Saturday, May 22, 2021

Wishing You a Joyous Pentecost!

 

An Eastern Orthodox icon of the Christian Pentecost. This is the Icon of the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. At the bottom is an allegorical figure, called Kosmos, which symbolizes the world. (Source: Wikipedia)

A re-post from the Archives as I attempt to keep up with my wonderful Brave Writer families and students in Literary Analysis: Shakespeare's Twelfth Night...

I just do not understand something. Why don't evangelical churches celebrate Pentecost? Because of COVID, we are still not yet attending church "live" but instead, I worship via Zoom with Blessed Trinity Anglican. Thus, I have no idea if this year was different and Pine Valley Community Church celebrated Pentecost during the church service. I hope so! It breaks my heart not to attend, but until we feel all clear with several of us having autoimmune challenges, I'll keep on Zooming. 


Scripture tells us that the Gift Jesus promised His disciples has arrived at Pentecost: the Holy Spirit. We read Christ's promise in the 14th chapter of the Gospel according to Saint John, beginning at the 15th verse:
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.... 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you..." (ESV).


Then on the Feast of the Pentecost, with Jerusalem filled with Jews from around the known world, Christ fulfilled his promise fifty days after His Resurrection. We read in the second chapter of The Acts of the Apostles:
2:1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, 'Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.' 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "What does this mean?" 13 But others mocking said, "They are filled with new wine” (ESV).


Peter then preaches to the astounded visitors to Jerusalem (also in the second chapter of Acts), quoting the prophecy of Joel hundreds of years past as well as passages from the Psalms of David while also relating what he and the other disciples witnessed of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection as well as the many sightings of Christ following His resurrection from the dead until His ascension to the right hand of the Living God. Peter concludes:
"32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing" (Acts 2, ESV).
And then we read the response of the crowd listening to Peter:
37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" 38 And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself." 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation." 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls" (Acts 2, ESV).


The events of this Pentecost are simply incredible, and it is from this amazing Gift of the Comforter, the Counselor, the Holy Spirit of God, that the Gospel of Christ first began to spread and the Church began to form. Why evangelical churches do not regularly celebrate Pentecost is a mystery to me. It always lands on a Sunday and thus it can be easily celebrated with Scripture readings, with praise songs and hymns about the Holy Spirit, with sermons focused on the Holy Spirit, and perhaps even with baptisms since approximately 3,000 people were baptized and added to the Church on the first Pentecost after the Resurrection in Acts 2. Pentecost is a Biblical holy day, and we can celebrate it Biblically, too, with "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with [our] heart[s]" (Ephesians 5:19, ESV).

In the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, one of the Collects (collective or public prayers) for Pentecost reads thus:

Almighty and most merciful God, grant, we beseech thee, that by the indwelling of thy Holy Spirit, we may be enlightened and strengthened for thy service ; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.
And the Book of Common Prayer 2011's Collect for Pentecost (also in the sidebar of this blog):
"O GOD, you teach the hearts of your faithful people by sending us the light of your Holy Spirit; By your Spirit, give us right judgment in all things, so that we may rejoice forever in his holy comfort; Through the victory of Christ Jesus our Savior, who lives and rules with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen." (References: John 14.26; Acts 2.1-4; Philippians 1.9-10; Acts 9.31)
The Anglican Church has an interesting name for Pentecost: Whitsunday which comes from the white garments worn by those who are baptized this day, just as over 3,000 people were baptized on that first Pentecost in Acts 2. In the above hyperlink to the Catholic Encyclopedia entry of "Whitsunday," an interesting fact is given:
Whitsunday, as a Christian feast, dates back to the first century, although there is no evidence that it was observed, as there is in the case of Easter; the passage in 1 Corinthians 16:8 probably refers to the Jewish feast. This is not surprising, for the feast, originally of only one day's duration, fell on a Sunday; besides it was so closely bound up with Easter that it appears to be not much more than the termination of Paschal tide [Eastertide].


