Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Today the people of the United States remember, honor, and thank God for the many men and women, from the Revolutionary War to the present day, who have laid down their lives to establish, defend, and serve our nation (#300). As a citizen of heaven, I also thank the Father for the martyrs who have given their earthly lives in the service of God's kingdom (#301).

May the Lord provide for, comfort, and keep the military and missionary families who have survived such a loss. Please join me in prayer for them, for our country, and for our leaders in lieu of leaving a comment today.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Salute to Somo

Somo (2002?-May 27, 2008)

This week we've been talking more than usual about Somo*, Ebony's predecessor as prince of the sofa. Somo joined our family in a flurry of providential circumstances on Memorial Day weekend 2004, and he passed away the day after Memorial Day in 2008.

He's also been on our mind because he was terrified of storms, of which we've had several. If a thunderstorm came when he was home alone with his older brother Steinway, he would shred the carpet down to the linoleum beneath.  We tried gating him in the tiled bathroom, but in the absence of carpet he shredded any paper product within reach.  Consequently, one of us made sure to be home if storms were predicted.

If storms came through when we were home, he would pace and pant and climb up us and the furniture to get to higher ground. When this happened in the middle of the night, one of us would get up with him so the other one could sleep without a small dog standing on his face trying to scale the wall. The maternal bounce-and-walk comfort trick was of no avail.  Finally we discovered that leashing him so he could pace without doing himself harm worked pretty well.  I slept many nights in a sleeping bag on the floor with the leash in my hand and him pacing all around me.

Ordinarily, however, Somo was our rugged individualist. He rarely met a boundary he didn't cross, and he loved, loved, loved to dig, to the point we had to wonder whether some terrier was mixed in with his Lhasa Apso heritage. He dug to bury his wooly bone in the flower bed, and once he dug under the fence to play with the chihuahua next door.  He accomplished the latter feat so quickly that my first inkling was the neighbor knocking at the door holding a muddy dog as far away from herself as possible.

He was a smart dog, too. Once he crawled on his belly through the 6" space under our sofa to steal a bone literally from behind the back of his older brother. Steinway never did figure out where that bone went.
Somo and Steinway together
Besides thunderstorms, off-leash dogs were Somo's other nemeses.  We encountered a surprising number of these on our walks. On one occasion we were walking up a street across from the local elementary school.  As we passed one house, the homeowner opened her door to bring in the paper. Suddenly, her mastiff flew past her like a left tackle blitzing the quarterback. Except he was blitzing us. (Have I mentioned Somo was 19 pounds, tops, and I'm just over five feet tall? We were both in the wrong weight class for this fight.)

Never good at reacting quickly or well in a crisis, my only thought was to hold on to the leash because if we ran he'd chase us. And not to make eye contact. And surely the owner would restrain her dog any second. Poor Somo, however, decided he'd take his chances and run. He was smart enough that he probably recognized this particular dog would chase us even if we didn't flee.

So there we are:  me at the center of the merry-go-round, holding onto the leash for dear life with one hand and trying to reach Somo with the other hand; Somo running in circles around me trying to escape but limited to the radius of the leash; and this giant of a dog running in circles behind him and gaining ground. It was like living the folk story about Sambo, only this tiger was not turning into butter.

The situation was desperate when, at the same instant, the mastiff's owner grabbed his collar and Somo escaped his. I stood for a moment, taking in the empty red collar at the end of my leash, and then took off running in the direction Somo had gone.

Back and forth I went down all the streets nearby.  I waved down oncoming cars to ask if they'd seen a small white dog running for his life. When I could not walk any farther, I turned for home and called my husband to say I'd lost his dog but would head back out in the car to keep looking for him. By the time I finished explaining, I noticed a small white bundle on our doorstep.

Somo had already gone home.
A favorite nesting spot, Somo's last Christmas
Dear Crumbles, if midnight storms have you panicked, may you know in experience the truth that your Master is near to all who call upon Him (Psalm 145:18). When enemies too big to defeat are pursuing you and everything seems to spell disaster, may you find the grace and presence of mind to run home to your Father. He is big enough for whatever you face today. When memories and stories bubble up in your hearts, may you also find kind friends willing to listen or read what you have to share. I'm grateful for you.

