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Monday, March 14, 2011

Gratitudes and Gifts on Mondays

Give your life away in exchange for many lives, give away your blessings to multiply blessings, give away so that many might increase, and do it all for the love of God. Ann VonKamp from her blog entry 3/10/11



I spent more time than I should have traveling from one blog to another reading the multitudes of gratitudes lists posted each Monday. I’m so glad I did. I have read of broken hearts that somehow found the grace to thank the Lord,. I have read of hard situations and times of struggles that praised God over and over for strength and courage and provisions. I have read of happy, good times, times of growth, times of doubt, times of fun. All with hundreds and hundreds gratitudes offered up to the Lord. It’s been an amazing week for me. My faith has deepened greatly, my eyes seem to be open wider and the doom and gloom blurry haze seems lifted to where I can see --- really SEE --- the goodness of the Lord in all things, and my hands have loosened from a clenched fist to being at least a little open and ready to receive “all things” as good gifts from His hand. And so I continue to share my list, giving credit to Him because “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17

69. Lunch! A mixture of leftovers. A little baked potato, a little spam, some pepper cheese, fresh eggs. Oh, I just didn’t want to break those beautiful, fresh eggs. They were so pretty. But lunch was even better all baked together!!!!

70. Bird seed. The whole neighborhood of my feathered friends must stand watch and pass the word quickly. I’m no sooner back in the house and there they are -- splashes of red, blue, gray, brown --- each looking for their favorites on this free for all, all you can eat, buffet!

71. Mailman. A smile as bright as his shiny blue truck. Always remembers. . . . Always asks how I’m doing, waiting for a REAL answer. . . Always willing to bring my mail to the door, remembering days when I couldn’t make it all the way to the mailbox and back.

72. Catbird. I don’t see him often, as he’s skiddish and a loner. But today, he had one thing on his mind. I guess there was a bug in my wisteria. Mr. Catbird had NO appreciation for the beauty of my flowers, but rather, one by one, plucked the blooms off and let them drift with the breezes. He finally found his lunch and was on his way. So I’m minus one cluster of flowers. It was worth watching this guy find his free lunch.

73. Struggles that make me stronger.

74. Doubts that make me dig until faith is sure.

75. The BEST quesadillas!!! (how in the world do you spell those things???) Sauteed onions and peppers, add pieces of cooked turkey. Heat through. Mix up shredded cheese (the kind with the hot peppers in it), dried cranberries and a smidge of honey. Put flour tortillas on cookie sheet, spread onion/turkey mixture on each, then top with cheese/cranberry mixture. Put another tortilla on top. Place in oven and cook till cheese melts. The absolute best!!!!

76. A Skype session with my sister! Always a guaranteed laugh, big smiles, and great conversation. Even Buster made his face known, climbing up on my shoulder and smooching while looking at his face on the screen!

77. Breakfast out with another sister. Stopped at Lowe’s for eggplant plants then wondered WHY???? A good breakfast, then the grocery store.

78. Squeaking of a new toy for Buster! Always a good day when a new toy is found in the grocery bag.

79. Learning how to pray for someone, when you really don’t know what to pray for. I need to give credit here to someone who posted about this a few days ago, but I have no idea where I was, what blog it was on, or whether I read it in a book or what! All I remember, I jotted down, “ Colossians 1 -- how to pray for someone when you don’t know what to pray for.” I knew right away this would be my next memorizing challenge.

80. Small, tiny sycamore leaves popping out on my tree. The long, winter’s nap is over and it’s time. What amazes me most is how small these leaves are, yet perfectly shaped like sycamore tree leaves! They will grow quickly, keeping that shape, and will hang on for about 8 or 9 months, waving their huge hands at me constantly. A perfect shade tree, a sheltering tree, a place of bird feeders, squirrel gymnastics, a pulpit at the top for a crow to preach from. . .but most of all, a tree full of memories.

81. An unexpected gift from a very dear friend! There it was. All wrapped so beautifully in a vintage hankie. Tied with a bow. A copy of Ann’s book, 1,000 gifts. I have felt so selfish because I did NOT want to pass my copy on to anyone. I’ve been clinging to it, going back to it again and again. But now, I have a “special” one to keep and I can give mine away. Lea B! You are a treasure in my life, just as you are to so, so many! Wrapped up in you are more than 1,000 gifts, but the most cherished of all is the one called “friend.”

