Shawna Atteberry

Writer, Teacher, Baker

31 Days to Build a Better Blog with the SITS Girls: Day 1

I always mean to blog more and start posting regularly. It still hasn’t happened. I’m really really bad about procrastinating. From my adventure a couple of weeks ago with the Reading Deprivation Week of The Artist’s Way, I found out I am a Pathetic Procrastinator who needs accountability. To that end I’ve joined The SITS Girls on BlogFrog in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge. I’ve owned 31DBBB for six months, and the furthest I’ve gotten is Day 5 on my own. My goal is at the end of the 31 days to complete the book and be posting regularly.

The Day 1 challenge is to write an elevator pitch for your blog. This is one or two sentences that describe what your blog is all about. I’ve had my pitch in the About Me box on the side column for awhile, but I’ve decided to tweak it. Here’s the new one:

I empower women to be the leaders Godde calls them to be at home, work and church by exploring the Divine Feminine and stories of the women in the Bible. I also use my experience and spiritual direction to help them discover new facets of Godde and their own leadership abilities.

I’ve been wanting to talk about the Divine Feminine more, but I hadn’t taken the time to work out how it would fit into the purpose I already had for this blog. It fits in so naturally, I wonder now why I procrastinated for so long. This also gives me a chance to explain the terms I use for Godde on this blog. First up: why Godde and not God? Godde is combination of God and Goddess to show that God transcends gender: Godde is neither male nor female and both male and female since Godde created both men and women in the image of Godde. I believe that  Godde is Mother as well as Father, and instead of using the standard Lord that’s used to translate Yahweh in the Hebrew Scriptures, I use Sophia-Yahweh. I will lean more towards feminine references to Godde on my blog as masculine references are just about all you hear in church and society to refer to Godde. I use exclusively feminine pronouns for Godde for this reason as well. You’ll be seeing Sophia and Mother a lot on this blog, and I hope it doesn’t offend you. I hope it will help you to see Godde in new ways and start to walk on new paths with this Godde who cries out like a woman in labor to bring forth her people and nurses them at her own breast (Deut. 32:18, Psalm 22:10; 131:2; Isaiah 42:14; 49:15; 66:13).

Pentecost Post up on Examiner.com

Pentecost by Nora Kelly

I have new post up on Examiner.com for Pentecost: Expanding our view of Pentecost. I talk about the painting to the right.

As always let me know what you think. I hope everyone has a happy, lively, vibrant and Spirit-filled Pentecost. May the Spirit surprise you in new and wonderful ways.

Company Girl Coffee: it's busy but in a good way edition

It’s been busy here, which is why I haven’t had a chance for coffee the last few weeks. My biggest news is that I’m now the Chicago Protestant Examiner for Examiner.com. So I’m getting the hang of reporting and actually covering things that are happening now and talking to living people instead of researching things that happened over 2,000 years ago and interviewing people in my head. It’s a change. 🙂

I am feeling really good. Joining the gym has really helped. Swimming and practicing yoga just sets me right. I love how both are a melding of meditation and movement. My time with my personal trainer is good as well, but I don’t get the spiritual practice on the machines the way I do in the water and yoga poses.

My biggest thing right now is time management: figuring out when and how long to work on various writing projects: The Book, Examiner, other freelance work, and being an editor on The Christian Godde Project (really need to get back to translating Luke), not to mention all the research that goes with each. Plus all the daily life stuff: running errands, cleaning, laundry, showering, eating, sleeping, etc. etc. Not to mention The Hubby appreciates it when I talk to him on occasion. 😉

My in-laws and a nephew are coming to see us in June, so that means we have a lot of cleaning out, organizing and cleaning up to do in the next few weeks. They’ll be here during the Printer’s Row Book Fair (every bookaholic’s best dream and worst nightmare), and I will be preaching at church that Sunday. My father-in-law wants to hear me preach. I’m a little psyched about it, but I’m sure it will all be fine. The Old Testament passage for that Sunday is Jezebel. And I love Jezebel. Wondering how much fun I can have with her even in a liberal Episcopal Church. We’ll see.

This weekend is pretty quiet. Tomorrow is cleaning and writing. I also need to make a trip to the grocery store for odds and ends. Then Sunday is Pentecost. I’m looking forward to that. Ooh, that reminds me: I need to start reading Acts 2:1-21 in the Greek, since I will be doing that Sunday morning. We will have the Acts passage read in several different languages in the service: English, Spanish, German, French, and Greek, and who knows what else. Last year each person started reading a few verses full voice, then read quietly while they walked through the sanctuary, then the next person picked up and read then walked. By the end of the reading, they were people reading the passage in different languages all over the congregation. It was so powerful. I’m not sure that’s they way we’ll do it this year, but I’m sure it will still be powerful.

