Lenten Journey

Lenten Journey

What will your Lenten Journey be this year?  As you being the 40 days  that invite you to walk with Jesus and discover a new closeness with God, what will your journey hold?

This season always reminds me of a man who told me that Lent was his favorite holiday.  “What?” I asked with a skeptical eyebrow raised.  He went on to explain that this was the one time a year that he felt free to add spiritual practices to his routine without guilt.  It was a radical concept for me to frame this 40-day period of time as space where I was given permission to add extra prayer or meditation to my life.  I had never thought of Lent in this light.  To me it had been the dreaded season of giving up things like chocolate or wine.

Obviously entering into Lent with a sense of dread does not exactly set a positive tone.  So I invite you to think of these next few weeks as a time full of promise and anticipation.  Remember it’s all leading towards Easter, which offers us the most beautiful promise and everlasting gift.  Let us walk towards that with hope, love and peace.  Let’s set our intention and walk the path with God at our side.

Whether you give something up or add something new to your spiritual routine, there are bound to be ample opportunities to seek God and invite him to join your Lenten Journey.  This is a time to pray, fast, and be of service… I hope it will become your favorite holiday too!

 


Join the Journey by Still Sacred

Free Spiritual Resources – click here to Join the Journey.

Still Sacred Facebook Group, where you can communicate with others that have also decided to explore spirituality in the everyday moments of life with gratitude and humor.  Come join us!

Thanks for joining me on the journey…

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Contradictions: Balancing Wants and Needs

Contradictions: Balancing Wants and Needs

As I gaze out over the burning red sky, I am reminded of life’s contradictions.  The sky seems to be on fire even as the temperature continues to drop lower into the 20s.  The flame of the sky portrays warmth and yet the chill of the air in undeniable.  Life is full of things that may at first glance appear to be opposite and yet they coexist (or can) in harmony.  It got me to wondering what else could be brought into balance with God’s grace.

Needs

In this context, a need is something that must be done no matter how much I do not want to do it.  These are the less glamorous  tasks in life. Sometimes these are small things, like taking out the trash, emptying the cat box, scrubbing the toilet or paying bills.  Sometimes they are greater obstacles, like having a hard conversation with a loved one or facing the challenges of caring for someone who is terminally ill.  I like to think that someday I will be spiritually enlightened enough to find delight in these activities…but I am not there yet.

Wants

The list of my wants and desires could fill this whole page, but some fairly consistent ones are spending time with family, working on art projects, walking in the woods and curling up by the fire with a good book.  I could fill my days with these activities, but how would I get the bills paid or feed my family?

Finding Balance

At first glance, how can these contradictory things possibly be brought into balance?  I simply cannot visit a sick friend while I am curled up by the fire.  I cannot pay the bills if I am endlessly working on my art.  But I invite you to look closely and find ways to allow the joy of your wants to spill into the things that need to be done.

Examples of Contradictions in Balance

I have been successful at incorporating some balance into my life full of competing wants and needs.  I offer a few examples to illustrate this:

If I create a piece of art with a sick friend in mind, then I build up my anticipation of visiting them.  The joy from my creation spills over into our visit, and I can relive the fond memories of creating the art as I share it and my time with the friend.

I can start paying my bills early enough in the evening to leave time to curl up with a good book.  The anticipation of the evening by the fire makes the chore of paying the bills pass by more quickly.

Challenge

Make a list of your own wants and needs.  See where you can bring these contradictions into balance to create more happiness in your life.  As always, I love to read your stories of how this is manifesting in your life…so I invite you to share them in the comments section below.

 


Join the Journey by Still Sacred

Free Spiritual Resources – click here to Join the Journey.

Still Sacred Facebook Group, where you can communicate with others that have also decided to explore spirituality in the everyday moments of life with gratitude and humor.  Come join us!

Thanks for joining me on the journey…

 

 

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Gratitude List Check-in

Gratitude List Check-in

What’s on your January gratitude list?  I thought now would be a great time to have a quick check-on.  For a quick refresher on the benefits of a gratitude list, let’s recall my journey:

A few years ago, I was given the assignment to write down 3 things that I was grateful for every day.  I was not too enthusiastic about this challenge.  I didn’t see the point… wasn’t it enough to simply call to mind those things that I was thankful for and meditate on them?  Wasn’t it a bit of overkill to write down these three things each and every day for a month?  What follows is my journey with making a gratitude list and the profound impact it had on my life… check out the entire story at The Heart of Gratitude.

My January Gratitude List

sun on a winter day

the beauty of frost

heat from a roaring fire

laughter of my friends

Share your Gratitude

I invite you to share in the comments your January gratitude list.  Remember, gratitude tends to multiple when you share it!

Other Resources

Need some inspiration to kindle your January gratitude list?  Check out these past blogs:

 

Gratitude List | Heart of Gratitude

Heart of Gratitude

Grab some Gratitude

Nurture Gratitude: Sacred texts

Nurturing Gratitude

 

 

 

 

 

 


Join the Journey by Still Sacred

Free Spiritual Resources – click here to Join the Journey.

