Tuesday, November 30, 2010

365 Days of Blessings, Day 184

1. Finished NaNoWRiMo despite all odds.

2. Husband is taking care of me, sweet guy.

3. My mom made me soup.

4. My kids and I had a writing/reading/poetry/language arts day today.

5. Soft kleenex.

6. Headache relief.

7. The sound of water pouring into a glass.

8. Orange juice.

9. Cranberry juice.

10. God loves me.

Scripture Blessings:
John 3:16 "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."

Monday, November 29, 2010

365 Days of Blessings, Days 182 and 183

So, yesterday I had a really blessed morning, and early afternoon, and then the sore throat kicked in. I tried to ignore it. Today I feel like my head is in a vise, and I have knives in my throat. So, I should just wait another day to count blessings and give thanks, right?
Wrong. I think I need to give thanks today.
So here goes:

1. Kids practicing for the Christmas program, re-telling the Nativity story with songs and fun.

2. A great worship service.

3. Lighting the first advent candle, and starting to prepare for Christ's birthday.

4. Seeing a feisty little girl get baptized yesterday . . . her eyes when she got wet, and then the wide reaching hands when she saw the baptismal candle. She just glowed, and it was sweet.

5. I am able to count, even with a head ache - I had to throw that one in here because I almost labeled this as number six. Whew.

6. Singing joyful praises to God.

7. Hearing a great sermon, packed with a wake up call for the season of advent, the beginning of a new church year. Wake up, Happy New Year! (It's a Lutheran church thing)

8. Hearing the choir, combined with the bell choir, a trumpet player, and a pianist. Wow.

9. Looking forward to celebrating next Sunday with the Kraft family, a missionary family that focuses their work in Bolivia, and includes the whole family from age 7ish and up.

10. My youngest daughter made three angel crafts in the last 24 hours. She is ready for the Christmas tree to be up, so she can hang her new ornaments.

11. My husband brought home a wreath.

12. My classes at the homeschool co-op are wonderful.

13. My mom is a huge help when I'm sick.

14. My youngest daughter watched a movie with me today - a kind of "get well" tradition involving humor, and laughter. Over the Hedge was our pick today.

15. We saw Tangled yesterday and really enjoyed the antics of the chameleon and the puppy-like horse.

16. Tea in large amounts.

17. Soft couches with big pillows.

18. A second Turkey, bought on sale, and roasted today, will feed my family for a week, and I won't have to cook for a little bit. Besides, roasting is easy. I just had to get up every half hour and baste. Not so hard with a kitchen timer, and thankfully my family doesn't do stuffing, so that takes out the work part of turkeys.

19. The bicycle made it into the van for tap company. The new tap trio routine for my girls and a friend of theirs includes a bicycle, three jumpropes and three energetic girls in tap shoes.

20. My husband took the girls to dance class, bicycle included.

21. The Lord gives me shelter, so I can rest.

Scripture Blessings:"Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty." Psalm 91:1

Saturday, November 27, 2010

365 Days of Blessings, Day 181

Today I'm giving thanks for these every day, and awesome blessings:

1. Feeling God's hands of protection in my life.

2. Getting a new cell-phone - it's pretty, blue, and we decided to get a texting plan - oooh.

3. Making the decision to not get internet connections on our phones. I'm proud of us, actually. I know that probably sounds braggy, but after nearly six months of contemplating the type of plan we wanted, we decided that talking and texting is enough.

4. My oldest daughter has her own cell phone now. Wow. She worked hard to earn it, and had to sit through a session of "how to use your phone responsibly" yesterday with us. We think she gets it. At this moment, she knows it's a priveledge and a responsibility.

5. My youngest daughter, after some disappointment and the realization that we love her enough to hold to our family rules on cell-phones, decided to be happy for her sister, and then used my phone to text her sister several times yesterday. She's going to wait until after Christmas, and then try to earn herself something like an ipod, or MP3 player, or . . . whatever she doesn't get for Christmas that she "really" wants.

6. Spicy dill pickles from a pickle party, made by my youngest. The best pickles I've ever tasted, and I usually don't like dill.

7. Anna is learning to play "I saw Three Ships" on guitar, and my mom is helping her.

8. My husband found two new night lights for our family. Our old one burned out, and our house has felt way too dark at night. We like being able to find our way around at 2a.m. without going "bump" in the night.

9. My husband bought a new back up thingamajiggy for my laptop, so that I won't lose my writing, and I don't have to go into the downstairs computer room and find the old back up thingamajiggy.

10. The Lord prepares us to follow His paths.

Scripture Blessings: “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared." Exodus 23:20

Friday, November 26, 2010

365 Days of Blessings, Day 180

When I woke this morning, the bright white snow had melted into dark puddles, the world seemed gray and wet, and the only view bringing me joy was the sight of the tree branches swinging wildly in the wind. I wished for somewhere brighter, either with white snow or blue sunshine skies. And then, I looked around me and started counting my blessings:

1. Running my hands though my dog Lady's fur, and seeing her smile with happiness from the part of her mouth, through the expression on her face, through the wiggles of her whole body tail-wagging and the way she leans into me for a hug.

