What I Learned in September….

I am linking up with Emily Freeman’s monthly link-up today. You can check out all the posts over at Emily’s Place.

Things I learned this month….

(1) I am a writer! After participating in the online discussion on the book “On Being a Writer” by Charity Singleton Craig and Ann Kroeker, I can honestly say that I am a writer. I have learned that writing is indeed so much a part of who I am. There are limitations, but those limitations often push my writing to be better.

(2) In the words of my blog friend Katie Reid, we write to remember. As I remembered the suicide of my college friend Chewy and the anniversary of September 11, 2001 on my blog, I realized how true those words are. It is so important for us to remember those who are dear to us, those historic events in the world, and so much more.

In addition, remembering can be bittersweet too. I watched the finale of CSI the other day. When I was at seminary, a group of friends and I would spend every Thursday night watching CSI together. It was hard not to think of them and all we had been through as I watched the finale. I miss those crazy people!

(3) When Life is Wearing On You, God places people–friends—in our lives to journey with us because God does not want life to wear on us. God places those people into our lives to listen to us, to be there for us, to be that shoulder to cry on for us and to a hold a piece of each other’s stories..not to take our stories away from us but to bear the burden with us.

(4) It is so important to spend time with family! I decided to drive home for Labor Day weekend as my Grandma had suffered a stroke several weeks before. It was so good to spend time with my Grandma, Grandpa, my sister, my aunts and uncle, my dad, my step-mom and my sister. We spent a lot of time picking produce from Grandma’s garden which she gladly shared with all of us. I treasure the time I spend with my family especially as my grandparents age.

(5) SO MANY GOOD BOOKS! I finished “Searching for Sunday” by Rachel Held Evans and “Wild in the Hollow” by Amber C. Haines. I just started “For the Love” by Jen Hatmaker. “Accidental Saints” by Nadia Bolz-Weber and “It’s Simply Tuesday” by Emily Freeman are just a few of the books on my to read pile.

(6) Voxer, Periscope, and Twitter…all the social media! I absolutely LOVE Voxer. And I am starting to love Periscope too. It is so cool to be able to see the faces and hear the voices of my blog friends spread all over the world. I have even begun broadcasting my own Scopes on Periscope. I know that so many feel like the world wide web can be such a negative place, but what I have learned is that there are some amazing communities there as well. I love my blogging community so much. You each bless me so immensely!

(7) “She is far more precious than rubies!” A friend commented that to me on a blog post and then I got a Tweet sharing a picture with those words. It is so easy for us to think we are not enough, to think we are not worthy but the truth is that we are ENOUGH! I have put on the new name tag of “more precious than rubies” and I invite you to join me in putting it on because you, my dear friends, are more precious than rubies too!

(8) I learned all the many things that I forgot about the beauty of Fall. I love watching the seasons change. I love all things Pumpkin. I had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte a few weeks ago. I love the cooler air and watching the beauty of God’s creation changing all around me.

(9) Sometimes we just have to be silly and laugh! Thanks to Agape, Joe Davis and Rachel Kurtz for this awesome photo op idea. Little did you know that I needed a good laugh that day. And this photo op made me smile and still makes me smile!

(10) God’s grace is sufficient! It is a grace that God doesn’t wrap in a pretty bow, but rather simply sets it on the table for us to receive. So often we forget the gift of God’s grace though. And because I am continuing to receive and learn from God’s grace, I will be joining in the Write 31 Days challenge and will be sharing 31 Stories of God’s grace. Click Here to learn more about my Write 31 days challenge.

(11) And most of all, I learned that it is pretty great turning another year older. I am so incredibly loved and you all let me know that on the anniversary of my birth. So many Tweets, well wishes on my FaceBook wall and birthday presents. I felt so spoiled! And I got to top it off with some of my favorite gals in the world at our favorite wine bar. Tiger cake, good wine, some of my bestest friends, and celebrating another year of life! I am so very thankful for my 37 years on this year…and trust that year 37 will be a fantastic year too.

More Precious than Rubies

I stand looking in the mirror, my I-phone 6 leaning up against the counter of the sink as music streams from my Pandora station. I grab my contacts case and begin putting my contacts in my eyes. I plug my curling iron into the wall and let it heat up while I blow dry my hair. After a few minutes of drying my hair, I comb through my hair and grab my curling iron. I twirl the curling iron around strands of hair, let it sit for a few seconds, and then release it as I let the newly formed curls cascade down my face.

