7 Ways to Improve Your Prayer Life

It happens to the best of us.  We are in love with God, but the busy schedules we set for ourselves intrude.  The next thing we know, it has been weeks since we sat down to pray.  Time has the ability to slip away from us.  Here are seven ways to improve your prayer life over the next week.

Day 1

tablet, technology

Put down the technology.  I am a techno-junkie to end all techno-junkies.  I usually have my iPhone, iPad, and laptop all within arm’s reach at any given moment.  I work online, socialize online, shop online, and learn online.  And there are positives to that.  But it also means I’m dividing my time and attention 10 different ways at once.  And recently, it has become clear that multi-tasking does not help us at all.  This means putting aside the tablet, and sitting at the table of our Father in Heaven, if we really want to improve our prayer life.  Challenge yourself on day 1 to find a quiet place far from any technology to spend a little time praying.  At first, your information addicted brain may get a little bored, but let the quiet was over your soul.  And let God speak right to your heart.

Day 2

TIME

Get rid of the clock.  We live by our clocks and watches.  Every second of every day seems, sometimes, to be scheduled.  And having your time organized and allotted can be good.  But, not for your prayer life.  Rather than sitting through your prayer time glancing at your watch every 5 seconds, go in with mindset that you’ll stay without a thought to time.  Move your focus from how long this will take, to how much God you really want.

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DIY: Knitting for Yourself and Your Family

Have you ever wanted to knit, but thought:

  1. I don’t have any talent.  And it looks so complicated!  I could never do that.
  2. I don’t have time for that.  It looks fun.  Even relaxing!  But I barely have time to eat, much less knit.
  3. I don’t have any patience for something like that.

Knitting in ...mille colori is fun

I promise:

  • Knitting does not require talent, and starts out simple.  If you want to do more complicated patterns, go ahead.  Otherwise, you can keep things simple.
  • Knitting is the ultimate portable craft.  Small projects, like gloves, socks, hats, scarves, etc, fit in a purse and can make the wait at doctor’s offices go much more quickly.  Knitting can be done while watching TV, and at least you have something to show for your time on the couch.  It even travels well, whether your on a road trip or earning miles on an air flight.
  • Knitting does not take patience.  I would say I am the least patient person, and I often say that knitting keeps me from killing someone when I am impatient.  I don’t have the patience to wait.  Knitting fills in that time, and I stay happy.

So, how do I get started?

Stay tuned for my series on DIY Knitting!  This week, I will cover yarns and knitting needles – the basic items needed to start knitting.  Then, next week, I’ll post a simple pattern, and teach you to start the project.  By the end of September, you will be knitting and have a finished item to show for it!  Are you ready?

Baby Jedi’s Birth Story – Part 3

baby, c-section, cesarean, birth, birth story, hospital

I continued to sit for hours enjoying my popsicles and my husband and mother.  We waited.  And waited.  A nurse came in to check my progress and determined that it needed a little help.  Baby Jedi was not moving past my pelvis.  They hooked me up to Pitocin.  I wasn’t thrilled but since I had started labor on my own, they said I wouldn’t have the same issues as someone who is induced.

And we waited.

And waited.

The nurses kept coming in, checking me, upping the Pitocin, and leaving me to wait.  With popsicles.

8 o’clock rolled around, which meant I had been in labor for around 16 hours at that point.  Dr. Russell made his appearance to check me himself.  Though the nurses stated that I was around 9 cm and just a teensy bit shy of fully effaced, he stated I was closer to 8 cm and still had a little bit of a lip.  And Baby Jedi was still not coming through my pelvis.  The dreaded C word got thrown around with a lot of the typical reasons to do it.  Maybe the baby was too big.  Maybe I was worn out.  If they didn’t, I could lose my whole uterus.  Yadda yadda.

Needless to say, i got a bit touchy.  OK, angry.  I was angry.  I didn’t want a C-section.  I did want to undergo what I knew was major surgery for no reason.  I told the doctor point blank that I really really didn’t want C-section.  I asked if I or the baby was in danger.  The only issue was that my uterus may tire out at some point, which would increase the risk that my uterus wouldn’t contract after birth and I could hemorrhage.

I asked for a moment to discuss things with my husband.  We agreed.  One more hour.  Give me one hour to do more than eat popsicles.  To actually work this birth.  Cause, let’s face it.  I had spent the last several hours, with an epidural, like I was on holiday.

So, I worked it, while my husband and mother napped nearby.  I could fill the pressure of the contraction, without the pain and I really worked it.  An hour went by, though it only felt like a few minutes.  And the doctor was back.

