Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness on them light has shined. (Isaiah 9:2)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Contemporary Mother and Child


Several contemporary images of Mary and the baby Jesus have surfaced on the web recently …this is one of them.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Letting the mud settle …..


Artist Melanie Weidner says of this painting that it is "Based on a quote from the Tao Te Ching: "Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving until the right action arises by itself?" (By the way, if you havent been to her site yet, check out Melanie's other beautiful work here.)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Question: Do you “do Thanksgiving” or really give thanks?

Prayer For My Family Robert Louis Stevenson

Lord, behold our family here assembled,
We thank thee for this place in which we dwell,
For the love that unites us,
For the peace accorded to us this day,
For the hope with which we expect the morrow,
For the health, the work, the food,
And the bright skies that make our lives delightful,
For our friends in all parts of the earth,
And our friendly helpers everywhere.

Give us courage, joy, and the quiet mind.
Spare to us our friends, soften to us our enemies.
Bless us, if it may be, in all our innocent endeavors;
If it may not, give us the strength to encounter that which is to come.

May we be brave in peril, constant in tribulation,
Temperate in wrath, and in all changes of fortune,
Down to the gates of death, loyal and loving to one another.

As the clay to the potter, as the windmill to the wind,
As children of their sire, we beseech of thee this help. Amen.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Five: Winter’s On the Way

Snow Pictures 231

This week we were asked to think about the upcoming winter weather. Praying fervently that we don’t have a repeat of the scene above – 26” in two days.

Hard exercise to do since it is 65 degrees here today … still, we know it’s coming …


1. What is your favorite movie for watching when curled up under a wooly blanket?

Holiday Inn – I know it’s really a Christmas movie but it’s still a winter favorite.

2. Likewise, what book? – No particular book that I reread but a good mystery is always a good thing on a cold day.

3. What foods do you tend to cook/eat when it gets cold?  Chili definitely ranks high on the list as does a roast, potatoes and carrot menu or cranberry pork roast cooked in the crock pot.  I also love potato soup on a cold winter day.

4. What do you like to do if you get a "snow day" (or if you don't get snow days, what if you did)?

Snow days are definitely meant for hunkering down and just having a good excuse not to do anything except enjoy the day …. sometimes that means a PJ day – staying in them all day without a hint of guilt.

5. Do you like winter sports or outdoor activities, or are you more likely to be inside playing a board game? Do you have a favorite (indoors or out)?

Can’t say that I like winter sports – although a day of sled riding around a fire is a treat.  More likely to find me inside around a board game if there’s someone available to join me. If not, computer Scrabble is fine.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Five: The Perfect Blendship

If you're ever in a jam, here I am.
If you're ever in a mess, S.O.S.
If you're so happy, you land in jail. I'm your bail.
It's friendship, friendship, just a perfect blendship.
When other friendships are soon forgot, ours will still be hot.

I'm thinking a lot about friends these days, the ones who rush to you in times of trouble, with a casserole or a socket wrench or an invitation for coffee or lunch or a trip to the foot sanctuary. We meet friends in school or on the playground or at church or in the workplace and even on the Internet. Even as blogging has experienced some decline, the community here has been strong.
For today's Friday Five, some questions about friendship.

1) Who is the first friend you remember from childhood?

Lilly Dean Sutton – pastor’s daughter – and Terri Lawver – another friend from church.  We have pictures of us dressed as angels. Lilly moved to Nebraska and we made a trip to visit. After that, we haven’t seen each or again.

2) Have you ever received an unexpected gift from a friend?

Many times. I have the best of friends!  The most recent friendship is with my clerk of session who continually finds ways to rejuvenate my spirits – often with tickets to the Pittsburgh Pops or the River City Brass Band.

3) Is there an old friend you wish you could find again? Or have you found one via social media or the Internet?

Facebook has definitely made staying in touch easier…. too many to name but I have particularly enjoyed staying in touch with Denise and Joyce… friends from the past who it always seems easy to fall right back into our conversations.

4) Do you like to get your good friends together in a group, or do you prefer your friends one on one?

I think I prefer one on one with an occasional group outing.

5) Does the idea of Jesus as a friend resonate with you?

I suppose friendship with Jesus is a piece of the relationship but that designation seems to fall way to short of explaining the steadfast faithfulness of the Triune God.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Friday Five: Connecting



Jan at Rev Gal Blog Pals writes:

I am currently reading Bowling Alone by Robert D. Putnam, where he explores the changes in community in the USA in the 20th Century. He explains how communities, people, and especially children function better when they live where there is high social capital. Basically, it means that "relationships matter."
We all know this because Christianity (and other religions) emphasize the Golden Rule:

All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you,
do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.

Matthew 7:1

So here are some questions to ponder for this Friday Five about connecting with:

1. Self: Who was your hero/heroine when you were about ten years old?

No one person particularly stands out at this age although there have been many mentors and Sunday School teachers over the years who helped mold and shape me.

2. Family: Who are you most like? Who is most like you?

Having just attended the funeral for an uncle on my mother’s side, I am constantly amazed at how much my cousins and I have in common – even though we’ve shared precious little time together over the years. We seem to have inherited a gene for singing and a love for music and a host of mannerisms and a constant faith in God. We are truly blessed.

3. Friends: How do you stay in touch?

Facebook has definitely helped with communication. My constant companion in seminary use the time spent on road trips making catch-up calls. This year we were able to spend a few days together – although it was as usual, interrupted by drama. This time a surprise wedding and the realization that my Father would be going to his eternal rest in only a short time.

4. Neighborhood, community: What are ways you like to be involved?

Football games seem to be a place where everyone gathers – although for most of my friends, it’s the band that is the big attraction.

5. Job/church: Do you see a need that will help in developing connections?

We were the recipients of a community memorial gift this summer – a pavilion in memory of Susan McAndrew. Susan knew what it meant to love God and your neighbor. It is our hope that we will spend more time together as a result.

Bonus: A link or anything else about connecting.

And remember today is BLOG ACTION DAY!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Refrain from trampling the Sabbath …

Isaiah 58:9-14

If you remove the yoke from among you,

the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,

if you offer your food to the hungry

and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,

then your light shall rise in the darkness

and your gloom be like the noonday.

The LORD will guide you continually,

and satisfy your needs in parched places,

and make your bones strong;

and you shall be like a watered garden,

like a spring of water,

whose waters never fail.

Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;

you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;

you shall be called the repairer of the breach,

the restorer of streets to live in.

If you refrain from trampling the sabbath,

from pursuing your own interests on my holy day;

if you call the sabbath a delight

and the holy day of the LORD honorable;

if you honor it, not going your own ways,

serving your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs;

then you shall take delight in the LORD,

and I will make you ride upon the heights of

the earth;

I will feed you with the heritage of your ancestor Jacob,

for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Five: Fall Word Association


Singing Owl at Rev Gal Blog Pals writes:

The Canadian geese are excited, forming up and practicing, encouraging each other with honking, the Wisconsin fall color is at peak where I am, and in Kohl's Dept. Store the Christmas decorations are up. Yep, Fall is here. It's my turn to do the Rev Gal Blog Pals Friday Five. It has been a while since we did one of these word association Friday Fives, so here goes, with an autumnal theme. I know, fall is one way on this side of the world and different in other places, but please bear with me as I post words that say FALL--at least where I am.
Give us the the first word that comes to mind (you know how that works, right?) and then add a little something about why, or how or what.
1. Pumpkins – Jack o' Lanterns – with a light shining through its face.

2. Campfire – Singing around the campfire in LOTS of places – Girl Scout Camp, church camp, family outings and now in this place of service as we gather around the fire each fall for an evening of relaxation and fellowship.

3. Apples – Cider made fresh in the cider press. One of my favorite childhood memories is making cider with my Dad at home.

4. Color – Trees with their leaves turning red and yellow – but particularly the reds – unfortunately the extreme hot weather this summer seems to have flattened the colors this fall here in Pittsburgh.

