Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Embracing the moment

Posted: September 10, 2013 in Faith, Family, Grace, Humor
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The following is a post from Pr. Erik’s blog from over a year ago.

Scarlett, our youngest, has now gotten into the habit of waking up well before 6am and deciding that she is no longer tired and that it is time to get dad up. The mornings have become fairly predictable.

5:30 Scarlett is at her doorway yelling for dad (not mom, but dad)

5:35 Dad gets Scarlett back in bed, telling her it is too early to get up

5:45 Scarlett is at the door again, I not tired, she says

5:46 Dad is in bed with Scarlett trying to get her back to sleep

5:47 Scarlett starts poking dad, and the next 15 minutes are trying to get her to stop

6:05 Dad gives up, takes Scarlett to the bathroom and down to watch TV, trying to keep her quiet so the rest of the house can sleep

I finally got to the stage where I have stopped fighting her on this. I still try to get her to stay in bed until at least 6, but when she comes down stairs I decided to turn this into daddy/Scarlett time. So we cuddle in the chair, watch some cartoons and joke around with each other.

Once I made that change, from fighting it to embracing it, my morning got a lot less stressful and I started to enjoy my time with her in the mornings so much more.

Now don’t get me wrong, I would still love for her to sleep an extra hour or so every morning, but as long as she is up, I am going to make the best of it.

So what are some areas in your life where you learned to embrace the issue rather than fight against it?

The Valley

Posted: September 6, 2013 in Faith, Family, Grace, Life
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Recently I was reminded about a time when I was sitting with a lady in the hospital as she was struggling with the diagnosis that she was going to die soon, her disease was terminal.  As we talked she said, “There is one thing I know as I enter this last leg of my journey, I am not traveling alone.”

We hear that promise throughout scripture, especially in Psalm 23, and we are reminded that as we journey into what may seem as the darkest parts of our lives, even as we journey to death, we are not alone.  God has promised to light the way for us, and he sent his Son to show how death and darkness have no power over us.

This is the light of God, that his light is never extinguished, and our journeys will only bring us to a greater light, an eternal light, blessed with all the love that God can shower upon us.

Joy

Posted: June 23, 2013 in Faith, Family, Grace, Life
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Okay, I will admit it – there are times I get depressed. There are times I feel down and the happiness and joy of life seems to be missing. There are also times that I am passive about trying to feel better, just waiting for someone or something to come by and pick me up.

 

I read a quote from Joyce Meyer today – Stop giving others the job of making you happy.

 

Too often, I think, we are passive when it comes to joy and happiness. Too often we expect others to come to our rescue and make things better. When, instead, we need to take the step forward ourselves. We need to do something a little different, look at life from a  different perspective, and realize that they joy, the happiness, the blessings of life are there and have been there the entire time.

 

So now, when I get in a funk and feel a little down, I take a look at my girls (like in the picture above) and my wife and my friends and my life and see all of the blessings that I have been blessed with. I also physically move myself to another place to get a new perspective and I don’t rely on others to make me happy.

 

So today, what are you going to do to see the joy in life?

Dreams

Posted: June 12, 2013 in Faith, Family, Grace, Life
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As I have mentioned before, there are some nights when I am locking in battle with insomnia. I lie in bed, staring at the ceiling, thinking of everything that needs to get done and trying to figure out ways to get it done rather than falling asleep. These can be long nights and the mornings always come way too quickly.

 

Quite often, during these nights, my mind turns to dreams – dreams I have for the future – dreams of what I want to accomplish – dreams of what I want to see during my journey here. Some of these dreams are realistic, and others are just pipe dreams, but I dream them anyway.

 

Dreams are important. They help all of us to set goals and look beyond the immediate nature of today. It is good to have dreams, and to make time to try and find ways to achieve these dreams. But, as I have come to notice, sometimes we get so caught up in dreams for the future that we neglect the gifts we are given today. We are looking down the road and miss seeing what is happening right here and now. So the question is, how do we combine the life we live today with the dreams we have for tomorrow.

 

Back in college, my friends and I would talk about what we would do after we graduated. After graduation, we talked about where we would be in ten years. Now, some of my friends talk about what they will do when they are retired. But what about now? Are we trying to just make it up another rung on the ladder, or are we rejoicing in the blessing of today? There needs to be a happy medium somewhere.

 

For me, the key has come with the issue of time. We only have so much of it, and we need to take full advantage of what we have been given. Taking time to be with the people we love and to do the things we love to do. When we do that, the other dreams fall into place, for we see that all the other stuff – trips, cabins in the woods, etc – are made so much better when we live those dreams out with the people we love.

