Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sunset: Wonderstruck

This challenge was to watch a sunset, giving thanks to God for His majesty in the world. I was finally able to catch a sunset on the way home from Chambana after a good day with Bill. Usually our sunsets are broad and multi-hued, over reaching the prairie. This sunset was like this day; small, private. Just a little area of salmon pink, some dusky clouds above that, then streaks of gold above the clouds. Intimate. Just for us. The gold faded quickly ( "nothing gold can stay" ). The clouds thinned and dissipated. The pink lingered; in the sky and in my heart.

I didn't have a camera, so couldn't upload a picture with #livewonderstruck, but that's how I live anyway. The memory of that intimate moment is the wonder of sunset!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Pixie Dust: Wonderstruck

Today's challenge was to pray for pixie dust; asking God to shower His grace, favor, and delight. Then watch for the unexpected ways that might come about. I felt silly praying for "pixie dust", but knew God would work with it.

I borrowed my mother-in-law's car to run errands in Chambana with my son Christopher while she and my husband went to Decatur. We went to the credit union, grocery, library, pharmacy, restaurant, and gas station. At every stop I got to know my son. His great sense of humor, especially. His helpfulness. His joy. Relationship; that's the wonder of pixie dust.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Vacation: Wonderstruck

There's been a long hiatus in this series; but I'm ready to get back on track now. This challenge is to arrange a vacation to enjoy the abundant life God has given. I actually have two getaways planned. Both are Boy Scout functions and will take place at our local Boy Scout camp.

The first is our troop's week of summer camp. I am one of the adult leaders. This will be my third year; it's a lot of fun. The second is an adult  advanced training course held over two weekends in mid-September and mid-October. I'm really looking forward to Wood Badge; it's an honor as well as a challenge.

I will plan an outing with our whole family and my parents, too. That's a tradition for us now. That's where we really see the joy and wonder of a vacation.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Appreciation: Wonderstruck

This challenge was to express gratitude to three people who have made a difference in my life; who have been couriers of God's wonder. I chose my parents, my husband, and my mother-in-law. I chose to thank each of them with a handwritten note.

My parents were the primary shapers of my faith. They got it going and molded it well, I think. I don't think I ever really thanked them for that, even in the note that told them I was converting to Roman Catholicism (or in their minds, turning my back on my faith). So I wrote a note detailing exactly what I thank them for in regards to faith. It went out in today's mail.

My husband helped guide me to the fullness of faith in the Catholic Church. He continues to guide and guard our family. I couldn't be more proud of him, nor love and respect him more.

My mother-in-law gives me an example of a truly simple, yet deep belief. Perhaps because she's had to rely on God for the most mundane things all her life, she just knows she will be taken care of somehow. She was just diagnosed with cancer; she's facing it with a serenity I am envious of. I needed to thank her for the gift of her example.

These are the wonders of appreciation. Thank you, Lord, for each of these people. Please bless them.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Restore: Wonderstruck

Once again, I was wrong. The title of the book is one word. And the next challenge encourages me to find something in the house that needs restoring. There is plenty in this old farmhouse that could use some TLC; the problem is there is no money in the budget to get what is needed to provide it. So this challenge will go unmet.

However, I can meditate on the wondrous work of restoration God has made in my life. He took someone who had given up and raised her head. He took someone who was certain she would be alone always and gave her a family. But more than that, He drew me to Himself. I now have the fullness of faith available in the Catholic Church. I am strengthened through Reconciliation and fed by the Eucharist. THAT is the wonder of restoration!

Monday, January 26, 2015

God: Wonder Struck

The challenge for day 17 is to be in the presence of God. To write down names for, characteristics of, attributes of, and promises of God. Then spend time thanking and adoring Him.

He is El Shaddai, God Almighty. The God who listens. Lord Most High.

Lord, you are worthy, mighty, holy, just, merciful, loving, omniscient, omnipresent, marvelous, awesome, good, light.

You are the bread of life, the door, the only way to the Father, a strong tower, The way, the truth, and the life, the creator, the Savior, the comforter, the shepherd, the judge, vindicator, stronghold, my strength, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my shield, my saving horn, perfect, trustworthy, right, clear, pure, true, host, compassionate, faithful, my salvation, my life's refuge.

As for promises, there are so many! I only wrote down some that were true for me; and I'll only post some of those. What an amazing God!

