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Journal - Agatha Nolen

Agatha Nolen

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Journal - Agatha Nolen
Journal - Agatha Nolen

Journal - Agatha Nolen

Agatha Nolen

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Putting God First and the Holy Relationships that flow from Our First Love

Latest Episodes

Camino Preparations- Community- Week 1

The busyness of life seems to be constantly nipping at my heels. With my contemplative orientation, I crave periods of rest and time to think without worldly distractions.But I’ve come to appreciate that my faith has really blossomed during times of community, particularly when I travel with groups of Christians to faraway places. The shared bond of being bound through Christ as well as the ability to get away from my “normal world” makes for fertile ground for the Holy Spirit to enter the space with a clear voice.My first adult “retreat” to New Mexico was with a group of Singles from a large Baptist Church in Oklahoma City when I had just finished college. I remember clearly the crisp evening air for long walks, but I still cherish the deep conversations that were inspired by my traveling companions. My next experience was what brought me to the Episcopal Church: A trip to South Africa to serve at a small church in Kagiso. It was a turning point for me post breast cancer to be...

2 MIN2 weeks ago
Comments
Camino Preparations- Community- Week 1

Camino Preparations- Pilgrimage- Week 2

Credencial del Peregrino This week my Camino preparation is to read “Pilgrimage: a journey within” by Br. Geoffrey Tristram of The Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE), an Episcopal Monastery in Cambridge, MA. You can read the entire reflection as an on-line magazine or as a PDF copy.Although I am making a physical journey to Spain, it is not about the going, it is about the changes from within.Br. Tristram writes:“Whether or not each of us eventually chooses to embark on a physical pilgrimage at some point in our life, we are all of us called to set out, ever afresh, on the inner kind of pilgrimage, the pilgrimage of the heart. We are called, in the words of Jerome, to “live for Jerusalem,” as we follow Christ on a journey of growth and transformation. “Come follow me. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (Jn 14:6). Christianity has never been a static body of doctrine, but rather is a dynamic way of life. The first term used in the New Testament to describe Christian...

4 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
Camino Preparations- Pilgrimage- Week 2

Camino Preparations- The Examen- Week 3

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556) are a compilation of meditations, prayers, and contemplative practices developed by St. Ignatius to help people deepen their relationship with God.The Prayer of Examen is a daily spiritual exercise in remembering and is often practiced twice per day at noon and at the end of the day.PRESENCE OF GODFirst, I begin with a PAUSE and a slow, deep breath or two to become aware that I am in the PRESENCE OF GOD.THANKSGIVING (more examples below)Next is a time of THANKSGIVING when I review what I am especially grateful for in the past hours:The gift of another day...The love and support I have received...The courage I have mustered...An event that took place today...PETITIONThird is a time of PETITION where I ask for the light to know God and to know myself as God sees me. This prepares me for the next step where I REVIEW the day:REVIEW (more examples below)Rather than trying to interpret, justify, or rationalize, just take time to r...

5 MINSEP 16
Comments
Camino Preparations- The Examen- Week 3

Camino Preparations- My Dream Job- Week 4

This week I am preparing for my Camino Walk in October by contemplating my dream job. I hope to retire within the next few years and this will be important as I may not have a “full-time job”, but I will still have 24 hours in each day that need to be spent wisely.I looked over my list of 20 Favorite Things To Do to narrow down the activities that bring me joy.My dream job would contain the following elements:1. Creativity- I enjoy writing and photography. I have authored a blog since September 2010 and usually write a short article each week. My website topic is: “On our relationship with God, and the relationships that flow from our first love.” I sprinkle in some photographs, usually of places I visit, the zoo, or flowers. 2. Contemplation/Prayer- I enjoy contemplative retreats, particularly at The Society of St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal Monastery in Cambridge, MA and the peacefulness of the Chapel at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Nashville. I am a member of the ...

