Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Blessings #18

(1) Talking to a dear friend on messenger from my previous congregation.

(2) That same friend telling me how hard it is to fill my shoes. (Made me feel good)

(3) A great dad who helped me out when I had to get my car fixed this week

(4) A great morning with the Family SS adults. I led the adult portion today.

(5) Getting a hug from one of my fave kiddos (Really they are all my faves!!)

(6) Being asked by a member of my new congregation to be a Mary Kay face model for her tomorrow night

(6) Texts from dear friends

(7) Having a warm home to come home too on this blizzardy day (Praying for those who have no place to go on a cold night like tonight)

(8) Being able to walk and not drive when weather is yucky!

(9) Leading worship--Preaching the Word

(10) Having a washer and dryer in my basement so I don't have to scrounge for quarters when I want to do laundry

(11) Real mail (One had a note that said 2014 will be a blessing and great year for you! Believe it!!) I need to remember that and believe it!

(12) Cafe Caramel K Cups

(13) Saying hello to a neighbor for the first time

(14) A fixed car

(15) Looking forward to the week ahead

Friday, January 24, 2014

Church Olympians Friday Five

Deb at RevGalBlogPals writes, "With the Olympic Games in Sochi just around the corner, I started thinking about all the athletes who attend the Games and never win a medal. The hours of practicing, sacrifice and dedication don’t get noticed by the media. Yet, for the love of their sport, they persevere.

Then I began to reminisce about the “Olympians” in the Church. Perhaps you can think of faithful ones who never get up to preach, sing or read, but faithfully come, week after week, to serve. It seems to me they deserve a medal of sorts.

So, for this week’s Friday Five, share stories or memories of those “medalists” of the Church who have encouraged you in their faithfulness."


(1) My momma! Even though she has lived her whole life with a mental illness, she has always been the most faith filled woman I know! Love her to pieces!

(2) J and B. A sweet older couple. At the last church I served they were always willing to help out. B volunteered throughout the week. And J would always bring us coffee/tea and goodies when B worked. We always had to stop and take a break with them. Though they are now getting older, they still are very involved in the church.

(3) The Church quilters! At all the congregations I have served these ladies are awesome. I don't know the quilters at my new church yet but hopefully soon will get to know them. I love that at my past call they made baby blankets to give to the newly baptized as a symbol that they will always be wrapped in a community of faith. When I took my new call, they made sure I got a quilt to take with me. Every time I wrap up in it (and that has been a lot this winter) I think of that community of faith that has blessed my life incredibly!

(4) The Home and Families of the congregation I serve (and have served) I love watching families engage in faith conversation and watching them as they are equipped to pass on faith and values. I know they are busy with life so it is so awesome to see them take the time together.

(5) My friends Renee and Jon. I know that this has not been an easy journey for them. Renee and Jon and Renee's first husband Ben were in Haiti when the earthquake hit and Ben lost his life that day. I  know that they have mourned and grieved and even doubted in the midst of this all. Yet they are both incredible leaders for this church. THANKS BE TO GOD! :)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Freedom Is Coming!

In a small chapel in Gettysburg PA, voices were raised as these words carried through the chapel: "Oh freedom, Oh freedom, Oh freedom, Freedom is coming, Oh yes I Know; Oh Jesus, Oh Jesus, Oh Jesus, Jesus is coming, oh yes I know!" These words were joyfully lifted to the Lord that night. It's a memory that is forever engrained in my mind.


My small group was to lead worship on Thursday night (the Thursday before Martin Luther King Jr. day). A couple of them had suggested "Freedom is Coming" from the This Far By Faith hymnal so that is what we sung. That day was an extremely difficult day because that morning we received news that Wartburg Seminary student Ben Larson had lost his life in the Haiti earthquake. Having planned worship a week before, we decided to continue with our worship that night which still included "Freedom is Coming." I remember watching and listening as our voices were lifted joyfully to the Lord as we sang this magnificent African American hymn. The next day we were reading a blog that someone had posted from Ben's senior year of college and he talked about international music and the song Freedom is Coming and how that song was a song that was very important to him. Little did we know when we planned worship what this hymn meant to Ben. The Holy Spirit truly works in mysterious ways!


