Tuesday, August 09, 2022

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 is why James Mustich thinks it should be one of the 1000 Books You Read Before You Die:
As the protagonist of a novel, Herbert Pinnegar is a rare breed: a gardener. Even the most green-thumbed reader of fiction would have to dig for a very long time before coming upon another example of a horticultural hero. Reginald Arkell’s 1950 tale chronicles Pinnegar’s eight decades in the employ of an English manor, from his youth as a flower-loving orphan to his old age as an estimable master of the plots. Slender in size and humorous in tone, Old Herbaceous is at root a social novel, reflecting the changes, challenges, and eccentricities of English country life from the late Victorian era to the age of the world wars.

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Thursday Freewrite




Worship on the River with our lovely Community!


Here we go for a Freewrite Fifteen! (I wish they would not always try to correct the word Freewrite! I finally added it to this dictionary so it will never tell me I am spelling it wrong again. But I digress.) 

Today is one of those days where it is going slow, and I am glad. I had three morning (two really early) spiritual direction sessions on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and I did not have anything this morning. I was so glad that I even skipped the Third Watch at 8:30. I had an extra long Examen prayer time, journaling it as I let James Martin guide me through it, and that was something I had not done in a while for a daily one. I often do it for the weekly ones with Pray as You Go. It was insightful for me. One of those morning sessions was the most life-giving thing about my day. I am loving getting to know this new directee that I have. She is so thoughtful. So, it was a joy to hold space with her yesterday. 

I also decided to quit watching news and reality TV. I am taking a break for the next month and going to read more and be more present at home. I get up early and have a long prayer time. Then, I am with people either in direction or prayer watches or meetings or cohorts. Then I always have my exercise time. By 3 pm, I have put in a full day. I will often watch the news in the afternoon. I think I am done. I don't need the negativity. If something really newsworthy comes up, I am sure George will tell me. He reads The Spectator (the oldest British news magazine) and catches up with some podcasts in the evening. I am really loving my 1000 Books to Read Before You Die list this year (last year had some fiction I didn't really care for) and also some spiritual books. I am looking forward to reading Jamie's book Living Fearless I keep recommending it to people but have not sat down and read it myself (mainly because I have heard him speak dozens of times, and I already was on the same page even before I heard him speak). So that is one thing I will do. 

I am so looking forward to the favorite time of year: time with my family! Both my kids have time off this next week. So we are going to do several things together.

I looked at that one post I did about all the stuff that was going on from July 13th to my birthday. We really were BUSY. Things have finally slowed down, and I think I am winding down with the Order of the Mustard Seed Cohort I lead and things are set up and running smoothly with the 2nd Half Collaborative. I was shocked to have two new directee through it that meet TWO TIMES a month as opposed to only one time (which is more normal for a direction schedule). So that and planning the once-a-month 2HC small group meeting was so challenging! That and having Francis and Shelly and also fighting whatever bug I had.

One thing that really made me realize I had a bug was my elevated heart rate. I walked the six miles to church on flat land, and it was at 116 most of the time, and when I went up light hills or increase the speed, it went as high as 143! It is usually about 97 when I am on the flat and maybe 107 when I go at a faster pace. Then when I got to church it STAYED elevated. A resting heart rate of 93 is not the norm for me. So, I think that I was sick.

It had gotten back to normal by the time we went kayaking/paddle boarding with our community, So fun and special. See pictures above.

My times up, but I am hearing "Self-Care September." I will continue with my cardio training for the Camino and bodywork with Pilates. I will still have directees and 2HC, but I am going to cut back on other things. Speaking of Self Care: I made a decision on my birthday to join Weight Watchers again. Kim did it on the same day as me. I have already lost some weight. I am not overweight though. I just like it lower and less of a gut! I feel so great and have been keeping to the plan. WW really is the easiest I have ever used, and you stay motivated! They have changed it a bit (add a point for every 1 cup serving of non-starchy veggies and a point for 60 ounces of water - keeps you fuller and motivates you to add those points you used to get. My base used to be 23 points. Now it is 21! Loving it.)

Game of Thrones



All I can say is, "I get it now." This is a page-turner, and I have to honestly say that I could not put it down and listened to all 34 hours in 8 days. So, it shows you how much I enjoyed it. 

It is really well-written! The story is compelling and character-driven. Very good.

