Monday, December 31, 2012

Finishing Grateful


Finishing 2012 with nothing but gratitude . . . as it should be.


Joining Ann Voskamp in counting His graces for her Multitudes on Monday
I hope you'll join in if you haven't already!

The continuing JOY DARE: 
#1948-2100 (November 11th through December 31st)

11. 3 gifts of remembrance
Founding Fathers
Generations of soldiers who have fought to keep us free
12. 3 gifts at noon
Hero Husband home for lunch
She So Sweet getting up for breakfast
Drummer Boy off to work
13. 3 gifts behind a door
Sleeping kids
A full pantry
Freshly cleaned refrigerators
14. 3 gifts silent
The wee hours of the morning
Things growing
15. 3 gifts golden
The slanting rays of light in autumn
Autumn leaves at the height of their falling glory
The paper my business license is printed on
16. 3 gifts hard eucharisteo
Feeling completely overwhelmed and having no choice but to rely on God
Pest control people who interrupt my day, but do get rid of wolf spiders
A very confusing teacher
17. 3 gifts of laughter
Silly videos we show each other on YouTube
The fun of family jokes
Old favorite sitcoms
18. A gift made, shared, passed on
Homemade Thanksgiving decorations
Knowledge on my learning team at school
Little tips and tricks in the kitchen I get to pass on to She So Sweet
19. 3 gifts autumn
Cooler weather
20. 3 gifts of traditions
Baking my family's rolls to share with my family-in-love
Gathering together for Thanksgiving over good food, football, and gratitude
Our Wednesday family meet-up at Daphne's/Peet's
21. 3 gifts family
Hero Husband's family who will all be at my house for Thanksgiving this year!
For my Momma & Daddy's prayers that keep me together when I'm feeling overwhelmed
For my amazing husband and children who don't like to see me stressed out and who made everything a team effort!
22. 3 gifts grateful
Grateful for all the help from Hero Husband and She So Sweet for a wonderful Thanksgiving meal
Grateful for a house full to the brim with people, the noise they make, and the love they bring
Grateful for  the satisfaction of an event that went off without a hitch
23. 3 gifts only in Christ
God with us
Unchangeable character
24. 3 gifts humble
Me when I look in mirrors, both literal mirrors, and the mirror of Scripture
Mismatched dishes
Most of all, Jesus
25. 3 gifts ugly-beautiful
The messy aftermath of Thanksgiving Day
Turkey bones saved for soup
Mulberry trees shorn of last year's new branches
26. 3 gifts preparing
So many papers for this class (hard eucharisteo!)
Trying to start thinking about Christmas
Did I mention SO MANY PAPERS for this class?!
27. A gift handmade, held, happy
The cookies She So Sweet made for the firefighters at the Fire Station down the street
A steaming cup of coffee (Peet's of course!)
My kids, coming home from a film collaboration
28. 3 gifts in community
New friends ⇐ Hooray for my 1000th gift counted in this delightful Joy Dare of 2012!!
The joy of encouraging our friend who is an amazing artist--
Our Peet's friends at our favorite Peet's store--both baristas and other regulars and faithful Peet's afficionados
29. 3 gifts red
My car (maroon is red, right?)
My iPhone
Rosy red apples
30. 3 gifts astonishing!
The night sky
The bonds of family
1. 3 gifts white
Foam (just a little) on top of my Peet's Gingerbread Latte
The snow I only get to hear about from friends in colder places--thank goodness for Facebook's window on their views
Paper and all the words it can hold
2. 3 gifts bright
Christmas lights showing up all over town
The future, despite all the unpredictable things human beings can do to muck it up
Bethlehem's star that still shines into our dark nights
3. 3 gifts shining
Moments of triumph
Moments of reunion
Moments of authentic worship
4. A gift circling, crowning, crafted
Driving in circles waiting to pick up Drummer Boy from work--he has a job, which is such a good gift for him!
The crowning achievement of a semester coming to a close for Drummer Boy and She So Sweet – good job, you two!!
The wooden masterpieces, made for me by my little brother, that beautify my house
5. 3 gifts silver
"Silver Bells"
Jingling coins