5. Halloween – one of my favorite holidays – but I sure had a had time explaining this holiday to our visitors from Malawi this past week. The leaves are simply dropping to the ground.

And since it is REV Gals and their Pals, here is the bonus question, sort of a serious one:

What does the following passage from Daniel 2 make you think about?
"Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
Wisdom and power are his...
He changes times and seasons

A reminder that wherever he leads, it is safe to follow. I have seen the time and seasons of my life change seemingly overnight but have always found that God knows the plans he has for me … even when I have failed … he is faithful!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Seeking beauty …

To Seek Beauty: Introduction
What we do not nourish
within ourselves
cannot exist in the world around us
because we are its microcosm.
We cannot moan the loss
of quality in our world
and not ourselves
seed the beautiful in our wake.
We cannot decry the loss of the spiritual
and continue ourselves to function
only on the level of the vulgar.
We cannot hope for fullness of life
without nurturing fullness of soul.
We must seek beauty, study beauty
surround ourselves with beauty.
To be contemplative
we must remove the clutter of our lives,
surround ourselves with beauty,
and consciously, relentlessly,
persistently give it away
until the tiny world
for which we are responsible
begins to reflect
the raw beauty that is God.
–from Illuminated Life by Joan Chittister (Orbis)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Friday Five: De-Cluttering

Jan at RevGalBlog Pals writes: Since posting about de-cluttering, I am still muttering about the need for it in my house. How about you?

Yes, I am feeling the need to de-clutter. We (I) definitely have too much stuff … too many clothes, too much of everything. My husband says I am becoming a hoarder, and while I argue, I am feeling very overwhelmed by stuff and the need to take care of the stuff – organize it, clean it, remember where it’s stored.

1. What things do you like to hang on to? I love dishes!

2. What is hard to let go of? This week it’s been tough sorting through my daughter’s collection of stuff. She graduated from college in May, married in July and is moving to San Diego in August. Not much is going with her … just 15 boxes shipped UPS and what could fit in her Kia Forte. She needs the money from stuff we sell to buy new stuff for her new life. It’s another bittersweet moment in our journey through life.

3. What is easy to give away? Things that will brighten someone else’s life … I tend to not mind giving stuff away but when I go to sell it – I always think “gee, you don’t get anything for it – might as well hang on to it.”

4. Is there any kind of stumbling block connected with cleaning out? After moving more times than I can count and nearly ridding myself of everything that wouldn’t fit in a U-Haul trailer or a pickup truck, never thought I would accumulate so much stuff. However, two five-year stents in one place led me to realize I like the stuff – it’s a sign of putting down roots and a desire to stay in one place. If I have too much to move, maybe I’ll stay put. I also am very hesitant to unpack the last box since every time I get to that point, it’s time to move again … this time I’ve left several things in the boxes …

5. What do you like to collect, hoard, or admire? Books, music, dishes, teapots.

Bonus: Tell us about recycling or whatever you can think of that goes along with this muttering about cluttering.

Truthfully, I’m not very good at recycling. However, this past year our church has been part of the Abitibi Recycling program. I find myself disposing of at least a box of paper every week. It feels good, and it’s encouraged me to think of recycling other items.

I’m also a fan of yard sales – which is a form of recycling – but also contributes to my tendency to collect stuff.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Book Review: The Prophecy Answer Book by David Jeremiah


I would argue that scripture is deliberately vague about the end of time and clearly tells us that only God will know the day when Christ will return. David Jeremiah writes as though he has the answers – all set in simple little paragraphs for us to swallow easily. His ability to translate current events into the biblical writings seems just a little too glib and marked with a certainty that is troubling.

I recently signed on with Book Sneeze at Thomas Nelson to review new books and the first one I received was The Prophecy Answer Book by David Jeremiah. Having learned the importance of knowing an author’s theological background, I knew before the book arrived that David Jeremiah is labeled as a conservative, evangelical Christian. And, I tend to label myself loosely with those adjectives so I was looking forward to reading his research.

