Thursday, May 27, 2021

Thursday Freewrite Fifteen

Only SIX more ZOOM in the Living ROOM Pilates classes!

I have some writing I need to do this morning, but I have sort of been stalling. Well, I don't know if stalling is the right word for it. I have been on a bunny trail to answer a question I got in an email from my friend about a diagram that I use when explaining abiding and one that has been developed by the leaders of my community. 

It was fun to compare and contrast, but it sort of pulled me away from the main task that I have today: completing the handout on Centering Prayer that I am developing for my community. Well, it is not my main task, really. I have two Pilates classes today, and I still need to do my attendance for my last class. 

I have THREE more days of teaching left - SIX more classes. I am looking forward to being done with Zoom teaching forever. I will do it for my private practice, but for the university, I am done. I just don't enjoy it. Don't get me wrong, I love the students. But I feel like I cannot interact with them while I am teaching, and that is half the fun. All the repeat students that I had for the first five years of my teaching have all graduated and gone. So I have a new crop every term. I miss the rapport I developed with so many of them over time (so much so that one of them even has my videos as a link in her life coaching book - how cool is that?). I am on campus next term. It will mean cleaning all the equipment, but I don't care. I think I will love being back face-to-face with them.

Back to the Centering Prayer handout. I think this has been such a journey in Centering Prayer for me. I am so gung-ho on any spiritual practice. I embrace them so heartily because I love a wide variety of ways to draw closer to God, but I did not see the value and point of Centering Prayer. I remember trying to read the book by Basil Pennington a while back, but I just could not get into it. I think it was the Sacred Enneagram (I know that the author is controversial now, but I really liked that book) section about this practice that challenged me to give it a try. He said he did it two times a day for 20 minutes! I thought NO WAY! I had gotten the Centering Prayer app and practiced it before my Lectio Divina times in the morning, but 40 minutes total a day! 

BUT, we had a practice that we were to choose in my second year of spiritual direction training, and that was the only one I had never fully explored. So I dove in. 

I looked for an option to encourage the practice, and while looking up the Mercy Center in Burlingame, CA (because my Enneagram training graduated from their spiritual direction program, and I was curious about what it entailed) that I saw that they practiced it for 1/2 hour twice a week. So I jumped in, and that has made all the difference. I love the accountability of sitting in front of the screen and practicing it with about 40 other people. I also love that they had a discussion twice a month through the chapters of Open Mind, Open Heart by Thomas Keating. That really helped me understand. Now I have the option of doing it six days a week with various people around the world. That has been so helpful! I look forward to them, and I do it more and more on my own now. 

It is about letting go. I cannot describe it, but I let go of thoughts that are not helpful now in real life, and I no longer yell at cars. I can explain that another time because my fifteen minutes is up! 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Freewrite Fifteen - Wednesday Edition

I looked out from the top window in this picture for my "Aware of God's World" Exercise!
(Too cold to sit outside, but I want to do it with others outside soon.)

Clear skies and sun today. High of 70 degrees. There is just one thing now that I "have" to do. That is interview TD about abiding in Christ. It is my first interview. I have been interviewed in podcasts, but I have never been the interviewer. But I am not nervous. I think it will be so great. She is going to talk about dealing with our false narratives about who we are, and what motivates us to work, work, work to find our significance. So we end up being busy versus abiding in Christ and working out of overflow!

Well, all that said, I just led an OMS (Order of the Mustard Seed) 3rd Prayer Watch with an exercise I did in Vickie Allen's 2nd Prayer Watch 2 1/2 months ago. It is about being attentive to God's world around us (thus being attentive and aware of God's presence) - seeing five things, feeling four things, hearing three things, smelling two things, tasting one thing. Then adding a sixth sense of the heart. What is going on in your heart today? It went really, really well. I loved people's responses to God through it. It was lovely. It was a great way to start the day for me. 

That was my last prayer watch leading until August. We are taking a break on the 2nd and 3rd Watches from Memorial Day to August 1st. This will be great for me because I am going to be more focused in June on these weeks:

1) Global Leadership Event and submitting grades

2) Vacation to Yellowstone/Grand Tetons

3-4) Resources Development on Abiding 

Then July will be 

1) Preservation and home care. I am going to work on my pictures that are backlogged to September 2016! I will finish my 2018 Paris and the Heart of France book and all the pictures I have taken in the last five years. I have not taken as many because I have been doing other things. 

2) Play - I want to kayak with my new kayak and hike and run and have an anniversary getaway with George and a birthday celebration for me. 

