Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tuesday Tea Time!

Tuesday once again! What will you be having for Tea Time today?

It's the last Tuesday Tea Time of 2014. It hasn't been a bad year by any means, but it's alright to say g'bye to 2014 & hello to 2015.

What will come in 2015? The only few things for certain are ministry events, trips to Detroit for the Extravaganza & ELCA Youth Gathering, & a vacation to FL to visit family & have a little Fun.

2014 is a year I never could've quite imagined. It started off with a funeral for a church member, then was followed by funerals at least once a month clear through June. In the middle of the celebrating of these friends' lives we made our trip to Paris & kicked off a month or more of traveling. Only with a couple hundred photos of MG growing up thrown in the middle. The travels started with Paris, ended with Denver, & led to 2 months at camp. In July one of my very best friends officially joined the "cancer kid club" with me. After playing the resource game one last time, I spent August recovering from the summer & projecting around the house. And spent September prepping to start my new job in October. Now it's hard to believe that I've been at this job for nearly 3 full months. Consecrated & all! Of course since starting I've also accepted the call to serve as a Practice Discipleship coach & had previously committed to being the Synod Day Director for the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering.

So 2015 is going to be just as busy as 2014, but in a whole new adventure filled way!

May your 2014 be memorable & your 2015 be one more adventure filled day than you currently think will happen & more tea & more Life, Spirit, & Sparkle.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday Snippits:good, bad, & awesome!

GOOD: It was a joyous week worthy of a day "off" today. Thus the later posting today. It was a busy week in the office prepping for 3 Christmas Eve services, a wedding, & today's service. Thankfully I was able to take today off to continue to reclaim pieces of our house from the holiday traffic. A little bit of laundry, a little bit of cleaning, & a little bit of cooking with a back-to-back move marathon of Home Alone & Home Alone: Lost in New York.

BAD: Another plane gone missing. 162 people unaccounted for. This unsettles me more than I can say.

AWESOME: Holiday fun & solid messages of God come flesh to be with all of us & know us & have us know God better.

WORD: Stumbling into Faith  with my good friend MBR letting the Spirit lead the way!

coming up: New Years! 2015...

Friday, December 26, 2014

Friday Favorites!

Happy Boxing Day!

No we don't exactly celebrate that here in the JZ Parsonage, but we do so more than the time my family was traveling throughout the UK & tried to get on a train on Boxing Day. Thank you uneducated travel agent for booking that reservation! We ended up taking a very long & crowded bus ride to get to our next destination.

Christmas 2014 was a joyous easy going day with lots of fun, good food, & crazy dogs. Yes, our sweet little MG has a stogie in her mouth in this photo. Thank you to the Ruff Life Pet Outfitters in Petoskey!

The scarf I'm wearing is a consecration gift & yes, that's an embroidered "N" on it. Fun & quirky indeed!

May your holiday travels & celebrations continue in good fortune as we let 2014 wind down to an end.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tuesday Tea Time!

Ah, my favorite morning of the week. A time to sit & breath deep with a cup of tea. Though to be completely honest, many Tuesday mornings are on the run.

This adorable snowman teabag holder was a spontaneous gift from my mom this past week. Unfortunately the Holiday tea is long gone & other goodies are sitting in the tin. So really, it's not that unfortunate because I've filled it with more tasty tea drinks. With mom around my tins & cupboards & shelves will never go empty!

This year I seem to be more aware of those who don't have Momma P around to fill their tins & cupboards & shelves with holiday feasting items. I pray for them to feel the peace that the Spirit delivers through the Christ Child this time of year. Sometimes - though not as often as I think I should - I have to hand things over & trust the power of prayer. For as my new office decor reads, "Be patient. Our prayers are always answered, but not always on the exact day we'd like."

Thank you Momma KE for that reminder. Happy Tuesday Tea Time & Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday Snippits: good, bad, & awesome!

GOOD: The goofiness of this photo & the moment in which it was taken. Yes, I went there. It was unbelievable to finally have this banner hanging in my childhood home congregation after learning about it in 2010. This banner travels from consecration service to consecration service for each Diaconal Minister that requests it. I wanted to let the greatness of the day of consecration sink in a bit before I shared this gem. This past week was a touch of recovery, a ton of baking, a lot more of goofing around with other funny photos, & enjoying the new snow fall.

BAD: That we learn about the death of certain political leaders & our immediate reaction is, "GOOD!" This article will tell you more about where that reaction was pointed. I just had a conversation with two others a few days ago about how to think as those in certain military parties around the world think is simply brain washing. Recently I read - though I don't remember where - that ISIS is today's new Nazi regime. This is terrifying, seemingly true, & horribly tragic.

AWESOME: The continued pieces of congratulations that have come to me this week. I've received nice notes, hugs, smiles, flowers, & a fun embroidered scarf. It's incredible the people that have supported me from all places in my life & from all around the world.

WORD: Today I am preaching - possibly as you read this - on Mary's Song. The Gospel lesson is actually the scripture leading up to Mary's song, but I couldn't leave out a piece of Holden Evening Prayer. Holden Evening Prayer was released in 1995, but I still find it meaningful & relevant for today's church.

coming up: Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Favorites!

Of course cookies make Friday Favorites when there's SO many things to list a girl can't choose!

These beautiful & delightfully tasty treats were baked & decorated by my mom's dear friends KF & AM. I'm sure they never quite imagined being featured as a Friday Favorite in my blog, but here they are. Bam!

