Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Tuesday Freewrite - A New Day Dawns

 I cannot believe it has been 18 days since my last freewrite. My writing side comes out more in a balanced life. I haven't necessarily been totally out of wack and unbalanced, but I have not been manifesting my more creative side lately. In this stream of consciousness kind of writing (see HERE for a definition of a freewrite) I realize how "grounded" writing the Bible Book Club from 2008-2013 kept me! I wrote EVERY DAY. Sometimes those posts would take 2-3 hours to write, but I loved it! Although it did make me unbalanced in my body as I sat WAY more than your average bear. So I don't write as much now because I am intentional about bodywork by teaching my Pilates class for four hours every week. I loved those times, and I still have all those pages of writing (3000+ in MS Word). 

Today, I loved the application in the Lent Retreat on Pray as You Go:

The time between Good Friday and Easter Sunday can feel like empty space, but it is precisely in this empty space that the miracle of transformation happens and new energy is released, like a butterfly from a chrysalis. Try bringing any places of emptiness in your own life consciously into the light of the Holy Spirit. These places are your Holy Saturdays where transformation begins.

Make a note in your journal of any moments this week when you have glimpsed the power of resurrection. As you look into the mirror of prayer, try expressing what you see, either in words or pictures. Notice especially anything that takes you by surprise or overturns your expectations. 

This week we might ask for the grace to see our circumstances through the eyes of love, to recognize the light of resurrection already dawning in our lives and our world, and to have the courage to cross the other side of the boat and be open to God's surprised where we least expect them. 

I loved this devotional written by Margaret Silf, and I hope to add it to my manual through the Spiritual Exercises. I have her book Inner Compass, and it is on my "to read" list. 

Speaking of "to read" lists. I am finishing up the last book for the Book Babes. It took me a long time to get into, but I have liked it in the long run as it is through the eyes of a clinical psychologist, and I find many parallels to my own practice of spiritual direction. I realize that spiritual direction is NOT therapy, but they do overlap in terms of listening and reflecting, etc. So, it has been insightful for me in many ways. I am on the last 55 pages. I am not sure I will continue with the Babes. It is a tremendous outlay of time to read 10 books every year. I gave myself the freedom not to read three of them because they held no interest for me when they were selected, and I just do not have the time to read books I know will not be interesting to me. I did give one of them that I thought I would not like, and I did not. So I am going with my first gut instinct. All that to say is that most of the ones I read were not ones that inspired anything in my life. I want books that inspire me toward growth rather than just feed me with more information. So, I am considering being even more ruthless in which ones I will read next year. I am glad I have cleared my plate of this list so I can read books like Silf's. Formation books are more of what I crave. I also crave classics because they feed my formation. 

Today is:

6:30 Morning Watch with OMS

7-8 24-7 Prayer 

9-10 Directee 

10-2 Work on my Spiritual Formation Timeline for Imago Christi Discovery 

2-4 Pilates I and II teaching

4:30-5:30 Directee

The timer has gone off. TTFN.

Monday, March 08, 2021

Monday Morning Freewrite

 Wow! What a morning! I slept in until 5:50 am this morning, but it was enough time for me to have an hour with the LORD before I met with my first directee at 7 am. She is in Asia so her evening is my early morning. 

All I got to say is THERE IS A GOD! I had prayed about what to share. Hemmed and hawed. I wasn't anxious, but he kept saying things to me that seemed like too much. Usually, I like to start with something, and I had an Imaginative Contemplation on the bleeding woman cued up and ready to play, but God also reminded me of a poem. I had that at the ready, but God said to not introduce either of them at the beginning. 

But BOTH were part of God's plan. She proceeded to tell her how the story of the bleeding woman ministered to her as she went through the exercises. She had already listened to the link I had provided in my manual of the Exercises. So that is why God had it on my heart, but even how we got to the story of the bleeding woman was a different route than I would have ever expected. It was through a story that she was telling about something else. This was a fantastic story of the healing of two people! I was so encouraged.