3) PUMP - We need to have a PUMP party because we did not have it in May like we originally planned. Maybe I will do it around my birthday! 

4) Presenting Abiding Resources to our community.

5) Pilates and Personal Training - getting stronger and stronger. I am not going to STOP Pilates just because I am not teaching it. I will make a Playlist of Praise and Prayer Pilates videos!

I have to tell you that I so LOVE the people in the OMS. I think they are my people. I want the people in my ASC to my people, and the DNA is changing on that. I hope and pray it continues to do so, and there might even be a partnership between the two of them because they are all special people! WOOHOO!

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Freewrite Fifteen on a Tuesday - Pretzel Twisting Edition

I started this Freewrite a couple of hours ago, but I didn't start until now. I just need to set this as a spiritual discipline in my Rule of Life! I think it is very important for me to do this almost daily.

There were some things that have bugged me. I am working through them this morning. One thing, someone seemed irritated with me when I asked them a question recently. I guess I had already asked them that before, but I forgot the answer and even that I had asked the question. So I asked it again, and I felt condemned for asking it again. They were pretty loud about it so that the whole table heard. I felt stupid that I didn't remember the answer, but is that a crime? So that was something I had stuffed recently that is coming out in my heart two days later. I need to get better at feeling those feelings as they come up. Not dwelling on them, but also not denying that they are there. 

The second thing is irresponsible behavior, and the person not owning up to it.  That did bring back a particular memory of my mom running out of gas on a major street, away from home, and her telling me that I should have noticed that her gas tank was low, and another memory of when she was driving and got in an accident and blamed me for the accident even though I was just sitting in the passenger seat minding my own business. 

I think I need to pray. People need to just own up to their actions and not blame others. Plain and simple. But I think there is still this little girl inside that felt blamed for things when my mom did things I had nothing to do with and feeling deep down in my heart, "Maybe I did do something wrong." "Maybe I should have noticed the gas tank getting low." "Maybe I should have noticed the possibility of a car accident." Both times, I was younger, and I was not even a driver.

 I think this is good to process. It was the same thing when someone blamed me for all their physical and emotional problems a couple of years ago when I barely know them. 

But a part of me still wonders if it really is my fault instead of saying, "Your issue. Not mine." 

Hmmm... Pretzel Twisting started so early in my life. It is all making sense to me right now like never before. Time to walk the labyrinth and release these things to God! 

Saturday, May 22, 2021

The Shape of Living: Spiritual Direction for Everyday Life by David F. Ford

 I already wrote something in my freewrite yesterday about this book:

I am almost finished with The Shape of Living: Spiritual Directions for Everyday Life. It is good. I can see why they switched to Sacred Rhythms instead of this book though. This book is more philosophical in nature rather than necessarily practical, and Sacred Rhythms has a wonderfully practical component to it that people will need for helping them write their Rule of Life (Customary) for the Order of the Mustard Seed. 

 All that to say that this book is deeply reflective. He talks of the many "overwhelmings" common to us all - love and pain, grief and joy, a fear of the future or a dread of the past. He talks about the common way we cope with being overwhelmed: "We struggle against drowning in the bad overwhelmings and often feel guiltily responsible for not being on top of our situation" (p.19). 

He asks the basic question; "How, in the midst of all our overwhelming are our lives shaped?" He purports that this is done by stretching our minds, hearts, and imaginations in trying to find and invent shapes of living" (p.21). It is all in how we respond to the "overwhelmings." His chapters cover:

1. Faces and Voices: Shaping a Heart - Who are the faces and voices that concern us daily? Who are the people from our past? How is the heart of our identity shaped by these people? 

2. Vocations and Compulsions: Life-Shaping Desires. This is about longings, callings, passions, obsessions, and long-term orientations that are leading themes in our lives. What are our deepest desires? 

The first two chapters so lined up with the Imago Christi Discovery Event I just completed because our timelines revealed who those people were who shaped our lives, and there was a whole week devoted to developing a "longing" statement.

3. Power, Virtue, and Wisdom: The Shaping of Character. This asks about the secret of real goodness. It addresses how we are transformed. It was deep! I have to say that it reminded me of Dallas Willard's writings here. 

4. Secrets and Disciplines: Soul-Shaping. This is a chapter all about the "disciplines" that foster intimacy with God and as an overflow shape our soul and transform our lives. This is what the Sacred Rhythms book that replaces this book does in the Order of the Mustard Seed, and I think it was a good switch because it focuses on this more.

