Episode 18 – Nicole Unice is “Brave Enough” AND so are you!

Episode 18 – Nicole Unice is “Brave Enough” AND so are you!

Nicole Unice

BIO:
Nicole Unice is on staff at Hope Church in Richmond, Virginia, and the author of the breakout book: “She’s Got Issues” which she wrote from her counseling and ministry experiences. The book produced and encouraged a refreshing and radical honesty that she’s built on in her new book “Brave Enough”.

Enjoy the Shownotes and links below and please share this with friends that you know CAN be “Brave Enough“. Thanks for listening!

#GetBraveEnough

xo

~Lisa

P.S. Would you like to get a special, cozy Spark My Muse t-shirt?

Let me know HERE.
bravenough


 

 

Get  Brave Enough or find out more here:

Like to listen instead of reading? Get the AUDIO book here.


Shownotes – Episode 18 Nicole Unice is honest, enthusiastic, and “Brave Enough”, so you can be too.

 

MIN 1:10

Nicole on staff at Hope Church

on the Richmond VA place and new midtown location.

 

1:30

Nicole’s podcasting experience (the Becoming Podcast) doing hundreds of episodes with her pastor doing 15 minutes shows for commuters.

Lisa asks: Is “campus” a Christian code word for mega church?

2:40

How she grew with Hope Church for 18 years, as they started out small in an elementary school “cafetorium”.

3;50

The “Youth Lodge” plans and the unique setting with wetlands and hills.

5:10

On the importance of Beauty, Setting, and Art in architecture and church building planning to evoke the imagination, inspire awe, and connect with the heart.

6:40

Collaborative workspace, and place where kids can do their homework and where people can enjoy the time away in a beautiful setting.

7:40

“artist come through the side door of the soul and preachers come through the front door.”

8:50

The history of the church and Christian tradition is one where the Church is source of beauty, wonder and connected to art because God is a the Creator.

9:40

Her first book: She’s Got Issues

6 main issues women (and men) face that can be a hinderance.

A rich relationship with God can come to a dead end as the ways we do life stop working.

12:00

How was it received? The #1 thing Nicole heard was, “You’re so honest.”

Why would honesty be such a revolution in Christianity?

12:40

She leaned into that for her next book “Brave Enough”

13:00

The story of how she got the title for the book:

To the question, “Do you think you can be brave?” Lucy Pevensie in the Chronicles of Narnia says, “I think I can be brave enough.”

14:35

Few women will self-identify as brave. [and not many men will either]

“After we identify the hinderances, what does it look like to walk forward in freedom?”

15:00

Brave Enough is about Grace and its effects, inside and in action.

15:40

Nicole answering the question: Do men have the same problems in this area?

16:00

“Women hearing teaching from women is like hearing in your first language.”

16:30

Ways Nicole leads and teaches men.

17:00

on how women have to translate teaching from men into their “language” and context.

18:00

On how, similarly, Brené Brown was challenged (by a man) to include men in her writing and teaching. (Lisa)

18:40

How men and women have similar vulnerabilities though they might deal with them differently.

19:40

“up speak” tones in language in women and men revealing different insecurities. (Lisa)

21:00

Nuggets from the Brave Enough book:

How the ingredients mixed into something she didn’t expect. It follows a narrative “arch of the heart”. How we can be full and free and confident in life.

22:30

on why (inner) freedom is illusive for men and women.

On “Fake Grace” in our head. (the excuses we make or how we blame others). Inviting God/Jesus into those places.

24:10

We all (default) and go back to rules and laws and how to short circuit that pattern.

It’s about resetting the heart with a new spiritual reality.

25:00

Radical honesty about our ugly parts inside the heart.

25:30

Nicole’s Parable: The violently stopping of the elevator door…(and how it relates to our soul).

26:10

Open ourselves to God’s Presence and healing.

26:10

(Lisa) God uses what bothers us about other people is a mirror of what we don’t like in ourselves.

27:20

How our baggage works to impede our progress.

Brave Enough includes major parts on forgiveness

28:00

God’s breathing on us and giving us the mission of forgiveness, first.

(Click to read the reference John 20:19-23)

28:30

When we keep living out of a wounded place.

29:10

How we continue categorizing our experiences to support our false and faulty premises and hypothesis about ourselves.

29:30

Questioning what is really true about ourselves (and the mental “tapes” we play).

33:20

God gives us opportunities to practices forgiveness every single day, often in small ways in the relationships and event of regular life.

33:40

If we can’t be gracious to ourselves we can’t be gracious with others.

