1,000 GIFTS, #729 to #748

Monday, July 23, 2012

This counting continues, and as I near the goal of 1,000 GIFTS, I know in my heart I will always love this discipline. When you live with your eyes wide open and a heart full to see and receive God's Hand at work all around in everyday living, your perspective changes and it is for good. I realize too that a pattern has emerged...JOY that centers around my church, my marriage, my family and friends, my home, and my love for gardening, Bible study, women's ministry, and sewing and quilting. That in itself is a gift...

729. The sameness of a routine that is peaceful...work, church, family, chores. No one is sick, everyone has a job, we all are serving our Savior. It doesn't get any better than that.

730. The peace that comes from knowing beyond any shadow of doubt that if the peaceful routine is interrupted...my Heavenly Father still reigns...and He is well in control.

731. A shopping Saturday with my friend Lanie. There's a peaceful JOY that comes from spending time with a close friend...no agenda, just shopping and a nice lunch.

732. Zinnias. I plant them each summer by saving the seeds of the current season's flowers. I gave this bouquet to the receptionist where I work. 

733. Teaching young women in Sunday School while their teacher (my sweet young friend Natalie) was in Ukraine on a mission trip. What a delight to my heart. These young women encourage me so much with hope for the next generation.

734. The children of our Pastor and his wife.  Precious...little stairsteps, so close in age. I look forward to watching them grow up.

735. Our pastor taught through the book of Philemon the past few weeks. He preached a message on forgiveness that was the best I've ever heard. I'm going to share those notes soon. Life-changing for some folks. I'm thankful that Christ forgives and I'm thankful that others are willing to forgive me when I ask them...

736. Little grandsons running through the sprinklers on a hot evening...JOY abounded.

737. Stepping outside before dawn with a good cup of coffee to see the MAJESTY of a sunrise...

738. Tomato bounty from our garden this summer. So thankful.

739.  Extra responsibilty at work last week led me to seek strength from the Word of God.

740. These two grandbabies sporting their shirts Gran Jan made them for their vacation. I'm looking at Miss Madie and thinking she is saying "Jan-Jan." :)

741. My dad and my grandson in the garden this past Saturday. I love having my family close. So many families live far away from each other, and I don't take for granted that mine are close, both physically and in the love we have for one another.

742. Thankful for a new quilt to finish - this one is for my husband. It is from the class I took last month with my friend lanie. It was so much fun to make.

743. Our fourth grandchild is due in late September...her room is being made ready. Our hearts are getting ready too. I can hardly wait to meet her. Let the monogramming begin!

744. This recipe is so much fun. It comes from The Pirates House restaurant in Savannah. It is a fun and easy way to "make pickles." They are really good too.

745. Attended a beautiful wedding this past Saturday, 7-21-12, as David and Kelli exchanged vows before a big group of family and friends. (I thought this cake was beautiful.) It always really touches me to attend the wedding of a couple who are both active in their faith. David is called to ministry and will be planting a church in Florida some time next year.

746. Late one afternoon last week these big old thunder clouds rolled in while the sun was still shining. I love this photo so much.

747. The JOY that comes from worship - worship with my church family. United in heart and so at peace in our church family as we serve together.  Thankful beyond words.

748.  The JOY in anticipating a women's ministry event.  We are planning on a "road trip" to Charleston next month to a Living Proof Live event.  Can't wait to see Beth Moore and worship with Travis Cottrell and thousands of my sisters in Christ. There will be much JOY on the way over and back "on the bus" too. Fellowship sweet. 

May God Bless You and Keep You and Hold You in the Palm of His Hand,

1,000 GIFTS, #711 to #728

Monday, July 9, 2012

Was it only just last week I was so excited about a week off to slow down? Well...my heart is FULL to overflowing from the JOYS of last week's slower pace. We enjoyed a simple staycation, a stay-at-home vacation, a concept I highly recommend...so restful for both body and soul.

711. So thankful for a wonderful service of patriotic music and powerful preaching at my church. I'm thankful to be an American citizen. Even with all the issues in our land today, there is still no place I would rather live as I sojourn this Earth...I'm praying for our country in this election year. (Daniel 2:20-23)

712. My friend Lanie and I had a "sew-in" last Friday. She brought her machine and several projects over and we also made dresses for our granddaughters. We laughed like only friends of many years friends can do. It was a day of JOY and soul therapy too...bonding and sewing and quilting.

