Saturday, February 26, 2022

Small Things - The Lenten Edition


“Can I invite Jesus into all of that? And if I do, what will happen?” 

- MALCOLM GUITE, The Word in the Wilderness

As a bit of an extended take on my regular series of posts, Small Things, I present the "small things" I've discovered for use in the observance of the season of Lent. I pray you will find a few of them useful. 

1. New to Lent? Need help understanding what it's all about, this post should answer your questions. I also highly recommend this website, Fish Eaters. I have some Catholic friends who don't care for it, but I found it a valuable resource when I first began my liturgical journey.

2. Last night I had the privilege to spend a part of my evening with the incomparable, Malcolm Guite. If you are not familiar with Malcolm or his works, I would encourage you to spend some time reading his blog and/or watching his YouTube channel. As part of my Lenten journey this year, I will be reading his book, Word in the Wilderness: A Poem A Day for Lent and Easter. Malcolm has generously shared these poems as well as audio files of him reading them on his website.


There are also links for Holy Week

And this post

And finally, while the event from last night is now over (I was hoping they would post a replay link and if they do I'll include it!), you can download the poems he read for free, as well as poems from his book, Sounding the Seasons. Both can be found at this link.

3. Ashes to Ashes: A Lenten Journey from The Trinity Movement
I signed up for this course earlier this week, it's $9.00 and also includes access to several other courses, as well. Since yoga/exercise is something I'm committing to during Lent (which after 40 days will hopefully become habit), I thought this was a good place to start. If you're interested in yoga, The Trinity Movement presents it from a Christian perspesctive. I know some people take issue with yoga, but this is one of those things that I think Satan can mean for evil, but with God as the focus, can be good.

Right now when you visit their website, you can sign up for their Guided Lent Series, delivered daily through email. There should be a pop-up in the upper right corner where you can sign up. While you're there, be sure to check out their page on Lent with links to even more resources

5. Bringing Your Children Along on the Journey
If you have littles in your life this booklist is invaluable.

6. Stations of the Cross
For several years I observed the Eucharist and the Stations of the Cross every Friday as a gateway into Shabbat (Sabbath), which I observe on Friday-Saturday. I've fallen out of that practice since moving in with my daughter, so I'm dedicated to reinstating that practice during Lent and going forward. If you're interested in learning more, here are some resources I've found helpful.

Stations of the Cross Resources from JoyFilled Family, an exhaustive list of links, no need to recreate.
- Stations of the Cross - University of Saint May of the Lake - one of my favorite online resources.
- Stations of the Cross Resources from JoyFilled Family, an exhaustive list of links, no need to recreate.

7. Online Services
Lent and Easter services from the comfort of your own home.

Washington National Cathedral

Ash Wednesday

Holy Week

Palm Sunday - April 10

Maundy Thursday - April 14

Good Friday - April 15

Saturday, April 16

Easter Sunday, April 17
- Easter Day Festival Holy Eucharist - 8:00 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.

Duke University Chapel
Following are links to their upcoming live services which air on YouTube.

Holy Week

Easter

There are a number of churches and cathedrals that post online services and links to their upcoming services on YouTube. You can subscribe individually to these channels and receive reminders. Here are a few of my favorites. 

In the US
Saint Patricks Cathedral - NYC - this is their YouTube channel. It doesn't appear that they post too far ahead, but you can find their schedule for Ash Wednesday, Holy Week and Easter, here and be taken to the live streams.

I also enjoy The Cathedral of St. Paul in Saint Paul, Minnesota but they do not appear to post upcoming videos. You can also check out their website.  

St. Mary of the Angels in Chicago, is beautiful, as well, here is a link to their website.

From the UK
- St. Paul's Cathedral  - this is the link to their YouTube channel where they do have sermons posted, but I don't see upcoming services. However, you can check out their website for more information.

Whew! This is a lot and to be honest, I don't even feel like I've scratched the surface! For some time now I've considered writing longer, more detailed posts with links to resources for the more widely observed feast days of the Liturgical Year. But then the thought of constantly having to check for broken links is a bit overwhelming, so I digress. For now I suppose I'll just continue to re-invent the wheel. :)

ALSO! While I have you here, I wanted to share some news that might disappoint, for now, but I've decided to no longer update my Seasonal Day Keepers. However, my reason for that is that I want to rework and expand them a bit and my hope is to have the first one available this coming winter. Until then, if you've downloaded the current versions in the past the only page that won't be updated is the monthly days of celebration, so you could easily just print them out again and eliminate that page. I'll be sharing more about this in the coming months, and I'll also be asking for your input to give me a better idea of how I want to move forward. 

And now my friends, I hope you have a blessed rest of your weekend! I'll be back next week and look forward to meeting with you then!


Friday, February 25, 2022

My Personal Rule of Life - Rest


This picture came up in my memories this week from 2016. This was my bedroom when I was living in Texas and taking care of my mom. At that time I was enrolled in school full time majoring in education and saw little hope of my husband and me getting back together. I was so certain of that future I had already picked out my new last name, Kimberly Crews, borrowed from my paternal great grandmother, Jennie Jordan Crews, I even toyed with Jordan-Crews, but that seemed a bit stuffy. But Crews I liked, and I'm a bit sorry I wasn't able to use it. In the end rather than a new name, the Lord chose instead, to give me a new life, and for that I am grateful.

But what struck me the most about this picture is that it is proof that as much as things change, there are some things that remain the same. If you were to come to my house right now you might easily step into this very scene. My favorite red and green sheets, my barn star quilt, one side of the bed unmade, pillows propped and surrounded by books, magazines, my laptop, and though you can't see him, my faithful Chiweenie who lives 90% of his life under a blanket. Every day begins and ends the same way, just like this.

