Friday, July 29, 2011

A Praying Life by Paul Miller

I recently just finished reading this book about prayer and I highly suggest you read it.  I really struggle making time for prayer for a lot of different reasons and Paul Miller touches on every single reason why I struggle.   It turns out that he struggled with the same things as I struggle with!  I haven't perfected my prayer life, not even close but this book has definitely helped out.  I know I'll be re-reading this book.
Here are some, a lot actually, of my favorite quotes from the book:

-"Since a praying life is interconnected with every part of our lives, learning to pray is almost identical to maturing over a lifetime.  What does it feel like to grow up?  it is a thousand feelings on a thousand different days.  That is what learning to pray feels like.  So don't hunt for a feeling in prayer.  Deep in our psyches we want an experience with God or and experience in prayer.  Once we make that our quest, we lose God.  You don't experience God; you get to know Him.  You submit to Him.  You enjoy Him.  He is, after all, a person."  p, 21

-"The quest for a contemplative life can actually be self-absorbed, focused on my quiet and me.  If we love people and have the power to help, then we are going to be busy.  Learning to pray doesn't offer us a less busy life; it offers us a less busy heart."  23

-"The difficulty of coming just as we are is that we are messy.  And prayer makes it worse.  When we slow down to pray, we are immediately confronted with how unspiritual we are, with how difficult it is to concentrate on God.  We don't know how bad we are until we try to be good.  Nothing exposes our selfishness and spiritual powerlessness like prayer" 31

-"If you are not praying, then you are quietly confident that time, money, and talent are all you need in life.  You'll always be a little too tired, a little too busy.  But if, like Jesus, you realize you can't do life on your own, then no matter how busy, no matter how tired you are, you will find the time to pray."  49

-"You don't need self-discipline to pray continuously; you just need to be poor in spirit."  65

-"A praying life isn't simply a morning prayer time; it is about slipping into prayer at odd hours of the day, not because we are disciplined but because we are in touch with our own poverty of spirit, realizing that we can't even walk through a mall or our neighborhood without the help of the Spirit of Jesus." 68

-"When you stop trying to control your life and instead allow your anxieties and problems to bring you to God in prayer, you shift from worry to watching.  you watch God weave his patterns in the story of your life.  Instead of trying to be out front, designing your life, you realize you are inside God's drama.  As you wait, you begin to see him work, and your life begins to sparkle with wonder.  You are learning to trust again." 73

-"Thankfulness isn't a matter of forcing yourself to see the happy side of life.... Thanking God restores the natural order of our dependence on God.  It enables us to see life as it really is" 89.

-"If you are going to enter this divine dance we call prayer, you have to surrender your desire to be in control, to figure out how prayer works." 128

Saturday, July 2, 2011

June Recap

What?  June is already gone?  How does that happen so quickly?

June was one crazy month.  I still haven't found a job and I still allow myself to blame myself and feel depressed.  I don't think I've ever had this kind of "patience or completely lean on your faith" lesson.  This month I've had 4 interviews.  2 of those were practicing interviews.  I knew I didn't want the jobs but I wanted to refresh myself on the interview process.  Another job interview was for an Algebra 1 position in Garland and the magnet school.  I really liked the principal and all of the technology the school had to offer.  The principal was impressed on my technological abilities and the fact that I taught some professional development courses about the SmartBoard.   Smart Boards are new at his school so no one has the experience like I do.  My first 3 years I taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grade remedial math.  That looks good on a resume because I know what its like to have 3 or more preps but I've only had to teach the struggling students.  Algebra 1 would be a lot of fun to teach but definitely not what I'm used to.  The principal personally e-mailed me and said that he hired someone with experience teaching Alg. 1 and he thought that there might be a 7th regular math opening up that he would definitely consider me for.  I haven't heard from him since.  I had an interview at a charter school to teach 6th grade math.  I did an initial interview with them and the told me about all the technology they had and the hands on materials they used.  They asked me to come back to teach a lesson to one of their summer school classes.  I assumed that since they said they had technology that they would at least have a document camera.  Nope, they only have those old school projectors that you use transparencies with.  I was shocked.  I didn't get that job and I'm okay with that.   This coming Tuesday I have an interview at the school I used to teach at.  They have a new principal this year.  I'm hoping I get the job.  I know of 5 math teachers that have talked to him about me.  We'll find out soon, I hope.
My body is pretty much completely healed from the surgery.  When the doctor said I could start working out I thought that meant that I could start where I left off.  Nope, the first workout I did, did me in for about a week.  I've had to start from scratch--as in walking for maybe 20 minutes.  That's been frustrating but this past week has felt good on the working out part.

Fun things that happened:

My best friend from college, John, got married on June 10.  Long story short.  John and I both worked at the same church.  The secretary's granddaughter, Katie, graduated from highschool early and was moving to Waco to attend MCC.  She really wanted us to take Katie in and be friends with her.  Well, John and Katie spent a lot of time together but they didn't really care for each other.  Now, 7 years later, they are married  :)  There are so many stories I could share about them but I think only a few people will actually enjoy them.  They had to pay for most of the wedding on their own.  Matthew and I convinced them to have a somewhat inexpensive wedding so that they could have a nice honeymoon.  They listened to our advice and spent about 10 days in Hawaii.
I took pictures at the wedding but I used my old camera and not a single one came out.  Boo!!

On June 19, Matthew and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary.  We took a quick trip up to Raleigh, NC.  We've been thinking about moving out of Texas so we want to travel to places where we think we'd like to live.  We had a nice, relaxing time but I don't think Raleigh is for us.  Maybe Charlotte.  We came back on our anniversary.  We had some Anniversary wine- Deux Terres 2006 Estate Red from our favorite winery, Michel-Schlumberger.  We have 2 more bottles that we hope to drink on our 5th and 10th anniversaries.  Later that week we also had some fancy champagne that one of Matthew's groomsmen gave us as a wedding gift.  People weren't joking when they said that the first year is the hardest.  It has been a great year but we definitely had some disagreements.  It took as awhile to figure out how to communicate and figure what we wanted/needed from the other person.  We are not experts, but we're figuring it out.  I'm looking forward to spending many many more anniversaries with him, like 69 more anniversaries.  (Matthew really wants to be married for 70 years).  We didn't take any pictures on our trip for some reason.  But here's a few of my favorite pictures from our wedding.

This was when Matthew's best man was giving the toast.  I wasn't sure how his toast was going to turn out but it was sweet and funny.

When we got back from our trip, we had some of our good friends over for dinner.  They announced that they are getting married next June 30 next year!  I am sooooo happy for this couple.  It isn't official yet and because of job stuff, they've had to keep their relationship a secret for an entire year.  Its still a secret but its one of those things that if people find out, it won't be the end of the world.  They are having a beach wedding not in the US.  I am looking forward to this wedding!
Here's a picture of one of the beaches on the island that they'll be getting married at.