Thursday, April 21, 2016


     Three years ago, I was picked up by a friend, taken to dinner with several people that I didn't know, and then dropped off at the Indiana State fairgrounds, without my phone, for the weekend.  I was ready to go on an Emmaus Walk.  For lack of better words, it is a spiritual retreat, but it is so much more than that.  For those three days, I was surrounded by people who showed me the true love of God.  I wanted for nothing that weekend.  At one of the meals, I wanted a Coke to drink, but there was only Pepsi..  I said no thank you and had something else to drink.  At the next meal, someone handed me a Coke.  That's how much people went out of their way to love on me.  I listened to talks, prayed, laughed, cried, and learned just how much God loves me that weekend.  I made friends with women who were strangers.  I came home a changed person.  I wanted everyone to have the experience that I did!

     I started to pray that Jim would want to attend a Walk.  Each spring and fall, I would ask...and the answer was no, until last fall.  I was so excited.  I got him all signed up and ready to go in Indianapolis...and the Walk was canceled.  Luckily, there are Walks just like this all over the world and I was able to get him signed up for one closer to home.  And it was exactly where God wanted him to be and the exact right time for him to go.  I tell people now that when I went, it changed me, but when Jim went, it changed our family.  Jim came home wanting more.  Since his Walk, he has been seeking more God, more family, more of what God has planned not only for himself, but for our family.  It's been exciting to see him grow in his faith each day!

     I also prayed for another dear friend.  Each spring and fall, I would mention it to her, but it wasn't the right time yet.  When Jim came home, she spoke to him and was ready to go.  I was privileged to be able to sponsor her.  We haven't talked in depth, but when I picked her up Sunday, her always beautiful smile was even more so.  I could see the love just flowing from her...more than usual!  I can't wait to hear about how God will be working through her even more than He already does!  

     I was lucky enough to be able to serve a meal to both the men and women who were on this journey the last two weekends.  I could see God working already with these men and women.  For some, there was fear and anxiety about being away from families for the weekend, but it was also early in the weekend.  For others, I could already tell that they were open and ready to hear all that God had planned for them.  I prayed for these people, that they would be able to feel and know God's love just as I did three years ago.  

     Since I have been on my Walk, I seem to have found more and more people who have been a Walk of their own.  God keeps putting people in my life who have had this same experience.  I feel a bond with these people...they are more than friends, they truly feel like my brothers and sisters.  When we get together to pray, I feel that we are stronger and more than we are alone.  We have this shared experience that really is like nothing else I know.  I truly wish that everyone would be able to experience a weekend like this.  If you are interested, I can tell you more.  I would love for you to be part of my Emmaus family!

Monday, April 18, 2016


     The other day I was driving a friend home.  She told me that there was a shorter way between my house and hers, but it was over gravel roads, so she didn't take it very often in her car.  She commented that she tries to keep her car clean and in good shape to show respect to her husband who bought the car for her to use as a nice family car.  I loved the way she said that...she was showing respect to her husband by taking care of something that he bought for her.  I have never looked at things this way, but it is changing my thought process.

     My first thought was how am I modeling that kind of respect for Delainey?  I have talked before about the fact that my house is not always neat.  Putting my things away and keeping them tidy is a show of Jim and I both who work hard for what we have.  I get upset at D for not keeping her room clean and tidy... but, she is following my example.  I have talked to her a little about how not putting things away is being disrespectful.  I think that this will be a new way to talk to her about keeping things put away in our house.  She understands respect...hopefully this will be meaningful to all of us in our house.

     Next, how am I showing respect to Jim?  I know that we both work full time, but he easily works 20 hours a week more than me...including my drive time.  Do I thank him when he takes the trash out?  Do I spend time with him, just the two of us?  He does the yard work at home, what are some simple ways that I can show respect for the hard work that he does...I try to make sure that he has cool drinks, is that enough? I will have to think of keeping my car show respect to him.

     Am I showing respect to others?  Do I roll my eyes when someone talks to me?  I need to show others respect by listening to them.  I need to be fully present when talking to people..not thinking about what else I could be doing.  If I want respect from others, I need to give respect first.

     I know that I am not respecting myself lately.  Taking care of my body is the best way to show respect to myself, and I haven't done that lately.  I am working on eating better and trying to exercise. I don't get enough sleep or spend time doing the things that I enjoy.  I need to start doing better for myself.   I deserve respect as well, so I have to act accordingly.

