Oh Happy Day!

Oh Happy Day!
Daily Ponderings and Lessons in Gratitude

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Mixed Fonts - Clearer Message

Daily Gratitude Year 4-Day 271: Today, I am grateful for mixed fonts and clearer messages.

I adore words and definitions. Right after that...fonts. In the past...in the earlier home computer years... I have been put on font restrictions in the past when computers space was more limited.  Now, I get to keep all the fonts I want.  Oh, happy day! 

Mixing fonts helps add whimsy, but more importantly, it can create a clearer message. I found this image on designs by Nicolina and it caught my attention. Yes...the mix is just more interesting... but it seems to simplify the message. 

Mixing fonts is a rich part of art, the written word and in the Bible Journaling community. Hand drawn, stamped, stickers or even stencils can give us variety. On the computer, the font list can easily reach over 500.  All the varieties and then a "bold" or "Italics" to add more clarity. 

Today is a great day to grab some note cards (Common 4X6 index) or a blank journal and write a scripture in mixed fonts. Read a scripture, pray it, ask God to let it speak and then write it down. I just heard on the radio that a recent stud shows that doodling while learning increases retention. I have lived that experience in my school days, and now as I journal God's word in artistic ways... His Word speaks. 

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. - Hebrews 4:12 

If I were mixing fonts on this scripture... and adding doodles... THE WORD OF GOD might be big and bold. Living...active... and sharper are key. A sword doodle piercing a heart that is divided into souls and spirit. Joints and marrow.( God knew blood was made in the bone marrow...science had not yet discovered that truth. Something to think about)  Thoughts and intentions of the heart means more hearts to doodle and a thought cloud. All with mixed fonts. 

Anyway...that is a simple gratitude for a Tuesday  I am going to simply be grateful for mixed fonts and the many ways we can use them. 

Today, I am grateful for mixed fonts and clearer messages.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Griffith...God's Greater Grace

Daily Gratitude Year 4-Day 270: Today, I am grateful God' grace is greater than any struggle...and lessons from Mayberry. 

I have the best memories of growing up with frequent visits to my grandparents home. Mama's family meant time with cousins. Lindgren grandparents meant time with Grandma and Grandpa. We were their constant shadows and companions. I don't remember much self entertainment... I remember being with them. I remember the treat of TV trays and Andy Griffith. 

We were never allowed to watch TV at a meal. Grandpa had TV trays for that very reason. I think it went back to his years as a widower before marrying Grandma Marge. He knew every show and would watch them again and again. Such wisdom was found in Mayberry. 

Our Sunday School class has done a series that was short - but used clips from old episodes of "The Andy Griffith Show".  Can you hear him whistling the theme song? (If you are under 35 - you may need to look for it on YouTube.) Yes, Mayberry was full of lessons that even in seasons of hardship and and a depressed economy, the things that really mattered were simple.  Loving your neighbor...from the switchboard busybody to the town drunk Otis... was how they lived. A family could be an Andy, an Opie and an Aunt Bea. Love always won over a gun... which is good because Barney had a little trouble with his. 

Friends and family were what made a man (or woman) rich. Living in a community that cared was what carried folks through the tough times. People... especially Andy... listened. I can still close my eyes and see him pause before responding to anyone that was wound up and ready for a fight. His questions guided them to answers that were better than violence or hatred. I miss Mayberry. I miss Grandpa and Grandma. I miss the message that community is as important as individual success. 

I am grateful that I grew up with a taste of Mayberry in rural America. We had no Wi-Fi or cellphones. We stayed connected by actually being together. Stopping in for tea or coffee. The trend toward "small groups" in churches is reviving the practice of intimacy and accountability among believers. We need each other. In our celebrations, in death, in success and in our struggles... together is better.   

For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 4:15

Our little village has pockets of Mayberry. Our little neighborhood of 70's homes has been one of them. Not the fanciest homes... but rich in relationships.  Our kids actually played outside... and for those homes with younger children... they still do. One yard or two collects the children. The yard changes but the faces are the same. The children learn about extending grace to each other in times of disagreement...and about the doubling of the fun in corporate play. 

Lessons in grace...given and extended... are powerful life lessons.  Community changing life lessons. 

Today, I am grateful God' grace is greater than any struggle...and lessons from Mayberry. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Waiting on His Timing

Daily Gratitude Year 4-Day 269: Today, I am grateful for God's timing. 

Sometimes things seem wrong. It seems there is no possible way that "God is in it" when it looks like a real mess. How complicated this life can be, but God's direction is so simple. "Trust in me". 

Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. -Genesis 21:5

And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. -Hebrews 6:15

Trust in God means trusting his path and his timing. Becoming a parent at 100! A child is always a gift, but imagine a toddler in your senior years. At 50... I think I would shed a few tears of self-pity. 

