Saturday, January 27, 2018

Day #1488

January 27, 2018  

The word for the day - thankful. For some quality time with the hubby, I give thanks. He’s such a trooper - and an amazing support. I am truly fortunate - and grateful!


Day #1487

January 26, 2018

What a joy to meet new colleagues from an agency of the church. Also, to have deep and hopeful conversations is a blessing. Thank you for the work done through the wider church. May we find ways to continue, and do more, to be the church in the world. 


Day #1486

January 25, 2018 

The eighth and final day of the week of Prayer for Christian Unity: 
Lord, we humbly ask that, by your grace, the churches throughout the world may become instruments of your peace. Through their joint action as ambassadors and agents of your healing, reconciling love among divided peoples, may your Name be hallowed and glorified. Amen. 
It has been a privilege to pray these prayers (and share them) for the unity of the church, not only in our community, but around the world. 

This also spoke a note of affirmation to me because I find it so difficult to say no when someone comes asking for help. This from the "Moravian Daily Texts:"
[The scripture:] How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? 1 John 3:17
[The prayer:] Gracious Provider, help us to deeply see the needs of others. Gift us with your vision—a vision that looks beyond circumstances and sees into the soul of a fellow child of God. Stir our hearts and hands to help. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
It is impossible for me to do for everyone, but it is just as impossible for me to turn everyone away. May God give me a discerning spirit and heart. Amen! Let it be so!


Day #1485

January 24, 2018

Day #7 of the week of Prayer for Christian Unity:
Gracious God, you sent your son to be born in an ordinary family with ancestors who were both faithful and sinful. We ask your blessing upon all families within households and communities. We pray especially for the unity of the Christian family so that the world may believe. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen. 
And this day marks the six month anniversary of Boomer being with us. He’s growing into quite the big boy (68 lbs now). 

can certainly say life is very different with a puppy in the family. 


Day #1484

January 23, 2018

Day 6 of the week of Prayer for Christian Unity: 
Almighty God, give courage and strength to your church to continually proclaim justice and righteousness in situations of domination and oppression. As we celebrate our unity in Christ, may your Holy Spirit help us to look to the needs of others. Amen. 
And a word of thanksgiving for deep theological conversations with trusted colleagues. 


Day #1483

January 22, 2018

The fifth day of prayer: 
Loving God, you lift up the poor and distressed and restore their dignity. Hear now our cries for the poor of our world, restore their hope and lift them up, that all your people may be one. This we pray in Jesus name. Amen. 
And my prayer for this Monday: Dear God, we give thanks that you call all your world to be your followers. May we immediately answer whatever your call is with a resounding yes, that we might be your hands and feet to restore dignity and hope in the world. Amen.


Day #1482

January 21, 2018 

On the fourth day of the week of Prayer for Christian Unity, this comes from the resource shared earlier (see Day #1479):
God of all comfort and hope, your resurrection defeated the violence of the cross. As your people, may we be a visible sign that the violence of the world will be overcome. This we pray in the name of our risen Lord. Amen.
A beautiful word of hope and promise!


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Day #1481

January 20, 2018

It never ceases to amaze me that the right words come at the right time. Thank you, God, for being present with us in all aspects of our life. It is surely good to know of your love and care. 

And the prayer for the third day in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity:
By your heavenly grace, O God, restore us in mind and body, create in us a clean heart and pure mind that we may give glory to your Name. May the churches attain unity of purpose for the sanctification of your people, through Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen. 

Day #1480

January 19, 2018

One simple thought: when your heart breaks for someone, you pray. 

The prayer for the second day in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity:
Gracious God, draw near to those who are victims of human trafficking, assuring them that you see their plight and hear their cry. May your Church be united in compassion and courage to work for that day when no one will be exploited and all will be free to live lives of dignity and peace. This we pray in the name of the Triune God who can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine. Amen.

Day #1479

January 18, 2018

As the current make-up of council met for its final time, I gave thanks for the dedication and commitment of these folks. About a third have more years of service and I look forward to continuing our work together. I also look forward to welcoming new folks toward the end of the month. Well done good and faithful servants - and thank you for the celebratory root beer floats! 

