Renewal Leave Announcement, plus some great quotes

Lisa headshot selfie 2020 10 21Today I start six weeks of renewal leave. There’s no emergency. It’s a common practice for pastors after many years of service. It’s a welcome gift, a gift far too many do not have.

I’ll be back Ash Wednesday. The blog will be quiet while I’m away.

My last post for a while is my 2020 quote collection. I write down one or two a month to carry with me for the month. They catch my attention because they speak a truth I need to hear in that season. Many of them come to me via Instagram (IG). Consider following these fine folks if you use that platform.   

Happy Epiphany dear ones.
May this be a season of awakinging and deep worship for you. – Lisa <>< 

Things that bring growth by Dr. Nicole LePera (@the.holistic.phychologist on IG)
1. uncomfortable, difficult conversations
2. doing something you’re terrible at, until you become good at it
3. getting past the stories your ego creates
4. viewing the behavior you’re ashamed of as the scared child inside of you asking for healing
5. Placing your won happiness at the top of your priority list, unapologetically

There are ideas, truth, concepts, books, and creations waiting to be birthed into the world.
Stay open to receiving them.
– Rebecca Campbell

From St. Benedict’s Prayer Book
Grant, O Lord, that none may love You less this day because of me;
that never a word or act of mine may turn one soul from You;
and, ever daring, yet one more grace would I implore,
that many souls this day, because of me, may love You more. Amen.

May I spend less time worrying about the things I “have to deal with”
and more time dealing with those things.
Fear is almost always worse than the work itself
or the pain that comes with it.
– Justin McRoberts (@justinmcroberts on IG)

It’s always enough to do the part your know how to do.
To be faithful to what you know you were given.
The voices in your life that tell you “that’s not enough” are lying to you.
Ignore them. Do your work.

– Justin McRoberts

2 Corinthians 3:12, 17-18
Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness… Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.

Loving yourself is a practice. Just like yoga.
Nobody ever got good at yoga by believing in it.
You have to do it. Even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard.
– Emily McDowell

Prayer For Before Journaling by Terry Stokes (@prayersfromterry on IG)
O Christ the Word, sent and made known to us, help us to put our thoughts down on the page. Make this a release valve for the buildup of our deepest feelings, and channel this into a flow which carries us toward connections, breakthroughs, and self-awareness. Help us to concretize thoughts that can otherwise remain too abstract or unmoored to be helpful. Deliver unto us the value of being able to go back and see what we were thinking in the past, an ultimately direct our mindfulness toward the One who is always mindful of us- our Father, who reigns with Thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

We are not hamsters on a wheel, waiting to fall into the cedar shavings at the bottom of the cage. We are seekers of light and life, bearers of shadows and burdens. We are struggling to journey together toward moral fulfillment. We are learning to embrace the unfathomable darkness where God dwells with enthusiasm that equals our love of light. Physics and cosmology have metaphors and languages to help us awaken to these and other possibilities. . . . We are not just citizens of one nation or another, but of the human and cosmic community.
– Richard Rohr (cacradicalgrace on IG)

Awareness is the moment when we rise with eyes crusted from self-induced dreams of control, domination, victimization, and self-hatred to catch a glimpse of the divine in the face of “the other.” Then God’s self-identification, “I am that I am / I will be who I will be” (Exodus 3:14) becomes a liberating example of awareness, mutuality, and self-revelation.
– Dr. Barbara A. Holmes

Quote from Freedom: Medicine Words for your Brave Revolution by Jayla John
Your boundaries need not be an angry electric fence that shocks those who touch it. It can be a consistent light around you that announces: I will be treated sacredly.

The inner work helps you decide whether your gut instinct is based on truth or trauma.
– Ryan Blair

Quote from Emily McDowell (@emilyonlife on IG)
When spending your life working towards “living the dream”, make sure it’s really your dream, and not just a definition of success you’ve been programmed to desire. Remember the importance of distinguishing between what you want, and what others want for you and from you. And remember that choosing to change course or let go of a once-held dream doesn’t mean you’re giving up or failing. It means you’re paying attention. It means you’re evolving.

