Prayer for the Woman in the Minivan Putting on Her Makeup at the Stoplight

I blame my friend, Tanya Marlow, for forcing me to make room to write this one out. You can blame her, too.

Prayer for the Woman in the Minivan Putting on Her Makeup at the Stoplight
After Brian Doyle

I will say, at first, that I’m glad you weren’t checking social media or texting or even reading email while you waited, which is what I see so many people doing these days while driving, and even myself, I confess. Father, forgive me. And I know you will probably be embarrassed that I saw you leaning into the small mirror in the visor before you, carefully dragging the mascara wand through lashes you most likely think are too thin or not curly enough or too short. But in seeing you in that moment I saw the vast and vulnerable humanity of us all—caught in between here and the world to come—trying desperately in our own small and humble ways to make the world a little bit more beautiful, a little bit more worthy of being looked at in the eyes when being talked to, a little bit more redeemed. However misguided our fumbling attempts, however we contain the sunsets with gilded frames and inspirational quotes—as if the glory of the Heavens needed a paint job—we are still trying, all of us, our engines idling in the rush between dropping off the kids and getting to the meeting, to bring the world into focus, to call forth something magnificent. And you did, you know: you and Cover Girl. You showed me the face of God. And so, amen.

Embracing the Body Virtual Book Tour



The Embracing the Body Virtual Book Tour kicks off tomorrow! I’m excited to be touring around the blogs of some of my favorite writers and bloggers, sharing in interviews, original content and excerpts from the book. There will also be a few giveaways. I’ll have some Tweetables listed here, and if you’d like to enter to with an autographed copy of Embracing the Body, all you have to do is Tweet out each of the links that you see on this post, and then put your Twitter handle in the comments. A winner will be chosen at random on June 1.

I’m looking forward to “meeting” more of you around the web this week. Come back to this post each day for links to the various stops on the tour.

With excitement and love,


The Virtual Book Tour Stops:

Sunday, May 24: Body As Sign

Monday, May 25: Emily McFarlan Miller—An Interview With Tara M. Owens

Tuesday, May 26: Abbey of the Arts—Tongues of Fire: What Our Bodies Tell Us About Pentecost

Wednesday, May 27: We Awaken In Christ’s Body

Thursday, May 28: Sarah Bessey—Embracing the Body

Friday, May 29: Emily P. Freeman—The Rest of God

Help With A Headshot

So it’s getting to be that time—I’ve been sending out requests for endorsements (humbling, so very humbling) and reviewing the edits on the manuscript for Embracing the Body: Finding God In Our Flesh & Bone. I’ll have an announcement for you next week about the release date and all that will be happening around that.

In the meantime, I need your help. It’s headshot time, and I’m just not great at this process. So I’m going to admit my need, and ask you, Anam Cara Community, which headshot you like the best. Vote by number in the comments, and if you have time, let me know why you chose the one that you chose.

I’m so grateful to have such an amazing group of readers and friends, a real community of the Way. I never take it for granted.

Grace & peace to you this day.

Option # 5
Option # 1
Option # 4
Option # 2
Option # 3
Option # 3
Option # 2
Option # 4
Option # 1
Option # 5
Option # 7
Option # 6
Option # 7
Option # 7


With so many thanks to allison dubois photography + graphic design.

What I’m Into (March 2014 Edition)

So, I’m back on the What I’m Into bandwagon again, given the recent resurgence in my life of things like energy and space for creativity. If you’re not a personal directee of mine, haven’t taken one of my eCourses, don’t know me in real life, follow me in Instagram or on Facebook (in which case, Hello! Nice to meet you!), you’ll be surprised to know that I’ve been hibernating away the first three months of 2014 because I’m expecting our first child, due to release in September 2014, slightly before my first book baby releases in December of this year.


