You Can Go Home Again

I lift my eyes to the hills, from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1) I recently had the chance to visit my hometown - Duluth, Minnesota. I only lived in Duluth until I was four, when we moved to Omaha, Nebraska. After Omaha, we moved to Schaumburg, Illinois, and after that, to Natick, Massachusetts. My childhood years were marked by these moves and experiences of different places. Duluth is rich in…

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The Practices that Sustain Us

I am mourning the loss of two family members in recent weeks.  My mother Mary died following a stroke in Tucson, Arizona on May 29th.  My brother-in-law Geoffrey died following a massive heart attack in Meridian, Idaho on June 3rd.  My husband Glenn and I have been through every emotion since these events and there have been and will continue to be difficult days.  There have been moments of pure love and grace during this time.  I’ve been trying to identify what practices…

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Unplugging

These pandemic times have the world using devices at record numbers and for long periods of time. I now average at least one zoom or google hangout or Skype every day, and some days I have three or more. And I only work part time. Early in the pandemic, I signed up for a lot of webinars because I was eager to learn new things, and most webinars are free or reasonably priced. Now I am much more selective, as I have a…

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Read more about the article New Life
baby duck fluttering wings

New Life

Christ is risen, He is risen indeed. Alleluia! Where in your surroundings do you see new life? In nature? In your relationships? In the stirring of the Holy Spirit? Christ is risen, He is risen indeed. Alleluia! How can your prayer life rise up? Are there new rituals or practices you can try? Christ is risen, He is risen indeed. Alleluia! What is something you can release from the tomb? Can you name something (or someone) that can move from the darkness into…

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Those People

People from California get blamed for a lot of things in Idaho. Housing costs are rising because of people moving here from California. Traffic congestion is worse because of all the newcomers from California. Jobs are being taken by people from California. And the list goes on and on. If there is something wrong in Idaho, it is because of all the people from California. It is easy to do the blame game. It is harder to do the work of understanding the…

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Migration and Movement

What would it mean for Christians to rediscover their faith not as a system of beliefs, but as a just and generous way of life, rooted in contemplation and expressed in compassion, that makes amends for its mistakes, and is dedicated to community for all? Could Christians migrate from defining their faith as a system of beliefs to expressing it as a loving way of life? Brian McLaren, The Great Spiritual Migration The word migration has deep meaning for me. In a sense,…

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Living in Community is Hard Work

“Peace is not when everyone agrees. It is when we can respect our disagreements and still play in the sandbox together.” Unknown Tweet My neighborhood loves fireworks. The 4th of July fireworks start several days before the 4th, and last until several days after the 4th. The 4th of July in 2020 was especially noisy with fireworks lasting several hours. New Year’s Eve 2020 fireworks started well before midnight and lasted until 2 am. When we walked through our neighborhood on New Year’s…

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The Day After

"When the carols have been stilled, When the star topped tree is taken down, When family and friends have gone home, When we are back to our schedules, The work of Christmas begins: To welcome the refugee, To heal a broken planet, To feed the hungry, To build bridges of trust, not walls of fear, To share our gifts, To seek justice and peace for all people, To bring Christ's light into the world." Michael Dougherty From Arise Shine, For Our Christmas Work…

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The Show is About to Begin

You know what time it is, it is time that you awake out of sleep because salvation is coming near to us...the night is far spent, and the shining day is at hand. Therefore, cast off the works of darkness and prepare yourself to put on the armor of light, prepare yourselves in hope. (Romans 13: 10-12)Imagine you are in a seat in a theater, waiting for the show to begin. The houselights go off and the footlights go on, the conductor raises…

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Moving to Idaho

Our move to Idaho happened in a surprising way. We had been doing a year of research on places to retire. We had visited several different states and areas, including Boise. During our time in Boise, we saw several homes with a realtor, including one we really liked that wasn’t on the market. Our realtor explained we could see the home even though it had an offer, to get an idea of that type of floor plan, and to see that neighborhood. That…

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An Early Advent

“Zechariah your wife Elizabeth is to bear you a son.” Mary, listen, you are to conceive and bear a son.” (Luke 1: 13, 31) We have already been in the Advent season in a sense; because we have been in a period of waiting since the pandemic began. Waiting for it to be over. Waiting for the suffering to end. Waiting for the vaccine and maybe a cure. Waiting for life to get back to normal, or the new normal, whatever that is.…

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An Unexpected Thank You

One of my favorite things to do when I was a Youth Minister was to go on retreats with young people. The opportunity to be together away from the normal routine helped us grow closer to each other and to God. During each retreat we would create rituals together that matched the theme of the retreat and the gifts of the youth in attendance. One retreat stands out in my mind all these years later. We decided to do a blessing based on…

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On the Road

“Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name.  I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart.” (Psalm 86:  11-12) We took long road trips during my childhood years. We drove every summer to Minnesota for an extended vacation with family and friends. These trips started in Omaha when we lived there, and then Chicago when we lived there. The trips became longer when we…

