Thursday, June 16, 2016

Slowing Down and Yielding to the Beautiful

I noticed the daylilies were in bloom this morning.  While googling "daylilies" because it is highlighted as misspelled in this post, I realized that they are edible.  That means that all three of these yellow flowers in my gardens are edible.  Kinda cool.

The Elizabeth Gilbert quote I included in the graphic I just found, and I love it!  It seemed to fit perfectly with my thoughts, as I yielded to absorb the beauty of the blooming yellows I found.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Chalk House Blessing

When I read about the Epiphany Chalk House Blessing on the Liturgy blog, I wanted to do it with our own home.  The only problems were that we only have a sliver of trim above our front door.  (The top of the door is basically next to the ceiling.)  The other problem was that we do not have any brick on our house like is shown in the picture on the Liturgy blog post.  So, the question was, “Where would I put it?”
Then, I remembered the framed chalkboard I had, and I realized there was no reason why I could not hang it outside.  Click on the Epiphany Chalk House Blessing link above to find out more about this meaningful practice.
(I know that it is past Epiphany, but I decided that did not really matter.  Next year, I will be ready.)
God’s Blessings to your Hearts and Homes this New Year!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Creative Prayer Journal - Our Loved Ones in Heaven, Pray for Us

Putzing and praying around the house this morning, I felt the urge to sit down and create this.  I have not done very much with my prayer/art journal, but having a visual of what I ways pondering and praying was very helpful to me.

I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by the needs for prayer right now.  Thinking of all of those who I know are praying too, brings me comfort.  Then, the idea occurred to me that there are some special people I love in heaven that I can ask to help pray came to me.

Maura, Mary, Grandpa Luthard, Grandma Ada, Grandma Sophia, and Loretta - pray for us.  Amen.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Next Best Thing to Being Next to the Ocean - YouTube and Google Chrome

For Christmas last year, our son and his family gave us a Google Chrome device.  Basically, it is a small thing that you plug into your TV so you can watch things from your computer on the TV screen.  We have used it with Netflix to watch movies, but yesterday I had the idea of putting up an ocean video from YouTube.

That may sound really corny, but it is amazing how just sitting, watching, and listening to a video can be a prayer practice.  The real ocean would be much better, but when that is not possible, a video can be the next best thing.

The weather here has been cool for this time of year and rainy.  The forecast this week calls for rain every day.  I like rain, but I am feeling the need for a little sunshine and warmth too.  Imagining being on a beach helps.  Meditation and prayer also helps calm my anxiousness.  There is something about the movement of the tide washing ashore that assures me of God's steady and non-ending love.  No matter how I feel, and no matter what the weather is like, I can rest in the presence of my Lord and Savior.

Here are some YouTube links for videos of nature and water:
The Shore Shown Above
Watching the Ocean from Above a Rocky Shore
Tropical Beach
Woodland Stream
Woodland Waterfall

Sunday, March 16, 2014

What Keeps Me From God?

I always consider Lent a time to reassess my relationship with God.  It is a time of new beginnings for me.  It is a time when, as the Benedictines say "Always, we begin again."  (However, with the Benedictine Rule, that is a saying that applies to every moment of life.)

Sometimes I feel that I am asking God to forgive me for the same things over and over again.  Sometimes I even decide that I am going to give up and not even ask.  I am sick of myself, and I figure that God must be sick of me too.

Reading this book, The Willpower Instinct, has helped me look at my unwanted ways in a new light.  By understanding how and why my brain says and responds to the statements--"I will," "I won't," and "I want"--I am better able to see how I can control my temptations.

As I mentioned in my last post, listening to an audio book has presented me with a few challenges in itself.  I realize that I am most definitely a visual learner.  Listening is really a challenge to me!

At first, I tried to scribble down a few messy notes while listening and walking on the treadmill.  I soon realized that why I was writing something down, I was missing what was being said next.  My penmanship was also lacking.  (It is hard to write when you are walking.)

I know that I am missing things by choosing to listen to the book in the audio format on the treadmill, but I know that I am not only exercising my body.  I am exercising the audio portion of my brain, which needs some help.  After I finish the book in the audio format, I plan to read it as well.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Lenten Devotion Using a Non-Religious Audio Book Focussed on Willpower?

For some, this choice for a Lenten devotional might seem very unorthodox and even sac-religious.  There are no bible verses to refer to.  (At least, I have not heard any yet.)  There is not even any mention of God.  (Accept for one mention that some might consider epithetical.)  So, why would I even call it a devotion for a Christian Liturgical Season of the year--namely Lent?

When I started listening to this book, I did not consider it a Lenten devotion even thought I started it yesterday, which was Ash Wednesday.  However, when I read a devotion today that I receive daily via email from the Upper Room, I began to look at the book a bit differently.

The email talked about taking on something vs. giving up something for Lent.  It talked about taking on something that brings restoration and direction in preparation for Easter.  This book was not on the list of suggested options in the email, nor was it even close.  But, it is certainly something that I am taking on that will give my mental and physical health restoration and direction.  If we believe (as I do) that our physical and mental health can definitely affect our spiritual health, the idea of using this book for a Lenten devotional might not seem so far out.

During my yearly physical (the day before Ash Wednesday this year), my doctor mentioned he was listening to in an audio version of the book My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind.  I had heard the author interviewed about the book on NPR a bit ago, but I had forgotten about it.  I was also interested because I had thought about getting a book on tape to motivate me to walk or get on the treadmill.

When I got home, I looked up the book My Age of Anxiety on Amazon and noticed that this other book had quite a few stars.  The title of the other book was: The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It.  It is written by a Stanford professor and he has also offered the contents as a class.  Reading the overview, I decided it was a book I wanted to read or hear, for that matter, so I signed myself up for a free one month trial of Audible and and received my free audio copy of the book.  (You get two free books, so I also downloaded My Age of Anxiety to listen to later.)  It took me a bit to figure out how I could listen to the book, as it did not seem to work on my iPad.  However, it does work on my iPod.

One of the first things I noticed when I started listening to the book is that I have no way to see how much is left of a chapter, which makes it a little lesson in letting go of control.  The other thing that is interesting is walking on the treadmill listening to an audio book that talks things in your body that you are currently experiencing, like exercise for instance.  (Note that the book is about much more than exercise.)

Another interesting thing I found is that I actually stayed on the treadmill longer than I planned because I wanted to hear the whole chapter.  Hmm…I can see it will be an "interesting" journey for me this Lenten Season.  I think God is going to be teaching me in a very different way.