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Archive for January, 2010

Rest Easy…

So I just got through what are probably the two most difficult chapters for me in the book I’m currently doing for devotions. The book is “Beginning Again: Benedictine Wisdom for Living with Illness.” I bought it 2+ years ago and have just now managed to start it. I should’ve had it 10 years ago after I was diagnosed. On the other hand, some things I’ve learned over the years with fibro have helped me understand and apply what she’s saying more readily than I would have then…

In any case, the last two chapters were on diet and rest. Big issues for me. Diet because I’ve come to know that I need to be disciplined and control my blood sugar through diet but I am good at rationalizing “cheats” and I tend to mood eat.

Rest is difficult for a different reason. Because I want to be seen as an over-comer, an achiever, one who “pushes through” and is overtly victorious… because I want to be seen as productive, as not lazy, as “carrying my weight”… because I care too much what others think in the first place…

I underlined a good bit in the rest chapter… and I wanted to collect all that here. Typing it up will help it to soak in more and perhaps I can encourage others. Because it’s not only people with chronic illnesses who need to be good stewards of their bodies and get proper rest!
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“It’s natural to feel frustrated by your own inactivity.”

“When we regard rest from this perspective, we become more attuned to God’s own creative activity within our own bodies- knitting broken bones, authoring and guiding all of the wondrous processes of respiration, digestion, elimination, mending tissues recently severed by surgery. We become aware that we are partners with God in helping our bodies heal as much as they can. We can’t, of our own free will and doing, make the process happen, but we can help it along. The practice of Sabbath rest reminds us that we are continually in the hands of the living God…”

“[Through illness] We may be jolted into the acute awareness- an awareness that is so intrinsic to Jewish theology- that our souls and our bodies are one, and that by unconsciously hurting or pushing our bodies, we have done the same to our souls.”

“So often our deep identity, our true self, is lost in myriad activities and covered over by incessant work.”

“For others, the rest will force a confrontation between notions of what you should be doing and what you can do… Some people feel worthless when they’re not being productive, as society defines it.”

“Pray as you are, not as you think you should be.”

“…the imposed rest was leading me to see that I am a created being, spoken into being by God. Resting began to be a way to cooperate with the processes of healing, ratehr than to work against them. Resting offered me time to reflect, to see, to remember, to pray. Rest le me to trust that something was happening even if I wasn’t the one making it happen. What a surprise!”

“These women and men [who followed the desert tradition] understood that ceaseless busyness was one wa to create illusions of our own importance, about who we are and what we are here for.”

“We live in a society in which our identities and our sense of meaning are intimately tied to work, particularly to being ‘productive’… Henri Nouwen observed that we are called to be fruitful, not productive.”

“Fruitfulness, or fecundity, is the aim of a faithful life. Nouwen comments, ‘The great mystery of fecundity is that it becomes visible where we have given up our attempts to control life…'”

“When we are in a productive mode, it is easy to live with the illusion that we are doing everything under our own steam, and that we are the ones who made the world.”
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Of course, the prayer at the end of the chapter struck me as well. In part because I need to pray it. In part because it hints to that “in quietness and trust shall be your strength” verse that keeps cropping up in my life…

“O God of peace, who has taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be our strength: By the might of your Spirit lift us, we pray, to your presence, where we may be still and know that you are God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

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One of my goals in 2010 is to blog more often! I have a whole collection of “blog thoughts” that I hope to get out of my head – some of which I’ve been collecting since last spring!

But I figured I’d start here.

REFLECTING BACK ON 2009

2009 was a rough year in many respects. It began with a severe and mysterious bout of vertigo that had me out of sorts for the first three months. Then starting in August I had a 4 month bout with health again – this time oscillating mainly between shoulder injuries and viruses/coughs.

And while many good and pleasant things happened (devotional times, prayer retreat, helping Mom with her new business, taking a sign language class, getting out a little bit with folks, submitting and winning photos at the fair), if you were to ask me what my favorite part of the year was, there would be 4 things I would say:

The 2-week mime intensive I put together for a beautiful young AIM lady, the 1 week Innovo (mime) workshop I attended in Bel Air (and passing my exam!), hanging out with and teaching AIM’s 2009 ECMT team when they came this way and even the crazy, last-minute performance at the Spanish-speaking church when tired and injured in September!

No matter how much my health interferes or messes me up or gets me down, I can’t seem to get away from how much mime and the arts are ingrained in my heart, my life, my giftings and my passions!

FOCUSING FORWARD ON 2010

So last year I had a list of “Goals and Priorities” that was split in half for personal and creative arts stuff. I got a total of 3 out of 27 things accomplished. Of course, some were project ideas that were more ideals than goals… but still. I just finished my 2010 list. It’s bigger. But it’s also arranged a little differently. This year I’m focusing on priorities and projects and things I’d like to do rather than HAVE to do. And I’m fairly excited about it. Here’s what I’ve got…

This year I want to…
– listen through the entire Bible
– increase and deepen my prayer life
– be a good steward of my time & body
– intentionally serve and encourage others
– read, write and blog often
– dance

My financial priorities are…
– tithing
– paying down debts (student loan & credit)
– adding to savings regularly
– going “all cash” except for regular bills

Events & Ideas…
– host a (small) tea party once a month (I’m actually hoping to make this time to minister to ladies)
– call family & friends 2-3 times a week
– read at coffee shops
– take a class each quarter (sign, dance, etc)
– attend Saturday Vespers during Lent
– go swing dancing in Bel Air

Writing Projects:
– Rising Of The Light
– Christmas Songs

Personal Projects
– Input current recipes
– Catch up scrap-booking!!
– Finish EV Card Set
– Compile classes (to teach): Pauline Prayers and Christians & Culture

CAC Projects:
– Create new CAC brochure
– Create CAC DVD
– Organize CAC files, promo/teaching supplies and a master teaching binder
– Create 3 new mime pieces

Reading List:
Arts & Worship books:
– Imagine
– Heart of the Artist
– Art and the Bible
– Thriving as an Artist
– The God Who Is There
– What Worship Is

Nighttime Reading:
– Auralia’s Colors
– Out of the Silent Planet
– Perelandra
– That Hideous Strength
– A Wrinkle In Time
– A Wind In The Door

General Reading:
– Beginning Again
– From Pride to Humility
– Extraordinary Women
– The Dream Giver
– Are There Terrorists in Your Church?

And aside from my priorities (the first two lists), I’m considering this a no-stress guide for how to utilize my time this year!

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