So why is this important Biblical Holy Day, celebrated from the very earliest days of the Christian Church, hardly mentioned in evangelical churches, including my own? I don't know. I simply don't get it. But I pray that the evangelical churches will indeed start to celebrate Biblical Holy Days more and more in the future, pulling on the rich, 2,000-year heritage of Pentecost/Whitsunday.

I close with this quotation on the importance of Pentecost:

"Bethlehem was God with us, Calvary was God for us, and Pentecost is God in us."

~Robert Baer

Wishing you a blessed Pentecost,

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Christ Is Risen! Alleluia!

The Resurrection of Christ and the Women in the Tomb (c. 1440-1442) by Fra Angelico

He Is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia!! 

The liturgical greeting for Eastertide is one that goes back centuries. But my favorite Resurrection Day hymn goes back only to the eighteenth century. Written by Charles Wesley, brother of John Wesley the English church reformer, I miss singing this hymn today with great gusto and joy as it is being sung at churches around the world. These words and the soaring music truly expressed my Easter joy in a Risen Saviour!

1. Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia! 
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia! 
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia! 
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia! 

2. Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia! 
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia! 
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia! 
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia! 

3. Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia! 
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia! 
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia! 
Where's thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia! 

4. Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia! 
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia! 
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia! 
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia! 


Last night's Holy Saturday Vigil was so powerful. Lighting the Pascal fire from flint and steel, then lighting the Pascal Candle which is embedded with five small nails representing the five wounds of Christ, then praying together before Father Acker and Alice processed into the darkened chapel singing "The Light of Christ! Thanks be to God!!" They stopped to sing this three times, each time lighting more candles; we at home on Zoom lit our candles, too. Then we prayed by candlelight as Father Acker sang the ancient Holy Saturday liturgy in plainsong--it's soooooo beautiful!! 

The Paschal Candle, with the Greek letters "Alpha" and "Omega", the year, and the nails representing the Five Wounds of Christ

Then we read several long Scripture passages which tell our salvation history as God's people. We then re-affirmed our baptismal vows and celebrated the First Evensong of Eastertide!! With what joy did we greet the end of this amazing vigil, definitely my favorite service in the Anglican tradition. The candles, the incense, the Scripture passages, the vows, the prayers, and the joy of the Resurrection after the sorrow of Good Friday. Thanks be to God, indeed!! 

The Good Friday liturgy was equally powerful, but it was filled with sorrow rather than the impending joy of the Vigil. To read the Passion of the Christ from the Gospel of Saint John aloud ... to be crying out "Crucify Him!! Crucify Him!!" with the crowd. My heart was so heavy as I imagined His suffering so greatly ... for us! For me! For those whom I love! For every person ever created on this earth and every person who will be created in the future! His Love is that big!! Alleluia!! Thanks be to God!! 

The Crucifixion with Saints by Fra Angelico (141-1442), fresco  
 
The Collect for Easter Sunday from The Book of Common Prayer 2011:
EASTER SUNDAY or THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST
This Collect is prayed daily through the octave (Easter Week).
THE COLLECT:
ALMIGHTY God, who through your only eternal Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life; Grant that, by your mighty power going before us, we may die daily to sin and live with him forever in the glory of his resurrection; Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and rules with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. (References: Acts 2.24; John 9.25; 1 Peter 1.3; Hebrews 2.14-15; James 1.4)


He is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!! 
Happy Easter!



Saturday, February 20, 2021

Celebrating My Favorite Artist ... Who Is Also a Saint!

Deposition from the Cross by Fra Angelico

Updated from the Archives...

While the art of the Pre-Raphaelites remains my favorite period of art, I cannot narrow down all of their talent to a single "favorite artist." And considering that my Master of Arts in English from Catholic University of San Diego was in Medieval Literature (with many courses taught by an amazing nun with a Harvard Ph.D.), it's not surprising that my favorite artist would also be from the medieval period.

Fra Angelico was born approximately the same year in which Chaucer died: 1400. Although he only lived fifty-some years, he produced an incredible body of artistic work.

