Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Some books are fun to read during the hot months of summer, those books that are quick, easy, and don’t require much thought. The stories flow fast and furious until they are done. Then the stories melt away, much like an ice cream cone on a hot, sticky day.IMG_1700

The book I’m going to blog about today is most definitely NOT one of those books, not at all. I picked up Finding Spiritual Whitespace, by Bonnie Gray. Then I put it down. I picked it up. I put it down. The tug of war was real. I would read a little bit and have to put it down for awhile. It seemed like I would be happy to do anything else, but read that book. I finally had to read it in small chunks because I required time to process what I was reading, to mull the words over, to think about what the words meant to me personally.

You might be wondering why I was putting myself through this? Why read a book if it is that difficult? The words ripped hard at my heart. Good books are like that. The books that mean something, the books that cause change, are usually not going to be the easiest to read but, they are the most necessary. When an author connects with his/her readers, so much so that they need to highlight and underline the parts that ring true, the parts that scream, the parts that are sometimes so difficult to fit together… is then that they know their story has become real to others.

I’ve known Bonnie for about three or four years through her Faith Barista blog. I’ve followed her as she has written this book, I know the struggles she has had watching her life flow out onto paper. She and I are from such different worlds, and yet not. Her writing about her journey to find soul rest is sometimes hard to read because it is so raw. Life was not easy, not for her, not for any of us. We all live in a broken world. So many times our past wraps us up, suffocates who we really are. We insulate ourselves from the words. We pretend that we are fine, because it somehow seems easier that way.

Life is hard and it can hurt, and we have all been there.

Bonnie, in her open and eloquent writing, reminds us that it doesn’t have to be that way. Jesus wants each of us, just as we are. He wants the soul weary, those of us that have journeyed long and hard. Those that have been cut down by words, seared by emotion, scarred by decisions that might have been out of our control…. We can find soul rest in Him, and through Him, and because of Him.

I have been touched by Bonnie’s courage to be real, to tell it like it is. One of my favorite parts of her  book is found on page 89. “This journey of joy is a recovery of the joy-wounded us. And Jesus is the one who can take our hand and guide us through this terrain. He can give us the rest of joy. We can sample how joy feels for our souls. Joy is organic. It changes through different seasons. So let’s give ourselves permission to try new things. See how they fit.” 

The first time I read that I realized I was holding my breath, and then the air leaked out slowly, and I thought to myself, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”.

Friends, are you longing for rest, but don’t know how it is even possible in your fast paced, stressed out life?  Take some time to find your whitespace. “It’s the space on a page left unmarked. Untouched. Whitespace makes art beautiful. It gives the eye a place to rest. Just like beautiful art, our souls need balance and beauty.” (p.20)

Finding Spiritual Whitespace


Rest Is Crucial For The Soul

My friend, Bonnie Gray, just launched her first book, finding spiritual whitespace-awakening your soul to rest.

When reading last night I came across the quote, “My soul isn’t designed to be cluttered. It longs for space to taste beauty. To breathe. It’s always wanted what God intended for me. My soul was designed for spiritual rest: spiritual whitespace”. (p.31)  I highlighted this passage, and marked it with a big “Yes”!

The words from her book have confirmed the feelings that I have had for quite awhile. In a world filled with fast paced schedules, and never ending to do lists, a soul craves rest. It is a struggle for me, the one who doesn’t know how to relax. Life tends to clutter, and I find myself in a never ending cycle of trying to get it all done. How can I be what God intends for me, if I don’t take the time to rest?

Rest isn’t lazy. Rest isn’t unnecessary. Rest isn’t weak.

Rest is crucial for the soul.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 NIV

Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Gray November Day

Today I am thankful for time.

English: A Gray November Day

Most days I get worked up over time, the lack of it, really.

Frustration sets in as the clock ticks down the minutes.

I need to quit doing this to myself.

Life should not be a rush to the finish line. Where does the enjoyment go, if I’m racing to meet the clock?

And for what? So I can pack more stuff into my day? Just to be weighed down by the burden of it all?

This life is about more than schedules and check lists, and calendars.

I tell myself this again, as each day it is a struggle.

Slow down. Concentrate.

