Thursday, December 08, 2022

Spiritual Direction Supervision: Principles, Practices, and Storytelling

I read this over February and March when I took a course from the author, but I forgot to log it here! So, I only have three more books to goal of 52 books! WOOHOO!

I felt so privileged to be able to take supervision training from this wonderful woman. She has 40 years of experience in Spiritual Direction, and her teaching was so practical! She has done this for so many years but has only recently written a book about supervision. It is so good!

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Adventures of Augie March

The writing is excellent. People do live lives of quiet desperation though. Sigh. 

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

The title of Saul Bellow’s third novel evokes Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, and the voice that tells it—like the one Mark Twain created for Huck—is alive with the rhythms and energies of speech. The book’s irrepressible hero grows up in a poor Jewish household during the Great Depression. He ventures out from the family circle to find his way in the world, trying his hand at a motley assortment of jobs and encountering a host of colorful schemers, scammers, dreamers, and lovers. Ever restless, always hungering for experience, Augie roams from Chicago to Mexico and on into postwar Europe—“Look at me, going everywhere!” he taunts himself—where he’s wheeling and dealing at story’s end, still searching “for the right thing to do, for a fate good enough.” The worlds through which he passes and the characters he meets are rendered with a richness and a density that is true to life rather than to art; and Augie’s ardent inner life—fueled by the philosophies, plans, and passions he embraces and discards—plays out in pool rooms, department stores, apartment houses, and conversations, just like our own soulful enthusiasms. For six hundred pages, Bellow wrestles Augie’s buoyant encounters with experience into sentences that are extraordinary in their capacity: “They are like hall closets,” Joan Acocella has written, “you open them and everything falls out.” 

Sunday, December 04, 2022

Sunday Freewrite

I decided to not go to church today. I meant to, but I got lost in a project, and George was putting on his shoes, and I was still in my pajamas! George did have a meeting after church. So I would have had to wait for him for a couple of hours. So it is good I didn't go with him. 

Oh well.

It has been a lovely time alone. I hear the kids got up but only more recently. Someone is playing the Ware Patterson Duo CD from 1993. I love that my kids love classical music. We went to the Christmas Concert at OSU, and there was a flute solo that inspired them to play this CD. 

I have had a wonderful, deep-down peace for the last couple of hours. It is that peace presence. No anxiety about anything and close to God's presence. I would say it is more like the whole morning. 

I think it is the conclusion of a great weekend. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were the Discernment Retreat for the 2HC, and I think it went really, really well. I loved leading different small groups. This is my favorite of the three retreats. I have many of the discernment practices printed out (because most are from Elizabeth Liebert's excellent book, ) but I love seeing how to do this in community and not just individually. I would love to lead a discernment retreat in the future. It is really helpful, and it is about leading a lifestyle of discernment, really. Noticing God in the midst of everything. It really goes back to Beth's talks on seeing God in the ordinary of everyday life. 

So the peace was through most of the retreat. I did my 20 hours of silence on Thursday from 9 am to 5 am Friday instead of when most of the people do it. this was mainly because the Discernment Retreat Day of Silence always falls on the day of the OSU Christmas Concert, and it was just awkward not to interact with my family during the evening. So I switched it to Thursday since I am no longer teaching at OSU on that day (or any day). 

Speaking of not teaching at OSU, that was part of my silent retreat. Last year's retreat was the last day of my term. So I did take a break in the middle of it, but I had SO MUCH going on. I was 90 percent done with all these projects, and it was so nice for this retreat to not have things hanging over my head that I needed to complete. And I could just bask in gratitude for the GOOD DISCERNMENT I was able to exercise in saying good-bye to some things to create more margin in my life. I am less at the behest of other people and deadlines. I am so much FREER this year! YAY! This is because discernment is not about me and how great I am at making decisions, but it is about God speaking and letting him lead and guide me. 

Discernment leads to peace. 

Oh, one thing that came up when people were saying what they gleaned from the retreat was "I think we are trying too hard at this." Then when the leaders were debriefing, I told them about Trevor saying that we need to "pay attention to our resistance to joy."

Then one of the other leaders texted me a great "ditty" he wrote in reaction to that comment. I will ask him if it is OK to share it here. For now, I better go! 

Friday, December 02, 2022

Friday Freewrite Fifteen

I don't think I have quite adjusted to the new normal for me. I don't have to go to OSU to work! I didn't realize the time it would free up until after I came back from the Camino because getting ready for that was a whole lot of work. 

We just finished hour 8 of the 11 hours of the 2nd Half Collaborative Retreat 2 on Discernment. The rest of them are now in a Silent Retreat of 20 hours from 9 am Friday to 5 am Saturday Pacific time. The rule is no social media and no music or reading (not my rules - I would probably allow music and reading), but I did my Silent Retreat yesterday because I knew that we would be going, as a family, to the Holiday Concert at OSU, and last year, it was so hard to go to it and not be able to say anything to my family (although my boys didn't even notice until George told them at the intermission of the concert). So, I switched it up and took a long walk in snow and sunshine, and it was glorious. I am continuing on with a retreat of sorts but according to Carol's rules since I already had my 20 hours of silence. 

So I just listened to Paul Zach's album that just dropped called Christmas Hymns. I love it. I just had a "heaven-touching earth" moment while listening. God is so good.

I like having this extra day to really unpack this silent retreat too. It was a lot of walking and reflecting on the last year, and one big thing that jumps out to me is that I am living a more discerning life these days (because I have been taught so well by others), and I am living in the fruit of living the discerning life (I have the discernment retreat from LAST year to thank for that too - so thank you, 2HC peeps, for creating such an awesome curriculum that I get to be a part of by leading a small group and doing spiritual direction with two of the people!). The choice to leave OSU was a good one. I did take a walk there in my silent retreat, and I know I loved my students, and I had so many sweet memories of those students that I take with me. But I made the best decision to leave! 

Well, there is my bell, and I want to do some more journaling about my retreat. 


Friday, November 18, 2022

Friday Freewrite Fifteen

I have a paid subscription to use

Today, in the Ignatian Spirituality Center Friday Prayer Time, we had some things to pray about after hearing music and how it relates to prayer.

Have you ever been encouraged by a song at a difficult moment?

ALL THE TIME! Many times, it is a secular song too. The one above comes to mind. There is a theme to many of these songs that came to mind during this prayer time:

"I Hope You Dance" by LeAnn Womack 

When I had just had enough of the stuff with a partner, I had at a dysfunctional church I had been a part of for several years. I felt sorry for this woman who seemed to be sidelined in the church. I had been overseas and did not know the TROUBLE she had caused. She wanted to lead and no one would let her lead. So I told the leadership that I would take her under my wing. BIG MISTAKE. I should have checked out her background. I should have trusted my discernment when I saw red flags!  

She dropped out of our co-leading halfway through the year and went to the leadership and spun a tale about me. I still, to this day, do not know what she said to them. I did not do one thing to warrant her wrath, but she trashed me big time. 

(I got a big apology from the two leaders after everything was all sifted out.)

This was my liberation song from her clutches. (She ended up having an affair and leaving her husband and two small children a couple of years later. I still have NO IDEA what she told the leadership I supposedly did. I was nothing but KIND to her the whole time we partnered together in leading a study.) 

This is a song of FREEDOM from her. I was able to DANCE after that, and God opened up a wonderful door for investing in women hungry to grow. It was lovely after that. God told me in the shower when it came to that woman, "You have discernment. Use it!" I just let my compassion and compulsion to "help" her get me into such trouble. 

"Wasted" by Carrie Underwood

Again, roped into leading with a person from that church. I finally had enough and left that church after 27 years. This song was a song about liberation too. I had discerned things with this person in the past, but I was told she had "changed" so I took a risk and partnered with her. There were so many "red flags" during our preparation in leadership. The other leader saw them and backed out at the last minute. I just went in hoping that I could love that person enough to make it work. It was a disaster and again, I was slandered to the leadership. She did the same thing to a person after me who also left the church. We left on June 16, 2006, and I celebrate it as my "Liberation Day" every year! 

"Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac

This was back in the 70s when I allowed myself to be manipulated into a romantic relationship. God kept telling me to leave, but I was in my late teens, and I was "afraid of changing because I built my life around [that person]." I was able to break away on March 17, 1979, and I celebrate that day as my anniversary of "Marriage to the Lord" day! (I had been "engaged" from September 17, 1969, to March 17, 1979, but He had all of me on that day. 

I am not a quitter but in all of those times, it was time to leave. Those three songs were the first that came to mind, but there are COUNTLESS others. 

They are all songs of freedom, and what I have learned is to choose your friends wisely. When someone shows you who they are, believe them! I listen to my discernment and go the other way now. :) 

How is music part of your prayer life?

I really love Pray as You Go because there is always music that helps me enter in, but I have to say that music is not as much a part of my life since I don't help lead worship at church anymore. I would always have those songs in my head the whole week. I have been praying the Psalms since August and have been convinced that I need to be more intentional about music. 

In what ways does God want to communicate with you?

All ways. In silence. In word prayer. Through his word. Through music. 

That was fun to remember how far I have come. 

Spiritual Direction Supervision: Principles, Practices, and Storytelling

I read this over February and March when I took a course from the author, but I forgot to log it here! So, I only have three more books to ...