Monday, January 26, 2015

1. Living in Christ's Presence by Dallas Willard and John Ortberg

This book is a transcript of a video series that I purchased. It is the last conference Dallas Willard ever gave and is on his "final words on heaven and the Kingdom of God." It is precious, and my friends borrow my DVD series so much that I decided to buy the book on my Kindle so I could always have it! I like having the written down version because I wrap my mind around it a bit better. Sometimes he can be difficult to read, but he was not difficult to listen to. Consequently, this transcript of the video series will be easier to grasp.  John Ortberg's talks are also quite good as I have always joked that John Ortberg's books were "Dallas Willard for Dummies" because Dallas sometimes is hard to grasp!  The interviews with Ortberg and Willard are also excellent. 
Dallas Willard was a seasoned saint and had so much to say about Christ-likeness! I ate up both the DVD series and this book.

Here are just a few quotes:

We have been through a period when the dominant theology simply had nothing to do with discipleship. It had to do with proper belief, with God seeing to it that individuals didn’t go to the bad place, but to the good place. But that developed in such a way that the predominant thought is that a person can have the worst character possible and still get into the good place if he believed the right thing. This disconnection became increasingly burdensome to the church itself until we came to the point that, as is widely discussed, there is not a clear difference between Christians and those who aren’t Christians.
Willard, Dallas; Ortberg, John (2013-12-26). Living in Christ's Presence: Final Words on Heaven and the Kingdom of God (p. 10). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition. 
Spiritual transformation is not about behavior modification. It is about changing the sources of behavior, so the behavior will take care of itself. When the mind is right and the heart is right and the body and the soul and the relationships that we have in our social world are right, the whole person simply steps into the way of Christ and lives there with joy and strength. It is not a struggle. One of the lies about the spiritual life is that it is hard. No, no. It is not hard. It is the easy way.
Willard, Dallas; Ortberg, John (2013-12-26). Living in Christ's Presence: Final Words on Heaven and the Kingdom of God (p. 14). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Jane Eyre and my Trapdoor Band of Beauties

“I climbed the three staircases, raised the trapdoor of the attic, and having reached the leads, looked out afar over sequestered field and hill, and along dim skyline—that then I longed for a power of vision which might overpass that limit; which might reach the busy world, towns, regions full of life I had heard of but never seen—that then I desired more of practical experience than I possessed; more of intercourse with my kind, of acquaintance with variety of character, than was here within my reach.”

Saturday, January 10, 2015

I Am Always More Spiritual in the Mornings . . .

. . . and then the "worries of the world" take over (Mark 4:19). After that glorious post yesterday morning of Kingdom Focus (Matthew 6:33), I was faced with some stressful points of my day! Suzanne emailed me about getting together with Kellie and Jamie in Phoenix, Nathan said the worship leader for next week's conference was not able to do it, people asking to get together with me last minute and coming over at 11:45. That means two meetings back to back (ended up being five hours of meeting time).  Oh my, I have to get all this stuff done for next weekend before they come. Oh, Suzanne, you have been sending emails, and they have not arrived? Oh yes, my husband has never installed the software for the remote desktop to access that particular email account. I wonder how many letters have gone there that we have not responded to.  

 Then the uncertainty of working with "P" personality types made me wonder: What will we do for a rental car next weekend? Where are we going to sleep? Did Chris mean he would pick us up at the airport when he said, "Have van will travel?"  

Oh yes, and in the back of my mind is: "I might have cancer!"  I need my husband home. I write him a text, and we have a tearful exchange before my 11:45 am comes popping in the door. I am tearful with her when I realize that when she said, "I'll bring lunch" she meant "I'll bring my lunch."  So, I go to divide what she has brought, and she looks at me quizzically, "Well, I guess you can have half of my banana."  Oh, she didn't say she would bring lunch for both of us.  Shoot. I thought that is what she meant. Feel stupid. Feel frazzled. I cry.

It was good. She needs to see me the "mentor" in a more vulnerable state. She needed to understand that this whole "spots" thing could be really serious. It may not be, but it will be a while before I know. So, it is a waiting game.

Oh yes, "seek first His Kingdom."  Seek Jesus first (because He is the face of the Kingdom). Good time of talking and good for those I mentor to see me vulnerable.

Encouraged by Renee's email. Yes, she is being impacted by our little Kingdom Band. She writes it in her letter to all of her friends. (Lord, help me not to forgot about getting together with Katherine. She is always so strong, but I do not want to overlook her because I was always overlooked because of my strength!)

