Sunday Everyday

Rhythm, Solitude and Creation


Rhythm, Solitude and Creation with  Ray Simpson.  I took these notes in a class that Ray Simpson took at the Surrender 15 conference on Saturday the 21st March at 4.00pm.  Just reading this again I am reminded of how far I wander from these profound principles that when followed bring peace and calm and rest.

Ray Simpson is the founding guardian of the community of Aidan and Hilda.  He is an ordained Anglican Priest who lives on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne in England, the cradle Island of Christianity in Great Britain.  He has been there for nearly 20 years where he runs retreats for pilgrims, and consults on church renewal strategies.  He is the author of number of best-selling books on Celtic Spirituality, new monasticism and patterns of prayer.

Rhythm, Solitude and Creation

Deep in every human heart is a longing.

Most people don’t have a name for this longing, so they look for substitutes.  The problem is that the substitutes don’t work.

“Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you”.  Augustine.

How does our heart become one with God?  We connect to the heart of God, creation and the contemporary world through the rhythms of prayer, contemplation and solitude.  These are the three things that unite us with God.


The garden of Eden is a parable that we can use to model rhythm.  We are supposed to walk and talk with God in rhythm with creation.  It is the default programme that the creator built into us and we have taken it out.

Rhythm has been built into the universe and we are now disconnected from it.  We are disconnected because of: business, ego, work, screens, disconnection from land and country, 24 hour working conditions and many more.

Many religions like the Jews and Muslims are disciplined to pray  in rhythm and at set times.  We can also do this.  It doesn’t have to be difficult.  We can use the rhythms that we already have like: getting out of bed, having lunch, going to bed at night.

Photo by Jiri Dvorsky

Photo by Jiri Dvorsky

In the morning when we get out of bed we can pray mindfully.

As I wake today

As I get up today

I rise in peace

I rise in hope

I rise in love

As the sun rises we can also let the awareness of God rise in our hearts.

Personally, every morning when I wake I say something like this:

“Good morning Lord, I love you.  I commit this day into your hands.  Will you help me today?  Im not sure that I can do this day without you.  Will you lead and guide me?”

Sense God, acknowledge him in the morning.

Pause at sometime in the middle of the day.  

You may be on the toilet or in the bathroom at work.  “Lord be with me in the middle of the day, I trust you”.

At night as you lie down.

“I lie down this night with God.  And God will lie down with me”.

The bible says, “Don’t let the sun go down  on your wrath” Eph 4:26.  This also means don’t let the sun go down on your unprocessed material. Don’t let it build up.   Reflect on the day, be mindful of what happened in the day and reconcile it.  Make it right before God. Go to bed in peace rather than unresolved.

This is called ‘intentional rhythm’.

We also need time to be cut off from distraction and awareness.  Most of us are over-connected, overstimulated.  We need rhythms, times and seasons where we withdraw.  Jesus often withdrew to the mountain, to the desert, to the boat.

In Hebrew, the word ‘shalom’ is holistic.  It encompasses peace, wholeness of both mind and body.  In our western society we have separated mind and body through dualism.  We need to allow Jesus to heal the split between our mind and body.  So that we are healthy  and whole.



The journey into solitude is very important.  God is deep within us. We have this Gold in each one of us.  The deepest thing within us is the light of God.  Silence is like God. Yet silence can disturb us in the very un-silent world.  Modern society is so terrified of silence that it drowns itself in noise.  It is in solitude that we reach God.  Become one with God.  Become one with heaven.

Go into your room alone, write out all your thoughts , park them.  Face your inner demons.  Test your thoughts.  Test them by the beatitudes.

Is it loving?

Is it merciful?

Is it kind?


Digital Art by Jiri Dvorsky


“For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse”.      Romans 1:20

Gods invisible qualities are seen and understood in creation.  Jesus urges us to be watchers of creation.  He uses parables of seed, weeds, wheat, fish, birds, trees, sheep , etc.  He uses creation to point the way to God.

“The heavens declare the Glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of HIs hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech, night after night they reveal knowledge.” Psalm 19:1,2

Patterns, rhythms, cycles, seasons, tides, life and death.  The cycles and rhythms of life are all found in creation yet we have become so disconnected from creation that we fail to see the therapeutic value and healing that creation has to offer.  We also forget that we can glean understanding  about who God is and what He is like by looking at creation.  His creativity, His wonder, His magnificence, His infinite care, His precise and miraculous balance and harmony in all of these cycles and rhythms.

When we spend time in nature, on the land, outside, on a beach, on a moor, in a field on a mountain,  we are connected to the bigger picture and are invigorated and enlivened by the source of life.  When I walk on a beach I find myself bursting into spontaneous praise and worship I get so excited and invigorated.  I am refreshed and revitalised immediately.

  • Why don’t you practise a simple intentional daily rhythm so that you take God with you all through the day.
  • Learn to put time aside to spend in solitude so that you can sort through the deep things of the heart.
  • Make sure that you spend time in creation.  If you don’t like to attend a church, attend the cathedral of creation and learn about the creator there.

Love Lisa

Recommended Reading:

Celtic Blessings: Prayers for Everyday Life 
Ray Simpson

Daily Light from the Celtic Saints: A Year’s Worth of Ancient Wisdom to Bring New Meaning to Modern Life

Ray Simpson

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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Hold Your Fire (To Those Who Would Harm Themselves)

Hold Your Fire (To Those Who Would Harm Themselves)

This is a beautiful post by John Pavlovitz. I have re-blogged for Friday Arts Day because of the style of Poetry and Prose.  You can follow John here:  John Pavlovitz

Self harming is a huge issue, a silent issue, one hidden and full of shame. I love that John’s message is for us to stand and fight alongside those who are suffering. You are not alone. Cease fire, lay down your guns, reinforcements are on the way. Don’t suffer in silence.

This is a message to all the brave, exhausted soldiers out there doing battle.

Those fighting hand to hand, their silent, internal civil war.

