Wounded in Spirit

Musings: November 2018

In just a few days, we’ll begin the season of Advent. Even if you don’t observe much else on the liturgical calendar, it’s hard to avoid the on-ramp to Christmas. Instead of counting shopping days and check marks on my do-list, my practice has been to think of Advent as a time of preparation for the celebration of Jesus’s birth. There’s no magic formula for this. When my sons were all young and enthusiastic (and boisterous!), we did a daily project:  baking together, crafting an ornament, visiting a nursing home, or even bailing out of the homeschool schedule early and reading big stacks of Christmas books. We’ve looked at Old Testament prophecies and thought about the message of the angel, the response of the shepherds, and the visitation of the mysterious magi. Advent puts time on our side for more in depth teaching than can ever happen in a quick read through of Luke 2 on Christmas eve.

One component of Advent that seems to get lost in the tinsel is the recognition that Jesus had a very somber and serious reason for showing up all pink and newborn in that Bethlehem manger. He would grow up to bear our griefs and to carry our sorrows, to be wounded and bruised so that we could know healing and peace.  From time to time all of us feel the dissonance of Christmas joy alongside regular old December stress, and to varying degrees our own experiences have confirmed that Simeon’s prophecy of a heart-piercing sword is not the only evidence that the Incarnation started out tinged with blood.

David Bannon is a grieving father who knows the bitter taste of disappointment–with life, and with himself. He was convicted of felony charges in 2006, and, then, in January of 2015 his twenty-six year old daughter died of a fentanyl-laced heroin overdose.  He found his way back into a true and heartfelt celebration of Christmas by embracing the grief as well as the solace expressed in Christian art. The result is Wounded in Spirit: Advent Art and Meditations, a collection of twenty-five meditations based on paintings that become devotional in nature as they “convey truth rather than arguing for it.” (xi)

Leaning into the joy as well as the sorrow during Advent prepares the heart for a celebration of Christ’s birth that is rooted in hope. Since “grief can ruin or mature us,” (11) there is wisdom in bringing it out into the open to do its work, and Bannon employs a palette of Scripture references, quotations from great literature, and images of masterpieces from a collection of flawed, troubled, and wildly talented artists in his creation of twenty-five meditations to carry the pause of communion through the season of Advent.

Wounded in Spirit: Advent Art and Meditations, is a guide for those who, perhaps, would not appreciate a more traditional approach to Advent, but who would find companionship in the healing knowledge that they do not suffer alone.

November News

My feet are still firmly planted in the season of Thanksgiving. Ten Morins gathered around the table this year, and I was so caught up in the joy of it that I took nary a picture.



The kitchen renovation has been front and center here on the hill this month. We tore the old kitchen away down to the shiny insulation and even removed the wall adjoining the bathroom (Don’t ask!). We have installed new windows, new cabinets, and new flooring, and I’m still in shock, but am making a valiant attempt at returning to some semblance of normalcy before we add a Christmas tree to the chaos soup that has become our living space.



This is high school musical season here in mid-coast Maine, and my youngest son was bringing down the house as Donkey in Shrek the Musical. It’s a hectic season with seven performances, but coordinating concessions for sale during intermission has given this homeschooling mum a way to serve the community while getting to know other parents and also the students my own kids hang out with when they are involved in public school activities. We’ve got a faithful band of area businesses and parents who donate goodies and bottled water, and we do a booming business to raise money for the program.

November Reading and Writing

The women in my Sunday school class have finished reading Cynthia Heald’s Becoming a Woman of Grace (Bible Studies: Becoming a Woman)and we’re moving on to a study of, perhaps, the most misunderstood book of the Old Testament, the book of Judges. I can’t begin to say how much I’m looking forward to this!



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Here at Living Our Days, I’ve shared three books in the month of November, and you’re invited to check out my reviews, especially if you’re looking for gift ideas for the readers in your life:

All the Colors We Will See by Patrice Gopo
It’s All Under Control by Jennifer Dukes Lee
I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel



It was very satisfying to team up with Desiring God again this month with a post I wrote from the ongoing experience of being a mother-in-law in training. Then, when Jeanne Takenaka invited me to write about gratitude for her blog, I felt right at home with the topic–not because I’ve mastered it by any means, but because it’s something I am committed to writing about until I begin to get a handle on it. Gratitude is a matter of obedience, and it is a choice we have to make, by faith.

I was especially thankful in November for the opportunity to take a blogging break so that I could be more fully present for family and for all the Thanksgiving activity. It was a good week, and well-timed.

I’m giving thanks for you, trusting that your season of Thanksgiving has filled you up with joy and an abiding gratitude for all that God has given — and for the Giver Himself as He presides over the many gatherings still to come in this season of celebrations.


Many thanks to Paraclete Press for providing a copy of Wounded in Spirit to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

For those who have been missing the What I’m Into community, you’ll be thrilled to learn that Shannan (of shannanenjoyslife.com) is carrying the torch forward! Click here for a link to the November gathering!

I  am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. If you should decide to purchase Wounded in Spirit: Advent Art and Meditations or any of the resources mentioned in this post, simply click on the title (or the image) within the text, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you make a purchase a tiny percentage helps support the work I do here at no extra cost to you.

