Family Resemblance

Jewel ZymurgyFaith0 Comments

The other day when my daughter and I were shopping at Costco, I was energetically stopped by a coworker of mine. Her first comment was literally of jaw dropping amazement how similar my daughter and I look…we look like sisters! She directed her attention toward my daughter and I allowed my mind to wander. I was grinning ear to ear because I was holding back laughter thinking about her comment. I thought about the silver in my hair becoming so much more prominent these last few years. The aching that I sometimes feel in my body and the slower healing when I put it to the test reminds me of the years that have gone by and how hard they have been on my body. I smile to myself and thought, when I was younger I really did think I was pretty much invincible. I was convinced that broken bones and damaged ligaments and joints would never bother me–and the thought of how I feel now made me long to have a candid conversation with my daughter about being more mindful of the way she treats her body. Pushing to her limits is a general rule for her. I laughed … Read More

Tell me about your daddy

Rosalynn LasleyPrayer & Fasting, Redemption, Trials1 Comment

Jesus Love

I have been avoiding writing this post for a very long time.  The title alone is one that can elicit a wide variety of responses.  For some people the thought of their dad will cause a visible smile to spread across their face, thinking of all of the lovely things that make their dad who he is.  For others it may cause their eyes to well up with tears because their dad is no longer on earth.  There are others who may get a sinking feeling in their stomach because their relationship with their dad isn’t a good one.  There are some who may not know their dad at all.  There are some who think of a stepdad or foster dad when thinking of their dad.  There may even be some who won’t read this post at all because it has to do with dads.  That’s why it has been so hard for me to write this, it’s hard for me to talk about my dad. When people talk about God as The Father, its is often hard for me to comprehend that.  I don’t have a good relationship with my dad so my view of what a father looks like is cloudy.  I … Read More

Women in the Easter Story

Heather GillisBible Study, Faith, Holiday1 Comment

I hope everyone had a Happy Easter!  Easter is one of my most favorite times of the year to celebrate everything Jesus did for us.  Did you know that women were present at the death, the burial and resurrection of Jesus and were mentioned by name?  Women played an integral role in the Easter story.  They were vital in sending the first message of the gospel, the ones to first utter the good news, “He is risen!” The Death In John 19:25-27, at the cross stood Jesus’ sweet mother Mary who was weeping for Him.  Alongside her stood Mary’s sister, Mary wife of Clops and Mary Magdalene.  Next to Mary stood the disciple whom he loved, whom we know as John but his actual name is not mentioned.  Mark 15:40-41 mentions the women Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James and Salome by name who were also present at the crucifixion of Jesus.  In all the gospels the only other person mentioned by name at the death of Jesus is the centurion. The Burial Mark 15:47 again mentions Mary Magdalene and Mary mother of Joses witnessed where Jesus was laid into the tomb. The Resurrection In Matthew 27:65-66, Pilate had ordered Jesus’ … Read More

There Is No Box

Carol DunfeeFaith, Holiday, Redemption, Womanhood1 Comment

It never ceases to amaze me how we try to squeeze God into a box. Because we cannot grasp His vastness, we build boxes and try to make God fit into them. We have denominational boxes: Baptist, Pentecostal, Catholic, Presbyterian. Then there are those who want to force God into the theological boxes of Arminiansim and Calvinism, which try to define the balance between God’s will and man’s choice. And of course, we have boxes for God’s definition of women which range from women submitting to all men to women submitting to no one. Seriously. We have a God who created the universe. Not only does He fully understand the composition and workings of this universe, but He created it all. He holds it in His hand. The earth is where he rests His feet. By comparison, we are like tiny, insignificant ants scurrying around at His feet. All we can see is the smallest part of His little toe, yet we arrogantly try to box God into the limits of our own understanding. The Jews in Jesus’ day had the same problem. They thought that the Messiah was going to come to save them from Roman oppression and set up … Read More

Pouty and Still Blessed

Jewel ZymurgyFaith2 Comments

Restoration

I have so much to be thankful for right in this minute.  I forget that all too often.  I forget that my circumstances don’t define me. I sure find myself at times forgetting to take my eyes off of what is going on around and/or in me. I forget to look to the only one that will heal me, grant me peace and love me unconditionally. Earlier in the week I found myself seeing only the chaos around me and I was feeling super overwhelmed. I was ready to “take a knee” not out of reverence and prayer but out of a mindset of defeat and giving up. At this time, I had a friend who helped me to correct that perspective. She reminded me of all the changes going on in my life. It seemed like all of the sudden I realized there was so much more that impacted my emotions than the hard conversations with my teen that I was focusing on at that moment. As a result of being able to see the broader picture, my mental posture got a little taller, through my growing awareness of the truth in her words. Today however, I didn’t have … Read More

Whom do you serve?