Today as we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I am reminded of all that MLK Jr. did for us. I also am reminded of why Ben, Renee, and Jon were in Haiti. What beautiful witnesses to faith! Yes, there are times when it is hard to share that faith or see that faith because of all the evil in the world around us. Yet with hope, I believe that freedom is coming. Christ promised to come again to judge the living and the dead. And in that moment, it seems to me that true freedom will be reached.


And so may we all lift our voices declaring that "Freedom is coming!" (I found this video of children's choir singing in Uganda. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15IS3R8EbAg

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Blessings #17

(1) Beautiful above zero days and melting snow

(2) Time with my momma and sis; playing Uno, eating out, visiting, etc

(3) A little one climbing on me during the children's sermon

(4) Reading the Bible story to the
Family SS kiddos

(5) The ability to walk since my car has an owie (the owie is not a blessing but living close to church does put things into perspective)

(6) Awesome chicken and biscuits in the crockpot

(7) Getting my 2013 photo album in the mail

(8) Texts between good friends

(9) Checking in with a friend at the right time and place. Amazing how God knows these things before we do.

(10) Someone offering to pick me up at the airport in a few weeks when I get back from the E

(11) A fantastic conversation with a childhood friend last Sun night. We hadn't talked in forever!

(12) Fun at a good movie. We saw Frozen. It was so good. I'm still singing some of the songs!

(13) Good conversation at Tavern Talk

(14) Laughter!!!

(15) My house

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hellos and Goodbyes

Anyone who has ever found themselves planning for a new adventure knows that it is not easy! Saying goodbyes and hellos are difficult.

I've been thinking about those hellos and goodbyes lately. I am so blessed to be in this new place and I have been so blessed by the place I just left. I am reminded of all the dear friendships I've left behind but I also am fully aware of the new friends I am making here. I love that I am reconnecting with friends from prior adventures in my life. But I am deeply missing the friendships I have left behind. I am finding myself in this weird place between saying goodbye and hello.

I know that in time the goodbyes will fade away and the hellos will be more prominent. But for now it is such a weird place to be. Tonight when I went to Zumba, I was so glad that I went but I also found myself yearning for my Zumba girls from the Fargo Curves. I am making new friends but I deeply miss my friends. I can't stop by and see them. I can pick up the phone but it just isn't the same. There is just something about knowing that we are in the same city. But that is no longer the case.

"The two hardest things to say in life are hello for the first time and goodbye for the last time." Oh how I am remembering this in these days.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Hope

My I-tunes is opened to Ben Larson's version of Psalm 30 and I am currently on like my 6th time of listening to this song. It seems like such a fitting way to end my day as today we remembered the 4th anniversary of the Haiti earthquake. So many lives were turned upside down on this day 4 years ago.I remembered exactly where I was and who I was with when the news broke. I remember so much about that day. But nothing can compare to what I am sure was felt in Haiti by those that were there. I think of my friends Renee and Jon and what they were going through. I know that today is not easy for them or their families. It reminds them of all the loss they experienced that day. Yet I know they cling to hope.

Hope is a beautiful and powerful witness to our faith! It is important for us to cling to hope; especially when hope seems so far away. Because I believe when we cling to hope, we are able to experience joy. I am reminded of the words of Psalm 30. "Weeping may come for the night, but joy comes with the morning." Sometimes it seems to me that we need to weep before we can find joy and hope again.

So tonight as I remember 4 years ago today, I see hope as I listen to Ben's music coming through my computer speakers. "Weeping may come for the night but joy comes with the morning." Amen!

Sunday Blessings #16

It's time to post the first Sunday Blessings of 2014. Today as we remember the 4th anniversary of the Haiti earthquake I am especially thankful for these blessings in my life this past week.

(1) Awesome weather. It was literally like 50 degrees warmer than last week at this time

(2) Continued real mail in my mailbox. I am loving all the Christmas/New Years Cards coming in the mail

(3) Seeing an old friend

(4) Spending time with new friends at Tavern Talk

(5) Having a little one at my new call put her arms out because she wanted me to hold her. Also crawling around on the floor with her.

