Thursday, December 26, 2013

150.8

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me... a nudge to go for a walk because we went out for dinner.  (For a tasty dinner, I'm thankful.  And for the kick in the pants to walk on a cold, dark evening I'm also thankful.)

I weighed in yesterday knowing I could do so on my regular scale.  So to go down .8 lbs in 6 days is just fine with me.  And to weigh in before Christmas dinner gave me the extra push to do a 3 mile run on Christmas morning.  

Lessons learned this week:   
#1 Always have a granola bar or other handy snack in the car and in my bag.  
On Sunday evening my husband and I went to Christmas Candy Lane in Hershey.  
I should have brought a snack. 
I didn't want to dive into a huge s'more or too much hot chocolate, that being said, we didn't get home until late and at that point I was famished and a little cranky...oops. (Apologies, babe.)

#2 Use a plate for appetizers. 
I immediately melted when I saw the cheese plate and tasty crab dip before dinner yesterday.  I was worried about taking too much, so I didn't fill a plate.  The problem was, I kept going back.  If I thought I was keeping track of my intake, it was guesswork after my third trip to the crab Rangoon dip.  Not to mention the multiple bites of manchego and blue cheese.  Had I filled a plate I may have been able to just stop after one filling.  I'll work on that the next time I find myself in that situation. 

All in all - Christmas eating went well.  It was the first day of going over on my allotted calories, but it was a holiday and that kind of splurging does not happen everyday.  And so here we are, back on the horse adding some extra cardio this evening to work off some of that tasty fajita plate and remembering that this journey is a marathon, not a sprint.  Baby steps each day and trying to remember to make healthy choices....

Blessings to all until the next post.  

+peace



Thursday, December 19, 2013

151.6

It's been a good week.  One with several eye opening experiences.

Firstly, I have to say (without naming people) that I'm not alone on this weight loss journey.  I've received so many words of encouragement alongside words of understanding and struggle as well.  It's these voices that have helped me get out of the bed a few times this week, to get to the gym. So, thanks y'all for that!  I hope that I can pair up with some of these folks for walks or talks or just general support.

Logging my food intake every day (while I was a bit obsessive about it at the beginning) has been super helpful.  With that as a guide, I've become more reliant on my measuring cups and measuring spoons....I now know what 1 cup of cereal looks like in one of my bowls.  And one serving of salad dressing is much less than I normally use.

I did realize that after logging a meal at a local restaurant that - wow - the meal there was about 950 calories in itself.  Crazy, right?  And I took a small portion of meatloaf...and didn't have any rolls with butter.  (I did have some apple pie, though.)  I think the chef's salad will be my go to meal there for a while.

I am happy with the weight loss this week and am aiming for a 1-2lb loss per week.  My guess is that this week was a big week because I made many changes.  Dropping alcohol and excessive sweets made a big difference.  I've also been better with my water consumption.

I also splurged this week on two different types of Fiber One cereal.  Woohoo!

My goal for this week is to keep my fiber intake up.  (per the doc's orders)

And now for bed.  (With the increase of cardio/gym time I've also been sleeping better.) bonus.

Thanks for reading...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

155

So, I have to throw this out there.  I'm in the process of losing some weight.  One of my liver enzymes is a little off kilter, so the doc is doing a series of tests to narrow it down.  Part of my responsibility is to lose about 10 pounds.

There are times when I eat really well.  There are other times when I am my own worst enemy.  When left to my own devices I can eat well all day, but then devour pop tarts, or ice cream or bread with butter just before bed.  It frustrates me, because I know better, but something wins out...and it's often not my best choice.  So, part of sharing it on my blog is to help keep me focused and to reach out to community for support.  The other reason for sharing is so people know why I'm passing on sweets and bypassing the donuts on Sunday morning.  So, in a way, this required weight loss is a good thing. Because if I am held accountable by someone other than me, I'll follow their guidelines.  

The other guideline from the doctor is no alcohol.  So as home brewer and craft beer lover, this will be a tricky thing for me.  I share this because I am NOT pregnant.  Just sayin'.  These are doctor's orders.  

So, as the month of December continues...I am aiming for high fiber, lots of veggies, and less carbs and sweets.  I'll be exploring the joys of baking with vital wheat gluten so I can create some tasty healthier breads.  

