Sunday, May 27, 2018

Day #1607

May 26, 2018 

At the end of a busy week, having a Saturday evening to be at home, grilling out, making final preparations for tomorrow, brings a collective sigh, an ahhh…..

Sometimes is it just good to be home. 


Saturday, May 26, 2018

Day #1606

May 25, 2018

Happy Birthday to me! Happy Birthday to me! Happy Baptism Birthday! Happy Birthday to me!!!

In a pond, in jeans, on a beautiful Sunday morning, I became an official adopted Child of God through the water and Holy Spirit's word. It was the best day of my life!!! Absolutely!! And a beginning that has led me through many ups and downs and joys and sorrows. Oh, the people who have come into my life directly because of that day, who I would probably have otherwise NEVER known. I can't imagine life without them. 

I am so grateful for these many years and God's presence in every single one. Thanks be to God!!!


Day #1605

May 24, 2018 

Dismantling misunderstanding, learning more about one another, being welcoming - when two vastly different events overlap, it makes me sit up and take notice. 

I am grateful for the speaker at the final Early Risers across the alley to benefit Family Promise. She had us do an eye-opening exercise - work together to name as many groups of “others” as possible. Groups like homeless, immigrants, young mothers, etc. were shared. Then, she asked us to place a stereotype on those groups - lazy, threatening, unwise, etc. Do those stereotypes fit each individual? Never! Yet how do we get to know this as fact? By learning more about the people who are in those identified “groups,” some of whom may be the person beside us, yet we don’t realize it. Good exercise - good thoughts!

Then, the women's circle study included being welcoming. Are we? Do we? What could we do better? How are we not, but don’t realize it? And how can we be more tolerant - not only as a congregation, but as the world - with those who seem different? Tolerance - it's a good word!! And a good beginning. 


Oops - I almost forgot, today marks ten months our "baby" has been with us. What's that around his neck. A towel DIY for trying to prevent him from bothering his surgery area. Doesn't really work, but after destroying TWO store-bought "cones of shame," we were desperate. 

Doesn't seem to bother his cuteness, though, does it? ;-)

Day #1604

May 23, 2018 

Another busy - and awesome - Wednesday! Lots of coffee and conversation and study.

But what a joy to end the day attending the High School Baccalaureate. The speaker did a fine job of helping students think about what is important versus what they might think is important. Yet, I wonder how many could really hear what he had to say. Oh, the things I have learned since graduating those many years ago. However, I imagine I would not have learned as many of them as well if I had just listened to the wisdom of someone else. Sometimes experience really is the best teacher. Painful, but best.

Yet the highlight of the evening was the duet sung by one of our graduates and her friend. WOW! I’m so grateful she’s using her God-given talent in such a beautiful way.

Halfway through and the week has been filled with God’s presence and blessing. My heart is full!


Day #1603

May 22, 2018 

In the midst of a week thinking about, planning with and for, and celebrating the youth, I had the honor of presenting prayer shawls and gifts to the High School seniors of our congregation. They are both talented, caring, funny, and devoted young adults. They grew up together in the congregation, playing Mary and Joseph one year at Christmas, were in confirmation class together, and have been faithfully enjoying time early on Wednesday mornings with the High School Youth these past two years. I will miss them! But…they will also be attending the same college. So, I’m thinking road-trip!

You will go far, I believe, both of you. But I KNOW you will not go alone - God is with you, prayers are with you, and the love of family and friends is with you! Always!


Friday, May 25, 2018

Day #1602

May 21, 2018 

A prayer for this week:
Almighty God, you give each of us gifts and talents unique to who we are and what you have for us to do in helping build up the Kingdom of God. None of us has all the gifts needed. None of us has better gifts than another's. Help us to identify the gifts you give, find ways to utilize them to give you glory, and be tolerant and supportive of the gifts of others. Amen.
Also I can’t help but share a little “royal” fun on the heels of the latest wedding. This came from an unknown source on FaceBook, but I have to admit my “royal” name brings a smile to my face: Lady Cumie Saint of Pisgah. What is your royal name for the week?


