Saturday, November 30, 2013

1000 gifts: a sunset rainbow

Finally catching up on all the blessings add to my 1000 gifts list. I write these on my calendar, and then as I have a chance I type them up to share here with more details, as a record for my family and another offering of thanksgiving to God. These are my blessing for November, 2013. And something I forgot to add to this my original list; over a year later I remembered some special things from our Thanksgiving in Kansas, staying at my sister-in-law's house in Goddard, near Wichita.

One of the last things the girls were able to do with Grandma B. before the cancer got too painful for her was making bead jewelry. Aunt Melissa and Aunt Crystal set up all their bead boxes and supplies, and Joy brought her set as well, and we all spent a couple afternoons with the girls helping them make necklaces, bracelets and earrings. (I made a set of earrings and a necklace, too). Then, after Thanksgiving when we were getting ready to leave, another surprise: Aunt Melissa gave Blaze her a jewelry making set, complete with tools and three large boxes of assorted beads - at least 100 different kinds of bead sets and separators and charms and jewels. And Aunt Crystal gave all four girls beautiful wooden jewelry boxes. But most precious of all was that time with Grandma B and our family.

723. Dreamer's "sunset rainbow"
Our living room has three full length windows facing west with a view of the Laramie valley and Snowy Range mountains in the distance - perfect place to view our magnificent Wyoming sunsets. One night Dreamer and I were looking at such a vibrant sunset that Dreamer said it was like a "sunset rainbow."  The term was intriguing that I googled it, and did indeed find sunsets with nearly rainbow colors. But can a setting sun create a rainbow?  I did find a couple intriguing photos, like this one:

724. Pretty face paint
This was actually in October for Halloween, but better late than never!

725. Blaze made her own pilgrim costume

726. The words finally flowing again
I had a slow start with NaNoWriMo - didn't start until day 4. (Homeschool is crazy time-consuming). Then words finally began to flow... felt so good to finally have the story come alive again to me.

727. First page accepted to Baker's Dozen contest
I debated about entering this writing contest because even though you only submit your first page, it requires a complete manuscript because it showcases finished projects to agents; and my plan was to finish my science fiction manuscript for NaNoWriMo this year (only had 5 chapters left, but still!) The deadline was November 7, and I decided if I could get 5000 words written by then, I would be close enough to done. I made my deadline and submitted and was one of 30 young adult manuscripts selected for the showcase to 13 agents!

728. Encouragement to continue home schooling 

Blaze has been acting depressed and listless and says she misses school. Called up my homeschooling friend K.A. and got lots of encouragement and reasons to continue homeschooling.

729. Started a Bible timeline poster for home school
I wanted a really BIG timeline, it stretches the entire length of our hallway and we have plenty of room to add pictures and notes and even play search & find games on it

730. Reading the Silver Chair to the girls out loud
More than any of the other books in the Chronicles of Narnia we've read so far, this one mirrors so many Scriptural principles, in almost every scene. I had forgotten all about the Bism, the deep world with living jewels. And what happened to King Caspian in Aslan's country (heaven).

731. One lone tree still has its golden leaves
I've walked past this tree hundreds of times on my way to work, but I never noticed it before because it's hidden behind a clump of dark evergreens. But one evening a shaft of the setting sun struck it and "set it on fire" and I realized it still had all its golden leaves, weeks after all the other trees had lost theirs

732. Cowboy church and devotionals
B. and Blaze went to Cowboy church at the Billings horse sale, and they were giving away free Bibles and devotionals. B. has been reading the devotional almost every night and sharing parts of it with me. It's called God Wants You To Win! Vol. II by Jeff Copenhaver (I'm going to need a whole separate post to talk about this, the title at first set off warning bells and I was afraid this was a "health and wealth gospel" kind of book, but it's not)

733. Having a nice van again
I drive a 2006 Chevy Uplander and I absolutely love it (never thought I would like a mini van, but miracles happen). Only bad thing about it is I hit a post backing up a few years ago, and have a bad dent in the tail gate. But B. found a new lift gate for it at a junkyard - same color and everything. Only thing the gate was from a Buick Terraza, so my van has a mixed identity now!

734. Tiropetas
I made these little Greek pastries for Mom and Dad's 49th anniversary... haven't made them in years but one of my favorites growing up along with spanakopita

735. "My mom's my best friend"
Dreamer told me about a teen on Disney channel that said "my mom's my best friend, I don't care if other teens think that's lame." She said she always wanted to be like that, too

736. Jeremiah 31:21 
"Set up road signs; put up guidepoists. Take notes the highway, the road that you take" for when Israel will return from the land of the enemy. When we are going through a tough time, we should set up signs and guides (sort like stones of remembrance) because the Lord will bring us back to the good places again.

