Multitude Monday: 85-91

 

Many thanks to Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience for hosting Multitudes on Mondays. Hope you’ll join us with your gratitude list. This past week, my husband and I examined our hearts and reconsidered some of our decisions and assumptions about our faith. We paused on the path, made some adjustments, and are continuing in our walk. This post is a reflection of all that praying and pondering.

I am grateful for:

85. That intangible check in my spirit that prompts me to reconsider decisions. Even if I feel foolish, I know that the “still small voice” speaks the truth. As a person who is always learning, I will always make mistakes, and I pray that the mistakes will help make me wiser. And I am grateful for the friends who remain my friends as I stumble and regain my footing.

86. The reminder that my faith is based on relationship, not a religion, a building, or a checklist. I am blessed that my prayers go from my heart to God’s ear, and that God knows my heart better than any individual or committee.

87. Yesterday’s loving, honest, early morning conversation with my husband that brought us closer — and closer to the Lord.

88. On a lighter note — relearning those macrame knots, and experimenting with beaded crochet and knitting. How fun!

89. City buses, which make possible future shopping trips to Goodwill, in search of beads, fabric and other craft goodies.

90. The ability and opportunity to write for pay.

91. Finally made over-easy eggs without breaking the yolks!

Have a blessed week, friends…see you next Monday!

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Multitude Monday: 74-84

It’s a great way to begin the week…please join us for Multitudes on Mondays at A Holy Experience.

74. I am grateful beyond words to all who have sacrificed their lives for our country, from the early patriots who died in the 1775 “shot heard round the world” to the present day. Thank you all for your service.

75. I wrote poetry this week for the first time in months. The creative side of my brain appreciates that! I am realizing how much I missed the community of poet-bloggers, and it’s wonderful to be back.

76. The chance to witness God’s love among His people. I attended my first RCIA class last week and my first Mass this week. And what a week to begin attending church — the Feast of Pentecost. So much singing and rejoicing in the Holy Spirit, celebrating the gifts of the Spirit. My husband and I were so blessed today.

77. As usual, a trip to the bakery after church. We bought an olive loaf and a sour dough baguette, and enjoyed fresh, warm bread when we got home.

78. Watching the San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs on TV!

79. Quiet moments alone, sipping a cup of sweetened lemon balm tea. Even the steam is soothing. Maybe a muffin, too.

80. My new commitment to writing “morning pages” every day…and sticking with it!

81. Our cat warming up the sofa for me as he takes a nap.

82.Listening to some incredibly talented Texas singers and songwriters. Amazing talent in this state!

83. Enjoying fresh vegetables and herbs from my brother-in-law and his wife’s garden. Can’t beat the flavor of garden-fresh veggies!

84. Air conditioning. It’s Texas. It’s almost June, and it’ll be close to 100 degrees later this week. Yes, I am most grateful for AC and electricity.

I hope to see you at Multitudes on Mondays. Please take time to be grateful this Memorial Day!

Thankful Thursday: Paying Attention

Thank you, Laurie, for hosting Thankful Thursday this month at Women Taking a Stand.

“One thing that  have desired of the Lord, that I will seek: that I will dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.” Psalm 27:4 (NKJV)

This week I am paying attention.

One of my greatest joys is writing poetry. Thanks to encouragement from my husband — a talented poet himself — I have spent many hours this week writing poetry. I have enrolled in a one-week writing course called The Art of Paying Attention, which involves writing very short poems called “small stones”.  These poems focus on fine details of a moment in time, paring away non-essential words and including precise descriptive words. I have written small stones about chocolate, coffee, books, and our cat. I write down color, texture, sound, smell, taste.

I thank the Lord for my senses, for my ability to understand that something is beautiful, and for the increasing ability to recognize beauty. And I thank the Lord that His beauty shines through every day, in all places, on all of us.

A happy note of thanks this month — my husband John and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary. I am thankful for the friendship, love, and creativity we have shared these past two years, and I know that God has many more blessings in store for us. Thank you, God, for bringing this man into my life!

Book Review: Secrets of the Vine for Women

When I think I’ve thoroughly studied a favorite Scripture passage, God shows me that there is always more to learn. Reading familiar Bible passages through fresh eyes is a valuable way to gain insight into God’s word. Darlene Wilkinson’s book Secrets of the Vine for Women: Breaking Through to Abundance is a refreshing reflection on John 15.

In John 15, Jesus states to His disciples, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” On the night before He was crucified, Jesus used this analogy to teach His friends about the need to abide in Him. In her book, Wilkinson interweaves the Scripture study  with the story of a woman and her father, who patiently cares for his vineyard. Using this illustration, Wilkinson walks alongside the reader through difficult pruning processes which lead to spiritual abundance.

Women will identify with Wilkinson’s teachings on busy-ness and the desire to “fix” people and situations. She explains how — although the process can be painful and bewildering — God’s pruning will allow a woman to grow and flourish. Study questions are included at the end of the book.

Although Secrets of the Vine for Women addresses themes which I have encountered in other Bible studies, I gained a new perspective on the truths in John 15. This book will especially help new Christian women to understand the loving, corrective guidance from God. I highly recommend this book to all women who need encouragement in their journey.

FTC Disclosure: I received my copy of Secrets of the Vine for Women free of charge from Waterbrook Multnomah and Blogging for Books.com, in exchange for writing this review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions stated in this review are my own.

Thankful Thursday: A Dry and Thirsty Land

Thank you Lynn, for hosting Thankful Thursday this month at Spiritually Unequal Marriage.Please join us!

“O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory..” Psalm 63:1-2 (NKJV)

“Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63:7-8 (NKJV)

This week, many of us are facing uncertainty, loss, natural disasters and emergencies. Alabama suffered especially heavy devastation from a tornado yesterday. Here at home, I checked the Texas wildfire map online this morning, and noticed that the red dots are getting closer to our town. Meanwhile, our state is in the midst of a severe drought.

But there are many reasons for gratitude! First, I am thankful that my family and friends are safe and still in our homes. I am thankful that in the midst of fires, storms, and any other furies that we face, God upholds us. On this Thankful Thursday, I thank God that He will strengthen all who are affected by these fires and storms. I especially thank the Lord for this community of friends who lift up each other with prayer and gratitude.

Thankful Thursday: Taste and See

On this special week, thanks to Lynn for hosting Thankful Thursday this month. Please visit her blog and read her beautiful series on Easter.

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.” Psalm 34:8-10 (NKJV)

This week I am thankful for one of my earliest loves…chocolate! Every time I walk into a store this week, the first display I see features chocolate: chocolate and peanut butter Easter eggs, chocolate Easter bunnies, raspberry chocolate, hazelnut chocolate, and those wonderful bags of miniature chocolate bars. Not only does chocolate taste great and look pretty in its holiday foil wrapping — I keep reading that dark chocolate is also good for you! It must be true…this Cleveland Clinic article says so. 🙂

The past week has seen its challenges, with delayed paychecks and unexpected expenses (rent increase, rising gas prices, a broken vacuum, etc.). A small bite of chocolate can briefly short-circuit the endless replay of worries and what-ifs. Isn’t it true that if someone is feeling under the weather, a surprise batch of chocolate chip cookies never fails to bring a smile?

But the greatest gift is our Savior Himself. In my quiet times with the Lord, I find solace in the sweetness of His presence. I am thankful for the sacrifice which we commemorate this week, and for the Resurrection which gives hope to the world. When we bring our sorrows — and our joys — to the Cross, we taste and see His unfailing love for us.

Thank you, Lord, for Your ultimate gift to us.