Saturday, July 31, 2021

Parting the Waters, Pillar of Fire, and At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years 1954-1968


There are no words.  This trilogy will be the most impactful reading of the year for me. There were times when I wept. There were times when I gasped out loud at man's inhumanity to man (speaking of "mankind" here that includes women). Soldiers needing to be called into Old Miss for ONE black person who wanted to go there? People shot in the head for registering to vote? The perpetrator of heinous crimes going off scot-free! There were tears but also lots of anger. 

 After the events of the last year in America. It is helpful and insightful, and I would almost venture to say that every person should read this trilogy. It is almost 3000 pages total, but each book also comes in an abridged audiobook. 

I came away with such admiration for Martin Luther King, Jr. who, I truly believe, was not in it for the money. (He had 6,000 dollars to his name at the time of his horrific death.) I admire his commitment to non-violence regardless of the mistreatment the people in the movement received, which was so horrible. (Tears as I write this.) I loved hearing about his roots in his loving family. Interesting to note that most black preachers of his father's age were Republican until there was a shift, and they were sorely mistreated at one of the conventions. 

The second book also goes into detail about Malcolm X, and the Nation of Islam, which I had read about in his autobiography (another book I think everyone should read). 

Branch is meticulously detailed in his account of the events. Some might find this tedious. I found it helpful. 

I also appreciated the look into the Presidents in that time period: Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson. I did end up feeling very sorry for Johnson, I believe he was sincere in his desire for Civil Rights and relief of poverty, having grown up in poverty himself (as opposed to King who grew up in affluence and education), but he got swallowed up in Vietnam. It was so interesting to read about those events that occurred during my childhood. I knew there was a somber sadness in my house when Kennedy was assassinated (I was four years old). I definitely remember when his brother was assassinated in 1968 when I was almost 9 years old. It happened 22 minutes away from my house, and my aunt (big in the Democratic Party of California) was supposed to be at the event at the Ambassador Hotel but ended up not being able to go, but I cannot remember why. Along with the Vietnam War, there was great sadness going on during my younger years!

Just SO GOOD. I cannot tell you how good. So worth the time and effort. Now, I am still wondering how I might be part of the solution rather than the problem. 

P.S. I had heard about MLK's philandering, and that is also documented in the book. I will never understand that for him or any man! Obviously, a lot of compartmentalization going on. 

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Metamorphoses by Ovid

 I had a hard time getting into this. So I went on over to Librivox and listened to the, mostly, excellent readers. I am so familiar with many of these stories that I could connect to the names. I cannot connect to the violence though! Many of those gods were pretty vicious! 

The Bourne Identity

 This was very good writing. It had me continuing to listen to it. I wish the movie had stuck more to the actual plot of this book. I loved the movie though, but it is very different from the book. 

The Story of My Teeth

 It was clever in parts and sort of silly in others. I think she is a good writer though, but I wouldn't have put it on the 1000 Books to Read Before You Die list. 

A Rhythm of Prayer

 The first poem from this book was read in my Silent Prayer Group, and I really liked it. Overall, I didn't really care for many of the writings. Some were superb, but many just did not grab me and got away from the focus of our prayer: God. 

The Body Keeps the Score

 "Competence is the best offense against the helplessness of trauma." 

This is quite a "hot" book right now. I found the first part a lot of review for me having read Hardwiring Happiness and Anatomy of the Soul which deals with a lot of the same issues. I found the last half about EMDR and Neurofeedback fascinating. It gave me a lot to ponder about the violence we see in our world today. 

A pioneering researcher and one of the world's foremost experts on traumatic stress offers a bold new paradigm for healing.

Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat on a daily basis; one in five Americans have been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Such experiences inevitably leave traces on minds, emotions, and even on biology. Sadly, trauma sufferers frequently pass on their stress to their partners and children.

Renowned trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he transforms our understanding of traumatic stress, revealing how it literally rearranges the brain's wiring--specifically areas dedicated to pleasure, engagement, control, and trust. He shows how these areas can be reactivated through innovative treatments including neurofeedback, mindfulness techniques, play, yoga, and other therapies.

Based on Dr. van der Kolk's own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score offers proven alternatives to drugs and talk therapy--and a way to reclaim lives.

Thursday Morning Freewrite

Time with God at the Memorial Union, OSU

Fifteen minutes on my timer. Here I go...

