Category Archives: daily prayer

Ritualize

How to Write Poetry and Live Poetically

Free E-Course Lesson 27

Chapter 9: Rituals and Celebrations
Part 6: Personal Rituals, continued

Join now! Find details about this free E-course at Lesson 1

Baking cookies

Baking cookies

If you have done Assignment 5.1 (Declutter Your Life) — especially if you were ruthless in your decluttering — perhaps you’ve made time to practice some of the customs and rituals that bind us as communities and families, and that help us meet our individual needs for structure and purpose. Here, in no particular order, is a list of individual, family, social, and religious customs, traditions, and rituals, some of which might be part of your life:

Story time

Story time

  • family meals — preparing, eating, conversing, and cleaning up
  • saying grace at meals
  • Christmas caroling (or wassailing)
  • holiday observances and meals
  • housekeeping
  • prayer
  • meditation
  • confession
  • communion
  • congregational worship
  • dance
  • sports
  • family game night
  • campfires
  • day trips
  • picnics
  • barbecues
  • gardening
  • volunteer work
  • visiting relatives
  • visiting the sick
  • weddings
  • bridal and baby showers
  • viewings and funerals
  • bedtime stories
  • ablutions (hygiene — washing, brushing teeth, and so forth)
  • going for walks
  • dating (dinner and a movie?)
  • reading out loud to family
A traditional snowman

A traditional snowman

While some rituals, traditions, and customs become irrelevant and fall out of use, others cling for no apparent reason. We still “knock on wood” after asserting that, for example, we’ve “never gotten so much as a parking ticket” — possibly a remnant of the ancient practice of waking the tree gods and invoking their protection against future parking tickets. The practice of blessing someone after he or she sneezes may derive from an old belief that demons can enter your body when you sneeze. (Gesundheit means, roughly, “good health.”)

I enjoy these harmless practices because they connect me with ancestors whose names I’ll never know… although it’s getting harder to find real wood, and “knock on laminate” doesn’t have the mystique of “knock on wood.”

After school

After school

On the other hand, the tradition of the “Sunday drive” has all but disappeared. When I was a little girl, residential air-conditioning was practically unheard-of and television sets were almost equally rare. Sunday dinner was usually eaten in the mid-afternoon, but in the summer it was too hot to cook during the day, so often we’d pile in the car with a picnic basket full of egg-salad sandwiches, carrot and celery sticks, potato chips, and cold pop — grape Nehi, perhaps. Alongside most country roads there were picnic tables under spreading cottonwoods or sycamores every few miles. We’d stop at the shadiest spot we could find, spread our tablecloth, and have our little feast, observed by squirrels and birds waiting to tidy up after us.

Nehi advertisement on a matchcover

Nehi advertisement on a matchcover

Now, on summer Sunday afternoons, for better or for worse, the ritual of televised Major League Baseball has largely replaced the family outing. Indeed, family dinners, in many families, are consumed in front of the family television or — sadder yet — televisions.

Assignment 27.1 Ritualize

Read “Women’s Altars” at Sister Alma Rose Has the Last Word.

Evaluate the rituals and traditions you observe. What is their purpose? In what ways are they metaphorical? Are they time-wasters, or do they provide structure and meaning? Are there rituals and traditions that you don’t practice but that would benefit you and your family? How can you work them into your family routine?

  1. Please e-mail your assignment to Mary@LifeIsPoetry.net. I will not grade your work, but I will return your assignment to you with comments.

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Publish Risk-Free…

…in Zero Gravity’s “Little Books” series

Wanted: Zero Gravity “Little Books” to produce for sale on the Zero Gravity website at www.LifeIsPoetry.net. Please see sample on the Zero Gravity website at Carry Me to This Enchanted Shore: A Morning Prayer.

We are seeking

  • original prayers
  • spiritual wisdom, and
  • meditation-related poetry or prose

…from all faith traditions. If accepted, your submission will be designed as part of the Zero Gravity “Little Books” series and offered for sale in Zero Gravity’s Holiday Store and Bookstore and listed in our eBay store.

You book will remain in Zero Gravity’s Bookstore and eBay store listings until you request that it be withdrawn.

Books are 5-1/2 by 8-1/2 inches, printed in full color on recycled card stock with laminated covers and comb binding.

Deadline

You may submit manuscripts at any time. The deadline for inclusion in Zero Gravity’s online Holiday Store and eBay Holiday Store, however, is November 15, 2008.

