Sunday, June 30, 2019

Lessons Learned

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 180: Today, I am grateful for lessons learned.

Some days, I am grateful for bits of wisdom that pop up. 

"When you finally learn that a person's behavior has more to do with their own internal struggle than it ever did with you... you learn GRACE. "

This is one of those quotes worth writing down an keeping posted in a place where it will be seen often. So many struggles and hurts could be avoided if we kept this thought close. 

We rarely know the hurts another human has endured over the course of their life. We don't know the "triggers" that make them lash out with words or with deeds. We simply don't know. If we did, patience would stretch farther and grace would be more easily extended. 

Jesus, of course, knew the thoughts of those around him. This passage from Mark is an interaction between Jesus and a law keeping, good, wealthy man. 

"“Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”  Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”  At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Mark 10:20-22

The man had the desire to follow Jesus, but his love of things got in the way. Jesus knew it would. Jesus felt genuine love for the man in his struggle to choose. The rich man felt a very real sadness when he could not walk away from his stuff to literally follow Jesus. 

We don't know the man's back story. We only know the encounter happened. His internal struggle kept him from a fuller, richer life in Jesus. That is the paradox of it all. He couldn't leave his stuff to find a far richer life in Christ. 

I need the reminder to be more gentle with everyone around me. There is often more to their story than I know or understand. 

Today, I am grateful for lessons learned.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Extravagant Love

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 179: Today, I am grateful for extravagant love.

"Extravagant love often means coloring outside the lines and going beyond the norms." - Bob Goff

Children can teach us the practice of extravagant. They are fearless in loving outside the lines until we teach them differently. 

In our current world, where so much evil  is searching out our children, I am not suggesting we teach them to be careless or unguarded with their safety. One of our biggest challenges as parents is to help our children see potential dangers around them. 

Still, there is an innocence in childhood that helps them love more freely. Our world needs their example. They don't worry about running out of love. They share it without reservation.  We can learn so much if we sit back and watch the children. 

When we grow up, we become more suspicious of extravagant love every time we are hurt. Hurting people hurt people. It is a fact of life. Yet, when we choose to love extravagantly, we impact the climate and the culture. Extravagant love doesn't demand reciprocation. The joy is in the giving. 

Jesus was the epitome of extravagant love. He did all things in love, even the hard things. There were a few occasions when he was the recipient of such love. There were a handful who tried to return his love in a way that was special and out of the ordinary. One of my favorites is the "immoral woman" who wept at his feet before she poured expensive perfume on them and wiped them with her hair. Here is the passage:

"When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume.  Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!”" - Luke 7:37-39

Jesus knew. He loved her in spite of her past. He believed in her present. He had a plan for her future. 

Her behavior seems odd to us, but it wasn't in that time and culture. Her sacrifice of the costly perfume and her humility in wiping his feet with her hair were certainly noteworthy, even in 33 AD. 

How can we practice extravagant love? I think "practice" is the operative word. We learn by doing. One act at a time.  

Today, I am grateful for extravagant love.

Friday, June 28, 2019


Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 178: Today, I am grateful for moonlight shining on water. 

Isn't water mesmerizing? At any time of day, water can soothe the soul. There is nothing like moonlight shining on the water to fill our hearts with a kiss of magic. It seems, anything can happen at that moment. 

I remember a scene from "The Little Mermaid" when they sang "Kiss The Girl". They are on the water with the wildlife cheering them on. Even if the prince misses the kiss, there is energy and a little magic in the moonlight. 

Gumusservi (gumusservi is pronounced goo-moo-SAIR-veeis the Turkish word for moonlight shining on water. Seriously, shouldn't every language have a word that is as romantic as gumusservi? 

I suppose there are times a reflection on the water can be a bit frightening, too. Remember the night that Jesus was grieving the beheading of his cousin, John the Baptist? It had been a long couple of days for him in ministry and the news of the execution of John. Jesus tooks some "wilderness" time sending his disciples out in a boat. When he was ready, he walked to them on the water. With the reflection in the moonlight, they thought he was a ghost. 

"About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water.When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”" -Matthew 14:25-26 

Mostly, moonlight shining on water reminds us that the sun is shining, even when we can't see or feel it. And despite the fact that it sometimes seems to shine very brightly, the moon reflects only between 3 and 12 percent of the sunlight that hits it. In the same way, the Son's light shines into our darkest days... even when we can't see or feel it's power, it is still very real. 

