Sunday, October 09, 2016

Family Night

One of the best times during our week is when we get to have family dinner.  Tonight Maria and Eric came over with their girls. After dinner we had a nice walk to the river. We walk a loop around an undeveloped park. The girls love the space to run.

Mike is a weird, I mean fun, grandpa.  Here he is hiding, although not very well.

Next, we went down by the river because there were rocks there that needed to be thrown in. That is always what happens when the three necessary ingredients are present, kids, water and rocks. Right? 

Then along comes Grandpa Mike. He picked up Elise and teased her that he was going tho this her into the river, which of course she loved.

Just so you know, the water was only about a foot deep at the spot where we were standing.

Cordelia then said, "You can't do that to me! " Then she moved closer to him to be sure she got her turn.

Seriously, every kid should have such a grandpa, don't you think? 

I do worry a bit about what our neighbors think, though, when they see him loading up leaves on their car as they leave. But it is kind of fun to see the leaves flying off as they drive away, ending another fun night together.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Word From Pastor Mike - "Lord, Teach Us to Pray"

     Luke 11:1-6

Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer

1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 
2 He said to them, “When you pray, say: “ ‘Father,hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 
3 Give us each day our daily bread. 
4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.And lead us not into temptation.’ ” 
5 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 

6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’

Now, Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray..."

Perhaps you have never prayed before except in anguish or terror.  It may be that the only time the Divine Name has been on your lips has been in angry expletives.  Never mind. I am here to tell you that the Father's heart is open wide.  You are welcome to come in.

Perhaps you do not believe in prayer. You may have tried to pray and were profoundly disappointed... and disillusioned.  You seem to have little faith or none.  It does not matter.  The Father's heart is open wide.  You are welcome to come in.

Perhaps you are brusied and broken by the pressures of life.  Others have wronged you and you feel scarred for life.  You have old painful memories that have never been healed.  You avoid prayer because you feel too unworthy, too defiled.  Do not despair.  The Father's heart is open wide.  You are welcome to come in.

Perhaps you have prayed for many years but the words have grown brittle, cold.  Little ever happens anymore.  God seems remote and inaccessible.  Listen to me.  The Father's heart is open wide.  You are welcome to come in.

Perhaps prayer is the delight of your life.  You have lived in the divine milieu for a long time and can attest to its goodness, but you long for more... more power, more love, more of God in your life. Believe me, the Father's heart is open wide.  You, too, are welcome to come higher up and deeper in,

Consider this prayer from Richard Foster:  Dear God, I am so grateful for your invitation to enter your heart of love.  As best I can, I come in. Thank you for receiving me. Amen.

When Jesus disciples asked him to teach them to pray, he modeled the Lord's Prayer.

I usually pray the Lord's Prayer before I go to sleep at night.  One of the problems with the Lord's Prayer is it is too familiar.  We don't pay attention and before you know it, it's done. Your heart wasn't in it. You just repeated a bunch of words.

So, to help myself with this problem, I went for a ride on a cruise ship, The Norwegian Pearl.  On this ship they had a them called "Free Stylin'".  When you went for dinner you could eat at different restaurants.  You didn't have to sit at the same table or eat with the same people.  You could "Free Style".

And that is what I do with the Lord's Prayer from time to time.  I free style.  I improvise.  I play jazz to keep it fresh.

Now, I'm going to tell you something scandalous, sometimes I pray the new version of the Lord's prayer, "Our Father in heaven, holy is your name..." Then I might pause and tell God that his name is great throughout the world or sorry about not keeping your name holy when I sliced my golf ball into the water hazard... my point, you can keep your prayer life fresh by changing it up, by improvising.

Now, I am going to give you my model for prayer.  This is what I do in my prayer life, not that you have to follow it but its part of learning about prayer.  I hope you have your own model or are "Free Stylin'" in your prayer life.

You may have heard of ACTS:
     A - Adoration
     C - Confession
     T - Thanksgiving
     S - Supplication (praying for others)
It is simple.  It is concise.  It is easy to remember.

My acronym is CTPFPSNC !  

     C - Confession & Forgiveness
     T - Thanks
     P - Protection
     F - Family and Friends
     P - Prince of Peace and Past Congregatons
     S - Suffering Ones
     N - Nations
     C - Church

It is a terrible acronym. Mostly I think of my prayer life as a path I follow.

