2.4.17

INHALE/EXHALE

Below is the printed prayer our church has requested that we pray daily. The tile of the prayer is, “Exhale."

            We inhale Your love.
                        We Exhale our selfish desires. (Breath deep/exhale.)

            We inhale Your peace.
                        We Exhale our anxiety. (Breath deep/exhale.)

            We inhale Your love.
                        We Exhale our apathy. (Breath deep/exhale.)

            We inhale Your presence.
            We Exhale our fear of being known and the fear to know.
 (Breath deep/exhale.)
           
            We inhale Your life-sustaining Spirit.
                        We Exhale our dependence on all things other than you.
 (Breath deep/exhale.)

            For in exhaling, we are able to
                        boldly proclaim, Thy Kingdom Come.

I’m troubled and uncomfortable with praying this prayer and have questions related to some reading I’ve been doing. 



“It [yoga] teaches one to focus on oneself instead of on the one true God. It encourages its participants to seek the answers to life's difficult questions within their own consciousness …”
     ~ gotquestions.org

“If you think, “I breathe,” the “I” is extra. There is no you to say “I.” What we call “I” is just a swinging door which moves when we inhale and when we exhale. It just moves; that is all. When your mind is pure and calm enough to follow this movement, there is nothing: no “I,” no world, no mind nor body; just a swinging door.”
     ~ Shunryu Suzuki in Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind.

Clipart from: Cliparts.com

27.2.17

Dedicated Teachers

While our younger son was a senior in high school, I composed a verse in honor of a dedicated young teacher who gave of herself to her students through time and encouragement. I sent this verse (penned in calligraphy on parchment and framed) to her on the night of a performance that she had sacrificed many hours of her time to produce. My appreciation was for the example of hard work, patience, and perseverance that she set for the students of our high school.

For the Dedicated Teacher
May God grant to us always
those teachers bestowed with
the virtues
of
patience, faith, and understanding
and granted the spirit of
love and dedication.
For by them are the tiny sparks
of confidence lit
that, fanned by time,
burst into the eternal flames
of hope
for the future of all mankind. ©
                                                                   ~ Verla Lacy Powers

This teacher was no doubt tired after teaching classes during the daytime and coaching theater students afternoons and evenings. 

Teachers are often spent emotionally and physically, feeling that they have no more to give. This is when they give out of love for their students.


Clipart from Quotesgram.com


16.2.17

Why The Violence?*

The title of the book was For Laughing Out Loud: Poems To Tickle Your Funny Bone. (Jack Preluitsky, Ed., 1991, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.) The place was an elementary school library. The book jacket declared:  “...132 of the funniest poems ever assembled between book covers. If you believe in the old saying, ‘Laugh, and the world laughs with you,’ then give a copy of this big book to every little giggler you know.” I was curious, so I leafed through the pages. Finding a poem with the simple title, “Grandpapa,” I read:

“Grandpapa fell down a drain;
            Couldn’t scramble out again.
            Now he’s floating down the sewer
            There’s one grandpapa the fewer.”
                                                        - by Harry Graham

This is funny? What else might this editor consider to be funny? I read on and came to, “The Parent.”

            “Children aren’t happy with nothing to ignore,
            And that’s what parents are created for.”                 
- by Ogden Nash

And then there was, “Willie Built A Guillotine.”

“Willie built a guillotine,
            Tried it out on sister Jean.
            Said mother as she got the mop:
            ‘These messy games have got to stop!’”                              
- by William E. Engel

Not disturbing enough? Here’s another gem with the title, “Each Night Father Fills Me With Dread.”

“Each night father fills me with dread           
When he sits on the foot of my bed,
            I’d not mind that he speaks
            In gibbers and squeaks,
            But for seventeen years he’s been dead.”                                                     
- by a man appropriately named Edward Gorey 

As I put this book back in its place on the shelf, I wondered how much we really care about teaching our children the value of life and family. I also wondered if we should be surprised by the disrespect and violence in our society.  


The Message paraphrases Proverbs 22:6: “Point your kids in the right direction--when they’re old they won’t be lost.”

*Edited “thought for the day” written for MidAmerica Nazarene University class in 1999. - Vee

Heart by Clipartpal

2.2.17

System Alert

Having grown up in a church where some people made a Wednesday evening sport of scoring the most “pious points” during testimony time, I developed a built-in sanctimonious detector. This detector automatically activates at appropriate (or sometimes not so appropriate) times.

When the detector activates, I sometimes have difficulty smiling and pretending I’m clueless. Failure to self-monitor is usually not a good thing. One such instance comes to mind.

Hubby and I had started attending a new church and we were looking to become involved in a Sunday School class. After having decided on a class and being there for a few Sundays, the teacher decided to conduct a get acquainted question/answer session so the regular class members could learn something about the new people. Hubby and I, along with two other couples, were chosen for interviews. Although the questions varied somewhat for each couple, most presented opportunities to highlight the “good self,” and most answers followed down the expected path.

When our turn on the hot seat arrived, the first question was, “How long have you been married?” The follow-up question was directed to me, “To what do you attribute a marriage that has lasted for so many years?”

I knew the expected “good Christian” answers, but a little voice inside whispered, These people really need to lighten up. I smiled and said, “Many of our friends have conflicts over dust on top of their refrigerators and who should be responsible for making sure it’s not there. My husband is too short to see the top of the refrigerator. This may account for our long, happy marriage.”

This picture approximates the look on the teacher’s face.


The painful interview continued – most questions answered by Hubby.

On inauguration day, 2017, I was again reminded of the importance of not responding when I receive a detector alert. All primed and ready with my day planned around watching inaugural activities, I made the mistake of logging into Facebook to see what my family and friends were up to. As I scrolled, I came upon a post written by a young minister, “I WILL PARTICIPATE IN THE INAUGURATION BY PRAYING FOR PEACE!”

My better self prevailed. I logged out of Facebook and participated in the inauguration by watching a unique happening in our nation, the peaceful transfer of power. I enjoyed the pomp and circumstance, got chills when I heard our National Anthem, had tears when I saw the Marines on duty and was reminded of our grandson (who was attending the inauguration with fellow Midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy), enjoyed a people-watching opportunity without even having to go to the mall, and laughed when the new president’s 10-year-old son played peek-a-boo with his nephew in the Oval office.

There must be a prayer I should be praying or a scripture that should come to mind about now, but I have to go start dinner preparations. After these many years, Hubby also does not see (as in comprehend) the uses for the uncooked ingredients inside of the refrigerator, and he expects the things that reside there to be prepared and set before him.