I was looking around my blog this morning, and noticed in my Google stats that someone from INDIA (Mumbai, Maharashtra) had landed on the following archive post. I have no idea why or what they were looking for, but I decided to re-read the post myself, and then realized it was posted exactly one year ago today! I love that. God’s faithfulness is just POURING over in my heart and mind right now. Even with the hard season last year during my dad’s serious illness, my husband’s cancer, and my oldest son and his sweet family moving away next month, I have celebrated the births of two new grandchildren this year (a little girl and a little boy) since this post. Morning my morning new mercies I see, Great Is Thy Faithfulness!
My journey to ONE THOUSAND GIFTS will finish with this post, but the counting will not stop! I’m thankful for the discipline that this sojourning has grown in me. An intentional attitude of heart, mind, soul and spirit…to see His grace in everything. Everything! It has truly been so good for me, and I hope for you too!
985. The sound of rain as I type this post. Blessed rain on our tin roof. I love the sound of rain, the smell of a fresh rain shower, and the way my gardens look after God waters them. We’ve had several good long DAYS of rain. So thankful.
986. A text message from my friend and praise team member that says “WE HAVE A NEW SISTER IN CHRIST!” Her precious little girl came to faith in Jesus last week. God’s GRACE manifested in the most wonderful of all ways – salvation. By Grace we are saved through faith.
987. My sons serving together in ministry – Jeremy preaching at our church’s Disciple Now event this past weekend and Jonathan leading in worship. I love when Jeremy can “come home” to his home church, and that Jonathan still attends his “home church” with his wife and two of my grandchildren. I’m so thankful for the investment our church makes in young people called to full time vocational ministry.
988. A trip to Covington this past Saturday to honor Memama, the Morton family Matriarch and my wonderful mother-in-law. She will be 91 in four months – it was good to spend time with her. Here she is holding great granddaughter Emery. Priceless.
989. The Metro 2 Music Conference ended in a wonderful way last week as we were blessed to be led in worship by Christy & Nathan Nockels. It was pure joy to share a meal with them too. One of my favorite things is when she told us we were “her people.” Indeed we are! They are precious people.
990. I am not sure I can even share the JOY that this picture gives me. Jackson was standing on the steps to the stage (he wanted to be up there so badly) and he was “playing” his little guitar as he watched his daddy play his guitar. And bobbing his head in time with the music…
991. A quiet time place that calls to me. The privilege of prayer and God’s Word so readily available in several translations, a journal, pens, highlighters, and even the ability to be able to read and understand. Thankful for my Teacher, the Holy Spirit.
993. LIVE OAK TREES. Savannah. Hearing Christy Nockels sing “For Your Splendor.” I love THIS CD and the lyrics about our roots deep in Christ and becoming branches bearing fruit.
994. Being around young worship pastors and their wives – and being refreshed by them, and praying that they were encouraged by older worship pastors and their wives…like me and mine.
995. RIVER STREET in Savannah is a special place. Gary and I love to go there – we went to both Savannah and Charleston for our 25th anniversary. Walking River Street again this past week and thinking about how good God has been to us the past 10 years (as we’ve now been married 35 years) and our family has grown to include two daughters-in-law and four grandchildren this past decade! So very thankful!
996. I am especially thankful for my job and the good people I work with. As hard as my schedule is sometimes with family, work, and church commitments, God gives me the health, grace, and blessing to work. I’m thankful for His daily provisions.
997. Refreshing times that include a glass of good old Southern iced tea. I like mine “cut in half,” which means half sweetened/half unsweetened. I don’t like really sweet tea, so this is just right! I enjoyed this glass while sitting at the table at Paula Deen’s Restaurant. The sprig of fresh mint was just like the icing on the cake…that special touch!
998. And may I tell you how much I love coming home and driving down this driveway of oak trees? Especially on Friday afternoons when the weekend awaits! Time in the garden, time on the front porch, time to just be.
