The Sting of Death

I am linking up for Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on the new Five Minute Friday blog. Today’s prompt is “Accept” This community is such a gift to me. We’d love to have you join us on Thursday nights for our Twitter party.

A last breath taken way too soon. Sometimes the sting of death is so glaringly obvious. Some of my friends lost one of their friends this week. She died way too young. My heart breaks for her friends and family.

Then there is our blog brother Andrew battling with cancer daily. Each day getting harder and harder. Death will come. And it is a day I don’t want to accept. Why does the sting of death burn so deeply?

Fall reminds me of my friend E.G. and her beautiful son who died very young. A sweet boy who I’ve only met in photos, but who I love because his parents are some of my favorite people; dear friends in my life. This boy lives through the memories of his family. He is Resurrection hope embodied.

Death is a part of life. It often stings so deeply. Yet I find comfort and perhaps acceptance in these words from the book of Romans. “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.”

Friends, these sweet words are balm to my weary soul. Sweet words that I can accept as I trust in the promises of resurrection hope. Because life not death has the final word. In the words of Clarence W Hall, “Easter says you can put death in the grave, but it won’t stay there.”

And for that I’m eternally grateful!

Sunday Blessings 187 and 188

(1) A phone chat with DT

(2) Yummy BLTs

(3) More bday mail! Thanks for thinking of me dear friends!!

(4) A Vox from TM

(5) Voxes from KA and CC

(6) A birthday package

(7) Project Runway

(8) A new planner and lots of other fun stuff.

(9) A LLR styling session with NV. It was so much fun!!

(10) Mint Oreos

(11) Chatting with my dad

(12) Texting with my fave

(13) A fantastic first Rally Sunday at FLC–Williston. I nearly ran out of keychains for the Blessings of the backpack. Approximately 15 Bibles were handed out to the 3rd Graders. What an awesome day!!

(14) Catching up with colleagues and friends.

(15) Baby time with Mr. Peter

(16) A great 5K and coming in under my goal time.

(17) Dr. Pepper (I haven’t had one in so long and it tastes so good)

(18) IMing with my good friend SP

(19) Hiking with EG and other awesome colleagues.

(20) A surprise text from Pastor JB; one of my LAR colleagues.

(21) Visiting with CS

(22) A pit stop in Beach on our way to Medora. NM praying as we found my old apartment.

(23) A great first Confirmation class

(24) Fun New LLR in the mail

(25) A sweet message from NN

(26) Texting with my fave

(27) New UMM sweatshirts (Thanks NJ!)

(28) My new Write 31 Days mug

(29) Texts from LT

(30) Coffee and Bible study with DJ and other ladies.

(31) Texting with KL

(32) A surprise call from CN

(33) Papa Johns Pizza

(34) Caramel Apple Cider on a rainy September day

(35) The ability to put together a side table by myself.

(36) Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

(37) Checking out a neat local store and finding some cute towels and a yummy soy candle.

(38) A beautiful PLN (post-liturgical nap)

(39) A great 3rd Grade Bible class

(40) The Emmys

Broken Beauty

I am linking up for Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on the new Five Minute Friday blog. Today’s prompt is “Support.” This community is such a gift to me. As I settle into a new community, I am trying to find rhythm and routine once again. The Five Minute Friday Twitter party along with one of my other favorite Twitter chats #SlateSpeak which is hosted by the Slate Project are two places I have longed for and are once again bringing me some routine. I am sad when I miss these Twitter parties. We’d love to have you join us on Thursday nights for our Twitter party.

One must break to become whole again. At the beginning of the summer, I felt incredibly broken. Yet God placed some amazing people into my life; who have helped put the broken pieces of me back together again. There was my friend E.G. who dropped everything, drove 30 minutes, just to be with me. She even brought wine. There were my friends who gave an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on. This interwoven community of friends and family who have supported me through it all.

God has this way of always knowing what we need and placing incredible people in our lives. A community; online and in the flesh. A community who continually shows me Gods love. A community that truly knows both our pains and sorrows. A community of support that comes in the forms of texts, hugs, packages, phone calls and so much else.

