Saturday, December 30, 2017

You Were Called a Carpenter's Son

I am on Week 16 - Jesus' Early Years in the Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life. 

You Were Called a Carpenter's Son.
 

The living Son of God willed to be born into a human family; let us adore Him, let us beseech Him: 
Jesus, sanctify us through your obedience.
Eternal Word of the Father, you were subject to Mary and Joseph.
Jesus, sanctify us through your obedience.
Master and Lord, your mother kept all your words and deeds in her heart. 
Jesus, sanctify us through your obedience.
Creator of the universe, you were called the carpenter's son. 
Jesus, sanctify us through your obedience.
You grew in age and grace in your family at Nazareth, you are our leader and our brother. 
Jesus, sanctify us through your obedience.
God our Father, you gave Mary and Joseph the grace to watch over Jesus' early years.  Make your Church a community where people learn to watch over each other and discover that they are members of one family, in Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives with you and the Holy Spirit forever and ever.
  

    Thursday, December 28, 2017

    52 Books in 52 Weeks Wrap Up 2017

    I am part of a thing called 52 Books in 52 Weeks. She always has us do a wrap up, and here is mine.

    Here is the website: http://www.read52booksin52weeks.com/

    1) Where did your reading take you this year?

    Afghanistan, Syria, France, Oregon Wilderness, Cornwall, England, Refugees all over the world, Africa, Sweden, Arctic, World War II Europe, Mexico, Palestine, Warsaw, Poland, England proper, the Polar Ice Caps on the way to the North Pole.

    2) What was your reading goal for the year and did you meet or beat it?

    52 books, and I beat it by 11

    3) Top 5 (or more favorite reads) 
    1. Poldark Saga - It is 12 books, and 6064 pages, but I will count it as one here. Absolutely riveting and phenomenal writing. Highly recommend. These will be classics for years to come. 
    2. A Simple Life-Changing Prayer (The Prayer that Changes Everything) - This was probably the most impactful as I am now doing this prayer daily. This book helped me understand the why behind everything. Very short and sweet.
    3. The Practice of the Presence of God - One of my all-time favorite books since the early '80s.
    4. Exit West - It is just such an unusual fiction book. Refugee Crisis meets Narnia. I saw the author interview on PBS, and I was intrigued and was not disappointed. 
    5. Dead Wake - Really well-researched and well-written book about the sinking of the Lusitania. I could not put it down. I read it during our Spring Break vacation and stayed up late at night to read! 
    4) Which book stayed with you the longest after finishing it?
    Probably #2 above because I am applying it daily.

    5) Which book made you want to read it all over again? 
    Practice of the Presence of God. I have read it multiple times since my 20s, but it is one that always challenges and soothes me. God is with us and is totally available to us.  I also think The Cycle of Grace has principles that I will visit daily for the rest of my life and teach it to others. 

    6) Which books did you think you were going to love but didn't?

    The God Soaked Life - I love learning more about the Kingdom of God. It did have some nice parts to it (explanation of the examen was good, and the discussion about the documentary called The Monastery made me get on YouTube and watch the whole thing), but it really petered out at the end, and his chapter on The Great Commission is SO ridiculously OFF BASE (I think he is REALLY blinded in this area) that it left a bad taste in my mouth for the last part of the book.

    The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation - Meh. I thought it would be about practicing Benedictine spirituality in everyday life, but it really did not end up being like that. It was murky and about politics. I didn't really care for it even though I had very high hopes because I loved his book Crunchy Cons


    Added: Which books did you not like? (We usually have that question, but she did not add it this year.) 
    1. Myth-Making and Religious Extremism - BORING!
    2. It's Not Okay: Turning Heartbreak into Happily Never After - What a self-centered, immature, disgusting woman who needs a reality check! Terrible.
    3. Lilac Girls - It don't see what all the fuss is about. It was "OK," but not worth the raving that people give it. I do like the true story behind it, and I looked up that and learned quite a bit, but I thought the writing was not very good. 
    7) Which genres or authors you thought you'd never read and was pleasantly surprised to like them? (I am changing this to books I read that I probably never would have picked up but had to because of my book club reading them.)