82. Thursday night Bible study, spilled coffee cleaned up with laughs and smiles, fellowship so sweet, new faces, new babes in Christ -- can it get any better than that?

83. Soft strumming of a guitar, Amazing Grace softly sung with a friend.

84. Morning coffee with a dear friend and neighbor. Sharing hearts, God-moments, and glimpses of “life in the rear view mirror” --- what can be better!

85. A huge, heavy box full of Bible study reference books! Some so old --- from the 1800’s. I love the smell, the yellowed pages, the quaint language. I just love holding them. But the print is soooooo small. How in the world did they read these books by candlelight?

86. French toast made with farm fresh eggs, a little butter, a little honey. . . . Oh, so good!!!!

87. Katy’s quote on her blog, “God made you as you are! He placed you where you are! So you can best serve and glorify Him just as you are, where you are.” Why do I always think a million things have to change before God can use me, that I always need to be “better”????

88. A brisk walk down a little dirt road with my sister. . . And, oh yes, Gypsy, the cat following all the way speaking her mind that we were getting much too far from home for her, titmice yelling at us to get the cat out of their territory, and the wind blowing a chill through us making us wonder if our veggies would freeze tonight???

89. Buster’s little nightmares and whimpering at my feet! Maybe they are big to him, I don’t know. He has had these since I got him as a puppy, and I hug him close every time and remind him that I’m right there. He heaves a big sigh, gives me a kiss, and goes back to sleep. Such a reminder to me to say, “What time I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee.”
How much more He cares for me that I can ever care for Buster! (and that’s a LOT)

90. Tacos!

91. Safety and security. In light of the disaster in Japan, I was reminded today of Psalm 91 -- “HE WHO dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand].
I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust!
For [then] He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.
[Then] He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings shall you trust and find refuge; His truth and His faithfulness are a shield and a buckler.” I wonder if it were me, could I sing, “It is well with my soul?”

92. Jo Ellen -- another breast cancer hero celebrates 1 ½ years since treatment! Her tender heart finds ways to encourage others going down the same horrible pathway
while still fighting herself! Thank you, JoEllen for your courage, faith, and your caring spirit!

93. No damage from frost on my little veggie plants! It reached 34 degrees last night and stopped going down. They shivered a little, but seem ok in the warming sun today.

94. The mockingbird learning new songs. It’s amazing that he does this --- sits on the same utility pole every morning and lets it all hang out. On and on he goes, one song after another. But today was the limit -- the ultimate! I thought it was the crow that wouldn’t shut up. But when I looked???? -- you guessed it --- Mr. Mockingbird has learned this one, too! One bird’s caw is another bird’s song!

95. A message of comfort and hope from a tender-hearted Pastor. To allow the Savior to touch us in all the worst of our situations of life, just as He did the leper in Matt. 8. It took me so long in life to learn about His gentle, comforting, safe touch. I tried so hard to fix everything myself. It’s only when I found myself in the situation where He was all I had that I found out that He was all I needed.

96. An email packed full to running over with encouragement and love. Someone who can just stir up the gifts within you like an old cook with a wooden spoon.

97. Watching a squirrel take a leap of faith from a branch that is just a little too far from the roof. Just barely made it --- hanging by little claws to the edges, pulling himself up.

98. A shared lunch of fish sandwiches from the drive up window at Wendys. Isn’t it neat how you just do certain things with certain friends? And this had always been our thing --- drive up windows, eating in the car, people watching, etc. It’s been a while, and it was great to sit in the warm Spring sun and enjoy a sandwich together again.

I took the time this past week to read as many of the other gratitude counters' lists as I could get to. I can truly say, I did not go away from even one unblessed. There is just something about these lists that lift your heart and cause you to soar for the day! Please click on the banner below to find all these thankful hearts:

37 comments:

misslenbuster said...

Thanks for visiting redeemed days. I'm glad it encouraged you! Come again. Until then, keep relishing the food and the furry friends :)

Blessings.

Anonymous said...

Cora I spend hours reading these – and I smile the whole time. I’m glad I go to yours today. I heart that verse in James – no shadow of turning – it literally means no “eclipse” of God – nothing ever between him and us. My favorite from your list? 97. Watching a squirrel take a leap of faith from a branch that is just a little too far from the roof. Just barely made it --- hanging by little claws to the edges, pulling himself up.(Oh – it reminds me of the Laska and the drapes story – yay squirrel!!!!)

