Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lent - Week 1

Many pastors from the Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church attended the "Our Life Together" event at St. Luke's UMC in Indianapolis Monday and Tuesday of this week. The theme of our time together was "Stillness, Awareness, and Playfulness" and our guest speaker was Dr. Kirk Byron Jones. I usually attend this annual clergy retreat for a couple of reasons; they are times of learning, worship, and renewal for me and secondly, I love to connect with my clergy covenant group and other clergy colleagues and friends. This year proved to have and be everything this clergy person's soul needed and wanted. 

During my time in Indianapolis I also began a half marathon training program which will keep me in shape and provide discipline over the next 14 weeks. During those two morning on the treadmill at the hotel I listened to Anne Lamont's book "Small Victories", read my Lenten devotional for each day, prayed, and huffed and puffed through the miles. I don't have anything very profound to say about what I heard, read, and prayed over except to ask each of you..."Are you taking some time during Lent each day to be with God?" If you are, awesome! If you are not, get started! God is waiting for you. 

The icicle picture is the view out my window at the church this afternoon. Yes, it is sideways......another day I"ll take the time (maybe) to straighten it out. What it is supposed to show is that the snow is doing a bit of melting today. It's still early, but to me that is a sign that "Easter is coming!" May you find God in any stillness of heart, mind, and soul that you are gifted with today!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The 2nd Day of Lent 2015

Not a very imaginative title, I'm afraid, but perhaps this is about as much imagination I can come up with on a very, very snowy and cold day here in South Bend. The winter of 2015 seems like it will not end. After a rather mild and meek start to the winter here, the weather in South Bend has taken a very winterish (shall we say Arcticish?) turn over the past six weeks. In some ways it has been a wonderful return to the harder winters of Michiana after spending the last 8 years in gentler climates in Indiana, however, after canceling another worship service at Willow Creek UMC yesterday evening, my patience broke and my complaints about the snow and cold came through loud and clear to my husband John. Give us snow, Lord, but could we please not have to cancel worship? Another storm is getting ready to hit the Midwest and our area on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. I suppose I need to be open to the possibility of another Sunday of low attendance or cancelation.

It's good to write again here on the blog. It's been too long, but I've been a little busy with life overhaul and change these past 18 months. In October of 2013 I met my husband and it has been a whirlwind of love and change ever since! We met in October of 2013 and married in March of 2014, I changed churches in July of 2014 and moved back to South Bend during that same time period. It's been a busy year and a half; good, fulfilling and one of the best decisions I've made in this life of mine. No one is perfect, but John is the perfect husband for me and I am a much better person because of his entry and lasting status in my life. More about this later.

Most importantly, for this blog and hopefully the blogging that will follow throughout the days and weeks of Lent, it is the time of Holy Lent. 40 days of deliberately turning our lives back toward God to prepare for the Messiah. 40 days of remembering who we are in God's eyes (beloved children) and working and waiting to be better people of God through God's grace and love. 40 days of preparing to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ; the foundation of my faith and perhaps yours. 40 days of increasing hope of the newness and freshness of life that can come through interior change, the grace of God, and the coming of spring. 40 days of heart and mind transformation as we seek God and God's will, and do God's work here on earth.

I hope to post a picture of what it looks like outside here in South Bend today. And hopefully can post a picture of what things look like on Easter Sunday or shortly thereafter. My guess is that the pictures will be radically different from one another and hopefully in a good way. If your heart reflects the cold, wind, snow, and blizzard like conditions that our weather outside is giving us today, my prayer for you is that by the time Easter comes, your heart will reflect the newness of hope that the love of God and the season of spring can bring in warmer weather and spring like weather conditions. May God work a good thing in your life these 40 days of Lent.

Blessings and hope, Kathy

Thursday, September 19, 2013


            Over Labor Day weekend I was able to spend some time with my friend Ruth Ann as we celebrated 50 years of friendship together by taking a trip to Nashville, IN to enjoy the beauty of the small town, do a little shopping in the quaint and unusual shops along their main street and just be together to strengthen, renew, and celebrate friendship. Ruth Ann and I met on the first day of kindergarten traveling on the bus to Ready Elementary School in Griffith, IN and have been great friends ever since. We managed to spend lots of time together during our elementary and high school years, but not as much time as we entered college and went our separate ways; her to Purdue University and me to the University of Michigan. Yet even when the miles between us have been great, we have always managed to connect through phone conversations, email, visits to one another and now even on Facebook. It’s hasn’t necessarily always been easy; both of us have been busy with raising our families, holding down full time jobs, maintaining our homes; all of those things that can leave little time for friendships when the children are young. However, somehow we always managed to be there for the important things for one another; weddings, anniversaries, funerals of parents and other family members, bridal showers, baby showers, christenings, baptisms, ect. I suppose we made those events a priority to attend. I can’t help but think that our willingness to be there for one another throughout the years has contributed to a loving, grace filled, fun, and altogether solid friendship that we both value and count on.

            Ruth Ann and I have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with one another because we have been willing to invest the time and energy it takes to maintain a healthy relationship. I doubt that I’m telling any of you anything new when I say that any good, solid relationships take time, energy, and even at times, sacrifice. The same kind of principles apply when it comes to connecting to and having a relationship with Jesus Christ. It takes time, energy, and sacrifice to have a good, solid, healthy relationship with our Savior. Jesus is always available to us and always ready to hear our prayers, accept our worship, empower our knowledge, give us the energy and heart to reach out to others with God’s love, hold us accountable, offer us grace, love, and forgiveness. If we feel far from God; it’s probably not God who moved.

