More Precious Than Silver or Gold

More Precious than Silver or Gold
By Tara L. Ulrich

Glassy blue water
Still as the night

Hues of golden rays
Covering the island

On this sweet summer night
God’s master hand
Is evident.

A spotlight
Over the single cross
Planted years ago
On that island

This shining light
A reminder of all
Christ has done for us.

A peace forever
Settles over me;
A peace
That fills my soul.

I breathe in.
I breathe out.

An exhale captured
In the peacefulness
Of this place;
A golden ray of God’s goodness
Found on the shores of Lake Sakakawea.

A golden ray
Where lives are
Continually touched and changed
As God reminds those who enter here
Of their own worth;
That they are more precious
Than silver or gold.

Linking up with Kelly and the RaRa linkup, Jennifer and Tell His Story, Holley and Coffee for your Heart, and Kristin and Porch Stories! 


Sunday Blessings 181; ND State Fair and Camp Staff Alumni Reunion Edition

(1) Chatting with momma on the phone

(2) Time with my friend LG and her husband EG.

(3) A good road tripping day

(4) A Vox from MG

(5) DQ Butterscotch Dip Cone

(6) #SlateReads

(7) A Vox from KA

(8) Coffee with SH

(9) Zumba with Gina. It had been way too many weeks since we were there together.

(10) Fun at the ND State Fair–Little Big Town in concert

(11) Running into lots of FLC peeps at the Fair and it was good not awkward!!

(12) Brothers Osborne at ND State Fair

(13) A surprise call from JK. Love you girl!!

(14) Enduro Races at the Fair

(15) A great phone call with SH

(16) Also a great phone call with BG

(17) Hugs

(18) Truck and Tractor Pull

(19) KN bringing me a fun book we started listening to on our ride back from our mentoring session a few weeks ago.

(20) A sweet text from SB

(21) Divine peach pie

(22) Getting to see RS and LR and CR and lots of other awesome peeps! And the best hugs too!

(23) A great phone call

(24) Thomas Rhett concert. So much fun!!!

(25) DQ Cookie Dough Ice Cream

(26) New LLR–Ann and I found a vendor at the fair and we couldn’t resist. I got a great new perfect tee!!

(27) Lonestar concert

(28) Jason Aldean concert

(29) A butt dial from EG. It made me smile and laugh!

(30) Seeing JS and MS at the concerts every night.

(31) CCM All Staff Reunion. So good to see these people and this place who will always hold a special place in my heart.

(32) Getting my lawn mowed

(33) Swimming with PC to the floating dock at CCM!

(34) Summertime cucumber salad

(35) Watermelon

(36) Chatting with JK

(37) Chatting with STM

Inspired Words

I am linking up for Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Inspire.” We’d love to have you join us on Thursday nights for our Twitter party. 

God’s master hand paints streaks of blue and pink across the sky. The sun sets as the moon wakes up and plants itself in the sky. Clouds of all shapes and sizes scatter across the sky. My eye is drawn to the incredibleness of Gods master hand creating all that is good captured in the click of the shutter and through the camera lens held in my hands.

Words pour out onto the page forming sentences and paragraphs. This gift inspires her to tell her story. The words she shares linger on her lips and in her heart. In addition, the words she reads continually linger in her heart too. Words that simply declare “me too!” Words that hold the treasures of her writer friends as she gently holds them close to her heart and chest. She is careful to hold them with the utmost care and love. But most of all, words that encourage and call each of us to be storytellers!

Words that tell us who and whose we are. Words that encapsulate our own gifts and inspire us to share our stories with the world. Words that link our hearts and hands together as we pray for one another. Our hands lifted up to our good good Father as we release our stories; these very words we’ve been inspired to write. Like the puff of a summer dandelion, these words blow into the breeze carrying with them the love, heart and soul of those who wrote them.

Inspired words, carried by one another, woven together…as our arms link around each other’s necks and we embrace in a holy hug inspired by the very first word in this world; Jesus himself.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and without him not one thing came into being.”–John 1:1-2 (NRSV)

A Collector of Words and Friendships

I am linking up for Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Collect.” We’d love to have you join us on Thursday nights for our Twitter party. Don’t forget to check out FMF’s new home at 

As a little girl, I would take paper and pencil collecting words onto the page; telling stories through the words collected. There was a story about a giraffe who cheered up a little girl. There were so many stories told through the words scattered onto the piece of paper.

I’ve always been a word collector. Collecting words that would form into sentences which would form into paragraphs which then would collect into a full story. Words that continually capture how I’m feeling at any one time or place. Or sometimes those words collect into stanzas which form into poems.

Today my words are often collected and shared here. My words from one of my Write 31 days series collected into my first self-published book. Collected words are a powerful reminder of our stories. Stories told through the words collected and poured out into a blog post or a book etc. Stories told through colorful vibrant language collected for one another.