Rosalynn LasleyFaith0 Comments

Worship Lord Serve Him

Do you ever feel like your hard work goes unnoticed or unappreciated? Do you feel like you don’t have much to offer no matter how hard you try? Do you feel burnt out or like you just can’t quite juggle it all? Do you feel like you’re the only one trying or contributing? I know there are many times that I do. There have been many different situations lately that have left me discouraged because I feel like in my current circumstances, I don’t have much to offer. There have been many different things that have left me feeling like the effort I do have to give goes unnoticed and it sort of leaves me with the “why bother” attitude at times. (Not the best attitude to have, I’ll admit that.) I was talking with a good friend a little while back and she was sharing that she felt burnt out, over worked, taken advantaged of, and sometimes resentful because of her circumstances and what was asked of her at times. It was nice to know that I wasn’t the only one feeling that way, but I knew that we both needed to put things into a better perspective in … Read More

Grace: A Proper Response To Sin

Jen CudmoreFaith, Redemption3 Comments

He’s doing it again. Irritating and embarrassing me. That’s not what I wanted him to say. That’s not how I wanted him to behave. That’s not the place I wanted him to go. He knows what he ought to do, the right way to handle these situations, and yet he refuses to meet my expectations. He doesn’t see the harm in going his own way. God’s standard was broken, blessings are withheld, consequences ensue. Because, after all, we reap what we sow. My response is strong. I’m disgusted and disappointed. Righteous anger is justified, and I hold tightly to mine, because I know I am right. I know I am right. And then my pondering turns to God’s response. How does He look at this disobedient and disrespectful child? Like me, He must be so tired of all this! I picture Him wincing or shaking His head. That’s when God simply tells me He’s not mad. What? Not mad? But He’s been wronged! Shamed by this person who is not living up to His standards. How can He be so calm and quiet about it? Because I’m making enough noise for the both of us. And then He gently reminds … Read More

Unexpected Easter Blessings

Heather GillisFaith, Holiday, Redemption, Trials4 Comments

Have you ever received a blessing from God that was beyond measure than anything you have ever received? Easter in itself is a blessing that I cherish as a day where God gave his only son for us. But there are two Easter blessings that will forever be engraved in my heart. Last Easter, it was our second year living in Alaska. Last Easter was also my husband and I wedding anniversary. The day started out like any other day for me. I got up early intending to go to the sunrise Easter service then come back and all go together as a family. This morning however everyone got up early and somehow someway we all got dressed and made it to the sunrise service at the chapel on base on time. On this particular day it also had been snowing. I had experienced white Christmases before but never a white Easter. Have you ever had one of those amazing moments orchestrated by God? Well this day was one of those moments. As the choir started to sing, they started singing a song about how much Jesus loves us and washes our sins white as snow. It was snowing outside on Easter … Read More

When the story is ugly, God is beautiful

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Redemption2 Comments

I recently asked the question on my Facebook page “What would be the way that you would describe a control freak?” It was really no surprise to me that most of the responses had a negative context to them.  The post kind of was a little bit of a set up.  I said “freak” when referring to control, and therefore implied a problem with just one little word.  It’s OK, I got the responses I was looking for that way.  I wanted to know the negative ways that people view control, because I was wondering if I was on the right track in my previous blog post.  Most of the things people responded with were true depictions of the control in my life, and the reasons for control.  There was only one person who said in a side conversation “why does everyone see control as a bad thing?” Ah-Ha! Two sides to the story huh? Let’s give control a fair shot, shall we? Not all control is bad or negative, and I’m not just saying that to cut myself some slack. I know that seems like quite the contrast when compared to the last two blog posts, but hear me out. Control is a necessary part … Read More

Why We Need To Get Uncomfortable

Jen CudmoreFaith2 Comments

“I just didn’t see it.” How many times have we been looking for an object that was right in front of us, but our eyes somehow missed it? Over time we can get so used to a particular environment that everything tends to blend in. When we drive the same route to work each day. When we shop at the same supermarket every week. When we sit in the same pew every Sunday. We like routine because it’s comfortable. While there is value in a certain amount of routine when it comes to efficiency or success, there is also danger. When we do the same thing over and over, it becomes a habit. We don’t have to think about anything; we act out of reflex. We don’t realize the monotony is causing us trouble. We don’t notice the details anymore. We take the familiar for granted. We skip over the little things. When we’re comfortable, when we know what to expect, when there is no challenge – that’s when we miss out on God’s blessings. A couple weeks ago, I wrote about How to be Uncomfortable. As humankind, we prefer the smooth and uncomplicated things of life, rather than discomfort … Read More

