Friday, December 28, 2018

Friday Freewrite Fifteen

My battery will probably die before I get through this fifteen minutes of freewriting, but I thought I would try, nonetheless. As a reminder, the purpose of freewriting is to just type away in a "stream-of-consciousness" sort of writing style without any thought about punctuation or grammar. I don't proofread and just press the button at the end. I often write this way and type mistakenly there/their/they're (I know the difference) and other various and sundry things like that. It is all accidental, and the point is that I just type out my thoughts. 

I love this blog. I think I have had it since 2002? Or is it 2004? I don't know, but it has been fun to just type away and log my books and my exercise and my fitness.

Let's do a "State of my Life" 

HEART - I am doing fabulously. The test was the change in our Christmas due to one person who didn't want to do an extended family get-together because of current mental state. I thought it would be harder than it was, but it was great. My heart was fine, and I loved having a low-key time at my mother-in-law's house with just our family. God spoke some pretty crucial things. I think it was a test for my outwardly focused nature looking for validation from other people. I am loved and wanted by the people who truly matter. My heart only experienced LOVE, JOY, PEACE, and HOPE this Christmas.

SOUL - Oh how I continue to love the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. I did it last year and love it then, but this Incarnation and Nativity contemplations using all my senses and putting myself in the scene sent my soul touching heaven. It is a spiral down into deeper things. This "Second Week" (not really weeks) of Exercises are so precious, and they hit me differently from last year with the new family revelation above. My soul is at rest. The grace sought is to have an "interior knowledge of Jesus who became man for me in order to love him more deeply and follow him more closely." I think this is being accomplished. 

MIND - I am stimulating my mind through great drama and storytelling. I watched a version of A Christmas Carol that I had never seen with Patrick Stewart, and it was lovely. No one does it like Dickens for me at Christmas. I think the "mindless" Hallmark movies were OK, but they are not really very stimulating to the mind with formulaic plots. So I will stick to the classics. I am also reading Glittering Vices for my Renovare Book Club. That has been good and stimulating for my mind. Of course, all the books I am reading related to the Spiritual Exercises are great too. I am also learning more about the body through reading The Vital Psoas Muscle. Lastly, I am learning about the Enneagram Instincts by taking this course with Russ Hudson. It is TEN weeks, and it is DEEP, and he is the EXPERT on the Enneagram. So I love how my mind is being stimulated and life is being transformed as I follow through on his assignments. (I also got a scholarship for the course - yay me for applying on my iPhone and not even proofreading the application.) 

STRENGTH - Well, I was doing GREAT until the day after Christmas. ACK! I got all fixed up by Margaret Bartlett on December 18. Dr Myers just could not get it for me after two appointments. Margaret stuck for a week, but I became "Leaning Tower of Carol" the day after Christmas. I think falling asleep on my mother in law's couch on Christmas Day is the culprit. Anywho, it has been a PAIN and my THORN IN THE FLESH for three days. Praying that Margaret has a cancellation before we leave for our vacation today. PLEASE, PRETTY PLEASE. 

Other than that, I am strong in my core and muscles. I am also not overeating and have kept until my goal the whole Christmas Season! Next is a little lower just to get a cushion for travel days. Still recording and on Day 147 of recording and weighing. It helps. 

Well, TIME IS UP! 

Saturday, December 22, 2018

60. The Promise: A Celebration of Christ's Birth


I meditated on The Nativity in the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola  this morning and decided to listen to this whole album (on Amazon Music) and read this book as I listened. I have owned it for years, but the last time I put it on my reading list was 2006!  I cannot believe it has been that long since I read it because this is what I said about it in 2006: "This is another Christmas tradition. I decided to just read this and not read Immanuel (Card's other book on the entire life of Christ that includes these songs as well) this year. I love this book; and someday, I would like to make a musical out of it. I need to read it a few more Christmases though!" 

Here it is 12 years later, and I am read it cover to cover again. I think I have read parts of it every Christmas though. 

It was so meaningful to listen by candlelight before our fireplace crèche and imagine myself in this sacred scene. Profound and lovely and no one writes better about these things than Michael Card. I highly recommend this book. 

Friday, December 21, 2018

Friday Freewrite Fifteen

I will write for fifteen. Do not have any agenda here, but I am just typing without a break. Yesterday was nice. I got up, eager to pray the Spiritual Exercises, and I was not disappointed. I did a "savoring of the graces" received from the previous prophecies leading up to Jesus' birth. Of course, that included listening to the Messiah and dancing all over my living room in the wee hours of the morning. 

