Who Knows Your Story?

This week I read this piece about what is lost when a loved one dies. And the sentence that stayed with me is “You lose some of your story.” I have lost many people who held part of my story. I miss them and the stories they took to the grave with them. In an effort to attempt to recall some of those stories I have been reading old emails. I invite you to travel back in time with me to March 2008 when two best friends shared this email exchange. Thank you for sharing part of my story and allowing me to share part of yours.

Susannah DeBenedetto wrote:
Of course I do.  Do I think I can go, probably not. Let me just bask in how awesome that would be. In fact it would probably even be legend—-wait for it—dary! Can you get a job at the ranch and sneak me in next year?
Kristi Foster wrote:
Going to a 12 day session at the ranch. $1200
Plane fare. . .$400?
Meeting one of the Indigo Girls with Suz…priceless
It would be awesome to go and awesome if I could get a job there.  Let me work on that!
Susannah DeBenedetto wrote:
Can you imagine meeting one of the IG? Seriously, that would be amazing and I’m sure the workshop would be phenomenal.  Wow.  I’m sure I can totally talk the session into this!  (ha ha ha!)
Kristi Foster wrote:
Personally, I’m hoping to be in between jobs and in possession of a winning lottery ticket. . . .which, by the way, would pay for y’all to have a new hot tub.  And we could probably book the IG for a private concert (I’m thinking hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of lottery ticket).
🙂 K
Susannah DeBenedetto wrote:
 If you are going to win the lottery, win big! 100,000 dollars, what is the point?  Go for 350 million instead.  Of course you will share it with needy individuals, so the money won’t be wasted!
Please God, hear the prayer of our sister, Kristi.
Help her to win the lottery so she can buy me a hot tub, book a private concert with the IG (which of course I would be invited to) and help your poor children around the world.  Thank you, God, for granting this wish, I mean prayer.  Amen.!
Kristi Foster wrote:
I meant hundreds of millions.  I agree, think big or go home!
Susannah DeBenedetto wrote:
I like the way you (and I) think!  Good to know we can still share a brain. What are you still doing at work?

A Meal and Memories

On a recent Saturday afternoon, I was  away from home and decided to have lunch at a chain restaurant that I enjoy and do not have easy access to when I am at home. As I sat to eat the familiar flavors, I was not prepared for the many memories that accompanied this meal. Although I had never visited this location of this restaurant chain before the memories made it feel like I was a frequent guest here. It was at another of these restaurants where I was introduced to a friend’s friend who would go on to become her spouse. This restaurant chain hosted us many times after church as my husband and I had a few minutes of conversation before I went back to work and he went home to enjoy the rest of his weekend. This was where we would often eat with a dear friend who now lives too many hours away.

In addition to my delicious meal, I was met by loved ones who have shared similar tables with me. I was thankful for the memories many of which I had not remembered in some time.

This has me wondering where you encounter unexpected memories? Where are you surprised by thoughts of those you love who are gone or far away? And how do you react to those moments?

For me, it was a privilege to dine with family and friends who are family even if everyone else at the restaurant sawing me dining alone. I welcomed the memories and when I was done eating sent them messages to know I love them and how they are well!

It makes sense that Jesus said when you do this remember me. When we gather around tables, we remember. When we gather around the table in our places of worship, we remember Jesus. So wherever you find yourself eating, open yourself to the memories.

Surprising God, Thank you for coming to us in simple meals with chicken and rice and chopsticks. Thank you for meals shared with those we love and thank you for memories! Continue to surprise and remind of happy times. Each time we gather around a table, help us to remember. Amen.

What Hats Do You Wear?

Each month many faith communities publish a newsletter. All the important dates and details about what is happening will be shared in those pages. Plus, the church staff is asked to write a short article each month. This is what I wrote for St. Giles Presbyterian Church in March 2011. As I reread it recently, I liked the idea of considering what hats we wear. I encourage you to think about all the hats you wear during the week and how many different roles you have in your daily life.


This month I promised to tell you what a DCE or pastor does the rest of the week.  You know about much of the Sunday stuff because that is when you see us.  If I asked you to describe what you do or how you spend your week, it may take you awhile to name a portion of what occupies your work week or weekday hours.  I’ll spare you a long list and instead share some hats I wear that explain how this DCE fills her work week.

Confidant-No matter your age, sometimes you just need someone to listen.

Teacher-I love leading Bible studies, book discussions, and teaching the children and youth.  Sharing faith and faith stories is a fun hat to wear.  

Student-I will always see myself as someone who can learn more and more.  Through conferences, books and magazines, and conversations with colleagues, I am constantly reminded how much there is to learn.

Motivator-Our faith journeys aren’t easy roads.  We need people to journey with us and motivate us to keep going when it is difficult.  

Planner-Lots of events, activities, and things happen here at St. Giles.  For each hour of something you see, hours of planning, preparation, emails etc. go into it.  Plus, planning lists, coordination with ministry teams, and putting it all on the church calendar.  

Supporter-Where can I help someone with what he or she is doing or suggest someone else who wants to help?  Part of my role as supporter is helping people see where the needs of the church work with their gifts and then supporting them as they share their gifts!

Cheerleader-Woohoo children, youth, and adults!  Way to go on sharing God’s love in so many ways.   

I hope this glance at the hat rack of this DCE answers the what does a DCE do all week question!


A Day of Giving Thanks

A Day of Giving Thanks
Recently I was asked to reflect on a ministry in which I participated while working at a previous church. As I thought about what to say, I realized how thankful I was for my time spent with the children and all the adults who taught them. This time of reflection encouraged me to spend some time creating a gratitude list. Until I starting writing my list, I didn’t realize how much I needed this practice. So I invite you to take a few quiet moments and write a gratitude list. In the midst of all that is going on in my life and the world, it was helpful to pause and give thanks.
Dear God,
You are the giver of all good gifts. When I stop and consider all I have to be thankful for, I am amazed. Here is my gratitude list for today-
visits from loved ones
the churches where I was called to serve
delicious food
people who lend a helping hand
courage to speak out for what is right
when children giggle
planning and taking vacations
phone calls from people who know me
hospice patients and families
work colleagues
my husband
my whole family
opportunities to give back
prophets who speak the truth we need to hear
a good cup of tea and time to enjoy it.
Thank you, God, for all this and so much more. Encourage me to stop and take the time to be thankful often. Amen.