What a week. It was my birthday on Tuesday. I told George this morning that the key is to have no expectations. I had none. I had no plans, and I ended up having the most wonderful day. After the OMS Prayer watch and praying for North Africa, I got on my bike and spent some time doing Pilates in my classroom at OSU and then having time with God in the MU "Living Room." It really is one of my favorite places in town. I had a window seat and delighted in an extended time with God. 

Then, I rode my bike to Pastini's for lunch with my favorite human being: GEORGE! We had a lovely talk. He went and got me steak for dinner and lemon curd at Trader Joes' while I rode my bike home and had Centering Prayer with the nuns of East Moseley. Then I had Evening Examen Prayer (evening for them but 1:00 pm for me) with the OMS Prayer Watch people, and they sang me Happy Birthday to you! 

After this, I rested and watched a couple of show. Then I decided to take a shower, wash my hair, and get into my PJs. As I was getting out of the shower, I thought, "I have not heard from Nancy in the longest time. I wonder if she is "pulling in". Just then the doorbell rang, and it was NANCY bearing balloons and a card and chocolate! We had a nice visit. We realized we had not really spent time with each other since lunch in DECEMBER! I did drop a mean off to her after her surgery, but she said she was still on pain meds and barely remembers it. :)

So nice to catch up. Then, George and I watched The Bridge, a British-Danish mystery show starring the person in Atlantic Crossing, Sofia Helin. Such a good show but a bit dark.

I got up the next morning to lead a small group for the 2nd Half Collaborative. We shared our Beloved Charters and calling statements. It was lovely to review the Beloved Charter that I wrote five years ago. I shared it with them because there was time in the end. I think the time went well, and I was not too nervous. I am getting more comfortable, but I am realizing that I like one-on-one spiritual direction best of all. 

After this, I rushed to the athletic club to film the moves of the guy whose class I am taking over, but he didn't have the MP3 of his class, and he has not taught it in so long that he couldn't do it for me. So I am going today.

Today, I am not feeling so hot. I think it is a combo of being exhausted from leading the small group yesterday and many things coming down the pipeline that I have been a part of for the last few months. My podcast with Heidi is coming out tomorrow. She interviewed me on the "One thing that is Needful," and it was so fun because TODAY on both Lectio365 and Pray as You Go, the subject was Mary and Martha because it is the Feast of Mary and Martha today. That is so cool since that is my interview. 

I am also going to have a book club discussion on Welcoming Prayer with the Mercy Center. I have been waiting for this chapter to come up for months. YAY!

I think I am going to go back to bed though. I need to relisten to T's talk to do a blurb for it since it comes out on August 11. God is so good to make all this come to fruition. I feel like it has been months and months of work, but I can see the downhill side of it. Next, I would love to have "Contemplative Cohorts." Maybe J can help me with these? He would be so good at it. I really love his heart. 

Wow! I thought the time was up, and I looked, and it said 30 seconds. I love to freewrite. I needed to process through some stuff. Not things I would write here, but as I wrote, I processed my thoughts. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

Friday, July 16, 2021

9/11 Commission Report

 Seriously, this is riveting. I could not put it down. It gave so much more detail than I ever knew. It is not a dry and boring report! 

The audio version really does have some of my favorite narrators. 

Christian Meditation: Practice and Teachings for Entering the Mind of Christ

 This is not actually the book by the same name and author, but it is more an audio guide through Christian Meditation. I loved it, and I got it because one of the Centering Prayer group I am in keeps reading quotes from it, and I always love it.

This is not about Buddhism! I think evangelicals have totally lost the whole practice of the presence of God. It has become more "crank a blank" Bible studies and regurgitated Scripture from the latest pop preacher or speaker. We need to get back to what I think is our true roots. So the blurb below is NOT advocating Buddhism. Just sayin'! (When I first read it, I didn't like it either.) 

Here is a blurb: 

In 1967, Thomas Merton traveled to Thailand, seeking to further the Buddhist-Christian dialogue that was his passion. It was to be his last journey. This beloved Trappist monk and explorer of the inner life died unexpectedly on that trip, but not before writing a final letter to his brothers at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. In it, Merton wrote that he now realized that everything he had been searching for could be found at his own hermitage, within the Christian tradition. It is in this spirit, with respect for all faiths (but not embracing - my addition), that James Finley offers Christian Meditation, an audio retreat about the fundamental practices at the heart of Christianity's own unique meditation tradition.

Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross

 I have tried to read this book SO MANY TIMES. So I got a Librivox recording of it, and I followed along with a library hard copy. 

I loved it. It really is a spiritual masterpiece. Dark nights can just draw us to the Lord. 

