Sunday Takeaways 1-17-21

My only Sunday takeaway for today is that I strongly dislike meetings. I’m what some people would call an “empath.” My counselor tells me I’m a “perceiver.” Whatever you call it, I’m very sensitive to what is going on around me. I feel the emotions in the room, not only feel them but absorb them. I’m aware of everything happening in the room. Gatherings with lots of people can be very draining for me. Somedays going to church and Sunday school is a lot for me. Add in the annual meeting which is the longest member meeting of the year and I’m so done.

Meetings themselves are fraught with tension as you have differing opinions, thoughts and ideas all in one room. Deciding budget and how the church runs for the year with everyone having a say can be a lot. Luckily, this year’s did not hold any hot button topics and we were able to run through everything pretty quickly, still. I did not get home until 2:15. Ufda.

These meetings are important though for the church to run not only financially but also spiritually. We not only decided on the church’s budget for the year but also who was going to serve in what positions for the next few years. Our sermon this morning was on the importance of church membership and how membership is not something invented to make people do jobs in the church but is actually biblical. Even the first church had to delegate responsibilities and decide on how to disperse funds.

I was not brought up in a church that focused on membership too much so I’ve always underestimated the importance of it. (We have had the experience of being asked when we were going to become members so we could teach Sunday School.) Membership is a lot like baptism, it declares your faith. When we become believers, we are immediately part of the body of Christ. We need to take our place in a local church and become a part of the local body. As pastor is very fond of saying, we need to be a part of the local body to care ad serve one another as Christ commanded us to do.

So, it’s important for me to attend these meetings, especially as I am in a leadership position of the church, i think I’m just feeling meeting burn out. We have started a building committee at the library to look at finishing the lower level of the building. It’s on the 2nd Monday night of the month, regular library board meetings are the 3rd Monday of the month and then I have church leadership meeting on the 4th Monday of the month. Ufda. But in our town, Monday night is just kind of meeting night so it’s what we do.

Sunset through snowy trees


I saw on the news today that there are winter storm watches all the way across the United States, from California to Maine. It’s almost a connected line, it’s crazy! Supposed to be like that for a while.

In eastern Nebraska we received the snowfall of the decade this week. Lots of snow moving is happening everywhere. To help those tired, worn out muscles we love to use Orthoease. This massage oil is super convenient to use and comes with it’s own pump.

Orthoease has oils like Wintergreen, Peppermint, Juniper and Marjoram in a vegetable oil base. Orthoease comes in the Raindrop Kit and can also be used on insect bites and dermatitis. It’s great to use on any discomfort before. No weird colors to stain your pillows or sheets.

Want to know how to open a Young Living account? Shoot me a message! Let’s chat!


Do you have a month that’s hard for you? I used to think it was just me but as I’ve started sharing this with others I’ve found others have their month too!

For me, it’s January. January gets me down. I used to think it was because of the insane basketball schedule in January but then we had a couple of years with no basketball and I still struggled. It’s like I go stir crazy. I just gotta get out of town. Even if we traveled extensively for Christmas.

This year, we were proactive and planned a trip in January. Last year, we planned a trip for April thinking it would give me something to look forward to – that DID NOT work. I still went bonkers. Must leave town in January.

We went up the road a few hours to Sioux Falls, SD. I’d heard it was cute town (even if it’s the largest city in South Dakota) and I’d always wanted to see the Falls. From pictures, I knew the Falls were pretty in winter and summer so the season didn’t matter so much. We booked a hotel downtown on the river and it was amazing. If you go to Sioux Falls, book a place downtown you won’t regret it. You are within walking distance of Falls Park and Phillips Avenue which has great shopping and food. They are also working on revitalizing downtown so there were other shops and food in the area. We didn’t even get into our car until Saturday night.

