Monday, February 28, 2011

Growth Can't Always Be Measured With A Ruler

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="160" caption="Image by alancleaver_2000 via Flickr"]Stress[/caption]

I still have a long way to go.

Growing. Stretching. Absorbing. Changing.

Some days I think I've got it all together. Whatever "it" is. I've got it all figured out. I'm on top of things.

Other days I know I don't. I wonder if I ever did.

I look at other people. I think maybe their lives are right. And good.

Even if they aren't.

I measure myself.

I come up short.

I want more.

More of what is good. More of what makes me happy. More of things going my way.

More. More. More.


The dark emotion washes over me like the cold waves of a surly ocean. I am overcome.

I breathe deeply. I don't really like this place.

I snip at my kids, ignore my husband, don't even want to pet the dog.

Who am I?

I breathe again.

Ann Voskamp reminds me in chapter 8. I know this woman's words are a gift to me from God Himself. There is no other explanation. God speaks in many ways--and sometimes it is through a Canadian woman, a farmer's wife, a home schooling mom of six. I am humbled.

On page 143, her words sear through me. Cutting me. Straight to the place that oozes with the ungrateful. The worry. The stress. The parts of myself that I don't like to show.

"Anxiety has been my natural posture, my default stiffness.  How I angle my jaw, braced, chisel, the brow with the lines of distrust. How I don't fold my hands in prayer...weld them into tight fists of control...... Do I hold worry close as this ruse of control, this pretense that I'm the one who will determine the course of events as I stir and churn and ruminate? Worry is the facade of taking action when prayer really is. And stressed, this pitched word that punctuates every conversation, is it really my attempt to prove how indispensable I am? Or is it more? Maybe disguising my deep fears as stress seems braver somehow."

And on page 146, " Stress isn't only a joy stealer. The way we respond to it can be sin." ......"I've got to get this thing, what it means to trust, to gut-believe in the good touch of God toward me, because it's true: I can't fill with joy until I learn how to trust: 'May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow." (Romans 15:13)

I breathe again.

And I work on giving thanks. I need to give thanks. I must give thanks.

In order to see.

#155  Rainy days

#156 Warm light spilling through the kitchen

#157  Green showing through melted snow

# 158  Children laughing





Saturday, February 26, 2011

Rest For The Soul

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="137" caption="Image by marc falardeau via Flickr"]RELAX[/caption]


Time slows.

I savor the moment.

Saturday morning.

Walking around bare footed.

Wearing sweat pants and an old tee shirt.

Coffee in a deep mug.

With extra creamer.

Quiet time.


A time to enjoy.




Friday, February 25, 2011

Cold Beauty

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image by David Hepworth via Flickr"]Snow Globe[/caption]

Yes. This winter seems unending. It has been cold and chaotic since the first snow fell on December 1.

And I stand at my kitchen window, I am amazed at the beauty of it all.

I quietly sigh. I stare upward.

White gray.

Snow blowing every which way. A blur of flakes.

Each one different. Unusual.

The scene before me resembles a snow globe that has been shook hard.

A flake frenzy.

Cold beauty.

Dogs with snowy fur.

Schools closed.

Gray sky filled with flakes.

The roar of wind.

I feel the need to snap a picture. To remember.

To pull out on the hot, sticky days of late July.

A cool memory to ease the pain of the heat.

Lord, I am thankful for this day you have given me.

And for the eyes wide see your gift to me.




Thursday, February 24, 2011

I Forgive You

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image by neko687 via Flickr"]Moon[/caption]

Today's blog topic at the Faith Barista Jam is forgiveness.


I don't know about this.

Forgiveness is difficult. Especially, when it is I that have been wronged.

Especially, when I didn't deserve what I got.

I was left hurt. Bruised. Confused. Broken.

How does one forgive through the pain?

Even when the wrong doer doesn't care about the pain he/she caused....

The sleepless nights.....

The actions that played in my head like a never ending movie reel...

I was a prisoner in my own unforgiveness.

It wasn't pleasant. I didn't enjoy it. But, I couldn't let it go.

