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Archive for the ‘Blessings’ Category

Summer from school was only about 6 weeks long – so the boys, they slept in, went swimming a few times – and hung out with their friends in the neighborhood. Lots of laughter – about 5 p.m. every afternoon – mayhem, really, between the birds back-yard socializing, the cat tormenting the birds -and the boys playing raucously with friends across the street. It is a beautiful thing – the sound of that laughter.

It was a homey summer. It was a refreshing time, for the boys, that is.

For me, it was the first summer working full-time. It was full of weddings, showers and celebrations. It was full of Saturday Morning dates to the farmer’s market. It was a watering time for all the seed planting and transplanting.

Cupcakes for a shower hosted with my aunt

Dress Cookies for a friend’s Daughter – because she likes them

Cupcakes I made for my 50th birthday

Beyond the gate, I hosted a 14 year old birthday party – an air-soft -gun party. My son wanted Dairy Queen’s ice cream cake.

Lots of checkers on the porch

Beyond the gate, a dear friend’s sweet daughter married – and it was blessing, the celebration.

After my surgery, while gathering my strength, we found our way to a cabin by a pond, where the boys rowed, swam and fished

A summer where zinnias on the window sill were colorful blessings bring comfort from the Father

Farmer’s Market Dates on Saturday Morning

Acorns found on the path during an anniversary trip

Listening to my sons’ and husband’s turtle dove calls

Celebrating 29 years in 30 hours – just the two of us, living life beyond the gate

A summer of simple living and celebration

“God’s kingdom is like a pine nut that a farmer plants. It is quite small as seeds go, but in the course of years it grows into a huge pine tree, and eagles build nests in it.”(Matthew 13:31-32)

686) A squirrel chewing away at branches for its nest – providing a moment of respite from chaos.
687) A trio of dove calls – from two sons and my husband
688) red tomatoes from my garden
689) Festivals – music, people, food, crafts on a Friday night – everyone needs festival moments
690) Watching the homeschool children perform Appalachian songs of faith boldly
691) Rain storms with nothing but thunder
692) fresh rain in the morning
693) the coolness after the storm, reminding me that God brings seasons of refreshing after turbulent storms
694) Hearing a song from last year, a song prayed over my son – and rejoicing at answered prayers
695) My blue cotton quilt – complete and home
696) The self-discipline to knit a few rows – because I will be disappointed later if I do not
697) Friends in the blogahood, responding to a prayer request
698) God coaching me to live one day at a time, one step at a time – like those days when there are a gazillion things on my schedule – getting all the boys to all the places and everything inbetween and after – and trusting Him it will walk itself out one step at a time.
699) Post-it-note reminders for prayer needs
700) The repeated message that I see in art, in words, in a chorus: Grow where you are planted – God letting me know that where I am right now is where I need to be.

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It’s the end of the week – and I’m tired. It’s the blessings, the love notes and messages from the Father that brought me smiles this week – like leaves still green swirling like confetti under a canopy of trees on my way home. Remembering last weeks blessings, vintaging them – sometimes those memories are the sweetness  that turned the sour, bland and tasteless moments of a day into hope and faith moments creased with a smile. Wishing you much blessing through the weekend, much refreshing, and the uncovering of many gifts from the Father!

634) In the hurly burly of an up-coming overwhelming schedule, a bird singing as I walked across the parking lot in the early morning sun. It was a song of peace, quiet joy in a yellow and blue sky morning.
635) yellow dress cookies with burnt orange and goldenrod yellow ribbons – made with love for a beautiful young lady, inside and out, who chose me to be her mom for a weekend, when she was little and I was much younger

636)Love and a repentant heart in a little boy wrapping his arms around me for forgiveness already given.
637) Amonia in a bucket that cleans all the dirt from real living off my kitchen floors.
638) My husband’s smile
639) A 30 hour trip celebrating 29 years of marriage
640) finding a buck-eye under a tree, hour 2 of our 30 hour celebration, a symbol of good luck, of blessing for our short journey

