Saturday, October 3, 2015

Goodbye, KPRI

Good radio stations are hard to come by. 

Good local, independent radio stations are a rare thing, indeed.

And that's what San Diego's 102.1 FM KPRI was: a San Diego-based radio station that was instrumental in the discovery of amazing artists such as Adele, Ed Sheeran, Imagine Dragons, Norah Jones, Jason Mraz, and John Mayer through their Private Listener Concerts.

KPRI played an incredible range of music from the 1960's to brand new bands before they became popular. They extensively played three of my favorite bands: U2, Florence + the Machine, and Mumford & Sons.

KPRI started in San Diego in the mid-1950's, went subversive in the late 1960's by playing Joplin, Hendrix, and Dylan, and then disappeared in the mid-80's before being resurrected by the current owners (or current until Monday, September 28) on 1 April 1996. Playing Adult Album Alternative  (AAA) format, KPRI quickly grew from a modest operation to one of San Diego's most popular stations with New Music Tuesdays at 7:00 PM, the Homegrown Hour on Sunday nights with local San Diego bands followed by Unsigned Sundays for new music discovery for independent artists, Acoustic Sunday Mornings, etc. Their "No Repeat Workday" assured us that we wouldn't hear the same song twice between nine in the morning and five in the evening.

From The San Diego Union, dated Monday when KPRI went off the air at 3:20 PM after playing their final song, "Forever Young" by Bob Dylan, Karla Peterson writes:

With its guitar-pick logo, live events like the Green Flash Concert Series at the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla and a musical mix not found anywhere else on the local commercial dial, KPRI/102.1 FM was a singular presence on San Diego’s radio landscape. As news of the sale began spreading across social media, the mourners began weighing in.

“Goodbye KPRI. You will be missed,” a supporter named Georgi said on Twitter. “Thanks (for) teaching me what music can do.”

The station’s last-day playlist included such bittersweet titles as the Indigo Girls’ “Closer to Fine,” Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” and American Authors’ “Best Day of My Life.”    
KPRI was always my go-to radio station when driving up and down the mountain. I also had the app on my phone and my clock radio alarm set to KPRI as well. Their eclectic mix of music was simply outstanding; a typical mix might be "Hey Jude" by the Beatles, followed by "Shut up and Dance" by Walk the Moon, "Beautiful Day" by U2, "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen, and then "Ship to Wreck" by Florence + the Machine. KPRI knew how to mix music from all decades and genres to make one sing along in the car or while chopping onions for dinner.

102.1 has been purchased by Educational Media Foundation, a conglomerate of Christian Contemporary radio stations across the country known as K-LOVE. Although I'm a Christian and have enjoyed listening to K-LOVE in the past, it's just not the same.

KPRI, you will indeed be missed.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Saint Therese of Lisieux

Saint Therese of Lisieux

Lived: (1873-1897) | Feast Day: Thursday, October 1, 2015

from Saint of the Day by

"I prefer the monotony of obscure sacrifice to all ecstasies.
To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul." These are 
the words of Thérèse of the Child Jesus, a Carmelite nun
called the "Little Flower," who lived a cloistered life of 
obscurity in the convent of Lisieux, France. And her preference
for hidden sacrifice did indeed convert souls. Few saints of God 
are more popular than this young nun. Her autobiography, The 
Story of a Soul, is read and loved throughout the world. Thérèse
Martin entered the convent at the age of 15 and died in 1897 at 
the age of 24. She was canonized in 1925, and two years later 
she and St. Francis Xavier were declared co-patrons of the missions.

Life in a Carmelite convent is indeed uneventful and consists 
mainly of prayer and hard domestic work. But Thérèse possessed
that holy insight that redeems the time, however dull that time 
may be. She saw in quiet suffering redemptive suffering, suffering 
that was indeed her apostolate. Thérèse said she came to the 
Carmel convent "to save souls and pray for priests." And shortly 
before she died, she wrote: "I want to spend my heaven doing 
good on earth."

On October 19, 1997, Pope John Paul II proclaimed her a 
Doctor of the Church, the third woman to be so recognized, 
in light of her holiness and the influence on the Church of 
her teaching on spirituality. Her parents, Louis and Zélie were 
beatified in 2008.

