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Visit ...and it is here that we dance!

7QTF: Points of View

'7 Quick Takes Friday' is a sharing situation generously started by Jen Fulwiler who blogs at 'Conversion Diary' and who also writes a column for the National Catholic Register.Anyone participating in this blogging exercise submits a link of their post to Jen's site (so the traffic at Jen's blog might rub off on your own), and link back to Jen's post from here (where, besides Jen's great blog, you'll find a delightful list of other blogs to choose from for your reading pleasure).Here's today's offering:7 Points of View... 1.picture found hereOutside My Window: Is a world with which I find myself increasingly at odds... yet one with which I feel an almost desperation to connect. A funny paradox, that.I wonder how Christ handled this... in as much as he could see into the heart of our humanity, His divinity must have left Him feeling very much at odds... and yet because of that same divinity and humanity, he was obviously driven by who he was to connect with us.I live on a very busy street corner, in a largely economically depressed area of my city. My window affords me a view I don't always want to see, yet I'm grateful for it, because I am never allowed to forget who I am created to be, and in whose name I am called.My window shows me a world that needs my faith and compassion... I respond to the invitation... and I pray.2.In My Mind's Eye: When I was first learning to drive I found it impossible to keep the car literally in my own lane, and on the road, until my Dad offered a simple observation: "Don't look at the front of the car, look to where you are going."Though he doesn't realize it, my Dad gave me more than a driving lesson that day... I came to understand my life will reflect that toward which I consistently turn my gaze. Items which caught my gaze this week, and which I continue to ponder in the context of my own life, include:At Accepting Abundance (isn't that blog name just the best... anybody else besides me have trouble doing just that?!):"...when I focus on what transcends me I'm free from what misguides me."Emerging Mummy speaks to my on-going struggle to give voice to the deepest groanings of my heart and soul:"...let Love be my first language, my mother tongue whether its communicated in English or a thousand tongues for only angels to hear." Shut. Up.At Love is A Place: "Going is important, not arriving.""Women are stronger than abortion, and we ought to help them be strong rather than sell them on their weakness."At Secret Vatican Spy: "Sin does not define you... Newsflash? The waters of baptism, the redemptive power of Christ, and the continuing call to repentance are what defines you."3.picture found hereBeside Myself: An aspect of the blogosphere that I am having trouble negotiating are those issues and topics that upset and, sometimes, literally TRASH  my equilibrium... but to which I am inexorably drawn... like a moth to a flame. These are issues I carry deeply in my soul... issues over which I weep, lose sleep... and, rightly or wrongly, the altar upon which I sacrifice peace. And that's why I can't talk about them just yet... I haven't found my love language in which to speak the words I need to say, such they are heard by those who most need to hear them. For now I'll just point with trembling hand:Sex Offender Targets Christian Women BloggersThe Two-Minus-One PregnancyI wouldn't have aborted the twin had s/he been conceived naturally, not via IVFMy Fertility Crisis4.picture found hereUnderneath My Bed:School looms on the imminent horizon - there are only ten days left until I have six hours a day all to myself and... honestly... I'm dreading it. I know that sounds bizarre to those of you who have several children, but I love the happy bubble the Divine Miss O and I create together. I struggle when she's at school: I hate that I don't really know what or who is writing on her mind and heart. Even though she is only beginning second grade, we know that there is a lot that won't be good for her tender soul, and which will bruise her budding sensibilities.... it's taken a good part of the summer to erase the harm from last year. Sigh.The Divine Miss O had a very difficult year and we, her parents, had a horrible year doing all we could to make it less so. Yet she LOVES school (you wouldn't believe the explaining I had to do when she realized she could have started at age 4)... even though it raises her anxiety level to the point of making her physically ill. Yet... we have new strategies in place, the school is aware and prepared to be more supportive and attentive to our concerns, prayers have been said to cover every aspect of concern, and off to school she will go.I stopped checking for monsters under my bed when I realized they were inside me... I also realized... so are the knights who slay them.5.picture found hereBehind My Back:This isn't a viewpoint I normally spend a lot of time thinking about (and one which most people usually perceive as negative), but it's been an interesting summer. My perceptions of myself, my daughter, Catholicism, the church, my faith, people I thought I knew have been challenged and, surprisingly, found to be somewhat different than I considered... in primarily good and delightful ways. Much has been going on behind my back of which I've failed to take notice.So, I'm inclined to ask myself: "What is it I am eally seeing here (doing my best to suspend the judgements which rise so readily)?" "What is really going on when I'm not looking?" "To what am I paying attention?" "Does that to which I attend reflect my priorities?"I don't have clear answers to these questions as such, but I'm going to be exploring them here. I'll keep you posted (pun intended). 6.picture found hereAtop My Night Table:I read to challenge, myself, entertain myself, escape, inform, grow. Books have always been my very best friends, my consolation, my joy. Books are touchstones in my life. Every August I place an Amazon order for books I want to read over the course of the next year starting in September. My order arrived this week!Spencer's Mountain by Earl Hamner, Jr.Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieThe Promise of God by David ShapiroThe Man With No Skin by Orfhlaith Ni ChonaillWomen, Food, and God: An Unexpected Path to Everything by Geneen RothLove in the Ruins by Walker PercySeventy Times Seven by Salvatore SapienzaThe Harrowing of Hell by Stephen SealThe New Pilgrim's Progress by John BunyanFascinating Womanhood by Helen AndelinThree Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin (now a bit suspect, and marginally less attractive: check this out: Questions Over Greg Mortenson's Stories)Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Connor GrennanMistress of the Vatican by Eleanor HermanRediscover Catholicism by Matthew KellyTurbulent Souls: A Catholic Son's Return to His Jewish Family by Stephen J. DubnerThe Church and the New Media: Blogging Converts, Internet Activists, and Bishops Who Tweet by Brandon Vogt7. From Within My Heart:"Grace isn't a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It's a way to live."Attributed to JACQUELINE WINSPEARA few things for which I am grateful this week:a good natured and loving husband a healthy, GROWING daughter my sense of humour that somehow I'm going into the weekend with my laundry all caught up choices (have you ever noticed how some people have so few?) kittens everybody I love is alive and well... others haven't been so blessed music the moon keeping watch supermarkets raspberries fresh figs tomatoes stories my body, even in all its imperfections the wonder that is the Internet, and bloggers in general ...all to the soundtrack of my week: Love Reclaims the Atmosphere by Burlap to Cashmere:"Send blessings to your critics and careful with the least of theseRelease the prisoners free... today we'll crucify the fear as love reclaims the atmosphere"...until the next dance!

