Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Freewrite Wednesday

It is always a challenge to get back to work after a spiritual direction time with someone. I am still sort of basking in the glow of being able to observe the work of God in someone's life. It is a beauty to behold, and I feel like I have just walked on holy ground. 

It was a longer session than normal because it is someone overseas. I usually allow two hours for these. My local ones are usually just one hour. It is interesting because the person said as we closed out our time in prayer, "This was a life-giving time." I got off and went about doing some other things, and I felt God whisper, "You are a life-giver." 

Well that was nice to hear. Thank you. Not getting a big head about that. I get that a lot from people. I don't think they are trying to flatter me. I often talk to people overseas, and that is how they close. Or I have people who are even in the states but in particularly dry situation community-wise, and they want me to know that it was life-giving. So, that was nice to hear. That is definitely a desire, but I am not striving to be that way. 

I have tried to go back to work. "Work" being writing my little manual for direction through the Spiritual Exercises, and I have just gotten caught up in the Presence once again. I said yesterday that I was led back to a repetition on this meditation I did back in January. Repetition is where you go back and savor the consolation you received from a previous meditation/contemplation. It is "plumbing the depths" and having a "deeper still" experience of God. All I have to say is that WE ARE FORGETFUL CREATURES, and it was so good to go back in repetition. 

I brought me back to the consolation that I experienced when I first meditated on the Two Standards back in January. I was up on the third floor of Jeni's home overlooking the vast Pacific Ocean and Jesus' standard (flag in battle) on the hill was waving "Come to Me." Just lovely.

So here I am after my spiritual direction session and am basking in that and then trying to write the Two Standard guide for Week 18 of the Exercises, and I have to pause and just take in all God's goodness. 

"His banner over me is love" (Song of Solomon 2:4). 

Now I have a memory of singing this song in college. Big burly football player at "The Gathering" in the Westminster Center on 23rd Street. 

I am finding this a hard one to write. Not because it is "hard." It just takes me away to consolation. So I suppose this is a good thing.

The nice thing about this writing project is that I do not have a deadline. I have no pressure from others to write it. I am just writing it, and I have no idea if this is just for me (the review is wonderful) or for others. I have a hunch that it is for others (Freedom from is Freedom for - gotta' share what I have learned through these Exercises.), but I don't know what form that will take. I am just happy to do it. 

Onward. I think it has been exactly 15 minutes for this freewrite.


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Two Standards Repetition

If you are reading my blog. I used to have those who would read it all the time, but I don't go on here as much.

If you are reading, can I heartily recommend that you take The Spiritual Exercises at least once in your life. I am on Week 24 and a little more than halfway through the life of Jesus. Usually in the Exercises, your spiritual director picks vignettes of his life to contemplate, but my director left it very open. So I decided to go through all four gospels (since my church is reading through all four this year). I am a bit ahead because Easter is on the later end this year. 

I am also writing a simple, free guide for going through the Exercises, and I am writing on Week 17: The Two Standards. During my conversation with God after my daily Examen, I felt him guiding me to do a repetition of The Two Standards. A repetition is where you go back over it and pause where you experienced consolation from the Lord. Usually, you will do a repetition of a contemplation you had only recently done, but I went with it and WOW!  I had forgotten so much since I meditated on this from January 5-13. It has only been two months, but the consolations so ministered to my heart and were such a direct answer to my prayers as I was praying through a desolation during my Examen prayer time. 

So good. 

Friday, March 08, 2019

Freewrite Friday Fifteen

Today has been a day of catching up on things. I woke up bright-eyed and bushy tailed at 3:40am! I thought that it was probably about 5 am, but I came out to my prayer spot and looked at the clock and thought, "OH MY!" So I climbed back in bed but my body did not want to go back to sleep.

So, I prayed through another part of the greatest story ever told. This was about Jesus being the Good Shepard, and the problems that ensued after this claim. I also watched the Book of John movie excerpt with that actor that was on Lost. I love how the You Version Bible app is tied to all those clips. I love the visual picture after the meditation. I also wrote about the Incarnation in the Spiritual Exercises guide that I am writing. What a great daily project this has been for me. I have committed to at least an hour of writing at day. I have written the Introduction and 12 1/2 weeks out of 33 or 34 weeks. I love it so far. 

Then I listened to the audiobook Why We Sleep. I really like it! There is a long wait for the Library2Go audiobook, but I picked up the CDs right away. I am learning quite a bit and already know that I have none of the symptoms of one who is sleep deprived. I had picked up the book in the fall, and I found my condition that talks about the "Sleepless Elite" gene. I definitely have it. :) It will be a long listen (14 hours). I wonder if George would like to listen to it on our long drive to Boise and back. :)

George got up and we prayed for women on International Women's Day. Then, he met with Micah, and I listened to another book on the Spiritual Exercises. Then I worked on Project365 pictures. I was 21 pictures behind! So that took me 2 hours and 15 minutes to catch up, but that is another thing that I am doing that awakens my senses which is something that I have learned about in my Integrating the Instincts course with Russ Hudson (I also downloaded a zip file of the whole course onto my computer). It was fun to look over visual pictures of my life in the last three weeks. 

