Monday, July 31, 2017


Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 213: Today, I am grateful for for bookshelves. 

I love to peruse a bookshelf. There are so many treasures tucked inside. A bookshelf in a home can tell a great deal about the homeowners. What are their interests, education and whimsy. 

I found this image and the Dr. Seuss quote on the front captured my heart. 

“The more you read, the more you know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” 
-Dr. Seuss

A bookshelf can take you from dinosaur times and then to outer space to investigate the stars in a short time... measured in inches not miles. Each shelf holds revelations and mystery.  

Bookshelves protect and help us organize our favorite reads. They can be simple or elaborate. I think the ones with library ladders are pretty amazing, so books can be stored high, but still accessible. 

Bookshelves make a difference. Imagine a library... or a home... without them. Even our tiny college dorm rooms had bookshelves.  

Books contain so many words of wisdom and learning. We need a place to keep them. They help us pass down stories and traditions to the next generation. Bookshelves hold our past, our present and things of the imagination. They can, also, hold the the Word of God... in many translations and the dictionaries and concordances to help us understand it better. 

Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. -1 John 2:4-6

"Whoever keeps his word"... it is easier to keep his word when we have a place to keep it. Easy access and being able to put our fingers on what we need when we need to know it. We must keep his word close at hand and in our hearts to be able to walk in truth. 

Bookshelves cradle all that humans have gathered and written down. They hold our history and our mysteries. 

Today, I am grateful for for bookshelves. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

My City

Year 5-Day 212: Today, I am grateful for my city.

I love Peoria. We don't live in the city, but it is close when we want or need things that require a big city. 

Yes, it has the problems of any large urban area, but there are always people working to address the problems looking for solutions. The overall feel of the city is friendly. The churches are a positive presence and the social service agencies keep fighting an uphill battle to do more with less. Local businesses join in to give help and hope at the holidays and some help with back to school needs. 

We can see a Broadway shows on a weeknight with parking that costs less than most fast food meals... and be home and in bed by 10:30pm. Being a large city, three hours or less from Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Louis... and two from the Quad Cities... we are a crossroads for the entertainment industry and a good place to book Midwest shows. Yes, we win! 

Yesterday, we drove into Peoria. Because the Love of my Life was driving, I simply enjoyed the view. The moving river and the downtown skyline hold a deep affection for me. It is a city I know pretty well, thanks to my first social service position that took me everywhere in the city and Peoria county. 

I love Peoria. It is old and full of history. Randy and I took an intentional drive down Moss Ave to see the Frank Lloyd Wright home. It is just one of many stunning architectural pieces in that historic neighborhood. Vaudeville, the Illinois river with its barge traffic, the industry and the farmland surrounding Peoria helped develop a unique culture and plenty of history in our fair city. 

Frankly, growing up less than an hour from downtown Chicago, Peoria wasn't that intimidating. I could drive to Lake Shore Drive much faster than people who come from Chi-towns real suburbs. For a season, I did it frequently. If I could manage that, Peoria was no big deal. Perhaps, I was too young to be smart enough to be intimidated by Peoria. Youth is great. Right? 

One great thing about Peoria is the main roads are a fairly easy to learn grid. If you know Prospect, Knoxville, Sheridan, University and Sterling, and that Columbia Terrace, McClure, Forrest Hill,  War Memorial (Rt 150), Lake, Glen, Northmoor and Peoria Park run the other way, you can get most places. Downtown is in Presidential order from the river. but the one-ways are tricky until you are familiar. If you get confused, Take Main Street all the way up the hill past Bradley University, where the road curves and turns into Western, takes you back downtown to start again. Easy, peasy Peoria! 

What a difference it makes when we choose to love the city we are in. Not criticize and condemn, but work to build it and its people up. To be a part of the solution and not just complain about the problems. Build up... not tear down with our words and attitudes. 

Jesus often met people's needs before he addressed the sin in their hearts. He would offer them help and hope in a moment. 

