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Monday, March 28, 2011

Counting Gifts -- Week of March 28, 2011

"I remember the days of old,
I think about all Your deeds,
I meditate on the works of Your hands.
I stretch out my hands to You;
my soul thirsts for You like a parched land.
Let me hear of Your steadfast love in the morning,
for in You I put my trust.
Teach me the way I should go,
for to You I lift up my soul."
Psalm 143: 5,6,8

I have gone back to these verses many times this past week. They so perfectly give the progression of the heart that SEES. To remember and think about what He has done, to stretch out open hands for more. . . it all brings me full circle to want more, to hear more, to trust more, to follow closer. . . and to lift my soul to Him in gratitude, worship and praise. And so the list continues. . .



131. Veggie plants still growing --- I haven’t killed them off yet.

132. An always smiling, happy UPS lady.

133. Peach iced tea and my old rocker on the porch. I’m sounding so old!!!! I remember as a kid thinking only old ladies sat on their porches, doing nothing but rocking back and forth. How did I get here so quickly?

134. Watching Buster with his “big blue ball”. He’s had it since the very first day I got him. He still attacks it, runs with it, taunts me with it, and runs some more.

135. God’s patience as I learn to be thankful. As I learn to SEE thankful. As I learn to pray thankful.

136. An email of encouragement from a friend. Load-lifter, burden bearer, bright light in a dark corner, a hand that pulls me along when I’d rather hang back.

137. Reading. I had almost given up. I always loved to read, always had a book. But something seemed to affect my ability to concentrate and I gave up. Perhaps chemo, I don’t know. But I’m so thankful to be reading again. Learning, studying. . .all a passion of mine.

138. A new book --- really, an OLD book --- called, The Valley of Vision. It is a book of Puritan Prayers and Devotions. I will admit and confess to you, I’m a nosey person. If I see a book in your hands, or on your table, or in a picture, I want to know what it is, is it good, and I want to read it. I saw this book in a picture on one of the days of Ann’s postings over at Holy Experience. I think she also quoted a few lines from it.
Strange that I would say this, but I don’t often read books of prayers, or memorize someone else’s prayer, etc. I say “strange” because most of my own personal writings, poems, etc., are words from my heart directly aimed at Heaven and God’s ears. Why would I not read the prayers of others???? So I began. One by one by one, I felt as if I were being taken to the very Throne of Grace. If it be true that we learn to pray by hearing others pray, then, Oh Lord, open my ears and teach me as I read these.

139. Thank you, My Father, for prayer. For listening. For asking me to come. For hearing prayers as short as, “Wow, Lord, did You see that?!” all the way to the soulful, tearful, unending cries of my heart.

140. Thank you for teaching me Who and What you are. Abba -- Daddy! El Elyon -- the Most High God, and all Your most precious Names. What a profound, unique way to teach your children who and what and where you are --- names that describe You, what you are like, what you can do, and how you relate to to me.
Today, I call you El Roi -- the God who sees ME. Sees me as I am in my imperfections, my fears, my lack of trust, my stumbling, my fumbling ways. The God who sees it all, and still -- again and again -- bends down and whispers “It is I who sees you, who will pick you up, and open your eyes to see ME.”

141. A sunset beyond beautiful -- beyond any that I’ve ever seen. There it was, as It turned into my street, the biggest ball of flaming red sinking slowly in the west and into the Gulf.

142. Endless singing of birds! Am I just more aware of it this year or do we just have VERY happy birds this year? Cardinals, Mockingbirds, titmice, chicadees, wrens -- add a few woodpeckers, a crow here and there. . . It’s never ending!

143. Spinach! Last year, I tried growing some New Zealand Spinach. I know, it’s not REALLY spinach. But it is supposed to be close, and it’s supposed to grow in warmer climates ---- hence, my trying it here in Florida. It grew last year, but very slowly, and I lost interest in the heat of summer, etc. I left it in it’s pot like a left over weed. This spring, I dumped the pot of dirt into the wheelbarrow, mixed in new compost, dirt, etc. and filled another pot. Before I could plant something new, the spinach came back. Not only came back, but filled out this HUGE pot with lush happy branches. And it’s perfect ---- almost like a silk plant. I’ve already cut it once and loved it raw in my salad. But here it is, hanging all over my pot and ready to be cut again. Now I wish I had planted more.




144. The never ending drumming of a determined woodpecker. Sweet little thing! Turning a dream of a new home into a headache and a reality!