I was out the door by 8:45am to go to Marlys Memorial. I listened to News of the World. It is our April 18 book. What can I say? I am a Helper Type Two with an Achiever Three Wing! I liked it. It was sweet and an easy read. It would not be a book I would have chosen to read off of a shelf, but that is what I like about the Book Babes. Most of the books are not books I would choose to read, but I usually thinking they are OK. I have few so far this year that I have been wowed by except Uneducated: A Memoir - WOW. I am shocked that Unoffendable got a NINE average score when I would give it a generous 7.5 (maybe a 7). It was OK, but books like Tale of Two Cities are a NINE! I liked the book that I recommended this month, if for no other reason that it opens people's eyes to immigrants, and what they go through in this country. It is interesting that the highest scores were given by people who have lived overseas. I think we read it with different eyes having been an immigrant to another culture. So for this reason, I am glad I recommended, even though it did get a low score! Compared to the last book that got a NINE? WOW! (So cute that one of the ladies wrote me a really long apology about how critical she was of the book. She felt really bad that she said too much. I guess I have grown because I wasn't that hurt. For me, that is huge because FAILURE sometimes equates with feeling unloved and unwanted. So, I feel SHAME. But I didn't. I liked the book, and Andrea liked it. That is all that matters to me. (Most importantly, my international friends like it.) 

Anywho. This was on the "better" side of my scale of liking a book so News of the World would be one I would recommend. I recommended it to my hubby. 

I am going off on a tangent. I wanted to write about how I have been on a BUNNY TRAIL all morning. I am on the Nativity contemplation in the Ignatian Exercises, and I got stuck trying to find a video or street view of the road from Nazareth to Bethlehem, and I have been totally frustrated by it. So, I have not really done the contemplation. Now it is already 10:51! I know I have a fairly free day so it should not matter, but I feel like I have totally WASTED my morning since 6 am! UGH! 

I did have a good Awareness Examen though. That was insightful. I still have to keep letting some things go.

So I am off. It has been fifteen minutes, and I am going to have a go at Mary and Joseph and their trip to Bethlehem. 


Thursday, December 20, 2018

59. News of the World

This was a very sweet little novel. I can see why it is so popular. It is about a man who travels the road going to small towns to read the news to people. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

58. Moment by Moment: A Retreat in Everyday Life

I liked many of the questions that are posed during each of the 32 "moments," but some of them were very difficult to figure out what the authors were getting at in the questions. I felt like I needed a commentary from the authors to explain. 

I did like some of the "Suggestions" though. I was especially touched after the Incarnation exercise to have it suggested that I go to a public space and sit and watch people for 5 to 10 minutes to "gaze upon the people in reverence for our shared humanity in all its diversity." I did that in my doctor's office, and it was profound!  

I will definitely use some of the things from this book when I am directing people through the exercises, but I wouldn't use this as the primary text for people doing the 19th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises. The Exercises have a beautiful order to them, and I felt like many things in this book were taken so out of order that it just didn't flow as beautifully as the Exercises are meant to flow (like why am I looking at my Graced History in Moment 18 when most interpretations of the Exercises do it in the Preparation Days and First Week - it just seemed out of place and too late in the process). I feel like it doesn't emphasize Ignatian Contemplation which is a hallmark of the Exercises.

Update March 2020: I have since completed 19 of the 32 moments in the book because I had recommended it to someone looking for a shorter version of the Exercises. While things are out of order, I do think there is a beauty to it that was designed by the authors. I still agree that there is a not emphasis or guidance on Ignatian Contemplation. So the Scriptures were given (good ones) are merely read and not contemplated, which I see as the beauty that Ignatius has brought to our world. All that said, this book would be great for people who need exposure to the Exercises but would be too intimidated by the longer version. Each moment took about 45 minutes to pray through. I already have a dream of bringing a group through this in seven-weeks which would involve about 20 minutes of prayer a day. So, I think this book definitely has a place in the whole realm of possibilities for people who want to taste the Exercises. (Oh, and for Protestants, there is only one place so far Moment 19 where there is a suggestion to "pray to Mary.")

57. The Ignatian Adventure: Experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius in Daily Life

While I am receiving individualized spiritual direction during this round of doing the Exercises, this is a wonderful book for someone who does not have anyone to direct them! 

Nothing More Practical

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.
Attributed to Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ (1907-1991)
From Finding God in All Things: A Marquette Prayer Book © 2009 Marquette University. Used with permission.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Self Preservation Instinct of the Enneagram

I am so happy to say that I got a SCHOLARSHIP to study under Russ Hudson of the Enneagram Institute. He is leading a class called Integrating Your Instincts through the Enneagram. During most classes there is a live Q and A with this expert. It has been so helpful. 