Naturally since coming back from consecration celebrations life has taken off full steam ahead yet again. Finding time to intentionally breath in the Advent season is a challenge, but one worth accepting.

Honestly, Tuesday Tea Time was posted later in the day because I had written an article for a church newsletter earlier in the day & it felt like a blog. However, it didn't seem right to share that for Tuesday Tea Time since the church newsletter won't go out for another week or two (I think). And today I worked on Sunday's sermon much of the afternoon & it also felt like a piece worthy of sharing on the blog. But naturally I have to keep yall waiting.

I'm still lingering in last Saturday's gathering of a great priesthood of believers who have all played some piece of significance in my journey. There were people gathered from all walks of life - seriously cradle to childhood to adolescent adventures to college years to grad school & today - & I'm so breathtakingly in awe of how the Spirit has used each one of these individuals in my life & continues to do so in the world today.

Weather you were there in person or in heart, you are part of this great priesthood of significance in my life & the world around you. Don't let anything make you believe differently. And for those who are interested, there is a video of last Saturday's service that will be available soon.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tuesday Tea Time!

Hello sleepy time! Tuesday Tea Time has come & not quite gone. I do believe I over estimated my ability to get back from my travels & jump back on board with my bit of routine. Oops!

Many many thanks to Timothy & Allison for sharing Friday Favorites & Sunday Snippits while I was away in hoosierland.

What a crazy milestone in my call to ministry to have come & gone. I had the same feeling of joy on my consecration day that I had on my high school graduation day. At high school graduation many of my friends were red in the face from tears & I had this ridiculous grin that I could not wipe away.

Today I spent part of my time in the office setting up all the cards & new decorative gifts that I received. The picture though shows the long awaited gift of a basin, pitcher, & towels. These are the symbols of Diaconal Ministry. My basin & pitcher were crafted by the great Jim Alworth & his wife Grace. The most beautiful piece about it is that the design is one of a kind.

And now it's time for bed!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday Snippits: good, bad & awesome!

So like Julia and Timothy mentioned in the last week, I'm Allison and today I'm guest-posting on Julia's blog! Happy to do it. Timothy and I met Julia at Luther, and since then I've been in congregational roles, and most recently, a facilitator for brightpeak, which is just taking off! 

But here at Julia's blog I'm always in awe and jealous of her reflective and festive (and sparkly) posts. So props to you, Julia. For now, here at my Sunday Snippits!

GOOD: First of all Julia is now a consecrated diaconal minister in the ELCA! Congratulations!! I'm hopeful you had a fun and full-of-life service and gatherings. We are insanely happy for you, and can't want to see God working in your life through this and other vocations. 

The church is in good hands as it just rostered one of the most talented and down-to-earth leaders. So know we're cheering for you from Minnesota! 

BAD: So Timothy and I are lucky to have the financial resources to Christmas shop for our loved ones, but goodness it's a challenge to keep to a budget. Since we got married a little over four years ago, we've created a yearly budget for gifts for our people, and each year we've come out just about on budget. 

This year's Christmas/Advent season has been a little different with job explorations and transitions. So little victories feel like big victories, and then I get too excited and sometimes spend too much money... I guess that's my confession for the day. I just love getting people presents for Christmas! 

Thankfully our monthly Saturday morning budget pancakes breakfasts keep me in check. It's always a plus to talk about money and budgets over pancakes. Why wasn't that in our Prepare/Enrich premarital counseling? I think I might have to add it. 

AWESOME: While we're talking about Christmas, I can't help but think about how awesome it's going to be back home in the Pacific Northwest for Christmas. It's been almost a year since we've been back, although we've been fortunate to see family throughout the year here in MN and on east coast. 

There's something about being in the Northwest that you can't duplicate anywhere else. So I'm pretty pumped to be back there to see family and to dwell in a place so fun and meaningful to me and the hubs. Ivars, sushi, pho, maybe a hike, hanging out with some moss and banana slugs. 

I make strange lists. 

WORD: I confess, I am not a good listener to spoken Bible passages and readings in worship. So when some younger folks gave the message today in worship through their Christmas pageant, I was very, very excited. 

Through TV, the internet, shopping, etc., we get bombarded by messages of high spending and Santa bringing each of us LOTS of presents, am I right? But at church this morning I was reminded that in worship we hear a unique message we don't get to hear anywhere else so clearly and vividly: In the tiniest little bundle, God came to live among us, and through Christ, this tiny little baby, God's presence and love is inextricable bound up with ours. 

And today in worship, we saw the tiniest among us boldy speak this message that roots us as we wait for Jesus in the manger in the coming weeks. 

Coming up: Julia's back to the blog this week! Thanks for asking Timothy and me to be guest writers, this was fun. :) Blessings on your new chapter of leadership and may the Spirit guide and fill your life and vocations. 

Have a good week everybody!

Image credit here and here.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Favorites!

Allow me to introduce myself to all of you. My name is Timothy Siburg, and I’m a good friend of Julia’s from seminary. Julia has invited me to contribute to her blog this week, so here I am sharing her usual Friday offering of Favorites. This week, allow me to highlight five.

This weekend we light the third candle on the Advent Wreath
as we continue to journey through the season of Advent.
First, as you may know Julia is busy getting ready to be consecrated this weekend for service and ministry as a Diaconal Minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). It is so exciting, and wonderful news for the church! That's definitely my first Friday Favorite to lift up today. 

Second, this Sunday the Sunday School youth at my congregation are bringing the message through their Christmas Program. I’m excited to see how they tell the story as we continue to journey together through Advent.

