Friday, November 29, 2013

3 gifts red

1. Red cheeks from enjoying the parade in the cold with my family.
2. Relaxing with my red cup filled with hot tea before bed -- and I still have two more days off from work!!
3. Red and green filled home as we prepare for Christmas.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

3 gifts in community

1. Thankful that community exists locally and around the world. And thankful that technology keeps me connected to a broad circle of influence.
2. Accountability. Thankful for a community of believers that knows me and demonstrates the calling of Christ.
3. A haven in times of trouble.
4. Thankful for each individual in my community. You give "it takes a village..." real meaning. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A gift handmade, held, happy

1. Clean cranberry sauce that will be yummy tomorrow and in the days to come!
2. Soft ball of dough, ready to rise.
3. To spend a full day being thankful

3 gifts preparing

I1. Erin Marshall, one of my dearest friends, who called to say "Hi" in the midst of preparing Thanksgiving dinner, preparing for visitors and preparing to go on vacation. She is an author -- and a good one. Check out her link. :)

2. Preparing "Man Sandwiches" (Manwich) for my family -- a menu that I didn't have to choose. :)

3. Preparing for a client visit tomorrow. Thankful for the business -- and thankful it is the last activity before settling in for Thanksgiving Day!

Monday, November 25, 2013

3 gifts ugly-beautiful

1. Ugly slick streets from blowing snow -- beautiful world cloaked in white and a family snow ball fight....
2. Ugly wind, biting cold -- thankful for a beautiful day to admin at home.
3. Ugly trauma in lives of two friends -- reminds me of how blessed I am to hold my family close tonight.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

3 gifts humble

1. Our home. It is small, but it is enough.
2. Our bank account. But it provides for what we need and then some.
3. Pie. I don't enjoy admitting mistakes, but relationships are stronger and I am stronger when I do.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

3 gifts only in Christ

1. I am thankful that I am free from fear, secure in my vulnerability, free to show love and grace because my heart is in His hands.
2. Salvation that comes because He gave His life for mine.
3. Forgiveness. He is gracious to forgive even when I am at my worst.

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Friday, November 22, 2013

A gift gratitude

I am grateful to be so deeply loved. I bathe in grace every day given by Jesus and shown unrelentingly by my sweet family and friends. I am blessed!

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

3 gifts family

1. I am always ready to be home -- especially after a long trip!
2. Lots of love and laughter.
3. Security of knowing we work together through the tough stuff.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

3 gifts of traditions

1. Memory builders and mile markers -- the Circus is one of our favorites. Last year we started a new tradition-- the Thankful banner! :)
2. Provide structure -- intentional time to reflect, have fun or remember
3. Bring comfort

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

3 gifts autumn

1. Honey crisp apples
2. Thanksgiving
3. Leaf piles for jumping

Monday, November 18, 2013

A gift made, shared, passed on

1. Chocolate chip banana bread from Mark's former neighbor.
2. Making friendship bracelets with Char, shared time.
3. Love for people, warts and all, passed on from my mom and dad.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

3 gifts laughter

1. Tickling Char. Her giggles are priceless.
2. Ribs that ache from deep belly laughs.
3. A silly, silly family.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

3 gifts hard eucharisteo

1. I am thankful that the pain and abuse of my husband's childhood has made him an incredible father.
2. I am thankful that facing challenges brings Mark and I closer together, from beginning to end.
3. When I realize the effect of bullying on kids today, I am thankful that the daily bullying I experienced for a year as a child was counter balanced by my knowledge of Jesus and His love for me, family that reinforced love and self worth, and a church family that provided a safe haven.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

3 gifts golden

1. Making my work goal for the year. Thankful for my job and a company that values our veterans.
2. Color of our walls. Thankful for our home.
3. Fresh hair color and "me time" at the salon.

