1,000 GIFTS, #827 to #843

I’m worn out tonight, but my heart is wonderfully full. Weary in body, but joyful in spirit. I saw a tweet last week by Dr. Paige Patterson (President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, TX) that said:
“Be wary when you are weary…”
It really resonated with me because I know how I can “be” when I become weary. The first thing that tells on me is my not-so-good-attitude. I become critical and irritable. The only cure is spiritual rest and physical rest.  But tonight my weariness is physical and it is because I have gone wide open this past weekend…and it’s all good!

827.  A letter from my Compassion child, Iduar. Nothing can bring me a sense of peace or “rightness” like knowing the JOY of sponsoring this young man in Colombia.
828. This is the week we are expecting our 4th grandchild, a girl…the JOY is amazing because there is a knowing in my heart – a knowing of just how incredibly wonderful it is to be Gran Jan.
829. I literally just finished a dress for her earlier this evening. It is a size “1” so she won’t be able to wear it until next spring/summer, but I just had to make something.  It was the smallest size on the pattern…and yes, there is monogram.
830.  I helped my oldest son with his two children this weekend as his wife attended a ladies retreat. I love being available to them. That is one of the reasons Gran Jan is weary this evening, but as I said, it’s a “good weary.” 
831.  My Dad wanted little Miss Madie to have an apple from his apple tree, so we complied of course.  She loved it and then didn’t want to come back to my house.
832.  Here she is with my mom, Gigi (for Great-Grandmother). My mom was singing “you are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray…” My grandmother, Gigi’s mother, used to sing that song to me too…
833. My baby boy and his baby boy (can you tell???) having a popsicle picnic.  It won’t be long until he will be daddy to a daughter. We can hardly wait.
834. Homemade poundcake and a happy husband. He said, “you know poundcake is my favorite, don’t you?” Yes, we’ve only been married 35 years and I know these things…I did something different. I used a muffin tin and made “poundcake cupcakes,” and each one had it’s own little crust (which is the best part).
835. I have no idea if these pumpkins will bear before frost, but I am sure enjoying the vine. It is growing like Jack’s beanstalk…right before my eyes. So fun.
836. An incredible day of worship at church yesterday with songs of praise that focused on the Name of Jesus: “Be Unto Your Name,” “Something About That Name,” “Your Great Name,” and “Something Happens.”  WE HAD CHURCH and I am still processing the JOY.
837. Vance Pitman, a church planter from Las Vegas, NV preached in our services yesterday. I was so encouraged by his message of our purpose as believers, as a church. He was definitely a blessing and I am thankful our Pastor invited him to come be with us.
838. Being reminded that “Ministry is the overflow of intimacy with God.” God calls us to Himself, and as we spend time with Him through prayer and His Word, we realize that intimacy proceeds ministry. He calls us to BE and then we can DO.  A great message from Rev. Pitman.
839. One of the sweetest things Zeke (four years old) has ever said to me was this past weekend. As we were watching Disney’s Cinderella, he told me not to worry about the stepsisters being so mean to her because Cinderella’s “favorite grandmother” was coming to help. I know he meant “fairy godmother,” but he repeated “favorite grandmother” 3 times…and I will have to admit I liked it, a lot.
840. Sweet time of prayer with a friend who is grieving the death of her mom this past summer and all that ensues – her posssessions, the memories. I love how God graces us to learn from others and share with them at the same time.
841. Tickets already received for the May 31-June 1, 2013 Living Proof Live event with Beth Moore here in the grand state of Georgia! Planning with my Women’s Ministry Team is already underway. I love these ladies and I love how we love the ladies we serve. It is a GIFT of His Grace.
842. Being asked to teach Sunday School “at the last minute,” yesterday and finding myself with young ladies who are engaged to be married. The Lord prompted me to share Philippians 2:1-4 with them…great advice for us all, and most especially for those getting ready to become wives.
1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ,
if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit,A)”>
if any tenderness and compassion,B)”>  2 then make my joy completeC)”> by being like-minded,D)”>
having the same love, being oneE)”> in spirit and of one mind.
 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.F)”>
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
G)”> 4 Not looking to your own interests
but each of you to the interests of the others.H)”>

843. Welcoming glorious Autumn this past Saturday, my favorite of all the seasons…
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
*Gran Jan*