Ford talks about "practices of excess that go beyond the routine and try to plunge into and explore the infinite secret riches of God":

  • Praying as Long as It Takes - open-ended prayer.
  • Intensive Time Away with Other People
  • Giving Generously and Secretly
  • Music
  • The Jesus Prayer
  • Bible Study 
  • Silence
5. Leisure and Work: Shaping Time and Energy. It is a good discussion of our addiction to "urgency," and the importance of sabbatical time. 

6. Knocked Out of Shape: Evil, suffering, and death. So interesting because I had just had a discussion with one of my directees about the purpose of suffering. It can be a great teacher if we surrender to God's purposes in it. In the midst of reading this, I had my own reemergence of suffering that has been off and on for over 30 years, and it was beautiful how God used this chapter. "Deep in the darkest moment of the passion the light forces its ways under the door. True it is Good Friday but it is also Great and Holy Saturday, Christ is dying but he is also rising" (p. 179, quoting Sheila Cassidy, Good Friday People, p. 170). I came through on the other end of that with Resurrection Sunday!

7. Kaleidoscope: Resurrection, Joy, and Feasting. "Jesus Christ is our joy" (p. 185). I have a whole talk I did about 20 years ago about joy meaning "Jesus Over You." It was about my father's death and that being the deepest experience of joy I had ever felt with God up to that point (it was 37 years ago this month). Then one of my directees asked me to do a podcast on JOY. So it was nice to read this chapter. What do I say about that? It is not something you can manufacture, but it is a commitment to a journey with JESUS, allowing him to be over you. :) 

Well, this review was more than I probably wanted it to be. I liked the book, but I can see where it would not be for everyone! 

Friday, May 21, 2021

Five Minute Friday Freewrite


Well, I have just five minutes before I meet with Elizabeth. She missed that we were meeting at 8 am this morning, and she is on her way to the Phoenix airport. She is such an adorable Type 7. So, we are meeting at 7:15 am instead of 8 am. I like meeting with her, and I am going to do the St. Patrick's Day Breath Prayer with her.

Last night, I led a Book Babes discussion on Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. I think it went really well. It was a full house. About five of the people had not read the book, but it was nice that they came. I think it is a great group of women. I am going to try not to lead anything next year as I am committed to this new project until December 21, 2021. So I am not going to be able to read the books this coming year. 

I am almost finished with The Shape of Living: Spiritual Directions for Everyday Life. It is good. I can see why they switched to Sacred Rhythms instead of this book though. This book is more philosophical in nature rather than necessarily practical, and Sacred Rhythms has a wonderfully practical component to it that people will need for helping them write their Rule of Life (Customary) for the Order of the Mustard Seed. 

I have one minute to go. I have an overwhelming sense of your wonderful peace this morning. It has been a good week. And there is great JOY this morning as I read the chapter in this book on JOY. Perfect since I am being interviewed in a Podcast on JOY sometime in the next month. :) 

I better go now. 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Truman by David McCullough


by David McCullough
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an excellent book and a satisfying read. David McCullough is my favorite biographer, and this book is narrated by him. I walked away with great respect for Truman. I was 13 when he died, but I have no recollection of his death. It is interesting reading this after having read the Oppenheimer biography last month since they overlap in the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan.

This audiobook also has recordings of excerpts of some of his speeches, and McArthur's famous speech to Truman and Congress on April 19, 1951, best known for its final lines in which he quoted an old army ballad: "'Old soldiers never die--they just fade away.' And like the old soldier of that ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away--an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty. Good-bye."

Excellent in every way!

View all my reviews

Monday, May 17, 2021

Main Street by Sinclair Lewis

 I thought this book was so well-written. The protagonist, Carol, is NOT like this Carol (the author of this blog, me)! She was very idealistic (a very high "N" on the Myers-Briggs) and wanted to change everything to her level of sophistication. Her husband was a small-town doctor. They were pretty ill-suited, but she probably could have figured that out before they got married. I felt a bit sorry for him in some ways. 

I can see that it was way ahead of its time if it was written in 1920. She was a very liberated woman for that period. I would recommend this book. 

Monday Morning Freewrite Fifteen


Picture from

He has surely made my "Valley of Baca (Weeping)" a "place of springs" where "the early rain has covered it with pools"! Yippee! 

Something happened to me on Saturday so unexpected. I have never talked to someone about a very hard situation, and I have always wondered if they wondered what was going on. I have never told this person my story because I wanted to be careful with what I said. On Saturday, I prayed that if God wanted me to fill that person in, he would open the door, and I would proceed. The door opened, and it was a very good talk. But when we were only really halfway through this important conversation, that person said, "Well, you know that time when you and I had that conversation, and you said this about this." I looked at that person and said, "That is not what I said though, and that was not what that conversation was even about." They were SURE they were right and looked at me as if I was pathetically deceived. In the past, I would have tried to convince the person, and I heard God's voice to stop trying to convince." I did go to my husband and say, "You were there. What was that conversation about?" He told me it was what I thought, but God still said to let it go. And I did! We prayed on the way home that God would change that person's mind (and this person usually is convinced that they are right). 

