Wednes+1day Prayers: Setting Intentions

I've started going to yoga immediately after my mid-week runs. I love yoga, and doing after runs helps with my silly running injuries. (This way I s---t---r---e---t---c---h after runs.)

I've been in a funk lately (thanks, btw, for the support-- and Kristin, you were right-- a good night sleep made a big difference). I'm reading church theology and doctrine (interesting, helpful, important), and I'm bringing Great Big Personal Unbloggable Questions to prayer, which makes for a heavy combination.

So last night at the beginning of class, our yoga instructor reminded us to set an intention for class-- a place to direct our energy. One came to me quickly, and I held it through our vinyasas. At the end of class, not only did I feel like I'd offered prayer with my whole self, I also felt like that whole self was lighter.

It reminded me that, in addition to the searching we do (and I'm a notorious sleuth), sometimes just engaging in a practice without asking questions is vital. I need this in my life. I need a place where I go to God without trying to figure it all out.

In that spirit, rather than asking for or offering a specific prayer/request this week, I'm just going to encourage practice. For me, physical practice is so, so helpful. Quietly seated centering prayer might also apply here for some, but engaging my body feels particularly right to me-- bringing my whole self to God, giving my body as well as my spirit as an offering to God.


Blame It On the Rain

Well, the snow actually, but you know I'm coming a bit unhinged when I reference Milli Vanilli.

I'm having a rough week, y'all. Family + weather + that lovely combination of inadequacy and doubt that's so helpful in ministry = one struggling puppy.

Actually, I said it facetiously, but I really do think (to an extent) that inadequacy (I am not God) and doubt (we share our questions, and God is a huge mystery) are important. But, dang, they're rough sometimes.

Cyber hugs and kisses would be great, if you've got 'em to spare.


Wednesday Prayers: Losing It

I've been wrongly attributing the following to St. Paul, it's actually a gentleman by the name of Jim Elliot: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." I've also been thinking it was "gives up," rather than "gives." But the third chapter of Ecclesiastes comes through for me; it confirms that indeed there is a time to seek, and a time to lose.

I'm choosing to lose right now, to give up. As it's Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, I suspect many of us are giving up. Sometimes losing, or giving up, feels like deprivation, but for me it feels like hope. Hard hope. Hope that God is already holding that which I'm letting go.

A woman wrote to the Washington Post's fashion chat last week because she's been carrying a heavy purse on the same shoulder for many years, and now one shoulder is higher than the other. I believe this has happened to me spiritually-- I've been carrying something too heavy for many years, and in order to restore my shape, I have to put it down.

It's a private thing, a family thing, but if you could hold me in your prayers, I'd be grateful.

Do you need me to pray for you to lose it, too?


Know Thyself

A few months back, I found this tutorial for a Duct Tape Dummy. (There are more out there, actually, but this one looked the best.) I really, really love little dresses, and as an old college friend recently punned it, I have trouble buying off the rack. Add that to a fondness for fabric, and TA-DA! You have a woman with an urgent need for a dressmaker's form.

Since we've gotten boatloads (seriously, 3 1/2 feet in the last week) of snow, I thought this would be a fun project for the days when we couldn't go out. We did the wrapping phase on Wednesday (we did take a picture of that, but it didn't really turn out to be right for teh internets), and last night Mr. M and I stuffed it. This was trickier than expected, because without a skeleton, stuffed duct tape tends to go round rather than oblong (like a real person). We futzed with fake ribs and a few other options until I decided to put a dress on it, just to see whether the exact shape would really matter (for things like darts).

I couldn't zip up the dress.

We looked at the dummy. We looked at me. I took my shirt off. We looked at the dummy, looked at me. Finally, I grabbed a tape measure.

The dummy's waist was 2 1/2 inches bigger than mine. (I had kind of thought she looked bigger than me, but she also had one hip rounder than the other, and that was totally accurate...)


See, the taping process itself takes a really long time, and I'm... um... REALLY, REALLY sort of claustrophopic. So, I was moving around a little, wiggling to make sure I had enough room to breathe. *sigh*

I'm pretty disappointed, but it helps to be able to say, "Of course! Of course, that's what I did! If I'd let that become duct tape spanx, I would have freaked the #%$@ out!" Sometimes, knowing oneself is a comfort.

(She can wear my stretchy dresses, but that's not really going to help me as a seamstress.)


Wednesday Prayers: Shelter from the Storm

Here in the Central PA, we are really just getting POUNDED by snow. (I know some of you get a lot more than this every year, but we're looking at over 3 feet in less than a week. That's tons for us.)

In light of that, my ongoing prayer since last Friday has been for the homeless in the affected areas. Downtown churches in this area have Winter Shelter, but it's only overnight-- and it's just downtown. In this county, rural poverty and homelessness are an issue, too. I've been really worried.

I often whine and complain about our apartment, but this week I feel extraordinarily grateful for its warmth and safety.

What do your prayers hold this week?


Cabin Fever Innoculation

Because I went totally stir crazy when we got 2+ feet of snow last weekend, I prepared for round two (12-18 MORE inches, due to start in 2 hours).

  • I went nuts not being able to go outside/run for a couple of days in a row, so I bought a jump rope. We have room to use this indoors.
  • I'm ready to try sewing a dress, and want to make this dress form. So I bought duct tape and cling wrap.

I tried not to think too much about what the drugstore clerk thought of my combination of purchases.


Friday Five: Winter Madness Edition

RevGal Sally gives us this Friday Five, and frankly, it came just in time:

Candlemass is past, and Christmas is well and truly over, here in the UK February looks set to be its usual grey and cold self. Signs of spring are yet to emerge; if like me you long for them perhaps you need ways to get through these long dark days. So lets share a few tips for a cold and rainy/ snowy day....

1. Exercise, what do you do if you can't face getting out into the cold and damp?
If the temperature is above 30 degrees, I bundle up and just deal with the cold in order to run in some sunlight. A mile or so in, I've warmed up, and I'm glad to be out there. I knew winter was getting to me this week, though, because I was downright snarly as I zipped up my vest and headed out the door! (If it's colder than 30, I head to the gym. And either way, I do a little morning yoga in the brightest room in the house.)

2. Food; time to comfort eat, or time to prepare your body for the coming spring/summer?
Both? I'm not sure this is an either/or question for me, as my taste buds lean towards pretty healthy food. Spicy food is particularly nice this time of year-- Indian has been sounding great this week.

3. Brainpower; do you like me need to stave off depression, if so how do you do it?
Merciful heavens, yes. Honestly, the best answer to this is also the answer to question 1-- I spend as much time as I can bear (truly despising the cold) outside. Exercise makes a world of difference to me in the winter. Without it, I would nap more days than not!

4. How about a story that lifts your spirits, is there a book or film that you return to to stave off the gloom?
For me, it's music that's most likely to lift my spirits. I've been on a Motown kick lately, but singing and bopping around to anything cheers me up and calms me down.

5. Looking forward, do you have a favourite spring flower/ is there something that says spring is here more than anything else?
I cheer LOUDLY when the crocuses first pop their heads up. They're my favorite sign that the end is in sight.

Bonus; post a poem/ piece of music that points to the coming spring......

Nothing is so beautiful as Spring--
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush's eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, the brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth's sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. -- Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid's child, thy choice and worth the winning.
-Gerard Manley Hopkins


Wednesday Prayers: Tiny Appendix Edition

Hi, friends.

A friend's young son is in surgery for appendicitis this morning, and my prayers are with their family today. If you wouldn't mind joining me, I'd appreciate it.

How about you? Do you have any prayers you'd like me to extend this week? (You know I'm praying for you all, regardless.)