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On this ‘Thankful Thursday, am thankful for…

…for sun…and rain…and sunflowers in the rain.

…for the way the seed from bird feeders has allowed for these beauties to pop up in some of the most inopportune places…and that even though they looked like weeds, I didn’t pull these sunflowers because I knew what potential for beauty they held. They were worth the wait.DSCN0786

…for looking on the bright side of having old cars: no car payment, ¬†low insurance rates, and the humility that comes with driving them. ūüôā Also for the time I have to catch up on my summer reading during the three hour repairzzzz.

…for two more days of “Summer break”. ¬†For time well spent with family and friends and for all the things crossed off my “summer” to do list.

…for phone calls from one coast to another from my kids. ¬†For connections with them that miles can’t take away. Yep. Very very thankful for that.

…for a new coffee mug that I love and use for way more coffee than any person should ever admit to drinking.

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…for three different “chance” meetings with people this week. Love how paths often cross at just the right times.

…for little hands and eyes that remind me of wonder ūüôā

 

…for the reminder that life is precious … and the reminder that we need each other. (A friend from years gone by lost her 24 year old son… have written some things…but tough to find words for things so deep sometimes.) Prayers for Ashley and her family…and for those Jake left behind who adored him and are facing a deep ache and incredible void.) May God comfort in the ways that only He can. Screen Shot 2017-06-28 at 2.12.28 PM

…for a friend sending me songs ‘out of the blue’ that helped yours truly beat a bad case of the blues. (Thanks Cheryl. Worship gets my eyes and heart back to where they need to be…. and for the so cool fact that the first one she sent was one of two that I keep playing over and over daily.) ¬†One of my new favorites is Starlight by Amanda Cook. Bethel Music.

…for my camera and misty mornings walks. For cows that make me laugh and dandelions that so don’t look like weeds to me.

 

…for visual reminders that help me see and understand deeper truths that I need to take hold of…and the truth that “Love hopes all things, bears all things, believes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” ¬†It was on the bulletin for my wedding. And “if I have not love…I am a clanging symbol…” ¬†Below is a photo of a visual of “the two shall become one…” ¬†Black sand mixing with white sand as a powerful visual. ¬†Tough to separate grains of sand. Marriage is a blending, a meeting in the middle, a union. Yeah, good to have that reminder for me and my oh-so-polar-opposite-of-me-husband (and him and his oh-so-polar-opposite-of-him wife!) Thankful for the differences though…I really am. ¬†A balance of extremes can be a good thing. Even a great thing. Just sometimes the blending of the two isn’t as easy as with sand. ¬†At all.DSCN9764

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…for Greek yogurt with blueberries and granola (tastes like dessert… probably even qualifies as dessert!) and the time to eat breakfast outside on a cool summer morning. (Yep, there’s my new coffee cup ‚̧ ) For the views, the fresh air, and a new day and the birds flitting around from branch to branch singing their little hearts out.

…for ‘game changers’…truths that reach deep and transform mindsets and encourage and give strength and a new awareness for the day (or the minute as it may be)… (Ephesians 1: 18-20)DSCN0798

…for writing…blogging…and the venting and processing that comes with it. …for time to be able to write over these past few weeks, and for the creative outlet it is. ¬†For connections with people I’ve never even met but feel like I know, and for the deeper connection made with people I do know that comes through sharing of thoughts, heart, and experiences and those moments of smiling because we get it and understand where the other person has walked or may be walking.

…for this verse…Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.‚ÄĚ (Joshua 1:9) ¬†Thankful that the ‘wherever you go’ doesn’t have to be distant lands, or huge undertakings. The ‘wherever’ is wherever…. grocery stores, back yard decks, car service stations, business meetings, schools…yep. It covers “where-ever”. ¬†And the courageous doesn’t have to be big and bold and earthshaking. It can be the quiet trust that knows that it’s not alone…and that thought alone is enough to empower and en-COURaGe to take the next steps…where-ever and what-ever they might be.¬†

One thing I know is that there is always a lot to be thankful for. Not just on ¬†Thursdays, but every moment of every day. ¬†I’ve just gotta take the time to see it. ¬†So thankful for extra doses of time these past few weeks to do just that…

Blessings ~

Heather

 

Thankful Thursday

 

 

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Just got back in from seeing the sunset as my son (pre-drivers licensed son) drove us around town to run a few errands. ¬†I sat in the passenger seat trying to encourage him to leave at least an inch or two for mailboxes, and practiced my breathing. ¬†He’s my last of 6 children to teach how to drive, and well, let’s just say we need quite a few more hours of practice driving under his belt before he goes for his test. ¬†But overall, we’re making progress because I didn’t feel quite so much the need to will the car to stay on the road and I was able to take some photos as we ¬†(oops, I mean “he” ) drove.

