Friday, November 23, 2012

Giving Thanks with a Grateful Heart

Our Thanksgiving Day was relaxed, unhurried, happy, and full of love. We only had one of our sons, Aaron, here for the holiday along with Amy and their terrific kids -- our two grandsons. Amy brought craft materials to make these cute turkeys. On the tail feathers are things each of the boys is thankful for. Pretty special, huh? As for me, I'm just grateful for the time we had together. How could I not be thankful? Here's all the fun stuff we did: played Lego's, colored, watched a little Macy's Parade, sneaked through the secret passage way, and played in the secret room, "the ack," which is what our two-year-old calls the attic. Outside with Papa and Daddy they played on the swings, had a tractor wagon ride, climbed up in a tree stand out in the woods, and each of them had a turn driving the Kubota tractor...with a little help from Papa. Oh, and Grant played the piano for us...a darling two-handed piece of music. Those kids (and their parents) make us proud!

We spoke to Nathan and David who celebrated this special day of thanks and the days surrounding it, together in California. They are busy touring San Francisco and San Jose -- David posted some great pictures on facebook. Our Adam checked in to wish us a Happy Thanksgiving from New Orleans where he and Alica are taking in the sights of that fabulous city with Alicia's family. David's Melanie who is here (PA) while he is there (CA) came and spent a good part of today with us. She got to visit with Aaron and Amy and Grant and Max before they headed home.

While Melanie was here, she, Tom and I took a short walk over to the possible new house site. We came back and sat by the fire and chatted about all our plans and dreams. Just having a dream is good for the soul, good for the psyche; dreams give us hope and energy. I can't wait to see how David and Melanie's plans unfold. Everything is in God's hands, which is Christianese for up in the air.

I can't wait to see what God has for all of us in the future. The future which is always just beyond our sight and reach. Yesteryear's future is the life we're living today. We dreamed dreams, and now some of them are coming true, the rest are dreams we never knew.  And I trust it's all been part of the grand plan for our lives.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

For family and friends, my home and my life...I'm giving thanks with a grateful heart. It's all good. I wouldn't change a thing.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Frosty, Sunny Morning

Clear skies make for cold nights and mornings, but the effect on the landscape is stunning.

Tom's got some projects going. I'm putting in my two-cents when asked; otherwise I have nose to the grindstone, fingers to the keyboard, racing the Nano clock. I can do this. I've passed the half-way mark of 25,000 words -- barely. The half-way mark on the calendar has come (and gone) as well, and it got there first. But that's no never mind, I'll catch up this weekend. I will if I stop with the facebook, the email, the housekeeping, and the kibitzing on Tom's projects.

Still, I just had to take time for a quick short blog. I love that a few of my friends and family check in and see how we're doing via this little hobby, outlet of mine. Thank you.

And speaking of gratitude...Thanksgiving Day is less than a week off. I have so much that I'm thankful for. Many of my facebook friends list their thanks everyday on facebook in the month of November. It blesses me to read all that others are grateful for...many of the same things between them -- things that I too am grateful for -- family, friends, health, all of our needs met and many of our wants as well. I am thankful to the God who provides. Others are thankful to the fates, appreciating when the stars align. It's really one in the same. Without the finger of God those stars won't line themselves up. And so, on the top of my list, I'm grateful for faith to know this.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Lord of Glory, You Have Bought Us

A friend passed away unexpectedly this week. Chris Massung was a couple of years younger, two years shy of 60. Too soon to go, but she was ready...not wishing for it, but ready. A couple of weeks ago she came over for coffee, which turned into lunch and our spending most of the day together. I'll cherish that visit forever. I have that good memory and no regrets; I'm so lucky in that. During our visit we talked and laughed at the trauma of me turning 60. Shaking our heads and wondering how and when this happened. We were young moms with school age children just the other...?...decade or two! But it didn't seem that long, it really doesn't seem that long ago.

