How Much More?

I climbed back into bed this morning, the ritual of questions littering my thoughts:

  • How will I pay my bills this month?
  • How much longer until I find a job?
  • What, oh what, am I going to do?

Like a roller coaster set in motion, the questions continued.

But did I mention these questions hit once I climbed back into bed? The very bed that a neighbor graciously gave me last weekend. A queen-size mattress for this mama, a major upgrade from the daybed I’ve been sleeping on, one that has the space to let my little ones climb up with me and cuddle. Ah, sweet bliss.

The anxiety tried making its way in as I laid in this new bed.

The very one covered with someone else’s sheets since mine are tucked too far in the back of storage to retrieve.

The same bed with a loaner comforter for the same reason, topped with a plush, fuzzy blanket given to me by a sweet friend last Christmas.

On the bed. Under a roof, a roof provided in love. No family ties to me. No strings. Just love. Pure, sheer, unadulterated love.

I’d love to say its impossible to be anxious under the covers of love, but I can’t. What I do know is it is more challenging to keep fretting, for every question seemed to be answered with one of the layers covering me.

How am I going to make ends meet?

Did you notice this great bed you’re laying on? (Did I mention it’s a Sleep Number!! Boy, am I spoiled!!)

What if I can’t pay my bills?

What about those sheets? Where did those come from, Stacy?

Each “what if” was met with a little prompting to look around, viewing the glimpses of love sent from the One who loves me more than I can comprehend.

“How much more” echoed through my head, my mind’s short paraphrase of Matthew 6:26.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26)

Courtesy Flickr: Jon Nelson

Courtesy Flickr: Jon Nelson

I listened as those small, winged animals serenaded me, breathed a little more deeply, and curled into my bed, yes, the very one representing generosity, provision and love.

No, I still don’t have any more answers tonight than I did this morning. I can’t say how the bills will be paid. I can’t guarantee where things will come from, and I have no idea when I’ll be offered a job. And while logic says I should be upside down trying to answer those questions, there is one that resonates even louder, beckoning in a way that makes me think that perhaps, just perhaps, if I grasped it’s answer a little better, all of the other questions would fall into place.

How much more valuable am I in His sight?

 

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And the Winners Are. . .

I’m finally announcing the winners of this year’s Summer of Gratitude Contest.  They are:

Suzanne Ansari

Nina VanWelzen

Danica Favorite, and

Kristen Mcclary

Congrats! I’ll be in touch with all of you to get your contact info so I can send your prizes out to you.

 

Daring to Dream

I asked my friend, Heather Borer, if she’d be willing to ask her some questions and post her responses here. I’ve just been so amazed by the way that God can take what we do–especially something that we think is ordinary or something that everyone else can do–and use it in powerful ways. As a bit of an intro, Heather is a crafter. It’s a shock we’re friends since crafts give me hives, but she is way too amazing to pass her by just for that!! :)

Rustic Shabby Chic Upcycled Cabinet Door by Heather Borer

Rustic Shabby Chic Upcycled Cabinet Door by Heather Borer

Hi Heather. Thanks so much for taking the time to join us! Could you please tell us a little about your Etsy shop?

I started an Etsy shop last fall to sell gifts and home decor that I mostly make with recycled items. I am a ‘green’ girl at heart. I hate seeing things thrown into landfills that still have life in them.

What made you start your store?

Ever since I could remember I had dreams of being a crafter. I always thought it would be really fun to have an Etsy shop and create but I had a fear of actually creating anything and doing it. I have a tendancy to be a perfectionist and nervous about how people view me and what I do. For years I did nothing. Then last year my husband had some medical tests that cost us a few thousand dollars out of pocket due to a heart condition he has. I am a stay at home mom so making up that money was causing me worry. I felt God pushing me to try it. I came to the conclusion that being a huge fail wouldn’t be that big of a deal and to follow that urge/need to create. I did a craft fair and was terrified but made a few hundred dollars and was told by many how they loved what I created and had huge smiles as they left with my items. I was so filled with joy that I was giving someone else joy with what I had created and using some hidden gifts that God had given me to help provide for my family. Through the months I have come to accept that I have made some “ugly” stuff and that is okay. As I tell my young daughters when a block tower gets knocked or falls over, sometimes its better when you redo it. Failing isn’t the end of the world and it feels so freeing to have that now.

What are some of your favorite stories of how your store has either impacted you, your family, or someone else?

