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The Niños
The Niños

A wonderful place for spiritual and creative energies is the Niños prayer group (yeah, "neenyos," you got it). We've been meeting for more than TWENTY years now and it remains fresh: lots of fun; amazing prayer; miraculous answers; wonderful support and encouragement in our creative endeavors, including a handful of doctoral theses prayed-through and completed.

We are called The Niños because there was an El Niño weather system bringing in big weather drama early in 1998 during the first few months we started meeting and "niños" means "children." So, as children of God, we are grateful to be His Niños.

Niños Collections:

2005 Niños Christmas book
2014 Niños Christmas book
2015 Niños Christmas book
2018 Niños Christmas book
2019 Niños Christmas book
2020 Niños Christmas book
2021 Niños Christmas book
2022 Niños Christmas book

New Books by Niños!

Eight OT Passages
Joe Bentz's newest book explores eight of the most life-changing Old Testament scriptures and ways the Hebrew scriptures have shaped and continue to shape our lives. 8 Old Testament Passages That Changed the World looks at the many ways culture has treated, mistreated, distorted, and brought to life some of the most well-known portions of the Old Testament.

Fool's Luck
In Dave Milbrandt's new novel, Fool's Luck, when high school teacher Myles Bradford wins the Powerball lottery, he decides to do something truly unexpected: run for President of the United States....

Subtle Man Loses His Day Job
Tom Allbaugh's NEW newest book is a collection of short stories called Subtle Man Loses His Day Job and I, for one, am excited to read it! Check out the blurbs:

"In this collection of short stories, Thomas Allbaugh has created a cast of complex, fully realized characters: Neal, Winky, Phil, and others possess an inherent longing for the transcendent with no trace of sentimentality or predictability. When you walk into the Side Step Bar, where ordinary people discuss the ineffable, you will recognize your co-workers, your neighbors, and yourself. These tales will woo you, you will read and reread, and your rereading will be rewarded. Subtlety is only one of Allbaugh's many superpowers." --Susan Delaney Spear, poet, author of Beyond All Bearing

"These searing stories feature characters you'll both love and pity. Allbaugh writes with the sharp vision of a prophet who has seen the edge of the world and come back with a sorrowful yet honest report. If you lend your attention to this book, it will repay you a thousandfold." --John Matthew Fox, author of I Will Shout Your Name

"Thomas Allbaugh's richly drawn stories take the reader to places of longing, regret, loneliness, awkwardness, friendship, faith, and love. This is powerful storytelling about people who seem so real that you'll feel you already know them. Told with subtle humor and a vivid sense of place, these stories will stay with you long after you finish them." --Joseph Bentz, author of A Son Comes Home

Niño bloggers!

      Tom Allbaugh's blog, and his earlier blog, Plainclothes
      Joe Bentz's blog
      Diana Glyer's occasional blog
      Barbara Hayes' blog, PERKYLESADVICE
      Liz Leahy's APU blog, James L. Stamps Theological Library
      Lynn Maudlin's occasional blog, Big Blonde Blog
      Lynn Maudlin's new faith-focused blog, Too Marvelous For Me
      Dave Milbrandt's blog, and its earlier iteration as socalteacher
      John Barnts' blog, Barnts in the Belfry
Food for thought: C.S. Lewis' We Have No Right to Happiness

Joseph Bentz is one of the "original Niños" —along with Mike and Diana Glyer, Laura Simmons, and myself— and when the group started he'd published one book and had another under consideration. Now Joe has a veritable stable of successful books, both fiction and non-fiction.

Joe's latest book is 8 Old Testament Passages That Changed the World, a follow-up to 12 New Testament Passages That Changed the World, both from The Foundry Publishing.

Released in 2015, Joe enjoyed an updated version of his first book, Dreams of Caladria, and the premier release from Enclave Publishing.

Joe contributed six chapters to a small-group curriculum series called Named. He wrote chapters on Joseph, Moses, Joshua, the Man Born Blind, the Gadarene Demoniac, and Andrew. To quote from the website, "Named is a 6-week small-group resource like no other. Through imaginative retellings of familiar stories from Scripture, powerful videos, and thought-provoking discussion questions, small groups can explore the mysteries of faith together and learn how God's story finds its place in each of them."

Eight NT Passages Twelve NT Passages Nothing Is Wasted Dreams of Caladria Named: The Patriarchs cover Named: The Unnamed cover Named: The Disciples cover Pieces of Heaven cover God in Pursuit cover Silent God cover When God Takes Too Long cover At Close of Day cover A Son Comes Home cover Cradle of Dreams cover Song of Fire cover

Here are text links to all Joe's books on Amazon (collect 'em all!):
8 Old Testament Passages That Changed the World
12 New Testament Passages That Changed the World
Nothing Is Wasted
Named: The Patriarchs (DVD-ROM),   Named: The Patriarchs (workbook),   Named: The Unnamed (DVD-ROM),   Named: The Unnamed (workbook),   Named: The Disciples (DVD-ROM),   Named: The Discipless (workbook),  
Pieces of Heaven: Recognizing the Presence of God,
God in Pursuit: The Tipping Points From Doubt to Faith,
Silent God: Finding Him When You Can't Hear His Voice,
When God Takes Too Long: Learning to Thrive During Life's Delays,
and Joe's novels:
Dreams of Caladria
At Close of Day,
A Son Comes Home,
Cradle of Dreams,

and Song of Fire.