*Swahili for confidant or intimate friend

Although I'm a few days late with this, life with my dogs has been a source of many, many "Playdates with God." You may read others' perspectives at Laura's place, The Wellspring.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

At a Stoplight

Driver's eyes drift right,
Finding rest from brick and concrete
In the expanse of live oaks and manicured lawn
Speckled with tablets and statues
Of bronze, marble, granite.

Today the green is interrupted:
Six feet past the wrought-iron fence,
A sandy-haired man in glasses, beige plaid, and khaki
Stands, arm wrapped around a matching woman
In tunic and capris.
She holds one hand to her eyes.
The other wrist links to a taut red leash
And a dachshund the color of Irish breakfast tea.

Embarrassed by the dog's averted gaze,
Driver, too, looks away,
Silencing radio banter.
Red light and prayers blur together
Until the quick again rush past
The grieving and the dead.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15, NASB).

Until the risen Christ returns and all tears are wiped away, compassionate tears and prayers for our suffering brothers and sisters are also part of living as Easter people, of practicing resurrection.  My prayers join yours for the people of Oklahoma and Joplin, Missouri, not forgetting those in Alabama, in Japan, and in the persecuted church worldwide.  May the Lord strengthen the suffering and comfort those who mourn.

Considering in community what it means to live the Resurrection...

and seeking to write on redemption themes with the good folks at Emily's...

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Bittersweet" Grace

At my youngest sister's recommendation, I recently finished reading Shauna Niequist's memoir, Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way. Her writing was funny and heartbreaking by turns and brutally honest throughout.  This book afforded a glimpse into a very different temperament and lifestyle and insights into shared struggles.

One passage I highlighted spoke directly to my orientation toward performance-based acceptance and the resulting insecurity that has intensified in this chronic illness flare with my increased limitations and dependence on others:
I don't like the idea that someone can judge me and that I have to depend on their grace.  I want to take that power out of their hands.  I hate to think about the fact that the people who love me show me grace for all my faults.  I prefer to believe instead that the math works:  that there are good things about me and hard things about me, but that they've checked the math and because I'm funny enough, they can let go of how terrible I look most days, or that if I'm interesting enough, the fact that my house is dirty isn't such a big deal.  But that kind of math is specifically anti-grace.  Grace isn't about netting out on the right side of things.
If arithmetic is numbers, and if algebra is numbers and letters, then grace is numbers, letters, sounds, and tears, feelings and dreams.  Grace is smashing the calculator, and using all the broken buttons and pieces to make a mosaic.
Grace isn't about having a second chance; grace is having so many chances that you could use them through all eternity and never come up empty.  It's when you finally realize that the other shoe isn't going to drop, ever.  It's the moment you feel as precious and handmade as every star, when you feel, finally, at home for the very first time.
Grace is when you finally stop keeping score and when you realize that God never was, that his game is a different one entirely (83, Kindle edition).
Looking back over the week, I'm remembering and thanking God for
325. God's grace, bigger than my understanding or even my need, and unchanging security in Him
326. Sharing book talk and reading memories with friends and family
327. Wearing my Tuesday Night Tangent Society tee and realizing it is actually Tuesday
328. Good memories of our 3 1/2 years with the TNTS Bible study youth and host parents
329. Joy watching God's unique plan for each of them unfold
330. Big Al responding quickly to medicine for what ailed him this week
331. Lots of rest and quiet reading time on his unexpected sick day
332. A week where nothing went as planned or expected, reminding me once again how not in control I am
333. God's control is better than mine
334. Helping lost dogs get home again
335. Talking to my grandmother on the phone... a happy place for me
336. Young nephew "Buzz" all right after a bad fall
337. Whataburger twice in one week (decadent, I know)

338. Cousin bringing her firstborn for lunch and a visit
339. Special Agent Hoover's delight in chasing Dr. Miao out of the yard not once, but twice
Finally caught on camera! Cocky or careless? Stay tuned...
340. Tea poured from my favorite pot, from the Lenox Butterfly Meadow set

341. Roses following A. home from work

342. Neighbors working together on a project
343. Sonic Happy Hour limeade date on a muggy Saturday afternoon
344. Some answered prayer for loved ones
345. 0.7" needed rain

Praising God with the community at Holy Experience...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Remontant: A Poem

1. (of certain roses) blooming more than once in a season.
2. a remontant rose

May blooms so new she still blushes at the attention,
Yet first frenzied flush of flowering already fades,
Sere calyxes bereft of glory.

