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FBCScottsdale Homecoming 10/22

In the fall of 1985 (32 years ago) Jim and I answered God’s call to come as a team to FBCScottsdale. God called us away 21+ years ago and since then:

  1. we moved to Illinois where Jim taught at Trinity and I did Junior High Ministry at Christ Church Lake Forest. We raised our kids there and then moved back to our roots in Southern California. Jim taught at Biola until God called him home.
  2. I work at EvFree Fullerton as an administrative assistant in Student Ministries. I thought I was done with youth ministry but this current job feels like God redeemed back some of the situation. I also teach at Trinity in their online program.
  3. Emily is 25 and married Connor Osborn 2 ½ years ago. Both of them grew up in homes where both parents were involved in ministry and they have decided that they too feel called to ministry together as a team. They live in Chino and work at Crosspoint Church in student ministries and worship arts.
  4. Clayton is 21, a senior accounting major at Biola. He plays on the BUMS (Biola U. Men’s Soccer Team) as a defender. He was hired by the firm he interned for last summer.

 

If Jim was here he would say:

He loves you and never stopped praying for and watching out for you.  He is proud of you.

I am grateful for the ministry of this church in my life. You believed in me and you gave me a chance.  You taught me how to use humor appropriately (hmm did I learn it?!). You gave me your trust, your treasure (lives of your kids), prayers, hugs, memories and great joy and laughter.  You were my internet. You were my Stadler and Waldorf – you told me what you thought .

I wanted to share what you taught me – the things I learned here (in random order):

  • Ministry really does happen best in the context of relationships. What I say is forgotten.  What I do is meaningful for the moment.  How I loved and listened creates legacy and family that is forever!
  • Size does not matter.  Small groups, little people.  All are the same from God’s perspective. Little things can make a big difference.12 isn’t as old as I thought it was but it is old enough.
  • Never overestimate the worth of anyone. 1 Tim 4:12 No one is average, no one should be marginalized, every one deserves respect.
  • Change is the only Constant
  • Pants with pockets are better. (flexibilty and creativity are great gifts)
  • Find the Good. Be the good. Bless. Give grace upon grace. 

 

I learned how to be a better speaker, listener and friend. I learned to see beauty in the desert. I learned to choose joy. I realized that God can use me and I could do more than I thought I could. I learned generosity. I learned to parent.

Here are some snapshots of the weekend!

Taking a Break

Learning to Rest

For some reason I tend to crave rest but I find it hard to do!  It is commanded by God but it seems that it is one of those commands that I tend to think is more of a suggestion; I don’t feel guilty for not resting; in fact, I often feel like resting means I am lazy or wasting time. It is, however, in the top 10 of rules given (Ex 20) by God.  When the Israelites were given this commandment, they had been slaves for 400 years and they had a culture of work. Almighty God says that if we do things His way, we can do more in 6 days with Him than on our own with 7.  This principle is just like tithing; we can do more with 90% and honoring Him with the first portion than by keeping it all and doing things our way.

God certainly did not “need” to rest but he did set aside a Sabbath and he rested.  He set aside time for us because he knows that we need to set aside space for our souls, our minds and schedules to realign our purposes with God’s. We need to set aside, ,aka make holy, time to acknowledge God. When I am tired I tend to sin.  I am more short-tempered. I make mistakes or don’t give my best when I am in a hurry or too busy. I am less creative.  I lack sympathy. There is no sense of wonder. So God rested from his work but I can’t?

 

Identity comes not from what we do but in creating enough space in soul  mind schedule to acknowledge who God is

Laura Ingalls Wilder tells about tying a rope between their house and the barn in the winter so that they wouldn’t lose their way in the storms of life and they could find their way home.  I think that rest is like that rope.  It is a lifeline more than we know. We lose our way when there are no margins, no space, to rhythm of work and rest.

God wants my identity to come from acknowledging Him and not what I do with the time I have been given. If I had an extra hour a day I probably wouldn’t use it to spend 8 hours in God’s presence. I would fill up the margins because that is what culture pushes.  And yet, Is. 30:15 says, “In repentance and rest is your salvation.”.

Replacing work, busyness, catching up and urgency with space that refreshes and replenishes is critical to not being defined by work.  I get that. The big question for me really is HOW: how to create margins where good stuff can happen; how to prepare in advance for a regular habit of stopping; how to avoid being robbed of a life of meaning because I am overcommitted.

