Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Listening Freewrite

I have other posts that I pulled for some personal reasons. I may repost them some day, but right now, I am afraid to do so.

I have had this beautiful morning. 

Hearing the garage door open at about 5:30 am is my signal to pray for my boys as they head off to work at the farm. I meditate on Psalm 145 as I wake up.

I make my Chai tea as per my tradition (Could it be that this has happened more than 10 years?). This morning (since my boys are not sleeping), I play instrumental praise music on my Bose speaker as I make it. Ahhh.

I sit at my happy place desk and center my heart as my tea comes to a boil on the stove.

I bring my tea over to my happy chair, and I find a deer fixedly staring at me from my backyard as the dawn is breaking on this end of August day. Another gift from the Father. I cannot tell you how much it calms my heart.

Now I sit to write for a "Freewrite Fifteen" (and I finally add "Freewrite" to the dictionary on Google so it will no longer have that ominous red line under it that warns me that I am in danger of spelling error). I am again touched by the finger of God because my new Flylady App (better than those annoying emails that flood my box at the wrong time because she is three hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time) has a FIFTEEN MINUTE TIMER (sorry for shouting)! It is already preprogrammed in; almost as if the Flylady knew that, in addition to needing to do "Fifteen Minute Fling Boogies" to my junk, I would need to do "Fifteen Minute Freewrites"! 

Today, I will "fling a little emotional junk" and type away. I processed a LOT on here on Saturday, but then something happened that made me afraid that the wrong people would read this. You see, I don't think anyone reads this, but I know they do because I have a page view count on my page that tells me that people are doing so. There is really only one person I would prefer not read this blog, and I think that person has in the past. If anyone knows how to block people, let me know! I don't think I know how to do so.

Anywho. I am doing WAY better than I was on Saturday where I had a true panic attack and have never had one of those in my life. I am not normally an anxious person. I always joke that my mom had enough of those for all generations to come. (Come to think of it, the panic attack was triggered by something related to a person a lot like my mother. Hmm. Must explore that with God this morning after I write.)

Yesterday's time with God was very significant. He led me to listen to the Michael Card song,"Why Will You Not Listen?"  



Wow! I just listened to it again this morning (By the way, my fifteen minutes is up, but I am on a roll!), and I am blessed all over again. I am adding this to my morning worship playlist next to Jon Thurlow's "I Want to Be With You." 

Yesterday, I took time to listen, and my goodness, everything just fell together like none other! The fruit of listening is that I am running a "Tuesday TOAG Light"! 

So these are just a few of the things (in quotes) I wrote down in my journal as God talked and I listened:

1) LISTEN: Duh! "As much as you (me) say you have. You haven't." I think I had the discipline of "LO" (Listen and Obey) cemented during the last two TOAG's, but I think I have slipped in that discipline and am going to rectify that. Maybe it was the busyness of last year's new career in Pilates and Personal Training? I am not sure. I also wrote in my journal, "Behold I will do something new, Carol. Watch and wait for it." Yes, He told me that at the coast in mid-August. (So glad I did not know about all the crud that was going on during that retreat and the two glorious weddings. Talking with Nancy yesterday, I realized that God protected me from it so I could truly enjoy everything about that JOY FILLED weekend which was really a JOY-FILLED 14 days after we came back from our trip to England [because of Elizabeth, Stacy, Micah and Christen, Houcks, closure with MBA, and sunset in a vineyard] which was, come to think of it, a JOY-FILLED 14 days prior to that! Oh my! Too much JOY followed by such CRUD!). So I continue to wait and watch for something new. I think part of it unfolded after that quiet time though.

2) LEARN: "LIFE TOGETHER, LEADERSHIP, LIGHTROOM, LAPTOP"

LIFE TOGETHER - The CRUD made me realize that I need community, and I cannot have community that never prays for us (I cannot tell you how many times we share prayer requests along with everyone else and no one prays - these are YOUNG PEOPLE - I need to be around people that don't see us as leaders who do not need prayer!) or cares for us too. I am going to finish Life Together by Bonhoeffer. In fact, I need to just buy a copy and mark it up. I borrowed Steve's, and it has a lot in it that is markable!

With LEADERSHIP, I need to set some ground rules, I think I have been feeding into followers' selfishness for a while. It is all about them. "Who listens to the listener?" was Sister Joan's comment to me, and that is why I got to the point where I was in June. I made some changes: Tuesday night walks with Kim and regular meetings with Sister Joan. That is so healthy! I was spending so much time with people who were just dumping on me all the time. I let people dump and complain too much. I need to politely encourage sharing but not whining or complaining. It was good to talk with Mary yesterday and hear we are at the same place in that we both do a lot of listening to people (She had some amazing insights into a certain person too -- wow!).  Leadership means you train people to be other-centered. Listening prayer sometimes lends to people being very much self-absorbed!

LIGHTROOM - How fun that Jeff R. and Jeff B. both responded to my inquiry. I am going to learn that software, and I think I am going to do a bit more photography again this year since my back is doing so well! YAY! Balance in something I love and helps me worship because I look so much more intently at God's great big world.