To all pregnant women who have told me that they were “tired” and I nodded sympathetically, I officially apologize. Y’all, pregnancy tired is nothing. at. all. like normal tired. If you’d like to experience the bumping-into-walls-exhausted feeling I’ve enjoyed these past few months, I recommend catching the flu, not sleeping for five days and then going on an all-night bender that leaves you massively hung over (although I don’t actually recommend any of those things.) If you add that all up, you have a general approximation of what the past 14+ weeks have felt like to me, especially during the midday hours. Bring it on, second trimester energy!

All of that said, we’re thrilled, excited, freaked out and completely trusting in the One who is knitting this holy little life together in my womb as I write this. And we covet your prayers, as always.

So, with that, here’s what I was into in March (when I wasn’t zoned out on the couch):

Read & Reading:

As you might imagine, books were slow going this month, but I did make it through I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, a fascinating read that I listened to on Audible. To me, this is one of those books better heard, because you get to hear the author’s voice in the foreword, and a native Pakastani voice reading the text, which made it come more vividly alive to me. Such an education on this history of that region and the plight of young girls under the Taliban regime.

I also finished The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman for my book club. I really wanted to love it, as several of my book club members do, but I just didn’t “bond with it” as a dear friend of mine says. I loved The Dovekeepers, but one of the narrators of this book just fell flat for me, and despite the vivid depiction of events in and around New York in 1911, I wasn’t emotionally drawn in. I wonder if it’s just a book that doesn’t fit my life stage at the moment.

Now that my pregnancy is more public, I can tell you I’m reading two lovely books that I’m finding very helpful in navigating this new path before me, one recommended in a magazine I love, Brain, Child, and another given to me by my dear friend Laura Brown (whose book, Everything That Makes You Mom is pretty much the PERFECT Mother’s Day gift, especially for the mom who seems to have everything or wants nothing. You fill out the book yourself with memories of your mother and it becomes this deeply personal, lovely keepsake. Seriously, go buy it for your mom now.)

The latter is Creating with God: The Holy Confusing Blessedness of Pregnancy by Sarah Jobe and it’s making me laugh and cry and pray and nod my head, often all at the same time. The former is A Good Birth: Finding the Positive and Profound in Your Childbirth Experience by Anne Lyerly, a secular book with a terrible subtitle that I’m nonetheless loving so much that I checked out a copy from the library so that my husband can read along with me. This one is helping me stay sane amidst the emotionally fraught waters of pregnancy, birthing and motherhood, each of which has had a sea of ink spilled on how to do “right” and “well”, which, in my experience, tends towards a kind of secular legalism and behavioral policing in which nobody really feels good about their choices. This book is the opposite of that, and makes me feel human and empowered.

I’m also working through God For Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Lent and Easter for my Lenten devotional, and I’ve got a number of great books on my nightstand that I’m starting to journey through, like Micah Boyett’s luminous Found: A Story of Questions, Grace & Everyday Prayer, which I can already recommend to you, and Notes from A Blue Bike: Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World by Tsh Oxenreider.

Last month, I asked friends on Facebook for good fantasy fiction reads, because I love a good story, and I’m currently working through Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay. It hasn’t hooked me deeply yet, but I’m only a hundred or so pages in, so I’m giving it a chance.


Mostly, I’m reading these days, both as a discipline and as a desire, but there are still a few shows that we record (mostly on the Food Network) to watch when there’s time. Shows like Beat Bobby Flay (which is new, and I’m not in love with), Worst Cooks In America (whose finale we’ll be watching with a dear friend tonight), Cutthroat Kitchen and Southern At Heart (which I’m liking more and more). We’re also still into Castle, and my husband is watching The Walking Dead (which I just can’t do). I’m about to start up the next season of Call the Midwife, which is suddenly more relevant to my life. For whatever reason, we’ve just lost interest in the other dramas that we’ve been into, and haven’t watched a single episode of either Downton Abbey or Parenthood during their recent runs. I suspect I’ll catch up at some point, but we just haven’t felt drawn in that direction. Instead, I’m catching up on back episodes of Dr. Who that I never saw (I started watching somewhere halfway through season 3) in anticipation of having to deal with a new Doctor when the show starts airing again. After a rocky start, we are really enjoying MARVEL’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which has been doing some very interesting movie/television crossover stuff with the MARVEL universe characters across the board.


