I'm Only Human! :)

Today was Graduation Open House day! I found myself working my way around to the different grad parties! I love seeing the look on the church youths face when I show up. Blessed to be a part of their lives. And I know they will be blessed to be a blessing!

Two of my favorite stories from today. I was visiting with some church peeps when their son came inside. I said hello and his immediate response, “Where’s Pastor M?” I said, “He’s at his house with his family!” Something was wrong with me being by myself. To him we are supposed to be in the same place at the same time cuz thats how he sees us at church.

However my fave story happened at the last open house. I was enjoying a hard iced tea when one of my 6th grade boys spotted me. He looked at me and said, “I’ve never seen you drink.” He just shook his head. Then he said “Except wine (meaning Communion).” I was talking to his mom when she told me his older brother said something to her too about me having a drink. I just smiled and shook my head. I’m normal like everyone else and I like a drink once in awhile too! It made me think about how working in the church often brings about certain characteristics that people expect! I too am both Saint and Sinner and am not perfect! I want my church peeps to know that I’m not perfect either…and am more like them then they think.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend my lovely readers and friends!

Cat or Dog Friday Five

1. Are you a DOG or a CAT person? Or OTHER? I would say I tend to be more of a CAT person but really I like them both so I guess really I am both a DOG and CAT person!

2. Who were the pets of your
childhood and what were they like? Rocky and Butterfinger were our cats. Rocky was named after Rocky Balboa. My sister named her cat after her favorite candy bar. We also had dogs on the farm…Blacky and many others. After my parents divorced, mom had a cat named Marshmallow. I forgot that my sister got Oreo when she was in Az. All the animals on the farm…baby calves, etc

3. What pets do you have
now? None

4. Have you ever had any unusual pets in your household or visit
your home? Not that I can think of. Our cats were unusual in that they had an extra toe.

5. What have you learned from your pets? Give one recent
example, if possible. Love

BONUS: Pictures or anything else related to animals
you love.

Hope Stands Up To Its Knees

I don’t know about you but on days like today especially, I find my emotions on an emotional roller coaster. The truth is feeling emotions is only human. It is only natural to feel these emotions. ..to feel brokeness, sadness, and probably even a little anger. Today a tornado hit in Oklahoma City and it appears many children have lost their life. I don’t understand why these things happen and I know that I am not alone in questioning why things happen. But what I do know is that God is with us in the midst of it all. God is with those who are laying in that rubble tonight in Moore OK.  I think of my friend Renee’s husband Ben as Ben lay in the Haitian rubble. What comes to mind are the words that Ben was singing that night, “God’s peace to us we pray…”

Even in the last moments of his life, Ben prayed…prayed for God’s peace. And tonight in the midst of our hurting broken world, we too pray and ask God’s peace to reign. However it is hard to find that peace when there is so much sadness is in our world. This past year there has been so much brokeness—a tornado, West Texas, the Boston Marathon bombings, Sandy Hook, Auroro Colorado….and the list goes on. So much sadness….so much brokeness….so much pain….so much fear….so much doubt. Yet God promises that God will always be with us. God walks with us in the midst of our pain, our sorrow, and our sadness. God is ALWAYS there.

A friend shared the following quote from Frederick Buechner (I love Buechner!) on his Facebook page tonight. Buechner’s quote offers the peace and hope that I think many of us are searching for tonight. My prayer is that it brings you a little peace, hope and comfort tonight as well.

“Hope stands up to its knees in the past and keeps its eyes on the future. There has never been a time past when God wasn’t with us as the strength beyond our strength, the wisdom beyond our wisdom, as whatever it is in our hearts–whether we believe in God or not–that keeps us human enough at least to get by despite everything in our lives that tends to wither the heart and make us less than human. To remember the past is to see that we are here today by grace, that we have survived as a gift.” (Frederick Buechner)

On the Road Friday Five

So the next person to come to this blog will be my 20,000 visitor. Pretty cool. 🙂

1. What “road” is in your immediate future? I will be heading home to my hometown in about a month for our towns 125th celebration. I will be visiting family, seeing old classmates, etc. I also hope someday that my road leads to Mr. Right and a family.

2. Where have you been “traveling” a lot lately — and are you going back there? I really haven’t been traveling a lot lately. Hopefully I will get to do some traveling this summer.  I just realized that my latest blog post was about a road I travel often and how I paid more attention to it this week as MN passed the Freedom to Marry act.

