Monday, February 28, 2011

Open Wide and Say Ah!

I moved to a different office space in December. Leaning against a wall in the office rested several framed items that had yet to be hung.

Two weeks ago, a new co-worker offered to hang the one remaining picture. How gracious, I replied. I told her that I would be out of the office for the next two days, which may be a good time to hammer in the nail.

On Friday, as I was packing up to leave for home, I looked up and saw the picture hanging on the wall!

A week had come and gone without me noticing the results of the gracious gift my co-worker gave.

I wonder how often my eyes miss the gifts around and in me.

Health care providers request a wide open mouth to see what is inside. Today, I open wide my eyes and say Ah! to gifts, so many gifts, such as:

#711 a new picture on the wall
#712 colleagues at work
#713 lavender oil at bedtime

#714 a friend's delicious gumbo made for my family
#715 sharing life updates with a friend

#716 delivering small gifts to a friend departing on a medical mission
#717 visiting with Mama - hearing her heart
#718 listening to the China Anhui Traditional Orchestra on Friday evening
#719 hamstring stretches
#720 library books

#721 freshly cleaned linens on the bed
#722 airport pick-up
#723 thirty-one years of shared memories
#724 comfort for loved one in hospital - again
#725 awareness

#726 preparing meals for the freezer with a friend
#727 laundry completed - for now
#728 new song to sing

#729 celebrating a milestone
#730 writing notes to friends

#731 notes from friends
#732 renewed vision

#733 pilates
#734 afternoon nap
#735 watching horses graze

#736 warm blankets
#737 Earl Grey tea
#738 toast with jam

#739 hope as an anchor
#740 black tights

Open wide and say - Ah! with the Gratitude Community...
With eyes wide open,


Friday, February 25, 2011

Forgiving Enables Receiving


The fact is that the structure of our human bodies and personalities were not created to to bear the burden of unforgiveness. The body, heart, mind, emotions - in part or in whole - will 'crack' under the weight of an abiding spirit of un-forgiving-ness...Peace of heart, mind, soul, and body can only be enjoyed when God's forgiveness is transmitted through us as fully as it has been given to us. Jack Hayford
As a teen, I learned that I could shrink my heart by holding a grudge.

It started when I confided in a friend; told her what I could hardly tell myself.

I noticed that I felt relieved by releasing my secret.

Then it happened. As I stood speaking with the pastor at the back of the church, he asked me about the very thing I had kept from every I stammered low and hurried away from his presence - heart beating fast, tears streaming down, anger welling up and tumbling out faster than I could run.

When I saw her later, I wouldn't speak. She asked what was wrong. I asked her how she could betray my confidence. We stopped being friends.

Forgiveness seemed to me a strange response toward someone who hurt me so. But as I saw her laughing with her I wandered lonely through the halls, the truth slowly unfurled: I could not find joy because I shrank my heart. In my attempt to protect myself from hurt, I locked out the very gift given freely to me - forgiveness.
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15
How can I not give what has been freely given to me? I know what God has forgiven in my life. I am grateful. My gratitude is shown by imitating Him.

Over time, I have learned to give forgiveness because forgiving is for giving. The lessons came hard; the lessons came steadily. I am grateful for Love that gives and forgives.

I shared this story last year, but wanted to pour it out at the Faith Barista's Jam today.

Do you have a perspective on forgiveness to share?


Monday, February 21, 2011

Making Moments Count - Trust and Thankfulness

She admired the butterfly on my coat lapel; I shared how butterflies remind me of hope and transformation.

Like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, my heart expands and takes flight on this cold, dreary day.  As my heart grows in trust and thankfulness,  shadows diminish and light brightens. 
But my  eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign Lord; in you I take refuge... Psalm 141:8
I stretch, unfurl, and display the wonder of His grace in the life set free to trust and praise the Redeemer. His presence, I becoming...will become...
So then,just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in  Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing  with thankfulness.  Colossians 2:6,7
Sarah Young in Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in  His Presence, reminds me that "thankfulness keeps you from criticizing and complaining."

I need thanks-giving - throughout my days- moment by moment trust and thankfulness count.  Today, I count and joyfully give thanks for:

#682 walking and talking by the harbor with my gracious, patient husband

#683 spying a stunning blue orchid

#684 visiting a teacher and mentor
#685 being pulled by the finger to walk with my favorite toddler
#686 remembering what was and rejoicing in what is - He is faithful!
#687 receiving grace to trust Him more
#688 eating the words from Ann's pages - digesting them, swallowing them, doing them
#689 shredding cabbage for slaw
#690 sharing book titles with a teen
#691 hearing the strength returning in his voice
#692 watching her choose rest
#693 walking in the neighborhood on a windy afternoon
#694 sharing crackers with three hungry teens
#695 deciding to slow down
#696 seeing morning light through the blinds
#697 concocting a new sauce - cranberry and apple - yummy!
#698 writing and reading about writing
#699 developing new strategies for completing a project
#700 reading encouragement and affirmation in cards from family
#701 being here - really here and now
#702 lingering over dinner with friends
#703 celebrating limited chemo side effects with a friend
#704 recalling a dear one whose well-lived life left a legacy
#705 taking a break to breathe deeply
#706 reaching out for help
#707 reaching out to help
#708 calling His name - receiving Peace
#709 singing.out.loud - in the car
#710 choosing joy in this moment
In joy,

Saturday, February 19, 2011

School Nurses Transforming School Communities

On Friday, I spent time speaking with a group of school nurses.  From the discussion, I heard the desire to communicate, collaborate, and coordinate in ways that would enable students to be healthy and safe while in school.

