Saturday, August 19, 2017

My Thoughts Aren't Audible

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 230: Today, I am grateful all my thoughts aren't audible. 

This image from "Sweatpants And Coffee" made me smile.

"Just sipping my coffee and giving thanks my thoughts aren't audible."  Can I get an "Amen!". 

Our thoughts are our secret place... where we can have conversations with the Holy Spirit and he will urge us toward what is good and loving and kind, To be honest... sometimes it is more of a battle than a friendly chat. 

Oh yes, I know from the thoughts that still float around in my head that I am still a work in progress. Far from finished, but at least He hasn't given up. The promise is that he won't. 

We are urged to control our tongues.  

Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. James 3:2

We all fail at tongue control. Prayers for wisdom and knowledge of The Word help when faced with the choice of controlling the tongue or letting it lash out with free reign. Free reigning tongues, almost always taste remorse. Controlled tongues can encourage, strengthen hearts and inspire. 

When anger and frustration surface, I rarely regret the times I bite my tongue. I can't sat the same for the times I let it loose. 

Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. 
 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home.
    You know everything I do. 
  You know what I am going to say
    even before I say it, Lord. 
You go before me and follow me.
    You place your hand of blessing on my head. 
 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! -Psalm 139:1-6

He doesn't just "get me", he knows me. Better yet, "  You place your hand of blessing on my head." He wants to help direct our thoughts, so we can see with his eyes and act in a way that chases his heart. 

There was a romantic comedy with Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt movie called "What Women Want"(2000). Nick Marshall, a somewhat chauvinistic advertising exec hot shot, has his life turned haywire when a fluke accident enables him to hear what women think. Darcy McGuire is his competition at work, his new boss and to his shock and surprise... his love interest. He is shocked by what women around him think of his arrogance and testosterone driven ways. Hearing the real thoughts of those around him made him kinder and more sensitive. A fun flick. 

How often would I cringe at others thoughts about my behaviors or unleashed tongue? Yikes. Not something I want to consider, but I should. 

We all see the world through our individual eyes and experiences. We often have no idea what trials others may be facing. The ones facing the tallest mountains may be the ones who never speak of it. They just press on one day at a time... helping others along the way. 

One prayer... squeezed from the lessons taught by Max Lucado in "He Chose the Nails". 

"Thank God, I don't get what I deserve." -amen

Perhaps, I need to preface that prayer with:

 "Thank you Lord for loving me, even when my tongue gets loose. Thank you for whispers of grace that help me hold back from speaking everything on my mind. Thank you for forgiving me when my words disappoint you and wound others. Thank you that others cannot hear all that I am thinking. Thank you Lord for taking my nails, so that I don't get what I deserve." -amen

His need for justice satisfied. Love, mercy and grace are our covering.

Each one of us is a work in progress when we submit to the Master Potter's hand.

Today, I am grateful all my thoughts aren't audible. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Work or Crafting Tool?

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 229: Today, I am grateful the difference between work and a crafting tool is attitude, use and perspective. 

When you look at this image (found on Pinterest) what do you see? A crafting tool... or a laborious, boring job that has to be done? 

In my house... it is a crafting station with an occasional alternative use as a wrinkle remover. 

Honestly... I hate to iron. Why? Because, it is work so quickly undone. All that work ... and it is swept by the mere act of sitting down or putting a seatbelt in place. Ugh!

This image and verse are a perfect combination. I love the NIV version in the image, but the NLT is great, too:

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. -Colossians 3:23

Cross referencing always deepens my understanding. I guess one can iron to the glory of the Lord... and mop... and scrub toilets. The attitude of gratitude and joy in service changes everything. 

Even on a Friday, we are to work with all of our hearts. Every day we choose our perspective and engage our attitudes as our superpower. Which side are we on? Are we bringing calm and order or the ones wreaking havoc?  

I looked up wreak, since is not commonly used except in that old idiom of "wreaking havoc". I discovered with wreak, there can be an element of revenge in the purposeful mass chaos and destruction. Thus, comic book and superhero situations provide the perfect platform. Don't most the villains want payback for a perceived injustice? 

Am I, at times, no better than the villains? 

Remember, if life was fair... if God was without mercy and without grace... I would get what I deserve. None of it would qualify me for friendship, adoption and eternity with him. 

His love reached out when we rejected him.
Jesus choose to be one of us... and walked with us.
The cross became the altar where our sin debt was paid.
The work of the cross complete when he said, "It is finished."
The empty tomb was the victory. 
God created the perfect redemption plan for an imperfect people... like me. 