So, I prayed, and I wept a bit over it because the distorted picture this person had really was not who I am. I have never even thought what that person said I had said! But God led me to all of Psalm 84, and I soaked it all morning on Sunday, and I camped on the verse above, especially. I knew God would fill my "weeping valley" with pools of freshwater eventually. 

I was a bit down because this whole thing brought up some old wounds, but I went to Centering Prayer with my wonderful Corvallis Centering Prayer group. Sitting in silence with my sacred phrase of "Silent Strength" gave me such peace. Then I had a lovely walk with my three favorite and most important people on the earth: George, Michael, and Paul! Afterward, we went out for yummy frozen yogurt and talked about our upcoming vacation to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. 

Then, I told George that I needed to go to our community because I didn't want to get bogged down in this situation as the night came. (Anyone else find that they struggle more at night?). So, we went to our community (church) and worshiped with them for 1 1/2 hours, and I soaked SOME MORE in Psalm 84 (hey, that rhymed). Then we made wood-fired individual pizzas and had deep, life-giving conversation until 11 pm. I just love these people.

I came home and was in such peace. 

Then this morning, the person from Saturday called and said, "I messed up. I questioned your integrity saying your memory was wrong, but IT WAS MINE!" 


We ended up being able to finish the important conversation of what we had started talking about before that person had the off-the-wall memory that didn't happen. We ended by affirming our love for one another. It was glorious.

After that, George and I just stood in awe of God.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Friday Fifteen Freewrite


I missed a free write yesterday (I have been trying to do this every day in May). It ended up being a busier day than I had planned. One of my coworkers asked me to make a 9-13 minute Lectio Divina video. It took me all morning. Then I had my Seed Community Silent (Centering) Prayer time, Examen with the Brits, then Pilates with OSU students. I always feel so much closer to my students after I have graded their learning assignments. I get a window into their personalities and what they love to do. So that was fun. For my Pilates II, I just directed them in the exercises and watched them closely. I realized that for one of my international students, it was harder for her to follow just my verbal instructions. I am sure I would be lost if a fitness instructor in her country didn't demonstrate things for me. So, she did really well, all things considered!I have thought a few times this term that I wonder if I should keep on teaching, but I really do enjoy teaching and the benefit of getting paid to stay in shape! I will always walk, but doing BODYWORK is the first thing I let slide in a more free environment. I am thinking about telling one of the two health clubs I sub for that I will teach over the summer (just one of the clubs that I prefer working at - totally different vibe between the two clubs). 

I think I need to maybe rest the remainder of the day and not work on resource development. I had supervision this morning, and I am a bit tired. It was a lot of listening to reports from a conference many of them went to. There was a lot that was interesting, but I am a bit exhausted from listening. 

I am even exhausted from typing this, but I am committed for the next 6+ minutes to keep typing away. It has been interesting to look at my writing from 21 years ago. I am a much better writer today than I was then, but I think I do love to write. I don't love to promote my writing though, but two people have had a prophecy over me that I am going to write a book. They did not know each other, and they do not know me. So weird. I just have no ambition in that way. So if it is the Lord's will, I pray he drops someone in my lap that will make that come to pass.

I don't really have the ambition to be a big speaker either. BUT, I have been asked to do FOUR podcasts in the last month and taught two workshops last month. Go figure! They all sound like fun things to do though. So  I will probably do all the podcasts. 

Oh, one more thing with the little bit of time I have today. I decided to go back to recording on Weight Watchers, but I decided to switch to the more liberal plan. I stuck with the Blue plan for the majority of my weight loss journey between July 4 and October 22 last year (and kept it off another three months). I can feel a gain of about five pounds from my initial 18 pounds. So I want to get back in the swing of things, but I just didn't want to get back into having to watch everything! This Purple plan adds whole grains and popcorn! They don't have to be weighed and measured, but they certainly fill me up! So I even ordered an air popper today. I have never had one, but I think I will use it to snack on at night instead of ICE CREAM. I think that almost all of the five pounds is that ICE CREAM. I scream/You scream/We all scream for ICE CREAM. If I could each ice cream every-single-day, I WOULD! LOL!

