Monday, September 29, 2014

Bible Marginalia- Sacred Edges

#3 in the Bible Marginalia Series

Taking the time to look a bit more at this process
 of Writing in the Margins-
sharing some helpful insights with the permission
 of author-  Lisa Nichols Hickman.

The blank spaces around your Biblical text
 is an invitation.
The margins provide an opportunity for:
"a life-giving
 creative conversation
between you and the eternal God."

Margins can be a spiritual discipline.
 How do we allow space in our hearts,
 days, soul and calendar for being available?

God shows up here in the space we give Him.
He is a God of dynamic interactions- 
we just often do not pay attention.

What can help with the discipline of

In a split second we can miss-
 a painted pink cloud in the sky.
We are called to pull ourselves-
out this world long enough-
 to notice what God is doing IN IT.

In this day when many read their Bibles digitally, 
it is also important to take a look at all the 
interactions that happen in the margins.

Part of the experience of Marginalia is that it creates:
and memory."

So in this very visible way- we are making our mark.
It becomes annotation.
Catherine C. Marshall is an expert 
in annotation of texts in a digital age.
She helps us to see that annotation-
is a:
 "process of reception,
and claim-making."
This is possible in an ebook and iPad.

Digital annotations become "searchable" 
and can be easily shared.
The readers connected to this blog
 may be using these tools in mostly hard- copy books.
But Marshall points out research
 that can apply to both sets of marginalogists.

These marks can be:
"markers of interpretive activity,
signals of procedures in reading,
tools for problem-solving,
visible traces of the reader's attention,
incidental notes of reflection,
and memory-aids."

God loves to see the story
 He is writing in each of our lives- illustrated.
 It can be simple underlining and highlighting,
with notes and thoughts coming together 
in the sacred edges of His Word.

When our Heavenly Father rejoices
 that we see Him in small details
 and in the shadows and margins of our lives,
 imagine His delight to bring
 majestic things forward-
 front and central.

Simply put-
writing in the margins-
 is one of the open doors for God
 to bless our lives.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Bible Marginalia- Informational and Formational

#2 in the Bible Marginalia Series
(layers here are called "tip-ins"
and are added to the page-
 but simply lift to read all of God's Word on this page-
more about them in upcoming posts)

Most of my life has been framed
 with interaction with God's Word in Bible Study.
In fact, that is the title often used when people 
gather together to learn more about this sacred text.

About six years ago, I began to learn a bit 
about reading God's Word with a different focus.
This does not make the first one wrong, 
it simply has a different focus and process.

The informational process works with facts,
 history, cross-references,
 and all the things brought together 
in our efforts to master the text.

The formational process might focus on reading 
and rereading the text within the context of :
What phrase stands out to me in this reading?
How can a lesson here be applied to my life right now?
What is the Holy Spirit helping me to see in this reading?
It becomes allowing the text to master me.
To be shaped by the Word.

Simple Bible Marginalia- journaling.
 Using colored pencils, 
and a fine line Sharpie.
The one that says "no bleed through" 
works the best on the thin pages found in many Bibles.

About 15 years ago I began
 to take my own Bible for worship,
 rather than using the one provided in the pew.
It was the place for sermon notes, 
 prayer thoughts, and tracking what was happening 
"in real life."
I need the cognitive- "head knowledge"
 approach in the study of God's Word.
I also need the contemplative, meditative
approach as God's Word changes my heart.

As I have learned more about Bible marginalia,
the mantra remains- 
it is process- not product.
And when the marginalia becomes even more 
"visual," that is a grace reminder.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bible Marginalia-Journaling- When Every Journey Differs

#1 in the Bible Marginalia Series

Maybe the word Marginalia is a new word for you
 to connect to note taking in your Bible.
Seems like research shows that this has been around
 for a long time- like J.S. Bach time.
If you are a purist-
and believe that any writing in your Bible is WRONG, 
then this series is NOT for you.
Unless you want to see how the Holy Spirit
 might just direct you on a new pathway.

