Friday, November 29, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude:Less Buyer's Remorse, More Meaning

Day 29

I waited until the end of the night because frankly I felt like a cloud hung over me all. day. long.   I know, I know.  It's the opposite of grateful to stay in a funk all day long when there are so many things to be joyful about.  BUT, consumerism seems to bring out the worst in me.

I don't mind shopping.  I just don't like shopping retail.  So one could imagine that Black Friday would be my dream day.  Guess again, Black Friday is a retail drug disguised as a frugal fiesta.  Ordinarily happy, decent people morph into contestants from the Hunger Games as they gear up to ensure that they get the BEST deal possible--even if they don't need the stuff.  (then again, what do we REALLY need in America?)

Fortunately, I made it through the day without buying ANYTHING.  No groceries, no bills, nothing.   No buyer's remorse feels great!  No additional debt or clutter feels terrific.

Granted, I do have gifts to purchase (we draw names for the kids in both families and get gifts for our moms) and I look forward to crafting some special gifts as well.  Also, I look forward to narrowing down the three special gifts we will get for the kids.

Less is more.

I am praying that my kids will recognize that giving time & talents can be just as meaningful as exchanging commodities.  These lessons will be our primary gifts to them.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Thanksgiving Day

Day 28

Today I am thankful for the tradition of Thanksgiving and how it breaks families and friends together despite our hectic, too busy lifestyles and our differences that somehow seem to not matter as much when you're sharing a good meal.

While I admit that preparing to host or travel can be stressful, coming together is very much worth the extra efforts.  The opportunity to make a sacrifice of person time in exchange for the ability to serve/host/visit is a gift in itself.

Some of the things I love about Thanksgiving include the extra effort put in to creating a delicious meal, the smells coming from the kitchen and from the plates that arrive, the camaraderie & banter during preparation, the mixture of chairs at the table, an occasion that beckons the china to be put to use, an occasion that causes the heart to take inventory of all the blessings we have, the commotion that comes from having almost a dozen kids in the house at once--along with the cacophony of voices sharing stories from the previous years.

A noisy house sings of life, of energy, of emotion.

And then there's the peace--right before the blessing is uttered.  Right before we dive in to the feast that most of the world won't experience.

We are blessed beyond what we deserve.

Thanksgiving Day in America is a day of abundance.

And as we take part in a grand harvest, I think about the stewardship we are granted.  As we receive, we must also give.  We give praise, but we can also offer love, time and resources to God's people that He puts in our lives--even the ones we pass on the streets in scruffy, alcohol-saturated dressings.

Everyday we should honor Christ with thanksgiving.  I pray that I can remember this with more than thought, but with actions that include thanks & giving.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: My Time at Home

Day 27

It took nearly six months for me to be "okay" at being a homemaker.  For my friends who know me well, I do not do well if I am doing okay.  I strive for excellence--and I'm not naturally an excellent homemaker.  It's been humbling and wonderful at the same time.

Yes, I tossed my "mommy metrics" off the fridge after the first month.  Nobody came into my weekly "meeting" and said, gift card for the person who can tolerate the stinkiest diaper or a bonus for whoever sells the most coupon books --aka buys the most coupon books because 1/2 of my "pledges" disappeared after the books were in hand--BUT I now have ten 20% off coupons for Learning Express.  BOOM.  Who says you don't get a prize…Anyhow.  I don't want to continue to whine about lack of recognition, mommy voice-itis, inability to walk in heels, funky kid-smell in lieu of my nice perfume (that I can no longer afford)… blah blah blah.  Those were just SOME of the sin-toms I was wallowing in.

Then, I put my big girl panties on and got out of the stinkin' house (literally, yoga pants>jeans.  Bought some poo-pouri and never looked back).   I met up with other mamas, went to the store and got stuff we needed without having a melt-down or leaving a kid behind (irrational fears--I never felt this when I was working outside of the home).  I asked for help from mamas that knew what they were doing (even though most of them said they didn't know what they were doing and told me to hang in there--love me some honest, encouraging ladies!)

