Saturday, March 26, 2016

Day #816

March 26, 2016

Holy Saturday. I certainly am thankful to know the rest of the story - remember, Easter’s coming!


PS I am also thankful again - very much - for all the volunteers who have made a special Easter worship possible! Awesome!!

Day #815

March 25, 2016

Good Friday! Wanted to share this about the significance of it falling on the 25th of March (the day celebrated as the Annunciation, when the angel came to Mary to tell her she was pregnant): Good Friday

A reminder that God’s love in Jesus’ birth - and in his death - is all good! After all, Easter’s coming!!


Day #814

March 24, 2016

[Warning - there is a LOT due to a very busy, yet good, day!!]

Maundy Thursday. On this day, Jesus commands his disciples to love another. In this way, Jesus commands his followers to turn toward one another, instead of against one another, indicating relationship is more important that most anything. Whew!

And then to drive this thought home, this came from Nick Foster in the d365 devotion:
Every conflict we observe or experience is about power. That’s because every one of us wants to have control. Control of our time, our decisions, our actions.
Often that need for control extends to controlling others as well or resisting someone who seems to want to control us. It’s all about authority – who has it; and fear – who is driven by it.
So it is fascinating to watch what Jesus does just after we are told he knows that God has given him “complete power.” Jesus takes on the role of the lowliest servant, a person with the least amount of power.
It’s no wonder Peter refuses to let Jesus wash his feet. Peter is embarrassed for his Teacher. But Jesus insists that this is the very definition of what it means to belong to Jesus, to follow him.
This is the exercise of power like no other, the kind of power that will change the world.
Then this that reminded me of yesterday’s post (Day #813  )

First Holy Communion celebrated by two of our young folks at the Maundy Thursday worship service. Here is a photo of them baking bread on Sunday that was used in this service. Very excited for them!
Then another reminder of how I might “love one another”
And last (I warned you it was a busy day) but not least - deep thankfulness for the staff of the congregation where I serve. I am very fortunate and very thankful!! And also deep thankfulness for the volunteers who do so much to help!! Very thankful indeed!!


Day #813

March 23, 2016

I was recently reminded in a very real way that there are people who pray for me - especially at this time of year. I am humbled by their prayers and their concern. And I appreciate them bringing my name before God. In fact, I appreciate it more than they can know!

Thank you! And please know my prayers include you, as well.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Day #812

March 22, 2016

I have to be honest, I'm celebrating that vacation is over for our staff person. Yay!! for us!!!

And on the second day of spring...snow. Well, we must be thankful for the moisture!! But SNOW!


Day #811

March 21, 2016

Another “Simon Says” his mom shared on FaceBook:
Last night's dinner discussion:
Simon: Mom, aren't you going to ask what we learned in Sunday school today?
Me: What did you learn in Sunday School?
Simon: We learned that Jesus rode on a donkey to be killed on a cross.
Me: Why was he killed on the cross?
Simon: Well, there were some grumpy people who didn't like him. He was killed on a middle cross with two other people on either side of him. Mommy, what were the other two guy’s names?
Me: We don't know what their names were. Why were they being killed?
Simon: You have to know their names.
Me: It isn't recorded anywhere what their names were sweetie. We just know they were called "thieves or bandits."
Simon: Jesus knows everything and he knows everyone's name. How can you not know them? You are like Jesus' best friend.
Me: Well, I don't know everything, but I am sure that Jesus knew their names.
Simon: Of course he knew their names, how else could they go to heaven? We should know their names, too. That's just ridiculous that we don't.
Ahh...dear Godson, may you always be assured Jesus does know your name and loves you deeply!! As do your Godparents! And may you always care so deeply that we also know other people's names - and love them.


Day #810

March 20, 2016

Happy Spring!! Such a beautiful day to enjoy some time with family! Even though it’s the last day this trip. :-(

And a joyful celebration of Palm Sunday. Hosanna! to the King! A glorious beginning of Holy Week!


Day #809

March 19, 2016

Quite a busy day! It began with a fun time at a Women of the ELCA Lenten Brunch. The theme - making a joyful noise for the Lord. Well-planned, good food, and an entertaining speaker and MC made for a fun time.

Then, a helpful Council Retreat. Faithful leaders, deep discussion, and a desire to do God’s will means I/we can look forward to another good year. We began the retreat time with a chance to get to know one another a little better. One of the questions we were all invited to answer: when have you trusted God? The sharing was inspiring, reminding me that the ways of God are not coincidences - no, they are “God-cidences.” And it warmed my heart to hear the sharing.

