Writing is my first love. But travel is a close second.
Amalfi Coast, Italy, 2014

Blog Posts About Writing

Little Things Matter: A Story of Suffering, Survival, and Legacy

By Beauty, Life In The Body, WritingNo Comments

When Barry Annino set out to write a book on life after a terminal diagnosis, his wife, Debora, embarked on her own writing journey. Their new memoir chronicles their experience in “suffering, survival and legacy” from their two very different perspectives. In this Q&A, Debora (seen below with one of the girls whose lives she is working to improve) shares insights about keeping the faith during her own recent battle with breast cancer and the steps she’s taking to continue her journey of writing and service through the Little Things Matter Foundation. Debora, you wrote this book after your husband’s diagnosis with a terminal illness. What was your original intention behind it? Writing about suffering was never my original plan. Before Barry was diagnosed with Stage IV liver cancer, I was writing about my journey along El Camino de Santiago, the ancient route of pilgrims and seekers across Northern Spain….

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Why Write?

By Arts, Beauty, Books, Writing3 Comments

Why Write? Back before I’d ever published anything, I used to think about all the books in the Library of Congress or even just look at all the books on the market. And I’d think, “Do we really need another novel?” “Why yet another book on marriage,” or “Why would someone want to publish another Bible study on Sermon on the Mount?” What I came to know years later was that each author has a unique perspective on his or her own era. It was said of the men from Issachar that they “understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chron. 12:32). Each author also has a unique sphere of influence, which provides a platform through which some readers are more apt to hear from that author than from others—even if the others are more eloquent. So, there will always be a need for more books, new…

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Layer Your Literacy

By Arts, Beauty, Writing2 Comments

On writing This piece was first published at Fathommag.com. My earliest memories include visions of my mother reading to me as I sat on her lap. Once I would memorize a story, she’d tease me as moms often do with their repetition-loving youngsters. She’d change one word and wait for me to object.   When I grew a little bigger, Mom read to my little sister and me nightly from her chair next to our bunk beds. One of the books she read was Winnie-the-Pooh. I still have my original copy of A.A. Milne’s masterpiece. It’s in a state of disrepair, but I prefer it that way. Like the velveteen rabbit whose realness increased as his “skin” grew threadbare, the my Pooh book also grew more real with wear. And upon reaching adulthood, I smiled when I re-read the story, as I caught entirely new layers of meaning. White had written a…

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On Narratives and Central Propositions

By Arts, Beauty, Books, WritingNo Comments

Someone asked me this question recently: “Do authors (of classic literature, broadly, and the Bible, specifically) have an agenda/thesis/big idea/etc. in mind before/when they write? Or do they start writing and let an agenda emerge?” And I said I think it depends on the genre. If someone picked up a modern hymn book and tried to find a thesis, they’d be hard pressed to do so. Yet they would find a certain organization. I think the same is true with the Psalms. The psalms are a collection. Same with Proverbs. People look for outlines and central ideas on those books and…nada. That may even be the case with Song of Songs. For sure I think those who see a beginning-middle-end structure to Song of Solomon are pressing a later Greek storytelling structure on a 10th-century-BC book that was more likely chiastic if there is actually even a story to it. I…

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Seminary Online: Isn’t That an Oxymoron?

By Life In The Body, WritingNo Comments

I confess, I’m a slow convert to distance education. But I’m coming around. My reservations have stemmed from my commitment to embodiment. Genesis starts with God’s dignifiying of physicality in the first chapter, and that theme runs clear through the Incarnation to the bodily resurrection. Isn’t our faith unique in its appreciation for physical presence? And if that’s the case, how can any kind of decent education happen without embodiment? How can people possibly learn about our God without engaging five senses in the content? Doesn’t the Eucharist include taste, touch, smell, sight, and sound? As does baptism. How can somebody grow in Christ without the senses? Yet, as I said, I’m coming around…. Of course, I still believe face-to-face is best. After all, the elder John wrote, “Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you,…

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Fathom Magazine interview w/ me about Vixens

By Arts, Blog Interviews With Writers, Books, Gender & Faith, Life In The Body, Women, WritingNo Comments

This interview with me ran in the latest issue of Fathom Magazine.  Today we’re happy to have as our guest Dr. Sandra Glahn. Sandi earned her ThM at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) and her PhD at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) in Humanities–Aesthetic Studies. A professor in the Media Arts and Worship department at DTS, she teaches courses in writing, medieval art/spirituality, gender, and sexual ethics. She is the author of more than twenty books, including the Coffee Cup Bible Study series. But today we want to talk with her about her latest book Vindicating the Vixens: Revisiting the Sexualized, Vilified, Marginalized Women of the Bible (Kregel Academic), which just came out. Tell us about Vindicating the Vixens. Vindicating the Vixens has been on my heart and mind for more than a decade. As I studied history and cultural backgrounds at the doctoral level, I ended up revisiting some…

