Zeke’s Baptism & Family Blessings

The Good Lord has been especially near to me lately. He is always near, even those times when I’m not where I need to be to hear Him, and for that I am thankful. But lately His goodness has been evident in many ways, more than I ever deserve. This past weekend we enjoyed one of the most blessed days in the life of a family of faith. We witnessed and celebrated the baptism of our oldest grandchild, Zeke, for whom this blog was begun almost 8 years ago now.  I wrote my very first post back in July 2008 about waiting for his birth. So much living has gone on since then. My name changed to Gran Jan and nothing is the same now, and it’s wonderful! This picture is from Sunday when my oldest son Jeremy baptized his oldest son Zeke. It was a precious visible picture of our spiritual legacy continuing to the next generation. Blog18

These are my four oldest grandchildren together at Cartersville First Baptist this past Sunday [April 24, 2016] for Zeke’s baptism. Sweet cousins holding hands. I love everything about this picture! Zeke was so happy and isn’t his plaid jacket the greatest?  I love even more that he and cousin Jackson were sporting their plaidness together. Our sweet granddaughters are bookends in this picture, Jackson’s sister, Emery is on the left and Zeke’s sister, sweet Madie is on the right. Little Abraham was in the church nursery.
Blog10After we had a delicious lunch prepared by our daughter-in-love Carrie, Zeke’s mom, Sunday after church, Pop and my mom and I drove back to our home church because Jackson had a solo with our Preschool Church Choir. He is a singer like his Pop. Jackson throws his head back and sings! We loved hearing him singing “You Are God Alone.” He is in the orange shirt below at the microphone. He did so well – we are so proud of him, and he knew every word!Blog8

Here is my husband, Gary. The grandkids call him Pop.  They love him and so do I!  The top picture is from a recent opportunity he had to participate in a Worship Symposium at Liberty University. I was so proud of him as he was able to share his knowledge and experiences as a worship leader for over 40 years! The next picture is the famous RACE that the grandkids love. They are always bantering back and forth about beating him in a foot race. He told me that sweet Jackson will sometimes “slow down” and let him appear to win…love that sweet boy.Blog17

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Here is the Maloy patriarch, my father Tom Maloy, also from this past weekend. My dad will be 82 years old this Friday, April 29th. He hosted a family reunion and I saw cousins I haven’t seen in years! He is the only child still living from his family of origin that included 11 children. He was ninth in birth order, there were  8 girls and 3 boys. Here he is in his element – cooking! He smoked a whole hog and made his famous Brunswick stew and my mom and sisters made cole slaw, potato salad and baked beans, and there were lots of desserts. It was a great day for the Maloys. My three men are in the picture below Dad, enjoying the delicious meal. Blog2

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The next pictures are all from the past several weeks, just random family times and fun with the grandkids. I love every picture and the LOVE it represents in our hearts and home.  Here are the 3 grandboys at our church one Sunday. Jackson, Abe, and Zeke, all sporting their plaid shirts!Blog14Here is sweet Emery Caroline. My daughter-in-law captured this picture from Emery’s preschool at church as the kids were saying the blessing. This picture is already one of my all-time favorites. I don’t think words can describe the sweetness here. I said a blessing of thanks for the privilege to have her as a granddaughter. Blog15

Here is a picture of Jackson and Emery from Spring Break back the last week of March (2016). They spent the day with me at the Morton Farm. We planted green beans and squash, had fun with the animals and enjoyed the beautiful day.  I can’t wait for them to see the vegetables they planted – they are growing well!Blog12

This is sweet grandgirl Madie Ruth on a Daddy-Daughter Date with Jeremy.  She is as sweet as sugar, a little shy, and I believe she’s going to be a good athlete!Madie

Here is another athlete! Basketball is Jackson’s main game, but he’s doing well with T-Ball too! We love watching him at whatever sport he is playing at the time. Jonathan sends us videos on our phones of him playing with kids in the neighborhood who are older. Jackson holds his own and normally outplays them.  Hashtag Proud GranJan. Blog1

