Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Weekly Gratitude Journal


Autumn officially begins next week! For many of us, we turn the page of the seasonal calendar the minute the Labor Day weekend is over. Yesterday morning we had rain. It was a relief after a hot, dry summer. I was beginning to fear we were going to have a repeat of the horrific wildfire season we had in the September of 2020. The minute I woke up to the sound of rain I decided to make my husband's favorite homemade soup for dinner. By the afternoon, the temps had creeped back up into the summer range and so we ate our hot soup with the air conditioner on. We had to face the truth that it's still summer!

When August ended and September began we were on vacation in beautiful Maine. Many of you know that Maine is pretty much my favorite place on earth. My love for it began the summer that I turned six. Our family took a cross country drive from Oregon to Maine to meet my mama's family for the first time. I fell in love with the place and our family there and that affection has been in my heart ever since. God and I had a talk about this while we were there on vacation. I asked Him why I had a deep sense of belonging in a place that I'd never actually lived. To be honest, sometimes I ask God questions and I hear nothing or He answers me later on, often in surprising ways. But on that morning, God spoke quickly and clearly to my heart. "Your longing to be in a place you've never actually lived before and your love for the family that remains there is just a taste of the reality you live in as My child. You long to be with Me, though you've never actually seen me. You long to live where I am. You long for the kingdom of God. It's where your citizenship actually is and though you're never lived there before, it's where you really belong." This analogy blessed me so much and the truth of it is still ringing in my heart. 

Our second born daughter and her family have lived in South Carolina for over a year now. Our youngest daughter and her family have lived in Florida for about nine months. I'm so thankful that our oldest daughter and her family still live not too far from us. Yet, I still mourn at times, I still shed tears at times, for what used to be. I loved having our family all living in close proximity. I loved being able to babysit the grandkids when needed or spontaneously take them to the park or have them over for a sleepover. I loved that all eight of my grandchildren, "the cousins," were living near one another. That we are on separate sides of the U.S. now is still a hard adjustment for me and for my husband as well. We are so thankful for things like air miles that make trips to see one another possible. I only got to see my Nana in Maine twice in my whole life! But my east coast grandkids can see me on FaceTime anytime they want and we can fly there or they can come here relatively often. I'm very thankful for that.

I won't go into details, but I did mention vaguely here on my blog that our church made a big transition four years ago. Change always costs us something, doesn't it? And the changes we made definitely did. But, we are now seeing the beauty of following the directions of the Lord no matter the cost. When we were on vacation, there was not one bit of concern about how things would go at church without us. The shift we made was, in part, to grow and mature people in the church so that they take ownership in the church-so it's no longer so pastoral dependent. How beautiful it was to not only hear how great things went while we were gone, but to hear that visitors came and loved what God is doing. In all of our over four decades of ministry I have never lived in the reality that God's yoke is easy and His burden is light or lived the truth of the scripture that God will build His church and the gates of hell will not prevail against. To be living in that kind of peace and joy is so amazing and so beautiful. I give God all my praise and thanksgiving!

Well, I have a lot of catching up to do with my gratitude list, so buckle up for a long list!

***************************
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)


#16,064-#16,142

8-23-2022-
-a trip to see our east coast kids and grandkids is on the calendar 
(which gives us something to look forward to!)
-Papa and our oldest grandson texting back and forth
-an encouraging text

8-24-2022-
-our generous, thoughtful daughter
-texting my siblings
-one last trip to the river with our granddaughters before school starts 



8-25-2022-
-a sweet morning of prayer and the Word-digging into 1 John
-a nice long FB chat and prayer with my oldest granddaughter
-a great Bible study and discussion tonight

8-26-2022-
-a sweet date day with my guy
-my Florida grandkids opening their mail from me on FaceTime
-texts with with friends about what God is speaking to us through His Word
(this is the beautiful new normal we now have our church!)

8-27-2022-
-re-reading through the treasure box of memories that my girls made for me years ago-
what a blessing!
-a sweet time with the Lord even as I cleaned the house
-videos of my sweet five year old grandson at his soccer game 
and of our oldest grandson at his football game
-youngest grandson FaceTiming us to say goodnight

8-28-2022-
-God's beautiful presence
-more new faces at church today
-new volunteers for the church nursery

8-29-2022-
-a safe and uneventful flight to Maine
-twenty minutes in a massage chair on our layover ☺️
-Maine wild blueberry pancakes with Maine maple syrup
-our cozy little AirBnB cottage built in the 1760's!

8-30-2022-
-sunflowers and pumpkins in front of grand New England homes




-an orange monarch butterfly


-Mama's hometown




-the rocky coast at Reid State Park












-sitting on a park bench and sipping cups of hot tea while listening
 to the Bath Municipal Band play in the town gazebo


8-31-2022-
-church bells chiming on the hour
-an early morning rainstorm
-so much good stuff going over the scriptures from Sunday's notes
-Facetime call from my daughter and grandson
-a funny video of my granddaughter 

9-1-2022-
-September!
-praying with the ladies from our church even though I'm in Maine
-whole belly clams for lunch-so good!


-a beach day!
-an exciting invitation!

9-2-2022-
-Friday Date Day in Maine! ❤️
-dinner with my aunt and cousins
-fresh lobster, corn on the cob and blueberry pie with ice cream for dessert!


9-3-2022-
-a scripture and encouraging word for a loved one
-getting to explore parts of Maine we've not been to before with my cousin and his wife











-my cousin's generosity

9-4-2022-
-a good night's sleep 
-it's our 46th anniversary!
-good reports on how well church went
-the best prime rib at The Harbor Room
-beautiful Pemaquid Point and Pemaquid beach








-seaglass hunting-my favorite!

9-5-2022-
-sleeping in
-a cozy, lazy, rainy day
-listening to and taking notes on a great teaching video

9-6-2022-
-getting to listen to Sunday's service 
-Boothbay Harbor


-a new cozy Maine sweatshirt

9-7-2022-
-morning sun shining through the old paned windows onto the pine floors of this old cottage
-God showing me that my sense of belonging in a place I'e never lived before is a picture of my longing to be with Him in His kingdom
-a beautiful day at Fort Popham and Popham beach






-God's provision of this time together

9-8-2022-
-one last breakfast of blueberry pancakes at Becky's Diner in Portland, ME 
before heading home
-time to go to Portland Head Lighthouse before heading to the airport


-a foggy Maine morning that turned into a stunningly beautiful sunny day
-a safe flight home with no delays or cancellations
-our home
-our pup, Sal

9-9-2022-
-new glasses
-God's provision for everything from groceries to vacations
-a bouquet of sunflowers

9-10-2022-
-a nice long phone chat 
-wildfire near loved ones is now contained 
-my guys appreciation for a simple supper of tacos

9-11-2022-
-God's watchful care over us 21 years ago as we flew home from New England on 9-11-2001
-making a wild Maine blueberry crisp for tonight's meeting
-a beautiful time of sharing, prayer and growing together with Visionary Leadership and Growth Group Coordinators

9-12-2002-
-much needed rain
-the reality and hope of eternal life as we face the passing of a dear one from our church
-a quiet morning to study
-a nice long walk with our dog

still following,


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