Friday, May 31, 2019

Home Libraries

Daily Gratitude  Year 7-Day 149: Today, I am grateful for home libraries.

Much of my leisure reading is done through audiobooks. They fit reading into my full days. Still, I love the feel of a paper book in my hands.  When technology is stripped away and we are back to basics... the original bound book will last for generations with proper care. 

Every once in awhile, I am struck by the reality that my bookcase inventory needs to be re-evaluated. When there is no more room, or the books on the shelf are not the ones I want to pull out first. I love a home library, but the space i limited. 

My daughter-in-law is a librarian. They have enough spare bedrooms to make one of them a library. It is a wonderful space full of her favorite books. It makes me smile just thinking about it. A room full of books is always inviting. 

This image is from Norway where they are masters and clean, simple and utilitarian. Still, this looks really sharp. A fair number of books colorfully line the shelves adding a "pop of color" to the white room. I've seen libraries arranged by the color of the book into a rainbow... ROYGBIV... but you would have to really know our books to find anything.

A home library is a place to keep those books that helped us create memories, cook good food, learn more about our world and grow in faith. A home library is a slice of heaven. 

Did you know there is a scripture about book collecting? It is one of my favorites:

"Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written." -John 21:25

The scripture is a testimony to Jesus power, but it, also, speaks to the value of books. Even in Jesus time, books were something of great value. Perhaps even more so because they did not have the printing press. Imagine hand scribed volumes. Ancient books are rare and a bit mysterious. 

Today, I am grateful for home libraries.

Thursday, May 30, 2019


Daily Gratitude  Year 7-Day 148: Today, I am grateful the peonies are blooming.

Randy and I have sentimental reasons for smiling when the peonies bloom. Our reasons are different. 
Both involve childhood recollections. 

We had peonies by the lilac bush on the farm. Randy's dad accidentally mowed his mom's over most springs. We both smile at the memories and enjoy our own fuschia blooms. The aroma is unique and softly sweet. 

I rarely bring the blooms inside because of the ants. If you soak them upside down in water, the ants flee, but it seems the blooms fade before I get around to getting a bucket out. That brings us back to the ants.

Randy once asked at a lawn and garden center what we could do to get rid of the ants on our peonies. The knowledgeable gardener kindly explained that the ants are key to the peony blooming. The tight peony bud has what looks like a film over the bud. The ant eats it the sweet nectar film and the peonies can open freely to bloom.Science refers to it as a symbiotic relationship. They help each other out. 

Scientists says the peony can, eventually, bloom without the ants, but not as easily. The nectar around the bud, without the ants can become hard and impair blooming. The ants protect the peonies from other pests that might destroy them and help their blooms open freely. The film of nectar is high energy food for the hungry and busy ants. It is a win-win. 

What looks like an injustice - the pesky ants on the beautiful blooms - is nature proclaiming once again that God's ways are mysterious but perfect and mighty. He loves fitting puzzle pieces together. Nature's mysteries echo His majesty when we finally figure them out. 

The Sovereign Lord will show his justice to the nations of the world. Everyone will praise him! His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring, with plants springing up everywhere. -Isaiah 61:11

The peony is another reminder of His majesty. 

Today, I am grateful the peonies are blooming.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Water Pressure

Daily Gratitude  Year 7-Day 147: Today, I am grateful for water pressure.

Ameren sent us a free shower head. Free is always in the budget, so Randy put it on to try it out. Water saving translates into no water pressure. It is amazing the difference a little water pressure makes. Showering takes less time and the shampoo is much faster to rinse. 

Water pressure first thing in the morning shower is a life luxury and great for waking up. When we looked at houses, we checked it out. We had lived in places with great water pressure... and not so great. 

When you think about it, water pressure that is amped up can clean a house, a car or a tractor. Water and pressure make an amazing cleaning combination and can be done without chemicals. Hot water can do even more than cold. Washing with water can get into the grooves and flush away years of grime and yuck.

Need To Breathe had a catchy song a few years back, "Washed By The Water". I really loved the sound. This is the chorus. 

Even when the rain falls
Even when the flood starts rising
'Cause even when the storm comes
I am washed by the water

The symbolism of baptism comes to mind. We are washed by the water, cleansed of our sins and reborn with a new heartbeat... a heart that beats for Jesus. We are washed by the water. 