Into the Silent Land: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation

I kept reading quotes by this author. So I decided to read this lovely book. It was a bit overly intellectual in parts, but as a whole, I loved the deeper treatment of the subject of Silent Prayer. I read it over my vacation, and it motivated me to continue the practice even though we were all in a hotel room together for nine days!

I was especially touched by the effect Silent Prayer has had on prisoners! WOW! 

I am going to let the Goodreads summary speak for itself. 

Sitting in stillness, the practice of meditation, and the cultivation of awareness are commonly thought to be the preserves of Hindus and Buddhists. Martin Laird shows that the Christian tradition of contemplation has its own refined teachings on using a prayer word to focus the mind, working
with the breath to cultivate stillness, and the practice of inner vigilance or awareness. But this book is not a mere historical survey of these teachings. In Into the Silent Land, we see the ancient wisdom of both the Christian East and West brought sharply to bear on the modern-day longing for
radical openness to God in the depths of the heart.

Laird's book is not like the many presentations for beginners. While useful for those just starting out, this book serves especially as a guide for those who desire to journey yet deeper into the silence of God. The heart of the book focuses on negotiating key moments of struggle on the
contemplative path, when the whirlwind of distractions or the brick wall of boredom makes it difficult to continue. Laird shows that these inner struggles, even wounds, that any person of prayer must face, are like riddles, trying to draw out of us our own inner silence. Ultimately Laird shows how
the wounds we loathe become vehicles of the healing silence we seek, beyond technique and achievement.

Throughout the language is fresh, direct, and focused on real-life examples of people whose lives are incomparably enriched by the practice of contemplation.

The Wizard of Earthsea


Fantasy novels are not usually my jam, but the 1000 Books to Read Before You Die list has many of them. It stretches my horizons. This was not all that bad. It was more a young adult/kid novel than anything. 

The Barnes & Noble Review
Ursula K. Le Guin's 1968 classic fantasy A Wizard of Earthsea, a coming-of-age tale about a boy destined to become the greatest sorcerer in the world, has been heralded as one of the most pedagogical and beautifully written children's novels ever penned. Born in the realm of Earthsea, a much-storied world dominated by an extensive archipelago, Ged is a poor blacksmith's son born with an innate understanding of magic. But after he is sent to Roke Island to study the craft, he lets his arrogance and antipathy for another student lead him into a disastrous mistake -- unleashing an evil spirit bent on devouring Ged's essence!



Fascinating, easy read. We have had this book on our bookshelf since my father-in-law gave it to my oldest son in 2004. I finally was motivated to read it since it is on the 1000 Books to Read Before You Die list. 

Who knew longitude was so important for seafaring. This is the story of the genius who figured it out. I loved the illustrated version. It made me wish we had gone to Greenwich when we were in London, but we are sure to go back there again! 

The Once and Future King


This was so fun while I was on vacation with my kids because they know the Disney movie The Sword in the Stone like the back of their hands. So when I read parts, I would ask them to compare it to the movie. It is similar, yet very different in some parts. This book is the basis for our modern-day understanding of King Arthur, and the Knights of the Round Table. It is also the basis for the movie Camelot! I am still trying to get through this movie because it is a bit corny, but I think it is great. It has a very young Vanessa Redgrave. Who knew she sang? This is justifiable to be on the 1000 Books to Read Before You Die List. 

Gift from the Sea

 I have read quotes from this book for years. More recently in Celtic Daily Prayer by the Northumbrian Community. So, I thought I would read the whole thing. It is filled with wisdom. I think the best quotes are in the prayer book though. I suggested that my Renovare Book Club read it, but one of the ladies said she had a troubled life. I have not read up on her history yet. Here is the quote that I liked:

“If it is our function to give, we must be replenished too. But how? Everyone should be alone sometime during the year, some part of each week, and each day. If they were convinced that a day off, or an hour of solitude, was a reasonable ambition, they would find a way of attaining it. As it is, they feel so unjustified in this
demand that they rarely make an attempt. The world does not understand, in either man or woman, the need to be alone. How inexplicable it seems. Anything else will be accepted as a better excuse. If one sets aside time for a business appointment, a trip to the hairdresser, a social engagement, or a shopping expedition, that time is accepted as inviolable. But if one says: I cannot come because that is my hour to be alone, one is considered rude, egotistical or strange. What a commentary on our civilisation, when being alone is considered suspect; when one has to apologise for it, make excuses, hide the fact that one practises it–like a secret vice!