1,000 GIFTS, #675 to #689

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

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

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

1,000 GIFTS, #639 to #659

Jumping right in this week, with a heart at peace and a mind that is FULL…of His grace gifts.
639. Sweet time with some sweet ladies Thursday evening – sharing, walking, and picking fresh blueberries right here at the Farm.  Kindred spirits, His gifts of friendship.
640. My sweet husband and I made some hospital visits on Saturday. I love going with him and hearing his strong voice pray for the folks we visited. I love that I have a praying husband, I’m thankful for his prayers. Grace.
641. We visited this sweet baby girl, less than 24 hours old…her name means “My God Has Answered” in Hebrew.  Many folks prayed for this baby for years and He indeed answered in a wonderful way. 
642. My quilting brings me JOY…and the JOY multiplies when I finally get to give the quilts to the ones for which I make them. Below is Eliana’s quilt from the front…she’s all wrapped up in it above.
643. Talking with the man who is helping paint our farm fence, and hearing Hector’s story, how he came to America and knowing once again how God’s Grace is sufficient.
644. Compassion Sunday at my church yesterday. A young high school girl and I planned the event together.  Her name is Mary C. and God melded our hearts together beginning when I use to pick her and and take her to Awana at church on Wednesday nights, when she was still in elementary school…
645. Mary C and I shared our JOY in sponsoring children through Compassion on Sunday morning and as of last night, 49 CHILDREN HAVE BEEN SPONSORED!!!
646. Memories of first hearing about Compassion at a Live Concert when Travis Cottrell was recording his “JESUS SAVES” project. Shaun Groves told his story that night and I just came away being mesmerized by him and his love for this organization.
647. Picking up a packet after hearing Shaun speak and becoming the “sponsor” of a little boy who lives in Colombia, South America – and now feeling like Iduar is a part of my life…because he is.
648. Following the prompting of my husband a year later to “sponsor” another child through Compassion, a little girl named Gloria who lives in Uganda, who is also a part of our lives. 
649. Sharing the good news with Shaun by way of Twitter yesterday and having him respond blessed me. I’m thankful for his ministry and it has been multiplied now at my church with 49 more children released from poverty in Jesus’ Name…
650. Praying that God will make a way for me to one day go on a Compassion bloggers trip. That is a dream of mine.
651. The grace of long-time friends. Sharing a meal with Jack and Lanie after church on Sunday. Easy laughter that comes from spending a lot of time together.  
652. Praying for my boys and their families. Seeing them be good husbands and daddies. Not a day passes that my husband and I don’t thank the Good Lord above for His grace in blessing us with these sons.
653. Planning two bridal showers for later on this month.  Both couples love Jesus and are serving Him, one couple will be in full-time ministry. Thankful for these young people and the joy of blessing them blesses me.
654. Little grandboys with sunglasses on…
655.  Cool weather to sit on the front porch and have coffee and conversation.  One of our favorite things to do. Reconnecting after a busy day.
656. Ministering to long-time friends of 23 years who have had a death in their family. We do not grieve as those who have no hope. Thankful for the ministry of the Word.
657. Thankful for a pastor who says “The Power Is In the Word,” and then he preaches like he believes that.
658. Thankful for a youth pastor and his wife who are at the beach this week with hundreds of young people…pouring into them…making a difference.
659. Thankful for you who take the time to read this blog.  Would you consider leaving a comment? Thank you if you do.
God bless you ALL,

1,000 GIFTS, #409 to #426

My heart is as near to overflowing these days as it has ever been – aside from my salvation day, my wedding day, my sons’ births and weddings, and the days my grandchildren were born—I am full of praise and thanksgiving to the Good LORD for His unmerited grace and tender mercies to me these recent days.

409. I’m starting my list today with the blessed news that my church has a new pastor, Dr. Jim Perdue, and he will begin his ministry at our church on January 1, 2012. He has a lovely wife and four beautiful children. He grew up in our church and is now coming home after getting his seminary education and pastoring the past 10 or so years. HE LOVES US! What a season we endured prior to his coming – God has surely been my Shield, Defense, Strong Tower, Refuge, and my Best Friend. Thank you JESUS! The timing is just God as we approach the season of Thanksgiving. I am most humbly thankful.

410. Fall is my favorite season. I praise God for His gifts of seasons to enjoy. The color this year has been spectacular. 

