Friday, January 21, 2022

Day #2939

January 17, 2022 

On this day we remember the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., there is this to think about and smile. 

Change is possible. The Light will overcome the darkness. Always!

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2938

January 16, 2022 

The first person who asked me if I had ever thought about being a pastor heard as my response, “I can’t do that. Girls can’t be pastors.” “Oh, yes, they can,” he said. Yet, I was not ready to be a trailblazer. I did not think I had the gifts needed and was too immature in the faith to trust God would give me what was needed.

I was taken back to that conversation today when someone told me, you are a world changer. You are a female pastor. I am not certain I would agree with them about being a world changer, but God has helped me be a somewhat trailblazer. For that I am thankful, and humbled. 

Thank you, today, for seeing me through kind eyes. We can trust that God gives all of us what is needed for the good of the kingdom.

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2937

January 15, 2022 

It seems tolerance, grace, forgiveness and understanding are themes this week. With that said, today’s Satisfied Saturday is being thankful for folks who exemplify those actions, along with patience. They make life easier for others and more pleasant. 

Thank you to all those who work with the public in so many ways, treating others with respect. You are a gift! 

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2936

January 14, 2022

And….drumroll please….the last of the annual report information is in and ready for approval/editing. WooHoo! Another year is done. 

What a lot of work! Yet, it is always good to look back at what the last year entailed. God is always present, and so good!

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2935

January 13, 2022 

Warning - rant coming.

This is certainly a time when most folks are stressed and things get forgotten or overlooked. There is a need to be generous in giving grace, forgiveness, and understanding. However, when things are left undone and the consequences affect more than just me, I get frustrated. And vocal. There is a reason when I vocalize being frustrated - it is not just about my inconvenience, but how others may have to overwork to compensate.

So when something expected did not arrive today, even though there was a reason, it now meant others will have to rush. When I became vocal, the response was as if it was my fault. However, I had planned ahead, giving extra time for completion to meet our deadline. Now, however, we were getting close to emergency status. 

It was good that someone else stepped up and completed the information that was needed. I was thankful, and made certain I said so, with an apology for getting upset. It certainly would have been nice to hear, “that is ok. I understand. I’m sorry for our original error.” But, alas, no. Oh well, I guess it is up to me again to give grace, forgiveness and understanding. 

Blessings. And prayers.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Day #2934

January 12, 2022 

Another busy Wednesday included a couple of extras this week - finishing some annual reports and meeting with our Intern to discuss the future. A day of good work and good discussion!

Then there was this:

Simon is having a really good week! His teacher chose two kids out of 50 (that included two classes) and Simon was one. Woohoo!! Very proud of you!

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2933

January 11, 2022

Tuesday’s Thoughts on Scripture comes from John 2:1-3: On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” (NRSV)

What a moment!! Having the wine run out at a wedding celebration was beyond embarrassing - it was shameful! I remember when we were getting married, we consulted a professional to decide how much to buy to help folks celebrate with us. But what happens when the wine runs out? The party is over - time to go home. 

Except that is not what happens with Jesus. He does not leave. He walks with the wedding party until a solution is found. Well, in this case, until Jesus provides the solution.

What might that mean for us? Well, what could we substitute for Mary’s comment? We have no hope? We have no answer to COVID? We have no money for the bills? We have no reconciliation in our family? All of us could add something from our lives at one time or another. Therefore, I believe this miracle is a reminder that Jesus stays with us, guides us, even provides for us, and keeps the party of community going. 

God does work in community, as well as individually. We call it church. And it should be a party/celebration. After all, there is always wine and bread for all through the Lord's Table!

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2932

January 10, 2022 

Dear Simon,

Today is your 11th birthday. Your cake looks yummy (I'm certain it was) and you look very happy. Your picture made me smile. 

You may have already read what your mom posted on FaceBook today, but I want to make certain you saw it:

Happy 11th Birthday the boy who made me a mom. Simon Hunter, I prayed for you every single day from the time I was a little girl. I couldn’t wait to have a baby of my own to know and to love, and you have exceeded my expectations and showed me more love than I could ever imagine. You are smart, funny, and you absolutely have THE BEST laugh. If persistence had a picture it would be you. You can do anything you set your mind to, which you prove over and over again. You are an amazing pianist and a developing trumpeter. You are so good at math and have turned into a great reader, especially when it comes to Harry Potter. You are an obsessive lover of animals and know more about them than an encyclopedia. You love all things church and have a heart for God. You are a wonderfully loyal brother and dedicated friend. You are compassionate and love with your whole heart. You give the best hugs and still don’t mind holding my hand. I couldn’t be prouder that God chose me to be your earthly Mama. I love you most sweet boy and I can’t wait to see where this next year takes us. As long as you are by my side, I know it will be great.