After curling my hair, I put away all of my supplies and shut off the bathroom light, but not before looking in the mirror one last time. On a good day, I smile and think to myself, I look pretty good today. On the not-so-good days, I mess with my hair and try to figure out what is making me unhappy today. And on those not-so-good days, I wonder if I am good enough…..; I wonder if I am worthy of being loved; I wonder if….

Do you ever feel like that friends? Do you ever feel like you are not good enough? Do you feel like there is never enough time in the day? Do you wonder if you are worthy of receiving love from that special person in your life? I know that I do! I think that I am not smart enough or pretty enough or (insert what you are feeling here) But the truth, my friends, is that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” God made us each with a purpose in life. But I so often forget that purpose and that promise in my life.

This last week a friend reminded me of the verse from Proverbs 31:10: “She is far more precious than rubies!” Or I love how the Message translates that verse: “A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds.” I want you to know that today too friends! Yesterday I listened to author and speaker Cindy Bultema’s Monday Coffee Chat Periscope where she shared that we are good enough. We are enough. We are loved! We are worthy! We all have been given new names by God. I may not always feel it and you may not either friends. But today I am choosing to put on the nametag of “more precious than rubies.”

Rubies are one of the most beautiful gems. Yet according to Wikipedia, “All natural rubies have imperfections in them, including color impurities and inclusions of rutile needles known as “silk”. In other words, just like rubies, we all have our imperfections. Our imperfections might look like too much weight, grey hair, a wide forehead or whatever we are unhappy with about ourselves. Yet the truth is that God loves us with our imperfections and all! God doesn’t want our beautiful faces or bodies to be photo shopped onto the latest beauty magazine cover. God wants us to be exactly who God called and created us to be.

So trusting in that promise and knowing you are not alone, will you join me in putting on the nametag of “more precious than rubies?”

I am linking up with these lovely ladies today–Holly and Testimony Tuesday, Kelly and the RaRa Linkup, Jennifer Dukes Lee and Tell His Story and Holley Gerth and Coffee for your Heart.


Sunday Blessings 98

(1) Mom calling me.

(2) A belated bday present in the mail. So much fun! Thanks PB!!

(3) A blog friend nominating me for the Liebster Award.

(4) Being told that I’m a precious lady!

(5) A Vox from KA, CM and MG.

(6) FMF Twitter Party

(7) The return of all my fave shows: NCIS, Nashville, Greys Anatomy and so much more.

(8) A great colleague lunch

(9) Winning a prize at a Twitter party. I never win anything!!

(10) Running into KD at CashWise

(11) Weight Watchers Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sundaes.

(12) A sweet Tweet from a friend reminding me that I’m more precious than rubies.

(13) More Periscope viewers.

(14) During the children’s sermon, one of the kids coming up behind me and saying “Hi Tara!”

(15) An invitation to go to Beer and Hymns.

(16) A great renewal team meeting/training for small group leaders.

(17) A gorgeous Fall Day

(18) 3rd Grade Bible Milestone.

(19) My usual hug during the greeting time from one of my fave little girls.

(20) The return of my famous crockpot taco chicken chili. Yum!!!

(21) Texting with MW.

(22) And so much more!!

Supper with the Fishies and the Grand Ole Opry

Another installment in the Nashville series. For those of you who are new to this blog, I have been recapping the sister’s trip that my sister Andrea and I took this summer. It was a blast. Hopefully these little nuggets will give you a little glimpse into how awesome this trip wasmemories to last a lifetime!

Ann and I decided to sleep in. About 10:45 am, I pulled back the covers and ran to the bathroom to take a quick little bathroom break. As I crawled back into bed, my phone almost immediately began to ring. My new blog friend Valerie was calling to see where I was at. Valerie and our other blog friend Janel were coming to Nashville for the first ever Five Minute Friday retreat.

I gave Val directions to our hotel. Then I quickly jumped out of bed and began getting ready for the day. After about 20-30 minutes, I got another phone call telling me they had arrived. I yelled through the bathroom door to tell Ann I was running downstairs to get them.

I stepped into the elevator and pushed the button for the 1st floor. However, God had a sense of humor that morning as the elevator kept climbing….6th, 7th, 8th and so on before it finally began descending to the first floor. I stepped off the elevator, turned right to the end of the short hallway, turned right again and soon my new friends were in my line of sight.