I have had the most wonderful conversations with these people sharing life and really feel connected to others through doing this business. As I talk with my customers I hear wonderful stories of what my creations will be used for. A mother giving wooden HOME blocks to her daughter, a friend buying them for their friends as a very special thank you gift, and someone from Children’s Hospital Colorado selecting my Colorado Flag ornament to send to a boy sick with Leukemia in PA during the holidays. The boy was collecting something from each of the 50 states. His story has reminded me that I need to have daily gratitude for my families health and, although money is tight during this season of life, I am blessed to have the opportunity to stay home. I need to enjoy and be present everyday with them.

I know you have a busy schedule between taking care of your girls, working, volunteering, and the many other hats you wear. How do you find the time to craft?

My days are definitely busy but the beauty of a craft business is that is doesn’t have to all be done at once. I mostly come up with new items at night when kids are asleep and the house is quiet. I make going to bed at a reasonable hour a priority because ‘mama bear’ doesn’t do anyone any favors! I usually do 1 hr a few times a week to come up with something new but other times its fulfilling orders which can be done here and there throughout the day when I am home with my girls who are 2 and 5 years old. They are used to mama painting or cutting wood in the garage. At times I feel guilty about not giving my family 100% all of the time but I realize they are all better if they don’t get 100%. Its okay to do things for yourself as a mom and its good for them to spend time with Daddy or just play alone and enjoy one another. Often I pull out crafts for them and we do them together, just working on different things, or the best compliment of all when they want to make what I am making.

What advice do you have for anyone who is contemplating doing something out of their comfort zone, but they aren’t sure about it?

Totally do it!! Be courageous and challenge those thoughts or fears that hold you back. I think we many times interpret fear to mean we shouldn’t do something but that isn’t always the case. All to often we listen to those negative thoughts which are trying to drown out the ”you can do this!” message that is being whispered in our ears. I took a risk and as a result made enough money to pay off his bills and have a bit of money left aside with help of tax returns to have a trip of a lifetime with my husband to Italy. You never know how you will be rewarded for trusting God’s voice and how he wants to work through you. I also feel like I am setting a good example for my girls by showing them that its okay to take risks sometimes and to create, which are two things I believe we commonly forget to do, or just lose entirely, as we get older.

I hope you’ve been as inspired by Heather as I’ve been. She offers such a beautiful reminder to take risks, create, and tap into that saying that’s run through my mind so much lately,

“Dream bigger, child. No. Bigger.”

What dreams are bubbling out of your heart, but perhaps you’ve been too scared to act on them?

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Psst, be sure to check out Heather’s shop!

I Don’t Want to Live

Before you blow up my inbox, comments section, or my phone, let me finish the sentence:

Like that anymore.

I don’t want to live like that anymore.

Now that the crisis is averted, let’s start at the beginning.

Yes, I’ve had those days–those periods, really–where I’ve questioned the point. I’ve looked at the pain and suffering–not of the world-at-large, but that in my own life–and it seemed too much to bear. Let me correct that: it was too much to bear. Sometimes out felt like the best way.

A few of you right now are shaking your heads up and down, completely getting what I’m saying. Others are shaking your head side to side, ready to place judgment on me for a lack of trust. A lack of joy. A lack of faith. You aren’t alone. I had a pastor tell me, “If you trusted God more, you wouldn’t be having such a hard time.” Um, how do I respond. Let’s just keep it simple and scream out the answer: No!!!

Jesus begged if it were possible to avoid the cross. He fully trusted. Fully obeyed. Fully suffered.

So these times of wondering if its worth it started popping up again, especially as I glanced at the checkbook register, the very thing that reminded me that we were a few days of scarce groceries away from empty. Oh, God.

When I found out that the job that seemed too good to be true was. I had been counting blessings and chickens, only to have the latter crumble. Oh, that I may learn from the cliche. 

But then, I made an announcement. I burst through the buwsh of shame and let you all know what’s been going on in my private life. Honestly, I forgot that I hit “publish” on that particular post. I had saved it as a draft, prayed and prayed some more if I should send it out into that great world wide web. Apparently I did, even though I forgot.

Shock and fear coursed through my body when MailChimp sent me an email letting me know they sent that post out to everyone.

But then.

Oh, how I love those two little words.

Something began changing. As more and more of you read about the crumbling of my heart, comments, and messages began pouring in. They all had one word in common: prayer.