    1. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania - SO FASCINATING! I never would have picked it up but so glad it was "assigned"!
    2. A Man Called Ove - I laughed so hard. Great, heart-warming story. 
    3. In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette - Good storytelling!
    4. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption - eye-opening about injustices to minorities, especially in the South. It was not entirely accurate and had much bias (as one of my book club members pointed out because her husband works in the justice system and was connected to one of the cases the author outlines in the book.), but I think he is an incredible man and tells a good story!

    8) Which countries and time periods did you visit? See #1 four countries. Time periods: World War I and II. Post Revolutionary War in England. 1665-1745 England (Swift biography). 

    9) Which books or authors would you recommend everybody read? 
    1. The Practice of the Presence of God
    2. Face to Face: Praying the Scriptures for Intimate Worship
    3. The Divine Conspiracy 
    10) Favorite Covers 

    See the source image

    2017 Reading List (Go here to see all of my individual reviews)
    1. A Little Princess
    2. The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in England
    3. The Coming of Mr. Quin
    4. Talking as Fast as I Can
    5. Wilderness Time
    6. No Knives in the Kitchens of This City
    7. Hidden Figures
    8. The Greatest Thing in the World
    9. Spiritual Multiplication in the Real World
    10. The Zookeeper's Wife
    11. Dead Wake
    12. Ross Poldark
    13. Jesus: A Gospel
    14. The Story of Jesus
    15. A Harmony of the Gospels
    16. Crucial Conversations
    17. Jonathan Swift: The Reluctant Rebel
    18. Myth-Making and Religious Extremism and Their Roots in Crises
    19. Lilac Girls
    20. Exit West
    21. The Benedict Option
    22. The Pearl
    23. Poldark's Cornwall
    24. Two Paths: America Divided or United 
    25. In the Kingdom of Ice
    26. Just Mercy
    27. A Man Called Ove
    28. The Pearl That Broke Its Shell
    29. On the Incarnation
    30. Things Fall Apart
    31. The Making of a Leader
    32. Know Why You Believe
    33. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
    34. Living Your Strengths
    35. The Motivation Manifesto
    36. The Great Omission
    37. It's Not Okay
    38. The Global Refugee Crisis
    39. Demelza
    40. Renovation of the Heart
    41. Soul Keeping
    42. Jeremy Poldark
    43. The Good and Beautiful God
    44. Face to Face
    45. Warleggan
    46. The Black Moon
    47. The Four Swans
    48. The Angry Tide
    49. The Stranger from the Sea
    50. Life in the Trinity
    51. The Miller's Dance
    52. The Loving Cup
    53. The Divine Conspiracy
    54. The Twisted Sword
    55. The Lord and His Prayer
    56. Bella Poldark
    57. If We Make it Home
    58. The Cycle of Grace
    59. The Prayer that Changes Everything (A Simple Life-Changing Prayer)
    60. Discovery Our Spiritual Identity
    61. God-Soaked Life
    62. I Told Me So
    63. The Practice of the Presence of God 



     

    64. The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence


    1209619 This is the Blackstone Audio version of one of my Top 10 favorite spiritual books. I think everyone should read it. On audio, it is only an hour, and I did it while taking a shower one day and then a walk another. It has so many gems in it, it will be a book you come back to over and over again. 

    Each month the Renovaré Institute for Christian Formation gives us a "Praxis (practice)" Exercise. It helps us put into practice what we are learning in the Institute, but it is a lovely practice. I am going to give you the poem they gave us in the actual assignment, and then my essay follows.

    On the first page of Knowing Christ Today, Dallas Willard has placed the title THE KINGDOM OF GOD, and included the following poem from Francis Thompson:

    This is about finding God in everyday life. Francis Thompson wrote this while a homeless drug addict in London. Meditate on this. What do you think?

    THE KINGDOM OF GOD
    In No Strange Land by Francis Thompson

    O world invisible, we view thee,
    O world intangible, we touch thee,
    O world unknowable, we know thee,
    Inapprehensible, we clutch thee!

    Does the fish soar to find the ocean,
    The eagle plunge to find the air—
    That we ask of the stars in motion
    If they have rumour of thee there?

    Not where the wheeling systems darken,
    And our benumbed conceiving soars!—
    The drift of pinions, would we hearken,
    Beats at our own clay-shuttered doors.

    The angels keep their ancient places;—
    Turn but a stone and start a wing!
    ’Tis ye, ’tis your estranged faces,
    That miss the many-splendoured thing.

