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7QTF: Points of View

'7 Quick Takes Friday' is a sharing situation generously started by Jen Fulwiler who blogs at 'Conversion Diary' and who also writes a column for the National Catholic Register.Anyone participating in this blogging exercise submits a link of their post to Jen's site (so the traffic at Jen's blog might rub off on your own), and link back to Jen's post from here (where, besides Jen's great blog, you'll find a delightful list of other blogs to choose from for your reading pleasure).Here's today's offering:7 Points of View... 1.picture found hereOutside My Window: Is a world with which I find myself increasingly at odds... yet one with which I feel an almost desperation to connect. A funny paradox, that.I wonder how Christ handled this... in as much as he could see into the heart of our humanity, His divinity must have left Him feeling very much at odds... and yet because of that same divinity and humanity, he was obviously driven by who he was to connect with us.I live on a very busy street corner, in a largely economically depressed area of my city. My window affords me a view I don't always want to see, yet I'm grateful for it, because I am never allowed to forget who I am created to be, and in whose name I am called.My window shows me a world that needs my faith and compassion... I respond to the invitation... and I pray.2.In My Mind's Eye: When I was first learning to drive I found it impossible to keep the car literally in my own lane, and on the road, until my Dad offered a simple observation: "Don't look at the front of the car, look to where you are going."Though he doesn't realize it, my Dad gave me more than a driving lesson that day... I came to understand my life will reflect that toward which I consistently turn my gaze. Items which caught my gaze this week, and which I continue to ponder in the context of my own life, include:At Accepting Abundance (isn't that blog name just the best... anybody else besides me have trouble doing just that?!):"...when I focus on what transcends me I'm free from what misguides me."Emerging Mummy speaks to my on-going struggle to give voice to the deepest groanings of my heart and soul:"...let Love be my first language, my mother tongue whether its communicated in English or a thousand tongues for only angels to hear." Shut. Up.At Love is A Place: "Going is important, not arriving.""Women are stronger than abortion, and we ought to help them be strong rather than sell them on their weakness."At Secret Vatican Spy: "Sin does not define you... Newsflash? The waters of baptism, the redemptive power of Christ, and the continuing call to repentance are what defines you."3.picture found hereBeside Myself: An aspect of the blogosphere that I am having trouble negotiating are those issues and topics that upset and, sometimes, literally TRASH  my equilibrium... but to which I am inexorably drawn... like a moth to a flame. These are issues I carry deeply in my soul... issues over which I weep, lose sleep... and, rightly or wrongly, the altar upon which I sacrifice peace. And that's why I can't talk about them just yet... I haven't found my love language in which to speak the words I need to say, such they are heard by those who most need to hear them. For now I'll just point with trembling hand:Sex Offender Targets Christian Women BloggersThe Two-Minus-One PregnancyI wouldn't have aborted the twin had s/he been conceived naturally, not via IVFMy Fertility Crisis4.picture found hereUnderneath My Bed:School looms on the imminent horizon - there are only ten days left until I have six hours a day all to myself and... honestly... I'm dreading it. I know that sounds bizarre to those of you who have several children, but I love the happy bubble the Divine Miss O and I create together. I struggle when she's at school: I hate that I don't really know what or who is writing on her mind and heart. Even though she is only beginning second grade, we know that there is a lot that won't be good for her tender soul, and which will bruise her budding sensibilities.... it's taken a good part of the summer to erase the harm from last year. Sigh.The Divine Miss O had a very difficult year and we, her parents, had a horrible year doing all we could to make it less so. Yet she LOVES school (you wouldn't believe the explaining I had to do when she realized she could have started at age 4)... even though it raises her anxiety level to the point of making her physically ill. Yet... we have new strategies in place, the school is aware and prepared to be more supportive and attentive to our concerns, prayers have been said to cover every aspect of concern, and off to school she will go.I stopped checking for monsters under my bed when I realized they were inside me... I also realized... so are the knights who slay them.5.picture found hereBehind My Back:This isn't a viewpoint I normally spend a lot of time thinking about (and one which most people usually perceive as negative), but it's been an interesting summer. My perceptions of myself, my daughter, Catholicism, the church, my faith, people I thought I knew have been challenged and, surprisingly, found to be somewhat different than I considered... in primarily good and delightful ways. Much has been going on behind my back of which I've failed to take notice.So, I'm inclined to ask myself: "What is it I am eally seeing here (doing my best to suspend the judgements which rise so readily)?" "What is really going on when I'm not looking?" "To what am I paying attention?" "Does that to which I attend reflect my priorities?"I don't have clear answers to these questions as such, but I'm going to be exploring them here. I'll keep you posted (pun intended). 6.picture found hereAtop My Night Table:I read to challenge, myself, entertain myself, escape, inform, grow. Books have always been my very best friends, my consolation, my joy. Books are touchstones in my life. Every August I place an Amazon order for books I want to read over the course of the next year starting in September. My order arrived this week!Spencer's Mountain by Earl Hamner, Jr.Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieThe Promise of God by David ShapiroThe Man With No Skin by Orfhlaith Ni ChonaillWomen, Food, and God: An Unexpected Path to Everything by Geneen RothLove in the Ruins by Walker PercySeventy Times Seven by Salvatore SapienzaThe Harrowing of Hell by Stephen SealThe New Pilgrim's Progress by John BunyanFascinating Womanhood by Helen AndelinThree Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin (now a bit suspect, and marginally less attractive: check this out: Questions Over Greg Mortenson's Stories)Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Connor GrennanMistress of the Vatican by Eleanor HermanRediscover Catholicism by Matthew KellyTurbulent Souls: A Catholic Son's Return to His Jewish Family by Stephen J. DubnerThe Church and the New Media: Blogging Converts, Internet Activists, and Bishops Who Tweet by Brandon Vogt7. From Within My Heart:"Grace isn't a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It's a way to live."Attributed to JACQUELINE WINSPEARA few things for which I am grateful this week:a good natured and loving husband a healthy, GROWING daughter my sense of humour that somehow I'm going into the weekend with my laundry all caught up choices (have you ever noticed how some people have so few?) kittens everybody I love is alive and well... others haven't been so blessed music the moon keeping watch supermarkets raspberries fresh figs tomatoes stories my body, even in all its imperfections the wonder that is the Internet, and bloggers in general ...all to the soundtrack of my week: Love Reclaims the Atmosphere by Burlap to Cashmere:"Send blessings to your critics and careful with the least of theseRelease the prisoners free... today we'll crucify the fear as love reclaims the atmosphere"...until the next dance!

