Monday, September 26, 2011

One Thousand Gifts (365-373)

Continuing my journey of counting toward one thousand gifts...



Yesterday I was known as 'Cindy in New Jersey.' I drove Wonderful Husband and his parents to cousin Marion's farm to meet Dina and Uli who are some sort of cousinly relations and were visiting from Germany.

They spoke with a delightful German accented English and I thought that if I ever was to visit them and sit in a room full of German relations, I wouldn't be able to communicate a bit with them in their native language.

We spent a few hours visiting and then traveled back to "our homeland," Pennsylvania.


A family reunion

Farmhouse

#365-373 on my list of One Thousand Gifts. I'm thankful for:

365. Wonderful Husband's family reunion which included meeting a new cousin and her husband from Germany

366. spending the day at a beautiful farm

367. knowing Sara through her blog Gitzen Girl. Rest in peace dear one.

368. surprising Charlotte with the Ask Seek Knock plaque from DaySpring

369. still reading Philip Yancey's book What's So Amazing About Grace? His writing speaks to my heart and soul.

370. gray hair and grace at the beauty shop

371. a clean house and preparing for our daughter's baby shower on Saturday

372. Wonderful Husband battling ants and weeds. I hope he wins!

373. laying out in the sun and absorbing Vitamin D

Turn on your speakers.
Read, enjoy, and thank God for His blessings.



Saturday, September 24, 2011

Gray Hair and Grace

On Monday night I went for my usual hair color and cut from Joanne. It had been seven weeks since my last appointment and I told her she'd need an extra large batch of color to cover all my gray hair. A couple customers came and went during my long process and then it was just me with Joanne, Hope, and Debbie.

Beautification takes a long time at my age.

The latest book I'm reading (and so far loving) What's So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey, lay on the ledge at Joanne's station. Who knew it would begin a conversation about being judged, faith, grace, and where I went to church?

Answer: God.

Hope and her friend traveled to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to shop around the farmers' market and a man asked them if they knew what "being born again" meant.  Hope's friend must have been sharing quite a dramatic personal experience because Hope kept saying, "Oh my God."

Eventually the man turned to Hope and asked her if she realized that she was cursing God with that phrase, and she asked me it I had heard of that before. For those who know me well (my kids)...I never say that phrase. I do believe that is using the Lord's name in vain. Yet this year I had chosen the word "grace" to focus on, and to live through. So I explained that I say, "Oh my gosh."

Hope and her friend talked about the man and the conversation on their drive home and her friend told her that God knows what she means/is on the inside. I nodded in agreement with what her friend said and then Hope noticed that her friend said the phrase twice on the way home. I told her that I thought it was interesting that she now was aware of someone saying the phrase and remembering how many times it was said. (Like God was shining a spotlight on it for her, I thought.)

She turned to me and asked, "Am I going to hell?"

That startled me!

My answer was, "I have learned that I am not the judge of who goes to heaven or hell." I pointed upward and said, "He is." And then I smiled because my words weren't meant to sting, they were meant to soothe, because the older I become, the more I draw great comfort knowing God is in charge, not me.

Our conversation moved toward why I bought the book and my explanation about how I realized the abundant grace I receive from God is meant to be shared with others. (Side note: I also told her that my word for 2010 was her name. Hope. She smiled.)

Hope asked if I went to church, I said yes and she asked where.

Today I was reading What's So Amazing About Grace? and on page 40 he wrote, "The world starves for grace."

Yes. I believe we do.

And I believe that with God's help some of Hope's "hunger pangs" were fed on Monday night.

A conversation about God and no more gray hair. It was a win/win night.

So what's so amazing about grace?

Today I think my answer is everything.

God's grace shows up in quiet moments and in shared moments in a beauty shop. He continues to surprise and amaze me.

Has God surprised or amazed you lately?

Monday, September 19, 2011

One Thousand Gifts (359-364)

Continuing my journey of counting toward one thousand gifts...


 
 
#359-364 on my list of One Thousand Gifts. I'm thankful for:
 
359. finishing Kelly Minter's book The Fitting Room: Putting on the Character of Christ with Terri. Thankful for the Bloom (in)courage book club choosing it and vlogging with the author too.
 
360. attending our daughter's Phillies-themed baby shower with her friends

Phillie Phanatic!

361. an upcoming business trip to Baltimore in November

362. attending a new adult Sunday School class called "Good News and the Other News," to remind us how Scripture speaks to all that happens in our lives.

363. hearing this one hour radio interview with Ann Voskamp talking about her book

364. the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies...


