My Journey To Becoming a Quilter

Our lives are like quilts – bits and pieces,
joy and sorrow, stitched with God’s love.

My friend Lanie called me back last Spring (2011) and asked me if I would be interested in taking a quilting class with her. I had taken a quilting class years ago when I was in my late 20’s. That busy season of life as a stay-at-home mom with two little boys didn’t allow much time for learning to quilt. Fast forward to now when I am in the “empty nest/Gran Jan” season of life and everything in me said, “YES!” So I signed us both up that very day.

We went to class at a wonderful shop called “A Scarlet Thread.”   The owners are believers in Jesus Christ – wonderful people. The shop is the largest quilt store in Georgia and the ladies who work there are kind and helpful, always making us feel at home. One of the side blessings of the 8 week Tuesday night class was our “road trip.” We had to travel over an hour each way and the class itself was two hours long. There is nothing like precious “windshield time” in the car for long uninterrupted conversation with a dear friend. We took turns driving each week and came up with a plan the first night. Whoever didn’t drive bought supper that night (and Starbucks on the way home to keep us AWAKE)! God blessed us with traveling safety for the entire two months we went to class as we logged many miles up and down Interstate 75!

I have decided to keep a record of the quilts I make for my own joy and hopefully as a memory for my grandchildren one day as well. I had no idea the joy and contentment that quilting would bring me.  Last year was unprecedented for my husband and me in ministry. It was a difficult yet blessed time of growth for us spiritually. Aside from time in God’s Word and praying – this creative outlet calmed my heart as I would sit at the sewing machine…sewing and praying.

Here are the quilts I’ve made so far, beginning with the first one I made back when I was 29 years old. As God would have it, Lanie’s own mother, Mrs. Polly, is the one who finished the hand quilting for me several years ago. She passed away back in 2010, making it more of a treasure to me. It is called a “Sampler” quilt – each block is a different type of patchwork. This one hangs in my home office/library. My oldest son’s mother-in-law, Catharine DeLoach, finished the binding for me. She is very talented.

#2. (May 2011) My second quilt was made during the class at “A Scarlet Thread.”  The pictures show both the front and the back.  I need to make a label for this one…


#3. (June 2011) What ever made me think I was ready to give a quilt away as such a newbie quilter? All I can say is…LOVE. I made this quilt for Beth Moore for her birthday. Keep in mind that I finished my last class the end of May and her birthday is June 16th. It was stitched with love and I told her it was flawed, just like me! She sent me a picture of her and the Director of Living Proof Ministries, Sabrina, holding it up. (The colors in the picture of the label below are truer.)

#4. (August 2011) When I began this quilt I really didn’t have anyone in mind to give it to -I just loved the colors and the pattern was very simple as you can see. Straight ROWS with two vertical inserts. The beautiful batik fabric was so much fun to sew. I ended up giving it to my youngest son’s wife, my daughter-in-law, Erin. She loves purple and it was just meant to be. She loves it!

#5. #6. #7.  The Grandchildren all received quilts from Gran Jan for Christmas last month.  The two grandboys were John Deere themed and my granddaughter’s was just pink and precious.  This is Zeke’s quilt with a solid green backing:

This is Jackson’s quilt with a solid yellow backing (and a closeup of the label):
This is Miss Madie’s pink quilt (front and back).

#8. This is my Dad’s “fleece” shaggy raggy quilt. It is very WARM and he loves it too! This was part of his Christmas gift too. I used my new embroidery machine to make his label.

#9. This is the first “baby quilt” I’ve made. It was a joy to give this to the newborn daughter of a young woman who serves with me in Women’s Ministries at our church.
I have 3 more quilts started now – one that has proven a bit difficult, so I just work on it sparingly; one for my youngest son that I’m almost through piecing, and then another baby quilt that I just bought the fabric for last week.  My oldest son and his wife have many beautiful quilts made by her mom – she is a very talented quilter, so I haven’t made any for them…yet. 🙂
This I know – I am having a wonderful time. I have a lot to learn but I’m loving every moment and I’m thankful to have the resources to enjoy this delightful hobby!
God is so good to me!