Third, one of the more smile provoking stories from the past week I saw included some police officers playing Santa. Anytime people can help each other out and really show love towards their neighbor, that’s a favorite for me.

Fourth, are you looking for a great arrangement of an Advent hymn to put you in the Advent mood? Look no further than the Piano Guys’ rendition of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”

Fifth, finally, one of my favorite things is to see collaboration and partnership in action. Julia, thank you for being such a great collaborator and inviting me to share a little on your blog. I am going to extend the same invitation to Julia to share on mine in the coming weeks. Until then, my wife Allison and I will share some Sunday Snippits this weekend too right here on Julia’s blog. Julia will return to blogging here on her site next week.

Until then, may the peace of Christ be with you today, calming you and providing that centering presence so important while the rest of the world feels like it speeds up even more than usual this time of year. 

Image Credit: Advent Wreath

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tuesday Tea Time!

Happy Tuesday Tea Time!

This week is SO exciting. Yesterday I saw the gift of my bulletins in color for my consecration - which was a surprise - & then while we were home for lunch the mail was delivered & a surprise package was included.

Just the other day my friend JM texted me for our address. I assumed that it was for Christmas cards, but boy was I wrong, sorta. The little red tab in this picture is the card. The Paris themed book box (a box made to look like a book) was packed full with some of her favorite things that she wanted to share with me. And no, they weren't used, they were new.

It was a Christmas/Care/Surprise/Consecration gift all in one! I do believe I have my very own Oprah from TX. Watch out Oprah!

Also this week we all will be gifted with some guest bloggers! I have shared many a posts mentioning TS but I'm not sure that I have shared about AS as equally. They're both equally fabulous & great writers. I've invited them to use their imaginations & creativity to share Friday Favorites & Sunday Snippits with you. Yes, this means ANOTHER surprise is in the works as I don't know who will post when or what.

Sitting in this cloud of feeling loved & cared for I'm going to enjoy my tea & a little time away from the norm to focus on my call & be with family & friends.

Happy Tuesday Tea Time!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sunday Snippits: good bad & awesome!

GOOD: It's Advent! While just like the rest of the late Summer & Fall months it has taken some time to sink in. The ship has sunk & that's a good thing! With only 18 days till Christmas I'm feeling the calm & energizing pieces of the Spirit in the world. These are some of the best pieces of this time of year. If you missed my Friday Favorites it's all about the beauty & yet amazement in the repeated message over the centuries learning that Mary - a young teenager (which was common at that time) - was approached by an angel of God who shared the message that she was to be the mother of the Savior. WHAT?!  A virgin unwed but betrothed was to bring God in human form into this world. One thing we can be certain of is that this was an act of God & not anything human kind could create. Call it bologna if you like, but the Spirit gives us all the same faith that Jesus has (see Romans 8).

BAD: The constant struggle with hearing equally both sides of stories surrounding death. This may be death in it's literal form or in a figurative form because every time somebody is belittled or ignored a piece of them dies from being overshadowed. There was much pain shared from both sides of justice conversation the ELCA shared on this video.

AWESOME: Surprises. I love the sense of joy & surprise & care for one another that is exuded this time of year. This past week we received a gift that we automatically assumed was from our IN family because it read Debrands on the box, but to our surprise it was a lovely Christmas treat & present from family outside of IN.

WORD: This week I am meditating & praying on the scripture that will be used for my upcoming ELCA Consecration as a Diaconal Minister. Read & pray with me over Micah 6:6-8, Psalm 100, Romans 8:12-17, & John 13:1-17.

coming up: Hopefully some guest bloggers in the midst of travels & celebrations that come with my consecration. Stay tuned!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday Favorites!

Since I couldn't be in MN for the Annual Holiday Pottery Sale at my friends' house then I clearly needed to attend the live show of the Journey to Bethlehem in MI.

What a beautiful moment imagining what it was like for Mary to be approached by an angel of God sharing that she would carry the long awaited savior. What an interesting idea that she was told what to name her baby. This is probably more common than I would like to know& at the same time I'm sure we all have heard names that we think somebody should have told their parent what to name them.

Anyway, I digress. The beauty of the news of the Savior finally coming. Rest in this piece of the story tonight. A perplexing piece no doubt, but evened out by beauty that is in the Good News.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tuesday Tea Time!

GOOD morning!

Christmas time is near (thank you Charles Schultz & your peanuts specials for the tune). If I thought the mind of others & my own were a flurry of thoughts & emotions before, somebody has increased the volume.

Increased volume & a flurry is a stereotype of how we are to live this time of year. But why the rush? Why the increased "to do" list? Why the stress?

When I talked about about leadership under the "BAD" section of my Sunday Snippits it's not that my thoughts or discussions around the topic have been bad. TS finds all sorts of good stuff about leadership worth looking into & living out. It's more the immediacy I find our culture jumping to the worst points of a situation or often even the "what ifs." This is not a way I tend to live nor do I want to live this way. It creates grumpiness & unease.

Insert the voice of your Life Coach saying, "SO Don't! Don't think/live that way." *Thank you to DT for being a voice of reason*

What do you find yourself doing this Advent season to alleviate the stress & flurry of thoughts & to step back & take in Advent? (Seriously, please share!)