I have been using the same Bible
 for connecting God's Word to my life
 since Sept. 1997.
published by Thomas Nelson
(think there is a newer version out now)

I have many Bibles and versions
 that I use for reading-
 but this is the one that has been the "life collector".
Sermon notes, life event notes, prayers,
ah ha moments, connecting thoughts,
and His Word in rainbow color. 
It is where I have watched the Holy Spirit bring
WORD and WORLD together.
(this wording thanks to Lisa Hickman)

Some current readings: 
 Finding Spiritual Whitespace - Bonnie Gray
    Marginalia - H.J. Jackson

Some previous readings:
   Praying in Color- Sybil MacBeth
    Writing in the Margins- Lisa Nichols Hickman

Some Foundational readings: 
1000 Gifts- Ann Voskamp
 Shaped by the Word-
 M. Robert Mulholland

I use to feel pretty alone
 in these method of connecting 
to God's Word and then I saw this article 
from the Summer 2014 Edition of the Concordian.
A magazine published by Concordia University- Mequon-
a part of the Lutheran Church 
Missouri System University System.

It was a wonderful tribute to Dr. Saleska 
and his work at the Concordia Bible Institute
 for the past 14 years.
In the article they showed the Bible that was a gift
 from his father when he graduated in 1949, 
from St. Paul's Jr. College in Concordia, MO.

A Bible well-worn, written in, highlighted,
sticky noted, and LOVED.

This photo was a gift to me.
There was another who could NOT
 keep from this kind of interaction with God's Word.
Another person created meaning-making
 in the same way.
I was absolved.

I had been slowly reading through
 Writing in the Margins since early summer.
Some pieces made more sense.
Mulling this all around- 
how it applies to my journey in the Word.

And then a couple of weeks ago
 I found this group on Facebook-

Journaling Bible Community
A quickly growing and diverse group
 of over 2700 members.
I joined in a flash.

It takes a little bit of nudging to share something
 so personal as my Bible.
But, I do so not to highlight my journey, 
techniques, or style.
Seventeen years worth-
 but never planned to show anyone.
These posts are offered to encourage you to explore
 whatever way is YOU.

Let the Holy Spirit move you to listen  to His nudgings.

I will be sharing my gleanings from the books listed here
as it applies to Bible Marginalia.
Don't you just love that word- Marginalia?
My life vocation is to be an encourager 
to full-time ministry workers and laity too.
I work to bring interactive tools to explore
 this part of spiritual formation- 
for the NON- ARTIST.
(stick figures are too complicated for me)

In the front of my Bible
 is this favorite quote from Martin Luther.

Let's explore a bit of this journey together.

For the sake of every different journey.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Silver Dollar Grace

I grew up a very wealthy
 young lady on the farm.
That is-
 if my fortune was in how many
 silver dollars I had.
As in Lunaria- the Honesty plant.
Brought over by the Pilgrims on the Mayflower.
It grew all along the ditch bank.
Think my mom had the saying-
"wherever you don't want that money plant- 
there it will be."

 It has survived all these years in America-
 because it has a mind of its own
 and does what it wants.
 Some people label it "invasive."

You can learn how to care for it here-
money-plant growing

It sort of sneaks up on you- 
arrives early Spring- right after the daffodils.
Tall purple flowers on a stocky base.
It is a biennial-
 which means it grows as a plant one year 
and then comes back again to bloom. 
And produce a million seed pods per plant.

You can see the bright green
 seed pod formed here.

These were "harvested" mid August.
They are kind of icky dirty looking on the outside.
Fragile and papery thin.
You simply rub the two outside pieces
 between your fingers
 and the outside "skin" falls away.
(Kids LOVE doing this.)

The "seeds" stick to one side
 of the outside cover.
They are now "flight ready."
to be carried all over the yard-
 to settle and nestle and 
grow new plants for next year. 

Sometimes life is messy as we are made new.

As I was intent on turning the ugly-beautiful,
I was struck by the illustration this plant gives for
our understanding of Baptism.
The dark and dirty sinful nature
of our birth.
The "old Adam" fallen away.

"And this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—
not the removal of dirt from the body
 but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.
 It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
1 Peter 3:21

The snow white rebirth-
 that comes with the regeneration
of Word and water.

Sinner and saint.
Always sinner-
 but called to live out the new life 
walk in our sanctification.
By the power of the Holy Spirit.
With extravagant Grace.

