Weekend Joyfulness

Friday, January 30, 2009

See all the serenity I've spread all over this blog? See how I've kept it to pretty pictures and not too much clutter?

Oh well. Sometimes you just gotta get down. You know?

For your weekend pleasure I'm giving you some media candy that made me happy this week. Here's something from a man who thinks the Christian message should be more like Christ's message to the world. God love him.

And here's something that's just lovely, just joyful. Can we all just dance now?

Last but not least, may I direct you to a bucket-full of fabulous indie music to get you through to Monday? Enjoy some Whole Wheat Radio from Alaska.

Have a beautiful weekend.

Hope is Walking Forward... and Praying

Thursday, January 22, 2009

"O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!"
~ Langston Hughes, 1938

"Say it plain, that many have died for this day."
~Elizabeth Alexander, 2009.

And then she said...

"What if the mightiest word is love..."

And then...

"In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.

On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp -- praise song for walking forward in that light."

Amen. Amen.

Praying, praying, praying...

Winter Consolations

Friday, January 9, 2009

When I walk around the lake these days, I understand why Spring comes as such an extravagance of joy. Winter is beautiful - cold, but beautiful - when everything is covered with snow, mounds of white, crystals of frost sprouting on twigs like glass flowers.

But let the snow melt, and mostly what I see is a world like wilted lettuce. Grasses lying limp and dispirited. Ruined blackberry vines matted over brown puddles in the mud.

And days, long days without sunlight.

I go to my lake, and visit my geese, but to tell the truth, the place looks like it's seen better days. And it will again. Sometime around March, maybe.

Still, there are consolations. A grey heron that I've seen once, and then only briefly, has now taken up residence on the icy shore. I love herons. There are places where they are plentiful, but at my lake, there's only the one. These days, he's been posing for my camera.

Not only that, but two days ago, someone pointed to the top of a tree, where a bald eagle perched, proud as the whole US of A. I'd never seen one before.

The more I walk in this place, the more it seems the right thing to do. How did I ever spend whole years without getting out to see what the world looked like? Never knowing how the geese were, where the heron was, what a bald eagle looked like, staring down at me from his exalted height? (I did wish for a telephoto lens at that moment.)

If I have a resolution this year, it's to extend what I've learned at the lake into the rest of my life. To pay attention. To take time. To learn the kind of rest that isn't about doing nothing, but about doing just one thing at a time, in faith and great love.

Somehow it all prompts me to pull a favorite book from the shelf. I open it up and browse through the many passages I've highlighted. And find this:

Then run, faithful souls, happy and tireless, keep up with your beloved who marches with giant strides from one end of heaven to the other. Nothing is hidden from his eyes. He walks alike over the smallest blade of grass, the tallest cedars, grains of sand or rocky mountains. Wherever you go he has gone before. Only follow him and you will find him everywhere.

~ Jean-Pierre de Caussade, in The Sacrament of the Present Moment

P.S. Today I also posted for the first time on Novel Matters, the new blog about the reading and writing of sumptuous fiction. This time I talk about the writer's calling to wrestle with angels. Care to take a look?

Novel Matters and Between the Lines

Monday, January 5, 2009

I am so thrilled about this. May I humbly (or not so humbly) suggest that on this day your reading and writing adventure just got a tad more exciting.

The group blog I've been telling you about, Novel Matters, is finally live. This is the place where I will discuss the reading and writing of sumptuous fiction with six amazing authors, Bonnie Grove, Patti Hill, Latayne Scott, Sharon K. Souza, Debbie Fuller Thomas, and Jennifer Valent.

If you love to read great novels, I hope you'll check in with us for some ideas, and give us your thoughts as well. What makes a story irresistable to you?

If you're a writer, I hope you'll jump in, and help us explore ways of making the kind of fiction readers will return to again and again.

We plan to have fun with this, and we've got some great promotions planned, with amazing prizes. But first we're breaking the ice with a group interview, a series of questions we asked each other so we can all know what kind of minds are behind Novel Matters. It could get scary, though. Did you know Bonnie Grove gets her best ideas when she's soaking wet? Not to mention... well, you read all about it in her innaugeral post.

There's more. Novel Matters isn't the only great blog that has launched today. My fabulous agent, Janet Kobobel Grant, and her colleagues at the Books & Such Literary Agency, have started one of their own, titled Between the Lines. This blog promises to be the place every writer will turn to for wisdom and encouragement. Check out the first post, where Janet coins a new term that I love: newfangledness.

New Years Day 2009: A Quote from George MacDonald

Thursday, January 1, 2009

"You will yet know the dignity of your high calling, and the love of God that passeth knowledge. He is not afraid of your presumptuous approach to him. It is you who are afraid to come near him. He is not watching over his dignity. It is you who fear to be sent away as the disciples would have sent away the little children. It is you who think so much about your souls and are so afraid of losing your life, that you dare not draw near to the Life of life, lest it should consume you.

"Our God, we will trust thee. Shall we not find thee equal to our faith? One day, we shall laugh ourselves to scorn that we looked for so little from thee; for thy giving will not be limited by our hoping."

~George MacDonald
"The Higher Faith"
Unspoken Sermons,