Friday, July 31, 2020

Year 8-Day 213: Today, I am grateful for starry nights.


"I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the days. -Vincent Van Gogh 

What a great quote. Van Gogh is famous for "Starry Night" and one of his trademarks was "a touch of yellow". In the nighttime canvas, just a kiss of yellow can bring the warmth to the setting. 

One of the delights of growing up country style was the endless nights of starry skies. No city pollution to keep us from savoring a summer night under the stars. This time of year, a certain smell in the night air reminds me of church camp at Aroma Park, IL... county fairs... town festivals and starry skies. 

Those who think Hallmark movies are all fake have never spent time in a real small town. Yes, everybody knows your name and neighbors drop by with sweet treats and sweet corn. To borrow a phrase from the "Cheers" theme song, "Sometimes it's good to go - where everybody knows your name...." That makes me think of this favorite passage:

"He counts the stars and calls them all by name." -Psalm 147:4

The skies are full of twinkling lights; summer magic fills the night. 
Summer, it seems, is drifting by. I'm mesmerized dancing fireflies. 
Lift your eyes to the heavens, and you will see- 
The infinite majesty of God's midnight tapestry.  

Let your hurries fall away. Spend some time at the end of the day, taking in the stars.

Today, I am grateful for starry nights.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Lemonade

Year 8-Day 212: Today, I am grateful for lemonade.

It's been hot this week. I think lemonade is one of the most refreshing drinks ever created. The tangy compliments the sweet. 
This picture caught my eye because the lavender looks so cute. I've not added lavender to lemonade, but I am sure it would add some interest. 

Lemonade Shake-ups are a staple at the 4th of July and Pumpkin Festival. Many of us are missing the carnival treats with summer festivals all being cancelled this year. It makes me think I need to make a pitcher of fresh lemonade soon. It is like sunshine in a glass.

"The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit."  -Genesis 2:9

Yes.. they are good... very good. 

Today, I am grateful for lemonade.



Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Trust the Engineer

Year 8-Day 211: Today, I am grateful for we can trust the engineer.

If you have joined "Daily Gratitude" for any length of time, you know Corrie Ten Boom and Elisabeth Elliot are two of my favorite ladies from history. Both have a capacity for love and forgiveness that leave me in awe. They are wonder women in my opinion. They lived with a grace, strength, courage, faith and hope that illuminated the most tragic of life events.

Both of these ladies had allowed the Holy Spirit to do such a work in their hearts and lives that they were rewired with compassion and gentleness, where most would have responded with hate and vengeance. The world needs more people like Corrie Ten Boom and Elisabeth Elliot.


This quote always reminds me to never give up. Today's sorrows may open the door to tomorrow's joys. We can be hopeful. 

"When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer." -Corrie Ten Boom 

Life will not always make sense. Trials come and they go. Where we place our trust and how we spend our strength helps us to know where our trust lies. 

"I replied, “But my work seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose. Yet I leave it all in the Lord’s hand; I will trust God for my reward.” -Isaiah 49:4

When darkness falls, we can know it is temporary. 

Today, I am grateful for we can trust the engineer.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Shade of Blue

Year 8-Day 210: Today, I am grateful for shades of blue.

Turquoise and Caribbean blues are my favorites... and periwinkle if you count it as a "blue" and not in the "purple" family. Shades of blue add so much personality to our world. In the blue hues we find calm and joy... oceans and evening skies. In the blues, there are cornflowers and the blue spruce, too. 

Everyone loves blue jeans... in indigo and sun washed shades. The number of shades of blue seem almost countless. 

When summer is in full bloom, as it is here in the Midwest, the many different shades of blue are everywhere. A sunny blue sky with fluffy, white clouds dabbled on the horizon create what most of us would define as the perfect summer sky. You know the shade I am talking about, right? 

