Autumn Book Announcement

Good morning sweet girls.

I imagine that I’m up before most of you on this Saturday morning, but maybe not, we do have two mothers of young children in our midst. One of the blessings of a home filled with adolescent young men is the quiet of Saturday mornings. No one will stir around here until noon or so, and with Philip off at meetings all day, I’m enjoying a morning of solitude.

As you know, one of our first books was Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen. I wanted to start somewhere unusual, on ground you might not have walked on before. Henri has become a dear friend to me, and has served as a gateway in my life to many authors I might not have found otherwise. I used his references to spiritual friends to start down different rabbit trails, that, in the end, have been amazing personal journeys. Never ever underestimate the value of spiritual reading. Authors can and should grow you with their thoughts and struggles and insights. A deep life means you spend time in the deeper waters, you learn to swim there, you gain strength. Facebook posts and Twitter feeds are for the most part very shallow, anyone can get wet in the splashes of Pinterest and the like. The depths are different, you have to train yourself to get out beyond the break, and it is not easy. When we came to Costa Rica, I started reading more. I’ve always been a reader, but I went deeper. I collected books, I read things I didn’t necessarily understand just because one author recommended the other. I followed rabbit trails. Even when I didn’t completely agree or understand, I immersed myself in the process. And all I can say, is that I’m much stronger than I was before. I can swim out there longer without getting tired. I know this because in recent months I’ve been rereading books. It’s quite amazing how much more I’ve been challenged by them the second time. I’ve decided it’s because there is more space in my soul to accommodate them, the ideas mix and meld up against other thoughts from time out beyond the break, and so, a rereading is filling in the GAPS.

We’re going to take a little turn this autumn and read a more contemporary woman author for a few months, but don’t be afraid to keep a little stack of books in a safe place. Most spiritual reading can be tackled a paragraph here, a small chapter there. I’ve just finished rereading Home Tonight by Henri, which is a delightful second pass through many of the ideas of coming home and being the beloved, and this morning, I pulled from the shelf The Only Necessary Thing – Living a Prayerful Life. It’s a compilation of many of Henri’s writings on prayer, edited by Wendy ¬†Wilson Greer. It will probably be showing up in this space alongside our book study. Consider yourself forewarned.

Okay.

So interestingly enough, I’m about to announce the book that was my strongest nudge to ever gather this group in the first place. You all were named by this book from the very beginning, you just didn’t know it. All my folder tabs and desk notes refer to you six using this metaphorical language, but you have not known that until now.

Time to wake up sweet women!

Get yourself a copy of Lioness Arising by Lisa Bevere. I’ll be writing about Chapter One in the coming days.

New Beginnings

Good morning!

Just wanted to let you know that I’m still struggling to get the “comments” to appear along with the blog post. I’ve asked more than once for this to be fixed, but it has yet to happen. It’s the classic, “if not today, then tomorrow”, which I hear most every day around here.

I’m about to announce our book for the autumn season!

Praying for each of you this morning. Stretching out my hand and praying this blessing over you.

On each threshold, wisdom;

at every doorway, love;

through every entry, grace;

with each beginning, peace.

From In the Sanctuary of Women, Jan L. Richardson

September is upon us…..

Hey there sweet friends.

Two of you either haven’t found this space yet, or you have been too busy to stop and make a comment – hoping you touch base soon!

As you know, I’ve been rereading a book entitled Home Tonight by Henri Nouwen. It’s another work of his around the story of the Prodigal Son. It’s quite easy to picture ourselves as prodigal daughters. We know when we’re running away, when we’re choosing a different direction, when we’ve turned down a darker path. We usually know, right? We close the door on “home” and go off on adventures. We make a choice.

But there’s another daughter in the picture, the daughter who stayed. The daughter who assumed responsibility and has always stayed close to home. In his writing, Nouwen is discussing the resentment that oozes from the older child. It’s harsh and scathing and reveals a heart that may be physically present, but is not turned toward the Father.

It’s the same issue seen in Matthew 20, read that parable when you have a chance.

And so I’m finding myself struggling with this. I perhaps more readily identify with the eldest child than with the free spirited runaway. Nouwen is challenging me to replace my resentment with gratitude for the long and full years that I have lived in His house – All that I have is yours says our Father.

I leave you with this quote today.

I’m having to name my fear of the implications of being equal with others. I’m having to acknowledge my attitude of superiority and self-righteousness. I’m coming face-to-face with my anger, my unresolved conflicts, my unwillingness to engage emotionally, and my lack of forgiveness of those I am committed to love. I’m so aware that my return is impossible without God’s help, because it is so hard for me not to act from my angry feelings, my jealousy, and my enormous fear of losing myself if I become one with others. To live gratefully I need to talk about my difficulties and become more accountable to my mentor. I need solitude to reflect on my relationships. and I need time to ask God to help me by giving me the love I lack. Henri Nouwen, Home Tonight

Whew. Working on that this morning.

Where is everyone? How were your “end of summer” weekends?

Claim Your True Identity

Hey there girls!

This book that I’m rereading in the mornings is bringing back so many solid thoughts from Life of the Beloved. Listen to what Henri reminds us about our true identity.

Personally, as my struggle reveals, I don’t often “feel” like a beloved child of God. But I know that that is my most primal identity and I know that I must choose it above and beyond my hesitations.

