Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Highest Appreciation

November 23-29

Sun/Nov23~ 3 Gifts Only in Christ: 1) Peace with God--"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:" Romans 5:1
2) Through Christ and His salvation are we a sweet savour unto God --"For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:" 
2 Corinthians 2:15
3) An ever present Mediator/Advocate between God and men-- "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" I Timothy 2:5

Mon/Nov24~ 3 Gifts Humble: 1) This: "I am sorry. Will you forgive me?" 2) The
selfless acts of kindness from others on my behalf 3) Humble carpenter born in a stable with nowhere to lay his head, yet God and King

Tues/Nov25~ 3 Gifts Ugly-Beautiful: 1) The Ugly: Brown, dry, backyard grass; The Beautiful?: We had grass this year! And it was lush and green. When we moved in 2 years ago, the yard was all rocks and sand. Our grass invited birds to come play and kept our dog, Zap, cool in the hot summer months. 2) The Ugly: Stains on indoor carpet; The Beautiful?: People I love live here, their feet carrying them from room to room (Carpet cleaner is my friend!) 3) The Ugly: The Trying of Faith --It's messy, filled with tears and frustrations; The Beautiful?: It 'worketh patience'. 

"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." James 1: 2-6

Wed/Nov26~ 3 Gifts Preparing: 1) While we are to give thanks every day, today we are preparing our hearts for that extra special day when we set aside everything in honor of Giving Thanks. 2) Savory smells of beef stew and homemade bread preparing the family for a hearty dinner 3) Jonathan in the kitchen preparing homemade pumpkin pie-- His Great Grandfather Gilbreath was an amazing cook. His pies just flat out knocked your socks off. Jonathan loves to hear stories about him and hopes he can cook as well as the family legend.
His pie turned out GREAT!

Thurs/Nov27~ a Gift Handmade, Held, Happy: Handmade potholders used today given to me by my mother in law years ago. They are tattered and well used; they remind me of her every time I use them. Held-- Pretty drinking glasses used today with my beautiful China dishes. I don't bring them out often and it was a nice change. Happy--Deviled Eggs. Yes. Deviled eggs brings happiness to my guys. Every.single.time.

Fri/Nov28~ 3 Gifts in Community: 1) Community of Facebook --being able to keep in touch with family and 'long lost friends' is great. So many times, a prayer request goes out or great news is posted and it knits us together as do updated photos. We come together in times of sorrow and in times of joy. 2) Community of Church Family -- Our church family cares about each other. They actively seek ways to spend more time at church by making burritos for everyone or bringing donuts for after church. With the weather being cooler and it's time for hot chocolate and coffee, we stick around a bit longer with nowhere to go in a hurry. 3) Community of Neighbors --During our walk this evening, so many families were out together decorating for Christmas. Men on roofs carefully placing pretty lights, children and moms decorating a tree in the front yard..All working to make the neighborhood look festive for the holidays. It was fun to see what everyone was doing with their yards. I took a picture of Jonathan and Zap in front of a house just for fun.

Well, and here's another picture of my kid (sorry, young adult now) and his sweet pup

Sat/Nov29~ 3 Gifts Red: 1) Autumn dish towels John bought me years ago. They are my favorites and I use them all year 'round 2) Tattered red quilt keeping us warm at night 3) Red Yankee Candle burning -- purchased with Cracker Barrel gift certificate given by a sweet friend.

December Joy Dare Link:


Sunday, November 23, 2014

I Know That Was You, God

November 16-22

Sun/Nov16~ 3 Gifts/Thanks Hard: 1) Realizing I cannot be all and do everything for everyone. It's exhausting --the gift is that when I become aware of my need to rest, I have clarity of mind and can take a 'step back' and regain some sanity 2) Living in the desert --the gift is the wide open spaces, the purple shadows over mountains, bright blue skies, waves of a red, yellow, and orange sunsets, star studded nights 3) Winter/cold days (my least favorite season); A man in Dad's church recently gave a testimony that he was thankful for winter because it kills all the bugs and diseases that Juárez struggles with during the summer. I read that being cold could cause significant calorie burn (Yes!).
One more: causes me to be more thankful for those special warm days.
Mon/Nov17~ 3 Gifts of Laughter: 1) It's contagious 2) It relieves stressful moments and pressure from bottled-up emotions 3) It bonds people together -- There are some family jokes that we laugh just as hard and long as the first time...

