Graditude Day 6

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How can one not be thankful for a lovely family like this?  I know that I’m a very grateful wife, mom, mother in law, and Oma!   It’s not often that we all get to be together (even though only a few states separate us), but when we do we make the most of it.

In just a few short hours we played hard, at the church playground, in the house, and in the backyard.  Not to mention lunch in Welcome, NC (you can ask my husband for an explanation of that).

Lauren, you where my first unborn child and I hope that you know that my love for you runs deep – wether we have formal papers to tell us we should love each other or not.  You’ll always be my little girl (even though you were 16 when you entered my life).  Thank you for sharing your precious family with me (and us), Daniel is awesome and words can not describe how much I love and adore my grandchildren Gunther and Brody.   I love you sweetie and am so thankful for the part you play in my life.  Actually, let me rephrase that – I love you more!

As an aside note, I’m super impressed and thankful that my camera, on self timer, on a tripod, set to take multiple pics, actually caught one picture with all of us mostly looking towards the camera and with semi smiles – all on the first try.  Yes with two toddlers and a bunch a silly others.

Blessings abound.

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Gratitude Day 5

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Joe and I, in our early dating years and really pretty much all of our married life,have spent a lot of time in the car.  I’m talking we spent long drives in cars, before they had mega disc changers and certainly before MP3 players, iPods,and iPhones.  However,in between telling stories (some true – some not so much) we listened to a lot of music.  Of course I always wanted the music to be quiet when we were still in school so I could study (do you believe me).

Somehow, we got to listening to a lot of country music and then eventually our music taste became so eclectic we hardly knew what was up next.  We would often sing at the top of our lungs and if there was a duet between a man and a woman, you can be rest assured that we each took our turn at our parts.  Such fun times to remember — one should always be grateful for those fun times.  For those times when you laughed so hard that you can hardly remember why you where laughing.  Or in our case, when you sang so loud and for so long you can’t remember what got you singing.

Tonight coming home from dinner at some members of Joe’s church, one of those “old time” favorites came on.  Since we didn’t have Zachary with us to tell us that we couldn’t sing.  Just as if we had done it yesterday in the car, we broke out singing along with Dolly Parton and Ricki Van Shelton – Rockin’ Years (no judging we are old).   It brought sweet memories back to me, made my heart smile for a few moments, in the midst of what has seen like heavy darkness the last several weeks.

Joe Moore “my heart only has room for one.” That one woul be you!   I am so overjoyed, grateful, thankful and blessed to continue to laugh at and share memories from years gone by and new ones to come.  Maybe we should leave Zachary with Mom more often, so we can sing!  I also think that if we video taped it we would have a lengthy following on YouTube – we are awesome!

They may or may not be bettter than us.

Gratitude Day 4

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On December 21, 2005 the Moore Family changed forever!  That’s the day that this charming almost 5 pound baby entered into this world – already making silly faces.  Since that day he has been the love of his daddy and my hearts.  He rules our home and pretty much our lives.  Our lives could not be more glourious.

He entered into our lives quite suddenly, with just 6 short days to prepare for his arrival (let me say, I believe there is a reason God created women to be preganant for 9 months).  There’s a lot to do in 6 days.  However, they were 6 days filled with thanksgiving and praise.   The child we had prayed long and hard for was now about to make his arrival in the world almost unknown – yup in the ambulance, that had to pull off the highway to have 2 paramedics be able to deliver him.  He came out with zeal.

His zeal and love of life has never been dampened.   We are grateful for the way he shows compasssion for animals and people.   For the ways in which he graciously engages others in conversation and the way he strives to do his best at most everything.

He’s always loved golf, from a tiny toddler, when given the opportunity to have any toy at walmart (Grandma was brave), he wanted plastic golf clubs.  Let’s just say, his golf clubs have gotten a tad bit more expensive as the years have gone by.  Yet how thankful we are that he has taken to a sport that will serve him well in life – wherever he will go.  He’s taught important life skills along with the skills of the game.  To say, we are thankful for First Tee of the Triad is a huge understatement.  They have given him a foundation that will be built upon for many years to come.    Lastly, we are proud that he remembers his Gramps as he talks about golf or gets ready to head out to the Tanglewood to a First Tee Practice or Game.  Something that will always remind him of his Gramps –  for that keeps his memory and love alive and for that we are thankful.

We have been blessed beyond measure by this now 11 year old tween living in our house.  I thank God for him daily and pray that God will continue to direct his paths in the way he should go, making wise and sound decisions each step of the way.  Littleman, mommy and dadddy are super thankful God blessed us with you!

