December 2

A NEW YEAR OF POETRY, DALLAS WILLARD AND NO MORE BLOG

The New Year 2017 holds much joy and anticipation for me. I am in a new writing group forming in Nashville (Nashville Writers House); I am writing my memoir in poetry; I have loving friends and people who smile when I walk in the room. I am blessed.

What I discovered about blogging is that it has become a very big business. Moreover, there are many good blogs out there, both with and without a Christian emphasis. In short, I am letting it go.

If you should have accidentally come across this one and are reading now, you can reach me at poetryforthejourney@gmail.com. I love to communicate about God, poetry and good books, Christian spirituality, writing for healing and I like to read blogs about travel. Also, I have decided to spend more time reading Dallas Willard. He was a Baptist scholar and a professor in a major secular university (USC). I wish I had known about him when I was younger. I had a friend and scholar once who said, “Many of my best friends are dead.” I understand that now.

So Happy New Year and Blessings,

Carol R.

October 24

WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP IN THE CHURCH

Women’s leadership in the Church is related to the history of civil rights in our country. I thought I could stop caring about this issue, but it seems that I cannot.

Sunday was an amazing day at my local Baptist church. Early morning life group discussed the sorry history in evangelical churches: refusing to let African Americans (called Negroes then) into the church. It’s painful to imagine such a scene: white men and maybe women standing at the door of a church arms folded, frowns on their faces, ready to fight the first black man or woman who tried to enter their church.

Then in worship, our pastor challenged us on the general sin of oppression. He even mentioned “women” once…but no, he didn’t go any further. Did anyone else hear that sermon as I heard it? All I could think about was, “What about the women who have been refused entry into leadership positions in this and other churches?” Our pastor challenged us to fight the oppression we encounter. Lord, help me know what to do. I am listening–and watching–for God’s guidance.

See this article:

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 26

God is in Plane Geometry

Just finished reading a classic, October Sky by Homer Hickam, recommended to me by my sweet sister, a former junior high librarian.  I have a hard time recommending it to my grandchildren because of how casual sex is, well, so casual.  But it was an inspirational true story about dreams, perseverance, family tensions and love.  Homer taught himself enough mathematics (with the help of a friend) to actually build a rocket; he and his friends were known as the Rocket Boys. There is a  line in this book that intrigued me. The young man woke up one morning and said he knew, he just knew, that God was in plane geometry.  He didn’t elaborate about how he had prayed for help or really add any religious language; he just said what he knew.  There’s also a funny follow-up as Homer attempts to talk to two ministers in his West Virginia town about this.  (You really need to read this, or read it again.)  God is in Numbers and in the Word.

July 31

ANGRY AT GOD? AT CHURCH MEMBERS? LET’S TALK.

From the outset, I have been aware that of the occasional visitors to my blog there are two general camps.  One is the person with a strong faith in Christ, walking the walk and convinced that God is real and alive and present in their lives.  The other is the person, often a professional man or woman, who somewhere in their past may have heard the Gospel message but for some reason they have walked away.  I wonder if we could get a conversation going.  Believer, if you would be willing, tell us how you found faith and why you stay.  Or if you have been disillusioned or disappointed by someone in the church, and have walked away, talk about it.  Let this be a safe place to share.  After all, what topic could be more urgent?   Those people who are in the field of biblio-poetry therapy know how healing this kind of conversation can be.  Come sit down, make yourself a cup ‘a tea and let’s talk.  Just comment where you see that option below.

July 28

BUDGET WOES

I looked at my budget today and something has to go.

But what will it be?  No hair cut?  No internet?

Stop the water flow?  Turn off the phone?

Cancel all that insurance against financial disaster on

the body or car or house?

Stop traveling around…gas costs something, of course.

Don’t register the tags?  The police would find me sooner or later.

Turn off the air conditioning?  Ah, that’s an idea,

at least turn it down (or up however you see it).

Quit buying those books and signing up for classes?

Ah, now you’re getting personal.

The only thing left is food, and I surely eat too much of that.

I looked at my budget today and something has to go.

I wonder what it will be.