I hope everyone has a good weekend and a blessed Pentecost!

Company Girl Coffee: Columbia College Story Week Edition

I know it’s been at least a month since I got in on Company Girl Coffee. I was determined to play today, which means I had to do a little copy and pasting. Havi has a Friday ritual too called The Friday Chicken where we all chime in on our weeks: what was hard and what was good. So here is my week in review, The Hard and The Good:

The Hard

I have not slept most of this week due to the evil, demonic entity known as insomnia. The rest of the hard stems from that. I’m way behind reading a book I’m reviewing, I’m way behind on the sermon I will be preaching Sunday, I’m way behind on writing projects and finding paying writing gigs. I’m way behind.

The Good

Hiring the personal trainer was a really good thing. I need the accountability to take care of myself through physical exercise. Plus I was feeling like crap yesterday when I went in (see evil, demonic insomnia above), and by the time we were done, I felt great. And I felt good the rest of the day. Getting up and moving does help me feel better. Now I need to find the same sort of accountability for my writing.

Columbia College’s Story Week Festival of Writers was just tremendous. I went around and heard authors read their work and talk about the craft, and it was marvelous. David Morrell (his books include First Blood, The Brotherhood of the Rose, and The Shimmer) totally rocks, and it you ever get a chance to hear him speak go. Change whatever you have to, reschedule whatever you have to, sell the dog if you have to, if you’re a writer and get the chance: GO! His love and dedication to writing is phenomenal. He is very blunt about how hard it is, but it’s also very obvious how much he loves what he does. And he has lots of good practical advice. I’ve just ordered his book The Successful Novelist. (Sorry for no links for the books, I don’t have the time right now. I’ll try to get them in later.)

I was sent a free book to do an advance review of by one of my favorite theologians! (N. T. Wright in case anyone was wondering.) And it is a very good book, and one that the Western Protestant Christian Church needs to hear. I’m not sure how much I can say before the reviews start going up, but I’ll let you know when I post the review.

I have set the number of pages I need to write a day on The Book Proposal. Like David Morrell said yesterday, I will write them everyday, no matter how long it takes. He made the point that writing is a perishable skill, and if you don’t use it everyday, you will lose it. That my friends, is one of my problems: I write a couple of times a week and am constantly reteaching myself the basics. To move on, I am going to have to write everyday. I had never thought about it before, but he’s absolutely right. Just like playing scales on an instrument, if I’m going to be a virtuoso at what I do, I am going to have to practice everyday.

Now I have to get ready to head to yoga then on to Trader Joes. I hope everyone has a great weekend! Wait! Before I go here is the literal, photogenic view from my window:

We are having a beautiful day in Chicago, and I am going to enjoy it. It’s supposed to snow this weekend. You gotta love Midwest weather.

Writing Is NOT for the Wimpy of Heart

Writing is brutal business. You think and you worry and you’re scared to death, but you still feel compelled to bare your soul to the world, wondering if you’re going to get back in one piece. Then you want to write but you’re frozen because you’re scared to death over what everyone is going to think . It really is a ridiculous process. You really have to be called to write. You have to know this is what you want to do. Otherwise it will tear you up and throw you to the side of the road. The Muses are not benevolent mistresses. It literally is gut wrenching work. Yet me and many others continue to do it. We continue to face the resistance or fear. Or we run away from it. There are days we let it distract us. We let it lull us into a protected web of TV watching and web surfing. I have done more TV watching and web surfing since I became a full time writer than any other point in my life (except when I had surgery). Of course it doesn’t help that I work at home.

Writing is not for wimps. It’s not for people who want to make an easy living or want to make money (fast or at all). It’s hard work. And most of the time no one notices. And yet millions of people in the past and present and millions in the future will bow to this brutal mistress and start putting words onto a page. Writing can be a relentless mistress who will make you grovel. But when you get it right… When the words flow… When you read back over a paragraph and wonder where the hell did that piece of art come from… It’s divine. When someone says that they read a piece of yours and liked it, loved it; it made them think; may be it will even change their lives, for awhile you forget the fear, self-doubt, and endless solitary hours. It must be like forgetting the pain of childbirth, once you hold the baby in your arms. Another divine moment.

So we writers keep plugging along. Sitting down everyday at the computer or the typewriter, or with a notebook and pen or pencil, and keep facing up to the doubt, the fears, the sheer resistance we feel at putting our very souls onto the page. When we finally get it right (after multiple drafts, breakdowns, and lots of chocolate), it can look so easy. But don’t fool yourself. It’s never easy. And it will never be easy.

Most of the time I have a love/hate relationship with my craft and its Muse. I’m not sure you can have any other relationship when you work in a creative field.

What about you? What creative work do you do? How do you feel about it? What kind of relationship do you have with your craft and your muse?