Anna White

Visit 2Day I Choose

Glitchy Blogger!

Hi y'all,I deactivated some older posts today, and Blogger also decided to send out an old post to you. No idea why-sorry!I have been taking a hiatus due to pregnancy illness and I'm also thinking. I'm a very slow thinker. Once I make up my mind I'm ALL. IN. but it sometimes takes a while to get to that point. I am thinking about what I want the future direction of the blog to be and how to integrate my personal writing with my business projects.Hope you are having great summers! I will return to this space soon, when I'm done thinking.You shouldn't get more older posts but if you do I apologize in advance.Anna
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Sue Palmer

Visit A Contemplative Space

As the End of Advent Approaches ...

An adaptation of this beautiful poem was part of the liturgy in our Longest Night Service this evening. First Comingby Madeleine L’EngleHe did not wait till the world was ready,till men and nations were at peace.He came when the Heavens were unsteady,and prisoners cried out for release.He did not wait for the perfect time.He came when the need was deep and great.He dined with sinners in all their grime,turned water into wine.He did not wait till hearts were pure.In joy he cameto a tarnished world of sin and doubt.To a world like ours, of anguished shamehe came, and his Light would not go out.He came to a world which did not mesh,to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.In the mystery of the Word made Fleshthe Maker of the stars was born.We cannot wait till the world is saneto raise our songs with joyful voice,for to share our grief, to touch our pain,He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!Amen!
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Giving Up or Giving To?

