Saturday, July 31, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 63

365 Days of Blessings, Day 63

1. When we quiet ourselves and listen, we can hear God's voice speaking quietly into our lives, through his Word, and through prayerful certainty.

2. My husband is an awesome technical helper. Yesterday when I struggled to do the simplest of tasks (insert text into a picture to create the Blessed Blog award), he sent me a detailed e-mail message with pictures taking me through the process step by step. I am thankful for his help, and his realization that I need visuals.

3. A three mile walk this morning! I feel so blessed to be able to walk to a cliff's edge by the ocean shore. (It's gated off so I can't get down to the beach but there is a beautiful view)

4. My old dog wants to go, go, go, even if it means our return trip is slow and arduous for her. She is so much happier when she walks.

5. Our cat thinks she should get a "walking treat" too when I return home with the dogs and they get theirs. She meets us at the door, and sits with them while I get the treats out of the treat container. If I had more time, I could probably train my cat.

6. My husband is hard at work on the bathroom remodel project this morning! Woohoo! He is doing some tearing out of the old flooring, and on Tuesday the new floor comes, along with the new toilet, and sometime soon, we hope to have a new bathtub and shower combination put in. We have only one shower in our house right now. Of course, I have to remember that compared to most of the world, we live in ultimate luxury because we have a shower.

7. I get to re-paint the bathroom soon! Either today or Monday. Blue lagoon, or sandy shore . . . actually don't know if those are paint colors, but I have high hopes of finding something like those colors today.

8. Deer eating apples from our old apple tree.

9. Applesmear softball with family, using only the unripe apples that have fallen onto the ground, of course. The ones that aren't getting eaten by the deer.

10. Seeing a really fun movie with family! We went to see Sorcerer's Apprentice last night, and we enjoyed it immensely. We especially liked seeing the mop scene, a new take on Disney's Fantasia mop messiness. I also liked how the magic was likened to science, and that started some discussions as a family.

Shared Blessing for the Day: My parents are thankful for their scooter trip!

Website for the day: Bible Gateway

Scripture for the Day:
"The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in God." Daniel 6:23

Thursday, July 29, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 62

Every Friday, I'll be giving out a Blessed Blog Award! If you receive this award, know that you have blessed my writing and my life by inspiring me with your words, and your insights. Please feel free to pass it on.

Today this award goes to: Angie Lofthouse, from Notes From the Writing Chair
Angie's insights on writing and editing are treasures, and she has a gift with encouragement. Thanks for being a blessing, Angie!

365 Days of Blessings, Day 62
1. When we place all of our trust in the Lord, we become more trustworthy.

2. Pillows. Wonderful, soft, pillows. (I slept in this morning)

3. Blankets. In the Northwest we have some very cool, gray mornings that burn off into sunny afternoons. Plus, many people in the world do not have the luxury of blankets like we do in the United States.

4. Quilts. They have meaningful designs, and are often made with loving hands. My church makes nearly a hundred every six months and gives them to a world relief organization that delivers them to people in need. I don't sew, but I help pack up the boxes for shipment, and pray over them.

5. Alarm clocks that have snooze buttons. Two out of four people in my house wake up instantly . . . my husband and my youngest daughter. My oldest daughter and I need about an hour to have full thought capacity. Which is why it is dangerous for me to write these posts when I first get up. Usually I try to get in a walk, or at least a long stretching session, and some Bible study beforehand.

6. Cloud cover that rests among the tops of the trees by my house, so that we are surrounded by a gray-white blanket. There is a softness to these gray mornings that is somehow comforting in a way I'm not sure I can describe.

7. Variety in every day's weather. Yes, some places have more distinct seasons, but where else can you have cloud cover, rain, sunshine, and rainbows throughout each day? Plus, go from 55 degrees to 78 degrees from morning to afternoon?

8. Recently, our regular "lawn mower guy" at our church has fallen ill, so my husband has been filling in. My husband is the kind of guy who will mow the church lawn, and not necessarily mow our lawn. Sometimes that's aggravating, but yet, I love his passion for serving too.

9. Cool floors under bare toes.

10. Stretching. It's a must for me and my back, but it feels good too.

Shared Blessings:
1. Karen, a wonderful writing friend, has a new niece!
2. Another friend of mine shared her joy of hearing her daughters giggle together.

Scripture for the Day:

"For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11

Blessed by the Every Day Life - 365 Days of Blessings, Day 61

365 Days of Blessings, Day 61
The day after a birthday celebration is usually a day that includes half rest, and half clean up in our household. So today, I have been blessed by the Every Day stuff of life, some of which marks me as one of the richest people in the world - maybe not compared to Miley Cyrus, but definitely when compared to many people around the world who don't have what we consider to be basic necessitites.

1. God is my refuge, and my strength. He is my shield, and my portion. All the rest of this stuff is extra icing.

2. My husband is a wonderful man. He is faithful to our marriage. He believes in the Lord. Although at times he can get crabby, just like me, he is a very loving, kind man. I am very blessed to have him in my life.

3. My children are happy, healthy, and able to get a good education at home. We have the ability to choose how they are educated, and that is a great blessing.

4. My parents are happy and healthy, currently on another adventure, but this time in our country with their RV and their Motor Scooter.

5. My parent-in-laws are happy and mostly healthy. My mom-in-law is a cancer survivor, and they both have more energy than most people I know.

6. We have a wonderful family and friends.

7. We have indoor plumbing, with both hot and cold clean water available at the twist of our fingertips. There are many places in the world where this is not an option.

8. I have an in-house vacuum cleaner. Did I mention this one already? I'm not a great house-cleaner, my husband and I both have problems with stirring up dust (sneeze attacks galore), and the in-house vacuum makes our lives a lot easier. Now, if I could just in-house vac. all my shelves without sucking up any nicknacks and life would be perfect.

9. I have two bookshelves bursting with books, a library down the street, and most importantly, I can read the Bible in my own language in several translations. Not all people have those kind of luxuries.

10. I live in a country where freedom is defended valiantly by men and women who are willing to sacrifice their lives for liberty.

Bonus Blessings: I live in a safe country, where justice prevails most of the time, and children are not usually forced into slavery, or prostitution.

Shared Blessings:
A dear friend, Louise, told me she is thankful for a forgiving God.

Scripture for the day:
"The Lord is my strength and my
my heart trusts in him, and I am
My heart leaps for joy
and I will give thanks to him in

Psalm 28:7

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Blessed by my Daughter's Birthday, 365 Days of Blessings - Day 60

365 Days of Blessings, Day 60
Yesterday we celebrated my youngest daughter's ninth birthday with our family, and today she celebrates again with 10 friends, so these blessings are all about birthday moments and my daughter.