LAPTOP - I have a new one with a whole new upgrade in Windows 10. I WILL learn it and its capabilities.

3) LOVE: "Means loving other well and training them not to be selfish." I often make the relationship all about the other person while doing "violence to myself" (as Sister Joan so starkly put it). Love can be tough too, and I have not been very tough because my empathy often trumps everything else. I am a softy and cheerleader, and I realize that I do not listen to the spiritual gift of discernment half as much as I should. That is not love.

4) LAUGH: "Take time with George and friends to have fun." Often our weekend time together has been taken up with ministry, serious ministry. So, that is going to change too. People with emotional instability are not always that fun. I need to have more balance in that area. I did not realize how much fun George and I have together until I looked at the 2 hours of video we shot on our trip to England. :) We laugh a lot. George is the funniest person I know. Just a goofball. I love that he makes me laugh all the time. So, more time with George would be a welcome thing! 

5) LOLLYGAG -


lol·ly·gag
ˈlälēˌɡaɡ/
verb
NORTH AMERICANinformal
  1. spend time aimlessly; idle.
    "he sends her to Arizona every January to lollygag in the sun"
    • dawdle.
      "we're lollygagging along"

I do spend aimless time at night. I crash at night and have TV going in the background as I work on a goal or project! (So maybe not too aimless.) I do play Spider Solitaire, but I usually do it to help me think through a challenging situation. I thought this was funny that God gave me this word because I sometimes joke with George that he needs to "quit lollygagging" and get going. I need to slow down and smell the roses more. I think a better thing is REST (which was one of the "R" words He gave me at the beginning of the summer). I got that sign three times last week: EVERYONE NEEDS REST. Amen!

6) LET GO, LET GOD - the problem that I have been excluded from is a GIFT to be excluded from because IT IS NOT MY PROBLEM. I had this dream where the person's dress kept on catching on fire, and the singing people just kept on singing and ignoring the dress catching on fire. The person kept on walking toward it, and I felt totally responsible for it. God said, LET GO and WAKE UP. SO I woke up in such peace. Psalm 46:10! Praise GOD I am being excluded from helping (I think I am being "punished" because apparently I did things incorrectly even though I succeeded swimmingly in the long run - must be vague for privacy reasons.) and led by God to NOT BE INVOLVED in any way! YAY! I should be thankful, and I am! I am free to do His plan for me.

On another note, I am needing to LET GO of Corvallis. I love this town, but I am probably leaving in the next year. I need to laugh with George more. :). I also need to leave people who do not live authentic and lives of integrity. I should not have gotten myself involved with someone who does not, but I was deceived, and I regret the five year investment. OUCH!

7) LONG, LOVING LOOK at Me - That is the second half of Psalm 46:10 in The Message and my theme verse (combined with the NASB margin) for the next year:

Step out of the traffic!
(Let go, Relax, Cease Striving)
And take a long, loving look at me.
I will be exalted in the nations.
I will be exalted in the earth. 
Psalm 46:10 

This keeps on coming up over and over and over again. Must not ignore. I must listen and obey!

8) LEAVE well - I want to tie up the loose ends in Corvallis and leave really, really well. Get Paul settled with his teeth and jaw issues that should conclude Spring Break 2017. It will be 14 years of teeth issues for both the boys. Can you believe it? That is what has kept us in "Captivity in Corvallis," and it has been a beautiful one, as we have "planted fruitful gardens" as God directed us when we left Malaysia in 1999! 

9) LOSE LAST LINGERING LAYER of fat! LOL! I am in my range, and I am doing well, but the last 12 days have been stressful (because of someone else's hardship because our life is lovely)! I have stress eaten, and I have come back to some old bad habits. I had about 5 lbs left to be at my favorite weight. So, tally ho! 

10) LIFT - Dumb maybe, but I love it when I lift weights, but I have not put that discipline back in my life since I injured myself in February! I started two weeks ago, but I have only done it twice! 

11) LIGHT - TOAG Light, that is! I want to be a LIGHT in Corvallis and BEYOND! So, I proposed to the two people who have wanted to do TOAG in the past, but they were not available until this year. It is not a full TOAG, but it is two people I feel safe with. So, I contacted them both and Tuesday TOAG LIGHT was the only day that I really had every Tuesday, and guess what? It was the only day for them too! So, we are meeting Nine to Noon for Tuesday TOAG to be a LIGHT in Corvallis! YAY! Our "Swan Song" for Corvallis TOAG!

I am well. It is well with my soul. This has been more like a 60 minute freewrite but good to get it all down! 








Saturday, August 27, 2016

I forgive. I forgive. I forgive.

Summary of Spiritual Direction with Sister Joan

I always like to summarize things here so I do not forget what I am learning.

The first time with Sister Joan was a realization that I needed a sabbatical. The second was me following through on that. The third (yesterday) was me realizing that I had broken that promise.

The last freewrite earlier this week precipitated me meeting with Sister Joan. What a helpful "unpacking" session. It helps that Sister Joan and I are the same personality type (although she is less of a "feeler" than I am) and we have similar ministries.

