Monday, August 31, 2015

Suck it up, Cupcake!

Fr. K had been so busy. With one priest gone for the weekend and another on vacation, he'd picked up extra duties. Said extra masses, attended extra church functions and was tired. He felt like he hadn't stopped all week. As Fr. K spoke on the phone with his older priest friend and related all he'd done the previous week his friend told him "suck it up, cupcake!"

The whole church laughed as he said that. 

Then Fr. K said his friend asked him, 
"did you pray?"

Fr. K replied, "Of course I prayed. I said morning, noon and evening prayers, I said my prayers at mass..."

His friend interrupted him and said, 

"I didn't ask if you said your prayers

I asked if you prayed."

Fr. K told those of in church, "I realize I didn't remember if I prayed. I'd said my prayers, but I'm not sure I took the time to pray."

It happens to all of us. We get so busy we forget to pray. We say our prayers...but we don't pray. We don't put ourselves quietly in the presence of God. Sometimes, praying means quietly sitting and listening. Without talking.

Fr. K went on to say how most of us would agree that we are too busy these days. The point he was making was this...

If we are too busy to pray,
too busy to spend time in the Lord's house,
too busy to spend quiet time in the Word and in prayer, 
then we are TOO busy.

I go through phases.  Oh, I always find time for attending church, but my quiet time seems cyclical. I have really good days, weeks and even months. But I always seem to hit a bump. Something that throws me off track.

I've been in a one of those slump where I can't seem to stay focused. I get up, make my coffee, start to have my quiet time and BAM! Something else gets in the e-mail. Or some card I need to write. Or some piece of mail I didn't deal with the previous afternoon.

Or anything else that I decide to do rather than sit quietly and meditate or pray or read my Bible or all three.

I've been working on making this more of a habit. Forcing myself to stay focused. Some days are better than others. 

I've tried various methods. Here is one I have found that is working, at least for now. If:Equip is an easy way to have some focused time in God's word and the short videos jump start the thought process for me.

Check it out and let me know what you think. Or share you favorite quiet time/Bible study methods with me in the comments.

Have a great day!


Monday, August 24, 2015

When the cracks are filled with gold...

As I walked along the beach there were hundreds, probably thousands of shells. Actually, there were probably tens of thousands of shells.

Some with beautiful colors, some mostly white. Some were curved and contoured. Some were mostly flat.

All shapes. All sizes.

Some were whole, but most were broken.  Fragmented pieces of what it once was.

Each with a unique name, but each referred to as a shell by most people. 

All together on the beach.

Our lives are like that. We are all broken in one way or another. Our fragmented pieces make up our stories.

Each unique, yet each a story.

Mine is different from yours.

Yours is different from hers or his. But we all have one.

These days I am trying to navigate different and unusual waters. Trying to piece together the broken pieces of some of my story and see what I can salvage.

All of it is good, it just looks different. Like editing a photograph. We can enhance the color, the saturation, the hue...but it is the same picture, just different.

Even my broken places, my sharp edges are good and useful. 

They might need editing, but they are useful.

They might need paring down, but they are useful.

While I need may need to edit and pare down, I need to remember that there is beauty in my broken places.

And I'll remember that beauty is always in the eye of the beholder. What I see as trouble or broken just might be the next thing on the path that leads me to the perfect place.

Kintsugi is a Japanese art form. Broken pottery is put together and the glue used to hold the pieces together is coated or mixed with gold, silver or platinum. 

As a philosophy it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object
rather than something to disguise.

Sometime I think of the changes and broken places in my life as something to be forgotten or discarded. But I should not feel that way. I should recognize that change is part of my story.

Part of His design for my life.

Changes are around the bend. Some I am prepared for and some I am not prepared for.

But I'll strive to find His grace in the cracks of my story. 
I'll strive to find His love in the ugliness of life. 

What do you see in the cracks of your life?

I had trouble getting the video to load on my site, if you can't play it, then click here.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Change? God pays attention!

As I type this I am in an airport waiting several hours for my next flight. Thankfully, I have access to an airline lounge with food, drink and clean and quiet bathrooms. I can actually leave my bag and walk around without fear of it being taken.  Strange and comforting all at the same time.

I'm headed to visit my mom. She is 92 and in the hospital. I had my trip scheduled before she was admitted, but it is still disconcerting.

Aging parents, aging body - mine, not hers :-), selling my house, leaving my, so many changes all at one time.

Maybe you are experiencing changes too. I've mentioned Kristen Strong's upcoming book before...but it has been a GOD SEND in this season of change! If you are experiencing changes in your life, you should SO order this book! It releases September 15th.

In addition to Kristen's book, maybe you are experiencing an empty nest or you've taken your child to college. My friend, Robin Dance, has a mini-series on having an empty nest and the grieving process involved. While Robin is focusing on an empty nest, it is really good for all parents that are taking their kids to college. You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

While I've been typing this post, I've received a notice that my flight is delayed...just one more change.

Whether we are experiencing taking kids to college, aging parents, job change, airline delays, illness, matter the change, God pays attention.

What change are you experiencing these days?


Monday, August 17, 2015

Extraordinary Ordinary and the Special Occasion of Life...

I have given myself a goal of writing and publishing every Monday through the end of September. Since I've been out of the habit - and that is what it is you know, a habit - of posting on a regular basis that is quite a challenge. But I have given this a lot of thought and prayer. I know I am supposed to stay on in this space. At least for a while longer. Setting a goal like this forces me to publish and then see where that leads. 

I struggled getting something ready for today.

Then, yesterday (Sunday) I saw this on my in(Courage) calendar.

Sometimes I think I am looking for some big. Something different. Something that will WOW me.

The fact of the matter is that the ordinary should WOW me.  I spent some time with some of John's family this weekend. I took my niece shopping and she was talking about how there are "special" things that are for special occasions.  I thought for a moment, then I told her I no longer save things for "special occasions." 

Crystal wine glasses...every time I need a glass.

My favorite dishes...whenever I want.

Special occasions happen every day. 
I believe LIFE is a special occasion. 

So, find your ordinary today and remember it is extraordinary. It is a gift from God.

Jessica Turner wrote the quote in the photo above and today she wrote this beautiful post for in(Courage). You should check it out.

What is your extraordinary ordinary today?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The change comes to an end...

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord
Jeremiah 29:11a (NIV)

Sometimes it feels like I'm playing "let's make a deal" and I have to choose a door to open.  And sometimes what's behind the door doesn't seem like the best choice.

And sometimes it seems like the only choice.

Tuesday, August 11th was a big day. A sad day. I boxed up  my office and everything personal fit into two reusable grocery bags. Seriously?!?! 5 years of work life into two bags.

One of the things I'm doing with my new found freedom and time is trying to spend more time in this space. More time on this blog.

I am branching out. I'm even considering the 31 day writing challenge in October. Crystal Stine is taking over the hosting job. 

And I've also done something I've never done first video post! Really. Don't laugh.

It is what's on my heart and I pray you are blessed. Please ignore the crooked glasses and the closed eyes!


Jeremiah 29:11 from Mary Bonner on Vimeo.

This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
Jeremiah 29:10-14 (NIV)

When I said I would not return to my job in the fall if it were configured the way it was in the spring, I knew not returning was a possibility. I knew that and I accepted that risk. While it is uncomfortable right now, I know it was the right choice. The waiting, the uncertainty, the changes...all part of the faith journey, the growth process.  It is stretching me.
 What is stretching you these days?
I wrote on this same topic last year. You can read it here.