March 22, 2015 Blood Donation Drive In Memory of Ron Smelser

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Ron Smelser understood the importance of donating blood.  Blood donors saved his life over and over during his struggle with cancer.  His wife Judy is on a mission to help others the way generous strangers helped Ron.

Good luck Judy!  I’ll see you on March 22nd!

2014-11-9 Sermon by Tezenlo Thong, “Awaiting the Fullness of the Kingdom of God”

“Awaiting the Fullness of the Kingdom of God”

(Matthew 25:1-13)

Tezenlo Thong

As we near the Season of Advent, you will realize that the lectionary texts are leading us to what is called parousia, an eschatological event the Christians have always believed will happen soon. The parable for this Sunday talks about waiting for an important event, an event that no one knows when it might occur. The waiters are therefore kept in suspense. We all know what it is like to be in a state of constant suspense, waiting for something to happen any moment.

What is important is that our Christian life is not a passive waiting. We are to wait in active readiness. Some early Christians thought that Jesus would return in their lifetime and decided to wait passively. They became disengaged and disinterested in “earthly” matters. They became fixated on the “hereafter” and lost relevance in the “here-and-now”.

We are not called to wait passively as the world suffers, as God’s children go hungry or as oppression and injustice grow. We are to wait actively. That is why the Season of Advent is a busy time for the Church. We give, and we serve more than we normally do. This Advent, God will come. God will come moment by moment. Sometimes we are foolish, and we miss the coming; sometimes we are wise, and we see him/her in the face of someone in need – “Whatever you do unto the least of these, you do unto me.” Let us wait actively for the coming of God!

 

 

 

Recipe Apology

I just realized I don’t put measurements in my recipes.

I apologize for that.  I figured out the reason why my recipes are so vague.

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My dad never used recipes and he would just go by intuition.  I can see him now tasting a concoction and adding a little of this or a lot of that to make it perfect.

My mom always used recipes.  She swore that she followed those recipes exactly. But I remember it differently. For example, when she made bread she would have the recipe in front of her.  She would carefully measure out the ingredients.  She would then add more liquid or more flour and I’d ask her how she knew to do that and she would just tilt her head in that Doris fashion and smile but never give me a real answer.

Doris would also, after following any recipe carefully, taste it and add this or that.  Then she’d rewrite the recipe with her “corrections”.

I just realized tonite that Sam and Doris gave me their cooking style, a real gift, but making it impossible for me to follow a recipe….

I have a terrible habit of reading cookbooks like other people read novels. I seriously have at least 100 cookbooks.  My husband had a rule he was trying one summer with the kids about reading as a family for a little while each day.  I would read cookbooks, my step-kids found this hilarious but also curious and asked me more than once, “Are you going to cook anything out of that book?”  It seemed like I never did.

I realized tonight that I often did cook something out of those books but I did it the Sam and Doris way, by taking a recipe and making it mine.  Before even cooking a dish once I had already made changes!

No measurements necessary make that recipe yours!

 

Keiro-no-Hi at Simpson UMC

Respect of the Aged Day, or Keiro-no-Hi, was established as a national holiday in Japan in 1966 to express respect for the elders in the community, to recognize and thank them for their contributions to society, to celebrate their long lives and offer special gifts to bring even more longevity to their lives.  It was initially held every September 15th but since 2003 it has been held on the 3rd Monday of every September.

At Simpson United Methodist Church we celebrate Keiro-no-Hi in the fall.  This year it was held on October 26th.  A celebration luncheon was provided for those in the Simpson community that were 80 years of age or older.  The ladies made baked salmon and an asian chicken salad and the congregation contributed special dishes to share.

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The special gift this year was Manju, a Japanese dessert. The outside is made from sweetened rice powder or sweetened pounded rice and inside is a delicious filling of anko red bean paste made from boiled azuki beans and sugar or other similar bean paste.  The children of the congregation and their Sunday School teacher folded many origami boxes and inside was placed a Manju and an individually wrapped green tea bag.

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imageThe congregation of Simpson UMC truly appreciate and respect their elders.  We are especially thankful for their establishing the Simpson community so many years ago.  All look forward to this celebration each year and we are grateful for the opportunity this particular mini festival allows in that all are able to reconnect and bond with each other on this special day.

 

Messages Received from Sermon “Unfinished Journeys” Pastor Tezenlo Thong

“Unfinished Journeys”

Pastor Tezenlo Thong

October 26, 2014

 Messages received from Sermon by Tezenlo Thong:

  • What can your personal ministry do to help another on their journey?
  • What can your personal ministry do to help yourself on your journey?
  • Do journeys need to be finished to be successful?
  • Big dreams and journeys are not always fulfilled in the lifetime of the dreamer.
  • The journey itself is important.
  • What is the finishing line of a journey?
  • The lessons learned and your personal acceptance of the same may be the finished journey.

