Thursday, March 22, 2018

Day #1538

March 18, 2018 

What a gift to be able to talk with youth about Holy Communion! But the fun is baking the bread.

May these young ones soon know the love and grace of God through Jesus’ body and blood. 

And Boomer has been enjoying immensely the attention of his aunt and uncle. Doesn’t he look so innocent and peaceful. 

HA! Don’t let him fool you!!!


Day #1537

March 17, 2018

As mentioned a couple of days ago, there is much art to see this week. And while I know we are missing just as much as we are seeing, my eyes are full. I’m just in awe of the talent, however!

And, whether there is Irish blood in your veins or not, I wish you the Luck O’ the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. And always!


Day #1536

March 16, 2018

What beautiful art we enjoyed watching folks bid on at the Russell First Strike auction. The talent and gifts these artists have are truly God-given and incredible. I’m glad we were able to attend. A good time was had by all. 


Friday, March 16, 2018

Day #1535

March 15, 2018

Russell Art Week - its 50th anniversary! A big deal in this town - and with family who have come to visit, we get to enjoy the art and such. So much to do and see - don’t imagine we’ll get around to it all. But we’re going to give it our best try.

And what could be more appropriate - a little snow for the morning. Haha!!


Day #1534

March 14, 2018 

Another evening with a special Lenten Worship Service and faith sharing - with a large dose of humor. What fun to participate with others in sharing their faith and their stories of God’s presence in their life.

I really am not looking forward to Lent ending because I’m enjoying this so much. Perhaps we can incorporate this sooner rather than later into our Sunday worship?!


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Day #1533

March 13, 2018

Just have to share the question I had from a young one - "is there a school here" (meaning at the congregation)? "No, there’s not," I said. "Oh, I was going to ask if you were the principal."

Out of the mouths of babes. Haha! Principal/pastor - similar....

But the same one later gave me a fist bump and said, I’m so glad I got to see you.

Makes my heart smile!!!


Monday, March 12, 2018

Day #1532

March 12, 2018

A prayer for today in the midst of Women's History Month:
Almighty God, thank you for the gift of women. Those with generous hearts and courage who have paved the way for others of us to follow. Women who help raise children, educate them, love them, and encourage them, and who are wonderfully made in your image. May there always be women who follow you, teach about you, and love you. Amen.

Day #1531

March 11, 2018

Happy 29th wedding anniversary to my patient, kind, loving husband. Amazing how fast the years have gone! Here’s to at least 29 more!

I love you, hubby! Very much!!!


PS Thank you to others, too, who helped make the day special!

Day #1530

March 10, 2018 

Two items of appreciation today - one was a quick yes in response to a plea for some help. Another, a place that was all too happy to make room for two who wanted to celebrate their anniversary a little early. 

I truly am thankful for folks with willing hands and welcoming hearts. Life is good!


Day #1529

March 9, 2018 

For 18 years, an annual event to benefit FISH, the local Food Emergency Assistance program, has been lovingly planned and executed. Loaves and Fishes, a freewill offering salmon loaf meal, along with a silent auction and raffle, brought in lots of folks who want to do what they can to help those who are hungry in this city. 

Thank you to all who came to eat and buy, brought really nice items for auction and raffle, made jello salads and desserts, and who have hands and hearts that care and are generous. 

I must say, however, one of my favorite comments was - I’ve never heard such giggling during salmon prep. Yep, I enjoy making some fun out of a not so fun task. A little of the humor gift from God can go a long way - smiles are so good!


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Day #1528

March 8, 2018 

Today is International Women’s Day. A day to celebrate the strength and influence of women in our lives and in the world. Women are amazing creatures. I do not say that because I am one, but because of the ones who have been influential in my life - from my mother, to my grandmother, to friends, to women I don’t even know personally but who have paved the way for others to follow.

And what better way to celebrate this day than at Ladies: Let’s Do Lunch. Sixteen wonderful women joined me for good food and great conversation and much laughter. I’m so thankful for each one of them. 

