Matthew 6:25 - 27

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Valentine's Day was two days ago ... 

So WHY am I writing about it now?

Especially because I have apparently not had anything to say here in almost seven months???

And, as a widow, shouldn't I just be saying "I'm so glad THAT day is OVER!"? I didn't receive any special card ... no flowers ... no jewelry ... no chocolate ... So wasn't it really a painfully, lonely day without my special love???

NO!!! I've had this burning in my heart and thoughts and reflected in the smile on my face for more than two days now ...

IT WAS THE BEST VALENTINE'S DAY EVER! I FELT SO LOVED ... SUCH JOY ... SO BLESSED ... CHERISHED ... ! I've been bursting to share it and, at the same time, wanting to keep it to myself so as not to diminish the GIFT in any way ... but I MUST SHARE IT WITH YOU!

Really. It was a day like any other; maybe even with more than the usual frustrations and complications. Another day to drag my teenage son reluctantly out of his warm bed and into a cold car earlier than usual on a winter morning after receiving a couple of inches of icy, sticky new snow ... the roads would be slippery and traffic would be slower than usual during our rush-hour commute the 14+ miles to his school and my return trip home again. I could have just seen all that as more trial and weight for me to bear alone on this special day ... but I've been learning to see with new eyes.

I've been immersing myself in Ann Voskamp's book and devotional, "One Thousand Gifts...". I've been learning to live "eucharisteo" - the life of giving thanks. I've been practicing looking with new eyes - really seeing. I'm learning that to be a Christian means to live in Christ - now, in this moment - no matter what this moment holds ... and to know that ALL is GIFT.

So, even in the rush of the day, complicated by the weather, His Gifts overwhelmed me ... 

A glittering, snow-encrusted wonderland ...
Getting him to school on time anyway ...

A normally 20 minute drive slowed in traffic to a crawl that gave me 40 extra minutes in the car to enjoy the glory around me...

Choosing a "back-road's detour" around the traffic on the county highway, and finding myself driving through the most breath-taking, beautiful, glorious land, filled with horse farms, majestic animals in the midst of all of His Splendor ...

Taking pictures out my car windows with the camera I keep in my purse ... on highway ... in my driveway ...

Trying to take in and record this joy I was being given ... the gifts I could finally SEE ... only to find that the camera can NEVER record what the eyes of the spirit see with the same glory!

Forty extra minutes to listen to the last chapter of the "One Thousand Gifts" book ... chapter 11, "The Joy of Intimacy" which begins "I fly to Paris and discover how to make love to God." and I realize that it is a perfect dove-tail with the chapter of the devotional book that I had read just that morning. And it was Valentine's Day. And I am His Bride. And I am not without a lover, but am held by Him who IS my lover and I am discovering His delight in me and am receiving this day ... this weather ... this time ... as His demonstration of that love - as His GIFTS to ME!

By the time I got home, I was wrapped in this glory ... this joy! I was experiencing JOY on a level new to me ... not a mental joy, but a deep, well of joy bubbling out of my innermost being! Isn't that what His word promises us, this joy, this LIFE bubbling up in us as a fountain ... so that we are no longer thirsty ... no longer weighed down by the world ... but free ... at rest ... nourished by the gifts He gives - our daily bread, manna? I'd sung the words about it, sought it, hungered for it, tried to mentally receive it because I believed in it ... but now I KNEW it ... received it within my spirit ... was fed by it ... carried by it! THIS is His KINGDOM COME! This is the kingdom that we are called to live in ... NOW! Not in "eternity". Eternity is NOW! In His presence is fullness of JOY ... fullness of  JOY is being in His presence! I literally "floated" through the rest of day! 

