Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Goal of Reading

We tell our children from a very early age that the biggest reason we learn to read is so that we can read the Word of God.  We really play this up as they are learning to read.  We remind them continually that one day they will read the Bible just like the rest of us, and get to read God’s heart for themselves.

Recently our Isabella was able to read several verses from John chapter one during family devotions.  We were so excited and Brian and I planned to surprise her the next night at dinner.  All day I played up that we were celebrating something really important tonight. (of course every body thought I was pregnant, sadly I am not) I made chocolate coconut cupcakes, we got dressed up, put a table cloth on the table and the excitement grew!



The boys jumped at the chance to dress like goobers  gentlemen.


After dinner, Brian called the children to order (nobody knew what was going on at this time) and he walked over to Isabella and presented her with her certificate.  It was so fun.  She felt so honored.


Proud Papa and Isabella




It has been so precious to see her reading her bible.  She is reading in Isaiah 43 and loves it!  Her Mama loves the book of Isaiah too!  What a gift it is to be the one to teach your children to read and watch them read His Word! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

His Thoughts Toward You!!

I was delighting in the Lord this morning and renewing my mind with just how very much He loves me. Like I mentioned in my post on guilt and shame, it is so important to renew our minds with Truth to wash away the lies and programming that we have believed for years.

I added the following to my “I believe” list and I will finish with something that put a huge smile on my face.

  • I believe You found me, led me, instructed me and have kept me as the apple of Your eye. (the very center of your attention) (Deut. 32:9-10)
  • I believe You have graven me upon the palms of Your hands.
  • I believe my walls are continually before You. (Isaiah 49:15-16)

I was about to write out Jeremiah 29:11 as one of my “I believes”, but I just had to study out some of the words.

Most of us are very familiar with this verse, but before you just toss it aside, let the words go deep. Believe them over all the lies of the enemy. Over all the circumstances of life that seem contrary. I am pleading with you to BELIEVE Him over what you see and feel. Refuse to let the enemy rob you of this truth.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

thoughts of peace popped off the page, remember our study on peace??

Shalom: health, security, tranquility, good condition, success, comfort.

Shalom expresses completeness, harmony, fulfillment.

Thoughts: imaginations, intentions, purpose, plan.

Listen to what this is saying about your God and His thoughts towards you!!! Also, remember this . . .

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!

If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee. (Psalm 139:17-18)

So, the great sum--more than the sand--thoughts, imaginations, intentions, purposes and plans the Lord has towards YOU are HEALTH, SECURITY, TRANQUILITY, GOOD CONDITION, SUCCESS, COMFORT, COMPLETENESS, HARMONY, FULFILLMENT!

I don’t know about you, but I think if I could just really take that in and believe that instead of what I see or feel my whole world would be rocked! Once again, stop defining what I think about God by what I see and define it by what the Word says! This is His heart toward us. Let’s stop questioning His heart. Refuse to believe anything else. When the ‘yeah, buts’ come, which they may have already, cast them down and take them captive!!

Shalom to you, my sisters! Shalom!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Guilt and Shame

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

I beseech you, I plead with you to be ye reconciled to God! (2 Corinthians 17-21)

We carry so much guilt and shame. I see it everywhere in the lives of women I know and love. I have seen it in my own heart. The weight of this guilt and shame renders us nearly incapable of living the life He has planned for us. We limp and we crawl. We label ourselves: Thief! Murderer! Failure! Adulteress! Loser!

Do you feel the weight of guilt? It is so heavy. When we hear about the forgiveness that we have in Christ, we give a nod, ‘oh, yeah, I know He forgives me’. But deep in our hearts we hear a whisper, ‘but you don’t know what I have done’. ‘I’m unclean, unworthy, dirt, refuse’.