Today also begins the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This is the prayer for day #1 as reprinted from the materials developed for 2018 under the theme, “Your Right Hand, O Lord, Glorious in Power.”: 
Eternal God, You belong to no culture and land but are Lord of all, you call us to welcome the stranger in our midst. Help us by your Spirit, to live as brothers and sisters, welcoming all in your name, and living in the justice of your kingdom. This we pray in Jesus’ name, Amen. 
Each year from January 18-25, a week is set aside for this important seeking of unity among the Christian church. Join with me in the prayers each day and for more information, see these resources.


Day #1478

January 17, 2018 

Perhaps the timing was the thing that struck me most. Or maybe it was to where the woman came. Or it might have been the message. Either way, when the woman came to the door of the congregation during Bible study (just when we were studying the Gospel of Mark, chapter 1, about Jesus calling the first disciples to become fishers of people) with a message about the Word of God from another faith community, I had to smile. I must admit I was amazed by her courage to come to the door of a congregation to give a message about the truth of the Bible, but I also realize God uses all faiths and all people to help us learn. And sometimes be challenged - would I be so bold to speak for God? 

God bless your journey, woman of faith and courage. 


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Day #1477

January 16, 2018

I think it is perfectly normal to see someone on the sidewalk, in short sleeves in the middle of January, dancing away to music only they can hear. Perfectly normal - especially when it is 45 degrees outside! Oh, but how I loved to see the joy reflected as they enjoyed their moment in the sun!


Day #1476

January 15, 2018 

A prayer for this Monday, that also happens to be Martin Luther  King, Jr. Day:
Almighty God, thank you for your servants who cannot be silent in the face of inequality and injustice. Thank you for the voice you give to those who trust you to help them speak out. May the voices of all those who work for mercy and truth, justice and equality, be heard. And may you grant protection for them as, with courage, they speak out. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen. 
Truly an inspiring man, Martin Luther King, Jr. The inscription on this monument in Washington, DC, is so appropriate: Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope. 


Day #1475

January 14, 2018 

You know what warms a pastor’s heart? Young adult camp counselors teaching and playing with youth: sharing their faith; sharing their love of others, both young and not so young; sharing their "connection-ability" with those who look up to them and want to learn. 

Yay for camp counselors! Yay, even more, for parents who make sacrifices so that their children can learn and grow in faith!


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Day #1474

January 13, 2018

So I have a confession to make. Today was finally the day - the Christmas tree is down. Yes, just now, almost halfway through January, it has finally been put away. 

Oh well, we certainly had ample opportunity to enjoy the lights. But now there seems to be a “hole” in the living room without it. Until next time, guess Boomer will just have more space in which to nap. :-)


Day #1473

January 12, 2018 

For a day off, it was just a little busy. But then a productive meeting and an opportunity for holy conversation makes it all worthwhile! Oh, and a little rest, as well. A good day!


Day #1472

January 11, 2018 

The monthly Ladies: Let’s Do Lunch was once again lots of fun - good food, good conversation, and good laughter. What more could one ask for?


Day #1471

January 10, 2018

It is Simon’s birthday - 7 years old this day. To celebrate, here are a couple of memories...

A picture of the first time I met him face-to-face:

The last time we were able to see him face-to-face:

And the latest - a happy face with his “cake” today:

What a sweet, loving, God-child you are, Simon, child of God! Happy 7!


Day #1470

January 9, 2018

The word for the day - laughter. With colleagues. With folks on committees. With wait staff. With my husband. I must say, a day with lots of hearty laughter is a good day. Yes, I love to laugh!


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Day #1469

January 8, 2018 

It’s Monday, and my prayer for today:

Almighty God, as we begin a new year and look ahead to its possibilities, we also bring forth reminders of the past, often moments of pain and regret. We struggle to understand what has happened or is happening. We search for clarity and seek peace. Please, dear God, grant us your peace. Grant us assurance and knowledge of your love and grace. And may your peace not only rest on us as individuals, but on this nation and those of the entire world. We fear the brink of war, dread the presence of anger and hatred, and need, desperately, your shining light of peace. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, we pray. Amen.


