Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Weekly Gratitude Journal

On any given moment on any given day, if we base our judgment of God's character on our circumstances or our feelings, instead of being the unchangeable God who is the same yesterday, today and forever, our circumstances or our feelings can convince us that God is good one moment and unkind, uncaring or even cruel the next. Of course, satan and mankind's willful disobedience to God and His ways is the root cause of all the sin sickness in our world, but God is the one who usually gets the blame. "If God is good why did He allow this bad thing to happen to me?" is a question we have all asked at one time or the other. Unmet expectations are the undoing of many relationships and when our unmet expectations are about how we think God should behave, well, as C.S. Lewis said He is "not a tame lion" and rarely behaves the way we think He should. Yet the Bible declares that He is perfect in all of His ways. In other words, His ways of thinking, reacting and responding are always perfect while ours are fallible. His motives and intentions are always pure and good and right, while, once again, ours are fallible. His plans, desires, longings and purposes are perfect, and yes, once again, ours are not. Life on sin-twisted planet earth has scarred us all. We have all been hurt and betrayed by others. We have all experienced heart breaking loss of one kind or another. We have all been touched by sorrow and grief. Yet in the middle of this messy planet all that is beautiful and good and lovely and loving is constantly testifying to us of God's goodness -testifying to those who have eyes to see. Testifying of His beauty and His steadfast love that endures forever. Let us have eyes to see and a heart that responds to Him and His goodness with gratitude.

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 beautiful, encouraging morning preparing for tomorrow night's meeting with the women of our church
-good conversations with my sister and another with a trusted friend 
-a long, brisk walk
-texts with my oldest grandson

-our strong support system
-a morning that started out with a disastrous coffee spill on the carpet
 but didn't ruin or spoil my choice to have a good day
-a decided, definite shift from the old into the new in our gathering tonight
-new faces at our gathering

-beach therapy! We took the day off and went to Lincoln City!

-so many encouraging texts about last night's meeting
-our beautiful Pacific Northwest

-my mama-today she would have been 97. Happy birthday in heaven, Mama!
-doing a deep study of John 10:1-16
-so thankful for the one who runs our children's ministry at church!

-a big answer to prayer
-working out in the yard together with my guy
-seeing God working all things together for good 
specifically in regards to all of the losses we have gone through in 2021 and 2022

-potato salad made the same way mama made it
-a phone call with my oldest sister
-our home
-dinner at my nephew's with friends from church

-my husband and my three sons-in-law on this Father's Day
-the beauty of what God is doing in our church
-cards and texts to my guy from his girls
-a nice Father's Day with our oldest and her family and my nephew and his family

still following,

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Weekly Gratitude Journal

Life is never all beautiful or all ugly. Usually it's a combination of both, the ugly and the beautiful. The darkness and the light are both a part of our everyday lives. What keeps us stuck in hopelessness, helplessness and despair is focusing on the ugliness in life, the dark and difficult things, to the point that we lose sight of the beautiful. The first shift of focus that we need, that I need, is to look up. When my focus shifts off of myself and my circumstances and onto Jesus, the Author and the Finisher of my faith, the Beautiful One Who gave His life for me so that I can live and walk in a real, vital, living relationship with the Creator of the Universe, then my circumstances can be seen in proper perspective. My eyes become unveiled to the beauty and blessings that God has placed in the midst of life's messy and difficult days. 

Yesterday, I had a glorious morning of Bible study and heart communication with God. My whole mindset was shifted from discouragement to hopefulness. It seemed as if the whole day I was enveloped in God's  peace and presence. 

Today I woke up anticipating more of the same. My husband had an early morning meeting, so I got up and went to our corner Starbucks, bought myself a Venti Americano, and came back home anticipating a quiet morning with my Bible and journal. I was also hoping to spend some time preparing my heart for a church event I'm leading tonight. What actually happened is that I spilled that great big Americano coffee all over my light colored bedroom carpet. I spent the morning cleaning the carpet instead of enjoying a quiet morning. That dark, ugly mess on my bedroom carpet could have become my focus and could have set the course of my whole day. At exactly the same time that I was cleaning up a big mess, my husband was having a very encouraging and hope filled meeting that confirmed some things the Lord had already been speaking to us both. Beauty and blessing were happening simultaneously with mess and frustration. It was my choice which one of those two things I would hold onto, would focus on, for the remainder of this day.