I don’t know how else to say it other than to offer a meager thanks, the kind that comes with those quiet, pure tears running down my cheeks. I have felt your prayers in ways I can’t describe. I’d love to say that life suddenly turned rosy. That reconciliation happened. That groceries were provided (oh wait, that one did happen. Thank you!!). I’m one for three on those.

The cloud of darkness still lingers like a cancer. Somedays it encompasses so much that it requires tremendous amounts of energy just to press on past it. Other days (or moments, perhaps), it falls into remission.

But here’s the most radical change of all: a new perspective. It was sometime last Saturday night that a thought gripped me, one that has challenged nearly every thought since: I don’t want to live like that anymore.

  • I don’t want to live knowing God could make water flow from a hard, lifeless rock, yet simultaneously deny any of His power in my life. Perhaps the bedrock in my life will burst forth with life-giving sustenance. I can’t say. But this I now proclaim: they will burst into praise. will burst forth into praise. Not when this is over. Now. Right now. With my cloak of darkness and heaviness, I will yet praise.
  • I don’t want to live pretending that the incredible ways in which God took care of me when the first tower of my life collapsed years ago was a fluke or one-time thing. It wasn’t a “get out of jail” card that I happened upon and used up. It is God. No, more. It is love. That isn’t to say that things won’t be tough. Who would I kid with that statement as I walk through a fire that threatens my soul. But I don’t walk alone. God, the author of life, the crafter of my life, walks with me. Leads the way. Carries me.
  • I don’t want to live as if divorce now defines me. It will shape. Oh, that it does. Let me learn, God. Don’t waste this pain. And yet, the pain doesn’t have to keep me here. I won’t be stuck.
  • I don’t want to live in isolation. Pain divides. Some flee, scared it will rub off on them. Others don’t know what to do with it. And even more act as if they don’t know what it means to hurt, scared to let others see their realities. But yet, sharing my story–our stories–we draw closer. Find true, deep compassion and love. Encourage and support.

These are just a few of my “I don’t want tos.” I’m sure there are more, but I offer them today perhaps as an encouragement, but also as a splattering of thanks.

With deep gratitude,

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What are you ready to say “I don’t want to live like that” to today?

Divorce

In early February, a stranger showed up at my door late at night in the middle of a snow storm. Who would come to my house under such conditions? I answered the door reluctantly, only to find a man much too eager to hand me some papers and retreat from the cold.

“Here you go, Ms. Voss,” he said as he gave me the stack and fled to his warm car.

Dissolution.

That’s what it said. It was supposed to be of a marriage, but all hopes, dreams–life!–dissolved in that instant.

broken spidey

I’d prefer to stay in hiding until I can make sense of this, but how does one go about that? How are you supposed to reconcile the fact that the person you thought you’d love forever changed their mind? Some things can’t be understood. This is one of them. This will always be one of them.

I’d rather take a break until I have it together and then come back with my happy self. But life doesn’t always work that way, does it? This urge to break free, to share with you my trusted friends, is much too strong to remain in hiding. I know I’m not alone. I say that in all regards. There are amazing people standing with me through this. You know I’ve had rough days (more like weeks, months, and probably more!). I’ve only made it this far because of your help and your willingness to let me lean so hard on you. There is no way I can express the depth of my gratitude.

I also know I’m not alone in the sense that I’m not the only person facing great hardship. Loss. Disappointment. Confusion. Frustration.

I wanted to believe it was just me, or at least just us in the throes of that ugly “d” word. But as I continue talking with you, I realize many of us share this plight, whatever the circumstances. Job loss. Hope loss. Child loss. Life loss.

We question. We wonder. We cry.

Some will stay stuck here. Some will become bitter. Trust me, I get both of those. I’ve asked some friends  to keep me from being spiteful, something that doesn’t come naturally to me, but surfaces in my most trying times.

I’ve feared sharing this, in part because I wasn’t ready until now, but also because I know I’m opening the door for judgement. Trust me. I’ve received a lot of that already. Too much, in fact. But I can’t pretend in order to prevent some from thinking less of me.

This will not define me. Perhaps that’s why I’m sharing it with you today. Yes, it will shape. Refine. Hurt in a way I didn’t know was possible. And make me want to crumble. But I also know that even in my deepest anguish, I. Must. Press. On.

I hope you’ll join me.

What kinds of dissolutions have you faced recently?