So I think the timer...oh there it goes.


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Wednesday Freewrite


Imagine is Wonderful. Click on the link to an explanation HERE.

I am going to my Imagine with Jesuits in Britain in twenty minutes so I thought I would type away in a Freewrite for fifteen. I think I have been doing these Imagine Meditations since May or June. I love them! I liked them when they were every Wednesday. Now they are every other Wednesday, and one of the teachers, Iona, is on a sabbatical for the next six months. The other person, Steve, is great too, and he has pulled in someone to help him, but I miss Iona being there too. 

Well, the last three days have been very eventful. I spent TWELVE hours updating something I wrote 21 years ago to have it for our "Abiding and Power Resources" for my community. I keep fiddling with it, but I think I really like what has happened with it.

In the meantime, Paul has asked me to do a 10-13 minute Lectio Divina. I think that will be lovely. I just need to sit down and do it in the next couple of days. I did a 30 minute one on John 15:1-5 this morning, and it was lovely. It is a lovely group of people who come to these OMS Prayer Watches, and that was my first time leading one. I think Scott (my sponsor, cohort leader, and 24-7 leader) wants me to take the next 12 weeks on Wednesdays. I think that will work for me after we get back from our vacation. 

Yes, we are going to go on vacation. George worked it out so that his last day of work in Hillsboro will be May 28th (Friday of Memorial Day Weekend), and he negotiated to not start his new job until June 21st. We are going to take one in the USA. I think it will either be Yellowstone/Grand Tetons or Bryce Canyon/Zion National Park. I am excited. It could be Hawaii if we can get a good deal on a flight. 

In other news, I taught TWO ball classes yesterday, and my arm was just fine. I cannot do a plank or push up off the ball, and I can only use one arm in the swimming exercise, but getting up and down off the ball is so much easier than when I taught the class two weeks ago. So I am healing. I am not keeping my weight down though. I need to get back on track! I am so good when I make up my mind to be good, but I love food! LOL! I am still within my weight range, but I would like to get down to what I was in December. It is creeping up. 

Our meeting for the Abiding and Power Group might be postponed tomorrow because our fearless leader was rushed to the hospital with an emergency appendicitis. YIKES! 

The day is BEAUTIFUL! I think it is going to get up to 79 degrees. That is so great. I went for a long walk with George while Valentina and Peter cleaned our house. Yes, I have housecleaners, and they are like family to me. Geroge gifted them to me when I was homeschooling AND doing ministry AND had a much worse back pain problem. I could probably clean my own house, but I think we have had them for about fifteen years. So, seriously, they are like family to us now. When they retired, we will go back to cleaning our own house, but we see them and catch up with them once a month. :)

I have a lot more resource development to get done this afternoon, but most of the other stuff doesn't need to be updated like the "Five Meditations for Inner Life Growth" that I wrote so many years ago and have not updated since 2005! 

Well, I think my time is almost out, and I need to get up and walk around before Imagine. Sending without proofreading! 

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Freewrite Fifteen

 I am on a roll as far as freewrites are concerned. It is so exciting to be able to type without pain. I remember even doing my attendance for class right after my fall was very painful. I missed writing. So I am making up for lost time.

Interesting that Liane had a prophecy about me writing a book when Liane was just visiting the community and didn't even know me. Another person from another town visited our community in the summer and said the same thing. That person also did not know. So there you go.

It is interesting that that person also said something about the enemy hassling me and so did Emiko during my massage last week. So I must ponder that one.

I think things are going really well with the team of people he has assembled. Testimonials of abiding are coming together. I think one time a month will be plenty. I would love to store them on a Podcast area of our website. I don't think there is one. It is just such a clunky system. I know that there are a lot of people who access, but it seems like someone needs to come in and really reorganize the whole thing. But that is obviously not my forte! I cannot even mind things in my own inbox sometimes.

I lead a prayer watch for the first time with the OMS on Wednesday. I am still praying about what that will be. 

Speaking of prayer, I woke up this morning really praying about racial justice. It was on my heart as I am watching an 8 part series of the life of Aretha Franklin. What is my part? I know I can pray. 

The days are getting warmer and longer, and I love it. I cannot wait until being able to take long bike rides. One of the reasons is so that I can put more miles on Route 66! My goodness. It is so long (over 2000 miles) and not nearly as exciting as doing a virtual challenge through Europe! I am almost in Oklahoma. It is taking me forever to make it across the US! George and I are watching the History of Britain. We are such nerds. We are at the 1300s where that awful king just decided he wanted to trample all over Scotland, but Scotland just one a good chunk of the country back. I am happy about that. LOL! (Since I am Scottish.) 

