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?


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!


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.....

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!!


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?


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!


P.S. Several days later, this link was posted on a friend’s FB page - well worth the read:

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!


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!” 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!


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:
And one more: JOYOUS!!!


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.


Day #323

November 19, 2014

This week the D365 ( 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!

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!


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

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!


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!


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!


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!


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.



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?


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!

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

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!


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!


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.


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.


PS - As we head toward the west, you are invited to visit Traveling With Hitch ( 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?


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!


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!


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!


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: 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.  

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!!


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!


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…

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.


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!