Today the Church celebrates his Feast Day, and the following is from the "Saint of the Day" e-mail from AmericanCatholic.org:


Monday, February 18, 2019
Blessed John of Fiesole
(c. 1400-1455)

The patron of Christian artists was born around 1400 in a village overlooking Florence. He took up painting as a young boy and studied under the watchful eye of a local painting master. He joined the Dominicans at about age 20, taking the name Fra Giovanni. He eventually came to be known as Fra Angelico, perhaps a tribute to his own angelic qualities or maybe the devotional tone of his works. 

He continued to study painting and perfect his own techniques, which included broad-brush strokes, vivid colors and generous, lifelike figures. Michelangelo once said of Fra Angelico: “One has to believe that this good monk has visited paradise and been allowed to choose his models there.” Whatever his subject matter, Fra Angelico sought to generate feelings of religious devotion in response to his paintings. Among his most famous works are the Annunciation and Descent from the Cross as well as frescoes in the monastery of San Marco in Florence.

He also served in leadership positions within the Dominican Order. At one point Pope Eugenius approached him about serving as archbishop of Florence. Fra Angelico declined, preferring a simpler life. He died in 1455.

So let's take a look at some of his more famous works:

The Annunciation by Fra Angelico
The Visitation by Fra Angelico
Madonna and Child by Fra Angelico
The Crucifixion by Fra Angelico
The Resurrection of the Christ by Fra Angelico

The last painting here was the one and only wallpaper I ever used on my first laptop computer. The colors, especially of the first three paintings, are still so vivid, and his figures are pre-Renaissance in their three-dimensionality versus the usual flat, two-dimensional work of the medieval period. 

So I hope that you will enjoy the work of this amazing medieval artist as much as I have and continue to do!

Artistically yours,


Friday, November 27, 2020

Getting Ready for Advent

 




This post is quoted directly from Life for Leaders, written by Mark D. Roberts. To view this post on the website, please click here: Life for Leaders; Getting Ready for Advent.

LIFE FOR LEADERS

Getting Ready for Advent

Written By Mark D. Roberts
For God alone my soul waits in silence,
      for my hope is from him.

Focus

The season of Advent is almost here. We’re coming into a time when we get in touch with our yearning for healing, justice, peace, and salvation. Most of all, Advent is a time for us to feel more strongly our yearning for God, even as we prepare our hearts to celebrate the birth of the Messiah at Christmas.

We have two online resources to help you have a rich celebration of Advent:

Welcome to Advent: Discover the meaning and spiritual value of Advent. I share my personal experience of Advent, including “My Greatest Advent Discovery.”

Devotions for Advent: Five devotions, centered around the use of an Advent wreath. For individuals, families, or small groups.

Devotion

The season of Advent is almost here. In this devotion I’d like to help you get ready for a rich experience of God’s grace in this special season of the year. I have found Advent to be a time for deepening and enriching my relationship with the Lord. I’d love to help this be true for you also.

Officially, Advent begins this coming Sunday, November 29th, the first of four Sundays prior to Christmas Day. The length of Advent varies a bit each year because Christmas Day moves around in the week. In 2020, with Christmas Day on a Friday, Advent lasts for 26 days, beginning on November 29th and ending on December 24th, Christmas Eve.

As you may know, the word “advent” is derived from the Latin term adventus, which means “visit” or “coming.” During Advent, Christians focus on the advent of Jesus . . . actually on two advents. We remember the ancient Jewish longing for God’s salvation through the Messiah, the Anointed King. In this way we yearn for the first advent of Jesus. Also, we get in touch with our own longing for Christ’s return, when God will establish his kingdom and wipe away every tear. Thus, Advent stirs up our yearning for the second advent of Jesus.

Many people I know—including me—feel glad about the approach of Advent, much as we might feel about the pending visit of a dear, old friend. Yet, many others among my friends don’t really pay much attention to Advent. These include quite a few of my Christian friends, by the way. They really aren’t even sure what Advent is or why anyone should be excited about it.

