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Today’s title is actually ‘stolen’ from a lovely book by Joyce Rupp that takes you on a daily journey of spiritual growth.  I’ve had this book since the week of guided prayer that I enjoyed in June of last year.  My Prayer Guide, Margaret, suggested it to me as a means of something to continue with after our time together had come to an end.  Over a period of six weeks Joyce uses the image of a cup in its various guises to teach us something about our spiritual selves and our walk with God.  The open cup, the broken cup. . .  you get the meaning.  I bought the 1997 version of the book second hand because I loved the cover and the woodcut prints, but it’s available in a lovely new version too and I’ll put the links to that at the bottom of this post.  I didn’t actually use it last year but I picked it up a week or so ago and it’s been part of my morning ever since.

Part of the joy of this book is that you have to choose a mug or a cup to travel with you, I have a thing about mugs 😀 .  I chose the cup that I use the most, my ‘Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte’ mug. wuthering_heights_mug_new2_grande It’s not the prettiest but it is my favourite and it’s the one that’s with me most often when I’m praying and spending time with God.  I was sitting this morning with my chosen cup [full of lovely frothy coffee I might add] after my prayer time and reflecting on today’s entry which is about what the cup can teach us.  In the past I have often felt that ‘life’ got in the way of my relationship with God.  That having to leave for work or do the school-run were distractions that, quite frankly, irritated me because they disturbed my link to the divine.  As I looked at my cup I realised that although it has sides that contain and hold my spirit safely, it is also portable, allowing me to transport it with me into my daily life.  Influencing what I do, how I think, how I react.  Touching all those who enter my life, however briefly.  Faith does not have to be reserved for those quiet and often brief moments alone in prayer, at church or in the car.  Faith is ‘portable’, a 24/7 gift that is infinite and omnipresent so it doesn’t suddenly stop when we leave the house or speak to someone.  I know now that I was wrong to feel so frustrated by the interruptions of ‘life’ coming between me and God, because my life IS my relationship with God and it’s meant to be shared.

Blessings to one and all.

Sharon xx

Links as promised . . . I am not sponsored by any of the products linked below.

The Cup of Our Life, 2012 ed ~ Amazon.com

The Cup of Our Life, 2012 ed ~ Barnes & Noble

The Cup of Our Life, 2012 ed ~ Amazon.co.uk

The Cup of Our Life, 2012 ed ~ Eden.co.uk

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Back to normality, whatever THAT is…

So, we’re back at work and school now after a rather wonderful six weeks off.  Despite being back to the grind Si and I are still riding high on the ‘feel good factor’ of being newly weds.  I never thought it would really change anything but I do in fact feel different.  More settled somehow, like the future is sorted and I’m sure of my direction.  It’s a nice, warm, cosy feeling and long may it last.  We’re stupidly in love and still grin inanely at each other  when any mention is made of  ‘marriage’, ‘wedding’, ‘wife’, ‘husband’ etc.  You get the picture I’m sure 😆 .

Work feels more settled this year too.  Having done nearly two years at the school altogether, and one of those in a set placement I am entering this year feeling like I might actually know what I’m doing now ~ not sure my colleagues would agree however 😉 . 

The children have moved on a year too with Ethan entering Year 2 [third year in primary] and Millie having finished [and passed] her ‘A’ levels.  On leaving school she immediately secured a modern apprenticeship at a day nursery here in MK where she will eventually become a fully qualified nursery nurse.  She’s already nearly three months into the job and is loving it.

I’m reading a couple of books at the moment  ‘Nella Last’s War’  being one.  It’s the first of a trilogy and it’s a work of non-fiction [autobiographical type] written by Nella herself.  She wrote diaries during WWII for the Mass Observation Board who asked for people to submit in writing their thoughts and feelings on everyday life in Britain.  These books are a compilation of those very diaries.  The MOB started this in 1937 and continue to this very day.  Nella’s diaries begin in 1939 and continue on until her death in 1968.  I’m loving these books [as I did the film based on diaries  ‘Housewife, 49‘, although in my humble opinion the books are better] and I’m enjoying getting to know Nella and her life.

I’m also reading ‘Mere Christianity‘ by C.S.Lewis which I’m sure needs very little introduction or description from me.  I’ve been meaning to read it for years but have just never got round to it.  If it inspires me to write something then I’ll share it here.  I’m only on chapter 4 so too early to put pen to paper really.

My faith is ticking over nicely, still very comfy in my Catholic ‘shoes‘.  I’m not sure my ‘shoes‘ are in vogue compared to most other catholics but hey, they’re mine and I’m comfortable in them and no one seems to be laughing or mocking my rather eclectic taste in religious fashion.   I’m back to Mass on a weekly basis and I’m enjoying the simplicity of actually living my faith rather than just reading or writing about it.  Afterall, no good talking the talk if you can’t walk the walk.  I realised a few weeks ago that I was doing alot of what I call academic faith ~ studying, reading, writing about it and not so much of the practical faith ie actually doing and living it.

At the end of the summer I met, for the very first time, my friend Allie.  We have known and conversed with each other via cyber space  for years and we share a faith and a love of God as well as a deep friendship.  I drove to Allie’s house and we had the best of days just spending time together.  We also took a quick visit to Douai Abbey which has the most wonderful atmosphere and is so light inside. We have also become Prayer Partners as we found that we were sharing causes needing prayer anyway so we’ve put it on a official footing now and try keep up-to-date regularly.  It was a lovely end to a fabulous summer and I’m already looking forward to the next time.

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For those frantically busy days….

….further to my post about my experiences of the Divine Office on Sunday I have a great book to throw into the mix.   ‘Seasons of the Day’ by Sister Stan is a book I bought last year when I was looking for prayer books generally.  I bought it because it really filled the gap in my prayer life on those frantically busy days when praying the Divine Office for 30 minutes is just not going to happen.  With this you can just pause for a moment, take a breath and spend a minute with God.

This lovely book covers a four week cycle so you can fit it into the Psalter cycle if you should want to.  It also only takes a couple of minutes [and yes, I really do mean only a minute or two] to read each ‘Hour’/ ‘Office’.  You can obviously spend as long as you like meditating and reflecting on what you’ve read.  It covers all the Offices of the day including the ‘little hours’ so you can slot it into whichever part of the day you need to.  I use it on work days when I wake and again during my lunch hour when spare time is nonexistent but I still want to touch base with God.  There is a phrase at the end of each little Office that you can carry with you through the day. 

I’m not sure this book would be enough for me to use all the time as I like the more indepth version of my Benedictine Daily Prayer book for at least one Office a day however, there is no reason why one couldn’t use this all the time, it’s personal preference really.  It’s about quality not quantity and God loves it when we turn our eyes and heart toward Him no matter how briefly. 

Pax

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