Try Something New

Hello to You!

The month of May will be here in just a couple of days…can you believe it!? And, as we are still living through the Coronavirus and all of the changes, let me propose an idea….

This is the golden hour for us to Try Something New! Not only will it allow you to be a little brave, trying something for the first time puts us outside of our comfort zone for a fuller life. Don’t you want to live a little (more)??? I sure do. And sometimes, when we taste that unfamiliar food or put ourselves out there a bit, we become braver, more open-minded, fascinating people. (Okay, you’re already fascinating, adored and super awesome, but now you’ll be able to see how awesome you are a little bit more. God already sees it, now we can see it a little, too, in ourselves).

Ideas for Trying Something New:

  1. Visit a suburb in your city that you’ve never been to before, or somewhere you haven’t explored much. (stay in the car or walk around–practice physical distancing)
  2. Learn ten phrases in a new language–what about Japanese, Arabic, Italian, Portuguese or Mandarin?
  3. Listen to a genre of music you haven’t tried before–perhaps Jazz, Punk, Delta Blues, KC Blues, etc.?
  4. Have a picnic in your local park complete with a packed lunch and your animal friends.
  5. Start a daily journal to write your thoughts in.
  6. Try a new cuisine–what about French, Lebanese or Korean? Make a dish at home or order from a local restaurant.
  7. Visit your local *digital* library and borrow some books for the week.
  8. Plant some flowers in your garden. If you don’t have one, try an indoor potted plant.
  9. Visit a local museum or art gallery *online* and view their latest exhibitions.
  10. Learn a new skill–what about kickboxing, sewing, gardening, juggling, yoga, or cooking? You’ll be surprised what you can learn in an afternoon.
  11. Say hello to a neighbor you don’t usually talk to. (Wave from 6 feet away; leave flowers or a baked good on their front doorstep.)
  12. Make a card for a friend and send it to them with a handwritten note.
  13. Learn how to cook a new dish for dinner. We all get tired of eating the same thing, why not try making something new?
  14. Re-read an old favorite book. Don’t leave it gathering dust on your book shelf; get it out and read it all over again.
  15. Research the culture of a different country online–what about India, Guatemala, Turkmenistan, Laos, or Sweden?
  16. Go for a walk or bicycle ride around your neighborhood.
  17. Watch a classic film like Casablanca, The Godfather or The Wizard of Oz.
  18. Make a photo album of a recent holiday you took. Don’t let your memories get lost on your computer hard drive; make a special keepsake album of your trip.
  19. Visit your local farmers markets and pick out some fresh produce–drive thru options available all over the city. Farmers markets are full of delicious fresh fruit, veggies and more. Find your local market and take a visit.
  20. Plan a day trip to somewhere outside your city–it might be the seaside, mountains or another city!
  21. Check out what community events are running in your area and attend one online.
  22. Make a birthday present for a friend. Handmade gifts are personal and much more special than anything you could buy from a store.
  23. Attend a play at your local theater online. Support your local theater and have a fun night in at the same time. (Set up a TV or projector outside for an “under the stars” experience.)
  24. Volunteer with your local nature conservation society to plant some trees. Conservation societies are always looking for helping hands; do your bit and plant some trees.
  25. Be a tourist in your own city and visit all the popular tourist sites you’ve likely never been to (don’t forget your camera!). Our city has so many interesting buildings and architecture.
  26. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to recently and have a good long chat.
  27. Put on your favorite song and dance your heart out. You might be surprised at how much fun you have! Yes!!
  28. Invite some friends to an online BBQ. There’s nothing better than an afternoon spent with good friends and good food, sitting around at your homes.
  29. Try out a new form of exercise like Pilates, HIIT, and strength training.
  30. Organize an online hangout with your friends (Zoom, Face Time, Google Hangouts, etc.). Play a game, simply chat and check-in, whatever you like!

And, because I never encourage others to do something I won’t do myself, here’s a little song. I’ve written songs before, but I’ve never written a song about an event that’s still going on and played it live in Worship. Yesterday, I made matzoh brei for the first time (soo good with cinnamon apples!). The possibilities for trying new things are endless! Let’s do this. = )

very rough recording, ha

Where is the Joy?

Bruises from wearing the mask on her face
Wondering what day it is–does it really matter?
She needs a cure
For the sick with ventilators on their face–

Facing a Monday of playing at teacher
While trying to work at the kitchen table
Tripping on toys
He’s so tired and scared of furlough

God, where is joy?
Where is the joy?

Truckers on highways taking rice to New Jersey
Smiling faces behind plexiglass, scanning my groceries
We’re all weary these days
We cling to “The joy of the Lord is my strength”

Dust-covered dining rooms, longing for Sunday
Empty Cathedrals and schools, so lonely
There’s a lack of hugs
Am I essential? Is my pain?

God, where is joy?
Where is the joy?
We are joy.

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, joy…

-Rev. Laurel Cluthe

Tonight: 6:30pm Happy Hour on Zoom for adults; 7:00 pm Youth Group on Zoom with Laurel (text for the link)

Happy Week!!


I Have No Words.

We have begun our second month of self-isolation and quarantine. People all over the world have experienced so many life-draining emotions: fear, anxiety, stress, confusion, frustration, exhaustion, weariness, sadness, grief. The same people have also experiences life-giving emotions, too: unity, hope, creativity, kindness, awareness, generosity, love, comfort, care, solidarity.

With such a range of thoughts and feelings, we might be at a loss of words to express where we are coming from. Thankfully, Jesus paved a path for us when words do not come and our minds are swirling. Those words are in the form of a prayer.

Below are two videos on prayer, one from a storybook Bible and the second is a beautifully illustrated interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer. Beloved ones, when words fail or do not come, let us pray. Amen. ~Laurel

The first Last Supper

Maundy Thursday, bon appetit!

10 Holy Week Activities To Make Easter More Joyful | Prayer ...

Today is Maundy Thursday, the middle of Holy Week. On this day, we remember Jesus’ time with his disciples in the Upper Room. He washed their very dirty feet (symbol as the lowliest servant), then invited them to a Passover meal around the table. There, he introduced our first Last Supper (Communion). Wow, what an evening! Join us on Facebook tonight at 6:30 for a live Maundy Thursday Worship.

In the meantime, hope you enjoy this video on Maundy Thursday and the first Last Supper:

Be sure and take care of yourselves and each other. God’s here, and you are most certainly loved.


Bible Bingo has Begun

Well, we’re surviving another week of Staying at Home and (hopefully) remaining healthy.

If you’re running out of things for the kids to do or just feeling ‘meh’ about it all, hope the following can provide some fun to your day…

Bible BINGO - Christian Preschool Printables
Email me (Laurel . cluthe @holmeswood .org) to receive a few Bingo cards!

Let’s Play Bingo!

How this works:

  1. Grab a bingo card or two (Some have been mailed out, or email Laurel . cluthe @ holmeswood .org for the PDF). ALL are invited to play.
  2. Watch the Bible story videos & mark off the ones you/your family has watched.
  3. Get 5 marked squares in a row, and a prize will be delivered to your home! (Email or text Laurel when you’ve won.) One prize per household; game ends April 30.

The first two videos are up on our Bible Bingo page (quick link above in menu bar), so let’s get started!

What Is God Like?

Happy Monday! 🎉

Join me for a fun story about God in the city. 📚 📖 📚

Keep learning, keep asking questions, and let’s share the fruit of God’s Spirit with others! ❤️

Stay connected with Holmeswood by checking your emails (sign up here) and our church Facebook page: 👩‍💻 👨‍💻

Let’s have a great day!

~Laurel 😀Image result for what is god like

P.S. Adults & Kids: What do you think of this book? Where have you seen God today in your home? Reply in the Comments section (Facebook or on the Blog)

Church is Going Online!

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Image result for god is here verse

Hello, Friends!
A lot has happened since our blog last week. WHEW! Are you taking deep breaths? Are you sitting still when you can? These are strange times, and it’s okay to name it. This is also a season when we can reconnect with God, ourselves and each other in really meaningful, fun ways.

Guess what? God. Is. Here. And here are some ways to deepen time with God:

  • God wants to hear your thoughts and feelings. Share those with God through prayer, journaling, drawing or even while walking around your neighborhood.
  • When you’re feeling cabin fever or stressed out, take a few deep breaths. Count to 5 as you inhale, and count to 5 as you exhale. I have a little relaxing corner in my home where I can read, journal, workout or just meditate in silence. It’s okay to “just be still” because sometimes our best ideas and energy comes from that time. Allow yourself to breathe deeply and often.
    • Try a Breath Prayer: {Inhale a deep breath and whisper} “God of Love” then {exhale and whisper} “help me relax.” Can you get more real than that prayer? Try this breath prayer 5-10 times, or until you are feeling more present. Change up the words; 3-4 syllables for each part works well.
  • Take care of your Temple. God made our bodies…what a gift! And our bodies crave comfort when life has changes and uncertainties. Instead of grabbing a comfort cupcake or bag of calm-down chips, consider swapping those for sliced apples with cinnamon or celery and hummus. I promise you’ll start to feel better and have more energy. And gulp down more water. (I’m working on this with you!)
    • And with so many places closed and get-togethers cancelled, consider having a Cooking Party! Call up or Facetime a friend and swap recipes or meal ideas. Gather your family around the kitchen, and give everyone a job. Joke about messy moments in the kitchen, and enjoy deep belly laughs. Make a casserole dish (or a simple sandwich) while chatting and have a great time together “in the kitchen.”

Miss sitting in Worship?

Oh, how I miss seeing your smiling faces…so please do me a favor and send me a photo of yourself. Email, text or post a photo of yourself/family on Facebook, and I’ll print them out and paste them in the sanctuary pews for Sunday. Haha, this could be fun! (And it helps your pastors not speak to a totally empty room!)

And be sure to check you email and visit our church Facebook page often! We have lots of exciting videos and activities coming your way. If you don’t receive emails from church, let me know.

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I know times are strange right now, but we are going to get through it together! It’s all going to be okay–just stay safe, make wise choices and take care of each other through social media, phone calls and even letters. Yeah!

If you’d like to send a card or note to someone at church who lives alone, let me know! I’ll assign a pen pal to you. = ) God loves you, we love you and we are going to be alright. ~Laurel

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