Thursday, June 30, 2016

Well Update - Sister Joan Freewrite Follow Up

I am trying to get used to my new computer. It takes a bit of time, but I have it today. I have been reserving my Thursdays to go up and see George, but he is coming down tonight. So, I don't need to do that. (The learning curve is high at first.) 

So here is the Well Update

Heart/Soul - I am emotionally on a very even keel lately. I am well-rested. Balance has been restored after the end of May - Early June realization that I had become a bit out of kilter. I am so thankful for Sister Joan, and her words of wisdom for me. I was reacting to other people rather than responding to the Lord. That always gets me in a bit of trouble. I think it started with feeling low-ebb with allergies and progressed from there. The rudeness of the man in the class after mine also contributed. The ongoing negativity of another person that I had to see at the end of my mostly positive class day on Mondays and Wednesdays also contributed. Negative people are toxic people. 

Here is a list that I was reminded of again this morning:

Here is a list of Sister Joan's wise words: 

1) Give self permission to say "no" - I realize that I am pretty good at saying "no" to the big things now. That is growth, but it is the little nagging things everyday. "Carol, can you connect me with this little thing? Can you post this little thing for me? What do I do with this international student? Do you know these international students, can we partner with you? Can you lead this little one day thing? Here is her number (instead of them calling and putting it all on me to make the call). Can I get a ride down to Portland and stay with you? I think I need an implant in Corvallis. Where can I go? Can I send a 10-15 page paper to you to edit? When are you coming to visit me? Can we meet in Portland? Can we meet in July to chat about some things? Can you teach Pilates to such and such group? Where do you get this particular product?  This is all "little" questions and request that happened in the last couple of days, but they all add up. 

I also say "yes" to things that people are so dead set on doing but don't want to have any part in making it happen, and then they don't even show up for it. One particular person was very rude when they said that we have to have this prayer time on this particular day because of this particular reason, and her words were, "Get to it!" Like I was her slave or something. Then, she IS NOT EVEN COMING! That really surprised me and made me realize that I need to just say, "YOU GET TO IT THEN if you are so dead set on having it this day! I am not your slave." The next time she does something like this, I really need to reflect back to her how she comes across to people when she says things like "GET TO IT!" 

That same person and another person had heard a message on prayer in September 2014, and they were saying, "We need to pray more! Why don't we pray more?" Then, when I made a lot of effort to create more opportunities to pray, THEY DID NOT EVEN SHOW UP. It is one thing to pray more, it is another thing to look at the practicalities of praying more in terms of involvement of other people. 

So, I am resolved to GIVE BACK TO PEOPLE the responsibility of fulfilling their own dreams rather than me expecting to do it for them. CHECK! (Boy, this is really good to type this out. Thus why I freewrite!) 

I have progressed at saying, "NO" more, but I can always grow in this area. 

One of Sister Joan's questions to ask myself: How does "no" minister?

I am not sure what she meant by this question. I think saying "no" ministers to others in them seeing that I set good boundaries, and they can do the same. The sabbatical has been really good because some people had seen how tired I was (Lorraine in particular) even more than I had. Joanne said it was so good. I don't feel like I really do that much, but I think I do. I think saying "no" also ministers to the people who make demands of me (like the particular person above) because they see how they are coming across, and they begin to see the other person as a human being with capacities rather than an object they can use to manipulate and boss around. 

How does it minister to me? I think it makes me less tired! That is one really good way that it ministers to me. It helps me to see that I can make choices. I need to explore that with Sister Joan more. I am not sure I understand the question's aim. 

2) Progressions of Life Stages - I realize that I am in a very different life stage from most of the people I hang out with. I am an empty-nester (even though both the kids are home for the summer from college). I have "embraced the empty nest and have found great joy in a new career. So, my life is in a different season today than it was a year ago. 

3) Sabbatical - Sister Joan reminded me of the word God had given me just two hours earlier. I had forgotten it. I am loving this sabbatical, even though it has not been devoid of ministry. The last full sabbatical that George and I took was in our first year of marriage, and, boy, did we ever get flack for that! People were counting the days when our year was up (that was when we were at the "suck all the life out of you, use you and spit you out as worthless" church). The year sabbatical ended up being the year where we did what we were passionate about: spending time with our dear friends, Dang and Kak, and helping them to grasp who Jesus is and this walk of faith. We also studied the life of David together as a couple. The man with a life of devotion, which has characterized our marriage. Intimacy leads to impact. PERIOD. So, that was nothing but a positive time. My mistake was going back into ministry and being on the missions council at church, confirming my life-long dislike of MEETINGS that never go anywhere! That is sort of what I feel like with the meetings for training team. I love knowing what is going on in each other's lives, but it is too much of that and not enough moving forward. I cannot do them anymore, especially remotely where I cannot see people face-to-face. It just is not my cup of tea. 

4) No is a complete  sentence - I think not explaining why I cannot go to something is a discipline. Too many words, transgression is unavoidable. If they want to know why, they can ask, but I will not volunteer the information. Most of the time I know when something is not something I want or need to do for another person, but how do you not say, "Figure it out for yourself" without coming across rude and not helpful? Such a difficult balance for me. My boundaries and "no" takes a lot of courage, and they come out more emotional than they need to. 

5) The better you are, the more you are asked. SO TRUE! I know that is. I also know when I am truly good at something. So, I am flattered but have to remain focused and "keep the main thing, the main thing." 