Yesterday, with the Jesuits in Britain, we had a lovely time with a George Herbert poem Love III. It really touched my heart again. I read it several years ago, and I even have a heart next to it in his poetry book that I read for The Well-Educated Mind journey through literature. 

I met with only the wife of a couple we are meeting with and my afternoon person stood me up for spiritual direction. That was so weird. I still don't understand it because she was so persistent about wanting to reschedule our appointment that she had to postpone from Tuesday. I did not hear from her either about why she did not come to the appointment. Oh well. 

Today is a free day. We decided not to have our annual PUMP prayer party. I just did not have the energy to put it together. Things have definitely cleared for me just in the last two days, but I think we made a good decision. I was thinking about having a private PUMP party with just George and me. It is always a highlight of my year, but it is the seventh year, and I felt like it was a sabbatical year for the PUMP. Next year will be great. 

Today I will read and George will finish up our taxes. I will also try to get a walk or two in and maybe some Pilates bodywork. I still want to have Prayer and Praise Pilates classes this summer. Would anyone come? I am not sure, but I think it would be really great to attend to body and soul at the same time. 

Friday, May 07, 2021

Freewrite Fifteen Minutes


I saw some Purple Irises just like this today (I took this picture in 2007)

I just spent the last 2 1/2 hours catching up on all my book reviews for the year. I was thinking maybe I wouldn't do them this year, but I do enjoy doing them. It was just a matter of having the TIME to get to them. 

I turned a corner the last couple of days. It has been really, really busy. I still have a ton on my plate, but I had TWO no-shows and ONE cancellation for my spiritual direction this week! I think this is a record. I don't know what happened to one of them because I just emailed them the day before. Did they forget in that little amount of time? I was able to finish my book reviews as a result. 

 I also delegated TWO major projects that I was going to be doing, but the person really was happy to do them and finished one ALREADY, and I wasn't going to get to it until the middle of June! Hallelujah for delegation. 

I also finished up the Imago Christi Discovery Event which was stretched out over eight sessions. I thought it was really nice, and it would be especially nice for someone who has never been discipled or had spiritual direction. I highly recommend it even if you have had both of those things. It is based on the book Mansions of the Heart and The Interior Castle, both books I have reviewed on this blog. It is a practical application of it. One of the women in my small group did not like the process toward the end. She liked the beginning of tracking a timeline, discovering her longing, discovering her blocks to growth, but she didn't like how she was told "this is how you grow." I didn't mind this. I think some people need more structure, and it sounds like she has had structure forced on her in her childhood. My heart broke for her. I also really liked the people who led it, really quality people who love God and others. Five stars for Imago Christi.

Now, George is making spaghetti for the family. I hope to have a mellow evening reading and maybe going for another walk. My arm feels so good. Up until just two days ago, it was painful to type on the keyboard and to write. I corrected about 25 papers yesterday, and I did all these reviews, and it has not hurt at all! I think Emiko's massage and prayer over me on Wednesday really helped! Thank you, Emiko!

Now, I want to call Debbie this weekend and catch up. 

I am all done with all the reading for my Year of Preparation for the Order of the Mustard Seed, and we still have six more months to go, but that is who I am! :)  All the reading was invigorating for me. I love my life right now in that way.

I just had a little thing this week that made me tremble. I thought someone misunderstood me and was mad at me. It really unnerved me, but I did not freak out and just prayed, and God told me to "not tremble or be dismayed" because he was with me. He understood what I meant regardless of what the other person understood. It turned out that I shortly clarified, and it was all good, but I had about twelve hours where I had feelings I had not felt in a year: SQUISHY. I used to feel squishy a lot in relationships way back when. Oh, I also had a bunch of people pray for me, and it was great. Oh, by the way, Emiko had a prophetic word over me. She felt like the enemy was trying to push me down, and then this thing happened less than 24 hours later. So that is why I had people pray. 

There is a fifteen-minute timer. I love freewrites!

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry


I heard this guy speak at a 24-7 Prayer Gathering, and I liked what he had to say. I also love this quote because I know that Dallas Willard originally said it to John Ortberg. 

So here is an account of a pastor who has tried to eliminate hurry from his life. He has nice ideas for doing it. 

It is all about creating space for God. I like that!

God on Mute by Pete Greig

 My cohort leader, Scott, recommended this book. It is excellent. So many don't understand when God doesn't answer prayer. This is a thorough treatment of this and based around his own experience of unanswered prayer. It is good.

