“Spiritual disciplines” are things we do to stay in love with God and grow in faith. They can be things we do alone or together; they can be ways to spend time with God or to serve others. As the people of Sylva First UMC share one of their spiritual disciplines with you each week, we hope it will inspire you to new ways of loving God and growing in faith.
Hi, I’m Eva Caron (everyone calls me Evie). My husband Mark and I moved from “Sunny Florida” to Whittier 4 yrs ago. Friends of ours told us about Sylva FUMC and we started attending the Contemporary Service 3 years ago.
Having been raised a Catholic, my spiritual discipline has been that of repetition, daily rosary, intercessory prayers to various Saints and Sunday Mass. Perhaps because it was instilled in me growing up, I still have some of those repetitive tendencies and have even added to them!! Without fail everyday out comes my “stack” of Spiritual reading material. Little Daily Graces (Helen Steiner Rice), The Upper Room, My Saint Pio Prayer Book, The Greater Purpose (David Jeremiah), The Bible, Jesus Calling (Sarah Young) and finally Missions Mosaic. I drink my coffee, read the daily chapters, then put them away and go about the day. Sometimes I reflect on what I read and how it applies to my day; other times not. I just know this is my daily routine.
We are so blessed/lucky to be surrounded by these beautiful mountains, we are equally blessed to be living in the last house near the top of one. There is a gravel road and several paths that lead to the top of the mountain. Every day without fail, I take my dog Rowdy for a walk to the path that leads to my “special place” in the woods. There I am surrounded by Pine, Birch and Oak trees, the ground is covered with lush green moss and wild mushrooms peek through the leaves. There I hear the birds sing, feel the wind on my face and Rowdy is bothered by the squirrels jumping from tree to tree. I am completely surrounded by nature and God’s creations. The sky above, the dirt under my feet, the smell of pine needles, even the light in my eyes and the breath in my lungs remind me of Gods Greatness. This is my special place where I close my eyes, and let my heart, soul, mind and voice speak to the Lord. Where I pray, where I ask, where I thank, where I listen. So often as I stand there in awe I hear these words in my mind. “Be still and know that I am God.” Yes, all this happens in my “special place” near the top of the mountain. I always end my quiet time with the Lord’s Prayer and sing a song or two in praise. I only wish I sounded as good as Julie Andrews did in the movie The Sound of Music, when she was on top of the mountain singing her heart out.
This daily walk calms my spirit, clears my mind, helps me stay positive, happy and focused. During the day if I encounter a “bump” in the road, start feeling a little stressed or overwhelmed, I just close my eyes, take a deep breath and bring my mind back into my “special place.”
There are times when I am away from home (vacations, short getaways etc ). But no matter where life takes me, I take the time to find a quiet place where I am surrounded by nature. Sometimes it is walking on the beach, sitting in a lawn chair under a tree or on the patio, sometimes in a flower garden, a back porch. Wherever I see and enjoy Gods creations I can make my “special place,” that place where I feel closest to God, where I am at peace.
For whatever reason, I will continue to read that stack of Spiritual “reading material,” but my soul and spirit will always be at peace and benefit most from my quiet time in nature, wherever that will be.
The love of God surrounds us
Like the air we breathe around us.
As near as a heartbeat,
As close as a prayer.
And whenever we need Him,
He’ll always be there.
Helen Steiner Rice