welcome to the hike!

Working out the call!

I currently living in Millersburg or as God whispered in me ear four years ago in PA, "the land of my Fathers!" MILLERS - burg! OK! The best way to describe my life of late, is simply "Pastor-at-Large" I live "outside the box" of our usual expectation of life, family, employment and even culture. I live, breathe, and weave around a four county area as a local missionary and have learned of so many supportive faith communities. I meet people who contact me where they are in their 'hike 'o life."

The hats I wear are that of Life Coach, Writer, Speaker, Retreat Facilitator, Pastoral Supply, Prayer Counselor and well, whatever God calls on me to do (I actually get paid to do all of these things, which is awesome, unless you are helping me with my books!) I also work to "tent-make my mission work" as a church secretary for a sweet fellowship pastored by one of my favorite seminary prof's.

So what do I want to be when I grow up? Stay tuned! The goals are big and staying solvent month by month is a huge victory, but as I see my own heart and others hearts change and grow in my daily walk, I realize, I am not working for treasures on earth....I have direct deposit above. Guess that's a pretty sweet ride! Lacing up my hiking boots...on the hike o' life!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


To Lent or not to Lent: Will you join me?

This post is from three years ago - but as I went to Ash Wednesday service and spent time with friends asking me questions about that cross on my forehead - I decided that I am going to revisit these and update and write some new entries as I am inspired this year.  So if it sounds familiar you may have read this three years ago!
To Lent or not to Lent: Will you join me?
“Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat—I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? If any of you is embarrassed with me and the way I'm leading you, know that the Son of Man will be far more embarrassed with you when he arrives in all his splendor in company with the Father and the holy angels. This isn't, you realize, pie in the sky by and by. Some who have taken their stand right here are going to see it happen, see with their own eyes the kingdom of God." Luke 9: 23-27 The Message

As a shepherdess without a flock this year, I was trying to decide whether or not to practice Lent (some of the congregations that are considering me don’t all practice Lent per their tradition – more on that in a later post), I was challenged by a friend to post daily on facebook and help others draw nearer to Christ in this season.

So Karen thanks! I accept the challenge.

Lent is the Christian season of preparation before Easter. In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday, (that is this today,  Wednesday, March 5, 2014) marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count as they are considered to be resurrections days and therefore we do not fast on the resurrection).

Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline.

The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ - his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection.

 The Bible does not mention the custom of Lent, however, the practice of repentance and mourning in ashes (more on that of course on Ash Wednesday) is found in 2 Samuel 13:19; Esther 4:1; Job 2:8; Daniel 9:3; and Matthew 11:21.

Some of us have looked at Lent, as a legalistic way to “earn” our salvation through stringent practices, but the intent of those early church mothers and fathers was to help us focus on Christ.

In the modern era sometimes we think of the Lenten fast as a new year’s resolution redo, however to a committed follower of Christ we must REJECT THOSE THOUGHTS and allow CHRIST TO GUIDE US TO THE CROSS and have repentant sacrificial hearts and prepare us to be ready for the ALLELUIA’s of the EMPTY TOMB

is one common practice – to give something up and when you crave the forbidden luxury – turn to GOD.

is another common practice to commit to more time seeking and understanding the one who loves you most.

The last common practice of lent is ACTS OF KINDNESS
to think of others and show them God’s love in unselfish and sacrificial ways.

To fast from rich foods we seek the simplicity of daily bread, to fast from television and outside distractions we draw nearer to our Lord. To engage in acts of kindness and forgiveness is to understand more of God’s mercy and grace towards us.

So how can we begin our journey – On the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday we will use up or get rid of what we are denying our selves – for the obedient church goers in the middle ages – they used up all the fat, eggs and meat in their home with one last feast before their fast.
This idea has turned into Shrove Tuesday or Carnival or Mardi gras, depending on where you are geographically.

 So today you and I need to decide what our Lenten practice will be. This web site has some great ideas for all who love Jesus; you can tell of course it is written with some specific ideas for those who practice the Roman Catholic tradition. The site is


I intend to either post a helpful thought or blog each day and am still praying about what my fast should be.  