Not perfected in this life.
But the glorious reminder
 of what always lies underneath
 this failed human body that we wear.

A soul reborn.

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done,
but according to His mercy He saved us,
through the washing of regeneration
and renewing of the Holy Spirit."
Titus 3:5

All grace and mercy.
Time to collect some of these Lunaria
 seeds to give to friends-
that they may throw them to the wind.
To Plant a bit of garden grace.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Forgotten- Now Gift

The never-used phone book came down
 from the front closet shelf today.
Trying to find the address of a friend.

Guess it has been a year since
 I flipped the pages looking
 for a number or address.

Just google it anymore.
And then….
a brilliant red leaf fell onto the floor.

and another, and another.
Maple leaves and soft furry lamb's ear.

Laid carefully between the pages for a year.
Pressed down flat and
preserved between the black-inked

Waiting to be the gift.
Waiting to surprise.
Waiting to herald the 
days of full color 
quickly zooming our way
on the calendar.

Promise and Patience.
Laid out to quietly invite the 
Home Again.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sweet Gatherings

A lunch gathering of friends-
Sweet Annie wafting in the breeze 
with the sunny yellow roses.

Catching up
Sharing heart.

 Planning an Advent gathering-
The Greatest Gift.
This baby that changes 

Warm breeze
September light
across the 
with the blessing of 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Intercessory Visual Prayers

The prayers of just one weekend.

Meeting people- 
hearing their Needs, 
Joys and Challenges.

Too overwhelmed to know just what to pray.
A verse to center the blessing of prayer 
over these ministry workers and their families.

The outpouring of a heart 
that may have no words.
Collected on a 4 by 6 index card.

One simple Bible verse to hold together
 the lifting up.
The lines and tangles simply keep me focused.
To not stray, forget what I am doing, 
to tussle with distractions.

The Family names.
The Children.
The Church families.
The Neighborhoods.

 Placed simply here, Lord, to hand to you.
And turn it all over to you.
The healing. 
The illnesses.
The hurts.
The beginnings.
The congregations.
The celebrations.

Given as gifts. 
Copied to continue the prayers.

Collected here:

Won't you join me here in these prayers?
For the sake of the Kingdom.

Notes for making the visual prayer cards:
These stamps are from this source:
Bible verse stamps

add small scale other stamps to "start" a blank card
can add magazine cutouts for variety
There is no "wrong" way
 to do these intercessory prayer cards.
Go ahead- Bless others!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Arise and Shine- InstaQuote- Favorite Apps

My daughter Jessica took this photo at
 Greenfield Village, in Dearborn Michigan.

She loved the paring of this verse with the photo.
Any photo on your iphone can become "Visual Bible."
Or perhaps there is a quote from a favorite author
 that makes sense to put together with a photo.

As we share our world in photos on the internet- 
you can easily bring "Good News".

I decided in my understanding
 as my calling to be a deployed digital missionary
to invest in some helpful tools.

With an investment of a couple
 of the App updates- for $3.99,
 I was able to find user friendly screens, fonts, 
and uploads to take what I am reading, 
make a visible marker,
 and share in social media.

Or even what I am thinking 
about today in my own head.
Marking the journey.

How do we share the "great thinking"
 of people of faith in our  tradition?
We create the visual- ourselves.

God's Word is the very best place we can
find words of hope, grace and encouragement.

What words would you like to
 grace the internet with this week?

What are you reading about?
What are you thinking about?

Create words of blessing-
to be shared-
one post at a time. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


  Somedays you just have to
 take a deep breath….

and let

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Build Your Kingdom Here

This was waiting for me in the mail-
 when I got back from some time in Michigan.
A sweet friend knows how much I love this song.

And her "good-eye"
 found the "Constance" button card.
Very special when a gift is made with such 
thoughtfulness and care.

The song is from this album by the group -
Rend Collective.
(They have dropped the "Experiment"-
 think cause it has worked.)

click above to have a listen-

Going to hear them LIVE-
 in the middle of this month.

These words have become my daily prayer.
And sometimes I just have to dance-
 when I say my prayers.

Thank you to my friend Donna V.W.-
for this special gift "with Heart".