Thank you to fellow tadpoles!

Part of my journey is thanking the people who supported me during my recent life changing events.

A very important group is my fellow tadpoles, affectionately named by my husband.

Thank you ladies for keeping the group going while I was struggling.

Thank you for being there when I needed you!

Thank you for making me laugh every time we get together (which for non-tadpoles is twice a week for deep water aerobics)!

Thank you for sticking by me and being there to listen to me these last 10 months.

We will persevere and get that synchronized swimming routine down!

We will not be cold this winter and it is okay to leave the building with wet hair!

We will continue to be there for each other!

Thank you again, it is amazing to have such a supportive group that knows my whole life and is just there for me.  What a comfort that I know I get to see you twice a week (unless it is snowing or someone is eating, tee-hee).

Love to you all!  Splish Splash!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Messages received from Sermon “Lost in Transition” Tezenlo Thong

“Lost in Transition”

 Messages received from Sermon by Tezenlo Thong

  • We often seek tangible or visible proof to support of our faith.
  • We are actually undergoing transition from the first day of our lives and our transitions are right before us, we are not lost, we are uncertain.
  • Dealing with transition is dealing with:
    • confusion
    • loss
    • anger
    • uncertainty
  • Our strength in transitions is within ourselves as God is with us every step.
  • Through God’s grace we have right before us and within us the strength to deal with transitions with:
    • clarity and simplicity
    • acceptance
    • happiness
    • confidence

2014-10-12 Sermon Simpson UMC “Lost in Transition” Tezenlo Thong

“Lost in Transition”

Exodus 32:1-14

The journey of Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land was a dramatic period of transition from slavery to freedom. It was also a period of transition from certainty to uncertainty.

Where are we going to get water? Where are we going to get our daily bread?

This was also a period of transition in their faith too: from the worship of Yahweh to a worship of a golden calf. The God who led them out of Egypt was not visible or tangible. On the other hand, the gods of the Canaanites were visible, right there in front of your eyes.

Life is a series of transition from one thing to another, and often times we feel lost when we transition from happiness to sadness. There is anxiety when we transition from fulfillment to loss, from celebration to grief. Fear can overcome us when we transition from abundance to scarcity, from success to failure, or from life to death: what am I going to do? How am I going to live?

When we experience loss or a sense of loss in the transition of life, we are tempted to seek security and certainty in a golden calf, a “god” that is tangible. However, we need to be careful not to latch onto a false security that will disappear within no time only to leave us with a sense of emptiness. Aristotle referred to “God” as the “Unmoved Mover” the primary “mover” or force of all the motion in the universe. What would it be like for the mortals to hold on to the Unmoved Mover and find security?

Tezenlo Thong, Pastor
Simpson United Methodist Church

Exodus 32:1-14
32:1 When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”

32:2 Aaron said to them, “Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.”

32:3 So all the people took off the gold rings from their ears, and brought them to Aaron.

32:4 He took the gold from them, formed it in a mold, and cast an image of a calf; and they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”

32:5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a festival to the LORD.”

32:6 They rose early the next day, and offered burnt offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel.

32:7 The LORD said to Moses, “Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely;

32:8 they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!'”

32:9 The LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are.

32:10 Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation.”

32:11 But Moses implored the LORD his God, and said, “O LORD, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?

32:12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people.

32:13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.'”

32:14 And the LORD changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people.

Noisy Offering – Children of Simpson UMC

The children of Simpson UMC collect the loose offering from the congregation once a month for a special mission.

Here they are receiving buckets from their Sunday School teacher Brenda.  The coins are very loud when tossed into these buckets, the children love it!

The most recent mission was sending money to an orphanage in Japan after the devastating tsunami.

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Shichi-Go-San, Blessing of the Children

Shichi-Go-San “Seven-Five-Three” is a traditional festival day in Japan celebrated to mark the growth of children as they turn three, five and seven years of age.  In Japan this festival occurs annually on November 15 or on the nearest weekend.  Parents take their children to a shrine where they pray for the good health and well-being of their children.

At Simpson UMC Shichi-Go-San was celebrated this year on October 5th.  We also call the day “Blessing of the Children”.  We bless all children of the congregation and other children who wish to attend, we thank God for their presence in our lives and for their health and happiness.

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In Japan the children may wear their traditional dress, kimonos for girls and haori jackets and hakama trousers for boys.

At Simpson the girls wore kimonos and the boys happi jackets.  Ann Henderson presided over a blessing for the children.  Ann truly joined in the spirit of the day and wore a kimono provide by Jane Fujioka.

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