Saturday, October 28, 2017

Freewrite Fifteen

12:38 pm

I have been processing and processing some more. I processed with many friends, and I also processed with two graduates of the program. I think I got to the bottom of my pain. 

I also talked with the person I most connected with at the residency. So, I loved her reflections and affirmations. So, it will send me over the edge in the direction of staying. 

Lorraine was the only one who thinks I shouldn't. She thinks I have so much already happening here and does not think I need it.

George thinks I need to just listen and obey. It is that simple. I am still trying to hear what He is saying to me. I am so happy to do whatever God tells me to do; one way or the other.

SO here I am on a Sabbath Saturday. I am SO HAPPY to just be having to do NOTHING. Yesterday ended up being a lot of things to do. I processed with someone for two hours on the phone about spiritual warfare. It was good. I talked to a possible Spiritual Director, and I think that she is a YES. I felt like we really connected. She is great, and I can do it by Skype and not have to worry about commuting in the winter and paying an exorbitant amount of money or meeting with someone who has commercialized her direction (one of them has a very slick website, and I want to meet her, but I sense it would not be a good fit for Spiritual Direction). 

I will miss Sister Joan though. She is so sweet, and she really helped me over a little hump a year and a half ago. I am so grateful for her help. I think I will still meet with her on occasion for things, but I think a monthly commute up to Mount Angel would be too much, especially in the middle of the winter. So I will not do that. 

I think there is potential for getting training with Fran's particular ministry too, especially if they do a training up in Portland rather than me having to go to Seattle. 

Ok, on to other things to freewrite about. How about this toe of mine? ACK! I cannot believe that these last days of sunshine in the fall are preempted by a broken toe! I love to walk and talk, but I am still talking to You God, but I miss my walks. I so miss my walks. I tried to walk last night, and it was very painful afterward. So, I need to take this all very slow. 

I can go for a bike ride later on today though. I wonder if George will want to go with me. I really need to get some exercise. I have been eating too much and exercising too little.

Classes are going well. I have a sweet group of students. No "extra grace required" ones who are constantly trying to take advantage of you and beat the system. That has been a relief. 

I love Pilates. Just saying. I want to develop a class that incorporates praise music and scripture into the routine. That will be great. 

I like all the talks I have had today. I think I need to go and preempt my fifteen minutes though because I need to have a shower. 

So, it will be only 11 minutes today. bye. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Trying to Get to the Bottom of this Need to Belong

I love so much about this Institute I am in. I love the readings we have been doing. I love the academic question every month. This last one, about living in the Kingdom of God was really, really fun for me to write (even though it took all day). I loved the interaction that I had with those who did respond to my posted question, and I especially loved the response from the grader for this portion of the institute. But the community in general didn't really respond to what I said, they all had a great time with each other talking, but other than two people, my answer was just ignored. The same was true for my practice answer. We were supposed to write about a phrase from Psalm 23 that really hit us, and only one person responded. (And that person is someone I really liked from the Institute.) 

Why does it matter to me?

I have such wonderful community here, and I can talk about these things with them. In fact, I met with one of those small groups on Friday, and we prayed through Psalm 23, and it was so enriching! They get Kingdom living, and we live it together. 

Our new group that started in September is also turning on to Kingdom living. So, I have so much here. So many people who are supportive and loving and wonderful.

In this new community that is mostly online other than 28 days together over the course of two years, I still feel like an outsider looking in. I have a hard time feeling safe with others, but I want to belong with others. I don't want to have chit-chat over the next two years, I want depth and soul-stirring conversation with others. Is that realistic to expect when I will see them face-to-face 28 days over the course of two years? Should I talk to someone about this? Why do I feel that it is so necessary to have people interact with me over these things. 

I guess I expected that it would be more of that for us. That it would be more the whole community versus little groups already forming, of which I don't feel like I have a place within that to say that I have found "my people" there. 

Then I pray, "even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death/I fear no evil/Thy rod and Thy staff/They comfort me."  

I don't think I fear the people. I just don't know how to get inside. I dread the next residency. Maybe it is good to feel that deep loneliness because I certainly do not feel alone with You Lord. 

But it is the same feeling I have when I go to Women's Retreats. I feel so very alone there. With the exception of the time that Cathi Von came, and we hiked around together, I never felt like I belonged there. Cathi is like-hearted though. In a general church population, I just don't find a lot of like-hearted women. 

