The Hush of the Theatre, My Beloved ND Prairies, and Quiet

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 “quiet.”

The hush of the theatre, the lights beating down on my costumed body, standing waiting for the lights to go up. Soon the lights beam down and we are whisked away to a new time and place. My theatre days are days that I actually miss. I loved standing on the stage waiting for a show to begin. Nothing quite like the quiet as the audience watched intently and listened to the story unfolding before their eyes. And then at the end of the show, the quiet was distrupted as the audience applauded our performance. In college, I spent all but one semester either on stage or behind the scenes helping with a performance. I got to play Anne Frank’s mother in the Diary of Anne Frank. I remember well the quiet and hush that fell over our audiences as we told the story.

Much like the hush of the theatre before a performance, one of my fave places to “be still and know that God is God” is on my beloved prairies of North Dakota especially at my favorite Bible camp. I stand and take in the quiet; only a gentle ND breeze whipping up against my face. I listen as the waves lap against the shore. I hear just the faint sounds of birds off in the distance. I look up in the night sky and take in the quiet and silence as I gaze at the amazingness of God’s creation. Now the quiet of night, I give thanks for a God who is always with us.

Quiet can be experienced in so many different ways. Those that read this blog regularly know that I am a huge baby lover. But I have never truly gotten to experience the miracle of birth except what I’ve seen on television. I used to watch the show A Baby Story pretty regularly. My eyes would gaze on the screen and I would watch as the woman would breathe through each contraction. After awhile, the sounds of her breathing was all that could be heard. Quiet in the room until the quiet was broken as the new infant was born into this world. Cries of a newborn infant would break the silence.

Quiet. It is something I am not always good at. But the writer in me finds such peace and comfort when I turn off everything around me and truly take the time to listen to God’s voice. This year, God is asking me to embrace the quiet…to take time to remember that God is indeed in the stillness. It is important for us to take the time to be quiet; to turn off the cell phone, turn off the television, and sit in the holy quietness of a God who always brings us peace.

When I take the time to be quiet, my soul is restored; a soul restored by the quietness of God’s creation–a reminder that God is in control. “Be still and know that I am God!”–Psalm 46:10

It’s Award Season!


A couple of weeks ago, I was recognized with some blogging awards from my friend Mary over at Mary-andering Creatively. I had every intention of posting that week, but then life got busy and then……my purse was stolen. So sorry it took me so long to get my post up, Mary! I am honored that you nominated me for the Liebster Award as well as the Blogger Recognition Award . One of my fave things about these awards are that they are given by fellow bloggers.

The Liebster Award is passed from blogger to blogger as a source of encouragement. Each Liebster award recipient should: post the award to her blog, answer the nominating blogger’s ten question interview, nominate 3-15 other bloggers with fewer than 3,000 followers whom he/she wants to encourage, and create ten questions for the new nominees.

The Blogger Recognition Award asks you to thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog, attach the award to the post, write a post to show off the award, give a brief story of how your blog started, give a piece of advice to new bloggers (My advice would be “Tell your story, interact with your readers, etc.”), select 15 other bloggers you might want to give the award to, and comment on each blog and let them know you nominated them.

1. How long have you been blogging? I started the blog in 2000 but only wrote two posts that year. The blog really took off in 2005. There were times I went through dry spells. In the last few years though, the blog has become extremely active as I linkup and meet new friends etc.

2. Did blogging start out as a hobby for you and in what ways has it grown than what you expected? I started blogging before seminary, but really started blogging when I graduated seminary. It was a way to stay connected to my friends and family scattered near and wide. Over the years, my writing has evolved as I have found cool linkups and writing opportunities like the Write 31 Days challenge. Some of my closest friends are people that I have met in the blogging world…so crazy to say that, but it is oh so true!

3. How much time do you dedicate to writing or to your blog? I try to write 2-3 times a week. Posts can take me anywhere from a few minutes to an hour (creating graphics, editing, etc).

4. What is your blog about? My blog is a place for me to share my story; I cover everything from my mom’s struggle with a mental illness and being her daughter; to my faith; to being a single 37 year old etc.

5. Where does the inspiration behind your writing come from? It truly comes from my everyday life. Quotes, words, stories that impact me. My latest post was written after a text from a friend and words she texted to me. The Bible and my faith also serve as inspiration. I also glean inspiration from other bloggers.