34:20

The economy of our heart: if we forgive little then we love little.

36:30

(Nicole asks Lisa) “What have you learned in doing podcasting?”

38:30

We have the chance to never stop growing and transforming and God never gives up on us.

39:20

Brave Enough is also an AUDIO book. Find it here.


 

Did you like the show?

Please share it or otherwise support Spark My Muse!

Want to extend the good times and answer the question of the day?

What “bad/negative tape” do you have playing in your head most often?

 

Episode 14: A chat with Ed Cyzewski

Episode 14: A chat with Ed Cyzewski

Shownotes for Episode 14: How-to pair wine and chocolate for a great party + a chat with author, Ed Cyzewski

BANANA CART?
(Your ears are not fooling you. In Columbus, Ohio at 9:30 pm a man rides a bike around and rings a bell as he sells frozen chocolate covered bananas. Too funny. And it sounds delicious, if not suspicious. That’s why I’m featuring chocolate in the wine segment today! Enjoy it. It’s bananas, after all.)


Want to try the practice of EXAMEN?

In this episode Ed and I chat about one of his favorite spiritual practices. It’s been very transforming for me too. It’s the practice of Examen (typically pronounced: EGGS-Aye-men).

This age old practice of reflection, mindfulness, and prayer to begin and end one’s day goes back ages in Christian History and is reflected in spirit throughout the bible. Like in David’s sentiments in the Psalms (like Psalm 119) and in Isaiah 26:9.

“My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you…”

So today I offer you my personal version of the Examen practice!

I call it “The Daily Sharpening Ritual”
–It’s the perfect way to supercharge and renew personal and spiritual awareness in your life.

It’s a simple but effective worksheet makes the practice easier to sustain. I hope you give it a try.
The practice takes just 3-5 minutes each morning and just before bed.
• You can see surprising changes in awareness in only 5 days.
(Simply print out 5 copies and follow-through for 5 days!)

Both EXAMEN-like worksheets below work like an Examen practice, but the 2nd one features prayer more fully in addition to reflection and mindfulness.

Check them out to see which one you like best. Print out both if you’d like:

SharpeningPRAYER• The SHARPENING Ritual 

• The SHARPENING Ritual
(PRAYER-centered VERSION)

(Enjoy these resources with my compliments…tipping what you can is optional.)


How we find spark:

We are in this together. As you listen and become part of what is happening here, it will be obvious that I spend a lot of time and a bit of money doing the show: website, paying for media hosting, producing it, editing, adding music, finding and speaking with guests, more editing, more research, and all the rest to bring you something of value in the Spark My Muse podcast.

Lots of heart, sweat and occasionally tears for your enjoyment and inspiration. You get to decide what that means and what it’s worth.

 

So, I invite you to just listen, read, and contribute what the episode is worth to you.

 

• If nothing, I apologize. Please, come back and listen again soon.

• If you think it’s worth one dollar, five dollars, twenty-five dollars, six hundred billion-gazillion dollars…you see where I’m going with this…, or offer something of equal value that is not monetary, simply contribute what it has been worth to you. HERE.

(or contact me here if it’s not monetary. Be creative!)
Thank you!
With Love,
~Lisa

 

WINE SEGMENT

 

MINUTE 2:30

Best tips for the tastiest pairing Party of chocolate and wine!

A how-to.

A chocolate and wine tasting party is so much fun.

• It’s ideal for groups of 3-12 people.

• Have each person bring some wine and provide samples of high quality chocolate and let the fun start!

It’s the acid:
One of the tasty things you can do is pair chocolate and wine. Both chocolate and wine have higher levels of acidity which makes them a naturally delicious match.

Well-paired wine and chocolate work together to make each one taste better. Delicious qualities come out in both the wine and the chocolate and even form a third taste. A careful selection is needed.

Here are some ideas of which wine to pair with which kinds of chocolate treats.

TIP 1

The most  important tip to remember is to keep the wine sweeter than the treat it’s pair with.

(If you don’t it can make the wine seem less tasty and flavorful or heighten its bitterness. yucky.)

TIP 2

Make sure you have high-quality chocolate. 

Many supermarketers have a premium chocolate section and you probably only need one bar of each kind or just a good quality box assortment. Baked good work as well and you can search online too.

TIP 3

Taste test the chocolate ahead of time: Pick out certain fruit flavors, determine the sweet and bitter components they have, check for nuttiness qualities and levels of acidity. If the chocolate has a creme center this will take on added complexity that might pair well with fruit-forward wines. 