Because of the aforementioned Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (whose title is very annoying to type out), we’ve been watching some of the MARVEL movies once more, including Thor, Iron Man 2, Avengers and Thor: The Dark World. I’m not embarrassed to say I’m a super-hero geek, and I’m excited for the upcoming Avengers 2 movie, as well as the next X-Men movie (so sad that the world can’t intersect). This weekend we saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier in theaters (only the second thing I’ve seen in theaters since the Dr. Who 50th Anniversary Special), which was a lot more interesting and complex than I thought it would be. We also caught up on Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which I didn’t adore, but liked, and Frozen, which was a great new Disney movie with an empowering plot line and a way too catchy theme song. (We also loved The LEGO Movie, which is nuanced, engaging and a brilliant story for both kids and adults.)


Things have been quiet in my house and head recently, as I’ve preferred silence (and sleep) when I can find it, but I’ve been using Spotify a lot more and have been enjoying All Sons & Daughter, The Brilliance and Noah Gundersen‘s music quite a bit. I’m also super excited that the new self-titled worship album by my friends Tim & Laurie Thornton, will be out on Palm Sunday, and I got a bit of a sneak peek of it. They have a free instrumental version here, but I’ll tell you the whole album 100% worth picking up. My favorite worship song this month is Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong United.

Things I Love:

  • The annual Retreat in Daily Life was this month, and there’s nothing I love more than watching God meet people so deeply and intimately in their everyday lives. It’s such a privilege to shepherd this retreat, and this year was no exception.
  • My dear friend and mentor, Sandy Broadus, launched the Emmaus Center this month in Canada, and I couldn’t be more proud.
  • Voxing with my almost 2-year-old niece, Violet, makes my day. Nothing melts me more than when she says “Hi, T!” or “Love you.”
  • We published the next issue of Conversations Journal this month on Wisdom & Aging, and I got to interview Eugene Peterson for it. What a humbling and holy experience.
  • Studying Scripture in rabbinic style with a group of holy wanderers. The way God meets us in the text, through each other, and in study has been truly transformative and full of grace. I couldn’t ask for more, and yet God meets me every time I do.
  • Wunderlist. Pregnancy brain is a THING, and I wouldn’t be able to keep track of my life these days without this multi-platform GTD tool.

On The Blog:

Things have obviously been a little quiet around here, due to some aforementioned hibernation. But I got to announce the title and release date of Embracing the Body: Finding God in Our Flesh & Bone (well, that was in February, but who’s counting) and I’m going to be sharing the cover very soon.

In the next week or so, I’m also going to be launching a series on the Enneagram and Prayer, inspired by Leigh Kramer’s series on the Enneagram and Blogging. I’m super excited about this, as I find the Enneagram a really helpful tool in spiritual growth and use it in spiritual direction, and I’m also happy to be getting back on the horse in terms of blogging and creating here in this space.

So that’s it. That’s my March. What about you? What were you into? What did you discover this month?

Book Update: We Have A Title & A Release Date!

Friends, you’ve been with me on an arduous journey.

This book has gestated for longer than a baby elephant, and you’ve been with me, for me, praying for me and beside me in each phase of this process. What began as a twinkle became a few classes became a book proposal became a book contract became a deadline and (after missing it badly a few times) became a rough draft and finally a mansucript. That manuscript is now being refined in the capable hands of InterVarsity Press, it’s publisher, and it is working it’s way into your hands from there.

I am so grateful to you, and so excited to start spreading the great grace-filled message of the redemption of our bodies, of how good they are, of how God speaks so intimately and beautifully in and through the very stuff of our selves.

