Friday, August 30, 2013

Winds of Change

17 years ago on a Friday, I was waiting on someone. Life changing. She was late. I had no idea when she might arrive. But this was the day. My birthday, a few days beforehand, did not bring the news I wanted. And I cried. That was the day I said whatever. I can't make something happen before it is supposed to.

This year, 17 years later, found me on my birthday yet again, not exactly where I thought I would be. And I cried again. This week has left me exhausted, confused, hopeful, mournful, in anticipation, pretty much you name it. I know it's coming. But again, I can't make something happen before it's time.

Habakkuk 2:2-3 NIV
 2Then the Lord replied:
“Write down the revelation
and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald[b] may run with it.
3 For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end
and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it[c] will certainly come
and will not delay.
And then this week my sister sent me a verse about God remembering Noah and sending a wind to dry the earth after what God had accomplished had been completed. My dad talked about this north wind coming to dry up all this rain lately. I could feel the shift in my morning run. And then today I said it almost out loud. Something has shifted in my words. 
Genesis 8 (VOICE)
8 But God remembered Noah and all of the wild and domesticated animals with him in the ark. When it was time, God sent the wind to blow over all of the earth, and the waters began to subside.
 
And so I sit here, remembering how my life was about to change so drastically then and somehow that same anticipation is swirling around me now.  It has been work to get to this point and saying it feels like giving life to what He wants to do with me.  The words pressing to get out are ones I never thought I would say and I'm even saying them through tears...

I am thankful for this.  For this road I have walked for over two years now. For what You have been doing and continue to do in my life.  I praise You. 

He has impressed this word on me for quite a while now.  I affirm it after each time I write.  And my head knowledge became heart knowledge.  That the pain will bring forth something amazing.  Saying it, putting it down and sending it out.  17 years ago was the birth of my greatest life adventure, believing for that yet again.  Thankful.

Further Still

I read something today that sunk into my heart. How do you own your faith? For me it's being a big girl, standing on my own two feet more and more. I never believed I could. Never believed He would truly help me. Yet here I stand. And each time I open my hand, He takes what I'm clinging to and holds my hand. It is then He can take me closer to where He wants me to be. It seems small, getting a new battery in your vehicle. For me it is a big deal. I don't have my other half to call and rescue me. Thankfully I have my family here. And the afternoon found me getting an oil change and a new battery. This is usually where I panic. My dad handles it all and I go on my way. But that prompting......how much was it? I'll write a check.....words that made me nauseous. But they were right words. Trusting words. Words of a very tiny girl trying to grow her faith. And the evening found me panicked. I worry. I stress.  What do I do Lord, what if there isn't enough now? And I lay quietly on my bed. I think of the the handwritten note stuck to the wall of the ancient auto shop where I go. Because I know them. And they know me.  I let the words settle into me earlier in the day as I sat waiting for the work to be done and then again as I lay waiting for comfort from the One doing the work in me.

Psalm 37:7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; 

Wait....He whispers to me.... Just be still ..sometimes that is the battle. Being still. Being able to trust that He will provide in His way because He always has. I tend to hoard provisions. He says let go. That manna will rot when gathered and stored in a way that does not have His purpose.  Things we recieve outside of God's will turn to ashes.  He has taught me much about being responsible. Standing on my own two feet a little more and trusting that even as my knees are shaking, He has me. Even if I stumble, I won't fall completely. For He has hold of me. These are the days of deep waters. Thankful. 

5 Minute Friday - Worship

Joining Lisa Jo and the girls for 5 Minute Friday.  No re-write or edits and love those that came before you.

Today: WORSHIP

Go..

There are times when I just want to lay down and cry.  Those are the times I am learning that I need to worship.  On days filled with rushing around and nothing going right and every decision feels like it's the wrong one.  Those are the times to whisper..thank you anyways Lord.  I know there is purpose.  When the hurt cuts like a knife yet again and the wounds feel as if they will never heal, those are the times to worship.  To remember His wounds, He bore for us and that they did heal.  He didn't stay broken.  It is when I lay in bed yet again, wondering in the dark, what Lord, what are You wanting me to do?  What purpose does this serve?  When will this end?  Worship.  Remember that weeping may endure for a night but that joy does come again in the morning.  When we teach our souls to sing on the hard days, perhaps it will be a reminder on the good days....do not forget the Lord Your God, Who brought you out....and oh, how I have forgotten to worship in the past.  But this time, I pray it is a seal over my heart.  Thankful.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dear Weary Mom - Outcomes

Linking Up with Hope For The Weary Mom....

Dear Weary Mom,

She did NOT want to do this and trust me, she let me know.  She's like me, my girl.  I get her, I understand her completely.  It seems like it's going to be a train wreck, like this is just gonna end badly.  She can't decide what to wear, how to fix her hair....and then her make-up....So I prayed.  Hard.  And her brother just quietly stayed out of the way.  He's good like that.  Senior/Family pictures.  She didn't want to do them.  But I, her mother, insisted.  NO THANK YOU....she said.  Who even cares about that?!?  Well, I do, I began.  And her rolled eyes met my gaze and well, I love my girl to the moon and back but there are days....

God feels like that about me I am certain.  I get so scared, so overwhelmed with how it may or may not look, turn out.....you know, this FEELS like a train wreck.  He meets my eye rolling and sighs with much more love and compassion that I tend to hand out.  And so I grabbed hangers, shoes, the boy AND the girl and off we went!

As much as I knew that this was going to be great, family pictures always are in the end for us, no matter the turmoil that might ensue before....when my precious friend Melissa texted me a little peak at what was to come....Oh my!!  Better than even I expected :)

Sometimes God gives us a look into what He's doing.  The ways He might choose to do so varies I know.  But when we do get a glimpse of what it is He is creating, how much more amazing than what we thought or dreamed is it?  I keep reminding myself of that these days.  Things seem so unsure and foggy and I just can't imagine what He is really up to.....but just as I remind my girl so very often, one day at a time....it will come, He is reminding me that so much lately.