Amidst the flurry of my life I'm stretching myself to put the lists, calendars, projects, screens & work away for at least 5min a day (which in the doing of this it is a piece of work) & breathe. Breathe in the beauty of the season, the fact that each breath is a gift (thank you Holy Spirit), & that good is happening all around us (thank you #heartfind challenge). With all this good, I challenge myself & all of you to keep a journal of at least 5 uplifting pieces of your day for the next month. *Cheers again to DT! It will boost spirits & that spirit of joy will catch on. Smiles ARE contagious just like yawns!

And on a side note....Don't you just LOVE this snowman teapot? I truly enjoy the tea related things that you find in antique stores!

5 pretty great pieces of Today: 1. Tuesday Tea Time 2. Energized mornings 3. Christmas lights 4. Puppy cuddles 5. Having jobs I really enjoy

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Snippits: good, bad, & awesome

GOOD: Hello Sunday! The alarms went off all too early this morning, but at least they went off so that we weren't late for work. This past week was a great mix of work & relaxation. We baked our first turkey with simple ingredients, made a mess of the kitchen, & enjoyed the Thanksgiving meal & all of it's left overs several times. In fact we're still enjoying pieces of it today. Just like we're still enjoying pieces of our trip to Paris back in the Spring. 2014 has seemed to be the year of fly-by days. You blink & a whole month or two has gone by! The other fun piece of this week putting away the Fall decorations & pulling out the boxes of Christmas/Winter decorations. We're getting our tree today, or at least that's the plan!

BAD: My friend TS blogs about "leadership" amongst other topics & so I've been thinking a bit about leadership. What kind of leader am I? What kind of leader are you? While I've been told I am a "natural born leader," I think those words can only go so far. Let's be real, there a lot of people we read about in the news that we deem to be poor leaders. What is it about them that makes you say this? The really saddening aftermath of something they led? Or what they stand for? As a glass half full sorta thinker, I have to try & believe that the saddening aftermath of events is usually what was hoped for by the leader. However, things never go quite as we expect now do they?

AWESOME: This past week I e-mailed, text, & talked with many friends & family (especially on Thanksgiving day) but one of the best messages was an e-mail from my SIL saying that our niece was "talking with me" on her phone. It's warms the heart to know she knows me across the miles to let her little imagination soar to wide depths of the world to walk around & say, "Hi Aunt Julia!"

WORD: Yes, still working on finishing that book I started back in September (I am Malala) & looking forward to reading a few good pieces from my friend's blogs such as TS & MBR.

coming up: Advent season is upon us & thus Holiday festivities are in full power now! Decorating, Christmas cards, present bought, & special shopping nights in town.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Friday Favorites!

Happy Friday!

I have to say it has been a delightful couple of days away from the computer & much of technology & enjoying the holiday weekend.

Here's a favorite moment of sharing the beater from mashed potatoes with MG to celebrate having her for 1 full year.

Ever since I was a little girl I've always liked mashed potatoes & I've always enjoyed the beaters, just like you would with cake batter. Don't worry, I also like the beaters after mixing cake batter too!

I've always had a special place in my heart for small dogs too. So it's only appropriate that potatoes & puppies come together, right?!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It's Tuesday Tea Time & before I actually looked up the site that this picture is from I thought that it didn't exactly look like a tea drink. Well, check it out, for your Thanksgiving "Tea". I'll be the first to admit that it doesn't sound half bad. However, I don't believe I'll be trying it at the same time.

Being the holiday week I thought a holiday related photo was in order. However, it does take away the fun of editing my own photo & putting #TuesdayTeaTime #LifeSpiritSparkle on the photo. Yes, I know I could've done a screen shot & then done the editing, but to be honest the way this week started out, that was more work than I wanted to do. Not to say this week started out bad, just busy busy busy as usual.

So where do you find yourself this holiday week? Headed home where the article for this "Thanksgiving Tea" says you'll need this recipe or staying in where it's quiet? Many people I'm sure are working. While I will be enjoying the holiday in my home, it'll only be a day "off" in a manner of speaking. We still plan to make our own meal, take down the Fall decor, clean the house, & get out the Christmas/Winter decor. I don't know about you, but that sounds like a decent amount of work to me. It will be fun as we'll be on our own schedule & putting up the decorations that bring back many memories from the past 30 years.

May your Thanksgiving be joyful & give you one or two or three grateful pieces in your day!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Snippits: good, bad, & awesome!

GOOD: This past week seems like we have been coasting to the week ahead. I've been eagerly waiting to take down my Fall decorations & put up my Christmas/Winter decorations. The snow has been coming in big flakes & wild winds & then melting & making everything muddy. We've been discussing possibly purchasing & baking our first full turkey too. While it might be strange not being with extended family for Thanksgiving, it'll be nice to have our day off at home where we can spend all day in our pajamas if we want. This past week I also got diagnosed with my first ever official allergy. While the allergy is not good - thankfully not too life altering - it is good to know what was giving me the hives. And on another good note, yesterday we were honored to make our friends dinner & get to meet their 2 week old little LJP. It's amazing how a baby can quiet a room of adults who are simply in awe & love with the baby.

BAD: In this week of gratefulness I honestly don't know what to add here. Check out CNN if you really want to read about unfortunate & bad things happening both in our country & the world.

AWESOME: Listening to this podcast featuring Patti Smith. Very real & down to earth & honest about religious attraction & yet anti organized religion.

WORD: Today I'm preaching on lambs & sheep & being both/and people based off of Matthew 25:31-46.

coming up: Did you miss it? Thanksgiving & that means yummy holiday food & the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Favorites!

