Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Day #1063

November 28, 2016

Some days it is the simplest of joys that remind me to be thankful for a community that gathers around the love of Christ. And IS gathered by the love of Christ. Laughter, food, caring questions, concerns shared and discussed, money raised for a good cause, new folks welcomed, and more, are all are a part of the "community" celebrated this day. While all these may seem simple, they can make a huge impact.

It is a joy to be a part of the lives of others! Hope you have/take some time to enjoy the gift of community!


Day #1062

November 27, 2016 

The season of Advent is here! And a little bit of the Moravian Church tradition we embraced in NC continues out west.

A blessed season of Advent to all!


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Day #1061

November 26, 2016

The word for this day...thankful. Just to be out and about on a beautiful day shopping and enjoying time with my hubby is cause for giving thanks. 

But I am also praying for many who are on my mind - those who are healing, afraid, have just lost loved ones, are waiting with those who are dying, have loved ones fighting for their life…so many. May the Lord be with you all and may you know you are in my prayers.


Day #1060

November 25, 2016 

November 25th is a big day for my Sister-in-Law. It’s her birthday. And this year is extra special since it is one of those “0” ending birthdays. :-) I am thankful my hubby and I had an opportunity to chat with her. But even more, I’m simply thankful for her. And since she says she reads each post, this is for you: HAPPY "SPECIAL" BIRTHDAY TO YOU!! Love and hugs!!


Day #1059

November 24, 2016

Gina Yeager-Buckley shared this prayer in the online devotion d365. It is a good prayer outline to use on Thanksgiving Day especially, but I actually believe it is good for every day! 
O God, these things are true in my life and in the world around me … (silently name or write the true things you think about). 
O God, these things are holy in my life and in the world around me … (silently name or write the holy things you think about). 
O God, these things are just or require justice in my life and in the world around me … (silently name or write the things that are just or need justice that you think about). 
O God, these things are pure in my life and in the world around me … (silently name or write about the pure things you think about). 
O God, these things are lovely in my life and in the world around me …  (silently name or write about the lovely things you think about). 
O God, I praise you and thank you for all of these things. All of them, each of them, reflect your goodness, your mercy, your intention. All of them are worthy of your praise. Thank you, God. Amen.
And with that I wish all a very Happy Thanksgiving!!


Day #1058

November 23, 2016

What a joy it is to worship with our neighbors. Once again we partnered with the church across the alley to provide an ecumenical Thanksgiving Eve worship service. Others joined in, as well. Joyful music, a lively message, and fellowship that followed the service - what more could you ask for?! 


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Day #1057

November 22, 2016 

Today marks the 46th anniversary of the ordination of women in the ELCA (Rev. Elizabeth Platz was the first, ordained Nov. 22, 1970). I cannot help but be thankful for all the women - and men - who have gone before me to make this possible, to pave the way, to educate and patiently endure. 

Of course, I especially remember and give thanks for my home pastor. Some 35 years ago, he asked me if I had ever considered becoming a pastor. I replied, I can’t do that. I’m a girl. And he responded, women can be pastors, too. I was floored. I had no idea. With there being only 10 years or so of history of such, the word had not gotten to me yet. Who knew that some 20+ years later I would finally do just that, head off to seminary to try and answer what I thought was God’s call on my life. 

Now the way is made straighter for other women to pursue what they feel is God’s calling on their life as a pastor. It’s not what everyone should or must do as a Christian, but for some it is the most amazing of calls. I also think of the young girl in the congregation who right now loves church and everything about it. One day she just might find herself going off to try and answer God’s call on her life as an ordained pastor. 

Today, I’m simply grateful that God calls all of us to areas of ministry - some as teachers, some as prophets, some as pastors, some as doctors, nurses, accountants, homemakers, executives, designers, etc., etc. Each of us has a calling to spread God’s word and share the Good News of God’s love and grace. Thanks be to God.


Monday, November 21, 2016

Day #1056

November 21, 2016 

It is a rare opportunity when the mayor of the town comes to talk with a group of folks at the congregation. And one I was glad to be a part of. Yes, he is partial to the opportunities found in this town, but then that is a good quality for a mayor to have. And I must agree, it is a “Great” place to live. 

Thank you for the leaders who work diligently to keep improving our town. Prayers for their decisions to be ones of mercy and justice. Amen and amen!

And thank you to those who invited the mayor and put the program together!! Keep up the good work!!


Day #1055

November 20, 2016 

What an awesome surprise - an anniversary cake for fellowship time!! Two years - and what a great week of celebration! 

So while I didn’t get the opportunity to see the cake before it was cut, I certainly appreciate the thought and action!!! And am thankful folks were able to enjoy the treat and celebrate with me! Thank you!!