Today, I am grateful for moonlight shining on water. 

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Role Models

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 177: Today, I am grateful role models.

Who are your role models? Rephrased, who are the people who lived their lives in such a way, you caught the lessons they taught without speaking? We all have them. They are people who... at the mention of their names... our hearts melt. It is a great day to write them a note of gratitude or reconnect. 

Honestly, I hate to start a public list, because I would leave someone out. I have been blessed and shaped by so many mentors who fearlessly allowed their lives to be woven into mine. In a nutshell, actions speak louder than words. 

Role models will make more of a difference than any "program" instituted. The genuine connect with another human is at the soul level. It is when you look at another human and say, "Thank God, you get me!" 

The Love-of-my-Life gets me at a level that scares me at times. We do not need words to communicate much of the time. It has been 34 years of sharing and caring. 32 of them married. To my shame at times, he can read my mind. To my joy, he loves me anyway. He makes allowances for my faults and shortcomings every day... and if he had any (insert wink๐Ÿ˜‰)... I would do the same for him. Grace is a beautiful thing. 

I am grateful for the example of love and faithfulness he has taught by example to our sons. I pray they will continue the legacy it into the next generation. Love is a choice we make every... single... day. 

When Jesus was asked, "How should we pray?", taught the model of prayer we know as "The Lord's Prayer." The scariest line is tucked in that beautiful prayer: 

and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

And don’t let us yield to temptation. -Luke 11:4

Jesus, after walking in our human skin, had both God perspective and human perspective. The incarnation is the most amazing thing to me. He took on our skin to fully understand how and why we mess up, and to help us along. He is our role model. 

We don't wake up in the morning with the goal of offending the Lord, our God. Oh, no (at least, most of us don't). Our sinful nature is happy to raise its ugly head and help us along. Jesus knew we would struggle. He reminded us to pray for forgiveness and to pour that kind of grace out on those who offend us, too. Paul addresses it again in a letter to the Colossians.

"Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others." -Colossians 3:13

There are times, forgiveness is much easier to dispense than others. There are times, it is really hard.  It can be the very thing that stands in the way of our letting go of hurt and brokenness. It keeps us from being truly whole.

Unforgiveness weighs down our souls and it is not "The Way" that leads to life. Full life. Here and eternally. Unforgiveness keeps us from tasting the full joy of Jesus. He died to buy us that freedom, joy and hope. There has never been a better role model.

Today, I am grateful role models.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019


Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 176: Today, I am grateful for "duende". 

Sometimes, our native language fails us. All of these words, but not a one is just right. Then, another language nails it in a word. Duende is a Spanish word. (I'm giggling as I think it sounds like "Dwen Day"... Dwen Bontrager)

Duende (dwen-day): n. the mysterious power of art to deeply move a person. 

It is the heightened sense of passion that art inspires. It is what makes it matter in this generation and the generations to come. 

Human hands have limited time, skill and courage. When someone breaks through the monotony of daily living to invest the time to create something unique and beautiful, it evokes a sense of awe from the rest of us. 

Duende happens as we gaze on a photograph that tells a story. It happens when a seamstress designs and creates a wedding dress. It occurs when a song is finally written, a piece of glass is blown or a piece of pottery thrown. 

Art parties are really heart parties. The paintings may or may not be ready for the wall or a gallery, but each one would have a special place on God's refrigerator. We are all children of the Father, created in His image and created to create. 

And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand. -Isaiah 64:8

"Creativity takes courage." -Pablo Picasso.  My SIL, Jennifer,  gave me this quote for my creative space. It sits over the desk where I write, edit photos and scrapbook. Yes, words paint pictures, too. 

I love to ponder the difference between crafting and art. Some crafts qualify as art. Some art was crafted for utilitarian purposes, but the workmanship of the creator turned it into art. Think of antique chairs, jewelry, carved gun stocks or even boats. 

As summer hits full throttle, don't forget to take in something... or do something... that sparks the duende in your soul. Let the flame burn bright. It can help us press through the toughest days and nights. 

Today, I am grateful for "duende". 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Welcome Mats

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 175: Today, I am grateful for welcome mats. 

Not just the cute rugs you put at the front door, but the feeling of being welcome in another's home. Do they still use the phrase "Roll out the welcome mat?"

The invitation into another's home... their space... is a gift. It is one we can easily give and it is good to accept an invitation, too. Relationship grow stronger when we share our homes, our food and our lives. 

'Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!" -Hebrews 13:2

I have always adored this scripture. It reminds me to not worry so much about the dust and to be welcoming to the unexpected visitors. Angels unaware... imagine that!  It would be a much bigger deal than "Undercover Boss". 

I have some mats... but they are not all that cute and welcoming. Perhaps I should look for something that truly says, "Come on in. We are glad you are here."  Of course, Daisy Mae is our official tail wagging, welcome committee. 

Today, I am grateful for welcome mats... and wagging tails. 

Monday, June 24, 2019

Ice Cream

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 174: Today, I am grateful for we don't have to live in a world without ice cream. 

My amazing daughter-in-love, Emma, taught me something when she started dating my son. "There's always room for ice cream. Ice cream goes in a different stomach." Although, she may not be anatomically correct in her description... it is what she knows in her heart that makes her statement brilliant. 

"Without ice cream, there would be chaos and darkness." -unknown author

Truth, right? Knowing the sweetness and the wonder of Baskin Robbins many flavors, there is something for everyone. There are sugar-free options for those with health issues and sherbets for those who are lactose intolerant. 

Chocolate Peanut butter is one of my forever favorites, but the Great American Popcorn Company on Main Street in our little village has a little bit of magic called "This Sh#*! Is Getting Serious!" It is my current craving. I cannot imagine a world without ice cream because I have known its goodness. 

It makes me wonder how the disciples and followers of Jesus faced the reality of a world without Jesus? After his resurrection, he made it clear his time was short. He tried to make the most of the moments that remained, but the earth clock was ticking. Imagine their distress.

Those of us who have never walked with Jesus in human form can only imagine it. We haven't lived it, but they had. They were facing another season of loss and separation from their beloved savior. 

Jesus promised there was something better coming. He would send His Spirit to be with them every day and in ever way. He, also, promised that the separation from Him physically, was only temporary. He would return in a cloud of glory, but for a season, Jesus would not be present as they had known him. Jesus made them a promise:

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. -John 14:1-3

That is as good as it gets!  

If heaven is a perfect place... there must be ice cream. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Today, I am grateful for we don't have to live in a world without ice cream. 

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Rule Breakers

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 173: Today, I am grateful for rule breakers. 

I am a rule follower in most things. I am a first born child and female. Those two traits alone place the weight of keeping the universe in its proper place on my shoulders. Right? 

I hope you are laughing... especially if you are a first born, rule follower, too. 

"Some of my favorite memories have been made when I wandered off the path I was set on and broke my own rules. The really juicy stuff seems to happen when I stop trying to control everything and leave room for the "all of a sudden" moments in my story." -Brooke Hampton 

The "all of a sudden" moments in our stories are quite often the ones that matter most. I am guilty of overscheduling and overplanning. Opening up the margins in our lives is where we learn to live more fully in His grace as we make time for the God appointments. There are unscheduled, incidental opportunities to be present and engaged in our own lives and the lives of those around us that are missed in minute... usually as we glance at our watches or phones. 

Jesus was the epitome of making margins for the God appointments. The woman at the well ...with her multiple husbands and current live-in situation... never dreamed Jesus would speak to her, yet their conversation is the longest recorded conversation between Jesus and any one person in the gospels. Her past didn't matter to Him. It was her present and her future he longed to change. 

The lepers and the blind desperately needed his touch. He paused to give them their miracle. The desperate, bleeding woman whose faith caused Jesus's healing power to flow into her was not a  "nobody" in his eyes. She had worth in his eyes.

The temple, where the scriptures were discussed and questions asked about God, should have been a sanctuary place for Jesus. It wasn't. The pharisees and sadducees were too jealous to enjoy what Jesus brought to the temple. He could teach like no other before and like no one since. He was a one of a kind. His knowledge of the scriptures and our Heavenly Father awed and terrified them at the same time. 

Jesus was clear that he didn't come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. He came to be with us so that God might truly understand our human condition, our strengths and our weaknesses. Before he would judge us, he became one of us. 

“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose." -Matthew 5:17

Jesus didn't come to do away with the law... but to fulfill the promises and the prophecies of the Old Testament. In the process, he had to make choices. Loving people trumped all!  When the choice came to rule following or loving people... the choice was instant. The critics revelled in his disregard for the law, hoping to call him out. They were looking to convict him before evaluating his heart. 

One of my favorite recorded incidents was over the woman caught in adultery. What did Jesus say after he wrote something in the sand that was unrecorded? 

Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”” -John 8:7-11

The "Go and sin no more." is a reminder that real belief leads to a change in priorities and a change in how we live. Instead of chasing earthly treasures and success... we chase the heart of Jesus with a burning passion.

Today, I am grateful for rule breakers. 

Saturday, June 22, 2019


Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 172: Today, I am grateful for scones.

I rarely choose a food for gratitude (although it is an easy one), but the past few days scones keep crossing my path. I. Adore. Scones. 

I can skip a donut or a breakfast coffee cake, but a scone. Oh my... they are pure delight.  Not too sweet. Not too plain. A scone is my "just right". 

They were made for savoring. Some are filled with sweet fruits and nuts. Others lean to the savory side. Both have a place at the table. 

Just like we all have a place at God's table. Each one of us is wanted! In the mix of savory and sweet, He delights in our uniqueness. Some of us spell "favorite" with a "u"... but all of us are his "favourites" (Claire and Gypsy). 

The bible does not speak of scones, but I dug around and found this passage in 1 Chronicles. I like it because it is shows how David was full of joy and hospitality as he celebrated the Ark of God's Covenant returning to Jerusalem:

"They brought the Ark of God and placed it inside the special tent David had prepared for it. And they presented burnt offerings and peace offerings to God. When he had finished his sacrifices, David blessed the people in the name of the Lord. Then he gave to every man and woman in all Israel a loaf of bread, a cake of dates,and a cake of raisins." -1 Chronicles 16:1-3 

David didn't just pass out plain old bread. He passed out a cake of dates and raisins. Raisins are not my favorite, but they sure do add a sweetness to any bread or cake. Bring on the dates! I would not turn down any bread from the King's hand, or do I? 

Do we turn down bread from the King's hand? Do we turn up our nose or turn away from God's provision because it isn't "our favorite" or what we expected? Things to ponder over coffee (or tea) and a scone.

There is a special joy that comes in sharing bread, a meal... or a bread-like scone. If you are now burning for a scone and you live near a Great Harvest Bread Company... you will not be disappointed. 

Today, I am grateful for scones.

Friday, June 21, 2019

No Exaggeration Possible

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 171: Today, I am grateful for a God we can not exaggerate.

"Isn't it a comfort to worship a God we cannot exaggerate?" -Francis Chan

I'm smitten with this thought today. In our highs and at our lows... our God is more awesome than we can articulate with human words. He is the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls. He is the Milky Way, rainbows and the Smokey Mountains. We cannot exaggerate His wonder and might.

"For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe." -Deuteronomy 10:17

His power, patience and protection are unequaled.

He participates in our lives while holding the universe in balance. 

He is more than words can say.

We must remember this when we bow our heads to pray.

How great is our God? 

Today, I am grateful for a God we can not exaggerate.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Scale Of One To God

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 170: Today, I am grateful for the right scale.

How big is this problem on a scale of one to God? What a great question for putting troubles and trials into perspective. How many times do I make the problem bigger than God? 

It is human nature. We only see what we can see . We forget about the unseen forces at work in our lives and in our world. 

The prophet, Jeremiah, wrestled with this, just like we do:

17)" ‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you."  32) “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me? -Jeremiah 32:17 & 27

Jeremiah looks at the heavens and earth's many wonders and knows that God is capable of so much more than we understand. Nothing is too hard for our God. Nothing! Nothing that comes up today or tomorrow is beyond His mighty hand. 

When problems arise, do we look at them on a scale of "one to God"? We can. That choice makes a world of difference when we face worries or troubles. 

 Today, I am grateful for the right scale.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Real Comfort

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 169: Today, I am grateful for real comfort.

Real comfort. It is that place where you can fully be yourself with no worry of misinterpretations or misunderstandings. It is sweatpants, a warm cup of coffee (or tea),favorite people,  a good book and cozy nooks. 

Jane Austin says it well:
"Ah! There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort." 

Still, there are times we have to endure the storms.

The rains pour down... again... but the roof doesn't leak and the sump pump is working. I have an umbrella. Real comfort is having what you need, even in the rain. 

I am reminded in the scriptures that real comfort comes from the Good Shepherd.

 "The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need." -Psalm 23:1 (NLT)

All that I need comes from His presence. He is with us in trials and in times of plenty. He calms our fears and makes the shadows not so scary. He invites us to eat at the Father's table. He longs to walk with us... all the way home. He keeps the scary things at bay. 

"Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you." -James 4:8

In Him, we find a stillness that the world cannot steal or buy. The comforter has come. 

Today, I am grateful for real comfort.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Fruit Loops

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 168: Today, I am grateful we can be Fruit Loops in a Cheerio world. 

One of my favorite Dr. Seuss quotes says it a bit differently:

 "Why fit in when you were born to stand out?"

Seriously, my friends... our ride on this pretty, little blue planet is too short to not have some fun along the way. 

The things we do to impact eternity are the things that truly matter. How much energy and resources are wasted attempting to keep up with or out do "The Jones". Think about it... most of the people we spend our time and money trying to impress are not even watching us.

Real relationships grow out of real, honest connections. The friendships formed when we are trying to impress someone are rarely solid. It is the connections that begin in shared moments with those who have shared community, shared food, shared struggles and similar values that grow deep roots. 

In fact, in the tough times, the "Fruit Loops" in our world become priceless treasures. We all need to laugh...especially when the season is hairy or scary. 

This favorite verse comes up again: 

"Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep."-Romans 12:15

Be silly. Be happy. Be full of laughter. When we don't take ourselves too seriously, we leave more room for God to do His mighty work in our lives. We can let him mold our days into a living sacrifice when we are not obsessed with how we look or how others view us. 

Theodore Roosevelt warned, "Comparison is the thief of joy." He nailed it! Be grateful for what you have and happiness increases. 

If you have never completed a gratitude journal of any kind, Lulu's on Main Street in Morton has the cutest book for first time gratitude keepers: 

Can you feel the sunshine after the rain? Can you capture a rainbow? Apparently, you can hold one in your hand.  

Today, I am grateful we can be Fruit Loops in a Cheerio world. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

Holding Hands

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 167: Today, I am grateful we can hold hands.

There is something special about hand holding! It can be a romantic gesture, but I think it is so much more. Palm to palm or one hand over the other with fingers gently intertwined, hand holding says, "We are connected." It feels like, "I am with you." 

Look at this quote from Max Lucado:

"When a father leads his 4-year-old down a crowded street, he takes him by the and and says, 'Hold on to me.'  He doesn't say 'Memorize the map.' or 'Take your chances dodging the traffic.' or 'Let's see if you can find your way home.'  The good father gives the child one responsibility: 'Hold on to my hand.' God does the same with us. "-Max Lucado

There is something reassuring about having a hand to hold and someone to guide us through scary moments, dangerous traffic or intense crowds. 

Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. -Psalm 73:23

The imagery is clear. We are never abandoned or alone. He holds us with His right hand. We can take on the day with courage. 

Today, I am grateful we can hold hands.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Tender and Compassionate Fathers

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 166: Today, I am grateful for tender and compassionate fathers. 

Fatherhood is equally as important as motherhood. Good dads teach more than how to mow the grass and change a tire. They wipe the tears, stand in front of the bullies and hold their children (and their Mama's) through the storms of life. Dad's matter. Today we celebrate our Dad's. 

One way to wind me up tight is to hear a father say he is "babysitting" his children. Dads don't babysit! They parent. It might be more intimidating when their spouse is gone, but Dads are fully capable of keeping the children fed, nurtured and alive. 

A public bathroom with a diaper changing station is not a luxury. Fathers need a safe place to change a diaper in public or take their little girl to potty, too. 