713. Thankful to God for granddaughters. Lanie and I both raised sons, and now she has two granddaughters. I have one granddaughter and one on the way...God's wonderful gracious grace. Here are the dresses we made on Friday...complete with monograms.

714. And here is my sweet girl in her dress...my daughter-in-law Carrie sent me this picture just this morning...touched my heart.

715. A trip to the Farmers Market with my daughter-in-law Erin for fresh vegetables to "put up" as we Southern women call that process. We blanched butter beans, zipper peas, and crowder peas for our freezers. Hard but fulfilling work. I loved spending the day with her and one of the reasons is because...

716.  ...she left Jackson with us to spend the night and we had such a wonderful time with him. He is our youngest grandson, reminds us so much of his daddy at that age.

717. Here he is on the front porch with Pop, watching down the road for his mommy and daddy to come...

718. Can you see why he reminds us of his daddy at that age? Herein is proof...

719. Time with my parents without the rush of a work schedule...we spent a day going to the local peach packing sheds and enjoyed fresh peach ice cream too.  I love my parents. Did you know the first commandment with a promise in God's Word is found in Exodus 20:12?  Honor your father and mother...

720. Garden time. Enough said.

721. An entire day spent with my husband...shopping, eating out, uninterrupted conversation, reconnecting. So sweet and so important for good marriages.

722. Praying daily for a missions team from my church in Ukraine. I love these folks - every one of them. They are gathered here on their way to the airport in the wee hours of the morning last Friday. They are awesome people on mission for Jesus. As our Pastor, Dr. Perdue says, his desire is that the sun will never set on the ministry of our church as we serve globally. We also have students in South Africa as well as down the street from our church this week, serving in a trailer park conducting Backyard Bible Clubs. I LOVE MY CHURCH FAMILY...

723. Celebrating the JOY of my spiritual birthday - July 7th. Reflecting on the day the Savior reached down for me...I.HAVE.NEVER.BEEN.THE.SAME. Half my life I have known Him. And Hallelujah, He's known me since before there was a me. (Psalm 139:16)

724. I know I often mention my fondness for sewing and embroidery, but I am especially happy to share these "crab shirts" I made at the request of my daughter-in-law Carrie for my grandchildren and some of their friends for a beach vacation. I loved doing this for them. I asked my daughters-in-law to save all the shirts I am making for the grandchildren because I think it would be fun to make a quilt out of them all one day...can we say Memory Lane?
725. Be still my heart. My little yet-to-be-born granddaughter's first of many monogrammed gifts from Gran Jan. TIny little Emery, we are praying for your arrival to the family in September. Can't wait to meet you...

726. The JOY of a rare opportunity to attend our son's church and hear him preach yesterday morning - a message from the fifth chapter of Mark where Jesus delivers the man possessed by demons. Jeremy made a strong, clear biblical application and this momma's heart was deeply moved and thankful.

727. My daughter-in-law Carrie's pot roast dinner on Sunday. Family around the table is one of God's sweetest gifts in my life.  

728. One of my favorite delights from last week is this picture I took of an old fireplace out in the middle of the country. My dad stopped to let me get the picture (that in itself is a gift too). I can't help but wonder about the family that lived here long ago and the hands that built that fireplace.

What am I building that will stand the test of time? Am I investing in the lives of others for eternity and for Christ's Kingdom?  God help me to see past the busyness of daily living that can so easily distract me from my true purpose here...


Half My Life

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Today, 7-7-12 is my 27th re-birthday and I am 54 years old...which means that I have lived exactly half my life as a believer in Jesus Christ.  Everyone has a story.  It all comes down to this, and I would love to share mine with you. Click HERE for the story of the day my life was changed forever and eternity.

I've found a friend Who is all to me,
His love is ever true.
I love to tell how He lifted me,
and what His Grace can do for you.

Saved by His power divine,
Saved to new life sublime.
Life now is sweet and my JOY is complete,
for I'm saved, saved, saved.