One of the disciplines of a Rule of Life is rest, and this depicts that perfectly. You might not be able to tell just by looking at it, but this is a sanctuary. A place I long to linger a little longer in each morning and look forward to returning to every night. No matter what has happened, good or bad, at the end of the day, this remains. It is constant, steadfast, and certain. rest will come.

Unlike relationships, rest comes more naturally for me, both from a physical standpoint, as well as an emotional/spiritual one. It has taken me many years to come to this grounded center, where for the most part, I exist in a state of rest. Of course, a lot of that is due to the fact that I am introverted and spend most of my time at home. When you're alone as much as I am there's not much to cause you a lot of unrest. I realize that very statement would be the epitome of unrest for some, my daughter included, who is constantly going. But going out and being around large crowds of people is the biggest challenge I face in maintaining rest. If I'm going to become anxious, that is usually directly related to going and doing. Depending on the setting and the circumstances, a 3-4 hour outing will often take me a full day to recover.

Part of this is due to my makeup, which is much more complex than simply being introverted. I am also a highly sensitive person, which does not mean that I am prone to emotion. In fact, I rarely cry. Instead, being a highly sensitive person means that I don't respond well to large crowds, busy places, bright lights, loud music, or drastic changes in temperature, just to name a few. As you can imagine, that eliminates a large number of places. I still go out, just not with the frequency and length that the average person does. I am likewise, an empath, meaning that I empathize at a very deep level with people. I can feel their pain, and if I am not careful to guard against it, I take it on. For as long as I can remember, people I barely know have blurted out their entire life story the first time we met. In some cases they will ask for my advice on serious matters, conversations you would normally have with a trusted friend or family member. And if those things happen with too many people in a short period of time, it leaves me drained and depleted.

All this to say, I guard my rest, fiercely.

REST
Some of the ways I do this are the same as abiding, which I discussed in this post. It's not uncommon for some practices to overlap.

HOW I REST DAILY
- I begin each day in silence and solitude
Hearing from God and spending time with Him is the key to keeping my heart at rest.

"You will keep in perfect all whose thoughts are fixed on you."
ISAIAH 26:3

- I try to plan to go out for shopping and errands one day a week, though typically I am out for shorter periods of time 1-2 other times. But it is not uncommon for me to go for an entire week without leaving the house, and 5 days is pretty normal.

- I limit who I follow on social media and unfollow anyone or any page that is not a positive, uplifting influence. Anyone can have a bad day, but if a feed is consistently negative or inappropriate, I either unfollow (remain friends but no longer see their posts unless I go to their feed), or unfriend them.

- I monitor what I allow to fill my mind and thoughts. This includes the television shows I watch, the music I listen to, and the books I read. I measure this using Phillipians 4:8 as my guide, "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, think on these things."

HOW I REST WEEKLY
I observe a weekly Sabbath. This is typically from 6:00 p.m. Friday night through 6:00 a.m. Sunday. I refrain from work during this time and prepare most of our meals ahead of time, breakfast being the exception because I love making a big breakfast on Saturday morning. Sunday is often a bit of an extension on this, although I do a bit of planning, it is still largely relaxed.

Being able to observe the Sabbath requires a little forethought and planning, which is accomplished through my weekly homekeeping routine and a practice known as "Blessing The Weekend". I've written about both of these in the past and will touch on them again in the near future.

Sundays are for self-care, which is when I give myself a pedicure and give my feet some extra attention. I love the look of a good manicure and beautifully painted nails . . . on other women. But I find the upkeep a bit much for me, so it's a tug-of-war. Does anyone have any tips for how to make your manicure last longer, especially when you're a busy home keeper and writer? My hands get a lot of use!

HOW I REST QUARTERLY / ANNUALLY
As I mentioned when I spoke of abiding, one of the ways I seek rest is with a weekend at home retreat every quarter and then a weekend away every year. I likewise mentioned that I had not been very good at seeing to this, and I'm hoping to change that, and at the very least be more intentional about the quarterly/seasonal in-home retreats.  In abiding, I am intentional about what my focus is on during the retreat, and making it a more concentrated deeper focus on my relationship with the Lord. In rest I focus on planning ahead so that I am able to completely relax during that time, and if possible, be largely alone. That last element can be a bit challenging when you live with other people, even just one! But I managed this successfully a number of times even when I had small children. It's just a matter of planning and communication, and hopefully a supportive spouse or a friend who can watch the kids for a couple of days, or even just overnight. You'd be surprised how refreshing just one evening and a day, say Friday night from 6:00 p.m. until Saturday at 3:00, can be. That's not even 24 hours, but it is 21! 21 glorious hours all to yourself with nothing to do but tend to your spiritual, emotional, and physical self. You might be shaking your head right now, but I'm telling you it's possible. I'll show you how in another post!

There remains only one other practice that I've not yet discussed which is Work and Money, and I had hoped to wrap this up today. But then I wasn't counting on a full day of plumbing, followed by a half-day of problems with our thermostat and running errands. But no worries, one of the ways I rest is by not getting hung up in the details and holding things loosely. At this point in the game, I'm only failing to live up to my own expectations, one of the blessings of the latter years of life, I'm discovering. Of course, that's not a blanket statement, well, not entirely. But as it relates to this space, I am both the CEO, Supervisor, and Employee, so, I'll do as I wish, and right now I wish to write that post another day.

Lent begins this coming Wednesday and is for me one of the most solemn and beautiful seasons of the year. I'll continue to post in this space, and in fact, I'll be sharing some of the resources I intend to use in my post tomorrow.

Until then, my friends, I wish you REST.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

My Personal Rule of Life - Relationships

Good afternoon, my friends! I was hoping to post this yesterday but ended up not feeling well and spent most of the day on the couch. But I awoke today feeling much better, thankfully, and want to continue my posts on my personal Rule of Life. Today I'm going to be discussing, RELATIONSHIPS, and if you're wondering why I didn't follow through with another image displaying the word in scrabble tiles, well, it's because "relationships" is too long to fit on the tile rack. I toyed with just making a display on the table and laying the letters out, but really the most important thing, for me anyway, is getting the post written. So, I chose cross-stitch thread because, much like the antique cheese container that holds most of my collection, relationships, for me, are kind of a beautiful mess. So let me explain.