Still Sacred Facebook Group, where you can communicate with others that have also decided to explore spirituality in the everyday moments of life with gratitude and humor.  Come join us!

Thanks for joining me on the journey…

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Prayer Intentions Check-in

Prayer Intentions Check-in

It’s that time of year when people set their new year’s resolutions and goals.  I invite you to consider setting some personal prayer intentions for the year.  This is something that I have done over the years that I find truly transformative. How do they differ from resolutions or goals?  The main difference is God.  You are inviting the Spirit of the Universe to be your partner and to assist you on your journey throughout the year.  Let’s get started on our journey with our personal prayer intentions.

Annual Prayer Intentions

These will be slightly different from the personal prayer intentions that you might already be familiar with offering to God.  Some common prayer intentions include praying for the sick or someone who has asked us to keep them in our prayers.  The kind of intentions I am asking you to consider are for specifically you.  Some people tell me they are uncomfortable praying for themselves, but I ask you to take the leap of faith.  It is not selfish.  God wants all of us to be happy and fulfilled.  By stating our deepest desires, we invite Him to join us on our journey.

List Prayer Intentions

How do you get started?  I recommend using a prayer journal.  You can buy a fancy one at a store or use a spiral notebook left over from your kid’s prior school year.  Think about those questions that keep floating through your mind:  What is my purpose?  How can I find happiness?  Where is my life headed?  Now open up your journal and jot a few down.

Concrete Examples

In case you are stuck, I will give you some examples of prayer intentions that I have focused on over the years.

How can I be of service in my community?

Show me how to be a better daughter, mother, sister, wife, friend…

What do you want me to accomplish this year?

Show me how to survive this disease, grief, loss…

Who did you create me to be?

Help me to be more authentic.

Write down a few of your intentions on the first page of your journal.  I suggest a list of 3-5 items, but that is only a recommendation.

The Nitty Gritty

Let’s go!  Take your prayer journal that contains your list into your sacred space each time you pray or meditate.  Read over the list.  Decide if there is one that speaks to you in that moment, then focus on that intention as you enter into prayer or meditation.  If your thoughts stray during your sacred time, you can use this intention to bring you back into focus.  At the end or your session, jot down any thoughts or ideas that arose.  Review your journal monthly.

Happy trails on your 2019 journey.

 


Join the Journey by Still Sacred

Free Spiritual Resources – click here to Join the Journey.

Still Sacred Facebook Group, where you can communicate with others that have also decided to explore spirituality in the everyday moments of life with gratitude and humor.  Come join us!

Thanks for joining me on the journey…

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Losing Focus: Being Mindful

Losing Focus: Being Mindful

Ever feel like you’re rushing through life and losing focus?  Recently, there was a time when everything around me seemed blurry.  I was singularly focused on a task and everything else was just noise.  Some might say that I was hyper focused, but in reality, my single-mindedness blotted out the beauty of life that surrounded me.  There’s nothing wrong with being driven, but without keeping the big picture in mind, you could drive right off a cliff.

Just One Day

I was preparing for a workshop.  As I rushed around finishing up, I found myself in a cloud of oblivion.  I walked around checking off my mental to-do list and barely noticing those around me.  Literally, I ran into someone because I was so absorbed that I wasn’t even watching where I was going.  As I rushed to complete one last task, I barely registered a group of people that I had passed.  Halfway down the hall, a thought flitted into my consciousness that they might have said something to me, but I just kept going, swatting that thought from my mind.  Later, each one of the people in the group stopped by to make sure that I was okay.  They mentioned that as I passed I had a blank expression on my face and completely ignored their greetings.  In fact, they were concerned that perhaps I was sick or deeply troubled.  I had become a walking zombie with no focus, no emotion and no awareness of my surroundings.  This was startling and saddening to me…I was losing focus.

Missing the Details

While I might rationalize that I was simply focusing on wrapping up the last minute to-dos, the reality was that I was missing all of the glorious details in life.  What had the sunrise been like on my morning drive?  How did my breakfast taste?  Did my earrings even match? Who greeted me with a smile that I blatantly ignored?  I was lost in the weeds and completely losing focus of the world around me.

Just Two Things

I offer just two things that I try to remember each day to bring my world into focus.  They are simple, yet effective.

First, savor the first drink of the day.  For me, it’s coffee, but this could apply to anything.  Cradle the cup in your hands and notice how it feels; warm?  cold?  Let your nose linger before taking a sip and soak up the aroma.  Notice how that first sip feels as hydration comes into your body for the first time that day.

Second, take inventory while you are driving.  Of course, you need to pay attention to where you are going and drive safely.  Notice your body posture; slumped?  tense?  Notice your hands on the steering wheel; gripping tightly or loosely?  Make any necessary adjustments so that you are comfortable, relaxed and alert.

Enjoy the Journey

Each day holds its own special surprises.  Don’t let life pass you by in a blur; practice not losing focus.

 


Join the Journey by Still Sacred

Free Spiritual Resources – click here to Join the Journey.

