Intention Setting Prayer Journal Meditative Exercise

This year I purchased a planner–Rituals for Living Dreambook and Planner–from a website called The Dragon Tree.  It came across my Facebook feed as a suggested post and I was intrigued.

It is quite extensive, and I have to admit that I have not completed all the pages that require answering questions to better define your goals in life.  The concept behind the planner is to create rituals in your life that you want to make a habit.  It is based on the thought that it is small steps that create change, vs large ideas.

I believe that is what caught my attention when the post about the planner popped up on Facebook, as I had just read an article about studies that showed our brains are much better at creating change when we break the steps down into things we can accomplish more easily.  (I wish I could find the link to that article, but I am not finding it right now.)

Anyhow, on the weekly layout for the planner, there is a mandala design at the top where you put your focus for the week.  This week, the thing that came to me was not a word or words but a heart.  I decided to just go with what my gut was telling me to do and I drew a heart.  Pondering that a bit, I realized that I had colored the red on the outside of the heart and left the inside of the heart blank.  That led me to ask myself “What is in my heart?”.

Instead of being able to write a bunch of things that were on my mind, I realized that I had stumbled on a very significant question to which I really needed to let simmer before I could answer.

After I wrote the question next to my heart at the top of my planner, I took out my prayer journal and markers.  I simple drew a big heart and wrote the question next to it.  As I doodled around and embellished the heart, I considered what was really in my heart.  Many thoughts came to mind, but none were fitting quite right.  Then, something came to me–my need for connection.  I decided that was where I wanted to start.  How I will connect with who/what and how I will do it are the next step.

I decided that the page I had drawn with the heart in the middle was going to be my prayer journal meditative exercise for the month of February.  (I know.  It is fitting with Valentines Day being in the month of February too!)  I am curious to see what will unfold.

If you are looking for a fun and thoughtful exercise to do with a group–adults and even children–you might consider giving each person a piece of paper and asking them to draw a heart in the middle and ponder the question “What is in my Heart?”  Some might answer the question and say, “well, of course, it is Jesus.” But then ask “what does that mean?”  What does it mean to have Jesus in my heart?  It could most definitely be a dig deep exercise.

 

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My Word for 2017 is “Connect”

For the past few years I have embraced the tradition of choosing a new word symbolize my intentions for the new year.  The tradition was introduced to me by Christine Valters Paintner of Abbey of the Arts.  Christine talks about how we are to let our word choose us as well as us just choosing a word.

As an introvert–someone who needs alone time to recharge–I have been feeling the need to find some balance in my life.  I really do like being with people too.  That was one of my first thoughts when I pondered the word “connect.”  I even tried other words on for size like “weave.”  “Weave” is more poetic, but I was still drawn back to “connect.”  My decision was made.

So, what does this word mean to me and how do I apply it to my life?  The answers to that question are still evolving, but a couple things have stood out to me.  One is the idea of strengthening my connection with God.  Another is helping other strengthen their connection with God.  Instead of doing something completely new, I realized that I was already doing these things through prayer bedes.  (At least, I was intending to do it.)  But intentions are not actions.  One blog post a year is not much action!

That brings me to another thought I had today.  Namely, “How do I connect my mind with my body?”.  Another thing that I have intended to do, which is something I know many intend to do in the new year, is get more exercise.  I have big ideas of what I want to do, but they never seem to be accomplished.  Merging my mind with my body is another way I intend to connect this year.  My word for the year has usually fit easily into my spiritual and mental intentions, but I was excited to see how it could fit into my physical intentions this year too.

Now that I have said that, this website will be an actual track of how I fulfill (or not) my intentions for the coming year.  My goal is to post at least more than I did last year.  That I think I can accomplish.  Two is more than one!

New Year’s Blessings to All!

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Slowing Down and Yielding to the Beautiful

YellowFlowers

I noticed the daylilies were in bloom this morning.  While googling “daylilies” because it is highlighted as misspelled in this post, I realized that they are edible.  That means that all three of these yellow flowers in my gardens are edible.  Kinda cool.

The Elizabeth Gilbert quote I included in the graphic I just found, and I love it!  It seemed to fit perfectly with my thoughts, as I yielded to absorb the beauty of the blooming yellows I found.

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Prayer is…

weavings4:29:15I found this on my Facebook feed this morning.

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Protestants and the Rosary

I ran across this article this morning on Facebook, and I wanted to share.  It mirrors some of my own beliefs as a raised Lutheran, Episcopal, married Catholic.

Sojourners

http://sojo.net/blogs/2015/04/23/why-i-protestant-pray-hail-mary-and-use-rosary

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A Rosary Prayer

This is a copy of what I received in my email inbox today from the Upper Room Daily Reflections that I subscribe to.  It features an excerpt from a new book of prayers that can be used with the Anglican Rosary and is written by a friend of mine, Kristen E. Vincent.  What stood out to me today was the phrase “With all that I am, I praise you.”

URMany times (if not always) when I am stringing rosaries, I am also praying.  The act of making rosaries can be as prayerful as using them.  My prayer is often a short phrase that I repeat.  The repetitive form of prayer has become very meaningful to me.

My prayer this morning went something like this:

With all that I am, I praise you, Lord.  In the good times and bad, with all that I am, I praise you, Lord.  What I am, I give to you, Lord.  With all that I am, I praise you, Lord.  Lord, help me to praise you always.  Make my life a prayer to you.  With all that I am, I praise you Lord…

Often additional thoughts well up from the initial phrase of prayer, as you can see above.  Yet, coming back to your initial prayer phrase over and over again, the thoughts end up not distracting you, but taking you deeper into conversation with God.

