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:


Kristin Bridgman said...

I just LOVE reading your thankful lists! I wish I could be enjoying #183 with you. And I identify with #193, same thing happening here. Your thoughts on faith,hope are interesting, I'll have to "ponder" some on that one.
Thank you SO much for your prayers. They mean SO much to me. You are a precious lady and I am so glad to have met you. What a blessing it would be to get to meet you in person some day :)
Many more blessings to you~

Cindy said...

Just loved your list..and photos...I am amazed you got one of the owl! Thunderstorms, nature, delicious meals, growing our own food, getting to LIVE in it all...lately I have just been amazed at the beauty of this world, and the fact that what we are enjoying so lavishly is the world thousands of years into fallen-ness...what must it have been like before (!) when it is still so stunning now!


Cindy said...

Oh, and I forgot to leave my thoughts about hope...I had learned that the original meaning of hope in the Greek is "eager expectation"...and here is a link to a very good Word Study on hope as found in Hebrews 11:1: reads "to hope, actively waiting for God's fulfillment about the faith He has inbirted through the power of His love"! Wow, that is just so powerful to me, and imparts to me the idea that hope is a very powerful, confident attribute...

Thanks for letting me chime in again!

HopeUnbroken said...

My favorite: "Branches that drooped yesterday from heavy rains now lifting their hands toward the sun again." I so often feel that MY OWN physical branches are so downtrodden by the end of the day. . . but He gives strength by morning to lift my hands toward the Son again.
Thanks for sharing.

Erin said...

So, that apple butter? It sounds delish.

Stains out of good blouses...hooray!

Love your list.

Thanks for coming by and encouraging me & committing to pray for me! I've been blessed!

Megan said...

You gave me the best idea for supper tonight and probably tomorrow night (leftovers). Navy beans! I love them. You give such great descriptions of your blessings. I find myself thinking about them all the time. I'll see something and think, hey, Cora said something about that in her blessings this week. Every time I see a Sycamore tree I think about the one you planted. BTW: I love that owl of yours. We used to have a little one in our garage -- so cute. Okay, time to go to the store and get some dried navy beans. It's cold here in Arkansas again... -Megan-

susanne said...

Cora... i thoroughly enjoy reading your lists. this week, especially "Remembering that the sun is ALWAYS there, behind the clouds." so very, very true, and sometimes to very, very easy to forget.

thank you...

nancy huggins said...

Wow..that is a long list..I think I would have a hard time thinking of that many things but your list always reminds me.
Did you take the pictures of the birds? I have a real simple recipe for making apple butter in a crock pot if you want it. It is the best tasting apple butter ever.
Have a great week Cora and hugs to Buster..I love the picture of him at 12 weeks :)

Terri said...

Cora, I love your list. So many wonderful things to be thankful for. Your photos are awesome!

Tammy@Simple Southern Happiness said...

I see some things on your list that comes to my heart too.

I love owls... We have one outside our bedroom window. I will open the window just to hear its call.

May god bless your week.

tinuviel said...

Apple butter, oven roasted vegetables. . . yum!!

Our roses and honeysuckle (in N Texas) are not quite blooming, but the color is peeking through the rosebuds.

I'm sorry you have had trouble sleeping; that has frequently bothered me, too. Joni Eareckson Tada's book A Lifetime of Wisdom has a chapter which comforted me greatly. It is a beautiful book overall.

In my waiting toward recovery towards my lupus flare, I have thought a lot about hope. Not sure any of it's worth much, but you could do a search on my blog for "hope" and see what you think.

May God grant you restful sleep tonight.

Jennifer @ Studio JRU said...

I love all the bird photos! I so love pouring rain. Just had a mug of hot tea myself! Fresh blackberries are going to be so yummy. Yay for the man in #218. What a great buy with the chicken! :)

Patty Sumner said...