Blessings to you today,

1,000 GIFTS, #690 to #710

Monday, July 2, 2012

I'm getting closer to the mark of the 1,000th gift, and as much as I anticipate reaching the goal, the greater JOY has been the journey. I mean that. I am thankful for this JOY and discipline, knowing that His grace gifts will not end even when I reach the goal...

690. Glory glory glory - precious TIME unbound by the clock or a schedule...time to just "be," as I'm off work this week. Lots of projects lined up, but I can't wait to get started on them all...one at a time, just like this counting.

691. I saved zinnia seeds from last summer all winter long and planted them in the Spring - they are bringing much JOY and I've enjoyed sharing them. They have grown exceedingly abundantly more than I could have imagined.

692.  Fresh corn from my Dad's garden and his JOY in sharing it with so many folks.

693. I kept my oldest grandboy weekend before last, he even came to church with us on Sunday! I loved every single moment with him. It is very special to have one-on-one time with my grandchildren. I enjoy having them ALL, but the noise level and activity of three 3 and under is wild sometimes. He enjoyed playing on my mom's front porch as we visited with her.

694.  He enjoyed helping Pop water the new pecan trees...his little tractor was a birthday gift to him when he was two.

 695.  Our children's ministry presented the musical, "What's Up Zak?" , the story of Zacchaeus...Jesus Changes Everything... It was tremendous and there were souls saved that morning!!! God is so faithful. I am so thankful for all the workers who gave their time to serve our children and their families. We were blessed to have the author of the musical worshipping with us and she was blessed too - thank you for coming Mrs. Ingram.

696. Zeke loved climbing up in Zacchaeus's Sycamore Tree...

697. A very special surprise visitor to my office last week! My youngest grandson Jackson. Made my day...

698. The sweet voice of my little granddaughter Madie Ruth. She spent the night with us this past Thursday and I loved having her...she said, "I love you Jan-Jan." Made me smile every time. 

699. My first garden tomato ripened on the first day of summer...and now they are bountiful. Enjoyed a tomato sandwhich for supper Sunday night, a Southern delicacy.

700. A nest of sparrows in my mother's fern on her front porch. His Eye is on the Sparrow...and is also on you...do you know that truth?

701. Peaceful times at dusk, reflecting Psalm 92:2 - "His faithfulness at night..." These two geese have taken up here at our pond and the female is injured - she doesn't fly. The male stays by her side. They mate for life - isn't that wonderful?

702.  Our church's annual "Family Night Spectacular" was just that - spectacular. Sweet sweet sweet fellowship and fireworks! The Family of God. What grace is this?

703. Zeke and Jackson enjoyed the games at the church family fun night...

704. Hay cutting at the farm...I love the smell of freshly mown hay. That is my dad in his tractor.

705.  A "twister pinwheel" quilting class day before yesterday and time with my friend Lanie that began with pancakes at IHOP and much fun and laughter around the sewing machines at a new quilt shop in Macon we discovered...Couture Sewing Center that is run by two sweet sisters.

706. The wedding of my sweet young friend, Ashley (see blessing #676)...Jesus was lifted high at this wedding...

707.  A beautiful sunset one night last week...
For Your mercy reaches unto the heavens,
And Your truth unto the clouds.
Psalm 57:10

708. A new bluebird house that my sweet husband put up for me...in my beautiful garden which he built for me too.  I love you Gary. We have so many bluebirds here at the farm and I can't wait for the ones who come to this little house...
709. I got outside very early this morning to beat the record heat we've been having the past few days and pruned my hydrangeas. There are many many spiritual applications in the garden, and none stronger to me than pruning...I prayed as I pruned that the Master Gardener would prune my heart too. It's painful but necessary.
 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away;
and every branch that bears fruit He prunes,
 that it may bear more fruit.
John 15:2

710.  This beautiful Swallowtail butterly was enjoying the zinnias in my garden, and I had my iPhone with me outside so I captured the moment...

I hope you will find time this week to capture the moments He sends your way each day as you stop and count the gifts of grace that surround you - hard gifts, sweet gifts, tangible gifts, gifts unseen...all from His Hand.



1,000 GIFTS

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