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'Tis the Season - May 2015

It's spring...a much anticipated season, especially here in Minnesota where our senses are dulled for so many long months. Sun-starved describes it best. Not enough natural vitamin D. We long to have the windows open, hear the happy exchange of the birds who decided to come back after all, and....for those of us who are lovers of the soil...pull out our long-awaited packets of seedlings. Yes! New life! Reminder of eternal hope!

 

No one feels this more than the farmer. The minute weather permits, he is in the field plowing up the soil, digging down deep and turning it over so it faces the sun. Brown hard dirt is replaced by rich, thick, moist, black soil. He knows that without tilling the soil, it will not (in fact cannot) bear a crop. It must be turned up before it is ready to receive the seeds, the sun, the rain, and…yes, even the lightning that replaces the nitrogen. It must be able to breathe. Without the farmer, the soil is nothing but...soil.

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Experiencing God when You Get a Raw Deal - April 2015

Have you ever done the honorable thing and it backfired on you? Did you ever do all the work and someone else got all the credit?

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Staying in the Patch - March 2015

“For you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the world; walk as children of light... trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8 & 10 (NASB)
 
Picking strawberries was the last thing I felt like doing after a busy week as a counselor at teen camp.  But they glistened in the sun and let me know that the birds and bunnies would gladly take my place if I didn’t.  I groaned at the thought of how many there were and how long it would take.  A gentle prodding from our Lord reminded me that it was, after all, my idea to plant them and my enjoyment to eat them.
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Experiencing God in Times of Confusion - February 2015

Is there chaos in your life?  Do you feel overwhelmed by work, life, and relationships? 

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But Even if He Does Not - January 2015

I always thought that the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3 inspired me because these three men were willing to go into the fire. I longed to be faced with a giant crisis and answer with a triumphant “throw me into the fire.” But, as the last two years have not gone as I expected, God has revealed another part to their legacy that has impacted me in incredibly challenging ways.
 
In Daniel 3 we find Nebuchadnezzar furious when he heard that these three men would not worship the image of gold he set up. So, he had them summoned. Read their response with me…
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Unto Us a Child is Born... Now What?! - December 2014

In Advent and Christmas we consider the coming of a child into our world.  This year such considerations are 24/7 realities in my life since Allison and I received our first child, Estella Mae, less than three weeks ago.  Unto us a child is born!  I cannot help but reflect afresh on the coming of the child who invites all the world to echo Isaiah 9:6 with the energy of Handel’s Messiah, “Unto us a child is born!”
 
After long expectancy, trying labor, and the wonder of delivery, our beautiful baby finally arrived.  Everything we had looked forward to and prepared for had happened, yet it was clear that we weren’t done.  We had a baby, but this journey was just beginning.  Our wonder was joined by wondering, “Now what?!” 
 
This is even truer in the birth of Jesus. 
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Facing Death with Hope: Living for What Lasts - November 2014

Is a life-threatening illness, a major life change, or just plain old age forcing you to face your own mortality? Is your eventual death looming like a dark cloud over your life? Are you sure of what will happen when you die? How are you dealing with your questions about death? Fear? Dread? Denial? Keeping busy?
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A Letter to be Read at My Memorial Service

October 26th, 2017, marks the fifth anniversary of Kristen's death. She revised the letter below in February 2012.
 
Dear loved ones,
 
Click to watch nowAs I write this I admit feeling a little sad. Sad because my greatest earthly desire was to grow old with Deric … 17 years of marriage was not nearly long enough. Sad because it is a mother’s job to be there to comfort her child when that child experiences her first broken heart, or when he sits on the bench during a much-anticipated game. Sad because my heart hurts to think I will not be there to share in my children’s joys and inevitable accomplishments, their weddings, or for the births of their own children. Sad to leave my mom and my sister with yet another loss after the premature death of my dad. Despite the sadness this illness has brought, when I consider my life I quickly realize that God has blessed me abundantly … how can I feel anything except overwhelming thankfulness?
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Like Sheep?! - September 2014

Two summers ago my husband and kids became really excited about the idea of having sheep.  Our home is situated on ideal land for them.  That was the only reason that I thought supported the idea, but their enthusiasm won over.  One afternoon they brought home nine sheep, and the learning curve began.
 
The Bible speaks often of sheep, and we as Christians are referred to as sheep, with our Lord Jesus described as our shepherd.  This never bothered me too much -- sheep are cute, peaceful creatures.  But once I experienced sheep first-hand, I became uncomfortable being called one!
 
They are not smart!
 
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Submission - August 2014

In our world today, submission is almost universally viewed as a negative quality.  However, submission, when understood in the context of Jesus’s life, is a beautiful and freeing concept. 
 
In Mark 8:34-35, Jesus tells his disciples that “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me; for whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s shall save it.”  Clearly Jesus was teaching his disciples, and us, that self-denial is the path we are to follow.  It is the path that Jesus followed during his life and his death on the cross.  Submission leads to freedom.  It is the freedom of not always needing to get our own way.  When we learn to live that submissive lifestyle, our happiness is not dependent upon getting what we want.
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