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Kim Tomsic

Sunday, February 28, 2010

What stage have you achieved in your spiritual journey?

BOOK REVIEW: Where is God in Your Life?

Do you feel stuck in your quest to know God? Have you been around a person who has such warm and beautiful energy that their pores breathe perfect and radiant peace? Fear does not define any part of their life; they are not driven toward recognition yet they clearly and brightly reflect God and you can’t help but notice them. You may pray, go to a church, and have a great family, but you know you don’t feel satisfied on the same level as your glowing friend.

Where is God in your Life: Three Retreats in Christian Spirituality by Susan M. Provost is a new book available on Amazon. Ms Provost’s book explores the teachings expressed by Janet Hagberg and Robert Guelich and examines the six stages of a person’s faith journey: (1)Recognition of God; (2)The life of discipleship; (3)the productive life; (4)the journey inward and meeting the wall; (5)the journey outward; (6)and the life of love. Ms. Provost challenges that most people can achieve stages one through three within their church community, but there is little support currently available to help a person realize stages four through six. Where is God in your Life and the workshops designed around Ms. Provost’s teachings offer a platform to help people arrive at the final three profound levels when traveling the road to faith.

Mrs. Provost says, “the problem that many people face, who are looking to move forward on their spiritual journey, is where to begin.” You can begin on page one, but Ms. Provost advises before cracking open the first pages of her book that you throw away any notion you may have about a punishing God and open your heart to discover the God of love.

The book includes three different two-day workshops for varying levels of a person’s faith experience (novice to veteran). The main topics include: spirituality, understanding the soul, Christian spirituality, God’s presence, prayer, and spirituality within the community. Where is God in your Life can be read individually or it can be used as the foundation in a retreat setting. Where is God in your Life provides seminar plans that are organized in such detail that the group leader simply needs to show up—the readings, the music, the time schedule, the ice breaker activities (including a crazy one with a roll of toilet paper) are prearranged to achieve an insightful, fun, and structured experience.

Mrs. Provost says that “our culture encourages the need to be constantly in motion,” but she also asserts that “we cannot notice God working in our lives when we do not take the time to stop…these workshops are designed to give those searching for a relationship with God the tools to know where to begin and how to proceed on their spiritual journey…” Mrs. Provost wants you to have the tools to become the radiant stage six person described in the first paragraph; to learn how to surrender to God unafraid and with your eyes wide open.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I look forward to the debut of Robin Becker's Brains

(from Janet Reid's blog)
sounds like a fun read!

Fiction: Debut
Robin Becker's BRAINS: a zombie memoir, the first-person account of a college professor-turned-zombie who retains his sentience and recruits others like him on a heroic quest to fend off the living while searching for the meaning of un-life, to Gabe Robinson at Harper, in a nice deal, for publication in Summer 2010
RE: Escalating No Phone Zone Pledge to the No Home Zone Crusade

The influence Oprah harnesses by speaking a few words is nothing short of extraordinary. It’s like watching the wind whip a flock of moths on a new course. People don’t complain about the infectious sway her opinion holds over the majority because Oprah has proven to be a brilliant steward of her powerful gust. Currently, Oprah is using her persuasive energy to encourage people to give up a wide spread addiction: cell phone use while driving. Her campaign is called No Phone Zone.

Forfeiting phone use in the car is a sandy pill to choke down—many of us have become accustomed to the convenience of getting our to-do list done on the road. It’s handy to respond to emails at red lights, search movie listings while waiting for trains to pass, and make quick return calls at toll booths.

Many Internet users are on the No Phone Zone campaign trail; a shocking email blast is currently filling inboxes. It shows graphic images of a decapitated person and what’s left of his mangled car after an accident—one which was allegedly caused by a texting driver. Oprah may be on to something with her No Phone Zone campaign, but I wonder if the crusade should be on a broader spectrum…something on the magnitude of No Home Zone.

Driving down the road feeling traumatized by the above mentioned email blast, I was on the lookout for dangerous cell phone users. As I arrived at a red light, I took an anxious peek to my right and sure enough, a teen was on her Hubba Bubba pink phone; turning to my left, I saw a business man with a phone, no wait, not a phone but an electric razor clutched in his hand. I looked in my mirrors for an escape route from these dangerous drivers, and in the car behind me, there was a college student brushing her teeth and spiting into an empty water bottle. When the light turned green, the shaver pulled away, giving his chin a clean mowing. I continued driving, nervous now of both cell phone users as well as people seeking morning hygiene. Slowing to a safe distance from the shaver, talker, and brusher, I decided to change lanes, so I signaled and glanced to my blind spot only to discover the thirty-something man reading a magazine while driving! With my heart now bumping hard in my chest, I safely made a left turn, but felt overwhelmed with the amount of passing drivers toting Big Gulps and coffee mugs (I’ve heard the dangers of driving with hot coffee is equal to drunk driving).

Oprah’s campaign, No Phone Zone, invites people to “pledge to make [their] car a No Phone Zone.” I urge you to make it a No Home Zone—leave your novel, tooth brush, coffee mug, and coupon clipping at home. Oprah’s commitment states, “Beginning right now, I will do my part to help put an end to distracted driving by pledging the safest driving behavior I can commit to.” For more information, visit http://www.oprah.com/packages/no-phone-zone.html.

The conveniences cell phones offer in seemingly innocuous circumstances may tempt you to the next step—using features not just at red lights or toll booths, but while driving. It’s devilishly tempting to just click on that yoga app and check the next time for a Corepower class, and it’s oh so enticing to glance at your screen when you hear the beckoning bell, alerting you of a new message; and when you read the message, “want to have lunch”, it’s quick to zap in the three simple letters to reply “yes.” Do you hear the many justifiers used to make cell phone use while driving sound okay—just click, glance, brief response. So go ahead and make the pledge; people are proven to be more likely to follow through on a good idea when they make an oath. And in addition to choosing the “no texting while driving” option, mentally commit to the vow of no flossing, tweezing, reading, sandwich making, and hair braiding while driving too.

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