And... I complain about a little ironing? 

Today, I am grateful the difference between work and a crafting tool is attitude, use and perspective. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Light Rises

Found on Pinterest-
Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 228: Today, I am grateful for light that rises.

One of the fun things about working in a school is seeing the siblings come, grow and go.Sometimes, like their mothers... I call them by their siblings names or go through all of their names to get to the one I want. 

DNA ... Genes... family resemblance... or a way of walking or talking connect us to our family of origin and reveal our roots. 

I always was thrilled when teachers connected me to my cousins, Harry, Cheryl and Carol. I came a few years behind them. One teacher... Fanny... never got past thinking Cheryl was my sister. 

In some families, lessons of kindness and doing the right thing come with potty training and table manners. These children give off the salt and light taught from the cradle, at the table and while driving down the road. 

Both of my parents were raised to look for those with less and try to offer help. One of my favorite stories came at Dad's visitation.  One of the "Kelch boys" was in the army with dad. Country neighbors, dairy farmers and hometown boys stick together when far from home.  I wish I could remember which one it was. They had enough leave time to come home for a fast visit. 

The young soldier was in love and missing his girl. He didn't have the money to get there when he needed it. He told us that Dad loaned him the cash to make the trip. He was able to see the love of his life, who ended up his wife. 50 years he carried the memory of kindness shown. Dad never told us. I am sure he didn't even remember it. But that couple, married more than 50 years, never forgot. 

The next generation of Kelch and Lindgren kids rode the school bus together, played countless hands of euchre and were friends. 

We are called to kindness. We are commissioned to feed the hungry and help those in trouble. His light is our guide and our light source. Look at this beautiful passage that comes after a pretty harsh reprimand. Our God is correction, compassion and a compass. 

Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble.
Then your light will shine out from the darkness,  and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.

-Isaiah 58:10-11 

He guides and gives us strength... like a well-watered garden and ever-flowing spring. His expectation is that we be salt and light.  We typically think of that as New Testament thinking, but here it is in Isaiah. Our God does not change. Our understanding of Him grows and unfolds.  We change as he tests, teaches and purifies. We are works in progress... not perfect ... but growing in love and grace. 

He is our life giving light.  Son and sun... they are homonyms with a deeper connection and greater truth.

Time to greet the day. (Image from 
Pinterest- )

Today, I am grateful for light that rises.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Finish the Job

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 228: Today, I am grateful for people who finish the job. 

It is fun to start something new. I love creating and creative things. Still, there is a great value in taking a project from start to finish. There is nothing more satisfying the doing a job well and to completion. 

There is a deep satisfaction in simply knowing a job is completed to the best of our ability... even if we are learning and it's not perfect. (Okay... I can't deny it is even better if someone else notices and comments with encouragement.) 

Great quote: "I want to hire employees who don't finish their work", said no boss, ever." 

That is so true. I can't imagine walking out on a job in temper or anger. Learning to finish a job requires a certain amount of self-control, planning and at times, humility. 

The same sweet cousins and neighborhood darling who earned some impressive ribbons and accolades at the county and state fairs this past week, had the guts before the glory. You see the ribbons and the smiles... but they scooped some poop along the way. 

Cows are big. Sheep and goats... there is a reason God didn't make them as big as cows. Imagine that farm people! Goats and sheep would be impossible if they were any bigger. They can be impossible at the size we know them, which makes a ribbon of success even sweeter. 

Scripture came easy today... but He added another. It delights my soul that I have a God who is willing to play "my verse is better than yours" with me. : 

His choice: And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God. -2 Corinthians 7:1b  Oh, He always wins. It is the work that counts and the direction we are headed. We are called to be perfect. We are called to set our eyes on him and our goal to be more like him. 

My mind went another direction, but the two work together. Because, I cannot be perfect due to human limitations, he came to be with us and settle the sin debt. My payment for my sins cancelled out by His ability to withstand all temptation and finish the job. 

My choice: When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. - John 19:30

He finished the job. He willingly said "yes" to death to set us free. Crazy love. 

Today, I am grateful for people who finish the job. I owe my life... my eternal life... to the one who did the job I could not do. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Crossing Guards

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 227: Today, I am grateful for crossing guards.

School begins tomorrow. This means morning and afternoon traffic changes everywhere for a brief span of time as children come and go from school.

