Gratitude Challenge: Days 17 and 18

Better late than never, here is what we got up to during days 17 and 18 of this challenge.

During Day 15 and 16 of this challenge, we started using songs as a springboard to reflection, discussion and worship in cultivating gratitude in our home. Any song that you and your family know and love and have a connection to can serve this purpose.

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In this season of our family life and for me personally, the words to the song “Faithful To The End” by Bethel Music  reminds me of where we have come from and the anchor in the truth that our lives are wrapped in the faithfulness of our Father in Heaven who loves us deeply and will never leave us.

[Verse 1]
We’re heaven-spun creations
His pride and adoration
Treasures woven by his love
His careful hands they hold us
Safe within His promise
Of calling and of destiny

[Chorus]
I will sing of all You’ve done
I’ll remember how far You carried me
From beginning until the end
You are faithful, faithful to the end

[Verse 2]
A Father’s heart that’s for me
A never ending story
Of love that’s always chasing me
His kindness overwhelming
And hope for me unending
He’s never given up on me

[Chorus]
I will sing of all You’ve done
I’ll remember how far You carried me
From beginning until the end
You are faithful, faithful to the end

[Outro]
There wasn’t a day
That You weren’t by my side
There wasn’t a day
That You let me fall
All of my life
Your love has been true
All of my life
I will worship You

We have played this song in our home and used for some discussions, prayer prompts and worship.

I am currently reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp in my personal reading.

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I have not finished the book yet, but it has certainly been an inspiring read so far, a reminder of  tremendous power in a deliberately seeing the gifts in every moment despite what life brings to us.

For the last part of this gratitude challenge, we are busy creating a family memory space that will serve as a lasting “memorial stone”. A place to continue capturing gifts of gratitude in our lives.  In the next post I will share some of these ideas and I hope it will inspire you to do the same in your home.

 

 

Catching Raindrops: Introducing My Gratitude Challenge

It usually begins with one simple raindrop. The echo of that single hopeful sound fills that empty cup. The drops may seem insignificant at first, but with its gathering momentum, what begins as drops, turns into drizzling, the drizzle sweeps into pouring rain that fills the cup until it overflows. The overflow spreads and spreads until the once empty cup can no longer be seen. It becomes completely submerged by the rain that once came as a simple, gentle drop. We live to catch every raindrop!

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I am that cup.  And I am overflowing with gratitude for the love and goodness that God showers over me daily. Sometimes those showers go unnoticed and unappreciated because I am distracted by so much. Other times it’s kept me growing and alive even when circumstances make everything seem dry.

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So, for the entire month of May, I will be pressing the refresh button in my life and doing a series of posts on Creative Gratitude.  It will be creative because I want to find fresh ways of cultivating a life of gratitude.  I will be using this blogging space as to capture gratitude intentionally. I hope to inspire you to reboot gratitude in your life and  I hope you will join me!  Lets be intentional about catching raindrops of gratitude every day.

 

Life Lessons To live By: Part Two

When you are crossing over one of life’s high places, and you feel your knees weaken beneath you, fix your eyes on the beauty all around you, and you will find breath to cross over to the other side.

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This is one of many life lessons that I hold close to my heart and I mentioned in Part One of my life lessons series. These are the lessons I wish I knew when I was younger and the ones I want to hold on to as I step into my fabulous forties! It’s not an exhaustive list but it reveals the pebbles I have collected so far.

Lesson #11

Choose to fall in love with today! Not yesterday nor tomorrow ! Today!

Lesson #12

Do the “normal stuff” really well. Do it with excellence and grace. The floors you clean, the sorry’s and the thank you’s, the clean clothes no one notices anymore …. do it all with the excellence of a grateful heart.

Lesson #13

Live out who you really are long before titles and accolades and long before you step into any role.

Lesson #14

Your life can either look like a wall neatly lined with pretty rows of square boxes, or it can look like a garden climbing and growing against a wall. Boxes stay empty and they are hard to plant anywhere; gardens have plants that grow freely and imperfectly.

 

 

Lesson #15

Leave a room better than you found it. Stay in the room to give life and not to drain it of it’s oxygen.

Lesson #16

Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it flow the issues of life. Prov 4:23. Be  Enjoy the sunlight that truth brings, instead of nursing the cold that bitterness brings.

Lesson #17

Start your day with a thankful heart, end it with the same. It will anchor you even when the weather outside is not what you expected.

Lesson #18

Never hold the world or anyone ransom for your present! Just keep moving forward.

