Triple Trials – Triple Triumphs

I’ve been reviewing 2013 often in my mind lately. When this year began, I had great anticipation for the new year. I always do.  Many people do! There’s something cathartic about a new calendar, a fresh start. Conversely, there may be apprehension as we wonder what will come to pass, what lies ahead.  Hopefully as believers, we’ve been taught to rest in the truth that our God is in control. However, in the emotion of waiting and wondering about what may happen or what actually does happen, we can get “trials, tests, and temptations” mixed up.

Trials are difficult life events that inevitably come to everyone as we sojourn here on earth.
Tests are difficulties God sends to reveal the depth of our character and increase our faith.
Temptations come from the enemy of our souls in an attempt to destroy us, our faith and our peace.

What lay ahead for me came in three events, in this order: my father’s bout with life-threatening pneumonia, my husband’s cancer, and my oldest son’s (and his wife and 3 of my grandchildren) physical move 3 hours away from us.  Right now this very day my dad is well and playing golf, my husband is cancer-free and fully recovered in every way, and my son preached in his new church yesterday. God’s grace multiplied thrice.

I really want to share some things I’ve learned  (and quite possibly have just been “refreshed” with) on my journey so far this year…both spiritual lessons and practical ones.

  • God is good, always good, and I know without a doubt He loves me with an everlasting love.
  • Grace isn’t stored up. You don’t receive grace for tomorrow’s trials. His grace is sufficient and always on time. Always.
  • God doesn’t bring about temptations, but He does allow trials and tests.  Even Jesus endured testing (God’s Word sustained Him.)  You’ll be the better for whatever it is because God can and will use it for His glory in your life.
  • Don’t be hurt when people go on with their lives even though you feel your world crumbling. We can’t be all things to all people and shouldn’t expect that of others.
  • If you do need something, ask for help specifically and then let people help you.
  • A strong marriage is one of God’s greatest gifts.  Keeps me centered. I’m so thankful God healed my sweet man.
  • Lifelong friends are wonderful.
  • A card in the mail is a balm to the soul in a world of email, Twitter, and Facebook.
  • Praying is a lifeline.
  • Worship is wonderful – you worship from a different place.
  • A book entitled “The Power of Crying Out, When Prayer Becomes Mighty,”   is powerful.
  • Your emotions will lead you astray.  Vain imaginations.  Conjured up conversations.  Stick to the truth. God’s truth. Walk in the Spirit.
  • Stay focused, get alone with God.
  • Remember who the real enemy is.  Remember that he is defeated.
  • Get some rest.  You can’t take care of others when you’re fatigued.
  • A church family is another one of God’s greatest gifts. I really mean it when I ponder “what do people do without a church home?”
  • It is pure joy to have a family that will come through and show up and help and be there. My sons and their wives and sisters are the best.
  • Life is but a vapor (James 4:14), enjoy God’s daily gifts, pick your battles.
  • Grandchildren remain pure therapy for my soul.  Even though three of the five are no longer close by, they are alive and healthy and their daddy and momma are following God’s call. What a legacy of faith.

And just as surely as God has given three of the best outcomes to my three trials, He would still be God and He would still be good if there were different outcomes. Yesterday at church we had a guest pastor preaching, Dr. Ron Lynch.  He shared a quote by Major Ian Thomas:

 “You can’t—He never said you could—He can, He always said He would. So let Him.”

God gave Major Thomas this message through Galatians 2:20 (Amplified Bible):

I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Lord Jesus, I can’t—You never said I could—but You can, and always said You would. That is all I need to know.

ALL I need to know.