I’m getting ahead of myself. We arrived about 5:00 on Friday, we had intended to be there earlier, but we left later than planned, had to stop and find me snowpants and then it was time for my Telehealth appointment with my counselor so we had to stop for that. We had tickets for snow tubing at Great Bear Ski so we checked into our hotel, changed clothes and headed out. Great Bear is only a 10-15 minute drive from downtown. I’ll be honest, I almost chickened out when I saw how steep the hill was and how high. I saw the ski school hill and thought it was a kiddie hill and really planned on staying there all night! But, alas, one hill. With four different runs so up the conveyor we went. No wearing yourself out climbing the hill – which is good because we were the oldest people on that hill! My husband loved it and I did go down more than once but it wasn’t for me. Too fast, too steep. I felt like I was terrifying myself every time I went down. After a couple of hours we headed back to town. We grabbed food at the Pita Pit and went back to the room and watched “Speed” with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves. Haven’t watched that in forever!

Saturday we slept in, ate motel breakfast in our room and I did my workout and got ready. It began snowing in the night and that continued off and on throughout the day but the temperature wasn’t horrible so we layered up and headed out to the Falls. They were gorgeous. We walked all around the park for a couple of hours. Our plan of eating and warming up at the Fall’s Overlook Cafe was thwarted as they were closed for the season so we looped around the park and ended up back on Phillip’s Avenue at the Phillips Avenue Diner. Highly recommend! I had the best latte ever there as well as tomato bisque soup and a 1/2 roast beef sandwich. Philip went with the Bananas Foster and a Burger Melt. Yum! We then walked the rest of Phillips Avenue to look at the sculptures and shops. When we got back to the room we were pretty cold and sleepy so we took a nap, read, watched some TV, ordered pizza in for supper, and visited the hot tub.

I could not not see the Falls at night so I put my winter gear over my pajamas and we drove back down to the Falls – I’m so glad we did! The whole park was still decorated for Christmas and the Falls were lit too. We walked a little and then drove around to look at the lights and listen to Christmas songs. Perfect end to the day.

I’ve never been a fan of motel coffee so while I was getting ready the next morning Philip went back to the Diner to pick up a latte for me and a milkshake for him. We should’ve had brunch there as I didn’t know a very long drive to look at pickups was in my future. 🙂 We made it home in time to send our youngest off to his last semester in college and unpack. I feel like I got so relaxed I’m having a hard time getting back into work mode but it was a perfect weekend. Exactly what I needed to cure my Januaryitis.

Warm and Cozy Marjoram

I’ve been craving some Marjoram lately but I thought we were out-then I found a full 15 ml bottle today! 🎉 To me, Marjoram has this warm, cozy, comforting scent. I love diffusing it by itself or with a tree oil like Pine. If I don’t have Marjoram I do find that Clove is pretty comparable for me. Marjoram was known as the “herb of happiness” to the Romans and I’d have to agree with that assessment. I also recently found it that it’s good for helping release emotional trauma.

Marjoram also has muscle soothing properties and we’ve used it, along with Panaway and Lemongrass, in our family “Sprains & Tears” blend for years. #momofboys I was known for having this blend on hand at all track meets. Marjoram is also found in the Raindrop Kit from Young Living which is a specialized kit built for relaxing and soothing your muscles.

Marjoram is so much more than an herb to cook with and smells nothing like the dried herb you find in the grocery store. You can also purchase Marjoram Vitality from Young Living and use it in your favorite dishes. Have you tried Marjoram yet?

Sunday Takeaways 1-10-21

The Sunday School lesson today from Ray Vanderlan took place on the Sea of Galilee on a ship! Very cool. The theme being that God allows struggles in our life. Many people cannot understand that but even the Bible says that struggling produces perseverance, character and hope. (Romans 5:3-5)

There are lessons to be learned in struggles. One of those being remember to call out to God in our struggles. In this story, Jesus was about to pass the disciples by. He was going to leave them fighting against the storm. (He’d already let them battle it for 6-8 hours.) Mark says he was about to pass them by when they called out to him. Okay, wait, I just read that passage again and the NIV says they cried out because they thought he was a ghost-that totally changes the point here….but continuing on…

Are you like me? Sometimes you get so involved in solving the problem, figuring out the solution, that we forget to stop and pray? Invite God into the problem? Ask him for his help and providence? When we invite God in, he is with us. Doesn’t mean that the problem is immediately solved like in this story. It might just mean he gets in the boat with us and calms the storms within us.

