Worship Words-End of the Year


For the last several years, I have documented the year by placing memories in a jar. I keep the jar in my living room. As we attend concerts or movies, I place the ticket stub in the jar. When a loved one visits, I start a new job, we buy a house, I paddleboard for the first time, etc., I write this information on a small piece of paper, date it, and place it in the jar. By this time of the year, the jar is full and ready to be emptied. So either on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, my husband and I dump out the jar and remember the year. We give thanks for the good memories. Sometimes I cry when I remember someone who has died. We laugh and talk and remember things that had slipped from our memories. And when we have read all we saved from the last year, we place it in an envelope, date it with the year, and begin again with an empty jar. This has become an important way for us to remember and give thanks.

How do you celebrate the year that is ending and prepare for the new year?
A Prayer for 2015.
God, Another year is ending. It was a year filled with joys and tragedies. It was a year of laughter and tears. And through it all, you were our constant companion. We thank you for your faithfulness when we struggle to remain faithful. We thank you for your love when we struggle to love each other. We thank you for your compassion when it hard to be compassionate.
Loving God, We give thanks for the year that is ending. For all we learned and the ways we changed, we give you thanks. For the new challenges that we faced and the old customs that brought us comfort, we give you thanks. For the ways we came together as families and communities and for the times we didn’t and will strive to do better, we give you thanks.
As this year ends, we look ahead to a brand new year filled with hope and promise. And we thank you for being with us in the new year as we look forward to what will be.

Worship Words-Christmas Eve Benediction

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Tonight, as we celebrate God is with us in the birth of Jesus, let us continue to live lives of hope, peace, joy, and love.

Share God’s love with the shepherds you meet on the hillside.

Let the communion of the Holy Spirit fill your heart with glad tidings like the angels.

And the Prince of Peace born again tonight, may He live in your heart to comfort and challenge you as you seek to live as one of his disciples. Amen.


This was published on Liturgy Link on November 23, 2015.

Advent Prayer Stations

Last Sunday, my youth had time to play and pray. We divided into two groups. Each group spent half an hour playing minute to win it games and half an hour engaging in these prayer stations. All of the prayer stations I’m sharing here were created by Rethinking Youth Ministry. I made some adjustments and adaptations to make them work for my youth in the our space. You could easily make these prayer stations in your home. I hope seeing these stations will sustain you through this Advent season.

Chain of Prayers


Items Needed-

Strips of red and green construction paper


Stapler or Tape

Copy of the Chain of Prayers instructions
On a table set out the items needed. This could be done with youth sitting around a table or on the floor depending on the layout of your space.

Chain of Prayers (instructions)

Sometimes it is easier for us to write down our prayers instead of saying them outloud.

Use these strips of paper to write down the names of people, places, events, or anything else you’d like to lift up to God in prayer.

Connect your prayers to the prayers of others by looping them and stapling them. By connecting our prayers, we remember that we are a community who cares for each other and for all of God’s children.

“I thank my God every time I remember you.”

-Philippians 1:3


[Read more…]



In honor of his birthday, I am featuring my husband’s favorite tea today. Rich loves green tea and his absolute favorite green tea is Gyokuro which we get from our favorite tea shop, McNulty’s. I ordered this last Thursday morning, and it arrived at our home on Friday afternoon. McNulty’s tea shop is the best.

Now, back to the birthday boy and his favorite tea. I made him a cup this morning and asked for his comments. He said he likes this tea because it is “earthy, nutty and delicious.”

We steep this tea for 1 minute. It is a light color when it is ready. Rich likes it with an ice cube or two to cool it down so he can drink it quickly. I will warn you that this is not a cheap tea. We get it from McNulty’s because they have the best price on this tea. Rich recommends you give this tea a try!



Worship Words-A Loving Benediction

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Be people of love.

Let love live in your heart and share the love of Christ with all you meet.

Share love by loving those you see regularly.  Start by loving your community.

Share love by loving those you do not know. How do your actions affect the rest of God’s creation?

Share love by praying for our world.

In this Advent season, we need to see, feel, and share love.