And so it goes, years of believing we are no good, guilty of grievous sins, our hearts fracture more, the separation we feel from God gets deeper. Surely the contempt and hatred we feel for ourselves deepens. And it shows up in our relationships with others. We cannot truly love if we don't know what love is. Others, we keep at a distance lest they see the filth. Or, we can’t bear to be with them because the comparison of their lives with ours just heaps the guilt, higher and heavier.

It begins to show up in our bodies. Many physical maladies are the fruit of guilt and shame.


You are not guilty! You are forgiven! He carried all the guilt, all the shame, all the punishment, for you, on the cross. You are being deceived. It is a trick.

Yes, you sinned. Yes, there are consequences, but guilt and shame are not one of them. You sinned, but you are not sin. (Romans 7) It was sin in you that you participated with. But, if you are a child of God and have repented, it is gone, buried in the sea of forgetfulness. It is gone. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for you.

How dare you hold on to what He shed His blood for? Carrying guilt and shame, listening to their lies, now that is sin. REPENT—GO—THE—OTHER—WAY! Stop listening to the lies. You are not guilty anymore!

If you would like to be free from this guilt . . .

Father God, I recognize and take responsibility for listening to and participating with a spirit of guilt and shame. I ask Your forgiveness and I renounce these sins. Thank You that You forgive me. Thank You that You remember my sins no more, why should I? Guilt and shame, I see you and I say go! Leave my heart and mind in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

“I am not guilty, I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus”

“I confess my sins and He is faithful to forgive me and cleanse me from ALL unrighteousness.”

“He remembers my sins no more”

“I am precious and honored in His sight. He loves me with an everlasting love”

“He chose me in Him before the foundation of the world”

“I have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of my sins”

Refuse to allow guilt and shame to speak to you. You have got to take your thoughts captive. Any thoughts of guilt and shame for past sins is a lie from the enemy. Recognize it is such and cast it down.

Renew your mind with the truth.

(For further reading, Psalm 103:12, 1 John 1:9 Psalm 32:5, 1 Corinthians 6:11, Hebrews 8:12, Micah 7:19, 2 Peter 1:9)

Friday, March 25, 2011

It is O Taaaayyyy! (okay)

Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.  (Psalm 116:7)

I love that verse!  Return to your rest my soul.  He really, really has dealt bountifully with us, hasn’t He?  It is so easy to be overwhelmed, ungrateful and down right grumbly.  Life just comes at you hard sometimes, right?  Even in the ‘easier’ times, when things are really going okay.  Even then we can be all frazzled and and grumbly. 

Take a deep breath.  Tell your soul, ‘return to your rest, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.’

I have been talking to myself a lot lately.  Stop laughing, I mean in a good way.  Speaking truth, the Word to my soul.  One thing our little grandson says is, “It’s O Taaaayyyyy”  It is adorable.  So lately I have been telling myself, “self, it is O Taaaaayyyy”  No need to fret.  No need to hurry.  No need to get all riled up.  Everything is O TAY!


Brian reading the Word to his youngest, Elijah and his first grandson, Levi.


Mama and Elijah


They really do love each other, contrary to popular belief on some days.


If you heard this little guy say, “it’s O Tay”, trust me, you would believe him!


I am going to spend the WHOLE day with my Father tomorrow.  Alone.  All alone.  No computer. (pray for me Winking smile) I am so looking forward to it.  Just to be,  just to rest in Him. No agenda, no schedules to rework, no charts to work on, no ‘doing’, but resting, just being!  Woo Hoo!

Signing off for the weekend . . . to Relentlessly Pursue my Father.  ( I guess that is an agenda, isn’t it?  Well, you know what I mean Winking smile)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Italian Feast!


Last Friday we had my sister and her family over for an Italian feast.  I bought a piece of cheap fabric for the table cloth, as it was difficult to find the ‘checkerboard’ pattern in  a tablecloth.  I found the cheesy green placemats for ten cents a piece at a thrift store.   We served water in fancy wine glasses.P1050536

I made sourdough pesto bread and Joshua made his famous focaccia.  One of my absolute favorite delights is focaccia with a think layer of goat cheese, pesto and thinly sliced tomatoes!  It is so delicious!  I showed every body just how they need to assemble their little delicacies.  They loved it too.


