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Today I, once again, join many who, inspired by Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts, count those daily things that we pause to be thankful for.  This practice has changed me.  Finding ways to be thankful among the daily, among the mundane, among the extraordinary, even through the dark times, can’t help but change a person’s heart and mind.  I offer these moments to the Lord and thank Him for bringing the book across my path and for changing and softening my heart over the last handful of years.  Starting at number one and daily moving closer to 1000.

It has been too long since I have added to this list.  I have found gratitude in my days, but have neglected writing them down faithfully.  Today I begin again.  The writing and recording is needed to remember correctly…to remember that He is indeed faithful.

69.  Clean laundry (the pickings in the drawers had gotten pretty slim :))

70.  Puzzles both for the one who has done them for years and the one who just learned.

71.  Creative ways to make learning a little more interesting.

72.  A blond-haired coffee-maker.

73.  The diligence of a six-year-old.

74.  A bag of sweet clementines without a single seed.

75.  Perseverance paying off (for both of us).

76.  A love of Legos from her big brother.  They keep her out of trouble during school, which is always something to be thankful for!

77.  The smiles that an outfit picked out by a three-year-old bring.

78.  Games

79.  Neat buildings nearby

80.  Mild winters

81.  Reminder of the fact that although many trees fell in October, none did any major damage.

82.  Afternoon walks

83.  Blessings

84.  Photography

85.  A photo captured as she sat with her legs crossed in a way that brought a smile to my face.

86.  A brother excited for his sister’s accomplishment and a willingness to spend an afternoon making sure she had help when she needed it.


87.  Friends that are like family.



Five Minute Friday: Beyond

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Today I am joining The Gypsy Mama and many others for Five Minute Friday.  Here is the drill:


“On Fridays around these parts we stop, drop, and write.

We write bold and beautiful and free. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not.”


I am beyond grateful for where God has me.  Right now.  Right here.  Living my days exactly as I am.  The things that are currently happening are beyond anything I would have expected or thought.  Isn’t that often how life goes?  Isn’t that often the time that God shows Himself to us in ways we never expected.  That He sustains us and even gives us joy and shall I say it…happiness.  Beyond grateful…that is what I am feeling.  My husband is in China.  I am grateful, oh so very grateful to the Lord for giving Him this opportunity.  I am grateful for not just the experience and the sights he gets to see, but how my husband has taken the quiet moments and immersed himself in God’s Word and books written by godly men.  How he has taken it upon himself to reach out to me, to study over the many miles alongside me, to make the time (in a several purposeful ways) to stay connected to me and to the children that God has blessed us with for this time.  I am grateful to be able to walk alongside my sister in this valley that the Lord has her.  To see how cancer affects an individual and a family.  To see how they view God’s hand.  I am grateful for what may have seemed like a hard time of separation and sickness, because God has changed how I look at these things and even though tears may run down my face and my heart may ache, I am so very, very grateful for the good that He so graciously is working in my life and in the lives that I love so dearly.


Thank you Lord.  You are beyond good and I am beyond grateful.



His Good Gifts

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Today, my 33-year-old sister received her first chemotherapy treatment.  My heart and stomach have been twisted in knots off and on all day as I think about the road she has traveled and the road she will travel still.  Her cancer diagnosis has had all of us on various paths as we emotionally process all of the ins and outs of this diagnosis.  We lean hard on our Lord and Savior and hold tight to the fact that He wants good for us…His good.  Tonight, as she and her husband are away from home for the night, I am so thankful for the people that have surrounded them with their love, support, prayers, emails, phone calls, texts, notes of encouragement and gifts. It is hard for others to live sacrificially, to make the time in their lives to walk beside my sister and her family (or any of us for that matter), but they consider her worth it.  They set aside their needs and desires to serve and I am blessed and changed by the way I see friends and loved ones respond in times of intense need.  May God bless them for their sacrifice.  She couldn’t do it without them.  Her husband couldn’t do it without them.  Her children couldn’t do it without them.  We all couldn’t do it without them.  It is because of their encouragement and prayers that we too have the strength to walk with my sister.


Tonight I am thankful for faithful friends of all kinds.  I am thankful for my sister’s friends, I am thankful for my friends, I am thankful for my husband’s friends, I am thankful for my children’s friends and I am thankful for our immediate family’s friends.  I am thankful for my Dad, Mom, sister and brother who sacrifice and stretch to serve.  I am blessed and I am humbled and I am continually grateful for God’s provision.  Faithful friends and family…thank you Lord.


Summer, Summer, Summer

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Tonight, I should be posting the next chapter from “Mission of Motherhood”.  In fact, last week I should have posted some thoughts on a chapter from “Mission of Motherhood”.  Have you ever had one of those summers?  You know the kind I am talking about where the days are hot and sunny and full beyond imagination.  Where the calendar has no more writing room and the normal pace and routine of life was tossed somewhere and is going to take a bit to unearth.  It has been a wonderful, memory making, family filled, stretching kind of summer, but the rhythm has been nothing like it usually is, so I find myself behind on posting.  If you are reading along, thank you for your patience and grace and I can’t wait until next Sunday, Lord willing, to hear your thoughts on Chapter 4.  In the meantime, it would make me feel oh so much better to know that you might have had the same type of summer and that waiting another week to “talk” about Chapter 4 works just fine into your schedule. :)  Here’s a peek at the little ones and a few big ones that we have been filling our days with.  So blessed.


