Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Prayerful Review of the Day

Gifts from today:

A good doctor who fixed my quadratus lumbarum muscle
Free time!

When did I feel most alive, responsive, and living in tune with God's dream?

I wish I could remember the moment but I was doing something and voiced out to God - "This is life-giving!"

In prayer yesterday.

Resting

Not having commitments

Library book check out!

Dead/Unresponsive/Least Myself/Out of Tune with God's Dream?

Nothing comes to mind

One thing to express love for God and others tomorrow:

Love and treasure  my family! Call my family in California.




Monday, November 21, 2016

Angel Announcement and Birth of Jesus: Luke 1:26-45 & 2:1-14



Announcement – Luke 1:26-45 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For the word of God will never fail.” Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”
Birth of Jesus – Luke 2:1-14 At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire … All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

Friday, November 18, 2016

41. The Game with Minutes by Frank Laubach



This is probably the third or fourth time I have read this great little book! I love it every time. 

It is all about trying to think of Jesus on a regular basis throughout your day. He says one second for every minute of the day, but it can be whatever you decide. 

My major follow through this time was on seeing double - seeing how people are, and who Christ longs for them to be. As I said in an earlier post, it was a great thing to do, and I will continue to do so!


Here is a former post that includes a link to a download for a PDF version of this lovely little book! 

http://carolhomeschool2.blogspot.com/2014/12/45-game-with-minutes.html

Prayerful Review of Wednesday & Thursday

What gifts?

Chocolate and Sunflower Seeds from a Dial-a-Book client

Walking in a light rain

Thursday people-free day 

Where I felt the most alive and responsive:

Shaking the dust off of my feet of the early Wednesday morning derogatory remark made toward me! Getting out of the house and "doing the next thing" was so great!

Seeing "double" in my students - praying into how they are and how Christ longs for them to be. I extended it to the shut-ins I deliver books to. WOW! I even prayed for the person who called me a derogatory name. 

Doing two sweat-producing, face-paced Pilates classes with my students to upbeat and fun 60's,70's, and 80's music! Could not have put me in a better mood!

Doing book and flower deliveries and seeing delight on my patrons' faces!

Really WANTING to go and teach my night class for the first time this fall term. 

REST all day on Thursday. 

Treats and Poldark with George.

Practicing The Game with Minutes both days, even bringing Jesus white tea in a gold cup in the chair next to me. 

Where did I feel most dead and unresponsive:

Waking up to a being called a derogatory name on Twitter for asking a question about a statistic given in the documentary.

Rehashing what I would say to a person who caused me great pain. 

One practical thing that we an commit to that will express our love for God and others:


Encourage Rachel and Michelle as I meet with both of them today. Give Paul lots of love on his 22nd birthday! 

Yesterday's love:

THIS WENT SO WELL! - "See double" in my students: See them as Christ does - we see the person as he is and the person Christ longs to make him. (The Game with Minutes, p. 97) 

Good meeting. Conference call went really well (such a hard navigation when you have to evaluate someone's fitness for a job). The group wanted to meet on November 29, but it will not be a regular meeting. Just prayer and storytelling. It will be easier for me to prepare for. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Prayerful Review of Tuesday

What gifts?

Such a great group of women in our Kingdom Community

Prayer with this group


Good, honest, loving coworker

Restful day after Kingdom Community

Where I felt the most alive and responsive:

Praying and discussing the things of God

Learning from documentary "Now We Rise" on PBS


Watching the end of The Young Messiah - uplifting film

Where did I feel most dead and unresponsive:

Student asking for special treatment who has missed many classes

Early Wednesday morning: waking up to a being called a derogatory name on Twitter for asking a question about a statistic given in the documentary 

One practical thing that we an commit to that will express our love for God and others:


"See double" in my students: See them as Christ does - we see the person as he is and the person Christ longs to make him. (The Game with Minutes, p. 97)

Yesterday's love:

Lovingly lead my Kingdom Community this morning. Lovingly respond to the person on the other end of a conference call this afternoon. Lovingly say that we are breaking until after the first of the year. 

Good meeting. Conference call went really well (such a hard navigation when you have to evaluate someone's fitness for a job). The group wanted to meet on November 29, but it will not be a regular meeting. Just prayer and storytelling. It will be easier for me to prepare for. 


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Prayerful Review of Monday

What gifts?

