We All Grieve!

We are all grieving. We do not get over grief. We learn to live in our new normal.

In my work as a hospice chaplain, I help people to name their grief and decide how to respond. Whenever life does not happen as we planned or hoped, we may grieve for what will not be.

Too often, we are told grief is linear. As if we can move through the correct steps of grief to come out the other end or to the finish line and be grief-free. Grief does not work like that. We circle around and around. We feel better and are sad again. We cry and smile. We scream and wonder why. Grief is unique to each person and circumstance. We need to acknowledge and accept each other’s grief.

In order to invite you to think about grief and possibly think about it differently, I encourage you to listen to this amazing conversation about grief. Pauline Boss, The Myth of Closure from On Being with Krista Tippett


A Prayer for All of Us

Loving God,

You are the constant in our lives. You love us every second of every minute. From you, we learned to love. This loves that brings us so much joy also brings us pain and heartbreak. You know our hurts and our grief. We grieve the changing of relationships and we know that people are not the only cause of our grief. God, you know that changes cause grief even when we know the changes are good. While it is difficult to thank you for the pain of grief, we do thank you, Gracious God, for our ability to love and adapt and change.

We bring our grief to you-

for relationships that ended,

for chances we did not take,

for loved ones who died,

for new jobs and new schools,

for the ends and the beginnings,

for the things we are no longer able to do,

for the times we are told no,

and for anything else that causes us grief, we give to you, God.

Continue to walk with us on this journey, Faithful God, as we grow, change, and grieve. Amen.


Winter Spice on a Summer Day


Being sick is no fun. Being even a little sick is no fun. I’m living with a scratchy and sore throat this week which means I want comfort, and you won’t be surprised to read that I find comfort in a mug of hot tea. Yesterday at work, I found comfort in my Young Clergy Women Project mug with Winter Spice tea. The delicious smell, the cozy taste, and the warmth soothing my throat made my day a little better. So, while I enjoy trying a new cup of tea, sometimes nothing hits the spot like an old favorite.

Worship Words-So Many People For Whom to Give Thanks!

I believe we were created to be in relationship with each other. Too often, I ignore this and try to do everything myself. When I get too far into the “I CAN DO ALL THINGS” mindset, something happens to remind me that I need other people. This week that reminder came from a flat tire. How many people do I need to help me with a flat tire? My husband, AAA person, co-worker to give me a ride, brother-in-law to offer new tire advice, my parents, my sister, and the mechanics who are putting on my new tires while I write this. I’m going to round that to about 10 people. How many people do you need to help you through the challenges in life? The number and the names of some of the people change depending on the challenge I am facing. I am thankful for all those who help me through each day. So today, I offer a prayer of thanksgiving for relationships and communities of caring.

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Loving God, You love us and you urge us to love each other. Thank you for all the important relationships in our lives. Thank you for our families-the ones we created, the ones we are given, and the ones we long for. Thank you for our friends-new ones, old ones, best ones, and all types of friends. Thank you for our church family who walks with us through the joys and sorrows of life. Thank you for all our loved ones and all who we love. Thank you for all our communities of caring. Thank you for neighbors who live nearby and people who treat us like a neighbor. Thank you for strangers who chat with us at the store or help in an emergency. Thank you for work and school colleagues. Thank you for those whose hard work puts healthy food on our tables and whose hard work keeps us safe. Help us to notice and thank all those who walk this journey with us. Thank you for reminding us that we don’t have to live life alone. For all your love and for all who loves us, we give you thanks. Amen. 


Worship Words-Prayer of Confession Based on Luke 9:51-62

This Prayer of Confession uses Sunday’s Gospel reading, Luke 9: 51-62, for inspiration. 

God, You know there are days when we see others not following you and we want them to be punished. We see people spreading hate and fear and know this isn’t your way. We see people mistreating each other and we are angry. We understand why James and John asked, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” And we know just like Jesus rebuked the disciples, you would tell us this is not your way. Forgive us for wanting to repay hate with hate and violence with violence.

God, we promised to follow you. And yet, so many other things pull at our time and attention. We will follow you as soon as our to do list is tackled, our house is clean enough for company, and we’ve cared for our family. Forgive us God, for not putting you first in our lives.

God, we ask that you give us righteous anger at the injustice in the world and that you help us to have our priorities in order, so we may follow you. Amen.

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Assurance of Forgiveness

Let us always remember that our God is merciful and loving. God hears us when we call. May we find forgiveness and comfort in these words from Psalm 16: 11 “God, you show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Amen.

Worship Words-A Litany of Compassion


We need to see as God sees. Noticing our connection one to another. Acknowledging each person is a child of God. As I watch the news, I wonder how to stop the violence. It seems easier to harm someone when we see that person as other or stereotype a person as fitting into a category we don’t like. What if we began by acknowledging we are all beloved children of God? Or we are all human? Are we all exactly the same? No! I believe God delights in our differences and loves each of us.