The catalog assures, "R - repeat bloomer,"
Time to deadhead, then,
Sharp shears in sure hands
Nipping just above a growth bud,
Spurring spent shrub to sprout new stems,
To bloom again,
Bloom much,
Bloom longer.

The wound but paves the way for glory.
       ~crm, 5/6/11

"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper. Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples" (John 15:1-2,8, HCSB).

If you would like to read more thoughts on living Easter and redemption, please click below and visit others in the communities at...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Praying Big

All humanity will come to You,
the One who hears prayer.
You answer us in righteousness,
    with awe-inspiring works,
    God of our salvation,
    the hope of all the ends of the earth
    and of the distant seas;
    You establish the mountains by Your power,
    robed with strength;
    You silence the roar of the seas,
    the roar of their waves,
    and the tumult of the nations.
    Those who live far away are awed by Your signs;
    You make east and west shout for joy.

Usually the Psalms are like comfort food, soothing and familiar as the back of my hand.  This week, however, they are blowing the lid off the box I didn't know I'd made for God.

What's more, they are showing my prayers, especially my prayers for others, up for what they are: pared-down, modest, mustn't be too greedy, reasonable prayers.  The Psalms remind me again how big, how wild, how not safe but good He is; they invite me to pray bigger prayers.

If God really is this Rocky-building, canyon-carving, Red-Sea-parting, manna-providing, wall-crumbling, crowd-feeding, leper-healing, tomb-emptying, Son-giving God, then what has He to do with reasonable?

Wouldn't it glorify Him more for me to pray big, outlandish, God-sized prayers? And then ask Him to go bigger than that?  Granted, we pray our big prayers with the heart that says, "As You wish," knowing that sometimes "His greatest mercies are His refusals," as Sheldon Vanauken (I think) said. Even so, knowing He may and will say no sometimes, perhaps most of the time, don't big prayers better reflect His character than shriveled, manageable, reasonable ones that protect me from disappointment?

If you are in my inner circle, if I have committed to pray for you through a tough time, this is your warning.  I am asking God to do a work as big as Himself in your life and circumstances, to dazzle you with His brilliant goodness in your dark place.  If your heart is too wounded and weary to pray big prayers for yourself, as mine often is for myself, at least I can believe God for great things for you, and you for me.

Please join with the Holy Experience community and me in thanking our big God for all His kindnesses, great and small:
~God too big for any human box
~"Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think—according to the power that works in you"
~this deeply encouraging chapel message from Dallas Theological Seminary
~a swallowtail and a monarch taking afternoon tea together in the butterfly weed
~watching grass grow
~starting the week with a full tank of gas (thanks, A.!)
~commendation for diligent husband from colleagues and managers at work
~eating quesadillas he made with his leftover steak for both of us to share
~contributing to the needs of the saints
~impromptu double-date at home with the parents for Whataburger and a favorite show
~youngest nephews on the phone
~Play-Doh cookies, complete with frosting and sprinkles
~Ebony sleeping with his head on my middle, his muzzle rising and falling with my breath and my hand rising and falling with his
~crazy Texas weather, high temperatures swinging from the 90s to the 60s and soon back to the 90s again
~waiting for outcomes in God's hands
~easy frozen skillet dinners
~stunning gold flowers adorning a street-corner cactus
~the first two hummingbirds at the month-old feeder
~roses in jam jars on the table
~moments at the piano
~husband laughing at my silliness
~watching the sky
(from the gratitude list, #242-263)

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Long and the Short of It: Ebony's Corner

Special Agent Ebony Dawg, code name Hoover, reporting in for my scheduled briefing, sir!