1. God has honored me with many precious gifts. When each of my children were born, I felt awed by the precious gift of life, and the honor given to me as a mom by the Creator of life himself. Today I thank him especially for my youngest daughter.

2. Spelling my daughter’s name in gluten-free pancake batter, and then making the rest of the pancakes into lopsided hearts. It is an awesome birthday tradition, even when we burn the pancakes.

3. A little present at breakfast on my daughter’s birthday, plus the “big one” later.

4. My daughter’s smiling face. When she’s happy she smiles with every fiber of her being. When she’s frustrated, there is still a small smile on her lips. She has inner joy.

5. My daughter’s bright sky blue eyes.

6. My daughter’s tap-dancing feet. She practices everywhere, in the kitchen, in the grocery store, at the library (shh), while brushing her hair, in tap shoes, hiking shoes, sandals, and bare feet. She’s tap-danced all around Washington State, in Florida, California, Canada, and Washington D.C. – because she taps all the time.

7. My daughter’s wonderful relationship with her sister. Yes, there are moments when I have to make them apologize, and make them say “I forgive you.” But 99% of the time, they love to talk together, tap together, read together, put together “beautiful outfits”, read together, and laugh together.

8. My daughter’s squeezy hugs, and her love of cuddling while watching movies at home.

9. My daughter’s love of cats, and dolphins. She is ok with wanting to do some of the same things her sister wants to do, but differently. Her sister wants to work with/research/protect river dolphins, while she wants to work at the Dolphin Research Center in Florida as a dolphin trainer. Oh, and she wants to tap dance too. She has big dreams, and I love that.

10. My daughter’s love of beading, being creative with crafts, and writing poetry.

Shared Blessings:
Trisha is thankful for her birthday. :-)

Website/Internet Blessing for the day:
Dolphin Research Center

Scripture for the Day:
"If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." Daniel 3:17-18 (from one of my favorite stories from Daniel)

And as an extra bonus, I thought I would share a poem my daughter wrote last September.

By Trisha Martinson
I saw two dolphins jump
I saw two dolphins jump
Twirling beautifully through the air,
Curving smoothly pair by pair
And they land without a splash
And they land without a splash

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New Stuff Coming Soon- 365 Days of Blessings - Day 59

New Stuff Coming Soon!!!

Thinking carefully over these last few months, I realized that I need to make some changes to my 365 Days of Blessings project. I fully intend to continue to honor the call that I feel to count up, and be thankful for the blessings in my life, and share them, but I hope to encourage others to do the same. So, I'm going to make some minor changes.

Each day I will share a blessing that someone else has shared with me, for example, if someone who reads my blog says - "hey, I'm thankful for indoor plumbing today" I'll include that in my list. Or if one of my family members or off-line friends shares a blessing with me, I'll put that on my list.

I also plan to highlight blogs, websites, and organizations that have blessed my life, and will be giving out a "Blessed Blog" award each week on Friday.

These may not be the only changes I make, but these are the start of new stuff coming soon.

365 Days of Blessings, Day 59
These are just some of the many blessings that I am thankful for today:

1. God is the author and revealer of mysteries and wonders.

2. The book of Daniel in the Bible. Some of my favorite Sunday School Bible stories are in this book.

3. My cat Emily honored me with her presence on my lap this morning as I read my Bible.

4. The cross necklace I made at the Creation Fest Kids' Grove. I lost my last cross several months ago, and even if this one is a wood cross with plastic beads on a string, it has just as much meaning.

5. Visiting with my parents yesterday when they finally arrived home from their long trip to the Holy Land. They had delayed flights from New York to Seattle. They had, and still have, many stories to tell.

6. My mom's generous, giving heart. She loves to give gifts, and gave each of us something from her trip.

7. I am surrounded by various shades of green, and I love green.

8. My daughter's determination to work with dolphins someday. When looking at handouts from a Christian university at the Creation Festival, she wanted to know if they had a Marine Biology program. She has wanted to be a marine biologist since she turned six or seven. Of course, she has also wanted to be a dancer or a dance instructor since she turned five. So far, she's living part of one dream (dancing) and researching the other.

9. I'm thankful that my oldest daughter's interest in sharks and shark research has waned, and her interest in river dolphins has grown. I'm a wimp, and I didn't really want to see her swimming with sharks someday.

10. My youngest daughter's birthday is today. I am blessed by her life, her creativity, and the priveledge God gave me in raising her. (more about how much she has blessed my life coming tomorrow)

Shared Blessings
My youngest daughter shared with me yesterday that she is thankful that Grandma and Grandpa are home.

Do you have a blessing that you want to share? Just post it in the comment section, and I'll post it tomorrow in my Shared Blessings section.

"He (God) reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him."
Daniel 2:22

Earlier I forgot to add my website for the day. This awesome site, like many others, has blessed me with great recipes for my allergy free cooking endeavors. For awesome chocolate cake that's egg free, and dairy free, just use the recipe as it is. For gluten free cake, just substitute your favorite flour mix, add 2 teaspoons guar gum, and again, you have an awesome cake.

Egg Free, Dairy Free Moist Chocolate Cake

Monday, July 26, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 58

365 Days of Blessings, Day 58

1. God is in charge, not me. Thank the Lord!!!

2. Feeling rested after a month of busy days that were fun-filled and wonderful.

3. Preparing for my youngest daughter’s ninth birthday. She has game plans, cake plans, and is really excited to have friends come and play.

4. Feeling awake and alive!!! (Yesterday I think I lived the whole day in a dozing daze.)

5. Time to think creatively. Praise the Lord for imagination!

6. My dogs’ sweet soulful eyes.

7. A spider web glistening in the sunlight.

8. Joy-filled conversations.

9. Being surrounded by Christians for three and a half days is a really good experience for me, because I live in the Northwest, otherwise known as the “none-zone” of non-belief. I am so thankful that I get to experience huge group worship, prayer, and fellowship at least once a year (along with every Sunday). We may all fall short of the glory of God, but it is good to be around lots of people who believe in Christ.

10. The quiet passion of the Peanut’s comic strip character, Schroeder. His belief in himself, and his love for his favorite composer, Beethoven, are an inspiration in comic form. I am so thankful that God gives us both passion, and laughter. The combination gives us hope.

Psalm 33:4 "For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Days 55, 56, and 57

365 Days of Blessings, Days 55, 56, and 57

1. God makes masterpieces! Psalm 139:14

2. God gives us the need and ability to give. This struck me especially in my Bible reading yesterday in Ezekiel 48:20b "As a special gift you will set aside the sacred portion, along with the property of the city." When I read that phrase, "special gift" I started wondering who the giver and the receiver of this gift actually could be. Are we the givers or the receivers, or both? When I buy or make a present for someone I love, I have such joy and excitement as I anticipate giving it to that special person. How much more joy and excitement can there be when we give to the one who gave us life? Maybe the special gift is special because we are able to give it, because we want to joyously love the Lord with our gifts, and maybe the portion is sacred not only because it is for the Lord, but because God is helping us make a place of sacredness in our lives.

