BIG MAGIC Giveaway!

Here's the Deal

I love reading this book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert, to kickstart a new year with extra doses of bravery, curiosity, & creativity! I love it so much that I want to share a copy so it can hopefully offer the same to you as you embark on your new year...

How?

This is so simple. Just subscribe to my email newsletter list before January 28th here:

Subscribe to my email newsletter. #BigMagicBigYear

Why?

I've recently made some adjustments that have opened up a whole lot more time for creative work. It'll be a big year ahead, and I've got lots I want to share with you. To that end I'm reviving this monthly newsletter, which I've been away from for about 2 years. I can't wait to reconnect with those of you already on the list and to welcome new folks into the  fold. Writing these used to be one of my favorite things to do, and I'm stoked about getting back to it!

What?

As a part of my list: You'll be among the first folks to hear about new projects and have access to perks like free resources, new music, early pre-orders, discounts, and exclusive material sent just for you. And best of all, you get priority access to my inbox...I look forward to the conversations we all might have this year.

You'll hear from me once monthly at minimum (the last Monday of each month) and occasionally about special happenings in between. I promise I won't waste your time...I know everybody gets too many emails these days, so I'll only send you what I think might be most valuable for you.

Details:

  1. If you're already on my newsletter list, you're automatically entered into the drawing!
  2. I'll announce the winner on Monday Jan. 29 via that day's email.
  3. BONUS CHANCES: If you really want the book (or you just really want to help connect me with folks who might be interested in my work...which I greatly appreciate, by the way)...you can get your name put in up to 3 times! Here's how. After subscribing...
    1. LIKE my new business page on Facebook at: facebook.com/sarahduet. (It's under construction but will be fully up & running later this month.)
    2. SHARE a photo on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook talking about the giveaway with the hashtag #BigMagicBigYear in the caption. (Feel free to copy the one at the top of this post or download one here or here.) 
    3. **#'s 1 & 2 each get your name put in the drawing 1 more time, up to 3 total.

Thanks for playing! Here's to a curious, brave, & creative 2018...

sd.

 

Enneagram Introductions at Broadmoor UMC (SHV, LA)

I'm excited to report that I get to start off 2018 by doing one of my favorite things...talking with you about the Enneagram!

Interested in starting the new year off with learning more about yourself and your loved ones? In being a better version of yourself? In having healthier relationships? lAre you ever perplexed by yourself, loved ones, or coworkers? Are you ready to explore deeper levels of spiritual practice?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, the Enneagram could be a valuable tool for you! I'll be leading a 5-week study on the value of self-knowledge and the role of personality in our relationships with God, one another, and our own selves. You can expect to gain valuable insights and practical tools with which to grow and mature in your spiritual journey.


Where: Broadmoor United Methodist Church

When: Jan. 10 - Feb. 7 (Every Wednesday @ 6pm)

Cost: $25 (Includes a study guide & printed resources; Scholarships available...don't let cost be a barrier!)

Sign Up: Register online at broadmoorumc.org/discipleship OR call/visit the church (Contact person: Laura Vaughan)

Notes: Childcare is available upon request. 

 

Hope to share these valuable conversations with you!

-sd.

The 29 books of 2017

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Year-in-review: Books

The 29 books of 2017

I read 29 books cover to cover in 2017...which is 1 for each year I've been alive & 5 more than my goal of 24 for the year. This tally doesn't include books referenced, books started but not finished, audio books, articles, etc. It may not seem impressive at all to some of you, but as much as I read, finishing books has been a challenge in recent years. I'm really excited about having gotten back into a steady reading habit and look forward to sharing an even longer list in 2018!

Titles, authors, & links are listed below if you're curious or want to check out any for yourselves!

