Finding Grace #88

I love giving God a shout out for what He has done. We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot.

I find grace overflowing with God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

This was a good week! We received a little snow this week, but most of it is gone now. I bought a new snow shovel and snow boots, both of which are a great blessing. Thankfully, the snow was mostly in the evenings. We didn’t have to drive much in the slick weather.

On Thursday, I went to our new Aldi store. It is over in Minnesota, but not too far of a drive. I was trying to hurry, so didn’t spend too much time there. I bought a few items for much cheaper than normal. I’m not sure if the gas money was worth the savings, though. Nonetheless, it was fun to visit a familiar store that reminds me of my family in Illinois!

Lydia had Friday off of school for Veterans Day. We enjoyed a fun day at home and took some time to discuss the meaning of the holiday. Today, we put together puzzles of the United States. We also watched a video about veterans who had suffered major wounds in battle yet were not letting the loss of limbs keep them from living a full life. This prompted a lot of good discussions regarding perseverance, bravery, and gratitude. Thank you, veterans!

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Birds, Boots, and Blessings

Last weekend, Lydia and I played in the snow with our next-door neighbors. Lydia joined the kids who were building a snowman, while I talked with their mom. I had my back to the wind, but my legs and feet were still cold.

At one point, someone pointed out a bald eagle, flying low and parallel to our property line. It has been awhile since I last saw an eagle, and I’ve never seen one so close to my house. So, it was really exciting!

The next day, Lydia and I were inside and we heard a cute little purple house finch on our deck. He sang his heart out, as we spied through the window. I had just assumed most of the birds had gone south for winter, so it was a nice little surprise!

Then, yesterday, I bought a new snow shovel. My neighbor across the street, Melissa, helped me clear my driveway that morning and recommended it. A great friend, she also recently inspired me to get a heated mattress cover… It’s awesome! So, I happily took her word on the snow shovel too! 🙂

As I drove home from the store, I was in awe. Besides the shovel, I also bought myself a new pair of snow boots. (Ok, Melissa had nothing to do with that!) I have been in search of snow boots since we moved to Fargo in 2010—7+ years ago! Besides snow, we get many days of below zero temperatures and negative wind chills.

Yes, I have hiking boots and dressy boots. But for our super cold winters, I hadn’t found something that would work for me day-to-day. I’ve tried other snow boots, but none have fit just right. They are either too big in the ankle or too tight in the toe—or both. Most boots I’ve seen have lousy traction or make my feet look huge…or are crazy expensive.

Gray, mid-calf, lace-up boots with a rubber bottom, these new boots are rather simple. But God knew what I wanted, and they are exactly what I had been looking for. And, they will go with everything I wear. Bonus!

On my way home with my new shovel and boots, I also had a good laugh. I watched a Canada goose walk out on a snow-covered pond and just sit down. I have no idea why it was sitting there, but it was funny. Technically, we are just south of Canada, but I think most of the geese continue on to warmer weather!

Maybe it was taking a break or waiting for friends?

As I considered the goose, I remembered the bald eagle and the purple house finch. All of them had surprised me in their own way. Each of them provided me with joy and encouragement at just the right moment. Thank You, Jesus!

As I thought about all three birds—each so unique—I praised God for taking care of them. He meets their needs, keeps them warm, and feeds them. Not one bird falls to the ground without Him knowing about it. And, we are worth much more to Him than a simple sparrow or finch… or odd goose…or even a powerful eagle!

Yes, God promises to take care of us too. Each year, I’ve managed to get by when I am outside thanks, in part, to Smart Wool socks. But this season, I will be extra warm with my new boots. What a welcome surprise!

In His own way and timing, God provided the snow boots I had envisioned all those years ago. When writing this, I was also reminded of other things I have prayed for over the years. The boots are both a blessing and a reminder that God faithfully meets my needs.

I can depend on the Lord—and, He also uses me to bless others. This year, Lydia and I donated coats, hats, gloves, and snow pants so local kids can stay warm, too. It’s cool to see the Lord ‘return the favor’ as He also provides for me and answers my prayers in only ways He can. Praise God!

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God, You are such a good Provider. Thank You for filling my life with good things! Thank You for being faithful and for blessing me. Help me be a blessing to others. Use me to meet the needs of those around me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: How has the Lord blessed you recently? How can you bless someone else?

Tasks: Make a list of all you are thankful for; share it with someone. Make a list of prayer requests; update your list as you see how God faithfully answers.

 

Finding Grace #87

I love giving God a shout out for what He has done. We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot.

I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

This week was much different than expected! I thought it was going to be really tiring with all we had to do, yet by God’s grace, I felt energized at the end of the week. On Monday, a meeting was rescheduled so I found myself with an hour of ‘free time.’ I put that time to good use with other tasks and lightened my load later in the week.