 

Humans were created to be in relationship with others. Those relationships take many different forms, but are all important. We need to make time to help these relationships grow in the healthiest ways possible, rejoice in the gift of them, and celebrate the dreams we have with others.

 

So what are your dreams for today?

Today, our family bids farewell to an institution that’s been a part of our lives for almost 9 years. Today is Scarlett’s last day at the Angel Academy, a day care center/preschool that has taught and looked after our daughters for their whole lives. The Angel Academy is closing in a few weeks, since its host congregation is changing locations and will no longer have space for the day care. It’s going to be hard for us to say goodbye to the people and place that have cared for our children for so many years.

 

I remember the first time I took Sierra there, a 7-pound pipsqueak in the infant room. I was sure this tiny baby would cry the whole day. She didn’t. She was cared for well. I’ll remember chuckling as my children chastised me over the years for saying the words “stupid” and “butt,” because those were “bad words” at school. I’ll remember hearing “I’m Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee,” and “Jesus Loves Me” sung over and over after school. We’ll always have the handprint crafts they brought home to us. I’ll remember how Scarlett, at 3-years-old, declared that her school friend Ayden was her boyfriend. Today we say goodbye and thank you to the Angel Academy, because they helped shape our children, and the things they learned and the memories we have, will last forever.

 

This is the time of year when we see a lot of things coming to an end, and a lot of new things beginning. Winter has finally come to an end, trees that were budding just a few weeks ago now have leaves, our spring flowers are giving way to the flowers of summer. And students are preparing to transition from one level to another. And some are graduating, in Commencement ceremonies. “Commencement” doesn’t mean, “The End,” but rather, “The Beginning.” Because when one facet of our lives draws to a close, a new part begins. Life is full of endings and new beginnings. Even when we’re done graduating, we all experience “commencements” in life – new jobs, new homes, having children and grandchildren, new opportunities, new relationships, and retirement. Scarlett is already looking forward to her new beginnings – the new schools she’ll attend, the new friends she’ll meet, the new adventures she’ll have. Saying goodbye and moving forward isn’t always easy, but as we make transitions, we remember that our God is a God of new life, who goes with us, blessing our journey and making all things new.

Pastor Jennifer

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Isn’t it interesting that one’s faith story does not stand alone?  All of us are influenced by the lives of other Christians who have come before us or stood around us.  These individuals not only guide us as we walk through this life, but they give us a model of Christ among us.

I am blessed because I was raised in a Christian home.  My parents took me to church every Sunday, served as president of the church council, helped fund all of my youth trips, and just encouraged me along the way.  I am also blessed because I was given the opportunity to go to a Christian college.  Through my four years at Luther College I was given numerous opportunities to grow in my faith and to work in fellowship with others.

But all of that aside, my faith story starts with my Grandma Joyce.  I love my grandma so much and we’ve always had a great bond.  This might be because I’m the only granddaughter or that I’m the oldest grandchild or that we live only 15 minutes away from each other or that we both have a passion toward the field of education.  But I think the main, underlining reason we are so close is because of our faith.  My grandma knows so much about her faith and is committed to living out her Christian life to the best of her ability.  She plays the organ at church (for free!), leads church services at the local retirement home, participates and leads Bible studies, and so much more!

But she has affected me so much by allowing me to be a part of her spiritual journey.  I have sung along to hymns as she played the piano for the nursing home residents.  I have participated in her Bible studies and I have joined her Christian book club.  But more than that, I have discussed and debated Christianity with my grandma.  I go to her with questions.  I go to her when I feel alone.  I go to her when I need support.  And she is ALWAYS there for me.

My grandma has also taught me that faith is not talking, faith is doing and showing God’s love to others.  My challenge for all of you is to consider how YOU help others on their Christian journey.  How do you show God’s love to others?  How do you support others when they need some of God’s compassion in their lives?  How do you lead others in their faith?

God is here!  That is the message of Easter.  He is here among us!  He lives in us and through us.  How are WE sharing this life-giving love to others?

I wish you all a blessed Holy Week.  May God’s love shine in you and through you always.

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Here at Our Savior’s we love to share our stories of faith; stories about the ways God has entered into our lives and stories about the ways we can share our gifts and bless others.

This blog is one that will be filled with stories of the people of Our Savior’s. We will strive to put up weekly posts that talk about our faith, our joys and struggles, our blessings and our pains.

And we want you involved, too. This blog aspires to be interactive – a conversation where we can join together in an online community, walking the walk of faith with one another.

We look forward to traveling this journey with you.