As with all wars, the trenches are bloody and brutal and so very wasteful.

And I’m calling out to you; you who stand on those cruel front lines, pressed up hard against the fight.

I’m reaching out because there is urgency in these moments, because so much damage is being done, because I look around and the violence seems to be winning.

I think you understand that, because it’s gotten the best of you before too.

You show the scars.

You bear the bruises.

You wear the wounds.

I know that the battle has streaked you scarlet; that it’s ravaged you and left you terribly broken.

It’s drained the hope from your heart and the joy from your spirit.

I know that your head is spinning right now, trying to find footing in a ground that shifts and slides beneath your feet.

Nothing seems stable. 

And when everything feels like chaos, controlling anything feels like comfort.

Piece by piece, you chase peace.

You are hurt and so you hurt.

You fight with your flesh, in your flesh.

You war with yourself.

But this battle has gone on far too long, my sweet friend.

I’m trying to arrange a cease-fire.

I’m hoping to stop the bleeding.

I’m asking you to cross lines in the fight.

Don’t side with the bullies anymore.

Don’t conspire with your enemies.

Don’t give consent to the terrorists.

Don’t do your demon’s dirty work any longer.

Refuse to agree with the liars who tell you that you are ugly and unloved and worthless and hopeless.

Resist recruitment in your own demise.

I know that you are overwhelmed.

I know you can’t see the way out right now.

I know you don’t know where to start.

Start here.

Start by breathing slowly and standing down.

Step out from the trenches.

Drop your weapons.

Hold your fire.

Lay down your guns.

Surrender peaceably.

Call in those waiting reinforcements.

Let someone else fight alongside you.

Let someone else fight for you.

Let me fight for you.

I promise that I’ll fight like hell, because you are so very worth fighting for.

You are so very loved.

Hold on my brave, exhausted soldier.

Peace is within reach.

Hope is in your hands.

Love is here.

If you need help in this area or are journeying with someone who is.  Help is available.  Please don’t walk this alone.

  • Headspace is a great organisation that can help you.  It also offers services for family members.
  • Headspace centres have been created because they believe young people need services designed especially for them.  If you are 12 – 25 and having a tough time or you know someone who is – visit a headspace near you.
  • Call 1800650890 Headspace is a confidential space.
If you need immediate help please call 000

Love Love Love Lisa

john pavlovitz

This is a message to all the brave, exhausted soldiers out there doing battle.

Those fighting hand to hand, this silent civil war.

Like all wars, the trenches are bloody and brutal, and so very wasteful.

And I’m calling out to you; you who stand on those cruel front lines, pressed up hard against the fight.

I’m reaching out because there is urgency in these moments, because so much damage is being done, because I look around and the violence seems to be winning.

I think you understand that, because it’s gotten the best of you before, too.

You show the scars.

You bear the bruises.

You wear the wounds.

I know that the battle has streaked you scarlet; that it’s ravaged your flesh and left you terribly broken.

It’s drained the hope from your heart and the blood from your veins.

I know that your head is spinning right now, trying to find footing in a ground that shifts and slides beneath your feet.


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What is Stress?


What is Stress?  by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

Stress is a normal part of life and is normally able to be managed well.  However chronic stress is bad and overwhelming stress is worse.  You can be stressed emotionally, environmentally and physiologically. Stress is not about what happens to you, but how you react to what happens.  It is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that:

demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.” Richard S.Lazarus

We define stress as “environmental conditions that require behavioural adjustment” (Benson, H. The Relaxation Response, 2000, pg. 41). Thus change, good or bad, can induce a stress response.

You can Check your own Life Events Rating Scale at MIND HEALTH.  They have a short questionnaire that calculates your stress levels and helps you to understand what level of stress you are living with.

Stress can effect the physical body, particularly our muscles, the Nervous System and the Endocrine System Immune System.


With sudden onset stress, the muscles tense up all at once, and then release their tension when the stress passes. Chronic stress causes the muscles in the body to be in a more or less constant state of guardedness. When muscles are taut and tense for long periods of time, this may trigger other reactions of the body and even promote stress-related disorders. For example, both tension-type headache and migraine headache are associated with chronic muscle tension in the area of the shoulders, neck and head. (reference)



Gastrointestinal:  Our gastric system is particularly sensitive to stress.  Causing bowel problems, problems with our digestion, acid reflux, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation.

Nervous System:

When the body is stressed it generates the “fight or flight” response. The body shifts all of its energy resources toward fighting off a life threat, or fleeing from an enemy. The adrenal glands  release hormones called adrenalin and cortisol. These hormones cause the heart to beat faster, respiration rate to increase, blood vessels in the arms and legs to dilate, digestive process to change and glucose levels (sugar energy) in the bloodstream to increase to deal with the emergency.

This sudden response prepares the body to respond to an emergency situation or acute stress, short term stressors. Once the crisis is over, the body usually returns to the pre-emergency, unstressed state.

Chronic stress, experiencing stressors over a prolonged period of time, can result in a long-term drain on the body causing  wear-and-tear on the body. It’s not so much what chronic stress does to the nervous system, but what continuous activation of the nervous system does to other bodily systems that become problematic. (Reference)

Some Stress-Induced Changes in Endocrine Function 

When the body is stressed, the hypothalamus signals the autonomic nervous system and the pituitary gland and the process is started to produce epinephrine and cortisol, sometimes called the “stress hormones.”(Reference)


When cortisol and epinephrine are released, the liver produces more glucose, a blood sugar that would give you the energy for “fight or flight” in an emergency. For most of you, if you don’t use all of that extra energy, the body is able to reabsorb the blood sugar, even if you’re stressed again and again. But for some people — especially people vulnerable to Type 2 diabetes — that extra blood sugar can mean diabetes.

Increased cortisol, catecholamines & fatty acids

Increased blood sugar

Increased insulin

An increase in all of the above starts the process that gives your body the energy to run from danger.

