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What’s saving my life right now

I read it on someone’s blog post. It got me to thinking.

“What’s saving my life right now?” 

A few things:

February 2 marks Groundhog Day and the middle of winter, and the mere thought that we are on the other side of Jack Frost’s influence makes me happy. I keep watching the morning sun rising but cannot quite perceive it being much earlier. While I enjoy all of the seasons, once I’ve bundled up in sweats, sweaters, coats and scarves and had a beautiful snow that kept me homebound, I’m good. Let’s move on to spring.

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The mantel arrangement is somehow life-giving to me this year. I went for primarily white, using some of the small trees from Christmas. The addition of some blue pieces is perfect, because I have always, always been a blue girl. When I sit at the table and glance toward the mantel, it gives me a fresh breath, something akin to peace. Simple. White. Blue.

I saw a robin redbreast on the fence in the backyard this week. It seems early for him. When I was a child the first robin was a sure sign that spring was coming, as if its very presence ushered a warming. I know that’s not true, but the sighting of that sweet bird made me glad.

Strong coffee is keeping me sane in winter’s grey days. But then good coffee always keeps me sane. I do get extra pleasure when it’s served in my “Baby it’s cold outsidered mug, a gift from a friend last year.

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Sweet William and I are learning to play the ukulele. Actually he is already much better than me. Being a long-time guitarist, he has the finger moves. I, on the other hand, wonder how my left hand is supposed to twist in such a fashion so that my fingertips press the correct string.  Doing it together doubles our fun. I think it might be good for my brain, too.

When it isn’t frigidly cold, I walk with Maisie. Dressed warmly, wearing my cute white hat and two mismatched leather gloves (one green, one brown), we escape the house. I like the chill air and the feel of sunshine on my face, and Maisie gets to smell everything in her path.

One day it warmed enough to produce a gentle rain as we walked, and I remembered a children’s book my mother read to me when I was a little girl. The Make-Believe Parade was about a group of children walking to school in the rain, pretending what they would be when they were grown. The book was a favorite, complete with my name written inside in my mother’s familiar script. She read it to me often, and I read it to our son and then his children. It is tattered by love, much like the Velveteen Rabbit.

While snow and cold have kept me indoors, I don’t mind. I love being home with time to work on projects and creative endeavors.  My cousin and I painted with water colors this week. She had a great stash of supplies for us to use. After looking at my finished painting, I think I need to take a class.

Enjoying an hour or two with friends is saving my life. I spent the morning with someone this week, us sharing breakfast at a favorite restaurant. We drank a gallon of coffee and talked until the lunch crowd began filling up the tables. My spirits were lifted when I walked out into the cold fresh air.

Stay sane, friends. Find joy in this season. Learn something new. Spend time with friends, face to sweet face. Give thanks in all circumstances, for we have a Heavenly Father who gives good gifts in every season of our lives.

Now, what is saving your life right now? I’d love to hear from you.

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Sunday grace

I pulled out the small black spiral notebook where I sometimes write prayers. In it was a written request from January of this year.

I read my heart cries and remembered the difficulty of the situation. I was pleading and desperate for God’s help.

And He answered my prayer.

Did I ever thank Him for that? I didn’t write anything else on the lone piece of paper. Did I think to respond to the God who hears my prayers and answers them?

I feel ungrateful and forgetful. I don’t want to be like the nine lepers who were healed and kept right on going toward the temple. They did not return to give praise to God. Let me be like the one who came back, fell at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.

On the back of the page, I wrote a prayer of thanksgiving:

Dear Father,
I never wrote a praise for this answered prayer. . . . You are good and faithful. You hear prayers and You answer.
So I thank you. Summer is ending. and it has not been an easy year. But You are with us. Your strength will carry us.
Bless the Lord O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.
—  Me

Bless the Lord O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.

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Sunday grace

After days of warm sunshine on my face and the wonder of an early spring, I am greeted with ice crystals and chilly breath clouds as Maisie and I walk in the early morning.

Such is life.

We receive blessing after blessing from God who gives grace upon grace.  Yet the chill of winter’s grasp pulls us to reality. We are not in Eden anymore. There are still mountains to climb, dark valleys in which to walk, trials to endure, temptations to avoid.

Still, the gifts abound in the middle of frosty days and long, uncertain nights.

This morning I am thankful.

For a warm hat, scarf, coat and gloves as I open the door and face the cold.

For gas logs that quickly warm the morning haven of home.

For strong coffee with half and half cream.

For a hot pad at my back to ease away the aches.

For Sweet William, my one and only, sitting in the rocker next to mine.

For little girl Maisie, with us almost a year now, learning obedience step by step.

For daffodils from my yard gracing our table this week.

For home filled with familiar things accumulated through our years together.

For family gathered at our table this week and for friends who feel like family.

For prayer that reaches Heaven being only a breath away.

For the daily dose of Scripture that gives me courage and turns my eyes to the Savior.

For the Word hidden in my heart that cannot be taken away.

For grace boundless and mercies new each day.

For assurance that winter lasts for a season and then comes spring.

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Sunday grace.

