Wednesday, April 02, 2014


If you have not watched the movie, "Frozen" you shouldn't read this blog post because it has spoilers in it.  Fair warning.

I watched the movie, "Frozen" a couple of weeks ago, and I think it might be my new favorite Disney picture (after The Jungle Book, which I think has the best music).

"Frozen" has so much stuff in it, that it would be hard not to like.  But I like it for more than its "feel good" parts.  I like it, even though it almost made me cry.

I love the beginning part of the movie (after the ice scene) because it shows Anna and Elsa being two very-close, loving, playful sisters.  "The sky is awake, so IIII'M awake."

The thing about "Frozen" is that it has a little bit of everything in it.  The "Conceal, don't feel" bit rang home a little bit for me.  I read an article where someone was lambasting the parents for being abusive in their reaction to Elsa after what she did on accident.  The article said that they were abusive in that they separated Elsa from her sister.  But I took it more as a guilt thing.  Elsa didn't want to hurt her little sister anymore, so she separated herself away.  I don't know.

Anyway, the thing that keeps making me think about this is the scene where the king and queen said their goodbyes to the kids and said, "See you in two weeks," and then it cuts to showing them on their ship in the huge waves, and then the ship is gone. 

This isn't the first time Disney has touched upon parental death.  But, as far as I know, this is the first time BOTH parents have died at the same time.  And then Anna is at Elsa's door, with her black head scarf on, talking about how it's just them now.  Gets me every time, even when I'm just listening to the soundtrack.  It's just a movie, but being an orphan is a reality for lots of people in our world.

I wonder how kids deal with that part.  When I was a kid and Mufasa died, I got really sad.  I saw that movie for the first time not long after my own dad had died and I linked myself to Simba. 

It was probably a good idea to have one of the next scenes be a mixture of happiness and anxiety.  It doesn't totally push all those heavy emotions away, but it also helps draw viewers (at least me) out of the total sadness of the parents' deaths. 

Although this is an abrupt ending, I think that's all I'm going to say about the movie right now.  I liked it.  I liked that it dealt with heavy topics.  And I'll probably talk more about this movie later.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly

My Facebook news feed has been driving me bonkers the last couple days.  I keep seeing all these articles that are making me shake my head in utter disbelief.

First, I saw the article about the little girl who was suspended for shaving her head in solidarity with a friend who lost her hair due to chemo.

THEN, I saw an article about a little girl who was kicked out of her "Christian" school for "being too much of a tomboy."  The article said that the school told her that she was confusing people, and that she would grow up to be immoral because of her short hair and tomboy ways.

THEN, there's been the hullabaloo about the World Vision debacle.  First, they decided to hire gay and lesbian people in committed relationships.  Next, there was a HUGE outcry from people who said that WV folks must not read the Bible.  Then, a friend posted a "Thank you" on WV's FB page for them being inclusive, and the comments his post got were sickening.  People were attacking him because he doesn't believe like they do.  People revoked their sponsorships of children, and jumped ship.  But then, WV caved and reversed their new policy.

So, that brings us to "Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God."  It's part of Micah 6:8.  It's a pretty well-known verse (even overused, really).  But here's the thing...It's BIBLICAL.  It's true.  And doing these things, I think, is pretty much the polar opposite of suspending/kicking little girls out of school for the HAIRSTYLE CHOICES.  I think walking with God also has a lot to do with people fighting poverty and starvation.  If GLBTQ people want to work against poverty and hunger, LET THEM.

A couple of months ago, I looked up "Justice" on the Oremus Bible Browser.  There are over 100 instances of the word "justice" in the Old and New Testaments.  And guess what?  Most of them have to do with doing justice for the poor, widowed, orphan, alien, and outcast. 

The people who have the ability to do justice are generally the people with power.  But, instead of doing justice, there are so many people out there who are trying to shove their particular brand of Christianity down the throats of the rest of us. 

I'm a Christian woman.  But I also have really short hair, I preach pretty much every Sunday.  I was a tomboy growing up.  My husband and I make decisions together.  And I believe in the full inclusion of gay and lesbian people.  These folks have been marginalized and told that God does not love them for too long.   

So, Micah 6:8 (and MANY other verses throughout Scripture) tell us to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God. 

Notice this doesn't say that the LORD requires you to be absolutely right about everything, or to stop feeding starving people, or whatever.  This idea of "needing to be right," I think, is counter-cultural to the Gospel.  The Pharisees and Sadducees of the day thought they were right, and then Jesus came and totally flipped their ideas of who God was for, totally upside down.

I know that Scripture is a complicated, nuanced thing.  I really do believe it is God-inspired.  But I also believe the Holy Spirit inspires within US the ability to follow Jesus.  And I wish more people would get the message to stop being so caught up in who and what they think is wrong, and get MORE caught up in serving and loving their neighbors.  ALL of their neighbors.  Not just the ones they agree with.

And now I feel like a huge hypocrite because I'm so angry at the right.

Monday, March 24, 2014


"Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us." Romans 5:1-5
So lately, I've been thinking a lot about hope.  Hope seems almost like this "out there" thing for a lot of us.  What does it actually MEAN to have hope?  Can the hope of which Paul was speaking spread to all our lives or "just" our faith life?

