Two Lines on a Stick

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How appropriate that this Monday’s gratitude post should come as we are celebrating the pending arrival of baby #4! You may have noticed the baby-heavy list from a couple weeks ago that I was getting baby fever. I’m very excited for this new addition to our family.

261.  rainy mornings

262.  sleeping in on a Monday!

263.  waking up not as sore as expected

264.  playing baseball with the kids

265.  watching the kids practice

266.  realizing early in the week that you have a lot to accomplish that week

267.  finding my favorite cereal on sale

268.  finding healthier cereals that are comparable in price to the junk we used to eat

269.  streamlining our meals

270.  seeing value in a weed

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271.  seeing beauty in a weed

272.  deciding to cultivate a weed because it has value to our diet and our chickens’

273.  steps to feeding our chickens from our property only

274.  how baby steps add up to a long journey over time

275.  being excited to blog

276.  the last six weeks of our homeschool year (now complete!)

277.  realizing I will have a 3rd grader, a 2nd grader and a kindergartener next homeschool year!

Family & Spring

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246.  listening to Andrew sing/play in church

247.  how Andrew’s playing guitar almost always ends up including Eric Clapton music

248.  that I recognize what he’s playing – always makes me smile

249.  talking with my Grandma

250.  cousins who have birthdays

251.  gardening!

252.  seeds sprouting

253.  rogue lettuce plants

254.  greenhouses!

255.  with shelves!!

256.  evenings with my husband

257.  talking to my brother

258.  planning surprises

259.  busy weeks

260.  crafting!

A few blessings for your Tuesday. To read more bloggers counting their blessings, visit the linky at a Holy Experience.

Giving Thanks on Palm Sunday

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Today is Palm Sunday. I like to write my gratitude posts on Sunday, seems fitting.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

I recently read a blog post that eloquently spoke of the role of gratitude in a Christian’s life and what the Bible says in contrast to common, popular theology. A good read.

The writer above goes into more depth than I will here, but this is what my gratitude journal and blog posts are all about:

My heart and life have been radically changed by my Lord and Savior. The more I read His Word and live this life, the more I see His mercies, His blessings. The longer I live the more I see I can not do this alone, the less I think of myself outside of Him. The more time I spend in His Word and in quiet prayer with Him, the greater my heart overflows with a thankfulness that words can not express. He’s given me a promise greater than any blessing here on Earth, made a sacrifice bigger than any trouble I may face.

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My list may seem very basic to some, but to me it is the essence of God. He is the source for all my blessings, big or small, recognized or misunderstood. I see the Creator, my Creator, in His creation. He cares for me in the most basic of ways and the greatest way possible, His Son sacrificed for me.

When I think of all that Christ suffered, for me, for you, for everyone, I am humbled. It is in that humbleness that I offer thanks for the many blessings in my life. I offer my life as a sacrifice to Him. Through it, the Holy Spirit convicts me to not grumble or complain, comforts me when I fall and softens my heart when I let the world harden it.

My gratitude list isn’t my savior.

It isn’t my saving grace.

It isn’t my salvation.

It is my constant reminder for perspective.

It is the outpouring of a thankful heart.

It is my obedience to His Word.

My salvation isn’t a result of my gratitude. My gratitude is the result of my salvation.

With that, I continue to give thanks to the Giver of All Things:

228.  Little frogs.

229.  First thunderstorms of the year.

230.  Answered prayer.

231.  Encouragement from godly women.

232.  Encouragement where you least expect it.

233.  Being able to take the good and leave the bad.

234.  Birthday gifts in my favorite color.

235. Polkadots!

236.  Flannel pants.

237.  Rediscovering my fondness for flannel boxer shorts as sleepwear.

238.  Realizing it takes much less fabric to make boxer shorts than pants.

239.  New babies.

240.  New babies I get to hold.

241.  Newborns.

242.  Newborn baby boys.

243.  Babies.

244.  Friends who let me hold their babies.

245.  My babies – though not exactly “babies” anymore.

One Goal Down and a Few More Blessings

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This post is number 32, which means that I met my yearly goal to double last year’s post number of 16. So for a change of pace, I’m ahead of schedule. And I am working on something involving my list so I just might blow that number out of the water, ha!