Day #1468

January 7, 2018 

Perhaps the most rewarding moments of intersections between faith and life are moments of growth, when someone “gets it” and experiences a life-changing, or at least life-enriching, event/epiphany. Someone shared such a moment with me today - a moment of realization that seemed to lift ten tons of burden from their shoulders. A moment of deeply recognizing that someone else can only have power over you if you let them. A moment that made their face brighten and their enthusiasm soar. 

These moments are well worth celebrating and giving thanks to God. And thanks to the person who felt I would not only celebrate with them, but who simply wanted to share it with me. I am grateful!


Saturday, January 6, 2018

Day #1467

January 6, 2018 

Happy Day of Epiphany!

With the help of FaithLens, a weekly study from the ELCA, this explanation of Epiphany:
January 6 was the Christian holy day Epiphany, which literally means a revealing, an unveiling, a manifestation. Epiphany (aka Three Kings Day) commemorates the visit of the Wise Men (aka Magi) to the infant Jesus (aka the Messiah). God revealed His Son to the Magi. A truth was unveiled as they knelt before the manifestation of God’s Self on earth.
A revealing of God’s Son, God’s own Self, on earth. That concept is too big for this brain to wrap around, but somehow it is trusted through faith (also from God). And on this day of Epiphany, I am also thinking about how God/Jesus/the Holy Spirit is revealed to us now. It’s part of why this blog exists (into year 5, by the way!). A way to think/catalog not only how God is revealed, made known, celebrated each day, but also about the gifts God gives - friends, family, fun, grateful moments, etc. 

How is Jesus revealed to you today? How is God’s presence made real to you today? Through a smile, a word, a thought, a prayer, in the quiet? Just look around - I really don’t think you will be disappointed.


Friday, January 5, 2018

Day #1466

January 5, 2018 

On the 12th Day of Christmas, just before the tree comes down and decorations are packed away for another year, Boomer took the opportunity to nap under the lights one last time. 

I suppose this could sum up the season of Christmas, 2017: celebration, rest, worship, laughs, travel, making memories, and being grateful. 

So as this season comes to a close, my wishes for you for the merriest of Christmases. And may the reason for the season, the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ, fill your heart, mind, and days with peace and joy. 


Day #1465

January 4, 2018

If you are a regular follower of this blog - thank you!!! - you know how far behind I got with Christmas and vacation. Well, I guess it is a good thing I didn’t make staying current my resolution for the year. Hopefully, however, I won’t get this far behind again!

With that said, today I am thankful for good health reports, successful surgeries, getting paperwork caught up (almost), and colleagues who came together for the annual GFMA Epiphany dinner. A delicious meal and great conversation!


Day #1464

January 3, 2018 

A comforting thought, as quoted by J. David Whelan in the blog God Pause
“Jesus loves me; this I know. Jesus knows me, this I love.” 
Also, confirmation class is back in full swing. Words from one student warm a pastor/teacher’s heart: 
“I know the answers to the questions because I pay attention and listen.” 
Ahh, if only we would all be better at listening and paying attention to God. God has so much to teach us, mostly that God loves us. That makes me smile!!!

And our niece arrived home safely. Already miss her and am looking forward to our next adventure! 


Day #1463

January 2, 2018

Well, vacation is almost over and we’re not ready for our niece to leave! After all, Christmas isn’t over (it’s only the 9th of the 12 days of Christmas) and I don't think vacation should be either. Oh well, tomorrow is Wednesday and with the schedule getting back to “normal,” it’s always one of my favorite days of the week. 

So, ready or not, here we come!


Day #1462

January 1, 2018 

As we left Jackson Hole and arrived back home, I am thankful for safe travel and a fun, relaxing time away. Also, that vacation for us and our niece isn't over quite yet!

