Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Little Love

by Andrea Laser

My Grandma Dottie was a tenacious waver. She waved to everyone. Everyone. She waved to complete strangers in the grocery store, while she rode in the car, she waved to every passing vehicle. Most people politely waved back, but the occasional person would look at her like, do I know you? And she loved to laugh. She would laugh super hard and start clapping and laugh even harder. She laughed so hard she couldn’t even finish her stories. She was one of the most friendly people that I think ever lived.

If I had to sum up Grandma Dottie in one word, it would be spunky. She could justify consuming almost any kind of unhealthy food- for example, she relentlessly tried to convince anyone that would listen that Fritos were a healthy snack choice because they were made out of corn, and that potato chips were similarly healthy because they were made out of potatoes. She had an uncanny ability to pick out clothing for us that was not exactly in style, or age appropriate (wearing a sweatshirt that said “I love you beary much” did not get us many “cool” points in middle school).

All joking aside, my grandma was an incredible gift in my life. She engaged people in conversation that was meaningful to them. She took the time to ask people questions and actually listened to their answers. When you were with her you felt important. She had an awesome ability to make you feel special.

Grandma Dottie passed away over ten years ago. Some days, I honestly don’t really think about her, and there are other days, my heart feels broken over how much I miss her. Lately, I have been feeling the latter. I miss her terribly right now, I would give anything for one day with her, so she could give me advice, meet my children, tell me how unconditionally she loves me. She had a monumental impact on my faith life and my understanding of who Jesus is. She taught me to rely on Christ in times of uncertainty. She was Christ-like in her own love for people and incredibly generous to everyone around her.

Grandma Dottie left an incredible legacy of kindness when she passed away. It was the little things she did that made a big difference. Her wave, her laughter, her simple acts of love.

I think often we focus on doing “big” things to leave a lasting impression with people; but Grandma Dottie taught me that it's the little things that sometimes make the biggest difference in someone’s day. So maybe today we should wave to someone we’ve never met. Ask somebody we normally wouldn’t about their life. Take time to listen. Laugh so hard we fail to finish a story. Pick out some thing for someone because we love them, not because we think it's cool. Eat some Fritos. Leave an everlasting legacy of kindness.




Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2: 2-5





Andrea is an Early Childhood Special Educator, as well as mom to Paxton, 6, and Wyatt, 2. She and her husband Steve have been members at BUMC since 2009, and Andrea leads the Blog Team at BUMC. To contact Andrea, or if you are interested in writing for the BUMC Blog, please email her at abp818@gmail.com

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Our Bucket Dipping World

by Sara Godwin

It is commonly known in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) world that everyone has a bucket. Our bucket represents our mental and emotional self. Every day children and adults alike strive to have their bucket filled with positivity through others' words and actions. As an educator in ECE, I have been trained to fill each of my student’s buckets repeatedly and how to avoid being a bucket dipper. Teachers learn and talk a lot about children’s social and emotional development and how important it is to their academic future. We try to help our parents and families understand the importance of this concept so that they can also fill their child’s bucket and contribute to the overall well-being of their children...it’s too bad that we live in a bucket dipping world.

Every day I am bombarded with images of negativity. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology. I am a huge fan of Facebook. I use it every day. I absolutely love how I have been able to reconnect with old friends from my past. I am able to see pictures of their babies and, GASP- their grandbabies. I see where they went on vacation, and sometimes, what they ate for breakfast. This is all great, wonderful even. These interactions fill my bucket. On the not so positive side, I am also bombarded daily with images of victimized animals, children who have been abducted, ISIS and other terrorist organizations. Pictures and stories that were once reserved for the five o’clock news or the morning paper are now there, in full color, 24 hours a day. Hulu, Amazon Fire, Google, Netflix, Xfinity, Crackle, Dish. Upload, download, Tweet and tag. Flickr, Youtube, SmugMug, Instagram, Tumbler- what are all of these things? They are the new “normal”. They are the five o'clock news and morning paper. While all of these things are innovative and fascinating, and necessary to our new world, they are also bucket dippers.

Every time I see an image of an abused dog, or another terrorist attack, my bucket gets a withdrawal. It’s ok to have some withdrawals- it’s impossible to live life without them, but we need deposits to counter balance them. Is it any wonder that there is now an abundance of kitten videos on the internet as well? Cats are cute, they’re fluffy, they’re silly, and they make deposits into our buckets. They make us feel happy. There’s even a website called Cats in Sinks. It’s a website devoted to pictures of cats in, you guessed it, sinks. In today’s crazy, hectic, technological ridden culture, a culture that is constantly depleting our buckets of our emotional well-being, we have created ways to help us feel better. We have found ways through technology to make deposits into our buckets. 