Gift of attentive and polite Pilates students.
Gift of God's word.
Gift of a lovely work environment.
Gift of three Pilates classes working different parts of my body (Bands using arm muscles that pull and increasing my range of motion in my legs, Balls using arm muscles that push in, inner thigh muscles, and work my abs more, and face-paced class that gets my fast twitch fibers, works up a sweat, and gets me going in functional movement - I am actually a bit sore this morning which rarely happens!)
Gift of all three of my regulars showing up for my night class.
Gift of listening to the tribute for Gwen Ifill on the PBS Newshour - she was a woman of deep faith, and that made me very happy to hear.
Gift of rain pants for biking.

Where I felt the most alive and responsive:

Working my body, riding my bike to and from class even though it was raining.

Talking with my Saudi Arabian conversation partner! I just love, love, love her. She told me that most Muslims are are not upset about Donald Trump being president (she even showed me a video of Saudi men running away on the desert sand and screaming something like "Trump is after us," and they are laughing about it.) They are thinking all the "hoopla" is a little ridiculous.  When I told her about some of the immigration (11.4 million illegal immigrants in the USA) and refugee issues that he wants to address, she said, "Oh course you should be very careful!" (To them it is a no brainer because they are from the Middle East and are close to terrorism.) (Note: I am not saying I disagree or agree with ALL of the president-elect's policy, but I have a wait-and-see attitude rather than an alarmist attitude.) 

Telling Creation to Christ stories in front of the mirror.

Dancing around my bedroom during Dancing with the Stars. :)


Proud of our President for not biting when one reporter, specifically Martha Raddatz of ABC News, tried to get him to talk trash about Trump. He did not bite!

Where did I feel most dead and unresponsive:

When George texted me to tell me that Gwen Ifill died of cancer yesterday. I knew something was wrong because she was not at the election, and she was also gone earlier in a year, and they never said where she was. She did not tell the public. 


Hearing leading questions by biased reporters during Obama's news conference.

Having to get out of my cozy home to go to work yesterday. I just wanted to stay home in my pajamas because it was gloomy and raining! 

One practical thing that we an commit to that will express our love for God and others:

Lovingly lead my Kingdom Community this morning. Lovingly respond to the person on the other end of a conference call this afternoon. Loving say that we are breaking until after the first of the year. 

Yesterday's love:

When I was riding my bike to class, I felt like God said to love on my students, and I think I communicated this. I showed a small kindness to two of my students that I had to exhort last week for constantly being late. (Because I am supposed to give him NO points for coming late, but I did not.) I also extended a deadline for one of my assignments because the weeks are all messed up for this term. 


Monday, November 14, 2016

40. Beyond Loneliness: The Gift of God's Friendship by Trevor Hudson

This has been a gem of a book that I am reading for the Renovare Book Club. We are reading and discussing four books between October and June, and this has been life-giving balm for my soul. One of my goals this year is to have more time with people my own age with deeper conversation, and it has been so nice to interact with the people online. I also met with a woman from Oregon two weeks ago to discuss the book. She is willing to drive down here for our next discussion time over Thanksgiving break. I think she is hungry for deeper conversation too. 

I was thinking that the title is not really descriptive of the book, and I tell people that the subtitle is so much better: The Gift of God's Friendship! I really think the current title will discourage people from reading the book. Loneliness is part of the book and what motivates some toward friendship with God, but what if you do not struggle with loneliness (like me)? I would not have picked up this book based on its title if it were not for the Renovare Book Club.  

Friendship with GodThen, I listened to his podcast and come to find out that the title in South Africa is Friendship with God: How God's Offer of Relationship Can Change Your Life but the book publisher in the States said Beyond Loneliness would be a better title for Americans! NOT! I disagree.

So, do not let this title discourage you from reading, and if you do struggle with loneliness, it will help you too!

I love it because it talks all about relationship with God and also God's destiny for you out in this big wide world. It isn't about inward focus and this little exclusive friendship you have with God. I really, really love this book.

It seems simple and even basic for many who don't struggle with relationship, but the friendship exercises have been lovely no matter where you are on the journey. If you read my blog, you know what happened when I did one of his supplementary exercises (I am still asking for permission to post the PDF here for his supplementary stuff he is making available to the Renovare Book Club so stay tuned!) Here is that post if you do not read my blog on a regular basis:

http://carolhomeschool2.blogspot.com/2016/11/a-prayerful-review-of-my-day.html

Prayerful Review of My Sunday

Thanks to God for the gifts received through the last day:

Friendship with Lisa

My lovely, stable, non-complicated, healthy church

Worship with Randy

Baked Brie in a Sourdough Loaf

Where I felt the most alive and responsive yesterday:


I might have done this two days ago and forgot to write it down. I really liked Trevor Hudson's podcast about his book Beyond Loneliness: The Gift of God's Friendship. I kept thinking, "Yes, yes, yes!" 

