Saturday, November 30, 2013


I am a struggling recovering perfectionist.  Even after  years of little victories, I have to guard my heart vigilantly to keep from sliding into that pit again and again.
Psalm 119:96 reminds me this morning that all perfection has limits except Christ.
His Word (and He is the Word made flesh) is boundless.
His perfection shatters my weak version of it.
What I've desired in its watered-down earth version, He offers through His righteousness,
completed in my final Home.
There it will be pure and untainted with pride or frustration.
There it will be my worship that is boundless.
Linking at Still Saturday,Sunday Community, and Scripture and a Snapshot.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Reaching 100 Blessings for Thanksgiving

This will be an unusual Thanksgiving at the 'House
--if for no other reason than we will actually be at our house.  
The weather this week has sunk our travel plans, 
and much to the the OCD teens' disappointment
 (and their mom's and their granny's), 
there will be no North Carolina celebration.
So, in this time of adjustment--heck, that's been our whole year--I'm reaching for 100 blessings and beyond.
From our house to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!
92. a Christmas project I can't wait to share!
93. chalk pens and black wrapping paper
94. snow flurries
95. listening to wind outside while lying in a warm bed
96. kneading bread dough
97. mittens
98. Christmas shopping
99. the smell of furniture polish
100. candlelight
101. homemade laundry detergent
102. bloggers who say what I'm thinking
103. organization--when I can manage it
104. watching figure skaters

Monday, November 25, 2013

In Which I am Thankful for Cat Litter

One of my gift-counting goals is to learn to look at the flip-side of things to see the blessing.
That's sounds Pollyannaish (Look on the bright side!), but I don't mean it that way.
I want to see through the eyes of the sovereignty of the mighty and good God Who really does do all things well.
I want to major on majors and quit letting minors eat my lunch.
Take, for example, when an entire Chic-Fil-A mocha milkshake spilled under my car seat.
I'm thankful for the grace to stay calm.
I'm thankful I was on the phone with my sister, and her brilliant mind went into action.
She suggested cat litter (it absorbs liquid and odors), and I'm thankful I still had some in the basement.
I'm thankful I'm not the teen who needs money and therefore will be stuck outside in the cold today vacuuming it up.
84. Christmas music at the end of this week
85. updating my phone this week also--hopefully no more daily battery issues
86. warm house
87. baking
88. finding some gluten-free recipes that will help me feel a bit less left out
89. a week at home!  I love being at home.
90. secret Christmas crafting
91. Thanksgiving--my favorite

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Scripture and a Snapshot: Bragging on God

I love that when we brag on the Lord, He writes it down.
When we speak to one another--in real life, in Blog-land, wherever--about the glories of God,
His mercy,
His faithfulness,
His holiness,
His righteousness,
we announce our regard for His Name.
We fear and esteem Him
as One of inestimable worth.
Linking to here, here, and here

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What's Not Missing

For the last year and a half, I've not spoken to a group of women about the Word.
(And that's my passion.)
For the past 11 months, I've not taught a Sunday School class.
For the past two Sundays, I've not attended the church where we've worshipped for eight years because we believe, for a host of reasons, that it was time to leave.
 (May I mention here that this has never-like, ever-happened to us?  
We've never left a congregation unless we've also left the town.) 
So this Sunday, at another church, listening to people I don't know leading worship, 
I realized that it would be a long time, if ever, that I had the privilege to do that again either.
We sang a song about the cost of following.
I'm surrendering my all; I surrender to the King.
I thought, I've surrendered everything I am in the church.
Then He spoke, 
in the swift and sure way that He will. 
that all is given away-
who I really am:
Beloved Daughter.
In the church (little c), I am without a place,
but in the Church (big C),
the Body,
the Kingdom,
I am who Christ paid for me  to be,
and I rest secure there because He promised. 
Let the sons and the daughters sing.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Psalm 25: Old News

Psalm 25:6-7 reads:
Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love,

    for they have been from of old.

Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
    according to your steadfast love remember me,
    for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!
 This morning, I saw the contrast of young and old.
Lord, Your love--ancient, Alpha, without-beginning-or-ending--
stretches so far beyond the limit of my "young" sins 
that it's unfathomable.
The vastness of Your cleansing mercy 
contained in the crimson blood of Christ 
shed for me
covers my past, present, and future sin.
I am undone.
74. early Christmas shopping with a plan!
75. pleasant time with teens
76. reading a whole book
77. Ann Voskamp's new book for Advent
78. a new exercise DVD that's leaving me ridiculously sore
79. fuzzy socks
80. a manicure
81. fun items for a care package
82. The Lord guiding me in new paths

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sola Gratis

I tried to take a photo of the moon.

Tried--and failed.
In my photo ignorance, I didn't capture it, 
not the raw beauty of the night-
nor the wind with ice in it,
nor the rattling of leaves under my feet.
My camera missed the burn of cold in my fingers,
and steam from hot chai when I came inside,
and the warmth of laughter around the table.
My skill is inadequate,
my words feeble,
my heart full.
68. warm coats on cold nights
69. clear skies and moonlight
70. bare tree limbs against a darkening sky
71. the sound of wind from inside a warm house
72. pork chops and broccoli
73. biscuits and maple syrup


Monday, November 11, 2013

Multitude Monday: Still Counting

In a season of transition, 
I know the response of my flesh is panic, clinging to what is familiar with my fingernails. 
 I get angry
 and lash out
 and feel the tears rising--
which is why this response shouldn't surprise me in my teen.  
It came to me yesterday in a moment of conflict that I need this infusion of gratitude
 because I need to model something different 
than what I have taught in my weakness. 
 I  want my children to respond in thanks to the myriad of graces.
  So must I.
51. Saturday sunrises
52. a true cold snap
53. air in my lungs as I walk
54. frost
55. sapphire sky
56. orange leaves and light reflected on water
57. a good word from the Word
58. our house
59. early oranges
60. gluten-free pumpkin-chocolate-chip muffins that make me happy
61. a whole Saturday at home
62. a productive day at home
63. boots
64. a mustard yellow scarf
65. going to work
66. a good, free, online commentary of the Bible
67. knowing He fills my hunger 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Saturday Gifts

This morning I woke up earlier than expected.
Out my window, as the sky burned orange over the pond, I suddenly knew I was looking my gift in the face.
Halfway through stripping off sheets, I abandoned the task.  I pulled on a sweatshirt, stuffed my husband's stocking cap over morning-damp curls, and pounded down the gravel drive.  
Snapping away in frosty morning air, my camera records the blessing, the moment He dreamed up in His infinite wonder and imagination to delight me, to lavish love on me.

I lap the pond once--my hands are freezing
--but with each step, I am thankful, thankful for the healing I can anticipate in the counting,
in the noticing, in the Presence Who always has been there,
even when I've refused to see. 
Linking up at Still Saturday

Friday, November 8, 2013

Gratitude List: Little Things that Add Up

Jumping right in because there are 28 writer's notebooks awaiting my attention: (I'm not counting the 75 other still at school; there's only so much I can carry home.):
35. DD#1 okay  (Moms of Teenage Drivers need free therapy--not.kidding.)
36. golden sunrise through copper leaves
37. sunset (yes, I like those, too) bordered by the black silhouettes of mountains
38. peppermint mocha
39. a colleague okay after a serious heart attack
40. It. is. Friday.  That is all.
41. lost exercise routine almost redeemed by Friday afternoon grocery routine--hooray for Saturday at home!
42. when the Holy Spirit illuminates the Word
43. awesome teaching ideas to steal borrow
44. a few pounds gone
45. apple season
46. clean laundry
47. lying in my warm bed while the wind howls around the house
48. a vehicle that works
49. an unexpected, spontaneous hug from a student when he finally got a positive behavior report 
(This was a moment I needed to see this kid as a broken-hearted boy--not a just a punk. Truth.)
50. new wine--in a new wineskin

What's on your list today?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Gratitide Project, Part 2

This post is brought to you by a lump in the throat, the one where I am swallowing down what's over and done but I'm a long way from the shiny new.

