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Staff Trax

It’s been a year…

It has been a year since the coronavirus hit Johnson County. It has been a year since my kids came home from school on a Thursday expecting one more day before spring break, only to not return to school again for classes until after fall conferences.

For other things, it has been more than a year. I have not seen family or friends since December 2019, and some even before that. Most of our…

Labor of Love

Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy. Rest from your labors. This commandment is a difficult one to follow, don’t you think? As worship and music director, Sunday is the day I rest the least! I encourage my three kids to be active outside of school, so weekends are not for resting at my house.

My mom tells the story that as a young teen, my favorite days were the ones with absolutely…

Taking Faith Home

For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.
Mark 8:35 (NRSV)

In the interims I have served I have used the resource “Taking Faith Home” from Milestone Ministries. After we used the Advent and Christmas cards and they were well-received, I thought this might be a helpful…

Should We Call This the Lent of 2020?

I hope all of you are safe and staying warm and healthy. Lent already? Some days (in fact, most days) I feel like 2020 was the year of giving up something — no weddings, birthdays, hospital visits, school, funerals, and, for the most part, one’s job — hoping it will get better each month, will I have a job, will my family be okay, or am I even going to be able to see my family. I struggled…

Living a Generous Life

Twenty years ago, Paul and I lived in Fargo, ND. Twenty years ago, widespread mobile phone usage did not exist.

I took the call at work. Our neighbor Wallace was watching the farm while my parents were out of state on a much-deserved vacation. My dad's steers had broken the fence and had gotten out. Wallace had not been able to locate the cattle. I flew into action. I told my boss I was…

Road Trip

Do you remember your first day in driver’s ed? Someone in my class came with advice from their mom that to stay in the center of the lane, keep the hood ornament lined up with the stripe on the right side of the road. (There was a bit more space between the driver and the front end of the car back then). I remember quite clearly the lecture that followed about looking down the road when driving,…

My Gospel Playlist

Hello, Salem! I have served as your organist for a year and a half now, and I must confess it has been a learning curve with all the liturgy and new hymns that I have had the pleasure of learning. In consideration of that process, I have grown to love and appreciate liturgy, and the liturgical worship style.

As I thought about what I could write for this year, I wanted to share with you…

Trust in the Lord

The readings this week (for Sunday, Jan. 24) all have one thing in common — trusting in God, even if His intentions are not clear at the time. This can be hard, especially when times are tough. Just be still in the fact that God has His hand on everything, and even though you might not see His plan, you need to trust in Him.

The Old Testament reading is from Jonah. God told Jonah to go…

Making Connections

I have always been a bit obsessed about connecting with people. As an Army kid in the '70s and '80s, that meant writing letters when I moved away from my friends. When I went to college in 1989, I wrote to 16 pen pals every week, including my parents and grandparents. I still send 200 Christmas cards every year, and leave my walls plastered with the photo cards of friends until at least March.

Wisdom Comes to Our Minds and Hearts

When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.
Matthew 2:10

As I sit down to write this Staff Trax, it is January 6, 2021, the Epiphany of Our Lord. I know that some of you use the devotional book “The Word in Season.” Today’s devotion focuses on wisdom. When you hear the word wisdom, what comes into your mind and heart? When I…

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