Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Wednesday FreewriteF

Back to the Chip Ross Trail I almost fainted on July 13.
 Not as hot, in the shade, and went down it instead of up it this time!

I figure it is time to post another freewrite. I am up early for time with God, and I have all these thoughts. 

Pray as You Go was about wisdom. I think that is definitely what I need. Opportunities abound. It was good that I let go of attending and helping lead the 3rd Watch for the OMS in this season (and maybe forever). I really love the OMS. It has been so good for me to have that community rule of life to evaluate and fall back on, but I am not sure, at this juncture, what my involvement should be in the future. I am almost certain I will probably not lead another Year of Preparation Cohort in order to make way for a Contemplative Cohort with four women who live internationally. 

I also want wisdom about this offer that came up last week. I am somewhat surprised about it. I have an opportunity to lead a cohort of new spiritual directors who are also cross-cultural workers. I would facilitate ongoing development in their life and supervision as they head out as new spiritual directors. I think that is pretty much my dream job and came at the same time my church had approached me about leading a cohort of people who have gone through their leadership/development program. So there is that. 

I also was asked to co-write a blog post with my spiritual director, Fran. That was something that hung over my head for days (even dreaming about it). But I set a timer for 15 minutes and did a freewrite about it. With only minor adjustments, I sent it to Fran. Now, I have to retype some things because Fran sent it in a program I cannot edit. Ugh!

On top of all that, Eric asked me to make a video of me leading people through the Cycle of Grace. I think that will be quick, and I can use that in the future. 

I also need to finish well with the Fruitful Disciple Podcasts. I have to attach resources to my interviews with A and D. I have started A's. 

So, I have some projects to do. But they are all things I am passionate about and love to do!

On a great note, my eating has been on target for five weeks straight! I have done the Personal Points Program of Weight Watchers, and it has been great. I think it is coming off much more slowly because fruits and fat-free yogurt are free, and I love those! I like the flexibility though, and I have eaten out for our dates and still lost weight because I make up for it on other days and have a LOT of exercise points that are added to my weekly points total. I think I have lost between 10 and 15 points which is what I really wanted to lose. I want to lose a bit more. I am still in the normal range for my weight, but I think as I have gotten older when I do gain, much of it is in my stomach! I don't like the bulge! So, my love handles are gone, but now, I want my stomach to go away! LOL! It is going well, and K and I are doing it together. WW works for me for some reason. It is more doable now that they don't have all these ridiculous questions I have to answer before I can get out of the "track your weight part." They are optional now. Whew. They have also done away with the rewards program (I think because I am not getting extra points added every time I log a meal.)

So much more to log, but I think the things I need to do are good enough. It was good to just get it down on paper. Today we meet with a married couple early this morning. After that, I have the rest of the day to work on projects. 


Wednesday, August 24, 2022

For Those Awakening to the Shadow by John O'Donohue

Photo by Engin Akyurt:

For Those Awakening to the Shadow 
by John O’Donohue


For everything under the sun there is a time.

This is the season of your awkward harvesting,

When pain takes you where you would rather not go,


Through the white curtain of yesterdays to a place

You had forgotten you knew from the inside out;

And a time when that bitter tree was planted


That has grown always invisibly beside you

And whose branches your awakened hands

Now long to disentangle from your heart.

You are coming to see how your looking often darkened

When you should have felt safe enough to fall toward love,

How deep down your eyes were always owned by something


That faced them through a dark fester of thorns

Converting whoever came into a further figure of the wrong;

You could only see what touched you as already torn.


Now the act of seeing begins your work of mourning.

And your memory is ready to show you everything,

Having waited all these years for you to return and know.


Only you know where the casket of pain is interred.

You will have to scrape through all the layers of covering

And according to your readiness, everything will open.


May you be blessed with a wise and compassionate guide

Who can accompany you through the fear and grief

Until your heart has wept its way to your true self.


As your tears fall over that wounded place,

May they wash away your hurt and free your heart.

May your forgiveness still the hunger of the wound


So that for the first time you can walk away from that place,

Reunited with your banished heart, now healed and freed,

And feel the clear, free air bless your new face.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Restoring the Woven Cord

I had a choice to read one of two books. I chose The Celtic Way last year and finally got around to reading this one, and I loved it. This one is a much easier read and has some really lovely practical applications. Actually, he quotes quite a bit from The Celtic Way. So, I like them both equally.

This was a very refreshing book to read after Instead of a Letter which I read concurrently with this one. She as anti-God, and this one was all about God. I really identify with Celtic Christianity more than anything. I am glad I am part of the Order of the Mustard Seed. It is the right fit. 

Friday Freewrite Fifteen

I have loved freewrites for many years now. I haven't done one on here for a while. I am so much more inclined to type them now rather than write them, but I did love my four months of the "morning pages." That was great, but I felt like the papers (6 8x10 pages a day) were too much! So, this is what I like better.

