Ways to Pray with Prayer Cards

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I’ve mentioned my friend, Brother Mickey McGrath often. After one of his retreats I come away with a renewed sense of peace in myself and my faith as well as a renewed energy to expand my creativity. You often see that depicted on these pages with my photography and artistic attempts, some of which are quite good, and others….well, I tried.

One of his new products is a card set called Prayer Starters. Below the cut, you will be able to click on the picture to be taken to his website to purchase them if you are interested in that. Simply, they are a set of about thirty cards with an easel under the theme of Wise and Holy Women featuring the words of the four women Doctors of the Church, Sts. Hildegard of Bingen, Catherine of Siena, Theresa of Avila, and Therese Lisieux plus Dorothy Day and Sister Thea Bowman combined with Brother Mickey’s beautiful art.

I’ve been using them as a daily devotional although I haven’t swapped out the cards every morning. Sometimes I leave them up for a few days and let them speak to me as long as I can feel it. This usually lasts two days. 

I mention this because two cards ago I came across a quotation from St. Hildegard of Bingen:

“Only when we connect misery to our cravings can we begin to solve our dilemma.”

I did not understand its meaning. I read it again, and then went about my work. Whenever I passed by my dining room table, I read it again, paused a moment, thought to myself, again, that I do not understand this; what does this mean?

Some of you may read it the first time and think, of course, this is not hard, what is she not seeing?

Honestly, I didn’t know.

I began to read it a bit more slowly. I’d sit with it and read it out normally, then a bit slower, and then I’d emphasize the punctuation, adding in my own commas, like you would with a poem, each line paused for absorption. I think I did this for two full days. I still did not get it.

Simple words, but they simply weren’t reaching me.

I don’t know how many days passed, each day I’d read the card at least once, more likely twice. I stared at the card on the easel. I held the card between two fingertips. I read it over and over and over again.

One morning, probably about very nearly a week ago, I read it, each word on my tongue, my inserted comma giving pause, and as I reached the period at the end, my eyes opened wide.

It was there!

Right there the whole time.

And now that I’d seen it, I couldn’t unseen it; I couldn’t not understand the meaning, and the most significant part was how much it related to my life, to my cravings of things and thoughts and symbols and signs. Little things and big things, and there in all of it wasn’t misery but the idea that misery could be brought on with too much of the cravings or the opposite that if I think of the cravings as misery perhaps I’d crave less and therefore be satisfied with less. And maybe that’s not it at all, but that was what it was for me.

Because that’s what has happened in my life. I can feel it and I’m living it in some ways. I am not a pious, ascetic, silence seeker, but I also do not crave everything the way I once did. Not only do I prioritize secular, monetary and time things, but I am also prioritizing my faith in relation to my secular life as well as the items of faith that I want to follow and adopt into my lifestyle. That’s not to suggest a change in doctrine, but in a feeling of where I want my faith to bring me, and for me to bring to others.

Only when we connect misery to our cravings can we begin to solve our dilemma.

Card from Prayer Starters Wise and Holy Women Card Pack, Brother Mickey McGrath, All Rights Reserved. Photo mine. (c)2019

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Transgender Day of Visibility

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Today is the Trans Day of Visibility.

It is a good time for us who are not trans and are allies or want to spread awareness of trans issues and areas where we can do better to support all transgender people. This day has been celebrated since 2009, started by Rachel Crandell when she saw that there weren’t any trans acknowledgement days apart from the Transgender Day of Remembrance where trans murders from the previous year are memorialized. As an ally, I too was looking for a positive day to explore trans issues and celebrate trans lives.


Links to start off your exploration:

Trans Day of Visibility Facebook

Transgender Law Center

National Center for Transgender Equality

NY’s Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA)

Transgender People and Bathroom Access

Writing Memoir: All About the How (Link)

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It’s that time of year for me again – the twice yearly, six week memoir writing workshop returns to my local library. If you’re interested in past prompts, just go to the left sidebar of this page and search the word, prompts, and write away.

Instead of sharing twelve weeks of our prompts with you, I thought this spring I would do something slightly different and share some advice that I’ve found helpful as well as resources and links. I will also be updating my Writer’s Resource Page in the upcoming days.

I discovered this blog from South Africa and writer, Amanda Patterson: Why Writing a Memoir is All About the How. Apart from this article, I do not know anything about any of their services and products that they have for sale.

Two of the things I took away from this was setting and timeline. These are two things that I don’t often think consciously about when writing memoir despite my wonderful teacher mentioning it fairly regularly.

National Tea Month (Jan) – Tea Resources

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Please add your own in the comments.

Adagio

Barry’s

Celestial Seasonings

English Tea Store

Glengettie

Hamilton Beach Tea Kettle

Harney & Sons Master Tea Blenders

Kung Fu Tea

Murroughs Welsh Brew Tea

PG Tips

Republic of Tea

Saratoga Tea and Honey Company

Stash

Starbuck’s

Tazo

Teavanna

Tu Hwnt I’r Bont Tearoom, Llanrwst, Wales

Twining’s

The Whistling Kettle

Mental Health Monday – Resources

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Suicide Prevention HelpLine: 1-800-273-8255

The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386

IMAlive (an online crisis network)
The Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860

TWLOHA: To Write Love on Her Arms

NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

Veteran’s Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255, press 1. Text to 838255. There is also a confidential chat line on the website.

There is a more comprehensive list (although not inclusive) on my Crisis Intervention Page.

Check out all of the Mental Health Monday posts by followng this tag: mental health monday

Two other things you should check out:

Questions to Ask Before Giving Up

Let’s Make a Coping Skills Toolbox

Add anything you’ve found useful in the comments so I can include it in any updates.

Mental Health Monday – Understanding Mental Illness – An Interview with Stranger Thing’s David Harbour

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One Look at Understanding Mental Illness.

I think it’s important to hear from people we like and respect and hear their stories. David Harbour says a lot of things in this short interview that I’ve heard before and that I try to promote in my own life. He is known recently from his role in Netflix’s Stranger Things and is starring in the upcoming Hellboy 2.

 A few takeaways:

1. Stop the stigma.

2. Mental illness is not the completely negative thing it implies to many people. We can live with various forms of mental illness, or rather we all have mental health issues that we contend with and need to adapt to, regardless of level.

3. Medication is not a bad word. It is also not an end-all solution. It is so very helpful when used in conjunction with other therapies.

4. You are not stronger if you avoid taking medication for your mental illness/continued mental health.

5. If you and I both have depression, we may  understand and empathize, but no one’s situation is exactly alike. Despite that, we can help each other and share ideas that work for us.

30 Days of Nano – Day 5

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One of the tenets of Nanowrimo and all stream of consciousness writing is just write. Let it flow. Don’t make corrections, just get it out. Edits are for December.

How I do this is if I have a word that I know I don’t want to use, but need it to get the thought across, I will add [th] after I type or write it (I do this regardless of long writing or typing) so I can search for all of my [th]s and then look the words up in a thesaurus. That way, I can keep the writing flowing and get it out, and that works for me. I also keep a list of words to look up, words I find in my travels, words that I want to use, and want to know more about their definitions.

Whatever works for you, come December you’ll need to edit. My go-to resources are Dictionary and Thesaurus. I also use ThinkExist for quotations.