Tagged: prayer

28 by 28 update: pray outside an abortion clinic

March 9.

I know this review post is coming in late, but I think I needed time to think about how it went.

40 Days for Life

First of all, when I made my 28 by 28 list, I checked in with 40 Days for Life. They do awesome work with the prayer vigils, and I thought it was a good place to start.
Originally, I intended to go to Latin Mass (also on my list) before showing up for the prayer vigil, but I realized I wouldn’t make it there in time.
So I went to the Saturday vigil Mass and then showed up at 9 on Sunday morning for the prayers.
I was expecting people to be there for the hour before mine. Nope. No one was there.
And no one showed up afterwards to take over, either.
So I was there, by myself, outside this clinic. Which was closed, of course. I guess business is too slow on a Sunday morning, even for them.
On the window was a sign “40 Days of Prayer for Choice.”
That just makes me angry and sad at the same time. The sign was sun-bleached and… I don’t even know what it was.
Wait, yes I do. It was stupid.
Read this post at Patheos about the whole idea.
I should also add that it was freezing. We’ve had this abnormal cold winter here in Wisconsin, and it was early. I think it was cloudy, so I didn’t even get a lot of sunshine.
I thought that was just though. I was in a sad, sad place.
Affiliated Medical Services in Milwaukee.
So I prayed. First a Rosary. Then a Divine Mercy Chaplet. Then another Chaplet. Then a Rosary, and I dedicated a single ‘Hail Mary’ to each of the women in my life. That was actually really beautiful. I should do that more often (think of people when I pray!).
Only a few people walked by me, and no one said anything to me. It was clear, I think, what I was doing, but who knows?
Some people don’t know… which is so hard to me to think about because it’s a huge part of my life. I think about “the cause” probably every day.
But some people aren’t “political” or into current events. I find that more and more often now. It’s sad. I mean, you’re not into current events? You don’t watch, read or listen to any sort of news source?

I would like to say that I walked away from the clinic after a hour a more thoughtful and prayerful person.

I don’t think that really happened. I was happy to get into my car and turn on the heat. Happy to get away from what is not the greatest neighborhood in Milwaukee.

Even though I know prayers aren’t ever wasted… I feel like I didn’t help anyone. Yet, I guess I’ll never really know if my prayers helped anyone.
I feel like my donations to Pro Life Wisconsin are better served… or if there were a group of us there, during business hours of the clinic…
I don’t know.
All I know is that I did it. It’s checked off my list. And I’m glad I did it. But next time, I’ll do it differently.
That’s for the next list.
During the past month, already, I’ve had this secondary bucket list building… by the time my birthday rolls around, I won’t have to think very hard about my 29 by 29 list.
So far, off the top of my head, I know I need to put these on the list:
1. go skiing
2. pray with a group outside an abortion clinic
3. attend a whole Brewers-Cubs series at Miller Park (that’s only 3 games, shouldn’t be a big deal, right?)
I think I have more written down somewhere…. you know how those list goes.
All the best.
Hope you’re working on your goals and dreams, too.

5 Ways to Stay Focused in Prayer

I admit I am not the most focused when I pray. It seems like as soon as I get down on my knees, everything that I was trying to think of the entire day (week) pops into my head.

Oh, I forgot to…
I should have…
I didn’t…
What is she wearing?
I would never do that.
I don’t think I am the only one that gets distracted in prayer, but it’s something I work on (a lot).
These are a few things that help me.

1. Close your eyes.

     This is sort of obvious. I see little kids praying, and they always close their eyes.
     This immediately cuts any distraction from vision. (Now, if people could just be quiet…)
     Honestly, closing your eyes eliminates the use of one of our senses, and it eliminates things in our line of sight to think about.
     Try it. It helps.

2. Pray slowly. Speak prayers out loud. Slow down.

     It’s super easy to rattle off a prayer in your head.
     It’s easy to skip words, too, or have them all just flow together.
     Instead, write them. Or speak them slowly. Pause where commas are in the prayer. Stop at periods.
     It’s OK to repeat sentences, too. Remember, you’re talking to God (Jesus or Mary or Joseph or …). They’re all so patient.
     They have time to listen to us. They are not rushed friends or husbands (wives, bosses, coworkers…). They’re in Heaven, and they’re waiting for us.

3. Repetition is key.

     Three times means you really mean it. That’s why we say things three times during the liturgy.
     Getting bored with the Rosary? It’s a lot of Hail Marys.
     Well, ease into the words. Try to imagine being there when Mary was greeted and told the good news.
     Try to imagine Elizabeth.
     Yes, there are mysteries to meditate on as well. Bored with those?
     Think of the smallest detail. For example, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
          What was she wearing? Were her eyes closed? Imagine watching her being taken into Heaven.
     When we repeat words and prayers, it’s easier to imagine those things because we aren’t thinking about the words anymore.
     Contrary to #2, it’s OK to glide over the words to see the bigger picture (sometimes).

