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Do you ever feel STUCK? In 2000, I began looking for answers to some tough questions in my life. I'd searched high & low and finally conceded to search the promises found in the Bible. Those promises have sustained & guided me through the loss of a parent, the struggle with anxiety & depression, the loss of a valued relationship and so much more! I've found joy amid the pain. And, I want to share it with you!

19 November 2012

November 2012 ONE THOUSAND GIFTS #JoyDare

One Thousand Gifts (by Ann Voskamp)
#1000Gifts #JoyDare

Buy book here...      

I've taken the 1,000 Gifts Dare for 2012... and I am already to number... 

November 2012
Today I find JOY in...

Thurs 11/01
3 gifts eaten: 1. last pieces of almond crusted torte w/morning coffee 2. last leftovers of roast, potatoes & carrots 3. fun size MILKY WAY (which is too small!)

898. actually taking Halloween decorations down this morning! NOVEMBER 1st!
899. feeling a bit broken up - feeling okay about it
900. getting excited about Thanksgiving!

Fri 11/02
3 gifts worn: 1. my Scottie dog red jammies 2. a smile due to hope in a storm 3. extra clothes for a walk on a cold, windy day
901. roasted garbanzo beans - yum!
902. cold, cold air for a walk
903. one of the fastest EVER Worship Arts notes :)

Sat 11/03
3 gifts that start with an "N": 1. numbers (love caller ID) 2. NUK - paci's that I used for MY kiddos 3. new - His mercies every day!!
904. cold morning then warning toes by the fire

905. apology to a loved one - 
which was easier since I've tried to do that over the years
906. completely comfortable w/the LOML on a no plans night

Sun 11/04
3 gifts gathered, given, good: 1. eggs in the hen house 2. farm fresh eggs from my neighbor, Ruthanne 3. the Love that will not let me go!!
907. faithful spouse who's a friend
908. shower for a friend with LOTS OF PINK
909. early night on a short day :)

Mon 11/05
3 gifts acorn - small: 1. actual acorns decorating my Thanksgiving table  2. my faith - might be small but still POWERFUL!  3. the part in my dryer that would have costed $300+ if not under warranty!
910. dryer man & a warranty
911. Koko chomping a mole :)
912. harvest time for the corn!!!

Tues 11/06
3 gifts government:  1. Rich heritage of our country's founders & leaders  2. Freedom to discuss political differences  3. Privacy in voting  
913. standing in line for over an hour to vote with my 22yo daughter
914. Photobucket & a pic of my cousin's sticker
915. Netflix & Tylenol PM

Wed 11/07
3 gifts from your window: 1. over a mile of gorgeous, freshly harvested cornfield 2. bright, bright sunlight to bring cheer  3. colorful leaves sheltered from the wind by the outside trees in the patch of woods east of us :)
916. the sound of my husband getting ready for work
(coffee maker, shower, catching the morning news, etc.)
917. understanding friends
918. the love that seeks me through pain

Thurs 11/08
3 gifts sweet, salty, sipped: 1. Cyndee Sundae  2. ocean spray on my face  3. coffee from a mug 
919. letting go of "certainty" - a daily discipline of mine
920. craisins at this time of year!

921. a Cyndee Sundae

Fri 11/09
3 gifts harvest: 1. remains of harvested corn all over my lawn :) 2. smell of newly plowed ground  3. fields of corn awaiting harvest
922. having dinner fixed for me by the LOML while I sneak old photos of him onto Facebook
923. pictures from the past 
Yep, that's the LOML in the middle!!
924. an (healthy) obsession w/sunset (and sunrise)

Sat 11/10
3 gifts found in Bible Reading: 1. abundant living guaranteed  2. no more condemnation 3. patience for EVERY person to find Him
925. special delivery all the way from the mountains of North Carolina

926. the LOML putting up lights before our Thanksgiving guests get here

927. memories of the past - captured on a FULL phone

Sun 11/11
3 gifts of rememberance: 1. Sunday mornings as a little girl  2. words to OLD hymns which bring incredible confort on sleepless nights  3. the big smile of my dad!
928. making it to church & being blessed immensely
929. incredible prayer session organized on Twitter & Facebook for our own, Pastor Jim Lyon, while he was facing religious persecution in India!
930. remembering our veterans!

