Thursday, June 30, 2016

Day #912

June 30, 2016

Day #4 (and, unfortunately, the last I’ll be in attendance) of “Living Like Jesus:” serve humbly. To serve certainly makes sense - Jesus served with his whole life. But humbly? Without selfishness or pretense? Not so easy for us to do.

Well, there is certainly a lot of thinking about others when it comes to this Living Like Jesus!


Day #911

June 29, 2016

Day 3 of “Living Like Jesus:” Love your neighbor.

Now there’s an easy one, right? Well, not always! Especially when we remember that our neighbor is really those all around the world, and not just the person next door or the person we like.

So, what does loving our neighbor really look like?


Day #910

June 28, 2016

Day two of Vacation Bible School and “Living Like Jesus” is about forgiveness. Jesus’ love and grace is surely all about that!

So when it comes to us, it’s a good reminder that while forgiveness may be hard (sometimes nearly impossible) it is certainly freeing to do so – both in the times we give and in the times we receive.

Here, too, is just a sample photo of the fun:


Day #909

June 27, 2016

I mentioned this is Vacation Bible School week. The theme is: “Living Like Jesus.”

To begin, day one was about how Jesus feeds, using the scripture of his feeding of the thousands. How does Jesus multiply five loaves and two fish to physically feed so many? And how can we live that way?

Well, his feeding is a miracle we probably can’t duplicate. But Jesus does take what we give, little as it may seem, bless and multiply it so that thousands are cared for - especially when it comes to love. Because when God’s love is shared, it only increases - never decreases!


Day #908

June 26, 2016

A fun – and busy!! – day. Worship at the beginning (always a highlight of the day!); a lively book discussion group; Waking the Dead at Highlands Cemetery; and a potluck supper to kick-off the week of Vacation Bible School.

Wait a minute! I hope you at least wondered, what in the world is Waking the Dead! What is that about – are you into zombies now?! No! And I recommend you check out this article for more information: Waking the Dead.

Wouldn’t it be a history buff’s dream to meet members of the community who have been long gone from here, yet whose personalities and contributions live on? This event, sponsored by the Paris Gibson (founder of the city) Month Celebration Committee, does just that as we met/heard from people portraying such celebrities as: Paris Gibson; cowboy artist Charlie Russell and his wife, Nancy; actor George Montgomery; former governor Edwin Norris; and more, who are all laid to rest in the Highlands Cemetery. It was quite fun, and a great way to get to know a little more about the history of the place we now call home. Who would you like to meet from the past?


Day #907

June 25, 2016

Had the opportunity, for just a little while, to attend the celebration for a wonderful couple of their 62nd wedding anniversary. How awesome to join with family and friends for this milestone! What joy filled the home of their daughter, and their family!

But perhaps the most truthful comment of all came from the husband when he spoke about being married 62 years: “it goes really fast!!”

Yes, time does go by quickly. So I’m reminded to make the most of each day: love others, smile and/or laugh at least once every day, have as few regrets as possible, and always, and in all ways, be thankful to God!


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Day #906

June 24, 2016

Six people sat around a table at a meeting, wordsmithing a flyer/story/ask for funds. What we were doing was important work. And the creativity and excitement that flowed between us was awesome to watch and be a part of.

Wordsmithing is something I do a lot (and work at - a LOT). Writing sermons, studies, letters, articles, even speaking with others, requires thought and, honestly, discipline. Sometimes you cannot just say what you want the way you want. It won’t be heard.

Over the years I’ve tried to learn to focus more on listening than talking, yet I’m often expected to be vocal. Well, at least once a week. :-)

I made the statement that it would be fun to have six people collaborate/wordsmith a sermon every week? Maybe, but then there would be the need to hone another skill - compromise. In the midst of the creativity is also the need to let go of your idea once it’s on the table so that another person's improvement of it might bear better fruit.