    But (when so sad thou canst not sadder)
    Cry;—and upon thy so sore loss
    Shall shine the traffic of Jacob’s ladder
    Pitched betwixt Heaven and Charing Cross.

    Yea, in the night, my Soul, my daughter,
    Cry,—clinging to Heaven by the hems;
    And lo, Christ walking on the water,
    Not of Genesareth, but Thames!

    The Thames on Our Trip to London 2016

    My essay on my experience of the assignment:


    "'Tis ye, 'tis your estranged faces, 
    That miss the many-splendored thing."


    These lines intrigued me. I have long believed that God is constantly trying to capture our attention, and it is because we are "estranged" that we miss "the many-splendored thing" He is trying to reveal to us. 

    Ever since I read The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence in my 20's, and I was crying while walking back on a cold, winter's evening at twilight from a basketball game in which some silly boy-man made some snarky comment, and I became undone. The moment will always be etched in my mind because it was a turning point to everything. It began the quest I have been on for almost 40 years and will, Lord willing, be on for the rest of my life. 

    In that twilight moment, I asked God, "Why do You feel so far away in this devastation when you felt so close this morning in my time of morning prayer? Where are you right now? Can I please have an awareness of You 24/7/365 like Brother Lawrence even in these kinds of times where people are unkind or life is difficult? Is that even possible when I am not a monk? How do I experience You all the time?" 


    Testing and trials came my way throughout my 20's: father almost dying twice only to die on the third time due to pancreatic cancer and suffering a breakdown were two of the major things. God was constantly trying to reveal Himself to me in those moments, and I got glimpses of glory at what might seem like the worst of times. For instance, He spoke to me about where to go after my breakdown that led me to freedom from memories that had enslaved me (and led me to my husband). He also made His manifest presence so real to me in the midst of my dad's death. They were profound glimpses into that "living in moment by moment fellowship" with Him. I find it interesting that Thompson wrote this poem when he was a homeless opium addict. God wants to meet us even in our darkest hours. 


    I read excerpts of Letters by a Modern Mystic & The Game with Minutes by Laubach in my 30's. Here was a man who was not a monk and even reached out to Muslims! This encouraged me even more. Then, my ministry boss started having us do The Game with Minutes with each and every group we trained. Now, I had buddies in the quest to experience God in the minutes of my day. (By the way, this is always one of the highlights for our trainees. It is a really fun thing to do together.) 


    So, here I am in Renovaré, and days before this assignment, He reminded me of that twilight prayer so long ago. I love the accountability of it all! Thank you Renovaré for this assignment.  


    So here are some times when the traffic on Jacob's ladder "pitched betwixt" heaven and where I live more recently:


    1) Meditating on Psalm 23 in my living room (yep, I am still in it even though it is November because our ministry team is meditating on it this week), He led me to look at the sunrise through my window and really notice the beautiful world of my backyard, and I asked Alexa to play Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World." while I watch God's creation in awe. WOW! What a perfect song for this God moment. 


    2) At mid-day, I shared "What a Wonderful World" with my three marvelous men as we drove back from church. I played it, and God put on a show of light peaking out from behind rain clouds glistening through fall leaves. There was a holy hush in our car. We all sensed the glorious presence even though not a word was spoken.


    3) With a busy day ahead of me, I struggled to chose between the funeral of my friend's father and my bimonthly beautiful Kingdom Community prayer and storytelling time with four ladies, and God whispered, "I want you to go to both." When I protested that this would be too much, He said, "I will work it out and give you a show of my beauty and Psalm 23. I will show you when you are to leave to go to the next engagement." 


    I knew the ride would be lovely. I have driven this back road to Salem before, but the GPS (God's Positioning System) took me on another road that I had never been down, and OH MY. The trees enfolded over the top of the road, and I was in a corridor of color, awash in green, red, yellow, and orange with the sun glistening through the leaves wet from an earlier rain. It was narrow and winding but so worth the trip! 


    Then, the funeral. What a celebration of a life well-lived! I have never been to a Catholic service, but when the Cantor sang the verses of Psalm 23, and we all sang responsively . . . 