999. The Blessed Assurance of my faith in Christ that daily gives me the JOY, HOPE, and STRENGTH to live and abide in His love.
1000. Grace, grace, God’s grace. Grace that will pardon and cleanse within. Grace, grace, God’s grace. Grace that is greater than All our sin.
Thank you Jesus for this Journey.
967. MY DAD CAME HOME FROM THE HOSPITAL after 54 days! Praising God from Whom ALL Blessings Flow! Thankful for his healing, for this journey, and for the JOY of having him back home. Thank you to everyone who prayed. We are most grateful. Here he is with his little dog “Dixie.”
968. I’m writing today from beautiful Savannah, Georgia while helping my husband host the Metro 2 Music Conference, an annual conference for worship pastors and their wives. This conference has meant so much to me when I’ve been able to attend. This year serving as one of the hosts has been very special. It is good to serve. This is the view from our room on the Savannah River!
969. It is really a blessing to be with a group of women whose husbands are ALL worship leaders. We have an immediate bond, and that bond is Jesus, but that bond is also music ministry. I was in our room early yesterday wondering who will fill these chairs…
972. I’m excited about another conference that is coming up May 31-June 1, 2013. Enjoyed a meeting last week as the Planning Team met for a rally in Atlanta. Click here for all the details for the Living Proof Live with Beth Moore and Travis Cottrell event!
973. I cannot imagine a trip to Savannah without a stop at Paula Deen’s “The Lady & Sons” Restaurant. We had a joyful time here and the staff loved hearing all the music pastors “singing the blessing” as they beautifully lifted their voices to sing The Doxology.
975. I worked in a different office a couple of days last week and was blessed beyond imagination when a lady told me at the end of the day…”You love Jesus and it shows.” I cried and hugged her and thanked her for affirming me that way. Oh God, may my light shine for You in all I do.
976. A big, long, tight, squeeze around the neck from Zeke. I know he loves me because he tells me and then hugs me so tight. I sometimes think my heart will just burst from the JOY.
977. The joy of watching sweet Madie Ruth talk and express herself with her eyes and face that lights up. We had lunch at “flick-chil-a” last week. I LOVE the way she says Chick-fil-a. She is precious.
979. And my mom has been an amazing pillar of strength during my dad’s illness. She’s an old-fashioned strong woman, who endured long times away from my dad while he served in the Vietnam War. Her faith was a testimony to her girls.
980. Sweet fellowship and bonding with my sisters Joan and Jo while dad was so very critically ill. I saw the goodness of their love for him and realized what my family “is made of.” I know they will be there in the tough times – they proved that the past 2 months.
981. Cards in the mail. That someone took the time to write, address, stamp, and mail. I love emails and I love Twitter and quick text messages, but nothing beats a card to read and hold in your hands. I love how God graces us with perfect timely messages.
Blessings my friends,
949. As I get so close to the GOAL of 1000 gifts, I am remembering today where it all began. I was attending a conference for worship pastors (and their wives) with my husband, and we were in Birmingham, AL. My first gifts, one to ten are here. That conference is 2 weeks from today and we are part of the team that is hosting the event (Metro II) here in our state in beautiful Savannah, Georgia. Time flies…
950. And speaking of worship – here is our grandson Jackson singing “Where I Belong” (Building 429) in the tub just last night. He had heard that Pop (my husband) had sang it in “big church.” Click on the little link below (Jackson-Tub) for 20 seconds of pure JOY. “All I know is I’m not home yet, this is not where I belong…take this world and give me Jesus, this is not where I belong…” Jackson-Tub
951. Phone calls at work that begin like this, “Mom, you want to meet me and Carrie and the kids at Chick-fil-A for lunch?” Indeed! Then lots of hugs and kisses from Zeke & Madie Ruth before I head back to the office. My favorite way to spend a lunch hour! Thank you Jeremy for calling and inviting me.
952. Grace beyond all measure in the continued strength and healing in my dad’s recovery. He is a miracle of the Lord and my heart is full to overflowing with thankfulness. He is still in the hospital but is most assuredly on the mend. Thank you for praying.
