Thursday, May 30, 2019

21. The Way of Discernment: Spiritual Practices for Decision Making

"Discernment means making a discriminating choice between two or more good options, seeking the best for this moment. These choices, while personal and conditional, are set within the community of faith and honor our previous well-made decisions. Discernment does not bring us absolute certainty, but rather operates in a climate of faith. Seeking to follow God’s call moves us toward that which is better for us individually and for our world, and assures us that God will accompany us into the unknown." (Location 440)

I really loved this book. My spiritual director had given me a summary of the principles and practices in the book, but it was so fun to read them directly from the source. She uses mostly Ignatian principles of discernment, but she also throws in other people's thoughts like those of Jonathan Edwards. Discernment is seen in the larger context of contemplation and intimacy with God. She made discernment a loving process with a loving God. WIN-WIN. 

It was a joyful and easy read, and the best part about the book are 28 practices for developing discernment and decision making. This was a definite keeper of a book, and I plan on using some of the practices for myself and those I companion on this wonderful journey with God.  

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

20. God's Many Splendored Image

I really loved this book. She makes a case that the early Christian fathers saw being "made in the image of God" as our true nature rather than having a "sin nature." She is not saying we are not marred by sin due to the fall, but in Christ, we can go back to our true self as an image bearer of God. 

Is what I am as a human being fundamentally bad? Do I have to reject my own inherent identity in order to become acceptable to God? Is God opposed to me because of who I am? If God created me in his own image, how can what I am be opposed to God? Is it even possible to love such a God? . . . many secretly fear they are so evil inside that they can never do good for others or become the good persons they long to be. How can they hear the good news of the gospel if Christianity only confirms their worst fears about who they are? (p. 4)
The popular idea that Christianity says “human nature” is inherently bad is actually the opposite of what the earliest Christian theologians believed.  (p.5)
Throughout the ages, Christians have believed that the image of God in which we are created (Gen. 1: 26–27) is at the core of who we are and defines us as human. (p. 5)
Throughout the book we will listen to the prophetic voices of the early and Eastern Christian traditions that proclaim the true value and dignity of every human person and call us back to our authentic identity and purpose. Each chapter of this book explores a different facet of the divine image and likeness and maps out a path that can lead toward wholeness and holiness. (p. 5) 
Each chapter describes a set of gifts included in the divine image and likeness and shows both how they can be used and developed rightly and how they can be misused. Each chapter includes practical suggestions about how we can learn to turn away from past mistakes, become as God really intends us to be, and participate in God’s loving work in the world. (p. 5)
I liked most of it except her chapter on art. I was hoping she would treat art in general and she stuck to a justification for icons (she is Eastern Orthodox). I had two spiritual director during two different retreats have icons displayed during the session. I am glad my spiritual direction training does not push this. I don't object to it, but it is not my favorite type of art (I have been through so many art galleries throughout the world, and I dutifully tour this section but cannot wait to get to the art I REALLY like.) Art in general really excites me, but she didn't touch on that, and that was disappointing to me. 

After reading this book straight through in six hours, I woke up the next morning to find that the Scripture I was meditating on was Gn 1:24-31 about being made in the image of God. Perfect timing.

One more thing that was special: 

“The Kingdom of God” by Francis Thompson, is where I found the term “many-splendored.” His message is that although we cannot see it, at every point in this world the spiritual world is near. (p. 185)

In No Strange Land 

O world invisible, we view thee, 
O world intangible, we touch thee, 
O world unknowable, we know thee, 
Inapprehensible, we clutch thee! 

Does the fish soar to find the ocean, 
The eagle plunge to find the air— 
That we ask of the stars in motion 
If they have rumour of thee there? 

Not where the wheeling systems darken, 
And our benumbed conceiving soars!— 
The drift of pinions, would we hearken, 
Beats at our own clay-shuttered doors.
The angels keep their ancient places;— 
Turn but a stone and start a wing! 
’Tis ye, ’tis your estranged faces, 
That miss the many-splendoured thing

But (when so sad thou canst not sadder) 
Cry;—and upon thy so sore loss 
Shall shine the traffic of Jacob’s ladder 
Pitched betwixt Heaven and Charing Cross. 

Yea, in the night, my Soul, my daughter, 
Cry,—clinging to Heaven by the hems; 
And lo, Christ walking on the water, 
Not of Genesareth, but Thames! 

This is so special to me because Dallas Willard put this poem in the first page of his book Knowing Christ Today. I love this poem and was assigned a Praxis (Practical) Exercise in the Renovare Institute based on this idea of seeing God (and the fact that seeing God in my favorite city, London, at places I have been was also very special to me.) 

Here is the Exercise we were assigned: concerned with living this “with God” life in all of life, even ordinary places, and with detecting the availability of the kingdom everywhere we look. He thinks we miss “the many-splendored thing” (last two lines of the fourth stanza).  

Thompson intentionally jars readers at the end of the last two stanzas of the poem by inserting familiar places in London and suggesting they are at the foot of Jacob’s Ladder (a passageway connecting earth and heaven with angels coming and going and the Lord himself standing beside Jacob—see Genesis 28, as well as The Divine Conspiracy, p. 69).  So his original readers pictured Jacob’s Ladder stretching between heaven and the very familiar Charing Cross Road in London; Jesus walks not just on the Sea of Galilee but also on the Thames River, the main artery of nineteenth-century London. Shocked readers probably thought: God in my backyard! Jesus is standing beside me this minute. Wow!

Exercise:  At the beginning of your day, or as you begin a new portion of your day, pause for a moment. Think of the setting where you are or will be throughout your day. Allow yourself to be jarred the same way Thompson’s readers were by considering that the Jacob’s Ladder passageway extends from heaven to these everyday, ordinary places in your life. Each day, pick a few settings and replace the words “Charing Cross” in the line below with something different in your backyard, bedroom, workplace, past, or future.  

