I missed an important appointment yesterday morning, which my sister
had gone to great lengths to set up. In my appointment calendar, I
wrote the note to remind me “11:00-12:00,” clipped her e-mail for
reference to the Master Task List behind the February page in the Day
Runner, e-mailed her several times and said to her on the phone, “See
you next Monday.” I checked my notations several times the day before
the appointment, and I left home in plenty of time (with the help of
green lights all the way up Rt. 59 from my home in West Chicago), to
meet my sister and her colleague at Panera Bread at the Arboretum
Shopping Center in South Barrington.
At no time in this
careful checking did I note that the e-mail notice stated the time was
9:00 in the morning. The “11:00-12:00” notation referred to the time my
sister’s contact couldn’t meet.
this appointment involved potential work for the Global Bag Project
women, and since my sister had labored so hard to connect us, I cannot
describe how exasperated I was with myself. Unfortunately,
detail-glitziness marks my life at too-frequent intervals.
my husband’s dismay, I can forget meetings, get absorbed in tasks at
hand mix up the days of the week. “Oh, Karen,” he will say to me.
“Didn’t you write it down?” The tone of voice is always quietly
puzzled—my husband has probably never missed an appointment in his
life. Most of the time, I have written it down—something in my brain
causes me to forget. I look over the week, notice the main events, and
then the dates kind of blend into a fog.
is most puzzling is that in many things I am extremely proficient. At
these moments, suffused with the pride of competency, I have a tendency
to forget my detail disabilities. My natural inclination is to be
spontaneous, live in the moment, and be intuitive about life. It has
been work becoming extremely proficient in the areas where finally I function
like a machine humming happily.
Of course, when these
wretched events occur—when I leave someone waiting for me (three cell
phone calls from my sister, and a message left on the answering machine
at home)—my natural inclination is self-flagellation and severe
critique. However, through the years, I’ve realized this is a
descending road to a dark place, so I attempt to avoid walking down it.
I actually have some numbers-dyslexia, which I think translates to some
of this detail-ditziness. I can only learn to exercise caution, not
move so quickly through my days, take time to carefully read my
communiqués, then re-read them, knowing that the pathways in my brain
sometimes just don’t communicate to me what I need to know.
I forgive myself, vow to do better, and have discovered through the
years that the Lord uses my faulty brain in ways that help me or save
me from unnecessary wasted time. How many times have I thought, for
example, Oh, I am so better prepared for this meeting with a week behind me. Frequently, I have been aware of this gracious God covering for me, reminding me when I forget.
not at 11 o’clock on this Monday morning when I should have been at
Panera Bread in the Arboretum Shopping Center in South Barrington at
So I stopped, thanked the Lord for what He was going
to bring that was good out of my limitations and used the time to buy
some exercise straps for my husband’s bum knee, which has been giving
him problems this last month (and for which I have not been able to
find the time to run this particular errand). I called my sister and
apologized profusely; she was gracious but basically said I should
follow up with her contact myself—and rightly so.
morning, however, I woke up raw. Two weeks down with an allergy that
went systemic (a neglected allergy—one I’d chosen to sort of live with)
has put me woefully behind on all my work responsibilities. My first
feeling at 5:30 in the morning was a feeling of being overwhelmed: How
could I do everything that needed to be done? I was sick at heart at
missing this crucial appointment. Personal chastisement started to work
itself into a major lament.
Stress pushed up from my
belly. I leave for a board meeting in California this Thursday, take
the red-eye home to Chicago on Friday night. David preaches on Sunday
in church; the missional community comes to our home for dinner after
church (we had 30 people last Sunday), then I turn around on Tuesday to
fly to the Dominican Republic for a film shoot. I return home on the
26th of this month.
did have time today for morning prayers; I know that things always go
better in my day when I set that hour aside for quiet, for listening,
for reorienting my thinking and for reading Scripture.
The Call to Prayer was:
“I will call upon God, and the Lord will deliver me.
In the evening, in the morning, and at the noonday, I will complain and
lament, and he will hear my voice.
He will bring me safely back … God who is enthroned of old, will hear me.”
don’t think the psalmist was praying about detail-ditziness—but then,
who knows? I certainly was complaining and lamenting my own frailties.
I copied out the words into my prayer journal and inserted my own
phrase after the first line, “…and the Lord will deliver me (from this overwhelming schedule).”
about a direct word from the Lord to the self. The whole collection of
readings for what I thought was Tuesday’s readings (but, unbeknownst to
me, happened to be Wednesday’s) begin to work deeply into my chagrined
heart (Tuesday’s readings were exultant and focused on praise). The
office of (Wednesday’s) Morning Prayer ended with The Prayer Appointed for the Week.
