Week of June 4, 2012

If you’re new here, this is my gratitude journal, my list of things for which I am thanking God and my thoughts on this journey to note one thousand gifts from God. It started with a robin

Purple entries are those things for which it is easy to be thankful. The red are those that are difficult. The regular black text is my journaling of this journey. Quotes are in blue.

Monday, June 4, 2012

70. Dreams that reveal…me, the “old man” that is not dead, but poisoning me. To see that I still carry unnecessary shame, and that I still carry other sin that should shame. I am not who I was. Lord, please keep making me more like Your intent, more like You see me through Your Son. My sin is not longer counted against me, covered by Jesus’ blood. Please keep searching my heart and cleansing it.

71. Cloudy, gray sky

72. This notebook

73. Getting to the point to start putting this adventure online

74. The reminder to really LOOK to SEE God in, through, behind all. Conviction and encouragement as I parent… God’s convicting words, once again delivered through Ann Voskamp’s book.

75. Reminders that God can, that God intends to, work through my mess to use me to bless the lives of others. Prepare me and use me, Lord. Open my eyes and clear my vision. Be Thou my Vision… AMEN.

76. The calming sound of raindrops

77. The… exuberance… of young students during the last week of school, when there is still work to be done

78. Plastic googly eyes in the kitchen sink and on the dining room table – the kids have been enjoying being creative

79. The realization while going back through my notebook to type this up for my blog, that purple and orange make me happy

80. A little girl dressed head-to-to in purple, one of her two favorite colors

81. “You are stronger
You are stronger
Sin is broken
You have saved me
It is written
Christ is risen
Jesus, You are Lord of all”

Love this (Hillsong) chorus and that it came to mind as I wrote. Thank You, Lord, that it’s True!

Another day almost done. Some things accomplished. Many left to do. Only three days left with my little second grade class of two. Starting homeschooling in the fall. A new adventure. Much to get done on the house over the summer.

Is my way of writing going to change because I’ve taken this “public” on my blog? This already feels different…

Maybe I’ll have to be selective about what I post from my journal, and when, lest I start writing with an “audience” in mind. That’s not… good, genuine… natural… authentic – one of those “buzz words” I hate.

I now feel like in this journaling I’m writing to another person, and that needs to stop.

Just checked Facebook and added this, it’s now my #82, to an Ann Voskamp post:

Thankful for all the thankfulness being shared…

…on Facebook, Twitter, blogs…

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

morning 83. The fluid, flowing, peaceful, pleasing lines of Art Nouveau

84. I am not my past – Lord, please help me remember

85. My to-do list of things that should be accomplished today

afternoon 86. Brilliant blue sky with puffy white clouds

87. Library board meeting coming up this evening

88. Return of sunshine

89. Reminders of what my life might have been like if I’d made different choices. Thank You, Lord, for where I am and help me to remember what a great life I have – just right for me.

90. Sidewalk chalk

91. Tiny white flowers in the grass

92. Mechanical pencils

93. My dishwasher and the time it saves after dinner

94. Reminders that I need to remember to see God in the items on my list, not just enjoy them apart from Him… Every good gift…

95. Sitting in the sunshine watching and listening to the kids play

96. My kids’ imaginations…

97. My children playing together happily

98. Not wanting this time to end

99. Knowing there are leftovers, so I can take more time with the kids outside

100. The warmth of sunshine on the back of my dark green sweatshirt

101. The reflection of beautiful sky, green treetops, my front porch, and me in the gold of my wedding band as my hand holds down the pages of my notebook in the mild breeze

It feels good to sit and soak up the warmth of the sun on my back, the dark green of my sweatshirt absorbs it, holds it, enfolds me in it like a hug from the sky. The kids are happily playing, though the oldest is now sitting quietly in the grass, whittling; he is still happy. So different from the boy who got upset with me after school because I wouldn’t let him do what he wanted to do then to have the “fun” he thought he couldn’t have if he had to just go outside.

I am pushing the limits, and will be late for my meeting if I don’t move us all on to supper soon. But it feels so good to be here right now, in this moment, aware that I am blessed. That these “little” things are not at all little. That they are wonderful. And amazing. And gifts. We are her. We are together. We are in a place of relative safety. There is much here that we can take for granted. Feeling safe, secure, not in need can lull us into a sinful forgetfulness of our need of God.

