Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Day #1450

December 20, 2017

On a very wintery, snowy day, I am grateful for the folks who braved the elements to come for Bible study. No such thing as a “snow day” here. :-) And, I'm also grateful for those who were otherwise occupied this day (it is a busy time!!!). No matter how many, it is always a good time to read and discuss God’s word.

Then, there was this from our godson to Santa - and the reply, which I understand thrilled him to no end!

Such a sweet, thoughtful young man! Thank you, Santa, for affirming him!


Day #1449

December 19, 2017

The fellowship hall was busy, filled with cookies and folks. A group was present to package cookies to be delivered to the inmates at the local prison. Dozens and dozens of cookies, lovingly put onto festive plates and into bags, all to remind those incarcerated they have not been forgotten.

And my task, to bless these cookies. What an honor to give thanks for those who care, ask God to bless their efforts, and watch over those who will receive them. May they know that God, and “God people” care!


Day #1448

December 18, 2017

The descriptor for Jesus this day - he is in, through and under the elements of Holy Communion, the bread and the wine. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, the “common” elements of bread and wine become the mystery of Jesus’ true presence. And when we partake of these elements, we take into our very beings his true presence and are transformed. It’s a mystery and an amazement that I cannot comprehend, but certainly am grateful to accept - and am honored to celebrate with others.

And while on Day #1446 I mentioned spotting an elf, I neglected to mention on Day #1447 that I spotted a Christmas village - along with a house filled with Christmas cheer. Thank you for the open-house and the invitation. Quite the treat, and quite the array of goodies. Good to see others enjoy it, as well. 


Sunday, December 17, 2017

Day #1447

December 17, 2017

Today’s focus for the Advent season - hope. It is good to remember that when the expectations are not fulfilled and hopes are dashed that something amazing and perfect may be just around the corner. That is who Jesus is, after all, the amazing and perfect Messiah, even though he was not exactly as the Israelites had expected, or hoped for. 

Made me wonder, what would the world look like without hope? Well, that is something I hope never happens!


Day #1446

December 16, 2017 

Spotted - a real elf, ears and all. Well, she sure looked like a real elf. 

What a hoot to watch a couple of youngsters try to figure out if this woman dressed in elf-like clothes, with pointed ears and lit up shoes, was the real thing. And especially cute to watch them try to behave in her presence. 

What fun - a real holiday treat. 


Day #1445

December 15, 2017 

A minor crisis (broken cookie press) happened in the middle of trying to bake the annual "must have" butter cookies. So you know the man loves you when he jumps in the PU in the middle of the mess and runs out to find a new press. 

Unfortunately, even with his best efforts, the new press wasn’t up to the job. They look a little different this year (not share worthy), but taste just fine. And a new heavy-duty press is on the wish list before next year comes around. :-)


Day #1444

December 14, 2017 

Well, another first for me has been enjoyed here in our new home. The drink, Tom and Jerry, is a staple at a local bar, and a Christmas season tradition for many. So 22 of us ladies enjoyed Let’s Do Lunch and a sampling of the famous adult beverage. 

It is not bad. Not bad at all. 


Day #1443

December 13, 2017 

As we looked at the scripture in Bible Study today that lists Jesus’ ancestry, I thought about family roots and their importance. It is no wonder that DNA testing companies who help you discover your ancestry seem to do well financially. We all seem to want to know from whom and where we have come. 

My ethnicity is not something I know about my own family tree, but I see the pride and sense of belonging in others who do know. One thing is for certain, I am grateful Jesus’ information is there in scripture -- descended from the line of David, born of the virgin Mary, with the Holy Spirit as his real father. A pretty amazing story to ponder as we near the celebration of Christmas.


Day #1442

December 12, 2017 

We seem to be plowing through the month of December as we are at the halfway point of the month until Christmas Eve. I am feeling a little of the stress - won’t deny it. So when I read the article from Bishop Eaton in the December issue of LivingLutheran magazine, I appreciated her sharing these words: “Just this. Just now.” In other words, don’t get too far down the road worrying about what is to come. But also, don’t get caught focusing on, or lamenting about, the way things used to be, looking backward and missing the present. 

“Just this. Just now.” Very good advice!


