Saturday, February 29, 2020

Kathy's Blog March 2020

September 11, 2001.  Do you remember exactly what you were doing on that date between 8:46 AM and 10:03 AM?  If you’re like me, you can remember the exact moment when you heard the news that two planes flew into the Twin Towers and then subsequently into the Pentagon and Shanksville.  The nation was stunned.  The rest of the day no work was done.  That was a Tuesday.  Actually, most of the rest of the week, no work was done.  Churches opened their doors as people flocked to them.  Special prayer services were held all around the country.  I can remember “being allowed” to leave work and go to a special prayer service as most of my colleagues and I walked to the church next to our building.

Or how about November 22, 1963.  I can truly say I don’t remember that day.  Yes, I was born, but my days then were spent trying to make sure I stayed upright.  That being said, I can remember Mom telling the story that she was ironing (that would be the appliance that is hot and used to take wrinkles out of clothing for those that haven’t seen one).  Yes, that would be the day that John F Kennedy our 35th President was assassinated.  I’m told church attendance didn’t increase at that time because church was still an important part of people’s lives.

What does this all mean?  What has changed from 1963 to 2001 to 2020? 

1)    Blue laws are gone – yep, I’m old enough to remember them.  Those would be the laws that prohibited stores to be open on Sundays

2)    25% of households are headed by a single parent, thus requiring people to work multiple jobs including Sunday

3)    An aging population that requires more care, thus more facilities and options to care for the population which requires work on Sundays

4)    Technology has taken off and that has become our number 1 priority.  If you don’t think so, look around a restaurant or doctor’s office and see what conversation is occurring and how many are playing on their phones.

5)    The all important team sports.  Twenty years ago we had the opportunity to put a stop to sports on Sundays, but no parent wanted to be the bad guy so most stayed quiet and now it’s just expected that a soccer game can happen at 8 AM on Sunday.

6)    Women in the work force.  Now with both parents working a full time job, Sunday is a day for me to relax, I don’t want to get out of bed just to go to church.

Here at St Mark’s we have seen a serious decline in attendance and activity in just the last 2 years.  I have had youth who want to do activities but are told their school or other type of activity is MANDATORY, therefore, they need to forego the church activity.

How do we address the issue?  The one thing I know is if we don’t take action NOW, there won’t be a St Mark’s for me to grow old (er) in.  That’s really hard for some of us who have been raised in the church to swallow.  We can sit back and look at the items I listed above as excuses or we can pick up our boot straps and get to work and be evangelists like we’re called to be.   Every chance we get, we need to be inviting people to church.  We need to be reaching out to our neighbors. 

I’m told what makes St Mark’s exciting?  The people.  We the people have control of our destiny.  We need to look for options and bring some brightness back to the lights that are getting dim.

Be safe and think what you are going to plant in your garden in March.


Kathy's Blog February 2020

When someone says to you it’s February, what do you think of?  Some may think of Valentine’s Day and the love that occurs with that.  Others may think of it’s just another cold dreary month.  And yet, others may think it’s a time to do some housecleaning because what else is there to do.  While I could talk endlessly about all the projects I have started or need to start, I’d like to reflect this month on the first two thoughts.

I’ll start with it’s just another cold dreary month.  I guarantee if we aren’t there already, at some point in our future years, we will be mumbling how February is boring.  People don’t want to leave their houses as readily as a June day, so visiting in homes is down.  The big push to see our loved ones occurred for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it’s time for us to get back to our lives and we have a tendency not to visit as often in January and February. While phone calls are encouraged during the height of cold and flu season, it’s amazing what stopping by to just chat 15 mins brings to a shutins day.

Therefore, the first suggestion I have for February is to stop by and see one of our shutins and bring a smile to their face.   I’m told it really does help them get out of bed each day.

Now onto Valentine’s Day.  It kind of goes with the first suggestion and that is sharing our love with someone.  But I’d also like to take a little of a branch here and bring in the word forgiveness.  Have you ever been so mad at someone that you can’t even hear their name mentioned?  Think of how that feeling of being mad turns into bitterness.  Is that a good way for us to live our lives?  Probably not.

I recently saw a movie called “Overcomer”.  Overcomer has a theme of a grandmother taking care of her granddaughter due to circumstances.  The grandmother was so bitter at her son (her granddaughter’s father) that she told her granddaughter that her father was dead.  I won’t tell you more about the movie as I’d like to invite you to join me on Sundays February 23rd and March 1st as we watch it in the Youth Center starting at 10:15. 

Can we turn our bitterness into forgiveness and then into love?  That’s something that each of us has to determine.  But I would say if there’s a month to give it a try, it’s the month of February, the month that already has love abounding in it.

Be safe and think how you can enjoy your February.


Friday, February 28, 2020

Kathy's Blog January 2020

Do you ever get to this time of year and ask yourself, where did the year go?  Phew!  I try to ride bike every day, (yes, I have a bike mounted in my basement).  When I ride, I catch up on my magazine reading.  Recently, I had occasion to ride a bike in a hotel gym where I had forgotten to bring anything along to read, so I thought a lot about 2019 and what a busy year 2020 will be.

There are years when I’ve asked myself that question and been glad we were closing the book on the year we were in.  Then there were other years that I was sad that the year was coming to an end because we had crammed so much in such a short period of 365 days.  

As we move more and more into technology, we as a society expect everything to be done yesterday.  But for what reason?  So we can cram even more into that 365 day period?  I don’t know about you but just thinking about that tires me out. 

Why look forward to 2020?

. You might be someone that needs a fresh start from something that happened in 2019. 

. You might be starting a new chapter in life, by starting a new job or retiring from an old one

. You might have an infant that you can’t wait to see walk, talk and take to see animals

. You might be wanting to change something about yourself by stopping smoking, cut back on sweets or getting back to yoga

. You might want to take that one big vacation that you’ve been waiting to enjoy for years

. You might be ready to try something new like skydiving, needlepoint or being a mentor to someone

I could go on for at least another 5 minutes in my thoughts.  But the one thing that I’ve learned through all of my health challenges is I can’t wait until I retire to do something or wait until I’m 60 (of which NEITHER are in 2020) because I never take tomorrow for granted.  Things can change on a dime and you regret the fact that you waited to make that change or do that thing.

As you look to close your book on 2019 and towards opening 2020, take 5 minutes and say what is it that is on my bucket list that I’m not going to wait until tomorrow to do?  Then put that plan in place.  This isn’t a New Year’s Resolution.  This is remembering that God has given you life and life is fragile.  Enjoy every moment that God has given you and look forward to the new year that is front of us.

From Snoopy and the whole Peanuts gang….Happy New Year and be safe.