TGIF! Even though I woke up & thought it felt like a Monday. I suppose that's what happens when you take Thursdays "off."

One of my favorite pieces of this week was taking the time away from the computer work to be in prayer as I colored this piece of artwork. My friend EGBB is getting ordained! As part of her invitation she asked that people would color this & send it in to her to be part of her ordination service.

Yes, it is one of those things that I thought "Dang, why didn't I think of this?!"

While EGBB & I haven't kept in close contact since seminary life took us separate directions on the map, it lifts my spirit knowing she's including me with the many others who received this invitation to be a part of celebrating such a joyous occasion for the Church. I can't wait to see pictures of how this artwork is used as part of her service!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday Tea Time!

Hello Tuesday Tea Timers!

Every now & then somethings gotta give right?

Well recently it has been my blogging. I've had a lot more writing to do & a bit of writer's block. In fact I'm lined up to preach this Sunday & have done very little to prepare so far. If you know me, you know this is unusual by this point in the week.

All of a sudden we're covered in icy cold white snow here in Pure Michigan. Seriously, it's like I blinked & my memories of a month or two were taken from me & we're all of a sudden living in January already. Having felt like I was a month behind since the Summer doesn't help this much.

Thankfully what does help with the writer's block & the frigid temps is a nice warm mug of tea. Tonight it's Teatulia for Julia! Props to my mom for that gift & rhyming it with my name.

I'm weekly amazed at the amount of blogs I see pop up filled with evidence that the writer's of those blogs have been reading & reading & reading about the many things they share. For example, TS's weekly post is a plethora of intriguing & enriching reads. Way to be awesome my friend! Seriously, he's one of a few e-mails or social media notifications I receive that has such a wealth of life knowledge worth sharing.

Shortly before my birthday this year I read an article (of course I don't know where it is now, but most likely it was from Relevant Magazine) that said some of the common things that women tell themselves in their 30s & how to reframe these negative things. One of the things was to be okay with the things you don't do. Such as owning an acoustic guitar for 9 years & never learning to play much of anything on it or owning all sorts of crochet needles, but never learning more than an average hook & means of making hot pads or scarves.

So I'm not much of a reader. It's amazing I made it through a 4 year graduate school program! I'm also not a basic skilled guitar player. Nor am I a crochet artist, though I have hopes to do more with this & as far as I know I have plenty of time ahead of me to do so.

No matter what has to give a little, I'm still me, you're still you & that's enough.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Snippits: good, bad, & awesome!

More coming your way soon. Till then, sit back & say hi to Butkus & Rocky.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tuesday Tea Time!

Happy Tuesday!

I hope you're week is going well so far. Recently I've had a run around with a few medical ventures & somehow still learning to best manage my time so that I'm living the holistically healthy life I prefer & thrive from when I am living one.

Oy, what an adventure!

Trust me, I know lots about time management & lists & calendars. It is a continuing lesson learning to say "no" & be ok with it...So that the lists stay realistic & the calendars don't become so scribbled on they're unable to be read. Though the overly scribbled calendars do start to become an art piece month by month!

Taking time to sit back & sip my tea is something that will always fit into my schedule. I read once that women in their 30s need stop counting the unaccomplished & be happy with what they can do & what they actually get around to doing. Coming from a society that defines individuals by what they do, this is of utmost importance for that holistic healthy living.

Hey, ya know what, this week is also my 22nd cancerversary! More reason to breath deep & count one's blessings. Do things that bring joy to others & to you. Do things that help you share your inner light with others who need it to fuel their inner light. Together your lights will shine bright. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday Snippits: good, bad, & awesome!

GOOD: This past week was filled with vocational adventure feeling out my authority & lack thereof. I am always a team player, but some times I want to work individually & then come together as a team. Friday topped off the adventuresome week with Slow Cooker Lasagna, baptismal discussion, & no knead ciabatta bread. Then a surprise visit just to go pick up some farm fresh eggs. MG had herself a very full evening with a baby around & then hanging out with a bunch of people. Of course she made herself at home right away by trying to eat the plastic cat dish. Thankfully it was the lid of a Country Time Lemonade container. The Spirit was spilling hospitality abounding!

BAD: Remember that whole not burning one's candle at both ends thing? Yeah, failed.

AWESOME: Ice cream traditions, like geegunks (google doesn't give much on this) that my Dad's side of the family carried on from my Grandpa's days in the Navy. So I just kept searching & found this gem about geedunks. Kinda fun, but a geegunk in my family is chocolate milk with vanilla ice cream. You can doctor it up however you please, but it's just as good plain.

WORD: Matthew 25:1-13 - What do you do to prepare for the coming of Jesus in your life? There are many (& that's an understatement) interpretations of this scripture. For me, it is a daily life style & a belief that Jesus is with us always, at all times as Jesus's Spirit gives us each breath. Thus we are called to live a life worthy of our calling (Eph. 4) to be like Jesus in the flesh for others, for community.

coming up: Most likely a bit more snow. It's already fallen at least 2 or 3 times. Though somehow I missed the one time. I suppose I didn't look at the roof tops. Also a road trip to Ikea & a conference where I get to see at least one friend I haven't seen in something like 7 years. Looking forward to the continuing education & the dreaming up of new ways to be the church with colleagues.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Friday Favorites!

Finding peace in the recent past.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tuesday Tea Time!

Tuesday evening tea today!

While I woke up over a week ago & decided I was done burning my candle at both ends the actual doing so is another thing to figure out.

Why do we over busy ourselves?

