What’s in Store for Us, 2014 in Review, & Link Ups

{By Tammy Hendricksmeyer}

 

As the minutes and hours slip by, 2015 is nearing ever close. For many of us, there were good times and then there were hard, grieving times too. Sometimes both in the same breath.

 

But time continues to march on in it’s militant precision as the calendar keeps turning. Our days will be as they were, however we are today, but there is something about standing on the precipice of new beginnings. Even if we are not prone to lists or goals or resolutions, there is still an electric charge at the edge of new years. An inkling of hope and promise nibbles at our innards, despite the fact we know that by February or March, our daily living returns with the usual “in and out.”  Yet, the seasons come and go and Spring will soon hold its own sway over our senses.

 

Yet for now, with a mere hours away, we can not help but think back and look forward. Our toes are hanging over the cliff’s edge. We see them wiggling into the open chasm of what can be, of the possibilities over the wide canyon of 2015.  And there on the edge may be fear, or exhilaration, or trepidation, or fruition, or sadness, or any number of things, yet hope remains.

 

Let’s make a promise to each other, shall we? When the days wind down to a grind, when the new year loses it’s luster, when we begin to forget, let’s continue to hope for each other and hold each other and help one another. And when we are at a loss, let’s sit with each other. But also, let’s dream together. Let’s dream for our relationships, for the Body, for our lives, for the way the Spirit can and will and does move and has His being. Let’s listen and laugh and cry together. If we have Christ, we have family. So let’s remember who we are and Who’s we are, being as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves.

 

 

Review of 2014:

 

1. We launched! Our space was birthed with a passion for community to reflect on our faith outside the traditional walls in our official first post, “the question we long to answer.”

 

2. Several guest writers graced us with their presence and some even brought their books too. We heartily and humbly appreciate each and every guest poster who was part of our first year. Some of the books and their authors are linked below with their post:

Kris Camealy in “Redemption Songs (Reflections on Lent)”

Michelle DeRusha in “When You Don’t Get that Lightening Strike You Wanted”

(my cousin) Cindy Coloma in “When You are Counting on Change

Jennifer Lee in “When I Found Jesus Outside the City Gate”

Laura Boggess in the “Hard Choreography of Communion”

Emily Wierenga in “A Pastor’s Daughter Learns God is Bigger than Sunday” 

Frank Viola in “An Interview with Frank Viola”.

 

3. After a flurry of activity and late days and later nights, we offered our own FREE eBook, Pieces of Faith–A Mosaic of Sojourners, as “An Offering:  From Writers, Dreamers, and Artists.” Much love went into bringing this together. You can get it here: 

Subscribe to our mailing list by getting our FREE eBook

 

4. In July, we had our first Outside the Gate’s Writers Retreat in the foothills of the mountain ranges in northern Georgia. Amy Breitmann and her mom graciously hosted us at their beautiful, 3-story cabin, Legacy Lodge. How perfect a title is that?

 

5. As part of our dream coming to fruition, we sent out an invitation because “We Want to Collaborate With You.” Starting in 2015, there will be a team of artisans: wordsmiths, musicians, poets, visual artists, and etc. for a Sunday Community post, quietly delivered to the inbox’s of those who are displaced from church community, feel lost in their own, or for anybody who needs a circle of faith builders in their lives to be with a community of dreamers. Our first post will be on Feb 1st, God helping us. Needless to say we have a rather large team now of 26 folks, who will be working together to bring you something a new and collective, eclectic sort in 2015. This one makes me ubber nervous, excited, and just, Gah! The culmination of all the feelings and unicorns, and nerves, and wanting to get it right, of failing and of dreams, of creating a true collaboration with stars in my eyes, of knowing how frail and human we are, of wanting to bring something different to the table and link arms like never before. I hope you will join us.  

Subscribe to our Sunday Circle

 

6. Over the summer, we collaborated with Dan King at Fistbump and gave Outside the City Gates a facelift, a new home, and hopefully more options for this community in the future.

 

7. Our top 5 discussions on the blog for 2014 were:

“To Run Like Grace” by Amy Breitmann because this is what we long to do.

 “The Unorthodox Chapter–The One I Never Wanted {But Got Anyway}” by Kelli Woodford as she how, “in leaving the church, I was not leaving God.”

“Call Of The {Spiritual} Midwife” by Holly Smothers Grantham who says “we are, in a First World way, spiritual nomads.”

“Finding Your Worth in a Wearied World” by Beth Stiff which is something we need to remind ourselves of, daily.

“The Question We Long to Answer” on faith, community, and where to go from here.

