Sunday, June 30, 2019

29-34: Various Children's Books

I am reading books from the 1000 Books to Read Before You Die List.

So here are some of the Early children's books. Can you believe I had never read two that are super popular?

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118077 They were all delightful reads for a Saturday evening! 

Journey with Bonhoeffer Day (3-)6 FREEWRITE

I have not been writing about this fantastic new Journey I am on. I love passing on good things, and I have really enjoy this little book I bought so in April of 2017:

40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer

It is a daily devotional with these components:

Excerpt from Bonhoeffer's writings
Biblical Wisdom - one to two verses related to the passage
Silence for Meditation
Questions to Ponder
Psalm Fragment
Journal Reflections
Prayer for Today 

Love it! I was in the middle of something when I bought this book, and then I discovered the Spiritual Exercises in the Fall of 2017, and I was involved with them for a solid 1 1/2 years. So this summer is the summer for Bonhoeffer. I think I might send it to Debbie and Patty for their birthdays. It is that good! 

So on to the Freewrite, but I must pause to go to the bathroom. :) 


Day 2 was about prayer and meditation
Day 3 was about prayer to start the day sets the tone for the day
Day 4 was about work and prayer (I love my work)
Day 5 was about thankfulness (so glad that Ignatian Spirituality emphasizes gratitude as a daily discipline through the examine and that Ignatius thought that the lack of gratitude was the root of all sin)

Day 6 is about what the heart clings to and where our treasure is.

I am listening to my Gregorian playlist on shuffle this morning, and it has a beautiful song that I have never heard before. Ecstasy and subline presence is with me right now. YAY!

"The eyes of all look to you, 
       and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand,
       satisfying the desire of every living thing. Psalm 145:18.

Then I am to reflect on my particular idolatries - things (or people) to which your heart clings in such a way that they get between you and your obedience to Jesus. 

I think mine are 
  1. Food - especially "treats" like ice cream. I have put on a few pounds during this allergy quarantine, and I need to get it off. 
  2. People - their positive or negative response for me "can" send me into a tailspin. I would say it is less so these days. I got a curt, "no" this week after I invited someone to join me on a journey I will be taking with several other people, but I moved on quickly knowing how UBER relational I am and how task-oriented and less relational many other people are. I could tell when I offered that it would be a, "no" by the questions that were asked after my invitation. I have a great group of people joining me on the journey already, and they are all related to each other in some form or another. It is good to be rejected now and then (as Mr. Bennett would say). 
  3. TV - The good news: I am no longer a "news junkie," limiting my news time to 45 minutes, 6 days a week. That is huge, but I am into observing dynamics so I indulge in reality TV that I am taking a fast from this July. I am convinced this is more related to #2 because people can be an idol, and people dynamics are my thing. I know I can learn a ton, but there is also nothing new under the sun in terms of what people do and say to one another. I always wonder how I would respond in the situations they are put in. 
So there you go. I give it to you Lord. Lead me and guide me. 

I think I am going to go beyond my 15 minutes because this week was so tough.

I was in limbo most of the week. They thought my college friend would die last Monday, but she held on until Friday. Her dear friend, Nick, was so kind to call me right away. I think the whole week was just clouded with memories. The whole idea of their being a separation between us because of the roads that we both chose to go down. I have learned more about her life leading up to this unnecessary death, and I wished I could have been there for her. I know we had a special bond when she was walking the road with Jesus. The things that came to light as late as yesterday were so disturbing. I wish I would have been more aware. Many tried and then pulled away. I know we were soulmates. More so than any of my other sorority sisters would have ever known. Even after our nine year hiatus in friendship, we came back together so strong. Then I noticed a change the last time we all came together. There was a distance with her and everyone. The secrets people hide. I should have been more assertive, asked more questions. Then she quit coming to things altogether. I am so sad. That colored my whole week.

I originally postponed with Nessa as I was supposed to meet with her on Monday, and I was just too pensive after my visit with my friend on Sunday afternoon. Plus, I was busy scanning pictures and contacting significant people from her past. Nessa was great to wait until after July 11th when she would return from California, but I met with her on Wednesday, and that turned out to be the most  life-giving thing of the week. I love her. I asked her how she was experiencing God, and the answer was balm to my soul. It oozed out of every pore of her being. She is doing so well. She has such peace about some "heart string" sorts of things. I am so grateful.