Later, I went in to have my nails "filled". I have terribly ugly hands. Swollen joints, fingers bent from arthritis. Thin, weak, peeling nails that cut into my water- and winter-dry skin and cause deep, throbbing, bleeding splits in my fingertips. I've envied the pretty, manicured hands of other women, and, at times, tried to make my own more acceptable by polishing and treating nails in the hope of some miraculous transformation. Mostly, I didn't, because I wanted to hide my ugly hands and not draw attention to them with painted nails. A few months ago though, I decided that it was wiser to just go have some type of artificial nail or procedure done to my nails to strengthen them and allow them to grow out without cutting into my skin and causing me to live with even more pain than the arthritis causes. So I went and had them "done" and now I have to "fill" them every few weeks as they grow out. At first I didn't add polish ... just left them looking as natural as possible. More recently, though, I decided to try using some of the polishes I had acquired at home. I'd polish and two days later, change the color and re-polish. On February 12th ... two days before Valentine's Day ... I chose a deep red. I didn't do a very professional looking job and the bright color made it only too obvious. On Valentine's Day, though, I went in for my over-due "fill" and decided to have them gel-polished. I love color ... all color ... and making a choice of polish color was difficult. Then I spotted a "sparkle" polish with very fine flecks of a rainbow of color - beautiful! I decided on that. Then I was told that I had to choose a solid color polish to go under it. There I was again ... how to choose??? Finally, I decided on white, with the sparkle on top. And so the "blood-red" came off and the sparkly-clean white went on. It's very pretty. Even on my ugly hands. The significance of that choice didn't hit me until the next day ... sparkly and white - the nails of a BRIDE! And, it didn't matter that my hands are still ugly, He sees me as HIS BRIDE ... and I am accepted in the BELOVED ... and HE had showered me with the GIFTS of the BRIDEGROOM - all white and sparkling this sunny, sparkling, snowy Valentine's Day!


Sunday, July 29, 2012


Lying down means 
Giving up control.
Handing everything over 
including when -- or if -- or how -- 
to get up again.
- Saturdays with Stella

I've recently finished listening to the audio-book version of Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. I chose to listen to this because I have boys - boys who lost their dad 16-1/2 months ago, just before their 13th and 18th birthdays. Boys who are on a quest to know what it means to be a man. I learned so much from this book ... about men in general, my own father, my husband (and his father), about women in general, my own mother (and her mother), about myself, about God's intended purpose when He created "them, male and female He created them", and about the effect of sin on men and women and their identities ... but mostly, I could finally begin to understand my boys! 

I can see their journey to know themselves and to become "a man" so much clearer. They are both running ahead, full-speed, charging into that unknown place called "manhood". The other thing I learned from the book is this - masculinity cannot be imparted from femininity! It must be conferred by a man.  There is nothing I can do now, as a single mother, to teach my boys to be men! I might be able to help draw out their God-given masculinity through my femininity, but that is unknown territory for me right now, and very scary! You see, my feminine identity has also been changed by sin ... but that's another blog (and so, now, I'm listening to Captivating by John and Staci Eldredge, to begin my own journey of healing for my feminine wounds).

Concern for this journey of my sons' is the primary focus of my life right now. I am both encouraged to see that they continue to define their individual identities and scared to death where it may lead them! I am terrified that it is leading them away from God (who has promised to be a "father to the fatherless" and is the ONLY one who can impart the true sense of masculinity and identity that they seek) and that I will lose them, too. I pray for them, I plead that God will protect them, guide them, shield them, lead them, defend them, give them wisdom, etc. But I want to DO something. I feel like it is my RESPONSIBILITY to do something; after all, I am the only parent they have left! And yet, I don't know what I can do! Punish them for choices I don't like or don't think are wise? That's never been an answer. And, truthfully, I have very little power over either of them anymore. I feel like I've failed as a parent because of that...but deep inside me is a little voice that keeps saying "this is the way it should be, the way it is, it's time to let go".

Letting go has never been easy for me! I'm a first-born. I need to be in control! That's always been an issue for me and one God has already done a lot of work on, but I sense that there is a much deeper work beginning in me ... one that goes to the core of the wound of my heart! I'm only beginning to see the root issues and am no way ready to share it with you now, so I am listening to Captivating and trying to keep my external and internal world quiet enough to allow God to take me to the place where I can be healed and restored to the woman He created me to be. What that will look like, I have NO IDEA, and I am truly trembling to take the journey! 

After being in the valley of the shadow of death for so long, I'm beginning to feel the need to get up and go on ... pick up my bed and walk forward (as I said in my last post). I'm ready to start putting energy into that forward motion, to jump up and GO ... but now I hear the Lord saying "DOWN"! Didn't He just tell me to "pick up your bed and walk"? And now He's saying "down"? Is He contradicting Himself or am I somehow to do both at the same time? That's always been my dilemma with surrender - I can't just lay in my bed all day, day after day, and do nothing! Life has to go on ... I have to be doing something! I don't get it!