You may use these ideas below, but you’ll eventually come up with even better ideas.  
Shall shine the traffic of Jacob’s ladder   Pitched betwixt Heaven … and Charing Cross … and your computer mouse pad.  
Or: . . . and the passenger seat of your car or motorcycle . . . and your stove or microwave oven . . . and your shower . . . and your wallet . . . and your profile picture on Facebook . . . and your favorite hillside or pond . . . and your picnic table or outdoor chair . . . and the chair you sit in during spiritual direction  . . . and the chair you’ll sit in during a difficult meeting . . . and wherever you sit or stand as you take care of: a small child, plants, databases.  
I loved this exercise, and I might even post my write up for it!

Lightworks One/4:3 (John 15) Freewrite

I have fifteen minutes to write.

I meditated on John 15 today. I think that and Ephesians 1, Romans 8, and Psalm 27 are my favorite chapters in the Bible. It is all about remaining vitally united with the Vine, Jesus. It is so simple. I remember a counselor saying after my breakdown in 1983 that I bear fruit not by self-effort but by my abiding. It has always stuck with me. 

I am reading this book called The Way of Discernment by Elizabeth Liebert, and she has all these exercises, and one of them is one for the imagination. Ignatian discernment involved imagination. I got the same picture last night while doing one of her practices as I got when we were meditating in Ps 139 at the Boise Cohort weekend before last: I am lying on a beach towel, soaking in the rays of God's love. Just resting, lying and soaking. That's it. (And I danced around my living room to "It's Time to Find Your Place in the Sun" which was a late 70s hit by Pablo Cruise that was perfect for this imagination exercise.) 

Last night what I saw involved others on their towels, and it brought me back to warm memories of every day in the summers of 71, 72, and 73, lying on our beach towel in Manhattan Beach soaking in the rays (sometimes putting bars of cocoa butter on our bellies and letting it melt or tanning words into our stomachs). We also body surfed which is part of how God has been speaking to me over the last few years. So, there is that rhythm of surfing, riding the waves of the Spirit, he is doing all the propelling forward to shore; and there is the soaking and resting on the towel, tanning God's love into every pore (and his love does not cause skin cancer). I am going to continue to pray into all of this. This one involved a COMMUNITY of "Son Worshippers"!

It has been a fun thing to do Lightworks One. It is only four weeks long and is the 18th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises. Lightworks Two is a seven week journey, and it is recommended from the Sunday before Ash Wednesday to Easter, but you can do it any time. I will pray whether I will do it this way or wait until Ash Wednesday. Or will I have my own group that I am accompanying through the whole thing? We will wait and see. 

I have four minutes left on my timer. What else should I talk about? Today I have my haircut and color with Rachel. Then I will do Dial a Book deliveries. Then, I will come back and do all the printing for the PUMP Party that starts on Friday night and goes until Saturday night. I have a lot of work on that still to do, but I think I can get it done today. Later on in the week, I have meetings with AKJ and SG. I cannot remember which days are which. I am hoping that is not too exhausting because I think one of them is on the same morning of the PUMP Party. I think I should be OK though. 

I only have three more days of teaching at OSU which equals six more classes. I did a very slow and mellow class yesterday, and I think they were appreciative, and for some reason, I am sore, I think when we slow it down, we use more of our muscles. I felt a deep click in my spine, and I think whatever has been bothering me for a month was fixed at the source rather than the symptoms, which is what I think the two doctors I have seen have done. I will never go back to that one massage therapist. I was FINE for MONTHS before I went to see her, and I really think she did something. Some massage therapist just do not know what they are doing, and I have had two of those in my life. This one was subtle, but the other one was blatant. 

There goes my timer. Off to the rest of my day soaking of God's love rays!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Lightworks One/4:1-2 (Gn 1:24-31; 1 Jn 4:7-11(21) FREEWRITE

I love being able to set multiple timers on my Alexa. Just sayin'. I set this second one for fifteen minutes.

I meant to do a Freewrite yesterday, but I slept in until 5:55am, and we were off to have breakfast with the Ropps and Rohrers at 8, so there wasn't enough time. Even this morning, I want to do weights with my Pilates routine, and I always need to review what to do for that since I usually only do it once a term with my Pilates II people. I also have to correct some extra credit papers and do my attendance from last Thursday. 

I am still pondering Lorraine's death. I know she loved all the things I was doing. She was so supportive and loving and kind. I want to go to her memorial, but it is on the same day as Paul's graduation from college. So, I am so sorry that I don't think I will be able to come, but I will be there in my thoughts. She would totally understand Paul trumping her memorial service.

We had such a lovely family hike up to the top of Mary's Peak yesterday and then Thai and American food at the Woodsman Tavern in Philomath. I love my family, and I love how much we all really enjoy each other's company. Always the most life-giving part of my weekend are ours meals and activities together. 

I also liked our breakfast with the R & Rs! 

To Lightworks (because I only have 15 minutes). It comes from Ignatius words: "ejercicios leves" which means "work" and "simple" or "light". So these are the simple form of the Spiritual Exercises. I love them. It is a great, lighter review of what I just went through over two cycles of the Exercises. YAY!

So, yesterday was on how what God has made is very good. He made us in his image, male and female. It was so pertinent that I should have read God's Many Splendored Image straight through the afternoon and evening before! That is basically what that book is all about (review is forthcoming, but I have four Pilates classes and a prayer party this week and Dial a Book and Anne spiritual direction this week - oh and my hair done).  

The passage for today was about God's love. If we know and understand God we know his love and loving others would be the biproduct of that, and it made me think of Lorraine. My word for her was that she has "left a legacy of love" all over the world. Lorraine and love. She always thanked me so profusely for coming up to visit her. What? The privilege was all mine. I will so miss our monthly/bimonthly visits. Share, prayer, eat. Last three times, she loaded me down with books from her shelves knowing she did not have long on this earth. I have four bags of books. Some of my favorites from Lorraine. I will treasure them with all my heart.

