Friday, December 21, 2007
i am stunned. sitting here in my office...snow on the foothills, dog asleep at my feet...i have worked every day for 16...17.... or 18 days, i can't remember. the church is quiet, except for the blowing of the heat. the nativity is frozen in awe, the lights and poinsettias are perky and bright. sunday is planned...christmas eve is prepared for...and i am stunned. stunned that God could come to earth and that i get to proclaim it. stunned that Christmas came so fast. stunned.
here are a couple of beautiful advent meditations from ann weems', kneeling in bethlemen, for you...whether you are stunned or not. peace and merry christmas!
IN SEARCH OF OUR KNEELING PLACES
In each heart lies a Bethlehem, an inn where we must ultimately answer whether ther is room or not.
When we are Bethlehem-bound we experience our own advent in His.
When we are Bethlehem-bound we can no longer look the other way conveniently not seeing stars not hearing angel voices.
We can no longer excuse ourselves by busily tending our sheep or our kingdoms.
This Advent let's go to Bethlehem and see this things that the Lord has made known to us.
In the midst of shopping sprees let's ponder in our hearts the Gift of Gifts.
Through the tinsel let's look for the gold of the Christmas Star.
IN the excitement and confusion, in the merry chaos, let's listen for the brush of angels' wings.
This Advent, let's go to Bethlehem and find our kneeling places.
IT IS NOT OVER
It is not over, this birthing.
THere are always newer skies into which God can throw stars.
When we begin to think that we can predict the Advent of God, that we can box the Christ in a stable in Bethlehem, that's just the time that God will be born in a place we can't imagine and won't believe.
Those who wait for God watch with their hearts and not their eyes,
for angel words.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
i am continually amazed at people's capacity to be unkind. it makes me so sad and frustrated.
but...as mother teresa encouraged, i will refuse to allow the poison of unkindness, bitterness, and unforgiveness to touch my heart...
DO IT ANYWAY
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
my niece, macalister, was pretty obsessed with things going "in the ground" for a while after their alpaca, midnight, died. she used it as a euphamism for death..."mom, when i go in the ground, i want you and daddy to be with me." how very ancient egyptian of her.
today we put marty in the ground. her graveside service was cold and sad...i spoke all of the beautiful things that i could - Scripture, prayer, eulogy - and we cried and said goodbye. no one wanted to leave...
finally, we left her casket there...yellow and pink flowers covering the top. it was all very sterile looking from the outside. but when i looked closely, i could see the dirt carved away...under the beautiful casket, beneath the chrome lowering mechanism....there it was, the ground.
Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant Marty. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, of sinner of your own redeeming. Receive her into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints of life. In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, we commend to Almighty God our sister, Marty, and we commit her body to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The Lord bless her and keep her, the Lord make his face to shine upon her and be gracious unto her, the Lord lift up his countenance upon her and giver her peace. Amen.
Friday, November 23, 2007
my beautiful friend, marty, died last night at 11:35 p.m.
the last few moments of thanksgiving she decided to fly. she let go of her feeble body and is now PRESENT with God.
i miss her desperately...i cannot imagine how her husband of almost 40 years feels. i'm so thankful to have known her and know that her ministry of intercession from the presence of God will be amazing....
goodbye dear friend...may angels guide you to His glorious presence.
we were buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. -Romans 6:4
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
i've been keeping vigil near the bed of a wonderful woman in my congregation all afternoon/evening. two weeks ago we dished and laughed on her couch...two months ago we scurried around the church kitchen....and now she lays dying in skagit valley hospital. unbelievable....
pray for marty's family.
pray for me.
Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.
