Community Celebration and Rocky Mountain Travels

I spent the weekend in my hometown; Ashley, North Dakota as they celebrated their 125th. It was a wonderful fun-filled weekend. I reconnected with several of my classmates from the graduating class of 1997. I got to spend lots of quality time with my family. Yesterday I also participated in our community worship service with two female pastors who grew up in Ashley. Pretty cool that three women led the service and even cooler that this community led up little girls to lead in the church. (I’ll try to capture more of the event in coming days!).

After church I bolted home to Fargo-Moorhead to catch a plane to Denver so I could attend the second week of the Lutheran Academy of the Rockies. I made it home with plenty of time to make my flight. Needless to say though Mother Nature had other plans in mind!!! Due to weather at DIA, we sat in the Tarmack for 45 minutes, then another hour and a half delay, a reboard onto the plane followed by an immediate deboarding due to another hour plus delay. Luckily the third time was a charm and we left Fargo at 9:35 pm when we were supposed to originally leave at 5:30 pm. Arrived in Denver at 10:40 pm or so. Made hotel reservations and got to my room around 1 am. Up at 6 am, back to DIA and finally caught my shuttle to Estes. Now loving and taking in the Rocky Mountain air until Thursday (which is today-I wrote this on Tues) when the trek home begins. Luckily I’m driving back with friends!

So that’s a quick update…hopefully will update again soon!

R.A.N.D.O.M. Friday Five

1. If you were a character in a children’s storybook, which storybook would it
be, or what character, and why? Thats such a hard question. I think it would be fun to be Hermoine Granger in the Harry Potter books. (But Harry Potter really isn’t a children’s book!) I know…I would love to be one of the Berenstein Bears! 🙂

2. What is something you are looking
forward to this weekend? There really isn’t anything in particular that I am looking forward to this weekend. I however am looking to my hometown’s 125th celebration next weekend; all-school reunion, parade, etc. After I help with the community worship service on Sunday, I will be heading back to F-M where I then will hop on a plain and fly to Colorado to spend the second week at my favorite continuing ed event.

3. If you had an invisibility cloak for a day,
how would you use it? I think it would be fun to go back to one of my favorite Holy space places; WTS where I went to seminary. It would be fun to sit in classes etc.

4. I “lose” my keys all the time. In fact,
sometimes I lose them several times a day. It is so bad that a member of my
congregation gave me “instantly remember where you left your keys intense
memory-stimulating mint gum.” Is there something you misplace or lose often?
I don’t lose much. But everyonce in awhile I misplace my keys and/or phone.

5. Use the following words in a sentence: ladybug, rowing, diner,
sloth, and knitting. The Knitting ladybug and the rowing sloth were visiting at the Diner.

For My Dear Friend Who Is Getting Married Tomorrow!!

To my dear friend who is getting married tomorrow, I so wanted to be with you and celebrate your day with you tomorrow yet life got in the way. I’m sorry I won’t be there with you as you say I Do to your best friend. I won’t be there to see you all glitzed and glammed up. I know there will be many celebrating with you tomorrow. Please know part of my heart is with you even though I’m not physically there. I am so thankful for your friendship and am thankful you have found your beloved; your best friend. Sending loves, hugs and prayers to you tomorrow my friend. Love this friend who is sad she won’t be physically there with you but who will always be there in Spirit.

Praising Friday Five

Share with the group five favorite hymns or praise songs or songs that bring you
close to the Spirit (that’s a pretty wide net!) and why they are special to you.

(1) Ben Larson’s version of Psalm 30. This one is an easy one for me because it holds such a special place in my heart. When Ben died in the Haiti earthquake, I was in PA with the Diaconal Ministry Formation event serving as a small group leader. The morning of the earthquake we listened to one of Ben’s songs. Little did we know that later that same day he would lose his life in Haiti. My small group had been given the task of leading worship that next Thursday. The girls decided to play Ben’s version of Psalm 30 as people were entering the chapel. “Mourning may come for the night but joy comes with the morning.”

(2) Where Charity and Love Prevail. I’ve always loved that hymn. But its even more special knowing that more than likely it  was a verse from this song that Ben was singing when he took his last breath in Haiti.