641) a handful of acorns, God reminding me that there are gifts that grow from seeds to trees if I just look around under my feet, up to the stars and everywhere in between.
642) a turtle dove, lighting on a white fence on our walk to dinner. Turtle doves are my husband’s favorite bird. As he mimicked the turtle dove call, she turned toward him for a photo.
643) time to just sit under the stars on a cool evening
644) knitting a few rows in a still few moments
645) a morning walk among the animals at Shaker Town – and birds flying to land on a fence, in a row, seeming playful, carefree – just like my heart felt – and God letting my surroundings echo that feeling
646) each son’s smile and the different places those smiles come from
647) coming home sick one day from work and being wrapped in the silence of a still house, every once and a while as soothing as a cool cloth on a fevered brow.
648) Messages for my heart found in un-looked for places


649) my cat who is a constant reminder of all the places to relax and stretch out

650) Smiles from a son while I coach him through a senior paper
651) Pizza on Friday night
652) My mother-in-law coming for a visit
653) Drinking coffee with my MIL in the late afternoons
654) The sounds of 4 boys playing cards, murmuring voices and grandbaby girl laughing

655)Yellow, Orange, Fuschia zinnias
656) Red tomatoes, green cucumbers, white corn and onions stirred together into my cold cucumber chowder
657) Pancakes on Sunday after church
658)Home at the end of every day

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A stomach bug has been creeping around our house. The blessings, in their usual places, don’t comfort me. The yard cardinals, my growing-tall zinnias, my burning bushes, the squirrels on the sidewalk to my office – even the hammock under the tree.

503) Some days, like stomach bug days, the blessing is the comfort in a blanket wrapped around,
504) the hum of  a galaxy
505) tiredness resting on a soft pillow
506) and the quiet, the sleep.
507) The blessing is in the doing of others
508) the folding of laundry,
509) the preparing of dinner
510) and the cleaning up.
511) A beet-mango smoothie with ginger soothing after work when anything more is uncomfortable.
512) The comfort in my husband’s hand rubbing my back,
513) one of my sons leaning his head against mine for a sit-down moment.
514) A slow rain on a Sunday that slowed everyone down so much,
515) they just paused beside us on the porch and lingered
516) repeatedly returning and lingering as we sat there, watching.
517) It amazes me the sweet living in the pause.

I am discovering that some days, the Father’s love letters are written outside of me, in the landscape. On other days, they are written in my heart, like the simmering rejoicing of an answered prayer that fills me up inside.

This week has been a rejoicing week, despite a creeping bug.
518) Rejoicing in answered prayers,
519)in sitting in church with my husband and sons
520) hands reaching, shaking my reserve soldier son’s hand, rejoicing that he is home
521) a very old friend, a spiritual grandfather to my son, speaking blessing over my son, with his words, his hands, his expressions – showing my son God’s amazing love –
522) After a long waiting on which steps to take, God revealing
523) The relief in the revealing
524) The lingering in the quiet with the Father, joyful, smiling, excited and quiet all at once – because He is faithful, amazingly, beautifully Faithful!
525) Faith of God’s mighty power eradicating this creeping stomach bug

“For the word of the LORD is right and true;
he is faithful in all he does
(Psalm 33: 4)

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A prayer is a journey released.

I believe

That when you pray for other people, that prayer goes on a journey,

And like all journeys, come back home.

Prayer returned home.

Come back home in the manner it was released – with either faith, hope and love or faithless, hopeless and loveless.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:36)

I remember praying healing for someone who had experienced a life-threatening injury

And through the journey of the prayer

Over months and months

That healing prayer came back to heal us of secondary infertility.

“I exhort therefore, that first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men” (1 Timothy 2:1).

 Over the last few months, our family has been praying

For Annie to return, to come home  (see this post) – praying with faith, hope and love.

While we prayed for Annie, we prayed for a son (see this post), prayed with faith, hope and love – For this son to sell out to Jesus.

This son who couldn’t wait to leave home, busted out of home when he graduated from high school last year, signed up for the reserves and has become a better man, Friday night, he said, “It’s come my time to find God and come home.” He didn’t just say it to me; he said it on Facebook, kind of like he needed to say it to the world.

Prayer sent out on a journey returned home.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (Luke 6: 30).

24 hours later, Annie came home, too. We were in our car, returning from a far-away wedding, celebrating a heart-friend’s daughter’s marriage, a marriage beginning God-centered, faith-centered – and I wanted to dance, to celebrate God’s amazing love, His never-give-up-ness with this answered prayer returned home from its journey.

“Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven”(Psalm 107:28-30).

 Praying is not a stagnant action. A prayer is a journey released, returning home returning home in the manner released. Unasked for. Unexpected.

