Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Favorites & Merry Holiday Cheer!

This bitstrip comic is very true.

While my home looks nothing like this picture - & probably never will - & my friend JM said I looked like I was about to go crazy on those reindeer, I haven't totally felt this excitement this year.

I attribute this lack of holiday love to being busy. I preached on Psalm 46 at the end of November & I shared then that we - all of us - are SO good at being busy.

In fact, Advent/Christmas is often figured to be the busiest time of the year. And really, this is nobody's fault, but our own. We pick & choose what we say yes to & no to & what we actually accomplish.

I'm a people person. I come from a very social family & we like to talk & visit & we are filled with the holiday joy by spending quality time with people. However, when that time is limited, it becomes a stressor of how we will spend that time together.

Sometimes its hard to enjoy all the things that go along with Advent/Christmas. But I urge you - as I'm urging myself - enjoy the time, take in the lights, play a game or in the snow, bake some cookies - or buy them from the store - & indulge. For this is a holy celebration time of the year.

No matter what you believe, there is something for everybody in Christmas. Sweets, lights, butter, cheesy tv shows, cold weather, hot weather if you live in or near the Southern hemisphere, songs, angels, crazy decorations, & a more focused vision of giving to & being with others.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday Snippits!

Happy Sunday!

In lieu of the holiday season, please forgive me for my lack of blogging. All has continued to be good & busy. SO busy that I think I will take a break - since I've already unofficially started - from blogging three times a week through the end of the month. Be expecting little blurps here & there.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tuesday Tea Time!

Happy Tuesday Tea Time!

We woke up to a sea of white fluffy snow this morning. You might think this would be obvious considering I live in Northern MI, but the last week had been rare late Fall rain. It's hard to believe it's still Fall for another 10 days!

Last week I watched the people line up for the local food pantry (across the street from our home) in the rain & this week in the blowing snow.

I'm inspired by their perseverance & by the many people that come together to make the food pantry possible. I'm inspired to start a ministry of serving coffee & tea for those standing out in the cold.

Maybe this will be a new sort of tea time!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sunday Snippits: Good, Bad, & Ugly!

GOOD: Life is good & busy. This last week was filled with work from my many jobs. I really would love to have one job that incorporates all the things that I do some day. I believe this is possible, it just has to come in time. The highlights of the week included buying our first real Christmas tree, finishing decorating the tree & the house & plenty of puppy time. Oh & we also visited The Journey to Bethlehem at the Stutsmanville Chapel with lots of people from church & the next night was the Christmas parade in downtown Chebooboo! Like I said, good & busy!

BAD: The snow melted because of rain. When it's this cold outside, I want a pretty layer of snow, please. And I don't think I'm alone in this.

UGLY: Watching people compare Paul Walker's death & Nelson Mandela's death. Both were people, both did good things, both were known for different good things. Comparison isn't necessary when people are grieving on both sides.

BONUS: It's clementine/citrus season!

WORD: Isaiah 35:1-10 - What are you waiting for?

Coming up: Hopefully snow! Also more work from my at least 3 of my different jobs. Probably more like 4 of my different jobs this week. And next week is the Christmas pageant!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Saturday Surprise!

I have gotten SO bad at posting my Friday Favorites on Friday!

Here it is, though, the first ever real Christmas tree for Z & I.

We went to the tree farm that everybody recommended, but there was nobody there during the week day. That's what ya get when you take a day off in the middle of the week 'cause you work weekends!

So we drove into town to check a few other locations, pulled into the first site we saw, & purchased this beauty. AND it just so happens that it was from the tree farm we had gone to.

We spent the afternoon filling it with lights & decorations & listening to holiday music on Pandora. Thanks to Momma P, we had NO problem filling the tree with decorations. She has done such a great job at saving and preserving all my ornaments over the years.

The house is decorated, the gifts are mostly bought, the menu for the Holiday Hop is planned, & the puppy is pretty well adjusted to her new home.

What Holiday ADVENTures have you been on lately?!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tuesday Tea Time!
Drinks Time or TeaTime?! 

I know it's just icing, but I wonder if these fun treats taste good. They remind me of something from Alice in Wonderland!

Today's Tea Time includes 
Coconut Chai!

And I'm sitting here waiting for the snow! 

Last week I got to briefly see my bff BGEG when we were both in our hometown for Thanksgiving. Being one of the only non-family members that I still gift with,  I asked her what she would like for Christmas & she gave the most perfect answer.

"A coffee date with you!"

