Welcome to our blog! This is a place to share ideas, thoughts, concerns and joys of our faith journey. I'll be posting sporadically, but hope you will feel free to comment and join in the discussions.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Giving Thanks

There is something about this time of year, when hunkering down under a warm lap robe is just the right thing to do. Although today was mild, it promises soon to be Winter and soon a lap blanket won't feel like enough. If you are lucky enough to have a dog or cat, they might either nestle on your feet or even your jump up on your thighs, increasing the warmth factor by 90 degrees!

And it's a good time to take stock of things, too. Without all that hustle and bustle of outside work, you can look around and appreciate what you have. That old song from the movie, White Christmas, talks about "counting your blessings." I don't think it means looking at a stock portfolio and seeing how your dividends are doing (although the I guess it could mean that). Too many of us look at the money we have or the possessions and forget to look at the intangible things like friends or family. What about the nice warm greeting you get when you come in from a blustery morning to worship with your family in Christ? That really can't be measured on a scale.

Take time to really look around you this Thanksgiving between the cooking and cleaning and see the treasures you have. You might be surprised the many things for which you can say, "thanks."

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

First One Step, Then Another

Watching a small child learn to walk is exciting, isn't it? They stand tentatively at first, wobbling back and forth on chubby legs. It there is something to hang onto, they begin to trust the vertical experience and shuffle sideways until they get the hang of this walking thing. Their smiles are usually so huge then, as if to say, "Hey, lookee what I can do!"

This Sunday, our congregation got together between the services to take the next steps towards calling a new pastor. We elected a Call Committee from the people in attendance. It's a nice cross section of people who will act as something for our congregation to hang onto as we begin the steps in this process. It's an exciting and scary time for our congregation. Full of hope and promise, just like the small child learning to walk. But I am convinced God is with us in this time, and his arms are sure and strong as we ask him to take us from the here into the future.

I can't wait until we can smile that big, huge smile with a new pastor and say, "Hey! Lookee what we can do!"

Thursday, September 4, 2014

All Things Great and Small

On the milkweed plant outside in my yard, there is a monarch caterpillar happily munching it's way to chrysalis oblivion. I go out and check it's progress day-to-day. Also on some other milkweeds are some very tiny bugs called aphids. They are also happily munching on the leaves and stalks. And there are hundreds of them all over the plant, sucking the life out of it. Why does one bug make me happy as I watch it consume a plant (the caterpillar) and the other distress me so much (the aphids)?

I don't know the reason. Any more than I know why I don't like spiders very much even though I know they are helpful creatures. It occurs to me that we are all here on earth in unique ways. Each of us impact the world, some in very small ways, others in huge, impressive ways. But the earth would be a little different if we weren't a part of it. And whether we can see the part we play is pretty much irrelevant. We are not here to judge someone's worth or acceptability. We are not here to judge, period.

This Sunday, we will all come together at St. Marks. The caterpillars, the aphids, the butterflies, moths and even fruit flies will join together in a service project or two to help someone out. To think of someone other than ourselves. To share God's Work with Our Hands. We hope you will join us as we celebrate our diversity and comraderie on this special Sunday. You don't even need to bring some milkweed!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sometimes It's a Surprise

I've been reading a lot of things lately which are about recognizing the many blessings you have, or that the world has to offer. I appreciate being reminded about the wonders of nature, the universe, people most of the time. But sometimes, when I'm wallowing in self-pity or self-doubt, I don't wish to be reminded of the bounteous world we live in. On those days when I drop the milk carton on the floor and half the contents spill across the kitchen; on the days that I've succeeded in messing up something at work and will have to spend half the day re-doing the project just to get back to square one; or the day that my sister calls and tells me her woes, then my brother emails me to tell me his and my mother calls to say not to worry, but she fell down--again, it's very hard to look up and thank the Lord.