As you go out into the wonder of God’s creations, share love, joy, peace, and hope with those you meet. Amen.


This was published on Liturgy Link on November 23, 2015.

Book Review-Sight in the Sandstorm


Sight in the Sandstorm: Jesus in His World and Mine

Ann J. Temkin

Emotional Response-4

Scholarly Response-4

The concept of this book fascinated me. Almost every chapter shares a story from the author’s life that she parallels to a story from Scripture.  She gives us a glimpse into life in 1st century Palestine while showing us that some things haven’t changed enough. Often she picked a Scripture text to walk alongside her story that was not the one I would have picked. I loved this. I enjoyed guessing what Scripture she’d select. When I was correct, I felt like we were seeing Scripture similarly. When I guessed wrong, I felt like the author was challenging and expanding my reading of Scripture.

I enjoyed her storytelling. She does not simply retell the Biblical stories. She adds details so you can see it. She gives voice to the characters (many whose words and thoughts are not shared with us in Scripture). The connection exists between her stories and the Bible stories because she tells both in the same way and style.

Once we have moved past Palm Sunday, the stories become only about Jesus and life in the 1st century (Chapters 15-17). I was saddened and disappointed by this change. Although the stories of the cleansing of the temple, the Last Supper, the betrayal and arrest, and the crucifixion are difficult, I wanted to know how she would use her life stories alongside these stories. When Easter comes, she returns to sharing her stories again. The book ends with the celebration of Pentecost.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. It is well-researched, well-written, and a fun read. I’d recommend this book to you if you’d like to look at Scripture in a new way. I’d recommend this book to you if you’d like to find a way to relate life today to the life of Jesus. I’d recommend this book to you if you love a good story.


I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.


Worship Words-A Joyful Benediction

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Be people of joy.

Let joy live in your heart and share the joy of Christ with all you meet.

Share joy by seeing the good in each other.

Share joy by remembering good times and hoping for good times to come.

Share joy by praying for our world.

In this Advent season, we need to see, feel, and share joy.

As you go out into the wonder of God’s creations, share joy, peace, and hope with those you meet. Amen.


This was published on Liturgy Link on November 23, 2015.

Movie Review-Inside Out

Recently my life has not included enough time reading time. This week’s review is a movie that has quickly become a favorite of my four year old niece-Inside Out!

Watching this movie with Ella is like watching the Director’s Cut. She tells you what is happening, who is on screen, and what is going to happen next. It is obvious that she has seen the movie many, many times, and she still asks to watch it every day! Her favorite character is ‘Sgust (aka Disgust).

I’m not qualified to review this movie on Ella’s behalf, so I will tell you why I like it and recommend it for all ages.

Inside Out is the story of a young girl, Riley, and the five emotions (Joy, Anger, Fear, Sadness, and Disgust) who guide her responses to life. This movie offers a visual explanation of our emotional responses and memory making and storage. It attempts to make sense of the complexities that make us who we are. It is a movie that hits close to home as I moved when I was about Riley’s age. You’d have to ask my parents how often Joy was present in my life at that time. I do remember feeling plenty of Anger, Disgust, and Sadness at the prospect of leaving all that was familiar and some Fear about what my new home, friends, and school would be like.

This is a heart-warming story and challenging story about moving, growing up, and the life-long process of discovering one’s self.

When you watch it, I hope you’ll consider-

What are my core memories?

What are my islands of personality?

What emotion guides me the most often?

Enjoy the show!

Raspberry Nectar


Recently, I was at a party where these fun tea bags were given as party favors. Not only does this make a cute gift, it is also useful! I was delighted to give this fun tea a try.


You can probably tell from all the pictures that I thought this was the cutest packaging ever. And when I opened the pyramid and discovered the tea sachet was pyramid shaped and made to hang over the cup, I was hooked.



Good news! The tea tastes good and isn’t just a fun party favor. I liked the combination of hibiscus and raspberry. I would have preferred a little less hibiscus and a little more raspberry. Overall, it was a good cup of tea and a perfect party favor. IMG_3900