BGEG & I live 8 hours from each other, so we don't see each other very often, but we share a lot of favorites in common, such as tea. Neither of us are really coffee drinkers, unless it's super "weak" or super sugared.

As the holiday season is in full gear with Thanksgiving behind us & Advent just starting up, don't stress about "the perfect gift." The "perfect" gift may just be quality time with your friends & family. Even if it is quality time using Skype, FaceTime, or GoogleHang (check out their props next time you use it, very entertaining). And if I may make a suggestion, send each other a card with your favorite tea (a tea bag fits nicely inside a card) & enjoy tea time together!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sunday Snippits: Good, Bad, & Ugly!

Happy Sunday!

GOOD: Meet Michi Gander Nelson! We finally bought a puppy. We'd been wanting to for nearly two years, but didn't want to spend the money. We also thought we'd get a miniature schnauzer, but here's our sweet little shih tzu who will grow to be 10-12 pounds (maybe 15-20). This is definitely the highlight of the last week, but overall it was simply great. We traveled to IN & surprised Ma & Pa P, bought a dog, celebrated Thanksgiving with family & friends, did a little black Friday shopping (for the dog mostly) & got sent home with 8 pounds of butter. Yes, 8 pounds of butter, which currently totals 12.5 pounds of butter in our house. We better get to baking some holiday treats! AND today starts my favorite part of the church calendar - Advent!

BAD: Playing catch up after a few days away. Organizing e-mails because somewhere down the line people have gotten my personal, shared, & work e-mails confused, not to mention my former school e-mail which gets forwarded to my personal.

UGLY: Knowing people are hurting because of illness & poverty & hunger & there's not much one can do to help. This is more specifically for my good friend BMG who has dengue fever & a slew of other complications & is across the world with her husband of nearly 5 months & they're supposed to be there till next August. Prayers for healing are greatly appreciated.

WORD: Do you ever stop & wonder how God is at work in the world or in your life? Today we used the Old Testament reading as the Gospel reading & will be doing the same thing for all the Sundays in Advent & man o man it confused the readers. The Gospel is present through all of scripture. God is at work through all of us & all of creation.

Coming up:  Work, decorating, maybe some baking with all that butter! And of course some play time & snuggling with Michi!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tuesday Tea Time!

Happy Tuesday Tea Time!

In honor of Thanksgiving week, I googled "Turkey Tea" really not knowing what to expect for a picture. Much to my surprise, thought it shouldn't have been, dozens of photos similar to this one came up. It shouldn't have been a surprise considering Z has been to Turkey & brought home a tea set much like the one in the picture. However, his trip was a few years before we met each other & this is the first time we've had to the space to display the set.

This global use of tea & how it brings people & stories together is one of my most favorite things about tea!

So who wants to join me for some Turkish Tea? Maybe we'll make Turkish Delight as well & watch the first Narnia movie!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday Make-Up!

It's a Monday Make-Up session!

I thought about Friday Favorites on & off all day Friday & woke up Saturday & realized I never posted.

Sunday came around & I preached at two services & came home & took the traditional Sunday afternoon nap. In the evening Z preached at the community Thanksgiving service & before I knew it, Sunday had come & gone.

So a Monday Make-UP!

One my favorite moments this last week was the prayer gathering I hosted for our church. The Spirit was definitely working her healing powers, even with only me & one other person (ahem, it was Z) present. While I have no doubt that this could've been a beneficial gathering for others to be a part of, it had only been announced two days earlier & wasn't in print.

Another favorite was this photo of hedge apples that created quite the community conversation on Facebook & Instagram. While, like any fruit, I know they rot, I wonder if when they grow this cavernous black holes if it's because they have attracted spiders & other bugs (like they're supposed to do) who have then eaten the fruit & are no more. Anybody know?!

Another fun thing that happened was getting our outdoor lights put up for the Christmas/Holiday/Winter season. It's so fun having a house to decorate this year. And being my mother's daughter, I have to hold myself back from spending more money & decorating more.

We decorated outside just in time as the last few days have been very snowy & windy!

And to top of the week & the turning weather, we built a fire & poured some vino.

Coming up: a little work & a lot of fun! We are looking very seriously into getting a puppy soon & it's Thanksgiving week, so that means a little extra time "off."

Many blessings on your Thanksgiving week!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tuesday Tea Time!

Tuesday Tea Time!