With no family nearby... no grandparents or siblings... we rarely went anywhere without our children. Our kids learned to eat in restaurants with manners if we wanted to eat out. The Love of My Life always pointed out the bathroom at any establishment to the boys as we entered. We partnered to teach social expectations and enforced them. Our sons knew that there was a private place for a "talk" if behaviors were out of line from what was expected. 

We have great memories of restaurants welcoming our children who could order for themselves at a young age. One let Chase use the "Hokey" to vacuum crumbs if he wanted to keep busy while we chatted with friends. Walker's special friend, Jackie, at Panera's was sad when he entered school all day. She still put our order in under his name and sent home an occasional cookie. I am so grateful for the man who has co-parented our children from the day they were born. 

Tender and compassionate is the way I think the boys would reflect on Randy as a father. Randy always welcomed their "help" with measuring, painting and other projects. He expected it for the lawn mowing. He was intentionally patient and always encouraging at new tasks. Limits, established in love, help nurture respect. 

We were... and are not perfect parents... but our children survived us. They have made it to adulthood. They are kind, compassionate and hard working guys. I smile at the many ways they resemble their father in the things they say and do. 

This scripture is beautiful for Father's Day:  

The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. Psalms 103:13 NLT

His mercy is fresh each morning to those who call him Father. 

Today, I am grateful for tender and compassionate fathers.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Lessons Caught Not Taught

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 165: Today I am grateful for lessons caught not taught. 

I love this picture of Mom and Dad. I am grateful for the few photos we have of people sprinkled in with the cars and tractors. This one brings back so many memories. One of the things I remember is that Dad never questioned mom's weekly visit to the hair parlor to create this stunning bee-hive. It was one of those little things I am sure he thought was a waste of money - but it made her feel and look good. 

Since kids were too rambunctious for the beauty parlor - most Saturday mornings we were shuffled of to my Great- Aunt Elin's. She was Grandpa's oldest sister and was born somewhere around 1890. In the sixties - she was well into her seventies- and a widow. Dad always made sure she had rides and was included in the fabric of our lives.

I have the sweetest memories of Aunt Elin's official snack for April, Matt and myself - Brach's chocolate stars...hard cheese on saltines with mustard...and a glass of water. We enjoyed the visits, her stories and most of all...swinging on the porch swing. 

Thank you Dad for teaching us to not just respect our elders - but to love them, embrace them and include them. He never bulked at Sundays with the in-laws. I believe that he treasured every conversation with my Great Grandpa Bess. I remember them talking for hours...always about the Lord's blessings...and even some of the trials. 

I am grateful for many lessons learned at my Father's knee (and occasionally over it)  ...especially the value of those who had many years of experience under their belts. Dad's favorite saying in later years..."It takes a LONG time to screw an old man's head on a young mans body." 

I am grateful that my husband is doing the same for our boys. Example is by far a greater teacher than a lecture. :) Happy Father's Day to the "Good Guys". 

Today I am grateful for lessons caught not taught. 

Friday, June 14, 2019

Father of the Fatherless

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 164: Today, I am grateful for the "Father of the Fatherless".

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows - this is God, whose dwelling is holy. -Psalm 68:5

Meredith Andrews has a song that includes this scripture - "Father of the Fatherless, defender of the weak... this is God, in His holy place." It is a song that always causes me to pause and reflect on who God is. Not who I think he is our want him to be... but, who He is. 

We are never alone. We are never Fatherless. We are not wives without husbands or husbands without wives. We are not brides without a groom, either. We are His beloved. That makes my soul sing in the most unique key. 

As we grow older and experience losses... I treasure the sweet reminder that we are never without a Father who is present, if we choose to get to know Him. He patiently waits for an invitation. He longs to fill our hearts and our lives with joy and contentment. There is no lonely in Jesus, because in Him there is a quiet place... a secret wilderness place... where we can simply be with Him in prayer, reading his word and listening for the spirit. It is a sweet place or rest and restoration. 

Earworm is singing another song, "What Do I know Of Holy?" (Addison Road) is another old favorite. The answer... not much. In my human state... with human weaknesses... not much! "Strong God"... here is the song with a beautiful prayer to bless us all this day.

Father to all who repent, return and choose Him back. There is room at the cross, room in His heart and room at His table. We can be fully adopted with all the rights, privileges and inheritance through Christ. What more could we ask for? 

Today, I am grateful for the "Father of the Fatherless".