1,000 GIFTS, #509 to #523

Monday, February 20, 2012

 
As I begin this second half of counting His gifts of grace all around me, I've thought about this journey that was begun last February. I'm not the same person I was, all glory to Jesus. I have been stretched in my faith and I wouldn't trade the lessons learned for anything. I absolutely love this season of life I am in...

509. The deep contentment that comes from a long, steady marriage. I love what my friend Beth Moore has said before that applies to this joy:  "a long walk of obedience in the same direction."  That long walk of obedience can apply to many areas of our lives...by God's grace.

510.  The joy of family. I love Saturday morning breakfasts with everyone around the table. There are four generations here...my parents, me and my husband, my sons and their wives and our grandchildren. I was sitting by my mom and Zeke before I stepped away to take this picture...

511. Impromptu gatherings. This Valentine's night supper last week at a local pizza restaurant was so much fun. I love my boys and their wives & the grandchildren so much - thankful to spend this "day of love" with them for a meal.

512.  Kissing Cousins. Sweet Madie grabbing a kiss from sweet Jackson... She had just told me to "take her picture."  These two grandchildren are 2 weeks to the day apart in age. JOY!

513.  Blueberry pancakes are always on the table. Looking forward to June when our blueberries are in season again.

514.  Today...a holiday from work called "President's Day," is so welcome to me. I am committed to pray for this election year as we seek a new President. This scripture from Daniel 2:20-22 comforts me in these days of uncertainty in our country...
Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
For wisdom and might are His.
And He changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have understanding.
He reveals deep and secret things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And light dwells with Him.

515. Late afternoon sun breaking through the clouds.

516. When our former minister resigned (December 2010), our church went through an interim time in search of a new senior pastor. [I wrote about our new pastor in this past last November.  We are so blessed by the awesome expository preaching of our pastor Dr. Jim Perdue. He is a shepherd to us.] Before Pastor Jim came, God blessed us with a wonderful interim pastor - Rev. Joel Southerland. We honored the Southerland family at church yesterday and then had a big old churchwide fellowship last night! EVERYONE was talking about the sweetness of the Spirit in our midst. This is Brother Joel & his precious wife Sherryde. God blessed our hearts with this couple and their girls Savana and Mikayla. They will always be part of our lives as they were instruments of love and healing in our church. We love y'all.
Wall to wall fellowship at SBCWR...

517. Sweet Miss Madie and her Hollywood entrace to the family breakfast this past Saturday...this girl does not meet a stranger.

518. Jackson loves loves loves tractors, big trucks, motorcycles, anything with wheels. This is my Dad's big John Deere out in the hay barn. They stopped there on their way out this past Saturday. Jackson has to see the moo cows and chickens...and the tractors.

519. My best friend Lanie is making a quilt called "What Cancer Cannot Do." I wept tears of joy and thankfulness to God when she showed the finished quilt top to me last week. This is the quilt label...how I praise God for sparing her life. (Teal is the color for ovarian cancer.) She encourages all women to have their annual physicals. That is when her cancer was discovered.  One of the quotes on the quilt top says, "Cancer cannot destroy friendship."  Amen my sweet friend.

520. Right now as I type this, there is a big fire in this new firepit my husband purchased. It has 3 Willows Farm cut out on the rim in two places. We love living in the country with redneck firepits made from big old recycled propane tanks...we are going green here at the farm.

521. My oldest son Jeremy and his wife Carrie took their two children, Zeke and Madie, to go see Memama Morton this morning. She is their great-grandmother and my precious mother-in-law. She will be 90 in June and is the matriarch of our family...a godly woman who has taught me so much. I love her dearly. We enjoyed a long visit with her this past Friday evening.

522. For some reason my 3 grandchildren love my pantry. Maybe it's the Spiderman and Dora snacks that I keep there. :)  

523. I love to browse seed catalogs and think of the delicious fresh vegetables we will enjoy from my garden this summer.  In fact, I need to head outside now and PRUNE back the rosebushes and crepe myrtles. 

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post - I wouldn't take anything for the journey of my life this past year, the PRUNING has been hard, but oh so necessary for growth. Thank you Jesus.
 John 15:1-2 (Amplified Version)
I AM the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser.
Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing]
 He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and
 repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit,
to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.



 


1,000 GIFTS, #500 to #508

Monday, February 13, 2012


500. Home. A wonderful place to be on this cold wintry night. I love that this 500th gift - a tribute to my home - is right in the middle of my counting to 1,000. Our home is also a centerpiece of grace for our family, our ministry, HOME. A place to just be - a respite from busy lives. So very thankful for HOME. A gift of His grace, it belongs to Him.

501. A time of sweet fellowship in our HOME for the pastors and their wives from our church. We enjoyed time around the table for a meal, and then time just sitting together, laughing and sharing stories. A gift to be together - to serve together.

502. The Jesus Storybook Bible where "every story wispers His Name."  We love this Bible for children and enjoy reading it to our grandchildren. I LOVE reading it for me!

503.  This book, "The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes"  was a favorite book to read at bedtime with our boys when they were small. My grandchildren have it and I gave a copy to our pastor's wife and student ministry associate's wife too.