145. Digging in my trash for cans I threw out yesterday. I want to make Tammy’s bread, all baked up nice in cans. You can find her post here:
http://simplesouthernhappiness.blogspot.com/2011/03/bread-in-can-no-silly-not-bathroom.html

146. Skype call with big sister!

147. Coffee with little sister!

148. It’s official. Came in writing in the mail that mammogram is normal. I figured that no call from the Dr. was good news, but . . . I just wanted to know . . . For sure. I say I trust. “Oh for grace to trust You more!”

149. I mourn the loss of three who recently lost their fight with this dreaded disease. But I am thankful for their brave and heroic fight, their fearless hearts, their faith and their grace. And in my thankfulness for my gift of another day, I look for more. . .all around me. . . More graces, more gifts, clearer vision. I wonder, did I live worthy of this day? Worthy of the gifts given to me freely and abundantly?

150. Looking back. Where I came from. All the way back to memories of my grandmother’s basement apartment. I could still hear her yelling, “Don’t slam the. . . .” as the screen door with the spring went BANG! Back to hiding in large, dark closets, back to hiding my fears. All the way back, looking at my footprints as they journeyed on . . . On to the cross. And I ask why? Why choose ME? Why wear a crown of thorns for me? Oh love, that wilt not let me go. . . .

151. My “littles” in life -- all the things that seem “everyday, take-for-granted” things. Like dish soap, sugar for my coffee, finding the right sized lid to the right sized pot, remembering to buy laundry detergent, ink in the printer, and enough shampoo for one more shower (please, Lord, don’t let me forget on the next trip out!)

152. Did I mention Spinach??? I picked enough for dinner, along with more mustard greens. Just the best ever! Even Buster likes it, silly dog.

153. Good news! REALLY good news! A friend who was going through all kinds of tests because Dr.s thought her Breast Cancer had returned, got her results back. NO CANCER! Thank you, Lord! When I had not heard sooner, I feared the worst! I am NOT good at waiting. I did continue to pray, though, even through my doubting and worst of fears. Why do I just see the Lord smiling right now with a “Will she ever learn” type of look on His face.

154. Watching tiny Sycamore leaves growing bigger every day.

155. Watching squirrel pulling on tiny Sycamore leaves and eating them!!!!!

156. Putting out seed for hungry squirrel!

157. (Next morning) Squirrel sitting in empty feeder threatening to rip more tiny leaves if I don’t hurry with more seed!!!!

158. The sound of my coffee maker dripping. Not sure which I like better, the sound of an old perc coffee pot on the stove or the automatic drip. My Aunt Jen made the best coffee in her little aluminum perculator pot on the stove! Years back, my sister always used a glass one. Me? I’ve either bought it out or used the automatic drip. Never learned the art of true coffee making!

159. A meaningful Bible study continuing in I Peter 2 with a chocolate chip cookie.

160. Fellowship with people who bring chocolate cookies and who are eager to hear God’s word and do what it says.

161. All that I have is all that I need.

162. Knowing that tomorrow, if there is anything else that I need, He will see to it that I have it.

163. Streams of sunlight through the trees bring birds who awaken with a song. Always a song first. . . Then check the feeders. Where did I hear that before????? Give Thanks BEFORE the blessing????

164. Macaroni salad. All mixed up with sun-dried tomatoes, celery, onions, relish, eggs, mayo, relish, mustard -- touch of cayenne pepper. . . .I’m in Heaven!

165. Pan fried pork chops, saurkraut all sautéed with bacon, apples, and apple juice.

166. Green. Everything is green. That new, fresh, springtime green. Do we just get used to it as summer comes on, or does the green change? It’s just so. . . . .GREEN right now!

167. Little chips of wood floating to the ground! I look up and there he is. A little downy woodpecker has pecked a hole in the tree. He’s gone far enough to be totally inside, flinging out unwanted “stuff.” Wood chipper for free!

168. A week of devotionals that are delivered in my email box. They are taken from the book by Ann Spangle about the Names of God. This week, they were about The Bright and Morning Star. I went back several times and reread this particular week.





169. Fellowship and worship with believers.

170. Finding out my sister has read 1000 Gifts and is counting.

171. Music night at our church. Once a month, “music night” alternates where we have it -- either our church or another “sister” church in our area. We were the hosts last night. The church was full, the music was great!
Add to that, a baptism. Perhaps one of my favorite services to witness. It always reminds me of the day I was baptized, reminds me of my own confession of faith. But to hear the testimonies of others is just wonderful. I love the stories of others -- where they’ve been, how they came to know the Lord, their growth and desire to follow Him. Tonight was special --- two men I’ve come to know and respect greatly were baptized.

