1,000 GIFTS, #615 to #638

Multitudes on Mondays (and knowing that His Grace abounds every other day too). Just keep counting…just keep counting…just keep counting…

615. Mercy – His Mercy. Mercy that triumphs…still relishing the Bible study on James

616. Granddaughters…turning two. TWO years of Madie – of JOY. A Gift from His Hand.
617.  Grandsons…turning two. TWO years of Jackson – of JOY. A Gift from His Hand.

618. Praying and believing God for a special word and then when my Pastor gets up to preach and reminds us that “the Power is in the Word,” and then being blessed as God delivers that special word to my heart.

619. Anticipation…

620. Delight…

621. My oldest son and his children, (my two oldest grandchildren) came and stayed with us for a week while my daughter-in-law was out of the country visting her sister who is a missionary. He shared at church that Sunday that “you always need your mom.”  It was Mother’s Day and I was blessed by that.
622. Getting to hear my son preach the Word. I can’t adequately convey what that does to my heart. It stirs me up and I’m thankful for the grace that abounds in our lives.
623. Especially thankful for my mom and my two sisters who are also moms…
624. Picking blueberries and eating them right then…

625. The Super Moon this month.

Psalm 8:3-4, Amplified Bible

3  When I view and consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which You have ordained and established,

4  What is man that You are mindful of him,
and the son of [earthborn] man that You care for him?

626. Dusk, my favorite time of day. This evening was especially nice with a cool breeze and these two to enjoy the pond with us…
627. The Garden…for me, it is always the garden, and only because of the Master Gardener who makes it grow, and that He knows my name…
628. Sod…yes, sod for my garden. It was a gift to me and I am very grateful to my hard-working husband who has built my dream garden for me.
629.  Dirt roads in the country…
630. Praying for a little girl not yet born as I sit to work on a baby quilt for her. She is a long-awaited, much prayed for baby girl…due next month…always in His time.
631. Seeing my Dad get much joy from restoring a farm tractor, and much more importantly, seeing him grow in his faith. Zeke had to try out the tractor too.
632. Thankful for a husband who knows how much I love to see the birds come to my feeders.  He took this picture of a goldfinch through our kitchen window and sent it to me…JOY
633. It’s fence painting time at the farm. The wood has now cured enough to receive the paint…it is a process – just like everything, it takes time (Ecclesiastes 3). Thankful to our son Jonathan for his help.
634. Last day of preschool – seeing my son Jeremy with his son Zeke…stirred memories of my boys and their JOY at the last day of school…
635. Eight years of marriage celebrated by my oldest son and his bride, Carrie. Thankful for their commitment to each other and to their family and their ministry. 
636. When the weatherman says “scattered showers,” I always hope that the scattered showers water my flowers…so thankful for the random rain and a quiet evening at home.

637. These old-fashioned reseeding petunias had their beginnings in my maternal grandmother’s garden. I am grateful for a gardening Granny who passed her love on to me.
638. On this Memorial Day Monday I am very grateful for a day set aside to honor our fallen heroes who sacrificed their lives. I was raised in a military family with a Dad who served 3 tours in Vietnam. We live in a military town and are blessed to see and worship and fellowship with living heroes.  With all the problems that abound, I’d still rather live here in America than anyplace else I know. This picture was taken just this morning here at our farm. Those are my father’s flags. He is a living hero too.  
Gran Jan


