Archive for April, 2016


Maizie’s Musings: The Tub…


Before you get your furless fur in a twist (The fact that furless fur can twist is not a plus, in my humble opinion and it sounds painful!), I’m not speaking about that heinous bathroom cavern where the Dad person gets me wet and soapy. I’m talking about the good tub–the one containing my canine food. I have to be specific, because I also get people food.

For some reason the people food isn’t as plentiful as it was when I was a pup. The Mom person says it’s because I’m a little more fluffy than I should be. Even though I’ve lost something called “pounds,” I’m still not getting very much people food. And this is very distressing. Because the people food almost always tastes better than my canine food.

Even the canine food isn’t as good as it used to be because the Mom person says that it’s Healthy Weight canine food. I have no earthly idea what that means, but all I know is that the canine food just doesn’t seem to have quite the same pizzazz as it used to have.

However, I am particularly happy when the Mom or Dad person brings me a huge bag of that Healthy Weight canine food. Why? Because the new stuff is always better than the old tub stuff. I don’t know why, but it’s true.

Unfortunately, the Mom person requires me to finish the tub food first. What up with that??? Why won’t she just pour in the new bagged stuff right away? It seems like a huge insult and injustice. I’m thinking of suing….if I ever figure out what suing is.

According to the other dogs in my “territory,” if I sue I have to have a lawyer. So, anyone know a good canine lawyer? I’m thinking the resident cats might be good candidates. Why?

They’re sneaky and generally hate all humans. They’re convinced humans are a Communist plot designed to bring down their feline reign. They seem to know how to manipulate the humans without doing tricks or sitting and staying. That works for me!

But, I digress…back to the tub food. I have figured out one way around the old tub food issue. If I empty my bowl as quickly as the Mom person puts it in my bowl, I get another scoop of canine food. If I do that often enough, eventually she has to give me the bag stuff!

One day this week, however, she cut me off. I was not amused. I gave her my most disdainful look ever and the woman had the gall to actually laugh at me. Grrr.

Will cats take dog bones as a retainer?

Monday’s Post: What seems mellifluous to you?

You Might Also Like: Maizie’s Musings: My Toothpicks and Maizie’s Musings: I Went; They Left


Coming To My Senses…


Sensing spirituality, or sensate prayer, concentrates on the here and now, unlike intuitive prayer that looks for the mystical in life. I confess that I honestly did not see the point of sensate prayer in the beginning, being a much more intuitive kind of person.

However, now that I have experienced sensate prayer for myself a few times, I not only saw its relevancy and helpfulness in my walk with the Lord, but decided to develop a retreat session utilizing sensate prayer! This is a pretty big “leap of faith” for myself!

In sensate prayer one gathers a variety of every day items that will appeal to all of your senses. In our HeartPaths group, we had aromatic spices to smell, semi-sweet chocolate to taste, sandpaper to feel, and shells to listen to, among other items. We were first directed to close our eyes and allow our senses to notice all the sounds, feelings, tastes and smells just naturally around us in our meeting room.


Word of the Week: mellifluous

Dictionary --Word of the Week

Good morning, Friends! Last week’s WOW (Word of the Week) was longueur. This one stumped everybody, so here’s what Merriam-Webster Online had to say about it: a boring part of something (such as a book or play). Hmmm…could WOW be longueur??? I hope not!

Today’s WOW is mellifluous. I feel like I’ve heard this word before, but I can’t pull out the definition from my memory, so here are my guesses for it:

mellifluous (me-ˈli-flə-wəs) 1. full of Mello  Yello 2. a melodic tune 3. infatuated with Mel Gibson

What’s your guess for mellifluous? Submit it in a comment here!

Wednesday’s Post: Sensate Prayer

You Might Also Like: Word of the Week: longueur and Word of the Week: legerdemain


Slow Reader Friday: Praying Our Experiences


I would love to tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed Praying Our Experiences by Joseph F. Schmidt, but this book was assigned by HeartPaths at a time when I was extremely busy at Compassion Counseling Center. In addition it came at a time when we were honestly struggling to help our youngest son through some difficult times.

I say that because I may not have given this book a fair shake. I do think that the book could have been better written and that I already seem to do much of what was suggested.

If you’ve been to this blog more than once, you’ve probably noticed that brevity is not my thing. And thus, I think I spot verbosity faster than anyone. My lack of it causes me to be overly critical of others with the same challenge. In Praying Our Experiences I felt that the points could have been made much more succinctly–there was a lot of repetition.


How’s Your Intuition?

What Path Are You On?

