Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Day in Duluth

First of all I must say that I'm trying the new Blogger format so if something doesn't come up right that would be why.

After the last post of sharing how hard life can be, but the hope we have in Jesus I decided I was going to "kidnap" Z away for a day. One of his favorite cities is Duluth, MN so I figured we could spend a few hours in the car and have a day away. Despite the crazy March Minnesota weather it was a lovely day. Yes, we drove and walked through high winds, sleet, snow, and rain. We got some fun finds at a local antique shop that used to be a church and then headed to Canal Park where we got some new smartwool socks on sale. Seriously whoever figured out the idea of smartwool is on the A list in my book. Overall we essentially ate our way through Duluth. Nothing like a little stress indulging in favorite things! In the morning we both got a latte before getting on the road, then we had lunch at Bridgeman's and of course we had to have a banana split for dessert, we stopped to get a warm drink later in the afternoon and shared a scone, then went to dinner at Angie's Cantina and shared a margarita.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Let it be a Renewing & Refreshing Spring

Wow, life is crazy! I'm reminded of one of my favorite Bible verses from the book of 2nd Corinthians which says, "If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. Either way, Christ's love controls us" (NLT 5:13-14a). Dear Lord, may this be true! May it be your love that controls us in these crazy times and may we be crazy - in a healthy way - for you!

This year has been one of the most challenging years of my adult life. There has been a WHOLE LOT OF NEW. To be honest much of the time it has not seemed that the crazy has been caused by Christ's love. However, then I must remember that Christ's love is much more abundant and all encompassing than you or I could ever truly know and grasp.Yes, God is in the good AND in the bad of life. Jesus meets us where we are each and every day and God continuously sends the Holy Spirit to reassure us that we are loved and taken care of. For, "God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it" (NLT Eph. 2:8-9) *recapping scripture from Sunday* By the GRACE of God we have been SAVED through FAITH in Jesus Christ dying and RESURRECTING and THERE'S NOTHING WE CAN DO ABOUT IT!

The JZ News Flash of the week is that the church we have been working with this year is undergoing leadership change - again!  This is sure to continue to be a learning, changing, growing time for our church and for the various leaders - those that are here now and those yet to come. It has been a learning, changing, growing time on various levels this year for Z and I. Amidst the joyous times and despite the challenges the Spirit is still whirring around, through, and in us gifting us the faith of Jesus in God and reassuring us that our calling to be ministers in the Lutheran church - more importantly in the Christian church - are on the right paths. We're learning to live in the grace that has saved us and finding ways - old and new - to love like Jesus. If we truly believe that Jesus' death and resurrection on the cross is our salvation in God and that there's nothing we can do about that then what else is there to do than love?!

One of the more common questions is, "So how does this affect you two? What does this mean for you?" It means that we are in limbo and have been for a few months now. However, in that limbo we can learn from the experience and use the fact that we are still students - and hopefully always will be. We can choose to encourage each other and those that we work with and help each other process through the hardships and negative factors. We can love with the best of our ability and remember to be in the Word of God so that the ultimate source of love - meaning the Trinity - is obviously alive in our midst and through that we learn to pray/communicate more closely with our creator and Lord.

We have only a few months left at this site and then back to the Twin Cities for our final year of seminary. Life will continue to be new and crazy. It's easy to get down, become anxious, and sneer at at each other on a regular basis, but that's not why we have been made. God says in the beginning of the Bible "Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us" (NLT Genesis 1:26a). When the world is crazy - good or bad - we can find comfort in remembering who we came from and the mystery of how we got to where we are today.

Happy Spring!

Friday, March 9, 2012


In honor of remembering that I am dust and to dust I shall return/Lent I give you the first blog of 2012.

It has been a bit of a weird frenzy my friends! In early January we traveled to St. Paul to have a belated Christmas with Z's parents. Then we were both participating in helping with the first wedding of 2012 for our good friends who both helped with our wedding day. After that fun event our car alarm went bazerk & died & Z left me in the cities for two weeks of J-term intensive. Dr. Malcolm puts the intense in the word intensive! 9,011 words later I can tell you a few ways to answer Jesus' question to Peter when he asks, "Who do you say that I am?" The day I finished writing that - after spending at least 10 hours on my computer - we went to take our recycling to the center before getting dinner & while still in the car I saw a wolf along the fence line. Z was outside of the car getting the recycling from the trunk & very quickly was back in the car after I told him to do so - he may have been sitting in my lap. Then we went to get dinner & met the CEO of minute clinic. Let me not forget the week after J-term course ended & the week before writing the paper we traveled to IN to visit my parents & have a belated Christmas. It was great to get away for a while & we got to venture to the home of former president of the USA Benjamin Harrison. Visiting his home makes me wonder if I would appreciate my current history course more if I was sitting in a church with lots of history....

February bled out of January & Spring semester started without a blink of the eye. I also traveled to NOLA for the Youth Ministry Network Extravaganza. This was a great chance to see the city - I had never been before - & prepare for the youth going to the ELCA Nat'l Gathering this summer. I got to catch up with some college friends that I had not seen in several years & made some new. As I was sitting in the airport waiting to board my plane to head back North I received a text message saying that my cousin was engaged! Then the next day I received another message saying that the wedding date was over the time that I was supposed to be at the Nat'l Gathering. After some prayer & discussion I opted to attend the wedding in CA & have another adult lead the trip with the Synod. Aside from that fun news school is happening full steam ahead. It's crazy to think that we only have a little over a year left. I definitely did not ever think that I would be in school for this many years.

Aside from those fun stories of life things are pretty good & chaotic like usual for us. We're both plugging away trying to be progressive in our work with our current context & towards returning to the seminary in August. It's a little crazy to think that we will have to move most likely two times in the next year and a half, so we just try not to think about it & will do what we need to do when we need to do it.

Places I've seen God working lately are through the coming warmer Spring weather, through the goofiness of my husband, in the petitions of prayers during Sunday service, & the joys of life exuded by one three year old from church.

God is good, life is crazy, & I want Spring! Happy Daylights Savings weekend!