These beautiful souls that together pick up the pieces and piece us back together. We will never be the same. We will forever be changed by our life experiences. God takes us in our brokenness, pieces us back together, and it is through the cracks where the light gets in. Out of our brokenness, we are made even more beautiful! For it is the cracks, that tell our stories!

(Check out the Japanese art form kintsugi)

 

Angels Among Us

I am linking up for Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on the new Five Minute Friday blog. Today’s prompt is “Work.” This community is such a gift to me. As I settle into a new community, I am trying to find rhythm and routine once again. The Five Minute Friday Twitter party along with one of my other favorite Twitter chats #SlateSpeak which is hosted by the Slate Project are two places I have longed for and are once again bringing me some routine. I am sad when I miss these Twitter parties. We’d love to have you join us on Thursday nights for our Twitter party. 

“We know that all things work together for good, for those who love God,  who are called according to his purpose.”–Romans 8:28 (NRSV)

“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”–Romans 8:28 (The Message)

The renowned Mr. Rogers (look at me–mentioning him in my post two weeks in a row) shares about a quote his mom used to always share with him. He writes “When I was boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”

I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time watching the news when there seems to be so much evil and violence. It often can seem so hard to find the helpers. But the reality is when we look closely around the world and us, we start to see the helpers in our midst.

During and after Hurricane Harvey, I have seen so many helpers. People helping people! People helping each other muck out churches, homes, etc. It has been a powerful witness to the goodness that happens when we work together.

I also have seen this beauty in preparation for Hurricane Irma. Friends helping friends put shutters on their windows; moving down the line from one house to another. Together, we can make a difference.

And to be honest, it can feel like maybe we aren’t doing enough. But the truth is every little bit helps. Every little bit works together to make good. I am reminded of the 30000 youth and adults who have gathered over the years to serve in Detroit (2015) and New Orleans (2012 and 2009). In 2015, these youth made over 4000 warm hats. Over 1,000,000 diapers were collected and 1,425 backpacks were filled and distributed. This is an incredible witness to what it looks like when we work together for the good of all God’s people. And these youth are ready to serve in Houston next summer!

Being the hands and feet of Christ together we work together for the good of all the world; for the good of all people. I see helpers in lifting up our dear FMF brother Andrew. I see helpers when we gather around our friend Molly at the unexpected loss of her mother. Where else have you seen helpers in our midst?

Let’s look for the helpers among us; for when we see the helpers; I believe we have found angels among us.

And since I seem to be channeling our brother Andrew’s love of videos and music, I thought I would add a song to this post! 

 

What I Learned This Summer

It is that time of the year again…time to share what I learned during the course of the summer. This summer was filled with ups and downs, highs and lows. As summer comes to an end and I find my voice again, as Fall blooms forth, it is time to share with you my dear readers and friends the many things I learned during the summer of 2017.

(1) Living in liminal space is not for the faint of heart! In fact, it is down right hard and exhausting. There were many days that I wondered where God was going to lead me next. There were also many days that I questioned God’s plan for my life. I found myself continually clinging to the words from Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper and not harm you, to give you a future with hope.”

(2) I have the most incredible friends and family! If it wasn’t for these individuals, this unexpected journey would have been so much harder. They listened when I needed an ear to listen. They gave me their shoulder to cry on when I simply needed to let out the tears. They brought me wine. They helped me to find my voice again. I love you all so much and cannot thank you enough for the ways you walked with me during this journey.

(3) The mountains have a way of renewing and transforming us in ways we never imagined. I have always had a special place in my heart for the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. But it truly wasn’t until I climbed a mountain and got 300 feet from the base of Estes Cone, that I realized how holy the mountains are and how I can truly do anything I set my mind too. It was on that mountain that I found my voice again. It was on that mountain that I was able to leave behind the past and look to the future. It is an experience that forever will be held in the depths of my heart and soul. It is almost impossible to capture this experience in words, but I did my very best. You can read about it HERE!

(4) Time with my little sister is the best. We fought like cats and dogs when we were younger. But now that we are older, she is one of my best friends! I love her immensely! We had so much fun exploring Chicago together for our sisters trip. We also had a blast this past weekend as we explored my new city together, made my house more like a home and celebrated our birthdays. I love the time we get to share together!