480) The daily, familiar blessings, like the cardinals, mockingbirds, dove calls
481) Squirrels rummaging through the hay outside my work window
482) Strawberry, Watermelon and lemonade icy smoothy
483) “You have made me glad. I’ll say of the Lord you are my shield, my strength, my portion deliver, My shelter, Strong Tower, My very Present Help in time of need” (Made Me Glad, Hillsong) – a song in my heart whether at my work desk, in my car, my kitchen, or in a hammock under my tree – Releasing that song in my heart – no one else could hear it – but me and God!
484) Boys worn out from swimming, the evidence of sunshine on their cheeks.
485) A date day with my husband, with a heart-friend’s daughter’s wedding.
486) Lunch at the Cheesecake Factory – my favorite Club Sandwich and a cup of coffee.
487) Walking in a real mall, window shopping and some real shopping
488) My husband gifting me with Tocca’s Stella perfume which I have wanted since January.
489) Good haircuts on my boys – I don’t know why but a good haircut makes me feel like everything is on the right track.
490) My littlest guy coming up, wrapping me in a hug, “I love you, Mom.”
491) Laughing with my new senior son! He’s going to be a camp counselor-in-training. No flirting allowed. I tried coaching him to say, “I’m here to serve Jesus. Please respect my decision” when girls hit on him. Instead of repeating after me, he said, “Send me your number. I’ll call you when camp is over” – I couldn’t stop laughing because, while he has great lines, he’s not a smooth, shallow pick-up guy. He is so full of the Joy of the Lord.
492) Wheat fields, swaying in a cool 78 degree breeze
493) My camera through which I have learned to live more fully where I am – we arrived at the South Union Shaker Village wedding site early taking in detail in an intentional way, not a skimmed-over-way.
494) Hugs from dear friends not seen enough
495) new love consecrated in marriage, made one through the Holy Spirit – and the couple inviting God into their union knowingly, whole-heartedly, eyes wide open.
496) My sons jeep pulling into the driveway.
497) Brother’s smiling, not saying but actions speaking loudly, welcoming a brother home.
498) Showing my neighbor’s 4 year old how to draw cats on the sidewalk with the sidewalk chalk and little girls in polka dot dresses.
499) People caring enough to pray, to connect, to have relationship – people caring enough to send their prayers on a journey.
500) Nikki at Simply Striving who read “Bicycling with Ava” to her son and she telling me he asked to hear it again. I’m still smiling!
501) Annie coming home!
502) Understanding that the coming home is just the beginning of another journey.

The Bride Arrived in a Red Car

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leadme“I was gonna blog but when I looked at all the blogs, everyone is either an English teacher or has a Masters in English,” a friend said over lunch.

My friend is an artisan, knitting, quilting, creating beautiful things with a grace I don’t have. There are so many gifts that I don’t have, that I cannot master. Her gifts are not my gifts – sometimes I feel like a failure because I cannot sing, quilt, play an instrument, have an everything-in-its-place home.

I pointed out all the cooking, crafting and home decorating blogs – where their passion is not about words but talents, giftings – if she blogged her gifts, it would be filled with awesome things.

Things, gifts that I don’t have.

I don’t have. I don’t have. I don’t have.

If I focus on the don’t haves, I can’t see the have.

Sunday morning, Easter Sunday, found me sitting in a pew, watching beautiful gifts praising our Lord: voices singing, instruments playing, feet dancing – and, a man signing “Behold the King” – I don’t know sign language – but I could see the words, see this man singing with his hands, praising, worshipping in a language with no voice that spoke more eloquently than a great orator.

weddingchairscFor years, I have sat in awe, listening to our worship singers, from our college ministry to our adult ministry – and have been awed by their uninhibited use of voice and sound, beating myself up because I don’t have what they have. I so wanted to worship my Lord that beautifully, with immersion and abandon – but I have not the voice.

Watching our college and youth dance team – young men and women, worshipping our Lord with bones, muscles and liberation, no inhibition – grace and passion for our Lord unleashed in worship – it just WOWS me, their gift, their passion for our Lord.- but I have not the graceful feet and hands.

Musicians – guitars, drums, horns, pianos, percussion, strings – that skill honed to worship our Lord, developed and used in tribute, in worship – but I have not the skill.

They bring to God gifts of worship. They give something of themselves weekly, daily to Him in a way that I cannot.