Hmm...there really was a lot going on around that table.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Day #905

June 23, 2016

Even before it is over, the word for the day is THANKFUL! For nice notes. For kind and generous gestures. For folks being busy helping out and thinking of others. All in all, for a good day!

And, last but not least, for the end of rounds of radiation for two very important people to me (one I’m a tad late in acknowledging, but very thankful!!)!


Day #904

June 22, 2016

Saw this from the Washington Post. The world’s at a turning point, Jimmy Carter says.

AMEN to that!! And peace is what we need, he says. Again, AMEN!!! Violence will NOT be the answer! Hate is NOT the solution! Drawing lines in the sand, labeling the “other,” fighting to be right at all costs will ultimately gain NOTHING!!

Peace! It's what we need, desperately. Tolerance, love, charity - all come with peace. Please, pray daily, pray often -- and be an instrument of peace! Please!


Day #903

June 21, 2016

I read a blog entry by Keith Anderson that resonated with me - "The Most Important Ministry Advice I Ever Received." What do you think it might have been:
  • Read the Bible daily? Good advice, but that’s not it.
  • Pray all the time? Also good advice, but that’s not it.
  • Always be willing to listen more than talk? Again, good advice, but that’s not exactly it.
  • Hmm...getting tougher? How about remember to care for yourself and your family/friends? Certainly good advice, but again, not it.
No, he writes that the most important advice he ever received was - be there! That even when there is something totally out of his comfort zone (death, particularly), be there. Show up. And he writes this:
There are no perfect words, there is no perfect timing, or prayer, or sermon, or anything else. When everything is stripped away, what we have is our shared and broken humanity. All we have is each other and God. And that always turns out to be enough.
Yes, somehow, it does seem to turn out to be enough. Because I have found that when I take myself out of the way, God shines through amazingly.

Today I was honored to “be there” for a family, and I am humbled and grateful. God’s peace surround you and hold you in these days.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Day #902

June 20, 2016

It is probable I have said something like this before, but it is truly holy ground to sit with a family grieving a death. To hear the stories, honor the memories, and simply be invited to share in those raw and vulnerable moments is definitely a place of intersection where God is in the life - and the death. A reminder to trust that in the midst of it all, God IS present and grieves right along with us.


Day #901

June 19, 2016

As I scrolled through FaceBook, reading all the tributes to fathers, grandfathers, husbands, etc., it was good to remember the importance of the influence of the men in my own life.

My father loved me, as best he could. My grandfathers both died before I was able to know them well, but they left behind strong families. And my husband, well, there is a man I give thanks for every single day of my life, who influences me with a strength I rely on greatly.

Then there is Jesus Christ, a man who I pray influences, and guides, me every day!! And then there are male pastors who are and have been awesome role models, uncles, friends, bosses, co-workers, and so many more.

It’s great to celebrate the diversity, different perspectives, and experiences - and on this Father’s Day I give thanks for them all.


Day #900

June 18, 2016

What a wonderful day - celebrating the coming together of a family in marriage. And the celebration of a new member of the kingdom of God. Yep, a wedding and a baptism all rolled into one service.

A day of joy, expectation, celebration, a few nerves and some anxious moments, but all in all, a wonderful day!


Day #899

June 17, 2016

This from Daily Grace seemed important to share:
Stewardship often begins with the question “How do I use my gifts to benefit the common good?”
We even ask it of others to help them get more involved. How can she use her gifts to benefit our common good? We should be careful, though, or else we’ll use this question to avoid change.
Instead of trying to squeeze each other’s gifts into an old vision of the “common good,” what if we asked each other, “How is my vision of the common good changing because of the gifts someone else brings?”
This excerpt is from “Gifts that Shape the Common Good” by Emma Crossen, from the March/April 2014 issue of Interchange.
“How might my vision of the common good change because of the gifts someone else brings?” Great question to ponder - even if a little frightening. And as I was recently reminded, even the word “change” can incite fear/frustration.

A great reminder to me - avoid the word...but never the concept. :-)


Day #898

June 16, 2016

The word for the day - thankful. For sales folks/business owners who get the job done. With a smile, even!