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The Summer of Gratitude Giveaway

Summer is here! And so is my new website. Put those together and it sounds like the perfect time for a giveaway!

summer of gratitudeWe all know that summer can be filled with amazing vacations.

Or screaming kids.

Fun at the pool.

Or hot, non-air-conditioned homes.

I start off the summer loving every second, but partway through, I start longing for the quiet I get when the kids are at school. But I don’t want to wish this time away this year. I want to savor it. The best way I’ve found for doing that is to reflect upon what I’m grateful for.

So, let’s do that together. And why not enter to win some great prizes while you’re at it? Here’s what’s up for grabs:

Summer of Gratitude Prizes

 

Without further ado, let’s get this Summer of Gratitude started! All the rules and everything you need to know is below. Thanks for playing and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To my Five Minute Friday friends, yes, I’m totally cheating on this one. Sorry, but I just wanted to be the messenger and tell you how to get in on this giveaway. Yes, throw the tomatoes my way. Sorry :(

Linking in with Five Minute Friday, writing prompt messenger (yes, pathetic, I know!)

 
Five Minute Friday

The Chant of Lies

Courtesy Flickr: Steve Garvie

Courtesy Flickr: Steve Garvie

I hear the birds singing and crickets chirp. Their songs continue as if life just merrily ticks forward. But there is a new song, one I haven’t heard before, or perhaps it’s the one I’ve heard so long I hardly even recognize it as a song. It just is, like air or sunshine.

But stop. Slow. No. More.

Listen to all of the sounds, their distinctive noises blending together into a beautiful sonnet. Now, weed out the one that doesn’t belong. Yes, it’s there. We know it is. Let’s stop pretending for a few minutes and say what everyone around us knows: the thing we’re scared to admit for some reason we can’t understand.

Yes, I hear it. That song of lies. It’s more of a chant that reverberates over and over. Like the train that rolls through town, it belts out a rhythm that is harsh and loud, yet with time we become so accustomed to it that we no longer even notice it.

Or so we think.

But the chant continues, each stanza growing in volume.

We’re hooked. Captured. It is such a part of us now, its somber tentacles entwined through the very essence of our being, that if we contemplate removing it, we fear a certain death.

After all, what would we be if not for the resounding chants of lies, doubt, and accusations we allow others and ourselves to hurl at us?

What would we be?

Would we look like what was once a beautiful stained glass window, but all of the sauder disintegrated and there is nothing more than shards of broken glass? Would a hollow, empty form emerge?

Or would the butterfly slowly push its way past the cocoon, fighting to push past the very thing that could entrap?

Would we leave the song behind, those gloomy, binding chants, and trade it in for a new one?

I waited patiently for the Lord;

he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me up out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock

and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,

 a hymn of praise to our God.” Psalm 40:1-3, emphasis mine

Oh, to trade in that song of old, the one that binds and keeps us from fulfilling the call God has placed on each one of us. To listen to a new song, the one that rings out in praise.

Isn’t it interesting that the old song can be replaced with a hymn of praise? I find that interesting. So much so that I think I’ll write a bit more about it later this week, but for now, I want to ask you two questions:

1) why do you think the new song is one of praise?

2) Have you heard the chant of lies ring in your life? If so, what have you done/do you do to eliminate it?

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The Language of Limbo

“I don’t know if it makes any sense, but I feel like our family isn’t complete yet, but I had another miscarriage. I’m not entirely sure if I’ll be working in the fall, or if I’ll be preparing for a baby,” a friend told me.

Her story is completely different than mine, yet one thing resounded:

“I totally get it. You’re speaking my language of limbo,” I replied.

Image courtesy Flickr: Max Sparber

Image courtesy Flickr: Max Sparber

Our conversation got me thinking, especially wondering why anyone would take a fun and humorous game and give it the same name as the long seasons that are fertile grounds for doubt, fear, anxiety and confusion. It took a few days before the similarities started hitting me:

  • How low can you go?

The purpose of this question is different between the game and the real-life version, yet it is equally important in both. In the game, we watch and chant, inquiring how low someone can go to see if they can contort in a way to squeeze under the bar.

In the real-life version, it’s the question that comes from within: how low can I go before hitting the bottom and being disqualified? Will I crack like Humpty Dumpty where no one, not even the kings horses or men, can put me together again?

  • Flexibility is key.

The winner of limbo is always the person who can make their body move in ways others can’t. They are flexible.

