Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Weekly Gratitude Journal

Posting my weekly gratitude journal is a habit that I picked up in 2009 when Ann Voskamp used to encourage us to keep a gratitude journal and she had a blog link-up party every  Monday for us to post the previous week's gratitude list. She no longer hosts that link up and has gone on to become a well known author of several books and is a gifted speaker as well.  Her first book, One Thousand Gifts, was based on this practice of writing down at least three daily blessings. Though I'm a day late this week in getting this posted, I continue to do so each week as a testimony to others and a reminder to myself that in all of the highs and lows of life, in the best of times and the worst of times, God is always present and always extravagant in His love and gifts to us. We just have to have our eyes open to notice them!
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)

-my husband taking care of me by doing things like filling up my car with gas
-my husband finding his lost debit card
-dinner with family before watching our youngest granddaughter's soccer game

-God given friendships
-God working in mysterious ways when we pray and trust Him
-the row of trees all ablaze with color that I see from my kitchen window

-God's provision and guidance
-some time with my little buddy, (five year old grandson)
-a good walk on this beautiful autumn afternoon 

-waking up headache free after two days of migraine
-golden leaves fluttering down from the trees as I walk around the trail in our neighborhood park
-Canadian geese in V formation flying south

-a beautiful autumn Friday date day and a daytrip to the beach!
-lunch with a view of haystack rock
-a bit of drizzle that gave way to clear blue skies
-finding a long searched for set of gold colored candlesticks for my Christmas mantel
for a great price at a store on the coast

-Handel's Messiah playing while do my Saturday chores
-being a part of Forward Edge's annual dinner and child sponsorship program
-seeing a friend we haven't seen in year's at the Forward Edge banquet

-my husband's Sunday morning texts to me-"Time to get up! I love you!"
-all of the Truelife Church people, (the church we pastor),  
who volunteered to help with childcare for Hope City's Vision Night,
 (the church our son-in-law and oldest daughter pastor)
-a powerful Vision Night full of God's presence and testimonies of changed lives

still following, 

Saturday, October 26, 2019

A Transformed Woman

"A transformed woman will embrace the transforming God!" Those words from the thirty first chapter of Jeremiah in The Message Bible stopped me in my tracks during my morning quiet time of prayer and Bible reading. In context this chapter is talking about the nation of Israel as God's wayward daughter who turns back to Him. Not all of the Bible was written to me. This book is the story of the prophet Jeremiah's life and his prophetic assignment to the nation of Israel at a specific time in history. However, all of God's Word was written for me. His Word is more than just historic fact, it is living and active and meant to speak to me in the present of my everyday life.  

As I read these words my first thought was that when I let God transform me, then I readily embrace Him. But as I pondered the words throughout my day I thought of the verse in a different way. I began to see it as cause and effect.  (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, October 27th at Woman to Woman Ministries, where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

Monday, October 21, 2019

Weekly Gratitude Journal

This past week was spent getting back into the rhythm of normal life after our wonderful vacation to Maine. However, I'm not sure life in full time ministry is ever "normal" because it's a life with so many variables! Thank God, that He never changes! He is always faithful, He never leaves us or forsakes us, His mercies are new every morning and every single day He gives us reasons to give Him thanks.
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)

-new copper mercury glass tea light/votive jar candles-cozy candlelight in our home

-a stunningly beautiful autumn day to take my walk around my hometown
-doing the Monday after school pick up of my two middle granddaughters, going out for ice cream and taking a walk together

-another beautiful autumn day
-baking some yummy pumpkin nut bread to share
-a big pot of homemade chili simmering on the stove
-listening to life giving messages while I cook for tonight's small group

-honest conversation
-Isaiah 62:1-5 in The Message Bible
-God's help with a concern
-our daughter's father-in-law's quadruple bypass went well

-a break in the rain when I went on my walk
-oldest granddaughter stopping by
-our Thursday night prayer gathering

-Friday date day
-flowers from my guy
-a quiet, restful day together

-a sweet morning quiet time
-God's help with a writing project
-a fun afternoon with a friend 

-God's continued work in us and our church
-hugs from my middle grandson
-talking to my oldest sister on the phone
-dinner with friends from church

still following,

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Settle Down and Depend On God

I love it when things are neat and tidy and well organized. A chaotic environment makes me feel anxious. When things in the outward circumstances of my life feel out of control, controlling my environment, aka cleaning and organizing, has been my coping mechanism.

I remember living with a knot of anxiety in the pit of my stomach at a very young age. In the first decade of my life our home was chaotic-my parents' marriage was toxic and my mama struggled with suicidal depression as a result. After my parents' divorce and the adjustment period that followed, life at home with mama became relatively peaceful, quiet and chaos free. When we got involved in a church that loved us, we never got involved enough in the inner workings to know about any inner conflicts or problems that may have been there. So my church experience was also peaceful and chaos free. When I did feel any outside stress or inward loneliness, I escaped into a perfect daydream world. In that world I designed a perfect little home and a perfect little family. It was my dream of what my future would be like.

As an adult, I soon learned that real life was nothing like the one I had manufactured in my imagination.  (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, October 20th at Woman to Woman Ministries, where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

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,