1,000 GIFTS, #770 to #785

Monday, August 27, 2012

Life is good because God is good. I'm very thankful (currently overwhelmed by His grace) as I sit here on a rainy Monday evening continuing this compilation of counting gifts to one thousand. I've scrolled back through these gifts several times and it brings me so much JOY to do so. To see His Hand, His faithfulness to undeserving me.

770. Something I don't talk about much here is my "day job," but I'm grateful to have one. I will testify that it has not been easy to be a pastor's wife who works full time outside the home. His Grace has kept me going. In the early days I did it to help meet financial needs in our family. Even then God provided a job to this momma so I could be close to my boys and not miss any of their activities as I've worked in our local school system. They've long been out of school, but I'm still there...by God's grace.

771. Two young couples I know expecting babies this winter each found out their unborn babies are boys...exactly the desires of their hearts. I'm happy with them.

772. My blog title is Gran Jan's JOY, so it should be no secret by now that my grandchildren are just that. And most especially when one of them is enjoying a cupcake at her big brother's Spiderman party. Delight. Miracles all of them. His Grace.

773. The birthday boy with the Spiderman cake. He is so precious. He thinks Spiderman kills spiders and we love him for it.

774. So thankful for my new Serger and looking forward to the sewing I want to do for my granddaughters. It finishes seams like a dream.

775. I came home from a women's ministry team meeting one night and my husband had made jalepeno cornbread. From my recipe. It was delicious. It is now his job.  I love him so much.

776. Going to choir rehearsal and working on this music...JOY as I think about God sending His Son to earth...His Grace coming down.

777. Yesterday was one of the sweetest days in our church. Our pastor preached a powerful message from the book of Joshua on the power of a changed life - Rahab. Then last night we came together and witnessed the baptism of 16 people as they each shared  testimonies ending with "I am Not Ashamed." It was tender and emotional and a night of praise. I love my church. Thank you David Falldine for this photo...

778. Music is such a gift of His grace. Being married to a worship pastor is pure JOY to me. I love what Gary gets to do and he loves what God has called him to do. This song has ministered to our church family so much in worship...Ten Thousand Reasons.

779.  Fresh okra from the garden...one of the last vegetables of summer.

780. Pickled okra made from my friend Lanie's recipe. My friend Leah in North Georgia and I love making squash pickles - wonder if Leah makes okra pickles? :)

781. Looking forward to Fall and the sweet potatoes growing in my garden and wishing the little bunny that keeps eating the green vines would seriously stop it. 

782. A phone call from this sweet saint, Esther Burroughs. She is planning to come speak to a group of worship pastor's wives next February 2013. We were talking about the event as my sweet husband is helping sponsor the Metro II Conference in beautiful Savannah, GA. I can hardly wait for that that together.

783. Early mornings in the Word with song #13 on repeat. "Thanks Be To Our God."  Actually counting His gifts of grace as Travis Cottrell sings them. These lyrics are a balm.

784. One of the best ladies events I have ever attended just this past weekend, Living Proof Live in Charleston. SC with 50 ladies from my home church and 9,000 total in attendance. This event requires a blog post all it's own. Soon. "Embracing the Facing" was Beth Moore's teaching topic from Genesis 31-32 - Jacob and Esau. It was strong and good.

785. Hearing my little grandson Jackson telling the story of Adam and Eve, of Naaman, and Jonah from his Jesus Storybook Bible. One of the blessings of this season of life is seeing the spiritual development of my grandchildren and being thankful for their parents (our children) raising them up in the LORD.

Count your own blessings my friends - whether you record them this way or use the iPhone app that Ann Voskamp has or whether you treasure them in your heart...keep counting His goodness to you. He is a Great and Mighty God.


Happy 4th Birthday Zeke

Friday, August 17, 2012

Four years ago today I became GRAN JAN. I received a new name, a new role, and began a new season of life that contains more love than I ever dreamed my heart could hold. I welcomed my first grandchild into the world on a hot Sunday afternoon, August 17, 2008; and life as I knew it has never ever been the same. Nor have I...

When a baby is born,
so is a grandmother...

Zeke...I love your zest for life, your tender heart, and sensitive ways. You are such a respectful young man and you love your family so much. You have a very vivid imagination and facial expressions to match (including sweet dimples like your momma).  You love cheese sandwiches and fire trucks and going to church. You like to sing and make up songs. I love watching you play with your sister Madie Ruth. You remind me so much of your daddy when he was a little boy. So much. Sometimes when you don't know I'm coming to see you, or even when you come to see me here at the farm...and you run to me with arms open wide yelling, "GranJan, GranJan, GranJan," I literally think my heart will burst open.
Today I celebrate YOU Zeke! Your Gran Jan loves you and prays for you...and as long as the Good Lord leaves me here on this Earth I will be here for you. I'm in your corner buddy, and I always will be.
I loved you at ONE when the fun had begun...

I loved you at TWO and you know that is true...

I loved you at THREE and you filled me with glee...

