Wednesday, January 5, 2011


So, reading today in Celebration of Discipline is about meditation - comtemplative prayer. The goal is to put your mind and heart in a place where you can receive instruction from God - you are able to hear God's voice, and obey his word. "To pray is to descend with the mind into the heart, and there to stand before the face of the Lord, ever-present, all seeing, within you."

"Inward fellowship of this kind transforms the inner personality".

"The inner reality of the spiritual world is available to all who are willing to search for it."

"Human beings seem to have a perpetual tendency to have somebody else talk to God for them."

How do we receive the desire to hear his voice? "This desire to turn is a gift of grace. Anyone who imagines that he can simply begin meditating without praying for the desire and the grace to do so will soon give up."

Monday, January 3, 2011

Reading to start the year

Here's another unquantifiable resolution; more reading, less tv (facebook,surfing...). More reading in general, and at least one newspaper article each day (not on internet "news", but actually from the paper, either real or via kindle.... :-) )

Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster so far, is a great book to start the new year with. It was recommended by Mutating Missionary (Robin), as a book that she tries to get back to re-read each year.

The description is that this book "... has helped over a million seekers discover a richer spiritual life infused with joy, peace, and a deeper understanding of God." (nothing unique there...) It focuses on the inward disciplines of meditation, prayer, fasting and study.

Outline notes : Introduction

I. Introduction

A. Spiritual Disciplines: Door to Liberation

B. The Slavery of Ingrained Habits

1. "Sin is part of the internal structure of our lives. No special effort is needed to produce it." Sin is not only "individual acts of disobedience to God", but it is ingrained in us. "The Ingrained Habits of Sin"...

2. "The moment we feel we can succeed and attain victory over sin by the strength of our will alone is the moment we are worshiping the will". Paul refers to this as will worship (col. 2:20 - 23). This also echos of Dr. John Hannah's teaching that essentially, our motives are never good.

3. "The will has the same deficiency as the law - it can deal only with externals. It is incapable of bringing about the necessary transformation of the inner spirit".

Lately, I have been focusing on my lack of self discipline in dealing with my weaknesses - fruit of the spirit number 9... self control. Here is a reminder that simple will alone has never been and will never be enough for me to change my ways. And - my motivation for changing whatever sin I am dealing with, usually is rooted in pride - a desire to look or behave like someone else in order to gain acceptance by other people. My motivation or desire is rarely to please God or to move away from the sin because it is, in fact, sin.

Next... The Spirtual Disciplines Open the Door

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Half Century

This the half century year for those of us born in 1961. The older I get, the more aware I am of two things:

(1) Time moves much faster at 50 than at 20. When you are 20, people who are 50 warn you of this phenomenon. 20 year olds don't get it. George Bernard Shaw was probably 50 when he wrote "Youth is wasted on the young".

(2) I waste so much time every day doing things and worrying about things that just don't matter, instead of focusing on the people around me. We are here to build relationships - with God, with our families, friends, neighbors.

So in 2011, I will spend more time with those around me, and be a better listener - focus. I will give more of my time to my family and my church. I will take some chances and try to experience more: jump out of the rut every now and then.

Here's to the Half Century Year!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My Dream Life at 20

I used to run. Not because I liked it, but for other reasons. I would run up and down Dingle Ridge Road. It was the Main Drag to our house. Dingle Ridge Road runs from Rt 6 on the Putnam county side to 121 on the Westchester county side.

When I ran, I would listen to my walkman. It weighed about half a pound, and played my cassette tapes. I would make these tapes from songs on the radio. When I was in college, I discovered WXCI, the WestConn radio station that played alternative rock. Ministry, Depeche Mode, Sex Pistols, just crazy random stuff. A song called Black Slacks by Robert Gordon, Belly of a Whale by Effigy, Slang Teacher by Wide Boy Awake, The Polecats - Make a Circuit with Me....

