Resources for Christians

If you’re a communicator for Christ, as I am, you can find Writing Resources with Christian poets, writers, and pastors in mind on my website.

In addition, I hope you’ll follow these blogs, which I maintain as often as family, church, and book-writing commitments allow:

Bible Prayers
Bible Reviewer
Mary Sayler (in lieu of this site)
Poetry Editor & Poetry
Praise Poems (many of which have been compiled in the book PRAISE! and the forthcoming chapbook, WE: the people under God.)
What the Bible Says About Love

May God bless you and your good work in Christ.

Mary Harwell Sayler, (c) 2017

 

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What’s new? Aahcoo!

When discussing poetry, I usually post on the Poetry Editor & Poetry blog then “share” here, but this time is different. This time I’ll reverse that process to introduce you to a new form of poetry invented this week: the aahcoo.

aah + COO

If that sounds somewhat like “haiku” with missing consonants, fine. I’m happy to make a connection with that ever-popular form of syllabic verse, which has 3 lines of  5/7/5 syllables on each respective line. Also, haiku includes a little “aah” moment worth commemorating, but the quick stroke of its colorful brush concentrates on a season and nature scene. For example:

The sun and wind flash
neon fish upon the pond –
cold swim, bright shining.

Mary Harwell Sayler, © 2012 from my poetry book Living in the Nature Poem published by Hiraeth Press

Similarly senyru, which I only learned about recently, utilizes the same basic form as haiku but focuses on human nature with a twist of irony or a touch of humor. For example, I wrote the following to lament changes in once-tight skin:

Layers and layers
of crepe paper cover all
parts of her old bod.

What I’ve been looking for, however, is a form devoted exclusively to God and those little epiphanies or “Aah!” moments we sometimes have as we read the Bible, pray, or talk with Christian friends.

In making an auditory connection with haiku, “coo” came to my ear and mind, adding the connotation of a sound made by a dove. Since that sweet bird happens to be a biblical symbol for the Holy Spirit, a coo ideally suggests a poem with inspired lines or spiritual epiphany.

Having never before invented a new form of poetry, I’m unaware of any poetic protocol. All I knew was that poets have asked me about forms of micropoetry exclusively devoted to a Christian perspective, and I didn’t know of any. When I found nothing in an Internet search, I decided to do another search of various combinations of relevant prefixes and suffixes, most of which seemed to be taken except “aahcoo.” Since I liked it best anyway, a new poetry form came into being for us to pray with, play with, and write in love of God.

To define:

  • Aahcoo is a God-centered epiphany, insight, or praise in a highly flexible syllabic verse form.
  • The syllabic count must not be less than 3 syllables per line but no more than 7.
  • The syllabic count can vary from line to line.
  • The line count can be a minimum of 3 lines, a maximum of 7 lines, or a number in between.
  • The poem must mention or suggest God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit.)
  • The poem must encourage, inspire, or refresh readers.

Remember, we’re in this together. You’ve never written an aahcoo, and neither have I, so we’re starting at the same point. If you love the idea of our having a unique form, then whenever you post your aahcoo, add a hashtag, so we can find one another under #aahcoo!

Meanwhile, I looked over prior minipoems or micropoetry in my files and saw that a little tweaking brought forth the following 3 examples. The first is a haiku I’d written that wasn’t really haiku since the season could be any time of year, but we can now officially declare it an aahcoo!

Praise God – Producer
of sunsets, draping our home
in pink ribbons.

That praise poem followed a traditional 5/7/5 division of the 3 lines, which haiku, senyru, and aahcoo can do, but with the latter you have other options. In this praise poem, for example, the syllabic count is 4/4/5/4/6.

Praise Christ our Peace
bypassing all
misunderstanding –
the Great Shalom
in Whom we find our home.

Unlike the first example, my second praise poem includes a slight sound echo and a light reference to the “peace that passes all understanding,” found in Jesus Christ.

Besides the inclusion of a title, my last example of aahcoo’s versatility alludes to another biblical reference, reminding us when Jesus told Peter to “Feed my sheep.” As the Lord’s emissaries, disciples, and poets today, we, too, can encourage one another to tend the people of God – in aahcoos and anything else we write.

The Message

I told you so
you could hear
The Word,
take a turn
feeding our
Father’s sheep,
send out
a rescue squad.

by Mary Harwell Sayer, © 2016

 

 

 

 

 

Christian poets, writers, and ministry gifts

My decision to write a new post today came about as one godly thing led to another and another, which then led me!

First, God led some members of our Christian Poets and Writers group on Facebook to remind us this morning how our lives in Christ have a purpose and how God has a plan for each of us.

Another member said this is National Suicide Prevention Week, which connects with the theme of God’s plan and purpose, too, in that people who consider taking their own lives usually can see no plan, no purpose, and no reason for living.

Another member, whose post has been highlighted today on the Christian Poets & Writers blog, gave suggestions about ways to hear God’s word to us and, therefore, become more aware of a divine plan for our lives.

In addition to those leading factors, the reading for my next Bible Study group discusses the gifts of the Holy Spirit listed in 1 Corinthians 12 – gifts that inform, edify, and guide our Christian writing lives.

If you have no idea what ministry gifts you have, type “Ministry Gifts test” in the search box on the Internet, and you’ll get a variety of sites to visit. After you have responded to each question, you’ll get an assessment of your gifts, along with their ranking. That’s important to know because, unlike natural God-given talents, which might be used for your own pleasure and enjoyment, your ministry gifts have been given to you to help uplift and strengthen the church.

That needs highlighting:

The Holy Spirit gives each of us ministry gifts to build up, nurture, and encourage the whole Body of Christ.

You’ll want to do that locally, of course, as you serve and minister to your church family, but as a poet or writer, your ministry gifts will help to guide the type of writing you’re meant to do.

For example, if the Lord has given you a gift of teaching, you might be led to write nonfiction books, articles, or Bible study guides.

If God has given you a gift of encouragement and empathy for others, writing spiritual poems, devotionals, and children’s books could be just right for you. Or, perhaps, you’ll show loving relationships, realistically, in a novel.

Regardless of your ministry gift and writing talent, these tips might help too:

• Believe God’s promise to you of gifts from the Holy Spirit. (See 1 Cor. 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4.)

• Pray for God to reveal your gifts and God’s unique plan for you.

• Expectantly await the results!

• Let the Bible, that “inner knowing” given to you by the Holy Spirit, and, often, the affirmation of Christian friends, lead you into God’s plan and purpose for you and your writing life in Christ.

© 2015, Mary Harwell Sayler. If you need prayer about this, post your request in the Comments below. If you need a fresh perspective or professional feedback on your poems, children’s picture books, devotionals, or book proposals for a minimal fee, visit the Critique & Contact page of Mary’s website.

Living in Eternity

The Escape
by Mary Harwell Sayler

Day after day I think of death
descending on us
like that fish hawk on the pond,
the dark wings
towering through each window
of our house and settling
on the sofa
where we like to rest.

Some call death
an osprey, kindly and benign
with its sweet brown and white
seersucker breast and tail,
but they forget
the downward hook of the beak,
the prickly spicules on the feet,
the claws that claw through the
thickest cushions, letting nothing,
nothing
get away but

love and spirit.

©2015, ©2012, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved. “The Escape” first saw print in the Journey’s End anthology then was included in the poetry book, Living in the Nature Poem, published by Hiraeth Press.

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