Then I did some self-care on Friday and got a massage and had the therapist pray over me (she is a strong believer). Sadly, while the initial feeling was good, she wacked my lower back out that has not been out since the other massage I got in Santa Barbara in 2017. So, I think I am swearing off massages from now on. I have never found anyone to replace Jennifer who moved back to New York. I am sad about that, but I think it is best to not risk someone messing this complicated pelvic system! But all that to say that was my attempt at self-care. Then I met a spiritual director in town, and she went through the training I almost did at the Mt. Angel Benedictine sisters program! She was lovely and did not even charge me because she said it was so life-giving for her to get together. She said she had just prayed the night before that God would bring someone for her to do spiritual direction with!

Saturday was rest and doing the Examen with George and covering the whole week. It was great but as I sat, my muscles in the lower back started spasming. So there you go. Back to the drawing board. Been there and done that. Hope I can still go to the blessing of Madina's baby today at noon. 

A huge weight was lifted when we discussed not going to England/France this summer. It is just too precarious a time with both kids looking for jobs and not knowing if they will have time off if they get new ones. So, we are postponing until next year. In the meantime, we will go to the coast over the 4th to get Michael and I out of the WORST pollen in the country and go to Yellowstone in between my Spiritual Direction Training and Jake's wedding in September.  That has weighed on me for months. They were all cool with it, and I was the only person who felt bad about not planning a trip. 

This was a long freewrite, but there you go. 

Friday, June 28, 2019

28. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Title details for 20,000 Leagues under the Sea by Jules Verne - Wait listWhat a fun summer read! I think I saw the Walt Disney version when I was a kid, and I watched that version again last night as I was finishing up this book. As I did, I discovered that my dear husband has read the unabridged versions of this and the sequel! Who knew? I found the story very entertaining and captured my attention the whole time. I wish I had read it to my kids when they were young. The narrator, Harlan Ellison, was excellent. He gets very excited as he reads it. It was a delight, and I was surprised it was quite funny in parts. 

I did not mean to get the abridged version and wanted to read the full one, but I was almost done with the book before I realized it was the abridged. So c'est la vie (since it is a French novel).

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Journey with Bonhoeffer: Day 2 Freewrite

The meditation was worrying about nothing and praying about everything. In the process of my meditation, I texted Elizabeth to pray for me with the waiting game for my friend's impending death. Anne was with her. So it was two or three gathered together. YAY! So I am so much better. I asked for help. I would have loved to talk to Fran, but I am so happy she is in the South of France enjoying the Van Gogh Exhibit, swimming in a river, eating French cuisine. So happy for her. George was sweet to call me this morning to process. 

Things have just hit me. I have all these memories attached with all these deaths in the last month. It is sort of overwhelming. This one came as a surprise. My "Helper" wished I would have been more assertive with her because I knew there was something wrong last time we were all together. I knew there was a distance not only from me but from everyone. Then she quit coming to things we had planned. Seems like she pulled away from everyone toward the end, even her closest friends, or they pulled away. Did not want to see the downward spiral. 

And that leads me to the Day 1 meditation from yesterday. The gist of Jesus' yoke being "easy and light" and there are "painful separations" when we take on his yoke. It means friends experience tension. There is a pulling away. There is a hiding the secrets you don't want your friend to know about, but she didn't realize I knew because sorority walls are thin, and I heard some things she does not know that I heard. A different person from the one that was presented to me. Many told me that, but I knew in my heart of hearts, she was my soul mate. We sang a harmony that noone else really understood. Hang the lifestyle choices. I want to be like the Prodigal Father, looking on the horizon for the return: reckless and extravagant in my love. Pulling up my robe to run to meet her. That is what the true Father will do for her very soon. "Welcome. I am your prodigal God, reckless and extravagant in my love for you, Shan."

Reflecting on that place. I do believe it was the hardest place I have ever lived. I have never felt more persecution just for living that "easy yoke" kind of life. I didn't say anything, especially that last year. The first couple of years, I was often so shocked at what went on. I didn't know how to live with it all. I never thought about moving out though. It was the place where God had called me, even not where the ministry I was a part of was focused (theirs was the residence halls). So there was a distance from those people too. But I had such a nice meditation in "Pray as You Go" about the Land that was promised. That sorority house was, indeed, the first promised land for me. I prayed and interceded over it more than any other place. I still love those women. Some were so cruel. I was so afraid. Utterly and completely afraid. Even now, as I interact with them over our sister dying, I am a little bit afraid, but fear has never been a determining factor for me. That is a nice thing. A gift of grace.

