Thursday, September 30, 2010

365 Days of Blessings, Day 124

365 Days of Blessings, Day 124 - All About Water!

1. God gives us water - sea water, fresh water, baptismal water, living water - and it's all good.

2. Plumbing that works! The project isn't finished yet, but I see progress!

3. Having water until 10 a.m. this morning!!!

4. Water sports like canoeing, kayaking, swimming, water-skiing, water-tubing, white water rafting, sailing, boogie boarding, wading, and splashing. (Plus I like the frozen water sports too - ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, etc)

5. The feel of water on my skin when I wash my hands, go for a swim, splash mud puddles in the rain, and get dripped on by trees.

6. Access to clean drinking water, clean water for cleaning, and clean water for cooking.

7. The sounds of water - waves crashing, wavelets rippling, raindrops dripping, hail slamming the ground, snowflakes whispering to rest.

8. Organizations that work to bring clean water to people in need throughout the world.

9. Clean Water Advocacy groups.

10. Fasting from bottled water. I have the means to do it, so I'm starting today. I plan to donate the money I save to an organization that helps improve access to clean water for the 884 million people who don't have it. Care to join me in giving up the bottle? The bottled water, that is? For every day that I don't drink bottled water, I'll be putting aside at least 50 cents for a donation. Doesn't sound like much, but I think it will add up.

For more information about the clean water crisis, please visit these sites:

World Vision Water and Sanitation

Samaritan's Purse Turn on the Tap

Compassion International Healing Waters

Lutheran World Relief Water Advocacy

Scripture Blessings:
"And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward." Matthew 10:42

"Jesus answered, 'Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'" John 4:13-14

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:29

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

365 Days of Blessings, Day 123

365 Days of Blessings, Day 123

1. God’s Timing is always Right.

2. Getting used to the new routine of our morning schedule with water off around 9a.m.

3. Finishing all our lessons early, even when interrupted by an Orthodontist appointment, even when doing them while having a conversation with my parents, even while doing them while our water is off and we aren’t home.

4. New Tap Shoes to replace the old ones that my oldest daughter literally broke twice while dancing. Thankfully the broken half-tap piece that flew across the mall last Saturday didn’t hit anyone.

5. Delving into characterization with my two daughters, and hoping my writing class understands their characterization exercises for the week.

6. Both of my babies are becoming beautiful young girls who are turning into young women, and I’m amazed by how blessed I am. (my youngest is only 9, but she likes to pretend she’s 19)

7. Getting in a five minute conversation that covered an hour’s worth of worry with direction, guidance, and comfort.

8. Meeting new people, and learning new names . . . I will remember!!! I will, I will, I will.

9. Preparing the Sunday School closet with stuff.

10. Throwing out chocolate dated to expire October 2008, and February 2009. It smelled so good, but . . . I only like white chocolate when it’s supposed to be white. (BTW the chocolate was found in a Sunday School supply box . . . if it had been at my house, it would have been eaten in 2007.)

Scripture Blessings:
“If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.” Matthew 10:14

“And if anyone gives a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” Matthew 10:42

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

365 Days of Blessings, Day 122

365 Days of Blessings, Day 122
I love green, but I've been feeling a need for blue sky blue, so here it is.
Blue like sky, blue like freedom, blue like dreams, blue like water . . .

365 Days of Blessings, Day 122
1. God gives us freedom.

2. Sleep.

3. Learning more about William Wilberforce, Abraham Lincoln, and Harriet Tubman, as well as other reformers of history who lived in the late 1700’s and the 1800’s. My youngest daughter is studying this time period currently, and I’m reading her books plus a few extras.

4. My oldest daughter is learning about the earliest history of India, 1800-1700 B.C., and we are enjoying that time period . . . although, as she says of the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Egyptians – “It’s all about fighting, destroying, getting power, and building temples over and over again.”

5. Our upstairs bathroom has been gutted, the plumber is gleefully pulling pipes out of our house, and we are hanging out at my parents’ house. I’m just thankful my parents live next door.

6. We have been set free from our house, and our routines, but we’ve chosen to keep home-schooling anyway.

7. A new appreciation for water.

8. My oldest daughter’s ability to practice her Latin words and conjugations to the tunes of Thousand Food Krutch.

9. Gleeful girls with brand new gold stretch pants . . . I wouldn't wear them, but hey, they can wear them well and with joy.

10. The water is on for the night . . . thank you, Lord.

Scripture Blessings:
John 7:38
Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."

Monday, September 27, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 121

365 Days of Blessings, Day 121

1. The Lord is always there for me, or actually "here" for me. God is always my refuge.

2. At this very moment, at my house, a 20 minute drive from where I'm currently sitting, a gentleman from our church who happens to be a construction contractor is tearing apart the remnants of our upstairs bathroom, and preparing it to be attacked by the plumber tomorrow.

3. Even with a bit of extra company this morning, we managed to get to our homeschool cooperative ten minutes early . . . which gave me enough time to realize that I didn't have everything as together as I thought I did . . . and then fix it.

4. My Writing Class of 9-11 year olds. I'm not sure if I'm teaching them well, but they are writing really well. Plus, they are sweet, and fun, and full of stories.

5. Despite being somewhat painfully shy, all of my writing class students have been sharing their work out loud in class, and complimenting one another. Yes!!! We'll work on constructive criticism in second semester. For now, reading something we've written out loud, and giving positive feedback is our main focus . . . well, after writing, writing, and more writing.

6. My Shakespeare class has some wit.

7. Romeo, in the movie version we're watching, looks like Zach Ephron . . . never noticed it before today. However, the girls think that the actor playing Tybalt is cuter. :-) They are reminding me of what it means to be 13 and 14.

8. Knowing that my expectations of myself as a teacher are probably higher than my students' expectations. Somehow I think I'm going to leap tall buildings in a single bound, and lead them into writing with passion and zeal their whole lives long, or into becoming avid Shakespeare lovers . . . depending on which class I'm in at the time.