Thank you, women of the world! For everything you do and who you are!


Day #1527

March 7, 2018

Another evening of faith sharing and a reminder that the assurance of God’s presence comes to each of us in very different - and yet similar - ways. God’s presence in times of sadness or need can be so very apparent, and yet in the simpler times, God is just as present and cares just as much about us. That is good news!!

Also, today the question to begin Bible Study was about our favorite scriptures. A good reminder that scripture is another way God’s presence is made known to us, and that assurance of God’s love is found throughout the Bible. 

One of my favorite verses of scripture is Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. A copy of that is front and center across from my desk. It often gives me courage - and a kick in the pants - when I'm hesitant to try something new. 

What about you? What scripture verse is most important to you? Do you keep it somewhere visible?


Day #1526

March 6, 2018

The requests do not come that often, but when I am asked to write a letter of recommendation for someone, I consider it an honor. It can be for all sorts of things, from jobs to awards to requests for money. Each time I take seriously the responsibility - it could make a definite difference in the outcome. 

I am also thankful - for all the people in my past who I have asked to vouch for me. Their responses, I know, have helped me, and I feel certain they took them as seriously as I do. 

There is much to appreciate in the joys of community and collegiality.


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Day #1525

March 5, 2018 

This from the Moravian Daily Prayer:
O Lord, grant us a new spirit for work and growth today. May our hearts and minds be centered on the direction your Spirit seeks to guide us. May the work of our hands, our hearts and our minds please you this day. Amen.
inspired this prayer from me:
Gracious God, thank you for giving each of us meaning in our lives through the work of our minds, hearts and hands. May our minds be used for building up the kingdom in ways of creativity and inclusion, our hearts be turned toward you and our neighbor, and our hands busy with serving. And while our daily jobs vary in as many ways as we are people, may our vocation as Child of God and member of Your Kingdom, guide and direct us in ways that always bring you glory and honor. Amen.

Day #1524

March 4, 2018

When I make a promise (see Day #1512 ), I do mean to keep it. So I’m not saying anything more about this winter. But, if I were to, I’d have to report nearly 6 more inches of snow (80 inches for the season). 

BUT….the weather I’m not mentioning didn’t keep folks from worshipping. Wow!! Hearty souls hungry for the community, the word, the meal, and the assurance of God’s presence in our lives.

Thank you for a beautiful beginning to an otherwise, well, somewhat gloomy day. :-)


Saturday, March 3, 2018

Day #1523

March 3, 2018 

Saw this and couldn’t help but share:

It’s a good reminder that really the only person I have control over for behavior, decisions, choices, etc., is me, even if I think I know what might be best for someone else. I’m thankful God is the one, however, who ultimately knows the best - and sifts through my prayers otherwise.


Day #1522

March 2, 2018 

What fun to see pictures of children enjoying a day to honor a special author - Dr. Seuss - on what would have been his birthday. So on this day, I offer this:

To be a poet is a gift, for sure
To be one for children, a gift most pure
Green eggs and ham, Cat in the Hat, the Places You’ll Go
All books everyone should lucky enough be to know
Thank you, Dr. Seuss, for bringing us smiles
May your words, your thoughts, your insights take us miles.


Day #1521

March 1, 2018 

Have I mentioned before how honored - and humbled - I am to do what I do. When someone has questions about their own faith or beliefs, it’s truly amazing to be one they may come to, to talk it out and be open to new perspectives. And one to pray with them, and for them. 

I give thanks for these moments, hold them in high respect, and handle them preciously. And trust that God is the agent of change - and assurance - always!


Day #1520

February 28, 2018 

The second week of Lenten worship and faith sharing went very well. Each person’s story is a bit different - the ways we recognize God’s presence in our life varies and how we experience God’s closeness comes in many ways. Yet, sharing strengthens not only our own faith, but encourages others, too. Yes, I am finding that to be true.