In her book, Saturdays with Stella, Allison K. Pittman shares a very clear picture of what the command "down" looks like, in the context of dog-training and in our lives. In her experience of trying to train Stella to obey the command "down", she had to literally knock her feet out from under her to get her from "sit" to "down"! And isn't that what happens at some time to all of us - we feel as if God has pulled our feet out from under us? Everything we had been standing on, building our life on, is suddenly removed? And haven't we all heard story after story about people who had to "hit bottom" before they turned to the Lord? To say that God does that to us seems at least cruel, if not evil, doesn't it? I thought that too. But now, I'm beginning to understand, that God loves me so much that He won't let me stand on any foundation that will only crumble in the end, other than the "sure foundation" He has given me in Jesus ... He won't let me cling to any "worthless treasure" as my source of security other than the true treasure of Himself!

"Down!" is a pose that intends to keep her in her place for a while -- still and ready for the next meaningful instruction.
Recently, I've come to understand that this internal pull to separate from the normal busyness of life, to quietly decline invitations to run here and there doing this and that, is my Father calling me to come away with Him for a time ... to "retreat" and be still and listening for His instruction. As Ms. Pittman points out, dogs have no sense of time, no picture of what the future looks like. There is only "now". Likewise, the master has infinitely more knowledge of what the future holds for the dog, and must be the one to give the commands ... to lead.  Again, we do not know what God has intended for our lives - apart from His word ... His commands. He has infinitely more knowledge and understanding of where we will find our true "selves". 

And so, He calls me to "down" ... to surrender ... to give up control of everything, including when -- or if ---how -- to get up again. 
And why not hand it over to the One who holds everything in His hand?
In the meantime, when I'm "Down!" -- face, feet, and belly on the floor -- I need to remember that God will lift me up in due time (see 1Peter 5:6). 
 For now, I remain "down" ... still ... quietly listening for instruction ... learning to let go.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Making your bed and lying in it ... or CARRYING IT?

Has anyone ever told you "you've made your bed, now you can lay in it"?  How about this one (or some version of it): "just pull yourself up by your bootstraps" or "get over it"? Maybe, even if no one has said any of those things to you directly, the thoughts play over and over in your mind, alternately defending and accusing you (Romans 2:15). It's one thing when your painful circumstances are a direct result of choices you know you made - then, guilt and shame and remorse scream these things at you keeping you mired in the mess and unable to move forward. But what about those circumstances that seem to have come out of "nowhere" ... weren't your choice or any consequence of choices you made, were unwanted and unchangeable? Most of us, at some point in life, have been handed painful circumstances of life that were much like the latter - unasked for, unwanted, and unchangeable. Our only real choice is what we will do about it. Maybe we find something that will just "dull the pain" or keep us too busy to notice the pain so that we can just "live with it", because in reality, we've lived with it for so long that we have become comfortable with it ... accepted it as our "identity" and don't have a clue who we would be without it. Some of us lay on our bed of affliction for a long time, waiting for someone to come by and do something or say something or give us something that will deliver us from the pain. After all, if there is truly nothing I can do about my pain myself, the answer must lie in the help of another, right? 

Jesus came upon such a person one day while in Jerusalem for a festival. At the pool near the Sheep Gate (Bethesda), he saw a man lying on a mat who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. He asked the man a very important question, "Do you want to get well?" At first glance that seems like a "Duh!" kind of a question ... why else would he lay beside a pool in which he could become well if he were able to get into the water when it was "stirred"?  But Jesus was really asking him if he was willing to take responsibility for his own healing. 

His response was one of excuses, "Sir", the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me." He didn't answer the question! He made an excuse why it was impossible for him to be healed. It seems to be a genuinely honest response, doesn't it? And it seems harsh to call it any excuse, right?  

