Wednesday Prayers: Unexpected Blooms

I have been a merciless plant-slaughterer for a very long time. A couple of years ago, in a last-ditch attempt to have something green in my life, I started buying tiny cacti each time Dave and I went to Longwood Gardens.

This little one was a gift. I've had it about a year and a half, and had no idea that it blooms. But a couple of weeks ago, this funny little alien flower showed up.

The Bible is all about surprises. This is important for me to remember, because I am usually quite certain that I know how things will unfold (bleakly). So this week, I'm praying to notice surprises, to expect surprises, to give up my certainty in favor of watching and waiting.

How about you? Have you gotten any surprises lately? Do you need to start considering them a possibility?


Surgery's scheduled!

My "arrival time" is 1 p.m. It's an outpatient procedure, and the surgery itself is usually pretty short (30 minutes to an hour), but post-op takes a while, so I'm expecting to get home after dark.

Hope everybody's having a good day, and I'll be back... well, later this week, probably.



Hey, y'all.

I'm having surgery for a torn meniscus on Tuesday. Here's the quick info:
  • I won the torn meniscus lottery. Most of the time, they have to be removed (which means a speedy recovery, but higher likelihood of arthritis later on). My tear happens to be in the place where it can be stitched up (maybe-- they never know for sure until they're in there).
  • The surgery's arthroscopic, so no worries about scars marring my sexy knees. (BWAHAHAHA. Knees are very, very silly looking.)
  • Recovery's going to take a while, and hurt like heck.
  • BUT, my timing's perfect. If there's any ideal time to be housebound, it's January-February-March. This way, when my favorite seasons come, I'll be well on my way to being healed.
  • Blogging will either not happen, or will be very, very silly. (Vicoden)
  • Stratoz made my week when he wished me healthy running in 2011. That is *exactly* the prize I'm keeping my eye on.
Today and tomorrow, Dave and I are trying to do a few pre-op errands that will make next week easier. My to-do list includes the practical:
  • Buy more pillows.
  • Make more ice packs.
  • Create a little recuperation station in bedroom: laptop, books, knitting stuff, stationery.
The frivolous:
  • Buy a few pairs of skirts and flats, so that I won't feel scrubby every day in my knee brace and sweats.
  • Clean high heels out of closet, so as not to be taunted by them.
And the peculiar:
  • Try a practice shower with improvised seat.

So that's that! Keep me in your prayers, if you think to. I'm sure I'll tell you (way more than you were hoping) about how it went!


The Beginnings of Christmas

No, not the manger-beginning, just the beginning of our own celebrations.

Dave and I have some hippy tendencies, there's no way around it. In an effort to cut down on waste, I've wrapped his presents in some fat quarters from my stash. I was inspired by furoshiki, but cheated a bit by tying most of the packages with kitchen twine.

Here's his pile of blue-and-green-dotted gifts (side note: I adore dots.):

This cute little box didn't get the twine, and I just had to show you how darling it is:

We've hung the Advent calendar.

I've had this calendar since I was tiny, but last year got the bright idea to put candies in it, in addition to the mouse. Dave has grown very attached to the mouse, and has named him Reynaldo.

Tomorrow we'll hang tiny ornaments on our potted ficus. We'll have Christmas crustaceans for dinner (usually snow crap*, but this year Ina's Roasted Shrimp Cocktail). Dave will bake cookies until it's time to bundle up late in the evening and trundle off to midnight mass.

Christmas Day is so often stressful in our families; all the magic happens on Christmas Eve. It's mass that I always look forward to, and I'm already longing for the candlelight and song.

*Whoops! It's not snow crap-- Dave's an excellent cook. It's snow crab!


Wednesday Prayers: Quick and Dirty

Between my knee (visit to the Ortho guy tomorrow-- which always sounds like "Orkin Guy" in my head, adding to the ickiness) and holiday stress, I'm a snippy, cranky, jerk this month. Worse yet, I know it, so I'm also a guilt-ridden jerk. Pray for my patience, and the patience of those around me.

What've you got this week?


Dolly Always Comes Through

Y'all know I love Dolly, right? This woman is my hero; I want to be just like her when I grow up.

Christmas is kicking my ass this year, but tonight, she had just what I needed.


Wednesday Prayers: Leroy

Once a week, Dave and I go to our local library. He volunteers, mostly re-shelving books and looking for lost ones. I head to the coffee shop, stamps and stationery in hand, and write letters.

While Dave is shelving, he keeps an eye out for books he thinks I'd like. About a year ago, he grabbed Grace Goes to Prison, an excellent book about Marie Hamilton's ministry to inmates in Pennsylvania prisons. Her organization, CentrePeace, runs a secondhand furniture shop, and inmates are trained in restoration. Another ministry through CentrePeace is their PrayerMates program. Inmates are matched up with a "spiritual pen pal," and agree to write and pray for each other regularly. Only first names are used, and all correspondence goes through the CentrePeace office.

