Monday, December 28, 2020

Weekly Gratitude Post

When our girls were growing up, I measured the passing of time in Christmases and summers. The day after Christmas and the day before school began I always felt a bit melancholy. One more Christmas of their childhood gone. One more summer gone. Now it's a bit the same, but with the grandkids. Our oldest granddaughter will be eighteen in the new year! Zoom!-and her last Christmas as a "kid" is gone. 

I've always wondered how people who don't have the assurance of eternal life cope with the passage of time. It's almost painful how swiftly life flies by. But, this life is not all there is. Thank God for that! And thank Him for all of His blessings in this life-most of all that He is with us through every moment of 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)

-a visit with a dear couple from our church
-my husband's love for me
-the "cousins" getting together to plan a nativity play for our family Christmas

-breakfast at our daughter's with our grandkids who had a sleepover
--each day now, since the solstice, is light a wee bit longer
-going to look at Christmas lights with my daughter and grandsons

-text messages from friends
-a chat on the phone with my sister
-cold, frosty weather
-baking pies
-a beautiful walk just before sunset

-our whole family together 

-the annual blessing spoken over our children and grandchildren with prayer and communion
-our youngest daughter and her family spending the night

-Christmas Day! Thank You, God for sending Jesus!

-the whole family having breakfast together at our middle daugher's
-a fun family scavenger hunt
-appetizers and goodies and games at our oldest daughter's

-a good night's sleep after a full, fun, exhausting Christmas
-new comfy, cozy LL Bean pajamas

-a quiet evening

-joy in God's house
-an impactful message
-"undecorating" the house so it's clean and uncluttered for the new year

still following,

Monday, December 21, 2020

Weekly Gratitude Journal

It's been a great week! I am so encouraged in the Lord as I am seeing Him work even in the middle of the messiness of this year. I believe that God does His best work in the messy middle of our worst times.

As always, I'm as excited as a little kid for Christmas. I still get butterflies anticipating the big day. It's only four "sleeps" away! I've been busy baking - a batch of cranberry cinnamon bread dough is rising in the warmth of my kitchen even as I'm typing out this post.

Oh, did you notice I passed the 14,000th blessing in my gratitude journal this week! There is ALWAYS something to be thankful for!

I pray that all of you experience the presence and peace of Christ as you celebrate His birth! Merriest of Christmases to all of you!
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
-God's peace
-a picnic to eat in the car and a walk around Lake Sacajawea until the Christmas lights came on

-prayers on my walk
-baking while listening to a Instrumental Christmas Hymns playlist
-paperwhites in bloom on my kitchen windowsill

-Isaiah 41
-finishing my walk just before a huge downpour
-spending time with my grandson making his baby brother a Build-A-Bear for Christmas

-our middle daughter and son-in-law's 20th anniversary
-God's peace and joy even in these topsy turvy times
-youngest grandson's first sleepover at our house while mama  and daddy celebrate their anniversary

-a fun date day holiday outing
-a cozy winter's nap
-Christmas cards all done!

-someone dear to us is turning 40 today!
-our church family
-God at work in teaching us to be flexible

-our annual church Christmas breakfast
-such good teaching
-God's amazing faithfulness

still following,


Saturday, December 19, 2020

Have A Love Filled Christmas

The focus for the final week of Advent is love. "For this is how God loved the world; He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 NLT Jesus is the reason for the Christmas season. God's love for You is the reason He sent His Son Jesus. 

Woman to Woman Ministries, where I usually post weekly on Sundays is on a holiday break, but I didn't want this final Sunday of Advent to go by without a little reminder to you of how much God loves you. 

still following,

Monday, December 14, 2020

Weekly Gratitude Journal

"Joy is a function of gratitude,
and gratitude is a function of perspective.
You only begin to change your life
when you change the way you see." 
Ann Voskamp-The Greatest Gift

Yesterday evening I watched the Christmas special on The Chosen app. On the special, Mandisa sang a song called, "Get Used To Different." The song speaks to the reality that God often works in ways completely contrary to what we expect or think or understand. The song spoke to me deeply as this year has been nothing like most of us expected. Besides the pandemic and the shutdown, we've personally been through a big shift against the status quo in our own lives and church. Change is not easy. Our flesh will most often choose the status quo over the discomfort of change. This year I've realized that God is not interested in maintaining the status quo or in indulging our desire for fleshly comfort. God is doing a new thing and He wants us to perceive it. He wants to change our lives, but are we willing to let Him change the way we see so we have the proper perspective necessary to see what He is doing, no matter how different it is than what we expected?

