Sunday, November 19, 2023

Sunday Sixteen Freewrite

I know this about me. When I start something, I love to follow it through to the end. I immerse myself in it and usually enjoy everything I do once I get started. 

As you know, my last post said I was putting the Spiritual Exercises on my YouTube channel. So I TOTALLY IMMERSED myself in the life of Jesus and the Spiritual Exercises and put 29 out of the 32 weeks up there in eight weeks. 

And I loved every minute of it (except for maybe when George turned off all the power while I was uploading my last TWO videos - He blocked my goal of closure, but I got over it quickly). It was so much fun. I did Imaginative Contemplation "on the fly" while the camera was rolling. 

I wanted to complete the three weeks of Christmas at Christmas though, with all my Christmas decor and Advent wreath burning in the background. So, I am waiting until after Thanksgiving to meditate on his birth. 

I decided to add the "Choices in the Way of Life" later and am still working on that. Ignatius recommended this when we have a decision to make. I meditated in Matthew 6 today, and the picture above is from that. I do have some decisions to make soon:

1) Spiritual Direction with Children class. I interviewed with Lacy and was accepted, but I have to add two children to my already full spiritual direction clientele, and they want me to meet with them every week or every other week and write up Contemplative Reflection forms for each of them. I am just not sure if I have the capacity. Maybe if I pull back next year, I can enter into that. 

2) Deepen - I LOVED my Deepen III (new spiritual director supervision) small group. They were four of the loveliest women. Really and truly. I adore them, and they are all spiritual directors I would recommend others go to, for sure. I think the door is open for me to be involved with Deepen in the future. I have decided to take a break though. It was a lot more time than I thought. I put in about 150 hours over ten months (because I had meetings for the leaders, did a talk on Cross-Cultural Spiritual Direction, spent outside time doing written supervision for the women we did not do in the 2 hours allotted time with the group, and attended seminars that other leaders gave.) It was much more time than I thought it would be. I think I am going to realize how much more time I have now that my meetings are over (except I have four more written supervisions which take about 1/2 hour each to complete). I will miss my small group. I don't think I fit with the leaders though. Most are trained as directors from seminaries, and it is such a different mentality than how I was trained. So, I will leave for now and evaluate in the future.

3. Deepen graduates - Well, I have been asked by several of the people in this program to do group supervision with them. There is one group of four for sure and more who want to join, but they are thinking of maybe a second group. I am still praying about the time for a second group. I really love all the people who will join too. I know I will do one. Discerning about doing the second. I will also do one-on-one supervision with one of the people in my current group every three months or so. Love all around for these graduates. 

4. Spiritual Directees - I am asked to do direction consistently. I think I am at my limit now though. I had two people inquire about doing direction with me, and I just didn't feel the pull with them. One discerned in a different direction, and the other was leaning toward me but found someone she could do it within her time zone and locally. I think doing direction in person is always a very good choice! And I was really relieved since I didn't feel like I clicked. I have one new directee who I think is a very good fit, and I look forward to meeting with her. 

5. Direction Training - I thought I had discerned and been accepted into becoming a Sustainable Faith Trainer, but there was some miscommunication, and the "powers that be" said they were taking no new trainers as of September. I decided to train as a trainer in March with the people training me (they are the best). So, I would have made an exception. But there was no flexibility, and I see it as a gift really.

So, I asked if I could just go on my own, and she said, "Sure." I think this is a better option actually because:

  • I have a few books that I would include as an alternative to the ones with Sustainable Faith
  • I have already developed so much of my own stuff. So it can be part of my newly created curriculum. I love to create.
  • I can offer the training at a lower price since Sustainable Faith will not be taking an administrative "cut." (Totally understand why they do that though.) 
  • I can use my manual for the Spiritual Exercises and reduce the cost for my trainees. They would also have access to guided meditations on YouTube.
  • I can offer a cross-cultural component.
  • I can offer a trained perspective on the Enneagram and how to incorporate this into direction (they have two modules, but they don't address how it can be helpful in a session). 
  • I want to incorporate things from the Cycle of Grace and Identity/Belovedness from Henri Nouwen and Jamie Winship.
So, I had fun writing a new curriculum. I submitted it to the ESDA. We will see if they approve it, but it is OK if they do not too. I feel like God has been saying to step out on my own and in faith lately anyway. So, this is in line with what he is saying. So, I am going to start training a group of 3 or 6 trainees starting in September or October. It has to be in multiples of three so we can have triads for practicing. I have two out of the first three. So praying for four more delightful people to join us!

We had some things hit us all at once (I am going over my 16 minutes since I have not journaled on this blog for a long time - freewrites can be very healthy):

  • George had blood leak into his eye causing spots. He was able to stop the bleeding but the spot remaining may be there permanently. He is so sweetly peaceful, and his biggest concern is that I do not have to do all the driving. I pray for healing.
  • I had two suspicious spots on my wrist and back. Since I am a melanoma survivor, I will be biopsied in early December.
  • A pastor we know was let go, and we are so burdened for them. They are devastated. We know the people who let them go. So, in some ways, we feel caught, loving people on both sides. Such an awkward position. It has really affected me. 
  • John and Katherine moved. We will miss them so much. It is bittersweet. Sad for us but happy for them. 
  • A big whammy was getting a letter from the IRS saying we owed a TON of money and penalties. We are talking a TON. That burdened us for eight days until the accountant found their mistake (forgot to add the withholding on the right line). We had to write a check for ONE DOLLAR on Friday. Can you believe it!
So, those were all the things. Good to get it all out. 

The moral of the story and just as the picture above depicts:

God cares for us more than the birds or flowers of the field. He cares for those dear Deepen people, the Sustainable Faith person who said, "NO" to me, the pastor and his wife who are devastated, George with his eye, and me with possible melanoma again. 
Living with God is the good life. 

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