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Friday Freewrite Fifteen

My battery will probably die before I get through this fifteen minutes of freewriting, but I thought I would try, nonetheless. As a reminder, the purpose of freewriting is to just type away in a "stream-of-consciousness" sort of writing style without any thought about punctuation or grammar. I don't proofread and just press the button at the end. I often write this way and type mistakenly there/their/they're (I know the difference) and other various and sundry things like that. It is all accidental, and the point is that I just type out my thoughts. 

I love this blog. I think I have had it since 2002? Or is it 2004? I don't know, but it has been fun to just type away and log my books and my exercise and my fitness.

Let's do a "State of my Life" 

HEART - I am doing fabulously. The test was the change in our Christmas due to one person who didn't want to do an extended family get-together because of current mental state. I thought it would be harder …

60. The Promise: A Celebration of Christ's Birth

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I meditated on The Nativity in the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola  this morning and decided to listen to this whole album (on Amazon Music) and read this book as I listened. I have owned it for years, but the last time I put it on my reading list was 2006!  I cannot believe it has been that long since I read it because this is what I said about it in 2006: "This is another Christmas tradition. I decided to just read this and not read Immanuel (Card's other book on the entire life of Christ that includes these songs as well) this year. I love this book; and someday, I would like to make a musical out of it. I need to read it a few more Christmases though!" 
Here it is 12 years later, and I am read it cover to cover again. I think I have read parts of it every Christmas though. 

It was so meaningful to listen by candlelight before our fireplace crèche and imagine myself in this sacred scene. Profound and lovely and no one writes better about these things than Mich…

Friday Freewrite Fifteen

I will write for fifteen. Do not have any agenda here, but I am just typing without a break. Yesterday was nice. I got up, eager to pray the Spiritual Exercises, and I was not disappointed. I did a "savoring of the graces" received from the previous prophecies leading up to Jesus' birth. Of course, that included listening to the Messiah and dancing all over my living room in the wee hours of the morning. 

I was out the door by 8:45am to go to Marlys Memorial. I listened to News of the World. It is our April 18 book. What can I say? I am a Helper Type Two with an Achiever Three Wing! I liked it. It was sweet and an easy read. It would not be a book I would have chosen to read off of a shelf, but that is what I like about the Book Babes. Most of the books are not books I would choose to read, but I usually thinking they are OK. I have few so far this year that I have been wowed by except Uneducated: A Memoir - WOW. I am shocked that Unoffendable got a NINE average score whe…

59. News of the World

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This was a very sweet little novel. I can see why it is so popular. It is about a man who travels the road going to small towns to read the news to people.

The Great Annual Exam

I posted this last year and was asked about the link again this year. 

So here it is:

http://www.steveandgwensmith.com/the-great-annual-examen/

58. Moment by Moment: A Retreat in Everyday Life

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I liked many of the questions that are posed during each of the 32 "moments," but some of them were very difficult to figure out what the authors were getting at in the questions. I felt like I needed a commentary from the authors to explain. 

I did like some of the "Suggestions" though. I was especially touched after the Incarnation exercise to have it suggested that I go to a public space and sit and watch people for 5 to 10 minutes to "gaze upon the people in reverence for our shared humanity in all its diversity." I did that in my doctor's office, and it was profound!  

I will definitely use some of the things from this book when I am directing people through the exercises, but I wouldn't use this as the primary text for people doing the 19th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises. The Exercises have a beautiful order to them, and I felt like many things in this book were taken so out of order that it just didn't flow as beautifully as the Ex…

57. The Ignatian Adventure: Experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius in Daily Life

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While I am receiving individualized spiritual direction during this round of doing the Exercises, this is a wonderful book for someone who does not have anyone to direct them!

Nothing More Practical

Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything. Attributed to Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ (1907-1991) From Finding God in All Things: A Marquette Prayer Book © 2009 Marquette University. Used with permission.

