Sunday Blessings 248

(1) KD bringing me craft supplies and other stuff for church. Also attending a speaker together.

(2) Messaging with ACK and making plans for this weekend.

(3) A fresh Spring rain

(4) Fun April Fool’s joke

(5) Fun new tshirts! I am such a sucker for fun new tshirts!!!

(6) Answered prayers that I have prayed during my Lenten practice for others. I love when I get praise report messages back after praying for my friends.

(7) New Spice and Tease teas!!!

(8) Lunch and catching up with ACK!

(9) Mama Mia with KS

(10) A beautiful PLN

(11) Running into CO and GO at the eye doctor and having My Swirl with them.

(12) GO walking Luna!

(13) Luna loving on ACK

(14) Youth for Christ banquet with JK

(15) A good eye doctor appointment

The Greatest Offering

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. Today’s word prompt is “offer.” We would love to have you join us.

A crown of thorns

upon his head

Nails driven

Unto his hands

Blood spilled out.

Last words spoken

Father, forgive them,

For they know not

What they are doing.

Last breath taken

On that dark dreary Friday night

Then sheer utter silence.

Tears falling from Mary’s face

Her son no longer alive

Laid in a tomb

His life given for all.

Three days later

The first women preachers

Come to the tomb

And find it empty,

Where is our Lord?, they ask.

The grave has been overcome

Death has been defeated

God’s greatest offering!

Sunday Blessings 247

(1) A text from a dear friend who I haven’t heard from in a really long time. Thanks JCK!

(2) 60 degree weather

(3) Walking Luna outside on these beautiful Springlike days

(4) Speaker with KD

(5) Cute new shoes

(6) Watching Mary Poppins Returns

(7) A 5 year old running up to me at the children’s sermon to tell me it was her 5th birthday and that she had her birthday pennies ready to go!

(8) Winning a prize at my friend’s 31 page/drawing

(9) Laughter

(10) Yummy Pork Burgers from Blue Apron

(11) Bandcake breakfast with KD and family

(12) Laughter

(13) Return of American Idol. So many talented artists!

Measure

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. Today’s word prompt is “measure.” We would love to have you join us.

“How do you measure, measure a year, in daylight, in sunsets, in midnights and cups of coffee?” The opening scene to my favorite musical/movie Rent begins and ends with this song. I love Rent for the story it tells about love. Yes there are some hard scenes to watch but for me, this musical reminds me to look at what’s important.

How often do we truly look at what brings us joy? Too often we get caught up in our impatience. Yet when we take the time to simply wait, we begin to see the joy and beauty of our lives and the world around us. As Spring comes upon us, we start to see flowers growing.

Musicals bring me joy too. I love them all. And my first Broadway experience in NYC last summer was Wicked and it was phenomenal. There is a preciseness that the actors and actresses need to have too. The musical notes need to be at the right pitch and in the right place.

So friends, how do you measure, measure a year?


Hope Diminished?

Say Yes to the Dress, Four Weddings, any of the television weddings….they all pull me in. And last night was no exception. I found myself watching the latest Duggar wedding on TLC. Before I knew it, tears were rolling down my cheeks as I watched this fairy tale unfold before my eyes. Both the bride and groom shared how they thought that they were never going to get married. Yet God led them to each other.

As I listened to the words coming from their mouths, my heart sank. I am the opposite. I have always thought that I would get married. Yet here I am at 40 1/2 years old and there are no prospects in sight. More and more the hope of this dream is being diminished for me. What if those words come true for me, what if I never become a wife and/or mom?

I constantly turn to the Scripture that reminds me that God hears the desires of my heart. Yet that desire is still unanswered. I find myself crying out again and again “How long, oh Lord, how long, will you forget me forever?” I want to trust that God will answer this in God’s timing and not mine, but most days that is harder to trust in than I care to admit because I am still chasing “the untils” that God placed on my heart since I was a little girl. Until I get married, until I am a mom, Until I……

Why would God place this desire on my heart if this wasn’t supposed to happen for me? I remember a conversation a friend and I had many years ago. She shared that she didn’t think God would place that desire on your heart if God wasn’t going to make it happen for you.

