2017 Goals Week 8

2017 Goals Week 8

Week 8 of 52

9)   Practice 12 spiritual disciplines.

This month’s spiritual discipline is Bible intake in the form of meditation on the Word.  I have been translating and exegeting the book of Galatians for my class this semester. This week, my meditation has been on Galatians 2-3. Specifically, on the purpose of morality for justification.

8)   Complete 12 credits toward MDiv.

Working…

7)   Connect with one person a week.

6)   Complete writing a 12-week Bible study.

I haven’t worked on this in three weeks.

 

5)    Learn how to needle felt and create 25 sculptures. 

wp-1488148273478.jpg

Little sheepies. 8 of 25 done!

4)    Complete 12 house/yard projects. 

3)    Move at least 15 minutes a day.

I walked every single day.

2)   Fix my teeth. 

1)  Hike to 12 new places.

Nothing new.

January: Hike to Twin Falls.

2017 Goals Week 6 & 7

2017 Goals Week 6 & 7

I took a quick trip to Disney World last week! So fun.

Week 6 & 7 of 52

10)   Practice 12 spiritual disciplines.

This month’s spiritual discipline is Bible intake in the form of meditation on the Word. These last two weeks, I have completed my daily meditation maybe 1/3 of the days. Disney knocked me out of the habit of reading my 2 chapters, and so I lost momentum. I did meditate on Ecclesiastes quite a bit on my bumpy, I am falling-out-of-the-sky flight to Orlando, though. The man next to said he didn’t think we’d make it. I meditated on “death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.” And, “For the living know that they will die,” and “Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come.” I was ready. 

9)   Complete 12 credits toward MDiv.

Working…

8)   Connect with one person a week.

wp-1487457999588.jpgMy trip to Disney was with two of my nieces and a friend of theirs. We had great conversation, laughs and adventures! I also hung out with a friend over lunch this week. I enjoyed the peace and quiet of home after Disney, though!

7)   Complete writing a 12-week Bible study.

I haven’t worked on this in two weeks.

6)    Submit 6 articles for publication.

I’ve evaluated the feasibility of this goal. It is causing more guilt than motivation. The desire to get it done is lacking. I’m also concerned my second class, which starts in a few weeks, is going to add extra writing time that will only increase my stress of not working on this goal. So, I’m cutting this one off the list, and my goals for 2017 are reduced to 9.

5)    Learn how to needle felt and create 25 sculptures. 

wp-1487460142947.jpg

Hagar and giant sheep, as I’m calling the tutorial sheep I started and didn’t realize would be so large in size, are on hold. I’m working on a trio of little sheep, that are the proper proportion for the human figures I want to make. Obviously, this is just the beginning.

4)    Complete 12 house/yard projects. 

wp-1487458944210.jpgThis lamp was poorly designed and a wire was cut about a month after we installed it from over-zealous kids turning it round and round. So, its been collecting dust for more than a year. Stephen decided it wasn’t able to be taken apart, and the cut in the wire was in a place completely inaccessible. So, this Saturday, I decided to see if I could do whatever it took to get it apart and re-wired. I figured I had nothing to loose, since we’d have to buy a new one anyway. Three hours later and one trip to the hardware store, I had it working! I won’t bore you with details, but it was a trial. And the kids have been warned not to touch it.

We’ve also been making small steps toward designing, ordering and installing the iron railings for the front steps and patio. We found a local welder, and now I have to settle on the specifics.

I also ordered seeds!! I’m excited about this flower, and I’m trying carrot seed tape for the first time this year. The dirt is calling.

3)    Move at least 15 minutes a day.

I moved a lot at Disney, and succeeded in moving every day after the trip, except for one.

2)   Fix my teeth. 

wp-1487458335047.jpg

Invisalign was installed five days ago. Along with the plasticy trays that completely cover my teeth and do the work of aligning, small buttons were glued to a few of my teeth. If you look closely, you can see the things that look like warts on my teeth. These are like little shards of glass when I remove the trays. Imagine eating with shards of glass on the front of your teeth! My cheeks and lips are damaged. After doing a quick browse on-line of invisalign problems, I decided I’m going to give my ortho a call next week and see if I can get them smoothed and polished out. I knew I would have sores from getting used to things, and that my teeth would ache as they move, but the buttons are pretty painful. I suspect the assistant who installed them was a novice.

