A Blessing for Back to School
and the summer's Field Notes Round Up
We’ve hit the point of the summer where all I want is a Pepsi Slurpee from 7-11 every single day. Well, that and one solitary moment of quiet (hi, four kids plus two work-from-home parents reporting for duty here!) but that’s not as easy to come by as a Slurpee so now we know what I’ll be doing as soon as I hit Send on this email to you. And yes, it has to be a 7-11 Slurpee. Get out of here with your inferior Icees, we know what’s up.
Today’s Field Notes has a benediction for the ones headed back to school in these coming days/weeks as well as a round-up of Field Notes lately in case you missed them, and an invitation to a course on faith deconstruction/reconstruction with a dear friend. Let’s go!
Taking time to commission and bless the kids in your life is a good practice, however it looks for you. I’ll preface this by acknowledging that, of course, I wrote this benediction for our particular kids and it’s how I particularly pray over them which may not work for you so feel free to adjust as needed. Praying over our kids at the start of a school year doesn’t have to be a big formal thing, I often just write something out and we pray it over breakfast or supper on or around the first week of school. I’ve even been known to free-style while in the minivan for the drop-off line so you know, do what works.
A Benediction for Back to School
As we head back into our classrooms, may you go forth fully convinced of our love and your capacity. May you be the head and not the tail, leading others - and yourself - on a path of flourishing.
May your roots go down deep into God's soil so you will bear the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
May you remember your people, where you come from, and find your place of belonging.
May you become even more fully who you were always meant to be this year. We delight in you, darling.
We pray that you would sow seeds of life and hope wherever you find yourself, cultivating a harvest of shalom.
May you be prepared for every good work that lies ahead of you.
May your mind be clear and engaged, your memory sharp, your wisdom beyond your years. May you ask for what you need without fear or shame.
May you be safe, beloved child, protected from anything that seeks to steal, kill, or destroy in any measure. When you are afraid, may you feel our love wrapped around you and take heart.
When disappointments or disasters come - and they will - may you find the depths of the resilience we already see in you and rise, rise, rise again.
May you do what is right and good and kind and just, no matter what every one else might do. Don’t submerge your true self into the dreams, plans, behaviours, or agendas of others. Bring your full beloved self to these days, knowing you are created in the image of God.
We pray that you would be a blessing to your teachers and the school staff and we pray that they, in turn, would see and affirm you in the fullness God has created.
We pray for good friendships that will sharpen and delight you.
We pray you would have eyes to see the lonely ones. May you have many opportunities to practice being both brave and kind.
Beloved child of God, we send you out in the power and peace of Love itself, prepared and anointed, knowing you walk upon steady ground.
In the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit, one God and Mother of us all.
The Field Notes Round-Up
Here are all the essays, book corners, AMA,s and more in case you missed any of the Field Notes newsletters lately.
News: 🎉 The inside scoop on my new book(!!!): Sharing the tentative title, concept, publisher, and lots more (for subscribers)
AMA: Our ask-me-anything for August 2022: Answering your burning questions on Banff, my health right now, friendship, writing, devotional recommendations, school choices, Amy Grant, lipstick colours, and much more (for subscribers)
Conversation: What would you tell your old self at the beginning of an evolving faith journey? (for subscribers) - This is such a powerful comment section, I could not get over it. I ended up creating a post on Facebook and a highlight on Instagram about it so you can catch a few of those there. Thanks to everyone for sharing your wisdom - it ministered to me and to so many.
Book Corner: If you can “Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them," then I think this means you can REALLY trust me: My favourite recent read, everything else I've read lately, and some good Kindle deals for you (for subscribers)
Good Things: Apparently people do this? Have fun? On purpose?: Yes, it is time for our Good Things, from reality shows to food to poetry and more (for subscribers)
Essay: For when you're angry: In which you will, indeed, need all your anger (and all your joy) now (for everyone)
Essay: For the days when you're feeling a bit hopeless: May you bring forth life you never imagined, a life that repairs the world at your feet. (for everyone)
Book Corner: Our fave books for 9-11 year olds: For those lazy summer reading days (for subscribers)
Essay: An ordinary thing to love: On letting yourself love things like trees, knitting, stars, and songs (for everyone)
Essay: Be the head, not the tail: A way for me to be reminded of a hopeful, faithful response precisely when I am overwhelmed. (for subscribers)
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See you soon?