6) Introverting - I don't care one iota if someone does not believe I am an introvert, but I AM. PERIOD. QUIT ARGUING WITH ME ABOUT IT. I know who I am and where I am going. So, just take me as not being an idiot and know my own personality pretty darn well. I always fool people because I love people (strong "F") so I will deny introverting because of my love for people and relationships. They are two very different things. I pay the price later on if I spend too much time with people. That is the truth! So, Sister Joan says to take time to be an introvert. I will. I am. I love it so much. Along with that introverted side is the gift of intercession that I love to nurture and grow. 

7) Words that describe me: shepherding, cheerleader, intercessory, worshiper, counselor, spiritual director, listener. With that, Sister Joan asked:

Who listens to the listener? That is so changing. I am getting back some balance in that regard. I am walking with Kim on Tuesday nights now, and that has been so good for my soul. With us, it is a mutual exchange back and forth between us. No one listens more than the other. 

8) Retreat - Yes, I am taking more retreats. 

9) Process - not product - I think I pretty much have that one down. I learned a long time ago that when I expect a particular product out of my effort, it is always different. I am product when it comes to tangible things like finishing a book or a project. But when it comes to people and life transformation, I have learned to be all about process rather than product. I cannot make choices for others, just myself.

10) Nature heals - so agree! I have been taking worship bike rides, and that has been less about product and more about he process of enjoying God's beauty as I ride around this beautiful city. 

11) Minister to the minister - That was eye-opening. I have few that minister to me or even offer to ask me how I am doing. I have come to accept that, but the walks with Kim are good. I am also going to go see Sister Joan one time a month. I do have somewhat of that with the Wellspring group, but I am the oldest now by 15 years, so there is a big gap between us in many ways. I love those girls though. I am trying to find more people who can be that way for me. I definitely have intercessors in my life! Nancy has been great!

12) Enjoying your own company - CHECK! I really like being alone and being my own company. Actually, just me and the Lord is a great thing!

13) Humor? I am not sure this is what this one says, but I love to laugh! That is why I love reading and watching things. So fun! George is my main humor machine, and when we are all together as a family, we laugh a lot!

14) Church Story? I have no idea what this one means. Hmmm. 

15) Not your job description - I don't have a job description for the training team. I do TOAG. That is all I really want to do. Then I am going to shepherd grads of TOAG who want it, prioritizing with those going with our group. I am also totally willing and able to lead workshops as they relate to storytelling, DBS, fitness, balanced life, and Spiritual Formation. I think when J wanted MORE, I was a little bit flabbergasted. I cannot do any more and remain true to the next point that Sister Joan pointed out. 

16) Her help with words for how to set sabbatical boundaries, "I have been called by the Spirit and have discerned the I need time to integrate" - I think my biggest thing is the realization (as I was sure of last July, really - or even as far back as when we took three days off to go to a six hour meeting, ugh!) that I need to not be involved with the training team on a regular basis. We are volunteers. We just do reimbursement. That is it. It just is in the middle of my only fully free day in the week. So, I bowing out. I have discerned, and it is loud and clear. I want more time to do what I am passionate about. 

17) Spiritual self-care - Yes, that is what I am doing. :)

18) Chronically Hurtful People - I am still trying to discern what to do about the person who follows me in my room at OSU. It is one negative thing in a SEA OF POSITIVE PILATES! So she recommended the book title above. She also called them "psychic vampires." The guy is a "rock in my shoe." 

In regard to sabbatical, she said, 


TRUST SELF (my Spirit-filled self)
TRUST OTHER PEOPLE to deal with it! (Including J, who is probably the person I am most afraid of misunderstanding my exit)

That was really good to review what she said to me. I had not gone over the sheet of paper she gave me. I should give a sheet of paper to the people I see! (Which is something I have missed and hope to get back to soon.) 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings Quotes

For Tolkien, the Happy Ending lies at the heart of fantasy and fairy story; it is so essential to the genre that when he revised his talk for publication in Essays Presented to Charles Williams, he coined the word “eucatastrophe” for eu (Greek for good) and catastrophe (Greek for overturning) to describe those glorious volte-faces in which evil, on the verge of triumph, gives way to good, corruption to innocence, grief to rejoicing, certain death to yet more certain life. It is “a sudden and miraculous grace . . . a fleeting glimpse of Joy, Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.” There are echoes here of Lewis’s idea of Joy, that painful, delicious longing that only God can fulfill. It may be that Lewis drew inspiration for his carefully constructed account of Joy in his autobiography from Tolkien’s earlier presentation. In any event, eucatastrophe is for Tolkien the crucial even in fairy tale, the hinge upon which the greatest stories turn, imparting “a catch of the breath, a beat and lifting of the heart, near to (or indeed accompanied by) tears, as keen as that given by reason for this “peculiar quality”: the joy that floods us as eucatastrophe leads us out of literature and into faith. Through it we glimpse “a far-off gleam or echo of evangelium in the real world.” Fairy tale, then, is a door opening upon divine truth. Recovery, Consolation, Escape, in their highest modes of Escape from Death and eucatastrophe, would play a crucial role in The Lord of the Rings.  (p. 246)

[Obedience] appears to me more and more the whole business of life, the only road to love and peace –the cross and the crown in one . . . What indeed can we imagine Heaven to be but unimpeded obedience. I think this is one of the causes of our love of inanimate nature, that in it we see things which unswervingly carry out the will of their Creator, and are therefore wholly beautiful and though their kind of obedience is infinitely lower than ours, yet the degree is so much more perfect that a Christian can see the reason that the Romantics had in feeling a certain holiness in the wood and water. (p. 250 but quoting from Lewis, Collected Letters, vol. 2, p. 177)

