Day 6 of 33 Days of Prayer

Dear Lord, You always do what you say, 
and you are gracious in everything you do. Giving a hand to those down on their luck, giving a fresh start to those ready to quit. Sometimes, flight is easier than the fight. But you are listening to our prayers and we know you are able to give us much more than we can imagine for ourselves. Amen

 

Day 4 of 33 Days of Prayer

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Dear Lord, Forgive us.  Sometimes we pile too much on our plate and become busy, too busy to focus on you, your word and your promises. We leap forward with our plans, forgetting that you order our steps. And when things don’t go our way, we grow anger, bitter and frustrated.  Forgive us. Teach us to “be still.” Amen.

Day 3 of 33 Days of Prayer

Day 3 of 33 Days of Prayer

Dear Lord, You know us. What we think, how we feel, the very word that comes off our lips. People are difficult. Finances are tight. Plans don’t go our way. Sometimes it’s our own fault, while other times you’re teaching us something we have still to learn. Search us, O Lord, know our heart, test us and know our anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in us, reveal it, show us the true way, Your way. Amen.

It’s Time to Pray: 33 Days of Prayer

Have you ever had a nagging feeling that you should do something but continue to procrastinate? Me, too. Last year, I had an idea—33 Day Prayer Journey. Daily, I blogged a prayer and posted it on WordPress, Twitter and Facebook without knowing who would read, or what was the need. These prayers were not all happy, as my friend Wade at laughoutloudloveourlord.com said, yet they were prayers from my heart.

During those 33 days, emails and private conversations had been about the prayer journey. “Thanks for those words, I needed that.” All I could say was thank God, I had no clue.

The prayer journey was one of the hardest task I had embarked upon since deciding to say, “I’m a writer”—and then turning it into a profession. Writing is hard, the more I write the harder it gets. Frustration mounts, rejections hurt, yet I keep at it—honing and learning the craft.

Prayer is the same. Sometimes God’s answer is no, not yet, or I have something better—wait. Either answer requires patience and trust. (Patience is not one of my virtues. You know how the adage goes, “God ain’t through with me yet.”) But I can’t stop; I have to keep at it. And I try to continuously prayer like a cascading waterfall. When my eyes open in the morning, at night kneeling, in the afternoon, while driving my car, before a class, or sometimes before, during, and after a phone call, at the altar, in a journal or while walking. Whether it’s five minutes or fifty, a day or a week, I press on.

Like my writing, obstacles get in the way and I don’t stay focused. When I pray, and don’t get what I think I should have, I feel rejected. Still I ask because I’ve realized—after many years­—I have more to learn, I need better preparation, and God actually knows what’s better for me than I do. My mantra has been and always will be, “Anything I have in life that is good, is from God. All the other stuff, I messed up trying to do it on my own.” Whether I write or I pray, I have to make the time.

So, as hemmed and hawed about embarking on a prayer journey, one of my first blog followers, Sharla at catnipoflife.wordpress.com, replied to one of my post: Ang, Even though, I have devotionals and bible study, I miss those prayers.

I knew what that meant. Yet, I dilly-dallied. Then, a Facebook friend posted that reading prayers and inspirational quotes on FB was truly a testimony of God’s goodness. Next as I read a few Psalms, all I noticed were prayers, the same thing occurred while reading Marilyn Robinsons’ s novel Gilead and then Howard Thurman’s autobiography With Heart and Head. And finally as listened to Cece Winans last chord “It’s Time to Pray,” for a week, my procrastination ceased.

So, I will embark on another 33-Day Prayer Journey: May 26-June 27.

Join me.

Angchronicles Receives WP Family Award

It’s been one year since I’ve been blogging consistently, to call myself a blogger. So, I was quite surprised when my new blogger friend  Kathryn Chastain Treat  at Allergictolifemybattle bestowed me with the “WordPress Family Award.” 

I am humbled. I often wonder who reads these posts, and have learned that frequently readers stop by without leaving comments or pressing the like button. Just last week, I bumped into a Facebook friend who said, “I noticed you started a blog, but I have not time to read.” A few months ago, I was chastened for not posting, and then chastened for something I said. I love it, because I’m a blogger.

So, this award shows a connection that bloggers share through their words and actions, making us more than a community of bloggers, but a blogging family.  I have been following Kathryn’s blog for months. She has opened my eyes to my own mother’s allergic reactions to life. At one time, I thought it was mental, mostly imagined. But Kathryn has confirmed my mother’s allergies, allowing me to even reconsider how I can live a healthier lifestyle. One way, I’m tossing all my plastics and buying Pyrex—getting rid of toxins. Kathryn and I also share being list-makers. It’s nice to meet someone obsessed with list.

