Showing posts from May, 2019

21. The Way of Discernment: Spiritual Practices for Decision Making

"Discernment means making a discriminating choice between two or more good options, seeking the best for this moment. These choices, while personal and conditional, are set within the community of faith and honor our previous well-made decisions. Discernment does not bring us absolute certainty, but rather operates in a climate of faith. Seeking to follow God’s call moves us toward that which is better for us individually and for our world, and assures us that God will accompany us into the unknown." (Location 440)

I really loved this book. My spiritual director had given me a summary of the principles and practices in the book, but it was so fun to read them directly from the source. She uses mostly Ignatian principles of discernment, but she also throws in other people's thoughts like those of Jonathan Edwards. Discernment is seen in the larger context of contemplation and intimacy with God. She made discernment a loving process with a loving God. WIN-WIN. 
It was a joyf…

20. God's Many Splendored Image

I really loved this book. She makes a case that the early Christian fathers saw being "made in the image of God" as our true nature rather than having a "sin nature." She is not saying we are not marred by sin due to the fall, but in Christ, we can go back to our true self as an image bearer of God. 

Is what I am as a human being fundamentally bad? Do I have to reject my own inherent identity in order to become acceptable to God? Is God opposed to me because of who I am? If God created me in his own image, how can what I am be opposed to God? Is it even possible to love such a God? . . . many secretly fear they are so evil inside that they can never do good for others or become the good persons they long to be. How can they hear the good news of the gospel if Christianity only confirms their worst fears about who they are? (p. 4) The popular idea that Christianity says “human nature” is inherently bad is actually the opposite of what the earliest Christian theologian…

Lightworks One/4:3 (John 15) Freewrite

I have fifteen minutes to write.

I meditated on John 15 today. I think that and Ephesians 1, Romans 8, and Psalm 27 are my favorite chapters in the Bible. It is all about remaining vitally united with the Vine, Jesus. It is so simple. I remember a counselor saying after my breakdown in 1983 that I bear fruit not by self-effort but by my abiding. It has always stuck with me. 

I am reading this book called The Way of Discernment by Elizabeth Liebert, and she has all these exercises, and one of them is one for the imagination. Ignatian discernment involved imagination. I got the same picture last night while doing one of her practices as I got when we were meditating in Ps 139 at the Boise Cohort weekend before last: I am lying on a beach towel, soaking in the rays of God's love. Just resting, lying and soaking. That's it. (And I danced around my living room to "It's Time to Find Your Place in the Sun" which was a late 70s hit by Pablo Cruise that was perfect for this…

Lightworks One/4:1-2 (Gn 1:24-31; 1 Jn 4:7-11(21) FREEWRITE

I love being able to set multiple timers on my Alexa. Just sayin'. I set this second one for fifteen minutes.

I meant to do a Freewrite yesterday, but I slept in until 5:55am, and we were off to have breakfast with the Ropps and Rohrers at 8, so there wasn't enough time. Even this morning, I want to do weights with my Pilates routine, and I always need to review what to do for that since I usually only do it once a term with my Pilates II people. I also have to correct some extra credit papers and do my attendance from last Thursday. 

I am still pondering Lorraine's death. I know she loved all the things I was doing. She was so supportive and loving and kind. I want to go to her memorial, but it is on the same day as Paul's graduation from college. So, I am so sorry that I don't think I will be able to come, but I will be there in my thoughts. She would totally understand Paul trumping her memorial service.

We had such a lovely family hike up to the top of Mary's …

LIGHTWORKS ONE/3:3 (Lk 12:22-32) Freewrite about Lorraine

Freewrite fifteen

I have to go in 1/2 hour so I will write some feelings.

Lorraine F., my mentor of 32 years, had a stroke and died on Wednesday night. I think it is going to be weird to live life without her. I had just been thinking that I might want her to be my spiritual director for the second year of my Spiritual Direction Supervision, but I felt like Fran was a better choice at this stage. But I had been seeing her consistently every 6 weeks for the last year or so, but I had to skip our April 22 meeting because my allergies were through the roof, and I was so stuffed up and miserable. Turned out she had to postpone too because something happened to her knee and she as admitted to the hospital. But we did not reschedule for later in April (my allergies really were bothering me until the end and then I had to prepare for going to Boise and training there). Anyway, the next meeting will be in heaven. YAY! She got a "Well done, Good and Faithful Servant." I was thinking ma…

19. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.

