Called to a Generous Heart

"For where your treasure is, there your heart is also." (Matthew 6:21)have been attending an online course through Indiana University and the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving. Since January I have been reading and discussing financial giving and practices related to generosity with various leaders in the ELCA and other denominations across the country. Consistent themes in living generously are that living generously is a calling in each of our individual lives, it brings meaningful life to both the giver and recipients…

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Ubuntu

The word Ubuntu is an African word meaning “humanity to others.” The word has come into my life at different points in the past 20 years (starting way back when I was blessed to work at a YMCA camp as a counselor which hired international staff and my first summer there, we had two men from Africa on our staff team) and reminds me and us of the idea that ‘I am what I am because of who we are.’ I am offering…

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Love As a Verb

As we honor the life of Martin Luther King Jr. I am first drawn to the words from Saint Francis of Assisi…Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood…

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Welcomed at the Table

As I begin the week of this Thanksgiving holiday, I am filled with positive childhood memories of great family time, while also being stirred about what this holiday can mean to others different than me and those who do not feel included, valued, or seen with these celebrations.Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday as I am filled with memories as a child, growing up driving down to my Grandma Hartman’s farm down in Southern Illinois. The day car trip was well worth the 4…

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A Place of Joy and Peace

At Luther Heights Bible Camp this season we ended our fall retreat season a bit early. On Labor Day we were asked to evacuate camp due to the Jakes Gulch fire. Thankfully, our guests were all off site when we received the phone call from the forest service and staff were heading out as well. I, much like many others, feel a sense of joy, renewal, and peace with Christ with moments experienced on the holy ground at Luther Heights in the exquisite…

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Signs of New Life

Spring is upon us, at least for me blessed to live in the Boise area. As I turned my clock and adjusted to different time of light, what I found myself appreciating was signs of new life, signs of positive change. I have appreciated more sunshine in my days and warmer temperatures. I have appreciated tulips and daffodils beginning to pop up in yards as I walked my golden doodle, Fozzy and I have appreciated walking my kids to school for in-person learning…

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The Best Time of the Year

Yes, I know that Christmas is over, but for me … this time of the year is among the most exciting and hopeful in my work in ministry. Outdoor Ministry sites across our country are praying, discerning, recruiting, interviewing, and hiring our summer staff teams. Those 18 to 26ish year olds willing to get excited about countless s’mores, Bible study daily, all camp games, swimming, archery, and so much more. Young adults who are sensing a call to mentor youth, engage deeply in…

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Questions I Have Asked Along the Way …

As we embark on a New Year, 2021 … I am reminding myself to not just LEAP into the New Year with abandon, though many moments I do want to do that. 2020 has challenged each and every one of us, but my personal goal in all of this is to not say good-bye to a year of a global health pandemic, social unrest, political divide and a historical national election without noting the lessons learned. The pandemic has forced introspection and my…

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Believing is Seeing…

I recently received a text from a former staff member, Mike, checking in and sharing that he just watched the Santa Clause movie starring Tim Allen. He shared that, on this particular occasion, he was surprised during this reviewing of the movie. He discovered he was struck by metaphor for faith and the story of Jesus that is contained within this film. He particularly shared how he was struck by a line, “seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing” as true wisdom toward our…

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Holiday Havoc in Pandemic Times

My heart is a bit heavy these days in anticipation of the next few months and all the holidays that will also likely be disrupted by the continued COVID-19 pandemic. We simply have missed so many events and traditions already, from graduations to summer vacations to back-to-school activities. It is a lot to take in, process, and move beyond. In the coming weeks, my family will engage in conversations about the holiday traditions we love most. My crew is likely to roll their…

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Praying the News

I am a person who does want to watch, listen to and read about the news to stay current on issues and concerns, learn new things, and know about where I am living. But, I have to be careful when and where and how I engage with the news. For one, I have a 9 year old who can get really nervous when some tough stories are shared. But, I can also completely derail and go down a path trying to search for…

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Generations to Generations

For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 100:5) Our outdoor ministry theme for summer 2020 was “Generations to Generations” based on Psalm 100:5. In a summer season that was so drastically different than typical or anticipated, this in many ways was a perfect theme. Written in November and published by LOM (Lutheran Outdoor Ministries, our national organization), the curriculum team had no idea what was ahead, but I believe our God who guides…

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Seek Joy

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” Thich Nhat Hanh I have been reflecting on joy lately, which may seem a little odd with all that is going on, but in the searching and seeking of joy, I find myself more grateful for all I do have and more thankful for the moment.My family and I were very blessed to take a little camping trip two weeks ago. We were…

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Praying I Emerge a Butterfly

I have been fond of butterflies for many years now. I admire their beauty with various colors and designs, I marvel at the quiet way they move and float and dance along in nature, and I hold a special connection to them because both my grandmothers liked them. But, I think I also admire their courage and willingness to change. One of nature’s way of providing an example of God encouraging each of us to growth, even in the struggle and then new…

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Treasuring Holy Spaces

In a recent conversation with a friend in the meadow at Luther Heights, I was reminded of how in our lives we are blessed with Holy Spaces or places set apart that help us be our truest selves, places that connect us to nature or a treasured community, or beloved memories. Sacred Places and Holy Ground which connect us to a grace-filled God in powerful ways; places which are altars for our God. In Exodus 3:1-5 we read, “Moses was keeping the flock…

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Camp Devotion

Today I invite you to join with me in a practice we use during nightly devotions with our campers. I challenge you to engage with this devotion with another person, it maybe someone you live with, it may be a phone call to a friend from church or someone who has helped you in your faith journey, but engaging with another person will help you with this style of devotion.At Luther Heights Bible Camp we use the Faith 5 strategy from Faith Inkubators…

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Rooted With Christ

As we live into each day, and more news stories arise around the COVID pandemic and the social unrest across our nation and the world, I find myself lost in the constant stream of information and struggle, searching for hope, searching for God in the chaos. A loving God to help me take a deep breath, connect to the Spirit and lovingly be a light in our world. I long for community gatherings and people to walk this journey with me and I…

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