Of course, this week included Halloween, which always brings me mixed emotions. God knows I’ve dealt with enough fear in my life…even without scary monster costumes! But, I try to make the best of it, anyway. Lydia and I had fun passing out candy. Then, on Wednesday, we enjoyed a party at church with games and candy, too!

Work went well, and I had fun meeting with patients. I felt the Lord’s grace and blessing on me as I worked! I finished my tasks in a timely manner and even brainstormed ideas for some future projects.

I had a fairly productive week overall, crossing many simple tasks off my to-do list. I returned emails, edited some files, mailed some packages, wrote some thank you notes, paid bills, and ran several quick errands. I even added eye hooks to my little free library boxes, to help secure the doors from our crazy winter winds. I’m thankful for how the Lord directed my path and brought me peace of mind as I finished so many things.

We received more snow in the last few days. Most of it has already melted, but I think we are in full-on winter mode. Lydia had fun playing outside with the neighbors today, though their snowman has already fallen over. While Lydia played, some friends returned my snowblower after they fixed it. So that was perfect timing!

With several unexpected changes this week, I found myself enjoying some extra peace and quiet. I used that time to connect with the Lord and express my gratitude to Him. Now today, Lydia and I are relaxing. So far this weekend, we’ve read some books, put together puzzles, caught up with housekeeping tasks, and made some yummy foods.

Tonight, we gain an hour thanks to daylight saving time. I usually stay up an extra hour, thinking I will get more done or watch a show. Maybe I should just go to sleep, haha! Regardless of what you choose, don’t forget to set your clocks BACK one hour.

God is good!

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Finding Grace #47

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

This was a full but good week! Thankfully, the ‘extra’ activities were fun. 🙂 I found myself trying to figure out certain decisions this week. I’m taking it easy today, because I am exhausted from all the processing of options. God reminded me that His timing is perfect… some of the decisions are just not ready to be made yet. And, I want to praise God instead of worry about the unknowns. He always takes such good care of us!

Our extra activities this week included getting together with several friends. I’m thankful for friends who listen and pray with me. I’m thankful we can encourage each other despite life’s uncertainties. I’m thankful for wise counsel and laughter!

We’ve had warmer temperatures this week, in the mid-thirties. We still have a fair amount of snow, but most of the ice has melted off my driveway now. Lydia enjoyed helping me clear it all away with her shovel! And, it is nice to see the grass where small sections of snow have melted! Praise God for the changing of seasons!

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Finding Grace #45

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

I hope you’ve been staying warm this week! I always appreciate those days where we can stay home when it’s cold, snowy, and blowy. But each day this week, Lydia and I needed to be somewhere (work, school, errands, etc). I’m thankful for my reliable car with all-wheel drive…and for all the years I spent commuting to work during Illinois winters! Praise God for His safety and protection!

I can already tell this is going to be an interesting year. I’m excited for all the possibilities, but know I will need to keep a prayerful attitude. Already this week, I have had to make some small, but impactful decisions. Like always, I’m praying for wisdom and clarity, along with courage to do whatever I need to do (depending on the decision). I’m thankful for God’s input and His provision.  I also appreciate my family and friends who sometimes act as “sounding boards” and help me filter my thoughts! Thanks!

On Thursday evening, I babysat for a family across the street while the parents went to a show. We had a blast! The boys and Lydia were all well-behaved, despite the late night. It was fun to observe their interactions, while playing with stickers, the Light Brite, etc. They even let me play Go Fish and watch their dance party! I was glad to help, and the next evening we were invited for a visit (and dinner!) at their house. I’m thankful for great neighbors!

Today, on our way home from the store, it was about 11 degrees above zero. Heat wave! The sun felt so warm, I nearly had to take off my heavy winter coat while driving. It was wonderful! This next week should be warmer still (in the twenties and lower thirties). I hope to get more time to play in the snow. We have a to-scale version of Mt. Everest just beyond the backyard that keeps calling my name!

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Winter Reflections

On a recent afternoon, Lydia and I saw ‘sun dogs’ in the sky after school. It was one of those bitter-cold days and they had been evident all day. But on our way home, this ‘ice halo’ was brilliant! It was a beautiful reflection of the winter sun.

I tried to take a picture, but it was too bright! Later, I noticed someone posted the exact picture of those sun doggies online…click here and look at the second picture down!

Yes, I’m really enjoying this winter season so far. Snowy and blowy, there’s nothing like a good blizzard to make you thankful for a warm, safe house with plenty to eat!

Last year, I only used the snow blower a few times all season. This year, I’ve already used my snow blower several times in the last couple weeks! On the other hand, my back and shoulders are loving this weather because I have not had to shovel as much.

Believe it or not, I actually enjoy snow removal. It gives me a sense of accomplishment!

