Friday, June 14, 2024

Friday Freewrite Fifteen Morning Pages

I slept in until 5:15 this morning because I stayed up until 11:30. That is unusual for me, but I wanted to watch the finale of Welcome to Wrexham. I love that show. Usually, I get up and write my morning pages on my Scribe, but I miss my Friday morning freewrites. So, I am combining the two.

I tried to explain freewrites to someone last Sunday night, but she didn't understand it. It just helps you get your unedited thoughts and feelings down in writing. There is probably brain science that tells you that the physical act of writing is better for your brain than typing, but my computer was still on this morning. And I looked at it and said, "I want to freewrite." So that is what I am going to do. 

I had a little blow yesterday. I had decided to not weigh myself and just lose weight by feel. I got weighed at my doctor's appointment last Monday before I went on my three day retreat, and I made the mistake of looking at the recorded weight when I was looking at the test results. Bummer! I had not lost as much as I thought I had. The good news is that I did lose, but my guess was eight whole pounds less! Wow!

But the point is that I am less, and I am fine. Also, the things I was concerned about cholesterol, LDL, and glucose were all OK. The doctor wasn't concerned about them at all, and after I saw the results I went and spent the afternoon with K who is a Registered Dietitian (we graduated from the same Foods and Nutrition program at Oregon State, but she went on to get an internship, and I went into ministry with the Navigators), and she said for 65 (or almost), I am doing great.

I also noticed on my Apple Watch data that my VO2 Max is doing really well. It is almost back up to what it was when we were hiking hills on the C2C (Corvallis to Sea trail - I think I have posted the video I made for that hike). Hills are good, and I got a LOT of hills when I was at the retreat at the Trappist Abbey in Lafayette/Carlton. I really need to incorporate more hills in my walking this summer because I want to get my VO2 Max up to what it was a few years ago. The good news is that I have a very HIGH cardio score for my age and even the age of someone in their 40s! WOOHOO.

I had a very productive day writing my Belovedness Devotional for my 19th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises. I think I will be able to send it out today, and I would even like to try to send out the updated Timeline handouts for their "Blessed History" work. 

I might even update praying through the first week. Write a step-by-step guide so they get the rhythm of the Exercises. 

It was so fun to talk to Kim yesterday. We talked for almost four hours. We had so much to talk about, and she brought the dog over to her mom's house so we would not be interrupted. She has been such a faithful friend to me. When I look at my Rule of Life/Personal Customary, I have regular time with life-giving friends as a monthly priority. I am not always as good at doing that. 

Well, the timer should be going off any minute, I think. I will post my C2C video for reference. Hmm. Maybe we should go hiking again this weekend. Hills are so important for cardiovascular health.

There is the timer. I sure enjoy typing and it saves paper and/or stylists on Scribe pens. LOL!

Sunday, June 09, 2024

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

Finished: May 20 (almost all caught up in my reviews)

Wow! I have never read a Rushdie. Now I know why he is such a celebrated author. I loved this book, and I loved the sweeping history that is the backdrop to this story. 

Highly recommend. 

Here is what it is about:

The novel tells the story of Saleem Sinai, who was born at the exact moment when India gained its independence. As a result, he shares a shares a mystical connection with other children born at the same time, all of whom possess unique,  magical abilities. As Saleem grows up, his life mirrors the political and cultural changes happening in his country, from the partition of India and Pakistan, to the Bangladesh War of Independence. The story is a blend of historical fiction and magical realism, exploring themes of identity, fate, and the power of storytelling. (Goodreads).

This is a perfect summation!