Monday, November 12, 2007
yesterday i turned 30. so far, my 30s feel great...i feel grounded and as though my age finally backs up my maturity, job, etc. somehow i feel some of the pressure of the 20s sloughing off...i feel that i already have more grace for myself. inspired by tim mcgraw, here are some goals for my next thirty years:
-forgive myself as quickly as i forgive others
-learn things that i've always wanted to learn (more gardening - master gardner status?, cooking white sauce, identifying birds)
-take more time to savor life
-cultivate my friendships
-READ as much as i want ;)
-get better at yoga
-be more responsible
and - as a nod to the man who inspired this post...here are tim mcgraw's plans for his next 30 (hopefully he is off to a good start):
Tim McGraw My Next Thirty Years lyrics
I think I'll take a moment, celebrate my age
The ending of an era and the turning of a page
Now it's time to focus in on where I go from here
Lord have mercy on my next thirty years
Hey my next thirty years I'm gonna have some fun
Try to forget about all the crazy things I've done
Maybe now I've conquered all my adolescent fears
And I'll do it better in my next thirty years
My next thirty years I'm gonna settle all the scores
Cry a little less, laugh a little more
Find a world of happiness without the hate and fear
Figure out just what I'm doing here
In my next thirty years
Oh my next thirty years, I'm gonna watch my weight
Eat a few more salads and not stay up so late
Drink a little lemonade and not so many beers
Maybe I'll remember my next thirty years
My next thirty years will be the best years of my life
Raise a little family and hang out with my wife
Spend precious moments with the ones that I hold dear
Make up for lost time here, in my next thirty years
In my next thirty years
Monday, October 29, 2007
this week we headed down to houston, tx to see my brother, dean, get married to the beautiful, kind, and intelligent, laura. it was the most fun wedding i have ever attended...one of the highlights (along with texas bbq dinner, kyle's best man toast, and dancing to the jackson five) was that i was the officiant (which was worth going through the ordination process in and of itself). we had a beautiful time...i will perhaps, in the next day or two, post my homily from the wedding and thoughts on the butterfly migration that we were able to see...for now, however...check out these pics of the handsome and happy couple.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
yesterday i went to the convalescent center a few blocks from the church where i hold weekly Bible studies...we have a beautiful relationship with this place - we hold weekly Bible studies, our associate minister does Sunday morning worship, and we are "on call" for pastoral needs that the residents or families may have. i am ALWAYS blessed by my time there...i cherish the relationships i have with the residents and staff.
yesterday, as i was chatting with some staff in the "memory" ward (the locked down section of the facility), another staff member came to me and told me there was a family whose mother was dying and needed a pastor. i quickly grabbed my Bible and had one of the activities folks get me some oil from the kitchen and went to be with the family.
the room was dark except for a light right above the bed, illuminating the frail body of a woman and colorful pictures of children, weddings, and great-grandchildren above her head. bernita's eyes were closed - had been closed for a long time - and her permed hair was sticking closely to her head from the wet washcloth that was folded on her brow...her adult daughters sat in the dark at the end of her bed...staring, crying, waiting...
bernita sounded as though she was breathing in water...each breath labored and bubbling. i spoke loudly so that she could hear me through her breath...through the in between space of death and life. i read philippians 3 and 4 to her...then i read, at her daughter's request, psalm 23...
i spoke to the daughters about their mom. it is so important to tell stories of life when faced with death...death is a part of our lives.
i learned that she was a devoted churchwoman - always the one to go visit folks in the hospital...always faithful. their red eyes told other stories too...of how they wanted her to be free from pain, but losing her was hurting...of how frustrated they were with her pastor who visited only twice in six months...of how they wished their brother would hurry and come so that mom could let go.
with her daughters at my side, their tears dripping onto the bed spread, i anointed this woman's head with oil and prayed for her...comitting her again to the Lord, reminding her and God that she is HIS...that nothing can seperate them because of Christ's precious blood.
i read romans 5. i hugged the daughters and spoke a little more to them and left to attend to others...to have staff meetings...to get supplies for the church at costco...to go to prayer meetings and teach Bible studies....
i was not able to go back to the convalescent center until the end of my day - 9:15 p.m. i ran through the rain to one of the "alternative" entrances...a die hard smoker in a wheel chair greeted me as i walked in. i put the "special" code into the door, *7. i walked down the dimly lit hallway to bernita's room and was greeted by an empty bed illuminated by a single light. no pictures, no damp curly hair...just a stripped bed. the nurses informed me that she had died about two hours after i had left.
