Wednesday, August 29, 2012

After School Activities

I am sitting in marnie's dining room with Addie. I picked Reagan and Addie up from school today because their regular babysitter had an emergency.

When we got to their house we looked at the list on the table for them.
Both girls have to "do all homework" and then help with laundry, set table and finally relax and have fun.

What I have learned is that Addie has a lot of homework. first she had to read for 20 minutes ....both Reagan and I sat reading while she did. I finally finished Diana butler bass book "Christianity after religion" which was kind of a disappointment at the end. It was a good book in describing how our religious lives have deconstructed...everything is changing. But I did not really see what remains. But that is another blog

Right now Addie next assignment is to write for 10 minutes. Her topic assigned is "sick.". She proposed to write about going to Macdonalds and ordering food that everyone calls "sick" and then everyone gets sick. I guess that is okay when you are 7, she then has math to do after that.

Reagan only had 10 minutes of reading which she did immediately.

Now while I am writing solidarity to Addie who is writing, Reagan is playing on her brand new IPod.

So, this is their life everyday. I don't remember doing any homework when I was in grade school....but I also did not have the temptation of I Pods and computers and tv that these kids have. I remember playing outside with kids in the neighborhood. I also had a Mom at home

Then I think about when my kids were this age and wonder what they were doing in the afternoon. I know I did not have the level of organization that Marnie has.

Anyway, this afternoon is a blessing as I help guide Addie in shaping a story about throwing up at Macdonalds

Glad to be pArt of their lives and know that we are all trying to do the best we can as life and roles continue to evolve.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Let Something Essential Happen to Me

I love this prayer by Ted Loder

O God
Let something essential happen to me,
Something more than interesting
Or entertaining
Or thoughtful

O God,
Let something essential happen to me,
Something awesome
Something real
Speak to my condition, Lord,
And change me inside where it matters,
A change that will burn and tremble and heal
And explode me into tears
Or laughter
Or love TJAT throbs or screams
Or keeps a terrible, cleansing silence
And dares the dangerous deeds

Let something happen to me
Which is my real self, God

O God,
Let something exciting and passionate happen in me now.
Strip me of my illusions of self sufficiency
Of my proud sophistications,
Of my inflated assumptions of knowledge
And leave me shivering as Adam or Eve
Before the miracle of the natural-
The miracle of this earth
That nurtures me as a mother
And delights me as a lover.

The miracle of ,y body
That breathes and moves,
Hungers and digests,
Sees and hears;
That is creased and wrinkled and sexual
Shrinks in hurt
And swells in pleasure;
That works by the most amazing messages,
Of what and where and how,
Coded and curled in every cell
And that dares to speak the confronting word

O God
Let something essential and joyful happen in me now
Something like the blooming of hope and faith
Loke a grateful heart,
Like a surge of awareness
Of how precious each moment is
That now, not next time
Now is the occasion
To take off my shoes
To see every bush afire,
To leap and whirl with neighbor,
To gulp the air as sweet wine
Until I've drunk enough
To dare to speak the tender word:
"thank you"
"I love you"
"you're beautiful"
"let's live together forever now"
And "I'm a fool for Christ's sake"

Friday, August 10, 2012

The blessing of silence

It is impossible to explain. You have to experience it. One of the clearest ways in which God speaks is in silence.

And to experience a week of silence is a gift beyond words.

Today I sit in what is called to rose room and just close my eyes and pray in the silence.

My prayers are different on the 5th day of a time like this...I don't know how exactly, more peace perhaps...more comfort...but different.

I pray for my family and for people at church...Pat and Luanne and June and the Scott family.

And I pray so many prayers of gratitude for Gods work in my life and in this world.

Most of all, I pray that I might receive today ....this has been a week of "going deeper" and what Inhave learned is that going deeper involves preparing myself by stripping away what gets in thenway of receiving.

The grace...the healing...the love...the guidance

It is there for me and for all


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Being with God

I write from "OurmLady of the Pines" retreat center where I am enjoying day 4 of a six day silent retreat.

Silent except for one hour a day of spiritual direction and then a little bit of talking last night with my friend Debbie. That is how I found out there is wi fi here and that is why I am able to write this. So there you go.

