Monday, October 31, 2011

One Thousand Gifts (417-427)

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




#417-427 on my list of One Thousand Gifts. I'm thankful for:
 
417. sending an email to my brother for his birthday before leaving our vacation in North Carolina

418. smiles and good mornings exchanged at rest stops. Love the friendliness of strangers/fellow travellers.

419. mailing a birthday card to my mom. Another year wiser ;)

420. my brother and mother whose birthdays are one week apart, makes it easy on my old memory :)

421. returning from vacation to a steady (not overwhelming) workload

422. my Bible Study Buddies throwing me a Grandma Shower. Such fun and received so much love!

423. preparing for a business trip to Baltimore, Maryland

424. the beauty of snow in October



425. hard eucharisteo, shoveling the heavy, icy-ness. (Good exercise though :)

426. snow clumped on a bare tree




427. reading The One Year Chronological Bible when Jesus is about to be betrayed. Remembering the sacrifice he made for me/us/all.

(Jesus said) "Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth."
John 17:17-19 NLT

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

Friday, October 28, 2011

Contrast

contrast - to compare in order to show unlikeness or differences; note the opposite natures, purposes, etc.

We were in North Carolina last week for vacation. I was lounging on a chair beside a swimming pool, the temperature was delightful, a palm tree and pine trees were nearby, and the blue sky was amazing.....




This week I am back at work, standing in the parking lot, dressed for the brisk temperature and although the sky is mostly cloudy, the sun peeks out for the picture. I admire the beautiful, red leaves.....




I drive past New Britain Baptist Church and read the words on their sign:
"When you're reluctant to change, think of the beauty of Autumn."

North Carolina and Pennsylvania are beautiful and different during Autumn.

Amen.

Monday, October 24, 2011

One Thousand Gifts (396-416)

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

We had a wonderful vacation in Calabash, North Carolina. Since we were 30 minutes from the South Carolina border we went twice to visit the "friendly neighbors to the south."

The first time we went to Barefoot Landing. Had dinner at the Fire Island Grille and dessert at Maggie Moo's Ice Cream and Treatery. Both were delicious!

We went across the border the second time to see our niece Julie. She's lived in South Carolina for five years and works at a restaurant. Since she was working Saturday night, we went and had dinner at the restaurant and snatched a few bits of conversation with her. Once again we had a delicious meal and the "dessert" was seeing Julie. (Less calories!)

This week my list of blessings is compiled from our vacation. Thank you North Carolina for your blue skies and temperatures from 80 to upper 60s during the days!


#396-416 on my list of One Thousand Gifts. I'm thankful for:

396. seeing a black squirrel with a white-tipped tail. (Very intriguing, whereas before I've only seen our regular brown squirrels.)

397. a middle school boy scuffing his shoes on the way to the bus stop. A reminder that although I was on vacation, everyone around me wasn't.

398. a bagel shop with HUGE, delcious multigrain bagels

399. the humor of Wonderful Husband meeting fellow golfers who were transplanted from our Pennsylvania area. Small world indeed.

400. being called "young lady," "hon," and "sweetie." I love the south!

401. purchasing two blank journals at New Life Christian Bookstore in Shalotte, North Carolina

402. laying out beside a beautiful pool with the wind dancing through the palm tree fronds

403. seeing fields of cotton along the highways

404. still seeing some wild flowers beautifying the highways

405. a turtle-filled pond

406. a heron stalking minnows

407. cold sand on my feet

408. wild, wind blown hair

409. crisp mornings, cool days

410. reading Jesus Calling and The One Year Chronological Bible at the beginning of each day

411. reading The Secret Lives of Dresses and What's So Amazing About Grace? throughout the day

412. visiting with our niece Julie at her work

413.driving our kids crazy on our way home with my text messages each time we crossed a state line. (Example: Bye North Carolina, Hi Virginia!)

414. arriving home safely in less than 12 hours (including multiple necessary stops!) Ha!

415. a day off from work on Monday. Putting off reality a bit longer.

416. time spent with God during vacation. A habit that must continue now that I am home.

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

Sunset Beach, North Carolina

Friday, October 21, 2011

Beach Thoughts

Wonderful Husband and I are on vacation in North Carolina.

We went to Sunset Beach on a coldish (66 degrees) and windy day. I wore flip flops since I couldn't imagine getting sand in my sneakers and I wanted to feel the sand on the soles of my feet. I was thankful for my sweat jacket. Brrrr!

While walking into the wind, I started thinking about how the beach and ocean make me sentimental. Or do I mean nostalgic? Or retrospective? Or introspective? Or all of the above?



The ocean seemed wild, wave upon wave crashing toward the shore. Life feels like that to me sometimes. Wave upon wave crashing on me. I'm feeling overwhelmed.

I saw the signs saying 'No Lifeguard On Duty.' Ah, but God is always on duty isn't He? I'm thankful for that knowledge.



The wind was blowing the sand. I remember being on a beach in Wildwood, New Jersey where the sand felt like it was pelting my skin it was blowing so hard. It was a bit painful. Life can be that way sometimes too.



Wonderful Husband and I walked a while into the wind. The sand was cold on my feet, the sun was warming the rest of me. A sand piper would run toward the waves, then run away when the waves came too close. I do that sometimes. Run toward something then veer away when danger/change comes too close, too fast.

When we turned back with the wind at our backs, I watched my shadow and my hair was blowing wild. It felt wonderful with the wind at my back. It pushed me gently forward. I felt like I could do anything. Accomplish anything. Be anything.

We exited the beach and instead of washing our feet in the cold faucet, we sat in the gazebo and brushed the sand from our feet before stepping back into our flip flops. Beach time was over for the day. It was time to pull my head out of the clouds or was it the sand?