  1. Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change by Pema Chodron
  2. Einstein on Cosmic Religion and Other Opinions and Aphorisms by Albert Einstein
  3. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
  4. The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation by Richard Rohr
  5. Finding God in the Body: A Spiritual Path for the Modern West by Benjamin Riggs
  6. Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty for Our Common Life by Makoto Fujimura
  7. Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire
  8. There’s No Good Card for This: What to Say and Do When Life is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love by Emily McDowell & Dr. Kelsey Crowe
  9. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
  10. The Rebirthing of God: Christianity’s Struggle for New Beginnings by John Phillip Newell
  11. What is the Bible? How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything by Rob Bell
  12. Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu translated by Stephen Mitchell
  13. How To Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living by Rob Bell
  14. Facing the Music: My Story by Jennifer Knapp
  15. What We Talk About When We Talk About God by Rob Bell
  16. The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer
  17. Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman
  18. Chalked Up: My Life in Elite Gymnastics by Jennifer Sey
  19. Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church by The Investigative Staff of the Boston Globe
  20. Sacred Energies: When the World’s Religions Sit Down to Talk About the Future of Human Life and the Plight of This Planet by Daniel C. Maguire
  21. Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brene Brown
  22. The Soul of Shame: Retelling the Stories We Believe About Ourselves by Curt Thompson
  23. Thou Art That: Transforming Religious Metaphor by Joseph Campbell
  24. How to Make it in the New Music Business by Ari Herstand
  25. No Booker, No Bouncer, No Bartender by Shannon Curtis 
  26. Fierce: How Competing for Myself Changed Everything by Aly Raisman
  27. Triangle by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Jon Klassen
  28. Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers
  29. Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts by Ryan Holiday

Notes From My Phone* Reading Event

I had the privilege of participating in this event with 2 of my favorite people/writers at Centenary College here in Shreveport, LA on October 24, 2017. Music was played (by me), poetry recited (by Jennifer Strange), and books read (by Michelle Junot).

Below, listen to the audio of Michelle reading from her most recent memoir (a self-portrait constructed entirely from content in the Notes app on her iPhone) and from the panel discussion among the 3 of us about all things art-making, vulnerability, work and "real" jobs, the value (and confusion) of liberal arts education, health, etc.

Hope you enjoy!

Sarah Duet performed original pieces at Michelle Junot's book reading. Sarah graduated from Centenary in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication: New Media. Song Titles: 1. The Times They Are A-Changin' "by Bob Dylan (cover) 2. Allow 3. Lover of Leaving 4. Mercy Make Acquaintance. Sarah is a writer, artist, and musician.

Alumna Michelle Junot reads from her newest book, "Notes from my Phone*." Michelle Junot is the author Notes From My Phone* a self-portrait in her twenties, and of and the floor was always lava, a collection of essays exploring childhood and memory. Her writing has been published in BmoreArt, Welter, Industry Night, The Avenue, Reject, and Baltimore STYLE.
Michelle Junot

Michelle Junot

Michelle Junot majored in Communication: Professional Writing as well as Dance at Centenary College and then headed to the University of Baltimore where she earned the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Publishing arts. She did the writing, design, and publishing of her first book, and the floor was always lava. Then she slacked off and only did the writing part of her more recent book, Notes From My Phone*, published by Mason Jar Press. She has also published essays in several magazines and currently teaches graphic design and works as Director of Alumni Relations and Assistant Director of Communications at University of Baltimore School of Law.

Sarah Duet

Sarah Duet

 

Jennifer Strange

Jennifer Strange

"River (Acoustic)" Featured on Noisetrade's New & Notable!

Sarah Duet

River (Acoustic)

"The ever-emotive sound and deeply thoughtful lyrics we’ve come to expect of Sarah Duet’s music are as present as ever in her new single, “River (Acoustic),” which is available now exclusively through NoiseTrade. “River” was born of personal reflection on current events woven together with wisdom from many of the world’s great spiritual traditions on the essential sacredness of water. All tips will go to support the Standing Rock Sioux resistance efforts."

