Black Friday Shopping

We went Black Friday shopping today! Nope, we weren’t some of the crazy people who were there bright and early. We didn’t start shopping until about 11 am.

It was somewhat thinned out by the time we started shopping. And I’ll admit that there were people who were not the nicest. I remember standing in Menards where my Grandma really needed a cart. She likes to lean on one to help her walk. She got a cart from one of the employees and a younger woman just shook her head. But for the most part people were kind. They waited their turn. They held doors open etc.

I know that isn’t the case for all Black Friday experiences but it was our experience today and for that I am grateful.

ABC's of Thankfulness 2013

First I want to begin by saying Happy Thanksgiving to you all. A year ago I posted a list of my ABCs of thankfulness so I though I would follow suit here today. So sorry if this post gets a little long. And also thank you if you manage to read all the way through this post.

(A) My sister whose name begins with A. I’m so blessed to have her in my life !

(B) Babies!!! I am thankful for all the new babies that have been born. And anyone who knows me knows how much I love babies!!

(C) Camp of the Cross Ministries

(D) Dilworth Lutheran Church. Thank you for blessing my life and making me into the woman leader I am today!

(E) Every Day an Adventure; my friend Sarah’s blog and many other blogs I am blessed to read

(F) Friends; awesome, amazing, blessed—-also First Lutheran Church as I begin my call there–Family

(G) God’s grace

(H) House–my beautiful cute new home—as well as my beloved Huskers

(I) I-phone–I am thankful for the ability to stay in touch with friends and family

(J) Japan where my friend Heather and her hubby are living–I miss her but love hearing about their adventures there

(K) Kindle–I love being able to read lots of books and not having more books to add to my already huge pile

(L)Love—God’s love

(M) My momma—Minnesota—Minot—my friend Mike

(N) North Dakota–I love my beloved prairies of ND and am so thankful for being back—as well as the NWMN synod–and Nebraska where I was born

(O) Owl— gift given to me by a dear friend picked out by her kiddos. He’s perched in my car and it always reminds me of my friend and her dear family.

(P) Prayers; lifted for me–that I’ve lifted for others

(Q) Quarters; I’m thankful I don’t have to find quarters anymore every time I want to do laundry

(R) Rook—playing Rook with my family—Rest and Relaxation

(S) Sleep; getting a good nights sleep

(T) Target. I enjoy shopping at Target.

(U) University of Mary

(V) Vacation

(W) Wartburg Theological Seminary and Western ND synod

(X) Xtremely awesome friends

(Y) Youth in my life

(Z) Zumba–I’m still lovin’ Zumba and my Zumba gals

God Works Through Us

“The Lord is calling you to live as an apostle, to be ready, willing, and able to help him help those around you. Christ wants all people to come to Him and His church. He works through us to make that happen.”—Pope Francis

Like many of my friends, the more I hear Pope Francis speak the more I love him! But these words have especially hit home for me tonight. God calls all of us to be disciples!

And God definitely works through us to make Christ’s people come to him and through the church! When I look throughout my life, I can think of so many who have helped me to turn to Christ and Christ’s church. There is my momma who is an incredible woman of faith and continually reminds me of God’s love for all people! There are my colleagues who have taught me so much about Christ and Christ’s church. There are the children and homes who have modeled Christ’s love for the world! And the list goes on and on!

But do we always see when God uses us; when God uses me? Nope! That’s right I don’t often see when God uses me to lead others to Christ and Christ’s church. But the truth is that God does use me. I’ve noticed that more recently as I have read the “thank you” cards and notes that I received as I left my last call. I DID and DO make a difference! I am “blessed to be a blessing.” Yet that is something I don’t always see. And my guess is that I am not alone. However each of us is called to make a difference and God uses us to show others Christ and lead them to Christ’s church.

So my friends this week take a moment and reflect on how God has used you to make a difference.