During the week, your whole self will strain toward the Sabbath with thoughts like I know I can make it because the Sabbath is coming. You will emerge from Sabbath with renewed energy and hope, thinking I can face my life now because I have rested.
– Ruth Haley Barton

Sabbath is not dependent upon our readiness to stop. We do not stop when we are finished. We do not stop when we complete our phone calls, finish our projects, get through this stack of messages, or get out this report that is due tomorrow. We stop because it is time to stop.
– Wayne Muller

2020 Bookshelf

2020 bookshelfIn November of 2014, I read a blog post encouraging persons to set aside a bookshelf for all the books read in a calendar year. As the year goes by, you see the shelf filling and are reminded of time well spent. (I wish I could remember who to thank.)

The project was so rewarding I’ve continued it every year. I’ve found the process of adding books enjoyable and helpful. Sometimes you forget a really good book.

This year I read far fewer books than in years past. One reason was I wanted to study what I was reading for greater retention. I’ve also devoted more time to podcasts and online courses.

Then the pandemic hit. I wasn’t traveling so I wasn’t listening to audiobooks. But the big, truthful reason is I just didn’t have any bandwidth left for reading. Many blessings to those of you who found solace in reading during the pandemic. Many blessings to those of you, like me, who didn’t. Let’s be kind to each other, and to ourselves.

Helpful Hints

  • If you read most of your books electronically, or through library loans, consider setting up a virtual bookshelf on Pinterest.
  • Another option for a virtual bookshelf is to set up a profile on Goodreads. Be sure to fill in a start and end date for each book you complete. You can even set up a reading challenge for the year.
  • My list includes books I read and books I listen to while traveling. (again, not much traveling this year) There are wonderful, free audiobooks available through your local library and via streaming if you subscribe to Amazon Prime.

So my friends here’s my 2020 bookshelf. I hope it encourages you and that you find a treasure or two. Should it be helpful to you, I’m glad to provide more feedback on specific selections. Just leave a comment below. Also, feel free to leave your book recommendations in the comments.

Happy reading. Happy exploring. Happy growing. – Lisa <><

Novels

Memoirs

Bible Study and Theology

Devotionals and Spiritual Practices

Prayers for a New Year

huge clock

Please let me know the artist of this piece that I may give him/her credit.

Prayer at Year’s End by Steve Garnaas Holmes
Eternal God,
in the evening of this year
I release the year to you.
Not a day, not a breath, have I been without you,
and I thank you.
All that I have done is done;
what I have not done I have not done.
All of my sins and errors you have forgiven,
and I release them.
All of my triumphs are your doing,
and I release them.
The year is gathered into your harvest,
to winnow and to save.
My life is gathered into your grace.
By your spirit in me may I learn from my mistakes,
grow from my wounds,
and deepen in gratitude for my gifts.
And now I turn to a new year,
grateful for your presence and your grace,
seeking only to live in harmony with your delight,
and open to your blessing and your leading.
Whether my journey onward be long or short,
it shall be in you, and I rejoice.
Amen.

O Mystery, remind me of my end, and how measured my days;
keep me mindful how fleeting my life is. —Psalm 39:4

Letting Go by Steve Garnaas Holmes
Before I step into the new year
I let go of the old one.
What I have done I have done.
What I have not done I have not done.
So be it. I release my regret.
I stand with myself.

For all the gifts I have received,
known and unknown, I am grateful.
However I have suffered I accept.
I learn what I can and move on.
Whatever others have done that hurt me,
I forgive. I learn and move on.
For however I have failed or fallen short,
I forgive myself. I learn and move on.

I release my fears.
I release my self-doubt, blame and self-silencing.
My hopes and dreams I place in God’s hands,
trusting what is blessed will remain with me.

I am alive, and life is good.
I open myself to the future,
enfolded in this present.
Holy Mystery, I am yours.
I am here, now.

Gratitude for a New Year by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
For the blessings of today
which remind us of the blessings of the past
which point forward to the blessings still to come
we give you thanks

Prayer for a New Year, based on Psalm 90 by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
ONE:
Eternal and Immortal One,
You have been our refuge from age to age.
Before the mountains were born,
Before the earth and the world came to birth,
From eternity to eternity,
You are God.