Jan

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1,000 GIFTS, #949 to #966

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.  Pears
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.ZekePond956.  And that perfect day was made more perfect by some “flowers” from Zeke. Dandelions…delightful! 🙂Dandelions

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].
Vapor

960.  Love this new “app” for the Scripture Memory Team!  I am memorizing Psalm 103 this year.   SSMT app

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…Running

963. Sweet Emery is always so HAPPY and I enjoyed some time with her in the house while everyone was visiting the cows!Emery-JOY

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.PrayingTogether

 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!
Jan

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1,000 GIFTS, #875 to #900

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.55 cake

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.bday roses

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!) bday card

879.  Here are the FOUR JOYS of Gran Jan’s Joy.  This picture is everywhere now, on my iPhone, my computer…I love these grandchildren.Fou

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.  JD at GBC

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. Gary- hunting

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…Tagging Hickorys

884. My three oldest little turkeys on Thanksgiving Day at Gran Jan’s house.  I made their shirts…they made my day!SONY DSC

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.Reindeer shirts

887.  A new little calf on the farm…with the perfect markings of his mother. So fun to me!cows markings

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.

889.  Firepits on the patio and coffee and conversation.  We always say…”this is why we live in the country.” Firepit

890. First Thankgiving…First Christmas…precious granddaughter Emery, with a Gran Jan embroidery design 🙂Emery Christmas Design

891. Sitting outside on the patio and cracking pecans for the freezer.  Time to be busy and time to think…at the same time.  I love that.Pecans

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!crows

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.Choir

896. My best friend Lanie has a new little grandson, born a couple of weeks early, little Levi is doing well.  Can’t wait to see him grow up in the Lord as he is raised to know and love Christ.Levi

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).Zeke - letters

898.  The full moon and this cross of clouds on my way to work caught my eye one morning last week.  Creator God.morning moon

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.

900.  Roses in December. These are my Mr. Lincoln roses showing off. I needed them to do so – and I am enjoying this promise of springtime, both here, and in my heart.  Mr Lincoln

Love and blessings –

Gran Jan

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1,000 GIFTS, #845 to #859

As my Granny used to say, “there’s been a lot of water passed under the bridge” since we last got together.  I have been extremely busy since my last post, but not too busy to stop and count…so here continues the blessed JOY of counting the gifts of God’s grace, so undeserved, yet so welcomed.

845.  We have a fantastic facility right near home that hosts a National Fair each year…I enjoyed a date with my sweet husband there and snapped this picture as the sun was setting. Peaceful time spent with the one I love.Fair

846.  I am serving with some sweet ladies on the team for the Beth Moore Living Proof Live event scheduled for next May 31-June 1, 2013, here in Georgia. There is absolutely nothing like the sweet spirit of immediate fellowship. Our bond is Christ.LPL Team

847.  My sweet dad is as proud of this antique tractor as he can be.  He loves the way it “sounds,” and I believe it takes him back to a simpler time in life. I certainly understand that!

848.  My newest little granddaughter and her sweet brother…be still my heart. God’s grace multiplied…I can’t wait to see how their love for each other grows. How special it would be to have a big brother.

849.  I often times feel very rushed…rush to work, rush to the grocery store, rush to prepare a meal, rush to finish, rush, rush rush.  But for 3 days last month over a long weekend my friend Lanie and I enjoyed a serene unrushed time. We celebrated her birthday and her 3 years surviving ovarian cancer.  We attended the Georgia Quilt Show, we sewed, we laughed, we ate Mexican food at Pappasitos, we stayed up until the wee hours and we were exhausted, but it was pure therapy.  Here is her van packed and loaded with our sewing “stuff.”QTT
850.  The 3D Nemo Nerds. I took Zeke and Madie to the matinee one afternoon to see “Finding Nemo” in 3D.  When Zeke put on the glasses he said, “Gran Jan, Nemo is swimming right at me, I can touch him!”  We had a wonderful time and they were so good.  That was a first for the 3 of us, but it was so fun.  I love being Gran Jan.Nemo

851.  While driving down the road while in Atlanta with my friend Lanie, we passed this little church and I saw the pastor’s name on the sign.  The name of the pastor who performed my wedding 35 years ago…I love what the sign said and that Pastor Jones is still serving…what a delight!  Still in God’s Hands!  Indeed we are.  Grace.

