22 November, 2011

Gratitude - Day Thirteen

This was my view this morning. Thankful for today and blessings anew.

21 November, 2011

Gratitude: Day Twelve

Today I am grateful for my car - the car I own. The car I was able to pay off in only 18 months. I got this car in May of last year and paid my final payment today. It's amazing.

I love this car. It is my dream car. VW stopped making this car in 2001 - so it's hard to find, and I was blessed to have a friend who wanted to sells their once I got back from DC.

I love being that during the summer I can drive home with the sun on my face. I love looking at the fall colors in panorama. This little car (my LC!) makes road trips better, especially those on rocky mountain roads.

When I took my niece in it for the first time, she told me we took "its top off." And that might be what I love most about this car - sitting under the stars with the top off and just being.

But today, I love that it is paid off and that is money I can put towards others things - like student loans.

I am grateful for reliable transportation, and the ability to pay off a car thanks to a steady job and the funds to pay my bills.

It has taken a lot of hard work, but I did it!

18 November, 2011

Gratitude: Day Eleven

Today I am thankful for Worship.

I got this email this morning and it just hit me. I tend to think of worship as David dancing for joy when the ark came into the city. The Bible says, "And David was dancing before the LORD with all his might" (2 Samuel 6:14).

It has been a while since I have been there. But like a dear friend told me recently, I can still put on the music and let it speak what I cannot. I've come to realize the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, bringing our petitions to God and so, even now, with a broken heart and a tired spirit, I hope it still is.

The word “sing” occurs over one hundred times in the Bible—more than sixty of them in the book of Psalms alone. Verses 4 and 12 in today’s passage (Ps 30) both tie singing and giving thanks together. There are a number of illustrations in Scripture of the powerful effect of praise through music.

When I talk with women who are struggling with chronic discouragement or depression, I often ask two questions: (1) Are you memorizing Scripture? and (2) Are you singing to the Lord? These aren’t magic “pills” that will make every emotional struggle go away, but I’ve found them to be extremely effective at recalibrating my heart and restoring inner peace. At times, when I am deeply distraught or discouraged, I’ll open my hymnal and just begin to sing. As I sing to the Lord, my heart and mind are re-tethered to His goodness and love, and invariably, the cloud begins to lift.

Whether it’s a cloudy or sunny day in your heart, sing! Right now, if possible. Put on a CD or your iPod and sing along with others, or just sing to Him on your own.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Right now JJ Heller's new CD is on repeat, it is amazing and fills me with joy and peace.

Some other songs I use frequently when I want to worship:

What artists do you turn to? What songs do you turn to when you want to sing out and praise?

17 November, 2011

Gratitude: Day Ten

Today I am thankful for people who know me, people who really know me - who haven't given up (or blamed me) due to my slightly reserved, guarded nature. Those who realize I am an open book, but you have to ask - and then ask again. Who realize I am passionate, strong-willed, determined and expect the best/most of people.

I am very grateful for people who have taken time to LISTEN over the last few years. Who don't just spew answers at me or give me a cheese, empty, flat Christian responses.

Perry Noble wrote this post and it really got me thinking. I think I can list on one hand the number of people who fit this list, and maybe that's okay. I don't need a lot of friends, but I need loyal ones. I am blessed to have some of those people around me. They can come from unexpected places - but they are there.

I've also come to realize that to find those people I have to let people know the real me, I have to let someone see the worse of me and not just assume that just because someone responded very poorly to something that everyone will. But that is hard for me, and so, like I said, my friends with patience and grace are the ones who I let my guard down around.

Judgment is one of the quickest things a person can do to turn me off. Especially ignorant judgment. Do not lecture me until you listen. I think if I have learned anything in the last three years it's compassion, empathy and the beauty of quiet when someone is hurting.

I don't tell people things to get them fixed, I tell people things to unload my burden. And the people I listen to are the people who get that.

Here is the list.

