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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The Fruits of Pentecost

…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, gentleness, self-control…Galatians 5:22-23Today we celebrate Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit to the followers of Jesus as they huddled together in the Upper Room. Jesus had ascended to the Father and the promised Advocate came to the disciples through wind and tongues of fire, landing on each one individually (today’s first reading—Acts 2:1-21). It must have been quite a scene! The mystery and marvels continued with those receiving the Holy…

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A Commitment that Cherishes

About twenty five years ago I joined a group of people who would eventually start Corpus Christi House, a day shelter for the homeless in Boise. We studied the writings of Dorothy Day and examined the Catholic Worker movement she started, a faith-based but not religious movement (catholic meaning universal). We wondered together what a Boise House of Hospitality could look like.In those early years we spent a lot of time discussing what love is. Love is a word that seems perfectly clear…

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Think on These Things

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.Philippians 4:8, NIVThis verse from Philippians is one of my watchwords. It’s a verse that raises my spirits.The problem is, it dropped out of my mind in the last year. Covid-19, which is far from over, drove it out of my consciousness.The verse quoted above is actually part of Paul’s closing exhortation in his letter to…

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Witness

“Witness” can be a scary word to some church people. Even apart from church contexts, it can be scary to be a witness. Your name is now associated with a case, situation, or incident. If a new development or question might happen later down the road, you will likely be called. Whether you desire to get the facts straight or find yourself in a tricky situation because of being in a certain place at a certain time, being a witness can be stressful.Beginning…

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Read more about the article On the Sunny Side of the Street
invitation to hopscotch

On the Sunny Side of the Street

A recent television commercial features a young girl sitting on the walkway to the front door of her family’s home. She is chalking the concrete but also looking rather longingly at the people passing by to see if anyone will give her a smile. We see a delivery person walking rather quickly; he may or may not see the girl, but he does not acknowledge her. She looks disappointed but then we notice, from her facial expression, that she’s come up with an…

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Just Tom

Imagine with me for a moment: You’re a guy who has spent the last three years traveling and working with your best friends. It’s been exciting and exhausting and oh, so much fun! That is, until it wasn’t. Your leader, the glue that held your fraternity together, was just arrested and killed. What now? You have no idea if the cops are looking for the rest of you. You couldn’t handle losing anyone else right now. You all go into hiding together. And you’re…

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Read more about the article Joy Comes with the Morning!
man embracing joy in the morning

Joy Comes with the Morning!

Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.Psalm 30:5bToday we are in the midst of the Easter Three Days, the high point of the liturgical year beginning the evening of Maundy Thursday and continuing until the evening of Easter Sunday. These three days are a single celebration that mark the end of the season of Lent to the celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection at the Easter Vigil and the later Easter Day worship celebrations. (Go here for a slightly longer…

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All are Welcome

All are Welcome ”Let us build a house where love can dwell And all can safely live, A place where saints and children tell How hearts learn to forgive. Built of hopes and dreams and visions, Rock of faith and vault of grace, Here the love of Christ shall end divisions, All are welcome, all are welcome All are welcome in this place.” Marty Haugen I must admit, I have struggled with this song at times. But not because I don’t love the…

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All Your Mind

Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40Today I am focusing on the “mind” part of this verse as that is, in my opinion, where it all begins; even though it is listed last. Our desires begin there.There was…

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Love Bats Last

Nonviolence is absolute commitment to the way of love. Love is not emotional bash; it is not empty sentimentalism. It is the active outpouring of one’s whole being into the being of another. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Today our country celebrates the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I can’t think of a better way to begin this historic week than by honoring Dr. King and his message of nonviolence. Our country has experienced heartbreaking violence and yet there is hope…

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Part of the Family

Recently my husband and I bought a new bed. This was unplanned because we were quite happy with our old bed—a full size—which we had had since early in our marriage, almost 30 years. The reason for our new bed purchase is our small Schnauzer mix, a dog we adopted from a rescue organization in southern Idaho. Fauzie (pronounced Fozzy) was found wandering on a farm road in Burley. His coat was so long it covered his eyes, and he had developed vision…

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Waiting for……..