For the women at the well, he addressed her need to be acknowledged and invited to share before he spoke of her brokenness. He changed her with his sincere interest. Not in what she had done... but who she was. It is a great recorded encounter. 

Then to the man freed of demons, Jesus declared:

“Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.

First he set him free. He engaged the broken, lost and hurting and met them at their need.We are called to be his hands and feet. If we aren't a part of the solution then we are part of the problem. Love is an action verb. 

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." -Matthew 5:14,16

I am at completely at home in our little village of Morton, but am very grateful for the healthcare, wares, culture, food and opportunities across the river within the city. Most of all... I am grateful for the people. Peoria isn't perfect, but it is our city. 

What is your city? 

Today, I am grateful for my city.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Boys to Men

Year 5-Day 211: Today, I am grateful for the season of boys to men. 

Babies grow up. That is what we pray for when we ask God to protect them and keep them safe. Still, it surprises us when we blink and the do. No one can prepare us for the rapid pace of the clock after the kids are grown. 

This season of boys to men has it's new set of skills to learn and put in place. We want them to know there isn't anything we wouldn't do for them, but we know they need to try, fly and occasionally fall. Other times... we find that the rolls start to reverse and they rescue us. 

There are times, we sit back amazed at the men they have become. Not perfect, but really good men. Men who know stuff and can do stuff. My computer died on Tuesday (that is why posts have been a bit weird). The Love of My Life put the word out to the Lights of my Life... and they diagnosed the problem over the phone. They were confident they could rebuild it. Stronger, faster... better. (Oh, the Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman come to mind.)

This image is the mess of pieces on the dining room table. Listening to them work together... again... just like they did when they were playing with K'nex, Legos or Marble Works warmed my mother's heart. But, this was a little different.  They were doing grown up things. Respecting each other's knowledge and experience. Teaming up for success and respectfully questioning each other for the best outcomes. 

They did it! My computer is back together and better, faster and more than it was before, but still my familiar old friend. We were fortunate they had saved many spare parts and knew what each piece was when they were looking at it. They knew all the components necessary. My 2008 model had some ancient parts they found amusing. They threw out a caution flag a time or two, then lifted it when a better solution was found. Sweet success. 

For those still growing kids... chin up and press on. You will get through it. For those looking at more empty nests, savor the sweet moments of togetherness. 

For those who have loved, encouraged and invested in other people's children... you are extra special. Your time and energy picked up when their parents was spent. A barren womb does not mean an empty nest. We are so grateful for those who stepped in when we were worn out. You will always be family.

We all need encouragers, guidance, order and freedom to move withing the rules. 

I will never forget your commandments, for by them you give me life. -Psalm 119:93

Today, I am grateful for the season of boys to men... and a working computer.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Cool Breeze - Open Windows

(Computer issues... no image today)

Year 5-Day 210: Today, I am grateful for cool breezes through open window.

It's been hot and humid. Last night, as we enjoyed Morton Arts in the Park, we could almost see the temperature dropping and felt the humidity slip away. What a reprieve!

How often do I forget to give thanks for a change in my comfort level.  I will comment on the heat and cold, but do I pause to savor the "just right"?

We slept with the windows open. The sliding door remains open this morning until I leave. The heat will return, but right now... the temperature is perfect.

These perfect summer moments are fleeting, but the one who controls the winds is everlasting. His rock solid love is for ever. This morning is just a glimpse of heaven's delights.

As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,and his righteousness to children's children,
-Psalm 103:15-17

This morning is a glimpse of heaven's perfect days. It might be hot by noon... but this moment is full of His goodness.

Today, I am grateful for cool breezes through an open window.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Summer Citrus

Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 209: Today, I am grateful for summer citrus.

Lemons, oranges, limes and grapefruit are so fragrant and full of the fresh scent of summer. Lemon shakeups are popular at festivals and fairs. Water with a lemon or lime is a safe way to order water in  restaurant. Grapefruit is a kick start to any morning. It is so sweet and tart at the same time.

