Monday, October 17, 2022

Weekly Gratitude Journal

Perhaps some people may view keeping a gratitude journal as a sweet spiritual practice that sounds like a good idea for some. Over the years that I have kept a gratitude journal, I've come to find it is much more than that. It's a life changing shift in mindset, a new way of seeing if you will. It unveils the eyes to see beyond life's trials and difficult circumstances and to see the faithfulness, care and blessings of God on the worst of days, the best of days and all of the ordinary mundane days in between. But recently, a friend of ours pointed out that honoring God and giving Him thanks are necessary for our stability and wellbeing and the stability and wellbeing of civilization. (As seen if you read the rest of Romans chapter one.) They are two pillars without which we become the worst version of ourselves. I might not be able to save the world from it's seemingly pell mell dash to destruction, but as for me, I can make sure the pillars of honoring God and giving Him thanks are strong and sturdy in my own life and the lives of those in which God has given me influence. God is worthy of all of our honor, worship and praise and our 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)


-rich teaching
-new friends and spiritual family
-beautiful worship

-a powerful message about honoring God and giving Him thanks
-making plans to meet with new friends in the future
-good reports from home
-a save trip home

-God's protection over our east coast daughters and their families
 and property during hurricane Ian
-our friend who took care of our pup when we were gone for the weekend
-our pup's rash all healed up
-God speaking to my heart during my morning quiet time
-$800 new tires for $400!

a cool, foggy morning
-the way God orders my day and helps me to get everything done when I surrender myself and my day to Him
-tea and good conversation
-dinner, planning and prayer with my Visionary Leadership Team

-Psalm 45
-foggy, misty autumn mornings
-a nice long phone chat with my sister

-praying through prayer points and scriptures for our day of fasting and prayer carefully prayed over and compiled for the women of our church by one of my dear right hand helpers in my VLT
-a beautiful evening with my granddaughters at a state park near my daughter's house
-making homemade spaghetti sauce with my ten year old granddaughter
-an unexpected change of plans
-God knowing that this change of plans was needed

-all we have needed Your hand has provided-thank You for Your faithful provision!
-praying about all things that concern us big or small and seeing God's care
(my five year old grandson's lost school coat was found)

-a blanket of fog covering the golden autumn grass in a farm field
-a drive out in the country to our granddaughter's soccer game
-my husband's safe and on time flight back home

-God clearing speaking to our church and the young people in particular
-our granddaughters at church with us 
-a Sunday afternoon nap after a very full week

-praying scripture over our kids and grandkids
-a new person in church texting me about my husband's message and what it meant to her
-flowers from my guy

-notes for tonight's meeting completed with God's help
-reading Blueberries for Sal to my grandchildren over FaceTime
-the women of our church
-pumpkin desserts

-God's faithful care for us
-autumn colors beginning to appear
-much needed help with some yard work, getting the gutters cleaned and the windows washed

-my guy going to the store for me when I woke up sick
-a phone chat with a friend
-starting to feel better already
-a day to rest

-waking up symptom free
-a great date day with my guy-we went to the beach for the day
-listening to audible books together on the drive
-playing fetch with our pup-she loves the beach, like me!

-our daughter discovering a curriculum that is working better for our grandson
-the lesson of Mama's lost hanky*
-a beautiful baby shower hosted by the young women's growth group

-a powerful word
-Your body broken for me-Your blood shed for me
-lunch with a sweet young couple

still following,
*I have several hankies of my mama's that are special to me. I somehow misplaced my favorite one and couldn't find it anywhere. I prayed and asked God to help me find it. One morning while praying specifically for my family members by name, the lost hanky came to my mind again and I again asked God to help me find it. Suddenly I remembered that I had been wearing an apron the last time I used the hanky and sure enough the hanky was in the pocket of that apron. In that moment God spoke to my heart clearly and said,"If I care about a lost hanky just because it is special to you, how much more do I care about your loved ones?" I want to always remember the lesson of the lost hanky that God taught me!