1,000 GIFTS, #595 to #614

This Multitude Monday finds me at peace and I can say with confidence this counting has much to do with my restful countenance.  Twenty Twelve is passing quickly to me, how about you?
595.  My Wednesday night Bible study class completed our study of the book of James. We were a weepy mess that last night…what a gift that study was to us. I love this fourteenth verse from the fourth chapter (this is the Amplified version).  Read it and ponder the brevity of our lives. Rest in the assurance that our Blessed Controller has everything well in control.
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].
596. I wrote my last post from the Metro Worship Conference. It was a gift from God to be there and I am thankful for our church that supports that time away for my husband. Texas was wonderful – great weather and great hospitality from the host pastors there.  These next round of counted blessings were truly that to me, unexpected gifts.
597. The days were long and full as we went from “daylight to dark” every day – but there was time for fun too, like when I got up close to this TX Longhorn. When he turned to walk through the gate, he tipped his head to get his horns through. It tickled me. We all need to “adapt.”
598. I loved seeing these young people who put on a “private rodeo” for us. They were so gracious and lined the fence and wished us all well. So refreshing.
599. Hymns have been a part of my life as far back as I can remember. I have memories of my parental grandmother singing hymns and playing the piano. We were blessed to hear Keith & Kristyn Getty in concert. “The Power of the Cross,” and “In Christ Alone” are two of my all-time favorites. The Gettys are modern hymn writers – what a grace gift.
600. One of the sweetest gifts of all for me was meeting the sweet Mrs. Sheri Bell. Her husband is the Worship Pastor at the amazing Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano. He was our gracious host all week. Sheri and I just “hit it off,” and had so much in common (besides being married to music men). We both love gardening. Because of that…
601. We loved our time together at the Dallas Arboretum walking and enjoying the beautiful gardens. She planned so many wonderful things for us that week.
602. And a highlight for my soul was the JOY of hearing Sheila Walsh as she spoke to us worship pastors’ wives. She is so genuine and so kind. Her message really stirred me up and I’m thankful for the stirring and the tender mercies of Jesus. 
603. Our last night at the Metro Conference was a “NIGHT OF WORSHIP.” Have you ever seen such a choir? They sang and then Pastor Jack Graham called all the worship pastors and wives down to the front of the church and prayed over us – it was one of the sweetest times ever. His Grace was thick in that place.
604. So blessed to attend the wedding of the son of long-time friends at our home church when we returned home.  Thankful for Christian & Olivia as they start their lives together in Christ. Hope and grace for the next generation.
605. Gardening joys as Spring continues…green beans, tomatoes, butter peas, cucumbers, green peppers, zucchini and yellow squash!
606. Jasmine blooming over my swing is especially sweet…
607. The first hydrangea – what an awesome Creator to bless us with such beauty…
608. A Blueberry bounty and my grandchildren LOVE them. It is so fun to go out to the garden with them and pick fresh blueberries. A simple JOY, but that is what I love. I picked a quart just tonight…

609. Jackson’s JOY at every tractor, especially his Pop’s…

610. I am so thankful for my pastor and his family. They began their ministry with us on the first day of this year and I can truthfully say that God graced our church when He brought them into our lives. I made these little ladybug shirts for his girls this past weekend. His wife has a blog that blesses me so much! Visit Stephanie at her blog here.

611. Dinner out last week with the “Rincon Retreat” girls. Just sweet fellowship – no agendas other than celebrating the bond of women’s ministry.
612. Farm and country living is grand – critters everywhere.  The “farm cat” brought us a surprise day before yesterday…her kittens. There are four of them and they are wild as can be, but oh so cute…they are hiding behind my hydrangea bushes. I need a cat whisperer. I know where the term “hissy fit” comes from now…we will NOT keep them!
613. Thankful for the gift to celebrate my Dad’s birthday yesterday. My sister Jo had us all over for Sunday dinner, it was so good. I’m thankful for my Dad. He is a wonderful father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. A proud Career Marine, Vietnam War Veteran and my dad.
614. My last gift to count on this Multitude Monday is so dear to my heart that I can barely contain my excitement. I began this blog “Gran Jan’s JOY” almost four years ago while awaiting the joy of becoming Gran Jan.  We found out last week that grandbaby #4 is…
Praise God From WHOM All Blessings Flow
Praise Him All Creatures Here Below
Praise Him Above Ye Heavenly Host
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.


1,000 GIFTS, #579 to #594

Another Multitude Monday, and I am having a “memory lane” moment right this very moment. I began this journey of counting His grace gifts to 1,000 last year while attending a conference for worship pastors with my husband. My very first list is right here and here I am again…attending the Metro Worship Pastor’s Conference right now in Texas. GRACE.