Our sermon today was from our son’s church where we attended. We left Sunday School a little early and thanks to the service times being a little later than ours we made it in time and were able to attend with our son, Aaron, and our niece, Sarah. They are in the book of Jonah.

Have you ever thought about the sailors on the ship with Jonah as he was running from God’s assignment? I hadn’t. I love when pastors can take a story you’ve heard probably a hundred times and pull something new from it.

The sailors came to a belief in God through Jonah’s rebellion. They recognized Him as the true God because He was the one who showed Himself. After throwing Jonah over into the sea, they worshipped God. There were several points the pastor made here and I didn’t get them all but I’m sure you can check out Hillcrest E Free in Seward and find a recording.

Jonah missed out on an opportunity to share the gospel with the sailors because he was in rebellion. Jonah was in rebellion because he did not see people as God did. God extends mercy to who he wants to. Obedient acts of faith lead to God’s salvation. We as God’s people are here to declare God’s mercy to the people – we are all rebels in need of God’s mercy.

We were challenged at the end to check our own perspective on lost people. Seek to be a positive part of God’s plan, not an obstacle He has to clear out of the way. Do not attempt to come up with a better plan than God’s and decide to fear the Lord and worship him and follow in faith filled obedience no matter if the plan makes sense to us or not.

I found it interesting today that both lessons were in the sea, on boats and in some way referenced God being the calm in the storm. After the first full week of January in the United States I think we needed that reminder. No matter what is happening around us-God can calm our hearts and he can calm the storm.

From this summer when I borrowed my good friend Jacki’s beach.

Word of the Year

Do you choose a word a year? Are we still doing that? I totally didn’t even remember what my word of the year of the year was for 2020 until I looked in my photos. So I’m putting this word of the year in a more prominate place. Maybe a bracelet again to remind me to DREAM.

2020 brought many things but the biggest for me is the ability to dream again. To believe anything is possible given enough time, patrience, and hard work.

For 2020 I not only picked the word, FREEDOM, but also the verse, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:17

As I leaned into the Lord for so many things this year I found that freedom. Freedom from doubt. Freedom to be myself more. Freedom to use my voice again. And freedom to dream knowing the Lord is right beside me. I also realize how much I learned about the Holy Spirit this year and how that enabled me to tap into the freedom that is brought by belief and understanding. God works things out even when you forget your word and verse of the year!

As I said, I’m being more mindful of my goals and values this year and since vision boards are a topic that kept seeming to pop up I did a great vision board class in December that not only taught me about goals and inviting God into those goals but also how to incorporate our values into vision boards so they weren’t all things that we were striving or working towards but things we could implement into our lives that move us to our values.

I now have a vision board on my night stand where I can see it each morning and evening, one as my lock screen my phone and one in my office. (I realize I need to add my word for the year to those boards.) I’m focusing on those dreams this year more than I ever have – look out 2021-here I come!

January Promos

January! Can you believe it? I’m kind of excited for January and I hope I don’t read those words six months down the road and laugh at that silly girl who thought that.

Each month, Young Living offers products for customers to earn just by ordering their supplements, makeup, and cleaning products from Young Living. This month the products offered all focus on skincare but have many other benefits too.

As always at the 100 PV level is Free Shipping. This is for Shop orders or Loyalty orders either one.

At the 190 PV ordering level you will receive a 5ml of Mastrante oil. I have never had Mastrante oil and I’m eager to try it out. Mastrante is great for dry skin, add it to your moisturizer or body lotion or use it straight on your skin. Mastrante is also a grounding and calming oil and can be used to promote relaxation. If you participate in the Young Living rewards program you will also receive a 15 ml of Orange and a 15 ml of Tea Tree at this level. Orange is a fantastic oil for oily skin especially but do not apply before heading out to the sun as citrus oils are photosensitive and may cause burning. Orange is also a very uplifting scent to diffuse and can help freshen up any room. Tea Tree is a very powerful oil with multiple uses that I often forget to reach for. Also known as melaleuca, Tea Tree is not only great for a variety of skin issues but can be used as a powerful cleaner.

