Friday, January 31, 2014

Day #30

January 30, 2014

It started with a knock on the church door. Someone selling metal “cross in your pockets.” It’s not unusual for folks to stop by the church and leave a card, a flyer, or pitch something they have to sell. This one left a sample of the crosses and I put them away to bring up the idea with a committee at a later time.

Fast forward several weeks and I am at the hospital waiting with a family during a loved one’s surgery. We watch as the same man who had knocked on the church door, the cross salesman, goes around the waiting room handing crosses to folks. When he gets to us, we connect and chat for a moment. I put the cross he handed to me in my jacket pocket.

Fast forward another couple of weeks. I am listening to someone tell me about their father who had just died the night before. We talk about grief, regret, and families. While we talk, a person nearby accidentally drops her coat on the floor. When she bent to pick it up, she noticed a cross on the floor - the one that had mysteriously fallen out of my pocket. Is this yours, she asked? Yes, it is, thank you.

However, instead of putting the cross back in my pocket, when I part from the grieving daughter, I give it to her, along with a hug. God bless you and is with you; and remember that you are loved and in my prayers, I tell her.

Was all this a coincidence? I don’t think so. Is the cross a reminder of the love and grace of God? I know so. Am I going to suggest the church purchase some for folks to hand out at moments like these? You better believe I am!


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Day #29

January 29, 2014

Please just say a prayer for me. Of course I will - and I do, whenever I am asked. But there is usually more to it. Pain. Regret. Fear. Guilt. Remorse. Sickness.

God knows our every need. God loves us enough to hear and listen anytime we cry out. It’s our pleasure, and our duty, to go to God in prayer - to talk and to listen.

It’s an honor to pray for someone else, too. It is what I call holy ground. Never hesitate to ask me to, either, please.


Day #28

January 28, 2014

Snow is a fairly rare occurrence where we live. Actually, we just had the first snow to amount to anything since I bought an all-wheel drive vehicle in the summer of 2012.

It snowed Tuesday night. About two inches. And the world slowed down. Events were cancelled. The air became still. All was covered with a white blanket of purity and cleanness.

Snow tends to give us permission. To do things we’ve been putting off or never think we have the time to do; like read a book, clean out a drawer, or put a puzzle together. No wonder folks LOVE snow days.

Hubby and I had a preview on Saturday. We took a day trip to a nearby mountain town to eat at a particular restaurant we enjoy (is there a better reason for a day trip?!) It snowed on us as we went up the mountain. Lots of snow.

Hubby had to get a picture. And I had to get in it; with a huge smile on my face and my hands lifted up to the sky.

So I posted it on FaceBook. Within what seemed like minutes, it had dozens of likes. Maybe it was the joy on my face. Maybe it was just the snow itself. Maybe folks were just stunned to see me post something. But it’s a phenomenon that will never cease to amaze me - just how many folks my FaceBook ‘life’ touches.

We are community people. God made us that way. So what fun it is that the computer can help feed our need for friendship and closeness!?


Day #27

January 27, 2014

It has long been the part I love most of being a pastor - celebrating Holy Communion with folks. Watching people receive the body and blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is amazing. What joy fills so many hearts as they open their hands to receive what Jesus promises is his own body as sacrifice, remembrance, and assurance.

Part of what is so enjoyable is talking with young folks about receiving that sacrament. Listening to their questions. Trying to help them understand, even when I can’t always understand it myself. Seeing their enthusiasm, eagerness to learn and desire to be filled.

While I certainly agree that there should not have to be any waiting to receive a sacrament or means of grace, when that has been the custom and young folks are “educated” to receive, it’s a pretty awesome thing to be a part of.

The body of Christ given for you. The blood of Christ shed for you. For you! Amazing grace!!


Day #26

January 26, 2014

We ran into a member of another congregation while out eating lunch. This other congregation is in the process of searching for their next new pastor, so I know there are many anxious folks. We talked about that whole process for a few moments. Then I was totally taken back when the statement was made: I’m not sure I agree with female pastors, but if we had to have one, you would be my choice.