I didn't know how.


God showed me.

It didn't happen all at once.

It was work.

I still work at it.

I've learned that forgiveness is a gift.

Not just to the forgiven....but, to the one forgiving.

A gift of peace.

How can I not forgive others, when Christ has so richly forgiven me?

"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

(Colossians 3:13)

Simply Love...

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Love for Arts[/caption]

"Le Prix d'Amour, C'est Seulement Amour."

The price of love, is

Family. Unconditional love. Safe and secure.

Growing up, I never doubted love.

I was seventeen.

He held my hand. We shared a kiss.

The sweet tenderness of young love.

I was a young woman dressed in white, a young man at the end of the aisle.

We faced each other and declared our love.

Until death do us part.

The nurse handed the wrinkled bundle of baby boy to me.

I, as mother, looked at my newborn and love enveloped my heart.

Love tries again. Second chances are real. I step out into love.

Love for those I surround myself with.

Agape for my fellow man.

Love and thanksgiving to God.

....And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. (I Corinthians 13 :13)


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Who Gets To Choose?

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]The skull and crossbones, a common symbol for ...[/caption]

Out of sight. Out of mind.

This news story is tragic and it also scares me. This is a current story that is happening to a family in Canada, our neighbor's to the north.

The parents are asking to take their terminally ill baby home, to die. They know he will eventually die...they are not fighting that. They just want him to die at home, and not in some sterile, impersonal hospital.

The courts got involved, and said that the breathing tube must be removed at the hospital and he will die there. I suppose the decision is part of Canada's health care system.

I have a real problem with this. There does not appear to be any compassion in this decision. The little boy is just another tough decision to make. The humanity is lost. Are they removing his tube, and letting him die because it is too expensive to keep him alive? Why does the government get to make that decision? Who are they, to play God?

(One of the family members)"I believe when the medical world doesn't understand a situation, they just want to get rid of it," Samar said. "That's exactly what's happening."



Monday, February 21, 2011

When Life Is Hard

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image by Liam Wilde via Flickr"]Smelling the roses 1/365 days[/caption]

I'm finished with chapter five of One Thousand Gifts.

It was a difficult chapter.

Painful, even.

It hurts, when faced with the reality that life will never be easy. Not for me. Not for you. No one will get out of this life without struggle. Will I be thankful for what my life holds for me? Even when things aren't going as I planned? As I had hoped?  Even when I sit at the bedside of a loved one who is dying? Even when I hear the doctor's voice explain the diagnosis? When my child is sick? Or run away? Will I be thankful for all that God has done for me when I get the bad news? When my husband loses his job? When people hurt me with their words? When I feel robbed of happiness?

I realize that some of you reading this might be thinking, "Well, she is a real bummer. Where are her funny blogs? I like her sense of humor. This stuff is depressing." To those of you I reply with this....I do love to laugh. I enjoy telling a funny story.  Life is a joy. There are some times when the deeper things of life need precedence. When I need to think deeply. This is one of those days.I hope you will read my blog post with your eyes wide open.

On pages 84 and 85 I read the words that slammed through me like a deadly, powerful wind. My breath caught in my throat.

Ann Voskamp writes, "What will I lose? Health? Comfort? Hope? Eventually, I am guaranteed to lose every thing I have possessed. When will I lose? Today? How  much time do I have before the next loss? Who will I lose? And that's definite. I will lose every single person I have ever loved. Either abruptly or eventually. All human relationships end in loss. Am I prepared for that?"

Tears stained my cheeks with wet. My breath was ragged while reading her words. Because.....I know they are true. A sob escapes my throat. So true.

Will I be prepared for the hard eucharisteo when that time comes? If I am learning the discipline of thanking God in all things now...daily writing down all the ways that God says 'yes' to me, all the proofs of His love, will I be ready to thank Him through the hard times? God is good today. God will be good tomorrow. God will be good for all the days after that. He does not change. If I love Him today when things are well for me, should I not love Him tomorrow, even when the news might change?

It is not an easy thing.

It is not easy when my heart bleeds. When my hopes are dashed. When my world is torn apart. When pain is so great. When I scream "the why's" at Heaven.

