Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving: Farmers, Slaves and Stories

Birches in Fall

I'm thinking about Thanksgiving with...

Pennies and a Big Blue Sky over at High Calling Blogs

and Marching Farmers, Homeless Slaves over at Christianity Today.

Also, it's not too late for you to join the festivities and add your post to the Thanksgiving Celebration. On that note, I wanted to share this little clip I found in my outdoor journal, while I was working on God in the Yard this past weekend:

Why should anyone care about another person's story? If it is told well, and honestly, one might find oneself there, perhaps even find God. And that is a blessing indeed, if it brings a measure of truth and healing or inspiration and challenge.

To this, I've been reading our Thanksgiving Celebration stories, where I've found myself, found God, been moved, blessed. I've also tried to make space for others in my heart and mind, which seems to me a form of hospitality— listening to stories where I don't find myself but I find Other and God-near-Other...

Stories of sudden loss and shocking loss. Reflections on thanks unsent, then sent. Moments of surprising birth, dealing with displacement and finding joy despite financial loss. And, last but not least, an aside on potential turkey extraction.

I wonder if all hospitality actually begins with listening to the other's story, taking others seriously, as the Message translation says somewhere in Psalms...

In any case, today I'm grateful for you and your stories. Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

Fall Trees painting by Saima Barkat. Used with permission.

LL's Thanksgiving: Out-Take, an unpublished section of the CT article
LL's Grace Table, a reflection from the little woods

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Monday, November 24, 2008

RAP: Found in the Outdoor Journal

Snow Storm Gail Nadeau

I've been culling my outdoor journal, dropping things into chapters as I go.

Every so once in a while I find something unusable that I want to keep. But where to keep it? And how? It seemed perhaps a good idea to keep a few little treasures here, as random acts of poetry. Discovered. Embraced.

I love
the fallen
straw reaching
sideways to
escape destiny.


This is
life, this.
Beautiful life.


bow in turn,
do obeisance
to the house.


White butterfly
barely whispers
against my arm,
hurries away
through quiet
arch of forsythia.


the air.


Sun shines through
leaves— soft green


Light plays
upon the pine,
dips her in golden oil.


I hold
three little
which I will
hide inside
to ripen.


face of the baby
cardinal... tiny
promise of a
above his eyes
like a hat.

Snow Storm photo by Gail Nadeau. Used with permission.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

This Was Me Two Days Ago

Okay, we're about to do this great Thanksgiving Feast, but in the meantime my DVD player died right before the party.

So don't be fooled by how old the lady above looks. Really, this was me two days ago. (The mention of co-axial jacks was particularly apt.) Who writes the directions for these techno-toys anyway?

thanks to High Calling Blogs for the lead on this comic relief

Poetry and God Are Right There But We Don't Stop to Listen, by Marcus, at HCB
Poetry Friday, at Erica's
Like Bread, at Ann's

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dancing at Napoleon's

Napoleon's Grand Salon

Dear Erin, you asked where we would put our teacups. I'm going to suggest we move over to the cocktail tables. Before the Hollywood pizazz dance.

Napoleon's Grand Salon at the Louvre, photo by L.L. Barkat.

POETRY FRIDAY (on Saturday :)
High Calling Blogs' Random Acts of Poetry: In the Comment Box
Erin's Tribute to her father-in-law
Erica's Would You Let Him In?

LL's Thanksgiving: Pennies and a Big Blue Sky

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

On the Radio Tonight

Napoleon's Salon Chairs

Come sit with me a spell. Live at 5:30 pm Central Time (6:30 Eastern). At WSOY's Direct Line. The station streams starting at 5:00 pm, when I believe several hundred college students are being highlighted for their work with creating habitats. Then it's me at 5:30 pm.

I'd be delighted if a few friends were going to be in the living room, smiling and nodding.

Sofa for Three at the Louvre, in Napoleon's Apartments. Photo by L.L. Barkat.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Bite of Pie and Thanks

Glazed Pearl Pink


What does it conjure for you? Food, football, sleep, too many dirty dishes? On November 20-something-ish (how's that for a definitive date), at Christianity Today, I'm set to talk about marching farmers and homeless slaves, to reflect on how we can celebrate a festival of thanks. [update: article here.] A partner post called Thanksgiving: Pennies and a Big Blue Sky is up at High Calling Blogs.

When it comes to Thanksgiving, though, I bet you also have a lot to share. That's why I'm extending an invitation...


You are cordially invited by L.L. Barkat to join a Thanksgiving Celebration. Just post about a Thanksgiving memory, something you are thankful for this year, a special family Thanksgiving tradition, your favorite "thanksgiving" bible verse, or anything else you can dream up.

Be serious, spiritual, creative, beautiful, humorous, whatever... it's a celebration and good celebrations welcome all kinds of expression!