Yes, that is a McDonald's cup. In fact, Google said it was a picture from Canada. I'm not sure I've ever seen a McCafé cup like this. At the same time I can't say that I've spent much time or money at McDonald's in general. Nor have I been to Canada in the last fifteen years.

However, it does seem that the most time I've spent in places like McDonald's or Burger King have been in other countries. Why? Because, when you purchase something, you're often given access to their wifi.

So today, I had an international experience with my Coconut Chai - from home - & my $1.06 hash-brown to do some work to prep for a prayer service I'm leading. This all practically in my backyard in the USofA

Life sure keeps leading me to unique places!

What unique places is life leading you to today?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Snippits: Good, Bad, & Ugly!

Time for Sunday Snippits yet again. Does anybody else not believe that November is half over already?! Well, we better start believing, cause December is coming to us ever so quickly with each passing minute.

GOOD: This last week was a go-go-go week. This is good because I function better when I have things to do. I'm a list maker & when I have things to put on my list & then have things to accomplish, life is good. There was phoning, there was Tuesday Tea, there was my cancer-versary, & turkeys learning to speak! Yes, it was a busy & good week. And by the way, I'm the turkey learning to speak. There's no denying my familial roots when I make silly mistakes like saying "Gooble Goble" when I meant to write "Gooble Gobble." What can I say, my kind, we keep life entertaining! I also got to get out for a Starbucks treat with my friend TE (see Friday Favorites for more info), have dinner with my new friend AP, & then dinner again the next night with other new friends & colleagues. AND TODAY is my 1st ZUMBA DEMO! 

BAD: The darn check engine light came on again. 

UGLY: Read the news people, I don't need to tell you what's ugly. However, I will highlight this Huffington Post article about religious freedom. Why can't we be ok with the fact that we're not all the same & strive for the common good of the neighbor?!

WORD: Psalm 46. It contains part of my favorite scripture to meditate on. AND I may be preaching on this scripture next Sunday.

Coming up: Z's being installed this evening! I'm preaching next Sunday! More phoning & promoting of the awesome ministries God is leading Youth Encounter in & much more.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Favorites!

Meet TE, my new friend, fellow cancer warrior, & tea lover!

If you're the praying type, TE is having surgery this coming week & could use prayers for the days of preparation left, the actual day of the surgery, & the days of recover to come. All before starting radiation in February.

TE & I were able to celebrate my cancer-versary together the other day with 100 calorie klondike ice cream bars - 100 calories to make up for the candy we ate later that night at a church event. She hugged me & said I was her inspiration, but she's my inspiration of juggling cancer & being a mom of 4, a wife, a grandmother, an active community & church member, a daughter, & sister, & friend to many.

We knew we were kindred spirits before we even met face-to-face.

Here's to kindred-spirits!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tuesday Tea Time!

YaY for Tuesday Tea Time!

It is officially cold out - there's white fluff sticking a little more permanently now - & therefore there is MUCH more hot tea being consumed.

What teas make the best hot teas? 

I'm not too picky, but I am curious what your favorites might be.

Yesterday, I tweeted that I had the most bizarre tea time & it was! It was the most bizarre I've had in years. It reminded me of sitting in Cup or Joe, working on my senior thesis project for Capital's religion department, minding my own business, & being approached by a woman who said she had premonitions. She just HAD to talk to me. She proceeded to tell me how I was going to have my heart broken by somebody very soon. Well this person that broke my heart & I hadn't even met yet. We met maybe 2 months later & then broke up roughly 7 months after that. However, I would say that it was a mutual breaking of hearts. Fi & I are still friend, even though, at distance (literally, he lives on the East Coast).

YESTERDAY! I go to the closest Starbucks about 45min away to work outside of the office & I have barely sat down when this guy starts in on our maybe 45min conversation. He starts by asking if it's still snowing outside. It wasn't, but then it blossomed into that Z & I are ministry leaders & that he is a "born again Christian." He proceeded to tell me his ENIRE STORY of how he was a hard sale on Christianity or really religion as a whole. It wasn't until he nearly died - or in his words, he did die for 3 days - that he believed in God.

How do we get it through our thick skulls that there is something - I believe it's God - that is SO much bigger than us & loves us more than we know & keeps us & this world going forward?!

I don't know what I do to attract these people & their stories, but it sure does make life a touch more interesting. 

Who do you attract? Who do you believe in? 

Happy Tea Time!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday Snippits: Good, Bad, & Ugly

Happy New Week! It's Sunday once again & this last week was full of this & that. So a few highlights it will be!