Abe loves to eat. He’s a Morton all the way with this trait 🙂 and reminds me of his daddy so very much. I captured this picture from my son’s Instagram account of Abe at a recent church dinner. I’d say it appears he enjoyed his chocolate brownie!FullSizeRenderI made a quilt as a gift for my youngest sister Jo’s 50th birthday on April 8th. She has told me several times how much she loves it and I can say I loved making it for her. I hope it brings her years of joy, just as she has brought to me.Blog11I discovered a nest of redbirds (my favorite) last weekend while doing some weeding in my garden. They are in a yellow rosebush. I saw the mama bird fly away so I know they are Cardinals. I can’t wait to see them fledge. Granddaughter Madie loves the outdoors with me too.  She already knows the names of flowers and loves to see the birds too.  Gran Jan’s JOY!Blog4

This last picture is of the Resurrection Ferns on the pecan tree near our driveway. They are dormant most of the time, but when it rains and they are refreshed they come out and make me so happy! Thank you Lord for times of refreshing. Blog13

Acts 3:19
Repent therefore and be converted,
that your sins may be blotted out,
so that times of refreshing may come
from the presence of the Lord

The pictures I’ve shared today have all refreshed my heart in some way. The Good Lord has blessed this Gran Jan beyond what I ever deserve. His grace is so real to me, His mercy so tender. I pray for times of refreshing in your life today.

GranJan-BlogSignature

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The Loft Link-Up [I Am…]

THe_Loft_Link_Up

I am joining in a weekly link-up with my friend LEAH ADAMS called “The Loft” and am really looking forward to this.  Topics are assigned and you write and share. This appeals to the student and life-long learner in me. This week’s assignment is a sort of introduction, hence “I am…”

I am Jan, a woman of faith in Jesus Christ…a seasoned woman. Seasoned is a sweet way to say I am older. Born in 1957 – age 57! [I love that number alignment that won’t come around again.] I am a woman of many roles, but I first want to say this – I am a woman who knows THE GREAT I AM. Here is a link to MY STORY! Jan_MortonI am a wife, a pastor’s wife ~ I have been married for 38 years to my high school sweetheart Gary. He is such a fine man and we are still in love. I respect him so much. He has been a worship pastor and in ministry for over 40 years. In fact we first met at a country church and I was only 16 years old. He was leading the choir and congregation that long ago Sunday, and we caught each other’s eye even then.October2014I am a mom ~ I have two grown sons and they have brought me more joy than I ever dreamed. Raising them has been my life’s privilege. My oldest is the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Cartersville, Georgia. My youngest works as a program manager involving something with the F-15 and the B-1 planes (I’m really not sure – it’s technical) for the United States Air Force (he is a civilian). They both love what they do and I’m so proud of them. They love their mama too. (Oldest on right below, youngest on left.)BoysI am a mother-in-law ~ My boys married two classy girls and they are precious to me. They love my boys and take care of their homes and children. They are tall and beautiful and gifts of God to our family, both of them are answers to many prayers for my boys. (Blonde is married to my oldest, brunette is married to my youngest.)IMG_3950I AM GRAN JAN ~ I had to put that in all caps because…5 grandchildren! Ain’t nothing like it. The inspiration for my blog, the JOYS of my heart! They are ages 6½, 5, 5, 2½, and 1½. To me, grandchildren are God’s best “do-over” and I am smitten with every single one of them.NovemberI am a daughter/daughter-in-law/sister/sister-in-law/aunt/niece/cousin ~ My parents live next door and are in good health. I cherish all my people. This is my family of origin, I’m the oldest of 4 sisters. One is in heaven. Dad and usI am an employee ~ I have a good job working as the Administrative Assistant to our local School Superintendent. I can retire in less than 2 ½ years and I’m longing for that season, but aim not to miss anything in my current season. be all thereI am a simple woman. I don’t think I’m  even high maintenance (whatever that means). I really love to be home, puttering in my garden, working on a quilt in my sewing room, reading a book, sitting in the swing by our pond, or cooking a meal. I love to sing in my church’s choir, teach the Bible and plan women’s ministry events. I’m healthy and strong and I really do “shout for joy at the work of His Hands.” I love the night sky, full moons, and God’s glorious creation. When I found that dove nesting in my River Birch tree this past weekend…IMG_4159IMG_439094339-6IMG_439094338-7IMG_4215I was recently a guest writer/contributor on Beth Moore’s blog a few months ago as part of a Scripture Memory Team. My post there tells some more about who I AM and the SEASONS OF LIFE. I am looking forward to meeting others in The Loft.

