A Hygge Year

2017 is a year that I am ready to say goodbye too. It is a year that I hoped would be grounded in hope, but instead it was a year grounded in bittersweet hope. It started out great, but then life happened and things quickly shifted. I found myself living in one of the longest and hardest times of liminal space; clinging to what was and wondering what was to come next. For most of the late Spring and Summer months, I was weary; weary and tired.

There were so many days that I wondered what was next. And to be honest, there were so many tears shed as I tried so desperately to trust in God. But like God always does, God showed up in so many big ways. God led me to where I am today. God surrounded me with friends and family who stood by me through thick and thin. God held my hand and pulled me up out of the pit of hopelessness (or at least that’s how it felt in the early days of change) And I am so incredibly thankful.

Since late summer/early Spring, I have been able to find hope again; a hope that has become new again. New home. New community. New call in ministry. New friends. So much new. And in the midst of all of this,  I cannot help but reflect on this past year–a year of hard and also a year that grew me in so many ways. And as a new woman, I am ready to ring in a new year.

As I have prayed for my one word for 2018, my heart has been more open than ever to the calling of the Holy Spirit. So many words were shared with me, yet nothing felt right. I began to pray more. A friend shared a new word with me and as I read the definition, a calming peace fell over me. The word is “hygge” which basically translates to contentment and depending on where you read it has Danish or Finnish origins. (You can read more about hygge here!)

In the new year, I want to treasure even more every moment and every day. I want to spend time chatting with my favorites over coffee, or wine, or dinner. I want to cherish the moments of joy, but I also want to remember and experience the moments of sadness because I was blessed by them as well. I want to judge less and seek more every day to live out the words to Micah 6:8: “to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God.” I want to be content in who am I as a beloved child of God.

Contentment will not come easy. In fact, there will be days I will have to remind myself to be content. Yet contentment comes when we remember all that we have been given. We are incredibly blessed. And when we remember that, contentment or hygge comes like a warm blanket on a bitterly cold day or a cup of tea at the end of a long day. Contentment is not simply a feeling. It is in everyway how we experience life. It is realizing the ordinary moments are more extraordinary than ever.

“I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess—happy that you’re again showing such strong concern for me. Not that you ever quit praying and thinking about me. You just had no chance to show it. Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. I don’t mean that your help didn’t mean a lot to me—it did. It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles.”–Philippians 4:10-14 (The Message)

Linking up with Jennifer and Tell His Story, Holley and Coffee for your Heart and Kristin and Porch Stories.


Sunday Blessings 195 & 196

(1) Trying an aquacise class at the ARC

(2) Continued blessings from my Christmas friends.

(3) A great visit with PMN

(4) Parishioners who are willing to let you use their garage while they are in Arizona for the winter. Such a gift!!

(5) Tuesday morning breakfast crew

(6) Great night at Confirmation.

(7) Laughter and joy

(8) A youth who came to me because she was afraid.

(9) Sweet treats from RG

(10) Good roads for the drive home.

(11) Texting with JT

(12) McCafe Peppermint Mocha

(13) Watching Christmas movies

(14) Warm chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven.

(15) Baking extravaganza at the farm

(16) Texting with my fave

(17) Playing Heads Up with the family

(18) Christmas Eve dinner

(19) Visiting and caroling at the nursing home

(20) A lazy day

(21) Spending time with Grandma and Grandpa.

(22) Jumper cables when your car doesn’t start on a colder than snot day.

(23) Getting home safely

(24) Hearth and Hand by Magnolia!

(25) Christmas cards from friends and family.

(26) A warm house on a bitterly cold day. Praying for those who are homeless.

(27) Texting with STM

(28) Messaging with JN

(29) Grandma’s date cookies

(30) Yummy hot tea

A Year of Bittersweet Hope

2017 rang in peacefully as I sat in my grandparents living room with my grandpa and watched the ball drop in Times Square on television. 2017 was a year that I prayed would be firmly planted in hope. Little did I know how desperately I would need to cling to that hope this year.

The first months of 2017 came in quietly. I traveled to Louisville Kentucky for the ELCA Youth Ministry Extravaganza. I spent time with my beloved family and friends. I journeyed from Ash Wednesday, through Lent to Easter. And then life shifted.

In April, I found myself having to make one of the hardest decisions of my life. After many tears, thoughtful conversations and numerous prayers, I resigned from my current job. There I was living in liminal space; living between what was and looking towards what was to come. Where would God lead me next? In those days of liminal space, I found myself trying to cling tightly to hope; hope grounded and anchored in my own faith.

My last day at my call was May 31st. In June, I found myself clinging to the promises of life-giving water that only Christ can give. The days were bittersweet and weary. I found myself hanging to hope even in the midst of this unexpected change.