Mon 11/12
3 gifts at noon: 1. Joanne  2. coffee & donuts which Joanne brought  3. a blazing fire on a very cold day
11am snow storm - no visibility
1pm bright & sunny - seeing for miles 
931. experiences & wisdom of a dear friend (one of my mother's peers)
932. being powerless for 7 hours
933. writing what's on my heart - blogging!

Tues 11/13
3 gifts behind a door 1. the robes I got the LOML & I for Christmas last year  2. food on the shelves of my pantry  3. a big closet full of warm clothes
934. lunch w/a friend at Gaither's Family Resource Center
935. getting a new license & missing the way I used to look - oh well
936. driving country roads to get home - LOVE it!

Wed 11/14
3 gifts silent: 1. morning prayer time  2. living in the country  3. being home after a NOISY work shift with kids!
937. starting a job - which made the LOML happy!
938. meeting a sweet lady - Miss Marie at North Kids Day Care
939. in bed by 7pm - seriously worn out!

Thurs 11/15
3 gifts golden: 1. my wedding bands  2. the wedding band of my maternal grandmother which I wear w/my own bands  3. the color of winter wheat when ready to harvest
940. Taking a friend to the airport then, following "a couple of chickens out for a ride" as I drove home
941. outlandish earrings for a day care job

942. apparently the LOML is ready to celebrate the holidays with our snacks too...

Fri 11/16
3 gifts hard eucharisteo: 1. my little part-time job  2. the not knowing... yet trusting  3. broken families - how to mend?
943. music - which I get to listen to for hours on Fridays!!!

944. spaghetti dinner with Jessica & the LOML <3 font="font">
945. Winning!
The LOML is a walking dictionary.
I revel in beating him every once in awhile!
Sat 11/17
3 gifts laughter: 1. my HILARIOUS husband always keeps me laughing 2. silly jokes & pic's on Facebook  3. the way my heart melts when I hear a child laugh
946. coffee & danish in bed beside the LOML
947. a very well-timed AmVet's call!! CLEANING!!!
948. a long day FULL of work... and accomplishment!

Sun 11/18
3 gifts made, shared, passed on: 1. a few Thanksgiving drawings I saved from when the kids were little  2. prayer with my church family  3. things from our "cabin" on Yellow Creek Lake
949. Orchestra Sunday!!!
950. transforming Tyler's room!
951. a hard working husband!

Mon 11/19
3 gifts autumn: 1. the Bradford pear getting prettier every day!  2. cold air - hot sun  3. getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving with family & friends
Our Bradford Pear tree is gorgeous
952. sunrise!

953. finding out that I failed to SAVE over a week of my JoyDare List :/
Hmmmmm... not sure how that's a good one... but, I'm trusting Him :)
954. my Monday is a Friday (for the work week)

Tues 11/20
3 gifts of traditions: 1. The LOML baking pecan pies  2. Cranberry & ginger ale punch  3. Christmas music blaring while house is redecorated for Christmas on the day after Thanksgiving!
955. a working washer & dryer
956. CCM being relatively close - and KIDS HOME!!
957. my bed... at 2am (Wed morning)... after a long day!

Wed 11/21
3 gifts family: 1. by birth 2. by choice 3. by re-birth in Christ
958. bacon cooked outside on the grill = no smelly house for days
959. big closets - to hide the last minute junk :)
960. family here for Thanksgiving
dinner at Real Hacienda
aka El Maya Riviera or something like that!

3 gifts grateful: 1. faith 2. family 3. friends
961. watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with seven people & a cat in our bedroom - what!!!

962. awesome cousins for my kids!
963. blessed Thanksgiving honoring old traditions & making new!

Fri 11/23
3 gifts only in Christ: 1. Light of the world!  2. bridge to heaven  3. re-birth
964. gathering together in the morning in PJ's & loving it! BIG BREAKFAST :)
965. 50th anniversary of the Lighting of the Tree on Monument Circle

966. all three brothers under MY roof - 1 on the couch but... that's cool

Sat 11/24
3 gifts humble: 1. a new friend  2. the birth of our LORD  3. what our homes should be to all
967. movie marathon with Kelsey, Tyler & the LOML
968. taco fiesta for Kelsey
969. to bed before 2am :D

Sun 11/25
3 gifts ugly beautiful: 1. mistaken times  2. hurts written down & pinned to the cross for prayer  3. thankful for him in our lives (KAkin)
970. Holy, Holy, Holy played by a trombone & a french horn

The ONLY close-up I got!
A better shot :D
971. a house full of family & friends!

