still and to pray.”

Illness is what stirred me awake. I realized time and energy were precious commodities. I didn’t want to miss the beauty surrounding me.

Now I want to be present, attentive, reflective, to see beauty, and to worship God in all God’s glory—even as it is reflected in me. No more shrinking to fit, no more hunkering down, being stuck on survive, no more letting details blurr in a sad attempt to conserve energy; barring myself against the noise and anxiety that adrenaline junkies seem to love so much, only to find themselves exhausted and without joy.

Writing is my mountain monastery. It is my psalmic melody, my praise, my love to and for the world; writing is my radical hospitality. These details, the people I write about, even when I tuck them into fiction so that they might remain safe, I allow them to live and search for how they will be redeemed. I see them as more than we can ever see on an ordinary day. They are larger than life. They matter. 

I’m just now getting it. Just now. 

Our Storied Selves

In order to discover God in the affairs of our own lives, we cannot deny, seek to escape or suppress any of life’s experiences as they confront us along the way. In running from experiences, we run from ourselves. This is not to say we don’t need intentional reprieve in order to rest and refocus on God’s role in our story.

I hope that in the penning of our stories we will find a rhythm taking place, one similar to how our Lord lived here on earth. We have learned to trust what Jesus said, but few of us have taken the time to notice “how” Jesus lived so that we can recognize His presence in our daily routines so we might follow His rhythms of grace. Let us ask ourselves: What did Jesus do? Where did He go? With whom? And then what?

I have come to understand prayer as the communication of life—the closest we come to a life of balance between the spiritual and physical. It is a strolling dialog, encompassing all of life. It is pausing, listening, asking, speaking, laughing, letting go, crying, dancing, yelling, singing, and resting. It is finding peace. Being known. It is to this dialog I invite you to join me.

12 Reasons to Write Even When it’s a Time Hog

Who knew this venture into the unknown worlds of your imagination, that stroll down memoir lane, or the pull of the blogosphere would soon overtake all other passions, casual outings (bull riding, garage sale-ing, hang gliding, storage unit organizing) and rob you of sleep and sunset strolls.

12-Reason-to-WriteIn spite of its rooting up black dirt of your life like Bertha the pig happily looking for truffles, there are countless reasons for writing, many of them honorable. Below is a list of a dozen proven truths to justify what otherwise seems like a pork-ish endeavor: Continue reading “12 Reasons to Write Even When it’s a Time Hog”

Blitz Blockers: 7 Questions to keep you from Getting Slammed, Part II

Are you perpetually stuck in crunch time?

Does you work extend past 8-10 hours per day? A blitz of concentrated effort is the way to wrap a scene, launch a product, slam dunk a fundraiser…once or twice a year. But if your work days extend past 8 -10 hours any more frequently and for longer periods than a week or two, you are establishing a dangerous lifestyle design, a recipe of great and enduring fatigue and loneliness.

My mom used to say, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” She was right. It is time for you to choose, to give yourself some love and come up with a new plan, a new way of pursuing your mission.

Missions are not accomplished on auto-pilot! Continue reading “Blitz Blockers: 7 Questions to keep you from Getting Slammed, Part II”

When Life Becomes The Blitz

BlitzDo you find yourself putting life on hold “just until you finish this project?” Until you are on the other side of “that impending deadline?” Seasonal blitzes are the way we get things done, dial it in, focus, knock it out of the park. A blitz of concentrated effort with all hands on deck is the way to go…once or twice a year. But what happens when life itself become, “the blitz”?

When I was a collaborative writer for celebrity authors, my life was entirely deadline driven—always someone else’s deadline. Notice I didn’t say, “my work day” was deadline driven. No, I allowed years of priceless time with family, friends, neighbors, community outreaches… to pass by because my days were perpetually in CRUNCH TIME. Continue reading “When Life Becomes The Blitz”