 

8. Going forward, we will be rearranging our regular Writer’s team while also adding the Sunday Circle group to our ever-expanding group. More on that at a later date. But for now, just know that there is some shifting, some shuffling in the sand, some figuring out 2015 with big plans, some late night sweats full of can’t-sleep-because-the-new-year-seems-bigger-than-your-britches kind of moments, some letting go, some moving on and some making room. We’re just glad we’re doing this with you.

 

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Now onto some other lovely links for you to ponder, peruse, or purchase for 2015:

 

1. Goals, writers, One-word-ers:

Ann Kroeker’s engaging podcast will help you set the path for your new beginnings.

Lori Harris challenges you to “jack your world up” by doing this here and I am challenging myself, as well.

Elora Ramirez’s offers “the needed reprieve for the artist stuck in the daily grind” in her Awake the Bones classes from her Hustle and Flow.

Scott and Elise Grice “are on a mission to help self-made entrepreneurs redefine success and build contagiously happy lives and businesses (and are) the creative entrepreneur’s compass for cutting through fear, competition, and confusion.”

Sarah Bessey also had some interesting conversations on Twitter about blogging, advice, the if we should’s, and how social media is shaping the internet. All this happened on December the 29th. Did you see it?

 

2. Considerable cheer or renewal here:

Downton Abbey, because COME ON. Which by the way, I’m going to be spending the premiere episode of 2015 with friends. So excited!

IF: Gathering will be happening AGAIN this year. Be ready on Feb 6-7 if you plan on being there.

Jumping Tandem because the speaker and session leaders, alone, will blow your socks off. From May 1-3.

Laity Lodge’s High Calling Retreat will speak to you in deeper ways that you never knew you needed. Seriously. This one always happens in November, usually the weekend before Thanksgiving.

 

3. Readable go-to’s for 2015 (including the ones with links further up this post):

 

Ones that make you think:

“Finally Comes the Poet” by Walter Bruegemann will cause you to see how writing is poetry and preaching, as you fall in love with those two companions as you read.

“A Place Called Community” by Parker Palmer explores the complexity community, relationships, healing, and social impacts. Having lived overseas where there were villages of community, I saw how most lived in close contact with one another in their daily lives, much unlike our American, sprawling separation of acres, yards, fences, and car commutes. When I think of it, I’m reminded that Paul even had one or two friends with him who tended to his needs when in jail and imprisonment. Or how Jesus had his 12 and even 3 closer ones. Or how the Trinity is 3 in One and makes a home inside us, a community. And how iron sharpens iron, how reciprocating friendships humble us while also encouraging us, and how we still desire community whether we are in or out of it.

 

For the writers:

“On Being a Writer, 12 Simple Habits for a writing life that lasts” is a very well (co)written journey of authors, Ann Kroeker and Charity Craig stories of coming into their own as writers. Well worth the read.

“How to Write Inspirational Memoir” by Emily Wierenga will truly live up to its name by inspiring you with engaging writing by Emily.

 

Magazines:

“Shattered” is a breakout magazine “where your story matters.” Rachael Jackson invites the redemptive hope that is offered to all of us in a way where she is “Moving God’s people to join in His story as it’s lived through their lives….”

“Darling Magazine” is a photographic delight of non-retouched photos with stories that every woman would love from teens to silver-haired beauties. This magazine is revolutionizing the industry with real photos and wholesome stories.

 

Thank you for being part of our 2014! We look forward to sharing more of our journey with you in 2015.

_________________________________________________

My PhotoTammy has discovered writing is the rawest, scariest, frustratingly glorious, rewarding, and essential way to process life. She’s a renaissance woman who’s scattered pigeons at Notre Dame, swam the coral reefs of Okinawa, scaled fortresses in Nuremburg, and viewed the Eiffel Tower safely from the ground, a  poet who practices faith outside of institutions, throws her head back when laughing, and occasionally drives an old John Deere tractor in tim-buck-two. Her prodigal path has lead her to many ugly places, but she’s firmly finding her redeemed footing, and voice, with a community of people. Fighting for others to also see their redemptive purpose, beauty, worth, and connection to a supernatural God is her greatest passion. She’s the Founder and Curator for Outside The City Gates where she’s also a Co-Conspirator with a team of other writers. Her faith journey is found on her personal blog, or connect with her on  Facebook and Twitter.

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8 Comments on “What’s in Store for Us, 2014 in Review, & Link Ups

  1. 2015 is here and it sounds like there will be so much goodness in store for readers and writers. Thank you for this space and for this chance to hear from many voices. Happy New Year!

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