Enjoying The Moments

Winter has come early. Last Friday it snowed, and today we have a coating of freezing rain. The school district wisely closed for the day because things are pretty slick out there. I still got up at my regular time of 5:30am because I enjoy my morning quiet, it is my time before the rest of my family begins to stir. 

I have my hot coffee (with dairy-free almond milk vanilla creamer). I have a load of laundry going, fed all the pets and let them out to take care of business. Now, I get to sit and just enjoy… for the moment.

The front window is covered in icy freezing rain so the world looks distorted as I gaze out onto the side yard. The smaller kitchen window, protected by the deck roof gives a better view. The sky is a cold gray, smoky smudges on the outside pallet. The wind gauge is quickly spinning around telling me the breeze is going to be cold this morning on my walk over to the barn. The grass looks crunchy coated in the coolness of ice. 

Thanksgiving is just a week away. Time is quickly slipping through the hourglass, and I don’t feel ready. I haven’t shopped for the big meal yet. (How long does a turkey have to thaw again?) Anyone that knows me, knows Christmas truly is my most wonderful time of the year. I love to decorate! With that said, I also love Thanksgiving. For me, it is a time to ponder and think about the year past and all the things big and small that I am thankful for. I don’t want to forget thankfulness….gratefulness….blessings in the midst of the frantic and hectic holiday season. 

So thankful for: 

*family *a loving husband that I genuinely enjoy hanging with *my young adult children–they are good kids *my grandchildren–there is nothing better than being a grandparent *a warm house that God blessed us with 9 years ago *Warm blankets *furry friends *a full refrigerator *hot drinks *colorful socks *a comfy bed *yummy dairy-free ice cream (it doesn’t matter how cold it is, ice cream always) *friends, old and new *plans with my peeps *Christmas shopping *my mom, who is my biggest encourager and without whom I would not be the woman I am today *my sister whose funny texts keep me laughing *my master’s degree *my students that make me smile, and their families that make me feel like part of the family *

My cup runneth over…

The Last Monday In August

Today is the last Monday in August.  I can hardly believe it. School is back in session. The days aren’t as long as they used to be.

On the way to church yesterday, I noticed that the once vibrant greens of the summer are beginning to fade. Some trees are even allowing yellow to peek through.

This morning, while doing morning chores, I was admiring my sunflowers. I love sunflowers. They make me happy. As I was looking at the flowers I heard the familiar honk of the Canadian geese, behind me. I turned in enough time to see the formation flying overhead.

They said Autumn is just around the corner.                                                                                                                     IMG_0166

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Today I am thankful for:

*Bright yellow sunflowers

* honking geese

* a cat that is still fiesty

* new issues of my favorite magazines

* ice cold water

* being able to help out

* family

* God’s faithfulness

Psalm 28:7 -The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.

Thankful For This Day

Thankful for this day.

It is a gift.

Pink nail polish.

Even, if it is a Monday.

Even, if it is raining.

Even if I’m not at my perfect weight,

I’m having a bad hair day,

or I don’t complete today’s to do list.

It is still good…because God is good. He is good all the time, even when I don’t understand.

A friend’s sister, who recently went to the doctor for a “routine” procedure, was instead told the doctor had found that she had aggressive cancer, and barring a miracle she might not live out the month. Aggressive chemotherapy to try and shrink the mass. Praying for that miracle. My heart aches for her, and her family.

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What would I see as a gift, if I knew I only had 30 days left to unwrap those things?

* raindrops on the window pane

* a cold wet, dog nose

* hugs from my children

* kissing my husband

* the softness of my favorite pillow

* the warm glow, and sweet smell of a burning candle

* the smell of a freshly mowed lawn

* warm, just laid, eggs

* emails from friends and family

* a new bottle of pretty pink glitter nail polish

* faces, I’d memorize those faces

* the Word, worn and read….notes taken, passages underlined

* the sweetness of chocolate, peanut butter ice cream…my favorite

* knowing my Heavenly Father in a very real and personal way

 

Brief Moments Of Wonder

The frost was heavy on the ground. The early morning sun made it sparkle, but the shimmer only lasted for a short while,

English: Early morning frost, Coneywarren The ...

as the warmth of the sun melted it away.

Brief moments of wonder… breath taking, glorious, and fleeting. There are times when I am acutely aware of it all. I realize the gifts for what they are.

Precious. Meaningful. Opportunities.

A chance to say “thank you”.

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Today I am thankful for:

* heavy frost

* morning sparkle

* sunlight pooling on the floor

* early morning walks with the dogs

* anticipating the upcoming holidays

* a clean house

* a piece of chocolate

* brownie recipes

* a new holiday air freshener that smells like frosted cookies

* glowing candlelight

* time change and early night

* fuzzy slippers

* Jehovah Shalom

Stretching For Thankfulness

This morning it is still dark outside. I am the only one up.