So…who do we listen to?  Who is it that should ALWAYS have access to us…and we should ALWAYS desire their thoughts and ideas…here are EIGHT things…I should always listen to…

#1 – Those who know me, who have spent time with me and understand that there is a person behind the personality.
#2 – Those who have seen me at my best and worst…and love me anyway.
#3 – Those who do not automatically assume the worse about me and always give me the benefit of the doubt.  (ALWAYS beware of the person who seeks to pounce on you as soon as they hear something bad!)
#4 – Those who are willing to stand with me in a tough time–THOSE WHO BLEED WITH ME CAN LEAD WITH ME!!!
#5 – Those who offer correction for the purpose of building up rather than tearing down (people who always seek to tear you down should be ignored!  If they do not correct/confront in love then they are nothing more than a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal – see I Corinthians 13:1)
#6 – Those who are willing to take a confrontation straight to the person rather to an online audience.
#7 – Those who are not always looking for a reason to attack/hate you.
#8 – Those who have the goal of restoring you when you mess up and not wounding you!

Who does these things for you? 

15 November, 2011

Gratitude: Day Nine

Today I am grateful for the Sane Nurse Program at Memorial Hospital.  

I am grateful for the women at Memorial Hospital who are there to serve those in the midst of the worse day of their lives. They are there 24/7 to care for, treat and assist victims of violence.

They see the worse that man can do to each other, and yet, retain kindness, gentleness and a sense of goodness about the world.

These are some of the best people you will ever meet. I think seeing pain makes them more compassionate, facing the effects of evil makes them more giving. And, at its core, is the knowledge that without self-care there is burn out, fatigue and shutting down.

Only by taking care of themselves can they take care of others. 

I am glad we have this program so that regular 'ol male, ER doctors or ordinary nurses are not attempting to examine a victim and collect evidence with no real idea what they are doing. I am grateful for the nurses who help a victim of violence ensure they are okay, have the resources for care they need and that they have been checked out by someone who knows more about what attack can do to a body than anyone else. I am thankful for the nurses who are willing to see and hear what many of us cannot imagine to ensure their patient is okay.

Thank you ladies, I know our community would be at a loss without you. 

11 November, 2011

Gratitude - Day Eight

Today I am grateful that it is the weekend, that I get to sleep in tomorrow and stay in my PJs and drink coffee and write.

I am grateful that the week is over and that in an hour I get to go home.

I am thankful for the weekend - petty, maybe, but it's what I got today.

10 November, 2011

Gratitude - Day Seven

Today I am thankful for D.

It is hard to fully explain what he does in my life, what he does for me. He is my best friend, my confidant, my cheerleader, my soft shoulder, my reality check, my dreamer.

He is the best guy a girl could ask for. He can make me laugh like no one else. He is there when I need to laugh, to cry, to vent, to just be. With D I am who I am. There is no pretending, there is no trying to figure out who to be to keep him happy - he wants me to be who I am, and I want the same for him. There is encouragement between us, refinement, calling out each other's masks and the best things about the other.

I love that he is a photographer too, an adventurer, that he wants to get out and do new things, and craves a simple life.

I am thankful for him because he is there for me. I am thankful that my family likes him, that my friends adore him, that he treats me and my friends with the utmost respect. My identity is not dependent on what D thinks, but he does have a way of drawing out the best of who I am. The last year has not been easy, but he has been there every day.

I don't have to apologize for my passion with him, I don't have to try and mask how I feel, I can be affectionate, silly, goofy, and real. With D I have learned how to express disappointment and hurt, and to receive those emotions back. I have come to see that honesty in relationships is key, that I can love and be loved by someone and that does not mean we will never hurt each other - we will, but how do we react to that? D has taught me to be open, to risk love and letting someone love me.

It hasn't all been easy. We are moving from one challenge to another, from one mountain to the next, but I see a future with D that is good. If my best friend is there - bring on whatever else can come our way.

09 November, 2011

Gratitude - Day Six

Today I am grateful for struggle.

The ability to admit that some days are hard. Some days I want to stay in bed, with the sheets up to my nose and just let the day pass. Sometimes I just want to sit in the corner and weep for reasons I cannot fully identify.

I am grateful that it is okay to admit I don't have it all together. 

Maybe, today, I am thankful for weakness. For crying out. For tears of pain that lead to release. I am thankful for imperfection - for the race not yet done - for the reminder that life is never supposed to be easy, but in the pain there is refinement and peace.

Who do I trust on days like today? Where do I turn?

  • If  I look to man - I am disappointed. 
  • If I look to my friends - I will conform and stop being real. 
  • If I look to my job - then it is all about works. 
  • If I look to my accomplishments - I feel even more like a failure. 
  • If I look to myself - then I have nowhere left to go. 