I don't think I can watch the series though. There is a lot of sex in it, but it is not graphically described. So I can tolerate it. And the violence is there, but I don't have to see the blood and gore. 

While I don't think I can continue with the whole series, I might just look for summaries of the remaining books to see where the characters end up. 

Here is why James Mustich thinks it should be one of the 1000 Books You Read Before You Die:

Jul 29, 2018
The plot of A Game of Thrones revolves around a dynastic war among several families, but every step of the way the intricate story lines are personal and visceral. What’s most compelling is that the reader’s understanding of unfolding events is continually transformed by shifting narrative perspectives. Many characters are given not only history, but agency as well, in a way fiction seldom realizes: The reader’s judgment is suspended, then upended, again and again, as heroes shape-shift into villains or get caught in some uncertain liminal state. Martin’s hold on the popular mind derives from his ability to fill the bold outlines of epic fantasy with the gritty colors of historical fiction and from his narrative ruthlessness, which acknowledges that violence and sex are surer motivations than nobility and that circumstantial ambiguity determines more than a fixed moral compass.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Saturday Sixteen Freewrite about the Last Two and a Half Weeks (Sort of an Examen)

Sometimes Living Out My Calling Can Involve a LOT of People
 (my "Cardboard Sign" from the 2 HC Monthly Meeting I Led)

I have not had a freewrite since that fateful week when I was hiking with George. It was July 13th. It has been 2 1/2 weeks. I have to admit, I have not felt well since that time. I go for walks, and I feel nauseated and really tired and want to turn back around. I finally just climbed into bed yesterday after a walk that left me nauseated. 

It could also be from all the activity since the beginning of July.
  • Kick off of new 2HC with 11 hours of retreat (7/1-3)
  • 21-Hour Silent Retreat (7/2)
  • 2HC Small Group setting up of small group time involved lots of time (7/3-9)
  • Met with 21 directees 
  • Trained for the Camino by walking a lot (and sometimes listening to audiobooks)
  • Led Silent Prayer for Jo (2x) (7/7 & 14)
  • Wrote a blog post on Silent Prayer.  (7/16) (See it here.)
  • Uncertainty and limbo of when Francis & Shelly were coming. (7/10-15) They finally came ... (7/15-16)
  • Lunch at Eats and Treats with Francis & Shelly
  •  Dinner with the Seaders (7/15)
  • Tour of OSU with Breakfast with F & S



  • Kayaking the Willamette with F & S (7/16)

  • Drilling about the Enneagram from Francis
  • Dinner with F & S 
  • Hosted worship and dinner with Group (7/17)
  • Late-night talk with K & J after
  • Supervised for a direction session (7/18) - The supervision was more frustrating than the session I was being supervised for. Cammie supervised me for the same session a month earlier, and she is a better fit for me.
  • Did my FIRST supervision session (7/18) - My style was totally different from the one I was supervised for earlier in the day. I am so glad I decided to go with the supervision training from Lucy Abbott Tucker. It was SO grace-filled. She gave me a great model. 
  • Got quotes from Camino and Santiago Ways (7/19)
  • Investigated plane flights for October Camino and Belfast 24-7 Prayer only to be totally frustrated by Delta's site. (7/19)
  • Interviewed Andrew on a Rule of Life for the Fruitful Disciple Podcast - ask me for the link (7/19)
  • Set up and wrote a script for an interview with Dano (7/19)
  • Coaching two times with an Enneagram 8 (including hours of preparation for teaching) - 7/19 & 26)
  • Dinner at Sandy and David's house (noticed how really tired I was but loved the time) - 7/20
  • Beautiful Cuppa' for George by David!

  • 32nd anniversary at Gamberetti's (7/21)

  • OMS Sponsor Interview with Elizabeth (7/22)
  • Beach Day from 10am-11:30pm on 7/22 with Maddy and Katherine that included lunch, walking along the beach for 11.5 miles, appetizers with M & K at Sorella's, and dinner joined by George, John, Terry, and Larry. Then, late night fishing off the jetty joined by Mer.



  • Ate Dinner with the Southworths and Ervins at Eats and Treats (7/23) 


  • Church (7/24) 
  • Talked with Sandy about her major decision (7/25) 
  • Led first 2nd Half Collaborative Small Group (7/26)



  • Dinner with five couples and Shawn at the Donaldson's (7/26)

  • Prayer half day at the library followed by lunch with George for my birthday! (7/27)

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  • Birthday cake with Maddy and John
  • Started Weight Watchers again (with Kim but we didn't know the other had signed up on the same day!)