Genre: Singer/Songwriter : Acoustic


A song I recently wrote & recorded––“River (Acoustic)”––was chosen by Noisetrade.com as one of their New & Notable features! The song was promoted in one of their email campaigns Wednesday morning and the album will be featured on their homepage all week. I’m amazed that as of Wednesday afternoon, it was the 5th most downloaded album on the site! I’m really grateful that the song is making it into more ears than it ever would have otherwise.

You can grab it for free, but 100% of the proceeds from any tips I receive will go to support resistance efforts at Standing Rock. I'd love to send them as much as we can.

If you’re one of the many who have downloaded it already, thanks so much! I hope it’s meaningful for you in some way.

Songs for Standing Rock (Coming Soon)

 "River (for Standing Rock)" coming in March/April 2017!

"River (for Standing Rock)" coming in March/April 2017!

The Scoop

I wrote a song reflecting on the situation with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and the Dakota Access Pipeline. I am finishing the tracking, mixing, and mastering now, and it is set to be released in March/April of 2017! If all goes as planned, soon thereafter I'll share a B-side cover from the Civil Rights Era catalogue...as these songs are needed again now more than ever. 

The Stories

There's a grievous history of the native peoples in our country that we must face, that we may lament it, and learn to go forward in a new way. Mark Charles, Native American author & activists, paints a picture of that history as it relates to the Christian church, the present political moment, and proposes a pursuit of "racial conciliation." Watch the lecture below. It is worth every minute.

In this lecture "Lamenting the Mythology of a Christian Empire", Native American author and activist Mark Charles unravels the hidden history and moral myths that lie at the heart of the systemic injustice and division persisting in America today - and proposes a way forward. This lecture was given at Saving Justice: Night of Lament, a citywide event hosted by Imago Dei Community and Bridgetown Church, on January 23rd, 2017.

I'm With Her

I'm reviving the blog today after much too long of a hiatus for a very specific reason. And a time sensitive one, at that. 

I want...no, I don't want to, but I feel the need to talk about the election. I realize that many of you have voted already, and most of the rest of you have already made up your mind about which box to check (button to press?) on November 8, 2016. However, on the chance that anyone is still listening, I have been haunted by the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and moved to speak:

"Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act." 

In this very bizarre election season, I believe now that the stakes are too high not to speak, so I'm speaking. The stakes are too high not to act, so I'm acting. I've never been so grateful for my right to vote, nor have I ever taken the responsibility so seriously. 

Here's the thing: I'm voting for Hillary.

And I want to talk about why. So, if you haven't exed out of the window or jumped to the comments section to tell me to "get educated," thank you, and can we have a conversation? Now, on one level this seems like such an obvious choice to me that it barely deserves the effort of explaining, but I'm also not living under a rock. It's blatantly obvious that the nature of this election and our citizen response to it points to a complex and frankly disturbing cultural reality that requires deep reflection on our parts, and an attempt at explaining my choice seems warranted. 

I'm a registered Independent. I didn't vote for Hillary in the primaries. I don't actually put a whole lot of stock in the American political system. I hate the bipartisan system and would much rather have my vote counted in a 3rd party tally to hopefully put a drop in the bucket of reforming this whole thing... 

But Donald Trump is the GOP nominee for President. (And it's not a joke.)

Given the current reality of the 2 party system...

...the best way to prevent a Donald Trump presidency is a vote for Hillary Clinton.

Mathematically, this is the reality. And I could not more emphatically think that it is necessary to protect the people of this country and all the others in the world that would be subject to the harm this sick, dangerous demagogue could no doubt cause. I hate taking this sort of dualistic, oppositional position; it's a mindset I'm trying to grow out of in adulthood. But what else is there to do in this specific instance?

I expect the most push-back I'll receive on all this will come from the many Evangelical and Roman Catholic friends in my online community, and that the push back will largely center around one issue...

...voting for a "pro-choice" candidate.

I understand this a huge deal to many of you (including myself), and to many for legitimate reasons. I also realize that we're living through a time in which the Religious Right has confused Republican Party values with truly Christian (Christ-like) values, and we must clarify the contrast of the two.

