My Mom

I am linking up for Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Mom.” I love spending time with this crew. They bring me joy! 

Her laugh envelopes the room. Her face wears the lines of deep sadness and joy as she lives with a mental illness. Her smile lights up a room. She is filled with the most amazing faith. She seriously would give the shirt off of her back to someone in need. She loves her family and especially my sister and I with such an immense love; a love that is so deep. This incredible women is my momma.

Now she lives in an assisted living facility surrounded by nurses who care for her every day. She is still here, yet pieces of her are fading. Her memory isn’t as sharp as it once was. Her weekly phone calls have become almost nonexistent. Yet when my sister and I walk into her room, her face lights up with such joy and unconditional love. She yearns deeply to be a Grandma and continually asks both of us when this is going to happen. I know her heart is in the right place, yet it is hard to try and answer her.

This incredible women has taught me so much about life and living. Despite the challenges of life, she is full of so much love, and life and light. She has always trusted in God. She lives each day to the absolute fullest. She is one of the first to invite the outsiders into the circle. She has never let her illness get in the way of who and whose she is. I hope that I am half the woman she is.

There are indeed things I would change. I wish mental illness wasnt part of our story. *But then I remember that mental illness is indeed a part of our story and has shaped all of us into who God has called us to be. In sharing our story, in sharing the fact that I am a broken, blessed child of God; but more importantly Sandy’s daughter, I live out our story; a story of an incredible mom who has never once let me doubt that I am loved. And because of that love, I have found the courage to be brave and share our story; a story that I hope helps to break some of the stigma that comes with living with a mental illness. “The bravest thing you’ll ever do is tell your story.”—Brene Brown

Happy Mother’s Day Mom! I love you for all you are!

*This is where my five minutes ended. I just had to finish out my thoughts.

Mom with her Girls February 2017

Sunday Blessings 170

(1) Beer and Hymns with some of my faves

(2) Chatting with BA on the phone

(3) Friends who check in with you

(4) Chatting with my sissy

(5) God’s grace

(6) Getting through Becky’s service with only a few tears.

(7) An amazing community surrounding me

(8) Texting with SH

(9) Trinity Circle at the nursing home

(10) Coffee and conversation with MH

(11) Zumba with Gina at Curves

(12) An old friend stopping by my office. What a great surprise VS!

(13) The movie Gifted

(14) Talking with PH

(15) Gorgeous weather

(16) A great send-off/farewell for Paige and a great Confirmation Sunday.

(17) A sweet note from a little girl after worship.

(18) An epic PLN

(19) A sweet gift

(20) The most amazing awesome circle of friends

(21) Some weeks just call for some ice cream!

Should You Still Write?

I am linking up for Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “should.” I love spending time with this crew. They bring me joy! 

When the well runs dry and there is no words to be found

Should you still write?

When the words are overflowing and brimming to the top

Is it then that you should write too?

When the world is filled with darkness and the loss of hope

And everyone seems to be clinging to the light and looking for hope

Is it then that you should write too?

The Word is a gift

given to us by God

through the birth of God’s Son Jesus Christ.

I can’t help but turn to the words of John 1

“In the beginning was the Word,

And the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

All things came into being through Him.”

The Living Water given to help us share

through our own words

To share when the the well is running dry

Or the world  is dark and looking for hope

and also when the cup is overflowing and brimming to the top.

There are times I find myself searching for the words

And other times when the words spill out onto the page easily

For all to read and to see.

Wherever you find yourself today,

With a cup brimming with word goodness

Or with you searching at the bottom of the well to find your words

You should write; write until the words bring healing and wholeness.

Write knowing Jesus is the Word made flesh

that never leaves us or forsakes us.


Sunday Blessings 169

(1) So many sweet compliments at Curves about how great I look

(2) A sweet message from a parishioner who is reading my book. Thanks LB.

(3) A kind comment about my current blog post. Thanks JH!

(4) Having my first guest submission to a website accepted!!!

(5) Prepping for this weeks #slatespeak convo and everything you’re reading is lining up with the topic

(6) Talking with one of my very faves. Thanks MW!