Prayers of support are always welcome...as are invitations to go for a walk, even if we have to bundle up during the winter months.  

And now for the numbers:  
Yesterday I weighed in at 155.  I plan on weighing in once a week and posting it here (for better or worse).  

In addition to this sharing (inspired by a friend on his own weight loss journey) I invite your stories (joys/struggles) as well.  If we can walk this together...or share from good experiences as well as bad, we will be more supported in the long run.  

Thanks for reading...for praying....and for keeping me accountable.  

Until the next weigh in...or post...whichever comes first.  


Monday, October 14, 2013

Seeing is believing.

October 13, 2013
21st Sunday After Pentecost
2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c
Psalm 111
Luke 17:11-19

Please pray with me,

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O God, our rock, our strength and our redeemer.  Amen. 

Seeing is believing….

A few weeks ago while I was on the elliptical at the gym, I was chatting with the woman next to me.  We exchanged niceties, found out what each other ‘did for work’ and the like.  When she found out I was a pastor, she said, “Good for you.  We need people like you.  The world would be a much better place with more God in it.” 

Hm, I thought, isn’t God already in the world?  So, what’s keeping us from seeing God in our world and at work in our lives?  What leads us to think that we need more God?  Maybe we’re just not seeing where God is already busy at work in our homes, our communities and our world. 

In the story “The Point” the main character Oblio is traveling through to the Pointless Forest.  Along his journey, he meets the Rockman (yup, you guessed it, a man made of rocks) and asks him if he’s seen the forest. 

The Rockman says, “You see what you want to see and you hear what you want to hear.” 

The Rockman asks, “Did you ever see Paris?” Oblio says, “No.” 
The Rockman asks, “Did you ever see New Dehli?”  Oblio says, “No.”

Well, says the Rock Man, “You see want you want to see and you hear what you want to hear.” 

You have to open your mind as well as your eyes…

You may wonder what seeing has to do with believing with today’s lesson…but it’s there.  You see faith, is not a matter of believing only, but also of seeing. 

All the lepers were healed; one however, saw, noticed, let what happened sink in…and it made all the difference. 

Because he sees what has happened, the leper recognizes Jesus, his reign and his power.
Because he sees what has happened, the leper has something for which to be thankful, praising God with a loud voice.
Because he sees what has happened, the leper changes direction, veering from his course toward a priest to first return to Jesus.

Thinking about the role of seeing as it pertains to believing…this story serves as an invitation to believers…both in Jesus time, and now, to recognize how and when we see God at work in the world. 

In the face of adversity, do we see danger or opportunity?

In the face of human need, do we see demand or gift? For example, as people line up for the food pantry do we see people in need or do we see the crew of volunteers handing out an abundance of food. 

In the face of the stranger, so we see the differences between us that could separate us or do we see a potential new best friend? 

And it goes further. When we look to God, do we see stern judge or loving parent?

When we look to ourselves, do we see failure or beloved child?

When we look to the future, do we see fearful uncertainty or an open horizon?

There is, of course, no right answer to any of these questions. How we answer depends upon what we see. Yet how we answer dramatically shapes both our outlook and our behavior.

Perhaps this is the key to living our lives as followers of Jesus that in seeing the world, we see God at work in the details. 

AND, when we see God at work in the details, we point that out to others.  We know that God is at work in the world and we know that we have been blessed abundantly with life, friends, family and a supportive community.  It is good for us to see that….for what it is…God at work in the world. 

Before we are called to believe or confess or help or do we are called simply to see...and to help others do the same. We are called, that is, to point out blessing, to claim mercy, to name grace wherever we are and with all the courage we can muster.

At the outset of this story, ten men are stuck. They live "between regions" in a "no-man's" land of being socially, religiously, and physically unclean. By the end of the story, all ten are made well. But one has something more. He has seen Jesus, recognized his blessing and rejoiced in it, and changed his course of action and behavior. And because he sees what has happened, the leper is not just healed, but is made whole, restored, drawn back into relationship with God and humanity. In all these ways he has been, if we must choose a single word, saved.

Because here’s the good news….God doesn’t wait for us to have enough faith….God acts first.  Phew, right? 

Because truth is….after that comment from the woman on the elliptical about needing more God in the world I was silent.  I wasn’t really sure how to react…and I’m a pastor….I talk about God, it’s what I do….

