Monday, April 25, 2011

Multitudes on Mondays. . . continuing to count graces bestowed

311. That He is the keeper of restless hearts!

312. That He knows the answers to all things that concern me and will direct my path in the right way.

313. Knowing that this will come in HIS time.

314. Opening a bag of navy beans and hearing them fall into a pan. It brought back memories of making bean bags when I was a kid and using them for as a “patsie” for our hop-scotch games. I wonder how many sidewalks we chalked up with those games and how many hours we spent playing????

315. The smell of navy beans cooking slowly on the stove.

316. Watching carrot peels fly through the peeler as Buster waits for his carrot.

317. Talking with my brother through Skype.

318. Sycamore tree leaves that wave all day in the breezes. They’ve grown so large in such a short time.

319. My old, old car that never gives up and gives me no trouble.

320. Dinner and fellowship with new friends.

321. Listening to their hearts, their vision, where they are and where they want to go.

322. Stars. So many stars. And I always think of that verse, “When I consider the heavens, the moon and the stars, what is Cora that God should be mindful of ME?” (personalization mine!)

323. Broccoli casserole. A new recipe with biscuits, rice crispies, cheese and chicken. Just too good.

324. A clean kitchen floor.

325. Seeing how God works and brings people together who have a vision--- with empty planters, of all things.

326. Man of Sorrows, What a Name, for the Son of God who came - ruined sinners to reclaim -- Halleleuah, what a Savior!

327. That He carried a cross and His love for me was so great that it held Him there until the debt was fully paid.

328. Trying new recipes --- gets me out of old ruts.

329. Finding cucumbers hiding under big, protective leaves.

330. Finding out that birds love my blackberries more than I do.

331. Waking up to what sounded like a herd of elephants on my roof ---- the vultures are back. (I’ll have to think about what to be thankful for with this one!)

332. A Pastor with the most tender of hearts.

333. The music of the Ressurection and the joy on the faces of those who bring it to me.

334. Hearing the tender heart of an 80 year old man as his love and concern spilled over his lips and eyes. His wife had a stroke last week and he has not left her side until tonight.

I'm joining with hundreds of others who are counting their gifts and blessings. If you would like to read their lists, please click here:

Friday, April 22, 2011

It Is Finished

If you had been chosen to live in Bible times, there may have come those days we all dread called, “hard times.” There were no banks, mortgage companies. . . But you had neighbors and friends. And most likely, one would be willing to loan you whatever it was you needed.

It was custom back then, just as it is today, for the two parties involved to sign a note -- an agreement of the amount owed and time of payment, etc. It was witnessed, and put away for safe keeping.

I remember the days when I had a house payment, a car payment, a few credit cards, etc., etc. I knew each of these companies held a legal document with my signature -- a paper that detailed my agreement to pay each month a certain amount until the debt was paid. I also remember the day when I just knew. . . I was sick with horror because I KNEW I could never pay it all back. I had no income, I had illness looming in front of me . . .I was in trouble.

Back to Bible times. When you had paid your debt to your friend, this piece of paper (the record of your debt) was brought out. In front of witnesses, skin was cut, blood flowed, and into this blood a pen was taken and dipped into the blood. The word, “Tetelestai” was written across the note -- in blood.

The word translates -- Paid in Full.

The same word that Christ cried from the cross that reads “It is finished!”

All that I owed, All of MY sin, All of YOUR sin -- paid for IN FULL -- a legal transaction, signed in blood, accepted by the Father, for ME, For YOU.

If you still carry the burden and guilt of the sin payment you cannot pay, please know that Jesus, God’s Son, has made the payment for you and accept His “Paid in Full” today.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Multitudes on Mondays: Counting Gifts

Continuing with another week of living in the present moment and seeing all the gifts that God has rained down upon me:

272. Encouragement from a friend in an email. Nothing like a good morning pick-me-up.

273. Unsually chirpy birds. Especially the flycatchers. They sound like police whistles out there.

274. Crab cakes! A gift sent to us --- the best Maryland crab cakes there are. HUGE ones with great big lumps of crab. A dream come true. Thank you, Jackie!!!