Here is why James Mustich thinks it should be one of the 1000 Books You Read Before You Die:

Imagine a literary love child of Charles Dickens and The Arabian Nights, and you'll have some idea of the human interest and narrative ingenuity of Salman Rushdie's masterpiece, one of the most admire, acclaimed, and enjoyed novels of the second half of the twentieth century. Like Dickens Rushdie draws indelible characters and sets them in a swirling social context; he similarly shares a gift for exaggeration that gets closer to the truth about people than observational exactitude, illuminating his caricatures with a sense of justice and a sense of humor, often entwined. Like The Arabian Nights, Midnights Children leavens the world it depicts with magical capabilities and coincidences, thereby evoking the intense devotion our emotional lives demand of us, no matter our circumstances. Rushdie's unshakable belief in the regenrative power of telling stories, a faith given from in the unrelenting narrative energy of Midnight's Children is a legacy of both forebears. The force of Rushdie's prose is so propulsive, the currents of story-within-story so transporting, that each page is a futher winding of the crank on an enormous jack-in-the-box that explodes again and again with the wonders of living that hisory can never contain. 

The Master and Margarita (1000 Books to Read)

Finished: May 9

I know it is a classic. My friend D.J. said:
Critical to reading this book is understanding who or what each person or entity truly represents. Because of the government at the time, situations, people, etc. are the opposite of the literal reading.

But it just wasn't my cup of tea. It was just too ridiculous for me.  

Here is why James Mustich thinks it should be one of the 1000 Books You Read Before You Die:

One Soviet writer has no shortage of admirers today: Mikhail Bulgakov, whose novel The Master and Margarita has become both a Russian phenomenon and cult classic in the West. At once a love story, a supernatural adventure, and a vicious satire of the USSR under Stalin, it bursts with a creative energy that propels the narrative forward at lightning speed. Issued in the Soviet Union in the late 1960s, it immediately made its way to the West, where it quickly developed a following. In the decades since, as its black magic and biting humor attract new generations of readers, The Master and Margarita has become an ever more valuable document of the absurdities, dangers, and quandaries of life in the USSR and—all literature being more than local—beyond.

Sunday Sixteen Freewrite

This is the quote in another translation with words added at the end:

“The man who is wise, therefore, will see his life as more like a reservoir than a canal. The canal simultaneously pours out what it receives; the reservoir retains the water till it is filled, then discharges the overflow without loss to itself ... Today there are many in the Church who act like canals, the reservoirs are far too rare ... You too must learn to await this fullness before pouring out your gifts, do not try to be more generous than God.”

Bernard of Clairvaux, Bernard of Clairvaux on the Song of Songs III

I like the added line: "You too must learn to await this fullness before pouring out your gifts, do not try to be more generous than God."

I have been sitting and soaking in this quote for most of the morning. I am going through The Reservoir by Renovare again with my Kindle Scribe. That way, I can journal in the notes part of the book. 

This quote starts off the book, and it is one of my favorites, especially since Nancy has a little reservoir behind her house. We went up there a few weeks ago. She calls it "Carol's Spring," but it really is a little reservoir that collects the water coming down the hill from many different streams, and you cannot see them. They are hidden, but there is a reservoir at the side of the road where she stops and prays for me (and has been doing it for at least 19 years, maybe more). There is a metal pipe that channels the water under the road, and then it falls in a little waterfall down the hill into a bigger stream. 

We prayed longer there, and I see it is not a spring these days, and I like being a reservoir. This time, the more full quote that I found on Goodreads really hit me:
"You too must learn to await this fullness before pouring out your gifts, do not try to be more generous than God."

Learn to await this fullness. Soaking in that. Wait - a keyword in my life's journey. 

The memory of Colette standing at my door when I was 24 telling me "It will all be alright" when I was in the middle of my breakdown and leaving staff because of it. Crying my eyes out. She gave me hope.

I needed to wait. Painful experience but so beautiful and perfectly timed.

A memory of Shannon being so kind to call Gwen and have her pick me up in her big Cadillac and buy me shoes and take me to her mansion (yes it was a mansion) and listen to me pour my heart out to her for seven hours and give wisdom and perspective to my burn out situation.

So grateful for this. 

