Top Ten Blog Posts of 2014

Hi Friends! Glad to be back here blogging again. Had a great time with my family over Christmas! Looking back over the past year…these are the top ten blog posts here at Praying on the Prairie. Enjoy!

(10) A Broken Heart—“For I am sure that neither death nor life…nor anything else…will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus” I read these words and I know that they are true. Yet at times like this when we hear of another school shooting, I find myself having a hard time trusting in them….

(9) Being Brave—What am I doing? Yep that is the thought that is swirling in my head today as I begin day one of the #write31days challenge. I have blogged for a month on my blog before but never on one single topic. And the topic that I am choosing to write on for my first time is not an easy topic to talk about either….

(8)Still Waiting For My Happily Ever After—“Happily ever after”. As a little girl, that is how all those fairytales I watched seemed to end. The princess always seemed to find her Prince Charming. The bad guy always seemed to be defeated and the good guy always seemed to come out on top…

(7) Dear Grief—Dear grief, You find a way into my head and my heart especially during this holiday season…

(6) A Season of Singleness—This is not at all how I imagined my life! Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to be a mom. My sister and I would play with our Cabbage Patch dolls. We would spend hours playing with our dolls and caring for them like a mother cares for her child/children…

(5) Breaking the Silence—“I think I am going to have a nervous breakdown. I 
cannot begin to tell you how these ten words grate on my nerves. For me it is 
like fingernails on a chalkboard. I want to turn to the person who ignorantly has 
said them and reply with “No, you don’t want to. I can tell you all about what it is like”…..

(4) My First Ever Guest Post—Hi friends! I am participating in my first ever 
guest post today…

(3) 31 Days On—My friend Anna who blogs at Girl with Blog introduced me to the 
31 Days challenge which was started at the Nesting Place. The idea is to blog for 31 
days straight on one topic. Wooo….31 days on one single topic. That’s a lot of writing…
but for some reason, I was feeling especially compelled to try it this year….

(2) Out of the Pit—“Keep in touch with it because it is at those moments of pain where
you are most open to the pain of other people – most open to your own deep places. Keep in touch with those sad times because…..

(1) Sunday Blessings #18—Talking to a dear friend on messenger from my previous congregation; That same friend telling me how hard it is to fill my shoes. (Made me feel good)….

Come to the E

On Monday night, I returned from attending my first ELCA YMNET Extravaganza. My friend Sarah has been trying to get me to attend an E for quite awhile now. I don’t know why but I often would drag my feet and come up with some excuse for why I couldn’t or wouldn’t be attending the E (as it is affectionately known in the Network.) But this year I gave in…and I am so glad that I did.

The ELCA YMNET exists to strengthen and empower adult youth ministry leaders in service to Christ as part of God’s mission. And what a gift the network is…a place to gather with others who understand the call to children, youth, and family ministry and know its joys and struggles. I was blessed to gather with friends and colleagues from many different places in my life. I was blessed to meet new friends who loved and accepted me for who God created me to be! I was blessed to spend some time exploring the city and recharging my batteries.

The E hosts many wonderful workshops throughout the event to help us grow and learn new practices for working with children, youth and families. For me, there were so many wonderful workshops that I wanted to attend but I couldn’t get to them all. There also was large group gatherings where we worshipped together. The comedian was awesome.

I also love that on the last day…there was a time for healing prayers and blessings. It was an incredibly humbling experience for me to bless friends and colleagues. I am glad that I offered up myself to pray because God sure works in amazing ways. I was on the complete opposite side of the room from where we were sitting but yet somehow I ended up blessing dear friends in my life.

There is so much more I could say about how wonderful the E is! I hope that you are able to join us in 2015 in Detroit. I wont be dragging my feet anymore…and will definitely be in Detroit. And thank you Sarah for encouraging me to attend the E. I just should have listened much sooner than I did!

My #OneWord365 for 2014

“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, and nothing is so gentle as true strength.” When I came across this quote on my Pinterest feed, I knew that I had found my #oneword365 for 2014! I have never done the #oneword365 so I was a little nervous to what my word might be and if I would even hear it. But the other day I kept hearing this voice whispering to me the word “gentle.” And then I came across the quote I just posted…I knew that God had been whispering that word to me. So my #oneword365 for 2014 is the word GENTLE!

I would say that most people who know me might describe me as gentle but the truth is that I am not gentle with myself. Ever since I can remember I have been pretty tough on myself. I don’t always see myself as the most beautiful. I need to remind myself to be gentle with myself. To be gentle when life isn’t turning out the way I want it to. Those of you who regularly read this blog know that I especially am not “gentle” with myself as I wait for my Mr. Right. I am so ready. Yet perhaps by being “gentle” with myself God will bring that lucky guy into my life.

Max Ehrmann once wrote, “Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe. No less than the trees and the stars. In the noisy confusion of life keep peace in your soul.” Yes, I need to be gentle with myself…to be gentle with who I am and who God has created me to be. And by being gentle, I believe God will bring more peace to my soul!

I also feel that I need to fall into being gentle. To be gentle with my words and my actions. There are times when I am not always gentle with those who I love. Sometimes when momma calls and I get a little impatient, I find myself snapping back and then I get mad at myself for snapping at her. I need to remind myself to be gentle with her. And to be gentle with myself because like a good Lutheran, I am both saint and sinner. I am not perfect and will make mistakes!

And perhaps as I fall into this word that God has whispered into my ear and my heart, I will find that strength as well. May your 2014 be full of gentleness as well.