Favorite earrings I too often forget to put on
6. 3 gifts sweet
Hero Husband who is so thoughtful and works so hard to provide us this magical life we share
Mochas – Peet's, Starbucks, Homemade . . . why yes, I do thank God for them ALL the TIME! You should try my Spicy-Hot Orange Cinnamon Dark Chocolate one I make at home!
She SO Sweet =) – She IS!! She really IS!!
7. 3 gifts from your Savior
Peace with God
Life evermore
Abundant life that begins here on Earth
8. A gift hung, held, heard
The Jewel Tree Grandma & Grandpa made for us
New Christmas music
9. 3 gifts ugly beautiful
The mess in the living room from the decorating process, begun, but nowhere near finished – need to find two more boxes in the shed!
Our old yard swing with the tattered sun shade that the birds are dismantling to line their nests
All the ways I am terribly behind – beautiful only because it means I am giving my best effort to doing well in school
10. 3 gifts unframed art
The amazing faces She So Sweet draws
Drummer Boy's beautiful mountain landscape he painted
The two of them, living, breathing pieces of God's artful handiwork
11. 3 gifts ice cold
The snow falling at my Mommy's house where it is her birthday!!! It is her birthday here too, but you know what I mean! J Wish we could be there!!
Food in our freezers despite the recent all-day-long power outage
Occasional bits of frost that only tease this winter-loving girl
12. 3 gifts berry red
My dream car I get to drive every day--well, unless She So Sweet is with me anyway--she loves to drive it too
The flowers in my new hanging pot outside the front door
A favorite sweater it's finally cool enough to wear
13. 3 gifts striped
Candy canes
She So Sweet--she loves to wear stripes!
The many roads we travel that take us where we need to go
14. 3 gifts stamped
Christmas cards from all over
Snowy postcard from a Peet's friend visiting Europe
Gracious gifts from family far-away
15. A gift gold, scented, bent low
Favorite ornaments
Fragrant candles that fill the house with Christmas scents
Figures in our nativity scene that show me how
16. 3 gifts Bethlehem-unlikely
The virgin heavy with child
Angels filling shepherds' ears with song and good news
King of the universe born in a stable
17. 3 gifts frosted
Every blade of grass on these rare frosty mornings
Facebook pictures from Canadian friends
Holiday sweets
18. 3 gifts miraculous
Every breath
"Momentary coruscations!" (C.  S. Lewis)
The love that swirls through our family
19. 3 gifts manger-small
Candy canes
Christmas ornaments
Flickering candles
20. 3 gifts angelic song
O Holy Night and Joy! Joy! by David Phelps
Immanuel by The Imperials
Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant
21. 3 gifts lit
Christmas lights all over town
Our Christmas tree, finally
Miniature church on our mantlepiece
22. A gift with rejoicing, wonder, praising
Car trips filled with music and singing at the top of my lungs
Phone calls home
Sunday morning church service surrounded by praising voices
23. 3 gifts starry
The blue-light "stars" above my nativity scene
Clear night skies after rain
Children's eyes 
24. 3 gifts humble
Mary, who said yes.
Joseph, who said I will.
Jesus, who said I'll go!
25. 3 gifts in Luke 2
The "glory of the Lord."
"Do not be afraid."
". . . good news . . . great joy . . ."
26. 3 gifts in Christ
27. A gift found, shared, saved
Photography--shared with Drummer Boy and now She So Sweet!
28. 3 gifts lingering
Halo around the moon
Drummer Boy and I out taking pictures of the halo around the moon at 1:30 AM
Sleeping in the next morning
29. 3 gifts of hope
New Year just around the corner
The excitement of a new class begun--intense though it may be!
Knowing that God is our provider, no matter what the politicians do or don't do!
30. 3 gifts remembered
Playing BINGO with Hero Husband and She So Sweet
Watching a silly movie with them and sharing in the silliness
The fun of finally getting to watch some football with my Sweetheart today!!
31. 3 gifts anticipated
Soon-coming overnight trip to Yosemite!!
The next family gathering that is in the works!!
A better, stronger, more-disciplined me in 2013!!!