Comment: Thérèse has much to teach our age of the image, 
the appearance, the "sell." We have become a dangerously 
self-conscious people, painfully aware of the need to be fulfilled, 
yet knowing we are not. Thérèse, like so many saints, sought to 
serve others, to do something outside herself, to forget herself 
in quiet acts of love. She is one of the great examples of the 
gospel paradox that we gain our life by losing it, and that the 
seed that falls to the ground must die in order to live (John 12:24).
Preoccupation with self separates modern men 
and women from God, from their fellow human beings, and 
ultimately from themselves. We must relearn to forget ourselves, 
to contemplate a God who draws us out of ourselves, and to serve 
others as the ultimate expression of selfhood. These are the insights 
of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and they are more valid today than ever.

Quote: All her life St. Thérèse suffered from illness. As a young 
girl she underwent a three-month malady characterized by 
violent crises, extended delirium and prolonged fainting 
spells. Afterwards she was ever frail and yet she worked 
hard in the laundry and refectory of the convent. Psychologically, 
she endured prolonged periods of darkness when the light of 
faith seemed all but extinguished. The last year of her life she 
slowly wasted away from tuberculosis. And yet shortly before her 
death on September 30 she murmured, "I would not suffer 

Truly she was a valiant woman who did not whimper about 
her illnesses and anxieties. Here was a person who saw the 
power of love, that divine alchemy which can change 
everything, including weakness and illness, into service 
and redemptive power for others. Is it any wonder that she 
is patroness of the missions? Who else but those who 
embrace suffering with their love really convert the world?


Saint Therese has provided a significant example to me 
of how to live with chronic pain and illness. When I first 
became ill, I took the time to read her autobiography and 
as I read, I felt the calming of the Holy Spirit. More than 
one spiritual adviser has told me that my suffering was for 
the benefit of others, and their insights were confirmed to 
me through prayer and even more so in my current inductive 
study of Saint Paul's Epistle to the Philippians with the 
women of Pine Valley Community Church. Christians are all 
called to suffer for the Gospel in one way or another, and suffering
 with joy, as Saint Paul did in prison, allowed the Gospel to 
spread throughout the entire Roman Imperial Guard.

May Christ be proclaimed and glorified through me--
and through you--this day and always!

With warm thoughts,

Saturday, September 26, 2015

I'm a TV Junkie...and Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries

Yes, with my imagination and love for well-developed characters, I easily become addicted to television series. Films are nice, but watching characters develop week after week for up to 24 episodes per season provides so much more insight into their loves and hates, their quirks and humor, than a mere two hour movie.

I remain heartbroken over the cancellation of my favorite television series of last year: Forever starred Ioan Gruffudd of Titanic, Fantastic Four, and Horatio Hornblower fame as Dr. Henry Morgan who, through a miraculous turn of fate, is immortal and has been alive for about two hundred years. Working in New York City as a Medical Examiner, he is teamed with Detective Jo Martinez (Alana De La Garza) as they solve crime. Only Henry's adopted son, played by Judd Hirsch, knows his secret. I adore the mysteries each week as well as the growing romance between Henry and Jo; the quirkiness of the characters also delighted me. The flashbacks into Henry's past were fascinating, especially those of his wife, Abigail, who had known his secret and had helped him in rescuing Abraham as an infant from Auschwitz. It was a truly riveting hour of television each week, and I practically went into mourning when I heard the cancellation news.

So crime shows and mysteries are my thing. My other favorite shows, CastleRizzoli & Isles, NCIS (all three), CSI, Hawaii 5-0, Criminal Minds, Elementary, Sherlock, Bones, the also-cancelled Body of Proof with Dana Delaney--all have that mixture of crime solving combined with thoughtful and detailed character study. My other top favorite show, Sleepy Hollow, combines mystery with some crime solving as Ichabod Crane and Lieutenant Abigail Mills not only solve crimes but also fight true evil as they attempt to halt the coming Armageddon. The only one of my favorite shows that doesn't have the crime/mystery component is Downton Abbey which combines character study with an amazing time in Great Britain's history, so I'm good with it, and So You Think You Can Dance is in its own category, of course.