RELATIONSHIPS . . . are hard for me. As I'm sure they are for many people. At the core is a basic lack of trust, which I have carried with me since childhood. As I said in a previous post, I don't want to go into a lot of specific detail because ultimately what the enemy meant to destroy me is resulting in my spiritual growth, though it has taken most of my life to reach this point. But I do think I want to elaborate vaguely on the subject, just to help you, as the reader, to understand my starting place and why this is such a struggle for me. In the end, hurting people, hurt people, and I come from a long line of hurts, most that pre-date me for generations. 

On one side of my family, the standard measure for coping was to just brush everything under the rug and pretend it didn't happen. It's actually still the standard, in fact. Though some things have come to light, the level of secrecy that exists in our family is substantial. There are some things that are known to only a few of us and honestly wouldn't benefit for others to know, I suppose. But on the other hand, there are members of my family who were deeply hurt, and to act as though it never happened feels wrong. They deserve to be heard, perhaps more than those from who the secrets are being kept need to be guarded.  Of course so much depends, too, on how the information was handled. If the objective is just to spew bitterness, that's not productive for anyone, and forgiveness needs to take place, as well.  I'm sure I don't even know everything, and I can tell you for sure that I never got all the answers to my questions and probably never will. But at some point, right or wrong, I just decided that I wasn't going to let what I didn't know about the past to rob me of happiness in the here and now. Since I can't control how others have chosen to handle matters, all I can do is decide to what extent I intend to allow it to affect my life. It's one of the reasons I moved away a little over twenty years ago, which at the time felt like running, and maybe on some level, it was. But the Lord has redeemed my story, and looking back I now realize, I was rescued. I know now that I would have never come to this place, where the light has broken in and healing has begun if I had stayed.

In sharp contrast, on the other side of my family, there were no secrets. I knew things about my grandfather from an early age that I should not have known, at least not as young as I was. If anyone had an opinion of you all you had to do was step into the bathroom for that to be made known to everyone. Sometimes you weren't even afforded that luxury. I had an aunt who would stay away for several years without coming to family gatherings, and then one year she'd show up only to stay away for several more. Eventually, she stopped coming altogether. I was old enough by then to begin to understand why. Nothing was kept from me, I knew why they disapproved, because they told me, along with anyone else who would listen. I understood her even better when I eventually became their target, and I stopped coming around, too.

Every family has problems, and I'm not trying to paint mine as worse than any other. I'm sure my story wouldn't even begin to compare, and naturally, there are many details I'm leaving out. But all this to say that when as a child trust is broken, when the very people you depend on for love and acceptance fail you, and when your boundaries are violated, trust. . . . is hard.

The walls went up at an early age for me. I learned quickly how to be who others wanted me to be in the moment in order to be accepted. In that process, somewhere along the way, I lost myself and it has taken a lifetime to find that girl again.  So while I am at peace with myself and have come fully into knowing who I am at a very deep, authentic level, because it's taken me so long to recover, I guard myself and my heart fervently. To be honest, on some level I've probably never fully given myself completely to anyone, and that is the struggle. Because the greatest gift is to be fully known and fully loved. For many years, since I didn't know myself, no one else truly knew me, either. They only knew who I was with them, and I became so good at it that I doubt anyone knew the better. Of course, there was a core element of my personality that remained the same, the girl I was when I was alone in my room. But on a superficial level, because that was the depth of most of my relationships, about things that didn't really matter, I varied to suit the person and the situation.

The Lord's redemption continues in my life to this day. While I am admittedly still working on allowing myself to be fully known and fully loved, it is happening, albeit, ever so slowly. All this self-preservation, of course, has also meant that by not allowing myself to be fully known and loved, I likewise have not fully known or loved anyone else. That all began to change when I gave birth to my youngest daughter. God used her to finally teach me about unconditional love and giving yourself fully to another person. I had her later in life when I was in a better place emotionally and spiritually. I know it sounds awful because it is. I love all of my children, and I ache for what I wasn't able to give them, but they sadly came at a time when I was afraid to love anyone. I didn't know how to love. It wasn't for a lack of want, but because I was completely imprisoned by fear. Broken relationships are a part of the history in my father's family, and the sins of the fathers have come full circle into my own life and the lives of my children. Thankfully much of that ended with me after my youngest daughter was born, but sadly, too late for my other children. 

Well, wow, that's probably as raw and honest as I've ever been in this space, but somehow it feels right. I hurt, naturally, for all that has been lost because I was so afraid to love and be loved. But to live in regret doesn't change anything. The only things I have control over and can change are in the here and now and going forward, and therein is my rule;

NURTURING MY RELATIONSHIPS DAILY

- I nurture my relationship with God and with myself first, and daily. Because without Him and the ability to come before His throne and lay my fears down daily (usually several times a day, I will just continue to live captive by them.

- I pray for all of my children, especially those from whom I am estranged, daily.  I failed them, plain and simple. But I know that God loves them more than I ever could have then or do now, and I trust them to Him. I cannot make up for the past, and I do not know what the future holds, so I trust the one who redeems and holds eternity and our future in His hands.

- I touch base with my husband and my children, daily. My oldest daughter lives in Texas and most days it's just a text, and admittedly there are days when we both get busy and miss a day, but we're fairly consistent. I know some of you may be thinking, "Well, duh". First I should explain that my husband is away right now and will be for another 10-12 weeks, and while I currently live with my youngest daughter, she leads a very busy life, so yes, I have to be intentional. I will admit, however, that I have grown so content in being alone that I do often have to remind myself to "reach out and touch someone" as the old commercial jingle used to say.