737. Rediscovering Jeremiah 31:3 
"I have loved you with everlasting love; I have drawn you with lovingkindness" I had forgotten about this neat verse until I saw it again recently; years ago I read C.S Lewis' interpretation in one of his books (wish I could remember which one): of the master sculptor who will not finish chipping away at his masterpiece until it is perfected, a different drawing us in lovingkindness

738. Proverb 4:1, gleams of light
"The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day."  From  Jesus Lives p 124 "Sorrow (or troubles) shared with Me are permeated with brilliant glitters of joy, like numerous Christmas lights sparkling in the darkness"

739.  My 20th spiritual anniversary 
Twenty years ago, God showed me he was real and I believed Jesus died for me. What a journey it's been! There is no greater adventure than following Jesus. I've written more about my 20th anniversary here.

740. Revelation Song (Kari Jobe)

Worthy is the, Lamb who was slain
Holy, Holy, is He
Sing a new song, to him who sits on
Heaven's mercy seat

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Clothed in rainbows, of living color
Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength and glory and power be
to You the only wise King

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder
At the mention of your name
Jesus your name is power
Breath, and living water
Such a marvelous mystery

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come, yeah
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Saturday, November 23, 2013

My Spiritual 20th Year Anniversary

Twenty years ago, sometime on or around November 16, 1993, I challenged God to prove himself to me, because without proof I could not believe in him. And he took my challenge.

His infinite glory dwelling inside me

He proved himself to me in Job 38:1-7, through the Bible, which I thought was just a bunch of dusty old sayings and bizarre stories.  But those verses touched something deep down in my soul, and I came out of the experience surprised, a little shaken, and very awed.

Twenty years later... what a journey it's been!  A wonderful journey, full of adventure but also some dark and scary places, but I know God was with me through every shadowy valley, and every high and beautiful place.

I want to celebrate some way, but I'm not sure how. other than I know I want to express my thankfulness and joy. How does one celebrate a spiritual anniversary? I could invite my friends and family to a party, but I'm not a party kind of girl. I'm a write-a-story kind of girl. I've been sharing my story here on this blog for the past six years, and it's my way of celebrating my life and my spiritual journey.

Here's what I found on Beth Moore's blog today, My Soul Knows, and it struck me as just the sort of thing I want to talk about on my 20th anniversary of becoming a redeemed daughter of God, sister of Christ.

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    Marvelous are Your works,
    And that my soul knows very well.
     Psalm 139:14 NKJV

It’s the last line that I love so much. Life is hard and all our unanswered questions and unsolvable mysteries can make us feel like we’re getting sucked further and further into a black hole. We can come to the conclusion that there is really very little that we can know and, for the most part, we earthlings are victims of gravity, the soles of our feet stuck to the dirt and growing more callous by the day....
My challenge to you in the midst of all our questions is to behold what we each – individually, not corporately – really do know all the way into the dark folds of our souls. Here’s the 2-part assignment:

1. Complete this sentence: Right now I don’t have any idea… (pick only one thing, the thing that you find most confusing right now or most removed from your knowledgeable reach).

2. But these things my soul knows very well: (Write 5 things you know – really, really know – even in the black of night, even when you don’t feel well, even amid your thousands of other questions.)

So here's my answers:

One thing I don't know, that kind of bothers me:

I don't know if I'm in sin because I still struggle to tell other people about Jesus. If they are interested, oh yes, then I love to share; but if they are annoyed because I'm pushing my beliefs on them, then I don't want to share. Is that selfish? Cowardly? I don't know. I respect other people's beliefs and don't want to trample them. Does it disappoint my God? I don't know. I've been talking to God about it, but so far he hasn't answered me.

But these things I know very well, with all my heart:

1. I know God is real and that he loves me. Yes, every once in a while I wonder if I'm delusional, or maybe brainwashed. But I keep coming back to this: God and His Word are the most amazing and precious things to me. I have come to know him more and more over these past twenty years, and I am thankful for every minute. The relationship continues to grow. He continues to shows me new insights that fill me with wonder.

2. I know I can absolutely trust God. He is absolutely sovereign and in control; he works all things for the good of those that love him and are called according to his purpose. He allows bad things to happen to us for reasons we can't fully comprehend, but the story of Job has shown me again and again that it is ALL WORTH IT.

3. I know that on my own, I am powerless. My head can twist itself up in dangerous thinking, that will lead to isolation, depression, over-eating, and self-loathing, and hurting my loved ones.  I have found freedom in admitting my weakness. Glorious freedom.

4. I know that Heaven is REAL and I can't wait to get there. I know this earth is broken and running down, but I know God will create something new and wonderful and free of darkness, and we will get to explore it for all eternity.

5. I know that I am made in the image of God, and that he has endowed me - and every human being - with a soul that is precious, no matter how dirty or broken it may have become. He has put a little of himself in each of us, and gifted us with amazing creativity. He delights in creation, and he has given us that delight, also.

A life spent following Jesus isn't easy. But the best things aren't produced by "easy" ways. These twenty years have been full... and fulfilled. My life has not been wasted. I am so thankful. 

If you have found this page by some odd chance, take a moment to celebrate with me by leaving a comment, please! Share with me: what do you know, from the deepest part of your soul?