1,000 GIFTS, #444 to #462


WOW! We are two weeks into 2012 and it has been a month since I wrote a post on my journey to 1,000 gifts of grace! I have had the best Christmas holiday and I’m thankful – blessed – content – and looking forward to 2012.

444. This is one of my favorite ornaments – and describes the truth of CHRISTmas. Although I wrote a Christmas post here, I’m still celebrating the JOY of one of the best Christmases our family has had in several years…full of His peace.

445. Me and my husband and our three grandchildren – what FUN! Thankful for sweet children who worked HARD to help us attempt to get a picture with three – three and under…
446. I came home from work one evening and my sweet husband had put up Christmas lights on the gate at the end of our driveway. The sky was so pretty and I counted it a blessing that he would do something that special for me!
447. Babysitting this precious little grandson. He was absolutely the sweetest boy this morning, and I LOVE JACKSON BOY! GRAN JAN’S JOY!
448. There is nothing like children at Christmas time…except grandchildren! We had the best time enjoying Zeke, Madie, and Jackson…it had been a long time since I bought some boy toys, and it was my first time to buy a doll [for sweet Madie].
449. These two little cousin cherubs are exactly two weeks apart in age…they are precious. I know I count them over and over (in various blessings), but let me tell you – I can’t help it! This was Christmas Eve.
450. How many people have walked the aisles of churches and Billy Graham crusades while the song “Just As I Am” was being sung? Travis Cottrell has a fresh and glorious arrangement to this song that has really ministered to our church family. WE LOVE IT!  Thank you Travis!
451. My dearest friend Lanie and I love to sew and quilt and recently have also been doing some machine embroidery. The week after Christmas we had our “QTT” (Quilting Time Together) sew-in and made some cute things for our grandchildren. The quietness of getting away and being with a long time friend is a great gift of God’s grace.
452. Lanie and I have also started a fun idea we are calling the “Boomerang Bag.” She gives me a gift in a bag and then I give her a gift back in the same bag…and so on. She gave me this mug and I gave her some quilting fabric last week.  [Right now, it’s her turn and I’m waiting for the Boomerang Bag to show back up.] Grin. The element of anticipation makes it all the more fun. No rules, no timeframe, just surprise fun.
453. This precious young mom serves on the Women’s Ministry Leadership Team at my church. She is working on her doctorate from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and she is also the mom of this beautiful baby girl, who is 5 months old today. I made my first baby quilt for her and she sent me this picture. I love this family.
Here is the quilt. I had so much fun making it.
454. Hot tea on a cold winter’s night. I love Constant Comment Tea  with its sweet orange and and spice flavor. God is so good to create all the wonderful flavors we enjoy.
455. I know we say the “blessing” over our food and some people even call it saying Grace, but do you truly stop and thank God for your food? After my trip to South Africa two years ago (journaled here) my outlook on all of my material blessings has not been the same. I took a picture of my salad last week and my co-workers laughed at me…but they thought it was a pretty salad too. And I was grateful to have it.
456. One of the most wonderful gifts of God’s grace thus far in 2012 has been the arrival of our new pastor, Dr. Jim Perdue and his sweet family. We are beyond excited and thankful. He preaches expositionally – verse by verse by verse from God’s Holy Word. We are thrilled – he is a man of integrity and he loves us like a pastor-shepherd should. He began his ministry on the first day of the first month of 2012. THANK YOU JESUS FOR NEW BEGINNINGS.
457. I am so thankful to have my parents – both healthy and active in our lives. My Dad is a great cook and here he is doing what he does best…”doctoring up” something my sister Jo had already prepared…WE LOVE YOU DAD!
458. My mom and sisters and I went to the Fabulous Fox in Atlanta the week before Christmas. We ate at Cheesecake Factory and we had a wonderful time. I love my family. I love being the oldest sister. I love being the brunt of all their jokes. This is me and my mom.
My two younger sisters…aren’t they beautiful?
459. I absolutely love birds and really just love being outside to daily enjoy God’s grace gifts. Last week I had the delight to pull up at work to a tree FULL of cedar waxwings. They are migratory and were eating all the berries off a Bradford tree.
460. A bit of Springtime on my kitchen window sill during winter. This is a pink hyacinth forced to bloom. I am thankful (again) for God’s gifts of flowers and change of seasons. I also love those babies in that picture…they warm my heart no matter the season…
461. And one of God’s greatest grace gifts to me – Bible study. I especially love the authors of this new study – James, Mercy Triumphs, Beth Moore and her daughter, Melissa Fitzpatrick. I will begin facilitating this in March. I’m praying for a great harvest.
462. My last gift tonight on this post was actually the start to my day this January morning. A beautiful colorful sky. Thank you Creator God.
In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice;
 In the morning I will order my prayer
to You and eagerly watch.
Psalm 5:3