Even though I did not like the weather in Illinois, there was definitely a rhythm to life with the seasons that does not exist in California. Sabbath rest was “easier”  Snow days forced me to slow down and gave opportunity to be in the moment, to pause, to be still (Ps. 46:10).  Maybe I need to think of Sabbath rest as a weekly snow day once a week.

Eph 5:15-17 Be careful and live as a wise person.  Make the most of the opportunity to live with margins because the days are evil.  (My own paraphrase).

 

 

 

 

Ears to Hear Heb. 9:1-10

Hebrews 9:1-10

1 Now the first covenant, in fact, had regulations for worship and its earthly sanctuary. 2 For a tent was prepared, the outer one, which contained the lampstand, the table, and the presentation of the loaves; this is called the holy place. 3 And after the second curtain there was a tent called the holy of holies. 4 It contained the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered entirely with gold. In this ark were the golden urn containing the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 5 And above the ark were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Now is not the time to speak of these things in detail.

6 So with these things prepared like this, the priests enter continually into the outer tent as they perform their duties. 7 But only the high priest enters once a year into the inner tent, and not without blood that he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance. 8 The Holy Spirit is making clear that the way into the holy place had not yet appeared as long as the old tabernacle was standing. 9 This was a symbol for the time then present, when gifts and sacrifices were offered that could not perfect the conscience of the worshiper. 10 They served only for matters of food and drink and various washings; they are external regulations imposed until the new order came.

My devo for EvFree Fullerton

The writer to the Hebrews continues to point out that the gospel is Jesus plus nothing! There was nothing wrong with the activity of worship in the tabernacle; it was God planned and authorized. But it was designed with a deeper message.

God is not interested in ritual. It means nothing to him. It is a religious play enacted to show people what is going on in their inner life. Further none of the ritual reaches the inner man. It is ineffective.

The tabernacle is another “object lesson” or visual parable of Jesus. God wants to dwell with his people and did so through the tabernacle in the Old Testament. But it was just temporary and symbolic. Now we are reminded of the better promise, the better sanctuary, the better sacrifice provided by the new covenant! The blood of Jesus completely satisfies the ritual so God dwells with us permanently.

How often do we focus on the ritual of worship, which is worthless as a ritual? Do you catch the argument? The first covenant ritual only affects the outer man, the body. Whatever we are trying to do for God, our activity on His behalf, cannot get below the surface. By contrast, the new covenant depends not on the work of the worshipper but on the activity of Christ in our place! Our own activity adds nothing to our acceptance before God. God does not love us more because we come to church each week or because we serve him. God loves us because He is love and we serve Him because we love Him

Mermaid Day!

Well it is my birthday!  I am the age of the minimum wind speed needed to issue a severe thunderstorm warning.  In Spongebob Squarepants Patrick claims that my age is the luckiest number ever!  And my age matches the number of counties in the state of California.

So how did I spend my day?  I made scones to share in the office.  I got my free Starbucks beverage (on a side note I really think it is time to change up my “go-to”).  My desk was decorated. I got flowers and treats.  My mom brought in my favorite cake (Tweed Cake).  My team took me to lunch where I got a free milkshake.  I went with the girls to get ice cream.  Then I went to watch soccer at Biola.  Friends and family called, texted, emailed and used other forms of social media to wish me a happy day.  I went to dinner with Clayton.  The Dodgers ended their slump!

There are several who share my day (Marge Couch, Pat Mills, Cori Lynch M., Joyce Beach, Karen Carpenter, Aaron Wolgemuth, Vanessa Adrian, Lana Kaneko….and I can’t celebrate my day without thinking of my pastor/boss, Bob Brouwer, and friend Vera LaRue who already are home in heaven.

In honor of Mirm I am listing several jokes:

What kind of bra does a mermaid wear?  An Algaebra

What did the sea say to the mermaid?  Nothing.  It just waved.

What has beautiful hair, 2 arms, a tail and looks like a mermaid but isn’t a mermaid?  A photo of a mermaid.

Which part of a mermaid weighs the most?  the scales

Why did the mermaid close her eyes and look away?  Because the sea weed.

Why was the mermaid on a seahorse?  Because she was playing water polo.

Where did the fisherman and the mermaid meet? On-line

What is a mermaid’s favorite song?  Salmon-chanted evening

Where dies a mermaid sleep?  On a water bed.

Where do mermaids go to the movies? at the dive in

How does the mermaid contact her friends?  On her shellphone

What do you call a lady who lives under the water, has a tail and is really funny?  A mirthmaid

What is the opposite of a mermaid? A merbutler

 

25 Pun Salute to Emily

Happy 25th Birthday to my Punny and random girl!  I kept debating what to say or do for your “card” this year and this is what you get:

  • What goes up and never comes down? Your age!
  • If you want a Cinderella birthday party I can invite all your friends over to clean up for you.
  • When you were born I moved to the scariest “hood” ever – Motherhood!
  • I would tell you to act your age except that you wouldn’t know how to act since you have never been this age before.
  • You were born before your due date and it is the only time you have ever been early!  Good thing we didn’t name you Sudden Lee!
  • I took you to many museums growing up and now I finally realize that you are not a “messy”!  You just want to display everything like a museum!
  • The moment I realized you had a twisted sense of humor (you were 18 months) I was not sure if I should be proud or scared.
  • It has been scientifically proven that too many birthdays will kill you.
  • But studies also show that birthdays are good for your health. People who have more birthdays live longer!
  • Hougham does not need any birthday treats because he is stuffed already.
  • Wishing the most beautiful and intelligent person I know a great day. That’s me. And to you a very happy birthday.
  • Happy birthday Em. Enjoy another 365 days of an all-expense paid trip around the sun
  • You are just getting younger in reverse
  • Today is the oldest you’ve ever been, and the youngest you’ll ever be.
  • The older you get the more important it is to NOT act your age.
  • However, I would also caution you to never act your shoe size.
  • You’re not old, But if you were my cereal I’d check the expiration date before consuming it.
  • Dear eyelashes, wishbones, dandelions, pennies, shooting stars, and birthday candles: Do your job.
  • Well. Well. Well. Water we gonna do to celebrate your big day?!
  • WE could go get Mexican food and taco bout how cheesy this pun is and about how spicy you are. That Nacho plan?!
  • How does NASA organize a party? They Planet!
  • If anyone fights over your birthday cake you should keep the piece!
  • If you eat cheese on your birthday make sure it’s Gouda.
  • A little bird told me it was your birthday!  Eggcellent!
  • Harry is Sirius that best witches are in order for your birthday!
  • For your birthday, let’s play quidditch because you are a keeper!
  • Wanna go to Australia?  We could have a koala tea party there!
  • Fur sure you must be an otter year older!
  • What do you get when you cross a mullet and a perm?  A Merm!
  • It may sound corny but I think you are a-maize-ing!
  • Why was the magician bald? He pulled his hare out.
  • Best fishes on your birthday! Let minnow if you get a worse pun!
  • What is this color gradient? Black to the fuschia
  • Puns are the secret ingredient to any awkward moment.  I prefer my puns intended.
  • twenty five is only 22 in Scrabble

I could come up with more but you get the idea!  I love you to the moon and back! And I am so blessed to be called your mom! Always. 

I saw this on-line.  Some good advice!

http://gentwenty.com/25-lessons-you-learn-by-25/

Ears to Hear Psalm 148

Psalm 148

1 Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the sky!
Praise him in the heavens!

2 Praise him, all his angels!
Praise him, all his heavenly assembly!

3 Praise him, O sun and moon!
Praise him, all you shiny stars!

4 Praise him, O highest heaven,
and you waters above the sky!

5 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for he gave the command and they came into existence.

6 He established them so they would endure;
he issued a decree that will not be revoked.

7 Praise the LORD from the earth,
you sea creatures and all you ocean depths,

8 O fire and hail, snow and clouds,
O stormy wind that carries out his orders,

9 you mountains and all you hills,
you fruit trees and all you cedars,

10 you animals and all you cattle,
you creeping things and birds,

11 you kings of the earth and all you nations,
you princes and all you leaders on the earth,

12 you young men and young women,
you elderly, along with you children!

13 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
his majesty extends over the earth and sky.

14 He has made his people victorious,
and given all his loyal followers reason to praise—
the Israelites, the people who are close to him.
Praise the LORD!

Response by Miriam Mohler

Student Ministries Admin Assistant

The book of Psalms really is a primer of praise. As we draw near to the end of the hymnal, the psalmist rallies the help of the entire spectrum of creation to join him! He starts with the call for praise from everything seen and unseen overhead, followed by the natural world around him. And finally, humanity, the only part of creation that has a choice, is summoned to join in the praise.

When Jesus was on earth, the winds obeyed him and the waves supported his feet. We are told that the rocks would have cried out if he had let them. The demons feared and reverenced him. But for some reason humanity struggles to own him; His own “received” him not (John 1:11).