There is a whole prayer course on it here:

American Prometheus

 This was a LONG but fascinating biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb!

Prometheus is a god in Greek mythology. "In the Romantic era he was regarded as embodying the lone genius whose efforts to improve human existence could also result in tragedy" (Wikipedia). That about sums up what the atomic bomb did to Japan!

This man was sort of hounded by J. Edgar Hoover and lost his security clearance because he had some communist friends. It is sad what they did to him in the end, and what he did to himself because he was a chain smoker and died at 62 (my age!). 

 could also result in tragedy

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

 This took me quite a while to get into! Mainly because I have loved reading all the books for the Order of the Mustard Seed Year of Preparation! I also could not find an audiobook, but I found the Kindle version, and that reads to me through my Alexa. So I could walk and listen to it. 

She made some life choices that frustrated me. I probably would never choose her as my counselor as a result of that, but I certainly loved the counselor that she went to! I would go to him in a heartbeat! I ended up liking the book in the end. I could relate as I am in a profession that has many of the same components, and I do refer many of my directees to therapists. It was educational for me to see it from a therapist's perspective.

Prayer in the Night by Tish Harrison Warren


This was a Renovare Book Club read. She has some very nice practices at the end of each section, and I enjoyed doing them. We spent a whole evening without electricity that was lovely as a couple. 

Here is the blurb on the book:

How can we trust God in the dark? Framed around a nighttime prayer of Compline, Tish Harrison Warren, author of Liturgy of the Ordinary, explores themes of human vulnerability, suffering, and God's seeming absence. When she navigated a time of doubt and loss, the prayer was grounding for her. She writes that practices of prayer gave words to my anxiety and grief and allowed me to reencounter the doctrines of the church not as tidy little antidotes for pain, but as a light in darkness, as good news. Where do we find comfort when we lie awake worrying or weeping in the night? This book offers a prayerful and frank approach to the difficulties in our ordinary lives at work, at home, and in a world filled with uncertainty. 

Mansions of the Heart by Thomas Ashbrook


 I heard a podcast with this author when I read The Interior Castle with the Renovare Book Club. I cannot find it on their website. So it might be a Book Club Members Only podcast.

At that time, I was intrigued and vowed to read it someday. I read it in preparation for the Imago Christi Discovery Event that I took part in from April 1-May 6. Their Discovery process is based on this book, and I highly recommend it. 

Discovery — Imago Christi

Love, Loss, and What I Wore by Ilene Beckerman


This was a book mostly in pictures. It is a book about the different fashions through the eras of the author's life, and also the heartbreak and sorrow of her life. It wasn't an easy one for her!

SIX ORDER OF THE MUSTARD SEED BOOKS: The Vision and The Vow, Even the Sparrow, OMS Guide, The Lord of the Ring, Punk Monk ,and Sacred Rhythms

 These are all the books I get to read for my Year of Preparation for the Order of the Mustard Seed (OMS). They are not in the order I read them though!

The Vision And The Vow: Re-Discovering Life and Grace by Pete Greig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an absolutely inspiring and refreshing read! The Order of the Mustard Seed SO aligns with my values and priorities. This book made me even happier that I am taking my vows in October! Here is a YouTube Version of the Vision (for you Americans, the cockerel is a rooster).

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I love first-person memoirs, and this one is lovely. Jill is the Global Convener of the Order of the Mustard Seed. She has a valuable story to tell! Five Stars.


I love this guide through my Year of Preparation. It has prayer tools and many cool meditations that align with the three aspects of the vow. Lots of typos though, but it isn't a "published" book. 


One of the original members of the modern-day Order of the Mustard Seed flew his plane over to Hernhut, Germany, where the Order of the Mustard Seed began in the 1700s. This is a story about his journey and the journey of the incredible Count von Zinzendorf, an original member of the Order. Find it at The Lord of the Ring - Muddy Pearl


More great inculcating of the OMS DNA! Here is the blurb on it:

Fleeing the compromises of the 4th-century church, the Desert Fathers founded monasticism. In reaction to a Christianity they scarcely recognized, these radicals fled to the Egyptian desert to model a different radical style of discipleship, filled with sacrifice and continual prayer. Who are the new monks, the new punks, the new revolutionaries? The answer lies in an upsurge of the 24-7 monastic communities around the world. Punk Monk combines a narrative journey through the beginnings of the 24-7 Prayer Boiler Rooms with a discussion on the roots of monasticism, particularly its ethos and values, and how it can be applied in the third millennium. Drawing influences from the Franciscans, the Celts, and the Moravian, the book highlights the counter-cultural and revolutionary force of monasticism and asks whether it is time for a new monastic movement. It also takes punk as a contemporary expression of monastic spirit and asks whether a "silent revolution" is coming. 