852.  I made a little pumpkin onesie for our newest little punkin grandgirl…Emery…PunkinOnesie
853.  And Turkey shirts by Gran Jan for the grands…I consider it a blessing to be able to enjoy doing this, for the machine, for the grandchildren in my life to enjoy.  God is so good. I love to see them wearing the shirts I make for them!SONY DSC

854.  The women’s ministry of my wonderful church had a ministry project this past month to support a local Christian adoption agency by hosting a baby shower.  The response was tremendous and it took a truck (my husband’s) to load everything up!  So thankful for the young women who choose LIFE for their unborn babies and the blessing of adoption.CovenantCare

855.  I love the way our church has responded in worship the past few months.  The Spirit has been so strong among us, and I believe it is God’s grace and pleasure in how our Pastor gives preeminence to the Word of God.  I love my church.  And I love our Worship Pastor husband because I know him, I live with him, and I see his genuine integrity day in and day out.

856.  When my daughter-in-law Carrie sent me the pictures of these two in their Fall Festival outfits I just kept staring at them with joy because I see their JOY.  Zeke is so proud to be a policeman.  He and Madie both have spent the night several times the past month and we have FUN. They fill a place in my heart and meet a need to keep “mothering.”  I know you grandmothers get it…especially you moms of sons who cut those apron strings long ago…Gran Jan’s JOY.  God’s grace.  Daily grace to have them close by.  I count that blessing EVERY single day.ZandM
857. I finished this heart quilt for the new baby daughter of our church’s instrumental music pastor and his wife.  It was fun to design and fun to quilt.  I love the way a quilt crinkles and puffs up the first time it is washed after it is all quilted and finished.Quilt

858.  I spent all afternoon this past Saturday helping my Mom divide her daylilies.  We had lots of help from my husband because the flower clumps had gotten so large we couldn’t  lift them.  I really enjoyed that time with her.  The fresh air, daylilies to share and some for my own garden too.

859.  Some sweet times with the Lord where He is affirming to me that He is the friend that sticks closer than a brother…

On this eve of a very pivotal election for President of our great country, I am praying for God’s grace to be evident in the lives of believers across America.  We must keep praying and believing and trusting in the fact that God is in control no matter who lives on Pennsylvania Avenue and sits in the White House.  In God We Trust! I love this passage from Daniel 2:20-22:

20 “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
For wisdom and might are His.
21 And He changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have understanding.
22 He reveals deep and secret things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And light dwells with Him.

In the Hollow of His Hand,

Jan

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1,000 GIFTS, #800 to #826

WOW – I am really nearing the goal of counting to one thousand gifts. As I seek to reach that goal I can say with complete confidence that a greater goal has been achieved… that of seeing His grace everywhere at all times with all JOY.
800. I love moonflowers. I took this picture one night last week on my back patio. (They bloom at dusk.) One of my favorite authors, Jan Karon, wrote a book entitled “The Trellis and the Seed,”  which is a book of encouragement about waiting…
801. These next few pictures all show God’s bounty as we approach harvest. If these pictures bore you, I must say I will never get over the fact that “God planted a Garden,” (Genesis 2:8) and I love gardens and farms. We live in the country with farms all around. This past Saturday evening we took a drive and a farmer was harvesting his peanuts…I really love this picture.
802.  Less than a mile from the peanut fields are acres and acres of soybeans…
803. And about a mile from the soybeans were acres and acres of cotton. The cotton is just starting to mature. My paternal grandfather (who died before I was born) was a farmer who grew peanuts and cotton.
804. Cooler morning temperatures which mean my favorite season is almost here. Autumn brings me so much energy, and I’m going to need it as we await…
805. The birth of our fourth grandchild, a girl…due in about 10 days. Here we are celebrating at a baby shower two weekends ago. Gran Jan, Mommy-to-be, and Nonna. Love this picture.
806. We Southern girls love our monograms – and I loved these precious pink monogrammed cookies at the baby shower for Emery.

807. My little 2 year old granddaughter Madie also came to the baby shower with my daughter-in-law. She is precious. Having raised boys, I am really enjoying watching her “girl play.” She will sit in the little rocker in our den and rock her baby doll, patting her on the back and being the sweetest little mommy. It just blesses my heart.
808. And here is the finished dress I made her for fall. I really get excited thinking about all the little jumpers and dresses I can make for my grandgirls.

