Monday, November 30, 2015

Day #698

November 29, 2015

On the 29th day of November, I am thankful for…
  • Worship
  • Folks who share signs of God’s presence in the world
  • A little girl whose mom says she remembers me in her bedtime prayers every night since she met me just a couple weeks ago (very humbling)
  • Sabbath rest
  • Heating pads

Day #697

November 28, 2015

On the 28th day of November, I am thankful for…
  • A reminder from the devotion d365 about the wisdom of CS Lewis written In the Chronicles of Narnia where Aslan has this to say about signs (another way of thinking about the ones in Sunday’s gospel - Luke 21:25-36): “First, remember, remember, remember the signs. Say them to yourself when you wake in the morning and when you lie down at night, and when you wake in the middle of the night. And whatever strange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your mind from following the signs. And secondly, I give you a warning... Here on the mountain, the air is clear and your mind is clear; as you drop down into Narnia, the air will thicken. Take great care that it does not confuse your mind. And the signs which you have learned here will not look at all as you expect them to look, when you meet them there. That is why it is so important to know them by heart and pay no attention to appearances. Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters.” C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair, 1953
  • A phone message from someone that the sermon last week inspired her to serve others for Thanksgiving (it’s a first time for getting a message like that) - God at work!

Day #696

November 27, 2015

On the 27th day of November, I am thankful for…
  • The “usual” amount of time for sermon preparation ;-)
  • Reconnecting with my husband (it’s been busy lately)
  • Good news from a friend that his tests were negative!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Day #695

November 26, 2015

On the 26th day of November, I am thankful for…
  • A day set aside for giving thanks! 
  • A full table of food, folks, and fun

Day #694

November 25, 2015

On the 25th day of November, I am thankful for…
  • Colleagues
  • Study
  • Staff
  • My husband
  • Worship
  • Invitations for fellowship
  • Accomplishing tasks
  • And, most definitely, the good news that cancer lesions are shrinking!!!!!
Really, I’m just plain thankful on this Thanksgiving Eve.


Day #693

November 24, 2015

On the 24th day of November, I am thankful for…
Thomas G. Long and his book, Preaching from Memory to Hope, as he quotes (and I summarize) Richard Dawkins: God isn't an object we must prove exists. By God's very nature God is transcendent and invisible, thereby unable to be proven. And that ultimately God chose to be revealed in Jesus Christ, who we also cannot unequivocally prove existed(s). Proving God exists is like proving love exists. It's not about proof, it's about faith, experience, and the hope that love does exist. Long goes on to talk about "subtraction theory." This is the notion that in order for civilization to move forward, all ideas and understandings of old must be completely let go. For example, if science disproves the Genesis creation theory, people must let that understanding go completely, or risk looking foolish and backward. I'm thankful that through Long’s words I am reminded that what we Christians truly need to share is God as being love and grace. Of course, we know that love and grace cannot be proven, but we also know they have the power to transform. I suppose in the end for me, I realize proving my faith isn’t necessary, but then worrying about looking foolish isn’t either.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Day #692

November 23, 2015

On the 23rd day of November, I am thankful for…
  • Prayer with a friend
  • A thoughtful note from a longtime friend 
  • A thoughtful note from a stranger, perhaps new friend

Day #691

November 22, 2015

On the 22nd day of November, I am thankful for…
  • A simply glorious worship of celebration
  • Celebrating forty-five years of ordination for women in the Lutheran Church!! And all the female pastors who have been mentors and trail-blazers!!
  • A bishop (female, by the way) who I can relate to and with whom I can share collegial concerns
  • A husband who goes with the flow
  • A fun time of anniversary celebration with many attending and many sharing their gifts of planning, welcoming, decorating, etc. But mostly that it was joyful even with an unexpected disappointment.
  • Kind reporters

Day #690

November 21, 2015

On the 21st day of November, I am thankful for…
  • Well, sometimes it is just hard to be thankful in the midst of disappointment, yet the celebration is truly all about Jesus. So I am thankful for that reminder!

Day #689

November 20, 2015

On the 20th day of November, I am thankful for…
  • Checking items off the “to do” list
  • Folks who make me smile - and will joke with me and let me joke with them

Day #688

November 19, 2015

On the 19th day of November, I am thankful for…
  • Finding something to be thankful for in the midst of disappointment - especially having to share news that I know will disappoint others greatly
  • Laughter and good conversations with colleagues in ministry
  • Disagreement and discussion in respectful ways by those who willingly listen to each other's opinion
  • A husband who accepts me, even when I am really tired and grumpy

Day #687

November 18, 2015

On the 18th day of November, I am thankful for…
  • Energy that comes when I am spent
  • Good conversations and opinion sharing - actually for folks listening and talking with one another in respectful ways

Day #686

November 17, 2015

On the 17th day of November, I am thankful for…
  • Folks who will talk through situations until a workable solution is found
  • Phone calls for possibilities from out of the blue - God is at work!!!

Day #685

November 16, 2015

On the 16th day of November, I am thankful for…
  • Having a one-year anniversary in this place of ministry with these fellow travelers with Christ
  • A very favorable article on the front page of the local paper regarding the 125th Anniversary celebration for the congregation. Here’s the link: Tribune

Day #684

November 15, 2015

On the 15th day of November, I am thankful for…so very much!
  • Baptizing a sweet little boy!
  • Blessing quilts, personal care packs and school kits for Lutheran World Relief and nearly 2,000 cans of food for local school food pantries
  • Sharing the Good News with lots of kids for Children’s Message
  • Talking with kids in Sunday School
  • Being able to share moments of joy and thoughts of sorrow in prayer
What a day!!! Thanks be to God!!!


