January 16

The fullness of love, boundless and wild, awaits our participation.

The image from 2020 reminds me of a poem called “Gusty Grace” that I wrote in 2019 during a Grünewald Guild class led by Brittany Deininger. I included the poem below the painting.

2014 – This is Isolina, a community in Peru. I have dear friends, Koky and Elizabeth, who live in Isolina with their four growing children. I remember this particular morning eight years ago. Something shifted within me and I wrote this: “Woke up this morning in peaceful Isolina… wish you all could experience the joy and sorrow, beauty and struggle in this place.”


2016 – Below is a Lenten coloring image inspired by the journey of opening our eyes, ears, hands, hearts and lives to love. It’s still available for download… https://waytolead.org/project/lenten-resources-2016/.





Leftover colors
lighten Imagination.
Almost, but not quite.

Wild, Gusty Grace

It became my fall routine —

a daily slip and slide down the river’s high bank.

My trust and gratitude grew for Dogwood and Alder,

whose branches I learned to grasp

to steady my descent.

And then one day when the river was particularly low,

I sat for just a bit longer on the warm, smooth stones of the shore.

In the distant green hills,

a gust of wind created a shiver among the trees.

As it approached, it skimmed over the shallow water.

Before I knew what was happening,

the shiver came through me, too,

raising the hairs on my arms and sending tingles through my body.

Memories are like that:

rhythmic dilations of consciousness

pulsing through us in unguarded moments —

unguarded moments.

This wild grace —

such a shift in power,

such a surrendering

from within,

such a stir on our skin.


“Until we see activism as a politics of encountering the unsaid, of meeting the abject ‘other,’ of sticking with trouble, of noticing how entangled we are with a world which the language of fixture and solutionism presumes is external to us—until we see difference-making as a becoming-with, instead of a coming-through, the violence and rudeness of the familiar will hinder us from the bold and risky ‘newness’ that lingers on the edges of awareness.” —Bayo Akomolafe, These Wilds Beyond Our Fences, p. 249

“Seven Years of Wonder” is a daily look back at my creative journaling posts since 2014. I began this journey on Feb. 11, 2021, and hope to continue through Feb. 10, 2022. What am I learning about my art and faith journey thus far? What has remained constant? Where have I been changed? How is this impacting present and future art-making?

A deep bow of gratitude to you for keeping me company on this journey.

2 thoughts on “January 16

    1. vondadrees says:

      I have three, actually, four things to say in response. First, thank you so much, Dana, for your encouragement. It is a great gift to know that the posts continue to ripple inspiration. And now, here come my three thoughts about the poem: (1) Brittany Deininger is an excellent contemplative writing teacher, (2) Our class workshopped our writings together, so there was constructive, communal feedback, and (3) The experience itself, I would say, almost demanded to be written about. Again, thank you, and many blessings in your call to creative leadership!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s