Here input:

I need to know when to

- Refer when thing are above my level of expertise
- Trust my intuition (I had a warning sign last May or so and I pulled back. I should have referred though.)

I think when someone has that much of a difficult background, it is important to refer regardless of what is going on on the surface. 

In order to not take it personally, I need to realize that the person is speaking from:

- current environment and situation
- personal history
- disease

Sister Joan said: 
"One who is GOOD at what they do (She was very complimentary of me at that point. Elizabeth was also very complimentary regarding this as she said I am a "cheerleader.") gets more expectations placed on them from the people they are trying to help." 

I can add to this that I can also disappoint people more! That is so hard for me because I try too hard to "not disappoint."

Other things she said: 

"No heroics" - This is what I have to explore because I don't think I am a hero and will come in to save the day by any means, really! So, I need to really pray through that one. I am open to that being the case, but I am just so driven by my empathy sometimes that I forget about me, which leads me to the most earth shattering of all the things she said.

"Violence against self" - I had to ask her to unpack that one, but as I review the first day with that person (about 6 hours but about 8 with the travel time involved), I did not EAT. I did not DRINK. I did not take a break.  Sister Joan could not believe I took that much time. I couldn't leave. I couldn't leave when two other people came because I felt obligated to get to know them. So, this is the biggest thing I do. I do get so lost in other people's stories that I forget that I exist. This is why I needed to take the sabbatical because I had forgotten about me and my health by the end of the school year and my weight control that had been so good for three years changed!

So her recommendations were that I need to:

- Begin to take care of myself - even as I type this, a tiny part of me thinks that is so selfish. I am a helper personality (Enneagram), I score second highest on empathy (Strengthsfinder), the ISFJ is the "Defender" (Keirsey and MBTI - read my strengths and weaknesses HERE - I especially identify with how I take things personally). As I type, this is so GOOD to process in this way! Adriana, are you and I the same personality type? 

Get a Life - I think she means separate from our ministry. Our ministry takes so much time, we do not always take time to be with healthy people our own age or be with each other as much as we should (we did stop George meeting with the guys on Saturday mornings though). She also meant spend more time with George and travel. She thought England was a super healthy thing to do!

Build a New Life - "You will live longer." I love our ministry, but I think it is time to move on from the one we have here in Corvallis. I am ready to start afresh. I have learned so many lessons here. I have grown so much! We are already leaning toward me moving up to Newberg next year, and this situation helped clarify that for us. Also, it does not look like there will be people so that we can run our internship (S wrote to say that she was moving to the one that was a "sure thing" and that helped clarify our direction). So, we are a bit more free to do so.

Enjoy Your Own Company and Your Husband's - I don't think that will be a problem. I love being alone and with George and my adult children. I love our family dynamic. We laugh a lot. We love a lot. 


Detach from judgments (remember it is the environment, history, and disease of the person) catch them, cock your hand back and throw them to the Moon. (I  went up to the Abbey on a very sunny day and adapted it to throwing it at the Sun because it is an allegory for the Son who can take care of everything. 

I have prayed through the judgements, and they were absurd, inappropriate, lies that attacked my person hood and integrity, and they need to be thrown away where they belong. I am open to correction, but these were so twisted that I must reject them outright.

It was really cool to talk to Sister Joan to talk about the role the enemy of our souls has in all this. She is RIGHT ON! So, I must remember to armor up, and this goes along with what Kim does every time she talks with the mentally ill people in her life. (Parenthetically, I think the "rumors" about Sister Joan ministry being liberal and "all faiths" is totally unfounded. She is very solid. The strongest voice against her is someone who has never met her. But I digress.) 

It takes a village to help a person like this (no heroics), let the village take over. I have done a superb job over the last four years of being a cheerleader and encourager, but I am done with my role (especially since I am called to prepare people through our agency, and that will not be happening for a very long time). 

She also had a very practical suggestion that I think I will take into all my interactions with others when they come to sit and talk with me: Have a "hard stop" when you end the time with the person. I get so lost in a person's story that I never think they need to leave, and that is not healthy for me or the person! (I get so lost in their story that I lose me and no longer exist in the matrix - I think people also take advantage of that - not all but some.) True confession: I have stayed with a person up to seven hours!


So, I need to have "hard stops" in my time by having something that I am going to after the visit. A part of me thinks that is so rude! That is what I have to get over it!!! 

In about 2012,  I realized that I could not do that anymore because of my back was not having it. (It would cost me $40 to get uncorked by the chiropractor [now it would be $20 with an osteopath]), and the person was not paying me for the listening prayer and spiritual direction time.) So, the back has helped me to have a hard stop time. But I have also really not done much listening prayer this last year because I needed a break, and I realize that my passion is not listening prayer. This is part of my "toolbox" in my true passion:
"Shepherding women toward abiding fruitfulness in Christ through relational evangelizing, establishing, equipping, and encouraging." 