Every morning, after the luxury of a great shower... we can go and face the day to pursue the work of the kingdom in our ordinary days. 

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” -Matthew 28:19-20 

Water power... "baptising them them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit." 

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” -Revelation 21:5

Today, I am grateful for water pressure.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019


Daily Gratitude  Year 7-Day 146: Today, I am grateful we can choose to keep life simple.

Growing up country, we knew a great deal about simple. We had one lane roads we shared with oncoming traffic. We had one grocery store in town with limited options. We had TV antennas with about 6 TV stations to watch. Life was simple and we survived. 

Farming today is complicated. It is big business and far from simple, but at its roots... it is still simple and good. 

The weather determines the day. (Pray for the rain to pause as we are feeling desperate to get crops planted.) Neighbors are friends and help each when there is tragedy or a life trial.  Seeds are planted (hopefully soon)... and then we pray for enough rain to sustain life to bring them to harvest... and enough heat, but not too much that it burns things up. 

There is delight in every sunrise and rest when the sun goes down. It is good. 

When it came to God's redemption plan,  He kept it simple. How it played out was beyond complicated as he fit every puzzle piece of prophecy into place. Still, the simple blueprint was this:

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. -2 Corinthians 5:21

He kept it simple.We are to do the same:

"For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you." -2 Corinthians 1:12

Not by earthly wisdom, but by God's grace. 

Today, I am grateful we can choose to keep life simple.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Great Love

Daily Gratitude  Year 7-Day 145: Today, I am grateful for great love. 

This layout is a scrapbook reflection from May 2012- more than a decade after the day our world stood still on 9/11 2001. The picture is from 9/11/2002, on the one year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. My boys and Blake Leander were so little. Today, they are men. 

I love the quote that reminds us that our soldiers are not fighting the enemies in front of them out of hate; they are defending the loved ones at home or standing behind them as brothers and sisters in arms. Evil unchecked will prevail. Evil is present in this world and very real. Disasters fall on the good and the evil. Our armed forces are there to step in, with the goal of checking, protecting, serving and keeping peace. 

"There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." -John 15:13 

How many families have seen the car pull up and a military chaplain or high ranking officer get out of the car with a sober, somber face? Sometimes, words are inadequate. When they fail, we have ceremony and traditions to say what words cannot express.
When words fail - that is where a 21 gun salute and the bugle corps playing Taps. It speaks volumes about service, honor, sacrifice and love of country and home. 
When I see a flag folded into a triangle- my mind is taken to the soldier handing my own mother a folded flag in representation of my sister's service in the Air Force in the last 2 years of her life. We did not know she was living in her last days. There is a blessing in the grace of the unknown. We could live in full joy of an approaching wedding, reunion and marriage... until the change of plans was revealed by an Air Force Chaplain with my parents and brother receiving the news of her death. It is good to remember because it reminds us that not one tomorrow is promised. 
Jesus encouraged us to not worry, but to seek His face and live fully in this one day. 
"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. " -Matthew 6:33-34
Today has enough trouble. On Memorial Day, we remember those lost in days of trouble. We remember that this day is another chance to pause, give thanks and to honor those who might otherwise be forgotten.It is a day to show gratitude to our brothers and sisters in arms.
Hold those you love close. 
Pray for a soldier.
Give thanks for those who are in active service.
Pray for families who still mourn.
Love without reservation for we know not the days we have left.

I am grateful for a day to remember. 

Today, I am grateful for great love. 

Sunday, May 26, 2019

What I cannot see...

Year 7-Day 144: Today, I am grateful for what I cannot see.

Truth: I don't want to know the future. 

Still, there are things I don't "see" that I need to learn. Part of trusting in the Lord with ALL of our heart requires stepping out in faith when we cannot clearly see what is ahead. Learning to lean into the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to check our behaviors or words. By His Spirit, we can learn what we do not see.

These passages come to mind:

"Teach me what I cannot see; if I have done wrong, I will not do so again."-Job 34:32

 Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. -Zechariah 4:6 

There is a spiritual communication and connection that is born when we are trusting the Lord with our whole heart. Prayer is more of a conversation. It is sweet. We can talk to God like he is right in the room or the car with us, because He is. There is a hope in knowing He holds our tomorrows. Fear slips away. 