I cannot give too much away because my sessions are confidential, but that story led to me feeling God was telling me to challenge her thinking on something. I had a little conversation with God about the fact that the whole thing about direction is that it is not super directive and more companioning. But I felt really strongly the need to speak up about this, and it was AMAZING what this brought about in our soul-to-soul time. 

Then the poem totally fit. Totally fit. 

He makes all things fit together. He was THERE. I am in AWE.

The next directee was 20 minutes later. God led me to the Spiritual Location Exercise. I love that one, and I usually do it upfront with people to get a feel for where they are at, but I had never done this with her. It was a very good time. She shared about an experience she had with God. While she was sharing, God brought a specific verse of Scripture to mind.  She went through her whole story, and at the end of our time, she mentioned that during this time in her life, the same Scripture he had been putting in my head was the Scripture he had given her about starting a ministry 12 years ago. I confirmed it by saying that was the verse in my head the whole time she was sharing!

Then God led me to mention Celtic prayer. She had ALWAYS wanted to explore this. So I played her the Celtic Morning Prayer Music and a wonderful YouTube of the last song in that series. It so touched her. 

Just part of my morning. I love doing what I do. 

Now on to my "other job" that God is also really confirming things with because I just got a text while I was typing this. 

HE IS SO REAL PEOPLE! HE IS SO HERE! NO DOUBT IN MY MIND! Two different people on opposite sides of the globe this morning, but God had these aligned things for both of them. I love co-laboring with HIM in Kingdom work. YAY. 


Sunday, March 07, 2021

Sunday Morning Freewrite

This is my Sabbath. I have been pretty good about honoring it, either on a Saturday or a Sunday depending on whether things come up for us. 

It is always about balance for me. I have all the abundant energy I need for the work that God has for me. Today, I will just rest and connect with God (and my family). The rain is raining hard. I am cozy in my home. Deadlines looming for me. Emails out to others as I wait to move ahead on some of them. 

One email sent was automatically answered, and I am grateful. I am teaching on the Instinctual Variants (Subtypes is the popular name, but it really is not descriptive of their function according to Russ Hudson of the Enneagram Institute.) for a Year Two Cohort for Sustainable Faith. I taught on it last year this time, and I think it went well. So, my handouts are all prepared. I just need to put it in a format that I can share on Zoom, which I have always wanted and needed to do. So, I will work on that part of this week. 

I also need to make one-two more videos of 20-30 minutes for a girl from one of my OSU Pilates classes (2018). She has created a life-coaching business and wants to have introductory Pilates videos for her students. She has been less consistent at replying. She asked me in January, and I didn't hear from her for six weeks. Then I got a contract and was asked to have my stuff ready in two weeks. Between the time she asked me and when she told me the parameters, my life has gotten incredibly (and deliciously) more full with the Abiding Resources and Testimonials sub-group that I am leading for our Movement. 

So, when it rains. It pours. (I am sure I wrote this in a previous freewrite already, but Freewrites are about writing about whatever is on your mind and letting your pen/fingers on a keyboard GO!) In the meantime, I have had three people "out of the blue" want to talk about helping me interpret and utilize their WEPPS scores for the Enneagram, doing a typing interview, and just a "can you call me" about something, but that person is not telling me what that is. All three are people I rarely hear from. So I have had to say, "Not right now" to two out of three of them. I fit in the other one because I had a spiritual direction cancellation. 

Anywho, tomorrow, I will finish up the Pilates videos request. I have some I have already done, but she has not told me if that is what she wants. I have two from a former project with OSU and one I made on Friday that was quite fun. I do love making these videos, and I finally got the audio down. 

I just got a ping from my friend in Central Asia. I have been wondering how she has been. She moved to another country. That might be better for her. 

On a very positive note, ever since Dr. Myers adjusted my back after the massage that made my back go out, I have been pain-free. 

Today I am going to read. I am going to spend time with my favorite people (we went for a walk around the hospital last night at dusk). I will also have two Centering Prayer sits with Mercy Center and the Corvallis group. Centering Prayer has been such a nice addition to my customary (many call it "Rule of Life," but Order of the Mustard Seed calls it customary). It is so ... well... CENTERING on God!

I am loving my full life lately. 