579. I’m sitting in the lobby of the conference hotel and I love the sounds I’m hearing right now…the booming voices of the worship pastors all around me shouting greetings to one another as they are arriving…”hello brother,” “how are you,”  “how is your family,”  “good to see you.”  I love the family of God and I wish you could be in the meetings when these guys sing…a foretaste of glory divine. (Music people are wonderfully loud…in my observation.)

580. Just this morning my husband was in the conference hotel lobby talking to Ryan Dahl, the founder of Praise Charts Publishing. Gary shared an email with Ryan that our son Jeremy had written him (Gary) recently about the blessing of being raised up singing hymns…which led to Ryan writing a blog post on the spot – it was one of those God-ordained moments that has already set the tone (pun intended) for this week. You can read the email and the blog post by clicking here.

581. The great joy to worship yesterday morning at Prestonwood Baptist Church.  What a church! They celebrated 797 people saved on Easter Sunday last week. WRAP YOUR HEART AROUND THAT! The preaching by Dr. Graham was great (a message on leadership), the worship was amazing, and the people were so friendly. We sat with our dear friends Jack and Sharon Price (Prism Music). When you never get to sit in church with your husband, it means so much to just sit WITH him in a worship service.

582. It was a blessing to celebrate our Lord’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday – and the GREATER JOY is that we are able to celebrate His Victory over death, hell, and the grave every single day. Hallelujah what a Savior. These are my three grands in their Easter finery…Zeke in his “theer thucker thuit” and Madie and Jackson.  Gran Jan’s JOY!


583. This is my family…the “Real Maloys.”  My parents, me, my sisters Joan and Jo. I love these people with all my heart. We were all together Easter weekend (Jo’s birthday).

584. I often write and share about the joy and blessing of being a country dweller, but I’m very serious when I say it is a gift of God’s Grace to come home to the quiet of the country. Yes, we drive a bit further, but the solitude is worth the travel time…it’s peaceful here with front porch time;

585. Peaceful with garden time (which happens to be therapy to me – honestly it does);

586. Genesis 1:29
 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb
that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth,
and every tree whose fruit yields seed;
to you it shall be for food.

587. Chicken yard time…I love all their various clucking “sounds” and funny ways.

588. And I love their contribution to our family breakfast time…who knew a dozen eggs would fit in my husband’s John Deere cap? 🙂  I forgot to get the basket from my mom.

589. I’m working on a baby quilt for a long, long, awaited baby. God is good and Heather and Bubba are going to be wonderful parents to their baby girl…due to arrive in June. I’m thankful for my new found love of quilting and the gift of grace in their lives too.
590. There is a willow tree on the banks of our pond that Zeke and I like to sit under and have picnics when he comes to the farm. I am calling it the Picnic Willow and I love to spend time with my grandchildren.

591. My friend Lanie made a quilt to raise funds for cancer research. She herself is an ovarian cancer survivor.  God is so good – she brought this quilt to our James Bible study last week and we were talking about the power of prayer and healing from James 5.

592. This past Friday at work was wear purple for “Military Child Appreciation Day,” and these are some of my wonderful coworkers – my work family. We live and work in a military town and are blessed and thankful for our armed forces and their contributions to our daily lives. This is a great bunch of purple-wearing folks!

593. This is my Dad and his great-granddaughter, my granddaughter Miss Madie. My dad had 8 sisters (he is lone survivor in his family of origin, which included 11 children, 8 girls and 3 boys), and he is the father of four girls (I am the eldest), so it didn’t take too much for this sweet little girl to win his heart. 

594. This is the first of my daylilies to begin to show signs of blooming. I can’t wait and love to “come to the garden alone…” like the old hymn says. 

Speaking of “showing signs of blooming and growth,” I am asking the Good LORD to be with all of us at the Metro Worship Conference and I need to log off and take care of some things…I am praying for all that God has in store for me, that I will BE a blessing to others and that God will speak to my heart in the deepest places…I am so thankful for His grace.



