Happy Independence

23 Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be reckoned as righteous[j] by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. 27 As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is no longer Jew or Greek; there is no longer slave or free; there is no longer male and female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.. Galatians 3:23-28

The Fourth of July—also known as Independence Day or July 4th—has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.

On July 4 we celebrate our independence as a nation. We make a point to remember and let others know that we celebrate our freedom. The passage from Galatians reminds us of our freedom in Christ. No longer prisoners to the law, but free in the Spirit, and able to experience and share the freedom of God’s grace.

The apostle Paul reminds us that we are children of God because of Jesus Christ. A child is a word that describes the relationship. We are in a free relationship with Christ. We are heirs to the inheritance of God’s kingdom. We are on the receiving end, not the taking end. This is the good news of the gospel. Eugene Peterson writes: “Receive is a freedom word. Take is not. To receive is to accept what the divine provides for us. To take is to plunder whatever is not nailed down. To receive is to do what children do in the family. To take is to do what pirates do on the high seas … The difference between receiving and taking is deeply interior. It has to do with disposition of spirit, an act of faith, an openness to God. Outwardly similar, even identical, physical actions constitute both taking and receiving … But the similarities are all on the surface; by observing context and continuities we can easily distinguish taking, with all its ambitious assertion and prideful aggrandizement, from receiving, with all its grateful acceptance and humble receptivity.”

Let us celebrate this month our independence as a nation, but more importantly, may we receive the freedom and grace given to us by God. May we use our freedom wisely to promote the well-being of ALL God’s children, and to be good stewards of God’s creation.
Happy Independence,


Happy Birthday to all June Birthdays and Congratulations to all our June Anniversaries!

Happy birthday!! We hope your day is filled with lots of love and laughter! May all of your birthday wishes come true. God Bless!

1      Karen Sabath
5      Karen Cullen
10      Marijo Jackson
11      Leo Tramper-Drape
15      Jerry Salomon
18      Bruce Baker
21     Steven Flowers
26      Veronica Davidson
29      David Nelson

Congratulations & Happy Anniversary to Our June Couples!
Sending anniversary congratulations and best wishes for the years ahead to all those celebrating wedding anniversaries.

5       Branden & Jennie Hendricks
24      Woodrow & Lynn Hendricks
26      David & Carol Nissen
30      Ed & Glenna Allender

Summertime Adventures

When I think back on my childhood, I think of summer adventures and what they taught me about life. Even though I wasn’t in a classroom like I was the other 9+ months of the year, I still had the chance during the summer to learn some lessons about life, whether it was exploration, relationships, geography, creativity, adaptability, plant and animal life or a variety of other important life skills. From building things in a vacant lot with the neighborhood kids, to trips with family, or trips to the beach and the mountains, riding my bike to the Farmer’s Market at 3rd & Fairfax, hanging out at the La Brea tar pits or summer jobs for neighbors doing babysitting/yard work/housework, all of those adventures and activities helped to make lasting memories and shape my character and vision for the world.
One of the more prominent memories were my two childhood trips to Nebraska with my grandmother. My grandparents on my dad’s side (Komsak) were from Nebraska, as was my dad. When my dad was discharged from the Navy after WWII, he was sent to the VA hospital in West LA. When my grandmother (who was a widow at the time) came out to California to see him, she fell in love with Santa Monica/LA and she and my dad relocated to southern California. However, she still had several siblings, nieces and nephews in Nebraska that she enjoyed visiting, and so in the summer of 1969, my brother David and I made our first trip with grandma to Nebraska. That first trip was via train because my grandmother did not like to fly, and a subsequent trip was via Greyhound bus (I enjoyed the train much more!!). That first trip in the summer of 1969 was amazing for us native Angelenos. To have the opportunity to stay on farms and learn where milk, beef, pork, eggs and corn came from was pretty cool for me as a 7 1/2 year old. As you can note in a photo of me riding the horse with my patent leather boots, I was a bit of a city slicker, but my Nebraska cousins were very patient with me.
My brother and I had an amazing education in food – eating vegetables that we picked and learning to milk a cow and “slop a pig.” That summer I gained a new appreciation and love for tomatoes, green beans, rhubarb and corn. We also discovered at my great Aunt Anna’s farm what it was like to not have indoor plumbing! On subsequent trips to Nebraska, I not only had the chance to build bonds with my extended family, but learn about another part of our great nation, and another aspect of life and those who labor to produce our food.
I hope that wherever your summer plans take you, that you will find time to make memories for yourself, your children, your grandchildren or whoever you take on the journey.  Maybe a trip to the beach will give the opportunity to build sandcastles or collect seashells, or a trip to a local farmers market will teach you to eat something new and different. Whatever you do, enjoy each adventure.


Congratulations to Our May Anniversary & Happy Birthday to all May Birthdays!

Happy birthday!! We hope your day is filled with lots of love and laughter! May all of your birthday wishes come true. God Bless!

1      Bonnie Deering
4      Gary Peterson
6      Woodrow Hendricks
18     Shawnee Lopez
19     David Mason
24     John Martinez
25     Vincent Hendricks
29     John Groom

Congratulations & Happy Anniversary to Our May Couples!
Sending anniversary congratulations and best wishes for the years ahead to all those celebrating wedding anniversaries.

2      Stephen & Phyllis Lopez

Grateful for Life’s Heroes

The traditional definition of a “hero” is someone who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. Many of the people listed impact our lives daily and definitely warrant our admiration and appreciation. We are grateful for their service, compassion and care.
During the month of May there are “Appreciation Days” that have been set aside to celebrate, give thanks and recognition to these individuals.
o    National Police Week & Police Officers’ Memorial Day
o    National Nurses Day
o    National Teachers’ Day
o    School Nurses Day
o    Military Spouse’s Day
o    Mother’s Day
o    Armed Forces Day
o    National Waiters and Waitresses Day
o    Memorial Day

If we use this list as a starting point for showing appreciation to these various people that we know and encounter, then we are on our way to being more appreciative. An “attitude of gratitude” can brighten the day for those we thank, and it changes our outlook on life as well. Make a point to say thank you to these “superstars” and show your appreciation to those who have made a positive difference in our lives. And, while you are at it, be sure to give thanks to God for all that God has done.

March Birthdays and Anniversaries!

Happy Birthday to all March Birthdays!
Happy birthday!! We hope your day is filled with lots of love and laughter! May all of your birthday wishes come true. God Bless!

4    Zack Norris
7    Genevieve Mortensen Shelly
7    David Nissen
8    Tim Osorio
11    David Drape
12    Robert Martinez
13    Gina Salomon
13    John Szabo
14    Barbara Saffell
19    Maria Mclatchey

Congratulations & Happy Anniversary to Our March Couples!
Sending anniversary congratulations and best wishes for the years ahead to all those celebrating wedding anniversaries.

25    Liryn & Tim Osorio

Overcoming Life’s Storms

This winter California has once again endured some extreme weather, and at times, some heavy rain and wind. In the midst of wind, rain, and at higher elevations, snow and ice, everything from plants to buildings have taken a beating. Roofers have long waiting lists of customers, carpet and flooring companies are making repairs following water damage, and the list goes on. Come the heat of the summer though, and most of us will quickly forget the cold, wet winter. In life, we would like it to be so easy too. We would like to forget the emotional storms and move on into the “sunshine” of our lives.

For one young man, he did just that. He overcame failure and persevered. When he was seven years old, his family was forced out of their home on a legal technicality, and he had to work to help support them. At age nine, his mother died. At twenty-two, he lost his job as a store clerk. He wanted to go to law school, but his education wasn’t good enough. At twenty three, he went into debt to become a partner in a small store. At twenty-six, his business partner died, leaving him a huge debt that took years to repay. At twenty-eight, after courting a girl for four years, he asked her to marry him. She said no. At thirty-seven, on his third try, he was elected to Congress, but two years later he failed to be re-elected. At forty-one, his four-year-old son died. At forty-five, he ran for the Senate and lost. At forty-seven, he failed as the vice-presidential candidate. At forty-nine, he ran for the Senate again and lost. At fifty-one, he was elected President of the United States. His name was Abraham Lincoln, a man many consider to be a great leader. Lincoln persevered, despite his disappointments, and overcame adversity.
May we rely upon God’s strength and guidance to help us overcome life’s storms. May we find the strength and courage to persevere in doing good and serving God.

Wading through the water,


Lenten Theme – “Wandering Heart”

Like many of us, Peter has a wandering heart. His journey is not polished, or linear, or perfect, but he is always tethered to the love of God. When you look closely at Peter’s story, you find Jesus at each step along the way—offering him abundance, catching him when he begins to sink, challenging him when he stands in the way, washing his feet, predicting his betrayal, and offering him agapē love. This Lent, we’re joining Peter in figuring out faith. We’re not idolizing or vilifying him; instead, we’re hoping to wander alongside him, open to what we might learn about Jesus (and ourselves) by stepping in his shoes. Come along this Lent as we strengthen our faith in the footsteps of Peter following Christ.

Happy Birthday to all February Birthdays!

Happy birthday!! We hope your day is filled with lots of love and laughter! May all of your birthday wishes come true. God Bless!

01    Barbara Nelson
08    Pamela Sandstrom
11    Kelley Tramper
16    Chris Velky
16    Daniel Velky
18    Mary Blandino
18    Oliver Deurmeier

Congratulations & Happy Anniversary to Our February Couples!
Sending anniversary congratulations and best wishes for the years ahead to all those celebrating wedding anniversaries.

17    David & Barbara Nelson

Resolve to Do All the Good You Can

It is a popular tradition for people to make New Year’s resolutions to start the year, with the hope of keeping their promises and making changes happen. This practice can be traced back for centuries when people made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. According to some sources, the Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named. At “watchnight” services, many Christians prepare for the year ahead by praying and making resolutions to be more devoted in the new year.
Surveys show that these were the Top Resolutions that people made to start 2023:
•    Exercise more.
•    Eat healthier.
•    Lose weight.
•    Save more money.
•    Spend more time with family and friends.
•    Spend less time on social media.
•    Reduce stress on the job.
•    Reduce spending on living expenses.

As we get ready to start 2024, what will you resolve to do? What commitment will you make to be the best “you” and to making a positive difference in the world? Consider strengthening your relationship with God; showing care and gratitude for your family and friends, and then extending hospitality and compassion to all God’s people. May God give you wisdom and encouragement to make the most of the new year.
Happy New Year,