Sharing Our Stories: Upcoming Classes, Speakers and Workshops

For over a year now, I’ve been volunteering at the Blessing House in Victoria, MN.  Or rather, the Blessing House has provided me with an opportunity to help people share their stories.  With September only a few weeks away, I wanted to get the word out about some of the classes I am coordinating or leading.


Take this as my invitation for you to attend one of the classes and bring your friends.  Please see the Blessing House Facebook Page for more information.  Classes have a minimal fee, and books/materials may have an additional cost.  (Attend a class for free by volunteering to help “host” the event! Contact the Blessing House to find out more information.)

Journal Writing – Hearing God’s Voice, Sept. 7th, 2-5pm. Stephanie Friant, Learn to journal as a spiritual discipline. 

Hope in the Midst of Hardship, Sept. 27th, 10am-12pm. Author Melody Richards. A journey of hope and healing after her daughter’s death. 

Word Craft: Bringing Sense/s to Your Writing, Oct. 4, 10:30am-12pm.  Writer & Author Susan Thurston. Enhance your writing by paying attention.

Walking with Tension, Oct. 18th, 10am-12pm.  Author Jenny Hill.  What happens after God doesn’t physically heal you?

Powerful Potential of Parent(s), Oct. 25th, 9:30-11:30am or Tues. Oct. 28th, 6:30-8:30pm (same class, two dates offered).  Expert Educator Dr. Don Draayer.  Nurture God’s Spark in our children.

My Journey to Write with LifeWay, Nov. 9th, 3-4:30pm.  Writer Karen Anderson. A story of writing for God.

Sibling Grief, Sun. Nov. 16th, 2-3:30pm. Jennifer Martin. Supporting individuals of all ages whose sibling(s) have died.

Sunday Writing Retreat.  First Sunday of each month, 2-5pm.  Join us for a casual writing retreat.  (Special topic on Sept. 7th)

Preparing to Leave – A special series led by experts on each topic., Mondays, 6:30-8:30pm

Moving into Eternity – Sept. 8th   What happens after we die?  How can what we do now affect our eternal life?  Join Gail Berger as she teaches about the “big questions” about what’s next and how to get there.

 Estate and Will Planning – Sept. 15th  You know you need to do it, but keep putting it off.  Join us for a session on learning the basics of estate and will planning, and advice on what to do next depending on your particular situation.

 Health Care Options & Directives – Sept. 22nd  We will explore a variety of end-of-life medical and spiritual options, and have an opportunity to begin writing our own Health Care Directives. (I’m leading! – Stephanie Friant)

 Funeral and Memorial Service Planning – Sept. 29th We will lead you through a step-by-step planning process to help ensure that your wishes are known and your loved ones have one less thing to do during a time of raw grief.  (I’m co-leading! – Stephanie Friant)

 Talking with Children & Teens about Death – Oct. 6th Gain techniques and knowledge of how to support children and teens as they encounter the loss of others.

Messy Family Relationships – Oct. 13th  Learn how to better deal with difficult family members and relationships before, during and after someone’s death.


Please note:  The Blessing House is a Christian spirituality center created to make space for God to work.  Funded primarily by donations and staffed primarily by volunteers, it is a place for individual and group retreats, as well as classes and small groups.  All are welcome.



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Finding Faith Despite a Maze of Words

Hero poster.jpgThe conversation between the Nameless Warrior and the powerful King in Hero becomes a dance.  At one point Nameless shares with the King that he had asked an assassin hiding in a calligraphy school to write him the 20th variation of the word “sword”.

The King replies that when he is ruler of all the united lands, after conquering and killing all those who disagree with him, he will simplify the language so that everyone knows what is meant as more than one “right way” leads to disharmony.

Yet Nameless purposefully chose the 20th variation as it would provide him with an understanding of who the assassin was as an individual.

One “correct” word, or 20 variations.

I have had a number of conversations like this over the past few years.

Your sermon was evangelical, but the benediction was liberal.

Be sure to use “Holy Spirit”, as using “energy” can be very deceiving to those new to the faith and will lead them to stray into that new age stuff.

I have waded into the evangelical language, translating as I went along.  And as I get one question answered, another one comes to mind.  No matter how hard I try, no matter how comfortably I can use the language, I can not claim it as my own.  But that does not mean I do not share God’s Love with others.

As the King saw clearly, a precise language that all can understand dismantles confusion.  Yet language has never worked like that.  Words can not, and never will, fully encompass the “I Am”, for “I Am” came before words.  As a child can never be its parent, words can never be the “I Am”.

We can be the King, and create a cage for the “I Am”, shaving away all that we don’t understand or that causes us discomfort.  We can take away the glory and mystery, bringing God down to our size, our limitations.

We can be Nameless, and see in the words an opportunity to discover the “I Am”.  We can use the words as a new avenue, path, or journey that frees us to humble ourselves in the glory and mystery, to expand ourselves into what God calls us to be.

Perhaps it is in my nature, as a person who uses questions to approach the heavenly throne, to trust others in the use of their language.  To trust that God will find a way through our limited vocabulary to call us towards and back-to the Creator.  To trust that each of our journeys, no matter what words or images we use, no matter what valleys, mountains, and forks in the roads we take, will lead us to God….for God is everywhere.  God is in all of creation.  In each image, each word, each breath, each heart beat.  Each step.  It is we who do not see, or understand, that God is in everything, the great “I Am”.



Please read O For A Hundred Saner Tongues, by John, author of the blog, the beautiful due.  It is a beautiful piece on this topic.

Note: I paraphrased a number of the quotes as I did not want to share with you the entire conversation(s) or my memory does not include the exact words.

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