Story, Value, and Becoming More Real
Cutivating Autumn Rose - Image (c) Lancia E. Smith
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Welcome to Cultivating Autumn 2018

September 22, 2018

Lancia E. Smith

In the blink of an eye it seems, Summer has come and gone, and Autumn has swept right into view. Already the leaves are beginning their annual dance of colour and descending. Our thoughts are turning to gathering in, bringing out recipes for cooler nights, and perhaps finding some of our warmer clothes. As familiar rhythms of books and study, cleaning up yards in preparation for colder times, savouring the last of the warm days, and the season of hospitality opens its doors, let us welcome beautiful Autumn – the beloved season!

In this Autumn issue, you will get to explore a new feast of offerings from The Cultivating Project writers and be introduced to some new team members.  In keeping with our earlier issues, you will find new essays, images, songs, poetry, and video. Poet Malcolm Guite graces us with his benediction for Autumn especially written for Cultivating. 

In READ, we are blessed with a bundle of new works for Cultivating readers! K.C. Ireton gives us two beautiful pieces; one a reflection on Goodness and Grief, and two a delightful piece about good soil and Sarah Clarkson’s new book, Book Girl. Matthew Clark blesses us twice with his piece Who Was I Before I Met You, and with the creation of a song that is particularly dear to me – A Song for Lancia ~ This is the Work.  In Embracing the Seasons In SeasonKris Camealy, shares with us about being present in the seasons we are actually in. Sadie Miller, brings us a second installment of Encouragement for Young Writers, focusing on Time Management. As writers, we all need to master that! Ashlee Cowles gives us two beautiful pieces also this issue: Pleasant Inns Along the Way and Surrendering to the Story. Both are rich and full of wonder. The Cultivating Project’s International Correspondent, Pahtyana Moore, recounts a story about welcome and hospitality in Beckoning Autumn that is as inspiring as it is endearing. Adding to our Cultivating house, it is my very special pleasure to be introducing Roy Salmond to Cultivating as one of our new team members. I’ve loved Roy’s blog for years and it is an honour indeed to have him join us. Don’t miss his piece True Art Loves! And Jordan Durbin, also new to Cultivating, brings us a delicious read – Homegrown Beauty. And we are delighted to welcome Matthew Cyr to The Cultivating Project also this season! 

On our SEE page, we’ve presented you with a gorgeous Cultivating gallery slideshow for Autumn, and a bundle of recommendations of good films, galleries, and events to take in. 

On LISTEN, as we have before, we give you the soundtrack for the season – Cultivating Autumn Playlist on Spotify ~ happy listening! Then we offer you a beautiful cluster of music to discover and an event you won’t want to miss. We’ve added a podcast of my talk about Overcoming the Darkness in the life of Creatives given at the Anselm Society’s Annual Artist Retreat. 

On our TASTE page, Jordan Durbin gives us the recipe for Harvest Pie and Pahtyana Moore gives us her recipe for Moroccan Sweet Potato and Squash Stew. Both are delicious! More recipes will be sprinkled into this issue in the weeks ahead, including my own for Lancia’s Beloved Chicken Soup and for Strong Man Stew! That should keep us well fed on cool nights curled with all the good books pouring out this Autumn into our laps.

In PRACTICE, Cultivating brings you three new interviews with remarkable writers living out their faith and practicing their respective crafts . I am delighted to share our interview with Sarah Clarkson, author of Book Girl. We discuss Book Girl, the reading life, and creating space to flourish. It is also my special joy to announce that Sarah has joined The Cultivating Project!  In a bounty of riches, Cultivating is honoured to have Karen Swallow Prior with us in an interview about her new book – On Reading Well, where we discuss the vital importance of deep reading and what it means to live the good life. And to complete this set of discussions, Cultivating welcomes David Jack in an interview about his work translating the Scottish Novels of George MacDonald, making those glorious works accessible to a whole new generation of readers. Cultivating readers can look forward to an in-depth interview David in the Cultivating Winter issue this year exploring George MacDonald’s work and influence and to a give-away of at least two of these new translations. 

And finally, in GO – we’ve shared three remarkable events with you we want you to know about. The Rabbit Room’s famed annual gathering Hutchmoot is happening October 4-8 in Nashville and is a singular annual event among believing artists and writers. Then the Anselm Society hosts our event of the season – C.S. Lewis scholar Andrew Lazo at Glen Eyrie. The event is sold out but live streaming will be available! And we follow all this up with an extraordinary event at Laity Lodge – Bruce Herman, Malcolm Guite, and JAC Redford’s world premiere of Ordinary Saints. 

As we enter into this season of changing colours and cooling temperatures, I pray for each of you to be blessed with the taste of God’s goodness exactly in the season that you are. There is so much good to cultivate and so many who need the gift of your hospitality. May you find yourself blessed with the gift of God’s mighty company with you each day and may He give you courage to create the beauty He planted in you from the beginning when He first thought of you. May you flourish! 

Many thanks to each generous Cultivating contributor who make The Cultivating Project live. It is a joy and honour to serve with each of you! You are the most remarkable team! Amy, K.C., Ashlee, Brian, Matthew, Kris, Sadie, Adam, Pahtyana, Roy, Jordan, Sarah, Jon Collin, and Malcolm: may your blessings be many and may you grow ever more fruitful.  

A hearty and very special thanks goes to Jon Collin McMinn for his faithful labour in bringing this issue into functional visibility and for his long-standing friendship. You truly are Gandalf coming over the ridge at Helms Deep. 

Happy reading, friends! May your Autumn be full of wonder, encouragement, and clear vision!

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  1. It was such a pleasure to be involved in releasing this season’s edition of Cultivating 🙂 May all who read these words feel the same sense of comfort & belonging that I do!

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