  • Led an OMS prayer watch (Three Circles Exercise) (7/28)
  • Scheduled plane flights to California for the reunion only to not have my credit card work because it had expired (7/28)
  • Ordered a new card and wonder if we should not go to California (7/28)
  • Pastini's belated birthday lunch with Kim (7/28)
Looking at all of this, I am tired. I have had so many people in my life over the last 2 1/2 weeks! The reunion totally slipped through the cracks in the process of all the things from this month. 

It is interesting to review the last two weeks because most of the interactions were very life-giving for me. I LOVE people! The only ones that were not were the supervision session (felt very judged and like I had done it "wrong" when I have been supervised many times by others and have never had a problem with my "focus statement" UGH) and plane ticket reservations for both California and the Camino (blocked task goals).

I love people, but I can also get very drained when it is prolonged over a long period and when people are asking me to do things for them, and I have to say, "No." 

 Hmm... Jesus often departed to lonely places to pray. He had long and loving periods of people contact, but he often departed. See the Cycle of Grace that Jesus exemplified


 So, that is what I am doing from the 4-15th of August. I am closing the door to people contact other than my life-giving family!

After just one directee yesterday morning, I was totally free. I rested, but I still feel sick. So maybe I just have a bug or something? It is so weird. I am used to having a lot of energy and pep, and my "get up and go, got up and went" as the phrase we used to say in the 70s goes! 

So, I thought I could just write a bit for my time with God this morning. I am supposed to not "edit my emotions" for my Enneathought of the Day. So that is what I am doing! That supervision session really DID bother me, and I dealt with the emotions at the time, but it is good for me to have a 2 1/2 week Examen! :) I am sure that supervisor is great, but she was definitely not the right fit for me! Pretty canned and non-relational in her approach. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution by Bailyn



I really liked this book. At first, it seemed like it was going to be dry and boring. So I put it aside and read a couple of other books and even started reading the biography about Hamilton by Chernow. Then I realized that this book would be such a good base for the Hamilton book, and I really loved it from then on. Man, his chapter on the hypocrisy of continuing to have slavery in America while "freeing" themselves from the "slavery" of Great Britain! I kept saying AMEN throughout the whole chapter. Really good. 

So, I would recommend this, but I am a history nerd, and I love the connections with Hamilton. 


Here is why James Mustich thinks it should be one of the 1000 Books You Read Before You Die:
There was nothing inevitable about the American Revolution. Bailyn illuminates the radical beliefs that inspired the unprecedented effort to champion individual liberty against the power of the state. Tracing the animating principles of the revolutionary movement back to eighteenth-century European thought, Bailyn provides an insightful education in the Enlightenment roots of the Founders’ conception of law, government, and the Rights of Man.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Freewrite Saturday Sixteen

#project365 In sickness and in health. I have not done a steep hill in the full sun in a long time, and 2/3rds of the way up I started feeling dizzy and nauseated. I sat down on the trail, and he shaded me from the heat by his body until my body cooled and my pulse went down. He is truly my “ride or die” on this journey of life. We made it to the top, and that’s how I feel about life with him. Joy in the Journey. Patience in the rough parts. A beautiful perspective on life with a clear view at the top. It has been a fantastic 32 years (almost) George Weaver!

I just felt like writing today. I am going to be intentional about not stopping to correct every error, but it will be hard. Freewriting really is a great discipline for me. So here are some random thoughts.

I had this dream yesterday, and I woke up really early. It was about people in our community planning something and not letting us know. They were all lined up, and I kept saying, "What did I do wrong?" (Assuming that I was to blame for them not including us in their fun.) I have had other dreams like that where I felt excluded/left out. 

I had some things that happened this week that made me feel that way, and I know that was in my subconscious when I had that dream. There were others to spend time with and better offers. So, we got put on hold. Had I initiated the invitation, it would have been different, but I was asked for my time to be occupied for 7 days. So, we adapted and made plans, went shopping, cleared the spare room of George's office, and cleared the schedule of other things as best we could, and then it didn't happen, and we were left in limbo. The bright side was a freed-up and wonderful week! I also got to talk to a friend I had not talked to in a long time. I think I have worked through it though, but I know that is why that dream was there with me.