What would America be without the Red, the White and the Blue? The blue in the American Flag represents vigilance, perseverance and justice. A military honor guard in dress blues always looks distinguished and dapper. Their presence evokes a sense of respect at the graves of fallen comrades in arms. Yes, blues certainly can be associated with emotions... and even singing the blues. 

God directed craftsmen to use blue along with red and purple for sacred and holy garments and spaces. The "Most Holy Place" in the temple was a place was so filled with God's presence that only the priests could enter and it was only after sincere preparation and soul searching. 

Across the entrance of the Most Holy Place he hung a curtain made of fine linen, decorated with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and embroidered with figures of cherubim.-2 Chronicles 3:14

In the Old Testament, Priests wore symbolic blue ephods over white tunics, as God had directed in the scriptures. It answered the age old question of "what to wear"? They wore symbolic clothing to enter into God's presence to help them remember who HE is, as they were prone to forget. 

We can't leave out the fabulous Cubbie Blue of the Chicago Cubs. Again, that blue stands out in a crowd and separates us from the Cardinal fans. 

We have a nephew who serves as a police officer... Rob... we are grateful for your courage, compassion and integrity as you stand as a part of the thin, blue line. 

Today, I am grateful for shades of blue.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Dandelions




Year 8-Day 209: Today, I am grateful for dandelions. 

Dandelions are typically the first "bouquet" a child ever gives as a gift. The bright yellow blooms are quite happy as they sprinkle the lawn. When they go to seed, they become endless wishes blown in the wind. They cause distress for those who long for a perfectly manicured lawn, but I prefer to think they add a little whimsy to the landscape. 

Several years ago, a sweet little man used to pick me dandelions and bring them to church as a gift. He never failed to melt my heart. Dandelions still make me think of Hayden, bringing a smile to my heart. 

Dandelions are in a symbiotic relationship with honey bees. Dandelions are not perfect bee food, but they are good food and readily available. That makes them valuable. Some say the difference between a flower and a weed is perspective. 

"Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you." -Matthew 6:28-30

He will certainly care for you. We can trust his hand and his heart.

Sometimes, we need a change of perspective to see more clearly. 

Today, I am grateful for dandelions. 

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Colanders

Year 8-Day 208: Today, I am grateful for my faithful, old colanders.


My green Tupperware colanders I am fairly sure came from Mama's kitchen surplus or a garage sale. I use the small one almost daily. So many meals require draining and straining. Rice, veggies, produce, pasta and beans almost always require pulling out the colander. 

These kitchen tools hold some sentimental value but they are also very practical. The colander... or strainer as we often call it... allows us to wash, sort and sift out the good from the bad. It is the tool we use to drain the boiling water safely from pasta or vegetables without getting burned. The value of this kitchen tool goes far beyond the cost of the item. It is one of those humble tools that I would be lost without. You have to cleanse, drain and separate the good from the bad when making a meal. 

It made me think about the sifting of the saints. This scripture matched up well:

"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”-Luke 22:31-32

These are the words Jesus spoke at the last supper. What jumped out today was that Satan had asked Jesus to sift the twelve like wheat, but Jesus went as their advocate before the Father. He wanted to protect them from Satan's schemes and evil ways. Jesus pleaded in prayer for their strength when human free will was called into play. 

Simon Peter didn't perfectly pass the test, but in his brokenness, he found forgiveness and mercy so he could encourage his brothers and sisters in Christ when they were being sifted. Jesus prayers were answered. 

Through Peter, Christ would build His church. Peter was the first to really acknowledge that Jesus was the Son of the Living God. That was huge. Peter was the one willing to get out of the boat in the storm to walk on the water. Peter fished all night catching nothing, but when Jesus told him to get the nets out and cast them on the other side of the boat, Peter replied, "Because you say so, I will." Peter was obedient to the voice of the Lord. 

I do love perfectly imperfect Peter. His life is a constant exercise in sifting. He sifted for truth. He sifted through believers to find those who would be teachers, preachers and support for the ministry. He sifted through the laws and uncovered spaces for grace and mercy around issues in the church like circumcision. He used Jesus teachings, His example, the scriptures and the Holy Spirit to help him sift through the challenges of a quickly growing church. 