9. Random compliments make my day. Thank you once-met stranger, for stating that my sweater looks cozy.

10. Time to take a moment and reflect . . . without taking too many notes or writing out the next lesson plan just yet.

Scripture Blessings:
"When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. As the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'" Matthew 9:36-38

Sunday, September 26, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 120

365 Days of Blessings, Day 120 - a bunch of mostly unrelated but great blessings that I'm thankful for today -

1. The Lord is my shield.

2. I'm still reading some of the 198 posts from The Great Blogging Experiment!

3. Sweet, wonderful bloggers who have stopped to leave me encouraging comments about my "Writing Compelling Characters" post and my blog in general.

4. A good night's sleep.

5. Two baby gifts, unwrapped yet, waiting to be taken to their new, fresh from God, owners.

6. My day is planned to the fullest, but I'm still going to grab a few minutes here and there to write, relax, and hug my family.

7. Teaching about Hannah's prayer for a son this morning with 4th and 5th graders should be fun. We have the Bible story, a craft, and a game. I'm not sure if we'll have time for everything, but having more to do with 12 energetic kids is a good idea.

8. Looking forward to a Baby shower this afternoon. I've often wondered at that phrase "shower" . . . when did it come to be used for brides and babies?

9. Yesterday, I had some concern over my poem at Every Day Poets. Reading it yesterday morning made me see the mistakes I didn't see before when I submitted it. Turns out though, that the main concern anyone else had was over whether I knew correct composting procedures. As I told my husband last night, "I was prepared to take criticim of my poetic form, but don't you dis' my mom's compost!" LOL. The things I take seriously sometimes crack me up later.

10. Yesterday, I watched my two daughters dance at the mall, and they are so comfortable with tap dancing in front of crowds now that it amazes me. When they make mistakes, they just keep smiling and tapping.

Scripture Blessings:
"Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying 'Lord, save us! We're going to drown!'
He replied, 'You of little faith, why are you so afraid?' Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm."
Matthew 8:24-26

Saturday, September 25, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 119

365 Days of Blessings, Day 119

1. God is beyond time, and yet give us the gift of time . . . like this moment.

2. The Great Blogging Experiment. I'm so glad I participated, and I'm loving the other 198 posts. Great reading material about writing compelling characters.

3. The perfect timing of the Great Blogging Experiment. I'm teaching a few lessons about character and characterization in the next few weeks to my Writers' Workshop Adventure class at our homeschool cooperative. Now, I have even more advice to share with the students . . . and I think just the idea of having 198 writers write about compelling characters is awesome.

4. Slow sunrises on what I thought was a grey morning. Now there is blue above the trees.

5. Dogs want out, dogs want in . . . and they keep me from sitting too long in one place when I'm writing, blogging, and goofing off too.

6. Watching The Legend of the Guardians last night with my family, and several friends. The 3-D was worth it, with great depth and clarity especially during the flight scenes.

7. Discussing the differences between the Ga'Hoole books and the Legend of the Guardians movie with my daughters for a half hour last night. I love book talks, and movie talks, and when we get to combine them, it's awesome.

8. I like happy endings in movies . . . even if it means they changed some of the book details. I just like that whole reunion with parents thing, and the fact that the MC didn't kill his evil brother but only killed the evil overlord in self-defense, and then with some regret.

9. I always hope for redemption for the bad guys . . . or justice that doesn't hurt the good guys very much . . . in other words, I don't want the "good guys" turning sour in the process of winning. Is that too Disney of me? Possibly, but it's still the way that I am.

10. Every Day Poets has my poem, MY MOTHER'S COMPOST, online today . . . I regret that I misinformed everyone with the wrong poem title yesterday, but "embers" will be coming out in Moon Drenched Fables' next issue. I'm just so excited I'm not keeping my publishing news straight. Picture me bubbling with happiness.

Scripture Blessings:

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he sho seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." Matthew 7:7-8

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock."
Matthew 7:24-25

Friday, September 24, 2010

Writing Compelling Characters, And 365 Days of Blessings - Day 118

Interested in THE GREAT BLOGGING EXPERIMENT, I've made this post a bit different today. The top of the post will be for The Great Blogging Experiment, and the lower half of the post will continue my 365 Days of Blessing Project - Day 118.

Writing Compelling Characters

Writing compelling characters, I suspect, takes more than one formula, and more than one route. In a giant treasure hunt for living, breathing realistic characters, each of us as a writer has to make our own map that will guide us to our goals.
For me, in my quest to write compelling characters, I find that daily perseverance, daydreaming with my eyes wide open, and digging deep into the characters themselves gets me closer to my goal.

Each morning, I walk and I write. Each morning these tasks seem intertwined. My writing is like my daily walk, and my walking is like my writing. Whether I can take a 3 mile walk, or just a walk down my lengthy gravel driveway, I walk each day even when I’m sick with the flu. Whether I can write for two hours, or I can only write for ten minutes, I write each day even when I’m sick of my own writing. Daily walking on the same routes makes the sights on those routes familiar. Daily writing helps me become more familiar with my characters so that they seem more like old friends.

However, there is a danger with over-familiarity. We often take things we are familiar with for granted, or grow bored by them.

Hence, the second part of my route: daydreaming with my eyes wide open. When I walk, I may slow my speed or hasten it. I might even jog a little. Sometimes I get into a wrestling match with my overenthusiastic beagle, as he tries to play with other dogs, stray leaves being blown across the street, and trash left on the road by fast food lovers.

In my writing, I sometimes throw myself into a speed-writing contest . . .how much can I write in 10 minutes? Sometimes I stare out the window, and then back at my words, and then I meander through the story at a snail’s pace, trying to carefully choose each word. Sometimes I wrestle with a desire to write my character into situations that take the plot nowhere, or situations that add too much to an already overloaded story.

When I walk, I try to notice new things each day: the chattering of a squirrel, the stillness of a rabbit under a fern, the sound of rain against the leaves, the cold drip of water that splashes from my hood and onto my face.

When I write, I try to notice how my characters use their five senses as they interact with the world around them. Do they hear chattering squirrels or only the sound of rushing cars? Do they look for the stillness rabbit in the bracken or do they have their eyes only on their goal? Do they let the water splash on their face, or do they pull their hood lower and hide from the rain?

