It's Thursday, and I'm thankful

Weeks roll by faster than the stuffing at Thanksgiving dinner when I need to have a post up each Thursday!  Believe me, it's a great blogging habit - gets me on a schedule.

It's Thursday again.

I'm thankful for rain - we need it.

I'm thankful for the presence of God in my life- I need Him.

I'm thankful for my kids- they still need me. :)

Your turn, once again.  What are you thankful for today, this week, this moment?

the good, the bad and the ugly

Those three have been my close friends the past few weeks.  If you notice in that phrase, there's only one positive to two negatives.  I think that's because in this life of ours to live, the bad and the ugly are there all the time, even when the good is present.  Each day has its fill and its share of all three. Even Paul talks about this in the Bible, when he speaks about doing the good he wants to do

but the bad is right there with him.

This whole concept is nothing new.  But it seems like the latter two have sure had their hayday recently in my life, and I'm constantly needing to look for the good.

And with God,  I find it.  Somedays it's like hacking through jungle vines to get to it, but it's there.  The bad and the ugly want to turn my thoughts away from the good things in my life and from God himself,  but if I can hack the clearing big enough - and that takes effort and work - righteousness and hope and healing take center stage and I can smile again.

When you're deep into the bad and the ugly, you have to look for the good.  I need to remember that God has already won the war, even when I'm fighting the battle.  And that's a reason to get up in the morning.

I'm thankful it's Thursday...

Keeping in the tradition of stopping by here to leave a comment of what you're thankful for every Thursday, I thought I'd start us out with just one piece of praise from me.

I'm thankful because....

  it's Thursday.

It's been a long week.  But yet a good one, and I'm watching God move and change people and work things out.

But there are times I could still use a nap.

So, what are you thankful for today?

What to write, what to write?

I've been asking Corey Schwartz, a writing partner, that question a lot this past week.  Ugh.  So many ideas- how do I know which to give my hours, time, commitment and devotion to?  What if I slave away for days, dismissing chocolate and all things lovely, only to produce something that won't submit, much less sell?  How much time should one put into any idea before they figure out whether to embrace it or scrap it? 

When do we stop the madness??????? 

Then I read this excellent blog post this morning by Darcy Pattison, and thought I'd share it here with you all.  It helps to answer my rambling brain's question.

"I've started a new novel: it’s plotted, has character sketches, did research for certain aspects of it, and rewrote a first chapter in about 5 different voices until I’m happy with it.

But the new novel never really caught my passion. I’m interested, love the premise, think the characters have great potential and I’d really like to read this book. Really.

But somehow, the passion never came. The drive to get to the computer to see what happens next, to make the next section come to life.

So, one day, I started reading through all the old novels that life in bits and bytes on my computer and — well, one caught my interest. It’s a novel that was too edgy when I wrote it, and now, seems tame in comparison to today’s edgy. But, with some work, some revision, maybe. . .

Last week and this week, I can’t wait to get to the computer and work. This is the right story to be working on right now: its time has come.

Sometimes, we wander through this writing life not knowing what to work on next, where to turn. What story would sell the best, what would please editors or readers? Wrong questions: where’s the passion? I know I”m doing some of the best work I’ve ever done on this story because, finally, I’ve found a story that excites me. Finally, I care."

Love that.

How do you know when to pursue an idea and when to leave it behind?  Leave a comment - I'd love to know!

Take a minute... give thanks this Thursday.  If you are new to my blog, this Thursday thing is a small tradition I started here to remind me and you to pause, take a moment, and count the good stuff going on.  After all, there's always going to be the bad, the undesirable, the un-asked for things in our lives. But in amongst that are pockets of joy, contentment, and peace if we look for them.

The main question we have to ask ourselves is this - Which set of circumstances are we going to focus on?

Your entire day depends on it.

I'll start us off...

  I'm thankful for cooler weather! (really, I am)

  For all the kids I get to work with every day who make me laugh and smile.

  For having a God big enough to handle what's coming my way today, if I'll only I'll get out of the way and let Him.

Leave your thankful comment below. Let's encourage each other with what's going right in our lives!

speak to me

I love my nail salon. I really do.

I love the sweet, hard working Asian couple who own it.

I love patronizing their business and helping them succeed.

I love their talent and their thoroughness and their attention to detail.

But frankly, the place is an enigma to me.

On my first visit, one of the manicurists stood out immediately by the mere fact that she was not Asian.  Although it seemed unusual that they would employ a single American as part of their team, I really didn't give it too much thought.

Until she spoke.

I listened in silent wonder as this woman - who I was sure was their token American worker - chattered effortlessly in fluent Asian-ese with everyone else who worked in the salon.  It was hard for me to take my eyes off of her as unfamiliar syllables flowed out of her mouth as easy as apple pie.  The contradiction of her English look and her not-so-English language was hard to wrap my brain around.

My next visit, I got Miss Not-So-American as my manicurist.  In talking to her over filing and nail polish, I discovered she had a daughter that worked at the very store my daughter and I were going to be shopping at that afternoon.  Perfect!  I thought.  Maybe seeing her daughter would put another piece into the puzzle I still hadn't figured out.  I asked her who to ask for; what her daughter looked like.  "Oh", she replied.  "Just ask for Kimberly.  She's a little Asian girl....."

Rats.  This wasn't helping at all.

We met Kimberly that afternoon.  Beautiful Asian young woman.  Hard to believe, with a mother that looked like she'd stepped straight off the Mayflower.  The puzzle was still incomplete.

I simply resigned to never being able to figure it out.  I decided that when at the salon, I'll continue in wonder at the mismatch of persona and language and that will be that.

