Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Summons

I really connected with this hymn during worship today.
Especially the lines in red.

Will You Come and Follow Me
(The Summons)
ELW #798, Commitment, Discipleship

Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don't know and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown, will you let my name be known?
Will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?

Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same?

Will you risk the hostile stare, should your life attract or scare?

Will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me?

Will you love the you you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you've found to reshape the world around,
Through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?

Lord, your summons echoes true when you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.

In your company I'll go where your love and footsteps show,
Thus I'll move and live and grow in you and you in me.

Friday, January 29, 2010


1/29/10 3:00 pm MST

Bradley John is hot, exhausted, and thankful to be making a difference! Continued prayers for our troops and for all Haitians!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Soulful Match

I have my new glass eye!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010
9:00 am: I arrive at Denver Optic to continue the process we began on December 23, 2009. Walter Johnson is my eye guy here in Denver, and hand-crafted my brand new glass eye. While he was busy creating an important part of my appearance, I took the much needed quiet time to read "Bake and Be Blessed" by Father Dominic so I'd be ready for our Lenten study on bread baking.

Walter would study my real eye, then disappear to paint for a while. (I wasn't allowed to be in the painting room, as there are dangerous fumes. Trust me, I tried.) He'd reappear, look me in the eye once again, and then head off to PaintLand, adding more details. Unreal how fast it went from a simple white orb to a piece of art.

I love the fact that I could update my pals on Facebook throughout the entire process - they provided a great source of community and morale boosting at just the right times!

When Walter wasn't heading in and out of the painting room, we would be heading in and out of the patient room. Back and forth, back and forth - Walter needed to view my real eye in natural light. He was observing what my pupil would do when we would switch from florescent light to natural light. He'd shine a flashlight in my real eye so he could gauge how big to make the pupil on my new eye.

Near the end of the morning, we added a clear contact lens to the top of the new eye, so we could see what the pupil would look like with some depth. I also got my first look at my new iris - I was blown away by the detail and color. (For a while now, my real eye has been green/blue and my glass eye has been cloudy blue. The glass eye has also faded in color and clarity, so seeing this new, sharp, crisp eye was amazing!)

It always amuses me to see the red veins added to my glass eye - it involves randomly placing little red threads to match my real eye. It's just thread! Crazy!

12:00 pm: I'm sent away for a bit so the eye can 'cure' (guess my book was right on about being baked and then blessed!)

2:00 pm: I return to Denver Optic, ready to see my new eye in its final stages. Walter places it in my eye, and I head to the mirror for the first look. I'm not sure I can really describe what that moment is like - the anticipation level is high, my hopes are absolutely soaring. This isn't like changing one's hair or glasses - the eyes are the SOUL of who a person is. Much more than matching the hue of the iris, my new eye needed to match my soul.

We place the new eye in for a few seconds, only to discover two things: (1) deep inside the new eye, many, many layers down, the black of the pupil has blurred into the iris, and (2) the golden color on the iris was too sharp, almost cat-like. Not good. :(

This required Walter to remove the top layers, un-blur the pupil, and soften the golden color. This also meant he had to keep my new eye overnight. Ugh. My heart just sank. Transitioning to a new eye is hard enough, even when things go perfectly well. Having this random anomaly happen just when I'm supposed to be starting to love my new eye was so disappointing.

6:30 pm: I head to church for our Wednesday Worship in a rather foul mood. God must have a sense of humor, however, for our first song of the night was "Open Your Eyes" followed by the words in the Psalm, "...lift thine eyes..." - funny guy! Lots of great Bethany people there to cheer me up, and Ruth Ann invited me to stay and help assemble food packs, which put me right into action. The physical work and great conversations helped me re-focus (ha ha) on what was important (helping out the local food pantry).

Thursday, January 28, 2010
12:00 pm: I return to Denver Optic once again, praying the new eye has done what it needed to do, and is ready to become part of me. Walter comes to the room with my new eye, and I head to the mirror once again. Having only spent about a minute with my new eye, this was yet again the first new look. It was AWESOME! The golden part of the iris was clear, but not bionic. The pupil was crisp and right where it was supposed to be. I, of course, immediately start crying. I was smiling from ear to ear, though, so Walter wasn't too alarmed!