Another fun check up my nethers and we get the news that nothing has changed.  The baby is still not past my pelvis.  I took a deep breath and decided, if I can’t have it all my own way, I’ll have as much as I can get.  I started asking about double suturing the uterine wall, and the possibility of VBAC if I want to have another.  To still delay cord clamping,  and skin to skin contact will they stitch me up in the OR, and nursing in recovery as soon as possible.  And they were agreeable to everything.  The doctor, I think, realized that I was more intelligent than I must have looked at the time.  He said all that I requested was not an issue.  So, I said yes.

I looked over at Daddy Jedi, and before I could even ask if he would come with me, I knew he was out.  He almost looked like the dad in a comedy show that needs to breathe in a brown paper bag.  While the usual surgery talk didn’t bother me, (you know, you could be fine, you could need a hysterectomy, you could die) it really upset Daddy Jedi.  So, I turned to my mom, and asked her to go with me.

I almost laughed, because while her lips said yes, her face said, “OMG, what am I doing?”  She kept this look the whole time she put on the OR gear.  They adjusted my epidural for surgery and got me prepared to go in.  The anesthesia nurse going with me was super nice, and in less than 5 minutes, they were wheeling me to the OR.  They got me set up, told me to hold on to the straps, and promised me they would fill me in on what was happening.  And my mom sat next to me, and held my hand.

Let me pause for a second here.  I started off wanting a home water birth.  Where the miracle of life would overtake me like an ocean wave.  Where my visualizations would help me open to welcome my son and I would help catch him as he came out.  Where I would hold his new little body to my bare chest and this new little family would stare in wonder at what God had done.  Now, I’m flat on my back in an OR after getting an epidural and Pitocin, preparing for a C-section.  I have read that a lot of moms are upset by this.  One thing I had done from the beginning is say we planned to have a home birth, so that, in the back of my mind, I would also remember that plans change.  This plan changed.  But, for whatever reason, I was ok.  I wasn’t upset.

Back to the story.

The OR was, frankly, a blur to me.  I couldn’t see or feel anything, so I lay there with no clue.  There was the point where they applied pressure to my chest.  Then they asked my mom to stand, if she wanted, to see the head being birthed.  Finally, I heard his cry.  And my heart exploded.  Not literally, but even now, as I think of it, my eyes tear up.  I started saying, “My baby!” over and over.  My mom kept telling me it was ok.

I heard a familiar voice and looked over to see Dr. Whiles.  That was such a huge comfort in the midst of the madness.  I had called, and planned, and researched myself blue in the face finding a good pediatrician for Baby Jedi, and Dr. Whiles had been the best fit.  I felt like his arrival at 9 PM on a Saturday night was the biggest kindness.  Of course, I know he was who I had listed, but I wasn’t in my right mind at this point.  I could also see Baby Jedi for the first time while they worked to measure and clean him.  I forgot about holding onto the straps and started reaching for him, because I so desperately needed him.  I could hear him crying and I knew that I needed to touch him, hold him.

The anesthesia nurse was awesome!  I don’t know your name but you were fantastic!  They were stamping his decorative birth thing, and she told them that if it wasn’t necessary, it could wait til later.  That I wanted my baby now.  So, bundled with his little cap on, they brought him to me and laid him on my chest.  I held him with one arm, looked into his eyes, and said his name.  Gareth.  And he stopped crying and he looked back.  My mom was amazed.  “He knows your voice!”  And I just laid there, oblivious to everything else now, drinking him in.

C-section, birth, baby, operation, new parent

It seemed to last a long time, but it was only a few minutes.  Then my mom got to hold him and take him to meet Daddy Jedi.  They finished me up, and I was wheeled to recovery.  There, another fantastic nurse helped me nurse the first time.  And it went like clockwork.  I honestly think, with how everything else went, that if breastfeeding had went poorly I would have lost it.  But Baby Jedi was a natural.  I watched him eat, while Daddy and Granny stood nearby, and was once again lost on the tides of my emotions.

baby, hospital, birth, birth story, mother, God

The rest of my hospital stay was adventurous, to say the least.  I had to have follow-up surgery to deal with a bleeder.  I had to have transfusions to replace my lost blood.  I had ileus, which if you haven’t, I pray you never do.  Green vomit.  That is all I’m going to say on that front.  But, we finally made it home.

birth, baby, happy baby, birth story

Was it picture perfect?  No.  But what in life ever truly is?  I have a healthy son, who is amazing and sometimes, even a bit ridiculous.  And that, my friends, is enough for me.