My first impression was negative. I did not like the small, coffee table book format for a topic that has such a diversity of opinion and many who disagree with dispensational theology. Yet it does cover a great deal of information about this understanding of end times. It clearly addresses the following terms and their implications: the rapture, tribulation, antichrist, second coming of Christ, millennium, and the new heaven and the new earth. He includes a great deal of scripture and research.

However, the biggest negative for me is his conclusion that this theory of the rapture, tribulation and the Second Coming of Christ should “provide a compelling motivation for living the Christian life.” I would argue that we are to live life joyfully and bring glory to God’s name, not because we are fearful, but because we are grateful for the work of Christ in our lives. We are to reach out to the world because we are compassionate and want to share the Good News of the Gospel – which includes salvation and redemption not just from the bowels of hell but also from the things here on earth which cause us pain and destroy our ability to praise and worship an Almighty God.

One positive was his list of 10 ways to connect our daily lives with the promise of Christ’s return: refrain from judging others, remember the Lord’s Table, respond to life spiritually, relate to one another in love, restore the bereaved, recommit ourselves to the ministry, refuse to neglect church, remain steadfast, renounce sin in our lives, and reach the lost.


This book was provided by as a complimentary review copy, and all opinions contained in this review are mine and mine alone.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Who do we worship?

Headless Christ

Sally shares a poem, Christ in Majesty...who, in fact, do we worship? and what does it mean?

robbed of voice,

and power,

this untouching,

unseeing Christ,

is safe,

enthroned, (entombed)

in stone,

he receives our worship,

and we unchanged,

and unchallenged


for we have done our duty...

We have done our duty... I am asking myself tonight how many churches this headless handless stone Christ represents, and I don't like the answer.

Thanks again to Dave Perry for the image and the thoughts.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Friends …

1) Do you remember your first best friend? What did you do together? Are they still in your life?

My first best friend was probably Lilly Dean Sutton – the pastor’s daughter.  We stayed in touch for a year after they moved to Nebraska and even made a visit, but I have no idea where she is now.  One of my best memories was that visit – made while taking my sister to stewardess school – no, they weren’t flight attendants then so I’m showing my age a bit.  While we were visiting there was a MAJOR snowstorm and we were snowed in longer than anticipated. My step-mother and I came home on a bus. It was pretty exciting.

2) Did you ever have to move away or have your best friend move away from you?

I had both happen. The case mentioned above, and then twice I moved between towns growing up. Both times it was painful and I left good friends.

I’ve had several good friends as adults who have moved and I’ve also moved. We try to stay in touch but it’s hard. The funny thing is when we do get together it’s as though we just pick up on the last conversation.

3) Are there people in your life now that you can call 'friend'?

I have more friends now than I had ever had which has been a REAL blessing in the life of ministry. We hang tough for each other – cry and laugh – encourage each other many times. Still, there are always those special few.

4) What are some of your favorite things to do with your friends?

Laugh. Listen. Love. Learn. Pray. Cry. Read. Talk. Serve. Worship. Walk. Eat. Find my center.

I loved Deb’s answer, and I’m keeping it.

5) What is a gift friendship has given you?

The gift of encouragement and the ability to be myself – no pretense.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Five: Happy Project

With the end of RevGalBlogPals' third annual Big Event, I am wondering who went and what it was like. There must be a lot of smiling from the Big Event! Hopefully, the rest of us are not frowning either.

So let us know how your past week was for you.

Write five different aspects of the week
OR answer the following questions:

1. When were you smiling lately?

Although I didn’t get to attend the BE, I did get to spend two days at our houseboat. It was put in the water on Friday. It’s an older boat but is sporting a brand new roof – no leaks to clean up and an open deck on the rear of the boat to sit in the sun and read or fish. Great place to escape the insanity which is life at times.

2. What happened unexpectedly to you this past week?

Much of my week was unexpected but it was one of the better weeks in a long while!