I even uttered the words "homemaker" and stay at home mom when asked "what I do" without feeling all sorts of weird emotions.  Okay, so I still feel a myriad of emotions.  Even as it is coming to an end…

Not because I feel like being a stay at home mom or homemaker isn't a worthy calling/career/job/role/season, etc.  I think that it is among the most significant ways one can serve God and illustrate true love and sacrifice for their children.  I have always thought that, but I KNOW that now.  While it is often a thankless job, it is by FAR the most rewarding experience of my life.  I am sad to think that these days are coming to an end.

But I cannot be sad for long, I am eternally grateful for the morning cuddles, before-school chatter,  yummy breakfasts, lingering fuzzy little head on my shoulder-still limp and quiet as he takes his time waking up.  I will cherish the persistence of a little girl begging for another glass of milk.  I will recognize what little, growing voices are saying when no one else around knows the shun really means fun!  and honey-jelly is a PB&J or a PB & Honey sandwich, depending on where we're at.

I will remember that sometimes excellence can found where inner strength lets go and concern for others stretches you to do supernatural, yet humiliating things in order to make someone else's heart dance.

I will remember that a clean house is often the product of a mommy who stays up late, but doesn't touch the kitchen 'til their little fuzzy heads hit the pillow again.   Because a routine means unsupervised "helpers" will make big "discoveries" and insist that they be "on display" in various places so that you can't miss their tireless efforts.

I will slow down in the mornings, and speed up as I leave my job, so that I can make the most of every moment I have with the little blessings that God has allowed me to train up, teach and serve.  I am so very grateful for my time at home & will strive to make the most out of the next few weeks as well.

Monday, November 25, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Forgiveness

Day 26

When we finally let go and die to our own expectations, hopes and disappointment, and anger, we get an opportunity to forgive someone and offer them a second chance.  I am thankful for the second (and third, fourth, fifth, millionth) chances I have been given.  It is also a sacred gift to offer forgiveness to another.  Deserved or not, letting go of the heavy burden of holding a grudge or even simply allowing God to bring justice--whether you're a witness to it or not, is freeing beyond words.  

We like to be forgiven.  Offering forgiveness is also a gift. 

30 Days of Gratitude: imagination

Day 25

Today I am grateful for the innocence and wonder alive in the heart of my children. From dreaming of princesses who slau dragons or healing the sick one day as a doctor, my daughter is still blissfully unaware of life's speed bumps and limitations. 

Whether it's exploring the woods or writing a new story, my oldest son, has just begun to independently create his path. 

My baby boy is also an explorer. He can climb up and down the staircase, into cabinets, onto tables, etc. He sees no challenge to great. 

While I must protect them the best way I know how, I can also rest in the peace of Gods protection and allow them to dream big dreams and go for them. 

Today I am thankful for the hopeful imagination evident in my children (and sometimes still found inside my own heart-despite what reality tries to tell me)

30 Days of Gratitude: Lessons in giving

Day 24
United Way of Chattanooga hosted a Family Volunteer day last Saturday. While my oldest boy genuinely understood the meaning of giving & created a sincere card for a soldier, I wasn't sure that my daughter would really know what it meant to give yet--until we went through the line where you could make a bag of goodies for homeless people.

When she saw the smorgasbord of treats, her eyes lit up. "Oh yummy, I want that and that and that..."  Cue lesson in selflessness and giving. 

After a brief tantrum, we talked about people who didn't have food. She responded with promising grunts and dried up her face. I consider it a breakthrough, albeit a small one. 

For this mama, dragging all three kids to the mall on a cold Saturday was so worth it after we left. We had some great conversation and long naps (for the kids) followed. Isn't almost unfair how learning to give ultimately blesses the giver's spirit so deeply? 

Today I am thankful for the United Way and other organizations willing to facilitate giving and investing in the character development of our children as well. 

30 Days of Gratitude: Father-son bonding

Day 23

Friday, November 22, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: worship

Day 21

An amazing night in an auditorium filled with believers. It was almost a glimpse of heaven with what I imagine angels to sound like. Hillsong United gave a stellar performance!

30 Days of Gratitude: yearning

Day 22

Today I am grateful for the times in my life where there was a desire that just wouldn't go away. Those desires surface just when I'm ready to give up or go a different direction. Praising God for desires that grow, evolve & persist so that I can do the same.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: My Teammate.

I can't decide what's hotter: a man in uniform or a man who can work with his hands.  Good thing I don't have to pick.  Today my husband worked from 9am yesterday to 2pm today with 1.5 hour nap around 9pm last night.  AND it was some serious work-pressure washing by day/cleaning up the streets by night/scraping the ceiling and sides of a 2 story building for hours to prep for painting.  I have one heck of a man!