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34 thoughts on “Musings: November 2018”

  1. Wow, that Wounded In Spirit quote is perfectly spoken! It is hard to understand the upside down reality that once you have your heart broken right open you have the opportunity for it to grow exponentially. That so much good can come from such bad. I nearly lost my marriage because of an affair almost 9 years ago and the grief was overwhelming. But God redeemed us and gave us a new story, and now I am walking in obedience to share that story with others in the hopes that it will bring hope and healing to them. Thank you for sharing these resources! You will likely see my name more as I try to bring the old blogging fingers back from the dead 🙂


  2. Hi Michele, How exciting! A kitchen remodel. We remodeled our bathroom this past winter. Well, it wasn’t supposed to be a gut job, but it turned into one. lol.

    When I was a new believer, the person who led me to the Lord hosted small group ladies Bible studies and we did many of Cynthia Healds “Become a women of…” studies. They are so edifying and encouraging.

    Have a great weekend!


  3. Wow, Michele. Sounds like it has been quite a month. It has been good to get out and see what other Christian writers are sharing right now. I had barricaded myself in my Batcave to finish the first draft of my next book. The book is almost ready for my editor. I’m excited about this project. I pray it will bring comfort, hope, and encouragement to those who are hurting or have experienced pain in the past. Anyway, I always enjoy visiting here. Your youngest son is a true artist-congrats to him. I hope you and yours have a wonderful weekend and a blessed holiday season this Christmas.


  4. Love doing Advent projects with my grandsons. Tonight we will bake some Christmas cookies and make pine cone bird feeders. They also go with me sometimes to deliver Meals on Wheels. I want to teach them the mindset of service.


      1. OUrs turned out great, and I sent them all home with the little guys. I don’t want the temptation around here since I can’t run them off! 🙂


  5. Wounded in Spirit does sound like a great read. Glad your kitchen is starting to come back together! I’m trying to figure out a time for painting ours – just trying to imagine the chaos that will cause makes me wonder how one lives through a renovation. Fun that your son got to be the donkey in Shrek!


    1. Well, if I had it to do over again, I would probably not do this during the holiday season, so I’d recommend painting in 2019.
      It’s so great to begin to see progress! And it made gratitude a very important goal!


  6. That Wounded In Spirit book sounds amazing. This is the first I’ve heard of it. I’m going to be sure to pick it up to go along with the Richard Rohr Advent devotional I already have. That RR quote at the top is riveting. Like so much from him. Thank you for the recommendation, and I’m so glad to have found you through Emily Freeman.


    1. Oh, hi, Aimee!
      That was one of my favorite quotes from the book. I’m going to open it back up tomorrow for a much slower read through. Really looking forward to it . . .and that Richard Rohr Advent devotional sounds wonderful, too!


  7. I think that book would hit a little too close to home for me. My step-daughter died of a Fentanyl laced heroin overdose in February of 2015. She was 22. I skirt the outside of sadness at Christmas but I don’t venture too far into it because it’s too hard to get back out.


    1. Oh, Kara, I’m so sad to learn that this is part of your story. It’s one thing to read and write ABOUT something so deeply tragic, but you’ve been there, and your comment startles me into an awareness that lament is not something for us to casually mess around with. Especially at Christmas time.


  8. I hope you share your kitchen remodel! I am not good at living in the chaos of renovation, which has happened a lot since we moved into our new to us house three years ago. The bathrooms are our last big project and I keep procrastinating starting their update, for that very reason.


  9. The book sounds like a great read. The quote reminds me of times when the heart was broken and has taken some years to mend, but wonder if they really do ever, but we humans persevere. I like the quote as it reminds of someone coming out of the fire and seeing reality of what is most important.


  10. I am a big advocate for embracing the joy with the sorrow. Christmas is full of both for many. Nice to have you back blogging. Wow, a kitchen renovation at the Holidays. That sounds like something I would do. Please share the finished product. Blessings, Maree

    Thank you for sharing with Grace & Truth Christian Link-Up. I love hearing about the books you read and what you are up to.


    1. Oh, timing is everything right?
      If I ever have to do this again (and I hope I don’t!), it’s going to be mid-summer, and I’m going to be living outside in a tent and cooking on the Coleman stove for the duration!


  11. It’s all Under Control sounds so good. I am praying for your kitchen reno, what a huge undertaking. I also love your reminder of why Jesus was sent to be born!


  12. Your neighbor at Coffee for your Heart link up. I love Cynthia Heald’s studies, I am pretty sure that I have done everyone available. Are you enjoying it? Her books/studies are excellent! Thank you for sharing about Wounded in Spirit, it sounds good!


  13. The book sounds very good. Historically, the church I belong to has never done much to celebrate Advent, so this is a whole new concept to me. But I like the idea of taking time to be intentional about celebrating the birth and first coming of Jesus in meaningful ways.


    1. I first started to observe Advent when my kids were young. It was such a relief to be “given permission” to spread the teaching as well as the fun out over the whole month of December!


  14. Sounds like you had a wonderful month! So many blessings and fun events. Thanks for sharing. Your Bible study sounds so interesting – both the one you just completed and the study of Judges! (that would be a new one for me!) How fun to be able to “pull off” being the Shrek donkey!!:)


  15. The best family moments are the ones that never get captured on camera – you’re too busy living the moment to care about looking back on an actual photo. I love it! #GlobalBlogging


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