It is not the crossing guard's fault when we are running late. The crossing guard cannot control the volume of cars on the road on any given morning. No, they are just the humble servants of safety who put their own lives at risk every day to protect our children. 

Be kind. 
Offer them a wave and a smile. Teach your children respect for their role with your words. 
Celebrate their commitment to safety. 
Offer them a cup of cocoa on a cold day.
Or treat them to fun rainwear, rain, sleet and snow find them on the corner. 
At the holidays, a scarf or warm gloves. 

Most of the time, we take them for granted... at least I do. 

Show a crossing guard a little special kindness some time this school year. They will never forget it. 

God once played crossing guard. Actually, he did it more than once, but my favorite was when after plagues of pests and discomfort... he delivered the people of Israel out of Egypt with Moses' assistance. Exodus 13:17-14:29 tells of the account. It is pretty exciting. When Moses raised his staff... the Red Sea parted and walked on dry ground. 

So today... in weariness... I asked the Lord for a good verse to celebrate the crossing guard and other servants in humble, courageous jobs. I was blank. I didn't have one. 

As always, when he struts his stuff, I am left in awe. 

Here is what he gave:

If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. -Romans 14:8

Our lives are a daily offering. Every honest job is honorable if we work with His eyes and His heart.

Whatever we do... in corporate offices in tall towers or school crossing guards... HOW we do that job is our gift to God every day. No go do it!

Today, I am grateful for crossing guards.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Trust Lessons From The Barn

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 226: Today, I am grateful for lessons  lessons learned in the barn.

This is my cousin Doug's youngest, Bella. She is ten. Her pillow is Charlie. It had been a big day for both at the fair. Her Mama, Lisa, took the picture. 

I am reminded of the trust and affection between humans and beasts found in the barn. 

Oh Earworm, "Bless the Beasts and the Children" - where did you dig that old tune out of my memory? But that is what he woke up singing. Perfect for this image. 

This picture is a snapshot captures all that you can't buy with money or power. This kind of relationship takes time, effort and commitment. Charlie has to trust her and she has to lead Charlie, never forgetting that he is huge and could accidently hurt her if she were careless. But, she isn't. She is confident in her lead and Charlie does what is expected of him. Things he learned with practice and more practice through relationship. Cattle can be stubborn and easily spooked, so she has to teach him to trust and pay attention to her lead. Aren't they a beautiful pair?

There are times I act beastly and get easily spooked, instead of trusting and taking cues from my God. He reigns sovereign in the universe, yet eagerly waits for each one of us to choose a relationship with him. I don't always understand His ways or his plan, but I know I need to tune into his word and trust his lead. He can be trusted - even when a situation is new, startling or scary. 

Occasionally a cow makes a poor choice... and the cowgirl or cowboy... rescues him from his spot of trouble. Other times, they word together in harmony and Bella received the ribbons at fair to prove it.  

But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. Psalm 13:5

His love never fails. His arm is not too short. He loves, leads and rescues. 

Today, I am grateful for trust lessons learned in the barn.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Love Seasoned With Time

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 225: Today, I am grateful for love seasoned with time.

Yes, time not thyme. How precious is this picture? Priceless, right. 

I am a sucker for love that has been seasoned with time. I know that asking God for guidance and wisdom matters when choosing a mate for a lifetime. What do we really know about someone from dating? Mostly, we see them best foot forward. 

There is nothing sweeter than a couple with decades of seasons together still actively choosing love every single day. 

Love is in the cup of coffee just the way you like it. The shirts on the hanger with the 2nd button buttoned, not the top. The lawn that gets mowed and the flowers watered. It is in oil changes and gas tanks filled. Love is help in brokenness and hope when things seem overwhelming. 

Mature love is breathtakingly beautiful. It requires relationship and time to learn each other's needs. It requires a deeper knowing from many hours in a true and honest relationship. It says: "I am with you." "I know you." "I love you where you are." "We drive each other crazy and I love you still... and maybe more... because I am yours and you are mine."

It is not so different when we consider a relationship with Christ. To know the heart of the Savior and to let him know our naked thoughts is relationship. He knows our thoughts and sees our actions, so we can't really fake it to make it. He longs for us to mature in our relationship with him so that we see with his eyes and feel with his heart.

Paul speaks to this:

Dear brothers and sisters when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? -1 Corinthians 3:1-3

Ouch! To truly gain the peace, love and joy found in Christ, we need more relationship with him. If we are fighting and jealous of our brothers and sisters, we are out of step. If we must have our own way, we are disappointing the one who provided us with "The Way". 