 

 

 

may ending

i had a little hand surgery this week. i say little because it seems small in comparison to the many procedures sweet william has endured and the serious issues facing people for whom we pray. but actually it was a big deal to me, and i was a bit wimpy with my brave face on.

one-handed typing is a challenge. i won’t post a picture of my bandaged appendage. you’re welcome.

little things are difficult, like taking off the cap of my medicine bottle and snapping the leash to maisie’s collar.

the entire week felt like a plan coming together. the house got cleaned, the laundry caught up, maisie had a bath after rolling in something stinky, and i finished piano lessons with my students in preparation for taking off the next month.

my neighbor offered help walking maisie, and a friend brought us dinner. (and all of us rescued maisie when she slipped out of her harness and ran the neighborhood, landing hot and panting in a marshy puddle. second bath in three days.)

sweet william is doing his best to care for me, opening those pesky containers and fixing coffee.

i say all that (and type without caps because it’s just hard and taking a ridiculously long time) because i may not be posting much in the next couple of weeks. i plan on taking care of peggy this time around. i don’t always do that well. i have pressed on and been the “strong one” enough times. i’ve dried my tears and walked the hard road alone occasionally. i’m not sorry i did. but this time i need to practice self-care which i am learning is not selfish but necessary from time to time.

the month of may will end with a quite weekend for us at the wright house. there are library movies and books in a basket, frozen meals and sandwich fixings in the fridge, clean clothes in the dresser drawers.

there will be walks down our lane with the honking of geese, the sweet smell of honeysuckle, the sun on our faces.

i will rest and recuperate. i will give thanks to God who made these bodies to heal themselves, for refined medical procedures and kind personnel, for the one good hand that carries the load for a few weeks, for sweet william brewing a strong pot of coffee and asking what he  can do to help, and for friends and family who care enough to call, to text, to come, to bring food.

i am blessed beyond measure. even on my wimpiest day.

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Let us be thankful

Dear Friends,

Of all days in the year, let us count our blessings today.  Let us give grace to family and friends because we have received it in abundance.  Let us enjoy the great food and thank the cooks.  Let us remember how blessed we are in this country to gather at the table.

Let us remember how precious the people are who live with us, live near us, work with us, and open their hearts to us.  They are the real treasures of life.

Let us give thanks for the Word of God that does not fail.  It is true when all else is false.  It has stood the test of time and will continue through eternity.    It has been given to us as a love letter so that we may know the One who wrote it.

Let us look to the Giver of all good gifts, the unchanging Father.  He sends sunshine and rain to the just and the unjust.  He loves regardless. He offers the free gift of salvation and a relationship with Himself.  He does not treat us as we deserve but is full of mercy and compassion.

Let us be thankful for the breath we breath, the strength to stand, the talents we use daily, the new day and the night to rest.

Of all days of the year, let us count our blessings.

Blessed Thanksgiving, friends.

 

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Traditions

The traditions begin.

At 6:30 am, I talked with my prayer partner, Julie.  It was our annual day to remember all the answered prayers through the year.  I looked back over a year’s worth of pages in my prayer journal and saw how God had done great things.  We prayed prayers of thanks to One who hears and answers our prayers.

I’ve started feeding the birds since harvest is over and cold weather has descended upon us.  I call them in the morning, “Come on birdies,” and they are beginning to recognize that I am friend, not foe.  It is something I do in the fall and winter months.  Feeding them provides so much enjoyment, plus it reminds me how a faithful God cares for me.

The cooking frenzy has begun.  The cranberry relish is prepared and waiting in the fridge.  It is one item on my list of Thanksgiving food to prepare.  It gets better as it sits and marinates in the juices of orange and sugar.

Butter is getting soft on the counter in preparation for Sour Cream Cake, one of my mother’s recipes.  It continues to be a family favorite.  I have to pull out my big mixer for this cake, the only one that can handle the thick batter with ease.  I will wash and dry the perfect-size plate that fits the cake.  It was a wedding gift to my parents in 1942.  The gold edging is almost gone but it is priceless to me.

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I started my yearly Joy List this morning.  I will add to it throughout the day and tomorrow morning, perhaps even through the weekend.   The list gets longer every year, and why not?  God gives so many gifts that I  cannot count them all, though this week I try.

Sweet William and I make calls today and tomorrow, wishing friends and loved ones a blessed day.  It is good to chat for just a few minutes in the flurry of activity.  I sent texts message to sweet friends who have enriched my life in so many sweet ways.  People are the best gifts of all.

Tomorrow we will gather with my cousins and their children and grandchildren.  The house will be full, loud, festive.  We will quiet long enough to pray and give thanks to our great God who gives us so many, many blessings.  We will eat the best food in the whole wide world (my family are good cooks!), and we will talk and laugh and catch up with one another as families do.  This only child is grateful for extended family.

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I will remember those not with us at the table this year, my dear dad who is at home with Jesus now and my family-too-far-away.   I will remember others who are missing family members this year, trying to learn how to do life without them.  And I will say a prayer for them because I know what loss feels like.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for so many reasons.   It is the beginning of the end of the year when stress can rise and suck the very life out of us.  But on this day, I will still my heart.  I will look at the faces around the table and enjoy the moments.

And I will give thanks.

 

Sunday grace

We enter the week of Thanksgiving.

Hopefully I have been thankful each day of November and am learning to have a grateful heart at all times and under all circumstances.  My joy journal should be filled with many entries listing the daily graces I’ve looked for and recorded.

I’ve been given much.  I wish I had been better at being thankful. But I was not.

And yet, the Perfect One continues to give.  He is the Fount of Every Blessing.

When Jesus had given thanks, he broke the bread and said, “Take this and eat it.  It is my body . . . ”

He gave thanks and gave the bread.  He gave His body.  He gave His life.  He keeps giving grace.

As I recognize how much I’ve been given, I want to respond with gratitude and thanksgiving.  And then perhaps my life will become a life of worship.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forgot not all His benefits.

Sunday grace.