Blessings,

GranJan-BlogSignature

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May 2014 Memories

The past month has been so very busy – and as I’ve so often done in the past on my blog, I’m going to let my pictures tell the story. I really am a visual learner – and this is confirmed in my preference of sharing pictures. I see and I read and I remember…and I don’t want to forget any of these wonderful spring memories!  Because my people are my heart…

Family heartI had a great time last month with a dear co-worker and friend, Sharon Riley.  We spent a beautiful afternoon at Callaway Gardens, Georgia. While there we took in the “Birds of Prey” show.  I had an “up close and personal” encounter with a Great Horned Owl.  It was glorious.  The trainer even came up and asked me I was okay after the talons of the owl touched the top of my head as it flew over.  I told her I wasn’t fine…I was marvelous.  It was thrilling.  Look at the wingspan of this beautiful owl!  And the very next week on my drive in to work, I saw one in a tree as I drove…double delight.

owl

Two of my grandchildren are both four years old, Madie and Jackson are cousins exactly two weeks apart.  More double delight!  Madie is the oldest and she had a “princess party.”  She told me she was actually the Queen.  Indeed.  I made a shirt for her to wear.  All the little girls wore purple princess capes that Madie’s materal grandmother made.  It was quite the event.  She is quite the Queen…of our hearts.

Madie - crown

Madie-collage

Jackson had a “Grand Prix” tractor-truck-car birthday party.  All the children brought their little cars.  It was a FUN time for all!  It was here at the Morton farm with lots of space to drive.  My daughter-in-law even made “roads” for the children to follow.  It was a great theme and the adults had as much fun as the children.

Jackson-bday party

I also made a shirt in honor of Jackson’s fourth birthday. He loves orange and Gran Jan was happy to comply.  He is a precious boy and we love him so much too!

Jackson- 4

Jackson-collage

Sweet notes of love from my boys for Mother’s Day. They are both fine men, respected in their work, genuine and kind. Being a mom to Jeremy and Jonathan is pure JOY to me. I am so thankful and this right here holds true for me…

love you mom

My grandson Zeke graduated from Pre-K a couple of weeks ago. It was a great time! He sang his heart out, and I can honestly say it was one of the sweetest children’s programs I have ever attended. My son and his wife, and my husband Gary and I were so proud of him that our hearts were about to burst.  He has brought so much JOY to this Gran Jan and is the reason this whole blog began for me…  Great things ahead for this little fella – he has a heart for God.

Zeke - graduation

I was able to keep my youngest little grandson for a couple of nights and my JOY was full as he napped in the same baby bed as his daddy. I am such a softie when it comes to things like that.  Traditions, family legacy, God’s goodness.

Abe-happyAbe-babybed

My oldest son and his wife celebrated TEN YEARS of marriage in May also! Talk about family legacy, love, and the JOY of life. I am the most blessed mother-in-law.  My two girls love my sons and are awesome mommas to our 5 grandchildren.  You can’t put a price on any of these gifts from God!  I made a scrapbook for them of their dating, engagement, rehearsal dinner and wedding.  I know the grandchildren will love seeing the foundation of faith into which they were born. More gifts of God’s grace to us! My youngest and his wife will celebrate SIX YEARS next week. 