The same is true in the real-life version. If we remain fixed on “but it’s always been this way,” limboville will take a greater toll. We might even get knocked out during the early rounds. But the risks are more than not winning a lei: if we fall out of the race in the real-life game of limbo, we’re prone to become bruised. Worse yet, we turn bitter. Life is meant to be abundant. I’m not about to forfeit that.

  • It can’t get any harder, can it?

We expect the limbo bar to keep going lower and lower, yet in the throes of life, those trials that linger on and on, we hope things will plateau. The reality is, at least for me, that even if it isn’t truly getting harder, it sure feels like it when I don’t know which way to go. Limbo is a wasteland of disorientation.

Yet with all of these similarities, there is one difference that sets the two apart:

Real-life limbo has tremendous value.

At least if we let it.

I’m not about to say we’ll see the value, especially not while wandering in the unknown. We might not even see it for years or decades.

They say faith is being certain of what we can’t see.

That sounds like limbo language.

There’s been so little I’ve been able to see. Yes, I still know there are many around me who love and support me. I still know God is with me, at least my head reminds me of that despite the much-too-frequent moments when my heart doesn’t feel it. And yet there is so, so much I’ve been able to see clearly these past few years in limbo-land.

But even if we can’t see, here’s one remarkable truth: limbo strengthens. Just like great muscle tone is required to control the body long enough to slip under the bar, strength is required to keep pressing on, even when we don’t have a clue which way we’re supposed to press into.

Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” It doesn’t tell us just to wait. Doesn’t even tell us that twice with the hopes it will be enough to cover the long, long periods.

Be strong.

Waiting requires infinite amounts of strength.

So if you find yourself in a season a limbo, a word to both you and me: wait for the Lord. Be strong. Take heart. Wait. Breathe. Trust. Breathe again. And maybe, just maybe, praise.

God, I hate limbo, yet I love you more. Teach me through this season. Don’t let me miss you in a rush to just get through.

What about you? Have you learned any tips that help you throughout the seasons of limbo?

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An Inspiring Challenge: 100 Breaths of Gratitude

My sweet friend, Helen Williams, is letting me share what she posted on her blog, Helen’s Points to Ponder. Her list might look totally different than yours or mine, but yet its filled with love, joy and inspiration to do the same. Come listen in to some of the things Helen is grateful for:
 

My friend Debbie extended the challenge she was given. I in turn, extend it to you. Can you come up with 100 positive things about your life?

Image courtesy Openphoto.net: Miroslav Vajdić

Image courtesy Openphoto.net: Miroslav Vajdić

I thank God for each of these phenomenal blessings. I’m forever grateful to serve and be in love with the God Who just can’t stop blessing!
(These 100 blessings/positive things in my life are not necessarily in numerical order, I’m not ‘ranking’ them.  You don’t have to read it all at once if you don’t want to, but be sure to come back and finish!)

