Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Tuesday Freewrite

I woke up at 4:15 again, but I went to sleep at about 10:15. So that is OK. 

I had such a good day. It was a defining day. I realized that I needed to talk to a spiritual director, but my regular one, Fran, just lost her husband. (My heart is still aching for her.) I had set up a time to talk to Sister Joan for next Monday, but I think that is too far away. When Shannon was dying, Fran was not available, and I needed to process my grief. So I found sweet Cammie on the Spiritual Directors website. She is only 15 minutes away, up in Oak Creek (where I used to live). She was so wonderful to let me talk about my grief (Shannon died right as I was getting in the car to go see Cammie). Another thing about Cammie is that she is a Type Two like me, and I have never found that in another Spiritual Director (Mike and Sister Joan are Type 5, Fran is Type 4, and Brother Mark is either a 4 or 5). It was good to get a Type Two perspective from someone fourteen years older. I have learned to not let toxic drama in my life with friends and ministry partners (there is no more drama or toxicity since we left NWH), but she has really learned deeper lessons in this area, and her questions penetrated even deeper as to why I tolerate toxicity. (I hate closing anyone off. Hope spring eternal. I hope for change. But change often never comes. I am reminded of what my dear mentor Lorraine said that people rarely change. I miss her so terribly. Come to think of it. I forgot that Lorraine was a Type Two also.)

Cammie put so much in perspective for me. I have analyzed, prayed, and listened to God about all the input. I asked my honest, authentic posse what they thought. (All people who know me really well.) Cammie asked why it was so hard to believe the truth about who I am based on God's, George's and soul friends' input. I think it is because I am such a "wear your heart on your sleeve" person that I want to be open to whatever input I am given, but Cammie said, "If you had poison sitting on your counter, would you drink it every day?" Some input is not true. Some input is toxic. That picture just hit it home for me.

We talked about what defines family. We talked about our "soul family." I described all the love I felt when I walked into Katherine and John's house on Christmas Eve. So many people I love and admire. It is a mutual love too. So many people do not have what we have, and I am so grateful. Within hours of everything that happened last week, Dania and Zahra and Katherine came in my door. So much love.  Jean and Jim at the Glockenspiel. We are surrounded by so much love. Thank you God.

Cammie was very adamant about the steps I need to follow through on (God gave me specific direction at the Abbey), and she so affirmed what she sees in me that is true. She believes God has wonderful plans for me. I think one (in this case three or four) person thinking ill of me prevents me from the life God has for me. Cammie also talked about putting on the Armor of God before I go out in the world. I have had more than one person say I have a target on my back. I forgot about that!

I have never had a malicious bone in my body. That was good to hear affirmed, but I know it to the depths of my bones. That is good for me to know it all on my own. 

It has been a difficult week on the one hand, but it has been a wonderful week on the other hand because I never realized how many loving people (who know me much better) I have in my community. There is love all around me. And I have never been more grateful for the Wardrop family who extends grace and moves on.

I think this last trial is coming to a close. Today is my annual day of prayer. I miss doing it at Teala's house and want to find another venue. House of Charis? This year has been the BEST in terms of peace, harmony, loving fellowship, growth, balance, and most of all, experiencing the presence of God on a moment by moment basis. This latest "curveball" is so not characteristic of how wonderful this year has been. (I love that Cammie pointed out the Ignatian principle of doing things that are life-giving versus deadening.)  It is also so opposite of what God has been saying to me about who I am: loved sinner. So interesting it would come on the heels of exciting plans and dreams bubbling to the surface. George pointed out this has happened before on the heels of God things. He is not surprised. 

I wanted to know though, and I am glad I know (and what we have always suspected is true), and I feel like I handled it well, and I could make peace by apologies and forgiving the offenses. Many people would have hung up with the character assassination that happened, but Cammie said that is because I am an empath. I am glad I stuck it out, and the unknown is now known. 

Monday, December 30, 2019

Monday Morning Examen Freewrite

Sometimes I like to type out my Examen 

Review of Yesterday . . . Breathing and I am asking you Lord to be with me. Looking at my day with you. 

Grateful for: 

  • George! How lovely to just talk and talk and talk on Sunday morning. He has been so encouraging to me over the last few days, not afraid to process the hard stuff that I went through. He is purposely working in the living room rather than his downstairs office to be available to me as I recover from my heart-breaking thing. 
  • Family! I loved that my kids wanted to go and celebrate Teala's birthday with her.
  • Teala! We have 41 years of deep friendship. Happy to celebrate her 61st with her. 
Morning - It was not rush. It was calm. God was all over my review of the Exercises I have covered so far. God has freed me from the approval of man and led me to go forward. He wants me to "walk-on" to the call he has on my life. 

Mid-Morning - Talking with George about the wonderful corner I have turned. I am so grateful! 

Afternoon - Drive to Monroe to celebrate Teala's birthday. The conversation in the car with the family was so life-giving. I wished my brother a "Happy Sobriety Day" as it is 13 years of sobriety that day. I loved the place Teala suggested for lunch. The vibe is so upbeat. We thought it must be believers as it is so positive. We ate and listened to Teala's talking. She has a major homelessness problem near her sorority. God what can be done?