3 gifts silent

1. The house when I have an admin day.
2. The anticipation of Christmas and the precious silent night. It gives me hope.
3. 1 a.m. While I don't like being up at that hour, I usually find precious moments to pray.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

3 gifts behind a door

1. Reassurance from a business partner
2. Home with my family
3. Comfort in a warm bed and plenty of food

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

3 gifts at noon

1. Affirmation from coworkers
2. Sitting down to lunch (not in my car)
3. Happy call from Valerie

Monday, November 11, 2013

3 gifts of remembrance

1. Every brave uniformed airman, soldier and sailor who sacrificed his/her life for my liberty.
2. Communion that celebrates Christ's sacrifice for me.
3. Remembering how blessed I am this year and every year. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

3 gifts in bible reading

Psalm 145

1. For the generations who have gone before me and have faithfully passed on the knowledge of Christ in what they say and what they do. I am so blessed to have been surrounded from birth by faithful believers. 145:1-7
2. Mercy. I am a hopeless failure without God's mercy and grace. My life is a series of examples of God's unmerited grace to me. 145:8-13
3. God's complete, intentional care for me. "The Lord sustains all who fall." 145:14-16

3 gifts harvest

1. Hard work followed by rest. I am soooo looking forward to Thanksgiving Day!!
2. Golden hues everywhere.
3. Food stored for the winter that provides a taste of summer on a cold night.

Friday, November 8, 2013

A gift sweet, salty, sipped

1. Sweet hug from Char after she arrived from her mom's.
2. Words, full of grace, to counter verbal attacks.
3. Coffee, okay, maybe I gulped it....

Thursday, November 7, 2013

3 gifts out your window

1. Sunshine
2. Traffic moving steadily, no delays
3. My home as I pull into the driveway

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

3 gifts government

1. Thankful for the men and women in government who fight for my rights in Madison and Washington. God, grant us the wisdom to elect those with character.
2. Thankful for the Constitution that grants liberty to all of us. God grant us the wisdom to value our liberty while we still have it.
3. Thankful, most especially, for the men and women who lay their lives on the line for me and my family and my friends every day. God bless them and their families. God grant us the wisdom to always offer our thanks to them and honor them for their sacrifices.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

3 gifts acorn small

1. Baby steps forward. Progress!
2. Big hug from the girl when I got home. Small gesture = big rewards for me. :)
3. Watching my husband and Char giggling while playing Just Dance. Small from the perspective of some, but does my heart good.

Monday, November 4, 2013

A gift gathered, given, good

1. Friends for gift giving.
2. A plant for one of my most treasured friends, given with some of my most treasured friends. All of them are precious  to me.
3. Talking with Mark while we walk the dog. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Three gifts that start with N

1. Nike for running and turbo jamming with the girl.
2. 9 Round for working out alone -- and the stress relief of punching a bag.
3. Naps on Sunday

Saturday, November 2, 2013

3 gifts worn

1. New winter coat
2. Bible worn from use, falling open to my favorite verses.
3. Worn out. Thankful for the ability to work hard.

Friday, November 1, 2013

3 gifts eaten

Since I am cleansing this week (before holidays are upon us) I find today's joy dare ironic.

So today, I am thankful for the cleanse drink in all of its glorious grittiness. It flushes the toxins and fills my body with nutrients. For the health that is being restored to my body, I am deeply thankful.

I am thankful for juicy pears and Honeycrisp apples that make this cleanse much easier. Yum!!

I am thankful for sweet salmon with lots of spices. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

3 gifts in Christ

1. Grace
2. Hope of Heaven
3. Strength and courage -- I can do all things through Him!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A gift humbling, honoring, happy

1. Recognizing that I am not enough
2. My husband recognizing that I try hard.
3. Neighborhood fun

Saturday, October 26, 2013

3 gifts extravagant

1. Grace
2. Time available for closet cleaning
3. 3 days in a row of not making dinner.

Friday, October 25, 2013

3 gifts enjoying

1. Dinner out with Mark
2. End of a work week
3. Phone call with my dad

Thursday, October 24, 2013

3 gifts accomplished

1. Minor tasks that I have procrastinated
2. Work success
3. Evening of pure relaxation

3 gifts begun

1. Morning
2. Dinner
3. Sleep

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A gift silent, still, strong

1. Morning
2. Dog napping on my lap
3. Foundation of Jesus... My hope is built on nothing less!

Monday, October 21, 2013

3 gifts undervalued

1. Others taking initiative
2. Fresh roasted pumpkin seeds
3. Grace from customers

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I've been here before

I feel it. It is a familiar urge to act. I used to jump at the opportunity. Trusting without question the Source. Knowing that no matter what my Protector and Provider would catch me if I stumbled. An adventure with my Waymaker was always irresistible.

This time I sense the call. But this time, my emotions are somewhere between trust and fear. This time, there is a man and a girl. There is so much more to consider. And, yet, if my instinct is correct, than the Caller already knows the stakes, and yet He beckons.

3 gifts unconventional

1. Mark and I individually coming to the same thought at the end of today's church service. Still discerning if it is insane or God-led.
2. Friend, Dawn, who spends her life in service to homeless vets.
3. Sleeping instead of watching the Packers. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

3 gifts unexpected

1. No work calls on Saturday.
2. Unexpected kindness and engagement from Whitefish Bay soccer families.
3. Fun, fuller-than-expected family day

Friday, October 18, 2013

A gift shared, saved, surrendered

1. Char Rosie
2. Notes and voicemails from my mama
3. To sleep from exhaustion

Thursday, October 17, 2013

3 gifts ugly-beautiful

1. Ugly is the truth that sometimes I still feel anger toward my ex-husband. I hate that it ever bothers me that he is happy. That slime ball married some poor girl and he doesn't deserve a second chance. My human nature wants his misery. Beautiful is my Savior, Jesus, that loves us both and wants the best for us. Neither of us deserves it.
2. Ugly is the insanity of American power in politics. Beautiful is the knowledge that my Father in Heaven rules them all.
3. Ugly is my sin. Beautiful is His grace.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

3 gifts said

1. I am thinking of you.
2. I love you.
3. Yes.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

3 gifts reaped

1. The rewards of hard work.
2. The joy (and grace) of belonging to God.
3. The fun of having a silly family.

3 gifts falling

1. Beautiful, bright colored leaves
2. The grace of getting back up (post fall)
3. Family that loves me anyway

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A gift unexpected, uneven, unpopular

1. Validation from coworkers
2. Extra time with the girl
3. My family and our lack of preoccupation with the material (compared to our community)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

3 gifts funny

1. Funny how I am looking for funny gifts, on a day that has been nothing short of challenging and exhausting. Thankful for always having reasons to be thankful.
2. Booty shaking in the front yard that embarrasses my family. Thankful for a booty to shake and a family to embarrass. :)
3. My niece, Hannah, trying to convince me to tell her what we bought for Grace's (her sister's) birthday present. Funny that she thinks I will believe her when she says she "won't tell". :) Thankful to share a laugh on the phone.

Monday, September 23, 2013

3 gifts quiet

1. The car with no radio and no phone. A sanctuary on wheels.
2. 5 a.m. and everyone is asleep. Getting dressed with no interruptions.
3. Laying in bed with my loves watching a movie. Not total silence, but my heart is quiet -- and full.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

3 gifts in information

1. Direction
2. Confirmation
3. Opportunity

Thursday, September 19, 2013

3 gifts in conversation

1. Reminders of friendship
2. Validation
3. Future opportunities

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Gift fixed, folded, freckled

1. Mazie in a couple of weeks! :)
2. Laundry -- Mark does all of it!
3. Skin freckled from warm sunshine. Enjoying every last moment of summer.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

3 gifts ugly-beautiful

1. Devastation of floods and the beauty of community help.
2. A lifetime of wickedness redeemed in a single act of grace.
3. Sin revealed gives way to new life.

Monday, September 16, 2013

3 gifts shared

1. Shared laughter playing tickle.
2. Shared love for family dinner night.
3. Shared joy at having the girl back home.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

3 gifts paired

1. Mark and me
2. Mazie and her walks
3. Summer gazpacho and fresh-made guacamole

3 gifts drawn

1. Anger drawn out of me, seemingly out of nowhere, reminding me that healing is an ongoing process. Bitterness has no place in my heart.

2. Charlotte drawn thank you notes that will finally make the mailbox this weekend. The joy they will bring makes me smile.

3. Thankful that I can always draw on a firm foundation of faith.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

To moms of children with stepmoms

The emotions are running high -- buzzing. Sometimes that works in my favor for writing. Today, I am not so sure. But, this message is critical. I just left the house of the mother of my stepchild. She was beyond rude and out of control. She made me feel stupid and small in front of her child. Apparently, she was upset because I picked up her daughter for soccer (as she directed), but then I stayed for practice. When she found out her daughter didn't need her cell phone in case she (mom) was late because I would be there with her daughter,  she became hysterical. That led to a completely nonsensical tongue-lashing that I received from her in front of her daughter. I am embarrassed, but I am more sad for my stepdaughter -- and sad for her mother.

If you are a mother of a child with a stepmother, and that stepmother sees your child as much as you do, please know that I have the utmost respect for the heartbreak that you have come to know. As a stepmother, I understand that I will never understand the carried-for-9-months, out-of-the-womb bonding that you know. And, I can't imagine how it feels to not have that bonded child with me 100% of the time. I only know the pain because I see it in my husband on "transition day". But, because I am called on to pinch-hit. Because I have a responsibility to care for another's child 50% of the time with her father. Because I made a commitment to be part of a family with my stepdaughter. Because I genuinely love to be in her life and watch her play, I leave you these thoughts.

Moms, your sons and daughters love you unconditionally. Their love for you is because of the bond you share. They will never love another mom-like figure more than they love you. There may be plenty of mom-like figures in their lives -- grandmas, aunts, teachers, friends.... Just because that mom-like figure might be your former husband's wife does not change how your children see you. Your role in their lives is never threatened. Even if another woman tries to forcibly step in and usurp your authority. It just won't work. Their love for you is that strong. You will ALWAYS be "Mom".

Failing to understand this results in misdirected anger and frustration -- and the only ones who really get hurt are the ones you love so much -- your children. So snap out of it! Most often the real source of that threatened feeling is your inability to love yourself. Moms of kids with stepmoms, please understand this clearly -- God Loves You!! He wants you in a relationship with Him so that He can fill you with all the love and grace and wisdom you need for all the stuff that life brings on. He is the only one who can heal the pain, and be the emotional Source that you need every day.  If you want a phenomenal relationship with your children, understand God's incredible love for you and trust that your children love you unconditionally.

Monday, September 2, 2013

3 gifts summer

1. Memory making with family and friends.
2. Fresh fruits and veggies.
3. Warmer weather and lots of sunshine!!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

3 gifts fragile

1. Life. And when it is, I am reminded not to take anything for granted.
2. Nothing in my house so that we can play full out.
3. Water balloons thrown by summer-soaked kids.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

3 gifts moving

1. Car full of family moving toward waterpark fun.
2. Heart moving toward peace.
3. Body moving toward health.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

This Too Shall Pass

"This too shall pass..." I can still hear Amy Grant's voice ringing in my ears as I traveled to Florida in 2008. I was listening to her audiobook Mosaic as I headed on a month long escape/adventure. I cried over the reflection of what had passed in my life. The good and the bad. It is always comforting to know the bad will pass, yet we mourn the loss of the good.
My dad said it to me the other day -- "this too shall pass" -- as we were discussing an issue that was grating on me. I instantly remembered Amy's voice and reminded myself not to wish life away. It is just so short. Embrace the bad with the good. In a short time it will pass.
This week I learned of a dear friend with kidney cancer. Shortly after hearing the news, one of my best high school friends announced the death of her father. I wanted to shout at life, "Wait! Stop! Slow down! How can this be happening? I need more time!"
I watched Charlotte run off with her friends in indirectly supervised boundaries. She would return for a check-in and a quick hug, then flitter away on her scooter. She is growing up so fast. "Wait. Stop. Slow down! How can this be happening? I need more time!"
Time is passing, indeed. The weeks move so quickly I find myself speaking in terms of months not days or hours. I certainly feel the tug of intentionality to value the moment.

A gift red, read and written.

1. Favorite red mug that holds my coffee.
2. Reading Unfashionable and connecting with my mom and sister every other week.
3. This blog written for my heart to review my journey and see God's touchstones in my life.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

3 gifts in the morning

1. Morning walk with the dog, who is learning not to pull on the leash. Leaves more time for reflection. :)
2. Coffee
3. Quiet

Friday, August 16, 2013

3 gifts in family

1. Unconditional love
2. Endless laughter
3. Joy

Thursday, August 15, 2013

40 years

On the occasion of my 40th birthday, June 29, it is fitting to reflect on where I have been and where I am. Since it is now August, and I have perspective of that "terrible" (wink wink) day, I should publish this unfinished musing.

As you may or may not know, after eating healthy, working out five times a week and not losing weight, I hired a nutritionist in January. On top of the lack of changes externally, I was exhausted, achy and not sleeping well. Sounds like old age, right? That's what I thought too. But, it turns out there is a cure for messed up hormones and some effects of the aging process (at least there are ways to make getting older easier)! Doc Sage Campione helped me identify the issues and work toward getting healthy.

I also had a goal of being pregnant by my 40th birthday. My whole life I have wanted to have kids and raise a family. Doc Sage is on it! She has been super encouraging. I have been eating like a rockstar. My hormones are balancing. The supplements are helping me feel better. For the first time in my life my body actually has the capacity to have a child.

What I didn't tell Doc Sage is that I made a deal with myself after my divorce that if I didn't get pregnant by 40, I was done. It would be fine. But, that time in my life would pass and it was a good cut off point emotionally -- it wasn't meant to be.

So, on the occasion of my 40th birthday, I STRUGGLED. I mean really struggled with getting older. Right at the time I had opportunity to have a family, my time was up. I had set this arbitrary timeline to help me deal with the emotion of not having a family, when in fact it set off a completely different set of emotions surrounding fairness and timelines and numbers.

Silly, right? Right. But, the drama was worth the full circular understanding that everything is alright. God is still in control. He still has a plan for me. He still loves me beyond measure. He has blessed me beyond understanding. And, children or not, He always gives me what is best for ME. ...What is best for me..... The very best. And, He has the amazing ability to give me the best and at the same time give the best to my loves -- because He loves them, too. And, so, again I rest in His amazing grace.

3 gifts ugly-beautiful

1. The ugliness of exhaustion -- beautiful results of hard work
2. The ugliness of racism -- beauty of common ground
3. The ugliness of bullying -- the beauty of taking a stand

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Three gifts in water

1. Washes out the toxins
2. Refreshes on a hot day
3. Gives life to flowers inspite of my brown thumb.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Three gifts white

1. White-hot anger, awakens awareness
2. White knights in the store associates who rescued my mini Ipad
3. Little white Prius with well over 300k miles that keeps on running

Thursday, June 27, 2013

3 gifts in fabric

1) Tradition
2) Beauty
3) Handmade gifts that reflect love

3 gifts today in someone older than me

1) Two of my uncles wishing me a happy birthday.
2) My mom's legacy of always progressing
3) Every person over 40 that continues to remind me that 40 is young.

3 gifts in water, in a word in white

1) Pool time with the girl.
2) "Tell Cherry I love her!"
3) My car that has over 300k mile, no loan and still chugging....

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

3 Gifts Found Around a Table

1.) Playing "Would you rather?" with my family.
2.) Trying new foods and getting to know likes and dislikes.
3.) Praying together.

3 Gifts Difficult

1.) Eating healthy. Results are always worth it!
2.) Releasing the things or circumstances I want the most. Sometimes I have to keep releasing them. But I can rest assured knowing that the God who loves me with such great intentionality has it all figured out. What I want is always insignificant compared to what He has planned.
3.) Living away from my family. Yet I uncover parts of myself I wouldn't have known otherwise.

Monday, June 24, 2013

3 Gifts Found in Light

1.) A marked path. Easier to see the ankle turners both metaphorically and physically!
2.) Truth. The monsters can't hide under the bed or in the closet.
3.) Fluffy clouds and blue skies.

3 Gifts Bent, Beautiful, Loved

1.) Bent over from laughter with my husband.
2.) The relationship my parents have is beautiful. Thankful they still enjoy one another's company after 45 years.
3.) I am daily humbled at being deeply loved despite my tremendous shortcomings.

3 Gifts You Became in Serving

1.) Childlike playing with the girl.
2.) Satisfied with accomplishments.
3.) Humbled by gratitude.

3 Gifts In Your Heavenly Father

1.) Freedom
2.) Protection
3.) Pure joy

Sunday, June 23, 2013

3 Gifts In Your Dad

Really? Just three from this Daddy's Girl?? Does Voskamp have any idea how absolutely amazing my dad is? :)

Here is the thing about my dad, he just loves me. That's the gift. Every interaction he has with me exudes love. He accepts me just the way I am. He gives unrelentingly. He loves unconditionally. He totally gets me. He loves spending time with me. He is gentle when I am brash. He speaks truth to me when I am not thinking straight. He is a rock when life is upside down. He loves Jesus with all of his heart. And, even when we don't see eye-to-eye, he doesn't take it personally, he just encourages me to figure it out.

And his love doesn't stop with me. He genuinely loves Mark and Charlotte. He always asks about them. He embraces them openly. He is engaged and intune with their lives, even from a distance.

When it comes to Dad's I really got the best one. I mean, I know lots of people think their dads are the best. But, mine really is. If there was a superbowl of dads, mine would win year after year.

I could give detailed stories, but there aren't enough pages in the world to cover it all. And, by the time I was done, there would be nothing but a puddle of gratitude tears left of me.

I don't deserve the dad I have. But, I am exceedingly grateful for the grace that made him mine.

3 Gifts Moving

1.) Constant energy (Char) in our home is pure joy.
2.) Taking Mazie for a walk on a beautiful morning.
3.) Gentle lake breeze moving leaves, creating peaceful environment.

3 gifts in His Word

1.) I was loved before I was born. (Ps. 139)
2.) His discipline protects me. (Deut 8:5)
3.) He has conquered my demons. Nothing can keep me away from Him. (Rom. 8:38-39)

Friday, June 14, 2013

A gift unexpected, unwanted, unlikely

1.) Thank you note and gift for love poured out without expectation.
2.) Kisses from Mazie after coming home from a long week in Minneapolis.
3.) A new boss, new to the division that really gets our team, what we do and the challenges we face.

Three gifts smelled

1.) My armpits that weren't smelly even after an hour of Whirlyball. Thankful for my coworker who confirmed my findings.
2.) Smell of home after a long week in Minneapolis
3.) Sweet smell of success at work.

3 gifts full

1.) Full of thankfulness from gift counting
2.) Full despite a heavy vegetarian diet and feeling great!
3.) Fully aware of my shortcomings and my deep need for Jesus.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

3 gifts painted

1.) Painting Mark's birthday cake in icing with my favorite girl.
2.) Watercolor birthday cards.
3.) Painting the bigger picture to accomplish goals.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Gifts at 8, 12 and 8

1.) Coffee
2.) Customer issues resolved
3.) "Goodnight, Cheri, I love you." From my favorite girl.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

3 gifts that made you really smile

1. Spending time with my husband working as a team.
2. Putting up the privacy wall in the back.
3. Learning that my husband's ex wife told him that he has a really good wife!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

3 gifts empty

1.) Today I feel empty. Spent. Tired. Emotionally withdrawn. So, I am thankful for the reminder that I need to rest in His strength. Not my own.
2.) Empty hands upturned and expecting.
3.) Empty baskets of paperwork that needed sorting -- now put away. More to do, but progress made.

3 gifts read

From yesterday:

1.) Erin Keeley Marshall's blog that made me delight in her and her family while missing her all at the same time.
2.) Ann Voskamp's musing from a few days ago. Thankful I am chased by God's goodness and mercy.
3.) Reading Darth Paper Strikes Back with the girl.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

3 gifts ugly-beautiful

1. The ugliness of war leading to the beauty of freedom. Thankful for my Grandaddy, PFC Willard C. Morse, on this D-Day anniversary. Tomorrow marks the anniversary of his arrival on Normandy. He would have turned 98 in April.
2. The scars of my sin made beautiful in the redemption of Jesus.
3. The pain of an abusive situation that is encouraging honest conversation.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A gift of peace, of hope, of love

1. Quiet house.
2. At a funeral over Memorial Day weekend, reminded of the GREAT hope we have in heaven. I just can't stop reflecting on it. When I think on redemption and my sorry self, I am overwhelmed.
3. My husband has been amazing at giving me lots of praise lately (words -- my love language -- like mother like daughter...). Today, he praised me to someone else and I wasn't even around. Awww. He DOES love me. :)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

3 gifts in Christ

1.) My place is found in Him, despite my brokenness. (Colossians 1:17-20)
2.) He sings His love song to me. (Zephaniah 3:17)
3.) He has conquered death. I have nothing to fear! (Zeph. 3; I John 3)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Everything is grace

The month of May was insane. As I started counting of gifts and reflecting on God's blessings, everything started getting really crazy. Mark had surgery, he lost his job, he found a job (which are old fear issues from my first marriage), my neighbor called the police on us for a completely ridiculous reason, my dearest friend's brother died....

And through it all, I didn't panic. There was that sweet voice in my head saying, "everything is going to be okay." And, at the beginning of June, I can honestly say that "everything is going to be okay." Perhaps all of the drama of the last 5 years has finally convinced me that in the midst of the drama is that steady voice of the Savior saying, "Yep, I've got this."

One thing I am sure of, as Voskamp muses, that everything is grace. We breathe in and we breathe out, the eucharisteo, as she describes it, a constant giving and receiving of grace that begins with Thanksgiving. But, the one thing that I still struggle with is being thankful for tragedy or evil. Not that I don't see the blessings that can come from such events -- but I have a hard time being thankful for the event itself.

I can be thankful for my divorce. I can even be thankful for the years that seem wasted when I was married to my first husband. I am thankful for the pain. I am thankful for the lessons learned and the new life I found. I am thankful for the change in my relationship with God as a result of my divorce. I get that.

But, to be thankful for the actual loss of a young life, for example, that is hard. Maybe it is something that comes in time. Or, maybe we remain thankful for the fruit that comes from pain and we are never thankful for the event. And, yet, it seems somehow if our God is the Giver of the best gifts, and understands the infinity of time -- even allowing tragedy in this world that is so short-lived -- then thankfulness for all things is the only response. I am not there, yet. I am only pondering.

It is for this reason, that I am so grateful for the gift of counting gifts. For the opportunity to acknowledge and develop a free flow of Thanksgiving to the One who loves us enough to give us gifts that are in our best interest. We just don't always see from His perspective -- and we never will at least until we no longer plant our feet in clay.

3 gifts from today's conversations

1. Even my teacher friends struggle with "new math". I am definitely not alone in my helplessness when supporting my second grader.
2. I am a blessing to my customers, even when I don't feel like they should feel blessed.
3. Long talks with my best friend (and husband) are always underrated. :)

"Let your words always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." -- Colossians 4:6

Sunday, June 2, 2013

3 gifts funny

1. My favorite character impression "Captain Crazy" that includes booty shakin', arm wavin' and loud singing. My family LOVES it -- well, not really, but it does embarrass them and I enjoy that.... :)
2. Chasing Char and her friend Nicholas at the park.
3. Mazie chasing squirrels in the backyard that she will never catch. She gets soooo excited and intense.

3 Gifts Orange

This one is hard for me (hence the day-late post). 

1. Orange aprons that put food on our table.
2. Orange flowers finally blooming in Wisconsin.
3. Oranges that remind me of my Florida home and help me focus on nutrition.

Joy Dare

It took awhile, but I finally read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I read it with a friend from Columbus, Julie Johnson Brashear, who I haven't seen in years. But, it was a gift in and of itself to reunite with her and begin recognizing the gifts (even the really hard ones) that come from God in the lives we are living.

I would love to write more about the book itself when I have more time. This post is to set up the future posts of gift counting. Voskamp publishes a monthly schedule of a gift "scavenger hunt". It is simply an opportunity to look for the gifts that are around us -- sometimes in the most common ways.

I would love it if anyone reading would join me in my scavenger hunt. It is way more fun to see gifts together -- it only magnifies God's work in every life. So, feel free to post a comment with the gifts you see today and every day!