Saturday, July 30, 2016

Day #942

July 30, 2016 

What could be more heartwarming (and awesome!!) than watching my husband spend time with a young man helping him learn to fish?!?! Maybe a great conversation with his great-uncle for me. 

Very cool evening!! Wish I had taken some pictures. :-(


Day #941

July 29, 2016 

Sometimes the intersection is just stopping to notice a beautiful sky at the end of a lovely day!


Day #940

July 28, 2016 

Had an unusual experience at the local Taco Bell - we received a duplicate of our order. As we were eating, we heard our name called again, and here comes another tray with the exact same food order we were in the middle of consuming. Well, we made a mistake, the employee said to us as she set the tray down on the table. Oh no, we said, can’t this be passed on to someone else (after all, who needs two lunches)?

How cool that right behind us sat a mom and three young children who were simply drinking water. How about these kids, the employee asked us. Is it ok to pass it along to them? Of course, we said a resounding yes! 

Maybe it wasn’t a mistake after all.


Day #939

July 27, 2016 

A vacation day spent on the water - this is my husband with our “guide” for the day. A gorgeous day, even if fishing was challenging.

Then this “caught my eye” from the devotion “d365”
Grocery stores have a secret. They put products at eye level they really want you to buy. Companies pay extra to have certain brands right in front of your face. Are the products at this level better quality or a better bargain? No. They are simply right there. In fact, the better bargains, the bigger bang for your buck, and even the superior quality products are placed higher or lower on shelves. We have to look up or down and expend energy to reach them. 
Life has a way of putting the easy stuff in front of us. When we’ve been betrayed, revenge is often the first thing we see. When we encounter a challenge, settling for less is easier than striving for something God may have waiting for us. When someone is angry at us, defensiveness is simpler than forgiveness. God, however, wants us to seek things that are above, that are not the initial reactions, the easy answers, or the cheap words. Look up to Christ. Seek the quality. Serve the Lord. Laurie Brock

Day #938

July 26, 2016 

From “Daily Grace” the Women of the ELCA daily blog: 
In 2013, we prayed for those who suffered loss during the Boston marathon. In 2015, we prayed for the families of those who lost their lives in the Charleston church shooting. Most recently, we offered prayers for the victims in Orlando. And daily in various parts of the world, people are needlessly dying.
This prayer from the Pastoral Care edition of Evangelical Lutheran Worship was posted on Women of the ELCA’s Facebook page in 2013. Will it ever end? For all who are weary and anxious this day, surround them with your care, protect them by your loving might and permit them once more to know peace and safety. Turn the hearts of the violent from the way of evil. May the barriers that divide us crumble, suspicions disappear and hatreds cease. Help us in our confusion, and guide our actions. Heal the hurt, console the bereaved and afflicted, protect the innocent and helpless and deliver all who have been harmed. Amen. 
Reading this, I lamented: the pain just seems to continue - in all kinds of ways and in all kinds of places. Has God stopped listening? Does God not care? Do our prayers for peace fall on deaf ears? I believe, however, the answer to all those questions is a resounding NO!

Therefore, PLEASE do not stop praying, hoping, trusting. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 (NRSV) If only more could hear that and trust it. If only more would speak God's message. If only more would live God’s message of peace.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Day #937

July 25, 2016

Laurie Brock wrote in the devotion “d365” about accepting we are loved by God. That is the grace of God, that God loves us first, unconditionally. 

I have often talked and thought about trusting God's grace, being thankful for God's grace, sharing God's grace, but the word accepting struck me differently this time. I guess I should say this time I heard it differently, or maybe more clearly. 

While I am sure I have heard something like this before, this time it was an "aha" moment. God gives love/grace. As we accept that there is nothing we can do about that, it changes us…forever. We are transformed, set free. That is the "aha" moment, and one that deepens an understanding for me of how God works. 

