Friday, January 28, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Days 242 through 247

Warning: This is an extremely long post.

Time flies when life is busy, or mediocre, or exciting. . . or all of the above from one day to the next. We had an ok day followed by an exciting one, followed by a restful day, folowed by an exciting day, followed by a long day with little time on the PC, and now today. I feel like I've let myself down on the blessings count, although I have some on scrap paper and in journals scattered around the house.

This last week has me contemplating this question: which is harder, counting blessings and giving thanks on the hard days or counting blessings on the mediocre, ok to pretty good days?
What do you think?

Today I'm giving thanks for some belated blessings, and today's blessings:

1. Being able to buy my favorite teas at the grocery store.

2. Walking with an old dog, and a middle aged dog, and realizing that my mom and I kind of match the dogs' ages. There is some humor in that, although I don't either one of us is a dog.

3. Seeing the "treat" lady on the road. My dogs love her so much!

4. The enthusiastic excitement that elementary school kids have about dogs. (We were walking a little late yesterday when the elementary kids were waiting for their buses.)

5. Finishing up the "Reader's Choice" Basket for a silent auction to benefit our dance studio. Of course, now I want to bid for it. It contains a cozy blanket, book gift cards, a reading light, a bookmark, a journal, and a book bag.

6. Having a wonderful dance teacher who cares for her students deeply. She wants my oldest to rest, ice, elevate, and recover . . . so she can dance again in a few weeks.

7. Preparing for a dance recital. Excitement rules the house.

8. Inviting friends to come with us to the dance recital to be Anna's cheer buddies.

9. All the costume pieces and props were found and put in order - gloves, hoodies, belts, sunglasses, long socks with stripes, jump ropes, tricycle, and the costumes too.

10. Getting a few lessons done on dance recital morning.

11. Getting directions when lost.

12. Enjoying a beautiful auditorium.

13. More dance excitement and enthusiasm.

14. Dancers who know how to enter and exit the stage. . . they made my job backstage much easier.

15. Dancers who are ready, over and over again, no matter how many costume and hair changes they have.

16. My youngest daughter handled herself backstage very well, with help from her friends, and I think she was better without me hovering. I was way too busy to hover.

17. Awesome friends and family who came to see the show!!! Thank you!!!!

18. Little girls dancing in the aisles, dreaming of dancing on stage.

19. Fundraising enough money to save our studio.

20. Staying after the recital to clean up, and seeing the girls dance on stage just for fun, even my oldest with her crutches took a few swinging steps around the stage.

21. Rest.

22. Finding The Taming of the Shrew in a modern BBC production, online. I don't think I could show it to my Shakespeare class, but I enjoyed seeing another take on the ageless tale.

23. The blunt honesty of my Shakespeare class. They don't like that disgusting character, Petruchio.

24. Sunday.

25. Worshiping in a retreat lodge by the sea, with 80+ Christian brothers and sisters who desire to worship and love the Lord with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength, and love their neighbor as themselves. We have a wonderful Christian family all over the world, but I am especially grateful for the one we have close to us.

26. Planting a new church with Christian brothers and sisters who want to focus worshiping the Lord - Father, Son and Holy Spirit, outreach to our immediate community and the world, and healing.

27. Stepping forward in faith, with heart pounding, to take a ministry position I never would have imagined a month ago. Worship and Music Coordinator. Wow. It's an honor, and I'm going to need lots of God's help for every Sunday.

28. Seeing a dear friend, the worship and music director at our old church, be able to worship with her family on Sunday, and knowing that she is going to do great things in Children's Ministry. (We've kind of switched spots . . . )

29. Planning worship . . . it's exciting, challenging, and thankfully I have some awesome help.

30. Blessing and releasing our old church. Letting go of the hurts, and letting healing begin for all of us.

31. Bumping into my first Christian mentor, my first Sunday School teacher, at the zoo, and realizing later in the day that God planned it all.

32. Hearing a message from a mission to Burma.

33. Spending time with my parents for a few days before they went off on their trip again.

34. My writing class is having fun with their mystery skits.

35. My oldest daughter's chemistry class made orange soda, cola, and silly putty yesterday.

36. My oldest daughter is making it through this painful time on crutches. She took a few steps today, and pointed and flexed her toes for the first time in six days.

37. Healing.

38. My youngest daughter had a chance to shine these last few days, and she has been shining with grace.

39. My daughters "blinged" their DS case, with permission.

40. Sharing a DS . . . my kids complain about it now and then, but they haven't offered to use their own money to buy a second one, and my oldest definitely has some savings. I think it is a good way of having an expensive toy, and helps me keep track of their playing time too. 20 minutes each.

41. Stamps.

42. The telegraph, which led to the telephone, which led to cell-phones. Communication is wonderful.

43. Morse code. I admit I don't know it that well, but I think it was a wonderful invention.

44. Edison.

45. Having a conversation about unions and management at the dinner table, based on current day events and the history my youngest is learning in American history.

46. Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright described by my oldest as "wonderful, horrible, sweet, and sad." The book gives a fictional glimpse at Roman life, and the life of two captured tigers, one for a pet and one for the colliseum. It's a book that makes you cry in a good way.

47. Firework by Katy Perry. I might not like everything about Katy Perry, but I enjoy this song, and seeing my youngest dance to it at her recital was sweet.

48. Pre-reading The Second Mrs. Giocanda by e.l. konigsburg for my oldest daughter's homeschool lessons. So far I'm enjoying this fictional "insider's" look at Leornardo Da Vinci's life.

49. Having a few moments to plan specifically for the second half of our homeschool year.

50. Calendars.

51. An amazing husband who cooked dinner on Sunday night.

52. Two amazing daughters who cooked dinner tonight.

53. Homemade french fries . . . yum.

54. Ginger tea for an upset stomach (not because of the french fries, but from something else).

55. Nooma videos.

56. The Case for Faith movie that I've been watching through Netflix while I exercise in the mornings. I've read the book but it's interesting to see it in video format.

57. Notepads . . . where I sketch/brainstorm my ideas.

58. Peppermint sticks we can eat (made with sugar and not corn syrup).

59. Being able to write 59 blessings in one day - wow!

60. In Jesus, there is life.

Scripture Blessings:
"In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." John 1:4

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Day 241

I struggled with thankfulness today, but I realized over and over that giving thanks and praise in the tough moments is just as important, if not more important than giving thanks and praise in the good moments.

So today, I'm giving thanks and praise for these blessings:

1. The Fruits of the Spirit in Sign Language - my youngest daughter is teaching them to me this way.

2. Music stands that keep music at just the right angle for a guitar player. (Not me, my oldest daughter and my mom)

3. Veggies with hummus dip. Yum.

4. Crafts.

5. A wonderful friend who called my daughter when she was feeling blue.

6. A younger sister helping her older sister.

7. My oldest daughter's ingenuity and engineering skills. After realizing that she couldn't carry things well on crutches, she improvised with a bag and a scarf, attaching the small bag to her crutches with the scarf. Pretty, and practical.

8. Easy access to quick medical care.

9. Well wishes and prayers from friends and family.

10. Whenever we need to borrow an adjustable pair of crutches, we can call my Dad. Plus, due to my Dad's experience with crutches, and my mom's experience as a nurse, we will never (or at least not often) walk on crutches the wrong way.

11. The Lord provides.

Scripture Blessings:

"Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, 'On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.'" Genesis 12:13-14

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Day 240

Giving Thanks and Praise for:

1. My oldest daughter's 12th birthday!

2. The sweet memory of seeing and holding my daughter for the first time the day she was born.

3. My oldest daughter is 12, but she still likes to sit on my lap and cuddle.

4. My oldest daughter liked her birthday pancakes, even though they fell apart from griddle to plate so that each letter was halved.

5. Hearing my daughter tell Grandma and Grandpa about how wonderful her birthday party was last weekend, and watching her show Grandma and Grandpa all her gifts, and the amazing handmade cards her friends made for her.

6. Being able to take most of the day to celebrate.

7. Giving my daughter a fun gift, and a serious one too, trying to celebrate this time when she is in the crossover between young girl and young woman.

8. The laughter over a messed up birthday dine out dinner with family between a dance photo shoot and a dance class. Our timing was off, our favorite restaurant is out of business, and we ate at Wendy's and had burgers. However, we sang Happy Birthday anyway, ate happily, and talked, and my daughter opened presents with joy and thankfulness.

9. My youngest daughter's comment, "Wow, I guess God doesn't want us to eat at Ruby Tuesday's tonight! He must want us to eat square burgers (Wendy's)."

10. Seeing my daughters enjoying a little time with two Grandmas, two Grandpas, and a cousin.

11. Enjoying a little extra studio friend time . . . unexpectedly and the humor that comes only at the end of a long day . . . when we are all too tired to say words without turning them into something midly hilarious (to us).

12. Jesus is the way. He is the direction for our family, and everything else is a dilapidated roadside attraction.

Scripture Blessings:

"Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" John 14:6

Sunday, January 23, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Days 238 and 239

Sunday Blessings:

1. Farworld: Water Keep by J. Scott Savage swept me into an adventure for three days, even when I shouldn't have been reading it. Yesterday, on a wonderful, relaxing afternoon (after a whirlwind sleepover birthday party from my oldest) I finished it. I am recommending it to friends, and family as a great fantasy adventure read. True, it's meant for middle grade readers, and I am a "grown up" but I love younger books. I think if a book is as well-written as this one, it is for everyone.