    Shepherd me, O God, beyond my wants, beyond my fears,

    from death into life.


    over and over again, I almost stood up and said, "God is most definitely shining traffic on Jacob's ladder from heaven to this Catholic sanctuary right now people!" But I contained myself. 


    Then on top of it all, my very Catholic college friend, Sharon, knew exactly what to do when, I just followed her, and I grinned ear to ear through the whole service. God was there! When we held hands as a congregation and said the Lord's Prayer together, I was in raptures!


    Then, the Eucharist started, and since I am not Catholic and cannot partake, I said my adieu to Sharon who said it was fine to leave early.


    Leaving over the same road I had before I experienced more of God's presence because the light had shifted on the road to make it like a new place to behold.


    And guess what, I made it RIGHT ON TIME to a glorious lunch, prayer, and telling of the story of David with my Kingdom Community Buddies! Heaven always shine with these ladies, and I am so grateful that I have a community like this.


    4) As I submitted my academic assignment earlier this morning, S, from Afghanistan came online. I had talked to her the day before, and she poured her heart out. Life is hard for this divorced mom of three boy, and I promised to pray. This morning, she shared how God had given her hope about some of the things she had shared the day before. We spent a good amount of time telling each other what we were thankful for. Then, I sent her a story I recorded on Creation, and we talked a little bit about it. I think the point I am trying to make is that I could have been goal-oriented about getting my academic assignment in and missed out on the blessings of hearing this woman's thankful heart for what God had done. 


    5) As I typed this, my best friend texted me to say that her mother had only a couple more days to live. I could text back, but I called her instead, and there was a meeting of our hearts in love. God was there in the grief of my friend. We have walked together in Jesus since we were both 19 years old. I think making an effort to be more aware of God's presence makes you so very thankful for everything you have. 

    6) I have been doing the Examen with my husband when he is home from his job in another city, and it has been such a time of shining the traffic of Jacob's ladder pitched between heaven and our living room. God is there as we share where we saw Him in our day, and how we can love others more on the next.

    7) One last one, and I will stop! I also experienced God as I looked at one of my favorite paintings on Jacob's ladder by Marc Chagall. It also brought a sweet memory of an experience of God when I was at the Art Institute of Chicago and looked at Chagall's American Windows. I sat down as I gazed at it and wept. Art is so beautiful and shines the traffic for me!





    Sunday, December 24, 2017

    It was a hard days night, but a shout of joy has come in the morning . . . .

    After an extremely hard day yesterday. The hardest day I have probably had in a YEAR, (But TODAY is a new beginning, and I am good - still exploring some things, but God gave me a great "triage" for the days ahead.)

    I was reminded of this song:

    "I Hope You Dance"
    I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
    You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
    May you never take one single breath for granted,
    GOD forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
    I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
    Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
    Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,
    And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

    I hope you dance....I hope you dance.

    I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,
    Never settle for the path of least resistance
    Livin' might mean takin' chances but they're worth takin',
    Lovin' might be a mistake but it's worth makin',
    Don't let some hell bent heart leave you bitter,
    When you come close to sellin' out reconsider,
    Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance,
    And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

    I hope you dance....I hope you dance.
    I hope you dance....I hope you dance.
    (Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along,
    Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone.)

    I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
    Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
    Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,
    And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

    Dance....I hope you dance.
    I hope you dance....I hope you dance.
    I hope you dance....I hope you dance..
    (Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along
    Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone)

    Friday, December 22, 2017

    O Loving Widsom of Our God!




    O loving wisdom of our God! 

    When all was sin and shame,

    A second Adam to the fight,

    And to the rescue came.

    (Poem by John Henry Newman, 1801-1890.
    The hymn can be heard HERE

    Thursday, December 21, 2017

    My Soul Magnifies the LORD

    While meditating on Psalm 98 during my Online Retreat Week 15, I thought of this great song by Chris Tomlin. Singing and dancing this morning.