God is good.

He is good.

He loves me.

He shows me His love daily. I am listing His thousand gifts to me....and when I get to the end of my list, I will list a thousand more. His love is eternal. On days when life is hard, I can look at my list and be amazed at each moment I recorded. He showers me with the moments.

On page 91 Ann states, "Without God's Word as a lens, the world warps."  (Matt. 6:22-23)  Yes. Yes. Yes!  Page 94.."When I realize that it is not God who is in my debt but I who am in His great debt, then doesn't all become a gift?

"One act of thanksgiving, when things go wrong with us, is worth a thousand thanks when things are agreeable to our inclinations."

--Saint John of Avila.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Nature In Flight

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Red-Tailed Hawk[/caption]

My husband and I were out this morning when we saw a hawk in flight.

He dove right in front of our van.

We think he had breakfast in his strong talons.




I watched him race across the air.

Nature is harsh, even brutal

It is also beauty

Etched into the moment.



Friday, February 18, 2011

Feeling Time

Clouds and Sun rays

On occasion, I can hear time. The sound is faint, a whisper.  The sound of moments that I have been ignoring in order to rush through my days. My perspective was all messed up. For me, who has been through some perspective changing life altering moments, one would think I'd remember. Yet, I forget. Forget what is truly important. Forget how quickly time melts away. Forget to savor the here and now.

My eyes and ears are opened now, to catch a fleeting glimpse of eternity. In the grit of my today...time slows.  When I stop, to be fully in the moment, thanking God for even the smallest of gifts, I am forced to slow down. Breathe. Enjoy. Savor.

God is good. He gave me beautiful gifts this morning.

* The reflection of the sun's rays bouncing from behind a cloud. The sunlight spilling out from an opening in the cloud, causing a rainbow of golden colors. An amazing sight. Thank you God for beauty.

* A hug from my son. His arms around me. Long, slender arms...full of young man strength. Hugs that I will miss, when he is a fully grown man and is gone... out to discover the world on his own. Thank you God for making me a mommy.

* My husband, hair tousled in sleep. Eyes closed, breathing soft. Thanking God.

* The sunlight splattered on the foyer wall. Swirling light.

* The hum of the refrigerator. When we first moved in after the building process, we didn't have a refrigerator (left it in the house we sold). I never appreciated my refrigerator, until I didn't have one. Thank you God for food and for refrigeration. Thank you for provision.

* The smell of the morning air. Pregnant with the aromas of mud and country.

As most of you know, I am reading Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts. Her words challenge me with each chapter read. If I take her God inspired words to heart, I will continue to change.

In chapter four she states, "I just want time to do my one life well."  Isn't that what we each want?  But you might be thinking, time stops for no one. Life is a rush. So much to little time. It is a choice. A decision. If we each choose to stop, meet God in the moment, time can slow. Thankfulness, appreciation can do that.

My fingers tap out sounds on my keyboard. I hear my son clear his throat. I see the blueness of the sky reflected on my computer screen. I smile as I notice the fur that I need to sweep from the floor. God is so big...and yet, He is so small. He is right here, present, in this moment.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Living The Moments

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image by beccaplusmolly via Flickr"]winter trees[/caption]

Outside the window, is gray.

The day, not sure whether to continue to clutch at winter

or move towards a rainy Spring.

My thoughts center around the gray in my life.

The "inbetween" days. The "not sure" times.

What do I do with those?

I stop.

I open my eyes.

I see the moments.

I'm beginning to realize that life is made up of the inbetween moments.

Not the life shattering surprises, or the mountain top experiences,

but in the all too fleeting moments of the everyday.

I don't want to wake up, years from now, to regret.

I don't want to speed through my days only to wish I had fully lived.

Lived in the moments.

Appreciating the smoky grays of the sky on a February morning.

The warm light in the kitchen.

The sound of my son as he excitedly tells me about a book he is reading.

The dog licking my toes.

My husband's smile.

I slow down.