Monday, November 12, 2012



A little more than ten short months ago, I set out toward a cherished dream to become a teacher, and today I reached the first major milestone on that road. I clicked the SUBMIT button to turn in my final assignment in the final class of my freshman year of college. 

I love looking at the row of binders that hold all my textbooks from this year--each one represents a five-week chunk of my life that I spent on the way to achieving my big dream. Stacked up together, they feel solid, substantial, sacred. Not sacred because of their content (although every bit of truth they hold belongs to God), but sacred because this work is all an offering of love, given for God's glory. He is the reason I stay up late to finish papers. He is the reason I fuss over details. And He is the reason I step up to lead team projects with a commitment to excellence instead of letting someone else do it (or not do it) and just get by with minimum effort.

Last year, just before I started, I shared with you a line from Justin McRoberts who says that "every great work takes the shape of the cross." That line comes back to me again and again. In the quiet of the wee hours when I am falling asleep over my keyboard, it keeps me clicking away until the job is done. On beautiful days when my camera is calling my name, it helps me choose discipline despite the ache to go outside and play. When managing a team in an online environment is making me want to tear my hair out in great, desperate handfuls, it keeps me patient and kind (relatively, anyway).

My family might tell you that I could stand to work toward more balance sometimes, and I would have to agree--sometimes running off with them to have some family fun, or heeding the call of my lonesome camera are exactly the things that would most please my Heavenly Father right at that moment. But I feel His joy in what I am doing and in what I am working toward.

"Whatever you do, put your whole heart and soul into it, as into work done for God, and not merely for men—knowing that your real reward, a heavenly one, will come from God, since you are actually employed by Christ . . ."  Colossians 3:23-25 PHILLIPS

I wonder if you are now like I was for so many years? Are you dreaming a dream, but afraid it might always be out of reach? If that sounds familiar and you wonder if you should just give up on it, let me encourage you to keep praying, keep watching for your moment, and keep trusting that God's guidance and timing are perfect!!

This song by Amy Grant says it beautifully--I hope it encourages you like it does me!


Joining Ann Voskamp in counting His graces for her Multitudes on Monday
I hope you'll join in if you haven't already!

In the counting of the endless gifts I say with C. S. Lewis,
"This also is Thou!"

Counting my next 1000 Gifts, joining Ann in The Joy Dare--like a scavenger hunt for graces, gifts and glory!! Wanna come along?  I dare ya!!

The continuing JOY DARE: 
#1927-1947 (November 4th through November 10th)

4. A gift gathered, given, good
People to play a trivia game at church last night
Words of encouragement
Five Guys burgers & fries (best fries on EARTH!) with my sweet family after church--what a treat!
5. 3 gifts acorn-small
Bits and pieces of potpourri that smell like spiced apples
Gummy vitamins
Brightly colored push-pins
6. 3 gifts government (could also double for "hard eucharisteo")
The privilege of voting
The Balance of Powers
That our government was established on a firm foundation
7. 3 gifts from your window
Deep red plum leaves making confetti on the green grass
Squirrels running back and forth along the top of the fence, their own personal freeway system
The flash of their ruby heads in the sunlight as hummingbirds flit from flower to flower
8. A gift sweet, salty, sipped
Homemade Peet's dark chocolate orange mocha
Homemade toasted acorn squash seeds
Cranberry juice for breakfast
9. 3 gifts harvest
The acorn squash the seeds came from, baked with butter and brown sugar--so yummy!
The sweet onions She So Sweet put in with the pot roast she cooked
The celery we are re-growing on the window sill
10. 3 gifts found in Bible reading
Renewed strength
Hope for tomorrow
Peace for today

   Beauty in His Grip Button
On In Around button
A heartfelt thank you to these generous bloggers
who make these communities available!

Monday, November 5, 2012

For When You Feel Unfruitful

Hello, Friends! Anyone here? I've been gone so long I'm not sure I even belong here anymore. The demands of school and team assignments have prevented me from being here like I'd like to be, but my heart is still here even when my words are not. May I tiptoe back in and offer a little something?

This is what California's Central Valley looked like in June 2010 when we took a family trip to Disneyland and points south. Green, lush, and every available acre growing crops to provide food for millions, maybe even for you. Tomatoes by the truckload were passing us down the length of I-5. As we ticked off the miles, we passed field after field of blackberries, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, asparagus, grapes, beans, strawberries, melons, lettuce, rice, peppers, spinach, corn, and cotton.