SO there are three instinctual variants within each number. SOCIAL, SEXUAL (meaning one on one preference and intimacy that way that can include sexual - I wish there were a better word), and SELF-PRESERVATION. Self-Preservation is my WEAKEST. Hudson would call it your blind spot. And it is definitely mine! So, he has some exercises in this variant. So I am going to write about how I have been doing over the last three weeks since I started taking the class (or has it been only two - I entered a week late). 

His assignment: Notice how much time you focus on the three zones of Self Preservation:  Self-Care and Wellbeing Practical skills and Maintenance Domesticity, Safety and Comfort 


Well, I am glad you asked Mr. Hudson. Actually, my question was the first one he answered during this session. I have reflected on my life, and this was one that I was forced into due to a nervous breakdown at 23 years old and chronic back problems since junior high. As far as physical self-care, I have to do it or I will be an invalid. So, I have made a career out of it so I force myself to care for my spine. Before my breakdown, I had gone down to ZERO exercise. It was sick. I was "serving the Lord" to an unhealthy degree. I was taking no time for self-care. ZERO. So, cardio has been good since 23. I do it for my mental health. Sweat is so good for your emotional well-being. Just sayin'.

Spinal care was not so great until that major blow out of my back in 2009. In fact, I think it was TODAY nine years ago! I could look to see. I document everything. I know it was one of the "teen" days in December when I got up to go to the bathroom and screamed so loud that my kids ran up from the basement to find out what was all a clatter! I was in bed for five weeks! Yes, I had done Pilates a bit. I had done weight lifting, but I did not have a coordinated flexibility and strength plan. Enter consistent Pilates and then become a personal trainer three years ago (It might have been this very day too!). Learned so many things about self-myofascial release through rolling and then stretching. I have strengthened through Pilates and weight training. So, body self care is going GREAT.

Well-being. I think SOUL CARE has been what I have focused on lately. I do the Examen daily. SO HELPFUL to get in touch with my emotions: consolations and desolations. Making decision based on God's deepest desires for me. SO yes, well being is going much better. I have to stop and rest and not overdue it and say NO a ton to many requests DAILY for me to HELP. But I am doing so well.


He says this is  "maintaining things, making sure things work anything from a household to finances, to keeping a business going, to actually having practical skills to fix things, like I know what to do if the lawn mower or the car breaks, or how to change a tire or a light bulb. I have a certain degree of pride in my awareness of resources. I kind of know how much money I might have in the bank account. I make sure that I have the things I want to have for my home or my yard. My kitchen is stocked or my tool shed is stocked or my cleaning supplies are there and I'm aware of these things. There's a kind of instinct to maintain your world and the things that will keep it going."

Hubby and I had a LONG talk about this in the car to our Spiritual Exercises on Saturday. He is much better at this, but we still are stronger on the other two instincts! So, we made a LIST of all the things we wanted to do to get things fixed and cleaned up. Our porch light has been out for more than two years. It didn't phase me until I had someone come over from book club and tell me that. We have the lattice on our storage shed ripped for about 12 years. The plexiglass on our deck has been broken for about five. Windows have not been cleaned for about four years. So, we are doing the work that needs to be done. We are expending resources to have them done for us. George works out of town. It is OK to have someone else do it. Goodwill runs of junk sitting in the garage went yesterday. I love it! 

We will see how we do when it comes to our taxes this coming year. We really don't like those. 


He says, "People strong in self-pres like to be at home. They maintain their homes. They make their homes nice to be in. It doesn't mean necessarily someone else's idea of aesthetic or comfortable, but it's comfortable to me. I have in my home what I want, the resources I need. It works for me. It's set up as a base of operations for the rest of my life. It's where I enjoy being. It's where I recharge. It's where I restore energy, like those lions. Having a home, maintaining a home, sharing a home, as I was saying relationally, that would be an important thing if I was self-pres."

I love HOME, but I am not here as much as I would like to be. So, I quit one of my jobs! I will be here more often to nest a bit more. My home is comfortable and inviting, and people usually comment on this. I am just taking more time to create sanctuary space. So, all last week, I got my "Sanctuary space" ready for spiritual direction sessions. About a month ago, we moved the treadmill down to the HUGE basement. I didn't have it down there because the kids were always down there, but now, they are both out of the house. So, it is down there ready to do my PHOTO albums once again (another thing of self-pres I have neglected for 2 1/2 years and must get back to). So, we bought wing back chairs and I put a new end table and lamp and candle and it is so cozy now. All I have left is redoing the wall that the chairs face to make it warm and comfortable with art and/or photographs. Yes, I am doing it for spiritual direction, but I am in here right now and loving this space for me too. :) YAY! 

