Living by Faith (Blog Series): Talking with Writer Kami Lingren 

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Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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I met Kami on Instagram, and instantly connected to the beauty of her words; we have become fast friends. The grace she flows in as she heals from a chronic illness is incredibly inspiring. Her social media feeds and blog are daily reminders to walk and live in gratitude for the beauty around us. She has such a heart for people, and cultivating community. I am sure you will enjoy the courageous honesty and depth she shares with us about her faith journey.

Kami Lingren, Writer and Blogger

Everyone of us must discover faith for ourselves. When did it move from religion to relationship for you?

As a child I always believed that God was my friend. I would talk to him all the time, about the silly things and about my dreams. I thought of him as kind and loving, but yet my ever-conservative Christian church’s theology would sometimes clash with this deeply spiritual connection I felt to him.

As a born planner, I was drawn to structure. So growing up in an environment littered with rules and expectations I found myself following along. First to respect the rules, and second because I thought that must be how you get closer to God. But the harder I tried to stay within the lines while also feeling pulled to be a compassionate and loving human, the more I struggled with anxiety over my faith. I felt I would never fully be “enough”.

Throughout these past few years of facing severe health challenges God’s felt more distant. The harder I tried to find him in the ways I had before, the further he would feel. So since my old ways of experiencing God and faith was causing more grief, shame and frustration than healing and comfort, I began giving myself space to wrestle. I started asking a lot of really hard, honest questions.

And in the midst of living the hell-on-earth experience it’s been as I’ve fought for healing – and very literally, my life – I’ve longed for something more. Something deeper. Something less by-the-book and more authentically connected to who I believe God is. And how I want to live in reflection of that.

For me, my relationship with God looks different than it ever has. And I’m okay with that. I’m still wrestling. Wrestling with what I believe about God and how this new faith journey will unfold for me. 

But what keeps me pressing onward is this realm of peace I’ve encountered in the unknown. Something that I never fully had in “I’ve figured this out” land. For now my heart holds on to an image of God and I hand-in-hand, him gently listening while together we move forward. And that is a journey – and relationship – I can comfortably embrace.

Photo Credit: Daiga Ellaby

Before sharing your journey of faith with readers, how do you prepare – prayer, meditation, worship music, etc.? How have these practices grown you in both your walk with God and the craft of writing?

I think one of the most effective ways I fill up before sharing my journey with readers is taking in nature. Whether that’s gazing at the hills while taking my dog out for a break or going for a drive with my husband, I try to soak in the moment. I take in the colors, the hills, the horizon and I try to quiet my mind.

Meditation is newer for me, but I’ve been trying to do it once daily. I love it so much! It’s incredibly soul-healing and calming. I now believe it’s something our bodies desperately need – and crave – if we’re really paying attention. It’s not easy to quiet the mind or be still when you’ve adopted an idea that being productive means you have to be active. (Ahem, hand raised.)

Photo Credit: Arkady Lifshits

My health challenges have stretched me a lot in this idea of resting versus resting well. So these practices encourage me to carve out time for restorative rest. The kind that leads to deeper healing, inspiration, and even connection with God.

How do you hear God speaking to you in daily life?

With how my spiritual journey has changed, I am recognizing God more – and more deeply – in the small things. In the beauty of a neighbor’s flowers. The playfulness of my dog. I feel his love in the embrace of my husband on a really hard health day. I hear him speaking to me in the kindness of a friend. I experience his goodness through words of truth or encouragement or the creativity of someone else.

And I see his words and character in action in advocacy for justice, attitudes of inclusion, hearts that embrace others that may be different than them. For me it’s become a practice of mine to look for him outside of the ordinary. In recognizing he is present in even what’s deemed ‘the mundane’ I’m discovering that he can be found/heard beyond our preconceived boundaries.

What advice do you have for readers who want to deepen their relationship with God but feel overwhelmed or intimidated by it all?

If I could, I’d love to sit down with you in some cozy chairs together at a coffee bar. We’d sip our drinks and I’d gently share these words with you: embrace grace in your journey, friend. In your seeking, give yourself space to be human. In your questioning, allow yourself to sit with any unknowns you encounter.

And for the moments you ever feel overwhelmed with doubt or frustration? Girl, give yourself permission to sit in the uncomfortable and recognize it’s all part of the process…of just about everything!