I am leading people through the Spiritual Exercises this year. They are in training to be spiritual directors, which is a requirement. They have just read Hagberg and Guelich's The Critical Journey. So, I am giving them optional "timeline work" along with their "Blessed History" that is part of the Exercises. I hope they dig deep into this. I am already benefitting from dusting off the "Life Experiences" stuff I taught with S.H.A.P.E. that I used for Women Becoming, teaching at the Suburban Women's Evening Bible Study, and later our TOAGs. It is good stuff. I hope it is not too overwhelming, but I think these three people (it may be two, one is still deciding) would be up for it.

One of the people in the 18th annotation group (only 10-12 weeks as opposed to 32-34 weeks for the 19th Annotation Group - the former runs February-May. The latter runs September-May) would also be up for it. I don't know about the other two. I don't want to overwhelm anyone, and I will always say things are optional, and then they feel pressure to do them.

I never get tired of reviewing where I have been and where I am going. Life with God is such a teacher.

Because I tend to think about other people too much (which can be a coping mechanism), these words are always good. "Do not try to be more generous than God." (With emphasis on the word TRY.)

Shoot. Sixteen minutes goes by so fast, but I want to stay true to the freewrite! 

ADDED AFTER 16 minutes:

I forgot that I wanted to add the etymology of the word reservoir:

reservoir (n.)

1680s, "a place where something tends to collect, place where anything is kept in store," originally figurative, from French réservoir "storehouse," from Old French reserver "set aside, withhold," from Latin reservare "keep back, save up; retain, preserve," from re- "back" (see re-) + servare "to keep, save, preserve, protect" (from PIE root *ser- (1) "to protect").

Monday, June 03, 2024

A Taste for Death (1000 Books to Read)


Another thriller! Such great writing! Such suspense. I liked it so much, that George and I watched the series based on several of her books called Dalgliesh

I highly recommend it!

Here is why James Mustich thinks it should be one of the 1000 Books You Read Before You Die:

The book begins with a precision of time, place, and other coordinates—a police procedural, after all, being in essence a fatal novel of manners. An old woman and a young boy discover two dead bodies in a church. In life, the two men lying in the vestry, both with their throats slit, could hardly have been more different: One was a local vagrant, the other a baronet and a rising star in politics. In one of the most puzzling investigations of his long career, Commander Dalgliesh must unravel the twisted threads that yoked them together in death. As James details his investigations, the plot resonates with themes of faith and doubt that give unexpected dimensions to the question “What happens next?” Fellow crime novelist H. R. F. Keating, creator of the delightful Inspector Ghote, summed up James’s achievement in this book best when he wrote, “By entering the worlds and minds of all her main characters—suspects, investigators, bystanders—she has been able to say more about life than has hitherto been attempted in the crime form.” 

The Silence of the Lambs (1000 Books to Read)


I will never see this movie. But the book was so well-written, and I always find them less scary than the film.

What a thriller! 

Here is why James Mustich thinks it should be one of the 1000 Books You Read Before You Die:

Hannibal Lecter is one of the most chillingly drawn villains in the annals of modern fiction. He is perverse, polite, charming, brilliant, and brutal, and the FBI would like to lure him into helping with an ongoing investigation of a string of savage killings of young women that have left them baffled. Armed with a questionnaire and the protection of a file folder, Agent Clarice Starling comes face-to-face with the cannibalistic murderer, who is serving nine consecutive life sentences in a mental institution. So the forces of social order meet the urges of the sociopath; one side of that equation, as the reader soon recognizes, is seriously underprepared. Twisted minds, tortured bodies, and a straight line of perfectly pitched suspense add real horror to Thomas Harris’s novel, yet it is the riveting allure of Hannibal Lecter, the singular character at its core, that puts it in a class of its own as a modern thriller. 

The Eternal Promise (Renovare Book Club)


This was the last of the Renovare Book Club books for the 2023-2024 year. 

It was lovely. It took me a while to get into it, but some of the later essays are brilliant.