809. And of course I still have to make things for the little grandboys too…here is Jackson’s fall shirt….with a manly monogram. 😉

810. Texting with my niece Amy who lives in California. I love that we can “connect” at a moment’s notice. She shared with me “Be Here, Be Now,” and that little saying sometimes comes to my heart and helps me focus. Amy is the daughter of my sister Jean who passed away when she was only 25 years old, and Amy was 23 months old. I wrote all about my sister Jean in this blog post. 
811. My other niece Melissa got married this past weekend in beautiful Savannah, GA. Here is the beautiful bride on the arm of my father, her grandfather. She is as pretty on the inside as she is on the outside.
812. My parents – God’s grace in my life. I am one of those blessed daughters that has sweet childhood memories and now much love and support as a grown woman. They are simple people who value family and hard work.
813. Wednesday night Bible study with some faithful women. We are completing a study this week by Priscilla Shirer, “Discerning the Voice of God.”  It has been tremendous.
814. Looking forward to our next study by Kelly Minter, “The Fitting Room,” (Putting on the Character of Christ). I am thankful for the way God is raising up these young women that teach and hold true to the Word of God. Thankful for women like Kay Arthur and Beth Moore that have paved the way for them.
815. Grandparents Day at my grandchildren’s preschool. They are both in this picture (Madie is in the middle in the yellow blouse), and that tall little fella in the red shirt on the far right caught his Gran Jan’s eye. He ran to me and gave me a hug that carried me the rest of the day…
816. Every Sunday after morning worship we wait for our grandson Jackson to come to “big church” to see us before we all leave. Just yesterday he sat right down at the pastor’s pulpit and my son took this picture. I love seeing my family at church.

817. And even though I don’t see my oldest son and his family at church each week, I know their influence for Christ in their church is strong.  My son pastors a great church in a neighboring community and I drove by this sign just this past week on my way into work. Joy for this mother’s heart, multiplied grace.
818. A Saturday spent making a memory with our oldest grandson. We spent the day together with Zeke and rode the SAM Shortline Train to Plains, GA for the “peanut festival.” Here is his with Pop after we had enjoyed the big parade. 🙂
819. A cup of hot tea soothes a scratchy throat. The tea (Constant Comment by Bigelow)
was tasty (my favorite flavor of spice and oranges) and the honey stirred in was sweet, but what was especially good was that my sweet husband prepared it and brought it to me as I was working on my Bible study…I am spoiled rotten. Grace?
820. He also makes a mean pan of jalepeno cornbread…which he has done a lot lately. I will post the recipe soon – it is very good. He called me as I was leaving work one afternoon and said “the cornbread is in the oven.”  God surely graced me by bringing Gary into my life all those years ago. God’s gift of grace in my marriage has grown exponentially over the years as my love for my husband has grown too…
821. Looking foward to the Georgia Quilt Show next month with my friend Lanie. Tickets and reservations are made. We call it the QTT (Quilting Think Tank and Quilting Time Together). Good friends are God’s sweet grace. Lifelong friends are priceless.
822.  My youngest son works on our local Air Force Base as a Project Manager. I’m not quite sure what he does but I know from reliable sources that he is very good at his job. He had to go TDY (temporary duty) last week to Nevada…and sent me this picture as he visited Hoover Dam. I’m so proud of him and his work. He is a great son, brother, husband, father, and worship leader.
823. There is a very quaint public place in downtown Perry near where I work that is especially nice to have lunch.  My friend Sharon and I did just that last week. We took our Subway sandwiches and sat outside ane enjoyed the glorious cool weather.
824. I am most thankful for our pastor’s series of messages in the book of Joshua on Sunday mornings. He is an awesome expository preacher – and the Word of God is so rich. He began a series just like night on Zephaniah. It’s going to be a hard word, but the hard words are just as needed and show His grace to us strong.
825. One of our staff pastors and his wife have been serving in Kenya the past 2 weeks. Can’t wait to hear from Pastor Matthew and Kathy as they return home this week.  May the sun never set on the ministry of Second Baptist Church…
826. Rejoicing with another of our staff pastors in the birth of a daughter. We love you Dawson and Taneea and celebrate this gift of God to your family…
Thankful tonight for the simplicity of gifts seen in faith, family, and friends. It’s all His grace.  Blessed.
Jan
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Beth Moore – Living Proof Live Charleston