5 MINSEP 9
Comments
Camino Preparations- My Dream Job- Week 4

Camino Preparations-Praying with Anglican Prayer Beads- Week 5

Only five weeks left until I start my pilgrimage to walk the Camino de Santiago. In preparation, this week, I’m practicing an ancient tradition of praying with prayer beads. The subject of my praying this week is each of the twenty-two Pilgrims, by name, who will be on the walk with me, as well as the twelve pilgrims who will be traveling in a second group and seeing grant sites in the same areas of Spain. I’m also praying for Bishop Lozano (the Bishop of Spain) and Canon Spencer Reese, (the Canon to the Ordinary to Bishop Lozano) who will be joining us for portions of the trip.I’ve gotten a number of Anglican prayer beads from Unspoken Elements, a company in Winter Springs, FL. I like their explanation of the history of the prayer beads as well as how many different ways they can be used for prayer with their 33 beads. Some people may repeat the Jesus Prayer (Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner), or others may use different prayers. This week I pray for 34 pilgrim...

3 MINSEP 2
Comments
Camino Preparations-Praying with Anglican Prayer Beads- Week 5

Camino Preparations- Stop, Pray, Work, Play, Love- Week 6

How often do I moan that I don’t have enough time?This week as I prepare for my Camino walk, I’m reviewing a workshop I attended at The Society of St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal Monastery in Cambridge, MA. It's time to...Stop, Pray, Work, Play & Love“So much of our stress and anxiety derives from our pollution of Time. God has given us the gift of time, and called it holy, yet we often experience time as a curse. Recapture time as a giftand discover how to experience the joy of the present moment.”— Br. Geoffrey TristramI remember a turning point in my life was sitting in a monastery chapel and hearing the opening verses of Psalm 62: “Only in God is my soul at rest. From Him comes my salvation.”I realized how I was filling up time and exhausting myself through work. When had my life and the world gotten so far out of balance?As I worked through the workbook in Lent 2015, I acknowledged that there is a cadence to life. It is a rhythm that needs to be constantly reset wi...

2 MINAUG 26
Comments
Camino Preparations- Stop, Pray, Work, Play, Love- Week 6

Camino Preparations- 20 Things I Like To Do. An Analysis.

I’ve spent time this week contemplating my list of 20 things I like to do from Monday’s blog post. David Brooks in The Second Mountain says that “happiness is good, but joy is better. Just as the second mountain is a fuller and richer phase of life after the first mountain, joy is a fuller and richer state beyond happiness…The more you are living a committed life well, the more joy will be your steady state, the frame of mind you carry around with you and shine on others.” David talks about four levels of joy: 1) physical, 2) collective effervescence, 3) emotional, and 4) spiritual.I’m looking at my list again and I’m digging deeper. Do these activities bring me real joy or just the happiness of a goal accomplished or praise received? True joy is when a skin barrier between me and another person or entity fades away and we feel fused together. David reminds us: “We can create happiness, but we are seized by joy.” Brooks says for him, writing is joyful; he can feel his heart...

4 MINAUG 23
Comments
Camino Preparations- 20 Things I Like To Do. An Analysis.

Camino Preparations- My Hero and Twenty Things I Like To Do- Week 7

For my spiritual preparation this week for my October Camino Walk, I’m borrowing two questions from discernment processes: 1) which person in the Bible do I relate to the most, and 2) twenty things I like to do.Will you join me in writing about your Bible Hero/Heroine and your 20 things you like to do?The person I most relate to in the Bible is Abigail (1 Samuel 25:14-42).Abigail was a woman of discretion, but she realized when a bad situation was about to get worse and that she would need to take action, even contradicting her husband. Grave danger loomed as 400 warriors were on the way determined to kill every male in the household of Nabal, Abigail’s husband.Nabal had acted cruelly and insolently and it wasn’t the first time. Nabal was a rich man as far as material wealth, but he had no wealth of character. His name means “senseless” or “stupid” and he was known to be a bully and drunkard. He was widely feared and disliked. It is hard to imagine what Abigail saw in him. Ma...

