Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Fun

Our family is a little crazy when it comes to Halloween. We hand out candy and carve pumpkins like most people in our neighborhood and when our kids were little they would dress up in homemade costumes that I made for them. Now we dress up our dog. I know it is crazy but it is one of the funniest things to see. Each year when the Halloween costumes come out in the store, my daughter and I start to discuss what our dog Libby will be for Halloween. Over the last few years she has been a bumble bee, purple monkey, princess, dinosaur, Princess Leia from Star Wars and this year a mail man. The mailman is very funny because she doesn't particularly care for mailmen. I know it may seem silly but it brings a lot of laughter to our home. When we put the costumes on her she gives us a look of "oh please, not again".

I wonder what she will be next year? We'll just have to wait and see!!



Thursday, October 29, 2009

Quiet Time

I've been so busy lately that I haven't had an opportunity to really sit down and blog for a while and I've missed it. Thankfully I have some vacation time left that I need to use up so I am taking a few days off this month and in November and in December. Today and tomorrow are two of my days off and I am enjoying every minute. I've been reading the book "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" by Joanna Weaver. I found out that she is going to be here in January for a Women's Conference and I wanted to read her books before she comes and also before it gets to crazy around here with holiday activities and work. I've had the book and another one of hers for some time now but haven't read them. I decided now would be a perfect time. I love the book and I can't wait to hear her speak!!!

So today I read a few chapters of Joanna's book and also spent some much needed time in reading God's word, prayer and meditation with God. It was just what I needed and tomorrow I am looking forward to some quality time again with God. I'm not to good about making quiet time with God everyday. I make excuses and when it comes right down to it I am a little lazy. There's always something I feel is more entertaining or some type of work that needs to be done. But what I have found out is that God can be the most entertaining being on the face of the earth. When I spend time in his word I am drawn in to the most dramatic, inspiring, unforgettable, awesome world. And this world is mine for the taking. Yes, it is history but it is also what is happening here, right now. It gives us the answers to have a better life. A deeper, richer and more glorious life than we could ever imagine in our wildest dreams.

Last night I preached at a small church for their Wednesday night service. I spoke on Psalm 23. I love that psalm and today I thought a lot about it after I heard that my sister-in-law's father had a stroke this morning in Florida. I spent much time in prayer, praying for him and the entire family. He is a vibrant, lovable Irishman and a retired New York police officer. His family means everything to him and I know they are going through much worry and uncertainty. Psalm 23 is such a comfort at a time like this. God as our Shepherd leading us and tending to us. Giving us a place to find rest and comfort. Restoring our souls. Leading us to refreshing living water. When we find ourselves in a time of uncertainty, pain, sorrow and anxiety, God gives us everything we need, if we only reach out and take hold of his hand. He will lead us out of our despair and worry. What a Shepherd he is. How majestic is our God.

Thanks be to God.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Going Home

A few weeks ago I received a call from a member of the church that I grew up in, inviting me to preach there this weekend. In fact my parents are still members. For reasons I will not go into and because I truly believe that God was directing us on to something new, we left that church about 8 years ago and joined the church my husband had grown up in. My family church still means a lot to me. They are the people who helped give me my roots and foundation in Christianity. They have watched me grow from a painfully shy child into a woman of faith. So when I received the invitation to "Go Home" and fill in at the pulpit, I jumped at the opportunity. You see, I was baptized, confirmed, married and baptized all 3 of my children in that church. The members there are like family and when I arrived I was met with hugs and best wishes. And when the service was over they complimented me and told me how much they enjoyed my sermon and how happy they were that I had come back.
It was an emotional experience. Last night as Dave and I were getting ready for bed, he asked me if I was nervous. I told him I wasn't nervous, I was so excited I didn't think I was going to be able to sleep.
Standing at that pulpit today, ready to begin my sermon, I suddenly felt overwhelmed with the feeling that my former pastor, Reverend Mike was right there with me. I had to quickly pull it together and continue on. Reverend Mike had been our pastor for 27 years. He was a wonderful pastor and taught me so much. It is because of him that I am on this journey to becoming a pastor myself. In confirmation he made us learn. There was no way that he was going to let any of us be confirmed unless we truly knew what it meant. Today I thank him for that. Because of him I have a deep connection with God and what it means to be a Christian. He passed away a few years ago, but today I felt him there. Standing right beside me and giving me that support that I knew he would have given me if he would have been sitting in one of those wooden pews.
There are others who guided me and loved me who now are with our Lord. Arlene, Ruth, Grandma and Grandpa and so many more, that I know were watching me from heaven and cheering me on. I felt their presence and support throughout the entire service.
As I write this I am overcome with emotion and the tears are falling. Tears of joy and sadness.
There is something to be said about "going home". When I walked in to the church it still smelled the same. The people haven't changed much, other than a few more gray hairs and the kids who I babysat in the nursery are now parents themselves. It felt comfortable, like when you put on that favorite sweatshirt for the first time in the fall. It's a cozy warm familiar feeling that makes you want to stay for awhile.
Before I left I was invited to come back on December 27th to once again fill in at the pulpit. I can't wait to "go home" again.