But I have noticed something in these times of stress. A small window of light will appear somewhere if I only look for it. It happened this past Sunday actually. I was fretting and fussing about all the things I had to do and lamenting in my mind about the lack of time to do it all. When something caught my eye. It was a green, shiny, star-shaped balloon. It was tracking across a parking lot I was in the midst of crossing. The funny thing was it wasn't racing upwards as balloons usually do. It was moving, slowly, even stately, in a horizontal pattern above the cars. I marveled at the sight. I mean it was just so calm and sedate, traveling it's way, just above the trees, but below the telephone and power lines. I took a deep breath then. And stopped fretting and muttering. It made me stop. And wonder. And I looked heavenward when it was out of sight. And thanked the Lord for the wonder of shiny, green star-shaped balloons.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Song of the Nightime

There is an old song entitled, "In The Still of The Night." I used to know all the words to it and when my father's radio station would play it, I would sing along. The song spoke to me of the night, when the world was mostly sleeping. It seemed a time of magic, or even a time to imagine scary things. It's easy to imagine things when it's dark outside and you can't see down the street.

I'm older now, and the dark time at night seems more restful, not quite as scary as it used to. I am more aware that the scary, evil things can come in the daytime, too. Night isn't a guarantee that nothing bad will happen, but neither is the daylight. What I have come to realize, though is the presence of the Spirit with me. Sitting with me while the "world is in slumber." And walking with me in the daylight as well. Sometimes I don't feel that presence, but when I think I'm most alone, I have come to rely on the Advocate. It does not take away the pain or the anxiety, but it reminds me that even in the still of the night the Spirit breathes with me. And I am comforted.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Singing an Old Song

There is only one place on earth I can sing with other people and they don't mind. It's in church. There is only one place on earth I can talk about the things that bother me about the world today and receive some kind of understanding for my rants. It's in church. There is only one place on earth, that I know of, where I feel like part of a family with people I'm not related to, who share a past and a hope for a future and share all the mess in between. And that is in our church. I have been a member for a long time. I haven't counted the years in a while and don't intend to do so right now, so don't worry. I have a family that loves me, a husband, two children and siblings and a mom and step dad and cousins. But my congregational family seems to think I'm okay too. They uplift me when I am down and sometimes surprisingly even when I'm not down. We share stories of our faith and our lives and we trust each other to hold those stories and the emotions tied to them within our hearts. But we pray together too. And complain sometimes. And meddle other times. Because the people of God are--wait for it--people! That's right our Christian community is made up of human beings. Which means we can be mean and spiteful. Or hurtful. But we are welcomed and loved as we are. In all our moods, in all our brokenness. Loved and welcomed. This is the hardest part of being a community of faith, I think.Some of the broken and bitter people like themselves they way they are and I'm a fixer-upper. I want them to be happier or at least act happier. I want them to be Christians the way I am! But that isn't the deal with faith and belief in God. It isn't up to me (or you either, come to that) to change the way a person believes or practices their faith. It is up to us to welcome and love them. You don't have to agree with them! Jesus taught many things but the greatest thing he taught was that we need to love one another as God loves us. And this is hard sometimes. But I figure if a bunch of people can stand next to me when I sing or rant and rave about the condition of the world, then I can stand next to them as well whether they sing on key or off or know different words to the same song. We're still singing the same song. To love and welcome.

Monday, July 14, 2014

In a Hurry to Wait

I've noticed something lately about me. I am not very patient. Those of you who know me I'm sure are chortling with glee as this is an understatement if I ever made one. But it's true. I want things to move along at the pace I want them to, or I feel like I have to push them along. At work, if I have to wait for either a return call or someone to stop by and give me information I practically wear a hole in the floor, pacing impatiently. I don't know if I've always been like this. If so, there are probably a few dozen people to whom I need apologize.

I've asked The Lord for patience lots of times. I remember seeing a bumper sticker which said, "Lord, give me patience and I want to now!" It could be a motto tattooed on my forehead.

But I was reminded of my lack of patience today in a most humbling manner. A friend of mine is sick. Very sick. He is battling for his very life these days and sometimes we're not sure he has many of them left. But he is doing what he has to do every day, carefully, with deliberation and patience. And he's gracious about it as well! What an example he is to me. A model of learning to live each day in the here and now as tomorrow is promised to no one. I want to be like him, not sick, but able to be patient with the world, with life, with myself. He is teaching me without even trying. I will try tomorrow to be more aware of life, more cognizant of the world and the people therein. And pray once more for patience, only just not right away, maybe.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Things Can Change

I write this blog for a bunch of reasons. I need to write. I like to think about my faith and the way it presents itself in my life. I like to think that once in a while, someone else reads it and either agrees or disagrees with my sentiments. It's a good outlet for me, but it's not for everyone, I know.

