Monday, February 27, 2012

Snow storms and grace

Some days I feel like my life is a great adventure. Or maybe just a series of mishaps do to my silliness. I'm not sure which.
Today was one of those days.
I woke up to a note from my husband that the door needed to be shoveled out. It would not close right away because of the snow.
I laughed, bundled up and attacked that drifted snow. I showed it and some ice on our sidewalk who was boss.
I then proceeded to tell our door, which still did not want to close who was boss. But I think it told me.
It still would not close. So, I did what any sensible (or not so sensible, I'll admit it) person would do. I pulled on it and slammed it really hard. REALLY hard.
And now, I am stuck in my house for the day. Because the door is stuck. I still think this is pretty funny, I'll admit it.
And that. That is amazing I realize as I am making my lunch and thinking and giggling to myself.

God, He is amazing. His grace to me is huge.
I was just reading last night the chapter about stress. About how giving thanks leads to trust.
And I have seen that truth transform my life this week.
The last week me who was focused on her situations would have woke up, been cranky over having to go outside and then maybe cried that the door was stuck.
I am starting to truly believe what I am praying each morning. I believe that what He sends my way each day, today, is good, from Him and for my good. And that I can trust Him and rest in Him.
And I'm left in awe realizing how He is changing me.
I'm adding to this bog throughout my day. As I meditate on this.
I just finished reading the chapter in 1000 gifts (yes, it's taking me a while...) on stress. I know that my catch phrase that I used as an excuse is instead "I'm just frustrated." I know either way that the truth is when I cop-out with that excuse I'm just not trusting. I am choosing to remain frustrated and in my gloom instead of resting in Him. A much more joyful place to be. 

So, 3 ugly beautiful gifts:
~Waking up and having to go outside, into the cold and shovel (it was actually a delight!).
~Getting our door stuck.

~Finding my 1000 gifts journal wet, words running. I need to re-write it now...but it's from God's hand. (when will I learn to not leave things on my kitchen table?)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Restful Sunday

So, I'm afraid this will be another photo-less blog. I wanted to get a couple this morning, but we needed to get going.
A gift of Tin: The "vases" holding the flower arrangements at the front of our church.
A gift of glass: Some new beads that came in the mail this week!
A gift of wood: The pulpit, from which we hear the truth of the Gospel each week.

A gift nearly worn out: Beading needles! I am down to my last decent one! They have all gone missing or broken. So much creating!
A gift new: the rose at the front of the church today, standing for the new little life that has joined our church family this week.
A gift made-do: my phone, still not working well, poor coverage. But really, I have what I need.

3 gifts seen as reflections: 
~ My cozy living room seen through our large mirror.
~ Feminine accessories on my dresser: hair "things" and bracelets made by my fingers.
~ Looking at how long my hair is getting, I didn't really realize that!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A busy Saturday

 What a busy day!
3 blessings before 11 AM:

~ Coffee that was a gift that a friend brought back from the Dominican Republic!
 ~My husband being silly this morning.

 ~A pleasant conversation with a regular customer.

A gift of love from the love of my life is for sure a gift :). He had them delivered to me at work. Amazing.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Grace in hard days

So, not doing so good with this this week. Some days yes, some no. Some moments yes, some no. I know, it's a new habit. It will take some time.
Part of this is the hard week I am having. I am working on thanking Him no matter what. Thanking Him for hard days, moments, situations. Working on waking up and thanking Him for whatever He has for me that day knowing it is from Him and for my good out of His love for me.

Some gifts He's given this week:
3 gifts that changed today (or rather the day before ;))
~My heart. It seems He is doing this a lot this week.
~New habits-eating better, exercising.
~ Changes at work. A new member of our team that is doing great!

~One gift old: My boots. They keep my toes toasty and dry all winter.
~One new: A new perspective and attitude on some things.
~One blue: Our car.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Many more

A gift at breakfast: Healthy, tasty, nutritious breakfast!
Lunch: Hearing my friends daughter pray for lunch. There is nothing like hearing a three year old thank God, and for you.
Dinner: The gift of serving. Being able to cook for both of us for the week.

 A gift outside: Forgetting to take out the garbage. Having to come home gave me the opportunity to go back inside and have a wonderful time with God to start my busy day.
A gift inside: A treasure crafted by little hands.
A gift on a plate: Lunch made by my dear friend.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Found it!

I found the January Joy dare~ Woot!
So, I'll be sprinkling those gifts in the coming days as well.
Also, todays gifts are tomorrows on the dare, but that's what I get for waiting to look at the dare list until after lunch on a lazy day off.