I don’t have a lot of witty comments right now, the rain seems to have washed that away today. Or maybe I’m not liking this Monday as much as the rest. Ah, doesn’t matter. I’m going to continue to count my blessings anyways.

210.  The hum of a dishwasher.

211.  The warmth of a fireplace. (I do realize this makes a lot of appearances in my blessings, but this winter has me very, very thankful for our fireplace.)

212.  Little girls who sing the song in their heart.

213.  Even if it’s not the song everyone else is singing.

214.  Listening to my husband’s day.

215.  Good friends.

216.  Talking with my husband.

217.  Remembering to keep my commitment to my Lord and myself.

218.  Little jobs that make the next day a step ahead.

219.  Snoring dogs.

220.  A comfortable chair.

221.  A grocery list to make.

222.  Floors to clean.

223.  Laundry to wash.

224.  Children to teach.

225.  Restful evenings.

226.  Times of rest.

227.  Looking forward, but remaining present.

Make it a blessed week, BE a blessing!

Purposing to Find the Beauty in Everyday

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Last Monday I said I was purposing to find the beauty in everyday with my camera for the week. I’m happy to say that I actually remembered to do that a few different days. I’m finding it good on many levels.

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It’s good for my soul to seek out the good, pure, lovely and meditate on those.

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It’s good for my eye to learn to see things more clearly.

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It’s good for my heart to see the precious in the middle of the messes.

188.  Nephews and nieces

189.  Safe roads for travel

190.  Convenient library hours

191.  Children growing in confidence with their reading skills

192.  Walking into a clean toy/school room and knowing I didn’t have to clean the mess that was there prior.

193.  Children getting excited to clean house for guests.

194.  Jobs done right!

195.  A precious pastor and his wife

196.  Fellowship with like-minded believers

197.  Being gently challenged

198.  Little boys wanting to buy penguin movies with his own money

199.  Little boys who say “I want a pet penguin.”

200.  Little sisters enjoying big sister’s sweet attention

201.  An “old-fashioned” thank you note for something small

202.  A reminder that cards can brighten any day

203.  And that is never old-fashioned

204.  Sunshine!

205.  Feeling a need to be in His Word (a deep, pressing desire that one as only heard of but never experienced need)

206.  A growing passion for more

207.  Excitement

208.  Sweet little ones who curl up in bed with me in morning’s light

209.  A quiet household

Here’s to a week of more of the same, but uniquely wonderful, everyday beauty blessings.

Counting Blessings is Important

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Did you happen to notice that I actually posted three times last week? Three times, at this rate, I’ll be finished with my post quota for 2011 before the month is out. I’m such an over-achiever. Ha.

I’m perfectly happy being a middle-achiever.

I hope you are finding joy in your everyday. I am.

161.  Children who can dress themselves for snow play.

162.  Making my children laugh. (Is there a better sound to a mother’s ears than her children laughing?)

163.  Warm fires to sit by and be lulled to sleep.

164.  Sleep that comes sweetly at 2 a.m.

165.  Waking up in the morning.

166.  Sweet faces peering at my bedside.

167.  Bagels with cream cheese.

168.  Hungry 6 year old boys.

169.  Music about my Savior’s birth.

170.  Children into storytelling in a BIG way.

171.  Remembering to smile and care when all three share the same story in their own words.

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172.  Being able to choose between tending a fire and running the heat.