953. My friend Lanie invited me to an “art party.” The sponsor is Truth Be Told Art and it was absolutely wonderful. It is a wonderful ministry where you paint His Truth on canvas. We painted the scripture from Galatians 5:22-23, the fruit of the Spirit. The artist led us step by step and we are so proud of our artwork! Left to right in the picture is Kathy, me, Lanie, and Joy. Both Kathy’s and Joy’s husbands are staff pastors at our church. Blessed time of fellowship.
954. Thank God for the JOY of some springtime weather right in the middle of winter…record highs last week. This may be the perfect weather to me. Just warm and wonderful, breezy, low to no humidity.
955. My oldest grandchild and I spent a long time just sitting on the bank of our pond on that beautiful Spring day last weekend. Zeke is a talker and we enjoyed long conversation. He calls this weeping willow our “picnic tree.” We had a most wonderful time and I’m so thankful.956. And that perfect day was made more perfect by some “flowers” from Zeke. Dandelions…delightful! 🙂
957. I love the music of Travis Cottrell and our choir and orchestra and really our whole church enjoy his music. Our Praise Team is working on “Jesus Saves.” My husband is planning something very special when we sing it and it will feature a presentation of ALL the people who have come to Christ and been baptized in our church recently…YES! Jesus Saves! I was actually in the audience the night Travis recorded this music at First Baptist Woodstock, Georgia. What a great memory!
958. I planted a Rose of Sharon last weekend. Mine is white and I love this old-fashioned flowering shrub. A sweet and precious friend, Jan Leary brought it to me from Atlanta. Her father was in the hospital at the same time as mine. We met in the hospital lobby and talked and encouraged each other through that trying time right at Christmas. She is very special to me. I love you Jan! We have a lot in common, beginning with our names.
959. Life is but a vapor…James 4:14 from the Amplified Bible. Barely a week goes by that I don’t think about something I learned from the Bible study on the book of James (Mercy Triumphs) by Beth Moore and her daughter Melissa Fitzpatrick. One cool morning last week as the vapor and fog was wafting through the pecan trees I stopped to take a picture…
Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen tomorrow.
What is the nature of your life?
You are [really] but a wisp of vapor (a puff of smoke, a mist)
that is visible for a little while and then disappears [into thin air].
961. Thankful for the safety of my friend Cindy who was home during an attempted break in at her home last weekend. She is a woman of the Word and had the presence of mind to know that the attempted “robber” needs Jesus. I am praying for God to bring her peace of heart and mind as she works through everything. Jesus be near.
962. I had everyone over for a big family breakfast this past Saturday and we enjoyed some time outside. I love this picture of Jackson and Madie running. They are exactly 2 weeks to the day apart. I pray they will be as close in friendship as their ages are in days…
964. Our Pastor preached one of the most practical and clear messages yesterday on what it means to be a disciple of Christ that is GROWING in relationship with Him (from Hebrews 5:12-14). I so desire to be a mature woman of faith!
12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.
14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
1. Lack of growth limits your ability.
2. Lack of growth hinders your productivity.
3. Lack of growth reveals your immaturity.
965. I assure you I did not draw any attention to myself or disturb anyone around me as I quickly took this picture (with my iPhone) at church yesterday, but I wanted to preserve this moment in my mind…a group of friends praying together at the close of our services. I have no idea who or what they were praying for, but it touched me way down deep. So thankful for small groups, Bible study, Sunday School and JESUS! The bond that holds us all together is His love. Thankful for that grace moment yesterday.
966. And lastly…this quote from Dr. Perdue yesterday:
Grace didn’t come with a “to-do” list, Grace came with a DONE list.
AMEN AND AMEN!
928. Peace of heart and the truth of Proverbs 13:12 A “longing fulfilled” after hope has been “deferred.”
929. Today is a wonderful, marvelous, and happy day! First and foremost it is because it is God’s created day, planned before the foundation of the world, January 7, 2013.