Tues/Nov18~ A Gift Made, Shared, Passed On: Made Crafts made from Sunday School kids that I have no idea what do with, yet I keep them because these kids are so special to me. Shared — Whenever Dad gets a special love offering, he shares it with me. Passed OnMusical talent passed on to me and Jonathan down through the generations

 Wed/Nov19~ 3 Gifts Autumn: 1) Misty mornings 2) Mellow days
 3) Smells of apples and cinnamon

Thurs/Nov20~ 3 Gifts of Tradition: 1) Offers comfort--Jonathan and I love to drink hot chocolate and watch Christmas movies as soon as they start showing (even though I *refuse* to decorate until after Thanksgiving). We
look forward to this time of year. 2) Creates memories -- We light candles before dinner (around the house and on the table). Jonathan asks every night, 'Is it time to light the candles?'. He loves to light them and blow them out. The candles bring a sense of warmth and a cozy glow. 3) Contributes to the rhythm of life -- Bowed heads in thankful prayer before meals, nighttime Bible study between father and son, morning hugs and coffee before breakfast, and hugs again as the house settles for the night

Fri/Nov21~ 3 Gifts Family: 1) "Family" does not necessarily signify 'blood'. I grew up around my step-mother's family. We cousins swam together every summer. We spent Thanksgivings and Christmases together. We went sledding behind Grandma's house on the big hill in Chicopee and explored all over Great Grandmother's house in Holyoke. We cousins all received coins to go to Jimmy's store on the corner to pick out penny candies. They never made me feel any different than any of the other kids. Even though we are not blood related, we are family and I love them as such. 2) Gives a sense of identity/belonging-- All my life, I knew I was 'different'. I was somewhat like my dad, but there was another part of me 'missing' that I couldn't identify. When my grandmother died (my mother's mother), I met a great many family members I had never known. I cannot explain it, but in an instant, I felt...home. My heart felt a kindred spirit with cousins and other family and I recognized myself in them. Truly amazing. I still keep in contact with the cousins I had met that day and visit them as often as I can. 3) Family history provides strength and security-- Hearing stories of old passed down has an impact. I love to hear Dad's sisters tell of their childhood. Jonathan and I love to look through my mother's genealogy that my uncle had documented. We learn where we come from. We learn our life's blood..the good, the bad, and the ugly. Families are not perfect. There are things in the past that no one is proud of. There is brokenness on every side, yet God in His mercy has made something beautiful...out of all of us.

 Sat/Nov22~ A Gift Grateful: What comes to mind is a lady in our church in Mexico named Celia. She lives in a small home with 3 generations piled in there. She always has a smile on her face. She is an encourager and seems to have the gift of seeing the bright side of situations. She makes all of us laugh. I never hear her complain. She is the picture of gratefulness and I always look forward to seeing her during the week.

November Joy Dare Link:

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Everything - An Astonishing Gift

November 9-15   

Sun/Nov9~ 3 Gifts Harvest: 1) Favorite blankets out of storage and ready for use on cool nights 2) Stunning shades of green, orange, brown, red, yellow 3) Time carefully set aside to celebrate all the good things in life

Mon/Nov10~ 3 Gifts in Bible Reading: 1) Reading the records of those who have lived before me. They have a story to tell-- of grief and joy, of rebellion and obedience; and above all else, redemption. How they responded (whether badly or in faith/obedience) to God's divine direction is a testament in how to live wisely and how to teach my son to live wisely and in the shadow of His wing. 2) (--My own interpretation, but this is what came to mind when I saw what were the 3 gifts for today--) Notes of past sermons scribbled on the sides of thin pages; some from my dad, some from my husband, and some from others along the way 3) Sometimes, when I 'flip' through looking for something and nothing at all, I see underlined and highlighted passages --a reminder to take another look, to meditate a little longer