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Weekly Gratitude Journal

My determination to get these posts out every week and to do a bit more writing in this space is continually sidelined by the priorities of my current life. And I'm okay with that. What happens in this space is in God's hands as I walk in surrender to Him. I've been thinking about that a lot lately, about the concept of surrender and submission to God, of truly making Him Lord, Ruler, Master, the Boss of my life in the reality of my life and what that looks like. I'm of the opinion that we too often think of it as something that we chose to do when we received Jesus as our Savior-when we were born again-and then we don't think about it much after that. But to make Jesus the Lord of our life way back at some point in our past too often doesn't translate into submitting to His will in our life today. Making Him Lord of our past and of our unknown future sounds good, but the reality is that we'd rather avoid letting Him be the boss of today. I prefer to spend my today doing what I want and how I want. Making Him Lord of this twenty four hour box that I am currently living in, letting Him guide how I spend my minutes and honoring His priorities and preferences over my own, takes Lordship from an ethereal idea to a "where the rubber meets the road" reality. And that's been one of the things that is turning my life topsy turvy in a good way. 

Our journey is what God uses to forge us, shape us, mold us, make us. Four years ago our journey took a turn, yet looking back, we can clearly see that it wasn't just something random that happened to us, but something God had been leading us toward for our whole lives-it was the next step in our journey. For us and our church family, it didn't happen without cost. Americans hold on very stubbornly to the American idea of Christianity-of proclaiming Jesus as Lord, while spending their time and money, spending their days, doing whatever seems right in their own eyes. The plumb line that they measure their obedience by is that their preferences are not wicked. They, like the rich young ruler, are proud that they are keeping God's commandments. But, like in the parable, when God asks them to sell all and follow Him, when laying down their comfort, their priorities, their preferences is required, all hell breaks loose in the hidden parts of their unsurrendered souls. Americans declare Jesus as Lord with their words, but it's rare to find those who are living it in daily reality. To live wholly surrendered is looked upon as just too radical, just too costly and those who chose to do so are often labeled cultish heretics. 

I don't have this all figured out, nor am I claiming to be walking in the fullness of what actually letting Jesus be Lord in daily reality looks like. But, what I can tell you is this, I have decided to follow Jesus and to truly let Him be my Lord in the fullness of all that means  for me and whatever that looks like. No turning back. No turning back.


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)

(Catching up on posting the last of September's gratitude journaling.)


-God's correction BEFORE I started the day complaining!
-my oldest grandson texting me that he loves me and loves my texts to him
-a balmy late summer walk and  a beautiful sunset

-a Facetime video chat with my youngest daughter and granddaughter on a day when I'm really missing my east coast family
-a friend's prayers
-a long phone chat with my son-in-law
-texting with my grandson
-God of the details-a Christian doctor who prays with her patients
-my granddaughter facetiming me for help with a school project

-visible healing of my grandson's injuries
-a day off 
-feeling so much better!
-a quiet evening spent creating a card for a sweet friend

-the first day of autumn
-a friend's kindness and help
-a need met
-beautiful prayer points and scriptures that a friend compiles weekly 
for the women in our church

-Friday date day with my love
-a new autumn colored top
-homemade popcorn and a favorite show

-God's help, strength and energy on a full, busy day
-a sunny autumn afternoon to watch my granddaughter play soccer 
while having a good chat with my other granddaughter
-God's help to find a solution to a frustrating technical issue

-God ministering so clearly to people this morning-
(in particular a new person who "just happened to randomly find our church")
-the way God sometimes takes care of things we need help with  even before we ask
-a rare Sunday afternoon nap

-waking up early in order to have plenty of quiet time before meeting some friends
-a lovely breakfast and deep conversation
-God's peace and order in a day that could have been stressful due to a few unexpected things happening
-growth group gatherings

-praying with one another
-the sweetest little jar of honey from a friend's bees

-a freshly groomed pup

-God's help when I face something that I don't know how to handle

-s phone call from my South Carolina girl
-a Starbucks followed by a walk in the woods with my grandgirlie
-spending the afternoon/evening with our two granddaughters-
making tacos and baking cookies together
-having the means to communicate with my daughter as we track the hurricane heading her way

-no hurricane damage to our daughters or their homes and properties
-worshipping wile I work
-some much needed rain

-time to make some ten grain muffins and scrambled eggs before heading to the airport
-a safe, uneventful, on time flight
-getting to meet people face to face that we've only come to know and love via zoom/video

still following,