GOOD: I have been so blessed recently with a multitude of work opportunities that can be done at the intersection of world & church. In just one week, I will be teaching my first Zumba demo class. Check out my new Zumba tab (at the top of the page) for more information! I am also still phoning for Youth Encounter & I am now serving as a 'Support Liaison' for our church & community. This means I am available for one-on-on or group emotional support & healing gatherings. Please contact me for more information! Aside from the work information, Z & I got a chance to go to the movies this last week & really enjoyed the movie Last Vegas. Plus we got some holiday shopping in too with lights for the outside part of the house - now we need some hooks or a special staple gun to put them up - & a box of blank cards. Saturday was the most exciting though, I cleaned & cleaned & choreographed Zumba & cleaned some more. There really is something therapeutic about cleaning & I'm not being sarcastic about that!

BAD: This is my least favorite time of year. That in-between time when Fall isn't so colorful & pretty any longer & winter hasn't set in just yet. And not to mention it is bad that this is highlighted because it is seen as special & unusual. This shouldn't be unusual, but sharing love like this is always special.

UGLY: Typhoon Haiyan death toll. Communion Refusal.

Coming up: My 23rd cancer anniversary is Wednesday! This means ice cream :-) & there's a fun social Thanksgiving themed gathering at the church that night. & more work of course & Tea Time with TE!

WORD: Luke 20:27-38 The Gospel lesson for today - if you follow the Revised Common Lectionary. Marriage is great, but it doesn't matter in the long run b/c in the long run we belong to our Creator. Other thoughts on this text?!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday Favorites!

If you haven't seen the new Bit Strips App popping up all over Facebook, here ya go!

The last week or two have just been pretty crazy. To give you an idea of how crazy, I had to reschedule an appointment twice because I simply spaced through the first two times - while working on other things. Then, I left my cell phone at home all day yesterday, while we were out having fun. So no photos of yesterdays adventures!

It was a bit freeing not having my phone on me for most of a full day. And back to the Bit Strips, they're weird! They're entertaining, no doubt, but they are strange.

So this is my Sunday Snippit, Tuesday Tea Time, & Friday Favorite all in one.

Definite highlight was going to see the movie Last Vegas. It's funny & heart touching.

So we go to see this movie & I'm inspired to get a few gatherings put together for me & my friends from high-school & college & here's why:
because I have friends like this (this is a quirky card from AJO). Like which you say? Friends who do & are all of these boxes. Jackpot friends!

Here's to the jackpot pieces & people of life!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Friday Favorites!


What a week it has been. Many fun things, many hard things, many crazy things.


The Young Americans

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tuesday Tea Time!

Happy Tuesday Tea Time!

While life is blurring past me, I cling to the things, & the people, that I love.

This photo taken by the fun app known as #picstitch is from my parents' visit a few weeks ago.

I haven't always loved tea, but I've always loved tea parties. Nor have I had much experience with ballet, but out of my 16 years of dance classes, I did take one year of ballet. Flexibility is my game, not gracefulness.

What do you cling to when life flashes by making you dizzy?

I LOVE to dance. My friend AE & I used to dance while brushing our teeth when we lived together. Now Z just thinks I'm crazy. Don't let him fool you, he enjoys dancing too.

I also LOVE to sit with a warm mug of tea in my hands & breath deep the steam & smell of my tea. Todays blend is coconut chai. My life-long bestie BEG & her mom & sister used to throw annual mother-daughter Valentine's Day teas. In honor of these parties, they even threw me a tea party themed bridal shower 2.5 years ago. Now, not only do I enjoy tea & parties, it is my main reason I blog. Tea creates community.

Tea, dancing, & whatever & whoever you need. May they be there for you to cling to as life whirls you forward.

Psalm 46:10 "Be still, & know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday Snippits: Good, Bad, & Ugly

Happy Sunday Snippits!

I'm back again for the weekly Good, Bad, & Ugly of the past week.

GOOD: Last Monday I was officially offered a temp. job working with an organization that does ministry that is close to my heart. I have officially now been a youth participant, junior guide, college volunteer, team member of community based ministry & international ministry, & now part-time temporary events phoner for Youth Encounter. So I'll be spending my days on the phone in the coming weeks. The week went by very quickly getting this new job up & running while also prepping to start teaching Zumba in the New Year. The later half of the week Z & I spent at a youth worker's retreat at a local camp. It was a relaxing & enjoyable few days of networking, sharing ministry ideas, learning, & making new friendships.