Live in today.  What is it He has for us in this moment?  The rest will fall into place.  Thankful.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Morning After

So much swimming in my head....I woke up this morning and thought... well then, here we are Lord.  On the other side of....what?  I don't know.  And I went into the kitchen and these little flying brown tiny bugs are about to drive me insane.  WHERE are these things coming from?!?!  I prayed about it, yes ma'am I did.  Lord where are they coming from?  What else can I do or clean to make them go?  And I opened the cabinet to get my coffee out.  Something made me pull everything out on that entire shelf.  Ick.  They apparently were making a home in a pot holder and glove I had never used shoved back in the back.  So I pulled it all out, threw it all away and cleaned it.  As I was wiping it all down, looking at the empty space, He spoke to me.  Lets get to the root of it.....yes, Lord lets.  Let's get to the root of how I even started on this journey so long ago.  Let's throw away all the things that are just stuffed back in a corner and seem to be a breeding ground for these thoughts and hurts and things that just keep coming back no matter how many times I think I have killed them all.  Lets wipe the space clean with Your healing words and fill it with the things that actually belong there.  Go back.....He said to me.  Which brought me to the story of Elijah in 1 Kings....  more on that later.

A clean space, ready and willing to accept the good stuff.  My cabinet was an easy fix.  My heart, I am praying will be just as restored.  Thankful.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Behind The Scenes - It's Your Birthday


Linking Up with Crystal and all the girls at Behind The Scenes

 
Yes...it is my birthday.  And how amazing God is to let it fall on a Tuesday so I get to share with you today ;) Two years ago, 39 found me literally walking into something life changing.  I had NO IDEA what God was about to do.  Shake up my whole world, change me forever and call me into something I could have never dreamed.  And ALL of it has required a whole lot of pain and stripping away and hard work.  Two. Whole. Years.  I was scared, unsure of myself, who I was and what in the world I was even doing here.  Everything was falling apart.  But there was something that day He began in me....and here I am.  I'm walking into something again I can't even imagine.  I can feel it in my bones.  Just like I felt the destruction that was coming....I FEEL the restoration that He is bringing.  He began it with my physical on my 39th birthday.  I couldn't even run the warm up lap when I started my outdoor boot camp.  Today finds me training for my first half marathon!  As I ran this morning I thanked Him for this body, for the strength He has brought to me through much hard work, sacrifice and tears.  It parallels what I have gone through in the spiritual.  In all this I have learned that it's just not about me.  It's about what He wants to do in me and then through this thing He has called me to.  For my good, but also for the good of others.  To take my big ol' mess and make something pretty awesome.
 
He has brought me into this AMAZING family.  My two sisters.  Not born of my blood, but much more.  His blood.  Bought and paid for, all three of us, with His sacrifice.  He placed me in a family when He pulled me out of the pit.  He placed me in unconditional love.  So today finds me hopeful, stronger, more sensitive to Him and so very ready for this new He is walking me into.  Never alone, not even for a moment.  Thankful.
 

Genesis 50:20

New Living Translation (NLT)
20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people

Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday

So today find me looking at another week.....it's Monday.  It's a week that will bring changes.  Praying for the better.  Believing for the better.  As I woke yesterday, so uncertain, so scared and so just flat out tired of this whole battle....He whispered to me:

Isaiah 41:10
The Voice (VOICE)
10 So don’t be afraid. I am here, with you;
don’t be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, help you.
I am here with My right hand to make right and to hold you up.
 
Stop struggling.  Stop striving.  Start believing.  Thankful.
 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

We Are Known

Joel 2:21-25

New Living Translation (NLT)
21 Don’t be afraid, my people.
Be glad now and rejoice,
for the Lord has done great things.
22 Don’t be afraid, you animals of the field,
for the wilderness pastures will soon be green.
The trees will again be filled with fruit;
fig trees and grapevines will be loaded down once more.
23 Rejoice, you people of Jerusalem!
Rejoice in the Lord your God!
For the rain he sends demonstrates his faithfulness.
Once more the autumn rains will come,
as well as the rains of spring.
24 The threshing floors will again be piled high with grain,
and the presses will overflow with new wine and olive oil.
25 The Lord says, “I will give you back what you lost
to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts,
the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts.[a]
It was I who sent this great destroying army against you.

This time frame, this window of days, this weekend...it holds great memory of what has been...and I believe what will be coming. 2 years ago, God opened up a door that I could never imagine, all the while, a door was also shutting that I would never believe could happen. One would sustain me through the other. I felt it. As far away as I was from God at the time, I felt it in my very bones. He was calling me back and I could not escape it. I had to face Him, had to choose.  My soul was grieved and I would escape up to the very top floor of the pool house where no one could hear and just weep. I would beg God....PLEASE, do something, anything...I don't know what, but this, I can't take this anymore.....He heard my cries. And He moved. And I learned very quickly that God's ways are not my ways. I wanted a band aid for a gaping, life threatening wound. He would have none of that. It's not the way He operates.

Last year found me bracing for what I knew I couldn't bear to face emotionally. He had other plans then too. It's when He opened up the door for healing to begin. What I have come to learn is that the healing is actually the hardest part. It is painful, things tug and pull and stretch and itch and HURT!!! And the wounds are ugly, nothing pretty to look at and you might begin to wonder if this was even worth it...it almost feels worse than before.

But as you push through, do the hard work, something amazing begins to happen. New growth, the scars are there, but the become soft and translucent and pliable. Sure you can see them when you look hard. They are a part of you, but they are stronger and a reminder of something you came through. They fade. Always with you, but not defining you. You learn from them, from the experience.

In the middle of my hardest days, my body and soul both showing the desperate state I was in, I left my phone in the bathroom at Target. Now depending on how long you have known me, this is where you would smile....because God speaks to me in bathrooms :) Many life changing moments have occurred in that space. This day would proved to be a not so ordinary day. I had no idea I left it there until I returned there before leaving....and I saw it. And I whispered a prayer of thanks to Him for keeping an eye on His frazzled baby girl...and then He spoke.....and it echoed through my very being. I will restore the years the locusts have eaten.....Joel 2:25. Months later....facing yet another horrible twist, I came across a blog that would change everything :) My sweet friend Christine and her blog http://www.livingjoel225.com/

And so I find myself at this time yet again. 2 years. That seems like a lifetime to me. So much has changed.  Nothing left untouched.  And the scars are healing, movement is becoming less scary and I find myself less resistant.  I know the beauty that can come, will come, when He is done with His refining of a life that so desperately needed to be rescued.  For this season, for His glory, for the girl He has created me to be.  And so here I go again, walking through a door as another one slowly closes behind me.  And I won't look back.  Thankful.




