Heart of Gratitude: Day 6

Paul was a man who often encouraged, corrected, and instructed the early church by employing the function of contrast.

“So we do not lose heart.  Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

What is experienced on this earth, the struggles of each day, will become a distant memory when the full glory of eternity takes the stage.  In the moments between, the weakness of the flesh resists growth and refinement.  The ever-present temptation to compromise paints an alluring picture of false comfort, but the way of Christ does not offer concessions.  He is righteous and true and His Word is everlasting.

I am thankful that a life once trapped the weakness of the flesh can be transformed by the power of God – to experience His glory!  Tonight, I am thankful for the contrast.

autumn sunshine

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Heart of Gratitude: Day 5

As far as I am concerned, grandparents should turn 60 and never age another year.  Papa Prune and I joke after he gives me a rundown of his upcoming eye surgery:  “Getting old is for the birds.”  The eight year-old version of me didn’t understand what a blessing it was to have four living grandparents and two living great grandmothers. 

Today, Grandpa Kee begins his 84th year of life on this earth.  It was only a few short years ago, following his bilateral knee replacement, that he was in the hospital with complications as the result of a fall that happened days before his procedure.  Never will I forget the moment that my precious Grandma and I were huddled close, outside his room in the ICU, praying that the medical team would be able to stabilize him.

Society is enamored with the lives of the rich and the famous.  Professional athletes with multi-million dollar contracts and young “artists” willing to stop at nothing in the name of fame, have become the topic of conversation at our dinner tables.  In sharp contrast, there is so much to be learned from the wisdom that comes from decades of walking with the Lord, sixty plus years of “for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health,” professional struggles, and the determination to live life well – not as a 100-yard dash, but an endurance race that requires daily surrender.  Tonight, I am thankful for the legacy of the trailblazers in my family – among them stands the Birthday Boy at 84 years young!

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Heart of Gratitude: Day 4

When Day 4 of a month of giving thanks is shared on November 5, it is all for good reason.  Another test is on the books and we were able to celebrate with grilled sirloin steaks topped with Wild Woods blue cheese, buttermilk garlic mashed potatoes, and a bottle of one of our favorite reds.  We’re both a bit reluctant to jump on any pop-culture bandwagons, so our next episode of LOST was in the queue.

It is truly wonderful to work hard as a team and celebrate success along the way.  Yesterday I was especially thankful for the way the Lord provides for rest and rejuvenation!

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Heart of Gratitude: Day 3

On occasion, it would come up at the dinner table that one of my brothers or I had a new crush at school.  Dad’s first question was a guarantee:  “Do they love Jesus?”  With a heavy sigh or a teenage eye-roll, “I don’t know,” or “Daaaaad!” was our typical response.  “God first.  Family second.  Then school,” he would say, “You need to make sure you find someone who loves Jesus.”

Fast-forward fifteen to twenty years and those words, that I always knew were true, have never held as much weight as they do today.  As Dad gave his toast at our reception, he recounted all the times he said, “No one will ever be good enough for my daughter,” and yet, the character found in my husband, was enough to prove him wrong.

This man I call Husband is my best friend; a man after the Lord’s heart who is fully engaged in the opportunity to live life well.  His humor fills our home with joyous laughter and the level of dedication that he applies to everything he sets out to accomplish is inspiring.  There are moments when I find myself so completely overwhelmed by the blessing of being his teammate, that I am literally moved to tears.

Today seems to be the most fitting day to express even these few words of my immense gratitude for the Love of my life.  Happy 30th Birthday, Babe!  I love you!!!

Photo courtesy of Brianne Janae Photography (BrianneJanaePhotography.com)

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Heart of Gratitude: Day 2

It’s exam weekend at our home which means that my ever-studious husband is plowing through lectures on the GI system at two-times regular speed and I’m catching up on laundry; ducking in and out to make sure there is sufficient water and plenty of kisses to last throughout the day.  One year ago today, we turned the page to a new chapter of our adventure when he chauffeured me to the chapel where we were to be wed.  It was in that room that he serenaded me with a breathtaking promise, then knelt down on one knee to ask if I would spend the rest of my life with him.  Both on that special evening and every day since, my answer has been ‘YES.’

This new chapter has been one of many beginnings, including a relocation to the place we now call Home.  We wade through traffic like running a race through knee-deep mud and trips to the grocery store often include a rare sighting, such as a man standing near the entrance with a parrot perched on his shoulder.

As I made my way down a neighborhood street, leaves crunched beneath my feet and the sun shone over the trees to create a glowing tunnel of red, green, and gold.  A few paces away I would find myself in the home of a latte made to perfection, greeted by a friend that I met just four months prior.  It is on this day that I am thankful.  Thankful for new places and new faces.

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Heart of Gratitude: Day 1

One year, four months, and twenty two days ago, I published my last blog.  The words didn’t stop appearing as the result of a literary drought.  Quite the contrary.  In fact, life was unfolding so quickly that I could barely catch it with the tip of a ballpoint pen.  My promise to get back in the blogging saddle was crowded out by distractions and excuses.  Before another month slips by, I commit to write; to chronicle this time of growth, this exchange of my weakness (Asthenes) for His strength (Dunamai).

This summer, I was blessed with a few treasured moments to catch up with a sweet friend.  It was in the middle of our conversation, that I recognized one of the great gifts of friendship – the opportunity to share our story.  She opened up to me about how her love for Jesus was deeper than ever before and conveyed, with raw emotion, what it is to be Wife and Mom.  This beautiful daughter of the King was overwhelmed by the blessing of Grace and it reflected from tears of Joy.

Within this same conversation flowed nothing but rave reviews for Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts.  That same summer, I picked up my own copy and cracked the cover at every opportunity.  Soaking in each page, it became evident that I still have so much more to learn about Eucharisteo – so much to learn about giving thanks.

During the month of November, it is customary to observe a day of thanks.  This holiday of Thanksgiving is a personal favorite.  Surrounded by giggling cousins and the scent of pumpkin pies in the oven, it’s impossible to miss the presence of Joy.  Each day, we encounter gifts.  Whether they are wrapped in packages of breathtaking sunrises or love notes, of fresh snow or the sound of a loved one’s voice, each is an opportunity to express thanks for what is stirred up within us – a heart of gratitude.  Today, this very day, is a gift: a day to be thankful that we are created to give thanks.

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