Saturday, November 8, 2014

About prayer

[these Kansas evenings]

The soul needs ritual and practice in order to grow and deepen. I'm learning this. Slowly, as common prayer becomes habit, the reflexes of my being are turning toward God like the muscles of my hands can now tamp espresso without conscious thought.

A few mornings ago was one that I thought might be a bad dream. Nothing horrific, just everything Not Working, one on top of the other. Frustration rising, suddenly part of the usual morning prayer (which I hadn't prayed that morning because oversleeping and hurrying) came to me:

O Lord, let my soul rise up to meet you
as the day rises to meet the sun.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.

And suddenly I was patient and restful. And could be present with customers. I hadn't consciously thought, "I should pray." It was just there. Part of the fabric, woven into other days before this one. And I don't know about you, but my prayers (if I think of praying) when I'm frustrated consist mostly of my talking about how frustrated I am, rather than bringing myself to God in praise. I need the well-worn prayer paths of saints before me sometimes. A lot of the time, actually.

I've always yearned for a more constant abiding in God, and we've discovered the strength of the practices, ancient creeds, daily rhythms, and prayers of the early church. I know, it sounds goofy to those of us, most of the American church, who grew up thinking those are just Catholic things. But did you know the church calendar was formed, prayers written, and creeds recited hundreds of years before Scripture was canonized? I didn't. And now, discovering that my soul is indeed formed by orienting, in actual practice, my day around the reality of the presence of God, I wonder how we've lost this rich heritage.

And hey, "Common Prayer" (compiled in part by Shane Claiborne), even has an app.

And now I'll go to bed with these beautiful words in my mind:

Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the evening light,
we sing your praises, O God:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of life,
your glory fills the whole world.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Newlywed DIY

A succinct post about two projects I finished this week is an awful follow-up to an everlasting silence in which Ryan and I married each other and all sorts of wonderful things and a shocking thing happened. But here we are, on a Saturday, lazing luxuriously about our new home (after this husband of mine woke me to a breakfast worthy of chef status... you think I exaggerate, you stop on by and ask him for proof). We've been home for six days, and I'm not feeling particularly ambitious in the writing department. More so than the past while, but progress grows in increments.

So, in the name of rebuilding writing muscles, here is a synopsis of the shocking end to our honeymoon:

Let's just say a deer went all kamikaze on our car on our trek back to Kansas. Neither car nor deer survived, but we and all our other possessions are entirely unhurt. We could have easily foregone this part of our honeymoon, but at this point we're too grateful to leave room for much else.

And now to the projects. Making our house a home is the most fun I've ever had in decor. Ryan has great aesthetic sensibilities, which adds to the fun. 

This trunk was a $10 thrift store find years ago, and I've always meant to redo the poor thing.

So I spray-painted the top and the hardware gold leaf, let them dry, taped them, and spray-painted the rest of it white. The top had a good deal of sticky residue left from the hideous laminate I peeled off (and if you listened closely, you could hear the trunk sigh with relief), and because I was too lazy to scrub it off, I painted over it with gold, spread it with Mod Podge, cut pieces of lace vinyl tablecloth ($2 at walmart) to fit, and pressed it on. I like the subtle patterned top.

Instead of buying a matched bedroom suite, repurposing is much more our style. So the trunk became a nightstand with lots of storage.

Our puppies and I went exploring in the pasture and lugged back this fallen tree branch. They tried to help by leaping up and testing it with their teeth. In the yard, I took a dry rag and scrubbed off the loose bark while Alex chased the rag and Aliyah sat on my legs and begged to have her stomach scratched. It was far more hilarious than working alone. 

I attached the branch to the ceiling with hooks and twine and hung a gauzy certain a friend gave to me on one end to give it the feel of a canopy. I'd known I wanted to hang some of the glass terrariums and air plants we used as reception decor in our room, and they seemed like they belonged in the scheme of things. And this picture is the result of not waiting for optimal light. I like it better in person. Also, I love feeling like we're falling asleep under a tree. And I feel satisfied that I used found and already owned objects for the entire thing. 

This blogging thing. I might have to start it again.