So many collected stories and words have blessed me with a collection of amazing friends. Many gathered in Kansas City this weekend for our 2nd FMF retreat. Wishing I was gathered around the table and breaking bread with you all as you collect words and  memories.

Perhaps one day I’ll grab my car keys, hop in my car, and collect my friends along the way. I’ll pick up Janel, Marie, Susan, Tammy, Jordan, Carolina, Christina, Stephanie, and so many others. We will road trip Thelma and Louise style (without the bad stuff). Together, we will collect more stories, more memories and most of all more words. Words that God gifted us to share.

Be Still….

I sat in a paddle boat with my friend as we let it float along. An adult coloring book on my lap. Then we help water plants along their farm and then pick pinecones. After awhile, we sit on her deck and paint our nails followed but a craft project; making prayer jars. The afternoon was finished by heading to a local lake where we sat and let the sun soak in. It was a day of pure relaxation.

Throughout this summer, I have been searching for these moments. These moments that remind us of the words that Jesus spoke “Be still and know that I am God!” Too often in life, we get caught up in the busyness of life; trying to care for ourselves and/or our families. And more often than we care to admit, we forget to take time to just be; to savor our time with those we love and soak in the solitude of God’s creation.

And then life comes at us HARD! We lose our job. A family member suddenly dies and leaves behind their family. An unexpected change and so much more. We find ourselves living in liminal space; that uncertain space between then, now, and what’s to come. It is in these moments that I find myself clinging to the promise of hope and peace that only Jesus can give. A peace that passes all human understanding.

This peace can be found in the most unexpected places. It can be found in the friends who show up and won’t take no for an answer. It can be found in sitting in a paddleboat floating in a slough. It can be found in the Kleenex bringers. It can be found in the silence and beauty of a new dawn rising or the sun setting. It can also be found in those who cheer you along as you hike up a mountain; trying to hike further than you have ever hiked.  It is in the coolest double rainbow you’ve ever seen in your 38 years of life. It can be found just anywhere if we take the time to look for it.

This summer, I have found myself lifting my prayers to God like incense rising. But more than that, I have found more moments of hope, stillness and peace than I could have ever imagined. Moments that sustain me on the hard days and that are also stored away for the hard days yet to come. It is these moments that remind me continually of who and whose I am and that I’ll never be left alone.

And the truth is, my friends, you will never be left alone either. Find time to just be; to know that Jesus is truly human and truly divine. “Be still and know that I am God!” In the silence and stillness, in those moments of peace, know that God is there. God will never leave you or forsake you. And God is especially there when it feels your world is falling apart all around you. Look around and see the signs of God’s goodness; sunflowers, a summer day, the sun setting and rising, a double rainbow and so much more.

Linking up with Anita and Inspire Me Monday, Kelly and the RaRa linkup, Jennifer and Tell His Story, Holley and Coffee for Your Heart, and Kristin and Porch Stories. 



Sunday Blessings 180

(1) Calls from Aunt P and Dad

(2) Another great mentor session

(3) Seeing old camp friends. It was so great to see you CG!

(4) Cucumber Salad

(5) Zumba!!

(6) Some much needed rain…but we still need more.

(7) A great day with EG-Paddle boating, painting our nails, making prayer jars, hanging out at Strawberry Lake!

(8) A Vox from AR

(9) Texting with my faves

(10) Finding some great deals at Herbergers and getting a few things I needed.

(11) Starbucks new infused teas! Yum!!!

(12) A floor fan

(13) Time with CT

(14) The new Starbucks Citrus Peach Tea Infusion. It’s my new fave!!

(15) Getting to see KL, hug her and catch up a little.

(16) Rock of Ages MSU Summer Theater. So much fun!

(17) Helping KG usher at Summer Theater.

(18) A new baby! Congrats AT, ZT and big brother TT!

(19) A second night at Summer Theater. Getting to hang with RE.

(20) Storms rolling in but we still got to see the whole show. Thankful!

Gifts of Comfort

I am linking up for Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Comfort.” We’d love to have you join us on Thursday nights for our Twitter party. Don’t forget to check out FMF’s new home at

A blue and green floral quilt made with love. A green and white quilt made with love. A yellow quilt also made with love. A fluffy cuddly oversized blanket given with love. These are the four blankets/quilts that sit on the edge of my couch. Each of them given to me by special people.

The green and white quilt was chosen specifically for me by the lovely quilt ladies of Dilworth LUtheran Church. They chose it because they know my favorite color is green. A special tag sewn onto the corner of the quilt “made with tender loving care by Dilworth Lutheran quilters.”