172. Good food and fellowship afterwards.

173. Jello salad that didn’t set in time. More for me on Monday.

174. Making roasted potatoes, carrots and onions with sausage and a bunch of deviled eggs. Isn’t it always the way ----- just when you are taking eggs to a church function, you get a batch that just won’t peel pretty??? NOT a good thing for the “crabby gourmet” here. Buster got a good amount of eggs yesterday!

175. Waking up to rain! It’s been so dry here lately. And I didn’t listen to the weather reports over the weekend, so it was truly “showers of blessings.” Nothing better than the sound of a slow rain and the dripping off the roof.

176. Tree bark that turns all dark when wet, set against the bright clean and shiny green leaves of spring.

177. Squirrels that seem to know there are little rivers of water flowing down in between the bark. It’s so cute to see them hanging on, getting little drinks with cupped hands. And watching them instinctively run for the underside of a branch when it rains too hard. Nature’s umbrella!

178. The sound of splashing puddles as cars fly down the street.


179. Inspiration and thoughts of obediently following:

To bend the knee and have to put it down,
to pick up thorns to weave a painful crown,
to cast aside a jewel for nails placed in my hand --
His way is best, and better than I planned!"

To leave behind that which is not a cross,
to count as gain what seems a heavy loss,
to bear the scars of wounds from long ago --
His way is best, it’s all I need to know.

To choose to stay, to burn within the flame;
see! gold comes forth to glorify His name.
Unnoticed, cast aside are ashes cold --
dreams I longed to keep but could not hold.

Tears that burn, but still I choose to sing;
blistered feet yet still, I’m following --
Stepping in His footprints in the sand --
His way is best, and better than I planned.
--Cora

There is nothing better than going from blog to blog and reading the lists that others are keeping. I feel that I'm standing in one big, continual shower of blessings that I just never saw before. You can find all these gratitude counters at Ann's blog, A Holy Experience, by clicking on the following link:

32 comments:

Jennifer @ Studio JRU said...

Beautiful list! You always have such a wonderful gift list. A rocking chair on a porch sounds perfect to me. Yay for singing birds! #148... woo hoo... and #153! I also ♥ green!

Patty Sumner said...

Again, so much I can relate to. I am truly blessed as I read you count your blessings. We have so much to be thankful for. Thanks and blessings to you!

-t- said...

this:

135. God’s patience as I learn to be thankful. As I learn to SEE thankful. As I learn to pray thankful.

celebrating His gifts with you :}

Amy said...

Loved reading so many of these. Jealous of peached tea on the porch since I'd freeze about now on my porch or with iced tea. Glad it can happen for you! Adore the Valley of Vision prayers. Adore spinach--I buy too much at the store. Sounds like I should plant some! Happy for your good report from the mammogram and #179 is beautiful. Blessings.

Ruth said...

You and your list are such sweet blessings! Thank you, always, for visiting! May your week overflow with His goodness. ~ Ruth

Jamie @ Six Bricks High said...

Peach iced tea on th porch sounds delightful!

suzy said...

Oh, I really enjoyed reading through your list.
I am also a sunset lover :) Tea, porches and rocking chairs seems like a perfect combination to me too!
As we don't have porches here in the UK (probably because of the rain) they always seem particularly romantic to me :)

Mary B said...

I loved reading your list! Thank you for writing such descriptive thankfulness!! I love spinach...but have never heard of what you describe. Thank you for stopping by my place!

Dorie said...

Oh those verses from Psalm 143 ~ yes, they are so beautiful!
Wonderful blessings on your listing - and yes, it does feel like one big shower of blessings - all praises to Him and a taste of heaven to come, perhaps :-)

marlece said...

when I read your list I think to myself this woman has been thru the fire and if I'm reading things right you look at pretty much all that you do a blessing and so grateful for the life He has entrusted you with so you live it to fullness. I know Jesus is smiling down on you!

Jenna said...

Love the peach iced tea and the rocking chair on the porch...sounds absolutely peaceful to me! Thanks for stopping by Our Adventure with Boys...blessings...jenna

Rie said...

How I love rockers on the front porch!

"How did I get here so quickly?" Can I think with you?

Beautiful list - and thanks for finding me so I could find you.

See Jamie blog said...

