Friday Fivin’ It

It is Friday which is my day off and it is raining, which means that an outing to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park has been cancelled. So what to do, I am currently scanning the internet for possibilities. I think we will head into York to visit the Art Gallery.

How about you do you do on a rainy summers day?

1. At home? Usually I curl up with a nice book or a good movie!!!

2. In your local area? I might head to the mall to see a movie or go shopping at the mall or just go to a local coffee shop and meet up with a good friend.

3. If you are away on holiday? If Im at a hotel, I probably would go swimming. Maybe order in pizza. Read a book. Maybe even might take some time for writing.

4. Name a rainy day read. Actually whatever Im currently reading! 🙂

5. Is there a piece of music/ a poem/ story that cheers you up? There is so much that makes me feel better. The movie “Because of Winn Dixie” always makes me smile! Jars of Clay Love Song for a Savior is my feel good song too!

Bonus: post a rainy day photo! One of my favorite photos after a nice ND rain!

My 425th Post

Wow…my 425th post! It is fun to see people reading my blog but it would be even cooler if more people left me comments. It has been fun to see who and where is reading my blog! Makes it all worth it!

Do you ever feel like when it rains it pours? Feels like its been one of those weeks! If I could say more I would, just a lot of stuff happening this week! Please say a prayer for peace it would be much appreciated! Please let me know if there is something I can pray for you about!

Blessings to you my readers! God bless you all!

Proud To Be An ELCA Lutheran!

I am so proud to be an ELCA Lutheran!

It is hard to believe that two years ago today the ELCA passed its implementing resolutions on their Human Sexuality Social Statement. I know that it hasn’t been an easy road at all for the church but it is totally worth celebrating. Some of my favorite people who definetely have the gifts for ministry are now able to serve in the church! PRaise be to God! And because of that I am proud to be an ELCA Lutheran!

This week as I watched the churchwide assembly online, I was saddened to learn that approximately 500 congregations have left the ELCA but then I was even more heartened to hear that of the 10,000 congregations in the ELCA their giving is up. And because of that giving, I am proud to say I am an ELCA Lutheran!

Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson asked the gathered body on the first day of the assembly if they were ready to be moved by the power of the spirit. He didnt answer the question but promised that it would be answered by the end of the week. On Friday, he asked the gathered body to get out their voting machines. He gave them three choices: 1. Are we ready to move? 2. ARe we stuck and not going anywhere? 3. Are we already moving? The cool thing was that over 600 people said that the church was already moving! The other 400 were split between the other choices. And because we are already moving, I am proud to be an ELCA Lutheran!

I am proud to be an ELCA Lutheran because we are a place where everyone is welcomed. There is a place for you here!

I am proud to be an ELCA Lutheran because it realizes that we all have been freed in Christ to serve.

I am proud to be an ELCA Lutheran because we understand what it means to share God’s love, grace, and mercy with the world even when it isnt the easiest thing in the world to do!

I am proud to be an ELCA Lutheran because they reach out beyond not just the church walsl but into other countries. I am proud that we continue to walk with Haiti, Japan, the people in Minot ND and the people in Joplin Missouri.

Because of these and so many other reasons, I am more proud than ever to be an ELCA Lutheran! Praise be to God!

Road Trippin’ Friday Five

Tell us about five road trips–in your childhood, in your family, in your recent past, with friends, and/or hoped-for-places-to-drive-to. Don’t forget the one that stands out as the BEST or as the worst time.

1. My friend Heather and I decided to take this crazy road trip one summer back in about 2003 or so. It is the BEST one I can think of! We left the seminary and drove through Iowa, Missouri and into Arkansas. We spent several days with my aunt/uncle. We visited my cousin and her family. We toured the Sam Walton Museum and went to the DaySpring outlet store. After a few days with them, we drove to my friends internship site and spent a Sunday with the congregation she interned with. Then we headed into Oklahoma where we spent some time on historic Route 66. We ate at Eskimo Joes. We visited her aunt/uncle and cousins and went into Oklahoma City to the OK City memorial. After a day or so with them, we headed back to Iowa stopping in Kansas to visit a friend of hers from college. We laughed so much that week!