TIP 4

A rule of thumb is that darker wines tend to pair better which darker chocolate and should be served first: More full-bodied, (heavier feeling in the mouth) dark and drier (not a sweet style) red wine pair well with the more bitter chocolates that have a higher cocoa %.

White wines tend to pair well with milk chocolate blends and chocolates that have sweeter and fruitier flavor notes.

TIP 5
Remember TIP #1 one …keep the wine SWEETER than the chocolate!

MAKING A MATCH
Pick your wines according to the flavors you’ve tasted in the chocolate,
 and ask your guests to bring a specific variety of wine.

Here are some specific ideas for the kinds of wine you may want to serve, but you can feel free to experiment and see if your palate prefers something different.

Bittersweet chocolate (70% to 100%): This chocolate type enters the bitter range with deep intensity. Good choices include Bordeaux wines (merlot, cab franc, cab save), Beaujolais, Shiraz, Port, Malbec.

Dark chocolate (50% to 70%): Pair this with more robust wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, off-dry chamborcin and Port. A Chianti can match well with chocolate around 65 percent cocoa content.

Milk chocolate: Try Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Muscat, and dessert wines. Champagne is also a natural match for milk chocolate. The crisp, dry flavour of the bubbly contrasts perfectly with the creaminess of a simple milk chocolate tablet. Be careful of the higher sugar levels in milk chocolate, as these may cancel out any fruitiness in dry red wines, leaving them tasting bitter.

White chocolate (which is really cocoa butter) : Match with Sherry, Muscato (a.k.a. Muscat) a fruity Chardonnay (un-oaked), These wines will pick up on the buttery, slightly oilier tones of the cocoa butter. Vidal Blanc, Niagra blends, catawba blends.

Champagne or sparkling wine goes well with all chocolate types. It is a variety that compliments many kinds of wines. Many fortified dessert wines work well across the chocolate spectrum as well because they tend to be sweeter.

PARTY TIP
To keep every one sharp and feeling well, Offer your guests some bread or light fare before you begin and keep the wine samples to just an ounce. 

HOW TO TASTE THE PAIR
1. Take take a small sip of wine and note the aromas and tastes. Some hosts offer guest a sheet to jot down their observations.

2. Then bite into the chocolate and note what it happening as you taste and eat it.

3. Then you sip the wine again and note the new flavor notes and changes that the chocolate brought to the wine. It’s amazing how much the taste of the wine will change according to what it is paired with.

4. Don’t rush through the pairing. 7-10 minutes per pairing is about right. Allow people to really luxuriate on the experience and talk about the flavors and taste combinations they are experiencing.

AMBIENCE TIP
This is not a consumption event, it’s a sensory group experience where enhanced awareness is key. Relax and take your time. Chocolate and wine are luxury items.

THE TAKEAWAY
It’s a great lesson for life too. The point isn’t to bulldoze through life and get it out of the way, but to really notice what is happening and take it all in deeply. Downshift to a better appreciation of encounters with others, with our surroundings, and ultimately with ourselves and to God who makes a home within us.

• Enjoy yourself and let me know of the pairings you came up with  (in the comments section) and how your pairing experimenting went, or what your plans are. I’d love to know. You can post pictures at the Spark My Muse Facebook page too.

Do you have questions? Leave them here, use the voice mail feature, or use the contact page and I’ll try to answer them in future episodes.

 


Sparking your Muse…
a chat with Ed Cyzewski

edc200_thumb

Visit Ed’s website.

 

 


Interview notes

11:00

Ed talks about his upcoming Christian Writer’s Survival Guide book

12:30

The practices of prayer and writing are connected in so many ways.

12:30

Contemplative prayer

Spiritual Direction

and how Ed is learning more about Holy Spirit and waiting on the Lord

14:30

From my experience…”Type A” or productive person’s view of prayer is active or proactive (maybe not involving much listening to God) (Lisa)

15:00

Apophatic prayer – God is found in the silence more than I thought (Lisa)

15:30

“The Creative process and prayer require us to enter with hands open”.

16:00

For both (writing and prayer), you can’t force the outcome…

16:15

Submit to the process.

Do the work.

17:00

“[A] general principle is to create space to allow inspiration and good writing to happen.”

Maybe (it can happen) in retreats or in different ways.

19:20

My favorite podcast Krista Tippet’s show On Being Onbeing.org (Lisa)

Pico Iyer-  (paraphrase) “So much information is coming in but we have less space to process it.” -Pico Iyer The Art of Stillness

20:15

Never a moment wasted because of technology…but at what cost?

