Twenty Minutes to Spare

Nana’s Loving Arms

As we begin to make wedding shower plans for our future daughter-in-law, I find that my mind wanders to the wonderful women who have left legacies of loving support in former years.  Recently some vivid memories of my dear Nana flowed forth, urging me to write the following poem:

You held me then, soft within your loving arms…
Mother always said you cupped my tiny head within your palms exclaiming,
“She’s like a little apple come to life in my hands!”
As I grew I grasped your hand when we ran amid your haphazard perennial patch.

You held me then, soft within your loving arms…
We gathered raspberries in buckets, then floured our fingers for pressing out dough.
“Don’t be afraid to give it a good pinch,” she laughed;
And her nimble fingers flew around the pan creasing a fluted edge to the pie shell.

I wrapped your apron twice around myself, hoping to cover the smallness of me,
You tucked yours neatly at your waist, and swiped a cloth over your shoulder.
“Now wipe your hands here once,” (with that PA Dutch delight!)
Pushing my hands back and forth she painted white tendrils across the calico print.

“Nana yours looks like fireflies dancing around

flowers in a purple sky!
Mine’s too big, with too much dirty flour
messing it up!”
“Here now, you take both. One for wiping,
one to dance with,”
And she wrapped her apron like
a cape around my shoulders.

You held me then, soft within your loving arms…
With pieces of pie decorating our dishes, we sat in the dusk on the porch.
I leaned close to you, tracing the darting fireflies with my purple-stained fingers.
Then chuckling, you pulled me up, my cape swung round, as fireflies blinked before us.

You held me then, soft within your loving arms…
Nana, I haven’t had you near me for many long years,
The summers of raspberry custard pie on porches lit up with fireflies,
They have passed us by, the laughing dances, the swinging apron capes.

Then this morning you came to me,

you opened your arms,
Bringing me into your presence, into your free-flowing apron love…
I feel your gentle palms around my cheeks, as you cup my face towards yours,
You hold me again, soft within the spirit of your loving arms.

Taking short steps!

I fell on black ice today because I forgot to notice the subtle shades of dark and light grey on the macadam trail.  Thankfully my knee with the titanium screw in it took the brunt of my fall.

As Dusty waited, or rather busied himself with the wondrous smells of melting snow and mud, I brushed off the dirt from my pants checking for any gravel tears.

I stepped carefully onto my leg as I muttered, “Way to check out the old ACL reconstruction.  I guess the warranty is still valid!”

Dusty and I continued on, rounding the bend on the trail and came upon an elderly gentleman walking towards us.

“Be careful of the black ice up ahead,” I warned.

I thought that he needed some guidance if he planned to follow the pathway.  Surprisingly he leaned over to me, and paused to emphasize his instructions on navigating paved paths with melted snow and hidden ice.

“You must remember to take short steps, like this,” he said, as he marched in place to illustrate.  “Then you can be ready to move into the snow or walk around the shaded areas.  If you are taking short steps, you will see where to walk.”

He emphasized this with an encouraging tap on my shoulder and a nodding look that silently said, “This is what you most need to hear right now!”

“I appreciate your suggestion,” I said, as I turned to follow Dusty’s tugs on his leash. He had discovered a dog he needed to visit at the corner of the next yard.

“Okay, short steps is,” I thought.

The gentleman was right; when I walked with purposeful short steps I looked carefully around, beside and before me, to avoid any possible areas of black ice.  When Dusty and I came up a short hill the glare of the sun prevented me from seeing what covered the path until I began to slide on it. However, my “short steps” took me quickly to the side and onto the safety of the snow.

“Short steps like this,” he had said.  He hadn’t called them little steps, and he hadn’t shown me them as timid or testing steps.  They had been short, powerful, precise steps pushed forward with energy and momentum.

Throughout this past year I’ve been forced to learn how to overcome my fear of taking any steps due to my invisible friend, vertigo appearing when I least expect.  At first I feared to make any move in any direction: upwards, downwards, sideways, forwards, backwards.  The spinning sensations reminded me of how I felt during my ACL repair recovery for my right knee, because I was afraid to rely on the strength of my leg muscles to keep me from collapsing.  I needed to believe that I wouldn’t look like a drunkard when I moved, or that I wouldn’t stumble from unsteadiness.

Even today I am aware that any step I take could cause a crumbling of circles crashing around me, just like when my knee would give out unexpectedly when I stepped on uneven surfaces or turned too quickly.