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Mary, Untier of Knots Chaplet

The idea of Mary working for us to help us untie the knots in our lives stuck a special chord with me.  Some of our difficulties can be like stubborn knots that many times a massage therapist can literally feel in our shoulders and back. It is often the difficulties we have with in relationships with those closest to us that create the largest knots–marriage being high on the list.

The visualization of working with Mary to undo all those stubborn knots is what the Novena to Mary Undoer of Knots is all about.

The greater awareness of the devotion to Mary, Untier of Knots is due to Pope Francis who introduced it to the people of Argentina where he presided as the Archbishop before becoming the Pope of the Catholic Church.

Looking on the internet for information about this devotion, I ran across this adapted prayer on the Word Among Us website that it one of my favorites:

Prayer to Our Lady Undoer of Knots

Holy Mary, full of God’s presence, during your life you accepted the Father’s will with full humility, and the devil was never able to tie you up with his confusion.

Since then, you have interceded for all our difficulties, as you did at the wedding feast of Cana. Full of kindness and patience, you show us how to untie the knots of our lives. By always being our mother, you arrange and clarify the ties that link us to the Lord.

Holy Mary, Mother of God and of us all, you untie the knots of our lives with a mother’s heart. We place our intentions in your hands [mention your prayer request], and we ask you to disentangle every knot and confusion.

Through your grace, intercession, and example, protect us from all evil, and untie the knots that keep us from being united to God. Free from confusion and error, may we find him in all things, keep our hearts in him, and serve him always in our brothers and sisters.
Amen.

Adapted from a prayer attributed to Fr. Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis).  Source: www.desatadora.com.ar

SONY DSC

Mary, Untier of Knots Chaplet by prayerbedes

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Mary is Like the Moon

SONY DSC

This past year I have been thinking about some of the things I tended to stay a way from because I thought they were a part of the “dark side.”   Two of those things were the moon and owls.  I have been challenging myself to think about why those things would seem evil to me.  Didn’t God create the moon and owls?

Needless to say, because of my perspective, I think I missed out on a glorious part of God’s creation.

We have had a great horned owl in the woods this past year.  I have never seen it, but every so often we hear it.  (I spent some time looking up owl calls to figure out what kind of an owl it was.  The call of the great horned owl is very distinct.)  Instead of it being scary or haunting, hearing it fills me with a state of wonder.  Look up the call on YouTube and put the words “You are not alone” to the music of the hoots.  You will never hear the hoot the same again.  I hear it now as a voice from God–reassuring and calming.

A year ago, my mother-in-law died.  She was part of my inspiration to start making rosaries.  During her time in hospice, there was a beautiful full moon.  Because we knew her time to leave us was growing close, we were keeping vigil with her day and night.  If it was not for that, I do not know if I would have noticed that beautiful full moon that lit up the night.  I would have probably been sleeping.

I had run across a saying that Mary was like the moon because she reflected the sun.  I searched symbolism for Mary and the moon, but I could not find anything that related to that saying.  Then, one day, I found it.  It is from a quote from Archbishop Futon Sheen.  Here is the quote:

“God who made the sun, also made the moon.  The moon does not take away from the brilliance of the sun.  All its light is reflected from the sun.  The Blessed Mother reflects her Divine Son; without Him, she is nothing.  With Him, she is the Mother of men.” ~Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

The rosary pictured above was made with that thought in mind.  The Pater beads are bright and yellow like the sun.  The ave beads are actually moonstone.

May we too be a reflection of the Son.

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theART and SOUL of Prayer

heART and SOULYesterday, a friend of mine, Kristen Olson Vincent, nominated me for the ArtChain going around on Facebook.  For five days, you are supposed to post an image of your work and nominate someone else to do the same.  My first thought was that I would post rosaries and prayer beads I have made because that is how Kristen and I met.  That would be an incentive to get me back down at my beading table everyday, and/or get some of the rosaries I have already made posted for sale on Etsy.  (In these next five days I hope I will do that too.)

However, it got me thinking about things like:  What is art?  What is the point?  Am I an artist?  When did I decide I wanted to be an artist?  Am I still an artist even though I have taken a new job as a nursing assent in the dementia unit of a local nursing home?  What about the issue of the other blogs I have started including: Praying with Our Senses and aroma prayer?  Do I want to combine them into this blog?  They do have a common theme, which is prayer.  What is prayer?…  Many questions are swirling around in my head, and I still do not have the answers.

One thing that is standing out to me is this quote I found on Pinterest some time ago that I put in my creative prayer art journal this morning.  (I am never sure what to call that journal.)  I had to do a google search to find the author of the quote.  You can change some of the words and come up with the meaning from my point of view.  For instance:  “I make art to show God I am listening.”  “I pray to show God I am listening.”  “I make art to show my heart I am listening.”  One word seems to stay the same in these revisions–“listening.”

So, instead of asking myself what I am going to post for the Facebook ArtChain each day, I am going to listen without questioning to my soul, my heart, and God.  It will be interesting to see what evolves.

Snow2:4:15

This is what I posted today (before I did my creative prayer art journal page).  It just stood out to me.  There was a beautiful, sparkling white, new blanket of snow on the ground this morning.  I know if I had a larger zoom lens, I could have seen even more of the detail in each flake, but this is what my lens was able to find.  Can you listen with your eyes?

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New Anglican Rosary in Bronze, Turquoise, Stone, and Czech Cut Glass

Anglican Rosary

Some have contacted me to see if I am still making rosaries, and my answer is “yes!” It has just been awhile since I have posted any for sale on Etsy.

When I was shopping the other day and found these turquoise bead frames, I knew they would make the perfect cruciform beads. That was the inspiration I needed to get back to my bead table this morning and bead. I have missed it!

New Anglican Ecumenical Rosary

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