I am so grateful for my guides and helps along the way, many of whom I’ll be talking about in more detail as the release date approaches.

So, enough baiting you. We have a release date! This book will be in your hands in December 2014. That’s right—this year! I’m looking forward to getting advance copies out, running a few promotions, getting to meet some of you in person, and talking to you about what it means to live well in our bodies.

Speaking of living well in our bodies, this seemingly incorporeal thing called a “book” finally has a name. It has real words put to real paper, and a real and finite title that encapsulates what I believe to be an important and redeeming message of wholeness:

Embracing the Body:

Finding God in Our Flesh & Bone

(*whispers proudly* I love it? Don’t you love it?)

It’s going to be a long 11 months until I have this baby in my hands, but I’m excited to share bits and pieces as I can, and have you be part of the process.

In that light, I’d like to invite you to pray with me over these words, this message. Will you pray that it gets into the right hands, that it goes to the people who need it most? I don’t care if that’s 50 people or 50,000 people (my publisher would prefer the latter, I’m sure, but I just want it to bring wholeness, shalom, to those who are longing for it), but I want these words that wove themselves from God’s heart through my body and into this story to heal, to bring hope, to create more spaces for Jesus to move and the Kingdom to come. So, would you pray that? Would you pray God’s Kingdom over this book even now? Would you pray over the pages to be printed and the ink to be spilled? Would you pray over the paper and the dyes and the stamps and the envelopes? Would you pray over the words inspired by the Word, that this book would be more than just another heavy yoke on an already burdened people but instead would be freedom and life and light? Would you pray that this book would be incarnational, sacramental, a real, tangible sign of God’s goodness in the world?

Pray however you’re lead, my friends, but please pray. Big or small, I’m excited to see what God’s going to do with this project of my heart.

So what do you think? What does the title elicit in  you? What does it make you hope for? What does it make you wonder about?

An Advent Announcement

I’m so excited to share this great early Christmas present I got in the mail early last week:

2013-12-08 16.31.57

I know, I know, you can’t really tell, right? I’m just holding a piece of paper in front of a Christmas tree (whose name is Tilly, by the way.)

Well, that piece of paper is the contract I signed with my new and amazing agent, Rachelle Gardner!

I’m humbled to be able to work with Rachelle, who represents a few people you might already know.

I’m really thrilled to be partnering with such a talented, thoughtful and like-spirited agent. As I finish up edits on my current project (which has a title! that I’m not going to tell you yet!), Rachelle and I are planning and dreaming and thinking about what’s coming next in the writing world for me and for Anam Cara.

In that light, I wanted to let you know about a few upcoming events in the Anam Cara world that you might be interested in:

Coming Home to the Body: A Woman’s Journey toward Contemplative Embodiment: I’m thrilled to be partnering with Christine Valters Paintner of Abbey of the Arts in teaching in her online retreat, Coming Home to the Body. There’s a huge lineup of amazing teachers, and I think this is a topic we in the body of Christ desperately need to address more fully and more regularly. This will be a wonderful journey starting January 1, and what a better time to be kind to and aware of your body, when the New Year’s resolution shame-machine is ramping up to a frenzied pitch. I love how Christine describe this time: “This program is rooted in the conviction that our bodies offer us the deepest wisdom, wisdom that can guide us through the river of life. The more we deepen into the body’s wisdom the more we will find greater freedom, joy, nourishment, rest, and empowerment for exquisite self-care.  This is the dancing monk’s practice.  This is the journey into the “last unexplored wilderness.””

Christianity21: Also in January, I’ll be giving a seven-minute talk at Christianity21 in Denver (Jan 9.-11). This is going to be my first time on a big stage doing a TED-like talk, so please come out and cheer me on. That, plus the event is packed with amazing speakers, including the incomparable Phyllis Tickle. (This is a GREAT. BIG. DEAL., so please be praying even if you can’t attend.)