     So in my best Aretha Franklin voice,"R E S P E C T...find out what it means to me".  I will be spending some time thinking about what respect means to me. And then, how can I show respect to my family, my self, and others.   It is definitely food for thought for me!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Year of Mercy

     Let me start by saying that I am not Catholic.  I listen to a lot of Catholic radio, I have family members and friends who are Catholic, but I am not.  So with that being said, I love that Pope Francis has called for a Year of Mercy.  I love that so many people, both Catholic and others, are focusing on mercy.  There is so much anger and bitterness in the world, that we all can use a good dose of mercy.  But what exactly is mercy?

     A quick search of the Internet says that mercy is compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone.  It also means kindness or help given to people in a bad or desperate situation.  Martin Luther said that mercy is the first work of God.  As a member of a Methodist church, I am called to do "Works of Mercy": doing good works, visiting the sick, visiting those in prison, feeding the hungry, and giving to others (see for more information).When I think of mercy, I think of forgiveness.  I think of kindness.  I think of a lack of anger.  I think of peace.  

     I think that I am pretty good about forgiving others.  It takes to much energy to stay angry.  I don't have enough energy to hang on to the bad things that have happened to me and go forward.  I am not sure that you can go forward if you allow the anger to grow inside.  I have people in my life that I have had to forgive in some really big biological father, my ex husband, a former boss, a close friend.  The hurt that was in my life has healed, because I forgave them.  Not because they asked for forgiveness, but because I needed to release the pain and hurt for myself.  

     I am not sure that I am as good about doing works of mercy though.  Jim and I did take a youth group to work at a soup kitchen in December (and we hope to do it again).  We are also going on a mission trip in the fall with our group.  But those are big things...where can I focus on doing smaller things that will show mercy?  We give often to Mountain Mission through our church.  There is always of box of donations in our home waiting for the next pick up.  When I am at the grocery store, how much will it take from my budget to buy a can or two of food for our local food bank?  If I can't go visit the sick or those that are home bound, can I send a card with a chatty letter?  I need to find more ways to do actual works of mercy as my faith calls me to do.

     Dynamic Catholic says that The Year of Mercy is an invitation to love, kindness, and generosity.  This is an invitation that is open to all of us.  Mercy has no limits.  We should all show mercy, do mercy, give mercy.  How much better can our world be if we were all focused on mercy...not just this year, but always?!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Spring Break!

     For the last two weeks, my newsfeed has been blowing up with pictures of people on spring break...beaches, mountains, Disney, and deserts...all sorts of fun places.  I didn't have pictures of those things to share...and I am okay with that.  I have been able to watch everyone having fun and I am so glad that they are enjoying their time.

     I have never really been a big spring break trip person.  In college while others were going to Ft. Lauderdale or South Padre Island, I went home to northwest Indiana.  One year I did take a Kansas City MO.  I stayed in during the day while my then boyfriend worked all day.  I cleaned his apartment and watched tv...not exactly the party destination of so many others!  So, when I think of spring break, I really think of a more laid back time at home, with no schedule, no rushing around, and no fighting crowds.

     This year, Delainey was supposed to have 2 full weeks off, but thanks to snow, ice, and cold weather, she had classes for the first 3 days of break.  Jm and I were able to work our schedules such that we all had a little time off together here and there.  Jim and Delainey spent part of their time in Indianapolis visiting family, while I got to have some solitude after work each day.  Jim and D went horseback riding, shopping, and enjoyed city life.  I had a 2 night movie marathon, watching all 4 movies from the Hunger Game series, with popcorn for dinner!!

     Jim and D came home in time for D's riding lessons.  We let her stay after lessons so that she could clean stalls.  The child won't clean her room, but she will clean horse poop all night long!  Thursday was a gloomy day, perfect for sleeping in, which we all were able to do!  We did our housework for the day and then we were able to go out and about without feeling guilty.  We did some shopping, had a nice lunch, and then went to the movies...something we all love to do, but we don't do it often.  Friday was a chilly, but sunny day.  We were able to spend the day walking around the campus of IU and then hiking at Hardin Ridge. We walked about 4.5 miles throughout the day...and we were tired.  We finished off Friday by playing a few games of Clue.

     Our spring break wasn't wild and crazy.  It wasn't full of travel and adventure.  But is was a wonderful break from our daily routine.  We were refreshed and relaxed after spending time together..and away from work and school.  Maybe next year will bring our BIG spring break, but if it doesn't, we will still enjoy every moment that we are able to spend together.