Archive for thankfulness project

For the giver.

I haven’t been writing because I started to get the sense that I was spending my days looking for blog material instead of His gifts.  And as beautiful as all of the gifts are, I’ve heard Him calling that my focus should really be on the Giver, not the gifts themselves.

Are you one of those people that has to have the “perfect” gift?  I am.  It drives my husband bananas.  Even when it comes to weddings, I can’t just pick a random thing off of the registry.  It has to be something I connect to in some way. This time of year the need for the perfect gift can get a bit challenging/annoying/stressful.

But it has me thinking about why I like to give “perfect” gifts.  And why I’m touched when I receive them.  It becomes not so much about the gift itself – it’s being loved.  Being known.  The the giver truly “sees” something in the receiver.  As a giver, it’s not about getting credit for picking out the perfect gift – it’s wanting the receiver to know that I truly “get” them and appreciate them and love them.

It is no different with God.  His gifts are simply an expression of His love for me.  His way of reminding me that He truly knows me, loves me, and wants a close, personal relationship with me. His gifts are meant to draw us together.

I’m thankful for…

118. God who is personal.

119. the death of Christ that allows Him to see me as beautiful and perfect though I am far, far from it.

120. God who will go to great lengths to pursue me that I might see Him and have relationship with Him.

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For community and technology.

Say what you will about technology.  About Facebook.  Add Pinterest and email and Google Reader into this mix, and yes – it can be an addiction.

But for all the perils of lost time, lost privacy, lost face to face contact – God uses ALL THINGS for good.

This week was such a poweful reminder.   When my friend Ann posted to Facebook that her dear daughter was being lifelined to Riley, there was instant response.  Within a few hours, hundreds of people (at least) were lifting this beautiful family in prayer.

Can you imagine how long that might have taken with just a phone?

And believe what you will about the power of prayer – I know that it is effective – but this family felt God’s presence in these scary moments in a powerful way.  And even the “ding” of a new text or Facebook notification was a steady, continual reminder that they were not alone.

While today’s society has us acting as individuals instead of community more than ever before, its tools can also serve to bring us back together in ways we wouldn’t always think of.

Today, I am thankful:

111. for K’s safety and healing

112. for the doctors and nurses who took care of her

113. for the way God is using this experience to bring this family closer to him and to one another

114. for the drama and humor of 4th grade girls ( “ya I know, but seriously enough of the drama mom”)

115. technology that serves us for good

116. the way we can go deeper with one another when we are face to face because the “little stuff” is already out of the way

117. that Facebook doesn’t fill me enough to make me abandon friends and community and real life

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For family. And health. And lessons.


All the things that are important to me…except I really need to add something that represents my husband.  And the L is for fun – I’d like “self” to not be as important as the other things here.

What a lovely weekend.  A weekend with no plans – it’s rare in this household, and it’s treasured.  We worked on some projects, played games, ate Dog n Suds, enjoyed some time with friends.

And then heard some unthinkable news about a sweet friend of Megan’s.  She’s on a lifeline flight to Riley.  We don’t know details, but don’t need them to know this could be very bad.

And so I realize that I just don’t hug my kids enough (they probably wouldn’t agree – I am a hugger).  That I take way too many things for granted.  That I need to cherish every moment, because you never know what might change in the next one.

It took me back a few weeks to when Brett was in the hospital for a minor procedure.  Nothing serious – but watching him in that hospital gown, and listening to them take his health history where they asked him a thousand questions that made me realize how many things COULD be wrong – it freaked me out a bit.  That same feeling last night.

Thankfully, this sweet girl has turned a major corner, and hopefully it will all come down to a severe concussion that will heal.  But I pray that as the injury passes, the lesson won’t.

I’m thankful for:

101. for family game time. I don’t love the card table taking up the empty floor space in the family room, but I love that it calls to my children to initiate family time.

102. for a boy that hasn’t yet realized it’s not cool to wants lots of hugs and snuggles.

103. for a girl that is starting to realize it, but still tolerates and sometimes embraces a giant hug or morning snuggle.

104. for the joy of watching my children jump and bury themselves in leaves.

105. for the joy of watching my kids rake and feel accomplishment from it.

106. for a husband who willingly and ably takes care of our home.

107. for a husband who still loves me as much as when he married me – even though he now knows what he was getting into.

108. for the health of my family and extended familly

109. for the God who holds us all in his hands.

110. for lessons learned, even in scary moments.

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Sweet sibling sounds.