The week had lots of highlights. ¬†There was lots and lots of time well spent with four of my six children. ¬†And do you know what some of my favorite moments were? ¬†Coming into the kitchen and seeing all 4 of them sitting on the deck talking …for hours. ¬†Yep, I’d say that’s time well spent. ¬†Then they took goofy pictures and laughed.¬†hopeandboys5

This next photo was taken when I had just finished talking with their brother in Sweden and shared some crazy news with them about some of his fun adventures…Here’s their reaction…hopeandboys1

….and then, here’s the traditional posed shot…

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Hope and Josh got to catch up after not seeing each other for a long time…

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Yep.  Thankful as all get out.  I also got to see my parents after not seeing them since Christmas, and that was time well spent as well. So fun.

There were some sweet surprises this week. ¬†On the way back home from church, we saw a doe and a fawn…still had spots. ¬†I was amazed at how tiny the little guy was, and he didn’t get more than a few inches away from his mother. ¬†When I stopped to watch, they watched right back, and I was amazed at the lack of fear. ¬†I even had time to grab my camera and take a photo. ¬†deer

The mama doe sure looks proud and protective. ¬†I know just how she feels…

So after the weekend, Monday was full of fun as we celebrated with students at school. ¬†We had awards ceremonies and parties and celebrated victories. One of my favorite moments was when our therapy dog, Skye, granted us one last visit. She comes twice a month to my classroom for reading, but mainly, it’s for connection. So many of my students have some difficult backgrounds and are pretty emotionally detached. ¬†Sweet Skye helps bridge those gaps for a lot of the students, but especially for one little guy. He hardly smiled, except when Skye was around, and he was totally engaged when reading to her. ¬†So on this last day of school, he got to hug her and walk her one more time and we all were thankful for the time well spent.¬†thankfulthurs22

The next day the staff corralled children and tried to keep them occupied which wasn’t easy without much structure in the day. ¬†At 11:00 the teachers lined up and waved gleefully at the buses leaving the campus. ¬†(Dare I say that some of the teachers even danced!!) ¬†And then, we as a staff were off to…an entertainment center to celebrate as a team! ¬†I almost missed out on the fun because my list of “to-dos” was longer than I could stand, but reluctantly went because this team of teachers and staff are a team worth celebrating with. ¬†And I’m so glad I went. ¬†We got to choose from bowling and putt-putt and laser tag, and I chose…laser tag! ¬†Was so much fun I couldn’t stand it! And I came home and announced to my boys that we should all go as a family soon so I can show them my skills, ha! ¬†They laughed so hard and seemed shocked that I’d choose laser tag over bowling or putt-putt. Not sure if I should be offended by that or not, but I’ll let it go for now.

I also got to hold a sweet little brand new baby boy. Has been a while since I’ve held a little one in my arms. ¬†And, it so reminded me of all of the little movements and mannerisms that little ones have. ¬†The sights, the sounds, the smells…nothing like a baby. ¬†I got to hold the little guy for awhile, and when I gave him back found myself just thanking God that I got to be a mom for all those years with little ones in my arms and at my feet. They’re so grown up, now, but my heart and mind can go back to those days in a moment’s notice. ¬†Sweet sweet memories. ¬†Well, most of them, anyway!

So, the next day, Tan’s baseball game was cancelled and ¬†I felt relieved that there was a little space in my day. ¬†We (he) drove, and we ended up down at the Greenway for a walk. ¬†It was absolutely beautiful, and so fun to spend time catching up with Tanner.

The sun was just going down and seemed to dance on the water. ¬†Loved our time. ¬†We even got to see one of his favorite teachers who also happens to be the mom of one of my older children’s friends. ¬†Was so good to see her and catch up a bit. Yep, lots to be thankful for.