275. Reading other bloggers’ lists of gratitudes. There just isn’t anything more uplifting than joining into others’ thanks. Some hard, some precious, some funny, some priceless, but all of it is soul food!

276. Pea soup. Homemade. My sister made a crock pot full and gave me a quart for tomorrow’s lunch. My favorite soup ever!

277. Tiny, little green beans appearing on my plants.

278. VERY busy birds building nests in the birdhouse. And argue???!!!! One brings straw and grass or whatever, the other throws it out (not good enough, I guess), they fuss at each other for a while, then the other goes off for more stuff. I didn’t know birds needed marriage counseling!

279. Spring breezes -- branches always swaying, leaves moving -- there’s a gentleness about it all.

280. The beginning of a website for a friend and his singing group. He asked. . . I said I would try. . . And it’s working and coming together so far. I really had no idea why I said yes . . . I never did this before.

281. Finding a way to help someone in need.

282. Taco salad for. . . Late lunch/early supper. Just too good!

283. Hope. It’s a word I’ve thought a lot about lately. You don’t really think about it until you have none. Or think you don’t. This past weekend, I saw hope in someone’s eyes -- and it moved me tremendously. I haven’t forgotten it, either. I’m trying to think if I have EVER seen this before. People have expressed their hope verbally, or I have seen things done in a hopeful spirit, etc. But to see it in someone’s eyes. . . I will not soon forget that.

284. A doctor who cares and listens.

285. A reminder of God’s guidance: “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21

286. Sounds of motorcycles riding down the street.

287. Cool, brisk spring morning.

288. Finding Mrs. Cardinal all honkered down on a little nest built in dead vines on my porch. Now I can’t take them down until she’s raised her family!!!!

289. Hearing Mr. Cardinal sitting on a branch a few feet away singing to her. How sweet is that???? A real love song!

290. Picking the first green beans of the season. Just enough for supper.

291. A new veggie I’ve never eaten before. Beet greens. Since there were NO beets, it seemed such a waste to have those beautiful reddish green leaves go to waste. So I looked up a recipe to see if they were really edible, and sure ’nuf, they are! Some bacon, onion, garlic, apple juice, throw in the greens, and . . . . Oh my!!! Of all the greens I’ve eaten, this has to rate up there as the all time best. Sweet, tender. . . . Just yummy!

292. Watching Buster gobble up his dinner of “fishies.” When I got him at 8 weeks old, the guy told me he had been raised on canned mackerel, that it’s full of all the oils, Omega-3 stuff, and everything that’s good for a dog. So since he loves it, I’ve continued. Not every day, but maybe once a week. He can find the red can in the cupboard. Fishies to Buster is like Prime Rib to me!

293. Bible Study tonight. What a pick-me-up! The happiest bunch of Christians I’ve ever met.

294. The old hymn, “Oh Love that wilt Not Let Me Go.” In thinking of Easter approaching, there is such peace and hope in knowing beyond any shadow of doubt that the Love that held Him on the Cross is the same Love that holds me for eternity.

295. Green beans. I picked enough for supper. All perfect. That struck me. Mainly, because the last bunch I bought at the grocery store were full of bad spots, some a little “rotty” , etc.

296. Buster’s response to, “Let’s go do the beans.” Nothing makes him happier than to stick his big brown nose into those beans to see what I’m picking. He loves them raw.

297. Grocery shopping. . . Not that I like the task that much, but that I’m able to do it. I never thought about it much until there was a time when all I could do was about 2 aisles. I think of that now as I rush up and down those aisles, push a heavy cart loaded with big dog food bags, potatoes, detergent, etc. And that’s only the half --- the other half is getting it in and put away. I have to really stop and remember push the “thank you” button for being able to do that. It’s kind of hard when Buster is pushing his way between my legs to check every bag for something for him.