504. An awesome time of prayer and planning with Cindy, Teresa, and Jennifer last week. I am so blessed to serve with these precious ladies in women's ministry. Our hearts are knit together in His love and we had one of the best meetings in years. We are planning some missions projects and also some special events for the women in our church. 

505. Wednesday night Bible study is so special. I look forward to spending time with some very special ladies each week.  We are almost through with Duty or Delight by Tammie Head. I would have loved to have had this material 30 years ago when I was a young pastor's wife caught up in "spiritual performance."  Thankful to say today that my delight is in Him and serving Him is not a duty.

506. A very special time Saturday morning with my whole family here for breakfast. I really enjoy simple times the best and we surely enjoy each other's company.  My three grandchildren are beginning to play together and it is delightful.

507. It was a joy to attend my church's "Anna's Banquet," this past Saturday. The banquet is for widows. Our pastors and deacons serve the widows a meal and then we just enjoyed each other's company. I loved sitting with Sarah, Sara, Aileen and Frances.  PRECIOUS!

508. I began my list with thankfulness for my earthly HOME, but I am very aware (and very sure) that my real HOME is Heaven. But until I take up residence there, I want to treat every day as special - precious - gifts of His grace, because as James 4:14 says...

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.
For what is your life?
It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time,
and then vanisheth away.


1,000 GIFTS, #479 to #499

Monday, February 6, 2012


479. Hymns - glorious hymns about God's blessings. Showers of blessings, showers of blessings we need...mercy drops round us are falling, but for the showers we plead. So thankful for His tender mercies as I continue this journey to 1000 gifts.
  
480. Beautiful glorious pink sunrises through the pecan trees on the farm. Welcome morning!

481. This gorgeous tree is in full bloom...although Spring is still 6 weeks ago, this big tulip magnolia (magnolia lilifloria) is a JOY and sight to behold (downtown Perry, GA).

482. Sweet grandgirl Miss Madie wearing her new shirt Gran Jan made for her (see gift #477). She calls me "Jan Jan" instead of Gran Jan. Melts my heart.

483. I am loving the JOY of my embroidery machine - this is a little "dot font" monogram I put on a shirt for my sweet grandgirl!

484. A big beautiful LIVE OAK tree in Savannah, GA...the official state tree of GEORGIA and one of my favorite trees.

485. Sweet times with sixteen of the most wonderful women as we planned and prayed together at our annual women's ministry team retreat last weekend.  God is so good to give JOY and FELLOWSHIP and KINDRED HEARTS as we shared around the table.  We went to a neat place called New Ebenezer Retreat Center that was a delightful respite.

486. Bunk Beds, delightful bunk beds in our retreat cabin. It has been YEARS since I climbed a ladder to the top bunk. We laughed until the late night (early morning). Our youngest team member is 24, the oldest is 71. Pure therapy for the soul...girl time.

487. A long walk Saturday morning to the bluff of the Savannah River which is where the retreat center is located.  Came across this old church that has been "in continuous worship of God since 1734."  Amazingly serene.

488. Lunch on River Street in Savannah before we headed over to the Retreat Center!
(Melissa, Stephanie (our new pastor's wife), Julie, Joy, Debbie, Jennifer)
(Leia, Cindy, Teresa, Doris, Charlene, Kathy)
(Taneea, Lanie, Patsy, me)

489. Someone built seats and a pulpit overlooking the river bluff. I can just imagine sitting here for a glorious Easter morning sunrise service.

490. Sweet surprise visit from Jonathan and Jackson this past Saturday - another winter day that felt "just like Spring."  And a visit to the farm always requires checking out the cows and chickens...

491. The sight of these daffodils blooming in my garden always brings me joy - God's glorious creation, gifts of His grace...the promise of a "new season."

492.  I've enjoyed watching this beaver dam being built (about 2 miles from our home). My husband pointed it out to me recently. He knows how I enjoy all things "outside by God's creation."

493. Just finished a baby quilt yesterday for some dear friends awaiting their first grandchild. His nursery is a "John Deere" theme. Yes - yet another John Deer quilt...

494. Have I mentioned how much Travis Cottrell's music blesses me? Can you tell by this iTunes list on my computer?  Thankful for his ministry.

495. Speaking of music, this is little Jackson sitting on the floor near his daddy in the back of our church's worship center listening to his Pop (my husband) leading worship...generational joy! Grace.

496. A wonderful chocolate covered sweet cream-filled heart-shaped donut - yes, I took a picture of my donut and got caught doing so. Didn't bother me one bit.  Enjoyed every sweet bite.

497. Bulbs, bulbs, bulbs. Springtime cometh. Oh the joy in each of those little planters. It was all I could not to get one of everything. But I restrained. For now.  It's still winter. But not for long!

498. My sister Jean would have celebrated her 52nd birthday this past January 18.  I wrote a blog post about Jean's brief life here .  Her daughter, my niece Amy, is so much like her.  Amy was just 3 weeks away from her 2nd birthday when Jean died. She looks more like her momma every single day, especially in this picture...

499. And here is the silly side of me (I am actually silly on all sides) from a trip to Wendy's for lunch...it makes me smile every time I look at it, so I saved it. I love to laugh and be silly, which I hope will help me grow old gracefully. I really pray about that. That I may never lose the wonder of each day. Counting His gifts to 1,000 is sure helping me on the journey. Amen?

May God bless you and hold you close,

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1,000 GIFTS

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