Lesson #19

Worry is time waster and fear is a terrible liar! They are not your friends. They are really not your friends!

Lesson #20

“Love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and all your strength. Your entire being”! Deuteronomy 6:5

 

 

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Lessons To Live By: Part One (Turning 40!)

I like the idea that life begins at 40! Yes, I am hoping that every grey hair and wrinkle that forms from this point onwards will be a sign of my growing depths of maturity and wisdom.😜

I am drinking to the next forty years ahead, but before I take another sip of my favorite Sangria cocktail, let me reflect on some of the life lessons I am taking along with me into the journey ahead. Here are the first 10 in no particular order.

Hello Fabulous Forty

Lesson #1

There is only one King of your heart. He holds and defines your worth and value. No one else can. So move swiftly along past the temptation to open that door marked “what people think of me”.

Lesson #2

Lead a simple and quiet life, minding your own business and practicing contentment.

Lesson #3

Pursue the company of God in every area of your life. He is your glory and the lifter of your head.

Lesson #4

Peacemakers who do not compromise on the truth are courageous world changers. Be a peacemaker!

Lesson #5

Listen first. Love Always.  Know when you need to walk away.

Lesson #6

Forgiveness keeps you light as a feather, so that the weight of pain does not stop your heart from flying, and your feet from dancing.

Lesson #7

Preserve how you see your husband. Never loose the respect you have for him. It is the pulse of your love and your marriage.

Lesson #8

Don’t build your life on the scaffolding of good ideas and perfect formulas. Live by faith and not by sight. Your life will not be patterned after anyone else’s. You are loved, so be brave to live like you have everything you need for life and godliness.

Lesson #9

Your knees may go weak as your cross over the bridges of life, but that is not a sign to turn back. Find the beauty, even in the midst of fear.

Lesson #10

Family is a legacy worth building. Children are worth investing in. Never trade the hidden joys of parenting, for the empty things money can buy.

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Who is shaping your space?

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I had  a wonderful conversation with a friend the other day about the spaces that we as women dwell in. Would you agree that women have a unique ability to bring change in an atmosphere, carrying life and beauty wherever we are?

I know the idea of feminine qualities can be so controversial in our modern age, but I still believe that no one carries beauty, comfort, grace and life like women do. I fear we have exchanged these for mere exterior counterfeits while on the inside we battle to be all we know we are meant to be.

If you are like me, you have felt like there are some spaces in your life, whether at work, at home, emotionally or spiritually where all you see is emptiness or you feel like you are tripping over so much “stuff” on the inside and there is so much clutter and noise that the notion of bringing life, beauty and pure “Oomph” is completely non-existent.

Here is my question to myself and to you:

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Stay with me here…..

Think about your life like an actual space.

Picture your life as a space, with boundaries and unique traits. Like a house with different rooms each representing an area of your life.

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Or how about a garden. In some areas of your life it may feel lush and green, while in other spaces, you feel empty and it’s pretty dark when no one is looking.

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Whatever space you find yourself in, I want to encourage you by directing you to someone who is pretty awesome at transforming spaces.

Think about creation. This is one of my favorite parts of the Bible. We are introduced to God the Creator. The earth is described as dark and void. BUT! The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the deep. God then speaks His word into that dark, empty space and said “ Let there be light “ Gen 1.

And guess what?

Lo and Behold! There was light!

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Everything changes from that point. The earth takes a new form and has light, life, beauty and breath. It becomes an expression of the character and design of God. All by the breath of His Word.

Think about Jesus stepping into the finite space that earth is though. He came close and brought who He was into our earth space, so that every one who decides to take a step of faith into the expansive, abundant life that is only found in Him, will be shaped anew. And where He is there is life and freedom and beauty and all that is good.

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So Let’s bring this home to ourselves, ladies. Who has been shaping the space within you? Personally, there have been spaces in my life where there has been darkness from my sinful and selfish choices. Combine this with the stuff that happens to your heart when people walk away who should have stayed; and mix in some disappointment, disapproval and discouragement; and you pretty much end up with a big gaping hole that must be filled.

This was me! I say was because to a large extent, God has shown up in my life and is transforming the space within. But I know for sure I have not arrived and I have to step daily into his expansive, never-ending grace. I totally suck apart from Him. And when I do not spend time surrounding my space with His words and His breath, am afraid there is very little of changing any atmosphere (the air, the mood, the quality of life around my space).  Apart from Him, I can do nothing. It’s as simple as that!

So think about! Who is shaping your space? Who is shaping you? Isn’t it time for someone new?