298. Watching a Blue Jay pull off a new oak leaf and jam it into a nest ---- right over my head. How in the world did he sneak that nest building right under (or above, I should say) my nose???? I now have a cardinal, flycatcher, wren, and blue jays all settling in and planning families.

299. A shirt full of teeny weeny kittens. We don’t need more kittens, but there they were. I picked them all up, made a little “sling” out of the bottom of my tee shirt, and I just looked into those eyes. It’s always the eyes that get me. . ..

300. Peeling another million potatoes and boiling eggs for Sunday night supper after church. I’m becoming a pro peeler!
301. Grace that is always greater than my sin. Like my faucet washing them all . . . . Away. . . Gone . . .down the drain. . . Can’t get them back.

302. Incredible Sunday morning service! Pastor’s sermon was from Jeremiah, where God promises the eventual end to the old covenant of law and lists and the priesthood who would give and interpret the law, etc., and the new law which would be written on our hearts with the forgiveness of sins and how He would remember our sins no more. I remember being about 20 years old and in my third year at Bible school. Law and Grace was the class. A whole semester of studying law and grace, Galatians, Romans, and all that went with it. I didn’t get it. Little by little, over many, many years, I finally got it.
Why couldn’t I have heard this 20 minute sermon 40 years ago???? Thank you, Lord for a Pastor who can give understanding to the simplest of people ---- like me!

303. And all those who finally got it and who knelt at the altar and were freed from those horrible lists and laws and rules and struggles of trying on their own to make it into Heaven!!!

304. The cross. That it still has the power to reach anyone and cleanse sin.

305. That He remembers them no more! If only I could forget them like He does!

306. Watching a small child walk up to the band in church holding her harmonica and joining them during the song service. Didn’t matter that she really can’t play. Didn’t matter that she just played one note. The joy on her face lit up mine --- and everyone else’s!

307. New life. First baby cardinal has hatched. You would have thought I had a baby myself!!!

308. To hear God’s whisper of “Peace! Be still” to the troubling, churning waters of my soul.

309. Jello. That good old stand by that’s all jiggly, clear and clean looking with chunks of pineapple and manderin oranges. I forgot about jello. Hadn’t made it for years!

310. Learning the historical meaning of Easter. I had no idea it all came from the worship of the goddess Oestra. She found a wounded bird, and with her powers, it turned into a giant rabbit. This rabbit made Oestra angry and she didn’t love it anymore. The rabbit went away, but came back once a year. On that day, he moved through the land very quickly, laying colored eggs all over the place (remember, he used to be a bird!). Later, as Christianity spread, they changed the name to Easter, and incorporated some of the practices of easter egg hunts, bunnies, etc., into our Resurrection day. So now you know the rest of the story!

If you would like to read the lists of others who are journaling their graces and gratitudes, click here:

Friday, April 15, 2011

Please pray for Catherine

Please pray for this sweet little girl..Catherine..who has been diagnosed with a brain scary and sad for her and her family..her dad is a Army vet (with 4 tours in Iraq). Funds are being asked for so she and her family can go to Sea World as she's always wanted to go...before her sight is gone....She's only 12 years old..
You can read more about Catherine and her family, where to donate, etc. on Nancy's blog ...Please pray for a miracle, comfort and healing for her and her family as this has been devastating for them as you can imagine.....

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Let's All Help Vicky

Vicky Westra is a beautiful young lady who is happily married, who loves raising her little family, who fits the part beautifully as "hocky mom", and. . . now has to take the journey through breast cancer treatments. Diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, we are rallying around like a bunch of busy bees, momma angels, protective bears, and warrior soldiers, all ready to fight like girls do and hold this beautiful woman up right to the victory line.

Me? I MAKE these angels. You? You can BUY the angels! Vicky? SHE gets the money.

These angels are made from breast cancer fabrics, hankies, quilt pieces, quilt tops, and a variety of laces. They measure about 6" long and 3 inches at the wingspan. They come with hangers (like for ornaments) but these can be cut off, a pin backing attached. Several people have used them pinned on their shirts in the Breast Cancer walks, or used them at fund raisers, etc. They also make great additions to handmade cards, etc.

