Saturday, October 15, 2011

My Rich Association With The High Calling

Serendipity is defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary as “the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for;” I had such an experience four months ago.

Late one night, as I was searching the internet looking for ways to increase my blog traffic, I landed on an online magazine website named “The High Calling”. On first inspection, the site looked good. I found a devotional that I liked that was written by Dr. Mark D. Roberts. I subscribed to the devotional so that I could receive it daily via email. To do this, I registered on the site. Beginning the next day, I received the devotional. I shared one with my prayer group. I added one to my blog with permission from Mark. Sometimes I email him with comments. These are well written, thoughtful devotionals that touch my heart.

About eight weeks later, I received an announcement about a contest for a free slot at a writer’s retreat at Laity Lodge. I entered and won. Once I was notified that I had won, I visited the site to really dig in and find out more about The High Calling (THC) and this place called Laity Lodge (LL).

This is what I found. LL is a structure on property in the Texas Hill Country that was purchased and developed to be a beautiful, peaceful retreat site by Mary and Howard Butt, Sr., the founders of the Foundation for Laity Renewal, and owner of the property and camps in Leakey, Texas, just west of Kerrville, Texas. Howard Butt, Sr. began HEB grocery. In addition to LL, several foundation camps are located on the same 1900 acre property.

THC is the website representing LL. One of the hallmark characteristics of LL is hospitality. This is a retreat facility where you are treated like family. THC tries to attain the same goal. They treat their internet partners like family.

This is how. THC magazine has a place to register. In addition to the theme of hospitality, one of the other main themes is combining spirituality with one’s vocation. This is a unique combination, because in our world, the spiritual is usually at odds with one’s vocation, unless one chooses a spiritual vocation. I have found this to be true in my life.

THC features articles in five different subject areas: faith, family, attitude, culture and work. These articles are written by the editors and members of this site. Membership is comprised of writers, many of whom are bloggers. Upon site registration, a member profile is completed, including a blog url and website feed. The site then captures the posts of the member’s website and pulls it to the magazine for the readership, who are then directed to the individual’s blog.

The Welcome Editor, Cheryl Smith, usually contacts new registrants via email, and invites them to write a post about their association with THC and the uniqueness of this partnership.

Certain writers are featured based on criteria established by THC. In addition to the featured articles, blog posts and devotional, the Special Projects Editor, Laura Boggess, leads an online book club with articles on Mondays.

My favorite feature is the community post, in which a particular topic is selected by a team of editors and the members are invited to write about that particular topic and then link back to the post. I have done this. The first that I did was about laughter. I linked my article entitled "Childhood Friends: Laughing Our Way Through Life" to Diedre Riggs’ site at Jumping This was fun to write and I also got to read a lot of other cool posts by the other writers as well. The second one that I joined was entitled, “Willie Mae”. This was my attempt to join with other writers to paint a portrait of someone from my past. I joined this at Jennifer Dukes Lee’s site at Getting Down With Jesus. This too, was fun.

The thing that I like about the community links is having a chance to fulfill a writing assignment without the stress of school. In school, if you opted out of an assignment, you received an ‘F’, had to worry about your GPA, your future career, wasting your parents money, etc. Here, if you want to participate, you do. If not, you don’t. It is that simple. Choice begets freedom.

I think back to the night that I ran upon this site by accident. I don’t think that it was by accident at all. I didn’t just join a website. I gained a new group of friends and joined a whole new community.


copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins

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