Fun Choices Friday Five

Sharon at RevGalBlogPals writes, “I am pinch hitting today, my first time, as your Friday Five RevGal. Like the song “The Macarena” was for Los Del Rio, this could very well be a one-hit wonder, so thanks for playing! Today we play off of one of my favorite and most memorable Friday Fives to blog from: Decisions, Decisions posted by Songbird last July 23. I went back to that post to make sure I had new choices for you to make. I found out — again — that she was then, as I have been recently, in the midst of a discernment process and thinking about what goes into decision making. A decision from history: There is a chair that still sits in the Assembly Room of the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall). Legend has it that it was George Washington’s chair, the back carved with a half sun. Benjamin Franklin would look at it and wonder whether it was a rising or a setting sun. Eventually Franklin decided it was the hopeful symbol of the rising sun, a sign of the future of our new republic.”

How do you decide? Check out the following pairs and tell which one of each appeals to you most:

1) Sunrise or Sunset—I like both but Id say Im more apt to see a sunset. When I worked at a Bible camp in Western ND for 7 summers, some of my fave moments and pictures were from seeing the sunset off of Lake Sakakawea! Beautiful!!

2) To the Mountains or To the Beach—Since I’ve finally gotten to experience both, I would say the Mountains. There is just something so holy about being in the mountains. When I was in Colorado for the first time this summer, I couldnt believe how the mountains and the sky just ran together. Hard to tell where one began and the other ended. Simply Beautiful!!!

3) Coffee or Tea—Tea all the way! Im not much of a coffee drinker at all. I like “fake” coffee like lattes, cappucinos etc but even before those, Ill choose tea!

4) Advent or Lent—Advent. There is just something about waiting for the birth of this christ child. But I also really appreciate Lent too…so I guess I would pick both in this case. I love the Holy Days leading up to Easter especially Maundy THursday since it is a reminder of my call to ministry; to wash the feet of all God’s people.

5) “Raindrops on Roses” or “Whiskers on Kittens”—“Whiskers on Kittens”–I love cats! When my parents got divorced, it was a cat that kept my mom company…what comfort that brought to my sister and I!

BONUS: Tell more about one of the pairs. Why did you choose it? Difficult or easy choice? A story from your own experience? I chose mountains over the beach because like I stated earlier, it was such a holy experience. I like to swim and enjoy the beach but there is just something Holy-Spirit filled about being in the mountains for me.This was an easy choice for me!

Amazing Women Friday Five

Sally at RevGalBlogPals writes, “Today is the Feast day of St Mary Magdalene, and as I’ve been pondering her life, and the inspiration she is I find in her a wonderful mix of struggle and devotion. She is both the woman who needed a deep healing and the woman who was declared (by many) to be the first amongst the apostles. She inspires me by the way she overcame so much to become so much. When I stop to think about the folk who do inspire me they are almost always overcomer’s in some way or another.

With that in mind I bring you this Friday Five; List five people who inspire you to dare to step out into becoming more: Bonus question, a song or fictional character that inspires you to move beyond boundaries!”

1. My Momma!-Living with a mental illness all her life my mom has taught me so many wonderful lessons. She has never let her illness get her down etc. She is one amazing woman! I am so blessed to have her in my life!

2. My Best Friend Mandy-May she rest in peace!–I met Mandy when I was in 1st Grade she was a year older but had been held back because she had a kidney transplant and had missed lots of school. She became my best friend! I was in her wedding and shortly after her wedding, she began having seizures etc and they never figured out why. She has been gone now almost 4 years. I miss her!

3. My Grandma A—Grandma A has been married 65 years and has always been a hard-working farm wife. I know life wasnt always easy for her but yet she still has powered through. (Grandma B was pretty amazing too! Another wonderful example of a strong woman!)

4. My “little” sister—I know she sees me as a strong woman but in return, I also see her as a strong woman too!

5. It’s so hard to pick just 5 because the women in my life have blessed me in so many ways. I have learned and grown and been blessed by each of you. My seminary friends, my DM friends, the new friends I met at the Lutheran Academy (You know who you are!)etc etc etc

The fictional character that makes me move beyond boundaries is Novalee Nation from Where the Heart Is. She doesnt let her bad luck keep her from reaching her dreams etc. I just love the way this movie makes me feel. I also think that the woman in the movie “Rent” are pretty amazing women who move us beyond boundaries as well. And recently I read the book “The Help,” the main characters in the book make me move beyond boundaries as well but Im not going to be a book spoiler and give it away so youll just have to read the book to find out why if you havent already read the book!

Saying Goodbye

Yuck! It’s gross outside! That humidity is ridiculous but enough about the weather!

Have you ever had to say goodbye? As a child, I was never one who had to say goodbye a lot. We moved when I was four and never moved again. In fact, most of my dad’s side of the family still lives in that community. Now there were the little goodbyes; saying goodbye to G and G after visiting them in the summer; saying goodbye to a new friend after meeting them at camp; etc! But then I went off to seminary—-where I was constantly saying goodbye! There was the goodbyes to the seniors as they graduated. There was the goodbye to the middlers as they went off to internship. There was the goodbye as we finished and left our new friends behind etc. Being a Master of Arts student it seemed like I was ALWAYS saying goodbye! The class I started with was on internship when I graduated….and when they came back to campus for their senior year, I was graduated and gone. Being the emotional person that I am those goodbyes were NEVER EASY for me! I think part of it was because these friendships mean the world to me and I knew that they would always be there for me etc! But it was never easy! A dear friend told me about a book titled “Praying Our Goodbyes” which has been a huge help to me in learning to pray my goodbyes! (However saying goodbye is still much easier said than done!)