Day #1601

May 20, 2018

The day finally arrives - Affirmation of Baptism. Five youth affirm "they do, and they ask God to help and guide them" to continue in the promises of faith - to live among God’s faithful people, to share in the Lord’s Supper, to learn the scriptures and the prayers and the creed, and more. 

This is a powerful moment in the life of faith of these young people, whether they really know it or not. It's a moment of gratefulness, also, for all those who have helped them arrive at this moment, especially the commitment and sacrifices of their families.

All in all, a great day!!! 


Day #1600

May 19, 2018

What can be more fun than a little one’s dance recital?!?! Actually, LOTS of little ones. And some older one’s acting made for icing on the cake.

Too cute! Just too cute!! So sad the photo didn’t turn out better, but you get the idea. Lots of ruffles and smiles - and proud families and friends!!


Day #1599

May 18, 2018 

At the end of a busy week, there is much gratitude for a day to relax a little, rest, and to help care for Boomer - who had some surgery yesterday. He’s doing well, and we are grateful for a dedicated veterinarian and his steady hand. 

It sure is difficult to keep this dog calm, however. Yikes - it will be a LONG 10 days!!


Day #1598

May 17, 2018

What a privilege to be asked to speak at the Early Risers event at the congregation across the alley. This annual event includes speakers, music, and a ministry chosen to help support financially through the collection of an offering. This year's ministry is Family Promise, hence the invitation I received.

I really appreciated the support of those who came out so early in the morning, the sharing from one of the former guests, and those who listened intently to my brief telling of God’s presence in my life. I hope the blessing (God’s face directed toward me) came through clearly - and gave each one something to think about of how God’s blessing is upon them, too. 

Then later that evening another privilege, to help serve dinner for some of the Special Olympians in town for the annual games. How grateful and polite each one was for their dinner. How filled with joy they were in telling about their accomplishments. Quite a fun time!!


Day #1597

May 16, 2018

Wednesdays are busy - that isn’t news. At least they are during the school year. From early breakfast with High Schoolers, to men’s Bible Study, to women’s Bible Study, to the end of the day with Middle Schoolers in Confirmation Class, time is well spent. And today was no exception. 

This was the final Confirmation Class for the school year, so I met individually with each confirmand and their families. The same question was asked of every one, “Are you ready?” An emphatic “yes” came from each one. They are ready to make the promises/commitments for their own lives of faith. 

I always wonder, however. Would I have said yes at that age, if I had been in the same situation? Probably, but then I would have really had no idea what yes meant. The places God would lead, the things God would ask, the decisions and choices that would need to be made were a mystery then - and sometimes still are. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit is their ultimate guide. May that Holy Spirit always blow strong in their lives.

Speaking of places God would lead, there was one more step to take on this evening. A time of holy ground spent with a family as their loved one neared death. The thin veil of the space between life and death hangs heavy in those moments. What is the person really facing? What words of hope need to be spoken to the family? To the person? What prayer can be said? With the help of the same Holy Spirit that guides us all, there is hope spoken and shared. Thank you for allowing me to walk briefly in that space with you. God is good!


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Day #1596

May 15, 2018

Happy Birthday to the mother of our Godson!!!!! 

We love you!!! 


Day #1595

May 14, 2018 

With Mother’s Day still on my mind, a prayer for women:
Mothering God, thank you for those in this world who nurture others. Those in professions of care such as nurses and teachers. Those who have children and grandchildren they love and cherish. Those who struggle to care for their loved ones. With your love and grace, surround them with peace, endurance, tolerance, and the support they need. Also, we pray for you to be with those who experience the pain of hurtful nurturers, those who are sitting with nurturers as they near the end of life, those who are unable to nurture due to illness, etc. You are our strength and our loving example. We are grateful! Amen.

Day #1594

May 13, 2018 

Mother’s Day. A day set aside to celebrate all those who nurture, care, and share of themselves for the sake of others. Mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, aunts, cousins, friends, sisters, daughters, nieces, etc. While there are many who celebrate joyfully, this can also be a day that carries pain for some who have not experienced that nurturing as a mother, daughter, etc. 

Yet, while I am one with no close female relatives that are "blood," I am grateful for the women who are in my life. You are as important to me as anyone could be. Thank you for loving me, nurturing me, caring about me. I hope I do the same for you!!! 