411. I received a voice mail last week from a young woman named Fran that blessed my heart in the deepest places. She loves Jesus and is in the “zone” raising 3 young men. Her desire is to live a life that counts and she is so much FUN! We are “siestas” which is an affectionate term for members of the Living Proof Ministries blog community. It is the most genuine, caring group of believers ever. Right siestas?  Thank you Fran for encouraging me on every level. You know I love you and I’m here for you.

412. Following these wonderful young women as they journeyed to Ecuador on a Compassion bloggers trip. Sophie, Melanie, Ann, Amanda, Kelly.  You bless me!

Compassion Bloggers: Ecuador 2011

413. I attended a fundraising banquet last week for Covenant Care Ministries, an adoption agency that places children in two-parent Christian homes. The speaker talked about everyone’s adoption story…as we are adopted into the family of God by the provision of Christ’s death on the cross. Hallelujah and Amen.

414. My two oldest grandchildren go to Mother’s Morning Out twice weekly at their church. Last week the firetruck came.  Oh the JOY! My grandboy is on the front row and is seated – far left. Everything to Zeke is “so fun.”

415. My daughter-in-law Erin really loves to bake and she’s very good at it – actually I think she’s quite good at everything she does. Check out her cake against the cover of the October Southern Living Magazine.  I told you she was good!

416. My dad is a retired Marine Captain and Vietnam War veteran. I am so proud of him. He has always worked hard and provided for our family. He loves this country and we fly the flags here at our farm every day of the year – but this past Veterans Day, 11-11-11, they seemed extra bright against the blue November sky.

417. Captain Tom, my father. I love him.

418. I’ve made quilts for each of my 3 grandchildren for Christmas gifts. These are the labels I will sew on the back of the quilts for Zeke and Madie Ruth.

419. In my father’s footsteps, and in his boots. This is my youngest grandboy wearing my son’s boots.  Couldn’t you just squeeze him?

420. There is a song on Travis Cottrell’s latest CD that is entitled “Thanks Be To Our God.”  That song has been used of God to minister to my soul – I’m talking every single time I hear it. It is anointed. I’m so grateful.  Reference #409. “For the road that leads from darkness into light…for the hope that rescues us from endless night…”

421. Worship. Just as We Are. There is another song on that same release that is the “Just As I Am” invitation song used in hundreds of Billy Graham crusades. But Travis’s version has a beautiful addition about coming to Christ and how He receives us JUST AS WE ARE that my husband has used in our worship services the past 2 Sundays. Just get the whole CD – you will be blessed.

 I come broken to be mended
I come wounded to be healed
I come desperate to be rescued
I come empty to be filled
I come guilty to be pardoned
by the blood of Christ the Lamb
And I’m welcomed with open arms
Praise God – Just As I Am…

422. Planning our Thanksgiving menu via text messages with my sisters Joan and Jo. So glad this is a year where all the family will gather together (at our home) and not one of those off years where we scatter – even though I do know those years are blessings to the other families too!

423. My Wednesday night Bible study group is going through Beth Moore’s “Wising Up – Proverbs study.” Last week we learned about Wisdom for Moms. Not a dry eye. My life’s greatest joy has been to raise my two sons. No other accolade or accomplishment means more to me that being a mom and Gran Jan.

424. I am thankful for my home and the farming community in which I live. The land of cotton. I don’t have to “wish I was there” as the old song says…I am there. It is cotton harvest time in these here parts…I can’t help but wonder what my paternal grandfather and his father would have thought about all this “modern equipment.”

425. I’m blessed to have a mom who is a wonderful gift of grace to our family. She recently went on a retreat with some senior citizens from our church and they were able to meet Dr. David Jeremiah. I listen to this man preach most every weekday morning on the Sony radio in my bathroom as I’m getting ready for work. He is a great communicator. (That’s my mom in the white jacket on the far right.)
426. This lone red maple is so beautiful in the field. The variety is “October Glory” maple, and even though we are now in November – she is still GLORIOUS! I’m in the fall season of my life too as I approach my 54th birthday in just 2 days. My life’s desire is to stand strong (and sometimes alone) and say “Soli Deo Gloria.”  For the Glory of God Alone! Yes I know I just made an analogy to a tree…but I love it.