It’s a new year; I’m moving with my vertigo, I look forward to improvements everyday.  I’ve learned to take a side step before I actually turn, as that slows my movement just slightly, but enough to prevent the swirling from starting.  I’ve learned to close my eyes when someone quickly swooshes by me, and to inwardly give myself a pressure pause, checking to see if I am still firmly connected to the ground.  If I feel myself swaying I press harder, literally pushing my palms toward the floor.  I suppose these “short steps” have come to be my reliable ones and will hopefully lead me to discovering other ways around this obstacle.

I’m so very thankful I fell today.  I’m marveling that it led to my impromptu conversation with a wise and caring elder who reminded me to keep moving, but to be mindful of how I step.

“You must remember to take short steps like this… then you can be ready to move.”

Maybe I’ll have vertigo with me for a fair bit of time, but I refuse to carry fear any farther.  I trust that it is there for a reason and with faith I will learn how to step carefully around it.

“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”
Isaiah 48:17 (NIV)

Lord, Let me be a Love Bug!

I’ve decided to become a Love Bug!!  Perhaps not a radical shift in my thinking or approach to life, but as a visual image for simple goal setting the Love Bug idea has kept me smiling since yesterday morning.  After all New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday this year so my focus for forming a 2012 format had to be postponed until Monday.

Then I “walked around” with the idea all day, letting it sink in and fill me with a joyful perspective for the New Year.  So before Dusty and I head out for today’s walk I wanted to share my Love Bug thoughts with you:

Yesterday morning dawned as usual with a morning pause or “paws alarm” to be exact as Dusty patted his front paws on my cheeks.  As he spends the night snuggled next to me on my right side, his mornings begin with a slow stretch, followed by a purposeful crawl toward my face.  Then he gently places one of his paws on my cheeks and waits for me to acknowledge him.  Apparently sometimes I do not respond appropriately or within a reasonable timeframe, because some mornings my drowsy dreamlike state unravels into a scary scene where I am being tossed back and forth in a lifeboat while wearing a lifejacket that has a loose strap jingling and jangling against a belt buckle.  Some days I wake up wondering which ocean I’ve been swaying about in, thinking I’m going to tear off that inflatable noisemaker only to recognize the jarring sounds as the familiar “shaking for attention” dance that Dusty performs to declare his desires. He simply tosses his whole body back and forth and lets his collar and nametag serve as a loud percussion section.  In this case it means, “don’t we need to wake up now?”

Fortunately Dusty enjoys performing the “paws alarm” and generally waits patiently for me to respond to him.  Yesterday with my eyes still stuck shut, I stroked his little back and promised that I was trying to wake up.  After a few more pointed paw pats, I surprised him by trying to scoop him up as I hopped out of bed.  Of course he avoided the intended capture by leaping onto the floor and promptly signaling his delight with more vibrating moves.  That’s when the motion clicked my memory into fast rewind to the summer before I entered sixth grade.  I had a small lump removed from my upper left arm and found myself spending several days in the local hospital’s children ward.  As a consolation present my mother brought me a peculiar looking stuffed toy, called a Love Bug.  It was covered with soft, pink, fluffy hair that could be brushed into a sleek, smooth texture.  It came with specific instructions to give it loving back rubs and to groom it into an adorable stuffed pet.

To have a chance to give it a “remake” or a “new do” I could quickly turn it over, give it a good shake, flip it again and fluff it up into new furriness! The Love Bug had another chance to become a new, crazy, comforting, creation.

As always, Dusty has given a gift to me merely by seeking to communicate his own distinct desires.   His awkward way of shaking me into action has reminded me to make a different visual resolution this year.  I have determined that I may need to make a few flip-overs, to experience a bit of firm flinging back and forth, and to certainly discipline myself to do a fair amount of some detailed “fussing over” as my Southern friends would say, to become all that I hope for in 2012.  I need and want to become my vision of a Love Bug!! Whenever the mistakes occur, I will toss them into oblivion, face the future, fluffed up and ready to share in loving and meaningful ways.

Happy New Year everyone!

Love, Dusty and Dee

The Greatest Walk!

Dusty and I watched the sunrise this morning, waiting for the pink and orange streaks to sneak behind the black silhouettes of our backyard trees.  We sat silently as the darkness deliberately moved out of the way when the light pushed its presence from behind and placed itself before us.  A generous gift, a new day to begin!  We didn’t waste time; when we noticed that the thermometer noted a rising temperature, we grabbed the gift and ran with it, or rather walked with it!