Called my parents, showed my Bethany family my new addition, and sang songs of praise in the Sanctuary. Thankful God created such unique people who can make the life of someone born with one eye as normal as it gets. Thankful to my parents for connecting me to such people and for being so supportive. Thankful for the patience and trust one needs to get through such an adventure. Thankful to friends who care enough to ask questions and cheer me along. Thankful to God for all of the above...and then some! All is well with my soul!

My new eye and I are still adjusting to one another. I can feel every move my tiny real eye behind the glass eye makes. It's such an odd feeling that I have trouble describing it to people with two natural eyes. It's kind of like wearing your left shoe on your right foot. You can still walk, but it's uncomfortable and you feel this constant urge to fix it. As time goes by, it will begin to feel more and more like a part of my face.

It looks simply fantastic, I must say. All reservations I had about having a new person make my eye have disappeared. The colors are sharp, the pupils are lined up, and the fit looks just great. Amen!

Check it out:

Still being crafted. Looking good...

Love the shape. And the veins.

Clear and Cloudy
I didn't really notice the size difference until now!

This really helps you see the shape and definition of the shell and the depth of the pupil (OLD). Guess all those trips to the hallway and the flashlight in the eyes were necessary!

You can see those veins close-up. Do you see the little red dot? That dot is EXTREMELY important for the first few days: when a new eye is inserted, it feels just WRONG. So, the artist puts a dot on the UP side of the shell. North, if you will! That way, if it turns around in my socket, I can re-position it so it's facing the right way!

One of a kind piece of art.

This really shows the color and pupil detail of both eyes -talk about an upgrade! Glass eyes fade over time - one typically wears a shell for 5 - 7 years, and I was able to eek out a full 10 years!

(Yes, there's a freckle underneath my glass eye,
Photobooth takes the image backwards on the computer.)

(Yes, there's a freckle underneath my glass eye,
Photobooth takes the image backwards on the computer.)

Relieved, emotionally-spent, overjoyed,
thankful, soul-matched, two-eyed Brenda!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pie and the Sky

...and what an AMAZING sky it was.  
Thanks for shining on down on Castle Rock, God!

Today is National Pie Day!  Booya!  
Hows about some Key Lime!?  
Real Key West Lime Juice, you know.

1.  Consume Immediately.  Duh.
2.  "...return to fridge for up to 3 days?"  
Who could wait 3 days to eat pie!?


Boy, they weren't kidding about that thawing stuff!  Sheesh - my fork went in...and won't be coming back out for 60-70 minutes.  Poor fork.  Poor hungry Brenda.  

Just one more of this shining glory!  Wow!

Making a Difference

Haven't heard anything directly from Bradley John.

However, the Facebook page for his combat team, the White Falcons, (what did we do before Facebook and blogging) posted this news this past Thursday, January 20th:

  The White Falcons arrived in Haiti and are beginning missions to help the people living in Port au Prince.  We have distributed food, water, and medical supplies, helped move doctors and search and rescue teams.  We're getting settled in and used to the warm weather.  People here have welcomed our assistance and White Falcons are making a difference.  

Couldn't help but notice the Bible verse of the day:
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be 
called children of God."  - Jesus (Matthew 5:9)

Keeping all those peacemakers 
over in Haiti in my prayers!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Not Me!

What kind of teacher would allow
these kind of things to happen
in her classroom? Not me!

I'd never let my kiddos play with the
melody disks while I wasn't looking. Not me!

I certainly wouldn't be found on the playground during my lunch break, playing with the little people instead of preparing my classroom for my afternoon classes. Not me!

I would never allow my 6th graders to hide my classroom supplies, much less let them leave me a ransom note upon exiting my classroom. Not me!

And I certainly wouldn't turn off all the lights and gather the kids in a corner to see the super cool glow-in-the-dark bracelet a 2nd grader gave me instead of teaching our lesson. Not me!

You can be assured I would never let a 1st grader grab my camera and take a million pictures all by himself instead of playing the instruments like the rest of his class. Not me!

I wouldn't be the teacher who doesn't notice when a child grabs a marker and decides to leave me a "thumbs-down" note on my easel. Not me!