We all have a story of faith to share. Who needs to hear yours?


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Day #1519

February 27, 2018 

Not much brings a smile to my face quicker than a visit from an inquisitive child! Who’s that? That’s baby Jesus. What’s that? A fish that grows really big in water. What are those? M&Ms. And a smile and a “they’re my favorite,” which just means more opportunity to share. Just love it!

So with a renewed spring in my step for the day, I’m thankful for visits. Of all ages, by the way!!


Day #1518

February 26, 2018 

The prayer this day - for perseverance:
Almighty God, in the midst of this Lenten season, and in the midst of a dreary winter season, we seek your face to give us strength and courage to persevere in the journey. May you keep us from giving up or giving into being tempted to think you do not care. May you keep us looking always ahead to the rest of the story and the new life of spring. Thank you for being faithful with us in your love and grace and help us to see clearly all that you do for us. Amen. 

Day #1517

February 25, 2018

A busy Sunday makes me smile. Worship, Lenten study, talking about Holy Communion with kids, and a thoughtful and thought-filled play. Yes, a busy day, but that talking with kids about Holy Communion is awesome! And the play, well, it was inspiring to see so many folks there to support the writer and actors, and to be challenged to think outside the box. Well done!


PS The inspiration for the sermon from Day #1513 seemed to work out. There is no way to pick up the cross of Jesus without some pain, yet he is always, always with us in the midst of any difficulty. And Jesus is the one who ultimately takes the pain away through the promise of that cross. Thanks be to God!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Day #1516

February 24, 2018 

Seven months with us, today. Weighing in at over 70 pounds, Boomer is a big presence in this house. While he’s now over eight months old, there’s lots of puppy in this big guy. Sometimes more than my own level of energy seems able to handle. One thing is for certain, patience is required. Yep, my strongest quality - NOT! 

But then, how can you not love this face?!


Friday, February 23, 2018

Day #1515

February 23, 2018

Late last evening I heard from a friend who is lonely, far away from family and friends, and struggling. It was humbling for them to reach out to me to share their feeling. I’m so glad I was awake to respond and could even offer a suggestion for a point of connection with someone near them. 

I pray for my friend, and for all those who feel disconnected and sad. May there always be a voice, a text, an email response when someone reaches out, reminding them they really are not alone. And may the presence of the Holy Spirit surround all who struggle. 


Day #1514

February 22, 2018

Last evening was the first of our faith sharing as the Lenten weekly worship services. I took the opportunity to share some of my own story and four others will follow each Wednesday. After the service, I began to second guess the idea. I wondered, is this something that will really be helpful for folks?

So when the February 22nd “Daily Grace” devotion came from the Women of the ELCA, I was blown away. This is what it said:
The Bible records countless times crowds gathered around Jesus, and times when individuals came to learn from him and to be healed by him. How did they know to show up? They didn’t read a post about Jesus that went viral on social media. Jesus didn’t have flyers up in the local coffee shop. They likely showed up because someone they knew shared their story. We all have a story to tell about our encounters with Jesus. When we tell our stories, we strengthen and encourage those around us. And I believe we strengthen ourselves too. How has God called you to participate in God’s mission by sharing your faith story?  
My goodness. There you go - it is important to share our stories. Sometimes we are disciples, coming to Jesus to learn. And sometimes we are apostles, being sent out to share about Jesus and what our time with him has taught us. So while there will only be opportunity for a few to share this time, I’m looking ahead to ways even more might participate down the road. After all, like Tiffany C. Chaney wrote above, “we all have a story to tell” and it’s important we share them!


Day #1513

February 21, 2018

It may be a little thing that happens, one I simply overlook as a minor nuisance. A little cut on the finger, a splinter, an annoyance of an overlong stoplight - something that doesn’t seem very important at the moment and the day continues without thinking twice about it. 