The next day, the game wasn’t cancelled and we got to enjoy a good game. ¬†Well, actually, it might not be classified as a ‘good’ game cause we lost 16 to 2. ¬†But boy oh boy did we cheer for those two runs, and every victory. ¬†One of the little victories was a catch that Tan made out in left field! ¬†(It was after missing two out there and when the ball started flying over shortstop my heart started praying like crazy that he’d make the catch.) ¬†He made it and I said “Phew” and a grandmother sitting near me on the bleachers smiled a sweet smile at me and said, “I bet these kids prayer lives are getting pretty strong out there.” ¬†Yep. ¬†Probably so. ¬†And probably their parents’ as well…Oh, and it was cool to hear, “You got this kid” when the “kid” saying it was my kid coaching his younger brother. ¬†Chase is out there for every game helping the ¬†team. ¬†Love that. He’s the one in the photo holding the clipboard and giving me a goofy look. ¬†I guess that’s what I get when I ask to take his picture…

So, that brings me to today, and the ride with Tan, and the conversations.  He and his teen-aged bearded scruffy self did pretty well driving.

We made it home. Another big “Phew” for sure. ¬†At times it doesn’t feel like such a small miracle, especially when there are 6 cars behind you and your son seems to be looking at them in the rear view mirror more than he’s looking straight ahead. ¬†Great analogy…not good to spend more time looking back than living in the moment of the day and moving forward. ¬†Nope, not good at all, especially when the car seems to have a magnet drawn to all of those perfectly straight mailboxes centimeters away from an encounter with a moving vehicle. So, yes, more praying through things. ¬†The little and the big. ¬†Thankful God doesn’t discriminate between the two, but hears it all and says, “Cast your cares on Him for He cares for you.” ¬†Love, Love, Love that. ¬†thankfulthurs23

So, ¬†I have a heart of gratitude. Period. ¬†For this moment, right here, right now, and those moments in the week when I’m so aware that life is a gift. Period. Sometimes the moments lead me to pray hard hard hard urgent prayers, and sometimes, they lead me to just thank God big time. ¬†And sometimes, I just find myself clinging to the fact that I am clueless about the next minute ahead but thankful that God isn’t. ¬†And that chases fears away…sometimes quickly, sometimes not. Amazing the catalysts for prayer like baseball and driving. ¬†Praying that God will use the moments of our days to bless and build up and move forward. ¬†Thankful that the ordinary is extraordinary when seen through eyes of faith knowing that we are not alone and not just our own. How big is that truth? ¬†I don’t think that any of us can really grasp the enormity of that. ¬†But thankful for the glimpses.

Well, I’ll close for now. ¬†Thanks for sharing in my little stories of the week..

Blessings ~

Heather

 

“Taste and see that the Lord is good. ¬†Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.”

Psalm 34:8

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/events/thankful-thursday/

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So, there’s this little purplish-blue flower that can be seen on wooded paths¬†amidst the moss and leaves on the ground. It can be found in fields, or in the grass. ¬†Forget-me-nots can crop up in a wide variety of settings.

The other day, I was in the mountains ¬†on a little woodland trail. ¬†There were beautiful blooms on rhododendrons that immediately drew¬†my¬†eye to their beauty. ¬†There were stately¬†trees that had been there for a hundred years, and little yellow buttercups, wispy and delicate, ¬†that tickled¬†my ankles as I walked.¬†But amidst the beautiful landscape, with all of the colors and beauty, there were these little flowers that could easily go unnoticed. ¬†I so love that they are called ‘forget-me-nots’, because amidst all of the ¬†grand and glorious, bold and beautiful things in the landscape, it’d be easy to walk on by and never see these delicate little flowers of blue cushioned in the center of a circle of green leaves.