(5) Meeting social media friends in the flesh is one of the best experiences. This summer, while in Chicago, my sister and I got to meet my blog friend Stephanie. It was so much fun to visit in the flesh. It is like we have known each other forever. Our conversation flowed freely. I love meeting blog and social media friends in the flesh and cannot wait to meet more of you.

(6) There is gift in community whether online or in person. Community is what sustained me through the ups and downs and highs and loves of this summer. I love what my friend Anita said to me the other day as part of our Five Minute Friday Twitter chat, “Your social media friends go with you wherever you go.” I am clinging to that promise as I settle into a new community and make new friends while also knowing I have friends scattered throughout the world.

(7) Prayer changes things!!! The last several weeks, I have started Facebook living a prayer feed on my personal Facebook page. Together, we have prayed for Texas, the wildfires, and other individuals who have asked me to pray for their friends and family. Prayer is a way to stay connected as the body of Christ scattered to and fro. Prayer is a two way street that connects our hearts through life’s joys, sorrows, trials and tribulations.

Well friends, that is what I learned this summer. My summer was filled with time of learning; learning that shaped and transformed me and gave me my voice back. As a new beginning starts, I know that I will continually learn and grow as a beloved child of God.

I am linking up with these lovely ladies Emily P Freeman, Kelly Balarie, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Holley Gerth and Kristen Hill Taylor. 

 

 

Sunday Blessings 186; Birthday Edition

(1) Texting with PD

(2) A visit from NM

(3) My neighbor asking how my first day of work went.

(4) Talking to Dad on the phone

(5) A Vox from KA

(6) Leaders breakfast

(7) A nice lunch with one of the youth’s moms about ELCA Youth Gathering. Thanks for lunch CS.

(8) Waiting on the sidewalk for the ok to cross the street and NM rolls down her window and asks if I need a ride!

(9) Texting with my fave

(10) Bday mail

(11) Fun mail from HL

(12) Staying at G farms and getting see my friend EG and her hubby GG

(13) Shopping with my sissy

(14) Making cupcakes for our birthdays (Mine–Sept 3 & My sisters–Aug 26)

(15) Watching a Hallmark movie

(16) Being sung to twice at church for my birthday.

(17) Lunch with my sissy, LG, EG and SP

(18) “Girls Trip” movie with my sissy

(19) Friends giving donations to NAMI for my birthday. Thank You so much!!

(20) Dinner at Applebee’s. Getting my free bday dessert and being sung to

(21) Tons of bday texts, FB posts, instant messages, tweets and so much more. You sure know how to make a girl feel incredibly loved!!

(22) Debuting in worship with a children’s sermon

(23) A fantastic PLN

(24) A fun package from EG. Love all my little treasures especially my new CCM picture!

(25) A bday call from Aunt N, Daddy, and Grandma and Grandpa.

(26) Aunt P and Uncle T finding me a bedroom set for my guest bedroom at an auction sale. Thanks guys!!

(27) Many people watching my prayer Facebook lives.

(28) YOU!!

 

Our Neighbors

I am linking up for Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Neighbor.” This community is such a gift to me. I love what Anita said last week at our FMF Twitter, “Your social media friends go with you wherever you go.” We’d love to have you join us on Thursday nights for our Twitter party.

Hurricane Harvey came in as a force to be reckoned with. So many homes lost. So many waiting to be rescued. Others helping one another. In the midst of this awfulness, some beauty came forth. Neighbors helping neighbors.

Before this storm, it seemed the world was constantly divided. Yet now, we seem to have found ways to help each other: to love one another. I’m reminded of this verse from Scripture “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

I realize we might not always agree with one another. But the truth is, I believe, that God calls us to love one another. Love your Muslim neighbors. Love your LGTBQ+ neighbors. Love all your neighbors. Love ultimately wins when we honestly share God’s love with one another.

Throughout my life, my neighbors have been a blessing to me; bringing me food, remembering my birthday (which by the way is Sunday) and being an incredible example of what it means to love ones neighbors as we love ourselves.