You can purchase these angels with one click through Paypal. You will get two angels for $5.00. Here are the first ones ready to go. Order early! I'll be listing different styles during the next few days.












Please feel free to link up with me, make a post on your blog, whatever you can, to spread the word! Thank you so much!!!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Counting Gifts - Week of April 11, 2011

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. -- Hebrews 12:2

I continue to look for gifts and blessings that the Lord continually sends my way, and in doing so, it ultimately lifts my eyes to Him, who gives us all things freely. Join with me as I share all that I found this week. . . .

226. Watching a group of vultures pull a dead animal off the road into the yard. They begin to pull, peck, rip while two stand back and guard their dinner. Oh Lord, please don’t let me die outside!!!!! I don’t want to be plucked apart like that!!!! It’s amazing, though, how quickly they can clean up the mess.

227. Bean plants sending out little twiney thingies looking for sticks and things to climb. It was a slow start, with some having to be replanted, but now all look healthy and promising for lots of beans!

228. Waking up to thunder and a slow, drizzly rain.

229. Birds who seem to have gotten used to being wet and just shake it off.

230. Baby squirrels peeking out of their houses with long faces as rain pours down around them.

231. Buster at my feet, head on the window sill, thinking abut rain. .. More rain!

232. Coffee. The sounds a pot makes when it’s DONE!

233. A down day and then the encouragement with a question: Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. Psalm 43:5

234. Disappointment. Learning that when He says No does not mean He does not love me.

235. A lap harp, of all things!!!! I may never be an accomplished musician, but this I figured out in minutes! Delusions of grandeur???? The best part is the eagle! A hand-carved eagle in the middle of this. . . Thing! A few years ago, as I journeyed through the valley of breast cancer, a dear friend constantly reminded to rise on the wings of eagles. It had boiled down to one word “WINGS”. That’s all she had to say, and I knew. . .! So today, I’m reminded again that if I just wait on the Lord, I shall rise up on the wings of eagles.

236. The cry of peacocks in the distance. The sound carries on a cool, clear spring night.

237. Early morning rays of sunlight shining like little spotlights through the trees on bright pink roses.

238. Shivery cool sunny morning after days of cloudy rain.

239. Choices I CAN make that CAN make a difference in my day: like joy instead of irritableness, trust instead of worry, others instead of self, smile instead of frown.

240. Acceptance of things I CANNOT change, knowing they come from Him -- and what comes from Him will always be for my good.

241. Never tiring of the thought of grace. Grace that brought me safe thus far. . .

242. The smell of a roast cooking in the crockpot. Even better when it’s the free one. 243. You know, the “buy one get one free” deal. Some divide up the cost, making each half price --- me??? I like thinking one was FREE! It tastes better somehow that way! And since this particular one has jumped out of the freezer and hit my toe one too many times, it HAD to go!

244. The smell of potatoes as I wash them. Like earth. Brown, wet dirt. Like just-dug-up fresh potatoes.

245. Sound of motorcycles going down my street. A reminder to pray for my pastor and all that is going on in his life right now.

246. “See how big the tree has grown. . .” Couldn’t help but notice that a tree I had planted as a stick a few years ago just took off like there’s no tomorrow! Just beautiful!

247. Wisteria vine all lush and plump after shedding its blooms. And did I never notice before. . . Hundreds of little “beans” or pods hanging on the vines. Too cool!!!!

248. Talking with big sister on Skype! Isn’t that just the best thing??? -- Who would have ever thought that we could sit and see each other, talk --- for free!!!

249. The sound of Amazing Grace in the background. Never get tired of hearing it. Grace. . . For ME! Always more. . .Always amazing!

