this day

today has been a tough day.

a tough day after a series of tough ~ full, busy, exhausting ~ days.

today we moved my mother-in-law into an assisted living home. after 40+ years in the family home, 6 years after my father-in-law passed away, she moved.  unwillingly.  unhappily.

her decline has been heartbreaking to watch and as much as we would have liked (in some ways) to pretend like everything was fine, and she was fine, she was not.  everything was not fine.  whether she knows it or not, we see it and can't ignore her needs...even when she doesn't acknowledge them.

the day was spent as family and dear friends from church (who are very much family also) helped move and set up her new place to be as comfortable as possible for her.  as a dear friend enjoyed her company for the afternoon, the rest of us lovingly arranged furniture, hung clothes, made up her bed and hung all her favorite artwork.  we prayed over her new little home and asked that God would give her peace. and would give us peace.

she will spend her first night there tonight, her daughter nearby, and our prayers go out all the more fervently - Lord, grant her Your peace.

as i surfed pinterest just to distract myself from the headache brewing behind my eyes, i thought of the little book i've been writing in while my Bible study group reads 1000 gifts.  it's my own gifts list.

be thankful, i heard the Spirit say. what will you add to the list today?

i am thankful for:
~an uplifting church service this morning that reminded me that i have 10000 reasons to bless the Lord, that my God saves and brings hope in His name
~friends that care for my mother-in-law even when she doesn't understand their actions as care
~family that was able to come together and work together for her
~friends that can arrange furniture and hang pictures, who care enough to get it right
~my parents who spent the day with my kids to keep them busy and happy
~so many loving prayers that went out from people who weren't able to carry boxes
~the kind tenants of her new place that gave cheery hellos, for the lady who gushed about how much she loves living there
~my mother-in-law who, though she couldn't say she was happy to be there, was able to acknowledge how much work we had done for her
~my great God who loves us and cares about what we care about, who loves our loved ones more than we can even begin to imagine

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our troubles, 
so that we can comfort those in any trouble 
with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.... 
On him we have set our hope that 
he will continue to deliver us,
as you help us by your prayers.
Then many will give thanks on our behalf 
for the gracious favor granted us 
in answer to the prayers of many.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4, 10-11


white flag

so guess what i'm not very good at?

blogging every day, that's what!

oh my goodness, i really thought it would be possible...turns out, it's completely not.  i'm thinking that the people who do this 31 days thing have a plan going in.  i'm guessing they don't decide the day of that they'll dive in.  i think they probably have a list of topics, and probably an alarm clock that they answer early in the morning.  sorry friends, but i can't be bothered with that!  this blog is my hobby and as i often find, as soon as you make something a "have to," it becomes a lot less fun.

so today, 11 days and 6 posts into the project, i wave the white flag.  i admit i'm not going to finish and i'm ok with that.

i'm still thinking about contentment and thanksgiving.  i'm still reading One Thousand Gifts with my Bible Study group.  i even started my own list just yesterday.  i'll still write about what the Lord is teaching me - you know that well will never run dry!

i'm just not going to worry about trying to find time/energy/ideas for a blog post every, every day.

okie dokie?

in other white flag news,  the passion 2012 album by the same title is most definitely my favorite album of the year!  it probably has something to do with being present at the conference and part of the live recording...  nevertheless, i LOVE it!  so here's one of my absolute faves - 10 000 Reasons by Matt Redman.

at Bible study yesterday, one friend said she had started her 1000 gifts list but wasn't numbering them. we all agreed that was a cool idea, because who knows how many she would end up writing down!

maybe even ten thousand.


7 & 8

i'm at a bit of a loss of what to write.
i feel thankful for all i have,
for the many ways the Lord has blessed my life.

but you reach a certain age, or maturity perhaps,
and realize that being happy in yourself 
isn't always enough.

i feel burdened for a loved one who is struggling.
i feel sad for the loss they are facing,
for the inability to face the truth of their circumstances.

i want to help.
i want to make it better somehow.
i want the days to move faster so the anticipation 
becomes the reality.

but it is not my journey to walk.
there is nothing i can do to make it easier.
i can't help her remember.

all i can do is love.
i can get my hands dirty when the time comes
and speak Truth with an extra measure of Grace.
and i can pray.

"Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed..."
please show her that
 "[Your] unfailing love for [her] will not be shaken
    nor [Your] covenant of peace be removed,”

and give her a deep sense of your compassion.
 (isaiah 59:10)

may she find thanksgiving in time for next Thanksgiving.



day 5 & 6

...this blogging every day.... pretty impossible for me, it seems!  it's been a fairly busy couple of days, but i have continued to try and think of things for which to be thankful!