I toasted the pesto bread and grated pecorino cheese on them while they were still hot.


We made cute little place cards out of a picture of Italy that we found online.


The main course was Baked Ziti made with my “Mama Michello’s homemade spaghetti sauce. 


Victoria sewed felt triangles to a string to make a banner for the windows.

Doesn’t that focaccia look fabulous?P1050557

Oh, we ended the meal with espresso brownies and hazelnut brownies served with vanilla ice cream or affogato.  (which is vanilla ice cream with espresso poured over it.  Yum!

We had such a great time.  We will definitely have to do our Italian Feast again.  Want to come for dinner?

Monday, March 21, 2011

When You Just Can’t

Last week was a particularly difficult week in my pursuit for giving thanks and joy. I am not entirely sure why the battle has intensified lately, except for the fact that I whole-heartedly believe that victory, stability of mind and spirit and joy are all the result of ‘giving thanks in all things’. And, I have an enemy of my soul who absolutely does not want these things in my life. The more I pursue it, the more I believe and see the victory to be had, the more intense the battle.

I have two examples of how this plays out in my life. One day was very difficult, increasingly so as the day went on. By right before dinner time, which is when I go for a short walk, I had lost it! I mean seriously lost it! I huffed and puffed (not from exertion) all throughout my walk and came back in worse shape than when I started. The only hope was for the night to go by quickly and to go to bed and look for new mercies in the morning! Been there?

The next day was playing out the same as the day before. I made myself go for my walk, even though all I really wanted to do was storm around the house and rant and rave and pounce on anybody who dared cross my path. As I walked, I felt the Spirit well up in me encouraging me to ‘give thanks’. Right, give thanks?! I literally could not think of anything! Then I remembered a verse that I felt the Lord showed me that I could use for moments such as these when I absolutely was lost for anything at all to be thankful for.

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)

So I started with that. It was pathetic, ladies, really, my crude attempts at giving thanks were pathetic, at best. I began to thank Him for the smelly cows that I was walking by. Thank You that I don’t live across the street from the smelly cows. Thank You that I don’t live this close to this busy road. Thank You for the yellow chain over there. Thank You for the color yellow. Thank You for the color orange, (orange snow fence) Thank You for cows. Thank You that we get to eat cows. Thank You for the pine tree. Thank You for brown trees that will surely turn green, eventually. (you have to imagine that my tone was not at all sounding all thankful and cheery)

Do you see how primitive my attempt at ‘eucharisteo’ was? You know what? It worked! While I cannot say that I was ‘walking on sunshine’, but by the time I got home I was in a much better place. My eyes didn’t feel nearly as heavy. I didn’t bite anybody’s head off the whole rest of the night. I even had a few smiles. I can tell you, it was a stark difference from the day before, when I hadn’t given thanks.

So, I write all this to encourage you to not give up in your pursuit. To know that any attempt at ‘eucharisteo’ is better than no attempt. And, to give you an example of how God even honors our tottering steps of faith. Oh, and to share my “go-to” verse for something to give thanks for on those really, really bad days!

Beginning at 1,001!

  • morning devotions
  • rooster crowing
  • birds singing
  • Elijah fussing
  • Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
  • spilled sauerkraut


  • Sarah Grace praying for peace for mama
  • recognizing a spirit of heaviness
  • reading to Elijah
  • Isaiah working for me
  • baking cookies and bread
  • the smell of Elijah’s hair after being outside
  • ‘giving thanks’ working!
  • my heart whispering, “Spring, Spring”
  • each little face in this house
  • Brian’s heart
  • Plump robin in tree

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sing, O Daughter of Zion

I am not sure what you are dealing with today, but I encourage you to draw near to God and resist the enemy of your soul! You can resist a spirit of heaviness. You can resist spirit of fear. You can resist pain and sickness. You can resist whatever the enemy is throwing at you. You can resist hopelessness.