930. Eight years ago today Rev. Rastus Salter, our Pastor of 50 years crossed over into Heaven. We love him and thank God for his life and legacy. He gave my son Jeremy his sermon library before he passed away. What a treasure! We miss you Preacher…
931. MORE HAPPY DAY NEWS – Our family just got word that my dad is headed out of our local hospital to a rehab facility! He is on the mend and Lord willing, he will be coming home after this next portion of his journey. Please pray as God brings him to your mind. He faces intensive physical therapy and we will appreciate your prayers.
932. I talked to one of the nursing administrators and she told me that our family had really made a “connection” (JESUS IN US) with one of the doctors who was taking care of my father. This doctor told her that he looked at dad’s test results and thought all was hopeless. Then he looked at us and “purposed in his heart” that it would not happen on his watch. God intervened with His mighty healing power! So thankful we are under God’s watchful eye.
933. Thank you Laura – for your medical expertise and for your kindness. Both qualities make you a fine nurse. And thank you for your comments about my blog. I love you for it. Thank you for being there for us.
934. Medical staff who have tended to my dad the past 36 days, Dr. Lomboy, Dr. Sripathi, Dr. Assad, Dr. Ogunsakin, Dr. Morales, Dr. Patel, Dr. Kahn; nurses Donna, Amber, Lori, Joy, Brian, John, Beverly; respiratory therapist Dendy and so many more that I don’t know your names. But God does – and I’m asking Him to bless you!
935. A Saturday where I was graced to see all four of my grandchildren…the younger two in the morning and the older two in the evening.
937. Next is Madie in the tub surrounded by bubbles…I even painted her nails a lovely purple polish, a first for this “mom of boys!” She loved it and so did I. God has graced me with sweet granddaughters.
939. And the youngest, this little precious grandgirl is as sweet as sugar. She is SO good and content and we are absolutely smitten with Miss Emery Caroline…940. Sunday afternoon naps. I’ve missed them. Had one yesterday. It was so nice.
941. Jackson is amazing with an iPad. He can use it better than most adults and I am not kidding. He loves the song “Where I Belong” by Building 429. Love to hear him sing it. Love that he is being raised by parents that BELIEVE “take this world and give me Jesus…”
942. Zeke “preached” the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den the other night to our family. He didn’t miss a lick. He is serious about it too, and he got it right – great perception for a four year old. Thankful that he is being raised by parents that believe in the God who “shuts the lions’ mouths!”
943. Elisabeth Elliot – Faith is not an instinct. It certainly is not a feeling – feelings don’t help much when you’re in the lions’ den or hanging on a wooden Cross. Faith is not inferred from the happy way things work. It is an act of will, a choice, based on the unbreakable Word of a God who cannot lie, and who showed us what love and obedience and sacrifice mean, in the person of Jesus Christ.
947. And may we never forget the truth of this passage of scripture from Philippians 4:13. My friend Patsy Randall took this picture in a little country church she visited recently. In all we’ve been through as a family the past 5 weeks, I can testify that Christ in us gives us the strength and grace to bear up…in all things.
948. And all things means “ALL THINGS.” Romans 8:28 says, And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. ALL THINGS means ALL THINGS. Embrace that glorious truth – no matter what your “ALL THINGS” happens to be.
Love & Blessings,
On this last day of the year 2012, I am winding down to the last 100 gifts in my goal of counting 1,000 grace gifts. This journey has been one that may not always “show up” here on my blog, but is ever before me in daily life. The realization of His grace has never been more true or more near than the last four weeks as I realized a new journey in faith during my father’s serious illness and hospitalization. Dad is still in ICU, but I am most grateful that he is alive and beginning the long journey back to restored health.
901. Immediately on my heart is thankfulness for family time in times of pain. I’ve spent more time with my mom and sisters the past four weeks than I have the past four years…or so it seems. It has proven to me that we are there for each other when it counts. What a gift of grace.