My thought and talent (such as they are) now flow in different, though I think not less Christian, channels, and I do not think I am at all likely to write more directly theological pieces. . . If I am now good for anything it is for catching the reader unawares – thro’ fiction and symbol. I have done what I could in the way of frontal attacks, but I now feel quite sure those days are over.” p. 365

On September 19, 1931, an event unfolded that has acquired its own mythic numinosity in the minds of the Inklings lovers: The Night of Addison’s Walk. Lewis, Tolkien, and their mutual friend, Hugo Dyson, strolled for hours along Addison’s Walk – a tree-lined path within Magdalen College circling a meadow bordered by the River Cherwell – discussing the nature of myth and it relation to Christianity. Lewis insisted that myths are essentially lies; Tolkien countered that myths are essentially true, for they reflect and transmit, in secondary form, the primary and primordial creative power of God. Tolkien later reworked the conversations of that night in “Mythopoeia” a soliloquy in heroic couplets addressed by Philomythus (myth-lover=Tolkien) Misomythus (myth-hater=Lewis) and dedicated “To one who said that myths are lies and therefore worthless, even though “breathed through silver.’”

Moreover, Tolkien argued –and this was the crux of the matter –that in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus we discover a myth that has entered history. Here God tells – indeed, enacts – a tale with all the beauty and wonder and symbolic power of myth, and yet a tale that is actually true. It was a strange thought, but it reminded Lewis of an off-hand remark he had heard five years before from the atheist Harry Weldon. “Rum thing.” Weldon had said, “all that stuff of Frazer’s about the Dying God. Rum thing. It almost looks as if it had really happened once.” It looked as if it had really happened once – and yet it lost none of its mythic power for having become fact.

Tolkien’s exposition hit home; as he talked, a strong wind rustled the overhanging leaves, and all three noted, as Lewis put it, the ecstasy of such a thing” – almost like the passing-by of a god, or of God. At 3:00 a.m., Tolkien headed home, but Dyson sustained the offensive, delineating the blessings that come from a Christian life, as he and Lewis walked in the cloister garden of New Building. They went to bed at 4:00 a.m.

This night of Lewis’s passion – intellectual, as it must surely be – bore fruit on a sunny morning a week or so later. The key moment came as in Lewis’s conversion to theism, while he rode a vehicle, this time not a bus ascending Headington Hill but the sidecar of Warnie’s motorcycle as the brothers motored toward Whipsnade Zoo, a new animal park thirty miles north of London. “When we set out I did not believe that Jesus Christ is the Song of God, and when we reached the zoo I did.”  p. 188-189

Sunday, June 26, 2016

25. The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings by Zaleskis

I was so excited for this book. I had Humphrey Carpenter's book,  The Inklings, in my reading queue, having spied it on my mentor's shelf about a month ago; but I noticed this new one that came out last year, and it was at my library in the "new book" section with no other holds! What a find! I had such high hopes! 

The word that continually came to mind while reading this book was SLOG. To slog is to "keep doing something even though it is difficult or boring: to work at something in a steady and determined way" (Webster). That is what I had to do with this book.

Was it worth it? I would say overall, "Yes." The subjects were fascinating, but I had a love/hate relationship with this book. The first 200 pages were mostly boring with moments of brilliance. The authors did not make a very readable book for the lay public by using incredibly difficult words when they could have chosen a more common and accessible word that your average Joe would not have to look up to make any sense of the sentence. For instance, why use "sub rosa" to describe a secret vacation that one of the Inklings had with another woman (not Tolkien or Lewis, by the way)? Most people have no idea what "sub rosa" means! The poor word choices made by the authors are too numerous to count.  The constant use of these more "educated" words gave one a sense that the authors were shooting for academia and the "hoity-toity" crowd rather those who love the works of these authors and want to learn all about them. I think this is a shame because you WILL learn ALL about them. Every literary work is analyzed and dissected almost too much. Sometimes, I just didn't care to know all the nuances of their lesser works, but analyze they did! 

With all that said, the last half of the book was much better than the first (maybe they got tired of all the big words themselves). If you can slog through the first 200 pages, you will not be sorry you did, and you will feel like you accomplished a great feat when you are done. 

My favorite quote made me really ponder why I read fiction (something that I had not done for most of the year and am rectifying by reading Narnia again):

We read, Lewis says, not primarily to appraise an author's worth, but to seek "an enlargement of our being." "Literary experience heals the wound, without undermining the privilege, of individuality . . . ," he writes. "In reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see myself with a myriad eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do." C.S. Lewis quoted, p. 473 
If you can persevere with a dictionary at the ready (try the Kindle version so you can look up the words easily as you read), I think you will be rewarded. 

If you do not want to labor so hard and want a more readable version that came out at about the same time, try Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings. This book was recommended to me, and I have not read it, but my library has ordered it for me. So, stay tuned for my comparison! 

Also stay tuned because I will be broadcasting LIVE from Addison's Walk in Oxford on July 22! I am so excited to walk where Tolkien, Dyson, and Lewis walked into the early morning on September 19-20, 1931. It was instrumental in Lewis' journey to Jesus, and that always makes my heart sing! 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Learned a New Thing

I rarely have pain these days, but I did a LOT of walking and riding two days ago (16 miles), and there is a limit for my QL. It was sore last night so I took an anti-inflammatory. I got on the scale (after a great deficit day), and my weight had JUMPED almost a pound!

I don't worry about that, but I traced back to what it might have been, and it had to be the anti-inflammatory. So I did some research, and here you go:

Why do NSAID's cause fluid retention?