And I am thankful

to the One who gifts me with the moments.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="260" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Dale Earnhardt's (#3 car) fatal crash in Turn ...[/caption]

Isn't it interesting how certain events in life stand out as a pivotal moment? I see the scene played out in my mind's eye, as if it just happened yesterday.

I was sitting on the floor in front of the television on that Sunday afternoon, 10 years ago. I was a new widow, still in the beginning stages of grief, as I watched the Daytona 500 that year. Alone. My husband who had been a huge Dale Earnhardt fan, got me hooked on NASCAR from the time we had first started dating. Everyone knew his devotion to #3. Now, I was the one watching the race....cheering for Dale Sr. in the confines of my living room, even as I mourned the death of my husband who had been his biggest fan. It was almost therapy for in my mind, the two men were intertwined. The man and the fan.

In the last lap of the Daytona 500, Earnhardt was in second place behind Michael Waltrip. Things were looking good. Then it happened. The black car smashed into the wall. In the blink of an was over. Dale didn't emerge from his car.

I had to leave to go to evening church, not knowing if the Intimidator was even alive. I remember after the service the pastor quietly said, "I was just informed that Mr. Earnhardt did not survive the crash this afternoon. He is gone. Let's say a prayer for his family."

Gone. Not coming back. Even though I did not know this racing legend personally, to me he was a symbol of something  shared with my late husband. His death was another loss. Painful and all consuming.

The 2011 NASCAR season starts this Sunday, in the race at Daytona. A lot has happened in the ten years since the tragic accident where "the man in black" lost his life. Much has changed. In NASCAR....and with me.

The paths we walk in this life, don't come with maps. We don't have tour guides and we have no idea what the future holds. We like to think we do, but the future could change in a split second....we are not the ones in control.

I don't presume to know the state of Mr. Earnhardt's eternal soul, but when he got into his car that afternoon, I'm pretty sure he had no idea that he was going to be stepping into eternity by the time the race was over. I pray he was ready.

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."  2 Timothy 4:7



Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mud Is Just Wet Dirt

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image by redjar via Flickr"]Mud season is in full effect[/caption]

The snow and ice from the storm a couple of weeks ago, is now melting. The sun is shining today. It almost looks like Spring.

My husband and I had our house built back off the road. About 250 feet off the road. That might not seem like a lot until one realizes that during the warmer spring months, our driveway and yard turn into a huge mud pit. This process has already started. I almost lost a boot today while trudging through the slop. If I wasn't being sucked into the mud, I was trying to not wipe out on the ice spots that are still very slippery.

So begins the mud season. My laundry room literally becomes the mud room. For a room that was built to CLEAN and DRY clothes, I can't even set a basket on the floor because of all the mud and boots laying around. For the next 3 1/2 months I will not even attempt to clean that floor. It is a vain effort to even try.

Now, that we have an indoor dog the mud season poses another huge issue for me. You see, the laundry room can look like the rainy season in the Amazon, but the rest of the house I'd like to TRY and keep half way decent. At least half way. Decent. Sigh.

I have given my son (dog owner) the responsibility of wiping off his dog's feet. So now, he not only walks the dog, but he wipes all four of the doggie paws before passing through the threshold. I have a feeling this is going to be a long springtime.

Life is full of messes, isn't it? If you are anything like me, you are always trying to clean up a mess. Somewhere. On something.

The "nutritional bits" in the dog food, that the dog doesn't really care for...and so picks them all out of the dish and spews them around the kitchen floor. Or the dishes that had to be soaked in the sink because one of my children refuses to put things in the dishwasher until WHATEVER was on the plate is rock hard. Muddy shoes, spilled milk, chaotic rooms, cat fur on the couch and a pile of laundry. Messes. All of them.

On days when I am overwhelmed with the messes of life, I stop. I try and refocus. What is truly important?

So many times I have to remember that this IS life. Life is not clean. It is not neat. It is not neatly pressed....and most of the time it doesn't smell good.

And I take a deep breath.....and if it is a really messy day I hold my breath until I pass out.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Death Warmed Over

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image by ThrasherDave via Flickr"]I'm sick - February 2, 08[/caption]

I am now in my fifth day of sickness. I do not like being sick. Just puttin' that out there. Even laying on the couch in the throes of death, gets old.

