Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tuesday Tea Time!

Tuesday Tea Time with Julie Andrews!

Ok, only through photo, but still great.

Inspired by a friend, today a post from the past (even if it means funky alignment for this post).

“How can I stand up before God and show proper respect to the high God? Should I bring an armload of offerings topped off with yearling calves? Would God be impressed with thousands of rams, with buckets of barrels of olive oil? Would he be moved if I sacrificed my firstborn child, my precious baby, to cancel my sin? But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously - take God seriously.” Micah 6:6-8 The Message *emphasis mine*

Last month I wrote that we had a few weeks of snow behind us and maybe we will by the time you receive this newsletter, but as I write it is quite rainy outside. So much for my prediction of the coming weeks! I say this in jest as we often set our personal expectations based on things that we have little control over. I know I often like to do some sort of organizing or cleaning when other things in life are not going as I had hoped or planned.

The trick is we have to a)communicate our plans clearly to others and b)let there be room for God’s Spirit to lead us. And something tells me that really we should allow for ‘b’ before ‘a.’ The Prophet Micah shares some really big ideas of how to please God. All we have to do is bring an armload of offerings, give all of your worldly possessions, and even your firstborn child to God and we’ll be good to go. Here we are 2015! But, wait, Micah doesn’t stop there. Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.

Just as I could not predict the snowfall, we cannot predict how each of us will interpret the prophet’s words to “Do what is fair and just for our neighbor” or what exactly we will be drawn to to be “compassionate and loyal in” because we love it. What we can predict though is that God is seriously all about this justice for our neighbors and living out of Jesus’ love through compassion & loyalty. We can predict that we are called to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God and that God is always right there in the thick of it all taking all of us in as seriously as we take all of God in.

So here we are 2015, learning to take ourselves a little less seriously & leaning into God’s seriousness for all of us!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Snippits: good, bad, & awesome!

GOOD: With the weather being sunny & then gray & then sunny & then snowy & all the time cold still, I've had an itch to get to the gym more often. While getting to the gym is one thing, the itch is crazy & the high after the workout is wonderful! I've seen a number of friends post that they're doing the 21 Day Fix lately. I totally am inspired by this, but haven't quite gotten to this trend yet. So keep being awesome & inspiring friends! In other good news, this week was a mix of a little down time & then full swing back into the go, go, go.

BAD: If you haven't heard Indiana politics have been a little crazy this past week. As somebody who will always find home in IN, this piece of our history is purely embarrassing. Are people going to be carded by their sexuality & race & religion & anything else we can think that can not only bring us together, but separate us from all those who are different than us? Not only could this identity judging be done, but then service entirely denied. GROSS INDIANA!

AWESOME: There is always room for change & a better tomorrow. <--- i="" in="" reference="" said="" style="font-weight: bold;" that="" to="">BAD
. In other awesome news is all the continuous good food we've had lately. We've been inspired to try new recipes & so far so good. I find that new recipes bring new life into a kitchen.
WORD: Today's Gospel lesson is a little long. But guess what, it's the start to Holy Week! In fact it's Palm Sunday. A day of celebration followed by a week of realizing what our sins have brought to this world. Mark 14-15, check out the entirety of it for the full picture.

coming up: April & Easter & hopefully warmer temps!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Favorites!

Meet Oscar the Guardian Gnome!

Oscar is a new addition to our Gnome collection. Yes, we are those people. However, we're a tad picky about who we welcome in to our club & we generously give thought to each one's name.

The unique thing about Oscar is he is our first Guardian Gnome. What makes him a Guardian Gnome? Clearly his green stature!

Yet again a week on the go, go, go! So here we go!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tuesday Tea Time!

Hiya Tuesday Tea Timers!

Check out these fabulously 'English' tea pots!

Something tells me that not many people in England actually own teapots like this unless they collect teapots. You can possibly guess that this photo was taken in a store due to the lineup & multitude of the teapots.

Isn't it funny the items country themed stores sell that represents an entire country? 

Yet again remembering my time in Scotland several years ago, the one thing my friends & I could come up with that was uniquely from the United States was a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. However I don't see stores selling pb&j sandwiches except for maybe at stores like American Spoon. American Spoon is more distinctly Michigan & that is just a piece of the USA.

All these pieces make up a people & people have stories that make up a country. Some of these story pieces are more often shared than others & then we get crazy themed teapots representing an entire country of people & their stories.

Crazy! But as Alice Kingsley said, "...You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are!"

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Snippits: good, bad, & awesome!