250. Coffee with my nephew. Always so good to see him again when he comes to visit his Mom.

251. Buster’s excitement when I bring in the mail. Didn’t know why, until I saw a little package from Nancy. Buster just knew. . . . And so did I. We ripped it open together and there was a new toy (which is now named, “little toy”) and some chewies. Nancy has been Buster’s “pen pal” since I got him, sending handmade blankies, toys, and most of all, her love and encouragement and confidence that he would make it through puppy hood. He has carried that “little toy” all over the place, slept with it, slobbered all over it. Love it!

252. Bags of trash in the dumpster. How in the world do I make so much trash???? One thing nice about living out in the country --- nice big dumpster. We share one with four families, and it makes getting rid of “stuff” so much easier.

253. Sharing a crisp, sweet apple with a friend.

254. Watching little eaglet hatch. I’ve been following this live cam for weeks, and #3 has hatched. I was cheering him on and was just amazed. The end got me, when Momma so gently nestled down on all three of her young un’s. Alone, way up there in that cold wind -- there was a tenderness there, and I felt myself under the wings of the Almighty, all safe, warm, and protected from storms. I’ve watched her get rained on, snowed on, heard the wind blowing through her feathers, but there she stays, always, always all for her babies!!!

255. Fellowship with hungry believers at Thursday Night Bible Study.

256. A Pastor whose passion is to teach God’s Word so his flock will never be deceived and led astray.

257. The person who brings all the bakery goods left over from the local grocery store. All the wonderful breads, pies, pasteries, cakes, etc. It is such a blessing and help for those who are struggling in these hard times. For me tonight? I broke down and brought home a sugarless blueberry pie.

258. Sounds of the washing machine going through it’s cycles.

259. In reorganizing my cupboards, I realize how blessed I am with extra food -- always more than enough. I am so guilty of complaining of “having nothing to eat.” Forgive me, Father, when there are so many right now going hungry.

260. Cucumbers that seem to be growing before my eyes!

261. Leftovers. No cooking tonight. Leftover potroast, baked potato, and green beans from my garden that I froze last summer. Just too good!

262. Learning a new song. “Paint your Picture” was playing on someone’s blog last week as I made the rounds of gratitude lists. To me, it was one of those songs that just doesn’t leave you. If I’ve listened to it once, I’ve listened a hundred times. If you’ve gotten this far in reading my list today, you’ve probably already heard it playing.

263. Discovering a bird’s nest built right under my nose in some old, dead vines. I was getting ready to pull them all down. . . . I just can’t!!! It’s so tiny. . .!!!

264. Finding a way to help someone in need!

265. A friend helping me peel mountains of potatoes for potato salad tomorrow.

266. A big, meaty sub for lunch. Haven’t had one in what seems like ages. It’s been yogurt and a little cereal for a million lunches in a row. I wanted real food just once!

267. Smiles from a happy bagger who pushed my cart and loaded my car.

268. A most beautiful necklace found in my mailbox. A ribbon. . . A pink stone. . . All surrounded by the engraved words, “By Grace Alone.” God’s Grace gift appropriately arriving on the two year anniversary of finishing treatments. A forever reminder that it IS by His grace alone that I am here, that I have today -- another day to see ALL His grace gifts poured down on me! Thank you, Lord!

269. The privilege of blessing someone -- only to be blessed so much more in return.

270. The absolute joy of hearing Ella Mae sing, “Tell it to Jesus.” How often do you get to hear a 90 year old, frail little lady sing??? I don’t think there was a dry eye in the church tonight. She walked slowly up to the piano with her walker, sat on the bench, picked up the microphone, and just . . .sang! I’ll never forget it.

271. Marty! A moment in time to give and receive a hug -- a moment in eternity as I saw Jesus in his eyes -- a moment of sharing a vision, seeing what he sees, seeing the next step.