3. Being able to hear amazing Christian speakers like John James, and Bob Lenz share their hearts, their testimonies, and scripture. Did you know that God is a God of second chances? And that most people become Christian before they're 18? That suicide and self-mutilation like cutting is on the rise in our country? I already knew most of that, but I needed a reminder.

4. The Newsboys amazing testimony, worship, music, praise, and I admit I really like the fact that their newest album, "Born Again" is number 4 on the Billboard charts.

5. Thousand Foot Krutch. They rock, they worship, and they were the sweetest to our little girls four years ago at our girls' first Creation Fest (4 years ago). We just happened to go to the "signing" tent while they were there, and they were just genuinely nice young men. I think most of the Christian bands are, but they impressed me when they talked to my daughters who were 5 and 8 at the time.

6. Yesterday (Saturday) morning, the kids tent soundboard tech had it together, and all the performers sounded great!

7. Francesca Battistelli is wonderful! We were blessed by two of her new songs yesterday afternoon.

8. Superchick! ran a sound check for twenty long minutes, prayed for ten (I could see them back stage), and then gave the best concert I've ever heard them give. We had so much fun as a whole family, jumping up and down, dancing and singing, praying and praising.

9. Having our 20-year-old neice join us for the last day of Creation Fest was a huge blessing. We've been trying to get our neices and nephew to come for several years now, and we enjoyed having her with us.

10. 10th Avenue North led us in amazing praise music last night, and I wish they could have been on stage longer.

11. Skillet, as always, rocked "our faces off" (Skillet saying), gave my husband a sore neck (head-banging Christian guys like mine are wonderful), and took the time to make sure their sound was just right for their concert. They ran their sound check at 7a.m. yesterday morning, and then again before their show at 8:50p.m. They had great sound, a pyrotechnics show, and awesome vocals, guitars, drums, violin and viola. They also have a great message.

12. Kids Grove crafts at Creation Fest were a new feature of the festival this year, and we enjoyed them.

13. The ministry of Project AK47, saving the lives of children kidnapped and forced to be soldiers in places like the Philippines, and Burma. Children as young as three are taken and forced to be "runners".

14. The amazing love and ministry of all the musicians at Creation Fest who sponsor children through Compassion International, saving children and families from poverty, child trafficking, and hunger.

15. Biblegateway, an internet site where you can find the Bible in multiple languages, for free. I happen to use it when I am looking for different translations and am trying to get at the "meat" of the meaning of certain passages.

16. Being able to drive home from Creation Fest in less than an hour on the last night.

17. Coming home - it never gets old.

18. Loving my dogs, and cat when I come home.

19. Sleeping in my own bed.

20. Bringing stuff into the house . . . sometimes I dread the unpacking process, but today it has been kind of fun, taking one load at a time, and putting it away where it belongs. Gasp! Am I actually becoming an organized person?

21. My parents are back in the States! They will be flying home today from the East Coast! (They are great next door neighbors)

22. Telling "animal stories" with my niece. We love our dogs, and cats. We've run in terror from farm animals like mean roosters, and bulls. We both been shocked by electric fences and have lived to laugh about it.

23. Water. Good, clean water is an amazing blessing!

24. Shade on a sunny day.

25. Working up a sweat in the afternoon sun while rocking out to Superchick! (kind of out of order)

26. Cold showers while camping - nothing wakes you up faster than water that nearly gives you "brain freeze" while shampooing, and hearing the shrieks in the showers (ah! that's cold!).

27. Daughters who brush the knots out of their own hair!!!! Woohoo! It's been a few years since I had to do that, but I am so glad that they are completely independent for their hair.

28. My husband, who is happy to be the official "waterboy" of our softball team - always filling up a giant jug of clean water for our softball team when we play.

29. My youngest daughter's ninth birhday is in two days, and I have her present all ready for her. I'm excited to give it to her, but I like this kind of anticipation.

30. Getting home-school books in the mail for next year (starting in a month)is awesome - again, more anticipation that feels good.

Psalm 139:14
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 54

365 Days of Blessings, Day 54
1. John 3:16

2. Phredd's song "Awhooga", his enthusiasm and ability to get sleepy kids and parents up on their feet in the kids tent at 9a.m. after late night concerts, and rock his electric ukelele.

3. Mark Thompson and his Trunk Bunch. He is an awesome puppeteer, great humorist for kids and families, and is able to share God's word with joy. He's been a puppeteer for Jesus since he was 4 . . . amazing stuff. Plus, he must have had awesome parents.

4. Steven Courtney's music, humor, and fun "self-control" game, kind of like simon says, but with way more laughter. (We were disappointed that Bigsby didn't return, but Steven Courtney is talented too).

5. Rubyz, a fun "tween/teen" band that celebrates faith, purity, and fun.

6. Three kids, laughing together, playing together, and singing together.

7. My husband, the "B roll" master videographer. He is loving his press pass, gets to be there for all the signings and see bands up close.

8. Hillsong Live at Creation Fest! They had every single person on their feet, singing praises.

9. Newsboys singing old hits and new hits, from "Breakfast" to "Beautiful" to "Born Again."

10. Newsboys on the main stage and their "B" stage which was out in the center of the audience. They know how to put on a concert, host a dance party, and give testimony . . . all in the course of an hour.

365 Days of Blessings - 53

365 Days of Blessings, Day 53

1. God wakes us up!

2. Oh Happiness! A David Crowder Band song.

3. Keep Your Eyes Wide Open. A Switchfoot song.

4. Swimming in Deep Lake.

5. Walking and running around Deep Lake.

6. Driving on old familiar roads of childhood, but with an adult perspective.

7. Compassion International - one of the beneficiaries of Creation Fest, and a great relief organization.

8. Singing and dancing outside with thousands of other Christians under a beautiful evening sky.

9. Hearing someone from Texas call Mt. Peak (a foothill that is shaped like a turtle) an amazing mountain . . . maybe he was referring to Mt. Rainier, but it didn't seem like it since he was referring (with gestures) to the one behind him.

10. Cocoa muffins for breakfast with raspberry jam, tea and honey, family and friends.

"You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas."
Psalm 65:5

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 52

365 Days of Blessings, Day 51

1. God cares about the details of our lives. As I read the last few chapters of Ezekiel, I am struck by the care that the Lord put into the offerings of his people. With Jesus we have a new covenant of grace through salvation, the ultimate offering in Christ Jesus has wiped away our sins, but I think that the Lord still cares about the details of our lives and our worship.