3. Who are your fellow travelers? Most of the time it’s just me and some good music to jam out too when I’m traveling. But on the road of life, I am traveling it with my family, mom, dad, sister, stepmom, grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins, etc.

4. Who are the unintentional companions (or hitchhikers) that you find on the road with you? I cant think of any at the moment. Perhaps those that read my blog, those that I meet along the way, etc!

5. As a family, we always recite “the traveler’s prayer” — a tongue-in-cheek petition as we pull out of the driveway (“Lord, whatever we have forgotten, may it not be important!”) What have you forgotten lately, and did it matter? I haven’t forgotten anything lately. So nope it didn’t matter.

BONUS: Share a photo of a road you’ve traveled. Or of traveling companions who have made the journey special. Or perhaps there’s a song or another poem that suits your journey. If so, please share! Some of my favorite trips have been with friends. Traveling to Iowa for our friend’s wedding with my friend C as we jammed out to some good ol’ Mumford and Sons; stopping at one of our fave holy ground spaces. Also traveling through Arkansas-Oklahoma-Kansas with my friend H as we visited some of her family and some of my family. Going to Milwaukee with my friends L and M during seminary.

Top Photo: A Place Good for My Soul
Bottom Photo: My friend C and I at our friend’s wedding last October

“That They All May Be One”

Anytime I drive from Moorhead into Fargo or go home to Ashley for a holiday or vacation, I see a “Welcome to MN” sign as I take the first exit into Moorhead and to my apartment. For the most part, it is something that I know is there but don’t really pay that close of attention to it. However it was different this afternoon. Right as I was leaving work to go to Zumba, I saw that Minnesota passed the Freedom to Marry bill.(I’ll be honest I was ecstatic. I know not everyone feels that way but that was how I was feeling.) On my way home from Zumba, I came to my exit and saw that sign again. Yet today it was different. Today my heart was happy. Today I knew that those words were true…..more true than they had been an hour ago or even 24 hours or 6 years ago.

I felt tears welling up in my eyes as I turned onto that exit leading me home. Tears welling up for my dear friend L and her wife M and their beautiful son L. He has always been both of theirs and always will be. However because their marriage wasn’t legal, they could run into all sorts of obstacles. Because L didn’t carry their son, she had to legally adopt him. Today though they are and will truly be a family in the eyes of the law. What a beautiful step. I think of the members of their church family who stood with them today at the Capitol grounds. For them, there is and never will be a line between who is and who is out!

I think of my friend J who is going to marry his sweetheart next month in R’s home state. I met J after he graduated seminary and through mutual aquantances of both of ours. I’ve always respected and admired J for being honest with who he is. I mean that in the best possible light. What has saddened me throughout this whole journey is that J has been able to marry many others but has never been able to legally marry himself. There is just something totally not right with that picture. He deserves to marry as much as you and I do. Today J and R can now both get married in their home states.

I think of the many others who now will be able to legally be a family. I don’t know what Jesus will say when we all get to heaven, but what I do know is Jesus always chose love. Jesus was always the one crossing the line onto the other side. Yet I know there are people hurting tonight because of this decision…people who don’t understand. I keep coming back to Jesus’ words to his disciples that night in the upper room…”that they all may be one.” Jesus spoke these words to his disciples that last night in the upper room even though they were far from being one themselves. Today I’m proud to be a Minnesotan but I know that there are those who do not agree with this decision. In the end and despite our disagreements, may peace prevail…

So tonight as we lay our heads down for the night, may we pray for all….for all God’s people…for the people on both sides of the line…may we pray that peace; God’s peace will always prevail!

As Women We Walk Together….

“To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children – we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be.” These words posted on a friend’s FB page written by Amy Young hit so close to home for me. At almost 35 years old, I deeply yearn to be a mom. I try to be patient but that is so much easier said than done. I have yearned to be a mama for as long as I can remember! I want to be a mama just like my mama has been for me.

I watch my friends be “mommas” and I can’t help but smile. I am so thankful for the gift they are to their children. But I also mourn for my friends who have struggled with infertility and miscarriages. My heart aches for them…as I know they so deeply want to be a momma for the first time or again. I don’t always understand why this happens. I find myself asking God “Why?” And at times, it just doesn’t seem fair.

