A Short and Sweet Update

Everything all of a sudden feels so real. My guest bedroom has become the staging area and there isn’t much room to walk. Tomorrow I preach my last sermon at DLC. This is probably the hardest sermon I’ve ever had to write. I know the Holy Spirit will be with me but still nervous to preach it tomorrow. How do you capture the last 6 years in just a few short minutes? So that’s what’s on my mind tonight! Prayers for tomorrow’s word being proclaimed would be much appreciated my dear readers and friends!

Spiritual Purge

Lots of boxes are cluttering my guest bedroom right now. The spare bed that I have been borrowing has been picked up and returned to its owner. The cupboards and drawers in the kitchen are starting to look very empty. And my walls look extremely bare right now. I also have taken several bags to the dumpster and have a pile to be taken to the local thrift store.

Having a pile ready for the thrift store means that I have been “purging” as I have been packing my boxes. For some reason, it feels so good to get rid of stuff that I don’t need or haven’t used since I moved in here six years ago. Under my bathroom sink, there must be like 15 bottles of body lotion. Pure insanity! I don’t imagine that I will take them all with me when I leave. But I do hope that I can share them with a friend or two. I hate throwing full and half opened bottles away. It just feels so wrong when so many around the world dont have the luxuries that I/ we have in the world.

There is something so incredibly life-giving about purging. I need to purge everything else in my life; the busyness etc so I can spend more time with God and not be so focused on other stuff. Perhaps we need to have a spiritual purge; purging everything else so that we can spend more time with God. I think after I move and get settled I am going to purge more of the unnecessary stuff in my life so I can more consistently spend time with God. You would think that working in a church that I spend enough time with God. But what I have realized is that I am God at encouraging it in others etc but I dont always take the time to pray for myself..and talk to God about my hopes and fears.

An Incredibly Random Friday Five

1. What’s up? How are you? I am getting for a transition. I have accepted a new call and am 9 days away from my last day at my current  call. So I am full of all sorts of emotions; happiness, sadness, joy, sorrow, etc. It is such a weird place to be and so very bittersweet but am ready for this new adventure and to be closer to my momma.

2.
If you were a Panda Bear that could speak O.k., even that is too random for me. You are moving to a new office. You can only take five books with you (pretend there is no thing such as kindle, nook, etc.). What would they be BESIDES teh Bible, which is already written on your hearts, yes? I laughed when I read this question because I am moving and getting a new office (as I stated in the above question). So if I had to pick five books besides the Bible, I would pick (1) Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber, (2) The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen, (3)Vibrant Faith in the Congregation by Dr. David Anderson, (4) From Word to Sacrament: The History of the Diaconate–Dr. Duane Larson (5) One of my fave children’s books about being from the Prairie. I am blanking on the title and that bookshelf has already been packed away into boxes so I cant go check.

3. If you had a superpower that could give you a five hour retreat, and you could go anywhere in the world to spend those five hours on retreat (because you have superpowers, ya’ know?), where would you go? There are two places that I would go to; two of my favorite places on Earth; SuperAwesomeBibleCamp (aka Camp of the Cross in Western ND) and Wartburg Seminary. I haven’t been to WTS in so long and that is a holy place that I yearn to be at.

4. What piece of music, song, hymn, etc. are you diggin’ right now? One of my favorite Christian bands at the moment is For King and Country. But I also am diggin’ The Rend Collective Experiment. The Rend Collective reminds me of Mumford and Sons. And of course, Psalm 30 by Ben Larson always holds a special place in my heart too.

5. Use the following words in a sentence (or two): Tangle, dribble, hook, Panda, shark, smile, worry, island. The Panda will dribble a basketball with a smile on his face. The shark will worry especially when he seeks a hook that could tangle him up.

Not Much To Say

I am a rule follower; always have been and probably always will be. So like some of my other friends when committing to do something, it feels like cheating when I don’t do something. So since I am attempting to blog a post every day this month, it feels wrong for me to not post anything at all. But it has been a long day and I’m tired…so I don’t have much to say tonight. I spent the day at work and then this afternoon had my exit interview with the synod as I prepare to leave for a new call. I am thankful for the four individuals from my current call who sat with me. It was a humbling and uplifting experience. I am so thankful for that. So tonight I simply want to say “Goodnight.” Goodnight my dear readers and friends. May you rest well tonight too. And hopefully I’ll have something more substantial to say tomorrow. And if not, you might get a fun Friday Five post! Or maybe it will be your lucky day and you will get both. Goodnight all!