I did have a very scary thing that happened this last week. It was not a super-hot day, but I usually take my walks in the morning so that I don't walk in the full sun. I had already taken a substantial walk that morning, but George was going on a hill walk during lunch, and we went up the steep grade to Chip Ross (we usually go up the meandering way and go down the steep part), and my body literally SHUT DOWN. I am in great cardio shape, but I think it was heat exhaustion. I have never had that happen to me before, and it was very scary. Very scary indeed. It made me think of the young girl we fell upon on Catalina Island. She went with a youth group on a long hike: flip-flops on, no water, no breakfast, and hot sun. She collapsed, and they had to have search and rescue carry her out in a stretcher. We came along, and I helped her (because her youth leaders were WORTHLESS helpers) stabilize. I think this is what happened to me. I had eaten breakfast earlier that morning, but it had been a few hours, and I also did not bring any water, and the direct sun really hammered me. I just sat down on the trail. You can see the picture above, and what I wrote about my wonderful George there too. I learned a lesson. I was very scared when it happened. I have NEVER had anything like that happen to me, and I was nauseated the rest of the day. It was pretty amazing. 

So, there we go. DONE! 

Saturday, July 09, 2022

On the Road




This is a first-person fictional narrative of a young person going all over America (and even Mexico). It is set in the 50s and would NEVER be popular today because of how denigrating the main characters are to women. These are people who lead lives of quiet desperation. I did not care for it, but I soldiered through it. It is on almost every "must read list" I have ever seen. So, for that reason, I am glad to finally have my curiosity satisfied. must-read

Here is a review on Amazon:

Few novels have had as profound an impact on American culture as On the Road. Pulsating with the rhythms of 1950s underground America, jazz, sex, illicit drugs, and the mystery and promise of the open road, Kerouac’s classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be “beat” and has inspired generations of writers, musicians, artists, poets, and seekers who cite their discovery of the book as the event that “set them free”. Based on Kerouac’s adventures with Neal Cassady, On the Road tells the story of two friends whose four cross-country road trips are a quest for meaning and true experience. Written with a mixture of sad-eyed naïveté and wild abandon, and imbued with Kerouac’s love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz, On the Road is the quintessential American vision of freedom and hope, a book that changed American literature and changed anyone who has ever picked it up. This edition commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the first publication of the novel in 1957 and will be a must-have for any literature lover.


Here is why James Mustich thinks it should be one of the 1000 Books You Read Before You Die:

Within the catalog of books to read before you die, there is a very short list of books to read between the ages of fifteen and twenty, and On the Road is certainly near its top. Jack Kerouac’s novel has qualities that transcend its youthful appeal, but none measures up to the intoxication it can deliver to a teenaged reader with a taste for the heady brew of romanticism, adventure, and unfettered selfhood an improvised road trip promises.


Sensible Shoes: A Story About the Spiritual Journey


As I was biking home from my classes back in May, I ran into my friend, Nikki, who I had not seen in years. She talked about her journey since I last saw here, and I told her I was a spiritual director. She said, "Oh that is like a character in the book I read while I was in Greece." When I got home, I looked for it in my library, and they had both a hard copy and a Kindle book. So, I checked it out.

For anyone who doesn't understand what spiritual direction is all about, this is a great book to understand both group and individual spiritual direction through the lives of four women who join a spiritual formation group.

There is...

Hannah (Type Two - Helper) - Hannah, a full time pastor, who is "forced" to take a sabbatical by her boss because he can see how exhausted she is, but she cannot.

Meg (guessing a Type Six - Anxious Loyalist) - a widow and recent empty-nester who has not ventured out into the world due to fear. 

Mara (not sure for her - she was the least developed of the characters, maybe a Type Seven?) - a woman in a difficult marriage with a difficult upbringing who looked for love in all the wrong places.

Charissa (Type One - Perfectionist) - A hard-working graduate student who wants to always get things right and questions the whole spiritual journey and exercises the spiritual director suggests. 

It is not the most captivating story, but I liked this example of spiritual formation in COMMUNITY and one-on-one spiritual direction which, when combined, can lead to wonderful growth. I would give this to someone who wanted to learn more about what would be involved in spiritual direction and a spiritual formation group. 