Digging deep into my characters means that I need to understand what motivates them, what they believe in, and what holds them back. I need to write scenes that may end up only mentioned in the main storyline as backstory. That’s hard for me, because I want to use everything. I don’t like waste. However, I think full, breathing characters live beyond their plots, bursting the seams of the beginning and ending of the story.

For me, writing compelling characters takes time, effort, and even a little daydreaming. If I’m not taking time to daydream over a cup of tea and envision my characters, I have undertaken a quest in vain. I will grow bored with characters who fail to capture my imagination. If my characters don’t compel me to think of them, then they simply aren’t compelling characters. At the same time, I write daily as I walk daily, even when it rains, even when I’m sick with the flu, even when I only have five minutes. The treasure of compelling characters is worth it.

365 Days of Blessings, Day 118

1. God gives us each unique talents.

2. My youngest daughter, who has been asking me for years to tell her what her God-given talent is, finally accepted the idea that one of her talents is a gift for clear speaking. She has received speaking parts a few times in the last year from the children's choir director at our church, because "she has such a clear, beautiful voice." I've been trying to show her that her gifts of creativity with beading, her ability to organize, her tap-dancing skills, and her passion for right and wrong are all gifts, but she needed to hear from another mentor on that subject.

3. I'm thankful for the amazing men and women who are positive mentors for my kids.

4. My youngest daughter's desire for knowing her talents and gifts are from the story of Samson. I find it amazing what we each take away from the Bible. I read that story as a warning about loving the wrong person. She hears only of Samson's amazing gift of strength, and has been hoping that God has given her a similar gift.

5. My oldest daughter told me that she missed being in children's choir, but she also loves singing with the MS/HS band, and being part of MS youth group. She is right at that turning point between girl and teenage young woman. It is a bittersweet, and yet beautiful time and I am finding it to be a treasure.

6. I walked for a mile and a half today - the longest walk I've taken all week since I started feeling flu-ish.

7. Seeing a bunny in the driveway last night, caught in the beam of our headlights for a moment. We stopped, and it hopped into the safety of the laurel.

8. Watching my daughters practice ballet in our basement last night. They are mainly tap dancers, but they are beautiful ballerinas too.

9. Tomorrow, my poem "embers" is slated to be published at Every Day Poets.

10. Looking forward to the bathroom re-model that will start taking place on Monday morning. We started the project, and made a mess. Now, professionals will come in and make it all pretty again.

Scripture Blessings:

"Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21

Thursday, September 23, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 117

365 Days of Blessings, Day 117

1. God takes very real, earthy stuff and makes miracles happen. Just see the Creation story in Genesis, or the story of Jesus' birth in Matthew and Luke to see what I mean! Plus, there are many other examples too numerous to name here.

2. Birds fluttering the branches of trees just outside my window.

3. Writing from a new place with a new view. I used to write in my dining room most days, looking out at our backyard and a giant cedar tree. Lately I've been writing in my kitchenette, looking out the window onto our driveway, bushes, pine and deciduous trees of all kinds, and blackberry vines.

4. Starting my day with scripture and a short story, then a super short walk.

5. Writing a story in less than two pages, knowing it needs more work, but feeling the sense of accomplishment that comes with saying, "The End."

6. Writing on my novel, and knowing the end is nowhere in sight yet.

7. A squirrel climbing a tree, moving up far beyond my sight at least above thirty feet and not seeming to plan on stopping.

8. The sound of the washer and dryer. I'm so glad I don't have to wash my clothes by hand.

9. Having a successful math lesson with my daughters. Proportions and division with remainders made sense today!

10. A long chat with my Dad about . . . everything, politics, health insurance, food, and caffeine addiction, with plenty of storytelling mixed in.

Scripture Blessings:

"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.
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden."
Matthew 5:13-14

Please note: tomorrow I will be posting day 118, but I will also be writing a post about "writing compelling characters" for THE GREAT BLOGGING EXPERIMENT. I will be postponing the Blessed Blog Award giveaway until Saturday.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 116

365 Days of Blessings, Day 116
The blessings today are blessings that have been found in a refiner's fire kind of situation.

1. God gives us the gift of repentance, which is a gift of faith.

2. Struggling with, and repenting of my own sin in a tough situation, and having faith that God will heal me.

3. The phrase "slow to anger and abounding in love" can be found five times in the Bible. All of them are referencing God's amazing grace. See Exodus 34:6, Numbers 14:18, Nehemiah 9:17, Psalm 86:15, Psalm 103:8, and Jonah 4:2.

4. Learning more about my own understanding of privacy, and what it means to respect other's privacy. I grew up in a gossipy little town. I married a man who values his privacy highly, and does not like to intrude on the privacy of others. I have agreed with him most of the time, but have learned recently that others may actually want me to intrude on their privacy and ask them about even the most painful aspects of their lives. In fact, I have recently been seen at fault for not poking my nose into someone else's business. And I thought I was doing the right thing by waiting for that person to tell me. In fact, at one point the person seem to indicate that he wanted to speak to me about something, and then didn't. I assumed that this meant the subject matter was too personal. This has been a hard learning experience for me, but it is thought-provoking, and I value the gift of learning, and growing. Each of us has such a unique perspective on life.

5. I am so thankful that I can hear and read an angry diatribe about my actions, and go to God with my reaction, instead of sharing my immediate feelings on the matter . . . which were not pleasant.

6. I have learned that it is best not to wait for someone else to deal with a painful situation, even if I feel I might be overstepping my boundaries of friendship, or even my boundaries as a leader of a team. When asked to step aside by more than one person in leadership above me, next time I will respectfully disagree.

7. Receiving amazing support and encouragement from friends and family has given me a good idea of who my real friends are, and how blessed I am with their friendship.

8. Knowing that this may all be a great inner struggle for one of my fictional characters someday . . . all of life's ups and downs make good compost for stories, especially when mixed together, stirred, and allowed to rest for a while.

9. Waking up with less flu symptoms than yesterday.

10. Sunshine in a blue sky, with a few last blackberries to pick outside.

Scripture Blessings:
"Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, 'If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.'
Jesus answered, 'It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.''" Matthew 4:1-4

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

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 115

365 Days of Blessings, Day 115

1. God's word is comforting, like a quilt wrapped around me on a cold morning.

2. Finding the book of Matthew to be so familiar that reading it is like hugging an old friend.

3. Despite two power outages or surges that messed up our alarm clock, and despite feeling slightly sick, I helped my husband get ready in time for his vanpool. He helped me yesterday, and I helped him today. That's just what we do, and I love that.