Now, as we look to the New Year, there are many prayers on my heart and mind. So this year, on Mondays, I plan to include a prayer of hope, need, etc. The first, for days:
Almighty God, as we look to a new human calendar year, help us to trust that all days, and all time, are in your hands. You have intimate knowledge of each of us, love for us and your grace abounds. Give us faith to believe in your abundance each and every day. Through Christ we pray, Amen.

PS Please be in touch with me at any time if you have a prayer request for me to include (privately) for you. 

Day #1461

December 31, 2017

It’s New Year’s Eve and we are in Jackson Hole, on vacation with our niece. What fun we are having! Doing some shopping, 

a little elk watching:

And ringing in the New Year:

On this day, I celebrate the ups - and even the downs - of 2017 by being grateful for doing what I do, being where I am, knowing who I know, being a Child of God, having and making good memories, and the people who have been and are still a part of my life! Mostly, however, I am looking forward to 2018 with hope and trust in God's promises.

Happy New Year to all! Blessings.

Day #1460

December 30, 2017

After heading to Jackson Hole, what could be more fun than an authentic sleigh ride - in the snow - followed by a delicious dinner. What a MT experience!


Day #1459

December 29, 2017 

There is surely a distinctive beauty of Yellowstone in the midst of winter - God’s creation at its finest.

Our niece at Old Faithful:

The river never freezes, even though the snow piles up and the temps plummet:

And a huge smile from a happy, bundled man!:

Day #1458

December 28, 2017

What to do on this day of vacation while heading to West Yellowstone? Stop to admire the snow and the scenery, of course. 


Day #1457

December 27, 2017 

On the first full day of our niece's vacation with us, looking around at the differences between winter and summer on the river was part of the itinerary. 

Enjoying the snow:

A giant goose hot tub: 

And some freezing falls:

Day #1456

December 26, 2017 

Today is the day - we wait "patiently" for her arrival. Our niece will be here soon. Vacation has begun and much fun is anticipated. 

Also, hoping the warmth of family will keep the minus degree temperatures from impeding the fun. :-)


Day #1455

December 25, 2017

On this final Monday of 2017, I end the series of weekly word descriptors concerning the mystery of Jesus with this - Jesus as Son of God, Messiah, the Promised One. All of this wrapped up in a tiny baby. An amazing mystery!

“For unto us a Child is born, 
     Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
     Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6, NKJV)

May God, known to us through the mystery of the incarnated Son, Jesus, bring you peace and joy this Christmas season. And always.


Day #1454

December 24, 2017

A phrase, a turn of words, from the daily blog, God Pause, stuck in my mind: “the wonders of God’s love.”

On this Christmas Eve Day, there is wonder upon wonder: children’s excitement of what is about to come; vibrant, full worship; joyful hugs. So many beautiful things.

And also there are these:

Our godson and his brother: 

Boomer as we celebrate 5 months of his being with us:

But, most appropriately, the quiet and beauty of the sanctuary between services:

Merry Christmas! Blessings.

Day #1453

December 23, 2017

Time is ticking away toward the “big” and busy day. Getting closer and getting ready with the last of the baking. Finally!

Oh, and sermon writing. Yes, there’s that! Doubled!


Day #1452

December 22, 2017 

Two things: 
  • Retail workers rock! At a busy time, just hours before Christmas Day, retail workers with a sense of humor intact and a helpful attitude amaze me!
  • What do you do with a dog who loves snow? Let him help shovel it! :-)


Day #1451

December 21, 2017

The first day of the official winter season - and the longest day of darkness - which makes this from Ariana Gonzalez-Bonillas in the “think” portion of the daily blog, d365, most appropriate: “If you are feeling the holiday blues, know that someone has prayed for you before. Know that all prayers are made in love.”

A reminder of being prayed for brings comfort no matter when, but especially during times when the sting of death near this time of year rears its head. It really doesn’t matter, though, how long ago or how recent, the empty seat at the table can hurt deeply. With that in mind, a Blue Christmas worship service was developed. The service is a quiet, contemplative, intimate worship without all the “merry” and I appreciate that someone remembered the holidays are not always jolly for everyone. 

But it certainly does help knowing someone has prayed for me - and you!