NURTURING MY RELATIONSHIPS WEEKLY

- Eat at least 1, preferably 2 meals together at the table. 
Other than during the holidays, this hasn't happened since my husband left, and while I miss it, I'm really ok with it. Only because my Kate is going on 23, young, beautiful and busy. It's just not a priority for her at this time in her life and since it's just the two of us, most nights I eat at the coffee table and watch an old sitcom. BUT, once my husband is back, I want this to become the norm rather than the exception. In fact, I also want to institute . . .

- Sunday Nights By Candlelight - my daughter, Kelly, told me that her husband's family did this when he was growing up and I do love the idea of it. But, his family were the ones who named it and they did it on Sundays. I, most likely, will observe it on Friday night as we enter into Shabbat, which I'm re-instituting during Lent. Either that or our sabbath and weekend will be bookended by two dinners by candlelight, which sounds rather lovely, actually.

- Friday Fun Nights - We did this in our family for years, and now that I'm reinstituting Shabbat again, I want to get back to it. Now, as I said, right now that's just me, but I am perfectly capable of having fun all of my own. It's easy to set aside a special movie, or another activity and keep it for Friday night, so that's my plan.

NURTURING MY RELATIONSHIPS MONTHLY

So what about friends, you might be asking? Well, that one is harder. It's not that I don't have friends, I have many, several of which date all the way back to elementary school. But 90% of them live in Texas and our relationships are lived out primarily on FB. I do have local friends, but I will also admit that I am not a very good friend, and again, it boils down to trust. I've only begun the journey of trust with my family over the past 20 years and in my relationship with my husband for the past 2-3 years. (I told you this has been a life-long journey!). Since I believe that focusing on how I relate to my family was the priority, the thought of extending that to friendships is harder, but it is my desire. The friends I have now I should be more grateful for, for they have loved me, and for reasons that I can't explain, desired to be with me in spite of my rather detached and distant lifestyle. If that's not being loved for who you are, I don't know what is. So, my goal moving forward is to spend time with one friend once a month, which is also going to require that I make some new friends, as my two closest friends who live locally have or are about to move out of state. How dare they make this more complicated than it already is! :)

NURTURING MY RELATIONSHIPS QUARTERLY/ANNUALLY

- Family Zoom Calls - Our extended family does Zoom calls during the holidays, but I'd like to expand on that and do them more often, maybe once a quarter or at least twice a year. Our signal where we are living now is AWFUL though, so maybe once Bill is back and we move into a new place.

- Remembering Birthdays / Anniversaries - I'm actually pretty good at this, but right now that consists of a text and posting on FB. I'd like to get a little more personal. :)

- Food Between Friends - It has been my desire for some time now to host a dinner once a quarter, set a theme, and invite a few friends over. I still love this idea, so I am going to put it on the back burner until after Bill and I get settled again.

- Annual Get Away
Even though it will be just me and my husband living together once he is back, maybe getting away doesn't seem like that big of a deal. But it can't just all be about the daily grind, right? I do still like to travel, and as long as I'm able to (I haven't tested that since my health scare back in 2021), I'd like to.

So, once again, there you have it, my rule for relationships. As I said, this is as raw and real as I think I've ever been, but the only way out of our bondage is through it, and if in sharing my struggles with trust and relationships even one person is given hope, then I'm ok with being a little more revealing. 

I have two more topics to cover, Rest, which I LOVE, and Work and Money, and my hope is to cover those tomorrow and Friday. I hope some of you are enjoying these posts, and if you are that you will continue with me.


Monday, February 21, 2022

My Personal Rule of Life - Body


Good Monday afternoon, my friends! I hope your week is off to a great start. In continuing the discussion of my personal Rule of Life (You can find the previous posts here), today I'm going to be sharing about what is honestly my least favorite discipline, BODY.

It's not that I hate my body, I don't. I'm actually pretty comfortable in my own skin. It has more to do with the fact that I really just kind of despise exercising. I've tried several times and have never been very successful sticking with anything. The only minor success I've had was a few years ago when I started walking. I found a lovely trail system not far from our apartment and I was going 3-4 times a week and walking a minimum of 12-16 miles a week. I know that's not much compared to what a lot of people put in, but that was really good for me! I stuck with that for about four months and I was so proud of myself, and then . . . it got cold, and I don't like cold. My plan was to do weights and maybe yoga during the winter months and start back up with walking in the Spring. That was three years ago, I think. Spring has come and gone a couple of times and is about to be here again, so, yeah. 

So, with that, I'm going to go ahead and share what I originally planned when I wrote my rule, tell you how that's going (it's not!), and then tell you what the new plan is.

BODY

What the original plan was and how it's going;

CARING FOR MY BODY - DAILY
- Walking / Yoga - this has not happened (maybe a day here and there) consistently for two years.
- Vitamins and Supplements - I was doing good with taking my daily vitamins, but I've fallen out of this habit, too. I take herbs and supplements as I need them, ie. for UTIs, kidney stones, etc.
- Drink Water - This is ALWAYS on my list, but the truth is, I hate the taste of our water. In fact, I generally hate the taste of water, period. And yes, it has a taste, at least it does for me.
- Drink Lemon Water (Daily) - I do LOVE lemon water, which for me consists of lemon, honey, and cayenne. Do I drink it daily? No.
- Intermittent Fasting (7p.m. - 7 a.m. / 12 hours) - I've been doing intermittent fasting for about a year now. I've actually been doing it all of my life, I just didn't know it had a name or that I was doing it. This says 7-7, but most nights it's more like 10-10, which is still 12 hours, but 10 is a little late.
- Sleep 6 Hours - I do sleep six hours, probably even eight. The problem is my sleep schedule is out of whack. If I start watching a movie after 7-8 p.m. most nights, you can forget it. I'm going to tank. Most of the time I then wake up around 10 p.m., and I'm awake for another 2-3 hours, go back to sleep around midnight/1 a.m., and then I'm up at 5-6 a.m. the next morning. I would LOVE to go to bed consistently at midnight every night and wake up around 6 the next morning. I function best on six hours of sleep, and I hate falling asleep so early in the evening. There are too many other things I want to do.  Things have been a little better recently and I can only attribute that to the Winter Olympics. I absolutely love watching them and they hold my attention. They were on twice a day from around 2-5 p.m. and then again from 8:00 p.m. to midnight and I never fell asleep watching them. But, that ended last night, so now we'll see.