So I must put the Stage 6 from the Critical Journey book here because during our Module 5 in Spiritual Direction training, Marty and Sandy asked if we knew anyone who was at this stage, and I said, "Lorraine," and they said what characterized her, and I said, "Love. She has left a legacy of love all over the world." So here are the characteristics of a Stage 6 person (my fifteen minute timer just finished, but I am going to keep going. It is not letting me indent this as a quote):

STAGE 6: The Life of Love

Stage 6, The Life of Love, is easily summarized. At this stage we reflect God to others in the world more clearly and consistently than we ever thought possible.


People at stage 6 give more than they can afford; in fact, they give all they have without any sense that giving is in any way a sacrifice. Even though it may be very difficult for others to understand us at this stage, people can be uplifted in spirit just by being with us, whether in joys or hardships. We can live openly and vulnerably with others, because we do not need self protection. Consequently, at this stage we are involved intimately in the lives of others to whom God calls us. In constant dialogue with God, our lives are permeated with unconditional love. 

Our times alone with God come during the quiet times away as well as in the everyday, unceasing conversations.  (p.153)

stage 1 humbles us, stage 2 grounds us, stage 3 rewards and exalts us, stage 4 unsettles us, the Wall unmasks us, stage 5 transforms us and stage 6 transcends us. (p. 162)


Stage 6 is really an extension of stage 5 in that we are letting ourselves merge more clearly and deeply with the heart of God.  (p.212)

Our work and our ministry at this stage is love; our ministry of love heals people; and healed people heal others. We live out wisdom, which is seeing with the eyes of God, hearing with the ears of God, and feeling with the heart of God. We have healed and embraced our inner wounds and continue to walk in a healing path. We experience intimacy with God and interior freedom. As a result we are able to identify with the inner wounds of others, experience chaos with a Christ-like manner, and allow ourselves to be guided by intuition and illumination from God's Holy Spirit. (p. 212)

THE GOAL Our goal is to allow God to have the same power in our lives that Jesus allowed God to have in his life - to live as Jesus lived. THE ROLE OF THE CHURCH, THE COMMUNITY OF FAITH The church is simply a community of love. (p. 212)

We all have a glimpse of that behavior within ourselves but to live it out fully seems too sacrificial. Stage 6 people appear to be willing to give up what the rest of us cling to: family, success, material possessions, work, relationships, recognition, security, justice, care taking, uniqueness, knowledge, tradition, leadership, anger, or self-deception. They appear to some to be wasting their lives or neglecting themselves for God. (p. 213)

One of my dear former OSU Basketball teammates wrote the sweetest thing when she heard of Lorraine's passing:

"So sorry for your loss. She has handed off the baton to another great runner. Carry on my friend."
And that is what I intend to do.  

Sunday, May 26, 2019

LIGHTWORKS ONE/3:3 (Lk 12:22-32) Freewrite about Lorraine

Freewrite fifteen

I have to go in 1/2 hour so I will write some feelings.

Lorraine F., my mentor of 32 years, had a stroke and died on Wednesday night. I think it is going to be weird to live life without her. I had just been thinking that I might want her to be my spiritual director for the second year of my Spiritual Direction Supervision, but I felt like Fran was a better choice at this stage. But I had been seeing her consistently every 6 weeks for the last year or so, but I had to skip our April 22 meeting because my allergies were through the roof, and I was so stuffed up and miserable. Turned out she had to postpone too because something happened to her knee and she as admitted to the hospital. But we did not reschedule for later in April (my allergies really were bothering me until the end and then I had to prepare for going to Boise and training there). Anyway, the next meeting will be in heaven. YAY! She got a "Well done, Good and Faithful Servant." I was thinking many people have died in May: my dad, Dallas Willard, my Uncle Kenny (the same day she had the stroke), and it looks like my bestie Patty's mom will die any minute. May. What is it about May?

Today, I Considered the Lilies. I read my things a bit out of order so I already wrote what Tetlow said about this in another post. This post I meditated deeply about not being worried or anxious. I don't get anxious about what I eat or what I will put on, but I do get anxious about little things still, and that is what I decided to pray through this summer. Life will slow down so I won't have the challenge of people-pleasing as much (although pleasing-people doesn't seem to be a big anxiety producer lately). I am not sure what I am anxious about these days, but I have some of it. Maybe it is about the prayer party we will have in five days. Will anyone come? Will people step forward to lead it? The people who I did it with in the past now have toddlers. This makes availability harder. I understand. So I think that is the main thing now.

I am also anxious about my back/hip/waist area (really not as bad in my back these days). I went 2 1/2 days with NO PAIN after releasing my psoas, but I ended up with a sharp pain at my waist on the opposite side yesterday afternoon after feeling GREAT. UGH! Thorn in the flesh. I am always anxious that it will travel, and I will be flat on my back again. 

I am also anxious about a trip. I want to have a family trip AND a trip with just George (because these are SO HEALTHY for us, and we were doing these every other year, but I am feeling a need to have one every year now). So, we talked about how cheap I am, and George said, "Hey, here is something we could do! There are two more spaces available!" But those spaces were more expensive than the economy option. Now the options are all gone, and I wished I had gone for the slightly more expensive option to be with George for 10 days on a trip. UGH. Geo laughs when I get like that. The family trip. We are moving forward. Michael finally applied for a new passport. Since they had baby/toddler passports, they had to physically show up at the county courthouse to apply instead of sending it by mail. So, that will be on the way in three to four weeks. So a mid to late summer trip is an option for us. UGH. I don't know about the summer and all the tourists, but that is probably the best time for us. So there you go: another anxiety. It is a third world anxiety, but we have not been on a family trip since 2015 when we went to Southern California to visit my family. So, I think we are due for one (It might have been 2016?).

