Friday, September 22, 2017

Day #1360

September 21, 2017 

I’m very thankful for the care a leader took in looking over things one more time. All was ready to go, we thought, after weeks of planning and working. Yet, a critical piece had been missed, one that could have resulted in angst and creating many questions. So while it seemed odd to put a hold on something that looked ready to go, I’m thankful it happened. One more look is like the old adage, measure twice and cut once. It can certainly save some embarrassment...and wasted lumber. :-)

Thank you again!


Day #1359

September 20, 2017 

Wednesdays are busy again! Early mornings and late evenings with all sorts of fun in between - and the last piece has been added. Confirmation has begun!!! Yay! Looking forward to another awesome year! 


Day #1358

September 19, 2017 

“I love this time of year,” the clerk said as she made small talk. “I love the smells, and the coolness, and everything about it.” “True,” I said, “and as fall comes and things seem to be dying, it’s good to remember that spring will come and rebirth will happen.” She paused, “Yes. Exactly.”


Day #1357

September 18, 2017 

On a difficult day walking with folks experiencing unimaginable grief, it is a good reminder that Jesus is the one who perfectly "accompanies." He is the one who walks with us in the midst of overwhelming pain, anger, frustration, and who also walks with us in joy. As Jesus accompanies us, he gives us time and space to feel the pain and the anger without pushing us to “get over it.” But also doesn’t leave us there alone - and that’s great, good news. Prayers for those in the midst of the valley - remember you are not alone.

And at the end of a day like today, a smile is a good thing. Boomer has discovered his tail, but hasn’t quite figured it all out. So this was just perfect for a chuckle:

What a gift that as Jesus accompanies us, he also leads us to what we need when we need it.


Day #1356

September 17, 2017

What an awesome day of worship - a joint service with the neighboring congregation across the alley; a joyful, upbeat liturgy with jazz music and talented musicians; bittersweet moments saying goodbye to our very talented pianist/organist, who leaves for another “gig”; lots of people and lots of pie and conversation and smiles. And a reminder of the Good News by a talented, engaging preacher! What a joy to worship and give thanks to God!

Oh, and on the home front, our boy is growing up fast - he needed his bowl graduated to the taller setting. Goodness, time is passing quickly. 

But while he’s getting taller and a little wider, his puppy stage isn’t going anywhere anytime soon from what I can see. 


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Day #1355

September 16, 2017

Why is there never enough time to get everything done? With needing to do bills, laundry, write, read, clean, etc. one day isn’t ever quite enough. Well, some things just have to wait. 

Oh, and it’s another beautiful day to celebrate some rain!!! Thank you, God. And the earth thanks you, too!


Day #1354

September 15, 2017 

Another day of RAIN!! Thank you, God!!! And there is even snow in the mountains - oh, it’s good!!


Day #1353

September 14, 2017

RAIN!! Beautiful, amazing, slow, soaking RAIN!!! After 3 months of dry, fires, smoke and the desperate need of water from above - we have R.A.I.N. Thanks be to God.


PS It's not a Simon says, but a Simon self-portrait. Think there’s a real budding artist here!

Day #1352

September 13, 2017 

Again, the word is thankful - for youth, for men, for women, for kids and parents, for music, for meetings, for food, for things being back in the swing and the possibilities of things to come. Again, “it’s all good!” And the work that folks are willing to do to make it all happen - inspiring. 


Day #1351

September 12, 2017

The word for today - thankful. For colleagues, for possibilities of new things, for being able to host/provide a peace-filled/grace-filled place for a grieving family, and for energy. As the saying goes, “it’s all good!” Even in the midst of busy, it's all good!


Day #1350

September 11, 2017

The descriptor for today is Jesus as patient. The patient love, grace, and forgiveness from our Lord and Savior is evident in the number of times we are forgiven for not loving others as ourselves, treating others with less than the respect and honor they deserve, and not being a good steward of all the gifts provided for us. How fortunate we are to have Jesus as the example of being perfectly patient - and helps me realize how deficient I am in that regard. Thank you, Jesus, for your patient love and grace. A good reminder on this 9/11 remembrance day.


PS Speaking of patient, it’s definitely needed with a puppy. :-) Here’s a good/patient moment in the latest picture of Boomer with his “daddy.” 