This exact time last week I was just settling back in at home from an awesome weekend, talking as fast as I could re-living everything to my sweet husband. Fifty-one ladies from Second Baptist Church attended the Living Proof Life event (sponsored by Lifeway) in Charleston, SC. There were 9,000 women there and it was one of the best events I’ve ever attended. It will definitely be one of my favorite memories of 2012. I’m asking God to let His Word and the worship remain in my bones…to help me press in closely and retain all that His Spirit revealed to me.

Beth taught from Genesis 32-33, “Embracing the Facing,” was her title. I’ve never heard the story of Jacob and Esau taught more powerfully/practically. Here are Beth’s eight points (underlined) with notes added:

1. We’re here to become more honest versions of ourselves (get honest/get blessed).
2. We cannot walk in our full birthright as part fraud (desire full daughtership). Do we pray it then work it, or pray it then obey it? Every independent action to work out a situation is an act of unbelief. We work at our rest when we give situations to God then take them back. Our working on them is pure laziness – it is much harder to just leave the thing alone…
3. We’ve got to stick a “WITH” back in the way we work people (work WITH people, not WORK people). Are we heel grabbers or hand takers? Ask yourself these questions to see how they fit when you are “working with people:”
     *What’s in it for me?
     *Is there a single slice of insincerity?
4. It’s time to go face down and face up (we want the healing without the dealing).
5. Children of faith can’t wrestle with people without wrestling with God*I will not let go until He blesses me” said Jacob – there IS a blessing coming. We are close to Jesus when we are wrestling with Him. The Hebrew for embrace (habaq) and wrestle (abaq) are very similar. [Intimacy with Jesus in both situations.]
6. God can use a crippling defeat to bring about our greatest victory (Jacob’s hip being put out of socket crippled him – right before his victory and reunion with his brother.)  Don’t regret what He brings out of those regrets.
7. God can bring a shocking peace to our fiercest wars.
8. We’ve grasped the blessing when we keep trying to GIVE IT AWAY! (At that moment, Jacob had the full right of his sonship.)

  Here are some highlights of our weekend
We pulled out of the church parking lot at 8:00 a.m. Friday morning…
Very thankful for Mr. Phil Randall our excellent bus driver,
and Cindy Schult, our precious Women’s Ministry Events Director.
We stopped for a wonderful picnic lunch at the SC Welcome Center…
We were blessed with RESERVED FRONT ROW seats…
 I had appliqued a little shirt for Beth’s granddaughter that said: “No Place Like Bibby’s,” (Beth’s grandmother name). I gave it to Travis Cottrell on Friday night, and asked  him to give it to her in case I didn’t get to see her. She loved it and showed it to everyone as she was sharing about her family.
 Here is a close-up of the shirt – I made one for my granddaughter too…”No Place Like Gran Jan’s!”
 Travis sang my favorite song from his latest CD – “Thanks Be To Our God.” You can hear it in the recap video at the bottom of this post. 
I love these girls…they have fun everywhere they go…
I love that women had time to fellowship with each other.
We posed for a group photo before having lunch and heading home…
 I stayed afterward for a group photo with the “Siestas.” Beth had made signs for us…mine says “Mayor of Siestaville,” and her’s says “Mama.”
 And finally, the amazing talents of Mr. Rich Kalonick…I am so very grateful to have this recap that he so beautifully compiled.

