Tuesday, September 30, 2014

one last September thanksgiving

Well wouldn't you know it, counting my gifts daily is just another thing I've failed at recently.  But even though I've fallen off the wagon for September, I'm crawling back on for this last day.  Barely.  But I'm making it.

*grace sufficient for me
*a beautiful leaf or two, like gifts on my front porch every day
*friends who love me well (so many)
*legs that can run
*my workhorse camera that helps me hunt for light
*coffee and prayer
*golden light of the sun setting on another day
*hope for October

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

3 gifts quiet

* nap time
* the hum of the dishwasher
* a little time to roam the aisles of the store alone

fairy tale character day at school- my Cinderella

Monday, September 22, 2014

3 gifts: rattling, receding, reclaimed (plus)

* rattling: the jingling of tags that is life with a dog
* receding: summer's relentless heat and humidity 
* reclaimed:  my work space- reclaimed from the piles of junk that's been piling up for months 

But today's biggest gift- 

Jackson Degenhart, my little sister's third son born today at a whopping 9 pounds and 12 ounces!  Eucharisteo! 

catching up

So I kind of lost track there for a little while.  Catching up:

3 gifts in conversation

*Asher's frequent use of the word "apparently"  (amusing)
*some conversations via text (encouraging, loving, and again amusing)
*catching up with my Dent family over amazing food (overdue)

happy birthday Jenny!

happy birthday David!
3 gifts in salvation

"The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba,Father.'" 
Romans 8:15

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
John 8:32

*eternal life 
 "...but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life."  John 4:14

3 gifts in information
*tomorrow is the first day of fall- three cheers for the autumnal equinox
*soccer schedules distributed and organized, color-coordinated by Jack
*life information shared over taco soup at small group, brief but beautiful

Thursday, September 18, 2014

3 gifts: folded, fixed, freckled

* folded- three pair of little hands in prayer before school
* fixed- dinner- easily and without the help of the crockpot thanks to Jack for running the extra-curricular roads today
* freckled- the darling little faces on my computer screen for this thing that is my "work"

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

3 gifts ugly-beautiful

* sweat and dirt all over this morning- a healthy body that can move and exercise
* the kitchen floor- lots of lively little dirty feet moving over it all the time
* a fly in the house- Asher: "Mom, can that fly be our family pet fly?"

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

3 gifts shared

*  an early morning chat and prayer with Nora
*  a pizza pie
*  laughs with dancing children

Monday, September 15, 2014

3 gifts paired

                       Lily and Lydia! 
* a dear friend paired up with her newest daughter!
* two good hands that can hold and clean and cook and wash and type and turn and help and serve 
* a pair of balloons I'll never forget 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

3 gifts drawn

* an endearing self-portrait
* a warm bath for my boys
* pups Joy and Banjo- drawn to each other


Saturday, September 13, 2014

3 gifts: scented, scrawled, started

* scented - the clean and fresh smell so distinct and familar at our friends Rendi and Josh's house
* scrawled - all the Rendi thank you notes I've received over the years (queen of the TYN) (not exactly scrawled, more like neatly penned but still)
* started - plans for our next visit 
Can't you see why we adore them?  Flashback - 2011

So very grateful in general for these incredible friends and a great visit today. Eucharisteo.  

Friday, September 12, 2014

3 gifts in His Word

 * wisdom

"Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends."  Proverbs 17:9
"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."  Proverbs 4:23
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight."  Proverbs 3:5-6


I took this picture yesterday of a grandmother and her new granddaughter in a very dark room.  At least it seemed really dark.  My camera has settings which make it really sensitive to light (high ISO, wide aperture, slow shutter speed) and as a result, what seems dark can be flooded with light.

It reminded me that if we have hearts that are sensitive enough, we can begin to see light in even the darkest place.

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."  John 1:8

*grace.  Great and amazing grace.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

3 gifts: hard eucharisteo

* kids making mistakes at school, an opportunity to learn life lessons
* a house that still hasn't sold- there must be a reason 
* a body that gets so so tired- reminding me to hope in all things new and resurrected
small house, big love

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

3 gifts moving

* the clouds gliding across the super moon on my morning run (breathtaking)

* the vinyl turning circles making music in my dining room
* the Holy Spirit working, moving in and around me and the world in ways I can't always see 

Finding gifts that move was not difficult- everything in my life seems very kinetic, even tornadic.  But as I put the needle to the record player and went about my chores- cleaning, folding, repeat- I knew and remembered that this swirl of activity, if done with love and faithfulness, can make beautiful music unto God.  We spin around, but if we spin around with purpose, it translates into beauty- maybe even a melody, harmony, rhythm unique to our lives, our calling, our purpose.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

3 gifts framed

* morning light through a break in the trees
* summer memories all framed up in a photo book delivered to my front door today
* sweet and sensible Zeke through the backdoor window

Was this day trouble-free?  Did I get everything done?  No and no.  But this counting thing really does something transformative.

