About Our Spirited Pens

Our Spirited Pens is a group of Christian writers based out of the Puyallup United Methodist Church in Puyallup, Washington.

We began meeting in 2007 in an answer to a prayer at Puyallup United Methodist Church. We meet at 2:00 pm on the last Sunday of the month at 1919 West Pioneer Avenue
Puyallup, WA 98371. We are open to new members wanting to write as an expression of their faith journey.

Contributors email each other stories of their lives that relate to their faith and then meet to discuss with one another. If the writer wishes, he or she can have the story posted to the blog.

When we meet, readers say what the story meant to them, ask questions about what might be missing, and offer suggestions. The writer is free to make changes if she or he wishes. Some of us are English teachers and librarians by trade, others are tax aides and massage therapists. All are welcome.

Contributors

Miki Craighead

Maxine “Miki” Shaw Craighead, is a Diaconal Minister with the
United Methodist Church. Now retired, she is currently serving
as organist at her church in Puyallup, Washington. Her 63
year career as a minister of music has included director of
handbell choirs, adult and childrens choirs in Methodist
churches at Fircrest, Portland Oregon, Wenatchee, Bondville,
Ill, Chicago, Ill, Tacoma, Seattle, and Everett. She is active as
an accompanist for choirs in public schools. She has four
grown children, seven grandchildren, four great grandchildren,
and is learning about and making quilts for all. She and
husband Don enjoy their acre and a quarter with gardens of flowers and vegetables and
taking vacations in their RV.

Char Davenport

Char is a teacher of 33 years with the Tacoma School District, currently teaching English at Lincoln High School.  She served ten years as athletic director at Lincoln, preceded by several years as girls’ varsity basketball coach.  She dabbles in woodworking, enjoys singing church hymns while driving, and loves a good swim.  Her passion for writing occasionally surges and overtakes her other interests.  Char states she is currently growing a fine patch of weeds in her flowerbed.

Martha Grover

Martha had careers in education as a high school principal, guidance counselor and English teacher; in the intelligence community; and in banking. She lives in Bonney Lake, WA with Dwight her husband of 56 years. They have three children, Dwight Jr. David, and Debbie, and five grandchildren, Chris Kelly, Emily, Ellen and Marita.

Karrie Zylstra Myton

Karrie Zylstra Myton writes and teaches English as a Second Language near Seattle, Washington. Aside from her love of words, Karrie also adores running, playing her clarinet and living with her husband and two boys.

(Photo of Karrie by Chris Bankhead)

Ruth Mae Tervol

Ruth Mae Tervol Is an active volunteer in The Puyallup United Methodist Church and AARP TAXAIDE. She grew up on a farm in Southern Michigan and is currently writing stories of life and memories from her childhood for Ryann and Rainee, her granddaughters. She enjoys being & traveling with her husband, Richard, having tea with a friend, walking, gardening, and reading mysteries & biographies. Her hobby is making yard art from concrete.

Wayne Osborn

Wayne Osborn is a Teacher-Librarian with the Clover Park School District.  He’s been an educator for sixteen years, and works on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.  He’s a father, husband, friend, and student of life. When he isn’t writing or working with kids, he likes to run, hike, and do just about anything outdoors.  Wayne lives in Puyallup with his lovely wife Robin and their annoying dog Molly.

Margaret Anne Barnes

AKA Peggy, was born in Washington DC, and grew up in Arlington, Virginia. She fulfilled one of many goals, becoming married at 16 years of age, and raised a family of seven. The military chose California to be a tour of duty. During that time, college called to complete the goal of becoming a psychologist. After graduation, opportunity led to a joint venture, which was joining a renowned psychiatrist’s practice. During that time, Peggy also co-authored a book titled The Open Door, which was about a new modality in mental health. This book was published and distributed across California and the entire United States. Peggy’s goal now is to focus on writing and enjoying retirement, her thirty grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren (and more to come!).

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4 Responses to About Our Spirited Pens

  1. Hanna Schock says:

    Do you have an entry on how you got started as a group? I’m interested in beginning a group like this in Alabama.

  2. Karrie Zylstra says:

    Dear Hanna,

    We don’t have an entry on how we got started, but that is a good idea! The short version goes something like this: A group had been meeting at the church before I started going there in 2004 but had apparently stopped meeting. I was praying on what to do about my writing when the idea to form a writing group came. I advertised in the church bulletin and the monthly Circuit Rider. We started meeting and shared our writing for many years before Wayne had the brilliant idea to start a blog last year. We’ve meet once a month although some months we have missed. Every now and then we’ll do something special like ask an author in or have a small workshop. Our Spirited Pens has been a wonderful answer to my first prayers, and I do wish you all the best in starting your own.

  3. Hanna Schock says:

    Thanks for replying so quickly. That definitively gives me some ideas. I have some follow-up questions if you don’t mind. No hurry. I am about to leave town to go away from the computer for a week to the Academy for Spiritual Formation. Perhaps some of you have heard of it or attended. I highly recommend it. You are welcome to ask your fellow spirited writers their ideas about these questions. What are the logistics of your meetings? (place? time period? meal? leader/facilitator?) What do you do when you meet? How do you hold each other accountable? Do you edit/critique each others’ work? And lastly, what mistakes have you learned from as a group? All of these answers would help me as I discern this possibility for myself. If it is easier to call me you can at 205-910-7931 though not this coming week. Forgive me if these answers are in the blog somewhere. You are a new discovery for me. Thanks again! Grace and peace, Hanna Schock

  4. Karrie Zylstra says:

    Hi Hanna,

    You inspired me to update the blog so you may now find your answers on the ‘about’ page. In essence, we are very gentle with each other and see our group as a sort of prayer circle, honestly, so we are careful not to engage in harsh criticism. We meet one Sunday a month. I have become the leader mostly because I have the passion to do the work. But others have done much for our group by finding new members, helping to set up the blog, and bringing us a published writer to speak one month. We try to inspire one another and don’t worry too much about accountability (for better or for worse).

    We do not usually have food, it usually takes us about an hour, and we read our pieces for each other then give feedback. Occasionally I will lead a workshop and once we had that meeting with Lori Grover, a published children’s author. Having events seems to kick start our writing energy. As far as mistakes, we tried a few different meeting places but the church has worked out the best to help everyone feel included and to give us that sense of spiritual space.

    I hope this helps. Feel free to email me directly at karriezylstra@gmail.com, and I’ll give you my phone number if you’d like to know more.

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