Your circumstance may not change, but your heart will and even in the midst of the storm you can have peace.

Make yourself put on some praise music. Speak what you believe out loud. (not what you feel or see Winking smile) Start listing what you are thankful for. Grab hold of your head and tell it what to think!

Choose joy. Choose peace. Choose Him.

Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.

The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. (Zephaniah 3:14-15)

For your ‘getting out of the pit’ listening pleasure . . .

Our God is Greater

I Lift My Hands


Exalted (Yahweh)

No excuses now, don’t stay in that pit!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

New List . . . I Believe . . . !

I think it is becoming abundantly clear that I like lists!  I love to write things down.  Seems like if a thought goes from my brain out my fingers, somehow it becomes more real, alive to me.  I recently shared my “Do Not Think” list, as well as my Gratitude list

Today I want to share a new list the the Lord has been leading me in during my quiet time.  I think He sort of snuck it in there because it was days of doing it before I realized what it actually was. Winking smile

The verse,

 . . . as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.  (Mt. 8:13)

was very heavy on my heart one day in the midst of a struggle.  I, at first, started trying to figure out what wrong thinking I was thinking that was causing these struggles.  (I often times think I am doing something wrong, but I am overcoming this lie!!)  As the days went by, the Lord began to give me scripture after scripture that I would write out as, “I believe . . .” 

As the list grew and grew, I began to see what He was doing.  By writing out what I believe, I was destroying old lies with the truth!  We ALL have an abundance of lies that we listen to on a daily basis, I am sure.

The list continues to grow, and I highly encourage you to make an “I believe” list.  It is strengthening my faith, renewing my mind and giving me a whole new picture of who I am  and Who my God is.  And while you are at it, speak them out loud so your mind can hear them.  Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God!

  • I believe You’re my healer
  • I believe many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him from them all
  • I believe if God be for me, who can be against me
  • I believe the Spirit intercedes for me according to the will of God
  • I believe that if I ask anything according to Your will, (which healing, deliverance, revelation, insight is) I know You hear me and I have what I have asked for
  • I believe the Holy Spirit shall teach me all things, and bring all things to remembrance
  • I believe the Angel of the Lord encamps round about me and delivers me
  • I believe that as I seek the Lord I shall not lack any good thing
  • I believe that the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are attentive to their cry
  • I believe that as I cry, the Lord hears and delivers me out of all my troubles
  • I believe the Lord is near to me, my heart is contrite before Him
  • I believe the Lord delivers from danger the life of His servants (me) and none of them that take shelter and refuge in Him shall be held guilty.
  • I believe You forgive all my iniquities
  • I believe You heal all my diseases
  • I believe You redeem my life from the pit
  • I believe You crown (encircle) me with loving-kindness and tender mercies
  • I believe You are merciful and gracious
  • I believe you are slow to anger and plenteous in mercy
  • I believe as heaven is high above the earth, so great is Your mercy toward me
  • I believe as far as the east is from the west, that’s how far You have removed my transgressions from me
  • I believe You cherish and love me deeply
  • I believe You know my frame, I am but dust
  • I believe You restore the years the locusts have eaten
  • I believe You pour out You Spirit on our sons and daughters
  • I believe I am Your workmanship, created in Christ Jesus
  • I believe You have planned good works for me, that I should walk in them
  • I believe You have chosen me, in Christ, before the foundation of the world, that I should be holy and blameless before You.
  • I believe You have delivered me from the power of darkness
  • I believe You have translated me into the kingdom of Your Son
  • I believe I have redemption through Your blood, even the forgiveness of sins
  • I believe You present me holy, blameless in Your sight

Do you want me to go on, or have I made my point?  Winking smile

This doesn’t have to be an extra thing you ‘have’ to do, it can just be as simple as writing out an ‘I believe’ that you find as you are reading through the bible in your quiet time.  Imagine with me for just one moment, what peace, comfort, joy and victory could be had for each of our days if we actually meditated on these “I believe’s”!