Self Preservation Instinct of the Enneagram

I am so happy to say that I got a SCHOLARSHIP to study under Russ Hudson of the Enneagram Institute. He is leading a class called Integrating Your Instincts through the Enneagram. During most classes there is a live Q and A with this expert. It has been so helpful. 

SO there are three instinctual variants within each number. SOCIAL, SEXUAL (meaning one on one preference and intimacy that way that can include sexual - I wish there were a better word), and SELF-PRESERVATION. Self-Preservation is my WEAKEST. Hudson would call it your blind spot. And it is definitely mine! So, he has some exercises in this variant. So I am going to write about how I have been doing over the last three weeks since I started taking the class (or has it been only two - I entered a week late). 

His assignment: Notice how much time you focus on the three zones of Self Preservation:  Self-Care and Wellbeing Practical skills and Maintenance Domesticity, Safety and Comfort 

SELF-CARE AND WELLBEING 

Well, I am glad yo…

56. God Finds Us: An Experience of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola

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This author, Jim Manney, is the whole reason I went on the Ignatian journey in the first place. So I thought it would be worthwhile to read his own experience with the Exercises. It was a quick and enjoyable read. He is so relatable! 

If you have not figured it out by now, I love the Exercises. If you have never done them, I urge you to try them. They are truly life-changing!

55. God's Voice Within: The Ignatian Way To Discover God's Will

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This is my third book on Ignatian discernment, and this one goes into more detail than the other two. I loved his writing style and practical exercises for discernment.

54. The Path Between Us by Suzanne Stabile

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Yes, another Enneagram book! I had this one on hold for months, and I finally got it. I had read a few Enneagram books in between when I reserved it and when it became available, and I almost didn't read it, but I like this one because it emphasizes how each type interplays in relationships. The summaries for each type and how each type interacts with all the other types are particularly helpful. This is an excellent follow up to The Road Back to You. This author is the coauthor of that book. Stabile does a great job at making the Enneagram very simple to understand. I also like that Stabile is Type Two. It was insightful to read the description of Type Two by a Type Two, and it is an added benefit that her husband is a Type Nine because my husband is also a Type Nine. 

I do recommend this book to augment your understanding. I also really like the Enneagram Institute websites where they describe the Enneagram Type Combinations. That can be found HERE.

53. The Great Alone

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I liked this book much more at the beginning, but it sort of dragged on and got extremely melodramatic about 2/3rds of the way through the book. So, I lost a bit of interest. But there is closure by the end.  So, it wasn't so bad. I like her writing style though. Sorry I didn't like it as much as everyone has raved about it though. I did love learning more about Alaska, and it definitely made me want to go there!

A Prayer Review of My Boise Thursday through Sunday Adventure (Examen)

I have not published a "Prayerful Review (Examen)" in over a year. I was doing all of these at Examen.me, but the site closed down. Thankfully I was able to download all of my examen prayers and journaling from the Spiritual Exercises last year. I have been journaling the Exercises for this year in my journal notebbook, but I was in the mood to do it here today. 

I thought through each day at the beginning of my prayer every morning (yes, many do this at night. I usually do it mid-day and then the rest of the day the next morning. Freedom to do it any way your heart wants to. No legalism here.) while I was in Boise, but I did not necessarily write anything down.

Holy Spirit, I pray you would shed light on my weekend and help me to see my days through your eyes. 

What I am grateful for: a smooth trip to Boise and back via Alaska Airlines, that I flew instead of drove because it did end up snowing, gracious hospitality of Debbie Brizee Budwig and transportation to and from cohort…

Type Twos go to Type Four in Integration

So I am looking at the healthy loop of the Type Four today. This is probably why I like personality tests so much because they help me to be more self-aware. :) 

Here is the healthy loop of a Type Four:

Healthy loopcontrolled by Basic Desire:

Need for self-understanding -> examine self -> understand themselves -> Need for self-understanding
In the healthy state, the need for self-understanding induces Type Fours to allow their emotions to surface and examine these emotions in order to understand themselves. (This is probably why I love the Examen so much!) When Fours achieve self-understanding, their need is satisfied and a balance is reached.