4. Write it out.

     I mentioned writing down prayers in #2.
     But also, write down your personal petitions. I used to (and want to start again) keep a running list during the days of my little wishes or of people who needed Jesus’ mercy (everyone!).
     Seriously, though, we see people that we don’t know, but we know they could use prayers (again, everyone). Write it down.
     I used an index card when I did this earlier in my life. Then at the end of the day, I’d unfold the card and say a Hail Mary (or any prayer) for each individual.
     We don’t always have to pray for ourselves or just people directly in our lives.
     Remember to get your loved ones that have died on the list, too. After you pray for them, ask them to pray for you.

5. Silence isn’t bad.

     So you finished your prayers really fast, quick like a bunny (obviously you didn’t read earlier numbers in this list).
     OK, now what? It’s too soon to get off the kneeler in Church.
     Keep your eyes closed, and just ask for peace, wisdom, charity, anything. Ask for reason. Ask for focus during Mass.
     This is good to do if you’re praying at home, too. Ask Jesus to help you focus while you’re praying.
     Then, just wait.
     Try to empty your mind. God can’t always fit in among your grocery list, work schedule and phone bill. Let it all go.
     I visualize leaving my problems and issues at the foot of the cross. I imagine setting down my electric bill at the foot of the cross. I imagine shedding my body image issues at the foot of the cross.
     Each thing, I put there individually.
     Then I breathe. And I wait.
God bless.

Seven Quick Takes Friday (Vol. planning)

quick takes

— 1 —

I have big goals (again) for this blog.
I even wrote a post calendar… for the rest of the year.
Right now my goal is small (didn’t I just say big?). I have FOR SURE one post a week.

— 2 —

I have a lot of “learn something” posts planned and document reviews.
But I also want to add in some personal things like… tomorrow’s post about five strategies I use to focus during prayer.
I know those are helpful when I read posts like that from others.

— 3 —

I started running again on Aug. 1.
I’m not following a training plan now, like I was earlier this year when I did Couch to 5K.
I’m just going out, running some, walking some, running some.
I try to hit around 30 minutes.

— 4 —

Next week, though, I think it is. Maybe the week after.
I’m starting a training plan through Run Keeper.
It’s the run for fat loss program. I’ll see how it goes.
It continues the run every other day thing that I’ve been doing the last 16 days.
It should work.

— 5 —

I have a chili and cheesecake weekend planned for this weekend.
I haven’t had much time alone since I moved on Aug. 1, so this will be my catch up time.
I’m going to start chili cooking early in the morning. Then I’m going to make a cheesecake.

Then I’m going to have a run.
But mostly eat chili and cheesecake intermittently throughout the day while watching romantic comedies.

— 6 —

And also finishing unpacking.
It’s a working/cheesecake weekend 🙂

— 7 —

The garden is still growing great.
I got four tomatoes and two cucumbers at once this past week.
And one string bean… what?

Have a great weekend!
God bless.

Read posts from people who are serious about their blog scheduling and planning at Conversion Diary!

Experience coffee

There is something about a new, fresh warm cup of coffee.

Or espresso. Or however you like your hot concatenated beverages.
there’s something about the pouring cream, or steamed milk or creamer into a cup.
there’s something about grinding the beans.
It’s the process, I think.
Scoop, scoop, close the lid, grind.
I love this part. Right now, I’m still going through already-ground coffee.
I had bought some huge cans of coffee before I  bought the grinder. I just re-grind to freshen it up a bit.
Or if I’m making espresso, I grind it finely.
So there isn’t a noise yet, when I grind, except the wind of the machine.
It’s soothing. It spins, I watch. Great.
And it’s almost like I’m making it.
So much of brewing coffee coffee is not making coffee.
Most of the making part comes after. Adding cream (yes please) or sugar (no thanks) and stirring it.
Making it the way I want to drink it. That’s my favorite part.
But I also know a good cup of coffee starts with good beans and a good grind.
So I enjoy the grinding part. Sue me if it’s not really grinding. It’s like a little refresh grind for my pre-ground beans.
Tap tap into the basket.
Another favorite part. Especially trying to keep all the grinds in the paper liner. Every time I find some grinds in my coffee, I remind myself that I should put the grinds in while the basket is not over the water reservoir. Doesn’t happen. Find grounds all the time.
Oh well.
Then the machine takes it over. But I can still hear the dripping (a little). I don’t have a percolator. I have an internal coffee catcher, or whatever.
I leave the cover open so I can smell it brewing.
Then I hear a final few sizzles on the hot plate and know it’s done.
I used to have a thing about big, tall cups. I liked to fit my hand through… the handle.
Not so much anymore.
I found two cute tea cups at a thrift store almost a year ago and I use those when I’m at home.
I can… cup the cup with my hands, and if I want to, I can fit a finger through the handle.
It makes the cup go faster, but then I drink it while it’s still warm. That’s a common problem I have, not drinking it fast enough.