BAD: Being reminded over & over that when churches have to cut back, the first thing they cut are leadership positions in children, youth, & family ministries. Hearing people say things like "we don't have that many youth" & not embracing the youth that they do have.

UGLY: Knowing that these two had to wait so long to legally celebrate their love for one another because of both state & church.

WORD: I've recently been reading Eboo Patel's Acts of Faith & am really enjoying learning about the interfaith initiatives across the country & world. Be sure to check out Interfaith Youth Core today!

Coming up: Phoning, tea time, Zumba prep, & more!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tuesday Tea Time: pause

Tuesday Tea Time!

What makes you pause? Pause to stop & think about your day or the last few minutes you lived. Pause to think about tomorrow & who you'll see or work with. Pause to smile or cry. Pause to breath deep. Pause to sit with the small voice in your ear pushing or pulling you.

My tea tag today simply said "pause." It made me wonder how we pause & what it looks & feels like. In talking with my good friend KR, we said though we spend much of our time alone, we almost always have music, the tv, or something else making noise. So while we pause, we are not really ever able to pause in silence.

Pause. Check in with yourself. Check in with others around you. Pause

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday Snippits: Good, Bad, & Ugly!

Happy Sunday Snippits!

Another week has gone by in another blur of life.

So here we go with the GOOD, BAD, & UGLY of Juls of #LifeSpiritSparkle (use this hashtag to share the love of connection & networking)

GOOD: Last Monday Ma & Pa N made the trip back to MN safe & sound. It was good to have them here & to be able to show them where we're living. Ma & Pa P were here all week with a little bit of adventure each day. We found our way into Johnnie's, which Z & I had been wanting to check out. Tuesday afternoon I had some time to learn from the annual 3rd Tuesday Conversation (aka 3TC) offered through the ELCA Youth Ministry Network that happens each month. This months topic was about working through transition and conflict. Always a fun topic! Shout out to Interserve Ministries! Thursday we ventured to the quaint town of Charlevoix where we feasted on candy from The Taffy Barrel & jalapeno popcorn from The Poppery. It's a great place to vacation! Ma & Pa P made their way back to IN safely & welcomed family from AZ. While Z & I reacclimatized ourselves to our quiet home, made apple-butter with all the apples we had, & built our first fire in our fireplace!

BAD: Learning to juggle having guests & continue on with some personal matters is hard! I LOVE being around people, but I also am learning to carve out more "me-time" to take care of myself & my sanity.

UGLY: Our car & it's check engine light. And having friends & family who are hurting. and women's education rights in other countries (see articles on Malala)

WORD: Luke 18:1-8 God grants justice & so must we. In what ways do you experience justice in your life & how can you share that with others?

COMING UP: Skype dates with friends & a youth worker's retreat at camp!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tuesday Tea Time!


My loose schedule has been thrown off a bit by having visitors & it's always a happy moment - as some say happiness is fleeting, but joy is more permanent - when I remember it's TUESDAY TEA TIME!

Today's picture is credited to Sandy at My Fiddlestix

While I am not much of a coffee drinker, I have a LOT of coffee drinkers in my life. One being my husband.
This morning, I decided to use my porcelain thermos that was a wedding present from my cousins BH & OH. We had these thermoses in storage for our first two years of marriage so as to preserve them & use up our already beat-up & well-loved ones. Now that we're in a home, we have all the space we could need & have been using many of our wedding gifts that were in storage for 2+ years.

What's the point Juls?!

Today my tea tasted like coffee. Somebody - ahem husband - has been getting our mugs mixed up! In all fairness, they are exactly alike & plain white. His lid is definitely stained differently with coffee oils than mine with tea. And we tried to mark them to differentiate, but it just washed off. So now I have to be patient & embrace the hint of coffee because it'll take a few rounds of strong tea to get rid of the coffee taste in my mug.

Woah is me. or should I say Fiddlestix?!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday Snippits: the GOOD, BAD, & UGLY!

Welcome to Sunday Snippits with a review of my week in...

GOOD: This last week we did a LOT of cooking with fresh produce. Apple oatmeal in the crock pot, egg veggie wild rice dish, butternut squash apple cider soup, ciabatta bread, & sausage wild rice veggies & mushroom soup hot dish. This last week is a blur other than that. It was good, it was busy, & it went by fast. Thursday evening was the annual Spaghetti Dinner & silent auction Friday Ma & Pa N came in from MN for the weekend & Saturday Ma & Pa P joined in the party from IN. Saturday we spent the day showing off Che-boo-boo & spent some time in Mackinaw City too. Today was a busy morning with visiting from camp & now we're all just "resting."

