Saturday, July 20, 2024

Small Things - 07.20.24

"Life is not, for most of us, a pageant of splendor, but is made up of many small things, rather like an old fashioned piecework quilt. No two people have the same, but we all have our own, whether it be listening to Beethoven's fifth with a beloved friend, or seeing a neighbor at the back door with a basket of white dahlias. Or after a long, hard day, having the family say, "That was a good supper."

GLADYS TABER

In no particular order, here are six things that inspired me this week

Ophelia Wilde has some of the most beautiful playlists. I especially love listening to them while I'm reading.

2. I just recently discovered Roxanna's blog, A Quaint Life.  I have several recipes bookmarked that I want to try, like this Homemade Limoncello, Sicilian Potato Salad and Garlic Focaccia Bread. I plan on spending more time perusing her offerings. You should, too! You can also find her on You Tube!

3.  I just love Claire! I first discovered her on Instagram, but more recently have spent some time sifting through the wealth of information and resources she has available at her blog, Becoming Traditional, including this Ultimate Pantry List

4. I bookmarked this recipes for Chocolate Ginger Cookies this week! I'm adding it to my Christmas baking list.

5. I've been making what my grandmother referred to as Preacher Cookies for years now, but these Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies look delicious! I might have to give them a try!

I came across these seasonal verses this week and I just love them.  I think I'm going to type them up and keep them in my Bible.

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Retro Rewind - .01

I had so much fun reminiscing in my Wayback Wednesday post last week, that I decided to expand on that idea with Retro Rewind! While I love talking about old movies and sitcoms from the 60's and 70's, there is so much more from that era that I think would be fun to discuss, like memories of some of my favorite foods and snacks, my favorite toys, restaurants and trends. If you didn't grow up in the late 60's and 70's, perhaps your parents or grandparent's did and you'll learn a little about what life was like for them. And if you did grow up in that era, I hope these posts will take you on a little trap down memory lane. So, let's jump right in, shall we?

FAVORITE FOODS
Pillsbury's Funny Face Drink Mix
As a child I absolutely loved Funny Face Drink Mix. My personal favorite was Goofy Grape, but I also liked Freckle Face Strawberry and Choo Choo Cherry. I recall liking Kool Aid, as well, but I was drawn to the cute characters of the Funny Face drinks. Do you remember Funny Face Drink Mix, and if so, what was your favorite flavor? 

Here's a link to a commercial from the 1960's.

FAVORITE STORES
Kresge's Dime Store
I have so many fond memories of Friday evenings with my family, which often found us at Richland Plaza Mall (now owned by the local school district). We would often eat dinner at Pancho's Mexican Buffet, which had the best refriend beans I have ever tasted, and the sopapilla's, oh my! And then after dinner we would usually walk over to one of my favorite stores, Kresge's Dime Store. In my memories of that time I got .50 a week for allowance, which in a 5-10 store went pretty far. It wasn't until I was an adult that I discovered that Kresge's went on to become K-Mart, which oddly, I never cared for as much. The store we shopped was in a mall, so there wouldn't have been a stop light on the corner, but I do recall the storefront looking very much like the one in this image. 


FAVORITE CHILDREN'S TELEVISION SHOWS
School House Rock
Aw, School House Rock! Who would have believed that watching a simple cartoon short in the early years of my childhood would help me ace my senior government final, but it's true. A few of my favorites were Unpack Your Adjectives, Conjunction Junction and Lolly, Lolly, Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here (can you tell I loved English Grammar?). And then there was the one that helped me ace my exam, The Preamble of The Constitution

There's a playlist on You Tube that claims to have all the videos, I didn't peruse it too closely so I'm not sure if they are all included, or not, but there are a number of them.  And if you love School House Rock you can purchase them on DVD from Amazon. (ASSOCIATE LINK).

And with that, I think I'll wrap this first edition up! I hope you've enjoyed reminiscing with me! If you had a favorite store from your childhood or a favorite School House Rock song, I'd love to hear! Share in the comments! 

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Monday, July 15, 2024

A Life With Time To Live


 I want days without a schedule
to keep. Hours left open
for unplanned adventures.
Moments of true stillness.
I want a life outside of our busy 
schedule . . . a life with time to live.

- BROOKE HAMPTOM

Headed to the lake today. See you soon!

Friday, July 12, 2024

A Rule of Life - Abiding

“A good rule can set us free to be our true and best selves. It is a working document, a kind of spiritual budget, not carved in stone but subject to regular review and revision. 
It should support us, but never constrict us.”

- MARGARET GUENTHER

Today I am sharing a post I originally wrote back in 2022, in which I discussed my personal Rule of Life. This is something that I began around that time, but since January I've fallen out of routine.  Recently, however, I've had a desire to revisit the spiritual practices and to be more intentional about structuring my life around them. And with that,  over the next few weeks I'll share the practices that I observe, and just a note, I have NEVER practice all of them at the same time! What you'll read will seem like a lot because it is a lot. The reason for this is because I am a person who thrives on variety, so I like to have a lot of choices. I might also suffer from a hefty case of FOMO when it comes to anything spiritual in nature, I want to try all-the-things, and being familiar with a number of disciplines and a variety of ways in which to observe them solves that. I get to experience a little bit of everything and decide what works and what doesn't, which I will elaborate more on in this post, so lets get too it.