Ironically, while reading Pastor Mike’s post on Mustard Seed, I noticed he gravely opposes lists, unless it’s a prayer list. It’s still a list.

As part of the award, I, too, must nominate 10 other bloggers according to the rules below. And here’s why, I’ve chosen nine out of the ten. Jen offers writing inspiration, Sharla is the first blogger friend, Joan reminds me of my faith walk, Pastor Mike has given me hope after reposting one of my prayers and others hit the like button, Morning Story and Dilbert and Wade show me that God has a sense of humor; therefore, I should laugh more. And Yahobahne writes awesome poetry and open letters, while the writers of Pages from Stages shares different stages of life, and finally Marlene reminds me that I’m writing a story for God’s glory.

The rules:

1) Display the award logo on your blog; 2) Link back to the person who nominated you; 3) Nominate 10 others you see as having an impact on your WordPress experience and family;  4) Let your 10 Family members know you have awarded them; and  5) That is it.  Just please pick 10 people who have taken you as a friend, and spread the love.

The nominees:

  1. Kathryn – allergictolifemybattle.wordpress.com/
  2. Jen – http://jenowenby.wordpress.com/
  3. Sharla- http://catnipoflife.wordpress.com
  4. Joan  http://jokondotnet.wordpress.com
  5. Pastor Mike–http://mustardseedbudget.wordpress.com
  6. Morning Story and Dilbert http://morningstoryanddilbert.wordpress.com
  7. Wade- http://laughoutloudloveourlord.com
  8. Yahobahne “Designs”http://his4glorydotcom.wordpress.com/
  9. Cherie, Julane, Sara, Susan http://pagesfromstages.wordpress.com

10. Marlene–http://writehisanswer.wordpress.com/Image

Sharpening the Saw

As iron sharpens iron, so one habit sharpens another.

At the end of the day, I think: did I complete the most important things on my list? And I’m a list-maker, one of those people who keep multiple lists for everything—next action, calls, errands, someday/maybe, read/review, projects, and so on.

Despite my lists and what I’ve actually accomplished during the day, what I know for sure is that I rolled out of bed, showered, worked—at home and/ or on campus—ate at least five meals, and then returned to bed for another six to eight hours sleep. All to wake up again the next morning and repeat the process while asking myself, “Did I get it all done?”

When my days seem futile, I focus on Stephen Covey’ s seventh habit for highly effective people, Sharpen the Saw, to help me preserve and improve my greatest asset.

According to Covey, to Sharpen the Saw “means to have a balanced program for self-renewal in four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.

Sharpen the Saw

Physical: Beneficial eating, exercising, and resting
Social/Interpersonal: Making social and meaningful connections with others
Mental: Learning, reading, writing, and teaching
Spiritual: Spending time in nature, expanding spiritual self through meditation, music, art, prayer, or meditation

So, at the end of the day, instead of crossing off items on my list, I ask: Did I Sharpen my Saw?

Physical: I completed some form of exercise, whether on the treadmill, walking through the mall, up and down steps, or moving around the classroom or cleaning my apartment for at least thirty minutes.

Social/Emotional: I called my mother, touched based with my daughters, spoke to my best friend, attended an event, networked, and tweeted or liked a Facebook status.

Mental: For me teaching and writing go hand in hand; therefore, I cannot teach without learning, learn with reading, read without writing. Seems as though, I’m constantly honing this area of my life.

Spiritual: If I didn’t attend regular worship service and bible study, this area of my life would fall flat. I can’t just read a devotion or Bible verse, often times I have to meditate on it, like a cow I’m repeatedly regurgitating and re-chewing spiritual nutrients. My spiritual life is in a state of progress and process.

Frequently, these areas of my life overlap. Like when I’m walking on the treadmill, listening to music and reading. Or when I’m mediating on a scripture, then write it down as a prayer in my journal, and have the opportunity to talk about it with someone else.

And this Sharpen the Saw habit keeps me grounded, so when my head hits the pillow, I know my day was productive.

Watching and Waiting

I’m in the season of waiting and watching. Waiting for the cold days to become warm, the bare trees to blossom.

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During these moments, I am anxious and excited, knowing the winter is a time of death for something in my life to come to an end. Perhaps a relationship I thought was worth pursuing, a job, a book idea, even a sinful habit.

Now spring is in full bloom–a time for new beginnings. I am filled with fresh hope and vibrancy like the buds and blossoms brightening the days.

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As I watch buds open, flowers bloom and pedals fall, I expect good things to lie ahead because this spring, which seemed to take a long time coming, is the opportunity to see God initiate new things in not only me, but all who believe.

Are you watching and waiting?