Later in June, I traveled to Colorado and my favorite continuing education event in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. It was exactly what my heart and soul needed. In fact, it was hear that hope began to show itself to me. On the top of a mountain, over 10000 feet in the air,  I experienced one of the holiest moments I can remember in my life.

With Ellie Holcomb’s Red Sea Road playing in my ear, holy tears streaming down my face, hope changed everything! (You can read more about that experience here:My Little Chapel on the Side of a Mountain) Hope began to birth the promise that I would never be alone. Hope renewed my faith that all things would become new again.

And the truth, my friends, is that hope truly does change everything! Hope birthed a new amazing opportunity for me. Hope anchored my soul as I began to see a renewed vision for God’s journey for me. And it is because of hope, that I am content clinging to the hope that Christ never leaves us or forsakes us.

There were days this year when I couldn’t see hope clearer. In fact, I wondered if it was there at all. But God knows what we need and Christ knew that 2017 would be a year I needed to cling to hope. And hope found its way into my heart, soul and mind because as my friend Susan continually reminds us, “HOPE changes everything,” Indeed it does. And now I know that more than ever!

(Come back tomorrow and I’ll share my 2018 One Word. I may have made a slight nod to it in this post. Can you find it? Or have any ideas?)


The Word

“Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets.”–Hebrews 1:1

“Stick and stones may break my bones
But words will never hurt me.”

Oh how untrue are these words. Words do matter. Words can build up but more often than not, words break down. Words can affirm, but too often words hurt those around us. We must be more careful about how we use our words in this world.

The Word, made flesh Jesus Christ, came into the world to remind us that light not darkness, life not death has the final word. Yet too often the world is full of so much hatred and darkness. Jesus came into the world as the Word made flesh because God loves us that much.

Are we willing to use our words to build up? Or are we willing to simply shut up and listen to those around us? The truth is that we must listen to one another. We must build up and live our lives sharing the love of God in the world. Our words and actions need to embody goodness.

We may not always believe the same things. But the important thing is we must listen to one another. We must understand where each of God’s beloved children are coming from.

God continues to speak through God’s one and only Son Jesus Christ our Lord. The Word made flesh who calls us to shut up and listen to his life, ministry and death.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things came into being through Him and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”–John 1:1-5

Use your words wisely, my friends. And if you are not going to use them wisely, perhaps you need to take a breathe, close your mouth and simply listen!!!

Advent Joy and Resurrection Hope

The baby Jesus lies in the manger in the stable in Bethlehem. Mary finds herself feeding him and even changing his diapers. Cries echo throughout the darkness. Jesus in all of his humanness reminds us that God comes into the world in human form.

There are so many experiences in life that we would much rather not experience. In fact, I think so often we would much rather skip straight over Good Friday to the Resurrection joy of Easter morning. But the truth is that we cannot experience that joy without first experiencing the pain of death that comes all too often in this world.

Death that comes in so many ways. Sometimes the death is still so raw that we forget that resurrection does eventually come. In the midst of the rawness of death, we find ourselves clinging so tightly to what we have lost. Other times we think we are on the other side of grief when a post or photo or something unexpectedly brings the tears back to the surface. And other times we feel like we are drowning in our own grief.

Yet death is a part of the cycle of life. Yes,sometimes that cycle comes way too quickly and unexpectedly. I have sat and cried tears wondering if I would be able to feel happiness and joy again. I have held hands and prayed as others have waited for death to appear. But in the midst of it all, I have seen the ways that joy has emerged. Somehow through the grief, the grief has led way to laughter and joy. “Weeping may come for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”–Psalm 30:5

Today, I can honestly sit here with a smile upon my face knowing that resurrection does take place. I have seen and experienced it with my own eyes, ears, and heart. I have watched new life emerge in a community of faith that I left. And I have watched new life spring to life for myself and a new community of faith too. In fact, every day it seems that the seeds are springing forth new life again and again.

I am not saying that death is not painful. Because the reality is that every kind of death is immensely painful. There are days we wonder if we can get out of bed. There are other days we go through the motions. And there are yet other days when we are barely keeping our head above water.

But the truth, my dear friends, is that death does not have the final word. Life does! In the words of Clarence W. Hall, “Easter says you can put death in the grave, but it will not stay there.” In other words, God has the power to overcome death and the grave and will help us through all of our moments of extreme grief and death.

I’ll admit that, most days, I would much rather skip over all the hard stuff. But without Good Friday, there cannot be an Easter Sunday. And without the waiting we experience in Advent, we cannot come to the manger knowing that Christ is God in human form.

But knowing that Easter joy does and will come again, I come to the manger, with my heart wide open, as I joyfully proclaim in these words from the Hallelujah chorus, “For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”

Linking up with Kelly and the Ra Ra linkup, Jennifer and Tell His Story, Holley and Coffee for your Heart, and Kristin and Porch Stories. 



