Sunday Blessings; 11th Edition

I haven’t been able to post a Sunday blessings post in several weeks so here are some blessings from this past week (and probably a few from the weeks before too)

(1) Getting hugs from some of our three year olds at church. They were all so sweet!!

(2) Spending time with my sister

(3) Having dinner and catching up with some of my Curves ladies. It was so much fun! I miss those gals!

(4) Starting and finishing Nadia Bolz-Weber’s book Pastrix. I seriously couldn’t put it down. Pure grace!! So excited to see her along with Rachel Kurtz and Agape on Thursday. THIS BOOK IS A MUST READ!

(5) Meeting over the phone and chatting on the phone with a colleague in Florida. So neat to meet and share our passions about home and family ministry.

(6) NWMN synod council retreat. So blessed to serve alongside these people.

(7) Getting to stop by and visit with a dear friend on my way back from my meeting. He is such a blessing in my life!!!

(8) The joy of hearing from our Confirmands and their families as they shared their faith papers with us.

(9) Being at the right place at the right time. Thankful that I was able to avoid an uncomfortable situation by being in that right place at the right time.

(10) Donating and dropping off leftovers from our church dinner at the local homeless shelter.

(11) Having a nice conversation with one of my neighbors who I don’t get to speak to much.

(12) An invitation to a friends bridal shower. So fun to receive real mail!

(13) Getting some much needed rain

And so much more….

Road Maps and Traffic Signs

If you are a faithful reader to this blog, you know that I have commiserated often about how my life isn’t where I would like it to be. At 35 years old, I am so ready to find my Mr. Right and settle down with a family. For the most part, my heart is content, yet I yearn so deeply for these things; yearn sooooo sooooo soooo DEEPLY!

Throughout my life, I have had some awesome amazing guy friends. There is my friend who is the “adopted baby brother I always wanted.” We could talk to each other about anything and everything. Then he found his dear wife who is awesome and we have kind of lost touch. Our lives are just at different points.

Several summers ago, God brought this amazing guy into my life. I deeply treasure our friendship and our conversations. He is going through a difficult time in his life and so I am doing my best to be a good friend; to support him in the midst of this trial. There is so much I would like to say to him, but I also know he is grieving in the midst of this difficult time in his life. So I have simply held back and just been a friend; a friend who listens whenever she can. I often find my mind playing mind games and wondering why God brought us into each other’s lives. I know that this is not the time or place to even think this since he is going through this difficult time. However that is often easier said than done.

Yet my heart and my head don’t and can’t understand. Why hasn’t it happened for me YET? What if I tell someone how I truly feel? What if I don’t say a word? Will I always wonder what “might have been?” What does that mean for tomorrow, for the next year, for the next 5 years, for the next 10 years? I simply wish God would give me a road map or traffic signs to when or even if these dreams will ever happen for me.

And then sometimes God doesn’t send a road map or a traffic sign, but rather a dream. And then I find myself trying to interpret what this dream means in my life. Is the dream a way of God and the Holy Spirit trying to give me that road map or traffic sign that I have been wanting and needing? I find myself praying for God to reveal to me what needs to be revealed. Yet it is hard to wait patiently and trust in God’s timing and not my own. That is the beauty of God in our lives….God always walks with us and is with us especially when we least  feel like God is there.

So for now…I will just wait…and pray for those road maps and traffic signs to come into my life….sooner rather than later!

A Book That Needs to be Read and Shared!

Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved to read. I love and read just about everything. But rarely is there a book that captures my heart, soul and mind deeper than I could ever imagine. But Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber’s book Pastrix has done just that!! (Seriously I think everyone should read this book. It is pure grace!)

I saw Nadia speak when she spoke at the ELCA National Youth Gathering in New Orleans. Not only were my youth hanging onto her every word but I was too. Nadia is REAL! And so I was super stoked to read her book!

I got my wisdom teeth out on Sept 9 and her book was released on the 10th. I downloaded it onto my Kindle that day and was totally pulled in from the very first word.

I found myself laughing, crying and experiencing so many emotions as I read Nadia’s words. I read as she shared about learning about the Haiti earthquake and that their cantor’s friend was killed. Tears ran down my face as I thought of my own friends and our experience of losing this dear soul in our

I read as she shared the stories of those in her congregation at House for All Sinners and Saints. I especially found myself listening and reading about the man who was struggling with mental illness. I thought of those in my family who daily struggle with this illness. Nadia reminded me again that we all–including them–are beloved children of God. (I honestly wish people saw these individuals like Nadia does!)

I was constantly highlighting as I read Nadia’s words. I think I’m going to have to buy the hard copy too. This book is a gem. And if you are only going to read one book this year, please make it this one!!