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Interview with a Charlotte Pastor/Author

By Arts, Beauty, Justice, Life In The Body, WritingNo Comments

I’m happy to have as my guest today pastor/author Winn Collier, whose writing I love. His latest project is an epistolary novel—that is, a story told through the medium of letters written by one or more of the characters. It’s titled Love Big, Be Well: Letters to a Small-Town Church. SG: Did you have in mind any specific congregations as you wrote? Winn: I carried all the people and churches I’ve been part of my entire life. And of course, All Souls Charlottesville, the people I serve now, is so interwoven with my life that they are always with me. SG: Charlottesville has been at the epicenter of America’s culture wars in recent months. How has your church continued to be a voice of hope in the midst of such toxic events? Winn: The Klan rally in July, then the Alt-right rally in August, were horrific. I’ve never encountered such…

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Vindicating the Vixens

By Gender & Faith, Women, WritingOne Comment

On March 23 at DTS, I moderated a panel discussion with Dr. Glenn Kreider, Sarah Bowler, Sharifa Stevens, Dr. Timothy Ralston, and Karla Zazueta about women in the Bible whom we have either vilified or marginalized. Vindicating the Vixens (Kregel Academic, forthcoming) is the result of a diverse team of 16 male and female theologians who’ve partnered to take a second look at vilified and marginalized women in the Bible, and we got some of the contributors in Dallas together to talk about our findings. The church has often viewed women’s stories through sexist eyes, resulting in a range of distortions. In this panel discussion, three of us DTS profs and three graduates talk about the women we explored. Order Vindicating the Vixens.

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Hillary’s Not the Only Woman to Make History

By Women, Writing2 Comments

Want a summer read that’s part adventure story, part biography, part introduction to biblical manuscripts, part historical drama, and part faith journey? If yes, check out Janet Soskice’s The Sisters of Sinai. The main characters are identical twins Agnes and Margaret Smith of Scotland. Their travels lead, among other places, to St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai. There Agnes discovered one of the oldest manuscripts of the Gospels ever found. The sisters’ staunch Presbyterian father, widowed shortly after their births in 1843, raised his girls as one might raise boys in the Victorian era—educated, physically active, and engaged in the life of the mind. And he kept a promise that whenever his daughters learned a language, he would take them to where that language was spoken. Because the twins loved to travel, early on they mastered French, German, Spanish, and Italian. Their deep interest in the Bible and its languages…

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Sampling of Book Titles Inspired by Bible Verses

By Arts, Books, WritingOne Comment

My dissertation supervisor told me that the Bible and Shakespeare were the two most-used sources for book titles. How many of these biblical phrases do you recognize? Absalom, Absalom!                William Faulkner        2 Samuel 19:4 An Acceptable Time               Madeleine L’Engle      Psalms 66:13 A Time to Kill                         John Grisham            Ecclesiastes 3:3 Behold the Man                      Michael Moorcock       John 19:5 Butter In a Lordly Dish            Agatha Christie        Judges 5:25 I Sat Down and Wept             Elizabeth Smart          Psalm 137:1 Clouds of Witness                   Dorothy L. Sayers        Hebrews 12:1 Consider the Lilies                  Iain Crichton Smith    Matthew 6:28 East of Eden                            John Steinbeck            Genesis 4:16 Fear and Trembling              Søren Kierkegaard    Philippians 2:12 The Golden Bowl                    Henry James      …

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Restore My Soul: A Coloring Book Devotional Journey

By Arts, Books, WritingOne Comment

A couple years ago, my employer sent me to the Frankfurt Book Fair to spot trends. We want to prepare our students for what’s coming, not what’s been. Frankfurt is the largest book fair in the world, so I spent hours walking the aisles, talking to venders, and scoping out products. And I came home with a couple of coloring books for adults. I had never heard of such a thing! It was like paint by number only using colored pencils instead of paint—and without the numbers. I got to choose what colors I liked best. And sure enough, now they’re everywhere, these books. And my friend Ann-Margret Hovsepian has created a nice one especially for helping us think about what matters. She includes a devotional thought with a verse opposite each coloring page. And the pages are thick enough that I could use a small magic marker without having it bleed through. Even non-artists…

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Art Saves Lives

By Arts, Books, Justice, WritingNo Comments

I just finished reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. The student who brought me the book to read also told me I must listen to an interview in Brainpickings with Gaiman. In it the author tells this story of his 97-year-old cousin, Helen, a Polish Holocaust survivor: “She started telling me this story of how, in the ghetto, they were not allowed books. If you had a book … the Nazis could put a gun to your head and pull the trigger—books were forbidden. And she used to teach under the pretense of having a sewing class… a class of about twenty little girls, and they would come in for about an hour a day, and she would teach them maths, she’d teach them Polish, she’d teach them grammar…. “One day, somebody slipped her a Polish translation of Margaret Mitchell’s novel Gone with the…

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