4. Being able to return to bed and write under the covers for a little while.

5. Using the writing prompt "the language of fire" to write a section of The Crystal Sword, when Clara is refined by the refiner's fire and defeats her enemy.

6. The feel of a smooth page under my right hand while my left guides my pen across the page (I wrote these in my journal first today).

7. A phone call from a friend last night, giving me support and encouragement.

8. This wonderful quote from Jerry B. Jenkins' book WRITING FOR THE SOUL, "Write because you believe in something. I write because I believe that's what God wants me to do." I highly recommend this book to all writers, especially Christian writers.

9. Researching the properties of different crystals for my novel, The Crystal Sword. Yes, it's fantasy, but I want to have a little bit of slighly reasonable background for it.

10. Books for homeschooling that we've read so far: The Golden Goblet, The Hittite Warrior, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, the Moccassin Trail, and By The Great Horn Spoon. That's a combination of 6th grade and 4th grade historical fiction books. We're off to a good start.

Scripture Blessings:
"In those days John the Baptist came, saying, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.'" Matthew 3:1

"Produce fruit in keeping with repentance." Matthew 3:8

"I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." Matthew 3:11

"As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, who I love; with him, I am well pleased.'" Matthew 3:16-17

Monday, September 20, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Days 113, and 114

365 Days of Blessings, Days 113, and 114

1. God gives us the ability to give.

2. The first day of Sunday School.

3. Fresh paint in the Sunday School basement.

4. A new student.

5. A new teacher . . . fresh perspective.

6. Reading a tough Bible story with a 4th and 5th grade class, and praying all the way through it. Judges 4:1-5:3.

7. Deborah, the prophetess and Judge. See, the Bible really does have some strong women in it!

8. Going to the Western Washington State Fair, or the Puyallup, as it is affectionately called here.

9. Smoothies and curly fries my kids and I can actually eat.

10. Watching my girls, and their friends dance on the education state at the Puyallup Fair. They are all so wonderful!

11. Riding the big, wooden roller coaster.

12. Friends, family, dance, livestock barns, good food . . . all good, and all together.

13. A helpful husband on a busy morning.

14. Two moms coming to tell me that their kids enjoyed my writing class, and getting a card from one of my students. I am thankful for their encouragement!

15. Writing class, the second week, we are all more relaxed and ready to write, and share our writing.

16. Stories that kids tell.

17. Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet . . . the prologue, the sonnet form, the wonderful youthfulness of the parts, and the thought-provoking backdrop of the feud.

18. English, Shakespearean sonnets.

19. Getting my preparation work done, here between classes, at the co-operative.

20. Hearing that my kids are having a good day at lunch time. Only one more class to go and I get to be a facilitator in it!

Scripture Blessings:
"When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened tehir treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and incense and myrrh." Matthew 2:10-11

One of my favorite versions of this verse occurred at a Nativity drama a few years ago, when the narrator stated that they brought Jesus "mirth" instead of "myrrh."

Saturday, September 18, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 112

365 Days of Blessings, Day 112

1. The Lord gifts us with family and laughter. I love unwrapping those gifts!

2. My husband gifted me with a two day trip to Shakespeare-Land theme town aka Ashland, OR.

3. My daughters, although only recently introduced to Shakespeare, were excited to come on this trip.

4. My mom and dad decided to come too, and in fact came earlier.

5. We had a long car ride of conversation, home-school reading and discussion, some reading aloud, some music listening, and only three breaks . . . all in all, a good trip.

6. We arrived in time to have a quick dinner, change clothes, find parking and pick up our tickets at will call.

7. The excited atmoshpere of theatre goers in the square, preparing to go into three different theatres . . . ours being the outside venue.

8. The rain showers passed before the play started, we were slightly undercover from an overhang, and the only problem from the wetness occurred when an actor, in the midst of a happy jig, leaped onto a platform, slipped, fell, and recovered quickly. Even though his character was the focus of some of Shakespeare's slapstick humor, we all knew that fall wasn't planned. The audience groaned in sympathy, the other actor on stage paused in concern . . . and then the play went on.

9. The amazing, talent and skill of the actors who perform at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. If you want to see Shakespeare's plays done well, this is the place to come. Our favorite players of the night played the parts of Olivia, Viola, the Fool, Malvolio, Sebastian, and Mary. All of the actors were excellent, but as we reviewed the play's scenes in our hotel room, the actors that played those parts stood out in our minds.

10. Malvolio's first attempt at a smile made all of us laugh, and laugh, and laugh. I am so thankful for laughter. Some of Shakespeare's humor isn't my kind of humor, and some of it is . . . very much so.

11. My oldest daughter liked the play, and my youngest daughter only liked parts of it. I am just thankful that I get to introduce them to Shakespeare here at this festival like I was introduced at the age of 10 with Henry IV, part one. I didn't like all of that play at that age either, but Falstaff made me laugh, and the theatre itself is amazing.

Scripture Blessings:
Psalm 126:2
Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them."

Friday, September 17, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 111

Blessed Blog Award Friday!
There are so many blogs to choose from, and so many blessed writing posts. If you receive this award, please know that you are a blessing in my life. Your writing has inspired me.

This week this award goes to Grace from a grace story because her life and her posts inspire me to be a better mother, to place every aspect of my life in God's hands, and to have joy in all of life's moments. She also writes beautifully.
Thank you for being a blessing in my life, Grace!

365 Days of Blessings - Day 111
1. The Lord answers our prayers.

2. Resolution.

3. Feeling free of worry. Why worry, when God has everything in his hands?

4. The strength of my family. I see the way that God has blessed us with connectedness as we work together, play together, eat together, pray together, and snuggle together.

5. My youngest daughter, Trisha, saying "Thank you, Mom, for finding my ballet clothes, and making us dinner, and putting my hair in a bun."

