Finding Joy – The Prayer Jar

Finding Joy

Last week was an unkind and politically charged week personally and globally. It is difficult to find joy each day when life seems to bring a new intensity of disharmony, divisiveness and disappointment. Yet the birds continue to sing and the flowers bloom wide as if revealing a sort of ignorance of any impending storm because they are confident in the rainbow.

It would be nice if I could have that type of ignorance, I thought.

As I scrolled on Facebook one day last week, I saw this photo quote from Anthony D. Wiliams:

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The Gift of Joy

37603474_1809835792398078_964323065368412160_nI’m not always consistent at being a “Watering Can, ” which is my personal initiative for helping others thrive. As I was thinking about this quote, I received in the mail a surprise package from one of my best friends from childhood, Julie. In her lovely card she noted how the hearts on the breast of the owl spoke to her of me and how she thinks of me daily as she practices finding joy, a topic we have discussed together. Our treasured friendship goes back several decades and I am grateful for God blessing me with such a long, lasting friendship.

The Prayer Jar

In my prayer journal I began to write about the joy I found in the act of kindness and friendship. I realized that finding joy isn’t that difficult when I practice kindness each day, even on the most difficult days. I found this past week when someone sent me a very unkind message about my weight gain that it is important not only to gift kindness to others but to gift it to ourselves too.

Finding joy in an act of kindness

The visuals are always helpful in trying to develop a habit. In becoming more consistent as a Watering Can and in finding joy each day, I have created a prayer jar.
I painted the lid of a dollar store glass jar with pink nail polish. The color, pink signifies friendship, compassion, sensitivity, generosity, warm-heartedness, nurturing, soothing, admiration, gratitude, appreciation. I printed and pasted on the front of the jar the quote by Anthony D. Williams.

The Prayer Jar has 3 components: Serve, Pray, Honor.

IMG_1732At the end of each day, I will write on a white index card or a slip of payer the date of the act of kindness, a prayer for that person and a prayer of gratitude in honoring God for what he has given me.

Serve

Intentional or random, I’ll serve others in kindness and find joy in the process.

Pray

For those of you who also follow my, The Prayer Journals Blog, you know the last pages of my prayer journal are reserved for the names of people who have requested prayer or situations that may need prayer. My prayer placed in the jar each day will be a prayer of kindness being paid forward.

Honor

On that same card or slip of paper I will thank God for giving me an opportunity to serve and in finding joy that day.

My Intentions

The prayer jar isn’t intended to show me how wonderful a person I am for my daily acts of kindness, but as I look back on my week, month, the year of where I have found joy. And if I fall short of my daily goal, it will remind me that joy can be found each day, but the real sustaining joy in life is in service to others – walking the talk of a Watering Can – helping others thrive!

It is the act of finding joy each day.

On the days when the world has gone crazy or perhaps just in my world, I want to be the sparrow, the bloom, the rainbow.

Peace,

New web photo - Sheri

The Blogging Owl

 

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved – The Blogging Owl – SL Prielipp-Falzone

2018 – Three Words to Live By, an update

Last December as I usually do I reflect on the past year and prepare to become better, if possible, in mind, body and spirit: 2018 – Three Words to Live By. This year I decided to review my yearly plan much like businesses do to stay on track to meet the goals and objectives for the new year.

My approach for 2018 or mission statement is to live by three words: frugality, grace and truth.

Frugality

At this stage in the game of life I decided I had no time to waste, no money to waste, and in reality; no creative cells to waste. In whatever time God has for me to fulfill the purpose he has given me. Earlier this year I adopted a mantra, I only want what God wants for me.”

No time to waste

My husband, Vinny Sal and I decided to list our cottage in northern Michigan for sale on April 9th. We would take advantage of the seller’s market and decide where, when, and how to invest the proceeds. Invest in upgrades for our primary home, invest in a future retirement home, or bank it until later. We had no idea what development was coming our way only 3 days later.

“I only want what God wants for me.”

This mantra is what got me through yet another employer announcing their dissolution of the company in April of this year… 3 days after my birthday… On Friday, April 13th, the company made the news public.

My response was 180 degrees different when the same thing occurred in 2009. I was calm, cool and collected.  I knew that God was working on my behalf for a better opportunity than the one I just lost. That was my attitude. The evening of the company’s announcement, I updated my resume and immediately began my search.