Interspersed between the fields we saw orchard upon orchard of almonds, walnuts, pistachios, figs, olives, kiwi, lemons, plums, apples, cherries, peaches, and pomegranates. It was impossible to tell how many shades of green the eye could distinguish in all that growing glory.

A little over a month ago, in September of 2012, my family again drove south. I-5 was still straight and true, the Central Valley was still vast and wide . . . but no longer is it green. This is what much of it looks like today.

Irrigation canals are empty and bone-dry, and tumbleweeds are the only green as far as the eye can see. For this daughter of Iowa's black dirt that grows corn better than anyplace else on earth, and for this granddaughter of an Iowa farmer, all this death and dusty barrenness hit a very tender nerve inside me.

But it was the orchards that broke my heart.

Having lived in the beautiful orchard country of the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, I was horrified at the sight of these once-fruitful trees now dead and grey, some of them ripped right out of the ground by big, efficient machines while we watched. 

Why?! You must be wondering too. Apparently there is a small fish, called the Delta Smelt, in the Sacramento River Delta that is adversely affected by the pumps that divert fresh river water to the Central Valley instead of letting it flow out into the Pacific Ocean. "Efforts to stave off its demise have at times reduced water deliveries to 25 million people and 2 million acres of farmland, magnifying the impact of the recent drought and forcing farmers to fallow fields" (Boxall, 2011, p. 1, para. 3). 

Do you know how desperately dry 2 million acres of farmland can get with no water? Can you imagine what it does to farmers and their livelihoods to be cut off from their source of water? They might more happily be cut off from their oxygen! Some of these people have been forced to watch their farmland turn to dust, land their families have owned and farmed for generations. Some of them have lost their land and homes entirely. Can you imagine how it feels to be told that you and your family and your friends are not as important as a fish smaller than your little finger? No matter how you feel about the ways people can and should interact with the environment, that has to feel pretty awful. How I pray for a solution that works for everyone!

I despise the politics of this situation, and I am tired of seeing grocery prices go up, and up, and up, but this is not a political post.

This post is about hearts, and lives, and livelihoods that have been turned to dust in a world full of uncertainty. This post is about dreams that can shrivel up and turn to stone when the only thing they need to come true has been cut off. This post is about people whose spirits are withered and wind-blown by the hot, harsh winds of struggle and sorrow.

Have you been there?

Are you there now?

I want you to know that like Hagar in the desert, God sees you!

I want you to know that like Moses in the Wilderness, God still has plans for you!

I want you to know that like Joseph in his long exile, God is still working for your good!

God will not let evil have the last word.

He WON'T!!

Hagar was rescued out of her impossible dilemma.

Moses became the great leader he was destined to become.

And Joseph's dreams came true while he simultaneously saved two nations through his godly leadership

No matter what it looks like,
no matter how it feels,
God is WITH you,
God is FOR you, and
God will COME THROUGH for you!

Listen to what Jesus said, to what He is still saying:

"'I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. . . . You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.'" John 15:5, 16 NIV

If you are in a season of drought, if you feel unproductive and unfruitful, if you feel like your dreams are dying in the glare of a too-hot sun, stay (or get) attached to the one True Vine. He doesn't need politicians to keep the water flowing--He has Living Water bubbling up from the Holy Spirit within, and there is no limit to what He can do!

Boxall, B. (2011, February 2). A small fish caught in a big fuss. L.A. Times. Retrieved from


Joining Ann Voskamp in counting His graces for her Multitudes on Monday
I hope you'll join in if you haven't already!
In the counting of the endless gifts I say with C. S. Lewis,
"This also is Thou!"

Counting my next 1000 Gifts, joining Ann in The Joy Dare--like a scavenger hunt for graces, gifts and glory!! Wanna come along?  I dare ya!!