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)


-coffee in bed
-taking a slow morning together after a very full weekend
-sharing what God is doing with a friend and my sister 
-our grandson speaking at youth group

-the smell of foraged cedar and pine and fir branches
-having a family movie night watching The Polar Express

-hot chocolate and sugar cookies
-kisses and hugs and "I love you"s

-instrumental Christmas hymns playlist
-God's help in ordering a full and busy day and making it peace filled
-having company over for dinner

-a sweet morning quiet time reading from the book of Isaiah
-a friend coming over for tea and a visit and prayer
-seeing God working in our weekly prayer gatherings

-a good night's sleep
-a sweet rainy date day with my guy
-our annual tradition of dipping pretzels in chocolate with the grandkids

-our granddaughters talking to me about Jesus coming back
-my husband surprising me by mopping and vacuuming the floors!
-a hot bubble bath and going to bed early

-Your work in us and church
-our three year old grandson rehearsing the meaning of the Advent candles
-God answering prayer

still following,

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Have A Joy Filled Christmas

Then [Ezra] told them, Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet drink, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. And be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold. (Nehemiah 8:10 Amplified Bible)

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]. (Philippians 4:13 Amplified Bible)

This is the third Sunday of Advent and the traditional focus for this week of Advent is joy.
I love the truth that JOY isn't just some sort of fluffy, silly emotion. On the contrary, the joy that God gives us is a powerful thing, a force to be reckoned with.  It's an immovable stronghold, impenetrable to the storms of life or the attacks of the enemy. The joy that God gives isn't dependent on things all going our way-on never experiencing testing, trials or suffering.  (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, December 13th at Woman to Woman Ministries, where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Weekly Gratitude Journal

Last week was quite a week. As life goes, we faced some hard things, but God so abundantly above and beyond all we could ask or think comforted us, assured us, blessed us and lead us through it. The week ended with a feast of rich teaching and growing and relationship building. I spent Monday resting and meditating on all that God is speaking and doing in us and so I'm a day late in posting my gratitudes. But, first let me share a quick thought with you from my recent time in God's Word. I'm going though Ann Voskamp's The Greatest Gift-Unwrapping The Full Love Story Of Christmas again this Advent, as well as rereading the book of Isaiah. When I read the words, "He has done excellent things" in Isaiah 12 verse 5 the thought struck me that all that God does is excellent. It is impossible for God to make a mistake or to do anything imperfectly. Now we fallible humans can of course make a mess of anything we touch, but all that comes to us from God's hand is excellent-including the hard things that He allows. What comfort that truth gave me. God is so good and He, indeed, does excellent things. Oh, how thankful I am!
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)

-beginning my Advent reading and an especially sweet time of prayer
-a little Monday evening outing with my guy
-the beautiful harvest moon

-It's December!
-a beautiful walk with C and B (two of the grands)
- a visit that included sharing ice cream cones and fries with our two middle granddaughters
-our girl's "sister network"

-learning to both let go and move forward
-God working in our hearts as we process both loss and gain
-an amazing and encouraging meeting with our church leadership team

-our home
-my husband's support and encouragement 
-P's help with things I needed to get done at church
-D's help with leading prayer 

-a safe trip
-a baskets of goodies in our hotel rooms
-such rich times of learning and conversation and growing

-the beautiful group of women who loved and cared for us this weekend
-rich, deep relationship building
-an all too short walk by the sea

-staying up way later than we should talking

-God speaking to me clearly about "dead works" 
(things I do "for Him" out of obligation instead of love)
-God at work in our church in amazing ways
-being back home with my husband

still following,

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Have a Peace Filled Christmas

Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.] John 14:27 AMPC

Jesus has a gift for you this Christmas. It's something that will come in handy during what may be a harried holiday season at the end of this difficult year and the beginning of a new year full of unknowns. Before Jesus died on the cross for you and I, He was having a talk with His disciples and He mentioned that He had left them, and us, something in His last will and testament. He left us His peace. He was and is the Prince of Peace. His thoughts, His emotions, the essence of Who He is peace. And that supernatural peace is now legally ours to possess. It's been bequeathed to us by the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

However, as with any gift, we have a choice whether or not to open it and use it. Jesus left us us His peace, but if we don't choose to receive it and allow it to rule in us, we will still be pulled hither and yon by every anxious thought, by every wind and wave of circumstance and by every tumultuous emotion.  (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, December 6th at Woman to Woman Ministries, where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)

still following,