1,000 GIFTS, #427 to #443

So many times on this journey to 1,000 gifts I am reminded of the old hymn “Count Your Blessings.” I’ve heard it and sang it so many times in church with my husband leading in worship. I’ve been in church services when people would testify of His blessings. So really this counting is not a new thing, but a great discipline of old. The chorus of the hymn says:

Count your blessings,
Name them one by one
Count your many blessings,
See what God has done.
Soooooooooooooooooo, here I go, almost half-way there!

427.  Since my post almost a month ago I celebrated my birthday on November 16. I’m thankful for all the cards and gifts and wonderful birthday messages on Facebook. I really was overwhelmed with love. I’m thankful for LIFE.

428.  Birthday flowers from my husband (roses), and my sweet friend and partner in women’s ministry, Cindy (fall bouquet). The colors were vivid and brought me so much JOY. Our Creator God sure makes beautiful flowers.
429. Thanksgiving. Next to Easter, it is my favorite holiday because it is “uncluttered.” Family, food, fellowship, and exactly what this post is about – BLESSINGS. This picture says it all…food everywhere. It was a great year because EVERYONE was around the table. That in itself is a gift of His grace.
430. My dad loves our homeplace and is so proud of this new sign at his driveway. Double M Farm Road. Watching him enjoy life brings me great joy. I love my parents. They celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary on November 23rd. Grace.
431. Planting pansies is one of my many fall delights. I love to plant the little violas in my strawberry jar. Another JOY from our marvelous Creator. Flowers in COLD weather!
432. While outside enjoying my gardening day, I had quite an audience.
433. A week off for Thanksgiving. It was the best week I’ve had in a long time. It began with a visit to see my amazing mother-in-law, included time with my grandchildren, my whole family around my table, time in the garden and in the sewing room, and the PEACE and JOY of awaiting our new pastor’s arrival!
434. My church’s women’s ministry has an annual Christmas Brunch and this year we had an amazing speaker – Leah Adams of Point Ministries.  God has given her a message about leaving a Godly legacy. She brought a word from THE WORD and is a delightful woman. I am very thankful for her life and ministry. God is using her and did I mention that she is delightful?
435. This sweet woman is my Merle Norman lady. I love Mrs. Sarah. Isn’t she beautiful? Thank you Mrs. Gayle for sending me this picture from the Christmas Brunch. I thank God for the women He has brought into my life to encourage and mentor me in the faith. My heart’s desire is to do the same for the women He brings in my life.
436. A combination Birthday/Christmas/Valentine’s/Groundhog Day/Anniversary/Fourth of July/Memorial Day, etc. etc. gift. A new embroidery machine for my sewing DELIGHTS. This is my sewing room happy place. The new machine is on the left.
437. Because of #436, I can now make my own labels for my quilts (this is the first one I made and it is for a Christmas table runner I quilted). I really look forward to making personalized gifts for my grandchildren too. I have much to learn but am enjoying every minute. My friend Lanie has been so much help to me.
438. My baby boy with his baby boy. JOY. They are clones. I love this picture and their similar expressions…
439. God sent us the prettiest, brightest, largest, fullest, and most delightful RAINBOW I have ever laid my eyes on. It even made the local news. I pulled off the road 3 times on my drive home from work to just delight in it’s beauty and to praise and thank my COVENANT KEEPING GOD.
440. I babysat my oldest son’s children one night a couple of weeks ago so he and his wife could attend an event for Dr. Johnny Hunt. Out of the blue, this little fellow looked up and said to me, “Gran Jan, we don’t pray to kings…we only pray to God.” I actually took this picture right after he shared that WISDOM with Gran Jan. He is three years old and is the inspiration for my blog. I love you Zeke.
441. DAILY GRACE. One of my many favorite hymns is ““Come Thou Fount” I especially love this line because in the busyness of life as wife, mom, Gran Jan, daughter, sister, friend, employee, choir member, women’s ministry leader, I am prone to WANDER. Sweet Jesus keep my heart centered on You.
442. I love my front porch swing and it now has a fresh coat of red paint. Red is my favorite color and my sweet husband painted it for me. He also surprised me one night last week with supper ON THE TABLE when I came home from work. He is the kindest and most generous man I know and he is mine.
443. This precious red-bowed beauty is my granddaughter Madie. She is sweeter than Georgia sweet tea. She is starting to “talk up a storm” as we say in the South. We were making reindeer cookies. She was putting Rudolph’s red M&M nose in place. Here is a link to making these reindeer cookies from Southern Living. Easy and fun.
Next week is going to be all about CHRISTMAS and I cannot wait to share gifts of the season. If you’re prone to wander, may God bind your wandering heart to Himself and may you intentionally seek quiet moments every day to reflect on the JOY of His coming to this Earth to redeem your soul.