2. My Beagle's big brown eyes, and the tip of his white tail like a banner of happiness. The way he unashamedly expects a big back scratch in the mornings.

3. My husband's amazing love and support in everything I do. (And the fact that he unashamedly wants big back scratches and hugs too).

4. My family. I don't think I can mention them enough. My husband, who I can talk with, laugh with, dream with, cry with, cuddle with, argue with, and who holds my hands sometimes when we fall asleep. My daughter Anna, both fun-loving and thoughtful, who gives giant hugs. My daughter Trisha who is passionate and caring, and yet takes the time to cuddle and make silly faces for fun. My mom and dad, who love life and show it in all that they do.

5. I may have forgotten to type up some of my family names on my A to Z thankfulness post yesterday, but they are written on the original worksheet I filled out in church, and as always in my heart: Kathleen, Ron, John, Anna, Trisha, Amanda, Katie, Stephanie, Jessica, Jacob, Gary, Terry, Mary, John Sr, Teresa, Ken, Holly, Kelly, Logan, Darren, Julie, Pete, Brandon, Dane, Pete, Laura, Jeff, Linda, Aunt Beverly, Aunt Gail, Uncle Tom, Cindy, Mark, Madison, Shane, Jenny, Lawrence, Kayla, Vicki, Duane, Terri, Myron, Despina, cousin Lisa, Darcy, Tim, Carder and his new brother, Big Aunt Lynn, Big Aunt Stephanie and Uncle Bob, Steve, Selena, Evan, the twins, Big Aunt Naomi, Melissa, Jamie, Jenna, and everyone who I have yet to name. I love you all, and am thankful for you.

6. I am thankful for my friends, both here and now, past and present, on-line and in person. You bless my days with joy.

7. The smell of Moroccan Mint green tea.

8. The taste of that bit of raw honey that happened to drip from the honey jar, instead of into my tea.

9. The wind I will feel on my face when I step outside for my walk.

10. I am thankful for the Creator of the Universe, who gives us each life, paints beautiful landscapes for us to walk into, and who breathes joy and hope into us when we follow him. Thank you Lord Jesus!

11. Keeping to a daily Bible reading plan, but then sometimes, just flipping open my favorite, every day book and finding passages that speak to me in the moment.

Scripture Blessings:
"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."
Psalm 121:1-2

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving for 179 of 365 Days of Blessings!

Yesterday I focused in on my novel for National Novel Writing Month, played with my daughters, baked a pie and some cookies, and went to a wonderful Thanksgiving Eve worship service. Today I celebrate the blessings I received yesterday, day 178, and today, day 179, of this journey of Thanksgiving for the many blessings the Lord has bestowed on me and my family.

Our Pastor has this wonderful exercise in Thanksgiving that he gives each year to the kids in our church: Giving Thanks from A to Z. We gave thanks as a congregation last night, my youngest daughter and I filled out our lists, and as a family we talked about it again at our late breakfast.

So here's a sample of Giving Thanks from A to Z:

A - Anna, animals, aardvarks, antelopes, apples, and applie pie

B - Bible, bees, beans, buses, buds, blooms, blossoms, belugas, blue, and butterflies

C - Cats, Constitution, Charity, Candles, crotcheting, Christmas and colors

D - Dads, dogs

E - Elephants, eagles, Easter, Eeyore, and Emily our cat

F - Faith, Family, Friendship, food, fireworks, feasts, forgiveness and forests

G - God, girls, giraffes, goodness, Grandparents, and grace

H - Hands, hats, hope, harvest, hallelujahs, home

I - icicles, ice cream, ice, islands, interpreters,

J - Jesus, Joy, John, Jessica, Jacob, jumping, and Jumper our Beagle

K - Kites, kangaroos, kids, koalas

L - Love, life, languages, learning, Latin, lace, and Lady our dog

M - Moon, Maps, Marriage

N - Newness, newspapers, noon,

O - Outdoors, Octopi, oranges, orange

P - Peace, people, pie, purple, pink, pillows, Pooh, and Piglet

Q - Quilts, Quiet

R - righteousness, Rhino, Rachel, roses, reindeer, right

S - Sun, stars, sky, skiiing, snowboarding, snow, Snoopy

T - Trisha, Tigger, Tigers, trees, tea, tables, and Thankgsiving

U - Umbrellas

V - Videos, Valentine's Day, voices, and vows

W - Water, wisdom, writing

X - xylophones, and xylems

Y - Yellow, yaks, Yellowstone, yoga, and you

Z - Zebras, zoos, and zippers

Now it's your turn. Grab your family and Give Thanks from A to Z!

