Tag Archives: Prayer

A New Kind of Smudge Prayer

Right around New Year’s, I found out there’s something called a Smudge Prayer. Theses prayers are intended to clear out negative energy and refresh your environment.

I, of course, was expecting something different because of this guy:


I thought the prayer should be along the lines of, Dear God, please help Smudge be a good dog so he doesn’t keep stealing my ginger snap cookies off the counter.

If you think the answer to my Smudge Prayer is to move the cookies, you’d be right. Except the first time Smudge ate my cookies, he somehow managed to get them out of a bowl I had them in for safe keeping. The second time, he stole the Tupperware container off the counter and then chewed off the lid.

I am dealing with no ordinary dog.


My mom once came to Norfolk to watch the pups when Heath’s brother died. She loves to tell the story how Smudge worked for what seemed like an hour, twisting and contorting his body to get a single piece of dog food that had fallen behind their plastic food bin.

If you want a role model for perseverance, look no further than Smudge.

The idea of a Smudge prayer got me thinking — I probably should be praying to be more like Smudge in my daily life.

Smudge knows what he wants and always goes for it, whether it’s a container of cookies on the counter, the spot where you’re sitting on the couch, or deciding when it’s time for bed, in which case he will immediately leave you and go jump on your bed to settle down for his nighttime snoozle.


He also sees possibility wherever he goes, which includes stealing our socks and winter gear, such as hats and gloves, understanding the value of a stick as the best toy ever, or hearing the toaster pop and thinking maybe it’s for him.

One of my favorite Smudge stories takes place on the first day it actually felt like spring in March or April of 2017. The sun was shining, the pond had thawed, and a warm breeze finally graced us with its presence.

That day, Smudge headed out to the pond after breakfast to splash around and chase fish. In the three years we’ve been taking care of the pups, I’ve been there when he’s caught two. They’re little tiny creatures and he drops them at my feet as a gift. Each time, I toss them back, hoping they’re still alive.

Smudge, however, thinks we’re playing fetch and dives back into the pond.

It’s adorable because he can never quite find that fish again.

On that beautiful spring day in 2017, Smudge spent ALL DAY in the pond. Seriously. He didn’t even want to come in for dinner.

When I finally did coax him in, he wolfed down his food even faster than usual, and then busted out the front door on his own to get back into the pond. Heath and I laughed ourselves silly as the door banged shut.

He didn’t come in until after dark.


Smudge also loves his humans. When Heath and I came back to Norfolk the first week of January to resume our house-sitting job, we overlapped for a morning with Smudge’s human mom and dad. As we sat at the table chatting, Smudge went from person to person, getting all the love, head rubs, and ear scratches he could before moving on to the next person. Again, he did this for hours.

So, yes, I do want to be more like Smudge. To help me on my way, I’ve written my own Smudge prayer.

Amen.

Twelve Minutes – A Flash Fiction Story in 486 Words

Twelve Minutes

Lennie checked her watch.  The bus wasn’t due for another twelve minutes.  She sank onto the bench, shoulders hunched.  The burden of the phone call Lennie received on her way to work that morning still weighed heavily on her.

Robert was in jail.  She had warned her son not to get involved with his ex-girlfriend again.  The two of them together were nothing but trouble and now trouble had turned into a 2:00am screaming match outside his girlfriend’s apartment, complete with slapped faces and shattered beer bottles.  The stories always changed about who exactly did what.  Lennie knew they both had their own versions of the story, not that either were ever fully right or wrong.

Lennie sighed.  Why did they always have to resort to violence?  Matthew 5:39 – “But I tell you do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”  The latter part of this verse sat on Lennie’s couch at home, stitched on one of her pillows.  She must have said it over a thousand times to Robert in his twenty-two years of life.

Lord, give me strength, Lennie thought.  She closed her eyes at the invocation, repeated her prayer several times, and then opened her eyes.  Lennie blinked into the sunlight.

To her surprise, she no longer sat alone on the bench.  Lennie recognized the woman next to her as Sister Francis Marie.  Lennie had volunteered at the St. Catherine’s soup kitchen on occasion and Sister Fran often provided songs during dinner time.  Lennie could listen to Sister Fran sing for hours.  She never knew which touched her heart more –providing a decent meal to others or listening to Sister Fran’s angelic voice.

Lennie could faintly hear that voice now amidst the bustle of the street.  Sister Fran sang along to her headphones, tapping her feet.  Lennie watched from the corner of her eye as Sister Fran stopped singing and searched for a new song.  Her lips pursed as if concentrating on the holiest of tasks.  Finally, Sister Fran began singing again.

Lennie knew the song.  It had been on the radio several years ago.  As Sister Fran bopped her head along and lamented about where the love had gone in the world, Lennie wondered the same thing.  Well, I still have love to give, she thought, so that’s what I’m going to do.  She imagined a beautiful angel wrapping up Robert and his girlfriend in her glorious white wings.  She held the vision for a few moments in her heart and then let it go up into the heavens.

At that moment, her bus came and Lennie stood up.  She didn’t feel so heavy anymore.  Lennie took one more look at Sister Fran.  Her prayer had been answered.  Thank you, God, she thought and with a smile she got on the bus, ready to see her son.