Love Listens ( My GraceTable February Post)

Join me at GraceTable. I saved a seat for you at the table.

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When I was a small child, my mother made certain I called my godmother to thank her for the gifts she gave me. Aunt Francis always gave me a piece of my silver pattern, her generous gifts a bit lost on me at the time. My stomach tightened up like a rubber band ball as I picked up the phone to call her each and every July, after the birthday gift arrived. I stalled and delayed, until Mother prompted me one final time to make that call.

Aunt Francis had a severe speech impediment. It manifested itself with long periods of silence between words. (Join me at GraceTable for the rest of my post.)

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Relearning The Lost Art of Rest

 

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In another life, I rushed. A lot. Hurried to the syncopated rhythm of my own heart beat. Well actually it wasn’t that poetic or rhythmic, it was sort of messy and chaotic. I once described the feeling of living a rushed and hurried life as an overwhelming feeling of being chased. I missed a lot in the frenzy. Failed to document, notice or capture much of the beauty that was then, as now, a part of this marvelous world.

Now as I learn the art of rest and live into a life where moments and periods of long carved out times of rest are a way of life, I love to sing the song of rest. Cheer folks on to simplify and to find ways to restore and rest in the everyday.

Poetry helps. It is healing. A balm. Living a life which is increasingly marked by simplicity serves as a fulcrum. Placing rest and regeneration as priorities is important. Vital to a rich and fuller way of enjoying what God has created.

Reading poetry brings me to a slow place of pondering. Of viewing life through a poet’s eyes. Writing in a compressed form such a poetry, helps me to economize my words. Tell a story in a way that perhaps shows more.Teases out more. Challenges me to make art that evokes a response of yes, I see it that way or yes, me too. Or even, wow, I missed that entirely.

My friend Shelly Miller has spent months studying, documenting, reading and learning about rest. And most importantly,  listening to a community of women as they lean  into the Sabbath and Sabbath rest. This community is called The Sabbath Society.

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I cannot give you the gift of rest per se, but I am giving away two copies of Rhythms of Rest written by my dear friend Shelly Miller. Shelly and I share a love of writing. We lived in the same smallish town for several years before Shelly and her husband H moved to London. Recently I heard her speak about the concept of Sabbath rest. I sat on the front row as she spoke in a Charleston church as part of her Rhythms of Rest book tour. Her message is life-giving and important. And her writing style is lovely.

For a chance to win a copy of Shelly’s book (I am giving away two copies) simply choose one of the following ways to enter. (US and Canada folks only, please)

One – Follow me on Instagram, @graceappears.

or

Two – Sign up to receive my free newsletter A Quiet Place For Words

Both my newsletter and my Instagram feed are increasingly becoming favorite place to write, make art and document the extraordinary ordinary in my world.

Three – Simply leave a comment on my blog and indicate you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Rhythms of Rest. Good luck. I hope you win. Names will be drawn on Saturday, November 19th,

(Shelly’s book is available for purchase at Amazon and at Barnes and Noble if you’d like to purchase a copy to give as a gift and to keep for yourself. As inspiration to hold rest up as a life-giving priority).

Be sure to visit Shelly’s website, Shelly Miller Writer dot com and follow her on instagram, Shelly Miller Writer too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practicing Spontaneous Hospitality

One of my favorite places on the internet is Gracetable.org where I am honored to be a contributing writer. I am privileged to be one of several writers share this writing space and community.

If you know my writing home to be “poetry and prose through a lens of grace” there is a little piece of prose there. Today. One I chiseled out from the hard stone places of my heart. I know, there has been  poetry only here for a good long while. Follow me to Gracetable where I am wrestling with the idea of practicing spontaneous hospitality. What an honor to have you there. (Click here to go there. See you at Grace Table.) Spoiler alert. I think you may like it there as much as I do.

I did not need to offer a physical place at my table, an elaborate meal, or a cleverly designed invitation. I was invited to give the gift of my time. The gift of myself.

Another of my favorite writing homes is my own tiny letter, “A Quiet Place For Words.” Why? Because it is so quiet, off the beaten path and interactive. The format is my favorite, a letter from me to you, written every few weeks to subscribers. Well a favorite, along with my beloved poetry.

What joy to interact with subscribers. The newsletter is going out today. Have you signed up. Come pull up a seat. (Click here to subscribe there). Of course it is free.

Thank you for reading. Always.

peace and grace,

e

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Not Beethoven’s Ode To Joy

 

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Not Beethoven’s Ode To Joy

Nestled away from the throngs of discourse
(Still in earshot, every one )

Off shore
Where the peacemakers still
Come and go
Singing their muffled songs
Blended  harmony
Paul’s Epistle, the First One
And Ludwig’s musical composition
In the key of love

Ravenous scavengers of joy
Refuse to give up
Hungry for crumbs of hope
Cast wide their wholly nets

Old as dirt, new as momma’s milk
Music heals the wounded heart
Notes or not
Flat or sharp

Upon the raging sea

Twenty Sixteen is split right in two
Broken in halves and thirds and fifths
Thirsty for joy, parched for peace
We need more
Odes to joy

It is hard to beat the masters
Paul and Ludwig raise the bar
High and holy

But for the old salts
With graying hair, weary bones
And raspy throats
Worn out rope
Tethered to what’s left

Who never tire of amazing grace
Refuse to abandon a sinking ship
Or give up weary attempts
At writing their own

Ode to joy
Or at least
A hat tip to Ludwig

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