BUT, I have to write this down so that I can remember how freakin' awesome he is--almost super human.  Because despite how starry-eyed I am right now, I can get SO mad at him for taking a nap on a regular day or for disappearing on a jog with the dogs while I'm cleaning up after the kids.  It's the little stuff that gets us in a rut and the unity and amazing energy we felt while caulking joints in a hundred year old house is so easily forgotten.

I truly am thankful for the teammate that I have in my husband.  I don't want to pretend to portray a perfect marriage to a perfect man, because it's far from that.  But, I do have an extraordinary lover that won't let me go to bed angry, co-parents our kids equally and effectively, humbly seeks God's wisdom, values my opinion, has a heart for others…I could go on and on… and I will.  Over time, I want to continue to document the positive in our relationship.  Because it is worth celebrating and fighting for when we feel like it isn't.

AND, he was worth doing singleness differently for.  Waiting for the guy that reminded me of Christ instead of Colin Farrell was worth it.

Today I am grateful for my teammate in life & marriage--I love my husband!

30 Days of Gratitude: So Many Things (Catch up edition)

Day 14

On the 14th, I got to visit a place that I am interested in opening in Chattanooga & had conversation with a few people who were supportive of my business idea.  Ultimately, my goal is to build a company that is good for the community, provides meaningful work for others, and most importantly allows me to provide for my family financially without giving up the ability to be physically present when they need me most.

I am grateful for possibility, practical opportunities that meet needs and for God's talents and vision that he has given me to execute His calling.  Over the coming days, I have several meetings to determine next steps & to pray about this particular direction.  Hopefully, this time next year, it will be abundantly clear that I followed Christ's calling through my work.

Day 15

Hospitality.  I can't say enough about the blessing it is to be hosted by a friend while away from home.  Hotels are nice, but enjoying the company of friends that you don't often see & experiencing life as they do, is a blessing.

I appreciate the ladies who have hosted me over the last two trips.  I hope to be able to extend the same hospitality to others in the near future--in fact, we have purchased a sleeper sofa and changed rooms around so that we can offer our home as a place to stay for friends who come to visit Chattanooga.   I can't wait to have visitors soon!

Day 16

Birthdays.  I love birthdays and believe that they should always be celebrated.  On the 16th, we celebrated a friend's son & finally had the opportunity to catch up with his parents.   In the busyness of life, birthdays are a good reason to come together and remember the people that are important in our lives.  They are also a great time to reflect on the past year(s).  I am grateful for special days and each day of life that Christ offers is a gift!

Day 17

We are grateful for our church and church family.  While it's an imperfect place, I appreciate the truth that is shared straight from God's Word and the family of believers who we get to do life with.  Church was once a place where I felt I had to clean up to step foot in.  Now, I see it as a place where I can come and lay down the concerns and burdens of this life in order to give thanks and worship our King for the creation of this world and for the ultimate sacrifice He made to save my soul.

This week's sermon was about David & what happened when he quit living on his own devices and sought God's face.  When I turned away from my old life & to Christ, He blew my mind with blessing, joy and hope.  I am grateful for Pastor Frank's teaching that reminded me of this moment & the closeness felt by remembering his great grace.  I am fervently praying for friends and family who are deceived by life's treasures and empty promises.  I hope that they can come to fully know Christ's love, acceptance and plan for their lives as well.

Day 18
Things passed down.  Today I painted a table that used to be my grandmother's table.  It was the table that my family used for Thanksgiving and Christmas all throughout my childhood.  While I do not particularly love the design, I like that I can use something that once belonged to someone special to me.  I am thankful for the significance and love that I received from my grandparents--in addition to the skills they taught me.

Day 19
Amazing sunsets

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Beauty from Ashes

Day 11

Ten years ago today, I was 18 years old, eight months pregnant, living in an apartment on campus-3 hours away from my family.  Being so pregnant, I had a hard time sleeping in general, but the night before it was different.  I journaled to try to get to sleep because I felt extremely anxious.  Early in the morning, I had a knock at my door.  I opened the door to my neighbor who had a phone in her hand.  I could see the sadness in her eyes as she passed the phone to me letting me know that my mom was on the other end.