After 6 years, our Pastor will be leaving for a new call away from here. It's hard to think he won't be here anymore. We've gotten used to his slight Southern twang, his droll sense of humor, his wonderful musicality. I know I will miss him. But I also know that God is with us at St. Marks in Oaklyn. And there must be something amazing in store for us if we would be open to that idea. I hope you will join us to see where God will lead us. I hope you will pray for Pastor Jeff and Karla in their new endeavor. And I hope you will pray for us as we walk this road of faith into the future. Everyone could use a little prayer!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Being Called

I know a guy who until this past week was a high school history teacher. But come the fall, instead of returning to the classroom he's been in for about 10 years, he will be moving to a city to begin an urban ministry with his family. In his farewell to the faculty letter, he said the only thing that could have possibly pulled him away from the teaching he loved is the call to ministry. I admire him.

Not all of us are called to be ordained. Some of us minister to others with meals lovingly baked, or hugs freely given, or visits to sick rooms. But this guy reminded me of something: we are all called. Even bleacher sitters are called to be the cheering section. We don't do what we do for brownie points in heaven, we do these things because we are given so much our cups overflow. Our God has blessed us in ways we might not recognize as blessings, but blessings they are.

Our Pastor of six years will be leaving us to return to the land of his "twang". He's been called somewhere else to lead. And we are called to open our hearts to someone new. Shortly we will begin the process of selecting a new leader for our congregation. Let us listen to what God is telling us, pray for his guidance and prepare for His call to lead us forward.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

It's Enough

I was feeling dissatisfied recently. Restless with my life. I didn't like the way the days were either too short when I was enjoying them or too long when I wasn't. My husband, who always believes a walk cures everything, persuaded me to step out with him. We didn't talk much, for that matter we don't usually. We were walking along, kind of in our own heads, when we met an acquaintance of ours. His children used to play with ours. I knew that one of his kids got married recently, so I commented on the Facebook pictures which looked lovely. He asked about our children and what they were doing. When I asked of his unmarried child, he sighed. It seems his youngest was very ill. And this dad didn't know what to do. He spoke of his sadness in such a matter-of-fact way, like it was a part of him, as though even the joy of the recent wedding was a minor event. We parted and I took my hisband's hand in mine.

"We are so blessed," I said, "I don't even think of it most of the time." And my husband agreed.

This is not a guilt piece, my dear readers. I put this out there to remind me and whomever might wander onto these musings, that even in the midst of ups and downs, God is with us. In the sunshine and the rain. In the most uplifting, mountaintop experiences, and in the valleys so deep that there is no energy to climb out. God is with us. I pray for this man and his family, for God to whisper in this dad's ear that he is NOT alone. And for God to poke me to see what my blessings are each and every day, no matter how long or short they seem.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

It's Not Your Average Week

The church is busy this week. Around the globe, this is known as Holy Week. The background of this is found in the story of Jesus. He gets arrested, tried by a bunch of jealous and scared guys and gets sent to the cross to die. The story does not shed a very warm, fuzzy picture of Jesus' fellow human beings. Nor even his followers come to that. There's misplaced greed, betrayal of supposedly staunch supporters, power hungry politicians and blood. Technically speaking this is not a week to celebrate. It is a week to share, though. It is a week to be taken seriously. Before the joyous outpourings of Sunday, you have to get through the serious, somber and grisly details of the rest of the week.

I know some people are uncomfortable during the services of Holy Thursday and Good Friday. They like the happier atmosphere of the Easter Sundays. But I'm a firm believer that you can't really experience the joy without experiencing the sadnesses, too.  I would like to invite you to join us at St. Marks this week. Come and share the sorrow, silence and symbolism of these experiences. I promise you that Sunday will seem more meaningful and uplifting after you have.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Love Out Loud

Just recently I was given the opportunity of loving someone out loud. By this I mean, I showed this person just how much they mean to me. My eldest brother came for a visit. He lives in Florida and he doesn't get much time off from work. So a splurge of coming up to see his siblings and mother was a great treat. How did I show him how much he means to me? Well, I fed him dinner, a real home-cooked meal when he came to my place from the airport on the way to our mother's house. We had a party the following night with lots of generations. Lots of laughter, memory sharing, and some of his favorite food from one of the bakeries near the old homestead. And then I didn't see him again. He went to stay with our other brother until it was time for him to leave. In a way, this was really hard. I really wanted to see him again. Talk about things, share stories, just he and I. But there were only so many hours in a day and well, it didn't work out that way. But I loved him just the same, without seeing him again. He is still in my heart even as he returns to Florida.