I guess I am also anxious about Lorraine's memorial on the same day as Paul's graduation. Paul's day trumps her memorial, for sure, but the graduation is at 10:30 and memorial an hour away at 2pm. I could maybe do both, but I don't want him to feel shafted in any way! So I will leave it to God to work that all out. 

Well, there you go. I don't think I am anxious about anything else. Maybe subbing at TAC because I don't have our summer plans down so I cannot commit to subbing very far into the summer, and this makes me anxious. 

Also anxious about the blank leadership parts at the PUMP party. I might have already specified this in the thing about our prayer thing above, but there you go.

I am almost out of time (funny how I can guess fifteen minutes down to within a minute). 


Saturday, May 25, 2019

19. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.

This was on the "1000 Books To Read Before You Die" List. So, I thought I would listen to it. It is a harmless, coming-of-age story. I could relate and remember those preteen days well! It was written in 1970, and I was the same age as Margaret at that time. I liked her reflections on religion and God too. Sweet, simple story. 

18. The Kingdom Life: A Practical Theology of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation

Dallas Willard "had me at hello" (Jerry McGuire reference). So this book was nothing earth-shatteringly new. 

Here is a good quote by Willard:

There is a deep longing among Christians and non- Christians alike for the personal purity and power to live as our hearts tell us we should. What we need is a deeper insight into our practical relationship with God in redemption. We need an understanding that can guide us into constant interaction with the Kingdom of God as a real part of our daily lives.— Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines

This is another book that was published after Dallas Willard passed away. It is interesting that they put his name at the top because I think he only wrote one of the articles in the whole book (and I am not convinced he actually wrote it as this was published in 2016, and he died in 2013). They reference meeting with Dallas Willard and quote him quite a bit, but I think it is somewhat misleading to give him top billing as an author. His books are referenced often, but it is really NOT a Dallas Willard book. And if you have read this blog, you know I love Dallas Willard. 

His books are referenced in several places so why not just read Renovation of the Heart, The Spirit of the Disciplines, The Divine Conspiracy, or The Great Omission, etc.? This book skimmed the surface of what spiritual formation is all about. I don't know. It just didn't GRAB me. 

I think there could probably be a better book for our spiritual direction training to accomplish the goal of the Year Two Module 1 which is:

Pastoral, spiritually formative ministry is guided at a higher level by meta-questions, the principal of which is "What's the nature and scope of this 'Kingdom of God' (so often on the lips of Jesus!) that's meant to show up in the directee's life?" What exactly are we talking about?" But there are other big questions like, "What's the truest and best image of God we can carry?" With chapters like "The Gospel of the Kingdom and Spiritual Formation," "The Trinity as Foundation for Spiritual Formation," This book does a fine job of locating the ministry of spiritual direction in the larger context of spiritual formation and the kingdom of God.

After the first chapter, I thought it read very much like a Navigator book, and I looked at the contributors, and many of them are Navigator staff, former Navigators, or are seminarians near the Navigator headquarters in Colorado. I love the Navigators because through their excellent discipleship I was given tools for spiritual formation very early on in life starting at 19 years of age.  

I heartily agree with the final "Elemental Principles" in the Epilogue, especially the first: 

Spiritual Formation occurs in believers as they engage in intentional personal formation, community formation, and missional formation. These three dimensions must not be compartmentalized or separated but organically connected. (Location 4890)

This is one thing I am most grateful for in my 4 1/2 years with this great organization. We were taught intentional practices and given an environment to grow personally in the context of community and given a vision to make Christ known throughout the world. I will be forever grateful.  I think my boss for the ministry that we now are a part of also has that kind of vision! I love my life!

I found the book basic but solid. I know many do not get the fantastic "sovereign foundations" for spiritual growth I was given 40 years ago. I will never take that for granted. I think it does put all of the people in my spiritual direction school on the same page.

It is written by a "think tank" for Spiritual Formation. So, it is somewhat heady and intellectual in nature. I think they needed more women on the team too. I wonder why they didn't ask Jan Johnson to be a part of it? Hmmm..  

Here is a quote I like: 

Spiritual formation is the training process that occurs for those who are disciples of Jesus. Spiritual formation and discipleship are all about development of the life in the kingdom of God that comes to us through the risen Christ. As a disciple of Jesus, I am living with Him, learning to live in the kingdom of God as He lived in the kingdom of God. Spiritual formation is taking the explicit statements of Jesus and learning how to live this way. Jesus did tell us, did He not, that we should make disciples, submerging them in Trinitarian reality? Baptizing them in the Trinitarian name doesn’t just mean saying the names “Father,” “Son,” and “Holy Spirit” over them while you get them wet. The name in biblical understanding is reality, and to baptize them is to submerge them in the Trinitarian reality. We must understand the relevance of the Trinity to the gospel! The gospel is about life with the Trinity. (Location 872)
I don't know if I agree with Willard's definition of discipleship versus spiritual formation though: 

Dallas Willard made an important distinction between discipleship and spiritual formation that can help us here. He said that discipleship is the decision to follow Jesus, to be His apprentice. This is about positioning, making oneself available. Spiritual formation is the direct action of the Holy Spirit upon the inner person.[Notes from Plenary Session by Willard at Spiritual Formation Forum, LA, 2004] Once a person is “in Christ,” God is at work to will and to work all good things. That is the starting point; the next part is how the mind gets renewed.  (Location 1842)
I read an article by someone who makes a different distinction, and I will link it here. I am still pondering. I have always been somewhat at odds with the Willard peeps who almost poo-poo discipleship in favor of spiritual formation. Jesus said to "go and make disciples" so that is the intentional practice of helping others grow. I see that you are discipling, and the process for that person is discipleship whereby that person becomes spiritual formed which is spiritual formation. I will ponder this more. This post has been good to write. 

I think those of us who have been discipled either one on one or in the group context know what that means. Others, who maybe grew on their own without anyone intentionally investing in them (and hats off to them) don't really understand this. A girl I discipled once said that she can walk in a room and tell those who have not been discipled and those who have. (She says to herself, "They have not had a Carol in their life," and that makes me laugh.)  I thought that was interesting. Anywho, here is the article, I have spent far too long on this post, but I am still trying to decide whether this book really accomplishes the goal of my spiritual direction school and what might be a better option in the future. It is an OK book, don't get me wrong. I just wonder if there is a better one?

A link to the article:

Here is the quote from this article that rings true for me:

Discipleship, however, is a kind of Spiritual Formation. And in many ways, it's the gateway for the outworking of the intentional spiritual formation we are looking for in the rest of our life. If you are being discipled well, it means the person investing in you recognizes that Jesus is actually the one discipling you.

17. Pride and Prejudice

Last time I drove to Boise, I listened to a somewhat "tense" work of fiction. This time I decided to go for delightful, fun, and familiar. So after three hours listening to Tuck Everlasting, I switched to one of my favorite novels for the trip over mountain passes in pouring down rain. It was a GOOD choice. I was so delighted. I just love, love, love this story and Austen's witty dialogue! 

Josephine Bailey is a great narrator too!

16. Tuck Everlasting

If you had the opportunity to live forever, would you jump at the opportunity? I listened to this book on the way to Boise. It is short and sweet and beautifully written!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Lightworks One/3:1a (Isaiah 40:1-5)

By the way, if you are new to reading this,  Lightworks is a portion of the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola developed by Joseph A. Tetlow. Lightworks One is four exercises, Lightworks Two is seven exercises, and Lightworks Three is three exercises. They can be done separately or all together for a total of fourteen weeks. Love them. It is also known as the 18th Annotation of the Exercises. Ignatius was super practical and knew that the full exercises (20th Annotation in a 30+ day retreat format and 19th Annotation usually over 30+ weeks) might be too much for many people. Tetlow recommends 30 minutes of prayer (Ignatius recommended 1 hour).


I started this morning off with Examen prayer. I am really grateful for how my class subbing went. I had not been to this class since January 2, and they were so warm and welcoming! YAY! That was meaningful to me. I also loved my LONG walk over Glen Eden with a newlywed whose marriage is going great. Thanks be to God. That was the second time we had done pre-marriage counseling, and I thought it went much better this time, and I prefer face-to-face over Skype! 

Today's meditation was on Isaiah 40:1-5. It was supposed to be 11 verses, but I love verses 1-5, and it sent me into Handel's Messiah raptures because it is part of that libretto. Meditating deeply, I feel God saying so kindly that my warfare has ended. I feel so much more interior freedom since doing the full Exercises this time around. Rejoicing that he has truly made crooked places straight and rough places smoother. I don't ever want to be in my 20s again! Most of the 20 somethings we are around these days are so much farther along than I ever was at their age, and it bodes well for the future. Seeing people in their late 50s, early 60s unravel has been a bit sad for me, but my closest friends in that age range are doing well. 

As Isaiah 40:1-5 indicates, the glory, majesty, and splendor of the Lord will be revealed (indicating the coming of Jesus). Praying that he will reveal his glory, majesty, and splendor through my own life. That is my desire as I work and play and go by the way!

On another note, I woke up very early this morning. I could feel my hip was out again. So, I lay there in bed and trigger pointed my psoas muscle on the left side. SO MUCH TIGHTER than the right. I held and massaged, and then I felt a tingling all over my hip area. There was a release, and I got out of bed, and the hip joint had fallen back into place! That was so good to feel. I literally could feel it moving. I have been looking at my quadratus lumborum and serratus posterior inferior muscles as culprits, but I think the psoas is the major culprit that messes those up too. I really think it is because that leg is shorter than the other and so there is a muscle imbalance where that psoas has to work harder on that side to flex my hip (being part of the hip flexor complex) than the other side. I am wondering if maybe my lift in that shoe is a little off OR I need to constantly be wearing that inside the house. I spent a LOT of time last month walking inside because my allergies were so bad, and much of that walking was barefooted. So, I keep saying I will wear shoes indoors, but I love being barefooted! 

I have one minute and fifty seconds left. I have been working getting this prayer party schedule together, but it has not been stressful. I am grateful for that. I have to work with two other people that have toddlers. So, I have taken on more of the work. I am wondering if this will be the last year of doing this. I might need to totally let it go. It is always fun, but I am not much of a recruiter and the reality is, many are not super committed to intense prayer. I don't mind if it is a small party though.


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Lightworks One/2:2-3 (Jn 3:1-21, Lk 24:36-43) FREEWRITE

I sort of ran out of time yesterday morning. So I came back after teaching two Pilates classes to soak in Jn 3:1-21. Then, this morning, it was Lk 24:36-43. 

The grace I am praying for is "the gift of acknowledging the divine Presence, Emmanuel and the Spirit of Life." It was perfect for today because when I did my Examen this morning - I did a variation of the Examen by doing the Three Circles Exercise - Where am I? (preoccupations of the heart, soul, mind, body) How am I? (feelings about those preoccupations) Who am I? (what does God say to you about those things). I realize the only thing I am sort of anxious about is teaching at the club today. I feel so called to do this at OSU. I am always energized after there. It was a good thing for me to teach regularly at the club for seven months, but it was not as life-giving, and I had other things I was called to (visiting MIL and Lorraine and writing my manual for the Spiritual Exercises), and it was a good call. But I am a little dreading going there today. I LOVE the people I work with. I love my boss and the front desk supervisor is especially lovely. It is just a hit or miss with the class as people are in and out, coming late, leaving early. I like that OSU is a required participation because that is how one gets strong. Anywho, I felt like God said in the "Who am I?" question is LIGHT. So I will be a light.

Lightworks is so lovely. I love how Tetlow has made this little portion of the Exercises available. So, what I heard after meditating on John 3 was "Come Out into the  Light!" I felt like I was supposed to journal my drams about the future, and I had a lot. The main point of this week was to reiterate that God is with me always. Father, Son, Holy Spirit. So, I have some crazy dreams, and God is saying to "Light the world on fire!" But I know it will sort of drop in my lap. He gave me the word "Good and Gifted" on the Spiritual Director front, and I can receive that. On the organizing of the PUMP party, I have confidence and he said all I have to be is a "Calm, intercessor and worshiper." I can do that! Having things come together and coordinating a bunch of people over many hours is daunting. Life has changed for my coworkers as they have both had children since we first started five years ago. I am content and happy with that. It will come together. God is with me. That is the theme today and every day. Not on this earth to go it alone. "I am with you always even to the end of time." 

Tetlow also has this wonderful little prayer of consideration called "The Lilies of the Field" that was lovely. It was basically about letting go of things that are out of our control. The lily just stands in the field through change and wind and rain. God made it the kind of lily it is and where it stands. No control over that either Most paragraphs end: "Who much of my life world is my making; how much is God's?" One ends: "How much of my life growth is my making; how much is God's?"

For all that, not even Solomon dressed up in gold-embroidered brocade was any more lovely than that lily. So for all that has shaped and misshaped me, for all that has given me health and inflicted ill health on me--I am precious in the eyes of God, and honored, and God loves me as I am. Otherwise, I would not be as I am, though God would be glad were I to slough off my selfish sins. But they are trash compared to God's creating love in me, whose love will burn them away like flakes on the bark of a flaming pine log. How much of me is mine; how much can be God's?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Lightworks One/2:1 (Ps 139) Freewrite

I am going to not go by Day 1, Day 2, etc. for Lightworks of the Spiritual Exercises by Tetlow because I am not necessarily going to be writing about it every single day and Lightworks One/2 can last for up to a whole week with the repetitions. So, this is how I will mark it from now on.

(I am not sure why the word is "courteously" - Should it be "continuously"? The word they use doesn't make sense to me.)

The Grace I pray for is:

I ask God for the gift of acknowledging the divine Presence, Emmanuel and the Spirit of Life.

So, I have to say what was cool. I said it in my Freewrite yesterday, but I don't remember if I mentioned that the first passage of Scripture Ps 139 is part of Lightworks One/2! So, it was so cool that I lost an hour of sleep with the time change to Idaho, AND my brother accidentally called me from the East Coast at 3:45 am the morning before. So, I slept in until 5:30 and had to leave for training at 6:50 and needed to do my rolling and stretching and all. So, I did not get to Ps 139 (just the Examen and praise). God said not to worry, and that is what we meditated on in the group Spiritual Direction time! So, that was very cool. 

This next passage is John 3, and I am still going to meditate further on it tomorrow. Today, I was struck by the text for this week where he points out Jeremiah 13:11:

Jeremiah 13:11 11For as a belt is bound around the waist, so I bound all the people of Israel and all the people of Judah to me,' declares the LORD, 'to be my people for my renown and praise and honor. But they have not listened.' We really were meant to be his people as close as a BELT, and it was cool as I meditated on that because I was wearing a BELT of a Therma Care Heat Wrap around my waist because I am still tight right at the waist level muscles on the left side. So I felt that belt, and that is what he wants. He is with us always, and I see that I am not pulled to disconnect with Him anymore when I see other people running around like chicken with their heads cut off in ministry! I got home from Boise, and I did have the morning, but I had to start working on something for ministry starting at 11am and did not stop working (except taking a shower and dressing from 2:45-3:15) until 9 pm that night! Talk about hitting the beach running after this contemplative/relational weekend with Spiritual Direction Training! I had to interact with lots of younger people about one of the ministry things, and I found myself NOT getting frustrated at the lack of decision, and I didn't feel pressured because people are asking what the schedule is for an event that I am coordinating with someone else. Also, I was able to say that I could not do anymore for the event as I was already doing a lot of it, and the other person totally accepted that, and I DIDN'T FEEL BAD FOR SAYING IT! Which for me, is HUGE. God IS with me, always! I am clinging to him like a belt. I was able to be calm when no decisions were made even with a scheduled phone call. That was huge too. And when I didn't hear back (because I understand that that person cannot commit to any hours of work until they consult with others - different life stage then me, and I totally understand that), I just went ahead and made a schedule with just the framework. I did what I could do, and I left the rest. It will work out. No worries. We will have a schedule by the time the event happens on June 1 (the events starts May 31, but we did get that part ironed out). Anywho, I was able to make up a flyer for the event and bring it to a big event happening last night where I needed to set up two tables. I was wearing three hats last night, but I got there way earlier than everyone, set up my tables and then went up the top floors of the event location and looked out the window at the blue sky above and had a half hour of solitude. I was so calm and when George came to do the event with me, I ended up leaving it an hour early and let him take down the two tables I set up. I KNEW God was with me, and that is what being a Contemplative in Action is all about. I love what I am learning lately. You are with me, and I am clinging to you like a belt, Lord! Time's up.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Freewrite Fifteen - Reorienting to Life Back Home

I was supposed to pray with Mindy this morning at 8:30am, but I had told her last week that we will see because I will have driven back 8 hours from Boise on Sunday. As suspected, I am wiped out. It was a ton of people contact, first arriving in Eagle, ID to be with Debbie (best friend from college - met each other in the fall of 1979 - must make a note to celebrate our 40 years of friendship when I go and see her again in September). We go DEEP SIX in about SIX SECONDS - Seriously! I think this Spiritual Direction Cohort in Boise is that much sweeter because I get to stay with Debbie for three nights every two months! It is so helpful to brief/debrief with her every day I am there. 

SO, that was first, then I get up, and she has to leave for work at 6:50 in the morning (and that is 5:50 my time after driving all day the day before for 8+ hours - but OH WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DRIVE - even though this time meant going over the Blues Mountains in pouring down rain on the way over). I took a walk for a half hour because she has to drop me off at 7:30 am, but isn't it cool that she works only 10 minutes away from where my cohort meets? The walk was in the pouring down rain, but it was good for my injured psoas muscle to get some exercise. 

Then we eat as a cohort at 8 -9am and start with a devotional at 9. I love these people, and two people dropped out and two could not come so it was only six trainees and the two trainers, confirming that less is more for me. I love the two no longer there and two that couldn't make it, but the conversation is so much more intimate with eight people. We had a meditation on Ps 139 which is what I was going to meditate on that morning, but I felt God say, "Skip it today because you have your meditation in community today." AND IT WAS ON Psalm 139. 

Then we had a long discussion on The Critical Journey: Stages in the Life of Faith. We were given a stage to role play and have people guess what we were role playing, and I got THE WALL so role played what actually happened to me when I hit THE WALL in real life! It reminded me a lot of The Making of a Leader by Clinton, and it turns out that one of the previous cohort people knows the author of that book and also made the same comparison. 

I discovered from our leader that we were having dinner with the previous year's Boise Cohort after all day with our Year One Cohort. It was nice, but lots of talk about Boise, and "one of these is not like the others" caused me to feel a little bit "out of the circle" as they talked about the future for the Boise Spiritual Directors, but I think I was OK as I "caught myself in the middle of the act" of those feelings and did a little prayer. I also sense walls. I can usually sense walls. I was OK then. Then, I went home and shared my perspective of the dynamics (mostly the walls), and my best friend was so glad because she has encountered similar walls and thought she was crazy. So, we stayed up and talked through but got to bed by 9pm. 

I had a rather intense talk with one of my cohort members on the way back from the dinner the night before, and she picked me up the next morning for our second day of training. I had a good time with God and felt I needed to share something. It was so well received. I didn't give advice, but I did use an analogy from 30 plus years ago that popped into my head. I think as a Type Two I always need to be aware that I "absorb other people's stress and difficulties." So sharing what I did helped me to let it go and be the friend who just stands by. 

Anywho, our devotional the next day was on TREE analogies and where we were in the TREE (from different Scriptures). Again, one of the verses was so related to my WALL experience that it made me laugh to share the story of having a nervous breakdown at 23 years old because God is so good to let me get through the WALL experience. (I know it is not funny to have a breakdown, but I can smile now about it and that verse on the TREE was my verse during that time.)  The rest of the day we did a supervision of one of the trainees and gathered the graces of things we learned during this first year. The prays at the end of our time were so sweet. I have found my people. 

The whole day was great. I really love this cohort and so glad I made the change from the Seattle Renovare Cohort to this one. That one just was not a good fit and too big and more academic. This one is more intimate and practical, giving us much "soul time"!

Oh, just one last thing even though the timer is going. I loved my drive home. I used cruise control to keep me from accidentally speeding, and the COLUMBIA GORGE WAS GORGEOUS. Then I came back to GORGEOUS GEORGE at home and went out to lunch and debriefed the whole weekend.  (Oh also listened to Tuck Everlasting and Pride and Prejudice while driving. PERFECT!) 


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Lightworks One/1:3 (Eph 1:3-14) Freewrite

Everything is gift.

"Jesus prayed thanks because he lived thanks." p. 261 of Lightworks One

Ephesians 1:3-14 (meditated in The Message)

He settled on s as the focus of his love. . . We are made whole and holy by his love. . . Enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved son. 

I knew I loved Ephesians 1. A memory of being at the "Etta Cow Pie" (it had two Greek letters with a cow in the middle on the sign) house and studying this with a group of athletes. Who was leading it. It just hit me. Ephesians 1 spoke to me. It gave me the courage to walk away and take a different path in my life. I was overwhelmed by the overwhelming, never-ending reckless love of God. That chapter. I remember where I was sitting in the living room. I see the faces of the people, mostly just half-heartedly there. Who had dragged them to come and study the Bible? That was really only the second time I had ever really "studied" the Bible. I had gone a little it to Sunday School and the "4th Quarter" at the First Baptist Church of El Segundo. Oh, and I had gone to Jet Cadets, where we memorized John 1 and got a pin for our Jet Cadet hat. But to sit and soak and study. I had also done it the summer before when I bought myself a Bible and studied 3 John (because it was short). But this was my first group study. And Ephesians 1 just hit me. I been chosen, blessed, forgiven, sealed. ABUNDANTLY FREE. It took me a while to break free from the bad influence that was brought to me by one person who sat in that living room, but by March 17, I completely broke free. ABUNDANTLY FREE, and God's truth in Ephesians 1 was part of that process of freedom.

Whom the Son sets free . . . we are free indeed. I'm a child of God. Yes, I am.

Truths for a Tuesday morning. 

Another thing that hit me was from my meditation on God giving Mary the gift of motherhood in Luke 1. Tetlow says, "God has called you from your mother's womb by your own name" (p. 251). He really did. God gave my dad a new name. One they had not planned for me. He took one look at me as I came from my mother's womb and said, "She is not a Karen. She is a Carol." (It makes me think of Zechariah saying, "His name will be John.") and God called me because my name means, "Song of Joy," and I think that so aptly describes me. It is deep to have the name change. It was a God thing. My dad was listening. Charles William Wardrop was listening to you without even knowing that he was listening to you. Before he really knew you, you spoke to him. (Carol is the feminine form of Charles too, and he did not know that either.) 

Things are God things. All is gift. 

15 done at the perfect time. 

Monday, May 13, 2019

Lightworks One/1:1 (Ez 11:17-21) Freewrite about 18th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises

I am going to write freewrites regarding this newest adventure. I am setting the timer for 15 minutes every day and writing about this journey.

Joseph A. Tetlow has written a manual for spiritual directors through the 19th annotation of the Spiritual Exercises. I have done this 19th annotation through Creighton University Online Retreat and Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life in Portland, OR. (The information meeting is tonight if anyone wants to go. I highly recommend it.) I have this manual Choosing Christ in the World for when I help others through the Exercises next year, but at the end, he has a thing called Lightworks, which is an 18th annotation. Ignatius had a motto: "Do what is doable." I love that. So the 18th annotation is a shorter version of the Exercises. I am doing Tetlow's version through the summer and will end on August 18th.  

So, the first two days have been so good. Ezekiel 11:17-21. I had been given the directive to put these verses in my manual of the Exercises, but I cannot remember if I ever did. I am praying that God will continue to give me a "heart of flesh" which reminds me of Ignatius talking about approaching the Exercises with a generous and magnanimous spirit. 

The desire of this first week is: "I want to appreciate the world, my life, and my self for what they all are: outright gifts from God, my Creator and Lord."

SO PERFECT. All is gift! This week is about thankfulness and there needs to be a soft heart to do this, and praying through this passage in Ezekiel was so deliciously good for me!

The second passage (only three per week to ponder which is again "doable"!) is the "gift of motherhood God gave to Mary." It is no coincidence that when I did my "Three Circles Exercise" this week, two of the things I was anxious and afraid about had to do with feeling like I was not a good mom because I had not gotten on top of getting Paul's graduation announcements from college out and a party and a trip that we had promised both of them (Michael graduated in 2017, and we were waiting so we could combine trips.) Anywho, God spoke to me in the "do not be afraid" to Mary. I had to stop and GIVE THANKS for being a mom! I never thought I would be married, let alone a MOTHER! I am still amazed and cannot get over that God gave me the gift of George and then on top of that the gift of Michael and Paul! And whenever I do my Examen prayer, the most meaningful parts of my weekend are when our kids come home, and we have a meal together and go to church together. Yesterday was especially meaningful, because in my "Three Circles Exercise" God spoke about my anxiety with the grad announcements by telling me I am a "Communicator"! So I communicated with Paul. He did not want to hear about my anxiety about it (I love how Paul always shoots straight with me and tells me what is what about stuff like that.), but he did want to talk about it. So, my Mother's Day afternoon was spent shooting photos of him in the yard, neighborhood, and park. Then, we selected the pics and made an announcement on Shutterfly. "Do not be afraid." So we also talked about having a party. He was honest that 1) he doesn't like BIG things for him and 2) most of his friends from childhood are all out of town now. So, we decided to do something very low key, like a dinner with one other family or even just our family. So, that anxiety from my Thursday Three Circle Exercise was over. YAY! I feel like this morning God is telling me 1) "live" thanks for all gifts, including being a mom, and 2) to know that I am a "favored one" as a mom. 

There you go. 15 minutes is exactly how much time I needed to get this freewrite written.


I am going to see I can upload the grad announcement on here later. TTFN.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

"The kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work (a) that you need most to do and (b) that the world most needs to have done....
The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet"
 (Wishful Thinking: A Seeker's ABC, p 118-19).

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Fifteen Minutes Freewrite

I have been doing the seven day Freewrite challenge on Facebook this week, but it is only seven minutes, and I think I am so much more self-conscious writing there! I think a lot more people see my Facebook page than this blog. So I am more inhibited there. That has been an interesting thought.

Today has been lovely. The sun is shining. It was 81 degrees outside at 1 pm, and I wonder what it is now. Wow, quick peak: 85 degrees! That is lovely. I am supposed to go to our community meeting tonight, but I am really, really tired! I am not sure why, but I think I will pass in order to get some down time. George just informed me that he is working up in Hillsboro tomorrow, and I am welcome to join him, but I have a spiritual direction appointment with my bestie, Kim. So, I am going to have to pass, and I am sad. Maybe I should postpone the appointment since I am well over my quota for my supervision hours. I am probably twice the number of hours that I need, but I really want to check in with Kim and hear how God is working in her life. Seriously, one of my favorite things to do is to hear how God is working in someone's life! 

This week has been very monumental. 1) I finished my guide the Spiritual Exercises called Exercises for Everyone. This is the first draft, and I already went through it last night and read through the whole thing and made some edits and corrections. Now I am going to sit on it, and I already felt led to add a page about "Distinguishing of Spirits" that Ignatius has in the appendix part of the Exercises. It is just 98 pages in Microsoft Word and a far cry from the monumental project of the Bible Book Club which ended up being 3500 pages! I love it thought. It is very simple and preserves the simplicity of the Exercises. It just makes them easier to understand and more accessible for everyone. I have this crazy, crazy idea of making a Spiritual Exercises Podcast. I really want to make them accessible for all people from all faiths. They are so, so good. I heart Ignatius of Loyola. 

Speaking of Ignatius, my own journey through the Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life ended officially today. I had my last spiritual direction meeting with Mike last Friday, but I still had some "Savoring of the Graces" I received left. So I prayed through the last thing yesterday and hung up my hat of my second time through the Exercises up. What a lovely, lovely journey. I got up this morning and had PSSD - Post SEEL Stress Disorder (SEEL means Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life)! I didn't know what to do with myself because I have had Mike directing me in my prayer life for the last eight months! 

All that said, I will do just fine! I prayed through Face to Face this morning, but I think I might pray through the book of Acts and do some Ignatian Imaginary Contemplation through it. What fun things I did even thought I have done this since 1981. I WISH I would have learned about the larger context of the Exercises when I started doing this contemplation back then. It would have been so fun. 

Someone has texted me three times since I started this freewrite because my Apple Watch is going off, but I have been so disciplined to keep my fingers continuously typing away instead of being distracted by the watch screaming at me. HAHAHAHAHAHHA.



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 ...