No wonder it is hard to understand God’s love and grace. It is hard to accept God is like that, for we humans not only have a hard time loving that way, we cannot. Our view of love and grace of that kind is sorely limited, for if we give love, we want to be loved back. We want to know the person we are loving will handle our hearts with care. That makes us vulnerable, and expectant. 

God, however, does not love us under the condition that we will love back. Maybe God hopes, but it is not a condition for God’s love. 

Can we accept this aspect of God? Can we live in response to it by loving others? Lots to think about!


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Day #936

July 24, 2016 

Where I serve is located directly across an alley from another congregation - an ecumenical partner Presbyterian congregation. Once a year, both congregations come together for worship and fellowship. How fun to worship, learn from one another about each other’s traditions, and celebrate/praise God together. Comments like, “We should do this more often” and “This was so much fun” were in rich supply. 

Awesome to see the kingdom of God coming together in such an important way. 


Day #935

July 23, 2016 

Some days there are just too many to pick one “intersection” so here are several (I love these kinds of days):

1. From Richard Rohr: “God doesn’t love you because you’re good. God loves you because God is good.” That is certainly something to ponder.

2. An article someone shared about pet euthanasia (with a warning, you may want a tissue handy): 5 Things I Wish You Knew Before Euthanizing Good words for all who love their fur-buddies!

3. From Rev. David Lose in his blog “In the Meantime:”
What if prayer isn’t simply a petition I send to God but rather is part of a more active and full relationship with God. Prayer, from this point of view, is less like putting a message in a bottle – or, for that matter, in an envelope or email – and setting it adrift in the sea and more like the regular conversation we have with others with whom we are in relationship.
And more later in his post: 
With regard to today’s story from Luke’s Gospel [see Luke 11:1-13], what occurs to me is the importance of how we translate one particular word: anaedeia in the Greek, which most translations render as “persistence” (11:8). But a better translation might be “shameless.” Our prayers to God ought to be bold, audacious, and unfailingly confident.
New insights into a very important part of the life of a Christian - prayer. There is always something new to learn about conversation with God through prayer. What does prayer mean for you?


Day #934

July 22, 2016 

And just like that, the week comes to an end. Some wonderful counselors bid us farewell after a wonderful week and time of worship. 

The Good News of Jesus reigns!! Amen!!


Day #933

July 21, 2016

On the last full day (another great one!!), what better way to spend time than with youth doing something called “Pastor Ponderings.” This is when the kids have opportunity to ask any question of the pastors they want. Today we were asked everything from "what does Rev. mean" to "do you ever doubt God" to "how did you end up being a pastor?"

What an opportunity for kids to ask questions of pastors, for pastors to hear what is on their minds, and for us all to think through what it means to be Christ’s followers. An awesome time!!


Day #932

July 20, 2016 

No pictures today, but sure had some fun time helping out/volunteering in the kitchen with a wonderful crew of counselors/staff. These are really awesome folks at camp who love to serve in all sorts of ways. And it shows!!! 


Day #931

July 19, 2016 

A few things to share for Day 2:


Boat rides/scripture study/colleagues

Two of “mine” helping lead worship at the end of the day (sorry for the picture quality, but it's nearly dark outside):


Day #930

July 18, 2016 

Here is the view from the deck of our cabin - a great place to contemplate the sermon I’ll deliver tomorrow. 

And beautiful, cool water to stick your feet in at the end of the day!! All in all, a great first day!!


Day #929

July 17, 2016 

Welcome to home for the week - Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp. 

Looking forward to a week learning about “Living Like Jesus!”


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Day #928

July 16, 2016

So I can’t really call this a Daily Intersection, but it did make me smile when I saw it on FaceBook. Hope it will bring a smile for you, too.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Day #927

July 15, 2016 

A picture says a thousand words - and this one was taken coming out of the neighborhood.
It was one of the most amazing rainbows I’ve seen in a while (except for the one rising out of the mountain on the way to Glacier that we sadly DIDN’T get a picture of - wasn’t going to let that happen again).

Beautiful! It took my breath away!


