Philip Gulley

Philip Gulley was the keynote speaker at the first Midwest Writers Workshop I attended. In fact, he’s a large part of the reason I went. I was just starting to do some writing—short, 350-word essays in my church bulletin—and Mom read about the conference and saw that he was speaking. She and I both already ...

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IMG_2291a-200x300-Phil-GulleyPhilip Gulley was the keynote speaker at the first Midwest Writers Workshop I attended. In fact, he’s a large part of the reason I went. I was just starting to do some writing—short, 350-word essays in my church bulletin—and Mom read about the conference and saw that he was speaking. She and I both already loved his writing and had attended a reading near my hometown not long before. Also, my dad knew Phil, who had stopped at his studio a few times when he passed through the area. Anyway, Mom thought I should go to the workshop.

So I did. And, truly, it’s what launched me down this path towards writing a book. I don’t have time right now to go into all the wonderful things that came from that. But if you ever want to meet me for lunch, I’ll tell you all about it.

But in an indirect way, I feel like this great blurb is one of the many wonderful things to come from that experience. Here is what he wrote:

It requires no spiritual sensitivity to see God at work in a miracle, but to see God work in the everyday circumstances of our lives is another matter. Praying Upside Down gives us eyes to see and ears to hear the Divine Presence in the ordinariness of life. A spiritual primer on practicing the presence of God.

PHILIP GULLEY
Quaker pastor and author

He’s written too many books to list them all here (19, I think) but you can find them at any bookstore, in person or online. His newest Hope series book comes out in September. He writes essays filled with humor and life lessons, fiction about small-town living, and books of progressive Christian theology and faith. I love them all. And to tell you the truth, one of the reasons I treasure this endorsement is because he’s a Quaker pastor. I’ve always believed that Christians should look for common ground rather than paying attention to the practices and beliefs that are different, so it means the world to me to have someone from a very different faith tradition than mine find value in my book. I’m honored and humbled and grateful. He’s summed up my deepest desire: Eyes to see and ears to hear the Divine Presence in my life.

Oh, how I want that. And oh, how I pray that my words could—in some small way—help others find that too. Please, Lord. Amen.


PRAYING UPSIDE DOWN: A creative prayer experience to transform your time with God is coming from Tyndale Momentum in May 2015 and is currently available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million and CBD. Other sites will be available soon.

Emily Freeman

When I first saw Emily Freeman’s A Million Little Ways on a table at Barnes and Noble, I had a little moment. And not a good one. OK, I was consumed with jealousy. I started reading how to “uncover the art you were made to live,” absolutely convinced that she’d already written my book—or at ...

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9780800722449_p0_v2_s260x420When I first saw Emily Freeman’s A Million Little Ways on a table at Barnes and Noble, I had a little moment. And not a good one. OK, I was consumed with jealousy. I started reading how to “uncover the art you were made to live,” absolutely convinced that she’d already written my book—or at least one close enough to mine that we were stepping on each other’s toes—and hers came out first. But then I sat down at a table with some coffee and kept reading, discovering that we wrote very different books. Hers is about discovering the artist inside you, whatever it is that you do. About seeing the imprint of God in our lives. About approaching life’s canvas with wonder and hope. About discovering the art in our lives.

Yet there was some kind of intangible underlying thread between our books. Or at least I’d like to think so, because Emily writes beautifully and thoughtfully about faith and life, creativity, grace, and silence. The more I read of her writing, the more enamored I become.

So you can imagine how delighted I was when she agreed to write an endorsement. And even more delighted once I read it:

In her book, Praying Upside Down, Kelly O’Dell Stanley brings something entirely new for the soul to consider: What can the elements of art teach us about faith, prayer, and God? Through personal stories on family, grief, and vocation, Kelly doesn’t introduce a new kind of praying as much as a new kind of seeing, which is what my faith really needs. This is unlike any book on prayer I’ve ever read.

EMILY FREEMAN
Author of A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live

Do yourself a favor and subscribe to her blog, Chatting at the Sky. She’ll send you emails about letting your soul breathe. About the beauty in the ordinary. And while you wait for her next book, Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World, which releases in August, check out A Million Little Ways and Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life.

A blurb from Elizabeth Berg!

I finally have all of my endorsements for my book and can share them! Let me tell you, I felt tons of anxiety knowing that my words were being read by some really incredible authors. And I was blown away by the positive, kind responses. I’m going to share them with you, one at a ...

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I finally have all of my endorsements for my book and can share them! Let me tell you, I felt tons of anxiety knowing that my words were being read by some really incredible authors. And I was blown away by the positive, kind responses. I’m going to share them with you, one at a time, over the next few weeks (along with links or info about each author). I’d love for you to check out their work, if you’re not already familiar with it—spread the love!

So this is what the amazing, talented, and lovely Elizabeth Berg had to say…

Like the books of Anne Lamott, so full of honest and soulful searching, Kelly Stanley’s Praying Upside Down takes as its launch pad the precepts of the Christian faith. But what is offered here can apply to anyone, regardless of their faith—or lack thereof. What this book does is offer ways to learn and practice a humble kind of self-inventory, leading to forgiveness and generosity toward others as well as toward oneself. I found Kelly’s spiritual journey compelling and her voice clear, engaging, and irresistible.

ELIZABETH BERG
Author of The Handmaid and the Carpenter and The Dream Lover

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 1.23.23 PMAs if I didn’t already absolutely love and adore Elizabeth, she compared my book to the one person I’ve always thought of as my “if I could write like anybody who writes about faith” person. Elizabeth taught the writers workshop I attended in Positano, Italy, a couple years ago. In her intuitive, perceptive way, she helped me face head-on the grief I was feeling and encouraged me to let my writing come from that place. And she was so right. Someday I’ll write more on my blog about that experience, but you can read that essay here.

Elizabeth’s next book, The Dream Lover, is going to be amazing, according to all that I’ve heard so far—and the short excerpt I got to hear her read—and it comes out April 14. You can read about and pre-order here.

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