Certain springs are tapped only when we are alone. The artist knows he must be alone to create; the writer, to work out his thoughts; the musician to compose; the saint, to pray.

The problem is not entirely in finding the room of one’s own, the time alone, difficult and necessary as this is. The problem is more how to still the soul in the midst of its activities. In fact the problem is how to feed the soul. I must try to be alone for part of each year, even a week or a few days; and for part of each day, even an hour or a few minutes, in order to keep my core, my centre, my island-quality. Unless I keep the island-quality intact somewhere within me, I will have little to give my husband, my children, my friends or the world at large. “

From Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Celtic Daily Prayer by The Northumbria Community

The Celtic Way

 I think I might be a Celt in my heart. I really enjoyed most of this book. Some parts dragged a bit, but I came with some great takeaways. Here are two takeaways: 

1) The two themes of presence and protection are the two distinctive features of Celtic Christianity. It was about the immanence of God (think of St. Patrick’s Breastplate) as opposed to the Roman Catholic and the Protestant West’s tendency to emphasize God’s transcendence – his omnipotence and remoteness from the world. Along with this was their close connection with nature. The immanent God dwells in this world as well as above and beyond it (p. 32). Interesting to note that one of my all-time favorite poets is George Herbert, and the author makes a point of saying that his poetry is in the Celtic tradition and “his desire to be taught to see God in all things” (p. 112). Maybe this is why I connect so much with Celtic spirituality (but Ignatius is the person who taught me the most about “seeing God in all things”).

2) Their emphasis is ongoing into a pagan society and finding God in the culture rather than trying to change it! . 

“Celtic Christian missionaries had a wholly different attitude towards those with whom they were seeking to share the light of Christ. For them evangelism was more a matter of liberating and releasing the divine spark which was already there in every person than of imposing a new external creed. They did not see the primal pagan religion of the people as a threat to Christianity or a dangerous heresy to be eliminated. Rather it represented, however imperfectly, a stirring of the spiritual and a reaching the eternal. With imagination and with faith many of its central features and symbols – the standing stones, the sacred groves and springs, the power of circles, the poems, runes and chants – could be baptized and incorporated into Christian worship and witness” (p. 94). 

Friday Freewrite Fifteen

Trying to meet other people's expectations is a big weakness of mine. I memorized this quote when I was a kid. So I realize it has been an issue for a long time. 

I slept in until almost 6 am this morning. SO UNLIKE ME! I watched the whole Dr. Death mini-series on Peacock last night. So I had to wind down and did not get to sleep until about 12:15. So that makes sense that I would sleep my 6 hours. I had a Silent Prayer time and then some reading time in the Taylor Branch trilogy about the Civil Rights Movement. It was the Malcolm X part. I had read his autobiography, but it is interesting to read more about him from a biographer's point of view. 

I have a CLEAN CALENDAR day. Well, almost. We are going out to dinner with Jean, Jim, and LeAnne. That should be really fun. 

This morning, I got a What's App call from Lisa of the OMS. That was fun. The ONLINE gathering is going to be October 29-31st. Here is the link for anyone who wants to go. Last year's gathering was so good.

Yesterday, I met with Sarah about teaching the Back Clinic Class on Monday and Wednesday afternoon. Since I am only teaching one Pilates class in the fall, I think this will keep me in better shape. So I am doing it for my benefit as well as doing it for the people who have been asking for it to come back since COVID hit. The creator of the class became the general manager of the club. So he needs someone to take it over. I have been subbing there for the last two years, and I think it would be good to teach there again. The thing with this class is that it will be EXACTLY his routine. So there will not be something to complain about like when I taught Classical Pilates there when they were used to doing Pilates that was really more like Yoga. So, I am very happy to teach the same routine. AND, I did it yesterday, and I was sore in my upper back. I am rarely ever sore. So this is good for me as well. I will even use his recording during the class and just monitor everyone doing it. That is pretty easy. After I talked to Sarah, I went and did Elliptical for an hour. I have not done Elliptical in over a year, and it was a fun alternative to my usual routine of walking or riding my bike. One hour pretty much gives me 10,000 steps. So I get more steps than I do walking. 

Speaking of walking. I think I am going to start the St. Francis Way on my birthday. I am so tired of Route 66. It is so boring. I would never recommend it to anyone else. I thought I would get my money's worth if I chose one of the longest routes. If I was going to do that, I should have chosen the Appalachian Trail because at least it is beautiful! 

