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h. renell's Hearth Posts

Pondering Raison d’être

For the first time that I can remember this past Christmas, I genuinely thought of the baby in the manger. I was one of the parents that never promoted Santa Claus. My mother did, and I remember how hurt I felt when I realized he was not real. (My mom was a warrior – she was a high school counselor whose students called Battle Axe. It was from her that I learned the art of non-violent spiritual warfare techniques.) But still, I gave Him the short shift every Christmas by not pondering why He came here for us.

On New Year’s Eve, I write resolutions and prayers for the coming year. But before I do, I tear open and read the sealed envelope from a year ago. Twenty twenty one’s resolutions were, well, … quite depressing. However, this year I had something brewing to write: podcasting.

Several years earlier with my son, I listened to the 2011 World Series live on the radio. It was spectacular to engage my visual imagination as I heard the crack of David Freese’s bat deliver a miracle for the St. Louis Cardinals.

I have had a surprising passing interest in podcasting for several years. I am a visual and not an aural learner. I borrowed Podcasting for Dummies from the local library and dug in. As well as Poetry for Dummies, this book gave me a clearly-written foundation to build on with further research.

Podcasting Made Simple mentioned that unlike blog posts and videos, podcasts could be listened to on the go. Also, podcasting could be recorded in solitude, which appeals to me.

The baby in the manger was born, was crucified, and rose again to give us life and our lives more abundantly. He and my purpose are now my abundantly. With the warfare over our nation and my first empty-nester Christmas, I truly thought about the baby in the manger. And I truly saw Him in a deeper than before raison d’être this Christmas.

FaithReadingWriting

Crackin’ the Poetry Books


A wise man will hear and grow in learning. A man of understanding will become able to understand a saying and a picture-story, the words of the wise and what they mean.
Proverbs 1:5-6 NLV


When I was ready to take writing poetry seriously, I went to my default setting of books. By the time I was finished with one, it was liberally highlighted with either pencil or a yellow highlighter.

Poetry for Dummies was my first. It gave me a broad overview of everything poetry. Then I read any recommendation lists or reader reviews to find others to help me along the way.

In order to learn, we must also take those first baby steps with our pens, pencils, or keyboards. The same applies to our Christian lives — at some point beyond reading the Bible, we must step out in faith.

Poets' Pavilion

Writing and Group Dynamics

Women reading and writing on a table
Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash

For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,
Ephesians 2:14 NASB


Writer’s groups are varied, depending on the genre and type of critique. Some are all-purpose, and some confine members to a single genre. Some are in-person, and some are video/online conversations. Some prefer the solitary way of books.

I have been a member of a few writer’s groups. Most of the time, the members were supportive of our pages.

A few times a disruptive person would join the ranks and cause discord. Often it was the subject matter or crowding the table/computer screen. Or both.

Our minds were joined to improve our writing craft. And to foster Heavenly creativity, the disruptive writers needed to be given other options.

Poets' Pavilion

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.
Hebrews 4:2 NIV


Broadside ballads were the street literature of the time. The news of the day and ballads – sometimes illustrated with woodcut illustrations – lined one side of the printed page.

One gentleman expressed his outrage, however:

The vulgar ballads of our day, the “broadsides” which were printed in such large numbers in England and elsewhere in the sixteenth century or later … are products of a low kind of art, and most of them are, from a literary point of view, thoroughly despicable and worthless.1

Though the ballads were considered doggerel, the broadsides did document the culture of the time. The performance and publishing of street art are timeless and tactile. No matter the era.

No matter the means, no matter highbrow or lowbrow, God works through it all. Proclaim away!


1Francis James Child from The English and Scottish Popular Ballads.

Poets' Pavilion

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