Then I ran out of the house just in time to have Rachel cut and color my hair. Her appointment after me canceled at the last minutes (rats, she could have done my highlights if she had known earlier). Since she had extra time, she curled up my hair in ringlets. That was sort of fun.

Then I came back and had a late lunch, listened to some more of my sleep book, and now I am sitting down to another round of writing. We do pre-marriage counseling and dinner at 7:30 so I will get about an hour of the OSU vs. Washington Women's BB Game. Go Beavs. 

It has been a good day. I am excited about life. :) 

I have 2 minutes and 40 seconds left on my timer. What else can I say. 

I like life. I like my family. Oh, it was a tough week for Michael because the owner of his company died of a massive heart attack on Tuesday night. He was pretty shook up, but he seems to be doing OK now. Such a sweet guy. 

Oh, the rest of the month, we go to Bend for the rehearsal dinner and wedding. We go to Boise for Spiritual Direction training. I go to the Trappist Abbey for my semi-annual overnighter prayer (2 nights) time. I also plan on reading a lot of books. I only have two more days of classes. It has been a very good term. :)

Now the timer is probably going to run out. I will just keep on typing. There it is. 


Tuesday, March 05, 2019

5. Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology

If you have read my book selections, you know I read Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief  in December of 2016 because I had read another book earlier that year by the excellent journalist, Lawrence Wright and thought I would give it a try. OH MY! I was fascinated. That book delves into the whole history of L. Ron Hubbard. 

This story is a personal memoir by one of Scientology's more famous defectors: Leah Remini. 

Prior to reading Going Clear, I remember seeing the infamous interview between Matt Lauer and Tom Cruise many years ago and thinking that Tom Cruise was a very angry person and Scientology had done nothing to help him. 

A few months ago, I watched an A & E documentary, and they advertised another A & E show: Leah Remini: Scientology and Its Aftermath  which was then on the verge of its third season. I proceeded to binge watch the entire first and second season and would end up in a puddle of tears every single episode. 

Scientology has messed with the wrong woman. 

I have such admiration for the lies Remini and Mike Rinder (a former top level defector from Scientology) are exposing to the world. I hope someday Scientology ceases to exist. It is a cult. 

It is interesting that I read this book right after a book about the oppressive regime of North Korea because they are both very similar in how they operate: closing off its members/citizens from the outside world, propaganda to keep the faithful, brainwashing, keeping people in the fold through a cult of intimidation and fear, dictatorial leadership.

In fact, North Korea had a hand in Valerie Haney, a SeaOrg member, defecting: 

Haney says she endured “deck work” for four months, and was then transferred to a video production unit, where she served as a casting director working on pro-Scientology propaganda videos.
“We were shooting a film that was about the Korean War and about brainwashing—what brainwashing is, and how it is done—and then I went, ‘Oh my gosh… that is what Scientology is,’” she recalls in the episode.
She made her escape in the trunk of one of the non-Scientology actors in the film shortly after that. 

But I digress, Leah story is poignant. I listened to the audiobook narrated by the actor, and she really is hilarious. (Although she is a foul-mouthed girl from Brooklyn. That might turn some readers off.) It is rare that I get on my bike to work and listen to an audiobook, but I could not put this book down (well I put it down for two hours of teaching Pilates and going to a weight training class). I heartily recommend this book. GO LEAH! 

I think this woman has found her calling. If you have an opportunity to watch her show, remember to have some tissue handy. 

Monday, March 04, 2019

4. Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

40604846 This book deserves that National Book Award Finalist accolade. Nothing to Envy is my book club's read for May, but with the North Korean Summit last week, I decided to read it now. I knew very little about North Korea other than news reports of a man with funny hair (Kim Jong-il) and his young son who took over and likes to do nuclear testing (Kim Jong-un). I also knew something about this regime because of the tragic story of Otto Warmbier (who was the same age as my youngest son). This book goes back to North Korea after World War II and Kim Il-sung coming into power. This is the only communist regime that has stayed in the same family. 

WOW! I heartily recommend this book. The author is a journalist and takes personal stories of North Korean defectors and weaves it together with the history of this awful regime. I could not put it down. It is written so well. 

I happened upon the National Geographic Documentary called Inside North Korea's Dynasty at the same time. It is a perfect complement to this book because it gives the history of the three rulers of North Korea. (It sickens me to think Kim Jong-Il was eating caviar and suchi and drinking cognac every night as his people were dying from starvation in the streets.) I watched this through Xfinity On-Demand, but Amazon Prime has it for rent. My library does not have it, but I may request they buy it. It is that good. I heartily recommend this documentary to go with the book. 

Sunday Seventeen Freewrite

  New Tea Pot and One of the Cups I have not written a freewrite for so long. I thought I would write in a different font. I am going to try...