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, #386 to #408

Here I am again on this Monday, my heart brimming with multitudes of gifts – more grace gifts, lessons learned, memories made, and in just a week! Just the blessing of being HERE on this earth, at this time, in this generation, is a gift. The Word of God tells us our life is but a vapor in James 4:14

This is a picture of the vapor in the cool mornings around our pond this week.

I’m so thankful because:

386.  …I am very content in my life’s current season:
387.  …I am halfway through my 34th year of a solid marriage to a Godly man
388.  …both my parents are still healthy and well
389.  …my sons are happily married to wonderful young women
390.  …my grandchildren are healthy, delightful, and bring me JOY
391.  …my sisters Joan and Jo are there for me any time I need to talk
392.  …I have a wonderful circle of friends
393.  …my church family is Rock solid.  
394. I’m so blessed with my quilting time. It calms me to sit at my sewing machine and ponder and pray as I sew. I finished Madie’s quilt Saturday and it was fun to work with such “girly” fabric for a change from the boys’ tractor themed quilts. This was a simple pattern of squares and rectangles but I love the old-fashioned look. Madie is a beautiful child and I know she will continue to grace our family.
395. This is my quilting buddy and best friend of 23 years – what a treasure Lanie is. We’re old school and don’t mind sharing that. Faith and family are our joys. We enjoyed a recent “sew-in.” Today’s generation of women is missing something that women in times past did – getting together to quilt, sew, can food – train – mentor. We need that.
396. I love my job – I actually do have a “day job” besides being a pastor’s wife. I have worked for our local board of education for 23 years. The people in our offices are true public servants. Sharon is one of those folks, and she brought me some apples from the North Georgia mountains. She is “Gran Sharon” and when she became a grandmother 11 years ago, it was actually then I decided I would be “Gran Jan.”  And so I am.
397. Saturday was fun as the boys came very early to cut firewood. It’s been a long time since the back door opened and I saw my boys come in together. Raising them has been my life’s greatest JOY. I love their bantering – always have. I know they could quote Psalm 133:1 right now…
398. My husband loves to deer hunt. He was in the woods and when I got home I found these sweet “love notes” all around. Reference #387 – amen?
399. This is a cotton field – a HUGE one. Right now on farms all around us – cotton, pecans, and peanuts are being harvested. My paternal grandfather was a sharecropper and raised cotton and peanuts. I love to hear my dad talk about him because I never knew him. But I know I would have loved him dearly.
400.  What a joy my mom and I discovered as our camellia bush is finally blooming. We planted this one four years ago and the wait was well worth it. They bloom when nothing else is…what a great life lesson. I want to do the same!
401. My grandson Zeke spent the night and he was with me and my mom.  My grands call her “Gigi” (Great-Grandmother). She and Zeke were walking with pockets full of rocks to throw in the pond.  It’s their thing to do – and he never forgets.
402. We moved from our home of 20 years “in town” to the country life on the farm four years ago last week, October 27. I love this land already and the traditions we are making with our grandchildren. Another JOY of this season of life.

