Tag Archives: gratitude

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #13

Only a couple of things rummaging around in this crazy brain, and both of them throwing me into into a stumbling, humbling Gratitude Attitude. Gratitude because lessons make me think. Gratitude because all things work to the glory of the LORD when we get out of the way and let Him carry the heavy lifting. Attitude – because I have to choose it.

The first lesson – don’t talk about ‘obs-tackles’ put in your path by the evil one, (and yes, I do believe in principalities) because ‘obs-tackles’ are bound to appear – almost immediately. By the time I went to bed last night, my “good” knee – formally the “bad” knee back in high school – was aching – – – A LOT. Aching enough to wake me up every time I moved – all night long. Giving up on sleep, I found that sitting, getting up – walking – trying to get anything done – the knee continued to hurt. It seriously put an ‘obs-tackle’ in my way today.

That said, it was a v-e-r-y long day. Long days often lead to self-pity, dragging butt, and eventually, not getting anything accomplished. However, if I get out of my own way and let God get me through it, long days also leads to introspection.

Hence – the second lesson of the day. Devotions destroy strongholds. IF one is smart enough to load them into the finite brain that does all that mechanical stuff in our lives. Over the decades I have finally learned to stop wallowing in myself, shut my mouth and turn off my brain long enough, so that I can feel the Spirit’s nudge. Whew – choice made, and the day didn’t look or feel so long or painful any longer.

“For those who are led by The Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.”~Rm 8:14

After accepting that Christ is LORD of my life, it has been the Spirit’s nudges that has kept me sane and reminded me that I’m not in this battle alone. Even when I get off track. Even when I fall on my knees and feel like I can’t get up ever again. Even when I think I am the smartest person ever. Even when the knee hurts because of my own stupidity…

Even when…

And there, my friends, is my true Gratitude Attitude today. Jehovah-Shammah [The LORD who is there] loves me. Yeshua Christus loves me. Whether I am a mess and ugly as the sin that springs up daily, They – love – me. They love me enough to send a Helper – The Holy Spirit – to be with me always.

Even when…

Even when…

“If you love me, keep my commandments. I will ask the Father to give you another Helper, to be with you always. He is the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor recognizes him. But you recognize him, because he lives with you and will be in you.”~Jn 15-17

[google images/Akiane Jesus]

 

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #12

I have absolutely no idea what to write about since there are tons of things running around in my mind that I am so thankful to have in my life. Yesterday, there was no doubt. Devotions led me deeper into the WORD, and that put it front and center.

So a list of random thankfulness that have flittered through my scattered brain tonight seems rather appropriate.

Mom’s voice waking me up this morning singing, “When the red, red robin…”

Off-beat Christmas music that pulls at my spirit even more than Perry Como or Nat King Cole or Andy Williams or Carpenters. (I never would have believe it was possible – but it’s true.)

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”~1 Chron 16:34

Two random ladies blessing me at church with their words and thoughts.

A wise man’s words about defeating the ‘obs-tackles’ that the evil one places in our path of our God given vision for our life. (Still thinking about this one, but I need to go back and read a few chapters in Nehemiah again)

The quiet of a morning walk after church with the girls.

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”~Col 4:2

An early afternoon nap while Sunday dinner cooked (I am really not cut out for early morning risings anymore).

Roast chicken, potatoes and gravy. Yum!!!!

Devotions and taking time to write a note of Thanksgiving to one of my former teachers. A teacher who was one of the ones to help me see what a teacher could be in a classroom of crazy kids with Senior-itis.

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.”~Ps 100:4

Hallmark, DVD’s, Christmas movies that inspire the Spirit.

Pine tree smells that can blossom in my home even without a live tree. (sniff, sniff – can’t talk Hubby into one).

A silly kitten that runs into a wall as she tries to turn the corner into her room when I am bringing her supper. (I hope she doesn’t hurt herself – I can’t afford any new vet bills)

A few teacher-preachers on TV.

God’s vision for my life.

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.'”~Heb 12:28-29

As I re-read these Gratitude Attitudes, I began to see a pattern of my day. A pattern that points to the vision. Still a little blurry. Still a little ways off in the distance. Time for prayer. Time for clarity. Time to kick the ‘obs-tackles’ (don’t you love a Southern accent?) to the curb. If Nehemiah could do it, so can I.

[google images]

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #9

Joy.

This tiny word can stand alone, and I still just want to smile in thankfulness.