"But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” -1 Corinthians 2:9

That is about as good as it gets, right? If we allow Him to teach us the things we cannot see, we will discover His promises are true and the possibilities are endless. I don't need to know the future because I know the one who holds it in his hand. 

Today, I am grateful for what I cannot see.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Storm Warnings

Year 7-Day 143: Today, I am grateful for storm warnings.

I am truly grateful for storm warnings. Preparation can make a difference when a storm comes. Lives are saved because people are watchful and alert. 

"We want Christ to hurry and calm the storm. He wants us to find him in the midst of it first."- Beth Moore

My mind goes to the night Jesus is overcome with the grief of his cousin, John The Baptist's, beheading. Jesus can't escape the crowds and ends up feeding the 5000 with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. People had been pressing in on him and he needed time with the Father to pray through the storm of feelings. He sends the disciples out in a boat and he takes the time he needs to pray, grieve and recharge.

When Jesus decides to join the disciples, they are out in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. He walks to them on the water. They first think he is a ghost... and then, they question him with Peter taking charge.

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:28-33)

What a day... and night.... for Jesus and his disciples. The day had been full of sorrows, miracles... and then another storm. 

Jesus had tried to prepare them for the hard things but they had a difficult time understanding because they saw most things with human eyes. They would look back on things he said much later with clearer understanding. "Hindsight is 20/20." is a common expression. 

That night, Peter ends up walking on the water to Jesus. Imagine that? And in this passage it says "And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased." When Jesus got in the boat, the stormy winds stopped. I love that reminder of the difference it makes when Jesus is in our boat. 

Tonight, the weather is stormy again here in Central Illinois. I am grateful for storm warnings... and Jesus in the boat. 

Today, I am grateful for storm warnings.

Friday, May 24, 2019


Year 7-Day 142: Today, I am grateful for opportunity. 

This girl isn't afraid of work...or overalls!Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." -Thomas Edison 

This is a great quote. If something is important, it is worth a little work. 

We have a wedding today that I cannot wait to share. A young couple in our family will be married. They are the picture of hard work, tender love towards each other and tenacity. I am so excited to see what God has  in store for them as they seal the deal on this beautiful wedding day... and as they begin life together in a new state. 

Today represents so many opportunities. A new marriage always does. Yet, we must remember that a seasoned marriage does, too. We always have the opportunity to get up, start fresh and love better.  The opportunity is there. Sometimes it is fun... other times... it is work. On the best days, it is both. 

This scripture reminds fits. 

"In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself." -Ephesians 5:28 

New opportunities arrive every day. To care for them, nurture them and grow them is part of the good work Jesus calls us to do. Every day can be a new adventure. 

Today, I am grateful for opportunity.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Combined Lessons

Year 7-Day 142: Today, I am grateful for combined lessons. 

When it all comes together and combined lessons suddenly make the path or the answer clear... that is God's timing. 

Students are finishing up another school year here. They do not even realize the subjects they think are so separate and defined will actually come together in usable knowledge as they progress through their education. 

Our faith growing faith is like that, too. We suddenly see with clarity, scripture passages fitting and working together like a puzzle. Crazy, right. 

This is quote resonated deeply with my soul. It is so brilliant.

"God's timing is perfect. Waiting is hard, but it's worth it. Breathe and let go fo the need to know how everything goes. God gets no glory from your need to control this. Give it to God & watch fresh winds blow." -Coach Livi @ AQueensWorth

How many scriptures come together in this quote? We would all come up with different passages. In recent weeks, these have been running through my mind and are stamped on my heart. 

"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

"And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it." -Habakkuk 2:2

"And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[a] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." -Matthew 6:27-29

We only have this day. Don't let worry weigh you down. Breathe and take in the goodness, sweetness and opportunities in this moment. One hour at a time, we can serve the Lord with gladness. "Give it to God and watch fresh winds blow." 

Today, I am grateful for combined lessons. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Memorial Day

Year 7-Day 141: Today, I am grateful for Memorial Day.

It was established after the Civil War by Union Veterans and named "Decoration Day". 

I am not sure we can even imagine the horrors of the Civil War for those of us who have never left our USA borders. Brother against brother, state against neighboring state and so much more. How do you even begin to heal such a wound on a land where many of the young men... brothers, husbands and fathers are gone? 