GOOD: Any week with a free ice cream cone is a good week, right? While many places had free cone day on Monday or Tuesday, we had to wait till Friday to have our free cone. It was well worth the wait as the week was not without treats & the weather was not any warmer at the end of the week than the beginning of the week. Ice cream was only a piece of this goodness though as the week was filled with great conversations, my first official yoga class in many years, more good food, a clean house (mostly), & naturally more really great food. We waited all week to make our Irish meal in honor of St Patrick's day & man alive, it was delicious! Iowa girl eats & I could be friends no doubt! Check out the Wine-Braised Beef Shepherd's Pie recipe, definitely worth your time!

BAD: While there plenty of eye catching & head tilting news pieces out there to report on, they've already been reported on. My idea of bad is when life is so heavy, you can't seem to take one more step. This past week a colleague posted about one event after another after another of heavy life pieces mostly, if not entirely, out of her control. Despite it all, with the help of others, she continued to put one foot in front of the other & be there for those pieces  of her life that needed her AND she was still able to celebrate another piece of life. Way to turn bad into...

AWESOME: Watching an old favorite of a movie, still being able to quote along with the lines, & still thinking it's pretty much one of the best movies ever. 10 Things I Hate About You is that movie for me.

WORD: Reading pieces of Mark & essays from Mindy.

coming up: Love, Life, Spirit, & Sparkle!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Favorites!

While I go in waves, there have been many a photos of MG lately. This week though I captured this great "selfie."

This particular morning she was ready to get up & go about the day. As many dog lovers know, this means she'll be napping again within 2 hours or less & you'll be at work doing your thang.

I love this furbaby though & those caring eyes ready for adventure even when she's in my face 10min before I really need to get out of bed.

With much of life being a bit of a blur as of late due to the mix & mash of multiple jobs overlapping, this sweet face is my Friday Favorite.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tuesday Tea Time!

It's that time of year that I'm yearning for adventure! The snow is more or less melted, the days are hit or miss sunshine or gray & drizzly, & forward thinking is in full mode with planning next year's calendars for work & fun alike.

I find myself wishing I was having tea & macaroni pie at that quaint cafe somewhere in Scotland. I remember venturing in with Casey & Taransay - or at least that's where my memory takes me - it may have been Emma & Hannah or even Pip & Sara! None of us had ever been to this particular place before & we all enjoyed it. I remember being teased for the macaroni pie because it was "horribly American" of me to choose that with my tea. The thing is, while America has plenty of versions of mac-n-cheese, I have yet to come across anything quite like this treat.

And being that my memory is faint & the friendships with these ladies has grown distant due to time & space, the chances of finding this place again are slim. Which only means one thing, a challenge to find a new quaint place to make happy memories with tea & macaroni-pie. This also means challenge! The challenge of recreating macaroni pie at home, making friends with English gals my age, getting my English & Scottish Flatmates to visit, or taking a trip back to Scotland. SO many possibilities!

All this inspired by the photo taken in England at Epcot...

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday Snippits:good, bad, & awesome!

GOOD: Time has been filled with so much good stuff lately that it seems to be flying by & it's hard to recap what happened a week ago because often it feels just like yesterday. On the other hand it often feels like it was much longer than a week ago because so much life has been lived since. That's where we are today with Sunday Snippits! A dose of good Spring Cleaning seems to be the medicine for Spring Fever. Piece by piece we've been working on a little cleaning at home, a little cleaning at work, a little cleaning metaphorically & a little cleaning literally. Just after feeling as if we hadn't left town much at all lately for anything, this past week we were both hopping around the state for one work related thing or another. We're moving through life remembering that while it is good to plan ahead & we often do just that, it is also good to sit in the moment at hand. Plus life is often MUCH easier lived day-by-day with a pinch of forward thinking & planning.

BAD: Jumping into one project it is easy to find more project & more project & more project. While we could get grumpy about why people have left so much stuff laying around & made a trail, we all do it. The trick is to take a set amount of time on a set day with company of other people &/or music & work at picking up these trails little-by-little. The bad part is, if we're all leaving our trail then we're constantly not only cleaning up after one another, but expecting others to clean up after us! So maybe this a goofy bad, but that's what you get this week.

AWESOME: I mentioned in Friday Favorites it's the little things. I realized recently my joy for reading for pleasure is returning! I knew it was there, somewhere. For Pete's sake I took part in a reading lock-in & loved it in elementary school. It's a matter of pacing oneself & balancing heavy topic books with light topic books & books that are most obviously continuing education with books that are simple fiction & imagination. It's a piece of me that has been missing & as many friends will be delighted to know - especially after all the books they've gifted me throughout the years - I am a reader. Don't be ambitious in the book giving though, this may only be a phase for now.