The helpful folks at the local business, Ship It! managed to get something sent on its way that had to get there overnight. And I’m thankful.

Next time, by the way, I’ll go there first.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Day #897

June 15, 2016

Years ago I worked with someone who had a story to tell after going to get his driver’s license renewed. He said that the line was long, the people grumpy, and, of all days, the camera wasn’t working to get the renewal card issued. The person tried and tried and finally in great frustration exclaimed: “I HATE MY JOB! This equipment don’t never work!!”

When my co-worker told me the story, we both laughed. But for years now that line from his story has been uttered by me many times, over things like the copier, the printer, the phone, the washing machine, etc.

Today, it was uttered over Skype. Trying to have a conference call/education piece, we were delayed 45 minutes because “that equipment don’t never work!” We finally prevailed and the “class” was accomplished.

And a smile from a good memory once again crossed my face.


PS Please note - I don’t hate my job. EVER!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Day #896

June 14, 2016

It struck me today, Flag Day, how sad I am that it was necessary for flags to have been ordered to fly at half-mast “out of respect for the victims of the act of hatred and terror perpetrated in Orlando, Florida, on June 12th, 2016,” as quoted on (Vigil) from Montana Governor Steve Bullock.

Not sad for the order to be given (that is respectful), but how very sad that so many have died and how tragic that an act of hate by one causes so much pain for so many. Not really sad that it happens over Flag Day, but deeply sad that our nation and people must once again grieve due to such a senseless act. And sad that my words seem totally inadequate in communicating all the emotion surrounding the events of this week - the shooting, the death, the injury, the questions, the ignorant responses, etc.

Yet, at the same time, the flag flying at half-mast helped visualize for me feelings that I cannot seem to fully express, and certainly cannot understand.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Day #895

June 13, 2016

Fun times on a Field Trip to the museum in Ft. Benton with the folks of Young at Heart.

Good food, good conversation, and good things to see and learn! A fun day at "work!"


Day #894

June 12, 2016

Saw this and was REALLY glad everyone else didn't see it and use it as an excuse today. And really hope I don't give anyone any ideas!!! ;-)
Also, one of the kids told me that if today is Children’s Day, then children should get presents. After all, on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day moms and dads get presents. Made sense to me!


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Day #893

June 11, 2016

Hubby and I had a fun morning spending time with some of the youth of the congregation baking Communion bread. When he mentioned he would like to have baked bread, we decided to include an invitation to youth to help us accomplish this. Yummy bread, soon to be holy bread for the early worship services this summer, and some holy time together with youth. Awesome! (By the way, you can receive this bread as the Body of Christ at worship on Sundays at 8:00 am beginning June 12th)

To begin our time together, we blessed some locks of hair (lots of locks) being donated to Children With Hair Loss. May this hair be a blessing to those who receive wigs made from it, helping them know they are loved by God and others. Who knows, too, which of those youth who helped bless the locks might be inspired in a similar way to share some of their own with others?! :-)


Day #892

June 10, 2016

More than once I have written about how much I appreciate the staff I am fortunate to work with. It is a joy to be in ministry with each of them. And in order to help us get to know one another even better, hubby and I hosted a Staff Appreciation Dinner. It was a fun time, eating, sharing and laughing together, realizing what binds us is a common mission in ministry. Pretty awesome!


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Day #891

June 9, 2016

Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out for Summer” has been running through my mind today. You can almost feel the change in the air as hundreds ended another school year today and are ready for some fun and sun. Thank you to teachers, students and all those in the educational system! Hope you enjoy these next weeks.

Also, I saw this on FaceBook and thought it could/would/should be about hubby and me. We have definitely been through lots in our years together - and had lots of houses, cars, and things (with probably more to come someday in our future). Thankfully, together, we have weathered all the changes. For that, I am very fortunate and appreciate him tremendously!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Day #890

June 8, 2016

Some days the intersection of faith and life comes in the form of humor - including joy and laughter. 