A beautiful, beautiful list. Thank you for sharing.

tinuviel said...

What a lovely list. So much detail! I'm thankful with you that you are rediscovering joy in reading. "Valley of Vision" is an excellent place to exercise that; I have a well-worn copy, too.

The Lord bless you and keep opening your eyes to His beauty.

Vicky said...

What a beautiful soul you are and have been such a blessing to my blog. Thank you for your outpouring of love and faith. Its truly an honor to have you come support me and I am happy to finally get a chance to visit here :) Blessings to you!

Becki said...

So, so lovely. Peach tea, the joy of reading again, a clean mammogram -- gifts! Thanks for looking, and for sharing.

Your list inspires me to look again today. :)

Lea said...

What a beautiful glimpse this gives me into your days Cora and to be able to SEE what you're seeing... (thankyou LORD!!!)
So rockin chairs are for old ladies huh? LOL Isn't rocking... wonderful? I love it too!
I'm thinking about the song and Deborah! Awake AWake!!! Reading your list Cora reminds me to wake up and SEE....
Isn't it cool that the spinach took off growing like it did? Before you could replant ... God grew your spinach to FILL and overflow.... Mmmmm that's OUR DADDY!

Amy Nabors said...

What a wonderful list! Thank you for sharing. And it is learning to SEE thankful isn't it?

gabe said...

Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment...

I love so many of your list good news, time with sisters,fresh spinach, and green everywhere...oh, I cant wait for spring!

Miko's Girl said...

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment on my blog. I browsed your list and find we are kindred spirits (rocking chairs and peach tea-delightful). I'm now following you.

Christina said...

Congrats on 148! Praise God! Also loved 161, I will have to put that one on my mirror to read everyday. Thanks for sharing!

nancy huggins said...

Love to read your gift lists and is a great reminder...not sure if I could think of that many things at a time. I to am thankful for Buster..smartest thing you ever did was getting him and knowing he is always there and caring.
I just say a prayer every night that I am thankful for everything and I'm sure God knows what I mean :)
Maybe 1 day I will put it in writing

elizabeth said...

Your list really ministered to me!Thanks so much for your kind comment at my place!

Craig said...

Cora, It is a perfect progression of “better eyes” and a heart that sees. Amen.

My fave was 177. Squirrels – I’ve never noticed them doing this stuff – thank you – I just pick them cause they are so cute.

And for the first time ever reading thank you lists I have my least favorite. Spinach – ichhhh – yuch – blafgh – meh!!!!!! 143. I do NOT heart spinach

God Bless and Keep you and yours.

Teri Lynne said...

Love your list and thank you for your kind comment on my list!!

Deborah Carr said...

It warms my heart so, to be in the presence of one who can put so much love, thoughtfulness and time into creating a such list of gratitude. In these busy times when everything is moving too fast, your blog was a slow walk through the valley of praises.

Thank you...and thank you for spending some time visiting my blog.

Denise said...

Count your blessings name them one by one, count your blessings see what God has done, count your blessings, name them one by one, count your many blessings see what God has done....... do you remember that song? I thought of it while reading your list..... We should all stop and count our blessings...

Pam said...

I believe it was #133 ~ drinking tea while rocking on the front porch that gave me a chuckle. I guess I would be placed in that "old lady" category too! I LOVE my front porch too, although, you'll find me swinging in my swing. It's "my place" to think, read, write, and just sit and enjoy the outdoors. Beautiful post written with heartfelt words. You have a gift : )

Sweet Blessings,
Pam

Kristin Bridgman said...

Thank you so much for coming by and giving your testimony! It encouraged me so:)
You are one of my blessings today, I will have to put that on my list.

misslenbuster said...

so glad the mammogram was negative! I too have been thrilling in the singing of birds and studying 1Peter in my personal devotions! And the potluck? I made macaroni salad and baked corn! The corn was cleaned right up and we just finished eating the leftover salad yesterday :D lol. God bless you! Thanks for visiting redeemed days.

Sweet Magnolias Farm said...

Your list is a blessing to read. You are a kind and gentle spirit, rich beyond earthly treasures. You have found the secret to contentment....you have found Gods purpose and you are living it.
Sweet Blessings, Abbey

Natalie said...

Cora,

You are such an encouragement- thank you again for your comment on my blog! Wow, you are well on your way with your list! When I read the scripture you started with, I was reminded of this song. Maybe you know it? I hope it blesses you!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UduRHJ71RcA