1)  Hike to 12 new places.

Nothing new these two weeks.

January: Hike to Twin Falls.

wp-1485750929885.jpg

2017 Goals Week 5

2017 Goals Week 5

Follow my progress this year toward meeting 10 goals!

Week 5 of 52

10)   Practice 12 spiritual disciplines.

If you want to get warm, you have to linger by the fire. The failure to linger is the reason why many fail to remember or find their hearts warmed by the fire of God’s Word. ~Don Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, p 49

The spiritual discipline for February is also Bible intake; but where January was reading and hearing God’s Word daily, February is memorizing, meditating, and applying Scripture. I will continue reading a chapter a day, and I will add a meditation technique Whitney recommends. For instance, rewriting a portion of the text in my own words or think about an illustration for the text. What picture would describe it? I am in Ecclesiastes, so it makes for great meditation. I also spent time in Ps 119.

9)   Complete 12 credits toward MDiv.

Yep. Working away. If you’re curious – which I suspect most of you aren’t- here’s the way Greek sounds by an amateur. I have to read 3 verses aloud each week as part of the grade.

8)   Connect with one person a week.

I met with a church minister this week to discuss a possible teaching gig. I felt connected, but the meeting wasn’t really about that.

7)   Complete writing a 12-week Bible study.

Painful.

6)    Submit 6 articles for publication.

Nothing. I knew this would be the hardest one.

5)    Learn how to needle felt and create 25 sculptures. 

img_20170126_123849_789

I am working on a pregnant Hagar and a sheep,but they aren’t completed yet.

4)    Complete 12 house/yard projects. 

 

Sigh. It started snowing again, so its hard to get motivated when everything is freezing or drippy. We have a few furniture re-doing projects started, but its too cold to sand and definitely too cold to spray paint.

3)    Move at least 15 minutes a day.

I did, except for Thursday. Thursdays fill up quick.

2)   Fix my teeth. 

Waiting for a call from the ortho.

1)  Hike to 12 new places.

Not this week.

2017 Goals Week 4

2017 Goals Week 4

Follow my progress this year toward meeting 10 goals!

 

Week 4 of 52

10)   Practice 12 spiritual disciplines.

“Jesus believed in God rather than a book about God.” Frank Schaeffer

Reading the Bible is not for the fainthearted. It is ancient, hard to understand, and more complicated than the creeds want to admit. For instance, this verse tripped me up this week: “… the Lord was not willing to forgive.” 2 Kings 24:4 Wait, what? Yeah, I’ve been pondering it all week. I’ve also been pondering the quote by Schaeffer above, and not for the first time. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Bible, yet it is easy for me to confuse love of the Bible for love of God.

Continuing to read 2 1/2 chapters a day as I practice the spiritual discipline of Bible intake.

9)   Complete 12 credits toward MDiv.

Galatians is steadily being translated and diagrammed. I don’t have extra projects due, so the load for this first class is light so far. Kay’s translation of Galatians 1:13-15:

For, you have heard of my conduct when I was in Judaism, that I was persecuting the church of God to an extraordinary degree and I tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism over and beyond many of those my age, being a super zealot for my forefather’s traditions.

8)   Connect with one person a week.

I got a chance to visit with a new friend, and spent time with my extended and immediate family this week.

7)   Complete writing a 12-week Bible study.

I spent maybe two hours on this? This week, I’m going to try printing off everything I have done so far, and working on it spread out before me. I am hoping it will start to cohere if I can look at it in actual piles instead of Word .docs.

6)    Submit 6 articles for publication.

I needed to put about ten hours into a graphic design project this week, so writing on circumcision didn’t happen.

5)    Learn how to needle felt and create 25 sculptures. 

The clothes for my Abraham & Sarah figures finally came together. I couldn’t decide if I needed to cover Sarah’s head, and decided not to. I liked the locks too much to hide them!

dsc_0164

Eyes are giving me trouble. They tend to get buggy and spaced too far apart. I was very pleased with Abraham’s face, but Sarah’s eyes are wide spread. I’m also wondering if I need to felt the faces firmer. Its all trial and error! 5 of 25 complete.

dsc_0165dsc_0163

4)    Complete 12 house/yard projects. 

