40 Days – Lent 2014

Today is Ash Wednesday and marks the first day of Lent. Growing up Southern Baptist, I never heard any mention of “Lent.” However, this marks the third year I’ve been intentional during this “40 Days” time.  Intentional for me in that I focus my mind and heart on why we as Christians celebrate this time of year.  For those of you like me, who did not grow up in a church that formally practiced this tradition, here is a definition of Lent:

Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Holy Week/Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ – His suffering and His sacrifice, His life, death, burial and resurrection. Lent runs from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday and so includes 40 weekdays.

We may not have observed Lent, but for over 20 years my church (under the direction of my wonderful husband Gary) presented “The Warner Robins Passion Play” for our community. Through music, worship, and drama, we depicted the life of Jesus, His crucifixion and resurrection.  Some of the most wonderful times as a worship ministry have been during this Holy Season.  I love this time of year – everything shouts NEW LIFE!

I want to share the devotionals that I have used during the 40 days of Lent.  The first one is free and is from Ann Voskamp’s blog, “A Holy Experience.” Click here on “The Trail to the Tree.”  It is a beautiful devotional. This is how Ann describes Lent: “It’s the preparing the heart for Easter. Like going with Jesus into the wilderness for forty days, that we might come face to ugly face with our enemy. Our sacrificing that we might become more like Christ in His sacrifice.”

Another one is a book entitled Reliving the Passion by Walter Wangerin, Jr.  It is a 40 day devotional from the New Testament gospel of Mark.  It’s poetic and dramatic and I loved every page.

This year I am reading a book entitled Draw the Circle, by Mark Batterson. It is a 40 day prayer challenge that his church (National Community Church) in Washington, DC has used during Lent.

Please let me share that I don’t see Lent as anything “ritualistic” or a way to garner favor with Jesus.  God’s saving grace is free and I can’t do anything to cause God to love me any more than He already does.  I won’t “give up” anything – He gave His all for me. And another thing – my faith is a daily faith – experienced minute by minute.  These 40 days are special to this time of year and the significance of Easter in the life of a believer – but EVERY DAY is a gift of grace to me!  I especially love this song by Keith & Kristyn Getty – “The Power of The Cross.” Here is the first portion…
Oh, to see the dawn of the darkest day
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men, torn and beaten then
nailed to a cross of wood.
This the power of the cross
Christ became sin for us!
Took the blame, bore the wrath 
we stand forgiven at the cross.
I pray you will seek daily solitude these next 40 days – in prayer – in worship, thanking Jesus for His supreme sacrifice on the cross for you.
Gran Jan
Share

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

Share

Women’s Ministry – Don’t Lose Heart

SERVANT LEADERSHIP is important to me. We lead by serving, we serve by leading. In my church I serve in the music ministry and in the women’s ministry. Tonight our women’s ministry Leadership Team is meeting…over chips and salsa at a local Mexican restaurant.  (We are hoping for a “table in the back!”)  I love these ladies so much. Left to right – Cindy serves as our Events Coordinator, Teresa serves as Bible Study Coordinator, Jennifer serves as Outreach Ministry Coordinator, and I serve as Director. Tonight we will pray, share, and go over our calendars. Yesterday I emailed them  the following encouragement. [It isn’t original to me, but I can’t pinpoint it’s origin, and just tweaked it a bit to fit women’s ministry; however, it can apply to any of us out there serving and leading.]  It is easy to lose heart and focus. Why? Besides the spiritual warfare that is rampant to servants of Christ, a whole lot of living just happens. In the lives and families of this team just the past year we’ve experienced births, deaths, hospitalizations, and more.  Just like your lives I’m sure…WMLT3

WOMEN’S MINISTRY – DON’T LOSE HEART!
From
2 Corinthians 4

#1 The Temptation to Lose Heart
In verse 1, it says “Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we DO NOT lose heart.” It doesn’t matter what our ministry is, sooner or later we’re going to be tempted to lose heart, to get discouraged, to listen to naysayers, and to want to give up. We can’t! When others accuse us or reject us, remember what’s at stake: the gospel of the glory of Christ (in every women’s ministry event we plan, that is our priority).

#2 The Temptation to Lose Focus
In verse 5, it says “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” Do we need a focus check? (I do.) No matter what our job or ministry is, if we are followers of Jesus Christ, our ultimate goal ought to be to shout out the name of Jesus in everything we do. WE are so commited to this! 

#3 The Temptation to Lose Power
Verses 7-12 are some of the greatest in the whole Bible: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”  GLORY!

Those are awesome verses, aren’t they? We must walk in the Spirit and overcome our flesh and fatigue. We must FOCUS! Let God’s Spirit have His way in us. That’s our treasure. That’s our secret. Don’t let the difficulties we face cloud the truth of God’s Word.

#4 The Temptation to Lose Faith
There’s more! In verses 13-15, the Word says “Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, so I spoke”, we also believe, and so we also speak.” Do we believe God? Are we resting on His promises, or do we still follow our feelings? Feelings are terrible leaders and we know that as women we can RUN on emotion. Faith is believing God’s Word and acting on it no matter how we feel, because God promises a good result. ARE we doing it?

#5 The Temptation to Lose Vision
Finally, like it can get any better, 2 Corinthians 4 ends with these verses: “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Can y’all hear the music soaring?  This is not the end. Our vision is fixed on eternity. There’s more to come and I cannot wait.

I hope you know these truths in the depth of your soul. I pray these truths will fill you with joy to keep on enduring for the sake of HIS GREAT NAME.

Hollerlujah,
Jan 🙂

Share

1,000 GIFTS, #985 to #1,000!!!

 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.Emery-Memama

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.Nockels

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…Father-Son

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.