There have been times that I have seen glimpses. Wondering why God brought someone into my life; only to find out that it was simply meant to be just a friendship. I treasure those friendships deeply. But I want so much more. I want that special person; my best friend who I can share everything with, who will wipe away my tears when I am sad and rejoice with me when I am happy. Someone who I can grow old with as we grow in our relationship together.

Singleness is not for the faint of heart. There are so many wondering why I am still single. It is hard to answer that question when I am not sure myself. Yet I believe with all my heart that God is here. God does hear the desires of my heart.

So I will do my best to trust. However, I know that I will still find myself crying out, “How long, oh Lord, how long? Will you forget me forever? How long, oh Lord?” It’s the eternal cry of my heart!

Sunday Blessings 246

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted so thought I would try and get back on track again this week!

(1) An awesome WND Faith Formation Network meeting.

(2) Barnes and Noble fun

(3) Target, Hobby Lobby and Panera!

(4) Running into RS on the way out of Target.

(5) A surprise phone call from PMA. So good to chat with a friend I haven’t talked to in quite awhile.

(6) Family Fun Day at church.

(7) Getting to spend the weekend with my sissy

(8) A hug from Zy man

(9) Walking Luna outside on beautiful Spring days

(10) Return of American Idol

(11) Getting to see my friend GW

(12) Wonder Park and a Star is Born with my sis

(13) Our DBD group

(14) Tax return money

(15) Laughter

The Greatest Reward

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. Today’s word prompt is “reward.” We would love to have you join us.

I love watching shows like Spring Baking Championship, Kids Baking Championship, Trading Spaces and so much more. The end result is always so satisfying for those involved especially those that win the challenge. Often times they get dome sort of advantage in the next contest. In the end, someone wins and is rewarded.

Life is not to be all about rewards. Yet I’ll admit a reward is nice sometimes. I’m not picky…an ice cream cone, a simple comment such as a job well done. The greatest reward will not be found here on earth. But rather in heaven!

“For your reward will be great in heaven.”

Tomorrow, it will have been three months that Grandpa has been gone. Last week, we celebrated one year since our friend Ben’s funeral. Today is the one year anniversary of the loss of a beloved seminary professor. And these are just the beginnings of the anniversaries. The beauty is that they know the promise of eternal life; they know the reality of the reward found in heaven.

May we too know that reward one day.

Finding Our Place

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. Today’s word prompt is “place.” We would love to have you join us.

From our first cries, we know where we belong. I was and am the oldest daughter. As I grew and my sister joined our family, I discovered a new place. I looked out and cared for us when mom was sick and dad was farming.

I always seemed to know my place. But then I went away for the first time and I no longer knew my place. I searched and discovered myself as an adult. I made new friends. I challenged myself. I tried new things.

After college, I felt the call to seminary. I knew upon stepping on that campus that God was calling me there. It was not easy. In fact, it’s one of the hardest journeys of my life. But it was so worth it. There I discovered more of myself. I grew in my faith and was shaped into who I am as a woman leader.

Those first days were hard. I remember buying my own birthday cake on the first days of classes as we celebrated one night.* I also remember laughing so hard my sides ached. Those newfound friendships blossomed over time into some of the greatest friendships of my life.

In these people and that place, I found my place. A place where we cried together, where we celebrated together, where we mourned together. A place that now holds a piece of my heart. A place where I am always free to be me.

Yesterday was the first anniversary of our friend Ben’s funeral. I will forever remember so many (80 +) gathered around his urn as we commended him to God’s care. A cloud of witnesses took their place that day. And in that cloud of witnesses I know that I am not alone. I have found my place in a community that weeps, mourns, laughs,cries, and so much more together. We hold our place in this holy community.

Ben will forever hold his place in this community along with all of us. We each have our place. A place that reminds us again and again that this journey is not meant to be lived alone. We all walk this journey together. Sheep with a shepherd who promises to never leave us or forsake us. Thanks be to God!