You see, God always shows up. I leave you with this words from Nadia’s book. “This is the resurrected God to whom we sing. A God who didn’t say we would never be afraid but that we would never be alone. Because this is a God who shows up: in the violence of the cross, in the darkness of a garden before dawn, in the gardener, in a movie theater, in the basement of a bar (Pastrix; Nadia Bolz-Weber, P.200).”

You see God calls us all to the table; to gather around bread and wine where we come together in all our brokenness and messiness. And I think more often than we care to admit our lives are more broken and messier than we think or even realize ourselves.

Nadia, thank you for a beautiful book filled with pure grace!!

Sunday Blessings (on Monday); 10th Edition

Sorry it’s a day late! And a little shorter list this week!

(1) A friend taking me to my wisdom teeth removal appointment and staying with me for a little while.

(2) A good wisdom teeth removal surgery. I was incredibly lucky that it went so well and I felt pretty good!

(3) My beloved Diaconal Ministry community

(4) A belated birthday card in the mail

(5) Getting an email from some ladies that I used to do Zumba with at Curves. We are going to get together in a few weeks to catch up!

(6) My Shutterfly book finally arriving in the mail.

(7) One of my three year old SS kids so excited to see me yesterday morning and running up and giving me a huge hug!!

Another Friday Five

1. How are you? What’s up with you? I am good. I had my wisdom teeth pulled on Monday so I didn’t go into work until Wed. I am thankful that my experience was a good one and that I wasn’t in much pain. I am excited to start our 3 year old Prayer and 3rd Grade Bible milestones this week. I am looking forward to our rostered leaders retreat Sun-Tuesday of this next week.

2. Last Saturday, I went to the outlet store and stocked up on underwear for the year. I love a bunch of new fresh underdrawers! I also love a cabinet full of paper towels. What silly thing makes you happy? Hmmm….Cinnamon gummy bears make me happy. New k-cups for my Kuerig. It seems like I am always trying new ones and I really don’t need new ones because I still havent finished the other ones I’ve tried.

3. Give a shout out to someone you love, appreciate, or want to thank! All my awesome friends and family. They are true blessings in my life! (Check out my blog post from a few days ago)

4. Miss Kansas has the Serenity Prayer tatooed on the side of her body. I sadly do not have a tatoo, and maybe you do, but if you were going to get a prayer tatooed on the side of your body, what would it be? I don’t think I will ever get a tattoo but if I did. I would probably put on the words “Psalm 30.” Psalm 30 holds a special place in my heart…and it would be a way to share and remember the story. When my friends Renee, Jon, and Ben were in Haiti during the earthquake, I was at the Diaconal Ministry formation event. My small group led worship on the day that we found out that Ben had died. We had Ben’s version of Psalm 30 playing as people entered into worship that day. “You turn our mourning into dancing.”

5. Use some or all or a form of the following words in a sentence: jello, kittens, mercy, dump-truck, tabuleh, terror, skipping, monkey, Rev. , health, and snoring. The skipping monkey ate jello with the kittens as the dump-truck drove by and saw the rev snoring under the tree.

Estes Park, CO

For the last several summers, I have found myself just outside Estes Park CO for the Lutheran Academy of the Rockies. I love this continuing Ed event for what it offers. But my favorite thing about this event is where it is located; in the Rocky Mts of Colorado.

I have walked along the boardwalk and the Big Thompson River in Estes Park. I have indulged in Blue Bell ice cream at the Blue Bell ice cream shop in downtown Estes. I have eaten at Ed’s Cantina. ( If you are reading Pastrix or have heard Nadia Bolz-Weber’s story about 9-11, you know that’s where she was on that horrific day). I have enjoyed the many shops with the tourists of Estes Park. I have experienced the true joy of Estes Park, CO!
(There are so many pictures I could share. Perhaps I will soon!)

Tonight my heart is sad…sad as I watch the walls of the Big Thompson spilling into the streets of downtown Estes Park. Living in the Red River Valley I know all to well how destructive water can be. I’ve done my fair share of slinging sandbags. Tonight I wonder what I can do to help. So I pray…pray for all affected by the rising waters of the Big Thompson river…those in Estes, those in Boulder, etc.

Please join me in prayer!

Incredibly Blessed

It’s so simple….yet absolutely incredibly beautiful! I have been blessed beyond words with the greatest family and friends. It never ceases to amaze me how BLESSED I am! You each sure know how to make a girl feel loved!

So many have been brought into my life at just the right time and place. That Holy Spirit sure knows when to plop friends into my life when I least expect it. (I’m sure you can think of times like that too!)

I’m reminded of my friend Anna and her blog. She sees her blog as a place where she can talk over her white picket fence to her friends. And she’s so right! I can tell you just about anything and I love that about each of you! I often feel like I’m peering over the white picket fence talking to my dear friends too!