For the strengh to carry on
And forgiveness great and strong
And the promise of Your mercies ever new
Thanks Be To Our God


1,000 GIFTS, #370 to #385

My heart is so full this Monday I could hardly wait until lunchtime today so I could get to my favorite little free WiFi place…to ponder and began this post. I’ve been recording my grace blessings, gifts – both on paper and in my heart…since week before last. I dearly love how I will have a “moment” and realize “what a gift!” This has become so much more than a Monday blog post, it is a way of eucharistic living that has reached to the deep places of my heart and hopefully effected a change – evidence that others will see SEE and I may “give a reply for the hope within” as told in I Peter 3:15.
370. Celebrating the birthday of my son Jonathan, my youngest, a gift. His name even means “God’s gracious gift.” His gentle and quiet ways are refreshing. He is a strong man, a wonderful son, husband, father. I love him with all my heart.

371. Four Generations around the table last Monday as my Dad, me, Jonathan, and his son Jackson enjoyed supper together. What a blessing to have and especially as it was my Dad, (“Papaw” to my sons and grandchildren) who spoke that gift aloud.

372. The privilege to speak to a group of women last week at a local church, Oakland Baptist. They are beginning their women’s ministry and this was their very first event. It was a JOY to encourage them. I love women’s ministry. I shared with them from God’s Word and used the word WOMEN as an acrostic. W=Word of God, O=Outreach, M=Mentoring, E=Encouragement, N=Needed. (The N for needed was what Jesus spoke to Martha when he told her that Mary had “chosen that which is needed.”) Luke 10:42

373. Courtney, my new young friend. A new choir member – young, beautiful, smart (she’s an engineer). She loves to cook and it was JOY to share with her last week as we talked recipes and country living.

374. This past out-of-town weekend shared with my dearest friend of 24 years, Lanie. We celebrated her birthday – her LIFE. She is an ovarian cancer survivor of 2 years. We shopped, we went to a quilt expo, we laughed, visited a Country Living Fair, we ate, we laughed, we sewed for 10 hours straight on Saturday, we laughed, and we truly celebrated with much prayer and thanksgiving. God is so good!

375. This sweet gift from Shannon, a monogrammed pumpkin. Shannon is another young woman who radiates Jesus. Her smile is so beautiful as she smiles from the inside out. She and Natalie (another young woman I love) are in my Wednesday night Proverbs class, and we are “Getting Wisdom” in our Wising Up study by Beth Moore.

376. Yesterday my church and Deacons (represented by Mr. Lee Evans) honored our pastoral staff. It was a beautiful time – I was so blessed. October is clergy appreciation month. As a pastor’s wife of 34 years I would like to ask you to please encourage your pastor and his wife and family (not just in October, but any time). A card, a note, a gift certificate – and most of all – with prayer! In order below are our staff pastors, Jimmy Moneypenny, Gary Morton (my husband), Matthew Gibbs, Dawson Hull, Mike Slade, Ben Hunley, and Mike Dorough. They are wonderful Godly men with great integrity and hearts for ministry. All praise to Jesus Christ!

377. I am the proud owner of a new iPhone 4S. If you know me at all I promise I am not being worldly or materialistic – I am truly thankful because I love this phone and all it will “do.”

378. The sheer JOY to hug the necks of a young couple in our church who have been praying for a baby for over 8 years and are now expecting! May God bless this little one yet to be. I love you Bubba and Heather. I can’t wait to see your JOY grow in the months ahead…and that precious life inside your womb too!

379. My new favorite picture of my son and his two children. Look at the JOY that radiates in their eyes and smiles! They are sporting their “Got Biscuits” shirts I bought for them at the Paula Deen store in Savannah.

380. A wonderfully kind and encouraging email from Nancy Mattingly last week. Nancy is the correspondence manager for Living Proof Ministries and I tell you this – the woman loves Jesus and lives for His Glory. She blesses me. I love you Nancy.

381. Christmas gifts for my two Compassion children, Iduar in Colombia, and Gloria in Uganda. May God bless these two precious children.

382. The pure and simple JOY of hearing/seeing true worship yesterday as Jordan sang “I Will Rise” with our choir. He sang the solo. Jordan has some limitations in the world’s eyes, but to God, He is everything. I love that young man.

383. Another John Deere quilt – I finished this one at the QTT this past weekend – the “Quilting Time Together” with my friend Lanie.

384. The true JOY of seeing what some “meant for harm” being turned into what God is using for good. He loves His church, His bride, and He has surely poured out His love and grace on my church the past year. We stand amazed. He is a mighty big God and cannot be undone. I could shout – in fact, I have! 
385. As I sign off to head back to my office, I want to leave you with this sign I saw at the Country Living Fair….Yes, I was promoted to Grandmother and that is the very reason I began this blog…GRAN JAN’S JOY!