2. Roadtripping to my grandparents; going from ND to NE. I remember some of the silly places we would stop for little breaks like Carhenge (or is it called StoneHenge) just outside Alliance NE) It was always so good to spend time with G and G.

3. This summer roadtripping by myself to Colorado for the Lutheran Academy of the Rockies. The only thing that would have made it better would have been to have someone to talk to on the long drive. Luckily I split it into two days and spent one night at a seminary friend and his family’s house. So good to catch up with them.

4. Three summers ago I was visiting my friend L from seminary and we decided to go on a day roadtrip. We took this random road that L had heard a lot about. If I remember we got a little lost but we laughed a lot and had so much fun!

5. When my friend L and my friend Stumbling from seminary went to Wilwaukee during Reading and Research days. L had done LVC there and we were going to spend some time with her LVC friends. We toured Sprecher Brewing. We ate good Mexican food. But most of all we laughed, and laughed, and laughed some more!

The Holy Spirit is Alive and Working Indeed!

The Holy Spirit is alive and working indeed!

The Holy Spirit is alive and working through new friends I have met on Twitter this week as I have watched the ELCA CWA online.

The Holy Spirit is alive and working especially through prayer this day!

Earlier today, I found myself with a prayer request. Immediately I went to my Twitter feed and tweeted my tweeps to ask them to pray. The crazy thing is a week ago I never would have asked for it via Twitter because I barely used my Twitter account. However this week I have grown to love Twitter. Shortly after I tweeted, I had people replying saying they were praying! WOW!!! People across the US were praying because of my simple prayer request. I also texted a friend who is also there at the CWA and asked for her prayers. She texted back that she would pray too! As I watched and participated with them in worship, I truly could feel their prayers ascending!

The Holy Spirit is INDEED alive and working!

How, Why and When Did I Become A Church Nerd?

I’ve been thinking a lot about why I am an ELCA Lutheran especially this past week as I have watched (via the Internet live feed) our national church gather in Orlando. When I first started watching the live feed, I found myself confessing to my friends that I truly am a church geek but then I thought to myself, “Why in the world am I a church geek and when did I become one?” And to be honest, I can’t pinpoint exactly when it happened but what I can pinpoint is when I truly heard my call to serve God in this larger church known as the ELCA!

You see like most people seminary was NEVER in the books for me. It was the last thing I saw myself doing but little did I know that the Holy Spirit would show me differently. As a high school senior, living in small town ND, I was working at our local theatre a couple nights a week. But as I prepared to go off to college, I found myself looking for something that would pay me a little more substantially and that I would enjoy. My uncle suggested I go work at a local ELCA bible camp. I thought what the heck and decided to apply. The interview was the WORST interview of my life……I seriously dont think I looked at the interviewer once but rather looked the whole time at the table. However he decided to give me a chance and I went to work at that Bible camp less than 24 hours after I graduated high school. During the course of the summer, I found myself truly opening up about my mom’s struggle with a mental illness! (She had a nervous breakdown right after my sister was born when I was about three years old) After that summer, I went to college and then that next summer came to work at camp again. In the middle of the summer, we were doing mid-summer evals and the camp director told me he didnt think that I would make it last summer but he hired me thinking he would take me as long as he could take me. Then he proceeded to tell me that he couldnt get rid of me! I worked at that camp for approximately 7 summers!

After college, I always thought I would be a journalist but working at camp changed that for me. I went with a friend to tour a seminary. When I got there and stepped foot onto WTS’s campus, I felt God calling me there. I knew I wasnt called to be a pastor but felt called to be a part of this wider church and wasnt sure how that would unfold. After starting seminary, I found myself reading a book titled, “From Word to Sacrament.” As I read that book, certain phrases jumped off the page at me, “bridging church and world” “word and service” etc. Suddenly I knew that God was calling me to this new roster that I was reading about: Diaconal Ministry! Through the power of the Holy Spirit, God was calling me to wash the feet of all God’s people including people like my own mother who daily struggle with this illness!

This past April I celebrated the 5th anniversary of my consecration as a Diaconal Minister! And that my friends is when I think I truly became a church nerd! It is when I finally saw myself not just as one person but a person who truly could and can make a difference not just in the church building but outside the church walls as well.