NSAID's block the formation of certain "bad" prostaglandins which cause inflammation and pain. However, they also block some "good" prostaglandins too .. in particular those that are needed do keep blood vessels in the kidneys dilated. When blood vessels in the kidneys are constricted, then the flow of blood is reduced, which in turn reduces the glomerular filtration rate (GFR), or the rate at which the kidneys filter blood. This slowed filtration rate causes a bit of a backlog in the bloodstream which leads to increased blood pressure, so the body relieves the pressure by causing some of the excess water-fluid to seep through the blood vessel walls and into the tissues. The reduced filtration rate also causes the kidneys to retain sodium and potassium.

For most people, this effect is temporary and transient; it clears up once the NSAID is out of the system. However, persons with kidney disease, the elderly and also liver disease need to use these with caution, or even not at all. Also persons taking ACE-inhibitors for blood pressure, and potassium-sparing diuretics such as spironolactone should not use NSAID's without discussing with their dr. This includes aspirin!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Health and Wellness Freewite

Well, my journey to wellness of body this summer is going swimmingly (oh, I should go swimming this summer, but I digress)! 6.6 pounds in 21 days. 

I am back down to what was really my "set point" weight for most of the three years after I lost 15% of my weight between December 23, 2012 and April 18, 2013. This "set point" was really easy for me to maintain. It was 10% of my previous body weight.

I had a lightbulb moment this morning. Kim (my Registered Dietitian soulmate who works with Pediatric outpatients [most of whom are obese] at the hospital) and I went to a continuing education workshop for healthcare professions about 10 years ago, and the speaker talked about how we need to only lose 10% at a time and then maintain that 10% for at least three months. She talked about the predilection of fat cells to want to grow back to the size they were before, and they need to find a new normal. Well, I realized it was EASY for me to have that 10%, but that extra 5% was what I struggled mightily to keep off.

So, now I am going for that extra 5% which is now 6%. Other than this little blip in the Spring (see reflection on that below), my weight has stayed at or below that 10% level, but it has never "set" at the 15% level. 

Lesson learned: Strive for 10%, sit and maintain that weight for three months, and then move on to another 10% (Depending on your goals. I only wanted to lose 15%,  Technically I only needed to lose 4% to be at a health BMI, but I just feel better at a 22 rather than a 24.9!)

My little digression about that desire for 22 rather than 24.9:



First of all, fitness and nutrition are my gig. It is my career choice. So, I love my job. I am not addicted, but I am passionate about health, and I am passionate about others being all that God meant them to be physically, emotionally, and spiritually. So, I want to find that for myself and pass it on to others. 

ALL, and I mean ALL of the research shows that 22-24.9 is the lowest disease risk category. I like to be at 22 so I can have "wiggle" room for special occasions. Why hoover at 24.9 and then go through a Christmas and gain to overweight? Stay at the lowest end of optimal health and fluctuate from there rather than from the edge to increased disease risk?

In addition, that is the weight that I feel and look my best! Here it is:

Me at 22 BMI on January 11, 2014. Last time I saw that weight! 

This is also the weight that I should be at according to the Devine Formula which is what I learned when I was a student in nutrition at Oregon State University. I have emailed with the radiologist who maintains this site:

Dr. Halls maintains that there is no such thing as a "large" frame. In college I learned to add 10% according to a large frame and to subtract 10% according to a small frame. He said that is bunk based on his bone scans of his numerous years as a radiologist. So, I go by the Devine formula without adding the 10%. (He suggests that most women go by the Robinson formula, but I am very tall so he agreed that I should go by the Devine formula.) 

PLEASE do not sabotage that. There are many well-meaning people who tell me I am "too thin" when I am at that weight (not my husband, thank the Lord) or that I am "addicted to exercise."  

"TOO THIN" - One thing that looks thin is my face because faces thin as we age (that is why women do Botox). So, I would agree that my face looks very thin at that weight, but my stomach and love-handles are only gone when I am at that weight, and I like those things to be GONE, thank you very much (no muffin top, no hiding the bulges when I wear more form fitting clothes: FREEDOM)!  

Also, people are not used to seeing the weight I was when I played basketball, and that was my best weight ever. They are just used to seeing me in a different way (six years ago I was 20 lbs heavier so it looks "TOO THIN" to them). 

"ADDICTED TO EXERCISE" - Exercise is good people. I lead a VERY sedentary lifestyle apart from my exercise time. I sit and do counseling and discipleship, teach, write, have meetings, etc. My hobbies are sedentary: reading and processing photos. So, I counteract all the sitting by exercising. I do not injure myself at the pace of exercise I do now. (Unless I do dumb things like pull a heavy weight for my lats without warming up like I did in February, duh!). 

Exercise also keeps me very, very sane. It is the way I stay focused and de-stressed. It is the way to keep your serotonin and dopamine levels elevated. Here is the handout that I made for you:

Natural Ways to Elevate Serotonin and Dopamine

In addition to keeping me sane, it keeps me out of pain. I do not have the luxury to be out of shape. If I were, I guarantee you, I would be bedridden. I have too many structural abnormalities, especially in my pelvis, that make exercise IMPERATIVE. I saw the devastating effects of this when I severed the tendon in my big toe in 2009, could not exercise, and my back went out to the point where I was in bed for five weeks. So, many can fudge on this. I cannot. 

In addition, cardio time is prayer time for me! I walk a LOT (and run and bike a little), and that is such great time talking to GOD! I love it. I missed it in the spring when I had such bad allergies and fell down the stairs and had to recuperate. Get me out in nature, and I am a HAPPY CAMPER! 