(3) Go, My Children With My Blessing–I love this hymn. It was sung at my Consecration Service as a Diaconal Minister in the ELCA.

(4) Remind Me Who I Am by Jason Gray LOVE!!! This song is one of my all time favorite Contemporary Christian songs. I love the message that this song portrays. May we always be reminded of who and whose we are!

(5) Working at Bible Camp for almost 7 summers, there are so many camp songs that hold a special place in my heart as well.

Winding our Way through Mucky Waters

Have you ever been canoeing on the river and even though you know which way to go, the weather or something begins to stir you in another direction? It becomes difficult to maneuver on the water when the waves or wind or  mucky water gets in our way and wants to lead us in a different direction.Yet it never seems to fail that we end up where we need to be going. There have been times in my life when I have wondered where I am going; wondered where God is leading OR why God was leading me in a certain direction? Yet God ALWAYS knows where I am headed and has never led me to the wrong place.

Going to seminary, working at SuperAwesomeBibleCamp, struggling with classes and then finally graduating from seminary, being consecrated as a Diaconal Minister in the ELCA, and even understanding my family’s own struggle with mental illness…are all times when God has led me to the right place at the right time. Now the last one hasn’t been easy for me to understand.  There are days when I truly struggle with my family members’ struggles with mental illness. Why them? Why our family? And in those moments, I have felt like I am winding my way, canoeing through mucky waters…trying to find clarity and clear water! Yet after a lot of prayer and talking with God, I have FINALLY realized the gift of sharing my own experience with others. There are so many who struggle with this illness yet so many are afraid to talk about it because there is such a stigma associated with it.

Today I came home and read an email that blessed me in more ways than I could ever think. Now I don’t think most of us would see this email as a blessing but it is…it is a blessing because it has offered me an opportunity to once again share my/our story; to help this person see they are not alone! (In fact, in seminary, I read a book that talked about “how there are so many board and care facilities for those who struggle with mental illness yet they are only a shadow in our steeple.” We need to see beyond the shadow!) When mental illness rears its ugly head, it’s hard to grasp how and why and what triggers these events but they do. There are so many wonderful doctors and hospitals who do tremendous work caring for these patients and their families. I wish I could say more but I just want those whose families daily struggle with this illness to know they are not alone. And there is definetely a light at the end of the tunnel….a light that comes in the midst of the darkness.

Several months ago a family member and I saw the movie “Silver Linings Playbook” which is all about a man who struggles with mental illness. I’ll be honest…as my family member sat next to me…I thought, “Is this going to be too much?” I found myself glancing at this person throughout the movie. I don’t know what I thought I was going to do. Perhaps protect them by walking out on the movie. We were both pulled into the movie and when it was all said and done, we both agreed it was about time…about time that Hollywood would tackle such an illness. My family member liked the movie for its honest. It was important for this person to see it but I think it was even more important for me to see it! The movie is well-written and the actors did a superb job. Please if you haven’t seen it, GO SEE IT…the movie’s storie captures so well the honesty of the illness. We need more movies like this! And after you see the movie, share it with someone else. Lets break the stigma!

For other posts about mental illness, check out these other posts:

Transitioning Friday Five

I spent the morning  and afternoon volunteering for one of my favorite organizations; Special Olympics ND….so just getting around to playing now.

For today’s Friday Five, share five occasions
or events in your life that have been turning points…when you have felt like a
new thing was being born. You can refer to the birth of children, career, your
kitchen garden, or whatever moves you.

(1) Working at SuperAwesomeBibleCamp. I graduated on a Sun and began working at camp on a Tuesday. It was the worst interview but they still hired me. And then they couldnt get rid of me…7 summers I worked there. It is the first place I openly talked about my mom’s struggle with mental illness.

(2) Going to seminary. So glad I went to seminary and got my MA degree. I made the greatest friends there. They are all blessings in my life.

(3) Graduating from seminary. Seminary was not the easiest journey but I still stuck with it. When I got my diploma, it was such a wonderful joy-filled moment. Thankful for all those who supported me on this journey.

(4) My Consecration as a Diaconal Minister in the ELCA. 🙂

(5) Starting my job at DLC (my current call) I have been and continued to be so blessed by this community of faith. I have learned so much from my colleague at DLC.