What Path Are You On?

As discussed last Wednesday, I am an INFP soul type. This means that I really enjoy exploring the mystical side of Christianity. What do I mean by mystical? Just that God is mysterious and He does not always operate in quantifiable, verifiable fact. Often, He speaks to us and works in the world around us “in the spiritual realm” and thus, we may not always exactly understand what He’s up to and how He can communicate with us.

HeartPaths caters to the INFP crowd, no doubt. We readily embrace that God can speak to us through our inner voice, which we generally refer to as the Holy Spirit. And we believe that God is definitely interested in what we will do with our lives in the future. He has a plan and He would really like us to get “with the program” and be in tune with what He is doing.

Enter Visio Divina, a prayer practice that finds the spiritual meaning in graphic images, photos and pictures. The day we practiced Visio Divina our meeting room was filled with two sizable tables full of photographs of nature. Most were from calendars. I wondered how well I was going to adapt to this prayer style, since I don’t think I appreciate nature as I should.

The lack of appreciation is more about the fact that to appreciate nature, one often has to be in nature. And as I have alluded to here before, being in nature usually results in a lot of sneezing, blowing my nose, taking allergy meds and then turning to migraine meds when the allergy meds clear up the congestion a little too well! Thus, I don’t often get much time to focus on how God might be trying to talk to me through nature.

Thankfully, I’m not allergic to calendar pictures!

We were instructed to go around the tables and select a picture that “called to us.” I, being Ms. Thorough in such situations, looked at all the pictures on the table first. About 4 or 5 “called to me,” most of which had some path or steps in the picture. The one I liked most was selected by another person in my group and so I landed on a rather wild, but groomed black top path in a garden. The picture had some rather old stones in it and the plantings were quite obviously mature and had been there a long time.

As I returned to our circle of chairs, we were told to just study the picture and ask God to tell us why we were called to that photo. Since we had about 10 minutes of silence to thoroughly look at every nook and cranny of this picture, I began to notice things I wouldn’t have ordinarily appreciated. Here is what I wrote in my prayer journal that day:

“It immediately reminded me of a picture in my mind I had of the Shack‘s garden which the protagonist didn’t want weeded and beautiful growth pulled out to create a new, even more beautiful garden. The Holy Spirit pointed out to the protagonist that pulling out the dead/unproductive parts of his life…allow for even more beautiful parts to grow in their place.

I think the photo was saying, “I am creating a new creation in you, MaryAnn. You don’t want to surrender things that are precious to you, even though they are no longer useful. In clinging to old things, there is no room for me to replace them with even better things.”

The path was paved, but littered with natural debris and that reminded me that my life doesn’t have to be perfect to be a beautiful representation of God at work in my life. Also, while the picture was full of lush greenery, I was more drawn to the vivid pops of color from wild flowers growing along the path. But I realized that I probably wouldn’t notice those pops of color without the lush green background. I began to realize that even though the greenery seemed dull, it served a purpose that helped to produce beauty.

In my own life I tend to “separate” the mundane aspects of my life from this mystical little adventure I’m on and I felt like God was saying that even the mundane is part of His plan. I didn’t fully get why He was bringing this to my attention back in January when I wrote the above excerpt, but I sure do get it now. We’ve been encouraged to be contemplative all day long, walking with a certain posture and trying to bring God into everything we do.

I often think of quiet monks tending fields and even washing dishes and what they might be striving to do while attending to these tasks. Monks move slowly and quietly in their tasks and it occurs to me that when I emulate them, I am actually more efficient because I have time to think about the most efficient way to get something done!

And, trying to be as quiet as possible while washing dishes is a challenge, but if I were in a monastery, I might interrupt another’s prayers if I’m clashing the plates together and letting cupboard doors slam shut. Stillness is often where we find God, so if I can learn to be quieter as I do certain jobs, I might find God more often in my life!

There were also remnants of old stones along the more modern path and yet, this contrast was quite beautiful, even those the stones were worn down with time and parts of them were missing. This reminded me that the parts of my life that I consider ugly actually add to the overall beauty of my walk with the Lord and I shouldn’t be ashamed of them–I should quietly rejoice that they now add something beautiful to my life!

The calendar picture now is “back cover” of my HeartPaths binder and is an ever present reminder that while I may very well be “in progress,” there is much to appreciate about where I am right now and that it’s okay for the unproductive parts of my life to be pulled up for something far better in the future. In March and April God sure did some “weeding” in my life that is still ongoing, and honestly, it’s been very painful. But, I can already feel God “planting new seeds” into my own spiritual garden and I can’t wait to see what “blooms” next.

