On Sunday, the 8th of January, the good people of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Rock Island, Illinois called me as their pastor! At this writing (the day after) I am in a wild whirling of joy, anticipation, and active packing! This congregation, for me, is answered longing, answered visioning, and answered prayer. A community in Christ working both outside and inside church walls spreading, planting, growing the love of God over the waters, under the bridges, and into the cracks in the concrete.
MORE GOOD NEWS!
A Time to Mourn & A Time to Dance made the list of Best Christian Grief Books for 2022 at Choosing Therapy!
January 9: My first day as Rev-Elect at St. John Lutheran Church in Rock Island, Illinois!
January 25: Book talk at Oaknoll East Retirement Living, Iowa City, Iowa.
February 9 – May 18: Pastoral care instructor at Wartburg Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa.
February 25: Ordination at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Iowa City, Iowa.
July 17-20 : Workshop presenter at the ELCA’s Rostered Ministers Gathering, Phoenix, Arizona.
INVITE JENNIFER TO SPEAK
If your organization, church, podcast, conference, library, or literary festival is interested in inviting me to speak, preach, or lead a workshop, please click here: Invite Jennifer to Speak.
WHAT I AM READING
Many therapists working with people in recovery from traumatic events as well as these expert authors of Why God Won’t Go Away speak of healing as being sacred, holy, and spiritual. I agree because it’s my own experience with the beautiful mysteries of true wellness. I first learned about this book exploring the “biology of belief” by reading Peter A Levine’s In An Unspoken Voice a few years ago (a book sitting on my late husband’s bookshelf). While much has been discovered about the human brain since these authors wrote Why God Won’t Go Away, the information and accompanying thinking is still valid and educational.
FROM AN EARLY DRAFT
Last Spring one of my sons spent a few days at Disney theme parks with his marching band. After picking him up and between adolescent grunts and mouths full of food, my son shared with me that he spent a lot of time on roller coasters while in Florida. Because…he is fifteen. And not sleeping very much because…he is fifteen. And coming home sick because…he is fifteen.
I spend my days on a rollercoaster as well, an internal ride called grief. Sudden grief seems to be exactly like those theme park rides. It plummets unwilling riders straight down at some undefinable speed. Only to come up for air when it feels like it in a momentary lull convincing us that the ride is now quiet, pleasant. Only we all know, those of us on this ride, that more looms on the horizon. The calm before the really scary parts only lull us into a false and temporary sense of peace.
My older son and I stopped by the cemetery the other day. It was an impromptu trip. We were in the neighborhood. While he danced around the neighboring graves planning what to plant around Tony’s stone, I descended internally. Triggered because someone else had lain a flower at Tony’s grave. Not me. “I feel like I’m falling down on my job,” I said.
Later though and back home I felt a sense of peace. Maybe it was spending a few hours with my son. Maybe is was also that glimmering moment of courage when I told my son he and his brother will heal. They will live good lives. I will heal and live a good life. Because we can. We can heal. And Tony wants that for us, demands it of us.
Written in 2017
THE VALUE OF REVIEWS
Being an author, especially a spiritual author, means also being my own marketing director. And I admit I have all sorts of feelings about being tied to the social media self-promotion cycle. Yet there has always been a business side to writing. So here’s what publishers, book sellers, and writers know about getting books into readers hands, eyes, and hearts:
NEWSLETTERS: The more people on an author’s newsletter email list, the more the author sells their books. You can be on my newsletter list by simply following my blog. To do so, press the SUBSCRIBE button on the upper left side of this page.
REVIEWS: The more online reviews a book receives, the more a book sells. Please consider reviewing my book on Goodreads and at my Amazon author’s page.
TIKTOK: If you post on TikTok, say something about my book AND use the hashtag #BookTok.
© January Newsletter, 2023: All rights reserved by the author.