I've been thinking about this incident today. Many others were, apparently, being healed by stepping into the water. Undoubtedly, there were others who required help to get into the water and had people come along side them and help them. But this man was alone. We are not told what caused his disabilities, nor are we told why he is alone, but we can be sure that those things were not hidden from God or from Jesus' understanding. So, we must be as surprised as this man was when Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk!"  At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. (See John 5:1-9)

This morning, while engaged in some mindless, routine activity, I heard the still, small voice of my Healer say to me "pick up your bed and walk". It was one of those odd thoughts that seemed to come out of nowhere, but it had the impact of the Word of God in my spirit. I instantly felt my weakness and apathy solidify into strength, motivation and direction. Like many others, I've wanted someone else to do SOMETHING ... ANYTHING ... to take away this painful circumstance and enable me to walk a new life with strength and purpose. I've wanted my healing to come in the same way I've seen others healed - by the efforts of others who come alongside and help me. But my reality has been that I am alone and unable to move myself to a place of healing. Today, I realized that what I've been "sensing" for myself is, in fact, God's will and word to me ... I have to accept that this "bed of affliction" is mine to carry with me, and in order to walk forward, I have to pick it up, and step forward. Jesus said it another way in Matthew 16:24, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me."  This seems like such a hard word; and it is. But it is Truth. And Jesus said, "you will know the truth and the truth will set you free" John 8:32. And, I had asked to know the truth!

I just want to make it clear to those who read this who also may be questioning what they are to do with the painful circumstances that they have been "dealt" that Jesus did NOT shout this out to every person laying around the pool of Bethesda. He spoke it to one man because that was what that one man needed to hear to be healed. God did NOT tell me to preach that this is the answer for your healing! He DID speak this word to ME because it is what I needed to hear! 

Blog Updates and Book Reviews

I've made a few updates on my blog as of today, and I just have a few things to say about them:

1.  I've added the picture behind my header of the birds on a branch. I have to make a disclaimer: this is NOT my photo. I got it online from someone else who got it on line from I don't know where. If this is your photo, I apologize and humbly ask your permission to use it on my blog. If you want credit, I'd be happy to add that information, too!

2.  I've update the "Books I'm Reading" section. Books move from one level of priority to another for me as I go through this journey. Some of these books I have not turned to in several weeks to months, but still intend to go back to soon. Some of them, I have not yet begun, but again, good intentions ... And a couple of them I am working my way through simultaneously.

"Heaven" by Randy Alcorn  is changing my theology, or my understanding of God's word. If you haven't read it, I think it is a "must read" for every thoughtful Christian, and even those who reject the Christian faith would find great insight and "enlightenment" from it!

I'm listening to an audiobook of "Wild at Heart" by John Eldredge after another widow friend asked how she could incorporate this into the lives of her sons after the death of their father. I had an idea, but am facing the same issues: how do I help my sons become "men" without their father? And on another level, I am asking myself  "what is God's design for a man?" So far (I'm about 40% through it as of today), I'm finding it extremely interesting and will be listening to "Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman/s Soul" by John and Stasi Eldredge as soon as I'm done!  I've discovered that, when my eyes are tired of staring at a computer screen, or Kindle, or when I am driving in the car, listening to a book being read by someone else is WONDERFUL!

"Saturdays with Stella" by Allison K. Pittman is a light, fun devotional for all you dog-lovers as she shares the lessons God taught her during her Saturday obedience training classes with Stella! I should say, "light reading", but "meat" for the soul! If you have a dog, have ever trained a dog - especially if you've done it in formal obedience classes - you'll love this book!

I haven't been doing much blogging lately, but it's COMING SOON! Watch for "Making your bed and lying in it ... or CARRYING IT?" 

Monday, June 18, 2012


While going through my recent photos this morning, I came across this one and just couldn't get past it! It's not a terribly impressive photographic accomplishment. That's not what stopped me. I guess I'm what you'd call very "visual". It's the message I see in the image that stopped me...

First, a little history. Many years ago, my husband rented a bobcat and dug up this 4 foot wide "strip" across the width of our property to the west of our driveway. To the right is an area with 3 or 4 rows of young trees that we mow. To the left is a large area of "field" that we only mow a path around and one down the middle. This "strip" was to be our solution to a place to plant all the irises, day lilies, and hostas that we needed to divide from elsewhere.  On either side of this strip is a mowed area about 5 feet wide. At the same time we dug up a new 20' X 22' "garden" near this. But that's another story. Then, we had truckloads of topsoil brought in for both areas and spread it and cultivated it! We planted yellow and purple irises in a "W" pattern the whole length of it. That's as far as we got. Long story made short: the field next to it seeded and re-seeded and the creeping-everything crept in and before long it, too, was wild again. Every year we see less and less irises bloom. 