To begin with, it helps you have an understanding of whatl a Rule of Life is. The following is paraphrased from the Rule of Life Workbook.

"A rule of life is a schedule and set of practices and relational rhythms that help us create space in our lives to be with Jesus, become like Jesus, and do what Jesus did—to live “the abundant life” that Jesus spoke of in John 10:10. It is important to note that it is a "rule" (singular), not "rules" (plural), and therefore it is not a list of requirements or regulations for one to follow, but rather a standard by which one may choose to live. A rule of life aligns us with the kingdom, and with our deepest passions and priorities. It’s been said that we achieve inner peace when our schedule is aligned with our values. A rule of life is simply a tool to that end. Rather than a rigid, legalistic to-do list, it’s a life-giving structure for freedom, growth, and joy. The word "rule" is actually derived from the Latin word regula, meaning "trellis". So in the same way that a vine needs a trellis, we need a rule as a support structure to organize our life around “abiding in the vine,” (John 15:1-8) as Jesus imagined."

There is no right or wrong way to develop a rule. There are best practices, but as we are each created uniquely with different temperaments and gifts, there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach.  It can be as simple or as elaborate you as you want.  The best advice I can give is to consider your temperament, giftedness, season of life, level of spiritual growth, and above all, to start small. Even as I share my personal rule, there are some aspects of it that I have not fully integrated yet. Some things are easier, and some take more effort, as it will be for all of us, and that's ok. It is also ever changing, and it will grow and change with you. You may find that while something sounds good on paper, that it isn't flowing as you thought it would. In that case, it might be wise to stick with it for awhile and see if it becomes easier. If you were to develop your own rule, you will most likely find that over time you will want to make adjustments.  But there may also be times when a certain component just isn't working and you need to ditch it all together and try something new. If any part of your rule ever begins to feel forced and is becomes something that you do rather than flowing from who you are, that's a sure sign that you need to rethink it. Yes, some things are going to be harder than others and take more effort, but at some point as you grow, it should flow, and the "effort" should become less.

So let's begin to break this down, and again (I feel like a broken record), this is my personal rule based upon my interests and preferences. I hope you enjoy reading through it and perhaps are inspired by it, but please note if you were to just take this and try to copy and paste it into your life, it probably won't work out as well for you. :)

The first spiritual practice we are going to discuss is ABIDING

Webster's 1828 Dictionary define's the word abide this way;

1. To rest, or dwell. (Genesis 29:19)

2. To tarry or stay for a short time. (Genesis 24:55)

3. To continue permanently or in the same state; to be firm and immovable. (Psalms 119:90)

4. To remain, to continue.  (Acts 27:31. Ecclesiastes 8:15)

The word "abide" is found 76 times throughout the Bible, the most familiar of which is John 15:4, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me."

So what exactly does it mean to abide? Let's take a look at what Dallas Willard has to say on the subject.

“The first and most basic thing we can and must do is to keep God before our minds... This is the fundamental secret of caring for our souls. Our part in thus practicing the presence of God is to direct and redirect our minds constantly to Him. In the early time of our 'practicing' we may well be challenged by our burdensome habits of dwelling on things less than God. But these are habits—not the law of gravity—and can be broken. A new, grace-filled habit will replace the former ones as we take intentional steps toward keeping God before us. Soon our minds will return to God as the needle of a compass constantly returns to the north. If God is the great longing of our souls, He will become the pole star of our inward beings.”

— DALLAS WILLARD 

This quote inspires me every time I read it! To think of my mind constantly and naturally returning to center, God, and for my heart to so long for Him that He becomes my pole star. This is one of the reasons why I have issues with the idea of a "quiet time"/"slot and a spot". For me, spending time with/abiding with Jesus is less about a small percentage of my day that I set aside for Him, and more about a lifestyle lived continuously in His presence. I'm sure you're thinking, "But no one thinks about Jesus 24/7." and I get that. But it's not enough, for me at least, to wake up and crack open my bible, say a prayer and then go on with my day often in complete forgetfulness of everything I just read, which was often the case when I operated on the daily quiet time model.

So as I was considering what I want "abiding" to look like in my life, I decided that what would help me would be to have constant reminders in place, both on a daily, weekly and even quarterly and annual basis. Here are some of my ideas, and again, there is no way I can do all of this all the time. That would set me up for failure from the get-go.

Abiding Daily 
- I abide daily by setting aside time for Silence and Solitude.
I set aside 10-15 minutes of my morning, usually first thing, to sitting in silence and making myself open to hear from God. I begin with a few minutes of breath prayer, YH - breathe In,  WH - breathe out, and then move into silence. Some days I hear from Him and it is obvious, others I may not think I received anything. But it very often in those cases that later in the day or the week something will come up in a conversation and I realize that very thing came to mind during my time of silence. The Holy Spirit was preparing me. 