Saints and Sinners

In good Lutheran terms, I know that I am both “saint and sinner.” I make stupid choices. But I also know that God forgives me when I make those stupid choices too. I try not to swear but sometimes it happens. Lately I have found the word “darn it” slipping out. Tonight it happened when I was saying thank you and goodbye to my 7th Grade Confirmation class and their mentors. I apologized for using the word. It’s the second time it has happened in the last several weeks. Yes, it accidently happened in the pulpit when I was preaching my sermon a few weeks ago. I was mortified that it happened here!

I don’t have a habit of using those words but for some reason, this word has been slipping out. And coming from my mouth, I’ll admit this word seems a little strange. I remember one summer at camp a co-counselor asking me to say the “F Word” because he just couldnt see it coming from my mouth. He was like you are just not meant to use swear words. Which I guess truly is a good thing. But as the word “darn it” has fallen from my mouth I realize that it helps people see me as real. Like everyone else I make mistakes. I use not nice words when I shouldnt etc.

I am thankful for people like Nadia Bolz-Weber who remind me that I need to be who God created me to be. Nadia doesn’t apologize for who she is. Nadia isnt afraid to share that she has lived a rough life and that she, in her words, “swears like a truck driver.” I understand that people think that leaders shouldnt swear etc and I get that. But leaders need to be REAL…to be who they are…to be who God created them to be.

We are all “saint and sinner.” And God claims us in the midst of our sainthood and our sinfulness. God forgives us of our sins and continually calls and claims us as God’s children. Since we were born and throught the holy waters of Baptism, God says “You are mine.” That is an eternal promise; an eternal promise for all “saints and sinners.”

“What If Healing Comes Through Tears”

“What if healing comes through tears…” Driving home from a meeting at church tonight, I heard these words as the music blared from my speakers. I’ve heard these words many times. These words are from Christian artist Laura Story’s song “Blessings.” But for some reason, these words caught me more than ever tonight.

Maybe they caught me more than ever because  I am in the midst  of a transition; only 12 days left at my current call. Time has gone so fast. And the goodbyes are so very difficult to say. Tonight I was at church for my last Education committee meeting. They brought goodies to the meeting because it was my last meeting. I was touched by their simple gesture! And realized that this was yet another goodbye.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am Miss Emotional. I mean come on, I’ve been known to cry at Hallmark commercials. But tonight as I was listening to these words from Laura Story’s song, I found myself realizing that perhaps tears are one of my gifts…that tears are a way for me to express my emotions and to heal. Perhaps the tears I have been shedding these last several weeks and that will be shed over the next 12 days are a way for me to say goodbye; to prepare for this new adventure but also these tears are God’s way of helping me heal.

And perhaps tears aren’t such a bad thing after all…

Friends

I just returned home from one of the first of several goodbye dinners. The gals I met up with tonight are ladies I met while doing Zumba at Curves. Since that Curves has closed, many of us have gone our seperate ways with working out etc. But last month we got together and had supper. After I shared my news about moving, they were like we definetely need to get together one last time so I proposed a time and a place.

I left my apartment at about 6:10 pm and arrived around 6:20 pm or so. When I entered into the restaurant they were like you can’t come over here yet. So I went to the bathroom and waited until they gave me the go ahead to come back. We visited and waited for a few of the other ladies to arrive too. Once everyone arrived, they handed me a card and said, “We wanted to do a little something for you.” I opened up the beautiful handmade card; only to find some cash. I was flabbergasted. I didn’t expect anything at all but this was such a beautiful gesture.

We ordered our meals and spent over an hour visiting and eating our meal. My soul was so full as I sat with them. I laughed so hard that at times my eyes were watering. I found myself taking in each and every moment of this gathering tonight. I am so thankful that my path and their paths have crossed.  I am so blessed to have these individuals in my life.

It is so incredible to me how God places people into our lives and our lives are blessed because of those relationships. I can think of so many relationships/friendships were that is true. I think of my collegues in youth ministry. I think of my friends from Camp of the Cross. I think of my friends from college, high school and seminary days. I think of those I have met through the Lutheran Academy of the Rockies. I think of so many friendships throughout the course of my life. But there are also times I wonder if I am a good friend at all. But then I experience something like I did tonight and I realize that I have made a difference…that I too have blessed someone else’s life.

So tonight I simply want to say “thank you” for being my friend; for blessing me beyond words! You are all such incredible blessings in my life and I don’t know where I would be without ALL of YOU! Thank you for loving me for who God created me to be. Thank you for showing me God’s love and grace through our friendships!

For All The Saints…

Growing up I never experienced much death. I don’t remember attending a funeral with my parents. I do remember others getting out of school for a grandparent or another family member’s funeral. I remember thinking I was fortunate to still have my grandparents etc in my life.

Then that all changed. My dad’s dear friend lost his wife. My good friend lost her mother. I remember walking into that sanctuary with my family. I remember feeling many raw emotions. My friend’s mom was so good to my mom; a dear friend who was always there for us and none she was gone. And like my friend I had many questions; What happened? Why did she die?

After that experience it was several years before I experienced someone in my life dying. This time it was my grandfather. I remember driving hours and many miles so my mom and I would be at the funeral. I remember seeing Grandpa laying so still in that casket. I remember crying and grieving the loss of this dear person in my life. I remember at the cemetery laying the urn next to his own mom and dad!

Almost five years ago, my best friend was laid to rest. I remember picking up my phone and hearing the words from her mom. I miss her every day. And then about three years later we laid Grandma to rest as well. And then over the last couple of years my cousin has had to lay her little children to rest as well.

In January of 2010, I wept and mourned as I heard about the Haiti earthquake. My friend Renee was there with her husband and her husbands cousin. And soon we learned that Renee’s husband Ben had lost his life. A life cut way too short. I found myself grieving for Renee but also grieving for the losses she would experience because of Bens death.

My heart aches…aches for all those relationships that have been lost. Yet I am reminded of the words to Psalm 30 “Weeping may come for the night, but joy comes with the morning!”

These beautiful saints are blessings in our lives and I am glad that God placed them in my life. I’m thankful for all that they taught me. And so today I say thank you for these saints in my life; these saints who now from their labors rest; Renee, Sam, Bess, Maia, Jack, Arlys, Mandy, Shan, Ben, Reinie, and so many others.

These saints have made a difference in my life. And there are so many still here who have made a difference too. So as another bloggy friend suggested, ” Who are you going to let know that they have been a blessing in your life?”

Cloud of Witnesses

A Bible in a beautiful pink handmade Bible cover has been sitting in my office since my Grandma passed away several years ago. My aunt and I were cleaning Grandma’s nursing home room after Grandma’s funeral when she came across the Bible in a drawer. She looked at me and said, “You’d like this wouldn’t you?” No words were spoken or needed to be spoken in that moment. Auntie C simply handed it to me. I treasure that Bible so much! It represents one of the many in my “cloud of witnesses.”

Just the other day as I was packing up my office, this dear Bible was carefully packed away in the box for this next move.

Also my Uncle on my dad’s side showed me a very well worn well loved Bible that made its way from Germany to the United States. The Bible is my great great great grandmothers. And Uncle T wants me to have it. It is very brittle and delicate but it too reminds me of my “cloud of witnesses.”

There are so many who make up my “cloud of witnesses”; who have nurtured me in faith and values. They have made me into the woman of Faith that I am today!

It is so important for us all to share what we have been taught by our “cloud of witnesses.” In my current call, my job has been to help equip homes to pass on faith and values. We encourage the Vibrant Faith Ministries 4 Keys for Christian Living: Caring Conversation, Rituals/Traditions, Devotion/Prayer/Worship and Service. We’ve watched divorced homes sit together for Confirmation class. We’ve seen how important it is to help equip homes to pass on faith and values. Each home is surrounded by their own “cloud of witnesses.” Today’s youth need parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, etc to be a part of their “cloud of witnesses.”

Seeing the “cloud of witnesses” isn’t always easy in our fast paced world. It isn’t easy in a world of broken homes. So how can we help equip homes to pass on faith and values? How can we help make sure that youth and all generations are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses?

My First Attempt at NaBloPoMo

Well let’s see how this goes! So apparently it is NaBloPoMo (national blog post month). I have been trying to blog more but like some of my friends etc I have a hard time blogging because I am not sure if I have anything to say! But I figure it is worth giving something a try at  least once! 🙂

Anyone who knows me knows that I am an extremely emotional person? I cry at just about anything; Hallmark commercials, sappy movies, sad movies, etc! I also can get overly excited. In other words, I love HARD! Right friends! I mean I might as well invest in Kleenex stock, right?!?!

I’ve been thinking a lot about who I am as an emotional woman lately as I prepare for this new call. It is so very bittersweet to leave a place that has blessed me in so many ways. I couldnt even get through my Confirmation sermon last week and my sermon on wrestling with God the week before without tears. In some ways it feels so surreal. And other ways I am so excited. Excited to start this new adventure that God has called me too. Excited to be closer to my family. Excited to…in many ways….come home; home to Western ND.

Yet the tears still well up in my eyes! And sometimes I get upset that I am so emotional. I get frustrated that I cry when I dont want to. But then I remember…remember that this is who I am…and this is who God created me to be! A VERY VERY EMOTIONAL WOMAN who experiences life and its emotions with all its intensity and all its joy.

“Weeping may come for the night but joy comes with the morning”  Psalm 30

(And as I think about what I am going to blog about this month, Im asking you my readers, what should I blog about?)