Delegation made to George. He will talk to the worship leader (I think we are going with iPad worship next weekend). He will talk to Chris about picking us up. Suzanne is willing to be super flexible about meeting with Jamie and Kellie, but it looks like Sunday night is a possibility. I am the middle person about the schedule. Good she went straight to the source since she works in the same office, and I do not.

Listen to an NPR thing about melanoma diagnosis between Jamie and Kellie. Feeling better about it. Wish I had taken a picture of the spot before she took it out with the biopsy. 

George calls to say he is coming home early. He will stay home more instead of living with his mom. I am independent, but I need him. He brings me a salmon salad with hazelnuts, and we all eat Burgerville together and talk. Family is the best. News together and bed. Sleep like a baby where I could not fall asleep the night before because I felt all alone and missed my husband on the weeknights. There is always a withdrawal after his long vacations. Cancer scare exacerbates that. (Isn't that word exacerbates a great word?) 

Seeking Jesus again this morning. But then again, I am always more spiritual in the mornings. :) Worries of the world be gone all day today. 

Friday, January 09, 2015

On Seeking First God's Kingdom

I was already reading the book quoted below, but I had not gotten to this page. But as I was researching the Kingdom of God for my meditations in Luke 17 this morning, I came across this excerpt and felt God wanted me to pay attention. A portion of this excerpt also popped up in another article I read. In addition, Matthew 6:33 is my verse for the year, I had to post it here to document God's hand on my morning. 

 The meaning of Matt 16:19 is, therefore, not fundamentally different from Matt. 6:33: "Seek more than anything else to act with the kingdom of God and to have His kind of goodness, and all else you need will be added." (paraphrase) Or Romans 8:32: "He who did not spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things." (NAS) Or the well-known Philipians 4:19: "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (NAS) 
But if the abundance is here, enough even to defeat the "Gates of Hell," why are we not thriving in it? The answer is that we have a key to the keys. The abundance of God to our lives, our families and our ministries is not passively received or imposed and does not happen to us by chance, but is claimed and put into action by our active, intelligent pursuit of it. We must seek out ways to live and act in union with the flow of God's kingdom life that should come through our relationship with Jesus. 
There is, of course, no question of doing this purely on our own. But we must act. Grace is opposed to earning, not to effort. And it is well-directed, decisive and sustained effort that is the key to the keys of the kingdom and to the life of restful power in ministry that those keys can open to us.  
(The Great Omission:Reclaiming Jesus's Essential Teachings on Discipleship by Dallas Willard, p. 33-34)

Not to be morbid in any way, but it is so interesting to read everything I read this morning in light of possibly facing the end of this life. The biopsy came back "inconclusive" with "darker than normal" cells. Therefore, I am having a surgery to remove it with margins. It will be interesting to see what she finds. It may or may not be melanoma. If it is, it may have been caught early. It may be in my body in other places. But seeking His Kingdom is the focus. I am not afraid of death, and I am grateful He has put it in my heart to be a Kingdom Seeker! :) 

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Sunday Morning Freewrite

I am going to use different font on this blog depending on my mood. :)

It is 12:29 am, and I am sort of in a rebellious mood saying, "I am not going to go to bed!"  Basically, this will be the last day of my vacation, and I am fighting it! Michael will go back to SOU tomorrow, and George goes back to work on Tuesday.

WAHHHHH! I do not want our family time to be over yet!

I have been working most of the vacation, but the Bible Book Club/Gospel Harmony Book Club is fun work!

I have not done as much communicating by email though. I have tried to just be with the family and be all here! That has been very good.

I have also been working on pictures. The boys put all their pictures in their books through the end of 2013 and chose all their picture for 2014! I just need to upload all of their pictures for the year before Tuesday when Shutterfly's sale ends. 

Now to see if I can make the deadline for my pictures from our River Cruise! That is going to be hard. It will be nice to relive the memories though, but 60% of our pictures of 2014 are from that cruise. So, I have a feeling it is going to be about 300 pictures!  But, I have done that many in the past. It is only 1,000 pictures to wade through, and I waded through 10,000 from 2007. So, quit your whining Carol Ann!

I am not worrying about the biopsies. What will be, will be! 

I face the future with wide-eyed wonder and excitement about what is around the corner!

Now, back to my pictures! 

Happy New Year from the Weavers! (Click on it if you want to see it in a larger size)

Thursday, January 01, 2015

My Lord and Me 2014

I always have a day of prayer at the end of the year to evaluate it and set some goals for the next year. 