3. How was a catastrophe averted (or not)?

Found that my cell phone screen was cracked on Sunday but fortunately I received my new phone on Tuesday and it’s a better phone than the old one.

4. What was the most delicious thing you ate?

Ham Loaf dinner at Dick’s Place in my hometown. It was a great meal and I saw people I haven’t seen in years.

Also shared a meal with my son at Chile’s on Tuesday.

Enjoyed a great fruit and chicken salad at Bob Evans last night – a sign that summer is truly coming!

5. Did you see any good movies or read any books or articles?

Had a great week of entertainment. Watched “Date Night” with my husband last Friday and had date night with my clerk of session last night at the Pittsburgh Pops concert featuring Cirque De La Symphonie … it was VERY good.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Five … Pack Your Bags

1) Some fold, some roll and some simply fling into the bag. What's your technique for packing clothes?

A combination of both with every nook and cranny filled… including the inside of my shoes.

2) The tight regulations about carrying liquids on planes makes packing complicated. What might we find in your quart-size bag? Toothbrush and paste, hand cream, shampoo, deoderant

Ever lose a liquid that was too big? 

3) What's something you can't imagine leaving at home? My glasses and/or contacts

4) Do you have a bag with wheels?  Is there any other kind?

5) What's your favorite reading material for a non-driving trip (plane, train, bus, ship)? Something that grabs my interest and makes the time go quicker – these days it will be on my Kindle or Zune

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Desk …

Someone once said that a clean desk is a sign of a sick mind … but up until the last three years, it was my nightly ritual to completely clear my desk before leaving work or my home office. Somewhere that sense of control and decluttering – for better or worse – has escaped me. My desk is officially out of control and looks eerily like this cartoon picture.


Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Five: Staving Off the Gloom



Sally at Rev Gal Blog Pals writes:

Candlemass is past, and Christmas is well and truly over, here in the UK February looks set to be its usual grey and cold self. Signs of spring are yet to emerge; if like me you long for them perhaps you need ways to get through these long dark days. So lets share a few tips for a cold and rainy/ snowy day....

1. Exercise, what do you do if you can't face getting out into the cold and damp?

I joined a fitness center but to be honest I haven’t taken advantage of the membership often.

2. Food; time to comfort eat, or time to prepare your body for the coming spring/summer?

Typically at this point I’m thinking of swim suits at the lake and cutting back on portions, watching the carbs and getting some exercise. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to make a dent in my trouble spots.

3. Brainpower; do you like me need to stave off depression, if so how do you do it?

Winter is always way too long, and this year has been particularly daunting with lots of snow, bitter cold temperatures and a host of chaotic events in the church and in my family.

Typically, I don’t struggle with depression often but have found that this year I really have to get out with friends and find activities which lift my spirits.

4. How about a story that lifts your spirits, is there a book or film that you return to to stave off the gloom?

Nothing in particular really stands out. The thing that keeps me going in the winter are the dogs – they are bored and constantly begging me to interact with them. Nothing better than a dancing dog, a wagging tail and a dog kiss to pick up your spirits.

5. Looking forward, do you have a favourite spring flower/ is there something that says spring is here more than anything else?

When I start to see the crocus, daffodils and johnny jump ups, it’s time to take out the rake and start the outdoor gardening chores.

Bonus; post a poem/ piece of music that points to the coming spring......

I  typed in “The Coming of Spring” and found this CD of dulcimer music and it made a connection to my Appalachian heritage and my Irish ancestry.

As we spring forward into summer time, here's a bright and cheerful album of traditional Irish dance music and Carolan pieces played on hammered dulcimer by Cliff Moses, on his first solo album. Not only is 'The coming of Spring' the title of one of the tracks, but it also reflects the bright and light sound of the dulcimer.