Absolutely wonderful!!! You always challenge me...Faith and hope....I believe mean much the same. Biblical hope means to know so. Just as you said not a wishy-washy in I hope it rains or I hope the sun shines. For us hope should be a know so sorta thing! As in the hope we have in Jesus or I hope lies in Jesus......Faith....seeing with your heart and not your eyes. As in I know what I need to do but cannot explain how it is going to come about but doing it anyway......Oh to trust our Lord in such a way that our faith and hope shows it daily in the way we live our life. Thanks Cora...I can see whom your faith and Hope lies in.. Blessings!

Paula said...

These are all so wonderful, Cora!! They blessed me just reading them!
And I LOVE your little owl~ what a cutie!

Kim said...

Loved your list and photos. Have a blessed week!

Debra said...

Hi Cora-
Your list is a must read for me now-I am addicted to it. I love the owl too. Love your blog visits-and thank you so much for being concerned for me. Actually I could use your prayers.
Love to Juri and Buster...

Lisa notes... said...

I know what you mean; I forget many of the blessings that I intended to remember. I guess thanks in the moment counts too!

I love the sounds of thunder. And “free days” with no heat or air. I’m in one of those today. The picture of the owl – wow! So glad the sun is always there too. We are blessed.

Miko's Girl said...

I love 183! Regarding your woodpecker tree (before it was felled for free - attitude is everything when counting blessings), I have a 20-30 foot dogwood that is completely hollow from one end to another but it continues to bloom. Each year, another limb dies but the blooms still return on the remaining branches. I'm keeping it until the day the entire tree gives up the ghost. I love reading your lists and I'm following.

Kris said...

what a great list of blessings!! How rich we are in Christ! WOnderful!

Dorie said...

Though I realize the blessings at the time, later when I want to write them down, I sometimes forget a few as well.
#183 - fresh rolls and apple butter - add a bit of regular butter and yummy!
#211 - ponderings - while I have no words of wisdom on your faith and hope thoughts, I must express gratitude for the gift of pondering as well... what a blessing to think things through...I think it helps me to understand better if I had to wrestle for the answer.

Miranda said...

Such a lovely list this week! #205 is fantastic! I'm picturing Buster with his nose twitching ever-so-slightly just like Darcy's wiggles when she picks up some "pleasant" scent. Wouldn't it be wonderful if they could tell us what they are thinking? :) I hope you are having a blessed week!

Craig said...

I was gonna go for the owl, but then the woodpecker got my attention – and then that yellow flycatcher – goodness – it’s a zoo :) I finally settled on the dead bird # 222. Chicken! Did I mention chicken????? Birdapalooza at Cora’s – send me and Laska the love kitty some chicken please ^.^

God bless you and keep you – and all of yours Cora.

See Jamie blog said...

Love the bird photos! I thought the owl was fake at first!

Catz said...

Hey Cora, thanks for leaving a comment on my blog! I enjoyed reading your post, you really wrote about a lot of things! I'm thankful for all the rain lately too. I'ts like a free sprinkler system from God! I also love the quote from Henry Ward Beecher. It's so true!

Christina said...

Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog :) You were so sweet to do that! I love how thorough you were with your gratitude gifts. I often whip through mine but really should expand on them. I look forward to reading your blog more soon! Have a great week!

Suzy Q said...

Your lists are so rich and full of goodness. What a joy to read them!
Warm rolls and apple butter sounds delicious!

Karen said...

Cora ... Thank you SO much for stopping by my blog and leaving your comments regarding me starting up a breast cancer support group in my area! You've given me lots of encouragement as well as great ideas!

I'm enjoying reading your post!

Natalie said...

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!

YES, this is so true in my life, too, Cora! I am thankful to be learning (albeit slowly) to be thankful even for these potholes and to see them as opportunities to experience His grace and power.

Janis@Open My Ears Lord said...

Your thanksgivings are amazing! I love that He is faithful even when we are not---

And the story about the chicken. Maybe that's because we have so much chicken for dinner at our house! Sometime you'll have to read my story about my oldest son's comment regarding chicken.