Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Benefits of Regular Prayer Times

It is the practice of the Benedictine monks to come together several times a day for prayer and reading/reciting of the psalms. I have had the privilege of being a guest at the Blue Cloud Abbey and have been blessed to participate in these prayer times whenever I have desired to do so.
I have always been one who lives best with routine or schedules. My first introduction to daily schedule was at Bible Camp when I was 9 years old. I remember trying to emulate the schedule when I would come home from camp because I loved the rhythm of the day and the regular times for Devotions and Bible study:
7:00 Wake up
7:30 Devotions
8:00 Breakfast
9:00 Cabin Cleanup
9:30 Class
10:45 Sports
12:00 Lunch
Etc. Etc. Etc.
7:00 Church
8:30 Snack
9:00 Get ready for bed
9:30 Devotions
10:00 Lights out!

Of course, my attempts never worked for very long, because soon summer was over and school schedules ruled my life and I could never seem to make a reasonable facsimile that satisfied my desire.
A few weeks ago, I was really low physically, emotionally and spiritually. My circumstances seemed to whirl around in my mind like a tornado and all I could do was cry - seemed like I was crying all the time during some days.
A friend shared with me that there is a site where Prayer Times and Readings are available, similar to those used by the monks. I remembered how much I enjoyed camp schedules and so I've been spending time praying and reading the word at regular times throughout the day and I have to testify of the indescribable peace and grace that is mine right now.
I really didn't realize how low I was spiritually because of allowing my concerns to roll around in my mind instead of prayer. I guess, maybe, I thought I was praying...but, the proof is in the pudding, as they say.
The line between prayer and worry is very fine and crossing it can be very subtle. And yet, there is a significant difference in a life when it is touched by the presence of God and His word regularly. It is unmistakable.
You would think I would know that - and I do. I guess I'm just very thankful for His grace and unfailing love that never changes in spite of how I fail to remain faithful.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Everlasting God

One of the worship songs this morning; one that I know very well but haven't thought about for a while, blessed my heart... When I sing this song, my soul truly feels lifted up 'on wings like eagles...'

Strength will rise
as we wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our Strong Deliverer
You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won't grow
You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles

by Chris Tomlin

Thursday, July 23, 2009

In His Sanctuary

I love your sanctuary, Lord,
the place where
your glorious presence dwells.
Psalm 26:8

The one thing I ask of the Lord--
the one thing I seek most--

is to live in the house of the Lord

all the days of my life,
delighting in the Lord's perfections

and meditating in his Temple.

For he will conceal me there
when troubles come;
he will hide me in his sanctuary.

He will place me out of reach

on a high rock.
My heart has heard you say,
"Come and talk with me."
And my heart responds,

"Lord, I am coming."
Yet, I am confident

I will see the Lord's goodness
while I am here in the land of the living.

Wait patiently for the Lord.

Be brave and courageous.

Yes, wait patiently for the Lord

Psalm 27:4-5, 8, 13-14

--Photo courtesy of Ivars Krafts--
see his blogs at

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

South Dakota, July 2009

"As your understanding of God is enlarged,
you realize there is no end to
His love,
His wisdom,
His abilities,
His resources.
Once you realize there is no end to Him
and all that He is,
you then realize there is no way to define Him.
And if there is no way to define Him,
there is then, therefore,
no way
to predict Him."

~yours truly~
April 2008

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Apple Art ?

This afternoon, my daughter wanted to bake something. She was looking through my Joy of Cooking Cookbook and was considering a very involved apple pastry. I reminded her that there were pie crusts in the refrigerator. It didn't take very long for her to change her mind to making the easier apple pie.

Before I knew it, it was coming out of the oven, and I was amazed at her piece of art! ! !
I'm not sure she's even made an apple pie before! I can't wait to try a piece :)

The photo was taken with my iphone :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

To Be or Not To Be the Garden of Eden

Today I posted some photos on my Bird Blog http://birddreams.blogspot.com/
They were sweet discoveries I made when I went outside after a thunder storm.
I mentioned that I hadn't been paying attention to the garden because of other matters that have distracted me. So, the photos can be a bit misleading, because they are beautiful and look like they could have come from a well maintained garden. I didn't intentionally try to give that impression.
The truth is, I haven't, nor has anyone else, been tending the garden this year. As a result, the weeds are waist high or higher. I had trouble finding a couple of Blueberry bushes that I know should be there and next to every rose bush are huge thistles.
I couldn't help but think of Adam. What a shock it must have been for him to sent from the Garden of Eden and have to deal with the weeds that would aggressively take over any piece of ground not tended to.
My garden was like a paradise, a Mini Garden of Eden, in years past; but, now it is like the outside of the Garden of Eden. In spite of that, I will still enjoy what sweet treasures I can find out there and maybe someday, it will be restored again.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Personal Declarations

Sometimes, when I find myself in the middle of a few very challenging situations and I feel like I can't take one more step, I begin to talk to myself - not out loud. I engage my brain to recite the truth to my heart so that I don't let myself get carried away by emotions that could really keep me from imploding.
In the last number of months, I've begun writing these thoughts down. I call them "Declarations." Writing things down seems to give strength to the process and it is also interesting to look back over a Declaration or two sometimes when I can't think of what to tell myself. :)
This is a Declaration I wrote yesterday. It was 'one-of-those-days' and I realized that I needed to sit myself down and strategize or I would be mowed down by despair. I thought I would share it with everyone and maybe it might help someone else who is having 'one-of-those-days' today.

I will choose to keep my focus ahead of me
-I can't get stuck in this moment or in the past
I will choose to do what I can in this moment
-instead of giving up
I will remind myself of the truth - the basic facts
-and not get overwhelmed by extemporaneous chatter
I will not let my emotions carry me down a negative path
- that disables me
I will resist the temptation to run away
-though I so wish I could
I will allow the Holy Spirit to work His life in me
-love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control

I will endeavor to be all I can be - right now - right here
-so that I don't waste the moment and I can still make progress