The continuing JOY DARE: 
#1822-1926 (September 30th through November 3rd)

30. 3 gifts shining
The early morning reflection off fresh water in the birdbath
  Hero Husband's example of perseverance, hard work, and excellence!
  A truly encouraging Q&A session with our pastor this morning--some of the best answers to tough questions I have ever heard, bar none!! So thankful God has placed us in this church!
1. 3 gifts orange
The True Orange (crystallized orange from this company) I put in my morning mocha
The so-gold-it's-orange lamp in our dining room that lights my early morning and late night reading
The pale orange froth on freshly blended orange juice
2. 3 gifts falling
The temperature (in a couple of days--I sure hope they're right about this!)
Moonlight from a big harvest moon
Old fears in the face of the beautiful truth
3. A gift caught, let go, mid-way
A few minutes of watching the birds in the birdbath, just soaking up the joy
A million little frustrations that aren't worth holding onto
Kids almost grown and still at home, mid-way between childhood and adulthood
4. 3 gifts reaped
The apples we're crunching
The fruit of our labor--homework=good grades, house work=a tidy(er) house
A crisper drawer full of produce
5. 3 gifts returned
Phone calls that moved a project forward
Hero Husband and Drummer Boy home from a fun evening out together
My car after they didn't fix it . . . yet. Lord please protect it from needing any more work!
6. 3 gifts redeemed
Time, in small bits and pieces gathered up and put to use so as not to waste any
Empty cans and bottles that we recycle into new things
The laptop computer that was no longer useful to Hero Husband, but that is perfect for me!
7. A gift baked, stirred, eaten
Potatoes, baked in the oven (not the microwave), just the way I like them
Peet's coffee with just a touch of milk
The ridiculously good Raspberry Truffle Cake Pop Drummer Boy brought home from Starbucks
8. 3 gifts prayed for
Hero Husband--for joy in the midst of these stressful days, and something better beyond them
Drummer Boy--for joy while he works toward, and waits for, his God-sized dreams
She So Sweet--for joy (and patience) while she waits to hear word about the new job she wants
9. 3 gifts praised for
That my Father's faithfulness is not predicated on mine 2 Timothy 2:13 NIV 
That He promises renewed strength for those who wait on Him Isaiah 40:31 NKJV
That He promises victory in Christ 1 Corinthians 15:57 NIV1984 
10. 3 hard eucharisteo
The upset I feel about how school (a really good thing) is preventing me from spending time on photography, my blog, and my company, and even impacting time with my family (also really good, important things)
How far I fall short of some lifelong goals--Father, how desperately I need Your help!
Both cars needing expensive work--Jehovah Jireh!
11. 3 gifts of change
New class 
New professor
New learning team
12. A gift small, smaller, smallest
Hummingbirds outside my window
Jet black bumblebees
Tiny new rosebuds on my miniature rose bush
13. 3 gifts read
The cookbook I finally found after thinking it was lost
Instructions that help me get it right the first time
David's story and God's heart in it
14. 3 gifts said
"Good job!"
"I love you, too!"
"I'm on my way home."
15. 3 gifts re-read
Psalm 25 that we are supposed to be memorizing (I wish I was better at this!)
Good quotes and things I need to remember while studying
David's story