2. Thanks to Shannon at Book Dreaming for reviewing and recommending Farworld on her blog!

3. The website for Farworld is fun!

4. More time to read blogs. I had twenty extra minutes this morning, and used it for catching up on some reading. I have been missing the wonderful, inspiring, and sometimes quirky stuff I get to read in everyone's posts. I am so thankful for blogs, and bloggers.

5. A wonderful worship that felt like a retreat into peace and hope.

6. Fun on a rope sing!

7. The way the Lord's Spirit moves us, even when we least expect it.

8. Making a commitment to a task that only God's strength will allow me to do. I feel suspended in a moment of free fall, like the moment when I grabbed the rope swing rope, looked out to the horizon and jumped.

9. Awesome people.

10. When I uttered doubt about taking on this task, my youngest daughter said, "Mom, you know the Holy Spirit called you, because there is no way you would have taken that otherwise." And then my oldest daughter and my husband chimed in with encouragement, support, and a faith in the one who guides in all things.

Monday Blessings:

1. Still taking this moment to the Lord in prayer, and getting support from friends and family.

2. Mystery skit writing with my writer's workshop adventure class. We had fun today.

3. A few funny videos to close our our Macbeth unit in Shakespeare Class. Most notably BBC's Bitesized Macbeth which made me laugh.

4. Flocabulary's Macbeth Rap actually summarizes the play in a semi-serious way.

5. Starting in on The Taming of the Shrew - one of Shakespeare's most controversial plays. Is it serious, light-hearted, a sad look at abusive spousal behavior? Did Shakespeare really mean for Kate to be taken seriously in her last speech? We'll be debating that.

6. Writing is awesome.

7. Co-op friends are fun!

8. Chemistry class starts in 20 minutes . . . I get to facilitate, set up science experiments, have fun, and be impressed by mom who teaches the class. I should be taking notes on teaching in that class. She speaks quietly to get their attention, and they are riveted in their seats for an hour.

9. Dance class tonight - preparing for the show on Friday!

10. God is in charge!!!! Yay! Not me!

Scripture Blessings:

"After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 'Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’'
Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, 'Why are you untying the colt?'

They replied, 'The Lord needs it.'

They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.

When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

'Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!'

'Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!'

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, 'Teacher, rebuke your disciples!'

'I tell you,' he replied, 'if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.'"
Luke 19:28-40

Saturday, January 22, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Day 237

Giving Thanks and Praise for these awesome, but every day blessings:

1. Conversations about dogs.

2. The cuteness of our beagle. It works for him when we have company. We've become immune due to his acts of sabotaging garbage cans.

3. The sweetness and happiness of our rhodesian ridgeback. She's shy, but happy nearly all the time.

4. Having a dog clever enough to open a lower kitchen drawer to climb onto the counter top and knock food down. It's funny 48 hours afterwards. If only we had the time, energy, and ability to use his cleverness for something good.

5. Having an 11 year old dog with bad joints and a messed up spine, who still wags her whole body with her tail, smiles for us, and brings us her toys. She wants to play, all the time. (well, when she's not taking in her beauty sleep)

6. Waking up 8 girls for breakfast, and seeing them all be pretty good company even after little sleep.

7. Having my husband back me up, when I asked the girls for the second time to go to sleep at 4:40 a.m. 4:40!!! We thought they were asleep way before then!

8. My oldest daughter is very close to twelve. Just 3 days left of being 11.

9. Birthday cake for dessert the day after a party.

10. Sunshine after many days of grey rain.

11. God has us in his hands, all the time.

Scripture Blessings:
"Into your hands I commit my spirit;
deliver me, LORD, my faithful God."
Psalm 31:5

Friday, January 21, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Days 235 and 236

Today I'm giving thanks and praise for 2 days worth of blessings:

Thursday Blessings:

1. Discovered the problem in our walls may only be "kind of" bad instead of "rip off the whole wall" kind of bad.

2. Finished homeschool lessons.

3. My husband took the girls to dance class.

4. I had a break, and decided to dance all over my living room . . . trying to remember some of those tap steps I used to know, and then tried to remember some of my fencing footwork.

5. Went to the library, and picked up 6 books to read . . . even if I don't read them all, I will still skim them with love.

6. Watching an old show that makes us laugh on Netflix.

7. Reading the rough draft of my novel of bedtime storytime, on request from my kids.

8. Talking to a friend at just the right moment.

9. Starting in on one of my library books, a book recommended to me by a fellow blogger. Farworld is even better than I expected it to be, and I am recommending it to my daughters based on the third that I've read so far.

10. Spending a few minutes with my husband each day.

Friday Blessings:

1. Getting the house cleaner that it has been in months, despite the vacuum cleaner breaking. I'm so thankful that I vacuumed those few carpeted areas yesterday, and today I was able to broom and mop the hard stuff.