Photo Credit: Jacob Sorenson

*Where my five minutes ended. I had to keep writing!

A Different Kind of Homesick

Home=”a familiar or usual setting.”; “a place of origin”; At home=”relaxed and comfortable: at ease” “in harmony with the surroundings.” or “on familiar ground.”

Home is more than just a place. It is a promise (A Place to Land; Kate Motaung).”

Scripture tells us that where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Treasure often comes in all shapes and sizes in our lives. For me, that treasure comes in my friends and family, in community and in so many ways. These treasures represent home to me; a home that is more than just a place where I lay my head at night. Home is Ashley ND. Home is the places where I have served; Williston ND, Minot ND, Dilworth MN and Beulah ND. Home is the place where I found myself as a leader in the church and where I grew in my faith. Home is Wartburg Theological Seminary.

I knew immediately upon waking up this morning that today is March 13th. 365 days ago we stood in a sanctuary in Taylor Wisconsin and said goodbye to our beloved Ben. I find myself standing in the reality of grief once again. At times, it feels so raw while at other times, that year feels so long ago. And in the reality of grief, I am once again standing upon that Lenten weary road of grief; a road that never seems to end.

As we stood in that sanctuary speaking these words, I couldn’t help but take in the moment and remember the beauty of that day as we shared in it together. The words of Ash Wednesday replaying in my head and my heart “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return” as we commended Ben to God’s care.

“We commend your servant Ben to your care; a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming, Receive him into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace and into the glorious company of the saints in light (ELW P. 283).”

Today my friends I am homesick. Homesick for a community that shares in life’s ups and downs. Homesick for my friends who I don’t get to see nearly enough. Homesick for a friend who is reunited with Jesus. Homesick for a feeling when the grief was not there. Yet I know in my homesickness, that we all are loved; loved by a God who calls us each by name.

In our homesickness, we know that God calls us all back home eventually. This morning, I was listening to my Pandora station when the song “Church (Take me Back)” by Cochren and Co came on. As I listened to the chorus to this song, tears began to trickle down my face. It was not lost on me that the music was speaking to this anniversary of Ben’s funeral.

“Take me back; To the place that feels like home; To the people I can depend on; To the faith that’s in my bones; Take me back; To a preacher and a verse; Where they’ve seen me at my worst; To the love I had at first; Oh, I want to go to church.” (Cochren and Co)

Wartburg Seminary feels like home. Wartburg Seminary holds the people I can depend on. Wartburg Seminary shows me constantly the faith that’s in my bones. And most of all, Wartburg Seminary has seen me at my best and at my worst. It is a community that forever is home to me. It is a place that shows me that even in grief, we do not walk this journey alone. We walk it hand in hand remembering that God calls us all to eternal life.

Today though, as I am reminded of 365 days ago, I am homesick; wishing we could all be together. Yet I know that the ultimate home; our heavenly home is where Ben is now. However, it aches to lose those on earth. We want them still here with us. So we must trust in God’s promise to us all. Our earthly homes are temporary but our eternal home; our heavenly home is forever!

Linking up with Kelly and the Ra Ra linkup, Mary and Tell His Story, Sue and Let’s Have Coffee and Kristin and Porch Stories.

More

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. Today’s word prompt is “more.” We would love to have you join us.

Today is a good day. The sun was shining. It’s now gone behind the clouds but it’s almost 30 degrees above zero. Luna and I went for a 30 minute walk. We are both so tired of winter. There might be more snow coming this weekend, but for now I’m going to focus on this glorious day.

Luna is napping. I’m watching Jeopardy. I need to write on more Facebook walls as I continue to pray through my FB friends list for Lent. It’s such a joy and I couldn’t ask for more. My friends trusting me with their prayer requests. It’s amazing to look back and see how previous prayers have been answered.

This week has been hard too. The first anniversary of Ben’s death. It feels like it was just yesterday. So bittersweet. I miss my friends and want to see them more. Especially after this past year. I need to be more intentional.

More love, less hate!

More joy, less sorrow.