ALL:
To you, a thousand years are like a yesterday
Like a watch of the night

ONE:
You return us to dust
You sweep us away like a dream
We are like grass
In the morning we thrive,
We blossom
But come evening,
We are withered and dry

ALL:
Teach us to number our days
That we may gain your wise heart

Fill us with your faithful love
That we may sing your joyful story

Show us your wondrous deeds
That we may see your transforming power
That generations to come may see it as well

Let your favor, O God be upon us,
That the work of our hands
May bear forth your blessing
And bring your glory. Amen.

penitence by larry poncho brown

Penitence by Larry Poncho Brown

Prayer of Confession for a New Year
by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

As the new year is born,
We remember and regret…

Forgive us, Holy One,
When we keep You at a distance
When we defy your bidding
When we make it harder
for people to know you

Forgive us, Holy One,
When we deny our weakness
When we wallow in our weakness
When we take advantage
of the weakness of others

Forgive us, Holy One,
When we refuse Your counsel
When we waste your gifts
When we withhold Your compassion from others

Silent Confession

As the new year is born
We labor to look forward
Our hearts fill with hope
For you are making all things new
even us… Amen

A New Year’s Blessing by Steve Garnaas Holmes
My hope and prayer and confidence
is that in this new year
God will be lovingly present for you,
and you will more and more deeply trust
God’s delight in you.
Christ will lead you every step of the new year.
The Spirit’s gifts will unfold in you in new ways.
I rejoice that in this new year
beauty will surround you; grace will enfold you;
love will embrace and uphold you;
joy will bless you, and hope sustain you.
May you receive healing and wisdom;
may your creativity flower and your courage grow;
and in your hands may justice and mercy flourish.
I rejoice that these gifts await you in the new year,
and pray that you receive them with delight.
I give thanks for the gift of sharing together
the journey of this new year.
God bless us all.

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Click Here for a collection of quotes entitled Counting Our Days

Thank you to Steve Garnaas Holmes for his generosity in allowing me to share his work on my blog. Please, consider subscribing to his blog, www.unfoldinglight.net.

Gratitude for a New Year © 2015 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Prayer for a New Year, based on Psalm 90 © 2013 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Prayer of Confession for the New Year © 2012 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

You are welcome to use these prayers in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please leave a comment for information and permission to publish them in any form

Three Key Steps for Spiritual Goal Setting

assorted color stained glass

Photo by Matthew T Rader on Pexels.com

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NRSV
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.

The journey of faith is a journey of transformation- one degree to another. Expect to be transformed. Embrace it. Seek it. The Holy Spirit provides grace and empowerment for change. We provide receptivity and intentionality.

Transformation thrives in the company of grace-full friends. Gather 2 or 3 trusted souls. Answer the following questions for yourself and listen as others share. Listen without judging, offering an opinion, or sharing advice (fixing). Pray for one another now and in the coming weeks as you encourage one another in the Spirit’s good work.

1. Embrace the Possibilities

  • What are you asking the Holy Spirit to do in your life? Name the spiritual goal.
  • Is this a God-sized vision or something safe you could do in your own strength?
  • How will this change bring glory to God and/or build up others?

2. Face the truth of the Problem

  • What keeps this from happening?
  • What is beyond your control?
  • What is your responsibility?
  • What might be push back from the evil one?

3. Take a step forward in the Process of New Life

  • What practical step must you take to do your part in the transforming work of God?
  • Name it and set a deadline to start it.

What questions would you add to this list?

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Three Key Steps for Spiritual Goal Setting © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Here am I – Prayers based on Luke 1.26-38, The Annunciation

annunciation-patricia-brintle

Annunciation by Patricia Brintle

Prayer: Mary’s Welcome
Holy Spirit, come
Into the smallness of my life
Into the bewilderment of my being
Into fears that must be faced

Holy Spirit, come
Into the backwoods of my world
Into the places people forget
Into places people put down… what good can come from there

Holy Spirit, welcome
Here am I, the servant of the Lord
Let it be with me according to your word
Amen

Prayer: You Are With Me
I am favored
I am blessed
because you are with me

I am unafraid
Known by name
because you are with me

You are help and home
You are servant and sanctuary
The impossible possible
because you are with me
in me
upon me
let it be
let it be

Like Our Sister Mary,
An Affirmation of Faith for Christmas

Like our sister Mary, we say yes

Yes to your favor
Your presence
Your blessing

Yes that we are enough just as we are
Where we are

Yes to your calling
and the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon us to fulfill it

Yes to bearing and birthing
Your Word and your Promises and your Kingdom
in this time and place

Yes to all things being possible with you

Like our sister Mary we say
Here I am, the Lord’s humble servant
As you have said, let it be done to me
in me
through me

Like our sister Mary we sing and celebrate you
Our God, Our Liberator
For though we are your humble servants
You have noticed us
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Mary’s Welcome © 2010 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You Are With Me © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Like Our Sister Mary © 2017 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. (by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, http://www.revlisad.com) Please leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.