Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

is God silent?

Is God silent?
There have been times in my life when it seemed my prayers were hitting the ceiling and bouncing back. God seemed to be silent.
I can remember asking, “Where are You, God?    PPPPPPlease, God!”
Maybe you have seen the saying, “When you are in the midst of a trial and you wonder where God is, just remember, the teacher is always silent during the test.”
When you are taking a test, you rely on what you have studied, It is a reflection of what you know. The same is true for our spiritual tests and trials. We draw from what we have studied and what we know. We know by reading and discussing the Word. Spending time in praise, prayer, and meditation strengthens us.
Is God silent?  Truth is God is never silent. (Isaiah 55:11) His Word is alive and powerful. (Hebrews 4:12) I just need to pick up His Word and start reading to hear what God is saying, or  I can give in to the temptation to let it sit on the shelf.
One thing we may not realize is that the tests of this life are OPEN BOOK TESTS. 
In addition to an open book test, we have Jesus (who is ever interceding on our behalf.) –Romans 8:34   When the test seems crushing, I am ever grateful that Jesus has my back. Also, we are told to pray for one another. (James 5:16) Don’t let pride stop you from asking for prayer in the midst of difficulties.
  Unlike tests you took in school, in the tests of life you can ask a friend for help. I am grateful for good friends who remind me of the truths of God’s Word and encourage me in the midst of trials.
til next time,
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February 8, 2017 Posted by | ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

old houses

“I’ve got a mansion just over the hilltop….”

“This old house …. ain’ta gonna need this house no longer…….ain’t got time to fix the shingles……getting ready to meet the saints.”

We live in a house that has been around for over 100 years. There is always something needing attention. Maybe that is why these two songs were on my mind.

“Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.” Romans 11:12-13 (MSG)

We are having long time friends over this week-end who have never been to our house.  My hope is that they will notice the warm welcome and not just our clean home.

Make the most of today!

til next time

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July 17, 2016 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, pastor, Pastor's wife, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

five women

How can five woman (who are each beautiful in their own way) touch my heart with joy and sadness all at the same time?

For privacy purposes I will call them Beauty, Precious, Twinkle, Tapper, and Sweetie.

Joy:  Beauty lights up whenever I touch her hand.  She loves to talk about the weather outside.  Precious is the one most with it and does not like her nails painted.  Twinkle doesn’t communicate with words but when I look into her eyes and speak to her — there is that twinkle.  Her body doesn’t move but her eyes follow me.  She is in there somewhere.  Tapper loves it when I tap the table with her.  She has beat!  Finally, Sweetie is shy, looks at me out of the corner of her eye and yet wants me to talk with her.  They all, in different ways, remind me of my mother.

As you might have guessed these ladies are in various stages of dementia.

Sadness:  My mother had dementia. For those who watch people they love go through the stages of dementia, well, there really are no words for what that process is like.   I praise God that He is a safe place to hide,  ready to help when we need him.” (Psalm 46:1 The Message)   (Click here for more on dementia) 

While I sat there carrying the conversation, my mind was remembering many such conversations I had with my own mother.  You might say my mother taught me how to communicate with others who have dementia.

It’s coming up on the second anniversary of my mother’s death.  It ‘just so happened’  that  “I Can Only Imagine” came on the radio as I drove away.  I was holding my mother’s hand as this song came to an end and she took her last breath here on earth.  Again joy and sadness — joy in the realization that she no longer needs to imagine and sadness because I miss her so.

Do you know of a family who is dealing with dementia?  I encourage you to take a moment and reach out to them.  A ‘thinking of you’ note, a private message on facebook,  a phone call, or a text will brighten their day.  When you see them in person, inquire about their loved one.  The greatest blessing my friends gave to me was letting me talk about my mom and the struggles I was facing in dealing with her dementia.

Some might think my visit with these ladies was a waste of time.   After all, it is likely they had forgotten it by the time I got out the door.   Some of them  will remember me next time and some will not.   Yet, at the moment it was meaningful to them.    I know it was worth it to me.

til next time

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December 31, 2015 Posted by | dementia, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

674

674 and counting

Awhile back I was at a PW retreat and was challenged to start a gratitude journal.  I have great respect and admiration for the woman who challenged me.  She even went as far as to supply us with journals.  I had no excuse.  (Shortly after that I read the book  1,000 Gifts by Ann Voscamp.  I highly recommend this book.)

