The Day I Lost My I-phone

Yesterday my sister and I were driving back from a little road trip when I somehow lost my phone. We aren’t exactly sure where it was lost. We thought it had been lost in the car, but it wasn’t anywhere to be found in my sister’s car. At one point, the door was open and I am guessing my sister’s phone and mine were in the sidedoor pocket. We opened the door at one point, so my guess is it is laying in a snowbank somewhere along the side of the road. We walked the road for quite a while but it was below zero out and we never found it.

My sister looked at me at one point and said, “If it was my phone, I would be more upset.” I looked at her and was like, “It is replaceable.” Yes, I am a little sad that I might lose some of my Christmas pictures. But my phone was backed up to the cloud, so I shouldn’t lose everything. I called Verizon this morning and am having a replacement phone overnighted to me. It’s amazing to me how connected to our phones we are and we don’t realize it until we don’t have it.

My #oneword365 for 2014 was “Gentle.” As I sat in my sister’s car yesterday, I thought to myself I really have become more gentle with myself. A year ago I probably would have shed some tears and maybe even would have gotten pretty upset when I lost my phone. But yesterday I found myself in a much calmer and gentler state. I guess my #oneword365 had indeed made me a gentler person as I have lived into this word this year. I am thankful for the ways this word has shaped me this year. Thank you #oneword365 gentle! I can’t wait to see what my #oneword365 for 2015 is!

Sunday Blessings 62

(1) The beginning of a two week break. So ready!!

(2) Wrapping some presents for C

(3) Reading on my Kindle. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to do that!!

(4) Hanging with Gma and Gpa

(5) Wrapping a present for Gma

(6) A note from HL saying she received our gift we sent for the kids

(7) Getting a tour of my aunt and uncles new house.

(8) Helping Uncle T move some furniture in his new office

(9) Helping lead Christmas Eve worship at my home church

(10) A text from my friend EG and a message on my FB wall from KG. Love my friends so much. They always know what to say.

(11) Preaching Christmas Day worship at my home church

(12) Getting to meet baby Toby and getting some baby lovin’ in!!

(13) Hugs from some of my fave people

(14) Christmas with the fam; playing Rook, etc.

(15) Lunch and watching Frozen with the fam

(16) Playing and snuggling with my aunt and uncles new ten week old kitten.

(17) More Rook playing

(18) A wonderful one-on-one conversation with my Gma. I love these moments.

(19) A couple of voxer messages. Thanks TM and DB!! So thankful for you gals!!

(20) One of my fave moments this week: my sis and I sitting and watching Husker football with Gma and Gpa.

(21) Roadtripping with my sis

(22) Texting friends as I ride in the car. Something to pass the time.

(23) Finally watching the Fault in our Stars

(24) A Vox from my blog friend KA!

(25) And so many more!

Moving Into the Neighborhood

It is Christmas Eve! I’m currently hanging out at my aunt and uncles. I had to run out to the farm to print my sermon for Christmas morning. The gravel roads to the farm where crummy. My car got caught up a little on a snowdrift. Yet none of this seems to matter to me today. What matters is this infant Emmanuel “God with us” who in the words of Eugene Peterson, “puts on flesh and blood and moves into the neighborhood.”

I don’t know about you but I love that image. Jesus being my next door neighbor. But also Jesus being the one who is finding bodily nourishment at the church in my neighborhood at a soup kitchen

Jesus is born to the unlikeliest people in the unlikeliest of places; in a stinky smell stable surrounded by all sorts of animals. (I smile as I type this looking out the big picture window which overlooks a cattle stall.) Jesus indeed comes on this holy night to remind us of Gods immeasurable love for all people.

I know that this holiday brings about emotions of all kinds including sadness. But, my friends, even in your sadness, no especially in your sadness, Jesus comes as Emmanuel “God with us.” Jesus indeed is the greatest gift; a gift that isn’t returnable by us but rather is a gift that is continually offered and given to us.

This holy story reminds us that we shouldn’t be afraid; “Do not be afraid.”Rather we need to cling to the promise of this one who comes to bring us hope, peace, joy and so much more.

I’m reminded of these words from the Grinch, “It isn’t about boxes, presents and bows. Perhaps Christmas is a little bit more.” Yes my friends Christmas indeed is much more than we could ever imagine!!

And as these words ring in my ears, I hear Linus proudly reciting the words to Luke 2 which we all will hear soon. This version of the holy story is one of my faves because through Linus, I remember and am reminded what this story is all about. It is through this silent holy night that Jesus was born, came in flesh and blood and moved into our neighborhood. And my friends this holy child isn’t going to move out of our neighborhoods any time soon. This precious infant promises to never leave or forsake you. This infant will carry you through your sadness, your joy and all the seasons of your life.