WORD: If you haven't guessed by AWESOME that I finished both I am Malala & Stitches this past week. I've now moved on to Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? for a piece of humor & I plan to start Children of Divorce this week. SO much to look to forward to! PLUS my good friend wrote an awesome piece about Grace, not Works.

coming up: More Spring Cleaning! Last Fall we had all of the bushes in the front of our house taken out. They were old & ugly. Now it's figuring out what to put in their place. This is totally not our thang so a little research will be in order... happy days till next time!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Favorites!

Hello Friday!

Yesterday I had a chance to catch up & enjoy some appetizers out with a friend. It's amazing what a little one-on-one time with somebody you appreciate, but don't either one have the time to see each other as often as you'd like, can do for the soul.

And it's amazing how quickly that boost can be brought down by sad news, stress, grief, & other people.

So today's Friday Favorites yet again comes back to the little things in life. I'm thankful for the many friendships that stay true despite the distance or time between check-ins. I'm thankful for all that I glean from these friendships & the motivation to continue with my head up, heart out, & moving to the beat.

Each day's beat is different & each day's beat finds my head & heart in new places. It's all interconnected & it's all a bit cray cray & it's all Life, Spirit, & Sparkle.

I lift my mango-pineapple pick-me-up smoothie to your Friday Favorites!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tuesday Tea Time!

Tuesday Tea Time!

We have officially changed our clocks ahead, or simply enjoyed the fact that they're not an hour off any longer & now we wait for the thaw.

Being from the tip of the mitt means waiting for the spring thaw a little longer than other parts of the state or country. Even MN has had considerably more melting snow to the point of seeing earth below than we have. This is the week, the time has shifted & the temps have gotten above freezing (by at least a half of degree) for the last couple of days.

Can you say, Spring Fever?!

Spring Fever brings Spring teas & porch sitting with quilts! Spring Fever brings more hiking & contrary to what many might think more gray days than winter. I wouldn't mind being proven wrong MI! Spring Fever puts a new skip in our step even when we don't ask for it. Spring Fever brings a season of mud & wellies.

What does Spring Fever bring for you? 

Lazy days climbing trees like the cheshire cat perhaps?

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sunday Snippits: good, bad, & awesome!

GOOD: We finally made it to a show at the Cheboygan Opera House! This was our first time even entering the building for anything. The high school's Spring (yes, I know we have a few more days officially) musical was The Sound of Music! Naturally as a follow up I decided to watch the movie within a day of seeing the musical on stage. While I was reminiscing of meeting Julie Andrews on one of her book signing tours (hence the group photo with tiaras) a few years back, Z is only focusing on pieces of the movie & reminiscing of a band trip he took in high school thinking he's been to some of the places in the movie. However, he couldn't be sure because he really didn't know who Julie Andrews was before he met me. I'm not sure how you go to Austria on a band trip & don't know that a famous musical was filmed there, but he did. All that to say both the performance & viewing of the movie were great.

BAD:  Having to remember things like Selma to realize that struggle is always real, relevant, & life lasting. It's what we do with this struggle that changes the world.

AWESOME: More often than not, it's the little things, like stickers, random phone calls, quiet afternoons to read by the fire. It's the things that make you realize you're an adult because you get excited about new hampers & recycling bins. Yes, this all happened this past week.

WORD: Catching up with AJO this past week I shared with her that I'm working on finishing Malala again. I've learned to pair the serious books with a slightly less serious book. Stitches is serious in it's own right, but it's not about straight up violent warfare, but rather abstract life warfare. So somehow they go together or I'm just making it work because I've been picking up both to indulge in the last week. Most likely both will be finished soon. Both stories are about great faith gifted from a Spirit outside their control.

coming up: A bit of travel for work & a touch of Life, Spirit, & Sparkle!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Friday Favorites!

Hey look, I remembered to share a Friday Favorite this week!

Pretty amazing if you ask me.

Today's favorite of the week is from this morning's breakfast, compliments of Chobani Greek Yogurt.

The slightly crazy thing is that this heart find is a favorite because it connects me to so many people in the here & now & those who have gone before us.

Yes, it connects us to a world beyond life on earth.

Not only do I love this connection, each heart brings a smile to my day & we all need extra reasons to smile.

The trend of heart finds for me was initiated by my bff after the passing of her Grandy. It reminds us of the love of Grandy & the love that lives on today. Just the same I find myself sharing heart finds to continue to spread the symbol of love that my friend TE had for everybody & most everything in life.

