If you are interested in meeting with a trained spiritual director, please contact us and we will send some information and contact information for you. Ordinarily a spiritual director receives an honorarium or donation for their services. Usually you will meet once a month with a spiritual director.

Below is more information about finding a spiritual director.

A Book Review of "The Winding Path of Transformation: Finding Yourself Between Glory and Humility"

Jeffrey Tacklind


Review by Gini Downing


The Winding Path of Transformation is an invitation to think deeper, bigger, and broader, about life and faith and paradox.  Jeff Tacklind, a master storyteller, offers his life, his experiences, and his own questions to the reader as a gift.  One can almost imagine Tacklind sitting in a rustic chair by a fireplace, maybe even smoking a pipe.  As he considers a question, perhaps he blows a smoke ring or two, as he sifts through his experiences for just the right illustration to bring light to the conversation.  His eyes sparkle as he finds the memory he was searching for, and he begins the story.

Had I not met Jeff Tacklind prior to reading The Winding Path, I would have expected someone quite different – more like Gandalf, perhaps.  But no, Jeff is a young pastor of a small, unassuming church in a small beach community in Southern California.  In addition to pastoring his church, he is a devoted family man, a scholar, and a surfer.  And I am told he doesn’t smoke a pipe.  Even so, perhaps it is this conglomeration of abilities and passions that gives the book its character:  Gandalfian wisdom emanating from the pen of a long haired, bespectacled California wave-surfing preacher.  And in the context of this contradiction of terms, Tacklind is maybe uniquely situated to tackle some of the conundrums residing amidst the Christian walk of faith. 

Each chapter of The Winding Path invites the reader into the reality that the way of the Christ Follower is not a straight road.  Rather, the path is complicated.  Some of the subjects covered include the confluence of glory and humility, the importance and necessity of seasons of desolation, waiting and questioning, and the slow process of transformation in the midst of brokenness.  Tacklind uses rich metaphors and imagery of nature – of tree roots, rivers, and waves – to underscore the narrative.

The tension of being “in the world but not of the world” is itself an invitation into a larger way of thinking that encompasses not only our victories but our missteps as well.  With humility and vulnerability, Tacklind offers his own insecurities and missteps as an encouragement to those of us whose paths seem to be a series of trips and falls, but whose trajectories remain focused on the Christ we attempt to follow. 

In reading The Winding Path, you are not necessarily going to find answers.  Rather, you will be invited to stretch the borders of your understanding, to sit within the tension of paradox and gently dismantle the protective walls that have been constructed in self-preservation.  As Tacklind writes, we must not stay small.  Our hearts must enlarge.  And to that end, Tacklind offers questions to ponder.  Perspectives to consider.  Paradoxes and tensions to contemplate.  In fact, this is not a book just to be read – it is a book to be mulled over.


A Book Review of "Shades of Light"


I commend to our CFDM community the novel Shades of Light written by Sharon Garlough Brown. You may know this author from her Sensible Shoes series. This book is not part of that collection but a few of the characters from those stories are also present here. The main character in this story is Wren Crawford (already I liked her with that last name!) who is a social worker, an artist and a person who has endured anxiety and depression throughout her life. Wren is especially sensitive to the needs of others and to the suffering she sees in the world.


Sharon Garlough Brown has written an honest account of mental health issues which several of the people in this engaging story live with and struggle through. There is recognition that the easy solutions from Christian friends and co-workers often don’t help. Well intentioned phrases- “pray your way out of it”, “memorize more scripture”, “anxiety and depression are all about a lack of faith” hurt more than help. Fortunately Wren has a Pastor who knows how hard her journey is and who walks with her patiently, wisely, and lovingly. She has a good Therapist and ultimately medications which are beneficial.


In the Church we are coming to an increased awareness of mental illness and learning helpful ways of accompaniment. This novel describes how anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and panic attacks affect a person’s life. We see the difficulty of managing these and as we come to know the people in the story our compassion increases. We see the real struggle with darkness, fear and uncertainty as healing is sought from God and from mental health services.


There is a true picture of how families seek to understand and deal with a loved one who is suffering. We can identify with the desire to help and the sadness when we are not able to fix. There is theological wrestling with God in the midst of it: Why would God allow this suffering? Why is God not quick to heal? We see the power of the cross as witness to Jesus, our companion in sorrow.


Wren’s favorite artist is Vincent Van Gogh. From an early age she has been inspired by his paintings and loves to read his letters to Theo, his brother. This connection to Van Gogh is a major theme throughout the story. Those of you who have read Learning from Henri Nouwen and Vincent Van Gogh (A Portrait of the Compassionate Life by Carol A. Berry) will be fully alert to Van Gogh’s influence on Wren. It is a great companion book to this one. Wren reflects on Vincent- “He had been a master at finding beauty in the ordinary, beauty in the suffering, beauty in the broken and the poor, in the wounded and the neglected, in the forgotten and the discarded. Vincent knew how to see.” (pg. 50)


For those of us who are pastors, spiritual directors, leaders in spiritual formation practices, this story has lovely and helpful images of how spiritual practices can be part of everyday life. The Pastor and Spiritual Director use visio divina, imaginative reading of scripture, prayer of examen, breath prayer, the teachings of Julian of Norwich in very natural ways. None of it seems forced but all is explored as pathways to draw closer to God. Scripture and Communion are present as gifts of sustenance and hope.


We read of family dynamics, close friendships, healing from trauma, mother-daughter relationships, art as therapeutic, the hardship of loss and grief. There is darkness and there are shades of light. Sharon Garlough Brown, a Pastor and a Spiritual Director, has written a beautiful story where our humanity and God’s creative love for us are woven together. Not many novels are as rich for us as followers of Christ.


At the conclusion of the book are resources:

For Mental Health

For Grief and Spiritual Formation

For Art and Spiritual Formation

For Vincent Van Gogh


She has also written a sequel, a novella about finding our way to the cross called Remember Me which follows up the story of Wren and Kit (a spiritual director and director of the retreat center). In this brief book Wren paints the stations of the cross and explores with Kit the meaning of Christ’s suffering. It includes the paintings and questions for each station. It is a perfect book for Lent.


This is our September selection for the Book Group meeting on September 29, at 7 pm. Please join us by signing up on the Events Page.


Poetry Place


We invite you to share your original poems with the CFDM community. This season has inspired some of us to express ourselves through poetry. We will post a few each month for inspiration and reflection.

Please send to Marilyn Crawford.


Visio Divina

Visio- Latin for vision or seeing

Divina- Latin for divine or sacred


In Visio Divina we look at art in all varieties...Paintings, Sculpture, Photographs, Creation, as a way of seeing God and considering personal invitations from the canvas or page or tree.


"What might God be teaching me?"

"What new thing might I see which speaks to me?


Join others today who are finding God’s healing, forgiveness, and love through Visio Divina.

Visit the Visio Divina page to watch some Visio reflections which Care Crawford has offered for worship at Bel Air Church.

Keep checking back on our events page for more details of a day with Visio Divina.