What a wonderful tribute from a mom who loves you! I hope you always know how much. 

Enjoy your day, and your next year. You are at a special age and have so much ahead of you. Know that we also send our love and hugs, today and everyday. Mostly remember, God loves you. Always has and always will!

Happy Birthday and love and hugs,

Your Godparents

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2931

January 9, 2022

There was an odd “vibe” in the congregation this morning. Years ago I would never have thought that a group can have a collective feeling, but they can. Some Sunday mornings the folks gathered as a group seem excited, other times concerned, other times anticipatory. This morning I would describe as subdued. When I mentioned it to someone else, they said, “I think it is a breath of calm.” 

That makes complete sense. Christmas is over, January looms ahead and we wonder what the next thing will be with COVID, the economy, health, etc. Having a safe place of calm to take a breath and relax is the best thing I can think of happening on a Sunday morning. Amen!

Blessings. And prayers.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Day #2930

January 8, 2022 

On this Satisfied Saturday, I am grateful for God’s love. Richard Rohr says it best in his “Daily Meditation” from January 7: 

If you want to know what love looks like, Rabbi Jesus is saying, here it is: Love crosses borders and boundaries; it makes new cultural rules; it cares for the stranger. Love turns strangers into friends. Fierce love is rule-breaking, border-crossing, ferocious, and extravagant kindness that increases our tribe. . . .

That’s our Jesus. That’s our God. That’s our Holy Spirit who loves us, stirs us and moves us. All so that God’s message of love and grace is told and lived and grows the Kingdom. 

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2929

January 7, 2022

Today’s intersection of faith and life has to do about chaff. Sunday is the Baptism of our Lord and this year we hear the account from the Gospel of Luke. It includes John the Baptist speaking about the “one who is more powerful than I is coming.” Jesus, and “his winnowing fork is in his hand.”

I have to admit that I have often struggled with Jesus gathering the wheat and burning the chaff. Those words have always sounded like judgement, making them hard to swallow. I read something today from the SALT Project, however, that gave me new perspective. 

Winnowing is separating grain from chaff, not grain from grain. Each grain has a husk, chaff, and for the grain to be useful to humans, the husk has to be removed. So winnowing is revealing grain. Not good grain or bad grain, but grain period, because the husk is not useful to humans (it can be for livestock, however, so it does have some redeeming quality). 

Hmmm…some new insight I found very helpful. And hopeful. Thank you, SALT!!

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2928

January 6, 2022 

On this Day of Epiphany, as we say, somewhat sadly for me, an official goodbye to another Christmas Season, this made me smile:

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2927

January 5, 2022

On this Twelfth Day of Christmas, I thought I would recap by listing twelve good things from the season (cheating just a bit to include a couple of days before Christmas). Note: this is not an complete list of the good.

  • A fun, new, event on December 23 that reminded us of the Moravian Candle Tea in Winston-Salem
  • The opportunity to close the office on Christmas Eve and Day
  • A wonderful Christmas Eve worship service
  • Another wonderful Christmas Eve worship service
  • A quiet day at home for Christmas with good food and rest
  • Time to gather with folks for dinner and lunch and coffee and such
  • A week off to enjoy doing things I do not usually get to do
  • Naps
  • A quiet New Year’s Day at home with good food and rest
  • The chance to be helpful for folks who need a hand
  • Affirming conversations
  • Bible studies and back to a regular schedule

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2926

January 4, 2022

Tuesday’s Thoughts on Scripture comes from Isaiah, chapter 43, verse 1: But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. (NRSV)

These words were originally prophesy for the people of Israel near the end of their Babylonian exile. They are words of hope and promise. God has not forgotten them. God has not turned away from them. 

There is good news for us, however, and for the generations before us and the ones to come: God’s promise still stands. God has not forgotten God’s creation, nor has God turned away. God has still redeemed us and called us by name. We are God’s. 

Let those words of promise pour over you. Repeat them in the morning, at noon and in the evening. Let them wash over you and fill you with peace. 

Blessings. And prayers.

Day #2925

January 3, 2022 

Now, this is a smile for the week. 

It actually made me laugh out loud.

Blessings. And prayers.