Branching Out Blog

Slow to Fast

Posted by Sharon Krause on Feb 15, 2021 6:00:00 AM

With Lent starting in the middle of February, my thoughts turn to memories of other Lenten seasons. I recall when, as a middle-schooler, I gave up, or fasted from, candy and other sweets. However, although I refrained from eating candy, I did buy some sugary cough drops to snack oneven though I did not have a cough or sore throat. Substitution was the name of that game! It was another example of the letter versus the spirit of the prohibition. I would proudly proclaim that I gave up candy for Lent.

Fasting can include abstaining from an activity as well as from a food group. There are spiritual benefits to derive from depriving oneself of certain pleasures. It is supposed to turn our minds away from worldly pleasures or freedoms so as to focus on the greater, spiritual concerns and endeavors.

 This past year, the pandemic has forced me to stop doing many activities I enjoy. It has been almost as if I were fasting from shopping, eating out, and getting together socially with friends and relatives. I certainly did not choose to fast from these activities as a spiritual practice. At first, I did not see a benefitother than health safetyfrom staying home so much. If nothing else, I have learned that there is a big difference between what I perceive as burden and as opportunity,

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Topics: Lent, Lenten season, fasting, prayer life, priorities, RENEW International, Sharon Krause

A Matter of Time

Posted by Sharon Krause on Feb 12, 2021 12:00:00 PM

So much has been written and sung about time. We spend time, check time, do time, make use of time, run out of time, take meds a number of times a day, and are at the mercy of time. But I have a few suggestions about another timeprayer time.

We have a charismatic prayer group at my parish. I suggested one week that we break down into teams of four or five and become “Take 10 Teams.” Each team would pick one of the prayer intentions from a list I would provide, and each member would take 10 minutes a day to pray for that specific intention during the upcoming week. Instead of just praying for world peace, for example, a Take Ten Team would pray for the people of North Korea—for their freedom and human rights. Another team might pray for peace for the people of Iran. And another team might pray a for poor children in the United States.

With Lent approaching, might make decisions about how we spend our time. Let’s say we are up and about for 12 hours a day. We might have a job outside the home. We might be working from home. We might have children at home. I suggest that prayer can be worked into those 12 hours in creative ways.

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Topics: prayer life, priorities, RENEW International, spontaneous prayer, Sharon Krause, daily prayer

Aha! moments

Posted by Sharon Krause on Feb 10, 2021 6:00:00 AM

Thank God, my husband and I have not caught any viruses during the past year; but we have purposely stayed away from stores and crowds and have somewhat hibernated in our house. I’d like to share with you some “aha!” moments I have had during this time.

For instance, I have figured out that I have too much stuff! After I retired, one of my fun pastimes used to be to go shopping for non-necessities. I would go to department stores and specialty stores and just look around to see if anything new or unique caught my eye. I might purchase something just in case I might need it in the future. I might need a gift for someone. My husband might get a craving for that special jelly. I might get tired of looking at that print on the living room wall. A holiday might be coming up, and that decoration would really break up the monotony.

Being home so much, I have noticed that many of my storage spaces are crammed full of stuff that I really don’t need. A lot of those things I purchased just in case have become just in drawers and just on shelves. The truth is, a number of items I have recently seen in those drawers and on those shelves I had totally forgotten I had! Aha! Obviously, I do not need them.

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Topics: prayer life, priorities, RENEW International, Sharon Krause, abundant life, spiritual reading

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