Confused, I answered, knowing something wasn't right.  "Honey, your dad has been killed."

I was shocked, but simply said "I'm on my way."  Being the first child of three, my first thought was to jump into fix-it mode and take care of my brother and sister.  But this wasn't something I could fix.

Someone had taken away my prize.  The brutally butchered the man who inspired me to be a better woman.  She killed my chances of making my dreams come true.  This child resting inside me would never know him.

Years of prayers and perfectionist tendencies aimed at winning the approval of an aimless man finally came to an end.  Tough love and triumph wasn't enough.

It was strange to sit in a room and discuss hobbies, outfits and hairstyles--details that were suddenly important to know.  Thankfully, there were other family members to fill in the gaps.  I listened in order to get to know him more.  The few memories I had of him flashed before me.  My dreams about how life would be after alcohol--once plentiful, seemed irrelevant now.  Once we worked within the state's budget for murder victims to arrange the funeral, we shifted through the next couple of days until the actual funeral ceremony was held.

An exuberant preacher who claimed to try to help my father, made an awkward speech that incensed my brother.  It was a stark contrast to my grandfather's celebration of life that we just held 8 months prior. Then it was put to rest. It was a somber time, but I don't remember feeling much.

Upon my return to my apartment at college, ironically, I received such special treatment from people that I didn't really know. I had a fridge full of meals, baskets full of cards (making up for the years of birthdays without a simple call or card) and beautiful flowers filled my rooms.  This was in addition to my two friends who dropped everything to come with me the day I received that call. That drop everything, sacrificial, agape kind of love I wanted from my father was felt over the coming weeks.

Over the coming months, I would no longer think about Jesus Christ the same way.  After the numbness wore off and the tears began to flow, I would understand an overwhelming peace and love.  One that I didn't know before.  I would be completely dependent on a Savior who could fill my empty heart with an indescribable joy.

Over the coming years, I would go through court proceedings that would teach me more about my career choice than any class could.  After the fresh wounds, I believed becoming an attorney no longer meant being able to uphold justice.  Justice had more to do with pleas and the number of prison beds.  But I wasn't bitter.  I also learned to forgive the woman who shared my birthday, because I had been forgiven and offered a new life & freedom.

Each year on 11/11, I usually write something to reflect on how I feel.  This year, I am thankful that time does heal.  I am also moving on from the idea that I am somehow a victim.  Life is full of loss.  But loss leads to new beginnings.  As I continue to process the loss of the father I imagined and the father that I didn't know, I cherish the terrific father my husband is to my children.

I also can't help but think of the beauty from ashes that my Heavenly Father created during such a desolate, confusing time.  They way he drew near and provided supernatural peace and strength.  It was when my faith came to life in the most tangible way.  I so appreciate His love and faithfulness!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Back to reality, Back to gratitude

Ahhhh… Home sweet home.

After a terrific trip to Washington, D.C. I am grateful that I get to come home to my three children and the wonderful man that kept them alive and happy over the past week (while our house was turned upside down by a construction project=brownie points.)

During my trip, I tried to keep up my gratitude postings because I was hyper-aware of so many reasons to be grateful, but all that I managed to do was post half-coherent writings after my futile attempts to adapt to a 5am alarm clock with over 6 miles of walking each day.


I will be playing catch up this week.  Starting right now…

Today I am very grateful for rest.  Typically I refuse Sunday naps, but with one super cute, but cranky teething toddler and one theatrical princess full of song and dance, I needed a power nap today.

And tonight I will go to sleep right after I finish this paragraph.  Rest is good for the brain.  So I will allow my brain to have a treat so that I can find a way to untangle all of the goodness that happened this week in addition to following through with some next steps that I am now ready to pursue.  Until tomorrow...