903. Christmas isn’t just a date on the December calendar – it is knowing in my heart why Jesus came, to be born to die for me, for you. For the first time in my entire life I didn’t spend Christmas Eve with my parents, and yet we had JOY. My son Jonathan brought a little tree to Dad’s ICU room and it really brought joy to us all.
904. Support from both my sons as they have texted and called me with “how is Papaw today?” Knowing how busy they both are with young children and still taking time to check in means so much to me. I love my boys and their wives so much.
906. An unexpected Christmas gift for me from my husband – totally a surprise with our schedules upside down with daily trips to the hospital…he gave me an iPad and I love it!
908. Prayer. Times of crying out to God with pleadings for Him to heal my dad. Intense, and yet comforting to know I can intercede and enter His presence. I will NEVER get over the privilege to pray. I’ve become more aware as people have told me they are praying for my dad that I am so grateful for their intercessions. I want to take requests for prayer from others way more to heart than I ever have. One person even stopped and prayed for my dad right over the telephone. That blessed me so much.
909. My sweet mom with her youngest great-granddaughter, my granddaughter Emery, celebrating her first Christmas. I’ve been so proud of my mom as she’s seen her mate of 56 years go through such a hard time…what a testimony of her faith in Christ.
910. An email to tell us that the shoebox of toys and supplies we put together for Samaritian’s Purse ministries went to Central Asia. Oh I pray that the child who received our gift was blessed and heard the story of Jesus and received the truth of Christ and His love!
911. I harvested sweet potatoes from my garden – a first for me. One afternoon I went to my garden and worked and dug and dug sweet potatoes and prayed and worked. Gardening is and has been good therapy for me, physically and emotionally.
915. One morning before Christmas I was listening to Dr. David Jeremiah on the radio and he shared a message on “strength in waiting.” I needed that so much as we waited and waited for news of my dad’s health each day, I was growing weary. The wonderful passage from Isaiah 40:31 was so good as Dr. Jeremiah spoke that “those that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength and mount up on wings as eagles…” On my way to work just minutes after hearing that message, I got a text message from my sister Joan who had a picture to send me…of this glorious eagle that was in a tree in her front yard!!! We both rejoiced as we received this special sighting as God being very near and very dear. I will never forget this as long as I live. An EAGLE landed in that tree just for me and I shared with her my morning and we both REJOICED and thanked God that He sent His eagle that morning to visit her front yard!
917. It’s garden greens time in my garden…and these cabbages and collards are huge. I just cut a “mess” of collards to cook for New Year’s Day tomorrow. This is a very Southern tradition and I am very Southern. And thankful to be! 🙂
918. A new little donkey born on 12-12-12. He is too cute and has already been promised to a little boy at our church named Zack that wants him! He’s already been to visit “Jack.” He doesn’t get too far from his momma, Ellie.
919. Especially grateful to my husband for keeping up around the farm with chores for my dad…and even more thankful for Gary being a rock to my family of women. My mom and sisters and I have really needed his strength. I am so blessed.
920. I really love this picture of Gary’s tractor and the reflection in our pond. I snapped it from across the pond as he was driving back after giving the cows some fresh hay. May we all be “reflections” of Jesus in 2013. 🙂
921. I love this group of young men and women so much! They are all going to Passion at the Georgia Dome this coming week. Five of them are planning a church plant in Florida in 2014. They bring such hope to me as they serve Jesus.
924. I made a book of pictures for my dad to see of things he loves; hopefully to encourage him and jog his memory of all he has to look forward to as he heals. He was under sedation on a ventilator for 20 days…we “missed him” so much!
927. Thank you faithful blog readers for your support, prayers and love. I know this post was full of comments about my dad and all I’ve experienced the past month, but that is what this place in cyber space is…the ramblings of a woman who loves Jesus and her family and seeks to live each day to the fullest. I pray God’s blessings on you and your loved ones this year. Treasure every single day you have, they are ALL gifts of God’s glorious grace.
