Monday, April 9, 2018

151 or The best week ever.

The past few weeks have had some amazing moments.  Here are my top 10 favorite moments.  

#10. This morning's weigh in.  151.  Yes, down from last week.  Now the weird thing is that I only logged workouts this past, not so much.  I'll get back into that habit this week.  

#9. I can proudly say that as of today, I have flossed my teeth every day since March 1.  It's a new record for me.  I know the dentist says I should floss daily for good reason, but it's never a habit that has stuck for me.  Who knows why, but March 1 was a new day for me and BAM....flossing is a habit.  

#8. Youth Led Worship.  This past weekend over 30 youth helped lead the congregation in all three worship services.  Their energy, joy, poise, musical gifts and comfort throughout the service was eye opening to all who attended worship this weekend.  The members of Trinity continue to love and support these amazing youth which creates space for them to lead, be funny, be serious, be poignant, and show and share their leadership gifts within this space and beyond. We welcomed back an amazing college student who led music at every service who will be changing her major in college and attending seminary after she graduates...a joyous announcement in a place that has nurtured her growth and faith.  <3 All three services were filled with energy, joy and the message that God's love makes a difference in our lives, and we in turn make a difference in the world around us.  

#7 The 6th Commandment.  At Fundocy (Fun Doing Confirmation with Youth) yesterday, we tackled the 6th commandment.  We awkwardly talked about the importance of living into faithful relationships and learned that you don't have to be an adult to commit adultery.  We also heard the intro to Salt 'N Pepa's "Let's Talk about Sex" as we closed our time together in the sanctuary.  I purposely played it in that space as a reminder that church IS a place to talk about this amazing gift of sex that God has given us and, it's safe space to do so.  The adults in the room repeatedly said that they are ready to enter into awkward conversations so our youth are able to talk with trusted adults.  

#6 Feedback from Youth Led Worship.  Over the past 24 hours, folks of all ages have had wonderful things to say about the youth of Trinity.  They 'had no idea' Trinity had so many talented youth.  They loved hearing their voices, hearing their ukuleles, seeing their joy and receiving communion from them.  There was some wonderful energy in worship this weekend and it was felt by many, many people.  

#5 Yesterday, I received two video messages from my sister.   One was one my 4 year old nephew running a 75 yard dash.  He runs like a champ!  The second was a post race interview with the runner.   Both were wonderful.  I am slightly envious of his post race spaghetti meal at his friend's house.  He knows how to refuel.  

#4 Today I finished the Iditarod challenge at the gym.  The challenge began on January 21.  The goal was to complete 976 miles which the gym equated to 2,937 minutes.  I finished that today!  The first goal was to finish the challenge was to finish by April 21, but then I hit the leaderboard.  Once that happened...I worked to stay in the top three.  I believe I am the third female finisher.  I have been motivated and encouraged by a woman who also hits the gym in the early mornings and will thank her the next time I see her.  One of the things I love about LJ's is the small community feel, and the relationships that we build in that place.  I love that I am encouraged and challenged by all sorts of folks.  I hope I do the same for them.  

#3 This past Thursday was the 10 year anniversary of my ordination.  :) As I looked through pictures from that day, I was reminded of all the people who have helped me become the pastor I am today and the pastor I continue to be.  I was ordained at First Lutheran Church in Ellington, Connecticut - the church where I spent my youth and was confirmed.  Jim Stuck, then bishop of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod flew out (with his wife) for my ordination.  He and his wife attended college with Ellen, an amazing, kind woman at First Lutheran, so they had a mini reunion.  :) Also in attendance were friends/classmates from seminary, the pastor at First when I was much younger, members of First, New Britain, where I served as youth director and secretary (prior to seminary), camp friends, colleagues from my internship in PA, also family (aka. the group - you know who you are) my first call pastoral education mentor (who was in Mass. to visit family) and folks from my first call congregation who drove out to surprise me.  It was a day filled with family, friends and people who have helped shape me in my call to parish ministry.  It was a vivid reminder that this is not a journey that I have traveled alone...and that many people people continue to love, support and pray for me in all that I do.  

#2 10th year of ordination celebratory dinner.  My amazing, loving and incredibly supportive husband saw that I shared pictures on the anniversary of my ordination.  He called when he got out of work and said, "Would you like to go out to dinner and celebrate?"  I thought, I didn't mean for my post to be a nudge to do something special....and then he said, it's an important milestone.  So we enjoyed an impromptu dinner out with tasty apps and a yummy lobster grilled cheese.  Billy is pretty stinkin' amazing and I am so thankful for his love and support as I love and serve the people at Trinity.   

Which leads us to #1.  
And while the anniversary day itself, or the amazing comments I received from that post, or the impromptu date night that came out of it all could rank at number 1....I have to say that it was the end of youth led worship that led me to tears of joy.  I was told by one of the youth that she would want to say something at the end of worship...but would give no further details.  At the end of worship, she and another high school youth stood in the pulpit and talked about how their time at Trinity has helped their growth and deepened their relationship with one another...and that they couldn't have done it alone....or without me.  They went to all the Sunday School classes that morning...and shared this at the end of worship:

In addition to the thank you poster, you can see the world's best dad apron from the prodigal son skit and the 'fatted' calf.  I get weepy just looking at this picture.  

You see, it's not about me...
Not. at. all.  

But there are some gifts that God has graced me with, that enable me to connect with youth - of all ages.  Apparently this gift is seen and experienced by many...and it's seen as others see the joy emanating from me as I connect with the young people in our congregation and community.   I love what I do.  It brings me joy.  I don't do it because of the joy I experience, I am just thankful that it brings me joy to connect with others and share God's love.   

win. win. win.  

I cannot (via blog post) express my deep appreciation for not only the two youth who presented this 'thank you' within the context of worship, but for the youth who open their hearts and their minds to let me be part of their faith and life journeys.  

Thanks, too, for parents who continue to encourage and expect church and a life of faith to be a part of their lives.  

And thanks, God, for these gifts, for a call to a place to share these gifts and the time to build and nurture relationships.  

I think I've had the best week ever, which is why I was too hyped up to fall asleep last night.  But at this point, I think I'm done.  

Thanks for reading. 
Thanks for supporting.  
Thanks for being you.  

Until the next post...

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