The bible says: I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

I urge you to become a bucket filler. Fill your own bucket, fill other’s buckets. Be mindful of your words and actions. There is enough bucket dipping going on as it is, try not to be a dipper. If you need a deposit into your bucket, look at my cats Lucy and Lewis. Aren’t they cute?







Sara Godwin is the Assistant Director and Teacher at Apple Tree Christian Preschool and Kindergarten. She has two wonderful children, Rachel and Ian, a loving husband, Shawn, two awesome kitties, Lewis and Lucy, and a sweet dog, Minnie. She has been a member of BUMC for 10 years. She began at BUMC working in the Children’s Ministry, assisting with Sunday School before moving to the preschool. She also helps with Wacky Wednesday and is the self-described crazy lady who wears all sorts of costumes every year at VBS.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

I'm Trusting You, Jesus


by Sue Morin

I'm trusting You, Jesus. I have repeated those four words so many times over the last eight weeks that I’ve lost count: sometimes crying, sometimes shouting, and sometimes whispering. They powerfully remind me to calm down and face the circumstances surrounding me. These words are in a devotional, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, I received as a going away gift from a dear friend.

After living in Broomfield for 17 years, we made the decision in October to move to Phoenix for my husband's health. The stress of de-cluttering, showing our house, flying to Phoenix to find a new house, researching Phoenix schools, looking for a new job, packing, and saying goodbyes, was pretty overwhelming. Nothing really prepared me for feelings of loss and challenge on other end: Christmas amid myriads of boxes in the new house (“Which box has the stockings?”), one daughter returning to Broomfield at the end of winter break, the other daughter, facing the challenge of a new Phoenix school alone, without her sister or her friends; more doctor visits and more health issues, a new job, and a car accident.

What I like about Jesus Calling is the tone, written as if each entry is a personal note from Jesus, along with the scripture references. Reading the truths I know, presented in a new way has really helped me so I have added it to my prayer time. Here's the entry I cling to:

I want you to learn a new habit. Try saying, “I trust You, Jesus” in response to whatever happens to you. If there is time, think about who I AM in all My Power and Glory; ponder also the depth and breadth of My Love for you.

This simple practice will help you see Me in every situation, acknowledging My sovereign control over the universe. When you view events from this perspective-through the Light of My universal Presence-fear loses its grip on you. Adverse circumstances become growth opportunities when you affirm your trust in Me no matter what. You receive blessings gratefully, realizing they flow directly from My hand of grace, Your continual assertion of trusting Me will strengthen our relationship and keep you close to Me.

It's comforting to know that every day I am reading the same words as my friend who gave me the book. I am reminded that I am still connected to BUMC, whose people have blessed and continue to bless my family.

Can I go anywhere apart from Your Spirit? Is there anywhere I can go to escape Your watchful presence? If I go up into heaven, You are there. If I make my bed in the realm of the dead, You are there. If I ride on the wings of morning, if I make my home in the most isolated part of the ocean, even then You will be there to guide me; Your right hand will embrace me, for You are always there. (Psalm 139: 7-10, The Voice)



 

Sue Morin was a part of the BUMC community for almost seventeen years. Even though she now resides in Phoenix, she still feels very connected to BUMC- (One of BUMC's families is hosting her older daughter for the spring semester.) She is looking forward to exploring the desert trails near her new house and DRIVING to spring training games.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

From Hopelessness to Prosperity

by Jackie Henke

I spent much of my young childhood as an angry child. I have always had a wonderful loving home and God has blessed me with the most amazing parents a girl could ask for. They stuck with me through all of the tears and pain and they fought for me with everything they had.

I did very well in kindergarten and first grade. In fact, my first grade teacher, Ms. Gerard, was amazing! She taught us all how to be good to each other, to share, and to express ourselves in positive ways. We all felt welcome in her class and I never left at the end of the day without feeling happy and eager for the next day.

Unfortunately, second grade was very difficult for me and my self-esteem began to drop quickly. It all started in math class: we were working with different colored wooden math rods and I struggled in math and it was very hard to understand what Ms. H expected us to do. Ms. H wanted each of us to present our math lesson to the entire class. When I finished my presentation, Ms. H said "You know what this means don't you Jackie? It means you are a failure." At the time, I didn't even know what failure meant. Ms. H must have known this as she went on to define the word. To the entire class. Almost the entire class laughed at me and I was hurt and embarrassed. After this, most of the kids made fun of me during recess; but luckily, I had a few other compassionate friends who would sit with me at recess. I was later diagnosed with a severe learning disability in math. Ms. H didn't know this and I often wonder if it would have made a difference. What I do know, is that math became scary to me. I didn't want anything to do with it.