To one year of life without my dear friend TE to talk to, other than amongst the stars of the heavens, here's today's heart find.

Share your heart finds with the world!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tuesday Tea Time!

Hello Tuesday! AND it's Tea Time!

I don't know about you, Tuesdays seem to be one of the busiest days of my weeks. It's not quite the middle of the week, but in reality it is & of course because of that it is when people schedule meetings.

NERD ALERT! I really like meetings. Ok, so maybe it depends on the topic of the meeting, but I really like conversation & community & often that is what comes with meetings. Though, at the same time, meetings can be very stressful. Part of the stress for me is adapting to new things & while I am not new to children, youth, & family ministry, my current main position is still new & all of the work I do is very new to those I work with & for.

Mer, mer!

Check out this Spice & Tea Exchange at Downtown Disney! A couple of weeks ago when we were in the much warmer - though cold for the natives - climate of Florida, we had dinner at an Earl of Sandwich & like a piece of fate, it was attached to this wonderful store filled with tea! This is where I purchased my most recent loose leaf tea - Rose Mint Tea - & since then have been able to enjoy not only it's flavor, but it's beauty. It's that nice mix of earth & fantasy & reality.


Ok, well it's just got nice color. I love pops of color! In fact, with my new eye glasses I thought they had more blue in them because I tried them on, ordered them, & went home - to go on this trip to FL that led me to this tea! - & of course didn't take any photos. While I really like my new specs & their nice tortoise shell look with a background of blue, I do kind of think they'd be more fun with some blue enhancing color into the brown tortoise shell design.

Here's to another random, busy, color burst sorta Tuesday Tea Time!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunday Snippits:good, bad, & awesome!

GOOD: It's March! My Mammaw always said the first words out of your mouth on the first day of each month should be "white rabbit" for good luck. So silly, but fun to try & remember to let those be the first words of today. While I am aching for Spring, the sunshine has been absolutely blinding & so bright it makes the mind see creation's beauty even when we don't want to. Ah, the power of the Spirit at work! This past week had a couple of fun surprises. One being a 2 hour long catch up session with family & sharing hopes of future travels to see each other. Another is unexpected gifts celebrating my call as Diaconal Minister months after the fact. A surprise box from family friends showed up on our doorstep the other day & naturally I thought it had come to the wrong house as I couldn't find our last name - let alone either of our first names - on it anywhere. Thankfully a card came separately the same day explaining that the gift was coming. So I opened it up & put my new monogrammed canvas tote bag to work immediately.

BAD: A friend who I worked with this past summer is doing research on homesickness - specifically while at camp - & while I have worked with a number of youth & adults who have dealt with homesickness while on overnights or trips to great places like camp, this is such a foreign concept to me. There have been times throughout my travels that I would journal, "maybe I'm homesick," but even in the pieces of time I've been moved by my emotions to journal this, it is almost always a fleeting thing for me. So it's not that the friend is doing the research that is bad - not at all, I find it rather intriguing - it's that homesickness is one of the few things that pops up in my line of work with those I work with & I simply feel at a loss of how to take care of them.

AWESOME: Something somewhere out there inspires us though, to keep creating & keep dancing because as Kid President shared the other day, we gotta! 'You gotta keep creating! You gotta keep dancing!' Just two nights ago I was blown away by the ways in which those I led a 'End Hunger' themed lock-in for middle schoolers showed up & shared their wealth of knowledge & questions & ideas of how to be the church & end hunger. No matter how much sleep we didn't get, or the youth that didn't come, or the ideas that you think of after the fact that would've made part of something that was shared that much more cool...you gotta keep creating, you gotta keep dancing! The 2015 Middle Ground Ministry (Middle School Ministry) End Hunger Lock-In was great thanks to many people, especially all who shared in the event leading up to the night & throughout the night (& no doubt the bit of cleaning up that had to still be done after we left yesterday morning).

WORD: Professor of Preaching & Professor Emeritus of Homiletics at Luther Seminary wrote in a commentary piece at Working Preacher for today's scripture (Mark 8:31-38), "The “theology of the cross” or “to deny oneself” does not mean a contrived kind of humility. We do not follow Jesus by demeaning ourselves. We are called upon to do the very best we can with the talents and abilities God has given us. To “deny oneself” means to keep one’s priorities in harmony with what Jesus told us in the two “great commandments” -- love God and love your neighbor (Mark 12:28-31)."

coming up: More bulletin board work & connecting with awesome people for awesome things like simply saying hi & other awesome things like Practice Discipleship & the ELCA Youth Gathering.