Lessons I Learned From My Teeth

Joel 2:25

The Voice (VOICE)
25 Eternal One: I will compensate you for the years
that the locusts have eaten—the swarming locusts,
The creeping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts—[a]
My great army that I unleashed against you.

My tooth.  That was what He reminded me of this morning.  He cares so much about every detail.  And when He gave me this verse above so long ago, He meant it.  That scrape in my tooth I have had for 14 years.  My front tooth. I could see it, feel it, but you would probably not know it was there.  And I was afraid to do anything about it.  The dentist mentioned it this past February.  He said he could just bond it, make it stronger.  NO THANK YOU!  I have never had anything done to my teeth!!  No cavities.  Clean them and let's be done thanks!  That is our relationship Dr. Dentist.  You tell me good job, keep up the good work.  I continue to brush, floss and rinse.  This is our agreement, remember?!?!?! 

But this scrape began to get a little more ragged and rough.  I could feel it.  It gave me concern.  I could SEE it....horror of all horrors.  Because it's my teeth.  You know, how you greet the world when you smile!  I stressed about it secretly for 6 months.  And it became irritating and just plain stupid.  Fix the scrape.  So when I called for my cleaning I also made the appointment for the fix.  I have never been afraid of a doctor or dentist.  This day found me squirming in my seat.  Not to mention my girl met me at the door with tears because she got a shot!!  She needed a spot resurfaced and they gave her a shot!  Holy cow!  Not expecting that.  And the sweat began....and I could not back out....and I said oh my lanta, this is my TOOTH!!!! They laughed at me.  They could not understand my distress....and so 2 minutes later with a swipe of a finger, a bright blue light and NO SHOT....it was perfect.  My scrape I held onto for so long, fixed in mere seconds....and it was whole and beautiful and well, restored.  By the one who knew what he was doing, who had the right tools and the knowledge to fix what had been broken for so very long, when I laid it all down and said ok.

My smooth, restored tooth has been reminding me of what He is doing in me, in my life.  He promised.  If He cares so much about a scrape from 14 years ago, how much more does He care about the wounds I carry from everything else?

I will RESTORE, COMPENSATE, REPAY....I've look at all the translations.  Each proclaiming HIS promise I WILL...Thankful.




Friday, August 23, 2013

5 Minute Friday - Last

Joining Lisa Jo and the girls today for 5 Minute Friday....
Topic: LAST..Go

Last...I can relate to that word.  It's how I feel.  Last in line, last to see an answer from Him, last place.....and so I wait.  It's not fun to be last, but the time had come for me to learn what that truly meant.  I always had to have the last word, be heard, be seen, in order that I might not feel like I was invisible.  So He called me to small...He called me to last....to do a work in my heart.  He says in His words that those who want to be first will have to be last...I desperately needed to learn that it's just not always about me and that by putting others ahead of myself, then God will put me where He wants me.  Sometimes that last.  But I don't belive it will be always.  By being last I learned to put Him first and maybe, just maybe, that was the whole point of it all.  Thankful.

Matthew 20:16; 25-28

The Voice (VOICE)
16 And that is your picture: The last will be first and the first will be last.
 
25 So Jesus called the disciples together.
Jesus: Do you want the Kingdom run like the Romans run their kingdom? Their rulers have great power over the people, but God the Father doesn’t play by the Romans’ rules. 26 This is the Kingdom’s logic: whoever wants to become great must first make himself a servant; 27 whoever wants to be first must bind himself as a slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as the ransom for many.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dear Weary Mom - Change

Linking up tday with Hope For The Weary Mom......

Dear Weary Mom,
 
School is upon us....and as much as that may bring cheers on some levels, it brought me walking in a circle for 5 minutes trying to figure out what would make it into the lunch boxes all the while trying to navigate making my coffee....because I slept late...again.  Yes I realize that they are old enough...Senior and Sophomore year.....and can't they make their own lunches, be big kids??
 
Perhaps.  But I also realize that next time this year, I won't have two lunches to make, won't hear my girls alarm clock going off and want to drop kick it, won't have someone saying "Mom I KNOW it's 9 pm...but can't you please get these washed..I NEED them"....yes, all too soon responsibility will be heavy on their shoulders and lifted off of mine...and I'm not quite sure just how I feel about that these days.
 
Change is hard, change is scary, change is something we face in so many areas of our lives.  Change is all around me.  So I have decided to take it one step at a time, one change, one lunch, one load of laundry, the same way I did when they were so very little.  Keep going mama, we've got this and He's got us.  One step at a time. Thankful.
 

When The Stone Rolls Away

 John 11: 4-6  Voice
4 Jesus heard the message.
Jesus: His sickness will not end in his death but will bring great glory to God. As these events unfold, the Son of God will be exalted.
5 Jesus dearly loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. 6 However, after receiving this news, He waited two more days where He was.

 I was looking for the book of Acts.  So many things swirling in my head as of late and I was searching.  And this is what I opened to....this story.  My own story.  As I read it again, I could not help but feel overwhelmed.  I could not help but feel like He was talking to me, but the pain is so very deep, I'm afraid I cannot let it sink in.  I cannot be disappointed anymore.  And reading back through it, this is what I am focusing on mostly. 

Jesus heard.  He knew what was unfolding.  He foretold the ending.  But then, it says that He loved them very much.  Why would that be necessary to state how deeply His love ran for them?  Because He waited.  2 days.  And by the time He actually got to them Lazarus had been in the grave for 4 days.  Dead.  They lost him, grieved him, buried him.  And it seemed they did so alone without the comfort of their beloved Jesus.  The one THEY KNEW could have fixed everything.  But He didn't.  He stayed far off.  But He knew....what would challenge their faith, what would change their heart, what would change others hearts and call them to Him in a way nothing else could.  Death, that in turn brought new life.