Yet, I have like-hearted women that I have carved out a life with here in my town. So, I don't feel lonely here. I usually have someone to get face-to-face with and process. 

Will it just take some time to do that with the people at this residency? Can that even be achieved with this residency with the little bit of time we all have together. I want to feel like I belong to this community on line. I respond to so many people's posts, but that doesn't get reciprocated. I post a prayer request, and no one says they will pray. I asked for prayer before the residency, and people did respond. Is it something I said or did at the residency that makes people repelled by me that they wouldn't respond to a request for a broken toe? Should I just leave my requests for my face-to-face community here who has been very concerned for me toe and understands why because of my desire to do a 24 mile prayer walk? Maybe people just are not into the things that I am into. I don't think I did something to make people be repelled by me. 

I feel so NOT alone here in Corvallis. I feel SO ALONE with this online community. 

So, I heard a "wait" this morning regarding this community. I love what we are reading, and I hope my small group goes well. I do like the people in it. Maybe my expectations are just too high for the larger community. 

Speak Lord, I am listening. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Carol's Beloved Charter/Statement

My princess, I have given you the names Carol and Boldly Beloved for a reason. You are a wonderful creation of mine, and I am with you always as your victorious, quietly loving, warrior, empowering you to be bold and rejoicing over you with songs and shouts of joy (and your earthly father was listening to Me when he changed your name to Carol without even knowing it meant "Song of Joy"). On top of all this, I want you to know there is no condemnation from Me because you are in Christ Jesus, you are free from the critique of people, living only to please and delight Me as your audience of One. Nothing, absolutely nothing, will separate you from My love in Christ Jesus.

Saturday Sixteen Minute Freewrite

7:00 am, and GO!

Here is go with 16 minutes of furiously typing on the keyboard. :) 

Bummer about my toe after 30 days of walking around the campus and praying God's Kingdom come there, that I would break my toe. I must realize that GOD IS GOOD and SOVEREIGN, and there is a reason I am not to walk 21 miles this morning.

So, I am brining my bike, and I am probably going to bike three laps to their one lap around. This is a big undertaking, and I heard God say to do 21 miles, but it will be on wheels rather than on my feet!

So, here are the other things that I am thinking of this morning. Regarding the whole thing about the Residency. I do not need to feel GUILTY that I have done most of these things. I do not need to feel GUILTY that I don't have anymore false narrative floating around after 35 years of seeking God's true narratives (I think the main false narrative is that in order to fit in with the other participants, I have to act like all this stuff is new to me, and it is not. I cannot be fake in that respect. I have to be true to who You made me to be and live for an audience of one - even if it means NOT fitting in and being able to enter into their experiences. Still need to know why this is important to me. George said he would not feel guilty about it. Why do I?). I need to just share my journey honestly and hopefully. George says it might give people hope that it is really possible to come out whole! 

So, I guess it might be lonely, but it also might be surprisingly great. I need to be more optimistic about all of this and not worry that I feel on the "outskirts" of this big group of people. I do feel great with a few people, and I feel good with most of the leadership, and there are some people I just have not gotten to know yet, and I wish people would have sought me out more, but I did most of the seeking out of people, and some just didn't seem interested in me. 

I still need to explore why that bothers me though. Lord, what do you want me to know? 

You are unique and one of a kind. No need to fake anything. Be genuine and real. Hudson Taylor was unusual with the other workers too. Just be you. I like you.

Ok, I will be me. 

The good news is that I am all caught up on my Praxis and Academic Questions. I am feeling more comfortable writing them. I don't think I will ever go to seminary to get a degree in this stuff, but it is fun to try to do my best. This really is a lot of work. I think I will not run a Kingdom Community next year and maybe even take Fall term off of teaching Pilates next year so I can concentrate more fully on all of this. 

Lord, I am going to ask you to confirm, once and for all, that you really DO want me to be there! OK? I want to be like Noah and do ALL that you ask of me.

Well, I better got and get ready for this epic 21 miles of prayer for the OSU campus. WOOHOO! We are a small band of prayer warriors, but we have a BIG God! 

Bye from the Broken Toed Bandit. 

58. If We Make It Home by Nelson

This book uses an alternating first person point of view narrative for three college friends reunited after twenty-five years apart. I didn't really identify with any of the three main character, but eventually, I found myself interested in their stories and where they would all end up in the end.