As ordered, I’ve been keeping my nose to the ground, and Operation Kitty Litter has had a few developments in the last week.  First, we confirmed that the big black neighborhood stray cat the nefarious Dr. Miao [cue evil laugh] is still alive and in the area.  I repeat: Dr. Miao is still in the area.  Around 10 hundred hours, when I was asleep under the fuzzy brown blankie on the couch quelling an insurrection of squirrels on the southern border, my mom a confidential, reliable source sighted Dr. Miao “slinking along the back fence behind the primroses.”  She (Dr. Miao, not my source) allegedly looked with evil intent toward the house headquarters and then snuck out through the broken board in the corner a secret escape hatch.

In the second development, Dr. Miao’s right-hand evil henchcat, Kung Pao, was caught doing research around headquarters in broad daylight.  I chased the suspect up a tree and held her there until back-up arrived and she was taken in for questioning.  For reasons beyond my security clearance, Mom made me come in and leave her alone she was released on her own recognizance.  You may be able to find out more, sir.  I’m hoping at least some sort of tracking device was planted before her release.
Prisoner 481-516-2342, a.k.a. Kung Pao
The third development has the greatest potential ramifications for the operation.  My dad Another reliable, confidential source witnessed Dr. Miao and Kung Pao “going at it tooth and claw” on Saturday.  Unfortunately, I was having a bath undergoing torture at the hands of the enemy at the time and did not witness the event myself.  If the report is true, it would seem to indicate unrest within Dr. Miao’s organization.  Perhaps her power is weakening.  Further investigation will be needed to determine what a change of leadership would mean for our operation and whether support of a coup would be in our best interests.  Our analysts are working on that now.  Will report back with more details as soon as possible, sir.

That concludes my findings for today, sir.  Hoover, over and out.

Editor’s note: No actual cats were harmed in the making of this blog post.  Mocked?  Perhaps.  Not actually harmed, though.
A joyful heart is good medicine,
    but a broken spirit dries up the bones (Proverbs 17:22, HCSB).

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Grief Interrupted

Hope entombed--
Hope lamented, two soggy days of tears--
Hope awaiting grief-laden arms' anointing--
Hope gone missing, angels in His stead--
Hope speaks my name--
Hope lives.

You turned my lament into dancing;
You removed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,

so that I can sing to You and not be silent.

LORD my God, I will praise You forever (Psalm 30:11-12, HCSB).

Exploring today with the Holy Experience community what it means to live Easter. . .

and with the Imperfect Prose community how God redeems our brokenness. . .

and with Melanie's encouragement festival. . .

Monday, May 9, 2011


"Haven't I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9, HCSB).

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
   I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
   your rod and your staff,
   they comfort me (Psalm 23:4, ESV).

"Fear not, for I am with you;
   be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
   I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:10, ESV).

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
   and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
   and the flame shall not consume you" (Isaiah 43:2).

"Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,and they shall call his name Immanuel"(which means, God with us) (Matthew 1:23, ESV).

"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you foreverHe is the Spirit  of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn't see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you" (words of Christ, John 14:15-17, HCSB).

"And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (words of Christ, Matthew 28:20, ESV).

Then I heard a loud voice from the throne:
    Look! God's dwelling is with men,
    and He will live with them.
    They will be His people,
    and God Himself will be with them and be their God.
    He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
    Death will exist no longer;
    grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer,
    because the previous things have passed away (Revelation 21:3-4, HCSB).

Thanks be to God
~that God--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--is with us!! No matter the circumstances, no matter how alone or lonely we might feel, the child of God is never alone, abandoned, or unloved.
~that His promises are sure
~for mothers and opportunities to honor them
~for a lovely Mother's Day tea/luncheon planned and implemented by my artsy sister
~for May beginning with sweatshirts and hoodies (a rarity in our part of Texas)
~Ebony snuggling with me until we both warmed up
~2.35" of sorely needed rain
~for 4 male and 3 female finches at the feeder this week
~Stanford (Cardinal) and Luigi (white-winged dove) posing for a photo shoot

~for new, supportive living room seating from kind husband
~the first two days at home without lower back pain (from the old sofa) since mid-January
~for all the tears, fears, needs, and difficulties that keep me depending on the Lord and discontent with earthly things
~Ebony making me laugh with his "case of the Mondays"
Yes, Ebony is in there!
~new things blooming and growing in the garden

