Prayer Request Wednesday!

Lovely little slips of paper, with prayer requests typed (yes, typewriter-typed! Ancient clickety-clack!) are fluttering on my corkboard. Everybody who's asked is still up there, as we are all dealing with some ongoing stuff.

I wish I could explain how much I'm enjoying praying for each of you. A psalm from morning prayer last week really stood out to me-- one about being the apple of God's eye, sheltered under God's wing. Ever since, I've been thinking of you as the apple of God's eye. So much joy here.

To reiterate:
I'll pray for your messy lives, and if you're so inclined, you'll pray for mine:
  • Dave's job-- we're seeing some really positive signs, but we're still waiting!
  • I'm in a weird limbo right now (see request #1), and if I take it day-by-day I feel good about where I am, but sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed by it. Peace in the uncertainty would be wonderful.



Autumnal Friday Five!

From Singing Owl at RevGals:
Let us fear the LORD our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest. Jeremiah 5:23b

The Autumnal Equinox has just come 'round again. I took a look back at our Friday Fives and noted that it always seems to make the Rev Gals and their Pals think of changes. There is something so nostalgic about this time of year, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. The nights grow cooler, crops are harvested, for some of us the leaves are beginning to change colors. The scent of smoke is in the air, pumpkins are in the stores (or on wagons, or in roadside stands for those of us in the country). I'm thinking of putting away my summer clothes and pulling out the sweaters. And I have a tub of Fall-themed items that my husband just lugged up from the basement. I'm looking for my scarecrow.
For this week, let's share some memories along with some hopes and expectations.

1. Share a Fall memory.
Goofing off with my gorgeous friend Erin in college. We cheered together, and most of the other cheerleaders were... well, way cooler than we were, and pretty cranky. So, the two of us were wonderfully silly and had a great time together during football Saturdays.
Wait! I'm so embarrassed-- today is my anniversary-- getting married is my fall memory!!!

2. Your favorite Fall clothes--(past or present)?
I've had a pair of brown cowboy boots since my freshman year of high school (that's about 15 years now, folks), and I love wearing them with jeans, and some version of a fuzzy cream sweater. (This combination once got my roommate and I several beers in a bar, plus dinner on the house!)

3. Share a campfire story, song, experience...etc.
Since I spent a lot of my growing-up years in southern CA, I had beach bonfires rather than campfires. My youth group used to do them pretty regularly, and there is nothing better than the smell of salt air and smoke.

4. What is your favorite thing about this time of year?
The sense of anticipation leftover from years of starting school at this time. Fall is when I feel like something is about to begin!

5. What changes are you anticipating in your life, your church, family...whatever...as the season changes and winter approaches?
Total upheaval is what we're anticipating this year-- and that would be a very good thing. I'll keep you posted.

Bonus: What food says "AUTUMN" at your house? Recipes always appreciated.
The Barefoot Contessa's Butternut Squash Soup, from her At Home cookbook! (The mac and cheese with smoked Gouda is also amazing.)


Beginner Quilting

I've been quilting!

Earlier this summer I made a rag quilt for a friend who's expecting this month (Blackberry photo, color's a little off):

I had only made tiny baby blankets before this one, and I figured that a rag quilt would be an easy road into a bigger, lap-blanket-sized quilt. BOY, WAS I WRONG! Clipping the edges so they get fuzzy took hours longer than stitching would have. But it was soft, and a lot of fun to make.

Earlier this week I finished the top of a pieced quilt for our house-- also lap-sized. (The color is a bit off in the picture, too, but it is a little loud in real life.) There are little owls (what bookish girl doesn't love owls?!), and little trees, and apples-- it's a happy little guy. I've bought varigated oranged thread to quilt, and so when my Dream Green batting order gets in at the quilt store, I'll sew the quilt sandwich together with a scattered leaf pattern. Nice for fall.


Prayer Request Wednesday

It's Wednesday again! Just like last week, here's the deal:

I'll pray for your messy lives, and if you're so inclined, you'll pray for mine. We won't fix each other's problems, we'll just ask God to do whatever it is God's inclined to do.

Here's what I've got:
  • Mr. M and I both have a cold that we just can't quite shake.
  • Our 5th anniversary is Friday-- pray that we keep growing together.
  • I'm having a rough time with my family-- wisdom and peace would both be helpful.

