Spiritual Practices Friday Five

For today’s Friday Five, please share with us five spiritual practices or disciplines from your experience. They can be ones that you have tried and kept up with, tried and NOT kept up with, ones that you flirt with at various times, or even practices that you have tried and found are definitely NOT your cup of tea. Let us know what’s worked for you…and not

1. Praying through my friend’s list on Facebook during Lent–A friend started this spiritual practice last Lent and I decided to do it with her. Because I enjoyed it so much I decided to do it again this year. It is so fun and really helps me stay disciplined because I don’t want to let them down!

2. Journaling–Since I am a writer, this is important to me and allows me to stay focused on what I want to pray about etc. It helps me to put my thoughts on a page and allows me to have a conversation with God through my words…if that makes any sense to you all.

3. Silence–Silence is a good thing during worship. Some of my favorite moments in the Diaconal Ministry community have been when we have been worshipping and allowing for silence. Powerful stuff!

4. Lectio Divina- Just not my cup of tea! Not sure exactly why but it’s something that I don’t seem to get a lot out of!

5. Self-Care—Something that was embedded in me at seminary and something I definetey need to do….time for myself whether that be getting my hair down, spending it with friends or family, being silly, etc. I also have found a new love…Zumba! So much fun and such a great workout!

A Hodge-Podge of Thoughts

Ive been thinking a lot about something a friend said to me the other day, She said, “I dont think God would put it on your heart if it wasnt meant to be.” It just has me thinking; is that true? What about those people who are older, still single, wanted a family, and didnt get it? Did they yearn for it as deeply as I do? Just makes me wonder!

Enough about that though, this weekend has been absolutely fantastic! Last night I met up with an old college friend who I havent seen in like 10 years. So good to catch up. I also contacted another old friend who I worked at camp with and who is now living in the states again. Her and her husband are expecting their first child and where in town for a baby shower. We were hoping to get together for coffee but the weekend got busy for both of us so we are going to meet up next time she is in town. It would have been fantastic to see her but I know how crazy life can get and it gives me something to look forward too. Then I had a big grand opening show (Im taking on a new little adventure to earn some extra cash) this afternoon and was afraid no one would show. 4 pm came and it was just me and the host so I was bummed but a half hour later an old hs friend showed up and we had so much fun; cooking and catching up. They left about 7pm and my daddy who I havent spoken too in awhile called to chat earlier so I called him back and we had a nice visit. Now Im just settling in to watch the “Secret Life of Bees” on tv.

Other than that, life is grand! As a friend said the other day, “Im too blessed to be stressed.” I need to remind myself of that because I think Im just as guilty as the next person as forgetting to look at how many wonderful blessings in my life! So if you havent heard it from me lately, thank you for being a wonderful blessing in my life!

So Ready for Spring Friday Five

I dont know about you but I am so ready for Spring!

Name 5 things that are springing forth, possibly including :

what you hope for–I hope for God to bring that special man into my life so I can finally have the things I yearn for so deeply; family, etc

what you dread–the impending flood of the Red River. Throwing sandbags, etc each year gets to be so tiring. Ill do it but I think we are all tired of it and dread its coming!

what you observe—The snow is melting, sandbag stations are busy preparing sandbags to protect homes from the rising Red River. The sun is shining and we are finally hitting double digits above 0! Yay!

what is concrete—God’s grace and love for God’s people

what is intangible—where Ill be a year from now, five years, ten years etc

Cars Friday Five

1. The earliest recollection you have of a family car
I remember the van we used to own when I was little. It looked like an ambulance; almost the exact same color but with no lights. We took many family vacations in that van. I also remember my mom’s orange chevy nova! You could hear that car coming a block away!

2. The first car you drove when you could (legally) get behind the wheel yourself.
The first car I legally drove was a 1991 White Ford Colt.

3. A memorable road trip—
The trip my friend Heather and I took about 10 years ago or so. We decided to take a roadtrip. It was a blast! We left from Dubuque, IA and headed for our trip. We first stopped in Bella Vista Arkansas and spent some time with my aunt and uncle and cousins. My aunt even took us into Bentonville where we explored the Sam Walton museum and a DaySpring outlet store. Then after a few days there, we headed for Ft. Smith where my friend Heather had done her internship. We spent a day there and then headed off to Chandler Oklahoma to see my friend’s aunt, uncle and cousins. We even got to drive and explore Route 66. Her aunt and uncles took us into Oklahoma City where we visited the Oklahoma City bombing site. Then after a few days, we headed to Kansas where we spent some time with Heather’s college friend and then we headed back to IA. It was so much fun!!!! Heather gave me a hard time because I hadn’t traveled much so I always made her stop by the “Welcome to this state.”

4. The car you drive now. Love it? Hate it? Love it! My uncle found it for me. It is a 2001 Olds Alero.It was owned by an elderly lady who hardly drove it and took fantastic care of it. It just hit hte 60,000 mark the other day!