CARING FOR MY BODY - WEEKLY
- Sunday Self Care - Weekly Mani/Pedi - not always on Sunday and only a Pedi, but I do it every week.
- Eating seasonally and locally. - still a goal I want to achieve but haven't really focused that hard on.
- Weekly extended fast (7:00 p.m. Thur - 6:00 p.m. Fri) - I did this for a very short period. Intermittent fasting is for my health, but this fast was designed to kind of usher in the Sabbath every weekend with a time of deeper reflection on God. Here it says the fast ends at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, which is because my Sabbath is typically from Friday evening to Sunday morning. Sunday is a mini-Sabbath, usually, as I do plan for the week on that day, etc. 

CARING FOR MY BODY - MONTHLY
- Go on a monthly hike. - This sounds like fun, but no, it hasn't happened, yet.

CARING FOR MY BODY - SEASONALLY/QUARTERLY OR ANNUALLY
- In this case that is actually seasonally, so every quarter/season review and write a Seasonal Wellness Recipe.

THE NEW / REVISED PLAN
And so . . . what's the plan going forward. In all honesty, I'm almost afraid to even make a plan because, as I said, of all of the disciplines in my rule, this one is the hardest for me. Since it is the one I enjoy the least, it probably wouldn't hurt to really focus on it even if that meant cutting back in a few of the areas that come more easily for me, but we'll wait and see how things go.

DAILY
I would like to start walking again once it gets a little warmer. I thought about incorporating that into Lent (it would definitely be a sacrifice for me, LOL!), and I saw a program that a church did during Lent called, "Walking to Jerusalem".  They basically calculated how many miles were between their church and Jerusalem and pledged to walk that by Easter Sunday. So I considered that. Jerusalem is 6,058 miles from where I live, and I did the math. 6058 miles divided by 40 days of Lent, means that I would have to walk 151 miles a day??? I was confused, so I went back to their website and discovered that they actually started this challenge on January 1, so they have more than 120+ days to complete it. But even then, that would still mean walking 67.3 miles a day? Maybe they combined their miles? I don't know. But at any rate, that's not going to work. So then I remembered Via Dolorosa, which is the processional route Jesus followed to the cross, but that's just under a half-mile, so obviously too short. In the end, I'd be better off just dedicating my walk to the Lord every day and asking for His blessing on stewarding the body he's given me. 

The only other factor that is playing into this right now is that my daughter's car quit running recently and it's too old to repair what is wrong with it. So that leaves us with just my car, which means that most days I'm home without transportation. Being an introvert, that's not a problem, but it does mean I can't get to the trail I like to go to. There is a road just a short distance away that is popular with walkers/runners that I could use, but, we have two neighbors who have pit bulls in our complex, and neither of them appears to have very good control of them, and I am terrified of pit bulls! I know these sound like excuses, but they are actually factors. So, that has led me to . . .

Yoga - And if you'll notice in the picture above, I even bought myself a new pretty green yoga mat and blocks for inspiration. Right now my plan is to start February 28, using the 30 Day Yoga Journey. I also found this course from The Trinity Movement, Ashes to Ashes: A Lenten Journey that really intrigues me. It's $9 a month, which is a good price, but since there are no dates on the website, I can't tell if this was offered last year or if it is this year, as well? I sent them an email, but so far haven't heard from them. At any rate, I'll be using one of these programs, perhaps the Lenten program to get started and then switch to the 30 Day Journey when I'm finished. I'm also planning to do some light weights every other day as well.

Vitamins and Supplements - My plan is to get back to taking vitamins regularly. When I was doing well before it was because I had one of those little daily pillboxes and I would sit down every Sunday afternoon and refill it for the week. I don't how/why I fell out of this habit/routine. Why do we fall out of any habit/routine? But my goal is to begin again on February 28 when I start back up with yoga.

Lemon Water - I'm giving up sugar for Lent this year, and possibly Facebook, again. Sugar will be hard, Facebook, will not. As I was going over the list I realized that while I don't like water, I do love lemon water, so why not just make lemon water every time? That's the plan, for now anyway. I'm also looking at sugar-free lemonade and then having sugar-free Coke on the weekends. Soda is my main sugar culprit. I've been basically addicted to it all of my life. It was Dr. Pepper for years and then a couple of years ago my tastes changed, I guess, and DP was just too sweet so I switched to Coke. But none of them are good for you and I need to get control over this. I don't have any health problems from it currently, but at my age, that's probably testing God's grace. :)

Intermittent Fasting - I am going to continue fasting for my health as I have been, but I'm going to try to get that on an 8-8 rotation to begin with and hopefully, eventually stretch that to 6-10 from twelve hours to sixteen hours. Giving up sugar should make that a little more doable since what usually breaks the fast is drinking a coke later in the evening. Also, when I fast it is Sunday-Thursday, and give myself some grace on Friday/Saturday during Sabbath. I don't believe in extremes in any area of life and do better with balance and moderation. Lent restrictions are also not observed on Sunday, so I may allow myself a few treats here and there for my hard work. The one time I was successful with exercise and losing weight I followed that plan exactly, and it worked beautifully. Knowing that there are days when I can be more relaxed and enjoy some of my favorite things makes the other days more manageable.