By the way, I do this with three groups right now (Order of the Mustard Seed Year of Preparation Cohort, The Second Half Collaborative, and Body and Soul Companion). I also meet one-on-one with women aged 25-70. It has been so lovely to walk with people!

This blog had quotes for each main character and questions that I found helpful when I was having a hard time getting them all straight in my head:

Hannah: a pastor

"You told the congregation that pruning isn't punishment -  it's improvement.  You reminded us that pruning is God's way of shaping us to become even more like Christ.  Jesus said the branches that get pruned are the one's bearing fruit.  And you're bearing fruit, Hannah. Lot's of it.  This sabbatical punishment - it's pruning.It's time to let God care for you and shape you so you can become even more like Christ."  [16]  
              
Are you a "Hannah"?  Are you so involved in church activities/ministries that you are worn out?


Meg: a widow and 
empty nester

"Becca's lively presence at home had kept Meg happily preoccupied.  There had been so much to do together, so many preparations to make for the overseas adventure.Becca's joy and enthusiasm had temporarily buoyed Meg's spirits above her own grief.  But now the empty house engulfed her with dreadful stillness. Mother was also gone. Still gone." [10] 
       
Are you a "Meg"?  Are you carrying around grief from something that was lost to you?


Mara: in a difficult marriage

"Agitation is also God's gift to us, Mara, strange as it sounds.  Imagine yourself standing in a doorway, at a threshold. Your discontent can move you out of the old and into the new.  When you reach the end of yourself and say, 'I'm tired of living this way. I want something more!' then God is there, helping you to let go and move forward." Does that make sense?" [33]


Are you a "Mara"?  Are there situations from your past that continue to affect your present life in a negative way?

Charissa: graduate student; perfectionist

 "'Apart from the spiritual formation recommendations I made in class, why are you interested in going?' She thought for a moment and then answered, 'To learn.' He stopped walking and turned his riveting dark eyes upon her. 'Wrong answer,' he said, smiling enigmatically.  Was he teasing her? Though she was several inches taller than her professor, Charissa suddenly felt rather small.  Lowering her gaze from his eyes, she focused instead on his neatly trimmed goatee and waited for him to explain himself. 'Go to encounter God, Charissa, or don't go at all.'" [24]


Are you a "Charissa"?  Are you consumed with perfectionism and knowing the "right" answers?

Friday, July 08, 2022

Freewrite Fifteen (that ended up being about 6 minutes)




I don't know if I will have fifteen minutes for this freewrite because Kim is coming for a walk between 6 and 16 minutes. 

So here goes.

I was blue yesterday. I had a great morning. I had time with one of my directees that was good. I might have even met with a second one. I cannot remember. Then I went to the 3rd Watch for the Order of the Mustard Seed (late), and many of us stayed to visit afterward, and it was lovely. 

I am not sure when the "blues" set in. I think it might have been when I was trying to find a meeting time for the 2nd Half Collaborative. I am not sure what happened, but I was blue. I didn't feel like going for a walk which is unusual, and the walk probably would have chased the blues away, really. I had a lot of balls that I was juggling yesterday, and I was trying to set up a meeting time for seven people across four different time zones, and that was stressful. Then I had a friend wanting to talk to, but I just didn't have time, and I didn't want to disappoint her. I just felt anxious, and that anxiety made me feel sad.

Kim just came. So, I am going to go. The picture above is a blue flower to describe my blue mood!

Blue Highways


I really loved this book. It is not as funny as Travels with Charlie by Steinbeck, but I loved the slice of Americana that the author encountered during his trip in the 70s. 

Here is why James Mustich thinks it should be one of the 1000 Books You Read Before You Die:

One wintry day in 1978, thirty-eight-year-old English professor William Least Heat-Moon learned that neither his employer nor his wife would be needing him anymore. Lying awake that night, he was struck by an idea, and a quintessentially American idea it was: “A man who couldn’t make things go right could at least go.” A month later, off he went, embarking upon a journey along the back roads of the United States, the two-lane highways marked in blue on old road maps. Deciding to travel in a circle instead of a straight line (to provide himself the promise of coming round again), Heat-Moon left his native Missouri for a three-month, thirteen-thousand-mile journey “in search of places where change did not mean ruin.” Pick up Blue Highways when you have the urge to read and nothing particular on the top of your list: Before Heat-Moon hits Kentucky, you’ll be hooked and eager to relish his wanderings from Nameless, Tennessee, to Remote, Oregon, from Why, Arizona, to Whynot, Mississippi.