6. My oldest daughter, Anna, who often stays calm in the midst of a scramble of dinner-making, clothes-finding, and hair up-doing. She brought me all the necessary hair bands and brushes so I could put hair in buns while dinner made it to the table.

7. Bags of books taken back to the library, and bags of books brought home.

8. Road trip today!!! I mean, educational field trip :-).

9. Ashland, OR and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

10. My daughters have found a way to wear their fanciest dresses with warm clothes underneath so they can "dress for the theatre" even though the Elizabethan theatre is outside, and we may be cold. I planned on wearing long johns, jeans, and several layers of shirts plus a sweatshirt or a ski jacket. They spent a half hour last night making sure that tights, leggings, long-sleeved shirts, scarves and gloves looked good with their dresses. Peals of laughter could be heard all over the house.

Scripture Blessings:
"and Jacob, the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ." Matthew 1:16

"after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.'" 1 Matthew 1:2o-21

I have often read the geneaology listings in the Bible with some boredom, but today in Matthew as I finished reading that list with Matthew 1:16, I realized that these lists are a way we can be sure that God cares about families and family life. In the context of the story of Jesus' birth, when God sent his only Son to live with a human family, I find these lists meaningful and comforting. God chose a family for his son. Family is a gift.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 110

365 Days of Blessings, Day 110

1. Jesus lives!

2. I finished reading the Old Testament today, and I enjoyed it.

3. I am still marveling at God's providence a few days ago. He sent cousins from Canada, who I've only met a handful of times, to my doorstep when I least expected it, and when I most needed an interruption. I literally had just asked God to guide me, and send me a sign regarding the timing of a phone call I needed to make. I was just reaching for the phone, and there was a knock at my door. Cousins from Canada, an unexpected blessing.

4. Having many reasons to study my Bible, pray, and place all my trust in God, I know that my relationship with the Lord is being strengthened throughout all the storm and trouble.

5. Planning a two day whirlwind Shakespeare trip - the tickets were a birthday present from my hubby, the timing feels off with everything else going on, and we might get rained on - but I'm looking forward to it anyway.

6. Rubbing my wet beagle with an old towel after a long, rainy and muddy walk. He has so much fun getting dry.

7. Finding a simile in the newspaper like this one. "It's something like building the foundation of a house with Jell-O. There are not very many concrete elements." This is the statement of a judge about a particular attorney's case.

8. Hearing my oldest daughter sing last night at church. She has become part of the MS and HS band that leads our Wednesday Night Family Night worship.

9. Wednesday Night Family Night started up again last night with MS and HS band practice, (children's choir starts next week) at 5p.m., Dinner from 5:30-6:30, Worship from 6:30-7pm., youth group, Sunday School meetings, and Bible study groups meeting from 7pm. to 8:30p.m.

10. See you at the Pole! is coming soon!!! We plan on not letting the kids in our schools have all the fun, and we hope to join in the prayers at our mailbox area next Wednesday at 7am.

Scripture Blessings:
"'See, I will send my messenger who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,' says the Lord Almighty." Malachi 3:1

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Days 108 and 109

365 Days of Blessings, Days 108 and 109

As days go, yesterday was an extremely tough one. I did think of some blessings throughout the day, but I never got to my computer to write them up. There has been a situation in a certain area of my life (not family) that has reached a level of ugliness that I have had to stop and pray more times than I can count throughout the last three days. Yesterday topped it all off . . . and the situation is not resolved. However, I have said what I needed to say to the individuals I needed to say it to . . . and I trust God to take care of the rest.

So here are the blessings I've found in the midst of yesterday:

Day 108
1. God gives me peace, true, honest peace that I know did not come from anyone else, and didn't even come from inside of me.

2. I have a husband who supports me, stands by me, and gives me honest, Biblically sound advice when I ask for it.

3. Friends have stated that they would stand by me.

4. I have prayed, I have read my Bible, I have spoken to my Pastor, and I know that I am standing on solid ground in this situation.

5. Jesus is my cornerstone.

6. The Lord is my rock, my salvation, my shield, and my foundation.

7. God is the best judge of this situation, and I am willing to stand before him and give an account of my actions, and words. He knows all, and he knows my heart.

8. God gave me the strength to stand my ground in a situation where I was questioned repeatedly in a bullying manner, and asked to betray the trust of other individuals.

9. I know that God, in his mercy and infinite wisdom, can use this situation to bring each person involved, and those surrounding this crisis, into relationship with him.

10. "Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1 Corinthians 13:6-7. I love the Lord enough, and I love the kids at my church enough to tell the truth, to protect the kids and families at my church, to trust in God's guidance, to hope for the best outcome, and to persevere in this storm.

"Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed." 1 Peter 13

"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds of sufferings.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Chirst; after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 8-11

And here's today's blessings so far:
Day 109

1. A walk.

2. A quick trip the School District office to file my Home Education Intent form awarded me with three fair tickets.

3. My dogs barking in rythmic harmony: woo woo ruff, woo woo ruff, woo woo woo woo ruff ruff (repeat 3 times).

4. A friendly neighbor who slows his truck long enough to wave, and say hello.

5. Another friendly neighbor who petted our beagle as my mom talked to him. I have a greater trust of those who win my dogs' favor - not sure if that should be the way I am, but it is.

6. Pancakes for breakfast.

7. Bright sunlight shining through green leaves and creating a pattern of shadows on my window.

8. Ironing my husband's work shirt this morning . . . some mornings ironing is a blessed moment of reflection on an awesome marriage.

9. My daughters' readiness to do their lessons.

10. Walking with God every day, and having God's word by my side.

Scripture Blessings:
"Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." James 3:1
"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom." James 3:13

Monday, September 13, 2010

355 Days of Blessings - Day 107

365 Days of Blessings, Day 107

1. The Lord protects us, comforts us, and strengthens us in the midst of life's storms.

2. The awesome shoulder, advice, and thoughtfulness of my husband! In the last week, we've had lots of opportunities to talk, and I needed that!

3. Home-school cooperative!!!

4. My first day of teaching classes is done! Mistakes made, yes, but I took notes, and made plans for improvement. I really hope that my students will come away with a love of writing, and an enjoyment of Shakespeare (2 different classes).

