Finding Spiritual Whitespace Review

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Christian publishers appear to be putting out a lot of books about how to rest or relax. It makes me wonder if the busy doing of Christian life is finally wearing down the church. Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest by Bonnie Gray is a different sort of book.

It’s written blog-style. Like I said in my original assessment, blog-style won’t make the grammar patrol happy, but those who can set aside their stringent rules will find enjoyment and rest in this book. What makes this book different than most other how-to books is that it doesn’t seek to tell us how to resolve our inner issues. Finding Spiritual Whitespace doesn’t even end with Bonnie having no more PTSD. It’s a journey that’s still ongoing, teaching us how to slow down using artistic methods and comparing spiritual rest with artistic whitespace.

I found only one mistake in the book in the way a sentence was structured, but it’s hardly worth mentioning (since I am unable to locate it again). The book caused a lot of good discussion within the book launch team, drawing the group closer to each other. This means you could use this book in your own groups, like a women’s Bible study, for it has questions at the end of each chapter, created similar to her Thursday #faithjam posts at faithbarista.com. But what does it have to do with Life Upside Down?

Here at Life Upside Down, it’s the perfect latte to go with your biscotti. Meaning, people like us who see life differently because of the pain of our past will find rest in Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest. Those suffering daddy issues will face their past and the lost little girl weeping in the corner. A woman will be able to say after reading this, “Yes! Yes! Finally, someone DOES understand!” I gave Finding Spiritual Whitespace five stars.

Buy book here: Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Book given by publisher to review. 

Boxes That Burst #spiritualwhitespace

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A network friend has written a book. It took a lot of courage (and therapy) to write it. Imagine having to relive, and even risk censure, to write down painful family memories of abandonment, her parents divorce, and verbal abuse!

You see, what happens in our childhood impacts our adulthood if we allow it, but even if we don’t allow it, the memories crush us regardless because we may not have had the chance to process them. Instead, we compartmentalize them. In other words, we put them into little boxes, duct tape it shut, and shove it way back into our minds’ storage area. Eventually, storage areas become full and boxes burst.

My friend suffers from PTSD.

So when I say I am part of the blog tour, I will not review it in the traditional sense.  I can’t be objective because of how much Bonnie’s story has helped my own. I can FindingWhitespace_alt3Dsay that Bonnie writes blog-style. Grammar hounds will not like the incomplete sentences used like seasoning here and there for effect. Bonnie writes emotion well. So well in fact that, when I read a portion of it to my students at the Susan J. Rheems Adult Day Center, they were mesmerized. I was demonstrating how to show emotion in their memories and how shortened sentences can really impact a person, even if they aren’t grammatically correct. I hope you will stay connected to her blog here as she runs a month-long blog tour. My review will post sometime next week.

Staying Power #faithjam

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Our childhood has left us wandering, seeking the magic prescription to plug the gaping, black void in our soul. We don’t have staying power.

In fact, we don’t know why we pursue unhealthy relationships, more money, or status. A touch, the temporary satisfaction of buying something we can’t afford, or a drink or drugs fail to halt that yearning. That yearning hungers for more and that hunger drives our life as if we have no choice so we flit from job to job; from relationship to relationship; from church to church.  Others disappoint our expectations and we move on.

Oh dear one, the only person who can salve that ache is Jesus! It is time you put down roots and examine your life. You find out the why and you will be free!

The Annual Hahn Challenge

Salvation Army Band

Salvation Army Band (Photo credit: danperry.com)

Will you join us as we, once again, surprise the Salvation Army Bell Ringers with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate? Try to do it anonymously. Most restaurants are more than happy to deliver the cup to their bell ringer. It helps them feel a part of encouraging someone they don’t know.

 

Safe Subjects

St. Augustine writing, revising, and re-writin...

St. Augustine writing, revising, and re-writing: Sandro Botticelli’s St. Augustine in His Cell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I understand even more so, on a physiological level, what it means to hold yourself back or find yourself wanting to say something, but then having nothing to say because you’d rather just not speak from your soul.” – Faith Barista, “Love”

Writing is not a career choice for those who wish to hide their vulnerability. If you blog, anyone can read between the lines and figure out what you fear by what you don’t write. A person who fears revealing herself will choose safe subjects that don’t run close to the pain beneath the surface. Writing novels and blogging reveal who we are whether we give our pen permission or not.

