How I’m Praying These Days

Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances, give thanks for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

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So many times while I was working in campus ministry, I had students ask me, “How do I pray?” Needless to say, there are countless ways. What works for one may not inspire for another. Something that my not seem outwardly prayerful may be the most profoundly sacred ritual. In an effort to continually ponder their honest question, I’ve decided to share this today.

About a month before summer started, I gifted myself a journaling Bible. This was something I’d been wanting for quite sometime and I’m excited to share more about it in later months.  We’ve spent a good portion of the summer away from home, and packing light meant leaving cherished everyday-used items at home…including my new Bible.

When we got to Montana, I decided to improvise.

I bought a cheap little sketchbook (truly, nothing fancy) and a Sharpie, and I saved this site on my phone.

Every morning this summer, while Greg plays with little man or during naptime, I steal away for a few minutes to be still, to read, and to listen.  I love using the daily readings that the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) provide on their website, although sometimes, if I’m reminded of another piece of Scripture I’ll go with that instead.  Once in a while, I forgo the Word and just pray what I feel in my heart.

Below you’ll see my prayers and my very humble attempts at hand-lettering.  Just like me, my artistic side is ever the work in progress! There is beauty to be found in crooked lines, smudged ink, and wrinkly pages, too.

penjournal1penjournal2penjournal4penjournal5penjournal6penjournal7penjournal8penjournal9I really have fallen in love with this new way of praying (for me!) and I’m sure I’m going to continue it in some way, shape, or form, when I get my journaling Bible back in my hands!

On Beauty | Altadena Photographer

There is so much talk about beauty…so many comparisons, so many judgements, so many feelings of not-good-enough and not-pretty-enough and…not enough.

Enough of that.

To me, beauty is defined by the warmth radiating from one’s soul…by the willingness of one’s hands to reach out to serve another…by the compassion in one’s words comforting or encouraging or challenging with love…by the conviction of one’s spirit to always, always seek Goodness…by the courage of one’s heart to do what is right even though it may be difficult.

Beauty is not found in a magazine cover or a blog post or even a Dove commercial.

Beauty is found in the soul.

I believe the very best gift given and received is time spent with loved ones.  Whenever we visit Billings (where we lived before we moved to LA), I am so incredibly blessed by the amazing community that continues to embrace us.   On our most recent trip, I loved spending an early morning catching up with a former student of mine that I now consider a dear friend.  She is stronger and braver and more beautiful than she knows.  Oh how her soul radiates.  I’m so grateful for our friendship!

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The Hope Of My Call

May the Father enlighten the eyes of our hearts that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call.  Ephesians 1:17-18

I know it’s so cliche to say it, but…life is such a mystery.  Each new day filled with its many questions and many unknowns…and many adventures…our spirits thrive on the great revealing of the world around us.  Even the most monotonous of days isn’t immune to the blessing of surprise.

Sometimes I watch my son, and I wish so very deeply that I could see the world through his eyes…eyes that are so young and so innocent and so pure and good and true.  His amazement at the simplest of happenings, his surprise at the most ordinary of moments, his delight at the seemingly mundane…what a gift.

Early one morning last week, we took him to a small lake in Helena.  It was just us, the sunrise, and a little muskrat family happily paddling in the water.  It was perfect.

My little man held his daddy’s hand as he soaked in every bit of the world around him.  He felt he cool sand between his toes.  He watched the sunlight twinkling on the gentle ripples that his little but confident feet set into motion.  He stumbled and splashed and thoughtfully witnessed the breaking of the day.  He was in the presence of Love…guided by his daddy’s patient, gentle, encouraging hands all the while.

In the same way, the Father holds us by the hand.  I walk, often unsteady, into the breaking of the new day, but He is there guiding me and leading me and enlightening my heart all the while.  Through God, I see and hear and feel the hope of my call.  The eyes of my heart witness the beauty of my ordinary, my simple, my sometimes mundane life.  Slowly, I breathe in the Light of the day.

Sometimes, I capture this Light with my camera.

Always, I capture the Light in my heart.

That is the hope of my call.

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