J
O
Y

Y
O
J

Spread it out List it. Write it backward.

Doesn’t matter. It is not a simple synonym for happiness – – – at least not for me. Joy bubbles. It erupts from a well spring deep within me. The gurgles bounce around until I can no longer contain them and I have to smile. Not a small smile – one of those large, crazy, out-of-controlled smiles.

Gurgles of JOY. Bouncing out into a darkening world. Bubbles of JOY. Flowing rivers of JOY. JOY that can’t be locked away, dammed up or lost. JOY spring of the living waters.

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for JOY, and with my song I praise him.”~Ps 28:7

For whatever reason, JOY has been the thought of the day. I can’t say it is because of the weather. The past two days have been rainy, cold and dank. Dogs have been tracking mud in the house. Kitty has been begging to go out until she puts a paw on the wet, cold porch. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her run so fast for her warm place in front of the gas logs.

JOY is a gift. I tend to think that since God created us in His own image, JOY must be an attribute of God. I can only imagine what JOY there was in the Garden before the fall. JOY to walk together. JOY of communion. JOY of purity of spirit. Peacemaker’s JOY. Face-to-face JOY.

“Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”~Heb 12:2

JOY-ous path re-opened that the living water might flow freely ‘…on earth as it is in heaven’. Tap in to the JOY. Seek the well-spring deep within. The Holy Spirit will open the spigots wide. Yeshua will laugh with JOY as it flows out and into the world. And JOY will bounce higher than “…red rubber ball.” as the Father re-JOY-ces with us all.

Yep – I have a lot of JOY in my Gratitude Attitude.

“And I think it’s gonna be all right.
Yeah, the worst is over,
Now the morning sun is shining like a Red Rubber Ball.”~Simon/Garfunkle
[google images/Greg Olsen artwork]

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #8

About 7 days prior to Halloween, I start putting the candles back in the windows so that all the windows are filled by Halloween. It is my own little tradition. I don’t think Hubby or anyone else in my world notices, but I do.

The sun sets earlier. Daylight savings time kicks back to regular time. And since Halloween has become a much “darker” celebration than I remember it being as a child, I feel like I need to put a little light into the night.

It makes me very thankful to have a Light in the darkness.

“For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.”~Ps 18:28

Candles in the windows are so easy these days. A couple batteries. A solar sensor that recognizes the darkening skies or lightening skies. Poof! A Light, barely distinguishable during the day, becomes a welcoming beacon in the night. A light that speaks of home, of warmth, of love, of dreams yet to come. A place where everything is RIGHT with the world.

I bumbled around tonight trying to find a wrap up for this Gratitude Attitude, I was clicking my way through a lot of different Roku options, and I found an old film called “Beyond Christmas”. In 1940, it was originally labeled, “Beyond Tomorrow”. Surprise – surprise – as I sniffled my way through the ending, the main character drove home the theme of the whole movie with this quote:

“Sometimes we have to go to the darkness alone before we can see the Light.”

On this 312th day of my 67th year, I am still amazed at how Our Father uses all things to work for His purposes. Here I am struggling, wondering how I am going to tie all of this together, and He just hands it to me, “Sometimes we have to go to the darkness alone…”

It has been a year fraught with many tragedies. It has also been a year abounding with bounteous blessings. We tend to ignore the Lights around us when everything is light, but when the darkness descends, those Lights are an essential guide to bring us home. I am thankful for the LIGHTS in the night that have guided me and perhaps – perhaps – my Lights in the darkness will guide someone else as well.

“Then the righteous will shine as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Whoever has an ear that will hear, let him hear.”~Matt 13:43  [google images]

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GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #6

We have a cast iron pan that Hubby loves to use when he cooks breakfast. I have to admit, I love having him cook breakfast since I have never learned to cook eggs (mostly because I don’t like to eat eggs). Reality check – I don’t like any breakfast foods, so not having to think about cooking first thing in the morning makes me one happy camper. The main thing mom and I totally agreed on when I was a teenager was that Hostess cupcakes or ice cream make one terrific breakfast.

The unfortunate thing about cooking is that the pans do get dirty. We established early on in this retirement routine that Hubby would also clean said pan. I learned early on that greasy pans make scratchers get very dirty, not to mention germy and sticky, very quickly. Cleaning them was a pain until I discovered that Dawn dish soap works on scratchers just as well as it works in rescues of oily birds.