So thank God that God is not waiting for us to have the perfect faith to use us in the spreading of the gospel message….because we may not always get it right. 

But that’s okay, because God doesn’t wait for us to have enough faith…God acts first. 

God is already at work in your life and your world.  

God is already loving you, saving you and blessing you. 

So, stop…and look. 

Last week, while in New Orleans, we traveled either by foot, or by the city’s public transportation.  So often when on the bus or streetcar, when an older person got on, a younger person would stand up and offer their seat.  It happened more often than not. 

One day a woman entered the front of the street car and began looking for her friends.  A man got up, offered his seat and she sat down.  She called back to her friends wondering why they got on in the back and why they were separated and then stopped mid-sentence.  She looked at the man who offered his seat and she said, “I’m sorry.  I forgot to say thank you.” 

You see, these moments of grace and thankfulness are all around us. 

We are constantly reminded of living in community with others who see and react based on the needs of others. 

It’s that easy….to see these moments. 

 See where God is at work in your home, at school, at work….at the gym on the elliptical….wherever you may find yourself, you are in a prime spot to see God at work in the world. 

Then take that next step and tell someone else about, your pastor, your friend, your mom or your dad, your neighbor…whoever you want!  You may not have the words in the midst of that moment…but that’s okay, because God acts first. 

And now may the peace which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus and let all God’s people say amen. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Coming back.

So, last week I was sick.  I made it through work, but took a hiatus from the gym. 

I was nervous about returning after being gone for a week.  I was even practicing telling people that I was sick, which was true.  I guess I felt guilty about being away from my workout community.  I realized as I've been back twice now this week, that the reason for my absence didn't really matter.  People were just happy to see me. 

I wonder if that's how it is with church, too.  When we've been away a while, even with a myriad of different reasons why, we tend to get nervous upon our return.  We may practice what we will say, especially if we see church people outside of church like at the grocery store or the bank. 

Truth is, I think I felt guilt because I missed being at the gym and I know that a regular workout routine is good for me (mind, body and spirit). 

Truth is, maybe we feel guild when we're away from church because we miss it, too.  Maybe we know that reconnecting with our family of faith, sharing in a meal (of bread and wine) and praying together is something that is good for us. 

Because of a trip to see family in New England, I was away from Trinity this past weekend. 

I reconnected with many folks at our ABO Luncheon on Monday.  Someone said, "It just wasn't church without you."  My knee jerk reaction to that was...but it's not about me.  Church is still church, even if one of your pastors isn't there. 

But then I thought about it some more. 

In a way it is about me (and you).  It's about all of us who make up the body of Christ.  It may not feel like church when fellow sisters and brothers are not there to meet and greet us, to share the peace and to share in the Lord's Supper together.  It may not feel the same, but it is still church.  And who we are, as members of the Body of Christ, is to be the church no matter where we are. 

So be the church wherever you are, but know this:  When you are not worshipping with the congregation that you connect with and call your family of faith, they miss you.  There is something a little off when those we love, care for and wish to see are not with us. 

So if you have been away, I take this time to welcome you back to your family of faith (wherever it may be) and know that they have missed you and will be happy to see you again. 

You don't have to practice the reasons why you have been away....most likely folks will just say, "I'm happy to see you." or "We've missed you." or "We're glad you're here." 

Just come.  Worship.  Pray.  Eat.  Be with one another.

+paz

Monday, August 12, 2013

Go in peace, keep your shirts on.

Yesterday's sermon, although it was slightly different at each service.  :)
August 11, 2013
12th Sunday after Pentecost
Genesis 15:1-6
Psalm 33:12-22
Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16
Luke 12:32-40

Please pray with me, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O God, our rock, our strength and our redeemer.  Amen. 

The Message translation of Luke 12:32-40.

Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.

"Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can’t go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bank robbers, safe from embezzlers, a bank you can bank on.  It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.

"Keep your shirts on; keep the lights on!  Be like house servants waiting for their master to come back from his honeymoon, awake and ready to open the door when he arrives and knocks.  Lucky the servants whom the master finds on watch! He’ll put on an apron, sit them at the table, and serve them a meal, sharing his wedding feast with them.  It doesn’t matter what time of the night he arrives; they’re awake-and so blessed!  "You know that if the house owner had known what night the burglar was coming, he wouldn’t have stayed out late and left the place unlocked.  So don’t you be slovenly and careless. Just when you don’t expect him, the Son of Man will show up."