Halfway down the driveway we heard some frantic yelps from coyotes in the distance.  Dusty glanced around, sniffed the closest pile of snow and promptly left his mark on top of it.  Whatever he heard, he clearly wanted to declare his dominance over it.
We resumed our walk, a haphazard tugging and pulling, zigging and zagging about the road. Dusty didn’t want to miss the tracks in the snow there, and over there, and still over in that spot there!  I didn’t want to skid across the icy patches poking through the snow. This would be the moment where, according to my dog whisperer husband Brad, I need to show who’s in charge.  That may be true, however, when I call, “Dusty,” and he looks up at me with what I know for certain is his “this is the greatest walk I have ever been on in my life” look, how can I halt his explorations?
The snowplow that cleared our road created mini snow banks, which became fascinating obstacles for Dusty to choose to climb over and fall into, literally face first. He didn’t seem to notice that he was accumulating sticky snow under his belly, along his legs, and under his chin.  He delighted in discoveries even as he became a disheveled mess.
As often as Dusty either stayed behind for a better sniff, or ran ahead for another find, I tried to maintain a steady stride and a direct route.  However I fear this little comical charade I tried to pass off as a walk probably made my neighbors chuckle as we passed their houses.
I too began to laugh to myself as I thought about the scripture I had read earlier from Psalm 139:3-5 (NLT), “You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. “
I had closed my Bible when I noticed the first light of dawn. How quickly the day began to illustrate the words I had read.  If someone noticed the walk I take with you Lord, they too might chuckle at my stubborn tugs and pulls, as I demand more time to pursue my desires and wants.  Often you see me look up to you filled with eagerness and delight as I share thankful prayers, or with worries and fears brought forth by the day.  However, I don’t take the time to listen to you, to truly understand where your gentle leadings might take me.  How often have I chosen to climb over the obstacles, to slog sloppily and stubbornly into areas that I had an inkling I shouldn’t try?  Yet you never let me go, you have walked with me keeping me on a steady and direct route. Your connection to me by your hand constantly retrieves me, finds me and takes me home.
This evening Dusty is snuggled next to me on the couch in the family room.  He plopped his head on top of my Bible as I began to type these words.

As I close this simple meditation for today, I am drawn to the beginning verses of Psalm 139, “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.  You know when I sit down or stand up.  You know my every thought when far away.”

Thank you Lord, for always moving the darkness out of my way, for pushing your presence constantly within me, so that I may always look to you knowing that “this is the greatest walk I have ever been on in my life.”

For today, I have found my peace.

Making a Move with Hope!

Making a move requires a heaping of hope to believe that the new place in which you deposit your necessities and treasures will provide both comfort and sanctuary. Brad and I participated on the sidelines of our older son and his girlfriend’s (Don and Kim) move this weekend.  Luckily we weren’t recruited for the strenuous hauling of packed boxes and furniture; instead we joined in the activities for the unpacking and setting up of the new household.
Seems that family genetics can cross over into unexpected areas such as “last-minute packing” since I had a general feeling of déjà vu settling in while Kim relayed her version of Donald’s packing expertise.  Apparently stuffing assorted belongings into bags of any sort or shape at the last minute will suffice when Rubbermaid containers are filled to the brink, and any stores that might sell additional ones have long since closed while late evening packing perseveres.  (Just noting here that previously mentioned containers happened to be provided with a personal touch by me, when I realized that history might be repeating itself if I didn’t intervene.)

After chuckling over Kim’s frustrations, I shared my memories of the day over 29 years ago, which revealed the Ford moving gene as a study in positive packing.  I flew into Edmonton the day before the truck would arrive for Brad’s cross-country move to Massachusetts.  He had secured a job at a company in Norwood, MA where we would live after our wedding in July.  Imagine my shock when I discovered that Brad had saved all the packing for that evening!  He still maintains that we accomplished the necessary piling of goods into appropriate packages, moving his possessions in a patient and positive way.  Even as I review this particular pre-wedding dilemma, my stress receptors hum, and my body vibrates with the need to vent growing exasperation.  Clearly it seems that our moving methods present in very distinctive patterns; organization versus chaos from my perspective or annoying anxiety versus purposeful persistence from his point of view.

Brad and I made several more moves throughout the years of our marriage.  Each one offered its own unique set of challenges, and each one revealed the constant contrasts in our “moving personalities.”  Perhaps none so revealing as when we moved from Massachusetts to Virginia when I was 8 months pregnant with our second son, Christopher.