2. Winning another church softball game at the new playing fields in Gig Harbor. Fun, fellowship, and hey, winning feels good too.

3. Driving with a friend to Creation Fest Northwest. We shared conversation, laughter, and manage to trap the smell of skunk in our van.

4. My husband's willingness to drive his parents RV packed with three kids and all of our stuff. Our van is just an extra, and I find it easy to drive. John had to drive the monster RV, and he did it with ease.

5. The wonderful atmosphere of the Creation Fest campground. The conversations, the excitement, and the humor of tent-building "experts" all working with and against each other to create a tent and RV city in a cow field.

6. Having Creation Fest Northwest in Enumclaw. I woke up to the smell, the feel and the sights of my childhood home town. I know those barns by the field because I used to ride my bike by them three or four times a week. There is something satisfying about coming home to an old home.

7. The humor of hearing my family, and our friends react to the "smell" of my old home town. Yes, there are dairy cows nearby.

8. My husband's enthusiasm for filming "B roll" footage for Creation Fest. He's got his camera out and rolling for campground life.

9. Being blessed by hubby's parents with the use of their beautiful, spacious, and comfortable RV. They are so gracious to allow us to use it year in and year out.

10. Looking forward to taking my "crew" to some of my old stomping ground spots, or at least one of the following today: Mt. Peak/Pete, Deep Lake, on a drive by my old elementary schools/church/house/etc.

"Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both bank of the river. Their leaves wil not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food an their leaves for healing." Ezekiel 47:12

Bonus Blessing: Arriving early for a great camp site.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 51

Welcome to my 365 Days of Blessings Project that I started back in May. If you would like to know more, just click on the handy link on my sidebar to see my first Blessings post. It explains a bit of the why, when, how, and what of the 365 Days of Blessings project.

365 Days of Blessings, Day 50

1. God fills the aching hole in my soul with overflowing love, forgiveness, and joy.

2. My husband has today off, and can help me pack!!!

3. We're going to Creation Fest Northwest! The most awesome Christian music festival that we've ever experienced. This will be our fifth time attending, but the first time it will be on "our side of the mountains" here in Washington state. This means we have to be prepared for rain instead of scorching heat.

4. Creation Fest Northwest is a blessing to many Christians and those seeking to learn more about Jesus, and what makes Jesus Freaks the way we are. Just check out their website, if you would like to learn more: Creation Fest Northwest

5. Getting an acceptance letter!!! Woohoo! My poem, "My Mother's Compost" will be published at Every Day Poets sometime in the nearish future.

6. Meeting a good friend at the library.

7. Knowing our dogs and cat will be well taken care of by a friend, and our neice who will be house-sitting.

8. Singing VBS songs before VBS.

9. I survived the dentist yesterday, and never once gave the chair a death grip. Cavities (yes, to my shame I have them at my age) are filled, and I have renewed an old goal to give up all diet soda. Diet sodas, especially diet colas, are teeth enamel killers.

10. The velvety softness of my old dog's ears, as she sits with her head in my lap contentedly.

"I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonders."
Psalm 9:1

Monday, July 19, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 50

365 Days of Blessings, Day 49

1. Daily Bible Study that has become such a habit that I kept wondering just what I was missing this morning. After waking up with a head cold going strong, and wandering around the house in a daze, I took my dogs for a walk, then picked up the newspaper, and then . . . I knew there was something missing. Finally, I remembered, I need God's Word to wake up in the morning. A cup of tea with antioxidants also helps.

2. Winning a church softball game by just a few points!

3. The pre-game prayer at each softball game.

4. Apples ripening on the branches of our apple trees.

5. Reading my parents' trip itinerary for their Holy Land trip. They are leaving Galilee to visit Cana, Nazareth, Tel Megiddo, Beth Shean, and will be staying the night in Jerusalem. I can't wait to hear all their stories and see their pictures.

6. My mom's patience with her inheritance from her mom. Over the years my parents have had plenty of opportunities to spend, but she held onto it until deciding to take this trip to the Holy Land.

7. Hearts being healed through prayer.

8. Church family members who have done short term mission trips this last year. They are amazing.

9. My husband's steady, hard-working persistence in all things.

10. My dentist. I don't like going in for "extra" work on my teeth, but at least I know my dentist is skilled, and patient with me. It helps to be honest and say, "Yes, I'm scared of dentists." And it helps that he and his assistant see me tightening my hands into fists, or gripping the sides of the chair, and they say, "well, how about taking a breather for a moment." I know it all sounds terribly childish of me, but I am thankful that I have a patient dentist.

Psalm 119:80 "Your word, O Lord, is eternal;
it stands firm in the heavens."

Bonus Blessing: That itchy and excited feeling in my fingers when I sit down to write. It's as if every bit of my body says, "It's time to write, it's time to write!"

Have a great day everyone!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

collecting dust, or cleaning house?

This post is in addition to my daily 365 Days of Blessings Project post from earlier today. I just had something on my chest, I decided to work out on the keyboard, and for some reason my blog was still open, so . . . it got worked out here.

Have you ever had to throw away something that almost felt like a keepsake, but was really way too large to keep?

Your first beater car that took you on your first road trip adventures?

An old comfy chair or couch that was so broken that sitting in it had become perilous?

A Wurlitzer Organ with burnt out wiring, but still beautifully finished? Full of memories, both good and bad?

We are doing a little cleaning out today, and I find myself looking over an old Wurlitzer that I started playing at the age of 9. My grandmother played it. My parents played it. We took organ classes together at a Prosser Piano and Organ store. The finished dark wood still holds a glimmer of polish. The keys are like old friends, and old enemies mixed together. The pedals are just where I remember them . . . I don't have to look like I remember looking the first year I played.

I had several organ teachers, but there was a particular one that took me under her wing, showed me how wonderfully the instrument could be played, and gave me reasons to learn. Encouraging me with her faith, her love of Narnia books, and her playful music choices, I started to want not only to play, but to be just like her. She was an amazingly beautiful woman, and an excellent organist. I've only heard two organists who could play better. But then, I don't listen to much organ music anymore. Or play.

Even before the wiring burnt out, that Wurlitzer organ had been collecting dust.

On a burning hot summer day, with a perfect blue sky that seemed never-ending, I learned nearly 25 years ago that my seemingly perfect organ teacher, a woman of faith and a new mother, had killed herself in the midst of post-partum depression.

I told my mom and dad I would never play again.
But they kept the Wurlitzer anyway. They continued to play, and my grandmother did too.

For a while, I wouldn't even enter the room where the organ sat.

So, how in the world, 25 years later, have I ended up with this Wurlitzer in my house? A dust-collecting keepsake that had it's final play before total burn out under the fingertips of my mother-in-law, who at that time was happily playing Christmas music (7 months ago)?