It's hard to see past the pain, the grief, the death and believe that anything good can come.  Because, well, dead stuff is dead right? Gone, lost.....but sometimes death has to occur for something new to spring up and have it spring forth in abundance, much more so than what was before.  And this death is overwhelming to me.  It's painful and I keep looking around thinking You knew!!!  You did!  And you could have done something!  Yet He has, for His glory.  Thankful.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Behind The Scenes - Not Forgotten

Joining Crystal Stine and the girls for Behind The Scenes today....



I have been battling fear this week tremendously, but today...well I haven't seen struggle like this in quite a while.  The fear that made me turn my phone off, get back in the bed and say...I'm just not sure I can do this today Lord....These words keep bubbling to the surface..coming at me in writing, church, conversations.....small, lies, surrender....fear. Fear of what is. Fear of what may or may never come. Fear of small. Fear of surrender and the fear..that what if the lies are not really lies. And it settles down on me. The minute I try and lay it all down...but what if.....yes...what if.

What if I look you in the face and tell you that my biggest fear came true?  That I was left behind....that somehow I can't shake this feeling of not good enough and maybe will never be good enough. What if I tell you that living in this period of waiting scares me more than anything He has ever asked me to do. That I think, what if He does let me down....then what? To lay it all down, all of it...every thought of why and what if and they have and I don't and I want and they took and I'm empty....to surrender my hurt, my life...my own story. What if I just say it's Yours Lord....You take it, and You give me back what You want me to have and I give up my right to be heard, to be known, to be understood....What if I face that fear of hurting more, being rejected again, loosing.....in order that I can be found.....

Today ended with a lot of burpees and sweating.  All desperately needed to release this tension that has been building inside and I turned around to see the most beautiful sight.  And for a moment I let His voice drowned out all the other things battling for my attention...I keep my promises baby girl....I have not forgotten you....Thankful.
 
 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Perfect 10 -The Final Commandment


Number 10 don’t covet when you see your neighbor’s house or wife.
Covet, by definition means to yearn to posses or have.  To crave, desire or lust.  In my life, when I have coveted something, it takes center stage.  It pushes out everything else.  My thoughts, are one tracked and consumed with it.  WHAT.I. WANT.  And there have been times when I have let go of the truth and bent what my beliefs say to me in order to get it.  What I wanted, needed, thought I could not live without and quite frankly, what I believe I deserved.  Each time I coveted, I did get exactly what I deserved.  It was never good.  Debt, stress, strained relationships, hardships all the way around.  Learning to be thankful for where He has placed me and what He has given me has not been easy.  Each day I must be purposeful about it.  Some days I'm actually really grumpy about it, but I know, oh how I know, I am blessed.  It's okay to plan, to dream, even desire....but all those things have to be handed to Him and surrendered.  He's our filter. 

Psalm 84:10-12
The Voice (VOICE)
10 Just one day in the courts of Your temple is greater
than a thousand anywhere else.
I would rather serve as a porter at my God’s doorstep
than live in luxury in the house of the wicked.
11 For the Eternal God is a sun and a shield.
The Eternal grants favor and glory;
He doesn’t deny any good thing
to those who live with integrity.
12 O Eternal One, Commander of heaven’s armies,
how fortunate are those who trust You.
 
He doesn't want to withhold anything good from His children.  But as His child, my main purpose is to seek HIM and let what He desires for my life flow into it.  I can share all my hearts desires with Him.  He puts them there.  He already knows.  But it's in the presenting of them to Him and placing them under His control, we can be sure that we don't get carried off by things that will lead to no good and be sure that we keep the very first commandment.  Love the Lord, seek Him first.  All the rest will then fall into place.  Thankful.
 
 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Perfect 10 - Number 9

Number 9 don’t be the kind who goes around telling lies

Lies.  We tell them.  To ourselves, to others.  With our words, with our actions....with our very lives.  I don't think we set out to be that way.  But how long did I live day in and day out, lying to myself, to those around me and especially to God.  I put on a happy face, went through the motions...and I was dying inside.  Each time we put on that mask of deception, we rob ourselves of what God has planned for us and we rob others of what God needs us to do in service to Him.

I am sometimes tempted to believe that soft voice that tries to instill itself in my heart.....you will never be enough, so stop trying and just give up.....you weren't good enough then, what makes you think you would be next time? And why in the world would you even get a next time?  You blew it....all lies the enemy of my soul likes to whisper to me.  There is a shred of truth to them....but "something that is 99% true is still a lie" Patrick Waters.

So when God commands me not to lie, I believe He is simply stating this....don't pretend to be who you aren't baby girl.  Don't mislead and harm other people with your words.  Speak truth and speak it in love...and sometimes love has to say the hard things....Remember that the power of life and death are in the tongue and each time you open your mouth, you are speaking life or death....into others and into yourself.  Thankful.

Sunday Scripture

Galatians 1:10

The Voice (VOICE)
10 Do you think I care about the approval of men or about the approval of God? Do you think I am on a mission to please people? If I am still spinning my wheels trying to please men, then there is no way I can be a servant of the Anointed One, the Liberating King.
 
My verse today.  What does my life say?  While it isn't my intent to seek the approval of people, I do want them to see Him through my life.  That is a hard balance sometimes.  And I fail a lot.  But what I have learned over the course of the last week or so is that we are always going to battle our flesh.  It's less about what we do...and that's not to say our actions aren't important....but it's the motive behind what we do.  Our heart condition.  Why I do something is what God is really looking at, when I get it wrong, and maybe especially when I get it right.  He needs to be the Who behind all that I do.  Yes I smiled when I realized I rhymed ;)  My heart is just overflowing today, it's coming out in weepy tears....God is moving.  That is all together terrifying and exciting to me in the same breath.  But as always, I just wanna be His girl.  Thankful.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

In The Small

Oh the small....since yesterday He has been calling it forth, causing me to look at it for what it is...not so very small at all.  Decrease so that He can increase, be thankful in these moments that seems so unimportant, yet they change everything.  A small shift in perspective, an attitude adjustment...these are the keys that open up the doors to what He has for us.  They open up the door to thankfulness, hope, joy, peace, love...Him..