Evening - Came back and finished Man in the High Castle. The ending just ended with no closure. That was weird! I read it in the same room as George so we could process. He wrote his cover letter for a job. 

End of the Day - I needed to exercise so I watched a show on the Police Crisis in American (disrespect). Should I bake something and bring it to them? I danced so I could reach my exercise goal. 

Regret - Letting things creep back in that I had laid at the feet of Jesus that morning. I lay it down, Jesus. It was the least ever, but I want to practice Phil 4:8 - whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely. 

Meaningful - Grateful for friends like Teala. We have grown up together in the Lord. What do you want me to know about that Lord? 

I ask for the grace to see you, God, in the next day. What can I do to LOVE more? Pray for key people and pray for the world. Be open to having Manar over. 

Sunday, December 29, 2019

2019 Reading Wrap Up

These questions are from a Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks 

Tell us about your reading year? What was your goal this year and did you have a plan, and/or follow rabbit trails or wing it? 

My goal was to get through all the book lists for the Book Babes Book Club, the Renovare Book Club, Spiritual Direction, Enneagram Cohort, and last but not least the 1000 Book to Read Before You Die list.

Where did your armchair travels take you? 

Nigeria, National Parks, Chernobyl, Russia, England, Oklahoma, North Carolina during the slave era, Chili. North Korea, Too many places to count.

Which books stood out, made an impression and/or stayed with you the longest? What did you learn from them? 

The Good Neighbor - Fred Roger's life is an inspiration to us all. 

Half of the Yellow Sun - This fictional novel was beautifully written and gave me an insight into the country of Nigeria.

Why We Sleep - So fascinating and informative. I learned so much, but I am still not good at taking naps. :(

Which book had the most original, most unique story?  

Fahrenheit 451 - WOW! I see now why it is a classic, and it is on just about every reading list.  What a creative premise and somewhat prophetic.

In Cold Blood - Same as about being on the classics list. It is SO well researched and written. Journalistic excellence. Capote was a genius. 

Which book made you laugh? 

Pride and Prejudice - A great listening experience on one of my driving trips through the Columbia Gorge. It always makes me smile. 

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology - even though it is a very serious book, I find Leah Remini hilarious. 

Which one made you cry?

In Cold Blood - Senseless killing. An American tragedy. 

Half of a Yellow Sun - Senseless killing. A Nigerian tragedy.

Which book did you like the least and why? 

Secrets of the Savanna - I got the impression that the authors wanted to be fiction writers while I just wanted the facts about this true story. It got very tedious and boring (and now the woman wrote Where the Crawdads Sing, and she is doing what she tried to do in this work of nonfiction.) 

Restructuring the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion - Judgmental and preachy with a one-dimensional look at race relations with too much of a political slant. It is so much more complicated. It was just a condemning book. The message was: "You are racist, and there is no arguing about it." No grace of God in the whole thing or accounting for the journey of the individual. Least favorite book of the year (and I led my book club and kept my opinion to myself so as not to impede the discussion with the people who loved the book.)

Which new to you authors did you discover and would you read another book by this author?

Ray Bradbury - I think I did read something by him in the past, but I felt like I discovered his genius while reading Fahrenheit 451

Truman Capote - I wonder what his fiction is like if his nonfiction was so good. 

Did you try any of the main or mini-challenges?  Nope

Please share your book lists, stats for the year, favorite quotes, and/or favorite book covers.

Favorite Covers: 
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133 Books this Year (because I broke my leg)

Here is a link to my book lists and reviews: 


Here is my list in reverse order as it appears on my blog:

The Man in the High Castle
Under and Alone: The True Story of an Undercover Cop Who Infiltrated the Mongol Motorcycle Gang
Killers of the Flower Moon
Voices from Chernobyl
Fahrenheit 451
Doors into Prayer
Slaves in the Family
Betsy Tay
The Invention of Wings
Salt Houses
Half of the Yellow Sun
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: The Marvel of Bearing God's Image
Dear Bob and Sue
The Drowned World
The End of the Affair
The Uncommon Reader
Invisible Cities
The Thirty-Nine Steps
Growing Up
The Third Man
The House of the Spirits
Into Thin Air
The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh
Sacred Readings: A Journal 
Foundation and Empire
Second Foundation
Meditations of Marcus Aurelius
Rick Steves Pocket Amsterdam
To the Lighthouse
A Grief Observed
Nine Lenses on the World: The Enneagram Perspective
Study is Hard Work
To Hell and Back
The Death of Ivan Ilyich
Zoom at Sea
In Cold Blood
The Decameron (unabridged)
The Wind and the Willows
The Decameron (abridged)
The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Historic Creeds: A Journal
The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain #1)
Within a Budding Grove (In Seach of Lost Time #2)
The Invisible Man
The Good Neighbor: The Life of Work of Fred Rogers
Talking Like the Rain: A Read-to-Me Book of Poems
It's Great to Suck at Something
Richard II
Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov
Henry IV: Part Two
Swann's Way (In Search of Lost Time #1)
The Trinity: A Journal 
Uncle Vanya
The Three Sisters
The Sea Gull
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant
Henry V
Speak, Memory
40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions
Abel's Island
Harriet the Spy
How Proust Can Change Your Life
Desert Solitaire
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
Holy Invitations: Exploring Spiritual Direction
My Lady Ludlow
Mr. Harrison's Confessions
My Dog Tulip
The Complete Persepolis
Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf
The Phantom Tollbooth
The Three Golden Keys
Eloise in Paris
Eloise in Moscow
Eloise at Christmastime
Sparkle and Spin
The Rainbabies
Nancy Drew; The Secret of the Old Clock
Persepolis - Childhood
The Year of Magical Thinking
Harold and the Purple Crayon
The Mouse and His Child
The Bridge of San Luis Rey
Where the Wild Things Are
Goodnight Moon
Little Fur Family
The Story of Babar
The Hole is to Dig
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Choosing Christ in the World: Directing the Spiritual Exercises According to Annotation 18 and 19
Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading
The Underground Railroad
The Secret Garden
Spiritual Direction: A Practical Introduction
You Are What You Love
The Way of Discernment
God's Many Splendored Image
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret
The Kingdom Life: Practical Theology of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation
Pride and Prejudice
Tuck Everlasting
Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion
Draw Me Into Your Friendship: A Literal Translation and A Contemporary Reading of the Spiritual Exercises
The Newcomers
Retreat in the Real World
A Harmony of the Gospels: New American Standard
Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits
The Cloud of Unknowing and The Book of Privy Counseling
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
Secrets of the Savanna
Why We Sleep
Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea
The Wisdom of the Enneagram
Vanity Fair
Glittering Vices 

133. The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle

This SO different from the TV series. The TV series adds so much more to the basic plot of this dystopian novel where Japan and Germany have both won the war, and America is divided between the Nazis in the East and the Japanese in the West with a "free zone" in between.  

I liked it, but the end sort of just fell flat, and you say, "That's it?"  The TV series is much better, in my humble opinion. 

Sunday Six Minute Freewrite

I am doing a shorter freewrite today because I want to spend my freewrite time doing a 2019 Reading Wrap Up. That will take me a long time because I read so many books this year. 

George and I had a very long talk this morning about his future job-wise. I got so excited to think of the possibilities!

Also, I am so excited to have moved on from the six days of processing that had to take place to come to some peace about what transpired this week. It took me twelve days to process when the boom was lowered last time. So YAY! I cut the time in half. 

It helped for me to come out and say to friends, "I need prayer. I need you to reflect back to me what is truth and what is lies because you know me really well." So J & D have known me 41 years, N & K have known me 21 years,  J & D both lived with me.  So, that is an accumulation of many hours compared to evaluations of who I am after about 100-200 hours of interaction over 31 years. So, who am I going to believe? Each of those people is a strong "S" on the Myers-Briggs and tells it like it is with me with no syrup. I was willing to entertain all accusations, but I have to rely on what God has told me, George has told me, and friends who know me well, are emotionally healthy, and walk closely with God have told me. 

I can move on, and reviewing my spiritual exercises with Jesus' invitation to come to him (Mt 11:28-30) and his call to kingdom work were all I needed this morning to move on. "Walk in the good way" (Jer 6:16). This has happened before and time has proven the accuracy in that past, and he will do that again. You fight my battles for me while I keep silent, still and calm (Ex 14:13) Thank you. 

Six minutes and six days of processing. I think I am free. Thank you! Half the time. I am growing! Nothing I can do to change a person's false perception. "A person convinced against his will is of the same opinion still" has been my motto for many years, and I try to convince people otherwise, and life is too short to waste that kind of time. I will love extravagantly through my prayer. That is all I can do. "Composed and quieted my soul like a weaned child - it is truly a matter too difficult for me and a great matter" (Ps 131). Sphere of loving concern and not my sphere of influence. 

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Saturday Freewrite

Yesterday was a life-giving day. I have learned that I need to do self-nurturing things to gain perspective. That core fear of Type Two (being unwanted and unloved) can rear its ugly head, but going to the healthy side of a Type Four can feed my soul and give me the strength to look at things from His perspective. I can disengage from that self-nurturing side sometimes. 

So, I was feeling a bit despairing over the things that had transpired earlier in the week. I had been doing so well. So I went downstairs to be with George because I feel 100% safe with him: very wanted and very loved. I didn't talk about anything but sat with him in his office and then he suggested a walk. So a long and vigorous walk ensued. It is so self-nurturing for me to be out in nature, exercising and connecting with the most authentic person I know. He said some very encouraging things. The main thing that I picked up on is how much I have helped him get in touch with his emotions, and that he never wanted to go to the emotionally constipated way he lived his life because of his upbringing. He mentioned someone who made a comment to him even before I came into his life that caused him to question what was underneath his sarcasm. I can not believe he would have ever been sarcastic but apparently, he used to be this way! 