How can we stop the violence?

By promising to see each other.

By promising to love each other.

By promising to listen to each other.


A Litany of Compassion

One-I promise to see you as a beloved child of God.

All-We promise to see each person as a beloved child of God.

One-I promise to listen to you and not assume I know your story.

All-We promise to listen to each other and hear your stories.

One-I promise to love you and support you living your life.

All-We promise to love each other and support each one in living our own lives.

One-Let us embody the words of 1 John 4:11.

All-“Friends, since God loves us so much, we also ought to love one another.” Amen.



Worship Words-A Prayer for Sabbath


Sabbath is a practice, ritual, and way of life I have preached and lived throughout my ministry. I owe a huge thank you to my husband for his recent observation that I was working everyday and not observing Sabbath. Thanks to that friendly reminder Sabbath is part of my life again. For me, Sabbath is a clock-free day of rest and renewal. I pray. I read. I gaze out the window or take a long walk. I write. I say no to things and work I can do on other days. I take my time drinking my cups of tea. I reconnect with loved ones and enjoy silence. I remember that God rested and I can too.

On this Sabbath I pray you have Sabbath as part of your life and if not, that you make time for it. Although it is hard to start, I find that I accomplish more on weeks I take Sabbath than on weeks I do not. So try it! And remember to be kind to yourself and flexible as you seek to orient your time as God imagined.

Pray with me.

Creator of All, As you created you saw it was good and you were pleased with your work, and so you took a day to rest. You have commanded us to do the same. God, it is so hard in our busy world to stop. It feels like we are already behind and so we must keep going or we’ll never catch up. (Take a deep breath and have a moment of silence). Loving God, you show us another way. A way that reminds us we are not you and the world can keep going without us. You show us that we were created for work and rest, to be creative and use our gifts, and to stop regularly. Gracious God, Sabbath reminds us to be present-here and now. Sabbath reminds us that most things can wait. Sabbath reminds us to focus on our relationship with you. Faithful God, Bless our Sabbath. May it ring with laughter and silence. Fill us with your peace and give us rest. Amen.

Moringa Black Health Blend


The tea I received for Christmas from Thistle Farms continues to bring me great joy. Today I enjoyed Moringa Black Health Blend. I added one of my honey sticks to it because I love the honey sticks. This tea was smooth and delicious. No one flavor stood out, and it did not get bitter even when I left the tea bag in while I drank the cup. The ingredient are listed as “Moringa from Moringa Madres, black tea from Ajiri Tea, lemon balm, lemongrass.”

The information in my tea kit tells us a little more about how this tea came to be in my cup. “Ajiri tea was grown and harvested in Western Kenya by Ajiri, providing safe work for women. The members aim to form a sustainable cycle of community, employment and education.” Also “Moringa tea leaves were grown and harvested by the women of San Juan Cosala, Mexico, striving to make a living for their families.”

Overall, a delicious cup of tea helping us to support each other and one more reason for me to visit The Thistle Stop Cafe!


Worship Words in Ordinary Time

A Prayer for Ordinary Time
God, I appreciate the extra effort and energy we pour into our holy days. I love when the sanctuary is fuller than usual. I love the banners and flowers and special music. And, God, I love ordinary days like today. Days when we bring our best to worship you in the regular part of the church years. Days like today remind me how much of our life is spent in ordinary time. We go to work. We go to school. We wish it was the weekend or vacation or any day but today. God, give us the courage to live in the now. Help us to live into the ordinary days of our lives and of the church year. Remind us again that this day is a gift from you in all its ordinariness. For this day, we give you thanks, Gracious God, because you gave us another day to love you and to love each other. On this ordinary day in ordinary time, we will worship you, Loving God. Amen.



This prayer was published on liturgy link on May 18, 2016.

Book Review-Dancing with Jesus

Dancing with Jesus by Sam Stall

Are you looking for the perfect gift for your pastor? Here it is. In this short board book you’ll find dance moves paired with Bible stories. What’s not to love? Warning-Some people will find this book sacrilegious and inappropriate, however, I think we need to laugh. My favorite dances are The Pilate Shuffle and The Apostolic Conga. In The Pilate Shuffle, you get to shuffle around the dance floor, wash your hands, and act like a chicken (see Matthew 27:24-26 for a sampling of Pilate’s part in the story). To do the Apostolic Conga and bring more people to Jesus, you start a conga line and invite others to join you. It is obviously one way of living out the great commission from Matthew 28: 19-20.

This book makes the people and stories of the gospels come alive (Lazarus even makes an appearance) with humor and wit. I highly recommend this book as a gift for the pastor or seminarian who needs a laugh and, maybe, some new dance moves.