Every week, hundreds of "gift counters" gather together at Ann VonKamp's website, A Holy Experience, and post their links to their weekly lists of gifts. It's an awesome experience to read all of these. It becomes a contagious thing -- this gift counting. And I always go away smiling with a heart that is lighter and a song on my lips. Join us, won't you? Just click the link below:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

By Grace Alone

April 10 will always be a special day for me. A day of celebration, a day of contemplation, and . . .one of rededication. Two years ago today, I finished the last of treatments for breast cancer. I remember walking out those huge, heavy glass doors. I was happy it was over. THANKFUL it was over!!! But there was an uneasiness there. I've since found out that EVERY gal that goes through this has the same feeling: Is this it? No more? I'm just supposed to go on? And all the "what if's" flood in. I had been clinging to doctors and nurses and radiologists and technicians and trusting them to poison me, cut me up, burn me to a crisp, and then pat me on the back and pretty much say, "see ya!" The walk down that sidewalk was a hard one.

Since that day, my heart has changed. Through all the struggles, doubts and fears the Lord has taught me much -- most of which I've posted here over the years. I've learned that each day is a gift -- no -- each day is FULL of gifts, each one a gift of His grace.

I didn't get my mail in yesterday. My mailbox was being held hostage by vultures who had pulled fresh roadkill to the side of the road. So I left it there until this morning. And this is what I found in my mailbox --- perfect in God's timing, perfect in all it means to me. If I had to write a title to my life this is what it would be! By Grace Alone.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Flowers that Speak

Henry Ward Beecher said:
"What a pity flowers can utter no sound.
A singing rose,
A whispering violet,
A murmuring honeysuckle --
Oh, What a rare and exquisite miracle would these be!"

I don't think Mr. Beecher was listening, because mine DO speak.

Roses sing a song that praises their Creator for light and warmth of sunshine, gentle rains, the strength of branches that hold them high, for rich perfume the ascends like insence to the throne of God, for thorns. . .Yes, thorns. And the rose speaks and says, "Because of my thorn my strength is made perfect in weakness."

The violet whispers soft, and those who would hear bend their knee to listen. She is small and fragile, no branches for support, no hiding place from storms, no strong voice to warn against heavy, crushing footsteps. Yet in the crushing, her fragrance is released, but she is not broken. Slowly, she raises her head again and looks into the heavens and to the one who created her and whispers, "For you, Lord. Only for You!"

The honeysuckle murmurs as she hangs in a most unlikely place -- an old fence line, a dead tree, an unattended wall. So many of us, all alike, crowding in and pushing ever upwards towards the heavens. Yet, look! It is our numbers that make us strong, it is in many that our fragrance reaches far. It is each of our soft, murmuring song blended together that makes us strong like an angelic choir. We sing softly to those who build their nests with our vines. We cover and protect. We bloom, and raise our faces to the One who placed us here.

My flowers speak to me. Have you listened to yours lately?

What does your life speak today? A verse that came to mind for me is Psalm 27:4 --
One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Real Friends

"To know someone here or there
with whom you can feel there is understanding
in spite of distances
or thoughts unexpressed --
that can make this life a garden."

Thank you, Lord, for giving me some of these. Thank you for sweet words in emails and cards, for the different fragrances each one leaves behind. Thank you for smiles that don't need words, for hugs that speak volumes, for hands that squeeze tight in prayer. Thank you for flowers blooming in my heart's garden today!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Counting Gifts - Week of April 4, 2001

The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!
~Henry Ward Beecher

Another week has passed, and once again, I had no problems seeing the grace gifts that the Lord pours out upon me. Sometimes they come too fast and I miss writing them down. I strain to remember, but they are gone. I'm thinking I need a little recorder with me. But this is the best I could do as I continue with Multitudes on Mondays -- joining Ann VonKamp's group of gift counters:

180. Answers to come.

181. Pouring rain -- Buster wondering if he gets to play outside today.

182. Sounds of thunder, instant bursts of light from lightening, heavy branches dripping, veggies growing right before my eyes.

183. Hot tea and a fresh roll with apple butter.

184. No air conditioner, no heat running. Seems like we went from freezing to HOT over night --- either that, or I have a very narrow comfort zone. But today is a “free day” --- one I don’t have to pay for to be comfortable!