Scripture Blessings:
"Make a joyful noise to the Lord all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with sining. Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations." Psalm 100


"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things." Philippians 4:4-8

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

365 Days of Blessings, Days 177 and 178

I'm continuing to count my blessings, and give thanks, but today's post is bits and pieces of writing from my journal yesterday and today . . . which I think link up to make a numberless list of blessings.

snow crunching walk by
moonlight, staring up at branches
dancing overhead in gusts
and the white covering the mulch
of leaves and brambles,
my dogs bound with ears flying
and I leap after them, renewed
by wonder, starlight, the deep bite
of cold on my cheeks and a thought
of God’s love made manifest in
this moment, and long ago
in a stable, and all the moments
when we share His joy


delicious fat flakes floating gently downward remind me of:
snowball fights, forts snowmen, and snow angels

laughter echoing on still streets

neighborhoods full of play with cars buried in snow

famlies making soup and hot chocolate

warm kitchens that glow, card games

neighborhood enemies making peace for a shared hearth

my dad teaching me how to drive out of a spin in an icy parking lot

flurries of snow hitting my windshield as I drove to work at a ski area at 16

the one time our car broke down on the way home from skiing, and after growing wet and cold inside our snow gear while slushing down the road, someone gave us a lift, and we melted puddles onto the DQ floor while we drank hot chocolate in sleepy warmth

skiing with snow whirling around, biting my face, a glorious adventure of fun in the elements, staying warm from the downhill runs, and huddling together on the chair lifts

Plus, I'm also extremely thankful for:
a family from our Monday co-op who gave us a ride home yesterday

my dad, at age 73, helping me retrieve my car

and then yesterday there were these wonderful moments of joy:
writing and sharing snow and Christmas stories with my writing class

making snow goons/people

my daughters trying to sled down Grandma's little hill

helping my dad change the tires on his car, and getting the smell of grease on my hands, remembering how to jack up a car, and how to use the tools that he taught me to use so long ago

eating dinner by candlelight

Scripture Blessing from this morning:"Again he said, 'What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yes when planted it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.'
With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. He did not say antying to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything." Mark 4:30-34

Sunday, November 21, 2010

365 Days of Blessings, Day 176

1. Shoulder rolls that loosen up the shoulder and neck muscles.

2. My oldest daughter Anna is still sick, but feeling better today.

3. My youngest daughter enjoyed auditioning for a part in the Christmas program and is excited.

4. Seeing my youngest snuggle on the couch with my oldest, trying to help her big sister feel better.

5. My oldest daughter did a science experiment involving crayons, candles, and an old camping fry pan. Fun stuff. I think we have a mixture cooling outside on top of the dog house.

6. My youngest, not able to find her book and wanting to read, picked up her sister's newest book and is avidly reading it.

7. The challenge of the NaNoWriMo. Whew! Hard work, but good for the writing soul.

8. My characters still aren't to the island yet, but I just switched up a few plot points. They met the griffins and their riders, and had a battle at sea. Tomorrow, they land on the island whether they like it or not . . . I just have to picture the place better in my head before tomorrow morning.

9. Snow outside before Thanksgiving! Amazing, cool powdery stuff with bare footprints in it from my youngest . . . we only have a small smattering here.

10. My Dad took my youngest to church! Praise God! My husband was in the sound booth from 7:30 a.m. until he left early to try and go to a cancelled softball game. My older daughter and I stayed home with her flu bug, and my mom stayed home with back spasms. So where is the blessing? Wait for it, wait for it . . . when I was growing up, my dad only set foot in churches with great reluctance. He agreed, with some groaning, to go with my mom after he retired from working the night shift. I think, although I'm not certain, this is the first time my Dad has willingly, happily gone to church without my mom. Yes, I asked him to take Trisha to church . . . but he was happy about going! Hallelujah!

11. God grows the seeds of faith.

Scripture Blessings: "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor." 1 Corinthians 3:6-8

Saturday, November 20, 2010

365 Days of Blessings, Day 175

Feathered Turkey Pine Cones - photo by my Anna, my oldest daughter

Giving thanks for these wonderful blessings:
1. Feathered turkey pine cones! We had such fun making these!

2. Finding this awesome photo blog sisters through this article A Father Who Creatively Captures His Kids Please check them out - they show some wonderful creativity made possible by a father's love.

3. Good exercise makes for a full night's sleep, and a full night's sleep makes for good exercise and writing (I hope).

4. Living country enough to hear coyotes, deer calls, and roosters, and yet living city enough to be just 2 miles from grocery stores, a bookstore, a library, a highway exit, and a small airport.

5. I haven't written on my novel yet, but today I plan to take my characters to an island which I admit is sort of based on my fuzzy recollections of Fantasy Island shows. I was always too little to stay up late enough to watch more than the first five minutes, and I don't want to include anyone shouting "The plane, the plane!" However, it's not a normal island that my characters are going to . . . not normal at all.

The Newest Book by Donita K. Paul, Dragons of the Valley, is a really fun read so far. After getting about five chapters into it, my daughters stopped me and demanded I read it to them at bedtime, so I backed up and am in the midst of re-reading chapter 3. We are really ejoying every word of it, and I'm fighting my impulse to sneak it out of their room and just read it to the finish on my own. However, they could do that too, and with bedtime stories we have a deal. Everyone stays on the same page at the same time with no reading ahead. Sometimes this causes me to read aloud for an hour instead of twenty minutes because we all "need" to know what happens next.

