Welcome to our first newsletter! We look forward to connecting with you each month via email. Look here for our latest news, devotions, designs, and ideas. If there are things you’d like to hear about, let us know! We want this newsletter to be meaningful for you. And feel free to share with your friends!
Our Latest News
Each month, The Academy for Spiritual Formation
produces a podcast featuring snippets of faculty presentations from past Academy sessions. Over it’s 32-year history, The Academy has amassed an incredible collection of talks from some of the leaders in spiritual formation, so I was thrilled to be invited to host the podcast for the next several months. I was planning to begin podcasting anyway, so this is a great way to start! I also encourage you to listen to the previous Academy podcasts. Good stuff!
In this Advent episode of From the Well
, we consider how the Advent season reveals the depth of pain and sin in the world. Mass shootings and global issues of violence point to our continuing need for Christ’s presence here on earth. Drawing on a blog post
from Johnny Sears, and a talk by Robert Benson, we explore how we reached this point – by denying our worth as human beings. As we prepare for birth of Christ, we are encouraged to reaffirm the worth of ourselves and others and to celebrate the contributions each of us is called to make toward realizing God’s dream for wholeness in the world.
Find the podcast on Itunes, Soundcloud and Stitcher
New in the Studio
We have new prayer bead designs just in time for Christmas! In addition, we are now featuring vinyl wall decals in our shop! So many of you loved the prayer wall in my studio and wanted a similar design, we’re pleased to offer them! Ordering for Christmas? So that you will receive your order by December 24th, please place your order by December 20th. Orders received by then will be shipped Monday, December 21st via USPS First Class Mail unless you add Priority Mail or Express Mail options to your cart. Shop now for best selection.
Prayer Bead Devotion
This month’s prayer bead devotion focuses on Advent.
Cross: In the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Invitatory Bead: God of New Beginnings,
Resurrection Bead: You send your son to earth so that we might have:
First Cruciform Bead: hope
Week Beads, First Set: use each bead to consider what it means that Jesus brings us hope.
Second Cruciform Bead: love
Week Beads, Second Set: use each bead to consider what it means that Jesus brings us love.
Third Cruciform Bead: joy
Week Beads, Third Set: use each bead to consider what it means that Jesus brings us joy.
Fourth Cruciform Bead: peace
Week Beads: Fourth Set: use each bead to consider what it means that Jesus brings us peace.
Resurrection Bead: We anticipate the birth of your son,
Invitatory Bead: so that we can live lives of hope, love, joy, and peace.
Cross: In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Kristen’s Favorite Things
The more I’m on this prayer bead adventure, the more I’m learning new ways to be still and listen to the God who loves us deeply. Each month, I’ll feature something new that I’ve discovered or found to be useful in my spiritual formation. Hopefully, these will be of interest to you as well.
This month, I wanted to tell you about the Calm app. My friend, J. Dana Trent
, introduced me to it this past summer, and I cannot get enough of it – literally! In the past 47 days straight I have completed 94 sessions! I use it to begin my prayer time in the morning. Then I use it again at night to help me transition from the busy day to peaceful rest. During the day, I sometimes open the website to play soft music or sound effects in the background while I work. I’ve even been known to use it in the car.
There are many things I love about Calm. It offers gorgeous video and photos that are wonderful to just sit and ponder. The music and sound affects are indeed, er, calming. Better yet, Calm offers a variety of guided meditations. Some of them are for the usual things: stress-relief, calming anxiety, deep sleep, etc. Some are for specific purposes, such as commuting (isn’t that brilliant!), focus, and energy. But the majority of their meditations are devoted to really good things: forgiveness, happiness, gratitude, loving-kindness, non-judgment, compassion, confidence, creativity, etc. Indeed, in the past two weeks, they have issued two new programs: 7 Days of Happiness and 7 Days of Gratitude. I love that so much! (Imagine what our world would be like if we all took time to do just one of those every day!) Each meditation allows you to determine how long you want to meditate – anywhere from 2 minutes to 30 minutes. There is also an option for your own unguided meditation, allowing you to pray or breathe or rest for as long as you want while you listen to the music.
In the three months I’ve been using Calm I have noticed big changes in my life. I am more at peace. I sleep better. I am able to be present in the moment. I am calm. . .
The app is free, although they offer a subscription to unlock a lot of the guided meditations and sound effects. If you try it, let me know. I’d love to hear what you think. Not for nothing: Calm makes a GREAT background for praying with your beads!
And just so you know – this is not a paid endorsement. I don’t have any kind of relationship with the Calm people. This comes from the heart (and calm mind)! Check it out at www.calm.com