So, coffee is in cup. What’s next?

Cream. Creamer. Creamier. Yes, yes and yes. Please. A lot.
I used to be excessive about this.
Not since I got the espresso machine. Sometimes I use half and half with a spoon of flavored syrup in my regular coffee: tastes like espresso and steamed milk, way less work.
I know that store-bought flavored creamers are crap… but, whatever.
Again, sue me.
I may not be that pure of a coffee purist.
I like French vanilla creamer.
Sometimes Bailey’s Irish Cream, sometimes some chocolate.
Whatever is my fancy when I’m at the store.
I used to buy that powdered cappuccino.
Meh. I would rather have steamed milk and espresso.
Tastes better.
I like to make coffee on Mondays and Tuesdays and espresso when I have more time.
Or when I haven’t ran out of milk.
It’s nice to come home from Mass and make a cup and think about the homily or readings.
You have to focus on espresso. You have to start steaming at just the right time.
The focus lets you pray. Sort of like the Rosary. Sort of.
God bless.

Seven Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 10)

— 1 —

Special intention list for the weekend:
For those who suffer from allergies of all kinds… may your hay fever never be confused as a cold so no one will shake hands with you during the sign of peace. 🙂

For marriage and the sanctity of life in the United States

— 2 —

We had a big discussion at work today about how to make my job just the tiniest bit less stressful.
I hope some things change here.

When we’re putting together the paper on Tuesdays, I get so frustrated because I am doing everything.
Our managing editor lays out the pages. After he prints them, I read them (one of three reads). After they get three reads, I “send” them over for production. After I send them, I post EVERY article online with EVERY photo.

It’s a lot of work.
It’s a lot of stuff passing over my desk going in eight million directions at once.

Add on to that I got hit with hay fever hard this week and I still write some of my articles on Tuesday mornings.

This next week, I’ll have someone else shadowing me to see how the online stuff works and then she’ll be taking over that part.
That, I hope, will relieve some of the stress and frustration.

— 3 —

It’s been raining since Monday morning.
I’m glad because we had drought conditions all last year and we really didn’t get that much snow, though it seemed like we did.
This rain is a big catch up for our farms and fields and trees. Which is great.

But it’s rainy and cold and wet and not sunny.
I feel like I’m in a Dr. Seuss book.

I wanted to wear a skirt this week. Not happening. I can only hope that I’ll see the sun again someday….

— 4 —

Hopefully while I’m in Arizona next week!

Yay, I can’t wait to go. Arizona. Imagine.
I’ve never been. It’ll be good.

We’re also heading to San Diego, so I’ll see that as well.
Grand Canyon. Star gazing. All of it.

We’re flying. It’s kind of a trip from Wisconsin out there.

— 5 —

I was in adoration yesterday, talking to my guardian angel.
I feel like the more I talk to him/her, the more it feels right to do so.

I hope he/she’s listening.
Otherwise that would just be weird 😉

— 6 —

I have this weekend off and I plan to do nothing except a little warm weather shopping for the Arizona trip and some cooking.

I made cookie bars on Wednesday because I wanted something sweet for my hay fever. I burnt them.
Not too badly, but enough that I didn’t eat the whole pan at once.

Which, in the end, is a good thing.

— 7 —

I used to iron my sheets. Have you ever done that?
It’s nice to have the edges all smoothed out. Crisp.
I plan to do that when I change the sheets this weekend.

I have a few shirts that need a hot iron, too.

I never used to iron my clothes. I didn’t care.
Now, I care. And I don’t really like wearing jeans to work. I like dressing up.

I like doing my hair nicely and sometimes wearing make up (which I’ll do again when it stops raining).
I read a blog post somewhere some time that us girls, we can do that. We can look nice.
We can look nice and still be modest.

We don’t have to be super frilly or bouncy to be beautiful, and we don’t have to be sloppy to be modest.
There is a point where those two meet.
It’s not a Victoria’s Secret, I know that.

We can have nice, pretty things, but we don’t need to show off to be beautiful.
I guess that’s what I’m trying to say.
We can feel good about ourselves without being showy.

God bless.

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