staring at the empty bed my heart swelled as i realized that i was the last person who prayed for her....the last PERSON who had the blessing of anointing her precious head with oil...the last person to read God's holy Word to her on this earth.
i thank God that i was able to do that...to minister to this one before she went finally from life to Life.
i snuck out the same door i came in...and my smoking friend laughed because of how hard it was raining...she said, "RUN...RUN"....and i did....rain soaking me, drowning out all sound...save for the distant hallelujahs coming from one who left an empty bed.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
the light before a storm is always strange...ominous...light, but filtered...everything seems to glow in an eery green. that is what i am seeing out my window right now...and hearing HARD rain.
i have a lot to write...a lot to process. maybe i will find the time tomorrow - probably not. until then, a prayer:
Gracious and Holy One,
creator of all things
and of emptiness,
I come to you
full of much that clutters and distracts,
stifles and burdens me,
and makes me a burden to others.
Empty me now
of gnawing dissatisfactions,
of anxious imaginings,
of fretful preoccupations,
of nagging prejiduces,
of old scores to settle,
and of the arrogance of being right.
of the ways I unthinkingly
think of myself as powerless
as a victim,
as determined by sex, age, race,
as being less thatn I am,
or as other than yours.
of the disguises and lies
in which I hide myslef
from other people
and from my responsibility
for my neighbors
and for the world.
Hollow out in me a space
in which I will find myself,
find peace and a whole heart,
a forgiving spirit and holiness,
the springs of laughter,
and teh will to reach boldly
for abundant life for myself
and the whole human family.
the lightning has started...the only thing is to take cover and wait
Monday, September 24, 2007
no matter how dark...no matter how ugly...i will keep putting beauty in.
it is, after all, what God does...no matter how nasty this world gets...God keeps putting beauty and life and light in...
so...Lord help me to keep putting beauty in...
it is the only prayer i can muster.
Friday, September 21, 2007
if you have spent any extended length of time with me for the last few months, you have heard me speak of an amazing little girl named, Gloria Strauss. this eleven year old girl from federal way, wa has been battling nueroblastoma for four years and her story can be found on the seattle times website: www.seattletimes.com. her witness, faith, and joy as she has walked through this journey of cancer has inspired me and thousands of other readers. gloria died this morning. it is her long awaited miracle...
do not miss gloria's story - go to www.seattletimes.com and scroll down to her sweet face and read the features, reporters notebook and listen to the prayers that were lifted up from her room in children's hospital...you will be blessed.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
fall is forging ahead regardless of the fact that it canNOT possibly be fall...summer was too fast...we must have lost some days in the calendar.
but regardless of how fast i feel time has gone....it is moving....the low fog envelops us each morning...even now, it is hugging the foothills of the cascades, the storms are beginning...last night sending thunder and lightning to our door, the leaves are beginning to change...their last glorious act before falling to the ground.
the thing i am mourning the loss of today is the late summer blackberries....i LOVE them. this morning, i ventured outside in my pajamas to wade through the dewy grass and fog and fill a bowl with blackberries one last time...i got just enough to cover my cereal and they were delicious....and i will miss them, until next year.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
i've gotten into a strange habit...whenever i see someone has died that is relatively young and dies of strange circumstance (like the college girl from seattle u who fell from a cliff while hiking in chile or the SAD story about the couple in portland that killed themselves and their five year old daughter due to the wife's cancer this weekend) i go to myspace and look at their page. it is so bizarre - to see the comments that say things like, "we miss you so much," "why did you do this..."
i feel as though it is reminding me of the hopelessness that is so pervasive that i - as a representative of God's love (as all Christians should be) - need to be fighting...or perhaps it is only morbid curiosity...most likely both.
apparently, i am not alone: www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/07/30/dying.on.the.web.ap/
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
this week a little girl in my church was on the internet...she called over her shoulder to ask her mother what "goddess" meant. her mother - trying to give her the short answer - simply said, "a female god." the little girl thought for a moment and said...."you mean like bethany?" exactly.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
been taking the drugas for TB exposure for about a week now...so far, so good. i have yet to experience anything negative. it is a little weird to follow the diet guidelines, but i am just considering it sort of an extended fast from certain things. nine months is a long fast, but i am up to the challenge.