Why do I love Advent? First of all, it is a season of preparation for Christmas. It helps us prepare our hearts for a truly joyous celebration of the birth of Jesus. Advent, though, isn’t just a kind of Christmas-lite. It has its own distinctive themes, moods, and colors. Christmas decorations feature red and green, backed up by white, silver, and gold. The major Advent color is, depending on your church tradition, either purple or deep blue, with pink as a secondary color. The distinct colors of Advent illustrate the fact that it isn’t only a time to get ready for Christmas. (If you want to learn more about Advent colors, check out Welcome to Advent.)

Above all, Advent is a season of waiting and hoping. Remembering what the Jewish people experienced as they waited and hoped for the Messiah, we also wait and hope for the two advents of Christ. Psalm 62:5 captures the spirit of Advent perfectly: “For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.” Even the mention of silence is an Advent sort of theme. Whereas Christmas celebrations can be happily loud as we belt out “Joy to the World” and or the “Hallelujah Chorus,” Advent invites us into a time of quiet reflection.

In a day where there is so much about our world that is broken, my heart is unusually eager for Advent. The pain in our lives stirs up my hope for God’s salvation. Plus, in this time, we are waiting. Yes, we are waiting for a vaccine that will stop the scourge of COVID-19. Yes, we are waiting for an improved economy and for a more just world. But, when we take time to reflect, we realize that we are waiting, most of all, for God. As we read in Psalm 62:1-2, “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken.”

Reflect

What is your experience of Advent? What, if anything, does Advent mean to you?

In what way (or ways) are you waiting on God right now?

In what way (or ways) are you hoping in God right now?

Act

If you have Advent traditions that you cherish, then make plans to invest in those traditions this year. If Advent is new to you, consider adding an Advent practice in your life. You can find lots of ideas in my Welcome to Advent article.

Pray

Gracious God, as we come upon the season of Advent, I would love to draw near to you in a special way. I’d like to enter into this time of hope and waiting in a way the renews my relationship with you. I’d like to prepare my heart for a more meaningful celebration of the birth of Jesus. So I ask you to help me reorient my heart in the coming season. May I be more attentive to you and more in touch with my soul’s longing for you.

For you alone, Lord, my soul waits in silence; from you comes my salvation. You alone are my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken. Amen.
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Wishing you all a blessed and holy Advent season,




Monday, November 2, 2020

Day 1 and Day 2 of 30 Days of Gratitude

 


I have stolen--um, I mean borrowed--this set of daily gratitude prompts from Maria Grace @ Random Bits of Fascination with the grand idea of trying to respond to each post during the month of November. Now seems to be an excellent time as we have sold our home of 19 years in our beloved little town of Pine Valley, California (population 1600 souls), and we are taking a HUGE leap o' faith as we wait to see where God will put us. The kids and I are hoping for Oregon since we have so many friends there, but it will need to be a special house in a special price range--in other words, pretty much a miracle. But God is indeed the One Who Does Miracles, so we are trusting Him for this miracle and for His clear direction if He wants us to go elsewhere. It may be a wild ride, friends!! :D

And as I was just jotting down quotations on gratitude from Ann Voskamp's amazing book on gratitude, One Thousand Gifts, it seems that God is working on me, developing a heart of gratitude rather than a heart of anxiety considering our move, the election, the pandemic, family relationships, etc. 



So I will be responding to the first two questions above in this post:

1. What made you smile today? 

I so enjoy laughing with my Bible study group from Blessed Trinity Anglican Church on Zoom. We meet each Monday evening to get an overview of a book of the Bible and discuss it, and so far we have discussed several books including Psalms, Genesis, Jonah, Philippians, Isaiah, and tonight was Colossians; next week we'll be discussing Esther. 

Father Gregory always makes us laugh, and we can be as silly as we like. We almost always add the Zoom video effects, so I was wearing my halo, and Father Gregory and his grown daughter Ashley were wearing little green leaves sprouting out of their heads. We also use the responses, including the heart, the thumbs-up, the party blower, the applauding hands, the thumbs-up, the laughing-'til-you're-crying, etc. We had a wonderful time gaining an overview of Colossians, and I read my favorite verses from this "prison epistle" written by the Apostle Paul: 

Colossians 3.12-17 (ESV):

12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 

These verses make me smile, too--they describe our life and our joy in Christ so perfectly!! 