~grocery shopping:
Thank You Lord for enough money to feed my family a healthy balanced diet that includes treats too!

~oops, there goes that 'weird thing' the van was doing!
Thank You Lord that the mechanic was able to take a look at and fix our van right away so we wouldn't have to worry about it while driving around this long weekend.

~lunch with my husband:
These days are so much busier than before - thank You Lord that we still are able to connect by grabbing at these moments.

~difficult talk with failing relative:
Lord thank you for this woman who has meant so much to so many people, especially our family.  Thank you for Your grace and wisdom.

~staff meeting:
Thank You Lord for these friends I get to call co-workers and for a job that suits me perfectly and is one of the most satisfying things I've ever done.

~pick up kids from school:
Thanks Lord for the schools our kids attend.  For the loving atmosphere, for their teachers and friendships.  Thank you that they continue to grow and learn, that they are healthy.

~pick up the van:
Perfect timing, Lord - thanks! :)

~off to serve at Finding Freedom:
Thank You Lord for the work of this ministry to people with addictions.  Thank You for the things You have taught me and for allowing me to serve a small role on some Friday evenings.

~kids at kids club and youth group:
Thank You Lord for kids who enjoy being around other christian kids, who love to learn about You and sing to You.

~home again, bed time routine, couch-time with husband:
Thank You Lord for bringing us home safely together.  Thank You that we are all happy to be here and that we have these special moments at the end of the week.

~sleep in:
oooh, that felt great, Thanks Lord!

~tart making for family dinner:
Lord You have made such a wonderful variety of food for us to enjoy! Thank you for pumpkin, lemon and butter tarts!

~brownie baking with youngest:
Thank you Lord for patience and a soft voice, for being able to really enjoy working with my daughter this way.

~break-time! watched 'say yes to the dress' with girls:
Thank you Lord for the fun of dreaming of dresses and husbands and weddings.  Grant me your strength and grace in those days ahead.  Thank you for daughters who are close as sisters and imagine being each others maids of honour.

~shower time for everyone!
Thank You for hot water and nice smelling soap.  Thank You for fluffy towels and clean clothes.

~family Thanksgiving dinner (Nicolas side):
Thank You Lord for a family that enjoys being together, that can laugh at silly things again and again. Thank You for my Granny, even though she can't be as central to the conversation as she once was, she is such a blessing to be near.  She has always meant so much to me.

~home again, bed time routine, sunday prep:
Lord You have brought us home together again - thank you.  Thank You for sweet times of prayer at bedsides.  Thank You for calm moments and plenty of rest.  Thank You that we get to go to Your house tomorrow.

A busy couple of days, but endless reasons to praise!  A good reminder for myself to keep looking up!


day 4

Today was cleaning day.

There's nothing overly remarkable about that since I do it pretty much every week.  I'm not trying to say having a clean home is good or bad, necessary or a waste of time.  You probably already have your own opinion about that!

I do want to tell you why I clean my home every week because it relates to this 31 day topic of contentment & thanksgiving.

For me, taking care of the things God has given our family is a way of showing how thankful I am.  Regularly vacuuming and washing the floors remind me of the blessings He has poured out.  How He has given us more than I had ever hoped to imagine.

As I clean and polish, dust and organize, I know where everything is.  This helps me to be a good steward by not having to re-buy things I already own but can't locate.

Regular fluffing shows me again how pretty my home is (to me), that I have a lot to be thankful for, that there's nothing to add to what I have.  I truly feel more content with my home when I see it in it's best state.

**If regular house cleaning is not something that you value, please understand that I don't make any judgements on you even though my home is pretty tidy.  I just like my house clean better than not.  When I go to your house I'm there to see you, not to examine your living space! :)

31 days
of Thanksgiving


day 3

(do you like the clever titles for these daily posts?  i figure if i can actually write the post, i don't need to worry about thinking up a title... that's my story and i'm stickin' to it!)

El Roi - the God who sees me

When Hagar ran away from her home it was because she had been mistreated, disrespected and misunderstood.  She hadn't asked to conceive Abram's child.  She wasn't looking for a way to come between husband and wife.  The very woman who put her into this situation is the one that drove her away.