Too Much

“For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, so that the righteous might not stretch out their hands to do wrong.”–Psalm 125:3

Echoing words calling for God’s protection and peace
Yet it is lost.
We are still seeking this very thing.
So many walk around in this world
Searching to find this peace
Yet they cannot find it.

Too many
Walk around
Looking around every corner
To see if someone is lurking there
Waiting to hurt them.

Too many
Yearn to feel safe and welcomed
And beloved for who God created them to be.

Too many
Are afraid to speak up
For fear they will be harassed
Or even killed for their honesty.

Too much pain…
Too much hatred….
Too much evil….

Too much…..
Too much….



And because there is just too much
We need to #ShutUp

A Brightly Shining Light

“Behold, I make all things new.”

There have been so many days this year when I’ve truly wanted to believe in these words. I scroll through social media and my heart aches for what was. I want to trust that all things are indeed working together for God’s good. Yet my heart still aches.

There is a bitter sweetness that plagues me each day. I’m excited for what is, but mourning what was. I’m delighted for a new community, but grieving friendships that were left behind. I continually find myself mourning all that was and hoping with all my might for what is now. In fact, I’m incredibly grateful for the joy and love I feel each and every day.

The church has always been a place of community; a place of healing and hope. But what happens when you are hurt in that place? There were days I struggled to worship; days were I couldn’t walk through her front doors. But the reality is the church is made up of people; people who are sinners in need of God’s grace. Annie F Downs in her book “100 Days to Brave,” writes, “Do you know why church is hard? Because of humans. So.many.humans.”

The reality is that humanity has to make hard choices. Humanity doesn’t always do what we think is the right thing. Sometimes humanity has to chose power and money over mission. And because of this truth, my heart is opening up to heal; to give forgiveness.

The truth I find myself clinging to is the hope born in Emmanuel. Through this holy child, hope springs eternal. A hope that reminds me that Jesus, in all of his humanity, experiences every sorrow, every tear, every moment of anger, every emotion.

This precious holy child who proclaims that he is the one who overcomes the darkness. “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it.” And this Advent, hope is brightly burning in my life. The light is shining brighter and brighter as we walk to the manger and Jesus’ birth in this world.

The everlasting light is beginning to find its way through my own darkness again.

The Only Truth that Reigns

In this broken world, what is truth? Everyone thinks that what they believe is true. And when those who are often on the losing side finally win, those on the lost side want recounts. They pout and scream because they believe injustices have happened. Yet what if this is the truth of today, what if justice is finally winning?

And this is why we fight for truth. I want my LGTBQ + friends to be treated completely for who they are created to be.

I want my Muslim friends to be able pray in peace and to walk around without fear.

I want so much for holy truth; the truth born in Christ to be fulfilled and proclaimed.

Jesus is indeed the way, the truth and the life. The truth who is born in a manger in Bethlehem. The truth who came as a promised fulfilled. The truth that ultimately reigns even when the rest of the world clings to everything but this true.

We must shut up and listen to the only voice of truth that ultimately reigns–Jesus Christ our Lord; our Messiah!

Different is Beautiful!

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. Today’s word prompt is “different.” We would love to have you join us.

Each of us unique. Created by God. Fearfully and wonderfully made. Beloved children of God. But too often we want everyone to be like us…to act like us, to think like us, to believe like us. But the truth is there is a reason we were all created differently. Our differenceness is what makes us unique.

Im not tall like my sister. I don’t have the artistic ability that my friend KA has. My sister doesn’t write like me. Yet our differences are what make a beautiful tapestry of God’s handiwork. Each thread designed uniquely and for a purpose.

Mary was a virgin. Joseph was a carpenter. Yet they were chosen to be Jesus parents in Earth. Throughout Scripture, there were so many chosen because they were different. (For some reason I can’t get the book title “Same Kind of Different as Me” out of my head)

Different is what makes us beautiful, unique, and loved for who God created us to be!

(And because I can’t get this song out of my head since hearing the word prompt I have to share this too)



“Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.”–Psalm 126:6







Every time I turn on the news, my eyes immediately begin to shed tears. There is way too much hatred, violence and evil. There are so many yearning to find safety and freedom. Ugly words are hurled back and forth.

It is in these acts that I believe our God is weeping continually. Like Rachel, God wept with the children of Aleppo. God weeps with our LGTBQ, black, and brown friends. God is weeping now as the city of peace is no longer a city of peace. Her lights darkened because of what those in power have reaped for their own good. God weeps every time the world turns to war and violence.

Can we not treat each other with love and respect? Can we not offer love–unconditional love—to each and every one of us? The most important thing we can do is shut up…and listen to one another

For when we truly shut up and listen, we realize that our reaping does reap good if we work together for good. But if we don’t our actions of hatred and hurt breed more evil and hatred. So we must think first before we speak. Sometimes the best thing we can do is simply shut up!