As we walked, I recognized my disappointment with not doing a family getaway like we usually do after Christmas, and how much I needed a getaway to gain perspective on the stuff that happened. For some reason, getting out of town always "reboots" me emotionally.  

So, he said, "Let's go then!" I cannot remember which one of us suggested Mt. Angel Abbey, but this is my happy place in Oregon. I have SO MANY memories of how God has reset my thinking when I went there for days of prayer. This is a place of many "memorial stones" in my walk with God. The kids did not want to go so we could talk freely in the car all the way up. We stopped at Sharon's EZ Orchards store and bought our favorite Pommeu (much better than the Two Towns one but I have not had any since Sharon gave me some for my birthday in July) and FRESH donuts to bring back to the boys. 

We went to the Queen of Angels Monastery first and tried to get into see Sister Joan because talking to a Spiritual Director usually helps me "reboot." She was out of her office, but we did get a copy of a Codependent No More Workbook for 75% off! The recent issues made me realize that I need to review that book!

After this, we went up to the Abbey grounds and got a drink at The Press Coffee Shop where we had delicious Chai and Coffee Lattes and found a beautiful Christmas book by Tolkein! What a find. It contains his illustrations of different Christmas cards throughout the years. 

Then we went to the retreat house and had about an hour of prayer. I went into the Adoration Chapel and God said, "Burn the lies." So I am going to write down all the lies and burn them. 

We walked down and up the Stations of the Cross and got in our car and went to the newer Benedictine Brewery just to look around. Then we found the shortcut where we could have walked from the Stations of the Cross. 

After this, we went to the II Vespers of the Nativity service with the Monks. There were over 30 people there which is so unusual for Vespers, but I assume it was because it was a special one. It was so beautifully decorated for Christmas, and I bathed in God's glory and presence in that church. So peaceful! We had to leave a bit early because we scheduled . . . 

Dinner at the Glockenspiel with the Southworths!

On our way up I texted them about dinner, and they were game to come on such short notice! They told us about their upcoming trip to Barcelona and the Loire Valley of France. They told us about Garbo the Spy, and we laughed and laughed at how they tell stories together. As I reflected this morning on the things that were said to me about my character earlier this week, I realized that all the things said earlier this week were the opposite of the truth! YIKES! I didn't say a thing about what happened to me to our friends, but all the interaction counteracted that inaccurate portrayal of my character. I am so grateful! The inaccuracies were figuratively burned as we talked. I really display none of them. I wanted to be open to the criticism, so I BEGGED God to show me any blindspots or "wicked way" (Ps 139). I feel like last night's dinner confirmed that none of it was true. 

Granted, I feel very safe with Jean and Jim. We listened to their fun stories, and they asked about the details of my experience in Spain at 23 and breakdown at 24. Jean has known me since we were both 19, but she never knew how horrific it all was, and I see how much it healed so much of my soul early on in life and set me with the conviction that ministry is a result of overflow. The ONLY person I could depend on was Him, and it drew us so close. Reflecting today, I realize that Spain was also a time of spewing lies that have not proved true in the 37 years since it all happened, but one of the people who spewed the lies has totally turned his life around (the other has gone down a long road of disobedience), and his perspective is so changed. We are so close now!

We laughed and talked for over two hours, and I love them! George and I drove home feeling like it was such a life-giving day. We also listened to Beethoven's 6th Symphony the rest of the way home which was more self-nurturing for my soul. I loved yesterday.

This morning God confirmed so many more things. I told George that I have to have the same attitude toward my broken heart as I had toward my broken leg. I have to lie still and wait for my broken heart to heal. I have to enjoy God's presence and to be "strengthen with His Spirit in the inner woman" every time I panic like I did when I would get up in the middle of the night during the early days of my broken leg. Also, I have to tell people when I need help and receive that help as it comes along.  (I did that yesterday by texting Nancy that I was in despair and needed prayer - she went up to "my spot" and interceded for me - I felt it.) I am so glad that I verbalized some things to George on our walk that made him aware of my fluctuating state with this broken heart. 

I will burn the lies. I will realize that it was a broken mirror that distorted God's image of me. I will not make assumptions about the other and believe that best in the future. I will be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. I will believe that this is a new day since all things are now out on the table. Now that I know, I will clarify and do better! 

He is my mirror and the people who walk closely with Him, who are authentic and honest, who don't make assumptions about me without asking, and love me! I have such loving and gracious friends and community, and I have never been more grateful for the Wardrops who talk things out, extend grace, make peace, and move on. 

Friday, December 27, 2019

Friday Freewrite

George and I went for a long walk yesterday and prayed. There was a dog that kept barking at us and following us as we walked down a street. The owner kept calling nicely for their dog, but it eventually jumped on me. I have no judgment, but George tried to get it to stop and was firm. Then I was very firm, and I think he finally went back to his owner.

As we were praying later on in our walk. We felt led to pray against the enemy, and George got the picture of the dog that just would not leave us alone. Just as we needed to stand firm against that dog that would not leave us alone, we need to do the same with the attacks that we (I) received last week. I don't need to defend myself, I just need to be firm and tell the enemy to "go home"! Firmly. 

