Giveaway Winner - Jenny Hope

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Happy last day of January everyone!  The winner for the GIVEAWAY of the wonderful worship music is #3 - Jenny Hope! Please email me your address so I can mail your CD to you.  I hope you and your precious baby boy will love this music.  You are a sweetheart.

1,000 GIFTS, #463 to #478

Monday, January 23, 2012

463. I love my church. I love the people. They are family. Second Baptist Church, Warner Robins GA is my church HOME. My husband has served on staff there almost 24 years (June 1st). We raised our boys there - they were both saved and baptized there. I have a grandson there now - how awesome is that? On Wednesdays I head there straight from work to teach Bible study. This week I was blessed at the sight of the late winter sun shining on the steeple. Thank you Jesus for Your Light and this light in the community.
464. And I love my oldest son's church too. He pastors Cross Point Baptist Church and is a mighty fine son, brother, husband, daddy, and preacher. I am most blessed to be his mom. I would sure love to hear him preach in person more often, but I'm thankful for their podcast. Also thankful he and his wife and my two oldest grandchildren are close by.

465. And here are those two babies sporting their "dinosaur" shirts I made for them. They were headed to Mother's Morning Out and I'm grateful to my sweet daughter-in-law for taking the time to share this picture with Gran Jan.
466. My youngest son hosts an annual BBQ for his friends in January. It was last weekend. Jonathan has always had a lot of friends. (Here he is in our "barn," getting ready for the feast.) He is a good man to have for a friend. He is also a wonderful son, husband, daddy, and brother.  It is pure JOY to be his mom.
467. My dad is a great cook and he loves to cook. (Reference gift #457.) He and Jonathan (above) spent the day before the Friends BBQ making my dad's family recipe of southern Brunswick Stew. The stew was delicious but I love even more that they made a memory and dad passed down that tradition. They even cooked it in an old cast iron pot that belonged to my dad's dad. Priceless to me.

468.  My church hosted the Bailey Smith Real Evangelism Conference this past weekend. I'm thankful for the legacy of this great man and thankful for the pastors and wives that were encouraged by the conference.  Our choir sang Wednesday night and it was a JOY.
469. Evangelist Bill Stafford is one of the heroes of our family. He preached in the conference that I just mentioned above. God has used this man to teach me about the Christ Life, about stewardship and about selflessness. I have not arrived by any means, but I'm thankful for this saint who is nearing 80 years old. Thankful for pastors and evangelists of his generation. May God raise up more mighty men like these.
470. There was another great conference this past week that I was supposed to attend, but I just knew I needed to be home for the event at my own church.  SSMTC (Siesta Scripture Memory Team Celebration) was the culmination of a year-long scripture memory committment through Living Proof Ministries. I participated in the first event in Houston back in 2010 after memorizing all year in 2009.  I thank God for the power of His Word - this grace gift NEVER stops giving.

471. I'm thankful that even though I could not attend, the tender hearted teacher in Beth Moore made a way for the event to be streamed live. Thank you God and may you bless the staff at Living Proof Ministries for this precious gift to us. I watched Saturday morning on my laptop.
472. These are two dear friends of mine from AL and TN that attended the SSMTC. We met through the ministry of the BLOG and outreach of Living Proof Ministries. Truly. They are dear to me. Genuine friends who I can contact at the reach of an iPhone. :)  Thankful for technology in this generation, and especially Hey Tell :) Right girls?
473. Although I could not attend the SSMTC I wanted to share my JOY in my spiral of verses for 2011. I can literally see God's Hand at work through the progression of the year and the Word that ministered to my heart. I love God's Word. I encourage you to begin a memory plan if you're not already doing so. It will be LIFE to you. 
474. Red cowboy boots on a list of gifts? You betcha! My sweet husband gave me these when I turned 40 (just a wee bit ago). :) I wore these to let my friends at SSMTC 2012 know I was with them in Texas spirit on Friday. :)
475. This is my 365 Day Picture app on my iPhone. You simply take a picture for every day of the year to capture your year in photos. Technology is a wonderful thing when kept in its proper place. God's Word tells us in James 4:14 that life is but a vapor. I can honestly say that I count every day on this Earth as a gift from the Good Lord. I'm savoring them.
476. Thankful for doctors who take care of little boys when they don't feel well. My daughter-in-law sent me this picture of sweet Jackson boy on the way home from the doctor yesterday. Thankful for God's healing in our lives, physically and spiritually. They stopped to get him a Sonic fruit slush - how precious is that?
477. Thankful again for the joy of handwork and the way it calms my busyness and centers my heart. I made this for my little granddaughter for Valentine's Day. She called me last night and told me she was praying for me (via her daddy's coaching). I can't wait to give this to her.
478. I came home from work one evening last week to see two of the most important men in my life (besides my sons and grandsons) laying out a plan to plant 35 pecan trees here at the farm.  My husband and my Dad. Thankful thankful thankful for them.