Increased cholesterol

Management of Stress 

There are many proven recommended techniques to regulate and manage stress.

Because of my life experiences I live with chronic stress so I need to constantly be mindful of self care.  These are some of the things that have helped me.


Meditation:  silent, focused, prayer, imagery.

People who meditate regularly,  have different neural structures.  You can read more about this in an article that I wrote on The Power of Mediation where I talk about how the power of meditaiton can rehape your neural pathways.

Silence:  This is where I go to a space all alone, write out all my thoughts , park them.  Face my inner demons.  Test my thoughts.  Test them by the beatitudes.

Is it loving?

Is it merciful?

Is it kind?

Time out:  I will often schedule a date with myself.  As an introvert I really need time alone without this my stress levels escalate rapidly.  I will go for a drive, walk on the beach,  drive to a cafe for the day and read or write or journal.

Journalling:  I cannot underestimate the help that I have found in journalling.  Both writing and in art journalling.  It not only offers immediate help but long term help.  When  I look back into past journals it is helpful for me to see the progress that I have made and also how I have moved through certain obstacles.

Painting:  painting means that I can rest completely in the right side of my brain and when I do that I am able to switch off all the self talk, the worry, the hyper thinking, the mental acrobats.

Sleep:  without adequate sleep I am hopeless.  I completely implode and everything becomes magnified and unmanageable.

Other techniques that are proven to relieve stress: Exercise,  Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR),  Relaxation techniques have been shown to effectively reduce muscle tension, decrease the incidence of certain stress-related disorders, such as headache, and increase a sense of well-being.  Listen to music, spend time with friends and  eat a well balanced diet.

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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Your Wellbeing Matters


Your Wellbeing Matters

by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

I look after the website and social media for a business in Croydon called Croydon Herbal Health.  The tag line that I designed for them is “Your Wellbeing Matters”.  It got me thinking.  Wellbeing is a word that we don’t often use and to be honest it is a word that I hadn’t really discovered until recently.  We do think of it in terms of physical health but it is so much more than that.

Your Wellbeing Matters

What is wellbeing?

It is more than happiness which can change with circumstances.  Nor is it about wealth or success.  To understand wellbeing we need to look at it holistically. Wellbeing incorporates body, mind and soul.  Wellbeing is a more stable state of being well.  I guess you could say that it is a sense of satisfaction and it is a state  of being balanced.

Sometimes when you are discussing the definition of a word it helps to look at what it is not.

It is not:

  • Feeling unbalanced
  • Unwell
  • Stressed
  • Frustrated
  • Unhealthy
  • Unfulfilled
  • Unsatisfied

Well-being is more than just happiness. As well as feeling satisfied and happy, well-being means developing as a person, being fulfilled, and making a contribution to the community (Keyes).

In philosophy the term ‘well-being’ (and ‘welfare’) is used to refer to how well a person’s life goes for the person who lives it.

Wellbeing is not just the absence of disease or illness. It is a complex combination of a person’s physical, mental, emotional and social health factors. Wellbeing is strongly linked to happiness and life satisfaction. In short, wellbeing could be described as how you feel about yourself and your life (Reference).

How do we achieve a state of wellbeing.

  • Develop and maintain strong relationships with family and friends.
  • Make regular time available for social contact.
  • Try to find work that you find enjoyable and rewarding, rather than just working for the best pay.
  • Eat wholesome, nutritious foods.
  • Do regular physical activity.
  • Become involved in activities that interest you.
  • Join local organisations or clubs that appeal to you.
  • Set yourself achievable goals and work towards them.
  • Try to be optimistic and enjoy each day.
  • Develop relationship with a life coach like a naturopath who can help you to build a balanced lifestyle .

When you look at the two lists of what is ‘not wellbeing’ and what helps ‘achieve wellbeing’ you begin to see where balance comes in.  Each person has a set of resources. Each time an individual meets a challenge, the see saw of challenges and resources comes into a state of imbalance, as the individual is forced to adapt his or her resources to meet this particular challenge.


In essence, stable wellbeing is when individuals have the right or adequate  psychological, social and physical resources they need to meet a particular psychological, social and/or physical challenge. When individuals have more challenges than resources, the see-saw dips, along with their wellbeing, and vice-versa (Reference).

Every aspect of your life influences your state of wellbeing.  It is a well documented fact that community and relationships have a huge bearing on a persons wellbeing. Both loneliness and social networks have been linked with mood and wellbeing.  We are social beings and there is now clear evidence for the health- promoting effects of social relationships (Reference).

Primarily a state of wellbeing is achieved when we are living a balanced life.  When our resources mentally, physically and financially meet our challenges.

Tips for living a well balanced life:
  1. Take care of and nurture yourself. You cannot accomplish anything if you’re unhealthy. …
  2. Know what your priorities are. Balance does not entail cramming in every activity possible. …
  3. Create an efficient mindset. …
  4. Expect the unexpected. …
  5. Maintain a positive mental attitude.
  6. Don’t do life alone

Where to get help

  • Your doctor
  • Your naturopath
  • Family and friends
  • Counsellor
  • Lifeline Tel. 13 11 14
  • Kids Help Line Tel. 1800 551 800



If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through
Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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Conversation with a Chef


Conversation with a Chef was written by Jo Rittey and was posted on the site Conversation with a Chef  and you can read more of their interviews by heading to their blog site.

The reason why I have re-posted this on Friday Arts day is because Kelvin and Michelle are good friends of mine.  The incredible restaurant Altair is a couple of blocks away from us in the Village of Warrandyte.  Kelvin is the  head Chef of the restaurant and his wife Michelle is the maître d’ and keeps the whole place running smoothly.  Cooking is well and truly an art form and you only have to experience the joy of dining at Altair to realise that.