I love this version of our text for this week, and okay, this text has lots for us to think about and wrestle with, but I love the verse on the cover of our bulletin.  Be dressed for action!  And in the passage I just read from Eugene Peterson’s translation called The Message, keep your shirts on! 
 
But what does that mean really? 

What does it mean to be dressed for action?  It’s hard to think about what that means for ourselves.  When we think about being dressed for action, we probably think of this guy, right? 
 

Clark Kent, aka Superman, dressed and ready for action at any given moment.

We may not think of these guys, Chas, Ari and Uzi Tenenbaum. 
 
Chas, the father was a child prodigy who was wearing 3 piece suits at the age of 7.  That is no longer his outfit of choice.  You see, in the film, The Royal Tenenbaums, Chas’ wife died in a plane crash, where he and his boys miraculously survived.  He and his boys now don matching red gyms suits so at any given moment they can run and escape danger!

And then there’s this guy. 
 
 
You may know Vector from the first Despicably me movie, in his “warm up suit”. 

See Vector explain his outfit here. :)

Apparently, some folks confuse the warm up suit for pajamas.  In any case, Vector wants to be ready to action. 

So what does it mean for us to be dressed for action? 

Hearing Jesus telling his disciples to be dressed for action we wonder what that means for us here and now.   

As a baptized child of God, what are we wearing every day? 


The Greek of verse 35 reads: "the loins having been girded," but this phrase means nothing to us non-loin wearing people. Originally it meant tying up around the waist the lower parts of one's robe so as to be ready to run. How do we express this phrase in English so that it is faithful to the original and makes sense to 21st century Americans?  That's a problem that translators face.  Some translations read: "be dressed for action;" "be dressed ready for service;" "Be ready." and  "Keep your shirts on." These are all ways of understanding and "translating" into understandable English the phrase: "girding one's loins."  However it is paraphrased, it means to be prepared for action.

Often times when we think about being prepared, it calls us to think about an actual time when Jesus will return.  But I’ve got something to tell you friends; Jesus is here among us every single day of our lives.  We are called and challenged to live in this world here and now and to see God at work in our lives through the love of the gift of Jesus on the cross. 
Being ready for Jesus’ second coming is less about any actual time and place and more about imagining Jesus’ activity in the world, when and where you least expect it or imagine seeing it.

(Interlude...as I preached this sermon Saturday night, I looked out to see a man in the back row with his hands by his head making silly faces.  He was doing so to a baby in the pew in front of him.  As it made me smile, it was also an example of the least likely place to see Jesus at work in the world, but that's exactly what it was.) 

In other words, waiting around, waiting for instructions, is not going to cut it. Fear, treasure, and being prepared is the pattern for discipleship. Being without fear, knowing the source of your treasure -- that is, your identity, your worth -- makes it possible to be prepared for and an actual participant in God’s kingdom. – (Lewis)
We are ready for action….in whatever we are wearing…we are active participants in God’s kingdom here and now. 

If you’re still wondering what to wear, here are a few options. 

Last summer over 27,000 Lutheran Youth wore these shirts around New Orleans as part of the National Youth Gathering. 

 
They wore them as they served the people through clean up, painting, working with kids and engaging in conversations and building relationships.  As we moved and worked, we saw our faith as a living thing.  We were active participants in God’s kingdom here and now. 
It’s fun to see these shirts at different youth gatherings and camps across Pennsylvania, knowing that each of us served together, bringing God’s love and work through our hands to the people and city of New Orleans. 

While these shirts were just for that one event, here’s a shirt you may want for yourself. 

God's work. Our hands Sunday is an opportunity to celebrate our 25th anniversary as the Evangelical Lutheran church in America - one church, freed in Christ to serve and love our neighbor. 
We are a church that rolls up our sleeves and gets to work. On Sept., 8, 2013, let's join together as 4 million members, nearly 10,000 congregations, 65 synods and the churchwide expression for a dedicated day of service.

Let's clean up neighborhoods, deliver meals, collect supplies for refugees overseas, visit our neighbors or help a child learn to read.

