Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Day #364

December 30, 2014

On the Sixth Day of Christmas, God gave to me….six text messages from different folks who care about me and others. What a joy to have community!

Blessings.

Day #363

December 29, 2014

On the Fifth Day of Christmas, God gave to me….five months (or so) of waiting until spring and fly-fishing. Just had an invitation I can’t wait to take the person up on. Something to dream about when it’s in the minus degrees tonight. :-)

Blessings.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Day #362

December 28, 2014

On the Fourth Day of Christmas, God gave to me....four hours of unscheduled time to use getting caught up.

There were thank you notes that needed to be written for things that go back for weeks. Having the extra time today allowed me to realize again how blessed we have been during this relocation. We are so thankful for all the cards, gifts, notes, calls, encouragement, hugs, etc. And I’m especially thankful for the time today to write and let folks know how appreciative we are!

Blessings.

Day #361

December 27, 2014
 
On the Third Day of Christmas, God gave to me....the assurance that there is always prayer:
  • When things happen I cannot control
  • When things happen I cannot fix
  • When things happen I am too far away to attend to myself
Yes, there is ALWAYS prayer, because God is present with us yesterday, today and forever (oh, another three!).
 
Blessings.

Day #360

December 26, 2014

The day after Christmas. Blah! Or so the world says. It’s all about getting back to normal as quick as possible. Trees begin to disappear, lights come off the roof and bushes, presents get returned and leftovers are devoured.

But wait! In the church we just finished Advent, not Christmas. Christmas is just beginning! What about those twelve days of Christmas – right up until Epiphany (the visit of the Magi celebrated January 6th)? That would make today only the second day of Christmas. 

Think of the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas. Well, it seems a long time ago someone took the items in the song and applied biblical or Christian themes to the different days (as a help for Confirmation instruction). It goes like this:
  • One Partridge = Jesus Christ
  • Two Turtle Doves = Old and New Testaments\
  • Three French Hens = Three things that remain
  • Four Calling Birds = Gospels
  • Five Golden Rings = Torah
  • Six Geese A-Laying = Days of Creation
  • Seven Swans A-Swimming = Gifts of the Holy Spirit
  • Eight Maids A-Milking = Beatitudes
  • Nine Ladies Dancing = Fruits of the Holy Spirit (different than Seven above)
  • Ten Lords A-Leaping = Commandments
  • Eleven Pipers Piping = Apostles Jesus left to carry on message
  • Twelve Drummers Drumming = Points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed
Okay, I thought, I believe I can come up with my own Twelve Days of Christmas – things that apply to The Daily Intersection. So here goes (with the first obviously being Jesus, which cannot be improved upon!):
On the Second Day of Christmas, God gave to me....a ‘double-take’ based on the number of “likes” and “responses” to the Christmas wish I posted on FaceBook. It must have struck a chord with folks, because I was overwhelmed at how many folks liked it or commented. It made for a very Merry Christmas!
Here is what I posted: “Merry Christmas, one and all! Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth, peace!”

Blessings.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Day #359

December 25, 2014

Advent, 2014 - Day #26 of Photos for the Season

APPEARANCE


Glory to God in the Highest - who made his appearance on earth. Not just an appearance, however, but a dwelling place, an incarnation, a human/divine life, death and resurrection - so that creation might come to more fully know the love of God and be saved through Jesus Christ. Glory to God in the Highest and a very Merry Christmas to all!!!

Blessings.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Day #358

December 24, 2014

Advent, 2014 - Day #25 of Photos for the Season

NAME


But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for see--I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 2:11, NRSV)

"The name of Jesus charms our fears and bids our sorrows cease" (from Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing). Glory to God in the highest!

Blessings.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Day #357

December 23, 2014

Advent, 2014 - Day #24 of Photos for the Season

PROPHECY


"In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, 'Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.'" (Luke 1:26-33, NRSV)

Blessings.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Day #356

December 22, 2014

Advent, 2014 - Day #23 of Photos for the Season

JUBILATION


What joy there is in announcing the birth of the Savior! While jubilation is not a word we often use today, happiness, gladness, festivity, and merriment all bring voice to the joy of the angels. It must have been glorious.

What words might describe our announcement of the Good News?

Blessings.

Day #355

December 21, 2014

Advent, 2014 - Day #22 of Photos for the Season
PEACE

 
This ornament hangs on the tree in the sanctuary. While the dove is often a symbol of the Holy Spirit, it is also a symbol of peace, the two being connected. The Holy Spirit is peace, along with assurance of God's love and mercy, etc.
 
May your final days of this Advent Season be filled with peace!
 
Blessings.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Day #354

December 20, 2014

Advent, 2014 - Day #21 of Photos for the Season

SING


This is the choir rehearsing for the Advent Lessons and Carols worship last Sunday. And SING they did!!! Beautifully and with all their heart!

Blessings.

Day #353

December 19, 2014

Advent, 2014 - Day #20 of Photos for the Season

COMFORT


What demonstrates comfort more appropriately on a cool day than a quilt? This one was made for me by a dear friend as I left for seminary many years ago - with my initials even embroidered in the corner. Wrapping up in it has brought warmth, comfort, peace and remembrances for years - just as being wrapped in God's love through the Light of the World brings comfort and peace in the midst of darkness and doubt.

Blessings.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Day #352

December 18, 2014

Advent, 2014 - Day #19 of Photos for the Season

FILLED

 
Is your glass half-filled this Advent Season, or half-empty? Or as I once heard, is it always full - just sometimes with water and sometimes with air, but blessed nevertheless!
 
Blessings.

Day #351

December 17, 2014

Advent, 2014 - Day #18 of Photos for the Season

SPEAK


I must admit, "speak" was the most difficult word to settle upon an illustration. This picture reminds me, however, of words my father used to say to me often: "Engage your brain before you engage your mouth!"

Perhaps the "speak" for Advent would be more appropriately the angel's words to Mary or to the shepherd's about the coming of the Lord, yet the Kingdom of God today might benefit as much from this "THINK" reminder as at any other time.

Blessings.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Day #350

December 16, 2014

Advent, 2014 - Day #17 of Photos for the Season

VISION


These glasses spend precious little time on the shelf. I need them to see clearly, to read well, to drive safely, for almost everything. How fortunate that I have them and I am thankful for them. But what about other types of vision: seeing the big picture, looking toward the future instead of focusing on the past, watching for ways to share the Good News and help those in need? For those I need other "assists" than glasses: prayer, worship, study, conversation, dreaming, being open to the Holy Spirit. Thanks be to God we have those...and I am thankful for them!

Blessings.