Weekly Meal Plan: November 18

B: Eggs & Toast
L: Sandwiches & Leftover Chili
D: Chicken, Roasted Red Potatoes, Collard Greens & Garlic Couscous

B: Pumpkin Oatmeal
L: Spaghetti
D: Salsarita's (Kids Eat Free)

B: Eggs & Toast
L: Pizza & Salad
D: Salmon, Green Beans, Sweet Potatoes

B: Cereal/Oatmeal
L: Leftovers
D: McAlister's (Kids Eat Free)

B: Muffins
L: Beans & Rice
D: Stir Fry

B: Pancakes
L: Sandwiches/Soup
D: Burritos

B: Pancakes
L: Quesadillas
D: Fresh2Order (Kids Eat Free)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Shared experiences

Day 12

Today I arrived early to load my flight and had an anxious feeling. Typically, I don't get nervous about traveling, but when the flight was delayed due to maintenance, it didn't make me feel any better. Then ouR flight was canceled, then back on. Through all of these unexpected changes, people who were initially quiet and kept to themselves, started conversing. The shared experience in uncertainty was refreshing for some reason.

I believe that the more we interact and work through life together, the better off we'll be.

Today I am grateful for shared experiences (especially the shared sunset viewed from my window-pic doesn't so it justice).

Monday, November 11, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Dinner

Day 10

Over the past few months, I have intentionally invested my best hours in making a better home for my family.  Having better family dinners is one of the small victories we have achieved.  My son calls it the British influence, attributing his new duty of cleaning the table and the use of actual china to my discovery of Downton Abbey.  He protests the "fancy" dinners, but I'm betting that his teachers will be glad to receive homework sans spaghetti sauce, and I believe that deep inside, he loves the floral plates (or at least having a flame on the table).

You see, I am ashamed to admit it, but after coming home from a long day of work including breakfast committee meetings, client lunch meetings and evening board meetings, dinner was about getting food in mouths with enough time to brush teeth before 9. This wasn't the norm.  Every night wasn't so full of "my" stuff.  Some nights we had football practice, school meetings, grocery shopping, etc.  No matter what, dinner became feeding time and with all the rushing and throwing together meals, it was often something that none of us looked forward to.  

After spending some time with my in-laws, I picked up on some practical ways to make dinner flow more smoothly.  Plans were made in advance on what to eat, and dinner was served instead of thrown together.  Babies were fed first and might graze on something during dinner, but advance feeding meant that Mama could eat when the rest of the family ate & engage in conversation too.  I came back home and decided that we could make dinner better, even enjoyable again.  

Conveniently, I had to clear out my china cabinet to accommodate the construction project going on in my house so why not use the stuff that's been collecting dust (yes, I even washed the dusty plates BEFORE putting them on the table--fancy, I know).  I required all homework to be removed from the table as well as the laptop, and my phone can only be used to play some restauranty tunes. 

After just a few days, dinner is now something I anticipate with joy.  Great conversations have been had.  Food has been enjoyed--not scarfed down.  Even my stubborn three year old is eating her veggies since dessert is often a planned part of the meal.  It may not always be this way, but for now, I am so very grateful for our family dinners--a new sacred tradition in our humble estate. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Fire

Day 9

Today I burned all of the leaves that we're covering my patio area. Our yard is cover in large beautiful trees, and I much prefer to see the leaves on their limbs , but unfortunately, the leaves must fall.

With a flame to the kindling, the fire took away all that covered my yard. 

I am grateful that, like the fire that uncovered my hidden yard, Christ is a consuming fire that burns away all that hides his truth & love. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: An Advocate

Day 8

Tonight in reading the short book of Philemon, I appreciate the great grace, acceptance and advocacy that I have received in different seasons of my life. Advocates that helped me received a challenging & enriching education, advocates who helped me navigate the college process, advocates who helped me find resources as a single mom.

I appreciate these earthly advocates who spent their time and resources to promote my well being. 

Christ is my most powerful advocate. Offering freedom and love to cover up my insufficiency. 

Today I am grateful for the advocates in my life & the advocacy I see on behalf of others.

Friday, November 8, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Inheritance

Day 7 

I finally plowed through the first episode of Downton Abbey and became a true fan of the show that all of my friends have been talking about. I love the grandeur of the house, the traditions of the family and the respect and integrity that the staff have.

While it's fun to think about such a life, I don't envy the constraints and issues that appear along with the wealth and power in the show. There is always a trade off when possessing worldy treasures and position. This is evident in my reading in Titus tonight. 

Much of the plot of the show revolves around heirship and inheritance. When an unlikely heir is a game-changer and a love story promising salvation crumbles and is redeemed, I could only think of my own unlikely heirship as a daughter of our king & continuing through Titus, I read truth about my own inheritance. 
Today I am so very thankful for the love story between a King and His rebellious daughter who thought she knew best-- but only found joy when He offered His great grace. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Play

Day 6

As a mom, you may find yourself spending much more time being "serious" than having fun.  There have been seasons where I have found it difficult to play with my kids because I was too tired or carried work home with me or felt disconnected. This is not one of those seasons thankfully. 