The idea behind the journal is to list three things that you are grateful for each day – no repeating.

My first three:

1. The love of God
2. My husband
3. My children

I am up to 674.  While that is a lot, if I had in fact listed three each day there would be so much more.  However, this is not about guilt or self- condemnation when I don’t write in it for a few days.

It is about getting me to focus on what God is doing in my life.  It is about keeping a record of the little things that I would have missed if I wasn’t looking for the beauty around me.  It is a tool to help me cultivate an awareness of God’s presence in my day.

“Let us cultivate an awareness of the presence of God.”  Curt Girod

Another benefit is that on those days when life seems to have kicked me in the teeth, I can open up my journal and read through it.  I can’t adequately express just how encouraging that is!

“God is good.  Life is good.  Life can be hard but God is still good.”  Curt Girod

What about you?  Do you find yourself rushing through each day?  Is it easy for you to be dragged down in negativity?  Do your days seems to be ‘same old, same old?’  Do you recognize the fingerprints of God in your day? Do you struggle with gratitude?

I encourage you to grab a pen and notebook.  Start your own gratitude journal.  If you keep at it, it will change you.

Here are a few of my entries.

Sand between my toes,
Greenish blue water meeting the bright blue sky, dotted with white fluffy clouds (just reading that takes me back to that moment -makes me smile)
Vastness of the ocean,
White keys –black keys flowing into music,
Smell of the air after a downpour,
Great hair day,
Bad hair day – have hair!
Alexander snuggles,
Encouragement of a friend,
Tree lined highways,
Cake for breakfast!!
Belly laughs,
Crisp bacon,
Wading across the Mississippi,
My husband’s smile,
Alexander’s really long hug while my tears flow – life is precious!
Peace in the midst of sadness,
Heating pad,
Apple fritters that remind me of mom,
Hope,
Just so happens moments – when God lines things up (there are many of those listed)
Peppermint mocha creamer,
Crying with a friend,
Alexander walking in my shoes,
The sound of my children laughing,

What are you grateful for?  Thanksgiving is tomorrow.  What a great time to start your own gratitude journal.

til next time

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November 25, 2015 Posted by | ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

what are we missing?

I received this in the mail yesterday.

cell phone

We have had our cell phones for 14 years – I barely remember what it was like before cell phones.

My husband did not want a cell phone.  An emergency situation was the final determining factor in seeing the need for a pastor to have a cell phone .

I enjoyed greatly the fact that our boys had cell phones when they got their first vehicles.  There was a sense of relief that they were only a phone call a way if they had problems.

Then came texting. How did we get along with it?  Yet, how has it impacted conversations?

Somewhere in there I became a blogger.  Next I jumped on the Facebook bandwagon.  I have not joined any other social media site, nor have I joined pintrest.  Yet social media has impacted my life.

I talked my husband into getting smart phones when we were taking our old motorcycle to the Grand Canyon.   A GPS and google came in very handy.

I love my phone.  As of this moment, I have 1,240 pictures on it.  I say this moment because before the day is over I will probably have at least one more.

That said, I also hate my phone.  I seemed to be chained to it.  Yes, I have checked Facebook before getting out of bed.  It has consumed more of my life than it should.

I saw an article about the simplicity of flip phones and mentioned it to one of my sons.  He has refused to get a smart phone and still uses his flip phone.  He then showed me this YouTube video.

The guy starts out with “I have 422 friends, yet I am lonely.  I speak to all of them everyday yet none of them really know me…....”

It has griped my heart and I am not a great abuser.  That said, I will be making some changes.

There is a line in this that jumped out at me.

We are a generation of idiots, smart phones and dumb people.  So look up from your phone, shut down the display, take in your surroundings, make the most of today……..”

Has social media replaced human contact?  Is it easier for you to ‘talk’ on Facebook than to carry on a conversation eye to eye? When with others, are you ‘with’ them or are you more concerned about what is going on in social media?  I do think we have become a society that is too accessible to a device that should connect us but just might be isolating us.

