Monday, September 30, 2019

Shades of Orange

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 274: Today...I am grateful for shades of orange. 

I really like orange. I feel like it sometimes plays second string to the other colors. Still, life would be dull without the orange family of colors. 

Daybreak, vegetables, flowers, fruits and pumpkins are often orange. Sunsets and campfires are where orange gets a chance to show off. A cup of mulled cider is in the orange family and nothing says fall like hot cider and a pumpkin donut. 

As summer slips away, I find that my eyes are watching the trees for the first shades of orange to appear. Fall leaves in in bright shades of orange will soon do their autumn dance, until they find the courage to let go and fall to the ground. It is quite a show. 

I think most of my thoughts of God place him in white. White is the the presence of all color but this passage from Hebrews reminds me that in that spectrum are all of the oranges we see in a fire's glow. 

"for our God is a consuming fire." -Hebrews 12:29

Our Lord is warm, fiery and all consuming. He is comfort and sometimes... too much. He is holy, righteous, true and time tested. He is every daybreak and sunset, too. The oranges reflect His majesty. 

Today...I am grateful for shades of orange

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Love Big & Pack Light

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 273: Today...I am grateful we can love big and pack light.

Randy and I did a quick trip to Florida last March to spend a few days with our family there. We saw Monte & Jan, Leonard & Linda and Lola & Ken... an additional bonus was Cousin Becky. It was just a few days and we were on the move for all of it. We need to make these short trips more often... because it is better than long seasons of not seeing each other. 

Because it was a short trip, the Love of my Life thought we could travel with one carry-on and one personal item. Now, anyone who knows me at all is well aware I am not known for traveling light. I am a "just in case girl" who likes wardrobe choices and accessories. Traveling with one bag seemed insane to me. 

Guess what? I did it! Okay, Randy let me have a little extra space in his bag, but we did it! I traveled light. It was really kind of exhilarating. No choices for clothing... only two pairs of earrings and shoes. It worked and we had a great time. The make-up bag was even minimized to the basics. Who knew it was even possible?

How many times do I add additional, unnecessary burdens? Keeping it simple really is freeing. Why is it so hard to be satisfied with enough, when enough is not only all that we need... it is a perfect fit. 

This Bob Goff quote struck the right chord this morning. I listened to a song yesterday called "Just Enough" (Andrew Ripp) and it was still on my mind. 

In 2017, "Enough" was my one little word to focus and pray on for the year. It was an amazing word and is still a favorite. I hear echoes from the desert with Moses where  manna, quail, water from rocks and shoes  that never wore out were their enough. I remember the oil that didn't run out so the widow could make bread. I recall the fish and loaves that fed the 5000.  I lived it with one carry-on bag and a personal item. 

"We get to decide what we'll give to the world and what we'll take from it. Love big;pack light." -Bob Goff 

We live in a culture where abundance is a reality. Prosperity is preached in place of the gospel. Trust is placed in so many places... and God's will and his ways are frequently ignored. On Jesus's last night with his disciples, before he was taken from the garden and crucified, one of his last recorded conversations with the disciples revolved around trust and the truth about what is enough. 

"And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.  For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.” -Luke 22:35-38

In this passage, Jesus reminds them that he has proven himself to be trustworthy... but to also be responsible and prepared for whatever comes. Is it a mixed message? No. Not at all. Common sense and trust are compatible. He longs for us to be free. Free enough to go out and love a world that is hurting and lost. His provision is as real as His love... but common sense doesn't weigh an ounce and takes up no room in the bag. Love big; pack light! 

I learned a great deal from one carry-on and a personal item. 

Today...I am grateful we can love big and pack light.

Saturday, September 28, 2019


Twitter / CSLewisDaily: We Are Mirrors... ...
Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 272: Today...I am grateful for mirrors. 