WEEKLY
Sunday Self Care - Mani/Pedi. This is something I've been doing consistently so it's really just a continuation.  Typically I focus more on my feet because I don't like fingernail polish on my hands. Actually, I do, I just don't like the constant upkeep. It's much more work than keeping my toes polished, and too much maintenance. But, I might start wearing a clear coat and I need to take better care of my cuticles.

Weekly Extended Fast - I think I'm going to give this a try again, and Lent seems like a good time. However, in light of changing the time frame on my intermittent fast, it will now be from 8:00 p.m. Thursday night until 3:00 p.m. Friday afternoon. This is because I also plan to start observing the Eucharist and Stations of the Cross again during Lent and hopefully moving forward, so I'll break the fast every week with the observance of The Eucharist (Lord's Supper), which somehow seems fitting.

SEASONALLY
Seasonal Wellness Plan - With the return of Spring next month I want to get back into writing a seasonal wellness plan again. This is something I learned from my friend Heather, and I look forward to it every time the season changes.

You probably noticed that I skipped the monthly hike. It's something that I'd like to start doing again, but until my husband gets home (late spring/early summer), I'm going to hold off on it for now. I'm also going to add eating seasonally back into the mix once the weather warms up a bit and I don't freeze going to the local farmer's market, so that's why that's not on the list.

So that's it, folks, that's the plan and hopefully, **fingers crossed** I will fall into a rhythm that works for me and be consistent. The next discipline is RELATIONSHIPS, which, being an introvert, could use a little work, as well. I'll be covering it later this week, along with REST, one of my favorites, and finally, WORK AND MONEY. My plan is to try to wrap this series up this week (before Lent), and then move into this solemn, beautiful season and work on improving on it. I hope you'll join me! 

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Small Things - February 19, 2022


"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 small things that inspired me this week;

1. What to do with orange peels. A great list of ideas!

2. The best cranberry relish with nuts.  Bookmarking this to try during the holiday season!

3. Finding joy in winter.  I really enjoying the lengthening days already, but I'm still embracing this lovely season. In our area, the biggest snowfalls on record are usually mid-March, so I'm hopeful we'll have a few more cozy winter days.

4. Self Care Ideas For The Winter Season. I love all of Kathie's offerings. One of my favorite places on the internet for inspiration.

5. Jalapeno Cinnamon Rolls. You might have to be from Texas to even entertain the idea, but I think I'm going to give this a try soon.

6. In my post last week, I mentioned Hoopla, which is an online digital library free to use with your library card (not all libraries participate, so check with your local branch).  But today I want to turn your attention to Overdrive. Overdrive works much like Hoopla, using your library card to access the contents. Like Hoopla, not all libraries are recognized, but it's worth a try. I just joined this week and to be honest, I think I much prefer it. By using Overdrive I was able to access additional libraries and access even more books and to my excitement two more of my favorite magazines, Country Living UK, and The Simple Things. I would encourage you to check to see if your library is linked and then enjoy finding a few favorites of your own!

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

My Personal Rule of Life - Mind

Today I'm continuing the discussion of my journey to and development of a Rule of Life. You can find the other posts on this subject, here, here and here. Today we're going to move on to the next topic that is outlined in the workbook, Developing A Personal Rule of Life, which is . . .

THE MIND

Of the seven life categories outlined in this workbook, Mind, and Body (tomorrow's post), are probably the hardest for me.  Mind is actually a mix because I've done well in developing and maintaining some habits and others are areas I REALLY struggle with.

"What we give out attention to is the person we become."

The first line in the workbook reminds me of the verse in Proverbs 23:7, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." And there's a reason why we are admonished in Philippians 4:8 to think on "whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, because . . .

"What we give out attention to is the person we become."

It helps that several years before I even learned about developing a rule, I had already made the decision to enforce a strict measure for what I allowed to fill my mind, be that music, television, books, or social media. I even typed up a couple of cards with Philippians 4:8 printed on them and taped them above the tv and made another sticker to place across the top of my screen on my laptop. I was amazed at the difference just having those simple reminders helped me in making better choices, the most profoundly affected being social media. 

It was this simple step that led me to not "unfriend" but "unfollow" (I'm being honest here!), about 75% of the people I was friends with. Some of the accounts I unfollowed because I regularly found their posts inappropriate and offensive. That one was easy. What was harder for me to admit in deciding who was who caused me to be a.) judgmental or b.) envious. Even though both of those sins are attributed to me and I am responsible for them, I determined that if signing on to social media and reading their posts caused me (regularly) to fall into either of these sins, then the most obvious solution was to make sure I didn't see them. But since I didn't want to be rude and unfriend a lot of people (I did unfriend a few), I just unfollowed them That way we remained friends, but to see their posts I have to intentionally visit their profile. Doing this completely changed my FB experience. Now when I sign on the only posts in my feed are friends and family who encourage and uplift me and pages I follow that do the same. All that being said, social media is still a BIG time waster for me and I find myself scrolling through it far too often.

This section of the workbook suggests practices such as reading scripture in the morning, regular podcasts or book reading, church on Sunday, gratitude, a digital rule of life, “parenting your phone,” digital sabbath, a daily limit on device use, etc. And so, borrowing from this list I developed a rule for guarding my mind and being mindful of what I am focusing on and for how long.

GUARDING MY MIND DAILY

- The first thing I do to guard my mind overlaps with the topic we discussed yesterday, Abide. I begin each day in silence and then enter into a time of solitude when I focus on God's word. I do typically do this by watching a sermon series, so I thought I'd share a few that I've really benefitted from.

- Winning The War In Your Mind - Craig Groeschel *They appear to have changed the layout a little,  but if you scroll through you'll see where it say "Message Video", which will open up each one. 

- A Better Way - Craig Groeschel - I just finished this one on Sunday, so good!

The Lord's Prayer - The Practice - This was one of the first series I listened to right after Covid hit the stage, and it remains one of my favorites. 