Oh, one more thing. We spend the last three mornings marveling at what God is doing in one part of the world. PRAISE HIM! I am so encouraged and overwhelmed at His goodness. 

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Wednesday Morning Freewrite

 This is what caught me this morning in my meditation time:

19-21 What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

21 Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily. (Gal 3:19-21, MSG)

I think this is all about living in harmony with who God made me to be. "The ego is no longer central." I know I have read it in The Message version before, but it just struck me when Carla Harding read it in Lectio365 this morning. This is an old Navigator verse that I memorized in the "Assurance" pack! I love the Navigators. No matter what anyone says, Sheryl Rice modeled contemplative practices to me back in the late 70s. Now they are "all the rage" in many evangelical circles. My best friend, Debbie, and I both sort of look at each other and say, "Well, yes. Doesn't everyone know this?" She was in a Sacred Rhythms class at her church, and I read her workbook where there was a new rhythm introduced, and she wrote in the margins, "Learned in 1979 from ________." Maybe our ministry was different. Maybe it was just Sheryl, but now it is all the rage and a "new" thing for people. (I think it is GREAT though. Read that book if you want an introduction to those Rhythms! I think Celebration of Discipline is also a great introduction to all of this. I love Richard Foster and Renovare too. So many good resources out there now. I am NOT knocking the resources just stating they are not new for everyone.)

But no matter. I am realizing that I just need to live FREE and FLY! 

So today, I am going to talk with the leader of the IMAGO CHRISTI DISCOVERY COURSE. It is an introductory spiritual formation course using the model of Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle using Tom Ashbrook's book Mansions of the Heart. I am listening to it on my walks, and I am saying, "AMEN!" all along the way. He is preaching to the choir. I love it. (Parenthetically, I am sure people on the street think I am mentally ill.) 

I want to meet with this director to see how our movement can officially partner with him. I am very excited. I am not going to be afraid. I am talking to so many people in our movement, and it can be intimidating. I just encountered ONE ego in the midst of the talking. No excitement about what we are doing. "My husband and I are superior" attitude in the email. It was a little unnerving for me, but God has replaced it with 99% of our movement that is so EXCITED and HELPFUL. I have a great team of four people. One is a dynamo of a worker. He spends one day a week looking at resources for us. The other was the person who told me how IMAGO CHRISTI changed her life. The other is wise and helpful. Now I have pulled in people who know the technical side of a podcast, and it is someone who interviewed me for something many years ago, and God brought him to mind, and he (and his boss) are really excited about this! Abiding is part of their year goals. 

Then there is my friend, Eric. We dreamed in Sumas, Washington back in 2018 about this coming to fruition. I kept telling him that he is the one who can make it happen more than me because I am just a spiritual director to people because "eliciting change on the individual level" is my jam. Now, we are in CAHOOTS. He has more of a voice with the big-wigs. I have more of the experience of working with people in abiding for the last 40 years. 

In fact, I was thinking about my own "TIMELINE" of growth, and it was on Lake Washington in September of 1983 where God radically changed my life after a breakdown. Romans 8 spoke to me big time. "Nothing can separate me from the love of God." And the note I had next to my bed, "God loves me no matter what I do for him today." (Parenthetically, the husband of the couple who housed me on Lake Washington when I fled from my spiritual abusive situation just died two days ago. I will ALWAYS be thankful for them taking me in.) Then, I led those women through the "Year of Abiding Discipleship" in the Upper Room of the Law's house (1985-1986). Always been my life theme and my "drum to tap" since my breakdown. "Abiding in Christ is the end of self-effort." from my counselor, Pearl Tadema. Thank you! 

That is 15 minutes for me. I am out. 

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Sunday Morning Freewritea

 I am just back from a walk with my Georgie along Jackson Frazier. One thing I have learned is that I need to get up and moving. It is a rest day, and this brings me great rest. Today is a blue sky, spring starting to blossom kind of day. It is a very short walk around this wetland, but it is so fulfilling. Open and wide sky. Birds flying, singing, settled into ponds of cold water. Ahhh.

I never tire of talking to my guy. Everything under the literal sun on our little foray. I loved it. 