1,000 GIFTS, #562 to #578

It is with great JOY I begin this Monday journey of counting to 1,000 as it is Spring Break here and I’m off work this week. Holy Week and time at home, His grace multiplied.
562. This beautiful pecan grove is part of an old home place. I love the way the trees arch toward each other across the road. Around these parts we always say that spring has officially arrived when the pecan trees leaf out…a bit early this year.
563. I love time in the garden and I was there most of the day today getting ready to plant tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, green beans, and squash later this week.  I pulled up the remains of my winter garden and got one last batch of collard greens.  There’s something about the hard work and solitude there that brings me peace of heart.
564. My sweet North Georgia friend, Leah of The Point Ministries shared some of her beautiful miniature hosta plants and mailed them to me. I love that girl, she is a gift of grace to my life. She has a heart for God and she loves and teaches His Word.
565. I received my love for gardening from my maternal grandmother.  She loved to share cuttings from her garden. Not only did I receive some plants this week, I mailed a dozen daylilies from my garden to my friend Beth Moore in TX. She got them planted on Saturday – I know she will enjoy them. Made my heart happy to share them with her.
566. I love the night sky and especially loved this showing of the moon, Venus, and Jupiter last week. (The moon is in the center, Venus is in the middle and if you look really hard you can see Jupiter at the bottom of the picture, just above the tree line.)  What a wonderful Creator God.
567.  I had the wonderful honor to sing our country’s “National Anthem” at the retirement ceremony of an Air Force Lt. Colonel last week. I had a blast – the McElwain family is precious and they honored Christ in every way. What a delight that was – I love living in a military town – as the daughter of a Career Marine I feel right at home.
568. Two Saturdays ago, me, my mom and my dear friend Lanie spent the entire day participating in a “quilt shop hop” across Georgia. (We were celebrating my mom’s birthday too.) We made it to six of the 10 shops and had an absolutely delightful day together. I bought a pattern for this Twister Quilt:

569. Friday night pizza at our favorite family pizza place. Fun times when we can all be together.

570. Gran Jan has a new car tag…I love it. Being a grandmother has blessed me in so many ways.  I’m advertising the JOY.
571. Look at this little sweetie helping his daddy wash his truck. Grandchildren are God’s grace for raising your own children. Grandparenting is absolutely wonderful and I’m getting so excited about #4 on the way this fall.
572. A rainy Saturday at home and candelight – two of my favorite things.
573. I potted new ferns on my front porch during that cool morning rain this past Saturday. These are the Kimberly Queen variety – very hearty and heat tolerant.
574.  Fresh green beans smell so good when they are cooking.  And here in the South we cook them a long time and then a little longer.
575. I sat outside with my James Bible study homework one evening last week and enjoyed a nice fire in the fire pit. It was so peaceful. This study has really touched my heart and stirred me up. That’s a good thing. 
576. This past Sunday evening our pastor served the first Lord’s Supper since he became our pastor on January 1. He brought a great message – he is a great Bible expositor and has the heart of a pastor too. We are so thankful for his ministry – God has brought such love and peace to our midst. He is doing a work as we are growing and new families are joining each week.
577. Ladies Night Out last Thursday with some special friends as we attended an event sponsored by Covenant Care Ministries, a Christian adoption agency. I have several friends who have adopted children through their ministry. God is so good.
As Easter approaches this weekend I am ever mindful that without Christ’s death on the cross there would be no hope of Heaven. He paid my sin debt with the shedding of His blood. I received His gift of grace almost 27 years ago and I have never been the same.
SO thankful that…

1,000 GIFTS, #538 to #561

After ending my last post with the wonderful news of grandchild number four on the way, His grace gifts continue to bless and astound me. He is a Faithful God.
538. And these three precious gifts from the Good LORD bring Gran Jan’s JOY to great heights. We had fun this past Saturday at our monthly family breakfast at the farm:
539. So thankful there was a single blue popsicle in the box when the request is made by my grandson, “I want a blue one Gran Jan.” 
540. Fresh brown eggs and stone ground grits from the Callaway Gardens Country Store make breakfast so good (and butter – never forget the butter).
541. A morning spent dividing daylilies in my mom’s garden – made especially easy by a good hard rain the night before.