5. An interesting story that involves you and a vehicle. (No, I do not have a dirty mind!)When I worked at SuperAwesomeBibleCamp, sometimes we were sent off to do day camps. We got some interesting vehicles. One time my friend Ben, another counselor and myself were sent off to do daycamp. We hadWe a great week but where given a rather older station wagon. On the way home, we got a flat tire. We pulled off to the side of the road. The spare tire was under all the luggage so we had to toss all the luggage onto the side of the road so we could find the tire. Once we got to the tire, we found out it was a lock-system so we had to search for the key. But needless to say, the key wasnt were the car manual told us we would find it. We got pretty frustrated but eventually found the key. A car stopped to see if we needed help but we told them we were fine. Eventually Ben got the tire changed, luggage back in the car, and we headed to camp. It was a crazy trip. Ben blamed my stuffed monkey on the flat tire because everytime something went wrong, we blamed the monkey because he said the monkey was cursed. There is even another great store about a vehicle and day camp…Ill have to tell you all about it sometime!

Ash Wednesday

So I’m in a somber mood today….and I know why…it’s Ash Wednesday. I have always appreciated Ash Wednesday because it truly reminds me of what the journey to the cross is all about. I never felt it more than I did last January after the devestating earthquake in Haiti. In fact, I remember tears trickling down my face as I imposed the ashes on congregation members foreheads. As I looked into each of their faces, I was reminded of each of our mortality. The truth is that death will come but that God promises that he will never leave us or forsake us. God sent God’s Son to die for each of our sins. What a powerful gift that is! Today I find myself thinking about all those that have already died in my life; both my maternal grandparents, my best friend from high school, my friend Renee’s husband Ben, my cousin’s precious children and even recently a dear pastor of our synod who died unexpectedly. As I reflect on each of their deaths and once again am faced with mortality, I cant help but think of the gift that Lent is to us. WE NEED LENT! I think Dr. David Lose captures it best in his article. You can find it here The Trouble (and Blessing) of Lent. Lent isn’t meant to be all sunshine and roses. But rather is meant to remind us of the journey to the cross and what Christ died for us when he died on the cross! So may you remember these words,”Dust to Dust, Ashes to Ashes, From dust you came, From Dust you shall return”

Getting Ready for Lent Friday Five

What are some things you appreciate about the season of Lent? Perhaps you would share 5 of them with us. And for your bonus question feel free to share one thing you could do without.

1. Lent is an awesome season. I love that some of the most special days are during Lent especially Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, etc. Maundy Thursday holds a special place in my heart since it is the text of Jesus’ washing his disciple’s feet which is what Diaconal Ministry is all about!

2. The Bible Studies we offer during Lent. I like that it helps me to take the time to dwell in God’s Word which Im not always the greatest at.

3. I appreciate that we dont have Confirmation during Lent. It’s nice to have a break but more importantly, it reminds our Confirmation families to take the time to worship together. I love seeing them at our Lenten worship services.

4. Ash Wednesday “ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” It may be a dark day but also reminds me of what Jesus did for me. It also helps me reflect on both life and death. Last February I found tears falling from my face as I put ashes on the foreheads of my parishioners. In that moment, I couldnt help but think of how Ben Larson had been killed in the Haiti earthquake while on J-term there with his wife and cousin. A powerful moment!

5. Lenten suppers that our youth put together

I really cant think of anything I dont appreciate about Lent. Maybe if I had to pick, it would be when Easter and Lent are later than they usually are.

Camp Celebration and Special Olympics

My friend just posted on his blog about how March is National Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities month which inspired me to write this post! M’s blog is so well written and reminds us that we ALL are the body of Christ. If you would like to read it, you can find it at www.pastormarksday.blogspot.com

This past summer the camp that I worked at for many summers did a camp for individuals who live with a developmental, emotional and/or intellectual disability. It was the first time SuperAwesomeBibleCamp held this special camp. They had a light number of people who registered for the camp so they went to the local nursing home and invited some of their residents to come out to camp for the week. One of them was my mom (who is manic/bipolar). The camp called and asked me to come join them for “Camp Celebration.” I talked to my colleagues at the church and they told me to go since I dont get to hang out with my mom much so I packed up my car and headed for camp!

It was such a joy to be at SuperAwesomeBibleCamp during this week of “Camp Celebration.” It was so much fun to get to know all of the campers for this wonderful camp. Wendy was this amazing woman who doesnt talk. She loved making pictures and communicating with us in her own way.What a gift it was to be with them. It was so much fun to share this place that means so much to me with these campers and most especially my mom. As I spent time with them, I saw how they each contributed to the body of Christ. They each brought unique gifts! What a joy!

Not only, do I remember those I met at “Camp Celebration,” but I also remember the many wonderful individuals I met while working with Special Olympics. Special Olympics is an amazing organization and through them, I met some of the most amazing people. Special Olympics and its athletes will always hold a special place in my heart as well. It has formed me and helped shape me into the woman of faith that I am today!

So as we celebrate National Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness month, may we remember the gifts they each bring and that each one of us is a unique part of the body of Christ. And what a precious gift that is!

I try to be pretty anonymous on this blog but just had to post a pic of my mom and I during “Camp Celebration.” She was having so much fun!


Laughter truly is the best medicine. Today I was working out at my local Curves and they were doing Zumba with the Curves circuit. I was working out and got to watch. They looked like they were having so much fun. However I think I might not be coordinated enough so I was chicken to try it. I might try it next week since I just found out that a friend does it. She encouraged me to try it so I might just have too. It was so fun to watch and I found myself laughing and smiling. Then tonight I went to a meeting where we got to talking after the meeeting and then laughing! It was so good to laugh together. I miss laughing with my friends at seminary. I remember the boys chasing us down and through the cornmaze. Crazy stuff. Laughter truly is the best medicine!