So, the rest of my day will include sending my lists of podcasts and resources to Amy for publishing on our website. I might take a walk or a bike ride before that. Then I will do the back clinic routine again and maybe some Pilates. I will also listen to my Civil Rights biography because it is due in four days! Acks. I think I have about 288 pages to go. i think I can do that in four days. 

So there is my day. Tomorrow I meet with my English language conversant from Southeast Asia. That should be fun. After that, I have my Order of the Mustard Seed Cohort meeting. Then I am free the rest of the day. Maybe kayaking would be in order!

I have 3:37 minutes on my timer. I think I will also go to a Silent Prayer time right now. I liked doing that last night before bed. I will say that something happened yesterday. It was not major, but it was a text that said, "Everyone else is doing this." Implying that what I was doing was not enough. I had to pray through it, and the Silent Prayer time helped. I was able to get up this morning and lead the way I felt more comfortable and not the way everyone else was doing it. I am a people pleaser. But if it is not me. That is awkward. I think the person's expectations are very high for what we are leading, and I am more, "Let it flow and trust in the slow work of God." I think when this person sees others moving along at a faster rate, it is hard for them. I am not one to compare and compete with others. But I am one to meet the expectations of others. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Wednesday Morning Freewrite

 I am so glad to be back in the saddle of freewriting. I know they probably are not very interesting, but they are interesting to me.

Today is my rest day. I love all the people in our lives, but to have a "clean calendar" day just sets my heart to fly. I love being by myself (well as close to that with George working from home, and Paul working the night shift at the hospital). So what will this day hold? I think a bike ride is in order. The whole time my guests were here, I only went on one bike ride. It worked out great because we dropped Anne off in Eugene and went to Dorena Lake. 

So today is rest. Tomorrow, I meet with J and have my Silent Prayer time with Jo and the Brits. I also meet with Sarah at TAC to talk about the Back Clinic teaching. I don't want to get into a problem teaching there though. It is always so tricky to teach there, but I figured with the same curriculum as what Kyle has been teaching for years, it will be fine. It was when I tried to teach true Pilates that the old-timers had a problem. They were used to an adapted Pilates that wasn't really Pilates (seriously, I went to the class of the teacher I replaced, and one exercise was the same as a true Pilates routine). No problem with doing something different, but it is not Pilates then. It is exercise and good exercise (the person I replaced is an excellent teacher), but it is not Pilates. 

Oh well. Friday I also have a clear day, but I think we are going out to dinner with the Southworth's. I need to confirm that. 

Patty texted me and wants me to come up to Portland for two days in August. I don't have a ton of flexibility, but I will see. I am working through the summer. 

I am going to see about maybe having a reduced spiritual direction schedule in the Fall. I am pretty full up with directees. I must pray about that. 

I am facilitating a small group for the 2nd Half Cooperative, and finding a time to meet for the fourth week across five different time zones is INSANE. I want to please everyone. So there is that. I am happy that I found a time that worked for everyone, even though there were some people that did not have a lot of flexibility on the Doodle poll, but when I asked them, they said they could make it work. My default is to mark that as a YELLOW on the Doodle poll so that we have some wiggle room, but they marked it as a NO. There were three people who did not give much wiggle room. I defaulted to the one that runs two businesses. The rest really do have flexibility in their schedule because of the nature of the work, and one was so sweet to be willing to stay up REALLY late since her time zone is 13 hours ahead of mine! YIKES!

I will evaluate whether facilitating this is really worth it for me. I think it is proving to be WAY more time than what was initially proposed to me, but I do think it will be fun and fruitful. I am just glad I have a very balanced life (think Cycle of Grace). This week, the people in my group are sharing the Cycle of Grace with those around them. I shared mine with Elizabeth, and it was fun. She already has seen it because I sent her the links to the videos quite a while ago. 

So, I think I will go for a walk. It is not going to be too hot today, but I love the mornings. Actually, maybe I should do a bike ride! 

I really do have a concept of how long 15 minutes is! I looked down, and I have 40 seconds.

Let the rest day commence! 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Tuesday Afternoon Freewrite


I really am trying to freewrite more. Today seems like it has been so busy. Busier than usual. I don't know why. 

I think that adding this 2nd Half Collaborative has been good, but it is a lot more hours of work than estimated. I love it though. I think it is right up my alley. So I am not complaining, but I am also realizing that is making my summer a bit busier than I anticipated. 

I am trying to do a Doodle poll to set up a meeting that spans five
time zones. That is tricky. I am sort of surprised it is hard to find the time since these are people who have pretty flexible schedules based on their line of work. 

