Monday, February 28, 2011

Counting Them One By One #96-110

My list of gratitude continues to grow and what I evidenced over these last couple of weeks is that even when my days are busy and tiring, His grace never stops and my heart is still open to receive...

96.) meeting with some of my closest friends every other week as we read and discuss "One Thousand Gifts".
97.) open hearts, honest words, and vulnerability.
98.) white tulips.
99.) evidence that God is working.
100.) reaching 100 gifts that I am thankful for and wanting to keep on counting.
101.) the smile on Sam's face when he tried on his new cycling uniform for the first time.
102.) having people pray for our family.
103.) doing Jessica's laundry for her so that she could spend time with her friends.
104.) receiving a long awaited gift.
105.) early morning thunderstorms.
106.) underlined passages of Scripture in my Bible.
107.) second chances.
108.) the words to the song "In Christ Alone".
109.) the kiss my husband gives me every morning as he says "good-bye".
110.) days in which the box on my calendar is empty.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Counting Them One By One #66-95

66. God's protection.
67. believing that God can fit everything into a pattern for His good.
68. gaining perspective.
69. the wisdom of a 13-year old.
70. worship songs in the morning.
71. coming home to a clean kitchen.
72. a conversation I had with someone who has watched my spiritual journey for the last 20 years.
73. helping a friend.
74. Sam wanting me to take pictures of him riding his bike.
75. surrendering to waiting knowing His timing is perfect.
76. staying in my pj's all day and not even caring.
77. clean laundry.
78. a decreasing number on the scale.
79. knowing that Sam and Ben love being at youth group on Wednesday nights.
80. laughter during hard math problems.
81. having a husband who can help with math homework because I sure can't!
82. 1 hour and 50 minutes on the phone with my sister.
83. little girls turning 2.
84. Jessica being accepted to Hillsong.
85. memories that only a mother can forever hold.
86. date nights.
87. the sound of my Dad's voice.
88. a friend celebrating with me.
89. productive days.
90. the outstretched arms of Jesus on Calvary's cross that embraced me and showed me what real love really is.
91. a love that has remained strong after 15 years of marriage.
92. a Valentine card left on the counter so that I will have it first thing in the morning.
93. heart shaped Valentine cookies.
94. showing His love in tangible ways.
95. that Jesus says, "Be Mine" and all I have to do is respond in a love that His love has kindled.

Happy Valentine's Day!

I am linking to Holy Experience today counting my gifts with many others...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Psalm 84:1-2

It's a question that I have been asking myself pretty frequently since the new year.

"How am I doing in this area of my life?" 
"And how about this one?" 
"Or this one?"

I suppose it's the reason I chose DISCIPLINE for my word of the year.

It's something that I want very much because I know there are some area in my life in which it is lacking.

I've had to be brutally honest and ask myself, "What are the things in my life that I am putting more importance on than God?" 

I see more and more how God desires relationship with me and that He wants me to experience and know success and victory. Because of the areas that I want to see growth and change in, discipline is going to be required of me.

When I looked the meaning of discipline up in the dictionary, one thing I was struck by was that discipline requires training. Several years ago when I was training for a marathon, the word discipline took on a whole new meaning for me.

I had to be disciplined in scheduling when I was going to run.
Discipline was required in the food I ate and the amount of sleep I got.
I had to be disciplined in my running schedule so that when it was time for the race, I would be able to run the distance.

The discipline wasn't there instantly, but it came in small steps - running a few minutes, then a mile, then two, and before I knew it, I was up to 20 miles.

From the moment I signed up for the race until the day I crossed the finish line, I was in training.

Isn't that the same on our spiritual journeys as well?

The discipline comes when we just start taking a step at a time, moment by moment of surrendering and holding on tightly to His hand. Oh,  how God shows up and gives us the strength and determination to see it through.

The discipline comes when there is a heart that says, "It's only You, Lord that I want!"

The discipline comes when the victory is worth so much more than continuing to live in a cycle of defeat or discouragement. We were made to have so much more than that, and I don't want to settle for anything else.

The discipline comes from allowing God to flood you with His grace and steadfast love. It's experiencing and knowing Him in every area of your life because there is nothing that is off limits for Him.

Often the word discipline would scare me. Probably because it was His holy voice that would whisper and nudge me to do something about the areas in which I lacked it. To be honest, I just was too stubborn and unwilling. I got comfortable and thought I could continue to ignore what the real issue was. I am recognizing more quickly when the enemy is trying to get me off course and distracted by thinking that there are things that can replace my longing and craving for God with other things.

While I am just beginning what I know will probably be one of the most significant journeys I take with the Lord, I already am feeling the change.

 I have  Psalm 84:1-2 sitting on my windowsill to remind me what my heart really should be longing for...

How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints, for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and flesh song for joy to the living God.

Really, why would I want anything else? 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

To My Niece, Anna Claire...

 Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday, dear Anna Claire...

Happy 2nd Birthday to you!!!

We all love you so very much!!!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Q & A

When it comes to books, one of my favorites is a journal. I seem to be surrounded by a variety of journals recently...

A 10-year journal that my parents gave me for my 40th birthday this year. For the next 10 years, I can write within a few lines the happenings of my day, thoughts, prayers, etc.

My gratitude journal in which I am recording 1000 gifts.

A journal that holds pages of the more personal... the place in which I share it all. 

And then, there is this one...

Q & A a Day is  journal with 365 questions to answer for 5 years. There is a variety of questions from the more serious to light and fun. Plus, it's a really pretty book!

I have encouraged our children to write in it as well and it just so happened that today I found this...

I think this makes for a very special and unique birthday gift, wedding or anniversary gift, or because like me, you just love journals!

You can find Q & A here.

And for some more Q & A...

come visit me as I answer some questions from Catherine at Constant in Chaos. 

Monday, February 07, 2011

Counting Them One By One #42-65

I had to pay a little closer attention to the gifts around me this week. My week ended up being entirely different than what I had planned. Isn't that how it always goes though? This week brought snow and ice storms which meant school being closed, and our son, Ben, has had a time with the flu and an ear infection.

Even in the circumstances that were brought my way this week, I was still surrounded by gifts. While I had to look a little more closely or deeply, I found them. Once recognized, they were sweet, comforting, and a reminder that He is near.

And so, I continue to count...

42. We thought Ben was well, sent him to school (after missing 5 days), and then he came home sick... again. At 4:30 I called the doctor and they said to be there by 5 because the doctor would see him. Really, how often does that happen? Came home with an ear infection, but so thankful we didn't have to wait until tomorrow.
43. wrapping birthday presents and praying that the Lord blesses our daughter this year.
44. news from my sister that she is expecting another girl in late June.
45. a daughter celebrating 20 years of life.
46. being iced in for 2 days and having a full pantry and refrigerator.
47. chocolate cakes and cinnamon rolls.
48. forgiveness.
49. the way Sam keeps an eye out for things.
50. power staying on during ice storm when so many around us lost theirs.
51. the doctor calling in a second round of antibiotics for us instead of having to make another office visit.
52. 2 hours every week that Sam gets to do something he loves.
53. an email from my father-in-law.
54. quiet moments.
55. beams of sunshine coming through the window.
56. psalm 84:1-2 sitting on the windowsill.
57. looking to my left as I sit on the sofa and seeing the man I love.
58. organizing a cluttered space.
59. new projects that inspire and motivate me to see it through.
60. words that remind me of a gift I have.
61. a husband who washes the dishes every night after dinner.
62. cards that come in the mail.
63. superbowl parties and being with friends we love.
64. letting a dog out at 1 a.m., having it chase a skunk and not getting sprayed.
65. having the sparkle back in Ben's eyes that tell me he is finally feeling better.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Thursday, February 03, 2011


sometimes the best thing to do is eat cake.

for my favorite chocolate cake recipe, go here.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Iced In

The storm arrived Monday night and for the last two days we have literally been iced in. As the second part of the storm made it's way through last night, we listened to the freezing rain and the branches cracking outside. We have a couple large trees in our backyard and they were all encased with about 1/2 on inch of ice. We heard of power outages throughout the area and thankfully ours has stayed on.

This morning, the wind is howling and we have some snow falling. It is freezing and the temperatures are only supposed to drop. The boys have had some fun sliding down our driveway and then trying to make their way back up. I know that maybe it's not the safest winter activity, but boys will be boys and every once in awhile, you just have to let them do their thing.

So, for today, we are going to once again enjoy the fact that we can slow down and be together. Cinnamon rolls are going to be the way to start our day along with coffee and hot chocolate. The rest of the day can be filled with watching movies or tv, a game or two, and reading some good books. Soup is on the menu for dinner tonight and I might even do a little baking so we can have chocolate cake for dessert.

I know many of you out there are weathering the storm as well. Be safe and warm my friends and if like me, you are forced to be inside, see today as a gift.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011


Dear Sweet Jessica,

Happy 20th Birthday!

Do you know that even when I look into your eyes I can still see the little girl you once were? I have to look a little bit deeper each year because you have so beautifully grown into a young woman who takes me by surprise. 

This past year, more than any others, has been such a significant time in your life. I have seen firsthand your determination, strength and resolve. You have been a young woman that is following hard after God and desiring His will more than anything else. 

As you go through this upcoming year and all that will come your way, my prayers for you will continue. One of my greatest privileges as your mom is being on my knees for you. 

I pray that the Lord directs every single step you take and then you continue to walk by faith even when you can't see what is in the distance. Your Jesus knows everything that is up ahead for you and He will guide you.

I pray that you constantly know His affection for you. You are His and He delights in you. I want you to always remember that even in the struggles and disappointments that He has your very best interest at heart.

Even in your short life, you have story after story of how He has been faithful to you. That is your foundation sweetheart and what you build your trust in Him upon. 

I pray that He gives you courage when you are afraid, wisdom and discernment when you are unsure, and strength when you are weak.

I pray that He places opportunities before you that are divinely inspired for you to share His love. There is a reason and purpose for the people and circumstances that the Lord brings into your life. I pray that you see these as significant and that you recognize they can be holy moments even though they may appear as interruptions.

As a young woman, I pray that your security is in Him alone and that your heart only wanders to the One whose love is steadfast, unfailing, and forever.

I pray that as His will unfolds in your life, you have a strong sense of purpose and direction and that you will boldly take the steps of obedience that are required of you.

I pray that you seek Him earnestly, persistently and that you experience His boundless love for you. I pray that you have a love for His word and that He breathes and speaks life into every word so that it comes alive to you.

Let the life you live be pleasing to Him and offer everything you do and say back to Him as an act of worship. I pray that He uses your gifts and talents to glorify Him and that others are are drawn to Him through that. May your heart be broken over the things that break His heart so that you can serve Him passionately and in complete abandonment. He has given you a voice and a heart of compassion my sweet girl to speak of justice and the freedom that can only be found in Him.

May you always live fearlessly for Him, walking always by faith and being that wild woman for Jesus that I love so very much.