Moving more is GOOD, The person that suggested I might be "addicted to exercise" is overweight and seems pretty darn unhappy to me as a result. So, I am really working to expunge (Isn't that a great word?) that person's negativity from my mind. It has taken since February to do so. I need to stay away from those kinds of people. They are sabotagers! Sabotagers be GONE! 

Here is my little digression about the spring (7 pound weight gain 11 weeks = overeating 318 calories a day): 

Illness + Injury (fall down the stairs) + Allergies led to Inactivity + Overeating = WEIGHT GAIN!

Yes, I rode my bike to and from campus two days a week and taught six Pilates classes, but the other days were VERY SEDENTARY and Pilates only burns about 130-175 calories per hour. 

In addition, I have always been a firm believer that cardio curbs my appetite more than resistance training (Pilates included in resistance training) and there is definite scientific research to back this up:

For instance, I went for a 10 mile bike ride and 3 mile walk between 5:15 and 7:15 last night, and I had NO DESIRE to eat dinner. I forced myself to do it because I need to eat at least 1200 calories (according to all the health research anything below this is starvation - but there is some research that suggests that controlled fasting at intervals can be healthy for you too), but I was not hungry in the least. 

So, my shift from more resistance (again, Pilates is considered resistance training) this year meant I struggled to keep my weight down. YES, more muscle burns more calories. So, I heartily recommend a combination of the two, but I reduced my cardio drastically this year. It meant less PAIN in my body, but it meant less calories burned overall.

Here is the skinny on why I gained weight then: 

Four hours of Pilates is about 600 calories.
Four hours of walking is about 1600 calories. 
Do the math, I was burning  1000 calories less per week!

I won't give up the Pilates because more Pilates equals less pain, but I need to find a way to add my cardio into my work week. (The treadmill desk while I am working is something I FORGOT to do in the spring too, duh!) 

All that to say is that I GET IT! I am so excited to have this health focus for the summer. I feel strong. I feel fit. I am in a better range even now. 

I need to strategize for the fall though. It is so fun to learn and grow and find balance in life, isn't it?


Sunday, June 19, 2016

24. Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis


I have to admit that even though I have said that I read this book in the past, I listened to it while my kids listened. I got distracted many times. This time, I took a long bike ride and fell in love with this book. As I rounded the corner toward the morning sun rising over the mighty Willamette River, I marveled at this profound interaction between Aslan and Lucy:

"Aslan," said Lucy, "you're bigger." 
"That is because you are older, little one," answered he.  
"Not because you are?" 
"I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger." 
(p. 136) 

As I grow, God becomes bigger in my life. I see how "BIG" He really is. 

I love this book. Good versus Evil and being brave even when you might think you are not ready. 

Since I am going to Oxford in a month, I am reading a book about the Inklings, the group that included Tolkien and Lewis. So I thought this series would be perfect to read. I am taking a break to read that humongous book (500+ reading pages) and switch my fictional audiobook listening (I usually have one audiobook and one physical book going at the same time) to Our Mutual Friend in preparation for our time in London! I might download the rest of the Narnia books for listening on the plane and before bedtime while I am there. They are so short that I could probably finish the rest of them while I am there! 

By the way, Lynn Redgrave's narration is EXCELLENT! 

Happy Father's Day to My Man!

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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Facts and Figures Freewrite

I am an "S" on the Myers-Briggs personality type scale. So, I LOVE facts and figures as long as I can treat them with "personal warmth" because I am an SF (ST's treat them with cool objectivity).

So here are some fun things I evaluated after this latest weight course correction (gaining HALF the weight I lost in 2013 BACK with HALF of that HALF being between March 16 and June 1 of this year. I FORGOT to be disciplined. Seriously!]) 

So here are the facts and figures:

I investigated historical data based on 94% accurate BodyBugg (2008-2015) calorie burns and my  LoseIt! member weight data since 2010 (but I preferred BodyBugg because it had all my foods so I was inconsistent with LoseIt! until BodyBugg/Body Media shut down in December 2015 [probably another reason why I gained weight because the BodyBugg helped me make sure I burned the right amount of calories everyday!])

My average calorie burn over the BodyBugg years was 2400 calories.

When I calculated how much I have lost (4.6 lbs in 17 days) with my calories consumed data I have arrived at my average calorie burn the other way. Guess how much it is?


That is so REMARKABLY close to what it has been historically!

My average calories consumed over the last 17 days has been 1475.

Based on the 2422 average calorie burn,

If I get my average calories consumed down to 1300 (LoseIt! recommends 1384 and anything above 1200 is healthy.)

That will give me a daily deficit of 1122 (Based on 2422 burn – but I could increase since I am doing less low-calorie burn Pilates and more calorie burn biking, hiking, and walking now. I am also remembering to get back on my Treadmill desk - typing on it right now, in fact!)

And I will DEFINITELY reach my goal by the time I step on the plane!

So I am happy to see this is a S.M.A.R.T. goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely)! I was iffy because I gained more in the Spring than I had previously thought, but I am on track!


I love facts and figures and data.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

23. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Yes, this was a relisten. I had played this version for my kids more than once. One time was on a very long journey to California. Funny, I have never physically read this, only listened to a narration of this first one. The other books: my husband tried in vain the first year of our marriage (26 years ago), but I kept falling asleep! I am determined to listen to them all since everyone else in my family has read them and listened to them all! (I was too busy puttering around the house working when my kids listened to the other ones during homeschool in 2005 when the first edition of these CD's came out I think I was the first to check them out from our library!) 

Since I am going to the land of British Literature next month and am reading a book about the Inklings literary circle at Oxford in which this series was a result, I thought I would give them another try.

