Found at SheLoves Book Club!

I've had the privilege of writing a couple of times over at SheLoves Magazine, one of my favorite online spots, a space packed full of gifted women and rich writing.

And I'm thrilled that SheLoves has chosen Found as its Red Couch Book Club book for the month of March! 

If you haven't yet read Found, now is the perfect moment to read it alongside of community of other readers, and join in discussions on Facebook and at SheLoves. I love that they've decided to read Found during Lent, because so much of the book centers around following the church calendar and making new liturgies in our ordinary lives.

If you want to read more, here's a link to the Red Couch Book Club over at SheLoves Magazine. Take a peek!

WALKING EPIPHANY in San Francisco

Photo by  Aaron Burden  on  Unsplash

 Tamara Hill Murphy is a blogger and friend of mine from our days together in Austin. She is also a wonderful blogger who writes about the "Sacramental Life" and living intentionally through the Christian seasons. She has such a creative mind and comes to these things in beautifully unique ways.

Right now she is hosting a series throughout the season of Epiphany (which lasts until Ash Wednesday, eight days from now), in which she asks her guests to walk through their own neighborhoods as a spiritual practice during this season of light. (When Jesus tells us both: "I am the light" and "You are the light.”)

I loved getting to go through my neighborhood and share about what I love about our life here in San Francisco. I also loved thinking about our walks through our neighborhood of The Outer Sunset as a spiritual practice.

See what I wrote here.


This is the view from my back porch on a clear day in winter. In the church calendar we are in the season of light. In the Outer Sunset of San Francisco, this is the season of sunsets, a miraculous time of year when it feels like almost every evening we get to watch the sun sneak away into the Pacific ocean. Much of the year here is covered in fog and the ocean is distorted from our view behind a canopy of gray. But, during Epiphany for the past two winters we’ve spent in our home, the sun has set with bright reds and oranges, unmarked by the curtain of fog.



I always feel sorry for the season of Epiphany. It’s a shame to have such a remarkable name and always be ignored. I mean, it’s got to be tough to be the season that shows up right after Christmas, to mark the day we ought to have taken our trees down and stored our decorations. To be the liturgical mark on the calendar when everyone sighs some relief before we all start up with preparations for Lent. Poor thing.


Ah, Epiphany. I remember when I first learned that word. I was a secret word-nerd in middle school and high school and would never have owned up to the fact that I loved learning the word “elaborate” in 7th grade Language Arts. It sounded so sexy on my tongue. “Elaborate!” Mr. Jester would say as he shuffled up and down our rows of desk and jingled the coins in his pocket, discussing the five-paragraph essay.


I didn’t learn “epiphany” until I was in 12th grade, in Mr. English’s (his real name!) British Lit class. He described it as an “Aha!” moment long before Oprah ever claimed the phrase. We would discuss the main character’s moment of epiphany, when she finally discovered what she was meant to know, recognized the truth that would change the course of her story.


My story changed when I moved to San Francisco over five years ago. I’ve lived here for more than four years, with a one-year jaunt to Austin there in the middle. We have lived in four different neighborhoods in the four-plus years of our life in San Francisco, and in each, we have come to love and appreciate the offerings of each particular corner of the city.

 . . .


www.bachelorschreibenlassen.com/

Work, Study, Rest & Play: The Art of Simple Podcast

 

Photo by  Aliis Sinisalu  on  Unsplash

I have loved Tsh Oxenreider since I read Organized Simplicity three years ago. And her site is inspiring and challenging to my always-trying, but not quite simply-organized self.

Last spring I had the chance to meet her in real life when she came through San Francisco on tour for her newest book, Notes From A Blue Bike. I came to her coffee shop q&a as a fan girl planning to hide in the dark corner until it was time to have her sign my copy of her book and force her to take a selfie with me. So, imagine my surprise when she said hi to me and told the room that she was reading my book. Her generosity was and is a great gift.

When she asked me to be a guest on her podcast, I squealed a little and tried not to bite my fingernails, and did some pushups to pump me up beforehand. (Just kidding about the pushups part. Actually, I just ate dark chocolate to pump me up. It works the same and it's much more fun.) She's on a world tour right now with her family (which you should definitely be following on ...so cool.) so she called me on a Saturday in Australia, which was a Friday night in San Francisco. Don't you love the internet sometimes?

We talked about the back story of Found, my current obsession with books about time and rest, what Hemingway would've tweeted if Twitter had been available. (Glory for the lack of Twitter for Hemingway.) And how I can't seem to stop watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix. (I blame my pregnancy.)

If you want to have a listen, you can find it here.


My interview with Keri Wyatt Kent, Part 2

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If our ordinary moments don’t matter to God, then why are we here? Of course they matter. The spiritual work is simply recognizing.  

Today Part 2 of my interview with Keri Wyatt Kent is up at her site. And she's giving away a copy of my book!