Mary De Muth in Thin Places revealed as much in her book when she said a writer’s first novel is autobiographical. Every character we write are composites of people we’ve met or pieces of our inner selves recreated in a character. Writing is not a hiding place. It sweeps back the curtains and lets the light shine on our secrets. If we are honest, re-reading our own writing can be therapeutic. In the Christian world, we call that self-examination. I’ve always said it’s healthy to re-read your old blogs or journals to learn from our past. But some writers continue to hide behind great ability. They write intelligent blogs and quiver fearfully behind safe subjects. Although, those safe subjects are great reads and full of humor; it’s a safe subject nonetheless.

Moral of the Story: Do not be afraid!

Can you relate? Explain.

People Who Influence

What people influence you? And how do they influence? Why do you admire the people you admire? Is it because they are godly people or is it how they dress? Are the people you admire shallow and image driven or deep in the Word of God? Maybe it’s their magnetism that draws you to them. Whatever the case, the people who have that kind of power of influence that draw us should be people who inspire us to godly things. They should shine like an arrow pointing right at the scriptures and the God behind the scriptures. That’s what Bonnie does over at Faith Barista. Today is her first blog post in a long time.

She asked, “What is your word for 2013?”

Relationships.

Because without relationships, people can’t see Jesus working in our lives in tangible ways.

Now it’s your turn. What’s your word for 2013 and why?

When I Yelled at You… #faithjam

This is an open letter to a friend. I helped her get a job, find an apartment, and because I didn’t agree with her choices, one day years ago lost my temper. I never got a chance after ending the friendship to truly say I am sorry. So this is an open letter in the hopes that she’ll read this; or maybe you’ll read this having undergone a similar situation.

Dear ____,

You were dating someone whose mother thought you weren’t good enough to marry her son until you learned to be a proper housewife—one that knows how to cook adequately. Her son still lived at home and when he declared his intention to marry you, you also moved under the same roof and his mother taught you how to be a good wife. I was aghast that anyone would treat you that way. I was determined to “save” you. But my life was a rocky reef where ships wrecked.

I was barely twenty-one. You were in love with some rock star celebrity who had an Australian accent and you loved the Beatles. Your boyfriend loved those things, too.

I was determined to fix your life. You went along with me. I helped you get a job where I worked and you nearly got me in trouble with my supervisors. Then, I helped you get an apartment and you were excited to have your own place. That was until others convinced you otherwise and after putting down the deposit, you waited too long to change your mind. You couldn’t get that money back because the deadline had passed. After all that work, that made me angry.

I stopped hanging out with you. One day you called and we got together to play billiards. You asked me what was wrong in the parking lot. I lost my temper. You went home in tears. I went home angry, then felt bad because I shouldn’t have lost my temper with you.

Life at twenty-one was turmoil. Rarely do I lose my temper, but I lost it that day with you. Instead of letting go of my control tendencies, I chose to allow it the upper hand and it crushed our friendship. I hurt you that day and I have never forgotten the lesson in it.

I have learned to keep that temper under control. Even now, when I want to lose my temper, I think of so many things, including that day. It’s not the kind of person I want to become as I grow older. There’s been too much anger in my past and observed of others in my life that I purposely remember those examples so I can be a better person. Time will tell if I succeed, but for now, I hope you will accept my apology.

I was wrong to yell at you.

Thank you for your friendship all those years ago. I may have said I knew Jesus to you, even got mad at you for using His name in vain, but I wasn’t saved. I wouldn’t truly understand who Jesus was until the year 2002. I misrepresented Him to you. It is my hope that you have come to know the real Jesus—the one in the Bible. If you did, then I am happy. I hope this letter finds you happily married to a good man who will take care of you; or at least, content in your life. We should both be close to the same age right now.

Love,

Nikki