Day #349

December 15, 2014

Advent, 2014 - Day #16 of Photos for the Season
LIGHT


This lit candle adorns the bottom of the stole my Sister-in-Law crafted for the Season of Advent. The Light shines in the darkness... (John 1.5). We celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Light of the World, in the midst of the winter here, when the days are just beginning to get longer and the nights a wee bit shorter. The light is filled with hope that darkness does not, will not, rule and that the light WILL always overcome.
I'm always amazed at how little amount of light needs to shine in a completely dark room to make a difference. It is a reminder that we are also called to be light to the world, helping to dispel the darkness of gloom, fear, doubt, etc, through love, service, and patience. These are certainly needed in a world where darkness seems to be ever-increasing. Come, O Lord, and shine!

Blessings.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Day #348

December 14, 2014

Advent, 2014 - Day #15 of Photos for the Season

JOY

 

 
 
 



Hard to find more joy than in a dog who loves snow getting the chance to roll in some fresh powder. She's soooo happy to see snow! Oh, that we would be as joyful for the opportunity to spend time with God in worship!


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Day #347

December 13, 2014

Advent, 2014 - Day #14 of Photos for the Season

FAITH


As I watched the practice today for Advent Lessons and Carols worship tomorrow, it occurred to me that perhaps the greatest testament of faith was Mary’s laying Jesus in a manger wrapped in bands of cloth. Faith that God knew what was really happening, that God had everything all under control, and that God would watch over her newborn for his whole life. Faith, that when things might seem the most confusing and even the darkest, believing we are not alone or without hope.

Blessings.

Day #346

December 12, 2014

Advent, 2014 - Day #13 of Photos for the Season

PATIENCE

 
 
In the midst of the cold and during long nights of darkness, a tree waits with patience for the coming of more light and warmth to refill its branches with leaves and spur its growth. During this season of Advent, we also wait for the celebration of the coming of the Light of the World, along with more warmth through grace, love and forgiveness, bringing everlasting joy.
 
Blessings.
 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Day #345

December 11, 2014

Advent, 2014 - Day #12 of Photos for the Season
 
ETERNITY
 
 
A ring with no beginning and no end reminds me of God - from always, to now, and forever, God IS. Throughout all eternity, God's love has been, is, and will be present.
 
Blessings.
 

Day #344

December 10, 2014

Advent, 2014 - Day #11 of Photos for the Season
 
MESSENGER
 
 
Blessings.
 

Day #343

December 9, 2014

Advent, 2014 - Day #10 of Photos for the Season

PROMISE


The love of Christ is shown in water and God's Word, what we call baptism. It is the Adoption into God's family, from which nothing can separate us from God, as spoken by Paul in these words he wrote to the Romans, chapter 8: "38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Great Good News - great promise!

Blessings.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Day #342

December 8, 2014

Advent, 2014 - Day #9 of Photos for the Season

WAY


A large depiction of the nativity hangs in the windows of the walkway where I serve. This is only a couple of the panels, depicting the way the Wisemen took to visit Jesus with their gifts and worship. What "way" are we taking to share our gifts and worship with Jesus?

Blessings.

Day #341

December 7, 2014

Advent, 2014 - Day #8 of Photos for the Season

LOVE
 

The meal of Holy Communion, Christ's Body and Blood given and shed for you and for me for the forgiveness of sins, is the most amazing demonstration of love ever. Each time we receive Christ's Body and Blood, he is telling us he loves us and forgives us and is reminding us of the relationship we are in with him, now and forever.

Blessings. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Day #340

December 6, 2014

Advent, 2014 - Day #7 of Photos for the Season

KINGDOM

 
The Kingdom of God can be described as relationship - God's relationship with us and our relationship with one another. At a reception following a Memorial Service, the Kingdom of God is evident in the love shown to the grieving family and in their love for one another. God, and God's Kingdom, is surely in this place, and we trust and know God is with this family.

Blessings.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Day #339

December 5, 2014

Advent, 2014 - Day #6 of Photos for the Season

FAITHFUL
Also defined as loyal, constant, and steadfast, the postal service and their unofficial motto comes to mind: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

Which begs the question: what keeps me from being faithful in completing what God asks of me?

Blessings.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Day #338

December 4, 2014

Advent, 2014 - Day #5 of Photos for the Season

ALERT
 
 

It is hard to describe alert any more appropriately than a loyal dog watching for, or out for, their "master." Ever ready, ever anticipating something good from the one(s) who love them and who they love. Here is ours being "alert," waiting to take a ride (her favorite thing). What are we alert for from the One who loves us unconditionally?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Day #337

December 3, 2014

Advent, 2014 - Day #4 of Photos for the Season

READY
 
In the sanctuary, the tree stands ready for decorations, thanks to the willing hands of wonderful volunteers. Are our hearts also standing ready for the adorning of Christ's love and grace?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Day #336

December 2, 2014

Advent, 2014 - Day #3 of Photos for the Season

RULE

 
"And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. (Genesis 1:14-19)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Day #335

December 1, 2014

Advent, 2014 - Day #2 of Photos for the Season

TIME

For many years this clock my father made kept time for our family, chiming every quarter hour. My how time marches on….or as the Psalmist cries, "How long, Oh Lord?!"
Blessings.

Day #334

November 30, 2014

First Sunday in Advent - Day #1 of Photos for the Season

HOPE


What more appropriate symbol of hope! The hope of the world rests on the shoulders of the one who hung here and died for you and me, yet was resurrected. The hope of love and grace is embodied in Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Thanks be to God.

Blessings.

Day #327.5

This is the promised picture from the Installation Worship Service on November 26th, Day #327. Truly a blessed day.


Blessings.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Day #333

November 29, 2014

As I reflected on the beginning of Advent tomorrow (see Day #316 for a photo challenge I plan for the upcoming days of the Advent Season), and the season of waiting and preparing for celebrating Christ’s coming some two thousand years ago and one day coming again, I watched our dog. I could not help but think about patience in waiting, or perhaps, the absence of it.

My husband had gone out to shovel snow and our dog stayed inside with me. As she waited, she was anything but patient: she paced; she panted; she looked out the window; she went to the door; she circled the room; she even whimpered a little. Would he ever come back? As I tried to explain he would only be gone a little while, she ignored my voice and fretted just as much, if not more, than before.

But what was happening as she did all this? She was missing the joy of the moment: the warmth of the room and the extra attention I was paying her. No, she wanted HIM to come back. Now!

Are we missing the joy, and the opportunities to serve others, being too concerned about Jesus’ coming and return? Are we unnecessarily fretting over when and how Jesus might return, ignoring the signs, and the joys, of his kingdom in the here and now?