She has said this before, but she reiterated to me again: 

- Trust God: I go back to what I have heard many time, "When a person shows their true colors and self, believe it! God has allowed this to happen for a very good reason. This whole situation has made me question, but I have some new policies in place as a result of this situation, and I am very grateful.) 

- Trust Self: God has told me many times, "I gave you discernment as a gift, use it!" If I were honest, I probably had red flags but ignored them (because my empathy often ignores my discernment) only implemented them partially when I realized it last year when that person very rudely complained after one of our sessions leaving me to question myself. The sessions stopped because we were going nowhere, but I did not follow through by referring. That is where I need to grow. The art of referral is key for me.) 

- Trust Person: I think, ultimately, it is the person's responsibility to get better. No one can make those choices for them. Be still my soul. She said that, and I told her that I have been listening to this song for a while now. It has the trust in Him and letting go part:



One last point, I broke my sabbatical promise. So, I am seriously thinking about a year long one. I think there is a book in my heart called Journey to Joy that this blog reflects. My journey from a psychotic break in 1983 to today. I must evaluate what that all would look like. 

Stay tuned! Please comment. I know some of you read this, and I know this is very open and vulnerable. But it helped that Adriana commented last time. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

32. The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis

This is where it all began! It had some fun surprises that tie many things together with the other books. 

There is also quite an allegorical message about hearing the voice of God. It is quite beautiful, but I don't want to give away spoilers. This one might be my favorite one of all the Narnia books. It is either this one or The Silver Chair.

Kenneth Branagh is the BOMB reading this too even though I only got to listen to a bit of it before I had to turn it back in and get back in the cue waiting for it! I went ahead and read my husband's 1970's version that has the funkiest cover with the 70's colors on the boarder! Check it out:



My kids are both artists, and they loved looking at all the covers in my husband's 70's set! :) 

I read the last two out of order, but I have to say that this was a most satisfying summer of reading this whole series! I am done now, and I am so happy I did it! 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

29. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis


I was discussing this with my kids after I finished reading this, and I decided that this is my least favorite Narnia book of all the ones I have read (I read The Silver Chair before this one because this one was due at the library, and I did not get it back for weeks, and TSC came up for check out.). 

I felt like (and my kids agree) this book was just a bunch of stories. It didn't make me pause and go, "Oh how profound!" It is, by no means, bad (it is Narnia for goodness sake), but it didn't hit me like the other ones have. I do like the transformation of Cousin Eustace in this one though. That is my favorite part because we are all capable of transformation. 

My kids also have a "Cousin Eustace" in their life, and we would often have to forebear with him when he was growing up. His statements were even similar to Cousin Eustace's, and we realized that we all must extend grace to him even though he was so trying for us, especially my kids. (Actually, he bordered on abusive with my kids. So, we would often have to remove them from the situation and eventually decided that staying with him would not be possible until they were fully grown.)  

We continue to pray for transformation in our real life "Cousin Eustace" who is in a very bad way as an adult.  This book was a reminder to pray for him.



Tuesday, August 23, 2016

"It Is Well"



Grander earth has quaked before
Moved by the sound of His voice
Seas that are shaken and stirred
Can be calmed and broken for my regard

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
It is well with me

Far be it from me to not believe
Even when my eyes can't see

And this mountain that's in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well

So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name [repeat last line during 3rd run]
[x3]

It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
[repeat 3x]

It is well it is well with my soul [x3]
ahhhhhhh (softly)

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You Lord
Through it all, through it all
It is well with me.

[x2]

Monday, August 22, 2016

Monday Morning Freewrite

I won't get too bogged down at my computer this morning. I plan on sitting for 15 minutes and then walking or puttering around the house for 15 minutes. When I work on my pictures today, I will do it on my treadmill desk.

I entirely stress ate the last two days due to some stressful things happening in other peoples' lives. I absorb other people's stress, and I know that I have done that. That was the case on Friday. I was stressed due to another person's hardship and 5 1/2 hours of listening and praying. Then I went back on Saturday and the person "confessed" all the things they had been judging me for - basically telling me all the things I had done wrong in our relationship - some of which was absurd like saying I talked about people and they put two and two and knew who I was talking about - NOT!  There are few people we know that overlap in the area of people whom I work through tough things with, plus, I would share general things about marriage issues, and this person assumed I was talking about specific people. So, I know that most of the stuff this said is filled with false conclusions, but I so dislike being misunderstood and judged based on a false conclusion.

Only one specific example was when I got a text from someone that upset me. This person is CONSTANTLY upset about things with other people, and I have helped that person work through negative feelings toward just about everyone (Why didn't I assume if they talk about everyone else negatively the person would also do so with me? I was under a very false assumption that we had a great relationship until last Sunday - boy was I ever wrong!). I had compassion for this person, but I had one instance where I shared that something upset me, and instead of eliciting this person's compassion (very few people listen to me, the listener, - thus why I go to a spiritual director and walk with Kim one time a week), it elicited this person's JUDGMENT of me (because it is apparently nonspiritual to share when something upsets me? As a spiritual leader I should never be upset or hurt? I don't know.)