We work every day to welcome our neighbors and make our community a better place. Now we will do it together as one body, using our hands to do God's work of restoring and reconciling communities in Jesus Christ’s name throughout the world.

We have the opportunity on September 8, to join with other churches in the ELCA to serve our communities…to be active participants in God’s kingdom here and now.  We will be talking with organizations in town to see where our hands and hearts can be put to work to serve our neighbors.  So save that date for that Sunday afternoon…and get ready to roll up your sleeves.  We are participants in God’s kingdom. 

We will be prepared.  We will keep our shirts on! 
We will respond to God’s abundant love and grace in our lives through service to our neighbors and community.  People of all ages will come together in works of service toward others. 

In the meantime, God’s kingdom is still an active place.   Keep your eyes open for places of experiencing God at work in the most unexpected places.  Look for ways for you to be an active participant in God’s kingdom today and everyday. 
Share those experiences with others and talk about the amazing things happening in God’s world with others around you. 

And now may the peace, which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus and let all God’s people say, Amen. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Who is my neighbor?

From our Gospel lesson on Sunday Luke 10:25-27 to the daily news reports, it seems that neighbor and neighborhood have come to the surface of our everyday language this week. 

Every time I hear the word neighbor or neighborhood, I find myself humming a familiar tune from Sesame Street. 
If you want to sing along, you can do so with Ben Stiller and Tully here.
Okay that one gets a little silly....but "a neighbor is a person that we meet when we're walking down the street, it's a person that we meet each day."
I went out for a run this morning (in the midst of a heatwave I admit, but have been steadily re-hydrating all day) and saw more runners and walkers than I have in the past. 

As we nodded and said hello mid stride.  They are the people in my neighborhood.  . 
As I passed two men spraying for weeds, they cheered me on saying I only had 20 miles to go!  They are the people in my neighborhood. 
As a car drove by, the driver gave me a nod and a wave.  We saw each other.  We connected for a moment.  That driver is a person in my neighborhood. 

Through all of these interactions, we built community.  We began or continued relationships.  We shared space, we looked at one another, made eye contact and took a moment to connect. 

I probably don't have to tell you that the reactions to the Trayvon Martin case are flooding Facebook, Twitter, our conversations at the gym, our places of work and no doubt our hearts and our minds.  The challenge, I think, in the midst of it all, is to remain the church.  How do we continue to live our lives as our nation reacts in very different ways to the result of a court case?  How do we continue to live and love our neighbors when differences of opinion or race or gender or creed divide us? 

I know there are no easy answers to these questions, but I think it's good that we ask them, that we struggle with them and that we remember to listen to one another in the midst of it all.  I think we're called to pray the Psalms of lament as a mother mourns the loss of her son.  I think we're called to pray for those with different opinions than ours.  I think we're called to be in the midst of life as it happens and pray for and wrap our minds around the violence that happened in this situation and the countless acts of violence that occur everyday in our nation and our world.   We need to be the kingdom of God here and now.  We need to continue to build relationships, to love and serve one another and continue to live as the light of Christ shines out from each and every one of us. 

I don't want us to get bogged down in the arguments and protests that are happening, but I want us to be aware of them.  I don't want us to gloss over this and just 'be good' to one another and pretend it didn't happen.  I pray that God's people continue to be a beacon of light, a voice of love and justice and grace in a world that continually aches for healing and wholeness. 

Over the course of the weekend, two other stories came to light.  One was of  two teenage boys who chased down a car on their bikes and saved a 5 year old girl from an abductor.  Right in Lancaster County. 

And then in Hershey, a motorist and friend stopped to help a stranded biker on the side of the road.  To their surprise...it was Dave Matthews. 

In both cases, these individuals saw someone in need and responded. 

In light of hearing the parable of the Good Samaritan last Sunday, one that so many of us could pretty much recite from memory....and wondering why we hear texts over and over again....we hear these stories.  And we need to hear this parable and others over and over and because God's word comes to us when we hear them...when we claim them and when we retell them. 
Why do we need to hear this story over and over? 
Because there are still robbers and thieves in our world....and we are called to respond. 
Because we will find ourselves in different parts of it each time we hear it. 
Because this is a story about God's grace and love coming to the broken, the hurt, the sinner, the saint, you and me in the midst of our darkest, weakest, scariest moments just because God loves us. 