Honestly, hope is something I wrestle with.  I TRY to be hopeful, and for some things, I AM very hopeful.  I AM hopeful that God walks with us in all our situations.  I AM hopeful that I am a forgiven child of God.

But sometimes, life throws things at people, where hope DOES seem to disappoint.  You get ramped up and hopeful about something and then BAM!  It falls through.

So, what do we do when hope disappoints us?

I don't really know the answer to that question.  What I DO know is that God's love is poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, regardless of where we fall on the hope spectrum.  And I pray for endurance for when hope falls away.

So, does HOPE ever disappoint you?
What do you do when it does?

Monday, July 22, 2013

ABCs of Me!

Thanks to Sarah from The Everyday Holy for tagging me in the ABC’s of Me, a popular blogging Q&A that’s going around right now. 

A. Attached or single? Attached for a little over 4 years.

B. Best Friend? I have a few.  You all rock.

C. Cake or Pie? Probably pie.  Apple, French Silk, raspberry...But if you only have cake, I definitely won't turn it down! Ha.

D. Day of the Week? Thursday, probably.  It's my dedicated day off.  It's fun having a day off in the middle of the week, too.

E. Essential Item? Chap stick.  I can't leave home without it.

F. Favorite Color? Orange!

G. Gummy Bears or Gummy Worms? Bears-the white kind!

H. Hometown? Rutland, Illinois

 I. Favorite Indulgence? I really like most chocolate, or else really chewy candy.

J. January or July? July.  I really don't like winter.

K. Kids? Hey!  I was one of them, once!

L. Life isn’t complete without? Laughing with people you love on a regular basis.

M. Marriage Date? May 30, 2009

N. Number of brothers/sisters. 2 older brothers, 1 older sister, one younger sister.

O. Oranges or apples? Apples - but NOT those dark red ones.  I think they are an abomination unto the Lord.

P. Phobias? Rats, bats, mice, and snakes.

Q. Favorite quote? Romans 8:26-Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.

R. Reason to smile? A goofy joke, lubbins from my nephews, the first really nice day after a bunch of crappy ones...Non-burnt popcorn, kids at church drawing me pictures so I can hang them up on my office wall...

S. Season of Choice? Summer.

T. Tag 3 People:
1.  Ummm
2.  I don't interact enough with other bloggers
3.  To tag 3 people.  Sorry I SUCK!
 U. Unknown fact about me? None of your business!

V. Favorite vegetable? This is a tough one.  I like most vegetables, so I'll just go with the ones I have in my fridge right now (Thanks to a congregant who KNOWS I love fresh veggies, these are garden fresh).  I have kohlrabi and sugar snap peas in there right now.  Yum!

W. Worst habit?  I can be a bit judgmental

X. X-Ray or Ultrasound? Ultrasound, I suppose, though I'm not a big fan.

Y. Your favorite food? mashed potatoes (the REAL kind) with dark brown gravy.

Z. Zodiac Sign? Scorpio, not that I put any stock in that astrology stuff.

Thanks for following along! I’d love to hear from you as well! Tell me one unknown fact about you in the comments below! :0)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Channeling Dad

My husband recently "discovered" a trick to save us money.  Instead of buying microwave popcorn, the thing to do, he was told, is to just dump about a 1/4 cup of regular popcorn kernels into a regular brown bag; like a lunch sack for a kid.  You fold over the top of the bag a couple of times, then lay it on its side and microwave it.

Now, I'm a cheapskate.  Always have been, probably always will be.  So, I was generally down with this.

The other day, I was in need of something salty to snack on, and being out of sun seeds, popcorn is OBVIOUSLY the next choice. 

So, I went to the kitchen and did all the steps, and waited for the popcorn to pop.   BUT, it was taking FOR-EV-ER.  Not just a little forever, but like, "Sandlot" FOR-EV-ER!

So, I stopped it, took the bag out, dumped what little had popped into my bowl, and started it again. A couple of seconds later, though, the microwave went off.  I called in to the hubster and said, "I think I blew a fuse!" 

He came in and looked around, then went to the basement.  No fuses blown.  Hmm.

He came back to the kitchen and looked at the microwave and then said, "Holy crap!  This is hot!" 

So, we unplugged the microwave and put it in the dining room, away from flammable substances, and I just had to suck it up and be happy with the minute amount of popcorn that popped.

The next morning, I woke up and I smelled something BURNING!  I freaked out and jumped out of bed to see if the microwave had melted into the dining room table it was sitting on.  Thankfully, the microwave wasn't the culprit.  Hubby burned breakfast.

So, last night, I REALLY wanted some popcorn, but the old microwave was toast (my electrician brother in law told me that it is NOT safe to use a microwave after it shuts off and gets hot).  So, I decided to channel my dad, who was a popcorn FIEND.

I didn't grow up with microwave popcorn.  No.  In our household, we did it the OFW-OLD Fashioned Way.  We put oil in a pan, put popcorn kernels on the bottom, then shook the hell out of the pan until all the kernels popped!  I hadn't done that in YEARS, but I wanted some popcorn!