Christmas blessings to you all my dear readers and friends! Merry Christmas to you and yours. May peace be yours on this holy night.

Sunday Blessings #61

(1) A fun surprise in my mailbox

(2) Guest posting on a fellow #write31days friends blog about our #oneword365 “gentleness.”

(3) A Google Hangout call with youth ministry colleagues

(4) Getting to see the Pacific Northern Holiday Train. So much fun!!

(5) Guest posting and sharing my testimony of faith on another #31days friend’s blog.

(6) Christmas gifts from my Confirmation kiddos and other FLC families. I indeed feel loved!!Love them too!!!

(7) FLY Christmas Party. What a blast!!!

(8) Lunch with four amazing woman!! So blessed to have them in my life.

(9) A haircut

(10) A very unexpected Christmas gift. So thankful for all I have received this holiday season.

(11) Talking to my Dad and stepmom on the phone today.

(12) Moms Christmas party at the nursing home. Lots of fun!

(13) Hitting my goal steps of 10000 steps; twice in the same week.

(14) Finishing a little Christmas shopping.

(15) A high five from a parishioner after I preached.

(16) More Christmas goodies and cards.

(17) A member telling me she smiles when I get into the pulpit. Such a sweet compliment!

(18) A great drive home for Christmas break

(19) The youth gathering families helping serve at the Winter Solstice today so I could head home. Thanks everyone! I greatly appreciate it!!!

(20) Watching Forrest Gump with with my Dad

Dear Grief….

I will be linking up with Kate Motaung on her blog this coming Monday. In conjunction with the release of her E-book Letters to Grief, Kate is asking us to blog on, “If you were to write a letter to grief, what would you say?” So here is my letter….

Dear grief,

You find a way into my head and my heart especially during this holiday season. I am reminded of all the wonderful Christmases we had at Grandma and Grandpas, but now they are both gone. My heart aches as I want to talk to my Grandpa and bend his ear as he was such a wise man. I want to hug them both so tightly again. It has been 8-10 years since they have passed but I miss them each and every day!

But the reality, grief, is that I don’t just experience you through the death of a loved one. I experience you through the loss and grief of a parent who lives each day with a mental illness. I love spending time with Momma, but there are so many things that you try to take away from me. You make me angry when I wonder who will hold my hand and go with me wedding dress shopping when I find that Mr. Right. You make me angry as I yearn for the days that I can carry on a longer conversation with her. You try to take away my hope; my hope of sharing grandchildren with her. You also have a way of taking away all of the sparkle I feel when I am with her. I cannot even begin to tell you how many tears you have made me cry; tears that are so heavy; so heavy that you take my breath away.

And as I think about these things, grief, I realize that you are the one who is in control most of the time. And I don’t want you to be in control. No, I need you not to be in control! I want to treasure all the time I have with my Mom. I want to talk to her about boys even if she maybe won’t be able to go wedding dress shop with me. And I realize that one way or another, I will have someone special with me to share in those precious moments with me. I want her to become a Grandma because I know that is something she dreams of and yearns for so deeply.

Grief, yes, most of the time, you are the one who is control because you fill me with such anger. But today I am choosing not to let you diminish my hope. Because grief; my old friend, I am not going to let you have the final word. But rather am going to let God have the final word.

“Weeping may come for the night, but joy comes with the morning!”–Psalm 30:5

O Come Let Us Adore Him, Christ the Newborn King

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Adore.” Write for five minutes; unedited.

“O come let us adore him, Christ the newborn king.”

Growing up on the prairies of North Dakota, I have come to adore the prairies. Standing on the prairies, you can see the sky as high and as wide as you can see. It truly is indescribable. I could sit on the prairies and take it in all the time. These deep dark expansive skys of North Dakota remind me of the beauty and vastness of God’s love for me…for each of us.

Last night as I was walking home from church, I looked up and saw the stars twinkling in the sky. As I thought of the star that called the wisemen to come and adore this newborn king, I was stopped dead in my tracks. For it was on a precious holy night much like the night I was experiencing where we were beckoned and called to come worship and adore this newborn king.

God sent God’s one and only Son into the world because God loves us that much; a love that can take our breath away and is incredibly beautiful and overwhelming. God sent God’s son Emmanuel “God with us” into the world for us to adore and be reminded of God’s love for us.

This love comes in an infant born in an unlikely place in Bethlehem. Anyone who knows me knows that I adore babies and will take any moment I can to hold an infant in my arms. I can’t describe it but when I hold an infant, everything in me is at peace. I could sit and adore that infant in my arms all day long. And that is the beauty of this season as we are reminded of this infant son who reminds us of the promise of hope that comes in this infant we are called to adore.

