Monday, April 27, 2020

Weekly Gratitude Journal

I'm so glad that God's Word doesn't say FOR all circumstances give thanks. I'd really struggle to be thankful for this coronavirus shutdown/quarantine. But, there are plenty of things to give thanks for IN these circumstances!
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)

-our neighborhood park's walking path that is thankfully still open
-another beautifully sunny day to do a bit of yard work
-the smell of fresh basil
-a sugar-free, fat-free frozen mocha treat after some yard work

-trusting God with EVERYTHING
-a video of youngest grandson saying, "Hi Nana!" and sending him a video back
-God's provision for our church and us during this challenging time

-God's faithfulness
-little crabapple tree all abloom
-chatting on FaceTime with friends

-the power of praying God's Word
-my guy bringing home the yummiest greek gyros for dinner
-a sweet time together of leading our online prayer gathering

-Friday date day!
-a beautiful drive all the way around Mt. Hood
(you can see the base of the mountain but the rest is hidden by the clouds)
-an answer to prayer

-getting the whole kitchen deep cleaned
-phone calls with friends
-a beautiful afternoon for a walk around the lake after a gloomy, rainy morning

-church day! (online)
-a walk along the river with the two youngest grandkids on this beautiful day
-my favorite food to-go
-a beautiful fuchsia hanging basket from friends

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Saturday, April 25, 2020

How To Encourage Yourself In The Lord

Today began with dark gray skies and a downpour of heavy rain. I tried to fight the gloominess by lighting candles, but, truth be told I felt like having a bit of a meltdown. It's one thing to be quarantined due to the coronavirus pandemic for weeks on end, but the thought of being stuck indoors all day with relentless rain had me feeling literally claustrophobic. This pandemic and the subsequent shutdown of normal life has been difficult but for some who have experienced a job loss or the loss of a loved one it has been horrific.
In 1 Samuel 30:6 King David is facing some horrible circumstances. The town where David, his family and his followers had settled, Ziklag, had been raided and burned by the Amalekites and the women and families had all been taken captive.David's own wives had been captured. His men blamed David, their leader, for this situation and threatened to stone him.This is the setting when the Bible says that David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord.

I'm not minimizing what anyone may be going through right now as we walk through these unprecedented times. I'm not tritely, glibly telling you to just go encourage yourself in the Lord. Whatever you are facing, whether it be the biggest trial of your whole life or simply a case of the quarantine blues, everyone, at one time or another, needs some simple and practical ways to encourage yourself in God.

The word for encouraged used in 1 Samuel 30:6 is "chazak", to strengthen, prevail, become strong, restore to strength. The word also denotes that this is a constant strengthening, an ongoing strengthening.
I imagine myself breathing in courage and strength from the source, from God Himself.
Some practical ways I do this are...   (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, April 26th, at Woman to Woman Ministries, where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

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Monday, April 20, 2020

Weekly Gratitude Journal

This past week I felt great compared to the awful viral meningitis of the week before! I'm praising God! It's so easy to take good health for granted. 

The weather has been beautiful lately which inspired me to get a bunch of much needed yard work done this week. I don't love all of the work involved but seeing the results is very motivating to keep at it.

Like all of you, there are so many frustrating things about this time of shutdown due to the coronavirus, but I can also clearly see ways that God is blessing us and working all things together for good in the midst of it all. What are you giving thanks to God for during this challenging time?
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 bouquet of crabapple blooms
-a new plant baby
-seeing God work things together for good in this time of quarantine

-Isaiah 41
-getting to see our Portland kids and grandkids, outdoors from a safe distance
-free bluebell plants to replant in my flowerbeds 

-God's faithful love and watchful care for us
-help with some yard work
-an ultrasound video of our newest grandbaby
-my kids dropping by some more free bluebells

-getting more yard work done
-building a new backyard fire pit!
-a wonderful online prayer meeting  

-a beautiful walk by the river
-my favorite fish tacos to-go for our lunch
-the first fire in our new fire pit

-a sweet time of prayer
-an afternoon to write and bake bread
-my daughter passing on the best sourdough bread recipe to me

-another great online church service
-a walk around Lake Sacagawea
-our church leadership team

still following,

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Living the Crucified Life

Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:]
Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained,
But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being.
And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross! Philippians 2:5-8 AMPC