3 gifts white: My tumbler! It was lost and now is found. Months later. I left it at church!
                                                    Milk for my coffee Pu’erh tea
My Vanilla Noel Candle. Sweet and soothing.

 3 things about yourself you are grateful for:
~My creativity.
~ My passion. Once I'm sold on something, I'm passionate about it.
~ My femininity.

Really feeling the spiritual battle right now. Some days I fight through and worship and give thanks and He gets the glory. Other days not so much.
Really wanting thankfulness to be the focus of my life. I want to focus on that instead of constantly complaining, which is where I naturally go.
His Grace is huge.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Catching up

3 gifts found in giving, serving:
~Hearing the youth worship in song this weekend. Lifted me up.
~The smell of soup filling my house.
~ Joy found for both of us when I gave a co-worker a little gift to celebrate achievement.

3 gifts on paper
~The best note. Ever.
~Romans 15:13 
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
~The drawings on my fridge :).

3 gifts that were plan Bs
~Soup, take two. The first round I used broth that had gone bad (oops! gross!)
~ Spending time with God, thanking Him and having Him pour into me (instead of having a hard, stubborn heart all day).
~ Having to fix my espresso machine. Never planned on it stopping to work. Glad for endurance and help in figuring out what it needed!

Friday, February 17, 2012


Three gifts found in shadows. Hmmm...
Well, today was a self-inflicted shadow day: the whole day felt like I had a cloud over my head. Instead of choosing to obey, to trust, to rest, I choose to sulk. I chose to neglect joy. I chose to ignore gifts.
Yet He reached me through it.
My three gifts found in shadows:
~Truth through my lies.
~Joy through my sorrow.
~Praise for Him through my fullness of self.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Loosing, Finding, Making

I'm still behind, but that's ok :)
A gift found in loosing something: loosing my sense of "control" over my life.
In finding something: His joy in pain.
In making something: My current project!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How Does He Love me?

Yesterdays will have to do for today ;).
Yesterdays Joy Dare gifts to find were 3 ways I feel the love of God.
Simple yes?
Not at all.
But first I'll post my 3 ways:
~An extended time of prayer and Bible study. Learning to preach the gospel to myself and praise Him for hard things (more on that in a minute).
~Lunch with some of my favorite ladies followed by heart confetti cupcake making. The encouragement and joy brought cannot be measured.
~ A husband who loves me extravagantly day in and day out, not who just woos me on holidays.

That husband has encouraged me in the past to learn to preach the Gospel to myself on hard days.How  I knew what the truth is. Now I needed to  remind  myself of it. Speak the Word.

I got it, yea yea.

But I got it this week.

I got up on Monday not a mom. "Hope" again "gone". I wanted to mope. I wanted to cry and feel sorry for myself. Instead I praised God for His Soverignty and His goodness.His goodness had not changed. My joy should not therefore change.  He knows what is best for me, and for us and for our family.

This morning, I'll be brutally honest here, the last thing I wanted to do was get up and go to work. I feel lost, stuck and ready for change.

I laid in bed and prayed. I got up and praised.
And it worked. He gave me His joy, because as I thanked Him, for again, this was His perfect plan for us.
He is good.
Even when.
That's how much He loves me.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Todays Joy challenge: 3 gifts found behind doors today:
~My husband, hard at work at his job. He is a great provider!
~My home. God's provided us with a warm space large enough to practice hospitality. We've shared many movies, snacks, cups of tea and laughs in this wonderful space.
~Our Grace group (small group). Always a blessing.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Working, Hard

Well, I didn't update this yesterday! I was just beat by the end of the day.
I had been keeping a scrap of paper in my pocket at work earlier in the week and when I saw the gifts for today-3 gifts found in working-well, it fit :)
~The smell of coffee grinding (I never get tired of it!).
~Comfort given for grief by a co-worker to a customer.
~Oily coffee beans in hopper.

Todays are harder. 3 hard gifts. When Ann talks about these in her book she does not mean a spill in the kitchen or a scratch on the knee.
~Not knowing what direction the Lord is leading us in right now. (He can do anything with us from here!)
~ Not being where I "planned" to be in life right now (kids, in full-time ministry...) (His ways are better).
~Not having starting a family be within my control.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sounds of Joy

I loved todays Joy dare gifts! 3 times I heard laughter today!
~A hearty belly laugh from the other side of the store.
~Behind the counter, laughing at one of the girls doing her Michael Jackson's "shriek" and little dance.
~ My husband and I laughing in the car over the commercial he wrote today.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Surprises, outside.

Three gifts found outside:
Snow softly falling.
Our backyard lake.
A piece of leftover Christmas.

3 surprise gifts (grace unexpected):
A little boy, looking at our in-counter garbage, talking to mom: "Does that go underground?!"
An unexpected Etsy/crafting conversation with a customer.
A burger waiting for me in the car after work!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Three more

A gift broken: the mic on my phone.
A gift fixed: our couch, we have fixed the legs a few times!
A gift thrifted: funky mug in my collection.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Overheard and Red

 3 gifts red:
A warm quilt, handmade and gifted on our first married Christmas:

An afternoon snack.

Sweet candy to go with sweet time with friends (watching Emma).

3 things overheard today, all gifts: ~ In the grocery store, a baby calling "mama, mama".
                                                       ~Brother giggling with sister as they walk through the store.
                             ( My favorite!)  ~"Just tell someone get in there and tell them no!" 
This was about "kissing" in Emma from my friend's daughter, accompanied by much shrieking :).

Really thinking about, processing and trying to start applying seeing beauty in the ugly. There are not moments blessed and moments cursed. God is over all and over every moment. I have to choose to thank Him for that. Very hard!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Joyful Blessings

I feel as if I should better explain the Joy Dare for those who are unfamiliar with 1000 Gifts. 

Ann Voskamp  was challenged by a friend (as you can read in her book, I challenge you to read it!) to keep a list of 1000 gifts. Gifts from God. This was in response to an email from Ann explaining how God was teaching her about Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving in all things. How ingratitude is a sin. How our lives are meant to be a communion with God.
These gifts don't have to be the huge things. I think that is what has struck me the most. Every little thing around me is a gift from Him and I need to start acknowledging that and thanking Him.  Some of them physical and tangible. Some not as much so.
There is something to naming these gifts. It's hard to put into words. She talks about it in detail in her book, and yet I find it hard myself.
I had started the journal of gifts myself. 
But still. As I wrote yesterday I was struggling. Lost in myself. In my circumstances. In grief. Overwhelmed. And then I saw the post from my friend, clicked on link and decided to do the Joy challenge. 
Something happened. My focus went from me to where it should be, Him. I realized in 3 little ways what gifts He has poured on me and I filled with joy.
As I start to purposefully look for these gifts that are all around me it changes everything. 
And so I continue with the Joy challenge today.
Even if you don't understand, I pray you will see His grace as He opens my eyes to the truth of His gifts that constantly surround me. 
I decided to back up and do some of the days that I missed. I just am getting so much out of it. And am a detailed person.
A gift found at 11: 30am : Christ focused new album.

2:30 pm: Long, refreshing quiet time.
6:30 pm: Chapter "What in the world, in all this world is grace" ~1000 gifts

3 gifts found in writing
" As indeed he says in Hosea,
   “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
   and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
 “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
   there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’” Romans 9: 25, 26

"Though he slay me, I will hope in him..." Job 13 :15

 "Because God is patient, we should be patient."
~James Montgomery Boice, To the Glory of God

3 gifts found when bent down: A section of green beads that fell on the floor and kept distracting me with their sounds of moving.
The ability to keep my home clean without chemicals.

A load of clean laundry waiting to be folded.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Joy Dare

I've had a rough week. I know this week that our life is indeed a spiritual battle. When you learn something, it's challenged right away.
I despaired last night. It was wrong. It was sin. And I did it.
It's so hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. To trust. It's easy to let frustration win. Allow my feelings to dictate action. To dwell in gloom.

I had a friend give me a little book to read. She saw my post about keeping a thankfulness journal a few weeks ago and said "ohhh! You have to read this!"
It was a gift from God. Or rather is. A cup of cold water on a hot day. No, in the middle of the wilderness.
I started to read 1000 gifts to tears, conviction and joy right away. I need to re-prioritize to include more time for reading though!

Today this friend posted this on my facebook wall. I was intrigued. So, I think I'll just start on todays date and go from there.
Gifts: everything we have is a gift from God. By recognizing and naming them we give him thanksgiving and praise.

So here is February 5ths challenge!
A gift stitched: A warm sweater
A gift hammered: My new handcrafted earrings that I can't stop wearing!
A gift woven: A new necklace made as a gift for a precious girl!

This is Ann Voskam's blog as well. It will cut to your heart, convict and draw you to Him.