Just be there.


Today I am thankful for:

* the rain on this gray November day

* morning walk with the dog, raincoat pulled tightly around me

* warm light in the kitchen, pooled on the counter tops

* the smell of breakfast

* new blogs to follow

* beautiful pictures to look at and enjoy

* dreaming

* creative ideas

* reading good books

* my husband, who loves me and wants to share life with me

* healthy kids

* fast approaching holidays

* geese flying overhead

* the car window fixed

* my new haircut

* praying with friends

* God who is faithful

Passion With Purpose

All the world's a stage

Image by Pedro Moura Pinheiro via Flickr

At Faith Barista we are jamming on this question:

What is a passion or interest you’d like to nurture and grow?


I decided to broach this topic by just typing. I didn’t want to over analyze it. I was anxious to see what I came up with….just free flowing thought. By doing this I might get a better overall picture of my passions and interests…the things that I need to concentrate on growing. The great thing about this blog topic? And in reading what each person has to say? These blog posts will show a beautiful collage of God‘s creativity. He made each of us unique…and knows us each intimately. His passion is to be glorified…and His interest is each of us.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  Genesis 1:27 NIV

My first reaction to this blog topic question would be, teaching. For as long as I can remember I’ve had a deep seated passion to teach, help, assist the special needs population. I had already decided my college major as a 16 year old. I knew what I wanted to do. I made it my goal to prepare for this career in any way possible. You can read about that, here. I’ve spent the last couple of decades (plus some) working with this community. It is a part of who I am.

Another passion of mine is writing. This desire to write goes back even further then the previous one I have mentioned. As a young child I would write in my journals. I would fill the blank pages of my fabric covered book with poetry. I’d write stories, verses and thoughts in my school girl swirly penmanship. When I was still in elementary school I gathered information and “produced” a handwritten family newsletter, which I then distributed to my many relatives. I’ve been blogging for the past 5 years. I’ve found out how much I love the communication available through social media. I also long to, one day, finish a book that has been written and rewritten in my mind a million times. Books and reading are definitely a passion of mine…and if I could write a book of my own, it would be like icing on the cake.

I’ve enjoyed drama and performing for as long as I can remember. I started out life as a camera ham. My family would often tease that if a camera was anywhere in sight, I would pose and smile. I would play “Spy” with my cousin during family get togethers. He and I would covertly crawl behind couches, hide in closets with the door cracked so we could hear, and quietly sit under dining room tables. The goal was to retrieve any interesting conversation and report back to base. Some might say this was eavesdropping on the adults. My cousin and I considered this valuable information, and not getting caught behind “enemy lines” was exhilarating.  Yep, I was an 8 year old spy. As a teen I was in drama and skits at church, and lyric theatre in college. Everything from speeches to monologues, plays, skits and musicals…I love being on stage and drawing the audience into the performance. It is fun!

Lastly, I have to say that I very much enjoy decorating. God has given me an appreciation for aesthetics. Colors, textures, and light make me happy.  I delight in pouring over design and decorating books. I revel in repurposed objects. I could spend an entire day in a junk store, or roaming the aisles of a flea market. My mind is always going…what can I use that for? Painting is fun, and rearranging furniture is a perk. Even though I would not consider myself a great photographer, there is something wonderful about getting just the right light around the clouds, seeing  afternoon sun against the side of a bright red barn, or catching the smile of a child. Pictures tell stories and I love to “read” them.

Finally, there is traveling. I have a large collection of travel books. Most people who know me realize that I have “a thing” for the late Charles Kuralt. To me, he had the best job in the world….winding around the back roads of America. Talking with people, listening to their stories. I would have loved to meet him and ask him if he enjoyed finding out what was “up around the bend”. I don’t need to jet set around the world. As a matter of fact, in my opinion, flying isn’t the best way to travel. True, it gets one to the destination faster and being up above the clouds is awe inspiring but, it isn’t conducive to visiting. Give me back country roads, driving with no “apparent destination”, mom and pop shops, home made ice cream, and a cold sweet tea. Let me hear and see history through the stories of those that have been there. Now that, my friend, is my idea of a good time.







These are my passions. My interests. They are what make me, me.