~privilege and opportunity to vote (early) in local elections
~opportunity to practice humility by not defending myself against criticism
(gratitude list #196-211)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Book Review: The Hawk and the Dove, by Penelope Wilcock

  Great-uncle Edward had many tales to tell of Father Peregrine, after the terrible thing that happened to him.  Uncle Edward said it crippled his body, but it set his spirit free.  He said that most men would have become bitter and closed in, but Peregrine did not.  He used his own weakness as a bridge to cross over to his brothers, when they too were weak.  Having lost everything, he gave his weakness to God and it became his strength.
  In a way, all the tales are one tale, the tale of how God's power is found in weakness.  But that is the story of the whole of life, if you know how to read it right (p. 40).
Now and again, the right book comes along at the exact right moment in life, and the timing makes the difference between a good read and a beloved read.  Penelope Wilcock's The Hawk and the Dove Trilogy, which I read this Lent, is one of those right books for me.  The themes that linger with me are God's grace shining brightest through (not "despite") weakness and the refrain, "God forgives you, and so do I."

The books tell the stories of the monks in a pre-Reformation English Benedictine monastery.  The abbot, Father Peregrine, embodies both eponymous birds.  He is the human hub connecting his brothers' tales; however, in a sense the true hub of the trilogy is Jesus Christ, who is exalted throughout.  It is a rare piece of fiction that moves me to worship as this did.  The rhythms of the Benedictine days with their measures of prayer, work, worship, and community sets the mood of the writing, as well, making it a peaceful sort of read.  It also gave me hope for my own weaknesses and limitations and the way they impact my community.

Ms. Wilcock does a masterful job of characterization.  There's a line from Marianne Moore's poem "Poetry" which asserts that the job of the poet is to "present/for inspection, 'imaginary gardens with real toads in them,'" and The Hawk and the Dove is full of "real toads."  The monks are as different and distinct as any real group of people, but without descending to caricature.

In the first two books, a contemporary story about an English teen receiving the tales from her mother as part of her family heritage serves as narrative scaffolding for the monks' stories.  Wilcock dispenses with that device in the third book, perhaps because the shifting focus of the first two books comes to rest on a pair of characters and stays there throughout the third.  While I missed the contemporary family, I acknowledge that they were no longer essential to the unity of the third book, though their exclusion may weaken the unity of the trilogy as a whole.  I am curious to see whether the modern family is present in the fourth volume, set to release in July of this year.

In the third book of the trilogy, the tone also changes, becoming more melancholy than the first two books.  The characters are grappling with a newer level of severe, long-term physical illness and a particularly emotional question of medical ethics.  I felt these were handled well, but the turn caught me off guard and would have upset me at certain points in life.  At this juncture, I found the narrative thought-provoking and hopeful even through the hard things it tells.

All in all, I found this trilogy inspiring, perhaps the most redemptive, grace-filled Christian fiction I've read since the Mark of the Lion trilogy by Francine Rivers.  We will see how well my affection for The Hawk and the Dove endures, but it is the right book for my present, and I expect it will be one to reread more than once.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Adolphe Monod on the Cross and Resurrection

If you are like me, right now you are asking, "Adolphe who?"  Adolphe Monod (1802-1856) was a French evangelical Protestant pastor and theology professor.  While only in his fifties, he developed terminal liver cancer.

When too ill to continue pulpit ministry any longer, so ill in fact that he was confined to his bed, he gathered a widely varied interdenominational group of pastors who celebrated the Lord's Supper together weekly and listened to Monod's thoughts on whatever filled his meditations at the time.  After his death, his hearers compiled their notes and published them as Adolphe Monod's Farewell to His Friends and the Church.*

Constance Walker, the translator of the most recent English version, says of these gatherings, ". . .the ministry that he had from his sick-bed during the last six months of his illness, the ministry of Les Adieux, has perhaps had a greater effect on the evangelical church than all of his earlier labors.  It was not the ministry he would have chosen, yet because it came to him directly from the hand of God, he accepted it as the more important ministry that it turned out to be."