It's hard to say exactly how it happened except somehow, somewhere during that time when my daughters were very young, my mom sat them down on the organ bench next to her, and taught them to bang on the three keyboards, flip the switches, and make the kind of joyful noise that only kids can make.

Then the organ moved into our basement where it was played on by kids, Grandparents, and even . . . on a rare occassion, me. I don't play well, but there are a few beginner's songs I still remember. And now, even though it's been dead for seven months, I'm having a hard time getting rid of the thing.

So many memories, and how can I use them?

I think somehow that I need to clean house, stop collecting dust, and put the memories, as well as the junk, in order. I guess that means throwing out the actual, physical Wurlitzer organ that is beyond use, and keeping the memories, hoping to use them someday for something, some piece of writing maybe, several lessons learned over time.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 49

365 Days of Blessings, Day 49
1-2. Pictured blessings - The National Cathedral July 4th, the Tap Trio in June at Spotlight World Cup (National Dance Competition)

3. "God looked over everything he had made; it was so good, so very good." Genesis 1:31 Message translation

4. "We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10 NIV

5. Summer Worship with the Whole Congregation, with new hymns and old, traditional and contemporary forms of worship blended, mixed, and bringing new life to our worship.

6. Church Softball as an outreach to our community, inviting others to join us in playing, and join us in cheering for each other.

7. The Internet - it's distracting at times, but very useful, easy to use, and a great source of information and communication.

8. Gardens that aren't mine, but that are beautiful to look at while walking through my neighborhood.

9. Seeing my neighborhood through someone else's eyes. I realized that I just don't see all the beauty that surrounds me daily. Sometimes I do, but there are areas on my walking route that I seemed to have missed entirely until today.

10. The amazing agility of a chipmunk traveling from tree to tree in our side yard.

"As God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience." Colossians 3:12 NIV

365 Days of Blessings - Day 48

365 Days of Blessings, Day 48

1. God is the author of life, salvation, creativity, and imagination. He is real, and he is amazing.

2. A day between. We've been blessed by full, rich, busy lives from sometime in June until today. Today is the first day in which we don't have: dance recital, dance practice, dance competition, travel prep, travel, church softball, zoo camp, Sunday School meetings, dentist and doctor appointments, or anything other than our household stuff to do. I am thankful for a day to clean house, do yardwork, hang out in my own home, maybe run an errand to the grocery store, and take time to prepare for our next adventure without packing or that "hurry, hurry" feeling involved.

3. Movies made from cartoon series and books. Even though we may not always love the way the directors choose to take the storyline, it is a great base for discussion, especially when it is a movie based on a book.

4. The Last Airbender: Avatar movie. I know it's based on a cartoon series. I know the base in Eastern mysticism in the show is a dilemma for Christians. However, that cartoon series has been a family favorite for a few years now.

We've enjoyed the humor, the characterization, the action, the storyline, the redemption of "bad" charcters, and the fun nature of the show that seems to understand exactly where kids are at. The movie didn't capture all of that of course, and even included a few jarring moments (how did they decide to pronounce three main character names wrong?), but we are still glad that it was made into a movie, and we enjoyed going to see it last night.

We've also had plenty of time to discuss our faith with our kids, and how faith in Christ differs from other religious faiths from around the world. We like being able to read, watch, and listen to Christ-based books, movies, and music. However, we also like being able to watch the "worldly" stuff and talk about it with our kids. It's a tightwire challenge that all parents have to face, and we hope and pray we're managing it well.

5. A week of zoo camp for my kids at Pt Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. An amazing week full of animal encounters, crafts, and behind the scenes special moments for my kids. They were able to see the animal hospital at the zoo, and the food prep areas. They prepared special snacks for the elephants, and the polar bears. They made "enrichment" toys for some of the animals. They designed zoo habitat plans, and my oldest daughter's class did presentations. Happily, she got to do a presentation on one of her favorites: sharks. My youngest worked with a team to create a drawing of a "new" habitat enclosure for the Red Wolf exhibit. Currently, the Red Wolf habitat is under construction to celebrate the Red Wolf Species Survival, made possible in part by Pt. Defiance zoo.

6. My kids love of animals, great and small. I have many friends who are somewhat dismayed by my encouragement of my daughters' love of wildlife. I am often told that I should encourage them to serve God's people first, and there is a point in that. However, I feel that by saving God's creatures, even the ones that aren't human, we are serving Him. I don't think it has to be an "either, or" type passion. William Wilberforce, who fought against the slave trade in the United Kingdom, also fought for the humane treatment of animals.

7. Being able to be a part of a zoo that supports species survival of many creatures around the world.

8. Looking forward to completing projects today around my house.

9. Re-submitting my poem, "My Mother's Compost" in the hopes that it will get published, even though I still have some "hmm" moments about it.

10. Another cool morning break before the sun comes out in force for the afternoon.

The following scripture just captured my imagination this morning:
"The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, 'Son of man, can these bones live?'
I said, 'O Sovereign Lord, you alone know.'
Then he said to me, 'Prophesy to these bones and say to them, 'Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these
bones; I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.'" Ezekiel 37:1-5

Friday, July 16, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 47

365 Days of Blessings, Day 47
As usualy, unrelated, of the moment in my heart kind of blessings.

1. The Lord replaces our hearts of stone with hearts of flesh.

2. My husband shows up when I need him. He's not telepathic, so I have to ask, but when I do, he's there.

3. My kids are awesome! I know I say that in some way every day, but it's true. I've been blessed.

4. My oldest daughter has shared her favorite Bible verse with me twice in the last week. Isaiah 54:10 "'Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,' says the Lord, who has compassion on you."

5. My youngest daughter gave me a bit of attitude about bath-time last night, but she turned a corner later (after apologizing and bathing) when she asked for dessert. She said, "how many raspberries can I have for dessert if I have two hershey kisses?" (5-7 hershey kisses are considered a "normal" dessert size portion). I said, "as many as you want." Then she brought the entire half-flat down to our basement, and said, "I can have the whole box?" She didn't get to eat the whole box, but I am glad she thinks of raspberries as a dessert.

6. I may not have written as much as I wanted to this week, but I have had some good focus time on my writing in the midst of regular life threatening to take all my writing time away.

7. My teetering pile of paperwork from the countertop has been completely vanquished!!! Take that, you stinky pile of recyclable junk mail and out of date coupons!!!

8. It's a perfect temperature day, as long as you're moving.

9. I danced today when no one was watching . . . well, except my dogs and cat who are above such antics.

10. My Beagle, the escape artist, always returns . . .

Bonus Blessing: I feel like I understand my characters better this week in my WIP. They are coming to life under my every day care, and work. I've written outlines, drawn maps, and written a character index so I can keep track of those pesky minor character names.