When our now eleven year old granddaughter was three years old she said to me, “Jesus is God!" I was amazed that she already had the most basic fundamental truth of Christianity in her little mind and heart. She used to love to play with these little wooden crosses that I have in a side table drawer at my house and she would talk about Jesus dying on the cross. One day she put a cross up to my husband’s forehead and she said, “Papa, you die on the cross." I remember how her words stirred something in my heart. She had made me realize that I had stopped asking God to help me live the crucified life. The truth is, I had stopped because He had answered me. God allowed us to go through the wilderness, through the testing, through the fire, though loss and pain and betrayal. It was a very long, very difficult season that I never wanted to go through again.  (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, April 19th, at Woman to Woman Ministries, where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

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Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Weekly Gratitude Journal

It's been over two weeks since my last gratitude post. A week ago from last Saturday I ended up in the emergency room with the worst headache of my life, (at least a ten on the pain level chart), fever, chills and relentless vomiting. At the ER they did C-T scans, etc., ( but never did test me for Covid-19), and pumped me full of IV fluids and anti-nausea and pain meds. They sent me home with pain never going below an eight, some anti-nausea meds and instructions to take over the counter pain reliever. By Sunday night I was worse than ever. After more phone calls and video chats with various doctors they concluded that I more than likely had viral meningitis caused by a former sinus issue or flu or even Covid-19. They came up with a "migraine cocktail" that made the pain bearable and I was told to recover at home. After seven days I finally began to feel somewhat better. 

My husband took such good care of me through it all, in spite of still needing to keep up with filming our church services and his other pastoral duties. I'm thankful for him! I'm also thankful for the many people who were praying for me! And, of course, I'm so very thankful to be on the mend. I've even been able to get outside for my walk the past two days. With that said, even in the midst of life's hard times, God always blesses me with so many things to give Him thanks for!

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)

-God's provision
- finally getting antibiotics for this on again-off again sinus infection
-a walk outside in the fresh air
-a bouquet of foraged blooming branches
-hot water for a bubble bath
-Earl Grey Tea lattes 

-thank You, God that almost everyone in our church is still working
-homemade sourdoughs bread shared with a friend
-Zoom calls to stay connected

-tackling an organizing project while quarantined
-beauty in the middle of this messy coronavirus situation
-watching The Biggest Little Farm together

-oldest grandson's sweet texts
-a hummingbird flying right by me on my walk
-my oldest brother calling me

-Friday Date Day, quarantine style
-a soft serve DQ chocolate ice cream cone
-a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit

-our oldest son-in-law's birthday
-my husband taking me to the ER even thought he was supposed to be filming for tomorrow's church service
-thank God for Drs. and nurses!

-another great online church service
-my husband's care for me
-lots of prayers for me

-my family, our kids and grandkids, my siblings, all my church family and friends
 checking on me and praying for me
-trusting God
-friends bringing us dinner

-my husband making me a berry/yogurt smoothie-the only thing that has set well on my stomach for days
-so many texts and prayers
-beautiful spring weather

-miniature green clusters of future blooms on my viburnum
-meds that are finally helping me with headache pain
-watching The Passion of the Christ once again

-feeling like I'm finally on the mend
-this home God has given us

-backyard lilacs full of buds

-feeling well enough to put on real clothes!
-eating take out for lunch outside on our patio
-my husband buying the Magnolia Table 2 cookbook for me

-our youngest daughter's birthday

-the cottontail rabbit who hangs out in our backyard
-homemade stew

-Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! 
-a beautiful Sunday afternoon drive

-Easter dinner made for us by our middle daughter

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Saturday, April 11, 2020

People of Hope

“…my flesh also will dwell in hope (will encamp, pitch its tent, and dwell in hope in anticipation of the resurrection.) 
(Acts 2:26 Amplified Bible)

We, the Easter people, the people who know, love and serve a living Savior live in a land called Hope.  While our flesh and blood walk this earth, the worst we can imagine here, is still not the end.  We have hope eternal, we serve Hope Eternal, and we live in the land of hope eternal.  (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, April 12th, at Woman to Woman Ministries, where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

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