I know this person was confessing that that was wrong, but honestly, I would rather they just confess it to God instead of unloading it on me and making me deal with it. 

This was only two examples. The list went on and on and on (including how I fed my children when they were infants - I think I mentioned it once in passing, and boy, did they ever use that against me), and it made me wonder if this person pursues me as a mentor when they think I am so nonspiritual because of all the things that I have done wrong.


Needless to say, I walked out of their feeling so beat up. So, I look at the ISFJ personality type "stress" things, and this is why I am still processing two days later.

I have some people who do not know the details praying. Of course, my inner circle knows, but that is a very small group of three that is outside of the situation. 

A part of me was hurt and another part was mad, but I am passed the mad stage, and I have forgiven. I just need to be on the "work through all the junk and move on stage."

Thus why I write.

I have had such a wonderful summer. Absolutely wonderful summer. I am glad that I didn't know how hostile this person felt toward me while I was in England. I need to just move on. And I will move on. Glad they could get it off their chest. I hope it helps them heal. I am able to be strong, and I have such a wonderful husband. This person is just not doing well, and I need to take that into account and not judge myself. I do feel compassion, but I also think it is time for me to set some boundaries. I will just ask that person to confess those things to God and not include me in on the details. It is too painful for me, and I have feelings, and they are her things and not mine.

I do laugh because of what helps the ISFJ deal with stress is "reading emotionally moving or spiritual things." That is so true. For more on what causes one stress and how to deal with it see: 



So, on to my time with God (spiritual), walking (recommend they get some exercise is on the list and so works for me), listening to my novel (emotionally moving), and working on my pictures of London (looking at pictures relaxes me and brings back warm memories of being with a wonderfully emotional stable person like George!). Who knows, I might even plug in Sense and Sensibility and get a good Austen cry out of the whole thing!

Bye!  

31. The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis


I think this is the shortest of all the Narnia books that I have read so far. It is a sweet story about Shasta and Bree and their adventures! It goes along with what I learned from The Learning Company about all stories being one of two things:


1) Stranger Comes to Town
2) Hero Goes on a Journey

This is definitely the second one!

I am so enjoying these stories!

HOW EACH MYERS-BRIGGS® TYPE REACTS TO STRESS (AND HOW TO HELP!)

This last Friday/Saturday was very stressful for me. I was judged severely by someone, and I am still licking my wounds this morning. When I read what stresses out an ISFJ, it helps me to understand why that is so.

This is from this website:
ISFJ – The Protector
What stresses out an ISFJ:

– Overexerting themselves by saying “yes” to too many projects.
– Conflict or criticism
– Lack of positive feedback
– Environments filled with tension
– Looming deadlines
– Being asked to do things in a way that isn’t clearly defined
– Having to overuse their type by having to constantly act as “the responsible one”
– Dealing too long with abstract or theoretical concepts.
– Unfamiliar territory or an uncertain future
When faced with stress, ISFJs become discouraged and depressed. They start to imagine all the things that could go wrong, and they may feel a strong sense of inadequacy. They may feel that everything is all wrong, or that they can’t do anything right. If they are in a state of chronic stress, they may fall into the grip of their inferior function, extraverted intuition. When this happens they may start acting completely out of character. They may be at odds with normally relied upon facts and details, they may see everything as awful and feel “doomed”. They may become withdrawn, angry, irritable, and pessimistic. They will probably feel emotionally overwhelmed and find themselves worrying about all kinds of horrible possibilities.
How to help an ISFJ experiencing stress:

– Give them space or time alone to work through their feelings. 
– 
Provide provable affirmations about ways they’ve overcome situations like this in the past.
– Help them break down problems into manageable pieces
– Don’t give generalized compliments. Make compliments specific.
– Put a problem or task in sequential order.
– Don’t brainstorm. When they are in the grip of extraverted intuition, this will only make things worse.
– Let them engage their auxiliary extraverted feeling by reading materials that are personally moving, or spiritual.
– Encourage them to get some physical exercise (without making it sound like an insult).
– Let them talk about their irrational fears or feelings, and give them quiet, calm reassurance.
– Take them seriously. Don’t patronize or judge them.

Friday, August 19, 2016

30. The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis



So far, I like Jeremy Northam's narration best of all and think he should play Puddleglum in the next Narnia movie (this is slated to be the next one, but we will see if it EVER gets made).  

I loved this book. This is my first book "post-C.S. Lewis Geek Out Self-Guided Walking Tour of Oxford" and two books about the Inklings. So I think C.S. Lewis is a genius bar none.  So, I am listening closely to these Narnia books and realize the brilliance of his prose! 

I am going to quote my favorite quote from the whole book. It is toward the end. So, if you don't want spoilers, do not read this!

For context, Puddleglum (a Marshwiggle who is incredibly negative about everything throughout the story), Jill, Eustace, and a prince are all trapped in the underworld by an evil witch. This witch uses her powers of enchantment to persuade these captives to forget about the world above, telling them that their idea of a sun stems from seeing lamps and wishing for a bigger and better lamp. Also, that their idea of a lion comes from seeings cats and wishing for a bigger and better cat. There is more here, and I will add more in this post once I have the physical book in my hands (I just have the audiobook right now).