Every year during the days of Advent I marvel that Mary made one of the most significant moves of her life when she and Joseph made the journey to Bethlehem as she neared her time of giving birth.  While I cannot pretend to know how she felt, how she wanted to have everything packed and prepared properly for her pending predicament; I know all too well what it requires to put your limited physical self in an unknown, unexpected, new place.  She accompanied Joseph, who managed to pack the most important part of their household, the most powerful possession the two of them shared: their hope.

No matter how I look at the Christmas story, I will always hold immense admiration and commiseration for Mary, who after all was a woman about to give birth for the first time, and she found out that she also had to move with little time allowed for careful packing.  Oh dear Mary, I can only imagine how loudly your stress receptors hummed, and yet how Joseph probably reassured you by his certain attitude that the move would proceed despite any obstacles.

Throughout the day as we helped with Don’s move it was heartwarming to see him respond to Kim’s looks of frustration or exhaustion. He would come over to hug her and I could see the visible renewing of energy that each hug provided for them..

I remember during that long ago move, Brad would say to me over and over again, “There will never be another year like this, we just have to get through it.”  I wonder what did Joseph say to Mary as they travelled the dirty, bumpy road to Bethlehem?  What shared phrases kept them hopeful, how many hugs did it take to revive their spirits?  How much hope did they move??

A couple days later, we brought a meal over to Don and Kim to share in their new home.  Not every box was unpacked, not everything was in its perfect place.  But we joined in a blessing of the new home as we laughed together and planned for the Christmas season.  Kim pointed to a picture of her parents on their wedding day sitting on a wall shelf.  She asked if we would find a picture from our wedding that they could also display in their new home.  I suppose these small reminders that loving relationships last over many years, will serve as symbols of hope to them as they begin their own commitment.

Mary and Joseph shared a stressful packing experience and a challenging journey toward their new home.  They had no idea how it would all turn out, but they knew they were moving together following God’s guidance.  They packed and they moved with hope.

It is my prayer that during this Advent season, I will remember to let new Hope move in, and just as unpacking continues at Don and Kim’s, may it continue in my heart as I try to unpack God’s guidance in my life.  May I always find comfort and sanctuary at home with Him.

Luke 2:1-7

Swooping with Hope!

Today I welcome Advent, the season of waiting for the celebration; I join in the tradition of lighting the first candle on my Advent wreath and I embrace HOPE.
Emily Dickinson, one of my favourite poets, described hope beautifully when she wrote:

  Hope is the thing with feathers
  That perches in the soul,
  And sings the tune without the words,
  And never stops at all.

Picturing a ruffling of feathers stirring up energy and enthusiasm in my soul is like a deep breath surging through every fibre of my being. It’s as if I can sense tiny wings forming within, lifting on the current of my intake of breath. Hello Hope, you feel so grand!

Like so many of my friends and family members, I want hope this Christmas season.  But I don’t want soft simple flutters; I want a frenzy of motion that swoops in like the flock of waxwings that visited our backyard the other week.

One moment I contemplated in silence, the next I countered in shock.  I witnessed whirring wings with practiced precision pushing their body into perfect position.  Waxwings descended from every direction to delight in the delicacies of the shriveled crabapples.  I thought I had stumbled upon a crisply choreographed routine as I watched them take turns, soaring from precarious perches on nearby branches, then contorting and stretching to surround a prized morsel and bring it within reach.

Joyful chatter arose from the waxwings as they merrily encouraged each other to join the feast.  As if they had booked the backyard as their banquet site, they boldly boasted to each other as they stripped the crabapple tree to bare branches. Unlike any musical performance I had attended, this one inspired me with its rising crescendo.  A rising of wings, as if the conductor had signaled the strings of the orchestra, as if the momentum alone would transport all to another level.  A rising, a moment of hope.

Then as quickly as they came, they flew away.  Later, my dog, Dusty and I walked outside to inspect the tree.  Over to my right I heard the similar song from before, but offered in a quieter, gentler tone.  Looking up I saw a bird grasped firmly to a swaying branch.  I noticed the yellow tip of its tail feathers, the brush stroke of red on its head; I welcomed the waxwing with a wondering nod.  It stayed there as Dusty and I headed inside.  It’s singing accompanied us like a hopeful refrain repeating its rhythmic message.

It reminded me of the simple song I like to sing to myself as I start my day.  My paraphrased version is from a song I learned while teaching Bible school one summer.  I try to remember to sing it daily, to focus my thoughts, to continually hold hope within my soul:
  Good morning Lord, it’s a beautiful day!
  Good morning Lord, I’m going your way!