I just dropped my six-day house guest at the airport. It was so fun to have them here! We talked about everything under the sun, and I think it is pretty amazing that God gave us time together. I think everyone is doing well. I loved all the deep talks that we had. 

So a full week. I purposely did not schedule anything for tomorrow so that I could decompress for the day. I did that last Wednesday between or big get-together on Tuesday night and three people coming in on Thursday afternoon. Motel Weaver has closed for scheduled maintenance. The Cycle of Grace. It is sustenance time! 

I am going to may teach a back class on Monday and Wednesday afternoon. I think that might be really nice. I would love to know more ways to strengthen and stretch. This is a movement class developed by a guy who has taught it for years, but if I teach it just the way that he taught it, I might not have the complainers like I did for the last class I taught. Plus, I am not so sure they would be the same crowd in the afternoon that was there in the mornings when I taught before. So we will see when I meet with my boss on Thursday at 8 am. I am only teaching one Pilates class at OSU this fall. So I think I can swing teaching a class at a health club on the off days. 

I will hopefully be going to Israel in May of 2022. So I will need to have a sub. I think maybe I will do Pilates this afternoon because I have not been doing it, and I always say i am going to do it in the summer, and then I don't do it as much as I would like. 

What else should I write? I have my OMS Cohort meeting. I tried to do the 5:30 am OMS Prayer Watch, but they do not let the non-regulars know when they are and are not going to be there. So I think I am just not going to try anymore. It interrupts the flow of my mornings. I have "let it go" because I don't want to hassle it anymore. It is not that big of a deal to not go. I can be part of the OMS and not go to the Prayer Watches, and that is just fine with me. I will go to the Evening Prayer Examens and Silent Prayer on Thursdays, and that is enough to keep me somewhat in touch with others. I don't want to get anyone in trouble though. So I am just going to let it go. 

Speaking of letting it go. I have not been as good this week about Centering Prayer twice a day. I have been doing it once a day though. So that is good.

God is good. I feel like he is truly sustaining me through all the fun times I am having in my life. I feel so full of good people. It is great. 

I have been eating too much though. Lots of people and lots of food.

Oh, I only had three minutes left, but George, Elizabeth, and I went back to the beach, and it was so great to see her enjoy the ocean. We then went to the best Italian Restaurant on Nye Beach! We love it. We went there with the boys for a getaway last year, and last night was so busy but so delicious. It was a great spontaneous evening at the beach. We should do that more often. 

Well, I think it is going to go off right about ............NOW! BYE! 

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Sunday Morning Freewrite


Elizabeth, Me, and Anne at the Cape Perpetua Beach. Love these two with all my heart.

Gummy and good. That is a Swedish Fish. Michael is up, and we are talking about the good of the Swedish Fish. I love that I am Swedish. Some day, I want to go back to the land of my ancestors. I also want to go to Scotland since my ancestors on the other side are from the Glasgow area.

Elizabeth is staying with us. Anne left yesterday after spending two nights here. She went to a wedding last night in Eugene and will be going to the coast today with her boyfriend, Sean, and his best friend and new bride. Elizabeth is out with Cully hiking a new trail out of Fitton Green

Last night was so fun. After Elizabeth and Shelly went to Anna's Memorial Service, they went out to Market of Choice with friends, but Elizabeth called, and they walked back to spend the rest of the evening with us. It was so fun. It was such a treat to see Shelly again after almost 10 years! Elizabeth asked me to do an Enneagram typing interview with her, and it just led to deeper and real conversation, and I loved it. She left at 10:15, and we were really happy to reconnect with her again after all these years.

Elizabeth offered to have us come with her and Cully to Fitton Green, but we decided to have some rest after the busy week we have had. It is so fun to have the "bookends" of people who have gone through our training. Elizabeth and Shelly were in the first one we had, and on Tuesday night, we had Trent, Laurel (home from North Africa), John, Katherine, and Micah (and Brittany) who were in our last one. It was such a beautiful time from 2009-2018, but it seems like there are no new training groups on the horizon, but what a fulfilling and fun 10 years it was. I would not trade those years for anything, but we have so many wonderful friends all over the world as a result of it. I love what George and I do and the privilege of coming alongside these quality people who love God and challenge us to love him even more. 

