Monday, January 26, 2015

Daddy was a P̶r̶e̶a̶c̶h̶e̶r̶ Pastor

Do you remember the movie "Papa Was A Preacher?"  It came out in the mid '80's.  I loved it.  Papa even served in a church my Daddy did!  It was pretty cool but I don't know many people who watched it.

Anyway, back to my blogpost.  When I was little and would say that my daddy was a preacher, my mom would always correct me and say that he was a pastor, there's a difference.  It took me many years to figure this out, I mean, to me,  preacher, pastor, minister were all synonyms.  As a teen, I kind of started figuring out what she meant but it's really been as a adult that it all started making sense to me, and yes, there is a difference.

My daddy was a minister and a preacher but he was a true pastor.  He cared for people, he ministered to them.  He loved the congregation where he was serving and he was there for them.  He was often there to open and close the church each day.  When there was a death he was there.  When there was illness he was there.  If someone was in the hospital he was there, if they were having surgery he was there to pray with them before hand and most often stayed with the family.  He counseled with people. He helped people get through difficult times.  He was present; present in the church, present in the community, and present in the lives of the congregation and they loved him for it.  (And as a side note, he was always present in our family as well.)

I've not really experienced very many pastors in my adult life in church. I don't know, maybe it's because I'm a preacher's kid and people think I can take care of myself and I don't need anyone.  Maybe it's just me, and other people in churches experience pastors, but for me they have mostly been preachers.

Don't get me wrong, I've loved many of the preacher's I've had over the years, I really have, but very few of them truly ministered or pastored to me and my family.

I don't know.  Maybe it's because I don't let people see the need.  Maybe it's because I smile too much.  Maybe I expect too much.  Maybe I'm completely wrong and am being too harsh, too needy.  I don't know... but I do know that if my daddy was my preacher pastor, he would be actively ministering to me and my family during our time of grief. He would be checking to see if everything was okay with us and he would be encouraging me and helping me with my own ministry as a Lay Servant Minister and Lay Speaker.  He would be present in our lives not just from the pulpit or on Sunday morning.  He would be a pastor.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Joy comes in the morning

Five funerals and a graveside in four months.  I feel as though I've been surrounded by death, grief, and mourning for far too long.  Somedays the grief is unimaginable but I'm so thankful for my faith because without it I'm afraid the grief would completely overwhelm and consume me.

Thankfully, I have scripture to give me hope, to comfort me, to remind me that in Christ we are all resurrected.

I'm thankful for time spent with family as we all come together to offer comfort and support to one another.  Sometimes we get reacquainted after many years apart.  I think it's wonderful that we all come together to celebrate a life we all loved and will miss and then in the celebration we find each other again.

I love hearing the stories everyone has to tell about the one we will miss.  I love spending time remembering.  Sometimes it brings tears but usually laughter and love are right there with them.

I miss my daddy more than I can ever say and I always will. He was such a huge part of our everyday life even from afar.  There's not much that I do that doesn't make me think of him. He's in the sermons I write.  I hear him in the voice of my kids and my nieces and nephews.  I can see his grin and hear his laugh in my mind all the time.

I think of my brother-in-love's precious little face when I first started dating his big brother.  How he just adored and looked up to him.  I think of the time I spent with him and how funny he was. I can see the big smile that just exploded on his face that just got bigger as he got older.

I didn't know my uncles as well as I'd have liked but I thought they both looked like movie stars. They both had great smiles and I have special memories of them both.

I choose to think on the happiness that each one experienced and shared.  I choose to remember the good times.  I choose to think of them all partying in Heaven, without pain, without sorrow, just pure joy.  It's what gets me through.

Losing those we love is hard.  We're left behind to continue on living and sometimes that is so hard because the loss can be overwhelming but we are to continue living, it's what they would want and it's what we are here to do.  Let's rejoice in their joy.

Psalm 16:9-11
No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.  My body rests in safety.  For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow Your Holy One to rot in the grave.  You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of Your presence and the pleasures of living with You forever.

John 14
Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God, trust also in me.  In my Father's house are many rooms, if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me, that you also may be where I am.  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.

"Weeping may linger in the night, but joy comes in the morning."
Psalm 30:5b

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Baptism of the Lord

Well, there has been another death in our family.  Four siblings have passed away in the last two years or so.  I hate to see it.  We've had other family members pass away in this time as well.  It just seems like so much.  We've also lost a few friends too.  It just seems so crazy to me.  Every time I turn around, someone has died.  It's just so sad for those of us left behind.