2. A new shower curtain.

3. A last minute present purchased by my younger daughter for her older sister.

4. Birthday party excitement.

5. Laser tag.

6. Video arcades.

7. Girls playing their version of "We are the Raisins!"

8. Girls making their own pizza, and decorating their own cake.

9. Girls who eat fruit and veggies first.

10. Presents are fun, but the friends are the best part of a party.

11. Art projects, and video game fun.

12. Girls getting quieter without a parent having to ask . . . I think all the running play tired them out.

13. Sleeping bags, pillows, and rest.

Scripture Blessings:
"Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Luke 18:1-8

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Day 234

Today, I'm giving thanks and praise for:

1. A cleaning house kind of morning when I was able to clean and say "thanks God" for blessing me with the stuff I'm cleaning instead of saying, "dishes, again?" I'm thankful for the food we eat on the dishes, and the soap, and the water, and the dishes themselves.

2. Folded laundry - done!

3. All ski gear put away!

4. We did almost all of our home school lessons today, and went to our Family and Friends Co-op for Science, Writing, and Latin.

5. The sliding glass door/window in my daughter's room has been "popped" since we moved in over nine years ago - today a nice man came and replaced it.

6. It isn't just us . . . when anyone opens up a part of our house they find . . . more to work on. Living in an antique is an interesting adventure in house ownership. And maybe, maybe, it could be a Biblical allegory for the way that God uncovers the sin in our lives, tears it out, and replaces it with newness in Christ.

7. Holding a sweet baby with burps, hiccups, and smiles. (not mine, but a friends)

8. Reading my daughter's home school books for historical literature: Little Britches, and The Bronze Bow.

9. Reading Radical by David Platt - a very thought-provoking look at American church life.

10. God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good.

Scripture Blessings:
"Remember the former things, those of long ago;
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please.’
From the east I summon a bird of prey;
from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.
What I have said, that I will bring about;
what I have planned, that I will do."
Isaiah 46:9-11

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

365 Days of Blessings - Five Days in A Row! 229 thru 233

Five Days . . . many thanks . . . a tiny notebook with white polka dots on a field of blue with a fingerprint flower smiling up at me . . . a place to capture all the blessings, poems and story ideas for five days . . .

Friday Blessings
1. Cocoa muffins - made and packed.

2. Cinnamon bake - made and packed.

3. Pizza, chili, and bread - made and packed.

4. Breakfast.

5. 1 mile walk.

6. Prayed for a miracle, and husband came home just in time to help me.

7. Reservations for the dogs and cat at Bayside Animal Lodge, where they get loved as well as kenneled.

8. Youth Snow Trip!!!

9. Car ride with a friend.

10. Getting there - driving into camp in the dark, walking into a bright, big chapel filled with teens and adults from four different churches.

11. Singing a fun version of "Be Still, and Know that I am God."

12. Warm cabins to sleep in.

Saturday Blessings:
1. Taking beginner level skiers from the bunny hill to the chair lift successfully!

2. Teaching wedge turns, and seeing skiers gain more control and confidence.

3. Riding on the chair lift - I am so thankful I don't have to walk up the hill.

4. Taking a short black diamond side trip through powder with my youngest daughter.

5. Taking a boarder with three days of experience on intermediate runs, and being impressed by her tenacity and ability.

6. Watching my husband teach boarders with joy.

7. Watching my husband teach our youth director how to ride in the park.

8. The confidence of youth.

9. My oldest daughter (almost 12) taking charge of a group of level 1 skiers, and leading them on various easy runs.

10. Worship at camp.

11. A room full of different definitions of adventure - awesome definitions!

12. God calls us to the greatest adventure of all.

13. The Rainsin Sketch . . . "We are the raisins that make, the cereal taste great. Oh Yeah!" and "Spoon! Spoon! Spoon! Spoon!"

Sunday Blessings:
1. More sleep!

2. Tasty breakfast!

3. Sleepy bus ride to the mountain.

4. Skiing in the rain with enthusiastic kids.

5. Dry clothes.

6. Warm heaters.

7. The Mt. Baker lodge cat let me pet him.

8. Time to relax.

9. The "Do Run Run" rhyme game on the way home from the mountain.

10. The story game on the way home from the mountain . . . kids outside my writing class like this game!

11. Playing "Freeze!" - the improv game.

12. Awesome worship at chapel at the end of the day.

Monday Blessings:
1. Time to sleep in!

2. Chapel worship with three youth groups as a way to start the day.

3. Creative worship with sculpting, drawing, praising, praying, reading, singing, and hugging!

4. Breakfast and packing up on the last day of camp.

5. A quick car drive - traffic actually flowed, and it was a great trip back.

6. Talking on the phone with a friend about new hope in Christ!

7. Writing poetry in my head while driving.

8. My awesome students from both my Shakespeare Class and my Writing class who made my presentation table so cool for our home school cooperative open house! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

9. My youngest daughter helped me put together my tri-fold poster boards for my classes. She has a great eye for visual flow and detail!