How are you retelling the story of the Good Samaritan?  How and where are you seeing examples of neighbors in your life?  When have you felt God's grace and when have you extended it to others? 

Continue to let that light shine, folks. 

Until the next post....


The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.  (John 1:5)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

checking in .... and ready for bed! :)


A week ago I was in Wildwood with an amazing group of Senior High Youth.  (see previous blog post.)

Our retreat ended Wednesday.

Thursday and part of Friday was with a bunch of talented kids learning a musical to lead worship this weekend.  Lunch on Friday was full of laughs!


Then the LYF assembly began.

I met some amazing Senior High Youth.  Over the course of 2+ days we laughed, sang, prayed, danced, talked about what the church looks like to us and what we'd like it to look like, shared serious changes we'd like to see in the world and risks we might have to take to make some of those changes happen.



I took time to look at these two posters before heading to the dance last night.  Truth be told, I was in tears as I read the changes and healing that these youth wish to see in their lives and their world.  It's clear from this poster that life and faith are intersecting in their lives.  Life is happening and the world is a challenging (and sometimes messy place to be.)    I'm truly thankful for the honesty in these notes.  I continue to pray that the writers of these notes know that they are not alone that there is a community of faith that surrounds them and is there to journey with them.



The risks that people are thinking about taking as just as real as the changes they wish to see.

I'm thankful for the church, in our communities and in our world.  Congregations are places where these amazing young people can be to ask tough questions, struggle with real issues and share experiences of life, service, love and grace.

Right now I am officially exhausted.  BUT, I'm also incredibly inspired, fired up and excited about the church here and now and the church in the weeks, months and years ahead because there are passionate youth worshipping, serving, building relationships with God and one another all out of the love and grace that God has given to the world.

Our weekend wrapped up with worship.  We came together to sing, pray, hear God's word and share in the Lord's Supper.


The altar was covered with the sins we brought to God this day, it was wrapped with the changes and healing we wish to see in the world and it held the body and blood of Christ.  We were strengthened by this meal for service and love in the world.

Filled with joy, exhaustion and hope....I'll head to bed.  Giving thanks to God for this fantastic week with amazing youth.  The new IS now.

+peace all!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

re-treat.


Retreat....definitions 2 and 3 for this word according to Miriam Webster online are as follows:

: a place of privacy or safety : refuge

: a period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, study, or instruction under a director

I just returned home from the Senior High Beach Retreat in Wildwood, NJ.  When you think Wildwood, maybe this comes to mind.  



Not, however, a 3 day get away with 8 high school youth, 3 adults and some 'rustic hotel' accommodations.  I'm in the process of catching my breath from 3 days of sand, sun, rain, song, laughter, games, mini m&ms, ice cream, tacos, paris whales, Bible study, snorting, waves, go-carts, beach ducks, long conversations, deepening relationships, service, prayer, and killer bunnies.  

We lived together with these expectations:


I like to think of the last 3 days as a re-treat.  I was treated again and again to fresh and new moments of seeing God in unexpected places...as 8 youth from 4 school districts welcomed little kids into their fold as they played in the sand at the beach.  

I can't put the entire weekend into words, but these youth are amazing.  They are Spirit led, full of joy and excitement and just a complete pleasure to be with.  I am so blessed to be called to serve these youth as they continue through high school and to see them shape and mold the youth ministry that happens at Trinity.  I am ready to walk, run and sing at the top of my lungs as our journey as God's people continues in the years to come.  

I'm truly excited for the ideas and hopes they have for the future including, but not limited to community outreach, service projects within the congregation and without, partnering up with other youth for fun and fellowship, leading worship and mentoring the incoming youth group members.  

This was truly a retreat...a chance to get away ... to a place to just be ourselves - our wonderfully God made selves - and just be the body of Christ together.  

Thank you, Senior High Youth (you know who you are) and for those who weren't able to join us, we are ready for more ideas, joy, enthusiasm, friends, passion and leadership with the future of youth ministry at Trinity.  

Thanks, all, for an amazing 3 days.  

Until the next amazing moment we share in God's beautiful creation and in the community of Christ, holding you in prayer.  