So when browsing Netflix, I stumbled across the Australian show Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (Series 3 is now playing Saturday nights on PBS), and I was hooked. Set in the late 1920's in Melbourne, Miss Phryne (pronounced "FRY-knee") Fisher (Essie Davis) is a wealthy "modern woman" who sets up as a lady detective, at first to the annoyance of Detective Inspector Jack Robinson (Nathan Page). Later Phryne and Jack end up working together, with the assistance of Miss Fisher's companion Dot (Ashleigh Cummings) and Jack's right-hand man, Constable Hugh Collins (Hugo Johnstone-Burt).

Miss Fisher seems to pick up strays wherever she goes, from some rough-and-tumble cab drivers and her butler with WWI spy experience, aptly named Mr. Butler, to a teen runaway named Jane. Wielding a pearl-handled golden handgun with panache and accuracy, Phryne Fisher becomes deeply embroiled in various mysterious and dangerous cases with Jack while feelings slowly begin to build between them. Series 3, which is only 8 episodes (the other series are 12 or 13 episodes each), marks the end of the series...the final episode of which I watched last night on Netflix. I was sorry to see the series end, but it was an extremely satisfying ride with everything tied up quite neatly and romantically.

The costumes are simply amazing--and the characters are quirky and always doing the unexpected. The attention to detail in the sets and the lovely outdoor scenes in Australia are beyond gorgeous. I've added quite a few of Phryne's best costumes and images of the other characters to my Pinterest Board "I'm a TV Junkie" if you're interested.

Unfortunately, as I peruse the new shows for this fall, I don't see anything that particular grabs me. I'll probably just rely on my old favorites, including the final CSI two-hour special playing Sunday night (9/27) with the return of Grissom, Catherine, and the rest of the gang. Plus, the final season of Downton Abbey will be starting here in the US on January 3, 2016; I'll especially hate to bid the Crawley family, both upstairs and down, a final farewell.

And I've been promising myself to start watching Doctor Who. I've seen a few and quite like it, but no one else in the family does, so I'll be watching by myself, I guess. Sci-fi isn't really my thing, but I've heard so much about this series....

What are some of your favorite TV shows, past and present?  

Getting out the popcorn,

Sunday, September 13, 2015

How to Make a Difference in the World...Right Now

As Christians living and working in the world today, simply hundreds of online devotionals are available at a mere click. It is all too easy to allow these devotionals to clutter our inbox each day.

I have narrowed my online devotionals to only two: The Daily Reflection from The High Calling, and Saint of the Day from American Catholic.

And today's Daily Reflection was thought-provoking enough that I want to share it here. I've copied it in its entirety from The High Calling site.

Wishing you a blessed Sunday,


Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone-an image made by human design and skill.
Acts 17:22-31
In the beginning, God created. Every morning he makes something new, and every evening he sees that it is good. When he creates people in his own image, God looks at the whole of creation and declares all of it to be "very good."

When I was a kid, I thought of God as a large old man with a long white beard. (I'm pretty sure I got this from reading The Far Side comics.) Whatever we might imagine about God's appearance, being made in God's image does not mean we look like God looks. It means that we do what God does.

God our maker has created us to be makers as well, and he has given us the will to choose what we will create. So we may make things that honor God, or we might reject God for things that honor ourselves.

Paul explains exactly this point to the Athenians on Mars Hill. Just as Aaron in Exodus made the golden calf while Moses was on Mt. Sinai (Ex. 32:1-4), the Athenians were making idols, creating gods small enough to understand and even carry around.

Icons, Not Idols
It feels like an overstatement to say my smartphone is an idol. Certainly, I could treat it like one if I'm not being mindful, but worshipping an accidental idol with my distracted mind is no less dangerous than deliberately rejecting God.

Why? An idol holds our imagination captive. In contrast, an icon directs our imagination toward God. An idol limits our understanding of God, but an icon is open to the mystery of God. In fact, in the New Testament Greek, eikon is the word used to describe our own moral and spiritual likeness to God. God didn't create us to be idols that look like him, but icons that reflect his essence.

In the same way, we are called to make, not idols, but icons. Jesus himself modeled this professionally. Not only was he love incarnate, he honored the spirit of God by creating useful things. He was a tekton.

Traditionally, this word is translated as carpenter, though Homer and other Greek authors known to first century readers use the word to refer to a wide variety of other professions too--from blacksmiths and stone masons to house-builders and ship-builders. All of these skilled professions created something useful for the world around them, relying on their specialized skills, their techne, with wood, metal, stone, or whatever materials they used.