185. Hitting pot holes on my road of faith. Isn’t it true that just as we think we are gaining ground in our journey of faith that something comes along and we hit the “ker-plunk” of the pot hole! It’s in these moments that I can only pray for more grace to trust, more faith to see, and that the next time I travel this road, the pot holes will be filled.

186. He remains faithful, regardless of how my faith may falter!

187. All that concerns me, He cares about even more!

188. Supper! Baked chicken, oven roasted veggies.

189. Branches that drooped yesterday from heavy rains now lifting their hands toward the sun again.

190. Roses! How is it limbs will break off and fall in these rains, but the delicate rose petals hang in there through it all and are just as beautiful as before?

191. A squirrel carrying a mouthful of nesting material to some secret hideout of hers. She wouldn’t let me see where. I waited and waited, but she had more time than I did and I left.

192. Owl poopy all over my sidewalk! He’s BACK!!!!! Every night he sits there, watching the security light for big moths and other things that go “boo” in the night.

193. Walking to the mailbox for my mail. I’m a counter. I count my steps wherever I go. It’s 65 steps from my door to my mailbox, and I always love the trip. I pass a tree that is VERY dead, and I love seeing all the work that is being done by the woodpeckers. Holes are everywhere. I won’t need to have this one taken down as it is coming down piece by piece.

194. Blackberry bushes full of blossoms. I want more bushes!!! Last year I planted 4 new plants and they took off. I didn’t know what to expect this year after winter passed. But there they are, full of new leaves, new growth and blossoms.

195. Honeysuckle!!! I’m saying “thank you” only because over the years, it has been a beautiful site along my fenceline. It has worn out its welcome, and I want it gone. I want my fence back for other, more useful things, like more blackberries. Anyone know how to get rid of honeysuckle????? It’s taken over!

196. Reading countless lists of gratitude at 3:00 am. Couldn’t sleep, but it was worth it! LOVE these lists.

197. MORE rain!

198. Tree that woodpecker was working on fell last night. He had pecked holes at a level of about 4 feet up from the ground. That’s right where it split and went down. Free tree felling!!!

199. Birds that don’t mind asking (demanding) their daily meal!

200. Watching carrot peelings fly as I peel a pile for my beans. I find it a bit funny that, though I have a bowl in the sink to catch my peels, most end up around the bowl, not IN it.

201. The smell of beans cooking on the stove. Great Northerns with a hunk of ham, lots of onions, lots and lots of carrots. . . . I’m lovin’ it already.

202. Stains coming out of a good blouse. Grease!!!! Dish detergent worked wonders on that one.

203. Scared little kitten huddling under the car trying to keep dry. Loud meows of protest to Momma cat.
Where in the world has this fur ball been hiding out?

204. More rain and this time, a little wind with it. A final cleansing of all old leaves left on the oaks. They are falling, all brown and wet, covering the driveway like a carpet.

205. Buster watching and “smelling” the rain. He just loves to sit on the porch with his nose high in the air sniffing. I wonder, what does rain smell like to a dog? I asked him, but I guess he’s not telling.

206. Eating beans! No fuss, no frills, just good, healthy beans!

207. Feet hanging off the side of the bed and Buster finding them. He uses my toes as a back scratcher and walks back and forth under them.

208. Waking up to sunshine -- rays of first morning light streaming clean and bright through the trees east of the house. After days of rain and dark, damp chill, it looked so beautiful!

209. Remembering that the sun is ALWAYS there, behind the clouds.

210. First calls of the flycatcher. I only hear one so far, calling for a mate. All houses are taken here --- I need more bird houses!!!!

211. Ponderings: I don’t sleep well at night, and my mind starts going down all these rabbit trails. It’s when lots of stuff gets questioned, chewed on and solved. Last night’s trail settled into a campsite of wondering what is the difference between hope and faith. Is there any difference? Of course, Hebrews 11:1 came to mind: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for. . .” and suddenly I realized I knew nothing about a verse I thought I knew everything about. I’ve always thought hope was a few rungs below faith on the ladder of importance. Hope -- like “maybe yes, maybe no, but I hope it’s yes” -- this type of “iffy” feeling in the word. Faith, I thought was concrete. An “it is so” type of firm stand. So what are your thoughts here?

