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Showing posts from November, 2016

Burdens

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Just about everyone I have encountered lately has been weighed down by life's burdens. Financial, health, relationship, work, school, and other stresses interrupt thought processes and impede progress. The holiday season only seems to amplify all that we need to do as well as what is lacking in our lives. 
What if we took stock of our worries, our stresses, our burdens...our plans for our lives that don't seem to be working out and then did something about them?  Often our perception of what we feel we should be doing doesn't match up with what is healthy for us, or with what God wants for us. We live in a culture of doing, of busy, of accomplishing, of making progress for progress' sake. Often we take on too much, inflicting on ourselves much of the stress in our lives.
Advent is a wonderful time to lay down our burdens and have faith that God will help us through - to take a look at the busy-ness in our lives and weed out what isn't serving us, our family, or our …

New Start

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Emails have been pouring in. A family in need of peace, friendship, love, and a new start will soon be arriving and we need to be ready for them. They have lost so much - friends, family, their home, their livelihoods. They need so much - a home, jobs, education,.. support as they get settled into new lives and get back on their feet. Soon, very soon it seems, the New Start Ministry will be swinging into action to welcome this family and all that entails.

After thinking we may be most likely to get the opportunity to help a Syrian family, we have recently learned that Congolese refugees are more likely. This doesn't change much about what we need to do to prepare for their arrival - but does allow us to learn about another beautiful people and their dire situation. 

God, please be with all refugees as they seek safety. Thank you for the opportunity to be able to help a family have a new start. Please help the New Start Ministry and our refugee family as we navigate unfamiliar paths …

Collide

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They are killing each other. The Council meets to figure out who is to blame, what must be done. Can there be peace when two countries collide?

Through the lens of hate, a situation gets blown out of proportion, someone losing it all as a result. Finding your voice to stand up for the wronged isn't easy. 

Urging others toward peace is nearly impossible when fear and hate are thrown like daggers, judgement overruling love in the process. Sometimes a look to the past can shed light on the future. 

They are being persecuted. One stands strong while the other falters. Another preaches hate while carrying a secret of her own. It is often easier to join the crowd than to risk becoming a victim of hate. 

Hate, feeding on our inclination to fear difference, is strong, but Love is, too. Not gentle and starry-eyed, Love makes us take a look at how we love each other and commands us to stand up to Hate, even if that means putting ourselves on the line. 

This second day of Advent, I pray for the c…

ADVENTures 2016

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As I drove through the night from Connecticut to Pennsylvania to celebrate Thanksgiving with my husband's family, and back again, I had a lot of time to myself as my husband and children slept. Quiet time, lest I wake my sleeping family. 

With peaceful music wafting through the van, I began to pray. I prayed for our safe journey, for the safety of other drivers and their passengers, especially those who veered across the dotted line and back into their lanes, perhaps too tired or distracted. Prayers for friends and family poured out along with those for our community, our country, our world. After praying about things that weighed heavily on my heart, I drove on in silence, opening my heart and my mind to God. Prayers of thanksgiving followed, as the dawn illuminated the myriad blessings in my life. 
As I journey through Advent, I do so prayerfully. 
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ADVENT PRAYERS
November 28th: Collide
November 29th: New Start
November 30th: Burdens
December 1st: Rain
December 2n…

Blessed Thanksgiving

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This Thanksgiving we are blessed to have survived the seven and a half hour trip to Pennsylvania to spend the holiday with my husband's family .

In this land devoid of WiFi , we are blessed to be spending some quality time together. Thanksgiving dinner done, my family enjoys Home Alone and looks forward to sharing Christmas gifts of sharing photos and home videos with grandparents, a great-grandparent, and an aunt.

Blessed doesn't even begin to describe the incredible Christmas gift we received yesterday. A "12 passenger van" to replace our slowly falling apart one. Bewildered is another good word to describe it. And amused. You see, this is no typical "12 passenger van." It does have the seating for twelve like our former vehicle, but has much more cargo room. We were astonished to discover that the van was in fact a fifteen passenger van missing aback row of seating!