Part of me says it is to escape some things & the other part of me says it is to run towards things like being in community.

Just the other day I had a convo with an introverted friend about how easy it is to stay inside & not get involved in public, but then at the same time how much energy even an introvert is given by having to go out in public for work or just for a grocery run. In all fairness, even I - an extreme extrovert - said it was easy to convince oneself to stay inside. So it works both ways.

If we're running from something the chance is it is something that we don't want to discuss or have to think about. So we find home in other places & people.

We find home where our heart is & busy ourselves in these places.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday Snippits: good, bad, & awesome!

GOOD: This past week marked the end of my first month in my new job & things are slowly, but surely starting to feel like a new normal. Many times people have asked, "What do you do?" When they want something more than the generic "youth ministry" answer - which it seems they often do - I can happily answer "it is different each day." I say happily because while I seek out routine of sorts, it is good to have fresh vibes flowing from a solid Spirit led work. In reality this past week went by in a blink & of course I didn't get as much done as I would've liked to do, but I'm practicing some boundaries by allowing things to pour over week to week. Each day it seems that I am making new connections with more & more people from the community, so that is a definite bonus to feeding my inner being of an extrovert. This past week we also got to have dinner with some friends we hadn't seen in a few months. It was good to share what God had us all up to so that we can be in prayer for & with each other. It was also good just for some shared joy of life for friendship & our love for Michigan/the Mid-West.

BAD: That everything that is different is weird. One trick-or-treater came with at least one other youth that we know & she had painted her face to be a similar fashion of the skeletons in today's picture. When I wished her a "feliz día de los muertos" she exclaimed, "Finally, somebody gets it!" I wish that being somebody who goes against the grain - which we all do at some point - wasn't so negatively received. This wasn't even a big push against a skeleton costume for halloween, but a tribute to a holiday celebrated by many (just not in MI).

AWESOME: Being surprised by a treat from McDonalds. EE & KB stopped by my office late on Friday to say hi & share McDs. It's fun to hear about their adventures & shenanigans as seniors. I hope EE's ghost costume turned out as awesome as she planned!

WORD: Reading about death in lieu of Halloween & Día de los muertos.

coming up: It's November! That means monthly meetings .... and mom's birthday!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday Favorites!

Happy Halloween from a Madd House Wife!

It's better late than never to post a Friday Favorites!

All week I've been paying special attention to my high lights. And for the most part I would say that the turkey quinoa meatloaf dinner we made Tuesday night. We substituted the tomato paste with Apple & Onion Jam from American Spoon & my oh my it was delicious! We made a garden salad & baked acorn squash for our sides.

Then Halloween came & it snowed & people were in all sorts of a funks. So my new favorite was dressing up with these great crazy glasses, wig, pearls, sequined headband, tiara, & apron to make people laugh.

Not to forget the nice little surprise of a McD's treat from two of my fave local high schoolers at the end of the work day. Definitely makes the list of favorites for this Friday!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday Tea Time!

Happy Tuesday!

Do you ever stop, review your current life & think "This is MY life?!" Some days it just feels like playing. Other days it feels like cheating or possibly even trudging through such deep shit that you don't know how anything is going to be clean again. And let's not mention the smell!

Life is a curious thing & we all have our fair share of mysterious junk - yes, some of it is not so mysterious. And what are we gonna do with this?

We keep living & being surprised by ourselves & many others & things around us.

Why such the surprise?

Doubt. Self-image. Assumptions towards others.

7 year old me would've told us all to just have faith.
Don't question it. Be glad with what you have & have faith that life will keep being life.

THIS is your life & it's what you make it to be.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Snippits: good, bad, & awesome!

GOOD: Happy day to celebrate the church & its major reformation of the 1500s! Today we honor Martin Luther in his leadership for & with the church & give thanks for his outspoken ways of making his thoughts regarding what it meant for him & people in 1517 to be church known by nailing his 95 theses to the door(s) of the Castle Church, Wittenberg. What a fun way to end the blur of goodness that filled the last week! Ma & Pa N left early last Monday & Z & I busied ourselves as our only day working from our offices. We then went on to enjoy a little bit of shopping, continuing education, & fellowship with colleagues/peers. If you saw Friday Favorites you saw a glimpse at the beautiful few days we spent on a mini-vacay. The weather couldn't have been more perfect. And if you ever thought island life wasn't worth the escape after Labor Day, think again! It's a touch more quiet, the air is crisp & perfect for fireplace time, & the discounts are abundant in all the stores. We came home to newly painted offices, a few new pieces of office furniture, & new business cards. Oh, and of course a cuddly puppy!

BAD: Fatigue, and how it makes many weary of what's next. AND how that weariness buts heads with the honeymoon phase of what's new. Not pickin' up what I'm laying down? Check out this article regarding 'transition fatigue.' I'm not sure that the term 'honeymoon phase' needs much explanation, but there is much joy - just like there hopefully is in a literal honeymoon - that comes with being in a new setting with the fresh touch of grace being given at nearly every turn.

AWESOME: The refreshing feel of getting a new 'do.' As if enough else weren't new already, I hadn't had my hair cut in months & it was time. It's the piece of self-care that we all can give to ourselves at some point. Then there's the piece of self-care that comes from others. It's pretty awesome knowing that my parents visited with AJO & her family the other day & the very next day I received a card with pretty awesome stickers (it doesn't matter if you're 2 or 22 or more) from AJO. And all in between that AJO & I had a phone date too. Whoo, that's a lot of self-care given by self & others!

