Beginning a Journey…

And so the journey begins…

I have decided to join EYSJ this year, a program offered by the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan for spiritual discernment and discovery. I have mulled over this decision for three years and I’m finally doing it. It’s a program required by the diocese before lay people are recommended for seminary school, but through the program you discover what God is really calling you to do, which may not be ordination but some other ministry. So I am open to whatever I discover and thrilled to meet some new friends along the way! Also excited and terrified in a good way! Wish me luck or prayers! ☺️

This is me…

Thought I’d introduce myself today. It’s funny but if you follow my posts on @booksandloststories you know more about me than some of my closest family members. Talking about my faith openly and the books I love and “doctors” of the church I admire has been such a pleasure for me this past year with all of you. And I thank you for your follows and consistent ‘likes’. If anything, sharing these things gives me great pleasure and I hope some of you have found my content helpful or refreshing.

It seemed safer somehow to talk about this stuff with invisible strangers than people that knew me way back when.

I have always loved the verses from John, Luke, and Matthew that all say, “For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet has no honor in his own country.” (John 4:44).

I’m sure many of you can relate to that. Not that I think I’m a prophet but a changed person, a person of consistent, contemplative growth, yes. We all must change and grow but some want to keep us in boxes built out of images from our past spiritual immaturity or just general immaturity.

To quote Lauryn Hill from her MTV Live album, “whatever isn’t growing is dead.” Keep growing, no matter what people say.

Other than that I love to cook and make parties for my family, I love hats and it’s rare to see me without one, I can’t resist a bookshop, I often contemplate seminary school or a doctorate to teach university, I write nonsense everyday and sometimes important stuff —like an open letter to the Catholic Church denouncing their dismissal of LGBTQ organizations in Detroit (inclusion should be the goal of all churches).

I want to make the world a better, safer place. Sometimes I get overwhelmed, so I hide in my house and write letters like this and formulate plans and then the kids start fighting, and I’m called back to motherhood. This is my life. Thank you for sticking around to observe it from afar.

Sharing food and stories of the American enslaved with Michael W. Twitty & The Cooking Gene

Join me at the table: A Food study into African American history and food culture with Michael W. Twitty.

Using the recipes from his book, @thecookinggene traces the food of the enslaved in America and how that food has traveled and morphed through time and the world. Very eye-opening for me. The book traces his family history from Ghana and Sierra Leone to the plantations of Virginia and South Carolina. I cooked some of the food and read some quotes from his book too, and shared his food & his stories with my family. This was one of the best meals I’ve ever made, everything was so good and perfectly seasoned via his recipes. Forgot to take photos throughout, so here are the remnants. Everything was so good! 💕

I think it’s important to re-educated ourselves and each other right now. This was my little way with more to come!!

“When you are oppressed, how you survive your oppression is your greatest form of cultural capital. “ —Michael W. Twitty

Tonight’s menu included, corn bread, watermelon, African soul fried rice with black eyed peas and red rice (a nutritional heirloom rice he discusses a little), sautéed collard greens, sorghum molasses brined chicken roasted by wrapping it in cabbage. For dessert, chicory coffee and Twitty’s mother’s apple crisp. 😋

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The book Song of Songs

“Let him kiss me with kisses of his mouth—for your love is more delightful than wine.” (Song of Songs 1:2)

Said to be an allegory if God’s love for his people, Song of Songs or Song of Solomon is a love poem of a Jewish woman and her lover King Solomon. It is written as dialogue between them. With ‘friends’ intermingling their words of inquiry to the mystery of their love. It is a beautiful read either with allegory in mind or just with human love in mind, but God is in all love, so one can’t help thinking of him as these two go back and forth.

I placed a little work in progress in this shot, a whittle project not yet finished of Thomas Merton. My whittle projects are my love letters to the saints and writers with whom I spend time and who have assisted my spiritual journal in some way. It is a meditation and my love letter of thanks. What do your “love letters” look like?

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

I first heard about this book from the film Sister Act 2 when I was younger, but I was reminded about it when I watched both Sister Act 1 &2 the other night with my kids to show them the great musical performances. Don’t make fun! These movies are great! 😄 Anyway now my son and I go around singing all the songs, and he loves them as much as I did. But I was determined afterward to read this book, a book Whoopi Goldberg gives to Lauryn Hill and encourages her to keep singing. She quotes from the book saying, “If the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning is writing, then you’re a writer and if the same is for singing you’re a singer.” Something like that. Both films encouraged me to join my church choir and get involved in church at a young age eventually inspiring me to go to summer church camp three years in a row—a wonderful place I’ll never forget.

Great films and sure to be an inspiring read!

The Remains of Robert Murray M’Cheyne

Today I’d like to remember Robert Murray M’cheyne who gives so much richness and truth in this letters and sermons, which thanks to Andrew Bonar, M’Cheyne’s good friend, we now have this Presbyterian Reverend’s entire collection of writings, sermons, and letters—his “remains”. I come back to his work time and again because his words are so alive with the Holy Spirit that his work serves to strengthen me when I feel dried up and brittle like a dead branch.

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“He became a babe, and was laid in a manger, for there was not room in the inn. The inn was like your heart; it was filled with other lodgers, and had no room for Jesus.” —Robert Murray M’Cheyne. (A letter “To One Awakened: A call upon a soul to choose Jesus. 1842).

M’Cheyne died when he was only 29 years old of Typhus and was buried at St. Peter’s church in Dundee, Scotland where he served. There was an estimated 7,000 people at his funeral. 💕

M’Cheyne Photo credit: lukesblog.org

The book of 1 Timothy

“For we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it.” ( 1 Timothy 6:7)

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We came into this world naked. Our souls encapsulated in a body not of our own choosing so we can learn lessons from the journey of that body and it’s DNA, lessons built only for us. And the body is privy to certain things of the world, but the soul always thirsts for God. The further from God the more sickly our soul becomes. The more we embed our lives with God the less time we will want to spend away from Him. But the less time we spend with Him the more we will push Him away, and by this time we have a tiny feeling he will reject us if we return to Him or we won’t enjoy our time with Him because He has become so foreign and incomprehensible. I think we must realize our nakedness and live into our nakedness with Christ. The wealth of the soul is all that matters, and this wealth is of things not of this world, invisible to the eye, and felt only in the heart

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

Currently reading…Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, something I had to read in school but have forgotten much of it. I realize a city scene picture would be more appropriate but i was on the beach so…

His writing is fantastic. Everything moves in chaos in the first chapter like he intended, as if the words jump off the page and dance and fight and play—marvelous stuff!! This work actually launched a federal investigation of the working conditions for the poor!

A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis

I read A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis on the car ride home from our vacation. Felt like a journey or a walk with Lewis himself. Written after the death of his wife, a Grief Observed began as his journal to work things out, but he thought it might help others cope with their own loss so he published it. As he says, it is the story of him first, his wife, and God. In that order.

Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge

Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge is the story of unrequited love and disappointment, but it is also filled with the lesson to be satisfied no matter what end of the stick you received out of absolute necessity. It took me a long time to get through and it didn’t really get good until the end. I enjoyed it most of the time however, and I’m told it was a popular read when it came out in 1944. It was even adapted to film in 1947. I do think it’s worth giving it a read, even if you must get through the first 300 pages to get to the meat of it. 😬