Many people have asked me what you do on a silent retreat and, honestly, it is a lot like vacation except for the focus...which is on being with God. We each have our own rooms with a single bed, sink, desk, and chair for reading. We share bathrooms. I am in room 23 .off on an end wing and now I of the rooms without wi fi:)

We have breakfast at 8 , lunch at noon and dinner at 5:30. We eat in silence and mindfully...that is to say slowly and prayerfully.

During the day there is one other scheduled occasion...time with our spiritual director. I meet with Susie at 11 am. I usually start the day with a morning walk and then I write in my journal and read. I have been reading (and finished) Breathing Under Water by Richard Rohr. I sometimes go sit on a bench on the grounds or on a wicker chair on the porch. I have been writing quite a bit.

For the past 3 days I have gone swimming which has been refreshing and powerful for me as many images come up as I am swimming or just floating. Water is a profound metaphor on our spiritual journey,

One of the tools that Susie gave me was "praying backwards through the day" which is a time of reflection...not only on what has happened during this day but my feelings that have come and gone. It is in our feelings tha t God speaks most profoundly to us and this is an opportunity to reflection and explore what God is doing with me.

My desire for this week has been to "Go Deeper" with God and the book that I have read is about the 12 steps and our relationship to God. I have found myself naming and praying about some of my addictions. What is interesting and helpful is that some of them are not available to me this week- no TV, no computer games, no late night snacking, Helpful to be in a place that fills my soul with those things that are real- like beauty, nature, music, silence and not the poor substitutes I fall back on.

This morning when I woke up (after 8 hours sleep!) I realize that I have not been waking up with a "bounce" like I do at home. And what I realize is that it is because I am not "doing" like I usually do. In fact, I imagine that if I were Susie, I would be waking up with a bounce at the prospect of doing spiritual direction. It is very different for me tombe on the receiving end....just being and receiving.

And so I titled this blog entry...being with God. This is a gift and a discipline to have time away and an empty calendar so that I can be and receive.

And I am definitely receiving ...healing for my soul, and rest for my spirit and guidance for the living of this precious life God has given me.

I just sat quietly and listened to a CD called "Surrender". Here is what I wrote down

I will teach your ways of deliverance for souls yearning for love

My soul sees the giver.

Make me what you will. MI place myself at your altar

May it all be so

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Chautauqua Reflections

I am home now from a week at Chautauqua Institute and full of joy at one of the best weeks of my life.

As I reflect on this time at this special place, I realize that this week combined everything I love.

I love to learn and there are lectures here every day - twice a day and often about issues that I am very interested in. This week the theme was "Digital Identity" and I have lots of notes about the issues that involve our increasingly wired world. One of the things that is clear is that it isn't about whether it is good or bad - the advent of internet technology IS. And we need to recognize that it is and the ways in which we can use it and detach from it and not allow it to use us. One thing that I take away from this as a warning is that everything that is free on the internet (google, facebook, amazon, etc) means that we are the product and not the consumer. Anyway, more to process about that.

I love to be in community - especially when I am not in charge. We stay at the Disciples House and Dave and Betty are the facilitators of a wonderful intergenerational community of people who live together for a week. We share kitchen space and eat alongside each other. We sit on the porch and talk and we worship on Sunday mornings. I feel blessed every year to meet new and very interesting people during this week together.

I love my family and my friends and my greatest joy is bringing everybody together. That is surely what happened this week. We brought 9 year old Alyse and Reagan and met Audrey here. Plus my brother Wayne and Gail came, plus my friend Mary and her friend John, plus Jim and HOlly Bane. I cannot overstate what a blessing it was to watch everybody interact. I espcially enjoyed watching the girls and Audrey discover Chautauqua itself. There is too much to do in a week - and it just is wonderful.

So, Saturday morning I set at the computer and prepare to get back into life at Karl Road - (a wedding and a sermon to consider today!) but remain on a distinct high from this wonderful, blessed week.

Anyone can go to Chautauqua - and it is for me - heaven on earth.

God is Good.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

At the peace pole

Every morning there is a circle of people that come to the peace pole at Chautauqua from 8:55 to 9:00 a.m.

I went Monday morning and heard Karen Armstrong speak about our call to compassion.
This morning a Lutheran minister led is through the time of prayer. MVery to worship, prayer, she shared st Francis prayer and then a prayer by Oscar Romero.

We then held hands and sang Let There be peace on earth
I held Audreys hand and Mary woods. Across from me stood my brother Wayne and Gail.

it is good to start the day this way.
Let there be peace on earht.

Let it begin with me