403. My dad has wanted a fence along the front of our farm for these 4 years, and it’s just something we haven’t been able to get done. Well, now we have. A fence on a list of grace gifts? Yes – because if you knew how happy it made my dad, you’d know just how thankful I am to do something for him for all the things he’s done for me my whole life. It was my husband’s idea. He is a generous man.
404. Our church’s senior adult ministry is called XYZ for “eXtra Years of Zest.” The XYZers went on a trip last week and my mom went with them. They had a blast. (Older ladies are still little girls wanting to have fun and from all accounts, they did.) I’m grateful for Pastor Mike Slade and his wife Susan who lead this ministry. These girls are the cream of the crop. Back row: Mrs. Lynn, Mrs. Sara, Mrs. Rita, Mrs. Gayle. Front row, Mrs. Lola, Mrs. Lois (my mom), and Mrs. Ann. My mom told me she got her picture taken with Dr. David Jeremiah and they also had former President George W. Bush as a speaker at the conference. Blessings indeed.

405. Yes my garden. Aside from time with my family – this is a happy happy place for me. I love to sit on that stone bench under that river birch tree..
406. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches shaped like hearts for a little boy who has stirred up so much love in my heart when I became Gran Jan the day he was born. I love you Zeke!
407. Me and my sweet husband with our youngest grandboy Jackson…more love stirred up in my heart. Thank you Erin for sending me this picture. It was good to have y’all with us on vacation this month.
408.  As I’ve learned from reading Ann Voskamp’s book and more importantly, God’s Word, there are times of hard eucharisteo.  We are to give thanks in all things, not just the pleasant and joyful and blessed times.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16. Rejoice always,
17. Pray without ceasing,
18. In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
This past year has been a time of deep reflection, in prayer, in learning, in trusting. Even surrounded by family and friends, the sweetest times have been those when the still small Voice of His Spirit spoke to the deepest places of my heart.  Abide – be still – I’m in control. Abiding in stillness is not easy in this day of go go go – but it is always where the times of growth occur. I want to be fruitful, don’t you?

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, #347 to #369

My spirit is overflowing with grace gifts, and it’s not just because my counting is overdue…it is because of the tender mercies of Christ in my life. Many of my blessings this week surround a wonderful time away last week at the beach. I am in a very good place right now, both physically and spiritually at rest. God has taught me so much this past year and I love HIM so, MORE every day. Thank you sweet readers for sharing life’s JOY with me.

347. Blueberry pancakes are sweet, but not as sweet as this grandgirl eating them…

348. Continuing to read The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer. Every woman needs to read/embrace this book, no matter her age or season of life.

349. A movie date to see “Courageous” with my sweet husband. WE LOVED IT. Praying that God will use this movie for His glory (He already is). If you have not seen it yet – go go go.

350. Have I mentioned that my parents live “across the pasture?” Well they do, and I am blessed to have them so close – they are wonderful, loving, giving people. They dog-sat my younger sister’s two dogs week before last, and along with their dachsund, Dixie – they had a kennel. Here they are on an outing over to my house.  The dogs and the parentals needed a break.

351. My husband and I vacationed at the beach (Florida Gulf Coast) last week, and that in itself is a grace gift. There is something about being near the ocean that is restful to my spirit. Psalm 95:5 I’ve heard others speak of this peace, and it is certainly true for me. This year the weather was amazing, so cool and refreshing. We are thankful for the time to rest and spend time together – unbound by clocks and schedules. My favorite time is as the sun begins to set. Whether I’m home or at the ocean, I love dusk.

