It’s been half a year of writing over here at Release and Gather, and there are now 198 of you following along each week (quite a jump from three months ago!). I’m also grateful to the 19 writers recommending Release and Gather.
Having my words land on willing eyes and ears (for those few posts with audio) and sparking meaningful discussion is fuel for this writer. Thank you for being here.
If you missed it, you can check out the round-up of Summer 2022 posts here.
If you know someone who might enjoy this publication, please consider sharing it with them. I don’t promote my writing on social media—only by word of mouth. So it’s up to you (no pressure)!
Release and Gather Round-Up
Here’s a round-up of what was published in Fall 2022. I hope you’ll check out some of those posts you may have missed and let me know what you think. If a quote, photo, or story struck a chord with you, please comment on the post, share it, or email me to let me know how it impacted you (email@example.com).
Some of my favorite posts from others are collections of what they’re discovering, so each month I share some of my own.
In August I began a regular midweek post. As we approached the holidays, I realized that wasn’t sustainable for me, so now you get an occasional midweek post (like this one). Midweek Musings included (from most read to least):
A man was going to pee in my yard and instead of choosing offense, I chose hospitality. And that led to the best hour of my day.
Jessie doesn’t own much—as is the case with many community members—but he shares what he has and is most humble. When he greets you, you can count on a genuine smile and at least a five-minute chat, something I have learned to make time for because I always leave those conversations feeling a bit lighter and happier and seen.
Located at the northern tip of the Ozark National Forest, Ponca is also situated in the Buffalo National River area, which is home to 800+ Rocky Mountain Elk that were introduced to the area in the early 1980s to replace the smaller Eastern Elk that were hunted to extinction in the 1840s.
It’s time, I thought last week. It’s time to open the doors once again for the mission—serving the community.
During phone calls, Jonah often relates stories to me about his “brothers.” I’ve learned who is the best shopper for house groceries and how one guy caught a squirrel and hid it in their bathroom…And then there was the story of the bag of potatoes they discovered rotting in the bottom of the pantry, which brought about a thorough cleaning that led to the uncovering of some tally marks on a wall near the floor.
…I wrote that one of his friends “caught a squirrel and hid it in their bathroom for three days until the staff found it and made him release it.” My facts were off. There was a squirrel, but the three-day bathroom captive was a different critter.
Where the Crawdad’s Sing by Delia Owens is another book I gave myself permission to stop reading. I had so many people tell me, “If you can make it through about 2/3 then it gets really good.” But is a good ending really worth reading the snooze fest that precedes it it?
Longing for forgiveness as a parent produced forgiveness within me for my own parents’ imperfections. And even thankfulness for those imperfections. All parents get some things wrong. All of us.
(Mostly) Saturday Morning Posts
I’ve settled into a (mostly) Saturday morning release schedule for posts, which seems to work well. Many readers have told me they enjoy reading my posts on a leisurely weekend morning, and I’m happy to oblige. Saturday editions (most read to least):
It was the season that began a new thing in me—learning to release my expectations and worry and to trust God to supply everything I would need and more. It was the season that began a realization that has become a lifestyle: when you open your hands in release, they are free to gather those blessings.
By the time our granddaughter was born, I thought I had learned the important lesson of releasing my expectations and finding treasure in life’s challenges. I thought I had learned how to better “spend” myself by saying yes to people and situations I normally might not.
I am notorious, however, for having to learn many lessons the hard way.
Today in the spirit of keeping it real (in case my last story about would-be yard urination didn’t convince you), I’m divulging the behind-the-scenes mood. During what is normally the happiest week of my life (the week I met Mike!) in my favorite season of the year, I’ve found myself <dramatic pause> in a funk.
Maybe one day I’ll write a post on how to pack your son for rehab in under four minutes or how to say goodbye to your kid on the steps of a detox facility, but not yet. It’s still too fresh. Today I’ll just say that he was tired of living a life he was never meant to live. So he chose rehab.
When I think about what my son has done and been through, I don’t get a warm, fuzzy feeling. But I have learned to be grateful for his path.
…a little tour—Woodville style! We’ll just be tromping around my house, so no need to pack your water flasks. It’s sunny and 81 degrees with no humidity and lots of shade—you won’t need a jacket, but I do recommend enclosed shoes unless you enjoy having leaves and twigs in your sandals.