+peace

PS.  This would not have been possible without 2 other things.  
a) The love and support from an amazing congregation who loves, cares for and supports the youth of Trinity.  (THANKS!)

b) Last, but never least, the 3 chaperones who joined us on this adventure.  Thanks for sharing 3 days of your week away from home to make a difference in the life of some crazy-fun youth!  

Monday, June 3, 2013

Sunday's Sermon

June 2, 2013
2nd Sunday after Pentecost
 
1 Kings 9:22-23, 41-43
Psalm 96:1-9
Galatians 1:1-12
Luke 7:1-10

Please pray with me,

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O God, our rock, our strength and our redeemer.  Amen. 

Two men move into a new town.  And as you find when moving into a new house, some minor repairs are needed.  So, of course a trip to the local hardware store is the first trip into town. 
The first fellow walks in to the store and gets his supplies.  As he’s checking out, he says to the clerk, “I’m new in town.  What are folks like around here?”
The clerk asks, “What were people like where you used to live?” 
The man replies, “Welcoming and friendly.”
Well, that’s exactly the kind of folks you’ll find around here.  
The man smiles and leaves. 

Later that day the second man enters the hardware store. 
As he’s checking out, he says to the clerk, “I’m new in town.  What are folks like around here?”
The clerk asks, “What were people like where you used to live?” 
The man replies, “Unfriendly and not welcoming at all.”
Well, that’s exactly the kind of folks you’ll find around here.  

Have you ever felt that way before?  Or experienced that?  It’s amazing how the people around you will reflect the emotions and actions that you bring to them. 

I’ve been a part of several conversations lately where it has come up that this place isn’t as fun as it used to be.  That could be this congregation, this worship, this church…..but there is an impression out there that the fun has gone away.  Coming from a person who spend the weekend laughing to the point of tears in the poconos last weekend, as we created and played a new game called L-ball (it involves a tennis ball and your elbows) ….and laughing just as hard with 31 folks on the ABO trip to Michigan when we had chicken for lunch AND dinner 3 days in a row and belted out Neil Sedaka’s love will keep us together on the bus, it’s hard for me to fathom that the fun is gone. 

But it leads me to wonder….and think….and pray about what God is up to in this place. 

The Psalm for today, Psalm 96, speaks about worship.  It calls all people of the earth and indeed the earth itself to sing praise to God and to worship God in God’s temple.

This section of the psalm is dominated by imperatives that call forth that praise: “sing to the Lord;” “tell of his salvation;” “declare his glory;” “ascribe glory and strength;” and “worship the Lord.” The opening call to sing a “new song” does not elicit a song with fresh lyrics or music, but a song with universal all encompassing scope that declares the extent of God’s sovereignty. Such a song is new in that it breaks out of the category of space and time and embraces all things and all people. 

The reason for the praise the psalm evokes is the identification of God as the one true lord of heaven and earth, the maker of all things (verses 4-6). The song originated in a time and place in which many deities were recognized. Every nation had its gods and claimed them to have sovereignty.

Psalm 96:5 declares, however, that the other gods are merely idols. That is, the images that represented them were the extent of their reality. Only God was real and powerful and therefore worthy of praise.

And that’s who we gather together to worship and praise each week.  This psalm gives a way to state and restate what God’s people believe about the world.  Most importantly, what the psalm says about the world to come shapes the way God’s people live right now. 

This is the power of liturgy….the power of what we do in this place at this time week after week after week.  The liturgy is the work of the people.  All that happens within the context of worship is the work of the people. 

The proclamation only makes sense, however, when it is made in the company of other believers. Together we declare what we believe about the world. As we do, we create a community that not only believes in God’s reign with the head, but also responds to God’s kingdom with the heart.
To live as though we belong to the kingdom of God means that we work to bring justice and well-being, just as God also is working.

What we sing and say and pray in this time and place shapes that we are as the people of God when we leave this building. 

We hear this Psalm on the second Sunday after Pentecost.  Pentecost for the first Christians was marked by an outpouring of God’s Spirit that empowered them to proclaim the Good News so that all people might hear, understand, and respond.  Hearing it this day, invites all of God’s creation to declare the glory of God.  It reminds us that we are called to declare the glory of God….and for us God’s glory is known most clearly in Jesus Christ. 

So here we are.  The body of Christ.  Called to proclaim the glory of God, seen in Jesus Christ. 

We are a community.  One that comes together to worship. 

