Saturday, October 31, 2020

Making Memories

 


 

Year 8-Day 306: Today I am grateful for making memories. 

We had the joy of celebrating a niece’s marriage today in a small family ceremony in the beautiful outdoors. Nature is a lovely sanctuary to join two lives.

This week, I have been focused on the importance of making memories with those we love. However and whenever loved ones come together, new glue is formed in the family bonds... even with friends who have become family. 

Don’t miss the moments. Take pictures. Laugh out loud. Tease with kindness. Love with sincerity. 


Today, I am grateful for a chance to make some memories. 


(Thanks for all the beautiful birthday wishes. I can’t wait to read through them. I have the best family and friends. )

Friday, October 30, 2020

The Rock That Is Higher

 Year 8-Day 304: Today, I am grateful for the rock that is higher than I am.

It has been long week. Everyone is tired, but there is always work to be done. It is so easy to focus on the weariness, when I am supposed to lean on the one whose strength never fails. 

"from the end of the earth I call to you
    when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock
    that is higher than I," -Psalm 61:2

In this verse, I love the "lead me" request. It acknowledges not just our need of Him, but our human need for help in different seasons. We don't need to do it alone. We were never meant to live life alone. We were designed for companionship.

When overwhelmed, we have help. We have a rock that does not fail.

Today, I am grateful for the rock that is higher than I am.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Values

 

Year 8-Day 303: Today, I am grateful for values.

Everyone values something. We establish our values based on the things we are taught and personal experiences. Our values make us different from animals and machines. They are significant factors in what it means to be human. 

Education is good, but education on it's own rarely changes the world. Education rooted in values is a power force. 

This C.S. Lewis quote sums it up well: 

"Education with out values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil." -C.S. Lewis

Without core values in place, people grow in their wickedness. Selfishness reigns over the day when education is king without being tempered by values. Adding a moral compass can change the directions of a life. 

"My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding," Proverbs 2:1-3

The scriptures guide us and we find our way. Right and wrong our real. Jesus knew the scriptures better than the temple priests. He knew and loved the law, because living in obedience transformed lives. It still does. 

Learning is great. Learning and living in love is better. 

Today, I am grateful for values.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Joy Ahead

 

Year 8-Day 302: Today, I am grateful for the joy ahead. 

This is only a season. It is true. Whenever things are overwhelming, hard or disappointing, it is good to remember this is only a season. 

Keep it simple. Don't fret. Be a kind human. God isn't finished with us yet. 

Lean into His grace; offer others the same. Our God is faithful in sunshine, drought and rain. 

"So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while." -1 Peter 1:6

Happiness is as fleeting as a moment, but joy springs from the knowledge of a Savior who came to live as one of us, to understand our sorrows and our joys. His is faithful, even when we are not. We can lean into Him and know real peace. 

Today, I am grateful for the joy ahead. 


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Warm Beds

 

Year 8-Day 301: Today, I am grateful for a warm bed.

As the temperatures drop here in Illinois and the first snow has sputtered, I am forever grateful for a warm bed. That same toasty bed makes it harder to get up in the morning, but the daily struggle is worth it, for the luxury of a soft, warm bed. 

My mind goes to the homeless this season. Those who spend their nights outside most of the summer will seek the shelters. I've heard from multiple sources that the thing most requested in homeless shelters are socks. I imagine socks can double as mittens and they can be doubled on the feet for added protection and warmth. 

I am reminded there are many who have no bed and others who lay down in filth, because they have no way to wash the bedding they possess. I am grateful my bed is clean, too.  The smell and feel of fresh sheets is on my list of favorite things. Simple joys. Inexpensive, too. Clean, soft and cozy... it is heavenly bedding.

Someone to snuggle is a blessing, too. Now... some of us like to snuggle and some of us like a little space to ourselves, but there is comfort in the nearness of another soul. Add some fur babies and the bed gets even cozier. We have a 70lb foot warmer who insists on sleeping under the covers at the foot of the bed. 

A safe, toasty place to sleep is a blessing, not to be taken for granted.

The scripture for today was easy:

Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?-Ecclesiastes 4:11

Today, I am grateful for a warm bed.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Flour Sack Towels

 

Year 8-Day 300: Today, I am grateful for flour sack towels. 

