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  • 9/7/2018 When John and I moved into our new neighborhood this summer, I reminded myself that I would be extra vigilant in knowing my neighbors; not in a busy body way, but in a caring communal sort of way. If we know our neighbors it is easier to take care of one another. I have had a lot of fun getting to know the people in our growing neighborhood. The more we know about our neighbors the less fear there is and the opportunity for more fun in the sharing of life together.
    One of my favorite people, and new friend Brenner, came to my door just a couple weeks after we had moved in, bringing her mother and sisters along with a plate of delicious blueberry muffins they had baked. I’m not sure but I think Brenner fell first in love with my dogs, Mercy Bea and Rootie Patootie Punkin Pie. 
    A few weeks went by and Brenner found her way back to my door with her friend Sydney, asking if they could take my dogs for a walk. They told me that they were raising money to give to the Humane Society. Boom. Yes, please! Mercy Bea is a Golden Doodle with lots of energy and needs the attention and the exercise, while Rootie Patootie is a miniature poodle who likes to be held while she “walks.” Most weeks, the dogs get walked 5-6 days a week and I am happy to pay. More than that I am blessed to get to know Brenner and Sydney, what lovely young ladies with serving hearts and gentle spirits.
  • 8/25/2018 ”Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35 NIV
    Five weeks, in a row, of bread texts makes one hungry for all kinds of combinations of yeast and flour. The Gospel of John smells heavenly! While some pastors get bored with preaching on the how and why bread and Jesus are linked, I find these texts wonderfully rich and full of life. Bread! It is the stuff of life. I have never met a bread I have not liked. Then when you add the accouterments, such as meat, cheese, peanut butter, jam etc., it is simply lifegiving! Bread has all the senses covered, taste, feel, smell, the crunch of toast, and the deep satisfaction of memory. What fond memories are conjured up by the scent of baking bread. Mmmmmm bread!
  • 8/11/2018 What if we read the Bible out of child like curiosity, instead of being on a fact and fear based mission? What if we read scripture with our minds open to the questions that seem to be open ended, and sometimes unanswerable, instead of reading like it is a book to be fact checked? What if we thought about the stories in the Bible with more, “I wonder” questions, rather than seeing it as a black and white book of laws and mandates? It occurs to me, that I am in the minority of people who try to read the Bible, with the curiosity and wonder of hearing it for the first time; he greatest story ever told. A book of poetry, prose, prayer, lament, humor, joy, mystery and history. A book chock full of flawed characters, murderers and thieves, liars and cheats, tax collectors and mysterious women who indulge, and men who lust. You know, everyday people, our neighbors, the person in the mirror. The stories that are timeless because they involve human wit and stupidity, love, honor and betrayal. Ah yes, we can certainly see ourselves in the stories, if we just would be so brave.
    The Lutheran tradition, as well as Catholic and other mainline churches, have a tradition of having several scripture readings on a Sunday morning. Yes, I have seen the glazed over eyes, the weary faces of boredom, but also the faces of curiosity, and challenge. We follow a three year prescribed reading schedule, and if the church decides to read each selection, the hearers will have heard the Bible read in its (almost) entirety. The challenge is that people are either distracted to listen (no blaming or shaming, this is life) and /or the reader does not have a talent for reading aloud. Sometimes, the words get in the way, sometimes the ancient text does not translate well into English, sometimes the cadence is off kilter.
  • 4/27/2018 Therefore we do not lose heart; but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV

    Monday of this week, I was preparing my devotion for my Tuesday friends at Magnolia Springs. Ever since my friend Paige’s mom was in Memory Care, I became more aware of the needs of Spiritual Care for those who seem to not care about much at all; after all, memories are seemingly failing and fading. 

    What I am finding is that the spirit is alive and well in all the souls I visit, and I am continually blessed by my time, receiving the wisdom that exudes in the very air at Magnolia. Admittedly, when I’m preparing for my time with them I am still somewhat intimidated, shy and awkward. Yet, I feel called to this place and to these people.

    Now when I say I prepare something for this group of people, I generally find that I need something physical, a sort of show and tell. Just quoting scripture or telling a story does not seem to connect with most. This week, I took two props. One was a beautiful blue, but broken handled pitcher. It had been repurposed to hold a live chocolate mint plant. It smelled delicious.