173.  Especially when I have to play catch up.

174.  Having a house to retrieve from chaos.

175.  Children on their way back to health.

176.  Evenings with friends.

177.  Evenings with friends that have the parents laughing and making more noise than the nine kids in the house.

178.  Evenings with my husband, playing Rummikub.

179.  Quiet winter evenings.

180.  The excitement of the anticipation of more snow.

cooking-fun

181.  A new year.

182.  Quick car trips to pick up things.

183.  Being able to stick to our choice to not shop at the local WM Supercenter.

184.  Being able to do #183 without breaking the budget for needed items.

185.  Choices about where to spend our money.

186.  Conviction.

187.  Random holiday items at 50% off.

That brings us to my most recent gratitude journal entries. This week I am purposing to find beauty in the everyday with my camera and to rejoice in this life my God has so graciously blessed me with. I hope you will join me.

Vicki

Blessings Abound

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Another Monday. I’ve decided I like Mondays. They have become the days I depend on. I can rest on my weekends, enjoy friends and family, knowing that Monday will bring a new day to tackle the ever-present to do list. I’ve come to accept that I will never truly complete any to do list because they are never complete, never a whole picture of what I have to do.

But I do love lists. I’ve said it before. I love organizing a plan of attack, more so than the actually doing of the attack at times. I love checking things off lists. Laundry, check. Dishes, check. My little visuals that I just “did it.”

I’ve passed on this love for checking off lists. I looked over to see my oldest writing her own the other night. Her list? Bedroom, check. Bed, check. Bedtime, no check.

Some more blessings from my life:

120.  Clean kitchen.

121.  No laundry pile. (This is a great, big, huge accomplishment for me.)

122.  Quiet time in the evening.

123.  Strategizing.

124.  Breakfast talks with my girls.

125.  Excitement on my girl’s face.

126.  Another tooth lost!

127.  Puppies, sweet puppies.

128.  Planning a Thanksgiving meal. (which was loads of fun)

129.  Reaching a decision.

130.  Guidance on executing decisions.

131.  Refreshing my spirit in His word.

132.  Roosters crowing.

133.  Children learning new skills.

stuffed-owl

134.  Sewing Christmas gifts.

135.  Constant re-evaluation of my life in seasons.

136.  Admitting I have no idea what I’m doing.

137.  Even if it is only to myself.

138.  Realizing I do not have to know what I’m doing.

139.  Knowing the One who knows all!

140.  Timely reminders of what’s important.

141.  Articles that inspire me to dig deeper in the trenches of parenting.

142.  Finally seeing that relationship is the root of it all.

143.  Being ok with what is.

144.  Knowing it won’t always be this way.

145.  Being grateful that I can change myself.

146.  Well, not completely by myself.

147.  Being tremendously grateful for the compassion my Savior has with me.

silly-kids

148.  Getting to be the mama of these beautiful beings.

149.  Cuddles from 4 1/2 year olds.

150.  Trying times when 4 1/2 year olds are being 4 1/2 year olds.

151.  Opportunities to practice patience.

152.  Forgiveness for losing patience.

153.  Sweet, soft head of hair tucked under my chin.

154.  Little thumbsuckers.

155.  Dingy blankets, a precious always-there friend. Blankie.

156.  Hearing what goes on in a 4 1/2 year old’s mind.

157.  Being thankful she didn’t cut ALL of her hair.

158.  Sweet, all-over-my-face kisses from tiny lips.

159.  Seeing the humor of a child who can not potty in anything but an empty potty.

160.  Children who throw ice cubes on the back porch “So the outside will stay cold and the snow won’t melt.”

I am counting my blessings as inspired by Ann Voskamp and link my Gratitude posts to her Multitude Monday post.  You can see others in their gratitude journey via her blog.

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Everyday, ordinary blessings to you, Vicki

So Maybe Not

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When I said it would be a final look back at 2010, I forgot that I still had some counted blessings from 2010 to share. I’m still plugging away in my journal, the days between entries are decreasing. I’d like to take it as an indication that this is becoming a habit, counting my blessings, seeing the great joy in my life.