16. 3 gifts burning
The sun, lighting our days and heating them up to summer-like temperatures (so ready for fall!)
My desire to be excellent in all I do (boy, do I have a long way to go!)
Hopefully calories!
17. 3 gifts ugly-beautiful
Scrub Jays--ugly personalities, beautiful birds
Having such a long way to go, but being on the way
18. A gift shared, saved, surrendered
Lunch at Chipotle with Hero Husband
My old favorite wallet, all fixed up with some lovely saddle soap
19. 3 gifts unexpected
Bright green bug riding on the hood of my car
A pair of young deer  right up close
Friday night lights!! Way to go, Jalen!!!
20. 3 gifts unconventional
"Misplaced modifiers"--I'll misplace my modifiers if I want to!!
Online classrooms
Scrambled eggs with mustard--yum!
21. 3 gifts undervalued
Getting to sleep at a reasonable hour and intentional rest
Wedding vows--heartsick over how many people give up when things get hard
Freedom--may our country have the wisdom to preserve it
22. A gift silent, still, strong
Watching birds in the birdbath from indoors
The surface of the water when they're finished
El Shaddai
23. 3 gifts begun
This week's reading for my class
New team project
Planning for Thanksgiving (Hero Husband's family gathering at my house this year!)
24. 3 gifts accomplished
Cleaned out email inbox (it had ballooned to over 11,000 emails--yikes!!)
Fixed whatever was wrong with my Outlook
Reading this week's four chapters of my textbook, two electronic reserve readings, and an eBook in plenty of time to do the homework that goes with it!
25. 3 gifts enjoying
Old records by renowned pianist, Roger Williams, (who went to school with my Great Aunt Edie), given to me by my Uncle Craig.
Fairy tales, sci-fi tales, and the singing contests I simply cannot resist.
Flowers blooming in my new hanging basket outside my front door
26. 3 gifts extravagant
The iridescent emerald green on the hummingbirds outside my window
The robin's egg blue and marshmallow white of an October sky in California
The deep, rich shades of sable and mink that look back at me from the eyes of these three that I love so much!
27. A gift humbling, honoring, happy
Compliments from teammates
The gratitude I feel for our troops, for those I know and those I don't know, heroes all!
The PBR World Finals--Thank you, Chris Shivers for a career that will be an inspiration for generations to come!
28. 3 gifts in Christ
My dearest Friend
My gentle Shepherd
My majestic King
29. 3 gifts on time
A day off from school work!
Getting Drummer Boy to work
Finally getting to watch a football game with Hero Husband!
30. 3 gifts overjoyed
Happy to hear from friends who weathered Sandy's wrath and came through okay!
Those utterly unique shades of red and green and the glorious fragrance of British Columbian McIntosh apples in the store today!! They smell and taste like home!
The froth and juice of biting into one of them!!!
31. 3 gifts hallowed
The cool of the morning
The wonder of quietude
A drop of water hanging heavy from a rose petal
1. 3 gifts eaten
The single, perfect bite of a mini Milky Way Midnight
Homemade vegetable soup for lunch
Forbidden rice
2. 3 gifts worn
The cross around my neck that I never take off
A shade of lipstick I like
My red sweater that it's almost not too hot to wear (so ready for cool weather!)
3. 3 gifts that start with N
Nuts that make such a yummy, nutritious snack
Nikon =)
Name above all names!

