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Book club.  Women’s Bible Study.  Adult Sunday School. Choir.  Green Committee.   Craft Fair.

Involved in as much as I am, it is so easy for church to become something of a check list.  Readling list out?  Check.  Upcoming meetings posted on Facebook.  Not yet.  Need to get that done.  Rehearsed first track of cantata?  Need to do that too.  Where I am going to find the time and the energy?

Then I have to remind myself that if I’m asking this question, my focus is in the wrong place.  It is time to walk the labyrinth, or sit in prayer in the sanctuary, or light a candle and pull out the Book of Common Prayer.

Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Shift my focus.

Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Spend some quiet time with God.

Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Take this serenity back out into an all too busy world.

Breathe in.  Breathe out.

–SueBE

 

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Looking at my cat, sleeping peacefully this afternoon, I was in awe of his amazing ability to sleep deeply within seconds of climbing onto the couch. That’s a great skill to have, I thought.

Stretch/yawn. Curl up. Down for the count!

I’d love to be able to unplug and decompress like that.

The other thing I noticed was that KitKat’s whiskers are a good four inches across. Man. How does that not bother him? I thought. I mean, I can’t even when my bangs are just a tad too long. And Heaven forbid they grow so long as to fall into my eyes. I will take the scissors in my own hands and chop away. That, of course, doesn’t always end well!

Even though it’s only a few square inches of real estate, those bangs can actually affect my mood for the whole day. I won’t feel quite like myself if my bangs aren’t “banging” as I head out into world.

Isn’t it true that we go to great lengths in caring for our hair, but sometimes forget to put that same energy into caring for our souls?

It may seem like a luxury to sit with the Bible and pray or meditate. We might believe that doing things that light us up from the inside – whether it be writing poetry, drawing in charcoal, sculpting – are mere indulgences, but these things are critical to the care and feeding of your soul.

Sitting in stillness, spending time with God and a cup of tea is a spiritual booster shot. You’ll see things more clearly if you curl up next to the cat and read sacred books that inspire you. It’ll bring back your passion to return to those dreams you held dear in your heart but never pursued.

So why not schedule a sit-down with your own soul and get back to the source of your strength?

It’s as effective as a cat-nap and a day at the salon, all rolled into one!

It’s official. With our first day that topped 90 degrees, summer is here.  I am once again a driver – to the pool, to the weight room, home to feed, back to the pool, home to do laundry.  It can be a hectic, stressful time of the year.

But there is also a great deal of time when I am sitting around waiting.  I wait in the bleachers for swim practice to be over.  I wait in the parking lot for him to see if the weight room is open.  I wait in line at the grocery store.

One of the best ways to relax in the midst of all this hustle and bustle is to spend some time with God.  Here are 5 ways to relax into prayer time when you are waiting to rush off to the next event.

  1. Don’t focus on what annoys you. It is so easy for me to stare at the door to the locker room and wonder when he will finally get out.  Or I can glare at him not doing laps and wonder why he’s chatting with someone instead.  I’m not saying ignore things that need to be dealt with but make note of them and then stop.  Move your focus.    Turn. Your. Back. Sometimes it is the only way not to focus on what is bugging you.
  2. Don’t focus on what annoys someone else. Very often as I wait, I will chat with someone. I’ve discovered it is a great way to learn about the new principle (his old school wants him back!) and the new superintendent (who stepped in to deal with a problem as he toured the high school on his first day). But I’m also amazed at how many people want to share their annoyance with that kid over there or how the coach is doing his job. While I’d recommend stepping in if the kiddo is in danger remember that you don’t have to actually share in what bugs someone else. Listen for a bit and then excuse yourself to . . .
  3. Take a walk. Sitting and fussing and tapping your foot will only ramp up your anxiety.  If you know you have a ten minute wait, get off the bleachers or out of the car and walk for ten minutes.  While you walk, breathe deeply.
  4. Breathe deeply. When you are hurrying around and tense, you forget to breathe.  Take deep breaths. If possible, inhale to a count of 5 or 10 and exhale to a count of 10 or 20.  Take it slow and steady.
  5. Guided meditation. If you can’t get your mind to slow down, it can help to focus on someone telling you to relax. I know – it sounds counterintuitive but it really does work.  There are meditation apps as well as YouTube videos.  This one is specifically meant to help relieve worry or anxiety but I’ve found it good for simply helping me chill out.  I’ll insert it below so you can sample it.

Especially when you are busy and a bit stressed, take the time to relax into time with God. He wants to hear from you and, especially during stressful time, you need to hear from him.

–SueBE

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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