I love this story so much. It really gets wonderful in the second half of the book, and it is especially good in the last 1/4. Aslan is on the move, and the parallels to Christ are obvious. This book is lovely in every way. I don't want to comment more on that last 1/4 of the book in case there might be someone out there who has actually never read them. :) 

Michael York's reading of this book is phenomenal! Each book is narrated by a different famous British actor. Next up for Prince Caspian: Lynn Redgrave! 

Peter Elbow was on Julie's Periscope!

Peter Elbow - Professor Emeritus of Amherst :) 

I am just freewriting as he is speaking so I can take notes and have them in one place.

 Ken Macrorie - Invented freewriting. 

(Definition of freewriting from Wikipedia: 


Free writing, a term commonly used by Elbow, coined by Ken Macrorie, is to write without stopping, without editing, without sharing, without worrying about grammar, without thinking, without rushing. Elbow wants his students (and others) to write whatever they want, however they want but just write daily-10 to 15 minutes for one freewrite. Normal freewriting can be adapted to focused freewriting and public freewriting. Focused freewriting is trying to stay on a topic, which is particularly useful when a student has a specific assignment to do. Public freewriting is geared toward being shared, which makes it seem a little more risky but it is very useful in groups, especially where there is trust, and growth can occur. The goal of this exercise is to bring about a more natural language, while making the writing process easier and more comfortable to the student.

He wanted his student to keep writing under conditions of complete safety. No judging or ranking. 

Highest priority is safety and you have to sacrifice things for safety. 

1) Read it
2) Thank you at the bottom
3) Write positive comment without judgment
4) IF all going well and we are safe here - then some kind of judgmental feedback

Julie - I want to know more. Rather than "correcting"! There should be space for no one reading their writing out loud. 

Four Stages
1) Write
2) Try giving to someone (no feedback)
3) Will tell you thoughts on their mind and not try to criticize
4) IF going OK, can tell you what they liked or did not like. 

Movies of the Mind - Story of what was going on in the reader's mind

Give writing to the reader and ask them to tell the story about what is going on in their mind as they read it. 

Give just the first paragraph to someone and ask the question above.  

Julie - as a parent being the person you are not. This is not teacher/student. 

Peter - The grade is arguable. (Subjective) Get the reader tell what was going on in their mind is a fact. In the world of writing there is very little that is FACT. Different teachers like different things. 

Very few college professors want rigid writing. 

All your thinking in any order. Chain of thought. Mechanics mop up (Julie's word for Peter Elbow!). 

Peter - so many teachers says you should have three-four ideas. I never could do that. I just threw down garbage and everything I could think of. Any old ideas in any old order. 

Julie - Pull things from the mess. Individual sheets about all the mess and freewrite about all the points and then organize them. Kids triple space, cut up, and put them in order. 

Peter - People complain if I make a mess how to I organize it. Put a check mark any time you find an idea. 

Good writing is not logical. Mathematics is logical. Organization question - how can I tell a story with these idea? How do I say hello. Putting the main idea in the first sentence is sort of boring. Way to say hello and get the reader to ? "Tell a story of your thinking." 

Mike Rose did research about students. He looked at writers - people who got things written and people who could not write. The pattern emerged that people who couldn't write were people who were trying to do everything correctly. The ones who got it right were those who knew they were doing everything wrong, but they just couldn't help it. 

Julie - learning to write is not like learning a foreign language. That is hogwash. 

Peter - academics when they get a Ph.D. feel like they have to write differently. Fiddle with a sentence until it feels right in your mouth and sounds right in your ear. 

Oxford - Jonathan Wordsworth (great grand nephew of THE Wordsworth) was a young whipper snapper. He was not very nice! Limped his way through Oxford. He knew some things and passed. 

Harvard - Graduate - Institutions who think they are the best in the world tend to breed a bad atmosphere. LOL! Felt like a complete failure. I tried as hard as I could but I could not do it. He doesn't mind being in a classroom if he is the teacher. LOL! Did teaching and went back to grad school. 

I can only write wrong but I can make it right! 

My heart be still. That was fantastic! 

Liberation Day Freewrite

Today is the 10 year anniversary of our liberation from a 28 year dysfunctional relationship (28 for me and less for my husband). 

I celebrate this day every year, but this year is special because it has been 10. That is a milestone. 

One of the best decisions we have ever made as a couple was to leave that toxic and dysfunctional situation. Systemic problems are no longer ours. 

I was going to take a celebration bike ride, but after I got out of my 10 am meeting with my boss, it was pouring down rain! So, I came back home to write this freewrite.

I am also celebrating the sabbatical that I have been on for one week now. :) It has been phenomenal. I see from my Facebook memory pictures that I took a two week sabbatical at the same time this year. I remember it being really refreshing, and I cannot help but think that a full sabbatical for four months (except a Bible storytelling class and prayer party) and a partial one (adding in our missional group the end of September) until the end of October would only be MORE refreshing. I am letting down and letting go. 

I already am pretty sure there are some things I will not be returning to, but I need to let the sabbatical run its course and make a decision farther along in the process. I think I will talk to Sister Joan about that aspect. It involves a Tuesday meeting I have every other week in the middle of my only free day in the week IF I want to be able to go up and see George on a regular basis or have flexibility in doing things that are life-giving to me (like fellowship and fun with people my own age). Adding the OSU Pilates classes has changed my life, and I think that, for the most part, they are life-giving to me. I love the interaction with the students. I love changing lives for posture and strength and flexibility. I am helping establish life-long habits. I love that. I love reading their papers. The only thing I do not like and the transition that I have to make with the instructor after me. My boss is totally supportive. I wonder if he would be supportive of that instructor transitioning to another room at that hour? We will have to see.

