Monday, February 26, 2024

Freewrite



Here I go for fifteen minutes. I did not do the fifteen-minute freewrite Friday as I thought. And I totally missed this last Friday. So, I am doing it on Monday. 

Now that I am doing Morning Pages (The Artist's Way practice of three notebook-sized pages, handwritten, first thing in the morning), I don't do as many freewrites here, but I am still wanting to do it on Friday. I like typing. It is somehow very soothing for me.

This morning was good. I had Morning Pages, and the theme was about abundance. The whole thought that God supplies an abundance for all. 

I thought about the verse. I think it is Psalm 66:12: "We went through fire and through water, but you have brought us out to a place of abundance." Another version says "well-watered place" which goes along with the whole theme of this blog that I have had for so many years. The "Well-Watered Soul." That is what I want. It also goes along with all the videos that Nancy has sent me over the years of the spring behind her house that is always pouring out water, even in the heat of summer. It never dries up, and that is our God. She calls it "Carol's spring," but it is God's spring that He has me tapping into. It is all good.

So, the theme of morning pages was about pouring out for the benefit of others and pouring out for the benefit of your own soul, and it makes me think of that Chardin quote. I will put it at the top of this whole freewrite. It is about being a RESERVOIR versus being a CHANNEL. Thankful to fill the reservoir from that ever-flowing stream these days.

After morning pages and meditation in Psalm 66:12, I got the house all ready for Valentina and Pieter. That took some time. I hoped to have some Centering Prayer time with my directee, but I did it with her because she had never done it before. 

Interesting that the women that I supervise through this one particular spiritual direction training program were NEVER exposed to Centering Prayer. So sad. It is so helpful, and the women I supervise are eating it up. :)

So, here I am with you God. After I had time with my directee (making a decision about whether she should join a team or not), I got out of the house with the 49 minutes of sunshine that I was supposed to have until the third wave of rain came in. I went to the bank to deposit two checks, and it said my card had expired, but I got nothing in the mail. They discontinued my card because I had not used it for 10 months! She said that I had to use it once a month, but I know that it is NOT right. So, after her telling me about four times that it was once a month, I said, "Are you sure?" She asked her colleague, and he said, "It is every 10-11 months." So, there you go. I knew she was wrong, but I didn't have the heart to tell her that she was wrong. So, I just have to remember to use it. I use my debit card sparingly. And George gets us cash all the time, or my directees who pay me in cash keep me in cash. I prefer to use my credit card and earn miles. So, anyway. I got a new card right there on the spot.

Then I walked to Joanne's Fabrics and got a beginning acrylic paint kit. I had signed up for this class online, and it was discounted at 90% off, but then there were all these things you had to buy to do the class, and I thought, "Forget this - it is too complicated and a lot more expensive." I just want to do a weekly "artist's date" (part of the morning pages requirement). So, I thought that class would help, but it stressed me out. So, I asked for a refund and got it right away. 

So, now I have 10 sheets of paper, pains, and a beginner's guide for 8.99! I also could use my new card which is a tap card! So, that was really fun for me.

So, now the sun has come out again, and I might talk George into taking me on a date because it was a busy morning.

I also had K drop by to pick up a book, and Geo had taken it away from our porch thinking someone had dropped off a book. Why didn't he ask me? He does so much by his "gut" and can never explain his logic to me. It has helped me to understand that about a Type Nine!

Buzzer ringing! Bye.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Coming Away from Centering Prayer


I will no doubt have another freewrite tomorrow, but I thought I would write for about 15 minutes on my day in Centering Prayer. I decided to have three 20-minute sits, and it has been so settling, so unbelievably good.

I don't know the ins and outs of that, but I think God delights when I pause and practice His presence. I find Centering Prayer a good way for me to do that. Touch points throughout the day to say, "Hi God, I want to look at you. I want to set aside to gaze at you in all Your beauty and glory." 

I cannot say I will do that tomorrow, but today, it was the thing I was led to do, and there is fruit from it. 

The "With God" life. His "presence is the point" as John would say. I'm hungry for it. 

I didn't stay for the first sit discussion. I just sat with many people in one of the Meditation Chapel rooms. It was lovely. Then I sat again and stayed for the discussion afterward. That was nice. Then, there is my OMS group that I help lead, but I was not leading today. Francesca read such a nice poem. 

So, Lent begins. Maybe I will give up other things to have more times like today. Sitting in God's presence. It doesn't mean that there won't be action from that contemplation. I met with a woman for the first time today, even though I have known her for about 12 years. It just worked out for us to meet one-on-one for spiritual direction. It was lovely. Then I meet with another I have been meeting with for the last eight months or so. I go into it with a stillness of heart, a steady understanding of the "with me/presence" that is centered in the soul rather than just in my head. That is nice. 

I've talked a lot about this practice in the last week. Meeting with experienced people for direction and supervision, two of the women were not introduced to it in their spiritual direction training. I wonder why? It was the first thing we were introduced to in mine. Thank you, Marty and Sandy - Contemplative Activists. Great trainers. Highly recommend them!

One said, it was after she left the people who did her training that she learned about it, and it has been life-changing for her. The other had never even heard of it, and we had a lovely talk about that. Both sponges! I love spongy people (I don't think that is a word, but I am going with it because this is just a freewrite). 

So, I like this long adventure of Centering Prayer that started in 2018 in earnest (having dabbled for quite some time). COVID helped as I found a group that could mentor me in the practice. So grateful. I have made some lovely friends in the process. Again, so grateful. 

So, there is my little diddy on Centering Prayer. Just felt like writing about it since I just came out of a sit with the wonderful OMS people! Love all the people I am with these days. Truly a gift. 

TTFN. 

Friday, February 09, 2024

FRIDAY FIFTEEN FREEWRITE


Alexa is set for fifteen minutes. This will be the third Friday in a row I am doing a Freewrite. WOOHOO!

Wow! What a week. I finally was able to be adjusted to the Pacific time zone. Just in time for my talk to spiritual directors in training about the Enneagram. I think it went well. I know that I feel like I was well-prepared, rested, and walking with Him through it. 

I tried to emphasize that it is not about knowing a number. It is about understanding your core fears that motivate you to alleviate that core fear, and how that can keep us from hearing God's voice and being with him and in His presence. 

It is about practicing the "pause" where we can S.T.O.P. and "See - Triggers - Open to - Presence." That is Clare Loughriges acronym, and I think it is really helpful. It is about "catching yourself in the acts" as my instructor, Russ Hudson, says!

So, I passed that on to one of my directees. I made a handout that explains this, along with breath prayers, and alliterative affirmations that help you step into your harmony of heart, head, and body. 

I think it was well-received, and the person who I thought maybe would be super skeptical gave me such a nice affirmation at the end. Totally unexpected and unsolicited. And more importantly: I didn't need it! I knew that I did what God had for me to do, and He is my audience of One. So, I am really grateful.

I am also grateful that it is done. I put a lot of time into it, and I am glad I will have it for my group when I start my own training. 

I also decided to take on another day of teaching. Teaching for Faculty Staff Fitness is SO MUCH less stressful. I don't have any outside work other than going to teach the class. I also can take fitness classes, and if I add another day, I can go to a weightlifting class that is not offered on the other day I teach. So, it will get me into better shape. I am so grateful.

I am also surprisingly enjoying leading the Order of the Mustard Seed Prayer Watch on Fridays. It doesn't seem like too much. I was going to do an Imaginative Contemplation in Jesus Healing the Demoniac, but at the last minute, I decided to change to Jesus' teaching about abiding in the Upper Room. That was really nice. It was so nice because one of the newer ladies came on early and was so glad it was just her because she wanted to thank me for Fridays and was really loving it. 

Again, nice to hear, but I didn't need to it. It is so great to become free of the approval of people. 

So, I actually finished a book today. So glad I have some actual bandwidth to read. 

Now, we are going out with M and her Mom since she is visiting. Middle Eastern food. YUM! It should be nice, but I have to go and decide what to wear! I took a shower after teaching and put my pajamas on. 

This weekend, all I have on the schedule is talking to Miss Debbie B at 10 am! This should be fun because we have not talked since before Christmas (I think). 

So much has happened since then. Next week is only two directees a day and no preparing for speaking. What on earth will I do with my time? LOL!

Well, off to Middle Eastern food. They make the best HUMMUS in town

Oh, and we are going to a Superbowl Party. WOOHOO! I love the people we are involved with. It is just a great group of people. They go all over the world, but they just happen to almost all be here for the Superbowl. Actually, next week, they will ALL be here because John and Katherine are coming up, and we are all having FAMILY TIME! I cannot wait. Love these people with all my heart.

TTFN! 

Friday, January 26, 2024

Fifteen Minutes Friday Freewrite


I am going to lead an Imaginative Contemplation in one hour from now. I volunteered to lead this Friday Prayer Watch before I knew that I would be going to Southeast Asia, and it has been tough to get up early. I always forget that it is much harder coming back from SEA than going there. I sleep in here when I get back, and it takes me a good two weeks before my body is calibrated to the change in 16 time zones; about a day for each hour. Two days ago, I woke up at 7:00 am for a 7:15 am spiritual direction session! I must remember if I do it again, I will only do spiritual direction sessions in the afternoon; which is true for most of next week. Actually, 9:00 am works too. 8:30 for a prayer watch cuts it for me because even though I wake up before then, I am used to getting up so early and having long and leisurely times with God at my desk. 

All that said, the time with the directee was nice. She is making a decision about whether she will stay in her location, and I am processing it all with her. 

Next week, I will have an early morning Tuesday Supervision Group, my first one post the organization I was doing it for. I didn't really mean to "strike out" on my own, but a group from that group asked me to supervise them, and I am going to do it for six months and then send them out on their own in a Peer Supervision way, and they will do just fine. 

I was asked to talk about spiritual mentoring at a church, but it is right at the end of a hectic three weeks back, and I think I will say, "No" to it. It also influences me that one of my friends won't be there to support me because she will be on vacation. I think I need to go on vacation! SEA was really not a vacation. George was at work all day, and sometimes, she was gone into the evening. Asians must not like to mix work with the employee's family because no one wanted me to come along for dinner. Sigh. I didn't mind, but we only had one day to "play" together on Sunday in Penang. So, it would be nice to go on a mini-vacation with George or even with our kids (so happy they love to go on vacation with us even though they are adults). 

Which brings me to what we might be doing during Spring Break. I teach on the 15th. Thankfully, I don't have to do a "makeup" class on Finals week because that was the first day back after the snow storm (and my first day back after flying back from SEA). So, my last day will be the 15th of March. We had originally signed up to go to Northern Cyprus for a huge prayer conference, but now we are wondering if we should go now that we know M is not going, and none of the rest of the gang even signed up (except M and B, but they will already be in the region). I was so sure we would go when we originally signed up, but now, I cannot imagine getting on another plane. We love the flight from PDX to Amsterdam because it is a direct 10-hour flight which is never the same as flying 15-16 hours across the Pacific Ocean. I like the flight over because you leave in the afternoon from PDX so you don't have to fight the morning or evening traffic to get there. Then you wake up in AMS at 8:05 am. We could get a local flight, but already, the extra legroom flight is astronomically priced! 

Oh that is fifteen minutes, and I need to get to "Jesus Calms the Storm" Imaginative Contemplation. 

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Saturday Sixteen: COVID Edition


I have my Alexa timer going, and at first, it said it was setting a 1 hour timer. Noooooo!

So, I brought a present back from Southeast Asia: COVID. George cannot get this from me. He has meetings all next week with the Southeast Asians who are coming here. So, I am quarantining and took some Ivermectrin (sp?). That should help. 

It is more like a bad cold, but I have not had a cold for about 14 years (give or take a year or two) because I remember I didn't get a cold the whole time I was at OSU, and I started there in 2015, and I think it had been five years before that that I had ever had a cold. So that would be 9 + 5 = 14. I think.

So, I am resting in bed, and I feel better already. It is very unusual that anything would keep me up at night, and this kept me up last night. But I thought maybe that was due to the jet lag and 16 hour time change.

As it was, I slept from 11-12:30, up from 12:30-3:00 and slept from 3-8. George got up at 5, and he was gone shopping by the time I rolled out of bed. It is great that we have nothing going on this weekend, except I was hoping to celebrate Michael's birthday as it is this coming Wednesday, and he will be in Salem. 

I think the quarantine requirement for OSU is five days. So, my symptoms really came on this morning at midnight. So I have until Thursday at midnight to quarantine. I don't mind quarantining because I am such an introvert. I have some movies that have piled up. So I should be good with all of that. 

I am also so glad I did most of the work for the Enneagram teaching while I was in Southeast Asia while I was healthy and had nothing else to do. Praise God I brought my computer. So, I just have a little bit of tweaking on the second teaching, and I will be done. I might even practice it while I lay here in bed.

Yesterday was so fun. I taught my class. I was socially distanced from my people in the class. So that is good in case I was contagious then. Then I did Cardio Dance, and the only person I was remotely close to was Dee, but I wasn't that close to her. There was no hug. Just cardio dancing. 

So, I should be good to go as far as teaching again at OSU next Friday. 

I am not feeling very well though. Just saying. This time, it really has symptoms. I know I didn't get the booster for the latest variant. Two boosters were enough for me, and I did not like the way I felt after the last one: faint. In fact, I did faint. I have gotten very lightheaded since that last booster. 

On another front, I led a Prayer Watch with Blind Bartimaeus, and I think it was received pretty well. I love doing Imaginative Contemplations with people. One woman dropped out, and I don't know why. She is sort of a cold fish in my interactions with her online. I am not sure why. I met her once in person, and I thought we had a very pleasant interaction. Since then, she has been pretty cold toward me, but that might just be my Type Two paranoia. LOL! 

It has been good to review the Enneagram stuff and see how much I have grown and am more aware of that Type Two paranoia, assuming rejection when there is none. That has been huge for me to let go of that, and I have let go of that person leaving the room. I know I have to leave the room sometimes when it is going over, or I have an appointment that is right after it, and I need to have a potty break. So, I will assume no rejection. I will "let go" as the Welcoming Prayer encourages me to do. 

I was thinking about the people that I interacted with in the Meditation Chapel while I was overseas, and they were all good except one. I must remember which one that was, but I think it was at a time when I could not do it here in the States. 

Also, I have been doing my Morning Pages very consistently, and it has been so good for me to journal my thoughts first thing in the morning. One thing I need to do is have a Creativity Date with myself. I am counting the PowerPoints that I did while in Singapore and Malaysia as my Creativity Dates for the first two weeks of January because I did Quote Fancy pictures and words. I love doing that.

Timer going. Bye. 


Friday, January 19, 2024

Freewrite Friday Fifteen


I really am only going to freewrite for FIFTEEN minutes like it is suggested for Freewrites. Oh, need to adjust my keyboard down. I have it on top of the box that used to hold my printer, but I moved my printer into my office to be able to see it better. It was too low to the ground on this box, but this box is perfect for my computer to sit on while I am having Spiritual Direction sessions and leading prayer watches and silent prayer. I just led a prayer watch for the first time in a long time. I substituted for Jared in September, and before that, it had been quite a while. Moving the computer (too high on the box to type).

Better for typing. Anywho. Scott asked me to lead a prayer watch for the first time in a while. I had to stop when I was preparing for the Camino because I had to walk in the cool of the morning and 8:30 cut into my training time. So I stopped the 8:30 watch. 

How I would love to have some feedback about the Watch. Two of the women dropped out during the contemplation, and I don't know why. They are both people I have met in person. I just want feedback. Contemplations can be hard for some people. I have two directees right now who really struggle with them while doing the Exercises. I love them. It is just how my brain works.

I feel pretty good for having just gotten off a plane less than 24 hours ago. I slept from 10-6 am, and I could have slept longer, but eight hours for me is great. I slept two on the plane, and napped for two hours in the late afternoon when I got home. So that is a total of 12 hours over the two days. That meets my six hours per night (If you are reading this blog for the first time. Here is a fun fact about me. I ONLY need six hours - 97-99% of the world needs 7-9 hours, but I am the remaining percentage who have a special gene that only needs six!) 

Anywho, I think I am all caught up on my sleep. Now it is just a matter of realigning my time zone. I think that will be fairly easy as I already have a 3am-9pm life here. So, my adjustment is only 12 hours as opposed to 16 that most have to adjust. I should be back to normal in about 11 days. So, by the end of the month. That will be in time for my Enneagram training. 

Boy, this is a LOT of work, but I will have it all ready for when I do the Enneagram unit for the training that I will do in the fall for directors. 

I am of the mind that if there are not enough people, I will not do it and be just fine with that. I am willing to go with three people, but ideally, it would be best with six.

Interesting that I had someone in the watch who did not think her desires were God's desires. That it is not "OK" to have wants and needs. I think this is why this person is so depressed all the time. YES, we want our desires to be God's desires! I think God will give you those as we are walking with Him. There was some twisted thinking in the prayer. It made me sad because this person really struggles with depression. My desire is for that person to have a concept of God that is accurate. He is not this stingy God that makes you "guess" what His desires are. He WILL put those desires in your heart. It is hard for me to explain, but I believe if we are delighting ourselves in Him, those wants and desires will just be there. (I also think that person is in the IDEALIST category.)

I think this year is going to be the year of lots of journaling. I am really enjoying my "Morning Pages." I journaled three pages this morning (because I am not an idealist, I am doing two most days even though that is not the "ideal"). 

I am off to lead a Pilates class. This is the beginning of my "get back in Pilates shape" goal and "get my weight back down" goal. I have just not been very disciplined in eating and strength training. I have been great at cardio (as my watch tells me I have the cardio fitness of a fit 30-something), but not strength and weight. Self-care in these areas is part of my 2024.

I think the bell is going to go off very soon. SO TTFN. Off to Pilates. George will take me so I can bring my mat to put in my new locker. I cannot believe I am going back to teaching. I am crazy for doing this.)

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Home Sweet Home Fifteen






We had to walk very fast through the airport in San Francisco. We might not have made our flight if it were not for 

1) Global Entry Card - We were through Immigration in about 4 minutes (the lines were long in the general line)

2) TSA Pre-Check - Part of the perk of having a Global Entry Card. 

3) Our flight from Singapore to San Francisco arrived 15 minutes early. 

Without those three, we would not have made the connecting flight. 

There was a bug-a-boo in that George's bag came through the baggage claim quickly. Mine on the other hand came fifteen minutes later!

So, that was the thing I was most nervous about.

But it went so well. George said he had a hard time keeping up with me through the SFO airport. I just didn't want to have to wait 9 hours for the next flight which would have most likely been full because all the flights had been canceled for five days. So yay.

We got home at about 1 pm, and this is the last day of me eating too much before I start my 2024 journey back to my weight of 2013. It crept back up, and I wanted to wait until after this vacation. 

I had a little nap when we got back for about 2 hours. So, now I am trying to stay up until 10 pm. 

I even had a class on the book Renovated with Michael S.  I stayed awake.

Now I am watching the Golden Globes because I recorded it but couldn't watch it outside the US (I wonder if I could have on the Wifi on the plane?). I love to see people win awards. I am so happy that Oppenheimer is winning so much! I was such Robert Downey, Jr. would win. So well-deserved. 

So, I think this is it. I am going to bed in 15 minutes. 

Freewrite

Here I go for fifteen minutes. I did not do the fifteen-minute freewrite Friday as I thought. And I totally missed this last Friday. So, I a...