Posts by: Brian Dolleman

I am a husband, father, pastor, leader & reader. I love God, love people & love life.

NWLife Weekly Conversation—Jessica Klukas’ Story

Here is our tenth NWLife video podcast featuring our weekly conversation.

Today’s theme: What You’ve Done To The Least Of These

Pastor Andy and Pastor Katie sit down with Jessica Klukas to hear her story. All three in today’s video podcast share something in common: someone in their immediate family, in their homes, is vulnerable to COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions.

We also have a few of your #BringingMeJoy short videos included in today’s video podcast! And, the podcast closes with Pastor Kyle leading us in one of his own original worship songs.

“Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?” And the King will say, “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” —Matthew 25.37-40

andy salsa for post

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By this time, my dad was hearing the ghost sound too. We looked at each other with stunned faces, in complete bewilderment.

Thankful Notes (#270)

When sleeping outside on the deck furniture for the night, I do occasionally hear some strange sounds. Sometimes the gray heron pierces the silence with his prehistoric-guttural squawks. Other times, a flock of Canadian geese fly directly overhead, honking with every flap of their wings. And there is this bizarre sound a crow makes, almost like a cat, “baahw? baahw?”

This time of year, the cormorants have left for some other climate or location… so I don’t hear their weird growling monster sound. But there is definitely the sound of frogs and the occasional splosh of fish jumping and landing back into the lake.

One of my favorite nighttime sounds is the gentle hoot of owls in trees nearby.

Even when I’m not sleeping outside, I hear most of these sounds (except the fish sploshing back into the water) because we always have our bedroom windows open at night. Gotta have that fresh air, even when it’s cold at night.

As I think about strange middle-of-the-night sounds, I’m taken back to a memory I share with my dad… I was around 15 years old at the time, and had just started working at the veterinary hospital in Rainier Beach.

My bedroom was on the ground floor of the house, right next door to my parent’s bedroom. The night was stormy—wind and heavy, relentless rain. Everything was soaked and the ground couldn’t absorb all the water.

I had been working on a side-hustle for my dad in addition to working at the veterinary hospital – he offered to pay me $1,000 to dig out the ground around the north side of the basement (it needed a drain field and the concrete exterior wall of the basement needed to be sealed). A good sized trench had been started – it was maybe 3’ wide by 6-7’ deep.

In the middle of the night, I was awakened to the strange and eerie sound of moaning or wailing or groaning… and the hair on the back of my neck stood up. I laid in bed listening, wondering if I’d just had a bad dream, but the ghost sound continued.

I couldn’t get back to sleep, and I was starting to wonder if someone was pulling a prank on me, “punking” me, so I walked over to my parent’s bedroom and shook my dad awake. I whispered, “Do you hear that sound?”… Read More

NWLife Weekly Conversation—Georgia Carlton’s Story

Here is our ninth NWLife video podcast featuring our weekly conversation.

Today’s theme: Knowing God’s Love For us

Pastor Angela and I talk with Georgia Carlton as she shares her experience of growing up in church and struggling to believe God loves her. This conversation is real and raw and full of redemption. It is truly beautiful.

We also have a few of your #BringingMeJoy short videos included in today’s video podcast! And, the podcast closes with our worship team leading us in worship with Hillsong’s What a Beautiful Name.

God says ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love.’ This is a fundamental truth of your identity. This is who you are whether you feel it or not. You belong to God from eternity to eternity. Life is just a little opportunity for you during a few years to say, ‘I love you, too.’  —Henri Nouwen

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Amen. Yes and yes. I stand and wave the hanky.

Thankful Notes (#263)

When I arrived at the office this morning, my office phone was blinking – indicating it has a new voice message. I’m not sure why (maybe some church drama PTSD from 28 years of pastoral ministry), but whenever there’s a voice mail left for me on the church phone, I get nervous and mentally prepare myself for something bad.

There were actually two voicemails… the first was a hang-up and the second was from a 90 year old woman in our church. She sounded pretty distraught and in crisis and said she really needed me to return her call. When I called and asked how she was doing, she said, “Oh, not so good…” and then she asked if we had any hair stylists in the church family because, “I look awful—like something the cat dragged in but didn’t want.”