1. Jesus is my Savior, my Lord and my best friend. He loves me unconditionally and forever.
2. Dave is my husband, my best friend in the flesh, and the love of my life. He loves me unconditionally and forever, too! (He can’t help himself!)
3. My firstborn child is my amazing, handsome, strong, intelligent and charismatic young man who proudly serves our country as a member of the elite group of men known as Army Airborne Soldiers, and he’s gifted me with two incredible grandsons.
4. My second born child is my beautiful, precious Princess – she’s brave and kind and has one of the biggest hearts on the planet, and has gifted me with four incredible grandchildren.
5. My third born child is my baby, though he’s bigger than I am. He’s my Marine, my courageous, disciplined, handsome, faithful son, who’s blessed me with three more incredible grandchildren. I am blessed, indeed.
6. My first grandson, Kyle.
7. My second grandson, Collin.
8. My third grandson, Johnny.
9. My fourth grandson, Josef.
10. My fifth grandson, Joseph.
11. My first granddaughter, Versais.
12. My second granddaughter, Fiona.
13. My third granddaughter, Abigail.
14. My fourth granddaughter, Temperance. (I’ve listed the grandchildren by age, not necessarily the order they came into my life.) Each grandchild brings their own unique blessings into my life and love for them is unconditional and forever, just like their parents.
15. I was raised by amazing, loving parents who were my first glimpse into what God Himself might be like. Have I always agreed with them? No. But I haven’t always agreed with anyone, as far as I know.
16. I have a gorgeous daughter in law that loves me and a wonderful new son in law who loves me – and I love them both with all my heart. If you’re going to love my children, you’ve got to know you have a special, permanent place in my heart.
17. I’m growing more beautiful every day, because I’m recognizing my own beauty a little more each day.
18. I live in a very happy home!
19. My wonderful husband brings home enough of a paycheck that I’m not forced to work to pay the bills. I can’t tell you how grateful that makes me. Should I choose to get a job, it will be just that – a choice.
20. I have an abundance of friends and acquaintances that love me. Even the ones who really know me! I don’t dare try to mention names or we’d be here many, many days….
21. I’m forgiven.
22. I’m generally surrounded by kindness.
23. I have many gifts and talents, some of which I’m just discovering now. Life gets better every day!
24. I’m learning self-discipline and the process of implementing boundaries in my life. This is VERY liberating. Sure, I should have established this years ago – but, rather than get down on myself for not yet having “arrived” in life, I’m getting there!
25. I love my yoga classes and my yoga instructor.
26. My car is paid for and still doing me proud and it’s ten years old already!
27. I have five wonderful siblings, whom I love with all my heart. We may not all live close together or see each other as much as we could/should, be the ties that bind us together are very stretchy!
28. I have a plethora of nieces and nephews who are each adorable and incredible blessings to me, whether they realize it or not.
29. I love to write. YOU love to read!
30. I love to read.
31. I love food. And I’m learning to recognize the real stuff from the imposters that have poisoned my body for too many years and making healthier choices every day.
32. I’m becoming involved in politics, learning so many new things about the ways our local and state and federal government work, and don’t work. It’s not fair to complain if I’m not taking steps to educate myself and contribute some good to the situation.
33. I’m stronger than I ever thought I would be, and getting stronger every day. The exciting part is, I’ve become aware of that strength.
34. I pray. For myself, for you, and for every stranger God lays on my heart. And I know that I know that I know that my prayers are heard and answered. And I know that God won’t compromise anyone’s freedom of choice simply because I’ve prayed. I trust Him with that.
35. I’m a giver.
36. I’m learning to be a receiver.
37. Now that I’ve finally taken the dive and got myself a new cell phone, I’m actually not afraid of it or the changes it represents. Gone with the old! Into the new. Do I know how to use it yet? Not completely. But I’m not afraid of the new technology. I thought I would be.
38. I have great hair! Is that a vain thought? I don’t care.
39. I’ve reconnected with cousins and old friends through Facebook and it’s wonderful!
40. I love the breezes God sends my way.
41. I love the sunshine. And I treasure it even more after a few days of gray skies.
42. I love TREES! And praise God, the longer I live, the more different types I get to see – and touch!
43. I love beaches; the warm, beautiful sandy beaches of the east coast in particular, though Hawaii has some great ones, too.
44. I’ve been blessed to travel with my precious husband to places I never dreamed I’d see.
45. I have some incredible memories. Sadly, though, I have a lot of great memories I can no longer remember, but – praise God for the ones I can recall!
46. I can sing, and I can do it quite well. Perhaps not as well as I once could, but I have fun with it!
47. Dave and I still have date nights. Often! We’re nerdy, crazy mad in love with each other.
48. Most of the people I know are honest, for the most part.
49. I have some fantastic, anointed pastors.
50. I trust that my best days are ahead of me!
51. The Sky Sox stadium is within walking distance from my house. I don’t go to nearly enough games, but I can if I choose to.
52. I know how to adapt, improvise and overcome!
53. I own a treasure of great books and a world of information is quickly and freely available to me with a keystroke and an internet connection.
54. My house is yellow. I always wanted a yellow house. This particular shade might be a bit bold, but hey – it’s super easy to locate my house, even from miles away. Yes, I say that with a smile on my face.
55. I trust easily.
56. I forgive easily.
57. My home has great city views and views of the mountains, as well. I drink it all in, daily.
58. I don’t dread birthdays anymore.
59. I don’t fear death anymore.
60. I am trusted.
61. I’m funny! It’s not always intentional, but, I can sure make people laugh. Thank God for my dad’s words of wisdom: “Helen, they’re not laughing AT you, they’re laughing WITH you.” Me: “But, Dad, I’m not laughing.” Dad: “Start!”
62. I love to wash my dishes by hand.
63. I love a good hot bath, and a soak in a nice, deep hot tub.
64. I’m very healthy. Sure, I have my aches and complaints from time to time, but overall, I’m very healthy. Yay!
65. I have great dreams. I write down the ones I see as most powerful.
66. I have God’s Word, both the logos and the Rhema!
67. On days when I can’t seem to sit still and focus on written words, my computer will read to me!
68. I love going for walks with Dave, and he loves walking with me.
69. We do it too often, but I love going out to eat with Dave, more face time!
70. After sitting through the rain, we get the smell of freshness that no other scent can parallel.
71. Just today, as I wearily drove through a drive-through for a drink, a small boy who doesn’t know me at all – blew me a kiss!
72. How positive and wonderful is this one? I live in a world filled with colors!
73. I love the birds that come to visit every day and bring joy to my yard with their songs.
74. I love 70s music and can listen to it any time I want to!
75. I have affordable health insurance. I did BEFORE Obamacare, too.
76. I love the sound of my children and grandchildren’s laughter.
77. Dave doesn’t snore anymore! I can sleep!
78. I have spell-check! It’s not necessary to embarrass myself publically.
79. I’m blessed with a wonderful Bible teacher who comes to hold Bible studies here in my own home.
80. I see beauty in everyone. Everyone!
81. Even with my eclectic tendencies, I’m learning to be more organized. Baby steps, Helen. Baby steps.
82. I know much of God’s Word by heart, yet each time I read it, He gives me fresh revelation.
83. I’m surrounded by talented, strong, inspiring people.
84. I don’t easily attach to material possessions.
85. Most days, I bubble over with joy. Perhaps not all day long – but, the joy is always there.
86. I’ve learned to “think on the good things”. (Philippians 4:8)
87. I like who I am.
88. I like who Dave is. And I like who we are together.
89. Coffee. ‘nuff said.
90. Oh, and chocolate!
91. It seems there’s always someone around to give me a hug when I need one.
92. We’re in our 37th year of marriage and growing stronger every day.
93. I have some wisdom to go with the (few) gray hairs I’ve acquired.
94. My heart grows larger all the time, there’s always someone new to make room for there.
95. Dave and I can’t dance, but we do anyways, when no one is looking…
96. I love a good, rhyming poem, especially if I wrote it.
97. I love it when a light bulb goes off in my mind, though it can be frustrating when I can’t seem to communicate what I just got understanding on.
98. I love that you’re still reading this list!
99. I love water. I have a healthy respect for it, too. But I love drinking cold water and sitting in hot water.
100. I love that there is so much good in my life, that I believe I could come up with another list just as long as this one, just as quickly.