Nine of us met at Tri-Delta Sorority at 9 am on December 31, 2014. Teala is the house mom there, and we think we have done this for eighteen year now (with two years off in 1997-98 because we were in Malaysia).  Kim, Katherine, Joanne, George, Jordan, Jamie, and Nancy joined us with everyone but Kim, Katherine, and Nancy staying to the end. We had a nice time of evaluation with a theme of God being KING and us being His prince and princesses. Pretty cool when we gathered to talk about our time.

God had given me Matthew 6:33-34 a couple of days before the time, it was confirmed when I got up to read and review Matthew 6 in the Bible Book Club:

But seek first 
His kingdom
His righteousness;
and all these things shall be added to you.

Therefore, do not be anxious 

for tomorrow;
for tomorrow will care for itself
each day has enough trouble of its own.

When I reviewed 2014 Days of Prayer (Nine - two partial days; two 48 hour; and five full days) and into the prior year, I found some great themes. Matthew 6 had popped up on March 7, 2014 in The Message version:

STEEP your life in God-reality (God's present kingdom), 
God-initiative, God-provisions, 
Don't worry about missing out. 
You'll find all  your everyday human concerns will be met. 
Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, 
and don't get worked up 
about what may or may not happen tomorrow. 
God will help you deal with whatever 
hard things come up when the time comes. 

STEEPing tea is the vision that Amanda had of me when we were listening to God for each other in February 2014 (I guess I could count that as a 48 hour retreat, but it was ;mostly group prayer). She did not even know I loved tea! Her words were "tea steeping, longer steeping, leaves soaking, strength from steeping, waiting, training.

So this "King's daughter who is all glorious within" (Psalm 45) will "Seek FIRST" His kingdom this year.

I developed a detailed "SEEK FIRST 2015 FIFTEEN"

HEART (well-adjusted emotions)

1. FUN with the LORD (take pictures of His creation, write)
2. FUN with my family (Yellowstone, France and Camino de Santiago for George and I)
3. FUN with faithful friends

SOUL (well-watered spiritual life)

4. Soak in the LIFE of Jesus - What did He say and do? (Jan-Easter)
5. Worship, World, and Weaver Prayer Walks (3x day) Seek God for the City 2015 for Lent
6. "LOW" - Listen and Obey God and WRITE it down (LOW journal?) Found this quote from a previous day of prayer, but I am not sure where I found it. I was in the Upper Room in Salem at the time:
"This world does not change because you do not change. But the world can change if you change. 
How can you change? 
By listening to God. For God is always speaking, just as the sun is always shining. In the morning before distractions and problems of the day, you can listen to God 
How can you listen? 
Here is the answers: you write it down. Write it down so that you can listen better, and you can remember His words." Father Gratry 
Being a notoriously forgetful person, writing down what God tells me has been a great thing this year! The shower/tub crayon has been a boon to my existence (and probably a pain to my housecleaner!).

MIND (well-educated intellect)

7. Willard Writings - Living in Christ's Presence and The Great Omission
8. Tolstoy - Christian writings including Resurrection
9.  Read 52 books and post reviews on my blog

STRENGTH (well-tuned body)

10. 1000 Cal deficit until my injury weight is off (5-9 pounds?)
11.  2400 Cal burn with 5-15 of VIGOROUS cardio, 5x a week
12. Strength and Stretching daily


13. TOAG/Listening Leaders Discipleship - weekly TOAG time and every other week with various members
14. BBC: Jesus January - April 5. Disciples April 5 to end
15. Creation to Christ studies and storying with seekers

I also evaluated my highs and lows:

LOWS  (in order of "lowness")

1) Boldness backfiring into a conflict (August)
2) Husband of #4 blasting me and feeling very scared (August)
3) Miscommunication with two ladies (September - sleepless nights, but ended up with a really healthy resolution! Sort of a high then! )
4) Woman I had invested in all year filing for divorce (September)
5) Possible skin cancer (December) 

1) Grand European River Cruise (May-June) - "The Hiding Place" in the Ten Boom house, Passau bike ride along Danube into Austria, Vienna Mozart and Stauss Concert, Dancing on the Danube in Regensburg:

And  arriving in Budapest at night:

2) Fabulous Fall Reboot of TOAG that resulted in WOW Women! (glad we postponed since August and September ended up containing most of my "lows"!)

3) Studying Creation, Adam, Noah, and Abraham with my friend (Summer)

4) Listening prayer breakthroughs (all year)

5) Healing of friends (September on) 

6) Jon Thurlow Soothing Worship times

At 1 pm, I went for a 8.1 mile walk (I lost track because I was deep in prayer and worship of God's beauty all around me - what a way to end the year!!), and I evaluated and prayed through my #1 Low of the year for the first 2.5 miles! This Low related to #2/4 because I had shared how emotionally devastating it was for the husband to be so rude to me on the phone, but it was not even acknowledged. It was enlightening, and I did what I felt was a healthy thing living out my "boldly beloved" destiny, being honest about how my feelings had been hurt. I was fearful to do it, and it came across as angry (which has happened to me in the past, but it had not happened for several years). 