Although politically divide, wounded by war and still not in full agreement, as a nation we could mourn together loved ones lost. In remembering, we can often begin to find healing. 

When my sister died, she was active duty at Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa. One of or church camp friends had been stationed there and I know it intrigued her to hear Mark talk about his experiences when he came home. April was thrilled to be assigned to the coveted post. We were excited for her adventure, but sad for the distance. There would be no quick weekend visits, but she was following her heart and her dream. April was one of the most non-judgemental, loving people you would ever meet. We heard the stories of her help, hope and compassion for others at the time of her death and beyond. 

Part of military service is being there when others are in trouble or in need. It was a perfect fit for her in that season of her life. What we didn't know, is that it would be the end of her life. Her last 18 months were spent abroad. We didn't know she would die in her sleep from an undiagnosed heart defect just 7 days before she was scheduled to come home... and 14 days before her wedding day to the special Marine she had met in Okinawa.  

As we look forward to Memorial Day, not all who bury their loved ones with a rifle salute and TAPS die in war. The reverence of the Honor guard and the flag presentation are without a doubt an expression of honor and love for a brother or sister who have stepped up to protect freedom without regard to the cost. TAPS takes us all the way back to it's Civil War roots. Remembering matters. 

There is a Memorial Run in my hometown every summer. This year, they are remembering April. We were surprised... as she has been gone since 1995, but truly honored for our home community choosing to remember her. 

As we look toward this Memorial Day Weekend, there are weddings, graduations and other celebrations. Don't forget to remember the reason we have Monday off of work. 

I love this scripture. Paul is referencing our freedoms in Christ over the laws that we could not keep perfectly enough to please God's righteousness and his justice face. Love covered us and gave us freedom through Christ. 

For those of us in the USA, we were born into a freedom that is still pretty rare in this world. Our nation was founded on freedom to worship God no matter the name on the church door. This scripture is a great soldier's scripture: 

"For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." -Galatians 5:13 

Our freedom was purchased on the cross. It wasn't free, but it is a gift to us. To love others with that kind of selflessness, self-denial and humility reminds me of many who still serve today. They deserve our respect and gratitude. Remembering the fallen is the right thing to do. 

Today, I am grateful for Memorial Day.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

A Good Grip

Year 7-Day 140: Today, I am grateful for a good grip.

There are times when a good grip makes all the difference. 

When walking on a slippery slope, a handrail makes all the difference. I am reminded of a disastrous ski lesson that ended in a twisted knee when I lost grip of the tow rope on the way up the bunny hill. My skis seemed to move faster backwards than they did forwards, but I had no better control. A good grip made all the difference. Don't laugh. It ended my Olympic ski career before it ever began. 

Do we even begin to have a grip on the depth of Christ's love for us. God's burning desire to understand us and what it felt to be one of us lead Him to take the step to BE one of us. Living in our skin, His love grew deeper, wider and never gave up hope that we might return to a relationship with him. Love was willing to pay the price to balance the scales of justice. 

"If we grasp the full love of Christ, we won't grab at other things to fill us." -Lysa Terkeurst 

I think there is great truth in her words. What are we grasping at today? Do we have a good grip on Jesus and his love for us? 

"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men." -Philippians 2:5-7

I think my grip could be improved. Time in His word, with his people and prayer are a great strength training prograom. When the world says you are not enough... He whispers "You were worth the price... all of it!" 

My grip isn't perfect, but it is improving. 

Today, I am grateful for a good grip.

Monday, May 20, 2019


Year 7-Day 138: Today, I am grateful for Proverbs.

I love the book of Proverbs. King Solomon's collection of wisdom is absolutely priceless. In a day when "self help" books have been known to top the sales charts, I wonder why more people don't turn to the original... the classic... the book of Proverbs. 

When God offered Solomon his choice of gifts, he asked for wisdom. That makes me think he was already on the path to being a wise man. He asked for a gift that would help others. Humility is woven into that request. 

"Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”

It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right." -1 Kings 3:9-11

God loved his request and blessed Solomon in many ways beyond the gift of wisdom. 

A nation led by Godly wisdom prospers. A nation led by it's own desires, doing what is right in their own eyes will eventually face God's judgment. There is no great mystery to be solved. God is who he claims to be. We can better understand His mind and His heart if we spend a little time in proverbs. 