I’m currently preparing (which is code for “Madly Writing and Rewriting Sermons”) for a lovely weekend retreat in Montreat, North Carolina. I haven’t been back in that area since the 2018 Evolving Faith conference and it’s a special spot so I’m looking forward to it. I’ll be at the Women’s Connection 2022: Claimed for More: Wholehearted Living When We Are All Out of Sorts on August 12-14 and I think there are still a few seats left if you want to join us. In addition to myself, you’ll also be hearing from an incredible preacher Natarsha Sanders, Bible scholar Anna Carter Florence, music leader Jasmine Evans, and a ton of excellent workshop leaders, too.
And Calgary, Alberta folks, good news! On November 4-6, 2022 I’ll be at Symons Valley United Church for a weekend on Bold Witness, Relentless Grace. Looking forward to that!
Evolving Faith 2022 is coming up soon!
We just two months away from an incredible online weekend together with Bishop Michael Curry, Barbara Brown Taylor, Kate Bowler, Chanequa Walker-Barnes, yours truly, and so, so many more of your favourites/soon-to-be-favourites. Tickets are now on sale so don’t wait. Start making plans with a friend or two (highly recommend a mini-retreat with good snacks including, I don’t know, maybe a Slurpee), hang out with the online community, and catch up on the podcast while you’re waiting.
Evolving Faith: Register for the 2022 Conference | Listen to the Podcast | Join the Online Community
Now Available: The Me Course with Jen Hatmaker
A few months ago, I flew to Texas to to talk faith deconstruction and reconstruction with my beloved friend, Jen Hatmaker as part of her wildly popular Me Course series. We had a ball filming this and tried our darnedest to keep shenanigans to a minimum (you can let us know how that went). I know that many of you have taken one of Jen’s courses before so you know how it works but for the uninitiated, this is an e-course with on-demand videos, tons of digital resources, and a private community full of safety and connection. She’s covered Parenting, Finances, Simplicity, and now this is Faith for the Rest of Us. She is such a good teacher.
Well, it’s been out for a week or two now and it’s already the most downloaded course she’s done so far. I think we know why: we’re starving for companionship out here in the wilderness. So hopefully this help you feel encouraged and a little less alone. This Me Course is now available for you, if you’d like to check it out. I’m pretty sure it’s even 50% off through today (Monday 8 August 2022 as I send this) if you want to get the jump on that.
We also did a short Instagram Live conversation last week on this topic, which you can watch here:
Out and About on Social Media
Shared a little bit about how I’m feeling these days over. In short, after a long few years, I’m feeling pretty happy these days! Check out the caption for a bit more there (including the accessibility captions):
I shared our Summer Fun / Summer Standards (swipe to see those) hack a few weeks ago. I know this doesn’t work for every family but pleased to report we’ve coloured in more than half of those wheel spokes so WHO’S HAVING FUN NOW?!
Also shared a few pictures from my girls’ + their partners trip to Banff a couple weeks ago. We had the best time and honestly, I know it’s my backyard but the Canadian Rockies are the prettiest place in the world and I cannot be convinced otherwise.
I did want to mention that I’m taking a sustained break from Twitter for my own mental health. Don't particularly like the notion of "announcing" things like this but neither do I want folks to think I'm ignoring them/important conversations so just a head's up there that I’m not dialled in on that medium in particular right now.
Okay, that’s our round-up for this month! Sending lots of love to all of you today.
I’d buy you a large Slurpee from 7-11 if I could. You deserve it.
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Fun fact: there is actually no real difference between Icees and Slurpees. The same company even makes them both, 7-11 just has a licensing deal to call them by their own proprietary name. The more you know! But the difference exists in my heart and I stand by my baseless snobbery.
As always, if you can’t afford a subscription or money is a bit tight right now, please just let us know. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you sorted. Promise - no questions asked and no explanation required. It is our joy to give away subscriptions to literally everyone who asks. This model isn’t meant to be a barrier but a way to support me, my work, and to create a quieter corner of the Internet.
I needed the kindle recommendations. I am trying to read all the books I already have. The benediction is absolutely beautiful.
Nothing like a prayer from Mama Bessey. Love!