Stolen art journal…

This past weekend, I attended an event with my family. Somehow, my art journal/sketchbook sprouted legs and went home with someone else against it’s free will. It’s really sucky, because if the person who took the book had only asked, I would have given them any or all of the sketches there. I just can’t believe the disrespect… and this, out of those who say they are family. Sigh…just goes to show that the one people you should be able to trust, you can’t.

So, I’m without a sketchbook/art journal at the moment. Which also means that I have to sit out this week, and maybe next week’s art therapy sessions for which a sketchbook/art journal is a requirement for attendance. I really enjoy this group and find it immensely helpful. sigh… feeling really, seriously discouraged at the moment.

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Weekend for remembering…

There is just something about the silence of dawn at the national cemetery. Those few hours before the public enters, when the fog is just starting to raise from the earth and the tips of the stones are just poking up within it. It’s a sight, a spirit that just can’t quite be described. I only regret that I had neither my camera or sketchbook with me to capture the moment. Words alone fail. We were there early to get ready for the service.

An hour later, I stood with my adopted daughter while she waited to stand up and speak about her dear Father. She clutched his flag to her chest as if by doing so, she could feel him with her again. When she stood up and walked forward to place her Father’s flag beside the POW-MIA memorial, it was all I could do not to completely lose it. Then she began to speak about her Father and the example of living that he taught her and her brother and I saw the wise and wonderful young lady and warrior that she has become. Her words were so very profound and touched the hearts of everyone there. I am so damn proud of her.

Conversations with my Creator -1

(Author’s note: this is just something that’s been on my heart to write about for sometime. I’m toying with just how to approach this in a way that doesn’t brow beat readers, but yet let’s them know that there really is a thing called prayer and it is a powerful tool for our life here on this big blue orb. With that in mind, I thought I’d just throw out a page or so.)

My first conversations with my Creator began, like many others, with the rote prayers of childhood. Whether it be a morning prayer, a mealtime blessing, or a bedtime prayer they are all important to our Creator. He wants to hear from us! He wants to know all about our days, like a parent who’s child has experienced some joyous event while away from home and is coming home to tell them all about it. Everyday we live is a joyous event for us, and for our Creator. He wants to hear all about it! The good, the bad, and yes, even the ugly and painful stuff. He want to hear about it. And so, we begin this conversation as children…

My favorite morning prayer is more of a hymn of praise, really. I do actually sing it quite often along with several other hymns, but this one is right out of the psalms. I change the ‘us’ to ‘I’ making it a personal song of praise straight from my soul. If you don’t know the standard tune for it, that’s okay. Our Creator loves it when we sing to Him our own song!

“This is the day that the Lord has made
Let us (I) rejoice in it!”

I often follow this chorus with a favorite hymn, most often “In the Garden” or at times, “This is my Father’s World”. The prayer or song you choose to start your day with is not as important as the actual action of taking a few moments to talk to your Creator upon waking.

Just as important as starting the day with prayer, is ending it with a like note. My Grandmother always said that a day hemmed in prayer was a day blessed of the Creator. To her, that meant an almost constant raising of prayers as she walked through the day. She had an ongoing conversation with her Creator and set a fine example of prayers power. Nothing soothes the spirit more than taking time to converse with our Creator at the end of a really hectic, stress filled, pain filled day.

A prayer at bedtime helps us to rest at ease in knowledge that our Creator is in control of our lives. We can rest in His wisdom and grace to figure it all out. There is one prayer I remember the most; and I might add, that I still pray on occasion. The prayer is a common one, though I’ve seen several other versions of it, this is the one that I learned.

“Lay me Down”

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray thee, Lord, my soul to keep.
If I shouldst die before I wake,
I pray thee, Lord, my soul to take.
Amen.

These days, when my soul and body are just too weart and hurt to be coherent, this prayer still serves as an anchor to peace and comfort. Rote prayers like this one serve to teach us the value and importance of praying everyday. A simple blessing before meals teaches us the thankfulness for even the smallest of blessings from our Creator. This was a favorite that I used as a child, and went on to teach the children I taught in Sunday School.

“Thank you for the world so sweet
Thank you for the food we eat
Thank you for the birds that sing
Thank you God for everything. Amen.”

These prayers may be rote, and as children we really don’t understand all that they mean. Understanding isn’t the purpose at this stage. The purpose is simply to establish the habit of daily conversation with our Creator. In addition to the prayers above, there is yet one more rote prayer that is very precious to my walk with the Creator. It is a prayer that is readily recognized, even by non-christians. It is a prayer that takes everything we have, we don’t have, we need, and we want and lays it at the Creator’s feet. It is a prayer in which we give way to our human failings and let the power of our Creator come in and manage the unmanagable situations in our lives. It is also the prayer that he shared with his disciples who pleaded with Christ to teach them how they should pray.

“Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done on Earth
as it is in Heaven,
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses
as we have forgiven
those who have trespassed against us
and lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil
for thine is the Kingdom
the Power and the Glory
Forever and ever.
Amen.”

With these rote prayers, we can wrap our soul’s within our Creator’s arms and rest peacefully, knowing that His power is in control.

As we grow in our bodies, minds, and souls, so do our prayers. We move from the rote, barely understood, prayers of our childhood to true conversations with our Creator. For some, this transition is as quick as the flick of a light switch. For others, it is a slow progression over time. No matter which path you choose, prayer will always be your conversation with your Creator. It will be you intimate and personal link with the very God who created the entire universe. The same God who knit every fiber of your being.

This is the story of my walk with God through our daily conversations. One of the tools I found the most useful for this walk is a prayer journal. I strongly encourage you to invest in a small notebook, journal, etc. in which to record your prayer requests and how they were answered by your Creator. Remember, God always answers prayers! Sometimes, the answer is a resounding YES! Sometimes, it’s a simple need to wait a little while until the time is right. And sometimes, though we hate to admit it, God’s answer is No. He doesn’t refuse our request out of anger, rebuke, or any other of that silly kind of nonsense. Sometimes He says no because He loves you enough not to grant a request that would harm you or others in ways that we as mere humans cannot see. Still, I encourage you to keep a prayer journal. One of the best benefits is seeing how your prayers are answered. You will see all that you truly do have to be thankful for. Why is the prayer journal such an important tool. Well, honestly, there are times when all of us have doubts about whether or not our prayers are ever heard or acted upon. Journaling our prayers has the added benefit of showing us that God is accountable to His promises to us.

So,now, it is time to go and converse with my Creator. You’re welcome to tag along for a while if you want to…

Journaling inspiration: What was your favorite childhood prayer? What made it so special for you? How did it shape the way that you pray today?

Today is the First day in the rest of your Life!

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