My picture was of the grit in the bathtub that my mom insisted I left on purpose to spite her. I saw clean living water coming and washing the grit out. And me taking a deep luxurious bath. 

It was so much better the rest of the day as I watched documentaries about The Sound of Music and Julie Andrews. 

Then, George initiated us all going out for a hike to Bald Hill. We tried to get to the top, but it was really muddy on the steeper trail so we took the flat trail around the base and into the farmland. I so enjoy just hanging with these three gentle giants of men. They are my peaceful, happy place. 

After this, we went to my other happy place: the library! Then on to Applebee's for a nice dinner. 

I love it when George initiates family time. I wanted to go away to the coast or the mountains, but they don't seem too keen to do so. So I am content staying at home and just having relaxed family time together. They want to be home to enjoy their new Christmas gifts, and I can totally respect that. 

Still basking in the glow of one of the most peaceful Christmases ever. I feel like even though the things that were told me were difficult (and primarily false), it helps me to have a much better handle on what I am dealing with. I have a better perspective of what I am up against instead of not knowing what the issues were. Today I was able to look at personality type and see more what the basic fears and motivations might be. That was so helpful. Since I am not that type, I can see what road of false self has been taken and why I might rub them the wrong way. 

You know better. You do better. It is that simple. 

Well, I am off to prepare for my day. I might just go to the abbey to pray. I don't want to take away from family time though. I don't think it is going to work to go up to Washington to meet Patty half-way though. This is usually my low-key time, and I am already going to Portland on Sunday for a baby shower. Unless I go on to Longview on Sunday night to Monday and come back on Monday night. That could work. I must think it through. 

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Freewrite - Prayer Question for Doors into Prayer

What first drew you to prayer? Has that original experience affected your prayer life? Have you been affected by a prayer mentor? In what way?

My original experience of prayer was as a very young child praying that familiar prayer that even kids from non-church going homes prayed at bedtime:

Now I lay me
Down to sleep
I pray the LORD
My soul to keep
If I should die
Before I wake
I pray the LORD
My soul to take.

I remember having several questions about this prayer:
1) Why was I praying about dying at six years old? Do we really all have to die?

It scared me. It was weird to think that someday everyone I loved and cared about would die. 

2) Who was this LORD guy, and why would he take my soul? 

We did not go to church. I knew Christmas was about the birth of Jesus, but I could not have told you what Easter was about. I just wore an Easter bonnet and a new dress went to the home of one of my Swedish relatives and ate ham. I had no clue it was about the resurrection of Jesus. I also did not know the LORD was one of the names for God. I didn't understand the whole "taking a soul" thing. 

3) What on earth is an "A LAY ME"? I did not know it was "I lay me." :)

I remember asking my mom as she was exiting my room one night after one of those prayer times: Do we really all have to die? 

Her answer was direct and to the point, "Yes, Carol. We all have to die."

Then she left, and I did not "lay me down to sleep" very comfortably that night. I was petrified. I did not want my family to die! How horrible.

That was my first memory of prayer. 

Forward to 1969 when I heard a man at Green Oaks Ranch in Vista, CA say that we should be as excited about the Bible as we are when the Sears Catalog Christmas Wish Book comes in the mail because the Bible had the greatest gift God has ever given the world: JESUS. 

He shared a verse:

For the wages of sin is death, 
but the free gift of God is eternal life 
in Christ Jesus our LORD.
Romans 6:23

So there was an answer to two of my questions! (I had already figured out the "A LAY ME" one.) 

"Yes, Carol, we all have to die, but there is eternal life in that Christ Jesus our LORD!"  I got who that "Lord guy" was!

My mom answered the first part, but she did not know how to answer the second part because she had not yet met the "Lord guy."

Long story short, I closed my eyes and had a true encounter with Jesus. I saw a vision of him, hands outstretched, and asking me to come. So I came forward. I prayed that "sinner's prayer" but it was genuine. He had answered all my questions. So, I knew that he answered my sincere prayers. 

I had emergency prayer when I was hiking without ropes and alone (because Tammy had hiked on ahead of me and out of sight or ear-shot) when I was in 8th grade and slipped down into a large crevice (I don't know if this is the word for this - it was a space between a boulder and a large rock wall.) which would have been to my death, but I was caught where both rock wall and boulder protruded. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. No one there to hear my cries. The sun was setting. Would anyone know I was gone? 

So I prayed, and I was stuck for quite some time. But it was almost as if this divine hand had come down and pulled me up and out of that stuck place. I ripped a huge hole in the seat of my pants, but I was alive! This was the "emergency" prayer that Griffin talks about. 

I learned early on that there is a God who hears and that He is GOOD. So, I love talking to him. There are other stories. So many stories. When I told him that I didn't believe that the stories in the Gospels were true, but I asked him to "help my unbelief," and there was an immediate parting of the clouds on a "raining cats and dogs" kind of day in Oregon. 

I had many prayer mentors. I was in a ministry that made prayer a major priority.  (I tell my husband I should have been a nun, but he is glad I am not [not to mention I am not Catholic].)