I enjoyed the person who led us through the book, the new President of Renovare, Ted Harro. His help was so excellent. He had a spiritual practice for each week of the book.

This is very different from the first book that I read by this author, A Testament of Devotion. It is a much easier read and a gem. 

But this one had a history about George Fox and the beginning of the Society of Friends (Quakers). It made my husband and I go to a Friends Meeting in my town. We loved it!  

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Thursday Freewrite

It has been a while since I have done a freewrite. I usually journal on my Kindle Scribe now, but I got up exceptionally early this morning, and I have 1 hour and 20 minutes until my 7:30 am Campfire meeting for the 2HC. It is my last one of the year. We just have one more retreat from Thursday, June 27 to Saturday, June 29th. Then, I am done. Perhaps for good as I am not sure they will need me as a cohort leader due to small numbers, and I am an "add on" when they have had bigger cohorts. 

It is funny because I was having an inkling that I might not be doing it next year. 

This might not be so bad since I have two Spiritual Exercises groups - I had two people in both an 18th and 19th Annotations groups at the start of yesterday. Now, I have three people in each. 

So that is three extra people in my life two times a month from August/September to May and three extra people in my life every week from February - April (10 weeks). I am excited, but that will be 3 extra hours a month for nine months (27 hours) and then three additional people for 15 hours. So that is 42 hours. It is less than the 2HC which is 33 hours of retreats. 20 hours of Campfires, and an extra 13-26 hours of having one-on-one spiritual direction sessions with 1-2 directees (66-89 hours). But if I am being realistic and not including the 1-2 directees (because I would probably replace them with other directees in my private practice), it is 53 hours (and a whole lot of emails and Signal messages that can be time-consuming.  So, I am going to say it is about the same. 

(I am really getting tired of Grammarly - I just shut it off because it is getting annoying.) 

So, there you go. It has already been a bit more time consuming (well, really a LOT more time consuming) to be doing the Boller Cohort this year. That is 14 hours every other month plus prep for when I am leading, and the Enneagram was a LOT of time. Maybe 60 hours. So over 10 months 70 hours + 70 hours of prep (from Enneagram and other things) = 140 hours. So, I did fine balancing.

So, I probably can do both the 2HC and Spiritual Exercises because I don't have any major teaching in the second year (already all prepared for the Instinct talks). 

Well, I just need to discern my time next year. I am really glad I am teaching though. I really love teaching Pilates again! 

Next year: 
70 hours for Boller Cohort

The buzzer just went off. I am so weird doing a freewrite about all the numbers. I think I love every hour of it too, and it makes it so EASY when I just let God do the heavy lifting of all that I do! That is the Exchanged Life - He is with me always. YAY!
(P.S. - It is also so great to have so many exceptional people in my life - training spiritual directors, doing direction and supervision with spiritual directors, and working with International worker sold out for Jesus is SO encouraging!) 

Saturday, May 25, 2024

The Artist's Way: Morning Pages Journal

Finished: April 26

I read The Artist's Way in 2022 and did the "Morning Pages" for a while. I started again this year, and I used this journal with portions of the book on each page. It is inspiring. After I finished this book, I decided to do it on my Scribe because journaling three full pages a day fills up a lot of paper over a year. I am at the end of my fifth month, and it has been SO HEALTHY for me to do it! I am more aware of my emotions, and this has benefitted me in all other areas. 

A Lesson Before Dying (1000 Books to Read)

Finished: April 16

From Amazon: 
A Lesson Before Dying is set in a small Cajun community in the late 1940s. Jefferson, a young black man, is an unwitting party to a liquor store shoot out in which three men are killed; the only survivor, he is convicted of a murder and sentenced to death. Grant Wiggins, who left his hometown for the university, has returned to the plantation school to teach. As he struggles with his decision whether to stay or escape to another state, his aunt and Jefferson's godmother persuade him to visit Jefferson in his cell and impart his learning and his pride to Jefferson before his death. In the end, the two men forge a bond as they both come to understand the simple heroism of resisting and defying the expected. Ernest J. Gaines brings this novel the same rich sense of place, the same deep understanding of the human psyche, and the same compassion for a people and their struggle that have informed his previous, highly praised works of fiction. 