This past Sunday was The Baptism of the Lord Sunday.  I had the pleasure of being able to share a sermon with a lovely congregation in Kansas City.  I spoke on baptism and what it means in the United Methodist Church.  We took time to remember our baptism, to reflect on the baptism of Jesus. We remembered, and I think, feel renewed in the Christian Family.  We remembered that as Christians we get our identity from Christ, not society.  We remembered that in baptism we "put on Christ" and become a new person.  We remembered that through baptism we receive the Holy Spirit and that He is at work in us.  We remembered that through baptism, we enter into a covenant with God to use our gifts to strengthen the church and to transform the world.   We remembered that we are children of God and he loves us.

This was so comforting to me as I face a difficult week.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Have you ever noticed that a bad mood is more contagious than a good mood?  Why is that?  What is it about us that makes it so much easier to feel bad than good?

Have you ever been in a really good mood, just happy as can be and then run into a person who is down in the dumps and no matter how hard you try to bring them up to your level of happiness you can't succeed?  It's awful.  Then sometimes, not always, but sometimes when that person is finally feeling good you are near tears?

It's crazy how this works.  It makes no sense at all.  Have you ever been the only person in group feeling up?  How did end?  Were you able to bring them up or did they bring you down?

I've been thinking about laughter a lot lately.  Laughter is so good for us.  A deep, full belly laugh can lift your spirits like nothing else.  It can be so contagious!  There nothing like catching the giggle bug.  My sister and I used to be like this.  One us would start to giggle and before we knew it we'd be rolling on the floor in a fit of giggles and full out laughter!  Often we'd even forget what we were originally laughing about but we just couldn't stop!
It was fun, it was therapeutic, it was love. It. Was. Wonderful.

The other evening I got like that.  I was giddy with laughter but it didn't seem to be contagious anymore.  Smiles used to be contagious too but they don't seem to be anymore.  Now, when you smile at someone they are suspicious!  It's sad really.

I think I've decided that some people just don't want to be happy.  They are satisfied with just being blah...  not necessarily unhappy, just not full blown I can't stop smiling, I love laughing kind of happy.  They'd rather find things to be angry about, things that are going wrong, things that don't matter but get them anyway.

I don't want to be this person and I don't want to let these people around me bring me down either.

My devotional this morning said, "There should be a lightness to your step that is observable to others.  Do not be weighed down with problems and unresolved issues for I am your burden-bearer.  In the world you have trials and distress, but don't let them get you down.  I have conquered the world and deprived it of power to harm you.  In Me you may have confident Peace."

I want to have that lightness in my step.  I want to have the confident Peace.  I guess I'll work on keeping my focus right where it needs to be and try to share it with those around me, try to let my lightness, my happiness, my JOY be a contagion but NOT let those who are unhappy be a contagion to me, weighing down on me because I do have confident Peace.

Friday, January 2, 2015


Quiet time, meditation, prayer... whatever you want to call it, do you take time for it?  I love when the house is quiet and I have time to sit and enjoy the silence.  I think, I pray, I read, I write, I day dream and sometimes, as embarrassed as I am to say it,  I mindlessly look at the internet.

In the busyness of the season, I didn't always get this time and quite honestly, sometimes, it made me kind of cranky.

I didn't always enjoy the silence.  I needed noise.  I'd turn on the television or radio or I'd talk to whoever was with me, bombarding them with endless chatter but these days, I cherish the silence.  I need the silence. It gives me peace.

I think silence is good for us.  I can remember being on the beach with my parents

and they would sit and just look out at the waves, listening to them crash.  I could do this for a few minutes but I could never understand how they could sit there for what seemed like hours in the 'silence' just listening.

My daddy would talk about how he enjoyed that time and was bothered when someone who didn't appreciate the silence would join him because the chatter drove him crazy.  From that moment on I tried to watch my chatter too.  I didn't want to be the person he was talking about who drove him crazy, though I'm pretty I often was.

I was reading something recently that talked about silence and how we are losing it in society.  It talked about the music in stores and elevators.  Now, I don't think I remember a time when there wasn't music playing in stores when we shopped... well, maybe the grocery store.  Do you?  When did it start?  Is it just that it has gotten louder?  I may have to google this and see what it has to say.  This article seemed to say that having to have the constant noise is what has made us lose our appreciation of silence.  I wonder if it's an age thing.  The older we get the more we appreciate it?  Maybe.  It is certainly true for me.

