The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
Finding the sacred in everyday life
How busy people draw closer to God
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Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. \x34I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. ...
Simply Faithful
Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. Every day I got to listen as people told me about the things that were most important to them, the things that were sacred. But the newspaper industry was changing and few papers could afford to have an army of speciality reporters. So, I moved to cover the suburbs where, as luck would have it, they have plenty of religion, too. Eventually, children came into the picture. One by birth and another two months later by foster care/adoption. I struggled to chase breaking news and be home at a decent hour, so I made the move to what we journalists call the dark side: I took a job in public relations. (Don't worry. I work for a great non-profit, so it's not dark at all.) When I gave my notice at the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle, the executive editor asked me to consider writing a column on a freelance basis. She didn't want the newspaper to lose touch with its religious sources, and she still wanted consistent faith coverage. I was terrified. It took me about 10 months to get back to her with a solid plan and some sample columns. And so it began, this journey of opening up my heart to strangers.
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By simplyfaithful
Dec. 30, 2012 11:15 a.m.

Watch2It flashed across my screen, this question about how to be closer to God when daily commitments are pulling and tugging at the seams of good intentions.
I thought at first maybe it was a question meant for someone else, someone who dutifully spends an hour each morning reading and praying. But she meant it for me, a mother whose house is rarely quiet and whose life is anything but routine, so I prayed and began my answer.
It starts with how we view time.
Itís not a matter of carving out an hour to dedicate to God, itís about realizing that every hour belongs to him. Every moment and every task. The nine minutes after you hit the snooze button and roll over in bed, the commute to work, the hours spent typing or tinkering, the 10 minutes spent folding each load of laundry. Thatís his time, too.
You pray in the shower. You tuck a devotional in your purse. You put a Bible on your bookcase at work. You read books about faith to your children and listen to spiritual music while you wash dishes. You watch the ordinary unfold before your eyes and you search for the extraordinary, the thread that leads you back to God and his handiwork.
When you find God in those little moments, he becomes seamlessly part of your day.
I also like the idea of praying at certain times of the day, something Iíve seen while visiting the Trappist monks at the Abbey of the Genesee. I imagine it stitches the hours together and steadies the life. One of the monks suggested that those of us outside of the monastery set alarms on our telephones and computers Ė that we use everyday objects to call us to prayer.
And that pesky Ann Voskamp, a writer who makes it hard to splash around in shallow spiritual water, has been urging people to memorize scripture. I think secretly sheís talking to me. I fell out of the habit of memorizing scriptures back in middle school, and I hadnít thought of it much until the author of ďOne Thousand GiftsĒ reminded us how important it is to commit words to memory, to heart.
Iíll start my memorization work in January because this woman who asked the question, well, sheís not alone in wanting to be closer to God.

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