Tag Archives: love

Remember Love

On Sunday afternoon, Zoe and I stopped at a pop up boutique in our town. Before we were even out of the car, she spotted something she just had to have. Once she’d brought it home and showed it off to her dad, she seemed to forget about it.

On Wednesday morning, I remembered. I went downstairs and I took the something out of its bag and I put it on her dresser:


Right now, there are many people in our country who do not feel safe. Who are hurting and worried and heartbroken and afraid. If that is where you are: I see you. I’m with you. I love you. If that is not where you are: please know that it’s where your neighbors are. And know that I love you, too.

Here is what I know in my bones: Continue reading


Filed under Lord in Your Mercy

Fluffy on the Side: a Love Story

chickie baby

Zoe and Chickie (and Mama), Mother’s Day 2009.

When Zoe was about six months old, I met my friend E for dinner in Saint Paul. We had a lovely meal (we got to eat our food when it was hot and finish whole sentences and everything). Then we went to Half Price books to do some browsing. It was a lovely, grown up evening out.

I don’t remember whether I bought myself anything at Half Price Books. (Pro Tip: I had a six month old baby, so probably not.) But I do remember shopping for Zoe. I came home with a few board books and a few cloth books. One of them was shaped like a chick. I thought it was cute, and Zoe did, too.

Six and a half years later, Chickie is still around. She’s been through the wash; she’s fallen in the toilet; she’s traveled internationally; she’s transitioned from male to female; she’s been lost (and found) in our house and at church and at Grandma’s and out in the world; she’s been with Zoe through good times and bad; she’s soothed Zoe’s physical bumps and bruises and her emotional ones, too.

And after all that, our Chickie is just a bit worse for wear:

Continue reading


Filed under Your Moment of Zoe

Big Words

Check out the books Zoe chose for bedtime last night:


First, let’s take a moment to appreciate the variety:

1. A wonderfully weird William Steig. In which a pig meets a talking bone. Why? I don’t know. As the bone says, “I didn’t make the world.”

2. A beautiful and interactive book about mixing colors. From the author of Press Here. Just delightful.

3. A lovely biography of Martin Luther King, Junior. Truly, the pictures are gorgeous and the text is, too. A great introduction to the Civil Rights movement for young readers.  Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Book Report, Lord in Your Mercy

Equipped by Love

“Who taught you how to drive?”

This was a question at the beginning of Bishop Jon’s sermon at synod assembly last week. It was meant to get us thinking about the people who have equipped us in our lives and our lives of faith (and don’t worry, Bishop Jon, it did that, too), but first it took me back in time.

I am fifteen, making hesitant circles in the synagogue parking lot near our house. And the surprisingly calm presence in the passenger seat is my dad.

Continue reading


Filed under All in the Family, Thankful Hearts

Let It Ring

It’s not that I think I have anything new or amazing to say. No deep insights, no magic words.

In the face of senseless violence and devastating hate, what is there to say?

But we’ve got to say something. As powerless and helpless and angry and sad as we feel, we’ve got to say something, even if it’s just this prayer:

To my brothers and sisters who are lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and queer: You are loved. You are beautiful and precious children of God, made in God’s own image. Your country and your church have let you down and shoved you down too many times. We have failed you.

We have a gun problem in this country. We have a hate problem and a fear problem. I don’t know how to fix them. Sometimes I don’t know how or what to pray. Continue reading


Filed under Lord in Your Mercy, Ministry Matters

Double Digit Love


When I turned ten, my mother took me out for a Ladies’ Lunch. It was Very Special and Very Fancy. (Pro Tip: Capitalization Makes It So.) It may also have been at the mall, but give me a break: I was only ten.

The big deal about ten, of course, was simply this: Double Digits.

Today, Mike and I have reached the Double Digits of being married. I am thrilled to celebrate this milestone, while also a little stunned that we are already here. In honor of this Double Digit anniversary, we are enjoying two nights at the Konsbruck Hotel in nearby St. Peter. We are small town folks with small kids (and a small budget), so this feels Very Special and Very Fancy to us.