“O God, the strength of all who put their trust in you: Mercifully accept my prayers; and because in my weakness I can do nothing good without you, give me the help of your grace, that in keeping your commandments I may please you in both will and deed…”
“Because in my weakness I can do nothing good without you, give me the help of your grace.” How utterly true.
problem with busyness, the problem with being sick and having to cope
with all those neglected responsibilities, the problem with my
high-functioning-quite-frequently-proficient-personality is that I am
prone to forget my dangerous detail frailty. It rises—forgetting
numbers, getting distracted by interruptions, arriving for appointments
at 11:00 that were scheduled for 9:00—when I least expect it, but it
rises enough to remind me woefully of my inadequate humanity.
I vowed that I would put my weakness in the hands of the One who is the
strength of all who put their trust in Him. I am not going to worry
about this overload, this crazy schedule, this travel and the fact that
I have a load of work to do before I leave. He is the strength of all
who put their trust in him. Because of my weakness, I can do nothing
good without Him. I am convinced that I need the help of His grace.
This is an extraordinarily good place to be for a detail-ditzy woman.
Hungry Souls Plans for 2014
Hungry Souls team is designing a full-scale spiritual growth program
for the year of 2014. Our goal is to publish schema for that year by
the end of August. Look for the schedule then. We are eager to invite
Global Bag Project Report
Mary Ogalo, our Kenya GBP Manager, is making great plans. In the recent GBP e-newsletter reported, she reported:
sewer-trainees are nearing completion of their one-day-a-week sewers
training in addition to their Women Cycle of Life classes. This has
gone on since March 2012 at the Global Bag Project workshop. Upon their
graduation they will receive a micro-loan in the form of a sewing
machine. They are now working to produce a business plan.
dreams for Global Bag Project—under the umbrella of GBP Kenya, we are
launching a leadership and life skills development (dubbed County Girls
Caucus) project for rural girls. Through this project we intend to
reach out to girls age 13-23 through trainings aimed at helping them
develop a strategic plan for their lives.
“This idea has
been developed to help young women living in the rural counties to
start planning their lives early and therefore avoid falling into
pitfalls experienced later in life. Through this new initiative, we aim
to reach and empower girls when they are young before they get
derailed. As a way of gathering information on what the girls really
need, we are asking vulnerable women in Nairobi what they wish they
knew at teenage that could have prevented the circumstances they now
contend with in life. Our goal is to deal with the primary causes of
poverty at the grass-root level.
“I am so motivated to
pursue this dream and minister to God’s people in this way. I need
prayer as I work through mobilizing rural community members to support
this venture. I also need prayers as I prepare curriculum and training
materials for the project. We hope to have the first County Girls
Caucus in April 2013 in Homabay county in the western part of Kenya
where 38% of girls end up being pregnant at teenage or marry early.”
Mary Ogalo (with GBP bags)
This is Benta in a wraparound Kanga cloth.
She represents the youth of rural Kenya.
Karen's Blogs for This Week
Link is http://blog.karenmains.com/blog/thoughts-by-karen-mains. Blogs for this week are: 2/11 "Tres Rejos Magos"; 2/12, "Naciamentos All Around"; 2/13, "Barro Negro: Black Pottery"; 2/14, "Out of Debt"; and 2/15, "Tap Dancing During Worship."
The Soulish Food e-mails are
posted biweekly on the Hungry Souls Web
site. Newcomers can look that over and decide if they want to
register on the Web site to receive the biweekly newsletter. You might
want to recommend this to friends also. They can go to www.HungrySouls.org.
“Today, I vowed that I
would put my weakness in the hands of the One who is the strength of
all who put their trust in Him. I am not going to worry about this
overload, this crazy schedule, this travel and the fact that I have a
load of work to do before I leave. He is the strength of all who put
their trust in him. Because of my weakness, I can do nothing good
without Him. I am convinced that I need the help of His grace.”
The Divine Hours:
Prayers for Springtime
By Phyllis Tickle
The Divine Hours
is the first major literary and liturgical reworking of the
sixth-century Benedictine Rule of fixed-hour prayer. This beautifully
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Making primary use of the Book of Common Prayer and the writings of the Church Fathers, The Divine Hours
is also a companion to the New Jerusalem Bible, from which it draws its
Scripture readings. The trilogy blends prayer and praise in a way that,
while extraordinarily fresh, respects and builds upon the ancient
wisdom of Christianity.
The third and final book in the set, Prayers for Springtime,
provides prayers, psalms, and readings for this season associated with
rebirth. Compact, with deluxe endpapers, it is perfect for those
seeking greater spiritual depth. As a contemporary Book of Hours, The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime
heralds a renewal of the tradition of disciplined daily prayer, and
gives those already using the first two volumes the completion they are
seeking. With this volume, the series culminates with three prayer
manuals encompassing the liturgical and calendar year with the offices
for every day.
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