Anna White

Visit 2Day I Choose

Glitchy Blogger!

Hi y'all,I deactivated some older posts today, and Blogger also decided to send out an old post to you. No idea why-sorry!I have been taking a hiatus due to pregnancy illness and I'm also thinking. I'm a very slow thinker. Once I make up my mind I'm ALL. IN. but it sometimes takes a while to get to that point. I am thinking about what I want the future direction of the blog to be and how to integrate my personal writing with my business projects.Hope you are having great summers! I will return to this space soon, when I'm done thinking.You shouldn't get more older posts but if you do I apologize in advance.Anna
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Sue Palmer

Visit A Contemplative Space

As the End of Advent Approaches ...

An adaptation of this beautiful poem was part of the liturgy in our Longest Night Service this evening. First Comingby Madeleine L’EngleHe did not wait till the world was ready,till men and nations were at peace.He came when the Heavens were unsteady,and prisoners cried out for release.He did not wait for the perfect time.He came when the need was deep and great.He dined with sinners in all their grime,turned water into wine.He did not wait till hearts were pure.In joy he cameto a tarnished world of sin and doubt.To a world like ours, of anguished shamehe came, and his Light would not go out.He came to a world which did not mesh,to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.In the mystery of the Word made Fleshthe Maker of the stars was born.We cannot wait till the world is saneto raise our songs with joyful voice,for to share our grief, to touch our pain,He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!Amen!
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A New Word for a New Year