992.  GRANDSONS.  Gran.Jan’s.JOY! Can’t wait to see these two cousins grow up together. They remind me SO much of their daddies. Jackson-Zeke

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. LiveOak

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!River Street

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!Tea

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.HomeDriveway

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.

Much Love,
JAN

Share

1,000 GIFTS, #967 to #984

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.”  Dad-Home

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!Riverview

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…Metro-Ladies

 970.  This dear lady, Mrs. Esther Burroughs, is speaking to the wives attending the conference alongside their husbands.  She is JOY!EstherandMe

971.  I enjoyed sitting at the registration table on Sunday afternoon greeting all the music pastors and their wives as they arrived with a big “Hey Y’all!” Metro-Books

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!LPL

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. LadyandSons

974.  These grandbabies are the JOY of my heart – you all know that if you’ve read much of these gifts to 1,000…here are the oldest three atop a hay bale visiting with Pop’s cows…GrandsonHayBale

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.

978. My mom with my granddaughter,  her great-granddaughter, Miss Emery.  Sweetness.EmeryandGigi

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.

982.  Love stopovers at little restaurants in the country… Scotts

 983.  This is my son Jonathan (on the right) with his baby girl and one of our staff pastors (Dawson) and his baby girl Brylee.  The dads are the same age and the baby girls are the same age.  Delight! Dawson&JW

 984.  New mercies every morning…to count His gifts of GRACE, of family, of service, of healing, of ministry, of work, and knowing that they are ALL grace gifts from His Mighty Hand.NewMercies

 Blessings my friends,

Gran Jan

Share

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

Share

1,000 GIFTS, #711 to #728

Was it only just last week I was so excited about a week off to slow down? Well…my heart is FULL to overflowing from the JOYS of last week’s slower pace. We enjoyed a simple staycation, a stay-at-home vacation, a concept I highly recommend…so restful for both body and soul.
711. So thankful for a wonderful service of patriotic music and powerful preaching at my church. I’m thankful to be an American citizen. Even with all the issues in our land today, there is still no place I would rather live as I sojourn this Earth…I’m praying for our country in this election year. (Daniel 2:20-23)
712. My friend Lanie and I had a “sew-in” last Friday. She brought her machine and several projects over and we also made dresses for our granddaughters. We laughed like only friends of many years friends can do. It was a day of JOY and soul therapy too…bonding and sewing and quilting.
713. Thankful to God for granddaughters. Lanie and I both raised sons, and now she has two granddaughters. I have one granddaughter and one on the way…God’s wonderful gracious grace. Here are the dresses we made on Friday…complete with monograms.
714. And here is my sweet girl in her dress…my daughter-in-law Carrie sent me this picture just this morning…touched my heart.
715. A trip to the Farmers Market with my daughter-in-law Erin for fresh vegetables to “put up” as we Southern women call that process. We blanched butter beans, zipper peas, and crowder peas for our freezers. Hard but fulfilling work. I loved spending the day with her and one of the reasons is because…
716.  …she left Jackson with us to spend the night and we had such a wonderful time with him. He is our youngest grandson, reminds us so much of his daddy at that age.

717. Here he is on the front porch with Pop, watching down the road for his mommy and daddy to come…

718. Can you see why he reminds us of his daddy at that age? Herein is proof…

719. Time with my parents without the rush of a work schedule…we spent a day going to the local peach packing sheds and enjoyed fresh peach ice cream too.  I love my parents. Did you know the first commandment with a promise in God’s Word is found in Exodus 20:12?  Honor your father and mother…


720. Garden time. Enough said.

721. An entire day spent with my husband…shopping, eating out, uninterrupted conversation, reconnecting. So sweet and so important for good marriages.

722. Praying daily for a missions team from my church in Ukraine. I love these folks – every one of them. They are gathered here on their way to the airport in the wee hours of the morning last Friday. They are awesome people on mission for Jesus. As our Pastor, Dr. Perdue says, his desire is that the sun will never set on the ministry of our church as we serve globally. We also have students in South Africa as well as down the street from our church this week, serving in a trailer park conducting Backyard Bible Clubs. I LOVE MY CHURCH FAMILY…

723. Celebrating the JOY of my spiritual birthday – July 7th. Reflecting on the day the Savior reached down for me…I.HAVE.NEVER.BEEN.THE.SAME. Half my life I have known Him. And Hallelujah, He’s known me since before there was a me. (Psalm 139:16)
724. I know I often mention my fondness for sewing and embroidery, but I am especially happy to share these “crab shirts” I made at the request of my daughter-in-law Carrie for my grandchildren and some of their friends for a beach vacation. I loved doing this for them. I asked my daughters-in-law to save all the shirts I am making for the grandchildren because I think it would be fun to make a quilt out of them all one day…can we say Memory Lane?
725. Be still my heart. My little yet-to-be-born granddaughter’s first of many monogrammed gifts from Gran Jan. TIny little Emery, we are praying for your arrival to the family in September. Can’t wait to meet you…
726. The JOY of a rare opportunity to attend our son’s church and hear him preach yesterday morning – a message from the fifth chapter of Mark where Jesus delivers the man possessed by demons. Jeremy made a strong, clear biblical application and this momma’s heart was deeply moved and thankful.
727. My daughter-in-law Carrie’s pot roast dinner on Sunday. Family around the table is one of God’s sweetest gifts in my life.  

728. One of my favorite delights from last week is this picture I took of an old fireplace out in the middle of the country. My dad stopped to let me get the picture (that in itself is a gift too). I can’t help but wonder about the family that lived here long ago and the hands that built that fireplace.

What am I building that will stand the test of time? Am I investing in the lives of others for eternity and for Christ’s Kingdom?  God help me to see past the busyness of daily living that can so easily distract me from my true purpose here…

Jan

Share