and oh, what a surprise the new book is, but more on that in a bit.
I am having a good Monday morning, which is following a nice weekend. I hope yours was as well. We had a good visit with our daughter, who lives out-of-town and at a much higher elevation. My husband and I were sure sucking wind while we helped her move. Not only does she now live on the second floor, but she also lives on the second story of the second floor apartment. Ugh! We are out of shape for such adventures. Sunday, we had our first ever monthly family dinner. It was nice, but far too short of a visit. Once everyone had gone, I realized that was it from now on, just “visits,” and the tears started. Oh, boy. I am trying to be gentle with myself and recognize that it will just take time to get used to this transition. We do still have four at home with only three out in the wild. More in than out. <sigh>
I hadn’t picked up a new book yet, so I was off to do that this morning. It jumped off the shelf at me and into my hands, but more on that soon. First, the other messages. They seem to be about prayer today or most of them are anyway. The OA message seemed to hit right to my core and it was said in a way that completely made sense. The gist is “my home is inside me and I get to decide what lives there.” Nice. Do I want frustration to take up residence or anger? I don’t like those in my physical home, I certainly don’t want them in my spiritual home. What about kindness and love? Bring them on! Doesn’t that make some kind of real sense to you or is it just me?
The AA and Conference messages were very similar. The AA Daily Reflections talked about how we can pray for daily abstinence and God will provide. I immediately thought of manna from Moses’ time. They needed food – daily. They prayed and were granted just enough food for that and that day only. They weren’t even allowed to gather it to store from day-to-day. God wanted their full reliance on Him and I would imagine He still wants that. He, of course, wants us to do our part. I mean, if I’m asking Him to keep me from eating candy, then I sure shouldn’t find myself in a candy store or buying candy bars and bringing them home. It’s the same thing with anything we need His help with. He won’t do the work, but He will give us the strength we need to do the work. Ahh. That just makes a lot of sense to me today as well. Then, the Conference talk was by Carol F. McConkie and titled “The Soul’s Sincere Desire.” She talks about prayer and how vital it is to us and how Heavenly Father wants us to pray to ask for His help. Similar message. She also quoted Matthew 7:7-8, which says,
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Ask, seek, knock. Seek and find. Knock and it will be opened. Prayer, prayer, prayer. Well, I’m going to stay out of the details, but the Book of Mormon reading of Chapter 14 in Ether was about more wars. One verse struck out as it was relating the story of these constant battles for power of these two groups of people and how it went back and forth. There is just one sentence that says, “the people began to be frightened.” It struck me that, while it’s not blood and hand-to-hand combat, we do have a constant war of words happening in our political system and, I think, many people are frightened of any of the possible outcomes. It was constant for them and it is nearly constant for us as well. We have two years of presidential wars, then the congressional wars kick in, which are just as bad and may even be worse this next election cycle. Prayer, prayer, prayer. Prayer to withstand, prayer to stay true to God, prayer for all involved, prayer for our leaders. It’s about all we can do besides vote and make our voices heard that this is not how we want our Presidential, or any other election, to be run in the United States.
Now, to leave all of that heaviness behind and to introduce you to the new book. Guess what it’s about? Ha! Prayer! It’s not formatted like any other book on prayer I’ve seen, so I feel like I am stretching a bit with this one. The book is called Designed to Pray by Kelly O’Dell Stanley. Let me share with you what she says about herself (from her blog, kellyostanley.com),
Kelly O’Dell Stanley is a graphic designer who writes. Or maybe a writer who also designs. Either way, when she found the place where writing and design intersected, she discovered that was exactly where she wanted to be. The author of Praying Upside Down and Designed to Pray, Kelly loves to explore prayer and faith in creative ways because she knows that God is the Ultimate Creator. And when she puts her creativity into action, she always discovers more of Him.
Twenty-some years ago, Kelly took a leap of faith and began her own business, doing advertising and marketing for clients across the U.S. Her work has been included in design anthologies and PRINT Magazine’s Design Annual, and she’s received awards from the NAHB, Public Relations Society of America, the Webby Competition, and Art Directors Club of Indiana.
Kelly’s writing awards include first place in Inspirational Writing in the 2013 Writer’s Digest competition. She is a regular contributor to Crosswalk.com and Internet Café Devotions, and she’s written for (in)courage, Today’s Christian Woman, Today’s Christian Living, Tiferet Journal, Sasee Magazine, and numerous blogs. Kelly is a member of the Midwest Writers Workshop planning committee (which you should plan now to attend, because the people and content there are amazing.)
She’s a redhead who does a pretty good job of controlling her temper, a strong believer in doing everything to excess, and a professional wrestler of doubt and faith. (Faith always wins, but some days the competition is fierce.) She’s been married to Tim for a quarter of a century, which officially makes him a saint. And she loves her three quirky grown-or-nearly-grown kids, Katie, Anna, and Bobby. Even if they do call her all the time. (Or maybe especially because they call her all the time.)
Kelly lives in Crawfordsville, Indiana. You may connect with her on her blog, http://www.kellyostanley.com, on Facebook (Kelly O’Dell Stanley, Author), or on Twitter (@kellyostanley).
As you can see, Kelly also shares other ways to find her there at the bottom – blog, Facebook, and Twitter. I bet there are things about her on Instagram, if not, there soon will be at #kellyostanley and #designedtopray.
The book has eight sections, which are meant to be done over the course of eight weeks. Guess who’s doing them in eight days? Yep, that’s me. I’m excited. It’s a bit of a workbook with various art focused activities to draw you into a relationship with God through prayer. Did I say I’m excited yet? Oh, yes I did. Well, I am! I am looking forward to diving right in there and seeing how this book might change my prayer life or, the very least, my understanding of prayer.
I hope you will join me! By the way, you can find the book at Barnes and Noble, it’s where I picked it up this morning and, it’s only $9.99. A book that might draw me closer to God for under ten dollars? Well, now, that might just be considered stealing.