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The Niños
The Niños

A wonderful place for spiritual and creative energies is the Niños prayer group (yeah, "neenyos," you got it). We've been meeting for more than EIGHTEEN years now and it remains fresh: lots of fun; amazing prayer; miraculous answers; wonderful support and encouragement in our creative endeavors, including a handful of doctoral theses prayed-through and completed.

We are called The Niños because there was an El Niño weather system bringing in big weather drama during the first few months we met and "niños" means "children." So, as children of God, we are grateful to be His Niños.


New Books by Niños!

Bandersnatch Diana Glyer has a new book from Kent State University Press, Bandersnatch.

This is something of a "popular" version of her wonderful scholarly work, The Company They Keep, looking at C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as writers in community but focusing less on the scholarship and more on the nature of collaboration - and how we can "do what the Inklings did."




Nothing Is Wasted
Joe Bentz has a new book, just released by Beacon Hill Press, Nothing Is Wasted.

In this book, Joe finds hints of redemption in the least expected places - in dirt, in whale carcasses, in death, in suffering, in fairytales, in frustrations, and in the stories of people's lives.




Niño bloggers!

      Tom Allbaugh's blog, Plainclothes
      Joe Bentz's blog, Life of the Mind and Soul
      Diana Glyer's occasional blog
      Sierra Glyer's Kid tested, kid approved Sierra's Bookmark review blog
      Barbara Hayes' blog, PERKYLESADVICE
      Liz Leahy's APU blog, James L. Stamps Theological Library
      Lynn Maudlin's occasional blog, Big Blonde Blog
      Lynn Maudlin's new faith-focused blog, Too Marvelous For Me
      Dave Milbrandt's blog, socalteacher
      John Barnts' blog, Barnts in the Belfry

2015 Niños Christmas book
2014 Niños Christmas book



Joseph Bentz is one of the "original Niños" —along with Mike and Diana Glyer, Laura Simmons, and myself— and when the group started he'd published one book and had another under consideration. Now Joe has a veritable stable of successful books, both fiction and non-fiction.

Joe's latest book is Nothing Is Wasted from Beacon Hill Press.

Released in 2015, an updated version of his first book, Dreams of Caladria, and the premier release from Enclave Publishing.

Recently Joe contributed six chapters to a small-group curriculum series called Named. He wrote chapters on Joseph, Moses, Joshua, the Man Born Blind, the Gadarene Demoniac, and Andrew. To quote from the website, "Named is a 6-week small-group resource like no other. Through imaginative retellings of familiar stories from Scripture, powerful videos, and thought-provoking discussion questions, small groups can explore the mysteries of faith together and learn how God's story finds its place in each of them."

Nothing Is Wasted Dreams of Caladria Named: The Patriarchs cover Named: The Unnamed cover Named: The Disciples cover Pieces of Heaven cover God in Pursuit cover Silent God cover When God Takes Too Long cover At Close of Day cover A Son Comes Home cover Cradle of Dreams cover Song of Fire cover

Here are text links to all Joe's books on Amazon (collect 'em all!):
Nothing Is Wasted
Named: The Patriarchs (DVD-ROM),   Named: The Patriarchs (workbook),   Named: The Unnamed (DVD-ROM),   Named: The Unnamed (workbook),   Named: The Disciples (DVD-ROM),   Named: The Discipless (workbook),  
Pieces of Heaven: Recognizing the Presence of God,
God in Pursuit: The Tipping Points From Doubt to Faith,
Silent God: Finding Him When You Can't Hear His Voice,
When God Takes Too Long: Learning to Thrive During Life's Delays,
and Joe's novels:
Dreams of Caladria
At Close of Day,
A Son Comes Home,
Cradle of Dreams,

and Song of Fire.
 