 Tues/Nov11~ 3 Gifts of Remembrance: 1) Heirlooms given to me by family members and others who knew and loved my mother. Whether they be letters yellowed with time or faded photographs, they are timeless to me. 2) This 'Joy Dare List' I came across while moving through a bit of depression. I look at it every day (sometimes several times) to guide me to look for grace. Many times, it's laborious, but it's growing me. The list is not meant to make it easy, but to make one think. I have to apply myself to really seeing what it is to certainly say, 'I am blessed'. 3) Our Zachary would have been 11 years old this year. There are several remembrances of him; stuffed elephants, bracelet with his name on it. One other came up recently. Jonathan is studying Astronomy this year and I remembered that a dear friend of ours had a star named after Zachary. Jonathan hadn't remembered about it, so I retrieved it out of the file cabinet for him to study. It is a sweet reminder of our boy and of the friendship we share with this one family.

Wed/Nov12~ 3 Gifts At Noon: 1) A nap! 2) Cool, dark house during my nap 3) Quiet house --Everyone else was napping, too! No worries or cares, just resting.

Thurs/Nov13~ 3 Gifts Behind a Door: 1) Behind the dishwasher door --empty of clean dishes, thanks to Jonathan who put the dishes away (and from the dish drainer) before I came downstairs this morning 2) Behind the pantry door-- stock items for homemade soups during cold weather 3) Behind Jonathan's bedroom door-- his guitar resting on its stand. While we had to stop lessons due to change in life schedule, he still practices. I love to listen to him strumming around and figuring out new songs.

Fri/Nov14~ 3 Gifts Silent: 1) Silent, cool mornings before the heat kicks on in the house 2) Silent comradery between grandson and grandpa  watching old westerns together  3) Silent last quarter moon rising
 (Moon phases are amazing, aren't they?)

Sat/Nov15~ 3 Gifts Golden: 1) Golden hay stuffed in the dog house keeping our girl warm 2) Golden leaves on the front door wreath waving in the breeze 3) Golden rays making a display on kitchen walls

November Joy Dare Link:

Saturday, November 8, 2014

It Is the Sweet, Simple Things After All...

November 1-8

Sat/Nov 1~ 3 Gifts Eaten: 1) Fried Eggs, over easy; 2) Lunch with Dad at Red
Lobster - just the 2 of us ; 3) Healthy snack before bed -so I don't wake up at 2 a.m. starving! 

Sun/Nov2~ 3 Gifts Worn: 1) Bro. Chavez hobbling into church today - body tired and worn from years of hard work 2) Worn Bibles on the table during the ladies meeting
Smiles worn on the faces of the people we love

Mon/Nov3~ 3 Gifts That Start with 'N':
1) New necklace bought at Cato's today
2) Nourishment from a glorious green smoothie 3) Napkins --cloth ones neatly folded and set at the dinner table

Tues/Nov4~ A Gift Gathered, Given, Good: Gathered hugs from tiny arms at church tonight; Relieved smile from a friend given after I offered to help; Box of new curriculum books --all good and full of new things to learn (so much fun to look through!)

Wed/Nov5~ 3 Gifts Acorn-Small: 1) Pencil erasers able to swipe away any needed revision while writing out the school schedule for the week --Revisions are necessary with our ever changing schedule...2) Radishes (which I dislike immensely) cooked long and slow with the roast in the crock pot - amazingly tasty with a bit of butter and salt. Truly. 3) Rose buds making their appearance ready to join the other blooms - so lovely!

Thurs/Nov6~ 3 Gifts Government: 1) Government workers who work long and hard to keep this country safe 2) Postal workers delivering packages right to my door 3) Zoning laws that keep our neighborhood a pleasant place to live

Fri/Nov7~ 3 Gifts from My Window: 1) Light softly bathing the room with
warmth 2) View of the mountains behind our house
3) Gimpses of our sweet dog, Zap, throughout the day

Sat/Nov8~ A Gift Sweet, Salty, Sipped: Sweet--Pumpkin Spice Creamer swirled in strong coffee; Salty-- Pink sea salt making meals more savory; Sipped--my
lime flavored apple cider vinegar drink sipped throughout the day (Yum!) 

November Joy Dare Link: