Friday, October 5, 2012

Eyes Wide Open

I was rummaging through books at our church's Oktoberfest used book sale last year and found this Little Golden Book, Prayers for Children.

Little Golden Books were a part of my childhood, so when I was a young parent, I loved reading the familiar stories to my own children. There was The Shy Little Kitten, The Poky Little Puppy and The Little Red Hen, just to name a few. 

I don't remember Prayers for Children in my childhood library, but last year, with my new granddaughter on the way, I paid my money and took it home.

The copyright is 1952, and the moms illustrated in the book look more like June Cleaver with their circle skirts and high heels. It may seem out of sync in today's world of jeans- or sweatpant-wearing moms.
The little ones pictured on the front of the book also looked like they were  from my era growing up in the 1960s with little hats for Easter and dotted Swiss dresses in different hues for my sisters and me. Jill had little bonnets and lacy dresses, too, and Brent had a suit or two for Easter finery when he was a little boy.
Easter 1965, me at age 7; Easter 1967, me at age 9 with my whole family; Jill's first Easter, 1986; Jill & Brent also in Easter clothes, probably 1990? Wouldn't it have been great if I'd done a better job organizing and dating the thousands of photos I took?!
It's a much more informal approach to church clothes in 2012. Jeans are fine. So is a dress. People have come to discover it's not about what we're wearing.

As I paged through the Little Golden Book, I realized that while the clothes may seem old-fashioned, the prayers are just as relevant today as they were in the 1950s.

One of my favorites in the book is Father, We Thank Thee by Ralph Waldo Emerson. As I read the words, I thought about how we should open our eyes to the blessings all around us, each and every day.  I just started reading Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts, for the second time. And, as she reminds me:
"I pay tribute to God by paying attention. ... Praying with eyes wide open is the only way to pray without ceasing."
 Ann Voskamp in "One Thousand Gifts"                                                          
Celebrating today the ability to pray with eyes wide open - and the gift to do it in such a beautiful place as this.

Father, We Thank Thee
Words by Emerson, Photos by me

For flowers that bloom about our feet,
Father, we thank Thee.
For tender grass so fresh and sweet,
Father, we thank Thee.
 For the song of bird and hum of bee,
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.
For blue of stream and blue of sky,
Father, we thank Thee.
For pleasant shade of branches high,
Father, we thank Thee.
For fragrant air and cooling breeze,
For beauty of the blooming trees,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.
For this new morning with its light, 
Father, we thank Thee,
For rest and shelter of the night,
Father we thank Thee.
For health and food, for love and friends
For everything Thy goodness sends
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

If you are in the Stafford, Kansas, area on Saturday, October 6, you are cordially invited to the Stafford United Methodist Women book sale at 218 West Stafford St. Proceeds from the book sale go to mission projects, locally and beyond. It will be in the church basement from 9 AM to 4 PM Saturday. Maybe you'll find a treasure like Prayers for Children, too! There are tables full of hardcover and paperback books for adults as well. There are lots of other activities going on in downtown Stafford this weekend. Come join the party!

This is a reprint of my October post at the Lovely Branches Ministries website. Check out the other bloggers there!

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