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.  (Joshua 1:8)

So, anybody want to start an “I believe” list?  If you do, share your list with me, I would love to see it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Announcing the Winner!

Thank you to all who participated!  Your thankful lists were awesome and fun to read.

The winner of

 One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are




(email me with your address!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Practice, Practice, Practice

This is a follow-up post to What To Do With a Heavy Heart.

I was having a very busy morning. (most mornings feel busy with this many people) I was making a huge pot of spaghetti sauce for a small dinner party of 21! on Friday. Also, I was making rice for a recipe for dinner and sauerkraut, which I have been waiting weeks to make. Oh, all this and the hope of starting our Bible time at 9:30.

We were just about ready to go down to start school when the person who was pounding the kraut, in the crock on the floor, accidentally dropped it from a few inches off the floor and the bottom cracked off!


Okay, deep breath. Breathe. Breathe. Stay calm. It is only a crock and only sauerkraut. Breathe. I choose to stay calm.

I call Brian and calmly tell him what happened. He says, “what can you be thankful for?” (sweet husband) Ummmm, ‘broken crocks’, spilled kraut (that I have waited weeks to make!), thankful that it almost slipped out of my hands earlier, so I know it wasn’t that person’s fault . . .

He then attempts the lighten the mood with, “now there is no sense crying over spilled sauerkraut.” (yes, he is adorable) We laugh.

I look at the checklist on my planner from yesterday and work through each point.


Peace comes. A smile returns. Then I find out that my 10 year old, Sarah Grace was in the bathroom doing laundry when she heard the crock break and began praying for peace for mama. Then, she went downstairs and led the rest of the children in prayer for peace for mama! Precious!

  • 2 heads of cabbage . . . . . . . . . . . . a couple of bucks
  • broken crock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$39.99
  • Children praying for peace . . . . . . priceless!

Daily To-Do When Stress Happens

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What To Do With a Heavy Heart

What was a pretty normal day ended with some unexpected ‘burdens’ and the enemy wasted no time adding to the load. Funny, how one thing can be multiplied and before you know it you are anxious and burdened with three or four (or more) things.

I slept horribly. Bad dreams, waking often and plain old restless. I didn’t realized I had carried the burdens to bed with me, I thought I was fine.

By morning, my heart was oppressively heavy. I sort of panic for a few minutes, because I remember well the months of feeling like this everyday, and I hate it. Brian said some very encouraging words and set me up for my quiet time.

I cried out to my Father, asking Him to deliver me, so speak to my heart, to be the lifter of my head.

I started to speak (write) truth to myself.

“This is not mine to fix—this is Yours. I do NOT know all the details—only You know . . . the God of creation . . . the God Who makes hearts knew . . . the god Who is a twinkling of an eye can deliver and heal and restore . . . the god Who has and uses the same power that He used to raise Christ from the dead to raise us from the dead . . . the god Who has His finger on these situation and cares infinitely more than I ever could . . . the God Who knows exactly what is going on.”

I prayed, “Father, show me Your glory in these situations. Glorify Your Son in each situation. May Your glorious will be done.”

I read Philippians 4:6-7 and felt the Lord graciously give me a check list, something to ‘do’. He knows I operated better when I have something to ‘do’ Winking smile

  • Stand fast in the Lord
  • Rejoice in the Lord always
  • Be anxious for nothing!
  • In everything pray with thanksgiving

And the peace of God . . . shall keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

Stand fast! This is the enemy trying to rob you!! This is one of his wiles. Warning, warning, you have a choice. Dig your heals in and refuse to go under.