I Think I Can (and Other Musings)

I think I can….
I think I can….
I think I can….

Yep when I started this challenge at the beginning of the month I thought no problem, I should be able to think of something to blog about every day. Little did I realize how crazy this month would be! Packing boxes, finishing up a call, moving, unpacking boxes, starting a new call…and somehow I have found a way to blog about something every day. Yet tonight I feel like the little engine that could—I think I can…I think I can…I think can. Hopefully I can make it the next few days until Sunday December 1st.

Ever since I can remember I have loved to write. My mom said she used to give me a pen and a piece of paper when I was little and I was a happy camper. There is something incredibly holy about sitting and writing for me. Yet taking on this challenge has pushed my limits! I wonder at all if I have anything to say. I watch my blogger tracker so I know that people are reading my blogs. But there is a deep part of me that watches for people to comment on my blog. Something about the comments seems to validate my post which I know isn’t the case at all. And so I still wonder if I have anything to say at all!

It’s kind of like when I preach. I NEVER felt the call to be an ordained minister. I knew that I didn’t want to preach every week. And I have incredible respect for those who do! Over the years at DLC, my colleague and I came to an agreement and I preached once a month. I will be honest…I was scared to death the first time that I preached a sermon. I didn’t think I had ANYTHING to say at all so I put all my trust in the Holy Spirit. If I were to go back and listen to that first sermon, I know that I would cringe. Yet over the course of the six years, I know that I have grown immensely in my preaching due to the power of the Holy Spirit. And I only say that because of the people who have made comments and told me how they were touched by one of my sermons. It definitely hasn’t been about me!  (And I secretly enjoy writing and (sometimes) preaching my sermons. I am still glad that I don’t have to do it weekly!)

For me, writing has always been important. It has helped me share about my family’s struggles with mental illness. It has been my way of praying…when I can’t seem to get the words out and lifted up to God in any other way. Writing has opened a window to my heart and to my soul in so many ways. I may not always post a blog post because it truly is difficult to post a blog post every day. Harder than I ever imagined! Yet this blog is a way for me to put my thoughts out there, to share a piece of me with you my readers, without holding back who I am and/or what I have to say.

I know I can…
I know I can…
I know I can…

Finding Meaning

Some days/some weeks/some years it seems like all I am posting about…is the things that I yearn so deeply for…to find my Mr. Right, to have a family, etc. This past week I have found that I haven’t been thinking so much about those things since I am trying to get settled in my new home. Yet when I see a baby being baptized in worship, when I hear a child’s laughter, when I see a sweet older couple, I still find that my view is not obstructed and I still want those things. And like I have said before, I know that this will happen in God’s timing and not my own, yet that is so much easier said than done.

Yes, I could adopt or do foster care but that isn’t easy either. I find myself continually praying for God to show me what God has in store for me and my life. There are days that I can simply go on living my life and yet there are days that I wish/hope/pray for God to make it happen sooner rather than later. Those are totally the times that I want God to give me road signs, traffic signs, etc. Will this happen for me?

I have a dear friend in my life who I have been so blessed to have in my life. Yet he is going through a difficult time himself so I am simply being a good friend. Yet there are times when I wonder what God has in store for us too. I sat down and wrote a letter to this individual because I needed to get my feelings written down on paper (I haven’t shared it and don’t know if I ever will!). This person is someone I can talk so openly and honestly with. This person is someone who makes me smile and who I enjoy spending time. This person is definetely a blessing in my life. Yet following the call of the Holy Spirit, I wonder what that means for us…for our friendship…etc. There are times that I continually question and wonder why God placed this person in my life at the right time and right place.

I am not sure what this all means. What I do know that I simply need to trust in God. I need to trust that God will answer all the prayers that are being lifted up on my behalf (So many told me that they were praying for these things for me as I left my last call!). I need to trust that God has a plan for my life and that everything will fall into place as it is meant to be.