10 years

Fun times abound around blueberry time here at the farm and the early varieties are bearing beautifully. Blue bounty for sure. The kids love running in and out of the blueberries with me close behind reminding the little ones, “only pick the blue ones, the blue ones, the blue ones…leave the green ones.”  Who knew this would become such a fun tradition that cold day my husband and I planted those 20 bushes?

blueberry garden

The Jasmine and petunias are so pretty right now too.  The petunias are from my maternal Grandmother.  They re-seed and are an old-fashioned variety that smell so good.  I love that connection to my grandmother.  She was a green-thumb girl and I always say I inherited my love for gardening from her. The jasmine over our porch swings is an annual delight in May. Sweet.

petuniasjasmine

I love sewing for these two little granddaughters.  They have brought a tenderness to me and my husband that we didn’t experience because we raised boys! We are so thankful to have these littles girlies in our lives…we enjoyed some time on the swing during Jackson’s birthday party a couple of weekends ago.

grandgirls

Just today I made this little outfit for Emery (Miss Hollywood above).  She is a sweetheart and also spent the night here at the farm this past weekend.  For one who is especially attached to her momma and daddy…she never once mentioned them! I love it – she was happy happy happy with Pop and Gran Jan.

Emery-capris

Pop and I love our family. We literally share with each other EVERY DAY about how thankful and blessed we are.  We count our blessings. We keep God’s goodness ever in front of us as reminders of His love and faithfulness.  There is nothing sweeter than getting a grandchild to sleep and then holding him in your arms. Gary got Abe to sleep during Zeke’s graduation and by the smile on Pop’s face, he was enjoying the sweetness.

Pop and Abe

These FIVE grandbabies (5 1/2,  4, 4, 20 months and 9 months) are a source of great JOY and they also bring a great sense of accountability to me. I want to stay by the stuff, live strong, and show them all what it means to be a Christ-follower. I want them to know that Gran Jan believed what she lived and that Jesus is everything.

5 grands

This quote helps me.  Sometimes I’m so busy thinking ahead, planning ahead, and being ahead that I can miss the moments that count every day.  Chasing grandyounguns through the blueberries, blowing bubbles for Jackson and Madie to jump and pop, reading to Zeke, playing with Emery, rocking Abe…quiet times in my sewing room and in my garden.  Long conversations over coffee while sitting in the swing by the pond with my sweet man. Those are the gifts I cherish – that keep me centered.  Faith and family.

May 2014 has been full of them.  This is one content Gran Jan.

be all there

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Tomato Sandwich – Southern Summer Staple!

Summertime in the South is wonderful with all the delicious fresh fruits and vegetables we enjoy…corn, okra, watermelon, butter beans, squash, cucumbers, blueberries, zipper peas, peppers, blackberries, cantaloupe, zucchini, peaches, green beans, purple hull peas, and of course, THE TOMATO! I planted 10 tomato plants this year in my garden. Below are the different varieties…Early Girl, Husky Red Cherry, Super Fantastic, Goliath, Big Beef, Park’s Whopper, and Better Boy. What fun names!
TomatoVarietiesWe had four ripe tomtatoes this week, and today for lunch I enjoyed eating my first tomato sandwich of the Summer of 2013. 🙂
TomatoSandwichFollowing is the “recipe” for a truly Southern delicacy, a tomato sandwich:
Ingredients:
Vine-ripened tomatoes
Mayonnaise (preferably Hellmans)
White bread (a must, although I did use “white wheat”)
Salt and Pepper

Directions:
1. Remove core from tomato and then slice.
2. Put mayonnaise on BOTH slices of the bread.
3. Carefully place tomatoes on bread, overlap if at all possible.
4. Salt and pepper the tomato slices.
5. Put one piece of bread on top of the other.
6. Carefully lean over the kitchen sink with your sandwich.
7. Say the blessing and thank God for your delicious tomato sandwich.
8. Take a bite and then let the juice run down your chin…

Happy Summer!

GRANJAN

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Spring 2013 – Lots of Living Being Lived!