O come let us adore him, Christ the newborn King.
O Come let us adore him, Christ the newborn King.

Testimony Tuesday

Good Morning Friends! It is Tuesday which means Testimony Tuesday over at Holly Barrett’s place. Today I am visiting at Hollys and sharing my own testimony of faith.

My journey of faith has not been easy. In fact, there have indeed been times when I have questioned God; “Why us?” “Why our family?” Yet in the midst of all of my questioning, God has shown God self to me in ways that I never imagined….Read the Rest!

Gentler With Us (A Guest Post)

During the 31 days, I met many new people through their blogs. One of the people I kept running into was Emily McFarlan Miller. Emily and I both chose “gentleness” as our OneWord365 for 2014. Emily asked me to write about what I had learned during the course of the year so I did. Today I am guest posting at Emily’s place.

That is the thing, my friends: God is so much gentler with us than we are with ourselves.As I have lived into my #oneword365 this past year, that is one of the biggest lessons I have found myself learning. Throughout my life, I have seen how God has been way more gentle with me than I have been with myself….Read the Rest Here

Remembering Sandy Hook

“Christ be our light, shine in our hearts, shine through the darkness”

It is almost hard to believe that two years ago today we all learned of the name of the school Sandy Hook Elementary, Adam Lanza and Newton, Connecticut. My heart still aches for all of those who lost children that day. And for those families, I am sure it feels like just yesterday and not two years ago. In the days following Sandy Hook, I blogged several blog posts. One of my most read posts was this post: I Am A Daughter.

But there also was this one that I wrote on the day following the Sandy Hook shooting. This post was originally posted on this blog on December 15, 2012. The title of the blog is “Why Won’t the Tears Fall?” These words still capture so well how I feel some days when I look at the world around me. There are so many days when the tears just won’t fall because I have become…in some ways…numb to what is happening in the world around me.

Here is the post I posted on December 15,2012: This afternoon I had the privilege of hanging out at church while the SS kids practiced for the SS Christmas program! As they sang the words “Peace to all the Earth,” I wanted to cry as I thought of the families in CT who won’t hear their babies voices again! Such a senseless act! I want to cry yet the tears simply won’t come! Why?!? Why won’t the tears fall from my face? Is it because I’ve cried too many tears over violent acts like this in my thirty years on this Earth? Is it because I’m numb and cannot understand why 20 innocent lives were taken way too soon from this Earth?

Yesterday and today I found myself thinking about and remembering all my friends who are parents! I can understand why you needed to hug and hold them last night and today! I found myself telling them to give their children an extra hug or cuddle just for me! I’m not a parent myself yet I yearn to be so deeply! And then I wonder do I really want to be? Of course I do! But what world will my future child enter into? A world strewn with sinful people…a sinful world! Yet what I do know is that love….God’s love…always wins!

I understand that is hard to grasp in light of yesterday’s events! But what I do know and believe with every fiber of my being is that God was there yesterday! God didn’t allow the events to unfold but as they unfolded God was there…holding and embracing each precious victim. God sent Jesus into the world and Jesus proclaims “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these!”

As I write this blog post, I find myself typing as my fingers dance across the keyboard yet I still find that these words are inadequate! Why can I not find the words? Why won’t the tears fall? How do we know that God’s love always wins?

God sent God’s Son as this precious gift who is born in a manger in Bethlehem and then later dies the ultimate death for us and our sins! This child comes as the light in the midst of the darkness and now more than ever we need this light to come!

So even when my words are inadequate I find myself turning to Scripture and letting the sighs rise up to God. “With sighs too deep for words to express….”

Or in these words, “Lord listen to your children praying, bring us love, bring us power, bring us peace!”

And finally, maybe, the tears I so deeply want to cry will fall from my face knowing we live in a sinful and sin-filled world but that God in God’s love for us all ALWAYS wins!! Perhaps that is a place for us to begin and cling to in the coming days!

Shortly after I wrote this post, the tears finally began to fall. And tonight, two years later, I still find myself clinging to these words knowing that Jesus Emmanuel is always with us. Emmanuel reminds us that he is the one who comes as the light in the midst of the darkness. He is the one who ultimately will bring about his peace. “God’s peace to us we pray.”

“Christ be our light, shine in our hearts, shine through the darkness.”
“Christ be our light, shine in our hearts, shine through the darkness.”

(In addition to this post and the link I posted earlier in this post, I also wrote one other post related to the Sandy Hook shooting. This post was written the day of the Sandy Hook shooting: With Sighs Too Deep)