1,000 GIFTS, #386 to #408

Monday, October 31, 2011

Here I am again on this Monday, my heart brimming with multitudes of gifts - more grace gifts, lessons learned, memories made, and in just a week! Just the blessing of being HERE on this earth, at this time, in this generation, is a gift. The Word of God tells us our life is but a vapor in James 4:14
This is a picture of the vapor in the cool mornings around our pond this week.

I'm so thankful because:
386.  ...I am very content in my life's current season:
387.  ...I am halfway through my 34th year of a solid marriage to a Godly man
388.  ...both my parents are still healthy and well
389.  ...my sons are happily married to wonderful young women
390.  ...my grandchildren are healthy, delightful, and bring me JOY
391.  ...my sisters Joan and Jo are there for me any time I need to talk
392.  ...I have a wonderful circle of friends
393.  ...my church family is Rock solid.  

394. I'm so blessed with my quilting time. It calms me to sit at my sewing machine and ponder and pray as I sew. I finished Madie's quilt Saturday and it was fun to work with such "girly" fabric for a change from the boys' tractor themed quilts. This was a simple pattern of squares and rectangles but I love the old-fashioned look. Madie is a beautiful child and I know she will continue to grace our family.

395. This is my quilting buddy and best friend of 23 years - what a treasure Lanie is. We're old school and don't mind sharing that. Faith and family are our joys. We enjoyed a recent "sew-in." Today's generation of women is missing something that women in times past did - getting together to quilt, sew, can food - train - mentor. We need that.

396. I love my job - I actually do have a "day job" besides being a pastor's wife. I have worked for our local board of education for 23 years. The people in our offices are true public servants. Sharon is one of those folks, and she brought me some apples from the North Georgia mountains. She is "Gran Sharon" and when she became a grandmother 11 years ago, it was actually then I decided I would be "Gran Jan."  And so I am.

397. Saturday was fun as the boys came very early to cut firewood. It's been a long time since the back door opened and I saw my boys come in together. Raising them has been my life's greatest JOY. I love their bantering - always have. I know they could quote Psalm 133:1 right now...

398. My husband loves to deer hunt. He was in the woods and when I got home I found these sweet "love notes" all around. Reference #387 - amen?

399. This is a cotton field - a HUGE one. Right now on farms all around us - cotton, pecans, and peanuts are being harvested. My paternal grandfather was a sharecropper and raised cotton and peanuts. I love to hear my dad talk about him because I never knew him. But I know I would have loved him dearly.

400.  What a joy my mom and I discovered as our camellia bush is finally blooming. We planted this one four years ago and the wait was well worth it. They bloom when nothing else is...what a great life lesson. I want to do the same!

401. My grandson Zeke spent the night and he was with me and my mom.  My grands call her "Gigi" (Great-Grandmother). She and Zeke were walking with pockets full of rocks to throw in the pond.  It's their thing to do - and he never forgets.

402. We moved from our home of 20 years "in town" to the country life on the farm four years ago last week, October 27. I love this land already and the traditions we are making with our grandchildren. Another JOY of this season of life.

403. My dad has wanted a fence along the front of our farm for these 4 years, and it's just something we haven't been able to get done. Well, now we have. A fence on a list of grace gifts? Yes - because if you knew how happy it made my dad, you'd know just how thankful I am to do something for him for all the things he's done for me my whole life. It was my husband's idea. He is a generous man.
404. Our church's senior adult ministry is called XYZ for "eXtra Years of Zest." The XYZers went on a trip last week and my mom went with them. They had a blast. (Older ladies are still little girls wanting to have fun and from all accounts, they did.) I'm grateful for Pastor Mike Slade and his wife Susan who lead this ministry. These girls are the cream of the crop. Back row: Mrs. Lynn, Mrs. Sara, Mrs. Rita, Mrs. Gayle. Front row, Mrs. Lola, Mrs. Lois (my mom), and Mrs. Ann. My mom told me she got her picture taken with Dr. David Jeremiah and they also had former President George W. Bush as a speaker at the conference. Blessings indeed.