Too much of my life has been the focus of what I don’t have, what I cannot do, not because of time or money, but because I do not have that gifting.

I used to feel inadequate, defective . . . until God uncovered my gift, dug it out from the overgrown garden of life in which it lost itself, and transplanted it in Him, where it needed to be to grow – and I learned how my gift dances, sings and plays – just in a different way.

We each have a gift.
That dances graceful
Uninhibited, with abandon
Boasting of our Lord

With our gifts,
Our hearts sing ballads of God’s mercy, hope and love
Uninhibited, with abandon

With our gifts,
We master our individual instrument of praise,
Uninhibited, with abandon.

With words,
I dance worship

With words,
I sing the ballad He gave me

With words,
I play an instrument of praise

Maybe you
teach, heal, comfort, assist, serve
in schools, restaurants, hospitals, day-cares, nurseries, Wal-Mart, offices
dancing worship,
singing the ballad He gave you
playing an instrument of praise
uninhibited, with abandon
full of God’s mighty grace

We each have a gift
Are you dancing yours?

Sometimes, my voice is not beautiful. Sometimes my words stumble and miss a step. Sometimes I race ahead of the great Conductor.

So many different God-gifts – yet, in each exists a potential kinship in the passion, the concentration, the letting go of self-consciousness to God-consciousness, of receiving that gift and giving it all back to Him.

“God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people!” (1 Cor 12:4-7, The Message)

What gift do you dance, sing and play gracefully, beautifully, worshipfully?

302) God providing friends for my sons so that when one falls, there is another there to help him up.
303) Friendships that help roots grow into home and community.
304) Watching a son negotiate hurts in friendship with faith and honor.
305) A coachable son on and off the field.
306) An orange carrot, yellow mango juice smoothie, homemade
307) Orange Dulce Tea in the morning as my computer boots up.
308) A flank steak, baked potato, spinach salad for an easy dinner, easy smiles.
309) Finding special gifts at just-right prices
310) A Friday night dinner date with take-out at home.
311) A birthday lunch with lots of laughing tears!
312) Whipping up Chocolate celebration cupcakes with a chocolate ganache topping for a friend’s birthday.
313) Spending time with unconditional-love kind of people
314) 7:45 a.m. phone calls to my mom
315) My guy helping me get my yard just the way I want it, even though my dream for this is not his dream.
316) After 2 summers away, thinning out our garden overgrowth and coming away with multiplied blessings: “The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;” (Song of Solomon 2:12):
317) 2 butterfly bushes
318) 6 groupings of lilies: “I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon” (Hosea 14:5) – I want my sons to grow like that!
319) a knockout rose bush
320) an extra yellow flowering bush whose name I cannot remember
321) a place to finally plant purple, pink, yellow, red zinnias
322) Cardinals showing up in un-expected places as though God saying, “I have not forgotten you – I sent these birds to remind you.”
323) Finding joy in other’s gifts during our church’s Easter Celebration.
324) Watching my littlest guy stuff Easter Eggs with chocolate covered marshmallows and chocolate eggs. Seeing his love of responsibility and approach to problem solving when some eggs didn’t fit.
325) Baby girl giggling and laughing baby laughs and giggles when I talk to her.
326) Bed-time routines that include prayer, laughter, hugs and questions.
327) Right now, I feel peace, contentment, a lull in the challenge machine. I realize it is not permanent, but a sweet refreshing in the now, a sweet gift from the Father and His Son!
328) Living Resurrection – letting the story of my savior falling 3 times, wearing a crown of thorns, nails hammered into hands and feet, giving His soul up to the Father – and rising on the 3rd day, making himself available to those who sought him out, to comfort them, give them hope. Letting that story seep down into my soul again and again, still not able to grasp all of it. God’s love humbles me when I really try to wrap my mind around it,and since I cannot successfully wrap my mind around it, He graciously wraps His love around me!

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“But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!(Jude 1:20).

Arms outstretched and open, that’s how I want to be with God – like a child standing before my Father, arms outstretched and open, wanting to be lifted, held – and knowing  it, owning it that the Father will pick me up, hold me close, carry me, protect me, comfort me.

Praying in the Holy Spirit, though, that lifts straight into the center of God’s love, into the Father’s arms.

Arms outstretched anticipates, believes. Bold. Confident. Assurance of being wanted, loved, valued: Is my daddy going to pick me up? No doubt – especially when that daddy is Father God.