Yesterday, I was reading in Luke 5:
Now on one of those days, while he was teaching, there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting nearby (who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem), and the power of the Lord was with him to heal.18 Just then some men showed up, carrying a paralyzed man on a stretcher. They were trying to bring him in and place him before Jesus.19 But since they found no way to carry him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down on the stretcher through the roof tiles right in front of Jesus.20 When Jesus saw their faith he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” 21 Then the experts in the law and the Pharisees began to think to themselves, “Who is this man who is uttering blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22 When Jesus perceived their hostile thoughts, he said to them, “Why are you raising objections within yourselves?23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? 24 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralyzed man—“I tell you, stand up, take your stretcher and go home.” 25 Immediately he stood up before them, picked up the stretcher he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God. 26 Then astonishment seized them all, and they glorified God. They were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen incredible things today.” 
As I read it, I wonder,
Am I the Pharisee who doesn't know I'm sick, who misses that Jesus was there with the power to heal me? 
 Am I one of the guys on the roof, clawing at clay and straw, ripping away tiles, all to bring my friend to Jesus, the One I know can heal him? 
 Or am I the man on the mat with my conspicious need,  my greater need hidden from all eyes but His?  Do I hear Him speak the Word into that secret place first and feel the release of grace,
 my soul flying,
 even with my unchanged circumstances?
Then do I see the blessing for me that is the blessing for others,
 the outward sign that shouts His authority to do an inward work in me?
Some days I am one, then the other.
some days I am all three all at once.
28.  a phone call full of love and grace
29. a small group of believers gathered together
30. first cup of coffee in a dark house (this one might show a lot; it's high on my list of favorite things)
31. Luke's gospel
32. a good  pen (pilot G2 07--if you're looking for one, too)
33.a thrift-store chair, soft and large enough for Big Red and I to squeeze in together, or for a teen and I to peruse Pinterest side-by-side
34. the library
35.$1.50 for three paperbacks--which might be less than some of my library fines

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Gratitude Project

At just the right time--which is like, years behind the rest of the known world, I am reading One Thousand Gifts.  
It is eating my lunch.
Now that I, today, have said and done the absolute last thing I can say or do about some hard things,
 it is time for me to move on to some serious joy.
May I admit something?
This year I was a gift-counting drop-out.  And a scripture-memory team drop-out. 
 I made it through March on the first one and into June with the second.  
(Long about the time things slammed the wall around here, but that's neither here nor there.)
It's been intense.  I am tired.  
I need an IV--intravenous gratitude, a blood-level reboot that infuses my heart, soul, and mind.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things.
I need to think on these things.
1.trees along the fence line
2. walking
3. trees with all three colors of leaves
4. fall blue sky
5.dates with Big Red
6. watching a teen become more thankful and more thoughtful
7. being able to restore relationship with a prickly teen
8. Saturday morning
9. money for groceries
10. money to give away
11. woodsy, piney rosemary
12. spinach in the garden
13. baby broccoli heads
14. garden beds
15.eyes to see
16. ears to hear
17. a heart to understand
18. a Savior willing to heal me.
20. words--poesm, songs, alliteration--how lovely that all that is possible
21. six-word autobiographies
22.blogs and blog friends
23. dishwashers
24. coffee makers to prep into make-ahead meals
26.a few more weeks of sunrises thanks to the time change
27.planning for Christmas

Saturday, November 2, 2013

In My Business

Today I read in Luke 5:
 On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and werewashing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking.They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying,“Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.
I love that the crowd was pressing in to hear the Word of God.  Am I? Do you?  I want to press in closely and really hear what Jesus is saying.
Simon is listening from his boat, finishing the work of the night.  
At some point, Jesus climbs aboard and tells Simon to go fishing again. 
 A carpenter telling a fisherman how to fish.  
I doubt that hit Simon well at first,
 but, as little as he knows Jesus at this point,
 he understands enough by now to take Jesus's word for things. 
The nets explode.
The catch is mind-blowing.
Simon Peter falls at the feet of Jesus at the sight of it.
I wonder want it was about this miracle, this moment that opened Peter's eyes to Christ's Lordship?
Luke says Jesus had been healing folks all over town by now.
Peter had, no doubt, seen that, 
or he wouldn't have paid any attention to Jesus and His fishing advice.
I wonder is it's not a questions of how many miracles but whose.
When the miracle was Peter's, it took his breath away.
Jesus took his breath away.
He saw his sin; he saw Jesus as Lord.
When Jesus messes with my life, I will see my sin and His perfection.  
I'll get that He's Lord.