Can we love God out loud? Can we come to His table and be filled with good things, sharing with our brothers and sisters at the table? And can we be satisfied with not exactly seeing Him, but feeling His presence? Sometimes it seems hard to show our love for the Almighty. He seems so abstract. We're used to concrete things to love; our home, our car, our money. But the love I feel for my brother reminds me that the kind of love exists for my God, too. If only we would show it. Out loud.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Story of David

So here's the thing; I thought I kind of knew about David. You know, King David. The boy who would be king. He knocks off the Phillistine Goliath, remember with only a slingshot. He was one of God's favorites. I mean until he saw Uriah's wife bathing. Then things kind of went bad after that. But  that was really pretty much what I knew about him. Oh! And he was a shepherd.  Tended sheep for his father.

So this past Sunday rolls around and we hear the interesting story of the prophet who is to go to the father Jesse and anoint the next King of Israel. The name Jesse caught my attention. Some Christmas songs speak of the root of Jesse. And sure enough there he is! This prophet, Samuel, brings a horn of oil for anointing to Jesse. Now Samuel was a little scared because if crazy King Saul hears what he is about to do, he won't be prophesying any more. He won't be doing anything anymore. God tells Samuel to take a heifer with him to Jesse and say he's going to sacrifice to God, so Saul won't get suspicious. Now when Samuel gets to Jesse's place with his heifer and his horn of oil, first of all he calms everybody down. He comes in peace he says. And while I'm here he says to Jesse, let me take a look at your sons. The first son comes to Samuel and the prophet likes the look of him. But God says nope. Then the second son comes up. Nope, God says again. You can almost see Samuel roll his eyes. "Are you kidding?" We can almost hear him say. C'mon, make up your mind! But God reminds the prophet (and us as we read this) that we see the outside and God sees the in. So seven sons are paraded past Samuel and none of them are right. So Samuel takes a shot in the dark and says, "ya got anybody else around?" And Jesse says, "yeah the youngest but he's watching the sheep."

I have to say at this point I was reminded of Cinderella. Remember how the evil step sisters tried on the glass slipper and it didn't fit them and the Prince asks, "ya got anybody else around?" Of course there's no evil step mother or sisters in this story, just a sort of sadly going crazy king, but you know it's kind of the same. The last resort. The one no one thought would amount to anything is the one chosen. The Bible verses in the reading cagily don't mention David's name until the last couple of verses. But there it is! David is anointed and Jesus is the descendent.

And that's David's story. Or at least the beginning. Pretty cool. Good story. You should look it up. It's 1 Samuel 16: 1-13. There are lots of hidden stories like that. I'll try to share them from time to time. Or maybe you could share with me, your favorites. I'd be interested to hear them. Who knows, maybe we can split a heifer!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

It's Not Like Anything Else

Being a member of the community in faith is not like anything else. There is an under lying something that binds a person to it. In a club or similar activity, involvement revolves around a common interest or theme:  the gardening club, the chess club, the procrastinator's club. But your life outside of the club may not reflect your intense interest inside the club. You might not water your plants as fervently as you should. You read chess manuals to solidify your understanding of strategy or you just like the shape of the Star Wars set someone plays with. You do things more or less on time, but like the laid back atmosphere of the club that doesn't meet on a schedule because they can't be bothered to pick a date.

A community of faith on the other hand seems to permeate through everything. It's not just the people who share similar beliefs, although that is comforting. It some intangible aura, if you will, that surrounds you. It is not a halo. Anyone who believes that, needs to look honestly for new glasses. The people of faith I know are sinners all AND saints all at once. They speak of loving their fellow human, then whisper about the guy two pews over who falls asleep during the sermon. Faith-based relationships are more grounded, more comfortable. You don't have to believe every single thing the person next to you believes, but you do have to be willing to open your mind to new possibilities. You get to question things honestly, discuss things more deeply and you get to sing out loud and no one minds. That in itself is a relief, since I've been known to lead perfect pitch singers astray with what passes for singing coming from my mouth.

