Saturday, February 17, 2018

A Healthy Two

When Twos are healthy and in balance, they really are loving, helpful, generous, and considerate. People are drawn to them like bees to honey. Healthy Twos warm others in the glow of their hearts. They enliven others with their appreciation and attention, helping people to see positive qualities in themselves that they had not previously recognized. In short, healthy Twos are the embodiment of “the good parent” that everyone wishes they had: someone who sees them as they are, understands them with immense compassion, helps and encourages with infinite patience, and is always willing to lend a hand—while knowing precisely how and when to let go. Healthy Twos open our hearts because theirs are already so open and they show us the way to be more deeply and richly human.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Ignatian Retreat - Evaluation Questions

This Ignatian Adventure has been the greatest thing about the last three months. It is not part of the Renovaré Institute, but the Prayer of Examen is (we read A Simple Life-Changing Prayer by Manny), and it led me to do this retreat. 

Here is a summary of what the Spiritual Exercises are all about:

1. Encounter the living God and God’s presence in creation, their personal life stories and current life circumstances;

2. Better discern their deepest desires to understand God’s call and presence in their lives and in the world; and

3. Become Contemplatives in Action; experiencing and grasping more deeply the Ignatian vision of Finding God in All Things.

I felt I needed to let God lead me through it rather than go through the predetermined format of the liturgical year. (I also wanted it to line up with what our Kingdom Community is meditating on throughout the week.) Most SEEL (Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life) are formatted around our busy lives. One book I have says that it is about 30-45 minutes a day of focused prayer time; and because I have been given the sleepless elite gene, I decided to steward it well by giving my mornings to more extended times of prayer through these exercises. So, I focused on the grace for the week by listening to the great online retreat recordings that I had loaded on to my iPhone and played through my Echo every morning as I made my tea. 

Ignatius was big on flexibility. There is the 30 day retreat (20th Annotation) where one goes to a retreat center and goes through all the exercises in that period of time. This is very expensive ($4195), and the closest one for me is 10 hours away in Los Altos, California. I wish I could do it someday though, but the one in 2018 is while we are in France.

There are many nine-month programs (19th Annotation according to Ignatius). My friend is in one in Portland where she has assignments each day for 30 minutes and then goes to a retreat center one Saturday morning a month. She also meets with a spiritual director ($445 but not sure if it includes the spiritual director meeting). 

I evaluated much of this with my spiritual director, and it was so great. She is trained in leading someone through the Spiritual Exercises, and I love her insights.

One question from the reflection week of the retreat was where I wanted to focus in this freewrite:

Did I experience conflicts, difficult times, differently because of how I placed them in the context of being with and in Jesus during this retreat?

Absolutely, positively YES! I can honestly say that this was the BEST thing about the retreat for me. I found myself bringing Jesus into these difficulties in real time. 

Often, when things are difficult, I pretty quickly turn to the Lord after the conflict, but during the retreat I found myself sensing his presence as it occurred. He gave me such grace to handle three difficult situations between December 23 and January 14 as they were occurring. It was really cool. So, I am grateful for the real time engagement with Jesus during it, and all three of them ended up with such peace and resolve. Two involved me engaging head on and getting apologies that I did not expect, but the third, I felt God saying to let it go and move on and let George handle things from here on out, and we got an apology for that one too! So, amazing! 

So, I am sold on these exercises for everyone! I heartily recommend it. I don't know if I would ever do the 30 day retreat because I don't think I could be away from George for all that time! Plus, it is very expensive, but maybe I could do an abbreviated 8 day one or something like that. 

Well, I am off to do other things. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Shepherd Me, O God

Shepherd me, O God, beyond my wants,
beyond my fears, from death into life.

1. God is my shepherd, so nothing I shall want,
I rest in the meadows of faithfulness and love,
I walk by the quiet waters of peace.

2. Gently you raise me and heal my weary soul,
you lead me by pathways of righteousness and truth,
my spirit shall sing the music of your Name.