10. The wonderful help of a parent-teacher who gave me sticky letters to use on my writing poster board! Thank you!

11. Watching my youngest daughter sing "Jesus Loves Me" in Spanish, and then watching her sign with her sign language class. She is so talented! (and I know I'm biased)

12. My oldest daughter performed with her guitar class, even though she didn't feel prepared and she didn't want to. She did a really good job, and I am proud of her for getting up there and playing.

13. My amazing and wonderful husband went the extra mile yesterday with all his hard work helping with packing up with the youth, unpacking at our house, and picking up our dogs and cat from their kennel time.

14. Our dogs looked happy and well fed! They were calm, and happy to be home. (our last kennel experience left their ribs showing, and they acted like they were panicked)

15. God sees us safely home.

Tuesday Blessings:
1. Sleeping in for a long, long time.

2. Ice, and heat make for a better day when you wake up with a sore neck.

3. Clean laundry.

4. Washers and dryers.

5. Conversations about facebook conversations . . . appropriate or inappropriate content.

6. Mint Tea.

7. My kids are dance, dance, dancing.

8. Loving up the dogs and cat after days away.

9. Just being home.

10. New hope in God's direction for life.

11. Testimony shared in a dance studio lobby!

Scripture Blessings:

"With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it." 1 Peter 5:12

Thursday, January 13, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Day 228

Giving Thanks and Praise for:

1. Super soft, 8 week old puppies.

2. A super cuddly puppy that climbed into my lap earlier and put her nose in my sweatshirt.

3. Friends who lean on each other, encourage one another, and pray for one another.

4. Science with home school buddies.

5. Storytelling Games.

6. On sale ski pants for my oldest daughter for $30 - an amazing deal at a Big 5.

7. Daughters in jazz class.

8. New dance costumes in today.

9. Birthday invitations.

10. Jesus is an approachable teacher.

Scripture Blessings:
"One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.'” Luke 11:1

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Day 227, Publication, and 10 Bloggers That Make Me Happy

Big title, Big stuff, Big Thankfulness today for:

Publication: So Cold is on-line today at Every Day Poets. I admit it isn't my favorite poem, and I want to re-write it, right now, again. The super short poems seem to be the most challenging for me. However, I am still thankful for the honor of being published, and I'm excited about it too. Stop by, give a read and star rating!

The Top Ten Bloggers Who Make Me Happy Award

Wow! When I most needed encouragment, I found this award waiting for me at Write Now, from Karen Lange. Karen has been a blessing and encouragement to me since the first year of my blog. I really appreciate her insights about writing. Thank you, Karen. You are definitely a blogger who makes me happy!

Now, who do I pass this to, when so many bloggers make me happy. All of the blogs I follow make me happy, and there are more than ten of them . . . but here goes:

1. Melissa at Through The Looking Glass makes me happy with her insightful, thought-provoking posts about writing that are always coupled with allegories from her favorite books, holidays, sports, and vacations. There is always something in her posts that make me smile, or laugh, and something that makes me think, and want to write. Thank you, Melissa.

2. Heather at Writer's Manna is a blog I started following recently, and I've found her posts to be very inspiring. Thank you, Heather!

3. Jill Kemerer, Author makes me happy with her fun, and insightful posts. Thank you, Jill.

4. Chaplain Mike at Internet Monk offers up inspiring and thought-provoking posts that have get me into God's word in the middle of my day and thinking over just how I may or may not be living out God's Greatest Commandment.

5. Gretchin Rubin at The Happiness Project is amazing, and I just started reading her posts. I think the title says it all.

6. Angie at Notes From the Writing Chair shares her personal journey as a Christian writer and editor with a wonderful flair for humor and introspection in the midst of honest reflection. Thank you Angie!

7. Julie Dao at Silver Lining wows me every time with her amazing writing allergories, and I can't wait until she finishes her Princess story . . . it sounds awesome.

8. Grace at a grace story is a wonderful mentor and friend in my life, and her blog posts reflect God's grace working through her grace-filled life.

9. Nevets at Nevets QST shares and honest look at the writing life, and how life and writing mix together. Thank you Nevets for your awesome posts on transitions, and your rants . . .they help me realize that I'm not the only one who feels a need to rant now and then.

10. Shannon at Book Dreaming shares thought-provoking, and fun quotes that get me thinking about my writing in new ways. She has book reviews that send me to the library, and sometimes to the bookstore . . . and she has such a joy-filled outlook that it makes me smile every time I go to her blog. Thanks Shannon!

These 10 blogs are blessings in my life, and make me very happy. So, please, if you received this award pass it along. If you didn't, please know that your blogs bless me, and make me happy too . . . but I just couldn't list them all.