212. Simple lunches: yogurt and cereal.

213. A friend who reminded me of Laura Story’s song, Blessings. I just have to get that CD when it comes out!

214. Tomato plants coming up everywhere!!!! Wouldn’t you know! Last year, I couldn’t get a decent tomato at all. Most ended up on the compost pile. They made wonderful compost ------ and all the seeds are now coming up wherever I used the compost!!!!!! Leave it to God to show me that it is HE who made these things, NOT ME! I’m carefully, with much prayer, transplanting some of them to their own pots!!!!

215. Supper. One of those suppers where you didn’t plan anything, but somehow it all came together. My mustard greens were starting to flower as the sun shone on them today, So I picked all that was left. Quite a handful, I might add. Added to that some fresh picked spinach and cooked those up. Meantime, I had yellow squash in the fridge and didn’t want that to go to the compost pile, so I made a casserole with onions, green peppers, cheese, sour cream, etc. Topped it with those French fried onions. And, of course, some left over beans from yesterday. It was the best of suppers --- even though this “crabby gourmet” was muttering. See??? God sends His gifts in the very places I tend to gripe the most! Isn’t that just like Him to do that???

216. A song in the night. I couldn’t sleep. So here I sit in the stillness of the night. I just can’t believe that this mockingbird never EVER shuts up! It’s 3:00 am. And to join the chorus, there is a rooster crowing and a dove cooing. I had to smile --- it made me turn on my own music.

217. Chicken. Chicken everywhere ---- all over my counters! I went to Sav-A-Lot grocery store today, because I saw their advertisement for chicken leg quarters. Get this: $.39 a pound. I got 30 pounds of chicken for what --- $11.70???? I have no room in the freezer right now, so I’m baking it ALL, taking it off the bones, etc., and freezing in small packages. A day’s work ahead of me. But THANK YOU, LORD!!!!

218. The man who saw the ten pound bag of chicken slide off the bottom of my cart in the parking lot and brought it to me and put it in my car! There are still some nice people out there!

219. Lots of other savings, like big cans of coffee for $4.89. I think I got enough today food for several months of eating.

220. Prescriptions refilled. Every month I am amazed that such a HUGE gift can come in such a LITTLE, TINY bottle. I take Arimidex, a hormone inhibitor, since I had the type of breast cancer that feeds on hormones. If I had to pay each month, it would $479.00 a month. (Nope, that was NOT a typo there!!!!). As I drive away with my tiny little bottle with those 30 tiny little white pills, I have no words ---- just a sighed prayer of thanks to an ABBA Father who worked that all out for me.

221. A hotdog for lunch. Have you ever had one of those cravings that send you out on a treasure hunt????? This was one. I got my favorite hotdogs at the store today, but they had no rolls. What a dog with no roll?! So I thought, no problem --- I’ll stop at a convenience store on the way home and get some. NO ROLLS! I think I pass about 6 on my journey and it was the last one that ONE package left. I grabbed it like it was the last piece of bread on earth. But it made it taste even better!

222. Chicken! Did I mention chicken????? I’m up to my neck in chicken. It’s ALL cooked. I baked it all -- all 30 lbs of it. I feel I’m covered in chicken grease (so is my stove, my floor, everything I touched, etc). But this is how it turned out: After cooking, taking all the meat off the bones, etc., I ended up with 20 cups of chicken meat. (Might have been more, but Buster faithfully waited for a bite from each bone!) So it turned out to be quite a few meals for my $11.70, don’t you think?

223. A great Sunday Morning Service.

224. Great dinner at Applebee’s with my sister.

225. Quietness of sunset. One by one, the birds find their way home. Songs are finished til morning comes again. One lone cardinal comes for one last bite before bedtime.

If you would like to read the lists of others who are also counting, you can find them by clicking the link below:

Friday, April 1, 2011

Blessings in Disguise

This song just says it all!!!