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!

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