Thursday, August 30, 2018

Day #1700

August 27, 2018

A prayer for this week:
Almighty God, in many places, school begins this week. We pray for all those who are first starting school, those who are returning, those who lead, teach, administrate, and work with youth and adults to help them learn, and those who have left familiar surroundings to go to colleges, universities, etc. May this be a safe year for all, with much joy and growth. Lord, we are also mindful of those for whom education is not available. Help us to share our gifts so that others may have opportunity to know the joy of learning and being educated. Amen. 

Day #1699

August 26, 2018

Happy National Dog Day to the latest who makes us “parents.”

I’m not certain he understands it’s a special day for him. After all, he’s not certain he’s a d-o-g. :-)

Also, what a joy to share a back to school prayer/blessing for all the students, teachers, administrators and staff. You have been prayed for and you are blessed - God’s eyes are on you. In a good way. May you have a wonderful year of learning, growth, safety and joy. 


Day #1698

August 25, 2018

This from Richard Rohr in his Daily Meditation really spoke to me: “Love is not determined by the worthiness of the object. Love is determined by the giver of the love.” 

It reminds me that God doesn’t love me because I am worthy. God loves me because God chooses to. Same with you! Isn't that amazing grace!?!?

Then, what a perfect evening for the annual Pig Roast. Delicious food. Great company. Gracious hosts. Unsurpassed weather. Thanks to all who came and made the evening a success. (Here's a small sample of the event and some of the folks.)


Day #1697

August 24, 2018 

As I work on preparations for Sunday, I must admit I am looking forward to finishing the 6th chapter of the Gospel of John. There’s a reason many pastors focus elsewhere when this turn of stretching out the Bread of Life readings comes around. Not that the Bread of Life isn’t important and amazing, just challenging to figure new ways to talk about.

Also, I was reminded that four years ago today was the vote in my current congregation to call me as their pastor. What a time that was of endings/beginnings, difficult conversations, sad/happy/conflicted emotions, and, let’s just say it - CHANGE! Wow - it’s quite an anniversary to commemorate and good to be remembered. Thank you!


Friday, August 24, 2018

Day #1696

August 23, 2018

Will you come? Oh, if only I could attend/be present at everything to which I'm invited or interested. When two things (or more, like today) happen at the same time, it can be difficult to choose which to attend. Sometimes it depends on the one I was committed to first - as in the case of being present as a board member for the annual Ramp It Up fundraiser for Family Promise. Which turned out to be a fun event. Tiring, but fun - and successful. Many generous people devoted lots of time and effort into making the event a success, and many generous folks donated money that will go a long way in “ending childhood homelessness, one family at a time.”

But for the things I had to miss, I’m sorry. I hope/trust all went well. 


Day #1695

August 22, 2018

A Simon moment captured for all time - the first day of second grade. 

Have a wonderful year, oh wonderful Godchild!!


Day #1694

August 21, 2018

There are certainly events and situations that do not seem as though they are orchestrated by God’s hand or that God is even present in them - illness, accidents, pain, anger, death, etc. Yet, even in the midst of moments that seem as though God is far away or uncaring, there can be glimpses of grace and mercy. Perhaps it comes in the form of simply having someone show up, by sharing a smile, by giving a reassurance that others do care, by saying a prayer, by providing a cup of water - the many and varied ways that may seem small and inconsequential, yet could be pivotal moments of God’s Spirit at work. 

God does promise to never leave or forsake us, and the moments of Intersection remind me, and hopefully you, as well, God keeps that promise. Thank you!!! 


Day #1693

August 20, 2018

A prayer for the week:
Almighty God, there are so many who are hurting in our world. Yet, their reaction to their hurt and pain causes hurt and pain for others. We pray that you would lead us to ways that help, heal and give hope. Protect those who respond to frightening and dangerous situations. And grant peace and healing in the hearts, minds and souls of those who are ensnared by hopelessness. Amen.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Day #1692

August 19, 2018

What a truly glorious day - a joyful baptism, a rousing lunch with upcoming High School students along with a good-bye to our college freshmen, and the writing of notes, both thank you and that you were remembered in prayer. All-in-all, a truly blessed day. 