This was on the "1000 Books To Read Before You Die" List. So, I thought I would listen to it. It is a harmless, coming-of-age story. I could relate and remember those preteen days well! It was written in 1970, and I was the same age as Margaret at that time. I liked her reflections on religion and God too. Sweet, simple story.

18. The Kingdom Life: A Practical Theology of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation

Dallas Willard "had me at hello" (Jerry McGuire reference). So this book was nothing earth-shatteringly new. 
Here is a good quote by Willard:
There is a deep longing among Christians and non- Christians alike for the personal purity and power to live as our hearts tell us we should. What we need is a deeper insight into our practical relationship with God in redemption. We need an understanding that can guide us into constant interaction with the Kingdom of God as a real part of our daily lives.— Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines

This is another book that was published after Dallas Willard passed away. It is interesting that they put his name at the top because I think he only wrote one of the articles in the whole book (and I am not convinced he actually wrote it as this was published in 2016, and he died in 2013). They reference meeting with Dallas Willard and quote him quite a bit, but I think it is somewhat misleading to give him top billing as an author. His …

17. Pride and Prejudice

Last time I drove to Boise, I listened to a somewhat "tense" work of fiction. This time I decided to go for delightful, fun, and familiar. So after three hours listening to Tuck Everlasting, I switched to one of my favorite novels for the trip over mountain passes in pouring down rain. It was a GOOD choice. I was so delighted. I just love, love, love this story and Austen's witty dialogue! 
Josephine Bailey is a great narrator too!

16. Tuck Everlasting

If you had the opportunity to live forever, would you jump at the opportunity? I listened to this book on the way to Boise. It is short and sweet and beautifully written!

Lightworks One/3:1a (Isaiah 40:1-5)

By the way, if you are new to reading this,  Lightworks is a portion of the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola developed by Joseph A. Tetlow. Lightworks One is four exercises, Lightworks Two is seven exercises, and Lightworks Three is three exercises. They can be done separately or all together for a total of fourteen weeks. Love them. It is also known as the 18th Annotation of the Exercises. Ignatius was super practical and knew that the full exercises (20th Annotation in a 30+ day retreat format and 19th Annotation usually over 30+ weeks) might be too much for many people. Tetlow recommends 30 minutes of prayer (Ignatius recommended 1 hour).


I started this morning off with Examen prayer. I am really grateful for how my class subbing went. I had not been to this class since January 2, and they were so warm and welcoming! YAY! That was meaningful to me. I also loved my LONG walk over Glen Eden with a newlywed whose marriage is going great. Thanks b…

Lightworks One/2:2-3 (Jn 3:1-21, Lk 24:36-43) FREEWRITE

I sort of ran out of time yesterday morning. So I came back after teaching two Pilates classes to soak in Jn 3:1-21. Then, this morning, it was Lk 24:36-43. 

The grace I am praying for is "the gift of acknowledging the divine Presence, Emmanuel and the Spirit of Life." It was perfect for today because when I did my Examen this morning - I did a variation of the Examen by doing the Three Circles Exercise - Where am I? (preoccupations of the heart, soul, mind, body) How am I? (feelings about those preoccupations) Who am I? (what does God say to you about those things). I realize the only thing I am sort of anxious about is teaching at the club today. I feel so called to do this at OSU. I am always energized after there. It was a good thing for me to teach regularly at the club for seven months, but it was not as life-giving, and I had other things I was called to (visiting MIL and Lorraine and writing my manual for the Spiritual Exercises), and it was a good call. But I am a li…

Lightworks One/2:1 (Ps 139) Freewrite

I am going to not go by Day 1, Day 2, etc. for Lightworks of the Spiritual Exercises by Tetlow because I am not necessarily going to be writing about it every single day and Lightworks One/2 can last for up to a whole week with the repetitions. So, this is how I will mark it from now on.

(I am not sure why the word is "courteously" - Should it be "continuously"? The word they use doesn't make sense to me.)