- I listen to a podcast every day during lunch. This is a practice I've fallen out of a bit. Yesterday I watched the latest episode of All Creatures Great and Small, so at least it was a good choice! I think the reason I stopped listening to podcasts is that I am an avid note-taker. In fact, I probably write down too much! But that's how I remember and process. Anyway, it's hard to take notes when you're also trying to eat. Maybe hard is not the word, it just makes things more difficult. At any rate, I do enjoy listening to podcasts, so maybe I'll try not taking so many notes. This is one I'll have to think through.

- I am mindful of what I watch on TV, the music I listen to, and the books I read. This one, as I said, comes pretty easy. Although I did watch an episode of The Queen's Gambit the other day that I found it a bit dark for my taste. I won't be continuing on with it. I don't mind "dark" as it refers to the villains in movies like The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, etc. To me, those are classic examples of good overcoming evil. But dark sexual undertones are something I don't tolerate well. I also do not like horror movies. A good suspenseful mystery is fine, now and then, but I've never liked being frightened by a movie.

As for the music I listen to, I'm about four decades behind the rest of the world I guess because almost all that I listen to was popular in the '50s, '60s, and '70s. If you've listened to any of my playlists you've probably figured that out. :) Movies and television are almost the same, and between Hulu, Prime, and Netflix, not to mention my classic movie DVD collection, I have a steady stream. I've actually been watching a lot more movies this year, and while I can't really put my finger on the cause for it, I've actually enjoyed myself. I've been trying to make it a point to actually watch them instead of multi-tasking and crocheting or cross-stitching at the same time. It's not that there's anything wrong with that, and I still do sometimes, but there's also something to be said for giving your full attention to whatever you're doing, regardless of what it is.

All that being said, I realized in writing this post that after we moved I didn't put the signs back up, and while I don't consider this a big problem, it's still a good reminder. I wonder if I had put it up if I would have stayed with that one episode of The Queen's Gambit as long as I did. I felt uncomfortable long before I turned it off, and I wonder why?

One of the things that suggested is to take an electronic sabbath. And while that honestly sounds wonderful, it's a little difficult for me right now. With my husband traveling across the country I like to keep my phone close by, and he likewise doesn't like it if I'm slow in responding. I have friends who turn off their ringer and put their phone in another room when they get home, and while that sounds like a good idea, it just won't work in the season we are in. Not to mention that in spite of the fact that my children are grown, I would hate to think of them needing me and not being able to reach me, so I don't know how you reconcile that. Maybe I worry too much? :)

If I'm being honest, my phone is probably less of a concern for me than my laptop, with its five tabs and ten rabbit holes. Being an Enneagram 5 (The Investigator), my mind is saturated with information. I would be embarrassed, literally, to tell you how many links I have bookmarked on my computer, how many pins (don't even get me started) I have pinned on Pinterest, it's ridiculous, really. I could click on ten of them a day, probably, and not be through them all in a year, maybe a lifetime. And with so much information saved is it really possible that I'm putting it to use? No, not really. Not even a fraction. And having it there is beginning to feel rather like that big shed in the backyard that you haven't cleaned out in years. Even if you don't go out and look at it, you know it's there. It's weighty. But even the thought of meandering through it all and sorting it out, is that really a productive use of my time? Probably not. It's better to just let it sit, I suppose, it's not hurting anyone. In the meantime let me just pin, pin and pin some more. Seriously? What am I thinking? My bookmarks are slightly better, at least, I do have a plan for most of them, which is to neatly organize them in various notebooks that I keep and actually use. But I need to make a plan for day week when I'm going to sit down and do that. If there is one thing my MIND needs, it is rest. But to be honest I'm not even sure where to begin. I've told myself I'm not pinning another thing until I go through the pins I have. I could easily delete some of the boards, and that might be a good place to start. But one thing is clear, this is an area that definitely needs attention.

A few other things that I have not tried in the past but I'm considering.

- A social media fast one day a week. Probably on Saturday/Sunday since one of those days is always my Sabbath. I gave up FB for Lent last year and I'm considering it again.

- An electronics fast, perhaps every quarter, or annually? Of course, I'd still have to figure out what to do about my phone. Maybe remove all the apps? I would probably start with a weekend, but the idea of an entire week intrigues me, too. Until now I haven't listed monthly, annual or yearly goals in this category, because the daily seems to accomplish all of that. But an annual "tech-free" week or weekend is something that intrigues me.

Hopefully, I'm not boring you as I review and process all of this. It's actually been a good exercise and is really helping me to hone in on some areas that need my attention. I'll be back later this week with the next topic, BODY.

UPDATE: After writing this post I decided it was time to start eliminating all-the-stuff from all-the-places I have saved it because there are many. Two hours later, I've deleted ten boards from Pinterest, which didn't even make a dent because they didn't have much in them anyway. But, I also deleted every single post I had saved on Facebook. I didn't even look at what they were for fear I'd think, "I might need that . ." which is the first step down the rabbit hole for me. Even if there was something in there I might regret deleting, I would have never been able to find it anyway. I have ZERO saved posts right now, which feels so good, and I've set up folders for what I do decide to save in the future. My new goal is to review the folders weekly, maybe, or monthly, I haven't decided yet, and actually do something with what I've saved, like moving a recipe to my recipe binder, etc., and not letting it all pile up. I'm also going to be more mindful of what I do save, "Will I ever really make this?" would be a good place to start. :)


Monday, February 14, 2022

Something Wonderful Happened This Weekend!


This wasn't what I had originally planned to post today, but this happened over the weekend and I wanted to joyfully share the news!

With the encouragement of my friend and fellow author, Monica Wilkinson, I made my first submission to Bella Grace back in late autumn. I can still remember the moment when I hit the send button on that email. Even though I've been blogging for years, something about this felt more personal. I was submitting my work to a well known publisher for consideration. . . . or rejection, which is a very different thing than hitting publish on a blog post. The people who enjoy my writing in this format simply come and stay. If no one likes it, I rarely hear about it. 