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." Ezekiel 36:26

Thursday, July 15, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 46

365 Days of Blessings, Day 46

Have you ever had moments in life that just suck?

Like when you get pulled over for speeding ticket, and you know you deserve it?

Or when your spouse tells you that both of you forgot to pay the property taxes three months ago and now you’re going to have to pay an extra fine on top of the usual amount?

Or when you lock your keys in your car, and realize that you left your cell-phone on its charger at home? Then you find out that the nearest public pay phone (yes, they still exist) is broken?

Or when an entire sports team sized water container falls over in the back of your van on the way to a church softball game, and your vehicle is soaked from front to back?

Or when you think you are prepared for a meeting, but then find out that you’ve forgotten to bring several key pieces of information that you just can’t quite remember off the top of your head?

Or when you hear something disappointing about someone you usually have deep respect for?

Or when you strike out at bat, and you feel like you could have hit one of those balls if you had just swung a little faster/harder/higher/lower?

Or you say/do something you later regret?

I’ve had all of those kinds of moments in the last three weeks. They aren’t fun.
In fact, they get me feeling entitled to feel downright grumpy.

However, there is that verse that keeps hitting me on the head in these moments: “Rejoice in the Lord, always. Again, I say Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4

Or as it usually hits me, phrase by phrase:

“Rejoice in the Lord,



I say,


And sometimes I think, really? Really, Lord? Now? Rejoice? Are you sure? When my keys are locked out of my car, my cell-phone is at home, I had to use the business phone at a bookstore to call my husband and he’s going to walk here from his work, partly because he van-pooled today? Really?

And then, I realize that in the midst of my complaint, there are blessings. Blessings that I am not seeing. Blessings that I can rejoice in, always, again and again.

So here’s my post for today, for in the midst of my griping, I found these blessings.

1. God is always present, in times of trouble, and times of joy.

2. I know the Lord. In him, I have nothing to fear, worry about, or even complain about – he is my everything.

3. I have a car.

4. I have a cell-phone.

5. The bookstore where I am may not have a working public pay phone, but they have a nice staff who allowed me to use their business phone.

6. My husband can walk. Ok, that may not seem big, but I have a sister-in-law whose husband is trapped in a wheelchair, and can’t move from his neck down.

7. My husband is available to help me, and is within walking distance of where I am. He has the keys to the car.

8. I can sit and write while I wait, and hey, that’s part of the reason I came to the bookstore – to be away from the distractions of my home, and write, write, write.

9. Plug-ins and internet connections are all over the place where I live.

10. My husband rides in a vanpool on most days to work, saving us money and saving a bit of fuel.

Bonus Blessing: Counting my blessings, rejoicing in the Lord, always, again, and again, lifts my mood, heals my soul, and keeps me smiling.

Another Bonus Blessing: My husband and I weren’t sure if we would meet for lunch today, but through unplanned circumstances, we did.

So, have you had any unexpected, unplanned blessings in disguise today? or recently?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 45

365 Days of Blessings, Day 45

1. God gives us glorious, beautiful days, and comforts us through the storms.

2. Three deer sightings in three days. On Monday, I saw two yearlings bounding through the trees. Yesterday I saw a tiny fawn with its mother just outside Pt. Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Pt. Defiance Park. This morning, our neighborhood deer walked through our yard, showing off growing racks, and lengthening strides. They know the dogs can't reach them beyond their fence so the simply keep a quick pace while the dogs bark and howl with excitement.

3. Writing anywhere, everywhere from coffee shops, grocery stores, the library, the Beach, and even the zoo.

4. Making a walking date with my husband. Great conversation and exercise too.

5. Owens Beach.

6. Pt. Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, a fun place that has blessed our family for the last ten years.

7. Spotted leopard cubs, asleep in a heap and waiting for night-time play.

8. Asian small-clawed otters diving, swimming, twirling and somersaulting in the water, with curious eyes for the zoo-goers who watch them.

9. Elephants, intelligent and ponderous.

10. Domesticated cats who give us the opportunity to see what it might feel like to pet a tiger. I know my cat makes certain that we know we are priveledged.

Bonus Blessing: Before a Sunday School Teacher's meeting last night, when I realized frantically that I didn't have all the pieces together perfectly, my oldest daughter stopped me and asked, "what's your favorite Bible verse, Mom?" And then these three popped into my head, one right after the other:

"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say, Rejoice!" Philippians 4:4

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." Psalm 119:105 KJV

"but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."

Isaiah 40:31

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 44

365 Days of Blessings, Day 44

1. The Lord is present in the silence.

2. My husband makes great sacrifices to serve others.

3. My in-laws have an incredible work ethic.

4. My oldest daughter is having “a great time” at zoo camp, learning about animals and what it takes to run a zoo, and making friends with a girl who is visiting from Texas.

5. My youngest daughter is having “an awesome time” at zoo camp, learning about animals, the food web, and learning crafts. She taught her sister how to make a paper snake last night.

6. My daughters have similar interests, and yet a different way of experiencing those interests. They are like a beautiful tapestry making up the same picture with different colored threads.

7. Despite disorganization yesterday, not knowing where to sit and write in Tacoma (across a toll bridge from where we live, but where the zoo is located), I managed to revise a poem, write 4,770 words on my WIP, and have lunch and a walking break with my husband who works just 10 miles from the zoo.

8. We are all healthy. Sometimes I think I forget to thank God for that enough. Sure, we have little things wrong with us like food intolerances, thyroid problems, and stuff like that, but we are so blessed to be healthy, alive, and together as a family. So many people in this world are hungry, sick, dying, and lonely. We try to help, and we pray, but for this moment, I just feel a need to say “Thank You, God!” for blessing us with health, life, and togetherness.

9. I made a good stir-fry last night, a little heavy on the carrots, but everyone liked it well enough, even though I was so exhausted I was afraid of my own cooking.

10. My oldest daughter is cooking tonight. (I’ll help, of course)

Psalm 34:4-8
"I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of his troubles.
The angel of the Lord camps
around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him."

Monday, July 12, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 43

365 Days of Blessings, Day 43

1. In Christ, we are adopted into God's family, sons and daughters in a lineage that goes back to Abraham, and back beyond that to Adam and Eve.

2. Big family hugs that keep us warm at cold, summer night softball games. (Actually only 63 degrees with a chilly wind, but we just got back from temperatures ranging from 85-106)

3. Being surrounded by God's creation. I realized in the concrete jungle of Washington, D.C. that nothing compares to the glory of God's natural creation. I love the sound of birds, wind in trees, and the smell of fresh air.