the good news is, once i am finished with the prescribed dose, i will not have to worry that the TB that is currently doormant in my body will ever come out and bother me. that is a great blessing - as is the fact that i can care for those who have full blown TB without fear of contamination...they wouldn't be giving me anything i do not already have.
anyway - things are going well so far...so thanks for the prayers...
beau and i had a beautiful weekend....finished up our wall hanging project (you have to come to our house to check it out), went on an amazing hike up mt. sauk - 360 degree views of mt. ranier, mt. baker, mt. pilchuck, three fingers...the skagit river valley - awesome...had my parents spend the night and come to church on sunday, went to the island and got some qt with the fam and hung out in the sculpture garden and jackson beach....good times.
"if the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. if it were merely challenging that would be no problem. but i arise in the morning torn between a deisr to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. this makes it hard to plan the day." -e.b. white
Friday, August 24, 2007
the title of this post may, in fact, prove prophetic...hopefully it does not. i have begun this morning on a labor that God has put on my heart for a few years...a bit of writing that may form itself into a book or papers...or perhaps just something for nieces and nephews and grandchildren to peruse long after i am gone. only God knows...
peace to you all...hope is in my head and in my heart...i pray the same for you.
If this brings You glory — if souls are brought to you — with joy I accept all to the end of my life. —from a letter from Mother Teresa to Jesus, undated
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
many of you know that there has been some "resistance" to me being the lead pastor of this church (you know...i am a GIRL!). it has been hard, but a good lesson in suffering and loving and forgiving...
there has been one person in particular that has seen it as a personal project to undermine me....with letters left on front porches of members, huge packets sent to my district superintendent, and anti-girl clergy rhetoric passed out in the foyer.
but this weekend we had a breakthrough...
we had a memorial time for a relative of this person...miracle number one: she came, miracle number two: she stayed through the sermon...miracle of all miracles: she spoke to me and HUGGED me after the service. it was such a suprise blessing to me...i had resigned myself to her hating me and then she was able to - in Christian love - reach beyond her convictions and embrace me...it was beautiful.
for those of you whom i've spoken to about this situation - you know how heavily it has laid on my heart. it was such a wonderful thing to know that God has been working His LOVE into this situation...from both sides.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
as a part of the process of becoming an on-call chaplain at skagit valley hospital, i was required to take a tuberculosis test. it is a simple procedure where a needle injects into your arm and you are to watch it for 48 hours - if, after 48 hours, it is red and raised, you have been exposed to tuberculosis and must have a chest x-ray to determine if you have spots on your lungs.
48 hours ago i had the test...and my arm has a large red, raised welt on it where the needle went in...over twice as large as a result that would beg a chest x-ray. this does NOT mean i have TB (i am also NOT contagious), but it does mean i have been exposed to it and may have to take this nasty medicine that messes with the liver and it also means that i will have to "register" with whatever county i am living in...crazy!
in my usual hypochondriac manner, i was already planning a lung transplant as i changed into the hospital gown to have my chest x-ray this afternoon...beau, in his usual calm, cool and collected manner, looked at me incredulous when my eyes got huge and scared...
i was most likely exposed to it on some of my gallivanting journeys around the globe - perhaps in the escuela juan wesley for disabled kids in santiago, chile, or the andes of ecuador...maybe the rio frio of nicaragua...but 6 months of meds was worth every minute of it.
pray for my lungs...while you are at it, pray that my asthma goes away too...that would just be more than i could bear.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
this excerpt from the wisdom of the desert is definately going to find its way into my sermon this sunday...peace to all....
Abbot Lot came to Abbot Joseph and said: Father, according as I am able, I keep my little rule, and my little fast, my prayer, meditation and contemplative silence; and according as I am able I strive to cleanse my heart of thoughts: now what more should I do? The elder rose up in reply and stretched out his hands to heaven, and his fingers became like ten lamps of fire. He said: why not be totally changed into fire?