Still, God's proved again and again that his timing is always perfect. It was for Abraham. It was for Noah, Moses, Joseph & David. It was for Rahab... and for Ruth. And then for Saul/Paul. For the friendless Zacchaeus... and for James, the brother of Jesus who did not believe in him until after his resurrection. 

It was God's timing for the Samaritan woman at the well who had known five husbands and was living with a man without marriage. She met Jesus and he rocked her world with his love and truth. He sought her out when others would have shunned her.  He offered her a new life and living water . (John 4) Jesus, also, addressed God's timing and what was to come. To her...a woman, a Samaritan and one who had many men... he revealed his identity and clearly spoke of what was to come. What an encounter!

 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. -John 4:23

 What an encounter! Not your average day at the well. God's timing is always perfect. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. -Proverbs 3:5-6

The key to this passage is clearly written and claimed but a detail is often overlooked. "In all your ways acknowledge him" is easier said than done.  Easier quoted than lived out. When we acknowledge his Lordship, he directs our paths. 

In all your ways acknowledge that this life is a gift...to us... from him. What we do with the gift is a daily decision. Submitting to His Lordship and embracing his timing - no matter how crazy it might seem. 

"Child...your way might seem 'better' .. but you don't have a universe. Let's go with my plan. Trust in me. It will come together for your good." - God

One of the joys of maturity is that eventually... we start to see his hand, his timing and his grace that arrived in some unusual, strangely timed packages. 

Today, I am grateful for God's timing. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016


Daily Gratitude Year 4-Day 268: Today, I am grateful for psithurism (sith' yur is um)...the sound of the wind in the trees and the rustling leaves.

Growing up less than an hour from Chicago...on a 
flat Midwest farm... believe me when I say... I know wind. I know the howl and the roar. I know the whisper... and the rustle. I like the rustle. 

As a child, fierce winds shaking an 1800's farmhouse could be a little frightening. Then, there were other times, the gentle rustle of leaves outside a window was an evening lullaby or a morning song as leaves began to dry and drop... signifying fall ahead.  The scent in the air unique to the season would fill the room. How could I not fall in love with Autumn? The sounds, the scents and the colors are all so captivating. 

A swish, a swoosh and a whoosh... and the occasional crackle. Psithurism. The gentle rustle is captivating and unpredictable in rhythm, as only God directs the winds.  

And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided. -Genesis 8:1 

This is from the Genesis record of Noah and the Great Flood. God made a wind and directed it for his purpose to dry the flooded land. Then this passage from Proverbs:

"Who has ascended to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? 

What is his name, and what is his son's name? Surely you know! 

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar." -Proverbs 30:4-6

(Yes...that is Old Testament scripture in reference to Jesus.) 

He parts the waters, walks on water, calms the stormy seas... and rustles the autumn leaves. Who has gathered the wind in his fists? 

The Hebrew word for wind... in both scriptures is "ruwach". Best translated as Spirit, wind and...sometimes breath. 

How many times has man cost God his breath? How many times do we fight against the winds of the Holy Spirit's direction as we determinedly press toward our own goals? Haven't we all been there?  Does that work out for you any better than it does for me? 

What does it feel like when we...finally... surrender to His Spirit and feel the wind at our backs. Then, we can dance!  Moving with the Spirit instead of fighting against the winds of His direction. 

How does the experience change when we learn to listen for his rustle in the leaves and embrace the new season or direction? The difference is amazing. Surrender leads to empowerment. Crazy love, right? Reciprocal love. God's love. Forever love. 

Today, I am grateful for psithurism (sith' yur is um)...the sound of the wind in the trees and the rustling leaves and the movement of the Spirit through our days.  

Fine Tuning

Daily Gratitude Year 4-Day 267: Today, I am grateful for moments of "fine tuning".
For me, starting the day focusing on his word and one thing to be grateful for has become a habit. I need it like that first cup of coffee. The quiet moment before the day's chaos begins.
I am reading a book that is teaching me some Hebrew words. Focusing on the little details in the differences between language of scripture and English is fascinating to me. Sometimes it is the key that unlocks a verse that confuses me.
Today, we have easy resources that help us understand. We can fine tune and allow the power of the scriptures to be opened up and revealed.
This week...wilderness was a word that caught my eye. How many times God used the "desert" and "wilderness" places to reveal himself. Why? Because, even in Biblical times...the "busy" of the day could get in the way of hearing God's voice and seeing his direction. We listen better in the wilderness moments. We can fine tune in His presence.
I can relate to that!
Sometimes the wilderness can be emotional, and other times we step physically out of the chaos to pray and seek His face. Either way, He is waiting. Fine tuning changes everything.
"Be still and know I Am God." Psalm 46:10. My original life verse for fine tuning. What is yours?
The youth at church have started a tradition of choosing a life verse for the school year. Some keep them in their locker or as a screen saver... Or in their phones. They initiated the second year. Fine tuning made a difference.
"Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it." Habakkuk 2:2
Run to the wilderness. Run to the Word. Run!
Okay... Settle in with a hot cup of java and your favorite study tools.
Today, I am grateful for moments of "fine tuning".