Praying for:
Renewal physically, mentally and spiritually while on vacation,
asking God to turn my thoughts toward grace and blessings,
today and when we return to reality/home.
Amen.

Monday, October 17, 2011

One Thousand Gifts (387-395)

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



I saw the oddest thing while driving to a grocery store in North Carolina.
A man had parked his truck in a field.
Maybe it was his field, maybe it wasn't.
He was walking alongside an enormous tortoise.
Maybe it was his tortoise, maybe is wasn't.
It occurred to me that I have only seen tortoises at a zoo or on television.
And I think the ones on television were at a zoo too.

Oh how I wished I'd had my camera with me!

I'll be paying close attention while walking outside in case there has been a tortoise takeover near Calabash, North Carolina.

Have you seen surprising wildlife nearby?

#387-395 on my list of One Thousand Gifts. I'm thankful for:

387. visiting with our son in Virginia
 
388. safe travel to North Carolina
 
389. a cool evening with a breeze
 
390. a beautiful sunrise
 
391. Wonderful Husband "working" on his golf game
 
392. wireless internet at the condo. We've always been told that it's available and this time I call it our wireless miracle! Ha!
 
393. catching the sun's rays at the swimming pool. Warm day, cool water. Perfect!
 
394. six days off from work
 
395. fully embracing vacation mode

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

Friday, October 14, 2011

An Autumnal Feast

I love autumn in Pennsylvania.
The trees show off their beautiful colors. Fire engine red, pumpkiny orange, school bus yellow.
Some trees try to embrace all three colors.
Here is an example outside the window at work...


Can you see the railroad track behind the tree? The trains race by at times with horn blaring during my workday. Do the people speeding along notice the beauty of the foliage?

I hope so because autumn in Pennsylvania is a feast for the eyes. And this feast has no caloric consequences.

Autumn is such a gift!

Monday, October 10, 2011

One Thousand Gifts (382-386)

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



Our church is in the middle of a renovation. We are land-locked (real estate-wise) so the only way to build is up. We've seen the education building mostly renovated, kitchen included. We've worshiped in the gym while the sanctuary was renovated and now in order to connect our two buildings, a bridge (skywalk) is being added and will be fully enclosed. No worries about rain or snow ever again. At least while walking from one building to the other.
 

Front of church.
Originial edifice built in 1872.


Back of church on left, education building on right,
connected by the steel beam of the bridge.


Education building with scaffolding.
Originally built in 1940, enlarged in 1965 and under
renovation since 2010.

Thank you for allowing me to share our church's history and our present. I am learning to adapt to change (in my old age), and admit that updating the building to run more green efficiently and removing the old, unsafe materials is good too.

Watching the renovation unfold, hearing compliments being said to the architect, builder, and workers....I give God the glory and thank Him for His grace during this time.

#382-386 on my list of One Thousand Gifts. I'm thankful for:
 
382. hearing leaves falling, lawn mowers growling, and dogs barking

383. the beautiful warm and sunny weather over the weekend. No rain in the forecast? Amazing!

384. our newly renovated church sanctuary. Less dark and cave-like, more light of Christ felt during worship. Amen.

385. counting down toward vacation in North Carolina. I'm already there "in my head!"

386. Beth Moore's Esther: It's Tough Being a Woman Bible Study. Beth weaves Old and New Testament scriptures together like no one else I know.

"God is 'the God of all grace,' in the apostle Peter's words. And grace means there is nothing I can do to make God love me more, and nothing I can do to make God love me less."
quoted from What's so Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey


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

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Farm and Family

A couple weeks ago we traveled to New Jersey to meet Wonderful Husband's cousin (somewhat removed) who is from Germany. Dina and her husband (Uli) were traveling around the U.S. and spent some time in New York, New Jersey, and were going to Florida before flying back home.

The family reunion was hostessed by Wonderful Husband's other cousin (Marion) who lives on a farm. It's the first time we'd been there and I loved seeing where she lived. Seventeen of us were on the farm (ages 6-83).








Some of the beams inside the barn were repurposed and had been dated 1860.








One of the highlights was when the turkey who lives two doors down came to pose by the fall decorations. I took this picture from the safety of the screened-in porch since he had been chasing the kids around the yard and I don't run as fast as I used to, especially in sandals!

Wisdom does come with age.

Monday, October 3, 2011

One Thousand Gifts (374-381)

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



This past Saturday I hostessed our daughter's baby shower. The house was clean and I took care of the invitations and food. Melissa (our niece, her cousin) volunteered to decorate and plan the game. Twenty-one ladies attended and it was a fun-filled three hour event.


See how I can sneak into a picture? Ha!




Love her in a tiara!
Wished I had one too.


The required side view photo.

Monkey is the shower theme.
Loved it when Wonderful Husband said it looked like
someone walked all over the cake. lol


Monkey cookies as parting gifts for the guests.

#374-381 on my list of One Thousand Gifts. I'm thankful for:

374. Jessa, Andy, and Amber. I'm excited about Amber's arrival because my plan is be known as "Sneaky Fun Grandma."

375. being hostess for our daughter's baby shower

376. Melissa decorating with a great helper (Wonderful Husband). It allowed me to plan the menu and prepare the food.

377. family and friends attending

378. everyone bringing their appetites. (I was afraid of storing massive amounts of leftovers, yet these ladies did me proud!)

379. the generosity of family and friends. So many cute/useful gifts, and only a few had to be explained to me. (Wow. Baby paraphenalia sure has changed in 25 years. Ha!)

380. the talented cake decorator and cookie baker. Cute creations and delicious too!

381.God and His grace. Thankful that I receive it and am better at sharing it with others.

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

Have you thrown a shower/party lately?