Today I am just thankful.  For the quiet, for the rain, for home that I am allowed to call my very own, for my beautiful forest of a yard, for my big ol' truck that this tiny girl loves :) for my children, for my health, for my strength, that I woke up in peace, that I had a morning to just be still, pray, write, whatever I wanted to do.  For friends, for family, for forgiveness, for love.  Small, humbled.....but both things under His hand.  For a purpose, for a season, for my own good and for the good of others.  Thankful.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Breaking

I wasn't even going to share it.  It felt like cool air brushing over my entire being.  I crawled into bed Wednesday, and I mean literally, like when you are 5 and you are sooo tired and you give up and do what you are told.....GO TO BED......and so I did.  As I lay there on my pillow, I said...this is it Lord, I completely give up...no more...I cannot do this... And as I picked up my phone to turn on my alarm, I looked at it.  The little Twitter button.  And I thought how sick I am of even my phone right now.  But I hit it anyways.  And something caught my eye...."we have been listening to this song on repeat".....and I clicked it.  And a picture of a fried egg came up and it made me crack a smile.  I love fried eggs.  And I feel about like a fried egg right this very second.  And the song attached to the picture of the fried egg.....oh my.....He answers when we truly lay it all down.  I suppose I have not been doing that because this, this felt like something I have never felt.  He met me in such a way there just aren't words.  His answer to my most desperate heart ache.

And I wanted to hide it, hold it, treasure it....like I do with chocolate sometimes when I don't want the kids to eat it ;) MINE.....

And so today those words found me again in the most beautiful way.....and when He does that you can't hold it in, you must let it spill out, you really have no choice.  His glory is never meant to be contained.....This Thing Is Not Gonna Break You....but HE will.  And that's the difference.  The beauty is in HIS breaking, what we are, who we are, letting the beautiful spill out from the ordinary.  Thankful.

5 Minute Friday - Small

Joining Lisa Jo and the Girls for 5 Minute Friday....no rewrite, no edits and love those that came before you...
Topic: Small

Go.

Small.  It describes quite perfectly how I am feeling.  The very first post I ever read at (In)Courage was Don't Despise The Small.  For some reason when I go to the website on my phone, it always opens up to that.  May 14th.  Small.  This place makes me feel hidden, sometimes insignificant, wondering if anyone can even see me sometimes....small.  But God says that He does great things in the secret, in the places that start off very small.  It was a small cry in the dark that He must have heard, that prompted Him to lead me down this road.  It was in the small that He has showed me how to seek Him alone and trust in Him for my needs.  It has been in the small that I have been able to look at this brokenness and not feel completely overwhelmed...and I notice that He seems to speak to me lately about butterflies :)  That cocoon the caterpillar weaves must get pretty small while it is growing until the small can no longer contain the beauty it once held so tightly and all the bigness of His glory causes it to burst out and fly on to bigger, better things....only it would not have had that chance, but for the protection of the small while growing. Thankful.





Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Perfect 10 - Number 8


Number 8  don’t steal and break this rule for goodness sake!
 Don't steal.  Don't take what doesn't belong to you.  This too, on the outside, seems easy enough.  But what about when those feelings get the better of you, when you want something you don't have and you can't see past that, can't find a way to be satisfied with what you have in this moment?  I've been there.  I've stolen my time away from what God asked of me pursuing my own pleasures.  I've stolen money from Him when I refused to tithe, thinking that somehow giving Him what He asks, from what already belongs to Him anyways, was an impossible.  I couldn't live on what I had.  I was greedy.  I was wasteful and I hoarded.  All stealing.  All come from a reliance on self instead of a reliance on Him.  I've taken things that did not belong to me, I've been in relationships I should never have ventured into....all stealing what God had planned for me.  His best, sold out for a roll in the pig pen of what the world has to offer....I've been that prodigal daughter that says "Give me what I believe is mine", gone out and completely blew it...all to end up running back to Him saying I wasted it all.....please let me come back home.  And He did.  He picked me up, cleaned me off, fed my soul, mended my wounds and said as I have heard so very often from my Father....begin again...Thankful.
 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Behind The Scenes - Sometimes Life Is Messy


This is how we began our journey of 3.6 miles.....beautiful, CLEAN, ready for what would lie ahead even though we really had no IDEA what was actually ahead....we had visions, plans, dreams......we knew we would get a little dirty...we even wrote it on our shirts.  It WAS a Mud Run after all....

The in-between found us running up hills through terrain we were NOT accustomed to...mud in our shoes, face, eyes.....obstacles we could not even hope to complete without our partners..climbing slipping, running, struggling....one reminding the other "yes you can" even though we were both scared to death climbing over those walls.....a couple more mountains and then the end found us swimming to the finish line in a big ol' pool of mud....looking something like this.....
 
We were tired, dirty, bruised, blistered, cut up....but our smiles show a different perspective than the ones we started with.  We had no idea what we would face, but we made it.  And we were exhausted, but we were proud....we made it!!  We just did that!! It's kind of how I'm feeling right now.  Life happens and you think sometimes, you are all prepared, you have everything just right...then you fall face down in the mud and realize this wasn't going to be anything like you imagined....but as you near the end of it all, whatever this leg of the journey was, you look back and see how it changed you...changed your perspective.  Life is messy, it's hard, there are obstacles and things you just never planned....but that's what we train for....every morning when we get up, when we seek Him, hide His Word in our hearts, live each day the way He planned....sometimes it calls for us to get a little uncomfortable, a little messy...to get us where He ultimately wants us to be.  Thankful.
 
