A Beautiful Way to Start the Day

July 30, 2019 | My Jottings

It’s early where I am — around 5:45 a.m. For the first time in weeks, I slept with my bedroom windows open, as our temperatures finally went down into the sixties and the dewpoint dropped enough to make the feel of the sauna blow away. I can’t remember a time when I’ve had my central air conditioning on non-stop, day and night, for weeks at a time. I know there are people out there who say the globe isn’t warming, and I’m no scientist, but my part of the globe has been increasing in temperature for years now. When I first moved to Duluth (known as The Air Conditioned City — meaning Lake Superior is our air conditioner) the really hot days amounted to a handful. Our average summer temp was 74 degrees. Not anymore.

Anyway, I’m so grateful this morning to smell the fresh cool air blowing through my house. I’m sitting up in my bed with a cold cup of Stok Cold Brew Coffee by my side, soon to welcome eleven friends in for our sixth week of summer Bible study, and I want to share something very nice with you.

Months ago I read about a website called Pray As You Go, and the person who recommended it uses the night time prayer of Examen and loves it. She actually credited the Examen prayer with giving her peace and saving her marriage. Wow, I thought. I will check this out. I too have loved the prayer of Examen, but more often I use the daily morning prayer at this website.

I’ll link to the Pray As You Go website below, but first I’ll tell you the things I like about it.

1. I have downloaded the app on my iPhone so I can listen whenever it’s convenient. I love to listen in the morning before I get out of bed. You can download the app, or you can just go to the website.

2. It takes about 10 minutes to listen.

3. The readers are various British people and their voices and accents are so soothing and lovely.

4. A short piece of beautiful music is played first, often from choirs around the world, and it always stirs my heart.

5. A short passage of Scripture is read, so I’m beginning my day being nourished and strengthened. My mind is being calibrated and I also know I’m joining with countless others around the world, listening to this same lesson on this same day.

6. The listener is invited to let the short passage touch or guide or impact their life and day, and some gentle questions help with that.

7. The passage is read a second time after you’ve meditated on it and allowed the Holy Spirit to personalize it for your life and circumstances.

8. It ends with several voices quietly saying the Gloria, and I join in, whispering, Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, Amen.

9. If you explore the simple site, you’ll find a few examples of end of the day Examen prayers, and I love the one for the young adult, even though they’re all wonderful. It would be beautiful also to play the child’s Examen for your children at night before they go to bed, joining in with them. There are also a couple of prayer series to explore, and I have enjoyed many of them at night before I go to sleep.

10. I believe that anyone with anxiety would benefit from listening to the daily morning prayer, and the night time examen prayer. Once you listen, you’ll understand what I mean. The whole experience is soothing and uplifting and applies God’s Word to our anxious and thirsty hearts, and helps us talk to Him about the coming day, or about the day that has passed.

I’m not Catholic and it took a couple of times to get used to the ancient flavor of this, but I think anyone could benefit from this. I hope you’ll listen and be blessed. I want to start each day with these short times of prayer.

From the Pray As You Go Website:

Pray As You Go is a daily prayer session, designed to go with you wherever you go, to help you pray whenever you find time, but particularly whilst travelling to and from work, study, etc.

A new prayer session is produced every day of the working week and one session for the weekend. It is not a ‘Thought for the Day’, a sermon or a bible-study, but rather a framework for your own prayer.

Lasting between ten and thirteen minutes, it combines music, scripture and some questions for reflection.

Our aim is to help you to:

   * become more aware of God’s presence in your life

   * listen to and reflect on God’s word

   * grow in your relationship with God

The style of prayer is based on Ignatian Spirituality. It is produced by Jesuit Media Initiatives, with material written by a number of Jesuits, both in Britain and further afield, and other experts in the spirituality of St Ignatius of Loyola. Although the content is different every day, it keeps to the same basic format.

We also have a number of prayer tools, retreats and resources to help supplement your prayer life.

Here’s the website.

I would love to know if you listen, and what your thoughts are. For those who don’t have the time before getting out of bed, listening as you’re driving, or taking a bath, or walking, would be good too. Or as you’re having breakfast.

I’m making it a habit and I love the help it gives me to start the day talking to the Lord. I love how it helps me begin the day from a place of calm and strength in Him.

Bedding, Bible Studies and Whatnot

July 3, 2019 | My Jottings

Every summer for the past many years, I have hosted a Bible study in my home and invited about a dozen dear women to come gather around God’s Word with me. We have done Beth Moore studies, studies by Priscilla Shirer, Margaret Feinberg and Mary Kassian, and even one based on the book The Hiding Place about the life of Corrie ten Boom. I say this each year, but the several Tuesdays we spend together end up being the highlight of my summer. We are crammed into my living room almost elbow to elbow, and the three friends with the smallest behinds are cozy on the couch while the rest of us plop ourselves down on the various upholstered or folding chairs. We have coffee and treats, we pray for each other during the week, we go through questions and share our hearts, and we laugh and learn and wipe tears as we watch the DVD for the week.

This summer we’re going through a seven week study by Lisa Harper, called Job – A Story of Unlikely Joy, and I think we all love it already. If you know of anyone trying to make sense of why God permits His children to endure pain and heartache (hello, all human beings who ever lived), I would recommend this study. You can google Lisa Harper and Job and find a little trailer about it online.

Anyone who is acquainted with me knows how much I love plaid. I could have plaid in every room and not get tired of it. Oh wait. I have plaid in every room and am not tired of it. Not really. I don’t (yet) have plaid in my bathrooms, but given the right wallpaper, it could happen.

I also love toile, and my poor toile quilt is now 16 years old and wearing out. I can’t bear to send it down the road yet, but it did get me to thinking about how I need to buy another one for my bedroom, and I decided on deep red and black buffalo plaid. I found it at Kohl’s and knew I would layer it with the old quilt and a thin coverlet I use on my bed.

First, though, here is Mildred the Schnauzer, now 13 years old, taking a morning nap on my bed. She knows how important it is for one to make sure one’s lower jaw and neck are perfectly parallel to the folded edge of the toile quilt which is placed on the new buffalo plaid quilt. See how carefully she lined up her little beard there?

I love the layered, textured look in decorating, so I decided to experiment with that in my room. You can click to enlarge these if you like. I kept my black and cream dust ruffle. The first layer is a cream colored coverlet with pretty swirly stitching. On top of that is the new buffalo plaid quilt. On top of that is my threadbare-in-places black and cream toile quilt. Add in nine pillows and I’m semi-pleased with the initial experiment. I may change things up, but right now this is how I’m configuring everything.

Here’s a closeup of the stitching on all three. I like how they don’t really match, but how that’s sort of okay. I sometimes do the same mismatched style when I set my table. If you would like to see that, click here.

I have some errands to run today — a deposit to make at the credit union, a few groceries to buy, and a drive up to the cemetery to see how all the baby ducks and goslings are doing.

Lloyd and I have been watching the mini-series John Adams starring Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney. It’s over 10 years old and I saw it years ago, but watching it again is a treat. It’s one of the best I’ve ever seen — have any of you watched it?

A friend was just commenting to me recently that she isn’t loving Netflix like she used to because she has such a hard time finding something worth watching. I agreed that we need some good recommendations. What are some series or movies you’ve watched and enjoyed on Netflix?

That’s all for now — have a great week!