The hammered dulcimer is an unusual instrument in Irish music; it's nearest cousin would be the harp, though the strings are hit rather than plucked. Wire strings are used, and there is no damping, giving it a more bell-like tone, like the older style of Irish harp.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Every pastor needs a laugh … – Mama’s don’t let your babies grow up to be pastors. – Before He Speaks  - YHWH just has the lyrics printed out on the screen for the video link above. – Baby Got Book

Every pastor needs a laugh …. – Mama’s don’t let your babies grow up to be pastors. – Before He Speaks  - YHWH just has the lyrics printed out on the screen for the video link above. – Baby Got Book

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Five …. Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Songbird at Rev Gal Blog Pals invites us on a journey …

By the time you're reading this, I'll be en route to a Great Big City to see my son in a play. I'll go by car and bus and train and no doubt cab and maybe even subway. Thus, our Friday Five.


1) What was the mode of transit for your last trip? Car and bicycle. We traveled to the Outer Banks by car and then used our bikes to motor around the area.

2) Have you ever traveled by train? Just a short scenic route. My husband took the train from Pittsburgh to Long Island last year – and hated every second. Would not travel home by train and instead purchased a one-way plane ticket. Earlier in the month, my daughter traveled by train to Paoli, PA. She did not like it either, but at least she made the complete trip. For her, it was simply too noisy and too crowded.

3) Do you live in a place with public transit, and if so, do you use it? We have a bus stop right outside our front door, but I’ve never used it for transportation since I’m always afraid I won’t be able to get back home.

We have used the trolley – cable car – to make visits to downtown Pittsburgh, and I highly recommend that mode of transportation.

4) What's the most unusual vehicle in which you've ever traveled? Definitely the “Ducky” tour bus here in Pittsburgh. It travels on the road for a scenic tour and then turns into an amphibious vehicle and carries you down the rivers for another great tour of the city.

5) What's the next trip you're planning to take? My husband and I are planning a visit to Washington D.C. for the Cherry Blossom Festival in April – right after Easter.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A response to Pat Robertson …

RELEVANT Magazine - Don Miller Responds to Pat Robertson

The author of Blue Jazz points us in the right direction …

Cute conversation ….

Call to abandon a way of life ….

“Ian, have you fallen into the hands of some sect?” his father asked.
“No, I haven’t,” he said.  “I have merely discovered a church that makes sense to me, the same as Dober Street Presbyterian makes sense to you and Mom.”
“Dober Street didn’t ask us to abandon our educations,” his mother told him.  “Of course we have nothing against religion; we raised all you children to be Christians.  But our church never asked us to abandon our entire way of life.”
“Well, maybe it should have,” Ian said.
—Ann Tyler, Saint Maybe

In general the churches, visited by me too often on weekdays – when the custodian was moving about the communion table like a packing case, and sweeping up the chewing gum wrappers that insolently spangled the sacrosanct reaches of the choir – bore for me the same relation to God that billboards did to Coca-Cola: they promoted thirst without quenching it.
—John Updike, A Month of Sundays

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Five: If




In EFM this week, our question was, "If you were a color, what would you be?" So that's where this Friday Five comes from, at least its jumping off place.
1. If you were a color, what would you be? – Cobalt Blue – There is a richness to this color that speaks of a life lived fully with both a touch of vibrancy and life and the darkness of chaos. I would hope that my life would reflect the beauty of Christ in much the same way light shines through cobalt blue glass.

2. If you were a flower (or plant), what would you be? – Wisteria – this plant takes awhile to root itself and produce the flowers but once rooted is nearly impossible to remove completely.

3. If you were an animal, what kind would you be? – Giraffe – nuff said – long legs, long neck …

4. If you were a shoe, what type would you be? – a mule – easy to slip-on and slip-off – a blessing and a curse.

5. If you were a typeface, which font would you be? Comic Sans – a blend of many traits.

Bonus: Anything connected with metaphors that you'd like to contribute.

I’m too busy to do this so I’ll leave this open to comments.