 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday Morning

 
 
Patience....waiting.  It's just the place that I'm at.  My tendency is to panic.  Think that I have heard Him wrong because NOTHING...I see NOTHING except, well, quiet.  This time I'm not going to fight it.  I will say, I have been crying my way through it, because it scares me, but it won't be the first thing I have had to do afraid.  Being still is the scariest thing ever for me.  Still make me face things, feel things and reflect.  And so I'm here....still...waiting.  Thankful.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Perfect 10 - Number 7

Number 7  life is Heaven when your true to your mate

Number 7.  Faithful.  Truthful.  It's what we all desire.  What about when we get it totally wrong?  What about when we make choices and have no idea of the reprocutions?  Then what?  What about when we sit in the ashes of our failures?  As far as this Commandment goes....the Bible says do not commit adultery.  Don't step outside of your marriage.  We typically look at this as sexual relations with someone not our spouse while we have a spouse.  And that is true.  But let me challenge you...what about that sexual relationship outside of marriage while we are single, that friendship with someone of the opposite sex that has gone too far, what about things we think about, lust in our own heart....that too my friend, is adultery.  And it is when we seek to justify the wrong of another that sometimes God reveals to us our very own wrongs.  That is surely the case for me.  It's a heart condition.  It these actions that may start off harmless and small,  that turn into something that we never dreamed they would, never imagined the devastation and destruction that these choices would cause, to others and then ultimately to ourselves.  When the bottom falls out and the worst happens and you have done all you can do and all that He has asked then what, WHAT is left to do?  I have prayed for this answer a million times and yet again, this is His truth He speaks to my heart.  It's what He began speaking to me before the bottom fell out and it's what He speaks to me yet again as I type this, so many questions still swirling in my brain...what Lord, do you want me to do in this situation?  Because I am ultimately responsible for my own own actions.  Not the actions of others, but my response in spite of the action of others.  How will I choose to live?

1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 13 (Voice)

4 Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; 5 it’s never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs 6 or celebrate injustice; but truth—yes, truth—is love’s delight! 7 Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what......  13 But now faith, hope, and love remain; these three virtues must characterize our lives. The greatest of these is love.

Thankful.

Sunday Scripture - When We Get Weary

Isaiah 40:30-31

New Living Translation (NLT)
30 Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.

My verse today....yes, weary.  I have been walking lately just one step at a time.  It's about all I can muster these days.  Maybe that's not so bad.  I have to slow down to see, to hear what He is asking of me.  Moving into a place I haven't been before.  The door He opened almost 2 years ago, I know He's is moving me out of, into something new and I just have no idea.  He's taking my training wheels off.  This is a scary concept for me.  Mostly because if you knew me and bicycles....

The "what if's" crowd in and I start to get a little unsure.  But this is right.  This is the way.  And I think perhaps He's wanting me to cling to Him at every step.  Because when I go off on my own,....call out the search party, baby girl got lost again....and I don't want that.  It's about doing the hard work now still.  And I have been for a long, long time.  And that is mostly because I ran off on my own for an even longer time and got myself into just a big ol' mess.  And you know what?  He brings me right back to the beginning and says...now, begin again.....God doesn't give up on us, He just keeps bringing us right back around until we get what He's trying to tell us, until we head the direction He has planned for us.  And THAT is what makes me tired.  The same old scenery again and again.  Kind of like running on a track...uugh....those days when we break off and go a different way...hallelujah!!

It's coming.  I believe that.  I love Charles Stanley.  He is truly the bomb.  And He said something while I was watching him preach one time that stuck.  "You reap what you sow, more than you sow, later than you sowed it."  So very true.  How come it's easy to believe that about the bad and not about good?  Maybe because I've mostly experienced the bad.  And it's easier to see that, than it is the good most days.  So I'm walking this.  Just gonna trust.  I'm all in......Thankful.






Saturday, August 10, 2013

Perfect 10 - Number 6


Number 6  don’t get your kicks from killing one another.
This week has been a hard one at best.  Hard in the things He has been calling me to look at, to write about and put out there.  It's not an easy thing to just lay it all bear, but we must.  In order to let healing come, for ourselves...for others.  It's through our pain and trials that most people can relate to us.  Accomplishments and successes are easily applauded, but the failures....the times we make the worst missteps and fall so very short, usually are the ones that make others take a second glance and draw them to us, and most assuredly to Him, when we let them see how we all are in need of a Savior.

That being said we end up here, at Number 6....

We all have our own vision of what this verse means.  Don't kill.  Don't take a human life.  Easy enough?  We can at least get this one right...but not so fast.  The Bible has a different view on what is considered murder...it's not just the taking of a life. 

1 John 3:15 (NIV)
15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
 
Matthew 5:21-26 (NLT)
Teaching about Anger
21 “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’[a] 22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone,[b] you are subject to judgment!
 
Murder.  To hold anger within us is death, to spew angry words at another is death...Murdering ourselves slowly and at the core of who we are.  I have been guilty of this.  My heart condition was slowly killing my spirit and also those around me.
 
I will also share that I have been guilty of taking a life.  The life of a child that I carried, before I understood what exactly that meant and how it would impact me for the rest of my life.  It would be just after I was saved that God revealed to me the destruction of my choice and what the reality of it was.  And that moment is where my journey really began....it changed me.  It molded me, it sent me in a direction that would allow me to begin healing and then in turn help others to heal.  It gave me the most beautiful of friendships.  It gave me an empathy and an ache for those who are hurting from the same choices made. 
 
We like to put degrees of how righteous we are on the levels of sins we think we have or have not committed.  If we have held hate in our hearts, we are guilty of the same sin as those who have taken a life in whatever form.  It makes me ever mindful to remember we have ALL fallen short.  It reminds me every time I want to hold that rock in my hand to throw at another.....when I look up, I'm really looking into my own eyes.  Without His grace, His sacrifice, I should be standing beside her, just as guilty...but God. Thankful.
 

Friday, August 9, 2013

5 Minute Friday - Lonely


Joining Lisa Jo and the girls for 5 Minute Friday...no edits, no re-writes and love those that came before you..

Topic: LONELY

Luke 12:6-7 (VOICE)
 7 Since you are so much more precious to God than a thousand flocks of sparrows, and since God knows you in every detail—down to the number of hairs on your head at this momentyou can be secure and unafraid of any person, and you have nothing to fear from God either.

Go...