21:00

(Ed) on not having times for his brain to slip into neutral..

21:30

Ed says walks helped clear his mind, and he had to detox and ween from media.

22:30

We have a loss of self and fear of quietness.

22:45

40 Day Ignatian retreat bringing a terrifying and alone sense after 2-weeks until she found God in the quiet.

24:00

Ed’s method for unplugging and creating space:

Relent technique-going offline after 5pm and weekends.

25:30

Leaving my phone in my car when I go for walk to eating out. (Lisa)
• I’ve experienced less anxiety (to my surprise).

27:00

(Ed’s sarcasm) College students in the 1990s would die all the time, every week, because they didn’t have cell phones. Funerals every week for the mobile phone-less.

27:30

In the 1980s my dad got collect calls from “pick me up”. (Lisa)

29:10

UK study showing that teens are more anxious because of tech and over-connectedness.

29:40

Maybe because the media (they are using) is socially consequential and not neutral: like watching tv or listening to radio. (Lisa)

32:00

From his upcoming book:

Allowing space to grow and learn. His spiritual practice of Examen.

The app he uses: Examine App

The practice helped him come up with writing topics.

33:30

The practice showed him the imbalance of his life.

 

35:10

Contemplative writer’s Facebook on group

37:00

Kirsten Oliphant

Andi Cumbo-Floyd

37:50

The group has lots of generosity there like a support group.

39:20

How Ed keeps a balance in mood and outlook when the stories he writes about are negative and make him angry.

How he uses a generous redemptive approach and giving his anger time to dispute so he can write with redemption in mind, inspired by Richard Rhor.

40:00

God wants to redeem everyone.

40:30

…Controversy and hit pieces build a quick blog audience…but the challenge is to be redemptive and to still confront in love when necessary…

41:00

“I’d rather be an Atheist than attend the Village Church” (his angry article)

42:40

Trying to encourage others to be redemptive and holding back if he can’t do it in a redemptive way. Waiting is important.

43:30

How we change. Example: Women in Ministry and how Ed’s mind changed.

44:20

“God is all about the long game.”

(It’s not helpful to create animosity)

44:50

(Lisa) “The power of heightening Empathy (to solve problems). Sharing stories helps.

The job of a person who is called to communicate for something bigger than themselves is to ask…

‘Am I able to show people something that they haven’t seen, but  then once they see they know it’s true. And they can’t unseen it’.”

“And to feel it too…what that (other) person is feeling.” -Ed

(If you’d like to have Ed back to discuss how writing can be “soul-killing” and what to do about it, please let us know and leave a comment! Was the show too long? Too short? Ed and I decided we are curious about this, so let us know.)

:)


Friends, readers, listeners…I need a little help with this anonymous survey.
It’s takes under one minute. It’s 100% anonymous. The survival of Spark My Muse just may depend on it.

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BREAKING NEWS:

Shane Claiborne is joining Spark My Muse as a guest this summer! WHOOP whoop !!!


the sabbatical interruption ?

henri_nouwenLife is ‘a little while’, a short moment of waiting. It is to wait full of expectation. The knowledge that God will indeed fulfill the promise to renew everything, and will offer us a new heaven and a new earth, makes the waiting exciting. We can already see the beginning of the fulfillment. Nature speaks of it every spring; people speak of it whenever they smile; the sun, the moon, and the stars speak of it when they offer us light and beauty; and all of history speaks of it when amidst all devastation and chaos, men and women arise who reveal the hope that lives within them. What is my main task during my ‘little while’? I want to point to the sings of the Kingdom to come, to speak about the first rays of the day of God. I do not want to complain about this passing world but to focus on the eternal that lights up in the midst of the temporal. I yearn to create space where it can be seen and celebrated. ~ Henri Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey

by way of an update…

I look around and I realize that I have all the fixings to get 4-5 more posts done on my series about humor. But, something is amiss. I am humorless indeed. It’s an irony not wasted on me and its own sort of humor.

I suppose when I was trying to understand humor in the first place it was to save myself from this point. But I got here anyway.

So now, strangely, I feel like I’m on a sabbatical.

I’m placed in it but didn’t choose it. The will to write feels gone, even though seeds are in my hand. 

Today, I spent the day at the Jesuit Center and found a book on Henri Nouwen in the library and it piqued my interest in him once again. 

I don’t want to have this tortured part of me that gets befuddled most Autumns and Winters but there you have it, anyhow. 

Until I get my gumption back, I’ll post the occasional pieces and bits from the scratching in the dust that I’m doing now in this arid place of the soul.