Friday Five …. dreams

Sophia at Rev Gal Blog Pals writes:

With the beginning of my college teaching semester I have been having some unusually intense and memorable dreams lately--especially related to my Women and Religion class. With the beginning of a new calendar year many of us are engaging with dreams of another kind: planning, brainstorming, setting intentions or resolutions, etc. And many churches will celebrate the baptism of Jesus this Sunday, reading the Gospel account of his vision of the Holy Spirit as a dove and the "beloved child" words of Godde that set him off on his mission sharing Godde's dream for the world. So let's take a few minutes on this (where I am at least) lovely snow-blanketed Friday morning and share about the many different dreams and visions in our lives.

Well, this is a week late ….

1. Do you tend to daydream? Sometimes … particularly in meetings – may not be the best time to daydream but sometimes they are just interminably long and boring and frankly, pointless.

2. Do you usually remember your night dreams? Do you find them symbolic and meaningful or just quirky? My dreams usually are quirky twists on things going on in life.

3. Have you ever had a life changing dream which you'll never forget? I can’t say that I have.

4. Share a long term dream for one or more aspects of your life and work.

I really would love to serve as a mission co-worker in Malawi.

5. Share a dream for 2010....How can we support you in prayer on both the short and long term dreams?

Our church has an opportunity to provide facilities and partnership to an innovate day care – one that would touch the lives of those with autism. My hope and dream is that this facility is open by September. The name – With Open Arms – a perfectly wonderful image of God’s love for all of us.

Bonus: a poem, song, artwork, etc. that deals with dreams in general or one of your dreams.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Friday Five: Fresh Starts and Covenants Edition

Friday, January 01, 2010

Friday Five: Fresh Starts and Covenants Edition

Sally of RevGalBlogPals writes:

As I prepare this post I am aware that it will be posted on New Years Day. We stand at the beginning of 2010 looking not only at a New Year, but at a new decade full of promise and possibilities. For some of us this will be exciting, but others will approach it with trepidation and probably most of us stand on this threshold with a mix of emotions and reactions. It is at this time of year that many (British) Methodist Churches celebrate their Annual Covenant Service, a service that will include this prayer:

I am no longer my own but Yours,

Put me to what You will, rank me with whom You will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for You, or laid aside for You,
exalted for You, or brought low for You;
let me be full, let me be empty,
let me have all things, let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to Your pleasure and disposal.
And now glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
You are mine and I am Yours.
May it be so forever.
Let this covenant now made on earth be fulfilled in heaven.

This prayer is said every year, and offers every member an opportunity to renew their covenant with God. This is no soft or easy prayer, it states in the company of others our willingness to worship God come what may, not that we should become doormats, but that we place God above all else. (And every year if we are honest we have to acknowledge that we fail.) With this prayer in mind I bring you this Friday Five:

1. What will you gladly leave behind in 2009? The trauma of my husband’s health issues and subsequent heart problems and the reality that my 96-year-old father needs to live in a care facility. It’s hard watching your oak tree of a father cry because he’s leaving his home.

2. What is the biggest challenge of 2010 for you? Finding time to complete year two of my D. Min. degree. The reading load is bad enough but looking at the calendar, it is going to be nearly impossible to block out a period of time to write the post-seminar papers.

3. Is there anything that you simply need to hand to God and say "all will be well, for you are with me"? My husband’s health … not only is it frightening to realize how fragile he is but watching him come to terms with that reality is heartbreaking.

4. If you could only achieve one thing in 2010 what would it be? The obvious answer is building better relationships with family. The ministry part of that is finding alternative income options for the church I serve.

5. Post a picture, poem or song that sums up your prayer for the year ahead....

I love this picture! My prayer is to share an intimate relationship in my personal life.

Ministry to me is all about grace so “Grace Alone” is my song of the year.

Every promise we can make
Every prayer ant step of faith
Every difference we can make
Is only by his grace
Every mountain we will climb
Every ray of hope we shine
Every blessing left behind
Is only by his grace

Grace alone
Which god supplies
Strength unknown
He will provide
Christ in us
Our cornerstone
We will go forth in grace alone

Every soul we long to reach
Every heart we hope to teach
Everywhere we share his peace
Is only by his grace
Every loving word we say
Every tear we wipe away
Every sorrow turned to praise
Is only by his grace