So, anyway. I think I have typed long enough. One more thing: I was afraid to do something today. I am so glad that I did. It was NO BIG DEAL when I did it. Do the next thing. Do the thing you fear. That is what I say for everyone. 

Also helps that we have had Paul's surgery which was a big ???? in our minds about how that would go, and it could not have gone better. We are on the other side of it. He came through, and now it is only 5 1/2 more weeks of him having his jaw wired shut! The time will fly by. We will be come excellent at making all meals liquid. He will learn to make them himself too. Fear about the unknown is a back burner stress. Now that it is gone, we feel so much better. We know that we can do this . . . as a family. So glad Michael did not get his internship to be home and supportive of Paul. Such a peach! Precious kids. They are just great. 

Well, also I met the new club manager: Amber. She is adorable, and I think we are going to get along just fine. She is 30 years old and spunky and nice. 

Well, I said I was going to go, and I will. I need to get back out when the sun comes back out. Must look at the rain radar. Spring days are always so unpredictable here in Oregon.

Rambling done. No proofreading. Probably many errors in spelling and grammar because I do not check there, their, they're but know what each of them means. Just sayin'. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

22. Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I could just eat up this book. Some things are a little outdated and more liturgical than some would like, but I loved most of it. 

As I am in reassessment mode about everything including how we do community, this had such yummy things to say about what community is and isn't. 

Another book I heartily recommend! I have loved reading all these classics that Richard Foster recommended when I read Celebration of Discipline!

21. A Testament of Devotion by Thomas R. Kelly

"We have hints that there is a way of life vastly richer and deeper than all this hurried existence, a life of unhurried serenity and peace and power. If only we could slip over into that Center! . . . We have seen and known some people who seem to have found this deep Center of living, where the fretful calls of life are integrated, where no as well as yes can be said with confidence." 

This book is about finding that "Divine Center"! I loved it and read it on my retreat at the Abbey. I have made some course adjustments since then, and I am back in that "Divine Center" groove that I usually have and lost with sickness, injury, and anxiety. Thankfully I wasn't too off "Center" that I crashed and burned. Let's hear it for "course correction" before we slam into a reef or something! 

I heartily recommend this book! 

Freewrite: Sabbatical Update and Analogy

In the early 2000's, I started an accountability group called FACED. We focus on reporting about our 

Academic pursuits (from some it is Attitude toward the day)
Communion with God and people
Daily care of self and family. 

I had a contest for weight loss in 2005, and two women, Katrina and Rachel, emerged as the winners. All the other people in the group have dropped off, but Katrina, Rachel, and I still continue to try to maintain a healthy balance in all areas of our life as we FACE each day!

We have a new challenge to report to each other everyday from June 1- July 16. Katrina will be done with her nursing program on that day, and I will be going off to England. I do periodic reflections ("Health Freewrites") about my FACED progress, and this is what I wrote them this morning: 

Thanks to both of you for joining in this new phase of our growth. It is a lifelong pursuit, but we are moving forward even though it is sometimes three steps forward and two steps back! I am just pleased after the possible stress of yesterday that it was a peaceful day with no overeating! And I have had a pint of Häagen-Dazs in the freezer for two weeks with NO DESIRE TO EAT IT! YAY!

George and I both did not realize how much we had the stress of anticipation of this surgery. He is in NO PAIN. He has only taken TWO doses preventatively in 24 hours where he could have had up to FIVE by now. He has no desire to have any more pain meds. With a high potency opioid that was one of our concerns and anxieties. YAY!

God gave me a picture of the cycles of my life in February 2014, it was ABIDE>RIDE>REST. There was a surfboard and the wave of the Spirit. There has been a big ride of ministry since February 2015, especially since March. We have been riding this Holy Spirit wave, and it has been fruitful and fulfilling and fully functioning in our gifts. We have abided and listened to God and obeyed. Not one single thing that we did in the last three months was not in obedience to His voice. We have said, “No” where we needed to also (and we have to say, “No” all the time). That isn’t the issue for us.

Yesterday I heard someone talk about their success (in a secular context) and how sometimes it is just a wave you ride, and it really has nothing to do with you. That is so true! 

When he talked, God spoke to me. I know from my surfing experience that once you stand up on the board and ride the wave it IS just the wave propelling you forward, you have no choice but to ride that wave; BUT one does need to BALANCE on the board. I think that is where I didn't do such a great job of balancing on the board in the midst of such a wave-riding ministry time. I didn’t fall off the board in the midst of the surf (that is a big pain, by the way, you want to stay on that board once the wave catches it), but I wasn’t totally aligned in my body and standing in balance!

This is why I had a five pound gain to a weight I have not seen in three years. I kept the weight that I lost off for two of those three years, but when the fruit and big wave came (February 2015), I forgot to maintain. Little by little it came back (not all of it but enough of it to make me wonder why I had not continued to maintain it). It is only a 52 calorie per day average overeating scenario between April 18, 2013 (the date of the 30 pound weight loss) and June 1, 2016, but it is an overeating scenario none-the-less.

The good news: I used to overeat 250 calories a day. Then it was 125 per day. Now, it is 52. I keep cutting it in half. YAY! I am moving FORWARD!

The bad news: 52 calories per day average over a period of three years still results in a weight gain!! 

We were in the "sweet spot" on ministry, but I want to be in the "sweet spot" of my weight now. What is great is that my husband and my oldest son also want to be in theirs too. Three out of four of us are still in the "normal range" for our weight, but we have that "sweet spot" where we know we just feel better, and we are slowly getting there! Yay! (My youngest is not underweight, but he is very close to being so. So, we are trying to maintain his weight right now, but it is hard when you have your jaw wired shut for six weeks!)