“For surely I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord…plans to prosper and not to harm you, to give you a future with hope.”

The Return of Sunday Blessings (Sunday Blessings #14)

I was being so good about listing my blessings every Sunday. But then life got away from me and I haven’t posted them in a really really long time. This week (from last Sunday to today) has been full of all sorts of blessings. And since I am trying to blog something every day for this National Blog Post Month I thought I would reinstate them today. So here are some of the blessings I have spotted this past week.

(1) A Wonderful Sending Blessing in Worship as I said goodbye to DLC

(2) An awesome Going-Away Lunch. I am so incredibly thankful for all those who came out to bid me farewell.

(3) All the Going-Away gifts. I am incredibly humbled by this as well. Thank You doesn’t quite seem like enough. From the items for my new home to the gift cards to everything in between I am so thankful. The gorgeous Going-Away gift from DLC now hangs on my dining room wall. I love that wall hanging so much. And tonight I am wrapped up in the quilt from our DLC quilters.

(4) My colleague and his wife letting me stay with them the night before I headed out for this new adventure

(5) The new church being so excited to receive me. The call committee chair brought over a small gift and flowers on Tuesday night as I arrived here.

(6) Getting settled into my new home

(7) Meeting new friends and spending time talking theology with them at their Thursday Tavern Talk

(8) The Sunday School kids making me an awesome going-away card. And presenting me with it. As well as our fun little sing along

(9) Running into an high school neighbor and friend

(10) Spending time with my aunts and uncle. Shopping for my house, hanging pictures, sitting and talking over supper, and having them worship with me at my new call.

(11) Arriving at my new office and realizing I have an official sign above my door. I also was surprised by how spacious it is.

(12) Breakfast with my new colleague and his wife; getting to know them a little bit.

(13) One of the guys from my call committee being a huge help; helping me haul boxes from my house to my office.

(14) My family FINALLY finishing in the fields! Wooo HOOOO!!!!!

Well that’s a pretty good list. I probably could think of a few more but for tonight and this week this will be good. I might have to see if I can keep up posting Sunday Blessings more regularly!

Making A House a Home

It’s been a busy day! And my house is finally starting to feel like my home which I am loving!

Some of my family is in town for a convention so my aunt and I went out earlier today. We purchased some items for my house. We bought some new curtains. We purchased a snow shovel for those snowy ND nights. And of course, we got some other items for the house as well.

Then later my uncle helped me hang some pictures. The beautiful gift from DLC is now hanging in my dining room. The coat/key rack is hanging too. Tonight as I sit on my couch I am finally feeling like I am home again.

I know that home is truly where your heart is and that is true. But it is also true that there is something about making a place YOURS. Yes, I miss my friends and family and the relationships that have formed over the last 6 years. And I am looking forward to making new friends. And that all will come in time. But tonight I am definetely feeling like this place is HOME!

Thanksgiving Food Friday Five

1. Turkey: love it? hate it? self-basted? fry it or roast it? Tofu-turkey? Tell me more. (I’ve only had one roasted turkey come out totally delish so I’m fishing for your tips!) There is just something about eating Turkey on Thanksgiving. I don’t hate turkey but I wouldn’t say I love it either. I do like it though! And totally roast it.

2. Stuffing: bagged? homemade? sage? sausage? cornbread? oysters? nuts? Got any inspiration for me? I love, love, love STUFFING! Any kind of stuffing too. I have even been known to make Stovetop stuffing for supper. I know, I know, not the healthiest choice but it is such a comfort food for me.

3. Cranberries: When we celebrated Thanksgiving in Europe one year, our French friends thought we were nuts to choose a very sour berry and then load it with sugar. (Let alone the stuff that comes out of a can in a blob of gelatinous ooze!) What do you do with cranberries? Sorry I just cannot do cranberries!

4. Potatoes: (Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew…) What’s your pleasure? I’m a girl who loves carbs so potatoes are on the top of my list. I like them mashed. I like them in a stew. I like them fried. And I also love sweet potatoes…especially candied sweet potatoes.

