Last Day of 2011 & Christmas Reflections

Saturday, December 31, 2011

As this last day of 2011 comes to a close in about 5 hours, I have been reflecting as most of us do when a new year rolls around. The same thing is going on over on Beth Moore's Blog, and I also loved the post on the InCourage blog with 20 Questions for Reflection by Tsh Oxenreider

Christmas...I am blessed with a job in our local school system and the office closes for the last 2 weeks of the year which gives me a great Christmas break.  I've been extra busy but have enjoyed every moment.  Here are a few pictures for my memories on this blog...

I don't do a whole lot of Christmas decorating - just the mantle,
our tree and some wreaths outside on the doors and windows.

This ornament is very special to me. 
Our First Christmas as Husband and Wife - 1977

Our Three Beautiful Grandchildren
Christmas with grandchildren in the home changes everything for the better.

Our 2011 Christmas Tree
I love a lot of lights on the tree - this one had 400 clear lights
and 900 festive colored lights. It was beautiful.

Our delightful 14th Annual Women's Ministry Christmas Brunch speaker
Leah Adams of The Point Ministries

 Our awesome Church Choir and orchestra's Christmas program
was the most worshipful ever this year.
One of my most favorite things in the
entire universe is singing in this choir!

Most Christmas lights I've ever seen - near downtown Perry, GA 

Sweet time reminiscing memories of family and friends as I
mailed Christmas cards this year...

My mom and sisters and I on our trip to Atlanta last week to
see Amy Grant & Vince Gill at the Fabulous Fox Theatre!
Sweet time with memories made.

One of my favorite Christmas coffee mugs!

Collards are still in my garden,
 I picked these at 3:30 and we ate them for supper at 6:00
Now that is FRESH!

Jalepeno Cornbread for the collards - so good.

GRAN JAN'S JOY in babysitting this sweet grandboy while my
son and his wife finished Christmas shopping (for him). 

 Santa is a member of my church (he really is). 
And I was so glad he was able to be there Christmas morning.

C-   Counselor
H-   Holy One
R-   Redeemer
I-    I AM
S-   Shepherd
T-  Teacher
M-  Mediator
A-  Almighty
S-  Savior

Ready for 2012 and all that our Almighty God has in store. He has been Faithful and True to me with abundant Grace and Mercy in 2011.  I love Him so.

1,000 GIFTS, #427 to #443

Monday, December 12, 2011

So many times on this journey to 1,000 gifts I am reminded of the old hymn "Count Your Blessings." I've heard it and sang it so many times in church with my husband leading in worship. I've been in church services when people would testify of His blessings. So really this counting is not a new thing, but a great discipline of old. The chorus of the hymn says:
Count your blessings,
Name them one by one
Count your many blessings,
See what God has done.

Soooooooooooooooooo, here i go, almost half-way there!
427.  Since my post almost a month ago I celebrated my birthday on November 16. I'm thankful for all the cards and gifts and wonderful birthday messages on Facebook. I really was overwhelmed with love. I'm thankful for LIFE.

428.  Birthday flowers from my husband (roses), and my sweet friend and partner in women's ministry, Cindy (fall bouquet). The colors were vivid and brought me so much JOY. Our Creator God sure makes beautiful flowers.

429. Thanksgiving. Next to Easter, it is my favorite holiday because it is "uncluttered." Family, food, fellowship, and exactly what this post is about - BLESSINGS. This picture says it all...food everywhere. It was a great year because EVERYONE was around the table. That in itself is a gift of His grace.

430. My dad loves our homeplace and is so proud of this new sign at his driveway. Double M Farm Road. Watching him enjoy life brings me great joy. I love my parents. They celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary on November 23rd. Grace.

431. Planting pansies is one of my many fall delights. I love to plant the little violas in my strawberry jar. Another JOY from our marvelous Creator. Flowers in COLD weather!

432. While outside enjoying my gardening day, I had quite an audience.

433. A week off for Thanksgiving. It was the best week I've had in a long time. It began with a visit to see my amazing mother-in-law, included time with my grandchildren, my whole family around my table, time in the garden and in the sewing room, and the PEACE and JOY of awaiting our new pastor's arrival!

434. My church's women's ministry has an annual Christmas Brunch and this year we had an amazing speaker - Leah Adams of Point Ministries.  God has given her a message about leaving a Godly legacy. She brought a word from THE WORD and is a delightful woman. I am very thankful for her life and ministry. God is using her and did I mention that she is delightful?

435. This sweet woman is my Merle Norman lady. I love Mrs. Sarah. Isn't she beautiful? Thank you Mrs. Gayle for sending me this picture from the Christmas Brunch. I thank God for the women He has brought into my life to encourage and mentor me in the faith. My heart's desire is to do the same for the women He brings in my life.

436. A combination Birthday/Christmas/Valentine's/Groundhog Day/Anniversary/Fourth of July/Memorial Day, etc. etc. gift. A new embroidery machine for my sewing DELIGHTS. This is my sewing room happy place. The new machine is on the left.

437. Because of #436, I can now make my own labels for my quilts (this is the first one I made and it is for a Christmas table runner I quilted). I really look forward to making personalized gifts for my grandchildren too. I have much to learn but am enjoying every minute. My friend Lanie has been so much help to me.

438. My baby boy with his baby boy. JOY. They are clones. I love this picture and their similar expressions...

439. God sent us the prettiest, brightest, largest, fullest, and most delightful RAINBOW I have ever laid my eyes on. It even made the local news. I pulled off the road 3 times on my drive home from work to just delight in it's beauty and to praise and thank my COVENANT KEEPING GOD.

440. I babysat my oldest son's children one night a couple of weeks ago so he and his wife could attend an event for Dr. Johnny Hunt. Out of the blue, this little fellow looked up and said to me, "Gran Jan, we don't pray to kings...we only pray to God." I actually took this picture right after he shared that WISDOM with Gran Jan. He is three years old and is the inspiration for my blog. I love you Zeke.

441. DAILY GRACE. One of my many favorite hymns is ""Come Thou Fount" I especially love this line because in the busyness of life as wife, mom, Gran Jan, daughter, sister, friend, employee, choir member, women's ministry leader, I am prone to WANDER. Sweet Jesus keep my heart centered on You.

442. I love my front porch swing and it now has a fresh coat of red paint. Red is my favorite color and my sweet husband painted it for me. He also surprised me one night last week with supper ON THE TABLE when I came home from work. He is the kindest and most generous man I know and he is mine.

443. This precious red-bowed beauty is my granddaughter Madie. She is sweeter than Georgia sweet tea. She is starting to "talk up a storm" as we say in the South. We were making reindeer cookies. She was putting Rudolph's red M&M nose in place. Here is a link to making these reindeer cookies from Southern Living. Easy and fun.

Next week is going to be all about CHRISTMAS and I cannot wait to share gifts of the season. If you're prone to wander, may God bind your wandering heart to Himself and may you intentionally seek quiet moments every day to reflect on the JOY of His coming to this Earth to redeem your soul.



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