You High School students, I am looking forward to the year ahead!! What an awesome bunch!! (Please note, we are sadly missing a couple in this picture!. Truly, when they are all together, I just know it's going to be a great year! Also, sorry for the slightly blurry :-( picture.)


Day #1691

August 18, 2018

As the time gets closer for a new adventure to begin for so many folks, this seems appropriate to share (as snagged from FB):
Heavenly Father, please be with these students as they go where they do not know. As they seek to grow in knowledge, we ask that they grow in faith. As they start to conquer the world, we hope that they conquer their fears. As they strive to find their place, we pray that they find you. Please go where we cannot, protect when we cannot, give strength that we cannot, and bring them safely home. Amen.
We pray this especially for Teagan and Haley! Amen!!


Saturday, August 18, 2018

Day #1690

August 17, 2018 

Phone calls, text messages, and emails - all methods of communication that I am grateful for. The information and discussions that come across them, whether uplifting or concerning, is important. Otherwise, why contact me, right?! So, thank you for reaching out to me. I truly am grateful!


Day #1689

August 16, 2018 

How many times have you entered an elevator, pushed a button, arrived at a different floor, and not thought twice about how it works? I have, at least hundreds of times. Yet, the congregation I serve has an elevator that requires me to think sometimes about how one of these operates. 

A state inspector came recently who brought the subject to the forefront and pointed out a couple of things to address (nothing that affects the safety or direct operation of the unit - it’s functioning just fine, thankfully). So today I am grateful for those who take care of these types of things. Who are wise about elevators and all things mechanical. These are gifts and talents deeply appreciated by me!


Day #1688

August 15, 2018 

I don’t think this is the first time I have lamented over poor communication skills. When I make a mistake and cause confusion over dates and times, I get very frustrated with myself. Thank you for catching my error. And thank you to so many who have said yes, they will be there - even with the confusion. Yikes, it’s difficult to proof your own stuff!!


Day #1687

August 14, 2018

One of the benefits of social media is staying in contact with friends. It is a gift, when used properly, and a tool for staying connected. Yet there are many people who come in and out of our lives for brief periods of time that we don’t stay connected with. There are many and varied reasons for this. As someone has described, they are there for a season and a purpose, but then move on. I wish I knew why this happens. I also wish I could remember each name and face. Yet, when the faces and names of folks do come to mind, what a joy it is to be able to give thanks for them and say a prayer for them. But the best news is that God knows who each of us are - our names and faces and even the number of hairs on our heads - and never leaves us. Isn’t that amazing!!!!

Then we had a fun evening in Library Park - a free concert by Wylie and the Wild West. Remember the Yahoo yodel? That’s him. 

What fun we had - he’s quite the entertainer. Thank you for a great way to end the day.


Day #1686

August 13, 2018

We are having another bad fire season, so the prayer for this week is for the firefighters and those affected by fire:
Almighty God, fire is renewal. Fire is life-sustaining for cooking, refining, staying warm. Fire is a gift. Yet, when fire burns out of control, it is devastating, frightening, all-consuming. Please protect those who give their lives to battle the blazes that rage. Please protect those who are in harm’s way of fire and smoke. Help us all to make wise choices and decisions in using fire. Finally, Lord, we pray for gentle, soaking rain that will help bring an end to the fires and their threat. Amen.

Day #1685

August 12, 2018 

Yikes - it is hot! With the temperatures nearing triple digits, it’s a struggle to find ways to keep cool. I asked the children today what they liked to do to cool off. The number one idea was to stay in the air conditioning and play video games. I said I like to eat ice cream. :-) Anyway, I think I’ll eat some ice cream in my air conditioned (for which I am very grateful) home and maybe watch a little tv (in lieu of playing video games). 

Whatever you do, I hope you’re able to stay cool!


Day #1684

August 11, 2018 

When I was in seminary, there was a tremendous (yes, that’s the word!) amount of reading that was expected of each student. At the time, I can’t say I appreciated it very much. I mean, I like to read, but being somewhat forced to do so became tedious. Less fun. 