This world is daily declining further into chaos and confusion. At exactly the same time, God is working in people who's hearts are committed to Him and His ways. He is maturing His church, those willing to let Him do so, so that they will shine in the midst of the darkness. I can focus on the sin sickness of the world or on the work of Christ in me and His people. My focus determines my attitude which determines the direction of my day. Today is a good day, coffee spills and all. In the middle of my mess, I see God's beauty and blessing all around me. And I will thank Him with all of my heart.

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 book I've been wanted gifted to me from my friend
-a beautiful morning quiet time
-a nice long walk
-dinner with my nephew and his family

-our youngest grandson who is two years old today!

-God's provision-I never take it for granted. Thank you, Father!
-eating, meeting, praying and planning with my Visionary Leadership Team

-strawberry season
-friends that pray
-a good visit with my oldest daughter and granddaughters

-a quiet morning with Jesus
-a sale on soy wax for making more candles
-an encouraging phone conversation

-laughing together
-cozy candlelight on a rainy spring day
-the rose bush I planted with my grandson full of yellow roses

-God helping me to have a really productive day
-pot roast slow cooking in the oven
-a nice chat with my sister who is home after a month long trip to Europe

-our oldest granddaughter is nineteen today

-and my big sister is seventy today
-discovering the cutest little plant shop not far from where I live-(I bought a new plant!)

still following,

Monday, June 6, 2022

Weekly Gratitude Journal

The month of May was one of the craziest months on my schedule that I've ever experienced. The first week of the month my husband and I flew to Missouri to attend the college graduation of our "unofficially adopted" granddaughter. (She was our eight year old grandson's nanny since he was an infant and became a much loved part of our family.)  It was a short, but beautiful time with her and we also got to spend time with our oldest granddaughter who is completing an internship in Kansas City. We flew home for a few days as I had some ministry events that I needed to be at. Just three days later, I flew back to Kansas City, (this time my husband stayed home), to attend a big stadium event, The Send, with our two oldest grandkids and a couple of families from our church. Then I flew home again and four days later, my husband and I both flew back to Kansas City for a wedding. The morning after the wedding we flew on to Jacksonville, Florida to spend a week with our youngest daughter and her family. (We got to celebrate our grandson's fifth birthday with him!) Our second born daughter from South Carolina joined us there with her two youngest boys. We ended our time away by driving back to South Carolina with her and spending a couple of days with her family in a condo in the Pawley's Island area. Then we flew home out of Charlotte and while on our layover in Atlanta our flight home to Portland was cancelled. (We live in Washington state, just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon.) We made it home on another later flight to Seattle thanks to our nephew who drove the three hours to Seattle and back to pick us up and drive us home. Our bags, however, did not catch up with us until two days later. All's well that ends well they say and we are now safely home with no big trips scheduled again until, perhaps, the end of summer. Whew! 

To sum the month of May up, it was both busy and blessed. I'm so very grateful for the time we had with family and friends. Life still has its hurts and sorrows, its dark and difficult moments. But God is always watchful and  affectionate in His care for us and there is always, always, always something to be thankful 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)


-a day of rest after a full weekend
-our pup's surgery went well
-facetiming with my almost five year old grandson

-the way God is working in and through our "unofficially adopted" granddaughter's life
-my siblings
-facetime calls with my grandkids
-my new Eufy robot vacuum

-a friend who watches our dog for us while we are gone
-God very clearly healing an eye issue I was having when I had my friends and family pray for me
-gettting bumped up to first class!