Lent begins tomorrow with the observance of Ash Wednesday. The journey of Lent leads us to the joyful expectation of Jesus’ Resurrection on Easter morning. Lent began as a period of fasting and preparation for baptism by converts and then became a time for penance by all Christians. Today many around the world will give something up for Lent as a way of fasting. And I understand the principle of giving something up but if we are to follow in Jesus’ footsteps then shouldn't we also give something in return? When Jesus died on the cross he sacrificed his life so that we could have the forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven. Jesus gave his life to give us life. So if we just give up something, do we really understand the way to the cross?As I've been praying about what I should do for Lent, God showed me something different. Instead of just giving something up, I’m going to give. My word for 2015 is “time” and I’m trying to incorporate it into every aspect of this year, including Lent. But what does that look like? To give time, use time?Maybe it’s helping someone in need, volunteering at the food pantry, collecting items to give to one of our UM missions, meditating on God’s word, knitting a prayer shawl, taking a prayer walk each day and surrounding myself with God’s beautiful creation, writing a note of encouragement to a family member, friend or parishioner each day or reading the words of a Christian writer or theologian to broaden my faith? As I look over this list it occurs to me that I will be giving up my time in one way or another to do something meaningful. To give up watching T.V. or social media is a way of fasting, but what will you be doing instead? What will you use that time for? When you give up a certain food, what will you do if you’re not eating it? Will you just eat something else? If I give up coffee will I just drink tea? If I give up T.V. will I just turn to my phone or computer?  If I give up Facebook will I just spend time on Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram?I believe that when we give something up for Lent we should give something in return. When a person fasts they are to spend that time they would have been eating a meal and instead spend it in prayer. I like what God is leading me to do. Jesus didn't just die on the cross; he gave his life to give us life. He died so that we could be saved. He died so that each time we sin, we have the choice to ask God for forgiveness and in return God washes us clean with the blood of Christ.That is what Lent is about. It’s preparing ourselves for what Jesus did for us so that we can give of ourselves to others. We are called to walk this journey of Lent following in Jesus footsteps.Will you be giving up or giving to?Blessings,Jill
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Kristina Stiffler

Visit A Joy Walk

DIY Canning Jar Chandelier

We are currently living in our third rental home, and for the first time ever, in a newer styled open layout. It's a super modest 5 bedroom split level, a layout which I used to disdain, but it has served us well so far, and I am slowly adding character to make it feel like MY home. Every house has it's quirks, and one of this home's was it's light fixtures. Now, I'm no electrician, and I don't want to lose my security deposit, so when I noticed all three kitchen/dining light fixtures were different finishes, I groaned and moaned and tried not to hate the person who committed such a crime against this house. I most certainly vowed not to look at them all at once. Eclectic may be currently in style, but this tragedy did not even begin to add character to our home... it only built character... in me!This is a very poor picture of the dining fixture. As is my habit, I have no other "before" pictures. Remember, I tried NOT to look at them, and made every effort not to point a camera at them either! (Pardon the white spaces. The picture was edited for Instagram and I'm too busy worrying about lights to edit it.)The other day, I must have been bored or broken my vow to myself and spent too much time staring at the mismatched lights, because my brain started racing for ideas. And then my fingers ran to Pinterest. And then I started removing glass shades.My first fix was over the kitchen sink. I removed the shade, dumped out my catch-all basket all over the counter, cut a hole in the bottom of it with a wire cutter and replaced the shade with it.I left the pile on the counter. I should really do something about that.Don't tell anyone, but I also painted the gross cheap fake brass with... shhhh. Acrylic craft paint.Please don't anyone call the paint police on me.I enjoyed that change for a couple days before my eyes began to burn at the site of the dining chandy.I quick searched Pinterest again to verify that it was possible to make an existing chandelier look OK with canning jars and off I went to dig in the recycling.This was my quick, easy and nearly free solution (I did need to buy different light bulbs):Remove glass shades and set aside the rings that held them in place. Cut out any old plastic from the recycle bin to fit into a canning ring. Place light fixture shade ring on plastic ring insert and trace around the inside.Cut out the hole. It doesn't need to be pretty as it's not going to show. Promise.Place shade ring on top and screw onto fixture.The order of assembly is as follows:Fixture: Canning ring: Plastic ring: ceramic ring.Screw a all the above together until tight and then add a chandelier light bulb and finally the jar.All done!Now our lighting has character - the kind I like! I've stashed the old glass shades away, and when we move, I can easily replace them and no one will ever know! Please don't ask me any pesky questions about watts and heat and such.All I know is my eyes are happy and my home is too.
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Kelly Yates

Should you pursue a PhD?