PS A very special thank you to the woman who made me a godmother to the one this blog is dedicated to - I am grateful for you, love you and am proud of you!! Happy Mother's Day!

Day #1593

May 12, 2018

We saw something today we had never seen before - a huge shipment of beehives! 

As we pulled up to a stoplight, I said “BEES!” Hubby is used to the tone I use for bees - I am allergic. Where?, he asked, looking all around the car. There!! I pointed to the back of the 18-wheeler in front of us. Bees!!

More than once he (former trucker extraordinaire) has reminded me that most everything we touch, eat, wear, etc., has been transported by tractor trailer at some point in its production. But I had never thought beehives might be included. 

All I could think was, I would NOT want to be the person who pulls off that screen when they are delivered. Yikes!!!

I will also add, I am thankful for those beehives. Where would we be without them?!


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Day #1592

May 11, 2018

What a surprise I received when we picked up Boomer after some time at “doggy daycare!” "He" had made his “momma” a Mother’s Day card. 

Isn’t that just the cutest thing!? What good care they take of him - another reason to be thankful.


Day #1591

May 10, 2018 

Time for the monthly Ladies: Let’s Do Lunch! And as usual, there was much laughter and conversation to go with good food. I am so thankful for these good-hearted folks who laugh with themselves! They are a joy to spend time with! 

Actually, the day was filled with holy conversation, good-hearted, caring folks and laughter. Much to be thankful for!!


Day #1590

May 9, 2018

It’s almost impossible to believe that the confirmation class year has nearly come to a close. Wednesday evenings will be much longer - and less fun - after Sunday the 20th, when five of our youth plan to Affirm their Faith in worship. They will make for themselves promises that were made for them at their baptisms.

Tonight, however, we gathered to have a celebration dinner and to hear/see the projects each student put together. The task: make a creative expression of what the past year (or two years) of confirmation has meant. And the youth responded well! There was a poem, an interview, a video, a lego creation, a couple of picture posters and a computer generated picture. All creative ways these young folks chose to convey what faith and learning has meant.

As these young folks take this next step of faith, I pray for them and ask that you do, as well. God, be with them and keep them - they are claimed and marked with your seal. Forever!!


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Day #1589

May 8, 2018 

It’s your baptism birthday, Simon. Seven today - how time flies! What a treat to FaceTime with you, hear your voice, see your face, and remember that day not so long ago when the Water of Eternal Life was poured over your head and you were welcomed into the family of God. Your mom said it best:
Simon Hunter, child of God, you have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever. Happy Baptismal Day! You are beloved. #celebratedwithcake #andtalkingtogodmommaanna #sevenyears
But what’s a birthday without a picture and cake!!!!!

Always remember, God loves you and we love you!!! Happy Birthday!!


Day #1588

May 7, 2018

A prayer this week for relationships:
Almighty God, you are the God of perfect relationship as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, entwined in and with one another. You know, however, the challenges of human relationships - that often we are not one, not abiding in love. When relationships fracture and shatter, hold the broken pieces close to you. Give us strength to trust you to carry us and guide us. Protect those, especially the young and innocent, who are in the midst of these situations, and give us all the grace we need from you. Amen. 

Day #1587

May 6, 2018

On the first Sunday of each month, we generally celebrate Holy Communion using “real” bread. Small, flat loaves of home-baked wheat/honey bread. 

As I gave each person their bit of this bread, the body of Christ, given for you, it occurred to me how much more meaningful this is to “see” the bread/body broken for each person. Crumbs scattered on the plate, pieces broken too big or too small (often just right), extra time needed at each break - these are all reminders to slow down and really think about what we share in this meal. The love, forgiveness, and grace of Christ, in and through this bread and wine, body and blood.

Wow!!! Thanks be to God!!


Day #1586

May 5, 2018

There is a rather popular theory/thought that there is no such thing as a coincidence - that God is in the midst of those random things that happen at just the right moment and just the right time. I believe that thought - in fact, I base this blog mostly on that theory. Sometimes the things are so small that we don’t even notice them - other times, it’s like a bonk on the noggin saying “hey, pay attention! I care about you and your life!” 