542. Thankful for the good health of my parents and that they live next door. Yes, of course, families can get out of sorts with one another, but His grace is sufficient. And we are family.

543. Firewood gathered by my husband for sweet times around the firepit. (Gift #520).

544. I love a “series” of preaching messages, so I love that our new pastor, Dr. Jim Perdue is preaching through a series each Sunday morning. Right now he is taking us through the Beatitudes from The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5). The series is called “Blessed,” and we certainly are…beyond measure…to have him as our pastor. His wife and children are so precious to us and they’ve only been with us 3 months.

545. I love my church – if you’ve been around this blog very long, you know that I love my family and my church. It was a special delight to help hostess a shower recently for a young man that I’ve had the pleasure of watching grow up. Christopher Alford is marrying a fine young woman and I’m thankful for his godly parents and extended family.  The blessing of community – the family of God – and a local church = God’s grace indeed.

546. My oldest son Jeremy celebrated 10 years as Pastor of Cross Point Baptist Church the first Sunday of March. We thank the Good LORD for that special milestone and blessing of God. But when you note that he is only 30 years old and has been pastoring that same church one-third of his life…that is God’s Amazing Grace. I love you son, and yes, I am proud – I am your  mother.

547. My youngest son works at our local military base (a Project Manager) and we received the greatest compliment last week from someone who “just wanted us to know” that Jonathan is a man of great integrity and already respected in his field at his young age. I love you son, and yes, I am proud – I am your mother.

548. Having both sons and their wives and our grandchildren within 20 minutes of home is one of the greatest blessings of my life. God’s grace and goodness multiplied. I praise Jesus for that grace gift in this day of families on the move.

549. The response to the new Bible study by Beth Moore, “James, Mercy Triumphs” has been wonderful. God is using His Word to touch lives. The power is in the Word of God. May He continue to speak and may we be “swift to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” (James 1:19)

550. My friend Sophie (Boo Mama) shared the most wonderful app on her blog last week and I am LOVING it. It is FREE and is called Red Stamp  You can use it to create wonderful e-cards like this that can be texted, emailed, tweeted, sent to Facebook, printed, mailed, whatever.  It is so much FUN.

551. I have driven by this little white country church ever since we moved to the country almost 5 years ago…to my dismay I discovered last week that the church was MOVING, literally. It has been empty for some time now. I would love to know the history.

552. But imagine my delight when I saw this sight the very next morning, about 1/2 mile from my office…someone obviously cared enough to restore this church.  I am so glad that not only can churches be restored, but because of HIS Grace, we may be restored too.

553. Spring cometh – tonight when you are asleep – at least if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere. March 20, 2012, at 1:14 A.M. (EDT). I can’t wait because I love to garden. These gorgeous flowers were in the garden center last week.

554. These two little sweethearts made a trip to the chicken house Saturday morning and were so proud of their findings…more brown eggs. They have NO FEAR!
555. The most beautiful full moon this month…I took this picture on my way home from Praise Team practice, after James Bible Study…my heart was as full as this moon.
556. This little sweetheart is the son of a couple on our Praise Team. He sits right there at the pastor’s podium while we are rehearsing. I love little church boys. So thankful to God for young couples raising their children up to love Him and His Word. Thankful for a church where the Word is preached and where families can grow in grace.
557. These right here is the Women’s Ministry Leadership Team at my church. We had one of the sweetest meetings last week – planning and praying for God’s Will as we seek ministry opportunities. God is doing a great work among us. I love you ladies.

558. This picture is from a women’s leadership planning retreat held back in January (see gifts #485-#489). We have decided to get together again next month just for fellowship, because I’m telling you this…we had one of the best retreats I’ve ever been on. Kindred hearts united to serve our Great God. More Grace.