Diana Glyer is the one God gave the vision for the Niños; she has always had a strong sense of community and understands that God built us for relationship - both with Him and with each other. One of our regular prayer focuses in the early years was Diana's award-winning book, The Company They Keep: C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as Writers in Community - a piece of truly inspiring scholarship that every writer would benefit from reading. If you also happen to be a fan of Tolkien or C.S. Lewis or Charles Williams, well, all the better!

New podcast interview with Diana by William O'Flaherty at All About Jack.

Diana's newest book is Bandersnatch, a closer look at the collaborations of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and all the Inklings.

Clay in the Potter's Hands, a book on spiritual formation and Christian growth using the God-given analogy of humans as clay in God-the-Potter's hands. No bias here but it's a wonderful book!

Here is a nice interview with Diana on The Tolkien Library website and here are some of my thoughts on my blog.

Bandersnatch    The Company They Keep original cover    Clay in the Potter's Hands cover    Clay in the Potter's Hands Full Color 
Edition    Clay in the Potter's Hands Second  
Edition    Clay in the Potter's Hands 
Workbook 2nd edition    Clay in the Potter's Hands 
Leaders Guide 2nd edition    Clay in the Potter's Hands Spanish 
translation    Clay in the Potter's Hands 
bilingual workbook   

Thomas Allbaugh is another talented Niño: End of September, 2020, Tom's short story collection, Subtle Man Loses His Day Job was released and January of 2020 saw the release of a poetry collection, The View From January. Tom's first novel, Apocalypse TV, was published in September of 2017, available in trade paperback or digital formats from eLectio Publishing. He has also written a textbook, Pretexts for Writing, now updated in its second edition. Tom is a gifted worship leader and teaches English at APU. You can read his blog at Plainclothes.

Subtle Man Loses His Day Job    View from January    Apocalypse TV    Pretexts for Writing second edition cover

Dave Milbrandt is one of our newer Niños and has been publishing novels and other books. Fool's Luck is Dave's latest novel. Dave has three published novels featuring his character, Jim Mitchell: Chasing Deception is the first; he follows up with a second Jim Mitchell novel, Undue Pressure, and now a third Jim Mitchell novel, Running.

Dave has also published
High School Declassified: An Insider's Guide to Helping Your Student Succeed and Canada Jones and the True Cross. Dave also teaches English.

Fool's Luck    Running    Undue Pressure cover    Chasing Deception new cover    High School Declassified cover    Canada Jones and the True Cross

Laura Simmons is one of the "original Niños," along with Diana & Mike, Joe, and Lynn, and her excellent book, Creed without Chaos: Exploring Theology in the Writings of Dorothy L. Sayers has been reprinted by WIPF and STOCK publishers; there may still be some of the original printing available through Amazon. It was developed from her doctoral thesis and, while she's moved out of state to be a professor at George Fox Theological Seminary and thus is no longer a regular Niño, she is always in our hearts (and emails!) and we were thrilled to be noted in her thanks. The current cover and the original cover, both with links, are presented below.

Creed Without Chaos - new cover    Creed Without Chaos cover

Monica Ganas has published her first book, Under the Influence: California's Intoxicating Spiritual and Cultural Impact on America. We've heard her read excerpts out loud at our "Grateful Hearts" celebration and it's brilliant.
Under the Influence cover

The Niños have supported, encouraged and prayed powerfully for me through the years. Fruits of this group in my life include my musical based on the book of Ruth, House of Bread and the 2010-2020 (that's ELEVEN years!) companion calendars to Diana's Clay in the Potter's Hands book; some images are viewable on the Clay in the Potter's Hands Facebook page. I've also written several pieces of short fiction for the Niños' annual Christmas book; I've posted these on my Fiction page.

In 2019 the Niños provided lots of essential prayer-cover for me as I chaired Mythcon 50, the fiftieth annual conference of the Mythopoeic Society. Several years earlier one of my big projects was a complete rebuild of the Society's very large website (The Mythopoeic Society). Before that I created a large website for my friends Suuqiina and Qaumaniq's ministry, Indigenous Messengers International. Please take a look; they have a fascinating story and it's told with lots photos. In late 2013 I created a web site for Castle Summitrose, the same folks who had been happy with my web work for Rocky Cola Cafe, a charming neighborhood cafe which finally closed their doors after 20-some years.

I sold the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Clay in the Potter's Hands companion calendars here, a page on my site replicating Diana's old clay and potter site; you can see images for some months on that page and view all the earlier calendar images on Flickr.

Ruth Musical Mythcon 50 logo by Sue Dawe Breaking Chains by Suuqiina
Clay calendar cover January 
illustration from the 2011 Clay calendar December from 
 the 2013 Clay in the Potter's Hands calendar January 2015 Clay image by Lynn Maudlin August 2016 Clay image by Lynn Maudlin

Niños Read!

The Niños write a lot but we also read a lot; some of our fun occasional projects have been book discussions:

G.K. Chesterton

We Niños read and discussed G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy over the summer of 2013.
cover of Creativity

Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention      
The book we read over the summer of 2012,      
by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.      

cover of Gilead

The book we discussed over summer, 2011: Gilead: A Novel by Marilynne Robinson.
cover of book

Here's the Lenten study book from 2011, Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets.

Bird by Bird book cover

Our first book discussion was Anne Lamott's terrific Bird by Bird.
Outliers cover

I think we discussed Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers in 2009.

On Writing book cover

I really enjoyed our discussion of Stephen King's
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.