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon...There was also a prophetess, Anna...” Luke 2:25 – 38My childhood memories of Christmas include a lot of waiting. Of course, there was waiting for the time when I could open my presents and, waiting for everyone else to finish opening their presents so I could start playing with my new toys. As I got older, there was waiting to watch others as they opened the gifts I had prepared for them. There was waiting…

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Dance in the Dark, Watch for the Light

These days, you don’t have to wait long for night. It gets dark fast. We often talk about the shortened length of days this time of the year. However, the days aren’t actually shorter. We have the same hours to our day as ever, it just feels different. Days like these provide us with an opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with the dark. Things feel different, they look different, we have to do things differently because there’s less light, but that doesn’t take away…

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Stolen Identity

I have a friend who recently discovered that her identity had been stolen. As she was sharing with me the process for reporting the fraud and protecting her identity, it surprised me just how exhaustive the process was. There are so many entities that rely on our personal information and “identities.”This gave me pause to wonder: what is an identity?According to the government, an identity is our name, address, birthdate, and social security number. Perhaps according to our own selves it is the…

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Good Soil

A dear friend of mine will be consecrated as a Lutheran deaconess this weekend. She has had to wait several months for her service to be rescheduled and it will look very different from her original plans. But we know God is faithful and that God continues to call us regardless of what is going on in the world around us and no matter how long it takes us to make things “official.”One of her texts for the service is the Parable of…

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Can we learn to love our neighbor?

As we get closer and closer to the election in November my soul is grieving deeply the division and lack of respect for others that politics seems to exude. How we have let ourselves become so divided by party lines that we cannot even have civil conversations with those we disagree with, if we can even talk to them at all. This divisive politics isn’t new, I always dread the TV ads where opponents just seem to disparage each other and not talk…

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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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Transformation in the Suffering

“A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Mark 4:37-38 I’m afraid I am approaching “overwhelmed” at this point. With the ongoing pandemic, wildfires, racial inequality and injustice, and the upcoming election my anxiety is hammering at my good humor. Any one of these troubling issues can…

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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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Choose Something Like a Star

When I was in high school, I was a member of the Wauwatosa (Wisconsin) East High School Concert Choir. Every weekday at 11:05, we took our music, got into our assigned seats, and readied ourselves to practice for the next hour. Mr. Bilderback, the director, was a task master but he took great pride in the choir. As a second alto, I rarely got to sing any exciting parts.Sometimes we competed in the Wisconsin high school choir competition, but that depended on whether…

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Thoughts on “Singspiration”

Cross made of walrus and mastodon ivory It was almost a year ago, in fact when you read this it will be over a year since I left Shishmaref, Alaska and the people of Shishmaref Lutheran Church, which is to say all of Shishmaref, for when you’re the only church or gig in town everyone belongs, everyone comes to you for baptisms, weddings and of course funerals. It was an experience like no other and it still is shaping me a year later.…

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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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Tales from the Treehouse

“But now ask the beasts to teach you,And the birds of the air to tell you;Or the reptiles on earth to instruct you,And the fish of the sea to inform you.Which of all these does not knowThat the hand of God has done this?In this hand is the soul of every living thing,And the life of all humankind.”Job 12:7-10I live in a treehouse. No, really, I do! It’s actually a third-floor apartment with a balcony overlooking a nice courtyard, but with a beautiful…

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By Our Love

"For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love." (1 Cor. 13:12-13). One could make a pretty good argument right now that hope is the greatest, but I know that love has been the strongest guidepost and will remain so for me…

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Put on Love

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 Today’s meditation is a video set to a song encouraging us to “Put on Love” as we ask God to wrap us in his love and help us to learn what it means to love one another in this difficult time.…

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Freedom to Care

“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female for all are one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28A few days ago at our book study at a Trinity Lutheran in Nampa we were studying and conversing via Zoom about Rachel Held Evans book “Inspired.” The question was asked what is the Gospel or good news in one word? My answer was “freedom.” Yet in light of everything are we truly free?…

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