Monday, November 30, 2009

30 Days of Gratitude, Finishing Well

Day 24 Safe travel to see family
Day 25 A walk with The Princess around my college campus
Day 26 Thanksgiving lunch and dinner with both sides of the family
Day 27 The thrill of early morning bargains on Black Friday with The Princess
Day 28 A visit with dear friends from the past
Day 29 A hubby who willingly drives ALL the way back home, another safe day of travel...and sleeping in my own bed!
Day 30 A quiet day of catching up on 2 weeks of work!

There is so much to give thanks for. This little exercise has taught me to look each day for the blessings all around.

Monday, November 23, 2009

30 Days of Gratitude, Days 18-23

While I was away on vacation, I kept up my gratitude list but lost internet connection after the first post. So here's what I was thankful for...

sunset walks on the beach...

white sandy beaches and blue water...

Benadryl for the bug bites
(I'll spare you the visual)

Key Lime Pie...

the amazing variety of shells I found...

flights that were NOT missed...
and my very own bed to sleep in!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

30 Days of Gratitude, Day 17

Today I am grateful for
a good book
an evening walk with my hubby
Red Velvet Cake Ice Cream

Sunday, November 15, 2009

30 Days of Gratitude, Catching Up...

Iam grateful that you are a grace-filled community of readers.
I've lost track, gotten behind, been a little busy. So like I told the gals that attended the journaling class I led last weekend--don't beat yourself up if you have lapses, just start again.

Today I am grateful for...
palm trees
ocean breezes
and key lime pie!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

30 Days of Gratitude, Day 11

On this day that we honor all those who have served our country or are in active duty, I am grateful for freedom. Freedom is never really free, it cost someone something along the way. While I live in a country that holds those freedoms in high regard and i benefit daily from the sacrifice of others, I am most grateful for another kind of freedom. I am grateful that I am free from the law of sin and death and can experience life at it's fullest.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." Galatians 5:1

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

30 Days of Gratitude, Day 10

Sunshine and Sonic.
It was 60 degrees and sunshine today which is above average for this time of year where I live. I was out running work errands and thought lunch at Sonic was in order. My last trip there (Sonic is on the other side of town from my house and too far to drive on a whim) proved to be disappointing so I was hoping for a good experience this time.
Sun roof open, combo meal delivered as ordered, lemon-berry slush with Sonic crushed ice. All was right with the world for those 20 minutes!

What do you order at Sonic?

30 Days of Gratitude, Day 9

Today I am grateful for comfort food.
Yesterday I was cranky, out of sorts, "ill" as my southern friends might say. A demanding (but fun) weekend coupled with some late nights preparing for a speaking engagement and a family vacation took me out of my usual "happy place".
Somehow macaroni and cheese sounded like the solution to the problem. Wisconsin white cheddar and shell macaroni courtesy of Panera Bread hit the spot and got me out of my funk or maybe it the unexpected conversation with a friend and Bible study later that night that did it.
There's no denying the power of food in my life.
Ice cream...
These are a few of my favorite things.

What's your favorite food?

30 Days of Gratitude, Day 8

Today I am grateful for music.

"Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul"

"Music is what feelings sound like"

I have long been the only non-iPod user in my family. Until now.
I got one for my birthday. Up until now, I willingly shelled out $15 for a cd when I usually only listened to one or two tracks. Now I can pick and choose from millions of songs and make them mine for a mere .99 each. How cool is that? And podcasts- all topics will now be at my fingertips. Hubby has the fancy iTouch but I thought I should start more simply so got a new Nano. These pod making people are pretty smart and so is the Nano. It takes video and I can even listen to the radio with it. There's a tiny little speaker so I don't even have to wear the earbuds if I don't want to (although the sound is much better with them IN).

So as fond as I am of my new little toy, it's caused a dilemma. What do I put on it? I love ALL kinds of music. I like music that moves me and music that makes me want to move. I'm a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. I love the oldies but have fun finding the newbies.
It's a big, big music world out there and I've got an empty iPod waiting to be filled!

What's on your playlist?

30 Days of Gratitude, Day 7

Today I am grateful for friends.
There are the "old" friends that knew me "back when". Some of them were a part of the growing up process and all contributed in some way to making me who I am today. There are the friends that stumbled along with me through those teenage years. Thanks to Facebook, I've re-connected with them and am happy to see that we all made it out of those years mostly unscathed. There were the friends who despite being in another stage of life than me, allowed me into their lives and served as mentors through the early years of marriage and child-rearing. To this day, their advice and example do not go disregarded in my life.

Then there are the "now" friends that share with me "up close and personal" what is going on in my life. We laugh and cry together and count on each other for prayers, for recipes, and for encouragement. We help each other with mid-life issues, and teenager/letting go issues, and show each other how to Facebook and tie a scarf. A few are the ones who you let in your house when it's dirty, who will give you a honest answer regarding your hairstyle or wardrobe, and who will listen to you rant without judgement.

From a birthday card I received last week:

"Forget the calories. Forget the years. If you must count something, count your friends"

Friday, November 6, 2009

30 Days of Gratitude, Days 4, 5, 6

Oops, playing catch up here! This is harder than I thought--not finding things to be thankful for but sitting down and capturing those thankful thoughts on paper, er- computer screen. It has been a challenge with my schedule this particular week.

Sooooo, I'm giving you three for one...

Today I am grateful for my children (there are other days this gratefulness could be a challenging concept).

Today is #1 son's birthday. It was a sunny fall day such as the one I am experiencing today that he chose to come in to this world 25 years ago. He was a calm, scheduled baby and a compliant, easy going child through elementary school. He is the athlete of the family and we spent many memorable days and nights doing bleacher time watching him play football, basketball, and baseball. Today he is generous and fun-loving--a big man with a big heart. There have been some bumps along the way in this process of growing up but God has helped me see the prodigal tendancies in my own life and each day I have the privilege of praying for him and encouraging him as the opportunity is given.

College Boy is the middle child. He is shy but witty and smart. He likes reading the classics, listening to obscure celtic bands, and taking things apart! I've known from his earliest years that he was wired to be an engineer. He is graduating from college this May and my prayer for him is that he would be established in his career and life in a way that is honoring to God.

The Princess. When I was pregnant with #3, I wanted to know the gender and my husband did not. I was perfectly content with the idea that I might have all boys and at that time was pretty confident that I had it all together in the parenting realm (what's the verse about pride going before a fall?). But I wanted to be prepared for what #3 would be and so with hubby's approval, I found out the gender but had to keep it to myself. I soooooo get the verse where Mary, the mother of Christ, "treasured these things in her heart". It was the hardest secret to keep! My OB appointments were in another town so I would buy pink with abandon and kept it locked away for safe keeping. The Princess came into our world on Christmas eve eve and we gave her the middle name "Joy". For the most part that is what she has been to our family-pure joy. She was girlie to the boys brawn, ruffly to their rough, but not necessarily quiet to their loud. She had a way of making her presence known and used far more words in the first 3 years of life than her brothers combined! Today, she is driven and determined. She is talented and beautiful. I will miss her terribly when she graduates and goes off to college. My prayer for her is that God would protect her heart and guide her path--she is His princess as well!

I'm now a teary-eyed mess.

I would be grateful for your thoughts and prayers this weekend. I've been asked to speak at a women's retreat on the topic of journaling/blogging. Naturally, when you are talking about "using words", you want to "use your words well" so if you think of it, pray for me!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

30 Days of Gratitude, Day 3

On this my 52nd birthday, I must say I am grateful for my parents. They gave me life, they gave me direction, and they pointed me to Christ.
I am grateful for the continued health and life they have and regret that I do not live close enough to be there for them.
I hope that the best of what they did for me has been passed on to my children.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Thirty Days of Gratitude, Day 2

It's Monday, so today's topic of gratitude is

Work, Job, Ministry

I am blessed to work where I worship. That can be tricky sometimes. As I said yesterday, "no church is perfect" and sometimes "sheep bite" but overall, I love what I do and am blessed to be working where grace abounds.

My job is ministry--that's actually true for anyone who follows Christ but somehow I am blessed to get to do what I love and get paid for it!

So here's some of my top reasons why I love my job:

  • It's never the same. I get bored with routine so I love that each day brings new challenges even if there is a regular rhythm to our ministry schedule.

  • There's always food. We have a fairly large staff so someone is always bringing in birthday treats, or there's leftovers from potlucks, brunches and other meetings. I count on a leftover donut each Wednesday morning from Men's Fraternity to be my breakfast.

  • I work for and with GREAT people. It really is a place I enjoy coming to everyday. We work in a supportive and grace-filled environment but we also have fun. Lots of laughter and some really great staff parties!

  • What I do matters. There is nothing wrong with bottom lines and soaring profits but I'm not really wired that way. I love that what I do helps facilitate ministry to PEOPLE and that lives are impacted by what we do.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Thirty Days of Gratitude, Day 1

It’s November and in the United States this is the traditional month of Thanksgiving. So if you will indulge me for the next 29 days, I’d like to tell you what I am thankful for.

Since it is Sunday, I’ll start with…


Mine is not perfect and if it were, I couldn’t attend! But I am blessed to be a part of a community of committed believers who are led by servant leaders who are intentional about encouraging us to a deeper walk of faith.

I love how God’s Word is taught with clarity and relevance.

I love how there is opportunity to pursue a passion to serve whether it be across the world, across the street, or in the nursery.

I love guitar driven worship, and brass line Sundays, and orchestra weeks, and BIG BAND! I love the kids choirs and the adult choir, and my peeps on vocal teams!

From the Psalms of Ascent--

“I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.” 122:1

Bless Her Heart

“Blessed are the optimistic, for they will not be disappointed”

                                                                                    --mistranslation mine

I knew we were headed for an adventure when The Princess called me at work to ask if we still had “that sewing machine”. 

“Why do you ask sweetie?”

“We’re at Hancock’s buying fabric for Halloween costumes'”, she replied.  “Thanks, I’ll see you later”.

I thought my Halloween costume days were over but apparently high school seniors are not too old or too cool to participate in a little Halloween fun.   Bless her heart…

I’ve never been a fan of store bought costumes so through the years, I managed to create outfits out of things around the house or with very few purchased items.  I also managed to put them together with pins, glue, tape and staples.  I can hem but I do not really sew even though my sainted mother tried to show me how.  Bless her heart…

With one quarter of a semester class called “Family Consumer Science”, my daughter has more sewing experience than I have at 50- something (I’m embarrassed to say).  So with much enthusiasm and optimism, The Princess made her fabric choices and brought them home to create.   Bless her heart…

I got home from work to find this:

 Halloween 2009 002

And this:

 Halloween 2009 001


She had no pattern.  She wanted no help.  Bless her heart…

She did have satin, and some kind of tulle, sequins, and…

A ZIPPER.  Bless her heart…


And with great determination (and a small amount of frustration), two days later  she had this…

 Halloween 2009 007


Isn’t she the cutest Tinkerbell you’ve ever seen?

I couldn’t have done a better job myself…bless her heart!