            What do you need to do to move closer to Jesus? Pray? Come to worship? Go to Sunday School? Read your Bible? Engage in an act of kindness and or love for your neighbor? Ask for forgiveness, accept God’s love, live a life of grace and mercy?

            Relationships are important. Our relationship with Christ is the most important relationship in our lives. Christ is waiting for you. Will you accept his offer of deep, meaningful, solid, life giving relationship?




Saturday, August 24, 2013

This past week I started a 12 week training cycle for the Indianapolis Monumental ½ Marathon.

I stepped out the door this morning to a beautiful, crisp, late summer pre-dawn morning. The sun

wasn’t quite up yet, the Centerville school buses had not left their evening and weekend parking

lot places, there was little traffic on the road, and the quiet and gentle morning touched my soul

as my feet pounded the pavement each step of my run. I run one long run during each week of

my training; this morning’s long run was quite short in comparison to what is coming up over the

next few weeks but it was still a challenging run. I’ve trained for a few half marathons over the

 last 14 years and I know that hardest runs of this training cycle are yet to come. The discipline

of the training, the quiet of the morning runs, and the pay off of good health make each of these

runs a blessing in the midst of the early morning wake up calls and the huffing and puffing as I

 try and increase my distance and speed for the race in November.

Why do I do all of this training? Well, the obvious reasons are to maintain and improve my

health, a reason to get some exercise, (which is good for stress management and who doesn’t

need help with stress management these days?) and to satisfy a little bit of that somewhat

compulsive personality of mine. But, I also love to see that finish line at the end of the race. No

 matter how well or how mediocre or how awful I might run any particular race, the finish line

tells me that I’ve persevered in my training, persevered in the race, persevered in this area of my

life. And that has all sorts of implications about how I might persevere in life in general and most

 importantly, how I persevere in this life of faith and hope in Jesus Christ.

The New Testament book of Hebrews tells us that our spiritual life is a lot like training for a half

marathon running race. Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us “And let us run with perseverance the race

marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Our life of faith

and hope in Christ is like a race; a race in which training, discipline, and hope keeps us in the

race despite the long distance we run. We realize that it’s not always going to be easy, but

keep our eyes on the finish line, and in the midst of it all, feel,  hear, and see the soft, beautiful

mornings of our faith run. Most importantly throughout our “runs”, “we fix our eyes on Jesus, the

pioneer and perfecter of faith.”

 May we all have blessings on our “run” with Christ!

Monday, July 22, 2013

It's really a lot of fun to have a three year old around the house......

Especially when they are enjoying their raspberry ice cream!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


What a joy it is to sit on the back porch at the Centerville UMC parsonage this evening and spend a little time in sermon preparation outside. It's not often that I have the time or even the inclination to work on a sermon in the evening, but this week has been quite full with "people time" during the day. No opportunity has opened to sit at my desk at the church office for the study, meditation, and writing that needs to happen to preach a sermon on Sunday morning. So, here I sit on my not so comfy lawn chair on the porch, listening to the birds, the lawnmowers, the chain saws, the traffic, and apparently a leaf blower (at least that's what it sounds like) in the distance as I enjoy this incredibly beautiful June evening.

My trusty Labrador Retriever, Murphy, has already given up on sitting outside and is resting quietly (yes, crazy dog Murphy is being quiet!) in the house waiting for me to come in and give him a dog cookie.

It's good to sit in the middle of God's creation even in the midst of all the human noise. It's good to do a little bit of relaxation time after a busy day with our new summer morning Bible Study, lunch with 31 church members and friends, (yes, that's right - there were 31 of us at our Wednesday "Stucky" lunch today) a meeting with Centerville UMC's FCJ coach, and then sermon prep time. It's good to know that life is relatively peaceful at this point and my family and friends are doing pretty well - at least as far as I know right now this very instant - but mostly, it's good to know that God is with me (and you!) in, on, around, and amidst this journey of life and faith.

Blessings to any and all who read this on this soft, warm, and lovely June evening. And to God this evening..........thank you....simply, thank you!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

An update

Greetings from Burkina Faso! It's Tuesday evening here in the mission house and many of us are getting packed to head back out to the bush tomorrow for our final adventure -a safari! Not sure what we will see and experience there, but I'm guessing maybe a few elephants, baboons, and crocodiles. First we go to Tabitha House; a place of empowerment for Burkino women. We plan to visit the facility, meet the women and children and cheer on Dee Dee Sterling as she encourages, teaches, and cares for the women who come to learn and grow in self confidence, marketable skills, and in Christ.

I'll have more to say in the coming days and weeks about our time in Burkino Faso and will be posting many, many pictures along the way. There is great physical, emotional, and spiritual need here and yet the people have the most beautiful smiles and greetings in their hearts and spirits. We have been the recipients of amazing hospitality, warmth, and gratitude along the way. The children here are beautiful, precious, loving, and oh my goodness, do they love to have their pictures taken! And believe me, folks, your gifts for clean water in Burkina Faso is needed, appreciated, and welcomed in ways you might never imagined! I hope I can communicate in some way the enormous gratitude and love expressed to the team for the gifts of clean water and the wells that are being dug.

More stories as time goes forward. Blessings to each one of you!

In Christ's love, Kathy