This Advent I’m welcoming hope’s enduring presence by reinforcing this hopeful refrain with the image of the lone waxwing singing merrily on its perch.  Like the waxwings that wait for the celebration of the feast to come, I want to embrace both ways to honour hope within me.  Sometimes I want it to slowly rise like soft feathers unfurling on a gentle breeze, but other days I want it to shake with anticipation as it purposely positions its feathers to align them for a powerful swoop. Then the celebration will begin!

  Good morning Lord, it’s a beautiful day!
  Good morning Lord, I’m going your way!

Thanksgiving Sun

Thanksgiving morning sun finally breaks through the clouds to warm up my snow-covered deck.  I imagine its rays have long since risen over a scattered group of hikers, bravely finding footholds over a muddy trail through the woods of Macungie Mountain.

Every year this holiday settles around me bringing memories of pulling on long underwear, tucking toes into two pairs of socks that had yet to be stuffed into snow boots.  The mad scrounge for flashlights and missing mittens, the slam of the door behind us, as mom shouts, “Don’t go near the edge of the rock.”

Thanksgiving morning in Macungie, Pennsylvania where pies and turkey got shoved into the oven by my frenzied mom, while my sister and I joined our friends for a dark and cold hike to Sheep’s Rock.  We gathered at the Macungie Fire Company, in groggy groups of bundled bodies.  One of the Boy Scouts eventually would head toward the mountain trail and we would follow amongst our grumbling groups.  Looking ahead it always seemed like a bunch of glow balls had been tossed about as flashlights bounced back and forth to light the path.

We all knew that we had to keep moving to reach our destination before sunrise.  Despite tripping over rocks covered by wet leaves, and sliding on the steep sides of the rising trail, we would urge each other on through the darkness.  Regardless that scouts had marked the way the day before, it always surprised us as we rounded the bend for the final ascent.  We were sure we couldn’t have another push to the top of another curve. Yet soon we found the ropes where we could pull ourselves up with one last hurrah to the solid foundation of the rock.

And there we gathered.  On the rock that had stood for years and years above Macungie, overlooking the valley to the small borough below, on a wide, welcoming rock that gave us the opportunity to gaze with gratitude over our community.  We would huddle close waiting for the sun to break through and share its warmth with us.  We would listen to some words of encouragement and praise from a designated speaker, and then join in prayers and hymns as the sun rose above us.

Thanksgiving morning, I want to pull all those memories around me and settle into this holiday even though I am far away, without the sure foundation of the rock beneath me.

Perhaps the sun shoving its way through our foggy shadows has no idea that I am laying claim to its Thanksgiving glory.  It’s shining presence peeks under the spruce trees to uncover the tracks that tell the tale of deer traipsing through our backyard earlier this morning.  I think back to when I returned to make the Thanksgiving hike with my sons and husband a few years ago.

After the sunrise service, we were some of the remaining few who slowly departed from the rock.  We took our time enjoying the trail in the daylight, discovering what the dark had hidden from us.  As we paused to listen for any wildlife moving through the forest, we spotted a deer finding its way through the trees toward the stream.  It turned to glance at us, to acknowledge our presence in its home.

Perhaps that is what I am doing this Thanksgiving morning.  It isn’t an official holiday here in my Canadian country, but I am acknowledging its presence with me… here in my home.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends and family!

Whipped by the Wind

Living on the cusp of Calgary I’ve learned to welcome wind wandering through my neighborhood, winding around my trees, and whistling under my windows. On a day like today, I take my cue from Dusty as he braces into the wind with his ears turned inside out. I let it brush through my hair, whipping errant strands over my face, forcing me to close my eyes as I lean forward. I’m walking in a November wind on a sunny afternoon, but I’m wondering if I should surrender and retreat to my warm, cozy kitchen.

As Dusty and I turn the corner on the road, I realize that the wind has sidestepped to my right, swinging the realtor’s For Sale sign at the corner house.  It’s banging noise sounds like a warning to any prospective buyers, “Prairie Wind is not for the Weak-hearted!”

When we moved here over 16 years ago few trees halted the wind as it rushed across the fields from the west.  I actually called the builder one day to inquire about a horrendous sound that shook the side of our house as if a large tractor-trailer had been speeding by on the farmer’s road.  I thought it signaled a weakness in our wooden porch, but he laughed and said, “That’s just the howling wind.”