So, today, I "do the next thing" a la Elisabeth Elliot, and George suggested Jane Austen might be in order too. 

Maybe so. 

Monday, June 24, 2019

Freewrite and Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer Day 1

My college roommate and buddy, Shannon, is dying. I sat by her bed in a hospice house in southwest Portland for two hours yesterday. Her friend of 24 years, Nick, was so warm and inviting. He asked me questions about our life together that many years ago. (We graduated in 1981). She asked about the Nick that broke her heart (because Shannon would always say that his name reminded her of "that" Nick). She asked about the Fiji she dated, Scott, she broke HIS heart. I was there for all of that. She was my closest college friend back then. We stayed tight for many years after we graduated, but she drifted away. I went on to do world travels, and also our values didn't match up anymore. I think she thought I was condemning her for her choices, but I am just not one to do that. Sometimes people just feel convicted by the way you live your life, and she and I were going down different roads in that respect. She was angry at me once when I questioned (gently) her choices, but we still remained friends after our very first conflict after probably 10 years of friendship. It weathered it, but we drifted apart. She became fairly self-focused when she went to law school. I didn't want to intrude. My dad died. I didn't hear from her even though she had taken me to the airport for my final goodbye to him. I think I just was afraid of her in some respects. She was a force to be reckoned with. Even Nick said she was a Tiger. Even he had pulled away a couple of years ago over her choices. So I know I am not alone in that.  

We reconnected again back in 1999 after my family came back from Malaysia, and some one told me she was offended by the distance between us. When I called, she told me off and then forgave. She was in a very stressful time of her life when she was in law school, and I should have understood. She still had my wedding gift to give me even. 

Sitting by her hospital bed, her playlist on her phone playing the whole time, I see how much we are still so connected in heart despite the years, even in our taste in music. John Denver is the one that comes to mind. We sang a song together at sorority rush: "I Live One Day at a Time" sung by Joan Baez back in the 70s.  I wanted to sing it to her, but I had a hard time not choking on my tears. 

So many memories flooding in. I have to go. Just having a weird day as she is breathing her last breaths on this earth. 

I will write more about how it ties into my Day 1 of my Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer. 

Sunday, June 23, 2019

27. Choosing Christ in the World: Directing the Spiritual Exercises According to Annotation 18 and 19

This is a wonderfully thought out gem of a guide to the Spiritual Exercises. It has pages that a spiritual director would photocopy and give to a directee. I also like the "Lightworks" Section which is an 11 week 18th Annotation journey through the Exercises that I did after I was done with the 19th Annotation. His insights are simple and lovely. 

I have been writing quotes on this blog from the Lightworks part over the past weeks. 

I found it quoted in other things about the Exercises so I ordered it even though it was quite expensive, but when you think about the fact that a director has authorization to copy directee pages and the "brief notes" for their directees, I can see why it is so expensive. After I ordered it, my spiritual director gave me his copy though. So I didn't have to spend the money on it after all. 

26. Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading

I have checked this book out of the library so many times with the intention of reading it but was never able to get around to it. I finally did (I love the summertime). It is not at all what I thought it was going to be. I thought it was going to be all about Lectio Divina, but it was his musings on many things about the written word of God. I thought it was interesting, especially the part about how the Bible was written in the original Hebrew and Greek in the vernacular of the day. It was also about how his translation (which he interchanges with the word "paraphrase") of the Bible called The Message. It came out of his frustrations of having his congregation actually wanting to read the Bible. He started with Galatians. Then he was asked to translate the New Testament. Then the rest of the Bible. 

“Christians don't simply learn or study or use Scripture; we assimilate it, take it into our lives in such a way that it gets metabolized into acts of love, cups of cold water, missions into all the world, healing and evangelism and justice in Jesus' name, hands raised in adoration of the Father, feet washed in company with the Son.”

“Language is not primarily informational but revelatory. The Holy Scriptures give witness to a living voice sounding variously as Father, Son and Spirit, addressing us personally and involving us personally as participants. This text is not words to be studies in the quiet preserves of a library, but a voice to be believed and loved and adored in workplace and playground, on the streets and in the kitchen. Receptivity is required.”