5. Pie: I’m married to the Pie Man. Anything but coconut pie floats his boat. What do you make? (or buy?) Pumpkin? Pecan? Apple? I can’t remember the last time I made a pie. But I like just about any kind of pie…apple, pecan, cococonut cream and so much more. My fave is pecan though.

BONUS: A recipe that you’ve tried out and will make it to your table this year. I don’t cook the meal but if I were to bring something, I would probably bring some of my pumpkin muffins. I found these on Pinterest and they were such a big hit.

Streusel Muffins
  • 2
    cups all-purpose flour
  • 1
    cup sugar
  • 1
    teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1
    teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1
    (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2
    cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2
    large eggs
  • 2
    teaspoons vanilla extract
the cinnamon streusel topping
  • 1/4
    cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4
    cup brown sugar
  • 2
    teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2
    tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
the glaze
  • 1/2
    cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1
    tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1-2
    tablespoons milk

oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners; set
make the streusel topping, combine
flour, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add cold butter and toss to
coat, using your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients until it
resembles coarse crumbs.
a large bowl, combine flour,
sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and
a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree,
butter, eggs and vanilla.
mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until
the batter evenly into the muffin tray. Sprinkle with reserved topping, using
your fingertips to gently press the crumbs into the batter.
into oven and bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center
comes out clean.

make the glaze, combine confectioners’ sugar, butter and milk. Whisk
until smooth. If the glaze is too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar as
the muffins are done, cool for 10 minutes and drizzle the glaze on each
glaze to set before serving.

Just A Little Light

All of a sudden I am sitting in darkness. Yep earlier tonight I had just settled in to watch “The Big Bang Theory” when all of a sudden my lights and tv flickered off. But they did not flicker back on, they stayed off. I thought perhaps I had tripped a breaker so I took the candle that was burning and worked my way down into my basement where I found the breaker box. Unfortunately that did nothing. So I worked my way back upstairs and found my way back to my phone so I could call the electrical company. They told me that it was a power outage that affected over 2000 costumers and it would be a couple of hours before it got restored. (It was about an hour and a half.) I was thankful that I had agreed to go out with some new friends for their Thursday evening Tavern Talk.

As I sat in my very dark house, I lit several candles. It is amazing how candles produce just a little light; and that little light can help us see. I didn’t need many candles to see just a little ways. But I am thankful for those candles that produce just enough light. And as I sat in the dark I couldn’t help but think of Jesus as the “light in the midst of the darkness.” Jesus truly comes in the light in the midst of the darkness especially when we need it most.

The Advent season is soon upon us and Advent always reminds me of the beauty of this precious Son born in a manger in Bethlehem who comes as the light in the midst of the darkness. For some reason, I find myself reflecting on this more during the season of Advent. Perhaps because the days are shorter and it gets darker earlier. Perhaps because there is so much consumerism that skews our view of what is important. God sent God’s son into the world to be the hope in the midst of the despair and to be the light in the midst of the darkness.

Like the little candle, we don’t need much to see God. God is continually the light in the midst of the darkness!

Serving the Neighbor

Tonight as I sit in my new home as it snows outside, I am reminded of the many who don’t have a place to call home; who don’t have a bed to sleep in and who call the streets their homes at night.

I don’t always understand the choices people make. I know that some would rather buy cigarettes etc than buy the things they really need. But I also know that’s not true for everyone. There are so many for whom this is NOT the choices they would make at all. They would do what they can to provide their family with the needs they need.

Because I/we are the fortunate ones, it is important for us to follow Jesus’ example of servanthood. It brings me such joy to watch youth collect food for those who are less fortunate. It brings me joy to watch as presents are wrapped and given to Operation Christmas Child. It brings me such joy to watch families and homes work together to serve their neighbors.

“As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”