I am a PhD candidate in Church History/Theology. I am in my fourth year of study. I have 69,000 words out of 80,000 written on my thesis. I am attending a British university where the PhD is 100% research, no classes.Many of my masters-graduated friends ask me if they should pursue the terminal degree. This is my answer to all.If you can do the following: you can make it.1. Study.  I mean study for hours a day.2. Limit your social obligations. Here it is New Year's Eve and I am in my room with the door locked. I am not partying. You will have to give up many, many parties, events, that you once attended.3. Rewrite. I remember vaguely the days of roughdraft-edit-final draft. Any paper or chapter that is a finished project has gone through at least eight drafts, usually more.4. Take criticism. If your advisor/supervisor is doing their job, they will rip your work to pieces in the beginning. You have to be able to take it.5.  Be disciplined. When writing a thesis/dissertation, you have to set your own deadlines. No one will make you sit your butt in the chair and type except you.6. Be humble. Education is a long lesson in humility. If you think you know everything you need to know and just need the letters at the end of your name, forget it. You won't make it past the first semester.  The more you know, the more you will realize what you do not know.


The Green One

In Psalm 52:8 it states "But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God.  I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever."Did you ever wonder why the color of the olive tree would matter?  Well you wouldn't be the only one if you did.  The green tree is the emblem of prosperity.  It has been kept unharmed like a green and flourishing tree that would have been in the courts of the sanctuary.  And most importantly it is safe and under the care and the eye of God.  That is why the Psalmist and us desire to be the green ones.  Knowing that the steadfast love of God is able to be acknowledged when we are in God's care.
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Lisa Phelps

Visit A Moment with God

Come Out of the Cave

"There he came to a cave, where he spent the night."But the lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”~1 Kings 19:9-13 NLTElijah had just witnessed the power and strength of His God.  Fire fell from Heaven and burned up the sacrifice, the altar, and all the water surrounding the altar.  The false prophets were destroyed and their god revealed as fake.  What an amazing victory!  Yet now Elijah is afraid, running for his life, and hiding in a cave.Have you ever been in a cave?   Are you living in one now? Caves are dark.  Things that we would never be afraid of during the day seem terrifying in the dark.  We hear things in the dark we don’t even notice when it is light.  Darkness amplifies our fears.Caves offer poor reception.  Have you ever tried to use your cell phone in a cave?  It’s hard to call for help when you can’t get a signal.  Everything seems louder in a cave.  Sound waves reflect off the walls and repeat back to the listener, seemingly louder each time.  God is calling you to come out of the cave.  Stand before Him on the mountain and listen for His gentle whisper.  He’s closer than you think.  Many Blessings,PS - I know my header is missing.  If you're focused on that, then you're missing the point.  ;)


Visit A Parched Soul

It’s been a while

It’s been a long time since I wrote something here. My last post was something I wrote almost entirely in my mind and needed somewhere to put it. But it’s been too long since I sat down at A Parched Soul, took a deep breath, and exhaled something that felt good. Something that brought nourishment. That’s [...]
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amy tuttle

Visit a pilgrim's project


dear anyone-who-has-enjoyed-reading-a pilgrim's project,first of all, thank you.secondly, as of today, the shutters will be fastened close around here for awhile.matter of fact, i honestly don't know if i'll ever be back here, as yet.i love to reflect and write about it, but may look to start anew when i start again... until i decide, you may find me at (message me) or at (leave a comment to find my e-mail addy). i've left a few random notes, 16 to be precise, just so you don't feel lonely if you've come for the first time from somewhere else.if/when i begin again, i'll make sure to come back here with a and peace to you, until then...:)