Thursday, June 20, 2019

25. The Underground Railroad


“Get it, then get another copy for someone you know because you are definitely going to want to talk about it once you read that heart-stopping last page.”
--Oprah Winfrey (Oprah's Book Club 2016 Selection)

This is excellent. I highly recommend it. I agree with Oprah that is would be something that you would want to discuss. The writing is really quite perfect. I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator, Bahni Turpin, was perfect too. 

LIGHTWORKS THREE/2:1 (Jn 21:15-19)


What I want
I beg God my Creator to give me the gift of being full of forgiveness -- for myself and for those around me. 

I went into this prayer time doing my Examen prayer from yesterday, and during my listening time, you said to forgive the rude guy at the pizza oven at the restaurant we were at last night. The old Carol would have complained to the management about his rudeness. The new Carol forgave and prayed. We talked about it at our table when we discern something, we do not criticize, we pray. That is what I did. This morning, I sealed it with absolute forgiveness. Then, I come to the theme for this week's Lightworks: Jesus keeps on forgiving. 

I didn't write on here about another encounter that I had with a new librarian. I have a great relationship of many years with people at that library, and I was shocked when asking a question about something, she all of a sudden turned on me and got really snippy. I asked George if he thought I had done something to provoke it, but he confirmed that I had not. The old Carol would have complained to the management. The new Carol forgave. The next morning. during my Examen, you said, "Her perception is reality. You adjusted. Be kind. Do not retaliate. Forgive her." Then my meditation was in Jn 13 and Jesus washing feet, even the feet of the one who he knew would betray him. Tetlow writes, "You are constantly called on to forgive - as you have been forgiven." p. 285 Choosing Christ in the World

Jesus told Peter to forgive 70 x 7 (Mt 18:22) - "The only way you can keep forgiving over and over again is to be filled with God's forgiveness of your own sins. When you feel how generously God forgives you and grow thankful for it, then the forgiveness spills over to others. . . The Commandments taught you to love others and to 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Then Jesus teaches you to pray the Our Father, asking forgiveness for your sins as you 'forgive those who sin against you.'" p. 291

So thankful that real life and prayer life are melting into one. So applicable to where I am at. The old Carol was into justice. When it comes to the injustice of a librarian and pizza baker being rude, the old Carol thought they needed to know that their behavior was unacceptable and will probably help them in their job, but the new Carol is all about just forgiving and letting it go and extending grace. It is not that I have never extended grace in the past, (I have willingly done it with one family member for 30+ years.) but I am more automatic in my response than I ever have been in the past. 

Fifteen minutes is up. Good words from God today! 

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Lightworks Two/6 (The Prodigal)

This parable always is sweet to me. The father wouldn't even listen to the youngest son's apology. He was too excited. My son was dead and now he is alive! He was lost and now he is found! My youngest son graduates today. We will kill the fatted calf and have a celebration for him (although he did not particularly want a party - the deer are walking in the yard right by the deck  - no doubt wanting to get in my husband impenetrable garden). I don't think my oldest will mind. I do want to plan a celebration for both of them as Michael is now laid off of work and George has to take 12 days of PTO before September. So, I need to get around to planning something. 

I think pollen is really bad. I am out on my deck and my eyes are even hazing up a bit. My poor oldest son who has major grass seed allergies! I hope he is OK sitting outside in Reser Stadium for all those hours today.

Yesterday was a very fulfilling day. I did something I just had to do. I said NO to subbing. I got a text at 4:30 am to do so, and I had already decided that it was really important to finish the project I had started. That was shelving all the books I had in bags, getting the journals in under bed boxes, getting my paper organized, getting rid of some book. It was a major reorganization of four different book areas: Master bedroom, family room, George's office/Guest Room, and upstairs Spiritual Direction/Office. I was up and down stairs all day long, until George got home at 7 pm. I need to learn to say NO with conviction more. As Fran, my spiritual director, told me last time we met, "Calendaring is a spiritual discipline." I also need to know that my time is valuable, and these are projects I have put off for far too long. I had already subbed one time this week, and I do plan on trying to do it at least one time a week throughout the summer. I also got to the office closet floor. There was the M & M Kids stuff from the 90s that Cindy P. was going to throw out and Lisa S. saved! This is something I bought and donated to that church! The original manual is nowhere to be seen though. I have no idea where it could be. I will ask Nessa because I had loaned it to her and it came back to me in a different container and looking like it was reduced in volume. No matter is she lost it though. My guess is that there is an online version somewhere now. I will look it up. It is a 25 year old curriculum that has probably been update, but it was so nice to have a blast from the past in looking through it. 