-from the wisdom of the desert translated by thomas merton
Sunday, July 29, 2007
this weekend has been deeply sad...my best friend's grandfather committed suicide on saturday...on the same day we found out that one of beau's favorite aunt and uncle split up...this coupled with the fact that i have two precious ones in the hospital with unrecognizable ailments...it has been a rough weekend.
keeping me aloft has been a book that i loved in seminary and have picked up again (i think an ex-boyfriend "borrowed" my former copy forever)....the wisdom of the desert: the sayings of the desert fathers translated by thomas merton...so for a few days and posts forgive me for including some beautiful glimpses into this text.
merton writes of the reasons to be set apart as "reject[ing] the false, formal self, fabricated under social compulsion in "the world." They sought a way to God that was uncharted and freely chosen, not inherited from others who had mapped it out beforehand. They sought a God whom they alone could find, not one who was "given" in a set, stereotyped form by somebody else [...] there was nothing to which they had to "conform" except the secret, hidden, inscrutable will of God which might differ very notably from one cell to another."
here are some of the thoughts from the desert fathers (more to come as i read further)....
Abbot Pastor said: If you have a chest full of clothing, and leave it for a long time, the clothing will rot inside it. It is the same with the thoughts in our heart. If we do not carry them out by physical action, after a long while they will spoil and turn bad.
One of the brethren had sinned, and the priest told him to leave the community. So then, Abbot Bessarion got up and walked out with him, saying: I too am a sinner!
Friday, July 27, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
we had a beautiful time in cuer d' alene (i HATE spelling that) - we learned, however that it means "heart of all" and i think that is just beautiful. so, although i cannot spell it, i will joyfully embrace the heart of all...
while there we enjoyed bike rides, smores, hikes, slip n' slides, good company...it was fun times. check out my cousin kylee's blog for more pics and reflections: www.wheelturning.blogspot.com
it was beau's first time with my extended family and he confirmed my worst fears - my immediate family is officially the craziest of the crazies....the term "hullfire" was coined this weekend as well...if you know any of us, you will understand.
peace and joy to all!
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
beau and i are leaving tomorrow morning early for a family reunion in a french city in ID (every time i try to spell it, i butcher it...but it is in the panhandle - you know where i'm talking about).
i haven't posted in a while...things are nuts...but here are a few words that have inspired me lately (heavy on this van dyke guy, but i just found him...so enjoy). blessings on you...
Many a soul begins to come to God when he flings off being religious, because there is only one Master of the human heart, and that is not religion but Jesus Christ.
A peace that depends on fear is nothing but a suppressed war.
-Henry Van Dyke
As long as habit and routine dictate the pattern of living, new dimensions of the soul will not emerge.
-Henry Van Dyke
Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love, to work, to play, and to look up at the stars.
-Henry Van Dyke
Happiness is inward, and not outward; and so, it does not depend on what we have, but on what we are.
-Henry Van Dyke
Some people are so afraid do die that they never begin to live.
-Henry Van Dyke
There is only one way to get ready for immortality, and that is to love this life and live it as bravely and faithfully and cheerfully as we can.
-Henry Van Dyke
Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best.
-Henry Van Dyke
Monday, June 18, 2007
my love and i have been married for longer now than one year...this time last year we were discovering what it means to wake up and see the other's face...to begin to make decisions together...to live and work and play and come home to each other...it has been a beautiful year. i can't wait to see how it grows.
here is a poem i've seen around blogdom...but it is beautiful so i will put it here too...as an ode to waking up for many more years to those same green eyes.
Your Basic Love Poem That Can Be Read at Any Wedding-M. C. Boyes
Things in their most basic form
are the hardest to put words around:
the winged tail of a shrimp.
a freshly washed pillow case,
growing crisp in the autumn air.
The late winter sun
quenching itself on a bowlful
of snow. The half moon
in your right thumbnail.
What I mean is this—
after the long ride home
when the grass is wet, and the dishes
have been dried, and the wrinkles
have begun to set themselves
in lines more broad
than fine, there will be you—
asleep. Your head in its infinite state
of undress. Each hair
set upon another
wrestling against the grains,
that by some unwritten rule,
must form in your blue eyes.
