Recognizing my voice

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It’s February 1, 2021. I haven’t been sharing my poetry, prayers and prose here in my blog for awhile. It has been a difficult November, December and January for me because of my husband’s hospitalizations. But I haven’t stopped writing using pen and paper. The act of writing has become a prayer. In my lowest moments, it helped to keep me afloat. Today I decided to come back to this online space and share some of what I have written in the past few months and hope it will bring some joy to you, my dear Reader.

Someone once encouraged me to find my voice. By voice I think the person meant who I am and how do I sound that is distinctively me. I didn’t really think about voice in that way. Yes, I love to talk, sing and listen to myself talk (ask my husband!). But I haven’t really spent time in self-reflection and listen more intentionally to who I am, especially as a writer. Today I gained more clarity about my voice, especially as a writer. The way I came to this recognition was in the midst of listening to a presentation of an author in the Writing For Your Life Conference. This was an online conference in November 2020. I was seated in our dining room viewing the presentation on my laptop. I had an epiphany: God has given me a joyful, “don’t-take-yourself-so-seriously,” earthy, “dance-in-the-rain person” voice, who sounds like a “faith-seeking- understanding” kind of woman-pastor academic willing to learn how to speak the languages beyond the confines of academia, exploring the many worlds that brim with wisdom and resisting the urge to be stuck in stale, overused words swarming online.

Published by

Carla Romarate-Knipel

Ever since I was a child, I enjoyed reading and writing. Perhaps it was because my parents were great storytellers and voracious readers. As soon as I learned to write (yes I did it in cursive like everybody else did then!) I started a diary. When I was nine years old I sent a letter to my Dad who was an overseas contract worker in Guam. I wrote it in a form of a comic book and illustrated it myself. As a student at the Central Philippine University Elementary School, I was the Filipino literary editor of our school paper, the Mini Echo. To this day I was baffled by that because I was not that good in Filipino! In highs school I served as literary editor in the Central High Herald. I began to write poems and short stories that unfortunately I don't have any copies saved because we didn't have computers and flash drives then. II joined a short story writing contest sponsored by Central echo, CPU's college paper some time in the 1980's. I joined because I needed money to buy a new pair of sandals. My short story was titled, "Leaves," and it won first place! The chief judge was Prof. Alfredo Q. Gonzales, author of the classic essay, "The Will of a River," one of my favorite reads of Filipino literature in English. I did a lot of writing in college/seminary and graduate school but the most fun I had was when I was writing poems and short stories. Fast forward to the 21st century, I now write sermons every week and articles for our monthly news letter. Currently I serve as Senior Pastor of Central Baptist Church of Woodbury in Woodbury, New Jersey, U.S.A. This is my twelfth year at CBC, where my husband and I served as co-interim pastors from 2010 through 2012. We have a 19-year old son who is a college freshman, and my technical adviser in all things digital. In this continuing writing adventure I am thankful to God for giving me the inspiration to write and the joy that goes with it. I hope that my poems, prayers and prose inspire joy in my readers.

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