I also went through all my NASM personal training courses, Power Pilates training courses, Transformational Prayer Ministry training, and organized all my stuff from the Renovare Institute/Book Club, and leadership things. Oh yes, I also went through all my Well-Educated Mind books and organized them. All the Presidents Men and Common Sense are missing though. I also got through my Prayer fuel tub, but I did not get to my TOAG tub. I had organized that more recently. So I don't think it will take me that long to get through it. I think I can get rid of some things though because the Discover App takes care of a lot of things that I have in paper form. 

I am so much more of a people person. So when I get in a "task mode," I have to just RUN with it because these times are far and few between and organization goes by the wayside. So, this is so, so good to say NO to people things this summer in favor of getting some much neglected tasks done. I will have a very PEOPLE day today (with my favorite people names Paul, Michael, George and mother in law, Mary). So yesterday was good to be almost purely task (at least until the whole crew came home, and we had yummy Italian food). 

Tomorrow is people day because of Father's Day. Next week is a three day prayer retreat, and then two day of more people with Ralph and Debbie coming from Idaho. Then, I hope to meet with Nuha but get some more task stuff. The things I am looking at are:

Under the stairs - George says it is all labeled and in boxes, but the boxes are all out of place, and it looks really crowded under there. So I want to cull papers and reorganize down there. I also want to get rid of some toys. So this will be a family project.

Kids Books - we have kids the visit, and it is nice to have books for them, but I think we can cull some more.

Garage - UGH. I think there is little organization to George's domain. So I want to be sensitive but also want it workable so I can find things down there. I go in there, and I am lost. It also looks really MESSY on the workbench, and I would like to rectify that. This is where having a dad who had a garage where you could have eaten a meal of the floor is a disadvantage for me because George grew up on a farm, and it is just a different standard. So I will have to tread lightly on his domain. We have stuff from a welcome basket too. SO we need to give that away if we can. 

Kitchen - I think the pantry is fairly organized but want to go through it regardless. I need to clean the fridge and go through every cupboard and drawer. 

Boys room - I think there room is fairly clean, but I am sure there are clothes that they have outgrown that are lurking there. Paul is home until he gets a job. So I am hoping that he can do his part for that. 

Personally I would like Paul and or Michael to design me a website for Spiritual Direction and personal training/Pilates. I think that would be very cool. 

I better get in the shower and start my day. That was a 30 minute freewrite and a total download.

Off to graduation activities.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

24. The Secret Garden

1259472This book is absolutely DELIGHTFUL! I loved every minute of it, and the narrator is the same one who narrated Pride and Prejudice, and she doesn't even sound like the same person when she does all the different voices for this delightful children's book that really is meant for everyone. It is a story about transformation and growth! Love. Love. Love. 

Lightworks Two/6 (Jn 8:3-12, Lk 15:4-32) FREEWRITE

I couldn't sleep again last night. So I got up and had some meditation time at 1 am on Jn 8:3-12. I kept on thinking something was eating at me all evening, but it was a burden that I am carrying for my oldest son. He called me at 5:06 pm yesterday to say that his job was being outsourced to Atlanta, and he was immediately out of a job. This was after they had given him a 30% pay raise six weeks ago telling him that they did not want to lose him. Say what?

I kept hearing HOPE for my son as I had my Examen. I had such a wonderful day. I had gotten up and was already mostly done with getting my house ready for the housecleaners (This was a gift from my hubby back in 2006 when I was so full up with homeschooling, discipling women, and having back problems - so George hired housecleaners, and now I don't really have back problems, but they are like part of the family now. So I cannot let them go.) I woke up to a non-rushed morning, no pain in my QL/Psoas, and no more sickness. I had my time on the deck as they cleaned. Then I went and did volunteering for the library (and got a FREE BOOK by Candace Millard - Score). I also did final preparation for leading my book study on Restructuring the Gospel. Then the lovely ladies came. I really enjoy them all, and it was a good group this year. I think they all loved the book, but as the leader, I did not reveal that I did not care for the book. Anywho, they left, and I was so full to overflowing. Time with God. Time doing self-preservation tasks.(This is my weakest area on the Enneagram Instinctual Variants so I always feel SO GOOD when I focus on task rather than relationships which is usually what I do.) Stimulating spiritual formation discussion (they caused me to like the book a bit more, and I love these women and their humility and passion for God and social justice). Moving and dancing and meeting my exercise goals even though I did not go out of the house for my normal walk.