It’s been a long month since I last posted, a long month. We all have times of joy and times of sorrow; and then there are times where joy and sorrow meet. Even tonight as I write, my dad is in the Intensive Care Unit of our local hospital with a severe case of double pneumonia, a very sick man. Please pray for him. I sure love him and miss him and want him to be home soon. So with that leading this post, I want to say…
875. Thank You Jesus for the grace of a normal day, where we go to work and school and do our chores and come home again in the evening with everyone in full health. I’ve missed that so much the past week since Dad has been in the hospital…
876. Thankful for another year of LIFE – I celebrated 55 years on November 16th. My husband, my parents, my sons and daughters-in-law and four grandchildren came over for dinner. It could not have been sweeter and I am very thankful.
877. A dozen pink roses…delivered in person to me at my office by my husband. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this man. God graced my life 35 1/2 years ago with Gary. He is a gift straight to my heart.
878. 55th birthday blessings continue with the sweetness of my card inscription from my husband. It was his BEST EVER and I mean that! (And of course I don’t have the energy of a 25 year old or the wisdom of a 75 year old…but I want to keep believing he thinks I look 35!)
880. My first “senior discount” at a restaurant. I was truly excited and my sister-in-law thought I was “crazy.” I am…crazy about being older and healthy and blessed, and not ashamed to get the discount!
881. My oldest son Jeremy is a pastor. He preached the doctrinal sermon at our denomination’s state meeting on 11-13-12. The state convention happened to be held at our church, the church where Jeremy grew up. It was a full circle moment for me. If you’d like to hear a glorious message on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, go to a video of him preaching the message here.
882. My husband is a hunter – he especially loves deer season. He was pulling out early one morning and I snapped this picture of him, his truck, his Gator, his “stuff.” It made me happy to see him getting to do something he loves so much.
883. Gary and I love the fall foliage of our local Hickory trees. We found a couple of dozen on our land in the woods and spent one afternoon “tagging” them. We hope to transplant them around our home and pond one day soon…
885. My daughter-in-law Erin made a delicious Paula Deen banana pudding…it was so good, and the best part was she left it at my house on Thankgiving Day! The recipe is Not Yo Mamas Banana Pudding and is very very good.
886. Four little reindeer shirts for my four grandchildren. I really love creating things for them. I know the “season” for this is short (especially for the boys) and I want to enjoy every moment. They do grow up so quickly.
888. Last week before my dad was moved to ICU, he and I had a heart-to-heart talk that I will treasure forever. He wanted to apologize for his shortcomings as a father and I was reassuring him that I had no memories of those. He was still in the hospital, but was awake and alert, and it was a moment of such peace for this daughter.
892. I snapped this picture from my car window while sitting at a traffic light a few days ago. In fact, a lot of folks were pulled over taking pictures of this gathering of crows on the water tower. It was so noisy and quite a sight…made me smile!
893. Every other year Living Proof Ministries hosts a “Scripture Memory Team” where you memorize 2 verses a month for a year and post them on their website for accountability. It is WONDERFUL. Watch for all the details at the http://blog.lproof site in the next week or two.
894. Prayers and prayer support from friends. Today I have received emails, text messages, and voice mails from friends praying for my dad’s recovery. They are such a strength to me, and I hope when we are through this journey that I will remember the “comfort with which I was comforted,” and do likewise. II Corinthians 1:3-4
895. The most glorious Christmas worship music ever presented by our choir and orchestra. It was so wonderful to have the support of our Pastor as he presented the gospel and 12 folks joined the Family of God and trusted Christ as their Savior. He is the greatest gift of all.
897. My little grandson Zeke practicing his letters. My son said he chooses to do this at bedtime as a stalling tactic. He tells his parents he “needs to write his letters.” His dad was a staller too. He still doesn’t require much sleep…like father, like son (like Gran Jan).
899. Health care providers, doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, food service workers, janitors, technicians – everyone – working, serving, caring. God bless them all. Reminded this week how much we all need each other. Thankful, so thankful.
Love and blessings –