I also highly recommend this podcast about Apostomonasticism:


This book is much in the tradition of Celebration of Discipline, The Sacred Way, The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, etc. I loved her personal style of writing and her female perspective. This book is really basic but a good start for contemplative rhythms and to have all of us in the Order of the Mustard Seed being on the same page. 

ThIis is an introduction to practices that make for a deeper life with God. She has a nice application at the end of each thing she talks about. 

Motions of the Soul and Enneagram Personality Styles by Clare Loughrige


Enneagram Personality Styles: A tool for self-knowledge and transformation
by Clare Loughrige
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think this book makes a lot more sense if you take the training that goes with it. It was good for review after the course. Here is a link to the Loughrige training:

I want to mention that the trainers are fabulous people. Just being in their presence at the training was a real treat. 

Even when going through the training, I wondered how I would apply this in my Spiritual Direction practice. I had already been through a nine-month training cohort in the Enneagram through another group, and I wondered if this training would help me, but I find that I apply it almost every day!

Motions of the Soul: The Enneagram meets Ignatius ©The iEnneagram by Clare Loughrige MMin.

This part of the training connects the Enneagram to Ignatian practices. I loved it combined with the training that I mentioned in the review above. 

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A Judgement in Stone

Carol's Take: I am not big on murder. This is a psychological murder thriller. Man, that woman was messed up! I gave it five stars because the writing is really good, but EWWWWW!

Here is a summary from Goodreads:

What on earth could have provoked a modern day St. Valentine's Day massacre?

On Valentine's Day, four members of the Coverdale family--George, Jacqueline, Melinda and Giles--were murdered in the space of 15 minutes. Their housekeeper, Eunice Parchman, shot them, one by one, in the blue light of a televised performance of Don Giovanni. When Detective Chief Superintendent William Vetch arrests Miss Parchman two weeks later, he discovers a second tragedy: the key to the Valentine's Day massacre hidden within a private humiliation Eunice Parchman has guarded all her life.  A brilliant rendering of character, motive, and the heady discovery of truth, A Judgement in Stone is among Ruth Rendell's finest psychological thrillers.

THREE 1000 Books to Read BOOKS: I Capture the Castle, 2666, Company


These are Goodreads summaries of the books that I read. I am SO behind with posting my books, I am cheating!

I Capture the Castle
by Dodie Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Listening time: 12 hours and 18 minutes.

In this coming of age story, Dodie Smith introduces the visionary and eccentric character of seventeen-year-old Cassandra Mortmain. The youngest daughter in a family of impoverished artists, it is her imagination and writing that takes us away from the ramshackle old English castle where they live, and towards an intriguing tale of husband-hunting and light-hearted sibling rivalry.

With the arrival of their new landlords, the impossibly handsome and wealthy American brothers, Neil and Simon Cotton, the Mortmains are roused from their stupor and moved to action. Despite developing feelings for the younger of the two brothers, Cassandra's beautiful sister, Rose, plots to marry the eldest heir in a desperate attempt to escape the poverty which surrounds her.

When Cassandra finds herself falling in love for the very first time with the same man as her sister, she explores her mixed emotions through her writing, making this a story which revels in irony and ambiguity.

A deceptively complex and intelligent story, I Capture the Castle is Smith's first published work and one which will undoubtedly and simultaneously make listeners tut, laugh and reminisce.

Carol's Take: This book was absolutely delightful! The narration is wonderful. Watch the movie too. 

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(2666 #1-5)

 4.15  ·   Rating details ·  35,367 ratings  ·  3,932 reviews
Hailed as Roberto Bolaos highest achievement, 2666 takes place in a fictional town on the U.S.-Mexico border, where hundreds of young factory workers, in the novel as in life, have disappeared. There, among the urban sprawl, a diverse throng of unforgettable characters find their lives intersecting.
Carol's Take: I didn't really like it. I know it is a classic, but it was one dead person after another with detailed descriptions. Why is this a classic?



 3.85  ·   Rating details ·  503 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Considered the crown of Samuel Beckett's Late Period, Company has become a modern classic, an extraordinary blending of thought and memory, with poignant glimpses of childhood, including even the author's birth, juxtaposed with a voice, one and many, examining the situation of one lying on his back in the dark, 'the fable of one fabling of one with you in the dark.'

Old Herbaceous

This was a sweet story about a gardener in England from the time he was a boy to an old man. It made me cry it was so short and sweet.  Here...