Still Sacred Facebook Group, where you can communicate with others that have also decided to explore spirituality in the everyday moments of life with gratitude and humor.  Come join us!

Thanks for joining me on the journey…

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Promise of Spring

Promise of Spring

Promise of Spring

Who doesn’t love spring?  The chill in the air is subsiding, buds are beginning to form and even some flowers are showing signs of blooming soon.  It seems each day brings a surprise as the landscape around me become more vibrant and colorful. This new season brings us into a time of hope, rebirth and blossom.

Hope

The promise of spring is always full of hope.  The harshness of winter begins to melt away and the warmer air of spring lightens my souls.  As I sit on my patio, even the birds seem to be vocalizing their cheerful songs of expectation.  It is important for me not to confuse hope and expectations. There are many things that I desire to happen, but not many of them are under my control.  I do not feel anxious about these uncertainties… I try not to place them in the category of expectations, but certainly I have hopes and dreams for the upcoming year.  If I expect things to go a certain way, as though I am entitled, then I will most certainly find disappointment.  If I place my hope for the future in the hands of God, I feel comforted that if the outcome is not in line with my strongest desire, at least I will not walk alone.  My hopes can continue to live on and be renewed, just as life all around me is renewed again each spring.

Rebirth

Each day I notice something new coming to life; a baby calf following its mama in the field; the first bee to venture out of its hive; formerly brown sticks that are now bursting with green buds.  All around life is renewing itself.  I wonder what part of me is being reborn, especially as I go through the Easter Season.  Contemplating the life, death and resurrection of Jesus allows me to see the humanity and divinity in all of the living things around me.

What will be reborn in me this spring?  For me this spring it seems my sense of wonder has been reborn. I feel an excitement this spring, It is almost as though I am seeing things for the very first time.  I sat in amazement the other day as I watched the birds come out after a spring shower.  They covered the grasses and even the road in great numbers.  I wondered, where have they all been this winter?  It was so joyous to watch them and hear them frolicking.

Blossom

Spring brings forth a tremendous amount of new growth in everything around us.  It is a time too, for me to take inventory and see where I can stretch myself and blossom. For many people there is a fear of change. I think that if we perceive change like a newly formed bud that stretches itself up to the sun so that it can blossom, that change seems less scary.  Who wouldn’t want to unfold and open into something so beautiful?

I hope that your journey is filled with the promise of spring: hope, rebirth and blossom.


Join the Journey by Still Sacred

Free Spiritual Resources – click here to Join the Journey.

Still Sacred Facebook Group, where you can communicate with others that have also decided to explore spirituality in the everyday moments of life with gratitude and humor.  Come join us!

Thanks for joining me on the journey…

 

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Lent: Unlocking the Gifts

Lent: Unlocking the Gifts

As we enter the season of Lent, what are you feeling?  Are you filled with dread, anticipation or apathy?  I met a man who told me that Lent was his favorite holiday.  “What?” I asked with a skeptical eyebrow raised.  He went on to explain that this was the one time a year that he felt free to add spiritual practices to his routine without guilt.  It was a radical concept for me to frame this 40-day period of time as space where I was given permission to add extra prayer or meditation to my life.  I had never thought of Lent in this light.  To me it had been the dreaded season of giving up things like chocolate or wine.

Exploring the Path

The three traditional practices during Lent are prayer, fasting  and almsgiving.  The only path to these practices is not through giving things up. The intention is to deepen your relationship with your Higher Power and to more fully realize whom He created you to be. Can you imagine this Lent as an opportunity to go on an adventure?  Could you explore your life in new ways and allow God to be your companion? Like any great adventure, the desire is for it to bring lasting and meaningful changes into our lives, not simply short-term fun.

Unlocking the Gifts

I now approach Lent as a time that is offered as a gift.  Imagine what you might to do for one hour a week to unlock or unwrap this gift.  Would you join a meditation group?  Be of service at a shelter that assists the less fortunate in your community?  Block out time in your calendar to study scripture? Where are you being called to expand, grow or be of service? What gift can you give yourself (and God) this Lent?

Offering of Reflections

In preparation for Lent, I was given the opportunity to contribute to the reflections that will be offered by Spiritual Ministries Institute in Dallas/Fort Worth.  I invite you to consider adding their daily Lenten reflections to your routine during this season.

My guest blogs will be offered on the first three Fridays following Ash Wednesday which is on February 14, 2018.  I will add the links as they become available.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 16 – Sour Grapes

Friday, February 23 – God’s Temple

Friday, March 2 – Storms of Life

Meatless Fridays

If you are looking for ideas for meatless meals during Lent or just wanting to try some new healthy choices, please check out my Meatless Meals recipe board on Pinterest.


Join the Journey by Still Sacred

Free Spiritual Resources – click here to Join the Journey.

Still Sacred Facebook Group, where you can communicate with others that have also decided to explore spirituality in the everyday moments of life with gratitude and humor.  Come join us!

Thanks for joining me on the journey…

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