Today I am grateful for hide & seek, races up the stairs, leaf piles and climbing trees with my kids--with pure joy and freedom.

30 Days of Gratitude: Inspired Scripture

Day 5
In the quest for wisdom, inspiration & knowledge, I have all that I need. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: A Time to Dance

Day 4

Tonight we danced in the kitchen after dinner.  After cutting a rug with the whole family to some Zumba-inspired songs, my husband pulled me in close for a slow dance to a sweet mellow song.  My heart skipped a beat.  

As bedtime came, my son was full of questions after our evening prayer.  His great grandmother has alzheimer's disease & is nearing the end of her life.  All in one night, we experienced 

A time to weep,
    And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
    And a time to dance;

Ecclesiastes 3:4

Day 4, I am thankful for family dances after dinner and loved ones who we can spend our days with--no matter how limited. 

30 Days of Gratitude: Two are Better than One

Day 3

Today I thank God for the community of believers that I get to do life with.  A life with true friends who are willing to pray for you and lovingly "call you to the carpet" when you need to recognize areas of sin while loving you despite your numerous flaws is a blessing to not take for granted.  Even more, a life with people who are willing to allow you to be a part of their lives by allowing you to see their dirty kitchen & allow you to help when they fall are rare in this culture of independent, photoshopped lives.  

Over the past year, I worried about how my friendships would grow after we moved to a different area of town, but God showed up in big ways to bring people into our lives that I am eternally grateful for and while some of my friendships have changed since we don't see each other as often, I'm thankful for the time that we once shared.  It's amazing how God puts people in your life that leave a lasting influence. 

My amazing friend Emily, who lovingly brought me donuts &
washed my dishes while I was sleep deprived with a newborn. 
Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

 Thank you friends for getting real & keeping my heart warm! 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Faithfulness

Day 2

Posted a day late, but it is totally indicative of the kind of day that I had yesterday.  I woke up in a funk with a headache which set the motion for the day.  Despite my efforts to revive the day, it continued to veer far away from the spirit of gratitude that I was trying to cultivate.  

But isn't that how it usually works?  We depend on our own strength & attempt to "power through." 

I conjured up enough strength to get through the day, but was terribly ungrateful and weary by the time that we arrived at church where we were set to serve in the children's ministry.  Thankfully, God showed Himself faithful & spoke to me there through the children that I was supposed to "teach" & the lesson we were reviewing.  

Despite my failures and lack of faith and dependence, God is still there. Waiting on my to let Him carry my load.  Waiting on Him to fill me with His joy.  He's faithful to complete the good work He has begun. 

I am grateful for his never-ending faithfulness & spirit within me that fills me with all that I need. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude: Beauty & Toil

Day 1

As I reluctantly prepared to for a day's work of toiling away, I was filled with wonder as soon as I stepped outside.  The wind was blowing, but the temperature was perfect and the skies were an azure blue that contrasted the golden and fiery red leaves in a breathtaking fashion.  

As I continued on my drive, the location changed, but the scenery did not disappoint.  I found myself smiling at the way that the true Autumn season had arrived. 

Just a few miles away from my destination, I saw a sign with Ecclesiastes 3:11 on it.  I just began reading Ecclesiastes this morning & smiled at God's reminder that He created the seasons and loves to bestow His significant beauty upon us. 

The context of this verse is also very timely.  
What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom what God has done from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better than for men to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink and find satisfaction in his toil--this is the gift of God. 
Ecclesiastes 3:9-13 
So as I arrived at my destination, I remembered that doing work as unto God is good & satisfying.


Today I am grateful for God's beauty experienced now & to come, and the opportunity to toil and produce fruit from my labor.  May whatever work you find yourself doing be fruitful & fulfilling, knowing that God created us to find joy in our work.  May you also know that His handiwork, evident during this glorious season can be enjoyed as a marvelous masterpiece. 

30 Days of Gratitude

Through out the month of November, I will share my harvest cultivated from intentional contentment, based upon God's truth in His word evident in my life.   I will link to each post here.