I grew up with "flour sack towels". As a child, I think some of our flour sack towels were truly from the era when flour was purchased in sacks. 

A flour/feed sack was usually made of cheap cotton. It was easy to recycle and upcycle. Flour and feed were essential. The fabric sacks were recycled into clothing, aprons and household linens back in the early days on the prairie. Free cloth was never wasted. 

                                                             
One of my favorite items to include in a bridal shower gift are good, old fashioned flour sack towels. Some call them bar rags. They don't leave lint on glasses. They are kitchen essentials for the good crystal glasses (the ones that don't go in the dishwasher). They are practical and don't take up much room in the drawer. 

Lulu's boutique has the cutest flour sack towels in our little village of Morton. (Check them out on Main Street.) They are almost too cute to use, but once you put them to work, you will remember why they were a favorite in grandma's kitchen. 

Simple items that get the job done are practical and help us be productive. Humble items that get the job done. 

In Biblical times, sackcloth was used to make garments for times of repentance and mourning. They were humble garments, itchy and uncomfortable. Sin should be itchy and uncomfortable. Mourning causes great discomfort, too. 

"When I wept and humbled my soul with fasting, it became my reproach. When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword to them." -Psalm 69:10-11

They wore sackcloth intentionally to signify the humbling of their hearts and their shame. It was not the soft fabric of our flour sack towels, although both were used to hold grain and feed. 

I am grateful that the fabric of "modern" times is softer. 

Today, I am grateful for flour sack towels. 

Sunday, October 25, 2020

God Owns Tomorrow

 

Year 8-Day 299: Today, I am grateful God owns tomorrow. 

We have no need to worry or fret. One day at a time is all we are expected to live. I adore Elisabeth Elliot. She rates right up there with Cori Ten Boom and Mother Teresa. She endured much. In her suffering, she discovered peace in God's arms when her whole world fell apart. 

When tragedy struck, she managed to plow through the grief and thrive. Her life, a testimony to the unwavering faithfulness of God. It will echo into many generations. It resonated in the jungle after her husband, James, was murdered by the people whose souls he longed to save. His death was tragic, but her response to the loss saved lives and added new names into The Lamb's Book of Life. She didn't quit. She became more fierce in the message and the mission.  

I can't imaging her sorrow or the tears she must have cried when Jim died. Still, she persevered. She trusted the heart of God when his ways made no sense at all. 

"The life of faith is lived one day at a time, and it has to be lived - not always looked forward to as thought the "real" living were around the next corner. It is today for which we are responsible. God still owns tomorrow." - Elisabeth Elliot (Dec 1926 - June 2015)

Her message still resonates today. Live this day! Live it fully and out loud. God still owns tomorrow. We must wait until He delivers it into our hands. At that point, we become responsible for what we choose to do with the precious gift of another day to live, laugh, love and serve. 

"but you shall cling to the Lord your God just as you have done to this day" -Joshua 23:8

We don't know what tomorrow holds, but we can trust the hand that holds tomorrow. 

Today, I am grateful God owns tomorrow.


Saturday, October 24, 2020

Hallmark Christmas Movies

 

Year 8-Day 298: Today, I am grateful for Hallmark Christmas movies.

Guilty pleasures at their best. I love a Hallmark Christmas movie with a guaranteed happy ending. Real life is hard enough. I enjoy the escape of the predictable and the gorgeous cinematography.

The new movies are beginning for the Christmas season. They even sing carols and go to church in many of the movies. Neighbors share meals. Families gather, they hug and they celebrate traditions old and new. I don't think there has been a year in my lifetime we have needed Christmas movies more. 

The truth is, I will need to re-watch tonight's premier. I feel asleep not long after I sat down to watch it. Randy will tease me about the happy ending. Hallmark movies are like the "balm in Gilead". What's that? Let's look at the Old Testament. 

"Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of the daughter of my people not been restored?" -Jeremiah 8:22

Gilead was know for a balm (Genesis 37:25). The Ishmaelites who purchased Joseph from his brothers carried the balm, gum and myrrh on their caravan. The hearts of the brothers were full of jealousy and ill will toward their brother Joseph. The "balm in Gilead" would come to become a metaphor for Jesus and how He soothes our  souls. 