 I will, in accountability, keep you posted! But to close today here is a prayer for each of us as we prepare to walk more closely with Christ to more fully understand all HE willingly took on for us…

A Lenten Reflection (author unknown)
Give up complaining——focus on gratitude.
Give up pessimism——become an optimist.
Give up harsh judgments——think kindly thoughts.
Give up worry——trust Divine Providence.
Give up discouragement——be full of hope.
Give up bitterness——turn to forgiveness.
Give up hatred——return good for evil.
Give up negativism——be positive.
Give up anger——be more patient.
Give up pettiness——become mature.
Give up gloom——enjoy the beauty that is all around you.
Give up jealousy——pray for trust.
Give up gossiping——control your tongue.
Give up sin——turn to virtue.
Give up giving up——hang in there!

Praying for each of us – JOY regardless of our struggles or sufferings that we endure as we prepare our hearts for the fullness of the RESURRECTION in the Hike ‘o our earthly life…..

Sunday, February 9, 2014

At a bench - a marker - rest and reflect!

Tomorrow is going to be one of those days!

Everyday is actually one of those days, but some days, we attach extra significance to.

Christmas and Easter for example,  because we have changed calendars since the time of Christ and over the years different church leaders have made set times to commemorate these occurrences.

Tomorrow for me is the commemoration of the 50th, yes 50 anniversary of my birth! 

I don't feel that old.  In fact I took a test last week that said my mental age is 29! 

I was so totally blessed by some gals I mentor who had a surprise party for me last week and I will confess the sin of pride - yes pride - that I blew out all fifty candles (without spitting on them) and with breath left to spare!

What is fifty anyway?

Many of you that follow my writing have a few more years of wisdom than I do and I know that a number is just a number!

I feel younger and more energized and healthier than I did at 30 actually.

But its in looking back that I realized how many amazing things I have experienced in my life.

I was actually born the day after the "Beatles" made their American Television debut on the Ed Sullivan Show.

The last two milestone birthdays, I had the privilege to be in foreign countries serving in missions. I tend to like to go somewhere warm and sunny to serve God in February!  

When I turned forty, I wrote for a seminary class a list of 40 things I hope to do before I go to heaven.  (A crazy fact, it was not yet called a "bucket list" at that time!)   I am happy to say that I have accomplished almost 30 of these goals and will undoubtedly add to that list as I reflect.

I am still single, but I still hope to find that ideal mate.  I have long given up the idea of giving birth to a child and wonder if I would even have the energy to adopt if I found myself able to do so.  But, in my love of children and people, God has blessed me with so many spiritual children to nurture and mentor.  I don't think my life could be any richer.

Four years ago on the eve of my 46th birthday, I went to bed wondering if I would wake up alive.  I was so short of breath and had been diagnosed with bronchitis, but the next day in the ER of a major medical center, I was told that numerous blood clots had passed through my heart and it was only the grace of God that kept me from having a stroke or heart attack for the previous two months.   My lungs were full of polka dots.  I look back on that day as one of many turning points in my life.  God used that situation for me to really reflect as I recovered on just what it was He was calling me to do.

He during that time, whispered "return" to the land of your fathers....and so I tendered my resignation to the churches I serve and kept chewing on what God's instruction meant.  I lived with my parents for a while as I rested and healing, enjoyed working in a gourmet shop, even picked back up in pulpit ministry as I had the opportunity to serve as an interim minister.

But as I wrote recently in my "2014" too late for Christmas "Christmas letter"! As I moved into my current home, a mission house with a name, "The Living Acts House"  in the community of Millersburg.  I sensed the completion of understanding that command - "Return to the Land of your Fathers".  I know I am not to be here forever, but rather to establish the next steps of my call to help others discover their call and passion in this incredible business/ministry I founded called LIFE CONNECT! 

If you are still reading this, thanks - I think I am writing it more for myself, but yet feel compelled to share it too.   Tomorrow, on my birthday- I won't be in a foreign country doing missions, but here in Millersburg, I will enjoy of day of great meaning as I go to my "tent-making" job as church secretary in the morning, then out to the local middle school to hang out with students in the afternoon and then dinner with my folks and nephews.  It is going to be an exceptional day.