What would summer be without citrus? Although, the winter shipments from Florida might be even more reason to celebrate. Citrus fruits are our taste of summer in the winter.

God designed them in vibrant summers colors. They are pure refreshment.

Not a broccoli fan? Try squeezing some fresh lemon over it. Add a little rice and it's a meal.

Recently, the scent of lime has been a favorite. It began with some lime-basil soap. A great combination of scents... and it works in the kitchen skillet, too.

How is Jesus like summer citrus?

"that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus" -Acts 3:20

His presence is refreshing. Like the camp weeks of my youth and camp meeting, too. It was a time of renewal, growth and fresh fun with special friends.

Relish the things that restore and refresh your spirit.

Today, I am grateful for summer citrus.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Fighting the House

Year 5-Day 208: Today I am grateful I don't have to "fight the house".

Last weekend, we were at our son's house. He was borrowing some tools a new home owner does not always have. Dad was pretty excited to help. It is good when our adult children make us feel needed.

Chase and I were moving some branches and I heard a bird making an awful sound. It was a cry of displeasure and aggression. Finally, I said, "Chase, what is that?" He nonchalantly replied, "That is just the goldfinch. He's fighting the house."

Now, I have seen and heard a bird fly into a window... even a couple of times this summer. Go right ahead and think my windows are that clean. That thought would be incorrect, but flattering.

 This was not the case with the goldfinch. He was at war with every goldfinch he saw in the window, but wasn't attacking.He would fly around the house, squawking at his own reflection, thinking it was the enemy. Hilarious. Loud, but funny. Apparently, the goldfinch is very territorial.

It  made me think about how often I am at war with things I don't recognize correctly or understand.Does God shake his head in disappointment that I am so slow to learn to trust his ways in all of my days?

Hebrews 11:1 tell us that "Faith is being confident of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

Often, my senseless battles occur when I make mountains out of molehills or perceive something  outside of what is real and true. I am not so different from the goldfinch.

The scriptures remind us that his eye is on the sparrow, he certainly cares for us even more.

Nature is his delight and it worships him. We cost him a soul breath and his blood. Surely, he loves us more.

(Image by Sue Carroll from pinterest.)

Today, I am grateful I don't have to fight the house.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Noble Things

Year 5- Day 207: Today, I am grateful noble things. 

I find
European nobility fascinating. It so foreign to our way of life here in the USA, but intriguing. There is so much pomp and circumstance. There is, also, a depth of loyalty to the expectations of the crown that is worn with fierceness, amongst even the youngest royals. They understand what it means to be duty bound. They are trained from the cradle on manners and respect. 

The duties can become trialsome. They come with a price and the paparazzi. Mental health can suffer as young adults (and mature ones, too) try to balance the crown's responsibilities, with being simply human. There are real, authentic challenges as each one figures out their role and their place in the hierarchy. It looks dreamy and romantic from the balcony at Buckingham Palace, but we have no idea what sacrifices they make behind closed doors. Why do they do it? Because,they were born into royalty. 

A "noble" cause is a worthy one. It is a cause we can get behind. One that is worth supporting.

In a world of mixed messages and gray zones... how do we figure out what is noble? 

"Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies." -Philippians 4:8

"Filling your minds and meditating" What we pour in matters. We must choose our fuel wisely. How we steep it... like tea... matters, too. Pause, ponder and pursue" things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious". This is sage advice.

God is our Father and King. Do we behave in ways becoming children of the King? It is so easy to forget that we are chosen This is not an accidental  encounter, but a relationship. We can know the Father. 

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthooda holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.-1 Peter 2:9

He calls us out of darkness into glorious light. From the darkness of carrying our burdens, our mistakes and our ugly moments into freedom and light of His love and grace. Focus on the best not the worst. Delight in the beautiful, not the ugly. Fuel ourselves with what is noble.

I've not used this image in about 2 years. It is a favorite.  Thanks for reminding me of it Nola. It speaks to the heart of seeking and being noble. 

Straighten your crown and press on. 

Today, I am grateful noble things. 

Monday, July 24, 2017


Year 5- Day 206: Today, I am grateful everything's better with sprinkles. 

Sprinkles are the glitter of the confectionary world. They come in an array of colors to add something special. The one who goes to the extra effort to add sprinkles is sending the message that "I care enough to go the extra mile." Sprinkles take a sweet treat and adds some pizazz. 

Tiny beads, quins (fun shapes), confetti, jimmies (shaped like hot dogs), sanding sugar, edible pearls. chocolate shavings, pixie dust and powdered sugar are all part of the arsenal in a baker's cabinet. 

The funny thing about sprinkles is that they are not that expensive and go a long way. The bang for your buck is pretty big. Confectionary delights really do begin with the eye and the presentation, long before that first bite. Hospitality is enhanced by making the extra effort to add the sprinkles. Those whose spiritual gift is hospitality, naturally add the sprinkles to everything they do. 

The book of Hebrews has a verse that talks about sprinkles. It is the sprinkle of Christ's blood that cleanses our sins and guilt. In baptism, we wash our bodies in response and in testimony to the difference he makes in our lives. 

"Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water." -Hebrews 10:22

What would life be without the sprinkles? 
What would eternity be without the sprinkle of Christ's blood?

Today, I am grateful everything's better with sprinkles. 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Children's Laughter

Year 5- Day 204: Today, I am grateful children's laughter.

There is no sound other sound like a child's belly laugh. The kind of laugh that comes from a place deep in the soul and rises up to bubble out. It is effervescent, yet full and deep. It falls into the gratitude gallery of wonder and whimsy. 

Laughter is healthy. Hearing children in full blown laughter eases our own worries and sorrows. Their carefree moments of taking in the things that seem silly and absurd when you are a child. It begins with peek-a-boo and grows for a beautiful season. Observing pets or grandparents snoring is a reason to laugh when it is new and unfamiliar. Boys and body functions... a sure cause of contagious hilarity. Little girls pretending to be mommy's or teachers can lead to the giggles that lead to full, uncontrolled laughter.

There is nothing so precious or sweet. 

As adults, the sound draws us in for it's healing quality. This great quote reflects that truth. 

"With the fearful strain that is one my night and day, if I did not laugh, I should die."- Abraham Lincoln 

Abe read the Bible over and over. He knew  the truth of this wisdom. Even in the darkest of days... the loss of his children and the the nation divided... moments of laughter would briefly ease the burden. 

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. -Proverbs 17:22

Laughter releases endorphins and lowers blood pressure.

It is important to teach our children to learn to laugh at themselves, but not each other. Kindness and mirth make the face merry and the heart happy. 

Look for laughter today. Savor the sound. A child's belly laugh is as good as it gets. 

Today, I am grateful children's laughter.

Friday, July 21, 2017


Year 5- Day 203: Today, I am grateful for fontastic fun!

Years ago, I had a calligraphy pen with changing inks in a barrel. The pen made my handwriting look so special. I have no recollection of it after having kids... so it was a long time ago. A friend from work is a master at fun handwritten fonts and graciously did some of the kids wedding envelopes. I play with fun pens, and delight in the many, many fonts on my computer.

Does anyone else ever get a warning that you have over 500 fonts and the potential of system errors? I did on my previous system. Thank goodness computers keep improving to meet our needs... okay, wants. 

The font we use sends a message. Casual, formal or simply for fun, there is a message in the typestyle we chose. 

When I first started paper crafting 30 years ago - I drove myself crazy matching fonts on rubberstamps. Today, the style and trends lead to mixing and matching. There is glorious adventure is mixing and matching with a flair (a style flair or a flair pen).  

