Sunday, July 3: 

Zechariah 9:9-12; Psalm 145: 8-14; Romans 7:15-25a; Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

The reading from Zechariah is a vision of hope that we sometimes connect with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, celebrated on Palm Sunday. Jesus’ victory is not gained in military battle, but in his own suffering death. Jesus’ ministry- his life and his death- often run counter to our expectations of God. Sometimes that means that we might be looking for God to do a certain thing in our lives, only to miss what God is actually up to. Pray: For your eyes to be open to God’s work in our world. For your heart to be open to God’s challenging, upside-down type of kingdom, where those we don’t value are honored, where those who weep will rejoice, where the hungry are filled.


4 Monday: Psalm 131; Jeremiah 27:1-11, 16-22; Romans 1: 18-25

Do: Take a walk or spend some time outdoors today in a place you find especially beautiful and inspiring. Take time to look really closely at something growing. Maybe the kids would like to dig around and find some bugs. Look for signs of other critters. Reflect on how creation points us towards our Creator God.


5 Tuesday: Psalm 131; Jeremiah 28: 10-17; Romans 3:1-8

Consider Romans 3:3b “Will their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?” The answer is NO! What an amazing truth! Nothing you do, no matter how great a sin, will cancel God’s faithfulness to you. Do: If there’s something you’ve done for which you’ve been carrying around a lot of guilt and shame, write it down. Confess it to God. Know that God forgives you through Jesus Christ. Burn the paper and be unburdened of your sin.


6 Wednesday: Psalm 131; Jeremiah 13:1-11; John 13:1-17

Jesus is the ultimate servant who calls us to be servants like him. Jesus does more than just simple kindnesses, he stoops down low, puts the disciples’ dirtiest parts in front of him, doesn’t judge, doesn’t avoid, but just serves. He becomes that which is reviled, outcast, dirty, in order to restore and cleanse. Consider: What would that kind of service look like in your life?


7 Thursday: Psalm 65:1-13; Isaiah 48:1-5; Romans 2:12-16

Psalm 65: 4b “We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, your holy temple.” Satisfied. I think that’s a difficult place for us to find ourselves. Much of our culture often tells us we need more to be happy, trying to keep us in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction. When I hear this psalm, I am reminded of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. They have been freed from slavery, and God provides water and food for them when they cry out, and yet, they never seem satisfied. God gives them everything they want, but those gifts become stagnant- bread gets boring, and the slavery they once had sounds better than the day-to-day sustenance God provides. Journal: Take your “satisfaction temperature.” Where do you often find yourself- content and satisfied?  or searching for fulfillment? What would it take for you to rest in God, rejoice in what you have, and enjoy the peace of a satisfied life? How might your faith lead you to this state?


8 Friday: Psalm 65: 1-13; Isaiah 48: 6-11; Romans 15:14-21

9You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide the people with grain, for so you have prepared it. 10You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth.

Do: Tape these verses to your windshield or carry them with you as you work, drive, or walk along the fields today. Use its words to praise God for the growth around us.


9 Saturday: Psalm 65: 1-13; Isaiah 52: 1-6; John 12:44-50

Isaiah speaks words of hope to a people who have experienced difficult times. God gives a vision of a new future.  Journal: What is the new future you long for? How might God be leading you into that future today?


15 Wednesday: Psalm 104: 24-34, 35b; Numbers 11:24-30; John 7:37-39

Psalm 104:33I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being. Do: Sing your favorite hymn or praise song!


16 Thursday: Psalm 8; Job 38:1-11; 2 Timothy 1:8-12a

The letters to Timothy give instruction and encouragement to Timothy, a young man called to share the gospel. Hear the encouragement as God speaking to you! Verse 9:  “(God) saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to God’s own purpose and grace.” Maybe you’d prefer God pick out only certain people and skip over you! Might be easier if you could get by with an excuse that you’re not qualified or called! Too bad! God has given each of us gifts and a called us to share God’s love, forgiveness, and healing with our neighbors. Do: Talk to your family or a friends today about the gifts you see in each other. See if you can name specific ways God has used each person to carry out a holy calling!