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Not that Powerful

Year Four-Day 266: Today, I will be grateful for the truth that "I am not that powerful". 

"If you think you've blown God's plan for your life, rest in this. You, my beautiful friend, are not that powerful." - Lisa Bevere

Lisa Bevere's quote here really stirs my soul. What an encouraging word. The best part of this encouraging word is that it is true. It is not empty words. 

God is the Master at taking people that appear too broken to matter much to the world... and transforms them by his forgiveness and grace. He fills the hole in our souls and makes us whole. Then, what we allow Him to do in our lives is what defines the relationship. 

Moses...adopted into the palace but he knew his roots. He knew his people and his story. He had blood on his hands. Temper ridden and defiant at times. Not the best public speaker. He was the one chosen to lead a nation out of slavery and act as God's spokesman. How many times did he think he had blown God's plan for his life? 

Again... Saul to Paul... evidence of a Master's hand in a messed up plan. Saul believed in what he was doing when he persecuted Christians. He was had know idea what was ahead. He courageously let go of the brokenness in his life when he allowed it to be transformed by Christ's love. He did not let his past interfere with God's plan for his future. 

Rahab...a protitute... would find redemption, love and ultimately end up in the genealogy of Jesus.  Yes, she was a part of his story!  

Ruth... widow... an ethnic minority in her husbands family... with a broken heart and a sorrowful mother-in-law that took a great deal of her energy. God moved in her life in a powerful way simply because she kept her trust in him and continued to seek his face and do the right thing through her mountain of troubles.  She, too, is in the genealogy of Jesus. She was not too broken. She trusted a sovereign God.

David's sin with Bathsheba was not the end of his story and God's plans for his life. It was a turbulent time and God did allow tough consequences... really tough...  but it wasn't the end. 

The one super power he gives us is our ultimate choice to choose him as Lord and King or to reject him to do our own thing. It is really that simple. Choose Him or refuse Him. The only exercise requirement is that we exercise love for Him and love for each other. (Insert deep sigh of relief.) Now, the training program can be tough on our human nature... 

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. -James 4:7 

Yes... a simple training exercise strategy. But tough, too. 

Paraphrased - let His plan become your plan. Resist Satan. Don't let the enemy tempt, block or overcome you... because guess what? Satan, my friend, is not that powerful. Don't give in to his taunts and terrors. 

Embrace this day.  Some days we feel His hand. Other days, we just press on as instructed. Find comfort His Word. Be encouraged and encourage others. Trust the master planner with your best...and your mess. He's got your back, your front, your sideways and upside down. HE IS that powerful. 

Today, I will be grateful for the truth that "I am not that powerful".

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Choose a Ministry

Year Four-Day 265: Today, I will be grateful for opportunities to choose ministry.  

My dear friend, Clara Jo, says, "Be a Barnabas.". In Bible speak, that means be an encourager. She is. Daily and consistently. She, too, has been called to service different than her educational background.  She inspires me daily, we share things we are learning, and I am grateful to call her my friend. 

This "Ministry is..." captured my eye and struck just the right chord this morning. 

It took me to a particular scripture.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. -2 Corinthians 12:9-

His power is made perfect in our weaknesses. What a message. What an encouragement. Perfect strength. Not just "enough" strength. That, is our God. That, is Christ in us. That, is the Holy Spirit when we let him fill us, guide us and propel us. The Holy Spirit is the wind at our back when we have nothing left of our own strength. 

Every life has some story that would break your heart.  Everyone faces suffering and loss. Sometimes, the most powerful evidence of a living God is how his people respond to the struggles. For those who have known profound loss or sadness, there is is peace that comes on the darkest of days that can only be explained by supernatural forces. The wings of angels and the breath of the Holy spirit hold us together. There is nothing like the hug of an unseen angels wing for shelter. Even sweeter, is the human hug of one who encourages us to press on. 

Somehow, when we reach out to help others, we find our own hearts lifted. Never let Satan whisper, "You have nothing to offer.". He is a liar. God never called perfect people to service, for no one is perfect. In fact, some he called came from questionable and messy backgrounds. Love changes everything. God IS love. 

When love calls us to action... do we run like Jonah... in the opposite direction? Or, do we say "yes". 

Today, I will be grateful for opportunities to choose ministry... in all seasons of life.