Sunday, November 1, 2015

I Believe

There is so much going on right now, my mind is in a fog.  As I dropped one of the girls off at youth group tonight, the CD that was in the car started playing a song that I love.  Andrew Peterson's "The Good Confession". 

It tells the story of a young boy who heard the call and was baptized.  As he took his preacher father's hand, he was asked to "say the words" - words I learned as a child growing up in the Lutheran church.  Words we memorized early on, and recited over and over.  Words that are meant to be something more than just words.

The words hit me tonight, with things happening, where is my trust?  Where does my faith stand?  How deep does my belief go, and what do I believe?  Do I believe that I truly am saved through faith in Jesus Christ, that His death on the cross was the sacrifice required by God the Father, and willingly given for me?  That there is nothing I need to do to earn this salvation, except to confess my sins, accept His grace and gift, and believe that He is the Son of God. 

How then shall I live?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


It is a small word with big implications.


What is it?
What is mine?

When I think of purpose, I think about meanings.  What is the meaning of my life here?  Where will I find meaning?  What does this meaning look like, feel like?  Will I know when I find it?

Then I think about the "bigger than me" picture.  My purpose shouldn't be about me and what I can accomplish in this life.  It should be about others and what I can do to help make a difference for them.  This life isn't about me.  I was put here for a reason, a purpose, yes, but the focus of that purpose should be so much more than my little bubble of existence.

So I continue on this journey. . .

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Day Begins

I wake to a quiet house
Sounds of cars outside heading down the street
I begin my morning Summer routine
Preparing my lunch
Making coffee
Getting myself ready for work
All in the quiet

Thoughts of gratitude
For the people who sleep
For the quiet that surrounds
For the provision of all of these

Thoughts of the day ahead
Of tasks to tackle
Of lists to complete
Of time on the clock moving constantly forward

I step out of the quiet house
On to the porch near the street
Making my way to the car
Making my way to the office
Getting myself ready for work

The day begins...

Friday, July 24, 2015

Grace, Mercy and Influence

Grace - the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings - OxfordDictionaries

Mercy - compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm  - OxfordDictionaries

Influence - the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself - OxfordDictionaries

These are some of the words running through my brain this morning.   There are circumstances all around us - any of us - at any given time or day, that require us to consider each of these things.  What or who influences us, and what influence might we carry?  Where are people or places in time where I need to offer, or ask for mercy?  How do I accept the grace given to me, and extend that to others?

Consider these things for yourself. 

Where has grace been extended to you?  Here is a touching example...

Is there a situation where mercy is required of you?  A person that needs forgiveness?  Is there a place where you need to humbly request mercy from another?

Do you have an influence on those you come in contact with?  If so, how are you using that influence?  Do you recognize it as a sacred thing, or is it a tool to accomplish a goal?  Is your influence leading others in the right direction?  (Hint: it shouldn't lead to you...)  Are you following the right influences? (Hint:  Where are they leading you?)

These are all things I am pondering, reviewing and praying about.  There are so many places that aim to grab our attention... 

Pay attention.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Letter - On Brokenness

Dear you,

Since it isn't possible right now, for all of us to sit around the same table and sip coffee and talk about the things that are going on in our lives, I wanted to invite you to this space, this common space, to let you in on some of the things I have been thinking about. We  have been through a lot in this span of life we have lived.  We have traveled many different roads, most with ruts, bumps and the occasional detour.

Let me be the first to say that I am broken.  WE are broken.  None of us has all of the answers, none of us is perfect.  If we pretend we are fine, that nothing is wrong...well, that just proves how broken we really are.  Sometimes pride or fear keeps us from owning those cracks.  Sometimes we don't realize that we are broken, because brokenness is all we have known. 

Our faults are not to be worn as a badge of courage, a banner to wave when we feel slighted, insignificant or hurt.  Our faults need to be admitted, recognized and called out for what they are.  But we also need to recognize that when others present their faults to us, they are to be handled with care, mercy and grace.  If there is correction needed, then correction must be given and accepted in love.  If there is reconciliation needed, then it also must be attempted and if possible, accepted. **I do believe that if any party is not in the right place, then attempts for correction and reconciliation can be more damaging and hurtful.**

We are works in progress.  We will not see the final result of our striving this side of eternity.  But that doesn't mean we should sit back and accept where we are.  We press on and move forward.  We can try under our own strength and will, but that won't last long.  We will get exhausted. 