17 Friday: Psalm 8; Job 38: 12-21; 2 Timothy 1:12b-14

2 Timothy is written as a letter from a mentor or teacher to a student coming into his own authority and position as a teacher himself. Verse 13 refers to the “sound teaching” Timothy received. Do: Write a list of those from whom you received “sound teaching” about God’s love for you. Send a little note of thanksgiving to one or more of them! Mention how their teaching has formed you in your calling today. This would be a great time for your kids to send an extra thank you to their Sunday School or VBS teachers!


18 Saturday Psalm 8; Job 38: 22-38; John 14:15-17

John 14: 15If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

Do: Journal about the ways you’ve felt God’s presence close to you this week. When have you been uplifted? guided? encouraged? empowered?


14 Tuesday: Psalm 104: 24-34, 35b; Ezekial 39: 7-8, 21-29; Romans 8:26-27

Pick a verse or phrase from Psalm 104. Do: Get out the sidewalk chalk with the kids, or your own sketchbook, and illustrate the verse.

Sunday, June 12: Pentecost

Psalm 104:24-34, 35b; Acts 2:1-21; 1 Corinthians 12:4b-13; John 20:19-23

Today we hear the story we’ve been mentioning all this Easter season as we studied Acts. It’s the celebration of Pentecost! Pray: Remember and give thanks for a time when you heard the gospel clearly, in language that made sense to you. Ask that God might use your voice to share that good news with those around you. Courage, please!

13 Monday: Psalm 104: 24-34, 35b; Joel 2:18-29; Romans 8:18-24

Psalm 104 is one of my favorite psalms. What a perfect one to praise God on a beautiful summer day! Pray: Pray the psalm as a thanksgiving for all of creation. Add in your own verse to reflect what the scene around you. How is God caring for the lake? The fields? Your garden?

10 Friday: Psalm 33:12-22; Exodus 19:16-25; Romans 8:14-17

Romans: “14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” Do: Get out the paint or chalk and make a tree with handprints (or outlines) for the leaves! Write the above verse near the tree and add photos, drawings, or names of your brothers and sisters in Christ. What a great and ever-expanding family tree!


11 Saturday: Psalm 33:12-22; Exodus 20:1-21; Matthew 5:1-12

“Blessed.” This word could also be translated as “happy.” Matthew calls “blessed” those going through things we would not consider signs of blessing. The blessing seems to come through the future promise that God will reverse all that is painful in the present. Do: Journal about a difficult period in your life that God saw you through to a more blessed time. Or, write about something you’re experiencing right now and a vision of what God might do to bring blessing and healing.

9 Thursday: Psalm 33:12-22; Exodus 19:1-9a; Acts 2:1-11 Psalm 33: 20Our soul waits for the LORD; God is our help and shield. Pray: For God to be your help and shield in the very specific way you need God today. For those near and far to you who also need God’s protection and healing.

Wednesday: Psalm 99; 1 Kings 8:54-65; John 3:31-36

Psalm 99 praises God as king: “4Mighty King, lover of justice, you have established equity; you have executed justice.” Do: Read a bit from your favorite news source and consider how the powerful rule today. Pray that God might conform them into people who love justice and establish equity. Check out to join the church in working for justice throughout the earth.

Thursday: Psalm 33:12-22; Exodus 19:1-9a; Acts 2:1-11

Psalm 33: 20Our soul waits for the LORD; God is our help and shield.

Pray: For God to be your help and shield in the very specific way you need God today. For those near and far to you who also need God’s protection and healing.

Since so many people are away for the weekends during the summer- I’ve been busy creating a summer devotional that follows the daily lectionary as written in the ELW. Hope you enjoy it, too!

Sunday, June 5: Seventh Sunday of Easter, celebration of Jesus’ Ascension

Today we hear about Jesus preparing his disciples and then leaving them as he rises up in a cloud to reign at God’s right hand. For a while, the disciples continue to stare up into heaven. Then two men tell them to move along with the work Jesus has called them to do!

Draw or list: What is it that freezes me? What blocks me from loving and serving as Jesus’ disciple?

Pray: Jesus, you free me from fear, sin, and death. You have claimed me as your disciple and sent your Holy Spirit upon me. Because you are with me, I have the power to be your presence in this world. Yet there are many things that keep me from being the disciple you want me to be. Some of those are my fears, excuses, and worries about other people. They are those things I have drawn—. Release me from these things that bind me. Amen.

Draw: What do I or my life look like as a person who has been released and freed from all that would keep me stuck?

Monday: Psalm 99; Leviticus 9:1-11, 22-24; 1 Peter 4:1-6

From 1 Peter: “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same intention (for whoever has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin), 2so as to live for the rest of your earthly life no longer by human desires but by the will of God.”

Discuss: Share a cup of coffee (or a popsicle!) with a friend and talk about how you make decisions in life. Has there ever been a time when you’ve felt God calling you to do something? Or warning you against? How do you seek God’s will for your life?

With less than three months until baby’s due to arrive, I think it’s time to sit at the computer and consider what it has meant to be the pregnant pastor. Today’s topic: clothes.

I’ll never qualify as “best dressed” or up on the latest trends… I tend to rejoice more over finding the lowest price rather than hippest look. But I think part of the joy of pregnancy comes in celebrating a changing, healthy body that is obviously growing a new life. And why not have a few fun outfits for that?

As an ordained pastor, there are times when I want to be obviously identified in that role. This is not a very formal area of the country- even the bishop often will wear jeans and a clerical! But I think especially on preaching occasions, it’s important for me to be recognized as clergy. It’s easily forgotten in a place where it’s more familiar to identify me as the pastor’s wife.

And now the very pregnant pastor’s wife… er… other pastor.

While loose albs cover most everything, including the baby bump, I’m focusing on what’s underneath: the collar.

I like the Friar Tuck Shell Clericals for women. They fit me and my belly for another few weeks after my Lydia shirts became too tight. But, by 24ish weeks, it was time for another option!

There simply are not great options out there for maternity clericals. I’ve heard mixed and negative reviews regarding the full length “maternity clergy shirts” out there- and honestly, I don’t know how many pastors have so much discretionary income that a $40+  maternity shirt that’ll only be worn once in a while sounds good (plus, it really didn’t look too flattering to me). There are, however, some interesting options on the dickey/janie/sportsbra/half-length front.

They are likewise expensive, but I think would be more useable during the rest of my career- like when I’m not pregnant! Someone was giving her old ones away at a clergy conference this fall, so I took a couple even though they were a little big, to check them out (hoping baby was coming soon).

The collar one the one I was wearing was a bit funky, so I decided it was time to make my own! Here’s some basic instructions for you to make your own clerical janie. Here’s my finished product:

  1. Start with a clerical with a neck that fits- it’s ok if it’s a bit big or small in other places – they’re going to get cut off anyway! I’m using a Friar Tuck Shell: Roman Collar style. I’ve already taken off the shoulder pads (I do that to all my shirts- it’s not the 80s anymore…)
  2. You may want to slip on the shirt and mark with chalk or pins how low you want the front to end. The length of the front will depend on the size of your bust. I chose to end mine just below the bustline or where a comfortable sportsbra would hit. Since I’m making this while 28 weeks pregnant… I’m trying to hit where my profile dips in- that space between bust and baby- so that I’m not feeling it slip up because I’ve made it too long.
  3. Get out your quilting tools! If you don’t have any, surely there will be a church lady who does! Lay shirt smoothly on a cutting mat. Using a quilting square or edge, line up your marked line so that it hits the 1.5 inch mark on your square. This means you are cutting 1.5 inches below where you want the shirt to fall on you. In this picture, I didn’t mark a line, but just measured three inches down from the armpit. That was a little risky, as it might not have been long enough!
  4. Holding the square firmly, use a rotary cutter to cut off the bottom. You might think about making the back and front different lengths to better fit your figure… but I was going for ease, and this worked just fine.
  5. Next, we’ll cut off the sides. Here I aligned the quilter’s edge with my shirt’s bottom edge and moved it as far over as I could and still cut the sleeve seams off. You could also try a curve or taper instead of a straight line. But, not as easy, nor did I find it necessary.
  6. Here you can see the pieces have been cut and we have something that looks rather like what we’re shooting for!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
  7. Time to heat up the iron! Using an appropriate setting for the material of your shirt, press from front/outside to back/underside a 3/4 inch fold on all sides. (note: You may want it to be a smaller fold, especially on the sides. I’m saying 3/4 inch here because I told you to cut the bottom off 1.5 inches from the length you marked.) Fold it over on itself towards the back/underside one more time and press again. You’re creating a clean edge along the outside that lays flat. You may want to trim corners to help them align, but if you don’t and it’s a little messy, no one is going to see!
  8. Slip it over your head to check on the length and width. If it’s too skinny or short, unfold and press the shirt open and make smaller folds this time. If it’s too wide or long, either press one more fold (makes a little bulky) or unfold and press shirt open and make bigger folds this time.
  9. Once the folds look good, you’ll need to sew those edges down.
  10. Slip it over your head again. If you can, hold your elastic on the back edge and bring it forward to estimate how long a piece of elastic you’ll need. Cut a few inches longer. <or> Sew elastic on right side back and ignore the fact that you have a super long piece of elastic attached to your shirt at the moment.
  11. Sewing elastic: You’ll want to sew the elastic on the inside of your shirt back first. Overlay .5-1 inch, matching elastic’s bottom edge with the folded and sewed bottom edge of your shirt. Sew at both the ragged edge of the elastic (.5-1 inch in to the shirt) as well as near the outer edge of the shirt. Do both so that the elastic doesn’t unravel and so that it holds and lays nice on the outer part of the shirt.
  12. If you’ve estimated the length of elastic, cut two lengths and sew one on each back side.
  13. If you’ve sewed one side and left the long length hanging, slip on your shirt and pull the elastic from back to match up to the front. You might ask a friend to help. Then mark on the elastic where it needs to first meet the front part of the shirt. (Or you could pin it closed like how you’ll want it for your final shirt). Make sure you’re pulling it to the tightness you want, while not pulling so hard as to shift the shirt to that side. Take off the shirt. Go to step 15.
  14. If you’ve estimated and attached elastic to both back sides, slip on the shirt. Grab the back elastic from both sides and pull to the front. (You may want a friend to help give you the elastic or hold onto the front, etc). Align both sides of elastic on the front of the shirt so they are holding your shirt sufficiently snug. Mark where the elastic hits the front panel, or pin in place. Slip  off the shirt.
  15. Cut elastic .5-1 inch longer than where you’ve marked or pinned it. Align elastic as you did for the back, along the bottom inside seam of the front. Sew with two seams. Repeat for the other side.
  16. There you have it! Slip it on to make sure it all fits.

Here’s a back view. Notice the buttons down the back- this is why I like using a shirt that already is a clerical- all I have to do to created a janie and cut off some bits rather than mess with the neckline!

I also tried messing around with having at least one side of the elastic come on and off with hooks or a clasp. I didn’t find this necessary with my figure- I can slip it all on and off just fine. However, if you have a large bust, that might be more difficult or cause too much stretching. Here’s my ugly job of sewing on hooks and eyes:

I wear these under my maternity shirts that have a lower neckline. I think they would also look nice with a sweater or cardigan (my congregants are so old they tend to crank the heat… so sweaters under albs are out of the question!)

Good luck!