Monday, February 26, 2018

Snowy week gratitude...

Due to Presidents' Day and this week's late winter snow some of our normal activities were cancelled. I'm not complaining. This homebody enjoyed a bit of unexpected time off!
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)

-a snowy Presidents' day
-our three year old grandson coming over for breakfast and to play in the snow
-an invitation to go shopping with a friend 

-another snowy day
-picking up the oldest grands from school
-our three year old grandson begging me to read him stories from his Bible story book
-the conviction of the Holy Spirit while listening to a podcast

-pink sunrise on this snowy morning
-baking cookies to give away
-signs of spring even in the midst of winter's last hurrah

-remembering the life and message of Billy Graham as we mourn his death

-our youngest daughter and grandson coming over for breakfast
-this Lenten journey through Exodus with She Reads Truth
-seeing God's plan for putting us in this neighborhood
-the way God places the right people in our life for our good

-"all I have needed You've always provided"
-lunch at our favorite spot with our daughter and grandson on our day off
-watching reruns of a favorite show together

-listening to podcasts while I clean house
-a furniture makeover fail that resulted in finding a better piece of furniture for our kitchen nook
-a really tender and sweet prayer time today

-being able to laugh at ourselves
-a fabulous message this morning
-wonderful food and fellowship with a family from church that invited us to their home after church
-God is always faithful

still following,

Saturday, February 24, 2018

When you have hard questions..

We met at our mailbox and he pointed his finger toward the heavens. "I have some questions", he said, "for Him."  His wife died a few days ago after a long, excruciatingly painful death from cancer.  I simply listened as he wondered aloud why God would let his wife suffer, since she was such a good person, instead of picking him to be the one to suffer.  In his opinion, suffering should be dealt out based on behavior.  I didn't try to defend God or theologically explain why even good people suffer. After all, God Himself didn't give Job, a man whom God described as blameless, an explanation for all the suffering he had gone through.  Instead, God accuses those who did try to come up with reasons for Job's sufferings as having "words without knowledge." (Job 38:1) I'm sure I've also been guilty of being like Job's friends by trying to wrestle with, reason out, explain away, and defend God's reputation when what I see as senseless suffering occurs. All of us have heard God's people say stupid things in the face of tragedy.  Many of us have said some of those stupid things ourselves. This time, thank God, I held my tongue with my neighbor friend.  I just tried to listen and by doing so, to communicate to him that my husband and I are a safe place to ask the hard questions.

It's strange to me that we struggle so with suffering while lavish undeserved blessing occurs as well, and yet we don't struggle with that. God gives us lavish grace and mercy and undeserved blessing and yet we accept it without question. Why was I born in a land of plenty while others are born into poverty? Why was I born healthy, while others are born with disability? We don't wrestle with reasons for blessing nearly as much as we do with the reasons for suffering. Until that blessing comes to one of our enemies, until someone who has hurt or offended us prospers, and then we struggle and cry out,"Why, God, why?"   (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, February 25th, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

Also happily linking up with the lovely
The Mom Gene

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Friday Faves...My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

For years I used the "ultimate" chocolate chip cookie recipe as it was popularly called.
They were good, but then I tried this FANTASTIC recipe from Picky Palate -
The secret ingredient that makes all the difference is the browned butter.
The recipe starts with browning two sticks of real butter.
(If you've never browned butter before click the link above to Picky Palate's recipe and she will show you how.)
 After the butter cools for five minutes you combine it with 
1 1/4 cups of brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons good vanilla.
It looks and smells like caramel.
Then you add
 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel, (sea salt- I just use kosher salt)
and after that is all blended
add 10 ounces of chocolate chips.
Scoop dough onto parchment paper covered cookie sheet and sprinkle with additional sea salt.
Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 9-11 minutes.
(In my oven, 11 minutes is exactly right.)
Cool on cookie sheet for five minutes,
then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.
These cookies are especially delectable eaten warm.

Have a happy Friday
a safe and blessed weekend!



Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Presidents' Day Snow Day...

Sunday afternoon it began to intermittently snow and thaw and has been doing that ever since. So much for my supposition that we were going to have an early spring! That means that Monday, Presidents' Day, was a day off from school and work for many people as well as a snow day. Our three year old grandson came over to spend some time with us since his siblings were hanging out with friends. We enjoyed a big breakfast together and then he had a snowball fight with papa while I wandered around the yard capturing the beauty with my camera.
I love this photo of the hellebores with the snow on them.

But of all of the photos my favorite is this photo of our grandson packing a snowball with a twinkle in his eye and and a plan to get back at Papa in his mind.

still following,

Flower Friday

Monday, February 19, 2018

Presidents' Day gratitude...

It's Presidents' day and we woke up to snow for the second time in the last few days. And here I thought we were going to have an early spring!  I don't mind. There's something to enjoy and be grateful for no matter the weather. Today I neglected my to-do list using the holiday and the snow as excuses. I enjoyed some time with our middle grandson who came over for breakfast and to play in the snow. Then I said "sure!" to a friend who wanted help finding some new chairs and rugs for her new home. (I'm always game when it comes to helping someone decorate their home!) When I got home I made my husband his favorite homemade meatballs and sauce for dinner which made him happy, (and me as well!) Tomorrow I may feel crunched for time when I have to add today's tasks to tomorrow's to-do list but today was worth it. I'm thankful, for Presidents' Day, for snow, for family, for friends, for God's continued faithfulness each and every day.

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)


-this cold, clear day
-crocuses and daffodils in bloom

-a friend stopping by for prayer
-a quiet evening home together

-a phone call with my big brother
-a job too long procrastinated finally accomplished
-my husband helping me with the dinner for our small group

-waking up to the surprise of some Valentine's day snow
-a sweet card, flowers, dinner and a movie from my guy
-finding just the right present for our granddaughter's birthday
-a hopeful prognosis for someone I love

-our middle granddaughter's birthday
-our Truelife Espanol pastor helping me learn a new program on the computer
-a sweet time with all six grands at our granddaughter's birthday party

-texts from our daughter that our youngest grandson learned something new, 
which seems to happen everyday
-yummy Friday date day breakfast
-a slow, lazy, relaxing day off

-catching up on sleep last night
-a breakthrough during my prayer time
-babysitting our youngest grandson

-an encouraging word for our church
-wonderful worship
-lunch with friends
-more February snow!

still following,

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Choose trust...

We can't insulate ourselves very long from the hurt, pain, and brokenness in this world can we?  We may be able to forget for a season, a week, a moment, and then we are suddenly reminded of our vulnerability and the fragility of life. All it takes is an unexpected accident, dreaded diagnosis, a job loss, or a horrific news alert and we are forced to face the reality that this world offers us no guarantees of peace, safety or provision.  

A few years ago I took an unexpected tumble down some stairs at a public park.  There were no broken bones but I was a bit cut up and bruised. Worse than the outward scars was the inner realization that I was no longer young and invincible.  I felt fragile and vulnerable.

Three weeks ago I had one of the biggest scares of my life when our second born daughter was hit by a pickup truck while she was out jogging.  Facing the fragility and vulnerability of my child was even harder than facing my own.

This week we all faced, once again, the horrific news of another school shooting.  Over the past several months our nation has been rocked by hurricanes, floods, wildfires, mudslides, turmoil, strife, and even possible nuclear threat. We can't help but realize that even our nation is not invincible.

The way I see it, there are three possible ways to cope with the reality of our vulnerability.   (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, February 18th, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

Also happily linking up with the lovely
The Mom Gene