Here is why James Mustich thinks it should be one of the 1000 Books You Read Before You Die:

It is 1940s Louisiana, and the innocent black man named Jefferson who had the bad luck to be in a store when a white shopkeeper was killed has been falsely charged with robbery and murder, convicted, and sentenced to death. We know how events will turn out, just as the characters do, because inevitability is the central reality of the all-too-real fictional world Ernest J. Gaines creates in this spare and moving novel. But it’s not the central truth.

Silent Spring (1000 Books to Read)

Finished: April 15

I thought I should post this on the weekend of her birth.

She is the mother of the modern-day environmental movement. This is a dated book (most research was from the late 50s), but it is a classic. I am glad I read it. 

Here is why James Mustich thinks it should be one of the 1000 Books You Read Before You Die:

More than four decades before Al Gore’s Oscar-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring issued a chilling—and groundbreaking—warning about humanity’s careless contamination of our planet. Researched and written over four years, it examines the interdependence of species in nature and postulates a world in which chemical pesticides have not only upset that delicate balance, but wiped out entire species as well. Lyrically written, scientifically astute, and passionately argued, Silent Spring informed opinion and changed policy across the nation; it led to a ban on DDT and became a catalyst to the global environmental movement.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Wednesday Freewrite

I have not done a freewrite here since May 7th, and by some miracle, I have NO DIRECTEES or groups to lead this morning! I am FREE until I leave for teaching Pilates at OSU in about an hour. 

I have spent the morning catching up on my 2024 Book Reviews. I am about five books behind, but I know I am going to catch up now that I am dropping off all my "school year" commitments such as...

Renovare Book Club - Ended May 20

Soon to end:

Sustainable Faith Boller Cohort - May 29
Campfire for 2HC - May 30
OSU Pilates - June 7
2HC Spiritual Directee - June 14
ABC Supervision - June 25
2HC Final Retreat - June 29

All my pots will be empty for at least a month when 2HC starts up all over again on August 1.

I won't be doing a Supervision Group unless I decide to do one for Deepen. Since I will probably be doing the 19th and 18th Annotation Groups for the Boller Cohort, I probably will not do a supervision group. I really love working with people from spiritual direction training. They are so eager to grow! 

Also, our Seed Community will be closing, probably in September. We will have a monthly Zoom meeting. Mer will probably leave in December. Maddy in August. 

It is the end of an era, but I think I am totally fine with that. Things change and people move on. I am excited that most of the people in our little Seed Community have moved on to wonderful things.

In the meantime, we will be going to Mount Hermon to an OMS retreat. That will be so good. 

I have had a good morning just catching up on loose ends. I hope to finally get back to my EMDR course too.

The last few days were full because I had five hours of mother-in-law time while George trimmed back the blackberries at her place. Then I had an intense one-on-one on Sunday afternoon, followed by a discernment time in the Seed Community. I also had an intense Monday signing up for the Viking Cruise excursions. If they say it is included, then why was one of the SOLD OUT before the thing even opened. If you don't give us the excursion, what is your alternative?

Then, I had the Renovare Book Club. The next morning I had three supervision with people. That was a lot, but I really liked what came out of them! I love that group. They are such a wonderful group of quality people. Five new directors to bless the world and part of my life contribution of seeing a community of contemplatives in action lighting the world on fire! YAY! (See the picture above that I will post after I am done with this freewrite.) 

Right after the supervision, I went into back-to-back spiritual direction sessions with a spiritual director and a spiritual director in training. I had a two-hour break and was ready to meet with another long-time director, but she did not come, and I was able to rest the whole afternoon and evening! Whew. Now, I am up and at 'em!