Who knew an old colander could hold so much inspiration? 

Today, I am grateful for my faithful, old colanders.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Lessons From The Ocean

Year 8-Day 207: Today, I am grateful for lessons from the ocean. 

"Be like the ocean. Breathtaking to look at, strong enough to not be destroyed, and gentle enough so other find comfort in your presence." 

There is a wisdom in nature that reflects our creator. 
The oceans show magnificent strength, but submit to the sand when kissing the shore. 

The coastline is breathtaking. The scent of the sea and sand evoke a sense of peace and calm. My soul finds contentment. Troubles seem to wash away.

How can something so full of power make us feel so calm and content? He directed the waters to call forth the dry ground. 

"Then God said, “Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear.” And that is what happened. God called the dry ground “land” and the waters “seas.” And God saw that it was good." -Genesis 1:9-10

When finished, God knew it was good. Very good. Yes, nature reflects His majesty. 

Perhaps that is why we find a unique peace and strength at the beach. 

Today, I am grateful for lessons from the ocean. 

Friday, July 24, 2020

Faulty Reflections

Roxborough is a dramatic serif, influenced by calligraphy and handwritten lettering. Rich, open construction – built around a distinctive single-storey “a” – pairs nicely with the stylized, expressive italics. Both traditional and chic in aesthetic, Roxborough transforms text into art; it adapts to many applications, including branding and identity design, display and packaging design, subtitles, and copy. Tags: classic, vintage, pretty, typefaceYear 8-Day 206: Today, I am grateful for faulty reflections.

What is a  faulty reflection? Look at this quote:

"What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?" 

It is so easy to see the shortcomings in others that are similar to the ones we see reflected in our own mirrors. We are often without mercy for the very people who, in reality, are more like us than we would like to admit. 

I learned this in parenting and watching other parent. The child that most resembles us faces a tougher parenting regime. We can almost read their minds. We want them to avoid our mistakes. We have to remember that each of us has to make our own mistakes to really learn. 

Who are the other people around us that share our faults? Are we patient with them? Do we show grace, mercy and forgiveness? 

"Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love." - Ephesians 4:2

Be humble and gentle. Love others... with all of their imperfections... because Christ loved us. We are perfectly imperfect, but his love love is deep and wide.

Today, I am grateful for faulty reflections.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Family Reunions


Year 8-Day 205: Today, I am grateful for family reunions.

Family reunions are a way to reflect on the past, embrace the present and look to the future. My dear cousin Molly found this gem of a picture today and posted it. Thanks Molly! It is almost a complete family picture at that point in time. (Kathleen, Uncle Bob and Uncle Dick are missing.) I love this so much. 

My Great-Grandparents lived a long time. You can see them in the second row on the right. My Grandpa Bess (in all brown) was their only child. He certainly blessed them with grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I'm feeling a little old because I can identify everyone in the photograph... including Uncle Dave who is behind my Dad and Uncle Lee who is behind me holding a very unhappy Parrish. 

Someday, our kids will struggle to name all the family in this picture. Still, photographs like this remind us of the importance of gathering together. I know a good time was had by all. It was always good to gather together. This is family... as I remember it... growing up.

When we have been restricted from gathering for so long, this kind of photo is a reminder to not take any gathering for granted. 34 family members in this picture. 35 if you count Molly in the womb. The family has certainly grown since this picture. 
"
Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay."
-1 Peter 4:9

These are the people who shared our homes, our meals and acted as our caregivers when Mom and Dad needed babysitters. We took care of each other. We shared many meals and overnight adventures. 

We really do start and end with family. It is good when family gathers... and someone takes a picture. 

Today, I am grateful for family reunions.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Do Something

Year 8-Day 204: Today, I am grateful for the opportunity to do something. 