But then later, out of the blue, a thought comes to mind - hey, wait a second, that little event could be a perfect illustration of what the gospel reading is about this Sunday. You are acutely aware the thought didn’t just come from your own mind, but that the Holy Spirit is helping. And for that, there is gratitude. 

We’ll see how the illustration plays out as the week continues, but for now, I’m inspired. 


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Day #1512

February 20, 2018 

Two consecutive days of mostly sunshine certainly can bring encouragement to a weary soul. And actually having daylight in which to leave for home at the end of the day is a glimmer of things to come when spring rounds the corner. 

Yes, there have been several laments recently from me about this winter season and its snow and cold. And while I do not mean to complain, it has been long and dreary. Mostly folks are hardy and have an enduring spirit, but a little extra sunshine certainly does help lighten the step.

Promise - I’ll try not to say anymore about winter 2017-2018, because we are grateful for the moisture. I just hope the thaw doesn’t come all at once. There’s a LOT of snow that will will be looking for somewhere to go. 


Day #1511

February 19, 2018

The subject on my heart for prayer today - health care workers:
Almighty God, healer of our every ill, thank you for those people you gift on earth to help us in our time of physical and emotional need. The hands and hearts of those who work in health care in any and all ways bring us comfort. And while we place our ultimate trust in you for healing, we also know medicine, surgery, and all forms of care aid the process. Bless those you call to be workers in the health care systems, granting them wisdom, strength and endurance in their vocations. Through Christ we pray. Amen. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Day #1510

February 18, 2018 

Ok, without snow (see the rant on Day #1509) I couldn’t have been left this delightful “snow” flower on my car.

Yes, there was more snow during worship time. Yikes!!! But it left a perfect canvas for one of the youth to gift me a flower. Thank you!!!

And there is more gratitude - for a great turnout for the study during this Lenten season about the Muslim Faith. Yes, there seems to be a healthy desire to learn more about our neighbors in faith. So thank you to the Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota for the information!


Day #1509

February 17, 2018

Just one word for the day - SNOW! More and more and more. It just seems to keep on coming.

And while I know the moisture is needed, and I'm thankful now and will be this summer, spring will certainly be welcome. As long as it doesn’t mean as much snow. :-)

Let’s see, I seem to recall someone saying there was only 6 more weeks of winter based on the groundhog’s prediction. Followed by “six weeks isn’t really that long, is it?” (see Day #1494). 

Ok, I give - what was I thinking?!?!


Friday, February 16, 2018

Day #1508

February 16, 2018

Each week I ask the kids if they would share a high and a low from their week. Sometimes I get - there’s no high or low, just kind of "steady." Today was that kind of day - nothing up or down, just even keel. 

I suppose there isn’t anything wrong with that. Every day can’t be stellar and thankfully not every day is horrible. So on a “steady” day I say, I’m grateful for the reminder that God loves me.

And I'm thankful for the time to remember some folks in prayer. And grateful for good outcomes of requests. 


Day #1507

February 15, 2018

Another deadly shooting at a school. Another deadly shooting, period. When will this end? When can or will we ever feel safe again? How did things get like this? Or has life always been this way, we just hear about it more often? Is there a way to improve things for future generations?

I don’t know about you, but it does seem that the warning signs of hopelessness and despair are ignored more often today. Perhaps folks make light of them, turn away from them, or just don’t know what to do with them. It also seems that overall we don’t know our neighbors and, in general, don’t want to become involved with what’s going on around us. You know, the thought that if I leave them alone, I hope they'll leave me alone. 

It’s frightening to me to think there were “warning signs” that may have gone unattended for this latest shooter. Am I missing something in someone around me? Do I, and others, need more training to watch out for one another? Do we simply need more nosey neighbors (I couldn’t get away with anything when I was a kid because someone was always watching)? Is there a deeper problem or issue in the world and we are only trying to find a way to address a symptom and not the disease?