It nearly made me choke on my food. Really?! Was that meant to be a compliment? How do you respond to something like that in the middle of a restaurant? How do you respond at all?

What came out of my mouth was, prayers for you as you find the next pastor God is calling to the congregation, whoever that may be. Whew!


Day #25

January 25, 2014

All total, I recently spent about five hours with a great group of folks helping to facilitate a council retreat. The format was designed by the Synod and follows something called Asset Mapping. What are the gifts that I bring, that people in the church bring, that the facility of the church brings, and that the community brings, to a particular congregation? Once those gifts (assets) are identified, how or what type of actions do they inspire to help reach out to others with the Good News of Jesus Christ?

An example might be: we have folks who paint, do pottery and play music. Hmmm...what if we put all that together for a community event at the church that focused on the arts and how God influences our work? Folks could be invited to spend time just being creative and sharing their talents. Then, any proceeds of items sold (assuming there would be sales) would go to help the hungry, poor, etc.

Hard to imagine, but the age-old questions still arise: How do we know if it will work, because we’ve never done that before? Or we already do so much, so how can we do anything more? All these questions do is shut off creativity and block the Holy Spirit.

So one more question: how can we get rid of the doubtful questions when we are dreaming of how to be beacons of light?


Day #24

January 24, 2014

It’s probably one of the things I put off doing the most - except for filing - and that is writing thank you notes. People are so kind, do such nice things, and what do I do? I put off writing a note of thanks. I’m quick to say thank you, orally, but when it comes to writing….well….that needs work.

What could be the reason? It’s certainly not lack of appreciation. My handwriting is terrible, but that’s not a good excuse. Don’t know what to say? Sometimes it’s tough to write it so that my words do not sound trite. Honestly, though, I don't know the reason for my dislike.

Yet, it always feels so good to get them done. Putting thank you notes in the mail is a wonderful feeling. If nothing else, just so folks know I mean it when I say, thank you. Besides that, who doesn’t like to get mail?!

So every time I finish a batch, I make a promise I won’t wait so long to send the next ones. Then procrastination sets in again, and months go by. Maybe if I’ll just remember how much I appreciate a note of thanks, it will encourage me to be more diligent.

By the way, if I haven’t sent a thank you lately, know I do appreciate you - for reading, for doing, and for sharing the faith at The Intersection. 


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Day #23

January 23, 2014

Sometimes the most unexpected conversations carry the weight of Christ. I mean in a good, positive, faith-growth way. He is just at the church to do some work, some upkeep of the physical property. What a sense of the purpose of the church he has, however. It’s important for things to look neat, be taken care of, and appear as though someone cares, he said today (not in these exact words, but it’s what he was getting at).

What a gift, for someone to realize what we look like says as much as what we say. Now I’m not talking about the physical church property, but our own bodies. Do we have any enthusiasm on our face when we talk about faith, God, church, or anything spiritual? Do we smile or have a look of caring when we tell someone we are praying for them? Does what I say and what I look like (so to speak) match?

It’s part of what I said in training a call committee recently. You can tell a lot about what a person doesn’t say, but how they look.

Oh, and they sent a monetary gift to me for my time with them. What a thoughtful, caring gesture. Impressive. Very impressive!


Day #22

January 22, 2014

There is a group of colleagues who meet, mostly weekly, that I was honored to ask to join not long after I came to my first call. Suffice it to say, I don’t think I would have survived some of these experiences without their support and advice. They listen. They encourage. They tell it like it is. They challenge. They root me on, and keep me humble.

It’s a great thing to be associated with these guys. They have welcome me in, even though they thought I was trying to sell a copier or a pictorial directory the first time I went to the meeting. You could see it on their face - what’s this person doing here?

In the past few years, we have laughed and cried. Learned and questioned. Changed and grown. All for the love of Christ and the call.