BAD: I don't remember much about the blur of this last week. Too much going on around me!

UGLY: I don't have anything to contribute to this. Mer mer!

Coming up: Ma & Pa P are here till Friday morning, so there's a little this & that to get done or take part in this week with my ecourse or a few business things & a whole lot O fun!!!

WORD: Luke 17:11-19 & Lepers. I've only read stories about people working with people who have leprosy. It makes you think about proclaiming praise for the little things in life & befriending the visually unappealing - for whatever reason to each individual - & being the church with them.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Favorites!

LOTS o fresh cooking!
FALL smells!

Christmas Cheer?!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tuesday Tea Time!

Happy Tuesday Tea Time!

I have to admit, it's 9:03pm & I'm just now getting around to blogging today. However, I didn't forget about it at all today. While I've been slow to get back into the rhythm of my blogs since moving, I've found my joy in Tuesday Tea Time again & can't let it slip by so easily.

Today's credit for the "hot tea" picture goes to artist Traci O'Very Covey. Her art is a joy to the eye with the variety of colors & content. Be sure to check it out!

Kombucha, Laundry, Newsletters, & Chopsticks sums up my day.

Kombucha is one of my favorite teas that I enjoy year round. Since moving, I haven't been able to find it, but thankfully my mother-in-law picked some up for me in MN & they're visiting this weekend! I'm sure I could order it online if I need to too. However, I figure it'll be a good excuse to try new teas if I'm unable to find it around here.

AND I'm slowly but surely making new friends that are LOCAL - that is key - that like tea too, so I will have people (or at least one person - shout out to TE!) to share tea time.

Laundry...apparently when your spouse is a foot taller than you, that means their clothes are bigger & you can't put 4 pairs of jeans, plus a few hoodies & other items in a 24+ year old washer. It sounded like a bowling ball was in there! Thankfully, all is good & the laundry is done for today.

If you're a member of Zion or St. Thomas be ready for a newsletter article in next months Teller/Newsletter!

And just a simple highlight was using chopsticks to eat dinner.

Here's to tea, productivity, cleanliness, community, & a sliver of adventure in your day (or night)!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sunday Snippits: Good, Bad, & Ugly

Happy Sunday Funday! It's Sunday Snippits with

GOOD: It's hard to believe it's already been a week since Z's ordination & family time in MN. Monday kicked off the week with some networking with Dawn Trautman - a Life Coach who I learned about a few years ago at the Youth Ministry Extravaganza. I will be participating in her online course & possibly eventually pursing becoming a Life Coach myself! Tuesday was one great surprise & distraction after another with a few Skype dates & a Starbucks date with some friends that were in the area. And an added adventure of the "Check Engine" light coming on in Mandela. Something about back-up in the catalytic converter that Perkins Performance - aka my brother - replaced a few years ago. Thankfully that was an easy fix & we found a new "Ray" (our Toyota guy in MN). Total props to Fein's Auto! Wednesday brought another wonderful surprise with visitors from MN who took us to lunch at The Step Inn - a new experience for all of us. Thursday we got out on the local trail for a bike ride before the rain started coming - & has kept coming - & Friday & Saturday I worked as a wedding coordinator for my first wedding in the area. Congrats to R&J!

BAD: The's easier to not follow all the news some days.

UGLY: Humanity, sorry, but I'm stuck on the government shutdown. 

SHOUTOUT: A special shout out to the installation of Bishop Elizabeth Eaton in the ELCA Check out her speaking about being the 1st female bishop of the ELCA here!

WORD: While I get my daily scripture readings from, I've also been slowly reading Anne Lamott's Help, Thanks, Wow with Z. Mucho thanks to KE & Bert for the gift. It is one that I could read over & over & still be learning how to pray the words & actions of Help, Thanks, Wow.

Coming up: Big Picture, Big Purpose, Zumba choreographing, Getting out into the community more, AND welcoming Ma & Pa N. to Che-boo-boo on Friday AND Ma & Pa P. on Saturday!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Friday Favorite(s)

Thank God it's Friday Favorite!

Z's ordination service & the laying on of hands

My niece E & I loving on each other

FRIENDS visiting for a work retreat

Share some of your Favorites using #LifeSpiritSparkle

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tea Time AND Winesday Wednesday!