Yesterday as I was reflecting on those other birthdays where I was in a warm client serving - ( I actually turned down the chance to be doing a mission trip in Kenya this month and wondered if I missed what God wanted for me.) But in the cold sunshine, I could sense God's smile saying - YOU ARE IN THIS MISSION FIELD - you will have a blessed day.  And I know I will.

One last ramble.  A few weeks ago, at a Young Life Retreat, Jerry Leachman, who is a chaplain in the National Football League shared with us, his testimony and challenged us to play to the full extend of our being in EVERY QUARTER OF THE GAME!  This really resonated with me as I think I am just now coming into the full fruition of my call.  I may be approaching "half time" or maybe the "third quarter", but I am as energized as ever.

Stories keep coming to me as I have worked in several careers, gotten multiple degrees, lived in different states married dozens, probably buried almost a hundred and have gotten to know the stories of thousands of people in my ramblings as "preachergirl",just darcy" and "that Mennonite Missionary !"

One more crazy illustration and I will wrap this up.  As a kid, our family often went hiking and one path always was known both for it's steep hill and for the three benches that were placed along the way for us to rest and reflect.  We used to race up the rugged path to be the first to the bench.

Today as I stop and pause - here in Ohio amid more of God's beautiful snow - I see that bench it would look a little bit like this. 
So, today and tomorrow, I am like on any other commemoration, going to stop, pause and enjoy! 
See that bench?  I'm going to brush of the snow and stay right there!
Thanks ahead of time of the greetings.  I have had a great first half and even a "sudden death" pulmonary embolism didn't really slow me down, it just changed my direction a bit! 
If anything, I know that the first fifty have more than fueled me up for the second half!  Yes coach, I want to play my best in the next quarter.  I am glad for the path and the benches along the way!
I am more greatful for the relationships, the stories of God's grace and the many miracles I have witnessed and hope to be more faithful about sharing in the next leg of my journey! 
And I guess this blog I started has the very best title ever, THE HIKE OF LIFE! 
 all are gifts from 

Thursday, January 23, 2014


I am logging in today for the first time in 3 years, it's a bit intimidating!  I am trying to update and change and there just seems to be so much to learn!  (Thought I would switch to word press and I like that too for different reasons), but now for some reason, I am thinking of keeping both sites going, this one more personal and the other www.yourlifeconnect.com more for professional interests.

Frankly I am in deeper than I want to be, blogger has changed, I am frustrated and it's only 6 a.m.!

What tasks seem overwhelming to you today?

I cried with a young friend last night.  She had just received a letter from the post secondary she hopes to attend.  She didn't hear a yes, she didn't hear a no, she heard that she has to wait to hear for THREE MORE MONTHS!

That's overwhelming just when you think you will know and the waiting is prolonged.  We reminded each other, that God is in the waiting room with us, keeping us going along the things he has for us to do.

Not sure why I am working on the blog this morning, I am looking at a list longer than... well it is so long, I can't even describe it.  It's a good list, notes for new clients, work on a sermon for Sunday and other writing deadlines and for some reason I am trying to update my blog.  I want to tell you where I live and what I am doing now, because the information is not current at the top, but for some reason, I can't crack that code!

So I feel as overwhelmed as my friend in her wait.  

But what I can do, as Jesus Calling and Sarah Young reminds us today, January 23, is to lean on God in the moment.  Zoom in to see Him here with me and then slowly draw back to understand in the big picture it doesn't really matter if I can't instantly change my header, or am going to have to wait a big longer for the news of future glory.

So header, I will conquer you.  Posting this, getting a little housework done and then on to the tasks of the day.  I will not let your stubbornness unnerve the joy that awaits.

I am not alone, and my victory is not the achievement or the news.  It's the presence of the ONE who rests with me, holds me while I cry and patiently, oh so patiently holds my hand and guides me along.
Guides me along on "the hike o' life"

Anticipate the fellowship of God in every task today!

Deuteronomy 31:6 - Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he goes with you; he will not fail you, nor forsake you.

So washing dishes, updating blogs, waiting for letters; it matters not - God goes with me!

Peace to you...