99.  Halloween is finished for the year.  (I’m not a fan.)

100.  A washing machine to wash my clothes for me.

101.  Water in my house to fill my machine, bathe my family and cook our meals.

102.  A dryer to make our clothes warm and toasty.

103.  Electricity brought to my house by wires to power all my conveniences, especially those I see as necessities.

104.  Having the money to pay our utility bills.

105.  A warm fireplace to take the chill out of our house.

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There is great joy in the common, everyday tasks.  You just have to see it.

106.  Music filling our basement.

107.  Watching my husband doing what makes him feel closest to God.

108.  Listening to #107 (which also inspired #106).

109.  Watching my oldest’s piano skills grow.

110.  J counting the days to her birthday.

111.  The reminder that every day is  precious, there is great joy to be found in our ordinary lives.

112.  The timely sermon to remind me to take my eyes off that which troubles my heart and look to my Savior – What are you looking at?

113.  Perspective

114.  Lunch with a family that has grown from “one I baby-sat for” to friends.

115.  A joy filled night with our church family.

116.  A church family that meets the needs of our family – friends and mentors for each of us.

117.  Watching a budding friendship grow for my daughter.

118.  Seeing my son feel confident and comfortable with new friends.

119.  Finally seeing what “church family” really means.

Until next time, Vicki

holy experience

Looking Back

I’m enjoying looking back in my gratitude journal to see the ways God blessed me through the year.

47.  Phone calls with my parents

48.  Cooking with Andrew

49.  Bedtime quiet

50.  Joy’s kittens!

51.  Taming Joy’s kittens

52.  Being tired at bedtime

53.  Seeing order in the chaos

54.  Childhood books randomly popping up

55.  No Facebook – electronic peace

56.  Breaking old habits

57.  Creating new habits

58.  Family meetings

59.  When God’s word seems written just for me

60.  Making the devil mad

61.  Getting confirmation that my prayers are being answered

62.  Holding composure during a confrontation

63.  Having courage to speak the truth

64.  Remembering to pray for guidance before an unnerving conversation

65.  Forgiveness

66.  The reminder to stay humble in spirit

67.  Progress of asking questions

68.  Remembering to keep my joy in the midst of chaos and accusations

69.  The privilege of praying for my family

70.  Encouragement for something personal

71.  Hearing Joyful practice the piano

72.  A renewal

73.  Answered prayers!!

74.  Finding a community of believers who share similar passions as our family

75.  Watching my children blossom

76.  Vacation Bible School

77.  Encouragement that I’ve been on target with aspects of our parenting

78.  Reminders that it is only through Christ that I can come close to getting it right

79.  Knowing that my children are making connections with what they are being taught

80.  The right encouragement with frustration hits

81.  Heart of Wisdom teaching approach!

82.  Feeling like all the research, praying, reading, praying, experimenting is finally paying off

83.  finding a way to fit all the pieces together to make our homeschool effective, efficient and fun

84.  Felling the presence of God through my days

85.  Conversations with my children

86.  Children stopping their play to help me fold the laundry simply because they saw me doing it

87.  Tie dying shirts with kids

88.  Watching their excitement and impatience as they dried

89.  Brothers and sisters playing together

90.  Brothers and sisters working together

91.  Watching my children read

92.  Watching Peanut get something right- joy radiates out of this child

93.  Watching the kids ride bikes

94.  A schedule that actually works – keeps me on track, but is flexible – who knew?!

95.  Having my work finished and time for my hobbies and projects

96.  Finally condensing my beads down

97.  Renewed vision for my creative self

98.  God-given passion

And that brings us current, the next batch of blessings will be my most recent writings.  After reading through that, I have some similar entries on my list, but I just take that as par for the course.  Sometimes God needs to point things out to me more than once before I get it.

Ann at The Holy Experience inspired this counting of my blessings and purposing to see the good in life.  You can learn more at her blog:

holy experience

Blessings to you, Vicki