Archive for the ‘Spiritual Blessings’ Category

154. My Small Group

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

This is an easy one on a Sunday. I’m so thankful that my small group can meet at my house. And that I have no doubt in my mind that they love me and care about me. And they, in turn, mean so much to me.

152. Victory Over Verbal Abuse

Friday, March 10th, 2017

I’ve gotten out of the habit of posting these and am trying to start up again. It always makes it hard to restart, because I feel like the next blessing has to be something momentous. So I will just take the small blessing that just happened.

Because of a couple different conversations (both bad and good), I was reminded of Patricia Evans’ book, Victory Over Verbal Abuse. I took it out and was reviewing the concepts. I’d completely forgotten about the affirmations in the back. But tonight I started in on them again — and they are healing!

I’ve come a long way, I feel very healed, very transformed. But the affirmations are still such nice reminders! The first one is, “I am self-defining.” No one else has the right to tell me who I am. How lovely that I’m now in a place where few even try. And I get to define myself and listen to what God says about me, His loved child.

145. My Life

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

This morning I spent a few minutes indulging in envy.

Never mind why, except to say that it wasn’t about a person , it was about life — how other people seem to have what I thought my life would be like.

Then the great blue heron flew across my view, with the shining lake behind it. And I gave my thoughts a shaking.

The truth? Despite some hard things, I wouldn’t trade my life with anyone else’s.

Besides the fact that it’s my life, doggone it!, I have been blessed by so many things.

I got to live in Germany for 10 years! I wouldn’t trade that away for anything. I loved living there, and it broadened my horizons.

Of course I wouldn’t trade my two wonderful children for anyone else’s children. They didn’t turn out as I expected them to — and they have taught me so much! And they are such wonderful people!

No, I wouldn’t have chosen to go through a divorce — but having been through one has made me a better person — more compassionate, less judgmental (Well, except toward men who have affairs), softer hearted, more reliant on God, more attentive to His voice, and even with a better understanding that I am lovable (Because I was forced to realize that).

If I hadn’t gotten divorced, I wouldn’t have become a librarian, discovered how good it feels to have a career, or even be working full-time. I wouldn’t be standing for Newbery committee.

I wouldn’t live in Northern Virginia near my long-time and newer dear friends. I wouldn’t have joined gaming groups. I wouldn’t have this cozy home by the lake or gotten so many opportunities to take pictures of great blue herons.

And there’s more. But I’ve already come far enough to be smiling.

And to no longer feel like envying anyone.

144. Mom Hugs

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

One of my friends in my small group from church has the same first name as my Mom, Nancy. She’s also significantly taller than me, and a bit older than me (definitely not close to old enough to be my mother, though). She’s strong, being a former Marine.

My own Mom lives on the other side of the country and is in late-stage Alzheimer’s.

But when Nancy gives me one of her big, wonderful hugs, I feel mothered. Today I got a bunch of Mom Hugs from Nancy, and it did my spirit worlds of good.

138. Hugs

Saturday, December 3rd, 2016

I realized there are many people to whom I feel free to say, “I need a hug.” — and I will immediately get one or more. (I realized this because it happened Sunday with one such friend.)

What’s more, I attend the sort of church where I’m going to get multiple hugs every Sunday, whether I need them or not. This is a blessing.

135. Waiting

Friday, November 25th, 2016

My small group and I are going through a book by Mike Mason called Champagne for the Soul: Rediscovering God’s Gift of Joy. One sentence from today’s selection really struck me:

Wailting, it turns out, is a joyful activity in itself.

One reason it struck me is that I’ve long believed you should never ever pray for patience, because then you will be given opportunities where you need to be patient. But I believe a great substitute prayer is to pray to enjoy the moment.

Another reason it struck me is that today is six years from the day my divorce was final.

And waiting ties in with that. After I found out my husband was seeing someone else, when we were still living together and I was still desperately hoping to patch things up (more than eleven years ago), I asked God, desperately, “Lord, why don’t you please fix this NOW?”

There were many, many times I felt God spoke to me during the whole awful divorce process. But that time was the first time. For the next week, every time I opened my Bible or a Christian book, I read the words, “Wait on the Lord.”

More recently, after my youngest moved out and I was facing the empty nest, I asked God if I should go back to online dating. I feel very ready to be dating again, and very ready to be married again.

But I felt like God’s answer was, “Wait. I’ve got this. Wait.”

And you know what’s interesting about waiting? It does help you notice what you have now.

If I’d gone straight into a new relationship, I wouldn’t have this home by a lake, where I can walk and see beautiful things. And I’m going to have to leave it if I ever get married again — there just isn’t room for someone else’s stuff!