A New Word for a New YearAs I sit here at my computer on this last day of 2014, I’m looking back over all that it has brought to my life. There have been some incredible highs and some difficult lows. But thankfully throughout the year there has been more joy than sorrow.In 2014 God placed upon my heart the word “intentional” as my word for the year. You see, I gave up making resolutions a few years ago and instead I choose a word that I believe I need to focus on. On January 1, 2014 I wrote this: This year I pray that God will help me to become more intentional in my life journey. To be more intentional in my relationships with family and friends, in how I spend my time (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually), in my ministry and in my time spent with my heavenly Father (in scripture, meditation and prayer).Over all I believe I was intentional in many areas of my life. Relationships that were broken at the beginning of the year are now healed or in the process of healing and I am so grateful for that. My work in ministry at Rustin Ave. UMC turned from being assigned as pulpit supply to being their appointed pastor and with that brought new challenges; leading confirmation and developing new opportunities for worship. At Grace UMC, I took off my Administrative Secretary hat that I had worn for 11 years and became the Minister of Small Group Ministry, a new position at the church developing small group opportunities. I was intentional about my health as I began exercising and eating healthier. I had a mammogram, a physical and dental work done that I had put off for a few years. But there were those areas that I was not intentional. Spending time with family, friends and God fell short. Reading and writing for pleasure were non-existent. And as I thought about this and why it happened I came up with the same excuse I used all year long. I was so busy I just didn’t have the time. Unfortunately, I did seem to have the time to watch reality T.V. shows, scroll Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s so easy to say I don’t have the time but in reality I just didn’t use my time wisely. It’s easy to make excuses and pretend that ministry and work have consumed all my time, but that isn’t the true reality of my life. The reality is I didn’t make the time, and because of that God has placed upon my heart the word “time” as my word for 2015.Time; we can use it, make it, take it, gain it and lose it. We either want it to slow down or speed up. I love the line from the movie Steel Magnolias where Truvy says to Shelby, “Honey, time marches on and eventually you realize it is marchin’ across your face.” How true! The wrinkles around my eyes prove it. And then there is this saying, “Take time to stop and smell the roses.” And that is also true. But this year I don’t want to just stop and smell the roses I want to plant, nurture, prune, water and enjoy the roses. Using my time, planting new ideas, cultivating relationships, nurturing growth, pruning away the senseless & useless and enjoying the bounty of time well spent, is what I pray for this New Year.Being overwhelmed is no excuse to procrastinate and lose myself watching T.V. or scanning the internet. It means taking the time to plan, prepare and pray so that I will have the time to enjoy this life and all that it has to offer.As 2014 comes to a close and 2015 begins, I pray that God will help me to use my time wisely, efficiently and intentionally so that this year may be filled with less anxiety and stress and be filled with more joy and happiness and time spent in the presence of the One who makes all things possible. And I pray that each of you have a year filled with God’s blessings. That time will not slip away from you but that you will grasp it and live your life to the fullest. May 2015 bring to you a year filled with love, joy, laughter, and peace.For everything there is a season,    a time for every activity under heaven.2 A time to be born and a time to die.    A time to plant and a time to harvest.3 A time to kill and a time to heal.    A time to tear down and a time to build up.4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.    A time to grieve and a time to dance.5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.6 A time to search and a time to quit searching.    A time to keep and a time to throw away.7 A time to tear and a time to mend.    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.8 A time to love and a time to hate.    A time for war and a time for peace.(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)Blessings & Happy New Year!JillFYI - To help remind myself of my 2015 word “time”, I purchased a necklace that I will wear (pictured above) from Kashoan Ward of Krafty Kash. I hope you will check out her beautiful line of handmade jewelry at,, or @KraftyKash on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
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Kristina Stiffler

Visit A Joy Walk

Fabric Twine Bracelets : using fabric scraps

If you know me at all, you know I have one hoarding weakness: creative supplies, especially fabric. With two moves in the last two years, I have managed to hone the collection down a bit, but I struggle to do so, as I know - eventually - I will use every last little bit... of everything!I make aprons out of men's shirts, card pouches out of their leftover cuffs, and most of the shirt gets used for the apron and ruffle and ties, but I have an entire box of sleeves and leftover shirt parts. Why do I save them?? Because, this: I knew an idea would come to me one way or another! My aunt sent me a link to this simple project a day or so ago, and evidentally I needed a new idea to go crazy with because I did with this one! Megan even joined me in the strip ripping, finger cramping fun! While Megan used fun bright colors, I made a grown-up version with silk scraps,and added chain and a charm to another.The possibilities are endless! But that's a great thing, because so is my fabric collection! Here's the how-to:
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Kelly Yates

Should you pursue a PhD?