So much “living has been lived” since I blogged a month ago! Life is good because God is good, He is always good. He continues to faithfully reveal His love to me in wonderful ways. I take pictures all the time with my iPhone camera, so I really want to let my pictures do the blogging for me…as I did when I was counting grace gifts to 1,000 here on my blog the past two years. There have been lots of celebrations this month in our family! My life continues again with familiar themes of faith, family, fun,  farm, and always of course…the flowers

FAITH
June 1st marked a very special day for my husband and me – the 25th anniversary of  ministry at our wonderful church! Our church family gave us a love offering and a paid vacation trip of our choosing.  Last night (June 9th) we celebrated with a reception and so many memories flooded our hearts. They are precious people, a  loving and generous church family. God surely blessed us when He led us there with our two little boys 25 years ago…1989-MortonFamily25 Years

I was blessed to serve on the planning team for the recent Living Proof Life event in Atlanta. My church had 76 ladies attend and we had a wonderful time.  Beth Moore and Travis Cottrell make a great team as the Word was shared and the Worship was divine. The last session was a celebratory time of responsive reading, singing, praying, and dedication like nothing I’ve ever experienced – unprecedented for one of the LPL events.  So thankful for the time I shared with friends there.

This group of ladies with our fearless leader Mandy Parker were tremendous servants.
(Mandy is in the white blouse kneeling on the first row.)LPL Team

LPL2013

My friend Sophie Hudson, author of this book below, “A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet” was at the conference  (on the far right in the picture above).  She is a genuine, precious woman of faith.  I LOVE HER and this book is one I will re-read and go to often. She loves her family, her Southern heritage, and I so get her.  She is one of the blessings that have come to  me from “the internets.” Sophie'sBook

FAMILY & FUN
May is the month my two middle grandchildren celebrate their birthdays exactly two weeks apart! They each celebrated their 3rd birthdays with sweet parties planned by my daughters-in-law.  Madie had a “Bubblegum Party” theme (since she is now allowed to have bubble gum), and Jackson had a “Jake the Pirate Party.”  They each had so much fun at each others’ parties with family and friends, and Gran Jan had fun making the birthday shirts they wore at their parties.  Here are the hugging cousins at Madie’s party…it just doesn’t get any sweeter!HuggingCousins

Here is the Birthday Princess wearing her “#3 Bubble Gum Machine” shirt made with love by Gran Jan.  She is a sweet girl!Madie-3

Here is Jackson’s  “#3 Pirate Birthday” shirt made with love by Gran Jan.Jacksons3

My daughter-in-law Carrie took this picture of Zeke and Madie on their last day of playschool.  She couldn’t have captured a sweeter moment! It is perfection and I’m so thankful to have it here to share with you.  One of my favorite pictures ever. I pray these two will always be there for each other…nothing like siblings!ZandM

We also celebrated my nephew Payton’s graduation from high school on May 25th with a HUGE FAMILY GATHERING complete with matching “Maloy Family” shirts compliments of my sister Joan. We enjoyed delicious King Crab and all the trimmings at the “Crab Fest 2013.”  It was so great to have everyone together and my daughter-in-law Erin has great skills for setting up a photography shoot! Crabfest2013

Both my boys have celebrated wedding anniversaries recently…Jeremy & Carrie celebrated 9 years May 22nd and Jonathan and Erin celebrated 5 years on June 7th.  NO GREATER JOY for this mom than to see my sons and daughters-in-law building homes together!JandC

JandE

Zeke played tee-ball with Upward Sports Ministries at our church this Spring and we had a great time watching him “play ball!”
My son was one of the coaches and we enjoyed watching him too! 🙂Zeke-TeeBall

Little Miss Emery is now 8 months old and brings everyone JOY with her sweet and precious disposition. She is a GOOD GIRL!Emery 8 monthsEmeryandMe

Grandbaby #5, our gender tie-breaker! (We have 2 grandsons and 2 granddaughters.)
We love you already and can’t wait to meet you in just under  3 months. TieBreaker