There is One who has already done the work.  Some of us may know this.  We need to remember to go to Him with our faults.  This One has carried all of our faults to a hill.  There they were all carried on His back, nailed to His cross, and the payment was made in full.  Payment for what?  For this thing called sin.  Sin separates us from the Most High, El Elyon, Jehovah, I AM.  He is holy, righteous and just.  He cannot tolerate sin.  So for we who are born sinful, with faults, what does that mean? What do we need to do?  We look to Jesus, ask forgiveness for our wrongdoings, accept His wonderful, extravagant gift!  The gift that God's Son took our faults, our brokenness, our sin upon Himself, paid the ultimate, horrendous price that was for us, and did it willingly so we could be set free. 

Do you know Him?  If you do, thank Him for His grace, mercy and love.  Go to Him with your struggles and ask Him for direction.

If you don't know Him, please call out to Him.  Go to Him with your struggles and ask Him for direction.  Tell Him of your sin (confess) with a contrite heart.  Ask Him to forgive your sins - by believing they were nailed to the cross when Jesus was crucified.  Accept His grace and mercy through Jesus.  Follow Him.  Love Him.  Praise Him!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

With Insufficient Gratitude

As we approach Good Friday, humility overwhelms when I think about the awful torture, pain, suffering and death that Jesus took upon Himself, willingly, that we, I might have the opportunity to share in a banquet with Him, the Father and Holy Spirit. 

We know that this doesn't end on Friday. 

Sunday waits just beyond, with the promise and hope of a future - an eternal future - so bright and full of joy, we cannot imagine!  So it is with insufficient gratitude that I offer a quiet prayer of thanksgiving, knowing that He hears me, and knows me, and still loves me in spite of who I am, or what I have done or will do...

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Introduction to My Story - Until I Can Come Up With a Better Title

About five years ago I wrote out my story out and shared it with the ladies' church group, and have also shared it more recently, in the adult Sunday School class.  On both occasions, people commented on my writing, some saying I should write a book - to which I said  (in my head) yeah, right. . . and then. . . hmm, should I?

While I really don't know about writing a book, the idea appeals to me.  I really don't know if I have enough content to write an entire book, but I thought I would begin to write out some thoughts on different topics that relate to me and my life thus far.  Thoughts on growing up, my faith, parenting, and creativity, just for starters.

I can't say for sure how often I will add to these thoughts, but my goal is to share once a week, even if it is just a few quick sentences.  So next week we will begin. . .

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Looking for Home

Is it possible to feel lost even though you know where you are?

Is it possible to forget where home is, even though you know where you live?

It might be losing your place, or it might be losing your connection to a place.

I was trying to work on a canvas, and I had an idea:  the house that memory built.  It was going to be a mixed media piece, so I began laying out different papers and words to help the process.

I completed covering the canvas with papers, and then. . .
And then. . .
And then. . .

I drew a blank.  I didn't know what to do next.  I had been drawing on ideas from my memory, patterns that reminded me of my grandma's house, the wallpaper in her living room, or dining room.  I had pieces of map from the state I grew up in, I had a solid start.  But I didn't know what house to add to the painting.  Do I add my Grandma's farm and the house I grew up in? 

As I tried to determine what to do, I realized I have no connection to those places anymore.  I haven't been home for a couple of years.  Grandma has been gone even longer.  Different happenings in the family created a break in my connection.  I had to step away from the canvas for a time. 

I still talk with my parents.  That connection is fully intact.  There is no issue there.  But the physical location has lost its pull.  I am living in a different state, but this doesn't feel like home either. 

My creativity seems to be at a standstill.  I seem to be able to start ideas, paintings, writings, but I don't get very far before I run out of process, thoughts, ideas.  All I see before me is a wall. 

I have set that piece aside for a time.  I think that I still have some processing to do, but I should process while I work on it.  I think I need to push through that wall to see what is on the other side.  There is the house that lives in my memory, and the house that my memory built, but there needs to be a home that lives where I am today, a house that holds my memories.  That is the house I need to work on.