So I MADE that popcorn.  On the stove.  And it was perfect.  So delicious.  When the popcorn was done popping, I turned off the burner, dumped the corn into a bowl, and then put a pat of butter into the still warm pot to melt.  SO good. 

The only thing that would have made this more "Dad-Like" was if I would have had some bacon grease in which to pop the corn.  But I never much liked that method, and bacon grease popcorn is probably why he's dead now.  So, I just have to think that Dad would be smiling that his daughter, the non-cook one, was kicking it Old School, just like he taught me.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

First World Problems

Bismarck, ND had a record amount of snowfall on Sunday, April 14, 2013.  They had over 17 inches of snow in less than ONE day.  It was crazy.  So, with the inundation of snow, the roads are not all cleared up, traffic is going slower, and things are generally just a huge mess.  So, of course, I was crabby (Being a pastor does not negate the fact that I get crabby).

I went to one of the hospitals in town to do a visit.  I was in town already for text study; a gathering where rostered leaders in the Church gather together to "talk about what we're going to talk about."  So, I streamlined my Bismarck time to do some visits, too.

The person I wanted to visit was already discharged, which was good news.  So, I went back to my car to go do some nursing home visits.

While I was walking to my car, I saw a guy walking across the parking lot with his cell phone held to his ear.  I thought, "I better watch out for that guy.  He will probably be here before I get reversed out."  So, sure enough, this guy was soon behind my car.  Now, I had ASSUMED he had seen me get into my car, but I think I assumed wrong, because...WHY?  BECAUSE, when  he got to my car, he stopped walking.  He just was standing there, blocking me.  So, I tried to wave at him a little bit, but he wasn't paying attention.

I started my car to get his attention.

I put my car into REVERSE to get his attention.

The guy KEPT STANDING THERE.  Talking on his cell phone.  Seriously.

Finally, the guy moved enough for me to reverse out of my parking spot.  So, I reversed and put my car into DRIVE.

But guess what!?

The guy was in my way again.  Standing there, talking on his cell phone.  LOOKING right at me. Seriously.

I sat there about 15 seconds, and the guy moved again and I could go.

Seriously.  Dude.  Seriously.  Move.

Everyone is a little crabby right now.  We've been enduring about 6 months of winter.  We want spring temperatures.  We want sunshine.  We want travel and exercise to be uninhibited by the snow.  So it just seems to me that random dudes should not be standing behind someone's car when there is a whole parking lot full of empty cars they could stand behind.

Petty, what with the state of affairs, but we're not in the Oppression Olympics. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012


No one has died near me recently.  That's not necessarily what this post is about.

But, I'm coming more and more to realize that I think about death A LOT.  I find myself wondering if this is a natural thing, what with this "line of work" and all, or if I'm half a bubble off or something.

I've been around lots of death in my lifetime; people I knew and people I didn't.  I have seen it come quickly, and I've seen it lurk in the corners for a long time before actually happening.  I have seen old people die "well," and I've seen young people succumb to freak accidents. 

So...I think about death.  Now, no one freak out...I'm not planning my own or anything.  I like living and all that jazz.  I don't live in fear of death.  Death is just something that I ponder.

My cousin, Brian, is very sick with cancer.  He's not old.  I am not sure how old he is, but I don't think he's more than 40.  The surgeons and doctors have said that surgery is not an option anymore.  Brian has to decide if he wants to take chemotherapy to slow the progression or not.  From what I hear, he's handling his illness with humor and grace.  I don't know what's going on in his mind right now, as HE faces death.  I don't know what's going on in his siblings' minds as they face the fact that their brother is dying.  I don't know how his mom and dad are handling this turn of events. 

I just find myself wondering if THEY are thinking about death.

For better or worse, we live in a largely death-avoidant culture.  We don't want to think in these "morbid" ways, but instead live without thinking about how we will meet our "end."

Now, I'm not a "pie in the sky" theologian.  BUT, considering I AM a theologian, a pastor, and a teacher, I can't help but think about how embracing death helps us embrace life.  You know that old saying, "You don't know what you've got til it's gone."  Well, similarly, I think we sometimes miss what life is about when we don't realize that someday life, as we know it, will be over.  But, when this life is done, I don't think that's our end.

In seminary, we had a big discussion on "When you're dead, you're dead."  I had never heard that before I went to seminary, and it was a bit of a shock when I heard of it.  But, after much thinking, I think that's the way I go too...When you're dead, you're dead.  However, I also believe Jesus' words very much, "I am with you ALWAYS, even to the end of the age."  Not just OUR age, but THE age.  And I think that because of this promise, we don't have to fear death.  We are never alone.  Neither life nor death or things present or past or future, or any of that STUFF can separate us from the love of God.  And if we're never separated from the love of God, that means that we're never alone, never forgotten, and never without hope.  So, I think that when we're dead, we're dead, but God is still with us.  There is no place Christ has not been, and so Christ is with us everywhere, even in death.  There is still hope.  For Brian, for me, and for all.  So maybe it's not so much "Death" I think about...Maybe it's hope.