Anyway, with all that required reading, the professors built into each semester a day or two called Reading Days. They were complete days without class or other duties set aside simply for time to read. 

Well, a day off usually meant I did something other than read, I must admit, but today I claimed one of those days and spent it mostly just reading. Glorious reading of something I wasn’t required to devour, but something fun and entertaining. 

Maybe I should intentionally build more of these type days into my schedule. Hmmm….once a quarter might actually be a good idea! After all, it was a really refreshing day. 


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Day #1683

August 10, 2018 

Today is a significant day for our godson. A day that means big changes and really the beginning of a new phase of life. It might be a scary day, a joyful day, an uncertain day, or all of that rolled into one. But something is for certain, it is a day filled with prayer from us. New things can be frightening, but we believe firmly that all will be well and that God is with you all in this new start. 

After all a day like 8-10-18 has to mean good things when the date is the same forward and backward. So look ahead with hope, remember the past with favor, and know the past, present and future all are in God’s hands, as are you. All our love.


Day #1682

August 9, 2018 

On the heels of a bad day yesterday, a wonderful reminder of being loved came in the mail - a card from a friend of many years. Just a simple, sweet card, but one that came at a perfect time. I’m certain she had no idea her sending a card would really mean so much, but it does. 

But to be fair, this happens often. A card, an email, a phone call comes at just the right moment. It is something important for me to remember, too, that what may take only a few minutes of my time might mean the world for someone else. 


Day #1681

August 8, 2018 

Something that is certainly ok to admit is that everyone has frustrating days. Even bad days. Days that make you wonder if you’re making any impact at all, if your presence is really helpful, and wondering why you didn’t just stay home and take a “mental health day.” 

Fortunately, these days pass. Fortunately, also, there are only a few days when there just doesn’t seem to be anything “intersection” worthy. And maybe that itself is intersection worthy - that in the midst of a bad day, there can still be the reassurance that you are not alone. And that God loves you. 

May you have few and far between bad days!!! And many, many days (EVERY day) being reminded God loves you!


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Day #1680

August 7, 2018 

As the summer already begins to wind down and thoughts turn toward going back to school and other fall activities, it is good to do some planning and assessing. What might be added this fall? What might be eliminated? Who might be asked to try something new? Who might be ready for some time off? Have the things been accomplished that were planned during the summer months? What does the “to do” list look like before the end of the year sneaks up? Planning is good, celebrating accomplishments is good, but getting one's self in gear can be good, too. 


Day #1679

August 6, 2018 

A prayer for this week:
Almighty God, thank you for the many and varied gifts and talents of folks. For those who play music, for those who sing, for those who teach, for those who lead, for those who work with their hands, for those who work with their minds, for those whose work requires courage, for those who are creative, imaginative, innovative, for those who take risks, for those who play it safe, and for so much more. Lord, you provide so many gifts and talents. Help us to let the lights shine that you place in us. Amen. 

Day #1678

August 5, 2018

What a treat for worship this morning - the Youth (and more) Band. There is so much musical talent in those folks and it showed as they played for prelude and postlude. Thank you for sharing, thank you for taking the extra time, and thank you for the music! It was a real blessing and joy for all the different instruments to make such a wonderful addition to the service!


Day #1677

August 4, 2018

Then reality hits with laundry (lots of laundry!), errands, and running behind on getting ready for the next week. Yikes!!! 


Day #1676

August 3, 2018

With the resurrection of Jesus (the rest of the story following the Passion Play late Thursday evening), brunch and packing the cars, folks head back home, off to vacation, or to other various places and things. It was a good week at camp with lots of laughter, learning and sun. Thank you again to the youth who went, the counselors and staff who made it possible, and my hubby who did the driving. :-)

When we arrived home, another fun evening awaited us - comedian Jeff Foxworthy was performing his stand-up comedy at the fairgrounds. It’s the next to last day of the State Fair, so we spent a little time wandering the midway before we went to the concert. I think Foxworthy's show was summarized nicely by the woman we passed afterward talking on her cellphone: “It was really funny. Oh, yes, it was great. And no, he really didn’t use any bad language at all.” 