A computer generated font is a great way to practice actually developing a certain handwriting style. Doodlers have to doodle and dress up their penmanship. 

Handwriting is a bit of a lost art. Recently, my dear friend Susan reminded me that she still uses a handwritten shortbread cookie recipe April and I shared from our kitchen from my college days. I don't even think I have that recipe anymore... (hint, hint)... but the handwritten recipe is a keepsake in two ways if it is handwritten. 

What computer font is most like your own printing? Did you know you can have your handwriting made into a computer font.  Google it. I know there are several options out there. 

One of my biggest "Whoa" moments from the scripture was when Moses received God's instruction written in stone.  

Then Moses turned and went down the mountain. He held in his hands the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back. These tablets were God’s work; the words on them were written by God himself.-Exodus 32:15-16

Moses throws them down and breaks them in a rage over the golden calf the Hebrew people built to worship while he was on the mountain with God. Leave them alone for any time at all and they find trouble. Yes, his displeasure was warranted, but he broke the stones with God's handwriting. How precious were those stones? What a font that would be to see! 

God sends him back up the mountain, where Moses has to carve out stones just like the ones he broke. Moses is more actively involved the second time around. 

I can't help imaging the God font. I can't imagine going back to one font typewriters. 

What is my favorite font? There is no answer. Like children, each one is precious, unique and makes our world more complete. 

Today, I am grateful for fontastic fun!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

4-H Fair

Year 5- Day 202: Today, I am grateful for the County Fair.

There is a so much planning and preparation the goes into a county fair. When I was a kid... it was the next best thing to Christmas.  Near the end of summer, we were itching to catch up with friends. Farm kids got to show off their skills outside of the classroom. 

The atmosphere is always positive, attempting to encourage and build up youth as they try new things. 

It is always hot and often rainy, but that adds something, too. Fair is a community builder where churches, school groups, local business, farmers and creative arts come together. It is pretty amazing. 

I love to watch the kids working the animals.  They appear fearless. The truth is, the learn to respect the animals at a young age and how to read any signals that the animal is in distress and might act up. The animal might be bigger and more powerful, but parents and grandparents have been training them from the time they could first visit the barn as small children. It is almost as if they speak the animal's language. 

Seeing kids gain new confidence as they stretch their experiences is a great part of life in rural America. Tonight, many are trying to figure out to meet fair commitments and pay respect to a lifelong county resident, farmer and business owner who passed away this past week. Salt of the earth, good people is what you find at a rural county fair. 

Today, one teen reflected on going from novice photographer three years ago to Grand Champion in photography this year. She is headed to the Illinois State Fair. There were hours and days of practice and learning between. 

Then, I arrive to visit my Mama and what did I find? A County Fair at her nursing home. So many residents can't manage the fair, so they brought the county fair to them.  Mama was making friends with a goat when I arrived. Dietary served lemon-shakeups and elephant ears. Mama was in heaven.  How thoughtful of the staff to give them such a special activity. Valerie P. - the activity gal - brought her animals from home and all the staff jumped in to make the outside activity fun for all. 

Full day. Short post. 

Today, I am grateful for the County Fair.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Year 5- Day 201: Today, I am grateful for revolution. 

Revolution. What images does the word evoke? Perhaps it is 1776 and the Star Spangled Banner waving high in the sky, torn and battle scarred. 

There are times one word speaks volumes. 

This image struck me today. Revolution has many meanings. Yes, a revolution is an overthrow by the people governed, but it is so much more. 

One invention can revolutionize transportation and communication. A radical and pervasive change can happen almost overnight. Socially, politically and with technology, changes can happen in a blink of the eye. Society... on our pretty blue planet... makes a single turn.That, too, can be defined as a revolution. 

Indoor plumbing revolutionized life for all. The telegraph, cotton gin and steam engine are others that made a quick difference in how things were done. Electricity and air conditioning work together, giving us reason to pause and give thanks on hot summer days. A revolution means change. 