“Rejoice in our Lord always, and again I say, rejoice.”~Phil 4:4

Strange as it seems, my Gratitude Attitude started cropping up almost immediately this morning as I went about cleaning up the kitchen (after the “cook” semi-destroyed it) It seems only fitting that I clean when he cooks, so that is how I usually start my morning. It also gives me a chance to think. A chance to organize my day as I go about the mindless, busy work of wiping down the kitchen.

Liberally apply dish soap to scratcher, scrub the sink with it, and the dirty, greasy, germy stain on the scratcher has pretty much disappeared (as well as the dirty sink and counters). Never to be seen again. Well – – at least until breakfast tomorrow morning when the scratcher will be clean enough to help out in the kitchen once again.

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”~Is 1:18

It “dawn”-ed on me this morning that there was a huge metaphor in today’s cleaning of the kitchen. A Gratitude Attitude. I just needed to “ferret” it out a little more fully. So here is what I discovered after a long day of messing with a frustrating dog brace and feeling my sinus cavities fill up with the impending cold front on its way. I am a scratcher in this life.

I am still meandering out of the pan into the fire occasionally. I don’t mean to do it, but sometimes that ol’ sin-nature gets the best of my intentions. When that happens, I get a little sooty and dirty – – again. Of course , at some point, I still try to grease my way out of it and whine deep in the heart of me with all sorts of excuses. Thus, my covering does show the wear and tear of multiple scrubbings over the years.

Lucky for me, I have a Savior who isn’t opposed to hugging a dirty scratcher close to his heart. His blood washing out the stains as He puts me back on the sink so I’m ready to help clean a few pans that He might need me to help Him with in this birth-pang filled world. Life is not easy. Kitchen cleaning is a chore I really don’t like. Yet – with the right Gratitude Attitude, I just may learn something new every time I do it.

“This is what the LORD Almighty says: “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.'”~Zech 8:23

I for one am grabbing on to the hem of this one Jew’s robe and shouting to the world, “Let me go with You, Yeshua Christus, because I know that you are the Son of God. Blessings!Be!nov 5 2017

GRATITUDE OF ATTITUDE 2017 #5

I didn’t think I would write today. Sunday is the day of renewal for me in more ways than one. Another great sermon by our preacher often stirs my meandering thoughts to take longer to process than a few hours. Then I saw the news. A new week begins with a new tragedy. The renovation of my mind came to a standstill.

Until I remembered. Gratitude is an attitude.

““Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace.”~Neh 1:3

The news I heard when I got home from church sounded familiar. I went and got my Bible.  We had just read similar words in church. Things were not going well in Nehemiah’s homeland. Things are not going well here. The people were in great trouble and disgrace. The people here are in great trouble and disgrace.

Disgrace. Trouble.

How do I write with such sadness on my heart? I didn’t even feel like watching Hallmark movies or fussing with the few Christmas houses I’ve pulled out. Lucky for me, eldest daughter, busy-mama-soccer-playing daughter called about Koay and to set our weekly schedule. Then my Littlest, far-away-on-her-own-life adventure, called. My far way bestie/sister-of-a-different-mother/harmonizer-to-my-melody, called. My mind, filled with the wonderful things we discussed on the phone, interspersed mong the church words and news words running through my head.

I remembered.

In times of disgrace and trouble, Our Father ALWAYS calls one person to step into the gap. One person “…born for times like these.” A Nehemiah. An ordinary cupbearer far away from home. who heard the words: his people – God’s people – were in “great trouble and disgrace.” It is his reaction that makes me thankful today.

“When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.”~Neh 1:4-5

Unlike Nehemiah, I did not sit down and weep when I heard the news today. I have not mourned or fasted. I did pray – a passing prayer – a whispered heart prayer to Our Father as I listened to reports. It is not enough. Our Father’s people are in great trouble and disgrace and need a Nehemiah. An ordinary cupbearer who will stand in the gap and encourage others to join him in God’s vision for his people.

Nehemiah’s prayer, recorded in the first chapter of a book by his name, provides an outline. The Holy Spirit will supply the groanings for which we know not how to express. Our Father promises that He will hear us from Heaven by the Grace of His Son, Yeshua Christus., for He does have a vision even for a people in great trouble and disgrace. And for all of that – I am thankful.

“O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses.

