Saturday, November 30, 2019

Joy Bringers

Daily Gratitude Year 7- Day 334: Today, I am grateful joy bringers.

What brings you joy? 

Joy is seeing your children enjoying each other's company... at any age. Joy is when your husband of several decades grabs your hand to hold it. Joy is seeing a child pause to help a friend who has fallen. Joy is holding a new baby, puppy breath, kitten's whiskers and freshly fallen snow that remains undisturbed. Joy is deep rooted.

It really is the little things. Joy is not happy. Happy is fleeting, but joy bubbles from the soul. There is a strong connection between Jesus and joy. There is something about being in relationship with the Savior that is the source of great joy. 

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. -Luke 2:8-11

This season, take a minute to reflect on the joy bringers in your season. Make room for them. Don't let them slip by unnoticed. 

Today, I am grateful joy bringers.

Deck the Halls


Daily Gratitude Year 7- Day 333: Today, I am grateful the halls are decked.


Image may contain: indoor

When the turkey settles, the season is in full swing.“Deck the Halls”, let the melody ring.

There is something special about the garland and lights; savor the season, the scents and the sights.

Today, I am grateful the halls are decked!Image may contain: christmas tree

A Full House

Daily Gratitude Year 7- Day 332: Today, I am grateful for a house full of family and friends.
Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family and friends. It is a time to pause and count our blessings. It is a time to remember God’s goodness and faithfulness.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above.”
Another simple post.
Today, I am grateful for a house full of family and friends.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

New Food Adventures

Daily Gratitude Year 7- Day 331: Today, I am grateful for new food adventures.

Short today, because family time is precious. Our treasured friend, Kinga Kovács, is with us for the second Thanksgiving in a row! She made us a favorite dish from her homeland, Hungary. We had so much fun in the kitchen together. A highlight was translating the recipe her Mama gave her from Hungarian to English.

Paprika potatoes are a new favorite for us. It is kind of a soup and so yummy!

Love grows when we cook together. Friends become family and all hearts come home for Thanksgiving.

 Today, I am grateful for new food adventures.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Blenders

Daily Gratitude Year 7- Day 330: Today, I am grateful for my blenders. 

We received our first blender as a wedding gift from my mother-in-law. It always reminded me of her... and her love of cooking for her family. I was sad when it finally died and had to be replaced. We are currently on our third one. It isn't something we use every day, but there are times our meals would be missing something without the use of this common kitchen appliance. I like a glass pitcher, because they clean better than the plastic ones.

Why a blender? 
Our holiday table includes a jello fluff and a salad with a homemade dressing. Both the fluff and the dressing require a blender. Recently, I purchased an immersion blender for making black bean soup. Whatever did I do without one? It makes for think and creamy soups. 

Ingredients that are good on their own can be amazing when they are blended together.

Blending was an art in Bible times... and the scriptures point to the priests as the ones responsible for the blending of spices for different offerings and acts of worship. 

"But it was the priests who blended the spices." -1 Chronicles 9:30

Thousands of years ago, blending spices made them better than they were solo. A kiss of this and a sprinkle of that can add us to just the right mix. 

Today, I am grateful for my blenders.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Beautiful Sounds

Daily Gratitude Year 7- Day 329: Today, I am grateful for beautiful sounds.

This is an old quote from philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. I remember studying him a bit in college although, he was not my favorite. Still, this quote resonates with my soul. 

"And those who were seen dancing we thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." -F. Nietzsche

What are the beautiful sounds in your life that make your soul dance? The sounds the compel your feet to join the explosion of emotion cannot be ignored. 
A child's giggle... the sound of wind chimes... or the full bass sound of a thunder as it rumbles... these are some of the beautiful sounds I cannot help but savor. 

To be "thought insane by those who don't hear the music" doesn't see all that important. 