Not Consumers Only
Techne is one of the roots of our word "technology," but the first century understanding of technology differs significantly from our own. Too often, we think of tech from the perspective of consumers rather than creators. Today's technophile wants to buy the latest smartphone and the newest gaming system. The grassroots maker movement is probably closer to the creative techne that Paul and the Athenians would have understood.

As people made in the image of God, let us dedicate ourselves to the specialized skills that allow us to create wonderful new technologies that serve people like Don and kids like Dario. Let us learn code. Let us study science. Let us explore robotics and medicine and media. Let us use our smartphones and computers to engage the world rather than hide from it.

And when we look back on what we will have made, let us see that our technological creations honor God.

FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What is your relationship with technology? Do you consider yourself an early adopter, a luddite, or something in between? Do you feel like technology helps you or controls you? Consider the stories of Don and Dario. How can you use technology in ways that honor God and love your neighbor?

PRAYER: Dear God, I confess that I chase technology more like a consumer than a creator. Help me see every new tool as a possible way to bring you more glory and love my neighbor more fully. Amen.

So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: "Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: 'To an Unknown God.' This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I'm telling you about.

"He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn't live in man-made temples, and human hands can't serve his needs--for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.

"His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him--though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.' And since this is true, we shouldn't think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone.

"God overlooked people's ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead."

Acts 17:22-31
Deidra Riggs is a writer and speaker who claims an undying devotion to disco music, the Motor City, and long bike rides under a big, blue sky.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

"My Sweet Summer Is Gone..."

Pacific Beach--taken by moi
It's a depressing thought that summer is gone--it feels as if it just started, and somehow, summer slipped through my fingers. We had grand plans for going to the beach often...which we only managed over the 4th of July despite the fact that my parents live half a block from Law Street Beach in Pacific Beach, just south of La Jolla. J went on his nine-day missions trip to the Utah/Arizona border with a group of 20+ high schoolers, college-agers, and adults in July.

I had grand plans for writing this summer, especially during my Fan Fiction class at Brave Writer. (BTW, have you seen the new Brave Writer website? Click on the hyperlink and enjoy! And I even have my own teacher page here!) Anywhoooo, this if my fifth year of teaching this fun writing course, and I've averaged about eight, perhaps ten, students each July in this class. But this summer, we had 24 students enrolled in Fan Fiction! It was a lovely surprise, but it also derailed my writing plans for the month. And as summer classes are much more relaxed and tend to drag out a bit with so many kids at camp, on vacation, etc., I just graded and returned my last two stories tonight, August 23, for a class that "officially" finished July 31.

I spent most of the summer continuing to read and absorb more Jane Austen Fan Fiction (JAFF); I'll have some more Goodreads/Amazon reviews for you in a week, perhaps less. I've started to write two JAFF stories myself, but I've only written a handful of chapters. I'm hoping to have more time after school begins and I get back on a regular schedule. But after the craziness of last year with more all-night grading sessions than I can count with teaching nine online classes at Brave Writer, including four of the crazy-intensive literary analysis classes, plus two courses at Heritage Christian School's ECII Class Day, I needed this summer to rest and recover.

On Tuesday, B and I will open our books and begin my 19th year of home education. Fortunately, we don't begin Class Day courses or Brave Writer classes until after Labor Day, so we have two weeks of just US while we adjust to his sophomore year of home schooling. Later on, he wants to study American Sign Language (ASL) as his foreign language, so he'll take community college classes his senior year to study ASL and perhaps some other courses.

His and my schedules for the 2015-2016 school year may be seen HERE.

Once we start into our full schedule after September 8, I plan to schedule in an hour of writing for myself each day, along with grading time for Expository Essay assignments and Brave Writer responses, plus time for Morning, Midday, and Vespers/Compline Prayers. I also set aside an hour for exercise on my stationary bicycle and twenty minutes in the spa (designed for those with rheumatoid arthritis) before bed. I'll be busy, but productive, too.

Plus, I'll still have my Online Essay Grading Service via e-mail for homeschooling parents who need some help with evaluating their students' junior high and high school essays.  I'm also swapping tutoring with an amazing mathematics teacher; she teaches B high school math while I teach her high school daughters writing. It's definitely a win-win situation as we meet each Thursday afternoon all year.