Thanks guys, and here’s to many more weeks in Christ’s service.


Day #21

January 21, 2014

Ever put your foot in your mouth? It’s like you realize at the moment it didn’t come out right, but you don’t really think about it until later. And when you do think about it, oh boy.

That happened this week. I was taken aback by a comment from one of the young ones as I looked at him and smiled. What are you looking at? The way he asked took me by surprise.

What came out of my mouth, but - a mean little boy. Those words haunt me. Truth is, he isn’t a mean little boy at all. He’s a sweet, smart little one who happened to be having what I took as a mean moment.

Phooey on my mouth. Phooey on my not thinking my response through. Phooey on hurting a little one’s self-image or esteem. I know I hate to be called mean. What did he think? Oh, what have I done and will he understand when I ask for forgiveness?

Let’s hope so. Those words that come out of our mouth are so hard to get back. But at least I can apologize and tell him he isn’t mean.

As soon as I can, I am.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Day #20

January 20, 2014

Bowling with youth. How can God not be present when time is spent with young folks? At least, that’s my experience. It may be challenging. It may be tiring. It may even be frustrating. But it’s awesome, because they have energy, enthusiasm, joy, and laughter (most of the time).

And questions!

Not much more to say than, it was really good to be with the youth. Always is! Thank you, God, for some awesome youth. And some awesome adults, too, who love the youth.... and you!


Day #19

January 19, 2014

We talked about John the Baptist in Coffee and Conversation on Sunday. Actually, the discussion was more about inviting than pointing to Jesus, even though that is John the Baptist's most important task (pointing to Jesus). When the topic of inviting comes up, however, I always go back to a specific moment in time that changed my life.

Mike Allen was a young man I had recently started dating in 1979. He had quite a life experience. At the age of 19, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Through the subsequent surgery and treatment, he had forged a strong bond with his pastor. At that time, I, on the other hand, had no bond with a pastor, a church, or even God for that matter.

One day, as Mike and I were driving by his church, we spotted the pastor leaving the building. I want you to meet my pastor, Mike said, as he whipped the car into the parking lot. My first wave of shock came as I watched Mike and the pastor hurry toward one another and greet with...a belly flop. Not a conventional greeting, especially to a pastor, at least not in the limited experience with pastors I had up to that time.

As introductions were made and we chatted, the inevitable question came up. So, where do you go to church, Mike's pastor asked. I dropped my head, twisted my feet into the dirt, and mumbled something like, I don’t really go anywhere. Then came my second wave of shock, as the pastor gently laid his hand on my shoulder and said, that’s ok. Maybe you’ll come with Mike sometime.

It is a moment I will never forget. No guilt. No recrimination. No coercion. No smirk. And really not even an invitation, but more a suggestion. I was dumbfounded. More importantly, I was intrigued.

I did go with Mike sometime. In fact, I was hooked. God called me in. Welcomed me in. Loved me in. I am so thankful.

Come and see. Share. Invite. There is reason to - eternal reason. And you just might get to be God’s helper in changing someone’s life. Awesome!


Day #18

January 18, 2014

A troubling Facebook post came across recently: please message my child and let them know they are not a failure. The troubling part is not that it was hard to find something to say to this person reminding them they are not a failure (for they truly are a beautiful person), but hoping they would really see it for themselves. What I mean is, no matter how many times a person hears they have value, they probably have trouble believing it for themselves. It seems much easier to think things like: people are just being nice; they don’t really know me or what I have done; if they knew what I was thinking they wouldn’t say those encouraging things.

So here is the post I wrote (it’s a quote from author Sally Hogshead): “Some days success is about luck, or talent, or skill. But most days, success is about wrestling failure to the ground until it screams uncle.” Then I added, God gives us the strength to keep wrestling and loves us in the struggle.

The quote may or may not have made a difference for this young adult, but it did for me. As my husband says, better to be lucky than smart any day. Well, there is something to that idea, except that I’m not sure luck has a lot to do with much of life. But trust does. Trusting God, specifically, for me. That God will give me the strength I need to handle the times when ‘luck’ seems to have run out, disappointment has come calling, fear is running rampant, or I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed and can’t seem to get it together.

Wrestle that sense of failure to the ground for me, God, ok?! I trust you will.


Day #17

January 17, 2014

I got way behind. It seems finding time to write the Daily Intersection is much more difficult than I ever anticipated. However, I am jotting down ideas at the end of every day as I reflect on how God has been at work in the last 24-hours.

So what I am finding is just how much easier it is becoming to see God, notice God, and find things to be thankful for or ponder about every single day. To say I am encouraged to keep looking is an understatement. It really is easy to see God at work everyday if we just take the time to notice.

What have I been missing before I started this discipline/joy? No telling, but how thankful I am to have begun when I did! It just keeps getting better. And easier!


Day #16

January 16, 2014

Someone came to mind today that I had not talked to in a while. Since I often make phone calls while traveling, it was the perfect time to just pick up the phone and call them. Funny you should call, they said. I have been having some problems and had thought about calling you, but didn’t want to bother. It sure is good to talk to you, though.

How many times has someone come to mind and I have ignored the urge to pick up the phone? Or send an email? Or even shoot them a text or Facebook message? More times than I can count. Today I’m thankful I didn’t ignore the feeling (let’s call it the nudging of the Holy Spirit). Imagine it is a virtual hug to someone who could really use one. Anyone you need to hug today?


Day #15

January 15, 2014

Sometimes the hardest thing to be is grateful. Especially if someone else has something I want, or is given something more favorable than I have been given.

Someone got the special treatment that I didn’t get, I heard recently. I am upset, but there is probably not a thing I can do about it. The comment made me wonder, did they really receive something you did not get? Or, is there a story behind what they were given that you do not know? There usually is.

The more stories I hear of people’s lives, the more I begin to realize that few people are on the inside what they look like on the outside. What I mean is that another person’s life might seem favored, worry-free, even charmed, when really they are covering up more hurt, anger and regret than anyone around them could imagine. And the little thing (or sometimes big thing) they just received, was the first gift they have received in forever. It might even be the very thing that keeps them hanging on when all hope seems lost.

It may be hard to imagine when we are on the short end of receiving, but things just might be in our favor next time. Then you can bet someone else is wondering why you received what they wanted or thought they deserved. Yes, it usually comes around - in both directions.


Day #14

January 14, 2014

It’s that time of year again. Annual reports. The time to put on paper what happened in the past year and what is anticipated or planned for the coming one. Would it help if I thought of them as a time capsule of experiences and events that come to mind when trying to reflect on the previous twelve months? Maybe, but not likely.

One unfortunate thing about annual reports is that something or someone always gets overlooked. A thank you is not mentioned. An event is not highlighted that really was a highlight. Another is that  thinking back over the year itself can be painful. What should have happened that did not? What did happen that should not have? How much more could have been accomplished? And, never mind just the actual passing of time. Really? Another year has gone by? So soon?

Is there an upside to annual reports? Is it worth all the trouble? I like to think that someone may read something and be inspired to join a ministry. Or reads something and thinks, wow, this place does do some amazing things. Or reads something and thinks, that should change before the next year is done. We can fix it and I know how to make that happen.

Whatever the purpose of annual reports - or not - it’s that time of year. They are due. Someone is waiting on them. I’ll get them done….soon….promise!


Monday, January 13, 2014

Day #13

January 13, 2014

Why do my feelings still get hurt? Why am I sometimes so sensitive because someone mentions missing a person from their past? Does it automatically mean I am appreciated less or regarded less simply because someone else is, or was, regarded highly? Why can I be so secure at one moment and so insecure at another?

It seems at the bottom of it all is the little nagging voice at the back of my mind that says, you are not worthy. Thankfully, God speaks to us in a voice much louder, if we will simply listen. The gospel reading yesterday from Matthew is God speaking, literally, in that louder voice, saying: “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

Now, I do not mean any inference at all that I am Jesus and God must, or will, boom out in a loud voice that I am one with whom God is well pleased. On the other hand, isn’t God always pleased when a Child of God steps out of the way to allow God to work through them? So, God would not so much be pleased with me, as with God’s light shining through me.

Perhaps I am finding the crux of the problem to being sensitive. Could it be because I wonder if I’m sufficiently reflecting? Something to ponder and pray about!


Day #12

January 12, 2014

How did I get so far behind? A little too busy these last days, and my body is feeling the strain of burning the candle at both ends, so to speak. No matter, though, because day #12 was still an exciting day overall. It was the annual “all committee” meeting night. How exciting to see new ideas, new faces, new energy, new hope and confidence.

Perhaps the prayer to be a reflection of the Light of Christ because that Light will change the world is helping minds and hearts and hands and voices be open to God’s will. Thanks be to God for whatever helps the church be the church for the sake of the world!


Day #11

January 11, 2014

One of my favorite things to do for the wider church is to facilitate the training of a call committee. In the denomination to which I belong and serve, when a pastor leaves a call/congregation a committee is formed and charged with being the frontline spiritual discernment group for calling a new pastor. It is important to note the committee members are not the only ones in the discernment process, however. The entire congregation has opportunity to meet and vote on a pastor. Even so, the task and its importance can make it feel as if the weight of the world is on the shoulders of the committee. It is as if all the hopes, and fears, of every member regarding who is coming next rests on them.

Over and over it is reinforced in the training that this task must not be taken on by each individual, or even the group as a whole, without prayer being an integral part of the process. The prayers of the committee, the congregation, the synod, even me as the training facilitator, are and should be asked for and coveted. This work is ultimately done by the Holy Spirit, because I believe (as do many others) that God already knows the next person who is to be called as pastor, even before the current person leaves. Without that belief, that trust, we might really come to think it is all about us and our decision-making ability (see Day #10).

So why is this one of my favorite things to do? It gives me opportunity to be a reminder, a hope bearer, that they are not alone. What more exciting thing could there be than to help people put their trust in the Holy Spirit?


Day #10

January 10, 2014

Sometimes just a couple lines in an article (book, newspaper, blog) can be the very thing we have been waiting to be told for a long time, even if we did not know we needed to know. As the January monthly magazine for the denomination was in the process of my finishing it, I turned ahead to the article by Bishop Eaton. There it was, just three sentences: “But as church it is important that we understand the difference between decision-making and discernment. Decision-making is something we do. Discernment is something we receive from the Spirit.”

Not that I did not think I understood discernment, but in black and white it made much more sense. Decision-making is up to me; discernment comes from listening, being open to, being quiet and reflective of, the Holy Spirit. God will speak. God will direct. God will bring clarity and answers and God’s plan will be carried out. In, around, and sometimes through me.

So how hard is it to make a decision? Weigh the consequences, put down on paper all the options, come to a consensus or agreement - that sounds simple. We know it is not always. But to be quiet, really listen, and wait for the Spirit? Well, that can seem impossible. Yet, it is well worth it. Always!


Day #9

January 9, 2014

There are days when it is simply good to have someone talk to you. When they feel comfortable sharing their life with you, trusting you to hold what they tell you in confidence and with tenderness. Today I am grateful to listen, knowing that God is grateful to listen to me, too.

Thanks be to God!


Day #8

January 8, 2014

It was monthly meeting day for the pastors in our area. We have devotions at each meeting and today’s was very helpful. The leader of devotions told a story about a former president of a seminary who always asked a particular question as he went from congregation to congregation meeting people. He would ask, tell me what is important about this church.

The answers he heard often included something about the building, the history, the pastor or members. Until he heard one unique answer that really stuck with him. The one thing about this church, the person shared, is that joining means never having to carry a burden alone again.

Now that is an awesome picture of the church. Not only is God always with us to help carry our burdens, fears, and dispel our loneliness, but so are other members. Joining a church, whether through baptism or transfer, means being a part of a family, the family of God, with brothers and sisters from all sorts of backgrounds and of all ages and with all types of experience.

His devotion reminded me of being told: coming to church is not just about what you get out of the experience. It may not even be about you on a particular day, because you may be there for someone else. They may be in need of your presence. Or, I suppose, they may need you to help carry their burden that day. Beautiful!


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Day #7

January 7, 2014

It’s cold where I live right now. Not as cold as some places, obviously, but for us here in the south a low of a single digit is COLD! Being cold breeds challenges - frozen pipes, cars that won’t start, power outages. It’s dangerous. It’s news-worthy.

So when I made a visit yesterday and asked if there was anything on the homebound person’s mind they would like to include in prayer, the response made me smile. “All that is on anyone’s mind is the weather” was what I heard. Now, tell me, how do I pray about the weather?

It is not uncommon to include weather in prayer. We do so often. Oh God, send favorable weather for crops and harvests. Oh God, please let my wedding (soccer game, golf tournament, birthday or graduation party - you insert event) have good weather (never mind it is scheduled for outdoors in March - an iffy proposition at best). Oh God, protect us and calm the hurricane winds or tornados.

Now, these are all legitimate prayers, all legitimate concerns, and I do not mean to minimize them, especially of those in the path of impending storms. The truth, though, is the weather will do what it will do. My husband often comments he loves “weather” because it is the one thing humans really cannot control - or have the audacity to think they can. It will be what it will be.

So why do we fret over it so much? Perhaps it’s because we can’t control it. We can only respond to it, and talk about it, and complain about it. Oh, and pray about it. After all, it’s on our mind, so we might as well talk to God about it.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Day #6

January 6, 2014

Another thing goes on the list. Yes, I am a list maker. I make lists for the grocery store; lists for the council meeting; lists of things that need to get accomplished; lists of things for the end of the year and the beginning. You name it, I make a list for it.

As I found myself looking at the list that dictates my schedule this week, I realized there are more things that need to be accomplished than seem humanly possible. Wondering how there will be enough time, I resorted to my standby - write it down on the list. With that done, I can put the worry out of my mind, because I know, that for the most part, if something is on a list, it somehow gets done. At least, it works most of the time.

Except when I keep moving something from the top of the list back down to the bottom because I would rather do one thing than another. For example, writing thank you notes often gets put to the bottom. That is not because I am ungrateful, I just don’t like handwriting those notes (and there is much kindness we are thankful for, so many notes need to be written). Other things like annual report writing, year-end information gathering, and tax preparation often are relegated to the bottom. It is a good thing there are deadlines for them all to make sure they eventually get done.

Reflecting further on the art of making lists, I wonder how the idea began. Who was the first to think - I need to write all this down so I don’t forget? The idea reminds me of holy scripture. As the spoken tradition began to be lost because those with first-person accounts were dying, someone decided to begin writing things down so the stories would not be lost. I suppose it is like the idea of blogging. Wanting to get important (to someone) things in print so they are not forgotten. How thankful I am that someone wrote down the stories and teachings and miracles of Jesus! What a gift that the Word not only came and lived among us, but was written down for us to study, read, ponder, rely on, and share.

It begs the question, what story do you need to “get on paper” so that it isn’t lost?

Blessings. And Happy Epiphany - let Christ's light shine through you,
Child of God.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Day #5

January 5, 2014

Day #5 included one of my favorite scripture readings - the 1st chapter of the Gospel of John. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” From the beginning (whenever and however that happened) Jesus was included, was present, was a part of it. There is simply no better way to say it than the Gospel writer does. The Word was - always!

But my absolute favorites are verses 12 and 13 of that 1st chapter: 12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.”

Perhaps it comes from being an only child of an only child and having such a small family, but to think of being adopted by God overwhelms me. It awes me to think of having such a loving, caring Father and such a huge, loving and quirky family. It is hard to wrap my head around, but it’s not my head that accepts the truth of it. It is my heart.

So the main point of what bubbled up for last week’s message was the distinction between what describes us and what defines us. What describes us comes in words the world tends to use: loser, mistake-maker, geek, shy, unworthy. I hear those words rattling in my brain. You’ll never succeed. You’ll never be much. You should be as clean on the inside as you try to be on the outside (quote!)

Yet, God turns all that around. God does an amazing thing. Through Jesus, the Word, God’s son, we are given the power to become children of God. That, yes that, is what defines me. It is what gives me worth. It is what gives me acceptance. It is what ultimately makes my life important.

Sure, I make mistakes. Sure, I’m still a loser when it comes to some things and a geek and shy in others. Yet, I’m loved and accepted even in the midst of all those descriptions - because I am a child of God. It is that love and acceptance that drives me to do for others, to share with others, to pray for others, and to have peace and joy in my own life. It is amazing!


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Day #4

January 4, 2014 - The Daily Intersection

Who would ever think a movie might be just what is needed to bring a healing moment? Who realized a healing moment was even needed? Certainly not me. Certainly not at Saving Mr. Banks.

I grew up on Mary Poppins. Sang the songs, absolutely loved the story. Yet, I never knew it was a true story, one that nearly did not make it to the big screen. If it had not been for the tenacity of Walt Disney, the movie might never have been made.

Certainly, Mary Poppins was a story that mesmerized this young girl. However, I did not know there was quite the story behind the story and that the author endured a childhood filled with challenge. Now, I won’t spoil it for anyone, but it’s quite a story worth watching.

Surely the movie will not affect everyone like it affected me. Suffice it to say, however, that I also had what I would call a challenging relationship with my father. While Mrs. Travers (the author of the books) and my life only share minute similarities, Saving Mr. Banks spoke to me. As did Mrs. Travers. Here is the healing moment: “Mr. Banks did not have a change of heart. He always had a light heart, just one burdened by the worries of life.”

In one fell swoop, my week came together. God brought it all together for me. Hope, the joy of realizing there will be a new day, comes from giving the worries of life over to the One Who can help, Who cares, and Who loves me. Thank you, God, for hope - and healing.


Day #3

January 3, 2014 - The Daily Intersection
This is post number two for the same day, trying to “catch up.” This comes from a continuing education class called Suicide Awareness and Prevention. Yes, it was a heavy topic for the first couple of days of a new year, but one that is close to my heart. It is well worth learning everything we can about suicide, difficult as the topic may be, so that we might be prepared to help prevent someone from resorting to this drastic measure. Anyone who has ever been affected by someone’s suicide completion, or attempt, knows that what we don’t know can be harmful.

The bottom line, according to our instructor, seems to be a person’s lack of hope. That many see this as a permanent solution to what may be a temporary problem. That things can change, that tomorrow (a new day) can truly be a new beginning, and that whatever seems so insurmountable right now could, in time, be overcome. However, the person cannot see any hope, has none, and can only see one way out. There seems to be only one way to make the pain stop.

The bottom line, according to our instructor on how to help? Pay attention to those around us. Notice even subtle changes in behavior (sleeping more, eating less, talking more - or less - than normal) and confront/question/be available to them. Sounds simple, but it can be VERY difficult. Folks are good at hiding things from one another. Folks are good at wearing masks, pretending to be fine, covering up how they feel and keeping their thoughts to themselves. Not that they don’t want any help, but for all sorts of reasons, can’t, or won’t, ask. Yet, we can be ‘bearers of hope’ when we are in tune to someone else, notice them, and take the risk to reach out.

Are we our brother’s and sister’s keepers? Tough question!? However, if we were not meant to watch out for one another, as best we can, then why did God put us in community?


Day #2

January 2, 2014 - The Daily Intersection

It did not take very long to realize that The ‘DAILY’ Intersection probably won’t happen everyday. But...I can certainly reflect on something everyday (even if I end up doing more than one a day to catch up). After all, being flexible is important, right?

So here is #2. Watching the 6:00 pm news a couple of days ago (a rare occasion for me), I saw a story that might change my mind and encourage me to watch more regularly. Seems the University of Alabama has quite the Quarterback. AJ McCarron was featured in this particular news segment. He was telling the story of another young man, another AJ, who was mesmerized by the sport and the Roll Tide Team. This AJ had a regular habit - he could be seen, rain or shine, peeking through the fence to watch practice. Yet watch was all he could do. Because AJ has a physical challenge, Cerebral Palsy, that has affected his speech and mobility, but not his spirit. His love of the sport inspired him to be close.

One day the QB AJ watched the buses pull off as AJ just stood in the parking lot. QB AJ could not let that happen and ended up offering AJ a ride. That ride, that gesture, ended up opening opportunities for AJ that he may never have dreamed of having. He now ‘works’ for the team by helping out in the locker room and being on the field, cheering. QB AJ commended AJ’s attitude - always upbeat - and how he felt it was a sign from above for him to take notice and invite AJ to be included in the team.

It made me reflect on a recent sermon on the gospel reading from Matthew where the angel comes to Joseph in dreams to direct him and his family in how to care for Jesus. might God be talking to us? Are we tuned in and listening? How might that change our life? However, something was missing from the sermon - how might God be talking to ME, coming to ME, to bring change to someone else’s life and not just my own? It sure changed AJ’s - from spectator without hope to participant without restraint of joy.

How is God speaking to me today? Through a story about a football team’s QB shown in a random news clipping I happened to be watching. Coincidence? Surely not. Which begs the question: now what?


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Day #1

January 1, 2014 - The Daily Intersection

Some things come easier than others. Maybe I should say there seems to be more time for some things than for other things. 

For me, there often seems to be more time to watch a TV show than to read a book. I have even found myself envying those who do not own a TV set. How much more time they must have! It’s not that I spend HUGE amounts of time in front of the TV, but more than I would like. Imagine not having that noise distraction; of not being “hooked” on certain programs that do nothing but put my mind in neutral. After all, books and conversations require more energy, sometimes, than simply watching TV.

Writing is another thing there is often too little time for doing. Especially handwritten notes. They come like pulling teeth for me. Do you miss handwritten letters? I do and makes me thankful I still have some in my grandma’s handwriting.
However, I seem to think better through using my keyboard. Sermons are ‘written’ by typing. Letters or other documents are composed on the computer. Yet, even with the convenience of a keyboard, writing is often put off. There always seem to be other things to be done.
All that is said in introduction to this new blog. It is one of those things I have planned to do for a while now. My vision is to have a daily (hopefully) musing of life, faith, and the intersection (hence the name) of the two. The thoughts and experiences of a child of God: moments of clarity, doubt, trust, rejoicing, sorrow, mistakes, second chances, missed opportunities, and you name it. A place to share what has happened that I’m thankful to God for, and what moments have been opportunities for learning and growth.
So this is the beginning. Here are my goals (only two). One is for our Godson to have this as a way to get to know me and how I see life and faith intersecting, hopeful that one day it will somehow help him in his own walk with God. The second is to be a reminder to me, and anyone who happens to stop by, that God is ALWAYS blessing us (present), is ALWAYS loving us, is ALWAYS forgiving and giving to us. That God, simply, is grace.

It may be a tall order for me, taking the time to do this. Do I think it will it be worth it? Without doubt. So join me at ‘The Daily Intersection,’ will you? Oh, and if you have moments to share from your life, please do so. I am eager to hear them.