405. Yes my garden. Aside from time with my family - this is a happy happy place for me. I love to sit on that stone bench under that river birch tree..

406. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches shaped like hearts for a little boy who has stirred up so much love in my heart when I became Gran Jan the day he was born. I love you Zeke!
407. Me and my sweet husband with our youngest grandboy Jackson...more love stirred up in my heart. Thank you Erin for sending me this picture. It was good to have y'all with us on vacation this month.

408.  As I've learned from reading Ann Voskamp's book and more importantly, God's Word, there are times of hard eucharisteo.  We are to give thanks in all things, not just the pleasant and joyful and blessed times.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16. Rejoice always,
17. Pray without ceasing,
18. In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
This past year has been a time of deep reflection, in prayer, in learning, in trusting. Even surrounded by family and friends, the sweetest times have been those when the still small Voice of His Spirit spoke to the deepest places of my heart.  Abide - be still - I'm in control. Abiding in stillness is not easy in this day of go go go - but it is always where the times of growth occur. I want to be fruitful, don't you?


1,000 GIFTS, #370 to #385

Monday, October 24, 2011

My heart is so full this Monday I could hardly wait until lunchtime today so I could get to my favorite little free WiFi place...to ponder and began this post. I've been recording my grace blessings, gifts - both on paper and in my heart...since week before last. I dearly love how I will have a "moment" and realize "what a gift!" This has become so much more than a Monday blog post, it is a way of eucharistic living that has reached to the deep places of my heart and hopefully effected a change - evidence that others will see SEE and I may "give a reply for the hope within" as told in I Peter 3:15.

370. Celebrating the birthday of my son Jonathan, my youngest, a gift. His name even means "God's gracious gift." His gentle and quiet ways are refreshing. He is a strong man, a wonderful son, husband, father. I love him with all my heart.

371. Four Generations around the table last Monday as my Dad, me, Jonathan, and his son Jackson enjoyed supper together. What a blessing to have and especially as it was my Dad, ("Papaw" to my sons and grandchildren) who spoke that gift aloud.

372. The privilege to speak to a group of women last week at a local church, Oakland Baptist. They are beginning their women's ministry and this was their very first event. It was a JOY to encourage them. I love women's ministry. I shared with them from God's Word and used the word WOMEN as an acrostic. W=Word of God, O=Outreach, M=Mentoring, E=Encouragement, N=Needed. (The N for needed was what Jesus spoke to Martha when he told her that Mary had "chosen that which is needed.") Luke 10:42

373. Courtney, my new young friend. A new choir member - young, beautiful, smart (she's an engineer). She loves to cook and it was JOY to share with her last week as we talked recipes and country living.

374. This past out-of-town weekend shared with my dearest friend of 24 years, Lanie. We celebrated her birthday - her LIFE. She is an ovarian cancer survivor of 2 years. We shopped, we went to a quilt expo, we laughed, visited a Country Living Fair, we ate, we laughed, we sewed for 10 hours straight on Saturday, we laughed, and we truly celebrated with much prayer and thanksgiving. God is so good!

375. This sweet gift from Shannon, a monogrammed pumpkin. Shannon is another young woman who radiates Jesus. Her smile is so beautiful as she smiles from the inside out. She and Natalie (another young woman I love) are in my Wednesday night Proverbs class, and we are "Getting Wisdom" in our Wising Up study by Beth Moore.

376. Yesterday my church and Deacons (represented by Mr. Lee Evans) honored our pastoral staff. It was a beautiful time - I was so blessed. October is clergy appreciation month. As a pastor's wife of 34 years I would like to ask you to please encourage your pastor and his wife and family (not just in October, but any time). A card, a note, a gift certificate - and most of all - with prayer! In order below are our staff pastors, Jimmy Moneypenny, Gary Morton (my husband), Matthew Gibbs, Dawson Hull, Mike Slade, Ben Hunley, and Mike Dorough. They are wonderful Godly men with great integrity and hearts for ministry. All praise to Jesus Christ!