5. Writing in a classroom with 9 kids that I just met today. Wow!

6. Writing a lazy sonnet, and looking forward to reading my Shakespeare class' lazy sonnets.

7. Hearing my kids' excitement over their classes and lessons, and being given a play-by-play account of their day in the car, and at home, and in the car again on the way to dance class.

8. My oldest daughter's confidence and persistence in making friends. Today, I watched her get ignored in a group conversation, trying to break in over an over . . . until finally, on her fourth try, the other girls turned, listened, and included her in the conversation.

9. My youngest daughter's excitement at learning. She wanted to teach me everything she learned today.

10. Back to the regular dance schedule . . .hanging out and eating dinner in the studio with al the company kids and company parents. What a fun group of people!

Scripture Blessings:
"And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son." Zechariah 12:10

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."
John 3:16-17

Sunday, September 12, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 106

365 Days of Blessings, Day 106

1. The Lord remembers us.

2. A wonderful song my kids sang in children's choir last year that's running through my head this morning. The chorus goes something like this: "I am not forgotten, I am not forgotten, I am not forgoteen, God knows my name."

3. Stretching and waking up some of my forgotten muscles in the morning.

4. Having a day to get things done . . . like errands, planning, and some house-cleaning. Plus, I did some book reading as well . . . and some writing, and had some fun. I like Saturdays.

5. The amazing expertise of the guitar salesman at Ted Brown Music in Tacoma. He gave my oldest daughter her first lesson in guitar basics - how to hold the guitar properly, and why.

6. Getting a nice sounding guitar at a reasonable price.

7. Writing the rough draft of a short story in thirty minutes!

8. Struggling through a writing prompt this morning, but then finding a way to make it fit my novel, The Crystal Sword.

9. Reading the Narnia series aloud in the evenings at bed-time. We just read the scene where Aslan leads Lucy and the others through the woods and across the river, with Lucy being the only one who could see him. There are so many juicy Biblical principles at work in that scene . . . like trusting and following Jesus even when no one else believes, and standing up for our faith and doing what is right even when it's uncomfortable.

10. My dogs believe that the first phone call of the morning is for them, and them alone. Monday through Saturday they walk with my mom and I, after she calls me or I call her. The sad part is that it is Sunday today. I think I'll take them out to get the paper at least.

Scripture Blessings:
"From Judah will come the
from him the tent peg,
from him the battle bow,
from him every ruler."
Zechariah 10:4

"Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord."
Ephesians 2:19-21

Saturday, September 11, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 105

365 Days of Blessings, Day 105

1. God answered my prayers yesterday, sent me encouragement, and took the burden I had right out of my hands. Wow!

2. A timely phone call from a friend yesterday, giving me encouragement, and letting me know that the confrontation I feared is not mine to deal with alone.

3. Relief.

4. Getting a few more home-school books in the mail! I think sometimes it would be more fun to get them in segments throughout the year instead of all at once.

5. Spilling Ink: A Young Writer's Handbook by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter has some great insight and writing challenges for young writers. I'm using it as one resource for the writing class I'll start teaching this Monday at the homeschool cooperative.

6. Reading logs! My daughters didn't realize how much they were reading until we started to keep a record.

7. Writing journals where ideas, quotes, prompts, challenges, stories, poetry, fun words, and real life happenings all mix together in the pages . . . a wonderful recipe for imagination.

8. Saturday!

9. My youngest daughter's wisdom when waking up with a nightmare . . . "I just try to forget it and think of something else, so it doesn't bother me anymore. Usually it works." Of course, she comes and snuggles with us too, and we pray for her.

10. With plenty to do, and an active imagination, I have no fear of ever being bored.

11. A fun writing prompt like: Design a playground. Draw it. Describe it. Try to use all five senses. (This can start some pretty fantastical writing with kids - and young at heart people like me)

12. Today my neice Jessica's birthday. She has been a huge blessing in my life since the day that I met her, and especially since the first time she threw her arms around me in a hug. Happy Birthday Jessica!!!

13. Knowing that we have heroes in our country, heroes like the ones who sacrificed themselves for others' sake on 9/11, walking into to burning buildings, changing the direction of a plane flown by terrorists. Through their example, we know that every day people can be heroes too.

14. Biblical names like Zechariah, which means "The Lord Remembers."

Scripture Blessings:

"This is what the Lord says: 'I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem. then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the Lord Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain.'
This is what the Lord Almighty says: 'Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with cane in hand because of his age. The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there.'"
Zechariah 8:3-5

Friday, September 10, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Blessed Blog Award, and Day 104

The Blessed Blog Award is back!!!

I had planned to give out the Blessed Blog Award at least once a week, but I admit I have fallen behind on my commitment to giving the award. There are so many candidates with so many wonderful, blessed blogs that it becomes hard to choose. Plus, I admit, my life has been busy lately.

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.

This week, this award goes to Jill Kemerer for inspiring me three days a week with her wonderful posts. Jill's "One Goal" Friday posts have been a huge blessing for me. Thank you Jill!!!

365 Days of Blessings, Day 104

1. God works through reluctant heroines like Esther.

2. In the midst of prayer, worry, and planning, I felt God had the Sunday School meeting in His capable hands last night.

3. Knowing God is with me as a storm looms on the horizon.

4. Knowing that God can give me courage to deal with with possible confrontations.

5. God's word is true, and right, and helpful in times of trouble.

6. Trusting God's timing.

7. Having a prayer warrior mom.

8. A calm husband who supports and encourages me.

9. My dad's hugs.

10. Fresh air.

11. Finishing three days of home-schooling, keeping good notes on our efforts, and feeling successful at the end of each of those days. We have many days ahead of us, but this part of my life looks like smooth sailing right now.

