Wednesday Prayers: Simple Pleasures Edition

This week, we've been wondering if Mr. M will still have a job by Friday. In the midst of worries about layoffs, Mr. M took a little walk into the woods behind his office... and found BERRIES.

Whenever I imagine it, an old Peanuts strip comes to mind. Anyone remember the one where Snoopy kicks his bowl in a fit of pique, but then can't get it because he's afraid of the neighbor cat? In the last panel, his cheeks are stuffed with berries, and that's EXACTLY what I think has been going on. I have good reason to think it, too-- when berries are ripe on our favorite rail trail, I can count on running alone for long, vine-filled stretches. Because Mr. M is snacking.


Still, it's a nice thing to have humor (and woods, and berries) in the middle of uncertainty, and I'm praising God today for the sweet surprises.

How about you? Are you lifting up sweetness or carrying something saltier? How can I pray with you?


A Little Glimpse

The good news: this is the lovely view on one of my regular runs.
The bad new? The run starts and ends at the bottom of the hill


Wednesday Prayers: Potluck Edition

These odds and ends are in my prayers this week:
  • Mr. M might have fractured his hand. He's getting an x-ray now. He whacked the bejesus out of it a couple weeks ago, and finally went to the doctor today.
  • An article in our local paper let us know that Mr. M's employer plans to cut a number of jobs. Of the kind of employee that Mr. M is. They'll decide at the end of June. For the fiscal year starting July 1.
  • One the other hand, there was a beautiful heron hanging out by a local pond yesterday, saw it twice. Felt very grateful for the privilege of watching it get dinner.
  • I'm taking one major unbloggable situation and, at least for this week, shutting out all outside information, and just praying about it. It's been incredibly helpful. Among other things, I'm knowing God in ways that never occurred to me.
Despite some pretty big stressors, I'm doing really well. I'm grateful for all the prayers, and I'm feeling a good bit of peace. Thanks, friends.

And you? What's your motley casserole of prayers this week?


Gratitude for Fear

About a week ago, I wrote about not letting fear run the house. I didn't elaborate on something, and it's too glaring an omission to let go.

While sometimes our fear is disproportionate to the situation (and perhaps would be better called anxiety), there is holy fear that takes care of us. There is fear that is a Great Big Neon Sign and we would do well to respect it. One of the best things I've ever read on this is Gavin de Becker's The Gift of Fear, and I can't recommend it highly enough. A great point de Becker makes is that we shouldn't dismiss our intuition as irrational. Usually, our intuition is an understanding of facts and clues that didn't consciously register-- but they're still concrete evidence.

The tricky thing about real fear (as opposed to anxiety, insecurity, etc.) is that the only way to know for sure whether we're right is to ignore it. We won't get a postcard in the mail saying, "Congratulations! That dark alley really was unsafe! Good job!" We will, however, have confirmation that our intuition was right when we meet the shady character in the alley we decided to risk going down.

A lovely Navy chaplain once asked my mother, "if you thought of your gut feeling as the Holy Spirit's guidance, would you be more likely to listen to it?"

This is a really difficult subject for me right now, because my fear is saying one thing, and my sense of obligation is saying another. My fear is shouting about one course of action, and if I take it I'll lose something I've hoped for. Though that does make me think of missionary martyr Jim Elliot again-- "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."


Blessings From My Morning Run

  • Getting up and going. Any day I manage to crate the dog and go for a run, especially by myself, is awesome.
  • An honest-to-goodness bluebird. Definitely not a bluejay. Gorgeous.
  • The gentleman who doffed his cap when he said good morning. I was completely charmed.
  • Everyone I passed said good morning.
  • Including the team of cyclists. Adorable.
  • The calico cat sleeping in a window.
  • The ginger cat in another window.
  • Jerron Niemann's "Lover, Lover" running through my head, keeping my pace.


Obedience School

Last night, I was talking to a wonderful man who hasn't been able to make some of the changes in his life that he really wants to. His fear has been getting in the way. As he talked about his situation, I began to imagine his fear as a big, clumsy dog galloping through his home. The dog wasn't mean, or bad, it just needed its master to set some limits. In fact, it wants limits-- it will be less anxious if it knows where it's allowed to go, and what the rules are. The dog, Fear, needs discipline and consistency. Have you ever watched The Dog Whisperer? I saw one episode, and knew right away the dog is never the problem: that poor Cesar Milan has to train PEOPLE!

I pictured the man as a child, when the dog was as big as he was. The dog was overwhelming then! It could push him over! And none of the adults in the house handled his Fear. The man's an adult now, and he can handle Fear, but it's only just starting to occur to him that he's bigger than the puppy now.

Then I thought about the dog I haven't trained properly. I think it's a spoiled Chihauhau. It yaps an awful lot, and tends to get riled up and nip my ankles. I need to learn to ignore it when it's acting up, but I also need to learn to praise it when it's doing it's job. Because it's a good dog. It loves me, and watches out for me. It just needs to be corrected when it's over-vigilant. Sometimes, it needs to stop pacing (and I need to crate it).

What kind of dog is your fear? How do you need to train it?


Wednesday Prayers: For Courage

I'm struggling with an unbloggable situation, and as I've been holding a few friends in the Light, I realize we're all sharing one common need: courage. A specific kind of loving courage. One that lets us take care of ourselves.

Some of us have been discouraged from doing that. Some of us have been taught to take care of others, even when the other can't or doesn't care for us. Sometimes the "other" that acts against us is another person, and sometimes it's the nagging voice of shame, telling us we're less than we really are.

Loving God, who gathers us as a hen gathers her brood:
May your nurturing teach us who we are,
May your gentleness show us our value,
May your constancy give us strength,
And may your affection and guidance bring us peace in the midst of conflict.

Is there anything for which you need courage this week? Are there any prayers I can lift for you?