Day #1054

November 19, 2016 

While I am thankful for the nice days we have been having here - sunny and warm for mid-November - I am praying desperately for rain for those who need it. Prayers for those fighting fires, those in harm’s way, and those suffering from the side-effects of smoke, etc. May the Lord provide you with the rain you need - - and soon!


Day #1053

November 18, 2016

There is a lot of hate speak running rampant. Sometimes it is almost overwhelming and just seems to be too much. What do we do when we wonder if we can change anything? Are we helpless? Is there anything anyone can do? 

Then, I came across this picture of a swastika turned from a statement of hate into one of love: 

And suddenly it seems so simple - we must turn hate into love. Easy? Not always! But there is hope and possibility through God’s promise: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:5)!! 

Thanks be to God, and to the hope found in love!!


PS The credit for this story - it was reported by Mark Mulholland / WNYT Copyright 2016 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Day #1052

November 17, 2016

Time goes by in a hurry!! Two years ago today I walked into my new office and took this picture of the bulletin board decorated to welcome me:

Now, two years later today, the same board looks like this:

A lot of life happens as you get to know folks and are welcomed into their lives. Each of the items on this board is a reminder of that: notes, pictures, articles, mementos, all precious because of the memories they represent. And all are items I cherish.

Oh, the yellow flowers on the cabinet - another beautiful bouquet sent to me to celebrate this anniversary. Yes, I’ve said it before, but I’ll keep saying it - I am truly thankful and grateful for this opportunity to serve with these folks. 

But then, I am thankful for both places I have served and the people I have walked/am walking with. What an amazing and awesome journey!!


Day #1051

November 16, 2016 

I know it’s coming. It’s been coming. The pages of the calendar don’t hide it, the stores are displaying it, and the need for planning keeps me from being able to deny it. And yet, it is finally hitting me hard!! We are within DAYS of the beginning of Advent and weeks from Christmas. 

There is just one word for it - YIKES!!


Day #1050

November 15, 2016

I think I have mentioned this before, but I truly enjoy making visits to folks. There is always a moment of grace in taking Holy Communion to someone at home, or visiting in a hospital or other facility. Holy ground, I call it.

Thank you for welcoming me in, for being glad to see me, and, most importantly, for accepting God’s grace when it is offered.


Day #1049

November 14, 2016 

Two parts of the day brought moments of thankfulness and reminders of God’s love and mercy brought to us through folks. 

At the beginning of the day I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers to celebrate my anniversary week: 

It will soon be two years I have been in this call. But it’s really much more than a call - it’s a wonderful opportunity.

Then, at the end of the day, a surprise/unexpected dinner with a lovely family - all for a good cause - was a welcome way to celebrate community. 

Truly we are grateful for the folks we do ministry with!


Day #1048

November 13, 2016

Rarely do we see Sunday morning television (it seems we have something else we are normally doing on Sunday mornings - haha). But there was a particular segment the hubby wanted to see, so we taped CBS Sunday Morning. 

In watching the show with him, I found myself intrigued by one of the segments. It was called The Wedding Gift and was about a couple finally opening their last wedding present - a box from her great-aunt with a note that said to not open it until their first disagreement. In nine years of “spats” they had not opened the gift, worried the next disagreement might be worse and the gift would then be needed more. When they recently opened the gift, finally, it wasn’t because they were fighting, but because they weren’t. It was then they realized the real gift wasn’t in the box, but what they already had done between them - learned tolerance and patience. That is what had brought them through many ups, downs and trials. The reporter ended with something like: we all have within us what we need to be in relationship. What we all need to do is dig deep and find those things. 

Which reiterated to me that perhaps listening, commitment, and determination are three of the major keys to any relationship. What might our world be like with a little more of these, that are found in each of us?!?!


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Day #1047

November 12, 2016 

At the congregation where I serve, a couple dozen volunteers sorted, counted and divided by four over 2,200 cans/packages/boxes, etc. of food. For what purpose? To be delivered next week to the Food Pantries of four local schools. 

Yes, for the last several weeks, folks have been generously and faithfully bringing their offerings of soup, vegetables, mac and cheese, fruit, canned meat, etc. What a boost this will be to the shelves of these school's pantries! What a help to those who are in need! 

May God bless this food, those who brought it, and those who will distribute it, so that many who are hungry may be filled by it!


Day #1046

November 11, 2016 

As the country celebrated Veteran’s Day, it reminds me of how grateful I am to all those who serve in so many ways, especially those who sacrifice time with their own family. I remember in prayer many I personally know and give thanks for their service!


Day #1045

November 10, 2016

What did you do today, pastor? Learned about being a Hospital Chaplain. Yes, the day was spent in training about hospital rules and regulations, ideas for making visits, etc. Good training and reminders!!! 

How will I use this information? In ways that, today, only God may know. Yet, I am thankful for the invitation and the information. It always comes in handy when walking with folks during difficult times in their lives. 