Sweet blog readers! Thank you for your comments and for your support. I pray your week goes well and you can see His Grace Gifts through your daily lives. He is ever present even when you don't realize that truth. That is the joy of counting these gifts - you see them EVERYWHERE and you become more aware than ever of the simplicity of life at a slower pace, sensitive to His Voice and Spirit. I'm learning - sojourning.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Our lives are like quilts - bits and pieces,
joy and sorrow, stitched with God's love.

My friend Lanie called me back last Spring (2011) and asked me if I would be interested in taking a quilting class with her. I had taken a quilting class years ago when I was in my late 20's. That busy season of life as a stay-at-home mom with two little boys didn't allow much time for learning to quilt. Fast forward to now when I am in the "empty nest/Gran Jan" season of life and everything in me said, "YES!" So I signed us both up that very day.

We went to class at a wonderful shop called "A Scarlet Thread."   The owners are believers in Jesus Christ - wonderful people. The shop is the largest quilt store in Georgia and the ladies who work there are kind and helpful, always making us feel at home. One of the side blessings of the 8 week Tuesday night class was our "road trip." We had to travel over an hour each way and the class itself was two hours long. There is nothing like precious "windshield time" in the car for long uninterrupted conversation with a dear friend. We took turns driving each week and came up with a plan the first night. Whoever didn't drive bought supper that night (and Starbucks on the way home to keep us AWAKE)! God blessed us with traveling safety for the entire two months we went to class as we logged many miles up and down Interstate 75!

I have decided to keep a record of the quilts I make for my own joy and hopefully as a memory for my grandchildren one day as well. I had no idea the joy and contentment that quilting would bring me.  Last year was unprecedented for my husband and me in ministry. It was a difficult yet blessed time of growth for us spiritually. Aside from time in God's Word and praying - this creative outlet calmed my heart as I would sit at the sewing machine...sewing and praying.

Here are the quilts I've made so far, beginning with the first one I made back when I was 29 years old. As God would have it, Lanie's own mother, Mrs. Polly, is the one who finished the hand quilting for me several years ago. She passed away back in 2010, making it more of a treasure to me. It is called a "Sampler" quilt - each block is a different type of patchwork. This one hangs in my home office/library. My oldest son's mother-in-law, Catharine DeLoach, finished the binding for me. She is very talented.

#2. (May 2011) My second quilt was made during the class at "A Scarlet Thread."  The pictures show both the front and the back.  I need to make a label for this one...

#3. (June 2011) What ever made me think I was ready to give a quilt away as such a newbie quilter? All I can say is...LOVE. I made this quilt for Beth Moore for her birthday. Keep in mind that I finished my last class the end of May and her birthday is June 16th. It was stitched with love and I told her it was flawed, just like me! She sent me a picture of her and the Director of Living Proof Ministries, Sabrina, holding it up. (The colors in the picture of the label below are truer.)

#4. (August 2011) When I began this quilt I really didn't have anyone in mind to give it to -I just loved the colors and the pattern was very simple as you can see. Straight ROWS with two vertical inserts. The beautiful batik fabric was so much fun to sew. I ended up giving it to my youngest son's wife, my daughter-in-law, Erin. She loves purple and it was just meant to be. She loves it!

#5. #6. #7.  The Grandchildren all received quilts from Gran Jan for Christmas last month.  The two grandboys were John Deere themed and my granddaughter's was just pink and precious.  This is Zeke's quilt with a solid green backing:
This is Jackson's quilt with a solid yellow backing (and a closeup of the label):
This is Miss Madie's pink quilt (front and back).

#8. This is my Dad's "fleece" shaggy raggy quilt. It is very WARM and he loves it too! This was part of his Christmas gift too. I used my new embroidery machine to make his label.

#9. This is the first "baby quilt" I've made. It was a joy to give this to the newborn daughter of a young woman who serves with me in Women's Ministries at our church.

I have 3 more quilts started now - one that has proven a bit difficult, so I just work on it sparingly; one for my youngest son that I'm almost through piecing, and then another baby quilt that I just bought the fabric for last week.  My oldest son and his wife have many beautiful quilts made by her mom - she is a very talented quilter, so I haven't made any for them...yet. :)

This I know - I am having a wonderful time. I have a lot to learn but I'm loving every moment and I'm thankful to have the resources to enjoy this delightful hobby!

God is so good to me!