I feel and look rough. To say the least.....and at this point I don't even care. I just want to feel better!

I took a hot shower this morning, thinking that might help me feel better. The thought crossed my mind that I could just stay in the shower until I turned into a shriveled up prune. Or passed out. Whichever came first. My family would eventually find me.

After pulling on some yoga pants and a sweatshirt I trudged out to the kitchen. The house had not yet fallen apart (since I've pretty much been out of commission since last Thursday). I put dishes in the dishwasher and vacuumed some of the rugs that were covered in Lonnie fur. It was not very strenuous work as I have a vacuum that pretty much steers itself.

That was it for me today. I need to do laundry, maybe I will try that tomorrow. I'll have to do it tomorrow...either that or just be naked. Since I'm not a nudist, I suppose laundry it will be. Hopefully, I will wake up tomorrow morning with a renewed vigor. Full of life. Feeling healthy!!! (and not like death warmed over)

Thank you, my readers, for being patient with me (and my blogging) while I've been sick.



Saturday, February 12, 2011

In A Few Short Months...


The early morning light pours in through the window, spilling onto the floor like a puddle of sunshine.

In just a few short months the yard that is now covered in snow and ice, will give way to the lush greens of Spring.

The fields across the road that are playgrounds for drivers of snowmobiles, and cross country skiers, will be filled with seed.

In the midst of deep winter, there is the promise of Spring and of life.

Spring with all it's muddiness.

And newness.

And freshness.

Blue skies and fluffy white clouds.

Roaring winds in kite flying weather

The promise of life in the midst of winter.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Being Sick Stinks

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image by Kevin H. via Flickr"]Chicken Noodle Soup[/caption]

Yesterday I was really, really sick.  Today I am just really sick. (There is a difference...the extra really from yesterday means I felt like I was on my death bed.)


1. My stomach is making all sorts of odd noises that I have a feeling is not going to bode well for me.

2. I had to get up to use the bathroom yesterday afternoon, from where I was laying in the throes of death, on the couch. I didn't have the energy to move. Alas, I made myself get up...because I didn't like the alternative.

3. I didn't feel like eating. The thought of food gagged me, yet if I didn't eat something my blood sugar would drop and I'd be in serious trouble. Yuck. Why is it I only feel this way when I'm sick? How come I can't have an aversion to food for the rest of the time? It would seriously help with the dieting. Sigh.

4. I was freezing cold. I had on sweat pants, a shirt, a sweatshirt, thick socks and a scarf around my neck. I also had on 3 blankets and I was still cold. How annoying is that? Normally, I tend towards being hot. I had a brief flash of what I was going to be going through in another 10 years. Cold and hot flashes because my body thermostat is going to be all wonky. Ugh. I attempted to wipe that thought from my mind.

5. I couldn't get my pillows fluffed correctly and it was driving me nuts. For the love of pete! Why can't the pillows cooperate with me? Can't they see I'm dying?!

6. I glanced at myself yesterday in the mirror. Scary does not describe it. I could have been an extra on the movie Dawn Of The Dead. Actually, the zombies would have looked better than I did. I wish I was kidding.

7. I watched a marathon of Without A Trace on ION yesterday afternoon and evening. Because I wasn't moving from the couch. Ever. Well, unless I had to use the bathroom. (refer back to #2)

8. I was so tired. Like dead tired. (refer back to #6)

9. I was achy. I did ask my family members to rub my shoulders. Which they did. Because they love me...and they didn't want to hear me whine.

10. Being sick stinks...but, I think I am on the mend. I hope. Though I wouldn't mind laying on the couch this afternoon watching TV show marathons.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sick As A Dog

I might feel better by this evening. Check back in later...
Being sick is no fun. Blechhhh.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Love And Marriage

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Typical game contents and scoring example.[/caption]

Our love intertwined in the moments of the every day......

"Are you coming to sit with me?"

I will in just a minute.

"Do you want to play Boggle?"