Speak Lord, Speak
Jan
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1,000 GIFTS, #675 to #689

The tag line under the One Thousand Gifts book states “a dare to live fully right where you are.”  Well…right where I am is at home, at church, at work, in the garden, in my car, at the grocery store, sharing a meal with my family, in the choir loft, riding my bike over to visit my parents, in my quiet time place, in my sewing room, in my kitchen or laundry room, in a doctor’s office with a friend… All of these are simple places, nothing exotic like a fancy cruise ship or a remote tropical island. Yet in all these places my heart’s desire is to be fully there so as not to miss one single JOY He has for me. I often pray and ask the Lord to make me focused and fruitful. In the busyness of life, the simple joys are what keep me on center, and this week has been one of just that—blessed simplicity.
675. We celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary last Monday on June 11, and about mid-morning the receptionist called me to the front of my office building…be still my heart. My sweet husband sent me 35 of the most beautiful pink roses I have ever seen. I counted every one! Thank you sweet man of mine. God graced me when He brought you into my life…
676. Let me tell you about Ashley. I had 30 guests at my home this past Tuesday as I helped hostess a bridal shower for this sweet young woman. When I first met Ashley I noticed her blue yarn bracelet and was prompted in my spirit to ask her if she was going through the Beth Moore “Believing God” Bible study. (If you’ve done the study, you know what the blue bracelet represents.) She was, and we bonded instantly – sweet mercy it was wonderful. She and a group of cheerleaders from the University of GA (she was Captain) didn’t have the accompanying DVDs which are such an asset to the study, so I loaned them to her from our church’s women’s ministry library…and we bonded even tighter! I love her – she gives me hope for the future generation of young women who are believers in Jesus Christ.
677. Zeke came for a visit and a heavy rain the night before left the most wonderful puddle, so we “ripped and romped” as my Granny used to say. Yes we did. There was no mud, just a big deep puddle over a low grassy spot…pure JOY!
678. A day of celebration spent with my dearest friend Lanie. I accompanied her to the oncologist who gave her yet another good report. She is two years free from ovarian cancer. Hallelujah to our Great Physician. We celebrated and shopped all the way to Atlanta and all the way home…with a stop at our favorite quilt store, A Scarlet Thread.
679. Our little Jackson Boy spent a week at the beach with his parents (my youngest son and his wife) and his other grandparents. They had a wonderful time together and my daughter-in-law got some great pictures – she always takes the best pictures and I’m so thankful she shares them with Gran Jan.
680. So blessed by simple family time over pizza and salad and fun around the table. Could these two be any cuter?  Cousins born 2 weeks to the day apart. I can’t wait to see all God has in store for them as they grow up together…Jackson and Miss Madie Ruth.
681. A visit to the farm always includes some time seeing the moo cows. I love it that the boys were dressed alike. My daughters-in-law have great minds and they are great moms. 🙂
682. It’s magnolia time in Georgia. If you’ve never inhaled the scent of a magnolia, I can tell you that our Creator did as HE said, “He saw everything He had made, and it was good.”  I have two trees and they were gifts from some of the women in my church. I love that.

683. While driving home from my day in Atlanta with Lanie, a thunderstorm was brewing as I got closer to home. I am so thankful for the much needed rain. I could see this one coming and we ended up with 2 inches of rain and some great puddles…for little grandboys and Gran Jans.

684. This picture in our blueberry garden is of all five of my men: my husband, my two sons, and my two grandsons.  We have certainly had a great harvest this spring, and not just in blueberries…
685. Jackson and his Pop. Sweetness.
686. I enjoyed some time with my youngest sister Jo this weekend. She is also the mom to two sons and a great mom she is. I really enjoy her company and it was good to sit on the porch with her and with our parents. She loves to come get fresh vegetables from the gardens.  More simple times, family times.
687. Thankful for my Pastor and the wonderful Father’s Day message he preached yesterday. Counting gifts of grace in my life include my own father, my husband who is a wonderful dad to our boys; and my boys, who are wonderful dads to their children. Blessings to the next generations.
688. My husband and I had a sweet time of prayer yesterday at the end of our church service…hearts full, thankful for our two sons and the fathers they are becoming. They are raising our grandchildren up to know and love Jesus and His Word. We were just pouring our hearts out in praise to the Lord for this week of celebrating 35 years of marriage and God’s Grace in our lives with our boys and their wives and our grandchildren. Gifts of JOY.
689. And I am most thankful to report that my church family sponsored all 80 of the children that Compassion sent to me for our Compassion Sunday two weeks ago.  I love my church family so much. Thank you all for helping release children from poverty in Jesus’ Name.
Love and Blessings,
Gran Jan
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