You should try it.  

Monday, September 8, 2014

a gift made, masked, marveled

* made: Jonny and Amber's spaghetti dinner, my family happy and fed
* masked: a little bit of car trouble masking the gift of a nice and quiet little walk in the sunshine
* marveled: the genius of CS Lewis (I finished That Hideous Strength today- truly awesome) 

the crux of the book:
"Jane was silent.  Though she could not tell the Director the truth and indeed did not know it herself, yet when she tried to explore her inarticulate grievance against Mark, a novel sense of her own injustice and even of pity for her husband, arose in her mind.  And her heart sank, for now it seemed to her that this conversation, to which she had vaguely looked for some sort of deliverance from all problem was in fact involving her in new ones.
'It was not his fault,' she said at last.  'I suppose our marriage was just a mistake.'
The Director said nothing.
'What would you- what would the people you are talking of- say about a case like that?'
'I will tell you if you really want to know,' said the Director.
'Please,' said Jane reluctantly.
'They would say,' he answered, ' that you do not fail in obedience through lack of love, but have lost love because you never attempted obedience.'"
and on the true Christian life:

"How did other people ... find it so easy to saunter through the world with all their muscles relaxed and a careless eye roving the horizon, bubbling over with fancy and humour, sensitive to beauty, not continually on their guard and not needing to be?  What was the secret of that fine, easy laughter which he could not by any efforts imitate?  Everything about them was different.  They could not even fling themselves into chairs without suggesting by the very posture of their limbs a certain lordliness, a leonine indolence.  There was elbow-room in their lives, as their had never been in his."  

Like developing a taste for coffee black or a love of running, it takes some tenacity to push through the pages- especially at first- but the themes of good and evil, moral relativism, skewed theology, humanism, eugenics, and even the singularity were way ahead of their time in this book.  Lewis called it a "modern fairy- tale for grown-ups," which is just about right.  It was quite fantastical and downright weird to use a more current vernacular, but I might say I've never felt so engaged in thought and imagination after reading this book.

I highly recommend it and the whole trilogy in general.  It is a gift indeed.  

Sunday, September 7, 2014

3 gifts given

* encouragement and time and love (from Kathy)
* a good laugh (from Jack)
* a fourth child that I will one Day hold on the New Heaven/New Earth  (from God) 

Today would have been my due date.  I was only between a few positive tests and a miscarriage for a very short couple of weeks at the start of 2014. Still, he or she was and is a gift given.  

Saturday, September 6, 2014

3 gifts growing

* the resurrection fern on the live oaks on LSU's campus 
* my little girl who will soon enough be sitting in a student section without us
* Asher's attention span (it's got a ways to go, but still, it's growing) 
    (This was Asher's first LSU game.  He was great at cheering and made it through to half time.  Most notably, he asked me, "What's a time-out?  Are they being aggravating?)

Friday, September 5, 2014

3 gifts autumn?

Sweet Ann Voskamp lives in Canada.  Maybe she can see and feel autumn on September 5th.  Not me- I live in Louisiana where September 5th is very much (very very much) summery.  I looked all day for 3 gifts autumn but came up with nothing.  So here's the best I can do: 
* that Lord willing, autumn will arrive in Shreveport in just a few weeks
* that somewhere on the earth, autumn is  happening in all its golden glory
* canned pumpkin in the pantry: a taste of autumn any time, all year long 
Photo credit:  pickypalate.com

I leave you with my favorite dessert trick- as easy as it is delicious.  You can find it at:  http://picky-palate.com/2013/09/25/two-ingredient-chocolate-pumpkin-cupcakes/


Thursday, September 4, 2014

3 gifts: one cool, one warm, one sun-soaked

* cool early morning run with friends - so blue, so cool, bonus: a shooting star
* warm cup of coffee (so beautiful)
* a sun-soaked napping trio- me, Ash, and Banjo- great times

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

3 gifts yellow

 *a tablecloth new to me

 *a yellow leaf here and there, hints of a coming autumn

*the hairs on my little people's heads- all counted by their Creator

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

3 gifts cut

*lily stems on my dining room table
*chicken in the quinoa pasta pesto dish that ALL FIVE OF US ate for dinner (we struggle at dinner and this almost never happens) 
*time with Anna Grace, cut short but still fun 

Monday, September 1, 2014

summer's farewell

So I'm attempting Ann Voskamp's September Joy Dare (and I'm having the kids do it, too).  Apparently September is the new January and I'm kind of down with that.  So today it' s 3 gifts summer.  On Labor Day on the lake, that's easy. 

1.  all the great big beautiful splashes that have drenched us this season

2.  the memories we've made on the water as a family

3.  that distinct summer combination of sun and a warm wind, awakening us to the joys of being alive

Good bye, summer 2014. 

We enjoyed you so.