(7) #fmfsnailmailparty mail

(8) A new LLR Irma. Thanks CN!

(9) Time with two of my faves; EG and KG

(10) Moderating #SlateSpeak and being blessed by the entire experience.

(11) Still loving Ellie Holcomb’s Red Sea Road.

(12) Chatting with a friend I haven’t talked to in a long time.

(13) Chatting with CT

(14) Twinings Lemon and Ginger tea

(15) Talking with my daddy

(16) KL’s Senior Recital

(17) Talking with my Aunt N

(18) Great Confirmation banquet

(19) Flowers shared across the miles from a friend.

(20) A beautiful Spring Day

More Goodness

I am linking up for Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “more.” I love spending time with this crew, but missed being with them last night as I was moderating the #slatespeak conversation. I love the communities I have found online; both FMF and SlateSpeak love me for who God created to be and I always feel like I belong there.

Sometimes the world can seem dark and lonely or that it is full of so much hatred and war. I find myself looking to find more of the good stuff. So here is a poem that formed in my heart, soul and mind last night and into today.

By Tara L. Ulrich

More love
Less hate

More beauty
Less ugliness

More peace
Less war

More flowers blooming
More laughter

More joy
Less sorrow

More time with friends
who always show you that you belong.

More words that give  life
and don’t tear down

More words that embody the gospel
“to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly”

More hope
More peace

More light
No darkness

More sunsets and sunrises
A constant reminder of God’s goodness

More of hearing and knowing each other’s stories
For our hearts are more entertwined than we could ever imagine.

More little ones who are carefree
and remind us that God calls us to trust.

More of the goodness of the world
Found in the gift
Of love, laughter, tears and friendship


Life, Death and Resurrection

On Good Friday, Jesus hung on the cross; blood dripping from the places where he was nailed to the cross. His mourning mother looking on as he took his final breath. The final breath lingered in the air as the crowd stood looking upon their beloved Jesus. The darkness of the night encapsulated all as they grieved.

After awhile, they carefully took down Jesus’ body and wrapped him in burial clothes. They carried him to the tomb where they placed him. Like the manger, where the new born baby was wrapped in swaddling clothes, this 30 year old son now too was laid to rest; the tomb; his perceived final resting place.

Three days later, the women came to the tomb. The stench of death should have suffocated these women as they went to open the tomb. But there was no stench and the tomb was empty. The stone had been rolled away. Jesus was risen. God had shown God’s power and that life not death and light not darkness had the final word.

This is a promise that we all want to cling too. But sometimes life throws us things we don’t understand. A person is stricken with an illness and there seem to be no answers in sight. Or a transition comes about that we never expected. Whatever the reason, life has this way of throwing obstacles at us; obstacles that we so desperately search to understand in the midst of life’s joys and sorrows.

In the past weeks, I have sat and listened to the hum of the machines in an ICU; noises that permeate the loudness and darkness of the world. I have prayed and prayed, with what seems to be no avail, to give friends and family hope in the midst of their own darkness, anxiety and sorrows. I have wiped tears away as friends and family have grieved.

And as I have listened to the silence of the machines or watched my friends/family seeking to feel better and to see the light again, I have also wondered where the hope of the resurrection promise is. I find myself desperately seeking those resurrection moments in my every day life.

Resurrection is the promise that life not death and light not darkness will have the final word. But in this broken world, it can be almost impossible, at times, to see life being born out of death; to see light being born out of darkness. Because dead people are not suppose to come back to life. Death is a permanent part of life.

Yet it is in Jesus’ death, a death that was brought about by the emperor that we find ourselves clinging to the very cross that Jesus hung on. With my hands curled tightly around the cross, I don’t want to let go. Yet in letting go, God reminds us that we are never alone; that God will never leave us or forsake us. God loves us that much.

The reality of life is that every day, a new baby lets out their first breathe while another soul takes their final breathe. The circle of life encompasses life and death, light and darkness, joy and sorrow. And in each of those moments, God’s love runs through the courses of our veins.