Janel proclaimed, “There she is!” Valerie saw me, ran up to me and embraced me in the hugest hug. After our hug, I ran over to Janel and hugged her. Together the three of us walked to the elevator, stepped inside, and pushed the button for our floor. Once off the elevator, we walked to our room.

Once inside, I introduced my new friends to my sister. We sat on the beds and chatted for awhile. Then we decided it was time to pick a lunch place. After perusing through the Nashville area recommended restaurants, we decided to head to Germantown and the Germantown Cafe.

Our drive to the restaurant was an adventure as we wondered if Siri was giving us the right directions: around one curve, then another, until we finally arrived at the cafe. At the cafe, we checked in and waited for our table. We only waited a few minutes before our server came to seat us. We all looked over the menu. After awhile the waiter came and took our order. Val and I both ordered the same thing: the french onion soup with a fried green tomato sandwich.

As we waited for our meal, we visited. It really was like we have known each other much longer than we have. Soon the waiter came with our meals and we all dug in. It was the most delicious french onion soup that I have had in a long time. The whole top of the soup was covered with ooey gooey cheese that melted in your mouth. The fried green tomato sandwich was yummy too! We all enjoyed our meals.

The waiter came to take our plates away and of course, asked if we wanted some dessert. After a very brief moment of hesitation, we ordered the caramel apple dessert and a yummy chocolate dessert. They seriously were the most decadent desserts. I literally would have ate the whole caramel apple dessert if my friends would have let me.

After our meal, we walked out to Val’s car. A beautiful flowering tree was blossoming in front of us. We stopped to take in the breathe and depth of God’s awesome creation. While we were enjoying the flowers, Val and Janel noticed a baby bird in the branches. We peaked through the branches until we spotted him. He looked so comfortable there…but then he soon decided to fly away.

We all climbed back into Val’s car. Val and Janel dropped Ann and I off at our hotel. We went inside and I called for a Lyft driver to come pick us up. He said he would be there shortly. As we were getting ready to leave, Ann reminded me that I had wanted to change. So like the quick changers from a few seasons ago on America’s Got Talent, I changed as fast as I could.

Our driver arrived. Ann and I got into the car and he drove us to Opryland. Ann and I sat and waited until the time for our tour arrived. Soon the clock struck 3:45 pm and Ann and I walked to the back door where the group of people going on our tour were waiting. The doors opened. We walked inside and sat down. The tour guide played us an introduction video featuring the one and only Blake Shelton.

After the video, our tour began. We stood on the infamous circle where we had our picture taken. As we stood there, I couldn’t help but think of all the stars that had stood in that exact spot as they sang on the Grand Ole Opry. After everyone was done with their pictures, our tour guide took us backstage to see the dressing rooms.

When you first enter into the backstage area, there is a Grand Ole Opry post office. She told us that many of the stars pick up their own mail themselves. She then had us look to the right of the post office where the wall of fame was. Each name on that wall is names of stars who have been inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. Blake Shelton hung his own plaque and if you look closely, you can see that he hung it

We continued down the hallways where our tour guide showed us all the dressing rooms. They are themed dressing rooms. There is the Stars and Stripes room which has an American flag painted on its wall. There is the Women of Country room. There is the It Takes Two room which is dedicated to the honor of country duos. And many many more rooms as well.

After our tour, Ann and I walked across the street to the Opryland mall where we decided to have supper at an Aquarium restaurant. Ann and I looked over the menu and ordered our meal. As we were waiting, we watched the fish of all shapes and sizes swimming in the tank.

Our meal soon arrived. Ann and I ate our meal and then walked back across the street. We waited for the doors to open. Then we found our seats. They were in the balcony; second row or so right in the center. We waited for the show to begin.

Soon several Congregational Medal of Honor honorees were led to their seats. Throughout the night, these men and women were honored for their service to our country. The show began. Jeannie Seely soon walked onto stage. Then a bluegrass band played for us. After 30 minutes, a short break was had and then the next section began. We heard from Pam Tillis, Mark Wills, Mel Tillis, The Gaither Brothers, Raelyn and so many more.