Day #1349

September 10, 2017

The generosity of others gives me pause each time! I’m so thankful for all who contributed to the collecting of school supplies for Lutheran World Relief School Supplies Bags. And to all who helped today with the packing - many hands made light, and quick, work. 

Later that evening we enjoyed the company of a colleague and spouse. I’m so thankful for those who share in this ministry adventure. It’s good to have understanding conversations and visits.


Day #1348

September 9, 2017 

What a wonderful event - the Fall WELCA Potluck Salad Luncheon. It was an enjoyable time with an inspiring message about women, an amazing musical sharing/solo, delicious food, fun fellowship, and jolly jokes by a dynamic mother/daughter duo. 

So very thankful for the gifts shared by women! There is so much to offer!


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Day #1347

September 8, 2017 

Something I have saved from Richard Rohr caught my eye today. It’s been quite the week, and while I am thankful for so much in it, I do have a city policeman I need to forgive. And myself. Anyway, Richard Rohr wrote:
When we forgive, we choose the goodness of the other over their faults.
Something good to remember! And practice!


Friday, September 8, 2017

Day #1346

September 7, 2017 

Thank you!! 

I cannot say that enough for helping me feel the love on my birthday. Cards (paper and many e-cards!), presents, calls, emails, Facebook posts, text messages, cake, singing and well wishes have all made this a very special day. 

Thank you!! Thank you!! Thank you!!


Day #1345

September 6, 2017 

Here’s the ticket saga (see Day #1344) day two - I went to the court office, waited in a long line, and found I did not have to appear before the judge. Thankful!!! "All" I needed to do was pay the fine - $215! Apparently not only is the city serious about the ordinance, but they want it to stick in your mind and pocketbook they are serious if it is violated. And if it happens again within two years there is a $300+ fine plus community service, but third time could mean losing your license. As I told the clerk who took my payment, I certainly do not intend to ever have to worry about time two or three's consequences!

If you’ve been following, please know I understand the importance of not texting while driving. I have seen what can happen, how lives can be devastated. It isn’t that I think the law isn’t a good one, I guess I just thought being stopped at a light made a difference. Nope! The law is the law.

I will also say that confession has been good for my soul. I have laughed in telling the story, been treated gently with sympathetic comments, and felt better to not try and hide my mistake but hopefully help someone else from making it, too. 

I’m not quite at the point of saying thank you to the policeman, but have definitely learned a lot in these last two days.


Day #1344

September 5, 2017

Speaking of obedience (see Day #1343), I have a story to tell of the lack of mine.

I was stopped today for violation of a city ordinance...I was using a cellphone while driving. Here’s the rest of the story - while parked, I had put the address of my next stop in my maps app. As I headed there, while stopped at a light, I checked my phone to make certain of the next turn. And, I must admit, took a quick look at a reply text to one I had sent, also while parked. As the light turned green and I began to move with traffic, I noticed a policeman pull behind me and turn on his lights. I knew I had been seen, but was still thinking that being stopped at the light would make it ok. Maybe I would get a warning. Well, I pulled into a parking lot and, long story short, it wasn’t ok that I was at a light at all. The rule is the rule - no, absolutely no, use of the cellphone while driving. When the policeman handed me the ticket, he explained I needed to go to the city court office and possibly appear before the judge. Well, that sent me over the edge. I’ve never gotten into this kind of situation before. And hope I never, ever do again. 

So, if you see my name in the city paper for a violation, that is the story. Guilty, embarrassed, angry, frustrated, chagrined, even frightened - you name it and I’ve experienced it today. Please learn from my mistake - no cellphone usage while in the running car, unless parked by the side of the road. Better safe than sorry.  


Day #1343

September 4, 2017

The descriptor of Jesus for today - obedient. 

One of the thoughts conveyed yesterday is that Jesus had a specific amount of time to complete his ministry and mission. He had to keep focused and use each day wisely because being obedient to that mission was of upmost importance. That thought reminds me that Jesus is unlike anyone else ever, especially since I know my own obedience isn't where it should be. I'm not certain any one of us could say our obedience is where it should be. 

Thank God for an obedient Lord and Savior!


