I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free! Psalm 119:32, NIV1984

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Giving Thanks . . . Sunlight & Flowers Edition

The Sovereign LORD will show His justice
to the nations of the world.
Everyone will praise Him!
His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring,
with plants springing up everywhere.
Isaiah 61:11, NLT

Continuing to count His gifts and grace . . .

1271  flowers in sunlight
1272  boy-child encouraging his sister
1273  tea with a friend visiting from overseas
1274  baskets of flowers on sale
1275  brave little kitten, coming to our voices
1276  clementines from Jaffa
1277  cool breeze coming with the setting sun
1278  white clouds like cotton stretched across the sky
1279  salmon on the grill
1280  blueberries in salad
1281  white crape myrtles in bloom
1282  women who pray and give and go and tell
1283  students coming with questions, digging into the Word
1284  this story: the Prime Minister studying Scripture with his wife, his sons, and the rabbis
1285  toddler fingers stroking kittens
1286  her sheer delight
1287  a long weekend
1288  the kids racing their dad in the pool
1289  brother, nephew, cousins who serve our country
1290  the ones who died so we could live in freedom
1291  the One who died so we could live with Him

All your works will thank you, LORD,
and your faithful followers will praise you.
They will speak of the glory of your kingdom;
they will give examples of your power.
They will tell about your mighty deeds
and about the majesty and glory of your reign.
Psalm 145:10-12, NLT

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Giving Thanks . . . Strawberries in Spring Edition

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
His love endures forever.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for His unfailing love
and His wonderful deeds for men,
for He satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things.
He turned the desert into pools of water
and the parched ground into flowing springs;
They sowed fields and planted vineyards
that yielded a fruitful harvest.
Psalm 107:1, 8, 9, 35, NIV1984

Continuing to count His gifts and grace . . .

1247 morning coffee on the back patio
1248 cool morning in May
1249 quiet rain
1250 shivering by the pool, needing a jacket in May!
1251 onion soup and a long talk with a precious friend
1252 classical music piped into the parking lot
1253 palm trees framed within a pink sunset sky
1254 robin with its fat red breast
1255 laughing long and listening to stories from students home from college
1256 asparagus on the grill
1257 cousins coming in town to visit
1258 toddlers picking strawberries
1259 faces and fingers smeared with sweet, red juice
1260 Gram's strawberry pie
1261 sweet potato pies in spring 
1262 lunch under the shade of an old oak tree
1263 a gathering of old friends to celebrate
1264 the bride's smile
1265 the wedding party praying over the bride and groom
1266 happy tears
1267 watching her dance with her dad
1268 bottle-feeding the little lost kitten
1269 finding the momma cat
1270 dinner with a friend, the honor of listening

Those who are wise will take all this to heart;
they will see in our history the faithful love of the LORD.
Psalm 107:43, NLT


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Monday, May 14, 2012

I Will Bless the LORD

I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Psalm 34:1, ESV

Continuing to count His gifts and grace . . .

1229 branches hanging heavy with fruit
1230 paper-thin pink blossoms blowing in the wind
1231 all those men who love the Lord and continue to invest in students
1232 finding the sun-star flower again for my mom
1233 stepping outside into the cool that follows rain
1234 an invitation to celebrate a friend's accomplishment
1235 ironing my husband's shirts for work
1236 hearing my boy-child composing music on the piano
1241 that Mugira has this hope and help
1242 cinnamon toast and a cup of tea
1243 coffee and a muffin at a table by the window
1244 a few quiet moments
1245 protection in the storm
1246 a long nap after a long, sleepless night

I will thank the LORD with all my heart
as I meet with His godly people. 
How amazing are the deeds of the LORD!
All who delight in Him should ponder them.
Everything He does reveals His glory and majesty.
His righteousness never fails.
Psalm 111:1-3, NLT

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

For living these things

It's been a running joke in our family for a long time:  if you grew up in my parent's home or have had the privilege of staying there for a night or a number of years . . . you never knew who you were going to meet when you walked down the hall in the morning.  Really. 

My parents have housed missionaries, wayward teenagers, children rescued from abuse, friends whose new homes weren't ready to be moved into, neighbors who were too sick to care for themselves, friends and friends of friends and family members of friends who were in our city for medical treatment, ex-cons-turned-missionaries, college students, elderly family members, and complete strangers who needed a safe place to spend the night...or six months.

And here's the thing, the part of that that matters:  my parents didn't just tell us that we should love the Lord with all our hearts and love our neighbor as ourselves.  They showed us.  They lived it in front of us every single day.  They still do.

My mom must have cooked 10,000 meals, scrubbed at least as many sinks, and changed six times that many sheets.  She and my dad have spent countless hours listening, encouraging, counseling, and praying with the those who have found shelter in their home.

It has always been a team effort - this hosting of the masses - something my mom and dad did together, the way they became the hands and feet of Jesus to the world around them. But much of the work of it, the nitty-gritty part, fell to my mom.

So today, on Mother's Day, for this and so much more, I just wanted to say . . . for all you did for the masses, Mom, and for all you did for me . . . thank you.  We noticed. I noticed. And it mattered.  It still does.

Thank you . . .
For welcoming in strangers
For feeding our friends
For taking care of babies and the children of strangers and loving them as your very own
For homemade cookies in the oven after school
For always staying up till we got home
For answering 1,000 late night phone calls
For wiping 10,000 tears
For all those dresses that you made by hand
For driving three hours to help me rip seams
For pulling out your Bible and stacks of commentaries and helping us wade through the questions
For countless nights you calmed the raging fears from nightmares
For always answering the phone -still- even when you're at lunch with a friend
For buying me shoes so my feet wouldn't hurt
For taking me shopping when I needed new clothes
For hosting birthday parties and dinners and luncheons for all of us
For coming in the middle of the night when we had to make a run to the E.R.
For dropping everything when we had to make another E.R. run
For lime sherbert floats when I was sick
For sitting on the edge of my bed when I was a teenager, listening as I recounted the day
For beach trips with friends
For sesame chicken on my birthday
For always making room for one more
For the hours of preparation and research that went into the Passover Seder
For showing us what it means to love your neighbor
For loving the Lord
For loving Israel
For loving Dad
For loving us
For loving me

But the godly will flourish like palm trees
and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon.
For they are transplanted to the LORD's own house.
They flourish in the courts of our God.
Even in old age, they will still produce fruit;
they will remain vital and green.
They will declare, "The LORD is just!
He is my rock ..."
Psalm 92:12-15 NLT

1000 Moms Project

For more information about the 1000 Moms Project, click here and here

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012


These days in May seem to spin so fast I want to cry, "Mayday! Somebody help!"  The hours whirl by in a blur, and sometimes I fear I'll reach the end of this season and wonder if any of it mattered.  Team parties and recitals and concerts and swim practice . . . and, Oh! We have a meeting tomorrow night. Do you think you can come?  And I crawl into bed exhausted and wonder:  How did we spend our time?  Did we invest our attention and our efforts in anything that will last? Did we sacrifice the important on the altar of urgency?  Did any of it matter?

But I find that it's true - what Ann says:
Time is a relentless river.  It rages on, a respecter of no one.  And this, this is the only way to slow time:  When I fully enter time's swift current, enter into the current moment with the weight of all my attention, I slow the torrent with the weight of me all here.  I can slow the torrent by being all here.  I only live the full life when I live fully in the moment.  And when I'm always looking for the next glimpse of glory, I slow and enter.  And time slows.  Weigh down this moment in time with attention full, and the whole of time's river slows, slows, slows . . . Giving thanks for one thousand things is ultimately an invitation to slow time down with the weight of full attention. - Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts
And so I continue daily to ask the Lord to open my eyes to the wonder of the moment.  Because we won't remember the days; but the moments we mark will last.

Marking these moments from the week:

1209 first day of swim team - ever!
1210 firstborn swimming all those laps in her bright pink cast
1211 flowers from my yard in little vases on the counter
1212 blooms by the backdoor
1213 getting her cast off
1214 boy-child wanting to be right in the middle of everything
1215 husband teaching Bible study
1216 a coach who encourages and calls her by name
1217 morning shade across the back patio
1218 rooting plants
1219 cleaning up the flower baskets for spring
1220 hearing her play piano again
1221 watching my boy-child teach his friend how to dive
1222 looking through pictures from the season
1223 watching her try again and again...and watching her "get it"
1224 all those boys splashing in the pool, laughing hard
1225 sitting around the table sharing stories of God's faithfulness
1226 carpooling to practice
1227 sweet tea
1228 full moon in a clear night sky

The LORD directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Psalm 37:23, NLT

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

We're Not Perfect (The Blessing, part 2 - free printable)

We're not perfect.  Sometimes our tempers flares.  Sometimes stubborn streaks blaze like lightning in a midnight sky and angry tongues sear tender hearts.  More times than I want to remember or count, I've had to say to my children, "I'm so sorry.  I was wrong.  Will you forgive me?" 

Some days, we spend more time working on our fractured hearts - asking the Lord to do some major renovation there - than we spend working on fractions and identifying predicate adjectives.

Lots and lots and lots of times, when a child's bad choices have blazed like lit cords to explosives, I have hugged that child tight and said again, "All you really need to know right now is that I love you, and nothing you do and nothing you say will ever, ever change that."  And by God's ever-amazing grace, we realize again that just as His kindness leads us to repentance, so our kindness does the same for our children.

So when I tell the stories of our days, when I share what we're doing here . . . know that we're just everyday, normal, regular people like you are.  We make a lot of mistakes.  We don't have it all figured out.  We have more questions than answers on most days.  But we're leaning hard into God's grace, clinging tenaciously to Him, counting on Him to guard what we've entrusted to Him.

Tonight, as you pray the Word over your children, know that it's not a formula for perfection, but it's a conscious leaning into Him who is perfect and good and trustworthy, into Him who is the only one worthy of our praise. It's a faithful planting of good seed and trusting Him to make that seed grow.

The rain and the snow come down from the heavens
and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
producing seed for the farmer
and bread for the hungry.
It is the same with my Word.
I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to.
And it will prosper everywhere I send it.
You will live in joy and peace.
The mountains and hills will burst into song,
And the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Isaiah 55:10-12, NLT

More of the verses we pray over our children, these seeds planted in their lives . . .

Click here to download the free printable.
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