This was so good. Thank you. God Bless.

nancy huggins said...

You do make a lot of us think Cora and not take things for granted so much..I just put a new post in my blog...check it out and Buster will thank you :)

Amy said...

I agree. Reading the gratitude lists is inspiring. I'm reminded to go fill my bird feeders after reading yours. I also enjoyed reading about your activities with sisters. I have three daughters, and I sure hope they're close and counting each other as blessings someday:)

Patty Sumner said...

Again Cora, you always have good things to say and challenge our hearts. Your gratitude list definitely has opened my eyes and heart to be more grateful. Blessings!

Renee said...

What a lovely, lovely list! Thank you so much for sharing and for being so encouraging.

I'm praying for ya this evening :)

Jennifer @ Studio JRU said...

I so love and enjoy reading all the gift lists. We go through bird seed like crazy around here! Life emerging after winter is so beautiful. We love watching the funny squirrels in our yard too!

Jodi said...

Filling bird feeders - yep, that's the best. We have so many colorful birds where I live. We also make a syrup for hummingbirds. Love when they visit.

marlece said...

ok I think you are a woman after my own heart. First of all, the food you had listed here...you had my mouth watering 'til I couldn't take it anymore, love that! And then to top it off...#83 Amazing Grace to the guitar? Oh, I think I love all of this way too much!

Megan said...

As always, you've made my day with the blessing you share so vividly, like a movie they flow through my brain. I can hear that mockingbird mocking the crow HA HA! And I can just envision your meal of Spam and eggs; I've been known to enjoy this same meal. The old Bibles with their yellowed pages, strange & tiny words. I found some old hymn books once upon a time that were filled with shaped notes. I didn't even know what they were until my husband explained to me that people used to read music in this way. I enjoy watching the progress of your Sycamore tree and your wisteria -- I used to call wisteria bumblebee bushes (when I was little), to be avoided at all costs. I always look forward to these blessings of yours! They keep me encouraged and smiling. -Megan-

elizabeth said...

Thanks for your kind comment on my gratitude list...isn't the counting such a blessing!

Deborah said...

Thanks for stopping by. Reading other lists makes you realize how blessed we all are. Thank you for sharing your blessings.

Christina said...

Yummy! The food ones made me hungry:) Thanks so much for sharing!

Southern Gal said...

Thanks for the visit! You are a bird lover, I see. I used ot work for a dentist who keeps his bird feeders numerous and full. He taught me every bird that came to visit while we waited on patients' mouths to get numb!!

Stephanie said...

Cora, I too have been blessed by "too much time spent" reading other's lists. And, my heart too has soared with the AMAZING thought of all the thank-offerings I see. And, it has so opened my eyes to see more, too... reminds me that I too am thankful for quesadillas (however you do spell that?)!

Michelle DeRusha@Graceful said...

Cora, So grateful that you stopped by Graceful and left such a kind and gracious comment -- thank you!

And your list here is amazing -- I am inspired. My favorite: the smiling mailman.

Teri said...

I just noticed that you were blogging again...used to read every day.

You've inspired me to do something similar, I will start with writing down one thing each day that I am thankful for, or made me smile, or perhaps brought me joy.

So glad to be reading your blog again.

Leanne said...

Thank you for your sweet words left on my post. This is such an uplifting way to spend some extra moments! And I felt like I got to know you a bit through your list: I love all your food references! And the squirrel barely making his leap gave me a smile! Thanks!

Ostriches Look Funny said...

I agree, these lists are all such a blessing! The squirrel made me laugh, I saw the same thing the other day and it was hilarious!

Mama Bird said...

This is so beautiful, Cora! I'm so glad I stopped by! :) I'm your newest follower...

By the way, thanks for popping in (haha...I almost typed "pooping in") at my blog.

Suzy Q said...

There is something very special about the gratitude community.
I too come away blessed and refreshed from reading about the ways God blesses lives, both in the great and the small ways.
THank you for taking the time to stop by my place and leave a a comment :)

Debra said...