I think of the joy the disciples and early followers of Christ found, even though they faced terrible persecution, jail and sometimes death. It is recorded in the scriptures. One of my favorite documented example is Paul and Silas sitting in jail, singing praise songs: 

"About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened." -Acts 16:25-26

This passage is full of beautiful sounds: praying, singing hymns, doors opening and stocks opening up. They must have appears crazy singing and praising God will locked up in stocks. They kept on singing and look what happened. 

Don't forget to take in the sounds of the season... the beautiful sounds. 

Today, I am grateful for beautiful sounds.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Abundance

Daily Gratitude Year 7- Day 328: Today, I am grateful for abundance.

We live in a land of plenty. It saddens me to think of the children, single parents and elderly who go to bed hungry. It is good to remember the local food banks this time of year... and maybe even a neighbor who has fallen on hard times. Even a little bit of gifting can make a difference to someone in need. 

Our family will spend two days prepping food for the Thanksgiving feast. Then, there will be potluck dishes when the family gathers. The food is always ample. We often manage to eat an evening meal from the leftovers. Talk about abundance!

Jesus tells of a widow's generosity in giving all that she had. She had no abundance, but she gave anyway"

And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them.  For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” -Luke 21:3-5

Hearing this scripture always challenges me to listen to the heart of Jesus. Do we give only out of our abundance or do we give in a way that shows we trust Him to care for all of our needs? 

This week of Thanksgiving is the the perfect opportunity to reflect on what we give... not just what we have. 


Today, I am grateful for abundance.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Grace Is Bigger Than Mercy

Daily Gratitude Year 7- Day 327: Today, I am grateful for grace is bigger than mercy. 

We used to place "Bigger, Better, Best" with the teens at youth group. You take an item and attempt to trade it for something "Bigger, Better or Best". The game is a so much fun and even the boys love a good trading game. You never know what you will end up bringing back for the final judging. When all the groups return, a judge decides which group brought the best trade home. 

This quote from Max Lucado made me think of that game:  "The difference between mercy and grace? Mercy gave the Prodigal Son a second chance. Grace gave him a feast." 

So many times we don't realize our blessings until we have traded them for something else. The something we want  may or may not be better. 

The Prodigal Son longed for freedom and control of his inheritance. His immaturity and impulsive behaviours found him eating with pigs instead of living the good life in a few short years. The money wasted away was only a memory. But, love took him back. Not because he was worthy, but because his father's love was bigger than his mistakes. That parable is very humbling.

None of us is worthy, but His love is bigger than our sins. His love covers our sins and promises us a feast. 

How often do we waste our days... longing for something "Bigger, Better or Best"... only to discover that we have wasted the joy in this day?  Today is the day to do some "recalculating" as my GPS would say. Count the blessings and embrace the trials, because the journey is not over and the best is yet to come. 

Today, I am grateful for grace is bigger than mercy. 

Friday, November 22, 2019

Garam Masala

Daily Gratitude Year 7- Day 326: Today, I am grateful for Garam Masala.

Quick post today... this popped up and reminded  me how much I enjoy Indian spices. Garam Masala can vary from one manufacturer to the next. It is a mix of spices. A little sweet and it can run a bit hot, too. I like to add it to salsa, or chili. 

Spices add new life to a old favorites. 

Today, I am grateful for Garam Masala.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Compassionate Touch


Daily Gratitude Year 7- Day 325: Today, I am grateful for compassionate touch.
What touch are you most grateful for?
Sometimes there are no "right" words.
Sometimes, remaining silent is a gift.
In those moments, compassionate touch can make the difference.
Babies need to be held.
Children need positive touch.
Teens find ways to touch... through sports and dancing.
Grown-up's need hugs, too.
This sweet image of a little girl and an elephant reminds us that compassionate touch is a language that breaks down barriers imposed by culture, race or even species.
At birth... touch encourages first breaths and nursing. At death, touch eases the pain and sorrow of a goodbye. All the touch in between adds strength, warmth and sweetness to our days.