As a token of thanks for joining us, L.L. will link to you in the Thanksgiving Celebration post (and Christianity Today and High Calling Blogs will link back to said post, so their readers can check out the full celebration). You can make L.L.'s link-love job easier by dropping a comment at the Thanksgiving Celebration post. See you at the pie table!

To participate in the Thanksgiving Celebration:

1. post your Thanksgiving reflection with the invitation above and this little list of two
2. send the invitation to 5 or more friends (or just stash it in your cyber-drawer as a keepsake and take another bite of pie)

You bring the stuffing, I'll bring the cider. And we can smile, sigh, laugh, weep or dance together across the wires. Happy Thanksgiving!

Though anyone reading this post is free to attend, I'm going to specifically invite...

Ann Voskamp
Jennifer Dukes Lee
Mark D. Roberts
Monica Brand
Tina Howard
Billy Coffey
Ann Kroeker
Jim Martin
Ted Gossard
Erica Hale
Ed Gilbreath


Tina's God Math and Gratitude, Billy's Thanksgiving Story, LL's Grace Table, Erica Hale's Thanksgiving, Jennifer Dukes Lee's Beds, Heidi's An Un-American Thanksgiving, Jennifer at Snapshot's Come on Over to My Place, Katrina's Thankfulness Leaves, Robert and David's Thanks for nothing?, Chris's Beyond Thankful, LL's Nine-Patch Togetherness, Tammy's Baby Grands and Oreo Turkeys, Ann K's Thanksgiving Preview, Christine Scheller's Thankful for 23 Years, Linda's Thanksgiving Memory, Lynn's Thanksgiving, Monica's Five Thanks, Joy's The Definition of Joy, Jim Martin's Thankful, Ann Voskamp's Thanksgiving Rightly Addressed, Ted G's Giving Thanks, Marcus's Thanksgiving, Coffee and the Squanto Hop, LL's Thanksgiving: Out-Take, Sarah's I'm Thankful for Speeding Tickets and Flat Tires, Laughing's Scent of Celebration, Gina's Reflections, Lori's Thanksgiving at the Payne Homestead, Jenni's It Just Doesn't Cut It, Daune's Celebrating His Goodness

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

How Cool is That: Scot McKnight, Atheists and a Renegade Bird

Blue Parakeet

A long time ago I interviewed Scot McKnight. I learned that he writes books based on burning questions. Soon after, I decided I probably should read one of his books, so I picked up The Jesus Creed and found a kindred spirit. He seemed to love all things Jewish, as do I.

But what probably impressed me more was how down-to-earth he was for a theologian (somebody please cry, 'Biased against theologians!' at this juncture). Now the cool side of Scot has come out full force in The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible.

Let's just say I was a little under the influence when I started the book (What are you thinking?! I was foggy-headed from residual flu syndrome). Yet I still managed to read half the book in about an hour.

That's because, flu or no flu, I could see that Scot had outdone himself in down-to-earthiness, pursuing yet again a burning question (this time one that reminds me of things my atheist friends are always saying, like... 'how come Christians pick and choose what they'll follow from the bible?') Scot turns that question into his main question, which is 'How, then, are we to live out the Bible today?' (sound familiar?)

He asks that question and then he (serious bible-commentary writer that he is) talks about a blue parakeet escapee, uses words like snarky, starts a chapter with a generous discussion of blogging, calls the Bible a set of wiki stories and remarks at one point, 'How cool is that?'

Even in a brain fog, I could see this was, to date, not only one of the most thoughtful books I've come across on how to read the bible but definitely the down-to-earthiest too.

Really, how cool is that?

Photo of Blue Parakeet by L.L. Barkat.


Random Acts of Poetry: Prepare Your Mind With Culture and Poetry at High Calling Blogs

Random Acts of Poetry: Morning Comes... at Erica's

I was so pleased to see Sara and her family in the New York Times. How cool is that?

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Just for November

Stone Crossings Christmas 2

Back in April, when Stone Crossings first came out, I offered a limited number of signed copies here. I figured I'd never really liked the post office that much, so I preferred to keep my visits to a minimum.

It worked out especially well since Susan alone ordered several copies, thus reducing the number of times I'd need to find a parking space, stand in line, and keep my kids from sitting on the counters (why do kids want to sit on counters in the post office anyway... which is terribly inconvenient since there are signs everywhere saying, do not let children sit on counters).

Still, Christmas is coming and I wouldn't want to disappoint the post office workers with too light a workload. I'm thinking I owe them a visit, a stack of packages, a smile for the season and some kids sitting on counters to make the whole thing a perfect experience.

So just for November, I'm ready to stand in line if you'd like to order a signed copy. This time I won't put a limit on the number of copies I'll make available. Well, at least I don't think I will. Maybe I'll even put on my elf hat to go with my post-office smile.

Just for November.

see comment box for details on ordering

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