My friend, Amy, asked me to participate in this blog hop. We met first online via my friend, Rebekah, who I will introduce to you below. Amy attends and ministers in a country church in my hometown. I love that we have Cordova in common. Then we were together in a incourage writer’s group online, and she helped critique and better some of my words. Recently, we met in person as she joined the bible study that I am hosting at my house. You can read her thoughts about jumping into bible study with me here. I have loved getting to know her and was excited to participate in a blog hop, which is about fun and relationships – what blogging is all about.
As part of the blog hop, everyone who participates is to answer the following four questions, so here I go.
1. What am I writing or working on?
1. I have been working on the Reforming Church series. I have enjoyed working on it because I have been able to discern a felt need for the series and because I write it solely based on the overflow of what the Spirit leads me to say and write, which is in some ways different than in other pieces I write.
2. I am also beginning to work on a series about hospitality, as I will be leading a hospitality mentoring group at church soon.
3. I guess about a year or year and a half ago, I signed up for Jeff Goin’s Tribe Writers course, and I never made it past module 1. So slowly and surely, I am attempting to work through the course, which prompts me to create pieces that I might not otherwise write.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I write about faith intersecting life, which is not uncommon for faith bloggers to do. When I moved from my old blog, which was a mommy blog, I did so because it became increasingly about my faith, and the writing became more devotional. I write about my kids, but I also respect my kids’ privacy, and so choose intentionally not to write about all their stuff on here. So this blog was born in a way, as a place to write without limits. For a few months, I wrote anonymously about my own childhood stories. It is hard to write authentically and honestly about your stories when they affect others, and your family may disagree with your thoughts. I tried that and then began writing about the grace I was experiencing, and this blog became devoted to grace. Over the past 3 years I’ve been writing in this space, I suppose I have worked on improving as a writer, and the topics change. It is all still in the lens of grace, but I am not sure what my genre is. I suppose it is bloggy memoir in many ways, with a bent toward using stories to help others. I am still learning how to write as all writers always are. So sometimes I explore the craft of writing here, the artfulness of writing, etc. Mostly my work is different because it is written by me, through my experiences, my voice, my thoughts, my beliefs.
In regards to the Reforming Church series, my work is different than say what Amber Haines did or what Rebekah Gilbert is doing because I am writing to those in the church – who on some level feel like they belong but who have been wounded. I think Amber and Rebekah write more for those who feel they don’t belong – the underground church. As of yet, their pieces are more gritty. I think as the series has progressed, I see that I am writing to a specific group of people here in Birmingham, but hope that it reaches anyone who would visit and be thoughtful about the state of church today. In no way would I condemn church. I love it too much, but I do feel change is needed. I don’t know that my pieces will be gritty as I finish, but I’d like to write grittier on occasion.
3. Why do I write what I do?
Imagine with me for a minute, a person who is mute, unable to speak, but has plenty to say. The only way they communicate is by writing a few words down on paper. I really began writing because I was emotionally mute. I wrote about the muck and mire because I’ve been there. Writing, itself, is a form of grace for me. I have learned that I cannot live without it. It is soul oxygen. So first of all, I write to give freedom to myself. Second of all, I write to give freedom to others. I write to set captives free – including me. This is my most authentic way to communicate, and while I’ve learned not to have expectations about who read, it stings to realize those close to me are not interested in the depth of who I am in my writing. However, writing has taught me how not to be mute and to speak up vocally and authentically in person as well.
4. How does my writing process work?
First of all, I live. I make observations. I people watch. I think. I do a whole lot of each one of those. That is first. Then, the thoughts must be given rest, and so I write. Writing helps me to realize why I am bothered, or what I think about my thoughts, or why I am thinking about whatever I am thinking about.
Next, I listen. I listen to others, I listen to myself. I listen to the Spirit. Sometimes I write in response to needs and to answer the call of the Spirit.
My writing is not the best it could be because I often write spontaneously with little editing. Did I just tell you that? oops.
In regard to my last post, “Reforming Church: selling us,” I wrote a rough draft first. I reread it a few days later; I let my husband read it. It was unfinished – just a skeleton of words. Much needed to be added to make it a body. I left it alone for weeks. One because I was addressing leaders. During those weeks, I thought about it some more and researched and listened to the Spirit. Then I was ready to begin the final process, and I adding a great deal more, but it was now in an order that did not flow properly. I printed out my work each day I worked on it, and made red mark edits and additions. The Tribe Writers class helped that piece to speak with authority because I learned to cut out all of the wishy washy language like, “I think,” “it’s a fine line,” etc. I would do all I could to make it better, and then set it aside each day. Then the next day I would look at it again with fresh eyes and read it aloud doing the same thing as the day before until it was finally finished. I used these editing strategies given by Denise Hughes. So overall, I spent more time on that piece than any other, and it was the most well received. I should be taking care of my audience and my editing more often.
So, with that let me introduce you to some other bloggers and writers I know.
1. Rebekah Gilbert – A New Song to Sing
Rebekah Gilbert is a writer and singer/songwriter. She loves to compose words and music that tell stories that speak to the soul. She is on a spiritual journey of finding beauty in the messiness of grace. Rebekah lives in Alabaster, AL, with her husband and three girls and blogs at http://www.anewsongtosing.com.
Rebekah’s family moved to the small town I grew up in during her senior year, and so for a year, we were in the same church her dad pastored. We didn’t really know each other then, but we connected when we joined fb through our love of writing words.
2. Mary Boswell – The Calm in His Presence
Mary is a wife of 15 years, mom to 2 beautiful children and daughter of her Heavenly Father. She and her husband Jeff seek to honor God in their marriage & raising their children. Through each twist & turn life has thrown them during their marriage they have learned more about God’s immeasurable Love and Grace. With two young kids Mary’s days are anything but quiet. Mary writes at her blog The Calm of His Presence where she shares what God is teaching her during the quiet & sometimes not so quiet moments of her day. So, won’t you take some time out of your busy, hectic day and join Mary as she sits in the Calm of God’s Presence at www.thecalmofhispresence.com.
Mary and I met at Allume last year, and I am so glad I did, because we ate practically all of our meals together. She was a God-send when I was a small fish in a big blog conference pond. She made everything about Allume more comfortable for introverted me.
3. David Dollar – Clouds in My Coffee
David Dollar is a husband and father who loves 90s nostalgia, Billy Joel, Hootie & the Blowfish, early Jennifer Knapp, audiobooks and writing. In addition to his blogsite, he also co-hosts a movie podcast called The Deucecast, as well as helps people as a professional Disney Travel Planner. He follows Christ, loves his family and studies pop culture, praying regularly for a dcTalk reunion. Follow him on Twitter at @davedollar and follow his Disney page on Facebook at facebook.com/disneyonadollar.
David and I attend the same church here in Birmingham, and within our little body, I suppose we are known as the bloggers. David has been a great encourager of my writing. He is currently helping Daniel and I plan a trip to Disney.