6. What is your best post or the one you had the most fun writing? Oh man it is so hard to pick just one. One of my favorites was a Five Minute Friday post when our host let us pick our own word prompt. I tweeted friends and asked them to tweet me back a word and the word I got in return “fuzzy.” It was a fun post to write and still makes me smile. You can read that post Here.

7. What is the hardest thing about blogging to you? To not get caught up in the numbers and success of others. It isn’t about me, but is about glorifying God and that is all that matters. It isn’t about how grandeous my blog is.

8. Where do you see your blog in 3 years? In three years, I want to see myself still blogging. I would love to continue to grow my readership. It also would be cool to write my first book in that time frame as well.

9. What is the best social media outlet for your blog? Facebook. It links to my profile page every time I post. In the stats, Facebook is one of the first places that shows up of how readers got redirected to my blog. However Twitter is growing. And I am finding new ways to use Instagram as well.

10. What is the one thing you would want your readers to know about you? I love the color GREEN! I only have two first cousins and we are all girls; born on the third of the month. I am a Virgo. I love BABIES! I love spending time with my friends and family. I am pretty much an open book!

I nominate these lovely individuals: (No worries if you chose not to participate)

Karrilee at Abiding Love, Abounding Grace
Tammy at Sincerity and Hope
Christy at Homeskool Mom
Andrew at Blessed are the Pure of Heart
Valerie at Tales from a Southern Catholic Momma
Melissa at Plaidfuzz
Susan at Hope Heart Home
Mary at Passage Through Grace
Marie at Along The Way
Colleen at Blessed are the Feet
Anita at Blessed but Stressed

I am going to keep it simple and follow the lead of my nominator, Mary! So answer the questions that I answered. Or tell us about your blogging life, when you started, what you blog about, and your blogging goals for the New Year!

A Soft Place to Land

I’m a rich woman; relatively speaking. I don’t make a lot of money, but I’m rich in friends. I have a roof over my head and a pillow to lay my head down at night. I have awesome friends and family who bless me each and every day. But in just a few moments, it felt like I lost all of that. I was violated. My purse was stolen and I no longer felt rich. My security seemed to be completely stripped from me. I had to check out every sound I heard that night. I probably jumped every time I heard a new noise.

Each day it seems to have gotten a little better as I feel more peace. A friend and I were texting and she texted back, “It’s good to have a soft place to land!” A soft place to land….my heart immediately took comfort in those words. Because isn’t that exactly who Jesus is. “Be strong and courageous, do not be frightened or dismayed because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Jesus holds us and calms our fears. Jesus is that soft place to land as we are embraced in his loving arms.

But I think sometimes it is still hard for us to find that soft place to land.

When another cancer diagnoses is shared,

When cancer takes another loved one,

When we feel insecure,

When we are battling the demons of depression,

When our prayer isn’t being answered and so much more….that soft place to land seems to be buried in the dark. But God sent Jesus as a reminder of God’s love for all God’s people and Jesus is that soft place for us to all land especially during these difficult times.

It took me awhile to realize it, but Jesus was standing with me and was ready and waiting to catch my fall. He’s waiting to catch your fall too. In fact, he’s always ready and waiting. He is standing, arms held wide open, waiting to catch our fall. We just need to trust fall into his arms. He will wipe away every tear and calm every fear. For that, I’m so thankful…thankful to have this precious gift where I and where you too can fall.

Let’s keep falling into the arms of this one who promises always to be our soft place to land.

Linking up with these lovely ladies: Holly at Testimony Tuesday, Kelly and the RaRa linkup, Jennifer at Tell His Story and Holley and Coffee for your Heart! 


Sunday Blessings 111

(1) MLK Jr. Day off from work

(2) A sweet note from my friend EG

(3) Talking to an old friend on the phone. Thanks for reading for me friend!

(4) Church council was over before 9 pm

(5) Receiving fun mail in the mail.

(6) Police officers who responded when my purse was stolen and companies that cancelled my cards quickly.

(7) Nice people at the Drivers License and Motor Vehicle departments who gave me what I needed.

(8) Friends who sympathize with me and friends who texted to check in with me.

(9) Colleagues who go above and beyond for you when something bad happens to you!!

(10) A great chat with some of our sweet church ladies.

