Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Cordelia's Astronaut Dreams

Cordelia is really interested in space exploration.  Eric has taught her a lot of information, which she happily shares, regarding the planets. He's a great Dad,  isn't he?

Cordelia will not only tell you the order the planets are in, she will tell you interesting facts about them as well. Remember, she is only 5 years old.

Well, recently Cordelia told me that she is not so sure she really wants to travel into space now. I asked her why and she told me there were two big reasons she might decide to not go.
   1.   Astronauts have to eat their food through a straw. Cordelia stated that she did not think macaroni and (vegan) cheese would go well through a straw.

That seemed like a valid concern to me. I felt she could overcome that worry, though. She could adapt.

Her second reason might  be an insurmountable problem for her, though...

   2.   "Grandma, they do not wear dresses up there!"

Yeah, that may be a deal breaker for our little granddaughter.

Did you notice the space  helmet on the floor behind her?


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Prairie Wyoming

Wednesday was a day to rejoice! I was with my Mom in Rapid City. She underwent tests and received the excellent news that no cancer was evident! Yes, it was a great day.

Last night I got to visit with my sister and a bit with one of my nephews. It was just nice to sit around being relaxed and happy with the good news.

I got up real early this morning and drove the two hours back to our town, arriving just in time to report to work. I absolutely love that drive! I wish everyone could enjoy the wildness of Wyoming at least once. It is so open and much of it looks as it probably has for centuries.

Here, just ride along with me to enjoy the Wyoming  Sunrise, open prairie, a band of sheep, a little Spring shower and a sense of quiet peace.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Baking With the Girls

Not long ago I had a fun afternoon with Cordelia and Elise. While Eric took Maria to the movies, the girls and I went to the Science Zone. 

Those of you who have followed Maria's blog, Maria-rose.blogspot.com ,may remember that Elise broke her arm while at the Science Zone last Fall. They have not been there since, as Elise trembled just at the mention of the place.  But, Cordelia was begging to go and Elise decided she was ready as well. She said, "Grandma, I promise I will never break my arm again! ". How could I turn them down? 

They had such a good time! 

It is a simple little place in the basement of a furniture store but it is a fun place.

Later, we went tho their house and baked a very colorful cake.  The cake was for their Mom and they took it all very seriously. They wanted it to be beautiful for her.

They may have done some taste testing.

It was truly an artistic process. The sprinkles were a big hit.

They were quite proud of the results and then waited for their Mom to come home to be surprised.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Half Mast

It was a somber morning at work today. One of our own had become very ill just over a week ago. When I had visited her in the hospital she told me she would miss the jokes I put on my office for each day. So, last week I took daily photos of them and sent them to her daughter, also a co-worker and friend, to share with her.

When I got to work today and learned she had died, I just didn't feel it was respectful to put up another joke. There is a time to laugh and a time to cry, I felt. 
Instead, this is what I put up...

It seemed right to me. Hopefully it seemed respectful to my co-workers as well.

Her name was Gloria. She was a sassy, spunky lady.  By this afternoon, people were reminding each other of her sense of humor and some of the things that made her special.  There were even some chuckles as people spoke of ways she had made them laugh. She loved to laugh.

Isn't that kind of how life is sometimes?  The weeping and the laughter can be so close together, even happen simultaneously on occasion?  Life is funny that way.

Gloria was a person of faith, a person who knew true hope. I don't feel sad for her. In fact, I rather like wondering about what joy she is experiencing right now. I feel sad for her family. I feel sad for her work family.  But, I also know about real hope and I do believe death is just another beginning. 

The jokes will be back on my door again. Gloria would not have wanted that to stop. But, today was a day of half mast. It was a day we recognized our loss.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Word From Pastor Mike "You Can Make a Difference For God"

I'm a bit slow, but the following was Mike's Easter Sermon:

Happy Easter! Here at our congregation we have been reading the Book of Acts during Lent, 50 readings in 50 days. The companion  book to the series is called, The Essential Question - How You Can Make a Difference for God.

The Essential Question  is from Acts 22. It involves the conversion of Saul, Christianity's greatest enemy, into its greatest missionary and theologian. The Essential Question Saul/Paul asks is "What do you want me to do, Lord?"

Let's hear the story from Saul/Paul...
   As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus about noon, a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me and I feel to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? And I answered. "Who are you, Lord?"  And he said to me, "I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting." Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me. And I said, "What do you want me to do, Lord?" And the Lord said to me, "Rise and go into Damascus and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do."