They could definitely go unnoticed, but they are absolutely beautiful. ¬†Upon close examination, one would see that there are often little patterns of stripes, and accents of white with a splash of yellow in the center. ¬†They’re just beautiful. ¬† But in our world, being beautiful (internally or externally) doesn’t mean that you’ll be noticed. ¬†Lots of times, the wholesome beauty, the natural, the gentle, the kind, goes so under the radar. ¬†Because in our world, particularly, in the present culture of the US, (Yep, the “us”), it seems that the degrading, vile, totally tainted stuff is the stuff on the radar. It’s the stuff with the ratings. ¬†It’s the stuff that shocks…and how amazing the amount it takes to shock these days. ¬†Talk about desensitization. Anyway, the tainted stuff on the radar is glorified. ¬†It’s ¬†so on the radar not to be condemned, mind you, ¬†but to be condoned. ¬†(And those who discern, dare I say judge, who shine a light on darkness are seen as having a lack of acceptance, a lack of compassion. I believe it’s just the opposite, but that’s a whole other subject, a whole other “rant” and it was so not my attention to rant. ¬†Please excuse the rabbit trail…)

Ok, back to the forget-me-nots (and I’ll try to forget-not what in the world I’m talking about, because I promise, I did have a point I wanted to share!) These little blue flowers spring up anywhere. ¬†Some are perennials, some are annuals, and they come in yellows and blues. ¬†They are here for a little while, then the flowers fade until a later time. ¬†So, if you miss them, those little blue blooms are gone for a time.

So, here’s the thing. ¬†Like little blue forget-me-nots, there are little reminders of God’s grace all around. ¬†Sometimes, they are loud and bold like the stately trees or the beautiful sunset. ¬†But sometimes…sometimes they look like little blue flowers that you’ve just gotta search for. ¬†Sometimes we’ve gotta stop by the path and kneel down to see these little gems. ¬†Sometimes we’ve gotta take a moment to look for them. We have to be deliberate. Because,¬†when we’re rushing through life with all the demands and busy-ness, it’s so easy to¬†miss the reminders, the encouragement, the joy. And those are things that¬†feed us, that give us the encouragement to keep pressing on. ¬†Sure, we can ‘keep on keeping on’ without them, but it sure is a heck of a lot more fun when we are aware of God’s Presence in the big and the little. ¬†It’s like the ‘wind in our sails’ so to speak. ¬†Sure, you can row a sailboat if you need to, but it was designed to be driven by wind. ¬†We were designed to be filled by the Presence of God, to be encouraged. ¬†Yes, we can choose to be windless, but the journey sure looks and feels different when we try to row our own boat. ¬†This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to stay in the Word. ¬†To hear grace day by day. ¬†To hear truth and parameters that set free. ¬†To refocus, and rejuvenate oneself as we face the whats of the day with the important whys. The Word speaks and fills and reminds us of who we are.

And when we are reminded of who we are, whose we are, well, it might just make us more aware of His creation whispering in our ear the encouragement to keep on keeping on. ¬†We might be much more prone to see the little blue forget-me-nots in our world because we will be so aware and in touch with the truth that He has forgotten us not. ¬† Truly, He has forgotten us not. ¬†And knowing that changes everything. ¬†It helps us to forget others not. ¬†It helps us to slow down a bit and not strive so daggone much. ¬†It helps us to be deliberate about remembering that He is with us and we are so not alone in a world where it’s very easy to feel detached, fragmented, disconnected.

So, here’s to having eyes to see His hand of blessings in our lives, this week, this day, this minute. ¬†Here’s to being mindful of His goodness. ¬†Here’s to being grateful for the little things and constantly cognizant of the fact that they are all around us if we would but have the eyes to see (and even if we wouldn’t…) Here’s to knowing that if we aren’t opening our eyes of our heart to see them, that, just like those little delicate flowers, they may fade away without us even knowing they were there. ¬†If we are breathing, there are things to be thankful for, and being aware of that gives us strength to face the things that we are not so thankful for. ¬† Here’s to forgetting not the benefits of the Lord and being so very thankful that He forgets-us-not. ¬†Those little reminders are all around. ¬†Praying to have the eyes to see them.

Blessings ~

Heather

P.S. ¬†May your days be full of them ūüôā

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“Praise the Lord, my soul;

all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Praise the Lord, my soul,

and forget not all his benefits‚ÄĒ

who forgives all your sins

and heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit

and crowns you with love and compassion,

who satisfies your desires with good things

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle‚Äôs…”

For more of this chapter, click link. ¬†It’s worth it ūüôā

Psalm 103

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