“Please remember what you told your servant Moses: ‘If you are unfaithful to me, I will scatter you among the nations. But if you return to me and obey my commands and live by them, then even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth, I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored.’
“The people you rescued by your great power and strong hand are your servants. O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me.b Put it into his heart to be kind to me.”~Neh 1:5-11  [google images]

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #4

After a day of starting the transition into Christmas season, giving “thanks” comes much easier than when one was a youngster. One is thankful when one can climb the step-stool ladder and not fall. Thankful that when the knee pops, it still manages to stand strong enough to not let one fall off said ladder. Thankful that the inversion board can remind the spinal cord what shape it should be retaining these days. Thankful for a walk-in tub to spend a relaxing hour – – – well almost an hour. Thankful for note from a former student that makes one cry happy tears. Thankful that God is in His heaven and all is well with one’s world.

“And do not imitate this world, but be transformed by the renovation of your minds, and you shall distinguish what is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.”~Rm 12:2

Except for devotions, I’ve taken a couple weeks off from “renovating” my mind with “educational, inspirational, motivational” challenging materials. Instead, I’ve been just reading for fun. Reading magazines. Reading fluff books. Reading newspapers. Working a couple puzzles here and there. Reading the back of the Oreo cookie package. (Yes, to all my students and teacher friends who are wondering – I still eat the occasional Oreo…..or two…or three…sigh)

I’ve never figured out why I go in spurts like this. It is as if there is some inner “messenger”, that pings me that it is time to: “READ SERIOUS” “READ FLUFF” “READ-THE-STUPID-BOOKS-THAT-CRITICS-RAVE-OVER” “READ NOTHING” (Well – I am thankful that last one hasn’t happened for a long time, but it has happened periodically in my life.)

But as I was typing that last sentence, I realized that “thankfulness” is ultimate renovation of the mind. Every morning when I wake up, I take a few minutes to stretch (trying not to let the critters know that I am awake because they are very distracting when they are bouncing on me) and express my awe at seeing this world anew all over again. That simple act changes the lens of the eye, making everything brighter – clearer – almost unblemished. Not an easy thing in this world these days.

Thus, while I am thankful for many things tonight, I am especially thankful for the “renovation” of my mind. It is part of the reason, I call this series the “Gratitude Attitude”. Gratitude is an attitude – – – IF we let it be. Thankful for the long line ahead of us for it gives us time to pray for those in front of us. Thankful for the lack of money because it helps us notice the pennies in our pocket. Thankful for the challenges that seem way too hard to accomplish because it makes us question, focus and hopefully – pray.

“You are from God, children, and you have conquered them [challenges/worldly spirits], because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”~1 Jn 4:4 Aramaic in Plain English 

[google images}

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GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #3

This day just did not go anything like I wanted it to go. Went here – went there – turned around and went in circles round and round and round. I’ve already decided that tomorrow I am just staying home. Napping is on the agenda. Watching Hallmark movies until my eyes cross. Holding Koay so she won’t run. Curling into myself and just holding on to this little bit of heaven on earth and above all – being thankful for swings.

“Give thanks in everything, for this is the will of God in Yeshua The Messiah among you.”~1 Thes 5:18

Growing older has its advantages. Gathered wisdom starts to assert itself, and you realize that ranting and raving over anything really isn’t beneficial to anyone – especially yourself. So late this afternoon when I got home from this absurdly frustrating day, I let our gimpy Koay, her bouncing sister Ryndi, and playful urchin kitty, Shadow accompany me outside while I sat on our swing.

Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth.

Something about a swing rocks my world. Seriously – no pun intended. Maybe it is the return to the rhythm of my mother holding me long ago – or the way I rocked my own children. Swaying with them in my arms while I talked with friends. The swings on a playground or in a park. The WWII Marine hammock under my Thinking Tree. The rope swing my daddy hung in the walnut tree in our front yard. Whatever the physical reference, it is the spiritual “rock” to which I cling.

“And the peace of The Messiah will govern your hearts, to which you are called in one body; and give thanks to The Messiah.”~Col 3:15

Close my eyes. Breathe in the quiet of the neighborhood. Until the music returns within me, and I began to sing. The old hymns surface “Come Ye Thankful People, Come” “Holy, Holy, Holy”, “Jesus Loves the Little Children”.

Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth.

Thankful today for all the swings in my life – my little bit of heaven on earth.

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #2

Today was one of those “iron sharpens iron” days. I should have known when that verse jumped out at me in one of my friend’s FB post. I should have taken a deep breath when another FB friend posted about how a silver smith refines silver before it can be shaped into something beautiful or useful.

