Sunday Blessings 184

(1) A new call! Thanks be to God!!

(2) A sweet FB post from my sissy

(3) Boxes from the food pantry. Thanks GR and LR!

(4) Celebration coffee with SH and KG

(5) Chatting with many of my faves to share my good news.

(6) Celebration coffee with MH

(7) Snapchatting with KL

(8) The fantastic people of FLC–Williston

(9) The hospitality of Upper Missouri Ministries.

(10) LCM board meeting and the excitement they all showed for me and this new call.

(11) A hug from JW

(12) Coffee with DJ and LZ

(13) Running into LH at Panera

(14) One last haircut from TS

(15) The Pinterest vinegar trick for cleaning out a microwave. It works every single time!!

(16) A great parking lot convo with JL

(17) A night out with KG, SH, CT and ST.

(18) A sweet new journal from SH

(19) Supper with KG and her kids

(20) A great chat with DF and JF and their boys while running into them at Target.

(21) A great lunch with D.C.

(22) Finishing packing!

(23) Joy and laughter!!!

(24) The return of Project Runway and The Great Food Truck Race.

(25) All of you!!!

To Speak or Not To Speak

I am linking up for Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Speak.” This community is such a gift to me. Today I even got to meet a blog friend in the flesh. What a blessing! We’d love to have you join us on Thursday nights for our Twitter party.

My social media feeds have been filled with people on all sides. My heart is weary at the evil out there. My heart is weary at white supremacy and racism. Last night my friend Jason asked our friends of color what they needed from us (their white friends) as part of our weekly chat #SlateSpeak. This was a time when we, the white people gathered, needed to be quiet and listen to their answers–to understand where they are coming from. It was a time when I needed to listen and not speak.

Yet there are also times when to not speak says more than anything. I’m reminded of a quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” I’m sorry, but in the face of evil, I must speak. Love must ultimately win! Speaking shows that I won’t  let this broken world become even more broken by evil acts.

In all reality, Jesus was all about speaking up and out. Jesus was always choosing sides–most especially the downtrodden and outcast. Jesus spoke out for the woman caught in adultery. Jesus spoke out throughout his time on the earth. Jesus calls us to know when to speak and when not to speak. And when we speak, Jesus calls us to speak life to one another. For in doing so, perhaps the world will become a much better place!

Sunday Blessings 182 & 183

(1) My sissy finding me some boxes.

(2) A text from D.C.

(3) Tackling Mt Laundry

(4) A sweet much needed summer rain

(5) Running into JA

(6) Lunch with SH

(7) Moderating #slatespeak

(8) Selling some items and decluttering.

(9) Making some progress on packing.

(10) Soaking rain

(11) Texting with Aunt N

(12) Yummy peaches

(13) Texting with one of my faves; MW

(14) Vacation with my sister

(15) Meeting another online friend in the flesh. It was fantastic ST!

(16) Seeing a childhood friend and her family.

(17) Running into JL at Ground Round

(18) Lyft drivers who get you around safely.

(19) KG picking us up at the airport!

(20) Some awesome sunset pics and texting with one of my faves!

From the Prairies

I am linking up for Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Place.” This community is such a gift to me. Today I even got to meet a blog friend in the flesh. What a blessing! We’d love to have you join us on Thursday nights for our Twitter party. 

I’m from the prairies of North Dakota, where the wind blows dirt and it is caked in every fiber of my being. In the words of one of my favorite children’s books, “You’re not from the prairie if you don’t know the feeling of the wind across your face.”

I’m from the prairies where my soul finds peace. A contentment like no other. I’m also from  the shores of Lake Sakakawea where the lock to my families story was finally unlocked. A freedom spilled forth as I told my fellow camp counselors. “I am the daughter of a woman who lives daily with a mental illness.”

I’m from Ashley Public School, the University of Mary, and Wartburg Theological Seminary. Places of education that have shaped me into who I am as a woman of faith. I am from blogging communities like the Slate Project and Five Minute Friday. Places that let me be fully who God created me to be.

I am from a place that allows me to hear the whispers of the Holy Spirit as she blows across the prairies of ND. I am from a place that makes me want to be a better person. I am from water that calls and claims me as a beloved child of God.

I am from the prairies of North Dakota; where wild flowers grow rampant and crowning golden fields yield the beauty of this land. Prairie sunsets and sunrises as far as the eye can see. A simple reminder of all God has created and reminds us all of our place in this broken beautiful world!

Sometimes We Just Need to Try

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

One foot in front of the other, around each switchback, working my way to the top of the mountain. I’m not sure if I’ll get there but I must give it a try. I’m putting every fiber of my being into this climb. Because one doesn’t know what is above until one gets to the top.

Panting with every breathe, I’m ready to give in; to throw in the towel. But my friends, my traveling companions won’t give up on me. They too want me to try and are cheering me on.

After awhile, and much whining on my part, we get close to the top. Yet I’m finished. I don’t want to try anymore. I’m weary! My friends continue up to the top while my friend Scott and I start down the mountain. But not before I’m given time to pray and release some tears.

Then we begin down the mountain. We come to a clearing and Scott points to the mountain. You were there; probably three hundred feet from the base. In that moment, I realized sometimes it’s all about the attempt; giving it a try. It’s further than I’ve ever climbed/hiked before. I feel accomplished! Sometimes, it’s all about trying and doing what we didn’t think possible. Now I’m ready to try and hike even further!

 

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 http://fiveminutefriday.com. 

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.