Prayer was just a natural part of my growing up in the LORD. Days of prayer were just normal for my community. Weekly, early morning meetings with 50 people showing up were also normal (our Korean brothers and sisters said we did not pray enough though - churches were filled EVERY morning for prayer). 

We are in a prayer soaked missional community now. After a hard conversation on the eve of Christmas Eve, my friend, who recently came to Jesus out of Islam, prayed over me because that is what has been modeled to her from the day she met the people in our community, even before she became a follower of Jesus.  

The next day, I was soaked in prayer again, surrounded and hands were lovingly put upon me because that is just part of the ethos of our community. My husband prayed me to sleep that night. 

This got too long, pressing the freewrite button. 

132. Under and Alone


This is a gripping, first-hand account of an undercover agent who infiltrated the Mongols motorcycle gang of Southern California in the 90s. It is salty with bad language and sex, drugs, and rock and roll. It is a side of life I don't like to look at, but it is part of life. 

I could never be an undercover agent, and this guy did this for two years at a great cost to him and his relationship with his two sons. That broke my heart. The relationships within the Mongols really broke my heart too. I am glad that I am done with this read!

Thursday Freewrite

I woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at about 4:15am. I slept a really long time the night before. So I think this is just my body adjusting to get my usual 6 hours of sleep (it is enough for me - I have the Sleepless Elite gene). 

Boxing Day Reflection
Type Two EnneaThought® for December 26th
On Boxing Day, which can be a day of recovery from celebrations, quietly reflect on your blessings. As a Two, consider the ways you are blessed with radiant joy, grace, and natural kindness. (Personality Types, 59) 

I am using this prompt for my freewrite this early Thursday morning.

This will be a day of recovery from celebrations. We were going to go away, but leaving today was flatly rejected when I asked the crew about it. So, I will use this day to reflect.

I will consider the way I am blessed with radiant joy,  grace, and natural kindness. Wait, this is sort of a hard thing to do! I can think of how I am blessed in my life:

  • Family time at Christmas Eve service and around the Advent Wreath. I love that they all love to do this as a family together. 
  • A wonderful mother-in-law that I feel totally comfortable with - so much so that I always have to fight against falling asleep on her couch!
  • I love the laid-back quality of our day with opening presents and eating breakfast. 
  • I just loved the laid-back quality of the whole Christmas Season. We went to one evening party and had a lovely time at John & Katherine's Christmas Eve brunch. There were other parties, but we were not able to go. It was also lovely just having spiritual direction time with so many lovely ladies who sit in my chair and tell me how God is working in their lives. 
  • Morning after morning of Advent meditations and contemplations in Scripture and talking to God about all of that. Meditating in Messiah. So sweetly serene.
But this question in the prompt just sort of stumps me: "consider the ways you are blessed with radiant joy, grace, and natural kindness."  It is harder for me because it makes me feel like I am bragging. But here goes:

Radiant Joy - Well, my dearest father named me Carol which means "Song of Joy." I was supposed to be a Karen ("pure one"), but he took one look at me and he knew I was a Carol. I feel like that was a God moment that started my life. It was this kiss of blessing from my father on earth and my Father above. I am a joyful person. Most people describe me (the timer is going off, but I am going to keep going because I finally got enough nerve to answer this question) as a joyful person. I get the words vivacious, lively, and the one that people keep saying over and over again to me after they have spent time with me is life-giving. (I think George is also very life-giving. So we get that often when people spend time in our home.) I do fill a room with joy. And it is not forced. I actually feel such joy in my heart most of the time. I am so BLESSED. I am so GRATEFUL. So there you go. 

Radiant Grace - I am very quick to forgive people. It was hard for me this week to have to relive past things that happened because I had forgiven and moved on, but I had to go there because the person had not forgiven. So I extend grace to people all the time. I can always improve on this, but I love to give people the benefit of the doubt and try to practice the Ignatian Plus One principle: 

Ignatius says that we “ought to be more eager to put a good interpretation on a neighbor’s statement than to condemn it.”

Always give people the benefit of the doubt. What’s more, says Ignatius, if you’re not sure what a person means, you should, says Ignatius, “ask how the other means it.” Ignatius placed that crucial advice at the beginning of the Exercises to ensure that both...[people] don’t misunderstand each other. Each presupposes that the other is trying to do his or her best.[1]
I was severely judged and labeled because certain people made assumptions about my character and meaning behind innocent questions, comments, and conversations. It would have been cleared up if the other would have asked how I mean it. It is so hard when someone labels me. I need to practice it the other way and this situation is a stark reminder of the "Plus Sign." 

Most of the time, I think I do radiate grace though. I have so many people that I interact with because of my job with the university, health club, spiritual direction, and our ministry. It is so crucial. I remember misunderstanding something with K a few years back, and clarifying it was so lovely. The people I dealt with this week are not as good at communication though, and I need to extend "radiant grace" for that though. 

Natural Kindness - I think this is easy for me. It would be hard for me to be intentionally cruel to someone. I love being kind. I do think it is a natural quality of mine. So again, it is hard for me when someone tells me I meant unkindness when they totally misread what I was trying to do. 

