Beth Moore – Living Proof Live Charleston

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

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

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

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

Speak Lord, Speak

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…



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, #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, #479 to #499

479. Hymns – glorious hymns about God’s blessings. Showers of blessings, showers of blessings we need…mercy drops round us are falling, but for the showers we plead. So thankful for His tender mercies as I continue this journey to 1000 gifts.
480. Beautiful glorious pink sunrises through the pecan trees on the farm. Welcome morning!

481. This gorgeous tree is in full bloom…although Spring is still 6 weeks ago, this big tulip magnolia (magnolia lilifloria) is a JOY and sight to behold (downtown Perry, GA).

482. Sweet grandgirl Miss Madie wearing her new shirt Gran Jan made for her (see gift #477). She calls me “Jan Jan” instead of Gran Jan. Melts my heart.

483. I am loving the JOY of my embroidery machine – this is a little “dot font” monogram I put on a shirt for my sweet grandgirl!
484. A big beautiful LIVE OAK tree in Savannah, GA…the official state tree of GEORGIA and one of my favorite trees.
485. Sweet times with sixteen of the most wonderful women as we planned and prayed together at our annual women’s ministry team retreat last weekend.  God is so good to give JOY and FELLOWSHIP and KINDRED HEARTS as we shared around the table.  We went to a neat place called New Ebenezer Retreat Center that was a delightful respite.
486. Bunk Beds, delightful bunk beds in our retreat cabin. It has been YEARS since I climbed a ladder to the top bunk. We laughed until the late night (early morning). Our youngest team member is 24, the oldest is 71. Pure therapy for the soul…girl time.
487. A long walk Saturday morning to the bluff of the Savannah River which is where the retreat center is located.  Came across this old church that has been “in continuous worship of God since 1734.”  Amazingly serene.
488. Lunch on River Street in Savannah before we headed over to the Retreat Center!
(Melissa, Stephanie (our new pastor’s wife), Julie, Joy, Debbie, Jennifer)
(Leia, Cindy, Teresa, Doris, Charlene, Kathy)
(Taneea, Lanie, Patsy, me)
489. Someone built seats and a pulpit overlooking the river bluff. I can just imagine sitting here for a glorious Easter morning sunrise service.

490. Sweet surprise visit from Jonathan and Jackson this past Saturday – another winter day that felt “just like Spring.”  And a visit to the farm always requires checking out the cows and chickens…
491. The sight of these daffodils blooming in my garden always brings me joy – God’s glorious creation, gifts of His grace…the promise of a “new season.”
492.  I’ve enjoyed watching this beaver dam being built (about 2 miles from our home). My husband pointed it out to me recently. He knows how I enjoy all things “outside by God’s creation.”
493. Just finished a baby quilt yesterday for some dear friends awaiting their first grandchild. His nursery is a “John Deere” theme. Yes – yet another John Deer quilt…
494. Have I mentioned how much Travis Cottrell’s music blesses me? Can you tell by this iTunes list on my computer?  Thankful for his ministry.
495. Speaking of music, this is little Jackson sitting on the floor near his daddy in the back of our church’s worship center listening to his Pop (my husband) leading worship…generational joy! Grace.
496. A wonderful chocolate covered sweet cream-filled heart-shaped donut – yes, I took a picture of my donut and got caught doing so. Didn’t bother me one bit.  Enjoyed every sweet bite.
497. Bulbs, bulbs, bulbs. Springtime cometh. Oh the joy in each of those little planters. It was all I could not to get one of everything. But I restrained. For now.  It’s still winter. But not for long!
498. My sister Jean would have celebrated her 52nd birthday this past January 18.  I wrote a blog post about Jean’s brief life here .  Her daughter, my niece Amy, is so much like her.  Amy was just 3 weeks away from her 2nd birthday when Jean died. She looks more like her momma every single day, especially in this picture…
499. And here is the silly side of me (I am actually silly on all sides) from a trip to Wendy’s for lunch…it makes me smile every time I look at it, so I saved it. I love to laugh and be silly, which I hope will help me grow old gracefully. I really pray about that. That I may never lose the wonder of each day. Counting His gifts to 1,000 is sure helping me on the journey. Amen?

