Jennie's gift
Jennie’s gift

I recently got to visit with my friend in Tennessee. She moved around the same time as we did last year. We still text and read each other’s blogs but that sort of communication just isn’t the same as real physical contact. We chatted about the woes of moving and homeschooling, shared our admiration for our husbands, touched on the train and bourbon industries, lamented the difficulties in finding a good church and celebrated her daughter’s birthday. How we managed to cover all of that and a bit more in three hours I’ll never know…we must have bent time somehow.

Before I left my sweet friend gave me this beautiful set of prayer beads that she had made. She knows me so well that the blouse I had on that day was the exact same colors as the beads! I cannot find the words to properly express my gratitude. There is just something very special about a handmade gift.

I wasn’t sure how to use it at first. I’ve gotten out of the habit of praying lately…maybe that is partly why she gave it to me. In the mornings before starting the school day I like to sit quietly (I am quiet–not the kids!) and just breathe. I start by sitting comfortably and holding the cross. I do not really address myself to Jesus but I remember him. I do not recite any prayers as I finger past the large beads. I just pause and try to be still. When I get to the set of seven dark beads I practice box breathing. One set of breaths for each bead (breathe in, hold, breathe out, hold). It usually takes me just under thirty minutes to get through the entire set of beads.

I had considered getting some mala beads for my stillness practice. The moment I opened the box and saw the beads I let that desire go. My friend crafted this gift from a heart of love and concern for me. I’m holding love in my hands.