There will be you, again.
Alight, aloft, adrift,
in my arms alone.
There will be you
and we will be
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
i have no problems...as i have been learning to care for God's precious people, i realize how much that is true. currently i have parishioners with aggressive cancer (and aggressive chemo!), varying degrees of surgeries, loved ones slowly slipping away to Alzheimer's disease, jobs where they are in the line of danger every day, financial woes, job woes, relationship woes, depression....
dealing with such weighty issues continually puts my "issues" into perspective.
as all of these things sunk in i realized afresh how much i need the strength of Christ to even begin to pray for, minister to, be present for these precious people who are experiencing the fire.
Monday, June 04, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
i've been meaning to post this...it is a copy of the liturgy of pastoral covenant that my new congregation and i went through a few weeks ago for my installation service. i used the framework of another liturgy and made it my own...may God help us keep these promises. Amen and amen.
Liturgy of Pastoral Covenant
Leader: Pastor, we, your people, charge you to remember your ordination vows.
Congregation: Preach the Word, be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage with great patience and careful instruction. Endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministries. (2 Timothy 4:2-5)
Leader: Pastor, will you affirm this vow and accept again the invitation to be the spiritual leader of this flock?
Pastor: I will.
Leader: Will you, the members of this church, accept, support, and uphold our pastor as she leads you?
Congregation: We will.
Leader: Will you affirm your belief that this pastor and this church are to be workers together in the providence of the Most HIgh God?
Congregation: This we do believe and affirm.
Leader: Will you continue to support this pastor with respect, loyalty, love and fervent prayer?
Congregation: We will, with God’s help.
Leader: Will you continue to receive the pastor’s family – especially Beau - as members of this family of faith and love and pray for them as your own?
Congregation: We will, with God’s help.
Leader: Will you continue to give sacrificially of your means so that this pastor can be relieved of the temporal cares of this life so that she may give full attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word?
Congregation: We will, with God’s help.
Leader: Will you respond to the pastoral leadership by vigorous participation in the congregational life of this church as it carries out its mission of worship, evangelism, nurture, and service?
Congregation: We will, with God’s help.
Pastor: In response to the gracious call of God, and in gratitude for the confidence you have expressed in me, I covenant with you to continue living together as an authentic expression of the Kingdom of God in this world. I promise:
• To lead you in worship, that in our unselfish focus on God we might be shaped in the image of Christ Jesus and truly become His body.
• To spend time listening to the voice of God, believing that only in hearing Him will I have anything of substance to speak to you.
• To preach the Word with boldness and grace, unafraid to be the mouthpiece of the Lord in this place and among these people.
• To study the Scriptures and the teachings of Christ’s followers through the ages, that we might be a community of faith rooted in the Truth of God and in the historic Christian faith.
• To intercede for you, spending the necessary time to lift you to the throne of God’s grace that you might “be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of Go0d and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12-13)
• To give you pastoral care and spiritual direction
• To lead you in becoming a true community where “each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:6).
• To lead you in serving others, taking up our responsibility to our neighborhood, this community, and to the whole world.
• To live before you not only as a pastor, but also as a spouse who keeps promises and who lives a balanced life under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Pastor & People in Unison:
• We will follow the Bible in living together as a community of faith
• We will love one another with sincerity of heart, choosing to live in grace and forgiveness.
• We will honor one another above ourselves.
• We will not become lazy or apathetic but will keep our spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
• We will be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.
• We will share with God’s people who are in need and will practice hospitality.
• We will live in peace and leave revenge in God’s hands.
• We will overcome evil with good.
• We will move with the Spirit, allowing God to move us out of comfort and into the glorious freedom of His powerful Love.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
i see this visage from my office...the sun is shining and the bees are buzzing in the flowers outside my window. the office is quiet today as our receptionist is at the doctor's office and our office administrator is off. it is just the quiet of the church, the bees buzzing and me.
we have moved in...we are officially residents of mount vernon, wa. it feels so good. we have begun the process of exploring...a couple of days ago walking to little mountain (being greeted the entire way by friendly natives), discovering the money saving JOYS of grocery outlet, and getting the much needed local library card.
i could write about the people with the unending vendetta against me...or how overwhelming it is sometimes to think about church finances...or just how many keys have to be on my keychain these days...but i would rather look at the mountain, know that i am home and be at peace. i pray the same for you this day.