We went on a fabulous vacation. Our drive was a little harrowing over The Blues Mountains because they were transporting all these wind turbine bases, and as we were going around the curves, we had to contend with these trucks hauling them and taking two lanes to do it. Oh, and did I mention it was POURING down rain while it was happening. Suffice it to say, I was not kind and was very naggy at George. Then we got stuck behind one of those trucks on the straight part through The Blues when it went to one lane for miles and miles. I had some apologies to do at the end of our trip. I did not like how stressed I got, but as always, George was very forgiving.

We had the cutest little cabin, and there was a trail right out our door to the lake, and George bought these nice carts so we could bring our kayaks down to the water. Paul and George went kayaking the first night, and George and I went the second night, and I think George went alone another night. I cannot remember, but it was so fun.

The best money spent was going on the tram from 4,000 feet to 8,000 feet to see the Eagle Cap Wilderness peaks without a long trail hike up the hill! It was worth every penny to see the spectacular view. (See picture above.) 

I loved our time together. We also went on a hike on Hurricane Creek up to Slick Rock Falls. So beautiful and not too difficult of a hike up for 1.5 hours and back for a little less. 

We also visited with my friend from college, Mary K, and her husband Bob. We played basketball together at OSU, and I had not been to Joseph since her wedding 41 years ago! So it was great tracking her down and visiting with them. On our way out of town, we had brunch with them.

The way back to Corvallis was a lot easier because we took another way through The Blues. Instead of going down onto I-84, we entered a two-lane highway that took us over them at a higher elevation, and there were hardly any cars and not as many sharp curves. NO TRUCK HAULING LARGE OBJECTS either. I was in a much better mood this time.

All the way around it was a great time.

Another good thing about our trip was I did not overeat! I kept with my WW points, and I have lost about 10 pounds altogether; three before WW and seven since I started on July 27th. It has been even easier than the last time I did it because they give you points based on what you like to eat. So, it has been really easy because the Zero-point foods are great. I like filling up on fruits, and I get points added on for drinking 60 ounces of water and for each cup of vegetables. I have not had any sweets since I came back from vacation, and I think I am going to stick with fruits and veggies until I am down to what I would like to be. I think that will be around when we leave for Spain in October. I am doing this slowly. I really need to retrain my eating because I lost my way and forgot about self-care. So, I will be on this for a while, and so far, it is not super time-consuming.

It has helped that I cut out the Third Watch for OMS. I love it, but it was cutting into my morning exercise time as it is too hot to go for walks later in the day, and I cannot get a long walk in as dawn is coming later and later these days. So, I let it go until after the Camino.

Speaking of dawn. I want to get a short walk in before I meet with my friend from Southeast Asia this morning. 


P.S. My friend could only meet for 30 minutes today. So, I got in a 45-minute walk before my next spiritual direction appointment!

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Instead of a Letter

I stayed up late and finished this one on the last evening of our vacation. I feel sorry for her. Her rejection of God and her "free" lifestyle really left her a lonely and unhappy person. She couldn't see it, and I left this book feeling very sorry for her. She may have been a famous Brit, but I would not want to be her. 

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

Written in the author’s mid-forties, Instead of a Letter tells a story of childhood in the English countryside, high times at Oxford during the 1930s, bleak times during the war; of adolescent romance imagined into being, carried to the brink of adulthood, then lost with crushing effect. The ensuing sadness shadows Athill’s emerging career at the BBC and in the book world—she was one of the founding members of the distinguished publishing firm André Deutsch—until she learns, through the wisdom of work and words, to conjure something like happiness from the vagaries of love and the verities of time.

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.

Alexander Hamilton

This book is SO EXCELLENT. It is a 36-hour audiobook, but I was spellbound. 

Hamilton was so different from all the other Founding Fathers (and did not own slaves, by the way) in that he came from nothing. I read this in preparation for watching the Hamilton musical.

It is also narrated by one of my favorite narrators: Scott Brick!

Again, Thomas Jefferson looks like a bad guy. He was in John Adams too. History has not been kind to that hypocrite (who did own slaves and didn't even free them when he died).

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

Early in his fascinating biography of perhaps “the foremost political figure in American history who never attained the presidency,” Ron Chernow writes that Alexander Hamilton’s “life was so tumultuous that only an audacious novelist could have dreamed it up.” Or, as time would tell, an audacious musical theater impresario: Prompted by his reading of this deeply researched yet compelling tome, Lin-Manuel Miranda would turn its subject’s life into a groundbreaking polyrhythmic spectacle. If Hamilton was not fated to become president, he would, as a consolation prize, become something of a rock star two centuries after his death. “No immigrant in American history has ever made a larger contribution than Alexander Hamilton,” Chernow tells us—and he did it all before his death at forty-seven in a duel with Aaron Burr, our third vice president. He was too protean, too smart, too reckless and charismatic a figure for his full likeness to be caught in a statue, much less on the ten-dollar bill, so one is grateful to Chernow for capturing it in these pages, and for inspiring others to rejuvenate his legacy.

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.


Here I go for fifteen minutes. I did not do the fifteen-minute freewrite Friday as I thought. And I totally missed this last Friday. So, I a...