Yes, life hasn’t turned out the way I have longed for it to be. I keep telling myself that it will happen when God says that I am ready. Yet there is a piece of me that feels incomplete. I know that isn’t true. But so much of the world is all about celebrities becoming pregnant. I mean looking at how the world is all over how Kate Middleton is doing throughout her pregnancy. Yet the truth is some of the neatest single women in my life aren’t mothers yet they care like a mother cares for her children. I honestly do want to be a momma but I know that my friends who are single and not mommas are mommas in their own right too. Someday I hope and pray that life will turn out the way I want and will make me a momma…whether that be biological or through adoption.

Below is the rest of the poem from Amy Young. It captures so well what being a momma looks like in our world. Happy Mother’s Day everyone! This is for all of you my friends who are mommas, who yearn to be mommas, etc!

From Grace Lutheran for Mother’s Day:

“To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you. To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you. To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you.

To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you. To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is.

To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you. To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you. To those who have disappointment, heartache, and distance with your children – we sit with you.

To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you. To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your experience. To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst. To those who have aborted children – we remember them and you on this day.

To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children – we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be. To those who step-parent – we walk with you on these complex paths. To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren, yet that dream is not to be – we grieve with you.

To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you. To those who placed children up for adoption – we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you.

This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you. (By Amy Young)”

Friday Fivin’ It

1. If you could hear what someone is thinking for a day, who would you choose, and why? That’s a hard one. Perhaps Mother Theresa. Or Kate Middleton. I’m really not sure who I would choose.

2. If you were trapped in a tv show for a month, which show would you choose, and why? I would totally love to be trapped in the Big Bang Theory. That show is so funny. I think it would be a blast to be trapped with them. My second choice would probably be How I Met Your Mother.

3. If you could do any job in the world for a day, what would it be? I love holding babies. So any job that would let me hold babies for a day would be AWESOME. I’m not thinking a nanny or daycare. Maybe hanging out at the hospital as a nurse or something like that.

4. What are you loving right now? This weather…SPRING finally decided to show up. And it has been marvelous! I’m loving that work is starting to slow down a bit.

5. Use these words in a sentence: bless, cheeseburger, chihauha, skipping, Georgia
Georgia will bless her skipping chihauha as she eats a cheeseburger!

Spring has Sprung….FINALLY!

Spring has finally sprung here in the Red River Valley. I swear this has been the longest winter that I can think of. I mean just last week schools were closing near Minneapolis and surrounding areas because of snow. A snow day in May…crazy! But Spring finally has sprung which means that summer surely will soon be here. In Spring, I always find myself cleaning out my drawers and closets, getting out my summer furniture etc. There is just something so great about Spring cleaning. So I decided the blog needed a new look for the Spring too. I like it. I hope you do too!

In other news, my inner three year old seems to have decided to hide. At least for now. I don’t see her working her way out of my body…finding herself laying on the floor screaming that she hasn’t gotten her way yet. I think this space…this safe place…has brought me a sense of peace. Thank you for that my dear readers and friends. Peace is exactly what I need right now. Who knows what the future will hold? But I trust and have hope that God will make it happen for me when the time is right. That’s just not always easy to trust in though! There are times when I wish there were road signs telling me where to go, what is going to happen next, etc. Anyone else feel that way at times too?

So tonight filled with peace (and hope), I wait…wait for that moment to happen. And cling to this wonderful gift of you my dear readers and friends who have told me you are praying for me! Thank you! Jesus says “Do not let your hearts be troubled” and “Peace be with you” in the book of John. These words are words that are not easy to trust in either but having you all in my corner reminds me of this wonderful gift of grace, love, hope and peace!

Playing Along Friday Five

1. Tell about your favorite outdoor play
There are so many games I love playing outdoors. One that totally reminds me of my childhood is “Anty I Over (Is that how you spell it?). Playing in the pool is the best. Volleyball, tag, etc in the pool are so much fun!

2. Tell about your favorite indoor play
Board Games! There is just something so much fun about playing board games. I love them all but the classics are the best…Clue, Scrabble, Scattegories, etc! Apples to Apples is one of my faves!!

3. Tell about a game you (or your friends) created. I must lead a pretty boring life because I cant think of any games that I or my friends created! 😛 Can you think of anything we’ve created friends?

4. Tell about a game that is new to you. There really aren’t many games that are new to me but I guess if I need to pick one it would be curling. I don’t know much about the sport of curling.

5. Tell how you would like to incorporate play into your workday. I try to incorporate play into my work when I can. I love the moments when I get to play with the kiddos. I wish I got more of those moments! 🙂