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In fact, the whole eleven years’ waiting process — It brought me closer in my relationship with God than ever before in my life. I can honestly say I’m thankful for it. (Though I wouldn’t volunteer to go through it again!)

Even now, I’m on an award committee and need to read during every possible spare moment for three months solid. And you know what? Reading during every spare minute is much easier to do when you’re not in a relationship. I’m also hoping to be on the 2019 Newbery Committee and reading during all of the year 2018. That, too will be easier to do if I am not in a relationship.

But may I enjoy the wait. And may I treasure these moments.

133. Details

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

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My life changed when I got a camera with a zoom lens.

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That was when I discovered how much zooming in and looking at details could be beautiful.

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I wasn’t necessarily seeing the trees for the forest.

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Yes, there’s wonderful Fall Color in the trees.  But there are also little patches of color which, if you zoom in, are also beautiful.

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They’re hiding in plain sight.

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It’s so easy to not even notice them.

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But a zoom lens helps me look more closely.  It highlights the quiet beautiful details, the colorful corners.

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The zoom lens helps me to see and notice.

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I’m pretty sure God uses a zoom lens when he looks at me.

He sees my details and sees my beauty that others overlook.

131. Leaves as Lucky Pennies

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

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Tonight I went for a walk as the sun was going down and hitting the brightly colored leaves up on the ridge that I can see from my window.

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Several threads came together and exploded with wonder in my thoughts while I was walking.  I’m going to try to express some of those.

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It started with thinking about a Project 52 post I wrote last night.  I had reflected on the year I was 20 years old and started dating my husband-to-be.

This morning I remembered something I’d forgotten to write about.  We used to hide pennies for each other.  It came from an Annie Dillard quote that I’d read that summer from A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek:

But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days. It is that simple. What you see is what you get.

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I had included in the Project 52 post lots of pictures of my friends in the S.I.K. Club, a club about not being afraid to be silly and about embracing joys.  This morning my friend Jovial Gina, one of the S.I.K.s, indicated on Facebook that she really enjoyed remembering back to those silly days.

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Gina has recently written a book called Camino Divina, a book about taking meditative walks.  In each chapter she highlights a different “saint” and looks at their inspirational writings.  For several months now, I’ve been reading a short section of Gina’s book right before I go on my walks, to give me something to think about.

Tonight I started a new chapter.  I was in a hurry because the sun was getting lower in the sky.  And guess who the saint of the new chapter was?  Annie Dillard!

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I was in a hurry, so I’m afraid I read Gina’s thoughts on Annie Dillard’s writings hastily.  But she did get me thinking about finding pennies, and how they represent finding small joys.

I started reciting in my mind the passage I quoted above.

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Another thread:  On Saturday, I did the same walk among the trees.  (Though they weren’t quite as bright yet.)  As I was leaving and the sun had stopped lighting them up, a couple passed and told me I should go to Skyline Drive if I really want to see beautiful leaves.

Now, I’ve been to Skyline Drive in the past, and it is indeed beautiful.  But I’m not going to ignore the gorgeous beauty lit up outside my window just because there’s a more spectacular place an hour away!

Tonight I decided that each bright leaf is like a copper penny.

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A lot of people don’t think a penny is worth picking up.

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It’s really easy to just drive by and not notice how beautiful the leaves are.

(Though my growing up in southern California helps me to be amazed every year.  The leaves all turning at the same time always seems miraculous.)

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And I decided that taking pictures of the leaves was a little like picking up the pennies.

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Only this way, I could pick up a million pennies, a million little miracles, all at the same time.

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It’s that simple.  What you see is what you get.

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123. Concert!

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Saturday night I went to a concert with Graham Saber, Ryan Stevenson, Hawk Nelson, and the Newsboys.

Now, I’m an old fogey and the flashing lights gave me a headache that lasted a couple days.

But the songs were worth it!

I bought some Hawk Nelson CDs and a Ryan Stevenson CD, and I’m listening to them now.

“Eye of the Storm” and “Diamonds” reaffirm what I believe — God used the hard times in my life, and He was there with me.

“Drops in the Ocean” and “Live Like You’re Loved” remind me how loved I am.

And a song I’d never heard before, “Thank God for Something,” just helps me be joyful.

So I’m thanking God for that song!

 

121. Just Joy

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

Today was a good day.  I’m trying to figure out why, so I know what to be thankful for.

I got some good insights via various things, including reflecting and posting about Eighth Grade last night.  I talked about those insights with some friends whom I email.  I talked a little about my Empty Nest with others and how my son seems to be learning what he needs to do to find a job and how it was time.  I’m thinking about how I’m in a waiting time in some sense — but a time I can deepen my relationship with God in another sense.

But what it all adds up to is a feeling of Joy.  And I’m thankful.