8 MINAUG 19
Comments
Camino Preparations- My Hero and Twenty Things I Like To Do- Week 7

Camino Preparations-My Spiritual Biography- Week 8

I’ll be in Spain in October to walk the Camino de Santiago for the first time. It has been a desire of mine for a long time since growing up Catholic and now as an Episcopalian. I’m fortunate to be traveling with the UTO Pilgrims and the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana. The Bishop of Spain will be joining us for part of the journey, and we’ll get to explore Madrid and Santiago.I’ve just been released to full physical activity post my hip replacement, so I’m “in training” to build up my endurance to walk the 11-18 miles/day that will make up the Camino. In addition to physical training, I’m also doing weekly “spiritual exercises” to make sure that I am mentally ready and spiritually open to the Walk.This week, I’ve undertaken to write a spiritual biography. This is a small excerpt below, but I hope that you will also take the time this week to focus on your spiritual journey to help discern where you have been and where you are today.The long version of my spiritual ...

5 MINAUG 12
Comments
Camino Preparations-My Spiritual Biography- Week 8

Why Sunday is my Favorite Day of the Week

Kos Island, Greece, 2014 I’ve always been a “Sunday fan” mostly starting the day with a church service and reserving the day for “fun things” and spending time with friends. One of my joys is art, and I lead docent tours at the Frist Art Museum in Nashville on the 3rd Sunday of each month. It’s a time to be together with other art lovers and just enjoy the art.In her Friday morning homily, the Rev. Margery Kennelly had an insightful explanation as to why I like the Sabbath so much and it all starts in Genesis. Here we hear the Creation Story where God recounts what those first seven days were like.On the first day, God separated the light from darkness. “And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.”On the second day, God made the Sky and separated it from the waters. “And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.”On the third day, God brought forth vegetation with trees and plants. “And there was evening and there was morning, the third day....

4 MINAUG 5
Comments
Why Sunday is my Favorite Day of the Week

Latest Episodes

Camino Preparations- Community- Week 1

The busyness of life seems to be constantly nipping at my heels. With my contemplative orientation, I crave periods of rest and time to think without worldly distractions.But I’ve come to appreciate that my faith has really blossomed during times of community, particularly when I travel with groups of Christians to faraway places. The shared bond of being bound through Christ as well as the ability to get away from my “normal world” makes for fertile ground for the Holy Spirit to enter the space with a clear voice.My first adult “retreat” to New Mexico was with a group of Singles from a large Baptist Church in Oklahoma City when I had just finished college. I remember clearly the crisp evening air for long walks, but I still cherish the deep conversations that were inspired by my traveling companions. My next experience was what brought me to the Episcopal Church: A trip to South Africa to serve at a small church in Kagiso. It was a turning point for me post breast cancer to be...

2 MIN2 weeks ago
Comments
Camino Preparations- Community- Week 1

Camino Preparations- Pilgrimage- Week 2

Credencial del Peregrino This week my Camino preparation is to read “Pilgrimage: a journey within” by Br. Geoffrey Tristram of The Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE), an Episcopal Monastery in Cambridge, MA. You can read the entire reflection as an on-line magazine or as a PDF copy.Although I am making a physical journey to Spain, it is not about the going, it is about the changes from within.Br. Tristram writes:“Whether or not each of us eventually chooses to embark on a physical pilgrimage at some point in our life, we are all of us called to set out, ever afresh, on the inner kind of pilgrimage, the pilgrimage of the heart. We are called, in the words of Jerome, to “live for Jerusalem,” as we follow Christ on a journey of growth and transformation. “Come follow me. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (Jn 14:6). Christianity has never been a static body of doctrine, but rather is a dynamic way of life. The first term used in the New Testament to describe Christian...