Thank You for your friendships! I honestly don’t know what I did to receive such an incredible list of friends! But I’m glad you all have been brought into my life.

Are you ever amazed at how lucky you’ve been too? Do you feel incredibly blessed too? I hope so!!

Sunday Blessings; Birthday Edition (or 9th Edition)

(1) Dinner with some of my “cheerleaders”–They showed up with a balloon and a present.

(2) Dessert at Cherry Berry with two dear friends

(3) Lunch with my colleagues from DLC… And getting my birthday meal free!

(4) Coffee with a dear friend

(5) One of the sweetest couples at DLC bringing me a birthday card and cake.

(6) Being sung to a couple of times with a couple of renditions today

(7) FaceBook. I normally wouldn’t say FB but I love it on my bday. It absolutely makes a girl feel incredibly loved.

(8) Supper with good friends and getting a $10 Birthday card

(9) Curves—Proud of myself for working out on my bday

(10) More fresh tomatoes from my neighbor and her garden

(11) Another Birthday lunch at one of my fave Chinese places with a good friend

(12) Great start to 7th Grade Confirmation

(13) My mama calling to wish me Happy Birthday. She was singing on the phone. 🙂 Also an early am text from my sis.

(14) A half hour phone conversation with one of my fave people

(15) Finally finding time to go to the Farmers Market—fresh veggies=awesome stir fry

(16) A beautiful rain shower that was very much needed!

(17) Great Rally Sunday, Blessing of the Backpacks, and Teacher blessing!

And so much more! What have been the blessings in your life this week? This month?

And if you are the praying type, prayers for me as I get my wisdom teeth removed tomorrow. I’m sure it will be fine but I would appreciate the prayers!

What Makes Me Beautiful!

A friend recently told me about a Ted Talk by Brene Brown about “vulnerability.” Little did I realize how much of a gift her words would be to me until I watched her video this evening. Thank you dear friend for asking me if I had ever watched this beautiful video. These 20 minutes taught me so much about myself and about life and where a complete gift!

“I am enough!” You are enough! Yes, it is so simple. Yet her words are so true! When we are kind to each other, we are kinder to those around us. Brown talks about how those who have a strong sense of love and belonging have a strong sense of worthiness.

But most of us have a hard time being vulnerable. We have a difficult time sharing our sadnesses, our emotions, etc. In fact so often we try to numb those things by overreating or buying something we DONT need. And when we numb these things, we also numb joy, happiness, and the other good emotions. WE CANNOT NUMB these emotions so we need to be vulnerable.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of joy, of love, of belonging, of creativity, of faith.” Oh how true…when I share who I am with the world. It is who I am and who God created me to be. The words that continually are replaying in my head after watching Brown’s visit are these words. “What made them vulnerable is what made them beautiful.” Oh yes……what makes ME vulnerable is what makes ME beautiful. My struggles in life, my disappointments, my unaccomplished dreams, my family’s struggles with mental illness…all these things make me beautiful!

My friends, may you too find that what makes you vulnerable is what makes you beautiful as well!

Now I’m Hungry….Friday Five!

1) Is there a food from a foreign land whose reputation led to trepidation when you had a chance to give it a try? Did you find the courage to sample it anyway? If so, were you pleasantly surprised or did you endorse the less than favorable reputation that preceded it? I haven’t traveled to any foreign land YET so I haven’t tried anything yet that I have been apprehensive about. When I was a student at WTS, I was invited to some of our international students homes so I am sure I tried something that I had never tried before but I am not remembering or recalling what that might have been.

2) What food from your own country/culture gets a bad rap? Hmmm….I am not sure. I suppose if you asked in this neck of the woods it would be Lutefisk. There are people who LOVE it but I cant stand it!

3) Of what food are you fond that others find distasteful? I can’t think of anything.

4) Is there a country’s food, not native to you, that you go out of your way to eat? I love Mexican food!!

5) What is your guilty pleasure food? Any of my Grandma’s German cookin: Knoephla soup, strudels, dumplings, kuchen and so much more!

Bonus: What was your most memorable meal (good or bad), either because of the menu, the occasion, the company, or some other circumstance that makes it stand out? It wasn’t a full meal but one memory around food that always sticks out in my head is celebrating my first birthday away from family when I started seminary. I bought my own bday cake! (I was in a new place and was just meeting and making friends. These people later became dear friends and my one friend later said they never should have let me buy my own cake!) We had watched a clip from the movie “Chocolat” in class so we decided to watch the whole movie that night in the tv lounge. After the movie, we dug into my cake. Someone decided we should eat it with our hands so we did! We laughed so hard…we were rolling on the floor laughing. One of my favorite birthday memories!!