I am a PhD candidate in Church History/Theology. I am in my fourth year of study. I have 69,000 words out of 80,000 written on my thesis. I am attending a British university where the PhD is 100% research, no classes.Many of my masters-graduated friends ask me if they should pursue the terminal degree. This is my answer to all.If you can do the following: you can make it.1. Study.  I mean study for hours a day.2. Limit your social obligations. Here it is New Year's Eve and I am in my room with the door locked. I am not partying. You will have to give up many, many parties, events, that you once attended.3. Rewrite. I remember vaguely the days of roughdraft-edit-final draft. Any paper or chapter that is a finished project has gone through at least eight drafts, usually more.4. Take criticism. If your advisor/supervisor is doing their job, they will rip your work to pieces in the beginning. You have to be able to take it.5.  Be disciplined. When writing a thesis/dissertation, you have to set your own deadlines. No one will make you sit your butt in the chair and type except you.6. Be humble. Education is a long lesson in humility. If you think you know everything you need to know and just need the letters at the end of your name, forget it. You won't make it past the first semester.  The more you know, the more you will realize what you do not know.


The Green One

In Psalm 52:8 it states "But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God.  I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever."Did you ever wonder why the color of the olive tree would matter?  Well you wouldn't be the only one if you did.  The green tree is the emblem of prosperity.  It has been kept unharmed like a green and flourishing tree that would have been in the courts of the sanctuary.  And most importantly it is safe and under the care and the eye of God.  That is why the Psalmist and us desire to be the green ones.  Knowing that the steadfast love of God is able to be acknowledged when we are in God's care.
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Lisa Phelps

Visit A Moment with God

Come Out of the Cave

"There he came to a cave, where he spent the night."But the lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”~1 Kings 19:9-13 NLTElijah had just witnessed the power and strength of His God.  Fire fell from Heaven and burned up the sacrifice, the altar, and all the water surrounding the altar.  The false prophets were destroyed and their god revealed as fake.  What an amazing victory!  Yet now Elijah is afraid, running for his life, and hiding in a cave.Have you ever been in a cave?   Are you living in one now? Caves are dark.  Things that we would never be afraid of during the day seem terrifying in the dark.  We hear things in the dark we don’t even notice when it is light.  Darkness amplifies our fears.Caves offer poor reception.  Have you ever tried to use your cell phone in a cave?  It’s hard to call for help when you can’t get a signal.  Everything seems louder in a cave.  Sound waves reflect off the walls and repeat back to the listener, seemingly louder each time.  God is calling you to come out of the cave.  Stand before Him on the mountain and listen for His gentle whisper.  He’s closer than you think.  Many Blessings,PS - I know my header is missing.  If you're focused on that, then you're missing the point.  ;)


Visit A Parched Soul

Back Row Moments

Every now and then, it happens. I’m driving home listening to the radio, usually the local NPR or classical stations, and there’s a moment so powerful, so arresting, that I find myself sitting in the driveway, unable to move. Maybe it’s a beautiful piece of music, or a story about an afflicted group of people. Whatever it is, it’s a moment when what I’m hearing is so powerful that it forces me to stop. Forces me to listen. And then moves me to reflect. It’s what the public radio business calls a “driveway moment.” A moment where you’re unable to…
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amy tuttle

Visit a pilgrim's project


dear anyone-who-has-enjoyed-reading-a pilgrim's project,first of all, thank you.secondly, as of today, the shutters will be fastened close around here for awhile.matter of fact, i honestly don't know if i'll ever be back here, as yet.i love to reflect and write about it, but may look to start anew when i start again... until i decide, you may find me at (message me) or at (leave a comment to find my e-mail addy). i've left a few random notes, 16 to be precise, just so you don't feel lonely if you've come for the first time from somewhere else.if/when i begin again, i'll make sure to come back here with a and peace to you, until then...:)