Here's a little bit of our conversation:

 

Q. What does it mean in your life to see God in the smallest moments?

It means it’s all a gift: the rush of getting the kids dressed and into car seats in the morning, the molasses-slow process of letting my almost-four-year-old do it (whatever it is!) himself. The sweet moments when my kid picks me a flower and the wild stress in the car when I pull over and cry because that same kid is throwing a tantrum and I don’t know how to help him. The moment when a friend from the past calls while you’re (miraculously) out alone and you talk and walk aimlessly on the phone for an hour. The younger, cooler friends who invite you to raid their closets for a date night with your husband. This is ordinary life and ordinary life is what makes up our days. If our ordinary moments don’t matter to God, then why are we here? Of course they matter. The spiritual work is simply recognizing. To recognize we have to first be aware. Then we can learn to be grateful. And then, we slowly learn to pray in the middle of all that life.

 

Chatting about Found with Keri Wyatt Kent

Photo by  Carolyn V  on  Unsplash

Photo by Carolyn V on Unsplash

Friends, today I'm sending you over to Keri Wyatt Kent’s blog. If you don't know Keri, she is a seasoned writer and the author of several books you can find here. She is also a kindred who has been publishing books about rest and spiritual formation since long before I ever started thinking about those things. I'm honored to have begun to get to know her. She recently read Found and asked if she could share a little about it on her blog. 

Here's what she had to say.

. . .

Being a new mom can make anyone feel, well, a little lost.

Especially if you’ve always found your value in tasks and accomplishments.

And when you’re suddenly answering the demands of a little person (or people), prayer seems nearly impossible. And if you’re not “doing” prayer, are you still loved? Can you find God in that season? Or be found by God?

Although I’m no longer a mom of littles, I was delighted to find Found.

I’d especially recommend this if you are:

  • a young mom wrestling with self-worth

  • drawn to contemplative prayer or practices

  • someone who appreciates beautifully crafted writing

  • someone who wants to expand and deepen your understanding of prayer

A beautifully written memoir of a young mom discovering the wonder of God’s unconditional love,  is encouraging, honest, real. I’m not the only one who thinks so. what folks like Ann Voskamp, Shauna Niequist and Rachel Held Evans had to say about it.

The story follows Micha, her husband and son on a cross-country move, exploring the sacredness and spiritual influence of place. It explores what it means to pray, even when words seem impossible. Sometimes, finding God in your everyday life means letting God find you.

Micha’s visits to a monastery where she seeks spiritual direction and finds a new perspective made me want to seek out similar cloistered sanctuary. The chapters are tagged with the seasons of the church calendar, which moves the story along and ties in beautifully with the author’s contemplative and monastic explorations.

Found offers the honest reflections and struggles (especially struggles to pray) of the at-home mom of a two year old, but her questions and discoveries are ones that every woman will can relate to. I highly recommend it to young moms, or those who mentor or lead young moms.

Live Sent (a guest post from Shauna Pilgreen)

Photo by  Matt Jones  on  Unsplash

Photo by Matt Jones on Unsplash

I'm happy to introduce you to my friend, Shauna Pilgreen, a church planter here in San Francisco. We first met last spring as fan girls at a book q&a. Since then, we've been able to get to know each other's work both locally and out here on the interwebs. Today, she releases her new ebook, Love Where You Live. Here's what I had to say about it...

When I (a small town/suburban girl) moved with my family to San Francisco five years ago, I was overwhelmed with the challenges and pace of city. I longed for a wise friend to come alongside me and show me how to be a mom in the city, how to be a follower of Jesus in the city. This is the book I needed then. Shauna Pilgreen is a friend to guide you through those lonely days of feeling new and overwhelmed. Her words are an encouraging whisper that you are here in this place because you have been sent, because God is on the move and you part of God’s renewal in your city.

-Micha Boyett, Author of Found

I'll let her share a little more...

you’ve got 30 seconds to describe where you live. go…

“ummm…it’s a small town. half a dozen traffic lights. everybody is related to everybody. i grew up here. yeah. that’s about it.”

“well, it’s a pretty big sized town. i mean, we’re growing. lots of nationalities moving in. shopping centers popping up every mile or so. the towns nearby are coming to our town now. they’re more or less touching each other.”

“i live in a great place. there’s so much to do. we’ve got a university and a research hospital. tons of green space and lots of events and festivals and concerts are here on the weekends.”

“it’s so different from home. so different.”

“i live in a tight-knit community. most people who were born here, stay here and raise their families. our kids go to church and school and play sports together. it’s a nice place to raise a family.”

“it’s a city. skyscrapers. mass transit. people on the move all the time. multi-cultural. apartment living. transient. delicious foods. strange smells. thankful for google maps. yep. that’s where live.”

“i don’t know yet. we just moved here. check back next year!”

10 seconds. why do you live where you live? go…

job.

family.

school.

i don’t know.

it’s far from home.

i believe there is purpose in where you live. beyond your job or schooling or family.

and i believe the places you call home need to receive and gain more of you.

it’s time for us to live sent.

and i’ve written an ebook on how to do just that…

 

Live Sent: 31 Days in the City

 

I’ve written an ebook that’s a planned adventure for how we met our neighbors and experienced  a diverse culture and began opening our home to others.