Rejoice, be joyful—praise, give thanks, rejoice in Him. Always. It means right here, right now. Practice eucharisteo!

Be anxious for nothing actually means NOTHING! This would include every thing weighing your heart down this morning.

In everything, including these very things, just pray with thanksgiving—don’t be anxious, pray and give it back to Him. Refuse to fret over it!

Then to Ephesians 6:10-18

Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of HIS might! (not my might, but HIS, I have none)

Put on the whole armor of God—stand against the wiles of the devil—false-burden bearing, fretting, being anxious, fearing—all these are wiles of the enemy!

You are not wrestling against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, spiritual wickedness in high places. Your battle is not in the natural!

STAND! Stand therefore. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit and watching.

Then to Jude 20

Build yourself up on your most holy faith praying in the Holy Ghostkeep yourself in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Can I just say that I had a lovely day?! Our Father is so amazing and so faithful.

I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears . . . The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles . . .This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. (verses from Psalm 34)

Let Not!

A few more thoughts on peace . . .

Remember that the word peace in the New Testament means, rest, state of untroubled and undisturbed well-being.

So, when Jesus says in John 14:27, Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you . . .  He is offering us this wonderful possibility to walk in rest, a state of untroubled and undisturbed well-being.   It is ours for the taking.

That same verse goes on to say, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid”  I think this is key to waking in that peace He offers.

The word “heart” here means, thoughts, reasoning, understanding, the mind in general.

The word “troubled” means, stir, agitate, disturb with various emotions such as fear.

It seems our mind plays a HUGE part in walking in this peace.  We really do need to take every thought captive.  It says LET NOT your heart be agitated, disturbed with various emotions.  YOU, let not YOUR heart!  The chances of His peace just falling on us seems to be slim, according to this verse.  He definitely does pour out His peace when needed, but I am talking about daily, hourly, moment by moment making the choice to LET NOT my heart be troubled.

The choice . . .

To LET the peace of Christ rule in my heart. (Col. 3:15)

To seek peace and pursue it. (Psalm 34:14)

To keep my mind stayed on Him. (Is. 26:3)

To LET NOT my heart be troubled. (John 14:1, 27)

I have a choice and knowing this gives me power, the power to overcome anxiety, fear, ect.  I can choose!  Armed with this knowledge there really is no room left for excuses, is there?

Search your heart several times a day, and if you find something that is disturbing your peace, remember to take the proper steps to restore the calm. (Francis de Sales)

Other posts in this series on Peace:

Right Here, Right Now

Unfolding Lesson Of Peace

Spilled Tea, Messy Kitchen and Ink 

Calm and Undisturbed Mind and Heart

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Celebrating Number 1,000 and a Give Away

I have finally made it to ‘1,000’ in my gratitude journal!! Yeah!

To celebrate I would like to give away a new copy of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. I know many of you probably have this book, but if by chance you do not or if you know someone you would like to bless with a copy, see the end of the post for details.

I wanted to encourage anybody who has not started this wonderful discipline yet. If I can do this, a busy mama to nine, a recovering perfectionist, and a woman who has to work at being disciplined, than you can do it too! I promise!

It has taken me awhile to reach 1000, but I did not let that discourage me. I actually started my Gratitude Journal back in October of 2009, so you can see, it has taken awhile. I would put it down, this practice of recording grace, for months at a time for various reasons. I was sick for a long time, I have been lazy, I have been unthankful, many other reasons (or excuses Winking smile).

This past January, in my effort to relentlessly pursue thanksgiving, I have made it a moment by moment practice to record the grace He pours out. I can honestly say that my heart has changed, truly change. This is big for me, I can tend to be hard on myself and not notice change, but this is an obvious change to me.

You can do this! You will be so glad you did. It can be as simple as a steno pad or as elaborate as you chose. It doesn’t matter, just start seeing His graces all around, and begin recording them.