Anywho, that negative Puddleglum, "Marshwiggles Up" and becomes the HERO of this story! Such a twist! Here is his priceless speech to the witch: 


"One word, Ma'am," he said . . . "One word. All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder, I'm a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won't deny any of what you said. But there's one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things  -- trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play-world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we're leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland.  Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that's small loss if the world's as dull a place as you say." 
My heart sang as I walked in the sunshine (above ground) and listened to this part!






 Puddleglum's speech reminded me of Pascal's Wager.

noun
PHILOSOPHY
  1. the argument that it is in one's own best interest to behave as if God exists, since the possibility of eternal punishment in hell outweighs any advantage of believing otherwise.

I have so many friends who have "talked themselves out of believing." So this rang so true with me, and it is much of what happened when C.S. Lewis went from atheism to deism to believing in Jesus! 

I don't know about you, but . . . 


I'm on Aslan's side! 




Monday, August 08, 2016

28. Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings by Glyer

I did not give The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings a super good rating, and I wanted to read this one in order to compare the two. I realize it is somewhat like comparing apples and oranges. The Fellowship was very broad and academically boring with moments of shear brilliance as it sought to give in-depth biographies of four of the main players who formed the Inklings.

This book had a very specific purpose: to look at written documents and draw some conclusions about how creative works are formed in community. It succeeded swimmingly! I loved this book from beginning to end, but I am also glad I "slogged" through the other one because the "brilliant" parts were so brilliant! I even used an excerpt from a brilliant section as I walked along Addison's Walk in Oxford in July 2016:


So, I do not regret reading that book that was so difficult to get through!

But this book was so well-written. It was concise, and I learned so much more about the inner workings of the Inklings rather than history of the four main people in the group.


The bottom line: We would have no Lord of the Rings if it were not for C.S. Lewis' constant encouragement and accountability for Tolkien who was a procrastinator and perfectionist. We would not have the space trilogy from C.S. Lewis if it were not for a wager that they gave to each other for Lewis to write about space travel and Tolkien about time travel (p. 39). Tolkien's was never completed, but Lewis' Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength were the result of that wager. 


The author's conclusion:
In many cases, the presence of resonators, opponents, editors, and collaborators does not merely make a project easier, or lighten the burden, or move things along. Often, these important companions are essential to a project's existence. It is true of writers in general; it is also true of the Inklings. In short, none of them would have written the same things in the same ways if it had not been for the influence of this group. (p. 156)

Oh to be a bug on the wall in C.S. Lewis' rooms on Thursday nights! I can only dream.

The Epilogue of this book is entitled, "Doing What the Inklings Did." It contains suggestions on starting your own little collaborative creative community: 


  • Start Small
  • Stay Focused
  • Meet Often
  • Embrace Difference
  • Start Early and Intervene Often
  • Criticize But Don't Silence
  • Increase the Channels (find a variety of ways to communicate with one another)
  • Try More Than One (group)
  • Think Outside the Group
  • Take Baby Steps (read another book about the Inklings or creative collaboration, consider participating online, remember: two is a magic number [groups may be 5 or 6, but the heart is two people who are passionate - that was Tolkien and Lewis])


Finally, where the author gets the title. This would be my only criticism of the book. While it makes sense in the context of the following paragraph, I would have not really known to search this title out had it not been for someone on Amazon suggesting an alternative to The Fellowship after reading a negative review (with similar criticism that I had of the book).

Here is the full quote about how the Inklings influenced Tolkien's work and from whence the title of the book came:
No one ever influenced Tolkien -- you might as well try to influence a Bandersnatch (a fictional creature from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass and "The Hunting of the Snark"). We listened to his work, but could affect it only by encouragement. He has only two reactions to criticism; either he begins the whole work over again form the beginning or else takes no notice at all. (p. 151)

The author thinks Lewis missed something because Tolkien would get quiet and jot notes but WOULD make revisions at home far more often than Lewis ever realized!

Thankful for the Inklings. Thankful for this excellent book. Thankful I got to walk in their footsteps while at Oxford last month! 







Sunday, August 07, 2016

Sunday Sixteen Freewrite

I have not done a freewrite in a while, but I suppose you could consider all of my travelogue journaling a freewrite. Yet it did not include a 16 minute timer set and just freeform writing that has no agenda or purpose. 

So here I write at 6:20 am on a Sunday morning, one week out from our dream trip to England. 


Reflections on the time? Summations? 

I loved it. There were a few points of tension (not knowing where the car park was in Stratford and not being able to get internet service to reload our Google maps), but all in all, it was beautiful. The itinerary (will I ever be able to spell this word without spell check?) really did go without a hitch. I am so glad I have an active husband. There is no way someone out of shape could have done that (unless they had taken taxis or the Tube from point A to point B). 

