more on rules . . .

A little while ago, I wrote a post on the Iona Community and their Rule of Life.  You can find it here. My church is spending a year exploring Celtic spirituality and worship renewal. We had an author/speaker come last week and he introduced us to The Community of Aiden and Hilda (here in the States, but also the UK group).

This community’s principles resonate with me. It is a small group here in the States, but there are opportunities for conversation and community that are much closer to home.  There is a FB group, they hold retreats, and lots of ways to be connected. It is also part of a larger global (UK based) group.

Since it is a dispersed group it relies on the use of a “soul friend” which is someone you choose to hold you accountable to your Rule of Life.  The three principles or vows are: Simplicity, Chastity & Obedience. I’m summing these up as I currently understand them . . . I’m also praying about whether this is a good fit for me. I have my church home, my spiritual companion group, and I think this just might fill the niche of accountability in all the areas I have been wondering about. It is definitely something to continue to think and pray about.

  • Simplicity is being willing to be rich or poor (as God directs) and not give in to the temptation to be greedy, possessive, or to manipulate creation and others in order to move from poor to rich or rich to poor — in other words, be content where you are and with what you have.
  • Chastity is accepting the totality of our being (and others being), maintaining purity in marriage or a call to singleness. Respecting both marriage and singleness.
  • Obedience is a joyful longing to follow God. It is respect for those he has placed in authority over us.

There are 10 Elements of the Way of Life:

  1. Study and Application  . . . daily Bible reading, study the history of the Celtic church, saints and feast days, study of desert fathers and mothers — But not just an intellectual exercise, but to learn how to live.
  2. The Soul Friend . . . meet at least twice a year, regular retreats and pilgrimage.
  3. Daily rhythm of prayer, work and rest . . .daily office & prayer, engage in productive work which does not conflict with the Way of Life, and holy rest and recreation.
  4. Intercessory Prayer . . . “storming the gates of heaven”
  5. Simplicity of Lifestyle . . . live simply that others may simply live (income, savings, possessions, being a steward not a possessor), simple beauty of creation, all things ordered to liberate rather than overload and clutter the soul, times of feasting and fasting, hospitality and generosity.
  6. Care for creation . . . ecologically aware, pray for creation and creatures, stand against all that would violate and destroy.
  7. Wholeness Not Fragmentation . . . not self-sufficient and autonomous.
  8. Openness to the Spirit . . .  “put to sea in a coracle”, learning to listen, cultivate interior silence and respond to the promptings of God, widen our horizons.
  9. Unity and Community. . . all fellow Christians as “pilgrims together.” cultivate a solidarity, shed attitudes and practices that divide people by class, color & creed, repent of our own part in these divisions.
  10. Mission . . . “The goal of the way of life is to develop a disciplined spirituality that will make us effective in our witness to Christ in the world.” “Our mission also includes speaking out for the poor, the powerless and those unjustly treated in our society, and to minister with them as God directs.”

low impact exercise

Exercise and movement are so important to our being fit and healthy. It takes surprisingly little to get your workouts in at home.

99DB86F3-66B5-4214-BFBD-EFFE6865FCCE80A8C97B-B27F-412B-A227-991524B9B17D

I’m currently using–

For cardio three days a week:  my trainers, a jump rope, and my bike.  I use the HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) variety.  I take a daily walk as soon as the sun is up to get my daily dose of sunshine. I consider the walk an activity not an exercise.

For strength training three days a week: 2 x 5 pound weights, 2 x 8 pound weights, 1 x 12 pound weight, and a set of fitness bands.  I do an upper body push (counter push-up &  military press), an upper body pull (row, standing pull-up), a lower body pull (dead lift, hip-hinges), a lower body push (squat), balance (just standing around on one foot), and core (planks, dead bugs & Russian twists)

For flexibility training every day: a yoga mat, a yoga strap, a yoga block, and a bolster. I do a slow, steady, home practice that mirrors an old Jason Crandell video where you do 4 poses for each area you are focusing on . . . so using Sun Salutations you work in 4 shoulder, 4 hips, 4 abs, 4 leg, then a couple of balance moves, legs-up-the-wall series and finally savasana.

For mindfulness every day: BCP (with Laud and Vespers daily) and Headspace meditation app.

Easter

Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by thy life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives, and reigns with the you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and for ever. Amen.

 

3rd day of Christmas

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . .

4CC2E6ED-2E81-4229-AD07-C5B89EA616EC

John 1:14—-And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

Apostles’ Creed: I believe in God . . . And in Jesus Christ his only son . , . I believe in the Holy Ghost.

Housekeeping

F5C72BC3-C00A-47D6-8306-013B135D9558

My favorite definition of housekeeping is: the replenishing of good things and the removal of unnecessary things.

I like this definition because it acknowledges that we need good things and we need to remove other things. One way I implement this definition is the “one in — one out” rule. If I buy one pair of socks, another pair must be ready for either the garbage or Goodwill (depending on why it is being removed). When our electric teapot dies, then I can get a new one. I don’t bring one into the house “just in case.”

Replenish the Good Things
I have monthly lists set up on Amazon, Akamai, and Grove that help keep our cleaning supplies, dog food, pen refills, 3-in1 bar, skin fuel, toothpaste, kitchen towels, etc streamlined. It takes about 5 minutes a month to double-check the lists and make any changes necessary.

This means when I go to the grocery store it is for food. I don’t get distracted by the other aisles and my grocery money doesn’t get spent on household needs. They each have their own line in the budget.

I keep a running list in the Notes app on my phone of clothing sizes, needs, and preferred colors/brands for each member of the family.

Lately, I have been bringing home plants or flowers to green up our indoors and provide some much needed cheer and color. We have so much green outside during most of the year, but late fall and winter can seem pretty bleak. It surprises me that I have such a hard time keeping indoor plants alive. I don’t know if I overwater or underwater or what other mistake might be at play. There is definitely a learning curve!

Removing the Unnecessary Things
This might possibly be my favorite part of housekeeping. Weird, I know.

There is always a bag sitting on the bench by the front door for donations. Sometimes it takes a week to fill, sometimes a month. Our current bag has been there for 4 weeks and still isn’t full. We are in a pretty good place stuff-wise since we undertook this journey mindset.

Garbage is another area where we are removing the unnecessary stuff. We sort ours into burnable (paper, cardboard, etc) and non-burnable. Our family of 4 adults fills two thirteen gallon bags per week. It is mostly plastic wrapping from frozen vegetables, fruits, vegetables, and meat trays. We have been trying for years, with varying degrees of success, to eliminate plastic from our lives. There are still days when the can seems full of strawberry bins and mixed greens bins. All I can do is sigh, break them down into small pieces, and wish for an easier solution.

Food scraps are another area of removal. We compost all that can be composted, but there are still bones, food with grease/oil, and other things best left out of a compost pile. Those end up dumped into the garbage bin. In fact, if it wasn’t for this bit we could probably get a way with paper bin liners instead of plastic. Those scraps bring raccoons and neighbors’ dogs from all around to the outdoor garbage can if we don’t have them wrapped in plastic.

I could go on and on about removing the unnecessary things, but perhaps that is another blog post for another day.