Book Giveaway: Finally, if you missed it, the winners from last week’s guest post and book giveaway are posted on the blog. If you get me your name and address, I’ll get you your book by Christmas.

Thanks for celebrating with me, friends! 2014 is going to be an exciting year.

Guest Post from John Blase + Book Giveaway

I’m so very honored to be hosting John Blase on the blog today. John is a sage and a mystic, a man with clay feet and a psalmist’s heart. His words got me through writing the first draft of the book (and I’m in edits now, which is why the blog has been so quiet.) More than anything, I love the way John loves, and the way he abides in God. Ever since the release of his newest book, Know When To Hold ‘Em: The High Stakes Game of Fatherhood, I’ve wanted to introduce it (and him) to you, to give it away like candy. And because of his publisher’s generosity, I get to do just that. So, enough of my words, and more of John’s. (And you can scroll to the bottom if you want to know how to win a copy of his book, but to miss the soul spilled out in between would be a poverty.)


The Message of Christmas

They were a team, two speakers taking turns at commentary. They were squeezed in- between the sounds of the season as performed by a university choir and orchestra. The man used the phrase love demands, not once but several times in the courses of his brief homilies. The woman spoke variations on that theme, like Christ will not return as a baby but as a man. After all, how could a baby demand everything?

I am a man who pays attention to words. And at least in my mind the man and woman seemed to have determined beforehand with a handshake and a wink to focus on the word demand, and to weave it in the evening as many times as they could. To me they definitely seemed in cahoots. As their commentary continued I kept thinking does love demand? Is that the message of Christmas? I am also a man who pays attention to the audience. And the audience nodded and a few even moaned yes, yes at the spoken passages of demand. But just because a crowd does something is not any indication of its goodness or rightness, even at a Christmas concert. So I kept thinking does love demand? Is that what Christmas is all about?

On my better days I am even a man who pays attention to the weather. And as I drove home after the concert it began to slowly snow. And the question I’d been thinking about became as clear as I could see in the cold night. No, I’m very sorry all you cahooters, but love does not demand.


The falling whiteness does not demand.
It simply falls, scattered.
If you choose to marvel at its beauty, fine.
But if you’re too busy, say on a phone call
with someone convinced of their importance,
well, that’s fine too.

Love, like snow, does not demand.
It simply descends, offered.
If you choose to be amazed at its falling, fine.
But if you don’t, you’re not the first.
It will melt away until it comes giving
again in a future season.




John Blase is the author of Know When To Hold ‘Em: The High Stakes Game of Fatherhood (Abingdon 2013). He is also a poet who practices the craft at He lives with his wife and three children in  colorful Colorado.




Book Giveaway

So, the rules are simple. I have six copies of the book to giveaway. (And if you’ve already read it, you know what a great Christmas gift it will make.) Comment on this blog post, and you’ll be entered to win. You can just say hi, or you could share a little about what these words meant to you, or what the meaning of Christmas really is, or whether or not you’re going to make your grandma’s pudding for Christmas day this year. Anything you like. Just share your words, and you’ll be entered to win. I’ll be drawing six random winners on Sunday, December 15 (Gaudete Sunday, good for joy and winning), and I’ll post their names here. I’ll also comment on your post to let you know that you’ve won, and you can send me your address via email. I’ll pop these beauties in the mail right away.

So, have at it.

Winners Announced!

Our giveaway winners are:

Josh Freeman
Billie Spiers
Jenny Wells

Please email me your full name and mailing address, and I’ll get these books to you by Christmas!

What I’m Into (June 2013 Edition)

So, June was on fire. Literally.

At the moment of this post, there are somewhere between 7 and 12 fires burning in my home state of Colorado, one of which had consumed at least 81,000 acres, another of which has destroyed more than 500 homes in Black Forest, a beautiful area of Colorado Springs to the north and east of where I live. It’s also the one year anniversary of the Waldo Canyon Fire that caused us to evacuate our home in less than 45 minutes, driving away with near certainty that our home would be consumed. It wasn’t, but more than 350 homes in our vicinity were, and the view of the burn scar from my office window reminds me daily of the way the verses “I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from?” in Psalm 121 changed that day.