I think this is a very good first novel for this new author! I loved the Oregon setting for the adventure that these women are taken on. There were a couple of things that I thought were a bit far-fetched, and I would have liked a little more development of the "why" behind what happened in order to make it seem a bit more plausible. But all that aside, I enjoyed the book and was glad I read it!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel Publications and was under no obligation to post a review, positive or negative.*

57. Bella Poldark by Winston Graham

Did I really not review this book! It is the final in the beautiful series of 12 books. I will so miss these characters! It is worth the 6064 pages of reading. Winston Graham does a lovely job of wrapping up all the stories for each main character. Really enjoyed the whole series.


Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Freewrite Fifteen

Trusting God is a totally safe place to be. I am just processing on this keyboard without stopping for fifteen minutes. I am reclining with my toe elevated because I broke it. Silly me. It found the post that holds up my kitchen island. I am almost humored by it. It is not incredibly painful (at least not until about 11:30 pm last night when I had to take the "buddy tape" off because I think it was swelling beyond it). I just hope I can still prayer walk on Saturday.

This week was "Synthesis Week" for the Renovaré Institute that I attended last week in Santa Barbara. I feel sort of like I cheated. Because we have had "Kingdom Communities" in place since 2009, we know what it is like to live in the reality of a "community of prayerful love" full of Kingdom Seekers. I am so grateful for the community that we have here in Corvallis. So, I was sort of lonely at the Institute. Like I was an outsider looking in at people coming to the realization that the Kingdom is here and now. It was delightful to see, but it was like I wasn't really invited to the party and was looking in through the glass windows from the outside. 

It did not help that my back went out ROYALLY, and I was somewhat alienated from others because I had to lie on my back for relief, and I became the girl with the "bad back" (which is not true - a massage therapist INJURED me, and I was so sad about that) that people walked by and said, "Poor girl," but few came in to talk while I was flat on my back. So, the only way I could enter in was to say good-bye to the pain and talk at meals, and I did. I was lost in that, but the after effect was set backs in my healing. But that is OK, I had delightful conversations other than one time. That time was hard because I saw such pain in the other person, but that person is closed, wounded, defensive. The person does not feel safe with me yet. So I could not pry, but I can certainly pray.

I like the people though, but there were two points where I thought I might quit. But I asked for confirmation, and You gave it to me. Then I asked again after I got home, and George said, "Let's ask God." So, I am still asking God, but I am pretty sure that I will stick around. It just takes time to make new friends, and I feel like I missed those first two crucial, initial days. People walking off to the beach, which I had dreamed of doing, but I never got to do. Bonding happens on walks, but I was spending them flat on my back, but God told me to look up, and I saw the birds and the sky. He told me to skip an evening Lectio Divina time and do it by myself in my room on my back (after I had a good cry). 

I think the time I felt most lonely was when everyone was playing games on the last night. I am not a big game player, and I hoped that some would just want to talk; but one by one, the people I was talking to were asked to join tables of game players, but no one asked me. I felt like crying. (Rudolph wasn't asked to join in any reindeer games is running through my head right now.) So, I just went back to my room. I wasn't sad once I sat down to finish my book, but I was walking to my room.

The next morning was much better though when I got up to about 2/3rds the number of people because the other 1/3 had early morning flights home. That number was more manageable, and it seemed like many of the Introverts gathered around in the morning sun to process things, and that was good for my soul. I also prayed for confirmation again, and we were all to pray for people on our right and on our left, and one of the them was the speaker who was always in the room in which I was laying on my back. He was the only one who saw how much pain I was truly in. He is a true introvert in that he did not engage with others in the Free Time and was by himself a lot. I know I need to be by myself because that is what energizes me, but I love people too! So, it is always the conflict I face when I am in large groups of new people.

It was also helpful to process with Kim when I came back. I wish I had a soul-mate there. I wish I had asked George to come and do it with me. That would have been so much better, but even when I was with George when we went to Europe, and the "drinkers" all became a clique in our tour group, and they initially wanted us but then realized we weren't drinker so quit inviting us to their gatherings, I felt hurt. Silly me. I have never seen those people since and will not see them again, but it brought me back to high school when my friends started sleeping around and smoking pot, and they left me alone because they knew I wouldn't do the things they were doing. It was lonely. 

So, I go through the painful process of becoming accustomed to a new group of people. That is always scary and hard for me. But I think I will stick with it because I like the leadership, and I also like the things we are reading. 

This was longer than 15 minutes, but it was good to process out loud, so to speak. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Falling In Love

Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in Love ...
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.
Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ (1907-1991)

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...