Wednesday, July 06, 2022

Renovated: God, Dallas Willard, and the Church That Transforms


I have a directee that wanted to dive into this book. Since I was reading Renovation of the Heart for the Renovare Book Club, I thought I would read this along side it. 

I think the summary below says it all. He talks about mutual attachment in love to God. I have always thought that a person's concept of God based on their childhood will not cause a person to be attached to God and that significant healing needs to take place (but is totally possible). 

This is what I discuss and pray through with many directees. 

Here is the blurb from the book: 

Christianity has tended to focus on right beliefs and right choices as the keys for personal growth. But biblical evidence and modern brain science show that our character is shaped more by whom we love than what we believe.


Through conversations he had with Dallas Willard at the Heart & Soul Conference shortly before Dallas's death, Jim Wilder shows how we can train our brains to relate to God based on joyful, mutual attachment--which leads to emotional and spiritual maturity as our identity and character are formed by our relationship with God.

Renovation of the Heart


This is my fourth time through this book, and I always gather new gems of insight. I think it might be my favorite behind Living in Christ's Presence, but that book is just the transcript of the last conference he did before he died. I have the DVD of that.

Here is my previous reviews in 2018 and 2017:




It is about true transformation and apprenticeship to Jesus!

Here is the blurb from the book:

Renovation of the Heart explains the common misunderstandings about human nature and the discipleship process by outlining the general pattern of personal spiritual transformation––not as a formula, but as a systematic process.

This bestseller by Dallas Willard explains that as intentional apprentices of Jesus, we are to move deeper into a relationship with God while becoming more like Jesus. In his unique, winning way, Dallas Willard will guide you in discovering your true identity while exploring spiritual growth in a new way.

Includes discussion questions.


Journey with Ignatius of Loyola


This is a 43 Day Lenten Devotional that follows the life of Ignatius of Loyola. I learned about it because I do a Friday morning (afternoon for the people in the UK) devotional time with the Ignatian Spirituality Center of Glasgow, Scotland, and David Birchall is one of the leaders. (Although I think I read somewhere that he was leaving or retiring?)

I learned so much more about Ignatius that I didn't know. If you do the online version of this, you get narrations about his life and songs. It is great!


The general website:


The Friday morning prayer group (runs September-June):







The Lenten Journey: A Contemplative Devotional on the Passion and Resurrection of Christ


This is a deep dive. Most devotionals don't spend seven weeks on the Passion and two weeks on the Resurrection. Bill O'Byrne does a wonderful job in this devotional. I did it with a small group led by the author, and it was so great. 

I also recommend anything with Bill O'Byrne and the wonderful team at Imago Christi. I attended their Discovery Event, and it was wonderful!

Here is a link to that event:

How to Hear God by Pete Grieg


Pete does it again. This is my fourth (or maybe fifth) book by Pete, and he does such an excellent job at making things to simple. I really love Dallas Willard's book Hearing God, but it is theologically and philosophically very thick whereas Pete's book is very down-to-earth (thus why it is called a "simple guide for normal people). Maybe we can call it "Dallas for Dummies"! (Both are wonderful men of God.) He does recommend Dallas' book at the end of one of the later chapters too. 

Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition



I finished this on March 30th for the OMS Book Club Discussion. I liked it. It had the theological and historical underpinnings of hospitality with modern-day examples. I has always thought of myself as a "soul hospitality" sort of person because I do spiritual direction and open my heart and create space so people can share rather than feed them. Both are valid, and I realized I really do the other also. I think we have an incorrect view of hospitality which is really more entertaining. The actual word in the Greek is the combination of two words: philos which means loving and xenos which means strangers. Lots of people have friends over and entertain but the genuine meaning of this word is inviting people who are "strangers" into your home and heart, and as I am typing this, a Saudi student who recently moved back here texted me to say that she cannot wait to get together. I think opening your home to internationals is hospitality in the truest sense! 

Her podcast was really good too, but I cannot remember where I got the link to it. I am sure if you google her name, you can find it. She is an expert on this subject, and it was a worthwhile read! 


The Good Soldier





I read this back in February, but I never got around to writing a review. The narration was excellent, and the writing is so good. I was drawn in right away. It is about marriage and impression management and the games people play. I would love to see it in a movie form!


Here is why James Mustich thinks it should be one of the 1000 Books You Read Before You Die:

Ford’s tale, which he described as his attempt to incorporate into a novel “all that I knew about writing,” principally charts the tangled relationships between two “leisured” couples: the American John Dowell and his wife, Florence, and the philandering Edward Ashburnham (English gentleman and the “soldier” of the title) and his wife, Leonora. Ford’s artistry shows itself in the black comedy of Dowell’s narration, which appears at first to be meanderingly conversational and digressive but turns out to be as lethally well constructed as a ticking time bomb. Frequently cited as a “novelist’s novel” and as one of the great modernist works of the early part of the twentieth century, The Good Soldier was once described by a friend of Ford’s as “the finest French novel in the English language.”

Sunday, July 03, 2022

Sunday at Six Silent Retreat Reflection Freewrite

mosey
mō′zē

intransitive verb

  1. To move in a leisurely, relaxed way; saunter.

I think this freewrite will go on as long as I want and not be limited to fifteen minutes like usual. I woke up this morning so grateful, so humbled, and so glad I did not bail. I loved it, but it seemed like they did not necessarily need me. I also knew that I had other dreams, and the discernment community I had said they kept hearing that I have freedom. So, I needed to discern what I really wanted, and I am so glad I decided to do this again. I love my small group, and I will meet with two directees from other groups. I am happy about all of this. I loved hearing their stories, and I think I am better paired with my new partner, and that my old partner has a group all on his own. I was there to help him while he transitioned and graduated. Now that he is settled, it is a good thing that he has his own group, and I have one less person than all the other groups. So that is really good. 

I think I will use this time to reflect more on my silent retreat. Every 2nd Half Collaborative (2HC) Retreat (July, December, and May for each cycle), we have a 21-hour silent retreat between days 2 and 3. 

This time, I had no pressing matters to attend to. So, I had the full 21 hours. Reflection is a HUGE part of the 2 HC because, according to Trevor Hudson, "We don't learn from experience. We learn when we reflect upon experience." 

Here are my answers to the reflection questions. 


  What was the silent retreat like for you? Is there a metaphor you might use to describe how you experienced it? 

The word I would use to describe it is FREEDOM. I felt free as a bird to do whatever my heart desired. I didn't have anything pressing on me, and I could fully enter in. I guess the metaphor might be me looking out over a vast ocean. I kept hearing the song in my head "Wide Open Spaces" by the Dixie Chicks (oh, I just listened to the song, and they are now "The Chicks" to be sensitive) because I just feel like I have the whole world ahead of me even at almost 63 years old. 

I usually ride my bike for all of this, but I decided to just set out and walk slowly for as long as I felt led.

I wholeheartedly agree with Augustine who said, "Solvitur Ambulando" which is translated as "things are solved by walking." 

I walked and noticed what was around me with all my senses. I heard birds singing. I felt the perfect temperature. It started out chilly but quickly warmed up making me wish I had not worn my jacket. I saw the array of colors all around me from the blue sky against puffy white clouds to the many flowers blooming. I stopped to smell the roses (something this recovering Type-A did not used to do). 





About forty minutes in, I started reflecting on my OSU job that I recently left, and I started crying. I loved my boss and co-workers, and I grieved the loss of that (and the sweet good-bye video that my boss sent out to the whole department). It was good to grieve. I was stepping out of what had become more time-consuming over the years due to increased computer time, and it was really time to leave, but I will miss my students and co-workers, and it was OK for me to grieve that. 

I saw how people had decorated their yards, including someone who had made a wishing tree and supplied pens and paper for walkers by to tie their wishes to it. I thought that was cool (even though I would say prayers rather than wishes). 




As I walked, I thought about specific memories of spots I had been to along the way. Most of the memories were so good, and I savored those memories. 

I walked over to the Campus Way Bike Path and felt the "wide open spaces" of the fields of OSU. I made it to the Irish Bend Covered Bridge and delighted in the sounds of a bunch of children playing on the creeks underneath it (and all the bikes lined up in a neat row on the bike path). 




I walked back to campus and headed toward my old building. (It is a 2.7-mile round trip from my old building to the bridge and back and wondered why on earth this was not one of the routes for the Fitness walking class that I took over. This guy had them walking on sidewalks instead of in this beautiful wide-open space. I just cannot figure out why he didn't have more beautiful walking routes for these students. But I digress.) As I was walking toward my building, my immediate boss rode by on her bike screaming, "HI CAROL!" and then the boss I cried about also rode by and gave a wave. How cool is it that I should see them on the day I was grieving the losses of that chapter of my life?
 
After walking by the building and releasing that part of my history with all the happy memories of that building (98% happy and even the 2% was just that one misogynist male instructor who came to teach the class after me and bullied me ended up happy because that wonderful boss I mentioned above came to my class to observe and communicate in no uncertain terms that his behavior was unacceptable. So it really made that 2% convert. I really have nothing but wonderful memories of my time there.), I walked slowly through the Memorial Union just treasuring all the time I have spent there over the years, and I went into one of my happy places, the Lounge, and sat next to the big windows and open them and began a Centering Prayer time, but one of the Papuan students I have known for years came in to talk to her friend, and it was loud, but I also didn't want her to notice me and started talking to me since this was a silent retreat. So, I exited and went downtown to wander the wonderful streets, and I even ventured into Many Hands which is closing and had a Jane Austen doll for 75% off. I had no money with me (but we went back the next day and bought it - my collection of "all things Jane Austen" is complete - what a DELIGHTFUL find) so I moseyed on to the Riverfront and saw the kids dancing in the fountains. I didn't stop there and kept walking home. 




I was on about mile 9 (11.5 altogether for the entire day) when I saw a person riding their bike going the opposite way in my peripheral vision, and I didn't think anything of it until I heard a voice say, "Carol?" She had turned around on her bike, and it was Julia who had moved to Spain 6 1/2 years ago and is back in Corvallis! I had to break my silence, and we had such a lovely conversation on the road. Lovely woman. Lovely family. It was delightful, and she was blessed by the ministry of one of the women in the 2nd Half Collaborative who started a group called Velvet Ashes, and what is so weird is I had never heard of it until about 9:15 that morning when one of my coworkers in the 2HC mentioned that this woman had started it. What is the probability that you would hear about something for the first time and then hear about it a second time 5 hours later? I think that is a God thing and worth breaking your silence for! (I really did try.) 

The last two miles were hard. That is the longest I have walked for a long time. So, I got home, ate, drank, took a shower, and fell fast asleep. I rested and did some more Centering Prayer and stretching before I hit the hay really early! I woke up so refreshed and had a good time with God until I entered the last day of the retreat. 

  What happened to you in the silence? 

God was there. :) Fran, my spiritual director, once asked me if I have any problem connecting with God when I go into centering or silence, etc. I had to be frank and say, "No." I know that is not the norm, that many people struggle to focus, but I am just not that kind of person. Is it because I am an uber-relational Type Two? 

What happened to me was the space to grieve and gather the graces of seven wonderful years at OSU! That was the best part of it. I think I have closure.

  What gift did you receive during these hours?

The presence of God. Closure on a season. Sense of purpose for the next chapter. Confidence with the 2HC. 

  In what ways was this experience challenging or perplexing for you? In what ways might you have found yourself resisting it?

Never resist it, but that is because I feel the freedom to just be who I am and do what works best for me to do rather than feeling like I have to do it a certain way. 

  In what way(s) did you encounter God? Or in what way(s) did God seem absent? 

I was "with Him" the entire time. When Dan asked me what I mean by "coming into my own," I think this is the biggest thing, a moment-by-moment awareness of His presence with me. I have prayed this since I was 19 years old, but it is so true that I see it more and more as the years go by an ability to experience Him in silence or stress, in times of peace or pandemonium. that is such a good feeling.

  In reflecting on the entirety of our time together thus far, where have you noticed a shift in yourself or your relationship with God? Have you come to any new understandings? Has a question been honored? A desire met? A peace found?

I am so much more at peace about my role with the 2HC. I was just meeting so many NEW people all at once. I had only met Andrew briefly and Ed many, many years ago. So I didn't have much time before I was thrown in the deep end with all these people I didn't know. Among the participants (not the leadership) was a person I did know who I had difficulty in the past. It ended up being great, but I did enter in with fear and intimidation. It worked out well, but this time, things are more comfortable I was also able to speak up and say what I wanted to do, and it was honored, and I believe it went really well, really well. So, yay GOD! 


 

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...