At the 250 PV level you receive everything we already talked about plus a 5 ml of Manuka. I first experienced Manuka as a promo oil several years ago. I love it’s deep, earthy smell and since it’s good for the scalp often use it on my scalp and hair. Whenever I do this I receive tons of compliments on how good I smell – natural diffuser! Manuka can be very healing for abrasions and scrapes too.

The 300 PV level comes with a 15 ml of Geranium oil. (Notice how many 15 ml you are receiving this month – isn’t that great?!) I’ll be honest, Geranium is one that took me a while to warm up to. I wasn’t big on the floral smells at first and unfortunately for me, it’s in many of the skin care products because, hey, it’s that good! One thing I recently learned is that Geranium can be a great emotional balancer and a great oil to use when planning for the future. I think as I continue to heal and grow on an emotional level I’ve come to enjoy Geranium more. I really like using it in the diffuser with citrus or tree oils. And I appreciate when I use the Seedlings Baby Wipes for makeup removal or to wipe down the bathroom counter that my trash and therefore the whole bathroom smell amazing all day.

So there you have it. All the products that Young Living is giving away this month to millions of customers! Does your company do that? How about the discount store where you buy your skincare and cleaning products? What if you switched those products to Young Living and could receive free products with your orders? Interested? Drop a comment or message me and I’ll show you how to get started!

Have a great January and let’s slowly and carefully with much optimism walk into this new year.

Sunday Takeaway 12-20-2020

A special Sunday take away

The Sunday before Christmas our church has a tradition. We dress up a little more, put on the best of our Sunday best, and we meet at our Sunday School leaders houses for a special brunch. The time is a time of sweet fellowship and time to just be together and enjoy each other‘s company. We are all late to service usually because we’ve spent too much time visiting!

The gorgeous brunch

This month Mike has been doing a series on characters of the Bible story and today was no different. Today being the last Sunday before Christmas he focused on Christ and how He is the most significant person of history. I think the biggest takeaway was that when Jesus died on the cross he declared, “It is finished.” Why? Because it’s a reminder that there is nothing else we need to do to earn salvation. Jesus did it all. We just need to accept.

Then we went out to Twogood’s barn. Ryan and Rachel Twogood are a family in our church that have built a lovely barn and they love to host events and have people out to parties at their place. Tonight we went for stargazing and then we had chili and shared Christmas goodies with each other. It was nice and cozy in the barn. We didn’t get to see Saturn and Jupiter due to cloud cover but the moon was so bright and gorgeous.

Ryan and Rachel’s barn

You might think this all sounds idyllic and perfect and wish your church was this way. We’ve had years when we wished this too. Our church has come back to this after a hard, hard season. Once upon a time, many many years ago, our church was known as the “snob” church in town. People didn’t feel like they were welcome I guess. I sometimes laughed when people would tell me that I went to the “snob” church or the “rich” church, as it was also called, because we were anything but part of a clique or rich. Looking back, I see that people called us this because they saw our love for one another and they felt left out.

Over time, people in our church got tired of the name and we tried to make adjustments. Tried to change. And as any time when a church tries to make itself over to please others, especially those of the world, we started to fall apart. People leaving, hurt feelings, etc. Since our pastor of 20 years left a few years we’ve struggled. One of the few good things we could say about our church during strategic planning meetings was that we had good music and even that started falling apart. We’ve lost many families that we loved.

Inside the barn was all decorated too

A few months ago Mike did a sermon series on relationships in the church. He encouraged us to take care of one another. He encouraged us to love one another through the difficult times. He encouraged us to fellowship together. He encouraged us to bear each other‘s burdens. There were so many times during that sermon series that I thought, “That used to be us! We used to do that! That’s why we were the snob church.“

It was revelatory to finally understand that. We were doing everything right (not perfect, but right) and Satan didn’t like that. He sent lies and gossip into our midst. He made us feel as if we were doing something wrong so we started to change. We wanted to be loved and accepted by our community. We changed and we lost what we had. Now we’re getting that back. We’re enjoying being together. We have love for one another. We are more full of hope and joy then we’ve been for years.