Sitting next to a little spring in the desert, the angel came and ministered to her.  She proclaimed God as the One who sees her when she felt so invisible.  Even though not all the news the angel shared was good, all that really seemed to matter was that she was seen.  That she was heard by someone.

contentment Truth:

God sees you. (Gen 16:13)

God cares about you and pays attention to you. (Ezekiel 36:9)

God loves you forever and ever no matter what. (Jeremiah 31:3)

Take a moment to imagine the reality of the Creator of the universe intimately aware and concerned about YOU.....you.

What else do we need?

I've been listening to this song on repeat for days.  I hope it speaks to you the way it does to me!

Blessings to you this day ~ Be Thankful

31 days
of Thanksgiving


day 2

it might not be "officially" in any medical books, but blogger's remorse is a real thing.  (if you blog, you know.)

all day yesterday after i posted, i regretted it.  not the posting, but admitting my current struggle in such a public way.  what will people think?

i live a very satisfying life, anyone can see that!  what will they think of me when they hear that i struggle to keep content with all i have?

i have a husband who is kind, faithful, smart and fun.

i have three healthy, vibrant, relatively obedient children, who never ever have to go without milk to drink.

i have a very cute and cozy home home full of things that are special to me.

i have a job that i feel is a direct gift from the Lord's hand.

i am healthy and strong in my body and mind (most days).

i have a rich heritage of faith and a cloud of witnesses in my daily life to help me.

not content?  that's just gross!

but here's what the Lord whispered to me:

don't worry about what you think people see - the externals don't matter.  the enemy can always find a way to dig into our deepest fears and desires, twisting them to dissatisfaction.  if you don't protect yourself by surrounding yourself with the Truth, you will fall into the temptation that nothing is enough.  that you are not enough.

Thanks Lord!

contentment Truth:

"Humble yourself, therefore, under God's mighty hand,
that He may lift you up in due time.
Cast all your anxiety on Him because
He cares for you.
Be alert and of sober mind.
Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion,
looking for someone to devour.
Resist him, standing firm in the faith...."
1 Peter 5:6-9

"Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.
Fear the Lord, you his saints,
for those who fear Him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack 
no good thing.
Psalm 34:8-10

God is Faithful.

the devil is a liar.

The Lord has things to teach me and I will not let my pride get in the way. If He told me to do this here, maybe someone out there needs to hear the same things.  

Humble yourselves, friends, and watch that lion starve!

31 days
of Thanksgiving


all month long

So there's a linky party around blog-land that happens once a year over at Nesting Place.  It comes around each October and it's called "31 days."  The point is to blog about one topic every day of this month, as a challenge for yourself and for the enjoyment of your readers.

I've never blogged even half the days of one month, and I could never really see myself doing so, so I didn't even consider joining in.

But something happened:

at the same time I was planning to attend a family Thanksgiving dinner....

at the same time I was sitting down to arrange a Thanksgiving church service...

at the same time I was thinking about my Thanksgiving table-scape for the dinner I'm hosting...

I noticed a discomfort in myself.  Not happy...but without any specific reason.  Easily frustrated...without a legitimate cause.  Overly sensitive...without hormonal influence!

I've been feeling fine lately, I thought to myself, what is this?

I passed by my Bible study reading - why am I avoiding this? 

And then it hit me.

Really, Lord?  How many times do I have to beat down this monster?


I picked up my Bible study book, I should at least read the chapter.

One Thousand Gifts.

A book I've heard about a lot, but had never read.  I knew the basic premise - be thankful, list all the good God has brought into your life.  I figured that would be easy enough, and Ann Voskamp would probably have some interesting insights about it all.  I joined the Women's group reading the book together on Wednesday mornings and figured I was doing my part.  I was not dismayed when our leader said this book would challenge us in ways we've never know.  I was not turned off by Lysa Terkeurst's (love her!) quote on the back of the book that said this book would "mess" with me.  I'm thankful, I've got this.

As I stumbled through the words of chapter two my heart and stomach churned.  I learned that I haven't even begun to learn about being thankful.  Deep gratitude.  Overflowing joy.  Salvation.

Then the whisper came.

Next week is Thanksgiving for us here in the northern part of North America.  Why not spend the whole month looking to understand what it means to be thankful?  Why not challenge myself to see the gifts for each day and share them here?

I won't worry about linking up with the group.  I didn't count the list, but I'm pretty sure there are a jillion people joining in.  I'm not worried about being heard here.  I just know what the Lord is calling me to do, and I want to be the kind of follower who obeys.

Join me if you can, I'd love to share this journey with you!

31 days
of Thanksgiving

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