This passage from Matthew 9 is a powerful passage about touch and faith. Jesus had the power to heal the bleeding woman from anywhere in the universe, but for her... to touch Him meant everything to her. It changed everything. 
"So Jesus and his disciples got up and went with him. 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.” -Matthew 9:19-21
She knew of His power. She knew the stories of healing that followed Him wherever he went. She believed, but wanted what only a touch could bring... a connection. 
Today, I am grateful for compassionate touch.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Colors of the Sunset


Nature Gifts - Art Prints - Meditation - Yoga - Mindfulness Quotes - Nature Poetry Prints - When You
Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 324: Today, I am grateful for the colors of the sunset. 
"When your world moves to fast and your lose yourself in the chaos, introduce yourself to each color of the sunset." -Christy Ann Martine
Viewing the world with intentional eyes can change our perspective. When we look at the sunset together, do you see what I see? 
I've said before that I see color with the framework of Crayola's big box of crayons. When I look at the sunset do I see cornflower blues, bittersweet browns and marigold hues... or is it yellow orange or orange yellow? To seek out every color in the sunset requires us to slow down, observe and contemplate the possibilities. Breathe in... and breathe out.  
"Give to the Lord the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his courts.Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor. Let all the earth tremble before him." -Psalm 96:8-9 
Taking in the colors of a the sunset takes me back to a place of remembering the awesome power of the one who created the heavens and the earth. The beauty and wonder of it all never cease to amaze me. 
Today, I am grateful for the colors of the sunset.




Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Stop Rushing


Once she stopped rushing through life, she was amazed how much more life she had time for

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 323: Today, I am grateful we can stop rushing.

There comes a time in every grown up life when we have to pause and decide...we will run the clock or the clock will run us? I don't want to confess which category I more often reflect. Every day is a gift, but too many times I fill the days leaving no breathing room. It is too easy to squeeze out the best stuff because there are so many good things to do.  

"Once she stopped rushing through life, she was amazed at how much more life she had time for." -Unknown 

"Savor" was my word a last year. This year, I chose "Burning". I have a burning desire to review and reflect on the way I spend my days. I want to do a better job of living out the mission in Romans 12:1&15 in worship, in relationships and in daily living.

"And so, dear brothers and sisters,  I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him... Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep." (Romans 12:1&15 )

It is a commission for a lifetime. Not one to chase, but one to pause, relish and embrace. The God of the Universe wants to be with us. He is for us, not against us. He holds eternity in the palm of his hand and invites us to the Master's table, not as a guest, but as a Child of the Father. Can our human minds really fathom the miracle and His glory? 

As the season gains momentum, we don't have to fall into the rush. We can challenge ourselves to slow down... and listen. Heaven and nature still sing. 

Today, I am grateful we can stop rushing.

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Helpers

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 322: Today, I am grateful for the helpers.

Most of us have helpers in our lives every single day. Helpers at the grocery store, at work, at church and at home. None of us can successfully do this life journey alone. We were not designed to be alone, but in companionship with God and each other. 

"Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” -Genesis 2:19

We were made for each other. 

As the holiday season begins, there will be helpers everywhere. Be patient and thoughtful with them. Even those who love to help, grow weary. Who are the helpers in our neighborhood? 

Police officers, firemen, spiritual mentors, health care professionals and so many more make our days better. I am always grateful for the retail workers who help me with things I cannot reach. 

Today, I am grateful for the helpers.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Wassail

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 321: Today, I am grateful for wassail.

There are some things that simply shout "The holidays are here!" around our family. One of them is a pot of wassail on the stove with the aromatic spices filling the air. 

Our Mama's Bess family is quite large and we spend a fair amount of time getting ready. The preparation time with the family is where some of our favorite memories have been made. One of the things we make the night before Thanksgiving is wassail. We reheat it the next day and enjoy some more with family and friends.  My Aunt Judy really likes her wassail. 

Wassail is made from apple juice, cranberry juice, some recipes add orange juice, too. Then the mulling spices of of cinnamon, allspice and cloves make it festive. The fragrance fills the kitchen and combines with the aroma of baked goods and turkey. I look forward to it every year. 

I was reminded of the time Nehemiah commanded a time of feasting for the people of Israel. Not because they deserved it, but because God is good and provided all of their needs. In fact, the children of Israel had been pretty self-involved and neglected the Law of Moses. Ezra and Nehemiah wanted them to turn their lives and their hearts around. He commanded them to feast and drink because the joy of the Lord was to be their strength. 

"And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” " -Nehemiah 8:10

They don't think they had wassail, but they had other sweet drinks used in celebration. Those feast worthy beverages hit the spot. 

Today, I am grateful for wassail.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Creative Food People

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 320: Today, I am grateful for creative food people.

This image reminds me that healthy food can be appealing, too. I love snacks. Trying to eat healthy means trying to snack healthy, too. 

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and some of my favorites are full of calories... but there are other options. Food does not have to be boring, simply because it is healthy. 

I am reminded of Daniel and "the boys" who ate the healthier foods when others in the kings care were eating rich foods like the ones the king enjoyed. It turns out... Daniel and his friends were healthier and stronger in the end eating the way God instructed them to eat. 

"At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. So after that, the attendant fed them only vegetables instead of the food and wine provided for the others." -Daniel 1:15-16

I will enjoy Thanksgiving with my favorite treats, but this cute turkey reminds to weigh all my options and to not let the options weigh on me. 

Here is my verse of the day: "Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions."-Psalm 119:18 It fits perfectly. 

I need constant reminders to make good choices. Creative food plating makes the good choice more appealing. I am grateful for the minds that see the possibilities in an ordinary fruit, cheese and veggie tray.

Today, I am grateful for creative food people.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Cousin, Conversation & A Cozy Cup

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 319: Today, I am grateful for a cousin, conversation & a cozy cup of mint tea.

Today has been full of sweet moments, including dinner with our kids. Every shared moment has been full of the good stuff that makes life sweet. Then to top it off... my cousin, Debbie, is in town for the night. What a sweet treat! 

We always love it when "the inn" has visitors. Debbie and I grew up more like sisters than cousins. It is always good to reunite and reconnect. Tonight was a true delight to my soul.

The years fly by so quickly. It seems like yesterday the kids were little and now we all have adult children. The earth keeps spinning and the days seem to go by faster. Tonight, we paused for a warm beverage and catching up. It was nice to hang out without an "event" or a holiday. It was peaceful and sweet. 

How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! -Psalm 133:1

I think this verse applies to brothers and sisters. 


Today, I am grateful for a cousin, conversation & a cozy cup of mint tea.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Walker

Image may contain: 2 people, including Abigail Davis, people smiling, eyeglasses, outdoor and closeupDaily Gratitude Year 7-Day 318: Today, I am grateful for our Walker.

When God grants you a baby, it is a bit overwhelming... at any age. Our baby was born when I was 31. We were more practiced at parenting, but by no means experts. For the second time, God trusted us with a son. We have been grateful for him every single day. 

Walker's heart, wit and sense of wonder have kept us busy from the day he was born. It feels like he grew up really fast... he was always trying to catch up with the big boys. His command of language came early. He knows the power of words and does his best to use the for good. He is articulate, smart, generous and kind. He is loyal and loving. We adore him.

Children are a gift from the Lord;they are a reward from him. -Psalm 127:3


These words are so true. We don't deserve children... they are a gift. They are a reward. However they come to us... by birth... by adoption... or by marriage. Each one is a treasure. How we take care of them matters to the Lord and to future generations. 

Walker completed our family of four on this day more than two decades ago. When he marries his chosen one, Abigail (no date has been set), we will be a family of six. I must confess... I love this season of adult children. The best of times are when we are just hanging out together. 

It is always good to pause and ponder the gift of a life on their birthday. Walker... you are deeply loved and celebrated. 

Today, I am grateful for our Walker.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Science and Gratitude

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 317: Today, I am grateful science is starting to value the power of a grateful heart. 

My dear friend Roxanne shared this with me a few days ago. I wasn't sure how to frame it at first, but then I realized... science once again...  is proving the value of simple directions found living in the scriptures. This article is interesting. 
Image result for gratitude
https://www.collective-evolution.com/2019/02/14/scientists-show-how-gratitude-literally-alters-the-human-heart-molecular-structure-of-the-brain/?fbclid=IwAR3RB05rKr756zrlMbbiqbxh1c3fdoOOjPEmcFSxRzO8cOXKFxNqSX-VXos

Science is starting to study the impact of practicing intentional gratitude. In every day there is good and there is hard stuff, too. Some days are really hard. The crazy thing is...in the hardest days... gratitude becomes more powerful. It can change our attitudes, elevate our moods and calm our fears. 

Here is what makes me giggle...God already knew gratitude is good for our souls. He wants us to be happy, healthy and living fully engaged lives. It is why the scriptures say: 
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. " -1 Thessalonians  5:16-18 

The instruction is not to make us look like fools who put on rose colored glasses when life is falling apart. The directive was given because it works. It makes the hard times more bearable when we take the time to ponder the blessings more than the burdens. 

At the end of the first year of gratitude I learned this secret: Gratitude didn't change God; it changed me. 

We live in a culture that wants to fix everything with a pill or a purchase. Neither have permanent, lasting effects. They are a quick fix, but the emptiness and struggles return. Keeping a daily gratitude list... even one to three things a day... can increase feelings of well being. Gratitude points us to a God who cares about the details in our life. There are blessings we overlook every day. 

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." -Colossians 3:15-17

A grateful heart is a powerful thing. 

Today, I am grateful science is starting to value the power of a grateful heart. Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 317: Today, I am grateful science is starting to value the power of a grateful heart. 

My dear friend Roxanne shared this with me a few days ago. I wasn't sure how to frame it at first, but then I realized... science once again...  is proving the value of simple directions found living in the scriptures. This article is interesting. 

https://www.collective-evolution.com/2019/02/14/scientists-show-how-gratitude-literally-alters-the-human-heart-molecular-structure-of-the-brain/?fbclid=IwAR3RB05rKr756zrlMbbiqbxh1c3fdoOOjPEmcFSxRzO8cOXKFxNqSX-VXos

Science is starting to study the impact of practicing intentional gratitude. In every day there is good and there is hard stuff, too. Some days are really hard. The crazy thing is...in the hardest days... gratitude becomes more powerful. It can change our attitudes, elevate our moods and calm our fears. 

Here is what makes me giggle...God already knew gratitude is good for our souls. He wants us to be happy, healthy and living fully engaged lives. It is why the scriptures say: 
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. " -1 Thessalonians  5:16-18 

The instruction is not to make us look like fools who put on rose colored glasses when life is falling apart. The directive was given because it works. It makes the hard times more bearable when we take the time to ponder the blessings more than the burdens. 

At the end of the first year of gratitude I learned this secret: Gratitude didn't change God; it changed me. 

We live in a culture that wants to fix everything with a pill or a purchase. Neither have permanent, lasting effects. They are a quick fix, but the emptiness and struggles return. Keeping a daily gratitude list... even one to three things a day... can increase feelings of well being. Gratitude points us to a God who cares about the details in our life. There are blessings we overlook every day. 

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." -Colossians 3:15-17

A grateful heart is a powerful thing. 

Today, I am grateful science is starting to value the power of a grateful heart. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Fire in the Fireplace


Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 316: Today, I am grateful for a fire in the fireplace.



It is one of my favorite things in our house. I love the fireplace. It is wood burning and the scent makes me think "cozy". When the Love of My Life carries wood in the door, I know it is going to be a perfect winter evening (yes... winter... we are having winter in November).

Image may contain: indoorThe crackle of the fire is like a happy song. The flames are mesmerizing. 

A professor from China once commented, "American fireplaces... I love them, not for their heat, but for their warmth." I second that opinion. They bring warmth to a room before they are even lit. Light the fire and the room becomes a magical place. 

A fire says welcome. Paul mentions a fire built as a welcome after he survived a shipwreck: 

"The people of the island were very kind to us. It was cold and rainy, so they built a fire on the shore to welcome us."- Acts 28:2

Keeping it simple today. This is actually our fireplace, but I don't have a recent picture with a fire. Randy has a fire going right now... and I don't want to miss it. 

Today, I am grateful for a fire in the fireplace.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Veterans Day

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 315: Today, I am grateful for Veterans Day. 

It is a day to celebrate the veterans of every branch of our armed forces. It is a chance to say "Thank you" for the many sacrifices made by these soldiers and their families. It is a day to remember that freedom isn't free. 

Military service changes the men and women who come together with the common goal of protecting our nation and the freedoms stated in our constitution. They protect and defend together, becoming brothers and sisters in arms. They are united in training and sacrifice with the desire to be apart of something bigger than themselves. They want to make a difference. 

Today, were remember Veterans Day on the 11th day of November because it was on November 11, 1918 the armistice was signed which ended the fighting in WW1. It was signed at 11am. Eleven eleven at 11:00am. (The Treaty of Versailles signed on June 28, 1919 officially ended WW1, but the armistice ended the fighting.) Countless lives were lost and many others were wounded beyond full recovery. Some had been prisoners of war. Most of them lived through illness, cold and hunger. The war-weary soldiers welcomed the possibility of rest and the return home. 

On November 11th, we don't forget those who were lost, but we take this day to pause and celebrate living veterans. Thanking them for their service is the theme of this day. It is perfect that this day of gratitude falls in November. 

The truth is, not every order a soldier is given makes sense. They have to trust that there is a bigger picture and they are a part of it. They have to trust their leadership and be willing to lay down their lives. 

Is it any wonder that the example of a soldier is given to help us understand the "full armor of Christ". Why are we surprised that Jesus made a special connection with the centurion soldier and was amazed at his faith? 

"And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”  When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” -Luke 7:6-9

Jesus was on a rescue mission that was going to cost him his life. A soldier always knows there are risks in serving. Jesus knew the sacrifice he chose led to the cross. He chose the nails for us... to spare each one of us the consequence of our sins. 

Heaven's special forces got the job done. Jesus could have called ten thousand angels, but he chose to be the perfect, without blemish, sacrificial lamb. He chose to be our atonement, our protection and our propitiation, appeasing God's need for justice. Our sin debt was marked "Paid in full". Our resurrected Lord banished our death sentence when he fought temptation, conquered death and won the victory. He purchased our freedom. In him, we have a new life and new marching orders.

"Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace." -Ephesians 6:13-15

Peace is better than war. As long as Satan roams free, there will be wars and rumors of wars. His day of reckoning is coming. Because there is evil, there is a need for justice. 

Today, I am grateful for those who take a stand against evil. I am grateful for those who share their food and clothes with hungry children and widows at home and in far away places. Some are serving in our armed forces.

Don't forget to thank them on this Veterans Day.  

Today, I am grateful for Veterans Day. 

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Reminders of God's Awesomeness

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 314: Today, I am grateful for reminders of God's awesomeness. 

God’s voice is glorious in the thunder. We can’t even imagine the greatness of his power. “He directs the snow to fall on the earth and tells the rain to pour down." -Job 37:5-6

The rain falls and the temperatures drop. In a few short hours, the landscape becomes ice. Too many times, I see the irritating dangers in the ice and I miss the wonder of the moment. Awhile back, we had "thundersnow". Yes, both. another "Wow!" in the wonders of nature. 

Before I open my mouth to complain about a dip in the temperatures... I will try to remind myself that God's Holy Spirit  is usually gentle. Yet, when He raises his hand to command the weather... it is nothing shore of glorious. Here is another scripture: 

Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. - Matthew 8:26

At the sound of His voice, the wind and waves obey and the waters still. Amazing, right?

I rarely use the word "awesome". A few years ago, I decided to try and save it for the times I see God's hand in big or even small ways. My dear friend, Julie, inspired me to this personal challenge. Today, I can't help but sing of His power and might. He is truly awesome.  

