October 4

WHEN WE HEAR FROM GOD

I awoke this morning set on committing to pay another $6.99 a month to GoDaddy to help promote my web site, “watchingforgod.com.”  But as I headed for the computer, I seemed to hear something like, “You don’t have to do this; you can support other bloggers who are doing something similar to what you love and believe in.”  I feel like I have been set free.  When I teach my workshop on blogging, I’ll be able to teach folks how to get started on the journey.  But the truth is, the author of a blog needs help to promote their web site.  Some individuals have followers anyway (such as the pastor of a church), and they get the thing going.  Others have a good idea but need to get it out there, and that takes advertising one way or another.  The field of online marketing, I have found, is a big business.

For myself, this “word” I’ve received is part of my own personal memoir and “watching for God” and I’ll be adding it to this blog as record that on October 4, 2016, I was set free from the business of promoting my own effort.  I have already remembered one person involved in helping people write their memoir who also teaches for Nashville Community Education, Deborah Wilbrink.  Her site is perfectmemoirs.com.  It’s beautiful.  She’ll also be teaching a workshop at the Annual Conference of Carnegie Writers in Huntsville, where I’ll be teaching on blogging.  There are others that I’ll be following and sharing from time to time.

For now, I’m going to take a walk.  The air is crisp and made for walking.

September 15

WHERE I’M FROM (with thanks to George Ella Lyon)

Many students in the U.S. are familiar with a delightful poem by Kentucky poet George Ella Lyon because she has allowed a template of hers to be copied online.  I just returned from a visit to my hometown where I visited the Johnstown Flood Museum, so maybe this is why I’m thinking again of where I’m from.

I am from a tee-totaler and a flag waver

I am from a drummer boy from Boston

            and a Pennsylvania farm girl

            salty tears lonely.

I am from pen pals and he proposed before they met

            and a match made with postage stamps.

I am from he always wanted two little girls and a white picket fence

            and she wished he’d not spend so much on flowers.

I am from a disabled vet with a broken body

            and Jesus is the Great Physician.

I am from “You’re not any better but you’re just as good”  

   and “Don’t play with fire or you’ll get burned.”

I’m from a two-bedroom house on Sunday Street and

            the Johnstown Flood which happened again. 

I am from steel mills and a city bus

            and Saturday rides to the downtown library.

I am from a writer-dreamer with no place to write

and the girl who was told “You don’t need college, you’re just a woman.” 

I am from both – the dreamer and the disappointed farm girl

who struggled to give me safety and opportunity.

 

August 16

WHAT’S YOUR STORY?

Everybody loves a good story!  The teaching team at my church (The Fellowship at Two Rivers) is teaching the next series through the New Testament by telling the stories of the people.  We will very likely remember the stories and make the connection to our own lives.

So I’ll tell you a story of my latest trip to McKay’s Used Book Store.  I traded in some books and came back with some treasures.  One in the free bin caught my eye.  It was written by a psychiatrist/psychotherapist who contrasted the medical model of treating people with mental illness with what the author believes is the more accurate means—psychotherapy.  And why?  Because, he says, we are more than our brain—we are souls, souls in need of healing.  (E-mail me if you want the author’s name; I’m at poetryforthejourney@gmail.com.)

What do people need?  We need as infants to be nurtured and loved (I personally saw one precious little child in Haiti now receiving lots of love, but who cannot speak possibly because of just such a lack in infancy).  But we don’t stop needing love.  When we don’t get what we need, when we are hurt or neglected, we might survive physically but we carry around the wound.

Medicine can anesthetize a symptom but this author says to pay attention to our symptoms, they are trying to tell us something.  We are not physicians, but we as Christians are in the business of offering spiritual (or soul) healing.  How do we do this?  Well, one way I believe is simply to tell our stories.  I am starting to look at the senior members of my fellowship as treasuries of a lifetime of stories of God’s faithfulness.  Do you have a story?