I'm in a bit of shock, and unsure how I'm going to manage parking such a thing, …

It's OK

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The teen sits at the table, doodling during the Sunday School lesson. It's OK.

He leaves worship before the Sharing of the Peace begins. He does this every single Sunday. It's OK.

He sits in the back of the worship room, enveloped in his hoodie. It's OK.

I know the doodling teen is listening simply by the way he seems to not be listening. Too look at someone as they speak is much too distracting - facial expressions, lips and tongue moving, things happening in the background. It's much easier for him to focus on paper and pen and voice than the world around him and what is being said.

Not liking to be touched by people he doesn't know well, this is the best way for him to meet his need to refrain from physical contact in an appropriate manner and not seem rude. 
The hoodie wearing boy is doing his best to not be overwhelmed by the assault of sounds,  sights, smells, and sensations of his surroundings. 
Unlike his brother, the ten year old likes to sit up front during wor…

Days Like Today

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It's days like today that I realize I'm not good at sitting still. That I yearn for things to do ... creative things, bookish things, any things other than sitting, doing nothing.

My three youngest and I are hanging out at Epoch Arts for the day, for homeschool picture day this morning and early afternoon and a one act play rehearsal this evening.

It's days like today when I miss my husband and my teen boys. I'd love to be here hanging out with them, enjoying their company. But two of them have to work and the third has no interest in getting his picture taken nor spending an entire day away from home.

It's days like today when I learn again how to stop, breathe, take in the moment. To slow down and enjoy my children's laughter, their questions, and their antics. To enjoy the view. 

Days like today are a much needed reminder that there is joy in lazy days that aren't illness-induced lazy days. That it's ok to not do so much every once in a while. 

Today I wi…

No Matter What

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No matter who you voted for or what you think is best for our country...

No matter if you're celebrating or scared for our country...

There is this to consider:

No one won.

No one completely agrees with any one candidate's views, policies, or behaviors.
The only way we win is if we continue standing up for what we believe is right and good...
If we refuse to let hate, prejudice, and fear win...
If we take care of one another...
If we are kind...
If we move forward in hope, in love, in prayer, and in faith that we can and will make this world a better place.

Not Yet

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My family knows the torture that is November. Well, how torturous it can be for me, anyway.
Christmas-y things are popping up everywhere. I'm working on the St. Paul Puppet Academy Christmas program, as well as Our Savior Lutheran Church's Christmas Pageant and Interpretive Movement Ministry Christmas performance. I'm planning for our family ADVENTures. 
BUT
I'm not allowed to listen to Christmas music or watch Christmas movies until Thanksgiving night!!!
I want to whine about this, but I have no one to whine to but myself, as it's a self-imposed rule. Don't get me wrong - my family members are totally on board with this rule, as I tend to go slightly overboard with the whole Christmas thing. And I do whine anyway. Starting sometime in June or July. 
I can't help it. I love Christmas music. I love Christmas movies...especially the John Denver and the Muppets Christmas Special from my childhood and A Muppet Christmas Carol. And A Family Circus Christmas, How the …

Side Effects

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I want to kill myself, but I'm feeling much better.

Navigating chronic illness seems impossible at times. The amount of work that goes into simply getting through the day can be astronomical, even when you're not doing much of anything. 

And then there are the medications that can do miraculous things. And that can cost far more than the hundreds or thousands of dollars a month these treatments often run. The side effects of some of these live-giving medications can kill us. 

I am currently on one medicine that makes me highly susceptible to infection and taking it could possibly lead to me getting a rare and untreatable form of cancer. I just started another medication that can worsen depression and make one suicidal, among other things. 
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But these treatments also do wonderful things like give me the ability to get out of bed each day, to walk, to use my hands...to be a functional person. They are truly a blessing.

The drugs that are supposed to stop my disease and improve my…