Then, to top off the day, some helpful reminders of how to hopefully comfort someone grieving. Hope this blog helps you, too: For a Grieving Friend.


Day #808

March 18, 2016

Over the last few weeks, I have talked a few times about the Coaching training I recently attended. As a part of the training, it was necessary to do four “practice” sessions with two other people and those are now complete. I believe we learned a lot - about each other and about how coaching really can work/be helpful.

All three of us in this triad seem to be similar - in having trouble saying no, even though we are already busy, and allowing too many things to get on our plate. So this picture resonates:

As did this from the WELCA blog:
Why is it so hard to relax our grip on our busyness—or to allow it to relax its grip on us? Many reasons exist. For one, many of us simply have too much to do. Since so much is available virtually at any hour of the day or night, finding time that is free in a deep and satisfying sense is becoming quite a challenge. 
The truth is that we are never going to get everything done. 
What sounds like bad news, however, can actually prepare us to perceive a gracious and joyful truth: We do not have to earn our salvation through chores accomplished or busiest-mom-in-town awards. In baptism, God has promised to love us even when we don’t get everything done. 
This message is adapted from “Opening the Gift of Time” written by Dorothy Bass in the May 2005 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine.
Maybe it’s not so much learning to say no, but making certain the “extra” things I say yes to really fit with my gifts, talents, and interests. That way they not only bring me joy, but I do them well, and that way many win.


Day #807

March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

And a desire to share this from the WELCA Blog:
A friend I hadn’t seen for some time phoned and said she’d be stopping by. I quickly straightened the house. I tried to relax in a chair but soon was peering out the window, dusting the bookshelf, watering the plants, standing on the porch, stretching to look down the street, trying to read the newspaper and, finally, walking to the end of the driveway to see if I could spot her car. 
Perhaps this is how Christians should anticipate the coming of the kingdom of God. We should wait hopefully, in the promise of the future. We should wait, actively, by serving, teaching and working as disciples of Christ. And we should wait confidently, trusting in God’s promises. 
Today we remember Patrick, bishop, missionary to Ireland, who died in 461. This message is adapted from a stewardship devotion written by Jean Morehouse for Women of the ELCA in 2000.

Day #806

March 16, 2016

Remember the blog about dealing with stress (March 14)?!?! Well, it did not take long for an opportunity to arise to put those techniques into practice - with a staff person on vacation, needing to work instead of being able to play/visit with family, and equipment that doesn’t want to cooperate brings about a perfect storm of stress. So, remember to keep smiling, keep breathing, be thankful for family who understands, and say a prayer - it’s all good!


Day #805

March 15, 2016

Donald Trump made a campaign stop at Lenoir Rhyne University - a Lutheran school in Hickory, NC, the town where I served before. Before he arrived, due to how other rallies had erupted in violence, there was much concern about what would be the nature of this visit. Area pastors, the NC Bishop, and many others decided to do what they could to keep down any potential violence.

It turned out well. And here is a link to a blog from a pastor now serving in NC that tells the story from his perspective: Peacemaking. I must say I’m very proud of my colleagues from NC.

And...I’m excited that family is visiting. It’s always good - and fun!


Day #804

March 14, 2016

Had a conversation about dealing with stress. The question was: what have you found to be the best way to slow down, calm down, or deal with feeling overwhelmed?

One idea that resonated with me: when the warning signs of stress arise (loss of patience, frustration, etc), then stop, breath, remember something to be thankful for, and take a moment to pray.

Something tells me this reminder might come in very handy in these last days of Lent heading into Holy Week. Just saying. :-)


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Day #803

March 13, 2016

Had a great discussion with several members who are studying about transforming congregations. Part of the topic was about training ourselves to recognize the work(s) of the Holy Spirit.

Yes, it is something that can be learned. After all, every day when I consider what to include in this blog is a part of my training. What types of things are you doing to help notice and recognize the Holy Spirit at work in your life?


Day #802

March 12, 2016

Sometimes the moment of intersection between life and God’s grace comes in a simple reminder that you are being thought about. Had a text message today from our Godson’s mother: “Using your mom’s Mac-n-cheese recipe. Makes me think of you and her...even though I never met her.”

What a great message - and a moment of joy - knowing that my mother would have been pleased that her recipe was being enjoyed and would carry on as a favorite in the “family.”

Thank you for thinking of me(us), and for letting me know. Love and hugs!


Friday, March 11, 2016

Day #801

March 11, 2016

Happy Anniversary to the man who chose me (and I chose) to live life with. Yes, 27 years ago today we were married and began a journey I am grateful we walk together. Oh, life hasn’t always been a bed of roses (whose is?!), but it’s been awesome because we’re in it together.

