Living in the (Prayer) Moment

This Lent I decided to give up a prayer app. I’d been using the Divine Office app to pray the Liturgy of the Hours for several years, and I saw someone post on Twitter about using only the breviary books during the season.

I made an exception for a few days while I was traveling for work, but otherwise I went the whole season with the books I’d barely opened since I found the app all those years ago.

The person who originally posted the idea (I can’t remember whose idea it was just now) said he wanted to combat laziness. I’m plenty lazy, which originally attracted me to try this practice during Lent, but I discovered something else this season that I need to combat even more.

I don’t live in the moment.

During my twice-daily Lenten ribbon-flipping with the big breviary, I found myself looking ahead to the next time I’d be using the book – and setting the ribbon in the right place before I moved on. I’m not meditating on the psalms during Lauds if I’m flipping two pages ahead to mark the ones for Vespers.

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Copyright 2019 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS. All rights reserved.

But that’s what I’m doing. It’s not even like I’m saving any time or doing something I can’t do at the start of prayers the next time.

It’s a way I can indulge my tendency to always worry about what comes next. Whether it’s meals or clothing or having gas in the car, I want to be prepared for whatever’s coming – and that comes at the cost of savoring the here and now.

While this tendency is definitely an asset in my editorial work (it’s April, and I’m currently collecting magazine articles for the fall issue and assigning articles for winter), it’s not necessarily a good thing in other areas of my life.

During the second half of Lent, I actively concentrated on not moving those ribbons to the next section during (or even immediately after) prayer. It just about drove me nuts, but I managed it.

Switching from app to book didn’t turn out to be too penitential, but leaving those ribbons alone definitely was.

Will I go back to the app, starting tonight? I don’t think so. I like using the book, actually. And it’s good for me to have the twice-daily reminder that I don’t always need to be looking ahead.

Except the part where I’m looking ahead for the sake of my eternal soul.

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Copyright 2019 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2019 Barb Szyszkiewicz

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Time to Foster Some Self-Discipline

Because I do not intend to spend this school year fighting with my eighth-grader every morning, I want to work with TheKid to get some strategies in place so that he gets up and out the door and onto the school bus.

I feel like I have been letting him do a lot of sliding in areas where I challenged the older kids to be more self-disciplined and self-starting at the same age. Part of that is because he’s the youngest, and I’m old. And tired.

And part of it is because of diabetes. He’s been extraordinarily self-disciplined when it comes to that. He’s gotten very independent with many aspects of his care. I’m proud of him for that. But there are all those other things that we’ve been doing FOR him, things that he is more than old enough and capable enough to do for himself.

It’s not good for him that we’reĀ letting him slide. He has to learn how to do all the things, not just all the diabetes things. He has to learn how to figure out what time to wake up in the morning so that he won’t miss the bus. He has to set his alarm and make sure it’s on AM, not PM, and actually get up when the alarm goes off.

If we do all the other things for him, we’re really doing that out of pity, and pity is the last thing this kid (or any kid) needs.

So as he begins his eighth-grade year, I’m resolving to begin again too–to begin to foster some life skills that everyone needs to learn.

teens and time managementTo get myself motivated, I purchased this little book from Amazon: What’s the Deal with Teens and Time Management: A Parents’ Guide to Helping Your Teen Succeed. I’m not expecting any all-at-once miracles, but there are a few strategies I intend to start using right off the bat.

It’s a matter of setting priorities. It may even have the side effect of making everyone’s lives a little more pleasant around here.

Note: my link to this book is an Amazon affiliate link. If you purchase through this link, it’s like you’re leaving me a little virtual tip! So, thanks!