Revolution doesn't always come with violence, but when humans are passionate. Look at this wonderful discovery. In our English language LOVE is in the word. Backwards, but it is there. In fact, it is perfection that it is backwards. 

Years ago, we did a series with the kids at church called "Flipped". It is a reminder that seeking the heart of Jesus requires flipped thinking. Putting others first. Sharing from our "first fruits" and not our left overs. Intentionally seeking peace, sacrifice, compassion and standing for justice when others look away. Giving voice to the voiceless and the broken places value on all human life. That is a love revolution. It is flipped thinking. 

There is a scripture in Acts reminding us that the public officials were soft stepping what to do with believers in Jesus after the trial, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.  Look how that turned out! He was alive. Too many had seen him to deny it. They were grateful when he stopped appearing in public after the ascension to heaven, but they did not want to kill his disciples since they could not ignore lame men walking, blind men seeing, dead people returning to life and the insane change in Saul's/Paul's passion. 

Paul is a great example of how love changes everything... how Jesus changes everything. The hungry, the poor, the enslaved, the widows, the orphans and the outcasts matter to our Lord. Saul/Paul was transformed. He was no longer chasing status in the realm of religious officials. He began seeking Christ and chasing the heart of Jesus. It was a love revolution. 

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

Love the lost. Free the captives. Value the women, widows and orphans. Seek to serve, not to be served. Live in the culture, but do not be taken captive by it. Worshiping God out of love, not obligation or duty. Genuine relationship with Him and each other. 

We don't pay for His love, but we must believe and receive it.  It's like living with electricity for the first time. The light goes on, and our world view changes. It is no longer a world to be conquered, but a mission field that gives us purpose. All souls are precious to the Father. 

Earworm is awake and singing. "This little light of mine... I'm gonna let it shine." 

Love infuses light. Jesus is the power source. The world can fake it, but it can't quite make it. The world is always hungry for more. His love satisfies like nothing the world can give. 

"Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are human eyes."
-Proverbs 27:20

"When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me." -Hosea 13:6

Flipped thinking. Revolutionary living. 

"Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, 'I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.' " -Hebrews 13:5

Don't love money. Choose to be satisfied. His promise: "I will never fail or abandon you." Revolutionary? Absolutely.  

Today, I am grateful for revolution.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Obstacle Training Course

Year 5- Day 200: Today, I am grateful for obstacles that prepare us. 

"Obstacles do not prevent you from your calling. they prepare you for it. - Lisa Bevere, Without Rival

How do we become truly grateful for the hard stuff? The obstacles that seem to block our way are real at times. This is no smooth ride. 

Life is full of blessings, but we can't ignore the hard times and trials. To truly find gratitude for the tough stuff isn't easy. How do we discuss it without sounding trite?

Many people work out or run daily. Athletes practice and practice some more. Why? They need to be fit and prepared... and ready for that moment when their bodies and mind are stretched to the limit. Discipline and training make all the difference. 

Learning to give thanks when life places obstacles in front of us might seem crazy, but that, my friends, is our training  ground. 

I love questions that make me think. "What if this hard thing in front of me was the first hard thing I had ever encountered?" I would have no frame of reference as to how to handle it. We learn and grow through the hard things. We are never alone. 

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. -Philippians 4:13

Whatever hard thing is in front of you, don't forget you are never without a defender and advocate. Our Lord doesn't only have our backs, he is our strength and our shield. Bumps, aches, pains and bruises are part of building strength, confidence and resilience.  

Today, I am grateful for obstacles that prepare us. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Love is an Artform

Year 5- Day 199: Today, I am grateful love is an art form.

"I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people." -Vincent Van Gogh

This quote spurred a new thought this morning. Actually, it evoked a question. How is love art?

Each one of us enters this world as a unique canvas. Blank and ready. When, where, how and to whom we are born is a life shaping force on our blank canvas. 

