Saturday, September 30, 2017

Day #1368

September 29, 2017 

Ahh…the last rays of sun on a warm day means summer, 2017, looks like it is one for the books. At least according to the forecast, cooler, even colder, weather is coming. Oh, it seems there is never enough time to do what we want (glad that was made into a song!). Yet, the change of seasons and weather is welcome. 

So today, I’m thankful. Already missing summer, yes, but thankful for the memories, and looking forward to the next thing. After all, life is about change, whether we are ready or not. 


Friday, September 29, 2017

Day #1367

September 28, 2017

The prayer from the devotion, "Moravian Daily Prayer," certainly deserves sharing: “Lord, you are everything to us—hold us in your arms and wherever we roam, show us that you are always there. Amen.” 

This prayer certainly seems appropriate as I celebrate nine years of ordination. On September 28, 2008, as I was ordained as pastor, I had no idea the places I would go, the people I would meet who would become a part of my heart and soul, and the experiences that would shape nine years of ministry and service. I certainly am thankful for these nine years, and do know without doubt that the Lord IS always there (and cannot do this without that assurance and hope).

And then, a "Simon says” by way of a note to his momma: 

What a caring boy! And smart, too! 


Day #1366

September 27, 2017 

For almost two weeks, the office has been without a copy machine. Broken - a part on order coming slowly from across the states. I know this doesn’t seem like a big deal. Yet, it has not been without stress. It is very difficult to maintain an office and help others without the possibility to make a copy (I know, it’s a modern world problem and I feel almost guilty for complaining when so many suffer in such more horrific ways). But with all that said, when one goes beyond the expected to make sure it’s fixed asap, there is much rejoicing and gratitude. And how great it was to make that first copy. Woohoo!!!!

And then the question of the day at Bible Study, what is your favorite hymn, generated some important conversation. How does music feed our soul? How does music stay with us and deepen our knowledge and faith? How does hearing a certain hymn, or any song, illicit memories that run deep and strong? With that said, what is your favorite?


Day #1365

September 26, 2017

It’s picture day for Simon, his first in first grade. And he told his momma he had to have a button shirt and tie for the big day. 

He’s very handsome, I must say, and will have some wonderful pictures, I’m certain. This one is, after all. :-)


Day #1364

September 25, 2017 

The descriptor for Jesus for today - merciful. 

As described by Katie Todd in the daily devotion "d365" from September 24, “[mercy is] a conscious decision to offer compassion, to show care, to provide protection, to keep another from harm.” It seems to me all that describes Jesus perfectly. 

And perhaps Jesus smiles best when we show mercy to one another. As one of the young folks and their mother did in bringing items for Family Promise guests. Everybody should have a toothbrush [and soap, shampoo, bubble bath, etc. according to what they brought] the little one said.  

Thank you, little one, for putting mercy into action and being a great example. And thank you to everyone who is serving so that Family Promise guests experience the love of God through their hands.


Day #1363

September 24, 2017

My thanks goes to Rev. Dr. David Lose for this reminder - there is no joy in comparison. We either set ourselves up for disappointment (I don’t have as much as they do) or for a fall due to being filled with pride (I sure am glad I’m not as “bad off” as they are or, more likely, as rotten as they are). There is, however, joy in remembering that God’s love and grace is equal for all.

And a side-by-side of Boomer - from 8/25 to 9/24. He’s definitely growing quickly.


Day #1362

September 23, 2017

There is always something for me to learn during a planning retreat. Time with others is almost always spent well and today was no exception. The leader shared information about the need to be clear in defining the “why” of what we do. Not the what, not the expected outcomes, not the dream or the hope, but the why. Answering the why gets us so much deeper into motivation, is so much easier to explain and is an effective way to help others catch the vision. I’m thankful for this time well spent, and the information!


Day #1361

September 22, 2017

On the first day of fall, perhaps we should not be surprised for a little snow mixed in with the rain that is falling. And this temperature at 3:36 pm:

Actually - thankful is more like it. After a long hot, dry, fire-threatening summer, this fall weather is very welcome!


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!