4. My parents' trip to Jerusalem. I wish in many ways that I could go with them, but I am sure they will come home with wonderful stories and pictures to share. My mom, after 23 years of debate, has finally decided to spend her inheritance from her mother, by taking a trip to the Holy Land with my Dad.

5. My dad's extreme organization when it comes to packing and planning for a "big" vacation. I think they packed their bags at least three times to make sure they were "ready."

6. My parents' creativity revealed when naming me as a child. They didn't know anything about the background of my name, but they liked the sound of "Tyre" from the movie, "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" and decided to make it more feminine by adding a "n" sound to the end. Then they had a short debate on spelling, and my mom decided she didn't want two "e"'s in my name. Now, I know that the city of Tyre is mentioned in the Bible several times. Tyrean is a name used in Ireland for females. Here in America, Tyrean is used for both females and males but usually those with African heritage. Friends of my parents looked it up once, and discovered that the name "Tyre" usually means "galley slave." Hmm, I do spend time in the kitchen, but I am glad that slavery is illegal in our country.

7. The Lament for Tyre in Ezekial 27. Even though I know God wasn't talking about me directly in that passage, I take it as a good warning against my pride.

8. A full day of writing ahead . . . wow!

9. Winning a softball game. It feels so good to win, especially after many defeats. I'm so proud of my team for weathering the bad times with cheer, and for the enthusiasm we have for every good thing. "Great catch!" "Way to hustle to first base!" "Good play!" "Great pitch!" "Woohoo, awesome hit!" are all heard from our team. The umpire said he had never heard any other team cheer so much just for players making it to first base.

10. Knowing that God has a purpose in all things, and we have the freedom to choose to praise him in all circumstances. We are so richly blessed in the Lord.

"Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and having salvation,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of donkey."
Zechariah 9:9


Sunday, July 11, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 42

365 Days of Blessings, Day 42

1. Jesus can heal our hearts, mend our broken spirits, and give us strength.

2. Hearing my husband's voice singing praises to God. We usually don't sit next to each other because of his calling as a sound board techie, but today and last Sunday, we did.

3. A book that is so good that I can feel tears pricking my eyes as I read. I usually don't like stories that I know will make me cry, but I picked this one up from the pile my mom's given me to read this summer and before I knew it I was into it, and yes, crying a little. HEROE'S TRIBUTE by Graham Garrison is guaranteed to be a tear jerker throughout, but I'm going to finish it anyway.

4. Being Home after vacation.

5. The comfort, softness, and relief of my own bed, pillows, sheets, bedroom window, and the birds that sing in the morning.

6. The healing service at Peninsula Lutheran Church today. Beautiful from beginning to end, and much needed. We prayed for the world, our country, our family (including our church family), and ourselves (forgiveness, freedom, healing).

7. The amazing choreography of a friend of ours whose daughter and husband danced at our church this morning to begin worship.

8. Accomplishing a task that needed to be done.

9. Shopping for groceries, knowing that we have been blessed abundantly.

10. Looking forward to: small group barbeque, church softball, and a full week of writing next week. As my youngest put it, "We're going to zoo camp each day next week, and mommy is going to a writing camp with herself."

Bonus blessing: Another quote from my youngest daughter, "The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. was so amazing and beautiful, but I like our Pastor better."

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

Saturday, July 10, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 41

365 Days of Blessings, Day 41

1. God created us to be intelligent, inventive people.

2. My husband's service to our country. He only served full time for two years, and as an active reservist for 9, with one year inactive reserve, but I am still proud of him for sacrificing his time and talent.

3. The men and women of our country who sacrifice freedom for our freedom. The "great irony" that for us to be free in America, thousands upon thousands have sacrficed their liberties, freedoms, inependence, and their lives.

4. The memorials in Washington, D.C. for our service men and women.

5. The most moving memorial I saw this morning . . . the Korean War Memorial. Every memorial is rich with symbolic details, but the Korean War Memorial is amazing. Nineteen statues of soldiers walking through enemy territory which are reflected in the memorial wall to make thirty-eight soldiers representing the 38th parallel that separates North and South Korean. The half-etched faces of U.S. soldiers in the memorial wall so that when we look at them, we see our own faces in the image. The fountain with the wedge cut out. The flowers placed their daily by the Republic of South Korea. Wow.

6. Abraham Lincoln's memorial. I visited it for the second time today, and I think I got a bit more out of it than I did when I was 12. I didn't remember the flag draped around him, or the placement of his hands.

7. The American History Museum.

8. Wonderful, awesome, amazing, sweet friends who were hosts with the most this last week as we stayed with them in Washington, D.C., borrowed their car, went grocery shopping with them, tried them with our food intolerances, and used their vast knowledge of the D.C. area to our advantage.

9. Being asked to revise a poem, and re-submit it.

10. Having so many ideas in my head, I feel like I'm going to burst. I am so glad that most of next week is time that I am setting aside for my writing.

Bonus: Facebooking, Writing my blog, and enjoying the fun of the internet while mid-flight. I liked flying already, and this makes it even more fun.

Also, I am thankful for the excellent, friendly security staff and police officers who work so hard to keep us safe at our airporsts, and national monuments. (I was having a tough time being thankful earlier when I was "randomly selected" for a special screening at the airport.) Walking by the Police headquarters and F.B.I. building each day as we toured our nation's capital renewed my appreciation for them. Also, learning that the officers who guarded the Declaration of Independence had memorized all of it astounded me.

Genesis 1:3 "And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light."

Friday, July 9, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Days 39 and 40

365 Days of Blessings, Day 39 and Day 40

1. Godly Wisdom. I'm not sure I have it often, but I pray for guidance in this area daily for myself, my family, my church, and my country.

2. My husband's calm nature.

3. My husband's training in the Navy, and how it shines through him in certain situations.

4. Pain medication for head-splitting head-aches.

5. Our amazing friends, who lent us their car yesterday so we could drive from Washington, D.C. to Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.

6. Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.

7. The fun of writing with a quill pen and ink.

8. The silversmith at Colonial Williamsburg yesterday.

9. All the actors at Colonial Williamsburg yesterday.

10. The old hoop and stick game - my youngest and I enjoyed playing that for a while yesterday right after it rained.

11. Dressing up colonial style.

12. Being immersed in the time between 1765 and May 1776 by skilled actors, 156 buildings either from that time or refurbished with archeological expertise, horse drawn carriages, the sounds of pipe and drum, and the joy of people who love our country.

13. Understanding that although some of our forefathers were slave-owners, there was much debate during the time of country's birth about exactly what it meant for "all men, to be endowed with certain, natural rights." Not everyone wanted slavery, and the push for the abolition of slavery was beginning right there at the birth of our nation.