Friday’s Post: Book Club Time!

You Might Also Like: How Are You Feeling?; The Wild Child; Out of Breath?; and Slow Reader Friday: Creating a Life with God


Word of the Week: longueur

Dictionary --Word of the Week

Good morning, Word Nerds! Last week’s WOW was legerdemain. We had one guess that it meant slight of hand or magic-like. According to Merriam-Webster Online legerdemain means: skill in using your hands to perform magic tricks, so the guess is absolutely correct! I wonder if legerdemain would be useful in making the clutter in my house disappear. Hmmm….

Today’s WOW is longueur. I think there’s a French basis for this word, too, so maybe that will pay off somehow, but I’m not holding my breath over here:

longueur: (lōⁿ-ˈgœr) 1. an interminably long event  2. the act of being vertical 3. a tall person

What’s your guess for longueur? Submit a guess below this post!

Wednesday’s Post: It May Be More than Woman’s Intuition

You May Also Like: Word of the Week: legerdemain and Word of the Week: ex cathedra


Log Rhythms: All I Ever Wanted to Know About Logs…and Then Some

Square-logged cabin

Square-logged cabin

I’ve been asked by several folks to post about how one approaches designing and building a log cabin in the 21st century. Today I will begin to outline the steps my hubby and I took to get to where we are today: ready for construction.

I have a sneaky suspicion he and I were exceptionally particular about this process compared to most and that may be why people are asking us to write about it. They’d either like the information because a log cabin has been a dream for them, too or because it seems so wild that we would embark on this journey at this point in U.S. history and in our lives.

Because it turned into a lengthy process, I’m going to outline the first steps we took and then post in May about the rest of that process. Here are the Lessons Learned from the “early going” and what we’d recommend to others:


How Are You Feeling?


You don’t need to be a shrink type like me to be familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which breaks down personality characteristics into 16 types, based on 4 scales with extremes at either end. Honestly? I have not been a huge fan of Myers-Briggs in the past. My type never really seemed to define me well.

Until now.

HeartPaths feels that it is patently wrong to “program” how people build and form a relationship with God unless personality types are taken into account and there is programming for a lot of different types of people. A book called SoulTypes addresses how the Myers-Briggs test can be used to indicate how different personality types might need different kinds of spiritual practices and different kinds of worship.

I was excited about this book in the beginning, probably because of the psych background, but the writing style drove me nuts. It was a little too formulaic for me and I kept re-writing it in my head (a chronic disease if you are a writer or blogger!). But the recommendations for my particular soul type were right on target…now.


Word of the Week: legerdemain

Dictionary --Word of the Week

Good morning, Word Lovers! Last week’s WOW (Word of the Week) was ex cathedra. The father-in-law had a guess for this one again (I need to pick tougher words???). According to Merriam-Webster Online ex cathedra means: by virtue of or in the exercise of one’s office or position. The father-in-law had a more specific take on it, as an official pronouncement from the Pope that is believed to be without error. More than likely that is how ex cathedra is used most often. Too bad my children didn’t think of my parenting as ex cathedra. Hmmm….

Today’s WOW is legerdemain. My French brain is going off right now and it remembers that demain means tomorrow in French, so let’s see how close I get to the correct definition this time:

legerdemain (le-jər-də-ˈmān) 1. the entry one puts into a ledger after receiving an IRS audit notification 2. the hope a short person has for longer legs in the future 3. procrastination

What’s your guess for legerdemain? Put a comment below to let me know your guess!

Wednesday’s Post: Feeling Prayer

You Might Also Like: Word of the Week: ex cathedra and Word of the Week: diapason


Maizie’s Musings: My Toothpicks…


The Real Author of MIP…at least on Fridays

Geez, Louise….I really had to wrestle that keyboard out of the Mom person’s hands today. I mean…I shook my head and everything and she still wouldn’t let go of it. What is with her and that keyboard anyway?! I just wanted to reassure all of you that I hadn’t disappeared from my stellar writing career and tell you about my favorite toothpicks. I love this time of year because it’s when I get a lot of my toothpicks.

The Mom person has been going outside this week to take the toothpicks off the winged invaders’ homes. Unlike human toothpicks, these toothpicks have soft green things on them that I think are rather annoying. They get in the way of me creating toothpicks the way I like them.

I mean, these toothpicks are so large that they would never get my snacks out from between my teeth. I have to break them down into smaller pieces to get them to fit and this is a time-consuming process as it is, so having to pull those soft green things off of them is a pain!