Face-to-face bonding with Lisa after one year of not even seeing each other face-to-face

Telling the Abraham story to Paul and George

Time in the car with Paul and George

Hearing my three men Skyped with each other (Paul and George with Michael in Southern Oregon) for over an hour

Poldark and 60 Minutes with George

Where I felt most dead and non-responsive yesterday:


Reading two very long, vitriolic timeline posts from two of my high school friends disappointed in the outcome of the election. There is a difference between grieving over the outcome and spewing hate. I know it is because they are scared, but it crossed a line. Many of my friends were like that for the first few days, but these two continued it making irrational claims about what our country would become and hatred toward those who did not vote the way they think others should have voted.  It was deadening. (Funny thing is that the overwhelming majority of my high school friends voted the other way and are very verbal about it. Who knew? I must have come from a very conservative town and never knew it!) 

Imagine one practical thing we can commit to that will express our love for God and others:

Talk with M about the story of Abraham today.

Yesterday's "love on":

I listened and loved on Lisa over lunch (another "L"!) 




Sunday, November 13, 2016

Prayerful Review: Days 3-5

Last time it was a review of 48 hours, but this will be almost 72! I don't think I will be doing this everyday, but I will do it when the Spirit leads me to do so!

Thanks to  God  for  the  gifts  received through  the last 72 hours:

Having an unexpected day off on Thursday from caring for Aunt Dot and having a "no obligations" day for most of it. I needed to catch up with myself after the whirlwind of vitriol I have read online (It is from both sides, but the majority is from Clinton supporters angry at Trump supporters.)


Composing a letter to my friend about being "Switzerland" in this election and having her tell me it was "life-giving." Then she posed a long post and tagged me because of my delivery of bread, and the overwhelming positive response to her open letter has been beautiful to see. 

A gracious, calmed down response to a person eliciting fears among people about the future after I challenged him to "be the change he wants to see in the world."


Rest, rest, rest on Thursday. I so needed it!


The gift of my husband's family. Taking care of Dot has been a privilege. Such an easy patient to care for.


The lovely people who visit her every day - 12 on Friday! 


A mother in law who is no-nonsense but also very caring.


A husband who is tops in my book! 



Notice  where  we have  felt  most  alive  and  responsive  in  the  past  72  hours:


When I took time to be alone and non-obligated on Thursday. I needed a recharge time for my soul. I really am 68% introvert as much as people do not want to believe that. 


Grading most of the extra credit papers of my students and getting a window into their souls. 


When feeding and helping Aunt Dot. Being an encouragement to her.


Singing "It is Well with My Soul" with Aunt Dot before the FLURRY of people came to visit her. 


A 45 minute break to walk to Lisa's and wish her a Happy Birthday (even though she was not home).


Talking to my mother-in-law.


Time with God on Friday morning up on the hill at the Newberg house meditating on the message of hope in Jesus' birth.


Walking in the Saturday Sunshine with my Sweetheart. Talking all day about everything. Sabbath Rest with my Sweetheart. Ahh.


Running into my OSU Basketball Coach, Aki Hill, on our Saturday Sunshine walk!


Nothing but "Little Carol" Love for my OSU Basketball Coach, Aki Hill! 

Supper and Supplication with Sweetheart and Sharla over ISIS in Iraq. Watch out world!

Listening to Sharla's heart about their fellowship.

Sitting on the couch on a Sunday morning talking with George (sweetheart above). 

Listening to the podcast interview with Trevor Hudson (the person who suggested this exercise).

The video Carol and Laura posted from that sports newscaster who did not vote for either and talked about Jesus. It was priceless. Do not know his name but bless him.

Talking to my best friend in Idaho over the whole political process. She and her husband did the same thing my husband and I did - voted for neither. It was a "safe" conversation. 

Notice  where  we   have  felt  most  dead  and unresponsive:

Judgemental comments from people who do not like the outcome of the election. (Observation: I hear little "gloating" from the people who voted for Trump but so much hate (who are saying people who voted for Trump are hateful) toward those who voted for Trump from the Hillary voting people. I know many of them are really unhappy in their personal lives (not all). So this might be part of the anger. My heart aches!) I am PURPLE and SWITZERLAND. So, I watch and am so sad, sad, sad. 