Terms

You will retain copyright on text; the publisher, Zero Gravity, will hold copyright on design. Copyright on images will remain with either the artist/photographer or Zero Gravity.

You pay only setup/design cost: $1.50 per page (10 pages minimum, 25 pages maximum – $15.00 to $37.50). A $15.00 deposit is required at the time the manuscript is accepted. Please allow about 7 business days for completed design.

You may purchase as many finished books as you want at 40 cents per page plus USPS media-mail shipping rate. There is no “handling charge.” (You have the option of selecting Priority Mail or Express Mail for faster delivery. E-mail Mary@LifeIsPoetry.net if you wish to use a USPS service other than media mail.)

Selected books will be offered on the Zero Gravity website and eBay store with no listing fee. Books sold via the Zero Gravity website and eBay store will be priced as follows:
(a) 40 cents per page, plus
(b) $2.00 Zero Gravity commission, plus
(c) whatever additional markup you choose, if any, plus
(d) USPS media-mail shipping rate (unless you specify Priority Mail or Express Mail)

Sample transaction 1

  1. You submit text, which Zero Gravity designs as a 10-page book – you pay $15.00.
  2. You may purchase as many books as you wish at $4.00 each plus shipping — to keep, to sell, or to give away.
  3. Zero Gravity offers your book for sale at (a) $4.00 + (b) $2.00 Zero Gravity commission + (c) whatever markup you specify ($1.00, for example) + (d) $2.23 media-mail shipping. Total cost to buyer: $9.23. You immediately earn $1.00 per book sold, less nominal PayPal fee.

Sample transaction 2

  1. You submit text, which Zero Gravity designs as a 15-page book – you pay $22.50.
  2. You may purchase as many books as you wish at $6.00 each plus shipping.
  3. Zero Gravity offers your book for sale at (a) $6.00 + (b) $2.00 Zero Gravity commission + (c) whatever markup you specify ($2.00, for example) + (d) $2.23 media-mail shipping. Total cost to buyer: $12.23. You immediately earn $2.00 per book sold, less nominal PayPal fee.

Please note…

  • For samples of our design work, please browse books offered via Zero Gravity on our website. The “Little Book” Carry Me to This Enchanted Shore: A Morning Prayer represents Zero Gravity’s “Little Book” design style. If your book contains a great deal of text, the images will likely be smaller, but a full-color image will appear on each page.
  • Sample USPS media-mail rates: up to 1 pound $2.23; up to 2 pounds $2.58; up to 3 pounds $2.93…. See USPS website for all postal rates. Media-mail rates are computed by weight. If your books weigh a half-pound or less, the cost of shipping two books will be the same as the cost of shipping one book. Rarely, the USPS first-class rate will be lower than the media-mail rate; Zero Gravity will ship at the lowest available rate unless you specify otherwise.
  • If you are ordering books as gifts, Zero Gravity will send your purchase directly to the recipient with free gift wrap if you so request via e-mail to Mary@LifeIsPoetry.net.
  • All financial transactions will take place via credit card or E-check through PayPal, so you will need to open a free PayPal account if you do not already have one.
  • Zero Gravity will accept only manuscripts that are well written and that conform to the criteria established above: original prayers, spiritual wisdom, and meditation-related poetry or prose from all faith traditions. Zero Gravity will make minor editing changes subject to your approval. If your manuscript has merit but needs extensive editing, Zero Gravity will quote a separate fee for editing, with no obligation on your part. As noted above, you will pay a $15 deposit only when your completed manuscript is accepted for publication.
  • Please submit all manuscripts in English as Microsoft Word attachments to e-mail addressed to Mary@LifeIsPoetry.net. Please put “manuscript” in the subject line of your e-mail.
  • There are no reader’s fees or entry fees. By submitting your manuscript, however, you are agreeing to pay a $15 deposit if your manuscript is accepted and to pay the balance upon completion.
  • You may, if you wish, indicate a maximum number of pages for your finished book.
  • If you have questions, please e-mail Mary@LifeIsPoetry.net with “manuscript questions” in the subject line.
  • We welcome children’s work. Please indicate age if under 18.

We look forward to seeing your work and designing a beautiful setting for it!

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HOLIDAY STORE now open
A Prayer for Every Morning
Buy and Send Random Cards of Kindness
Learn to Meditate
50 Guided Meditations
Request Prayer and Pray for Others