For me, I am making some changes.  I will let you know how it goes.

My phone is meant to be a tool not a noose around my neck.

What are we missing by looking down at our phone and not around at our surroundings?

till next time

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June 23, 2015 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, life lessons, living in a fish bowl, ministry, motorcycle, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

getting smarter

Today I am off work.   I am not sick, nor does my boss think that I am sick.  This wasn’t a planned vacation day.  I am not on vacation.

Yesterday I asked my boss if I could leave after lunch and take Tuesday off.  Maybe I should mention that I was off last week for spring break.  I had plenty of work that had piled up while I was gone.

Yet I knew that I was in great need of a day of rest.  ‘You have not because you ask not.’  (James 4:2)    I am finally getting smarter.    I love God’s favor.    I am grateful for a boss who did not hesitate to grant me my request.

I came home from Spring break exhausted.  I truly experienced the grace of God on Sunday.  I know that He gave me an abundance of strength to do the work He has called me to do and to do it with joy!

Monday morning I could tell my body was tapped out.

Spring Break – Last year we went to Branson, MO.  This year we talked about heading to the coast.  A week of lounging around, soaking up the sun and doing much of nothing was very appealing.  However, our conference was rescheduled to the first weekend of our vacation.  (I blogged about the conference – click here)

We were losing 2 days of travel time so instead of going south we decided to go north to see family and friends.  God knew what we could not possibly have known — that we needed to be going north for Spring break.

On Saturday morning we found out that my step-sister had passed away.  It was pretty sudden.  She had a stroke Friday night that  caused bleeding on the brain.

Years ago she had asked my husband to do her funeral and for me to sing.

This trip I was planning on surprising my step-sister.  She didn’t know we were coming.  I guess she was the one with the surprise.

Normally on vacation we pack casual clothes.  However, since we were at a conference we had business casual clothes with us.  Still this was the first funeral Curt did in dress pants and a sweater, but I know that Phyllis would have loved it.

Sunday, after church, on the way back to the hotel we realized that there was a problem with the car.  I refused to get jazzed up about it.   Sunday was the only day we had  nothing on the agenda.  I was not going to ruin it by worrying about something I couldn’t control anyway.  God was very aware that we would be on the road a lot in the next week.

The next morning God directed Curt to just the right shop.   We were on the road 15 minutes before we had originally planned.  Thanks God!

Jakes pizzavisiting mommy mom

planning the funeral

planning the funeral

A couple of hours later we were in our old neighborhood.  It was so good to see mom.  We played a few games of dominoes.  Later Phyllis’ son, wife and good friend joined us.  It was a time of reminiscing and planning.  The funeral would be Thursday.  I am sure mom did not know what was going on but she enjoyed all the attention.

spring break 2013 019old childhood budsister timeCurt and his momspring break 2013 029

Connecting with family and friends was wonderful.  I cherish that time.  Although it did make for a full week and a whole lot of eating.  🙂

Thursday was the funeral.   We had a couple of firsts at this funeral.  Rick sang You and me Jesus.  When he was done the people broke out in applause.  Yes, applause at a funeral.   Rick makes that piano sing like no one I have ever heard.   The song itself is powerful!   Then there were at least 11 people who spoke during the ‘share a memory’ time.  Young, old, male, female, family, friends — what a tribute!  I was grateful that I made it through the poem and song that Phyllis had wanted me to do.

We were among some of the last to leave the luncheon.  Seeing people from way back was therapeutic.  Lots of hugs.  Lots of catching up.  Lots of new things to pray about.   One more visit with mom and then it was back on the road to the hotel – 2 hours away.spring break 2013 033

I am grateful for the time I have with mom.  However, it is emotionally draining to see the impact  dementia is having on her.

been a long time

been a long time

Our last get together was with some of our friends from St. Mark’s.  Seems like just yesterday.  It is  true that time flies and yet when you get together with old friends time seems to stand still.

So yesterday I knew that I was in need of some serious down time.  Yes, I am getting smarter.

til next time

March 19, 2013 Posted by | ministry, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

days

Snow days

Vacation days

Sick days

Holidays

Oh how I used to love snow days.  Snow days meant the boys and I had the whole day ahead of us to do whatever we wanted.  There were games, movies, bundling up so we could go  play in the snow and then hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows.