7. When reading Snoopy's take on writing in Snoopy's Guide to the Writing Life, I find that I'm glad I don't start my novels with "it was a dark and stormy night." That's Snoopy's line.

8. A few days ago, we visited Word Vision International's home office in Federal Way, Washington and we had a wonderful kid-friendly tour. With five moms, one Grandma (my mom), and 14 kids, we had a nice sized group, and we all learned a bit more about the humanitarian efforts of World Vision in over 100 countries. I may have to do a post one of these days on some of the stuff we learned, because I can't just capture it all in one little paragraph.

9. Elfenesh Beferdu has been our sponsored child for nine years now, and we are so blessed to have her in our lives, even if it is a long distance from here to Ethiopia. My daughters have plans to write to her again today, and we love praying for her.

10. I didn't know what my ten blessings were going to be today when I started writing and here I am, at the end of the list, with more blessing ideas pouring in . . . God is so good, especially when we take time to thank and praise Him!

Scripture Blessings:"A kingdom is divided against itself, the kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, it cannot stand." Mark 3:24-25
"Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, 'Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother.'" Mark 3:34-35

Friday, November 19, 2010

365 Days of Blessings, Day 174

Giving thanks for these amazing blessings:

1. Getting published! Whether on-line at a web-zine or in actual print, getting published is exciting.

2. Every Day Poets will be publishing four of my poems in the next five months!!! So cool!

3. Every Day Poets is putting out a print anthology of poetry, and one of my earlier poems will be published in that!

4. I just wrote a sea serpent scene for The Crystal Sword! I may be behind on my word count, but I am loving my story right now!!!

5. There is nothing like battling a sea serpent with fangs and acid venom to get me going in the morning. It's all in my imagination, but hey, it's probably more fun that way.

6. I know I've mentioned it before, but I'll mention this one again: the pep talk e-mails from NaNoWriMo have kept me writing on through the doldrums and back into the action of my novel. Thank you NaNoWriMo!

7. I like sword fight scenes and I am thankful for my favorites from the movies like this one from The Princess Bride: Princess Bride Sword Fight - who couldn't love that line "There's something I have to tell you, I'm not left-handed either." You can actually tell that although they are stage-fighting, they've had training from a fencing master. It's in the stance, and the way they grip their weapons. It's all in the fingers and the wrist.

8. Hmm, can I add fencing to our homeschool lessons today? I have my old gear, and it could be fun.

9. Looking forward to the sea serpent scene in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Anticipation + imagination = sweet daydreams. Oops, I have to get back to life soon.

10. Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath.

Scripture Blessings:
"Then he (Jesus) said to them, 'The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath." Mark 2:27

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Awesome Extra Blessings!

Blessings that just can't wait until tomorrow to be counted up, and given thanks for:

Every Day Poets will be publishing three of my winter poems, and a poem in April!!!


Thank you editors at Every Day Poets for helping me revise my work!

365 Days of Blessings, Day 173

Giving Thanks for these wonderful blessings:

1. Hearing and seeing my youngest daughter sing a solo verse with the children's choir at our church last night. So sweet, and wonderful . . . a proud mama moment.

2. My youngest daughter's way of calming her nerves before the choir began to sing - making faces at me. It made me laugh. I hadn't realized she was nervous before then. She loves to sing, and she loves to speak, but standing out in front of the choir with a microphone stand in front of her seemed to give her a bit of nerves.

3. She had a speaking part too, and she has a great, clear voice that carries well.

4. Voices that carry well run in our family . . . whispers from our family can be heard over the din of a busy restaurant. Keeping something quiet is nearly impossible, so we have learned to be completely comfortable with who we really are . . . no matter what the topic of conversation is.

5. My mom's ability to voice her thoughts and feelings with clarity.

6. Enjoying the nuances of a sunrise with rain.

7. Origami cranes made out of birthday wrapping paper that hang from our dining room chandelier. At least four birthdays are represented there, and I'm sure we have a few more birds around here that haven't been hung yet.

8. Time to bake bread.

9. Looking forward to touring/going on a field trip to the World Vision home office. World Vision International is an organization that helps people all over the world.

10. God gives us the gift of baptism.

Scripture Blessings:

"And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: 'After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.'" Mark 1:4-8

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

365 Days of Blessings, Days 170, 171, and 172

Time is flying by, and I've been forgetting to type up my blessing counts, and my thanksgiving! So here goes, for three days, in no particular order, the blessings I'm giving thanks for:

1. Windstorm stories.

2. My favorite windstorm and power outage story - as a friend of ours drew breath to blow out her birthday candles at home with her family, the lights went out. She waited to blow them out until they found a flashlight.