“But who will be able to endure it when he comes? Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears? For he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes. He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the LORD.”~Mal 3:2-3

God is like that. He always lets me know when there are testing times afoot and to watch my step. However, I tend to be so wrapped up in me, I just skim over the warning with a ‘Yeah, whatever’ – or worse – I miss it altogether. So much for being spiritually in tune.

Today, I kinda knew. There is always that deep-pit-in-your-stomach-knowing that the Spirit speaks at times of testing. You see, I had to make a vet appointment for our baby girl dog. She is our lover-dog who loves to curl into our lap and slowly melt unto the floor. The runner-dog who loves to run just for the sake of running. The little-sister dog who whines when she can’t follow her sister everywhere. The mother-dog who licked two sick baby kittens as often as she could get to them.

Koay has been limping off and on over the past couple months. Restricting her movements didn’t help much, hence – the vet appointment. Initial exam says she has torn her ACL. Who knew dogs could tear their ACL or that dogs actually have two of them? Should have guessed she’d do something like that when she would run full bore into a tree chasing a squirrel or try to keep up with a deer in the deep woods or chase a stick for hours.

“Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim his greatness.
Let the whole world know what he has done.”~1 Chron 16:8

The fantastic thing is how grateful I felt as I walked out of the vet office. Yeah – we have some decisions to make, but it wasn’t cancer or any other life-threatening illness. Koayah may not be the runner-dog as she works her way through the rest of her life, but she will still be the lover-dog, the mother-dog to orphaned babies, the sister-dog who whines at the door when her sister is outside and our baby-girl dog.

While this may not have been my favorite day of the year, it has been a day when “iron sharpened iron”. A day when the refiner looked into the silver – and I hope – he saw a murky reflection of His face. I may not be there yet, but I know He’s still working on me. A little more fire. A few more impurities to work out. A new song to sing with Koay under my feet as I write. [google image]

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GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #1

Yesterday, I got to play with the Grands, see the daughter and her family begin their “trick-or-treat”evening, but as great as all of that was – a little bit of heaven was waiting for me at home. Yupper – heaven. Heaven – in the form of a walk-in tub.

“The end of something is better than its beginning. Patience is better than pride.”~Ecc 7:8

After one year and 10 months of waiting, our master bath is complete. When you buy a fixer-upper modular on a woody, couple of acres with lots iron-rich water, things tend to move slowly. Over these past few months, I have reminded myself over and over and over that I really need to be thankful. After all – Sarah waited 90 years for a baby; Jacob waited 7 years for Rachel and then worked an addition 7 years after that; the Jewish people waited 40 years for the Promise Land, and all though it never says how long the wait was/is in the Bible – the Father of Prodigals waited and continues to wait for his offspring to return that they might feast together.

“Maxima enim, patientia virtus” – – in other words – – patience is the greatest virtue.

I really need to write that Latin phrase on my War Room door. It might have helped the time fly a little faster when that walk-in tub arrived in late August. Have you ever had a bathtub decorate your living room for 2 months? I will tell you that the kitten found it to be a great hiding place – not to mention all the dog hair that accumulated underneath it.

Thanks to our handy neighbors who pulled and replaced the water pump, made multiple trips under the house and to the store, fussed with the water pressure time and time again, replaced and enlarged the water filters, finally- cut holes in the wall and re-wired a few things to make it safer – the walk-in tub now works perfectly.

“You also must be patient. Keep your hopes high, for the day of the Lord’s coming is near.”~Jm 5:8

Last night as I tried out the tub for the first time, my achy knees felt like there was a piece of heaven on earth, and I was beyond thankful. Thankful for all the blessings that have allowed us to be on this adventure. It also made me spend a lot of time praying for others who aren’t so blessed. Soldiers fighting in far away lands. Homeless individuals standing at stop signs. Children without warm clothes. Spouses sleeping in plastic hospital chairs. Deeper darknesses that tear at the edges of our society, threatening to fray the whole fabric to its breaking point.

Blessings come in many shapes and sizes. They wrap around me everyday, and sad to say, most of the time I take them for granted – if I even notice them at all. But if I don’t acknowledge them, I miss out on the awesome gift that is buried inside each and everyone of them – the Love of a Father who waits patiently is in its heart.

So it seems only fitting on this first day of this month that holds a couple of national holidays to express our thankfulness, that I write how thankful I am for this little bit of heaven on earth. Thankful for the day that the shofar will blow across the world. Thankful for so much more than a walk-in tub, but I have to admit – the walk-in tub is a great place to start.