WORD: Having been out & about this past week I have a collection of short readings & devotions in my e-mail inbox. Deuteronomy, Thessalonians, Psalms, & the Gospel of Matthew. Themes of waiting, trying & trying again, being still, more waiting, & identity scatter the particular scripture readings. 

coming up: Carving & decorating the pumpkins in today's picture. It was quite a blustery day to pick out pumpkins, but fun none-the-less. No, we didn't purchase them all, but we did come away with roughly 22.5 pounds of pumpkin between 2 medium sized pumpkins & 1 small pumpkin. We will be simply enjoying the last week of October with whatever it may bring.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Favorites!

Yesterday was a beautiful day to bike around Pure Michigan and we just happened to do it by tandem on Mackinac Island.

Happy adventure days await!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tuesday Tea Time!

Happy Tuesday Tea Time! Today I'm enjoying the crisp Fall weather & bright colors that decorate the land.

One feature of living where I do that I always miss from other cities & countries is riding from here to there on a train. There's something mildly majestic about train rides no matter the conditions of the train. There's also a great sense of adventure that is simply part of traveling.

Adventures take my imagination on traveling ride of sorts & this produces my pieces of story telling, poetry, & doodles.

What perks your creative juices?!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Snippits: good, bad, & awesome!

GOOD: Amidst all the rain there will be sunshine. Tomorrow, tomorrow, the sun will come out eventually tomorrow. Right Annie?! This week was packed with a little of this & a little of that. Each day until yesterday was filled with gray skies & lots of rain. There was so much rain that both Z & I didn't realize how depressing it had been till the sun came out & stayed out & made us so wonderfully happy & warm. The crazy part about the warmth is it was possibly the coldest day of this Fall yet. I actually pulled my winter 3-in-1 jacket out of the closet yesterday & didn't regret it one bit. As you can see from the photos, it was quite brisk. Wednesday we enjoyed the evening with the folks of our church & supported the youth in their annual fundraiser over a meal of spaghetti & a silent auction. We even won our bid for a gift certificate to the Dam Site Inn! Joyous times continued with the a visit from Ma & Pa N. We introduced them to the Cheboygan Brewing Company one evening, spent a low key day around town the next day, & enjoyed an afternoon exploring the local area near Petoskey the day after that. We tasted some wonderful apple donuts from Uncle Frank's & topped off the evening with dinner at the Petoskey Brewing Company

BAD: Ebola & other life altering viruses with no distinct remedy or no named diagnosis for some.

AWESOME: Making new friends. Meeting people at random, connecting over furbabies & thinking you'll actually keep in touch. AND getting to talk with friends - even if over Skype - who are together & in the same country as me & hopefully I'll get to see one if not both of them soon & creating so much excitement about these wonderful people that you can't even type in a real sentence. See what sunshine does to me?!

WORD: My friend MBR's blog Stumbling Into Faith

COMING UP: Life on the road again. A few days for work, a few days for fun.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tuesday Tea Time!

Happy Tuesday!

Check out the mammoth of tea kettle in today's photo! If you could keep the water warm, you could have tea for twenty!

It's hard to believe that it was only just over a year ago that I had my first tea with TE. Z had scheduled a home visit & she made sure to tell him to bring me too. We were friends before we even met face-to-face! It's not very often in life that we are connected with someone else quite like this.

To honor my friendship with TE & our love for tea, I have remedied the cause for discrimination in a heavy coffee drinking work world & bought myself a new electric kettle. While setting it up, just yesterday, I thought to myself, TE would've loved to come have a cup of tea with me in my new office. And thanks to the love for tea that we shared, I know the importance of sharing it with others.

Some times it just feels good to hold something warm - even if you never drink it.

The nice feature of a hot water kettle is it can be used for much more than simply tea. I will have to get some packets of fun drinks other than tea to offer to my guests. For now though there are 3 different tea varieties with the option of honey stirred in with a chopstick.

Maybe some day soon I'll have tea for twenty! or at least tea for two!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Snippits: good, bad, & awesome!

GOOD: The end of the past week was beautiful weather & the colors that are so vibrant in this part of the country, they make you think you're living in a dreamland for a split second or two. We attended a number of meetings this week & had something going on almost every evening. This means that the fur-baby gets to come to work with me for at least the afternoons so that she isn't kenneled from 8am-10pm. So far so good, though she did almost catch her tail on fire when she decided to jump onto the coffee table where there was a burning candle. I quickly swooped her up, blew out the candle, & moved the candle to a higher place. Friday night was the perfect weather for the Homecoming game. We got to visit with lots of people from church & community & the Chiefs won! It was interesting to hear that there is only a Homecoming Queen & no King. Do others know of traditions such as this? We had never seen this done this way before & I'm not sure what to make of it. Is it supporting women or singling them out in an odd way?

BAD: Burning the candle at both ends. I recently viewed this video going on around social media. I agree with much of it. It is an important message to today's people. However, at the same time there is still such a means of connecting to people through social media that we would otherwise not have connection with those people. I see more often than not phrases like, "I am so close to deleting this, if  it didn't mean I would lose contact with so & so from somewhere far away." While it is a wonderful thing to be able to maintain these relationships with people far away. We must maintain relationships with people right in front of us at the same time. Both are equally important as far as I'm concerned, but it is an art to do both in a healthy manner.