I have lots of books I want to read. I was very behind on my posting about the 15 I have read, and I posted about half of them this morning! 

I will not be teaching Pilates at OSU this summer, but I plan on teaching on my own through my YouTube. I think. It should be an adventure to do so.

I really want to develop my Pilates/Praise and Meditation and Movement routines. I have much to learn in that area. 

Oh, and I also want to start my "Painting to Gogh" painting. I got the kit for four paintings about three weeks ago, but I have not had the time or energy to open it and start painting. I am afraid, but I need to get out of my comfort zone and just do it. It will be really great for me to do. 

So, I think my time is almost out. 

There we go!

Practice the Pause: Jesus' Contemplative Practice, New Brain Science, and What It Means to Be Fully Human

Finished: April 2, 2024

I think this is my favorite book of the year, so far. I have read reviews that she needed an editor. Maybe that is true, but she was driving home a point that bears repeating that as we PAUSE - RELEASE - RETURN to the Lord in an intentional practice like Centering Prayer, our brains are trained to do that in the nitty-gritty of life. 

I loved what she said about nature too, and the example that Jesus gave us on that front. 

I think her definition of metanoia is a little shaky as we are doing a turnaround from SIN often! It is ok to say that. But some more liberal theologians don't like to talk about sin. 

It adds the spiritual direction/formation dynamic that Life Model Works doesn't address as much (Although I have seen some PowerPoint slides by Jim Wilder where he talks about lectio divina, for the most part, Life Model Works ignores that contemplative practices have been around a LONG time. They just come at it from the brain science and left-brained conservative evangelical mindset.)

So, I liked it. I think about it often. I recommend it with the caveat about metanoia and her liberal bent. 

I just looked on her website, and there is a Study Guide to this book:

The Cloud of Unknowing (Carmen Acevedo Butcher Translation)

Finished: March 23

I saw this book was free for audible members. I grabbed it. I had the pleasure of taking a class from Butcher that covered The Cloud of Unknowing and The Practice of the Presence of God. I read The Cloud with the Renovare Book Club several years ago. Here is the review from 2019.

I loved her translation. It is so beautiful and had a new appreciation for this book that sent me on a journey of Centering Prayer. I talk a bit about that journey on YouTube and talk about The Cloud (and reference the woman who wrote about her struggle with this book): 

Writing this review reminds me that I want to get Carmen's book on The Practice of the Presence of God!

It is not the same as having her live, as she was so accessible to talk to and answer questions, but it was lovely. I really liked it! 

The Soul of Shame

Finished: March 7

I loved Curt Thompson's book Anatomy of the Soul, and several people have raved about this book. I think I do understand what shame is now. It was very insightful. 

See Amazon description:

The Gospel Coalition Top Books
Hearts Minds Bookstore's Best Books
Outreach Magazine's Resources of the Year We're all infected with a spiritual disease. Its name is shame. Whether we realize it or not, shame affects every aspect of our personal lives and vocational endeavors. It seeks to destroy our identity in Christ, replacing it with a damaged version of ourselves that results in unhealed pain and brokenness. But God is telling a different story for your life. Psychiatrist Curt Thompson unpacks the soul of shame, revealing its ubiquitous nature and neurobiological roots. He also provides the theological and practical tools necessary to dismantle shame, based on years of researching its damaging effects and counseling people to overcome those wounds. Thompson's expertise and compassion will help you identify your own pains and struggles and find freedom from the lifelong negative messages that bind you. Rewrite the story of your life and embrace healing and wholeness as you discover and defeat shame's insidious agenda.

Renovated (Reread)

Finished: February 29, 2024
First reading: May 2022 - See past review HERE

For some reason, Blogger is not letting me type below this picture. So there you go! I am typing above. 

In this reread, I took a class through Life Model Works, and it helped me understand it better (although the class was not as practical as the first LifeWorks class I took on The Other Half of Church). 