Oh, and August 13 was the Ninth Anniversary of Meditative Meanderings! It started on a homeschooling blog site and then moved to Blogger in 2007. With over 1500 posts, 2500 comments, and more than 225,000 views, I've thoroughly enjoyed blogging here and do not plan to stop anytime soon. :)

We're hoping to get some beach time after Labor Day when all of the kids return to school and we can descend upon my parents' place and enjoy the beach in relative serenity. Crowds really aren't our thing. So although summer is gone, we do have plans to enjoy some beach and Balboa Park time as we can once the crowds dissipate and we can enjoy San Diego sans tourists.

Welcome to autumn (I guess...),

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Plans for 2015-2016 School Year

This school year, which for us will start a week from today, will be the first time that I've had only one student in our home school since 1999. In June we graduated J, and E and T graduated in 2010 and 2014 respectively, so now it's just B and me at home doing school. It's also Year 19 in my homeschooling journey.
Heritage Christian School

B will be a high school sophomore this year, and here's our plan through Heritage Christian School of San Diego:

Bible: Book of Common Prayer 2011, Lectionary Readings and Morning Prayers (ESV Scriptures); The Story of Christianity by Price and Collins for Church History.

English 10: Masterpieces from World Literature (ABeka); Easy Grammar Ultimate Series Grade 10; Spelling Power; Copywork; Editor-in-Chief B-1; Star Wars Mad Libs; Brave Writer Assignments

World History: World History and Cultures (ABeka)

Biology I: Exploring Creation through Biology (Apologia Biology) with Lab at Heritage Christian School East County II Class Day

Geometry I: with Saxon Algebra I (with Geometry), tutored by Julie Brennan

Elective: Chess and Games at Heritage Christian School East County II Class Day

I'll also be adding in some art assignments throughout the year, probably a semester's worth by the end of the year. I'd love to have him take some art classes, but they just aren't in the budget this year.

Heritage Christian School East County II Class Day

While B is taking his double-period Biology Lab and his after-lunch chess and games class, I'll be teaching Expository Essay I and II at East County II Class Day. Over the course of 18 meetings, I'll have my class of twelve students writing ten essays, plus a college-level research paper:

  • Keen Observation (descriptive paragraph: 500 word minimum)
  • Biblical Influence Essay (five-paragraph, 1000 word minimum)
  • Contrast Essay (five-paragraph, 1000 word minimum)
  • Comparison Essay (five-paragraph, 1000 word minimum)
  • Definition Essay (five-paragraph, 1000 word minimum)
  • Literary Analysis Essay (five-paragraph, 1000 word minimum)
  • Poetry Explication Essay (five-paragraph, 1000 word minimum)
  • Timed In-Class Essay (five-paragraph, 1000 word minimum)
  • Exploratory Essay (1000 word minimum)
  • Persuasive Essay (five-paragraph, 1000 word minimum)
  • MLA Research Essay (five-seven page minimum; minimum five sources)

Brave Writer

My Brave Writer schedule is lighter than last year with only one literary analysis class which are the most intensive classes I've taught online; my last literary analysis class generated more than 1,100 posts over four weeks! I especially love teaching three of the Family Workshop courses in grammar, poetry writing, and Shakespeare!

Fall Term:
Groovy Grammar Workshop: September 8-October 2

MLA Research Essay: October 5-November 13

Playing with Poetry Workshop: November 16-December 15

Winter Term:
Groovy Grammar Workshop: Dates To Be Posted (TBP)

MLA Research Essay: Dates TBP

Playing with Poetry Workshop: Dates TBP

Spring Term:
Shakespeare Family Workshop: Dates TBP

Literary Analysis: Shakespeare's Hamlet: Dates and Description TBP

Summer Term:

Fan Fiction: Dates TBP

So here are our homeschooling plans for the 2015-2016 school year! I think they'll keep us fairly busy...but I hope with some room for writing for me...perhaps even NaNoWriMo in November??

Have a wonderful school year!

Friday, August 14, 2015

The "Spoon Theory" of Chronic Illness

Re-post from the Archives with a few recent additions....

If it wasn't for the cane I use to help with my balance, I doubt most people I meet, or even those with whom I am acquainted, would know that I am sick. Often I have been told, "You look wonderful! You don't look sick at all." There is an unspoken question asked in those seemingly innocuous words: Are you really sick?

