Time for Us to Listen

There is a lot happening in the state of North Dakota near Cannonball and the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Many Native Americans are protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline as it compromises their water and disturbs sacred burial grounds.

As I have sat and listened and watched all of this unfold, I have come to have an even deeper respect for our Native brothers and sisters. Yet the truth is I have very little experience with the Native American culture.

Although the experience I have had has been beautiful. I remember being a camp counselor and holding a day camp on this very reservation. I remember one of the dads playing music for us. I also remember learning so much about their culture.They highly value their history and culture (I honestly think we can learn much from them!) But my experience, in no way, makes me an expert about their culture.

I also realize that in North Dakota, oil has given many families jobs. Yet I am not so sure that this is a long-term solution. Despite that though, despite where one falls on this issue, I truly believe it is time; long overdue time for us to truly listen to what is unfolding around us. As humanitarian Clay Jenkinson said earlier this week, the rest of the world is watching so “shut up and listen.”

Yes! It is long overdue for us to listen to our Native brothers and sisters. Mr. Jenkinson also wrote, “The protests are no threat to non-Indians. We do not lose something if we listen respectfully. We do not lose something if the petroleum-industrial-government complex finds it possible to accommodate the requests of the Standing Rock nation.”

This afternoon, a special hearing is being held in regards to #NoDAPL. I think today especially and in the days and weeks to come, it is essential for us to shut up and listen. You can read more of Mr. Jenkinson’s blog post here: Standing Rock-A Time To Listen, Not Spout.

So as we sit and listen, may the answer be no more violence (I cannot get the images of the dogs attacking protestors out of my head. Simply wrong!). May God’s peace ultimately prevail!

(I’m seriously sad that it took me this long to write this post!)

Brokenness and Resurrection Joy (A Review of Who Does He Say You Are)

I met my friend Colleen through blogging and the Write Days challenge. Her words have always spoken to my heart. So when she announced the release of her book, I knew I had to read it. The added bonus was that Colleen and I were in New Orleans at the same time so we finally got to meet in real life. I remember walking into the restaurant, her turning around to see me, and then embracing in a sweet hug. It was like we have always been friends!

Colleen’s book “Who Does He Say You Are: Women Tranformed by Christ in the Gospels.” Is pure gift! Colleen’s words speak to the power of God and God’s love for all of us especially the heart of women found in the Gospels which in return is a call given to all of us.

I found myself slowly reading and soaking in these words by my friend as they were indeed anointed by the Holy Spirit. I could have literally underlined and highlighted the whole book. Yet there is only one quote that I wrote down. It reads “Jesus doesn’t deny the truth, but he shines the light on the whole truth, the whole big wide story of human brokenness.”

Brokenness….is so much a part of each of our stories. Colleen wrote this book after losing her son Bryce. God chose her to write these words….and I truly believe that…after he saw her grieving. Colleen and her husband have a ministry in Costa Rica; a ministry that walks with pregnant woman in need of love and peace and grace. Colleen and her family sit with these women in their brokenness.

God sent Jesus into the world for each and every one of us. Jesus died on the cross. But three days later, Jesus rose from the grave. In the midst of both her pain and now resurrection joy, Colleen understands how we can be renewed and eventually find that joy and peace again. I am reminded of one of my fave verses Psalm 30:5 “Weeping may come for the night, but joy comes with the

My life has been filled with brokenness as I have journeyed my families story of mental illness. Yes, there have been more days than I care to admit that I have wanted to fix this all. Yet this book reminded me that God sees us even in our pain and grief. I am reminded also of several of my friends who in the past months have lost their babies #AlexanderScott and Kaia Gene. I pray that these words from my friend who also lost her child will help heal their hearts.

So my friends, please check out this book and share with the women in your life. These words remind us all of who and whose we are; beloved women of God.

And because I believe in these words so much, I am giving away a copy of Colleen’s book “Who Does He Say You Are?” (You can learn more about the book here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Today I am linking up with Holly and Testimony Tuesday, Kelly and the Ra Ra linkup, Jennifer and Tell His Story, Holley and Coffee for your Heart, and Kristin and Three Word Wednesday. 


Sunday Blessings 143; Birthday Edition

(1) The return of the Great Food Truck Race

(2) A fun early birthday gift

(3) A Vox from Marie

(4) Getting to meet and hold baby B. Best part of my Wednesday!!

(5) A new cut and color for Fall

(6) A text from my friend KG

(7) A fun Twitter thread with some awesome new friends that totally made me smile.