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Day #683

November 14, 2015

On the 14th day of November, I am thankful for…
The words of Anne Lamott: “Grace always does bat last, and the light always overcomes the darkness--always, historically. But not necessarily later the same day, or tomorrow, after lunch. Wendell Berry told me 25 years ago, in Advent, the darkest shortest days of winter, “It gets darker and darker and darker, and then Jesus is born.” But it is only November 13! It gets even darker.” She goes on to say: “So after an appropriate time of being stunned, in despair, we show up. Maybe we ask God for help. We do the next right thing. We buy or cook a bunch of food for the local homeless. We return phone calls, library books, smiles. We make eye contact with others, and we go to the market and flirt with old or scary unusual people who seem lonely. Tom Weston taught me decades ago that in the face of human tragedy, we go around the neighborhood and pick up litter, even though there will be more tomorrow. It is another blessed sacrament. We take the action and the insight will follow: that we are basically powerless, but we are not helpless.” I am thankful that folks like Anne Lamott can say the thoughts in my mind with words that help me have hope in the midst of darkness - for France, certainly, but really for all parts of the world where people live with fear and uncertainty. Lord, have mercy, we cry - and the Lord does! 
Celebrating one year since we arrived in this city. What a wonderful first year! 
An unexpected "just thinking of you" phone call from a mentor/pastor/friend!

Day #682

November 13, 2015

On the 13th day of November, I am thankful for…
A little bit of down time - and accomplishing some tasks around the house. 
A very patient husband who understands that when I need to go to/for someone, I need to go. And he never complains. I am so thankful for him!

Day #681

November 12, 2015

On the 12th day of November, I am thankful for…
Delightful visits with the elderly. So gracious, so sweet, so thankful to be visited. A joy! 
Accomplishing tasks - ones that have been hanging around on the "to do" list for a while. Also a joy!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Day #680

November 11, 2015

On the 11th day of November, I am thankful for…
Veterans! Yes,

Day #679

November 10, 2015

On the 10th day of November, I am thankful for…
Colleagues with whom I can discuss scripture, laugh, be honest, and dream about ministry. 
Creative folks who share excellent ideas. 
Grace and forgiveness from someone when I forget something I promised to do. (And prayers that doesn't happen too often!)

Day #678

November 9, 2015

On the 9th day of November, I am thankful for…
The generosity of folks - yet again - who are being hugely generous in bringing canned food to donate to local school food banks. It’s amazing the number of cans so far. 
Friends who read this blog - and send encouraging comments. 
Talking with parents about baptizing their child. Holy ground!

Day #677

November 8, 2015

On the 8th day of November, I am thankful for…
Folks who work very hard to help others, cooking and serving lunch to raise funds to give away. Awesome! And the generosity of those who attend!! Awesome, too! 
The honor to hold worship at a retirement home.

Day #676

November 7, 2015

On the 7th day of November, I am thankful for…
Seeing members out and about in town and having a chance to do ministry through conversation. Even if it’s only for a couple of minutes and a brief sharing of a concern, it’s still an honor to have folks share their life with me.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Day #675

November 6, 2015

On the 6th day of November, I am thankful for:
Good news for those who are sick that I love and care about. Especially that the growth of cancer appears to have stopped!! Also, for good surgery and for good healing. So very thankful!

Day #674

November 5, 2015

On the 5th day of November, I am thankful for:
Laughter. And the comment that I bring laughter to a place. Yes, I tend to try and see the humor in things. I am thankful for that gift - and pray I use it appropriately!!

Day #673

November 4, 2015

On the 4th day of November, I am thankful for:
Bible Study – and the two groups of folks who will discuss and wrestle with what scripture readings might really mean! And who also challenge me to learn better how to articulate faith and understanding!

Day #672

November 3, 2015

On the 3rd day of November, I am thankful for:
The persistence of a helper with the office equipment who keeps trying to restore the computer! Very thankful!! And also thankful that what he is doing seems to be working!

Day #671

November 2, 2015

On the 2nd day of November, I am thankful for:
Colleagues in ministry. I have the opportunity/honor to serve as Chaplain for the First Call Theological Education retreat. This three-day retreat is specifically for new pastors in the Synod (within three-years) who meet in order to get to know one another, learn, share ideas, and share laments. They are an awesome group of folks! I am thankful for the honor to be among them, and to worship.

Day #670

November 1, 2015

With the beginning of November, my thoughts turn to Thanksgiving and to giving thanks. If you are a regular here, you know I sometimes write about "word of the day" and it is often “thankful” (or something similar). So, how about thirty days of things to be thankful for?

Here are a couple to start off the month. On the 1st day of November, I am thankful for:
  1. A meaningful time of worship for All Saints Sunday. The opportunity was given for folks to come forward during worship to light a candle in memory of someone. What an honor to watch (and help) with this! It was again evident how much it means to remember/honor someone in this way because it showed on people's faces, some streaked with tears. Can you imagine how much it would mean for those being remembered to know they have never left our thoughts and hearts? Thanks be to God for all the Saints!
  2. FINALLY trying Lutefisk – a Norwegian fish dish I had not tried before. And guess what? I liked it (could I be a little Norwegian, too??)! It seems there are two very distinct camps – those who like it and those who wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole. Now we finally know which camp I’m in. Haha.

Day #669

October 31, 2015

I just have to share pictures of two of our favorite trick-or-treaters:

Our animal-loving Godson/elephant:
And our pony-loving Great Niece/cowgirl (with official western boots, of course!):
Both are just too cute! 

And along with those - a very
to my Halloween-baby Husband! I sure do love you!