So rest. It is a good thing. I would like to go to the coast though. It is going to be hot, and Elizabeth bought a parking ticket for the next three days on the Oregon Coast. So, George and I might steal away some evening after he is done with work. As it is, I cannot drive until we get a printer because I renewed my driver's license this morning online, and they sent me a temporary license that I am required to print up, but our printer is no longer working. It is very old, and it has been a really great printer, but we need a printer. HAHAHAHA.

What else should I talk about? Oh yeah, we went to the Rails-to-Trails Row River Trail again. It is outside of Cottage Grove, and it takes you on a very gradual up climb to Dorena Lake! We did it in 2017 for our anniversary, and it was so fun. It was hot, but it was really nice and cool in the shade, which is most of the ride. We decided to only go to the end of the lake this time. Last time, we went another five miles beyond the lake, but it was much hotter and got into some really seedy-looking areas. So, we turned around at 8 miles for a total of 16. 

The great news is that it got me out of Oklahoma on my Route 66 Virtual Challenge. I feel like I have been in Oklahoma forever! I have to say that Route 66 has been so boring. The scenery is nothing to look at. Nothing like going up the Island of Great Britain or the Camino de Santiago! I am going to do the St. Francis Way next. Everyone says that it is beautiful and takes you through beautiful Italian cities and landscapes. I am excited about that one. 

I hope to be done with Route 66 a bit faster now that I am riding my bike again. I put off riding it because of my broken arm. I really waited too long, but I got really busy. It seems like I am not as busy now that we have a good start to all our "Abiding Practices Podcasts." 

15 minutes up! BYE!

Thursday, July 08, 2021

Thursday Morning Freewrite Fifteen

I started this freewrite on Monday. It is now Thursday. I love to freewrite, and I see it as such an important part of my "Rule of Life" in that I can process in a "stream of consciousness" way that involves writing and creativity for me. I realize I have been freewriting now for almost 20 years. I know it started when I met my friend, Julie Bogart (Creator and Owner of Bravewriter), and I know I met her in a Sonlight Forum in 1998 or so. Somewhere along the line, she introduced freewriting. It was definitely before 9/11, and that was 2001. 

I rested all day yesterday because Sunday through Tuesday ended up being pretty busy. I had some follow-up to the 2nd Half Collaborative that I am helping with as a small group facilitator. This week, they are learning about the Cycle of Grace, and I think I have shared about it here. If not, here is a handout that I developed for my teaching on the subject. It is funny that THIS DAY, three years ago, I taught on it for the very first time. It is interesting to note, that the youngest member of the group I taught it to gave the most push back about it. I just don't think he got it, but he probably will in the future, and he will maybe be in the 2nd Half Collaborative when he is in his 40s. :) 

So, I also had to send out a Doodle poll to set up a meeting time on the fourth week of the next 10 months for the 2nd Half Collaborative. I was so afraid to send it out! George finally said, "Do you want me to just press the button for you?" It was ridiculous. I wasn't sure if it would really work for the three different time zones we are working from. I was worried that I made the times too early for the West Coast people, yadda yadda yadda. (I took a walk at the labyrinth releasing the fear, and I pushed the button by myself, by the way.) 

I also fit in some time on Tuesday after my prayer periods in the am and before my interview with an Ignatian Spiritual Director,  to go and see Cammie B. face to face. I love my regular spiritual director, but every three months, she supervises me rather than does a spiritual direction session. I needed to process, so I emailed Cammie! She is 10 minutes from my house, a Type Two on the Enneagram (like me), used to be a supervisor and has been doing this for 14 years, and her husband is a brilliant ecologist who used to work with George's old boss and major professor for his Ph.D. 

It was a delightful time. Cammie and I talked about boundaries. I was intimidated by someone recently. It is someone who bullied me 11 years ago, and I just took it. I had forgiven and moved on and had no contact until they popped up in my life unexpectedly! All the old fears came rushing back in! I am SO MUCH BETTER at setting boundaries than I was then, but I still was scared to be around that person. So Cammie helped me work through that. It was so great. She didn't want the session to end. I am pretty sensitive to wanting to honor her time. So I stopped at the hour mark, but she said, "Let's keep going." Such a gift, and she doesn't even want to charge me. She said what would bless her is if I supervised some of her sessions because she has no one to supervise her. She is a gem. I just love her!