Man, that was really uncomfortable for me to do. I don't like to brag about this stuff. I think what triggered me so much this week was that when I was growing up, my mom would interpret things totally different from how I intended them. Cleaning the bathroom for her and her thinking I intentionally put extra Comet in the bathtub to make it gritty because I was mad that she told me to clean it. I LOVED cleaning the bathroom! I loved making it all shiny. The fact that I accidentally forgot to rinse the invisible grit out of the bathtub was interpreted as me being "unkind" and "spiteful" was devasting for me and especially since my mom continued to tell other people this story of my growing up years far into my adult years was even more devastating for me. 

There were more incidents of this, and it was so great to have George there to mirror the truth rather than the lie. He has been doing that for me this week too. I am very grateful. He gets me. My good friends get me. Anyone who truly wants to can get me can because I am a "what you see is what you get" kind of gal, and I think that is also a good quality!

OK, I am done. This is too much for me. 

Embarrassed to press the button of this freewrite, but I am going to do it.  

[1] The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything p. 234

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Wednesday Freewrite

I can do a fifteen-minute freewrite before my timer goes off for the first rise of my french rolls that I am bringing for Christmas dinner (or really it is lunch). 

I had such a lovely devotional in Pray as You Go this morning:


I am listening to it again as I type. It has more formal music at the beginning: a choir of voices.

Yesterday was just so lovely. LOVELY! I woke up to making bad coffee for Dania, but she still drank it. It was so lovely to have Dania and Zahra here. I love them so much. They taught me an Arabic phrase: Bad Gel Be which means literally "my heart runs toward you." 

A post shared by Carol Weaver (@carolfoasia) on

Then I took Zahraa to Starbuck's to study for her math class. Dania and I went on to Katherine and John's for a Christmas Eve brunch. Some of my favorite people were there. John gave me a thank you gift from their wedding: a picture of the four of us. What a journey they have been on - overcoming the lies to unite as one. BEAUTIFUL! I love them so much. I also loved having a long and deep talk with John about things they are thinking of. I also was prayed over by Jamie and Meredith. What dear people to want to pray over me - taking away the lies that were spoken to me recently. I do not usually choose to listen to lies from people, but it did happen. I took it all in and spread it out before the LORD, and I took the truths and prayed out the lies. So that was so good to do.

So, I rejoice this Christmas in wonderful freedom.

Then I said good-bye to Dania. SNIFF SNIFF. I left K and J's house so refreshed. Life-giving fellowship is the best. Then, the rest of the day was spent in rest and finishing my book and waiting for George to come home. Then we got into the car and went to our lovely church. Do I not love Suburban Christian Church!

Silent Night by candlelight is the best. I am putting the video at the end because I cannot seem to type under the video anymore. Blogger! Sometimes things just do not work. We came back from church and started watching It's a Wonderful Life. This is the first time in five (maybe six) we have not had someone over for Christmas Eve. So it was so nice to just be the four of us in the living room watching my favorite Christmas movie that GETS ME every time. Such a wonderful message of the value of FRIENDSHIP and that there is a reason for us being born. 

We ate our Costco lasagne and sparkling cider and watched the rest of the movie. Then George and I watched the Rick Steves Christmas Special with all the lovely music from all over the world. 

We processed some of the things that happened the day before yesterday and prayed through it before we fell asleep!

I am off to make my rolls! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good day celebrating the birth of the SAVIOR!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Tuesday Freewrite

I think I have learned a valuable lesson about my part in all of the talking that went down. I have always gone through others (rather than an email exchange 20 years ago). So that is so uncharacteristic of me. I think I was just so afraid because of the earliest "shots over the bow" that were unprovoked. It made me create a narrative that prevented me from moving toward. So that was my bad, but I acknowledged that. That was good. 

I am sad that things came to what they did, and it was all unknown to me. I always heard things second hand. It is always good to hear things first hand. I think I had more compassion to hear the other person's perspective, even though I think the perspective is skewed with narratives created that were never spoken and a mind that has a lot of pain from the past, it was still their tortured perspective and "perspective is reality." (Even though I learned long ago that being around this cannot be in my close relationships). I think that person was realistic in saying, "Can we really ever be friends being that we are so different?"  I think this is so true! So, I think it is best to let it go. 

I am so grateful for the friendships that I do have that are so very solid and wonderful. I had to let go of some along the way. I used to try to fight for the ones that really were not worth saving or healthy for me to continue. I don't have to be "everybody's friend," and I do so well with ones that know me well. It was so good to have K say, "I have never observed this in you," when the mirror up to me an hour before said otherwise. Some mirrors are just not worth looking into.

Today is a day of love. My two dear ones are asleep downstairs for another hour or so. Then we will go to a Christmas brunch at K & J's with other people I so dearly love. I love the community that we have here. I love it when people who used to be part of this wonderful community come back "home" from Connecticut and Pennsylvania to see us. 

Life is too short to dwell on matters that are too difficult for me. But it was good to hear what I had done to offend. Even though much of it was multiple misunderstandings and assuming the worst about me, I can still take responsibility for my part. 