3. Flashlights are very useful!

4. Candles glowing in the darkness.

5. Only losing power for a minute, but keeping the candles lit just in case.

6. The sound of the wind.

7. Walking on a windswept street, with the fresh clean scent of pine from all the limbs on the road.

8. Pulling the large tree limbs off the road as we went on our two mile walk.

9. Fingers that smell like tree sap. That smell brings back so many memories.

10. My Beagle makes me laugh when he scratches his back on my husband's exercise bike.

11. One of my writing students went beyond her short writing assignment into a typed three page story. Wow!

12. All of my writing students wrote wonderful stories and created great comic strips.

13. A funny story with a moral: being yourself is best.

14. My husband has offered to teach me how to edit video . . . I'm thankful, and I think we'll need prayers. He gets everything techie in a flash, and I plod along at a turtle's pace, so it's hard for him to teach me. He has to slow down, and find all those "hidden" steps that he skips through without thinking.

15. My husband is a generous man. Last night he worked on two projects, one for children's choir at church, and one for our dance studio director.

16. Vanilla Tea.

17. Vanilla Candles.

18. Imaginative, colorful dreams.

19. Revising, and re-submitting three poems, and feeling really, really good about one of them, and pretty good about the other two.

20. A New Favorite Tea! Stash's Chocolate Mint Wuyi Oolong Tea. It's really sweet and tasty.

21. Having good conversations at the dance studio, and having someone tell me, "your mom is such a nice woman."

22. My Dad, and his courage.

23. My father-in-law's dedication to the things he loves: Jesus, his wife and family, and skiing. Oh, and golf too.

24. My mother-in-law's sense of humor. I sent her a link to a poem about grammar the other day, and she wanted to add just one word to the end: "whatever."

25. The Grammar Twins poem. Check it out here: Grammar Twins

26. My mom's cheery attitude in the face of opposition, "I'm not borrowing trouble today."

27. Snoopy comics about the craft of writing found in Snoopy's Guide to the Writing Life edited by Barnaby Conrad and Monte Shulz.

28. Calvin and Hobbes comics. I miss them in the paper, but I have the books!

29. Roots that go down deep. (Faith roots and tree roots that can't be uprooted by any storm)

30. God gives us hope for a new life here and now, and a hope for eternal life in Him.

Scripture Blessings:
"The angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.'" Matthew 28:5-6

Normally, this is where I would end my post, but lately, I've had many reasons to pray and many prayer requests. If you can, please pray for these people. I'm only going to share their first names and a general way they need to be prayed in an attempt not to break any confidences.

So, if you pray, please send up a prayer for:
My Dad, Ron - for healing, and strength
Michelle - for healing, and strength
Jessica - for healing, and encouragement
Susan - for comfort, and encouragement
Vicki - for encouragement, and strength

Sunday, November 14, 2010

365 Days of Blessings, Days 168 and 169

Counting these as Blessings and Giving Thanks for:

1. Seeing "proofs" of Every Day Poets first print anthology, including the proof pages where my poem, "Grace Unexpected" will be in print! Woohoo!

2. The editors at Every Day Poets who give constructive criticism whether they are sending me a rejection letter, or a "please revise, and resubmit" letter.

3. Two Sunday School teachers who made my day yesterday afternoon. When I said I needed help, they jumped in and created solutions for today's Sunday School session.

4. Watching three toddlers at play yesterday evening at a double family birthday party.

5. Giving swinging rides to two twin boys (one at a time) and smiling with them.

6. My daughters are thankful for the fun they had playing with their twin cousins who led them on a merry chase upstairs and downstairs, shrieking with delight.

7. The double 80th birthday party yesterday.

8. My oldest played soccer with two of her cousins, and had fun getting muddy. Soccer isn't her usual game, but she liked it.

9. Finding out that one of the older girl cousins is/was an Irish Step dancer, and having the girls all show each other some of their dance steps.

10. Seeing family that I haven't seen a while.

11. Enjoying the beauty of someone else's nearly finished construction project. My husband's cousin, who hosted the party, is building his own home with the help of his talented wife and his Dad. The tile work is gorgeous, the floor plan is open and welcoming, and the place is wonderful.

12. Feeling re-energized about our home projects. That pesky upstairs bathroom isn't finished yet, but it will be soon (we hope). Then we have a messed up sliding glass door to replace, carpet to pull up in three places, new paint, closet shelves, the downstairs bathroom with its water damage, and when all that's done, we might work on the fireplace. Oh, and the roof, and one of the foundation posts . . . those actually need to be done sooner rather than later. The joy of living in a 60 year old home is that there is always something to do. Boredom is never an issue.

13. Operation Christmas Child!!! We love this project!

14. Shopping for Operation Christmas Child with my daughters and my mom this afternoon. We have so much fun filling up our shoebox containers with goodies for children in need. We pick out toothbrushes, toothpaste, hairbrushes and barrettes, and then . . . the fun happens. Scarves, hats, shirts, toys, dolls, teddy bears, colored pencils and paper can call be stuffed into those containers, and we get so much joy out of deciding what each of our boxes will hold. As we go through the store, we each have our own container to fill up, and each one gets something a little different.