One of my favorite moments was when RaeLyn was on stage. She sang one of her songs. Then she asked the audience to sing “America the Beautiful” with her. She shared about how her brother serves in the military. It gave me goosebumps. After she finished, Larry Gaitlin stopped her and said, “I love your heart young lady. You could have promoted your own career and played one of your songs, but you didn’t. You chose to celebrate and honor these military men and women.”

The show ended. Ann and I walked outside with the swarm of people. I plugged in my phone as the battery was dying so that I could call for a Lyft driver to come pick us up. We waited on the curb for him to arrive. He finally arrived and drove us back to our hotel.

We got out of the car, thanked him for our ride, and walked into the main lobby of our hotel. We rode the elevator up to our hotel room. Then Ann and I took the time to carefully pack all of our new souvenirs so nothing would get broken on the plane ride home. After everything was carefully packed away, we both crawled into our beds but not before I took one last look at the Fitbit. We had walked 7,416 steps; 3.19 miles; burned 2,304 calories and had been active for 23 minutes.

As we laid our heads down for the night, Ann and I were both sad that our trip was coming to an end. Memories to last a lifetime!

“In My Wrestling and My Doubts”

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Doubt.” Write for five minutes; unedited.

There Kate goes again…giving us a word prompt that hits me straight in the gut. 
Sometimes I stand in the mirror, looking at my face and body, self-doubt so easily creeping in. 
Sometimes I hear the news of another friend’s engagement or pregnancy, and I doubt whether it will ever happen for me. I honestly am excited for them, but there is a piece of me that has a hard time hearing those words. 
Sometimes I doubt if I am where God has called me to be in this time and place.
Doubt has a way of doing that, doesn’t it? Doubt has a way of creeping in and trying to tell us lies from the enemy. Yet the truth is that God wants us never to doubt ourselves, but most importantly, God wants us NEVER to doubt God’s promises for our lives. God gave each of  us gifts to share in the world and wants us never to take those gifts for granted. 
Faith=trust; trusting in God. Faith is the opposite of doubt. Faith is trusting in the words of God our Father. We are God’s beloved sons and daughters! Faith is knowing that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for; the conviction of things not yet seen.”
There are indeed days when I doubt whether or not God hears my prayers.* Actually to be honest, I often wonder if God hears my prayers. I still want to be a mom and a wife, but each and every day that doesn’t happen for me, I doubt a little bit more. Before I know it, doubt is finding its way into my heart and mind yet again.

As I doubt, I am thankful for the reminders that God is always there for us as long as we trust in him. In the words of one of my all-time favorite songs by one of my all-time favorite bands Rend Collective Experiment, I am reminded that God will never leave me or forsake me. The first verse even states “In my wrestling and in my doubts, In my failures, You won’t walk out; You’re great love will lead me through; You are the peace in my troubled seas.” Yes, God promises to never walk out and will be the peace in our troubled seas!
*Where my five minutes ended!

Farming, Juggling and our Limitations

Joining in with the online discussion on the book “On Being A Writer” by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig. Today we are working through the last chapter-Chapter 12:Limit.

As I read through this chapter and listened to the video from Ann and Charity, the image that kept popping up into my mind was a juggler. But the thing is I am not a juggler. I cannot juggle everything. In fact, if I tried to juggle everything, I have no doubt that I would drop several balls.

But that, my friends, I think is the key. We need to learn how to juggle one or two balls at a time. Since I work at a church and preach about every 5-6 weeks, writing is a part of my job. Yes, it is a different kind of writing, but it is writing in one of its many forms. I need to learn how to balance both aspects of my writing life. Perhaps that means that on weeks I am preaching, I write less on the blog.

I am an “outgoing introvert!” (Thanks Katie M. Reid for that definition because it characterizes me perfectly!) I love spending time with my friends and family, but I also love my alone time too. I think it is important for me to learn to place some juggling balls down in order to pick up another one…even if just for a short period of time.

Having grown up as a farmer’s daughter, I understand limits on time. When the harvest is ready and the fields are dry, the crops must be harvested. If there is rain in the forecast and the field is almost finished, then the farmer works until that field is completed even if that means working late into the night. Yet there is only so much a farmer can control, they have limitations on their call.

And as writers, we too have limitations! Charity is spot on when she states: “Sometimes the writing life itself puts limits on us; sometimes we have to limit the rest of our lives in order to be able to write.” Oh how true those words ring for me! Do they ring true for you too?

I need to remember that I can only juggle so much at a time and that that is totally okay.