I am glad that I am not raising my children in a place where we would have to fear to bear the name “Christian.” Yet, I also know, that the faith that comes and grows in such places is real and meaningful and genuine and powerful. It doesn’t have time for the frivolous doubt, a casual lack of commitment. It counts and accepts the cost.

Lord, please help me to always remember and live the prayer – whatever it takes to make me, my husband, and children what You would have us be… Amen

bedtime 102. The sigh of a sleeping child

But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth… James 1:14-17a, emphasis added

Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish. Luke 14:27-30, NASB, emphasis added

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

afternoon: 103. Borrowing the husband’s camera

104. Wildflowers… weeds

105. Little bare feet

106. Chocolate ice cream

107. Books in the backyard

108. Mechanics

evening 109. Peonies

110. Am unfamiliar yellow and black butterly

111. Baby spinach

bedtime 112. Sunshine after dinner

113. M&Ms

114. Scripture status updates by Facebook friends

Signed up for a Twitter account today. No one following it yet, of course, but another platform being used to share the Gospel and encourage others. Getting involved in the #1000gifts community, movement, whatever you want to call it. Another way to learn and reinforce better habits of gratitude, and encourage others to see God everywhere.

Borrowed Jeff’s camera today, as mentioned, and it was the also previously mentioned yellow and black butterfly that got me to start taking pictures. It flew away from the peonies before I got back with the camera, but I really enjoyed taking pictures, and the different, longer looking it requires/inspires.

Great time outside with the redheads after school today, while Jonathan played at his best friend’s. Then we all got some more time in the sunshine and air after supper. I love these longer daylight days. It’s hard when it’s dark by dinnertime, and waking up in the dark is difficult. I do need help changing the way I see and feel about shorter days… but for now I’m enjoying the longer ones! A little milder today, too, which was nice.

I noticed the skeleton of a new barn on one of the Amish farms on my way home from school at lunchtime. Looking forward to driving by tomorrow.

Tomorrow… my last day teaching my little class. Friday is specials day, and then we’re done. Summer break…. then homeschooling.

Family Camp is rapidly approaching. A week in the Word and in fellowship with other believers. Grateful for the chance to go again this year.

Trying to really remember when I see something beautiful and it catches my attention, that when I enjoy something in a way that makes me want to list it, to really see the blessing and truly thank God, not just feel grateful. And trying to stay conscious of His constant Presence and the blessing of all of the other moments.

How and when did I become such a bitter person? I remember the jaded days. I remember the long time I didn’t cry, couldn’t even when I felt like it. How twisted we become when we allow ourselves to be self-absorbed, to believe we deserve certain things. We are so arrogant we believe we know better than God what is best for us.

I choose gratitude. It’s a choice that must be made each moment. It is not yet a habit. It is not yet who I am. But I’m learning.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

morning 115. My blue glass mixing bowls and mug

116. Chocolate milk

afternoon 117. Hug from student

118. Report cards done!

Was it a successful school year? What will my students remember? They are young.

What I remember from second grade is a teacher I liked going on maternity leave, and substitutes. I remember Christmastime, white Styrofoam packing peanut snow under our classroom tree, a desk near the tree in the back of the room. I remember boys laughing, being told to stop throwing peanuts. I remember turning in my chair, Styrofoam in hand, I don’t remember how it got there, and tossing it to land softly with the others, peaceful, puffy white under the tree. The boys’ snowstorm had ended, and I remember smiling, happy that all was set right.

And I remember the shocking harsh sting as the teacher let fly her angry voice… at me. No teacher had ever spoken to me in anger before. I had never been in trouble. Shock quickly became confusion, nudging resentment, as I didn’t feel I’d done anything wrong.

How hot are the tears of humiliation!