4 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
Camino Preparations- Pilgrimage- Week 2

Camino Preparations- The Examen- Week 3

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556) are a compilation of meditations, prayers, and contemplative practices developed by St. Ignatius to help people deepen their relationship with God.The Prayer of Examen is a daily spiritual exercise in remembering and is often practiced twice per day at noon and at the end of the day.PRESENCE OF GODFirst, I begin with a PAUSE and a slow, deep breath or two to become aware that I am in the PRESENCE OF GOD.THANKSGIVING (more examples below)Next is a time of THANKSGIVING when I review what I am especially grateful for in the past hours:The gift of another day...The love and support I have received...The courage I have mustered...An event that took place today...PETITIONThird is a time of PETITION where I ask for the light to know God and to know myself as God sees me. This prepares me for the next step where I REVIEW the day:REVIEW (more examples below)Rather than trying to interpret, justify, or rationalize, just take time to r...

5 MINSEP 16
Comments
Camino Preparations- The Examen- Week 3

Camino Preparations- My Dream Job- Week 4

This week I am preparing for my Camino Walk in October by contemplating my dream job. I hope to retire within the next few years and this will be important as I may not have a “full-time job”, but I will still have 24 hours in each day that need to be spent wisely.I looked over my list of 20 Favorite Things To Do to narrow down the activities that bring me joy.My dream job would contain the following elements:1. Creativity- I enjoy writing and photography. I have authored a blog since September 2010 and usually write a short article each week. My website topic is: “On our relationship with God, and the relationships that flow from our first love.” I sprinkle in some photographs, usually of places I visit, the zoo, or flowers. 2. Contemplation/Prayer- I enjoy contemplative retreats, particularly at The Society of St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal Monastery in Cambridge, MA and the peacefulness of the Chapel at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Nashville. I am a member of the ...

5 MINSEP 9
Comments
Camino Preparations- My Dream Job- Week 4

Camino Preparations-Praying with Anglican Prayer Beads- Week 5

Only five weeks left until I start my pilgrimage to walk the Camino de Santiago. In preparation, this week, I’m practicing an ancient tradition of praying with prayer beads. The subject of my praying this week is each of the twenty-two Pilgrims, by name, who will be on the walk with me, as well as the twelve pilgrims who will be traveling in a second group and seeing grant sites in the same areas of Spain. I’m also praying for Bishop Lozano (the Bishop of Spain) and Canon Spencer Reese, (the Canon to the Ordinary to Bishop Lozano) who will be joining us for portions of the trip.I’ve gotten a number of Anglican prayer beads from Unspoken Elements, a company in Winter Springs, FL. I like their explanation of the history of the prayer beads as well as how many different ways they can be used for prayer with their 33 beads. Some people may repeat the Jesus Prayer (Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner), or others may use different prayers. This week I pray for 34 pilgrim...

3 MINSEP 2
Comments
Camino Preparations-Praying with Anglican Prayer Beads- Week 5

Camino Preparations- Stop, Pray, Work, Play, Love- Week 6

How often do I moan that I don’t have enough time?This week as I prepare for my Camino walk, I’m reviewing a workshop I attended at The Society of St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal Monastery in Cambridge, MA. It's time to...Stop, Pray, Work, Play & Love“So much of our stress and anxiety derives from our pollution of Time. God has given us the gift of time, and called it holy, yet we often experience time as a curse. Recapture time as a giftand discover how to experience the joy of the present moment.”— Br. Geoffrey TristramI remember a turning point in my life was sitting in a monastery chapel and hearing the opening verses of Psalm 62: “Only in God is my soul at rest. From Him comes my salvation.”I realized how I was filling up time and exhausting myself through work. When had my life and the world gotten so far out of balance?As I worked through the workbook in Lent 2015, I acknowledged that there is a cadence to life. It is a rhythm that needs to be constantly reset wi...