3. Though I should wander the valley of death,
I fear no evil, for you are at my side,
your rod and your staff, my comfort and my hope.

4. You have set me a banquet of love in the face of hatred,
crowning me with love beyond my pow'r to hold.

5. Surely your kindness and mercy follow me all the days of my life;
I will dwell in the house of my God forevermore.

Ingnatian Retreat Week 33 -- God’s Love for Us, Our Response

Used with permission.

First Point.  This is to recall to mind the blessings of creation and redemption, and the special favors I have received.

I will ponder with great affection how much God our Lord has done for me, and how much He has given me of what He possesses, and finally, how much, as far as He can, the same Lord desires to give Himself to me according to His divine decrees.

Then I will reflect upon myself, and consider, according to all reason and justice, what I ought to offer the Divine Majesty, that is, all I possess and myself with it.  Thus, as one would who is moved by great feeling, I will make this offering of myself:

Receive, O Lord, all my liberty.
Take my memory, my understanding, and my entire will.
Whatsoever I have or hold, You have given me;
I give it all back to You
and surrender it wholly to be governed by your will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more.
(Spiritual Exercises, #234) 

Another translation:
Take, Lord, and receive
all my liberty, my memory,
my understanding, my entire will—
all that I am and possess.
You have given all this to me.
I now return it all to you.
It is yours now.
Use these gifts according to your will.
Give me only your love and your grace.
That is enough for me, and all that I desire.

"I ask God to give me an intimate knowledge 
of the many gifts I have received, 
that filled with gratitude for all, 
I may in all things 
love and serve the Divine Majesty." 
(Spiritual Exercises, #233) 

Intimate knowledge.
That's what I ask you for, Lord.  
I want that insight, that understanding, that knowledge
that will be about our intimacy.

Many gifts.
Let me count the ways you have loved me.
The gifts of your love.
All that you have given me.
All that I am.
I so often look at my shortcomings.
Let me see the gifts.
All of them.

Filled with gratitude.
Fill me, Lord, with gratitude.
Let my heart, 
sometimes filled with so much else,
be filled with thanksgiving.
Give me the feelings of gratitude,
of a grateful heart.
Joy, freedom, peace, generosity.

In all things love and serve.
Let the overflowing gratitude in my heart
touch all the things and people in my life.
Every thought, word and deed.
Every hurt, every slight, every loss.
Every reaction and response.
Every opportunity and choice.
Every offering of myself.
In all,
let me love and serve you.

Monday, February 12, 2018

6. Retreat in the Real World: Finding Intimacy with God Wherever You Are

I have been doing the Creighton University Online Retreat since the Fall so I decided to get the print version of the online retreat to take it with me when I do not have easy access to internet. I love this book! I just read an article about how the Online Retreat came to be, and I love the spirit in which it was started:


This is an adaptation of the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. It is an "annotation" as he recommended a 30 day retreat at a retreat center with daily spiritual direction. I looked up the prices of this, and it is about 3000! So, this is a FREE option if you do the online, and in some ways, it is more practical because you invite God into your everyday life rather than remove yourself from everyday life in order to go on this retreat. 

I started this in the fall, and I have gone at a faster speed than the weeks because I wanted the weeks to line up with where our Kingdom Community is, and we usually get to the Crucifixion about a month earlier than the liturgical year because we learn the stories before Holy Week so we can tell our friends. I love that they are overlapping now.

It is a lovely thing. There is more on the site than is in the book so I use them both together. I especially like that the site has the chapter recorded so I put them on my iPhone and listen to them almost every morning. I listen to the same chapter day after day. The real proof will be if I am really bringing God into my everyday life, and my life is being transformed as a result, and I would say a hearty, "YES!" I wish everyone could do this! 

I have thought about adapting bits of it for evangelicals because just a few things in the books that I had to adapt, but it is pretty minor, really. I love that they made it so it was less theological and more pastoral (read the article I linked).