I was responsive, but it deadens me to think that my Afghan friend's brother was arrested and killed in Afghanistan by the Taliban for being an engineer! We have no idea what the world is going through. 

People putting down one of my relatives! Not happy!

Feeling fear when I got an email from someone I have felt best to move on from due to the toxicity of the relationship.

Imagine one practical thing that we can commit to do the next day that will express our love for God and others:

I will add on to this when I feel God giving me direction! And God did give me direction! I was walking to my lunch with Lisa; show love by listening to Lisa. So, I did a lot of active listening while she told me all about her incredibly stressful year. I had not seen her since November 5, 2015! We talked for four hours! Of course, Lisa is so other-centered that she had to ask me about myself too, but I made an effort, up front, to really listen, listen, and love, love, love Lisa (and of course, that is all in an alliteration). 

Follow Up from the last one: 

Pray for Peshmerga advance on Mosul. Few casualties (as per Sinor's request).  

(Update: YES! Sharla, George and I gathered around a map of IRAQ and prayed for over an hour for this important part of the world. It was a sweet time.)

Take care of and love on Aunt Dot tomorrow.

(Update: It is truly an honor and privilege to usher her into heaven.) 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Prayerful Review of the Day 2 & 3

I started this two days ago, and my computer was accidentally not plugged in. So, I didn't bother to reboot when it conked out. So, I am combining Days 2 & 3 (November 8-9)


Update from Day 1 - Showing Love

This is a more detailed update than yesterday: Well that was so fun! I asked God what my "one thing" should be to show love, and he told me only to "bake bread." So I dutifully woke up at 6:15 am (on Election Day) and started the 3 1/2 hour process. He told me He would let me know further directions. 

First, the smell of warm fresh bread was so lovely as my kingdom community praised through Psalm 145 and prayed for the world, the persecuted believers in our world, our friends in the community, and each other. Love, love, love. We broke with bread. God is good. I could bless those four women whom I am already loving more and more. 


Second, three of the five of us decided to go to the mosque. I grabbed one of the three loaves and went to meet with 10 women huddled around a table reading the Qur'an with my friend, G, teaching from it. There were snacks at the end, and one of ladies had cut up my bread and brought it to the table. G, the teacher and my friend, said, "Did you know that in Syria when you bring bread to someone, it means you are bringing love?"

I did not know that, but I told her that I asked God how I could show love to someone, and He told me to bake bread!

WIN WIN

So here is the review of what I am doing. The post from two days ago gives more detail:


After  saying  thank  you  to  God  for  the  gifts  received through  the  day,  we  take   time  to  notice  where  we have  felt  most  alive  and  responsive  in  the  past   twenty-­four  hours.  This  is  often  a  sign  of  where  we have  lived  in  tune  with   God’s  dream  for  our  lives  in the  world.  Then  we  take  time  to  notice  where  we   have  felt  most  dead  and  unresponsive.  This  is  often  a sign of where we have most probably been living out of tune with God's dream. I am discovering that noticing these differences on a daily basis has the effect of fine-tuning my capacity to make future decisions more in tune with God. I am gradually learning that our daily cooperation with God depends upon making faithful choices in the matters that confront us, both big and small. 
There are two other important bits to this practice of a daily review. We also look back over the day to see where we have failed to live as a faithful friend and partner of God. Bringing these failures to the cross each evening opens our hearts to receive afresh the mercy and forgiveness of the divine friendship and keeps us growing in it. The last bit is to imagine one practical thing that we can commit to do the next day that will express our love for God and others. Obviously we will need help and race with this so we ask for this as well. This is the creative part of the review where we are able to exercise our initiative for the sake of realizing God's dream in the world. 
Thanks to  God  for  the  gifts  received through  the (last two) day(s):

The gift of this group of Tuesday Kingdom Women who look at the Words of Jesus and obey them by loving God, their families, and their neighbors. 

Sunshine and a 10 mile bike ride among Fall leaves. Took my breath away. So thankful to live in this town. 

Friendship with people of other faiths. Finding common ground. Bridging the gap. (Visit to the mosque was so lovely!) 

Living in a democracy.  

Gift of diversity of thought and opinion.

The peaceful transition of power.

Notice  where  we have  felt  most  alive  and  responsive  in  the  past   twenty-­four  hours:

Riding my bike through Fall Leaves!

Talking to my hubby and him giving me the freedom to stay home and rest instead of traveling up north to be with him and his mom and ailing aunt.

An enlightening email exchange with one of my besties over this election and coming to a meeting of heart and mind. (I did not vote for either candidate in case you were wondering.)