Day #1441

December 11, 2017

As we near the end of a year of weekly reminders of who Jesus is, today’s descriptor is Community. Community does seem to be important to Jesus - he healed those who were ostracized from the community so they could be restored to it; he enjoyed meals and teaching with community; and his teaching often focused on things that would strengthen community - forgive others, etc. 

So on this day of thinking of Jesus as community, it was good to come together as community to help wrap Christmas presents for graduates of Family Promise. Some 70+ gifts were wrapped in short order by many of the confirmation students and their families. And, bonus, it counts as a “service project.” A win/win, for certain. 


Day #1440

December 10, 2017

This Advent series on patience, silence and speech, hope, and family is turning out to be very inspiring for me in its preparation. This week the focus of silence and speech reminded me of the fact that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason - we should strive to listen twice as much as we speak. Not always easy!

It was also good to remember that in the times of silence, God has a better opportunity for us to actually hear a message. Being one who enjoys periods of silence, it is a good reminder to take advantage of as many of them as possible. And to really listen when I do. 

But then there are times to not only speak, but sing. It was another enjoyable evening singing Christmas Carols at the Ministerial Association’s Carols and Beer. So glad this tradition has been started here. 


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Day #1439

 December 9, 2017 

Speaking of decorating and Advent (Day #1435), here is a picture of our tree for this year. 

It’s our first artificial :-( but the memories brought to mind as we decorated it with ornaments from years gone by are just as precious.


Day #1438

December 8, 2017 

A friend sent me this picture:

Yes, that is an ironing board. She had just finished ironing pillowcases that were once my mother’s. They are actually old flour sacks my mom turned into pillowcases. 

While some of you reading this may find it hard to believe, in my youth I also ironed, yes ironed, these dozens of times and slept on them hundreds of nights. But what is amazing is how a simple photograph can recall so many wonderful memories. Thank you!

And speaking of wonderful, the congregation’s staff (all but one - healing prayers!) gathered at our home for dinner and celebration. I’m so grateful for the gifts of each one of these folks - the joy they bring to me in their work ethic, the help they provide not only to me but to the ministry of the congregation, and for who each one is. We laugh together, plan together, struggle together, work together - and are better as a team! Thank you - every single one of you!!!!


Day #1437

December 7, 2017 

A trio of us took to the streets today to deliver brochures to downtown businesses. It’s the culmination of a project the Downtown Samaritans have been working on for years - a brief resource guide to places that provide things like a free meal, clothing, assistance, etc. 

While the services do sometimes leave folks short and still needing, it’s a helpful tool for business owners to have. And it was a joy to be welcomed warmly in every place because we had something they might be able to use to help others - at least to give them hope. 

In this season of giving, sometimes a glimmer of hope is just what is needed.


Day #1436

December 6, 2017

This learning patience just keeps coming around and around. With adults and with children, it’s sometimes really difficult to be patient. Maybe it's just that it's a time of year when we get excited, anxious, overwhelmed. 

Either way, I suppose, it is a gift. And we can choose to not accept it. Hmmm…


Day #1435

December 5, 2017 

As Advent begins, it’s time to begin some decorating at home in preparation of the season. A little at a time, perhaps, but it's a beginning. 

I love this season of waiting and preparing. I enjoy the lights and the sounds and the smells - goodies that only come with preparing for Christmas. 

May your Advent preparations be filled with hope and expectation of the celebration of Jesus. The waiting is worthwhile! 


Day #1434

December 4, 2017 

The word describing Jesus for today - patient! Certainly Jesus is patient with us when we make decisions that go against his desire for us, when we try to do things on our own and forget to pray or seek his guidance, when we hurt others or overlook others, and when we simply go our own way. 

I’m thankful for Jesus being patient with us - me - and hope he continues to teach me the way of patience every day.


Day #1433

December 3, 2017

When I was much younger, one of my favorite nights of the week was the one when we watched the Carol Burnett show on tv. Her show was funny, entertaining, and memorable. Tonight Carol Burnett gave us all a gift with her 50th anniversary show (hard to believe that her first show was 50 years ago - I really was much younger!). 

While we watched tonight, we laughed and laughed and LAUGHED - to tears! Some of the skits they did on that show will be funny no matter how long they run and how many times I see them - ones like the dentist, Gone with the Wind, and more.