I am blessed beyond measure for being here and reading your thankful list. Not only are you a fine writer, but you have encouraged me as well. I think I need to get the book, although I have started to record my thankfuls in a sketchbook. I love you Cora. Love to Buster too.
~Debra

Wife, Mother, Gardener said...

Thanks for your sweet comment on my post about thankfulness. It is a challenge to live in NOW... moments are so fleeting.

So glad we can share our struggles and joys with each other... neat to see the Body of Christ.

Thanks! Julie

Trish said...

Cora
Thank you so much for stopping by and for your sweet encouraging words.

It is a blessing to read how God is changing each of us in the community.

I pray the Lord will continue to bless you as you seek Him through this journey.

Blessings,
Trish

thejoyproject40 said...

Thanks so much for your encouragement and adding to my growing gratitude list with your sweet comment. Love the eggplant purchase...too funny.

Dorie said...

Wonderful listing - particularly thinking of #73 and #74, at times hard to be thankful for, but indeed blessings and deserving of gratitude...
I, too, have probably spent more time than I should reading all the gratitude listings, but they do inspire such thanksgiving and praise in my own life - definitely the listings are a blessing in themselves...

Rhonda Schrock said...

I like so many of them; especially like #90 - tacos! Normally, it's Taco Thursday here. The troops cheer, and my poll numbers go up when it's tacos on the menu.

Wishing you a sub in the very near future. :)

Waving and smiling,

Rhonda from the Restless Natives

Erin said...

So sweet of you to read and then encourage those of us who write. Thank you!

And I love your list...especially the french toast...yum.

Kristin Bridgman said...

Thank you so much for stopping by at ponderingsbykris.blogspot.com!
I really, really enjoyed your gratitude list too! You sound like someone I would LOVE to have as a next door neighbor :)
Please come back as I will come back to your beautiful site! :)
Blessings to you
Kristin

Natalie said...

Cora,
Your comments on my blog have been beautiful encouragement- thank you!!! Wow, you are off to a marvelous start on your 1000 gifts! (And you spelled quesadillas right ;)

Amy said...

Hi Cora. Thanks for visiting my blog and saying how grateful I am. I am still working on it. I suffer from atypical depression so it has been a struggle. I am getting there cause I realize how lucky I am.

tinasblog said...

Cora, thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I'm glad you did because it gave me the opportunity to stop by here and read your wonderful list. I don't always have time but I'm glad I made the time tonight. I was truly blessed reading your list. Have a great week. ~Tina

-t- said...

what a wonderful list of gratitude! i enjoyed them all, but there are a few that continue to run through my mind:

73. Struggles that make me stronger.

74. Doubts that make me dig until faith is sure.

87. Katy’s quote on her blog, “God made you as you are! He placed you where you are! So you can best serve and glorify Him just as you are, where you are.” Why do I always think a million things have to change before God can use me, that I always need to be “better”????

Over at Kelly's (http://authenticatingkelly.blogspot.com/2011/03/not-ingrained.html) she is also counting the gift of Mockingbird songs :)

His continued blessings as you continue to count each one :)

MrsH said...

Wow I love your list! One of my dogs whimpers in her sleep when she has a nightmare and a gentle reassuring word is enough for her:)
i am so glad I stopped by as your list has just made me smile. This is also a great reminder for me not to forget the little things in life that bring me joy as well.
God bless!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Cora...

Good to "meet" you! Let's here it for the sisterhood of survivors!

Thanks for stopping by the blog and making the connection. I'm in the very slow phase of recovery but feel as if I'm turning a corner. Like you, I have a great many reasons for gratitude this day.

Blessings to you as you continue your journey. I hope to know you more in days ahead.

peace~elaine

Anna said...

Cora,
Thanks so much for stopping by and your kind comment! My favorites of yours are #83... the soft strumming of a guitar is such a sweet thing to listen to and sing along with... and #96-- the words from a friend, as you put it: "who can just stir up the gifts within you like an old cook with a wooden spoon!" Love that picture! Thanks for sharing.

Denise said...

90. Tacos! Yes yes yes! I love love tacos....... Mercy!

I make the BEST potato salad.. Ask anyone in my family and they will tell you..... I do not like salad dressing so I make it with real Mayo! I leave it room temp and bit size chunks........ and I have a secret ingredient! I bet yours is wonderful but I am so sorry, mine is better! hahahah

secret ingredient is celery salt, but don't tell anyone!