I feel confident that my life is back in balance on dry land (less variables attempting to unbalance me). I am RESTING and WORKING on my posture and balance before I take the board back out in the surf! Stay tuned! 

And I am so grateful for you two for faithfully reporting and helping in getting that balance back! 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Sabbatical Until October

7503. רָפָה rāp̱āh: A verb meaning to become slack, to relax, to cease, to desist, to become discouraged, to become disheartened, to become weak, to become feeble, to let drop, to discourage, to leave alone, to let go, to forsake, to abandon, to be lazy. The word occurs forty-five times, often with the word yāḏ (3027), meaning hand, forming an idiomatic phrase that requires careful translation within the context of a particular passage. For

Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 1072). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

In the context of Psalm 46:10, this is what I am getting at. 

It is the Hiphil imperative where God causes me to slack, relax, cease, desist, leave alone, let go.

I feel a strong sense that I need to just STOP everything and know that He is God.

He will be exalted among the nations.
He will be exalted in the earth. 

Period, the end! 

So, without further ado,  my big "I will" statement:

I am taking a sabbatical.

Any extended period of leave from one's customary work,especially for rest, to acquire new skills or training, etc.

I will do storytelling on Wednesday mornings as that is lifegiving for me and part of my personal goals ("aquire new skills"), but some of the things I have done just suck the life out of me. So, I am ceasing, desisting, etc. I am going to do the above. YAY! 

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

20. The Message: Remix by Eugene H. Peterson

842746From 1981-85, I took my time and read through the Bible from cover to cover for the first time. I have read through it many times since then, but over the last nine years I have read through it in three year cycles. I am at the end of my third three year cycle. 

I write a blog called the Bible Book Club that takes people through that three year cycle. I put it all in a word processor, and it ended up being 3500 pages! It was a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) that was SO rewarding. I cannot even begin to tell you wonderful it has been. 

For study, I use a New American Standard Bible, but I do love to listen to the narrated version of this paraphrase by Eugene H. Peterson. Kelly Dolan Ryan does such a great job of narrating it too! 

I have read many books in my life, but the Bible is the BEST. :) 


I was afraid to weigh myself. I have been doing really well for six days (really eight, but I officially started on June 1), but I did not do a starting weight. I knew my spring was full of lots of eating (Mother's Day treats that were showered on me would have been enough to gain all of the weight!)

I am five pounds more than I thought I was! Still within my ideal weight range. Not panicking, 

BUT, I gained five pounds since March 16! That is five pounds in about three months which is overeating about 200 calories a day. Not much, but ACK!

True that I did not weigh myself at the same time I usually do, and I had 32 ounces of liquid and my full breakfast. So I am getting up tomorrow and starting from that weight. I am hoping it is less. :(

I always say I overeat about 200 calories a day. I would always just walk around the block two times, and it would take care of that, but I had allergies all spring (much longer than usual) and then I got sick. So, that could be those five pounds! I am so frustrated with myself.

Part of it is that I am letting other people run my life instead of taking control of it. I am letting people sabotage me sometimes. I don't have to do that. I can say, "NO!" to all of that. 

Breathe. I am going to be OK. Just trying to be honest. I had lost 35 lbs between December 2012 - April 2013 and kept it off for the better part of two years! What happened? I was so careful, but I think the change from less cardio to more Pilates (not intentionally, just not as much time to do both). It does means a pain free life (my back is SO wonderful now - Pilates Pain Free Living!) and a very busy, busy life (too busy) has done me in this last year!

Words from God are: SIMPLIFY and STOP 

That is all changing, and I have to learn to balance. 

And breathe. 

19. The Boys In the Boat by Daniel James Brown

"Where is the spiritual value of rowing? . . . The losing of self entirely to the cooperative effort of the crew as a whole."  
George Yeoman Pocock from The Boys in the Boat

Another great book! I loved every minute of it. It reminded me of reading Seabiscuit so many years ago. They call it "Chariots of Fire with oars," and that movie is one of my FAVORITES of all time. (I have memorized almost every line!) I love how this author has combined this team's rise to the Olympic stage and personal stories, especially the story of Joe Rantz. There will be a PBS documentary about their story on August 2, and I cannot wait. The movie rights were purchased even before the book came out. So I anxiously await that! 

Here is a page that has a lecture by the author and some footage:

I cannot say enough good things about it. One of my favorite books of all time.

I just listened to a lecture by the author, and he was at a homeowners association meeting where one of the homeowners said that she was reading one of his books to her father who was nearing the end of his life. She asked if the author would come and visit her father. That father was Joe Rantz! After the first encounter with Joe, the author decided, then and there, that he would write a book about this incredible story!

It is a story of nine hard-working young men, their coaches, the Great Depression, and the world when Hitler rose to power and hosted the Olympic games in 1936. 

It is also a love story! Loved that part! 

It is a great story, but it is also EXCELLENT and BEAUTIFUL writing!

To add icing on top of the delicious cake: it is a story of people from the PACIFIC NORTHWEST! WOOHOO! 

Riveting. It is a must read! Bring your tissues though and enjoy every moment! 

(I have NO IDEA why I put this book on reserve. It has been around a while, but I had never heard of it.  I noticed that my church book club read it in April, and I may have seen it there. I also noticed that my library is hosting a RANDOM REVIEW on the book tomorrow! I will be there with rings on my fingers and bells on my toes. What a wonderful read!!!) 

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 ...