So yes, this is a huge deal to me. And before anyone voices concern for my soul on this account, I must tell you genuinely:

I am more "pro-life" than I have ever been.

And hopefully always growing to be more so. But pro-life in a holistic sense. Yes, still pro-birth, but also pro- the conditions that are most conducive to a life of thriving for the society into which a child is born. The political position of "pro-life" has long since not actually been pro-life, but more accurately anti-abortion or pro-birth, with little emphasis on improving the cultural realities that lead most women and families to have to make the unimaginably painful decision of aborting a pregnancy.

A consistent ethic of valuing life (human life and that of the rest of the natural world) is what is needed.

No, neither of the 2 major parties in the US offer this consistent ethic of life entirely. Nor does either offer a platform built firmly on Christian values, and they don't need to. The US government is not a Christian government, never was, and never will be. It is an Empire, the very political entity that Jesus opposed, called us to counter, and that ultimately took his life.

But we are by nature of where we live citizens of the Empire too. We can though (while not putting our hope in the system or tying up God and country in an idolatrous Christian nationalism) still vote through the lens of our faith and the ethics derived from it, which is what I am trying to do. And at this time, in this election, in 2016, I am convinced that the DNC works for policy that stems from a more consistent ethic of valuing life....which is the most foundational value I have learned from my Christian faith. Yes, I grieve taking the life of unborn children, and I no less grieve taking the life of an adult.

To value life...Not only life for the unborn, but also life for the mothers who would bear them and the fathers by whom they could be loved. Life for the soldiers and innocent civilians in an over-militarized world. Life for those unnecessarily shot and killed when guns are too loosely regulated. Life (because it matters and is still glaringly hard to come by) for blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, and other minority races in this country. Life without fear for Muslims and people of all religions. Life for the refugee seeking shelter from the brutality of war. Life for our LGBTQ friends and family members who have made so much important progress in the last 4 years. Life for those in inhumane prison conditions and sentenced to be killed to teach us that killing is wrong. (What?) Life for the immigrant trying to make a better life for their family, like almost all our families once did by settling in America. Life for these refugees and migrants who are escaping countries with dire economic conditions often caused by US foreign policy in the first place. Life for my countless friends and family members (and myself) who only have access to healthcare because of the Affordable Care Act. Life for women yet to receive equal pay in the workplace. Life for parents and children lacking adequate maternity/paternity leave time or affordable childcare. Life for the millions still living in poverty in the high-crime rate, low income food deserts of our cities. Life for the brilliant kid who has a mind that could change our world for the better, but can't afford a decent education. Life for the beautiful people with mental and physical disabilities that need access to better resources and integration into society at large. And honestly, life for the billionaires and those at the top that perpetuate the growing gap between rich and poor who will at some point learn that money and power are not actually viable ways to avoid suffering. And life for all of us who fall in the dizzying gaps between these extremes. Life, life, real life for all.

I don't claim that any government or any president is the savior that can grant this sort of life. I only claim that I must vote within a broken system in such a way that at least makes movement towards this sort of life possible for the most people.

And let's be real. Trump has said he'll appoint "pro-life" Supreme Court justices, but truth telling and knowledge of policy have not been hallmarks of his campaign (or life) up to this point. So would that even happen? I don't know. But I think it's risky to support him on this account and ignore the countless other immoralities, abuses, and pathologies that he would bring with him into office.

(Please read "So You're Thinking of Voting for a Pro-Choice Candidate" by Rachel Held Evans for a much more in depth and thorough take on all this.)


