My Dream Job

Thirty five years ago today – December 1, 1986 – I started my dream job at The Upper Room. And, thirty five years later, I am still serving in an Upper Room dream job.

While in divinity school, I had the opportunity to work for Alive Now magazine during a summer field education placement. That was the summer I fell in love with editing. I couldn’t imagine working anywhere but Alive Now, so I did freelance editing and housecleaning for two years until the Assistant Editor job came open. I applied, and a year later I was hired!

I worked with Alive Now for ten years. In 1997, I had the opportunity to become the editor of The Upper Room’s first website. After thirteen years in digital publishing, I journeyed back to Alive Now as managing editor, helping, also, to oversee the production of Weavings Journal. These last five years, I’ve served as the director of prayer and Upper Room worship life and Dean of The Upper Room Chapel.

I’m grateful to the staff of The Upper Room for teaching me, nurturing me, forming me. I would not be who I am today if it were not for those Saints, living and dead, who shaped my life. Rueben Job, Mary Ruth Coffman, Janice Grana, Judy Smith, John Mogabgab, Michael Williams, Hoyt Hickman, Mary Lou Redding, Marjorie Thompson, Deen Thompson, and so many more.

I am grateful, today, and each day, for waking up, going to the office, and working for my Upper Room dream job.

Advent

Picture of an Advent wreath

It’s about time to order your Advent candles and choose your Advent spiritual practices.

I offer several suggestions for your consideration.

So … blessings upon you in this season of light!

Healing from Trauma

Many of you know that I am a survivor of childhood trauma. When I got to the point of being ready to face what had happened to me, I had the privilege of receiving lots of help from my community and from professional helpers. (I’m grateful!)

On this side of the healing journey, I can see that this terrible experience helped shape who I am today — and created in me the gifts that I give the world. I can see the presence of the Holy One who took those wounds and made them into strengths that I can offer to others who have gone through trauma. I believe that God takes our wounds and transforms them for the sake of the world.

This is why I’m so excited about The Upper Room’s upcoming event: RESILIENCE | Healing Practices for Mind, Body, and Spirit. We’ll be hearing from experts around the world who will share the wisdom that they’ve gained in the areas of trauma and the healing of trauma.

I’m especially looking forward to sharing with you the conversation between Rev. Trevor Hudson and Rev. Sidwell Mokgothu, both from South Africa, both present and active during that country’s long journey from Apartheid to post-Apartheid healing. We’ll also hear from Rev. Dr. Ron Bell on the body’s responses to trauma. Rev. Dr. Amy Steele will offer us biblical narratives and a theological framework for understanding trauma. I’ll be the worship leader for this event.

The retreat is virtual — you can attend from your home or wherever! And if you cannot be present for the retreat — or if you miss any sessions — recordings will be available following the end of the retreat.

We’ve got a $15 discount for you. Just use the code FRIEND15 when you register. I hope to see you there as we work through our individual and collective traumas.

Learn more or register: UpperRoom.org/resilience.

When the World Seems So Broken

Birds

These mornings, when the world seems so broken,
I skip the news and social media.

Instead, I go outside and contemplate the sky …
Morning dawning in the firmament.

I watch the creatures around me
Doing creaturely things:
Hopping, flying, walking, breathing.

I am, in my little life,
Part of a great, still-beautiful world.

I breathe myself into union
with the One who is never broken.

 

Resilience: Healing Practices

Friends, I hope you will consider joining me in this online event at the end of September. I’ll be leading worship for the retreat. We will open with prayer at 5:00 p.m. (CDT) on Thursday, September 30 and we’ll close with prayer at noon (CDT) on Saturday, October 2nd. Join us as we create spaces to heal.

Resilience: Healing Practices for Mind, Body, and Spirit

In March 2020, everything changed. As we reflect on the last 18 months, we find ourselves in a new and unfamiliar place. The world has changed. Our work has changed. Our families have changed. We have changed. These have been months filled with trauma for people all over the world.

Now we begin the task of finding our way in this changed world, of healing from our individual and collective trauma. How do we do this? 

You’re invited to join The Upper Room as we create space to listen together as we find our way. Our virtual event will include storytelling, time for personal reflection and conversation, guided spiritual practice, and worship. This time of gathering offers spaciousness—time for reflection and interaction, a fresh array of spiritual practices to help with healing from trauma, and an introduction to spiritual tools you can use in your own healing journey or the healing journey through which you lead others. 

Speakers and workshop leaders include Rev. Sidwell Mokgothu, Rev. Trevor Hudson, Rev. Dr. Amy Steele, Rev. Dr. Ron Bell, Rev. Kimberly Orr, Kara Lassen Oliver, Rev. Beth A. Richardson, and more. 

Learn more or register today for early bird pricing.

Online Academy Day Apart

I hope you’ll consider joining me. I’ll be leading worship for Courageous Curiosity: Cultivating an Antiracist Spirituality. An Online Academy Day Apart with Lucretia Berry and Ben Boswell. August 27, 2021. Learn more and sign up.

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” -James Baldwin

“Why is it that Christianity seems impotent to deal radically—and therefore effectively—with the issues of discrimination and injustice on the basis of race, religion and national origin?” -Howard Thurman

Join us for this online Academy Day Apart retreat with Lucretia Berry, author, speaker and founder of Brownicity – Many Hues, One Humanity (brownicity.com) and Ben Boswell, Academy alum, pastor, and creator of a nine-week spiritual formation curriculum with the working title What Does it Mean to Be White? (slated for publication by Upper Room Books in July 2022). We will engage the deep soul work of antiracism supported by the resources of community, silence, worship, and embodied spiritual practice.

Space is limited. The registration deadline is August 15, 2021.

Retreat Rates:
$75 full registration rate
$125 full rate + sponsor another participant
$40 student rate

Join us!


A Message from a Rabbit

Each morning and evening
The dog and I walk together
Up or down the road.
We startle a rabbit
Somewhere along the way.

The rabbit bounds away into the woods.
JJ wants to follow it.
I fumble for my camera.

The rabbit says to me:
Slow down. Stay alert.
There are treasures nearby
If only you will pay attention.

Be present right now.
Stop multitasking.
Take five deep breaths
And say a prayer of gratitude.

This moment
Every moment
Is a gift.

Let My Worries Be Prayer

When I wake up in the middle of the night
Weighed down by news of illness, hate or war
Let my worries be prayer

That beloved one in the hospital
Let her be free from pain
Hold him if he is afraid
Thank you for all those working to comfort, care, and heal

So many signs and sounds of war
Send wisdom to the leaders of the world
Protect the vulnerable who sit or live or walk in harm’s way

Hatred and fear divide us
Friends, families, communities torn apart
Heal us, hold us
Help us see that we are more alike than different

When I wake up in the middle of the night
Weighed down by news of illness, hate or war
Let my fretfulness be time with you
Let my fears be intercessions
Let my worries be prayer