(you may click on the pictures to enlarge)


Occasionally there would be something especially sweet from one of the children that I would include. I also put ribbon around some of the pages.


This a spread that I included what our weekly menu was so the children could see what we had for dinner when they look back. Also, it seems the Lord speaks to me in ‘themes’, and the picture below expressed a lesson in Faith I was learning at the time.


More ribbon for a border. I just pick pictures that I love. Whether they be flowers, food, kitchens, ect.



The ‘theme’ currently is peace.


I often included quotes or poems that were speaking to me at the time. Below are quotes from One Thousand Gifts.


Nine hundred and ninety nine . . .


One Thousand!!


I do not find it coincidental that the page on which my one thousandth gift was recorded was a beautiful spread of purples and greens, with a gorgeous bench speaking rest to my soul. Only my Father knows how much I LOVE purple and green!!


I hope you have been inspired to begin counting if you have not yet, and encouraged to continue on if you are wondering if you will ever get there. You can do it!

I continue on with 1,001 and beyond . . .

To enter the give-away just leave a comment naming ten (10) gifts the Lord has given you! I will draw the winner on Friday morning, March 18, 2011. (Sorry, only open to US residents)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What If I Saw Jesus?


What if I saw Jesus in his eyes? 

If everything I do, I do unto the Lord . . .

If when I have done it unto the least of these, I have done it unto Him . . .

As I was on my knees about to deal with my three year old’s rant, the words, in song form, flowed out of my mouth,

“What if I saw Jesus in his eyes? What would my words be?  How would they sound?  What if I saw Jesus in your precious eyes?”

My heart melted right there on my knees.  It is not like the Lord hasn’t used these verses in the past to encourage me to serve my children as unto the Lord before, but in that moment the Lord sweetly broke me.

Meditate on the following scriptures and let the Lord bring to mind who are the, hungry and thirsty in your life.  Who are the strangers, the naked, the ones in prison?  Ladies, they are all right here in front of us on a daily basis.

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.  (Matthew 25:34-40)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Calm and Undisturbed Mind and Heart

A sound heart is the life of the flesh . . .  (Pr. 14:30)

(A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body . . . Pr. 14:30 Amp.)

The Lord has had this verse before me for at least a couple of years.  I had no idea the relevance of it until the last year of extreme illness and dramatic healing. 

While I was still sick, I would try to keep my heart and mind calm, knowing that it had to do with the very health of my body.  My efforts were in vain, as it is impossible to find that peace of mind and heart while held captive by a spirit of fear, among other ugly spirits.

Since being healed and delivered peace, calmness, and rest have finally been possible.  Praise the Lord.  I continue to study, learn and grow in these areas, seeking to create new habits to replace the old ones.

In my study recently on peace, this old familiar verse came back to me.  It feels like an old friend. I typed up what I usually have in my journal when I study out a verse. I love to look up the Hebrew or Greek definition and make it my own.  It can really bring understanding as I study, pray, write and meditate on it.

(click on picture to enlarge)

Pr. 14

A few quick facts on “peace”:

I also looked  up the word ‘peace’ in the Hebrew, it is Strong’s number 7965—shalom.  It means, peace, tranquility, prosperity, good health, completeness, soundness, welfare.

Shalom is found 236 times in the Old Testament.

Shalom is clearly depicted as a satisfied condition, an unconcerned state of peacefulness. . . though Shalom can mean the absence of strife, it usually is much more.  It expresses completeness, harmony, and fulfillment.  In modern Israel the greeting is “Mah shlomkha? (“what is your peace?” or “How are you?”)

What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. (Ps. 34:12-14)

The following blessing from Numbers is Brian’s favorite, as it was his sweet grandpa’s.  I pray it over you and me.

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:

The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:

The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.  (Numbers 6:24-26)

Spilled Tea, Messy Kitchen and Ink!

I have had three of the biggest blessings in the past 24 hours. They might not look like blessings, gifts, but they are to me.