The day Chris passed and for days after we had glorious sunny weather. A blessing after a long stretch of rain and cloudy, dreary days. The sunshine reminded me...she is not here, she's with Jesus, the love of her life. And we are left to mourn our loss. Her husband is beside himself with grief, as are her children and grandchildren. May they find solace in The Lord of Glory.

We sang this beautiful hymn at church on Sunday. The tune is fabulous, if you're inclined Google the title and have a listen on You Tube and read these words along. When we sang the first verse in church I caught my breath at this -- He has freely given countless blessings --not only to the good, but to those who are unthankful and evil as well. And I was ever so grateful upon reading/singing those words, knowing that sometimes I am among the unthankful, and fearing that possibly I am sometimes one of the evil ones. Perish the thought!

Lord of Glory, You Have Bought Us By: Eliza S. Alderson
Lord of glory, you have bought us with your lifeblood as the price,
Never grudging for the lost ones, that tremendous sacrifice;
And with that have freely given blessings countless as the sand
To the unthankful and the evil with your own unsparing hand.

Grant us hearts, dear Lord, to give you gladly, freely of your own.
With the sunshine of our goodness melt our thankless hearts of stone
Till our cold and selfish natures, warmed by you, at length believe
That more happy and more blessed ‘tis to give than to receive.

Wondrous honor you have given to our humblest charity
In your own mysterious sentence, "You have done it all to me."
Can it be, O gracious Master, that you deign for alms to sue,
Saying by your poor and needy, "Give as I have given to you"?
Yes, the sorrow and the sufferings which on every hand we view
Channels are for gifts and offerings due by solemn right to your;
Right of which we may not rob you, debt we may not choose by pay
Lest that face of love and pity turn from us another day.  
Lord of glory, you have bought us with your lifeblood as the price,
Never grudging for the lost ones that tremendous sacrifice.
Give us faith to trust you boldly, hope, to stay our souls on you;
But, oh, best of all your graces, with your love our love renew.
I'm looking forward to seeing my friend, Chris, and all my other loved ones who have gone on where Jesus has prepared a place for us. That hope is the essense of my faith.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Little Bit of Inconvenience

Our furnace is on the fritz. We woke up yesterday morning to a pungent burning smell wafting through the heating vents. Barely wafting, nothing like forced air blowing warmth into the rooms. Tom shut off the hot furnace and called our trusty heating man...leaving a message since it was well before business hours. Then he built me a fire in the fireplace, charged up the supplemental gas heater in the kitchen, and went off to work.

The furnace fix-it guy came about mid day. It took him two minutes to diagnose the problem, but he had to order a part...a motor for the blower fan. He thinks it'll be delivered today and he'll come install it.

We live in big, drafty, old farmhouse. Brrrr. This is remeniscent of our early days, back when there was no furnace at all, no insulation, no storm windows. But here I am reasonably cozy, nestled in front of the fireplace. I closed off all the other rooms, stairway, family room, guest bedroom, and it's amazing the warmth that's built up if I stay in this room. We pulled out the sofa bed to sleep on last night and I'm not intending to fold it away until the furnace is humming along once again. (I'd like the comfort and convenience of heat, but I'm kind of hoping to sleep in front of the fire again tonight.)

Our situation is nothing compared to those who were ravaged by the superstorm, Sandy. My troubles are just enough to remind me to be grateful for all of the good things in life -- my easy, comfortably rich, blessed life. I have hardly any troubles, just enough to remind me to be kind and compassionate to others.
And the sun is shining beautifully and brightly today. Haven't seen it for days...but it's here now!

Click above and you can choose a sample of David Henning's CD
The line above is from the first song, Castles which was and still is very meaningful to me and Tom. Just when Dave's CD came out we experienced a shake up that brought us to our knees. What a blessing to have David sing to us...
"Even if my castles fall, and I'm brought to my knees
Even if I lose it all,
I believe.
Even if my skies are dark, and I can't see the truth
Even with a broken heart,
I believe.