For my husband’s 50th birthday, I created a book with encouraging notes from friends from the various seasons of our lives. Then I used WORDLE.NET to create a collage of the words used in the notes. It was really cool to see which words showed up the most as people wrote what they loved about Alan.
Recently, my friend, Diane, gave me another great idea for using WORDLE.NET. She had taken her journal and plugged it into wordle. So I just took the time to do the same. I have been journaling since 1990 so I created a wordle for each year’s journal.
Below is the image created by WORDLE.NET for my 1993 journal. The words are sized according to how many times they were used in the text. Extraneous words are eliminated. Since my journal is a place where I process my daily happenings, spiritual life, scripture and prayers, it is no surprise that God is the largest word.
What struck me as I read through the words of this year was the word “Susie” in the top right quadrant of the image. I couldn’t figure out how a woman I couldn’t remember had her name in such a large font. So I went back into the journal and searched for her name. I found a story that I had completely forgotten. I’ll share the story of Susie in the next couple of blog entries. It really is a story of God’s grace of meeting me right where I was at the time (29-years-old with a 10-month-old baby and almost three years after my spiritual life had taken on a new light).
7 My heart is confident in you, O God;
my heart is confident.
No wonder I can sing your praises!
8 Wake up, my heart!
Wake up, O lyre and harp!
I will wake the dawn with my song.
9 I will thank you, Lord, among all the people.
I will sing your praises among the nations.
10 For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens.
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
11 Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens.
May your glory shine over all the earth.
What better way to stay pliable in God’s hands, open to Him and His way? Remember who He is. Remind your heart to wake to Him.
Let’s pause for a few moments together…right here…right now.
A word to think about: PROCESS
Take two minutes and think about this word. Use the image below if it helps. What thoughts emerge? Any images? Emotions? Let God know what’s up. He is listening.
“A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, must empty ourselves. The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, the fruit of service is peace.” (Mother Teresa)
I often think that I must squeeze each of these out of myself in order to be a “good girl”: prayer, faith, love, service, peace. According to Mother Teresa, it begins with silence and each flows from the other in sequence. Take time to read the sequence slowly, let each phrase echo in your mind. Can you see how this progression would work in your own heart?
It is also interesting that she speaks of the cost of sacrifice and then goes on to a list that ends in peace. She really did have a sense of the mystery and paradoxes of the faith. May this kind of faith increase inside you and inside me.
This isn’t the most attractive photograph of me. It was taken in November 1967. I was almost four. It always bothered me that when it was printed there were three little black spots on my lip. When I was young, I used to stare at this picture and wonder why the spots were there. I assure you, they were not there in real life. Bummer.
The memory tied to this photograph is that little red suit. The color was great. But it was made out of wool. And it was itchy. That is all I remember about it. One evening, my mom dressed me up in the itchy red suit and my dad took me out to a ballet. Being little, my memories are skewed. Everything seemed very large…the curtains, the stage, the seats. I can see all it in flashes of memory. We got into our seat, somewhere in the middle of the row. The lights dimmed and the ballet began. I’m not sure how far into the performance we got, I just know that I didn’t like the dark or the music or whatever (plus my suit was itchy). I was very uncomfortable. So uncomfortable, that I actually got my dad to leave early. I’m not sure how I did it, but we got up in the middle of the thing and left.
As a parent now, I can only imagine my reaction to this request of a little girl. I would want to be patient, kind and understanding. But I think I would be a little miffed that I spent all that time, effort and money to get to the performance, only to be told by a little person, “My suit is itchy.” My dad must have been patient because I have no memory of his interaction with me. I can’t remember his face that night or the words he spoke. I just remember being lead gently down the row and out the door. That was my dad…nice and low key.
Lesson learned: Never buy a three-year-old a wool suit. You may not get to see the end of the ballet.
Today I am going to link you to two trusted spiritual mentors, Alan Fadling & Bill Gaultiere. They both have blog entries on Breath Prayers that can be very helpful. I encourage you to read them and try one or two exercises for yourself. Peace to you.
Click the links below:
Alan Fadling – Waking Myself After I Wake
Bill Gaultiere – Breath Prayers