Wednesday Prayers: Union

Dave and I have begun to exchange lists of things we'd like the other to pray about through the week. This is delightful to me. When we have so little time together, I feel a peculiar closeness to Dave when I talk to God about him.

This week, in addition to praying Dave's thanks and petitions, I'm rejoicing at this very act of mutual prayer. I've been part of prayer partnerships with other people at different points in my life, and it inevitably changes my relationship with them. The friendship doesn't always hold in the long run (people change, circumstances shift, and you know sometimes I'm a cranky pain in the rear), but linking their lives with God through the act of my prayer irrevocably affects their value to me. I become more willing to be compassionate, and my understanding that they are entirely beloved by God lingers past our time of commitment.

Do you pray with anyone? Have you committed to praying for someone? Can I pray with you?


Wednesday Prayers: Wisdom

It feels like there are a lot of decisions to be made right now, and a number of things to be evaluated. Should we find a different apartment? Am I making the best possible (which is not necessarily the same as "good") choices in my relationships with family? How should Dave and I structure the scarce time we have together?

Some of the decisions are easy: our new rule that if Dave's not in the car by X'clock, I'm going to start dinner and eat without him.

Some are midlevel: an apartment with the perfect location, but a butt-ugly interior. Well, it meets nine out of ten criteria, but it misses the target.

Some are really tough. Some don't have a right answer, and are hard to live with every single day, because there isn't a happy, tidy solution. Those are the ones where I especially want wisdom. I grew up thinking that if you made the right choice, you'd feel peaceful about it. In some situations, I'm not sure that's exactly accurate. Sometimes, even with the best choice, you just feel sad and tired.

I'm praying for wisdom this week. What are you praying for?


Running With Joy

As I'm trying to get back on my feet (as it were) running-wise, post-injury, I've been doing the Couch-to-5k plan. On one hand it's very weird, because I've never had to intersperse running with walking before (though I have run very, very slowly). On the other hand, it's glorious, because I'm running again! I'm overwhelmed with gratitude each time I head out and back now. It means so much to me to be able to hit the pavement. (Well, the track, actually, because until I'm stronger, I want a more giving surface than asphalt or concrete.)

Dave did today's run/walk with me, and on the way home we talked about running goals. I've always wanted to go faster and longer (and to be frank: I've certainly always had a lot of room for improvement). But what I want most is to be running when I'm old. This lady is one of my heroes.

If I'm going to run when I'm 80, I must run now. I must strength train, cross-train, rest, eat well, listen to my body, and make wise decisions. (OK, yes, the woman in the article didn't start until her 60s-- but who wants to take that risk?) I want to go the distance. I'm not training for the next race, the next distance, or the next PR. I'm training for the race on my 80th birthday.


Wednesday Prayers: Bodies and Fruitcakes

"I treat my body like a temple
You treat yours like a tent."
-Jimmy Buffett, Fruitcakes.
I don't think people in general are great about respecting their bodies, let alone marveling at all the things they can do and experience. I think Christians in particular have taught and have been taught that our bodies are inherently sinful and a source of shame, which I passionately believe is a bunch of evil, destructive hooey.

So this week, I'm praying about our bodies. That we respect and enjoy them, that we notice them, that we express our gratitude for them. Let's pray for our bodies, let's thank God for them, and then let's pray with our bodies. Let's sniff the flowers and the charcoal grills, and wonder at our olfactory sense. Let's feel the breeze on our skin, and rejoice over a God who continually gives us the ability to experience pleasure.

Our bodies are not our enemies. Our strengths, our senses, and our sensuality are all gifts from God. I don't know about you, but I'm damn disappointed when people don't enjoy the gifts I plan for them. We have weaknesses, limitations, struggles, but our bodies are gifts, not repositories for shame and rejection.

I'm better at some parts of this than others. I'm great with the thrill of feeling strong after exercise. I'm great with enjoying a fuzzy sweater against my fingers. I'm really, really not great with being a curvy adult woman. I have lost count of the ways that's been made a source of shame.

I'll be praying for my body in the coming week, and for yours, too. Join me?



Many years ago, at the diocesan discernment retreat, the priest leading my small group looked at my carefully organized notebook and completed homework and asked, "Is it stressful to be that anal retentive?"

While he was introducing himself to me.

I was too young, and trying too hard to practice that "obedience" bit to respond, but by now I know about myself that he had the wrong idea entirely.

Planning is part of anticipation for me, and it's pure joy. I love love love imagining what might be, and I'm rarely married to any particular outcome. Preparation is how I look forward to something, how I get excited and pumped up. Buying notebooks or pens in August isn't just checking items off a list, it's "I'm going to get to use these soon! Think of all the things I'll learn and the friends I'll make!"

I get to schedule my classes in mid-August. I have to wait until then. Orientation's in mid-/late August. There's very little I can plan or anticipate right now, so I'm wondering silly things like, "What will I wear on my first day of classes?" I'm kind of disappointed that there's such a small window for preparation and imagination. Right now, it's just a big old blank chalkboard, and I don't know which colors of chalk I'm going to be allowed to use.

Clearly, this would be a great time to practice being in the moment, instead of being several moments ahead. (AHAHAHAHAHAHA. That's a good one. *snort*)

(This is, by the way, a fairly typical Enneagram 7 thing. More on that later.)


Wednesday Prayers: Safe Travels

Regular readers (and friends who patiently listen to me whine) won't be surprised to hear that today, I'm praying for safe travels. Dave's on his third out-of-town trip in as many weeks, with more yet to come.

I was very, very lucky growing up, because my mom was extremely conscientious about making sure I knew what would happen in the event that something happened to her. I knew who my guardian would be, or who would have power of attorney. I knew where I would live, what the insurance money would be, and that I would be the sole inheritor. I am tremendously grateful that she made those conversations normal; when a single parent deploys, that kind of frankness is genuinely reassuring. But because of that, I've always assumed that my loved ones would be far more likely to die young and suddenly than in illness and old age. I bet that sounds crazy to most of you, but in a military family, you're constantly aware that death and loss are real, plausible outcomes. It's literally only been within the last few months that it dawned on me that it's possible Dave and I might grow old together.

I get a little nervous when Dave goes on long trips. (I don't think other people would know that. Heck, when I finally told Dave recently, even he was surprised.) I am by nature anti-cling, so I love when one of us heads off for adventure (or to check on servers and USBs and rogue networks), but there's a sliver of me that's always braced for bad news.

So, I'm praying that Dave is safe, that I am peaceful, and also that God will be with me, whatever happens.


I Give In!

Dave's out of town so much for work this summer that I'm starting to suspect someone believes they can get state secrets out of me by putting me in a David Deprivation Tank.

I'll talk, I'll talk!