Kelvin recently was recently a finalist in the Appetite for Excellence Young restaurateur of the year awards – he is kind of a big deal!  Photo Cred:  Gemma Carr Photography



Kelvin and his wife, Michelle, run Altair Restaurant in Warrandyte, just a little drive from the city and right on the doorstep of the Yarra Valley. Kelvin describes his food as modern Australian with a twist; he uses native plants and spices to add that something extra and also to acknowledge and connect with the land he lives in and loves.

What do you love about food and cooking?

Mainly, which is a little bit strange, but it’s making people happy. Ever since I was a kid, I used to once a week make breakfast for mum and dad and it would be a whole family thing. It was just scrambled eggs and I was only tiny at the time, but it wasn’t the food itself, it was more people’s reactions to the food. That’ why I love having a window now, I can watch the customers while they’re eating, not that I stare at them or anything, but I can actually watch them and watch them enjoying the food, which to me is really rewarding. In life I feel we remember family, relationships, holidays and food. They are the four main ones and I get to provide one of them on a daily basis which is really cool. When you talk to people, they say, I remember when I went here and I ate this and it sticks in people’s heads. My staff and I all get to provide life moments for people on a daily basis, which is a major buzz.

It’s a beautiful place to do it too. I’ve never been to Warrandyte before but it’s lovely with all the trees and the river.

It’s a cute little town. I grew up at the bottom of Mt Dandenong and I’ve lived over this way for a lot of my life, although I worked bay side for a couple of years and we lived 5 minutes from the beach and I went to the beach three or four times in four years, it was just there but we never went. But to me the river, the town has a great vibe about it and we’re not that far from the city. It’s like a total escape without having to go too far. It’s a great little town; the river is amazing. On Sunday afternoons we like going for a walk or fly-fishing or whatever. It’s so relaxing and everyone is friendly.

Did you start your apprenticeship in Melbourne?

Yes. I’ve only ever worked in Melbourne. I started off at the Yarra Glen racecourse. Actually, I started off at the MCG before I started my apprenticeship, I started off as a pie boy there and worked my way up through the ranks I worked for Spotless, so did lots of major sporting events and the Grand Prix as well, then went to the Yarra Glen racecourse. The Yarra Valley had some very nice restaurants; Eleanor’s at Chateau Yering has always been amazing but it didn’t have the calibre of restaurants it has today. So it was a matter of going into the city to apply my trade. It’s a long drive and I was still living in the Dandenongs. I’d drive to the city and back every day. So I started out this way and it was always the intention to move back at some stage. It’s great now because with the expansion of some of the wineries out there and with Levantine moving out here and Ezard, and you’ve got Matt Stone at Oakridge and Neil Cunningham at Punt Road. You’ve got some really good chefs at some really good places, which means it’s not just a wine region any more, it’s a so a food region, which is great. We’re not quite in the Yarra Valley, but we’re on the doorstep of the Yarra Valley and you can pretty much find any cuisine you want out here, from fine dining like we do to a casual lunch and you don’t have to go as far.

That’s great. Do you have anyone in particular who has been influential along the way?

A fair few. I was recently part of the Electrolux Young Restaurateur of the Year and they asked me that question and it really got me thinking about it. A lot of my inspiration comes from my Grandma. She was a great cook and I spent a lot of time with her when I was a kid. My grandpa was a builder and my parents were building a house so they’d all be building the house and then we’d have a family meal together. Most of what she did was baking; scones and relishes. I used to love the food, love the smells. To me a lot of my love for cooking has come from smell. I remember a lot of my really influential food moments, where I’ve gone, that’s amazing, have come from smells of food. I remember that the kitchen always used to smell amazing.

I always wanted to be a chef but didn’t want to work chef hours, didn’t want to miss out on seeing my friends, most high school kids have the same feelings, so I actually went to University and did a psychology degree. I thought that was a better use of my time and my education but I just kept finding my way back to food. All my part time jobs when I was at Uni were food-related and everything was food.

Yeah so Grandma was a massive influence and then through my career I’ve worked on and off with a couple of chefs; one in particular, Paul Tingay, who grew up on Jersey, a little island between England and France and classical old-school chef; terrines, pâtés, all those thongs we don’t make any more and we’re not taught any more. He really taught me how to do a lot of those things. With any chef, if you know how to do the basics properly, then you can evolve ad create your own signature but you can’t skip that step. I worked with him for a long time at Sails on the Bay. He was the larder chef and he taught me heaps.

Stuart Cole was another one who really taught me what being a chef was. Not what cooking is but what being a chef is; manage your staff, look after people, how to run a business essentially. You can work with lots of great chefs and they can teach you styles and you can go to business schools and TAFES but it’s the actual experience of other people that’s set up well to run our own business. It’s things they don’t get paid to teach you but they’re willing to pass on, I think it’s really important and that’s what we try and do here with the guys. Essentially when you work here it’s an open book, I’ll show you what the food costs are, I’ll show you what the wage costs are because these are things you need to know about. This is the knowledge you need that you won’t learn in school.

I think it’s lucky you had a mentor who showed you these things in that way because I think some of the old school chefs were quite hard on their staff and it has been evolving away from that now.

Definitely. I was one of those chefs. My first Head Chef job, I wasn’t ready for it in hindsight. At the time I thought I was, everybody does, but I wasn’t ready for it. It’s not that I misjudged, I knew the job was going to be hard, but I didn’t realise the emotional toll it takes on you. I was one of those Gordon Ramsay type chefs and very quickly learned that it just doesn’t get you anywhere. You lose the confidence of your staff. If you’re got everybody on board, everything works better; the food is better quality, the people are happier at work, you have greater staff retention. That’s the main one because it’s so hard to get staff in hospitality these days, especially where we are.

That’s interesting.

A lot of people are in the industry but not a lot of people last. Pay conditions, work conditions and the whole romantic idea that’s presented on tv. Sarcasm comes into it a fair bit still but there ‘s just no place for yelling in the kitchen any more. It’s the old way, it’s not the productive way. We deal with things, we understand that we have customers to feed and we’ll deal with it and the end of service and appropriately. I think that the boys and girls in the kitchen respect that. Because of that, I think, we’ve had great staff retention. We have staff here who have been here since we opened three and a half years ago. We really want to treat people with the respect they deserve. And the hours too; none of my staff do 80 – 90 hours a week, it’s just not feasible long term. Otherwise people are only in the industry for about five years rather than staying in it.