And I LOVE you at FOUR and all God has in store... 
  • I look forward to the day you become a believer in Jesus Christ and your daddy baptizes you...
  • I look forward to lots of ball games and promise I won't cheer too loudly (like I did at your daddy's and Uncle Jonathan's games)...
  • I look forward to many family times around the table here at the farm... 
And as hard as it is to watch you grow up, I know that is part of God's plan. As I hold memories of two other little boys deep in my heart who are now grown men, I pray that God will bless me with the JOY of watching you and Madie Ruth and Jackson and Emery grow up too. I already know that God has blessed me to see my children's children, and I thank Him every day for that JOY. 
Proverbs 17:6
Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged...

Happy Birthday Zeke, I love you with all my heart.

P.S. I may not be able to hold out on the not cheering too loudly...

1,000 GIFTS, #749 to #769

Monday, August 13, 2012


In the rhythm of life, the ups and downs we all experience...spiritually, emotionally, and physically - the gift of seeing His grace gifts all around brings a balance that centers me. I am so thankful. The counting continues and it blesses me way down deep.

749. My sister Joan celebrated a birthday on July 27 - she is one of the most generous women I know. She loves to give and because of that, God has entrusted her with a lot - because she knows where her blessings come from. I love you middle sister.

750. I love my pastor. He is so genuine and kind. I was so happy when I got to church on July 29th and he was preaching a message on "believers baptism." It was the anniversary of my own baptism 27 years ago...I felt God's love in a special way as I remembered my baptism. (Believers baptism is baptism by immersion after salvation - that is what my church practices and what I believe.)

751. An absolutely amazing gift - to see the face of my unborn granddaughter through the miracle of a 3D sonogram. She is beautiful and we are thrilled that she will be joining our family late next month.  Praying for a safe and easy delivery for my daughter-in-law.

752. A Saturday drive through the country with my husband unbound by an agenda and time to stop for peach ice icream at Lane's Orchards.

753. As often as we've driven the backroad home, we've never seen this old cemetery before. It's amazing when you see when you take the time to slow down and really look...like counting His gifts. The dates were pre-Civil War - 1850s.

754. A new baby quilt for a little girl who is also due late next month. I love that she and my granddaughter will grow up in church together. Her daddy is Dawson Hull, one of our staff pastors, and he directs our church orchestra and is a gifted musician. His wife Taneea is also a talented musician. They are a sweet couple and I loved making this quilt for their little girl. This is just the quilt top - I hope to begin quilting this weekend.

755. Rain. Thunder rumbling. Approaching summer storm. Sitting on the front porch enjoying the cooler air with my husband and son Jonathan and his son Jackson.  Hearing Jackson say his mommy was at a "girl party" and laughing...he is only 2. She was attending a baby shower...indeed.

756. Three generations..."ready, set, go." Jackson looking back saying, "Gran Jan..."

757. Singing an old gospel song at church "When the Savior Reached Down For Me," and having the senior citizens talk about remembering that day in their lives too...

758. A working dinner with my Women's Ministry Leadership Team - Cindy, Teresa, Jennifer. Words can't adequately express how much they mean to me. They embody servant leadership. 

759. A new Bible study and personal messages (tweets) from the author Priscilla Shirer the very day we began. The class was so tickled. So was the teacher (me). :)

760. Running into my son Jeremy's 2nd grade teacher at the grocery store and having her remember what a special little boy he was. She knew God had great plans in store for him. She said he impacted her life in a great way. I love the gift of being in a community so long that your lives intersect like this. 

761. Onesies. All for baby Emery. Gran Jan loves her embroidery machine.

762. My niece Amy celebrated a birthday August 8th. Amy  is the daughter of my sister Jean who passed away at age 25. Amy never knew her momma but she is so much like her. I wrote a post about Jean that has had more response than any I've ever written... If you haven't read it, please visit here. I miss Jean every day.

763. My other niece Melissa is getting married next month. She and her momma (my middle sister Joan) came down and visited last week and my sister brought some of her favorite salsa.  Here she is being silly with my mom, her grandmother...I love my family so much.

764. My daughter-in-law Carrie put together this photo collage of Zeke and Madie Ruth's first day of school at their church playschool.  Delightful.

765.  Beautiful pink sky and awesome Creator God. He speaks to me through sights such as this. I love living in the country.

766. We've been singing the song "10,000 Reasons" at church and I can't get the song out of my mind (and heart). I love the line that says "whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes."  A mature walk of faith in Christ KNOWS that whatever does come - our God is in control. Thank you Jesus.

767. How about 100,000 reasons to be thankful? This was my odometer this past Wednesday night. When it turned over one hundred thousand SAFE miles, I stopped and pulled over to the side of the road and thanked the Lord for keeping me and every single passenger safe during my travels.

768. This boy. Gran Jan's JOY = grandchildren.

769. I love Elisabeth Elliot. I've had a little daily calendar by her on my desk for over 10 years. It is called "Keep A Quiet Heart." I especially loved this quote from last Friday - and I was praying hard about a situation.  This is true.

Blessings to you all who stop by to read these gifts. I hope you are counting your own blessings each day too.  God is so faithful.

~Jan


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