This year, while walking the yard one day, taking photos of all the untended, overgrown, "losses", I took this photo of the few blooms that were there. Today, struggling with depression, I was overtaken by the message  of hope in this picture! Do you see it?

There, in the midst of weeds and grass are those beautiful irises that were strong enough to break through all that threatened to choke them out and rise up and stand tall. But that is NOT the message either. It's what is above, in the background. Those are high intensity power lines that run over our property. It's always annoyed me that they have to be in every photo I take. I've even learned to ignore their almost constant "buzzing" sound and stand against the fear of "stray voltage". Today, I found such comfort and hope and encouragement in all of that! 

Those power lines represent the ever-constant presence and power of God in my life ... spanning the width of my days and all that it "mine". It is the never-ceasing flow of power that "over-shadows" my life, day and night. The presence of those lines is what has kept what is on the earth from growing up and blocking the flow of sunshine to what needs it to grow below. As much as I've disliked having the power company come in here and remove the trees growing below, I am now seeing that the Lord has given me a wonderful visual picture of the necessity to prune away and clear both the weed and the lovely from my life if it has the potential to interfere with the constant flow of power over my life! 

Just like I can hear the "buzzing" of the lines and almost feel the static electricity in the air the closer I get to those lines, I realize that the closer I walk with the Lord, the more I will sense His Power and Hear His Voice! 

I can look to the earth, and see a little beauty in the midst of the weeds and decay .... 

Or I can look UP to the Power that is over my life. 

I can choose to stay far away from the Power that can be sensed and fear what could happen if I come close ...

Or I can stand in the shadow of His Power and let Him fill me with life and energy and direction.

It's my choice.

And it's yours.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

January, February, March and on to April

Yes, I know. It's been three months since the last time I opened a "peephole" into my life. Three months. A quarter of a year ... a quarter of the now one year since Tom passed into the presence of the Lord. I would look at the last post and think "I really need to post an update..." but either I couldn't think of anything to share, or there was too much to share to be able to "focus" on anything ... or I just couldn't find the wherewithal to get the job done. So, for those of you who don't have many other ways to know what has been going on with me, I'll try to give you a very brief synopsis.

JANUARY:  Having gotten through Christmas, I fell into a deep pit in January. I felt that the only thing I had to look forward to after Christmas was three bleak winter months (with little snowfall to make it clean and pretty) to dwell on the fact that these same three months a year ago were the most painful, chaotic, confusing, and heartbreaking of any time in my life. I couldn't bring myself to put Christmas away, I was very stressed with helping my son through a difficult time in his life, and I began to have physical symptoms that were scary, too. Slowly I began to realize that I was in trouble. I was having panic attacks. I was unable to reason coherently. And I was no longer able to judge what was reality and what was confusion and fear. After seeking the counsel a close and trusted friend I went to see my physician.  She immediately doubled my anti-depressant medication and recommended I seek counseling - something I had been avoiding and hadn't felt the need for until then. I did see a counselor for about 4 sessions, but by then the medication had stabilized me and I was feeling 100% better and able to be in control and move on. Things had begun to improve at home and as I felt better, I was able to be more of the parent and support that my sons needed as well, which helped them to be more secure and confident in their personal lives.

FEBRUARY:  I felt alive again! Ready to put the past behind me and look ahead. I found a friend with accounting experience who was willing to come and help me get my bookkeeping mess cleared up and my checking account balanced for the entire year of 2010 so I'd be ready to file taxes (which I still have not done...hello, April!). That took a tremendous weight off my shoulders and lightened the load as well as giving me some precious hours of time with my friend. I "redecorated" my bedroom... well I "recolored" it, anyway, changed the color scheme, purchased new linens, new wall decorations, etc. I love my retreat now! And then, in mid-February, I began hearing the Lord calling me to join a team from my church who were going to Argentina & Chile to bring the message of the Father's Heart and the Healing of Life's Hurts to the people there. The team was to leave on the exact date of the one year anniversary of Tom's death - I just didn't think I could be gone then - and with my two boys both in school, too, but the Holy Spirit kept insisting that I was to go and reassuring me that He would work out the details, and so I committed myself to the trip and started preparing to go!