Then the bad news about Michael job.

But, I do count is as the most meaningful and consoling parts of my day. Mainly because God met me in HOPE for him. My mother's heart hurt for my son (although it was nothing personal, and they were pleased with his work - strictly a restructuring since the owner of the company died). God said: "You are loved. Michael is loved. I have bigger and better things for him." I hope this includes a deepening relationship with God for Michael too. I love him so, and it was so good to realize that when I first started consistent Examen, the anxiety over his job search 18 months ago was eye opening as I wrestled with that on a daily basis, but this time it is all about hope. It is all about bigger and better things that God has for him. I am different from how I was 18 months ago.  Growth.


Grace sought: I ask Christ's Spirit to lead me in ongoing conversion to what I am to change just now. 

The meditation on Jn 8:3-12 was meaningful also. Jesus did not condemn the woman caught in adultery but told her to go and sin no more. I got that flash of the bishop in Les Miserables and Jean Val Jean where he does not condemn him for stealing the candlestick but essentially told him to "go and sin no more." 

Jean Valjean attempts to reintegrate with society, but the ex-prisoner finds rejection at every turn. At last he turns to the charity of a local bishop, Bishop Myriel, a kind and self-sacrificing man that takes him in for the night. That night Valjean steals the Bishop’s silver, is soon caught by local police and brought back to the church. The Bishop tells the police that the silver was his gift to Jean Valjean, thus sparing Valjean from a return to prison.

In the play the Bishop later says to Valjean, “By the passion and the blood, God has raised you out of darkness.”2 And such mercy spares Jean Valjean from returning to prison, but it is a mercy that forces a crisis in Valjean’s life.

Take an eye for an eye!
Turn your heart into stone!
This is all I have lived for!
This is all I have known!
One word from him [the Bishop] and I’d be back
Beneath the lash, upon the rack.
Instead he offers me my freedom!
I feel my shame inside me like a knife.
He told me that I have a soul...
How does he know?
What spirit comes to move my life?
Is there another way to go?
I am reaching, but I fall
And the night is closing in...
As I stare into the void —
To the whirlpool of my sin.3

In the light of mercy, Jean Valjean is thrown into the depravity of his sinfulness, and he is broken. By the Blood-bought mercy offered to him by the Bishop, Jean Valjean’s life is permanently and forever changed. He himself becomes a man of mercy.
God is good and merciful. 

Luke 14:4-7- I think God just wants our humble hearts. He rejoices over a humble heart and a changed mind about the status quo of things. I am open to the whole social justice/racism dialogue. For me it is more a matter of calling and time. God gives us so much time in every day to glorify him, and if he told me to drop the missional work he has already given me to do, I would do it, but I think it is legalism and playing the voice of God to say that EVERYONE needs to do this. So, I asked God about this whole racism thing, and God said to learn more about the "social justice stream," and pray for racial equality. Of course, as it crosses my path, I will speak up for inequality because that is just what I do (Like when people would have physical fights at school, and I would get in the middle of it and say NO NO NO NO, that is just how I roll [and it helps to be tall and intimidating. LOL!]) Well this has gone on far too long. My battery is going to run out (the plug is on the wrong side of this deck by the way). Going to go and do my review of The Secret Garden. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Lightworks Two/5 Freewrite

Ah, I am out on my deck again. It is supposed to be in the 90s again today. I love sitting out here, and I hope to do it everyday I am here in the summer months and maybe into the fall. 

I had a hard time falling asleep last night. I usually have this after being sick and sleeping more than my sleepless elite 6 hours (have a gene that makes me only need that much - I have been in a study so no question I have the gene). When I do that, I usually recalibrate and have shorter nights of sleep to equal always to 6 hours. 

So, I got up and had an Examen prayer time by candlelight and had some time in Scripture. This week, my verses are...

Deut 30:11-20 - I listened to this over and over again yesterday as I walked up and over hospital hill and really mulled on "Look what I've done for you today: I've place in front of you . . .

Life and Good
Death and Evil 

And I command you today: Love GOD, your God, Walk in his ways. Keep his that you will live, really live, live exuberantly, blessed by GOD, your God, in the land you are about to enter and possess (15-16).  

God wants us to REALLY LIVE. The "Good Life" that Aristotle talked about.  Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly. I feel so rejuvenated lately in this. I has helped to go through these Exercises and let go of disordered loves and attachments and to become indifferent, especially to the approval of people which is something I had struggled with my whole life. 