None of us is perfect. We all have struggles and personal demons to slay, but each step toward him lessens the struggle as he wraps us in his healing, calm and perfect peace. He calls for us to grow together into a community of believers. He wants us to encourage, guide and help each other in times of brokenness. He wants us to celebrate and rejoice together, too. 

It deepens relationship. It is beautiful. It takes time. 

Today, I am grateful for love seasoned with time.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Things Unseen

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 224: Today, I am grateful for things unseen. 

Today is just about the opposite of yesterday. We can, also, be grateful for things unseen. 

26 Years ago today my first baby boy was born. Just in time for his first Morton Pumpkin Festival where he would sit under a tree in my arms to watch the parade with his future wife being held in her mother's arms. Who knew?

We don't arrange marriages (but I do keep a short list in my head of approved choices that I pray over). We probably couldn't have pushed these two together if we had tried. They did not date until after college. Love had to be their choice... and a beautiful choice they have made. 

Sometimes, we can clearly see the goodness of God.
Sometimes, we must wait for things unseen to unfold. 

I am curious by nature... but I can be perfectly content by allowing a little magic. Lightening bugs, the bumblebee's flight, unique birdsongs and the strange way time seems to fly all hold mysteries. I don't need to understand them. I simply enjoy their wonder. 

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.-Hebrews 11:1

Sometimes, things are even better than we hoped for... especially when we learn to trust God's hand and his heart. First, we must seek his face.

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. -Matthew 6:6

How beautiful is the promise of a sincere prayer that seeks God's face to be seen and his presence to be evident. It is as beautiful as the "first look" moment between a bride and groom on their wedding day. Suddenly, all that was worth waiting for is seen in the light of His beauty and grace. 

Then, there are times his hand is unseen... until he chooses "the reveal". 

Today, I am grateful for things unseen. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Goodness seen

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 223: Today, I am grateful for goodness I can see.

Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.Psalm 27:14
Today, I have seen:

Amber waves of grain.
Country roads.
Interstates that make travel easier.
Strength in family unity.
Lake Michigan
Old buildings with stories.
Excellence in medicine.
Mama's laugh.
Babies and Children I love.
Family grown in the heart not biology.
My love.
My home. 

I am confident I have seen the goodness of the Lord. Right here. Right now. His grace extended with each day he grants me life and breath. 

Today, I am grateful for goodness I can see.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Changing Tastes

From Sue Carroll at or pinterest
Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 221: Today, I am grateful for changing tastes.

Loved this image... thought "Glad I'm not pregnant!" Then, I took a closer look. 

What a wonderful way to illustrate the concept found in Ephesians 4:22-24:

Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.  Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

Sue Carroll is amazing. Check her out for Bible doodles at or on Pinterest. She really does apply doodle art to scripture with wisdom and grace. 

Some question, is it real? Can I be sure that when I confessed, surrendered, asked forgiveness, acknowledged Christ as Lord and claimed salvation ... did it stick? 

Confess, trust, believe and receive. Easy? Yes, it is. But then, there is a responsibility to seek, learn and grow. You can't join a team and not attend the practices, right? You can be a fan and show up occasionally, but team members are present with a purpose. 

You can be a fan of a diet program... but until you take on the practices, it won't work and it isn't your own. 

When walking in faith... tastes change. Some refer to it as conviction. What used to feel write, doesn't. Upside down living is "The Way". Loving God and his ways and loving other people. 

In the beginning... learning to seek his face and to love others... it can look and feel like being served a tall order of pickles and ice cream. 

That reminds me... Craig and Monica... thanks for the Michigan Pickled Bologna.   

Today, I am grateful for changing tastes.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Sunrise... Every Day

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 221: Today, I am grateful for the sunrise... every single day.

No wonder man has always been fascinated with the sun. It's faithfulness and warmth are two qualities that often seem rare. 

Ah... I knew it... Earworm is singing "10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord Oh My Soul)" but he is including "Here Comes the Sun", too. In fact, I might get an entire playlist. How many times is the sun mentioned or celebrated by poets, singers and songwriters? Countless. 

Back in the 70's, there was a song titled "Seasons in the Sun". It is a ballad... my favorite kind of song... and the tune is so catchy. Here is a little history:

Originally "Le Moribond" ("The Dying Man"), this was written and performed in French by the Belgian poet-composer Jacques Brel in 1961. The American poet Rod McKuen translated the lyrics to English. In 1964 The Kingston Trio released the first English-language version of the song. This is the version Terry Jacks heard, which became the basis for his rendition.