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A Two-Way Relationship

My best friend Penny is an introvert. This is a good thing, because I am an extrovert so we balance one another nicely. Penny knows me very well; and understands my tendency to talk on and on about things in my life. She listens well and offers good feedback. We’ve known one another for over 50 years, and Penny recognizes all of the nuances in my voice and all my pet phrases and expressions. I’ve learned how to draw Penny out and get…

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Surprises

I vividly remember the party for my 40th birthday. That was over 20 years ago but that night is very clear in my mind. My husband Glenn and I went out for a lovely dinner; and returned home to a house full of people. Glenn had arranged a surprise party; I had no idea people were coming over. Our house was filled with friends eager to share in my special milestone. The best surprise of all – my brother and sister in law…

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The King’s Speech

One of my favorite movies is The King’s Speech. It tells the true story of King George VI (father of the present Queen Elizabeth). He had a stammer and was terrified of making speeches. He worked for many years with the speech therapist Lionel Logue and the movie covers their developing relationship. The movie won several Oscars – Best Picture, Best Director, and Colin Firth won for Best Actor for his portrayal of George VI. The treatment of the King was not well…

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Back to the Beach

I grew up in the Midwest, and didn’t see the ocean until I was in my teens, after we moved to the East Coast. I quickly developed a fascination with beaches and went to different ones whenever I could. I lived in Maryland and often visited the Eastern shore and its unspoiled shores. A move to California allowed me to explore the spectacular coastline north of San Francisco. I loved the rhythm of the waves, the way the light played in the surf,…

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Telling Our Stories

Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug.  Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you.” Isaiah 51: 1-2The hardest part of moving to Idaho from California in 2016 was not the packing and unpacking. We had good movers and were organized. This was our fourth move to a new location, and we had a system in place for keeping track of stuff. The hardest part was not adjusting to…

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The Next Step

Many years ago I volunteered to be in charge of a banquet for several churches. These churches had worked together on some community events and we wanted to celebrate our partnership with a banquet and speaker. Everything about the planning process was a struggle. We had to change the date of the banquet more than once. There were scheduling issues at the venue we were hoping to reserve. We couldn’t reach consensus on any of the decisions. There were many disagreements among the…

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Be a Presence

It is easy to feel overwhelmed these days. We are in the midst of a pandemic, and are constantly adjusting to the challenges this new reality brings. We are witnessing a time of racial unrest, and are wondering what we can do to make a difference. We experience a wide variety of emotions, sometimes all at once – anger, frustration, confusion, grief, sadness, despair. We also experience from time to time positive emotions influenced by our faith – hope, acceptance, compassion, trust, belonging, love of neighbor. Every person responds differently to the circumstances we are in. One thing we all have in common as people of faith is the desire to make a difference.

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An Act of Hope

We lived in Connecticut and our apartment complex was surrounded by oak and maple trees. The red and orange colors of the leaves were spectacular in the fall. Our home in Maryland had oak, sycamore, and maple trees. We also had an apple tree with pretty white blossoms in the spring. My favorite bushes in our yard in Maryland were the lilac bushes. Their fragrance in the spring filled the yard and surrounding area. I loved to cut bunches of lilacs and bring…

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Our New Vocabulary

Words that we did not use just a little while ago are now common in our conversations. Pandemic is now a part of our daily lives. Some other new words are: Covid-19, Corona Virus, Shelter in Place, and Flatten the Curve. We’ve come to use these words frequently, whether we want to or not. We are growing in our understanding of this new vocabulary, as we grow into our understanding of how all of these words and phrases affect our daily routines. Using…

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The Shopping Cart and Spiritual Awakening

“Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed.” 1 John 3: 2Grocery shopping has become an adventure during the pandemic. Will the store have toilet paper, sugar or flour, hand sanitizer, or Clorox wipes? My husband and I have become intimately acquainted with the aisles in the nearby Albertsons. He goes towards the paper products and cleaning aisle; I head towards the baking aisle and produce. We’ve never found all the items on our list, but…

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Read more about the article Milestone Moments
© Paul Oman/Drawn to the Word 2020. All Rights Reserved. www.paulomanfineart.com

Milestone Moments

We are all missing special events in our lives, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, graduations, and funerals. They are still happening, but in very different ways. These are memory making events, ones that we may be able to re-create in our minds. These milestones create many stories, ones that we tell over and over again as we recall what happened and who was there and details and layers that stay with us long after the events have ended. We attended my cousin’s son’s wedding on…

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Marking Time

“How might our experience of time change if we could learn to receive time as a gift from God? How might this open us up to live more fully?”  Dorothy Bass, Receiving the Day One of my favorite TV shows is When Calls the Heart on the Hallmark Channel.  It is about a schoolteacher Elizabeth  Thornton in the small town of Hope Valley in the early 1900s.  Elizabeth rings the bell to start and end the school day.  She also rings the bell to signal the end of…

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