    "My Soul Magnifies The Lord"
    Good news of great joy
    For every woman, every man
    This will be a sign to you
    A baby born in Bethlehem

    Come and worship
    Do not be afraid

    A company of angels
    Glory in the highest
    And on the earth peace among
    Those of whom His favor rests

    Oh, come and worship
    Do not be afraid, no, no

    My soul, my soul magnifies the Lord
    My soul magnifies the Lord
    He has done great things for me
    Great things for me

    Unto you a child is born
    Unto us a Son is given
    Let every heart prepare His throne
    And every nation under Heaven

    Come and worship
    Do not be afraid, no, no

    My soul, my soul magnifies the Lord
    My soul magnifies the Lord
    He has done great things for me
    Great things for me

    My soul, my soul magnifies the Lord
    My soul magnifies the Lord
    He has done great things for me
    Great things for me

    Of His government there will be no end
    He'll establish it with His righteousness
    And He shall reign on David's throne
    And His name shall be from this day on

    Wonderful, Counselor, Everlasting Father
    Wonderful, Counselor
    His name shall be Everlasting Father

    My soul, my soul magnifies the Lord
    My soul, my soul magnifies the Lord

    He has done great things for us
    He has done great things for us
    He has done great things for us
    He has done great things for us

    My soul, my soul magnifies the Lord
    My soul, my soul magnifies the Lord
    My soul, my soul magnifies the Lord
    My soul, my soul magnifies the Lord

    My soul, my soul magnifies the Lord
    My soul magnifies the Lord
    He has done great things for me
    Great things for me

    My soul, my soul magnifies the Lord
    My soul magnifies the Lord
    He has done great things for me
    Great things for me

    He has done great things
    He has done great things

    Sunday, December 17, 2017

    Sunday Six Minute Freewrite

    I am doing a short six minute freewrite today because I am going to start writing my last section of my academic paper for the Renovaré Institute. Last week, after I frittered away my time all day on Monday, I started with a freewrite on the next day, and it really opened up the writing side of my brain. I do so love to write, and I had to pray through the whole idea of writing an academic paper. It was interesting because I went in the shower and had God show me what my motive and intention should be in the writing. Should it be for a good grade? I knew that the answer was so NO on that one. I don't care about a grade, and I don't think I am doing this for eventual seminary credit. I love all the people in this program, but i see no difference in love between those with seminary backgrounds and those without. I see no difference in devotion to God between those with seminary backgrounds and those without it. So, will venture to say that seminary is a waste of time. My limited experience with the two classes I took through Western Seminary back in the late 80's would bear this out. I liked a straight bible course without all the theology involved. Even though my bible certificate had a dispensational bias, I was able to wade through it all, and my guiding professor for all of that was such a LOVING person, as opposed to my seminary professors which I found not so. 

    Well there you go, it is done. God told me to write with LOVE, and that is what I did, and it has been so easy. Time-consuming, but easy to write with LOVE as the intention and goal.

    There you go, and here I go with my 7 am goal of starting to write!

    Thursday, December 14, 2017

    Thursday Morning Freewrite

    I realize that I am "frittering" away my time this morning. It started when I slept in until my alarm at 6 am. Seriously, it is a rare occasion when I sleep in until my 6 am alarm goes off. I usually get up about 4:45. I have long and luxurious times with God (the advantage of having the "sleepless elite" gene is that I only require six hours of sleep every night). I only slept three two nights ago. So, I am probably just "averaging out" to my usual (and healthy - Google the gene) 6 hours. I am better without distractions. I am better when it is dark and light comes into the world as I meditate on Scripture in the dark and the sun comes up in the late fall/early winter). But today, I slept until my alarm.

    Then, I got up and Michael was getting ready to go to work (leaves at 7 am). I also didn't make my tea, but I got a Zoom call from Elizabeth. Oh yay, I remember last night and forgot this morning that we Zoom at 6:30 am every other Thursday. Good chat with this lovely lady that I have known since 2009 and love to pieces. 