The truth is... a little time... it won't be enough. It is a kind of learning that makes us hungry for more. We could spend days on on chapter, as each verse is full of things to write on our hearts. It is a great way to start the week. 

Today, I am grateful for Proverbs.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Walk By Faith

Year 7-Day 138: Today, I am grateful we are faith walkers. 

We are faith walkers, not fire walkers; although some days it might feel like the flames are creeping up and closing in. 

 ...for we walk by faith, not by sight. -2 Corinthians 5:7

There is a rich blessing in believing things don't have to make sense. Frankly, God doesn't have to explain himself, because He is... well... God. Our calling is to love others, to make disciples and to live out our days chasing the heart of our Savior. This is our purpose and in it, we are free. 

Faith walking means finding comfort in the knowledge that his big picture is not in our viewfinders. Our comfort zone is not really "in the zone". Our earthbound perspective has limitations. We are bound by time and space, HE is not. When we put our trust in him, we can fly. 

To walk in the light of His love stretches us at times. Keep walking. It is worth it. 

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. -James 3:17-18  

One day at a time! 

Today, I am grateful we are faith walkers. 

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Not Without A Redeemer

Year 7-Day 137: Today, I am grateful for a God who has not left us without a redeemer.

Ruth is in the genealogy of Jesus. That is not an accident. God's big picture story unfolds slowly, but his hand is always present. He is with us always. 

Ruth was a foreigner. That little tidbit is a reminder that God fully intended her... a gentile... to be in the Jesus's family tree. 
Ruth's faith in God never waivered, even when life was hard. She trusted God's hand for her protection and provision. 

Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! Ruth 4:1

Naomi and Ruth were in a pickle at the beginning of the book of Ruth, but God worked out all things in His time. His plan was sweeter and better than Ruth could have imagined. 

Today, I am grateful for a God who has not left us without a redeemer

Friday, May 17, 2019

New Perspective on Interruptions

Year 7-Day 136: Today, I am grateful for a new perspective on interruptions.

"Loving people well means living with constant interruptions." - Bob Goff

By the end of most weeks, I can use a good "Bob" quote. How many things on my "to do" list get checked off ... while others get moved to "next week". Why? Interruptions is a good answer. Life happens when we are making plans. 

I can always use the reminder that I need to burn with a desire to love people well. Not conveniently or when I feel like it, but when I have the opportunity. Opportunity usually shows up as an interruption. 

Remember Jesus and the woman who had been bleeding for years?

Just then a woman who had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe,  for she thought, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” Jesus turned around, and when he saw her he said, “Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.” And the woman was healed at that moment. -Matt 9:20-22

What we often forget is that Jesus was on his way to raise a government official's daughter from the dead. He was already on a mission when he was interrupted by this young, desperate woman. He took the time to stop and affirm her faith and trust. She was healed, but more than that... she knew in that moment that she mattered to Jesus. That moment did more than heal her condition, it established a relationship. 

What a beautiful example of love and time management. I need to be reminded to slow down and love better. Life moves fast, but some of the most important moments are unexpected. We don't have to be the smartest person in the room... just the most available.

Today, I am grateful for a new perspective on interruptions.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Fearless Pursuits

Year 7-Day 135: Today, I am grateful for fearless pursuits.

In this season of graduations and next steps, I am reminded this morning of the burden of fear. It weighs us down in a soul crushing way. Fear destroys dreams and breaks hearts before they ever get a chance to be wholly engaged in their God designed purpose. 

We must never forget that Satan is the author of lies (John 8:44) and he wants us to feel like failures. God has promised us from the beginning to be with us. When we couldn't quite grasp that He was... indeed with us... God took on human skin and Jesus was born. That... still... takes my breath away. 

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.-Isaiah 41:10

Jesus addressed worry, our most common expression of fear:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? -Matthew 6:25-27

Jesus spoke wisdom and breathed courge back into the broken. Please review that passage and pause at the semicolon after "Look at the birds of the air;" How can we look at the wondrous miracles of God's daily provision in nature and deny His hand? Nature praises God with every seed that breaks through the dirt to reach for the sun.  