1,000 GIFTS, #444 to #462

Monday, January 16, 2012

WOW! We are two weeks into 2012 and it has been a month since I wrote a post on my journey to 1,000 gifts of grace! I have had the best Christmas holiday and I'm thankful - blessed - content - and looking forward to 2012.

444. This is one of my favorite ornaments - and describes the truth of CHRISTmas. Although I wrote a Christmas post here, I'm still celebrating the JOY of one of the best Christmases our family has had in several years...full of His peace.
445. Me and my husband and our three grandchildren - what FUN! Thankful for sweet children who worked HARD to help us attempt to get a picture with three - three and under...
446. I came home from work one evening and my sweet husband had put up Christmas lights on the gate at the end of our driveway. The sky was so pretty and I counted it a blessing that he would do something that special for me!
447. Babysitting this precious little grandson. He was absolutely the sweetest boy this morning, and I LOVE JACKSON BOY! GRAN JAN'S JOY!
448. There is nothing like children at Christmas time...except grandchildren! We had the best time enjoying Zeke, Madie, and had been a long time since I bought some boy toys, and it was my first time to buy a doll [for sweet Madie].
449. These two little cousin cherubs are exactly two weeks apart in age...they are precious. I know I count them over and over (in various blessings), but let me tell you - I can't help it! This was Christmas Eve.
450. How many people have walked the aisles of churches and Billy Graham crusades while the song "Just As I Am" was being sung? Travis Cottrell has a fresh and glorious arrangement to this song that has really ministered to our church family. WE LOVE IT!  Thank you Travis!
451. My dearest friend Lanie and I love to sew and quilt and recently have also been doing some machine embroidery. The week after Christmas we had our "QTT" (Quilting Time Together) sew-in and made some cute things for our grandchildren. The quietness of getting away and being with a long time friend is a great gift of God's grace.
452. Lanie and I have also started a fun idea we are calling the "Boomerang Bag." She gives me a gift in a bag and then I give her a gift back in the same bag...and so on. She gave me this mug and I gave her some quilting fabric last week.  [Right now, it's her turn and I'm waiting for the Boomerang Bag to show back up.] Grin. The element of anticipation makes it all the more fun. No rules, no timeframe, just surprise fun.
453. This precious young mom serves on the Women's Ministry Leadership Team at my church. She is working on her doctorate from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and she is also the mom of this beautiful baby girl, who is 5 months old today. I made my first baby quilt for her and she sent me this picture. I love this family.  
Here is the quilt. I had so much fun making it.
454. Hot tea on a cold winter's night. I love Constant Comment Tea  with its sweet orange and and spice flavor. God is so good to create all the wonderful flavors we enjoy. 
455. I know we say the "blessing" over our food and some people even call it saying Grace, but do you truly stop and thank God for your food? After my trip to South Africa two years ago (journaled here) my outlook on all of my material blessings has not been the same. I took a picture of my salad last week and my co-workers laughed at me...but they thought it was a pretty salad too. And I was grateful to have it.
456. One of the most wonderful gifts of God's grace thus far in 2012 has been the arrival of our new pastor, Dr. Jim Perdue and his sweet family. We are beyond excited and thankful. He preaches expositionally - verse by verse by verse from God's Holy Word. We are thrilled - he is a man of integrity and he loves us like a pastor-shepherd should. He began his ministry on the first day of the first month of 2012. THANK YOU JESUS FOR NEW BEGINNINGS.
457. I am so thankful to have my parents - both healthy and active in our lives. My Dad is a great cook and here he is doing what he does best..."doctoring up" something my sister Jo had already prepared...WE LOVE YOU DAD! 
458. My mom and sisters and I went to the Fabulous Fox in Atlanta the week before Christmas. We ate at Cheesecake Factory and we had a wonderful time. I love my family. I love being the oldest sister. I love being the brunt of all their jokes. This is me and my mom.
My two younger sisters...aren't they beautiful?
459. I absolutely love birds and really just love being outside to daily enjoy God's grace gifts. Last week I had the delight to pull up at work to a tree FULL of cedar waxwings. They are migratory and were eating all the berries off a Bradford tree.
460. A bit of Springtime on my kitchen window sill during winter. This is a pink hyacinth forced to bloom. I am thankful (again) for God's gifts of flowers and change of seasons. I also love those babies in that picture...they warm my heart no matter the season...
461. And one of God's greatest grace gifts to me - Bible study. I especially love the authors of this new study - James, Mercy Triumphs, Beth Moore and her daughter, Melissa Fitzpatrick. I will begin facilitating this in March. I'm praying for a great harvest.
462. My last gift tonight on this post was actually the start to my day this January morning. A beautiful colorful sky. Thank you Creator God.

In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice;
 In the morning I will order my prayer
to You and eagerly watch.
Psalm 5:3



1,000 GIFTS

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