Two years ago on our 25th, we had no idea we would soon wind up living across the country from where we were. Last year we were getting ready to move into a new house in that new place. Today, fortunately, has been a little less "exciting" as we have been enjoying some time together and taking care of some odds-and-ends. Much like everyday, we never know what tomorrow will bring - but I’m thankful I feel secure in knowing who is, and will be, physically by my side.

Thank you, sweetheart, for loving me, making me laugh, comforting me when I’ve cried, hugged me when I needed it, listened (a LOT), and just been you. Happy Anniversary!! And looking forward to many, many more!!


Day #800

March 10, 2016

A couple of weeks ago I talked about some training I had received on coaching (see Day #778). There is follow-up to the 2-day event I participated in and it requires four intentional times of coaching practice with two others.

So far, we have completed two of those required sessions. And I must say, it is becoming clearer the benefits of this process in helping someone identify what they are being called to do and who they are called to be. I’m anxious to learn even more!!

Also (imagine a drumroll) this is blog entry #800. EIGHT HUNDRED!!!! Wow! Thank you for reading - for commenting - for encouraging. It is my hope our godson (the inspiration for beginning The Daily Intersection) will one day be able to find something useful in these thoughts.

I have certainly found it to be useful to daily consider God’s work in the world and my life. What will the next 800+ bring? Only God knows! :-)


Day #799

March 9, 2016

This Lenten season, I have been participating with area pastors in a Round Robin of preaching at other congregations on the theme, “Who is my neighbor?” It has been a joy to participate in this way of learning about one another in our community. I’m rather sad to see it come to an end.

I was thinking of that when the synod weekly news came and I read our Bishop’s contribution. Bishop Jessica Crist wrote:
Worship is about relationship-relationship with God, relationship with one another. While deep thinking is always important, it does not take the place of worship. While contemplation of nature is uplifting and inspiring, it does not take the place of worship. While serving the neighbor is crucial, it does not take the place of worship. Included in the baptismal charges is: "bring them to the word of God and the holy supper." The actions of worship are not outdated rituals. They are expressions of relationship, using some ancient and some modern forms. We worship in many ways-traditional and contemporary, abbreviated and long, casual and formal, but we never worship alone. Worship is a communal faith practice. In the second creation story (Genesis 2), God creates Adam and then comments, "It is not good for the man to be alone." From the beginning, God created community.   One was insufficient. At least 2 were needed. Jesus said, "For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them." (Matthew 18:20)
There IS a joy in worshipping with others - being intentionally focused on God, focused on neighbor, focused on relationships. No wonder I’m sad to see this Lenten worship exchange come to an end.

Maybe it’s not an end, however. Maybe it’s a beginning, to explore how we can do even more - gathered together in Jesus’ name. Hmmm….


Day #798

March 8, 2016

The word for the day - thankful!!!

The preparation necessary to have someone complete our taxes is done - and in the mail to them. THANKFULLY!! That brings a great big WOOHOO from me!!!!


Day #797

March 7, 2016

It may seem that I have become stuck on the daily devotion, d365. Maybe so, but there has been so much lately that really speaks to me. Just one more (this week) from Jeremy Wilhelmi:
No matter what happens, God doesn’t stay in our past. God is always right ahead of us doing something new. God doesn’t hold grudges. God doesn’t give us the cold shoulder even when we’re to blame for a painful past. A good past or bad, you and I are called not to let the past dictate our relationship with God going forward, because God doesn’t hold on to what was – God reaches out to what is!
Now there is a promise from God that I want to always remember - that God reaches out to what is (and I’ll add, what will be!).

Why do the things of our past seem to loom so largely in our present and cause angst for our future? Probably because we do not have the capacity to forget, as God does. Nor do other people forget. What a shame when others feel a need to keep reminding us of our past transgressions, failures, inadequacies, etc!! Yes, what a shame!!


Day #796

March 6, 2016

Had to share these words from Bronwyn Clark Skov in d365 regarding Psalm 32:
Learning to ride a two wheeler is a rite of passage in our culture. We usually start with a tricycle and graduate to training wheels, which are awkward and precarious. Now new methods are in place to learn to glide and then ride without the inconvenience of three or more wheels. The teaching and tools are changing, but the goal remains the same. We are striving for that two-wheeled freedom of movement and speed. Once we have accomplished the task, even when we don’t ride for years, we can still ride when we encounter a bicycle. We may be a bit wobbly at first, but our muscles remember the motion and we can move forward with some measure of grace. Faith is like that. We have to practice prayer and love in our formative years so that when we find ourselves lost, we can return to those pedals of faith and grace in the sure knowledge of God’s love for us.
Seems to me that practicing faith is a good practice for any age, but especially those in their young, formative years. What will stick with the young ones I have the pleasure of speaking with every Sunday? More importantly, what will they remember as they learn from all the adults in their lives?