This book and online discussion using the book “On Being A Writer” by Charity Singleton Craig and Ann Kroeker has been so much fun! It has been a joy to meet other women who are trying to hone their writing skills. I am thankful for each and every person that interacted here and at their blogs as well.

I really can’t pick a favorite chapter, because they all were my favorites. But honestly if I did pick one, it would be the chapter on Engage. There is so much joy in finding “my people” and knowing that I am not on this writing journey alone!

And after these six weeks, I am finding it is easier for me to utter the words “I am a Writer!”

The Visibility of God’s Grace

“I think my job is to make the grace of an invisible God, visible, wherever I am”–Paul Tripp

Oh friends, these words are speaking straight to my heart today. More and more hard news. More and more of wondering where God is in this world. More and more of wondering when God’s peace will prevail. But what I do know is that God’s grace always prevails.

It can be so hard for us to see God’s grace in a world that is bombarded by hard news, war, hatred, violence and so much more. Yet the good news is that God’s grace has a way of showing up in the most unexpected places and in the most unexpected love. I am reminded of the words to the well-known hymn “Amazing Grace”: “Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear; The hour I first believed.; Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.” (Amazing Grace Lyrics)

Yes, it is this grace that will lead us home. Yet I know that it is often so very hard for us to trust in that promise. We want God to give us a GPS to direct us along life’s journey. We want our answers to be as instant as an instant message from a friend. But God does give us a GPS, just not the kind of GPS we want and are looking for in our lives. God’s GPS is God’s grace positioning system! Can you think of all the times and places when God’s GPS has shown up in your lives?

“For it is by grace through faith that you have been saved, it is not your own doing but a gift of God”—-Ephesians 2:8 (New Revised Standard Version)

It took me a long time to realize that grace is this free unmerited gift that God gives to each and every one of us. Yet grace isn’t wrapped in a pretty bow. Grace is an amazing gift that comes with no pretty strings, ribbons or bows attached to it. It is simply set out onto the table for us to receive. But are we willing to receive it?

I have come to accept and receive this unmerited gift with open arms because it has blessed me in more ways than I can ever count or imagine. Grace is what has helped me live as a daughter of a woman who daily struggles with a mental illness. Grace is what helped me graduate seminary when I thought that was an impossible task. Grace is what has continually shown me again and again the power of God’s love for all of God’s people.

And because I have received this gift and seen the power of grace in my own life, I want to continually show it to others. Because in showing God’s grace, we see, not only glimpses but full images of a visible God that often feels invisible in this world. But it is in these moments and gifts of grace that God’s invisibility becomes visible to all of God’s people.

“Now God has us where God wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust in him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role! If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. God creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.”–Ephesians 2:7-10 (The Message)

An upbeat video for your Tuesday afternoon!
“This is Amazing Grace”-Phil Wickham

(And on that note, I am excited to share with you my Write 31 Days topic. I will be sharing 31 Stories of God’s Grace.” After reading that quote by Paul Tripp today, God confirmed that this is exactly what God is calling me to share about. My hope and prayer is that these 31 stories of God’s grace will make us see a sometimes invisible God as a visible God. Join me throughout the month of October for these dear stories of God’s grace!)

I am linking up with these faith-filled women this week: 


What the Rocky Mountains Have Taught Me

Joining in with the online discussion on the book “On Being A Writer” by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig. Today we are working through Chapter 11: Rest.

Can you believe we only have one chapter left to go?

But onto today’s topic for now….REST! Having attended seminary “self-care” is something that was ingrained into every fiber of  my being. Professors continually reminded us of the high percentage of burn out rates for clergy and individuals who work in the church because they don’t care for themselves. They don’t take time to rest! So, self-care is something that I think I am pretty okay at, but I would say it is also something that I could work on too. (Does that make any sense at all?)

I am pretty good at noticing when others need time to rest, but I am not always so good at recognizing it in my self. However I have been blessed by a continuing education experience the last five summers. Every June, I head to the heart of the Rocky Mountains, just outside of Estes Park Colorado to learn but also to spend time in Sabbath and rest. Every morning, we have class but then we have the remainder of the day to simply play or rest or whatever one feels like doing. Every evening, there is a fun event since it is a very family oriented event. One night they even have a square dance caller come in and teach us how to square dance.