For the Beauty of the Earth (vs 1)
For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,

Refrain
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.
                                                     lyrics by Folliet S. Pierpoint (1835-1917)

Turn on your speakers.
Read, enjoy, and thank God for His blessings.

What are you thankful for this week?

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Cold Front in September

Thursday morning began with high humidity and bright sunshine on my way to work.

Later the gray clouds came loaded with rain sweeping through with a cold front.

Winds whipped through the trees.

After a quick stop at the grocery store, I arrived home in time for more rain.

Our daughter called to tell us to look outside at a rainbow. (It was very light or I would have tried to capture it with my camera.)

I noticed a pink tinge while sitting in the study in the front of the house.

I stepped outside and saw this:








Wow!

We'll be in the 40s overnight, yet this beauty warms my soul...along with the heat that I turned on before bed.

Monday, September 12, 2011

One Thousand Gifts (352-358)

Continuing my journey of counting toward one thousand gifts...


 
Although it was a four day work week instead of five, the week seemed very long.
 
Rain, rain, and more rain.
 
Once again some of our area experienced flooding -- some roads and some people's basements/homes. The daytime color scheme varied only by the gray from light gray to dark gray.
 
Then I begin thinking of people who don't have jobs and areas in our country/world that are parched because that don't have rain, and my mind begins to seek and name the blessings.
 
#352-358 on my list of One Thousand Gifts. I'm thankful for:
 
352. seeing the sun peeking through clouds after days of gray and rain. Thank you Lord!

 
353. Maria who is the new co-Bible Study leader
 
354. meeting her for coffee on Saturday and our conversation that God is good all the time
 
355. recognizing that marriage can be strengthened when spouses communicate during hard times

356. a hug for Ann before her husband's funeral
 
357. Julie Gillies' post called Breathe. I read it a week ago and it realigned my soul. I read it again one week later because sometimes I need repetition, and yes, it was just as calming the second time. Thank you Julie!

358. scripture I read this week. Daniel 6:4b: "He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy." Amazed that Daniel's enemies described him with these characteristics.

Turn on your speakers.
Read, enjoy, and thank God for His blessings.

What are you thankful for this week?

Monday, September 5, 2011

One Thousand Gifts (336-351)

Continuing my journey of counting toward one thousand gifts...



"Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September (September 5 in 2011) that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers." - from Wikipedia

It is also a weekend chock-full of sales at retail establishments. Years ago I worked retail and some of "the baggage I carry" from those days are of hordes of customers coming into the store and buying too much merchandise that would be returned in the days that followed. Some stinkers customers would not bring in a receipt in order to try and get full price refunds for their sale items. For shame.

Fast forward to my no longer working retail and my Labor Day is now spent at home doing laundry, addressing baby shower invitations, working on this post, and spending the day with Wonderful Husband. Life is good.

#336-351 on my list of One Thousand Gifts. I'm thankful for:

336. all who work retail

337. seeing a hot air balloon on my way home from dinner with Wonderful Husband

338. sharing in our daughter's happiness with her engagement to be married

339. the Prayer Quilt Ministry at my church

340. sending a prayer-filled sympathy card to Janis whose father died

341. a sermon that ended with a personal application to "listen to what God is directing you toward"

342. a plan to purchase Beth Moore's "Esther: It's Tough Being a Woman" workbook and although I can't attend Bible Study with my buddies, I am planning on meeting with some to talk about the lessons.

343. the continuing relationship with my Bible Study buddies

344. receiving a thank-filled email. A rejuvenating end to a long and tiring day.

345. listening to "The Very Best of Kurt Carr" on the drive to and from work. Love singing along with the praise songs.

346. the first day of school. Seeing two brothers riding their small bikes with backpacks on their backs. The older brother (maybe 6 years old) stops, takes off his backpack and I wonder..Where is your parent? Dad is walking a bit behind and I'm sure will take care of the backpack issue. Yea for Dad!

347. the second day of school I see the yellow school bus loaded with middle school and high school kids passing by our house. Yea for the bus driver!

348. Back to School commercials. They make me giddy with happiness!

349. the news that our nephew and his wife are expecting twins. Double work fun!

350. the Labor Day holiday and the three day weekend

351. Wonderful Husband booking our vacation lodging. Over a month away yet I want to start packing.

Turn on your speakers.
Read, enjoy, and thank God for His blessings.

What are you thankful for this week?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Back To School

Happiness is a Back To School commercial.

Target, I think you are brilliant!

Every time I hear this commercial, I stop what I'm doing to watch it.



Thank you Target for 32 seconds of happiness!

Does anyone remember a Staples commercial that had the song "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" with two young kids and a dad that was riding a shopping cart through the store?



Loved that one too.