When an artist decides to create a new work, a medium is chosen. Clay, canvas,paint (watercolor or acrylic), metal, glass, recycled items or fibers. These are a short list. True art knows no limits. 

The medium is not always cooperative. There are imperfections in application because human hands are involved. There is always reassessing and determining the next step. 

When we choose to love... it can become a new artform. We can't love everyone the same way. People are as unique as art. Learning what speaks to an individual's heart is learning their love language. It can be a simple as time together without electronics or as adventurous as whitewater rafting. 

Love pours the message, "You matter to me." into another human. It can be messy and frustrating. It can be exciting and full of new adventures. It breathes fresh life into an ordinary day. Love isn't always reciprocated, but it still is a positive, powerful force. 

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. -1 Corinthians 13:13

If love is an artform, it takes practice. We don't always get it right, but we keep trying. We can do our best and still see imperfections, but others may see something and be encouraged and feel good. 

Today, I am grateful love is an art form.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

King Tut Grass

Year 5- Day 198: Today, I am grateful for King Tut grass.

A few years ago, I discovered "King Tut Grass". I purchased some late in the spring season on sale. I liked the spikiness. It would add height to the pots. By the 4th of July, it had one my heart.

The next year, it was gone early in the season. Randy knew how much it made me smile and searched all over until we found it. Now, it is the first purchase of the season.

This picture doesn't do it justice, but it was an easy image to grab from my phone. It looks so "Seussical" with it's tall stalks and poofs that look like fireworks. It reminds me of the 4th of July all summer long.

It is on my list of "once a year" things. It is observed with gratitude for the entire summer season. I'm always a bit sad when the cold sets in and it can no longer flourish.

The plant name reminds me of the Steve Martin's "King Tut" a goofy song that was a big hit in my teen years. (Yes. Earworm is singing "King Tut" this morning. )

It is a simple, summer delight that only requires soil, water and light.

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. -Ecclesiastes 3:11

Nature is a wonder. This scripture acknowledges that truth. Everything is beautiful in it's time.

Then, it unveils a mystery. Just at God created nature to unfold in his time, so has he planted the longing for Him in the soul of humans. "He planted eternity in the human heart." It is a longing to know Him and to be with Him. We cannot always see or understand his ways, because we don't see the big picture. Yet, we can know and trust His heart.

We can choose to slow down. We can take notice of the glory in simple grasses. We can look to the ancient redwood trees and know that he keeps his own clock. We can acknowledge and savor that he planted eternity in our hearts. The promise of forever with Him for the ones who choose him back.

Plant the truth. Water often. Seek and savor His light. Be a light.

In other words: "Love me. Love each other."

I look at my King Tut grass and imagine God raising his hand to add a touch of whimsy to the world. He gives us what is necessary. Then, he surprises us with beauty, wonder and things that delight.

Today, I am grateful for King Tut grass.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Second Story Porch

Year 5- Day 197: Today, I am grateful for a second story porch. 

I love the grandeur of old and well loved homes. Within the walls are so many stories, secrets and even a little mystery. The rise of B & B's across America is the reason some regal old homes come to life once again.  

The Inn at 835 in Springfield, IL is one of those homes. One of the great delights is 2nd and 3rd story porches.  Not a balcony, but a porch. What an amazing place to sit, sip, study, pray and start the day. 

"and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord."
-Exodus 16:7a

This image doesn't do full justice to the glory of the porch on this perfect summer morning.  It feels like a tree house. One of our favorite places in any home is the porch. We couldn't resist the room that had one. 

It is a gorgeous day for a young couple to start a marriage.

Summer schedules left little room for a real vacation, so we are taking it where we can. A wedding a short drive away was the perfect opportunity to add a day and take in a few sights. 

We made our wedding destination a vacation moment to celebrate our 30 years. 

Is there a better way to start the day? 
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Today, I am grateful for a second story porch.