Hallmark Christmas movies remind me to be grateful for life's little moments that are tender and sweet. Giving thanks and sharing with loved ones is what we love about the season ahead. Family, food, faith and fellowship are at the heart of the season.

"addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ," -Ephesians 5:19-20

Most of the movies are a constant reminder that love covers a multitude of sins. None of us is perfect. Love always wins. 

Today, I am grateful for Hallmark Christmas movies.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Harmony

 

Year 8-Day 297: Today, I am grateful for harmony. 

There is something about a cappella singing. Full harmonies fill the air and the soul responds. Music is a sacred realm. On the night Jesus was born, angels sang. Not one instrument was mentioned. I imagine the angels sang a cappella.

Participating in Madrigals was one of my favorite experiences in high school. There was something about the challenge of finding your note from a pitch pipe and hearing the voices blend that was a challenge and a victory every time. I loved it. Unison singing is great... but harmony is magical. 

Harmony reminds me that our differences can come together to create something better and more beautiful that anyone one of us on our own. We were designed for relationships and for living together. Our unique ideas and opinions can create dissonance at times, but when we look for common ground, we can find ways to come together. 

We can create harmony with our voices, when creating with color and in our relationships. 

When creating harmony the goal is to blend in, not stand out. Working together. The whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts. It is a little bit magical. 

God celebrates our uniqueness, but when we live together in harmony, I believe it pleases him, too. 

"And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony." -Colossians 3:14

Our choir teacher, Tim, is a part of "After Hours". They won the International Barbershop Quartet Championship a few years ago. They are amazing. Their rendition of "The Sound of Music" is spectacular. "Take On Me" is fun, too. Enjoy the links. 

Today, I am grateful for harmony.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rnNYC40Xzs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmAYpZsYT8U


Thursday, October 22, 2020

Shades of Orange

 Year 8-Day 296: Today, I am grateful for shades of orange.

Orange is the color of joy and creativity. It promotes a sense of general wellness.

The trees are full of shades of orange... and so are the pumpkin fields. Orange is one of my favorites because of its many fun shades. From subtle cantaloupe to mac-n-cheese, orange makes us think of sunny days and fall foliage. 

We had a rust orange carpet in our first house that was not my favorite. It was too much orange everywhere... and it was shag. We replaced it with a peach carpet in the bedroom, a trendy shade that was popular at the time. I guess we didn't move completely away from orange after all.

Bright orange is perfect for pops of color room full of neutrals. The tropical version makes my soul sing. Orange that leans heavily into the yellows is mood elevating. 

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:" -Ecclesiastes 3:1

Every color has its season, too. Fall if full of shades of orange. Which is your favorite? 

Today, I am grateful for shades of orange.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Hot Pads


 Year 8-Day 295: Today, I am grateful for hot pads.

How have I missed this ordinary item in my gratitude posts. As year eight of daily gratitude winds down, I don't think I have every chosen hot pads. What?  I know. I don't have a single reason why they have been neglected on my list. I use them daily. A towel never works as well. Hot pads make a difference in daily living. 

I have hot pads that hold the memories of the person who gifted them to me. Some are homemade... and they are extra special. I like to buy them for the holidays and I have my favorites for daily use. Hot pads are practical, but they can be cute, too. 

Imagine trying to pull dinner out of the oven without hot pads. Many of us have permanent scars from oven burns. If it weren't for hot pads, i would have many more. Yes, my hot pads deliver me from the dangers of hot pans and dishes. They shield and protect the cook. 

"But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head." -Psalm 3:3

Our God is a shield. He is our refuge and he is our protector, too. So.. like the hot pad in our kitchen He guard and protects. 

Today, I am grateful for hot pads.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Decision Time

 

Year 8-Day 294: Today, I am grateful for decision time.

Making decisions comes easier for some people than others. Some people know what they know, they put it in gear and then they go. They don't spend time overthinking decisions. They decide and they press on.

When mistakes are made... they press through the trial until they find a way to "right the ship". We can live in such fear of mistakes we never get our boat out of the harbor. It is a dull way to live. In fact, it can keep us from fully living. I know, I am a "safety girl" by nature. I like to play it safe. I am still learning that some of life's best adventures happen when courage wins over fear.