Another 24 hours from the couch.  It’s getting kind of old!  As the kids finished up dinner last night, I laid back down.  And I crashed.  Hard.  I know the nap was at least an hour – probably longer.  And as I woke up but laid still, my children were beautifully playing board games on the family room floor.  They were giggling, encouraging one another, and just generally having fun.  They were also playing “name that artist” on Pandora.  This is their latest game – yes, we do listen to a lot of Christian contemporary music – and they love to guess who is singing the song.

I can’t tell you how this one thing overwhelms any other thoughts of gratitude I could have for the last day.  The last several months have been marked by squabbling.  Oh so much arguing, “she’s being mean,” name-calling, excluding one another, teasing, etc.  After 7 years of sibling bliss – they have always been good friends and enjoyed one another – they have been making up for lost time in the argument department.

I’ve been a bit at a loss, and we’ve spent a lot of time talking about how our home and family are placed where we get encouraged and built up so that we can deal with it when the world tries to tear us down.  We’ve memorized James 1:19 together : “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” We’re working on Ephesians 4:29: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, so that it may benefit those who listen.”

I haven’t seen much progress.

So on an evening where dad had to work late and mom just had to take a nap, what a sweet blessing it was to find my children playing peacefully, enjoying one another, and singing along to some great praise songs to God.

Call that #90.

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Having to look a little harder.

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Thankfulness, again. For grace.

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This post has been in “draft” status for a long time.  You can squint and see the date on the picture.  My commitment to intentional thankfulness – a bit off the track.  Funny that as I sat in church on Sunday, our pastor quoted the exact Scripture that got me started on this in the first place – Psalm 13.

I will tell you I have still been more mindful of all of his gifts.  But as I sat in church, I knew that God had specifically told me that this journey was about expressing my gratitude, not just being grateful.  For whatever reason, I’m supposed to write during this journey, not just think.

An interesting thing happened last week – very related.  I got an email from a MOPS staff member, asking if I wanted to write an article for an email going out to leaders in November.  They wanted something on gratitude, thankfulness, etc.  And my first reaction?  “I’m too busy to to do that.”  HELLO??? I’m in the middle of a season of writing about thankfulness, and I’m “too busy” to do it for someone else?  I quickly reconsidered. 🙂

It seems everyone I turn these last few days, I’m confronted with something I’m not doing well, and then I’m just as quickly brought a reminder of His beautiful grace.  The grace that loves me even when I’m wrong.  Grace that rejoices with the tiniest of victories He sees in me – not just the big stuff.  Grace that is there waiting for me if I’ll just notice.

And so as many of my friends begin their “month of thankfulness” on Facebook, I am back to my writing journey.  Random lists for a few days here, because I’ve got lots of catching up to do.

I’m thankful for…

68. the delight of my children in trick-or-treating

69. a husband who delights to be part of his children’s fun

70. good friends and traditions

71. a friend who just feels “like home” for my daughter, even as life circumstances take them apart on a daily basis

72. cozy blankets as the weather turns cool

73. the delighted shrieks of children echoing through the hills during a beautiful fall hike

74. the splendor of fall

75. the warm crackle of an outdoor fire

76. health

77. God’s sense of humor

78. His grace

79. His patience with me

80. friends who need nothing but some simple food and conversation

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Weekends are for…

Apparently anything but writing. I can’t seem to find the time to fit it in. I’ll blame it on our schedule this fall – weekends are also for anything but relaxing.

This weekend was for family. Cousins on my mom’s side to be specific. One of my favorite cousins was married yesterday. I remember playing Candyland with Kevin and his older brother Alan in my grandparents’ living room. I remember feeling left out when they got to see Raiders of the Lost Ark, and I wasn’t old enough yet.  They were the boys I always looked up to and adored.

It was a joy this weekend to see Kevin and all of his brothers in one place. It happens rarely, and so I think it made us all a bit teary (in a good way) to see them all up at the altar together looking very handsome in their tuxes! I can’t imagine how my aunt felt to see them!

So, this weekend was about hugging cousins not seen in a long time, celebrating love and marriage and family.

I’m thankful for…

62. Family.  Just that simple – near or far, it’s just lovely to have those you “belong to.”

63. the joy of watching my girl wanting to get out and boogie on the dance floor.

64. Kevin & Suzette and their obvious joy.

65. the beauty of fall

66. Caramel apple cupcakes.  To die for.

67. a husband who will just jump in and talk and have fun.

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