:-) Good times with Bible Study groups - learning and laughing.

:-) Good news to rejoice over for a friend’s health.

:-) A great conversation with our Godson’s mom. Here’s the Simon says for the day:
Mom: Simon, did you hear me?
Simon: Sorry Mom, my ears were asleep.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Day #889

June 7, 2016

I am always amazed and often in awe of being trusted with some of the most intimate and deep emotions folks experience. It’s an honor. It’s truly holy ground.

When this happens, those are the times that I am most thankful for a loving, grace-giving God, who understands, hears, cares, and brings healing. So thankful I don’t walk this holy ground alone!!


Day #888

June 6, 2016

When I saw this on FaceBook, I knew I had to share.
So many times I have tried to communicate to others that we don’t always have to agree, but we must discuss. Discussion leads to understanding, and respect leads to discussion. Certainly it’s not always easy, but it’s necessary.

And so is returning home. Good to go, but good to be home!


Day #887

June 5, 2016

There was a great ending to the Assembly with a joyful worship service, including an ordination. What better way is there to celebrate the work and the service than through worship?!

Then a little more time off by staying over an extra day, beginning with a trip to the Little Bighorn Battlefield Park. Quite the massive place - and lots to learn and contemplate. Lots! And a reminder there is always more to a situation than we think we know.
The hill where many of the 7th Cavalry fell, including General Custer.
 The monument for the 7th Cavalry.
The monument for the Native Americans.


Day #886

June 4, 2016

A great day at the Assembly through learning and conversation. These three questions were highlights for me:
How are we to be the church when the “young people” don’t go to church? In response, a related question - are we keeping our focus on what’s central?
Can we remember that the Holy Spirit may be working in ways we don’t see?
How does the Reformation of 500 years ago relate today?
Great questions and things to think about! Great insights and challenges! Suppose the church is always in a state of reforming?


Day #885

June 3, 2016

It’s Synod Assembly time. One of my favorite parts is always the Bishop’s report - beginning with a reminder of the five benchmarks of the synod:
  1. Meet the future boldly
  2. Serve the world, especially the poor and those who are in need
  3. Deepen faith and witness (the focus this year)
  4. Promote unity
  5. Support congregations
These benchmarks help focus the work of the synod, the work of the congregations of the synod, and ultimately the church (the people).

And there is certainly awesome stuff going on in each of these areas: walking with members of companion synods; adding cutting edge, forward looking staff; offerings to World Hunger, Malaria, etc; work with the Montana Association of Churches and Wyoming Association of Churches; planning for the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation; looking forward to the building of the new Synod House; and many more.

It’s a privilege to serve and be a part of collaborating with others in serving, too! Thank you, Bishop, for the reminder.

Day #884

June 2, 2016

After a couple of days off, it’s back in the saddle (so to speak), being on holy ground. Thankful today for holy conversation and prayer.

Oh, yes, thankful for prayer! For God hears, understands, walks in/with and honors those holy conversations. Thank you, God! Oh yes, thank you!


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Day #883

June 1, 2016

Home - where it’s good to be after a couple of days away. Home - where work can be accomplished. Home - where it’s possible to relax. Home - a place where I am thankful to be. Yet, home is really where you make it and with whom, isn't it?

Also, I am thinking of all those who are grieving today. My heart is with them. And thinking of so many who are struggling, financially and in so many other ways. My prayers are with and for you!


Day #882

May 31, 2016

Saw this credited to Father Richard Rohr:
Since a group has been intentionally reading about and discussing transformation, it seemed appropriate.


Day #881

May 30, 2016

On this Memorial Day, the ELCA posted this picture:
It is important not to forget the true meaning of this day - to remember the ultimate sacrifice of thousands.

And an additional moment of appreciation - for Big Sky country:

Day #880

May 29, 2016

Thankful! Today...for a wonderful time of worship.

And then the opportunity to head out of town for a couple of days R&R. Yes, thankful!!