The yellow quilt was made by a dear friend given to me as a thank you for being a part of her ordination service. Another quilt given and made with love.

The cuddly white blanket given as a Christmas gift from some of our favorite people. They are more like family than friends. I have married one of their daughters and her husband. I consider them to be my adopted nieces and nephews. Another gift given with love.

The blue and green floral quilt with a completely green gingham background also given with love by the quilters of First Lutheran. I came down to their room and quilts were strewn all over. They asked me to choose my own quilt. This was the quilt that jumped out at me. A tag also sewn on the corner too with the words “made with tender loving care by First Lutheran.”

Each of these beloved gifts bring me comfort and continually remind me of the warmth of God’s love. That no matter where I go, I will always be wrapped in a community of faith.

My June Recap

So many of my friends are sharing what they are up too during this past month. I thought I’d join in with the fun. I love my friend Susan’s list so that’s what I’m I using today.

Loving: Summertime. Sunshine. The Colorado Rocky Mountains. The Lutheran Academy of the Rockies. Lake Sakakawea. Starbucks Cool Lime Refreshers. Friends and Family. Hope. Ellie Holcomb. Hiking.

Reading: Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamotte.

Shopping for: A new job, housing, etc!

Excited about: New possibilities. Time with some of my fave people.

Trying to: Processing through some hard things. Praying hard.

Working on: working out and doing Zumba!

Enjoying: Life!

Using: My IPad!

Wearing: Shorts and tees, leggings rolled to capris and an Irma, or a sundress

Planning: Our Sisters Trip to Chicago and the ND State Fair in July

Singing: Ellie Holcomb’s Red Sea Road

Needing: New job

Learning: Sometimes life’s not fair! Adulting is hard!

Listening to: I seriously cannot get enough of Ellie Holcomb’s Red Sea Road

Wishing for: A new job!

Doing: Rest. Renewal. Rejuvenation.

Dreaming: About being a mom!

Hoping for: New opprtunities soon.

DIY project: Fixing the small crack in my bathtub.

Not crazy about: I can’t think of anything

Colorado was just what this girl needed last month. It was so renewing and healing for me. Below are pictures from that trip. My friend Heidi gifted me a new camera so I was having so much fun taking puctures. God’s beautiful creation is so evident in Colorado and the Rocky Mountains.




Sunday Blessings 179

(1) A treat after taking CS to the airport.

(2) A sweet text from EG this morning

(3) Texting with KG

(4) A Coke Icee

(5) Dog sitting with Sonny and Lucy

(6) Texting with KB

(7) Getting back to Curves

(8) A Vox from MG

(9) Seeing a “bazzinga” license plate. Love it!!

(10) A phone call from D.C. to check in with me.

(11) 4th of July Festival Fun

(12) Hanging with KG

(13) A great phone call with DT

(14) A Vox from MG

(15) Finding goodies at the Farmers Market.

(16) Watching Moana for the 1st time

(17) The sweet smell of fresh rain

(18) A phone call with PMA

(19) Awesome amazing friends who pray with and for you.

(20) Love!!

Godly Play of Creation

I am linking up for Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Play.” It’s been so good to get back. I’ve missed you all! We’d love to have you join us on Thursday nights for our Twitter party. Don’t forget to  check out FMF’s new home at

In college, I aduitioned for the Diary of Anne Frank. One of my professors; the director had me pegged as Anne Frank’s mom from the very beginning. And it was the role I was cast in. Image me….a kind hearted person who hardly ever gets mad playing Anne’s mom; the complete opposite. Throughout the play, I had to raise my voice. In theater, one must become the character one portrays. It often can be a challenge; a challenge that one is glad to work towards.

Challenges can happen in many and various ways. Last week, I challenged myself to climb to the top of the mountain. It was something I worked towards for the last year. I didn’t quite make it to the very top. But I came so so close. There is something so holy about being in the Rocky Mountains. A freedom unlike any other.

A friend always encourages us to play while we are in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. “Get out and play!” I always strive to do just that. At Lilly Lake, I come around the bend and am stopped in my tracks as I see ducks sunning themselves in the grass. One even lets me get so close that I get an amazing picture. The wildlife loves to play outside too. You might spot some longhorned sheep, or a moose or an elk.

The children play on the swingset outside our meeting hall. One by one they climb up the long staircase to the top and slide down the slide. They request to be pushed higher and higher. They stand around the campfire and roast marshmallows and make s’mores for all the gathered guests. The simplicity of it all is such a beautiful gift.*

Laughter and conversation fill the air. The strum of the guitar vibrates through the air. The beauty of God’s creation set before us. The stars scattered to and fro. It is in holy moments like this when I am reminded that God created the world by saying “It was good” because God wants us to experience it all and play in his amazing creation.

*Where my five minutes stopped