    All that said, I have had trouble focusing since then, and it is already 10:15. I am not even procrastinating. I did manage to make my tea. I did manage to catch up on my email and have my Online Retreat time - this week is meditating on Zechariah/Elizabeth, Mary/Joseph. Week 14 of the online retreat. OH MY. I also looked up getting an audio recording of the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. Should I buy the 7.49 version from Christian audio or just use the Librivox free version? I emailed Carolyn about the praxis paper I will write after the academic one. I don't understand the directions (Hey, maybe I should just ask Debbie since Helen graded her papers too.) I have not been doing STUPID things. I just have not gotten even to my morning stretches and  walk and prayer. That is usually done long before 10 am. What I want to get to is the great day I had on Tuesday. It was phenomenal how "in sync" I was with what I needed to do. I knew Wednesday would not be that as I had a morning meeting with Jennifer and an afternoon of  Dial a Book Deliveries and an hour for the Christmas Prayer Vigil in the Upper Room. All divine, but I just couldn't get to doing my paper when I got back, and I think I did other really good things (I would have to look at my examen to see what I actually did.) I am just floundering and wanting to get back to Tuesday. I know that I won't be able to work on it on Friday because we have Christmas Cookie Decorating with the Ika and Rika and Heather's Iranian friends. It will be a nice lunch too. So, I am probably tied up until at least 1 pm or 2 pm. Then George and I have another prayer slot at the Upper Room Christmas Prayer Vigil from 6-7 and a party from 7-10 at the Vons. Then Saturday morning is my God Soaked Life discussion with Betty and Andrea which will be until 10 am, and I know that George and I usually go for a Saturday morning walk and do the examen together on Saturdays. 

    Now that was a very long paragraph, but I am aloud to do that since it is MY FREEWRITE. LOL! 

    Anywho, I think I will get to my 20 minutes of productivity according to Brendon Burchard:

    20 minutes drink water and stretch
    20 minutes of reading (I already did that with my online retreat prayer this morning)
    20 minutes of planning for the day

    Then do everything in 20 minute chunks
    20 minutes of writing
    20 minutes of exercise or cleaning or whatever I need to do to move around
    20 minutes of writing
    20 minutes and so on and so on. 

    I wish I could find that talk he did that explains all of that. I don't find it online anywhere anymore! 

    Anywho, now I am at 15 minutes for my Freewrite, and I am definitely not proofreading because I am DETERMINED to get on track and write this paper with LOVE which is what God told me to do on Tuesday. 

    By the way, I am doing SO MUCH BETTER with the dynamics of online fellowship and relating with the RI. HALLELUJAH! 

    BYE BYE

    Tuesday, December 12, 2017

    Come Rouse Us From Our Slumbering

    You have visited us, God our Father, through the Incarnation of your well-beloved Son: keep us vigilant until He comes in Glory.
    In you, Lord, is our hope!
    You have traced out for us in your Son a path of light, may the whole world arise and walk toward you in the light of His face.


    In you, Lord, is our hope! 
    As the night draws to a close and day approaches, come to rouse us from our slumbering.

    In you, Lord, is our hope!
    Grant that we may serve you in justice and holiness all the days of our life.
    In you, Lord, is our hope!
    And when the Son of Man appears, may he find us alert, ready to welcome Him.
    In you, Lord, is our hope!
    You have given your love and your grace, Lord our God, to those who pray to you.  Your promise gives rise to a new world, and you will inaugurate a time of peace.  Convert us through your Spirit; with Him we shall prepare for the coming of Jesus our Lord.
     

    Intercessions, Morning Prayer, Second Sunday of Advent.

    Wednesday, December 06, 2017

    63. I Told Me So by Gregg A. Ten Elshof


    This is a book about how we often deceive ourselves as we walk with Jesus and how we can be honest with ourselves. This leads to transformation.


    He suggests having honest and safe community to help speak truth into our lives and not surround ourselves with "yes" men (I am not sure he uses that exact term). I have some honest people like that, and I so appreciate them telling it to me straight!

    I have also found daily EXAMEN prayer to be very helpful in getting to the bottom of my sin patterns and not covering it up. 

    I made a little handout with a short explanation of EXAMEN prayer, and I really like the EXAMEN.me website for having a record of my daily examinations to see the patterns! 

    I think this review is the best summation of this book:

    James K. A. Smith  — Calvin College
    “Socrates famously asserted that the unexamined life is not worth living. But Gregg Ten Elshof shows us that we make all sorts of little deals with ourselves every day in order to stave off examination and remain happily self-deceived. Most provocatively, he suggests this is not all bad! While naming its temptations, Ten Elshof also offers a ‘strange celebration’ of self-deception as a gracious gift. In the tradition of Dallas Willard, I Told Me So is a wonderful example of philosophy serving spiritual discipline. A marvelous, accessible and, above all, wise book.” /




    39-40. The Fugitive and Time Regained by Marcel Proust

      I began this journey of seven volumes on August 2, 2019, and here I am on my 51st spiritual birthday FINIS with the whole thing.  It was q...