I like to pray my longest prayer of the day in the morning. I don't have one particular place to pray. I pray when I walk the dog, when I'm driving, when I'm at church... You may want to find a particular space and time.  I have one major time and then continue throughout the day.

I usually start off my Thanksgiving with a thank you for your love, patience and mercy with me.  Thanks for life, health, faith, peace, salvation... I like to keep the list going throughout the day and pray for God to provide for the whole world and that I might have a thankful spirit.

Pray for protection.  If you are a worrier, add this to your prayers.  Waht are you afraid could happen to you or your loved ones?  Add it to your list.  Then ask for protection and ask for help that you don't live in fear. Ask God to be a shield, rock and fortress around you and your's.  Thanks for your time together and for past protection.

Family and Friends. I name names before God.  Got worries about those close to you? Bring it to God. Thank him for hearing your prayer.  Remember with thanks the good things about family and friends.

I also pray for Prince of Peace and former congregations that I've served.  I pray for people, pastors, ministries and activities.  When people ask me to pray for them, I put it on my phone or into my computer.  I pray.

The world has many suffering ones.  I pray for them, for their help, hope and healing.  I pray for people in hospitals, hospice, nursing homes, mental institutions.

I pray for the nations - peace, justice, economic order, care of creation, good government, good medical, judicial, law enforcement people. I pray for the spread and reception of the Gospel. I pray for troubled places. I pray for military personnel. I try to pray for the nations, for the U.S.

Finally, I pray for the church, for its unity, mission, health, renewal and love. It's very tenuous when people get together.  I pray for God's Spirit of love, that we would leave behind our opinions and judgments and focus on God working in us and through us. I pray for church bodies, ministries, leaders.  I pray daily for our church council, worship team, preschool, Sunday School, VBS, committees and for new members...for our future.

My prayer list constantly changes. I Free Style.  I don't expect you to pray like I do.  If you're done in a minute, that's fine.  Pray like you and pray for God to help you grow in tour prayer life.

And here's another thing. Just be still and listen to God.  That's hard. It's a busy world. We have a million thoughts but try it for 10 seconds and tell God you are listening for him. Keep trying to stretch.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

38 Years!

I don't know how this can be true but apparently Mike and I have been married for 38 years already! It is so weird since we are still such young kids. Right? 

I had just finished morning coffee when we decided to take a quick trip out to a nearby reservoir where water is pouring over the spillway. The result is a pretty beautiful waterfall.

Take a closer look at that rainbow! 

We then went down to take a look up from the bottom.

Anniversary selfie...

It was beautiful down there, complete with pelicans.

We headed back going through a beautiful canyon.


Then, we deviated from our plan to return home and decided to go on to another reservoir.  We had never been there before and underestimated the amount of time it would require to get there.  

The drive was interesting.

Mike mentioned that there are billions of people in this world.... But not there.  There were many places we drove today where you could see for miles and miles without a single house in sight. I love that about Wyoming! 

We made it to the next reservoir and weren't disappointed in the beauty.

We hiked a bit to enjoy the view.

We decided we'd already strayed so far, we might as well go on to Rawlins, WY as we'd never been there.  That ride was full of variety from views of snow-capped mountains...

to desert sand dunes and Sandy hills.

We didn't spend much time in Rawlins but I did take a photo of this cliff right beside the gas station.

We headed home going through Muddy Gap, WY .  I didn't take any photos of Muddy Gap. It has such a cool name, we will just leave it at that.

We saw such beauty today, and so much space!   It was fun to be spontaneous and to explore together. 

I am grateful for the time I have had following the same path with this man. 


Friday, May 06, 2016

Ballet and Belly Dancing

We just got done watching this beautiful ballerina perform.

She was awesome! 

She was calm and cool.

And very sweet.

I got to sit with this dainty little one...

who said things like, "Grandma, do you think poop is a funny word?" Unfortunately I agreed because then she loudly announced, "Mom! Grandma thinks poop
Is a funny word! "

Cordelia came to sit with us to watch the next act. She was really into it...

I asked her to turn and smile.  I got this.

Then back to this...

She was watching an adult belly dancer!. Ha!. Elise kept announcing that the lady was shaking her booty. It really was g-rated, so don't worry.

It kind of inspired me.

Just kidding. 


Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Word From Pastor Mike - Patchwork of Sermons

I am so far behind on typing out Mike's sermons for you, I decided to do a medley of some to catch you up...