God is abundantly good.
Monday, May 14, 2007
remember when stamps used to be 25 cents....and a pop was never more than .50...well now a stamp is nearly as much as what a pop used to be and we are all paying through the nose.
today i had to go to the post office to send off some bills and a change of address form. the lines were enormous. everyone having to get the new stamps...everyone getting off work and swarming to the post office...
i got in one line, then noticed another line for just stamps....i switched lines and waited in that line for 5 minutes before i realized you had to have cash. i asked the woman in front of me if the machine took credit cards and she replied that it was only cash...she asked me then how many stamps i needed - giving me $1.35 for stamps. then the rest of the folks in line got in on it and provided me for stamps enough (39 cent and one cent) enough to send off my bills. it was such a beautiful outpouring of kindness on a busy sticky day at the post office. i was so tempted to decline their generosity - my face turned red as i tried to say "thank you" enough times...it made me realize again how hard it is to accept free grace. it is hard for me every day to receive the free love, forgiveness, and mercy that God continually offers to me...but i must. there is no life outside of Him. so this afternoon, i took the stamps and sent my mail...thanking God for the kindness of strangers and FREE grace.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
this whole house buying this is crazy - i feel like this poor little doggie...it is so much waiting and depending on other people getting things done. it is driving me nuts to have to just sit here and wait and see the weekend looming and fearing that we won't close by then...pray for us. i'm sure God is STILL trying to teach me that patience thing...
Saturday, May 05, 2007
our house should be OURS for reals on tuesday. i write this amongst boxes, an extra fridge in the dining room and general mayhem...patched walls, emptied closets...
our house, above, does not have the "curb appeal" that the little yellow house had (earlier house we backed out on due to DEBACLE of a home inspection)...but it is so wonderful - on more than a half acre, on the edge of a creek and little mountain, NO repairs needed to move in...hardwood throughout, beautiful backyard, surrounded by greenbelt, dishwasher (thank you Jesus!), right across the street from a lutheran church which means that we look out our front door to a cross...i mean, really...how cool is this?
come visit us soon...we are fun.
Friday, April 27, 2007
hey amazing sister cousin friend...are you gonna come out here for marie and shawn's wedding or what? we hope so...we're jonesing for ya...have fun at nickel creek! xo, b
this picture reminds me of you...your heart is free and gives love just as freely - i LOVE that about you...
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
a beautiful life...this is what i have. the past few weeks have been surreal to say the least. i have been the head pastor of an entire church...people have already left (i am a GIRL you know...), people have already joined....there have been board meetings, ministry jam sessions, i have administered sacraments and visited in hospitals...i have pissed off some and blessed others. and as i drive the hour to to work (house is still closing), all i can think of how this is my first choice for a life. there is no place i would rather be than in the living room of elderly parishioners showing me pictures and telling me tales of submarines in the pacific during ww2. i would not spend my aftertoon doing anything other than playing with shredded paper and a 20 month old...never would i desire anything more than to be the one who gets to pray during the hard times and the one who gets the call when everything is o.k. i am overwhelmed with gratitude...
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Friday, April 13, 2007
As a prisoner of the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity in Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit - just as you were called to one hope when you were called -one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all. -Ephesians 4:1-6
6 years ago (well, 21 if you begin where i was called at the age of 8) i began the journey of ministry and the pursuit of ordination. these years have been filled with beauty, hardship, stress, study, joy & service...and ordination boards...and meetings...and filling out application after application...and scrutiny....and background checks...
but last night - with great joy - i knelt in front of the annual district assembly and the general superintendent along with the elders of the district laid hands on me and declared that - as God had called me - they were affirming and supporting that call and giving me the position of ordained elder where i am free to preach the Gospel of Peace, administer the sacraments to God's people and prayerfully lead on the narrow Way.
when the hands were laid on me last night it was such an intense feeling...by body was shaking violently, tears were falling freely from my eyes...every face that i've ever served communion to, imposed ashes on, cried with, laughed with, ridden on rollercoasters with, preached to, prayed for were parading in my mind...but all i could really focus on was Christ. it is He who beckons me into service...it is He who i serve...and i am humbled that i get to be used in His service.
so now i am an official reverend...i pray that my life glorifies the One who formed me, the One who watches me, the One who has drawn me to Himself and calls me Beloved.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Friday, April 06, 2007
UPDATE: THERE HAS BEEN CRAZINESS IN THE CLOSING...defunct water heater, fouled windows, leaky plumbing and unyielding seller...so PRAY FOR US- WE NEED A HOUSE. i know the Son of Man did not have a place to lay His head, but He didn't live in the pacific northwest! you know...rain and all that...
we have this beautiful little house in burlington (barring any unforseen craziness in closing)...now we will live and work and love in the skagit valley. we are so excited.
today is Good Friday - THANK HIM.
peace to all...
Thursday, March 29, 2007
first, exciting news: we have placed on offer on another house...a cute little thang with a garden, fruit trees, a front door with a tree carved into it, and territorial views - i am so excited to live in such a beautiful place. more later.
yesterday was my second full day at church - it continues to be a blessing...at times overwhelming to think of all the work that needs to be done...here are a couple "fun" quotes from my short tenure there...
"if God can speak through an ass, then who are we to say who can preach?"
"i don't care if you're 12, God sent you to us."
the beautiful thing about these quotes is that they are evidence of God changing peoples hearts. both of the men who spoke these things just weeks ago were dead set against female pastors and - without a debate, without a fight - God showed them His plan. it reminded me that i never have to take up my own defenses...God is my defender...I never have to prove my validity...just be faithful.
with that - here is a beautiful nugget from dueteronomy - But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him. -Duet. 1:29
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
yesterday was my first day at "work." i went to the life care convalescent center for a Bible study with those folks (they are precious and i cannot wait to get to know them more), i got my keys (my key chain finally feels the right weight again with all the classroom, office, kitchen keys on it), i cleaned out my office (dog hair...in a head pastor's office?), i learned where the supplies are kept, i kept forgetting that i had my own bathroom in my office and trekked down the hall...i can hardly believe this is my life. i am SO happy. i already have people pledging their support and others swearing they will leave...welcome to the church. i cannot imagine doing what i am doing so i am just going to have to live it out and see how it feels...the beauty and the underbelly....the joys and sorrows...all the while praying, Lord Christ, be glorified in me...
prayer request: please pray that we find a house...we've already made an offer on one and lost out on it.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
good good good news - God is GOOD. oh yeah...and the Mount Vernon church board has unanimously decided to invite me as their head pastor...yeah, there's that - FREAKING EXCITING - bit of news. the congregational vote will be the 25th with perhaps my first sunday as a real live head pastor palm sunday. wow. i am overwhelmed.
Monday, March 05, 2007
there are days that i am tempted to assume the worst...assume the worst possible outcome, assume failure, assume that the opposite of what i want to happen will inevitably happen. thankfully, my husband has noticed this and speaks truth into my life - tells me it is NOT cool to torment myself in this way...that it is o.k. to hope, that it is o.k. to assume the best until i know otherwise. i have been praying about this a lot today...walked and walked and prayed...faced my face toward the sun and prayed....stared at the immensity of the cascades and prayed and HOPED to believe...i feel like the man in mark - "Lord I believe, help my disbelief."
this is my prayer today - in the face of all that is unkown - for HOPE...Lord, i believe...help my disbelief....Lord, i hope...help my hopelessness...
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Some interesting links for your web surfing pleasure....she is the most rockingest former mormon ever. These are always "interesting"...sometimes beautiful. I still want one of these. Speaking of beautiful things I love...You can find Abbi, Sam and I sipping the best coffee in Seattle here. For exegesis try this...or this... And never forget to pray.
Have a beautiful week....