Saturday, November 02, 2019

Beauty Truth Life Love :: Brent Bill

beauty truth life love front coverBeauty, Truth, Life, and Love: Four Essentials for the Abundant Life by Brent Bill on Amazon

The reason for the title? Author Brent Bill tells us, "Beauty, truth, life, and love move us beyond doing life and faith correctly into doing them well." Love, life, truth, and beauty are among the attributes of God; logically, created-in-the-divine-likeness humanity (by grace!) has gotta rock those characteristics, too. Lyrical, homespun, and mellow, closer to an idea book or a guide book than a manual of instructions, at not much longer than one hundred pages Beauty, Truth, Life, and Love is small enough to slip into a pocket or purse to accompany you into the field.
beauty truth life love back cover
Brent gives his readers an intro that contrasts ideal and abundance, followed by – not surprisingly – a chapter for each title topic, with a conclusion about interweaving all four. My favorite part is the embedded reflections: Beauty Rest; Testing for True; Life Lines; Love Letters. Society of Friends/Quaker pastor Brent's perspective clearly is Christian, but not exclusively so, definitely not obnoxiously so—you probably know what I mean by that. With the year's main gift-giving season only a few weeks away, anyone (yes, that's anyone anywhere) would enjoy the universal appeal of the anecdotes and stories from Brent's own experience.

Are you ready to read this new book and write about your own discoveries of Beauty, Truth, Life, and Love?

Notice of material connection: As a member of the book launch team, I received a pre-publication copy of this book with no requirement or expectation to write a positive review. As always, my opinions are my own.

My Amazon Review: Lyrical, Homespun, Mellow

Thursday, October 31, 2019

October :: Porch Story

porch stories icon winter 2020

October 2019 desert spirit's fire

• Porch Stories host Kristin reveals an extremely varied October; her book suggestions always interest me.

• Here are a few of this month's stories from round about town!

early October middle eastern dinner

• Very early in October, Green Teammate Jane and I enjoyed a middle eastern dinner with conversation about our currents.

LA Metro fall 2019 conference table decor

• LA Metro Fall Conference happened in my old South Central 'hood; not any pictorially memorable metting moments, but the pumpkin-themed table d├ęcor was seasonably pretty—pumpkin desserts, too!

Glendale playground Glendale greeneries and flowers

• With the school no longer on site, Green Team meetings in Glendale no longer bring a plethora of pics, but I found a worthwhile glimpse of the playground plus one of intertwined flowers and greens.

farmers markets apples farmers market peaches
farmers market root veggies farmers market pomegranates
farmers market gourds, squashes, etc. farmers market sweet bell peppers

• A small sampling of the many excellent images a romp through one of the largest local Farmers Markets yielded; I also enjoyed a [not illustrated here] savory Peruvian lunch.

blessing of the animals 2019

• Sunday morning closest to St. Francis day for annual Critter Blessing No. 3.

last moonflower of 2019

• Last moonflower of 2019.

Another Level at the Proud Bird

Another Level Ministries celebrated Ten Years! at The Proud Bird—within easy earshot of LAX. Surprising that I didn't find any memorable photo opps at the celebration itself.

Roxy Kitteh nine years birthday/adoption

• Roxy Kitteh flew from DFW through PHX to SAN nine years ago!

porch stories icon winter 2020
• It's been far too long since I blogged blueberries (or any berries), so here's some for this year as the berries season slows and concludes.

Reformation 2019

• As a church geek, theology geek I had to celebrate Reformation Day 502. I didn't get a bulletin cover designed for my church this time, but upcycled a design from a previous year for this blog and for twitter. Really appropriate since again I discussed the Jeremiah pericope with my SS class. Can you say "neighborology"? Can you live neighborology?

Kristin Taylor porch stories button

Monday, September 30, 2019

Porch Story :: September 2019

porch stories icon 2019

September 2019 desert spirit's fire

• End of most months I link my story to Porch Stories host Kristin's. I know you'll enjoy reading about her September 2019.

• Where am I? How am I?

• In City of Angels.

• Wondering. Waiting. Worrying. Wishing. Excited to move into cooler weather, wearing sweaters, and interesting activities.

season of creation 2019 wisdom series ocean sunday 01 season of creation 2019 wisdom series fauna and flora sunday 02
season of creation 2019 wisdom series storm sunday 03 season of creation 2019 wisdom series cosmos sunday 04

• As I've done for about a dozen years, I created a design for each Sunday in the Season of Creation. The liturgical emphasis originated in Australia and has spread worldwide, traditionally for the month of September; Blessing of the Animals/Blessings upon all Creation on the October Saturday or Sunday closest to St Francis of Assisi day on 04 October concludes the hope-filled celebration. Watch this space for my October summary Porch Story that will include our local Critter Blessing! By the way, each of the three Revised Common Lectionary years features a different theme—for Luke's lectionary year C, it's wisdom.