One sermon was about the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus from Luke 16.  Mike reminded us that it began with a certain rich man dressed in fine clothes and feasting lavishly.  A poor man, Lazarus was cast down at his gate. Lazarus was full of sores.  Lazarus was longing for even just the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table but he got none.

A great reversal occurs as both men die.  Lazarus is carried to Abraham by angels.  The rich man endured agony.

This sermon was about being a neighbor.  The rich man failed to be a good neighbor to Lazarus. He failed to care, feed or shelter him.  The point?  Be a good neighbor now. It will be too late to be a good neighbor later on.

Another parable sermon was from Luke 14:15-24, the Parable of the Great Banquet. In this parable a man was throwing a banquet and many were invited, but they all had excuses.  They were busy.  One just bought a field, another had to deal with oxen and yet another just got married.  When the man throwing the banquet heard of all these excuses he was angry.  Instead of cancelling the banquet, he sent out invitations to people who appreciated the invitation... the poor, crippled, blind, lame, etc.  He also sent out his people to bring in travelers, whoever would accept the invitation.  He then stated that none of the original invitees would taste of his banquet.

Lesson to be learned?  Respond to God's gracious invitation. Don't let excuses and busyness keep you from your relationship with God.

In another sermon, titled "Jesus the Gutsy", Mike told about Jesus' courage as he lived his last days before his death.  He knew what was coming but he went anyway.  He celebrated the Passover with his disciples.  He washed their feet and reminded them that they were called to be servants in this world.  He gave his disciples a new commandment to LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU. He taught them about communion, so that we can always have him with us. He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He was given a death sentence. On the cross he forgave his enemies, converted a thief and gave him the good news of eternal life.

When Jesus died a Roman Centurion gave the first confession after the death of Jesus, "Truly this was the Son of God."

Jesus' death was summed up by John the Baptist, who pointed to Jesus and said, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."

Easter Sunday Mike talked about Jesus' life as a story.  That story included being conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, baptized by John the Baptist, tempted in the wilderness, teaching and doing ministry.  He was crucified, died, buried and resurrected...victory over death!

Mike spoke of our lives as stories as well. The question being, what kind of story will we each live? He spoke of how our stories bump into one another, and our stories bump into the Jesus story as well.  Our stories may include tragedy, all include struggle at some point.  We may be living stories of rags to riches, satire, thriller, or fairy tale (he told the congregation that was my story because I was married to him).

Mike stated that he wanted to leave a good legacy with his story, one that says that faith is important. He stated that he wanted to be a life long learner, immersed in God's Word, prayer, repentance and service.  He also wants to have some fun at times, to be a comedy.

                Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Ucross Foundation

Another fun thing we did when Ben and Sara were here was to tour their current art exhibit at the Ucross Foundation. 

It is cool that Maria and Eric are having a joint show. We were grateful for staff for opening it up for our family to have a private, guided tour.  

Ben and Sara planned their Wyoming Trip especially to be able to see this display.

Sam had worked a night shift the night before, but was up for the day with the family as well.

This barn is the setting for the art gallery at the Ucross Foundation. This beautiful, isolated setting is a place where  creative people can be chosen to come and use their talents to paint, write, whatever.  It really is a gorgeous place.

We met this golden lab puppy, who chased anything that ran.

After he took a mud bath, we had reason to run from him! 

A tree became the get away of choice.

Isn't that a tree that needed climbed anyway? 

And then this pretty lady joined us...

Later that day we went to visit my Mom, sister and Aunt.  It was such a wonderfully full day.  It involved a lot of driving through beautiful country on a lovely day.  

And, it was a day with all three of our kids together.  That does not happen often! 

I love them.

My babies...

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Monday, April 25, 2016

Night at the Museum

Friday night we took our son and daughter-in-law to Buffalo, Wyoming for a night at the Occidental Hotel. 

The Occidental Hotel is a very, very old hotel (1880) that is loaded with history and beautifully restored. Former visitors included Teddy Roosevelt, Buffalo Bill Cody and Calamity Jane. It was a fun experience. The whole place was full of antiques. It really felt as though we spent the night at a museum.

It was all very elegant, very lovely.

Then, there was this.

And if you are fans of Longmire, we were most definitely aware we were in Longmire Country.

The weather was great. Thankfully the snow held off until Sunday.  It was nice to have that little excursion with Ben and Sara.