Our relationship with God isn’t going to look the same for any one of us and there is comfort in accepting the reality that that’s okay.

Keep up with Kami:

Blog: http://www.livinggraceblog.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/kamilingren19

Twitter: http://twitter.com/livinggraceblog

Instagram: http://instagram.com/kamichristina

Inspiration For Your Ears & Soul: From Valerie June to Writer Roxane Gay & Women Creating Change  

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Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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In honor of Women’s History month, I would like to highlight even more amazing women artists and change makers as part of this regular series, starting with singer Valerie June.

I discovered her work a few years ago – what a sound! Her latest album, The Order of Time, is beautiful. Workin’ Women Blues and Somebody to Love are always on repeat.

From Standing Rock to Oakland, CA women organizers are standing up and creating change.

Loving this article about great books for creatives to read.

Roxane Gay is such a phenomenal writer. I started Difficult Women yesterday, and the richness of these short stories…


Have you seen her TED talk on feminism and embracing all of the diverse ideas about what this means for all kinds of women with varied experiences?

The podcast Don’t Keep Your Day Job is always full of wisdom. Check out some of the latest episodes here – including a recent conversation with fashion designer Susan Lazar on unlocking our potential.

Nina Simone lived from her truth, and she had a deep desire to create change. I am always empowered listening to her speak. This clip, about the beauty of celebrating blackness, is timeless!

These young women are organizing to impact their communities, one day at a time.

Viola Davis reminds us all that every voice and experience matters.  And of course, we must never underestimate the power of imagination.

Monday Motivation Moment: Nothing Moves Until You Do 

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Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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The key to transforming all those what ifs floating around in your mind is both simple, and for many of us, difficult – taking action. Technology makes it easy to collect all this knowledge and sit on it. How many e-books, webinars, videos and online seminars have you attended? If you’re like me, a ton!

But at some point, y’all, if we want change, as desperately as we say, movement is essential. Without it, absolutely nothing gets done. Even faith is interconnected  with steps we take toward transforming our circumstances. 

Almost four years ago, I sat across from a woman I admire greatly, as I lamented  my current situation, sighs and all, she locked eyes with me and asked a question which transformed it all – “Do you have a plan? Because ‘being sick of it’ won’t change a thing.” I heard her, definitively, in that moment. As I walked back to the office in silence, I held on to an unshakable joy.

Over dinner my husband and I mapped out a clear plan. Within hours I transcended this block of seeming impossibility by taking action.

And you can, too. I believe in your potential. Refuse to leave this world adrift in a sea of what ifs, content to wonder, satisfied with being just close enough to your dreams, but not quite living them. You’re too brilliant to bury yourself at 25, 30 or 40 in mediocrity.

Four Steps to Help You Transform Frustration Into Movement:

Clarity: Develop a clear understanding exactly what you want to change. Is it a job, improved relationships, more skills in one area? Great! Understanding this fully is essential to your plan.

Focus: Now that you are clear, develo a laser focus on what you want to change. Eliminate distractions as much as possible. Give up that hour of TV to spend time in deep thought. This is where I pray and meditate, and ask God for direction.

Map It Out: Sit down with your journal, iPad or Kindle and break it down –
Goal (s) (changes you want to see)

Strategies (action steps needed to make the change possible) – Give yourself a time table to work with – 30 days, 60 days or 90 days.

Do Your Thang!: Every step is getting you closer to your goal so take consistent action towards your larger goal or goals daily.

P.S.

I just downloaded this amazing book by Mark Batterson, If: Trading Your If Only Regrets for God’s What If Possibilities, thanks to a recommendation from my Instagram friend, writer / clarity coach Tiffany Huff!

And it’s full of gems. One of my favorite quotes so far:

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness—you are more blessed than the millions who will not survive this week. If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation—you are better off than five hundred million people in the world.

If you can attend a church meeting, or not attend one, without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death—you are more blessed than three billion people in the world. If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep—you are richer thhan 75 percent of this world.

If you have money in the bank or in your wallet, or spare change in a dish someplace—you rank among the top 8 percent of the world’s wealthy. If you can read this book—you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all. So count your blessings and remind everyone else how blessed we all are!