Now, if you are a pro-Trump Christian on grounds other than the "pro-life" issue, I must ask:

"How you can claim God’s love for kids with special needs while supporting a man who openly mocks people with disabilities, 
How you can oppose sexual immorality while shrugging off the transgressions of a strip club owner who brags about his sexual exploits and extramarital affairs and who publicly sexualized both of his daughters, 
How you can make grand announcements about your efforts to move toward racial reconciliation while working to elect as president a man people in his own party acknowledge is racist, and who is widely supported by white supremacist groups, 
How you can appeal to “religious liberty” to justify denying wedding cakes to gay and lesbian couples without challenging a candidate who wants  to increase surveillance of Muslim neighborhoods, create a database of Muslim citizens, and ban Muslims from visiting the U.S., which would suggest the only “religious liberty” you want to protect is your own, 
How you can claim your conservative views on women’s roles aren’t anti-woman while supporting a misogynist who says he likes to have a “young and beautiful piece of ass” on his arm, calls women “bimbos” and “fat pigs,” and distributed unflattering pictures of a political opponent’s wife as a campaign tactic, 
How you can claim it’s unfair to characterize evangelicals as anti-intellectual while following a man who believes conspiracy theories from the National Enquirer, thinks climate change is a hoax,  says vaccines cause autism, and displays such breathtaking ignorance regarding the state of the world and foreign policy that no former presidents will endorse him and multiple generals, foreign policy experts, editorial boards, and heads of state have denounced him as dangerously uninformed,
How you can quote Bible verses about “welcoming the stranger” while supporting a candidate who wants to turn away desperate refugee families,  
How you can call yourself “family values” voters while supporting Trump’s mass deportation, which would orphan or displace 4.5 million children who are U.S. citizens but who have at least one parent who is an undocumented immigrant,
How you can claim it’s a “morally good choice” to elect a president who wants to bring back waterboarding and other forms of torture, who wants to target the families of terrorists because “that’s what they do to us,” and who admires the tactics of Vladimir Putin and Saddam Hussein"
(The above list is an excerpt by Rachel Held Evans "So You're Thinking of Voting for a Pro-Choice Candidate" , August 2, 2016)

And finally, I'll ask not only how could you claim things and support this candidate? But also, how could you not do everything you can (with your vote and conversation) to protect us from him?


I'mWithHer1.jpg

But none of this does justice to the real credentials that Hillary Clinton has worked to earn that rightly qualify her to be president of the US, regardless of who she's running against. No, she's not perfect, as no politician (or human) has ever been or will be in the future. And I'm honored to cast my vote to elect a "qualified and prepared" candidate, who just so happens to be the first woman in this position, for the presidency of the United States...a place of power desperately in need of some feminine energy and wisdom.

 

So #ImWithHer, which now means far more that just being with Hillary.

Letter from Birmingham Jail

   Message me  to make an order of this print! I've still got a small inventory of 12x18in. posters that go for $20 each.

Message me to make an order of this print! I've still got a small inventory of 12x18in. posters that go for $20 each.

"Yes, these questions are still in my mind. In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? ... Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.

There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators."' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are.

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust." -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (An excerpt of "Letter from Birmingham Jail")

Advent: Calling the Dreamers and Realists, Prophets and Pragmatists

 Learn more about the Advent wreath and find a compilation of other resources on the season at  sarahduet.com/advent .

Learn more about the Advent wreath and find a compilation of other resources on the season at sarahduet.com/advent.

I recently had the honor of writing again for the Art House America Blog...

Advent is my favorite season of the year. Why? Maybe because it seems like the most realistic one to me, and I think that’s a good foundation on which to start each new year—a real one. Advent is the time when longing and unmet desires meet celebration and fulfillment, holding the two ends of the spectrum of our human experience in tension without denying either of them. Grief and hope, pain and joy together. Because honestly, how often are we not feeling both simultaneously in some way?

Advent is a season of waiting, preparation, longing, and celebrating. Amid the chaos that our Americanized, consumeristic “Christmas” can pull us into, we’re given an invitation as the community of God’s people during Advent to say no to the noise. No to the busyness. No to the stress. No to the spending.
— Sarah Duet (Art House America Blog)

 

In the name of the One who is Mercy and Mystery–the One who comes with goodwill to earth and peace again for us all–I wish us all a deep sense of hope this Advent. May we, the weary world, remember also to rejoice together this season.

-sd.