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!