972. a cat nap (between activities)

Mon 11/26
3 gifts preparing: 1. Coffee & scones for house guests on Thanksgiving morning. 2. Taco feast Sat. night for Kelsey & family. 3. Omelettes, fruit salad, juice, coffee, toast & more for traveling family members this morning for Justine & Greg
973. big breakfast send off for LOVED ONES!
Solomon helping Uncle Greg after breakfast
974. farm fresh eggs!

975. NEW COMPONENT to my job!!
Watching four elementary students respectfully lower & fold the American flag
gives a whole new meaning to "It's the thought that counts."
Tues 11/27
3 gifts handmade, held, happy: 
976. a foggy frosty start to the day
977. the passion I have for Women's Ministries - it energizes me!
978. early to bed - which i can do now that i no longer have young children :)

Wed 11/28
3 gifts community: 1. Voices of Praise Choir  2. Book Club friends  3. WomMinLeadTeam
979. talks on walks...
Good Luck to Miss Charlotte - who's competing at the Indiana State Fairgrounds this weekend
at the Hoosier Beef Congress!!! She's one of my neighbor-cows :)
980. music & lyrics that touch my heart!

Thurs 11/29
3 gifts red: 1. cozy throws in family room  2. winter china  3. His blood that washes us clean
981. custom made coffee for me - by the LOML
982. a working washer & dryer!!
983. leftovers for dinner!

Fri 11/30
3 gifts astonishing! 1. the wonder of sunset 2. the energy received from just SEEING & recognizing who the Giver of ALL Good Gifts is  3. renewal in strength

984. Worship Arts note done early
985. great day at work - enjoy meeting parents & kids at front desk!
986. easy Friday evenings w/the LOML!!!

NOVEMBER 2012 #1000Gifts #JoyDare 

I've taken the 1,000 Gifts Dare for 2012... click on the name of each month below for each one...
January 2012... I find joy
February 2012... I find joy
March 2012... I find joy
April 2012... I find joy
May 2012... I find joy
June 2012... I find joy
July 2012... I find joy
August 2012... I find joy
September 2012... I find joy
October 2012... I find joy

One Thousand Gifts (by Ann Voskamp)
#1000Gifts #JoyDare

Buy book here...      

I'm Powerless

It's 5:44pm in the corn & cow fields of central Indiana... and, our house has been without power since a little before 1pm. The power company said that they don't know why. And, they said, don't be concerned -- the power will be back on by 4pm.

It's almost 2 hours beyond that now and, the sun is setting. My cell phone's dead. My laptop has no wifi and nearly dead. My iPad is without wifi and has 11% battery left. The home phones are useless - because they are powered by electricity. The spaghetti sauce which had begun to cook is cold & ruined now.

I sent a last text to the LOML saying to please come home soon & rescue me. By the light of 3 candles & the last glow of the sun... I'm feeling like I should be in a western. I'm thinking it's about time to "round up the wagons & hunker down waiting for first light!"

One of the last texts I received from the LOML was that the energy company now says we should have power by 8pm. Poor boy down there in Indy... who's he going to talk with on his drive home? I'm sure hoping he stops for food. I'm pretty sure things in the fridge are not good anymore too. Me, I'm listening to the wind through the trees & watching the candles flicker.

In all of this, I am so grateful. I'm in a house that's well built & well insulated. Although we had a freakish snow storm earlier in the day, the afternoon brought clear skies & a warm, bright sun. The last I saw, the air temperature was only in the low 40's. But, the sunlight poured in the windows that line the south side of our home & kept it pretty warm. We have 2 gas fireplaces. So, when the house starts to cool down, I'll be able to warm up by a fire.

There are 1000's still without their homes on the east coast after Sandy hit them almost two weeks ago. Some of those are also mourning the loss of loved ones from that storm. A huge explosion in a suburb of Indy took the lives of 2 last night and totally demolished 5 houses. Over 50 homes were affected enough that the families are out of their houses tonight. Last I heard they didn't know what caused the complete demolition to the ground of 5 houses!