Day #1342

September 3, 2017 

After a sermon that focused partially on the stewardship of our time and how God needs us to use the 168 hours we are gifted each week for the building up of God's Kingdom, I have to admit I’m looking forward to some extra “time” off this week. 

How will I spend the extra time-off hours? Not certain, but I do know being thankful will be in the midst of it somehow.


Saturday, September 2, 2017

Day #1341

September 2, 2017 

The beginning of a long weekend and the unofficial, official end of the summer. :-(

Happy Labor Day weekend to all - have a safe and fun holiday! And to those dozens who are camping (lots of campers left town yesterday), enjoy some time away!


Day #1340

September 1, 2017

What a fun evening enjoying a play, The Importance of Being Earnest. It’s even more fun when you know a member of the cast. 


Day #1339

August 31, 2017 

The word for today - joy. A better start to the day with laugher and visiting only got better with a nice celebratory lunch, news of good surgery, checking off some “to do” items, helping prepare for an upcoming event, and more. And it’s my “Friday!” 

All in all, a joy-filled day! 


Day #1338

August 30, 2017 

Not at all times am I easygoing and calm (some might say I'm hardly ever "easygoing"), but there was reason on this day. It began with my credit card being declined at the restaurant where we meet for Men’s Bible Study. Not only was it embarrassing, but I knew there was plenty of credit limit, so this must mean someone was trying to hack the account, right?! 

When I called the number that popped up on our online banking page, the most unhelpful person answered. That did not improve the situation! After some two minutes of back and forth with her declaring over and over she could not answer my questions and saying,  “you must step into a branch with your photo id," when I inquired as to what time the local branch opened and she was able to answer that question, I simply hung up. No polite "thank you so very much," just hung up. That seemed more pleasant than what I wanted to say. Anyway, I then drove to wait almost an hour at the “local branch.” I had to get to the bottom of this.

The local branch was able to help - somewhat - at least the person who helped me was more than pleasant. Anyway, the best I could understand, it seems that my call to the number with the unhelpful person triggered a fraud attempt. WHAT?!?! I only called the number because my card was, did I say, DECLINED! Easygoing and calm long being out the window, I was mad. I hate getting mad. I detest losing my patience. And I’m never proud of my reactions to doing so. After all, it often seems to make matters worse, like this time. So twenty minutes later, the credit card was cancelled and hopefully all is well.

Fortunately, the rest of the day wasn’t ruined - I refused to let it be. Humor, joy, learning, etc., were all a part of the rest of my day. And the bank...we’ll see how things go. I must say they are on "probation," as far as I’m concerned. :-)


Day #1337

August 29, 2017

It’s not really a Simon says, but more a Simon is - meeting the teacher and getting ready for first grade.

FIRST GRADE!!?? Yikes - how has so much time gone by already and how has he gotten so big? Well, my prayers are with him and all those he will learn with and from. As we handed out on cards last Sunday:
May those who teach and those who learn find God to be the source of all truth and love. May God bless YOU and keep YOU. May God’s face shine upon YOU and give YOU peace. Amen.

Day #1336

August 28, 2017 

The descriptor of Jesus for today - Messiah. Or as Peter confesses in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 16, verse 16, “the Son of the Living God.” It’s a confession that the disciples had to live with - learning and discerning what that really meant. It’s a confession that we have opportunity to live into, for the same reasons. What does it really mean for us that Jesus is the Son of the Living God? Who, therefore, is Jesus to us, to me? 

I suppose that is the reason for this year’s weekly descriptor words - there is so much about who Jesus is to unpack and unveil. And it’s good for all of us to formulate the answer to “who do I say Jesus is.” For me, I think it takes a lifetime to know!


Day #1335

August 27, 2017 

It’s almost time to head back to school, so today at worship we took a couple moments to bless all those going back - students, teachers, and administration. I am thankful for those who teach and those who make it possible for people to learn. And I am thankful for students. There is so much to learn, and the eager looks on their faces renews my hope for a safe and fun year of stretching and growing!

Each person received a slip with this on it for their backpack/desk/etc:
May those who teach and those who learn find God to be the source of all truth and love. May God bless YOU and keep YOU. May God’s face shine upon YOU and give YOU peace. Amen.
Amen! And blessings.