One passage from the Farewell strikes me as particularly appropriate to this Easter season as we consider how to live the Resurrection every day:
It is sweet to contemplate to-day, in the sufferings of our Saviour, the view they exhibit of the great, the incomprehensible depths of the mercy of God.  Oh, my friends, let us always have this love present to our mind; it will explain everything, even the most cruel sufferings, since they are only the consequence of what He suffered for us.  At the same time, it will make everything smooth and easy [and this, remember, spoken by a man enduring late-stage liver cancer]. Faith renders everything possible; love makes everything easy: 'His commandments are not grievous.'  Full of this image of the Saviour's love, and of the love of God revealed in the Saviour, reading in His paternal heart the love of God for us, we shall give ourselves up entirely to the Lord, to do and to suffer all He shall see fit to send us.  Pray that we may be deeply impressed with this sentiment, 'God is love;' and to this end let us abide patiently at the foot of the Saviour's cross, and never lose sight of it, till--after we have suffered a little, seeing that it is needful--He will take us by the hand, and leading us over the interval that separates Friday from Sunday morning, will raise us with Himself, and establish us with Himself, in the abode of glory where He is waiting for us, and where we shall praise Him the more that we shall have suffered more, and especially if we have suffered for His name. Amen (64-65).
Friends, if this finds you living in that Saturday interval, may the Lord Himself give you comfort and strength to hope for that great Day of which Monod spoke.  He already has you by the hand; the time is short.  Let us not lose sight of His cross while we wait.  The Messiah who died for love of us has given us His word that it will be worth it all.
So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory (Colossians 3:1-4, HCSB).
*English translation of the original French title

If you would like to read Monod's Farewell along with me, here are a few links:
~the free Google eBook of the older translation (this is the one I'm reading on my Kindle)
~the free Android version of the older translation
~Living in the Hope of Glory: A New Translation of a Spiritual Classic
~more of Monod's books, including the French edition of the Farewell

Many thanks to my sister Deanna for recommending this book!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ebony Helping with My Memory Work

The eyes of all look to You,
         And You give them their food in due time. 

You open Your hand
         And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

~Psalm 145:15-16, NASB

Almighty and everlasting God,
who art always more ready to hear than we are to pray,
and art wont to give more than either we desire or deserve:
Pour down upon us the abundance of Thy mercy;
forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid,
and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask,
but through the merits and mediation
of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.
~Collect for the Twelfth Sunday after Trinity, Book of Common Prayer (1662)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Spring Prayer

God of the wildflowers,
I worship You.
Profligate sower of beauty
In unexpected fields of pink and white,

In a cluster of purple iris peeking
Royal heads out from the underbrush,

Photo credit: Big Al
In flashes of perfume
Lavished on wild honeysuckle vines
Scampering up tree, over bridge,
Like a schoolboy at recess—
Photo credit: Big Al
I give You praise.

Forgive my false belief
That You,
God of the wildflowers,
Would be any less generous
With me.

Let Your bright gaze
Open my heart
And affections
Like morning glories.

Since it's Monday, I give thanks in community to the God of heaven and earth and wildflowers for
~Beautiful colors and forms in His creation
~Sermons in the flowers
~His patience with this little-faith
~New book-friends
~Specific prayers specifically answered
~How He amazes me with His grace in this online place
~The first in-season strawberries after a two-week dental delay.  Yum!
~Very informative rheumatology appointment which clarified some expectations about the costochondritis recovery and encouraged me about my bone health
~Mom's fellowship in the car to and from said appointment
~Chocolate-chip scones made by my sister.  More yum!
~Graduation announcement from a healthy, beautiful, talented niece
~Allen plants, Allen waters, but God causes the growth. . . .
The central clump is before; the rest of the fine, green "hair" is after. Part of the yard, at least, is showing progress.
~more new neighbors at the bird buffet
One of these red-headed finches is Atticus; Bachelor #2 will receive a name if he sticks around long enough.
~The last Pioneer Spirit rose from the first bloom

(from my gratitude list, #139-152)
You may read other contributions to the chorus of praise by clicking the button below: