Monday, October 14, 2019

Weekly Gratitude Journal

Some time ago, my husband began a plan to make one of my dreams come true, to visit my beloved Maine in the autumn. (My mama was born on Prince Edward Island, but grew up in Maine. I visited Maine and met my mama's family for the first time when I was six and fell in love with it all those years ago.) I'd been to Maine five times previously, but never in autumn. He sent a message out to all of our daughters that we would rent an AirBnB big enough for whoever wanted to join us on this trip. It turned out that our youngest daughter and her husband and our two youngest grand babies where the only ones able to get away at this time. So, on the last day of September we flew from Portland, Oregon to Boston, Massachusetts, spent the night there, then drove to our AirBnB in Boothbay Harbor, Maine the next day. We spent a week exploring Boothbay Harbor, Mama's hometown of Bath and the surrounding areas and visiting my aunt and cousins. When the week was over we drove back to Boston where we spent one night and two days exploring that historic city before taking a late flight home. We had a wonderful time and made memories to cherish.

Since 2009 I've been counting my blessings thanks to the prompting of Ann Voskamp.
 I continue to count my thanks, 
piling up gratitude day by day in my journal.
(and capturing some of my blessings via my camera or iPhone)

Thank You, Father God, for...

-the first day of Autumn!
-cooking and baking to host the Homebuilders small group at our house
-praying for one another

-a good book that I don't want to put down
-God's provision for, not just our needs, but so many of our wants
-leftovers from last night's small group so I don't have to cook tonight

-the peace and comfort found in knowing that God has us firmly in his grip
-figuring out the church's new email system
-taking middle grandson to the "cheap theater" to see Toy Story 
with youngest daughter and the two youngest grands

-the two oldest grandkids stopping by to see me
-a fresh haircut
-knowing that God is at work in our church during this time of transition

-Friday Date Day!
-going to dinner with our oldest daughter and her family 
-seeing their new church building completed

-spending the day with youngest grandson
-God's help to get things done for our upcoming trip even while caring for him
-taking a little snooze with him in order to get him to nap

-more new faces at church
-what God is doing in us
-all of our church volunteers

-a safe flight to Boston
-the two youngest grandbabies being so good on the flight
-Chili's chips and salsa and a big salad right near our hotel after not eating all day!

-Maine blueberry pancakes at Becky's diner

-sharing a basket of fresh Maine clam strips 
-the beauty of the sea and Portland Head Lighthouse

-our perfect little AirBnB cottage with a separate wee cottage bedroom in the backyard for us

-my husband bringing me coffee in bed
-the church in Boothbay Harbor that has a bell that chimes songs like "Standing On The Promises", "Bringing in the Sheaves". "Amazing Grace"
-cozy new slippers to walk back and forth from our little cottage bedroom to the main cottage
-spending some time and eating lunch in my Mama's beautiful hometown of Bath
-a cloudless, star filled sky

-this sunny day
-exploring Popham Beach and Fort Popham

-lobster roll at Spinnie's by Fort Popham-yum!

-a rainy morning that cleared up for a sunny afternoon

-fresh lobster at the Boothbay Lobster wharf for dinner

(someone wasn't too sure about eating lobster!)
-a gorgeous sunset over the harbor

-this beautiful day to explore the town of Damariscotta, Pemaquid Lighthouse and the colonial fort near it

-youngest grandson's fierce attachment to his yellow rubber raincoat and yellow rubber boots 
-always group texts with all of our girls

-knowing that our church is in good hands on this Sunday morning while we are gone
-a good visit with my cousin and his wife and a lunch of delicious homemade seafood chowder at their house
-getting to visit my aunt, Mama's youngest sister and only living sibling

-a fun, but choppy, ride on the mailboat out to Squirrel Island
-the best lobster roll I've ever had at Red's Eats in Wiscasset, Maine

-our two youngest grand babies wrestling on the floor like two little bear cubs

-a safe drive back to Boston
-walking the historic freedom trail

-our funky old hotel suite in Winthrop

-God's provision and blessing to make this trip possible
-the way the leaves changed more and more as each day passed that we were in Maine
-a safe and smooth flight home
-the leaves changed and the chill in the air at home

-morning quiet time in my favorite spot at home
-middle daughter bringing our middle grandson by to see us
-being with our church family for midweek worship and prayer together

-a slow, lazy morning
-a phone call from my ten year old granddaughter
-photos from the grandkid's visit to a local pumpkin patch

-jet lag making me wake up at 4am which enabled me to get a bunch of things done before our day of prayer at the church
-a wonderful day of prayer with churches joining us  from as far away as British Columbia
-God's unchanging hand even in times of change and transition

-a good night's sleep
-seeing God at work in our people/church
-a quiet Sunday afternoon

still following,

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Loving God Wholeheartedly

I'm a big fan of making a daily to-do list in my bullet journal to help me to keep track of how I'm going to spend my time each day. If you looked at my journal, you would be able to make a judgment about some of the priorities in my life.

In both the Old and New Testaments God tells us the plumb line by which we are to prioritize our life-that plumb line is wholehearted, whole life, love for Him. I think most of us Christ followers would agree that we want to love God in this way, but if you're like me, you want Him to show you how. You want to know what that looks like in practical ways in your everyday life. Here are some insights that have helped me. (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, October 13th at Woman to Woman Ministries, where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Even Though, I Will Rejoice

I think we're sometimes hesitant to be honest and admit that it's easier to give thanks, to be joyful and rejoice in the Lord, when our life circumstances are to our liking, when things are going our way.

The words of Habakkuk in chapter three amaze me,

"Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
    and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
    and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
    and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!

    I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!"

I don't think Habakkuk's choice to rejoice in spite of his circumstances is a natural response of the flesh but a supernatural response of his spirit. The mind and emotions may kick and scream that life isn't fair, may want to do anything but rejoice, may want to do anything but choose to be thankful, but once our will makes a choice I believe the Holy Spirit helps us to do the impossible-to actually praise and thank God in the middle of a difficult day, in the middle of our messy circumstances, even in the middle of heartache.  (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, October 6th at Woman to Woman Ministries, where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Clear Out the Old to Make Room for the New

Last January, as the new year began, I wrote a post about this verse from the book of Isaiah, and as the year is winding down it's still on my mind and heart.

"Forget about what’s happened;
    don’t keep going over old history.

Be alert, be present. 
I’m about to do something brand-new.
    It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is!
 I’m making a road through the desert,
    rivers in the badlands." 
Isaiah 43:19 MSG

I don't think God is ever about ho-hum, boring, and status quo. We may feel stuck in the rut of our ordinary life. We may feel like an old dog that's too old to learn new tricks. But our God is a God of new life, new seasons, renewal and new mercies for every new day. He wants to do something brand new in our lives.

Just a few days ago was the first day of autumn, the start of a new season. The leaves are beginning to change color and fall off of the trees making room for the new growth that will come next spring. Perhaps the reason we aren't experiencing new growth in our walk with God is because there are some things we have to clear out in order to make room for the new. (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, September 29th at Woman to Woman Ministries, where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,