Talking, Listening, Following

This week my had has been full of sinus drainage, leaving little room for deep, blog-worthy thoughts. Plus, during those precious moments I have been able to escape the demands of work and family . . . I have been sleeping instead of writing.

But hey, there have been weeks–thankfully many of them–when I did not blow my body weight in snot out my nose. And during those weeks, I have written things that I think make some sense. So, considering my inability to be coherent this week, I link you to some previous writings.

What Happens when I Wake Up Too Early

Last Saturday I was awake at 5 a.m. I didn’t want to get up, so I stayed warm under my covers and started thinking. I began making a mental outline of the sermon that I needed to write that morning. Then I started thinking about possible crafts for the February craft kit. And back and forth my mind went from the problems of sin and punishment to ideas involving tissue paper and ribbons.

This happens to me a lot. I love the spiritual creativity of being a pastor and a preacher; I love the hands-on creativity of making cards and craft kits. Sometimes, though, my brain hardly knows which direction to go.

So then I started thinking, what if I combined my passions for ministry and creative arts? Are there other people out there who, like me, find a deeper awareness of the Creator when they are being creative? Others who like to read scripture, think about God, and play with art supplies? Others who zone out during contemplative prayer but focus if you put a colored pencil in their hand?

How might I be able to help people connect spiritual practices and creative practices in a meaningful way?

From this early morning musing has emerged a creative arts retreat for Lent. The retreat material can be used by individuals or small groups and is based on the scriptures from the Revised Common Lectionary. Each of the ten sessions incorporates both visual and written creative practices. We will also have a private Facebook group where retreat participants can share their insights—and their artwork!

I am really excited to offer this resource! And I must say that I am looking forward to Lent more than usual this year. I hope that some of you will use the retreat for your personal Lenten discipline or with a small group.  I would love to journey with you.

You can find more details on the “Lenten Retreat” page.  Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Poems about Being a Poet (or not)

(Full disclosure: I have an undergrad degree in creative writing and a master’s in English lit.)

I love poetry. I love reading it.  I love writing it.  But I don’t write it much any more.  Back in the spring I went on a mini-spurt of poetry writing and the first two poems I wrote were basically about why I don’t write much poetry.


Emily Dickinson always
kept the poem she was writing
in the pocket of her white dress.

Always a white dress.

Maybe if I did away
with the complications of wardrobe
I would have poems in my pocket, too.




The poets I love lived quiet lives;
no children,
long walks at dawn
in poem-producing peace.

My life is not their life.
My poetry not their poetry.
I don’t have my own woods–
or even much of a garden.

Any woods and garden I had
I would share with my children
who are prone to be hot or cold
or thirsty or hungry
or tired or trampling the marigolds,

And it would be my job
to bring a breeze or warmth
or water or food
or rest or calm,

Not my job
to notice the thousand ants nibbling
the invisible sweetness that binds
balls of pink peony petals
swaying atop their stems
waiting, waiting to burst.