The silence is where I get lost in my thoughts, where I pray my hardest, where I have the most amazing day dreams!

I read a book several years ago and I am rereading it again, this time with my darling daughter. It is kind of a nostalgic book on traditions from an earlier time.  It's a fun book.  Today DD was reading it and she discovered a page on family circle time.  She laughed when the author suggested that modern families don't have this, oh, yes, they watch TV together but they aren't really spending time together, they aren't making memories.  They are merely sharing the same room.  It made me think of the silence again, or at least of the quiet. The time before constant television, computers, cell phones. tablets.  A time when families played games, read together, did handicrafts together and such.  There was probably little silence.  The silence would have been filled with laughter and sharing.

After my husband's first deployment we took the family to Disney World.  While we were there I discovered an Uncle Remus book.  My grandmother used to read the Brer Rabbit stories to me when I was little and I loved them!  I wanted to share Brer Rabbit's shenanigans with my kids so we bought the book and I read it aloud in the car during our travels.  Our car was silent one moment with only the sound of my voice reading and then would be suddenly filled with sounds of laughter!  So much so that a time or two, my husband had to pull over because he was laughing so hard he had tears streaming down his face and he couldn't see!  It was such a wonderful time!  The silence led to such joy, such laughter, such fun, such memories!

Oh, I've really gotten a bit off topic here but my point is that silence is good for us.  It's good for our soul.  It can bring joy, peace, and contentment.  It can bring us closer together, closer to God.  This year I'm hoping to make time for the silence, for prayer, for writing, for reading, for day dreaming, for meditating.  Won't you join me?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

It's a new year, a new chapter, a clean slate...

I am sitting here this morning reflecting on the past year and looking forward to
this new year.

Last year was a full year of lots of ups and downs.  I became a Lay Speaker and started preaching a little here and there and by year's end had delivered a sermon in 18 worship services!  Crazy considering I didn't even want to preach at first and then when I decided I did, I thought maybe once a quarter would be good.

My son enlisted in the military, went to infantry school and contracted ROTC all in just a few months.  It happened so fast and I am so proud of him.  He has found his niche and is doing great things.  He also asked a sweet young lady to marry him this Christmas and she said YES!  His life is moving forward, to me it seems as if in FAST FORWARD mode but I'm super proud of him and life choices.

My daughter and I have had a fun year.  This summer we were busy with travels.  We went to St. Louis with her church choir.  We spent a week camping during her Summer Dance Intensive.  We traveled half way across the country just the two of us to see DS for his family weekend while he was at school and that was FUN!  Who knew we could travel that far all by ourselves.  My daughter is growing up so fast into an amazing young woman.  She has a heart of gold.  She is dedicated to what she loves and she makes me proud every day.

My sweet husband has been wonderful to me.  He supports my every (well most) whim.  He drove the camper an hour away and set it up for us and then drove back home to work and then came out to be with us later.  He let me drive on that long trip even against his better judgement and made all the hotel arrangements for us so it was an easy trip.  He goes to all these different churches with me to hear me speak and listens to me practice before hand too!  When I called and told him my daddy was being taken by ambulance to the hospital, he hung up and packed his bags leaving his family he was visiting and heading straight to be with my family.

And then there is that... my daddy died this year.  I can't even begin to express what that has been like or how I feel.  It's been a hard almost 3 months.  I've found strength I never knew I had and sorrow deeper than I have ever known.  I miss him every day and I think of him always.  He is in me and in my kids.  He's everywhere I look!  I worry about my mom and think of her all the time and what she must be feeling, how she is hurting, how I want to be there for her.

As I reflect on all of this I can't help but think about what this next year has in store for us, to think about my hopes and dreams for the coming year.  All over the internet there are articles about what we should and shouldn't do in the new year and so on.

I've been thinking about community and friends, diet and health, more and less of just anything.  My mind reels with it all, but I think I'll keep it simple.  I want to be intentional in everything.  In my friendships, in community, in work, in play.  I want to be aware, living.

My devotion this morning said, "Do not cling to old ways as you step into a new year."  The whole devotion was based on Romans 12:2 

       "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be 
        transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able
        to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing will." 

I don't want to conform any more.  I want to be renewed.  So that is my goal for this year ~ To not conform, but to be renewed and in that to be intentional.

What are you goals?