Lonely....it describes this ache in my heart.  I did what you asked of me Lord, now what?  Is this what's left? And it scares me to be honest.  Because this has truly been the loneliest season of my life.  And it hurts to say that because He has given me so very much.  But it's lonely to wake up alone when there were two before.  To go day in and day out not knowing...can you be loved again, will He allow it? The waiting grows into months and I begin to wonder, will I ever be enough...am I the only girl that just can't make it work out...all the raw and painful emotions of it seem to surface so much of the time.  I can look at it for what it is.  I know that He sometimes removes things for our own protection.  I know I am not alone and I believe the one Who made my heart will heal it completely and then as with everything else I have had to do in all of this, He will whisper to me....begin again....Thankful.

Stop.




Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hope For The Weary Mom - Remembering



Dear Weary Mom,

Perhaps your day looks something like this....I would get my youngest down and think that I could jump in the shower quickly before he woke up from his nap.  More often than not, this would be the scene I would emerge to find.....he wuv me....she would say.  I would sigh, knowing that yet another nap wouldn't be happening and neither would the thought of blowdrying my hair, applying anything on my face or even brushing my teeth some days.

 
But soon enough, they turned into this.....still two peas in a pod.  Not much on being seperated or changing out of pajamas if I want to be honest.  And I'll confess one Christmas, I let him wear them, even when we visited family.  Pick your battles mama.......

 
Because this is what you get much sooner than later...these big people who used to be little people who hung on you, wanted to "hold you", sat on you, and now, well they just tower over you :)

 
Have faith mama, that the not so fabulous days are much outweighted by the days of overflowing grace.  That He will get you through this and thankfully weary never lasts forever (praying that for myself!!).  Thankful.
 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Perfect 10 - Number 5


Number 5 we all should strive to honor father and mother,
This Commandment...this has been a challenge for me.  It's a Commandment.  It's obviously important....so what do you do when you find yourself looking at your own situation and thinking how do I do this Lord?...

This has been on my mind so much lately.  It's a situation I face in my own life.  How do you honor your parents when their own life and choices somehow make it impossible?  In the past year and a half God set me on a path to restoration with one of my parents.  Our road has been rocky due to poor choices, hurt, bitterness and not properly dealing with the past.  There came a time when I just cried out...God WHAT is it You want??  I can't do this, I can't get through, it is making me loose all peace and all joy....

For my own circumstance, I needed some closure, I needed to say some things on my heart, make amends the best I could and realize, I can't make someone else's choices for them.  God call us all to something.  It is devastating to see a life that just absolutely gives up all hope, refuses any help and says no to the ones who love them, God included.  I have realized in this instance, honoring, for my own life, comes in the form of prayer, of speaking life about them and into them.  Sometimes being with them or involved in the day to day is a toxic thing.  And although He may call one to help in the physical, perhaps the calling for another may only be in the spiritual.  To love from afar.  Not every reconciliation ends up all neat and tidy with a bow on top.  Some are born from the ground up, soaked in tears and bruised from the struggle..but God is faithful and in all things, He works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  Thankful.

Behind The Scenes - Graduations



 
Last week was a very busy one for me.  I have felt a pressing in a way that I can't even express.  So many changes.  2003 brought earth shaking changes to my world.  Nothing was left untouched.  I was moving in a direction that I had no idea what would be the ups and down of a decade to come....and here I find myself yet again...God seems to be a fan of do-overs until I get it right ;)
 
10 years ago, August brought my girl going into second grade...I homeschooled her for K5 and 1st grade.  So as her brother entered K5 and she into second grade and me back to work after being home with them for 5 years.....yeah, God had big plans.
 
So this day last week found me and my girl standing in the hallway of her high school.  She's going into something new and amazing, her brother, a sophomore now and this mama.....well, I know God is moving again.  But somehow we are all different.....we see the journey that we have been on and we are a changed family... wiser, stronger, better able to shoulder those things that life has a way of bringing about.
 
I see that beautiful little one I took a picture of going into her first day of "real school" now facing "real life" just ahead....How did He decide to bless me so?  This beautiful girl I thought would never be because why would God ever let me be a mom....the child that sent me to my knees when I discovered she was on the way, the child that gave me stretch makes and heart burn and the craziest delivery story...all 9lbs and 6 oz of her.  She will be 17 soon.  We share a birthstone, born in the same month.  We share a smile and a stance and a heart that longs for Him, well before we ever knew it.  This is the little girl that at 5 years old on August 16th announced to me "Mommy, I want to ask Jesus into my heart".  It's the same little girl that walked an isle and made her decision public, without any fear or hesitation.  The same one who told my dad "Paw Paw, if you ask Jesus into your heart, then you can get baptized too".  So many memories this month holds for us.  She is a treasure.  She is a blessing and I realize she is on loan...she belongs to Him.  He holds her in the palm of His hand.  Thankful.
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday....Brave

It's been quite the interesting few days for me.....I feel as if God and I have been wrestling.  My heart has been crying out in a way that I don't think I have ever known before.  I slept late again this morning....for the time being, I am just letting go of my own thoughts of how my day should begin.  So I handed it to Him and sat quietly.  My verse this morning was settling, but as I looked at it in further context, it actually made me smile.

I got up and ran, despite the late hour and the really hot sun.  I took the shaded route down through the scary woods as my girl likes to call them :)  I have confessed to Him I have no idea what in the world He is asking of me, so I'm gonna keep on going...please speak to me Lord....and as I came up the hill, my song on the iPod began to sink in and I heard Him whisper..I wanna see you be brave......and then I knew. 

Will I stand here and face the unknown, trusting that He has me, walk this road when most have fallen away and I am standing on my own, when the road to where He wants me looks a whole lot like a one way path to crazy town.....yeah, I will.  I'm going to keep standing here and look this square in the face because I don't have to do any of it in my own strength.  It's He who is in me that is greater than this world.  As much as I think so many times...good grief! I am just one tiny little girl Lord.....yep, one tiny little girl, who just decided to be brave...Thankful.

James 5:7-8 (Voice)

7 For this reason, my brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the return of the Lord. Look! The farmer knows how to wait patiently for the land to produce vegetables and fruits. He cannot harvest a freshly planted seed. Instead, he waits for the early and the late showers to nourish the soil. 8 You need this same kind of patience, so in the meantime, strengthen your resolve because the Lord will be coming soon.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Perfect 10 - Number 4

Number 4 the Sabbaths’ for our worship and for rest.