12. Only 5 days until my next publication! (a poem in an online magazine)

Scripture Blessings:
"Praise the Lord.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is
his love endures forever.
Who can proclaim the mighty acts of
the Lord
or fully declare his name?
Blessed are they who maintain justice,
who constantly do what is right.
Remember me, O Lord, when you
show favor to your people,
come to my aid when you save
that I may enjoy the prosperity of your
chosen ones,
that I may share in the joy of your
and join your inheritance in giving
Psalm 106:1-5

"Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only ot put them in a purse with holes in it." Haggai 1:5-6

"'But now be strong, O Zerubbabel,' declares the Lord. 'Be strong, O Josuha son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,' declares the Lord, 'and work. For I am with you,' declares the Lord Almighty. 'This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains in you. Do not fear.'" Haggai 2:4-5

Thursday, September 9, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 103

365 Days of Blessings, Day 103

1. God created laughter.

2. Big, rolling, belly laughs in the morning.

3. My husband's wonderful, ironic sense of humor.

4. The sound of my parent's laughter. When taken to a comedic movie, they are the loudest laughers in the theatre.

5. The sound of my father-in-law's laughter when he's tickled by all six of his grandchildren at the same time.

6. My mother-in-law's dainty laugh.

7. My daughters' peals of laughter. I love that sound.

8. The funny look of our Beagle when he rolls around on the rug scratching his back.

9. The smile of our Rhodesian ridgeback - all teeth and hard wagging tail.

10. Our cat at play, tearing around the house at top speed.

Scripture Blessings:

"God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him." 1 John 4:16

And what do you know?'s word for the day is jubilee. Check it out:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 102

365 Days of Blessings, Day 102

1. The Lord is good, truly, amazingly good.

2. Amazed by the healing ability of my own body, I walked a 1/4 mile this morning just two days after straining my knee water skiing. Ice, stretching, (self)massage and a measured amount of rest are wonderful healers.

3. My mom is going to teach art to my kids this year for homeschooling!!! We talked over our ideas this morning, and she went off with plans forming. She might not be able to teach them all year, but she is going to start tomorrow . . . with either origami or drawing. She had a drawing book in her hands, and plans to look at another one, so I think we'll be starting with that, every Friday at 11a.m.

4. A phone conversation for an hour with a friend this morning! I needed that! Plus, talking on the phone for an hour is an amazing feat for me . . . I have a phone phobia, which is like saying I live in a cave in today's phone-frenzied times.

5. The heat is on . . . I must not be the only cold one in the house . . . because my husband turned it on. The cold rain is coming down, but it's ok when we can be warm and dry.

6. Prayers for people in need of shelter. I think God answers them . . . with us, through us, and sometimes in spite of us.

7. A new homeless shelter is being built in Tacoma for families with kids. I wish we didn't have a need for homeless shelters in our country, but I am glad we take care of those in need.

8. Food banks. For a very short time in my childhood my family received food from a food bank, and I am thankful that I can give to them now.

9. Watching fun, heart-warming movies like BOLT with my family. Who doesn't love a funny hamster, a cat with attitude, and a dog with superhero issues?

10. The first day of homeschooling is done.

11. Four wonderful, encouraging women made my night last night at the homeschool co-operative teacher's meeting.

12. Reading poetry.

Scripture Blessings:
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."
James 4:8

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 101

365 Days of Blessings, Day 101

1. The Lord provides.

2. This post marks the 101 days of counting blessings, and keeping track on-line with these posts. I am so thankful for this project, even if there have been moments that it has been a struggle for me to write them. It seemed so simple when I started it, and it is simple. I just simply need to be thankful . . . instead of grouchy, and quick to complain.

3. Every little bit of thankfulness counts.

4. I feel changed by thankfulness.

5. When I find myself complaining, I often stop and think, "whoa, do I really want to do this?"

6. When I stop complaining, and start thanking . . . other people around me do the same. We pull each other out of the mire of discontented thinking.

7. Or, on the reverse of number 6, when I start complaining, sometimes people around me say, "hey, what about that counting blessings-thankfulness thing? You know we can be thankful for . . . " - and they point me in the right direction.

8. Thankfulness changes relationships for the better.

9. Thankfulness draws me closer to God.

10. I want to live my life with a thankful heart, and I feel like I'm closer to reaching that goal now more than ever before.

Extra Blessings:
1. My mom-in-law's birthday was yesterday! She is a wonderful woman of strength, perseverence, and faithfulness. I am so thankful that she is in my life! Happy Birthday Mary!!!

2. I water-skied yesterday for the first time in 12 years!

3. Ice is a blessing on a sore knee joint.

Writing Blessings: Check out the September Table of Contents at Every Day Poets

Scripture Blessings:

"Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields like empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
able to tread upon the heights."

Habakkuk 3:17-19

My life is so blessed! Our country is so blessed with fruitfulness! And yet, do we rejoice in the Lord? Do I?

I am thankful, Lord, and I will rejoice! Amen!

Monday, September 6, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 100

365 Days of Blessings, Day 100

1. The Lord gives us humor.

2. Hearing coyotes at 2a.m.

3. Waking up to a conversation next door . . . "No, you get my bag. I don't have any pants on . . ." teenage boy talking to teenage sister from a tent. Then the mom chimes in "people are sleeping." And my husband says, "No, we're awake."

4. Sun sparkling on the water.

5. A good breakfast with laughter and conversation.

6. Our nephew's messy, red-brown hair.

7. Teenage boys (nephew and friend) waking up super-slow in the morning.

8. Bowling at a re-furbished bowling alley last night with family.

9. Bowling a 106 . . . considering I don't bowl often, I felt pretty good about that.

10. Conversation at camp late at night.

Scripture Blessings:
"Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and forgives the
of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.
You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the
depths of the sea."
Micah 7:18-19

Sunday, September 5, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 99

365 Days of Blessings, Day 99

1. The Lord gives us joy!

2. Sleeping inside an RV during a windstorm.

3. Helping our tenting neighbors anchor their tents down so they don't fly away.

4. Plumbing.

5. Toothbrushes and toothpaste . . . something to be really thankful for on camping trips.

6. A family style breakfast - fried leftover potatoes, bacon (not for me, but it smells good), pancakes, and fresh fruit.

7. Blue water and blue sky.

8. Admiring nice dogs with a friend.

9. Watching a water dog at play.

10. Dogs and cats . . . topics of many fun conversations.

11. Spook, the Cat Ninja, the legendary cat of our nephew.

Scripture Verse Blessings:

"But as for me, I watch in hope for
the Lord,
I wait for God my Savior;
my God will hear me."
Micah 7:7

Saturday, September 4, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Day 98

365 Days of Blessings, Day 98

1. The Lord gives us rest.

2. Walking into warm lakewater, with my sandals pushing up against my feet trying to float, and my daughters reaching out to save a dragonfly from drowning.