559. I picked this little man up to come spend the night with me, and on our way home we passed the local fire station and lo and behold they were washing the fire truck. He was beside himself. I’m thankful for the firemen who let him see this truck up close.

560. A joint project by two grandmothers – how special is that? Me and Mrs. Catharine, Madie’s maternal grandmother. She is making the dress and I put the bunny applique and name on the front. Catharine is an accomplished quilter and seamstress. I’m having a blast.

561. Lastly tonight I want to share the beautiful sunrise from this very morning, the last full day of winter. I don’t know where you are right now in your spiritual life, but tomorrow is Spring and you can begin anew with Christ. I’m so thankful that God’s grace and mercies are new every morning – whether you are in a “winter” season or on the brink of something fresh and new, He will meet you there. I know this for sure because He’s done it for me. He is our Redeemer, oh Praise His Name!



1,000 GIFTS, #524 to #537

His grace gifts abound and I am so very thankful. Life is busy – and my blog of late has basically been all about the counting. This counting sums up my life these days as I live and   love to see His gifts of grace. This living intentionally to see His Hand carries over to eyes open wider to see His grace everywhere. Will you consider leaving a comment about His grace in your life? I would love to hear from you. 
523. My wonderful dentist Dr. Alex Bell, Jr.  Yes – my dentist. I had a great appointment 2 weeks ago. Dr. Bell has been my dentist for almost 24 years. His sons and my sons grew up together and his wife Sandy is one of the sweetest ladies I know. I’m thankful for their attentive care to our family. We use to be neighbors and the memories of that time are so sweet to me.
524. Grandson Zeke spending the night and then staying the WHOLE next day. We were literally inseparable for 24 hours. We made cookies and we watched movies and we laughed and played and took a nap together and had popcorn and he makes me forget anything except what I’m doing right at that moment…which is enjoying him…Gran Jan’s JOY. He has begun to tell me that “he loves me with all his heart.” Gets to me every single time.
525. Special delivery to my many birdfeeders with sunflower seeds. Pure joy.
526. Special help filling the birdfeeders…more JOY.
526. A trip to Atlanta with three sweet coworkers for a School Board conference. We girls had a great time. I am blessed to work with some wonderful people – supportive and kind.
527. Leap Year Wednesday – February 29, 2012 was the night we began the new Beth Moore study – “James, Mercy Triumphs.”  We had 35 for class and just yesterday at church there were more women buying books…
528. Happy faces of women in Bible study…
529. Spring is still two weeks away and we’ve barely had winter here…on a walk last week during my lunch hour I saw dogwoods blooming…
530. This is a beautiful flowering shrub that blooms in the winter in our part of the state…Taylor’s Pink Perfection  The color is divine and so is the JOY of this plant during the winter.
531. The JOY continues with making things for my grandchildren…
532. Yellow violas blooming in an antique bucket hanging on my garden fence.
533. Tomato soup and crackers at my desk…quiet lunch times during a busy day.
534. I dearly love pimento cheese. So does my oldest son. It’s a Southern thing. My friend Sophie (BooMama) and I texted about our pimento cheese love recently when we saw new recipes featured in the February Southern Living magazine. Sophie’s blog and her writing is another favorite of mine. Pimento cheese and bacon…my my my.
535. The blessing of driving country roads to and from work each day. Lord bless the farmers. Thank you for sending the rain this weekend and greening up the landscape. Thousands of pecan trees have been planted in the distance.
536. Look who was at my supper table tonight…eating two helpings of Gran Jan’s chicken and rice. God’s tender mercies – blessing me with three grandchildren…
537. AND NEWS OF ONE MORE GRANDCHILD ON THE WAY! Gran Jan times four…in late September. Thank you Jesus.