I struggle with this.  Rest.  When I look around and see so much to do, I cringe.  But what I am finding in my own life is that in this season I am in, I am headed for burn out...and it has happened more than once over the past year.  What I have on my plate is simply not do-able in my own strength.  It just isn't.  And all of it, is exactly what He has called me to and where He has me.  I know this for certain.  So why would He do that?  To remind me that His strength is made perfect in my weakness.  When I am at my weakest, He is at His strongest.  And when He does it, then it's for His glory, not my own.  And I get weary...so He says rest...I say are You kidding me??...He says no, I'm not, cause this ain't you sister....none of it is me, my strength or ability.  Worship Him, rest in Him, take a day and just be.  It's really okay.  The world isn't gonna crumble.  Because He wants to spend time with us, to let us know that it's through Him we gain what we need for each task, each leg of the journey.  Sometimes our rest is truly the greatest act of worship we can show Him.  In that we say, I trust You Lord, You've got this....for me rest is the greatest act of obedience.  Thankful.

Sunday Scripture

 Jeremiah 33:2-3
New International Version (NIV)
Promise of Restoration
This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name: 'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’
 
My verse this morning....as I am STRUGGLING with all that I am..why can't I get up at the time I plan Lord and run and get everything on my check list done just so....WHY am I hitting the snooze on the alarm for the second hour straight?!?!?!?!  What is the issue here?
 
Jeremiah 29:11
Good News Translation (GNT)
11 I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.[a]
 
Perhaps His plan for me wasn't for me to get up and run and have all the yard work done by 8am.  Perhaps it was for me to be still, be quiet, to rest and not struggle.  To seek HIM and what He desires above my own need for perfection...because lets face it, there is NOTHING in my life that is perfect.  Nothing.
 
There is dog hair all over the floor from the dog and I'm not sure how he has any hair left...I have not drank the water I need to in 3 days..3 days people, I have laundry piled on my dresser, I can't fit into any of my shorts, I ate two Popsicles for dinner on Friday night, I by-passed the grocery store last night because I have not shaved my legs in a week and I have a healing cold sore under my nose that makes me look like Charlie Chaplain.....yeah...welcome to my world cause it ain't all that and a bucket of chicken...which somehow sounds really good right this second.....
 
So when my verse came this morning, I started to cry..I WANT to know the great things You have for me Lord, tell me.....but He can tell me all day long.  I have to have faith that He doesn't lie, that I can believe what He speaks to my heart over and over.  That when I am face down with snot bubbles and a box of Kleenex that He thinks I am His most beautiful girl...because He sees ME.  My heart, my very inmost being, crying out for Him and Him alone because there is just nothing else...I promise you.  Nothing.  No house, car, relationship, amount of money, status....nothing compares to what He offers.  PEACE.  And when you have His peace that you are going the right way, even if it's failing forward, then you have the assurance that He has a plan.  And it for your good....even when it hurts, even when it feels completely opposite, even when you just can't see past your own tears, even then....for your good.  To prosper you, to give you a hope AND a future.  Thankful.

 

 

 








Friday, August 2, 2013

5 Minute Friday - Story


Writing with Lisa Jo and the girls for 5 Minute Fridays.....5 minutes, no edits or re-writes and love those that came before you. 

Topic: Story....GO

 
What's your story
.....I wonder that more often these days when I look past what my eyes see. I know that the surface tells it's own story but I also know that is most usually a false one. That who we are and what our story is goes much, much deeper than that. My own seems like a strange novel where some days you think YES!!! And others it's like, who saw that coming ?!? Twists and turns and things I never dreamed. All shaping the story that is me. All being used by Him for His greater plan, the story of His children.... I think I'm nearing the end of this little chapter in my big picture. And as always it makes me hopeful. And also, thankful.

Stop.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Seeking

I made it.  This is it.....my thoughts this morning as I tried desperately to wake up..A year ago, God answered my prayers in a big way....I want to stand on my own two feet Lord....I need to be able to do this.  You have to help me....and He did.  I have gotten so bogged down as of late, that I have forgotten what it is I am called to do.  What He really requires of me.  I whispered prayers, asking for guidance yet again...and my answer came.....my verse this morning brought immediate peace.
Matthew 6:33
Good News Translation (GNT)
33 Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things.

Be concerned with what tasks He has set for me each day, because all the rest is subject to change.  If I'm depending on my circumstance, other people, my job, relationships...there is going to come a time when they change or fall short or don't measure up to what I think I need.  When I keep my eyes on Him, He will supply all the rest.  And when I look back over the last year and a half, I know it's true.  I know He is there, I know He will handle it.  Sometimes it feels like He has forgotten, but His ways are not our ways, His timing, not like ours. 

So it's a new day...a new year, hopefully a new season.  Thankful.



Dear Weary Mom - Don't Blink

 
Linking up today at Hope For The Weary Mom...
 
Dear Weary Mom,
 
Don't blink....because it all goes by so very fast.  One day your worried about having the right kind of crayons for kindergarden and then next you are standing in the hallway at the high school watching your beautiful girl have her senior portraits done.  Where did the time go?  That stuck with me all day.  So much worry about how in the world am I ever gonna make it through 13 years of school...but we did.  And so as I have that old familiar knot in my stomach thinking...how are we ever gonna get through college....guess what? He will make a way.  He always has, He always will.  What He spoke so heavily to my heart yesterday was be still and just rest...I have grown so very weary.  So the afternoon was spent with me and my two not so little ones looking at pictures of their entire lives, laughing at school pictures gone horribly wrong and even looking at SLIDES of when I was a little girl.  Showing them who they look like and where they came from..that they are part of a family and always will be.  No matter what they face.  Same goes for us the moment we become His child.  He is the One in charge, and we are the children, looking to Him to have the answers.  Thankfully, He actually does!!  So today sweet mama, rest in the comfort that He's got this.  He's got you, me, them and everything else in between.  We are not alone.  Sounds like a good day for pictures and ice cream.  Thankful.