Prior to that, I had extended time with God that was lovely. I also did a bit of reading of Punkmonk by Andy Freeman and Pete Grieg and Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton. People have raved about that book, and I am glad it is there. It is a good gateway into creating space for God. I love reading about anyone's journey though.

Still kicking around the idea of doing podcasts for our Movement that highlight people's journey to a deeper experience of God, and how it overflowed into action. I am asking God to drop something in my lap that will make a clear path. I don't need to be the one to do it either. I want to be part of a revolution in our Movement, but I certainly don't want to necessarily be the face of it. 

After that extended time, I spent time with about 40 others in a Centering Prayer time. He read a quote from a book that I loved. So I ordered the book. :) I am also doing another one in about six minutes with local people here. I know it is two in one morning, but I don't mind. This is often my day of rest. So I love spending it in this way.

I might take a bike ride in the afternoon because it will be in the 50s! WOW! Spring is just around the corner, and I could not be happier.

I think that I have my rhythm back. Fran asked me how I know, and I just know when I am overdoing it. It is like when I start to not feel right physically, I usually stop and cancel everything to rest. Consequently, I have not been physically sick for about seven years. I also do this spiritually. It is when I sense something is not right, or I am not living out of peace. I pull back and find the equilibrium between output and input. Consequently, I have not been "sick" in this way since I left our old church in 2006. That was my last big WAKE UP call. I am grateful. Before that, it had been many years. 

Well, it is almost time for Centering Prayer time. BYE!

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Saturday Morning Sabbath Freewrite

 I give myself the option of having a Sabbath on Saturday or Sunday, depending on whether there is a wedding or activity on one or the other of the days. 

So I looked at this day, 27th, my monthly birthday celebration, as a "clean calendar day." YAY! Then at 10:30 yesterday I get a Facbook message from a college friend whom I have not seen in probably 8 years.

"Hey, girl. I am driving down to Corvallis right now. Can you meet at 10 am for coffee?"

I am thinking that it is Friday, but if it is 10:30, she must mean TOMORROW.

Yep, it was TOMORROW. Or today. 

I am really good at saying "NO" these days. But how do you say "NO" to someone you see once in a blue moon? 

So there goes my Sabbath. So I will switch it to Sunday. I love the flexibility, but it means saying "NO" to something I was looking forward to, but I am determined to have one day a week for total rest.

Things that I have prayed about for SO MANY YEARS are coming together. I am not sure how they will come together, but they will. I am resigned to believe that I have a leadership role in this even though I would rather just sit back and "be a resource" and one-on-one companion of the movers and the shakers of the Movement. That is more my role in life: best friend to the president of my sorority, back up center to an All-American and Olympic Gold Medalist, etc. 

But this week was Purim, and the story of Esther keeps going in my mind as I have prayed:

"And who knows but that you have come to your position for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14 - I even played Esther in a play once, by the way.)

God keeps saying FLY. My spiritual director, Fran, says I AM CONFIDENT. But why is there still this little bird inside of me that wants to go back to the nest? 

This morning, scripture in Lectio365 (or was it yesterday?) became my breath prayer:

OUT: DO NOT FEAR

IN: I AM WITH YOU

OUT: DO NOT BE DISMAYED

IN: I AM YOUR GOD (Isaiah 41:10)

God knows that fear, and he obviously knew that people would struggle with it. But Fran says that she hears me saying I am fearful, but she sees me walking in confidence. (As I skipped and danced on my walk with George yesterday, I sang, "I have confidence in sunshine. I have confidence in rain..." That song in The Sound of Music has been my song since I would sing it at the top of my lungs with Tara Rozelle when we were 6 years old!) 

Well, here is my 15-minute bell, and I must go for a walk and do some Pilates! 
BYE! 

Wednesday Freewrite

There is such a peace in my heart right now. I had a colonoscopy. I think it was something about slowing down and taking care of myself. 


And then I didn't finish this!

Tuesday Freewrite - A New Day Dawns

  I cannot believe it has been 18 days since my last freewrite. My writing side comes out more in a balanced life. I haven't necessarily...