Dingle Ridge was this country road, parts of it unpaved. It had a KILLER hair pin curve. Any teen unlucky enough to have to learn to drive on a car with a standard transmission (my brother John, for instance) had not truly learned to drive until they could make it up this curve without stalling. There were woods on both sides of the road, trees arching over the road providing shade, but killing all air movement in the summer. I can still smell the hot tar of the blacktop, hear the cicadas, feel the heat coming off of the road. I would run on the hill side down to a particular telephone pole on the left (going downhill). I used to know the exact number on that pole, but can't remember it now. Then turn, and run up the hill back to the Putnam side, down to the old dutch mile marker.

In my imagination, I would think about what my life would be like one day. In my imagination, I could see this as plain as day... I would live in Vermont. Why Vermont? I don't know, but the road that I lived on in Vermont looked an awful lot like Dingle Ridge Road... My house was white, siding with green shutters. A huge lot but not too huge, maybe an acre. All flat, house sitting square in the middle. A stone wall in front along the street. Vegetable garden in the back. Two black labrador retrievers. Surrounded by trees - green everywhere. In my imagination, I lived there alone. Just me and the dogs. I can't remember much about the inside of the house, except it was old, with wood floors. I do remember my idea of the upstairs though - one room at the top of the stairs, more like an attic space. This room was a library - wood panelled, bookcases filled with books, just dusty and old enough, a big sunny window with an armchair and footstool, kind of a salmon color, with a paisley throw blanket...the perfect room. Dark enough in the summer, bright enough in the winter, cozy enough in the rain. Quiet. A couple of times, I tried to lay out on paper what the floorplan of this house would be, but i could never get past the library. That room - I could see as plain as if I had grown up there.

That was this crazy, endorphine fueled idea of what my life would be like. Why do I mourn this dream so? Why do I wonder if that life is still possible? Why do I mourn so many dreams instead of embracing what I have here and now? What a waste of time. Just let it go.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

... and what is this life?

Double Secret Probation...

It's been almost EXACTLY one year since my last post.

I still have nothing really to say, but a lot on my mind.

What is it about a blog that makes me want to write anything here? I guess it's fairly anonymous... a journal really. Therapy I guess.

Jim took a class at church called "Winning at Work and at Home". They taught him many fascinating things about the workings of the female mind. Among other things.

If you have taken this course, you are familiar with "Spider Webbing". This is what women do, or really, the way women think, or really, the way I think! My thoughts are all over the place. For instance : oh look, the neighbors are moving out today. Gee I wonder if they sold the house or are they just moving? I wonder if the poor shape of our fence has kept them from being able to sell? Well, the fence would be ok, if I would just cut down those photinias. Can't do that, I think the cardinals nest in there. Wonder if the cardinals have enough to eat? Did I feed the chickens this morning? Next time I go to the feed store, I'll get some corn to sew the bags to finish making the corn hole game I started for Jim 2 years ago. I'll finish painting the boards first - and clean the garage while I'm at it. There's a bunch of stuff out there that could go on freecycle. Guess I will log on to yahoo and rejoin the free cycle group. It's been a year since I freecycled. (while screwing around with yahoo, i checked my facebook) and look! lori schweers has updated her blog. Wow. It's been a long time since I looked at anyones blog... Gee, I wonder if mine is still out there.

So, you see how this works. There's not just one distinct thought in my head. No single prime directive, concentrated on with laser focus to the exclusion of all else, as it is in Jim's mind, or in the minds of most men, from what the book tells me...

Yeah. so, I'm not even sure where this started, I'm afraid to go back and look. Maybe tomorrow I'll try for a distinct thought to put here. But for now, I've got boards to paint, lessons to plan, groceries to purchase, lunch to deliver, a garage to clean, new neighbors to watch for, old neighbors to say goodbye to, a fall vegetable garden to plan and prep for, weeds to pull, bushes to cut down, bags of corn to sew...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lesson learned in Sunday School today:

To walk with God in Prayer
Means to be Aware
That he's There.

I need to go to Sunday school more often.

Peace out.