Blessings.

Day #332

November 28, 2014

A question someone asked me today caused me to reflect on transformation, specifically how we humans transform (of course, I’m coming from a viewpoint that transformation does happen and is inevitable). Now I’m not referring to the aging type of transformation, or what happens through formal education, but what happens as we go through life. Simply, am I the same person I was five years ago or ten years ago?

The answer is, no. And, quite frankly, I hope not! My answer to the person’s question focused on how I see God changing us. One way is through God’s Word. Every time I read and study scripture, I believe I am transformed through understanding more about who God is, how God loves me, and how God desires for me to respond. Another way is through worshiping God. Each time I spend intentional time with God and God’s people, I cannot help but be transformed. Especially through the meal of Holy Communion, as I literally ingest the living Word of Christ, being reminded of his forgiveness and grace. And, perhaps most importantly, through prayer, when my will is transformed toward God’s will.

All that being said, I also believe I can block God’s transforming of me. Please, dear God, forbid that possibility!

Blessings.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Day #331

November 27, 2014

On this Thanksgiving Day, I find myself reflecting on the message from the neighboring pastor last evening:
Many in the world are thankful FOR things, like family, stuff, health. They are good reasons to give thanks, of course. Yet, as Christians, we are called to be thankful TO - God, who gives us all we are and all we have, no matter what our lot in life.  
Thankful TO in contrast to thankful FOR. Hmmm...

With that thought in mind, I wish everyone a very.....
Blessings.

Day #330

November 26, 2014

Tonight we had Thanksgiving Eve Worship with neighboring congregations. What a fun and joyful time!

And, certainly, there was fellowship afterwards. With cookies!!!!

About the cookies. Years ago a friend (the one I had tea with and wrote about on Day #288) shared her recipe with me for homemade Butter Cookies. She not only shared the recipe, we made them together many times, sharing laughter and making memories. They became a tradition for our family as much as for hers. We won’t be making them this year, certainly not together anyway.

Except we aren’t really that far away. As I perused the cookie selection tonight, guess what...there were homemade butter cookies. It was a pleasant surprise to have a little taste of home, friends and memories. So thankful!!

Blessings.

Day #329

November 25, 2014

The question for today’s “Think” section of the Devotion, D365, is: “How do you give out your thanks?”

I LOVE that question. Perhaps it is my favorite of any I have ever read/heard about responsive living. It really made me stop and think about saying thank you, writing thank you notes and cards, acting out my thanks, and living my thanks.

Do I have things to be thankful for? Oh, you better believe it. Is my life perfect? No, but is anyone’s? Yet, am I grateful for what I have, who I am, where I am, what I do, who is in my life, etc? Again, you better believe it.

So...what?! Well, now I’m considering, how do I give out my thanks with my time, my talents, and my treasures? And how will I as time goes on?

Blessings.

Day #328

November 24, 2014

On Day #314, I mentioned Ferguson, MO, as we traveled by that community. Today the final ruling from the Grand Jury was announced. Regardless of the decision, there is pain, anger, reaction and destruction.

For me, memories of painful events as I grew up in a time of similar unrest filled my mind and heart. It hurts my heart that relationships cannot be formed and celebrated, but instead fear and mistrust prevail. There is also anger that after so many decades of attempt things seem to be little better in many places. There is the reaction of praying for what must be a frightening and disheartening time, no matter which side of the coin you are on. And destruction, senseless destroying of homes, businesses, and hope.

How God must be saddened when we fight! How God must be saddened when we hate instead of love as God so desires for us to do!

Blessings.

P.S. Several days later, this link was posted on a friend’s FB page - well worth the read: http://www.khq.com/story/27489010/nfl-player-benjamin-watsons-ferguson-post-on-facebook-goes-viral#.VHbBwg-fGVA.facebook

Day #327

November 23, 2014

This morning was the first worship service in the new call. I suppose nervous would be an appropriate word. Not because I was leading worship or sharing the Good News, but doing so in a new place with new faces.

Yet, nervous should not have even entered the realm of consideration, for the welcome was warm and inviting; the faces belong to people who are already becoming familiar and important to me; and the time of worship was joyful and devoted. The Kingdom of God represented in a new place, yet familiar and awesome!

Then...later in the afternoon, the official installation. The bishop of the synod, area clergy, and many others came to celebrate with me and my husband that we are here, called to this place, ready to love and serve.

Truly it was a wondrous day full of God’s love and grace!

Blessings.

PS Plan to have a picture to post soon.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Day #326

November 22, 2014

Well, it seems to have begun in earnest. The season for shopping: groceries for all the extra meals and treats; items for the friends and family; finding just the right thing for just the right person.

We’ve been shopping almost everyday, but it’s for essentials we didn’t bring along on the move. Things we didn’t realize we would need or things we discarded too quickly. It seems there is always one more thing on the list.

But my favorite line for today was overheard by a young boy telling the woman with him (mom, grandma - not sure who): “I want that one, just not the GIRLY one!”

Hmmm...how often do we find ourselves wanting, only to find it necessary to be specific about the color and the make and the model and the style and the dye lot and the brand name and the….you name it. It made me wonder, am I too picky? Am I too concerned about the "girly one" or the "stylish one?"

It brought to mind the Apostle Paul and his words to the Philippians in chapter 4, verses 11-13:
Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (NRSV)

Certainly food for thought!

Blessings.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Day #325

November 21, 2014

It has been five days in the new call. Five FULL days. So what does a first week look like? Well, here are some words that I’ll use to paint a picture:
Thoughtful
Welcoming
Hugs
Smiles
Laughter
Meetings
Nervousness
Hard-working
Food
Warmth
Youth
Decisions
Settling
And one more: JOYOUS!!!

Blessings.

Day #324

November 20, 2014

The question today at a study I attended was about transformation: how do/have each of us transformed over the years?

Wow! If you had told me thirty years ago I would meet a man, fall in love, and marry him, I probably would have called you crazy. If you had said, you will be a pastor, I would have known you were crazy (I took a long time to recognize/accept the gifts God had placed in me for this profession - especially public speaking). And if you had even hinted I would leave NC and move hundreds of miles across country to the Northwest, I would have just walked away from you, probably shaking my head in disbelief.

Yet, bit by bit, moment by moment, teaching by teaching, experience by experience, God has transformed me and my thoughts/actions. I have to say hindsight can be a gift, especially when it comes to recognizing God’s work in our lives.

Blessings.