Thank you for your time and attention. I hope you’re inspired to write your own list. If it lifts you up and encourages you, post it on a wall somewhere you’ll see it often, so you’ll remember to stir up the good gifts in your life and remember to rejoice, in the midst of the rainy days.

God is merciful and gracious to us. He is faithful to us. And He loves us, even when we don’t return that love.

There is nothing we can do to make Him stop loving us. Hallelujah! What a very long gratimoment! Thank you, Stacy Voss for giving us the gift of gratimoments to hold on to!

(Hey look! I made it into Helen’s post!! Pretty cool! For that and many more reasons, here’s one thing that tops my list:

Friends. Amazing, incredible friends who love and support me. Love you, Helen!

How about you? What are some of the things you’re grateful for?

What is a Gratimoment?

What is a Gratimoment? Simply, it’s the key to helping us learn to be content! You see, Paul spoke of knowing the secret to being content. Honestly, it makes me want to scream, “Well tell us already!” But if you really study his life, you’ll discover that he did. You see, Paul’s the guy that went from Persecutor to Praiser, knowing full well what that transformation would cost him. Cost it did. He was beaten and shackled for his faith, yet while imprisoned he urges us to:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4

His rejoicing seemed to break his chains, setting his heart free to praise regardless of his circumstances.

But always? I’m doomed to fail at that around the clock part, but I can stop and say thanks right now. I might be grateful for a warm sunny day or the ability to run around laughing with my kids. The best part of all is that Gratimoments are accumulative. They pile up until we have Gratidays, Gratiweeks, and so much more. In fact, we just might become Gratigirls or Gratidudes who have unlocked the secret to being content!

I’m ready to flex my gratitude muscles, to get them in such great shape that when the trials of life come my way, I’m still able to sing out in praise.

I want to unlock the secret to being content. I’m ready to learn to savor rather than complain. I want the fullness of life promised me, and somehow I’m beginning to realize it starts with the transforming of our minds, the change from grumpy to grateful.

I want to Seize the Gratimoment!

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