The whole concept of attachment is important to understand when it comes to growth and formation in Christ. I think this is a valuable book, and I realized that Sustainable Faith has added it to its second year of spiritual direction training. 

Faith Like a Child (Renovare Book Club)

Finished: February 27, 2024

This was the third book for the Renovare Book Club. I really enjoyed it. She talks about many aspects of what it means to approach God as a child. She also has so many books to recommend, and I got almost all of them from the library for my Renovare Book Club small group to look at.

I found the discussion to be very enjoyable, and PLAY was the thing that most of the women in the group had the hardest time with (except me - my dad taught me to play - I am very grateful). 

I liked it so much that I signed up for Lacy's class doing Spiritual Direction with children. I am looking for kids aged 4-14 to meet with for 8 hours for three months. It should be fun!

Here is a blurb on the book from Amazon:

Embrace the invitation of childlike faith. A well-known challenge of Jesus to his followers is to become like little children. But it's often difficult to remember the natural patterns of our childhood selves that enabled us to live freely in God's wonder-filled presence. Is childlike faith simply an unquestioning faith, or is it being present with ourselves in a way that invites healing and wholeness? Faith Like a Child considers Jesus' invitation to childlike faith and explores seven distinct ways of welcoming the child within. Offering wisdom from years of experience as a spiritual director with both adults and children, Lacy Finn Borgo explores practices to welcome and enliven your childhood self. Offering examples of what becoming like children could look like, Borgo invites you to take Jesus up on his offer to live more deeply into a relationship with God. As we welcome our childhood selves, we allow God to heal our wounds so we can live in freedom with Jesus as our companion.

Now I am only three months behind on my writing up reviews for my books. It has been a very BUSY winter and spring! (Fun though!) 

Tuesday, May 07, 2024

Tuesday Freewrite Fifteen

I am just sitting here after my Centering Prayer for the House of Prayer in East London. I have not been with that group for SO LONG! I just haven't had an afternoon free on a Tuesday for a while, and I cannot usually get home in time after I teach Pilates on Wednesdays and Fridays. So there you go. I got a big smile and wave. It was nice to be back.

I have two spiritual direction sessions and one Silent/Centering Prayer session this week. This is the quietest week I have had in a LONG time. For some reason. Everyone who asked to meet (but two) wanted to meet next week or the week after. It is a busy week for people, and not for me! YAHOO! One of my sessions was on Thursday, but I moved it to Tuesday, I moved it to today so I could do my annual 12-hour walk because it is supposed to be sunny all day! The high will be 80, and I am all for that! 

I will link last year's 12-hour walk to this post to understand what it is. I started out doing one a few weeks ago, but it was dashed because I ran into a friend who wanted to visit during my walk. So, I aborted it after 7 hours. :) It was fun.

The only change I will make is to have my phone and watch on. I want to take pictures, and that is not allowed in the 12-hour walk rules, but I won't go overboard with the pictures. I know that I am there to walk and ponder life. 

Today has been nice. I listened to my last podcast of the Renovare Book Club year. I also downloaded all the things I need for leading the group.

Now, I need to discern if I should take Lacy's last class. I was accepted into the last one, but I had to drop out because I could make the adjustments to my already busy spiritual direction schedule. I will have more time to "react" to it. Also, we ended up going to Southeast Asia. So, I would have missed more than one class. This one, I might have to miss two because of the Boller cohort, but I am sure it is fine with Marty and Sandy if I duck out from 7-9 which would be 10-12 Eastern time, and they might be able to have us break for "lunch" early if I tell them far enough ahead of time. I will talk to them about it and ask Lacy if I can forgo the fee for applying and also the application process since I was accepted last time with no problem.

I think I know who one of my directees would be too. I don't know about that other one, but I have an idea of who it might be.