Day #926

July 14, 2016

In a continuing education class, this reminder really struck home:
When engaging conversation, it’s important to avoid such words as: everyone, always, never, all, etc.
In other words, avoid over-generalizations of a group of people, especially in conversations with folks of "that" group. Have you ever heard something similar to: Everyone like “that” always goes overboard in all their actions and never pays attention to anything anyone says.

There are always (yes, I used the word always, but it is appropriate in this situation!) exceptions to any “group” of people. Always! And lumping everyone together, especially in trying to have a conversation, only puts folks on the defensive.

Good reminder. Good class! Great discussion! Thank you!


Day #925

July 13, 2016

A friend shared this memory on FaceBook, and I wanted to share it here (thanks, Dave!):
A well-know speaker started off his seminar holding up a $20 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?” Hands started going up. He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.” He proceeded to crumple up the $20 dollar bill. He then asked, “Who still wants it?” Still the hands were up in the air. “Well,” he replied, “What if I do this” and he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. “Now, who still wants it?” Still the hands went into the air. “My friends, we have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.
Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We may feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose value. Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who love you. The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, but by who we are. You are special; don’t ever forget it.”

Day #924

July 12, 2016

Some days it’s just fun to help brighten someone’s day.

At the grocery, the checker picked on me as I tried to make sure the dented milk carton wasn’t leaking. I'm holding it up and looking at the bottom, probably with a puzzled look on my face, when he says, "It’s milk, ma’am." Hesitating for just a second, I looked at him and said, "I know, I’m just trying to figure out how to get the milk out of it" and made a motion at the bottom of the carton like I was milking a cow.

Fortunately, he responded by laughing - a big, hearty laugh. "I just love my customers. Sometimes it’s even worth coming to work," he said. "I understand," I said, "sometimes it’s even worth coming to this store."

We were both smiling when I left. Day brightened - for both of us!


Day #923

July 11, 2016

We had a much shorter adventure (see Day #922) - a one-day or so trip to Glacier. But, we were welcomed by cloudiness!

What do you do when the weather doesn't cooperate? Make the best of the time, because clouds or no, there is still much beauty in this land God made!

Day #922

July 10, 2016

It was a happy time to welcome folks to worship who are headed on a long, 61 day road trip traveling to Alaska in a 22 motor home caravan. It was great to have them take time from their planned trip to worship and share their excitement for the adventure.

Thank you - and know our prayers go with you for a safe journey!


Day #921

July 9, 2016

How amazing to watch so many folks work really hard these last weeks to put together the “World’s Largest Rummage Sale!” The generosity of folks
               giving items to be sold;
               giving their time to sort, price, and sell;
               giving their best to help others
is overwhelming. And to watch folks come and buy - heartwarming.

Can’t say thank you enough for watching God’s Hands at work through all of you!!


Saturday, July 9, 2016

Day #920

July 8, 2016

As the day unfolded and I began to read FaceBook posts and news feeds, I once again lamented. It was another moment of feeling helpless. Of knowing there has to be an end to the violence. Of wondering if my prayers - and the prayers of thousands - are getting past the ceiling. Trusting that they are, but wondering deep in my soul when we will learn. When will we stop killing each other?!?!

How does God do it? How does God keep loving us in the face of such anger/hate/retaliation/anti-God? How do we keep putting one foot in front of the other - living through the fear? What can I do? Is there anything that I can do?

Yes!! Never give up hope, that’s one thing. Never stop praying, that’s another. Do all I can to show love, be love, live love, is certainly one. Encourage others to do the same, there’s one more. And I'm sure there are many, many more.

I deeply believe and trust that perfect love does cast out fear - and hate. God is in the world - through us and in us. Lord, have mercy - in our hearts and through our hands!!

Blessings. And deep, abiding prayers for all those who mourn - the families, friends, communities. I cannot imagine what the dawning of a new day feels like in the face of this past week's tragedies! Prayers - yes, prayers - for all!!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Day #919

July 7, 2016

For a class I'm taking, I was asked to pick what story or parable Jesus told in scripture that I think might best describe my life. That’s an interesting question.