    Even though the pitcher seemed useless at first, it had been almost born again into something quite lovely and useful. God’s creation was not only beautiful but it smelled good and when immersed in water makes a yummy tea.

    The other item I brought was my family Bible. My father had brought it to me several years ago. It had been found, hidden in my Aunt Ada’s attic, a German Bible written in the language of Martin Luther, beautifully illustrated, and published in 1853. 
  • 3/10/2018 Barbara Brown Taylor’s book, “Learning to Walk in the Dark,” is challenging me to rethink pain, suffering and brokenness. She claims that we are not taught, nor do we do a good enough job of teaching our children, how to walk in the dark or how to accept our pain as inevitable part of drawing closer God. When we think of pain we think of a physical or physiological reaction. Suffering, on the other hand, is an emotional reaction to our pain. She alludes to the fact that suffering is almost optional. This is where I struggle. Surely people can overcome this emotion of suffering. But maybe, just maybe our suffering can help us to understand Jesus and the suffering he endured on the cross. Maybe the point of suffering is what we do with it. It seems to me that suffering is a large part of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith experience. That suffering can be a holy action, if it draws us closer to emptying ourselves to be more like God. Suffering for the sake of others, is at the center of the Christian faith.
  • 3/3/2018 “What is saving your life today?” This is a question that I have heard spoken during various interviews of theologically inclined people, who are spiritual leaders in our modern culture. Our community at Roots of Life subscribes to a resource that produces visual liturgy, short films, and meaningful interviews, which I then use during worship and study, called Work of the People. More than the question, I love hearing the answers of deep thinking people, who talk with such vulnerability and realness that it makes me wonder about my own answer. “What is saving my life today?” What gets me out of bed each morning? No! What makes me want to do work, to see God, to bring life into the world? 
  • 2/24/2018 Dang. People, myself included are full of fear. Either we are afraid to change, or we are afraid that things are not changing. Fact of the matter is that I find myself on both sides of the fear argument. The fights over gun control, racism, sexism, politicalism, religionists (yes, I made the last two words up but you know what I mean) have gotten out of control, each side yelling louder than the other. Each demanding to be right, like there is a prize. Each drawing lines in the sand like it won’t collapse in the middle. We are a pitiful bunch. Thank goodness that God loves us, through continued love, grace and mercy. This week I have asked myself, “What is saving your life?” I believe reading is a large part of what is saving my life these days. Not just the bible, though there is that, but also various memes that pop up on social media, and also my stack of books in various stages of being read, read and not yet read, along with blogs, and various websites. Books are my friends.
  • 2/17/2018 It is something we do not think about often, because we have been told that darkness equals evil, or sin, or that darkness is the place where God is not. Many of us fear the dark not because of the absence of light, but fear is manifested from not knowing what is in the dark. Darkness is not a bad thing it is just a thing. God made both the light and the dark, as the writer of Genesis describes.
    In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God[ swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. Genesis 1:1-5
  • 2/10/2018 Some people call Valentines Day, “Singles Awareness Day.” Admittedly, I have always loved V-Day. It was best when I was a little girl, when we would decorate shoeboxes for our own Valentine mailboxes, have a big party mid winter, dress in pink and red, and eat candy hearts both chocolate and conversation. Being sort of a girly girl, I was the stereotypical lover of all rainbows, heart, cupids, and unicorns all bedecked and bedazzled with glitter and shiny paper. Valentine’s Day was a big holiday!
    As my romantic life became a thing, yes, I anticipated stuffed bears with ribbons, heart shaped boxes of the good chocolate, and maybe if I was lucky a dinner date. Now, after being married, for a long time, having grown children, my romantic life has changed into, ‘spending time together,’
  • 2/3/2018 Maybe this is the year we learn to speak up, tell our story, right the wrongs caused by silence. For hundreds of years’ humankind has been taught that silence is golden and speech is silver. The idea that silence is golden dates back as early as ancient Egypt. Poems and songs have been written with this thought. Parents have taught this to their children, probably just to get some peace. How many times have we heard the quote, “God gave us two ears and one mouth, and we should use them in equal measure”? Wyclif’s Bible, published in 1382, included the quote, “silence is maad in heven (made in heaven).” A now defunct, thank the feminists, proverb in the 16th century was, “silence is a woman’s best garment.” I call shenanigans!
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