2 MINAUG 26
Comments
Camino Preparations- Stop, Pray, Work, Play, Love- Week 6

Camino Preparations- 20 Things I Like To Do. An Analysis.

I’ve spent time this week contemplating my list of 20 things I like to do from Monday’s blog post. David Brooks in The Second Mountain says that “happiness is good, but joy is better. Just as the second mountain is a fuller and richer phase of life after the first mountain, joy is a fuller and richer state beyond happiness…The more you are living a committed life well, the more joy will be your steady state, the frame of mind you carry around with you and shine on others.” David talks about four levels of joy: 1) physical, 2) collective effervescence, 3) emotional, and 4) spiritual.I’m looking at my list again and I’m digging deeper. Do these activities bring me real joy or just the happiness of a goal accomplished or praise received? True joy is when a skin barrier between me and another person or entity fades away and we feel fused together. David reminds us: “We can create happiness, but we are seized by joy.” Brooks says for him, writing is joyful; he can feel his heart...

4 MINAUG 23
Comments
Camino Preparations- 20 Things I Like To Do. An Analysis.

Camino Preparations- My Hero and Twenty Things I Like To Do- Week 7

For my spiritual preparation this week for my October Camino Walk, I’m borrowing two questions from discernment processes: 1) which person in the Bible do I relate to the most, and 2) twenty things I like to do.Will you join me in writing about your Bible Hero/Heroine and your 20 things you like to do?The person I most relate to in the Bible is Abigail (1 Samuel 25:14-42).Abigail was a woman of discretion, but she realized when a bad situation was about to get worse and that she would need to take action, even contradicting her husband. Grave danger loomed as 400 warriors were on the way determined to kill every male in the household of Nabal, Abigail’s husband.Nabal had acted cruelly and insolently and it wasn’t the first time. Nabal was a rich man as far as material wealth, but he had no wealth of character. His name means “senseless” or “stupid” and he was known to be a bully and drunkard. He was widely feared and disliked. It is hard to imagine what Abigail saw in him. Ma...

8 MINAUG 19
Comments
Camino Preparations- My Hero and Twenty Things I Like To Do- Week 7

Camino Preparations-My Spiritual Biography- Week 8

I’ll be in Spain in October to walk the Camino de Santiago for the first time. It has been a desire of mine for a long time since growing up Catholic and now as an Episcopalian. I’m fortunate to be traveling with the UTO Pilgrims and the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana. The Bishop of Spain will be joining us for part of the journey, and we’ll get to explore Madrid and Santiago.I’ve just been released to full physical activity post my hip replacement, so I’m “in training” to build up my endurance to walk the 11-18 miles/day that will make up the Camino. In addition to physical training, I’m also doing weekly “spiritual exercises” to make sure that I am mentally ready and spiritually open to the Walk.This week, I’ve undertaken to write a spiritual biography. This is a small excerpt below, but I hope that you will also take the time this week to focus on your spiritual journey to help discern where you have been and where you are today.The long version of my spiritual ...

5 MINAUG 12
Comments
Camino Preparations-My Spiritual Biography- Week 8

Why Sunday is my Favorite Day of the Week

Kos Island, Greece, 2014 I’ve always been a “Sunday fan” mostly starting the day with a church service and reserving the day for “fun things” and spending time with friends. One of my joys is art, and I lead docent tours at the Frist Art Museum in Nashville on the 3rd Sunday of each month. It’s a time to be together with other art lovers and just enjoy the art.In her Friday morning homily, the Rev. Margery Kennelly had an insightful explanation as to why I like the Sabbath so much and it all starts in Genesis. Here we hear the Creation Story where God recounts what those first seven days were like.On the first day, God separated the light from darkness. “And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.”On the second day, God made the Sky and separated it from the waters. “And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.”On the third day, God brought forth vegetation with trees and plants. “And there was evening and there was morning, the third day....

4 MINAUG 5
Comments
Why Sunday is my Favorite Day of the Week