15. Seeing my youngest daughter write a card to go with her shoebox of gifts this year.

16. A homemade folded flip origami toy with special drawings going into a shoebox.

17. Making vanilla brownies with chocolate chips. Yummy!

18. A wonderful gracious friend having us over for a "chili" party.

19. A house full of cooking smells.

20. God gives us the gift of giving.

Scripture Blessings: "We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness." Romans 12:6-8

Friday, November 12, 2010

365 Days of Blessings, Day 167

Blessings and Thanksgiving Abound! Here are just a few more of my blessings that I'm giving thanks for today:

1. All the awesome Thanksgiving sharing on-line on facebook, and blogs.

2. Pomegranate

3. Massage therapists.

4. Massages.

5. Hot rocks.

6. Having relaxed neck and shoulder muscles - I didn't even know how tense I was.

7. Petting Tucker for three minutes straight - Tucker is the "hardest" case cat at the Cat Rescue we volunteer for, and he used to turn and try to bite at the lightest touch. Seeing him become loveable is sweet.

8. Being covered in happy cat fur.

9. The helpful pep talks from NaNoWriMo showing up in my inbox. With my word count as low as it currently is, I need all the pep talking I can get.

10. God is just.

Scripture Blessings:"The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love." Psalm 33:5

Thursday, November 11, 2010

365 Days of Blessings, Days 165 and 166

Counting my Blessings and Giving Thanks and Praise for:

1. Story writing with kids. Ideas bound across the page with live action and hints of mystery.

2. Putting a roasted dinner in the oven, and knowing I don't have to do anything more for dinner for at least an hour.

3. Friendship.

4. Dogs who jump.

5. Cats who sleep on rainy days.

6. Pecans.

7. The smell of pumpkin soup.

8. Plans for a harvest stew.

9. Band Angels . . . Band Aids with words of comfort from God's Word.

10. Celebrating my youngest daughter's baptismal birthday with a candlelit breakfast, and a song.

11. Praying with my kids for the swift recovery and complete healing for a young girl we know and love.

12. Learning a little Latin.

13. Playing with the snippets of language I know with my girls. We can say hello in at least six languages. I'm not sure we would survive if more words were required of us, but saying hello is fun when you are saying it in German, Japanese, Latin, French, Spanish, and Hawaiin. Oh, and sign language too.

14. Remembering more French that I think I should after many, many years away from practicing it.

15. My youngest knows how to say John 3:16 in sign language.

16. Practicing the sign for "Hallelujah" in the car sitting at a stoplight, and then realizing how it might look to other drivers :-O :-)

17. An amazing woman I know who keeps it all together, homeschools her kids, takes care of kids whose parents need a break, prepares for in-laws, has friends over, and keeps her household running smoothly - all at the same time. BTW, this is not me.

18. I finished the base word count for NaNoWriMo today. However, after being behind for at least 3 days, or is it 4, I need to write just a bit more each day.

19. Silly bands found at a Christian bookstore.

20. The light of Christ.

Scripture Blessings:

"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 2 Corinthians 4:6

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

365 Days of Blessings, Day 164

Blessings and Thanksgiving!

1. Walking until my shoes have holes in them, and then being able to buy a new pair.

2. New shoes fly with my feet, as if they don't want to stay on the ground.

3. The owner of the Dance Collection suffered a break-in and a loss, and yet she maintains a great attitude, giving thanks and praise for safety. I'm praying for her protection today, and for God's blessings to pour out in her life despite the hardship.

4. We know this amazing family, with hearts of great faith, who pray and give praise through all difficulties. We're praying for them today as their youngest prepares for surgery tommorrow.

5. A friend of mine traveled today to comfort her sister and her sister's family, and I am so thankful for her amazing strength and her ability to comfort and encourage others.

6. The prayers that surround two of my cousins lift me up, and I am so thankful for the prayers of family and friends.

7. I am thankful for the creative imaginations of the kids at the dance studio . . . talling each other their ideas for stories, and telling funny stories about their pets.

8. Although there are days when I have "personal space bubble" issues, I am thankful that some of the kids at the dance studio sit near me when they have their conversations and include me in them too. It's a priveledge.

9. Time to write . . . even though it has been scarce yesterday and today. I'm way behind on my NaNoWriMo, but I have hope that I will be able to catch up tonight, tomorrow, Thursday and Friday.

10. God hears our prayers, whenever and wherever we pray, whether we are kneeling, bowing our heads, standing, raising up our hands, or with our eyes wide open sitting at a traffic light, or in public, or private, by ourselves, with family or friends. Prayer is awesome. Thank you, God!

Scripture Blessings:"Let my prayer be set before You as incense,The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice."
Psalm 141:2

Monday, November 8, 2010

365 Days of Blessings, Days 162 and 163

Blessings and Thanksgiving!

1. All Saint's Sunday! I love celebrating the 'great cloud of witnesses' that have gone before us.

2. My Uncle Lloyd's twinkling smile . . . that's what I thought of yesterday during the All Saint's remembrance at church.