 School nurses enable children with chronic health conditions to attend school.

I had the pleasure of working as a school nurse. This post is a tribute to school nurses who blend the science and art of nursing to help students, their families and the school community to thrive.

School nurses promote health and learning.

Every student deserves a school nurse!

Did you have a school nurse?  What memories do you have of school nurses?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Transforming Perspective

With anxious thoughts ricocheting back and forth in my head, I escaped outside for a walk at lunchtime.  I unsuccessfully tried to out-walk the thoughts. 

My pace slowed as I searched my mind bank for help.  A song came to mind and I laughed at loud.  Indeed, I thought - this is the stuff You use

I felt the tension leave  my shoulders as I continued my walk on this spring-like winter day.

Then, I saw it - evidence that perspective can transform how we see and experience our lives.

At some point during the Christmas season, someone saw the possibility of celebrating even on the edge of this murky creek.  I smiled.

I began replacing my anxious thoughts with right here and now evidence of gifts in my life. 

Perspective transforms!
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!  New Living Translation (©2007)
How have you experienced the transforming power of perspective?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hands and Hearts of Love

"In God's wisdom, He  frequently chooses to meet our needs by showing His love toward us through the hands and hearts of others."  Jack Hayford

On this day when love is spoken of and sung about - celebrated and desired, the Love of God offers roots and grounding so that we may know his love that surpasses knowledge (Ephesians 3:17-19). 

How does He love me, let me count the ways.  I am grateful for love shown through:

#672 - Perfect Love that delivered me from fears

#673 - marriage to a dear man whose gentle and loving ways transformed me

#674 - adult children who delight with their love for family

#675 - mothers who continue to give hearts and hands of love in their older years

#676 - giving hearts of adolescents to Compassion children

#677 - faithful friends over a lifetime

#678 - fathers who gave what they had in the ways they knew how

#679 - provision for needs over the years

#680 - children uncensored in gracious expressions

#681 - a faithful, Redeemer and Grace-Giver

Hopefully, love lifts you today and always.

Monday, February 7, 2011

It's in the Details

Becoming a thanks giver opens the eyes of my heart, enabling me to see gifts in the most ordinary situations.  In the details of my days - in the midst of cleaning, cooking, policy-making, singing, teaching, listening - all the details of my life, I'm becoming aware of gifts such as:

#662 serving Bev's freshly baked cookies

#663 preparing guacamole

#664 celebrating a friend's acceptance in a springtime medical mission

#665 experiencing peace in the midst of chaos - "when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I..."

#666 learning new worship songs in a youth ministry training

#667 listening to a young adult's dream for his future

#668 listening to a dear mother's memories of the past

#669 acknowledging the realities of the present while trusting in the plans of the Lord

#670 lingering in conversation after prayer

#671 sharing books with a hungry learner
Let every detail in your lives - words, actions, whatever - be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.  Colossians 3:17 (Message)
You may want to detail the gifts in your world with the Gratitude Community at Ann's place

Hopefully, your week will burst at the seams with gratitude.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Transforming Love

Sometimes, my mind wanders back to my days as a new bride - times when disagreements between my husband and me shattered my sense of security like waves crashing against sand castles.  Will we make it? Will he still love me? 

My fear-filled orientation to life stunted liberty in relationships, even this new marriage. 
Over time, I grew to truly understand and receive the love and grace of God and my heart grew to trust the love of my husband. 

Thirty-one years later, the strength of our commitment to love one another in word and action; with forgiveness and grace, encouragement and transparency continues to grow.

I am grateful for a lifetime of sharing, caring, and daring to be transformed by love - the love of my God and the love of my husband. 

Those crashing waves did not drown our love - in fact, by grace, we learned to allow love to transform us individually and as a couple.
...Hang my locket around your neck, wear my ring on your finger. Love is invincible facing danger and death. Passion laughs at the terrors of hell. The fire of love stops at nothing—it sweeps everything before it. Flood waters can't drown love, torrents of rain can't put it out. Love can't be bought, love can't be sold—it's not to be found in the marketplace. Song of Solomon 8: 6-7

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Transformed by Gratitude

Sometimes my attitude, like cold, harsh, bitter winter winds, has a way of dulling my eyes, ears, and extremities.  I knew what I needed when the whining voice inside worked hard to derail my goal of giving joyful thanks.

In the Word and in the words, I found transforming messages that thawed my heart, that warmed my hands and feet, that opened my ears to new sounds.

With renewed vision, I see gifts; I hear grace; I touch life; I walk without fainting.

My attitude of gratitude opens up on this cold, winter day to:

#652  waking up rested and ready

#653  memorizing Colossians with renewed vigor

#654  shedding the bent to worry

#655  sharing laughter

#656  sharing heartache

#657  finding joy in Anne Shirley's words

#658  understanding impact of a global heart through the Word and Radical

#659  seeing daughter's eyes light up with plans to hear Faure's Requiem

#660  hearing of son's golfing plans

#661 worshiping with a 16 month old

Hopefully, your week will resound with gratitude.  Gratitude transforms!

A chorus of thankful voices can be heard at A Holy Experience (and, oh, it is!)