Another really life-giving thing that happened this week sort of had two parts. We went to the lake on Sunday, and it was a HUGE group of people. Many of the people are ones I have a deep relationship with, but because of the nature of the 4th of July day, there was nothing but short "chit-chat" conversations. I was able to lay down my "Compulsion to Connect" (A Type Two negative thing, connection is a strength, but compulsion to connect is an ego fixation) and get in my kayak and enjoy the flight of an osprey against a clear blue sky. It was so exciting to see him dive for fish and catch one! It was also great to watch my husband catch a fish himself. But I told George, when he got back from fishing, that I was exhausted with just chit-chat with people. So we left a bit earlier than most. I fell asleep by 8 pm! The fireworks did not even wake me up. 

Then on Tuesday, we had some of those same people from the 4th over because of friends visiting from North Africa. We had been in a group back in 2017-2018, and it was a reunion of hearts. Deeper sharing and heart to heart time and tacos and cherry pie. It was so life-giving. (This is the same group I taught the Cycle of Grace to three years ago.) 

So that is why I have been busy. Now, I am leading a Silent Prayer time for the FIRST TIME in two hours. Then A is visiting from AZ and bringing her beau, and we are going out to lunch. Then we are going to pick up E and S from the airport, and we are all going out to dinner. Then A and E are spending two nights here, and we are hiking at the Oregon Coast tomorrow. E stays another three nights and leaves next Tuesday. BIG WEEKEND COMING. It will be very relational. 

Sunday, July 04, 2021

Sunday Morning Seventeen Freewrite

Well, it has been a while since I had a long and luxurious freewrite. So I am giving myself Seventeen on a Sunday morning on the 4th of July. We have a big lake party we are going to that starts at 11 am, but I think we are going to hold off a bit and go a little later as I am really tired from the last week of activity. 

On our week in Yellowstone, I got an email from someone who I had never met to be part of a wonderful journey with 17 people who wanted to grow in their love for Jesus. They wanted me to help lead one of the small groups. The people who had signed up were really great people. I only knew two of them a bit and had been in one small group with in early June. I only knew one of the leaders, and that is only through texting back and forth because of our mutual interest in Ignatian spirituality. He was the one who recommended me for this, and my spiritual director, concurred with him that I would be a good choice. 

I feel humbled and honored, and I just early mornings Thursday - Saturday (with a 21 hour silent retreat from 9 am Friday to 6 am Saturday). I am always up for things like this, but after they are over, I CRASH. I really am an introvert, but people usually don't know it when I am with them because when I am tuned in to people and their stories, I am really tuned in to them. We spent a lot of the time in the small groups unpacking their spiritual autobiographies, and that is one of my favorite things to do one-on-one in spiritual direction. It has been a while since I have led a small group (other than a DBS a couple of months ago, my Renovare Group in October, December, and March, and the 18th annotation of the Spiritual Exercises small group last summer). There had been many months since the last small group I led (March), and since then, it has been all one-on-one spiritual direction. I think I am really more a one-on-one person, but I really do have a lot of years under my belt of leading groups. They are always challenging for me until I get to know the people. I feel like I connected with most of the people in my group, and it sounds like all the women in the group know each other pretty well, especially three of them.

All that to say, I felt a little bit undone after the second day, but God met me so powerfully with his presence through the silent retreat. I love it. I got positive feedback on the first and third days of the retreat. I love my hermitage cave, but God has told me to jump off the edge and fly. I think I will add the little picture that I drew for the "Where are you at now?" exercise that we did in the group. I did not share my picture because we aren't doing that as facilitators. But it might help them see us as real people. :) Oh, wait, I DID lead a small spiritual direction group for 7 sessions in April and May! DUH! I totally forgot about that. Somehow that seemed so easy for me because it was only three of us, and I was sharing along with everyone else. We also had a LOT of time to share, and we were all very good about sticking to our time frame. The time frame of this new group is a little smaller and not as much wiggle room and buffer if someone goes over, but I think it worked out for the long-winded versus the short-winded people. 

All that to say, I feel good about what they are imparting. It is for people in the second half of life. I think most of the people are 40 or above, and I might be the second to the oldest person of the leaders even. So funny. I feel so young!

So I am tired. But God you are saying to come to the edge. (I will find the quote after this freewrite.) 

"Come to the edge,"

He said.

They said,

"We are afraid,"

"Come to the edge,"

He said.

They came, 

He pushed them, and

they flew.

        Christopher Logue (British Poet and Pacifist)  

I also have ridden my bike two times in the last three days. OH SO WONDERFUL. 

Now we are done. 

Thursday, July 01, 2021

Tuesday Morning Freewrite

 You make me new

You are making me new 

You make beautiful things

You make beautiful things out of the dust

You make beautiful things 

You make beautiful things out of us

Sunday Seventeen Freewrite

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