Now tall spruce and poplar trees tangle the wind in their branches and mute its scary screeches.  I’ve become accustomed to its unpredictable nature, but thankful for its precarious ways when it breathes warmly upon us as a Chinook in the dead of winter.  Yes, today I focus my gratitude into the wind and accept its whipping, whirling presence.

As a young girl I enjoyed the privilege of hopping onto an amusement park ride on the way into town.  Some forty years ago, Dorney Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania didn’t charge for a day pass to access all the rides, instead it sold separate tickets which were cashed in at each individual ride.  Back then a through-road divided the park from the parking lot, allowing cars to transverse the area and drop off customers right at the ticket booth.  Many times my sister and I scrambled from our family car to line up to buy tickets as my mother circled the parking lot to find a spot from which she could watch us.  Then we would take our prized tickets to gain entrance to our favourite ride, The Whip.

It’s a tame ride by today’s standards, but back then it turned up our adrenaline as we were whipped by the wind, and tossed around each corner of the circular track.  We leaned to the side on our seats, only to be thrust against each other into the opposite corner as the small car rumbled past the straight-a-way and heaved headlong into the bending curve.  We laughed, and we screamed into the wind as it caught our cries within its grasp.

When we ran down the exit ramp, mother would drive down to pick us up.  Boosted by the rushing wind, we could face a boring trip to the sewing area at the department stores in town.  Whew!  Windblown and wind-driven we braced for the rest of the day. Mother sewed most of our clothes in our early childhood, so we would spend countless hours looking at pattern books, choosing material, selecting thread, buttons, zippers and other necessary sewing items.

I’d like to say that The Whip still operates at Dorney Park, but it belongs in another era, in a time when the wind could still excite and delight amusement park goers. Maybe that’s why I’ve made my peace with the Prairie wind.  I don’t mind if it suddenly sweeps in on one side or the other, I don’t judge it for causing my trees to lean into it even on sunny days, and I don’t hide from it in behind closed windows or doors.

I walk about in it, with Dusty, with our faces shocked by its bitter cold, or at times surprised by its wondrous warmth.  Now that I’m older I don’t have to buy a ticket to enjoy being whipped by the wind.

Pulling on Prayer

“Prayer is like pulling on a scarf, before setting out on a walk, “ I thought, “I wrap it around and around, trusting it will be there for me.”

As Dusty eagerly led the way today on our morning walk, I tugged tightly on my scarf, I untwisted tangles of his leash, and I focused fully on pulling my thoughts into position.  I needed to pray; I needed to sense that with every step I would walk wrapped in a conversation of my concerns being heard with loving care.

I zipped my jacket against the cold, pulled on my gloves, and followed Dusty’s frantic leaps into the piles of leaves.  He poked his nose under a remnant of snow and simultaneously started digging to uncover a smell that instinctively urged him to action.  He felt the need to pry and pry and pry, while I felt pulled to pray and pray and pray.

“Okay, let’s pry and pray, Dusty!”

I often think that if someone listened in on my prayers it would sound like the beginning of a call between a service provider and a customer with an urgent need.

“This is Denise, Lord, thank you for taking my prayer request today. “

Okay, maybe I ‘m not always that formal, but I do consciously begin every prayer trying to focus on that tried but true “attitude of gratitude.”  For many years I have approached prayer as a gift.  We have the opportunity to accept it at any moment, and as such I attempt to acknowledge it as often as possible.  Granted I am a chatty person, I like my conversations with God, I linger in dialogue with Him, dangling all my hopes, dumping all my troubles, disposing all my regrets.  It’s a wonder He stays focused!!

However it seems that I sense those prayer nudges from God especially when Dusty and I take a walk alone.

“Do you want to talk about that, Denise? Are you ready to listen?”

I might hear it as a thought as clear as a letter written in my mind.   Likewise I could simply watch Dusty being pulled in a distinctive direction and just like that…  the invitation occurs to me.   “Let’s pray.”

Sometimes I don’t think I need to pray, so the nudge will begin to feel like a poke on Facebook… Remember me? I’m your friend!  Then I am reminded that He too wants to continue our conversation.

This morning I literally felt prayer nudges with every motion I made while I tied on my scarf.  I just wanted to pull on prayer and wrap it snugly around me.

Today I am thankful that I need to pray, whether to express my gratitude, to tumble about my concerns or joys, or to pull on a prayer while I listen to Him for guidance.  I am humbled that just as my Lord, my God sends His prayer invitations, He also accepts each one of my prayers as a beautiful gift from me.

November has arrived with a bit cooler weather…

So, go ahead, pull on your prayer… it’s the warmest scarf you’ll ever find!