I wrote about my paternal grandmother, whom I've shared about before. My relationship with her was, shall we say, complicated? And it wasn't until my later adult years that it became of any significance in my life, or rather, before I realized the significance. I didn't share the hard parts in my submission, and instead chose to focus on the good. It's something I've been trying to apply in every area of my life as I move deeper into forgiveness for past hurts. Most of the people involved are gone now. My objective in this is for continued healing in me, I simply don't want to carry the burden of it into my future.

In that, it seems appropriate that my first published article would feature her as the subject. She was an avid reader and loved magazines, so I think she'd approve. 

The article includes a link to this blog, something I hadn't considered until this morning, which left me a little anxious. My format here is not "reader friendly", or so I've been told, at least not for phones. I had no idea that is how the vast majority of people take in online content? But then I realized, it's only one article, not that I'm diminishing the significance of being published at all! It's very exciting! But I don't think my mind needs to run too far ahead, for the moment. Maybe if more of my submissions are published then I'll begin to consider a site that focuses solely on my writing? We shall see.

For now, I'm just going to keep plugging away here as I always have. I'm attached to this little space in a deep place, and discarding it for something "more professional" feels a bit sterile and impersonal. It may eventually become necessary, but at that point I might just decide to live a double life! <3

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Small Things - February 12, 2022

"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 small things that have inspired me this week.

1. As the picture above indicates, I've been spending a lot of time crocheting recently, usually during the countless hours I'm devoting to watching the Winter Olympics. It's definitely more time than I usually devote to television, but since they only come around every couple of years (and I much prefer the winter sports to the summer), I'm ok with it. As a result, after years of not venturing beyond the basic stitches, over the past few weeks I've added a few to my repertoire and I'm working on learning a couple of others. Here are the stitches I've learned or I'm working on, so far;

- Crunch Stitch - which I absolutely love!
- Alpine Stitch - I've got the mechanics down, just need to practice it so it looks neater.
- Pinecones Stitch - really like this one, as well
and finally
- The Pine Stitch, which I'm having a harder go at but I am determined to learn. There's an entire set of hand warmers, a beanie, a scarf and even . . . a sweater, which would be a HUGE attempt for me and probably won't even happen this year, but, if I can get this stitch down I'm comfortable beginning with the hand warmers and the scarf, so we'll see. I just wish I could find something other than a video to guide me because I don't learn that well using this method. All the pausing and re-watching and re-winding frustrates me. But step by step instructions with pictures, that would be great!

2. I enjoyed reading this article, The Art of Being Human In A Culture of Noise.

3. Online experiential Stations of the Cross. This looks intriguing and I'm going to spend some time looking into it in more detail this coming week. As I shared in my post yesterday, one of the ways I abide in Christ is with the weekly observance of the Eucharist (Lord's Supper), as well as The Stations of the Cross. But if you recall, I also mentioned that this is a practice that I've fallen out of step with, but have committed to reviving during Lent. You'll have to scroll down the page just a bit to see the entry, and the actual online experience is here. I also came across this book, The Sacred Meal, and plan to read it.

4. And speaking of Lent,  if you are looking for some ideas on ways to keep this holy season, The St. Nicholas Center is a wonderful resource, and does a good job of explaining the traditions and rituals associated with it. Rachel Held Evans, who is, sadly, no longer with us, also wrote a beautiful post on observing Lent a few years back that remains one of my favorites

5. Have you jumped on the  Wordle bandwagon? As a word game enthusiast this is right up my alley! I especially ike that you can only play it once a day. No getting sucked in for hours. I don't know how "inspiring" it is, but it is so much fun!

6. And finally, are you familiar with Hoopla, which is a digital lending library that you can access using your library card? I'm not sure if every library is affiliated with it, but when I tell you that our library is, uhm . . . not the best, and we can link to it? Well,  that's saying something! This week I discovered that in addition to books and movies, you can also borrow magazines.  Checking out back issues of magazines was something I used to enjoy, but since Covid our branch has stopped making them available. But now with this discovery, I can indulge once again.

They have several of my favorites, including:
- County Living
- Food Network
- Reminisce - I LOVE this magazine!
- Taste of Home
and my husband enjoys
- Birds and Blooms 
and
- Reader's Digest

If you haven't checked into it yet, I highly recommend it! Using Hoopla, I was able to borrow Sarah Clarkson's latest book, This Beautiful Truth,  as well as Sensing God by Joel Clarkson (her brother), which I LOVED! (Links are non-affiliate).

Friday, February 11, 2022

My Personal 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

So today, as promised, I'm going to begin breaking down my Rule of Life and giving you an idea of what that looks like day-to-day, week-to-week, and month-to-month. But before I begin, let me say this, 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. I mentioned this yesterday, but 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 also 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 the elements of 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 every 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. You might, will need to tweak it here and there. 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 hard 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 journey and what works for me. I hope you are inspired by it, but 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. :)

ABIDE
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 moves my soul in a deep place 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, personally, have issues with the idea of a "quiet time"/"slot and a spot". For me, at least, spending time with/abiding with Jesus is less about a small percentage of my life that I set aside for Him, as it is about a lifestyle lived continuously in His presence.

I can hear you thinking, "Ok, Kim, but no one thinks about Jesus 24/7." and I get that. But it's also 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 desired "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.

Abiding Daily 
- I abide daily by setting aside time for Silence and Solitude.
Right now I devote 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. When that happens, it gives me goosebumps.

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 Lent 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 attend a live or online worship service every Sunday. Not much different from what I do daily, but I do try to join a live service when I can.

- 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.

- I observe The Ember Days.
I've written on this before, but I may elaborate on it more in an upcoming post. 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
I just noticed this when I linked the Weekly Examen and I think it's something I might add to Tabula Rasa.

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

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 a few others, which I'll be discussing in the days to come. At some point I'll also break this 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!