So thank you, Carol Burnett, for your career and love of helping people laugh. It’s definitely a gift I’m thankful you share with the world!


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Day #1432

December 2, 2017

A clever…

What else would you do when it’s too much trouble to take down Halloween skeletons (see Day #1400) but turn them into Santa!

And a precious…

A Simon does. :-)! He's watching us - guess he's getting ready for Christmas!


Day #1431

December 1, 2017

Thirty colleagues, including spouses and friends, gathered for the annual Cluster Dinner at a local restaurant. Lots of good food, good conversation, laughter, and getting to know one another better. Unfortunately, there wasn’t space to mingle more, but it was still fun and great to be with friends!

Also, unfortunately, it meant missing the annual Christmas Stroll in downtown. :-( Oh well, next year.


Day #1430

November 30, 2017

What a fantastic evening! Singer/songwriter John Floridis performed for just about an hour at a Family Promise of Great Falls fundraising event (held at our congregation, by the way). He is quite talented, and personable, and it was a really good event.

And we were doubly blessed as former guests of Family Promise shared their story. Truly an inspiring evening, and organization!


Day #1429

November 29, 2017 

So the question of the day, do you have more patience with yourself or with others? Hmmm….what would you say?


Day #1428

November 28, 2017 

Once again, I am thankful for having good, trusted colleagues with whom I can laugh and share. I’m grateful for the monthly time of meal and discussion - it is always good. Thank you all!


Day #1427

November 27, 2017

The word - well, picture word, for Jesus today is somewhat self-explanatory (thank you to the person who posted it).

Good to be reminded that not only Can Jesus, but he did/does!!

And such a treat at Book Club - the author of the book we read for November (Love and Other Consolation Prizes) joined us for the meeting. 

Thank you, Jamie Ford, for your enjoyable time with us, your personality, and your honesty. Very informative and inspiring. And his books are just the same.


Day #1426

November 26, 2017 

Whatever you have done to the least of these, you have done to Jesus. That is something Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Matthew. So I suppose it should be no surprise to see Jesus in folks, maybe those on the street, sick from drugs and alcohol, etc., you would least expect. And sometimes you have to look a little harder to recognize Jesus. Yet, Jesus always recognizes us. Comforting!!

However, a question I have is that when you walk through the door, Jesus, must we “do” for you every time?!?! Is it sometimes better, or even ok, to say no?!?! Is that the most loving thing, albeit done with respect and honor. These are hard choices! Yes, these can be difficult words from Jesus. 

So on a lighter note, the Christmas tree for Washington, DC, that came from MT (see Day #1416), has been delivered safe and sound. Here’s the path it took. 

Pretty cool. 


Saturday, November 25, 2017

Day #1425

November 25, 2017 

Well, he just keeps on growing. Today (actually yesterday - I was a day off!) marks his fourth (another correction - not fifth) month with us. He’s lost all his “baby” teeth and grown to a whopping 55 pounds - hardly a puppy anymore. :-(

This I snapped quickly while he’s waiting for breakfast. Not the best time to try to capture a “willing” model. :-)

And then the day ended with seeing Santa at the Parade of Lights:

And watching the lighting of the tree:


Day #1424

November 24, 2017 

Another day filled with joy - a non-shopping, be at home “Black Friday” vacation day. Even more to be thankful for as we just “be.”


Day #1423

November 23, 2017 

What a gift to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast with others. Yes, there is much to give thanks for - the friends beside us, the food before us, and the love of God between us. Amen!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!


Day #1422

November 22, 2017

While out and about on this Thanksgiving Eve, it’s hard to keep a focus on this holiday when all around it seems to be Christmas time already. After all, shouldn’t Santa at least wait to arrive at the mall until the day AFTER Thanksgiving?!?

Ok, I must admit, I got just a tad caught up in the coming holiday when I saw this:

Only in MT would the antlers be added. Right?!


Day #1421

November 21, 2017

Those quilts and personal care kits and school kits that we lovingly blessed a week or so ago, and that were carefully packed for shipping, all had to be loaded up and delivered to a van. So I am thankful that just a brief announcement on Sunday resulted in several folks coming to help. All those hands made light and quick work of beginning to fill that big van with warmth and supplies. And we were also able to help some others there for the same reason. 