Day #1334

August 26, 2017

In honor of National Dog Day - the latest picture of Boomer with a couple of his favorite toys, watching his "daddy."

And what a fun time of fellowship was had. There was perfect weather, delicious food, lots of talk and laughter. It is good to be together for the congregation’s annual Pig Roast!


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Day #1333

August 25, 2017

Time certainly goes fast! And puppies grow fast, too! 

Think he’s rather “sporty” in his new collar. Not certain he agrees, however. 


Day #1332

August 24, 2017

It was time for the monthly gathering of the ladies at Let’s Do Lunch - and it was another fun time. Lots of conversation and laughter - and this time someone took pictures (thank you!). 


Day #1331

August 23, 2017 

It’s been busy around the congregation this week. There is a room the women have been painting and doing some updates to. I’m grateful for their work - and apologize for there being no “in process” pictures. 

It’s amazing what a new coat of paint can do for a room!! Thank you!!!


Day #1330

August 22, 2017 

What a joy to gather with others at the site of the new Synod House (office) building to actually put hammer in hand and help nail together some walls. 

This new building is a joint effort utilizing hundreds of volunteer hours through the direction of Mission Builders. It was great to be able to include a couple of my own hours of work, too. And thank you to the others who joined me!


Day #1329

August 21, 2017 

Mondays are days I have been reflecting on different ways/words used to describe Jesus. However, with the historical eclipse, it seems important to share this from the C.M. Russell staff:

Perhaps it could be said, however, that Jesus is order in the chaos. Yes, there has been much hype about getting ready for this lunar/solar event - glasses to procure, places to be to “see” it all, where to tune in for live feeds, etc. Work/regular events of the day had to stop for many to be able to gaze (with protected eyes) at what was happening in the sky. 

Ok, I admit, I took a break from work, too. And I must also admit it was pretty cool. Just imagine, however, if the seeming chaos was the norm? Thank you, Holy Trinity, for creating the order of the systems! 


Day #1328

August 20, 2017

There are so many different ways that those who gather make the worship/church vital. There are those who sing and play beautifully, those who give hugs and hand shakes and warm embraces, those who give generously of their time and talent and treasure, those who listen intently and give feedback on how the Spirit spoke to them, those who simply come, faithfully, each week, those who eagerly open their hands to receive Christ’s assurance of love and forgiveness in Holy Communion, and more. 

Love Sunday!! Thank you one and all!!!! 


Day #1327

August 19, 2017

Saw where someone had seen this on a sign:
Let’s put unity back in community!
Love it! And when I saw this picture of a colleague at a Community Worship Service - I said, yes! This is that sign in action. 

Isn’t this certainly God’s community!?


Day #1326

August 18, 2017

It was the first “doctor” appointment for our “baby.” What a welcome:

He was a good boy - took the shot and exam well. And weighed in at 15.1 pounds - at 10 weeks! He’s gonna be a big boy! Think Boomer was a good name choice. Haha


Day #1325

August 17, 2017 

With all that seems to be going on in the world - I present this from the denomination through which I serve. It was released a couple days ago. A beginning? A step?
ELCA commitment to confronting racism and anti-Semitism 
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), stands against all forms of hatred and discrimination. The church believes that cultural, ethnic and racial differences should be seen and celebrated as what God intends them to be—blessings rather than means of oppression and discrimination. 
The ELCA’s social statement “Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity and Culture” states: “Racism—a mix of power, privilege, and prejudice—is sin, a violation of God’s intention for humanity. The resulting racial, ethnic, or cultural barriers deny the truth that all people are God’s creatures and, therefore, persons of dignity. Racism fractures and fragments both church and society.” 
The social statement, adopted by the ELCA 1993 Churchwide Assembly, calls on the church to make confession for complicity, name the spiritual crisis at the roots, commit to change and make pledges to public witness, advocacy and action to confront racism.  
“We recognize that the kind of violence we witnessed in Charlottesville last weekend is very real and affects all of us,” said ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton. “We need to stand up firmly against racism and anti-Semitism, show up for and advocate with others. Jesus, who makes visible those who are invisible, is already there. We need to show up, and we need to listen in each of our communities.” 
The ELCA is a church that belongs to Christ and Christ’s church universal, where there is a place for everyone. The job of Christ’s people today is to celebrate the diversity of God’s creative work and embrace all people in the spirit of love, whatever race or ethnicity, economic status or gender. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Day #1324

