What I Have Learned This Summer!

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 “Learn.” Write for five minutes; unedited.

This summer has been a busy summer for me…busier than usual. But throughout the summer, I have continued to learn so much.

I learned that my heart finds so much peace when I take the time to just be and enjoy God’s creation in the Rocky Mountains.

I learned how amazing it is when 30,000 youth and adults gather in a huge stadium in Detroit and declare God’s promises of peace and justice with the world.

This is only a portion of the Gathering!

I learned how sometimes you just have to get out of the boat…and other times you just have to stay. (Thanks for sharing those words FMF Retreat friends!)

I learned how part of my story will always be sharing my family’s struggle with a mental illness. I learned that part of my story will always be that I am a daughter; a daughter of a woman who daily struggles with a mental illness.

I learned that YOU are my people! I was so blessed to meet three of the Five Minute Friday ladies last weekend while I was in Nashville with my sister. You all are my heart!

I learned that I value spending quality time with my sister. It will be a long time before I forget our trip.

I learned that relationships and friendships go far beyond computer screens. They are found in Twitter handles and Voxer messages. They are found in sharing our stories and hearing those two simple words “Me, too!”

I learned that God continually widens the circle to bring more friends into the friendship circle.

I learned that I am never through learning! Life is always teaching us!

What have you learned this summer my friends?

Sunday Blessings 87 & 88; Lutheran Academy of the Rockies Edition

(1) Stopping to see my friend Jen and her girls. Such a perfect way to start off my continuing education trip. I got to meet EllieMae and see Miss Alexandria.

(2) Realizing that my wallet was not lost but simply just left/misplaced in my car.

(3) Arriving in Estes Park and seeing so many dear familiar faces.

(4) Texting with my sis and my friend MW.

(5) My first glimpse of the Rocky Mountains on this trip.

(6) Reading on the patio at Meeker Park Lodge. I know there will be many more days like this over the next ten days.

(7) Frank asking me to pray at our meal today for Lutheran Academy of the Rockies.

(8) Dancing with sweet two year old Nelle. It was one of my absolute favorite things from today.

(9) Getting a text from my colleague sharing that we got some beautiful flowers from a family that we did a Baptism for.

(10) Lutheran Academy of the Rockies cookout. Sadly the rain came in and everyone scattered!

(11) Chili Lights parties

(12) An hour and a half nap

(13) Abigail running up to me because she was excited to see me. Also pushing her on the swing.

(14) Singing Brown Squirrel with a cute little girl.

(15) Helping out with the kids program for a morning.

(16) Running into LAR friends and hanging out with them. Supper, jazz concert, etc.

(17) Seeing on FB from blog friends that I’m being missed this week.

(18) Driving to Ft. Collins to see my friend Sue.

(19) Playing with some really sweet kiddos.

(20) Getting to see Nelle, Nora and their mom before they head home to Iowa tomorrow. So sweet!!

(21) A parent complimenting me today. She was like some people know how to interact with toddlers and some people don’t. You are one of those people that does.

(22) My friend EG texting me and going to visit Mom for me.

(23) Going to Fun City and out to supper with awesome people.

(24) Leading devotions at LAR.

(25) Holding little Becca’s hand and singing with her as the kids led devotions.

(26) Abigail coming in and giving me a hug. Also pushing her on the swings.

(27) LAR Talent night! Always so much fun!!!

(28) Compliments on my poetry and how I am so good at it.

(29) CL coming up to and and asking how I’m doing after this mornings presentation. Also saying she realizes how strong her mom is and hopes I feel that way too!!

(30) Texting with my sister

(31) Being told by a sweet wise man that I am a joy.

(32) A hotel to rest my head after a very long day of driving.

(33) Getting pulled over and thankfully only getting a warning.

(34) Voxing with some of my faves; KA, TM and DB.

(35) 4th of July with my sissy–sleeping in, shopping etc.

(36) Waiting for the fireworks at the state fair grounds; getting rained on, waiting until like 11:30 pm for fireworks.

(37) Surviving doing worship solo!

(38) Ann and I having brunch with some church peeps after church.

(39) Root Beer Floats

(40) Catching up on my DVRed shows.

(41) Yummy Cucumber Salad!!

Estes Park, CO

For the last several summers, I have found myself just outside Estes Park CO for the Lutheran Academy of the Rockies. I love this continuing Ed event for what it offers. But my favorite thing about this event is where it is located; in the Rocky Mts of Colorado.

I have walked along the boardwalk and the Big Thompson River in Estes Park. I have indulged in Blue Bell ice cream at the Blue Bell ice cream shop in downtown Estes. I have eaten at Ed’s Cantina. ( If you are reading Pastrix or have heard Nadia Bolz-Weber’s story about 9-11, you know that’s where she was on that horrific day). I have enjoyed the many shops with the tourists of Estes Park. I have experienced the true joy of Estes Park, CO!
(There are so many pictures I could share. Perhaps I will soon!)

Tonight my heart is sad…sad as I watch the walls of the Big Thompson spilling into the streets of downtown Estes Park. Living in the Red River Valley I know all to well how destructive water can be. I’ve done my fair share of slinging sandbags. Tonight I wonder what I can do to help. So I pray…pray for all affected by the rising waters of the Big Thompson river…those in Estes, those in Boulder, etc.

Please join me in prayer!

Community Celebration and Rocky Mountain Travels

I spent the weekend in my hometown; Ashley, North Dakota as they celebrated their 125th. It was a wonderful fun-filled weekend. I reconnected with several of my classmates from the graduating class of 1997. I got to spend lots of quality time with my family. Yesterday I also participated in our community worship service with two female pastors who grew up in Ashley. Pretty cool that three women led the service and even cooler that this community led up little girls to lead in the church. (I’ll try to capture more of the event in coming days!).

After church I bolted home to Fargo-Moorhead to catch a plane to Denver so I could attend the second week of the Lutheran Academy of the Rockies. I made it home with plenty of time to make my flight. Needless to say though Mother Nature had other plans in mind!!! Due to weather at DIA, we sat in the Tarmack for 45 minutes, then another hour and a half delay, a reboard onto the plane followed by an immediate deboarding due to another hour plus delay. Luckily the third time was a charm and we left Fargo at 9:35 pm when we were supposed to originally leave at 5:30 pm. Arrived in Denver at 10:40 pm or so. Made hotel reservations and got to my room around 1 am. Up at 6 am, back to DIA and finally caught my shuttle to Estes. Now loving and taking in the Rocky Mountain air until Thursday (which is today-I wrote this on Tues) when the trek home begins. Luckily I’m driving back with friends!

So that’s a quick update…hopefully will update again soon!

2012 in Review

2012 has been a great year! It really hasnt been filled with many huge milestones etc. Just the great wonderful every day stuff. Here is a quick little recap…

January-Rang in the New Year with my Dad. Had Prime Rib and shrimp from the local restaurant in my hometown. I know so exciting!

February-My uncle got married!!! Its crazy. He has been single most of his life and now hes married! So happy for them and love her!!

March-A visit from one of my favorite people and her girls on their way back home from visiting family in NE!

April-Celebrated my 6th anniversary as a Diaconal Minister in the ELCA! Going to awedding and spending time with a dear Diaconal sister and WTS friends! Volunteering at an Adoption benefit for a college friend and her family!

May-My colleague went on Sabbatical…a well deserved one! A great Sabbatical pastor filled in and spent the summer serving alongside and with us!

June-Lutheran Academy of the Rockies! LOVE this Continuing Education event! 10 days of wonderfulness. Great time with great friends and meeting new friends. So blessed by LAR and the people it has brought into my life!

July-ELCA National Youth Gathering in New Orleans. 6 youth and another adult from the church I serve at. We went with our local Bible camp and it was awesome. We did lots of tourist fun..6 Flags in Missiouri, The Arch, Day on the Beach, National Civil Rights Museum. Wonderful speakers and fun at the Gathering! Finally meeting a wonderful lady who has become one of my BEST friends!

August-Colleague back from Sabbatical, Day Camp/Vacation Bible School, and a little vacation time!

September-My 34th Birthday. And a little trip to visit Mama!

October-WTS fun! Road trip for a seminary friends wedding. I went with one of my best friends from seminary days. It was awesome. So fun to catch up. We even got a little stop in at the Castle which was sooo good for my soul!

November-Jr High Youth Gathering. Receiving the MN Care Providers Community Partnership Award on behalf of DLC. The youth and homes of DLC received this award for their partnership with Serenity Assisted Living and DLC!

December-Advent and Christmas! I love this time of year. Reminds me of the importance of the season. Wonderful family time! Love spending time with my family! Now ready to ring in 2013 and see what the New Year will bring! Whatever the New Year brings, I know God is always there. Hope the New Year brings you, my readers, peace, hope, joy, and love!!

Hiking to Victory and Blessed to Be a Blessing!

Sometimes it seems I dont have much to say but the last ten days have been so full of life and light. Im not even sure I can put it into words! As I drove into the Rocky Mountains, Mount Meeker and Longs Peak stood before me and God’s awesome creation seemed even more unbelievable. Just one big masterpiece; no dividing line at all! Being from the Midwest it took awhile to get used to the elevation etc! But on Monday, I braved it and took a chance. I went hiking with 28 other people. I found myself pushing myself. IT was a 2.8 mile hike in and a 2.8 mile hike back. I was visiting with my companions, getting to know them, etc but at a point, I hit a wall and didnt think I could finish but I found myself continuing to just keep walking… to keep putting one foot in front of the other. My new friends where there with me and kept cheering me on. I honestly dont think I could have done it with out them! I finally made it back and realized what I had done. I couldnt think of my mom and how she has lived her whole life with a mental illness. She just keeps pushing through. What an example she is for me! I am proud I finished the hike and was reminded by my new friends that it was no little task and I should be proud! Wow! What a journey! Along the way I found myself saying IM NOT GOING TO CRY…and I didnt! I just kept moving!

These last ten days will sustain me for awhile! I am sometimes surprised by how God blesses me with wonderful new people in my life. I was so suprised and blessed by each of them. Last night one of the presenters asked the people who have attended who of the new people surprised them the most etc. He said my name and told the speaker about the wonderful conversations we had. I wasnt sure how to respond. God has blessed me to be a blessing and I am so thankful for that gift!

Blogging from the Rockies

Hi friends! Sorry I havent blogged for awhile. I am currently attending a continuing education event in Rocky Mountain National Park. Its been great. No cell service, Internet, etc so nice to be disconnected for a change. Im currently in town at a local coffee shop using their wi fi! I am hear until next Thursday. Enjoying the Rocky Mountain Air. Havent seen any animals YET but am hoping Ill get to see some Elk, or Bear, or something! Well I thought Id make this short. Hope you all are well!