Words From the Cross

Heather GillisBible Study, Faith, Holiday0 Comments

How powerful are the last dying words from a person; especially when those words are from Jesus? Do you know that even in Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross he prayed for us? His last words are so telling of his undying love for us. These are the last words Jesus spoke before he died on the cross. The 7 Last Words Jesus Spoke on the Cross: 1. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). It amazes me even as Jesus was ridiculed, persecuted, beaten and crucified he still prayed for those who were killing him. He even forgave one of the men on the cross who was sentenced with him. Even in Jesus death he prayed for us and still had the power to make people right with God and cared about their salvation. 2. “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43 NIV). These are the words Jesus said to one of the criminals sentenced with him after the criminal said, “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Can you even imagine hanging on the cross suffering and Jesus says these words … Read More

A Call to Adventure

Madison RosserFaith2 Comments

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.  My mom once bought me a green, wide-brimmed hiking hat from Value Village. She gave it to me for a backpacking trip I would go on before the start of my senior year of college. I quickly deemed this hat my “adventure hat.” The summer after I graduated college, I wore it on all sorts of grand adventures, and it has been a faithful companion of mine ever since– floating through the jungles of Borneo, scaling the Great Wall of China, kayaking the coves of Kodiak, and climbing the near and dear mountains that stand guard around my beloved city. My adventure hat, and the accompanying adventures, sometimes surprise me. When I look back at my childhood self, I was shy and often scared, but somewhere along the line of life, God opened wide my heart to his grand adventure for me. I’m not really talking about the adventures listed above either, but rather the … Read More

Better than a Fairy Godmother

Carol DunfeeFaith4 Comments

Princess Bride is one of the most quotable movies of all time. I think I have watched it more than any other single movie. In college, my friends and I didn’t have TV’s in our dorm rooms, so one friend made an audio recording of Princess Bride. We must have listened to it at least thirty times. We memorized whole sections of it and entertained our sleep-deprived minds by quoting the best dialogues. One of my favorites was when Vizzini kept using the word “inconceivable”. Inigo Montoya informed him, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Recently, I stumbled upon a favorite Bible verse from those college days…a verse with a word that doesn’t mean what I thought it meant. I claimed it as a promise from God that if I lived for Him, then He would fulfill the desires of my heart. I wanted to get married, teach piano, and have children. I understood this verse to mean that he would give me the things I wanted, the things my heart desired. Does this sound anything like a fairy godmother granting a wish in a fairy tale? Only now, I realize that … Read More

Giggles and Jesus

Jewel ZymurgyFaith1 Comment

The evening was a breathtaking combination of sunshine and snow as I pulled up into a parking spot at Hanshew, a nearby school that had an outdoor track. Intending to walk and talk to God. I had just listened to a voice message that a friend of mine had left for me. I was completely filled with joy at the sound of her chuckling voice sharing with me a fraction of her day in which I was brought up in conversation because of her comical laughter. Essentially, in a statement, her son made the association that if my friend was in a giggly, fun and in a goofy mood then she must have just spent time with or just got done talking to me. I loved it! Proverbs 15:23 “A person finds joy in giving an apt reply— and how good is a timely word!” Before I got to the snow covered lanes of the track, I found myself filled with emotion. I felt that my heart may just explode with this deep and wonder-filled gratitude at realizing, in that moment, the gift of God’s presence in my life. I was thinking about how much joy my friend brings me. … Read More

Have thine own way.

Rosalynn LasleyFaith0 Comments

When I was asked to be a contributor for this blog, I didn’t have to think more than a few seconds before eagerly saying yes! I’ve started to embrace that I’m not too shabby with words, and realize this is an excellent opportunity to use the talent He has given me, for Him. After all, in elementary school I excelled at speaking (listening…not so much) and through high school creative writing was one of the few classes I didn’t even come close to failing. I immediately started thinking about all of the things I could write about, all of the experiences I could share, and maybe, just maybe something good would come out of it. I started praying for the blog, the opportunity to write, the women it may minister to.  I told God what I wanted to write about, I told Him what I thought would be good to share, and finally I handed it over to Him.  In hindsight that’s where I should have began. Then God laughed at me.  I know I’m a funny girl, I crack myself up all the time, but God…I wasn’t being funny this time.  God said “Uh yeah you were.  You are talking about what YOU want to … Read More

Maranatha: He is Coming

Heather GillisFaith0 Comments

Did you know the first ever marathon ran in history was by a Greek soldier?   He ran from the city of Marathon to Athens to announce the defeat of the Persians in the Battle of Marathon.  He ran an approximate 26 miles to deliver the good news of their victory. Who knew that one man’s race for victory over 1,500 years ago, was setting the stage for the race many would run known as a marathon. I can’t even imagine running 26 miles after fighting in a battle, probably not having that much food or water and running in sandals (I don’t think they had running shoes back then)! My body would feel tired, hungry and exhausted if I didn’t get enough food, water or sleep.  This motivated Greek soldier didn’t exactly train for those 26 miles, he just ran! Well anyone who has ran a marathon knows going out to run 26 miles the first day isn’t the best way to run this long race. There needs to be a gradual increase of miles over weeks and months. Rest periods need to be incorporated as well as adequate nutrition, hydration and sleep to be able to perform well enough … Read More

Portrait of a Beautiful Woman

Carol DunfeeFaith, Womanhood2 Comments

Yesterday, my cousin posted a memory of our Gramma on Facebook. It was a sweet prayer that Gramma had tucked into her favorite Bible. Throughout the comments, some of her other grandchildren had posted memories of her lovable traits. I found myself choking back tears as I remembered how much I loved her. She died 15 years ago this month after a long battle with dementia caused by multiple strokes. Somehow, it seems like yesterday. I didn’t get to go to her funeral. The pain of that bothers me even now. The night before she died, my husband and I went into the church auditorium where he worked. He hooked up the sound system and we recorded music for her funeral. I played the sleek, black concert grand, while my husband accompanied me on a song or two at the keyboard. It was some of the hardest music-making I’ve ever done, but for a few seconds, I felt one last, brief connection with her. My Gramma. My role model. She loved. She loved with quiet intensity. Her love was tangible. She loved our Grandpa so much that she put aside her favorite colors to wear what he thought made her look beautiful. She loved her … Read More

Paintings, Turmoil and Truth

Jewel ZymurgyFaith0 Comments

Nonchalantly, I glanced around the room, looking for a familiar face. The normally unconscious part of my mind took over as I scanned and my attention was stolen by a picture that looked out of place on the west wall. In the flurry of bright colored paintings of flowers, mountains, cabins and picturesque scenery which were all charmingly captured on canvas—the painting (that robbed my focus) was dark and uninviting. It was such a stark contrast to everything else in the room, including the warm reddish hue that covered the textured walls that I couldn’t help but be drawn to it. I was acutely aware of the increasing intensity of sadness that seemed to rise as I kept looking at the image. It was odd to me as I found that the longer I looked at it, the more it demanded that I look deeper into the blackness… That dark and moody piece drew me in. It was quite possibly an outward representation of an inward familiarity…a lonely place that I knew well. It was fairly simple as it held only a yellowish moon darkened by brushstrokes that were burnt orange. The smallish moon was the only light color that … Read More

When Jesus Finally Made Sense To Me

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Motherhood, Trials1 Comment

Months of planning had gone into one little camping trip with friends.  It seems so silly to plan months in advance to sleep outside on the dirt, but Alaskan summers are something we long for, and time off from work is much desired during the season where the sun doesn’t set.  If you want to take a day off in the summer time, you must ask long ahead of time, otherwise you’ll blink and it will be dark and snowy again.  A two hour drive, deep into the woods was on our agenda, and I looked forward to nothing more than a raging bonfire, and s’mores shared with some of the best people I have ever know. There’s just something about quality time spent with incredible people around a fire, that renews my soul.   It was the weekend before our big camping trip when I started to miscarry. Suddenly this trip we had planned so far ahead of time, seemed a little less ideal for me.  I didn’t want to deal with that out in the middle of the woods. I didn’t want to be a mess physically or emotionally in front of anyone. I didn’t want to be away from home.  My home is my … Read More

How To Be Uncomfortable

Jen CudmoreFaith4 Comments

I like to be comfortable. Warm temperatures. Fully belly. Bills paid. To-Do List complete. Plenty of sleep. Schedule just the right kind of busy. And blue jeans. Yet as much as I love to be content and cozy, God showed me that He is more concerned with spiritual growth than with  comfort. And many times, our growth requires that we get in some uncomfortable places. I’m not talking about trials, such as death or sickness or troubled relationships. I mean where life doesn’t go smoothly and we have a hard time trusting God in the little things. A year and a half ago God led me to join the youth ministry in my church. I was excited, thinking I would make some pals and develop mentoring relationships. Not so. God told me that my presence in that room on Sunday morning is less about getting the teens to interact with me and more about being a steady influence and a prayer warrior in their lives. It wasn’t as much fun as I expected; How do you build a friendship when you only get 2 minutes a week to talk to someone? Every Sunday when I walked into that room, I … Read More