I began my third grade year with poor grades in math and writing but hoping that third grade would be much better. Unfortunately, it was not. From the moment I stepped in her classroom, my teacher, Mrs. S, seemed to come at me like a heat-seeking missile. My father struggled with employment during the summer of my third grade year and my parents could not afford new school clothes. As a result I wore my three older brothers’ hand me downs. On the second day of class, I was called up to the front of the class. Ms. S said, "Class, Jackie's family is so poor that she has to wear her brother's clothes. She looks like a little boy."

Things only went downhill from here. The anger inside me began to brew like a teapot coming to a boil.

One day, Ms. S kept me after school because I had not finished my math homework. There were a few other children with me- the other kids Ms. S disapproved of for one reason or another. In front of these other kids, Ms. S said, "Would you look at Jackie? She is a dirty stupid r-----. She doesn't know how to do her math homework and she really doesn't know how to dress like a little girl." After this, many of my classmates would call me these names; but there came a point I refused to take it. My anger was now at a rolling boil. When a kid called me stupid or worse, the fight was on! I lashed out with my fists and then I would go find a place to hide. I cried and cried until a playground attendant found me and took me to the principal’s office. I spent many of my elementary school days sitting in a chair in the school office just waiting to visit with my principal. He would call my mother, tell her about my behavior, and then have my mother come to take me home.

My parents tried so hard to get the school administration to do something about Ms. S and the continued emotional abuse. However, the response was always "Ms. S is one of our finest teachers. She could never do the things Jackie says she is doing." My parents stuck with me and they tried everything they could to help me. I played on a soccer team and as soon as I was old enough, my parents allowed me to enroll in the band program. Music helped me. I spent hours and hours practicing in my room after school. I could escape through music.

My fifth and sixth grade teachers were kind and compassionate and they took the time to explain my schoolwork to me when I was having a problem. However, the peer bullying continued and I isolated myself during recess. I would sit against the brick wall and talk to the playground attendant. She was nice and always encouraged me to play with the other children. I could never bring myself to do this because I tried as hard as I could to avoid getting into a fight with one of my bullies.

The summer before my seventh grade year, my mother signed me up to attend Camp Id-Ra-Ha-Je with my cousin Martha. I remember feeling so nervous on my way up. I was afraid I wouldn't fit in again. Luckily, I loved camp: I felt accepted. I played games and heard about Jesus and what it means to be a Christian. I had been going to church with my parents since I was a very young child. I heard the bible stories before, but this time, they seemed to mean so much more. I felt an overwhelming feeling of joy throughout my week of camp.

During quiet time, the day before the end of camp, I read my bible and I came across Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you; plans to give you hope and a future." I loved this! I realized at this moment that God really does love me and has good plans for my life. That same night, the guest pastor asked if any of us wanted to give our lives to the Lord and become a Christian. I was the first one to stand and the last one to sit down. I prayed with the pastor and all that anger and sadness lifted. I no longer wanted to fight. Whenever I would begin to feel angry or upset, I would recite Jeremiah 29:11 over and over to myself until I would calm down. I continued to struggle with trust; but even that changed as time went on.

This story of my salvation is a hard one to tell, but I believe it’s important. My story reminds us that we have to be careful of the words we use because they can leave lifelong scars. It also reminds us that it is possible to make the transition from hopelessness to prosperity. I have come to believe that the escalation of violence is like following a recipe. I had several things in my life that saved me from continuing with my violent ways of handling things. The mean and hurtful words spoken to me were the vinegar in the recipe; while the love of God and family were the yeast and sugar. These ingredients are stronger than the vinegar, and overpower the flavor of my life to peace and prosperity.

If we reach out to those who don't have all of the ingredients they need, we can provide the sugar and the yeast so they can grow in love instead of hate and anger.



I grew up in Colorado and spent most of my time growing up in Arvada, Colorado until I went to the University of Northern Colorado. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance in 1994. Now, I work at The Link A Community Assessment and Resource Center. At The Link, I work with youth who are either gang involved or at risk of becoming gang involved. I love my work and I get to see transformation in these kids on a daily basis. I am actively involved in the music ministry at Broomfield United Methodist Church. I enjoy singing with the Sunrise Singers and Chancel Choir. I also love having the opportunity to play my flute and sing whenever given the opportunity.


My life is now in transition as I recover from brain surgery. I had a MRI in December of 2013. At that time, I was told I had a large brain tumor and that surgery was needed as soon as possible. I had a craniotomy on December 23, 2013. My healing and progress is moving along now and I wouldn’t be where I am now without the support of my friends and family and the community at Broomfield United Methodist Church. So many people and groups within BUMC reached out to me with cards and offers of support. Most importantly, of course, I praise God for his hand in my healing.