A community that joins together confessing, praying, singing, hearing God’s word, sharing in the Lord’s just to be sent out again….so we can come back! 

The actions that happen in this place…are all done in thanks and praise to God – together – in community!  Our energy, our passion, our tears, our laughter, our welcoming hugs and greetings are what make this place alive.  How we fill this space, as the body of Christ will speak volumes to all who enter here. 

How do you view this place? 
Has that changed? 

How has your interaction with others, participation in worship changed?   Or is it just those around you who have changed? 

We are the living, breathing body of Christ in this place.  We will not look the same today as we do tomorrow.  We do not worship exactly like we did 10, 20 or 50 years ago….nor will we worship exactly the same in 10, 20 or 50 years from today.  But here’s the thing….all that we do in this place is to the glory of God….all that we do we do as the Body of Christ, loving, serving and reaching out to one another. 

God is at work in this place….the spirit of Pentecost is still blowing strong….may it continue to fill us and this place with joy-filled, Christ-centered, praise to God. 

May we continue to be open to the work of the Spirit in our midst, that we are able to praise God together and show our friends, families and community where God is at work in our hearts and our lives this day and every day. 

And now may the peace, which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus and let all God’s people say, amen.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

local eats = good eats


As I went out to run errands today, I was excited to see that the local farm stand is open for the season!


You can bet that I left with asparagus....two bunches in fact.  I knew that they would be a part of dinner...if not the main attraction.

After yoga, I was ready to eat.  I dressed one bunch of asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper and preheated the oven to 400.  I was plenty hungry...and the asparagus was so fresh and tasty, I ate two stalks (are they stalks?) before the tray went into the oven.

I started simmering some water for a poached egg and went to the garden for some fresh basil and oregano.

This was the side salad.....I was reminded that fresh lettuce really just needs a drizzle of olive oil and a tasty vinegar....tonight it was a later harvest riesling vinegar.


Here's the poached egg on the roasted asparagus with some whole grain bread all topped with a drizzle of olive oil, oregano, basil and freshly grated parm.



And just before the first bite...



Here's to good local eats, fresh food and the simplicity of an egg with some veggies....

Until the next post....

Monday, April 29, 2013

new meals...


I've been reading the book An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace
It's a journey with food in your kitchen with your host Tamar Adler.
It's a joy to read....and it'll be read and re-read.  I may loan it out, if you ask nicely.

It's inspired me to get back into the kitchen.  I don't know about other cooks, but I ebb and flow from eating well to eating not so well, to getting too much takeout.  It all seems to spiral together with sleep, exercise and my general well being.  When I'm exercising, I like to eat well, and I sleep well, when one of those gets out of kilter, everything thing goes.

So I'm back on track.  At least this week.

I've learned how to poach an egg.  Super fun.



I remembered that I love to bake bread...and all I need to do it take time to mix up some dough (with some spent grains for texture) and then I can bake it fresh every day.

Before:



After:



I was wondering what to make for meals this week when I made it to the chapter on veggies.  I was reminded of the joy of oven roasting them.

On Saturday, I roasted beets, carrots and parsnips.  (Not pictured: beets)


Saturday night I enjoyed beet salad with walnuts and goat cheese.



Yesterday I roasted cauliflower and broccoli.



And, per Tamar's recommendation, I popped the core of the cauliflower and the thick stems of the broccoli in some water and simmered until they were mushy.  I knew I would use it for something....so I let it cool and popped it in the fridge.

Imagine my joy as today's weather was damp, rainy and a bit chilly.  It had soup written all over it.

I made cream of broccoflower soup.

Here's the recipe.

In a soup pot add some olive oil and a smashed clove of garlic.  Heat it slowly.  I added a splash of water so I wouldn't burn the garlic.  When the garlic was tender, I pulled it out.
Meanwhile I was enjoying my new blender as I blended the cauliflower and broccoli remains.
I added that to the soup pot and brought it to a boil, then reduced to simmer.
When it was warm I added some milk, some Parmesan cheese and some freshly cracked pepper.
When that was all mixed in, I tasted it and added some salt and a pat of butter....(that was to make up for the skim milk)

When it was done I added some of the oven roasted cauliflower for texture and garnished with parm and parsley.  Super delicious.




Here's to more fun recipes...book inspired and kitchen created.