The Lord Himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still. Ex 14:14

For the sake of your name, Lord, pardon my guilt, though it is great. Ps  25:11

Blessed be God, who did not refuse me the kindness I sought in prayer. Ps  66:20

I, the Lord, am your God ... open wide your mouth that I may fill it. Ps 81:11

Show us, Lord, your love; grant us your salvation. Ps  85:8

The entirety of Psalm 103

Gives the childless wife a home, the joyful mother of children. Hallelujah! Ps  113:9

Sirach 2:1-6

How great the mercy of the Lord, his forgiveness of those who return to him! Sirach 17:24

Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never forsake you or abandon you." Heb 13:5

Oh, the wonder of the presence of God!!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Rest: Wonder Struck

This challenge was to take a break, thanking God for the chance to refresh and renew. I know the wonder of rest because of the health issues I have. I generally nap every day because I have to in order to meet my obligations and be kind to my family.

This has been an odd week. No naps for me until Thursday. I lay down with a sigh and did not move for three hours! My body felt better, but my mind was groggy for awhile. But, oh! I thank God for the wonder of rest!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sunrise: Wonder Struck

The next challenge is to watch a sunrise intentionally. Set an alarm and meet God under the morning sky. I see the sunrise nearly every morning; my internal clock has me up at 5:00 am. I usually then do my devotions and at least take a peek out the window.

But it's not intentional. I don't watch all the colors come and consider how, like the sunrise, God's mercies are new every morning. The sunrise had become commonplace for me. So the past few days I have been noticing sunrise and sunset, beginning to end. Thanking God for his loving-kindness. The cold seems to have leached some of the brilliance out of the colors lately, but from first streak of gold to last shade of salmon I am there for the wonder of the sunrise.

You: Wonder Struck

This challenge was to do something that makes me feel rejuvenated and refreshed. That brings me joy. Thirty minutes to an hour doing something that makes me grateful to be alive.

What would I do? So many things fall in this category! A walk or brisk hike? Well, my back's been hurting. Read a good book? I do that daily anyway. A little loom knitting? I'd have to buy yarn for what I have in mind. I know! I pulled a cross-stitch project out I had put away a year or so ago. I worked on that for forty minutes cuddled on the couch under the electric blanket. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Did not finish the project, but it is closer to completion and I felt better able to tackle my to-do list when I put it away. What a wonder!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Letter: Wonder Struck

This next challenge was fun for this wordsmith girl! I had to write a letter of love and gratitude to God. I only had twenty minutes. Had to set that timer again, because I could write for hours!

Dearest Heavenly Father,

Oh, how I love you! You have done such wondrous things for me. Jesus. The most amazing gift. And He keeps on giving in Reconciliation and the most Holy Eucharist. Oh, my Beautiful Lord!

Then there's Bill. I'd given up on finding a soul-mate and was just wandering through life and men, making bad choices: really bad choices. But even then you had my best interests at heart. I'd turned my back on you and you gave me the right man who would want me, who would take our vows seriously, who would help me turn back to you. And he continues to be my greatest blessing next to our Lord.

And my children, Lord. They've taught me so much. They've drawn me closer to you through their struggles and triumphs. I am so grateful for each and every one of them.

Our parents, who help us so much in every way they can. They're not close geographically, but they're close to us otherwise. Oh my Lord, I thank you for them!

I also thank you for where we live. This big rambling farmhouse in this little bitty village in the United States. Such a good place to call home! Thank you for leading us here!

Thank you for our financial situation. I complain about it so much, but it forces us to rely on you. And we're committed to scaling back even more to make changes this year. Please bless that effort, my Lord. We'd like to give more. But I want your will to be done not my own.

Thank you for this beautiful world you've created. I love being out in it! Please give me the determination to be out in it more and enjoy your natural blessings.

Oh my Lord I could go on and on. You have blessed me beyond measure. I thank you and I love you,

Your child,


The rest of the day went smoothly and well because I started it out this way. That's the wonder of a gratitude letter to Father God.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Prayer: Wonder Struck

This challenge was to pray for twenty minutes, presenting my praises and petitions in three words only. It was a true challenge!

I began with praises. "You are _________ ." I just rolled them off. Mighty, holy, loving, provider, merciful, wise, etc. Then I began asking for help for people.  "Bless ______ family." I tried to keep an idea in my mind of what their specific needs were. If I got stuck I went back to praises, this time picturing how God is mighty ( spinning galaxies into space) or holy ( the Eucharist in a Monstrance).

Occasionally, I would drop back into normal conversation. Sometimes it was necessary. "Thanks for Helen. Glad with you. And not here where I can screw it up like with her brothers and sisters." Then there was the back and forth of how I am not screwing it up, but doing a pretty good job. They're really good kids and I had something to do with that.

It was interesting to be so intentional with my words in prayer. Three word prayers are not my favorite way to pray, but did freshen things a bit. Yet it's a bit contrived. Prayer is a relationship conversation. I doubt I would ever say to my husband, "our conversation is just a little stale; let's try just using three word sentences today." Yet God is merciful and understanding - THAT'S the wonder of prayer.