This is a great quote from C.S. Lewis:

"Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later and then you still have to decide what to do." -C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair 

Lewis acknowledges that sometimes, tears are appropriate. Grief happens. It is hard work. It isn't the fun choice, but I think it serves a purpose. Tears are like releasing the valve on a pressure cooker. They keep us from exploding with sorrow. It isn't a picnic, but grief work is honest work.

Being a farmer's daughter, I know the rain falls on the good and the bad. We all endure sadness, but at some point, we have to stop crying over spilt milk and decide what to do next. We have to let go of the weight of indecision, make a choice and go with it. Sure, decisions can have consequences... but so does indecision. Indecision drains our energy, too. Make a choice... then work to make it the right choice.

It brings up a favorite scripture from Jeremiah 24:15-

"And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

We make choices. Sometimes, we get it right. Sometimes, we get it wrong. Many times we make the best decision we can and work to make it a good one. 

Pray for those who lead. Pray for Solomon's wisdom. Seek guidance from His Word. Those who think God is silent are often too busy chattering to hear Him speak. Listen for the "still soft voice" that offers hope, help, refuge and peace in any storm. Choose, this day, whom you will serve.

Today, I am grateful for decision time.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Apples

Year 8-Day 293: Today, I am grateful for apples.

One of the fall flavors and colors to be savored are found in the wide variety of apples. The orchards are full of them and we all have our favorites. We don't like mushy in our house. Granny Smith are always well received. They are firm and tart... and make excellent pies, caramel apples and crisps. Honeycrisp are the perfect firm, tart and sweet apple that make them highly desirable. They are worth the price.

Apples are required for apple juice and cider. My favorite apple cider slushies would not exist without apples. Apple juice is a main ingredient in wassail, too. Frankly, the holidays with out apples would not be the same.

What about the phrase "the apple of His eye"? It comes from scripture.

“He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; he encircled him, he cared for him, he kept him as the apple of his eye." -Deuteronomy 32:10

This passage talks about Israel. The nation is the apple of His eye. We, believers in Jesus, are grafted in, just like they graft apple tries to create new varieties. "Joint heirs with Jesus", chosen, adopted and treasured. We, too, become the apple of His eye. Brothers and sisters because we are grafted into the family tree. We each bring our unique flavors to the family. We are grafted in.

Not too shabby, right? So much to be grateful for when we look at an apple. 

Today, I am grateful for apples.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Reminders To "Get Real"

 

Year 8-Day 292: Today, I am grateful for reminders to "get real".

Have you seen the Clint Eastwood movie, "Sully" staring Tom Hanks. It is the story of "The Miracle on the Hudson" and the craziness that followed for the pilots who saved 155 souls that day with quick thinking and sharp skills. The pilot, Chelsey "Sully" Sullenberger and his co-pilot, Jeff Skiles. If you haven't seen it, you've missed out.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigation was grueling for the pilots. It shows Sully and Jeff listening to all of their reasons that they should have turned back to LaGuardia after a flock of geese took out their engines.

My brother has a favorite line from the movie: "Can we get serious now?" It is a clip worth watching.

https://youtu.be/N1fVL4AQEW8

Sully's point is that they, as humans, were experiencing something for the first time. No simulator can prepare a person for that moment when the unbelievable occurs. You have to make choices. Sully's choice saved 155 lives that day. He didn't crash... he made an "emergency water landing". It matters how you frame the scenario and the right response. In the case of US Airways Flight 1549 bound for Charlotte, N.C., highly trained pilots made skilled but gut decisions to land an airplane on the Hudson River.

This movie came to mind as I read an excerpt from CS Lewis's "Mere Christianity". Lewis didn't come to belief in Jesus easily. He was brilliant, relentless and intentional in his research about Jesus of Nazareth. In the end, he succumbed to this conclusion: "Jesus was either a liar, a lunatic... or who he claimed to be." It was Lewis's "get real" moment. He chose to believe and spent the rest of his days writing, discussing and sharing the gospel.

Salvation comes at that "get real" moment of deciding whether or not to accept Jesus as the son of God who came, wore human skin, died as our Passover lamb and rose again in victory over sin and death. This scripture sums it up:

"because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." -Romans 10:9

Our power to choose or refuse... in a real and present moment of decision.

Today, I am grateful for reminders to "get real".

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Kitchen Aid Mixer

 

Year 8-Day 291: Today, I am grateful for my Kitchen Aid mixer.

We've been married thirty three years. My first stand mixer was a Sunbeam that the Methodist Hospital Lab (Randy's co-workers) gave us as a wedding gift . It still works. In fact, one of my sons and daughter-in-love currently have it. That old Sunbeam has been used well over the years. 

Mama Ina Mae always had a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. They have always been an excellent appliance... and continue to be a great product. The boys gifted me with one a few years ago as an upgrade, and I love it. It has been used several times this week, already. 

Nothing creams shortening and sugar like a stand mixer. It really makes a difference in the cookie dough. It is, also, the perfect way to make meatloaf without the messy hands. When the temperatures drop, it is time for meatloaf. 

The right tool for any job makes all the difference. A stand mixer is amazing for making bread dough... yes, a dough hook helps prepare the perfect ball of bread, ready to rise. The fragrance of bread baking is sweet to the senses.

"Bread is made for laughter..."-Ecclesiastes 10:19 

Isn't that true? Breaking bread with family and friends is an experience humans have shared for thousands of years. Two thousand years ago, it was so much harder to make the bread (and the treats). We are blessed with modern tools. 

Today, I am grateful for my Kitchen Aid mixer.

Friday, October 16, 2020

 


Year 8-Day 290: Today, I am grateful for my step stools. 

I am short. My step stool gives me an extra 8 inches. It is perfect for helping me reach the high shelves and the top of closest. I'm 5'4" and I can only stretch so far. 

None of us likes the feeling of things being out of reach. It is frustrating and climbing without a step stool can be dangerous. Falls happen when we are careless in climbing for things. We need to be mindful and cautious. 

There are times it feels like life is just out of reach. If only one thing in our circumstance was different, we believe all of our other challenges would fall into place. 

Life is rarely that simple. I need to be reminded to keep my eyes on the Father, looking to Him for direction. I need to look for ways to be a positive influence in the world to His glory... not my own. 


This passage was perfect for today:

"But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you." -2 Corinthians 10:13 ESV 

To relish the area of influence God has assigned each one of us should be a personal goal. When we feel overwhelmed by the world and its demands, we need to remember He draws the map. He is the step stool that allows us to reach the areas that seem out of reach. 

Today, I am grateful for my step stools. 



 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Fleece Fabric

 

Year 8-Day 289: Today, I am grateful for fleece fabric.

The evenings grow cooler and I find myself reaching for the fleece! Fleece blankets, fleece shirts, fleece jammies and fleece jackets. Fleece is user friendly and inexpensive. It is warm, but not heavy. It washes well if you avoid fabric softener. 

Fleece blankets are always popular at football games as temperatures drop. They are usually big enough to share.  This scripture makes me think of cozy evenings, snuggled in a blanket. 

"Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?" -Ecclesiastes 4:11

Full day, short post. Find some fleece and someone to snuggle with this evening. 

Today, I am grateful for fleece fabric.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Open Windows

 Year 8-Day 288: Today, I am grateful for open windows.

Open windows are my favorite! When it isn't too hot... or too cold, you can open up a window. That is one of the reasons fall and spring are my favorites. Yes, the lower energy bills are great, but it is the fresh air that I love most. 

They say that when "God closes one door, he opens a window." Through the window comes the invigorating breeze and the sunlight, too. An open window is one of the sweet things that can happen to you. 

Through an open window, a woman who was defeated by life, culture and broken promises, threw down a scarlet cord, believing that the men who spoke of a God she could trust. Her name was Rahab. She had no reason to trust Israel's spies, but something in their spirit invited her trust them.

I can't imagine she was na├»ve in any way, yet she trusted and protected Israel's spies. It has become one of my favorite Biblical stories. It is found in Joshua 2. 

"When we come into the land, you must leave this scarlet rope hanging from the window through which you let us down. And all your family members—your father, mother, brothers, and all your relatives—must be here inside the house." -Joshua 2:18

The expectations were clear. Rahab knew what she had to do to save herself and her family. 

Rahab joined with Israel. She chose to become one of them. She was a foreigner, but she was accepted. She would be reminder that God was in the details. She did not give up, even when life was hard. She would, eventually, be named in the genealogy of Jesus. 

An open window is a big part of her story. Do you recall times when God closed doors and opened a window? It still happens. His power is real. 

Today, I am grateful for open windows.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Merciful Wounded


  Year 8-Day 287: Today, I am grateful for the merciful wounded. 

I hate it when I mess up. I really hate it. I go over what I could have done differently and how I would make different choices the next time. Rehashing the mistake doesn't really fix the anything. Mercy is the game changer. 

"Relationships don't thrive because the guilty are punished, but because the wounded are merciful." -Max Lucado

When another human expresses mercy toward us, it is really humbling. We all make mistakes. Our mistakes should not define us, but they should refine us. We have to be honest with ourselves and those around us. 

Mercy is lifechanging.  

"For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment." -James 2:13

The examples Jesus gave us regarding relationships were full of mercy. 

Today, I am grateful for the merciful wounded. 

Monday, October 12, 2020

By Faith... Not Sight

 Year 8-Day 286: Today, I am grateful we live by faith... not sight.

I've often pondered the gift of our five senses. Touch, sight, sound, taste and smell. If I had to lose one, which would I give up? It would be a tough choice. 

People, for a variety of reasons are missing one or more senses. Some are born blind or deaf. Others, experience a trauma that takes away one or more of their senses. We rely on our senses, but we, also, take them for granted.

The scripture from 2 Corinthians 5:7 notes that the opposite of living by sight is living by belief. 

"For we live by believing and not by seeing."


Seeing is believing, right? But when we believe, without seeing, we please God. Our trust is an offering, a recognition of his might and an acceptance of his Lordship in our lives. 

We live, we laugh, we love and we draw near the heart of God. 

Today, I am grateful we live by faith... not sight.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Quiet Moments In Waiting

 Year 8-Day 285: Today, I am grateful for quiet moments in waiting. 

For me, it is the hour before dawn breaks. It is a quiet, holy time. It is one of my favorite hours of the day. This year, my body never really adjusted to springing forward. I can't wait until we get our hour back. 

This scripture from the Psalms was my verse of the day.

"I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him." -Psalm 62:1 

The days are getting noticeably shorter. The crickets will soon end their evening symphonies. The falling leaves dance their last dance. Nature grows more quiet as winter approaches. Perhaps we don't notice it because we tend to get busier and busier with the holidays approaching. 

This year... our schedules may be a little less packed for Covid reasons. Our gatherings may be a little more intimate. Perhaps, many will feel less holiday stress. I often long for a little less hustle in the bustle. I wonder how it will feel if that longing is realized this year. We will see what the next month brings in the world health crisis. 

Today, I am reminded of the victory that comes with trusting The Rock... not the wrestler but the original Rock... the author and perfecter of our faith. We need not be shaken. We can find peace in the stillness  as we wait quietly before God. 

Today, I am grateful for quiet moments in waiting. 


Saturday, October 10, 2020

Rocks

 Year 8-Day 284: Today, I am grateful for rocks.

What kid doesn't love rocks? I had a little rock collection when I was a child that I thought was pretty special. The quartz was beautiful. The fools gold (iron pyrite) seemed almost magical. 

I had my favorites. Even as a child, I was struck by the differences in rock compositions. Each rock has a story to tell. The sedimentary rocks are some of the best story tellers with layer after layer of history... one chapter on top of the other. 

Coal was in my collection and I was intrigued that under pressure it formed diamonds. Diamonds have always been my favorite rocks. The clear ones are go with everything, making them perfect for jewelry. 

A child can play with rocks for endless hours without boredom. They throw them, stack them, move them in toy trucks and bulldozes them. Boys, especially, love rocks. 

One of my favorite children's stories is "Stone Soup". The book illustrates the power of a community coming together to make something special. A kettle of boiling rocks becomes a delicious soup for sharing with the whole village. The book has some excellent lessons. 

Jesus is called, "The Rock" of our salvation. We can always go to "The Rock". He does not stumble or fail. 

"Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation."- Psalm 95:1

Today, I am grateful for rocks.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Good Examples

 Year 8-Day 283: Today, I am grateful for good examples. 

A good example is priceless. Telling me how to do something might work... or it might not. Verbal instructions can be confusing unless they are simple. If you show me how to do something, even the more complicated tasks become easy. Good examples make a huge difference. 

"Love one another, we don't need more instructions; we need more examples." -Bob Goff

This is one of those weeks I need a little Bob Goff. His way of loving and living outload challenges me to do more... to do better. Love is a choice. Every. Single. Day. I need daily reminders to love bigger and better. 

I've been blessed with some amazing examples of love. For anyone who knows my Mama Ina Mae, she oozes love. She cares genuinely about all people and all creatures great and small. She is one of the most gracious examples of love I have ever known. I am so blessed to call her my Mama. 

Acting in love is rarely convenient. Over scheduling leaves little room for random acts of love and kindness. Slow down. Love big. Laugh often. Easier said than done... but worth the effort. 

"Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God." -Ephesians 5:2

Today, I am grateful for good examples. 

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Cling On Warriors

 

Year 8-Day 282: Today, I am grateful for cling on warriors.

The image today is for fun... an attention grabber. I always enjoyed Star Trek. I am not a "Trekie" but I certainly have favorite episodes and captains. 

I can't help word play. It seems to be how my brain works. Perhaps it is a byproduct of a head full of music lyrics. I don't know, but when I read my verse of the day out of Deuteronomy and the image of a "Klingon Warrior" was suddenly in my head. What? Here is the passage:

"Serve only the Lord your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him." -Deuteronomy 13:4

Cling on to Him. Only to Him. Always to Him. Obey, listen and desperately hold on. Cling on!

The world seems to get crazier by the day. There is a group of commercials that make me laugh. They make fun of humans and our tendency to become our parents. If you live long enough... it seems to happen. Have you heard your mother's or father's favorite phrases coming out of your mouth? It happens. 

Are we "becoming our parents"? Do were remember the "God of our fathers"?

"and said, “O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you." -2 Chronicles 20:6

Listen for His voice and cling tightly to His commands. He is our hope, our truth and the light.  Cling on. 

Today, I am grateful for cling on warriors.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

OCTOBER SUNSHINE

Year 8-Day 281: Today, I am grateful for October sunshine.
Oh, yes! I am on a fall kick this week. It is my favorite season (closely followed by spring) and I don't want to miss any of its miracles. Today is one of those miracles. Today is a perfect fall day.
My perfect temperature is 75 degrees (23.8 degrees Celsius). Today has had some 75 degree moments and will again before the day is done. The fall decorations are up, but some summer plants are still blooming with gusto.
October sunshine is softer than summer sun. It feels so nice, when I close my eyes and lift my face to the light.
There are moments when I finish time in The Word...in praise... or in prayer that there are almost no words to describe the peace and the contentment. Then again, maybe I have come up with an articulate description. There are times when the light of His love feels like October sunshine.
But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”-John 9:5
Like a love letter, His Word holds promises, warmth and inspiration. Yes... the light of His love is like October sunshine.
Today, I am grateful for October sunshine.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Imperfect Vessels

 Year 8-Day 280: Today, I am grateful He chooses imperfect vessels. 

Aren't we all imperfect vessels? I know I am. it is a comfort to know that our God does not turn his back on us because we are a little bit broken. 

This quote is from Christine Caine. She founded the A21 campaign with her husband to fight human trafficking. 

"The Biblical model is that God deliberately chooses imperfect vessels - those who have been wounded, those with physical or emotional limitations. Then he prepares them to serve and sends them out with their weakness still evident, so that his strength can be made perfect in that weakness. -Christine Caine

Christine Caine has seen Christ's redeeming love pour hope, light and love into the lives of those wounded by human trafficking and modern day slavery. Broken and beautiful is God's specialty.

His grace is sufficient: 

"Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me." - 2 Corinthians 12:9

Today, I am grateful He chooses imperfect vessels. 

   

Monday, October 5, 2020

Hot Dog Roast

 

Year 8-Day 279: Today, I am grateful for the hot dog roast. 

If there is something I believe is truly American... right up there with baseball and apple pie... it is the hot dog roast. Bonfires are a fall tradition. Roasting hot dogs is a part of most bonfire events. It is an easy way to feed a crowd and there is nothing quite like the flavor. Kid friendly for kids of all ages. 

I noticed the grocery store was well stocked with hot dogs over the weekend with some great sales, too. It made me wonder if everyone was craving that flavor. We were. In a pinch, with no fire in sight, did you know you can broil your hot dogs for a quick evening meal and get close to the flavor of a wiener roast? Close, but without the smokiness and the fun with friends. 