But my question would be – how do we keep our arms open? How do we show others that our bubble is not impermeable? How do we extend that love to others in our community and to our friends and family? I think first we have to be at our healthiest and do the things that we are doing and completely and totally get back our love and care for one another again before we can reach out to others. Once we do that, we will have so much love that we can let that love overflow to others. And we’ve begun to do that.


So if you’re looking at this idyllic day with jealousy in your eyes, don’t. Just like anything that looks too good to be perfect it is. We’ve had our bumps and bruises, we have our scars. We still miss those cherished members of our community that aren’t here anymore. But we are a work in progress, just as you are, and we want to welcome you into our mess. If you live in our community don’t be put off by what you see, just be encouraged. We can love on you too. We’ve been through the hard times. We’re still going through the hard times. And I think it’s made us a little better because of it.

Sunday Takeaways 12-13-20

Sunday takeaway for today? I need to study my Bible more. Like, really STUDY my Bible and history and see how everything connects. I need timelines and maybe bulletin boards with string connecting everything.

In both the Sunday School lesson and the sermon, world history played a huge part in understanding what was happening during what we were reading in the Bible. And not just the history of the world, with the conflicts, the wars, rulers, etc but also Bible history, knowing how events in the Old Testament set up the events of the New Testament. Honestly, I’m kind of sitting here mind blown right now.

There is no way I will do justice to all the history I was told today but there are a couple of things I want to touch on. First, a lesson from Ray Vanderlan on New Testament events that was actually part of the sermon too. When King Herod died he split his kingdom among his sons; Antipas, Archelaus, and Philip. The sons disagreed with this – they all wanted to rule the whole kingdom – so they went to Rome to protest. Interestingly enough, a contigent of the people also went because they did not want Archelaus to rule over all of them because he was known to be as harsh as his father. Rome upheld Herod’s will and when Archelaus returns he slaughters all those who spoke against him in Rome. Fast forward a little bit to when Joseph is told in a dream to return to Israel from Egypt he begins to return to the area of Bethlehem. When he realizes that Archelaus is ruling over the region of Bethlehem he was afraid to return there and went to Nazareth instead. (Matthew 2:19-23) Thus fulfilling prophecy.

The point that Ray went on to make was that Jesus was very much involved in the world and culture around him. He used that knowledge to reach people. He did not separate himself from the world and then suddenly pop on the scene. In fact, according to Ray Vanderlan, the wife of the ministry of finance of the area very likely funded Jesus’ ministry when he began to minister full-time. People knew him and he knew people. He knew what was occurring in the world.

Back to the story of Archelaus above, read Luke 19:11-27. If you’ve been in church for a number of years you might recognize the parable of the talents. It’s usually told as a parable to represent how we are to use the gifts and talents that God has given us, but see if you notice anything about the parable now that you know some world history of the time. Interesting, isn’t it? Jesus used events that people were familiar with to bring understanding to them. There was so much more but it would require so much detail that I did not get it all written down. I think I need to watch it again to absorb it all.

I was really looking forward to today’s sermon as Mike had said last week that he was going to be talking about the Magi and how he had learned so much about them. Since they do seem to remain mysterious, i was curious about what he learned. It did not disappoint.

Again, for us to understand who the Magi (or wise men) were, we have to understand a little bit of world and Bible history. Who were they? Where did they come from? And why did they care about this Messiah that was to be born? A little world history first.

At that time, the Parthian-Persian Empire was to the east of the Roman Empire in what would be modern day Afghanistan, Irag and Iran (I think.) These two empires had a cold war going on at the time that Jesus was born. They weren’t actively fighting at the moment but they had in the past and were not trusting of each other.

Who were the Parthian-Persians? They would be the Babylonians of the Old Testament. This is where Bible history comes in. How did the Magi know about the Jewish Messiah? Why did they care? We know from the book of Daniel that Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, laid siege to Jerusalem and took some of the Israelites back to Babylon with him in 605 B.C. (You should really read the first part of Daniel if you don’t know about the story of Daniel and his three friends.) Daniel was one of the youths taken. For various reasons Daniel grew in favor with the court and he was given the ability to interpret dreams by God. In the second chapter of Daniel he is made chief governor over all the WISE MEN OF BABYLON. Well, being wise and well versed in the scriptures, it’s easy to see how Daniel would have imparted that knowledge, including the prophecies of the coming Messiah, to the other wise men. I never knew this or thought of any of this correlating later! Wow.