Every chapter is a day and every day is a leap of courage.

The book is filled with my personal journal entries and the stories of struggle and deep joy. It’s a concept that is sure to grow your love for where you live and those who live around you.

see the  here.

Christ followers, of all people, should love the places God has us in. We learn to love our cities and towns by knowing them. We know our cities more by engaging. We engage our cities when we attend sporting events, get a library card, dine at restaurants, play in the parks, ride transit, run marathons, shop locally, meet the neighbors.

Sink roots where you call home for now. Your zip code, your street, your neighborhood will be a better place if you do.

Because I believe this: We, of all people, should laugh the loudest, give the most, and love better than anyone else in the places we call home.

extended version is on sale exclusively for only $2.99!

In addition to the 31 days, get more of an insider’s view into how this can be lived out and be the first to receive future templates and ideas. Over 10 additional chapters with highly practical and useful ideas to Live Sent:

31 Days of Prayer

Craft ideas and recipes

templates for neighbor gatherings, family structures, and celebrations

practical ways to invest in school

teaching lesson called, God of the City

and more

I’m a sojourner with you on this earth to live sent for His purpose and Kingdom. Just as the rope was extended to me, I boldly and excitedly extend it to you. Whatever coast, mountain, farmland, valley, or desert you are in. Whatever zip code that is now assigned you. Whatever color the sky. Whatever challenges and adventures await.

{excerpt from Live Sent – 31 Days in the City}

To you, the new ones to your town or city…may God grant you the courage to explore. To embrace a new culture, a new process on how things operate, a new community. To you, the ones who are comfortable where you live…may God give you a fresh new look at your surroundings. What’s that part of town that still needs your footprints?

{excerpt from Live Sent – 31 Days in the City}

The One Prayer You Don’t Pray But Should

My friend, , has a powerful story of finding joy in the most unlikely of circumstances. Her new book and Bible study, , just released—and it’s her most vulnerable yet. I invited her to share a bit of her journey with you.

Photo by  Austin Schmid  on  Unsplash

 Troy’s daughter is a sparkling six-year-old ball of hilarity. She bubbles with delight. One night for evening prayers, she petitioned:

“God, tomorrow, may we have gladness and get the energy up.”

Who prays like that? Troy wondered.

Perhaps we all should.

With striking innocence, this precious child was praying for more joy. She asked God to shower her family with cheer and laughter.

Troy wasn’t the only one smiling at his daughter’s prayer. I suspect God was, too.

When was the last time you prayed for God to give you more joy?

If you’re like me, you may be hesitant to pray for joy, because, well, it can feel a little self-indulgent. Most of us wouldn’t think twice about praying to become more holy or righteous, but asking for joy can feel hedonistic. Yet I believe God takes delight when we abound in joy, because He is the source of all joy.

Psalm 16:11 declares, “In Thy presence is fullness of joy; In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever more.”

In alluding to God’s right hand, the author is anthropomorphizing God (giving him human-like characteristics). The right hand signifies power throughout Scripture. Jesus is seated at God’s right hand (Col 3:1; Acts 2:33). True joy and pleasure are found in Christ.

The Psalmists reveal that the quest for joy is not just an option made available to us but something we’re commanded to pursue.

We are called to seek and obey God, but we also created to enjoy God and partake in the most satisfying pleasure imaginable found in Him. We are meant to live in such a way that God’s pleasure becomes second nature.

Joy is the hearty echo of God’s great love for us.

Two years before I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I became obsessed with the more than 400 references of joy in Scripture. Two weeks away from turning in a book on joy, I received the phone call that changed my life forever.

I had to scrap the entire project because I couldn’t imagine how I could possibly talk about something as fluffy as joy in the midst of the darkness I felt. Up until that time, I had been searching for joy in the relatively good times of life. But, after cancer, I read the same Scriptures different.

I discovered facets of joy that no one ever taught me:

More than whimsy, joy is a weapon we can use to fight life’s battles.

The thing is, no one signs up for that discovery project—finding joy in suffering. No one. I’ve never felt so surefooted on my path to a joyful life. I know now that without shadows, joy can feel shallow. But, when we can discover joy while in the fight of our lives—no matter what that is—it is lasting.

Everyone who has faced a challenge, or who knows someone in the midst, needs a to know that suffering doesn’t win. Joy wins.

My prayer is that this book and Bible study will be beacon for anyone searching for HOW to fight darkness.

My prayer is that this book and Bible study will be a beacon for anyone ABOUT to face a battle.

My prayer is that this book and Bible study will be a beacon for anyone IN the fight of their lives.

My prayer is that this book and Bible study will be a beacon for anyone who has crawled THROUGH the trenches.

Today, if your future feels flimsy, know that you are not alone. Even in this you can fight back with joy. You can pray like Troy’s daughter—and know God has something powerful He longs to give you.

 

Margaret Feinberg shares her challenging journey in the book and Bible study, Scouting the Divine. You can learn more on her website. Follow her on Twitter.