I also have cooked more and cleaned my fridge and just taken care of the house more lately. Been decluttering spaces too. It has felt so good to be domestic. My home is my refuge, but I am not taking advantage of it by working outside more than I need to. I can workout at home instead of teach a class to work out. :) 

I better go. We are decorating Gingerbread Houses with the Kinkades in a few minutes! 

56. God Finds Us: An Experience of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola

This author, Jim Manney, is the whole reason I went on the Ignatian journey in the first place. So I thought it would be worthwhile to read his own experience with the Exercises. It was a quick and enjoyable read. He is so relatable! 

If you have not figured it out by now, I love the Exercises. If you have never done them, I urge you to try them. They are truly life-changing! 

Sunday, December 09, 2018

55. God's Voice Within: The Ignatian Way To Discover God's Will

This is my third book on Ignatian discernment, and this one goes into more detail than the other two. I loved his writing style and practical exercises for discernment. 

Saturday, December 08, 2018

54. The Path Between Us by Suzanne Stabile

Yes, another Enneagram book! I had this one on hold for months, and I finally got it. I had read a few Enneagram books in between when I reserved it and when it became available, and I almost didn't read it, but I like this one because it emphasizes how each type interplays in relationships. The summaries for each type and how each type interacts with all the other types are particularly helpful. This is an excellent follow up to The Road Back to You. This author is the coauthor of that book. Stabile does a great job at making the Enneagram very simple to understand. I also like that Stabile is Type Two. It was insightful to read the description of Type Two by a Type Two, and it is an added benefit that her husband is a Type Nine because my husband is also a Type Nine. 

I do recommend this book to augment your understanding. I also really like the Enneagram Institute websites where they describe the Enneagram Type Combinations. That can be found HERE. 

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

53. The Great Alone

I liked this book much more at the beginning, but it sort of dragged on and got extremely melodramatic about 2/3rds of the way through the book. So, I lost a bit of interest. But there is closure by the end.  So, it wasn't so bad. I like her writing style though. Sorry I didn't like it as much as everyone has raved about it though. I did love learning more about Alaska, and it definitely made me want to go there!

Monday, December 03, 2018

A Prayer Review of My Boise Thursday through Sunday Adventure (Examen)

I have not published a "Prayerful Review (Examen)" in over a year. I was doing all of these at, but the site closed down. Thankfully I was able to download all of my examen prayers and journaling from the Spiritual Exercises last year. I have been journaling the Exercises for this year in my journal notebbook, but I was in the mood to do it here today. 

I thought through each day at the beginning of my prayer every morning (yes, many do this at night. I usually do it mid-day and then the rest of the day the next morning. Freedom to do it any way your heart wants to. No legalism here.) while I was in Boise, but I did not necessarily write anything down.

Holy Spirit, I pray you would shed light on my weekend and help me to see my days through your eyes. 

What I am grateful for: a smooth trip to Boise and back via Alaska Airlines, that I flew instead of drove because it did end up snowing, gracious hospitality of Debbie Brizee Budwig and transportation to and from cohort from Debbie and Michelle, Sustainable Faith School of Spiritual Direction , the leadership of Sandy and Marty Boller , and the Boise Cohort (to use Kayla's terms, It is "the"), a great end to my Fall term classes, getting my grades in before I left, packing light, dinner with Michelle (and family) and Val.

Review of the Thursday-Sunday: 
Thursday: up early, prayer, baked cookies for 100% attendance students, pack 90%, bike to campus, teach Pilates I and II (KK helped me with my stereo problems so I gave her the extra cookies), Cardio Weight training (cookies to Nick for such great leadership in the class), bike home, enter grades, let Jeff park his trailer and visit, shower, pack last 10%, Geo home, drive and dinner at Parkstone Wood Kitchen , Listen to The Great Alone , fly to Boise, Debbie's house and talking till 12.

Friday: prayer, Debbie drove me to Nampa for training but early so I walked for 30 minutes. The 8a-4:30p training consisted of breakfast and lunch (with a walk to Dutch Bros for Eggnog Chai Latte with cinnamon, oh my - "Christmas in a Cup"), "How are you landing?" exercise, Lectio Divina in Romans 8, discussion of Holy Listening, Summary Reflections for our last two months (consisting of questions about how our spiritual disciplines are going, sessions with our spiritual director and directees, how we can pray, and what our questions or conundrums are), and preview of the books for our next module in January,  Debbie pick me up, have salad and turkey sausage and talk, talk, talk, talk to George about being nervous about spiritual direction triads, sleep.

