Showing posts from April, 2019

Monday Freewrite

It is a Monday afternoon, again, the sun is shining through the side window. I decided to commit myself to an hour of writing because I could not sit very long this morning. I had been experiencing pain on my left side at the waist. It had it on the right on Friday/Saturday, but it came back on the other side today. I figured it was something deeper in my spine. So, Dr. M had a cancellation within 30 minutes of me calling them first thing this morning. Yep, I was all out of whack in my pelvis. So, I did not write. Then I needed to rest and not sit to have my pelvis set. So, I feel great this afternoon so I set myself up to write Week 33 of my 34 Week manual on the Exercises. So close. But I go to write, and my heart is distracted by the sweetness of this final contemplation. I find myself in the presence of God, and I cannot go back. So I am writing it here to document it once again. What is it about these Exercises that hit me so deeply? (I think it just gets to the whole heart of th…

15. Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion

Oh sigh, I did not really like this book. I found it really rambling and not really written in a manner that I could follow. It didn't really offer kind solutions and felt very condemning. He also knocked many public figures. I just thought the tone was somewhat self-righteous too. 

I could not really relate to him having not being raised in the church or in the South. I do belong to a society of women that is composed of predominantly white, evangelical, southerners, and we who composed the small number of women in the group from the West coast  would just look at each other quizzically when they would insist that it was the "War of Northern Aggression" and about states' rights rather than the "Civil War" and about slavery. Some of them still believed that the south is suffering economically because of that War.

My education on this subject has been more formed from the writings of mostly black people rather than a white person who grew up as a Southern Bapt…

14. Draw Me Into Your Friendship: A Literal Translation and A Contemporary Reading of The Spiritual Exercises

This contemporary translation of the Exercises was much easier to understand than the one I bought in 2016. I like this because it has the literal translation on the opposite page, and sometimes, I do wonder how Fleming came to his contemporary translation because it sounded nothing like the literal, but that as more the exception than the rule.

We were told NOT to buy this when I started the SEEL in Portland in September, but I wrote down the name and bought in anyway, and I am really glad that I did. I would say that most people don't need to buy this to be a retreatant with the Exercises though. Ignatius wrote this for the spiritual director, and since I am doing spiritual direction now, I wanted to learn this. My spiritual director the Exercises has thought it was great that I bought it, and he has mentored me in helping others through them. I am excited to have a few people to accompany next year. 

13. The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom

This was a Book Babes Book Club read. I really loved it. This is the story of a journalist who spent a year with Room 142, the Newcomers Class for refugees at South High School in Denver, Colorado. As someone who has spent the last 38 years of her life helping people from other countries navigate the waters of language and culture here, it was heart-warming to hear her story. The histories of the children in this classroom will give you nothing but compassion for the global refugee crisis we face today. 

This quote at the end of the book says it all:

Getting to know the newcomer students had deepened my own life, and watching Mr. Williams work with all twenty-two of them as once with so much grace, dexterity, sensitivity, and affection had provided me with daily inspiration. I would even say that spending a year in Room 142 had allowed me to witness something as close to holy as I 've seen take place between human beings. I could only wish that in time, more people would be able to …

12. Retreat in the Real World

I just love the way they word this book. Although I prefer going through the Exercises with the help of a spiritual director and group like I did this year (he was able to give me more material than the online retreat gives), I think this is a good introduction. They pretty much guide you through it beautifully. 

 I loved doing this last year and used this book again this year to inspire me. I have the whole book on audio, and I listen to it often as I am going about my "real world" life. Of course, there is some praying to Mary that I do not believe in, but that is minimal. I love this little guide. 

The online version of this exact retreat is HERE.

The audio version of this is HERE.

I am also writing my own guide if you are interested. Contact me.

11. A Harmony of the Gospels: New American Standard

Just finished today. This is my fourth time through this. I love how all the gospels are put in chronological order, and I have so many notes from previous times that it is great. I used it as I prayed through the Spiritual Exercises this year. 

10. Heart on Fire: Praying with Jesuits

This was given to me by the SEEL Portland crew that led me through the Spiritual Exercises this year. It is a sweet book with prayers and poetry by different Jesuits. There are a few that are not part of my tradition (praying to Mary and the Saints), but they are far and few between and most of the entries are very sweet and a nice addition to the Exercises.

9. The Cloud of Unknowing and The Book of Privy Counseling

I have read quotes from this book several times. So it was good to read it with the Renovare Book Club. I think the helps with the RBC helped make it easier to digest. It is not my favorite book, but it has some real gems. I kept writing in the margin about it being so opposite of what Ignatius recommends. This unknown author recommends just forgetting everything and going into this cloud of the unknowing God, putting aside reason, understanding, and emotions (apophatic). Ignatius says pay attention to all of that (kataphatic). Then the RBC had an article about the difference between the kind of prayer/meditation in the Cloud and in the Spiritual Exercises. Of course that made it interesting, and my spiritual director knew all about this.(See article about this HERE. It does not print well. So I have a clean copy I can send you.)
I think discussing it with the sharp and loving women in my book club also helped me like this book a bit better. 

I do have to let you see one woman's ta…

8. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

I recommended this book after our book club read Ghost Map and the author of that book had an epilogue that explored the dangers of urbanization. This is a book that is not happy by any means, but I read it a few years ago, and I thought the writing was so good. I liked it the second time too; if you can use "like" to evaluate this book. It is not an easy read, but it certainly helps me to have compassion for the urban poor and people who are at the lower rungs of a society that sees little upward mobility. I am a little fearful my book club will not like it though! We will see.

7. Secrets of the Savanna

I was not really wild about this book. I would have loved to have simple story, but I kept thinking the authors wanted to be authors. So they flowered it up a bit too much when I just wanted the facts of their experience. It turns out the wife DID end up writing a fictional novel! They also got a divorce after their many years in Africa. 

I liked the summary of their work in the end much better than the actual book that I found boring. No knock to what they accomplished which was incredible.

6. Why We Sleep

I never would have picked this up and read it had it not been one of my book club's suggestions, but I am so glad that I did. Seriously is my favorite book of 2019 so far. We are a sleep-deprived nation, and we have to get better for our long term health. There are more deaths from car accidents from sleep deprivation than alcohol and drugs. I have a student in my Pilates class recovering from a car accident due to sleep deprivation. It is a miracle she is even alive. 

So, I heartily recommend this book. The information is fascinating, and the tips are helpful. 

Tuesday Twelve Freewrite

I have been writing in the afternoons after I get back from teaching. Today I did three Pilates classes in a row and then was going to skip my Circuit Weight Training class but decided to just go for it. It was great! Rode my back home happy. 

Now, the sun in streaming from the west through my French doors. I am listening to my Amazon Play list of 55 songs and 5 hours of non-stop praise and worship music based on the playlist of a recent prayer gathering of over 800 people. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it and am happy to share it (but I am thinking you will need Amazon Prime Music Unlimited - I have had it for over a year now, and it has made my teaching so much easier to have any song I want at my finger tips to play for my classes. Happy to share this amazing playlist.) 

So the sun in bleeding through, and it is one of those Holy Spirit presence time. The sun, the music, the peace I feel after good sweat, working with amazing people (I LOVE my coworkers at OSU - it makes me cry how lovely they …

Quote About Prayer - So true!

In the final analysis, talking about prayer doesn’t matter; rather, only the words that we ourselves say to God. And one must say these words oneself. Oh, they can be quiet, poor, and diffident. They can rise up to God’s heaven like silver doves from a happy heart, or they can be the inaudible flowing of bitter tears. They can be great and sublime like thunder that crashes in the high mountains, or diffident like the shy confession of a first love. If they only come from the heart. If they only might come from the heart. And if only the Spirit of God prays them together also. Then God hears them. Then he will forget none of these words. Then he will keep the words in his heart because one cannot forget the words of love. And then he will listen to us patiently, even blissfully, an entire life long until we are through talking, until we have spoken out our entire life. And then he will say one single word of love, but he is this word itself. And then our heart will stop beating at this word…

Friday Fifteen Minute Freewrite

I have not done a FRIDAY freewrite in a while. I am writing this morning after riding my bike to the library and going to the Volunteer Breakfast. I didn't win a thing this year, but I am so content with that. The prizes were huge, but one year ALL FOUR in our family won a prize. What is the probability of that? I feel like we had enough prizes for a lifetime.

Anywho, I got back at about 10 am and decided to do my hour of writing on Exercises for Everyone, the book I am writing for the Spiritual Exercises. I am writing for week #28 out of 33 or 34 (cannot decide how many total I will do), and it is the week of the crucifixion. I am so moved. How do I convey that, even though this is a very familiar story, it is important to approach it with fresh eyes. I am recalling my dad's death, there was intimacy there with him and with God that I had not experienced any time in my 25 years. Being with Jesus at the cross should be like that. Anywho, I just was moved. Deeply moved by this t…

Freewrite Wednesday

Wednesdays, by and large, continue be my more free day for a Freewrite. 

So here I go. 

I love my life. Just saying. Today, I was up at 5:50 to experience Jesus in the Upper Room and talking about the Holy Spirit and love from John 14. I am on Week 27 of the Spiritual Exercises and I love that we go through the Last Supper and Upper Room Discourse two weeks before Holy Week. When I am leading the Gospel Harmony Book Club, I have everyone read through it all in "real time" where you are going through each day of the week, but this way, I can linger LONG over some passages. Actually, Ignatius didn't suggest John 14-17, but I think they are important. So, I added them to the guide that I am writing for the Exercises (If you want the guide, contact me. I really feel like it will be a nice addition to the guides already offered. It is simple and concise.).

Anywho, I just got a text from Manar, "Love you too!" I have been texting back and forth with her today because I …