Saul went into Damascus, prayed and fasted. He regained his sight. He went into the Jewish synagogues and proclaimed that Jesus is the Son of God. He started going by Paul instead of Saul.  He spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the Roman Empire.

What a turn around from trying to stamp Christianity out to becoming its greatest promoter. Paul's life made a difference. Two billion Christians in the world and not only is Christianity the world's largest religion, it's growing!

Since our series, The Essential Question, is about a question, I have been investigating questions. Did you  know that in the Gospels Jesus asked 307 questions? The questions were sometimes simple. How many loaves do you have? What's your name? Sometimes the questions were probing, Who do people say that I am? Who do you say that I am? And sometimes the questions were heart-wrenching... Why did you doubt, oh you of little faith? Do you want to be made well?

Jesus was also asked at least 183 questions. Depending on who you listen to, he only answered 3 to 8 of them directly.

Questions help us to learn and to gather information. Questions even help us to believe. Questions are fascinating.

Back in 1993 a two word question became one of the most successful advertising campaigns ever. Do you know what it was?   ...Got milk?

At first they weren't going to run it because
     a) it was lazy
     b) it was grammatically incorrect

The popularity of the ad spilled over into other fronts...
Got Jesus? Got God? Got coffee? Got talent?

Friends got your back. Atheists got nothing. Kids - got your nose.  A Colorado billboard before you get into Wyoming... Got Weed? (Mike had many more examples and photos on the big screen to go with them. I guess you would have had to have been there.)

In our Gospel reading the woman, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the Mother of Jesus and Salome had a question, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?"

The Gospels tell us that Jesus was wrapped in a linen shroud and laid in a tomb cut out of rock, then a larger stone was rolled in place to seal the tomb. When the women got to the tomb their question was answered, the stone was rolled away. Inside a young man in a white robe said, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples. He is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you."

Of course, all the questions were answered for the women (sarcasm). They were afraid! They fled. Their heads were probably about to explode with questions.

Of course, when the women told the disciples, all their questions were answered. No way! They had to check it out for themselves. Even then, though they believed, I'll bet they still had questions.

What are we to make of Saul, a Jewish hit man, a thug. He knew for a fact that Christianity was a lie and he wanted to stomp it out. He has an encounter with the living Christ and he asks the essential question, "What do you want me to do, Lord?" He made a difference for God.

You can make a difference for God, too! Maybe you have questions, that's ok. The women at the tomb had questions. The disciples had questions. Saul had questions. Augustine, a great church leader had questions. Martin Luther had questions. The Protestant tradition was born out of questioning.
The thing is, what are you going to do with questions?

For some people questions lead to a negative road of bitterness, indifference, a hard heart and despair. Questions can also lead to understanding, eyes being opened, an "Aha" moment, confession... thank you God for all you've done for me.

If you were to ask me what all this Good Friday and Easter stuff means I'd tell you 3 things.

     1) What Jesus did for us on the cross brought reconciliation between us and God. Right relationship with God has been restored. Our sins are taken away.
     2) Jesus won the victory over death. Because he lives, we shall live, too. We don't need to fear death. it brings us closer to God.
     3) In his instruction, Jesus taught us how to live with God and neighbor. His teaching brings meaning to life. Now I get it!

When I asked God the Essential Question, "What shall I do, Lord?" the answer was Preach the Gospel.

  • You are God's good creation but we are sinners. We fall short. We miss the mark. Repeat every day...tell God you're sorry and that you trust and believe in his forgiveness.
  • God loves you. God is not as worried about your past as your are. God's all about new starts, beginning again. God wants us to have life and have it abundantly. God wants us to have joy. God wants to bless us and he wants us to have a life of purpose.
  • God wants relationship with us. He'll take our doubts, our questions. He'll take our thanks and praise. Thank God for Easter, for the beauty of creation, thanks for Easter dresses, thanks for family and friends, thanks for health, for food and drink. Thank God for all good gifts. Let your Easter and everyday be filled with thank yous for God.

So this Easter you have:

  1. The cross restoring relationship with God 
  2. The empty tomb is victory over death 
  3. The teaching of Jesus brings meaning and purpose to life

You also have the Essential Question, "What do you want me to do, lord?"

Well, that will be answered differently by everyone but let me suggest a few things:

  •    Use your talents.
  •    Be kind, be encouraging, be thankful.
  •    If something jumps inside you... do it.

Whatever you do, ask God to help you and whether it be big or small, do it to the Glory of God. I know you can make a difference for God.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Easter Photo Blast

We enjoyed a wonderful Easter!  Our church service was beautiful and meaningful. We had time with family.  The weather was beautiful.  And now, better late than never, I have photos to share...

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