3. Riding in a boat on a warm day on Lake Wapato.

4. Lake Wapato, a small lake just four miles from Lake Chelan. My sister-in-law Katie is a genius at finding sweet camping places and nice lakes.

5. Tubing.

6. Taking our daughters tubing for the very first time . . . I wish I had my camera with me this morning.

7. Our nephew Jacob's skill and sheer sense of joy at tubing.

8. Bumping and weaving around family members in an RV - 7 family + 1 friend today, two more coming tomorrow. We share space comfortably, praise God!

9. A walk on a country road.

10. Apple orchards filled with bushels of perfect apples.

11. Sunflower's cousins growing bushy and weed-like on the edge of the road.

12. Shades of brown rising in low hills against a blue upon blue sky.

13. A slow but steady internet connection.
All these and many more, I give thanks for to you, O Lord! Amen.

Scripture Blessings:
"In the last days
the mountain of the Lord's temple
will be established
as chief among the mountains;
it will be raised above the hills,
and peoples will stream to it.
Many nations will come and say,
'Come, let us go up to the mountain
of the Lord,
to the house of the god of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.'"
Micah 4:1-2a

Friday, September 3, 2010

365 Days of Blessings - Days 96 and 97

365 Days of Blessings, Days 96 and 97

1. Psalm 121:1 "I lift my eyes to the hills -
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth."

2. I feel like God opened my eyes today to all the beauty that he has made.

3. The blue sky with wispy white clouds softly moving to the North.

4. My cat's bright white and black fur, standing out against the dark green shade of the garden bed.

5. The many textures of leaves . . . feathery, sloping and slick, prickly and upright, large and umbrella-like, smooth, rough, soft, and furry looking.

6. Reading my description above, I'm thankful for my thesaurus, a handy tool when I can't quite capture with words the amazing awesomeness of God's creation.

7. Mossy banks, blackberries, and ferns, salal, more plants than I can name, and then the cattails growing in the ditch.

8. Feathery tops of tall brown grass swaying in the breeze of a passing car.

9. A huddle of mailboxes leaning together for support.

10. Neighbors waving as they drive their kids to school.

11. A chipmunk dashing across the road, and reaching safety just in time.

12. A bluejay defending her clump of blackberry bushes.

13. Starting to jog in the midst of walking . . . just one power pole length, then two, then three, then . . . walk.

14. The blue-grey bark of a fir tree in the early dawn.

15. The new green bark of a Madrona peeling back to show the red heart of bark underneath.

16. The light shining through the shadows, falling in patterns framed by leaf shadows on the driveway.

17. Five fresh blackberries picked from the vine, melting in sweetness in my mouth.

18. Eating a little like a hobbit - first breakfast (blackberries), followed by second breakfast (half hour from now), followed by elevensies, then lunch, then . . . well, you get the idea. If I can just keep my portions down like I have for the past four days, I will be all right.

19. My husband aka the Alternator Repair Man, has revealed his secret identity . . . and he has a few extra volunteer hours lined up for himself helping another church member fix her car. I love that about him as long as he remembers to spend some time being Super Husband, and Super Dad too.

20. Packing up for one last summer trip . . . Lake Chelan here we come! Dogs and cat getting spoiled by my Mom and Dad. Excited and Nervous about making a water-skiing attempt for the first time in nearly 12 years. Fun, sun, and rest . . . just one more time.

Extras: Plans are all made for the school year, including some for my writing time!
Prayer, and lots of it, fills my heart with praise, thanks, and joy. Thank you, God!

Scripture Blessings:
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

365 Days of Blessings Days 94 and 95

365 Days of Blessings, Days 94 and 95
You may be asking, where have all the blessings been the last few days? Or maybe not.
I came home from chaperoning a MS youth road trip, and yesterday I never wrote down my blessings . . . and today, I'm late. Guess what?
Without counting my blessings in the morning I became . . . grumpy, quick to find fault with myself, and saw only the bad stuff in the newspaper.

So, I had the negative example to remind me that I need to get back to the positive.

Here are some of my many blessings from the last two days, and you might notice, I've gone back to the basics:

1. God is awesome!

2. "There is no charge for awesomeness!" Po in Kung Fu Panda.

3. John 3:16

4. "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift . . . that's why they call it the present." Uguay the turtle in Kung Fu Panda

5. Psalm 118:24

6. Blackberries ripe on the vine, fresh for eating in the moment or maybe later. Who knows, maybe a few will make blackberry jam?

7. Our apples from our golden delicious tree are on the ground, and no longer edible . . .the deer have moved on to one of our neighbor's orchards . . . but they know us like old friends when we walk by them.

8. Three mile walks, three days in a row.

9. Sunshine that dries out the rain.

10. A new Red Wolf Exhibit at Pt. Defiance Zoo in Tacoma - a signature exhibit since the zoo has been in a partnership program that has brought the red wolves back from near extinction. Something good in the newspaper.

11. Comics like Garfield, Peanuts, Pickles, and Zits. A few other good things in the newspaper

12. Seeing the new line-up for Free Family Movie Nights that will be taking place at our church from October through March. Free movies, free popcorn, free candy. Good stuff.

13. Having a wonderful friend who looked after our escape artist cat who somehow knew in advance that we were taking her and her furry doggy brothers to a kennel last Thursday.

14. Having all the pets home safe.

15. My husband washed the dishes yesterday . . . cheerfully.

16. I've finished a Shakespeare class syllabus, a Writer's Workshop for 9-11 year olds class syllabus, a homeschool poetry syllabus, and a combined homeschool history and literature syllabus in the last two days. Some of the syllabi just needed tweaking or polishing, but I'm glad I got that work done.

17. Dinner is ready, and I had help making it.

18. Good family movies like UP, and Kung Fu Panda.

19. School is around the corner for us, and I'm almost ready for it.

20. Scripture Verses taped to my kitchen cupboards - a needed reminder.

Thank the Lord for these blessings, and all the ones I forgot to name!

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