I had to sign up. I couldn't write to loved ones every week, and know that I'd refused to correspond with someone who needed a friend.

I've been exchanging letters with Leroy for almost a year now. We don't have a lot in common, but that's OK. He hasn't written about what his days are like, so my prayers for him are often vague. I'm glad to pray for someone outside my circle, though, someone whose circumstances I can't understand. I think maybe this is the beginning of how we learn to love all people.

So this week, like all other weeks, I'm praying for Leroy. That he has peace and safety, that he continues to grow and learn, that he can see hope.

What are you praying for this week? May I join you?


As Long As It Takes

I haven't been moving very quickly the last few weeks (knee injury). I've felt self-conscious about that, but I didn't realize how awkward I felt until a dear friend of mine came to visit this weekend. We went shopping together (I knew of a buy 1, get 2 free boot sale!), and I was acutely aware of holding us back.

Think about that for a minute. It was just shopping. And catching up. With a very old, good, lovely friend. Going slowly isn't really a big deal, under those circumstances.

I don't have a lot of patience or respect for how long it takes me to do things. This is true in literal, tangible ways, but also in developmental ways. I hate to keep people waiting as I unload my cart at the grocery store, and I hate all the ways I'm still (at 31) not the grown-up I want to be.

I started reading about child development a few years ago when I worked at United Way, and was really blown away by the (totally obvious) concept that children are capable of different things at different ages. Age-appropriate expectations were an entirely new idea. It was amazing. I took such pride in being a very short adult as a kid that it never, ever occurred to me that it was OK not to be able to do something yet.

As an adult, it's also OK not to be able to do something yet. If we're still growing (and heaven help us if we're not), there are steps and stages. Hating slow progress doesn't speed it up; it just eats away at self-respect.

And so, yet again, I'm thinking of Mr. Dail: "In due time, Diana Mary, in due time."


Wednesday Prayers: Bear Fruit!!!

I've had the gospel reading for Advent 2 in my head all week, particularly John the Baptist's "You brood of vipers... bear fruit worthy of repentance!"

The Postulant posted a great sermon about how Advent is a penitential season, a time to prepare and make things right (well, right-er, anyway).

But it's the "bear fruit worthy of repentance!" that's sticking with me.

How much do we want to smack people when they're apologizing for the same thing for the billionth time, without any change in the choices they make-- without even any intention of change? (Yes, I know we're called to forgive 70x70 times. Still, I think God's OK with my being angry.) BEAR FRUIT WORTHY OF REPENTANCE!

How frustrated do we get when we keep doing the same damn dumb thing, over and over, instead of hunkering down, asking for God's help, and doing the hard work of making new habits? BEAR FRUIT WORTHY OF REPENTANCE!

I loved this week's sermon (yes, we'll talk soon about how I'm back worshiping with the local Lutherans), because the pastor took sin seriously, in a loving rather than an angry way. I want us to be talking about sin-- not so that we can shuffle around feeling like crap (NOT what I think we're called to do), but so that we can move towards greater freedom and joy, so that we can become more fully who God made us to be.

Because really, that's what sin's about. It's all the sludge that holds us back. It's the plastic imitation of stuff that's much better. We are God's beloved, and God longs for us to have the real thing-- love, freedom, joy, peace.

So this week, I'm praying for God to show me where I'm not bearing fruit, and to prune me where necessary.

What are you praying for this week? How can I pray with you?


Knee Absolution

I did something screwy to my knee in the fall. I babied it (RICE), it got better. Then I went on a REALLY ambitious run, and it made a very bad pain. I babied it (more RICE), it started to get better. I had a party to go to, decided to wear high-heeled boots with my skirt. We're back to babying again.

Since I've been in this cycle since late Sept./early Oct., I'm going to head to the doctor's on Monday, just to make sure there's not anything really wrong. Because I feel incredibly dumb, what I'd really like (in addition to the actual exam) is absolution:

Most merciful Claudia,
I confess that I have been stupid
in speed, incline, and footwear,
by what I have injured,
and by Advil I have left untaken.
I have not stretched with my whole hamstring;
I have not strengthened with my whole quad.
I am truly sorry and I humbly repent.
For the sake of my regular training,
have mercy on me and forgive me;
that I may lace up my sneakers,
and run outside,
before the roads are covered in snow and ice. Amen.


Wednesday Prayers: For Jo(e)

I had a half dozen other posts in my head, but really, this is where my prayers are this week.

Do you have anything else you'd like me to be praying for, friends?