Some things I would have done differently in London might have been to not do the "City Walk" that Rick Steves' suggested, mainly because it is a very congested area of London. It would have been better to just do it when we were on the Hop On Hop Off bus because we go down the street that is most central in the walk. Maybe doing those walks SUPER early in the morning or in the nighttime. He likes you to do it during the hustle and bustle of the business district, but it was too chaotic for me. We did incorporate this walk with seeing Dr. Johnson's House, which was a nerd treat for me me. I loved the back alleyways around Ye Old Cheshire Cheese and his house too. Of course I like them though because they were QUIET. The noise and chaos of the City of London really was not my cup of tea. 


Speaking of tea, I also didn't need to go into Twinings. IMHO it is just a tourist trap for people. That is why just seeing it from the Hop On Hop Off bus would have been more than sufficient! I did like the picture we took though.

I think the Westminster Walk was valuable. Again, it would have been better to do it in the early morning without the hordes of tourists in that area. It was somewhat exciting then though. It was wall-to-wall people on a Sunday afternoon.  

So, overall though, I think his walks are a little too overrated and many of the places he mentions are just not that interesting. I would have preferred more leisurely strolls through the many parks. We did that quite a bit too, and it was very fun to do them at night when all the people were out and about, sitting in lounge chairs. 

I calculated we walked about 47 miles in London alone, and this is probably more without all the inside walking we did and the towers we climbed! 

It was fun to get so much exercise though, and it was all in my Mary Janes. I love those shoes! :)

So, London was a smash hit. The only miscalculation was the British Library. So, if we ever go back there, I will take the Tube directly there and linger longer over the special room. We got to see what we wanted, but it was too rushed for my taste, and it would have just taken a bit less time having tea at the British Museum! DRAT! 

The British Museum was also too crowded. I am processing the pictures, and George hardly took any! It is my own fault. I should have just taken the camera. He doesn't think to take pictures of things like I do. There are also no pictures of Handel's rooms. I was shocked that a place so important was not documented by him. Not sure why he did not do it. Oh well. 

I would also go to the Charles Dickens Museum. It was just too far out of the way, and we were there on the day when the London Pass was not activated. The other days, it would have been closed by the time we got to it because of all the other things we had going on. 

Overall, a great trip in London though. We scored on the hotel. It was so WELL LOCATED. Perfect for everything we needed. It was also clean and comfortable and so thankful we chose air-conditioning over a quaint bed and breakfast that Rick Steves recommends. Solid nights of sleep with no street noise because of having the windows open on a hot and muggy night.

So great! I love traveling with George. He is the easiest travel buddy and always up for an adventure. He doesn't like to overdo it at any one place too. After a while, I get overloaded at reading things at a museum (or listening to audio guides that go on and on and on)

Oh dear, my timer went off, and I did not have the sound on my computer. I better sign off. 

Oh by the way, I am reading Bandersnatch, and I love it. Review coming soon! 

Monday, August 01, 2016

Travelogue: Day 14 - Leaving London

Our last day in England. What a trip! We woke up fairly early and had some time with God. We were not supposed to leave until 10:30 for the airport, but we decided it was better to hang out there than at bare bones hostel room. They did have a free shuttle to the airport, and the guy was nice, and the other guy in the car . . . Well, we were convinced he was from the mafia or something. He was talking about his private jets that he takes and his 30 acres in California that is just his vacation spot, but he was staying in a hostel? It was funny.

We got back to the airport, dropped off our luggage (after a very extensive Delta security check while waiting in line), and we went to get our refund of our Oyster Card (the thing you use for the Tube in London), we got our 5 pound deposit back and only .80 was left on the card! We estimated our Tube usage perfectly! We had pounds to burn for breakfast, and we ate a nice place in the airport. Then we walked to the prayer room. 

While praying, something great happened. I already wrote a friend about it. So I am cutting and pasting it right here:



I believe it was totally a God thing too because I did not notice it when we were talking to Delta on the phone the night before. It wasn't until we had gone into the multi-faith prayer room at Heathrow for some time with God (the Muslims and Christians pray in the same room only separated by a screen. So cool!). As I was praying, I seriously think God said, "Notice your seat assignment." I went, "Hey, we are not in the extra leg room space that we paid for and the seats we chose (21AB)." We went to the Minneapolis flight that had staff (we were there too early for our flight staff to be at the gate). I had all the documentation in writing that we had paid for those seats, and he was GREAT. As he was on the computer, I told him how we are tall and it used to be that we would get them when people would look at us and feel sorry for us. Now, we must pay extra, but we do it for our backs (10+ Hours with no leg room require a doctor at the end of our flight!). Anywho, I told him how once a man put me in 1st class on a trip from Cincinnati. Just chatting with him. He called someone for approval of something, and then said, "We have no seats in Economy Comfort anymore, but I put you in Delta One." We didn't know what that was, and he said, "Business Class." Stunned, I wanted to kiss the guy. (I love the English people!) He could not get us seated together. Instead of having us try to arrange that with the staff at our gate once it opened, he took personal responsibility and called them once the gate opened. Then he sent us to the Sky Lounge for FREE lunch buffets, all the drinks you could ever dream of, and desserts, and quiet. Then, we arrived at our gate (a little late because we thought boarding was at 1pm but it was 12:45), and they knew we were coming because he really did follow through and call them. They let us come and take a seat behind them, while they waited for the man who we could trade with, and he was like "SURE!" (It was so fun to watch them work from behind the desk. Those people work very hard, and I have never had more polite workers than the Delta people! I am SOLD on Delta.) We felt so blessed, and the Delta flight attendants in that class are amazing. I will probably never do that again in my wildest dreams (the cost is 4,100 per ticket!), but it was such a shocking and amazing special treat that was the cherry on top of a trip of a lifetime (that I planned from 10 pm until day break on May 22, 2012)!
We unloaded our last pounds on a tea pot that is in the picture below.