And, here I am... just a hint of light on the western horizon over the newly harvested corn field... wrapped in a warm comforter... and waiting for my love to come home.

I might not have power (here in the house)... but, I am most certainly not powerless!

  • "I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you." Luke 10:19 
  • "We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light." Colossians 1:11-12 NLT
  • "A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power." Ephesians 6:10 NLT
Linking with Ann Voskamp - A Holy Experience today... 

16 November 2012

People Are Watching!

Today, I am thankful for parents who modeled TRUSTING GOD - no matter what.  

When you closely watch someone LIVE their life, you often see what is & isn't in this world -- you know, what works & doesn't work. You see inconsistencies and/or consistencies in the examples of others. 

As my parents trusted God for all their needs, I saw parents who put their requests in front of the Lord & waited expectantly. I saw answered prayers - even those which were answered in a way that was unexpected, and sometimes not what was asked to happen. There was never any question that the outcome would be a part of God's big plan. They believed... and they modeled that God was always looking after them - protecting them, providing for their needs, teaching them lessons that would be useful later in life, etc. 

One of my favorite scriptures is Psalm 5:3, "Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly."  I'm no different that any of you, I have some BIG requests of the LORD. He is faithful to all His children... in perfect timing! So, I put my requests to Him & believe that I will see His answer.

As I have been a parent, I've thought often of the example that my parents set. I've often prayed that the example I have set will help my children as they grow into adults. Learning from mistakes is something we all do.  Learning from the example of others has great value too!

My suggestion... put your trust in God... and wait expectantly.  People are watching you!!

09 November 2012

The Rolling Sea

above from the
Warner Sallman Collection

Over the sea, 
Over the sea, 
Jesus Savior, Pilot me. 

Over the sea, 
Over the sea, 
Over the jasper* sea.

Over & over comes the mighty sea,
Like the love of Jesus pouring over me.

Has anyone EVERY heard that chorus?  That was one of the choruses my father loved & sang with me at bedtime when I was little. Dad was born in the late 20's & brought up by a God-fearing (aka GOD LOVING) family.  They were very active in their church in Middletown, Ohio. He went on to being an accredited minister in the Church of God.  Back in that day, the churches were rather small & pastors often wore many hats.  Most of the years growing up, I remember my parents heading up the Youth Group, as well. I remember them leading the youth in that chorus.

The song came to my mind the other night as I was pondering the future.  (I confess, it's really NOT my job to ponder the future - but, to hand it over to God & get some sleep!) However, much of my time lately has been spent on thoughts & actions based upon changes which are happening in my world & in the worlds of those I love. 

When life is changing so rapidly & we are reminded that we are NOT in control (as we often desire to be), we can find peace & stability in God

  • He is the anchor of our soul - Hebrews 6:19  
  • He is the tower we run to in times of need - Isaiah 25:4 & Proverbs 18:10   
  • When life crashes us down like the rolling sea, He exchanges it with rolling waves of His love & peace - Isaiah 48:18  
  • He is the constant source of rest, renewal & strength. He is our cornerstone - upon whom we lean... upon whom we build our tomorrows - 1 Peter 2:6 
  • He is stronger than any storm - Mark 4:39-41 

No matter how life rages around me, I find peace in the arms of my Savior. His grace is sufficient! He meets all my needs!

Seek Him today for whatever you need. He is able to meet your needs!

His Words:

  • "This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God's inner sanctuary."  Hebrews 6:19 
  • "But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O LORD, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat. For the oppressive acts of ruthless people are like a storm beating against a wall." Isaiah 25:4
  • The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10 
  • "As the Scriptures say, 'I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.'" 1 Peter 2:6 
  • "Oh, that you had listened to my commands! Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river and righteousness rolling over you like waves in the sea." Isaiah 48:18
  • "When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, 'Silence! Be still!' Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, 'Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?' The disciples were absolutely terrified. 'Who is this man?' they asked each other. 'Even the wind and waves obey him!'" Mark 4:39-41 

* NOTE:  I found that the word "boundless" was used in one version & the word "stormy" was used in another. My dad sang JASPER though - which happened to be his older brother's name. Jasper means green... so, it works just fine for me :)

Shared with the Ann Voskamp 1000 Gifts Community