All truly is grace, and I am daily constrained.


1,000 GIFTS, #216 to #230

Although I’ve never met Ann Voskamp, her heart for Jesus shines through cyberspace – her blog, her books, her tweets…and she blesses me. This discipline or holy habit or awareness, or whatever you name it…this way of counting grace gifts to one-thousand is a wonder! The consciousness of intentionally seeing God at work all around is uplifting. Some of the gifts are divine and spiritual, some are tangible “things,” some are His glorious creation seen around the farm, some are just in my heart, but ALL are from His Hand, Grace.
216. Singing “I Bless Your Name” at church with our praise team. I love singing with Melissa, Meredith, Tammy, Megan, Gary, Lou, and Gary R.  God is knitting our hearts together more each time we sing.
217. A heart that is healing, sweet victory, answered prayers, awareness of true friends, health, peace of mind – these have been mine in abundance the past few weeks.  I am so thankful.
218. Our long-time pastor, Rev. Rastus Salter always talked about how good the “late peaches” are, the Elberta peaches. He was right – they are the best.  He passed away in 2005 and is certainly enjoying the fruit of his labors. In the presence of Jesus!
219. An impromptu pizza party with my husband, our boys, their wives and our 3 grandchildren. Sometimes unplanned is more fun.  Just “y’all come,” and let’s get together.  And when it ends up that Zeke spends the night, well that is just icing on that sweet cake!
220. Could she be any cuter? This is sweet Miss Madie with her first pigtails. She is talking up a storm and holding her own with big brother Zeke.  She and cousin Jackson are precious to watch together.

221. Front porch rocking chairs, hummingbirds zooming by, and long talks with my sweet husband.  We always say to each other, “it just doesn’t get any better.”  I pray we will be blessed to grow old together (Gran Jan & Pop pillows were made by our daughter-in-law Erin!) I love that man. I love to hear people speak of his integrity… and I’ve heard that spoken often these past months, and it blesses me every time!


222. Fig preserves. Delightfully Southern.  One of my Dad’s sisters (he had eight) taught me how to make them.  Aunt Jimmie Lou.  Even her double name is delightfully Southern! There is nothing better on a hot buttered biscuit than fig preserves.

223. My moonflower vine has blooms. I can’t wait to share the first flowers with you.  One of my favorite authors, Jan Karon, has a book entitled The Trellis and the Seed that is about encouragement…using these wonderful flowers. I grow them from seed each spring and give away all but a few plants to enjoy for myself.
224. I finished the quilt top from the beautiful jelly roll* of batik fabrics.  I can’t wait to quilt it. *By the way, a “jelly roll” is an entire fabric collection that has been laser cut into 2 and 1/2″ strips, then rolled up like a bakery confection and tied with a bow.  Each pack contains one 44″ long strip of each fabric in the group. I LOVE THEM! The possibilities are endless.
225. Which leads to this…the next quilts I’m planning! I bought a lot of John Deere fabric to make quilts for the boys – the big boys and the little boys!
226. New life on the farm just today – this Monday.  A new calf, and three new lambs – one a set of twins…this wee one is but hours old.
227. Twins – the momma is black and white like this baby.  These are just a few hours old…
228. Hearing the reports from the mission teams that went to Brazil and to Ukraine from my church. Seeing people I know and love light up and come alive when others are won to Christ – of seeing them “love to tell the story.”
229. A letter from my Compassion child, a daughter in Uganda. We wept. I am so thankful to partner with Compassion International to sponsor a boy in Colombia, and a girl in Uganda. I so love this ministry.
230. My magnolias are blooming again. I have two trees – they were given to  me by the women of our church at the Women’s Ministry Christmas Brunch, 2007.  I love that!
Blessings to you on this summer Monday,