Hopefully, that Jesus loves them, wants us to love one another, and gives all manner of second chances! That would certainly be a good start, and a good place to come back to, don’t you think?


Day #795

March 5, 2016

What a wonderful early anniversary gift - a day with the hubby!!! A whole day to get away!!! I’m very grateful.

As we stopped to fill up the gas tank, I had to snap a shot of this sign that he pointed out to me!
 Maybe there is some truth to it?! :-)


Day #794

March 4, 2016

From the d365 daily devotion came these words: “God offers us unconditional love. Sometimes we need to walk through our own repentance in order to receive it.”

The Gospel reading for Sunday, March 6th, is the parable of the prodigal son. It is probably the most well-known - and most genius - parable, in my humble opinion. There are dozens of ways to identify and learn from this story, but these words from d365 remind me that sometimes we do have to endure tough times in order to believe and accept that God’s love is unconditional, ever-available, ever-present. But when we do realize, and receive it...WOW!!!


Friday, March 4, 2016

Day #793

March 3, 2016

As we completed the reading and discussion part of the JustFaith study on the Justice System, we were invited to write down what was in our heart. What I wrote went something like - the overwhelming inadequacy of the “system” to prepare inmates to reintegrate into society.

Then we were invited to share it out loud: to what I wrote I added (along with a couple of other things): the reintegration system needs fixing - as does so much with the broken prison system.

Yes, my eyes have been open. So the question may be: where is God in the midst of this brokenness? Perhaps a better question - where am I?


Day #792

March 2, 2016

The Lenten Round Robin worship services this year are based on the theme, “Who is my neighbor?” I chose “How with” my neighbor and am focusing on the reading from Romans, chapter 13, verses 8-10:
Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet"; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. (NRSV)
It’s not easy to talk about loving your neighbor, even less easy to live, with adults, but with the kids, boy was I nervous. Yet, here is some of what they said when I asked, how can we show love to a neighbor? “Invite them to play with me.” “Share my toys with them.” “Be nice.” And how to love my family, “give hugs and kisses.” :-)

Who is my neighbor - they are the people who are as close as in the next room in the house, or as far away as around the world. Yet we are to love them all.

Hmmm....wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if we all could/would just follow this one commandment?!?!


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Day #791

March 1, 2016

At the end of each blog entry (and most other things I write), I close with the word "blessings." I have explained before that "blessings" is a reminder that God’s face is turned toward you - and a prayer that you not only know that, but trust it.

Today the understanding of "blessing" was expanded for me by a colleague at Text Study:
Blessing is the “quiet, continuous, flowing and unnoticed working of God” for life and vitality of a person’s and community’s whole life over time and throughout space” (Claus Westermann). give one’s blessing is to share one’s vitality and life with another. (adapted from information shared by Laurie Jungling)
The thought that throughout these years of sharing written “blessings” with others means I could have “given” God’s vitality and life to others humbles me and warms me. May you be reminded that God’s face IS turned toward you, and that God’s vitality and life is shared with you. Always!


Day #790

February 29, 2016

After 790 days of blogging, it’s my first Leap Day entry. Today is an "extra" day that doesn’t come along every year. I think of it as a “bonus day.” So the thought in the early morning - what will I do with this extra day?

Fast forward several hours to a moment of reflection: what did the day bring? Actually a fairly usual day - visiting, completing paperwork, gathering with others, some home activities (laundry, cooking, etc.) and such. Yes, a fairly normal day - and it was all good!!!


Day #789

February 28, 2016

The WELCA (Women of the ELCA) designated this day as Bold Women Sunday. A day to give thanks for the bold women in the world. Who are the bold women? Well, I can think of several examples based on women I know who are bold (a person of action):
  • Those who work as advocates for others
  • Those who raise children
  • Those who teach
  • Those who speak up for the underdog
  • Those who cook and clean
  • Those who work at home - and those who work away from home
  • Those who forgive
  • Those who encourage
And there are certainly thousands of others. What examples of bold women (women of action) would you add?


Day #788

February 27, 2016

Ahh...finally some extra time with the hubby and some extra time at home. It’s a good thing!!! A thing to be thankful for - deeply thankful!