(6) Finally getting in a fantastic workout

(7) A text from a friend telling me how excited she is that I am finally going with her to the E

(8) Getting back into a routine of reading on my Kindle

(9) Golden Globe night

(10) Call from my momma. She is so excited that my sis and I are planning on visiting her this next weekend.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Last Few Days Random Friday Five

1. What is the best thing you have had to eat in the last couple of days? I treated myself to a cherry icee and a soft pretzel while I was at Target today. It tasted so very good!

2. What is the topic/subject of the best thing you have read in the last couple of days? I am currently reading Jodi Picoult's book The Storyteller which is good of course. The story is about the Holocaust. So at times it can be a little much.

3. Who would you like to give a shout out to that has been in your life the last couple of days? My friends. I know many of your arent here physically but I miss you all!

4. How have you practiced self-care in the last couple of days? Starting to get back into a consistent workout pattern again. Taking my day off.

5. Use the following words in a sentence: couple, shutter, smile, pillow, groan, skip, baby elephant, red shoes. The couple with the red shoes saw the baby elephant smile as the camera shutter opened while the giraffe let out a groan and the monkey and his friend skip around the zoo landing on a pillow.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Dear Child of God

Have you ever been somewhere that made you realize that our actions aren't always the gentlest for ourselves and the world around us?

Today I was working out when I saw something that made me extremely sad. A young gal and her mother came in to workout. I am not sure how old or young this gal was but I don't think she was comfortable being at this major workout place and especially since she would clearly be labeled as "overweight." At one point, I looked over and was pretty sure I saw her eyes welling up with tears. I found myself trying to focus on my own workout and not focus on her. But at one point, I heard words that I cannot erase from my mind. One of the woman was on the floor doing a workout move when she simply said, "I have fallen and I cannot get up." I know that those words weren't supposed to mean anything but I could see how they cut to the core of this young gal. Oh how we need to be not just "gentle" with ourselves but with our actions and especially with each other.

In so many ways, I saw myself in this young gal. Ever since I can remember I have been the overweight girl. I have found myself being picked last for the team in gym class. I have seen the looks from others that I am not as pretty as the other girl. I have seen the hurt in my own eyes as those mean words cut to my very core. And so I wish that I could say so many things to this young gal that was working out tonight.

And if I could this is what I would say: Dear Child of God---You are beautiful. You have been "fearfully and wonderfully made." I am proud of you for taking the time to workout with your mom. I am proud of you for even stepping foot in this building. I am proud of you for continuing to workout even as I saw the tears welling up in your eyes. I am proud of all that you can...and will accomplish. I know this isn't an easy place to be. But please know that God is always with you. God promises to never leave you or forsake you. I used to be you. I used to be picked on and teased for so many reasons. And now I can look at those bullies and say to them, "Look at me now! Look at what I have accomplished." You will always be a beloved child of God; always loved and cherished by God. Never forget that promise!---Love a sister in Christ.

And as I write these words, I am reminded that we need to be "gentle" with our actions and the world around us. By being gentle, I believe the world will be a much more welcoming, peaceful and hopeful place.



Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Learning to Be Gentle

Having or showing a kind and quiet nature: not harsh or violent"; "Not hard or forceful;" or "Not strong or harsh in effect or quality." These are the definitions for "gentle" that are given in the online version of the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. As I read these words and am feeling more and more like God called me to live into this word this year, I wonder what that actually means. Now I realize we are early into this #oneword365 challenge, so I will continue to grow into my word "gentle."


But I am finding myself just a little more aware of this word in my life. As I stated in my earlier blog post, most people would probably describe me as "gentle" but like I said I am definitely not always "gentle" with myself. That is often so much easier said than done. At 35 years old (and counting), I am and have been so ready to find my Mr. Right, to settle down, and to have a family. More often than I probably care to admit, I find myself reflecting on these things that I yearn sooo sooo deeply for in my life.