Thanks, guys! Leave yours in the comments, and I'll pop them onto my corkboard for the week!


The Power of Prayer

I have, in the young life of my marriage, bought two copies of Stormie O'Martian's The Power of a Praying Wife, both for myself. I bought the first not long after we were married, rolled my eyes at the rigid gender roles, and tossed it into the library donation bag. About six months ago, I bought it again.

The gender roles still drive me batty. But I'm a big believer in, "take what you like and leave the rest," so I'm trying. I'm looking for dirty-laundry prayers, and not sunbathed-meadow ones, and and I appreciate that Ms. O'Martian is trying to speak to the ordinary parts of our lives. The Celts are good for this, imbuing the mundane with gratitude and recognizing the presence of the sacred, but the language isn't quite what I want. Right now, I just want to remember to bring all the crap, all the regular stuff to God. I'm not having a mountaintop time, I think it's ditch-digging time for me, and I don't want all the ruffles and flourishes.

I'm not sure that we mainliners are very good at this. We give awfully pretty prayers, but I think I've forgotten to say, "Hey, here's what's going on. I'd really appreciate some help with it." (I say this to affirm that language is sacred, not to deny it. I love those beautiful prayers. We need all the richness and complexity we can get, but in the course of attending to complexity, sometimes we omit the necessary texture and contrast that simplicity brings.)

So, in honor of the mandatory Wednesday night church services of my youth (thank you, Miss Lynn and Mr. Dail), I'd like to initiate Prayer Request Wednesdays, and anyone who wants to join in is welcome. I'll pray for your messy lives, and if you're so inclined, you'll pray for mine. We won't fix each other's problems, we'll just ask God to do whatever it is God's inclined to do.

Here's what I've got this week:
  • We would really love for Mr. M to find a new job. The current one is increasingly unhappy.
  • If that new job could involve moving, we would really love to strike out and have adventure in a new place.
  • Mr. M and I really need to relax and have fun. We're getting cranky and taking ourselves too seriously.

If there's any way I can pray for you, let me know in the comments. If you'd like to email me, you're welcome to do that, too.


Friday Five: Recharging

Revgal Sally brings us this week's Friday Five:
A few weeks ago my lap-top battery died, suddenly I found myself looking at a blank screen and was rather relieved to find that it was only the battery and not the whole computer that had failed. This morning a new battery arrived in the post, and suddenly I am mobile again!After a week with what feels like wall to wall meetings, and Synod looming on the horizon for tomorrow I find myself pondering my own need to recharge my batteries. This afternoon Tim and I are setting off to explore the countryside around our new home, I always find that walking in the fresh air away from phones and e-mails recharges me. But that is not the only thing that restores my soul, so do some people, books, pieces of music etc....So I wonder what/ who gives you energy?

1. Is there a person who encourages and uplifts you, whose company you seek when you are feeling low?
I almost said Mr. M, who's very comforting, but uplifting is a totally different thing, isn't it? Actually, my mom is surprisingly good at this.

2. How about a piece of music that either invigorates or relaxes you?
  • Calming-- Shubert's Ave Maria, as sung by Renee Fleming
  • Invigorating, when I need to put on my big girl pants-- Dire Strait's Brothers In Arms (West Wing fans who know why get a gold star.)
  • Hopeful-- A Change is Gonna Come, as done by Ben Sollee
3. Which book of the Bible do you most readily turn to for refreshment and encouragement? Is there a particular story that brings you hope?
If I need encouragement, it's almost always because I'm overwhelmed. So, Matthew's account of Jesus calming the storm has long been a favorite.

4. A bracing walk or a cosy fireside?
A bracing walk. Or, better, a long slow run-- long enough to wear you out, slow enough to let you process everything you need to, and to notice the loveliness of the trail.

5. Are you feeling refreshed and restored at the moment or in need of recharging? Write a prayer or a prayer request to finish this weeks Friday Five.
I'm feeling pretty peaceful lately, even in the midst of some real uncertainties. My prayer request is for that peace to expand.


Beauty In Unexpected Places

A duck in the library parking lot

Flowers at the edge of a garage

Snapdragons in the wall