The bonk today happened as I was preparing the sermon for Sunday - go and love as I have loved you (a quick summary of John 15:9-17). The hubby began playing a video that was shared on FaceBook of a story by Steve Hartman about the newest superhero - “President Austin” of Birmingham, AL. Here you can watch him at work and see why I think he's living Jesus' command - this even made it into the sermon: Don't forget to show love

I pray we don't forget to show love, show mercy, show justice, show tolerance, show patience, show forgiveness, show God’s light. The world needs more Austins! The world needs US!


Saturday, May 5, 2018

Day #1585

May 4, 2018 

I find it very humorous that this has become a day to “commemorate” the Star Wars’ greeting: May the force be with you. It’s rather taken over the day and, of course, Lutherans fit right in with the Liturgical response: And also with you. It all makes me smile.

But today I am also thinking about something way more important - gratitude. I’m grateful, simply grateful, today. For so many reminders of God’s love; so many important and talented people in my life; good health, weather and one of my favorite seasons of the year. And so much more! 

And also with you!!


Day #1584

May 3, 2018 

Today is the National Day of Prayer. This explanation from the helped me understand its origins:
The National Day of Prayer was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. In 1988, the law was unanimously amended by both the House and the Senate and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on Thursday, May 5, 1988, designating the first Thursday of May as a day of national prayer. Every president since 1952 has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation.
While this is a good thing, a day set aside to pray for our nation, its leaders, peace, mercy, etc., I’m thinking everyday would be better to include those things in our prayers. So I invite you to join with me in praying: 
Lord have mercy on our nation, our leaders, our people. Guide our leaders, and all of us, to make good and just decisions. Show us how to live not only for ourselves, but for others - our neighbors around the world. Amen. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Day #1583

May 2, 2018 

A prayer for the final Confirmation Class:
God of love and relationship, thank you for calling us together. Thank you for bringing these young people to class to learn, to grow, and to build relationships. Thank you for their families who faithfully bring them, encourage them, and trust us with them. Thank you for the time we have had to pray, to laugh, to read, to discuss, to listen, to talk, and even to be frustrated. We want so much for these youth - a life of living and learning and growing with you. Keep them close to you. Protect them. Continue to fill them with your Holy Spirit. Strengthen relationships with them and between them. And give them courage through you to meet everything that happens in life with faith and hope. Amen.

Day #1582

May 1, 2018 

It’s my Faceversary. Which means it is my 10 year anniversary of being on FaceBook. Who knew?! I certainly didn’t remember until FaceBook conveniently reminded me with a cute little video. Special!

What it did, however, was cause me to think about where I was 10 years ago today. I was finishing my final year of seminary, getting ready to graduate and move along to the next thing, packing boxes, making plans for a long vacation headed west, and trying not to think about how much I would miss the place and folks who had become such an important part of my world. 

Simon, your mother started me on this FaceBook adventure as a way to stay connected, share events of my life, and "be current" (and cool). So while I had my doubts about getting “involved,” I jumped in. It’s true I don’t spend much time posting (never really have), or even reading FaceBook posts, but I have enjoyed connecting with folks from various stages of my past and seeing pictures and adventures others have. 

Things have progressed on FaceBook from how it was when I started. Who would have thought FaceBook could now be used to help raise money for good causes in celebration of someone’s birthday!? In ten years, there have been many advantages and good parts to this form of media, but also some tragedies created through it. I suppose, however, that is like most things in this life - the good and the bad mingle together. 

Many have decided FaceBook is not worth the effort or the risk of a possible breach of security. That is certainly a possibility and something to consider. For now I continue, hesitant to break all the ties I have with folks in this way. So, to all my FaceBook “friends,” Happy Faceversary. Look forward to continue seeing you online!


Day #1581

April 30, 2018 

With Jesus’ illustration of vine and branches on my mind (see John 15:1-8), the prayer for this week: 
Loving God, you remind us that a branch cut off from the vine will wither and die. Keep us ever close to you, abiding in you, trusting your promise to abide in us. Help us grow in faith, strength, courage and love, nourished by, and connected to you, as the vine. Then send us out as branches to mingle and grow with others, bearing fruit for you along the way. Thank you for your love. Amen.