May God bless you and hold you close,

1,000 GIFTS, #463 to #478

463. I love my church. I love the people. They are family. Second Baptist Church, Warner Robins GA is my church HOME. My husband has served on staff there almost 24 years (June 1st). We raised our boys there – they were both saved and baptized there. I have a grandson there now – how awesome is that? On Wednesdays I head there straight from work to teach Bible study. This week I was blessed at the sight of the late winter sun shining on the steeple. Thank you Jesus for Your Light and this light in the community.
464. And I love my oldest son’s church too. He pastors Cross Point Baptist Church and is a mighty fine son, brother, husband, daddy, and preacher. I am most blessed to be his mom. I would sure love to hear him preach in person more often, but I’m thankful for their podcast. Also thankful he and his wife and my two oldest grandchildren are close by.
465. And here are those two babies sporting their “dinosaur” shirts I made for them. They were headed to Mother’s Morning Out and I’m grateful to my sweet daughter-in-law for taking the time to share this picture with Gran Jan.
466. My youngest son hosts an annual BBQ for his friends in January. It was last weekend. Jonathan has always had a lot of friends. (Here he is in our “barn,” getting ready for the feast.) He is a good man to have for a friend. He is also a wonderful son, husband, daddy, and brother.  It is pure JOY to be his mom.
467. My dad is a great cook and he loves to cook. (Reference gift #457.) He and Jonathan (above) spent the day before the Friends BBQ making my dad’s family recipe of southern Brunswick Stew. The stew was delicious but I love even more that they made a memory and dad passed down that tradition. They even cooked it in an old cast iron pot that belonged to my dad’s dad. Priceless to me.
468.  My church hosted the Bailey Smith Real Evangelism Conference this past weekend. I’m thankful for the legacy of this great man and thankful for the pastors and wives that were encouraged by the conference.  Our choir sang Wednesday night and it was a JOY.

469. Evangelist Bill Stafford is one of the heroes of our family. He preached in the conference that I just mentioned above. God has used this man to teach me about the Christ Life, about stewardship and about selflessness. I have not arrived by any means, but I’m thankful for this saint who is nearing 80 years old. Thankful for pastors and evangelists of his generation. May God raise up more mighty men like these.

470. There was another great conference this past week that I was supposed to attend, but I just knew I needed to be home for the event at my own church.  SSMTC (Siesta Scripture Memory Team Celebration) was the culmination of a year-long scripture memory committment through Living Proof Ministries. I participated in the first event in Houston back in 2010 after memorizing all year in 2009.  I thank God for the power of His Word – this grace gift NEVER stops giving.
471. I’m thankful that even though I could not attend, the tender hearted teacher in Beth Moore made a way for the event to be streamed live. Thank you God and may you bless the staff at Living Proof Ministries for this precious gift to us. I watched Saturday morning on my laptop.
472. These are two dear friends of mine from AL and TN that attended the SSMTC. We met through the ministry of the BLOG and outreach of Living Proof Ministries. Truly. They are dear to me. Genuine friends who I can contact at the reach of an iPhone. 🙂  Thankful for technology in this generation, and especially Hey Tell 🙂 Right girls?
473. Although I could not attend the SSMTC I wanted to share my JOY in my spiral of verses for 2011. I can literally see God’s Hand at work through the progression of the year and the Word that ministered to my heart. I love God’s Word. I encourage you to begin a memory plan if you’re not already doing so. It will be LIFE to you. 
474. Red cowboy boots on a list of gifts? You betcha! My sweet husband gave me these when I turned 40 (just a wee bit ago). 🙂 I wore these to let my friends at SSMTC 2012 know I was with them in Texas spirit on Friday. 🙂
475. This is my 365 Day Picture app on my iPhone. You simply take a picture for every day of the year to capture your year in photos. Technology is a wonderful thing when kept in its proper place. God’s Word tells us in James 4:14 that life is but a vapor. I can honestly say that I count every day on this Earth as a gift from the Good Lord. I’m savoring them.
476. Thankful for doctors who take care of little boys when they don’t feel well. My daughter-in-law sent me this picture of sweet Jackson boy on the way home from the doctor yesterday. Thankful for God’s healing in our lives, physically and spiritually. They stopped to get him a Sonic fruit slush – how precious is that?
477. Thankful again for the joy of handwork and the way it calms my busyness and centers my heart. I made this for my little granddaughter for Valentine’s Day. She called me last night and told me she was praying for me (via her daddy’s coaching). I can’t wait to give this to her.
478. I came home from work one evening last week to see two of the most important men in my life (besides my sons and grandsons) laying out a plan to plant 35 pecan trees here at the farm.  My husband and my Dad. Thankful thankful thankful for them.
Sweet blog readers! Thank you for your comments and for your support. I pray your week goes well and you can see His Grace Gifts through your daily lives. He is ever present even when you don’t realize that truth. That is the joy of counting these gifts – you see them EVERYWHERE and you become more aware than ever of the simplicity of life at a slower pace, sensitive to His Voice and Spirit. I’m learning – sojourning.