Jan 28 2010

This Moment


Outside my window…snows a mini-blizzard, millions of little flakes churning against the white sky.

Thinking…that solitude and quiet is both a deep blessing, but also a challenge to use well.

Thankful for…my parents, with whom I just talked on the phone.

From the kitchen…rice wrap burrito with cheese and roasted salsa, and irish breakfast tea.

Creating…my prospectus, 15 pages on why I want to write my dissertation on prayer, study,  and theological education.

Going…to finish a draft of my proposal by Sunday. (I hope!)

Reading…lots of books on prayer, and expecting another stack to arrive today.

Hoping…for wisdom and guidance (and strength) about moving in May…Seattle or Texas?

Hearing…occasional cars shwoosh by, wet tires on the road.

Around the house…all is quiet, it is times like these I miss my days as a foster kitty mom.

Favorite thing…reading today a lovely, wonderful quote by Frederick Buechner:

“Maybe nothing is more important than that we keep track, you and I, of these stories of who we are and where we have come from and the people we have met along the way because it is precisely through these stories in all their particularity… that God makes himself known to each of us most powerfully and personally.”

Post inspired by http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com

Jan 26 2010

Screen Life


” And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  Colossians 3:14-17

Today this verse brought conviction.

To do something in someone’s name is to have the authority of that person for action, but also to act on their behalf–actions that they themselves would do.  “Do everything” is quite explicit–everything I do each day, how I spend my time, is to be done with both a sense of Christ’s authority and on Christ’s behalf.

The still small voice has been gently suggesting over the past year for me to consider how much time I give to screen living–internet, social networking, and Hollywood media.

As I sought God for help discerning whether I am hearing his voice or my own driven perfectionism, the phrase came to mind: Guilt is a bad motivator for change, but a feeling of conviction is a good reason for repentance and prayer. The first puts all the power of change on me, the second puts me in partnership with God. It has helped to take my feeling of conviction to God and pray, rather than embark in my own strength on “10-steps-to-a-new-and-improved-Susan.”

I do not begrudge small doses of  quality entertainment (I have enjoyed excellent series like “Cranford” and “Emma”), but I can see that in my life, it can seep in through the cracks  of loneliness and promise a false sense of connection. And then an hour or hours later, what was gained?

Instead, God whispers:  Come to me, Susan.  Write, sing, pray, call a friend, send a letter, take a walk, take some photos, have a party.

Does this mean I give up all screen life?  No.  But it does mean that I want to prayerfully consider, with God’s help, alternatives and have them at the ready.

Romans 12:1 comes to mind.  “Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.”

God, I give you my time in front of any screen. Help me prune it so that it becomes life-giving and honors your Name.

Jan 19 2010

Dare to Speak

Candle 1

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” –Martin Luther King, Jr

“See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks;  for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18

Jan 15 2010

Dream Big


What is one humanly impossible thing that you desire to ask God to do through you and/or your community this year?

I like this question  because it gets the focus off me and onto what God is already doing;

it asks for me to imagine what I hope for, not necessarily what I can control or bring about with my own strength;

it suggests that my weaknesses may be an avenue through which God could work;

it makes prayer necessary, rather than optional;

and it invites me consider how open I am to partnering with God to see the hope realized, and what would help me to become more open.

Desire is important in answering this question–What is on my heart? What would thrill me to see happen?

As I reflect on this question, I know that changes are coming for me and I will be sharing more as the path becomes clearer.

But to you, I ask:

What would give you great joy to see God do through you, which you know without a doubt you could not do on your own?

I’d love to hear about your hope for 2010.  Dream big.

(question adapted from Ten Questions for the New Year)

Jan 2 2010

Making a Gratitude Journal


My recent posts have centered around two themes: gratitude and memory, the two areas I believe God is leading me to focus on for 2010. In this time between Christmas and Epiphany, the traditional twelve days of Christmas, I have been working on a gratitude journal where I’m recording both my One Thousand Gifts list (an edited version is on-line here), and memories of joy which come to mind as I review my life.

Just in the short time of making the list, I have found that I’m beginning to look forward to the time I spend reviewing the day.  Sometimes it is easy, sometimes it takes a little digging.

Making the Journal

I selected some magazines for images and patterned craft paper my dad gave me to decorate the cover and each page:


(My own tastes lean toward nature photography, flowers, and victoriana, but a journal could easily be crafted differently.)

During the course of the afternoon, my mom came in to see how it was coming along.  One magazine, The Girlhood Home Companion, had some paper dolls in the back, which led to my mom delightedly telling me about her afternoons as a child (before Barbie) cutting out paper dolls.


And the finished journal:

Gratitude Journal
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