What I finally decided was the parable Jesus told in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 13, verses 3-9. It’s the parable of the sower who randomly threw seeds that fell on all kinds of ground - some on the path so that the birds quickly devoured it, some on rocky ground, some among thorns, and some on good soil, that finally produced grain. I picked this as I thought about how for the first 19 years of my life, the word fell on the path of my heart but didn’t really have a good chance to take root, or fell on the rocky ground of my mind, then sprouted, but had shallow roots, or among thorns when I allowed other things to choke it out. Finally the word seemed to take root, and it continues to grow within me. Although, unfortunately, there are still times the word gets choked out by other things of this world - worries, laziness, busyness, etc.

Now there is a challenge - to "dwell" in this word on a daily basis for the next month and discover what else Jesus might have to say to me through it.

What parable/story do you think might best describe your life? And how might dwelling with that word speak to you in the next month? Maybe we can discover something new together!


Day #918

July 6, 2016

A fun/good day with:
  • engaging Bible Studies
  • people coming and going bringing items for the upcoming Rummage Sale at the congregation
  • folks helping sort those items
  • baking bread with the youth for use in Holy Communion during worship
  • knowing that the financial generosity of so many has gone to help provide lunch bags that another congregation shares as one of their ministries to hungry folks in the area
All in all, a really good day!


Day #917

July 5, 2016

Shelli Latham in the devotion d365 said: “Love is how we know we are alive.” That is quite the statement to ponder, and a great followup to Day #916.

That, and this sunset. Isn’t something like this an indication that we are certainly loved by the Creator?!

Day #916

July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July!! A celebration of a country declaring its freedom.

Which made me contemplate what being free actually means, especially for a person. I suppose the bottomline is that anyone bound to another by love is never really free - for the needs and desires of the one you love should always at least be considered. And that means there is not freedom to just do and be how you want (which seems to be the epitome of freedom). Yet, does loving another and being loved by them mean you aren’t really free? I don’t think so, because there is freedom in knowing you are loved. Freedom to feel secure and to know your needs and desires are also being considered by the other person.

So what happens when the one you love, and who loves you, is Jesus? I think the same matters apply, but multiplied times 100s. After all, our needs and desires have definitely been considered by Jesus - to the max - on the cross. And we can be secure in knowing Jesus loves us, knows our needs and considers our desires - always and in all ways.

And that just scratches the surface of what freedom can mean. It’s actually something I learn more about every day. Pretty awesome!


Day #915

July 3, 2016

Several members of a family attended worship today who were in town for a reunion. What a joy to hear their stories, celebrate their memories, and see the passing on to the next generations of things important to mom and grandma.

It brought back sweet memories of our own family reunions in NC and PA. Even if the stories are always the same each year, it’s still great to hear them. And be together making new memories. So glad I have had a part in so many of them - and hope for more to come.


Day #914

July 2, 2016

It was a good day finishing the road trip with the hubby.

And as we near the 4th of July, we enjoyed remembering the days when we celebrated his dad’s birthday over this holiday. Today EW would have been 97. Such good memories of being at the beach with the family - food and fun, laughter and stories. Sure miss you EW!

Oh, and not a usual “Simon says,” but instead a picture that says a thousand words - of pure joy enjoying s'mores!

Day #913

July 1, 2016

On a roadtrip with the hubby, we passed a nearby volunteer fire department located just by a rest area. I noticed the helicopter sitting out front with the blades turning, but didn’t think too much about it. As we pulled into the rest area for a quick stop (it’s a good idea to take advantage of those whenever you can - haha), we looked over just in time to see the helicopter taking off. It took about 20 seconds for me to grab the phone and open the camera app. By then it was almost gone, but I managed to snap this shot with the water bucket in tow.
It’s really incredible what these folks do - fighting wildfires. Yes, it’s the season of natural events, and human errors, that start fires. Prayers for safety for all firefighters, and a low incident fire season.