Notice  where  we   have  felt  most  dead  and unresponsive:

The anger of friends who did not like the outcome of the election. YIKES! 

Imagine one practical thing that we can commit to do the next day that will express our love for God and others:

Pray for Peshmerga advance on Mosul. Few casualties (as per Sinor's request).  

Take care of and love on Aunt Dot tomorrow.

Monday, November 07, 2016

"A Prayerful Review of My Day"

"God wants a world in which human beings work together in harmony and friendship with God, with one another, and with all of creation." 
William Barry SJ 

This is an excerpt from a supplemental article to the book I am currently reading: Beyond Loneliness: The Gift of God's Friendship by Trevor Hudson


Once our vision of what God wants is reasonably clear in our mind, we can begin the process of discerning what our personal role in realising God's reign looks like. Every day we are presented with an overwhelming number of choices, decisions, and dilemmas regarding how we live. To live as God's friend and partner is to keep choosing whatever is most conducive in making God's dream real  where we actually are. This is what it means to cooperate in our partnership and friendship with God. It must lead to faithful choices and obedient actions on our part. After all, what God wants for our world will only happen if we play our part. No one else can do in God's world what you and I are called to do where life has placed us. 

Engaging in this kind of faithful friendship and partnership with God will require the practice of learning to discern. So let me explore one spiritual discipline that helps us with this. . . . I like to call this particular devotional practice "a prayerful review of  my day." It is best done sometime in the evening. Built around the Examen of St Ignatius it goes something like this:

After  saying  thank  you  to  God  for  the  gifts  received through  the  day,  we  take   time  to  notice  where  we have  felt  most  alive  and  responsive  in  the  past   twenty-­four  hours.  This  is  often  a  sign  of  where  we have  lived  in  tune  with   God’s  dream  for  our  lives  in the  world.  Then  we  take  time  to  notice  where  we   have  felt  most  dead  and  unresponsive.  This  is  often  a sign of where we have most probably been living out of tune with God's dream. I am discovering that noticing these differences on a daily basis has the effect of fine-tuning my capacity to make future decisions more in tune with God. I am gradually learning that our daily cooperation with God depends upon making faithful choices in the matters that confront us, both big and small. 

There are two other important bits to this practice of a daily review. We also look back over the day to see where we have failed to live as a faithful friend and partner of God. Bringing these failures to the cross each evening opens our hearts to receive afresh the mercy and forgiveness of the divine friendship and keeps us growing in it. The last bit is to imagine one practical thing that we can commit to do the next day that will express our love for God and others. Obviously we will need help and race with this so we ask for this as well. This is the creative part of the review where we are able to exercise our initiative for the sake of realizing God's dream in the world. 

So, I am going to try to do this on a regular basis until I finish this book with my online book club in mid-December. I cannot guarantee I will type them here (I have been journaling a lot more lately in my physical journal, and it has been really fun). 

Gifts received throughout the day:

  • Early morning time with God and listening and obeying what He told me and connecting people together
  • Saying Happy Birthday to my buddy and looking at video and pictures of our trip to Sayulita, Mexico five years ago
  • George not having to leave until 7:45 because he has a dental appointment
  • Warm bike ride into work
  • Singing praise songs out loud as I rode
  • The "avenue" of trees I ride though and enter into my work environment
  • Nice smiles from the staff at PAC
  • Students eager and willing to let me transfer balls from one class to another (even one not in my class). 
  • Cancellation from my conversant so I could have a whole afternoon to myself
Where did I feel most alive and responsive?

When that connection was made for someone I have been praying for and continued connection for another person. I guess I am most alive when I see answered prayer, especially when I have prayed corporately with others, and we have seen the answer together!

Where did I feel most dead and unresponsive?

I honestly cannot think of anything. 

Imagine one practical thing that we can commit to do the next day that will express our love for God and others. 

Make Challah bread and listen to who God would have me give it to. 

Update 11/8/2016: I followed through, and God blessed big time. He told me to take the bread to the mosque where about ten ladies gathered at noon. They had a little teaching time, and then they brought the bread out with other treats. The leader said, "Oh, in Syria, giving bread means giving love. Did you know that when you thought to bring it?"

I told her, "No, all I know is that I prayed and asked God what I could do to express love today, and He told me specifically to bake bread and would show me who I was to give it to."  

The ladies were delighted to hear that! 








Old Herbaceous

This was a sweet story about a gardener in England from the time he was a boy to an old man. It made me cry it was so short and sweet.  Here...