377. I am the proud owner of a new iPhone 4S. If you know me at all I promise I am not being worldly or materialistic - I am truly thankful because I love this phone and all it will "do."

378. The sheer JOY to hug the necks of a young couple in our church who have been praying for a baby for over 8 years and are now expecting! May God bless this little one yet to be. I love you Bubba and Heather. I can't wait to see your JOY grow in the months ahead...and that precious life inside your womb too!

379. My new favorite picture of my son and his two children. Look at the JOY that radiates in their eyes and smiles! They are sporting their "Got Biscuits" shirts I bought for them at the Paula Deen store in Savannah.

380. A wonderfully kind and encouraging email from Nancy Mattingly last week. Nancy is the correspondence manager for Living Proof Ministries and I tell you this - the woman loves Jesus and lives for His Glory. She blesses me. I love you Nancy.

381. Christmas gifts for my two Compassion children, Iduar in Colombia, and Gloria in Uganda. May God bless these two precious children.

382. The pure and simple JOY of hearing/seeing true worship yesterday as Jordan sang "I Will Rise" with our choir. He sang the solo. Jordan has some limitations in the world's eyes, but to God, He is everything. I love that young man.

383. Another John Deere quilt - I finished this one at the QTT this past weekend - the "Quilting Time Together" with my friend Lanie.

384. The true JOY of seeing what some "meant for harm" being turned into what God is using for good. He loves His church, His bride, and He has surely poured out His love and grace on my church the past year. We stand amazed. He is a mighty big God and cannot be undone. I could shout - in fact, I have! 
 
385. As I sign off to head back to my office, I want to leave you with this sign I saw at the Country Living Fair....Yes, I was promoted to Grandmother and that is the very reason I began this blog...GRAN JAN'S JOY!

All truly is grace, and I am daily constrained.
Love,


1,000 GIFTS, #347 to #369

Monday, October 10, 2011

My spirit is overflowing with grace gifts, and it's not just because my counting is overdue...it is because of the tender mercies of Christ in my life. Many of my blessings this week surround a wonderful time away last week at the beach. I am in a very good place right now, both physically and spiritually at rest. God has taught me so much this past year and I love HIM so, MORE every day. Thank you sweet readers for sharing life's JOY with me.

347. Blueberry pancakes are sweet, but not as sweet as this grandgirl eating them...

348. Continuing to read The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer. Every woman needs to read/embrace this book, no matter her age or season of life.

349. A movie date to see "Courageous" with my sweet husband. WE LOVED IT. Praying that God will use this movie for His glory (He already is). If you have not seen it yet - go go go.

350. Have I mentioned that my parents live "across the pasture?" Well they do, and I am blessed to have them so close - they are wonderful, loving, giving people. They dog-sat my younger sister's two dogs week before last, and along with their dachsund, Dixie - they had a kennel. Here they are on an outing over to my house.  The dogs and the parentals needed a break.

351. My husband and I vacationed at the beach (Florida Gulf Coast) last week, and that in itself is a grace gift. There is something about being near the ocean that is restful to my spirit. Psalm 95:5 I've heard others speak of this peace, and it is certainly true for me. This year the weather was amazing, so cool and refreshing. We are thankful for the time to rest and spend time together - unbound by clocks and schedules. My favorite time is as the sun begins to set. Whether I'm home or at the ocean, I love dusk.

352. The sunrises are beautiful too. The ocean was as smooth as glass.

353. October 6, 1974 was a beautiful autumn Sunday night (a long time ago...). That "date" markes a "date" for me...the evening of my seventh date with my then new boyfriend. (Seven is the number of completion in the Bible - how fitting.)  We met at church, he was the young music minister. It was the summer before we each began our senior years of high school. That night was our first kiss and since we happened to be at the beach last week on the "37th anniversary of the first kiss," I wrote it in the sand. The tide may have washed my sentiments away, but the sweet memory is forever etched in my mind. God surely blessed me when he brought my future husband into my life that night 37 years ago...

