Today is an important day because it is Monday. What's so special about Monday? Well, Monday is the day I continuing sharing the blessings in my gratitude journal. Ann at A Holy Experience has challenged us to follow God's word and be thankful in all things. So, as we look for the blessings in our lives we discover that we can find them everywhere. They are big and small, ugly and beautiful, simple and complex, they are all around us. We are also learning that we can find joy when we are able to be grateful to the creator of every good and perfect gift, not just joy on sunny summer days, but on cold gray winter days as well. I completed my count to 1000 last year and you can see that list in my Gratitude link above. Today I continue my count to 2000.
For the last several weeks I have been using the prompts that Ann provides each month, but I've decided to stop using the prompts. I think they are a great tool for helping people to seek and find the blessings around them, but since I've been searching them out for some time now, I have found that by using the prompts I have actually felt boxed in a bit. I haven't felt free to share the gifts that just come to me naturally and that God shows me all along the way. So, for me, I think I will go back to the way I was doing it and just simply share those moments that I heard myself breath, "Thank you Jesus."
Yes, I did mention that we have a giveaway winner, but gratitude comes first!! So, on with the thankfuls . . .
1274. The absolutely gorgeous weather that I walked out into after a long day at work
1275. Gouda cheese
1276. Oswald Chamber's "My Utmost for His Highest." My favorite devotional book. I never get tired of it, and God has used it often in my life.
1277. Our new pastor! We have prayed. God has answered. And we are blessed.
1278. Breaking a weight loss plateau. Most of my life I was very thin and an avid exerciser, but even then I was an emotional eater. You can't do that in your late thirties and early forties and expect to stay thin. I'm losing weight, but more than that, I have surrendered my temple, including my eating habits to God. I truly believe he is less concerned about what we eat as why we eat. Is food the comforter or is the Holy Spirit? It is all about bringing it ALL under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. What I have gained spiritually through this has way surpassed what I have lost in weight.
1279. Talking to dad on the phone. I couldn't understand most of the conversation, but when he said, "I am so very proud of you" he was once again my dad, that dad who always loved me and who I never wanted to disappoint. If you'd like to know more about the struggles and joys I face having a Dad with Alzheimer's you can peek at my journal called Finding the Familiar.
1280. What God has done in my heart and life through caring for a Dad with Alzheimer's. It has been rich. It seems the only time I cry anymore, when it comes to thinking about Dad, is when I get overwhelmed by the goodness and grace of God that I have witnessed through it all.
1281. Kneeling in front of Dad, holding both his hands, and praying before I left his little corner of the world one more time. He's always worried that I won't come back, so the last thing I always say is, "I'll be back."
1282. Our gardens. My husband has planted a garden in our side yard and in our back yard. We have already eaten some of the fresh lettuce and onion. He has planted broccoli, potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, pablanos, jalapenos, cucumbers, radish, and beans. He will be planting squash and zucchini this week.
1283. Hearing God whisper, "This IS the gospel" during the difficult times of taking care of Mom and Dad, or anytime I know I am ministering in his name, and the service that brings joy is difficult. I hear him whisper this so often these days that it has become like a cool breeze blowing in my face on a scorching hot summer day. It reminds me of the post I wrote called A Dirty Fingernail Kind of Love. You might like to check that out.
1284. One of my students from the Ivory Coast, who came to see me in my office at that secular school where I work. He came to see me because he has no family here and had nowhere else to turn. I found out during that visit that he is a young Christian. He is in the struggle of a lifetime. He talked. I listened. And then I shared with him the story of Joseph as I tried to uncover for him how God can use very difficult circumstances to bring about his will. What a gift to to share this time with my student.
1285. The soft feel of my puppy's coat right after he's had a bath.
1286. A husband who likes to stop and smell the roses, literally stop and smell the roses when we go for a walk. He sees everything and absorbs every drop out of life.
1287. Crying with a family after church today because of our mutual love for each other. They lost their daughter recently. The pain is still very raw.
1288. Instagram. Yes, I'm there. Come follow me! It's fun and yet another tool for me to bring glory to God through photography.
A blessing captured . . . I dug into my April 2011 archives to see what was going on this time last year. And on April 28th my niece was having a bridal shower! She is the third one from the right with the long brown hair. Isn't she beautiful?
And yes, that finally brings me to the giveaway winner!! But, I'm not going to share it here! If you want to find out who the winner is, you'll have to check it out at Stephani Cochran Photography!!