Although I am certain that they mean to compliment me, those words stab my heart a little bit, too. Even my close friends don't know how difficult it is for me to get out of bed, how taking a shower can sap my energy for the whole morning, how climbing a flight of stairs can make my knees weak for hours afterward.

My favorite activities are severely limited. I love gardening, but I must limit my time, depending on the particular activity (weeding, planting, digging, etc.) to ten to twenty minutes a day unless I want to spend the next day or two exhausted on the sofa. I used to love walking and hiking with my husband (who has been incredibly patient and understanding through my illness), but now I can walk only a few hundred yards...a little more on occasion. When we lived in San Diego, I used to bicycle all over North Park on a daily basis, and biking in the mountains was an activity I was looking forward to when we moved to Pine Valley. Unfortunately, I was sick and unable to use my bike before spring came around after we moved in September. Long shopping trips and days at Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo, the Wild Animal Park, Disneyland, etc., require me to use a wheelchair. Right now I've been able to build up to an hour on the stationary bike at 7-8 mph (no tension), walking to the post office and back (a tenth of a mile), and ten minutes of light gardening a day. I have to spread all these activities throughout morning, afternoon, and evening so that I have time to recover in between.

One of the very best explanations of what I go through each day with whatever-it-is that I have, diagnosed by various doctors as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, is the Spoon Theory. I first read it years ago, and I recently saw it making the rounds once again on Facebook. You may read it here:

I try not to dwell on what I can't do (I can't help it sometimes, and it is frustrating) and focus instead on what I can do. I can pray. I can read. I can write. I can teach..although I need to monitor my time on the computer or I have additional neck, upper back, and shoulder pain that breaks through my dosage of pain meds (40 mg methadone morning and evening).

I feel that my older kids grew up "missing the fun Mom" I used to be when I played badminton and volleyball with them and took them biking and skating, hiking and running. However, the younger two boys don't remember me when I was "normal." I'm not sure which is worse.

So what helps me through all of this? Ten years ago, God led me to a conservative Anglican Church (Reformed Episcopal), Alpine Anglican Church of the Blessed Trinity for weekday healing services. The silence of the service without music, the peace of praying Scripture and ancient prayers, the celebration of the Church Year, the Communion of the Eucharist, and the laying on of hands and anointing with oil as the priest prays over me gives me the willpower and strength to persevere through the pain, exhaustion, and the emotional and financial turmoil resulting from my illness. I still attend these Friday morning services each week and still feel the Holy Spirit strengthening me as Father Acker prays:
"Susanne, I lay my hands upon you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, beseeching our Lord Jesus Christ to sustain you with His presence, to drive away all sickness of body and spirit, and to give you that victory of life and peace which will enable you to serve Him both now and evermore. Amen."
During and after these services, I feel God's peace filling me, enabling me to soldier on despite what I am unable to do, able to focus on what I can do. And that, indeed, is the grace and love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.

And during this time of trial now in its fourteenth year, I have learned to really pray. And by that, I mean not just rattling off a "grocery-list" of prayer requests for family, friends, and self, but I've learned to truly worship, mostly through praying through the Scriptures with the resources I mentioned in last Saturday's post. I also have Anglican prayer beads which can be used in many different ways and which I use to pray Scripture and for the needs of family and friends. Having something in my hands while I pray, making it a physical act in addition to a mental/heart/soul act, keeps me focused and deeply in prayer.

Now I see our oldest struggling with chronic fatigue and our second oldest suffering with chronic pain, and all three of us have been diagnosed with different genetic mutations that are at the root of our fatigue and pain. We have an amazing Christian osteopath who keeps us on track and insists that we each have an artistic outlet to release stress and build us up emotionally. We've been prayed over by elders, pastors, and missionaries; we've been anointed with oil, and we haven't yet been healed. Do I believe that God CAN heal us? Definitely! Do I believe that God WILL heal us? Definitely! He will do so in His timing, and in the meanwhile, we learn to depend on Him, not in ourselves. God will heal us in His perfect timing, and we shall grow in faith, hope, and love while we wait.

In His Grace, this day and always,

Saturday, August 8, 2015

My Quiet Times, Tenth Week After Trinity, & Quotation of the Week

One of the most precious times of my day is when I sit at my desk with a lit candle before me to spend time with God in His Word. Christians approach their time with the Lord in many ways, and mine is a rather eclectic mix that I'd like to share with you.