(11) Sweet surprises that make you smile!

(12) Spending time with a sweet Diaconal sister; TD.

(13) RS picking up an essential for me at Walmart. Also giving me a ride so I could get some errands done.

(14) A lock company coming and getting me new keys.

(15) A lady letting me sit in her car while the locksmith opened my car door.

(16) A beautiful 45 degree day

(17) Panera French Onion Soup and their new kale sandwich. So yummy!!!

(18) A hug and a kiss from one of my fave kiddos at church today.

(19) Camp Sunday

(20) Picking up my friend TE at the airport, having lunch and hanging out together.

(21) Sharing my house with friends. So much fun!!

(22) Greeting the Rural plunge crew and their crew.

(23) Showing EG my office

(24) A call from Uncle T

(25) And so much more including YOU!!

Present and Accounted For

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 “Present.”

I am here!
PRESENT and accounted for!

I am sorry that some of you were a tad worried that I hadn’t posted yet. It has been a hard few days. On Wednesday night, my purse was stolen. It had my cards, id, both sets of car keys, etc. So my present reality has been waiting for a detective to call me and trying to figure out how to get new keys for my car since both sets were in the stolen purse. It also has been making numerous phone calls to cancel old cards etc.

This morning, I had the joy of being present with a diaconal sister and friend. It was just what I needed to take my mind off of the heart hurt and ickiness I feel after having my purse stolen. It is so incredibly violating. I know that I am safe because my house keys were on a different key ring that was in my possession. Rationally I know that I am safe but irrationally my mind is going everywhere else. Let’s just say I didn’t sleep very well on Wednesday night. I tossed and turned and got up to check out every single noise that I heard.

Today I was present with my friend though. We got to eat and break bread together and catch up on life. And so many others have been present with me in the last few days. I’m overwhelmed by the outpouring of love. * A sweet surprise of a purse left on my doorstep, a friend who rescued me by delivering me toilet paper and also a friend who took me around so I can finish a few different errands. Today, I am thankful of the gift of friends and family who God has placed in my life to be present with me.

The last few days are not days that I particulary want to be present in. But I am thankful that I am safe, that I am healthy, and that the things in my purse are replaceable. In celebration of my one word “embrace,” for the year, I want to embrace the good things. I want to embrace those of you who have prayed for me or are still praying for me. I want to embrace the cops who are doing their job. I especially want to embrace the love of all of you who have loved me. For that I am eternally grateful!

Now I am going to be present by catching up with all of your blogs, finish this episode of Little House on the Prairie that I am watching, and continue to give thanks as I am present in today. Today is indeed a new day!!

*This is where my five minutes ended.

Sunday Blessings 110

(1) Chatting with my friend RW on messenger. Thanks for the great chat friend.

(2) A surprise call from my friend LA. Totally made my day!! Cant wait to see her in a few weeks.

(3) Texting with my friend MW.

(4) A fantastic day with my Word and Service sisters. Such a fantastic day!!

(5) Meeting a new friend and driving to Biz with her and her doggy.

(6) Voxing with my friend TM.

(7) Texting CT. I miss you friend! It’s been too long.

(8) Texting with EG

(9) LYO Board meeting. So fun to get to know these youth. Great group of kids.

(10) During children’s time today, I asked how everyone was and one of my fave kids responded with “good.” It totally made my day. This little girl has had quite a journey since her birth and she is making so much progress.

(11) Sitting on the floor and blowing bubbles with CM.

(12) Making pipe cleaner glasses with the Family SS kiddos.

(13) Talking to momma on the phone. It’s been awhile.

(14) More LLR fun. LK, I blame you!!!

(15) Lots of interaction during the children’s sermon today.

(16) Starbucks coffee and chocolate chip cookie dough cake pops. A nice Friday treat.

It’s Clearly Time!

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 “time.”

Time is a crazy gift. We sit and watch the clock tick back and forth. Time is a precious gift given to each and every one of us. Do we treasure our time? Do we remember to embrace? Or do we sometimes let it pass us by? As the book of Ecclesiastes reminds us, “There is a time to weep, a time to dance, a time to plant, a time to pluck up what is planted etc.”