1,000 GIFTS, #509 to #523

As I begin this second half of counting His gifts of grace all around me, I’ve thought about this journey that was begun last February. I’m not the same person I was, all glory to Jesus. I have been stretched in my faith and I wouldn’t trade the lessons learned for anything. I absolutely love this season of life I am in…
509. The deep contentment that comes from a long, steady marriage. I love what my friend Beth Moore has said before that applies to this joy:  “a long walk of obedience in the same direction.”  That long walk of obedience can apply to many areas of our lives…by God’s grace.
510.  The joy of family. I love Saturday morning breakfasts with everyone around the table. There are four generations here…my parents, me and my husband, my sons and their wives and our grandchildren. I was sitting by my mom and Zeke before I stepped away to take this picture…
511. Impromptu gatherings. This Valentine’s night supper last week at a local pizza restaurant was so much fun. I love my boys and their wives & the grandchildren so much – thankful to spend this “day of love” with them for a meal.

512.  Kissing Cousins. Sweet Madie grabbing a kiss from sweet Jackson… She had just told me to “take her picture.”  These two grandchildren are 2 weeks to the day apart in age. JOY!

513.  Blueberry pancakes are always on the table. Looking forward to June when our blueberries are in season again.
514.  Today…a holiday from work called “President’s Day,” is so welcome to me. I am committed to pray for this election year as we seek a new President. This scripture from Daniel 2:20-22 comforts me in these days of uncertainty in our country…
Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
For wisdom and might are His.
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.
He reveals deep and secret things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And light dwells with Him.
515. Late afternoon sun breaking through the clouds.
516. When our former minister resigned (December 2010), our church went through an interim time in search of a new senior pastor. [I wrote about our new pastor in this past last November.  We are so blessed by the awesome expository preaching of our pastor Dr. Jim Perdue. He is a shepherd to us.] Before Pastor Jim came, God blessed us with a wonderful interim pastor – Rev. Joel Southerland. We honored the Southerland family at church yesterday and then had a big old churchwide fellowship last night! EVERYONE was talking about the sweetness of the Spirit in our midst. This is Brother Joel & his precious wife Sherryde. God blessed our hearts with this couple and their girls Savana and Mikayla. They will always be part of our lives as they were instruments of love and healing in our church. We love y’all.
Wall to wall fellowship at SBCWR…
517. Sweet Miss Madie and her Hollywood entrace to the family breakfast this past Saturday…this girl does not meet a stranger.
518. Jackson loves loves loves tractors, big trucks, motorcycles, anything with wheels. This is my Dad’s big John Deere out in the hay barn. They stopped there on their way out this past Saturday. Jackson has to see the moo cows and chickens…and the tractors.
519. My best friend Lanie is making a quilt called “What Cancer Cannot Do.” I wept tears of joy and thankfulness to God when she showed the finished quilt top to me last week. This is the quilt label…how I praise God for sparing her life. (Teal is the color for ovarian cancer.) She encourages all women to have their annual physicals. That is when her cancer was discovered.  One of the quotes on the quilt top says, “Cancer cannot destroy friendship.”  Amen my sweet friend.
520. Right now as I type this, there is a big fire in this new firepit my husband purchased. It has 3 Willows Farm cut out on the rim in two places. We love living in the country with redneck firepits made from big old recycled propane tanks…we are going green here at the farm.
521. My oldest son Jeremy and his wife Carrie took their two children, Zeke and Madie, to go see Memama Morton this morning. She is their great-grandmother and my precious mother-in-law. She will be 90 in June and is the matriarch of our family…a godly woman who has taught me so much. I love her dearly. We enjoyed a long visit with her this past Friday evening.
522. For some reason my 3 grandchildren love my pantry. Maybe it’s the Spiderman and Dora snacks that I keep there. 🙂  
523. I love to browse seed catalogs and think of the delicious fresh vegetables we will enjoy from my garden this summer.  In fact, I need to head outside now and PRUNE back the rosebushes and crepe myrtles. 

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post – I wouldn’t take anything for the journey of my life this past year, the PRUNING has been hard, but oh so necessary for growth. Thank you Jesus.

 John 15:1-2 (Amplified Version)
I AM the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser.
Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing]
 He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and
 repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit,
to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.