Wednesday Morning Freewrite

I have loved doing these Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola again this year. I loved it last year through Creighton University Online Retreat, but I love doing it where I have a spiritual director that I meet with every other week and a cohort of people with a small "Sacred Listening" group of 10 people (three of whom are directors of the other seven). And the best part is doing it with my sweet, gentle giant of a husband: GEORGE (DGG is my nickname for him - Diplomatic Gentle Giant)! The face-to-face contact with others in the journey make it that much sweeter. I am so thankful that there is a program here in Oregon even though we have to commute there twice a month for our spiritual direction and the monthly retreat (www.seelportland.org). It is so worth it.

So, what am I learning. Well, Mike, my spiritual director, almost became a Jesuit priest. So he so knows his stuff and is an older man (I would say he is in his mid- to late- sixties) who is steeped in these Exer…

51. Educated: A Memoir

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A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Best book of 2018 for me. I really, really loved it, and I could not put it down. Read it in 24 hours. She was raised in a dysfunctional Mormon survivalist family in Idaho. It is journey out through education. The writing is really well done. I highly recommend this book.

50. Becoming Dallas Willard by Gary W. Moon

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Word cannot express how much I loved this biography. Gary Moon offers it with such love and affection for this wonderful man. This is a Renovare Book Club pick.  

Update: I led a discussion with six people. It was such a great discussion, and I had narrowed down the questions that the author gave in supplementary material for the book club. So I am going to put them here in case you ever read the book and want to think about your own spiritual formation. 




I.NATURE/NURTURE/CULTURE: “Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.” (Parker Palmer)  What is your life telling you about your deepest desires?
NATURE: How has your nature (e.g. temperament, learning style, etc.) become part of your becoming?NURTURE: How has the image of one of your parents (or grandparents) contributed to forming your image of God?CULTURE: What do you carry with you from the early years of your church-life experience that continues …

52. The Enneagram and Prayer by Metz and Burchill

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Stephen Coffey, OSB Cam, an ordained monk of the Camaldolese community of California led the "Appreciating the Wisdom of the Enneagram" Conference at the Queen of Angels Monastery in November, and this was recommended to us. At first perusal, I didn't really like it, but it has great depth and gave me insight into helpful prayer practices for people. I really ended up loving it!

ETERNAL LORD OF ALL THINGS

I feel Your gaze on me.
I sense that with You are all the great beings of heaven --
angels and powers and martyrs and saints.
Lord Jesus, I think You have put a desire in me.
If You will help me, please,
I would like to make my offering:
I want it to be my desire, and my choice,
provided that You want it, too,
to live my life as You lived Yours.
I know that You lived an insignificant person
in a little, despised town;
I know that You rarely tasted luxury and never, privilege,
and that You resolutely refused to accept power.
I know that You suffered rejection by leaders,
abandonment by friends, and failure.
I know. I can hardly bear the thought of it all.
But it seems a toweringly wonderful thing
that You might call me to follow You and stand with You.
I will labor with You to bring God's reign,
if You will give me the gift to do it. Amen.

49. The Critical Journey: Stages in the Life of Faith

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From Publisher: The Critical Journey, at its core, is a description of the spiritual journey: our response to our faith in God with the resulting changes that follow. In this book, authors Hagberg and Guelich address the following issues: the struggle to find meaning and wholeness, the crisis of values and identity at mid-life, the quest for self-actualization, the healing of early religious experiences, and questions about the spiritual journey. Their goal is to help us understand where we are on our individual faith journeys and also appreciate where others are in theirs. The Critical Journey does not reveal exactly how or when we need to move along in our personal pilgrimages, nor does it offer formulas for spiritual growth. Rather, it describes six phases of the spiritual journey and illustrates how people act and think while in these stages. This is an excellent guide for those who are wrestling with their faith and wondering how others have resolved their “dark nights of the sou…

