Saturday, February 29, 2020

One Day At A Time

Today's headlines are filled with the news about the current worldwide health concern due to the coronavirus. My home state has just had its first case, which is especially disturbing as the person diagnosed with the virus was working in an elementary school.  It would be easy to give into worry and fear, but what good does that do?  We can only do what we can do to avoid it, like being mindful of washing our hands carefully after being out in public, but we rob today of its peace and joy when we are frozen with fear, worry and anxiety about tomorrow. Trusting God with our tomorrow is essential to living our best life today.

It's important to live within the realm of the twenty four hour box we call today. It is futile and defeating to live in the past. Whether our focus is on past regrets, past mistakes and past pain or happy moments in the past that we wish we could relive, it's an exercise in frustration and futility to live with a backward focus. On the other hand, it is equally self defeating be too focused on the future. We can become so focused on the worry and the what ifs of tomorrow or so focused on trying to prepare for all eventualities that may come, that we become blinded to the blessings and possibilities of the present moment. (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, March 1st, at Woman to Woman Ministries, where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

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Monday, February 24, 2020

Weekly Gratitude Journal

There are always so many things to thank God for if we only have eyes to see them. Years ago my husband and I bought a large dining room table with a bench seat on each side and a chair on each end. It seats eight people comfortably. it was our act of faith that someday we would have grandchildren to fill up those benches-right in the midst of a decade long struggle with infertility and loss that our oldest daughter was experiencing. Last week I got to go to our middle daughter's five month ultrasound appointment on our baby grandson who is due in June. He will be our eighth grandchild. Our oldest daughter has two daughters, our middle daughter has one daughter and soon will have three sons and our youngest daughter has one son and one daughter. God truly has done abundantly above and beyond all that we could ask or think for our family. I am so very, very grateful.
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, God, for-
-Psalm 27
-little gifts and surprises from God
-a fun family dinner at our oldest daughter's for our granddaughter's eleventh birthday

-this beautiful spring like day
-a little catnap after a very full day and before our small group arrives for dinner
-laughter, good food, good conversation, learning together, praying together

-"fearfully and wonderfully made"-getting to go with my middle daughter to her five month anatomy check ultrasound on our baby grandson
-youngest daughter and two youngest grands are home from their trip to Florida-youngest granddaughter's big grin to me via FaceTime
-trees full of spring buds and crocuses and daffodils in bloom

-youngest daughter and the two youngest grands coming over for breakfast
-this month's gas bill was $0!
-going to Chipotle with my oldest granddaughter

-today's first cup of coffee slowly sipped in bed
-a slow lazy Friday date day morning
-taking the two oldest grands to Hula Boy for dinner

-a frosty morning that reminds me it's still winter but the birds loudly singing reminding me that spring is almost here
-seeing our oldest granddaughter at her new job
-making one of the grandkids' family favorites for dinner

-another sweet baby dedication at church
-God building His church in wonderful ways 
-all we have needed God's hand has provided

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Saturday, February 22, 2020

Fully Known and Clearly Understood by God

1 Corinthians 13:12 in the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition ends with the words, "I am fully and clearly known and understood by God." What a comfort those words have been to me over the years. I'm a quirky, almost equally right and left brained, highly sensitive person who frequently doesn't "get" myself and even more frequently doubts that others really know and understand me.

But, there are moments in time when God uses people to get that truth across to us, the truth that we are seen, known and loved by Him.  I hope I've been used to be that person to others.  I certainly remember those who have been used by God to be that voice of encouragement in my own life.  I'd like to share one such memory with you today.  (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, February 23rd, at Woman to Woman Ministries, where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

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Monday, February 17, 2020

Weekly Gratitude Post

I passed number 13,000 in my gratitude journal this past week! It's hard to believe that I've been keeping a gratitude journal for over ten years now and have written down thirteen thousand things  that I'm grateful for. 

After church yesterday we went out to lunch with our second born daughter and her family. Our five year old grandson has learned a couple of sign language signs and has now decided that he knows sign language. When our waitress came up to our table he began to wiggle his fingers at her convinced he was speaking sign language and that she would know what he was signing. I laughed so hard.  I recalled when his big brother, who is now fifteen, was convinced he knew how to speak Spanish and went up to some little Mexican children and jibber jabbered at them, convinced that he was actually speaking Spanish to them and looking at his parents very offended when they told him that he was not speaking Spanish. It's fun to look back in my gratitude journal and read little moments of family life like these sprinkled in among all manner of other things I'm thankful for. For the big answers to prayer, for the funny family memories, there is something to give God thanks for in 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)

Thank You, Father God, for-
-this beautiful, spring-like day
-a good long phone call with my big brother
-beautiful, snow covered Mt. Hood showing off as I cross the bridge over the Columbia River
-spending time with our two middle granddaughters
-going to the OMSI Exquisite Creatures Exhibit with them

-God's help with prep for the parenting class I'm teaching
-a helpful florist at the store
-a good visit with my friend who's recovering from surgery

-listening to our grandson as he's learning to read
-our Foundations of Parenting class going well
-God's provision

-facetiming with oldest granddaughter all about her first job
-family group texts
-Thursday night after our weekly prayer gathering watching a good movie with my husband,
(which is our "Friday night" since Friday is our day off)

-a wonderful Valentine's Day with my guy

-lunch together at one of my favorite spots
-my favorite sweet treat for dessert

-our granddaughter's eleventh birthday-thank You, God, for our miracle girl!
-facetiming with the birthday girl
-worshipping while I do my Saturday chores

-God at work in our church
-lunch with our second born and her family
-laughing at silly grandson who is convinced he knows sign language when he's just wiggling his fingers

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Saturday, February 15, 2020

Never Forgotten

"But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
And my Lord has forgotten me.”

