Whale Spouts - October 2018

Dear friends,  

Greetings and colorful fall blessings to you!  

My sacred word this year - fallow - has proven to be right on the mark. I have been laying low and allowing the "fields" of my ministry to rest and rejuvenate. This has allowed me the time and space to be more fully engaged with my family through my dad's death, my mother-in-law's cancer, and my daughter's departure for college among others.  Thank you for your patience with me over this past year of family focus and ministerial rest.     

Thus, it has been awhile since I sent out "Whale Spouts." Here are a few of the things you'll find in this long overdue edition...
*  Contemplate This:  Precious Ordinary
*  Poem:  I live in you, I did not die
*   FREE Advent Study Guides for  Mandalas, Candles and Prayer
*  Book Award for Praying with Mandalas
*  Upper Room  Disciplines 2019 - Pre-order Now   
*   Spiritual Directors International Global Conference (March 2019)

This fall, celebrate your bold colors, let go of what needs to be released, and embrace the changing seasons of your life.  God walks with us through it all.  Thanks be to God!

Pastor Sharon
Founder & Director
Contemplate This:   Precious Ordinary
In the spirit of my dad's love of both the silly and the serious (the  cheese and rutabaga  moments of life) I share with you this silly story about the serious topic of Dad's ashes.

My parents are avid recyclers and reuse old containers over and over again. So, when my mom was recently dividing up Dad's ashes (some for me, some for my sister, some to scatter at Lake Champlain), I jokingly said to her, "I hope you didn't use an old deli meat container for Dad's ashes!" She paused, smiled and responded, "Of course not. I thought a potato salad container would work better!"  My dad would have loved this!  I can just see him grinning conspiratorially, throwing his head back, and letting out a hearty belly laugh!

We would do well to remember that it is often the ordinary objects and events of life that hold precious meaning.  What are the proverbial potato salad containers of your life that contain precious memories? Family dinners? Driving kids to school? Phone calls with friends? Meaningful conversations with a coworker? May we open our eyes to the "precious ordinary" in what we see and experience today and every day.

Poem:   I live in you, I did not die
Do not stand by my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep

I am the cloud in lake water clear
I'm in your breath, I'm always near

I am the stones on our beloved beach
I'm an easy laugh, always in reach.

I am Tiddlywinks the horse, I am lakeshore foam
I am geese in flight, come to carry you home.

I am the gentle breeze that lifts your soul
I'm a walk in the park, step by step we are whole

I am the clouds above in the endless sky
I live in you, I did not die

Adapted from the poem, 
"Do not stand by my grave and weep."  

FREE Advent Resources

Slow down, simplify and add a burst of color to your Advent this year.   Mandalas, Candles and Prayer  has been used as an Advent resource for churches, worship leaders, small groups, prison ministry, personal devotions and more.

You can easily adapt Mandalas, Candles and Prayer to your own setting by clicking on the  FREE guidelines below to get started. You can't get better than FREE, right?!  :-)  
     *  Guide for Small Groups 
     *  Guide for Families 
     *  Guide for Worship Leaders  (including candle-lighting liturgy)
Mandalas, Candles, and Prayer is available through Cokesbury for just $6.49. Click here to order now.  

Living Now Book Award
2018 Bronze Medal Winner

What a completely unexpected yet delightful surprise to learn that Praying with Mandalas received a Living Now Book Award!!!   The Living Now Book Awards celebrate the innovation and creativity of books that enhance the quality of life, from cooking and gardening to spirituality and wellness.  I am beyond thrilled to know that folks continue to find the spiritual practice of coloring and praying with mandalas to be so very life  giving.  Thank you all for your ongoing enthusiasm for Praying with Mandalas and the spiritual renewal it brings to so many.  

Print versions of PwM are available through Upper Room , Cokesbury , Amazon or Barnes & Noble . Or, an  on-line eCourse version of PwM  (complete with enhanced video, audio and downloadable content) is available through the Upper Room eLearning site.

I had the fun and honor of contributing a week's worth of devotions to the daily devotional, Disciplines, beloved by so many world wide. Although, 2019 may seem aways off, you can pre-order now and get a jump on your New Year plans.  :-)

Each reading in The Upper Room Disciplines includes a selected scripture passage, a meditation on the scripture, and a prayer or suggestion for reflection. Disciplines offers 7 days of engagement with the upcoming Sunday's lectionary texts. Each week of devotions is written by one author and focuses on one theme to provide extended depth into how the ancient stories of the Bible apply to our lives today.

Writers for 2019 include Tony Campolo, Daniel Benedict, James Harnish, Michael Williams, Sharon Seyfarth Garner, Todd Outcalt, James Howell, Melissa Tidwell, Larry Peacock, and Steve Harper.

Seeking Connections Across Generations
March 14-17, 2019

I am honored and thrilled to be offering a workshop on Praying with Mandalas at the upcoming Spiritual Directors International Global Conference (March 14-17, 2019) in Bellevue Washington.  I would LOVE to see you there. Click here to learn more! 
Belly of the Whale Spiritual Direction & Retreat Ministries
Rev. Sharon Seyfarth Garner, Director
216-224-7452 | Email | Website
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