August 16, 2017 

It seems important to share what Gina Yeager-Buckley wrote in the devotion, d365, which is focusing right now on returning to school. Like the rest of life, new situations at school can be frightening and stressful. Gina writes:
Where is the wilderness you must go this week? And where is your UP [by UP, Gina means the ways, places, etc., that give us encouragement, clearer perspective, and a way of refueling]? Consider the people, places, and activities that give you strength and encourage you, and those that lead you into the wilderness.
Who do you turn to when you are afraid? When you are confused or need to talk through something? Are there people that will listen, pray with you (even though we can certainly pray alone), or just sit with you? 

We all need these people in our lives - please know my door is open!


Day #1323

August 15, 2017

There are certainly days when it seems that what I do makes a difference - being present when needed, listening, giving hugs, even playing “devil’s advocate” to a point/counterpoint discussion. This was one of those days - reminding me I am grateful for what I do - and also reminding me Who is with me every step of the way. Thank you, Jesus!!!!


Day #1322

August 14, 2017

After reading an article in the August LivingLutheran magazine, it struck me that the description for Jesus today should be ambidextrous. The author, Kathryn Kleinhans, wrote about how musical conductors do two separate things with their hands at the same time. While one hand keeps the tempo, the other introduces certain nuances, such as an instrument entrance, etc. 

How is Jesus similar? I’m thinking that Jesus, within the relationship of the Trinity, keeps the tempo of the world. The tempo I imagine as days/nights, rain/sun, winter/summer, etc. - the systems set in place at creation. With that on the one “hand,” the other introduces nuances - comfort when one is in mourning or sick, encouragement when one is lonely or afraid, and such. 

After all, without being ambidextrous, how could the Creator of all keep up with and care about one little part of the creation - me?! Not that Jesus is orchestrating the outcome of all things, but is present and attentive and loving - and everywhere! A rather cool image, I think, and I thank you, Kathryn, for it!


Day #1321

August 13, 2017

In the summer, with the heat and there not being air-conditioning in the congregation where I serve, I do not wear a robe, as I otherwise would, for leading worship. One of our young ones, who had not been able to attend worship since I had stopped wearing a robe after Memorial Day, noticed that was the case when it came time for the Children’s Message. Settling in, this young one said: “You don’t have on any clothes!” 

It was a sweet/humorous moment. However, I have to admit, I felt self-conscious for the rest of the service. I hope THAT word doesn't get around - the pastor with no clothes. Haha!


Day #1320

August 12, 2017

This quote from the movie Michael jumped off the screen at me: “You gotta learn to laugh. It’s the way to true love.”

Some days it’s easier said than done, especially at times when the news reports are about people being in danger for standing against hatred or when reports incite fear because of what might happen globally with war or when reports regularly include death, hunger and drought, etc. How can we find laughter when there is so much to be afraid of and to mourn over? 

Perhaps it is possible - from the deep place of joy that our God desires for us. From the joy in knowing that God is with us - no matter what. 

Perhaps we also need to read and take to heart the quote from the book on Day #1318!


Day #1319

August 11, 2017 

One of the congregation’s oldest members passed early in the morning on this day. His health had been declining for a while, and he had shared with me and others that he was ready. 

Thankfully, I am back home. As I gathered with his family to do some planning, we were able to find laughter in the telling of stories from his life. This is, I suppose, a testimony to a life well-lived - that amidst what had to be times of pain, there were many times of joy and laughter, too. 

Rest in peace, George. You will be missed. You already are!


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Day #1318

August 10, 2017 

All too quickly the time came to leave the gathering and fly home. Another day of flying, but less abundant in the challenges, thankfully. It was wonderful to spend time with our Godson’s mother...

and to be fed by so many faithful, deeply committed leaders. Thank you for the opportunity.

On the flight home, while reading the August Book Club book, Flight of the Sparrow, by Amy Belding Brown, I came across this quote I have to share:
“… God weeps when men and women are cruel - to each other, to animals. To the earth itself. He said that Christ’s kingdom will only come when we learn to be deeply kind. […] remember that while we draw breath, there will always be some way we can show kindness.”