All of those thoughts were swirling around when I read this in the “God Pause” devotion by Dave Scherer: "As James Baldwin said, "Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.""

And he also wrote: “We can now face the toughest challenges that our world faces knowing that we belong to God.”

How do we face the tough challenges of today? Through legislation? Through prayer? Through more restrictions and laws and monitoring? I wish I had an answer. I wish I had a way to comfort those who face unimaginable grief this day. I wish I had a way to reach out to everyone who feels violence is an answer to being bullied or ignored to let them know that there is another way - there is a Light that shines in the world that brings grace and unconditional love for everyone. I wish I knew how to heal the body, mind and soul of every hurting individual. I wish I could take away the fear and anger in the world. I wish I could instill more mercy and justice.

For now I wonder if we can face the challenges together and help bring healing? Somehow?! I believe we can, with God’s help. I do have hope, even in the midst of what seems like overwhelming discouragement.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Day #1506

February 14, 2018 

On this Valentine’s Day Ash Wednesday, the words spoken along with the imposition of ashes - remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return - sound much like God saying, remember that I love you, that I have claimed you and that you are mine. These are words of hope to remind us that no matter where we are, we are God’s and we are loved. 

So as our Lenten journey begins, my prayer is that this reminder of God’s love sustains us and that this season fills us with longing and intention to return to the Lord, our God, who is gracious and merciful.

Thanks be to God - and Happy Love Day!


Day #1505

February 13, 2018 

On the eve of the beginning of the Season of Lent, this prayer from Moravian Daily Prayer is a good one for the journey:
Let us remember that prayer is not always what you can do for us, but listening for what you desire us to do as a light unto this world. God we pray. Amen.
And thank you to the WELCA who provided an amazing pancake supper. Yum! and Fun!


Monday, February 12, 2018

Day #1504

February 12, 2018 

A prayer on my heart today:
Almighty God, one of the things humans have little to no control over is the weather. We are at the mercy of the wind and rain, snow and hail, sun and clouds, warmth and cold. While you promised by your covenant to never again destroy the earth by flood, at times it seems as though there is too much moisture - or as devastating, not enough. May we trust you to care for us in all the seasons and may we have the strength and stamina to withstand the cold and/or the heat. Lord, please also watch over all those who are unprotected or must work outside in brutal conditions. Through Christ we pray. Amen.

Day #1503

February 11, 2018 

I love the things children tell me on Sunday mornings. Things about their lives that are important to them (like potty training and new underwear!). It’s an honor to hear about their lives and their hopes...whatever they are.

Also, it’s wonderful to talk with young folks about celebrating Holy Communion for their first time. Why did we have to wait? What does it really mean? Does Jesus love us always? Great, thoughtful questions and wonderful conversation around the answers. 

Have I said lately that I love what I do?!


Day #1502

February 10, 2018

Time again for the annual Comfort Food Classic to benefit Family Promise of Great Falls. This year fourteen area restaurants donated their favorite comfort foods (lots of yummy pasta!) to compete for the coveted people’s choice award. And the winner - Morning Light Coffee who prepared mini-quiches and broccoli and cheddar soup. YUM!

Thanks to all who came out and enjoyed an evening to help end childhood homelessness, one family at a time.


Day #1501

February 9, 2018 

The word for the day - thankful. In fact, saying prayers of thankfulness for a procedure completed with good test results!!!



Day #1500

February 8, 2018 

I so enjoy Ladies: Let’s Do Lunch once a month Thursdays. Again, 14 of us gathered at a local restaurant for a great meal and wonderful fellowship with laughs and conversation. I’m thankful for those who braved snow and cold to come out. And look forward to next month, hoping for better weather and even more folks to join in. It’s a highlight!!


Day #1499

February 7, 2018 

It’s been a while since I have posted a picture of our Godson. Here is one I snagged of him already getting prepared for Easter by picking out his outfit. 

So handsome!!!!! And loved!!!!