Windy canals, layer upon layer, people on bicycles everywhere.

Thankful for shoes, sturdy to wear, cobblestone walkways are everywhere.

Pedestrian crowds line streets square to square, Christmas markets are everywhere.

Tivoli lights throughout the fair, smells of the carnival everywhere.

Visit bakeries if you dare, Danish pastries are everywhere.

Herring and shrimp, Carlsberg beer, fish balls and smørrebrød everywhere.

Amber and jewels, gnomes with long hair, royalty and traditions are everywhere.

Climbing the steeple up 400 stairs, sights of the city are everywhere.

Blankets and candles warming the air, Danish hygge is everywhere.

Family and friends, moments we share, laughter and memories everywhere.

One to Grow On

I couldn’t keep myself from writing just one more post on the eve of our church’s 75th anniversary celebration. Together we journey with hope and growth for the future.

My mother always added an extra candle to our birthday cakes, saying, “One to grow on.” That stopped once I hit the age of “too many candles for the cake to hold.” But this message of growth is a good one; not necessarily in age, but in relationship, wisdom, faith, stewardship and love. I am confident that as long as I keep turning to God, I will grow in these things. How I do this is God’s call, but I couldn’t ask for a better trail partner. Will you join me?

Birthdays Rock

Today marks the first birthday of my blog. 365 posts ago I began to write each night. My goal was to create a habit of evening prayer as I share my story. I have definitely formed a habit, but it certainly took lots of discipline and a very caring, loving husband. Below are links to my first two posts from a year ago:

I will no longer write every day, but my blog will continue, and I will add to my story as the Spirit moves me. I will also continue my evening prayer, but in a different form. Less writing, more listening.

A member of our congregation gave me this beautifully calligraphed artwork twenty years ago. It hangs on the wall by my desk and I am empowered by it each day. Whenever I doubt or am going through difficult times in life, this text reminds me that all I need is faith in Christ, the sure foundation. By reading and sharing with me through these stories, you have been my foundation and support along the way. Throughout this journey, you are the beauty of God’s creation that keeps me going down the path; even through the wildest storms. We will always encounter storms. If we had no storms, how could we learn to appreciate peace and experience true joy?

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God all my life long. –Psalm 146:1-2

Living Walls

I feel excited and something else indescribable as I think about our church’s 75th anniversary celebration on Sunday. People from across the country are coming back to participate in worship and join in the festivities. With the return of members and pastors who have been a large part of my faith growing up in this place, it is bringing back memories I hadn’t expected.

I grew up in this faith community, so I know many people who have come and gone over the years. My father was on various committees and sang in the choir, and my mother played the piano frequently. The day before she died, I was in worship and remember being surrounded by the love of our members who knew how ill she was. Her spirit is continually with me as I share music in this special place. Walking around the church, I occasionally think of how much this building has changed, yet it retains similarities to what I remember as a child. The constant is God. I may not have known this in third grade, but looking back I now see more clearly the times God gave me a gentle nudge. It’s such a wonderful feeling to be a part of the history echoing all around this church with vibrations of all who have crossed the thresholds.

As we worship together on Sunday, I know I will feel the love that has been infused into the walls; living walls holding and retelling our stories of faith.

How many voices have sung in this place? How many hymns have rung out in this place? How many tears have fallen in the place? How many feet have stepped in this place? How many Lord’s Prayers have echoed in this place? These walls resonate; these walls vibrate with the wonder of generations; These walls echo with the heartbeats of ancestors and friends; Nothing disappears without a trace in this creation. Love and high aspiration; Grief and adoration; Live in these walls; The heartbeat of generations live in these walls. Their yearning toward God lives in these walls. Whispering to us; Encouraging us; Echoing in us. Singing with us. ~ Susan Palo Cherwien

Silently Waiting

It’s been nearly twenty-five years since the youth group gathered items for a time capsule to be unearthed in celebration of our church’s 75th anniversary. 1993 seems so long ago, but now we are one week away from the actual date, and I am so excited! I remember observing some of the contents being collected, but I really don’t remember details about what they are. I’m pretty sure a cassette tape or whatever we used back then may be revealed; possibly a church bulletin and photos. Beyond that, I’ll just have to wait. For now they are silently and patiently waiting underneath a bush near the church’s cornerstone.

There are plans for another time capsule to be created for the big 100. What would I include? Hmmm.

First Light

The first purple and orange light reflecting into the west beckoned me to turn to a window facing east. As I watched birds flying high in the air, the whole sky changed. Waiting for the sun to peek between branches and leaves, through speckled openings, my breathing became slow and steady. The sky became less filtered and more crisp as the light turned brighter. Now in a peaceful place, my mind rid of needless clutter, I could focus on listening to God. Morning visio divina:

Here it comes…fresh, new light creating contrasting silhouettes of the trees. Now a glimmer; a reflection of hope. Rising higher through the branches, the glow takes on the look of a burning bush. Constantly evolving. Day after day, never the same. The clouds add to the light’s beauty and transformation. It moves so slowly! O Lord, how long must I wait? These trees are awfully tall. God’s time. I wonder what today will bring, and tomorrow and tomorrow.

Simple Joy

Something caught my eye as I walked into work this morning. Looking down I noticed hundreds of shiny remnants, from yesterday’s Trunk or Treat, glistening in the bright sunlight. Each step revealed more and more multi-colored glitter and confetti. I walked a few steps more and almost stepped on a bright purple cotton ball. I could almost hear the laughter of children busily decorating their pumpkins with an assortment of fuzzy and glittery objects. What joy such simple things can bring.

It reminds me of the time I found God in the asphalt: Although I was in a different place on my journey when I previously met God on the blacktop, I know that God is with me wherever I go, and he continues to surprise me each day. I’m not always aware of his presence, but I have learned to be more alert. Yes, God is present…even in the sticky, shiny, glue-covered pumpkin creations, bringing laughter and joy in one great celebration of autumn.