Strong emotions, self-rejection, and even self-hatred justifiably toss you about, but you are free to respond as you will. You are not what others, or even you, think about yourself. You are not what you do. You are not what you have. You are a full member of the human family, having been known before you were conceived and molded in your mother’s womb. In times when you feel bad about yourself, try to choose to remain true to the truth of who you really are. Look in the mirror each day and claim your true identity. Act ahead of your feelings and trust that one day your feelings will match your convictions. Choose now and continue to choose this incredible truth. As a spiritual practice claim and reclaim your primal identity as beloved daughter or son of a personal Creator. Henri Nouwen, Home Tonight

Ah-Men! I bolded the words that I want you to pay special attention to as we enter this autumn season.

Praying for all of you this morning!

Have a GREAT Labor Day weekend.

Weaving it in…..

Containment is the issue, it is a held life. Interestingly enough, we see this in newborn babies. Often their cries can be resolved by nothing more than changing their clothes and wrapping them up in a clean, fresh blanket. When children cry and are upset, we lift them up and hold them. We bring it in, not away.

A contained life is returning to and living this primal truth. It’s a real struggle to bring our whole selves home and it is best accomplished gently and gradually. Jesus tells us it is a narrow path, meaning that we slip off occasionally, and that is OK. The whole course of the spiritual life is falling off, returning, slipping away from the truth, and turning back to it, leaving and returning. So in our leaving, as much as in our returning, we must try to remember that we are blessed, loved, cherished, and waited for by the One whose love doesn’t change. Henri Nouwen, Home Tonight

Praying for all of you as the sun sets on your summers.

Excited about Margaret! Tell us the story of the name! Everyone can check out the news here.

And Lori is home from Haiti! Check that out here.

Monday Mornings

Hey there chicas.

I love Monday mornings and the start of a fresh week.

So fun to hear from some of you over the weekend! Erin is our winner on the coffee, she posted a comment first. Stay tuned for other possible giveaways. Call me the Pioneer Woman!

Please remember as you write and interact that this is a public space, in that anyone could find it and read what we’re posting. But also keep in mind that this space isn’t advertised or known by anyone, so we’re quite private at the same time. I’m working to have our comments posted directly on the page so that you can see what people are writing, but I haven’t solved that yet. Please be patient with my complete lack of technical skills.

I want to share another Henri Nouwen quote from this book that I’m rereading entitled Home Tonight. It has been a good reminder for my soul, that we have to “hold onto ourselves” in the sense that everything begins and ends in Him and in being His Beloved. That’s the primal need that our hearts are aching for, we find Him in the deeper waters, not in the shallow splashes of our daily worlds.

Jesus said, “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.” Clinging to the knowledge of being first of all a beloved son ( daughter ) who is not fully home yet holds me from slipping into a life of total dissipation. I may not yet be fully contained, but that doesn’t change the fact that my body is a temple where the creative Spirit resides. It doesn’t change the fact that, like Jesus, I am a beloved son of God. That is the truth. Henri Nouwen, Home Tonight

To “dissipate” is to scatter, disperse or disintegrate. Containment is different. It’s woven, integrated, whole. Take the time to sit at His feet and let Him weave you back together when you have strings and ribbons and tangles everywhere. The response to feeling unraveled is to allow ourselves to be woven in the quiet places.

So excited about this new space!

Coming home…..

I’m rereading a book entitled Home Tonight by Henri Nouwen. I might place it on our list, it’s so solid and deep. ¬†You have to slowly wade through it.

This quote this morning made me think of all of you and the time you spent in Life of the Beloved.

The life of Jesus refutes this dark world of illusion that entraps us. To return home is to turn from these illusions, from dissipation, and from our desperate attempts to live up to others’ expectations. We are not what we do. We are not what we have. We are not what others think of us. Coming home is claiming truth. I am the beloved child of a loving Creator. We no longer have to beg for permission from the world to exist.

Add your comments por favor…..

Hey there,

I’m working with Jorge to have the comments appear along with the posts, but please get into the practice of joining the conversations here.

Praying for each of you today.

Stalk the Gaps

Hey there sweet girls.

Our first “category” is Deeper Waters. I want to explore a bit this idea of streaming and gaps and where those words first appeared.

So I spent most of the afternoon trying to find a book, and in the end the quote wasn’t in that book, but it led me to the book that I needed. Such is the way with a library that is organized by random stacks here and there.

But I found it! So here it is.

It’s doesn’t mean as much out of context, but I FOUND THE QUOTE, and so here it is.

Thomas Merton wrote, “There is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues.” There is always an enormous temptation in all of life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end. It is so self-conscious, so apparently moral, simply to step aside from the gaps where the creeks and winds pour down, saying, I never merited this grace, quite rightly, and then to sulk along the rest of your days on the edge of rage. I won’t have it. The world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright. We are making hay when we should be making whoopee; we are raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain, or Lazarus.

Ezekiel excoriates false prophets as those who have “not gone up into the gaps.” The gaps are the thing. The gaps are the spirit’s one home, the altitudes and latitudes so dazzlingly spare and clean that the spirit can discover itself for the first time like a once-blind man unbound. The gaps are the cliffs in the rock where you cower to see the back parts of God; they are the fissures between mountains and cells the wind lances through, the icy narrowing fiords splitting the cliffs of mystery. Go up into the gaps. If you can find them; they shift and vanish too. Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn, and unlock – more than a maple – a universe. This is how you spend this afternoon, and tomorrow morning, and tomorrow afternoon. Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.

Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

An excellent book by the way, a great way to begin working your way through Annie Dillard’s books. She’s amazing.