And I am certainly not the teacher who allows her 5th graders to parade around the classroom with a tamborine-crowned, inflatable astronaut with a scarf. Not me!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

100% Saint, 100% Sinner

Check out the t-shirt text! 100% Saint, 100% Sinner!
Me, Pr Ruth Ann, Paula, Pr Ron, St. Francis, Naboo, Caitlin

All the Middle School Kids and their sponsors that attended the Youth Gathering in Colorado Springs - talk about Faith Formation in action!

Our Church Council retreat was a fantastic way to connect with each other and determine the future steps for our congregation. Equipped, empowered, unleashed!

Our fearless leaders, Pastors Ruth Ann and Ron

Caring Conversations

It also happened to be the 4th anniversary of
Pr Ron's arrival at BLC. Cupcakes for all!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My First Field Trip

My first field trip! Mind you, we only traveled a whopping 6.09 miles - yet it was still my first trip on a bus with kids...with me in charge! HA!

Thirty-five singing Flagstonians attended the Feeder Area Workshop, where we celebrated singing with kids at other grade levels. Anything to foster the love of singing throughout the years!

Phil, the middle school director, pumping up the kids!

4 elementary schools, 1 middle school, 1 high school.
Auditorium full of singing kids!

The high schoolers ROCKED! Here they are,
warming up the kids with Do-Re-Me-Fa-Sol-La-Ti-Do!

Paula, the high school director, leading the rehearsal!

(Note: fun photos removed from original post...)

Let's see...singing boys? Check.
Cool attitudes? Check.
(and did I mention, he's another former Flagstonian, too?!)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Similar Tail

Back in March of last year, I posted an entry entitled "Fingers and Fish" that was eerily similar to the following tail!
(Get it?

ALIVE! For a moment there, I thought that my little Red fish had learned to swim upside down! Then, sadly, I realized the little guy was no longer moving. Very sad. But wait! Just as I was ready to flush him to the holy here-after, he takes a flying LEAP out of the bowl I'm dumping! I catch him, place him back in the water he just leapt from, cleaned his bowl, and asked him why he pulled such a stunt. I then apologized for making him swim in a murky, disgusting bowl. He's since stopped swimming upside down, and hasn't flown now for an entire week.
Ow, ow, ow, ow....Took a flying leap of my own off the altar the other Sunday, and landed rather hard on who knows what. This lovely triangular cut would NOT stop bleeding, which was a rather inconvenient problem seeing as how I was leading the liturgy that day in church which involved raising my hands up and down to invite the congregation to sing! My hand would NOT stop shaking, either! Pretty sure there should have been some stitches involved...

BRENDA: Noble Spirit
The meaning of my name - thanks, Van!

Love my early-morning deck views.

Mum and the Men. $10 to the person who can accurately count the number of Snowmen in her home! (I think there are even more Snowmen than Pumpkins...)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Walking Wet

Reminders of our Baptism...everywhere!  
Sunday's services provided tangible proof that we are 
indeed beloved sons and daughters of God!

Remember sweet baby Charlotte from 
Christmas Eve? Love this girl!

All babies who were baptized over the last year gathered for a luncheon in the Fellowship Hall after the last service.  A room full of little people whose families have promised to guide them in their faith journey.  Amazing!

Babies?  Did someone say babies?  
You knew it was only a matter of time before 
I'd be on the floor, playing with the kids!

Building blocks, anyone?  Love it. 
"Washed in the waters of Baptism...."  You are NEVER too old to hang something on the fridge, and here is the latest:  official completion of Disciple 1, the year-long Bible Study I so enjoyed last year!  (Monday, January 11th, actually marked Day #1 of Disciple 2 - more about this later!)   

My favorite part?  "Using your Spiritual Gift, this call is extended to Brenda Greenwald, through your baptism and in honor of all your past, present ad future contributions to Bethany Lutheran Church, the Body of Christ, and the whole world."  The whole world!  Wow!
Baptism at the 10:30 service - a wonderful family who came to know God through a fellow Disciple-friend, Barbara.  We're all smiling at this glowing reminder of faith!  Click here to listen to Pastor Ron's reminder to us all that "Walking Wet" is what it's all about!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Water of My Soul

We celebrate the Baptism of Our Lord tomorrow (January 10), so LOTS of great water imagery this week. We're introducing a new setting of the liturgy (hooray!) and I wrote new text for the Offering (can't wait!)