Something else that was brought out is why did the arrival of three men alarm Herod? How did he even know that three men arrived? Because it probably wasn’t just three men that arrived – maybe as many as 10,000 men arrived in the contingent of wise men. Think about that. 10,000 men from the country you are sworn enemies with come to your town and ask where the new king is? That would be alarming. Oh, and these Magi were known as the “king makers” in their own country. So much to fully understand the story we’ve been told since children.

Another point that Ray brought out this morning that also correlated with the sermon is how money is not evil. How did Jesus and his disciples live while ministering? We all know you need money to buy food, clothes, etc. As mentioned before it’s thought by some that part of that funding came from people with lots of money to give. Jesus didn’t deny the use of that money because it came from rich people – it was God providing. Same with the wise men, if you look at the chronology of the events, Mary and Joseph didn’t have a lot of money – we know this by the type of sacrifice they offered at Jesus’ dedication (a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.) Where did the money come from to flee and live in Egypt? Well, who had come to visit just prior to that trip? The Magi. What did the Magi bring? Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. Besides the significance of these gifts they were also practical gifts. The gold would have been like cash and the frankincense and myrrh could have been sold in small amounts to help bring in money also. I saw all of this as an example of the Lord providing just what we need as just the exact moment we need it. Something I’ve struggled with often in my life. We’re also told often in the church that money is evil. It is not, it is the love of money that is evil. Ray Vanderlan said that wealth is no different than your brain, your mouth, or abilities God gives us. They are all giftings God has given us. We are to use whatever God gives to further his kingdom.

I know this is scattered and maybe confusion. There was just so much to today, I’m overwhelmed! There was so much more in the sermon this morning that I highly recommend you watch the whole message and our amazing gifted singers at the end. Be blessed and have a great week!

Sunday Takeaways 12-6-2020

First takeaway – Christmas can get crazy around a church! Yesterday was one of those days that I have tried to make sure I do less of – running around like a crazy woman. This used to be the norm years ago. I was so involved in so many things I can remember telling my husband once that I’d like to go to church just to go to church!

Yesterday was just one of those moments where everything happened at once. Deacon board responsibilities, scheduling meals for a family with a new baby and church library responsibilities. I also had a couple of people I needed to touch base with.

So, during Sunday School I was stamping and processing new books for the church library but I did still take a few notes and as always found the history and lesson interesting. The biggest takeaway yesterday was the typical family structure during Jesus’ time. Families lived together is these housing complexes built around a courtyard. When a son got married, he added on to the father’s son. So the grandson’s house was added to this house and so on. Families lived and worked together.

This led into a discussion about our legacy. What kind of legacy are we leaving with our family? Are we sharing about what Jesus has done in our life? The difference he has made? Do we talk about the importance of having a relationship with Jesus with our kids? Leaving a foundation to build on takes a whole different meaning when you consider it’s the house they will be living in for the rest of their lives.

Our sermon series right now is on characters from the Christmas story and this week we were on “Gabriel – the Message that Changed the World.” Gabriel is a messenger angel of God. The first mention of Gabriel in the Bible occurs in Daniel in the Old Testament. He’s pretty busy in the Christmas story. Gabriel’s first mission (in Luke) to speak to John the Baptist’s parents fulfilled the prophecy of Malachi 3:1. We also covered the five things that Gabriel predicted about Mary’s son.

Pastor Mike covered some interesting facts about angels too. Angels are mentioned in the Old Testament 108 times and 165 times in the New Testament. The term “guardian angels” is never mentioned in scripture. We are strictly told in the Bible to not worship angels. (Revelation 22:8-9, Colossions 2:18) They are not humans who have passed on. Angels are separate beings from humans.

The thing to take away from any message on the Christmas story is that God had a plan to save all of mankind. He orchestrated this plan from the beginning of time. He used humans, angels and the constellations to bring about this plan. Remember, you watch any of Pastor Mike’s sermons on YouTube on the Stromsburg Baptist Church channel.