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