This month I’ve been writing and wrestling, making progress on the book, and sitting with God in the quiet of the morning. I’ve held hope in my hands and felt the stretch of tragedy and triumph together. I’ve even had more than a few laughs, surprises and sunny days. All in all, a good month.

So here’s what I’ve been into (and up to) this June.

Read and Reading:

My Bright Abyss: Meditations of a Modern Believer by Christian Wiman—OH. MY. WORD. I’m only halfway through this book, and I’ve stopped highlighting, because I’m highlighting absolutely everything. Wiman is the (former as of this month) editor of Poetry magazine, and this book is as much verse as prose, as much poetic and polemic (and probably very little of the latter.) I might be in danger of being rightly accused of proselytizing for this book. I mean, read this:

Our minds are constantly trying to bring God down to our level rather than letting him lift us into levels of which we were not previously capable. This is as true in life as it is in art. Thus we love within the lines experience has drawn for us, we create out of impulses that are familiar and, if we are honest with ourselves, exhausted. What might it mean to be drawn into meanings that, in some profound and necessary sense, shatter us? This is what it means to love. This is what should mean to write one more poem. The inner and the outer urgency of it, the mysterious and confused agency of it. All love abhors habit, and poetry is a species of love.

Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up With A Christian Drunk by Heather Kopp—Written by a friend of mine, this is a tender, profound memoir that I dip into like sliding into a pool on a warm day.

A Darker Place by Laurie King—I needed some good mind candy. Laurie King is a favorite in that department, and I discovered a book of hers that I haven’t read. This one is about cults and religious extremism. Fun read, especially given my calling.

Canyon Road: A Book of Prayer—This is a beautiful collection of prayers that I came across because of Christy Tennant Krispin‘s recommendation. I’m enjoying leafing through them gently.

On My Nightstand:

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion—still, yes. I’ll get to it

I’ve got one other Laurie King novel in my Kindle cue, and few other books-to-read related to my writing, but the nightstand is thankfully fairly bare (my floors and bookshelves are another story.)

TV & Movies:

In shock and delight, I realized I’d somehow missed a whole season of Call the Midwife is available. My husband experiences the show as talk-talk-cry-talk-SCREAM-SCREAM-SCREAM-talk-talk, so he doesn’t watch it with me, but I don’t watch The Walking Dead with him (I can’t deal with zombies), so I think we’re even. Some of the people I’ve been unhappily disliking have left the Next Food Network Star, so I’m looking forward to the next few episodes getting real, y’all. And, of course, So You Think You Can Dance is on.

Bryan’s been out to see Man of Steel and World War Z, but I skipped both of those—the former because I’m not a huge Superman fan and the latter because, well, zombies. I’ve been head-down with the book, so I suspect that I won’t be seeing much in the next few months.

That said…. SHERLOCK! It’s coming back this fall, and I’m going to eat the sofa in anticipation of each episode, I’m sure. I’m also considering crumbling to the peer pressure that is Dr. Who. I know I’m late to the party, but the first episode turned me off so badly that I’m really going to have to take it on faith to watch another episode.


I just downloaded the new Patty Griffin album, American Kid. I’m loving it, as I do all of Griffin’s work. “Wild Old Dog” seems to be on repeat for me.

I’m waiting for Sam Phillips’s new album, Push Any Button with anticipation.

And we made it to an Over the Rhine concert the beginning of this month. Bryan and I are a patron of both of their upcoming albums, Meet Met At The Edge of the World, and the Christmas album Blood Oranges In the Snow. I loved hearing some of the new music at their concert in Denver, and can’t wait to get my hands on The Edge of the World.