2. Who are you grateful for?

There are so many people I could list here: the members of my family, our priests/pastors (both current and former), my women's Bible study at Pine Valley Community Church, I am grateful for my friend, mentor, confidant, and former neighbor Judith. She is in her mid-80s but has the spirit and overflowing joy of her early 20s. (She says that she feels like she is in her teens, but she's a bit too wise for a teenager!😂) Judith has been my friend for about seventeen of our nineteen years in Pine Valley; our mutual friend Kitty introduced us, and we've been bopping over to one another's houses, texting and emailing, giving gifts and tech help and editing help and advice on poems and prose and being part of the same writers' workshop which meets monthly at our county library branch (and on Zoom during COVID). 

Judith tells the truth gently, but she tells the truth. She has such insight--truly she's a prophetic spirit--and I find her advice and help so grounded, Biblical and TRUE. She's an incredibly modest woman as well as an extremely talented one; not only is she a gifted poet and writer of prose, but she is also a musician and an artist. Talk about a real triple-threat!! But Judith is as far from a threat as a human could possibly be. She is infused with joy even when having a rough Lupus day; her eyes sparkle with mischief, and she is a woman truly "after God's own heart" as she speaks His Truth while His Love flows from her every pore. Her lovely face is so animated with her love for our Savior that she can't help but inspire all whom she speaks to, whether they are Believers or not. And her compassion, her righteous anger, her love for people, and especially her passion for saving God's Creation inspire all who hear her speak on these vital topics. 

Before I met Judith and Kitty, I had never met strong Christians who were Democrats, and, at first, I wondered how they could support the other political party. Now, nearly two decades older and a bit wiser, I can see why, and I have joined them in desiring to be compassionate, to help the poor and the helpless precisely as Jesus commands, to seek common ground with people rather than dividing them with any wedge that can be found. 

Our Writers' Workshop writing together on a NaNoWriMo "Write-In"
at the Pine Valley Library; Judith is second from the right.

So many more reasons exist for why I am thankful for Judith, so consider this post a mere beginning!!   

Soli Deo Gloria,



Sunday, October 4, 2020

Quotation of the Week

 


Have a lovely week, everyone!! I am buried in grading preliminary drafts of MLA research essays, so I will post more when I'm done with class. Until then, enjoy this quotation from my Commonplace Book!! 

Soli Deo Gloria,



Sunday, September 13, 2020

Ponderings on the 19th Anniversary of September 11th

 


It seems a lifetime ago, yet it seems so immediate that it could have been yesterday. We were so removed from the actual events of September 11, here on the West Coast, awakened by my father's phone call after pulling into our family's mountain cabin with four sleeping kids at 2:00 AM just a few hours previously. We had finished packing up our city home of ten years, picked up the kids from my parents' beach house, and drove an hour east, past the small mountain town that we were moving to, and arrived at my family's 500 square foot cabin to stay until we could move into our new-to-us mountain home. 

We had only "rabbit ears" on the small TV in the cabin, so most of the news was blurry and static-laden. I remember being half-asleep all day, trying to watch the news, setting up my laptop on the kitchen table but only able to be online for half an hour at a time in order to keep the phone lines free to talk to family, the realtors, etc. All while taking care of four kids ages 18 months to nine years old. The little guy was still nursing, and I was trying to homeschool the older two kids while the preschooler created mayhem. 

Because I was so news-deprived, I tend to spend each anniversary of September 11 watching crystal-clear videos of the events in New York, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania. But the first anniversary was the most powerful because I could finally see, with astonishing clarity, the videos and photos of all that I couldn't see on September 11, 2001, and for several weeks afterward, as our escrow was delayed because of the New York banks needing time to start back to work again. 