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

Monday, January 10, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Day 226

Today I'm giving thanks and praise for different blog posts that got me thinking creatively, prayers, song lyrics, and thoughts that inspire me:

1. Doodles, and posts about doodling. In her post, Do You Doodle? Angie shares her feelings about doodling. I happen to like creative doodling, especially when I throw words on the margins with scribbles around them. It is kind of a brainstorming exercise for me.

2. Princess stories and discussions about them, like the one started at Diamonds and Toads I started imagnining a singing Prince wooing a silent princess, who is sewing feathers into shirts for her 12 brothers . . . kind of a retold fairy tale idea that's now brewing into a short story. Wouldn't it be great if Disney did some singing Prince movies? Why is it that the Princess is always the one singing?

3. An interesting post on transitions in life and writing at Nevets Paradox made me excited about revising my own writing, and looking at transitions specifically.

4. Yesterday when I stopped by Karen's Write Now I discovered an award waiting for me! What an amazing blessing and surprise. Thank you, Karen!!! You have been a blessing to me since I the earliest days of my blog, giving me encouragement in all the right moments.

5. Inspiring posts like this one at Writer's Manna Changing the World With Your Writing make my day!

6. Signs You May Have The Writing Syndrome from The Golden Eagle.

7. Listening to the radio and hearing Hold us Together by Matt Maher at just the right moment in time, and singing it together as a family.

8. This is the first day of the rest of our lives . . .

9. The Lord makes all things new.

10. The continued prayers, encouragement, and support of my awesome Christian brothers and sisters. Thanks be to the Lord, for my forever family!!!

11. The Lyrics of Hold Us Together by Matt Maher:
It don't have a job
Don't pay your bills
Won't buy you a home
In Beverly Hills

Won't fix your life
In five easy steps
Ain't the law of the land
Or the government

But it's all you need..

Love, will, hold us together
Make us a shelter
to weather the storm

And I'll, be, my brothers keeper
So the whole world will know
That we're not alone

It's waiting for you
Knockin' at your door!
Every moment of truth
When your heart hits the floor

When you're on your knees then...

Love, will, hold us together
Make us a shelter
to weather the storm

And I'll, be, my brothers keeper
So the whole world will know
That we're not alone

This is the first, day of the rest of your life
This is the first, day of the rest of your life
'Cause even in the dark you can still see the light
It's gonna be alright, s'gonna be alright

This is the first, day of the rest of your life
This is the first, day of the rest of your life
'Cause even in the dark you can still see the light
It's gonna be alright, s'gonna be alright

Love, will, hold us together
Make us a shelter
to weather the storm

And I'll, be, my brothers keeper
So the whole world will know
That we're not alone

Scripture Blessings:

Luke 10:25-28
"On one occassion and expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. 'Teacher,' he asked, 'what must I do to inherit eternal life?'
'What is written in the law?' he replied. 'How do you read it?'
He answered: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
'You have answered correctly,' Jesus replied. 'Do this and you will live.'"

365 Days of Blessings, Day 225

Giving Thanks and Praise for:

1. Two friends' gentle rebuke. It is amazing how comforting, and how right those words were to me both yesterday and this morning. Thank you, dear friends.

2. Knowing that only God is Good.

3. Knowing that God's provision is enough.

4. Knowing that God's grace is enough.

5. Knowing that God, and God alone, is just.

6. Blessing and releasing. Letting it all go, and letting God do what He does best.

7. The prayers of friends and family - thank you so much.

8. Taking with me only the good stuff, the good memories and the sweetness. Those are the right things to pack when leaving a place and moving onto another.

9. Thinking about a Go.Do.Likewise. blogfest . . . not sure what it will look like yet, but I am thinking about trying to spread the kindness.

10. Two friends of mine shared Biblical passages with me in the last 24 hours, and they made me take a step back and think.

Scripture Blessings:

Psalm 101
"I will sing of your love and justice;
to you, O Lord, I will sing praise.
I will be careful to lead a blameless
life -
when will you come to me?

I will walk in my house
with blameless heart.
I will set before my eyes
no vile thing.

The deeds of faithless men I hate;
they will not cling to me.
Men of peverse heart shall be far
from me;
I will have nothing to do with evil.

Whoever slanders his neighbor in
him will I put to silence;
whoever has haughty eyes aand a
proud heart,
him will I not endure.

My eyes will be on the faithful in the
that they may dwell with me;
he whose walk is blameless
will minister to me.

No one who practices deceit
will dwell in my house;
no one who speaks falsely
will stand in my presence.

Every morning I will put to silence
all the wicked in the land;
I will cut off every evildoer
from the city of the Lord."

Psalm 39:1
"I said, 'I will watch my ways
and keep my tongue from sin;
I will put a muzzle on my mouth
as long as the wicked are in my

Psalm 40:1-3
"I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and the mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord."

Sunday, January 9, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Days 222, 223 and 224

The last few days have been a struggle for me. Every day we have had tears in our eyes as a family, for the loss of our Pastor, and for the struggle at our church. Last night, while guest performing at a dance recital for another studio, my youngest daughter fell, was afraid to ride her bike on stage, and burst into tears over and over again. I said all the wrong things, overwhelmed by her stress and mine. I felt like the worst mom in the world. I felt like maybe all this dance was the wrong thing for us. Then we calmed down. I apologized. We cried together, and then wiped away the mascara run tears, put on our "blinged" sunglasses and we danced. We came home and cuddled, read together, prayed, and finally found some rest.

I've skipped my blessings blog these last few days for two reasons. I seemed to only be able to think of a couple of things to be thankful for each day, and I didn't seem to have the time at home to write. So, today is a big day, and I'm reflecting back on the blessings that have been there all along.

1. 99% of the time, my daughters love to dance.

2. Water.

3. Tears. I know this one is strange, but I am thankful that God provided for this release of emotion.

4. Cute blue tank tops.

5. Blue sparkly hair ribbons.

6. Friends who lean on each other.

7. Big hugs.

8. Being able to cry in a public place, and not feel nervous about it. Another strange one, but I used to hold it all back so often that I couldn't cry even if I felt like it. Today I cried standing in front of a whole congregation, and it was a blessing.

9. Being able to stand up next to our Pastor and his family for the final blessing, and Godspeed. I know this sound strange, but one of my first thoughts was: "now I know why I'm glad my husband works in the sound and media booth." Because of the overwhelming numbers of people who wanted to stand up there, only staff members and their families were asked to come up, so I got an extended family priveledge, and I nearly tripped in my haste to get there. I felt honored, and I am thankful.

10. My husband, who used to be the silent partner in our faith life together - helping out with youth group because I helped out, etc - has grown in his own uniquely shaped ministry under the direction and guidance of Pastor Paul. He's still one of the quiet guys, but now he runs the microphones, the cameras and the soundboard, teaches kids how to do all those things, and gives 10+ hours a week serving others. Then, he also helps with broken cars, broken computers, etc that come his way.

11. The men's Bible Study that my husband participated in with Pastor Paul and men from our congregation many years ago. It deepened his faith, and committed him to reading and understanding the whole Bible.

12. Even though my youngest has a cold, plus been tired and out of sorts for two days, she wanted to sing with the Children's Choir for Pastor Paul. I am so proud of her. She sang well, and spoke clearly today.

13. Standing as a family for the "laying on of hands" on our Pastor and his family during the blessing.

14. My youngest daughter's first playmate: our Pastor's daughter. They've known each other since they were three-five months old.

15. My first friend when we moved to Gig Harbor: our Pastor's wife, Linda. She is a wonderful woman, with a loving heart for social ministry, loving people where they're at and teaching love by relationship. I am thankful for her ministerial touch in my life.

16. My oldest daughter's friendship with our Pastor's kids . . . even if her friendship with our Pastor's son sometimes resembles a friendly rivalry. They both wanted to be the boss at age 3, and some days that hasn't changed. But I still celebrate that . . . because sometimes that's what being a kid is all about.

17. The Prison Ministry that has been directed and guided by Sharon P at PLC. She gifted me and led me through three years of ministry to young mother's at the women's correctional center. Her ministry is amazing. She asked Linda, our Pastor's wife, and I to start a mother's ministry there, and we did. Somehow, even after we stepped away, it has continued with strength and vibrancy. I am thankful to Sharon for that.

18. The drama ministry of Sharon C at PLC with Evergreen Performers. Without her guidance, I don't know if I would have ever known that drama could be a ministry. And thanks to her, I had the priveledge of dressing up in a beaver costume and playing the part of Mrs. Beaver for a Narnia musical. "It's amazing wot a little bit of spring can do!"

19. Rubber Chickens and Blessing Dressing - an Evergreen Performer Thanksgiving Adventure.

20. The Sunday School/Children's Ministry at PLC has shaped my own ministry to kids and families, and been a wonderful, safe place for my daughters to nurture their faith, and have fun with their friends. (along with memorizing all of their catechism already with five weeks of catechism study each year)

21. The "My Bible" and "Communion" classes my daughters had with Pastor Paul. Thanks to him, both have a greater appreciation and understanding of God's word, and my oldest understands communion. Six hours of intense study with families, and a bit of humor and fun thrown in by a charismatic Pastor makes a big difference in a kid's life.

22. The letters by members of our congregation who have clearly stated their faith in Christ, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit acting in their lives.

23. Members of our congregation dressed in their Go.Do.Likewise shirts, and white and orange to celebrate Pastor Paul's ministry of loving outreach in our community.

24. Schroederfest, and the efforts of Rachelle and Jon, who made it all possible.

25. A Christian family that is bigger than the walls of a church building.

26. A helpful phone conversation with my father-in-law.

27. Cuddle time with kids.

28. Finishing two weeks worth of lesson plans - I know I should have them all done, but there are always nuances that need to be fixed and rewritten.

29. Standing ovations.

30. God is good.

A Scripture Blessing recommended to me by a friend, struggling with the same stuff I'm going through:

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the LORD will reward you.

Proverbs 25:21-22

Thursday, January 6, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Days 220 and 221

Giving Thanks and Praise for:

1. Epiphany!!!

2. The Three Wise Men.

3. The dreams of Martin Luther King, Jr.

4. The dreams sent to Joseph.

5. Dreams for 2011.

6. New ideas.

7. Freedom from the slavery of sin.

8. Wednesday Night Family Night, and all that it has meant to my family in the last nine years.

9. Seeing my oldest daughter sing for one last time at Wednesday Night Family Night.

10. The vision of our Pastor who started Wednesday Night Family Night, giving all of us a much needed time of renewal in the middle of the week, and a time to come together as a family in Christ.

11. Truth, spoken in loving kindness.

12. Firmness in faith, despite a chorus of lies, angry threats, and false witness.

13. Graciousness.

14. Conversation led by the Holy Spirit.

15. Knowing a huge group of people that go the the Lord in prayer first, instead of making decisions without the Lord and misquoting the Bible to justify themselves.

16. Amazing friends.

17. Amazing family.

18. My parents are able to travel in their RV to visit family, and get some sunshine into their systems.

19. My husband's forthright attitude and words.

20. The truth with set us free in Christ.

Scripture Blessings:

"LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?

The one whose walk is blameless,
who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from their heart;
whose tongue utters no slander,
who does no wrong to a neighbor,
and casts no slur on others;"

Psalm 15:1-3

"Show me your ways, LORD,
teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long"
Psalm 24:4-5

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
John 1:14

"Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God."
John 3:20-22

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Day 219

Giving Thanks and Praise for:

1. My husband's birthday today! His life is a gift to me, his family and friends. I'm so thankful to have him in my life.

2. My husband is hard at work on a slide show to celebrate the ministry of our Pastor.

3. My husband loves music.

4. My husband encourages our daughters in everything they do.

5. My husband has always encouraged me in my pursuit of writing. Even when I've had doubts, he has cheered me onward.

6. My husband loves snowboarding.

7. My husband has a loving, kind, forgiving attitude.

8. My husband is gifted with the ability to do a wide range of "voices" while reading aloud . . . but he only shares that with close family.

9. My husband likes to sing silly songs around the house.

10. My husband is a great family cuddler.

11. The Lord gives us joy in our relationships.

Scripture Blessings:

"Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:12

Monday, January 3, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Day 218

On the 10th day of Christmas, Giving Thanks and Praise for:

1. J.R.R. Tolkien's birthday! His life was a gift that keeps giving to all lovers of fantasy fiction, especially fantasy fiction written by Christian authors.

2. “All that is gold does not glitter; not all those that wander are lost.” - Tolkien, Lord of the Rings

3. “It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” - Tolkien

4. “Courage is found in unlikely places.” - Tolkien

5. ““Remember what Bilbo used to say: It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”” - Tolkien

6. “The Road goes ever on and on down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, and I must follow, if I can, pursuing it with eager feet, until it joins some larger way where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say.” - Tolkien

7. ““But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have just landed in them, usually - their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on - and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end”” - Tolkien

8. “Still round the corner there may wait, A new road or a secret gate.” - Tolkien

9. “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” - Tolkien

10. Jesus inspires us to live our lives in a worthwhile way.

Scripture Blessings:

"But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.'" 1 Samuel 16:7

Sunday, January 2, 2011

365 Days of Blessings, Days 216 and Day 217

Giving Thanks and Praise for:

1. Sunshine sparkling on snow.

2. Glittering diamond crystals that invite skiers and boarders to enjoy the treasure of snow.

3. 360 Face - my youngest daughter's favorite Black Diamond run at Snoqualmie Summit

4. Snow trails

5 and 6. Bundling up for cold weather.

7. New Year's Day Skiing

8. Warm chili for lunch.

9. Many layers of clothing.

10. Pink cheeks.

11. My husband's snowboarding class.

12. Celebrating my husband's birthday a few days early.

13. Setting a cake ablaze with candlelight.

14. Family laughter.

15. Dilbert Desk Calenders - my hubby's favorite.

16. The sight of my hubby, curled up in a blanket, listening to "our" team play. Maybe, just maybe, the Seahawks will win.

17. My Dad is cancer free!!! He had test results back a few days ago, and we have been quietly rejoicing.

18. My husband is good at standing up for himself when needed.

19. My husband's sweetness.

20. God makes all things new! Happy New Year, and Happy New You!

Scripture Blessings:
"In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.'" Luke 22:20