Nurturing From a King

Type Two EnneaThought® for November 14th
When Twos learn to nurture themselves and look after their own needs, they achieve a balance in which loving and satisfying relationships are not only possible—they will happen as surely as the sun rises. Presence alone will allow your nurturing of others to transform into genuine self-nurturing. (The Wisdom of the Enneagram, 149)

This has been such a lovely season for me of achieving balance. I am loving my time in the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. I prefer not to call it "self-nurturing" but "nurturing from God." God is speaking to me! I also love the balance of exercise (which is also my work) and sitting for ministry and writing (my other work).  It is a good season. 

This week, I am at the "Call of the King" in the Exercises, and the free conversation "My Liege" and I are having are so precious. I am growing. I am learning. I like that this never stops with the LORD! I am excited to hear w…

Friday Fifteen Minute Freewrite

So much to say and so little time to say it. I have been lax in my freewrites lately. I love them so. The queen of the freewrites just had a birthday. We still love each other, but she doesn't really have time for me anymore, and I am so happy for her success in life and happy for the role I played in her journey and she in mine. Because she "doesn't have time" for me doesn't mean that I am unloved or unwanted. Something I am learning the Enneagram Type Two personality type. I have to let go of the fear that I am unloved and unwanted. I also need to go after what I want, and I don't think I necessarily want the deep relationship that we once had. I really love her, but we are going in different directions. We will definitely meet up and have a lovefest when we meet again (which I am sure will happen), but she is not a day to day friend, and that is OK! 

So today has been a phenomenal day. Because George listened to God and God told him to ask for every Friday …

48. What's Your Decision? How to Make Choices with Confidnece and Clarity

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This book had a little bit more meat to it than the other book on Ignatian discernment that I read earlier this year when it was part of my spiritual direction curriculum. This is the replacement, and I think it is a good choice. 

The authors do a great job of explaining the principles of decision making that Ignatius laid out in the Spiritual Exercises. I particularly liked that they used scenarios and walked you through the principles for each scenario. It was quite helpful. 

What is so funny is that I went to a "Wisdom of the Enneagram" Seminar, and the Catholic priest who taught it tied the Enneagram types and Ignatian principles of discernment together. I thought that was providential that I happened to reading this book at the same time!

47. Funny in Farsi

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This is an easy and fun read. I read it in 2014. My book club was looking for something that would make them laugh after reading so many "heavy" books on World War II last year. So I suggested this. I love Iranian people and the book gives you insight into their wonderful, family-oriented culture.  It was the delightful, funny antics of a family who moved to Southern California in the 1970's. I highly recommend this book.
EnneaThought® for the DayType Two EnneaThought® for November 4th
Today, can you discover positive qualities in yourself that you have not developed yet? Healthy Twos have immense goodwill and generosity of spirit. They are attracted to spiritual values such as love of God and neighbor, loving others as themselves, and forgiving others. (The Power of the Enneagram audiotapes)

Holy Will

Type Two EnneaThought® for October 27th

The Holy Idea for Type Two is Holy Will, which means you can relax your efforts because everything really is "in God's hands." See if you can connect with this truth today. (Understanding the Enneagram, 42) 

So I had to understand what the "Holy Idea" thing was. It is a another concept I hope to understand better when I go to the Enneagram Seminar next week. Here is what this website says: 

"The Holy Ideas of the Enneagram are in service to the alleviation of suffering and the recovery of our true nature through remembering our Essence qualities.  The Holy Ideas remind us of who we truly are beyond our attachments and identification with the construct of the egoic mind.  As we observe our attachments and defense of the ego we become aware of the ways that we suffer.  We can choose to end our suffering.  Suffering is truly optional.  Pain is endemic to the human condition and must be faced squarely and experienced.  Suff…