Today, I am grateful for reminders of God's awesomeness. 

Saturday, November 9, 2019

"The Little Things"

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 313: Today, I am grateful for the eyes that see the "little things". 

Is the cup half empty or half full? It is much more productive to be positive than negative. Negativity breeds misery. 

I love this quote from Morgan Harper Nichols:

“May you always be the one
who notices the little things
that make the light pour
through, and may they always
remind you: There is more to
life and there is more to you.”

― Morgan Harper Nichols 


Let the light pour through and the hard days are more bearable. Some say we should be grateful for the broken places, because that is how the light gets in. I like that thought, too. 

What do we look for in the chaos? Light and life... or frustration over the things we cannot control? We an choose the light and life. Choice is the super power God gave us. Most of his creation responds according to nature. We have higher thinking abilities. Sometimes, we use them. 

Seek the light. Be the light. Let the light shine through. It is up to you. 

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. -Matthew 5:13-14

A city on the hill cannot be hidden, but it helps to have eyes that see the little things. 

Today, I am grateful for the eyes that see the "little things". 

Friday, November 8, 2019

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever


Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 312: Today, I am grateful for "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever".                                            
I've known the story, but had never seen the show or read the book... until tonight. 
Morton High School students presented the play tonight and it was delightful. Humorous... but poignant, too. The story points to the true meaning of Christmas and reminds us that Joseph and Mary were humble, weary travelers in a strange town. It reminds us that Jesus came for everyone... even the "worst children in town". It tugs at your heartstrings and makes you smile at the same time.
The six Herdman children are a pageant director's worst nightmare. They are unruly. They interrupt. They are dirty and rough around the edges. Yet, when they hear the story of birth of Jesus and the circumstances, it resonates with them. In some ways, they relate to the "real" Bethlehem experience than the other children who know the story so well. The other children can recite the lines and tell of the events, but it never quite pierces their hearts. 
The Herdman children...  who were familiar with social services, struggles and the welfare system... they can relate to a Baby Jesus with no bed and only rags for clothes.  The could connect with a Josephy, Mary & Jesus who were "cold, hungry and messy". They understood troubles, fear and relying on relative strangers for help. When a tear rolls down the face of the rough and tough Imogene Herdman at the end of the show, my heart felt the pull. 
"But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart."-Luke 2:19
If you live locally... Saturday it is at 7pm and Sunday at 2pm at the Bertha Frank Center. It is well worth the hour. It is a wonderful way to start begin the holiday season and support local arts. 
Claude Herdman (Thomas Vastine) to the right of the cross ... in the white t-shirt and jeans... he is extra special to me. What a fun night! 
Today, I am grateful for "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever".

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Winter Cloaks

Daily Gratitude Year 7-Day 311: Today, I am grateful for winter cloaks.

I love a cape. I always have. I am my mother's daughter. 

Randy purchased a beautiful wool cape for me for one of our Christmases as a married couple. It was from Banana Republic and it was made out of what appeared to be Army Blanket wool. It matched my Dad's army blankets. I loved that cape. It was so warm and cozy... and it had a hood. The best capes do.

This image makes me smile. A red cape is a fashion statement in any season. There is something elegant and just a little mysterious about a woman in a hooded red cape. 

Winter cloaks are a necessity when you live in the Midwest and other cold regions where winter means deep freezes and snow. Today, it is literally freezing in our little village. It won't last, but it is a whisper of what is to come in the months ahead. I refuse to let winter take us too soon. I am declaring today too cold for fall... but it is just a cold snap; winter isn't welcome, yet. Old man winter must wait his turn, but the winter cloaks are sometimes necessary. 

We must remember to care for the widows, the elderly and children who don't have enough to wear to keep themselves warm. We can donate the extras we don't wear or purchase new ones for coat drives. It is good to be thankful for the coats in our closets.

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

That is one of my favorite verses. It reminds me that love in action is a vital part of sharing the gospel. It points the way to Jesus.

Today, I am grateful for winter cloaks.