I find myself continuing to watch the online feed because I feel it is important for me to listen and ponder what the future of this church looks like. Like Reformer Martin Luther, I find myself wondering how we can reform this church in the midst of this world and context. I find myself continuing to watch because these issues are important to me and to those I care about.

I find myself watching because it makes me feel like I am a part of this national church even though I am not a delegate to the gathering in Orlando!

But most importantly, I find myself watching because we all have been freed in Christ to Serve! Praise be to God! (Sorry for the long length of this blog entry.)

All A Twitter About Being A Pebble in the Shoe of the Church and Living Lutheran

My mind is full of a scattering of thoughts today!

Thankful for those who were elected to be voting delegates at this year’s ELCA Churchwide Assembly but also wishing I was there too! I never realized how much my life has become about technology. I’ve considered myself a pretty technically savy person but as of late, I’ve realized how much more I am becoming ingrained in this technology. Internet, Twitter, Facebook, a Kindle, Blogging and the list goes on and on. Last night I found myself tweeting while watching the live stream of the ELCA churchwide assembly. Today I got up early (way early for me) to watch the live stream. Then this afternoon as I worked on stuff in my office, I found myself once again follow along on the Tweeter feed and following along/participating in the Bible Study as well. (I really should have been working on/finishing my sermon for Sunday!)It amazes me how much technology is playing into our world. No wonder this generation is so ingrained by technology. I still am not sure how I feel about technology in general; is it good or is it bad? But what I have come to realize is that it can be helpful. I am excited that even though Im not at the CWA11 I can tweet and follow along with those that are there and those that are also following on the Twitter feed. Makes me feel like a little part of me is part of what is happening in Orlando as well.

“Sometimes you just have to be a pebble in the shoe of the church!” This statement is a statement a friend shared awhile back and it makes me smile because I think it encompasses my call to “diakonia.” Sometimes, ok most of the time, I feel like Im such a stickler, pain in the butt, etc but what I’ve come to realize is that if Im not going to stand up for myself, other rostered leaders and the lay leaders of this church, who will? I understand that when guiding documents were created etc they were created with certain things in mind but like our culture, I believe the culture of the church has changed as well. Therefore I believe it is time to change the language. So for all my dear friends and colleagues in Christ who understand where Im coming from, Im sticking to my guns, “Sometimes you just have to be the pebble in the shoe of the church!”

What does it mean to “Live Lutheran?” I love that the assembly has been showing videos answering this question. They all have been fantastic and make me smile! It also has gotten me thinking about what it means for me to “Live Lutheran?” For me, Living Lutheran is living out my call to diakonia; my call to wash the feet of all God’s people. Living Lutheran is telling all to come to the living water. Living Lutheran is helping all God’s people see what it means to share his love with the world and to see how beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News. Living Lutheran is about grace, faith, hope, and the promise of the Resurrection. For in the words of WND Synod Bishop Mark Narum, We are an Easter People or in the words of Haitian Pastor Josephus Livenson Lauvanus, “We will not be defined by rubble, because we are a people of the Restoration.” In the words of the ELCA CWA11 theme, Living Lutheran is about being “Freed in Christ to Serve”; freed in Christ to serve the neighbor!!

Just Being Me

Growing up, I’ve never been the prettiest or the brightest or the smartest person. In fact, I was a child who was picked on a lot during my elementary days. I was called some pretty awful things that I won’t share here. And because of that,I’ve always been one who is very self-conscious of myself but today I was listening to my colleague and another pastor talk about how it is simply just about loving the people and being there for them. This made me realize something about myself. I truly need to “just be me”; just be who God created me to be; be authentic!! Often times I know that is easier said than done but there is so much freedom, grace, and truth in being who God wants me to be! This summmer and other times when I’ve met new people I’ve always wondered what to say, how I come across, and sometimes am even quiet (I know hard to believe!) because I am so self-conscious around them. But I’ve come to realize that if people really love me, they will love me for who I am. So I simply want to say “thank-you” to all those of you who have simply let me just be me; no strings attached! What a gift of grace that is and may I/we all daily share and remember that gift of grace!