Laughter: The Mini BRAIN SCAN

It’s another installment in the HUMOR SERIES.

If you’re new here or late to the series, get started on these previous articles:

1 Intro: Laughing from birth

2. Step 1: Tickle Rats

3. What makes something funny may surprise you

4. Jokers ARE wild: Subversive Humor
Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 7.32.26 AM

 

How humor works like a mini BRAIN SCAN

(Secular) Biologist Robert Lynch, who also performs as a comedian, sees humor as an adaptive, learned trait; and one that helps us connect with others who share our values.

His theory about humor?
“You laugh because you believe it is true,” says Lynch, and his experiments seem back up his theory, at least partially.

A joke, in other words, is like a little brain scan: When we laugh, we reveal what’s inside us. -Robert Lynch

In an experiment Lynch conducted, a variety of people were video-recorded while watching an edgy comic who joked about gender inequality. The volunteers were then given a psychological test that measured their unconscious gender attitudes. Those with mid-20th century gender views of women being responsible for home and children and men bread-winning laughed harder at that joke than those with more progressive views.

 

In another experiment, people Lynch terms “self-deceivers” found much less humor in an entire joke reel, in general.

 

I’m guessing that because Lynch used this “self-deceivers” language to identify reluctant laughers, he probably laughs at just about everything. Naturally, if scientists are self-deceiving they are doing something wrong. Something unreasonable?

I’m betting that to Lynch “self-deceivers” are “other people”. Otherwise, he would term them “discerning” or “wise” or “judicious” or “pensive” or “still thinking about it” or maybe just “unsure”.

So, I wonder if he’s just a bit off the mark.

Could the phenomenon of less laughs be a combination of a few things he hasn’t accounted for?

• Could less laughter be a result of natural personality or temperament traits?

• Fewer habits of deep introspection?

• Previous experiences that predispose infrequent laughers to think quietly instead of giggle aloud?

• Or a mismatch in values? (What sorts of jokes were told? We don’t know because he doesn’t say.)

The subjectivity of laughter producing humor seems to be at play a bit more than his experiments can account for. And that’s no joke.Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 2.51.54 PM

I do agree with Lynch on this point:
We can conceal our true opinions, but in the moment of unguarded laughter, we reveal our true preferences.

Lynch says that the trait of a sense of humor is desirable and its presence or lack thereof helps us select a mate: A sense of humor is always listed in the top five traits people look for when mate-hunting.

Plus, humor helps us bond with those in our group, or determine who’s outside our group. This does seem clear.


 

And lest we forget, (the non self-deceived?) Lynch likes to work the crowd at open mic comedy nights. Does this scientist have a formula?

Yes. Sort of. Basically.

Here’s how he does it:

He finds common ground and builds on it. First he works at locating something held in common. Then, he points out a shared opinion or value, and underscores something that rings true to listeners.

It might start with some simple commonality like the geographical location of the place, a sports team preference, or the clientele in attendance.

He’s also snarky. If you like that style you might be amused.

“It’s great to be in New York City again. The coral reef created by sinking subway cars off Manhattan has a 58% higher rate of stabbings than a natural reef.” (or something like that. blah blah blah…you can watch the video on his theory here.)

If I’m writing a joke, often what I do is I look at things that I think are true, that people tend not to admit to, or maybe reluctant to admit to, including myself. -Lynch


Of course, I don’t hold the similar belief that the reason for laughter happened ad hoc and by chance, as Robert Lynch contends. That idea seems more like a punchline to me.

“Why did the cave man laugh? I’ll tell you in ten million years…”

(yes that was mine)

Sure, we adapt using humor, and we always well, but I doubt the source of humor was landed on by sheer mistake or mutation + time. HA-but that’s a good one. You almost had me, Lynch!


 

What may be the case is something that isn’t so stupefyingly accidental or self-deceiving. Something reasonable.

Namely, that One beyond our comprehension designed and equipped us purposefully with a sense of humor and in a way that we can better socially bond in positive ways…because we inherently need each other.

In a future post, I will go a bit further and pose a kind of theory for the purpose of humor and the reason for laughter based on some work from different researchers and my own educational background.

 

The takeaway:
If you want to know what someone is really like and what they really think, pay attention to what and whom they laugh at. Laughter is a kind of brain scan.

And examine what makes you laugh.

Dig deeper and find out more about yourself and what needs improving.

 

I hope you’ve liked this series.

Tell me which has been your favorite post so far.

Come back for “funny friday” and the rest of the series!

xo

-Lisa

For the latest info on my humor related projects sign up here.

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