3. Time to read. Ok, I didn't really have time to read, but I did it anyway, and I'm thankful for that rest.

4. Shakespeare, Shakespeare, Shakespeare . . . I think I spent four hours immersed in research for my Shakespeare class.

5. Puck's wonderful ageless line: "O Lord, what fools these mortals be!"

6. Getting my basic lesson plans done for next week's classes . . . already in just a few hours!!! WooHoo!

7. Having a list of materials to gather, and planning to get them ready before next Monday morning.

8. The faith of a woman who recently underwent surgery. Wow!

9. Wonderful compliments from parents of students - thank you!!! I needed that.

10. Midsummer Night's Dream Act 3, Scene 2 when Lysander and Demetrius are led on a merry chase by Puck.

11. My writing class is full of imagination and great writing.

12. Writing and drawing comic strips in class.

13. Parents dancing with kids again, just for a few weeks of fun.

14. Veggie soup.

15. Streetlights.

16. The sound of a train in the distance.

17. A house of quiet.

18. The click of keys on a keyboard.

19. Bedtime prayers.

20. God's gift of hope.

Scripture Blessings:"Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." Psalm 25:5

Saturday, November 6, 2010

365 Days of Blessings, Days 160 and 161

Blessings and Thanksgiving:

1. Listening to “Everybody Dance Now” at a Dance-a –thon hosted by Metropolitan Ballet. The rhythm rumbles through my muscles and pours movement through me.

2. I meant to sit and write, but hey, Zumba class was too fun to pass up.

3. I wrote 1500 words in an hour, and then more later.

4. Then, I meant to sit and write some more, but Bollywood class was too fun to pass up.

5. My muscles received a wake up after a long coma.

6. Sweat – yes, I’m thankful for sweat. It’s way better than panting like a dog.

7. A Free Writer’s Workshop hosted by my local library. My local library is awesome!!!

8. A Writer’s Coach: The Complete Guide to Writing Strategies That Work by Jack Hart.

9. Polishing up a piece of writing in the workshop.

10. Meeting writers. Each of us is unique, and we love storytelling and words.

11. Focusing on the craft of writing for three hours.

12. Regaining momentum for my NaNoWriMo.

13. Knowing my Theme for The Crystal Sword: Only faith defeats darkness.

14. Getting my character back into the plot, even if takes tripping her up, and sending her sliding on her backside into the right place.

15. My kids have been dancing all day.

16. My house is still a mess, but writing and dancing make us happy.

17. Free Movie Night last night at my church brought 225 people in the sanctuary on a Friday night – some family faces, some friends, some new faces.

18. Toy Story 3 warms the heart, jiggles the belly with laughter, and tears up the eyes.

19. My husband brought my tap shoes to the studio – I’m tap dancing in less than 30 minutes!

20. A Dance-A-Thon supporting Celebrate His Birth, a nativity ballet.

21. God gives us life that is truly life, joy that is truly joy, and rest that is truly rest for the soul. I don’t always think rest looks like sleeping on a white cloud . . . sometimes it looks like a dance, changing up the rhythm of a weekly grind.

Scripture Blessings:
"Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."
1 Timothy 6:18-19

Thursday, November 4, 2010

365 Days of Blessings, Day 159

Stuff I'm thankful for, and count as good, good blessings today:

1. Relief at finally fulfilling my word count for the day for NaNoWriMo. I struggled today, but I still achieved my goal.

2. New widget on the right, the NaNoWriMo Progress bar.

3. I had a very simple plot point to fulfill today, and yet my characters kept making it more complicated. Yet, I'm thankful. I know now what my MC is like under major stress, running through dark underground passageways, holding a dying child in her arms, meeting up with another group of refugees and being reunited with her parents . . . in less than 2,000 words. Wow. I even answered a question about my character that I didn't even know I had . . .

4. Writing daily, and writing more than I usually do daily is good for me.

5. My kids are signed up for the Kids NaNoWriMo, and they are fulfilling their daily word goals with joy and enthusiasm.

6. My mom is writing daily now too, although she's not officially doing NaNoWriMo because she would rather have the option that the kids have, and choose her own word count maximum.

7. Time to talk with dear friends.

8. A science experiment involving soda and balloons - fun stuff.

9. Getting into the swing of a new math curriculum.

10. Tomorrow is Friday. Usually that's not a big deal for me, but this week I am so thankful for the coming weekend.

11. God shields us and protects us.

Scripture Blessings: "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."
Ephesians 6:10-18

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

365 Days of Blessings, Day 158 and Thanksgiving!

Blessings and Thanksgiving! It's all good:

1. Walking in the bright sunshine of a warm November morning. It feels like we are having an extremely late summer.

2. Watching my daughters circle on their bicycles in the driveway.

3. The Trojan War by Olivia Coolidge - a shortened, slightly cleaned up version of The Iliad that we are reading for homeschooling.