 
Diana Glyer is the one God gave the vision for the Niños; she has always had a strong sense of community and understands that God built us for relationship - both with Him and with each other. One of our regular prayer focuses in the early years was Diana's award-winning book, The Company They Keep: C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as Writers in Community - a piece of truly inspiring scholarship that every writer would benefit from reading. If you also happen to be a fan of Tolkien or C.S. Lewis or Charles Williams, well, all the better!

New podcast interview with Diana by William O'Flaherty at All About Jack.

Diana's newest book is Bandersnatch, a closer look at the collaborations of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and all the Inklings.

Clay in the Potter's Hands, a book on spiritual formation and Christian growth using the God-given analogy of humans as clay in God-the-Potter's hands. No bias here but it's a wonderful book!

Here is a nice interview with Diana on The Tolkien Library website and here are some of my thoughts on my blog.

         Bandersnatch    The Company They Keep cover    Clay in the Potter's Hands cover
 

 
Laura Simmons' excellent book, Creed without Chaos: Exploring Theology in the Writings of Dorothy L. Sayers has been reprinted by WIPF and STOCK publishers; there may still be some of the original printing available through Amazon. It was developed from her doctoral thesis and, while she's moved out of state to be a professor at George Fox Theological Seminary and thus is no longer a regular Niño, she is always in our hearts (and emails!) and we were thrilled to be noted in her thanks. The current cover and the original cover, both with links, are presented below.

         Creed Without Chaos - new cover    Creed Without Chaos cover
 

 
Monica Ganas has just published her first book, Under the Influence: California's Intoxicating Spiritual and Cultural Impact on America, and since we've heard her read excerpts out loud at our "Grateful Hearts" celebration, we're all looking forward to reading it.
  
         Under the Influence cover
 

 
Thomas Allbaugh is another talented Niño: he has written a textbook, Pretexts for Writing, now updated in its second edition. Tom also leads worship, writes fiction, teaches English, and blogs at Plainclothes.

         Pretexts for Writing second edition cover
 

 
Dave Milbrandt is one of our newer Niños and has recently published his first novel, Chasing Deception; he also teaches English.

         Chasing Deception cover
 

 
The Niños have supported, encouraged and prayed powerfully for me through the years. Fruits of this group in my life include my musical based on the book of Ruth, House of Bread and the 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and now 2014 companion calendars to Diana's Clay in the Potter's Hands book; some images are viewable on the Clay in the Potter's Hands Facebook page. I've also written several pieces of short fiction for the Niños' annual Christmas book; I've posted these on my Fiction page.

Several years ago a big project was creating a large website for my friends Suuqiina and Qaumaniq's ministry, Indigenous Messengers International. Please take a look; they have a fascinating story and it's told with lots photos. In late 2013 I created a web site for Castle Summitrose, the same folks who had been happy with my web work for Rocky Cola Cafe, a charming neighborhood cafe which finally closed their doors after 20-some years.

I sold the 2015 and 2016 Clay in the Potter's Hands companion calendars here; you can see images for some months on that page and view all the earlier calendar images on Flickr.

Ruth Musical Breaking Chains by Suuqiina
Clay calendar cover January 
illustration from the 2011 Clay calendar December from 
 the 2013 Clay in the Potter's Hands calendar January 2015 Clay image by Lynn Maudlin August 2016 Clay image by Lynn Maudlin




Niños Read!

The Niños write a lot but we also read a lot; some of our fun occasional projects have been book discussions:

G.K. Chesterton

We Niños read and discussed G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy over the summer of 2013.
cover of Creativity

Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention      
The book we read over the summer of 2012,      
by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.      


cover of Gilead

The book we discussed over summer, 2011: Gilead: A Novel by Marilynne Robinson.
cover of book

Here's the Lenten study book from 2011, Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets.


Bird by Bird book cover

Our first book discussion was Anne Lamott's terrific Bird by Bird.
Outliers cover

I think we discussed Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers in 2009.


On Writing book cover

I really enjoyed our discussion of Stephen King's
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.