I listened to that part over and over, and I am sure the people driving by wondered what this tall woman was so joyful about. 

The next was Mt 25:31-45. I camped on loving others. Who are the sick, homeless, thirsty, and hungry around me. This was perfectly timed as I am leading a Renovare Book Study today called Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion. I didn't particularly care for the book, and the author makes some strange leaps in thought. But I do believe we are to love our neighbor. For me, it is getting up everyday and asking God what I can do to show love today. That is the simplicity of devotion to Christ. I love God, listen, obey, and love my neighbor. This goes along with what Tetlow says in the last two "considerations" this week of the Exercises, but I am going to type out all five because they really all relate:
  • Jesus proclaimed that he had come "to bring fire on the earth" (Lk 12:49). Indeed, Jesus Christ has fired generations with passionate desires for justice, peace, righteousness, and love.
  • God our Lord writes not only his law on our hear, but his hopes in your heart's truest desires. For your deepest desiring for love rises directly out of the passionately burning love of God at the core of your being, creating you in all your concreteness. 
  • This means that in your authentic self burns a passionate desire to do whatever will bring you to the love of God. Because of sin in the world, this desire gets blurred and dampened by lesser wants and needs. And your original yearning for God is bent and skewed by sin in you and by your own sin. 
  • Yet your mission in Christ remains: you are to learn to love, God first, and in God those real living persons whom God gives you to love and be loved by. This is your mission, as in fact it was Jesus's mission. This is the fire he came to spread on the earth.
  • This is the truth you are called to do: "Love one another; just as I have loved you, you also must love one another" (Jn 13:34). You are likely to be a failure in more than one thing, as everyone is. The only ultimately important failure would be to fail as a lover of the real living persons whom God gives to you, including anyone near you who is in any kind of need. 

According to this author, my mentor, who just died after serving in Japan for 35 years did not do God's work. She was captive to "slaveholder religion" because she did not join in the cause of blacks in America. The last time I met with her she reminded me (as she had done several times before) that her call was to "sow the word of God," and she faithfully lived up to her calling from God from the time she was a teenager to her death, one months short of 94. This guy would say this woman's life did not count. I think otherwise. 

The last passage was Mt 3:14-17 and the baptism of Jesus. I camped on what the Father said of the Son, after the Holy Spirit descended like a dove: "This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life." 

Lorraine was chosen and marked by God's love, the delight of God's life, and she heard a "Well done, good and faithful servant," no doubt whatsoever in my mind. She probably never joined the NAACP (which this guy recommends you do if you really want to be "serious") and "tell your  friends why you can no longer vote with the good white Christians for every Republican candidate on the ticket" (p. 169). 

Anyway, this is supposed to be about what you are teaching me God. So part of my loving yesterday was to prepare to lead this book club even though I really disliked the book. So I listened to three of his podcasts and listened to all his writings, and I still do not think what he did through this book is contributing to the conversation and is doing more to divide than unite. But I prepared, and I probably will be in the minority in my distaste for the book. It really was a labor of love for my neighbors, and TODAY, my neighbors are the five women coming over to discuss this book today! 


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Examen - June 10, 2019

I have not done this on my blog since I reviewed my November trip to Boise. So here goes . . . 

The setting of this Examen is on my deck overlooking my backyard. It is cool at 7:55, but it will heat up to 97 today so I am taking advantage of the deck now.

Holy Spirit, I pray you would shed light on my weekend and help me to see yesterday through your eyes. The coolness of this morning settles me into your presence. 

What I am grateful for
  • A day of complete REST yesterday. (I could have maybe prayer walked with Mindy, but I waited for her to initiate that (and we have said after our 30 period that we could keep doing it periodically rather than weekly), and I decided to not go to Nick's going away party on campus (my bike is in the shop until Thursday). 
  • Getting some "self-preservation" things crossed off my list. 
  • Walking twice in the cool of the morning and cool of the evening.
  • Reading on my deck
  • George making me soup for the week
  • All the graduation announcements done
Review of Monday
Up early before George. Examen. Lightworks Prayer. Bye to George. Back to bed because felt lousy. Finished prayer and had intercession time for key people groups through the 30 day prayer guide (I learn so much when I pray). Ordered make up for the first time in three years, but the lady from New Jersey was so sweet and friendly. Baked up the rest of the dough from last WEDNESDAY night (Hari Raya celebration and 100% Student attendance). Sorted through papers on a fifteen minute timer. Walked up and around Coronado/Aztec (listened to The Secret Garden). Responded to Sarah request to swap subbing and agonized over her other request. Read Holy Invitations and Eat this Book out on my deck until it got too hot. Got ready to go to the post office to get more stamps and mail the graduation announcements when I realized that I HAD STAMP (could have rode Michael's bike but good to just stay home). Sent Spiritual Exercises to Anne, Terri, and Marty. Swapped out winter clothes for spring/summer clothes (half of them). Got rid of old clothes. Submitted all the grades for Spring Term and published my Canvas courses for Fall term. Watched Amazing Race old season and recorded news. Stretched. 