Saturday: woke up having had an anxiety dream about a man being in my house and grabbing me, but I fought back and tied him up, prayer, snow Michelle and Val picked me up (good discussion), breakfast, Spiritual Mapping Exercise (so good - I will keep that one), Spiritual Direction Triad with Michelle and Val (it turned out great - I shared about my Spiritual Mapping Exercise, and did direction with Michelle because I was curious about something she said the day before, Val did it with me, and Michelle did it with Val), evaluation of the triad time, lunch, discussion of Anatomy of the Soul (I cried when I shared about what he said about how art, music, dance, etc. integrates the brain circuitry), Gene's book report on Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and my book report on The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, dinner with Michelle (and family), Val, talk with Debbie and Ralph at home.

Sunday: Prayer and MORE SNOW, Ralph drove me to airport, plane delayed for de-icing but the two flights before me were canceled, reviewed my graces from the beginning of the SEEL Retreat on plane, IKEA for spiritual direction chairs for my office, dinner at same restaurant, home, cookie, catch up on news, read The Great Alone, asleep by 9 pm.

What made me feel most alive and in tune with God's plan?

  • Doing Spiritual Direction training with like-hearted people.
  • Doing Lectio Divina and "Spiritual Mapping."
  • Visiting with Val and Michelle in the car before and after training
  • Walking to Dutch Bros and drinking a Eggnog Chai Latte!
  • Walking during the breaks to have "I" time and connect to become more self-aware of how God is moving in me during the training.
  • Catching myself drifting when the discussion got very intellectual - going interior to explore my feeling (integrating to a Type 4) and hearing God and restoring to peace.
  • Knowing I left the Renovaré Institute for a good alternative! (The choice between two very good things is always hart)
  • Feeling certain of my decision to discontinue one of my Pilates Classes during the "Spiritual Mapping" exercises.
  • Sharing with the group about the integration of art, music, dance, etc. during the Anatomy of the Soul discussion (after it had gotten very intellectual) and crying and having Trina ask me what touched me and me being able to share about dance for me and how Chagall's American Windows (if you click on it, it enlarges and you can get even closer to it with the + and -, but they are most enjoyed in person) drop on the floor and sob at the Art Institute of Chicago. Afterward, Sandy and Michelle and I got into a talk about dancing and going to art galleries, and musicals (Les Miserables, Lion King) and how they touch our souls. 
  • Talking with Debbie before and after each training - so good for integrating my brain circuitry and also sharing some stories
  • SNOW and thankful I did not have to drive in it.
  • Finishing well with Pilates I and II and my coworkers at OSU. Deciding FOR SURE that the other job is just not life-giving for me and knowing that I have other things that God wants me to be doing during those times. 
  • Reuniting with George and having dinner and debrief - he is my bestie of all besties and the love of my life
  • Seeing Paul when I got back (but no Michael because he had already left for home)
  • Having Michelle and Val be so interested in me and my life and dinner with them and Michelle's family
  • Walking away from an overly intellectual discussion
  • George praying for my back to quit being "wonky" after my first day in Boise and waking up to it being just fine.
What made me feel most dead and not in tune with God's plan?
  • Stressing about the Triads 
  • Nightmare about the Triads 
  • Starting to stress about the intellectual direction of the discussion on Saturday
  • Intellectual discussions still make me feel dead inside - I feel like they take away from soul discussion and sometimes are a smoke screen
  • The Great Alone - the Playaway player kept stopping and losing my place so I could not listen to it on the plane, but I also am not really overly excited about this book. It is pretty depressing and not compelling. I am wondering where the redemption will be in it - but I am a really DARK part of the book that I really do not like what happened, but I am too far to not finish it now. 
  • Feeling frustrated with the woman who kept elbowing me while she played a Candy Crush-like game on her phone with no awareness that her elbow was into my sitting space (but I was brave and asked her to move it over a little bit, and she didn't seem to mind at all - so that was life-giving).
Ways to show my love for God and others today:

Follow through on Christmas giving in lieu of presents to my side of the family.

Finish out December well for my Pilates students. Love them and see them as image bearers. 

Gifts God has given not already covered in feeling alive:

Christmas break from OSU!
Chants: Music for the Soul by Cistercian Monks!
The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola
Chai tea in a Christmas Cup!

That was fun to evaluate everything!

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 ...