I know of no other place where I can be myself, bad singing and all, and I am accepted. For God loves me no matter what. And he loves all, so I don't have to worry if I'm having trouble with the snores of the guy in the pew. He has grace enough for everyone. Thank God.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Out With The Old, In With The New

We decided to tackle an interesting topic in our Adult Sunday School class next week. The idea that the God of the Old Testament is somewhat different from the God of the New Testament. Our class members, or at least two in particular, are of the belief that God learned a thing or two by the time Jesus was sent to intervene on our behalf and so he isn't the same being he was before. But how can this be? God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow! Isn't He? How can God change? He is. Just is. The idea that God would evolve because of us is ludicrous! Isn't it? Well, that's what we're going to explore on Sunday and I'd love you and anyone else you could invite to join us. It's sure to be an interesting discussion! We hope you'll be there.

Friday, March 14, 2014

What Can You Do?

The above question is asked in all kinds of situations. When something seemingly inevitable happens, a person shrugs and asks, "well, what can you do?" because really it was going to happen anyway. When someone is sick or they have a problem it's stated a little differently, "what can I do?" Give me a task, a mission, a tangible "thing" that I am capable of handling and it will be done in short order.

When faced with a problem or question in the bigger picture of life, it takes on a different meaning. Didn't John Kennedy say,  "ask not what our country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." What can you do? Usually in this context we are talking about sacrifice kinds of things, time, money, something that is required of you out of the ordinary. And so we come to the time of the church year known as Lent. And this question becomes sort of a stickler. Because most of the time what you can do during Lent is something benign or insignificant by the world's standards. If you give up something like sweets or coffee, no one really notices except the person at the coffee shop where you stop every day to purchase a doughnut and a coffee (or maybe the people you interact with without that shot of caffeine--this may not be a good thing to give up!). But then Lent isn't supposed to be "showy" or "grandstandish". Its a time of reflection and contemplation. So what can you do?

There is a really easy answer to this. It doesn't cost any money, isn't showy or grand, in fact its quiet and most people would not even be aware you are doing it. It's praying. We can pray more often, or more earnestly. We can pray that today will be easier than yesterday, or that world peace could happen in our little corner of the world. Or we could pray that the person that annoys and distracts us at work, won't do that today. We can pray for our ministry, for our ministers, for our Nursery and afterschool programs, for our family in Christ. We can pray and just say thank you for breathing in and out today. Prayer is one of strongest, quietest, personal things you can do to communicate with the Almighty. What can you do? Let's all pray. And see what happens next.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Coming of Lent

This past Tuesday was the day before Ash Wednesday. Fat Tuesday, it's called in some places. The tradition was that you used up all the fat before the lean times of Lent. So you had doughnuts and latkes and whatever other fat fried things you could get 'cause the fat wouldn't be allowed during the forty days of Lent. If we take that analogy one step further (as I am wont to do), we are going to trim down for the season of Lent. A lot of people give stuff up. Sweets are right up there with swearing. Giving things up for Lent was supposed to show you were serious about observing this time leading up to the death of our Savior. Said out loud like that, giving up candy or saying bad words seems like a rather paltry sacrifice considering the one our Lord experienced. But hey, we're talking humans, not super humans. And really, it takes some extra human effort sometimes to stay away from stuff that occupy our minds so much of the time. Nothing is trivial as long as you're serious about it. So we try to get into the idea that giving something up is a sacrifice, that if we really want to prove our commitment to God, we can stay away from certain things, behaviors, circumstances. The problem is this:  so many times, we fail to keep this commitment that we become jaded about doing it at all. We say, "well, I know I'm not going to be able to do this, so just forget it." Instead of trying to do our best, we give up at the earliest sign of struggle. "This is too hard," my kids used to say when we would try to get them to do something new. Change is hard. I don't like things different. I get a warm, fuzzy feeling when things go along as I expected. But the season of Lent can be a time to learn new things, not just give up the old. What if instead of in-reach, we tried a little out-reach. If we reached out with the gifts and talents we have in abundance. If we tried to show a little more compassion to our fellow human beings. If we tried a little more patience while waiting in line. This could work! Don't you feel it? And if you wanted to, you could still give up chocolate. But maybe you could give some chocolate away...hmmm, there's a thought. Let's try giving to others for Lent this year and see what happens.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

What if...

What if you had the power to change the world? I mean really change it? Would you? Would you do that something to fix something broken? Right a wrong? Lend a hand? If you had the power to really make a difference, would you? Please join us at 9:15 a.m. for the next two Sundays, at least and see if you can do it. If you CAN change the world.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

God's Work, Our Hands

Last Sunday, we had one service and the Congregational Meeting was held after it. It was good to see all of us together at once and even better to share the good news with one another. At the congregational meeting held once a year, we find out how our hands have been serving God and how God has been at work among us. I always find out something new and encouraging at this meeting of the family. There are so many projects and outreach things that I wasn't aware of, that my heart swells with the joy of our commitment.

This year, I was elected to be on Church Council. It was a feeling akin to Sally Fields accepting the Academy Award for her role in Places in The Heart, "you like me, you really like me!" she said (except I found out later, she didn't really say that, she said something similar--so much for quoting famous people). I felt grateful and humble at the same time. Now lest you think I am making too much of this, I would add that it has been more years than I can count that I have been on council. When I had kids at home, I was on council and once a month I made my way to the room upstairs to be a part of the "governing" body of our church. But this church is not the same as it was then. Oh, the building is basically the same, but the people who are involved (for the most part) are not. There are new things to be considered and new ways to consider them. Those of us who have been here for a while remember the things the way they were, those who are newer see things that could change and be different. And to be perfectly honest, I'm a little nervous. I'm nervous because its been so long since I was a part of this, it may be really different than I remember. I may be asked to do some things that I don't want to do because now I'm not just looking out for myself. I'm looking out for the interests of others who aren't there in the room. I'm thinking of someone other than me. I've been really comfortable for a long time looking out for me, myself and I. Now I have to readjust. I have to think of others. It will be a change and I'm not always comfortable with change (in any form). BUT, I have friends on council with me. And I have the body of Christ as my back-up. And for once in a very long time I feel called to do something. Something for someone other than myself. And really, that's kind of what that whole,  "God's work, our hands" thing is all about, right?

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Meeting of Congregants

If you read that title and wondered what it meant, I will translate. A meeting of those gathered together. Isn't that redundant? You ask. Possibly. This Sunday at St. Marks we are having such a meeting. A getting together of those who are members of the family of St. Marks. A congregational meeting happens once a year for most congregations. The talk centers around what has happened during the year, they go over the budget for next year, but most important of all--they meet together! We come together around the Lord's Supper and then we sit around and talk about how we are all the body of the one we just shared! If you are a member of St. Marks in Oaklyn, NJ, I hope you will find the time to come to the table AND the discussion following that to be part of our family. Don't forget, one service this Sunday at 9:00.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Life we Share

One of the greatest joys of being a member of our community of faith is the coming together of the people within the community. We get together Sunday mornings of course. But we get together for other things too! Opera performances in the sanctuary, Christmas programs put together by the Nursery School children who use our facility. We meet for so many different reasons. We become closer through these meetings and get togethers. We find out things about each other and our families. We learn about each other's histories, our fears, our conquests and sometimes even our hopes and dreams are shared during this together time. It really is like having a whole "other" family as opposed to the one into which you were born.

One of our members passed away a few days ago. He was woven into the fabric of St. Marks as much as the covering on the pew cushions. He was there with a handshake and a smile every time I saw him. And even though towards the end of his life he was really, really sick, he still had a smile for you. He was a matter of fact kind of guy. A man who helped you to believe the good in people, even as a Superintendent of schools! To say he will be missed is probably an understatement, but true nonetheless. We don't have assigned pews in our church. Oh, sure, some people sit in the same place most Sundays, but our names aren't engraved in the wood or anything. But his heart is engraved in the in the hearts of those who knew him and loved him. And as much as I love being a part of this community of faith, I wish I didn't have to know what it was to lose someone like him.

It was great knowing you Tommie, thanks for being you.