My father-in-law was in the hospital all week, so we didn’t work on any projects.

3)    Move at least 15 minutes a day.

No skipped days this week!

2)   Fix my teeth. 

Waiting, waiting…

1)  Hike to 12 new places.

I had a buddy on my hike to Twin Falls this week. It was slippery and slidey and drizzly wet. I love the Pacific Northwest forest in the misty rain. 1 of 12 complete!

wp-1485750929885.jpg

2017 Goals Week 3

Follow my progress this year toward meeting 10 goals!

Better Homes & Gardens says tracking your goals makes them 10 times more likely to become habits. It also suggests treating yourself when you succeed. Great idea!

Week 3 of 52

10)   Practice 12 spiritual disciplines.

I am practicing the Spiritual Discipline of Bible intake this month. I have been daily reading 2 1/2 chapters of the Bible in 2 Kings, Proverbs and Hebrews. But, Bible intake is more than just reading the Bible. We also absorb Scripture by hearing it. Don Whitney says this on taking in the Bible at church:

…the ongoing worship of God cannot be separated from the Word of God, which you don’t expect to be read aloud or preached on the golf course or at the lake. We are to discipline ourselves to go and hear the Word of God. (Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. p 25)

I go to church weekly to hear God’s Word. It is often a true discipline for me not done out of enjoyment or profit, but raw willpower. Follow my pictures each week on instagram #Igotochurch. Add your own!

I also enjoy listening to two of my favorite preachers on-line.

9)   Complete 12 credits toward MDiv.

The first class was cancelled due to weather, but work begins. Translation, pronunciation, and diagramming were completed this week. The first round wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Isn’t that the way it always goes?

8)   Connect with one person a week.

Check! I had a couple of opportunities this week. I also spent the weekend in the snow with middle-schoolers taking selfies and learning about God’s purposes.

7)   Complete writing a 12-week Bible study.

Nothing.

6)    Submit 6 articles for publication.

Nothing.

5)    Learn how to needle felt and create 25 sculptures. 

I have been working on a trio of human figures. I cannot decide how to do their clothes so I’ve just been staring at them all week. Here’s the start of the head of one.

wp-1484846850575.jpg

4)    Complete 12 house/yard projects. 

wp-1484847032635.jpg

The linen closet is the project of the moment. We have always had a curtain hanging over it, and so we forget it is still unfinished. Stephen took measurements for 3 drawers and 2 glass doors. I found a router at a yard sale for $5 this summer. It was all we were lacking to construct doors. I say “we” in the “Stephen alone” sense.;)

3)    Move at least 15 minutes a day.

It was a yoga week until winter camp. Then, I walked and played in the snow.I did skip Thursday since it was filled with errands and meetings.

2)   Fix my teeth. 

The invisalign trays should arrive in two weeks.

1)  Hike to 12 new places.

Nothing this week.

Women in the Text: Hagar Names God

Women in the Text: Hagar Names God

Hagar’s remarkable experience of God is comparable to any of the Patriarch’s, yet it is often overlooked.

Hagar’s History

Hagar was Egyptian. She was most likely given to Sarah by Pharaoh as redress for his bride-napping. She was a stranger in Canaan, different from  the others, marginalized, living in an alien and backward land compared to the grand courts of Egypt. Her accent was different. Her looks set her apart. She most likely faced racial and class prejudice. She was a slave.

Her master  was Sarah. It was Sarah who determined the course of Hagar’s life when she offered her – as a possession – to her husband Abraham. In today’s terms, we call this sex trafficking. In ancient terms, it was an acceptable legal transaction. The Code of Hammurabi gives us some insight into the everyday ethics that determined family life in this era. An infertile wife could offer her slave to her husband. If a child was born as a result, it was against the law (or custom) for the husband to remarry. This saved a barren woman from sharing her husband with another wife, yet still provided an heir.

144. If a man take a wife and this woman give her husband a maid-servant, and she bear him children, but this man wishes to take another wife, this shall not be permitted to him; he shall not take a second wife.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/ane/ham/ham06.htm

Sarah, acting in accordance with the customs of her time, says to Abraham: “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her. (Genesis 16:2) ” Sarah gives Hagar to Abraham, not as wife or concubine but as a womb. If Hagar conceived and bore a child, Sarah’s position as the sole wife of Abraham was secure.