English: Orange glow at Weybourne Beach The ea...

I’ve spent the last few minutes, searching. I’m not feeling very thankful this morning.

I slept for three and a half hours last night…and my alarm going off at six in the morning did nothing to help my mood.

I wish there was someplace I could go…that was quiet. I desperately need the peace that comes with uninterrupted sleep.

A time for my body to restore itself.

But, there is no time for sleep right now. I have much to do.

So, this morning I struggle.

I reach for thankfulness much like a child standing on tiptoe to reach the top shelf.

If I stretch far enough I can reach it.

And so, my list begins….

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Today I am thankful for:

* being able to get out of bed…legs that work and feet that are sturdy

* a refrigerator that has food and drink…even though I need to go to the grocery store, I never have to worry about food

* the stillness of the morning and being able to watch the sunrise…that never grows old

* cooler morning and evenings…my beloved Autumn is right around the corner!

* looking forward to family visiting this week

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.  1 Timothy 4:4 NIV

The Creator Of It All

English: Wind chime close-up

The drive was slow and meandering.

Stopping the hurry, allows the eyes to see the still life.

White, Amish farm houses and bright red barns.

It looked like a picture from a magazine.

Golden grass swaying under a clear blue sky.

Rain, blessed rain…falling on dry parched ground.

Summer heat giving an appreciation for the cooler temperatures, when they come.

Ice cream cones that must be licked quickly.

Sitting out on the front porch.

Listening to the breeze stir the wind chimes.

So much to be thankful for, so very much.

And God, the Creator of it all.

 God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. Genesis 1:31  NIV

Being Thankful In The Midst Of…

Smile 2

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Certain moments in time just make me grin. It could be something as small as a shared smile or laughing out loud. I am becoming more and more aware that happiness is not in the destination. I will never, in this lifetime, come to a place where all is well, everything is perfect, and there are no worries. I am concerning myself less and less with the “if onlys” of life. If only, I could lose weight…then I’d be happy. If only, I didn’t have to worry about money, or had more money…then I’d be happy. If only, I had an exciting job…then I’d be happy. If onlys can be deadly to a life, draining it of the happiness that can be found in the small every day moments of the here and now. Moments that are weaved into each day. Moments that make this  life worth living.

It is a continual learning process for me…and to be honest, I am not always good at it…this learning to be happy and thankful in the midst of the day. In the middle of the moments. The shimmer of light that, on some days, I search for in the darkness. I have much to be thankful for, much to rejoice in, and much to be happy about. So, I keep at it.

Not always easy, this realization.

Not always truly grasped, this epiphany.

But always there…when I look for it. With my eyes wide open.

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*peanut butter M&M’s

*ooey, gooey smores

*laughing, really laughing, with my husband last night

*new email

*racing Hot Wheels cars

*a new pitcher of iced tea

*cat sitting on the windowsill

*family bonds

*people that care about me

*freshly washed bed linens

*early morning sunshine puddled on the living room floor

*driving back country roads to church

*new corn growing

*freshly tilled flower bed

*air conditioner that works

*flag flapping in the breeze

*a trip to the John Deere store, listening to the radio

Joy is a choice. It’s always a choice. Choose to live…right where you are.

It’s All Good

A set of small wind chimes

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God is great

God is good

Let us thank Him…”

Here I am on yet another gray and drizzly Monday. Spring of 2011 will go down as one of the wettest EVER. I am learning to become one with the rain. Even though it isn’t sunny and bright this morning, I can still give thanks. Thankfulness is a choice.

I choose to give thanks. God has blessed me in so many ways. He deserves all my thank you’s, because all good things come from Him. Without Him there is nothing.

*the sink full of weekend dishes (this means the family had food to eat)

*a dishwasher that needs emptied (this means I was busy having fun this weekend and didn’t have time for unloading the dishwasher)

*a pile of towels on the laundry room floor (we have plenty)

*being able to hear my wind chimes outside the kitchen window (the chimes play part of the song, Amazing Grace)

*a bowl full of oranges (just pretty)

*the smell of cinnamon (even if it is because we’ve sprinkled cinnamon around the window sills because supposedly ants don’t like cinnamon…and we are trying to stave off the migration)

*some good deals at local yard sales this past weekend (a collector Boyd’s bear, in excellent condition is pure gold)

*birthdays (mine is Tuesday and my son’s is Thursday….each time this week rolls around, I am so thankful. I remember what a wonderful “late” birthday present I got in 1995.)

*the year I turn 43

*times to celebrate

*a busy, but happy week ahead

*good news

*God’s amazing grace

*I am loved by the King

*He sees me…really sees me. I am known.

*family that I love

*starting a woman’s book club

*an opportunity

*summer around the corner

*it’s all good

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 NIV

Won’t you join us in thanksgiving?

Slow Down and Take a Deep Breath…

Screenshot of Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed in ...

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It’s Monday and I already know it will be a very busy Monday. I have much to accomplish today, lots to check off my mental to do list. I can already feel my body tensing, and my mind racing at top speed. How can I be most efficient with my time? How will I get everything completed?

Not enough time! Not enough time!

Slow down. Take a breath.

Say thank you.

Breathe in the joy of the everyday.

Exhale… thanks.

A gift. I need to slow myself…and appreciate, be in awe of the fleeting moments.

I have a sign hanging in my kitchen, a sign my oldest son gave me as a Christmas gift a couple of years ago. I keep the sign up year round.

It’s a Wonderful Life” , beautifully matted and framed.

Yes, it is the title of a favorite holiday movie…..but, it could… and should be my motto.

Because thankfulness does bring joy–  And joy makes for a wonderful life.

A daily reminder.

* Emerald green, springtime grass

* Wet smell after the rain

* Eggs and toast for breakfast

* Long hugs from my child

* My husband laughing

* A good nights sleep

* Opportunity

* Friendship

* A floor that needs swept

* A bathroom that needs cleaned

* Errands to run

* Candles in the windows

* A full eucharisteo board

* Bare feet on concrete

* The smell of coffee

* Hands and fingers that type without pain

* A smile
I will praise the name of God with song, And shall magnify Him with thanksgiving.  Psalm 69:30 

Won’t you take a moment and drop by? Visit with others who are sharing Multitudes On Mondays?


Eucharisteo

Jan and I made some vegan chocolate chip cooki...

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EucharisteoGreek.   yoo-khar-is-teh’-o. Verb. Definition: 1.To be grateful, to feel thankful. 2. Give thanks

In chapter two of One Thousand Gifts, Ann talks about eucharisteo. Eucharisteo is the key word. The meaning behind it, the challenge of this entire book.

To Give Thanks.

(pg. 30)”On this page Ann asks herself if she needs to see the world, visit the exquisite, before she faces eternity? Or isn’t it here? Can’t I find it here? (31) Isn’t it here? The wonder? Why do I spend so much of my living hours struggling to see it?”

This is so true for me. It is easy for me to skim over the very real miracles of today, not seeing them. Blinded by the busyness of life, thinking I need to do something more. Something big. Something significant. Before I am witness to the incredible.Could it really be something as simple as giving thanks? Being grateful for what I have? Even if it is a simple thing…The simple things become the big things, if they are appreciated. If I remember to offer thanks for them.

(pg. 37) “What precedes the miracle is thanksgiving, eucharisteo, and it is a Greek word with a hard meaning that is harder yet to live. Do I really want to take up this word?”

Should I really take up the challenge of gratitude? Will it change me? Will my eyes begin to see the ways that God is saying “yes” to me, on a daily basis? Certainly it is true that God acts in big ways, when He chooses. But, isn’t it just as true that God acts in small ways? The small things that touch us in the grind of the every day? Shouldn’t I be as appreciative for the beauty in the quiet stillness of freshly fallen snow, as I am for the healing of a loved one? Shouldn’t I thank Him for hugs from children that he has blessed me with? As much as I see him in the faces of the forgiven? Shouldn’t the smell of freshly laundered towels be as heady to me as the view from a mountain top?

Isn’t God big enough to have everything under control? But small enough to to have communion with me as I thank him for the warm chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven? Why does my eucharisteo have to be small? Or only for certain things? Can I not thank God for ALL he does? All the ways he blesses? Even when I don’t understand? Even when things don’t go “my way”. Can I not thank him for being in control–even when I’m so out of control? For being sovereign when I can’t even see a second into my own future?

And with that…the Father of Lies whispers in my ear. He spits out the word eucharisteo. A whisper of irritation. A scratch of ungratefulness. “You don’t need eucharisteo. It’s useless. God isn’t listening.” And I am taken back to the garden. In the beginning he convinced Adam and Eve that ungratefulness was normal. That it was okay. That what God gave them wasn’t good enough…and with that they sunk their teeth into that glorious fruit. The same fruit that turned bitter and rotten in their mouths. Communion with God was fractured, and the ungratefulness started to fester. It has been that way ever since.

And yet…

I want to take the challenge….the dare….to give thanks. To live eucharisteo. To see with my own eyes the difference it makes.