AWESOME: Being able to give credit to my English teachers for the creativity that runs through this blog. One of my high school English teachers recently died after a fierce fight for life with cancer. While I didn't keep in touch with her over the last several years, I know that it is because of her lessons in the classroom that I attempted to read things like Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen - and at the time it didn't make much sense - & that I write for the ear (as some might say). I think I owe it to Ms. K to try reading more Jane Austen in my future. And a little interesting fact is that my high school English teachers were among the last of my official "English" teachers as I'm almost certain I was able to test out of taking any English courses in college.

WORD: Matthew 22:1-14 is what kept popping up in discussions I was part of this past week. For those of you who heard a sermon on this text today (the Revised Common Lectionary), what did you hear? Or for those who preached on this scripture today, what did you take away from this scripture?

coming up: another day, another dollar! As one friend said this past week, "You have a job! You have a job! You have a job!" So let the ride of figuring it all out continue. We'll cap the week off with visitors from MN!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tuesday Tea Time!

Happy Tuesday Tea Time!

This week Tuesday seems like a different sort of Tuesday.

I've recently felt the discrimination many a tea drinker feels when working in a public place & there being no source of hot water other than a microwave.

Poor me, right?!

One mug of tea in the first half of the day is simply not enough though. So I'm on the hunt for an electric tea kettle for my office. Having only been gifted one before & never shopping for one, I'm leaning towards the purchase of a ceramic kettle.

Any thoughts on what type of kettle to purchase for minimal mula?

It isn't even so much the need for something tea filled always as I think it is for something warm that warms my hands & soul at the same time.

Crazy? Maybe, but I'll take that title any ol' day. Dog crazy, check. Tea & word crazy, check check.

Thanks for joining me for this spot of tea & piece of your time!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday Snippits: good, bad, & awesome!

GOOD: Last Sunday kicked off a very busy week with a going away pot-luck meal for one colleague, a bridal shower for friend, & prep to move into that one colleague's office. The move started Tuesday with only a few boxes. I was eager, but doing my best to keep some boundaries of not officially starting till Wednesday. Wednesday I spent all day cleaning. Thursday was a day "off" and Friday was another full day of adventures on the new job.

BAD: Last week I mentioned I hadn't heard of much lately so I felt like there were some things hiding in the shadows. I was right! Hong Kong has been up in arms & to watch the videos is alarming & frightening (especially if you are certain you know people that are there & that I am). Not to mention the continued news on the Ebola Virus.

AWESOME: Conviction that comes from deep within one's being is awesome. It's so deep within oneself that you know it's not of you, but you can't separate it from yourself. Watching this, breathing this, living with this conviction is awesome.

WORD: Working Preacher is where I spent most of my week reading & listening.

coming up: a full week of work as Coordinator of Youth & Family Ministries!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Friday Favorites!

Yep, that is one of the strangest wild mushrooms I've ever seen before. I've been on a mushroom kick lately. Including them in meals & finding them on walks. 

This message brought to you by a late night phone blogging episode of Juls has a Full Plate.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday Tea Time!

The days of being able to make sun tea are limited. This past week was beautiful & yesterday went from being quite sunny & warm to cool & rainy weather in a blink.

My motto over the summer - that I started to forget at the end - was "roll with the punches." This came from jumping into a job that was ever changing & many a things were last minute. It kept me on my toes.

Since coming home from camp this project & that task have kept me on my toes. However, today is a day to be lazy & flat footed as tomorrow is my first day of my new job.

This job will also be one that I need to "roll with my homies" (shout out to Clueless lovers) as we discover new ways for this setting to do ministry. I have no doubt, it'll keep me on my toes.

What keeps you on your toes these days?

Literally today is the last day of a Plank Challenge I've been participating in, so new ways to stay on my toes both for health of body & mind are good to share. And let's be honest. I'm not too good at staying off my toes. I like to be on the go & on the do if you will.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Snippits: good, bad, & awesome!

GOOD: Seeing lots of positive things on social media made for a boost in the week. One of the best things was experiencing Blessercize. I love the crazy amount of leg warmers in these video clips! With September being Childhood Cancer Awareness week I have been playing my part in a few simple ways. One way at the beginning of the month was to help a friend with her fundraiser for childhood cancer awareness. I look forward to hearing how it turned out. Then simply getting my lap quilts out from Camp Watcha Wanna Do & sharing them on Instagram & FB & having other friends share their quilt memories. Crazy the connections something like a quilt can bring. Each year as  a camper I got to pick out a new quilt & I now have 3 that I chose to keep. Mostly this past week Z & MG & I spent time enjoying the beautiful weather. We had a camp fire, went on a lengthy bike ride, took several long walks, & enjoyed time in the hammock. We also enjoyed time at the Seasons of the North Winery's Harvest Fest & came home to catch up with our family in Japan.

BAD: This past week seemed like an "off" week to myself & many around me. There's change with many unknowns lingering in the near future & so we're all a little uneasy. It seemed like a quiet news week which makes me weary of what I missed.

AWESOME: Did you not check out Blessercize?! In other news, Anne Lamott continues to write from her heart & speak to thousands of people about the bunnies of life that we love to hate & hate to love...erm, does that even make sense? Rosh Hashanah started & there were many great stories about celebrating with community shared by friends in ministry. And because I have a lot of awesome to share with you this week, I'll leave you with One Story Catcher. She's beautiful & writes brilliantly. The Holy Spirit is really do her thang in her work.

WORD: Ezekial 18:1-4, 25-32 What is fair?

coming up: Remembering to breath deep the breath of God, finishing the plank challenge for September, & moving into my new office!