In evaluating, I realized I did not "listen and obey"! Whether I forgot or was too afraid to obey, when I reviewed my day of prayer from August 14, God had specifically told me to say, "No" to this friend (cannot go into the details of what that was about). I did not do that, and it ended up coming to a head 10 days later with my feelings being hurt.

The problem would have been avoided had I just obeyed that! I should have LISTENED AND OBEYED! She just was not in a position to give anything to me emotionally when I really needed it, and in the subsequent conflict resolution, it came to be all my responsibility to "tell her when I am feeling pressured/controlled by her. I had a responsibility to simply say, "No" up front. Then there would have been no room for pressure or control. I felt like if I had just obeyed in the first place, the conflict would not have happened. I cannot expect anything in the way of emotional support when I am down (which is pretty rare). So, she cannot be one of my "go to" girls when the chips are down. I have others who can fill that place. That is why we have more than one friend! Good evaluation time! 

Thankfully the 2.5 miles of struggling through that was followed by 5.5 miles of adoring the beautiful, sunny day and praying for others God brought to mind. Then I prayed in Kelly Engineering building on campus (home of my son's major and the major of many of the seekers I am investing in!)

I came back to wrap up my day of prayer in joy. What a great day!

There are more verses I feel that will guide the year: I feel like God gave me some nice words:

Psalm 92:12-15 - His promise of a fruitful, long life
Mark 6:31 - "If you do not 'come apart', you will 'come apart'" (quote form the Trappist Abbey pamphlet on private retreats)
Mark 12:30-31 (that is above in this blog)


2) WONDERFUL WEAVERS life and home investment
3) WOW WOMEN (Launch them in LOVE!)

Well there were words for people I need to give, but that is all for now!

One last thing, I realized I would be 55 years, 5 months, and 5 days old today! LOL!

TA TA!  

2014 Moves, Series, Non-Fiction

My goals is always to read more books than watch movies, but they almost tied this year!

Favorite movies: 
It's a Wonderful Life (rewatch) One Hundred Foot Journey (new)
Favorite series: Downton Abbey Series 4
Favorite non-fiction: Living in Christ's Presence (Willard's finest!)
Least Favorite movie: Wild (unnecessary sex and language)

1. Batman Returns
3. Batman Begins
4. Downton Abbey Series 4
5. Sherlock Series 3
6. 2016: Obama's America
7. Downton Abbey Series 4 (rewatch)
8. All the President's Men
9. The Muppets
10. Doctor Who: The Snowmen
11. Doctor Who Season 7, Part II
12. Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Specials
13. The Great Gatsby (2013)
14. Saving Mr. Banks
15. Monuments Men
16. 42
17. Frozen
18. Muppets: Most Wanted
19. The Book Thief
20. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
21. Oregon Experience - Oregon Wines: Grapes of Place
22. The Bible Mini Series
23. Miss Potter
24. Rick Steves Europe - France, England, Scotland
25. Cold Mountain (ClearPlay for a couple of scenes!)
26. Osama Bin Laden: A Decade to Justice
27. Zero-Dark Thirty (language warning but fascinating)
28. Rick Steves British Isles
29. Tangled
30. Coraline (amazing stop motion but macabre)
31. Magic in the Moonlight
32. Be Still (Contemplative Prayer)
33. The Hundred Foot Journey
34. Living in Christ's Presence (Willard)
35. The Bletchley Circle Series 2
36. House of Cards Series 2 (Clear Play It)
37. American Beauty (Clear Play It)
38. Skyfall
39. Ella Enchanted
40. Gilmore Girls Seasons 1,4-7
41. The Paradise Season 2
42. Rick Steves' Europe 2013-2014 (11 new shows)
43. Sons of Mistletoe
44. The Mystery of Edwin Drood
45. It's a Wonderful Life
46. Rick Steves' European Christmas
47. Wild (not wildly impressed - too much sexuality that distracted from the story)
48. Gilmore Girls Season 2
49. Muppet Christmas Carol
50. Million Dollar Arm
51. Moms' Day Out

Tuesday Ten Minute Freewrite

I am going to go great guns for 10 minutes on this freewrite. I am meeting with a person (not sure if she wants direction - she just wanted ...