Man has been enjoying roasted meat over a wood fire for countless generations. There is even a scripture passage:

"He burns part of the tree to roast his meat and to keep himself warm. He says, “Ah, that fire feels good.”-Isaiah 44:16 

Full disclosure... this particular scripture is in a passage where the prophet is expressing God's displeasure with man creating idols... and humans wanting to be idolized. Not so different from today's culture and society. Nonetheless, it captures a snapshot of food cooked over a flame and the delight it brings. Humans easily lose perspective, and take our eyes off God. We are easily distracted by fortune, fame and fire flames. 

A hot dog roast is an easy way to call friends together for fellowship. They have not lost their popularity over the years. On a clear night, you can see the stars, scent the smoke and share in the simple goodness of gathering. 

Today, I am grateful for the hot dog roast. 

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Travel Mugs


 Year 8-Day 278: Today, I am grateful for travel mugs.

Oh, how I love warm beverages. I drink hot coffee and chai all year long. A hot tea at the end of a long day is always a good idea. Hot cider (or wassail) and hot cocoa are beverages that make winter months more tolerable and perhaps even something to happily anticipate (I can't believe I just wrote that, but somehow it is true). All of these favorites are can be enjoyed in a travel mug. 

Some days, the morning slips by without time for a second cup of coffee. The travel mug is the answer. Heading to an outdoor activity this fall, a travel mug is a welcome companion. Eight years of gratitude and this is the first time the travel mug has made the post. It is long overdue. 

A valuable life lesson comes from learning to travel light. Traveling light does not mean the important things are left behind. Skip the tooth brush... take the travel mug. Okay, better keep the toothbrush, too. 

Mark 6:7-9 reminds me of Jesus's instructions to the disciples to travel light as they spread the gospel:

"And he called his twelve disciples together and began sending them out two by two, giving them authority to cast out evil spirits. He told them to take nothing for their journey except a walking stick—no food, no traveler’s bag, no money. He allowed them to wear sandals but not to take a change of clothes."

That is pretty light! I fear I would have been a disappointment to Jesus in their shoes. I like to plan for plenty of choices when I pack. 

Then again, I have traveled light and found it somewhat freeing. One carry on bag for a week long trip to Florida can be done... if I borrow extra space in the Love of my Life's bag. Still, some items are deemed essential. Travel mugs are that kind of item. 

In recent years, two of my travel mugs are used exclusively for water. Keeping the mugs full of water helps me reach my hydration goals. Water is life... coffee is life preserving. 

 Today, I am grateful for travel mugs.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Savoring Fall

 Year 8-Day 277: Today, I am grateful for the chance to savor fall. 

Fall is truly my favorite. The scents, the tastes and the times spent with loved ones.  I love it all. This cute little check off list seemed perfect for a day that truly feels like fall. 

Take in the crisp air. Watch the sky for gathering geese. Pull out the pumpkin recipes. Bake an apple crisp. Head to an orchard. Apple cider slushies (had to add that one into the mix)

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecclesiastes 3:1

We move too swiftly from holiday to the next when autumn arrives. Take a minute to list your favorites. Check them off. Repeat as needed. 

Today, I am grateful for the chance to savor fall. 

Friday, October 2, 2020

Our Daily Bread

 

Year 8-Day 276: Today, I am grateful for our daily bread.

I love bread. I try to limit how much comes into the house because it is hard to find self control with bread. There are so many varieties of bread today. We have a local shop that carries probably a dozen different breads daily. It is truly delicious. 

Bread has been around for thousands of years. It can be made from different grains, but nearly every culture has a bread they call their own. 

Remember, when Jesus was asked by his disciples to show them how to pray? He prayed the sample prayer we know as "The Lord's Prayer". The prayer makes a request for our daily bread. I could spend a long time on that short little passage. There is much to unpack.

"Give us this day our daily bread." -Matthew 6:11

It shows that we are to bring our requests before God, even simple ones like our daily food. It asks for today's needs with some immediacy. It does not hold any worry about tomorrow. This day... one day at a time... is a lesson we seem slow to learn. 

He wants us to trust him for today and today's needs. Giving thanks for His provision is pleasing to His ear, so we need to give thanks daily. 

Today, I am grateful for our daily bread.