Tuesday Tea Time came & went & now it's Winesday Wednesday! Thank you Kathy Lee & Hoda for the reminder! Yesterday was a WONDERFUL day. While I was still coming off the high from the weekend with family & friends & Z's ordination, I let life be a total distraction in all the best ways possible.

While enjoying my morning cup of tea, I was able to Skype with RMG in MALAYSIA! Her & her hubbie CG have some exciting great news that is very cool & I hope it means I have more of a chance to possibly visit them in Malaysia while they're there. Dreaming never hurt anybody!

Then I had a scheduled Skype date with my friend & fellow Diaconal Minister(DM) SN in BISMARCK! No, not the same ring as MALAYSIA, but still exciting. I also got to meet her sweet 4mo old Evie & hear about all the wonderful things the Spirit is doing in her call to DM. It is such an encouragement to share these connections to specialized ministry. Check out Heart River Lutheran Church & support their ministry in whatever ways you are able.

After Skype filling up my morning, I headed to Mackinaw City to meet up with KS & KR at Starbucks. Can I say what a luxury Starbucks is for those of us living in rural areas. KR & KS are living in more rural areas than me (I think). KS & I are friends from seminary & KR & I met through Youth Encounter's ministries. She actually was on the New Dawn team prior to mine that also went to MALAYSIA.

Then of course the end of the day included entertainment from The Voice.

What has been your great life distractions as of late? Share the goods & enjoy the tea & wine!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday Tea Time!

So teacups are something I've collected for years. Seriously, since I was a little girl, possibly starting even in the late '80s. But my new fetish is teacup pigs! SO CUTE!

If they weren't so darn expensive I would've purchased one by now. However, Z & I are truly wanting to get a puppy & most likely a miniature schnauzer because they melt our hearts a little bit each time we see one. Plus, one of our first ever bonding points 4 years ago was that we both grew up with miniature schnauzers.
Ok, that's enough about the cuteness of these little piggys. But darn! They are C-U-T-E!

While my tea time this morning was a good travel mug full of goji berry tea & shared with these guys:

My afternoon tea was a mixture of Oregon Chai Sugar Free & Great Value Light Soy Milk, topped with a sprinkling of pumpkin pie spice. While it's somewhat obviously the taste of sugar free & light, it's still delicious & just a bit healthier than the usual.

Tuesday Tea Time is always bringing fun things to my life. I hope it's the same for you! Even if you're one of those non-tea drinking people. I respect this, but I don't get it. Tea is such a thing of community, history, & connection to the larger world that I've been blessed to travel, that I can't help but love it!

One other thing I want to mention in this Tuesday Tea Time, so that I don't forget, is that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I shared this photo on instagram a week or so ago:
As a 2x childhood cancer survivor, I remember all that this has meant for my life & my family. It's crazy to be alive to tell the story! Having cancer, not only once, but twice, & two separate kinds - one very rare & commonly found in elderly men - is a huge part of the reason I daily count my blessings. Even when my blessings are as small as encountering begging ducks in the Big Boy parking lot.

So Tuesday Tea Time: teacup pigs, begging ducks, & childhood cancer. There ya have it!

How'd you spend your Tuesday Tea Time?!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Snippits: good, bad, & ugly

Sunday Snippits with

GOOD: Fall is here! Not only by the cooler weather, but the smells & the changing of the leaves & the fact that the calendar says so, FALL has arrived. I love Fall! This last week is a bit of a blurr. Yet again it was spent doing more networking & community building. Two things that I really enjoy, so it doesn't seem like work. Early in the week I got to connect with some of my family & congratulate my 16 y/o cousin for his 62 YARD TOUCHDOWN! He's a sophomore & gets to occasionally play on the Varsity team & a few games ago now, he had one of the best moves of his football career. This makes me excited to be able to make it to one or two of his future games before he graduates & goes off to college. We also go to take the short road-trip to Camp Michi-Lu-Ca to see the beautiful land & get to know our new colleagues & friends in ministry A,D, & I. Yesterday, in our attempts to get to know more about town, we decided to go for dinner at This Old House. While they claim to have the best pizza in town, we decided we liked Alcocks better. The motif was fun & we'll prolly go back for something else on the menu, but not the pizza.

BAD: A few weeks ago I shared about this cycling accident & added to a number of prayer lists. I only sort of knew the couple, but know several people who were quite close with them. Both of them were working in specialized ministry & had a great way of bringing joy to those around them. While Rob passed away on the scene of the accident, Hilary had been on life support until a couple of days ago when the family made the hard to decision to let her body do what it would & join the glory of God in heaven. My heart aches for their family & friends, the church that she worked at & the cycling community who had come to know them & their energy for safe cycling.

UGLY: Last week, I said to turn on the news. Well this week that proves true again! This morning before church, while I was trying to think of what to share with yall, the news was about the mall massacre in Kenya, the potential of the US government shutting down, people fighting about healthcare, & more death in Palestine.

so I turned to the WORD: & read Luke 16:1-13 (the Gospel lesson today for those who follow the Revised Common Lectionary) which then also threw me for a little confusion. Check out, focus on the last two or three sentences & tell me what God's saying to you.

COMING UP: Next weekend we get to go on a vacay back to the beautiful state of MN to not only hang out with family (from IN, MD, MN, & AZ!) but for Z's ordination as a pastor in the ELCA. I already have plans to go to Target & Caribou Coffee. I'll catch up with Sunday Snippits after all the festivities & travels are over.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday Foto Favorite

Photo courtesy of Politico

People say that religion & politics shouldn't mix, but the reality is politics are from people & people are who make up religion.

This is a picture of hope.

May the God of peace & understanding give hope to the world in light of this weeks tragedies.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuesday Tea Time!

It's Tuesday & Tea Time lasted all day for me from one cup of tea to another! The day just seem to get away from me.

Check out Rev. Nanette Sawyer & Grace Commons for more great artwork - like the one featured in today's Tuesday Tea Time - focused on the stations of the cross.

Reading this book review revived my interest in reading more on Hospitality & the Spirit behind it. I read Sawyer's book, Hospitality, a year & a half ago & going through the many transitions of finishing my Diaconal Ministry (DM) fieldwork, Z's internship, moving back to St. Paul, starting senior year of grad school, rewriting my DM fieldwork paper to turn it into my CYF thesis - all focused on Spirit Led Hospitality - assignment, graduation, interviews, and moving twice within a month....I lost site of some of my interest & passion for what has so greatly created & centered my call to Diaconal Ministry.

The Holy Spirit has been doing some great reassuring of ways that she recognizes me lately through a lot of ways.

You are recognized. You are special. You are loved.

Know this. Soak in this. Trust it. Believe it.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sunday Snippits: GOOD, BAD, & UGLY!

Sunday Snippits, here again! And since I forgot Friday Favorites:

Z & I started our week last Sunday evening with a game of croquet. This was a week of using several wedding gifts we had yet to use. And as I joked on FB yesterday, we are officially married because we have used up all of our wedding gift money to Target. Thankfully we have graduation gift money still, 'cause this house needs a few more changes to make it ours. The BAD part is, the closest Target is 2 hours away from where we live now. I enjoy Target so much more than Walmart or Kmart, but of course there's both of those things where we live now. First world problems!

GOOD: The good is endless. We are moved. We are getting more settled everyday. Last Monday we finally got internet hooked up in our house & then were able to FaceTime or Skype with a number of friends & family that are all over the country & world right now. While we miss them & wish we could see them face-to-face, we are working on creating a new community of friends here, as are they where they are. The other good is Z's ordination is coming together slowly, but surely. I designed, assembled, & sent out paper invites for the non-FB users mid-week & man alive, while I enjoy being artsy, I'm not always so in the crafty side of things. SO if you wanted an invite in the mail & didn't get one, message me & I'll send ya the info! Friday night fun was at the local football game. While we couldn't see good parts of the game due to the rowdy student section, it made it much more enjoyable to sit by the life of the party. Even Moses showed up!
You can see him in all white in the middle.

BAD: I'm itching for a job. Networking is a slow, but seemingly fruitful process. In the meantime it's hard to keep myself busy with things that seem worth while. Sure, I could volunteer with countless things, but that's not what I'm looking to do. Thankfully, Zumba is a good way to network that has me doing something. So yeah, I'm still trying to figure out this call to Diaconal Ministry, but I know we're in the right place.

UGLY: Our couch. Ha, this seems really silly, but as my good friend MS said, "You're sitting on an English tea cup!" This might seem perfect for a tea lover, but the English tea cup patterns belong in another generation. I'm not up to par enough on the news to talk about other ugly things with Syria & such. It doesn't take much to figure out, things are ugly in the world.

WORD: That's why I turn to the Good News. Recently, I've been using a new app called Photo-Verse. This is helping find my new norm. The "read the Bible in a year" wasn't a logical goal for me with all the changing going on in life this year.

That is my

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