Now snow days means I am one of the fortunate ones that can make it in to the clinic.  Dr did close early on Thursday but while everyone else left at 1:00,  I stayed on as there was lots still to be done.   Funny how much you can get done when you shut the phones off and lock the door.  LOL

Vacation days – now that just brings a smile to my lips.  Although vacation in ministry requires planning and re-planning and then last-minute planning.  It sometimes even means planning while you are hundreds of miles away because something has fallen through.

Sick days are no fun but sometimes what the body truly needs is rest.

Holidays are a special kind of day.  Some people have to work on holidays while others have the day off.    I am grateful that my job at the clinic closed for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day this year.

I was talking with a friend yesterday about her plans for Christmas.  She mentioned that she was looking forward to coming to church.  As we were talking, we both agreed that our church family is indeed part of  our family.

Later I was thinking about that day years ago when Curt talked with me about wanting to have a church service either in the evening on the 24th or in the morning of the 25th.    It meant giving up the option of going home for Christmas.

That first Christmas in Iowa was hard.  Have I mentioned that  I am a momma’s girl?

Fast forward to last Sunday.  Sundays in December require more planning and more practicing.  It is so worth it though.  This year we had  a drummer debut, a couple of duets, a vocal solo,  a solo with piano and guitar,  and of course I blogged on the song “a baby changes everything”.

Ministry has its ups and its downs.  It has those moments that you just want to shout from the mountain top the amazing things that you are seeing God do.  Then there are those times when you are on your face before God asking for Him to do what only He can do.   I know, that  I know, that I know that God heals and yet sometimes we walk through that valley and it is hard.

So Sunday wasn’t a snow day, vacation day, sick day or a holiday but it was the day that God reminded me again that He is with me as I go around this mountain again.   (Thanks Ed for being that willing vessel and sharing that Word during worship.)

Then after church Allyssa and Brent gave me this necklace.  In light of my last blog this truly was God inspired.

from Allyssa

Whatever kind of day you are having remember that God is with you and if need be He will carry you.

Jesus the reason for the season!

Merry Christmas!

til next time

December 24, 2012 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, ministry | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black Friday

For some shopping on Black Friday is not even a consideration.  For others a little dab will do them.  The news media broadcasts the greed and violence that some experience while shopping on Black Friday.   However,  I do believe that the majority of people who go have a good time and that kindness is evident even when you are shoulder to shoulder with strangers.

I don’t even know how many years we have ventured out.  Let me just say that I don’t remember  a Thanksgiving weekend without Black Friday shopping.

Yes that is snow!!

When we arrived in MN on Thanksgiving it was warm.  However, as the day went on it started to snow.

Here we are heading out.

This is the first year my nephew decided to see what all the fuss was about.

It was also the first year we went for 10 hours before heading back to my sisters.  I did wonder how my mom ever kept up with us.  I cherish the memories I have of getting up at O’ dark 30 and there she was dressed and ready to go.

Galina and I remembered our Santa hats

We wear fun hats.  They serve two purposes.  First it is way easier to spot a hat when searching for each other and secondly it causes laughter.

I love to laugh.  Laughter is a universal language.

We are having fun even if we are freezing

you are one of the first 40 🙂

When we left IA it was in the 50’s and I had open-backed shoes on.  After waiting in the freezing cold and snow for Old Navy to open, the first thing I did was head to the boot department.  Brr.

There were people everywhere.  Just when I thought no way was I getting any closer (after all I do have space issues) –  I noticed that the people down in front were actually passing boots back to those behind them.  I called out ‘Size 8 please’ and wala someone handed me a pair of boots.  I stood there, in the background, for a while just watching that gentleman and lady grabbing boots from up high and tossing them to strangers.  Sad that things like that don’t make the 10 o’clock news.

Breakfast break.  Tradition has it that McDonald’s is the place to eat.  A little food and lots of caffeine and we are ready to continue.