Terry Jacks offered the song to his friends, The Beach Boys, and he even flew to California to record it with them, but Brian was impossible and they never got it finished. He ended up recording it himself. I love The Beach Boys, but this song was meant for Terry Jacks. 

His version of the song gained new meaning when one of his best friends at the time was diagnosed and dying of leukemia. You can hear the sorrow... but the celebration of the friendship, too. There is full gratitude for the time together. It resonates deeply. 

"We had joy, we had fun
We had seasons in the sun
But the hills that we climbed
Were just seasons out of time."

If we live a full life, grief comes. Some get more than others, but in truth, we learn so much from the taste of sorrow. We learn even more when we develop the habit of greeting each new sunrise with a thankful heart. 

Lord, you are my lamp. The Lord lights up my darkness.-2 Samuel 22:29 (NLT)

Other translations say "my God illuminates my darkness". He is light. The sun obeys Him. The sun gives us understanding of His mighty ways. So many analogies could be drawn. I've always loved that in English "the son" and "The Son" are homophones. (They sound alike, are spelled differently and have different meanings.)  

As the sun rises each morning with faithfulness... so my Lord rises to shine light into my darkness. Any time. Any space. And, and place. I need only trust and look to Him for each and every season in the sun he grants me another day. 

When I was little, Grandpa Lindgren used to check the obituaries every morning. If his name wasn't there... he deemed it was going to be a pretty good day. Later in his life, he was realized that either way... he won. Another day in the sun, caring for animals and working the land... or his first day with the Son in heaven. A win-win for sure.  

Today, I am grateful for the sunrise... every single day.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Real Nice People

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 220: Today, I am grateful most people are nice when you finally see them.

"Atticus, he was real nice..."
"Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them."
-To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Language barriers, cultural norms, life experiences and fear... these things help us build walls between people. 

We can learn so much from an Oreo commercial. Years ago, they put together a commercial where two little boys were seated together on an airplane. Their ethnicity was different, but their age was about the same. One was teaching the other how to twist and separate an Oreo cookie so the white frosting center could be scraped off with the teeth. Language and race barriers didn't stop them from exploring friendship. We need to watch the children.

One of the scariest parts of getting to know someone, is knowing they are likely to know us, too. Most people fear rejection at some level. We want to belong and be accepted with all of our quirks. We all need a "tribe". 

Our idiosyncrasies can become the very thing our tribe will step up to embrace and protect. "The Help" is a modern day book... set in the past... teaching us to take the time see people. Really see them. Don't cheat yourself the opportunity to read the book because there is a movie. The book is so much better. 

Prejudice can be taught and caught. It can be untaught, too. If only we would remember these wise words:
"Every single person has a story that will break your heart. And if you're paying attention, many people... have a story that will bring you to your knees. Nobody rides for free." - Brene Brown

Cultural myopia. We see clearly through our own culture. Some feel sorry for those who live in rural places because they miss out on city excitement. Others feel compassion for those bound to city noise, traffic and the numbers that press in on all sides.The truth, we are comfortable with what we know. To stretch ourselves we must take risks. Only then can we see people... "finally see them." 

The Bible is clear on looking for those in need and defining what is important. James... that tiny little book packs a powerful punch. Sometimes, right to the gut.  Other times... a little time on the margins of society with those people living in the fringes, brings clarity to the whole idea of learning to love God more. We do that by loving each other. 

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. -James 1:27

For my Dad, a jail cell and a Gideon Bible was his favorite mission field. For him, the prejudices he carried... and we all have them... seemed to disappear when he met someone in their brokenness, talked and prayed. In the darkest times, a little light can shine.

People Dad might have avoided on the street, often ended up at our dinner table. Broken hearts, he found in a jail cell. One woman and her family, we all came to love. Together, we wept at his grave. Her embrace so warm and full of love is one I remember from that day with clarity. 

Everyone has a story that would break your heart. But, our stories don't end there. In fact... it can be the very place new life begins. The walls come down and "genuine, pure" honoring of God the Father takes root.

I am grateful for the moments that bring us together in a way that helps us see each other more clearly. I am sad the moment needed is often a tragedy. We can work on clearing our vision by getting to know our neighbors. 

Today, I am grateful most people are nice.