Submission Guidelines

Thanks for wanting to share your story and creativity with Velvet Ashes!

We are a community of women living and serving abroad–and we would love for you to offer your words here. We’ll be richer for hearing from you.

We believe truth and hope are best shared through story. And the power of story lies in authentic vulnerability fueled by love. As you prepare a post for Velvet Ashes you may want to read “What is Velvet Ashes?” and “We are Women Who.” Poke around to get a sense for what this community is all about.

Each week we have a word prompt or theme that serves to center our stories.

Current Openings:

Everyday Shalom: Peace, the idea of shalom, can be so broad and “spiritual” we can miss the ways it shows up in our daily lives. What does seeking God’s peace in both your family life and the spiritual work you are involved in look like? Meaning, instead of talking about vague platitudes, practically, what does it look like for you? How much of a struggle for you is it to seek peace? (Deadline: SUBMIT TODAY!)

Integration:  Today, on a scale of one to ten, with one being “fractured,” five being “split”, and ten being “fully integrated,” where do you fall when it comes to overall integration of body, mind, and soul. How conducive is your M work and the culture you live in to weekly rhythms? Do you feel the pressure to be “on” all the time? How have you nurtured your soul in the stage of life you are in . . . knowing there are never-ending waves of daily life pressures? Being single, struggling with infertility, having young kids, homeschooling, parenting teens, launching kids, aging parents . . . whatever the stage of life, it will be similar, yet unique. In Liturgy of the Ordinary the author says, “This kingdom vision—our identity as those blessed and sent—must work itself out in the small routines of our daily work and vocation, as we go to meetings, check our email, make our children dinner, or [go to the market.]” How hard is it for you to see your daily work as “important” or “making a difference?” What has God been showing you about the value of the seemingly ordinary work you do? Which area are you sensing that God wants to integrate more fully into the other parts of your life? Your body, mind, soul, emotions, or relationships? (Deadline: October 15)

Friends: How easy is it to make friends with local people, some cultures are easier than others? Do you currently have a close friend on the field? How is having or not-having a friend right now playing out in your life and ministry? Do you feel lonely? How has living overseas influenced your idea of friendship? In Liturgy of the Ordinary the author says, “Christian friendships are call-and-response friendships. We tell each other over and over, back and forth, the truth of who we are and who God is.” How has this group told you the truth of who you are and who God is? (Deadline: October 15)

Savoring: If you can believe it, it’s the week of American Thanksgiving. Part of being thankful is savoring. This theme comes from Liturgy of the Ordinary. What have you savored this fall? For some, the context they serve in has changed a lot in the last few years due to politics. Even if you are in a more “restricted” season, how is savoring helping you? (Or maybe you need to start the practice of savoring for the good of your soul). What foods do you make this time to year? How have you been savoring God or people around you? (Deadline: October 24)

Sleeping: November and December can be very busy months with holidays and opportunities for sharing our hope. How have you adjusted to the busier season? How do you get enough rest and connection with God, people close to you, and yourself? What helps you sleep during stressful times? But these months can also be ones that people see more signs of depression and may increase their sleep as a way to deal with depression or loneliness. Have you experienced either? How did God meet you and love on you? (Deadline: October 31)

Prompts are updated quarterly. The questions and suggestions following each prompt are merely ideas to get you going. Feel free to take your own unique angle on the prompt.

Your submission should:

  • Be in the neighborhood of 600-900 words.
  • Be submitted as a Word doc or docx only.
  • Include your name and the title of your post in the document itself as well as in the doc title (example: Amy Wheeler – Post Title Here.doc). We do accept pseudonyms as required by context and/or location.
  • Be original content. We publish content that has not been published elsewhere, including personal blogs.
  • Be aware that essays for online publication need only one space after periods/full stops. This will save us loads of time in the editing process. 🙂
  • Conclude with a reflective question to invite conversation in the comments.
  • Include a headshot (attached as a jpeg, no larger than 600 x 600 px) and personal bio. It should be just a few sentences long (100 words or less), telling us a bit about you, but mostly drawing readers to feel a connection to you. Please include all your social media links so that readers can connect with you and so we can tag you when we share your post.

Please send your submission to Karen at: submissions(at)velvetashes(dot)com

We do have limited spots available. If your essay is not chosen for publication, we happily encourage you to share it with our community by linking up at The Grove the week of that theme. At this time, we do not offer compensation for published work, and unfortunately we are not able to accept submissions unrelated to our upcoming themes.

If selected for publication, posts may be edited for length and clarity. We look forward to reading and prayerfully considering your piece. If you don’t hear from us immediately, please don’t be alarmed. We’ll be in touch!

Thank you for the gift of your story,

– The Velvet Ashes Team