Think outside the box. I think that in the midst of this pandemic it is easy to focus on the things we "can't" do. Can't is a self defeating thought in most cases. I really love the quote that says, "Impossible is really 'I'm possible'." There is not need to be defeated if we remember who is in charge of the universe. 

"What a shame it would be if we were waiting on God to say something, while He's been waiting on us to do something." -Bob Goff

I loved reading "Love Does". It is a must read book. Bob is hilarious and captures what it means to be human between the pages as it teaches about the power of love... God's love. Bob G. tells the story of his determination to make "Sweet Maria" his wife. He simply would not give up. I think he wore her down... and he would agree. 

To show love to another person and to be an example of God's love, we have to do something! We can't sit idle and wait for it to happen. We have to find the courage to put ourselves out there, even if the possibility of rejection is there. 

In "Love Does" we learn how Bob was rejected by Maria... but that was not where it stopped. He persisted until she started to see him as the raw material of a man God had placed in her path. The snippets of their love story shared in the book make me want to meet Maria. She is obviously a special lady and just the partner he would need for life's adventure. 

Bob was rejected by the law school he wanted to attend, and he wore them down, too. He persisted until he succeeded which is right out of Og Mandino's "Ten Scrolls to Success". Prayer, persistence and a powerful patience when kneeling at the throne of His grace seem to be tools needed for doing more... more for God in our season on this pretty blue planet. What are we waiting for? 

“Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told."-Habakkuk 1:5 & Acts 13:41

Do something! Every day is a new beginning. Yesterday was practice. Tomorrow is waiting for you to do something today. 

Today, I am grateful for the opportunity to do something. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Giant Tumble


Facing your Giants by Max Lucado - A Book ReviewYear 8-Day 203: Today, I am grateful giants tumble. 
Having a little technology difficulties today. Some days are like that. There are gremlins unseen. This seemed like the perfect way to keep it short and simple. 
"You face giants by facing God first. Focus on giants, you stumble. Focus on God, your giants tumble." -Max Lucado 
There are seasons when the battles seems big and the slingshot so small. What good can a few stones do against big trials or struggles? I love the simple reminder that our God is bigger than any giant in the way. What changes the game is where we place our focus. 
One of my favorite passages is where Peter acknowledges without hesitation who Jesus is. That recognition was huge! Bold belief when the world thought them crazy.
"He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”-Matthew 16:15-16
It is good to know what we are facing. It is better to know who goes before us, goes with us and never falters. The giant doesn't really stand a chance. 
Today, I am grateful giants tumble. 

Monday, July 20, 2020

Meals Around the Table


Michae-Oher-Family-Dinner-31982.jpgYear 8-Day 202: Today, I am grateful for meals around a family table. 


Three of our four kids have birthdays between the beginning of July and early August. We have five other family birthdays and an anniversary in that season, too. What's the point? Birthdays, for us, mean time around the family table. 

Sharing a meal with a stranger or a casual friend is hospitality. Sharing a meal with family is something special. It is intimate and sweet. The Love of my Life and I do not take one meal around the family table for granted. 

Under Covid-19 restrictions, we have opted for carry out and cooking at home for our birthday celebrations, when we would normally enjoy the luxury of a meal out. The upside is the ability to relax and linger without tying up a table someone else might need at a restaurant. 

When we eat at home, there are times we clear the table and share games. We all have our favorites. We are fortunate that the games result in more laughter than competition. It doesn't really matter who wins. The win is in the gathering together. This year, we appreciate physically being together even more than we did last year. Together is a good place to be. 

I followed on of those "rabbit holes" on the internet about Michael Oher and the Tuohy family. They are the family from "The Blind Side". The rabbit hole was some of Michael Oher's thoughts on the movie. Things that were accurate and things that were Hollywood's interpretation of real events. One stood out to me. 

In the movie, Michael Oher convinces his new family to sit with him around the dinner table. It is true! He regularly requested that they eat together. That simple act of being a family was the one he craved. Far more than their generosity, the fact that he had a place at the table where he really belonged spoke volumes about being a family. It spoke volumes about his belonging. 

Family isn't about genetics... and it certainly isn't about skin color. True family is born in the heart. Yes, some come from the womb, but it is the heart that seals the deal. Love is a choice we make daily in families, too. Putting another's needs before our own desires is one way we show love. Love always demands sacrifices, but when we love... it isn't that big of a deal. Family is where we start from and where we end. With family, we always have a place at the table. 

This passage was perfect. It is referencing that in Jesus, all are welcome at the table. All belong in the kingdom of God when they kneel at the cross, accepting Christ as Lord. From every corner of the world... every race and nation... there will be new faces at the table. 

"And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God." -Luke 13:28

There is much to look forward to on that day. 

Today, I am grateful for meals around a family table. 

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Light Crashes Through Darkness

Year 8-Day 201: Today, I am grateful when light crashes through darkness.

I am fascinated by the way light disperses darkness. They cannot co-exist. Light the tiniest match and the darkness is interrupted.

It feels like there is so much darkness in the world today. I remember a seasoned parent saying, "Nothing good happens after ... ". I don't remember the exact time, but the point was well taken. As the night presses on, people seem to be more prone to poor decisions. 

A campfire can be seen from a good distance, the glow calling campers to settle in for fellowship and conversation. The light is warm and inviting. 

A flashlight is a lifesaver when the lights go out. It provides what is necessary for simple tasks like a trip to the bathroom or foraging in the kitchen for snacks. One small flashlight can produce what feels like a great light. 

"The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine." -Isaiah 9:2

It is easy to become discouraged when darkness is pressing in, but we can hold on to the hope that light always wins. The Darkness is always broken by the Light. Spoiler alert: God wins!

Today, I am grateful when light crashes through darkness.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Newest Daugther

Year 8-Day 200: Today, I am grateful for my newest daughter. 

Happy Birthday to my newest daughter-in-love. Just a few weeks ago Abigail said, "I will." She trusts our son to keep her heart safe, and I know he will. We are grateful for the way she loves our Walker, and the way he loves her back. 

I love this picture from their wedding day. She looks radiant. She was a beautiful bride. She is equally comfortable in a barn. I think she loves animals almost as much as she loves people.She is a fan of sunshine and bare feet. 

Abi has a heart full of compassion. She shows endless patience when caring for others. She currently serves as a CNA and has already worked caring for the sick and dying in their homes. She is on her way to becoming a nurse. 

She is smart and funny. She is not afraid of hard work. She is resilient, grateful and loyal. She is a perfect fit for Walker. We love watching them grow together with every plot twist that comes along in their love story. They have learned quickly the power of laughter and the comfort of simply being together. 

"Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." -1 Corinthians 13:7

Happy Birthday, Abigail. We love you very much.

Today, I am grateful for my newest daughter.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Mind Training

Year 8-Day 199: Today, I am grateful for mind training. 

Science is learning the power of gratitude. Science eventually catches up with the thing I've read in the Bible... but some fields take longer than others. 

The medical field is starting to document the truth that how we train our mind matters. Intentional gratitude can be mood elevating, depression fighting and to make it simple... it feels good. 

Intentional gratitude requires some mind training. "Train your mind to see the good in everything." Looking for the good does not negate the very real trials we face. It does, however, wash away some of the discouragement. 

We can intentionally look for the good in the darkest of days. I've always loved the name of the movie, "Hope Floats". The movie is okay... but it is the title I find the most memorable. When all seems lost, somehow... hope rises. 

"For why should my liberty be determined by someone else's conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks? So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."  1 Corinthians 13:29-31

Whatever comes our way, we choose a grateful heart or nestle into discouragement. Mind training makes a world of difference. His Word is full of training, so that we know how to face each new day.

Today, I am grateful for mind training. 

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Life As Worship

Year 8-Day 198: Today, I am grateful we can live life as worship.

Every once in a while, I find a quote that goes into my forever favorites. I found this quote and it resonated with my soul:

“To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek Him the greatest adventure; to find Him, the greatest human achievement.” ― St. Augustine of Hippo.

What a great thought. It presents life as an act of worship. All of life... every day... for the whole day. 

We can wake up with a "Good morning, Lord." and open our hearts to listen for His guidance. We can let His Spirit guide our days and our ways. We can chase His heart and look for His face in life's ordinary tasks. It is life as worship.

Romans 12:1 came to mind immediately:

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."

We don't have to be perfect. We simply have to seek Him. 

"You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." -Jeremiah 29:13

To seek and find Him is the greatest human adventure and achievement.

Today, I am grateful we can live life as worship

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Morning Darkness

Year 8-Day 197: Today, I am grateful for the morning darkness.

My favorite time of day is that sweet hour after waking before the dawn. The morning darkness is different from the dead of night. The sounds are different as nature begins to wake to celebrate another day. 

Okay, it might have something to do with the first cup of coffee... but coffee is simply part of the ritual. There is something sacred in the moments before a new day dawns. I can't explain it, but it feels like no other hour of the day. Rested and ready for the new day. 

Amos is a tiny little book in the Old Testament. This passage is not one I have paused to ponder until today. We have a God who forms the mountains, creates the wind, knows our thoughts and makes the morning darkness. Her is the scripture:

"For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind, and declares to man what is his thought, who makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth — the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name!" -Amos 4:13

The morning darkness has long been a favorite of mine. It has been a part of my Daily Gratitude journey. In the waking hours before dawn, I can hear his voice more clearly, before the noise of the day interferes. Focusing on the things that concern His heart is easier in the morning darkness. His Word is the only true light. And then, the sun begins to rise. 

I love to savor the precious predawn moments... barefoot worship... on holy ground. 

Today, I am grateful for the morning darkness.




Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Butterflies

Year 8-Day 196: Today, I am grateful for butterflies. 

I have had butterflies on the mind today. I love to watch them flit around the yard. I always try to find some butterfly friendly plants each spring. They are majestic. They are beautiful and delicate, but resilient, too. 

From flower to flower, they glide. They work their wings, adjusting for the most gentle of landings on every flower or stem. They are quiet and gentle. Perhaps that is their appeal today. Quietness and gentleness are desirable traits. I need to pause and watch them more. 

I could not find a butterfly scripture, but passage suggests the dove as an image to consider. I think we could substitute "butterfly" for dove. 

"Oh, that I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest! I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness.How quickly I would escape—far from this wild storm of hatred.-Psalm 55:6-8

The other passage that came to mind:

 "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." -1 Peter 3:3-4

Butterflies are certainly natural beauties... their adornment is God designed. But in humans, there is the unfading beauty in a gentle and quiet spirit. 

Today, I am grateful for butterflies. 

Monday, July 13, 2020

Power of the Magnifying Glass

Year 8-Day 195: Today, I am grateful for the power of the magnifying glass. 

I need readers. My distance vision is actually a little better than 20/20. My close up vision is terribly blurred! What would I do without my reader... and the humble magnifying glass?  

When I forget my glasses, I can use my phone camera to magnify items. I take a picture, then I blow it up until it is in focus. It acts as a magnifying glass. Magnification is a necessity and very satisfying. 


What does it mean to "Magnify the name of of Jesus." ?

Imagine blowing His name up so that every amazing quality is clearly seen. We can't even fathom his greatness with our normal vision. We need spiritual eyes that see differently. 

When we have a clearer vision of His power and glory, our knee jerk response is to bow down and worship. The scriptures seem to indicate that over and over. In heaven, it will be a daily practice that brings joy and pleasure. Scriptures indicate it thrills the heart of God when we bow down and worship Him, in spite of our human limitations. When we kneel at His feet with our whole hearts as our offering, He accepts that gift with pleasure. . 

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. -Philippians 2:9-11

Imagine every tongue declaring "Jesus is Lord." in unison, in celebration, in adoration and in triumph? I really can't, but the day is getting closer when it will all be clear. Earth vision will have to do for now. I thankful for the scriptures that give us a glimpse into things to come. For today, we do our best to see the purpose, value and gift of this ordinary day. 

Today, I am grateful for the power of the magnifying glass.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Quenched Thirsts

Year 8-Day 194: Today, I am grateful for quenched thirsts. 

One of the benefits of "couch church" (as my great-niece Adelynn calls it) is the ability to catch multiple messages. Today, I heard a message from East Peoria Mennonite Church where Pastor Kim Litwiller shepherds the congregation. 

Kim spoke today from Isaiah 55:1-3. 

“Is anyone thirsty?Come and drink— even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk— it’s all free! Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food. “Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life. I will make an everlasting covenant with you.I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David. Her messages always leave my heart equally encouraged and challenged. Her eyes on this passage was perfect for my heart today." -Isaiah 55:1-3 (NLT)

I needed the reminder that it is silly to spend money on food that does not give us strength and does us no good. What? Did the prophet, Isaiah, know the future would hold Little Debbies, Twinkies, Soda, Kitchen Cooked Chips and Cheese Curls (Central Illinois, you know what I mean), and Big Macs. So much of what is cheap and easy to eat is not good for us. Unfortunately, it tastes good. We are easily sucked into the guilty pleasure. The more we partake, the more we crave. 

Today's lesson reminded us to take a look at our options and how we make our choices. Water, milk and wine all have a purpose and a place. God designed them all. Water is life. Milk is nourishment. Wine is exhilarating for celebration. 

Jesus invites ALL of us to come to the table. What is offered we cannot purchase, because Jesus already paid the price. To bring it all together... here is my "Verse of the Day":  

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”-Matthew 4:4 NLT

Accidental? I think divine providence is a better explanation.

Our human bodies have some basic human needs, but they have spiritual ones, too. When it feels the world is falling apart... buying more, better, bigger stuff will not satisfy. Our human souls are never satisfied until we find peace with The One who gave us life and breath.

He is the Living Water, the Bread of Life and the Prince of Peace. These things are not found at the "Stuff-mart" (to borrow from Bob and Larry and the Veggie Tales). Why waste our money on such things. What he has is free... and satisfies. (My Earworm is singing "He will never be satisfied" from Hamilton. I guess it fits.)

Jesus softly invites us to come and have our thirsts quenched.  All of them. 

Today, I am grateful for quenched thirsts. 





Saturday, July 11, 2020

Year Markers

Year 8-Day 192: Today, I am grateful for year markers. 

The years go by so quickly. If you are twenty-something and think time is going by faster and faster... wait a few years and you will enter warp speed. 

It is good to celebrate the year markers. It causes us to pause and take in the past, the present and the future. Every day and each mile marker are a worthy some reflection. 

These are two of my favorite pictures of us. One is from our wedding day... and the other is more recent. In this season of more mature love, I can't help but celebrate the many ways he makes me laugh as he shows me love every single day. 

I was always grateful that in an era of posed wedding pictures, our photographer caught this moment between us. It was one our favorites from the day. Walker is responsible for capturing this image at a family photo shoot. He and my dear neighbor, Susie, helped so I could be included in a few pictures. 

I do not really enjoy having my picture taken. I'd rather be behind the lens. I am learning that it is important to hand over the camera on occasion. (Donna Davis Roth... you are always good about making me do this. I truly appreciate it!) Pictures are a form of year markers. which is why I continue to try for family Christmas card pictures. 

The scriptures are full of reminders to mark the years... the moments and the milestones. We humans have short memories and those memories get shorter as the years go by. God tells us often to "remember". 

