Gratitude {Starting Over}

I am feeling that life is running away some days, well – all days.  I feel like things are not going to slow down until ….  well, honestly maybe never.  So I think I need to slow.  Be still.

Today is June 1st and I am going to start all over.  I am going to count again, count my thanks.  I have done this before, and it changes the minutes of every day.  Taking notice of everything.  And I want to experience that again, that offering of thanks – that pace of gratitude.  So for the next 3 months I am going to count every day.  I’ll dig out my journal, or start a new one.  And I am going to live a life of Thanks.  I hope it spills into everything else, all sloppy like – in my days and my minutes.  I hope it makes me slow just a bit, to see all the great and wonderful things around me all the time.

{Gratitude Journal 2013}

#1 – my mentor who has selflessly poured so much into me

#2 & 3 – an unplanned visit from friends, and pumpkin brownies to boot!

#4 – Tomato Pie

#5 – breezy spring days

#6 – kids playing well together

#7 – walking in the garden and pulling weeds

#8 – my sweet girl claiming she loves to pull weeds, and will miss the lettuce that is done for the season

#9 – a job my husband really loves, people that he cares about

#10 – homemade ice cream plans with our church

#11 – the tic-tock of the Redmond’s clock

#12 – My new pistol – knowing I made the RIGHT choice

#13 – Skyping with my mom & Louie, even if it went past my bedtime

#14 – the house that has not sold yet!

#15 – Seeing my kids show each other kindness

#16 – knowing where Chloe is even if not in our pasture

#17 – Having a meal plan for two weeks!

#18 – feeding the fish with Robert in the evening

#19 – Aravis- my sweet hunter of a cat

#20 – Friends – that bless my heart

God is so good, I hope to see more ways to worship him through my thanks!!

Surprise!!

We were so excited on St. Patrick’s day – not our favorite holiday as a family, but when you wake up and find a baby goat in the goat pen – it is reason to celebrate!!

sweet baby boy

 

Meet our newest “family” member : Patrick “Patches”

patches

We had no idea that Petunia, one of our Nigerian Dairy Goats, was pregnant.  So, imagine our surprise, at 6:30am when we find a baby in the goat pen!!  We were thrilled and panicked!  I had not planned for this, we were 9 months from having a baby goat here!

After I got a bit hysterical, searched for our books to no avail, – I called a friend and asked what to do.  She calmed me down and assured me it was all going to be just fine.

It was.

Patches is doing great, growing super fast, and playing with his mom and aunt in the backyard daily!!  He is a great nurser, and I cannot wait to start sharing milk with him!

patches head

 

We have all fallen helplessly in love with this little guy!!  How adorable is he!?!? 

 

AG and patches

His momma is pretty crazy about him too and she is a fantastic momma to him!!

baby and momma 1

Just a great reminder that God is in control – I was impatiently waiting to breed my girls, and little did I know at least one was already bred!  I am sure God was laughing at my impatience!

So thankful for all the good gifts that God blesses our family with!!

Journals

It seems I am more motivated when we travel than when we are home, when it comes to fun school/educational stuff.

We have so much fun stuff planned for this trip!  But what I am most excited about right now is our nature/art journals.  Yes, I am merging the two.  I hope that we make entries each day on the nature side, whether sketching something we see, or journaling what we want to remember.  Also, I plan for us to do an art page each day.  I am using tons of suggestions from Art Projects for Kids – a favorite blog of mine!!

So, I invested in some new journals – the kind with blank pages.  I found our sat Hobby Lobby for a fair price, and no shipping!! 

So, I unhinged the spirally part on the back, took off the covers so we could decorate them and then cover them with contact paper to protect them.  Then I dug out some nature-ish paper, some stickers (from my scrapbook days) and we got busy!!

journal 2

journal 3journal 4journal 5

I love how they turned out, and I cannot wait for us to work on them once we get to Maine!!  What a treasure these books will be when they are full!!  I am hoping for the kids to make some gratitude journal entries in there too!!  Yes, we are using these books for many purposes!!

We have tried journals in the past, but I always used composition books with lines and all.  I am hoping the blank pages elevate the “value” of these books – I hope the kids really want to own them!

pieces

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I love it when God is working, you can see it, you cannot see what he is doing but you know he is moving about.

I always find it amazing when he is working the same thing using many people too.  For instance, he may use one person to tell you the first part, then another situation to tell you the next and it takes getting up at 5:00am one morning and a few quiet minutes on the couch for you to put it all together.  Maybe it is just me.  But I love when he does this.

He did it recently.  I poured out a {brief} part of my life that I have been struggling with for years, okay, really more than that – almost decades.  I told this dear friend the Reader’s Digest version, we did not have all night, and asked for her opinion.  She did not tell me what I expected to hear, I expected to hear, well do this……

Instead, she said, be still.  Stop doing everything.  Be still and wait on the Lord.  I said, really?  You mean, don’t do “this” or “this” or even “that”?  Really?  Do nothing?  Then I confessed I have a REALLY hard time doing nothing.  Especially when I care a great deal about something, and I do care so much about this.  But really, nothing???  Yes, she assured me.  She gently told me that no matter what I do, I cannot change this situation, the hearts involved, that God needed to do it and he did not need me. 