Does your psychology degree have any bearing on that?

Considering how much it costs to get a university degree, I’d like to think it does. What it has taught me is that everybody is different and that’s the best way to deal with your staff. I remember when I was an apprentice, a couple of times, and when I get yelled at I just shut down, I don’t respond well to be yelled at. But if someone came to me and told me that they were disappointed in me, that would cut me so deep and I would want to fix it and that would be my sole purpose. I think that gone is the era that the chef’s way is the only way. All your staff need to be treated differently; we are all different people and respond differently to criticism. I’ve got one young chef who doesn’t respond well to compliments, it makes him feel nervous. So, what it has taught me by doing that degree, how to treat people and get the best out of them and also to help them get the best out of themselves. As long as they are happy with themselves and happy in their workplace, they produce good quality food. I probably don’t use my degree enough.

These things are never wasted though.

Yes, and I also I was pretty immature as a kid, so coming into it a little bit older was better for me too.

So your food here is modern Australian?

Yes. Essentially it is, but with a twist. It’s a question we get a lot and it’s hard to answer. Three things happened during my upbringing which got us to where we are now. The first one was that I had a local wurundjeri elder come out to my primary school – I would only have been about 7 years old, but it’s stuck with me. He cooked rainbow trout in bark over the coals and it was the most amazing trout I had ever eaten. I don’t remember all that much about what else he taught us but I remember the fish and I didn’t think of it for years to come. Then during my apprenticeship I was looking through a cookbook and saw tempura acacia blossoms, I think it was done by Alain Ducasse and I thought, that’s wattle, it’s a wattle dish. I thought, this is growing all around my backyard. I went out and tried it and most of it isn’t edible, there are lots of different types of wattle and some of them taste disgusting. But I realised that a lot of what is around us is edible. I thought what else is native Australian that’s edible and I got working with a lady called Jude Mayall, she’s from OutbackChef and she sells native Australian ingredients. I discovered a whole entire world I’d never heard of before; Kakadu plums, Davidson plums, rye berries, warrigal greens, wattle seed; all this stuff that is native to our country and is edible.

What we try and do here is to take contemporary dishes and then give them a bit of a twist. At the moment on the menu we have a beef tartare and instead of serving it with frites or bread, we season it with wattle seed, and a little bit of blood root then we wrap it up in warrigal greens and then serve it with native macadamia, rye berries and Kakadu plum. So you have all these Australian flavours going through a traditional dish. So when we call ourselves modern Australian, we are using Australian products and ingredients.

It doesn’t get more Australian than that!

Yeah but people get scared. I actually did a radio interview this morning with a radio station in America, an ex-pat doing an Australian show over there. We were discussing native Australian ingredients and I think when people hear native Australian they think they are going to eat emus and kangaroos and witchetty grubs where we are more focussed on the shrubs, trees, bushes and spices that we can put into food. Pepper berries from Tasmania have this amazing aroma and flavour almost like juniper, they go great with gin and so it has not only found its way into the food here but also the cocktails. So we have more of a twist than other places that call themselves modern Australian.

What’s Jude’s background?

Her parents owned a farm growing up and had a stall at the Vic Market and she got into produce, so she got in that way but she does work very closely with the aboriginal community. She’ll bring an ingredient in and she’ll say, we’ve just got this from South Australia or the Northern Territory or wherever it may come from and I’ll get it and look it up online or in a recipe book and there’s nothing about it. That’s where it’s a little bit scary but it’s also exciting because it’s a blank slate. There are a few chefs out there using them; Amaru in Northcote use native ingredients and Shannon Bennett and ben Shewry have played around with some of it as well but it’s very new and people like Jude are like pioneers in this area. So we often try boiling it and frying it and we’ll try it in several different ways and try and work out which is the best way and then we create from there. It’s really cool because in cooking there’s not much that is new. We reinvent the wheel so many times but using native ingredients is something that is a little bit new and we can play with it and it slowly gives something, not just to the restaurant, but to Australia in terms of what is our national cuisine? We don’t really have one. If you say to people, what are our national ingredients or dishes, we turn around and say lamingtons and pavlovas and barbecues and prawns. And pavlova is from New Zealand, it’s not even Australian to begin with.

Yes but Australia claims everything from New Zealand and calls it its own!

It’s slowly giving us an identity. People aren’t as scared any more. We do an indigenous dinner once a year and we now have people ringing two or three months in advance to book for it whereas the first year we did it everybody said, you’re not going to serve me witchetty grubs are you? We are slowly educating without being preachy about what is actually out there.

I think it’s great to have a nod to all of that. The indigenous people really appreciated the seasons and what was available and sustainable and so I think it’s nice to acknowledge that as well. I think with colonisation we threw a lot of that out that we really shouldn’t have.

A lot of what they had was ripped out and replanted with Europeans vegetables and fruit trees. It got lost for a while. But we use a lot of warrigal greens which are a bit like spinach, it’s slightly more herbaceous botanical, slightly more textural. We use it as a substitute for spinach and Captain Cook used it to treat scurvy. We were using these things years and years ago and then they became forgotten. It’s a native Australian version of spinach which is brilliant. The French even took it and planted it and they grow it over there with a different name but it’s native to Australia and they’re now using it. So it’s great that working with Jude and other suppliers who work with indigenous communities we can get this stuff back out there. A lot of it is going straight to the US for medicinal purposes and facial creams; Kakadu plum, they can’t get enough of it. It’s actually hard now for Australian chefs to buy it now because it’s all going straight to the US.

So when diners come in to Altair, that’s the experience you want them to have? To try something a little bit different?

Definitely. The first menu I ever wrote as a Head Chef I gave to the owners of the restaurant and said what do you think and one of the owners said she couldn’t eat anything on the menu. I asked what she meant and she replied that she owns a restaurant but her tastes were fairly basic. I sat there and thought but I would love to eat everything on this menu and she said but you need to do, not only what you like to eat, but also what your diners want to eat. You have to have something for everyone. We try and do that here, so yes we have some safer options on the menu but we do have those dishes that will hopefully challenge people as well. We try and suit every diner who comes through the door. We have options for those who want to come out but aren’t overly adventurous but we also have dishes fro those who want to challenge their tastebuds. We do try and pack a lot of flavour into our food and texture is a big one for us. We just put a new dessert on last week which is a doughnut with black garlic jam and lavender. We do a native lemon myrtle sorbet with it. It sounds really whacked but we had a pastry chef in last night who works in one of the city restaurants and she was amazed by it, which was great for me because I’m not a pastry chef by trade. So things like that that read a little weird on the menu, we don’t just put it on to be weird, it has to work.

I think we’ve gone past the stage now where we go out just to have the food. You don’t come to a fine dining restaurant just to be fed, you want dinner and a show. It has to be great service, great wine service, the food has to taste great and it has to look amazing, because it’s very much a visual thing. We also want to be taken on a journey and have an experience. That’s what we really try and do. We have a tasting menu where we take you through different things we try and achieve through our food so it becomes a culinary experience. It seems to work. People are saying you have to go to Altair for the experience and that’s what we really try and achieve. I don’t think there’s a place for fine dining restaurants unless you can provide that extra level.



Beef tartare, Warrigal greens, wattle seed, native fruits (finger lime, riberry, muntries), macadamia, Kakadu plum

152 Yarra Street, Warrandyte

9844 5548

Featured Image:  Seared tuna with warm Nicoise salad.  Served on their lunch menu.

Stepping Into The Minefield (To Those Who Love A Depressed Person)


This excellent article  on Depression was written by John Pavlovitz.  You can follow John here on his blog. – Stuff That Needs to Be Said.

Stepping Into The 


(To Those Who Love 

A Depressed Person)


Life with depression is precarious business.

It’s like living full-time in a minefield.

You never quite get comfortable with your surroundings, even when things seem quiet. You always move gingerly, knowing full well that any step could blow it all up and send you reeling again; a bit of bad news, a difficult moment, or worse seemingly nothing at all. And every single time something triggers the sadness and that inner detonation occurs, parts of you get ripped up and shredded—and losing a bit of yourself in this way never gets easier.

One of the things most people don’t understand is the way mental illness isolates you, how it forces you to the periphery of all of your relationships because you know how unstable the ground you walk on each day is and how quickly everything can get ugly. You desperately want to avoid the collateral damage to people you love, so you learn to keep them at a safe distance.

Yet ironically it’s this very self-inflicted solitude that is the often the perfect incubator for despair. Without the necessary fresh voices from those outside of your own head, you have complete freedom to stay there and to craft the most horrible, hopeless narrative for yourself at any given moment. 

So often this violence is an inside job.

Like most people who suffer from chronic depression, over the years I’ve become an expert at self-deception. My mind can manipulate the data in front of me to construct an iron-clad case against myself without a trace of reasonable doubt. And it’s this brutal inner trial that makes helping from the outside so difficult, because you’ve got to rescue me from me(and I can be a real bear to deal with).

Loving someone who struggles with depression is a costly investment. It’s hazard duty, plain and simple. It’s the brave and defiant act of heading directly into this dangerous head space and risking life and limb to get close to people when they least want you close and yet most need you to be. That proximity to another’s pain is as treacherous as it can be redemptive.

Chances are you love someone who struggles with severe depression or other forms of mental illness. I wanted to say thank you on behalf of them, as they may never be able to articulate these things to you. It’s often incredibly difficult to admit your flaws, especially when those flaws involve how you think and feel, and how you view the world and your place in it.

And the truth is, you may never get through to those you love. 

You may say and do all the right things and still feel like it doesn’t matter. Despite all of your efforts and prayers and tears you may never be able to instill in people the hope you have for them and the goodness you see in them, but do not see that as defeat. 

You can’t measure your care by the reception it receives. As is so often the case, the act of loving is itself the victory.

So thank you for stepping into the minefield over and over again to reach and rescue those of us who reside there. 

It is a courageous and beautiful thing and not a moment of it is wasted.


The Space Between Worlds

A photo by Robert Lukeman.

The Space Between Worlds by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

Sometimes the best map will not guide you

You can’t see what’s round the bend,

Sometimes the road leads through dark places

Sometimes the darkness is your friend (1).

The Space Between Worlds.  
‘The place between two world views is a liminal place. It is a place of dying and rebirth, even of metamorphosis, the place where the caterpillar spins its cocoon and disappears from view. Liminality is Israel in the desert, Jesus in the tomb'(Leonard Hjalmarson).
The Latin word limina means threshold.

‘Liminality is where all transformation happens. It is when we are betwixt and between, and therefore by definition “not in control.” Nothing new happens as long as we are inside our self-constructed comfort zone. Much of our day to day effort at life is toward maintaining our personal little world.

Richard Rohr comments that,

“Nothing good or creative emerges from business as usual. This is why much of the work of God is to get people into liminal space, and to keep them there long enough so they can learn something essential. It is the ultimate teachable space.. maybe the only one. Most spiritual giants try to live lives of “chronic liminality” in some sense. They know it is the only position that insures ongoing wisdom, broader perspective and ever-deeper compassion”(2).


Few of us choose  liminal space. Instead, God usually has to engineer the journey.  When I think of liminal space I always think of the story of Jonah and the whale.  Jonah was going one way, he got thrown overboard, swallowed and then spat up on a foreign shore.

Have you ever feel swallowed up,  left in a dark place and then spat out.  Welcome to liminal space.