I want to be the best neighbor I can be. I want to show up when it matters. So friends, in the words of Mr. Rogers, won’t you be my neighbor?

Drinking from the Life-Giving Water

Sitting on a bus, on our way to a regional drama contest, my friends would not let me speak. That morning I woke up with hardly any voice and in mere minutes we would be heading to Bismarck and the regional one act play contest. Looking back, I still laugh at the ways my friends found themselves helping me to preserve my voice. Our voices help us to stand up for what is right, but what does one do when one feels like they have lost their ability to speak or that the well has run dry?

Earlier this summer, after an unexpected change at my last job, I found myself searching and seeking to find the words; to find my voice in regards to how I was feeling. It was a time when I desperately needed to speak and share my own thoughts and feelings yet it was a time when I found myself with faith laryngitis. It was a time when every time I came to the writing well, it was found bone dry. And then I found myself on the top of a mountain; Estes Cone in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

On that mountain, something magical; no, something incredibly holy happened. My friend Scott pointed out that there was a chapel laid right before our very eyes. There was water–a Baptismal font. There was a rock pile; a holy alter. There was half of a cross which Scott quickly made into a whole cross; a makeshift cross now set on the mountain. Scott went ahead and waited for me as I took some time to pray. I began to listen to one of my new favorite albums Ellie Holcomb’s Red Sea Road. As the words poured into my ears, the tears quickly began to trickle down my face. It was as if all of a sudden the well waters opened up and would no longer stop flowing freely. I was being given holy life-giving water right there on the top of that mountain.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was being transformed. That night, I penned a poem about being on the mountain. And for the days following, the words wouldn’t stop flowing. I finally had my voice back…and it was as if I didn’t ever want to lose my voice again.

In the days, weeks, and months following that holy moment, I have found myself pouring out words. I have found myself seeking to tell my story. I have found myself once again returning to those things; writing, speaking, and praying that once gave me life and are once again giving me life!

The last several nights, I have found myself on Facebook live streaming prayers; praying for the people of Texas, praying for the Savanna Greywind family, and simply praying for whatever is needed. I have found my voice again and I don’t want to lose it. I don’t want to let it go. I want to continue to drink from the life-giving water that only Christ can give. The life-giving water that quenches like none other.

Come to the well, my friends, and drink from that very same life-giving water!

Today, you will find me linking with these lovely ladies: Kelly and the RaRa linkup, Jennifer and Tell His Story, and Kristin and Porch Stories.

 

 

Sunday Blessings 185

(1) A sweet house warming plant from the Johnsons

(2) Supper with KD and her family

(3) Thankful that the car accident wasn’t worse than it was.

(4) New LLR!!! Thanks Kim and Julia!! And Natalie!!

(5) A visit from LG and EG and homemade cookies

(6) Exploring my new city

(7) A new tea kettle and fun new tea

(8) Command Strips

(9) That my friends in Texas are staying safe.

(10) Texting with Aunt N and A

(11) Finally getting mail in my mailbox

(12) Neighbors who come over and help find the fuse box when you trip the breaker for the first time in your new house.

(13) Tackling Mt Laundry and breaking in my new washing machine.

(14) An invitation to the community meal; Banquet West

(15) Supper at Banquet West

In addition, we must continue to pray for Texas especially the Houston area. May calm hearts and minds prevail so all make wise decisions.

The Holy Spirit

I am linking up for Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Guide.” This community is such a gift to me. I love what Anita said last night at our FMF Twitter, “Your social media friends go with you wherever you go.” We’d love to have you join us on Thursday nights for our Twitter party.

Like the prairie winds
She blows where she will
Tossing to and fro

She,
The wise Holy Spirit
Who guides where she will
Knowing exactly
Where God needs you to be.

The Holy Spirit,
The dove of love
Who flows forth
Between the Father and the Son
Guiding, leading, following
When is needed

Our guide,
Redeemer
Deliverer
Rescuer
The way, the truth, and the life
The alpha and the omega
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

The almighty three in one
Who guides us all
As we seek
To do justice, love kindness and walk humbly
With our God.

And because I love Rend Collective Experiment, I have to share their new song and video which just released the other day.