What made me feel most alive and in tune with God's plan?
  • Praying the Lightworks 18th Annotation Spiritual Exercises and reading what Tetlow has to say about it. So wise. I love learning from seers like him. 
  • Reading Eugene Peterson's take on Lectio Divina in Chapter 7 of Eat This Book (took a while to get to the meat of the book though)
  • Reading Holy Invitations by Bakke. This is not part of our SOSF Spiritual Direction curriculum, but it is quoted in all the other books. Not sure why it is not. It is very deep and good. 
  • Reading the above books on my deck! Oh how I love the Spring/Summer. Outside gives me life. 
  • Not overeating all day. Controlled as I had prayed during my prayer time in the morning. YAY! 
  • Walk up to Coronado/Aztec before the heat came in.
  • Finishing "Self-Preservation" Projects (I am in the basement on this Instinctual Variant on the Enneagram. George almost so. Wondering if we should have a Self-Pres Saturday once a month to work on projects around the house): make up ordered, papers culled, announcements finished, summer clothes to closet, etc. I just need uninterrupted days to do these sorts of things. 
  • Rest (I would do a project for fifteen minutes and then rest - little by little gets the job done!)
  • Grades and Canvas for Fall term DONE! (That was way more than 15 minutes - probably 1 1/2 hours, but I will have so much less to do in the Fall if I have this done now.) 
  • Saying YES to switching Pilates subbing to Thursday giving me more time to recover from whatever this thing is that I have. 

  • Stretching so that I have no pain in the QL/Psoas anymore!
What made me feel most dead and not in tune with God's plan?
  • Stressing over saying NO to Sarah about subbing for Wednesday when I have a pretty full day until about 3:30. Wanting to please/help is so tricky for me. 
  • Not answering her because I want her to like me. :( (I did this morning with confidence. I could have SQUEEZED it in to my already busy day, but I need to prepare for my Renovare Book Club that will come that afternoon and Valentina and Pieter are coming in the morning and I have Dial a Book in the midday - it was a good call!)
What about your day was most meaningful? Listen to what God has to say about it. - (Added from James Martin's podcast - I like that question.) 

The discipline of work and rest that I had throughout the day. The fact that I enjoyed unpleasant "self-preservation" tasks because I did them in small 15 minute chunks (thank you FlyLady) rather than saying, "I am going to spend all day sorting papers and get it done by tonight.") 

God: "My rhythms of grace are easy and my load is light." 

I am thinking about having a totally FREE day once a week to do all these things. I tend to wait until the summer to get all these tasks done. These are the self-preservation tasks I hope to do this summer:

  • Do something for the deck roof - broken, dirty plexiglass 
  • Plan our family graduation trip
  • Plan our 30th anniversary trip
  • Broken lattice of 15+ Years on the storehouse
  • Clear dried out branches (they are a fire hazard)
  • Take down tree next to deck
  • Go through the garage and sort, get rid of, give away
  • Assimilate books that Lorraine gave me
  • Sell books I am not going to read or will not reread
  • Organize papers from TOAG, prayer parties, Renovare, Spiritual Direction training, and Spiritual Exercises
  • Make Shutterfly France book
  • Order pictures from September 2016 to now
  • Catch up Christmas book for 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Do a Pilot Praise Pilates Pilot class in my basement
  • Make up a Spiritual Direction/Personal Trainer/Pilates website.
  • Go through all closets, drawers, kitchen cupboards and cull, clean, and organize.
Ways to show my love for God and others today: Prepare well for the Renovare Book Club knowing that I so disliked the book! This will be a hard one to lead, and I bet you they all liked it, and I am probably the only one who did not. I would prefer to throw the book out the window rather than discuss it! HAHAHAHAHA. 

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 ...