But the clincher was my next appointment.

The owner of the salon, an Asian gal who looked like she should be speaking another language, was doing my nails.  In the middle of it, she got a phone call.  Opening her phone, I heard her say, "Hello? Oh, hi Mom.  How are you?"  It was her mother.  And their entire conversation was in plain, understandable-by-me English.

I had to smile.

Only in America.

National Day of Encouragement

Do you know that today is the National Day of Encouragement?  And to celebrate, the wonderful gals at  (in)courage recently gave away free packs of the new Dayspring Hope and Encouragement line of greeting cards to those of us who requested them and promised in turn to use one to specifically encourage someone in our lives and then blog about it.  So here I am.

I sent out one of the Hope and Encouragement cards to a very dear friend who works in our Life Development office at Davisville Church where I am on staff.  She has recently been through a difficult health diagnosis, and with two small boys at home (and one wonderful husband), she has been facing some rough waters.  I sent the card with a lot of hope and prayer that the days ahead will be full of God's strength, peace and understanding as she charts her way along this new chapter in her life.  I am planning to use others of the pack just for her, as she is someone who stands out in my life right now as needing some daily doses of encouragement.

It's good to invest in others; taking the time to call, send a card, write an email.    Because I never know when the day will come when I might be on the other end of the encouragement need-line - the receiving end.

Thanks, (in)courage and Dayspring for helping me to be a better encourager!

Who can you encourage today, and how will you do that?

fountain of youth

I try to keep up with looking good at my age.  I really do.

But I don't go overboard on products, realizing there really is no miracle lotion that will tighten, smooth, de-wrinkle and clarify all at the same time.  And that's about what I'd need any beauty cream to do to make it worth my money.

This is not to say that the occasional product doesn't catch my eye, though.  I always figure maybe my newest discovery via television commercial is finally the stuff that's gonna be transforming.  Like throwing out a life preserver, I hope that I'll catch the fountain of youth after all and won't have to continually Cover Girl those imperfections I see.

So I bought the latest and greatest.  And as I opened the bag to pull out what I beheld as the serum of unblemished life,  I called down the hallway to my perfectly and tightly skinned 20 year old daughter, " Look what I got today!  It's called Dramatic Firming Cream."

She called back, "Let's hope it works," as she shut the bathroom door.

Hey. I heard that.  

And now, this is war.

Thanks on Thursday

I cannot believe how quickly Thursday rolls around....

Let's be thankful!

For me, I'm thankful for...

1.  Good news this week that will be forthcoming on this blog as soon as it can!

2.  Healthy kids.

3.  Stable jobs.

Your turn.  Leave a comment below with what you are thankful for today. 

bloom where you're planted

Through a series of unfortunate events, Joseph ended up in Potiphar's house after being sold by his brothers.  (Imagine how good that made him feel inside.)  The longer he lived in Potiphar's house, the better the situation got for Joseph.  Potiphar was finding that he didn't have to worry about one thing (except his food, we're told) as long as Joseph was around- everything was being managed perfectly well by this new import. 

Can you picture the joy on Potiphar's face?  He's beaming with an I-sure-could-get-used-to-this kind of smile.   And in all of it, the beautiful fact is that Joseph was just being Joseph. God had gifted him with the natural abilities to oversee, manage, arrange, coordinate and handle everything assigned to him and he was living up to every part of it. 

Enter Potiphar's wife.  Enter more unfortunate events. 

Lies, blame, and false accusations land Joseph in jail for a crime he didn't commit.

Unfair? Yes.  Worth fighting against? I would think so.  But Joseph continues to be Joseph.  Seemingly without complaining, he realizes that God has allowed his address to change, but not his abilities.  Soon, the prison is running swimmingly as Joseph once again rises to the top of the managerial ladder and all of those around him realize this is one talented individual.

I can't say I would have reacted like Joseph did.  I'm thinking I would have been so busy trying to get out of this unwelcome plan B and back to the way my life was during plan A that I wouldn't have been attempting to see how God might use me in this new situation.

Shame on me.

This account in Genesis 39 gives fresh meaning to the phrase, "Bloom where you're planted."  God can use you anywhere.

You just have to stop asking "why" long enough to stop and let God show you how.

too busy for God

Life these past few weeks has been busy.



The house has been like Grand Central.  College kids packing, leaving, and me cleaning up in their wake.  Company coming, having a blast, then they too had to go.  Taking on a whirlwind day at the shore the day before school started.  And, school starting.

It's enough to wear any sane person out for a little while.

In contrast, with all of that activity over, this weekend is a chunk of silence.  And surprisingly, I wasn't too happy about that.  I love the busy-ness.  I love the revolving door.  I love the action and activity.

But I've noticed something about myself when life gets like that.

I've noticed that God can easily get put on the back burner.

And that's not where He should be.  He should be front and center, all the time, every day.

Quietness will bring me back to that.  Back to Him.  Back to the way things should be.  And maybe next time when I get so busy, I'll also get a little balance.

How do you balance your busy-ness and your God?

thanks - it's thursday....

What's going on about you that you can be thankful for today?

Some of you will have to dig deep, others will be brimming with ideas on the surface.  Either way - there's something.

For me, I'm thankful that my three children are all happily back at their respective schools and are moving along in their life's journey.

I'm thankful that school has started and I've returned to my job as a librarian's assistant at our two local elementary schools.

I'm thankful that it's not supposed to be 95 degrees tomorrow...finally.

Your turn!

Leave a comment below telling us what you're thankful for.

You never know just who might need to hear about it......