 

This whole time (decades, really.) I have believed that it was up to me to do the right thing that would change everything.  I have been trying to fix it.  I am a fixer, I am not so much a “be still”-er. 

So I have been chewing on that.

Next, Kristen is leading another book e-study and I am simply listening in, not reading, just gleaning.  But the verse this week to meditate on is

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4:13

So, I have been really working on knowing I can Be Still, if I allow Christ to still me, my actions, my mind – if I let him direct my thoughts and me, I can be still.

Lastly, in Sunday school some friends just came back from 2 months in Uganda.  He shared Psalm 16 in Sunday school and I knew it was something I needed to spend some time with.  This morning, I was able to complete this pictures God has been putting together.

I am loving v.2 –

I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord, apart from you I have no good thing.” Psalm 16:2

So, apart from him, as in : in my own strength – I have no good thing.  Goes back to – when I am not still, when I am not resting in him in my trials, I am stepping on my own and “fixing” – I have no good thing.  I have no peace, no joy, no strength.

So, God used 3 people, to each offer a piece of a puzzle he was putting together.  But without some quiet minutes this morning I am not sure I would have seen the big picture – I am not sure I would have seen how it all fits together.

God is so good, sometimes we just need to slow down enough to see Him, hear Him, and Know him.

{so thankful for friends who speak the truth, for trusting even though it is hard, for waking up early…}

Renewal

I am still a bit amazed at how God showed up this morning during my quiet time.  I am not sure why.  I am not sure why I allow myself to forget in order to be amazed over and over.

The last 2 weeks I have virtually played hooky from my morning quiet time.  I was getting to bed late, rushing through a few quiet moments before the crowd assembled (my kids) and it was anything but intimate and precious.

This morning I woke up at 5:30 on my own, sans alarm clock or showering husband.  I love when that happens!!  I love when he gently prods me to open those eyes and get out of my bed.

And after 2 days of getting back into the groove, I hit my stride this morning.  God was there.  He was waiting for me to show up, to leave my agenda behind, to really allow him to lead my moments.  So I did.

I turned to Psalms to pray through a Psalm – I wanted to change things up a bit from my note cards, and just pray through words he penned in the book.  I ended up in Psalm 77.

(First, let me tell you how Jen Hatmaker wrote yesterday (well I read it yesterday) the value of writing our prayers – keeping a log.  How those who have gone before us logged their prayers throughout the pages of our Bible and who are we to not!?)

I prayed through many verses, but

verse 11 : I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes I will remember your miracles of long ago

That hit me right between the eyes.

You see, yesterday morning I was questioning why I write my prayers down each morning, for the same people, many the same prayers.  Why do I log them?  Why?  Then Jen told me what she thought, why I should.  Then God told me. 

But, it does not stop there.  As I am praying, studying, etc.  I get a message from Kristen, telling me she prayed this morning too.  She prayed

Psalm 68:9 – you gave abundant showers O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance. 

That’s right, the same Psalm 68 Jen Hatmaker took us through 3 weeks ago.  Yes, that is my God – he is BIG and he knits things together perfectly.

You see, God “gave” – he did it in the past, they were reflecting on what he did in the past, they wrote about it.  They logged all God’s goodness of what he has DONE.  And as they logged, they provided a record for you and me.  And we need to do the same.

Why?  Because this road we travel is long.  It is hard.  And it is with MANY bumps along the way.  When we hit those bumps we need the log to look back on and remember.  Remember when he refreshed their (our) weary souls.  We remember his faithfulness, his love for us, his mercy.  We remember all he has done and trust that he is not done doing for us.

I love it when God – I mean I show up .  Really, was God there on the couch at 5:30 yesterday?  Last week?  you bet.  He is always there.  He is waiting for me to show up with a humble heart, with an open agenda to let him lead me.  The habit of prayer is wonderful, but we need to be open enough in carrying out our habits to listen to the still small voice – as it calls us to follow him.  Sometimes it looks different, and we wonder, but oh, it can be so precious when we do!


Today was a much needed morning of renewal.  So thankful!!

Constantly offering up thanks…

#376 ~ #385 {Gratitude Journal}

– friends who text at 6am – accountability!!

– Friends who inspire : Flo

– Friends who love & dig deeper : Julie

– Friends who say what I need to hear : Kristen

– Friends who push : Jenna

– a quiet house at 5:30, other than Louie waking up the world

– a pull back to my blog

– laying down health concerns of my boy, trusting God can sort it out

– truth of resting in who I am and knowing that is good enough

– finding God on the couch, waiting for me to offer my heart.