The Gift List: Legacies of Love

auntlove
auntandbaby

On Mother’s Day, extended family gathered to celebrate the mothers of our family, birthdays in May as well as my great aunt who turned 94 years old last week. She's 94 years old and still sharp and quick-witted. She had a ball chatting with my little girlie. I treasure these moments: the matriarch of our family loving on one of the babies. A legacy of love indeed.

Still beholding God's good gifts: #309-336

309. Afternoon breezes through open windows.

310. Waking to a quiet house.

311. Prayers spoken in morning darkness.

312. Extended family gatherings.

313. The burden of praying for those without Jesus.

314. Prayer journal filling up with requests and answers.

315. A kissy face, I-love-you text in the middle of the day.

316. A deepening hunger for the Word of God.

317. “You speak and light shines out of darkness. You take emptiness away.” 

318. The privilege of teaching God’s Word to my children.

319. Saturday mornings at the library.

320. Answered prayer when I least expect it.

321. The sound of rain and thunder in the middle of the night.

322. Colorful flowers in bloom.

323. Chores that keep me busy and moving.

324. Volunteering in 1st-grader’s class.

325. A bowl of raspberries and blackberries for dessert.

326. Dinner fresh out of the oven and into hungry stomachs.

327. Laughter and playing in our little backyard.

328. A house to call home.

329. Praying grace and guidance for the kids’ future.

330. Desires that only God could put in my heart.

331. An office with a view of blue skies and purple-blossomed trees.

332. Reuniting with a long-lost friend.

333. Memorizing the book of Ephesians.

334. Afternoon cups of coffee.

335. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, 

336. How deep the Father's love for me! 

The Gift List: Don't Let Me Lose My Wonder

 Last week's SoCal sky

Last week's SoCal sky

"When the fear of the Lord is forgotten-we no longer catch our breath at the sight of a rainbow or the scent of a rose, as we once did… We no longer run our fingers through the water, no longer shout at the stars , or make faces at the moon. Certainly, the new can amaze us: the latest computer game, the softest diaper. Till tomorrow, till the new becomes old, till yesterday's wonder is discarded or taken for granted.

As civilization advances, the sense of wonder declines. We get so preoccupied with ourselves, the words we speak, the plans and projects we conceive that we become immune to the glory of creation. We barely notice the cloud passing over the moon or the dewdrops clinging to the rose leaves. The ice on the pond comes and goes. The wild black­berries ripen and wither. The blackbird nests outside our bed­room window: We don't see her. We avoid the cold and the heat. We refrigerate ourselves in summer and entomb our­selves in plastic in winter. We rake up every leaf as fast as it falls. We are so accustomed to buying prepackaged meats and fish and fowl in supermarkets we never think and blink about the bounty of Gods creation. We grow complacent and lead practical lives. We miss the experience of awe, reverence, and wonder!"
~ Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

Continuing to look up and count gifts....

#281-308

281. Being reminded to be kind and patient by my seven-year-old son. 

282. Piles of books waiting to be read.

283. Abundant sunshine.

284. Sandals and sundresses in March.

285. Loads of clean laundry: we are clothed.

286. Dishes in the sink: we are fed.

287. Dirty handprints on walls: happy, playful children live here.

288. Bible stories on audiobooks for the kids to enjoy.

289. Reminders from seven-year-old to say grace before eating.

290. An 11-year-old who can recite scripture. 

291. The living Word hidden in little hearts.

292. A day off to nap, read and do nothing. 

293. Chats with old friends.

294. One of the kids chatting in their sleep.

295. Waking to a smiling two-year-old at my bedside in the morning.

296. Hugs shared among siblings.

297. Every kid healthy again.

298. The rustling of thin Bible pages during Saturday night church service.

299. A pastor who kneels in prayer during service.

300. The gift of rest.

301. Learning to suffer well for Christ.

302. Lord, Don't Let Me Lose My Wonder

303. Jesus Loves Me sung over a sleepy two year old.

304. “Father, let me be weak that I might loose my clutch on everything temporal. My life, my reputation, my possessions, Lord, let me loose the tension of the grasping hand.” -Jim Elliot

305. A deep abiding love for holiness.

306. Husband's hand in mine.

307. Bathtub full of clean running water.

308. Mornings full of chirping birds...spring is near!

What wonders are you beholding?

The Gift List: All the Things God Has Done

I'll make a list of God's gracious dealings, all the things God has done that need praising. Isaiah 63:7 (MSG)

Shortly after Christmas, one of the boys got an attitude because I wouldn't buy something for him at Target. It upset me that he just received all his heart's desire and still wasn't content.

How often has that been me? Given so many good things and still pouting about that one thing I don't have. Oh Lord, help my own discontent heart. It's in the remembering of all that has been given to me that I realize just how blessed I am. 

Some of God's gracious dealings to me: 

256. Compassion lavished. 

257. Love extravagant.  

258. The quiet whisper of the Holy Spirit.  

259.  Being thought of.  

260. Unexpected gifts from kind coworkers.  

261. Hope that keeps rising to the surface.  

262. Sweets baking in the oven.  

263. Jesus becoming my savior in all my troubles.  

264. Friendly neighbors.  

265. Smiling strangers.  

266. Praise songs sung by my seven year old.  

267. And scriptures hidden in the heart of my 11 year old son.  

268. Playing "dollhouse" with my baby girl.  

269. Time spent with my mother.  

270. A generous bonus at work.  

271. Groceries packed into the car.  

272. Good laughs with good friends.  

273. Letters in the mail from faraway friends.  

274. Knowing smiles.  

275. Lingering hugs.  

276. Hot cups of tea on chilly mornings.  

277. A sermon preached just for me.  

278.  "My soul longs and even faints for the courts of the Lord."

279. Grace and glory from above.  

280. No good thing being withheld when I seek God's face.  

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The Gift List: The Giving of Thanks

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I thank my God every time I remember you. -Philippians 1:3

I adore this little quirky bunch of mine and the people they are growing into. Thankful for their health and happiness. So many things to offer up thanks for.

#236-255

236.  Family gathering around the dinner table.

237. Quiet mornings in the Word.

238. "I love you" and "Thanks you" from the kids.

239. An 11-year-old who still calls me mommy.

240. Friends calling to check in on my kids.

241. Our regular visits to Chick-fil-A after Saturday Night Church.

242. Provision

242.A fridge full of food.

242. The smell of Thanksgiving filling the house.

243. Hope against all hope 

244. Wisdom from above.

245. Worship music playing 

246. A Bible in my lap.

247. Prophetic words spoken over me rehearsed and remembered.

248. Family recipes passed down.

249. A warm bed on a chilly morning.

250. Alarm clock turned off during vacation.

251. Neighbors waving hi.

252. Toddler feet running through the house.

252. Lord Have Your Way

253. Persistent in prayer.

254. The Pacific Ocean....a 20 minute drive away.

255. My babies tucked into bed: safe,warm and loved.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

The Gift List: Capable Hands

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Friday marks surgery day for this guy who has to have his tonsils and adenoids removed. He had a check up last week and he's all cleared to go.  I'm grateful for health insurance and capable doctors. I've already prayed for the surgeon and my son because I know that he will be in capable hands...God's hands.

Also thankful for....

#197-230

197. Staycations

198. Morning coffee brewing

199. The last sweet days of summer

200. Kids excited for church service.

201. The jasmine bush reblooming.

202. A surprise love note left by my oldest son.

203. 2yo saying "good bye pee paw (grandpa)."

204. Kneeling in prayer.

205. Falling into bed after a long, hard day.

206. Weeping enduring for a night BUT joy coming in the morning

207. Belly laughs shared amongst the boys.

208. 6yo clutching His Bible on the way to Saturday night church.

209. Quiet evening.

210. The weight of God's glory.

211. Sweet surrender.

212. Many waters cannot quench love neither can floods drown it.

213. Hands lifted in praise to God.

214. SoCal sunsets painted in the sky.

215. Satin pillowcases.

216. Shayne's little six-year-old voice.

217. My sister loving on my three babies.

218. A rhema Word from the Lord.

219. Two little boys exited about school. 

220. Godly teachers who pray.

221. Quiet time in the Word of God.

222. Six year old learning to ride his bike after much frustration.

223. Gratis days during Christmas time.

224. Thanksgiving day on the horizon.

225. The discipline of counting gifts big and small.

226. My little first grader's teacher describing him as "a treasure" to have in the class.

227. Waking to sunshine, birds chirping and new mercies.

229. Warm beds

230. ...and a pantry full of food.

231. Laughter and lunch with a sweet sister friend

232. Big brother reading with little brother.

233. Protection through the night.

234. Hope that does not disappoint.

235. "Thank you mommy for dinner!" repeated around the dinner table.

The Gift List: Entering With Thanksgiving

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Entering the Thanksgiving season with a continued list of blessings big and small. 

#151-196

151. Prayers offered up to God: holy incense.

152. Anticipation

153. Sweet watermelon

154. And ripe peaches

155. Floral skirts

156. Popsicles of every color.

157. Being humble enough to apologize.

158. My grandmother's recipes....passed down.

159. Afternoon sunlight pouring into the living room.

160. You Can Depend On Jesus

161.  The smell of freshlly baked muffins filling the house.

162. An unexpected overnight rain.

163. Sweet voice mail messages from family.

164. Standing on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.

165. God singing over me. 

166. Still loving his kiss after 14 years.

167. Summer strawberries.

168. Friendly neighbors.

169. And kind strangers.

170. Maxi skirts and sandals.

171. Grits

172. And eggs scrambled soft.

173. Sweet news of a friend's pregnancy after two miscarriages.

174. Skirts that twirl.

175. Hugs that hold tight and last a while.

176. My 10 year old leading us in prayer.

177. "It is well with my soul" sung loudly and with conviction.

178. Standing in the gap in prayer.

179. "Thank you" from my husband.

180. "He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. "

181. A glimpse of God working on the other side of the mountain.

182. A visit from my cousin-in-law who is just like a natural-born cousin.

183. Baby girl playing in my hair.

184. Leftovers for lunch.

185. The SoCal sky at sunset.

186. Warm showers.

187. Clean linens on the bed pulled tight.

188. Compliments from strangers.

189. Piles of books on my nightstand.

190. A fresh coat of polish on my toes.

191. A FaceTime call with my mother on the other end.

192. Leg hugs from baby girl when I pick her up.

193. That happy exhaustion after a work out.

194. A grocery cart full of food.

195. Sending thinking about you texts.

196....and receiving them too.

What's on your gift list?

The Gift List: Clothed with Strength and Dignity

I keep this laminated scripture card in the front of my planner as a reminder of who I am and how I am to be in the world.

I love that the verse says the Proverbs 31 woman is dressed with strength and dignity. Brand name clothes are great but nothing beats dressing up in these virtues. 

"And she laughs without fear of the future..." Instead of looking to the future with apprehension, she faces it with rejoicing knowing that all will be well.  I take great comfort in that.

Still counting God's best gifts to me:

#131-150

131. Little toddler feet running through the house calling "Mommy! Mommy?"

132. My phone ringing with my mother on the other end just as I was about to call her.

133. Gentle correction from the Holy Spirit.

134. Prayers offered up in faith and trust.

135. A Bible teaching church.

136. Belly laughs with friends across the miles.

137. Text messages from my oldest in the middle of the day.

138. Summer sunshine

139. And kids in backyard kiddie pools splashing water.

140. Rediscovering an old (and favorite) book.

141. My grandmother's china set in the cabinet.

142. An extra few minutes of sleep.

143. An encouraging reminder that God is with us.

144. Morning hugs

145. Sweet anticipation.

146. Hot cup of coffee brewed just right.

147. My boss praying during a meeting.

148. Little boys who help their tired momma.

149. A good night's sleep after an exhausting day.

150. Blue skies for miles.

The Gift List: Giving Birth to Fearless

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Most of my life I've struggled with fear.

Not a pretty thing to admit, but it's the truth.

So it's pretty laughable that God would make me the mother of a little girl who is the epitome of fearless. She's the child who takes on the biggest slide at the park and climbs the highest thing she can find. I find myself in this crazy dance of trying to keep her safe without squashing her fearlessness.

As I watch my littlest baby girl tackle big things without flinching, it's challenging me in ways I'd never imagined. I see her taking on things I think are too big for her with thoughtful calculation. I know I can do this to--if I use the same thoughtful calculation. I now find myself praying for things that I think are too big and grand because truly, our fear is only as big as we make it out to be.

Grateful to be the channel that this fearless girl came through. Thankful for the fearlessness she's inspiring in me. And still counting down God's gifts to me:

#111-130

111. Sleeping in past 7:00 a.m.

112. Celebrating two years with this little girl of mine.

113. Sunday afternoon at the park with three happy kids.

114. One of my all-time favorite songs on repeat

115. Finally meeting my long-time blog friend over dessert while she was in California last week.

116. Slipping a dollar under my six year old's pillow...another tooth lost.

117. Caretakers who genuinely care for my babies.

118. Shaved ice over a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

119. Long distance phone calls from loved ones.

120. Reaching another year lived and

121. Grateful for health and strength.

122. A short 15-minute commute to work.

123. An encouragement to go deeper in prayer.

124. A birthday shopping trip courtesy of my husband

125. Which turned into a day to myself.

126. Floors swept clean and mopped too.

127. The sound of the UPS truck delivering goodies.

128. A little sister walking through the house calling for her brothers.

129. Staying up late because the book is that good.

120. The honor of cooking meals for my family.

The Gift List: Memories and Moments

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I adore this photo of my father and my oldest from eight years ago. It sums up their relationship perfectly: mutual love. My father's greatest pride was being a grandfather. The other day I was a little down because I realized my oldest is the only one who really has memories of him. But what great memories he has. Just glad my dad got the chance to relish being a grandfather. Some other things my heart is singing gratitude for:

#91-#110

91. Discovering video of my father with my oldest son

92. Watching the kids enjoy play time in the backyard after dinner

93. Dining al fresco

94. Saturday nights at Chick-fil.-A after church service  

95. A message at church from a guest speaker that confirms what is already in my heart

96. My father's eclectic taste in music handed down to me

97. New music that I forgot I'd downloaded  

98. And Jillian Edwards' album Daydream on repeat

99. Friends reaching across the miles for prayer

100. Morning hugs from my six year old

101.  Connections I've made on social media that have turned into real life friends

102. A sister who makes childhood fun for my kiddos

103. Belly laughs with my mother over FaceTime

104. A promise of power for my faint moments

105. My babies growing big and tall and lean

106. Giggles and tickles and hugs amongst siblings

107. A hope that does not disappoint

108. Summer in Southern California

109. The steady hum of the dryer full of clean clothes

110. Sweet redemption