Monday Freewrite

I forgot to do a freewrite before midnight. So I am doing one very early this morning. So this is really a Monday Freewrite even though it is posting on Tuesday.

What a day. It started with meditating in Pray as You Go on the events surrounding the Nativity. (There was something about being released from fears - what are they - one of mine was talking to someone).

Then I was going to take a walk while it was not raining, but I took a shower, and then God led me to make a very overdue phone call. It was a way for me to be released from the fear I prayed about during my prayer time. It took 2 1/2 hours to talk thing through with someone in which there have been over 30 years of stuff building. I took responsibility for my part. That is all I could do. It is the only relationship that I can think of where there was unresolved conflict. I have always been too afraid to talk to that person, but I felt like I was supposed to do it. There was a lot of stuff thrown my way that I had to sort through with George afterward, but I think we processed it in a healthy way, and now I am letting it all go. We also prayed through some lies that we sensed. George vehemently rejected some of the things that were told to me about my character. He knows me best and is so lovingly honest. Processing with him was good. Guide us now into the way of peace (like the time in prayer directed this morning). 

Then I did my Dial-A-Book deliveries and was so sweetly blessed to help an older woman who can not walk to unlock the sliding glass door. But she motioned to me to look for the key under the mat, and I could pick up her books. There was just something so life-giving for me to open that door. Today was a day of opening doors. 

Then I called George again, and we talked for a while. Then D came to spend the night with K. Then surprise of all surprises: Z was also with them! So we all sat and talked. Then J came to drop off their luggage, and we all had a love fest. I nearly cried when I read D's card that said how much she loved and appreciated my lively personality because I was so severally criticized for that in my phone call in the morning. There were more negative words attributed to me than "lively," but I would say that is what I am. I have lots of life and energy. Most people really love that (and I love that), but this person sees it as a negative thing. 

K and J couldn't stay long so D and Z and I talked and talked and talked. We laughed and laughed and laughed. Then George came home, and we all went out for yummy Middle Eastern food. 

There was so many blessings that came with my special friends. I so needed their encouragement and love. 

Then George and I processed and prayed some more. I cannot sleep. I think it is because I had tea too late in the day though. But I am OK. I am just having my freewrite time (and Examen time) a little early today!

MOST LIFE-GIVING: Seeing all these people who I love and who love me and accept me for the special person that God made me to be!

MOST DEADENING or DESOLATING: Someone judging me and being critical of me and assuming the worst of me.

CONFESSION: I feel like I did make peace in that I took responsibility and apologized for the things I needed to apologize for.

LOVE: Continue to pray and love this person from a distance. I feel like I did my part. 

I am grateful that George said how proud he was of me for doing what I did. Now I claim Exodus 14:13-14 and rest.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

131. Slay by Brittney Morris

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This is a Book Babes selection, suggested to us because she is a graduate of our local Christian high school. 

The author is obviously borrowing from her own life as she was one of only a handful of people of color at this local high school. The main character is at a private high school in Bellevue, Washington, and she has created a video game called Slay which is just for black people. No one in her "real-life" knows she created and plays this game. 

It is a good first novel, but it did go on a bit too long on the video game aspects of her life. The book will generate a discussion about our obsession with virtual life that takes us away from real life. Interesting that I would read Fahrenheit 451 in the same week as I recall the wife of the main character and her obsession with the "screens." It will also generate discussion about race in America. 

I would put this in the Young Adult novel genre. Usually, I like these kinds of books, but this one left me a bit flat. I am fairly certain young adults would like this book, especially if they play video games. They would not be as lost (and sometimes bored) as I was when she went on and on about the game she created. 

Sunday Freewrite

I am not feeling super well. I have been fighting something (but have not succumbed), and I am just trying to lay low while I heal. I have been around a lot of sick people lately. 

I feel a bit somber today. I had a long spiritual direction time with George yesterday. Then we had a long talk about our Christmas and the difficulties with someone recently. I came away sad. I am still pondering that this morning. What is, is. I have let it go and all I feel is compassion for that person. My Helper type just wants to scream "There is a better way to live!" Yet, I am not one to scream.

Today, I meditated on John coming into the world and putting myself in Elizabeth's shoes who had waited so long for a baby. The narrator asked how I respond when long-filled hopes are fulfilled, and I did think about this family situation. I am not sure what more I can do. I have tried to cope the best I can. I have tried to be as kind as possible while not letting the person control me. That has made that person unhappy when I have not allowed the control to happen to me as it does to so many others. But I have hopes that health can come, but I cannot do anything about that. Those are not my choices make. Yet, we live with the brokenness of that person's choices. It is not fair, but life is not always fair. 

I also think about my hopes for my children. I remember how excited I was about P getting into a very competitive pro-school. I love it when my kids fly. So that is still my hope: that they would fly. 

It is not raining right now. So maybe I will cut this freewrite short and go for a little walk. I just need to wrap a few gifts today. I also need to plan the menu for Christmas Eve. That is about it. 

God is good.

"If Christmas is not now,
if Christ is not born
into the everyday present,
then what is all the noise about?"
Ann Weems


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...