Mrs. Anderson may not be dining with us yet, but we always set her place, anticipating the day when she will be sitting with us at the table. It’s an act of faith, like that of the widow of Zarephath, who didn’t have enough flour and oil to feed Elijah, herself, and her son. But she trusted Elijah’s promise of God’s provision—not only for that meal but for many meals to come—and she set the table.
Thoroughly disgusted (more Jesus facepalms), I got back in my vehicle and had Waze route me to the next nearest ATM location. Got the cash and asked Waze to find inspection stations around me. Turns out Waze is a dirty little liar, too. It took 10 minutes in barely-moving traffic to get to said inspection station, where they do everything (say it with me) but (louder and with feeling) inspections.
The bottom of the basket was covered in massive green jalapenos with one red pepper peeking from underneath its siblings. With three more laps on my agenda, I walked on, but something changed in me.
Fall is as perfect as a season can be. If Autumn were a person, he’d be Jesus. This time of year is dirt and leaves and leather and pencils. It’s toasted marshmallows and cider and apple pie and vegetable soup (after the temps drop, of course).
Here are nine enjoyable Substacks I discovered this Fall. The thing I love about Substack is that I can find writers who have thousands of subscribers and ones with less than one hundred. Fewer subscribers only means less discovered—not less wonderful or successful. Actually, sometimes those obscure writers offer more thought-provoking reads than the well-known.
So if you’re new to the platform, jump right in. Substack is a bit like a digital magazine rack—start perusing!
Tatiana Gallardo entered 2022 resolving to do everything that scared her. Join her on her illustrated journey of trying life without alcohol, traveling to new places, and daring to make the first move in a new friendship.
Chirp and Moo Loves You
Need a pick-me-up in your inbox? These are tiny, illustrated love letters reminding you to be brave, slow down, show yourself compassion, be curious, and more.
Dear Reader, I’m Lost
Confession: I subscribed to this Substack, unsubscribed, and then subscribed again. I know—we aren’t supposed to talk about these sorts of things, but it’s true. I didn’t think it was my cup of tea after reading one or two posts, but then I rediscovered the space and now look forward to Rebecca’s Saturday morning missives from the UK. Her writing turns the ordinary into something extraordinary—like this post on eggs and this one on a chance encounter.
Author Jan Peppler said it best: “Each of us longs for home. More than a physical space, we each desire the sense of feeling at home. But where do we find that? Why do some places feel more like home than others? How do we create home when we live far away from what feels familiar? Finding Home explores all this and more.”
Punit Thakkar shares fun, thought-provoking poems each week as well as “Some Fun Stuff,” which includes playlists, podcast episodes, and YouTube videos that are…well, just fun! I especially enjoyed his post on Diwali. In some of our exchanges, Punit expressed a desire to be a global citizen, and I think he’s well on his way by connecting through his wonderful weekly posts.
Any diary, journal, or notes enthusiasts out there? Jillian Hess has a passion for researching and writing about note-taking and notebooks. Some of my favorites so far are her write-up on a Thanksgiving “noteboook,” Frida Kahlo’s Illustrated Diary, and tips from successful novelists’ notebooks.
Route to Rise
A retired school teacher and former “Army BRAT,” Mary shares stories from her life experiences. I’ve especially enjoyed reading about her short stint at Syracuse and her reflections on being a teacher. And do check out the voiceovers for the posts. The narration is so soothing!
If you’ve followed my monthly collections, Jack McNulty’s VeganWeekly will be a household name. I have enjoyed some wonderful recipes and cooking tips from this Substack. We’re not vegan, but we’re learning how to cook healthier and eat less meat. Did I mention the slow-roasted tomato sauce that’s out of this world?!
The Wildroot Parables
I love what S.E. Reid offers each week—a poetry-based devotional on Mondays that leads into a discussion on Wednesdays. The posts are founded on Christian faith, but I think anyone can glean good from them. In the author’s own words, “The only thing required of you to join in is a heart full of grace and curiosity, not afraid to engage with deep topics and open to mystery.”
Shoutout to all those writers recommending Release and Gather!
My journey on Substack this past 15 months or so has been filled with awesomeness. I have learned a great deal about life by following extraordinary writers I would never have discovered without the generous sharing from the community - amazing souls like you, Holly! Thanks for your positive contribution to this world...
Thank you for your kind words!
Thank you for including my Tiny Love Letters in your your round up!
It really means a lot to me and I am very grateful. :)