This is a poem that I wrote about liminal space.  For Mondays Meditation it would be good for you to spend 5 min with your eyes closed, meditating on this topic.  Think about the times when you have been in the space between worlds.  Maybe you are in that space now. Does it help to have language for how you are feeling?


The Space Between Worlds

Poem and Art by Lisa Hunt-Wotton


If there is water there is a boat

If there is an ocean there is a whale

If there is a storm there is darkness


Swallowed by grief

Left in the dark

Shipwrecked in the belly of a whale

Spit up on a foreign shore

Abandoned, desolate forsaken forlorn


Liminal space the space between worlds

A portal of pain beyond your control

No way to to back

No way to move forward

Until you drop the anchor of anger

Which tethers you to an impossible past

An umbilical chord of pain incapable of life


Drop the anchor

Cut the chord

Leave the whole bloody mess behind.

‘Friendship .. and community .. are critical pieces in the journey forward. In order to embrace the new we have to grieve the loss of the old. Few of us are capable of doing that work alone: grief requires community and friendship'(Leonard Hjalmarson).



1 Bruce Cockburn, “Pacing the Cage.” From The Charity of Night, 1995. Golden Mountain Music Corporation. BMI

2 Richard Rohr. “Days Without Answers in a Narrow Space.” National Catholic Reporter, Feb. 2002


If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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The Nature and Definition of Pastoral Care


The Nature and Definition of Pastoral Care by Lisa Hunt-Wotton


This paper will look at the nature and definition of pastoral care.  It will examine its foundations and will take into consideration historical context and contemporary application.  Pastoral care has at its very core the love and concern for the dignity of humanity and the ultimate goal of the formation of Christ into each person. Therefore the greatest model of pastoral care is Christ himself. As we grapple with an ever changing society which is fragmented and sprawling, we need more than ever a theology that embraces the idea of being connected to community and to small groups where people can find healing and guidance.

Nature of Pastoral Care

To understand the nature of pastoral care it is important to remember that we are created in the image of God.  A pastor is therefore called to respond in a way that reflects accurately the nature of God (Arnold, 1982: 15).  Fundamental to pastoral care is the understanding that ‘God cares for humanity in Jesus Christ’ (Oden, 1985: 36).  Pastors embody the care-giving, care-receiving process.  They are also the ‘listeners and interpreters of stories’ (Dykstra: 2005).  They assist in the understanding and refitting of our stories which especially in times of crisis are often fragmented and dissociated.  They relate the word of God to specific needs and life experiences in a ‘relationship of loving service’ (Aden, 1988: 40).


Biblical Foundations

In considering the biblical foundations of pastoral care in the bible we see that the care of Gods people began with the Patriarchs.  The Old Testament portrays the pastoral images of prophets, priest, wise men, kings and judges who God appointed for the care of His people.  It is from the pastoral images of rural settings like sheep and shepherds that we get the term ‘pastor’ (Dykstra, 2005: 54).   We see the Twenty-third Psalm as a well loved text that characterises the pastor/shepherd ministry as one who ‘offers presence and guidance toward the restoring of the soul’ (Patton, 2005: 3).

Although shepherding is a vivid image of a pastor it is not the total function of a pastor.  Everything ultimately needs to be interpreted through Jesus.  Jesus is the focus, the lens through which we understand pastoral care.  Jesus is the Good Shepherd,  He is the gate, He secures, He protects the sheep and He is the one who ultimately gave his life for his sheep (Jn 10: 7-11 TNIV).  He instructs us to care for one another, to love one another, and to care for his sheep. (Jn 21: 15-17).

The overall goal of pastors should therefore be ‘the formation of the character of Christ within his people’ (Benner, 2003: 15).

Pastoral Care Definitions

It is helpful to look at some well known and respected definitions of pastoral care.  This gives us a guide by which we can apply care, sustenance and healing to those in need.  Literally defined, pastoral care may be seen as ‘the function of providing spiritual…orientated leadership’ (Everly, 2008).  Clebsch and Jaekles state:

‘The ministry of the cure of souls, or pastoral care, consists of helping acts, done by representative Christian persons, directed towards the healing, sustaining, guiding, and reconciling of troubled persons whose troubles arise in the context of ultimate meanings and concerns’ (Jaekles, 1975, 1983: 4).

Another solid definition which also gives us an eternal perspective is expressed by R. Hurding where he suggests that pastoral care is:

The practical expression of the church’s concern for the everyday and ultimate needs of both its members and the community.’ (Hurding, 1992: 45).


Care Implementation

When looking at the implementation of care in the church, there are historically four primary functions of ministry for pastoral care.  These have been the centre of the life and assignment of the church (Arnold, 1982: 78).  They are the elements of healing, sustaining, guiding and reconciling which sit as the overarching template of appropriate care.

Healing:  involves the idea of moving through an injury toward wholeness (Benner, 2003: 15).

Sustaining:  refers to the support and care of the hurting person where the cure or healing is unlikely.

Reconciling:  involves the restoration of damaged relationships including broken relationships with God, the church and with people.

Guiding: assisting people to make wise and prudent choices (Benner, 2003: 15).  There are two elements to the function of guiding.  Inductive guidance which refers to what is taught or instructed and educative guidance which involves listening and drawing people out and helping them to find their way.

Each of these functions ‘has as its aim the maintenance and strengthening of people’ (Arnold, 1982:78).  These functions will all take on a different emphasis and strength depending on our world view, our gender, age, generation and culture.  As you look at the different stages of church history, different eras had more dominant themes.

Church History

The Dark Ages (400-1200).

