Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Centering Prayer Project

Back when I decided to do something about my crankiness, I decided a good solution would be to make Centering Prayer a daily practice.  To hold myself accountable, I'm using the world of technology. Since I started July 15, I'm posting a photo each day to the Day One Journal of the place where I pray. 

 I'm using another app, Centering Prayer ( from Contemplative Outreach) that allows me set a practice with prayers, chimes, and a timer. 

I'm on my way to Oregon to celebrate me grandson Austin's fourth birthday. I've decided to invite him to join me. He loves technology, so that will be a little incentive.  He and I can set the app up for a prayer time.  More importantly, I've found most little people take to the quiet of centering prayer with more ease than those of riper years. 

So where did I center in prayer today?  On the plane, of course!  (Those are Texas tomatoes in the bag, by the way, that are traveling to Oregon). 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

So much laughter

Leaving Little Rock soon, I'm aware how much I've laughed on this trip. Laughed and smiled and laughed some more. 

One of the art installations at the 21c Museum Hotels are penguins made from recycled materials that are portable. There were 200 green penguins at our hotel in Bentonville. They joined us for coffee, meals, outside the door of our room, and in the elevator. 

At dinner in the hotel restaurant, green apple cotton candy is served to all--even if they only get water. They do it because everyone needs joy and a smile. My best friend scored a to go bag at the end of our fabulous dinner.

Here at the airport, I just spotted a group with tshirts--Love God Love Others Change the World. I'm not sure where most of the folks that I met on this trip are with their relationship with God, but I experienced an awful lot of loving others   this trip--with me mostly on the receiving end. 

Thanks, God.  

May I remember this the next time I go into cranky mode. We'll see tomorrow back at St. Mary's. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

The gift of time to read

One big event of this Sabbath trip is that without classes to prepare for or sermons to write, I finished my year plus plan of reading the Bible through in my pretty room at 21C Hotel last night. Many of us in the parish started this project (called the Bible Challenge) on the Feast of Pentecost 2014.  Thanks, God, for this gift of time to have extra time to read your Holy Word. 

Mary Cassatt's The Reader, my favorite painting at Chrystal Bridges. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hospitality Everywhere

I believe since I've arrived in Bentonville, I've only opened one door to a public space (okay, a slight exaggeration). I've been greeted warmly by most everyone local that I've met. When I walked early this morning before breakfast on a couple of the trails at Chrystal Bridges, workers would stop when I came near, ceasing their tasks so as to not interrupt my walk or gaze at the art (both person-- and God--made) along the paths. It is as if a town memo has gone out--love your neighbor as yourself. Or perhaps I'm in a mini-Benedictine conclave that loves treating all they meet as Christ. 

Whatever, I came here ready for some care. I live by myself and am the person ultimately responsible for a good size parish. Yes, I have people who love and give to me with generosity, but I've been feeling (emphasis on the word feeling) on my own more often than not lately. I've been ripe and open for the kindness which has surrounded me on this trip. 

I'm off to Chrystal Bridges museum for a few hours and then my best friend's husband is treating us to massages this afternoon

Yes, I am still surrounded by beauty, and now I'm especially aware of the hospitality that God has also provided in most unexpected  places. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Beauty Everywhere

Sabbath rest beginning yesterday with a fabulous lunch, walk, cappacino, and cookie in downtown Little Rock followed by a verdantly lush four hour drive through the Ozarks to Fayetteville where my traveling friend and arrived in time for two movies before a late night dinner at a food truck. Whew! Play as rest indeed. Loved both Begin Again and Chef--the music, the settings, the attention to what people loved and made their hearts sing, and the healing of relationships. 

Up this morning for coffee, scone, and morning quiet at Mama Carmen's, a local coffee spot that was inspired by a Quatamelan woman who provided for hundreds of orphans; the coffee spot continues to give back.  Off to walk two labyrinths--a third was unavailable because it was covered with tables and chairs to feed the local hungry. 

A few detours along the way, and we arrived at our destination, Bentonville, Arkansas. We are staying in an extraordinary hotel that is actually a museum, too. Finally!!! we were at the place that had brought us from homes in Texas and Georgia to Arkansas--Chrystal Bridges Museum. There is more beauty in the very setting of this museum than any I've ever seen. 

Saw a movie at the museum that was accompanied by local musicians, and walked back to the car at sunset along one of the many paths that we'll be exploring the next two days if the weather holds.  A bonus as we drove home was stopping to enjoy the art installation, Bucky Ball, observed while reclining on zero gravity benches--with fireflies punctuating the light show. 

Did I say what a day filled with beauty this was?  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ahhhhhhhh. ....Sabbath rest


I'll admit it. I've been cranky lately. In fact, a parishioner called me to task yesterday for speaking sharply to her. I know I've not been as centered as God wants me to be.  Filling out my report for the Vestry last night, I realized that I've only had two days of Sabbath in the past month. Yes, it's been really busy--but I know that's not how God intends me to live my life, and cranky is a sure sign that I haven't been living my life the way God has shown me is best for me. 

Thankfully, God had already looked out for me and provided a play trip to Arkansas to celebrate my best friend's birthday. I'm at the airport, and I've got my electronics and have done my morning quiet amidst the hubbub of Terminal B. 

Reading the Bible with only two chapters left to finished the Bible Challenge.  My new favorite app that takes me through a process of centering prayer. Just received the DOK prayer list monthly update and had time to pray that list. 

Now seated on the plane, I'm ready for some play therapy. Thanks, God.