To learn more about breath prayer, here are a few links;
- Breathing Yah Weh - Richard Rohr

- I read Psalm 91 and Psalm 16 every-single-day. These two Psalms are what I refer to as "My Life Psalms" given to me by the Holy Spirit on two different occasions in my life that was undeniable. I'm working on memorizing both of them, but that has never been my strong suit. Not an excuse, and I am training!

- I spend time in the word, usually through an online sermon or if I'm in a hurry, from The Bible App, every day.

- I read my affirmation cards, daily. This is a practice that I developed after listening to the series, Winning the War In Your Mind by Craig Groeschel. 

- I observe the Daily Office. This alone needs to be a separate post, but for now I'll just provide you with a few links to give you a general idea. It's basically set times (I have alarms set on my phone) that I set aside each day to pray. I love this, but if I'm being honest, it's an area I'm struggling in. It's not so much the habit, but with the prayer itself. I have times set aside for more specific prayer so I'd like for these prayers to be simpler, the same, perhaps? There purpose serves more as being that compass that always returns me to center than for the prayer itself. That being said, I find the prayers designated for these times (which can be found across the internet and in The Book of Common Prayer), to be beautiful.


Abiding Weekly
- I abide weekly by observing the Eucharist (Lord's Supper) and the Stations of the Cross, on Friday afternoon. This is a practice that I've fallen out of step with but still very much desire to continue.  I've made it a goal to return to it during Advent and as such I'll write a more detailed post around that time. However, if you're interested now, I'll provide a few links.



- I observe a Sabbath day of rest every Saturday and partially on Sunday.

- I attend church every Sunday. 

- I do a Weekly Examen.
Since I'm really just trying to highlight things today, once again I'll go into this in more detail in a separate post.  But for now you can learn more about the Weekly Examen, here.

Abiding Quarterly or Seasonally
There are several ways that I abide quarterly, or more appropriately, seasonally. 

- I set aside the day of the Equinox (Spring / Autumn), and the Solstice (Winter / Summer) as special, with traditions and rituals that bless and celebrate each one. In the past I have kept monthly Phenology wheels, but it's been a few years since I have kept one. I'm thinking of starting up again in September.

- I observe The Ember Days.
I've written on this before, but I will elaborate on it more in an upcoming post in early September. For now, if you want to know more, the link above will get you started.

- I set aside one weekend per quarter for a retreat at home.
This is another practice that could use some dedication to seeing it through. Though I have done this periodically, I tend to be more devoted to it during autumn and winter. Perhaps its because I observe it around the time of the changing of the seasons, and since the autumn equinox and winter solstice are my favorites. I have more traditions and things that I enjoy doing during these times.  This indicates that I need to look at establishing traditions for spring and summer. 

Abiding Annually
- The primary way that I abide continuously throughout the year is by the observance of The Year of the Lord, or The Liturgical Year, which begins at Advent and ends in Ordinary Time. I have this listed as annual because it follows a full yearly rotation, but the various feast days fill my life weekly.

- I set aside a special night every year, usually in the week between Christmas and the New Year for "Tabula Rasa: A Clean Slate", which is something I learned about from Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy. It's a special time when I reflect on the year that has passed and the one to come. I set or review my goals, which is now my rule. I print out my calendars for the upcoming year and organize my planner, making note of birthdays, anniversaries, etc. It's one of my favorite observances and I look forward to it every year. Traditionally I will make a circle of twelve candles, one for each month in the year, with a larger candle in the middle to represent the coming year. At the end of the observance I light each one, slowly, and pray over each of the coming months and finally over the year as a whole. This is also when I proclaim my "word of the year", which I alway know ahead of time, but from this day and going forward I begin intentionally living into it. My word for 2022, is Yearn.

- I set aside a night or a weekend each year to get alone by myself.
Of all the elements of my rule, this is the one that I have yet to execute, but this year I'm going to sincerely try to make it happen, maybe late summer/early autumn? I'll have to think on this a little more, I might even just go away for the day but be back in time to sleep at home. Call me crazy, but I don't like paying for hotels, all that $$$, just to sleep! I'd rather camp, but I'm also not going camping by myself! So as you can see, this one is going to require a little thought. 

Things I'd Like To Add

Learn more about Centering Prayer and Welcoming Prayer and incorporate it.

Another thing I want to study and perhaps work into my calendar are the Jewish Holy Days.

Abiding is actually one of the easiest elements of the rule for me. I thrive on worship and love learning more and more about the Bible and becoming more like Christ, so this element flows pretty naturally for me. Other than tweaking a few things here and there and incorporating and in some cases reincorporating some of the practices into my routine, I feel confident in this area more than some of others, which I'll be sharing more about in the days to come. At some point I'll break each practice down even further and discuss specific resources that I use, so if you're interested I hope you'll continue to show up here and join me!