Day #323

November 19, 2014

This week the D365 (http://d365.org) Daily Devotion has been about seeing Christ in our midst. It begins each day with this reminder:
“If God had a face what would it look like? […]
What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Tryin' to make his way home?” Joan Osborne, “One of Us” 
This 90s pop song poses thought-provoking questions. What does God look like? How do we know if God is in our midst? Would we recognize Jesus if he were sitting beside us? The Spirit of God is in our midst today, but do we take the time to see God there?
This is especially meaningful to me right now as I am in a new place and meeting new people. All is unfamiliar and could feel a little frightening. I say “could.” It’s not. God is everywhere. Certainly in the beauty of the surroundings/nature, but mostly God is in the people. Kind folks who welcome me with a smile and hug. Helpful folks who take care of my needs and answer my questions. New friends who seem as ones I have known forever.

We don’t always realize how much of an impact we are making in someone’s life, but we should be aware that we are making one. What is the impact you are making?

As you ponder that question, I also share the “go” from the devotion:

Where do you see God in your life today? Go out looking for God in your midst. Say hello to your Lord! If you don’t see God, then maybe God is calling YOU to be Jesus for someone else. Open the door for a stranger, put down your phone to say hello to the cashier at the store, help someone out just because. Wherever you go, God is sending you there for a reason!
Blessings.

Day #322

November 18, 2014

My husband and I returned today from an overnight trip yesterday to a neighboring town for an errand. It’s about a 31/2 hour drive, with beautiful scenery along the way. Just over halfway there is a solar wind-farm. I am fascinated by the massive windmills, the idea of using natural energy to heat, cool, and light homes and such.
The picture was taken yesterday, but the scene was similar as we returned today. I have a feeling there will be many such pictures, many such moments of awe over breathtaking views and sites. Our world is amazing - our God so good and so creative! Please stop a moment to really see what is around you!

Blessings.

Day #321

November 17, 2014

What a gorgeous welcome I had to the new congregation where I am serving as pastor! Today was the first day in the office, but I took a look into the sanctuary soon after arriving. Now this adorning the pew with quilts was not done just for my coming, but look how beautiful the greeting is:
The story behind this is that quilting folks gather here twice a month to put these lovely creations together. Then once a year they send them off to Lutheran World Relief to be distributed to folks around the globe (for more information go to http://lwr.org/quilts).

Can you imagine being wrapped in one of these quilts? It would be as though you were literally wrapped in the love of Christ! Seventy-four people somewhere in the world will have opportunity to feel warmth and caring from just the effort of this one congregation in MT. And hundreds, probably thousands, from the wider church will be added to them. What an amazing gift! What an amazing response to God’s love and grace! What beautiful stewardship and Christ-living!

Blessings.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Day #320

November 16, 2014

On our first Sunday in the new city, we decided to attend worship at one of our Ecumenical partners (next Sunday will be the first at our new congregation). The service was somewhat unfamiliar, but we were welcomed warmly.

However, I had a moment of tearfulness/sadness as I thought of folks far away. The last worship at the congregation we left was a funeral (see Day #279) and the last hymn sung during that service was, God Be with you Till We Meet Again. What did we sing today in worship? Of course, God Be with you…

As I said many times to folks we were leaving, you go with me in my heart, no matter how far away. Today was surely a reminder of that truth!

Blessings.

Day #319

November 15, 2014

Another moment for giving thanks today. Well, technically two:
  1. A washer and dryer to clean what clothes we have (the rest of our belongings will not be here for a few days) and those we found while shopping today (a couple of good deals!).
  2. A home-cooked meal in our new “home.” Hopefully the first of many to come.
As a friend reminds me often on her blog, "Life is good!" God is, too!

Blessings.

Day #318

November 14, 2014

Have you ever been so tired and overwhelmed you were just addled? Not quite yourself; feeling out of sorts and unorganized; wondering if things will ever become “normal” again? Today was like that. Perhaps we worked so hard to get ready to leave, drove so many miles chasing decent weather, that finally arriving seemed unbelievable, yet here we were.

Even in the midst of those feelings, we are thankful for many things. We have benefited from the gracious generosity of a couple who are renting their house to us, furnished and ready to move in. We were greeted by another couple who are glad we have arrived, making sure we would be warm and comfy in our new “home.”

Overall, we found our way, had a good meal, had safe travel across a couple thousand miles, and are so grateful for all going so well. Truly we are….but have to admit we are very glad to be off the road with a couple of days to get acclimated!

Blessings.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Day #317

November 13, 2014

There are two things I am hugely grateful for today and am giving thanks to God. The first, blue skies with less wind. The second, a car that cranks right up after several days on a trailer through nights with temperatures below 0.

Awesome!

Blessings.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Day #316

November 12, 2014

A colleague from seminary (thank you, Jerry) shared the following as a photo challenge list for the Season of Advent. It seems like a really great idea and way to prepare for the coming of the Savior.

The idea is to take a picture each day that “describes” what the word means for you. For example, the first Sunday of Advent, November 30, is hope, a fitting way to begin the season that is full of hope.

My plan is to post pictures here. Other ideas might be on a Facebook page, Snapchat, Instagram, or Twitter. What other creative ways mights there be to intentionally share your images of the season?

Blessings.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Day #315

November 11, 2014

“At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, WWI came to an end.” It was the explanation my husband gave after I said, “Look, it’s 11:11 on the 11th.” At the time, I just thought I was making an interesting time observation, but my history-loving husband knew better. “A moment of silence,” he said, and as I drove, he closed his eyes. I wasn’t sure what was happening, until he opened them again and made the statement I started with.

Today we give thanks for all veterans. Both of our fathers served in WWII (proof WWI was NOT the war that ended all wars and certainly not the end of the need for service personnel). We have friends and other family that have served, and are serving. We are grateful for their sacrifice, their courage, their commitment. Thank you, all of you past, present and future, for what you do!
Blessings.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Day #314

November 10, 2014

Driving across this amazing country, I am reminded that there are so very many people here that are eager to help and be friendly. For example, it’s awesome to be greeted in the morning by a friendly face at the motel’s breakfast room.

I am also reminded by how very much there is to see. Beautiful natural sights and magnificent ones made by human hands (please visit travelingwithhitch.blogspot.com).

But then there are also reminders of things gone wrong. Like around Ferguson, MO, where houses and apartment buildings stand burned and empty from the aftermath of riots. Oh, the sad and unnecessary things that can happen as a result of anger, hatred, misunderstanding, and fear. A startling reminder that prayers are needed as the people of Ferguson await court decisions and their possible ripple effect. Lord, have mercy!

Blessings.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Day #313

November 9, 2014

Headed west, we are driving my husband’s pickup and pulling my car on a U-Haul trailer behind it. Ok, so what does that have to do with anything? Well, here are my observations:

First, as I learned while driving today, it means paying extra-special attention behind the wheel. Every move I make affects the trailer behind me. Hmm...the vehicle I’m driving is connected in a very real way to another.

Second, what I see in the rearview mirror never changes. To see what is coming I have to rely on other fields of vision. Hmm...I need to consider other “viewpoints.”

Third, if I focus on what is in the mirror behind me too much, I get off track in moving forward. The pickup can easily sway into another lane. Hmm...I can’t head into the future too directly or confidently if I’m focused on the past.

Fourth, sometimes the trailer affects the pickup. For instance, if it hits a bump or pothole, its “bouncing” can affect the performance of the pickup. Hmm…(this may be a stretch!)can God’s plan for creation have an affect on my performance/life? Albeit, God’s plan is always for the good - see Romans 8:28.

Ah, the surprising places for lessons in life and growth in faith!

Blessings.

Day #312

November 8, 2014

Well, we’re off! The next step in the adventure/call has begun. Many thanks to all who have helped in some way; who have prayed for us; who have called or sent a note of encouragement; and who have touched our lives, especially in these last six years of ministry here in NC. We appreciate you! We love you! We will miss you!

But, even as we go, if you’re a regular here at The Daily Intersection, you know I believe relationships don’t end. Our lives are forever held together by a common thread of love, so know you are in my heart, now and always.

Blessings.

Day #311

November 7, 2014

We did it!!! We finally got just about everything we own into boxes just in time for the movers to arrive. So here is a SHOUT-out to United Van Lines and three very efficient men: Tom, Milton and Jason!!

Thank you guys for making it happen today! And for being so encouraging, helpful, professional and efficient.

Whew!!! Now on to the next step.

Blessings.

PS - As we head toward the west, you are invited to visit Traveling With Hitch (http://travelingwithhitch.blogspot.com/2014/11/headed-west-day-1.html) to keep up with our progress.

Day #310

November 6, 2014

We stopped the packing process today (will it ever end!?!?) and went to one of our favorite places for lunch. The owner is a fine man who is connected with the church where I was serving. He is hardworking and generous, and a fabulous chef!

He came over and sat at the table with us for a few minutes to say goodbye. We got to talking about relationships and conversations between people with differing viewpoints. He asked a question that made me wonder, something like - why can’t people just have discussions without hating each other?

Good point and good question. What makes us shut off communication? What causes us to dig in our heels and think we have to be right, or make our point, or show the other person how wrong they are? Why can’t we just have good discussions without hating each other?

Blessings.

Day #309

November 5, 2014

One more time of fellowship with family happened today. We had dinner with my aunt, my mother’s sister-in-law. She’s been a part of my life for many years and we’ve enjoyed many talks, laughter, and fun times together.

Tonight was no different. She’s a fun-loving, young-at-heart, great lady and I’m grateful for her spunk and gutsy-ness. Thanks for meeting us! We love you!

Blessings.

Day #308

November 4, 2014

Ok, I must confess, I had a little meltdown today toward the end of the retreat. It has been all we hoped: a special time of sharing, laughter, prayers, and blessings. For example, here is a picture of our “altar” with some of the one-word descriptions of things that have meant something to us in these last hours.
Perhaps the most important, however, is the community building and bonding. It is holy ground, being with women in similar vocations and situations. There isn’t time for that often, and I realized in a profound way that I will soon be leaving this group, probably forever.

Thankfully, the meltdown lasted only briefly as hugs were given and I remembered this is not the ending of relationships. We are all connected by the bond of Christ, those in my past, present, and future. Thanks be to God!

Blessings.

Day #307

November 3, 2014

We had free time this afternoon during the retreat. The location is a place that holds many good memories for me - church worship times, campfirmation retreats, candidacy meetings when I was in seminary, convocations, etc. Many hours with laughter, prayers, struggling, and learning have been spent here.
(Photo borrowed from the Lutheridge website)

So I spent some of my free time walking the camp, remembering. Many smiles came to my face. There truly is something special about the “place apart.” It’s one of the many camps the denomination owns, and for that, I am grateful!

Blessings.

Day #306

November 2, 2014

Over the last weeks many people have asked, why the west? Why leave your home state, your family and friends, and go so far away? Yesterday someone asked a similar question in a way that made me reply, maybe I just haven’t really found home yet.

That answer was on my heart as we began the Women in Clergy Retreat today (see Day #283 for more: http://thedailyintersection.blogspot.com/2014/10/day-283.html). Our Spiritual Director for the retreat (the dear woman on the left) began the time together by asking us to think of an ancestor who influenced us in some way. Then she gave us a piece of ribbon to write our ancestor’s name on and pin it on the blue cloth behind the leaders. After sharing about our ancestors, she mentioned how we reach back for them and their grounding, and yet look forward to our home in the future in the eternal presence of God.

No wonder why “home” may seem so elusive to me. After all, this life is only temporary, a time and place to love others, be in relationship, serve wherever we are called/live, and share the story of God’s love. The opportunities to do so are endless and do not require a certain “space” to happen.

So I share the blessing our Spiritual Director left for me to find. It touched me and maybe will you, as well:
May your longings lead you far and farther still toward the place where what you desire can be met only by God. May your hungering bring you home by another way.  
Blessings.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Day #305

November 1, 2014

We saw our Godson today - our first one. He’s almost grown, over six feet tall now. We held him as a baby at his baptism, kept him for his parents, and have prayed for him over the years. He’s now a handsome, kind, Christian young man.

Folks often say children growing up is the best way to keep track of how much time has gone by and how fast. Well, that was certainly true today as we all visited. Where did those years go? Why do I not feel any older in the least, but know I must be based on his almost-grown self?

Well, time is one of those strange things. It’s our doing and matters not so much to God. One day we, too, will no longer have need to keep time. We will be basking in the light of Christ, worshipping and praising, and not think a thing about eternity or how long it is.

Until then, however, the mirror and the face of babies grown up tell the story. Can’t avoid it! But then, I wouldn’t want to!!

Blessings.

Day #304

October 31, 2014

It wasn’t exactly the kind of day you would hope your loved one to have on their birthday. Especially one that is moving my husband into a new decade. His actual "birth"-day included packing, moving, and trashing...probably three things my husband likes the least...or hates the most. But he was such a trooper!

Then to top it all off, he found out one of his favorite restaurants is closed. For good. And, of course, it was the one he wanted to go to for his birthday dinner. Man, what a day!!

Truth is, though, it was actually a great day due to help from friends and family. We couldn’t have accomplished all we did without them. Deep thanks and appreciation!!

Another reminder that we all need community. Thanks be to God for others!

Blessings.

Day #303

October 30, 2014

At sometimes the most unexpected places we can find a treasure. We rented a truck today to take all the “stuff” from the farm (see Day #302) to our other house. While we waited (and waited!) at a car repair garage that doubles as a rental place, I read this on the wall:

PRAYER before starting work

My Heavenly Father, as I enter this work place,
I bring Your presence with me.
I speak Your peace, Your grace, Your mercy,
and Your perfect order into this office.
I acknowledge Your power over all that
will be spoken, thought, decided, and done within these walls.
Lord, I thank You for the gifts You have blessed me with.
I commit to using them responsibly in Your honor.
Give me a fresh supply of strength to do my job.
Assist my projects, ideas, and energy,
so that even my smallest accomplishment
may bring You glory.
Lord, when I am confused, guide me.
When I am weary, energize me. When I am
burned out, infuse me with the light of the Holy Spirit.
May the work that I do and the way I do it bring
faith, joy, and a smile to all that I come in
contact with today. And oh Lord,
when I leave this place, give me traveling mercy.
Bless my family and home to be in order as I left it.
Lord, I thank you for everything You’ve done,
everything You’re doing, and everything You’re going to do.
In the Name of Jesus, I pray, with much love and Thanksgiving…
Amen.


What a gem! And I have a feeling it will show up somewhere in the new office! And maybe even on your wall and in your heart.

Blessings.

Day #302

October 29, 2014

We made our last trip to the farm today. Hard to imagine that after ten years of at least one of us living there it’s time to finish packing it up. It’s been a peaceful place, a healing place, a place of respite and inspiration, a place of calm in the midst of days of chaos and stress, a retreat for mourning and a place of celebration. It’s even where my husband and I met.

But we are off to new places and new adventures. As the prayer goes - to paths as yet untrodden. Well, at least trod by us. So as we leave one place that has plenty of our footprints and fingerprints, we are ready to add our footprints and fingerprints to those in a new place. Soon!

Blessings.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Day #301

October 28, 2014

So yesterday I was giving thanks for finding a place to live temporarily at the new call. Today a God-cidence happened again. Or, I'm hoping it did!

We need to sell the house where we are leaving. It's on the market, but no nibbles yet. Today we were at the bank and asked an innocent question about the 7-Up cans being displayed that led to discovering someone at the branch is looking for a house in the neighborhood where we live. Then it turns out she is the same one who we need to meet with about our banking issues. So we answer some questions she had about the house and left with the hope she'll drive by later to take a look. After all, she had already become interested in the house on the internet.

Let's just say, it was a neat moment. And will be even neater if she and her family fall in love with the house and just have to have it. That would sure be great for us. Find a place to live, sell a place to live. Sounds like a good week to me! (Prayers are appreciated!)

Also, to those who drop by my Intersection musings, Thank You!! 300 days and counting is not lost on me. God truly is awesome!

Blessings. 


Day #300

October 27, 2014

God's timing never ceases to amaze me!

Had a phone call Saturday from the chair of the Call Committee at the new call. She had a lead on a house we might rent where we are headed. Since we had no idea where we would be living, this was good news!!

We called the folks, discussed the details, worked it all out, signed the agreement and are all set. Who would have thought it could work out this quickly and easily?! We couldn't have arranged it better if we had tried - so I'm thankful God was doing so!

Blessings.

Day #299

October 26, 2014

Reformation Sunday. Generally a day celebrated with the color red, the singing of at least one of Martin Luther's hymns and worship at its finest. We went to worship at the congregation where I interned nearly seven years ago. The music was fantastic, the preaching inspiring and the experience awesome. Not to mention the joy of seeing familiar faces and people we adore. 

You know, that's the essence of gathering for worship. Along with the assurance of God's love and forgiveness through the celebration of the Sacrament of Holy Communion. 

What a joy to be in the presence of God with the people of God!

Blessings. 

Day #298

October 25, 2014

My husband turns the corner on a new decade soon. Within the week, he'll have a new number at the front of his age. What better way to celebrate than with good friends and great food!!

Yes, we took some time out from packing and had a great day/evening. Memories were made, much laughter enjoyed, and stories old and new shared - topped off with the most creative cake I've ever seen, provided by the bestest of friends.

All in all, a fantastic day and much to be thankful for!!

Blessings.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Day #297

October 24, 2014

Today was a day of endings...and beginnings. First, a funeral for the woman who I wrote about on Day #291. While it was a loving tribute to a grand southern belle, it also somehow felt as though the beginning chapters of my married life were closing.

Today was also the ending of my husband’s work. I wrote about his “retirement” dinner yesterday, but today was officially his last day, which also ended our being separated by distance, living in two houses and two places.

So we celebrated with dear friends, focusing on the beginnings: our upcoming adventure in the West, the next chapters of our married life being together in one house, and soon the beginning of a new decade for him with a new number in the front.

One thing to say, life is never dull! As the old saying goes, when one door closes, another one opens!! You just never know what God has in store!

Blessings.

Day #296

October 23, 2014

The company where my husband has worked for over a decade planned a “retirement” dinner for him tonight. It was a delightful evening at a wonderful restaurant and almost all the employees were there with their spouses or dates. Toward the end of the evening I was pleased to hear some complimentary and affirming things about my husband - the depth of his knowledge of the industry, his ability to teach others, his caring ways of encouraging people and helping them do things.

Also, a little history. My husband began working at this company as it was just opening a facility in the area. It started out with a bare-bones staff, basically of three. So as the facility has grown, the owner recognized, and commented tonight, about how my husband has contributed to its present success by saying how he cares for the company and the customer, making his best effort to do a good job for both! I happen to know that’s just the way he is and who he is.

And yes, I’m very proud of him! His co-workers only stated things I’ve known about him for years and that help me love him. I am just so glad that others see it, too, and took the time tonight to tell him how he has had an impact on their lives.

One of the things, however, that the owner said stuck with me. This wasn’t about my husband, particularly, but he was talking about the company’s values and mission. He said, “Lots of people do what we do. In fact, anyone can really do what we do. What makes us different is how we do it.” Then he went on to talk about the importance of having a good reputation for doing things the right way, taking care of detail and doing the best for the customer, etc.

It made me think about a congregation. Any group of people can be the “church” as we worship, learn, pray, and serve together. What makes one congregation different from another is how we do those things. Not the kind of music, the style of preaching, the depth of the studies, or the scope of the serving, but how we do those things out of love. Do we put the “company” and the “customer” first? In other words, do we love God with our whole heart and our neighbor as ourselves...and live it?

Blessings.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Day #295

October 22, 2014

Wait! What is that?! Is that a light at the end of the tunnel?!


Hmmm...not so sure...but it may just be an oncoming train.

(Just a bit of humor in these crazy days of ending and beginning!)

Blessings.

Day #294

October 21, 2014
A friend has a blog about quilting (and life). Her blog is one I like to read on a regular basis because it often brings a smile to my face or a warmth to my heart.

Evidently she has been learning a new quilting technique (warning - I know nothing about quilting, nor have a desire to learn, but have much respect for those who do). She just talked about a recent class where she was constantly being reminded to breath. Keep breathing basically means relax. Let things flow.

Okay, I heard that! Keep breathing. Keep packing. One thing at a time. Keep breathing. Think "Someone" is trying to tell me something!!??

Blessings.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Day #293

October 20, 2014

Today there is one word - peace. Perhaps more specifically, three words - Be at peace. As I fret over selling the house, getting all the packing done, figuring out where to live in the new place, spending time with folks, sorting stuff, figuring out details - and seeing the time go by on the clock and the days go by on the calendar, three words keep coming to mind - be at PEACE?!?!

All will be well. All will get done. All will be as it should be. Be at peace! This fretting happened last week, too. What is it about Mondays that eat away at my sense of peace?! Enough of it - be at peace!

Blessings.

Day #292

October 19, 2014

People ask many questions about heaven. Often they are about our loved ones. Things like, will we know our relatives when we get there? Will the relationships we have on earth continue there?

Obviously, there is much we do not know about what eternal life will really be like, but I like to imagine there is an ongoing reason we have relationships here on earth. Especially familial relationships. After all, why would God bother with having us born into a specific family if those relationships didn’t matter except here on earth? (I do realize that not all family relationships are good and healthy. Some would just as well be contained only to time here on earth, but my question/thought refers to the good and healthy ones.)

We spent some time today with my uncle and aunt. This is my mother’s younger brother and his wife. It had been too long since we got together! We enjoyed a meal and talked about generic things, until we began swapping stories about my grandma and my mother - two of my absolute favorite women of all time. We laughed. We teared up. We nodded our heads in agreement and shook them, too, over tales of the quirkiness of both women.

Overall, it was a grand time of remembering. And continuing a relationship that I’m so thankful was here on earth - and pray will continue again one day at the feet of Jesus.

Blessings.

Day #291

October 18, 2014

My husband and I were introduced on a blind date. Well, it wasn’t even a date, it was an arranged meeting. See, I had a good friend I met at church who told me about this guy and invited me to an event where he would be. My friend’s parents were good friends with "the guy's" parents and told him about me also, but didn’t tell him I would be at the event. Does it all sound confusing? Well, it was - and didn’t work out too well to begin with.

My point in bringing this up is that my friend’s parents, who were instrumental in arranging this meeting for us and for continuing to badger us until we tried again, are now both deceased. The husband died a few years ago and the wife died today. A grand southern lady, she was fun, stern, curious and always well-put-together. She will be missed. And will forever hold a special place in our hearts for helping introduce us. May she rest in peace!

Blessings.

Day #290

October 17, 2014

One of the things I have done for the wider church over the last 10-15 years that has been most rewarding is interviewing pastors who feel a tug to seek a call developing or redeveloping congregations. Maybe I should say, beginning new ministries or helping ministries in crisis renew and revitalize.

Over the course of these years while working with a partner to conduct these interviews, I have met some very talented, committed, energized and dynamic people. Although each person is unique, they all seem to have in common a few things: a passion for sharing the gospel, a talent for creating a vision and mission, and an outgoing, warm personality. I envy the gifts and the creativity these folks have. Believe me, I have learned so much from just listening to their stories. In fact, it was at the end of one of these interviews that I was challenged to take the leap and begin seminary. Quite a surprise since these interviews are NOT about the interviewer.

Anyway, today I did one of these interviews, and again had an enjoyable partner. As usual, I was blessed in the time of conversation with this talented pastor and even learned some things about myself. What a joy! What a gift to the church this pastor is and I pray for their continued ministry!

Blessings.

Day #289

October 16, 2014

Warning - today’s Daily Intersection begins with a cynical tone.

Have you ever felt that trying to do the right thing just ends up taking way too much time and doesn’t do any good anyway?! I felt that way today. Let me explain: I received two emails today that are not mine. Evidently the intended recipient's email address is similar to mine since they have the same last name, but it’s a different first name. The email was important, however, because it was about their 2013 state and local taxes. They have been received and approved. Seems to me that would be an important thing to know, right?! Which is why I took the time to try to correct the error by tracking down the CPA firm that supposedly did this person’s taxes (they are across the country from me, too - go figure?!). I sent an email to the office manager saying that I had received notification about this person by accident. An out-of-office reply came back that they would be gone until the 29th. Okay, I thought, I’ll send one to the manager of the firm. Same thing - an out-of-office reply that they were gone until the 21st. So, after having spent probably thirty minutes of my time on a wild goose chase, I gave up. At least for the time being.

What made me bother to attempt tracking down this error in the first place? Why did I feel somehow responsible for the emails I received? Would this other person have made as much effort to try to correct the mistake if they had received something about me? Do any of these questions matter? Not really. After all, Luke 6:31 reminds me: Treat others in the same way that you would want them to treat you. (NET)

Okay, I’ll give another try in contacting the CPA firm. Maybe this time it will work.

Blessings.

Day #288

October 15, 2014

One of those “God-cidents” happened today. Another “longtime” friend and I shared afternoon tea, crumpets (goodies, I explained to my husband when he asked just what a crumpet was), and great conversation. She is one of those folks that no matter how long it has been since seeing one another, we can pick right back up where we left off and keep going.

As special as the time was, the “God-cident” was actually in the teacups themselves. This process of cleaning out, sorting, and packing has much emotion tied to it. Items from all sides of our families, going back to great-grandparents in some incidents, bring memories and often tears to the surface. One of those items is a tea-set my grandma left specifically for me before she died. (I wrote about my grandma on Day #157, so you might know how close we were.) Well, the teacup my friend received to drink from today was what looked like a perfect match to that tea-set from grandma. And the one I received was like one from my husband’s grandmother.
 The “God-cidence” was not lost on me - nor the moment of joy in thinking of them as my “longtime” friend and I shared memories and made a new one.

Blessings.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Day #287

October 14, 2014

My husband and I spent some time with a friend we have had for years today (I refuse to say an old friend). Actually, I have known this remarkable man since long before I was married. His family and I joined the church on the same day. Eventually I worked for him for a while and we have served on many committees, council, and retreat weekends together. We have many memories and we relived a few when we met.

When I think of him, however, I mostly have admiration. During the time I was his employee, I learned a lot. He was forever having us do continuing education, mostly involved with learning to be better service-oriented employees. Little things such as: before you pick up the phone, stop what you are doing (no matter what it is) and smile. The person on the other end can hear it. I still try to do that today. Amazing how important it makes the caller feel.

Yet, the most important thing I learned from him came through someone he introduced me to. Many years ago, he took under his wing a young man who had become quadriplegic due to a tragic accident. At the time, I was timid around differently-abled folks, not sure how to react to them. His often being around the office and my being encouraged to interact with him helped me realize he was understanding about my reactions to his abilities and made me feel more comfortable. We became friends, too, which probably would have never happened if I had not been nudged by my employer friend.

One thing is for sure, I am thankful for all my friend taught me, encouraged me to do, and the opportunities he opened up for me. I hope he knows how special I think he is!

Blessings.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Day #286

October 13, 2014

It’s been a while since I mentioned thankfulness and what brings that feeling to the surface. Today I am thankful for friends.

For some reason, the peace associated with accomplishments yesterday flew out the window today. It surely is something to be thankful for - to have friends who are there when you need them - to listen, to check on you, to offer suggestions and get information, and to just be there.


(A picture of some of my favorite "friends" from my youth!)

Thank you God for creating us to be relational! You always know best!

Blessings.

Day #285

October 12, 2014

I suppose there is just one word to describe today - accomplishments. Slowly but surely, items are being checked off the list and my fear of running out of time is lessening.

At least that’s how I feel today!

Blessings.

Day #284

October 11, 2014

I have to admit, there was something very weird about this week. Part of what has become ingrained into my weekly routine was missing. Amongst the sorting, packing, cleaning, etc., there was no need (or discipline) for sermon preparation. There was no struggling with the scripture or listening for the Holy Spirit to speak to my heart and head about what to say tomorrow. 

Yep, it's weird! And I'm sure glad this hiatus isn’t going to last for very long!

Blessings.

Day #283

October 10, 2014

Today was a planning day. The upcoming Women in Ministry Retreat four of us have been planning for months is getting closer (within a month) and we spent a good part of today gathered at the retreat site going over details and making final arrangements.

Just so no one feels too sorry for all the detail work, we were in the mountains on a beautiful fall day with crisp, clean air and a hint of changing leaf colors. Not a bad backdrop! And the four of us always find time to enjoy a little laughter and often some food (one planner was kind enough to prepare lunch for us today - homemade soup, etc) and yet still manage to conjure up some creative ideas. Today was no exception.

However, it was a bittersweet time - it’s our last planning time all together. Things are changing like the leaves in the fall. All is well, though. We have the feeling - and hope - our paths will cross again!

Blessings.

Day #282

October 9, 2014

It was back to the cleaning out mode today. You know, getting rid of papers, books and “stuff” can truly be cathartic. No wonder Jesus talked so much about considering where we lay up our treasure.

Trouble is, I’m a tad on the paranoid side about getting rid of all this paper. I’m afraid I’ll ditch something I might end up needing sometime. (No, I’m not really a pack-rat, just cautious about paperwork - too many years in the insurance business, I guess.)

But, truth is, it’s time to look ahead! And travel just a little bit lighter! Hmmm...author Max Lucado wrote a whole book about that very thing...Traveling Light. It's actually a favorite of mine.

Blessings

Day #281

October 8, 2014

One of the fall traditions my husband and I have enjoyed for several years is going to the annual fair in the nearby town. His mother helped judge the flower arranging entries for many years and was able to get us free tickets that started the tradition.

This year we managed to attend on the “canned food drive” night. Admission was free for five cans of donated food for the nearby pantry. What a great idea! And a great reason to stop by the grocery on the way. Judging from the shelves that were nearly empty of the brand requested, MANY others thought the same thing.

So we managed to eat all the fair food (well, not even close to ALL the fair food, but a good amount), saw the exhibits we always enjoy (except cattle judging which was earlier in the week), and enjoyed a night away from packing, sorting and decision-making. It was FUN! And a little bit of fun is important (actually it's VITAL)!

Blessings.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Day #280

October 7, 2014

The office was packed. The final details complete (at least all I could think of to do). The recycles dumped in the trash can and the things to leave behind put away as neatly as possible. One last look around, then it hit me...

Six years ago when I came, one of the first things I did was go into the sanctuary and pray. I prayed for the church. I prayed for me - please, dear God, don’t let me mess this up too bad. Help me love the people. Help me be faithful in teaching and preaching and ministering with and to them. Show me what to do and help me do it. And help us work together for good for you.

Obviously, my last thing should be to go into the sanctuary and pray. So I did. Thank you, God, for bringing me to this place. Thank you for the work that has been done, the growth that has taken place, the love that has been shown. Thank you for guiding me, strengthening me, and humbling me. Thank you for the ones whose life on earth ended and thank you for the ones who came into their life on earth while I was here. Be with those who are struggling at this time and those I will not be honored to watch grow up. Help them all to love one another in the days ahead, have hope for the future, and be faithful in sharing the Good News.

You are in God’s good hands. Until we meet again….

Blessings.

Day #279

October 6, 2014

We laid the oldest member of the congregation to her final resting place today with the reminder: ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Truly a humbling moment and a moment of profound grief.

Yet, the outpouring of love and care for the family through the presence of folks and food was indeed heartwarming. But then, I am not surprised. It’s what they do. And they do it well!

May the Lord bless her and keep her. The Lord’s face shine on her with grace and mercy. The Lord look upon her with favor and give her peace. And everyone else, as well!

Blessings.

Day #278

October 5, 2014

I am tempted to just say one word about today - overwhelmed!! Weary as I am, my heart, mind and soul are filled to the brim. The folks are sending me off in style with gifts, cards, prayers, and the lingering of hugs and tears. I cannot begin to say how much I appreciate everything!!

Perhaps the hardest question to answer has been why. Why are you leaving? Why are you going so far away? Will you ever come back? One particular card summed up why I believe God is calling me away. It reads (and I’m summarizing): we could not understand why. We prayed and cried over it and finally came to a place of peace about it. We began to realize that without change the church, and you, cannot grow.

Amen!! Change is the icing on the cake of a time of discernment. It is hard, listening for God’s voice, God’s leading, and God’s ideas of what should be happening in God’s church.

And change is hard. Yet, it is vital. As the sermon ended today, we “just never know what God has in store.” Thanks be to our amazing God.

Blessings.