First of all, I start and end my days with Quiet Time, and I also pause at noon. In the mornings and evenings, I pray through:

The Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie, the Morning Prayers and the Evening Prayers. This little book was written for WWII soldiers to take with them on the battlefields, with prayers for one month: thirty-one Morning and thirty-one Evening Prayers, plus prayers for Sunday Morning and Sunday Evening. The language is so beautiful and worshipful, and I can worship God in ways that would never have occurred to me through these prayers. The blank pages facing each page-long prayer are for writing our own needs and prayer requests. I've been praying from this book off and on for fifteen years, and I somehow always come back to it.

The One Year Book of Hymns. I use this resource in the mornings only; I used to pray it in the evenings, but I found that I was often praying two hymns since the next resource usually includes a hymn in Vesper Prayers. If I know the hymn for a certain day, I sing it (very much off-key; singing is not my strong suit!), and if I don't know it, I read and pray it as poetry. I love the accompanying devotional and Scripture verses on the page facing the hymn lyrics. Some of the hymns date back a thousand years or more while others are from the 20th century; it's a lovely collection that lifts my heart to worship each morning.

The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle. A friend who used to attend Alpine Anglican Church of the Blessed Trinity gave me these three volumes (Springtime, Summertime, and Autumn/Winter) about ten years ago, and I keep returning to them as they ground me in God's Word and in prayer three times each day. Set up in the format of weeks starting with Sunday (The Sunday closest to August 1, etc.), each week is united by a common collective prayer prayed on each day of the week at each of the three prayer times: Morning, Midday, and Vespers. This is the only resource I use at noon at which time I also pray the requests of ourselves, family, and friends via the Prayer Popper app on my mobile phone. Set up with several short Scripture readings (quite a few from the Psalms), I pray the Scriptures and prayers during my day. The Vespers (Evening) readings include a hymn which is why I use the Book of Hymns mentioned above at Morning Prayer only.

The Book of Common Prayer 2011 by Father Keith Acker; edited by Alice Acker and Susanne Barrett. Following the request of retired Bishop Richard Boyce, Father Acker of Alpine Anglican Church of the Blessed Trinity retranslated and rewrote the original Book of Common Prayer of the Early Reformation. Then Father Acker and his lovely wife, Alice, traveled up the hill to Pine Valley to work with me, and together we focused on revising and editing this modern Book of Common Prayer which uses the English Standard Version Bible; yes, Crossways was very kind in allowing us free rights to their Psalms and other Scriptures. Now in its second printing, this Book of Common Prayer theologically hearkens back to Thomas Cranmer's original Book of Common Prayer of 1547, but uses the language of modern English rather than the archaic and difficult-to-understand language of the Early Reformation.

I pray Morning Prayer, read the Morning Scripture verses (one reading from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament) from my ESV Bible app on my Kindle tablet as they are listed in the Lectionary (a schedule of Scripture which, if read morning and evening, will take us through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice each year), plus the Psalter which lays out all 150 Psalms into thirty Morning readings and thirty Evening readings, thus allowing us to pray all of the Psalms each month. The Collects (collective prayers) for each week are referenced back to Scripture verses, and ancient hymns and canticles are also included along with the great Creeds of the Faith. The sales for this Book of Common Prayer have been generated more by evangelicals eager for a touch of liturgy steeped in God's Word than by Anglicans themselves. I pray Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline (bedtime prayers) each day from this resource.

And speaking of the Book of Common Prayer 2011, here is the Collect for this week, the Tenth Sunday After Trinity:

LET your merciful ears, O Lord, be open to the prayers of your people; And, so that we may obtain our requests, assist us in asking only for those tings that are pleasing to you; Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and rules with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. (References: Nehemiah 1.11; 1 Chronicles 1.11-12; 1 John 5.14)
1 Corinthians 12.1-11; Luke 19.41-47a; Psalm 55.1-8, 23; Psalm 137.1-6; Exodus 20.1-17

And as I try to update my Quotation of the Week every week, here is a new quotation I found last month that caught my eye, mind, and heart:

"You have made us for yourself, O God, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in you."

~Saint Augustine

Wishing you all a blessed week in the love and grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,


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