Mother’s Day 2013 was special and I’m thankful for my boys’ wives who gave me great gifts – pretty red jewelry from Carrie and this photo collage flowerpot that Erin put together with all the grandchildren’s pictures around the whole pot! I love it!PhotoPot

Today is Memama Morton’s 91st Birthday. She is the Morton Family Matriarch and the best mother-in-law this daughter-in-law could ever have.  She loved me from the start, she prays for our family, and she has never once “interfered” with our lives.  I pray I can be as good to my daughters-in-law as she has been to me. We love you so much Memama! Memama91


FLOWERS!
We’ve had a great Spring 2013. The weather has been cool and rainy, my flowers and garden are flourishing, and best of all
God’s tender mercies are new every morning…image

Daylilies… MidnightMagic

PurpleJoyJan'sTwisterGlorious gardenias and roses…GardeniasRedMrLincoln My “Blushing Bride” Hydrangeas…BlushingBrideHydrangea

Blackberries…Blackberries

Wonderful sweet-smelling Confederate Jasmine over the spring arbor…Jasmine

As I close this post tonight, I am thinking toward a very special day, the most special day a man and woman can celebrate.  Tomorrow is our 36th wedding anniversary.  Gary and I began our lives together 6-11-1977. God has blessed us with a wonderful family, a fruitful ministry, and a solid marriage based on trust and love. I am so thankful that 36 years ago as a young (way too young to be getting married) 19 year old woman that God knew what I needed and provided you for me when I didn’t even know He was taking care of me.  I love you Gary – and my love for you is stronger than ever. Being your wife has been my life’s greatest joy.  Thank you for taking such good care of me… even going to the blueberry garden early in the morning last week to pick blueberries for my yogurt.  You’re a fine man and I’m one spoiled, blessed woman!GaryPickingBlueberries61177

Love to all of you and thank you for reading all the way to the end…life’s SIMPLE JOYS are really the best,
and only made sweeter when surrounded by the love of Christ.

GRANJAN

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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, #901 to #927

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.

902. I love this fun tweet that I sent on 12-12-12 at 12:12:12.  Silly me – but fun.12 12 12

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.hospital tree

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.

905.  Dolls under my Christmas tree – a first for this mom of boys! Both Madie and Emery got “Bitty Babies” from American Girl for Christmas.  Madie calls her doll a “Tiny Baby Bitty Baby.” Precious. American girl

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!

907. Christmas Day Night is the time our family gathers as we continue our tradition of blueberry pancakes and bacon. I love my family so much. SONY DSC

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.EmeryandGigi

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! shoebox

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.taters

912. Most folks that know me well understand my love of gardening and birds too. This picture was on Twitter last week and I love it. Redbirds are my favorite!redbird

913.  My co-worker Brenda gave me this Christmas cactus two years ago and it was so pretty this year. I love that it knows just when Christmas is and when to bloom.  Isn’t God so creative?cactus

914. Oh the joy to attend the Christmas program at my son Jeremy’s church and see our grandson Zeke portray Joseph in the program! It just doesn’t get any sweeter than that… Joseph

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! Eagle

916. My grandson Jackson sent his Papaw a get well picture…it is still hanging in his room at the hospital tonight.  get well from Jackson

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! 🙂greens

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. new Jack

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.farm chores

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. 🙂Tractor reflection

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. passion kids

922.  So blessed by the sweetest smile on this little face as she coos at her Pop on Christmas night.  I look so forward to making some dresses and fun little things for her next year!SONY DSC

923.  Hospital waiting rooms are difficult places, made more pleasant by my niece and nephews…I love y’all!waiting room

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!

925. This prayer means more to me these days and I hope will stay with me in 2013…healty

926. The last sunrise of this year as I took this picture this frosty cold morning December 31, 2012…God be near in 2013  and I thank Him for His GRACE every day the past 365 days.sunrise

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.me

In Christ,

Jan

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