A Life Lesson

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Recently I heard the following poem by James Whitcomb Riley and I fell in love with it.  It brought back memories and feelings from so many stages of life and ended with the hope I daily cling to.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


A Life Lesson

There! little girl; don’t cry!

They have broken your doll, I know;

And your tea-set blue,

And your play-house, too,

Are things of the long ago;

But childish troubles will soon pass by. —

There! little girl; don’t cry!


There! little girl; don’t cry!

They have broken your slate, I know;

And the glad, wild ways

Of your schoolgirl days

Are things of the long ago;

But life and love will soon come by. —

There! little girl; don’t cry!


There! little girl; don’t cry!

They have broken your heart I know;

And the rainbow gleams

Of your youthful dreams

Are things of the long ago;

But Heaven holds all for which you sigh. —

There! little girl; don’t cry!


The Mission of Motherhood: Chapter 3

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Chapter 3 is titled The Undivided Heart:  Committing Our Lives to God’s Design.  How easily my heart can become divided.  How easily I lose perspective.  How easily I am influenced by the culture surrounding me and find my priorities changing.  How easily I become overwhelmed.  I don’t have a lot of commentary this week.  I am continuing to chew on the words in this chapter.  I am praying that my heart would remain soft and that it will continue to be turned to Him.  Here are my five favorite quotes from the chapter.  Looking forward to hearing yours as well!

“If I didn’t commit myself wholeheartedly to the demands of motherhood, I would never be able to do my best, because my heart would always be somewhere else.”


“As I began to seek God in this area, however, he gently began to put his finger on the real source of my dissatisfaction, which lay not on my specific choices or my skills as a mother, but in my divided heart.  How could I put all of me into my time at home if I was always thinking about a future time when I could escape the routine tasks of motherhood?”


“How we choose to focus our priorities and time in light of our children’s lives will have great consequences not only for their individual futures but for the future of our society as well.”


“My husband and I have often said that, in the absence of biblical convictions, people will go the way of their culture.  Without biblical conviction, the tendency is to blindly accept the norms or standards of the people with whom we spend time.  That means we can allow the media and our peers to shape our ideas about motherhood and family instead of basing our decisions on the eternal truth of Scripture.”


“My children will become treasures in heaven if they indeed learn to love God and serve him with their whole hearts.  This is eternal work–to train the hearts, minds, and consciences in righteousness.  This is the vital work of building a morally, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually strong generation of children who will be prepared to function responsibly for the rest of their lives.  But before I can do this work effectively, I have to come to a point of yielding my heart to God’s will.  I have to surrender my old expectations of who I thought I was to the calling of the Lord on my life.  And if I have been blessed with children, I have to surrender myself wholeheartedly to my role of being a mother after God’s design.”

Since this post is a bit late, I will “see” you again in just a few days.



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For several months I have stopped by The Gypsy Mama on Fridays and taken a peek at what is written there.  I even joined in once.  Today I am joining again as she challenges us to write:  “Not for comments or traffic or anyone else’s agenda. But for pure love of the written word. For joy at the sound of syllables, sentences and paragraphs all strung together by the voice of the speaker.”  Be sure to stop by and check it out.  It’s fun and is easy to squeeze into the afternoon.  So here goes my 5 minute Friday


Full plates, full schedules, full lives, full hearts, full minds.  These are all terms that I am familiar with.  Full can be a good full or a hard, painful full.  Everything about my life feels full right now.  My days and weeks are crammed with activities some planned and others unexpected.  Most of this is part of that good full.  That full that reminds you that you are loved and have others around you to love.  It is the kind of full that makes you oh so thankful for family, friends and the grace that God has extended to you.  The head and heart stuff is the hard full.  The full that has you tossing and turning at night.  The full that takes unexpected twists and turns.  The full that has you clinging to God first and foremost because you have tried full without Him before and it just doesn’t work.  The full that fills you with aches for others and the full that you pray God uses to make you more like Him.  I am thankful for both fulls and am reminded time and again that the hard full is not necessarily bad, but it is definitely full.  The good full, now that is what I will write down and remember to help carry me…


Some Good Reading

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Thought I would share a few posts that I really like from various blogs that I visited this week.  Enjoy!


1.  A letter to a little one who will soon be born and welcomed into a home through adoption:  A Open Letter to an Unborn Baby by Russell Moore.


2.  A post that makes me anticipate celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary next year even more than I already was:  A Stripped Down Version by Sarah Markley.


3.  Words don’t fully describe how I feel many times after reading her posts.  A woman that has inspired me many times:  Friday, June 3, 2011 by Katie Davis.  For more about Katie, if you aren’t familiar with her, her story and the ministry that God has given her the opportunity to be a part of read here.


4.  Kevin DeYoung did an excellent series on friendship that I need to read over and over again:  The Gift of Friendship and the Godliness of Good Friends (Part 1), Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.


5.  My friend Abbie at Mac’s Musings who has some excellent thoughts on waiting for a spouse:  I Will Wait.


What were some of your favorites this week?



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Today I, once again, join many who, inspired by Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts, count those daily things that we pause to be thankful for.  This practice has changed me.  Finding ways to be thankful among the daily, among the mundane, among the extraordinary, even through the dark times, can’t help but change a person’s heart and mind.  I offer these moments to the Lord and thank Him for bringing the book across my path and for changing and softening my heart over the last handful of years.  Starting at number one and daily moving closer to 1000.


53.  Hugs from nephew with boundless energy.

54.  God’s protection of sister with a precious little one growing inside.


55.  Family.

56.  Passions placed by God that are completely opposite my natural tendencies.


57.  His Church supporting and praying for my sister and her family in unimaginable ways.


58.  Gentle hands of a 9-year-old with Grandma Great.


59.  His Word and His Promises.


60.  Opportunity to visit childhood home.


61.  Pizza by the slice same price as it was 17 years ago…and tastes just as great.


62.  Sidewalks to run on.


63.  Husband’s willingness to manage pressing needs at work from a distance when family needs arise.


64.  Music that brings comfort and allows for pain (Jeremy Camp, There Will Be A Day)


65.  Knowing and trusting that He loves my sister even more than I do.


66.  Family Camp (excellent speaking, beautiful sunsets, sand, water, sunshine and amazing music all to bring glory to God…truly amazing and absolutely impossible to put into words)

67.  Cousins.

68.  Newborn babies.



The Mission of Motherhood: Chapter 2

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Chapter 2 is titled “Beautiful by Design:  Exploring the Meaning of Biblical Motherhood”.  I love that Sally took the time to both outline what the Bible says concerning the family and also touched on how sin has drastically affected how God intended things to be.

“And God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’ ”  Genesis 1:28.


“This one little verse speaks volumes about what God intended for families from the beginning.  It indicates that men and women are to ‘fill the earth’ with children and that being fruitful is part of his blessing.  It also states that men and women have the privilege and responsibility to ‘rule over’ and to ‘subdue’ the rest of God’s creation.  The Lord blesses them, out of the goodness and love of his heart, that they might flourish in his design for them.  ‘Subdue’ carries with it not just the idea of ruling over, but also bringing something to productivity.”


“The heart of motherhood has been broken by sin’s perversion of God’s design throughout all of history.  Families have been broken apart.  Parents have failed in their calling, and children have rebelled.  Men and women have demeaned and mistreated each other and their offspring, and those offspring have passed along the painful results to their own children.”

The above statement found me reflecting on what I know to be true…the huge impact our parenting and seeking the Lord concerning that parenting and investing ourselves in that parenting has on generations to come.  I have been part of more than one discussion centering on things that individuals have carried with them from childhood that continue to plague them and shape their days into adulthood.  Lord willing and by His grace alone, may our children carry few scars and may our faithfulness result in their having to bear as they raise their children.


As Sally continued to focus on God’s good design for families the following statement really stood out to me as she talked of her relationship with her husband Clay.

 “[In fact] As Clay and I have partnered in building on the foundations of God’s Word in our unique way, we have been amazed at what God has built from our partnership.  Our mutual commitment has provided us with a strong emotional glue that has given our marriage meaning in the midst of life’s inevitable ups and downs.  Our vision of serving the Lord together through our family keeps us ever moving forward.”

We don’t all have the relationship with our husband’s that is outlined here.  If that is something we desire but do not yet have, we can fall on our knees before the Lord and pray that He does a mighty work in the heart of our spouse.  If we do have a similar vision as the above with our spouse, let’s stop right now and thank the Lord for that gift and pray that He protects that vision.  Let’s each pray for each other that the Lord protects our marriages and families in a world where often neither one are truly valued.

Two final thoughts from Sally…

“The most important factor in being successful as a mother is to turn our hearts to God, to seek his will, and to allow him to begin making sense out of the messes we’ve made of our lives.  He who created motherhood is the gentle teacher whose ways and input we must seek.”


“Often we have broken pieces of our lives that cause us great sadness and despair.  Yet God, the masterful artist of life, can take our lives into his hands and repair our hearts, souls, and minds.  If your family has experienced brokenness, God can begin to redeem it, to bring it back to himself and rebuild and repair the damage that has been done.”

As I end this post tonight I am lifting up a prayer for all who are reading this book or even just these posts.  I am so thankful for each one of you and the encouragement we can be to each other as we each seek the Lord concerning our families and our role as mothers.  Looking forward to Chapter 3 next week!!

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