And when I think about that, I realize those are some of the times when I am definitely harsh with myself and not at all gentle.  I wonder why it hasn't happened for me yet. Am I not pretty enough? Do I not have anything to offer? And so many more questions. I realize these are not unfamiliar questions but too often I find myself in the un-gentleness with myself asking these questions. So one of my hopes and prayers as I live into this word is to find myself being gentle with myself when I do ask these questions...because I know that I am going to ask them.


Also in similar regards, I find myself being more "gentle" in regards to this here blog as well. I used to watch and wait to see who would comment on a post every time I wrote a post. For me, probably because of my own insecurities, I wondered if I truly had anything to say and if people were going to actually read it. But this first week of 2014 as I have lived into my word for the year, I find myself looking at my stats but not focusing so much on why people aren't commented (Don't get me wrong though I do LOVE receiving comments) or even if people are reading it. In being gentle with myself, hopefully I start to see a softness and a joy that this blog truly brings to my life.


As I continue to live into this word, I do find myself more aware of those times when I am not always so gentle with myself or those I love. If you read the earlier post, you know that sometimes I get mad at myself when I snap back at my mom or someone I love. Just the other day, I found myself getting antsy and wanting to snap back when this little voice inside my head kept echoing back the word "be gentle."


And that is exactly what I found myself doing...being more gentle. Thank you for walking with me as I learn to be more "gentle" with myself. Are you too living out a word this year? What is your word? How can I support you as you live out your #oneword365?

Friday, January 03, 2014

Calendar Friday Five

For today’s FF, tell us about five calendar themes that you like to see hanging on your walls or going with you to appointments, or that you WISH existed to adorn and accompany your life.

(1) My handy dandy date planner. When I was serving at DLC, we always got one for each of the staff. In May, we would sit down and plan out the next year. I used that planner all the time. Since starting at a new call, I went and got myself a new handy dandy date planner.

(2) The calendar on my phone. It's not really fancy but once it is in my phone, it is also transferred to the date planner. Hard to forget when it is in two different places.

(3) The inspirational calendars that my youth at DLC have been selling for several years. The pictures are fantastic. We always got a free sample so I would use that one in my office.

(4) Any fun calendar! Last year I bought myself a Gooseberry Patch calendar with recipes. It was fun. Sometimes I would get a calendar for Christmas from my sis...Precious Moments, kitties, etc.

(5) Hmmm I guess if I could have a calendar to WISH for it would be a calendar that would predict when I am going to find my Mr. Right etc!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

My #OneWord365 for 2014


"Nothing is so strong as gentleness, and nothing is so gentle as true strength." When I came across this quote on my Pinterest feed, I knew that I had found my #oneword365 for 2014! I have never done the #oneword365 so I was a little nervous to what my word might be and if I would even hear it. But the other day I kept hearing this voice whispering to me the word "gentle." And then I came across the quote I just posted...I knew that God had been whispering that word to me. So my #oneword365 for 2014 is the word GENTLE!

I would say that most people who know me might describe me as gentle but the truth is that I am not gentle with myself. Ever since I can remember I have been pretty tough on myself. I don't always see myself as the most beautiful. I need to remind myself to be gentle with myself. To be gentle when life isn't turning out the way I want it to. Those of you who regularly read this blog know that I especially am not "gentle" with myself as I wait for my Mr. Right. I am so ready. Yet perhaps by being "gentle" with myself God will bring that lucky guy into my life.

Max Ehrmann once wrote, "Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe. No less than the trees and the stars. In the noisy confusion of life keep peace in your soul." Yes, I need to be gentle with myself...to be gentle with who I am and who God has created me to be. And by being gentle, I believe God will bring more peace to my soul!

I also feel that I need to fall into being gentle. To be gentle with my words and my actions. There are times when I am not always gentle with those who I love. Sometimes when momma calls and I get a little impatient, I find myself snapping back and then I get mad at myself for snapping at her. I need to remind myself to be gentle with her. And to be gentle with myself because like a good Lutheran, I am both saint and sinner. I am not perfect and will make mistakes!

And perhaps as I fall into this word that God has whispered into my ear and my heart, I will find that strength as well. May your 2014 be full of gentleness as well.