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.