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Gratitude Day 3

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On June 10, 1996 this handsome young man got down on his knee and opened a boxed that had a beautiful ring in and asked me to marry him.  I’ll be honest I laughed, well, because that’s what I always do in stressful or overly exciting situations.  I’m not sure he was overly impressed with my response to his proposal.  I did however for the record joyfully say yes.  That ring he slipped on my finger is there each day to remind me off the love that we share with and for one another.  Over the years it’s taken some wear (after all it’s been 21 years)….it now has gold on the back from both of his grandmothers ring but the shape and the diamond remain the same.  I’m forever grateful for that evening, after Hebrew class, on a hot summer day in June that he was brave enough to get on his knew and ask that question.  Likely knowing full well I’d burst into laughter.

Laughter however has often seeped into our marriage – it’s kept us going at times.   SO it seems very fitting that I would laugh when he proposed.   I wasn’t laughing because it was funny, or that he was being funny or that he was messing around with me and not really giving me a ring — I knew that proposal was for real an that ring would last a life time.  Joe Moore, thanks for risking being laughed at and asking me to be your wife.  Not one minute, not one day, not one week, not one month, not one year have I regretted it.  I love you with all my heart and am grateful that God brought us together and joined our hearts!

Gratitude Day 2

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June 28, 1998 and May 16, 2004 are dates of great importance to me.  No they are not the day that Joe proposed to me and the day we got married – that would have made for a LONG engagement.

FullSizeRenderOn the first of these days I was ordained a deacon in the Moravian Church.  A day filled with joy as I officially entered into ministry that I had long since been called to.  Normally an ordination service, in the Moravian Church, happens in the afternoon so that all the local pastors can be there to celebrate with the soon to be ordained.  However, because of circumstances at the church my service was unique and was held during morning worship on June 28, 1998 by the Rev. Percy Henkleman.  As the ordinand is presented to the bishop for ordination 3 people accompany them, a member of the Provincial Elder’s Conference (the Moravian Church’s governing body), a member of the laity and a member of the clergy.  At one point, I believed that my husband, ordained just 2 weeks before, would be the clergy walking me to the alter, until one of my former pastors Rev. Steve Ghodes arrived and surprised me.  To say joy filled my heart was an understatement (I wanted Joe to be my husband and not playing duel roles, not to mention what a surprise I had just been given).  I’m forever grateful for the ministry to which I have been called.

Joe and I would go on to serve our first congregation together as co-pastors in at Palmyra Moravian Church, in Cinnaminson, NJ.  That’s part two of my gratitude.  They allowed us to learn and grow.   They accepted our short comings and rejoiced at our successes.  We were truly blessed to serve as their pastors.  When it was time for us to bid our goodbyes may tears were shed because of the work that God had allowed us to do together.  Yet, onward we had to go.

It was during our time serving at Mayodan Moravian Church (whe

re the Mayo River meets the Dan River) that we were consecrated presbyters in the Moravian church onMay 16, 2004 by the Rt. Rev. Dr. Wayne Burkette.  Perhaps the first and

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so far only consecration of a couple in the Southern Province of the Moravian Church.   This consecration service was an a
ffirmation of our ministry

in the Moravian Church and our opportunity to reaffirm our call to continued ordained ministry within the life of the church.  Joe and I remain grateful for this day and those who celebrated it with us.

Life in ministry has had it’s up’s and down’s – as with anything.  I can’t imagine doing anything but ministry.  Even though at this time, I’m not officially serving serving under call, at times, I feel as though I’m serving more under call than ever.  As I participate and chair a couple of committee’s, I preach at different church’s – both ELCA and Moravian – almost every Sunday, I teach Sunday School, and my list could go on.  As a very wise pastor recently told me: ” God has called you; God will lead you; God will open new ways to serve.”

2017 Gratitude Day 1

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Praise the Lord, all you nations!
Worship him, all you peoples!
Because God’s faithful love toward us is strong,
the Lord’s faithfulness lasts forever!
Praise the Lord!
Psalm 117 (CEB)

I’ve always marveled at the fact that as Christians and as a nation in general that we don’t have a season of thanksgiving or gratitude.  We seemingly have season’s for everything or it seems as if everyday events have turned into weekend festivities.  Yet we don’t have one for thanksgiving or gratitude.  Thanksgiving is simply a day in November where a family or group of friends gather to partake in a large amount of food, eat pumpkin pie and watch some football — maybe throwing in a blessings of thanksgiving here and there.

If you gathered in our household this would not be the case (don’t worry we still gather at Mom’s for for more than our fair share of food, pumpkin pie is eaten and a Wiffle Ball Games in honor of Gramps are played with greater frequency than football).  Yet in our immediate household, meaning Joe, Z and myself we practice an act of gratitude each day from Columbus Day through Thanksgiving.   It takes on different forms each year.  Some years its us saying something we are thankful for as we eat dinner together and other years we write it on leaves, or pieces of paper and hang it them around our eating space.

This practice began one year when I realized we had a significant time period between when I grew up celebrating thanksgiving and when I now celebrate thanksgiving.  You see Thanksgiving in Canada was and is over what we call in the United states as Columbus day and of course those in the United States know that Thanksgiving is in late November.  So our family took on the tradition of making the time between the two as the season of Thanksgiving.  We have so much to be thankful for.  In fact so much that we often loose sight of what we have to be grateful for.

We as Christians, or even those who are not, have a host of things to be lift up in praise and adoration.  I’m going to try to get back in the habit of blogging each day as I lift up  and thank God for the multitude of ways I’m thankful for the gifts that have been given to me – gifts given to me in the midst of joy and pain, adversity and blessings, weeping and laughter, and turmoil and peace.  I invite you to join me on this journey; join me privately. Join me in the comments sections; join me in your blog posts.  Join my family in sharing our praises, thanksgivings, gratitudes, as you gather around your table.

My gratitude for that even when I don’t sense it, feel it, know it or yes, at times when I’m not even sure I deserve it: is  that I worship a God who is loving, kind, extends a love that knows no end and is forever present.  This gift, this praise, this thanksgiving, becomes the foundation to which all my others are built upon.

The Many Ways We Grieve

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No one ever told me grief felt so like fear.

C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

My husband’s father passed into the more immediate presence of our Lord and Savior at the end of October. His death came after a diagnosis of Lung Cancer that had metastasized to his spine. A short 7 weeks later we would no longer hear his laughter, witness the love he had for his grandsons, the love he had for each of us as children, or the precious love he held for mom. We would no longer be able to hear his great stories or listen to his wise advice and constant encouragement. Near the end of his life last hugs were given and last I Love You’s said.

I called this great man Dad – not out of obligation because I am married to his eldest son but because he truly was my dad. He in so many ways, more ways than I can count embraced me like a daughter – something that was not an experience I really had before. I believe, he looked out for me, loved me, cared for me, encouraged me, and challenged me to be the best I could be.

I haven’t talked much about the role he played in my life or how his death impacted me. I’m not completely sure why – I know that it came with a great amount pain and rawness on many levels. In addition to not feeling this level of grief before, I quickly learnt that grieving is very different when you have a young one who is also grieving deeply and needing a mom and dad to help guide him. Being sure he had the support he needed often was the priority. I never wanted him to fear death. However, I do want people to hear clearly that I did have places I could openly grieve and continue to have those people and places in my life.

When I read that quote above by C.S. Lewis it was as if it were written for my son. Written for him in the sense that he has been afraid of how his Gramps death will impact his golf skills and game, fear of how things will happen now that this essential person was missing from the equation, and sadly fear of so many elements and things. Being a double PK (a pastors kid, who has two parents who are pastors), he has attended many many funerals and has grown up with hearing us talk about death, scripture, and faith. Even though he knew plenty about death, Gramps’ death rocked his world (as it should have) and opened many profound questions about life and death and the role that God plays in each. However, as C.S. Lewis indicated, grief felt like fear, to my precious child.

Last week, we enrolled him in a camp at our local hospice that was held at the K.B. Reynolds Hospice Home in Winston-Salem, NC. Although I can still sense and even see in his eyes much fear, there also seems to be a different level of processing going on within him. He’s by no means over his grief and I’m going to say all fear is gone within him. What I will say, is he is taking new steps and I’m incredibly proud of him for stepping out in faith. He’ll always have Gramps in his heart and carry precious tender and funny memories, as he himself travels through life.

In closing, I share a couple of things, Never be afraid to seek help as you grieve – it’s lonely enough, reach out to a qualified therapist or to your local Hospice. My experience as a pastor is that hospices are not only a provider of care as one comes close to the end of their life but they offer a multitude or resources to help loved ones relearn how to live. I feel certain that resources are available not only for children but for adults as well and these resources are indeed life sustaining and life giving. I know for certain that the K.B. Reynolds Hospice Home does offer resources for both adults and children and you don’t have to be grieving the loss of a loved one whom they cared for – they see the importance of grief work in general.

The pictures below are of the closing portion of my son’s participation at Camp Carousel. They wrote a message to their loved one’s and placed it in the butterfly tent and then blew bubble’s upward.