1,000 GIFTS, #130 to #152

I have not posted on “Multitude Mondays” in a multitude of Mondays, but I’m back and thankful to be here. Life is good but life is busy. I promise I’ve been counting all along the way…and really can affirm that this counting grace gifts has become a habit. A good habit. A way to bring perspective to my day, even to my “situation.”  Blessed.
130. I had a great checkup from my new young doctor, “Dr. Young.” I told him I wanted a young doc to get me to my senior years and his name was a plus! 🙂
131. Celebrating my youngest sister’s birthday April 8th. Peggy Jo was born on Good Friday back in 1966 when I was 8 years old…she’s a sweetheart.
132. Having all the pastors and their wives over to our home for a meal and sweet fellowship a couple of weekends ago…priceless, theraputic, and just plain FUN!
133. Celebrating my Dad’s 77th birthday on April 29th.  “Captain Tom” is a Vietnam War Veteran, a retired Career Marine and one of the finest men I know. I love you Dad.
134. Surprising my sweet Mother-in-law with a visit! She was so excited and apologized for not having her “face fixed.” (Meaning no makeup…she is 88 years old – I love that!)
135. I have finished my quilt top! My bff Lanie and I are taking a quilting class on Tuesday evenings. We have so enjoyed our class, but the fellowship in the car during our commute to and from the quilt shop is an added bonus (we drive for over an hour to our class site).  There’s nothing like good conversation with a trusted friend.  We always get Starbucks on the way home!
136. On Easter Sunday our choir did the most beautiful music and at the end of the song, a HUGE banner was unfurled…it simply said JESUS. I got to “pull the cord” to unfurl it from the choirloft…it was WAY overhead…very high. I have never been so excited in my life as I anticipated letting it go at just the right time…and I am thankful to say it was right on time!
137. Purple Martin birds coming to live in the big birdhouses we have up for them! They are migratory and they found us! 🙂
138. Speaking of birds…the hummingbirds are back…I so love them!
139. A great harvest of snow peas from my garden – delicious.
140. Beautiful tomato plants in the garden now…pictures soon!
141. This visitor on my patio the night before Easter…I am serious.
142. This is my youngest grandson, Jackson. He loves being outside and this picture has brought me a multitude of smiles…that is his momma, my sweet daughter-in-law Erin holding the hose for him.
143. A letter from my Compassion son, Iduar. He was thanking me for his birthday money. He bought tennis shoes. Remember the perspective I told you that this counting grace gifts brings? A little boy that lives in Colombia bought tennis shoes and he was so grateful. Speak LORD.
144. Coffee on the front porch with my grandson Zeke. It was a cool morning and we had our “blankies” and our coffee. I love when he spends the night with me and Pop!
145. Beautiful roses in my garden. My favorite of all is “Mr. Lincoln.” Smells divine.
146. The joy of praying for my dear friend in the fellowship of pastor’s wives, Lisa McKay, who weathered a tornado in the crawl space of her new home with her husband and four children. They are well and are ministering to their community in northeast Alabama. Go here to keep up with her. She is a treasure.
147. The joy of babysitting my little grandgirl recently, Miss Madie Ruth. She will be ONE YEAR OLD tomorrow and we had her birthday party this past Friday evening with a big family BBQ planned by my son and his wife…her parents. The weather was perfect and it was so much fun to be together to celebrate her life!
148. Rocks! Yes, rocks! Rocks to line my flowerbeds. Nice big beautiful rocks from “the Stone Mart” in town. They are beautiful and I plan to do a post soon about my garden because it is a work in progress and it is my happy place.
149. My husband and I took Dr. Robert Smith of Beeson Divinity School (Birmingham, AL – Samford University) and his wife Dr. Wanda Smith out to lunch last Sunday. It was pure JOY to sit with them and receive the wisdom they spoke into our lives. We are on “this side” of a rough season in ministry, but God is faithfully teaching us, and we are receiving all He has for us.
150. We have blueberries on our farm and the earliest varieties are bearing now. They are HUGE (that is a quarter next to the blueberry I picked this evening). I had the best time teaching Zeke which ones to pick! He kept saying, “don’t pick the green ones Gran Jan…they will hurt your belly.”  🙂
151. Celebrating Mother’s Day this past weekend with my boys and sweet daughters-in-law and grandblessings and then having my Mom and sister and her family for Sunday dinner yesterday. Besides knowing JESUS, being a Mom & Gran Jan has brought me more JOY than anything I’ve ever done!
152. The joy of singing a solo in church yesterday with the most wonderful choir in the universe! The song is “Saving Grace.” The second verse always *blesses* me so:
In this life before me, there are trials I must face.
But God has given all I need to finish out this race.
So when the earth’s foundations crumble,
there is refuge in His Hand,
and I will rest in this assurance,
that by His grace alone I’ll stand… 
Yes indeed, by His grace alone I’ll stand!
For ALL is GRACE – to Him alone be ALL glory!