Culture during this time was an oral one, and remained so even as Britain entered the twelfth century. Text was translated at the whim of Christian monks who had little interest in the colloquial speech of the day creating a vast gap between the church and its people.  This meant that the people relied solely on the church for education, liturgy, practical and pastoral care.   Acknowledging this deficiency, King Alfred commissioned the translations of six books into Anglo-Saxon: the Dialogues and Pastoral Care of Pope Gregory I, moving society into an era of inductive guidance.   The famous Pope Gregory the Great provides a fascinating example of pastoral care in the early stages of this period  (Pfaff, 2009) . As a pastor, a teacher and a theologian, Gregory was a leading example for us today (Oden, 1985: 36, 37).  He wrote one of the greatest treatises in the history of pastoral care namely, Gregory’s ‘Liber Regulae Pastoralis’, also more commonly known as the ‘Pastoral Care’ or ‘Pastoral Rule’ (Ogg, 1907, 1972).

It received favour throughout Europe, Spain and Britain and had an influence for good upon the clergy of the day.  ‘Pastoral Rule’ very practically instructed the clergy on the work of the church, the care of the flock and the care of the pastor.  He called the clergy to the image of the shepherd over the sheep, encouraging them to live a life of example, uprightness, humility and purity (Ogg, 1907, 1972).  Pastoral models today have built upon this foundation which has given us a more integrated insight into pastoral care.  This period of church history contributes most significantly to pastoral care  and continues to have a positive influence on pastoral care today (Oden, 1985: 42).

Reformation and Renewal (14th and 15th Century).

Abuse was widespread in the Catholic Church and there was high level of corruption in the papacy (Sommerville, 2009).  A poorly educated and underpaid clergy provided most people’s pastoral care.   There needed to be a reconciling of people to God and of the people to the church.  There was widespread concern over corruption in the church.  Put simply, the breakdown of the church and its failure to reform caused a revolution.  The renaissance of thought concerning how society could be newly formed sparked an unprecedented need for academic freedom, and distress at the misuse of power of the church (Wikepedia, 2090).

The Protestant Reformation was sparked by  Martin Luther (Reformation , 2009).   Luther declared that the Pope had no special powers and that the church consisted of all Christians (Reformation , 2009). Luther believed in depriving the clergy of much of their power and placing it in the hands of secular authorities (Sommerville, 2009).  Luther agreed with Augustine theology concerning the grace of God for salvation which provided for all men to come to God and eroded the rigid institutions of the church (Wikepedia, 2090).  This revolutionised the common way of thinking about God.  Luther wrote books on pastoral care and proper conduct in the life of a Christian as well as guidance for ministers and their behaviour (Reformation , 2009).  His passion for the people came from his own battles with despair (Thompson, 1994: 32); and it was with compassion that he addressed the ill and the bereaved in purely human terms and on their level.  The message of Luther and of the reformation is still relevant for us today as we resist the mysticism attached to church appointments and focus instead on the needs of the people.

Contemporary Australia

The church throughout history and from its very beginnings has been intrinsically interested in caring for others as Christ cares for us.   Each era of church history has struggled ‘imaginatively to understand what the mediation of Christ’s care means, and how it can be embodied, appropriated, and improved in every new historical circumstance’ (Oden, 1985: 39).  Today in our present culture where the village life and parish community is not sociologically available, small groups are a highly successful model of pastoral care.

Small groups actually have their origin in the early church in Acts 2:42-47 where believers met both in the temple and also in house to house.  Some of the most effective healing comes from the support of community.  Small groups offer personal relationships, meet needs, and offer a practical span of care.  Done well they can be the foundation of good soul care, offering networks to establish friendships and support groups whose primary focus is to care for the needs of the group, offering support, care and encouragement, ‘reaching out to one another in relationships of pastoral care’ (Benner, 2003: 17, 20).

In larger churches small groups provide the greatest forum of pastoral care.  However, if a need arises within the group that can no longer be met by the small group, the person is referred to an area or network pastor who will be able to provide specialised care.  This may at times mean that the troubled person is referred into the care of other health professionals.  The main goal of this process is the return and reincorporation of the person back into community (Browning, 1977: 135).

Traditional and historical pastoral care began to change in the early twentieth century with the development of psychotherapy and psychological counselling.  As communities and needs changed, a tension was created between the need for historical pastoral advice and psychological help (Benner, 2003: 13).  Some pastors relied on purely biblical based spiritual help and others turned to modern psychotherapy.  There is however a middle road where pastors can learn from other traditions and utilise health resources whilst retaining their own discipline of theology.

Paul Pruyser a clinical psychologist puts it this way:

‘I have the growing conviction that people turn to pastors – correctly – because they want to have the opportunity to look at themselves and their problems in the light of their faith and their religious tradition, with the help of an expert in just this perspective’

A pastor at some time will be confronted with the challenge of an acute psychological and or spiritual crisis (Everly, 2008).  A pastor at this time will then benefit by being an advocate of comprehensive care where a diagnosis is initiated and where the pastor continues to partner in the treatment process (Hunsinger, 1995: 7), advocating a holistic approach to physical, mental and spiritual health whilst reinforcing the fact that the person means far more to God than the problem that he or she presents (Patton, 2005: 118).  This knowledge and ability to connect people to the appropriate resources and other health professionals in the community is vitally important should the need for referral arise (Arnold, 1982: 138,139).


The role of pastoral care in the community cannot be underestimated.  In an era of unprecedented responsiveness and need the pastor is often the first point of reference and front line advocate of the love and care of Christ.  This role has changed over the years to incorporate an element of diagnostic skills and a cache of referral tools.  However the basic model of healing, sustaining, reconciliation, and guidance remain.  We build upon a rich foundation of Christ, upon the legacy of biblical and church fathers and move forward with a mandate to care and feed His sheep.


If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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Aden. (1988). Pastoral care and the gospels. Grand Rapids: Baker.

Arnold, W. (1982). Introduction to pastoral care. Philidelphia, Pennsylvannia: Westminster


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Browning. (1976). The moral context of pastoral care. Theology Today , 134 – 136.

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Everly. (2008, February 17). Pastoral Crisis intervention: Toward a definition. Retrieved March

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Thompson, T. (1994). Biographies of Luther: Converging on a whole man. Concordia 

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