McDonald’s gift to us for stopping for breakfast at O’ Dark thirty

 

All in all,  it was another successful and memorable Black Friday experience.  Successful because I easily stayed on budget while getting  some terrific deals.  Memorable because it was 10 hours with my sister, niece, nephew and ‘daughter’.    It is one tradition worth keeping.

til next time

November 29, 2012 Posted by | just thinking about stuff | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

hold on, don’t quit

Don’t let it steal your joy!

I’ve got your back girlfriend!

Life can be hard but  don’t let it steal your joy!

Things happen.  Sometimes it is things beyond our control.   It might be a direct result of something we have done.  Other times it is because of what someone else has done and it affects us.  Whatever it may be doesn’t change the fact that God is still God.  He will help us if we give it to Him.   Joy comes from God and is not dependent on circumstances.

I don’t have to look hard to find things that are attempting to steal my joy.    How I respond to those things is huge in whether or not I am walking around as the victim or the victor.  No matter the situation that I face, I can still have the joy that comes from God in the midst of it.  My hope comes from Him.   He holds me (and you) in the palm of His hand.   It will be alright!

I’ve got your back girlfriend!  We need each other.  When someone is hurting I may not have any answers but what I do have is compassion — letting someone know that they are not alone, that I am there, that I am praying with them, and that I’ve got their back.

I believe that Christians who tear down other Christians grieve the Holy Spirit.  Look for the good, encourage others, and pray for God to develop His character in them.   Do you have their back or are you just waiting for them to mess up so you can stick it to them?

It has been a long week and I look forward to a better week ahead.  Even if it isn’t, God will still be right there with me and you.

To all of my friends who are facing huge obstacles  hold on, don’t quit, stand firm in your faith!   God specializes in working all things out for your good.  (Romans 8:28)

Jesus will still be there

“…When the going gets tough – When the ride’s too rough — When you’re just not sure enough  –  Jesus will still be there, His love will never change  – Sure as a steady rain.  Jesus will still be there.   When no one else is true – He’ll still be loving you.   When it looks like you’ve lost it all and you haven’t got a prayer – Jesus will still be there.”  Point of Grace

Jesus will still be there

Whatever tomorrow holds we face it with Jesus by our side.

til next time

April 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

christian?

A few months back we celebrated 20 years of ministry in a small town church.  20 years!  I’ve lived here longer than anywhere else in my life.

A lot of people have come and gone.   Babies have grown up and are now having babies.   What a joy that is to see!  There is the joy of  new life  and then there is the sadness as we have bid farewell to those who have gone on before us.  One day we will meet again  on that Golden Shore.  (Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones.  Psalm 116:15)

There have been weddings.  I love weddings!  If I could do it over again I would have started a scrap-book with the very first wedding.

There are those who have moved away and those who have moved on.  There are those who have recently joined our family  (quick count and I am up to 23 in the last year and a half  – Thank you God!)

All in all, it has been and is my desire to be real in a world where so many people are trying to be someone who they aren’t.   I have good days and I have bad days.  Life happens.  Yet in and through all of it, God is there.   I am not the perfect Pastor’s wife (not by a long shot)  or the perfect pastor.   However,  I love Jesus and I am learning how to walk in love.  I am finding that to be a life long process.  Some days are easier than others – for sure.

Awhile back I was at a craft store with a dear friend and  saw this fairly large wall hanging.  We talked about what it had to say – about what it means to be a christian.  For our 20th anniversary she gave it to us.  Here is what it said.

When I say “I am a Christian” I’m not shouting “I am saved.”   I’m whispering “I get lost – that is why I chose this way.”

When I say  “I am a Christian”  I don’t speak of this with pride.   I’m confessing that I stumble and need someone to be my guide.

When I say “I am a Christian”   I’m not trying to be strong.   I’m professing that I’m weak and pray for strength to carry on.

When I say “I am a Christian” I’m not bragging of success.  I’m admitting I have failed and cannot ever pay the debt.

When I say “I am a Christian” I’m not claiming to be perfect. My faults are all too visible, but God believes I’m worth it.

When I say “I’m a Christian” I still feel the sting of pain.  I have my share of heartaches – which is why I seek His name.

When I say “I’m a Christian” I do not wish to judge.  I have no authority.  I only know that I am loved.

Christian?

What does it mean to you?

til next time

June 30, 2011 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, ministry | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments