Thanksgiving 2017 unfiltered

I am sitting here in my sunny living room while the turkey is roasting, the sweet potatoes are simmering, and my mother-n-law is puttering in the kitchen preparing creamed spinach.

Today started with an early wake up, time in the word, coffee, a brisk trail run along the river bank with most of my family, coffee, chopping celery, onions (oh the tears), and parsley (oh the aroma) for stuffing, coffee, getting that big bird stuffed and in the oven, then the best coffee of the day, made by my barista son.

When Grason makes me coffee at home, he talks me thru the what and why of what he is doing. I tend to eyeball measurements, but not him. He uses my really old weight watchers scale to measure out 30g of fresh ground Honduras coffee while water boils on the stove. Everything is precisely measured and timed using his phone timer.

And I tell you, it is the most amazing coffee experience. It is worth all the extra time and attention to detail.

God is a lot like a great barista. There is no eye balling what He allows in our lives. His precise actions and leading gives us cause for great thankfulness.

It’s only right for my thanksgiving to be specific and detailed in response. Everything from the heavy stuff of life to the light hearted moments are by His design.

I called this unfiltered, but I really mean unedited. My two great editors, Jill and Cheryl, have the  day off. Haha! I take full responsibility for any spelling mistakes, disjointed thoughts or too many words.

Gotta go take care of the bird and make gravy. Happy Thanksgiving!

The Squirrel Ninjas

I have logged many hours at my kitchen sink over the last 15 years. A wide window overlooks a bird feeder and bird bath surrounded by evergreens, a very tall locust tree, a lattice and other ground vegetation.

img_1535The best part of the setting, however, is the critters and birds that come daily to find food. They provide such grand, simple amusement and joy to my days. I fear my kids have been deprived the “joy” of doing dishes because I love my view while I work at my sink. Yes, I am selfish.

With the arrival of winter’s dark hours, I tend to put off cleaning my pots and pans until the next day when I can see outside. I recently named a trio of young squirrels who live in our yard — Earl, Merle and Pearl. Pearl and Earl eat quietly side by side under the bird feeder with rabbits, chipmunks, and birds flitting around. Merle the squirrel is quite the opposite. With fierce determination he clears the whole area before he settles up in the bird feeder. He only touches the ground around the feeder to chase off any other wildlife willing to eat what he deems inedible and pushes out of the feeder.

Merle is quite the character to watch. I thank God for theses crazy squirrels – chasing each other other up and down the tree, flying into the evergreens from limbs high above, jumping to the bird feeder, racing up the tree again. Their obstacle course could be a “American Squirrel Ninja” set, and I watch the live episode almost daily.

Colossians 1:16 says Jesus created all things. I imagine Jesus really having a ball creating this adorable animal with the fluffy, curly tail and cute little face. While I watch their antics, I feel loved by their creator – thankful He lets me enjoy this scene often. Expressing the joy, thankfulness and love to Him for such small delights enhances my ongoing conversation and relationship with Jesus Christ.

What small joys happen in your day, reminding you of His love for you?

The dishes are done and drying and it’s time to move on to the next thing. Thanks for sitting in my kitchen listening as I chatter. Have a blessed day!

Learn more here about this relationship and God’s love for you!

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.  Colossians 1:16

My Agenda

My first post at the river bank shared about a recent turning point in my journey of prayer and walk with Jesus. I had fasted and prayed for four distinct individuals for 10 days. During those ten days, one went to be with Jesus. Less than 3 months later, a second also joined Jesus. (Right now, you may be thinking twice before asking me to pray for  you – I understand completely!) The third, a dear sister in Christ continues on the road to healing, growing in her own faith walk. The fourth – an adult son of a friend facing a lifetime with a serious diagnosis – is the one that began changing my perspective in praying. I do not know him personally and know very little about his illness and what he faces.

Most of the time, when I prayed about something I had an idea of what would be best and right, and I tended to pray toward the resolution that made sense to me. I probably even added the words “if that is your will” but usually felt God probably agreed with me. (I still work on this, by the way.)

As I prayed healing to come to this man and read my Bible,  I came to Matthew 13:14-15 and then later, Isaiah 6:9-10 and thought “Wait, I just read that somewhere else recently!” Jesus quoted the Isaiah passage in the Matthew passage. He basically says Don’t hear, Don’t see, Don’t understand … and forget about healing. 

My heart stood up in protest — it seemed as if God was saying He didn’t want to heal! I had to think about this. Praying for healing is not wrong, but God challenged me to pray differently, deeper. I needed to stop thinking of healing (my agenda) as success or the answer. The ears to hear, the eyes to see and the heart to understand brings true Jesus-healing into a life, regardless of whether the disease is healed or the diagnosis is changed. So that is what I am praying … it’s hard in some ways, because only God truly knows if this is happening.

glenn-carstens-peters-190592For me, it means taking my prayer agenda off the table, even getting rid of the table and just hitting the floor prostrate before God, submitting to His will.

My prayers for others often include these three things: ears to hear what God is saying, eyes to catch glimpses of God working or to trust He is working where human vision stops, and a heart or mind to understand God is giving His answer – in His way, in His time.

In my days and struggles, I pray these for myself -asking for my eyes to see Him, my ears to hear Him, and my heart to stay open to Him, understanding and trusting Him more deeply.

Please feel free to share this with others. There is always room for more beside us at the river bank.