The Grace I pray for is:

I ask God for the gift of acknowledging the divine Presence, Emmanuel and the Spirit of Life.

So, I have to say what was cool. I said it in my Freewrite yesterday, but I don't remember if I mentioned that the first passage of Scripture Ps 139 is part of Lightworks One/2! So, it was so cool that I lost an hour of sleep with the time change to Idaho, AND my brother accidentally called me from the East Coast at 3:45 am the morning before. So, I slept in until 5:30 and had to …

Freewrite Fifteen - Reorienting to Life Back Home

I was supposed to pray with Mindy this morning at 8:30am, but I had told her last week that we will see because I will have driven back 8 hours from Boise on Sunday. As suspected, I am wiped out. It was a ton of people contact, first arriving in Eagle, ID to be with Debbie (best friend from college - met each other in the fall of 1979 - must make a note to celebrate our 40 years of friendship when I go and see her again in September). We go DEEP SIX in about SIX SECONDS - Seriously! I think this Spiritual Direction Cohort in Boise is that much sweeter because I get to stay with Debbie for three nights every two months! It is so helpful to brief/debrief with her every day I am there. 

SO, that was first, then I get up, and she has to leave for work at 6:50 in the morning (and that is 5:50 my time after driving all day the day before for 8+ hours - but OH WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DRIVE - even though this time meant going over the Blues Mountains in pouring down rain on the way over). I took a wa…

Lightworks One/1:3 (Eph 1:3-14) Freewrite

Everything is gift.

"Jesus prayed thanks because he lived thanks." p. 261 of Lightworks One

Ephesians 1:3-14 (meditated in The Message)

He settled on s as the focus of his love. . . We are made whole and holy by his love. . . Enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved son. 

I knew I loved Ephesians 1. A memory of being at the "Etta Cow Pie" (it had two Greek letters with a cow in the middle on the sign) house and studying this with a group of athletes. Who was leading it. It just hit me. Ephesians 1 spoke to me. It gave me the courage to walk away and take a different path in my life. I was overwhelmed by the overwhelming, never-ending reckless love of God. That chapter. I remember where I was sitting in the living room. I see the faces of the people, mostly just half-heartedly there. Who had dragged them to come and study the Bible? That was really only the second time I had ever r…

Lightworks One/1:1 (Ez 11:17-21) Freewrite about 18th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises

I am going to write freewrites regarding this newest adventure. I am setting the timer for 15 minutes every day and writing about this journey.

Joseph A. Tetlow has written a manual for spiritual directors through the 19th annotation of the Spiritual Exercises. I have done this 19th annotation through Creighton University Online Retreat and Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life in Portland, OR. (The information meeting is tonight if anyone wants to go. I highly recommend it.) I have this manual Choosing Christ in the World for when I help others through the Exercises next year, but at the end, he has a thing called Lightworks, which is an 18th annotation. Ignatius had a motto: "Do what is doable." I love that. So the 18th annotation is a shorter version of the Exercises. I am doing Tetlow's version through the summer and will end on August 18th.  

So, the first two days have been so good. Ezekiel 11:17-21. I had been given the directive to put these verses in my manual of t…
"The kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work (a) that you need most to do and (b) that the world most needs to have done.... The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet" (Wishful Thinking: A Seeker's ABC, p 118-19).

Fifteen Minutes Freewrite

I have been doing the seven day Freewrite challenge on Facebook this week, but it is only seven minutes, and I think I am so much more self-conscious writing there! I think a lot more people see my Facebook page than this blog. So I am more inhibited there. That has been an interesting thought.

Today has been lovely. The sun is shining. It was 81 degrees outside at 1 pm, and I wonder what it is now. Wow, quick peak: 85 degrees! That is lovely. I am supposed to go to our community meeting tonight, but I am really, really tired! I am not sure why, but I think I will pass in order to get some down time. George just informed me that he is working up in Hillsboro tomorrow, and I am welcome to join him, but I have a spiritual direction appointment with my bestie, Kim. So, I am going to have to pass, and I am sad. Maybe I should postpone the appointment since I am well over my quota for my supervision hours. I am probably twice the number of hours that I need, but I really want to check in wi…