I still would like to do a 30 day retreat (the closest one for me is 10 hours away in Los Altos in the summer), but this has been delightful for me.

I wanted other to join me next year, but I have gotten a rather "dull" response from others. So, I might just have to can that idea for another option. I wanted to do an adaptation and incorporate the things I am learning in the Renovaré Institute. Maybe I will make it more Spiritual Formation and add Ignatian Spirituality elements to it. I also would maybe like to do it for the world-wide group that we are a part of. That might reach a wider variety of people.

Well, I am 81%, but I had some time this morning to write the review. So, I am just going to post it and share the joy I have experienced with this book.

Here is the link to the Online version of the book:

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Fifteen Minute Freewrite

I really should be going out in the sunshine, but I am going to pause and write for just fifteen minutes. I think this is the longest I have gone in years without a freewrite. The last one was 1/7/18. So, here I go.

The sun is shining, and George is cutting the grass. I just finished grading all my papers for 56 students. One of my favorite students had to drop the class this last week. She had too much on her plate. I am really glad that PAC is going to allow students to take the classes for non-credit. I don't know how it will work with the papers though. I think they still have to complete it? I will have to look up what the protocol is for the class. I also have my first Faculty/Staff taking on of my PAC classes. I didn't know that Faculty/Staff could take one of my classes. I will have to tell friends who want to take my class that they can do that. This term it is pretty easy to do so because I have the big room in Langton for my Pilates I class. Usually, I have to limit the number of people in my room because the other one is too small to hold more than 30 people comfortably. This one could easily even hold 50, but that would be too many papers to grade.

I am evaluating whether I will continue with my "Light" version of the training group we do. I have a "full-leaded" version this year, and the "light" version from last year wanted to keep on meeting ever other week, but often, they look to me to lead it when I am there, and I end up leading it when I would prefer not to. So, I am wondering if I were not there if I would not be looked to in that way. It is a casual leading. I need to really pray. Is it a time for coaching beyond what they learned in the first group? I am not sure it is so well-defined. I know that it was R who really wanted to continue to meet, and she seems to be really applying what she learned in the first year of training. 

I leaver for my second Renovaré Residency next week, and I am excited this time. I am not afraid. I am not tired. I am glad to go. I will not be staying with someone who has something really heavy going on prior to the time in the residency. SO that will be good. I will also not have to fly. Although driving through Seattle can sometimes be very stressful for me. I am in a great place to absorb. I can also take all my accouterments for keeping my back in great shape: my roller, Pilates mat, band, etc. It will be great. Also, we are not going to a "all faiths" retreat center that have statues to foreign gods! That will really help me. I am also just feeling so strengthened these days. God is always with me, but I am so much more aware of it these days, even in the midst of other things going on that are difficult. So I am so grateful!

I have really, really liked doing the Creighton University Online Retreat. Every morning, I get up and listen to the fifteen minute audio and then I meditate on the verses for the day and pray through the examen. I am in a great rhythm with all of that, and I look forward to finishing up with all of that around Easter. What a joy that has been for me. 

I have really liked the new training group too. We started with nine people, but one of the people was just not ready for the intense commitment that in entails, and she took the January off-ramp that we suggested she take if she was not able to balance work, school, and the training. It has really helped solidify our group making us very cohesive and committed. I love it! Thursday we did something we have never done before. We had them get together in discipleship pairs and one disciple the other for 25 minutes a piece. It was great! 

I need to melt some pounds away these days. I have been moving much less than I usually do because I broke my toe. The last week was better than the week before so I won't beat myself up for that. 

I heard George finish mowing the lawn. So I think I will go see if he wants to go for a walk. 

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

5. The Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ by Jeanne Guyon


I have read this many years ago, and then I gave away my copy. Then, it was part of our Renovare reading for this term.

I loved it. It is really a lovely book. I loved these two reviews. So I will let them to the talking for me!


Here I go for fifteen minutes. I did not do the fifteen-minute freewrite Friday as I thought. And I totally missed this last Friday. So, I a...