The Bible Verse of the day was "Peace! Be still!" (Mark 4:39), which I'm sure all of you know, is a challenge for this girl! I find it a tad bit ironic and amusing that the tune of the song I've been singing all day was "Be Still" - I must have known to channel this thought! (I do want it on the record that after a great Youth Leader Meeting and some practice time in the Sanctuary at church, I did come home and take a 4 hours nap this afternoon. Yes, 4 hours in a row. That's unheard of in the land of Brenda. Peace. Be still.)

I'm sure I'll have lots to post after the services - until then:

Water of My Soul
Text: Brenda L. Greenwald

Tune: Be Still, My Soul (Sibelius)

My soul cries out, redemption from the Father.

And called by name, we're His now, do not fear!

Never alone, when passing through the waters,

Nor burned by fire, our God is always near.

My soul redeemed, all precious in His sight,

Beloved sons and daughters, have no fright.

My soul reveals salvation's very need,

The water washes my old life away.

Evil be gone, a warning we must heed,

Faithful in service, keep us, this we pray.

A miracle, You claim us, heirs of promise,
Renew our lives, forgiving love and grace.

My soul is filled with waters of the Spirit,
Children of God, We're gifted with new life!

Forever joined to Christ, by water, we're knit,
Pour out your Holy Spirit, move through strife.

The Holy Spirit, came down like a dove,

A voice from Heaven, My Son, you are Beloved!

Baptism of Our Lord
  • Isaiah 43: 1 - 7
  • Luke 3: 15-17, 21-22
  • Working Preacher
  • Prayer of the Day: Almighty God, you anointed Jesus at his baptism with the Holy Spirit and revealed him as your beloved Son. Keep all who are born of water and the Spirit faithful in your service, that we may rejoice to be called children of God, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

'Tis the Season

And you thought the holidays were behind us! Here are some pics from our annual Choir Concert at Flagstone. Technically, Choir is supposed to involve kids in grades 3 and 4. Well, the 5th graders wanted to sing, too. So, of course, I let them join the fun. Then the 6th graders wanted in on the action, so they joined the Choir, too. (How was I going to tell a kiddo that they couldn't sing in choir anymore!? I couldn't have done that!) SO, that made the total number of kids in our Fall Choir rather large: 143 singing Flagstonians! WOOHOO!

Huge shout-out to Lisa Williams, who (once again!), took on the responsibility of feeding the kids. She volunteered to take the money we had collected and purchase enough Capri Suns and Popsicles for all the kids, and picked up the 40+ pizzas from Little Caesars the evening of the concert. From 5:45 pm - 6:15 pm, she helped hand out slice after slice, popsicle after popsicle. This gave me some oh-so-precious time away to finish up those last minute details, catch my breath (I had taught 8 classes that day), and actually change into a respectable outfit! Can't TELL you how much I appreciated all her hard work for our kids! Thank you, Lisa!

(Note: many fun photos removed from original post...)

Holy cow, we're a big choir! They are looking out on an absolute MOB of people in the Gym. It was standing room only by about 6:15 that evening, which folks actually did! I'd be concerned about breaking fire code...except our Fireman Dads actually parked their fire truck at the school to watch their singing kids! LOVE the support of this community!

Great job, Flagstonians!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Blurple Surprise

An Epiphany House Blessing - yes, I actually
wrote on my home. An awesome way to follow the star!

The 6th graders insisted on using the primary music manipulatives yesterday. Here are their rhythmic creations, dotted notes and all! I forget how fun it really is to play with multi-colored disks and simple popsicle sticks!

And of course, 6th graders being 6th graders, they were more than happy to create this lovely Turkey when I wasn't looking. Excellent use of color and form. Kudos for including the wattle.

AND, my little goobers left THIS lovely surprise on my Blurple Chair, the blue + purple chair I sit on each day to begin our lesson time. I left the chair for two seconds to retrieve my lesson book...TWO SECONDS! Oh, they just laughed and laughed. Mind you, the shriek I let loose WAS chuckle-worthy, but then again, just about anything will set off a third grader!