Within days I had several interviews lined up. On April 25th, I was invited to interview for a position outside of the industry I was in which was my prayer at the time. I was “frugal” in my thinking… no climbing ladders… no compensation package that met certain personal requirements… no, it was simply, “God, place me where you want me.”

“God, place me where you want me.”

On May 29th, I started a new position earning less money but with advancement opportunities if I wanted to take advantage of them. Although earning less income for the time being, I am still able to continue having all my monthly obligations on auto-pay which I had setup in January.

While no company is above dissolving due to wide ranging economic factors or board of director’s view of “going in another direction,” I will joyfully serve where God has placed me for however long that may be.

No time to spend

I came across the blog, Frugalwoods and an article written by Mrs. Frugalwoods, 19 Reasons Why Frugality Is the Best Thing That’s Ever Happened to Me. 

Mrs. Frugalwoods spoke to my mind, body and spirit in her blog post of May 17, 2018. Since the beginning of the year, my attempt at frugality has taught me that Mrs. Frugalwoods was spot on in her blog post. Although I admit I am still working on her number 14 reason. I have Mrs. Frugalwoods 19 Reasons posted in my office and saved on my iPhone when I have that urge to splurge.

Grace

In my initial post on December 17th, 2018 – Three Words to Live By, I didn’t realize then how the quotes, my personal initiative, “The Watering Can – Helping All of God’s Creature’s Thrive” would become central to the first six months of 2018.

As I quoted then, and it bears repeating for many reasons:

God saved you through faith as an act of kindness. You had nothing to do with it. Being saved is a gift from God. It’s not the result of anything you’ve done, so no one can brag about it. God has made us what we are. He has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that he has prepared for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10

As Thomas Merton was quoted as saying, “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.”

Grace in action is about serving those who need my gifts. Kindness in action is living the commandment,‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’’’ Matthew 22:39

I was happy to help a few of co-workers rewrite their resumes. I used to write resumes as a side-line gig after I lost my job in 2009. My small way of helping my co-workers potentially find their new career has blessed me as much as those who, like me have found employment quickly. I’m not suggesting my resume writing made the difference, but it is a confidence booster nonetheless when anyone can present their value and what they can offer to an organization without hesitation.

In March, our beloved Barkley blew out a disc in his back and required surgery. Frugality helped us being able to afford over $6,500 in medical costs so our fur-baby would not be paralyzed for life. He will never be a 100% in his walking or running abilities, but we are overjoyed that we still have our faithful companion. Sadly, many pet owners would have faced the tough decision of raising the money through other means or having to put their pet down because of the medical costs.

Truth

If there is one thing I am certain living my truth in mind, body and spirit has been the biggest blessing. I could not have reached this point in my life without faith through Christ because he gives me the confidence to live my truth each day.

A recent post on my Facebook page, The Prayer Journals, I posted: “Don’t worry about expressing your faith. Those who God wants to listen will hear. You may be someone’s angel.” There have been angels here on earth that I know God sent to help me to listen to him. And there are probably more angels that I didn’t even recognize helped me to feel God’s presence in my life.

Mind

Writing is my passion and I hope in some ways it is a gift. I have three blogs. The Blogging Owl, The Prayer Journals, and The Owl Poet. And I have convinced my husband, Vinny Sal to collaborate with me on another one which I think we will have fun doing together, The Corked Owl. We hope to be posting soon on wine, spirits, food and fun.

Reading, writing and poetry. It’s what keeps me sane… or going insane.

Body

I continue to struggle with my health and weight. Early this year, I went through a battery of tests and MRIs. There was a serious prognosis of MS, Multiple Sclerosis, gratefully, that would not be the case. Autoimmune diseases are tricky and mine, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis can present itself in different and devastating ways. But I stay positive in prayer and with practice.

Spirit

Six months into 2018, Vinny Sal and I have not found our faith community with regards to finding a church we are eager to attend each week. I’ll be honest. We’ve been lazy. This is the most critical part of my 2018 mission plan and I am failing. God has been good… and patient… and I pray He directs us to where he wants us to attend and to serve.

My spiritual journey continues in my prayer journal in writing my spiritual memoir.

Spirit of Faith

In the remaining year

I succeeded and failed in the first half of 2018. Looking forward to living more successfully in these three words: Frugality, Grace and Truth.

Cheers!

New web photo - Sheri

The Blogging Owl

 

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