I have been trying to be better about treasuring and embracing the time that we are given. Each day a gift given by God. Earlier this week, I remembered six years ago today and the anniversary of the Haiti earthquake. I remembered my friend Ben who was killed in the earthquake. I remembered Ben’s family who still grieve his loss. I remembered his gift of music as I listened to his song “Mourning into Dancing.”

God has a way of showing us our own time and space. Before Christmas, I felt a nudge, or maybe it was a smack on the forehead by the Holy Spirit, to write a book. I created an outline and left it at that. Earlier this week, the time came for me to act. I downloaded a CreateSpace template on Amazon and began writing a book. God clearly has shown me that it is time; time to share my words especially as my fingers danced across my keyboard. I have 18 pages; 18 more pages than I started with.

A writer friend shared in my joy tonight. He has written his own books and even offered to be a beta reader for me. He shared how excited he was for me. His words again confirmed that it is time for me to birth this book; to share the word God has on my heart and mind in these days.

I am not sure when this book will be finished. But I am sure that it is time; time to move. And as my fingers tap across the keyboard, I feel even more confirmation as God is reminding me that I do have words to share and it is time to share those words!

“By writing, you are saying to God, ‘I agree with you, you gave me a voice, and the gift was not in vain’. “–Don Miller (Thanks for this quote Jordan)

“Writing is the painting of the voice”–Voltaire (Thanks Karrilee)

A Day to Remember

Good Morning Friends!

Today is January 12, 2016; six years ago today, the Haiti earthquake struck. Several seminary classmates/friends were in Haiti. My friend Ben lost his life along with many others that day. A year ago, I wrote a blog post about remembering and even still today, these words are the words that are ringing true for me. Today is a day filled with all sorts of emotions; melancholy, joy in seeing new life born out of the ashes, and so many other emotions.

I started my morning as I do every January 12th, listening to Ben’s version of Psalm 30; his song titled “Mourning into Dancing.” And as I listen to Ben’s music, I am reminded of the chorus to the hymn”My Life Flows On In Endless Song” in our hymnals that says, “How can I keep from singing?” Those words embody who Ben was as a beloved child of God; Ben loved music. In fact, Ben’s last words were sung as he sang the words “God’s peace to us we pray.”

The post from a year ago is one that I needed to read again today. I hope it blesses you as well!


(Originally posted at Praying on the Prairie; January 12, 2015)

Remember=”to have or keep an image or idea in your mind of (something or someone from the past)”; “to cause (something) to come back into your mind;” “to keep (information) in your mind;” or “to not forget something.”

This morning I woke up and immediately began to “remember.” Five Six years ago today, the earthquake struck in Haiti. My friend Renee (we worked at Bible camp together), her husband Ben and Ben’s cousin Jon were in Haiti when the earthquake hit. Ben lost his life that day. It is believed that his last words were breathed as he sang the words “God’s peace to us we pray” and then it was silent.

I was in Gettysburg Pennsylvania that January day. I was a small group leader for the Diaconal Ministry Formation Event (all diaconal minister candidates are required to do the formation event.) My small group and I were talking about prayer that Tuesday morning when one of my students said she wanted to share a song with us. She pulled it up on her laptop and we strained to listen to this beautiful song. The song was song by Jon and Ben and talked about “hands parted after prayer like cups raised to receive.” (The words were  words of a poem that a seminary classmate of theirs had wrote). So that morning we listened to the song and than later that afternoon we found out that the earthquake had taken place. Immediately my IM  instant message box was popping up with messages from friends letting me know that Ben, Jon, and Renee were in Haiti for a J-term class and that they had not been heard from yet.

For several days after, as you can imagine, there was much confusion. On Thursday morning, one of my students and a dear friend called and asked me where I was. I told her my hotel room and she asked if she could come to me. The minute I hung up the phone that morning I knew that something was wrong. Shera came to my door and informed me that it was confirmed that Ben was gone. We cried and held each other. We proceeded to breakfast where we were asked by the rest of our group if we had heard anything. Shera couldn’t get the words out. I was on auto-pilot and all I could keep repeating was “Ben’s gone.” From breakfast, we gathered in the chapel and worshiped together. When it came time for communion, tears welled up in our eyes as we recalled the words from the song we had heard just a few mornings before “hands parted after prayer like cups raised to receive.”

