About hopesquires

I've left behind the daily grind to write full time and to figure out what my own flourishing tree looks like. I'd love to help you flourish and grow along the way, so that you, too, can cultivate a life that pleases God.

Praying through Lent

Today marks the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday. You may have eaten pancakes for dinner last night. You may have declared yourself off Facebook for the season (several Facebook friends bid us all adieu in posts yesterday evening).

In last week’s post, I mentioned that instead of giving up something for Lent this year, I’d be adding something in: prayer. Specifically, I would like to lift up your prayer requests each day.

Some of you have already sent requests to me, and I lifted those up in holy, quiet moments earlier today.

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My prayer journal

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Winter roses

We’ve had a recent cold snap, and though last week I may have poked gentle fun at rainy day behaviors out here in California, I have to make fun of myself this week. I am quickly losing my tolerance for cold.

Monday’s cold weather brought a bitter wind, and all I wanted to do was hide inside—after a morning run, of course. I have to dust off the winter running clothes every now and then, right?

It was cold here over Christmas, too, and when I returned from balmy North Carolina after the holidays, I knew I had to tackle a winter gardening chore: pruning the roses. (Not my favorite gardening activity, I’ll confess.) I left three stems taller than the rest because small buds graced them, and I hoped they might bloom, despite freezing temperatures in December.

One bud finally began to open within the last week. So I cut all three buds to bring inside and finished the pruning chores.

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To me, this is the exact color of dusty rose

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Of runners and fisherpeople

I did a double-take as I read the first line of the email:

We hope you are holding up well and still getting in your runs during this rainy winter!

I still get emails from race organizers in the southeast, and, at first glance, I expected to read about the weekend’s snow and ice making it hard for runners to get out the door. Winter running can be frustrating where I’m from, especially when ice transforms roads into skating rinks.

But this particular email came from someone here in California, and instead of fretting over icy roads, the concern was all the wonderful rain we’ve gotten. The email’s author organizes hard-core races: races that climb mountains in relentless sun, races where it’s not uncommon to spot tarantulas, races involving trails at a place named for the devil. And he’s worried us being able to train in the rain?

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Prayer and galoshes

“Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.” —Mark 11:24

I’ve spent the last year praying harder for rain than any other time in my life. We experienced drought years in North Carolina but nothing like the drought here in California.

I know it won’t rain every time I pray for it (we’d be in trouble if it did). But I also believe the drought here will end. If it were up to me, it would end this year. God may have other plans. In the meantime, I’ll keep praying and believing.

As a result of God’s answers to my rain prayers lately, I’ve had a lot of rejoicing to do. We have gotten almost five inches of rain this month already. I’ll be honest: I’ve had a few days where I had to remind myself that I needed to rejoice and not mumble even a little about the timing of particular deluges (like the one at that half marathon I was just a few minutes into last fall).

Yesterday was one of those days. The last thing I wanted to do was take the dog out for a walk in the cold downpour. I waited as long as I could and finally reminded myself that I don’t mind being out in the rain. I also take some small pride that my dog is no sissy when it comes to weather. Plus, the rain gave me an excuse to pull out my galoshes, unused in more than a year. Continue reading

Focusing on the road ahead

The police officer rolled his motorcycle up to look into the car between us as we all sat at the traffic signal. He turned on his mic and said, “Are you serious right now? Are you really talking on your phone with me right next to you?” I couldn’t make out the rest of the conversation, but the driver got a (lengthy) verbal warning about holding his cell phone while driving.

California has a hands-free law and a law against texting while driving, but I have to say, I see an unsettling number of drivers holding phones while talking and texting as they barrel down the road. Some of them look up at the road very seldom.

The incident with the police officer happened about a month ago, but the memory of it surfaced yesterday as I started out for a morning walk with the dog. My daily route involves navigating past a sidewalk that ends.

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Where the sidewalk ends (but perhaps it isn’t Shel Silverstein’s)

Many mornings, I stop right at the fence and wait for a break in traffic before I venture out into the road and then back onto the gravel along the side of the road.

Yesterday, a car zipped past with a guy holding his cell phone to his ear. Then, I watched a car drive from the intersection ahead, weaving almost imperceptibly. The woman was older than I am, maybe late fifties. When she got right up to where I could see into her car, she was staring down at her phone texting. I’m not sure she ever saw me. Continue reading