Words, Words, Words:

I’m at 38,424 words on the book at the moment. It’s a patchwork, really, but I’m excited about having momentum. The sinew is knitting together, the circulatory system is beginning to form. I feel the beat of it’s heart, at a distance from me, and it sounds like thunder.

I’m also in the middle of editing the next issue of Conversations Journal—Be Not Afraid. Arch Hart, Gary Black, Rebekah Lyons, Emilie Griffin, Amy Simpson, to name a few. I’m excited about what Issue 11.2 has in store.

On My Blog & Elsewhere:

I’ve written about storms a lot recently, and I’m particularly proud of this piece over at Elora Nicole‘s on waiting for rain.

I also guest posted for Rachel Held Evans, which resulted in a whole day discussing sex with strangers, but, hey, it was great.

Because of that, I ended up on Andrew Sullivan‘s weekend roundup, which leaves me unsure if I should be honored or horrified. (Warning, the video is horrifying, and Sullivan is an angry atheist.)

Things I Love:

  • This status update from John D. Blase: “I’m interested in writing that speaks of life lives on this dark and marvelous planer, writing that honors dying and sex and cottonwood trees and lower-middle-class cabernet and your daughter’s faded red robe that hangs behind the door and the fact that your grandfather poured cream in his cereal instead of milk. I’m interested in writing that smells and tastes and feels, writing that makes the marrow burn. I’m not interested in any other kind of writing.”
  • This post by Sarah Bessey on slow summer light.
  • These words by Jamie the Very Worst Missionary on Taking Back Eden.
  • This love letter by my friend and mentor Preston (although I think his love‘s post was better—sorry, P!)
  • This blessing of words by Winn Collier on blessing.
  • Skype dates with Tanya Marlow and Lorraine Wheeler. Why must the best people always live in England?

So, how about you? How was your June? What are you into? What are you up to?

What I'm Into at HopefulLeigh

I’m linking up with the wordsmistress Leigh Kramer. Join us, if you’re so inclined!

Spiritual Friendship For Children

“In human life nothing holier can be desired, nothing more useful sought after, nothing is harder to find, nothing sweeter to experience, nothing more fruitful to possess than friendship. For it bears fruit both in this life and the next, showing forth all virtues in its sweetness and in its strength destroying vice. It softens the blows of adversity and moderates elation in prosperity.

Without friendship there can be hardly any happiness among humans; they may well be compared to animals if they have no one to rejoice with them in good fortune or sympathize with them in sorrow, no one to whom they can unburden themselves in time of trouble, or with whom they can share some especially uplifting or inspiring insight.

Alas for anyone who is alone and has no one to lift him up when he falls. Without a friend one is indeed alone. But what joy it is, what security, what a delight to have someone to whom you dare to speak as to another self; to whom you are not afraid to admit that you have done something wrong, or shy of revealing some spiritual progress you have made; someone to whom you can entrust all the secrets of your heart and with whom you can share your plans.”

St. Aelred of Rievaulx

This quote is part of an essay I contributed to a project that I’m really excited to see born. It’s called “Wild Goslings,” and my small part was a piece on how we can encourage our children toward spiritual friendship and true listening.

If you’d like to learn more, you can watch the trailer below. (Gentle caution for those who are sensitive, there is a little “language”.) I think you’ll be as excited as I am.

Wild Goslings from Brandy Walker on Vimeo.

From Brandy: I believe that the younger we are, the more we intuitively understand the unfettered wildness of God. I believe that in some ways we have much more to learn from our daughters and our sons than they could ever learn from us.

For the past several years, I have been dreaming of putting together a massive resource for teachers and parents to help change the way we look at teaching our kids about God and spirituality. When I first started my blog, I was using imaginative prayer and reading to help my daughter, who was six or seven at the time, feel closer to God. She loved it. She used to request special exercises in which she would imagine she was with Jesus in her favorite places in the world. And I envisioned creating a book of spiritual disciplines for kids.