Plus, I’m often reminded of how God used the crazy long winter we had when Dave was sick. Back then, I often shoveled snow twice a day because the snow blower we had at the time was too large for me to push safely and comfortably. It felt like that winter would never end. And, shoveling foot-high snow drifts brought out many ugly emotions I would have rather ignored!

God loves us just as we are, but He loves us too much to leave us like that. That year, the brutal weather was just one of the tools He used to shape my character. Looking back, I gained some pretty awesome skills and a much better perspective. For that, I am grateful.

Now, I have a joyful attitude as I seek God’s sweet and refreshing grace!

This year, more than ever, I’m thankful for the longer Fargo winters. Not only do I crave the slower pace that winter brings, but I’m also aware that my ‘free time’ with Lydia will be limited as she grows. She has been going through a cuddly, goofy phase lately, so I’ve decided to roll with it. Of course we have good and bad days, but right now Lydia and I can watch movies, play games, and read books together. We can play in the snow, drink hot chocolate, and snuggle. Thank You, Lord.

I’m also thankful for my flexible schedule, where a random ‘snow day’ doesn’t throw us for a loop. Someday soon, that may change. I will likely have to make adjustments down the road. But for now, I am grateful.

I’ve seen a few people counting down the days ’til Spring. I totally understand that Winter can be a doozy. Years ago, I traveled long distances for work. I commuted one hour, one way, each day to a job I loved. It was worth it at the time, but challenging and scary at times. These days, I am grateful for mostly in-town driving.

Once I bust through a few snow drifts, that is!

Perhaps you are one that dislikes Winter. I get it. It’s cold, snowy, and blowy. But, consider taking a different approach. Find the beauty and good in each season…even Winter…because there is a time, season, and purpose for everything.

I am using this current life season to pause and rebuild solid morning habits. My entire day goes much better if I get certain things done before Lydia wakes up (more on this, later).

We have a tendency to want to rush through life and move on to the next event, the next season, the next opportunity or challenge. But let’s pause and experience all God has for us NOW. Each season has it’s own perks and challenges! God knows the plans He has for us, and He will lead us there…in His timing, and if we let Him.

His love never fails!

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God, thank You for Winter. Each season displays Your magnificent glory! Thanks for Your protection and provision. Help us have the right perspective in every season. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: What is your favorite winter activity? Have you tried any new activities? Is there something God is teaching you in this current life season?

Tasks: Make a list of 5-10 special activities you can do this season. Go do them!

Finding Grace #41

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

  • This has been a really cold, but fun week. I suppose the ‘polar vortex’ has impacted the below zero temperatures and wind chills, but in Fargo, winter is always fairly cold. 😉 Lydia and I were out in the weather three nights for a work meeting, a Pampered Chef party, and a dinner party with friends. I’m thankful for a safe, warm, reliable car!
  • On Thursday, Lydia had her Christmas program at school. All the kids did a good job, and the program was very cute. We dressed up and had cookies afterward. I’m thankful for the flexibility in my schedule so I can be a part of her schooling. It means a lot to Lydia too!
  • We’ve had the pleasure of hosting a dear friend for a few days. We met in Fargo, but she moved away a year or so ago. She came to visit family and friends before Christmas. We’ve had fun entertaining her toddler these last few days!
  • Today is Dave’s 38th birthday. We are thinking of him, of course, but know he’s having the best celebration in Heaven. This year, it’s more sweet than bitter. I have many pleasant thoughts filled with warm memories. Praise God for His healing touch!

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Where did YOU see or experience God’s grace this week?

Finding Grace #40

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

  • We welcomed full-blown winter weather this week! We had a blizzard on Tuesday, which meant an unexpected snow day for us. A blizzard on the Great Plains does not necessarily mean tons of snow. It has more to do with the lack of visibility. Because of that, Lydia’s school was closed and I worked from home.  It felt like an ‘extra’ day, so that was fun! Later, I shoveled and used my snow blower to clear the snow drifts!
  • I had several good one-on-ones with people. During one meeting, I received meaningful feedback regarding a personal project. And, then a new friend came over to visit. She and I discovered we were quite alike, so that was so much fun!
  • My neighbor offered to help me put up our large Christmas tree. It has been in the closet for at least 5 years, mainly because it was physically and emotionally challenging to put it up on my own. This year, Christmas feels joyful as I see everything through Lydia’s eyes. So, I am so grateful my neighbor encouraged me and helped me set it up on Thursday! We also ate homemade cheesecake, sot that really ‘helped’!
  • This weekend, Lydia and I have been enjoying holiday traditions, such as watching Christmas movies and listening to seasonal music. Tonight, we attended a Christmas program at church. It was fun to see all the kids use their God-given gifts (singing, dancing, and playing instruments). Maybe Lydia will be up their next year or so!

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Where did YOU see or experience God’s grace this week?