MARCH: The first 10 days of March were very busy with the end of wrestling season, shopping and packing for my trip, and trying to plan and prepare everything needed for my boys, their school needs, our home and finances, etc.  On Sunday, March 11th, I went to church, packed and ready to go! The team was prayed for by the church and after church, we went straight to the airport. I had never been on a mission trip out of the country, I had never been out of the country at all (except to Canada). This was a huge stretch for me. I don't speak any Spanish, and I'm not very good in groups or new situations.  Needless to say, I had to rely entirely on the Lord for the next two weeks!  12:02 AM CST, MARCH 12, 2012 - one year since Tom breathed his last labored breath - I was in the air somewhere over the Atlantic ocean and sound asleep, surrounded by my dearest friends and the peace of God! We spent 12 very busy and fruitful days ministering and praying for people in Argentina and Chile, filled with the Holy Spirit and His power to set the captives free! I returned home just in time to attend my son's wrestling banquet, have my family all over to celebrate my youngest son's 14th birthday, get back to the business of being mom, homemaker and all the other titles/tasks that fall to me alone these days, and finished off the month with a women's conference at my church last night and today! Life is full ... but it is good! Good to be alive. Good to be growing in the knowledge and love of God. Good to have hope and be looking forward to the future again!

And so, as we head into April, I continue to look ahead - toward some things out of necessity, others with anticipation and expectation. This year, Easter and my birthday fall on the same day. I feel that there is a prophetic proclamation in that convergence. As I begin my 59th year, He is indeed risen - resurrected in my heart and in my life! He makes all things new ... that is His promise to me, personally, and to each of us who will receive Him! I've been coming to a fuller understanding of that word, "receive". It is our willingness to receive what He offers, that moves the theoretical truth into experiential reality!  I want to be a "receiver" of all that He has provided for me!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Looking Back ... Looking Ahead

As I sit here this morning seeing the "year in pictures" posted by others, and reflecting on the year past, my heart is heavy. My year in pictures would include the last few months of my dear husband's life ... as the cancer took him from us. It wouldn't be pretty.  I follow the lives of others who are on this same journey of loss and grief.

One is a few months behind me on this journey. She is realizing that the "life"  she has been living as only been "Performance Living". I know what she is feeling. The performance of the daily routines, the "dires", the "illusion of being o.k." ... yeah, me too. The exhaustion, the lack of motivation and interest, the "deadness" of true life ... yeah, me too. Most evenings find me putting on p.j.'s and crawling in bed as soon as supper is over and the morning coffee is set up.  

One is a few months further down the road; having just passed the "one year" marker. Following her as she approached that day ... and as she now moves forward has reminded me that the darkest hour is just before dawn. She is putting the year "away" and moving forward "Considering Life". I'm encouraged that, when I pass that "one year marker", I, too, may be able to move forward. Right now each point I've passed through is still sitting in piles and boxes, waiting to be put "away". Tom's possessions and memorials. My son's graduation from high school. My step-son's wedding. Christmas.

I haven't taken down and packed away the beauty of the Christmas season, because, once I do, all I have left is the brown and gray of winter, minus the blanket of snow that didn't come this year ... and the memories of the darkest and most painful days of the last year. 

As this year draws to a close, I want to look ahead ... to plan a "New Year". I listen to the beautiful music and download "The Daily Draft" from Ann Voskamp's Blog A Holy Experience. I note that under "The Definites", she includes "workout" (I haven't done this since October... I need to begin a New Year of workout), "food log" (I have to remind myself that food is necessary. I have to start to plan meals ... for myself and my boys), and "water" (yes, I've forgotten about water, too; getting dehydrated - the only water being in the coffee I consume daily to keep going). She also reminds me of these "dires": prayer, the Word, and seeing the Gifts He gives me every day. I download her app to record "1000 Gifts" for my phone and I take my first photo this morning. Being thankful ... seeing His Gifts ... Light in the darkness.

One more Gift that I am so thankful for today ... these ladies! They are very important parts of my "grief support group". And through them, I've been connected to so many others and resources that God has been using to heal me and lead me on!  

As I've written this, light snow fell and scattered glistening white hope over the brown ground outside my window, and rays of sunlight are beginning to overcome the gray skies above.  I receive this Gift, too ... hope of a New Year Life!