(8) Waiting for my friend at Panera and complimented on my LuLaRoe Madison skirt within minutes of arriving.

(9) #SlateSpeak

(10) Early Birthday lunch with KG

(11) Hanging out and early birthday fun with EG.

(12) A fun card from MW. Thanks for putting a smile on my face, friend.

(13) A Vox from T

(14) Birthday money from dad and grandma and grandpa.

(15) Birthday lunch with JL

(16) Our waitress wishing me Happy Birthday!!

(17) Sweet Birthday texts, Birthday tweets and birthday greetings on Facebook.

(18) A cool lime refresher and chocolate chunk muffin for a birthday treat.

(19) A birthday Vox from TM’s girls

(20) Ice cream with KL, PD and KH

(21) Birthday fun with KL

(22) Church peeps singing Happy Birthday to me at church and at the restaurant.

(23) Cucumbers from DW and KW

(24) A beautiful PLN

(25) Watching one of my fave movies “Rent!”

(26) A cool day with some much needed rain

Hiking The Path

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 “path.” Sometimes Thursdays get a little crazy and I dint make it to the Twitter party like last night. Sad I missed my people. We would love to have you join us. Just hop onto Twitter on Thursday evenings and follow the #fmfparty. Hope to see you there! 

The first time, I experienced a hard core hike was six summers in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. My friend SB said it would be a family friendly hike but I quickly learned what is family friendly to him is not family friendly to me. Yet I continued to follow our guide. Stopping, catching, my breathe along the week. Praying that I would make it to the end of the path. After much determination and encouragement, I found my way to the end of the path.

Since then, I have learned to hike along the paths. One of my favorites is the Lily Ridge Trail near Lily Lake in the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park. Up, over, and around the bend. Stepping over the obstacles along the way. Brushing the sweat off of my brow. One switch back, then another…..until I reach the end of the path.

Every year my friends SB and KB take a group of hikers on one of the “teeners.” A teener is a mountain that has an elevation in the teens. For example, Long’s Peek, Mt. Meeker, etc. For the last six years, SB has been trying to get me to hike one of these. But I keep telling him that he is crazy and that there is no way that I can do that. Then this summer, my friend MKB and I decided to make a pact to get in better shape so we can climb a mild mountain next summer. SB thinks it will be Twin Sisters.

So I find myself follow a new path as I walk and even run along the path at our local park. I also continue to work out at Curves. I am going to follow that path next summer to the top of Twin Sisters. I really want to follow this path because I know that when I get to the top the view will be stunning and totally worth it.

Bringing the Word to Flesh

What is God calling you to do and be, friends?

This morning, a friend shared on his Twitter feed about starting a new venture. Since he technically has two jobs, he is described as “bi-vocational.” But what exactly does it mean to be “bi-vocational?” Is there not a better term for us to use? Because as I have listened and watched my friends, who are often in “bi-vocational” ministries, I see so much more. These men and women are living out the call God has placed in their lives. They are using their gifts to share God’s extravagant love with the world in new, creative, thoughtful, and innovative ways.

My friend JC is a gift. He may not have ever been called to be a parish pastor or chaplain, but he is one of the most faithful people that I know. In fact, I would say he is one of the best pastors I know. Now we didn’t meet in the likeliest of ways. In fact, we met through Twitter and social media and then met in real life at the ELCA Churchwide assembly last month. I am thankful that our paths crossed because this man of God brings the Word to flesh through his video company Ankos Films. He is a true artist called to bring the Word in a new way…and I love that. He, along with many of my new friends, have made me think in new ways.

His is only one of the many stories I could share. And as I watch and listen to these gifts unfold around me, I am reminded that my writing is also a gift. It is truly who God has called me to be. These words God has gifted me with have helped me to tell my families story of mental illness. And as I look back on my life, I am sad that it took me 18 years to tell our story, but I saw the stigma associated with the illness which prevented me from telling our story. Words do indeed come to life when we are brave enough to tell our stories. “The bravest thing you’ll ever do is tell your story”–Brene Brown

In all actuality, I believe “bi-vocational” (I really think there’s a better way for us to describe this) ministry is a new way for us to be the church. Church is more than just a building. It is the people of God scattered throughout time and space. Church is bringing the Word to flesh in new, creative and innovative ways like my friend JC. Church is listening and engaging in the hard conversations. Church is the artistry of God using God’s people and their gifts to bring the Word to life for all the world.