69. Front Porch Sittin’

For a long time I’ve wanted a rocking chair. Actually, ever since Real World New Orleans in 2000, I’ve wanted to paint a rocking chair. In one episode I either saw some of the cast painting rocking chairs or an episode just showed some awesomely painted rocking chairs.

Last year one of my professors told me of a guy in Tennessee who makes rocking chairs from trees that are native to the state. After hearing about the chairs, my mind was made up–I was finally going to get my rocking chair. Well, months went by and I still didn’t have one. There was one thing standing in my way: Brandon and I had no way of getting the rocking chairs from the guy’s warehouse to our house. Our cars were too small. I had about decided I wasn’t going to get a chair, but on my birthday Brandon surprised me with a trip to go get rocking chairs! We borrowed a friend’s truck and drove out to Woodbury, TN. Ronnie Smith, the owner/master carver of Mountain Chairs, has a huge barn full of chairs! They are beautifully carved and left unfinished so you can paint or stain them however you like. He pulled down a few chairs for us to try out and choose from. The Papa Rockers were way too big for us so we opted for 2 Regular Rockers and were on our way!

The Barn

Brandon trying out a rocker

Look at all those chairs!

Mountain Chairs Workshop

We didn’t have time to get them painted before we moved back to Oklahoma, but they were one of our first projects after the move. Brandon decided he liked the natural look of the wood so he just put a protective clear coat on his chair and it was on the front porch within a few days. I had other plans in mind for mine! I wanted to paint my chair in a way that represented me and the things I like. I could tell you about what I put on it, but I’ll just show you.

Brandon’s Chair

My Chair

It’s all in the details!

More details

Finished products!

It took me about a month to finish my chair but it finally joined Brandon’s on the front porch. We’ve also put our hummingbird feeder and wind chimes out front. It’s turned into a nice little space for us to relax.

Our little oasis

What do you do to relax at home? Do you have any projects you’ve been working on lately?

Rock on,

C

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98. Praying through Lent

You would think that a pastor and a youth minister would have no problems praying together morning and evenings for thirty days straight, right? Wrong. For both of us, making time for prayer is often a struggle. Sometimes, our vocations even seem to be part of the problem. When you’re called on daily (sometimes, several times per day) to pray publicly, it can be easy to feel like your prayer life is in good shape. But we’ve realized that’s only an illusion. If we didn’t set aside time with God outside of our work responsibilities, we found that our spiritual lives struggled. And when we don’t spend time in prayer together, a vital part of our relationship with each other is missing.

During Lent (I know, this is really late), we decided to pray together in the mornings and evenings. We used the book Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals, which both of us had previously used. We found it to be very helpful. It allowed us some spontaneity and space for extemporaneous praying, but also provided us with structure, which was very helpful on those days when we just didn’t have a lot to say. And as an introvert who is rarely inclined to use two words when one will do, I seem to have those days pretty often. We also really benefited from praying prayers from scripture and the wider Christian tradition. Particularly, I really felt the Spirit move when praying the Lord’s Prayer, the Doxology, Mary’s Magnificat, Simeon’s Song, and the Gloria Patri.

One of the things that we found particularly helpful was the prayer of confession during evening prayer. Sometimes, it would be an opportunity to confess to one another the ways that we’d failed to love one another during the day. Sometimes, it’d be playful (“Sorry my wife is a annoying”), and sometimes there were opportunities for confession that weren’t taken. But overall, it provided us with an opportunity to reflect on where we fell short in our relationships with God and one another, and our marriage benefited from that.

Predictably, we fell off the wagon shortly after Lent ended. Committing to praying together for a set time period was easier than maintaining the practice indefinitely. And while there were definite benefits to our relationship, praying together didn’t make everything all of a sudden magical. But there was something very right about beginning and ending our days together by offering ourselves to our creator in prayer, and I hope that’s a practice we will engage in more faithfully in the future.

What prayer practices or spiritual disciplines have been helpful for you?

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you,

B

 

 

26. Donate!

Number 26 on our 101 in 1001 list is to donate 101 things we no longer need. And in the process of moving from Nashville to Oklahoma we decided it would be a good idea to go through our things as we were packing and decide if we wanted to keep, donate, or throw away.

We went through our clothes, books, electronics, pictures, and a bunch of other things that we had in Nashville and ended up donating well over 101 items to Goodwill!

While I thought we were done going through things, but we only finished the things we had in Nashville. After moving into our house back in Oklahoma I learned we both had a ton of things still at our parents houses to go through.

With the recent wildfires in Oklahoma, we’ve heard the call to start going through our things again to help out. It might be a good time for you to go through your house too and see what you can donate to the families who lost everything. People aren’t just in need of clothes and home goods, their needs include things like monetary and legal support as well. For a list of places you can help or give donations, visit the KFOR News site.

It is in times of disaster that humanity can be seen at its best. Be the best.

For our neighbors,

C