July 28

DANCING WITH THE BAPTISTS…AGAIN

Re-blogging an earlier post as somehow in the transition to GoDaddy, my July posts got lost.  So here I am again…Dancing with the Baptists!

This story starts last spring when I attended a Conference of the National Poetry Therapy Association.  There was a little fund-raising auction, and since there were books there, of course I went to browse.  The book that caught my eye was titled Dancing with a Baptist.  Was God playing a little joke?  For the truth is, I had done just about six weeks before what I never thought I’d do–go back to the Baptists.  The sub-title to this particular book is “A Love Story in Poems.”  It’s also a sub-title of my story–the love part.  The strange pull happened step by step.  One day I felt homesick for those days when I knew early faith.  Next thing, I was visiting a ladies’ tea, and greeted at the door by my sweet granddaughter, “Grandma!  I didn’t know you were coming!”  Oh, the power of children to love us back to where we never left.  I went back.   I felt loved, is the only way I can explain it.

The next chapter in this love story (though it didn’t feel like love at first) was finding an old blog and realizing that I had left myself exposed.  How many churches I have joined in Nashville!  This morning, I think I heard some of the reason why I was called back.  Strangely enough, I have been re-reading a brilliant little book by E. Stanley Jones, a Methodist missionary:  Christian Maturity.  I am back at exactly the same place I left four years ago:  the difference between eros and agape love.  Furthermore, Jones quotes the very psychiatrist that I had mentioned in a proposal to do expressive writing groups.  In the 1920’s Smiley Blanton and an associate discovered the healing power of using poetry and they called it poetry therapy.  Mr. Jones, a missionary in India, quoted the same Smiley Blanton:  “Whether they think they do or not, all people want love.  Their spoken words may tell of other things, but the psychiatrist must listen to their unconscious voice as well…modern psychiatry teaches us that we fall ill, emotionally and physically, if we do not use love in this way to guide and control our behavior…”
Regardless of the excuses I may have had for leaving a church, it came down to this one thing:  I needed to love and be loved, and somehow this was missing.   The reason I was able to go back to the Baptists (though they actually don’t call themselves this) was simply that I felt love.   So expressive writing is writing down our thoughts until they go deeper and deeper where that great wellspring of emotion resides.  As a facilitator, I am simply a guide, a companion on the journey.  But it’s why I believe I am “called” to lead expressive writing groups. They’re not therapy, nor are they theology, but they’re not simply creative writing groups, either.  They are somewhere in between where Love resides.

June 9

A Pantoum on a Lazy Day

Oh the luxury of a day to myself

Read a book of verse out loud

Listen to jazz, smooth and soothing

Or do nothing at all, take a nap.

 

Read a book of verse out loud

Daydream a little, plan a trip

Or do nothing at all, take a nap

Get hungry, look in the freezer.

 

Daydream a little, plan a trip

Watch the news, turn it off

Get hungry, look in the freezer

Read another chapter of poetry style and form.

 

Watch the news, turn it off

Daydream, watch the neighbors walk their dog.

Read another chapter of poetry style and form.

Begin to write a poem about your day.

 

Daydream, watch the neighbors walk their dog.

Eat supper made with the frozen meatballs.

Begin to write a poem about your day

Look at a friend’s web site and subscribe.

 

Eat the frozen meatballs

Try not to think of the grown children

Look at a friend’s web site and subscribe.

Try your hand at writing poetry.

 

Enjoy the luxury of a day to yourself.

(Followed the form of a pantoum; start with the second and fourth line of the first stanza and make them your first and third of the second, and so forth.  Try it.)

 

 

June 9

Extreme Perception

There is a website where poets can publish and receive feedback from readers and other poets.  Soon after I began writing for this community, I was able to have a favorite poem published in their anthology, Extreme Perception, A Poem Anthology.  You can find the website here:  http://allpoetry.com/poems/following.  (This would go directly to the poets I am following so far.)   You can download a copy of the anthology from Amazon to your Kindle for only 99 cents.  So I guess you could say that I’m now officially a “published poet, sort of.”