But if I stop - let the pain come - face it with honesty - and then admit I am nothing and rest in the One who holds me together - I find peace.

That does not mean I do not hurt. That does not mean the pain goes away - it means I know there is more to come after it - and that I am not in it alone.

Today I am thankful for weakness, because out of that debt my hope is found.

08 November, 2011

Gratitude - Day Five

Today I am thankful for rest.

Physical - mental - spiritual - emotional


It can come about in different ways, a quiet cup of coffee, a note from a friend, a moment of silence, a comfy bed to sleep in. However it comes there is something about rejuvenation and stillness that is comfort and safety. 

Jesus said "Come to Me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."

Rest from the day, rest from what we cannot understand, rest from what drives us, from what won't let us sleep. Sometimes it is the closing of our eyes to sleep, other times it is a moment for ourselves, but whatever it looks like - I am thankful for it. 

Here are some other ideas for rest.

How do you rest? 

07 November, 2011

Gratitude - Day Four

Today I am grateful for my job. I am grateful to be doing something meaningful, to be helping people gain and maintain their independence, to be growing, and learning, discovering things about myself and others.

I have the most AMAZING co-workers. I have come to see them as deeply caring people who are here because they want to make a difference. You do not get paid well in the social services field, and the more I get to see their hearts and hear about their lives, the more impressed and humbled I am.

This job is amazing because there is independence in it for me. Independence to be who I am, not judged by some arbitrary standards, I feel valued and seen. I am appreciated for what I bring, carried where I am weak, seen for what I can become.

For the first time, I am in an office that does not segregate by position. Executive down to admin are treated the same, and we are ALL invited to the discussion and asked to contribute in the big and the small. It is refreshing and edifying.

Where I am is a breath of fresh air that I am exceedingly grateful for. 

04 November, 2011

Gratitude - Day Three

Today I am grateful for videos that can always make me smile. This is one of them. The original song is pretty stupid, but this video is just classic. I think Fallon is a genius.

Today I reflect on simple joys, the ability to laugh, to smile, to enjoy (and even create) the silly.

Enjoy! I'll see you Monday.

03 November, 2011

Gratitude - Day Two

I am grateful for i encourage on Facebook. If you don't follow them - you should! They send out daily reminders of things to encourage their readers. Often times their posts are ways you can encourage others.

Over the past few weeks, here are some that have struck me:
  • Think of three people you are grateful for today... Give them a text, email or phone call and tell them. 
  • You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream. ~ C.S. Lewis.
  • Do something anonymously today to brighten someone's day - buy a coke for the person in the drive-thru line behind you or bring a neighbor's paper or trashcan up to their home... it will brighten their day, but will also brighten yours :-)
  • Are you waiting... for something you thought you'd have by now? Be strong.. you can make it. And maybe in the end, you'll discover who you became during the wait is as precious as having the thing you waited for. 
I look for their update in my news feed in the morning. It is three sisters working together to encourage and challenge their readers to pass it on.

Thank you, i encourage

02 November, 2011

Gratitude - Day One

“Gratitude is learning to recognize and express appreciation for the benefits we have received from God and from others.” ~ Nancy Leigh DeMoss

For the next thirty days I am going to focus on gratitude. For the month of November (yes a day late, I realize) I am going to post what I am grateful for. 

Before I begin, Nancy posted these levels of gratitude. Where do you fall? Where do you want to be?
  • I look at the world through grateful eyes and consistently express my gratitude to God and others.
  • I know I’ve been greatly blessed, but I don’t often stop to actually express my gratitude to God and others.
  • To be honest, I had not thought a lot about gratitude until starting this challenge. I’ve got a long way to go to develop a lifestyle of gratitude.
  • I’m a whiner! I tend to focus on my problems and I frequently express them to others.

Today I am grateful for the snow. 

I am grateful for how it covers the landscape and makes things appear still and quiet. Looking out the window (it snowed here last night) I think of Narnia - how it is always Christmas. Somehow things seem frozen in time. It allows me to be still for a moment. There is hope in snow. New possibility. 

I am grateful for snow when I don't have to drive in it. I love snow when I get to stay in and read a book, drink coffee and leave the winter wonderland on the other side of my window. 

What are you grateful for today?