I don’t know if I can better express my love and appreciation for Mike than I did in this Very Romantic post about puke. And I’m sure I don’t have better advice for a happy marriage than Jane’s mom’s mom.

But, as a bishop once said at a forum I attended in seminary, “Everything has been said but not everyone has said it.” (Pro Tip: That was one self-aware bishop. Although, he did go on to say more or less what others had already said.)

In that spirit, here are ten things I’ve gained in my ten years of being married: Continue reading


Filed under All in the Family, Thankful Hearts

Four More Years!

I’m trying to figure out how to tell this story to you.

It’s not the story of who’s right and who’s wrong, of who has the moral high ground, of dueling yard signs and overlapping bumper stickers.

It’s the story of how a lifelong Democrat and a lifelong Republican fell in love and got married.

It’s the story of a crisp fall evening, October 2004.  Of learning, over a couple of really tasty malts, that the man you are having a really great second date with is planning on voting for The Other Guy.

And you are surprised.  You are stunned, really, because you just don’t hang around with anybody who is planning to do that.  And you think, maybe no more dates with this one.

But then you have a third date, and a fourth, and a fifth, and eventually you stop counting.

And here is what you learn:

1. When you actually engage in dialogue with someone who votes for The Other Guys, you are forced to examine your own beliefs, opinions, and understanding.

2. Just because someone votes for The Other Guys doesn’t mean you have no common ground.  If you are both Lutherans, and both nerds, you probably have quite a bit.

3. If your relationship can survive the 2004 election season, it can probably make it through 2008, 2012, and beyond.

Eight years and counting.  Here’s to the next four (and more)!

At a “Presidential Losers” themed election night party in 2008.


Filed under Learning Opportunities

5 Things I Didn’t Expect My Three-Year-Old to Do

1. Order her own food at restaurants.  This mostly amounts to her declaring, “I want chicken and fries!” wherever we go (unless it’s an ice cream shop, in which case she declares, “I want chocolate!”).  But she’s also able to troubleshoot, substituting grilled cheese or fruit as needed.  Just don’t believe it when she says she wants a cheeseburger (unless you’re at McDonald’s, home of the “real” cheeseburger).

2. Watch German opera. She has favorite parts of The Ring Cycle.  She asks questions like, “Where’s Wotan?”  She has a better attention span for this stuff than do.  (Pro Tip: This is not actually saying much.)

3. Drive a pontoon boat.  She did this twice on our Cumings family trip to Bay Lake.  This is probably twice as many times as I have driven a boat of any kind.

4. Wear diapers.  I promised myself I would not blog about my child’s potty training experiences, so I won’t say more than that.  But really, the list can’t be all bragging, can it?

5. Fill my heart with love and pride all the dang time.  Parents do mention this about having children.  It turns out they are totally not exaggerating.  (Pro Tip: When I say all the dang time, I don’t entirely mean it–the times she’s having a tantrum in line at the grocery store or in the middle of a worship service, insisting on being carried along with the groceries, or refusing to get in her car seat?  The love and pride levels are slightly lower at those times.)

What surprises have you found in your vocation (as parent, child, sibling, spouse, or whatever your job may be)?

1 Comment

Filed under Never Had I Ever, Your Moment of Zoe

Why I Love Being a Pastor in This Place

On Monday afternoon, I preached and presided at her brother-in-law’s funeral.

On Wednesday night, I put my foot in her lap so she could determine whether a visit to the doctor was in order.

(Pro Tip: When Muriel–nurse, farm wife, mother of eight, grandmother of many–tells you to go to the doctor, you sure as shooting go.)

How wonderful to be part of this community, where care is given and received.    Where we need each other, and we know it.

And where, while we’re on the subject, the pie is delicious, the pickles are fabulous, and the strawberry blueberry rhubarb jam cannot be beat.

What makes your community special?

[Display of home-canned food] (LOC)


Filed under Ministry Matters

Birthday Baby

Zoe Marilyn Cumings, age three (and two and one and none).

Happy Birthday to my beautiful, brilliant, boisterous, bouncing baby girl!

(Pro Tip: The cakes go from non-existent to gigantic, so clearly we’re doing something right.)


Filed under Your Moment of Zoe