The plane flight home was glorious! You don't know how pleasant it is to have the option to lay down 180 degree while on a plane for 10 hours! The food was amazing with all these courses that kept on coming and coming and coming! So, we got a good rest, and I watched two movies.





We were back in the "cheap seats" for our flight from Salt Lake to Portland. It was a short flight so we didn't book Economy Comfort. We traveled home, and I tried to stay awake so I could be sure that George stayed awake.

The kids loved their "Will Power" T-Shirts, and we were in bed by 11:45 pm!

Home Sweet Home! 





A photo posted by Carol Weaver (@carolfoasia) on

Travelogue: Day 13 - Windsor Castle

I had a tummy ache in the middle of night (sometimes happens when I have too much tea during the day, but the tea in England is SO GOOD). So, I got up at about 3:30 am to journal about our journey over the hills and dales of England  (since I was not able to do it on this blog because my computer had broken). 

We had an early 7:30 breakfast with a nice business man who has 350 million pounds of sales per year. Their biggest seller: a stand shaped like a nose that holds people's glasses. Go figure.


The video above gives you an idea of our breakfast and the wonderful St. Mary's Hall. Here is one I did of the rest of the house: 


And here is our wonderful host, Joan with George:


Joan said she did not want us to go. So she must have liked us. It was a lovely time there. We left by 8 am and had an easy journey to Windsor Castle. We kept seeing that there was traffic congestion ahead, but we got off two exits before they said it was going to start. YAY!


We parked in the Alma Road (formerly Alexandra Gardens) Car Park and went through the train station up to the castle. We were about 20th in line for pre-paid tickets whereas the line for people who had not prepaid went around the block! I had purchased them at 6:30 that morning off of my iPhone and glad I did! When we actually go inside, the lines diverged, and we got into the fast track (maybe the people in front of us had not pre-paid and the line around the block was a line for groups, not sure). So, we ended up being third in line to get in. It was really quick as I just gave my confirmation number, and we were off!

It was virtually empty. The State Apartment did not open until 10 am so we sneaked inside the St. George Chapel for our customary quiet in a church at the start of our day (although we had already slept in a church the night before. HAHAHAHA). We were able to see King Henry VIII and Jane Seymour's graves (she was his favorite wife and died soon after child birth). We also saw mad King George's grave. It was a lovely church.

After this, we enjoyed the State Apartments of Windsor (skipped the doll house at Rick Steves' suggestion because there was no line for just the State Apartments)! We loved the Waterloo Room! Amazing. We asked the workers about what was damaged in the fire of 1992, and they had pictures of what it looked like. It is amazing that they could reconstruct this all so well. 

Then, we came out of the State Apartments to watch the Changing of the Guard which is much more intimate than at Buckingham Palace:


A photo posted by Carol Weaver (@carolfoasia) on

They played the song by Tom Jones, "It's Not Unusual" and was lovely! So glad we came to Windsor. 

We walked around a bit and went to the "Long Walk" for a great picture of the Palace from that perspective. Since the Queen was not in to have us for tea, we decided to have our own at the cute Clarence Tea Room off the beaten path and had a full tea (first of our time there):



It was funny because we could see the people in line through the alley way out of the restaurant, and we were really glad we got there early. It is a very popular place. Again, I recommend getting there early and buy your tickets ahead of time! 

We got back to the Heathrow Lodge. We knew it was cheap but didn't realize it was a Hostel so it was a big change from St. Mary's Hall, but it was clean with a good firm bed, and you could not beat the price. 

We dropped off our rental car at 1:26 (due 1:30), and they gave the car a clean bill of health. It was stressful to drive a rental in England. They held only 200 pounds on our card for damages and not the full value of the card that I had been led to believe they might possibly do. We got our deposit back, and we were sort of glad to not have to drive on the English roads again! The actual roads are really well paved, but those roundabout and smaller "B" roads are really stressful! 

We walked back to the Heathrow Lodge and decided to just be chill for the whole afternoon. So, I journaled about the remaining days, and George read his book. After being on the go for thirteen days, it was nice to do so! We also repacked our luggage.

We went and ate at the pub next door, and their Steak and Ale Pie was really like the other one I had. The sauce and meat were good, but it wasn't in a pie crust. It just had a pie crust stuck on top! George had Indian food (that ended up making him sick the next day). 

We fell asleep really early in preparation for our big travel day. 

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 ...