The book of the Prophet Jeremiah

Oh my anguish, my anguish!
I writhe in pain.
Oh, the agony of my heart!
My heart pounds within me,
I cannot keep silent. For I have
heard the sound of the trumpet;
I have heard the battle cry.”
(Jeremiah 4:19)

Any time I have witnessed an injustice I have felt this way. Here
Jeremiah, a prophet, emphasizes exactly what I felt when I read about
the Poletown neighborhood in Detroit that was razed for the GM plant
in 1981. I can’t explain it, but the story awakened something within
me. It was like a trumpet that vibrated every part of my soul, and I
couldn’t shake the urge to talk about it endlessly to those who would
listen. I finally contacted a publisher and now the book, which has
been a year in the making, will be on shelves by Febuary 8th, 2021.
The sound of the trumpet is a call to something. It is the adrenaline
that bubbles up in our chests when we feel the need to speak Truth. It
is the nagging urge to do something, call someone, reach out, show
love. So by this, sometimes the trumpet’s call may sound different but
it is still a call. It is our job to try our best to listen for its
cry. Jeremiah’s book begins with his call to be a prophet, he heard
the trumpet, God’s voice saying, Get yourself ready!…They [the kings
of Judah and priests] will fight against you but will not overcome
you, for I am with you and will rescue you…” (Jeremiah 1:17-19). If
you have Christ’s Truth which is centered around unconditional love,
mercy and, empathy, then you have God. Do not be afraid to speak
Truth, do not be afraid of the trumpet’s call, its battle cry may just
be your life renewed.

The Street by Ann Petry

So good! I came across this at @cottagebooks over the summer and thought I’d give it a whirl. Her writing is fabulous! Sometimes you just know when someone’s got it and Ann Petry has IT! As a writer, talent like this, the mystery of it, because you can’t really put you finger on what makes it great, but you know it just is, inspires me. Maybe because she just says what something feels like and looks like without thinking about how the reader will think, without TRYING to make the descriptions sound good but just putting them out there. I need to wrangle that kind of courage!

“Lutie Johnson, a newly single mother whose efforts to claim a share of the American dream for herself and her son meet frustration at every turn in 1940s Harlem. Opening a fresh perspective on the realities and challenges of black, female, working-class life, The Street became the first novel by an African American woman to sell more than a million copies

The book of Luke

“Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:15-16)

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In the class I’m taking through the diocese, we are learning about a lot about prayer. It is a time for renewal and restoration. Some go on week long retreats to pray, some for the weekend or a day, and others take 15-30 minutes everyday to center themselves in prayer. Some simply meditate. However you do this it is healthy and good to reconnect to God and to your ‘center’, where God exists or the very best version of yourself. We all need to reconnect to this part of our existence often to keep ourselves restored, renewed, energized, inspired so we are able to continue straight the road to Love.

How do you pray or center yourself?

Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham

Currently reading! I searched for this book in every bookshop for years—it was probably the only book of Maugham’s I didn’t own. He is a favorite of mine. I eventually found it in @johnkingbooksdetroit , a surprising find since I had looked multiple times before this with no luck. King’s always has a good supply of Maugham’s work, I suspect a deceased lover of his work donated their entire collection, of which most belongs to me now. 😄

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.Although literal ‘cake’ and ‘ale’ is probably not what Maugham meant, here it is anyway with some Screamin’ Pumpkin ale from @griffinclaw and a piece of my mother’s delicious cake. 😋

The Book of Isaiah

“Listen! Your watchman lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the Lord returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes.” ( Isaiah 52:8)

“Israel’s watchman are blind, they all lack knowledge; they are all mute dogs; they can not bark; they lie around and dream, they love to sleep.” ( Isaiah 56:10)

Basically the book of Isaiah can be summed up by these two contrasting images of the watchman. In one half of his book he prophecies hope & redemption and the other half he prophecies realty of the future based on what he sees in Judah and Israel. It is a warning to them. To not let the watchman sleep, as they were getting a little lazy in their devotion to God.

We all have a watchman inside of us, do not let the seeker in you sleep, keep an eye out for Truth and Love, watch with the eyes of your heart and listen with the ears of your heart. “Watch and pray….The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” (Mark 14: 38)

I think I wrote more notes from the book of Isaiah than any other. It is long for one thing, but it is also filled with wisdom and beautiful words.

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

You can’t go into this novel expecting it to read chronologically. It is a dream, a vignette where the edges have been chipped away, washed away by what is lost to Nathaniel. The brilliance of the novel is its complexity and the connections of maps and people, the same way the author constructs a map for the reader of places and strangers. Also the story itself is just as cloudy and muddled as the protagonist’s mother who is a mystery he is trying to discover throughout the story.

I don’t read Ondaatje’s work because I want to be entertained as much as I want to experience life through the eyes of someone new, and because his prose is delicious. It is like reading Dinesen’s Out of Africa—it all came out of the memory of her experience, as the book drew me in for the words alone and the experience of a life I’ll never know. However, even though I enjoyed the book I didn’t like it as much as The English Patient.

More for your Garden by Vita Sackville-West

Can’t get enough Vita Sackville-West!!! This book goes month by month and talks about the flowers she didn’t mention in her first book, ‘In Your Garden’. Here she discusses what to grow from Spring-Fall, and how to prepare the garden in winter months. For a long time she was my muse and the voice in my head. Reading her garden books got me through the long, dark winter. She will always hold a special place in my heart. 💕 my Vita.

The books of John

“…God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)

 Anyone out there afraid of the dark? When I was going through a tough time my grief manifested itself in anxiety. As soon as the sun went down the wolf, as I called it, began to hunt me, and I was terrified almost every night. I could not see clearly; all my thoughts were too muddled to see my way out of it. 

There is a phrase soldiers use called ‘the fog of war’. Popularized by Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage, it’s a term which refers to the clarity of vision that disappears when we must fight for our lives. It’s often used in recollections of warfare and battlegrounds, but the fog of war can begin its seeping journey into our homes and minds if ignited by fear or anger. It is the reason we cannot see our way out of “attacks” of the mind. So how do we remedy this and possibly cure ourselves of this affliction?

I experienced this in another form last week when they tore yet another perfect old home down in my neighborhood. I Facebook vented (something I never do) with pictures and words and received many comments from people who agreed with me. I then sent the whole correspondence and post to the City (names blacked out). In this moment I was fueled by anger and though I felt I was fighting for a certain justice, I found it hard to navigate with the compass of truth and love, and I know this because I began to think dualistically, them vs me, good guy vs bad guy. I think this is because I did not bring God/Christ into the fight with me, I sort of left God behind and went on my own fuel and thought I was alone in it or needed to do it alone. We must bring God/Christ into these fights with us, every fight, and by Him we will be guided and the fog, the darkness which blinds us will dissipate and we’ll see our way out.