But what really caught my attention was a moment in which the US Poet Laureate, Billy Collins (whom I would meet in 2013 at the Writers' Symposium by the Sea at Point Loma Nazarene University), read aloud his poetic tribute on the first anniversary of September 11. "The Names." It struck me viscerally, even more than U2's "Beautiful Day" and "Walk On" (two of my favorite songs by my favorite band) at the Superbowl halftime show a few months after the tragedy. 


Poet Billy Collins at The Writer's Symposium by the Sea, 2013

The thing I love about Billy Collins' work is that he is supremely unpretentious. With his poetic talent and his academic cred, with his position as our nation's Poet Laureate for two years, he could easily be as pretentious as all-get-out. But he's not. He is (no past tense here!!) our nation's poet. He speaks the language of the everyday American, with a hint of sarcasm, with a twinkle in his eye. But not with this poem. Here he is, reading "The Names" again, at the request of PBS:

 


If you would like to read more about Billy Collins and his poetry, check out his page on The Academy of American Poets at poets.org: Billy Collins. (To read some of his poems, click the bar beneath his photo.) 


US Poet Laureate Billy Collins

Thanks for allowing me to remember those dark days, but not very dark as I was a continent away, in a wee mountain cabin with four small children, trying to find out what the heck was happening on this beautiful autumn day, a day of change as we moved from one house to another nineteen years ago. I knew that what was happening was big and scary, even through the static fuzz of the 12-inch TV screwed into the wall seven feet from the floor. 

But Billy Collins made it real the next year, made it actual. Made it tangible. And I can't thank him enough. 

Poetically yours,



    

Monday, August 31, 2020

My 2020-2021 Essay Grading Service



Susanne Barrett: Essay Grading Service via E-Mail

2020-2021 School Year

So this is how my grading system works: Just send me the essay you would like to be graded as a Word attachment (no Google Docs, please!), and please include the assignment directions either in the text of the e-mail or also as an attachment. Also, please let me know if you would like comments only or comments with a letter grade. Please alert me also to anything else I may need to know (such as learning challenges, reluctant writing, etc.) so that I can respond to the essay in the most helpful way possible.

I will respond via e-mail within 24 hours to let you know that I received the essay and on which day you can expect to have it returned to you, usually within 3-5 school days. If you need an essay graded sooner, let me know, and I'll see if I can slip it into my schedule.

Also, with each assignment, please include the writer’s age, grade level, and whether you want a letter grade since I grade for many families and may not recall your family’s preferences. 

I then download the essay, mark corrections, make comments, and offer suggestions in the right margin comments. At the end of the essay, I write an overall summary of what was done well in the essay and what needs further attention. My over-arching goal is to encourage growth in the art and craft of writing, including format/structure, organization, fluency, vocabulary, and mechanics.   

Then when I return the graded essay, which I send in Word and also as a PDF (because some Apple computers/tablets don’t show the review comments in the right margin of Word documents), I will let you know the fee which is the number of words in the essay (excluding any notes for me) times $.03 (3 cents per word) with a $10 minimum fee per essay. If you wish to have your writer revise the essay and submit it to be re-graded, I charge half as much (1½ cents per word with a $5 minimum) for grading revised essays.




Then I ask you to remit via PayPal at PayPal.Me/SusanneBarrett when I return the essay. I will grade the essay first and then receive payment after returning the essay to you. Please remit payment within 48 hours of my returning the graded essay to you.

Regarding research essays, I am well-versed in the latest Modern Language Association (MLA) format style according to the MLA Handbook, 8th Edition (2016) which is the format most commonly used for research in the humanities. Because I am not at all familiar with other research formats such as APA, CMS/Turabian, etc., I only grade research essays formatted according to the MLA style, 8th edition.

Please let me know if you have any questions; I’m always happy to explain and/or discuss my essay grading services.

I also teach my Beginning Writing, Expository Essay, and MLA Research Essay high school classes via e-mail on a semester basis. Please e-mail me if you would like more information. 



So e-mail me an essay whenever you're ready, and we'll go from there! I look forward to working with you and your young writer(s)! 

Writing with you,
Susanne 

SBarrett0085@gmail.com 
www.SusanneBarrett.com

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