Hagar’s grasp for honor

But Hagar had different ideas. And, who can blame her? Her status changed from slave to the mother of the new heir of Abraham. It is easy to empathize with her desire to take any advantage she could! There was also the dynamic of motherhood at play. Hagar, feeling the overwhelming protection of maternity, felt the need to establish a place of honor for her child. Yet, any behavior on her part that was not fitting as a slave, was actually considered unlawful. See Hammurabi again.

146. If a man take a wife and she give this man a maid-servant as wife and she bear him children, and then this maid assume equality with the wife: because she has borne him children her master shall not sell her for money, but he may keep her as a slave, reckoning her among the maid-servants.

Hagar claimed an honor that did not belong to her, perhaps as a wife or mistress of Abraham, and in the process shamed her owner, Sarah. Genesis 16:4 says, “her mistress was dishonorable in her eyes.” Hagar made a power-play to take advantage of her circumstance and reverse her fortunes and confirm the status of her child, but she was out of line. Sarah’s reaction was more than jealousy, it was justice. Hagar had no right to shame Sarah and claim any worth, for her or her child, above that of slave.

Our modern sense of Western justice has a hard time accepting the clout of this honor/shame dynamic that dominated the Eastern world. Even though Hagar was the one behaving badly, we sympathize with her suffering. When Sarah disciplined her harshly, as just punishment for Hagar’s transgressions, we sense a deeper injustice that was ignored. Hagar never asked to be put in this position! She was forced into sexual relations, and required to birth a baby at great personal risk (childbirth has always been a dangerous enterprise). Surely, her arrogance could be overlooked? Right? Give her a break, Sarah!

When Sarah applied harsh judgement on her, Hagar had few choices. Stay in an abusive situation where she had no voice and little value, or attempt escape. She chose to run away; a courageous, if not foolhardy, option.

Hagar runs away…

…most likely headed back to Egypt (Genesis 16:7). Her flight indicates how desperate and alone she must have felt in Sarah’s house. The journey from Canaan to Egypt is like walking from Seattle to Spokane. Pregnant.

Hagar had serious problems. She was a runaway slave, carrying the property of her mistress. She was a fugitive. She was breaking the law. But, she was an abused and terrified woman.

In the middle of this terror of flight, God came to Hagar.

God visited Hagar! An Egyptian. A woman. A slave. An abuse survivor. At that point in recorded history, God had only come to Noah and Abraham. Hagar’s experience with God is thought provoking. When we consider the times God intervened in Person, what was required of the recipient was usually terrifying. Noah had to build an ark for decades to survive a holocaust. Abraham had to mutilate his very private flesh, and the flesh of 300+ of his men. And, God’s visit to Hagar followed suit. God required Hagar to return to her life as the slave of Sarah. Gulp. That is hard to accept, isn’t it? God was sending Hagar back to slavery, back into the toxic situation with Sarah. We could speculate that there were few options for Hagar, and that was the most merciful one, but I find it hard to swallow, regardless. Experiencing a visit from God was alarming and the task was never easy.

God requires hard things. But, God is full of promise.

God gave Hagar a fertile hope.

“I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.” (Genesis 16:10) Sound familiar? God promised this woman great fertility, just as God promised Abraham (Genesis 15:5). God gave Hagar a prophesy of hope concerning her child that spoke to a mother’s greatest fear.

  • Her son would be born, alive and healthy.
  • She should name him God Hears: Ishmael, because of her personal experience with God.
  • He would be free, not a slave. He would be a warrior. He would have brothers and family and would not be alone as she was.
  • God promised Hagar a future for her son.

Hagar named God.

“You are El Roi, for I have now seen the One who sees me.” (Genesis 16:13-14) Inspired by her personal encounter with God and her own experience of being marginalized, Hagar teaches others about God’s perception. Perhaps this was comforting to her, because she knew God was aware of all things done to her hidden from the sight of others. As Jesus confirmed thousands of years later, “God who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:4)”

Because Hagar knew God saw her and promised her son’s future was secure, Hagar had the courage to return to her unfortunate situation. Once at home, she instructs Abraham to name their son Ishmael, and her extraordinary talk with God was immortalized as a place-name in the ancient world. Beer Lahai Roi: the well of the Living One who sees me.

Hagar’s story continues.