As many of you, my faithful readers, know one of my best guy friends got married a year ago this next week and I have always called him “the younger brother I never wanted” because he calls me “the older sister he never wanted.” I am so happy for him and his wife! She is awesome, wonderful, etc! However they are moving on Tuesday. “Younger bro I never wanted” got a new teaching job so they are moving away from the community we have both lived in for the last four years. I am excited for this new adventure for them but I also find myself grieving! Grieving yet again; it was difficult when he got married because I knew our friendship probably would never be the same! Now dont get me wrong; I am so thankful he found the woman of his dreams etc, I just knew that it would involve some loss and grief; some grieving of a good friendship! I am so thankful for “Younger Brother Who I Never Wanted” and Mrs.”Younger Brother Who I Never Wanted!”

To learn more about about our friendship, you can read about it at these two posts:

Younger Brother

How Hes Blessed My Life

Saying goodbye is never easy! But I think one of the reasons its hard for me is because these people/places/etc have been such blessings in my life! I just wish it was easier to say goodbye!!!

My Name Spells Gratitude Friday Five

Jan at RevGalBlogPals writes, “A wise person once told me to make an ABC list of things I am grateful for any time I feel sad or depressed. It is a good practice when one is feeling happier than that, too. So for this Friday Five, I suggest that you use your name or nickname of about five letters and express your gratitude about something that starts with each letter. Some people have longer names, so you decide how you will go about this! (Last names, middle names, and nicknames count!)”

I usually dont use my actual name on this blog but thought I would break it for today’s Friday Five! I decided to use my first and middle name so I could have a few more letters since my name isnt quite 5 letters long!

T—Tomatoes and other summer veggies! I love using fresh stuff from the garden etc to make my meals.

A—Andrea; my sister and my other family members too; Mom, Dad, G and G Ulrich, Uncle T, Uncle B, Uncle J, Aunt C, Aunt N, C and all the other family members in my life. Love them so much!

R—Rocky Mountain National Park. I am so glad I got to spend 10 days there. It was so peaceful and an awesome event. I also am thankful for the many new friends I met there. I am thankful for the experiences I had there!

A—Awesome, Amazing friends; new and old! I am so blessed to have them all in my life!

L—Love; God’s love for me, the love of my family/friends, etc

E—(My) E-Reader or in other words my Kindle! I am so thankful for this awesome Christmas gift. I have been able to read more books since Christmas than I have in the last year! YAY!

E—Everything that God has blessed me with! 🙂

Breathing Down Your Joy?

Hello my faithful readers! I’ve been thinking about how blessed my life! I am so thankful for friends—new and old. I’m thankful for my family and the examples they set for me. My grandparents celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary this summer. I’m thankful for a great job that I love (at least most days. I am thankful for so much. I am thankful that my sister finally got a teaching job after being back in this state for three years.

My life is so blessed but sometimes it is hard to remember that when there are still things I yearn for in my life; a family, a husband, etc. I know they will happen when they are suppose to but sometimes its hard to focus on the good stuff. Sometimes the bad outweighs the good! I’m not saying that Im not happy because I AM HAPPY. I’ve just been thinking about how easy it is for depression to sneak into our lives. Just a thought that has been on my mind.

A friend posted a quote on his FB page that I think really defines depression well. He said, “Depression is emptiness breathing down your joy.” WOW huh?! What do you think my readers? Just been thinking about it since he posted that quote.

A Holy Spirit Moment

Wow! Talk about a Holy Spirit moment! This morning I led worship and preached. The text I preached on was from Matthew where Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest.” As I began preaching, I looked out into the congregation and right in front of me was a man who is battling cancer. He is home for a short while and they came to church. He was there with his family. Wow; talk about holding back the tears. I continued to preach and found myself smiling back at this man and his family. After the service, his mom came up to me and gave me a hug. She thanked me for my beautiful sermon. Tears were streaming down her face and tears were streaming down my face! Here I wasnt sure about this sermon at ALL but it was exactly what so many needed to here. Thank you Holy Spirit!

Hiking to Victory and Blessed to Be a Blessing!

Sometimes it seems I dont have much to say but the last ten days have been so full of life and light. Im not even sure I can put it into words! As I drove into the Rocky Mountains, Mount Meeker and Longs Peak stood before me and God’s awesome creation seemed even more unbelievable. Just one big masterpiece; no dividing line at all! Being from the Midwest it took awhile to get used to the elevation etc! But on Monday, I braved it and took a chance. I went hiking with 28 other people. I found myself pushing myself. IT was a 2.8 mile hike in and a 2.8 mile hike back. I was visiting with my companions, getting to know them, etc but at a point, I hit a wall and didnt think I could finish but I found myself continuing to just keep walking… to keep putting one foot in front of the other. My new friends where there with me and kept cheering me on. I honestly dont think I could have done it with out them! I finally made it back and realized what I had done. I couldnt think of my mom and how she has lived her whole life with a mental illness. She just keeps pushing through. What an example she is for me! I am proud I finished the hike and was reminded by my new friends that it was no little task and I should be proud! Wow! What a journey! Along the way I found myself saying IM NOT GOING TO CRY…and I didnt! I just kept moving!

These last ten days will sustain me for awhile! I am sometimes surprised by how God blesses me with wonderful new people in my life. I was so suprised and blessed by each of them. Last night one of the presenters asked the people who have attended who of the new people surprised them the most etc. He said my name and told the speaker about the wonderful conversations we had. I wasnt sure how to respond. God has blessed me to be a blessing and I am so thankful for that gift!