   Beauty in His Grip Button
On In Around button
A heartfelt thank you to these generous bloggers
who make these communities available!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Gratitude Goes On


Have you given up on me? I wouldn't blame you if you had!! It has been far too long since I've posted anything, and I'm afraid today isn't a normal post either, but it is evidence that even when life crowds in and pushes some things out of the picture for a time, the gratitude goes on!

All is well and God is good, friends!! September has been busy with a very demanding class at school and a wonderful, fun-filled, celebratory, re-unifying, much-too-short family get-together with my family from all over North America to celebrate my little brother's wedding! How we laughed and enjoyed our time together!! JOY! JOY! JOY! And boatloads of EUCHARISTEO!!

Wishing you all a week filled with gifts and praying that I will soon be back to something like a normal blog schedule! I miss you!!


Joining Ann Voskamp in counting His graces for her Multitudes on Monday
I hope you'll join in if you haven't already!
In the counting of the endless gifts I say with C. S. Lewis,
"This also is Thou!"

Counting my next 1000 Gifts, joining Ann in The Joy Dare--like a scavenger hunt for graces, gifts and glory!! Wanna come along?  I dare ya!!

The continuing JOY DARE: 
#1738-1821 (September 2nd through September 29th)

2. 3 gifts cut
Crunchy, sweet, juicy carrots
Thin slices of tri-tip, dripping with barbeque sauce
My time behind the wheel since I now have two kids driving
3. 3 gifts yellow
Fragrantly ripe bananas
Neon yellow sticky-note tags that help me organize school stuff
Mustard on scrambled eggs
4. A gift cool, warm, sun-soaked
Morning air
After dinner coffee with Hero Husband
Mt. Diablo in the afternoon
5. 3 gifts autumn
My birthday, and the extraordinarily sweet and generous ways my family blessed me
Getting to watch a great big turkey hen fly right over the house!
6. 3 gifts growing
The number of classes I've completed! (six so far)
My excitement for the upcoming wedding and family time
My love for my beautiful family--more every day!
7. 3 gifts given
The sacrificial way my kids gave toward my birthday gift--so much more than I would ever have dreamed!
Little presents for my niece & nephews
Unexpected chance to see a friend too long away!
8. A gift made, masked, marveled
Delicious dinner made by She So Sweet
The colors of sunset
9. 3 gifts framed
My children's faces
Cherished memories
Endless beauty I see through my camera's lens--I see in rectangles!
10. 3 gifts moving
Spinning, revolving earth that moves according to His command
Me, moving through life's seasons with joy and great company
Clock hands and calendar pages that help me keep track (could they slow down just a little?)
11. 3 hard eucharisteo
The stress from so many good things to do
The friction that sometimes arises seemingly out of nowhere
That iron sharpening iron produces sparks
12. 3 gifts in His Word
Stories that help us understand
Promises that help us live in hope
Encouragement that keeps us going strong
13. A gift scented, scrawled, started
Lavender Mint shampoo at Paul Mitchell The School
Grocery list that we all add to, as needed
This week's school work--so much of it in this class!
14. 3 gifts drawn
The faces She So Sweet is so gifted at drawing
The drawings Drummer Boy does for his art class, even though he hates doing it
Blinds that help keep it cool when the afternoon sun beats in
15. 3 gifts paired
She So Sweet singing with her friend, Bianca
A pair of new friends I met at Starbucks
16. 3 gifts shared
Photography--shared with both my kids
Crazy moments when messes happen and you find a way to come out closer together
My colorful new kitchen knives
17. 3 gifts ugly-beautiful
Evidence that this house is lived-in
Evidence that the people in this house have plenty of clothes that need washing
Evidence that time is precious and in short supply
18. A gift fixed, folded, freckled
My sunglasses finally adjusted so they don't fall off!
Clean pillowcases
Cute kid noses
19. 3 gifts in conversation
Grace for ruffled feathers
Plans sorted out
Jokes, puns, and witticisms
20. 3 gifts in salvation
Forgiveness--oh how I need it!
Hope--oh how it sustains me!
Relationship--oh what a wonder!
21. 3 gifts in information
How to get where you're going
How far you have to go to get there
The ability to make plans to connect with people
22. A gift rattling, receding, reclaiming
The blades of a very welcome fan
Heat when the sun goes down
Comfortable clothes and relaxation after the big event
23. 3 gifts quiet
Late night and early morning
Peaceful places
24. 3 gifts funny
Family banter on a road trip
Young cousins giggling uncontrollably together
My 1yo nephew's already developing sense of humor
25. 3 gifts finished
A wonderful, too-short trip to Southern California for a beautiful wedding
A difficult week of school, completed despite being out of town--I love online learning!
At least most of the things I had hoped to accomplish before the trip--nice to come home to a clean house!
26. 3 gifts flourishing
My mini rosebush I planted outside
All the birds who seem to love the new location of our birdbath
Both my children who are enjoying great favor and high praise in their respective jobs--hard work and caring about customers are a potent combination!
27. A gift unexpected, uneven, unpopular
The Kindle Fire HD  I unexpectedly received for my birthday--it is an unexpected little treasure of usefulness and fun!
The uneven surfaces of streets and roads that need fixing, but for which I am very thankful
Opinions, and the freedom to hold and express them
28. 3 gifts shy
She So Sweet (who doesn't let her shyness hold her back!)
Birds whenever I pull my camera out
The lizard who lives behind our mailbox--Peek-a-boo!
29. 3 gifts shelved
My overflowing pantry--plentifully stocked and severely in need of  attention!
My accumulating collection of school textbooks--each one representing a milestone on the way to my goal!
My desk cabinets, newly organized and a joy to behold (sometimes I open the doors just to enjoy the view )


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You will find Scripture quotes throughout the posts of Up the Sunbeam. I am careful to note which translation I am using with a 3-letter abbreviation after the reference. Here is a list of the ones I use, for your information:
LEB --Lexham English Bible--Scripture quotations marked (LEB) are from the Lexham English Bible. Copyright 2010 Logos Bible Software. Lexham is a registered trademark of Logos Bible Software.
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