Okay...but, you almost always win.

"No, I don't."

Yes, you do.

"Okay, so I do."

"Thank you for making lunch."

You're welcome.

"Do you want to ride into town with me? I need to get something at Lowe's."

Sure, can we get a coffee while we're out?

"I drink coffee. You drink creamer and mocha with a splash of coffee for flavor."

Do not.

"Do too."

I like mocha.



How cool is that?


Walk With Him Wednesdays---Click On The Picture On My Sidebar






Getting The Treatment

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Udders of a cow grazing. Pictured in Tanzania[/caption]

This morning I stood in front of the bathroom mirror. As I was washing my hands I was looking around the sink. My eyes lingered on the Chicken Poop Lip Balm (and don't freak out, there isn't any REAL poop in it) from Tractor Supply Center. Then I noticed my Udderly Soft (can be used on all sorts of farm animals) hand lotion that I picked up at WalMart. Seriously, if I keep going like this, my bathroom sink will look like a table at the vet's office.

But, on the upside...I'll have really soft lips and hands.





Tuesday, February 8, 2011


[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Jan and I made some vegan chocolate chip cooki...[/caption]

Eucharisteo--Greek.   yoo-khar-is-teh'-o. Verb. Definition: 1.To be grateful, to feel thankful. 2. Give thanks

In chapter two of One Thousand Gifts, Ann talks about eucharisteo. Eucharisteo is the key word. The meaning behind it, the challenge of this entire book.

To Give Thanks.

(pg. 30)"On this page Ann asks herself if she needs to see the world, visit the exquisite, before she faces eternity? Or isn't it here? Can't I find it here? (31) Isn't it here? The wonder? Why do I spend so much of my living hours struggling to see it?"

This is so true for me. It is easy for me to skim over the very real miracles of today, not seeing them. Blinded by the busyness of life, thinking I need to do something more. Something big. Something significant. Before I am witness to the incredible.Could it really be something as simple as giving thanks? Being grateful for what I have? Even if it is a simple thing...The simple things become the big things, if they are appreciated. If I remember to offer thanks for them.

(pg. 37) "What precedes the miracle is thanksgiving, eucharisteo, and it is a Greek word with a hard meaning that is harder yet to live. Do I really want to take up this word?"

Should I really take up the challenge of gratitude? Will it change me? Will my eyes begin to see the ways that God is saying "yes" to me, on a daily basis? Certainly it is true that God acts in big ways, when He chooses. But, isn't it just as true that God acts in small ways? The small things that touch us in the grind of the every day? Shouldn't I be as appreciative for the beauty in the quiet stillness of freshly fallen snow, as I am for the healing of a loved one? Shouldn't I thank Him for hugs from children that he has blessed me with? As much as I see him in the faces of the forgiven? Shouldn't the smell of freshly laundered towels be as heady to me as the view from a mountain top?

Isn't God big enough to have everything under control? But small enough to to have communion with me as I thank him for the warm chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven? Why does my eucharisteo have to be small? Or only for certain things? Can I not thank God for ALL he does? All the ways he blesses? Even when I don't understand? Even when things don't go "my way". Can I not thank him for being in control--even when I'm so out of control? For being sovereign when I can't even see a second into my own future?

And with that...the Father of Lies whispers in my ear. He spits out the word eucharisteo. A whisper of irritation. A scratch of ungratefulness. "You don't need eucharisteo. It's useless. God isn't listening." And I am taken back to the garden. In the beginning he convinced Adam and Eve that ungratefulness was normal. That it was okay. That what God gave them wasn't good enough...and with that they sunk their teeth into that glorious fruit. The same fruit that turned bitter and rotten in their mouths. Communion with God was fractured, and the ungratefulness started to fester. It has been that way ever since.

And yet...

I want to take the challenge....the give thanks. To live eucharisteo. To see with my own eyes the difference it makes.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Gifts For Today

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="198" caption="Image by rustman via Flickr"]Thank you *[/caption]

I am beginning my journey of gratitude. Writing down each of the things that I am grateful for. Giving thanks.

Each Monday ,and maybe some days in between, I will share my list with you. I ask that you join me in this endeavor, in saying thank you for your own gifts. (See my side bar with multitudes on mondays - one thousand gifts button)

#1 My God, My Jesus...for loving me. For loving me long before I loved Him. I didn't deserve the love, yet it was given to me. Freely.

#2 My husband, who came to me by way of loss, has turned my life around and changed my life story.

#3 My son,  who I've had opportunity to love with all my heart, since before he was even born.

#4 My son and daughters through my marriage, that I have adopted in my heart.

#5 My health...though not better than most. I'm thankful for lungs that breathe, a heart that beats, a brain that thinks, and a soul that sings.

#6 My family members who have loved me, in spite of...

#7 A mother who encourages me.

#8  The warmth of a house on a cold winters day.

#9 The way the lamp light puddles on the floor, near my reading chair.

#10 The smell of dinner cooking.

Do I Want To Change The Story?

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Photo of TomTom Go 500[/caption]

I have mentioned that I am reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. After going through the first chapter, and discussing it with the book club, here are some of my insights.

Even if you haven't read the book, I'm sure you can relate.

(pg. 14) "Does God really love me? If He truly, deeply loves me, why does He withhold that which I believe will fully nourish me? Why do I live in this sense of rejection, of less than, of pain? Does He not want me to be happy?

I admit I have that thought sometimes. On days that I presume that I know so much more than God, I'm sure that my plan will work. If He would only allow me to have my way, everything would work out for me. I would live happily ever after. Doesn't He love me enough to let me do this on my own? Why can't He just let me? Doesn't He want me to be happy?

In my mind I have it figured out, my heart I don't really feel it. My heart knows that I am not capable of writing my own story. I am the same one who is scared of mice, burns toast, and is directionally challenged. I can't handle the most basic things of life and I know I am helpless to even try with the harder things. I fail. Without Him, I fail. Every. Single. Time.

And yet, I still want the control. The ability to run my story, my way. I want to stamp my life with, I CAN. I WILL. I KNOW. I DID. I want to be in the driver's seat of my own destiny. My life map spread out before me. MY voice, the one giving directions through the GPS of my story.

My hubris knows no bounds.

(pg. 15) "Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren't satisfied in God and what He gives. We hunger for something more, something other."

If I'm completely honest with myself. Really honest...isn't that how I feel? How about you?

The life we live, is hardly the life we planned. We wonder if there isn't something more in the 24 hours a day? When years turn into decades, do we look back with gratitude? Or grief?Peace or regret?

(pg. 21) As Mrs. Voskamp tells the story of her brother-in-law, a man and his wife that lost two of their young sons to a genetic disease. She struggled with her nephew's deaths. She told this grieving father, if it were up to her....she would write the story differently. He replied, "Just that maybe...maybe you don't want to change the story, because you don't know what a different ending holds."

It's true. I don't know what the ending holds.

God does. He knows.

I could attempt my own story. I could fight. I could scratch and claw my way through life. Constantly grabbing back, what I feel is mine to have. Wishing...screaming....for things to be different.

If I do that, I will miss the things. The small things. The every day things. The things that bring joy. If my eyes are riveted, by pride, to all I do not have, I will completely miss all that I do have. I will miss all the ways that God has said yes to me. There is peace and joy in the every day...if I deliberately take the time to see it. And thank God for it.




Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Dare To Live Fully

Silver Gift Boxes

The postman delivered my book last evening. The book, written by Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts. I was so excited to receive it.  Despite all the snow and ice on the roads the postman got it to me.

I read the first chapter and into the second. I wanted to be prepared for the video book club that starts today. To be able to discuss. To share.

Mrs. Voskamp is an author who has the skill of a surgeon, her words cut through me like a knife. From the very beginning, she challenged me...caused me to consider.

How do we live in a world full of pain, in the shadows of what should have been? How do we live a life of thankfulness in the midst of it all?

Radical gratitude. Not what you might think.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Don't Expect Perfection

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="290" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Animation of the structure of a section of DNA...[/caption]

Don't expect perfection from me because it's not going to be happening. Oh, I try. Sometimes, I find myself trying too much. Fretting over the coulda, shoulda, woulda's of life.

There are days when I lament the fact that I am not taller. Or thinner. Or funnier. Or that I would read my Bible more. Or be more thrifty..or....or......or...... the list can go on and on, can't it?

After I have my pity party, I come back to reality. I will never be perfect. I just won't.

God knows that.

And that is okay.

As much as I don't like to share my imperfections with the world, it is those very imperfections that draw people to me. It is the same with you.

This life is not about being perfect. Perfect is not attainable. Being real is more important.

It's when I take off the "expectations", and strive instead, to be the one that I was created to be, that things change. I begin to see the glory in the moments. I see God's hand in my life.

My DNA says that I am unique. I am special. There is no one just like me. Not in all the world. That is pretty amazing stuff if you think about it.

God is pretty amazing...and incredible...and He really IS perfect.

And yet, He still loves me.

Imperfections and all.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Where Your Heart Is...

Reach Out!

"Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."- Jesus (Luke 12:34)

The heart.

Not just the vessel that pumps our life blood, but the heart of our very being...

Who you are

What you desire

How you live

All of you.

For without the heart we are nothing.

Love, passion, life...

What am I passionate about? And you?

My treasure--where is it stored?

Seeking His kingdom with all my heart.

My passion. My life blood.

My treasure.


Luke 12: 22-34



Thursday, February 3, 2011

Do Not Worry About Tomorrow

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Canon Deluxe Backpack 200 EG[/caption]

The backpack is far too heavy for me. I am hunched over from the struggle of having to carry it. It strains me almost to the point of exhaustion.

I'm weighed down by everything I have shoved in there.




The Daily Routine.

The Mundane.






The past.

The future.



The things of life, that I worry over.

Each one seemingly so important that I feel I must carry it.

These things that I continually shove in my own personal backpack.

Sometimes it is so full I can't even zip it shut. Just when I think there is room for nothing else...I squeeze another worry in.

I cannot continue like this.

"Father, this is so difficult for me. I don't want to worry, but worry creeps back to me. I say I trust You. I give you the backpack, but then I take it back again. The worry feels comfortable to me...even if it is painful.

Father, will you help me? Help me to trust you more. I need your words from Matthew 6:34 to soothe my tired back. "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things."

Lord, you are so much more capable to carry my burdens than I am. Forgive me for not trusting you more."

Okay, People. This Is It!

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]mousetrap[/caption]

For the past week or so, on and off, I've been blogging about mice. The little field vermin have managed to find their way into my house. Notice I said MY house although they seem to think they have ownership too. My kids (and the cat) caught the one from last week and that is all wonderful and fine, but the furball had relatives...and they are many.

The other evening I was in the pantry looking for some ingredients, so I could whip together a dinner worthy of Taste of Home.....when I heard a scratch. A scratch nearby. I froze. Just then a teeny little head poked it's way out of a Walmart bag, that I have a pile of, on the pantry floor. I don't know who was more freaked out. Him or me?! After gaining my composure I stomped (so as to scare him away and not have him run up my pants legs or something) over to where I keep the glue traps.  I pulled one out and slapped it down on the floor. Some of you might think I'm cruel, but all is fair in love and war. This is war!

I'm still hearing scratching in the ceiling. I fear that I am going to have to suit up like a character from Ghost Busters, and trek up to the attic. It is unnerving to me....but a woman's got to do what a woman's got to do. The attic is shadowy and dark. The puny little light bulb we have up there is not enough. This will give the rodent army the advantage. I on the other hand, like to think that I am much smarter than they are. I can woo them with peanut butter and cheese. Think of it as their last meal because they are dead mice walking.

I assume that they will watch me from the shadows with their beady little eyes. I will tell them, "This house isn't big enough for the 200 of us. ( I really have no idea the number of mice in the attic. It could be 3 or 3 million, who really knows? They all look the same.) It's me against you varmints! I will throw down the gauntlet. They will squeak in fear. Or not.

The saga continues...