Blessing one: I spilled approximately 14 ounces of my tea on the table while we were doing our worship/morning devotions. My beloved pretty planner, our Joshua 1:8 books, my pretty purple bible, my scripture memory booklet and various papers all got wet! We all jumped up grabbing books and towels trying to get things mopped up before they were soaked.

I could feel it rising, frustration, anger. I walked into the bathroom to spread out some papers and I heard the Spirit speak to my heart. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart.” I grabbed hold of that and refused to get my feathers ruffled. I was not going to lose my peace over this! I continued to preach peace to myself as we were finishing cleaning up. I was about to say, ‘let’s just be done with worship and go on to school,’ seeing as how we were late already. But something rose up in me and I said, NO, put on another song. We sang ‘Our God is Greater’, and I for one was singing at the top of my lungs. Refusing to let the devil win in this one.

This was beyond HUGE for me. It would usually take much less to cause me to lose my peace. I mean, it is not just the pretty planner, pretty purple bible, Joshua 1:8 books, memory booklet, but also multiple children, squirmy toddler and all that it took to get us to the point of worship in the first place. So yeah, it was a big deal to be able to keep my peace. I was so thankful for the gift of ‘spilled tea’ because I learned that I could keep my peace. I can choose peace. Nothing is more important than keeping my peace in that situation.

The next blessing was when I woke up Tuesday morning needing to be out the door by 8:15 for a dentist appointment on cleaning/piano day. Now, you need to understand, Tuesdays can be stressful as I have put a burden of my own choosing on myself. I want the house cleaned (dusted/vacuumed kind of clean) by noon, at which time our piano teacher comes. When I walked out into the kitchen it was a disaster. I would much prefer to have the kitchen clean by the time we start our day, and especially so on TUESDAY! I was not going to be there for cleaning day and that meant giving up a whole bunch of control!


(this is exactly what it looked like BEFORE we started our day!)

I decided to take a bunch of pictures, thank God for the mess and children who will clean it up (hopefully) and not lose my peace over the house! I did have to fight for my peace a little each time I walked in the kitchen as I was getting ready, but I continued to preach peace to myself, and I really did just let it go. Victory number two!! This really is huge for me, ladies, HUGE!

Blessing number three. I was on my bed working on my gratitude journal, of all things, and had my Elijah (age 3) bouncing all over the bed while I was writing, cutting and gluing. I tried to encourage him to go be with daddy, but he wanted to be with me, and seeing as he is not so much the cuddly type, I relented. Which, by the way, is enough to cause me to lose my peace. After a very long time I look over at him, right next to me mind you, and see that he has written all over my comforter with an ink pen! I did freak out for a second, but couldn’t help but laugh. He was right here next to me! I didn’t even know he was doing it. I chose to not lose my peace again. I thought, ‘ink usually comes out, and if not, I’ll just flip it over’ To add injury to insult, he apparently wrote all over a pillowcase also. Who watches this boy?! Oh, that was my job!


I tried to keep a straight face and pretend like I was crying, but I couldn’t help it, I burst out laughing so hard. JOY! I was experiencing joy. It really didn’t matter in the big scheme of life and I didn’t lose my peace!

Ladies, I am not sure if I expressed it well, but these incidents could almost be documented as miracles! Really and truly miracles, at least for me.Winking smile We really can choose to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts. I am sure I will fail at this in the future, but these three ‘gifts’ are very dear to my heart because they showed me that I DO have victory. I CAN choose peace! I CAN choose joy!

BTW, when I came home from the dentist at about 10:30, the house was in amazing shape. It actually was done and in better shape than it usually is at that time on Tuesdays! Praise the Lord, added bonus!

A late addition: Before this post even got posted I walked out of my bedroom with my tea and spilled screaming hot tea on my hand and in my shoes. Can you believe it? I wonder if it’s the tea? lol

Relentlessly Pursuing Peace