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, 
And not have compassion on the son of her womb?
Surely they may forget,
yet, I will not forget you.
See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Your walls are continually before Me." Isaiah 49:15-16

The enemy is a ruthless, relentless liar. He is especially cruel in his craftiness and targets us with lies and accusations against God and His love and care for us. "God has forgotten you. God doesn't care for you. You are abandoned by God. There is no hope for you. God is not keeping His promises to you."  For good measure the enemy turns and targets us with some of his lies and accusations. "You've messed up too many times. There is no recovery for you. God has given up on you because you're such a screw up. God has turned His back on you."

In this passage from the book of Isaiah, the people of Jerusalem are hearing the enemy whisper in their ears his all too familiar lie, "The Lord has forsaken you and forgotten you." We've all heard that lie before. The enemy especially takes glee in shoving our head underwater with those words when we are drowning in difficult circumstances.   (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, February 16th, at Woman to Woman Ministries, where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

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Monday, February 10, 2020

Weekly Gratitude Post

We had a wonderful week with most of the members of our church's worship team. We flew to Kansas City, Missouri and spent time in the prayer room at the International House of Prayer. Day and night prayer, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, has been happening there for twenty years. It is a blessing to sit in the prayer room, worshipping, praying, reading the Word, listening to God's voice. We spent our days there and our evenings as a team debriefing together-discussing what God had been speaking to each of us and praying with each other. What a blessing! 

On Wednesday, some of us went downtown and joined a million other people at the parade and celebration of the Kansas City Chief's Super Bowl victory. We met up with our long time friends, who live in Missouri, and enjoyed some fun and laughter with them. I think it's amazing how God ministers to us, both in our times in the prayer room and in our  times of laughter with friends. Both are needful. Both are healing. 

We are home now, back in "real life" where we can't spend all the day long in the prayer room. But God's presence is just as real, just as near here in my real life as there in the prayer room. That, above all else, is what I give thanks for - my God is always near, always here. Always. 

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 safe flight to Kansas City
-oldest granddaughter getting to come on this trip with our worship team
-spending this time connecting with the individuals on our team

-taking communion and remembering all of the benefits of Jesus's sacrifice
-fresh insight into Psalm 51
-God conversations around the lunch table
-and amazing group meeting after a day in the prayer room

-so much laughter with our longtime friends
-my friend telling me she's had me on her heart this past month
-another powerful team meeting
-texts from our second born daughter with ultrasound photos of our grandson

-God speaking to me through His Word
-God speaking clearly to our granddaughter through her time here
-G getting to hang out with us 

-a safe trip home 
-our own home and our own bed
-a very encouraging week

-God speaking to me through Isaiah 49
-Denise Hughes featuring my Instagram in her newsletter
-signs of spring on my walk
-flowers from my guy

-God at work in us and our church
-lunch with my guy
-an afternoon of rest after a very full week

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Saturday, February 8, 2020

Infused With God's Strength

"What an honor for me in God's eyes!
That God should be my strength!"
Isaiah 49:5 The Message Bible

How many times have I come into God's presence and offered up to Him things done out of the strength of my own intellect, out of my own gifts and talents, out of the power of my own will. Like Cain's offering of produce grown by the sweat of his own brow, I bring to God my offerings of self-effort. (See Genesis 4) He cannot approve of these offerings tainted with pride in my own abilities, and so, in His mercy and grace, He allows me to see my own strength for what it is, it is the false armor of Saul. (See 1 Samuel 17) King Saul tried to get David to approach Goliath wearing Saul's armor. But David "was not used to them" the Bible says. David had fought and killed the bear and the lion wearing, not the false armor of human strength, but the armor of God. David wisely chose to fight Saul with the trusted weapons of God's warfare and in the power of God's name. 

Too often I have taken the verse in Philippians 4:13 and placed the emphasis in the wrong place. "I can do all things!", I say to myself and I forget that the emphasis should be on the end of the verse, "through Christ Who strengthens me."   (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, February 9th, at Woman to Woman Ministries, where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

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Monday, February 3, 2020

Weekly Gratitude Post

Our sweet youngest granddaughter had her first birthday this week! It seems like just yesterday that she was born. Life zooms by! One of the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal besides the primary benefit of developing an attitude of gratitude and thanksgiving is that you can look back and read glimpses of years past and remember all of God's blessings. 
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)

#12,934-#12, 956

-youngest granddaughter's first birthday

-all of the grandkids together to celebrate
-an answer to prayer

-a really good night's sleep
-a visit and prayer time with a friend
-milk and cookies after school with three of the grands

-praying with oldest granddaughter before her job interview
-middle grandson spending the morning with us
-the forsythia branches on my table in full bloom
-spending the evening "getting to know" my new Bible

-no rain today! WooHoo!
-a fresh haircut and some new shampoo that I love
-seeing God at work in someone we've been praying for

-our granddaughter got the job!
-Friday date day
-a slow, lazy morning
-a yummy dinner together at one of our favorite spots

-It's February!
-a great time of prayer with our leader's wives
-a break in the rain for a walk

-such a powerful message at church today
-lunch and a good visit with our longtime friends
-five year old grandson lifting his hands in worship at church this morning

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