Landscape & Wilderness

 Artist: Denis van Alsloot (late 16th-early 17th century, Brussels)

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” 
- John Muir


This Week's Column

Good morning! I hope you all had a great weekend! This is a photo taken with Justin's parents and my mom yesterday! (Thanks for the pic, Mom!) We had a nice Mother's Day picnic. It was a lovely day!

Here's a link to this week's Post-Bulletin column. It's about meditation and the stories we write in our minds every day.


Smelling like Dirt

Artist: Roger de La Fresnaye
Artist Info: French, 1885 - 1925
Title: The Watering Can
Dated: 1913
Medium: oil on canvas
Classification: Painting
Source: NGA Images


Beneath Cherry Blossoms

Camille Pissarro
French, 1830 - 1903
"Orchard in Bloom"
Dated 1872
Medium: oil on canvas
Source: National Gallery of Art

Blooms outside Assisi

What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms.

― Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828)


Flower Pot and Lorde

Flower Pot from The Met's public domain collection

"Earth is still sweet, for autumn teaches bearing
And new sun will warm our proud and cautious feet"

-a few lines from "Second Spring" by Audre Lorde

(a beautiful poem about grief and sadness and hope)


Synod Assembly Sermon

Howdy! Here's the text and images from a sermon I shared Saturday for the Southeastern Minnesota Synod Assembly.

John 21:15-19: When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’He said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.’ (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, ‘Follow me.’

Sculpture and Poetry

Artist: Wilhelm Lehmbruck (1881-1919)
Title: Seated Youth
Medium: Composite tinted plaster

Some lines from Mary Oliver's "In the Storm"

Belief isn't always easy. 
But this much I have learned - 
if not enough else - 
to live with my eyes open. 


2017 Synod Assembly

Today is set-up day at the Mayo Civic Center, and this weekend is the 30th annual Southeastern Minnesota Synod Assembly. It's that time of year again! Wow! May has arrived! 

I wrote about the "tech" aspect of the experience for a column in the Post-Bulletin a few years ago; here's a link to that column. I'm excited to see Ed, Skot, and Paul again this year as well as an awesome crew of videographers and volunteers. It takes so many people to make the assembly happen. Quite an eye-opener for me. I had no idea!

A bonus of this year is that I've been invited to preach tomorrow morning for the assembly's opening worship. Please send your warm energies and prayers. I'm really grateful for the opportunity to dive into the 21st chapter of John and swim around with folks. Nervous? Of course! But most trying to remember to breathe and meditate and trust that all shall be well. And then I'll rejoin my crew in the booth and jump right back into the "tech production" role which will be life-giving/anxiety-provoking/awesome as well. 😜

If you're interested in any of the assembly materials, they're all on the synod website at http://semnsynod.org/assembly2017. 

Have a great day and a beautiful weekend! Here in Minnesota, they're predicting warmth and sunshine. Soak it in!


Autoimmune Affirmations

Autoimmune Affirmations is back (I guess it was always there, I just wasn't able to post as often without home Internet)!

I'm planning to share several new designs each week. These affirmations are for everyone with a special focus toward those who are dealing/have dealt with a medical diagnosis of any kind. How we talk to ourselves about ourselves is a big deal! How we talk to ourselves about our own bodies and other people's bodies is also a big deal.

I hope these affirmations will be a tool for you and for others as we seek to build a world of compassion. In many ways our ability to compassionate with others is directly correlated to our ability to be compassionate with ourselves.

Peace and love to you today!


Ellis Delaney

A couple weeks ago when my mom and I went to Minneapolis to visit the Eloise Butler Garden, we also went to worship at the First Universalist Church of Minneapolis. What a great morning! The preacher that day was Rev. Karen Hutt and the title of her sermon was "The White Trash Among Us." It is provocative and profound. Here's a recorded version. I think this recording is from the second service and we were at the first service, but I am imagining the two sermons were very similar.

Another immense highlight of the worship service was the music of Ellis Delaney who sang three original songs. Ellis sang Start Where You Are, Bird on a Wire, and How Would It Be.

I love words, but it's hard to put into words how talented Ellis is as a singer/songwriter. Really, really good. Here's a link to the Youtube channel. And here's a link to the blog.