Day #1044

November 9, 2016 

Wonderful Wednesday! 

Wednesdays are long days - hours wise - but what fun to laugh and engage with youth early in the morning and late in the day. They ask great questions, have enthusiasm and energy galore - although sometimes it seems a little too much late in the day during confirmation class. It is then that I wonder if anything I am saying is getting through. Do they hear or learn? Does what I say matter? 

So tonight, as we ended class and gathered in a circle to pray, these words touched my heart deeply as prayed by one of the youth: “thank you for a safe place to ask questions.” 

Wow!!! What more can one hope for than for youth to know they have a safe place to ask any and all questions! Please, dear God, help that always to be the case!!


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Day #1043

November 8, 2016 

It’s finally here - election day 2016! What a race this has been!! What will be the outcome? We will know soon. Until then, I share this prayer from the ELCA:


Day #1042

November 7, 2016

What a treat to have a leisurely lunch with a colleague I don’t get to see all that often! Thank you for spending some time with me and for being/having a great listening ear!

Also, I’m praying for a dear friend who is having quite the medical procedure. Actually, I’m praying for several folks who are in the surgery/recovery mode. May God’s healing touch be upon you and may the peace of the Lord surround you all.


Day #1041

November 6, 2016

It’s not the greatest of pictures, but it was a great/fun concert. The Winds of Montana:

Great way to spend a little of the afternoon!


Day #1040

November 5, 2016 

What a beautiful day to enjoy with my hubby! Thankful for the blue sky, warm temps, and slight breeze. But it DOES leave me wondering what winter may have in store?!?!


Day #1039

November 4, 2016 

For the month of November, our Godson’s mother is posting a daily “I’m thankful for” on FaceBook. Day #4 was a surprise to me, and one that almost left me speechless. So, because I am thankful for her, and I just have to share because it touched me so deeply, here is what Simon’s momma had to say:
Day #4: I'm grateful for Anna. God knew exactly what he was doing when he put us together in 2008 as we traveled to DC and then to all of our NC synod candidacy meetings. I could not imagine my life without your friendship. You are so caring, understanding, and non-judgmental. You support me through all the hard things that happen. You have faith in me when I don't and when I'm not sure I deserve it. AND you're good at math when I totally suck at it. Even though we are many, many states away as we both strive to follow Gods call, you are always near in my heart. Thanks for being my second momma and never giving up on me. I love you! Oh, and Daddy Doug isn't so bad either. 😀 
What can I say to that except, wow!? What a reminder that sometimes we mean more to someone else than we really know. So thank you for telling me! Now I hope to do better in letting others know how I feel about them.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Day #1038

November 3, 2016 

Awe! That is what I felt as I listened to all the ministries just one church is doing in the community. How do they get the funding? Donations at worship. How do they get the volunteers? They just seem to come. How do they harness the passion and energy to do all they do? From Jesus - as a response to all Jesus does for us. 

WOW! Seems the Holy Spirit is really at work in and through this place. Hmmm...


Day #1037

November 2, 2016 

The word for the day - thankful - for a little time away (an overnight get-away) for just me and the hubby! LONG overdue!

But then, who wouldn't be thankful getting to see a view like this?


Day #1036

November 1, 2016 

This from the ELCA:

reminds me to be thankful for all those who have come before me and shared God’s story.

I am thankful for all the saints of my life, but especially my Grandma. She was probably one of the first to tell me about God, and one who I know regularly prayed for me. What would I tell her if I could talk to her now, over thirty years after her death? Thank you! Thank you for praying for me, for never giving up, and most especially for your love. I am grateful!!!!


Day #1035

October 31, 2016
"Thank you, God, for the people who have gone before me and those who stand beside me on this journey of faith. May I listen to their wisdom and hear your voice through them. Amen." 
Amanda Kempthorne wrote this prayer for the devotion, God Pause. It seems very appropriate on the Eve of All Saint’s Day.

Also, today is my husband’s birthday. A day to celebrate, especially since I am so grateful his life is an integral part of mine. Happy Birthday, sweetheart!!! And many more!!!


Day #1034

October 30, 2016

What a great commemoration of the 499th anniversary of the Reformation. Lots of folks decked out in red to signify the power in transformation of the church. Special awesome music. Time for some intergenerational learning and pondering. All in all, a festive day.

My prayer: that we, the church, are always transforming, discovering new and fresh ways to live and share the Good News of Jesus Christ’s love and grace.


Day #1033

October 29, 2016 

A great day on retreat - wonderful youth, beautiful weather - and some fun times. Here’s a couple of photos:


Day #1032

October 28, 2016

And we’re off - another pastor and I, along with nine Confirmation Class youth for an overnight retreat. Looking forward to a fun time of learning and relationship building!