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Posts Tagged ‘1000 Gifts’

whiteflowerUn tout petit peu de français
– but enough to recognize the French lady sitting across the table from me calling her son a “couchon” when he wolfed down the truffles I’d made for our afternoon play date. I’d had French in high school, college and graduate school – enough to find a good restaurant one weekend in France with my husband – but not qualified for everyday talking.

Ich spreche noch weniger Deutsch
– You would have taken 2 semesters of German, too, if you’d taken the German culture class I did in college. Dr Ursel Boyd – inspired us with her stories of her grandmother marching out of the church when Hitler’s people tried to commandeer God – you would have taken German, too. Sadly, German 2 did me in. If a girl like me reads the ends of books first, then how could I ever survive speaking a language where, in many instances, you have to wait until the end of the sentence for the verb.

Speaking in The Spirit – with  utterings or groanings that only the Holy Spirit can understand. One day, the Holy Spirit gave me the translation the translation:
That my son’s mouth would be loosened
That his ears would be opened
And when he turned to him
his mind would be freed

God wasn’t surprised with the challenges that would unfold as my son grew. He gave me a heads up on His plan. I have held on to that message for 21 years – stood on it during some pretty challenging times. God knew I needed to prepare myself ( click here and here for the story).

Messages from God are available in all languages. You can find the Gospel of Love in Thai, Swahili, in Chinese, Hindi – all languages – even Holy Spirit languages –
Spoken, signed, read with fingertips on Braille.

We read with our hearts
We read with our eyes what the body language says
We read with our ears – not just words but what the tone says

booksflowersWe read rack magazines, shelved books, ipod news alerts
Thank you notes, heart messages from our children’s art, sweetheart letters and notes from our husbands,

But Shaddai – He is not confined to a book though His book’s message is imprinted everywhere – for free – His writes love letters to you, to me, to my sons, to my daughter-in-line, my mother, my aunt, my granddaughter – He has love letters written to us in the stars and fish, the sea and sand, the roots and blooms, in a spider’s web and a rain drop.
Love letters and messages
All around us
All available for each of us to read and if we do read, we should share – like the loaves and the fishes,

Thank you, Ann Voskamp of A Holy Experience and 1,000 Gifts – for showing me how to read– these gifts, these blessings – these messages of His love.

An Arab student one time told me his mother didn’t read. I cannot comprehend not reading – a recipe, The Secret Garden, the prodigal story, a manual on how to use a snake to clear a sink pipe, The Christmas Story, the Wall Street Journal over a cup of coffee, The Brave Cowboy, the U.S. Constitution, or an escape-hatch story like Miss Buncle Married or Pride and Prejudice – or the contrast of Grace over Law, of Salvation, Redemption and forgiveness in the Les Miserable by Hugo.

I cannot comprehend being illiterate.

Seeing my dismay, the student said, “Oh, she still has a full life.”

Her fullness seemed limited to me – like having wings but not knowing you can soar.

Yet, 100 years ago – how many of our parents read? Yet still had full lives? How many since B.C. became A.D. – how many have been illiterate of reading and understanding the Word of God with their own eyes? How many souls relied on others to read His messages – the message of adoption from Abraham, Jacob’s hope in a God-made Ladder, that even prostitutes like Rahab who take risks for God can find true love in a man like Joshua, that bullies like Saul can become Paul’s of the world, that Jesus came so no one could ever come between the individual and God again – not a priest, not a king – no one.

Yet,  I have lived most of my life, illiterate of the His messages to me in the daily.

Thank you for teaching me to read the  message of the cardinal darting out before me on the way home.

The message in the dove call from the roof top – answering back to the call my husband and son send from curved hands, lips and air.

Or the message I found when I freed myself from my work desk to stand under the portico during a torrential down pour, as thunder grumbled to my left – and to my right miniature water rivulets riffled and bubbled through mulch and grass– and the green and the bark deepened richly and the streets glistened like ice.

Or on the way home, so tired, so tangled by how many times Murphy’s Law can jump into my day. It rained – buckets – and the sun shined through the downpour, shined so brightly the rain looked like crystals – and it blew toward my windshield like bits of snow – a rain blizzard.

Or the gift in a cupcake container, once filled with chocolate ganache cupcakes topped with sugared chocolate mint – carried through my back door, returned with a smile and kitchen counter conversations.

poppysOr in the orange poppies grown too tall pulled out revealing perennials wanting more space.

And zinnias that bloom regardless of the weathery moods.

All of these are messages to be read – messages He gives us during the daily. . .
Messages that tell us He loves us, champions us, knows our struggles, knows our hearts desires – and knows how hard it is to live in the wait of a prayer sent out.

And messages that teach us – like the barren creek that rarely flows with water, the path to the blueberry patch, beach birds enacting a madrigal – and the blueberries deep within the bush.

They’re all like letters in an envelope – just waiting to be read.

Have you read much lately? These daily messages from the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit?

Each message can be translated into all soul languages.

Guess what the message was I found in the blueberries?

Other messages, gifts and love letters this week – 1067-1072 above

    1. Celebrating 30 years of marriage with my husband
    2. 30 roses for 30 years
    3. My Freshman trying not to smile as I conjugated  each verb he used one on the way to soccer practice.
    4. Listening to my two sons recite in Latin, “I Love. You Love. He, She, It Loves. We Love. You Love. They Love.”
    5. When my 7th grader explained singular and plural, first second and third person.
    6. My boys pulling out classical literature in the first 2 weeks of school, Hamlet, Pride and Prejudice, Narnia and Gilgamesh.
    7. That God answered my prayer to move my husband’s heart if we needed to make education changes –
    8. and we were able to enroll them in a Classical Latin School where we no longer feel the need to supplement just support
    9. baby girl greeting me with a fist-bump I taught her – and remembering her pup-pup beanie puppy at our house
    10. the older I get the longer I need to celebrate my birthday (just a few days before my anniversary) – taking the time to savor the relationships the Father has given me – who have become family to my family.
    11. tree frogs in the dark
    12. laughter from my sons’ friends on the porch
    13. rain the slows the schedule, providing an inside refreshing
    14. butterflies in the sunshine
    15. the feeling of home all weekend long
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duckspondOn the way to school in the mornings, one son leads us in the 23 Psalm, on the Lords’ Prayer, one chooses a psalm – and then I pray – they that they let others know about the love of Jesus either through their words or prayer, that they have relationship with the Father through the day.

I’ve been challenging them to find 3 people to pray for throughout the day – maybe not in words but in their hearts, not just the bullied but the bullies.

Finding God while sitting in hard chairs, learning dry knowledge in books, eating lunch food that leaves a bad taste in your mouth – teaching my boys to find God in a school that says He is not allowed – that’s a tough gig.

acornaLast year, I started counting 1000 Gifts along with Ann at A Holy Experience. That counting has been life changing, relationship-changing.

The counting released the Father from the box I had place Him in. Quite a few years ago, I took Him out of one box – the Sunday, church day and evening prayer box. By expanding prayer and bible time, I only put Him in another box – a bigger box granted.

Counting 1000 Gifts has taken Him out of any box. I meet Him everywhere. I’ve found love letters He’s written me on nature hikes. He’s sent me gifts, like swirling leaves in the autumn sun, to make me smile. He sends cardinals and squirrels across my path to let me know He is there – in a year, in a 1,000 ways, He sends me messages in these gifts He leaves in my path.

I struggled this week with these gifts – 10 more to go to reach 1000 – and I wanted them to be a culminating, crescendo –

Nothing seemed worthy of a crescendo, the blessings didn’t seem good enough – and, He was there, in the butter and the oysters I made this afternoon – reminding me of what this 1000 gift journaling has been about – to vintage the little blessings that change the everyday.

The simple gifts He gives aren’t about crescendo – it’s about relationship, one-on-one time, seeing Him everywhere, finding His messages to me everywhere, opening and reading them – in a walk where our heads are bent together in conversation, in the tree-top squirrel nests, in the memory of my grandmother’s milk box, in a yellow lemon. . . . .

Intentional looking uncovered gifts He placed in my path daily – everywhere – that is something I want to teach my sons – how to find His gifts while they sit in hard chairs, learning dry knowledge, eating lunches that leave a bad taste in their mouths.

treeseedscc2

1036) purple tulips tucked in my grocery cart Friday after work
1037) fixed shower handles that work (meaning – a house full of boys no longer are using my bathroom)
1038) little hands helping fold laundry with a good attitude
1039) listening to my boys doing math with their dad
1040) a Reuben sandwich with my Valentine at a restaurant where they know your name
1041) an afternoon playing with grandbaby girl
1042) snow flurries
1043) cardinals calling outside my window
1044) oysters, butter, sautéed onion and cream for Sunday stew
1045) white cloud wisps in a robin’s egg blue sky
1046) my bedroom window cracked to let in cold air for a rare afternoon nap, wrapped in my down blanket – not so much sleeping as savoring that snuggled up, refreshing quiet.

Why more than 1,000? Because I make mistakes. How appropriate that there are more blessings than we realize!

  • Love Letters from Shaddai, click here
  • A Crow’s Message, click here
  • Sitting in the Stairwell, Vintaging the Past, click here
  • Arms open and Outstretched, click here
  • The Runaway’s Hope in a God-Made Ladder, click here

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“For you meet him with the blessings of goodness”(Psalm 21:3a)

To meet: To come together, approaching in opposite or different directions; to come face to face; as, to meet a man in the road.

To come together in any place

I took a walk as the sun set a few days ago – a flaming fuscia, tangerine and lemon sunset that fell across neighborhood leaves sparking a metalic hue, and in the falling, the sunshine fell into a sprinkler.

He met me there, in my walk, bringing me the beauty of the sunset. God met me there, not to solve a big problem, not to save me from distress – just to meet me there and walk together.

blessings of goodness

As I walked into work, beneath oak trees, squirrel nests and the sharp cool of a Fall morning – I saw acorns lying beneath leaves, under the edges of greenery.

He met me there – and as a reminder of our meeting, His blessings, I picked up 5 acorns, symbolizing the 5 sons He gave me.

blessings of goodness

Pear Tree Seeds

Sometimes, things like folding laundry, making cupcakes, lighting candles, knitting a few rows, the bed-time chronicles – it all overwhelmes me – and I muster all that is within me to do those things with people who are so important to me – and I wonder how I can – but He meets me there, walks with me each step, fills my heart with grace to love the way I want but often fall short.

This week, I met Him in the act of making and decorating cupcakes with my littlest, the blessing of watching my boys to men play a game of chess, of smiles spreading across faces that have smiled too little for too long.

blessings of goodness

I meet Him in the morning prayer, one son leading us in the Lord’s Prayer, another the 23rd Psalm, the other in sharing a proverb, and me leading in a thanksgiving prayer and asking that we let others see the love of Jesus either through our words or actions.

blessings of goodness

I meet Him when I open my front door to greet costumed children Trick or Treating , when I sit across the table from friends sharing celebration cupcakes and cider, watching my husband read to grand-baby girl.

Blessings of goodness

I meet Him when everyday jobs overwhelm. He meets me in a swirl of leaves or squirrels foraging, climbing and jumping outside my window.

blessings of goodness

I met Him when I choose to bloom where I am planted, even when where I am feels like the dormant stage of blooming in a cold frost.

We come together in any place. He is there, waiting for me to look and see Him -to look hard, to catch His eye, to seek His face and know He is looking for me – not trying to avoid me because I don’t do living just right, or that I talk too much, or forget words, or say right things all wrong.

Sometimes we come from opposite directions.

We meet more often now. I am learning to just look.

It never fails that when I do look, I meet Him.

No matter the gracelessness of a moment, hour or day, when I decide to meet Him, He is there with blessings of goodness that change the tenor, the texture, treatment of that moment, hour or day.

“For you meet him with the blessings of goodness”(Psalm 21:3a)

Where are the places you have met Him this week?

I8 gifts were listed above in my journey to 1,000 gifts

844) My son going around the neighborhood 4 times, each time in a different costume from our costume chest which has grown over 26 years: in the bumblebee costume, a ninja, a warrior on a horse, and a ghost – all with a joyful attitude
845) neighbors who love my boys and who kids I love, too – it is awesome to have neighbors like that
846) 5 boys home at once on a trick-or-treat night
847) Sons growing up and working hard
848) That God is wherever I am
849) My husband taking me to one of our favorite lunch places on a very trying day
850) A neighbor giving us 3 large pampas-type grass clusters for our yard. I’ve always wanted ornamental grass like this – and it was such an unexpected gift.
851) You know those 15 burning bush root-balls that I carefully nurtured? Wanting a hedge for privacy on our property line? It seems, each time the boys mowed, we lost one. Lowe’s had sturdy ones about  2 feet high for $3 a piece – I don’t think my boys will run those over. For once, I got someplace before the good deal was sold out.
852) Looking at all the bushes we transplanted and struggled – seeing they are now sturdy and strong – ready for take off next year. That was God reminding me that I am sturdy and strong now- ready to take off at the right time.
853) A song at church, one of my very favorite that has a special place in my heart, used as a kind-of lullaby when the boys were little – and the phrase, “The Year of Jubilee” stood out to me – that the Year of Jubilee was coming – and it was a message that filled my heart
854) Making a new recipe – one I created myself – “Buffalo Chicken Soup.” My son who loves my Hot Wings asked, “Why not just make Hot Wings?” Then he tasted my soup, trying give too much away, he conceded, “This is your best soup.”
855) My 4th son, taller than me today. Door-frame measurements confirmed. While I am sure he will be insufferable for awhile, lots of puns to fall short – so happy he is so happy!
856) Answered prayers unfolding!

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