352. The sunrises are beautiful too. The ocean was as smooth as glass.
353. October 6, 1974 was a beautiful autumn Sunday night (a long time ago…). That “date” markes a “date” for me…the evening of my seventh date with my then new boyfriend. (Seven is the number of completion in the Bible – how fitting.)  We met at church, he was the young music minister. It was the summer before we each began our senior years of high school. That night was our first kiss and since we happened to be at the beach last week on the “37th anniversary of the first kiss,” I wrote it in the sand. The tide may have washed my sentiments away, but the sweet memory is forever etched in my mind. God surely blessed me when he brought my future husband into my life that night 37 years ago…
354. I love this man…thankful for God’s grace in bringing him to me (see #353).

355. I met a beautiful woman, Sybil, while shopping at the Destin Commons Mall day before yesterday. She assisted me in an Estee Lauder purchase at the Belks store. We shared more than mascara and lipstick…we shared Jesus Christ. When she was checking me out, she said “thank you Georgia Jan.”  Now Sybil had no idea that I use “Georgia Jan” as my blog name…she just knew I was from Georgia. Well that led into conversation about blogs, Bible study, and our favorite teachers…Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, and Kay Arthur. We discovered that she and I both attended the very first Deeper Still conference in Nashville four years ago and enjoyed sharing memories of that time.  I love random meetings like this. God bless you Sybil.

356. My youngest son and his wife and son joined us at the beach later in the week. Sweet family times. Pop was in heaven when Jackson fell asleep in his arms during a morning walk on the beach. We loved having lots of time with this little fella. He is SO smart!

357. We ate lunch twice at Dewey Destin Seafood. You could look through the planks in the pier and see the water below! We were able to get a choice seat…right at the very end of the pier. The weather was GLORIOUS, so was my Grouper sandwich.

358. Pumpkin spice coffee…on the balcony…with the sound of the waves crashing on the beach. The wind blowing, the waxing gibbous moon (almost full), sweet conversation, hearts in love, souls at peace, minds at rest. G-R-A-C-E.

359. New crocs for the grandchildren. Boys=camo, girl=pink. Simple as that and I’m not waiting until Christmas to give them to them.

360. My husband loves seafood. (He even teased some friends and told them he would have shrimp milkshakes if he could.) We took a seafood break and ate Chinese at P.F. Changs one day, and I called him “P.F.” the rest of the week. P.F. stood for “Platter/Feast” because every meal he ordered had either the word platter or feast in the title…

361. I found a twenty-dollar-bill on the floor at the CVS drugstore last week.  When I turned it in, I thought the manager was going to call a press conference. He said, “people don’t turn in money.”  I told him that the money didn’t belong to me, but that I belong to Jesus, and His Spirit in me enabled me to do the right thing. I will say however, that it was quite a rush to look down and see that $20 lying there  🙂

362. On our way home from the beach we had a tire going flat so we stopped at a Wal-Mart to get it fixed. We thanked the Good LORD that it happened exactly when it did and not on a remote road. We also thanked Him for His perfect timing and provisions. The GPS said there was no Wal-Mart or auto store nearby…oh, really? Yes there is/was.

363. While the tire was being repaired I meandered through the store and bought sewing machine needles and a new rotary cutter for some quilt fabric I have.  So thankful for my quilting JOY!

364. While walking back to the auto department, I saw an elderly gentleman in one of those little scooters going up and down the aisles. He seemed a little “out of sorts,” so I asked him if I could help him. He told me that he lived alone and was looking for a pot to cook in, to warm up food. I found a perfect one on clearance and he was so pleased. That little random act of JOY was a blessing to my heart. I thanked the Lord for our low tire and my divine appointment.  We also shared Jesus in that clearance aisle.

365. A great report, a super great report from my annual physical. Aside from my salvation, God’s grace gift of excellent health is so very precious to me. I thank Him daily.

366. Although I do not embrace “fortune cookies,” I loved this one…because he was sitting right to my left, the one with whom I shared a kiss 37 years ago…remember? 
367. The welcome sight of HOME…fall color and a field of white cotton across the street.
368. Collard greens and turnip greens growing growing growing…I love this garden.

369. Rainy days and Mondays do NOT get me down. This has been a glorious week and to have the blessing of a day off (Columbus Day Holiday) to reflect, count grace gifts, and reflect some more…
Thank you JESUS.