I smiled and explained all the hair stylists weren’t working right now because of the pandemic. And I told her I wasn’t aware of any hair stylists from the church who were offering black market haircuts right now. She understood, but said, “Isn’t there someone who isn’t a professional but knows what they’re doing?”

This is when I suggested she call back in the afternoon and talk to Danielle, because Danielle would know more about hair than me (a bald man).

She laughed and thanked me for listening. Then she told me how much she misses church. I feel it too. Maybe even more, as it’s my whole world. I miss the gatherings and celebrations and in-person conversations so much…

And yet, there is still beauty in times of drought; resilient plants push through the cracks in the dry, concrete-like earth—and they bloom. I’m finding this to be true during the pandemic and lockdown… God’s people keep finding ways to love and serve and give and bless.

For my birthday, some friends at church gave me a… Read More

NWLife Weekly Conversation—Nick And Emily Schmal’s Story

Here is our eighth NWLife video podcast featuring our weekly conversation.

Today’s theme: God’s Redeeming Work.

Pastor Angela is talking with Nick and Emily Schmal as they share their story of loss, heartbreak, and redemption. When I heard Nick talk about how God promises beauty for ashes, I cried. This conversation is so very encouraging—I hope you’ll take 25 minutes to listen in.

We also have a few of your #BringingMeJoy short videos included in today’s video podcast! And, the podcast closes with our band leading us in worship with Hillsong’s King of Kings.

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Finally, a reminder of something I hope you all will… Read More

Then I heard one of her co-workers say, “Oh wow! This makes my boobs look huge!” and with that, I was out the door

 

Thankful Notes (#255)

It’s hard to believe we have been in this little fixer-upper barn-shaped house on the lake for two years now (in May). When we first walked through the house, I fell in love with the view and the potential I could see in the basic structure of the house. I was sold the minute I looked out the windows to Lake Wilderness.

It’s been two years of struggle and joy, enduring and enjoying, stripping away and building. The projects aren’t all complete.

The rotting dock still needs to be replaced. Our HVAC mini-split system still needs to be installed. And there’s the tricky issue of a major structural retaining wall still waiting to be addressed. But it’s become home—truly OUR home, and for that I am so very thankful.

We lived in it while it still had cracked linoleum and dark ceilings and blue duck wallpaper and a pretty cool JennAir downdraft cooktop with a flip-clock straight out of the early 1980’s. Before the remodel began, we moved into the fixer-upper with our brand new 8-week old English Golden Retriever named Camper. We scraped off popcorn ceilings and tore off the wallpaper and ripped up the carpets. Camper chewed big patches of the cracked linoleum and destroyed a section of drywall where we’d torn off the wallpaper. Heck, it was a family effort.

Somehow, we survived. And we are still here, still surviving and dreaming of what can be.

Shari and I drove to the church office together today and Camper stayed at home with Ashah. While I was in a meeting with staff, I receive a text message from Ashah – it’s two pictures of Camper thoroughly enjoying a “Puppuccino” – something I’ve never allowed Camper to have (basically a Starbucks cup filled with whipped cream). But it’s Camper’s birthday week, so what can I say?

I left for my meeting with staff out to the wide-open and spacious lobby, while Shari stayed in my office for her video conference calls. When I returned, she was still on a call (a very loud and chaotic call with her colleagues). I wasn’t sure how long it would last, so I tried to sit down and concentrate on my own work… but the sound of voices talking over one another had me completely shut down and unproductive. Then I heard one of her co-workers say… Read More

NWLife Weekly Conversation—Finding God in a Global Pandemic

Here is our seventh NWLife video podcast featuring our weekly conversation.

Today’s theme: Finding God in a Global Pandemic.

Today, I’m sitting with Shari, Vinny, and Pastor Andy (all three of them are Enneagram 7′s – typically labeled “Enthusiasts” and I’m an Enneagram 5 – typically labeled “observer,” so watch how our conversation goes… LOL). That said, it’s a miracle we managed to get this video to be under 30 minutes in length.

We also have a very special water baptism in today’s video podcast!

Finally, I introduce something I hope you all will participate in—making and sharing little 30-second(ish) videos, a kind of show-and-tell, about what is bringing you joy right now. Shari gives us an example of what is bringing her joy (it’s not me). These videos can be… Read More

A YEAR WITHOUT HUGS

Thankful Notes (#249)

Instead of leaving as quickly as possible for work this morning, I spent some time in the kitchen making breakfast. I carried over two plates with hot food over to my dad’s house and we sat at his table for breakfast and coffee.

Camper and I left together for the office and she rode with her back legs on the back seat and her front legs on the armrest between the two front seats and her head on my arm.

It’s her version of riding shotgun and I pretty much love the snuggles.

While working in my office, I received a text message from a friend asking if I had lunch plans and how many staff members were working today. We usually have half of our staff working from home on Thursdays during the pandemic, so I told her I didn’t have lunch plans and there would only be 4-5 people at the church. Her reply made my day:

“Can I bring you Popeye’s spicy chicken sandwiches? ”

And I was all, “Um… CAN YOU??!!?!?!! Oh my, that would be wonderful.”

About 30 minutes later, I heard a car pull up behind the office building. Lunch had arrived.

While eating my delicious Popeye’s spicy chicken sandwich, I wrote next week’s family devotions—an online and printed resource we’ve been providing since not holding in-person church services. In one of the devotions, I told one of my favorite family stories…

When I was a kid, I saved up my money to get a puppy. She was a Brittany Spaniel and we named her Gretchen (weird name, I know). We took Gretchen to dog obedience classes and they said we needed to purchase a long leather leash. It was kind of expensive.

One day, when my sister was going to take Gretchen outside for a walk, she couldn’t find the leash. My parents asked all four of us kids who took the leash or left it somewhere. We all said it wasn’t us. Then we started blaming each other.

I was convinced my little sister did it. My parents seemed to think it was me. But nobody would confess. It was a mystery…

Until a few days later when my dad told me I needed to go outside and pick up all the… Read More

NWLife Weekly Conversation—The New Norm

Here is our sixth NWLife video podcast featuring our weekly conversation.

Today’s theme: The New Norm.

Today, we are inviting you to participate in receiving communion with your church family. Pastor Andy, along with Georgia Carlton and Sean Flaherty, will be leading us as we take the bread of life and the cup of the new covenant together.

I hope you will  gather your family to watch the video (if you have little ones who don’t have an attention span for the entire video, at least bring them in for the worship song and communion).

Bailey Thorpe sings an opening song in today’s episode—and Bailey and Shaun Jones sing How Great The Father’s Love just before Pastor Andy leads us in communion.

In our conversation, Sean Flaherty shares his story of loss and addiction and struggle to adjust to… Read More

I told her to put on some good music and turn it up loud.

Thankful Notes (#240)

A young woman in our church has been volunteering quite a bit lately because the restaurant she works at is temporarily closed due to the pandemic. Today she arrived first thing in the morning and spent hours and hours into the afternoon organizing our Food Bank and putting together bags of groceries.

There’s a local writer who I enjoy following on Twitter… today she said:

“One thing you learn about in crisis is who cares about just themselves and who cares for others.

It’s interesting to see who leverages petty grievances to generate outrage, versus the holy multitude shopping for the elderly, sewing masks, operating food banks, working overtime, cooking free meals, volunteering for spiritual support, donating blood, working on start-up projects, coordinating shop local campaigns, feeding medical staff, funding grants, reducing rent, etc.

I’ve watched a church distributing Amazon Fresh donations to hundreds of low-income families this week. An unemployed friend donating food and PPE supplies to seniors. Meals delivered to a nurse. Lunch for a man with no family. Groceries sent to a home after a virus death.

Daily I’m amazed to see such acts of generosity and service, everywhere.”

I agree. Pressure reveals what’s really inside us.

And I am so thankful for those who are stepping up and offering themselves and their resources to make life a little better for others.

This past weekend, between the… Read More