4. Hearing the praises and prayers of our Joyful Giving class tonight.

5. Excitement for the next movie night . . . coming this Friday.

6. Peppermint sticks made with sugar and not corn syrup. Yay! Sweet tooth indulgence!

7. My Rhodesian Ridgeback gives hugs, and my Beagle leans in affection.

8. Over 5,000 words written for NaNoWriMO.

9. Characters living in my head for short periods of time . . . I love my plot outline, but they are having some arguments. A snotty character showed up on the page today when I was writing quickly and started an argument with my MC. Whoa, where did that come from?

10. My poem, "Black Diamonds" was accepted by Every Day Poets!!! Woohoo! And two other poems came back with requests for changes - they could still make the grade, with a bit of tweaking.

11. God is large and in charge.

Scripture Blessings:"I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned for me, but had no opportunity to show it. Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:10-13 NRSV

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

365 Days of Blessings, Day 157 and Thanksgiving

Many more blessings, and almost too many to count:

1. The Giving Thanks Project, and the very act of Thanks Giving!!! It's more than just a holiday, it's an action, an attitude, and a lifestyle. Let's give thanks!

2. Walking out of my driveway at 6:30 a.m., lit up like a Christmas tree with flashing lights and a safety vest, and looking up through the trees that line our driveway to see the clearest Big Dipper I've seen in years.

3. Dawn's early light. That time of morning, when the sun is just a line of brightness on the horizon, and every star seems to stand out in stark contrast to the blue-black sky.

4. Joy in the morning. Literally. I felt like God just handed me the best present in the world. The stars, the moon, the dawn . . . wow!

5. Orion, and his bow, standing out clearly on the night sky directly in front of us for nearly half of our walk.

6. My mom is good company in the morning when we walk. We talk about our faith, our politics, and our family . . . and how it all rests in God's hands.

7. The freedom and responsibility of voting.

8. My husband's way of tackling problems straight on without holding back, and with open arms to those who have wronged him. He forgives, holds people up to his expectations, and makes peace all at the same time. (Unless he's playing softball . .. that's a whole different ball game)

9. My Dad's willingness to just be present, and to help whenever he's needed. Some mornings we have a chance to talk, and other mornings like this one, he comes to our house, and sits while the girls sleep and my mom and I walk. Then we are all off and running in different directions, and I hope I'll have a better chance to chat with him tomorrow.

10. My father-in-law's birthday was a few days ago, and I am thankful for his life, for his faith, for his love that he gives so generously to his family, his friends, his church, and his community. He is a wonderful man, a really fun Grandpa to tickle, and really good ski instructor.

11. God gives us joy when we seek him, when we give him praise, and take time to open our eyes to the blessings he's given us.

Scripture Blessings:

"Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 'Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?'
Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.'"
Matthew 22:34-40

Monday, November 1, 2010

365 Days of Blessings, Days 155 and 156

1. Funday Sunday at Peninsula Lutheran Church.

2. Parachute Games with awesome leaders, laughter, and shrieks of excitement.

3. All the amazing help that my husband gives me when "I" set up stuff for Funday Sunday.

4. Mega balloons for the balloon room.

5. Trick-or-treating in Gig Harbor . . . lots of cool costumes on kids and adults.

6. Trick-or-treating in a neighborhood . . . this is the way I remember it.

7. Walking the full walk to THE Candyman's house! Really, a retired candyman, handing out giant sticks of factory made candy to kids in his neighborhood.

8. Trick-or-treating with friends.

9. Pastor Paul's bonfire in his driveway on Halloween, and the Minute to Win It games he plays with his neighborhood kids.

10. Monty's pumpkins. I wish I had taken my camera. There were at least 25 major pieces of artwork there.

11. Knowing that even though I didn't get my Velmster costume all the way together this year, and spilled dish soap on the part I had before we went out, I am that much closer to having it all together for next year.

12. Hearing my kids get compliments on their costumes over and over again. Very cool.

13. My daughters' friend is participating in NaNoWriMo, so now they are too!

14. 1,382 words written today for NaNoWriMo. I feel like they are all junk at the moment, but I am glad that I was able to get some writing in today on the busiest day of the week when I've been going since 6a.m. at full speed for everything else. I wrote for 45 minutes in a dance studio lobby, and probably missed out on five cool coversations.

15. The nickel and chocolate replacement program for corn syrup candies that takes place in our household.

16. Watching my daughters separate out candy for Daddy, candy for Grandparents, candy for friends, and candy for the church movie night . . . knowing that they can't eat a single item they received from trick or treating last night. They can't have corn syrup, but they will happily exchange all the corn syrup candies for chocolate or nickels.

17. I have big enough shoulders to cry on tonight . . . even though I wish they didn't have to get used.

18. The snuffing noise our beagle makes whenver food is set on the table. I'm not sure which is funnier - when he decides that he is interested and sits down to beg, or when he snuffs three times, twitches his face and then walks away.

19. A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare.

20. The Lord gives us help when we need it, and gives us the strength to help when others need it.

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