One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. (Phil. 2:10) In this psalm, the climax of those praising God is the faithful of Israel, who have a unique role because they know God’s name. They are “close to Him” and can tell His story. They join the praise already given forth by the rest of creation. I don’t know about you but I want to be in the crowd that chooses to declare God’s glory. This matches the crescendo of the gospel as those who were far off brought near by the blood of Jesus. Tune my heart to sing that grace!

I am reminded of the words from the Song “Come Now is the Time to Worship”
One day every tongue will confess You are God
One day every knee will bow
Still the greatest treasure remains for those
Who gladly choose You now.

So given such freedom, won’t you choose with me to praise the Lord?

Get over it

This would have been our 37th wedding anniversary; it is one of those weird things that I am not sure how to word.  I am never clear on which verb tense I should use or whether or not I should keep counting the years at all.  It is so confusing sometimes!

I used to say that the second year was harder than the first, but I no longer think that. I was recently asked by someone why widows say it “gets worse”  or that the second year is harder than the initial loss with all of that grief.  In spite of the fog and the numbness, nothing really hurt worse than the day Jim died.  I was told that it would take one month for every year I was married to recover and heal.  Who came up with that number?!  Really?!

One of the things I have come to realize is that I will never “get over” the “loss” of my husband (btw…He is not lost because I know where he is).  It is not that I am stuck in grief.  It is not that I am depressed.  It is because the love of my life – my life partner – my better half – left planet earth and left me behind!  I think people have stopped asking how long ago Jim died because they think that I am “over it”.  My lifestyle would indicate that. I don’t ever broadcast that I am not “over it” because I don’t like the pitiful looks, nor do I feel like I am drowning in grief and sorrow anymore.  Further, I do not think there is something wrong with me, although others would think so, if I said I will never get over Jim’s death.  Is the raw edge gone? Yes!  Has the pain diminished? Absolutely. Do I miss Jim? Well of course! Has my life changed forever? Duh!

The fact is others are “over it”.  And, it is easier for them if I am “all better” because then they don’t want to deal with it! People are uncomfortable with death and they hate the word “widowed” (well so do I!).  People want life to go on and for me to be the person I was “before”, which is IMPOSSIBLE! Even though Jim is gone I did not lose my memories of the years we had together and the life we enjoyed.  It existed and it changed me! (I am daily reminded by the 2 beautiful and amazing human beings we created and raised).

By watching some friends who are ahead of me on the journey and by reading several books on grief,  I am learning to take days like my anniversary to process life since Jim went to heaven. I use these moments to stop and look back on how far I have come since my husband passed away.  I have changed my focus from trying to get to the other side of grief and just appreciate the healing I have accomplished.  It helps to pause and reflect on the distance I have come since that darkest season of my life. It makes all the difference to move forward one day at a time and to be grateful for the man who loved me and married me and changed me both as he came into my life and as he left it!

So I think about some of the things I didn’t know: Now I pay the bills and manage a budget.  I can do simple car repairs and assemble furniture.  I mow lawns and weed whack.  I moved twice. I have become more tech savvy. I handle all kinds of things that I never imagined I would. I stopped looking for Jim in my sleep.  I no longer wear a wedding ring because I no longer feel married. I planned a wedding and gave away my girl. I bought a car. I have come pretty far. Thankful. I am sad that Jim is not here to remember the events of this day with me, yet I don’t have many sad memories of those 30 years. God is faithful. And Happy Anniversary to me!

 

My Vacation 2017

Here are some scenes from my trip to Idaho.  It was amazing, as it usually is, to spend time with this family.  I find their company inspiring, entertaining, spiritually challenging, and meaningful.  God knew what I would need when He brought JCM into my life! Highlights include thrifting on National thrift store day, homemade huckleberry syrup, ice-dyeing with ODM, visiting, hiking in the Sawtooth mountains, laughing, just being together is more than enough. Thank you Lord for refreshment and friendship!

Dig Deep

SO, I have this friend who forces me to dig deep.  I have not done that in awhile.  She is amazing and I am so blessed to spend Thursdays with her and I have come to cherish those times. So the question becomes how to duplicate or replicate this sweet event.  How do I use this as a catalyst to help others plunge the depths spiritually?

RIP Dinah

So we had this cat.  We got her in 1998 when she was a kitten and the kids were little.  We named her Dinah after Alice in Wonderland’s cat. Dinah was mostly Emily’s cat.  She loved to cuddle and sleep with us.  She had a season of not being nice and we often told her we were going to put her in the garbage.  But by the time we moved to CA she had become part of the family.

Dinah had a long life and was well loved; I think she was good owner. (Cats own people and not the other way around).  I miss her, and her absence really makes me an empty nester.  Loved that girl!

 

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