14. Being able to do laundry on vacation.

15. Fresh fruit: raspberries, grapes, blueberries, and bananas.

16. The Beethoven action figure that our friends bought at the Library of Congress gift shop.

17. The Librarian action figure we saw at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Should I go back and get it?

18. The wonderful imagination of an 8 year old boy. He's launching his cars into space today, and yesterday he saved his family from a lava pit by creating a bridge, and a safe haven.

19. Three little girls playing tea party with their dolls. (I'm so glad my 11 year old doesn't think she's too old yet).

20. Our friends' dog and cat, both very cuddly and playful. The only hard part about this is that I think we are missing our dogs and cat even more, but we know they are being spoiled with love and food by my parents as they house-sit for us.

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hiden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same say, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Days 37, and 38

365 Days of Blessings, Day 37 and Day 38

1. God is the same yesterday, today, and for eternity.

2. My husband is steadfast.

3. Air-conditioning in 105 Degree weather.

4. The Air and Space Museum.

5. The Wright Brothers.

6. Moon rocks.

7. Being able to experience a space station exhibit.

8. Hands-on exhibits that demonstrate drag, and other aspects of flight.

9. The National Archives.

10. The Declaration of Independence.

11. The Consitution.

12. The Bill of Rights.

13. George Washington.

14. George Washington's will which specified that all his slaves be freed, and given an education.

15. Mount Vernon.

16. Being able to see the Magna Carta, signed in 1215 by King John, here in the National Archives.

17. The Folger Shakespeare Library.

18. The National Botanical Gardens.

19. The Docents at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

20. Watching a movie with friends while on vacation, although all around we agreed "we liked the book better."

"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men." Matthew 5:13

Monday, July 5, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 36

365 Days of Blessings, Day 36
AKA 4th of July, written up on the 5th

1. God has blessed America, and is still blessing America. (I think we need to thank Him more)

2. My husband has a good sense of humor.

3. Worship at 8:45a.m. in the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. - the largest gothic cathedral in the world. Amazing, inspiring, and beautiful.

4. The 4th of July Parade in Washington, D.C.

5. Being within walking distance of the main historical and touristy sites.

6. The Declaration of Independence.

7. Marching Bands.

8. Sunset at the Washington Monument.

9. Glow sticks bought at the dollar store that actually work.

10. Amazing, incredible, astounding, spectacular fireworks right next to the Washington Monument, and having an amazingly clear view of them. The best fireworks show I've ever seen in my life, and the best view of any fireworks show I've seen in my whole life. Wow!

Happy Birthday America! I pray that we continue to be the land of the free, and the home of the brave, and that we continue to thank God for all the blessings he has showered upon us.

from my Ezekiel reading
"But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live, he will not die." Ezekiel 18:21

"May the kinds of the earth prasie you, O Lord,
when the hear the words of your mouth.
May they sing of the ways of the Lord,
for the glory of the Lord is great."
Psalm 138:4-5

Saturday, July 3, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 35

365 Days of Blessings, Day 35

1. God's wisdom.

2. My husband's easy going attitude while on vacation. I like to make the plans, and he likes to just relax.

3. Flight!

4. An airplane flight that takes less time than expected.

5. Vacation is now!

6. Washington, D.C. is a beautiful city.

7. Seeing the Washington Monument at night, from the window of an airplane.

8. Having wonderful friends who are hosting us during our stay here, and showing us all the good places to go, and when to go.

9. Seeing so much that it is hard to capture it all at once: amazing cityscapes, breathtaking architecture, natural wonders, beautiful artwork, and even, parking garage planning and history. Can you guess where we've been so far?

10. Having wonderful parents who are house-sitting, dog-sitting, cat-sitting, and frog-sitting.

"Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power." Daniel 2:19-21

Friday, July 2, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 34

365 Days of Blessings, Day 34

1. "God's voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding." Job 37:5

2. "My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken." Psalm 62:1-2

3. The sound of a rainy downpour againts a forest of leaves.

4. The time my husband sets aside to read scripture.

5. My youngest daughter's Teddy, who has traveled with us everywhere.

6. My oldest daughter's Puppy, who happens to travel secretly with her in her backpack wherever she goes.

7. Cuddle time.

8. Big, giant hugs.

9. We're flying away from the rain, and into summer temperatures today.

10. Amazing friends who are hosting us in Washington D.C.

"O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you."
Psalm 63:1-3

And for a bonus blessing: I'm looking forward to writing on the plane.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 31,32, and 33

365 Days of Blessings, Days 31, 32, and 33

Very busy, very hurried, but here it is - the mega list for the last two days and today.

1. Stretching on the hot sand, fully clothed, under a blue sky with clouds.

2. Kids burying each other in the sand, with a lot of laughter.

3. Water.

4. Ocean waves.

5. Playing "catch me if you can" with the ripples coming onto the shore.

6. Swinging on swings on the beach.

7. Seaside, Oregon.

8. Positive parents of young dancers who are able to say, "Go out there and have fun!" instead of "do it right."

9. Awards for dance, even when the girls didn't get "the big one."

10. Seeing how amazingly talented some of the kids are at National Dance competitions - "So you think you can dance" tv has nothing on most of these kids, age 5-17.

11. Being really proud of two of the girls on our team who are competing for the top four spots for the Spotlight World Cup today. They are amazing! And they have so much fun when they dance together.

12. Being able to find home school books at Powell's - the biggest bookstore in the world.

13. Policemen who keep our roads safe.

14. Results are just in for number 11 - They took second place!!!

15. Our softball team lost a hard fought game, but we played better overall and stayed positive throughout.

16. Being mostly packed, and having some morning "grace" to finish.

17. A "spitting" kind of rain that never became a full downpour during our softball game. We stayed cool, but didn't get soaking wet.

18. Lots of volunteers at Harbor Hope Cat Rescue.

19. My favorite kitties at Harbor Hope Cat Rescue: Mira, Tia, Edward, Garfield, and Adam.

20. Petting Tucker, the cat who used to snarl at me . . . he's finally getting socialized, and someday we hope he'll be ready for a forever family.

21. Blackjack, the cat who used to bite me with his single tooth, is now rubbing against my feet when I walk in the door. He's an old one, but a good one.

22. Being able to volunteer somewhere fun with my daughters.

23. Laura, who runs the Harbor Hope Cat Rescue.

24. My daughter's dancing feet . . . dancing in the kitchen.

25. Chocolate.

26. Chocolate with coconut - homemade haystacks.

27. Our Palm Tree in front of our house, tropical look in a rainy climate!

28. Watching a hummingbird in flight.

29. Watching a hummingbird watch me, sitting on a branch and tilting it's head every few seconds.

30. God's Kingdom is nearer every day.

Psalm 19:14 "May the words of my mouth and the
meditations of my heart,
be pleasing in your sight,
O Lord, my Rock and my