Arms outstretched  believes whole-heartedly – and it is my job to either say, pray and lay that foundation in my son’s lives, regardless of age.

Last week, a lot of foundation work went on at many structure levels.  It was a prayer-results-emerging week, too. Not a gut-wrenching, take-me-to-my-knees week.  It was one of those weeks where the stone-laying went smoothly. Where everything seemed to go just right. Progress was made.

Progress because of a lot of behind the scenes building through praying in the Holy Spirit, keeping centered on God’s love and not giving up. Living arms-outstretched, reaching, so ready for His mercy – that’s how last week happened.

Only with arms outstretched, hoping, believing, expecting can we received the blessings, the answered prayers.


Still joining with Ann in my journey to 1,000 gifts. Each day, there are gifts, some so simply, they could be easily over-looked. Some just roll over you like like a an army – you can’t miss it. Vintaging my week? Love Letters from God? So many treasures of His love!

278) My acorn turned 17 (See Growing Up My Acorn)
279) the same night another son played a middle school soccer game
280) This acorn, he came, hung out, laughed and tormented the littlest brother
281) hung out with friends on the lacrosse field, old and new friends
282) and he smiled, genuine smiles, feeling-at-home smiles that were, though he didn’t know it, answer-to-prayer smiles.
283) His biggest brother, sweet wife and baby girl came to dinner at our favorite celebration restaurant,
284) I got to hold baby girl all through dinner, her Papaw did, too
285) Dinner had our favorite dishes, silly smiles, feeling that family feeling that is just blessing, a gift from God, those moments you pray happen, except we were missing one
286) missing the one who has made better-man choices all year long, better-man choices that take him fishing, better-man choices that are answered prayers.
287) A carrot juice smoothie with a friend over lunch
288) My littlest guy, winning the sub-region 4-H Science Fair in Electricity. He came home from school in January wanting to do his project over Series and Parallel Circuits – and hounded us. Self-motivation is a blessing from God – and he has that.
289) Report cards that show healthy work ethics.
290) Knowing that prayer can change things that need to be changed.
291) Pansies in my flower boxes really blooming from Fall plantings – reminding that faith is believing in things that seem unbelievable.
292) Sitting around the chiminea with friends until a thunderstorm rolls in with lightening and hail, but we have a Holy Cow cake and a Kentucky basketball game to take its place.
293) Sleeping until 9 a.m. on Saturday morning
294) The red cardinals, still nesting in my yard, still singing their songs. Even at 1 a.m. There’s such an abundance – that it’s like God, instead of dropping confetti in my life to say, “Your faithfulness brought you home,” he filled my yard with cardinals instead.
295) My minister did a sermon on 1 Samuel 30: – where after David left home to do what God wanted him to do, when he returned, his family and the  family of all his mighty soldiers had been taken. David grieved – the situation tore his heart. His men felt it was David’s fault and thought about stoning him – but David took it to God, believed in God’s plan – and ultimately retrieved not only his family but all the soldier’s families. This story so blessed me, reminding me that the journey God sent us on 2 1/2 years ago, where at times I felt like I was losing my sons, my home because the challenges were so hard – that because we took that journey because God told us to, that during the challenges we never lost faith, we continued leading our young men in the ways of God along with much  praying, that He not only brought us safely home, but not one of our sons will be lost through the challenges because of our faith, our never taking our hearts off Him. It was like God whispering to me, “Like David, you will not lose one. Not one!” My God is a mighty God who lays stepping stones to my life that I cannot always fathom but I can take each step in faith and trust. Thank you, Father!
296) Faith that growing pains are just that – evidence of growing opportunities.
297) Blackberry Currant tea in an “I love you this much” cup at my desk at work.
298) Living encouragement, the power of positive thinking, and always looking for confetti moments – the desire for everyday living to never get old.
299) Finding a diet dr. pepper hid behind a book and another under a straw hat – and sharing one with my littlest guy.
300) That I don’t give up on bed-time tuck-in moments.
301) Morning prayer on the way to school: one leading the Lords’s prayer, one the 23rd psalm and the teen picking a proverb, and me praying, asking each boy to find 3 people to pray for each day

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My Vintage Lane at Etsy.com

The milk box, at my grandmother’s house when I was just a visitor, just a grandchild, before my parent’s divorce and I moved in becoming something not quite a grandchild and not quite a daughter, before the great change, the milk box sat on her front porch. Not by the door for all to see – but against the red-brick porch wall between the green swing and the steps. Always shaded, always protected from the elements.