Thank you to all who crafted, provided, and/or helped in any way. Your work is a blessing to many!


Day #1420

November 20, 2017

The descriptor of Jesus for today - thanks. Perhaps that is a little awkward grammatically, but Jesus is the one for whom I am thankful and also the one who deserves our thanks. As I prepare to celebrate the day set aside as Thanksgiving, perhaps it would be better to set aside time every day to give thanks to Jesus. I hope I do.


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Day #1419

November 19, 2017

On this Sunday before Thanksgiving, the "Time with Children" included a bagful of things for which I’m grateful. Included were:
  • A doll from my childhood as I give thanks for memories and family
  • A “Smoky” koozie as I give thanks for all those who help care for us - firefighters, EMT folks, medical personnel, military, and more
  • A picture of my husband - oh, how thankful I am for him
  • A card from a friend as I give thanks for all the friends in my life
  • A reminder of Our Savior’s 125th anniversary as I give thanks for all those of the congregation and for this place to serve and worship (also today I give thanks for the congregation I first served, as well, as they celebrated their 150th anniversary)
  • A Bible as I give thanks for the word of God and the stories it includes of how much God loves us all
  • A bottle of water as I give thanks for water, food, clothing, shelter - all necessities God provides
  • And lastly, some candy, as I give thanks that I can share (each youth received some and smiled)
And there is so much more, but I couldn’t begin to fit it all in the bag. What are you thankful for as we get ready for this Thanksgiving holiday?


Day #1418

November 18, 2017

As the overnight came to an end, one word came to mind - thankful. Not that it was over, but thankful for good kids and awesome fellow leaders. It’s a joy to be with them all!


Day #1417

November 17, 2017 

At an overnight with the confirmation class, what’s the best thing to do? Make prayer pizzas, of course (thank you to one of the leaders for this great idea)! 

How to build a prayer is much like how to make a pizza: 
  • Begin with the foundation - the crust/dough as the address to God
  • Add the sauce as giving praise to God
  • Add some cheese as the giving of thanks to God
  • Next add some meat as prayers for others
  • Then add the veggies as prayers for our own needs
  • And lastly, end with the spices as the closing. Amen.
It’s a simple way to remember the basics, and trust that God does hear all prayers. 


Day #1416

November 16, 2017 

This from Simon, as he gets ready for Thanksgiving - how to cook a turkey:

Too cute! Although his momma did suggest that maybe she has cooked one too many “beer can” turkeys. :-)

Then this...the Christmas Tree for the White House is being provided from the state of MT. It made a stop in our town on its way there and hubby was able to go see it. Pretty cool. 


Day #1415

November 15, 2017

Following Bible Study came a really precious moment. One of the folks stopped me afterward to share with me a book of hymns. She pointed out one she said her mother used to play and sing with her - In the Garden. As she asked me if I happened to know it, we began to sing it together. Just one verse and the chorus, but oh the joy it brought to her, and to me, to share this special moment. 


Day #1414

November 14, 2017 

Coming again this Sunday is another difficult reading from the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25 - a parable about talents. Jesus seems to be saying that doing nothing with talent given to us by God will result in judgment that separates us permanently from God. Is Jesus saying that not being willing to risk is our worst sin? 

At this time of the week, I'm not quite certain where this will lead by the time Sunday rolls around. However, today I give thanks for some good and deep conversation with colleagues while wrestling with the reading and even finding reason to laugh.   


Day #1413

November 13, 2017

The descriptor of Jesus for this day - Laughter. One of my favorite pictures of Jesus is of him laughing - a display of joy from our Lord and Savior. Perhaps I like this image of him because laughter has so many wonderful qualities - endorphins released, tension lessened, an outbreak of fun, and even hope. 

I wanted to include a picture of Jesus laughing, so I Googled it. WOW! There are so many to choose from, but this was a favorite:

What a picture of joy! Thank you to


Day #1412

November 12, 2017

What beauty filled the worship space as quilts lovingly made for Lutheran World Relief covered the pews (rats - I missed getting a photo) and care and school kits filled the area in front of the altar. The generosity of all this, along with the food and a delicious Blue Plate Lunch Special fundraiser, is overwhelming. Truly a way of being a beacon of hope in a waiting/hurting world! Thanks be to God!