WTC 911 18 years 2019

• The still free world again remembered the 18-year anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attack on NYC's World Trade Center. Let's never forget. My 18-years memorial design (simply updated from 2012 and from 2014) quotes Lamentations 3:

Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

• Background image by Michael Connor of Morguefile comes from before they'd finished the memorial; I still love the reflective graphic style I added.

God's Work Our Hands logo

• I didn't get any bloggable pictures for the September 17th God's Work, Our Hands Day when we assembled snack and hygiene kits in the church backyard to help lighten the burden of nearby transient (homeless, unhoused, unsheltered) street people that are among the approximately 50,000 who sleep rough nightly in this town. The LA NBC affiliate has been airing an exceptional semi-documentary, fully-human interest series called Streets of Shame.

• The choir sang contemporary composer David Haas' Christ Among Us, with text inspired by Teresa of Avila. I frequently remind everyone we're God's hands, feet, eyes, ears, voice, and the anthem took it further with thoughts, words, song, heart, touch, care, love, light, hope, strength, joy!

Michaelmas 2019

• The 29 September Feast of St Michael and All Angels / Michaelmas fell on a Sunday this year. The choir sang one of my all-time favorites, Handel's Hallelujah, Amen!

beauty truth love book cover

• Society of Friends friend Brent Bill is assembling a formal, official, launch team for his upcoming Beauty, Truth, Life, and Love; it already has an Amazon page!

• While you wait for the early November release, you can visit Brent's Amazon page so you can start to discover his other books. I even have a "Brent Bill" tag for this blog so why not check out my blog posts?

Kristin Taylor porch stories button

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Brian J Dixon :: Start with Your People

Start with Your People by Brian Dixon book cover
Start with Your People: The Daily Decision that Changes Everything by Brian J Dixon on Amazon

Like the composer author Brian Dixon described as a guy who'd done everything you're supposed to do to get noticed so you'd get opportunities you prepared for and couldn't be truly alive without, I've worked all the traditional options correctly and compulsively, with close to no return. I've even done it knowing my own light shines brightest when I help other people discover and develop their gifts, therefore trusting God would respond to my awareness and to the world's needs.

But first, about Start with Your People book. Did you know your people include "everyone you interact with, not just your family, friends, and coworkers"? That's every single person. Good beginning. However, you still need your own tribe, which often means "asking for help. No one succeeds on their own. Everyone has a team. ... When you're inside the bottle, it's impossible to read the label. That's why we need other people. ... Allow these people to speak into your life and be honest with you." (page 129, launch team pdf book version)

Again, that validated what I've known almost forever, but that's where the book title and concept becomes powerful. You start with the people by serving them, by placing them first, as Jesus would.

When my social and professional networks both crashed, I knew I needed to rebuild, but that's the subject of several earlier blogs and not a topic for today. Brian includes a dozen examples of people who've reclaimed their dreams after failure or brought their dreams to life for the first time ever. If they could do it, so can you. Me, too!

Although Brian clearly is a highly committed Christian – follower of The Way of Jesus, as the early church would say – and Start with Your People is firmly grounded in service, you would not need to be Christian, religious, or even acknowledge some kind of spirit of life in order to benefit and change from reading the book, from asking, "What are you working through?" and – if that's your jam – doing the exercises at the end of the book.

Brian J Dixon's Start with Your People offers a practical, life-giving way to make your own particular gifts, passions, and skills matter to the world as you engage in community building that validates everyone's worth. Like very very many people these days, I found myself suddenly in the gig economy (sometimes ironically called the precariat), trying to find a way in a world where internet expansion and a major financial recession had moved a ton of work to third world countries where the cost of living is minuscule compared to North America and Western Europe. Still, Brian's ideas give me hope for a future when again I'll wake up excited about my work for that day. BTW, distinct and discrete projects never have stopped exciting me; I'm waiting for that next level that will happen because Brian Dixon's experience and insight has lit a new fire for me!

Notice of Material Connection: As a member of the launch team, I received a free pre-publication copy with no requirement or expectation I'd write a positive review. As always, the opinions expressed are mine alone.

my Amazon review: Validating, Igniting, Practical!