On those sweet occasions when I would spend the night with my grandmother and grandfather, some early mornings found me already swinging, waiting for the milk man to bring two or three glass milk jars with paper seals, jars sweating coolness. Some mornings the milk man came when I was still sleeping. When I woke, I’d run down, open the lid to the milk box and gather those white, glistening bottles and take them to the kitchen.

Before the great change, Grandmother made hot chocolate for me in the mornings. After the great change, she poured me an everyday glass of milk. Living with my grandparents, along with my mother and brother, became every day living, not special occasion living.

I can still feel the cool grey concrete under my feet, the sound of the milk box lid dropping – and the coolness of the milk.

Blessings are like that. Except God brings them to our doorstep, placing them in often likely places, like a milk box. Like that little girl, sometimes I meet Him there – at the steps of the blessing – and sometimes I arrive after He has left – and I must look for the blessing.

I am learning to find the blessings in the midst of the big and little challenges of every day living. Won’t you join me, join the search for the blessings the Father leaves us, each individual us? Join me at Ann’s 1,000 Gifts with a community of women seeking to live blessing?

80) A good morning Hallelujah to wake up my faith and greet my Father. Some days this moment is  in the shower. Sometimes in the morning school ride; other times just in the footsteps of waking everyone else.

81) not getting my shoes wet in the buckets and mists of rain
82) anger receding after untangling myself, like from a sticky cobweb
83) scriptures sent from Nan at LBDDiaries asking God for His words to come out of my mouth during a job interview
84) Friends sending notes of prayer promises
85) red tomatoes, red onions which are really purple and green romaine hearts chopped into a salad
86) Psalm 35:1 – wanting my Father to contend against those who come against me, for His justice to prevail but for forgiveness to be meted out.
87) a husband who champions me
88) a husband who cares when I cry, like Hannah’s husband cared about her tears.
89) That God collects each of my tears (Psalm 56:8)
90) That I love enough, open my heart enough to risk hurt, risk tears
91) a blue and white Bybee Pottery bowl filled with rice
92) My sons asking for more and being able to ladle out more. . . more rice, more time, more love, more attention
93) for zinc – and the all day energy I’ve never had before, the lifted brain fog, and the me I recognize
94) morning drives to school listening
95) one son leading  us in The Lord’s Prayer
96) another son leading  us in Psalm 23
97) the teen choosing a Proverb
98) time and discipline enough to pray before they pile out of the car that angels encamp about them, that they show others the love of Jesus through their words or actions, that they seek relationship with the Father throughout the day – and that the morning prayer is not the only time spent with Him.
99) blue after days of gray
100) a sunset like I’ve never seen, a foil-pressed sky reflecting gold, fuchsias, yellows, like a fiery furnace, with rectangles and waves emitting different pigments- and I remember thinking that maybe Jesus will return “riding on a cloud, shining like the sun” – like that – not just white brightness and white billowing clouds – but riding on Clouds of shiny Gold and Pinks and Yellows to Purples.
101) my scale showing 9 lbs lost due to self-discipline
102) True Directions. Words do mean something.
103) Narcissus Paperwhite candles
104) Quiet time in my office on Saturday, my only companion the Father, who I asked to come help with a story, not because I was struggling but because I didn’t want to do it without Him
105) Sunday lunch at Olive Garden
106) a bottomless bowl of salad
107) a carafe of coffee and cup to go
108) a waitress who took such good care of us
109) boy humor – and the stamina to handle it and a husband who reminds me “this is normal.”
110) Sunlight pouring through the front windows of my house and falling light through my bedroom window
111) a clothe full of dust
112) moments of joy-filled hope – for no apparent reason than for the moment, nothing is trying to steal it
113) doggedly trying to live forgiveness, to stop pulling the scab off hurt, recognizing that living forgiveness does not always staunch hurt
114) a bracelet a friend gave me before the journey over 2 years ago – a symbol of unconditional, God-love – because that is how she lives.
115) For milk box memories. I never want to go back but I like remembering the good things, the blessing things God always showed me in a broken time – like the honeysuckle in the backyard, grandfather’s white azaleas, fried bologna sandwiches, front porch living – the little blessings are where the beautiful things were.

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