I’m amazed by the talent of someone who can make others laugh for nearly 90 straight minutes without using any props except a stool and a bottle of water. I suppose stories about life really can be that funny!


Day #1675

August 2, 2018

As Thursday rolls around, it becomes obvious the week is winding down. The faces of the youth mirror a sadness that this must all come to an end. Hopefully many will return next year, just as there are many who have returned this year. 

But before we go, there is one more campfire with worship. The leaders of the service were talking about one way that Jesus changes everything is by including everyone. The skit ended with a group of the youth making a circle that kept getting more and more crowded as people were welcomed in. Finally two little girls (daughters of one of the pastors volunteering this week - one of which cried out “Jesus” earlier in the week) came forward with the answer. When someone asked, "what are we going to do, it’s too crowded in this circle," they answered together: "MAKE THE CIRCLE BIGGER!" 

Perfect!!!! There IS room for everyone, if we just keep pushing out the size of the circle. It was a great reminder.

So a little early thank you for another week of being reminded Jesus Changes Everything. And a huge thank you to the dozens of folks who give their all to make certain these young folks know they are loved and valued!!!



Day #1674

August 1, 2018 

Each day during camp weeks, the counselors, staff and volunteers gather following breakfast for a brief staff meeting. Things are discussed such as what is coming up for the day, any needs there may be, etc. Wednesdays are special, however. Holy Communion is celebrated on Wednesday as a part of the meeting. This morning was exceptionally special. The counselors, nearing the end of their time together (this is the next to last week of the summer program), have been doing this for many weeks now and know one another well. They know each other’s strengths, and music/voice is definitely one. As the bread and wine were being passed, one of the counselors began to sing and others promptly joined in, beginning a holy time of singing that was amazing, harmonizing that was phenomenal, and drumming that was joyful. I found myself with tears in my eyes celebrating with them a summer of bonding and friendships that will last a lifetime. Community at its best.

Later in the afternoon, while enjoying some time by the lake, I was privileged to have deep conversations with a couple of the volunteers. These young men have just returned from a year of Global Mission work and had much to enlighten me about life in another country, life as a young person in general, and the future of church as they dream for it to be. It was truly a privilege to listen to their experiences and perceptions. 

There is so much to learn from one another - I pray to be a good student!


PS Time by the lake, for me, means feet in the water. :-) Ahhh....

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Day #1673

July 31, 2018

Just as we sang about the birds singing sweetly in the trees, they let loose. Those kinds of things are an amazing part of outdoor worship. There just isn’t anything quite like it!

Except maybe sitting in on Bible Study with young ones. The innocence in their questions and their acceptance of faith is inspiring. Jesus said, let the little ones come to me, for a reason.

And then, late in the afternoon, it’s not sitting on a beach, but can be just as relaxing!


Day #1672

July 30, 2018

At morning worship, the pastor was speaking about the two men on the road to Emmaus. He asked in his message - who comes alongside us in our lives? A little girl (one of the daughters of a pastor volunteer) confidently speaks out - Jesus! Perfect! Yes, Jesus does come alongside us, is in us, is around us, and is in others, too. Every day!!! We’re off to a good start of learning, and being taught!

Then, who shows up for worship at Evening Campfire? 

This one may be just a little early for the service, but isn’t this awesome?!


Day #1671

July 29, 2018

It’s day 1 of my week to volunteer at Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp as one of the pastors. Camp always makes me think of our Godson’s mom. She loves camp, loved being a counselor, and helped me to love it, too. I’m grateful to her for that!

So I have the next 4.5 days at camp - with my hubby, who is also volunteering, and several youth campers from our congregation - to listen, sing, pray, worship, be outside, stick my feet in the lake, and bask in the glory of God. Look out - pictures and “camp stuff” to come! 

Here’s the first - the sun sets on the the first day as we get ready for Campfire!!