What I’ve read the past year….

Normally, I would have a long list of books that I have read. Normally. But this 2017 was  a long, very abnormal year. Moving back to the States, finding a new job, then finding a new ministry and relocating across country….sadly, this has left my schedule and “normal” rhythm on the back burner…much like my writing the past three months.  I have noticed this has affected me in my own growth. All this to say, these books I would recommend, and I would love to see your lists for 2018! My “to read” list for this year is already quite lengthy, but I’m up for putting more on it! I desire to see God and the world from others perspectives as much as I can so that my understanding of both would become deeper, fuller and richer.

So, with that, bring on your lists!

be blessed today

Love, Henri: Letters on the Spiritual Life-Henri Nouwen

24/6-Matthew Sleeth, MD

Telling Secrets: A Memooir- Frederick Buechner

The Insanity of God- Nik Ripken

Perre Teilhard De Chardin: Selected Writings- Ursula King

 

 

 

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The Cool Down

I sweat. I mean I sweat…a lot. Ask anyone around me and they’ll tell you that it’s just something I do. Perhaps this is why I’ve always preferred to live in cold climates (Ohio, Russia, Mongolia, Alaska…). This is not to say I don’t love the heat. I do….when I’m sitting on the beach, cold drink in hand, the ocean lapping on the sand not far from my towel. But I digress…

When I run or work out, it takes me a long time to cool down. I mean a lllloonnnggg time. I often give myself an hour and a half to cool down, shower and get ready to go/do whatever is next in my day. Mainly because if I get done and then immediately shower, I’ll just sweat through my clean clothes…gross. I’ve found this to be true of me trying to still and calm my mind in order to focus on what it is God has for me in my times of solitude and silence. Not the sweating-through-my-clean-clothes aspect, but that idea that though I’m done being “active” my mind still can’t stop.

My head, my mind, is constantly going. Perhaps yours is as well. And when I create space for God in my day or my week, it usually takes me such an incredibly long time to calm my thoughts and mind, that before I know it, my time set aside is almost up. To adjust, I’ve had to start scheduling longer spans of time . Sometimes it has been setting aside an entire day or several hours. And, at times, it has been starting the evening before at dinner time, in preparation for the next day of sabbath, solitude and silence.

This past Sunday, I led our community through a reflection, albeit a short one, of the past 365 days. I divided the time into four sections, and gave anywhere from 6-15 minutes to reflect, journal, remember, write and pray. This was hardly enough time. Hardly. The first six minutes were uncomfortable, everyone not sure what to do with the small 40 page notebooks they were handed when they walked in. Lots of loud sighing and shuffling of feet, shifting in their chairs, etc. However, the second second section of 10 minutes, it got quieter quicker than the previous section. By the time we had gotten to the third group of questions, the room was almost silent immediately. At the end of the time (13 minutes), it took me a little bit to get everyone’s attention. Most of them still had their heads down, writing.

I’ve noticed for me, if I have an hour to give, the richest, most engaging time is at the 45 minute mark or later. And I found that to be true with most of the people in that room on Sunday. Making space for Him is important, and so is preparing for that space. The wind down. My hope is that you create space, make time for Him as you start off 2018.

What about you? Have you found this to be true of you?

be blessed today