Two Things I Have Learned (and a late, finished Advent calendar)

Feb 6, 2014

Writing, writing, writing for the past two months…. A manuscript was due at the publisher six days ago. It’s getting there. (Do not panic, dear editor.) If the finished book will change my erratic blog-posting behavior, I do not know. March or April will tell.

Two practices continue to inform and enhance my life. I was going to say my “spiritual” life. Separating my “regular” life and my “spiritual” life is an unhelpful split. One day maybe the two will be one.

The two things I have learned are two practices:
1) Staying in bed for five or ten minutes when I wake up. Unconscious and conscious thoughts meet there. Prayers pop up. Answers to yesterdays dilemmas (or take-home math tests in the past) are there. Creative solutions to my writing problems surface. The soliloquy of my emerging nighttime self has things to tell me. I need to listen.

2) Writing three pages in my marble notebook before I do anything else. Even before I pray. (Okay, while the coffee is brewing.) I write anything that comes to mind. Some of those things might be events from the day before. More often they are ramblings, brainstorms, thoughts captured from the 5-minute lie-in before my feet hit the floor. I do this every day, even under the looming, finger-shaking February 1 deadline. The things I need to pray about are in the pages . Ideas for my present book and for a new one are in the pages. Complaints about writing the three pages are in the pages. Feelings I didn’t know I had are in the pages.

If my husband Andy is awake, he knows not to speak to me during this 20-25-minute exercise. It’s to his benefit. I am nicer and saner after I write, as if I’ve been to a Zumba® class or taken a long walk. As if I had my clogged brain cleaned out and plunged free. Writing this way is a spiritual exercise. Fifteen+ years after Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way told me to write three pages every day, I still do. She calls them the Morning Pages. I call them a goldmine.

Marble Notebook Feb 6, 2014

Advent 2013 Finished Calendar– Posted only 6 weeks late!

Advent 2013 resized



  1. Dear Sybil… I am so deeply grateful for our time together during the Theological Conference in Galveston. I can hear you now as I read your words, and it’s a lovely thing.

  2. Sybil, it’s nice have a post from you to read today! Your wreath is beautiful and prayerful. I’ll have to think about my practices … a cup of tea is in there somewhere.


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