Unlike my students, I didn’t go to a Christian school. The priorities are different here. Did the students see Christ in me? Letters, numbers, facts, skills are important. But if our students don’t have a deeper understanding of spiritual truth, if they don’t love our Father more…

I pray that my students have a beautiful summer of fun and wonder, learning and growth…

I pray that I can also provide that for my kids. Memories! Lord, please help me to make the right and best memories with my children in the time we have left together. Thank You for opening my eyes and please help me reclaim wonder. They deserve it… and You long for each of us to experience it in You…

– – – – –

Home now, and already failing to live and look at things in a way that makes our lives together more pleasant and memorable in a better way. Too much to do. Laundry piled high. Need groceries. Both vehicles in need of the mechanic. Laundry, laundry. Cereal on the dining room floor. End-of-school-year stuff avalanched on kitchen floor. Never-ending laundry. Air stale. Children bickering, bickering, complaining, not wanting to do chores. Whining. I quickly fray and unravel. Shout.

Why do I do the thing that broke me as a child?

Washer running; drier running. Windows open. Snacks to raise blood sugar and sweeten short and tall.

Children folding… laughing, arguing, antagonizing by turn, but growing sorted folded stacks for dressers.

Last of school-work set aside. Broom waiting.

Holding, moving seeing pencil… Breathing…

Won’t go back to busyness before I visit Philippians…

…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Philippians 4:8, NASB

Not like how I slammed the drier door and stomped my foot in anger when I heard my youngest wailing, the crying that isn’t crying but wants the world to know the crier is offended as only a three-year-old can be. Not like my fatigue putting the boys in timeout as they once again sought me out to prove the rightness of their diverging causes, one fingernail-scratch bleeding. Not like the ugliness that came out of my mouth when I let myself be distracted from getting into the Word and tried to finish one more thing.

I need to stop writing my life at the moment and live it. Find God. His purpose. The grace…

I’d rather stay here in these pages, building a wall of words…

SEE the children… see God… find His grace and grab hold to share with my family.

Read some more Truth to fix the way I see…

Philippians 1…

Friday, June 8, 2012

Another blog idea, not straight-up journaling…

What does it mean to be faithful in a marriage? You’d think it would be easier to define…

afternoon 119. Forgiveness… the freedom to forgiving

120. The tidiness of a freshly-mown lawn

121. Questions that make me seek Answers

evening 122. Popcorn

Saturday, June 9, 2012

123. Soft gray dawn

124. The sound of raindrops

125. Bananas and milk on cereal

It is a muted morning and it feels… right… to be without the glorious sunshine as I consider those who are waking to a world completely altered, if they slept at all. It is always hard to lose a loved one. No one is ever prepared to lose a husband or father. Illness can prepare, and can even bring a measure of relief at cessation of suffering. Accidents are shocking, and bring so many questions. But when someone you love takes himself out of your life by ending his own… the devastation must be so much more… complicated…

126. My husband’s skin, and the comfort found there

127. Marriage – and writing it in purple

afternoon 128. Yard sale clothes for Littlest

129. God’s Word

130. Arch supports

131. Irises

132. Life

133. Another… another day, another moment, another breath, another word on the page…

134. Toilet paper

135. Flowered barrettes

136. Homemade recycled paper and the proud boy who made it on his own

137. Flannel pajamas

Sunday, June 10, 2012

138. Another morning

139. Using social media to proclaim God’s Word and connect and encourage fellow believers

140. The sound of three siblings playing happily together

141. Paper as place for words

142. My church family and our opportunity to shine for Christ during a difficult time – please prepare and equip us, Lord

I don’t really want to get up and get moving, though it is time. It is easier to offer encouragement through my laptop, online, than it is to have to rub up against the pain, to see it in the eye, to speak words directly to questions as they’re voiced.

I am a coward.

And sometimes people overwhelm me.

People in real pain can put me into a mild form of shock; I freeze. Lord, please help me to remember that I have nothing of real value to offer on my own but that you have EVERYTHING! – and if I get myself out of the way and let You, You’ll bless me by working, speaking, reaching, touching, loving through me. I do not love as I should. Please help me to forget me, and please Love through me.

143. Convenience of buffet restaurants

144. Lunch with friends

145. Playing outside until sundown because tomorrow is the first non-weekend day of summer break

146. A small bed so full of stuffed animals I’m not sure the girl will fit, and remembering being that girl

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