354. I love this man...thankful for God's grace in bringing him to me (see #353).

355. I met a beautiful woman, Sybil, while shopping at the Destin Commons Mall day before yesterday. She assisted me in an Estee Lauder purchase at the Belks store. We shared more than mascara and lipstick...we shared Jesus Christ. When she was checking me out, she said "thank you Georgia Jan."  Now Sybil had no idea that I use "Georgia Jan" as my blog name...she just knew I was from Georgia. Well that led into conversation about blogs, Bible study, and our favorite teachers...Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, and Kay Arthur. We discovered that she and I both attended the very first Deeper Still conference in Nashville four years ago and enjoyed sharing memories of that time.  I love random meetings like this. God bless you Sybil.

356. My youngest son and his wife and son joined us at the beach later in the week. Sweet family times. Pop was in heaven when Jackson fell asleep in his arms during a morning walk on the beach. We loved having lots of time with this little fella. He is SO smart!

357. We ate lunch twice at Dewey Destin Seafood. You could look through the planks in the pier and see the water below! We were able to get a choice seat...right at the very end of the pier. The weather was GLORIOUS, so was my Grouper sandwich.

358. Pumpkin spice coffee...on the balcony...with the sound of the waves crashing on the beach. The wind blowing, the waxing gibbous moon (almost full), sweet conversation, hearts in love, souls at peace, minds at rest. G-R-A-C-E.

359. New crocs for the grandchildren. Boys=camo, girl=pink. Simple as that and I'm not waiting until Christmas to give them to them.

360. My husband loves seafood. (He even teased some friends and told them he would have shrimp milkshakes if he could.) We took a seafood break and ate Chinese at P.F. Changs one day, and I called him "P.F." the rest of the week. P.F. stood for "Platter/Feast" because every meal he ordered had either the word platter or feast in the title...

361. I found a twenty-dollar-bill on the floor at the CVS drugstore last week.  When I turned it in, I thought the manager was going to call a press conference. He said, "people don't turn in money."  I told him that the money didn't belong to me, but that I belong to Jesus, and His Spirit in me enabled me to do the right thing. I will say however, that it was quite a rush to look down and see that $20 lying there  :)

362. On our way home from the beach we had a tire going flat so we stopped at a Wal-Mart to get it fixed. We thanked the Good LORD that it happened exactly when it did and not on a remote road. We also thanked Him for His perfect timing and provisions. The GPS said there was no Wal-Mart or auto store nearby...oh, really? Yes there is/was.

363. While the tire was being repaired I meandered through the store and bought sewing machine needles and a new rotary cutter for some quilt fabric I have.  So thankful for my quilting JOY!

364. While walking back to the auto department, I saw an elderly gentleman in one of those little scooters going up and down the aisles. He seemed a little "out of sorts," so I asked him if I could help him. He told me that he lived alone and was looking for a pot to cook in, to warm up food. I found a perfect one on clearance and he was so pleased. That little random act of JOY was a blessing to my heart. I thanked the Lord for our low tire and my divine appointment.  We also shared Jesus in that clearance aisle.

365. A great report, a super great report from my annual physical. Aside from my salvation, God's grace gift of excellent health is so very precious to me. I thank Him daily.

366. Although I do not embrace "fortune cookies," I loved this one...because he was sitting right to my left, the one with whom I shared a kiss 37 years ago...remember? 
367. The welcome sight of HOME...fall color and a field of white cotton across the street.
368. Collard greens and turnip greens growing growing growing...I love this garden.

369. Rainy days and Mondays do NOT get me down. This has been a glorious week and to have the blessing of a day off (Columbus Day Holiday) to reflect, count grace gifts, and reflect some more...

Thank you JESUS.

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1,000 GIFTS

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