After worship, we all went to our small groups. My small group was in charge of leading worship that night. The girls decided that they still wanted to continue with our original plan; to sing the song “Freedom is Coming” etc. We made one small change; to play Ben’s version of Psalm 30 as individuals entered into worship that night. “Weeping may come for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Now you understand why this verse has become one of my faves). The next day, at the airport, we found a blog post where someone posted Ben’s sermon from his senior year at Luther College. It talked about how the song “Freedom is Coming” was one of the most influential songs in his life. (Anyone else get goosebumps. I know I did that day…and still do!)

It is hard to believe that it has been five six years today since the earthquake hit. I found myself waking up this morning. My cell phone clock confirmed today as January 12th. Grief has a way of swooping in and declaring to us the date even before we realize what day it is. Today I was reminded of that again. Immediately I took a breathe and began remembering.

And throughout the day I will continually be reminded of the promise of hope and Resurrection. A couple of friends texted to say they were thinking of me today. I went to start my car this morning and an envelope was taped to my driver’s side window. I opened the envelope. Inside was a note talking about how it wasn’t it much but hopefully it would brighten my day. With the note was a McDonalds gift card. Then from there, I got to spend the day with one of my dearest friends and dear colleagues as I headed to our YouthWorkers meeting. We spent the day talking about the ELCA Youth Gathering this next summer and tips we wished we knew when we went for the first time. Tonight at Curves, I shared the story of Ben, Renee, and Jon and the promise of hope and Resurrection.

And today Renee and Jon are married and expecting a baby have a son together.. What a beautiful promise of hope and Resurrection! Ben’s music still lives on. (Check out the website Ben Still Sings) Another reminder of hope and Resurrection! And for me Psalm 30 especially Ben’s version will always hold a special place in my heart. It is currently playing as I type this post and it is such a breath of fresh air for my soul. It is a song that continually reminds me of the power of hope and the power of Resurrection. (However sometimes grief does sneak in and cause the tears to flow…today is one of those days)

Mourning into Dancing (Click here to listen to Ben’s version of Psalm 30)

Linking up with these lovely ladies today: Holly and Testimony Tuesday, Kelly and the RaRa Linkup, Jennifer and Tell His Story, and Holley and Coffee for your Heart:


Sunday Blessings 109

(1) A beautiful sunset

(2) Beer and Hymns with EG, KG, LL and PK.

(3) Getting back into a workout routine.

(4) More Christmas cards

(5) One of my fave little boys stopping me and giving me a hug.

(6) Some of my SS kiddos talking my ear off.

(7) A great night at FLY

(8) The People’s Choice Awards

(9) Doing circle Bible study at one of the local nursing homes.

(10) Voxes from KA, MG and TM.

(11) First FMF Twitter party of the new year.

(12) Out doing errands and run into a friend; MH.

(13) A phone call from my daddy

(14) Trying out our new Tim Hortons

(15) A warm house on a frigidly cold day

(16) A children’s sermon based on my friend Laura and the mat carriers text.

(17) A Saturday night movie; finally watched The Social Network

(18) My car starting in this frigid cold

(19) Chili cheese Fritos

(20) The Golden Globe Awards

See you next week friends!

Twitter, Journaling Bibles, and Weather

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 “first.”

Tonight was the first FMF Twitter of the new year. I missed these people so much, They are so indeed my people. I love our conversations. I love how we always love on each other and support each other. We prayed for early contractions to cease. We talkd about food, and Christmas breaks and car break downs and journaling Bibles and so much more.

I think I might try a new first for me; trying a journaling Bible. I am no artist, but as a FMF friend reminded me, you were created by a creator so you are a creative. So I think I want to try my hand at a journaling Bible soon. Have you tried a journaling Bible yourself?

The weather here is suppose to shift this weekend. It is to get below zero; with windchill they are talking negative 30 degrees below zero. A first for this winter. We have been spoiled with such great weather. Luckily it is suppose to return to above average temperatures again next week.

There are so many firsts that we experience in our lives. Tonight I am typing a blog post using a brand new keyboard for my Ipad…and am loving it. Another new first. Firsts come throughout the ages of our lives. Firsts come in the first time we ride a bike with no training wheels. Firsts come in a new tooth or our first tooth or our first words. First comes in moving and getting our first real job. Firsts happen all the time, don’t they.

And in all of these firsts, I find joy and peace and most especially hope. So I will continue to “embrace” all the firsts in my life.