Another first. We are nearly to the end of year seven and I have not paused to thank God for mirrors. Seriously, what is wrong with me. I love mirrors! Not for gazing into, but for their practical uses and for the way they double the light and the size of a small space. Mirrors are amazing. 

Mirrors help us dress and do our hair and face. They can help determine if an outfit works... or doesn't. The mirrors on our cars keep us safe. 

CS Lewis said this:
"We are all mirrors whose brightness is wholly derived from the sun that shines upon us."-CS Lewis

You know... a mirror is pretty useless in the dark... but the tiniest light can be doubled with a mirror. Big light... or sun through a window ...illuminates a room. If the room contains a mirror, the magic happens. 
In this life, we are only partially aware of God and his glory.We can only understand a little of it. The time is coming when we will see and understand so much more, but for now, we simply bask in the light of His love. 

I am reminded of the scripture:
 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

But then... face to face. Oh what a day that will be. The "fully known" will know fully... His light and His love.

Today...I am grateful for mirrors. 

Friday, September 27, 2019

Happy 21st Birthday Google

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 271: Today...I am grateful for Google!  
Today, Google is 21 years old. It has certainly revolutionized how we search for information. What restaurants are nearby?  Google it. What time does Target close? Google it. Does Costco deliver? Google it. What are the best reviewed B&B's in Michigan. The answer is at our fingertips.  
We seek and we find what want to know, with a hunger that grows as we discover something new with every search. 
Do we seek out God's word with that kind of excitement. It really is living and breathing. Start with one verse and see where it leads. His Word is always true. 
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.-Matthew 6:33
Have you explored the many places online to dig a little deeper into the Bible? YouVersion, Biblegateway and Blue Letter Bible are some of my favorites, depending on what and how I want to study. 
I think God designed us with a hunger to learn. For some, it is to seek adventure in new learnings and for others it is to be an expert in one or two things. He gave us a desire to ask questions and to find a thrill in discovery. 
I can hardly remember research without a search engine. 
Today...I am grateful for Google! 

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Different Gifts

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 270: Today...I am grateful for different gifts. 

How boring it would be if we were all the same? Some things would not get done as well as they do with people of different skill sets. Our differences complement each other, when we let them.  

Have you ever watched a new building under construction? So many heads and hands come together to make it happen! Each person has their talents and trade. Each person has their sweet spot in the process. One person would not be able to finish the task. We can do more together. 

This passage talks about different gifts: 

"Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads,with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness." -Romans 12:6-8

We turn on the television and see that the world promotes sameness. I think our differences make us beautiful. I think God delights in the things that make each one of us a  "one of a kind". 

Today...I am grateful for different gifts. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

My People

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 269: Today...I am grateful to be called "My People". 

To be loved and belong is a human desire that goes soul deep. Nothing hurts like rejection. God made man in His own image. Rejection hurts us deeply, just as it does Him. Still, he continues to pursue a relationship with the ones who have broken His heart over and over again... including me. 

We want to be better, to do better and to be a better example of His love and mercy, but we mess up sometimes. This verse never gets old:

"...and I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’” -Hosea 2:23

He keeps His promises. We shall be called His people. He chooses us to be beloved ones, knowing our shortcomings and infidelities. Crazy love? Yes, but that is who He is. The ones who would have "no mercy" are chosen as the bride of the groom. The bridegroom's love seems infinite and unwavering. He knows who He has chosen and will not give up on her. 

When she... the imperfect bride... stands condemned by her sins before the bridegroom's father, he pleads her case. Here is my verse of the day... not my choosing, but what I opened up when finishing this post:

 "My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous." -1 John 2:1

We are His people.Not by anything we have done; in spite of all we have failed to do. He redeems those who chose Him back, kneel and say, "You are my God." 

Today...I am grateful to be called "My People".

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Good, Better & Best

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 268: Today...I am grateful for the good, better and best.

First world problems...when your grocery store is out of your favorite brand of bread or bottled water. Perhaps, you have to go to two stores to complete your grocery list. Oh, the trials we face! (Yes, that is sarcasm.)

Third world problems... nothing to eat and no clean water to drink... and a family that looks at you with sorrowful eyes in their hunger and thirst. It is hard to imagine from our view point, but it is real. 

Why do people fall in love with mission work? It is scary, hard and so unfamiliar to enter a strange culture. Yet, those who go... they are never the same. Many make a lifetime of service in far away places. This quote makes me think of them.

"The secret to following God's will, I discovered, usually is wrapped up in rejecting the good for God's best. -KP Yohannan

Those are some powerful words for pondering. Isn't it true.  We hold on tightly to the good and can miss the better and the best that God has for us. I long to be more courageous... but then am terrified when opportunities arise. These scriptures are good food for our fears:

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." -Proverbs 3:5-6

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship."-Romans 12:1

Let this day be an offering. No two days are the same. 

Today...I am grateful for the good, better and best.

Monday, September 23, 2019

The Imperfect

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 266: Today...I am grateful for the imperfect. 

Life isn't perfect! It is gloriously flawed. It is often the seasons that are far from perfect that prove to be the refining fires that shape us and make us more useful in the kingdom. It often boils down to trust. Do we trust that his  sovereignty... will work all things together for his glory and our good? 

"Grace means we don't need to airbrush our lives to make them look perfect when they're not." -Bob Goff 

Let life's imperfections be reminders of His grace. It is sufficient to meet all of our needs. All of them. He isn't looking for the polished and perfect. He specializes in raw materials that are willing be molded and shaped by the Master's skillful hands.  

I had another verse in mind... but this turned out to be my verse of the day. It works well:

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation." -Romans 5:3-4 

Endurance, strength of character and hope of salvation are the byproducts of the imperfect seasons. 

Today...I am grateful for the imperfect. 

Sunday, September 22, 2019

September Babies

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 265: Today...I am grateful for the September birthdays in my world. It is almost crazy how many birthdays of "my peeps" fall in September.

Today, Donna Davis Roth's (my son's other mother by marriage) and Hayden Amanda Keener Zimmerman share a birthday. I adore both of them for the love and richness they bring to the world around them. 

My college roomie....Laurie Peace,so dear to my heart even after all of these years. My Cousin Cheryl Wheeler just celebrated her birthday. Our Nephew Jason Fasel and my Dad share their day. Our great nephew, McKade is a September baby, too.  My sister (it is time to drop the "in-law")Jennifer Hanson-Lindgren began the month long celebration. 

Then, my Julie Largent and Sharon Doane Brubaker who have been sisters in ministry for more years than I can remember. Pew neighbors like Don Harris and sweetness like Kathy Frampton. Laughter bringing souls like Jason Yordy and Pete PeteEthel Kinsey Gremar who sweetens the South and anywhere else she lands more than a glass of sweet tea. Todd's sweet new wife, Sarah, was born this month, too. We are grateful for her. 

Lifetime friends like Kelly Cawthon Berry who has added a strong thread of friendship and song to my days. Not to mention some amazing young adults like Lillian Teater, Belle Kestner, Constance Moushon,and Nathan Anne Harper Forret. I have to add sweet Paige Katey Malson who is so very kind and beautiful inside and out. And my some of my littlest darlings, including Hayden, Reece Stacy Kahler Litersky and Duke Hendrick. September comes bearing some of the best!

Seriously, does it get any better than the people listed above? If you know one, two are many of these mentioned, you know what a blessing they are. I KNOW I MISSED SOME (please don't feel my memory isn't completely awake), but the point is that September gifted us with many of the "best of the best" I had to at least start the list.

Make your own September list. For me, includes so many who add joy to my days! These are some of my nearest, dearest and the ones who I would say are different from me, yet are my perfect compliments in friendship and service. They... simply...  add joy.

Thank you God, for September babies of all ages! They are special. 

Today...I am grateful for the September birthdays