Like the saying goes……  “These are God’s gifts to me, what I do with them is my gift to God.”


What are your passions and interests?

Welcome To Mitford

Copyright held by user --EvanS 21:09, 7 July 2...

Image via Wikipedia

Welcome to Mitford, a small imaginary town in the mountains of North Carolina. You can attempt to look for it on a map, but you won’t find it. It was first established in the mind of Jan Karon, the author and creator of Mitford.

My aunt introduced me to this series years ago. From the moment I opened the first book I was captured in the story. I could “see” the characters, through the gifted writing of Ms. Karon. The small town was alive and real  to me for many, many books. I often tease and say if I could live in any imaginary town from books or movies, it would be Mitford. It is a small town….and well, it just felt like home.

In a world of hustle and bustle, chaotic schedules, and a never ending to do list, it was always nice to settle down in a comfy chair and escape into the lives of the Mitford town’s people.

If you are a voracious reader, like I am…..or even if you are an occasional reader……if you haven’t yet read the Mitford Series books, give them a try. You might find out that you like them. Maybe you’ll find yourself looking forward to the trip you take to the small town in the North Carolina mountains.

So, grab your mug of coffee, find your favorite chair and settle in. The people of Mitford are waiting.


Do you, my readers, have a favorite series that you would recommend? I would love to hear your choices. What makes you love those books?

A good author is worth his/her weight in gold.



For The Love Of Words

open book

Image by stargardener via Flickr

I admit it.

There is no doubt about it.

I can’t help it.

There’s no changing it.

I am a lover of words

and a confirmed bibliophile.

I so enjoy the written word. It is a part of me. I intently listen to the spoken word. It challenges me. Choosing just the right word to is important to me. Words have power.

Today I woke up to gray skies and rain. The perfect day for reading, after I finish the days chores, of course. There is nothing better, than to settle into my favorite chair, with a blanket a warm drink and a good book.

I look around my house now and I see shelved books, stacked books, books on the night stand, books on the floor, cookbooks near my stove in the kitchen, antique books on display in the dining room. Sigh.

Jan Karon‘s Mitford Beside Companion (If I could live in any imaginary town…it would be Mitford, N.C)

The Inspirational Writings of C.S. Lewis (Great writer of apologetics)

That’s My Teenage Son–How Moms Can Influence Their Boys To Become Good Men by Rick Johnson (My greatest desire is to raise godly children)

The Vintage Remedies Guide to Real Food by Jessie Hawkins (Learning to live healthier)

Rereading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts (A book that has changed my perspective and taught me what eucharisteo truly means)

My Bible. The book most important. The book that feeds me. The words from THE WORD. Life giving. Life altering. The pages are worn, filled with pen marks and colors of various highlighters. I’ve underlined, circled, taken notes, and added exclamation points. The words themselves that never change, but do change me.

***In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (NIVJohn 1:1 ***


Decision Points

Cover of "Decision Points"

Cover of Decision Points

I am in the process of reading President Bush’s new book, Decision Points.

Now some, reading my blog, might not like George W. Bush. That is fine. You are entitled to your opinion, and I am entitled to mine. If you can’t stand to hear about him then I suggest you not read my blog today. It would just upset you. And I love my readers, and I don’t wish for anyone to be angry, so I’m giving you fair warning.

With that said… on to my blog.

1. I am enjoying watching Bush’s interviews.

2. It is nice to see the president as a real person.Who laughs. Who tears up. Who tells a joke. Things we couldn’t really see while he was in office.

3. He is an opinionated guy. I like that.There is nothing wishy washy about him. Love him or hate him. He is who he is.

4. I think he has a big heart.

5. As president he had to make decisions that weren’t always popular. And he had to live with those decisions.

6. That is just part of being the president.

7. I wouldn’t want the job…”the buck stops here” is hard to handle at times, I’m sure.

8. He can tell a good story. I’ve laughed through parts of the book.

9. He does love God. His family. This country. The military. And Texas!

10. He isn’t perfect. There are some policies that I disagreed with on, while he was in office…but, I genuinely like the man.

I guess that is it for now. If you get the opportunity you should read his book. I think you’ll like it.