In the beating of our hearts, through the blood coursing through our veins and through every breathe, I continually find myself clinging to the promises found in the book of Romans. For me, it is these words that remind me of Easter, the resurrection promise and that we are never alone. And it is because of this promise, that I will do my very best to never leave anyone behind.

“If we live, we live to the Lord. If we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lords.”–Romans 14:8

Linking up with these lovely ladies–Holly and Testimony Tuesday, Kelly and the Ra Ra linkup, Jennifer and Tell His Story, Holley and Coffee for your Heart and Kristin and Porch Stories.

Sunday Blessings 168

(1) Easter Monday day off

(2) Winning a prize in one of the LLR groups Im a part of and picking out a new Irma!!

(3) A Vox from KA

(4) Time with Auntie P

(5) Starbucks Pink Drink

(6) Yummy Blue Apron meal

(7) Migrating my blog from blogger to a self-hosted site. Thanks to Dan at FistBump Media.

(8) Minot Story Hour

(9) A nice PLN

(10) Eleven years of being consecrated as a Diaconal minister in the ELCA

(11) Sunday hugs from some of my favs kiddos

(12) Driving to Garrison with KG and DL

(13) Awesome mole chili from Blue Apron

A Sepia World

Before you know it, the darkness closes in and it’s hard to see anything. You search and feel for any sense of light in the midst of the walls of the storm clouds building up all around you. You are grasping for air as you are being suffocated by the storm closing in around you. You can’t hear anything as the thunder grows louder and louder. Everything that was once in color is harder to see.

The world no longer looks like a color film. It’s now in hues of sepia and black and white. You yearn to know that their is vibrancy in the darkness. That the colors of the flowers and the tress will come into full focus again. But this wall of clouds is still closing in around you. And the noises are only getting louder.

Watching my mom live with a mental illness and watching friends suffer with depression and anxiety hearts my heart. This is what I picture their worlds to be like; yearning to see the color again and knowing that this storm cloud can build up around you at anytime. Depression is an evil cunning effective liar. And together we must show each other truth.

The truth is that we are not on this journey alone. With a crayon in my hand, my hand moves across the picture adding green to the trees, blue to the sky, and filling in the colors wherever I can. In addition, I’ll stand in those storm clouds with you; blocking you from whatever debris I can.

Before we know it, the clouds will clear and the movie of life will come back into color with full focus. The storm will come again. And then the world will return to sepia and black and white. But together, this liar of depression will not win. It will be crushed by life, hope, and love in this broken world. And the world will no longer be in hues of sepia but filled with the    diversity of colors the world has to offer us all.

What Makes Your Heart Sing?

I am linking up for Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “sing.” I love spending time with this crew. They bless me beyond words. We’d love to have you join us. Just hop onto Twitter on Thursday evenings and follow the #fmfparty. Hope to see you there! And by the way, you may have noticed some changes to this space. Thanks to Dan at FistBump Media! 

The words are exuberantly song by the children. Some are waving vigorously trying to get the attention of at mom, dad and grandparents. Others are trying to pull their dress up over their head. Little boys are poking each other. Yet the words of the gospel are proudly sung as they sing loudly.

Kids have this way of teaching us so much. The lesson is that God doesn’t really care how we sound. God wants us to proudly sing his praises. I will admit that I am not a great singer. In fact, I really cant even carry a tune in a bucket. Yet I love singing along to the radio.

My favorite song comes onto the radio and I crank the volume up on the radio.  I then sing at the top of my lungs. Lately, it has been jamming out to Ellie Holcomb’s new album Red Sea Road. (Seriously people pick it up, I promise you wont be disappointed.)

This last week, we proclaimed Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Allelulia. In the changing of seasons, as signs of new life are all around us, hosannas permeate the air as we trust in the promise of the resurrection. Through the Easter promise, we sing our Hosannas and declare that we are Easter people; that we are Hosanna people.

As Hosanna people, God promises to never leave us or forsake us. God gives us each different gifts and abilities. I love spending time cuddling with an infant (Emma, I seriously wanted to crawl through my phone to snuggle your new son) I love writing and words. These are just a few things that make my heart sing.