I have five minutes. This year has been so good for me. I think the word DINE was perfect being my desire to look at overeating in a spiritual light. In that vein, I have been Immanuel Journaling, and with that has come the ability to stay on top of what I am feeling and journal through it with God. It is really related in many ways to listening and obeying from the book God Guides. Of course, God Guides is more for mission, but it is about understanding that God sees me, understands my feelings, and he wants to be with me.

This relates to the podcast and later webinar and the whole Parker Palmer concept of being "Functional Atheists." Many of us live the "without God" life rather than the "with God life" and don't even realize it. We are not THEISTS. God is not the divine "watchmaker" who creates us and lets us have at it in life. He is WITH US, He SEES, He KNOWS, He UNDERSTANDS, and He WANTS TO HELP.

Can I hear an AMEN to that! I really believe that I am more and more able to have the "with-God life." 

I have that song "I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS" song in my head. I will link it later. 

So, I need discernment about this Spiritual Direction with Children.


Here is the link to that song:

The Long Walk (1000 Books to Read)

Finished: February 9

This is a harrowing account. It was an incredible journey!

Here is why James Mustich thinks it should be one of the 1000 Books You Read Before You Die:

Since its publication at the height of the Cold War, Slavomir Rawicz’s account of his 1941 mid-blizzard escape from a Soviet labor camp in Siberia with six fellow prisoners has won legions of devoted readers. Although the veracity of the tale has been called into question based on recently released Soviet records and internal inconsistencies in the book itself (to say nothing of the party’s sighting of a pair of Yeti), Rawicz’s narrative remains an inspiring and unforgettable reading experience. Whether truth, fiction, or a little of both, The Long Walk is bound to be among the most amazing, heroic, and compelling stories you’ll ever read.

The Great Divorce (Renovare Book Club)

Finished: January 9 

I must admit, I read this "on the go" while traipsing through Singapore and Malaysia in early January, enjoying a Singapore Sling, fellowshiping with good friends of 40+ years, and practicing my 25-year-old "rusty" Malay. 

So, it was not a totally focused time to read this short but profound book. I liked it. How can you not like anything C.S. Lewis writes? But I must return to it and all the tremendous Renovare Book Club resources. 

I had planned to do this the weekend I returned from Malaysia/Singapore in preparation for leading a discussion on it the following Monday, but I was given the gift of COVID-19, and they soldiered on without me leading and without me taking a deeper dive.

I hope to return to the Renovare resources soon. 

The gist of the book: 
C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce is a classic Christian allegorical tale about a bus ride from hell to heaven. An extraordinary meditation upon good and evil, grace and judgment, Lewis’s revolutionary idea in the The Great Divorce is that the gates of Hell are locked from the inside. Using his extraordinary descriptive powers, Lewis’ The Great Divorce will change the way we think about good and evil. (From Goodreads)

Renovare Book Club Ponderings:

I love all the extra things they give you: podcasts, articles, webinars, articles. I love reading books I would not ordinarily pick up and read. I HIGHLY recommend it for ongoing growth and spiritual formation. 

Leading a group is a lot more work. But if this book is any indication, if I don't lead it, I don't dig as deeply! 

I had thought about not leading this book club as I will be going into my ninth year. I didn't have a formal group during the 2016-2017 year, but I did meet with one other woman. This required travel to Newberg. The next year, I put it out to two women in the Book Babes that summer for the 2017-2018 year, and the local Corvallis Chapter of the Renovare Book Club was born! We have had up to nine people. People come and go, but there is now a core group of seven. 

I think I need to keep leading, and I seem to have been able to carve out time to prepare, even though it can be time-consuming, and the Lord knows, I am leading enough groups! 

So, I think I will go another year. For the most part, I really liked all the books we read this year. I think The Eternal Promise has been my favorite. (I am finally getting to writing this review four months after finishing reading it.) 

Friday Freewrite Fifteen Morning Pages

I slept in until 5:15 this morning because I stayed up until 11:30. That is unusual for me, but I wanted to watch the finale of Welcome to W...