-a safe flight
-a shower and nap after a long flight
-our oldest granddaughter blossoming and growing in her internship

-a text that our pup is recovering well under our friend's good care while we are out of town
-hearing our "unofficially adopted" granddaughter preach!
-her excitement over the Bible study tools we got her for her graduation gift

-a slow morning together
-a beautiful graduation ceremony

-spending time with our oldest granddaughter

-spending time in the prayer room

-Mother's Day texts and messages and FaceTime chats
-a beautiful heart talk with our granddaughter about the deep work God is doing in her life 
-an evening of good spiritual conversation with our friends 

-a safe flight home
-good reports on how things went while we were gone
-our own bed

-God's help with prep for tonight's meeting
-a phone call with my oldest daughter
-the women of our church

-our grandson who is eight today!

-a potentially difficult meeting that went well
-a fun afternoon with our two granddaughters

-our oldest grandson is eighteen today!

-God's blessing when rebooking my flight that was cancelled
-beautiful time in the prayer room
-the kindness of our friends

-a Missouri thunderstorm
-morning quiet time
-missing my husband
-good talks about what God is doing
-a really good evening and conversation with my oldest grandson

-all the shades of green in spring
-getting to be at The Send

-worshipping together with a stadium full of people
-food and laughter with friends

-spending the day with my two oldest grandkids

-Jeremiah 15:15-21
-texts with my guy

-new morning and new mercies
-listening to my husband's message from Sunday
-a delicious meal at Blue Koi with friends
-a good heart talk and time of prayer with my grandson and our friends

-going to class with my granddaughter
-God's work in her
-an uneventful, safe flight home

-morning coffee and quiet time-my favorite
-a phone chat with my son-in-law
-an evening walk with our pup

-our middle daughter-today's her birthday!
-a phone call with my big brother
-pink peony full of buds
-our backyard viburnum in full of white snowball blooms
-a long avoided task of cleaning and organizing my desk is done!

-Friday date day!
-a chance meet up with our oldest daughter, son-in-law ad granddaughters while running an errand
-a clean, fluffy pup after her bath

-blue skies and sunshine
-working in the yard
-an answer to prayer for my sister and bro-in-law

-our church
-spotting a bald eagle
-a beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest
-the view of the Puget Sound as we flew to our connecting flight in Seattle
-our friend who picked us up from the airport

-our oldest daughter's 24th anniversary and our youngest daughter's 7th anniversary
-hanging out with our granddaughter
-a beautiful, God honoring wedding ceremony

-K. getting up at 2:30AM to drive us to the airport
-being with our four youngest grandkids and two of our daughters
-homemade friend chicken! (make by our youngest daughter)
-reading books with my youngest granddaughter

-our grandson's fifth birthday

-tropical sounding birdsong and a fingernail moon in the morning sky
-laughter and fun in the pool with the whole family

-a good visit with V and D

-a beautiful day at Jax Beach

-frosties and fries on the drive home
-quiet time by the pool after the grandkids went to bed

-morning snuggles when the grandkids come in to wake us up
-my husband watching the grandkids so my daughters and I could go thrifting
-an easy fix for an overflowing sink

-early morning donut runs for the grandkids
-snatches of one on one time with each of them
-homemade peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream
-garden fresh tomato sprinkled with sea salt

-going to church with my daughter 
-our daughter making us the most delicious steak, corn on the cob and salad
-"tell me another story" said by my youngest granddaughter

-Memorial Day-those who gave their lives for our freedom
-a safe drive to South Carolina
-a long walk by the sea

-good coffee and a few quiet moments on the screened porch
-an encouraging zoom meeting just when we needed it
-texts saying, "I am praying for you"

-a morning walk with my grandson
-the most delicious sugar free butter pecan ice cream
-running out of gas conveniently in a store parking lot instead of on the road

-our friend who is watching out dog
-catching a standby flight to Seattle when our flight to Portland was cancelled
and our nephew driving to Seattle to pick us up
-our home

-a helpful customer service rep
-the roses and peonies in our yard are in full bloom

-our fresh Pacific Northwest air
-sweet morning quiet time
-God's daily provision

-our bags finally arriving this afternoon with everything in them intact
-friends to talk to
-our quiet, peaceful home
-God at work 

-Jesus' body broken for me and His blood shed for me
-our church family
-a quick visit with our son-in-law who is in town for work 

still following,