There are lots of things that I love about this event, but truly the reason I have come to LOVE it is because it forces me to put down the phone, the computer, etc and simply take in God’s amazing awesome creation. Where we stay, there is no Internet, no computers, no television (unless you count the one in the main lodge—which to be honest, most of us forget about!). I find myself spending my time reading on the porch with the gorgeous backdrop of the Rocky Mountains in front of me. I also find myself listening and taking in the creatures around us. I find myself taking in every sight and sound of God’s creation. I simply find myself taking the time to rest!

I’m telling you it doesn’t get much better than this! 

Yes, sometimes I will drive into town to go to a coffee shop or the grocery store. But what I have found is a lot of times, I will throw my phone in my purse and completely forget about it. It is so healthy and healing for me to take the time to simply be…to be still and know that God is God! And in the magnificent Rockies of Colorado, I cannot help but know that!

When I return home, I immediately find myself turning on the tv or scanning Facebook or whatever. I need to be better about taking what I experience in the Rockies and bringing it home especially in relationship to my writing. I am going to be better about taking time to simply just be..whether that means going for a walk on a cool crisp Fall day or sitting in my backyard listening to the creatures scurrying about or enjoying my beloved prairies where I always feel at peace and like I am standing on holy ground.

I think, Ann and Charity are right….not only do we need to take time away from our words, we need to take time just resting and remembering that even God rested. In Genesis, we read “And on the seventh day, God finished the work he had done and he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had done (Genesis 2:2).”

It is important for us to take time away and to rest; to live out Sabbath in our lives. I have come to realize that society isn’t very good at living out Sabbath in our technology fast-paced world! Let’s be examples of living out Sabbath in our lives! And also let’s not forget to play a little too! (Children sure have a lot to teach us when it comes to taking the time to play, don’t they?!?!)

Because when we take the time to rest, I believe God can use our words even more fully. God can take our time away to help us see where our words need work or if our words are exactly what God wants us to share.

Liebster Award

Good Morning dear readers and friends! This is a fun post to start off our week. My sweet friend Carrie who blogs at Living with Unspeakable Joy nominated me for the Liebster Award. Carrie and I “met” through the Five Minute Friday Snail Mail Party. In fact, we have been on two of the last lists together. According to an Internet search, the Liebster Award is given to bloggers by other bloggers. The word Liebster comes from German origin and has many different meanings: ” dearest, sweetest, kindest, nicest, beloved, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, welcome, sweetheart (and yes even boyfriend. Really?) I don’t know about you but I rather like that list of definitions! 🙂
Now onto my questions…

1. How did you come up with the name of your blog? I have always loved the prairies of North Dakota. Spending time on them is holy time for me. And on the prairies of North Dakota, you cannot help but feel the effects of the wind which always reminds me of the Holy Spirit. I wanted my blog title to say something about who I am as a beloved child of God and where God has called me to be. I also love to pray for others. For the last five years, I have prayed through my Facebook friends list for Lent. So together prayer and my beloved prairies of North Dakota led to creating my blog title: Praying on the Prairie.

2. Have you always been a writer? I actually laughed when I read this question, because I have not always seen or called my self a writer. Yet I have been working my way through Kate Motaung’s book discussion and link-up for the book “On Being A Writer.” I am learning that I am indeed a writer. And if you ask my momma, she would tell you that, when I was little, I was one of those kids who just needed pen and paper and I was a happy camper. So I guess, yes, I have always loved words and have always been a writer! (Did I really just type that? I must really be growing into my identity as a writer!)

3. What do you hope to accomplish with your blog? I want my blog to be a space where others will be encouraged. I want it to be a space that shows God’s love, grace, and mercy to the world. In fact, I want God to use me and my words to bless God’s people. I want people to know that there is power in hearing the words “me too.” I want my readers and followers to know that they are not alone.

4. What is your favorite holiday and why? Oh boy…this is a hard one to answer. I love lots of holidays. But my favorite holiday would have to be Maundy Thursday. Now I realize not everyone celebrates this holiday, but it holds a special place in my heart. On that night, Jesus stooped down and washed the feet of his disciples. As a woman called to word and service, called to pick up my own basin and towel, this holiday reminds me of my call in the world and reminds me that I am called to reach out to ALL OF GOD’S PEOPLE!