We, too, must not let fear keep us from busting through the barriers to pursue the life He has for us. He will go with us. He promised. He keeps his promises. He is not a liar. He is truth. 

What will you pursue today?

Today, I am grateful for fearless pursuits.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Rejoice and Weep

Year 7-Day 135: Today, I am grateful for the ones who share our joys and our sorrows.

"Notice the people who are happy for your happiness and sad for your sadness. They're the ones who deserve special places in your heart." - unknown

What great advice. It isn't original. Look where I found it first:

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. -Romans 12:15 

I never tire of this instruction that points us toward better, deeper and fuller relationships with each other and with our Lord. 

We are in the season of weddings, graduations, Mother's Day and Father's Day. There are reasons to rejoice and there are days of grief mixed in as we remember loved ones who are no longer with us hear. 

Rejoice and weep. In these simple acts of love and kindness, we find full, rich and meaningful lives. 

"Who are the people in your neighborhood?" That was the Sesame street song. It is the people that you meet and greet each day. Some under your roof, some next door or across the street... some at work and at play. 

When we love our neighbors, life gets sweeter. I don't believe Jesus meant it to be a "work assignment". He wanted us to embrace a lifestyle that would bear fruit and joy in our lives. 

Today, I am grateful for the ones who share our joys and our sorrows.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Fixing The Rudder

Year 7-Day 134: Today, I am grateful for the one who fixes the rudder.

There is intelligence in knowing what you can fix and what you can't. If it is above your skill level and ability... find an expert. 

I believe in studying to learn new things, but when safety is involved... like a rudder on a boat... find someone qualified. 

"Be patient. Sometimes when it looks to us like Jesus is asleep in the back of the boat, he is actually fixing the rudder." -Bob Goff 

What a great reminder that we cannot always see the hand of the expert at work. We have to trust that he knows what he is doing and is where we need him to be. 

Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. -John 12:44 

Jesus didn't stutter with hesitation when he spoke. There is authority and confidence in his words. Do I trust Him to be present and active, even when I can't clearly see what he is doing? 

Today, I am grateful for the one who fixes the rudder.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Heart & Armor

Year 7-Day 133: Today, I am grateful for heart and armor.

This was what caught my eye this morning. For Mother's Day, we had the blessing of having all our kids together. Our sons... and their chosen loves. As I watch them interact, this is what I see... heart and armor. It is a beautiful thing. I like to think they learned some of it at home. 

"She is his heart... and he is her armor." It might, also, be turned around to say "He is her heart and she is his armor." Part of loving and being loved in return is to know that there is someone who will guard you fiercely and wholeheartedly. 

It made me think of this scripture:

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. -Proverbs 4:23   

Hearts are precious. They are the source from which so much flows. When you love and are loved in return, your heart can be pretty vulnerable, but that is what makes love special. It is a choice every single day. 

One of the best things about loving and being loved in return is that our imperfections, faults and failures are covered by that love. It is why love helps us to be brave and to overcome our fears. God gave us marriage... and children... as a model of that kind of love and willing sacrifice. Through love, we find heart and armor. 

For a God who exhaled his own breath to give us life, then took on our skin to rescue us in our messed up sinful state, this verse reminds me how truly naked we are before Him. 

Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.” For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve. -Proverbs 24:12

God knows us inside out. He knows our thoughts and our hearts. He wants us to guard our hearts and the hearts of our loved ones. I am so grateful His love keeps our wells full. His Spirit whispers guidance and encouragement. We are protected from the burning arrows of the enemy when we have heart and armor. 

Today, I am grateful for heart and armor.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Short But Sincere

Year 7-Day 132: Today, I am grateful for gratitude can be short... but sincere.

The weekend has been crazy full of all good things. I find that there is much life to be lived. I am feeling so blessed by my children... and was able to celebrate with my Mama, too. Throw in graduation things... and all the other stuff, the weekend flies by in a blink. 

To simply say... "I am grateful." is more than a statement. It is a lifestyle. Every day we can embrace it. It is a choice.

Gratitude and attitude are not challenges; they are choices.”-Robert Braathe 

It all goes back to our super power... choice. 

Then, by the will of God, I will be able to come to you with a joyful heart, and we will be an encouragement to each other. -Romans 15:32

Yes! We can be an encouragement to each other. 

Today, I am grateful for gratitude can be short... but sincere.