Examples from scripture include: remembering God's covenant to not flood the earth with a rainbow, Joshua had them place stones of remembrance as they entered the promised land, Jesus said, "Do this in remembrance of me." as he served the last supper. That is just a sprinkle of the times we are told to "remember". 


The Sabbath is a day God instructed us to remember His goodness, to learn of His greatness, to study His Word and to celebrate His faithfulness. There are 52 Sabbaths in a year. On January 1st, the liturgical calendar begins again. 

I can't help but think of the Passover celebration that is celebrated to this day in Jewish homes. A Passover Seder meal is a wonderful way to teach our children of God's rescue of the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt. 


"This is a day to remember. Each year, from generation to generation, you must celebrate it as a special festival to the Lord. This is a law for all time. For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast. On the first day of the festival, remove every trace of yeast from your homes. Anyone who eats bread made with yeast during the seven days of the festival will be cut off from the community of Israel." -Exodus 12:14-15

When wedding anniversaries roll around, it is very common for a couple to celebrate with a special meal or at a special place. Year markers matter. Birthdays are another year marker that is marked with parties and celebrations. We have so many family birthdays is July and August and some anniversaries, too. I need to pause and let the gift of another year resonate in my soul. 

Today, I am grateful for year markers. 


Friday, July 10, 2020

Lessons in Waiting

Year 8-Day 191: Today, I am grateful for the lessons in waiting. 

Patience is not always my strong suit. It is a lesson that I continue to receive again and again. I have not even come close to perfecting the exercise of waiting. I like a plan A, a plan B and a C... just in case.

Being patient is not as easy as coming up with optional solutions. His way is the best way, but there are times His plan unfolds very slowly.  

"I am sure that God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait." -C.S. Lewis

There are times that waiting build trust and character. God will not be hurried. His ways and His timing are at times a mystery, but as His plan is revealed, it all comes together. 

"but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles;they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

In Hebrew, the word Isaiah uses for “wait” is Qavah. It means “to wait, look for, hope, expect.” See... there is purpose in "the wait".  We need to be still as we wait, watch, hope and trust His heart. 

Today, I am grateful for the lessons in waiting. 

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Tree Swings

Year 8-Day 190: Today, I am grateful for tree swings.


A tree swing is a perfect way to celebrate a summer day. 

I grew up with different tree swings over the years. Ours were often made with old tractor tires, but we had some wooden ones, too. 

When I was very young, we had three tall cottonwood trees. They were perfect for swings, after Dad figured out how to get the rope up on typically high branches. We played on our tree swings for hours, watching the wildlife, pets and bugs around us. 

We self-entertained, as there were days Mama Ina Mae told us to get out of the house until she called us for lunch or dinner. We thrived in the sunshine playing made up games for three. 

The tree swings were always a place to take a break. They were a place for quiet rest and restoration. With the world climate today, we often long peaceful quiet lives. 

"Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity." - 1 Timothy 2:2

On a tree swing we can pause and take in the day. We can relax and focus on the moments and not worry about the months. Don't underestimate their value. 
Today, I am grateful for tree swings.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Emma

Year 8-Day 190: Today, I am grateful for Emma.

Today, our oldest son's wife is celebrating the anniversary of her birth. I was blessed to hold her in my arms when she was less than 2 days old. I was eight months pregnant with Chase at the time of her birth. 

I remember buying two of the cutest little girl outfits because I could not choose between the pink and a more nautical design in red, white and blue. She was the sweetest little thing. 

Watching her grow up was a joy. She was so full of personality from the start. We all have the fondest of memories of special Emma moments from her childhood. Some things never change and others do as she has grown from baby, to child, to teen and now a woman. We are grateful for her every day. 



She is our daughter in love far more than in law. She is witty and wonderful. She was the perfect match for our son and we feel so blessed that when he asked, she said "yes". They do life together well. 

"Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies.Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.-Proverbs 31:10-12

It is easy to be grateful for her. 


Today, I am grateful for Emma.