5. Name three words that Jesus would say describes you. Sweet, caring, tender-hearted.

6. Who is the biggest influence in your life? MY MOMMA! My Mom had a nervous breakdown right after my younger sister was born. My mom has never let her illness get in the way of who she is: a beloved child of God. She is one of the most faith-filled woman that I know. She could have easily turned away from God, but instead she just turned closer to him.

7. What are your favorite books? Oh man I have so many so I thought I would share a list:
“Let’s All Be Brave” by Annie F. Downs
“Pastrix” by Nadia Bolz-Weber
“Confessions of a Prairie Bitch” by Allison Arngrim (played Nellie Oleson on Little House on the Prairie)
“Love Wins” by Rob Bell
Anything by Wendell Berry
“Bossy Pants” by Tina Fey
“Bread and Wine” by Shauna Niequest”
“Silver Linings Playbook”
“1000 Gifts” by Ann Voskamp

8. Where is one place you would like to travel? I have always wanted to travel to Scotland. I thought that would be a really cool place to visit. I haven’t traveled outside of the United States except for Canada. I really would love to go just about anywhere. I have international seminary classmates that I could visit. I have always wanted to go to Germany to see all the Lutheran sights.

9. What are you passionate about? I am passionate about quite a lot. But really I am passionate about reaching out to all God’s people. I am passionate about sharing my family’s journey with a mental illness. I am passionate about showing God’s love to all God’s people especially the downtrodden and outcasts among us.

10. If you could meet anyone, who would it be? Hmmmm…JESUS! 🙂

11. What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? “Show them your heart!” When I left my last church to take a new call at my current church, a bunch of them told me to simply “show them my heart.” In showing them my heart, they knew they would love me for who God created them to be. And they were so very right.

I hope you enjoyed the answers to my questions. Here are my 5 nominees:

Christy at Just a Thought…
Valerie at Tales from a Southern Catholic Momma
Tammy at Sincerity and Hope
Sarah at And So I Give Thanks…
Karrilee at Abiding Love, Abounding Grace

Here are your questions my friends:
1. How did you come up with the name of your blog?
2. Have you always been a writer?
3. What do you hope to accomplish with your blog?
4. What is your favorite holiday and why?
5. Name three words that Jesus would say describes you.
6. Who is the biggest influence in your life?
7. What are your favorite books?
8. What is one place you would like to travel?
9. What are you passionate about?
10. If you could meet anyone, who would it be?
11. What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Don’t forget to check out these blogs. I am so blessed to call these women my friends! 🙂

Sunday Blessings 97


Can you tell that was my high school graduation year as I sing our class chant?

Now onto the Sunday Blessings for this week. (This turned into two week’s worth of blessings)

(1) A surprise bday card in the mail from my friend MW.

(2) Two more Bday cards from #Fmfpartysnailmail friends. Thanks CM (the little treat card was an added bonus) and SS.

(3) The sweetest comment on my FB wall. Thanks DM.

(4) Lunch from ladies who were using the church kitchen.

(5) Voxing with KA

(6) Rise Up Tour with Rachel, Agape and Joe Davis.

(7) Trustfalling into Joe, Rachel and Agape’s arms.

(8) Laughter—so good for my soul

(9) Talking to my momma on the phone

(10) Wings and Rings with some of the MSU LCM Crew.

(11) An awesome Rally Sunday morning: prayer balloon launch, Blessing of the Backpacks, a baptism, great worship services and a fun photo booth.

(12) Road trip to Medora for Rostered Leaders Gathering.

(13) My colleagues in the Western ND synod. I love you all and am so very thankful for each and every one of you!

(14) An awesome Holy Spirit moment. Watching colleagues pray over Jessica Tomlinson of LSS.

(15) Open mic night at rostered leaders gathering and reading some of my poetry.

(16) Time for relaxation and renewal.

(17) My beloved ND Badlands

(18) Seeing Jeff and Jennae

(19) Pretty great first night of Confirmation

(20) A nice rain

(21) My first Pumpkin Spice latte this Fall.

(22) Fun #fmfpartysnailmail in my mailbox.

(23) Getting some great deals today! Hello new IPad mini!

(24)Visiting with church members at Starbucks. So fun to listen and have then share pieces of their story with me.

(25) Sitting in a pew this morning, feeling a hand on my back and realizing that one of my fave boys was running my back.

(26) A great Youth Gathering presentation this morning.

(27) Making my first I-movie. So slick and so much fun!

(28) The Emmys

What are your blessings this week friends?