Calvary Love, Motherhood and Patience

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photo credit: Jacek.NL via photopin (license)

“If I have not the patience of my Saviour 

with the souls who grow slowly; 

if I know little of travail (a sharp and painful thing) 

till Christ be fully formed in them, 

then I know nothing of Calvary love.” 

 ~ Amy Carmichael

Today, I am sharing from the MOM  Archives…a story  from when things were beginning to get hard communicating with my then budding preteen aged daughter.

I know hard places…dry places, the weary and broken places…I guess that’s why I look forward to the upcoming journey with Ann Voskamp through Faithway as she shares her online Bible Study– check out the link – to see if it’s something for you! Meanwhile, I pray this story/poem blesses you in some way today…

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#1000 Gifts and Counting – New Journal Reveal!

My 2014 Joy Dare- counting blessings daily. 
My (not so) Secret journal is one I began with many, along with Ann Voskamp. I dedicated a small notebook to the exclusive task of the counting. 
By my bedside is where I prefer it. But, on a bad day, or a desperate one, I’ll grab it and take it with me. I toss it in the book bag, or purse. Because when I feel least grateful, and the storms are kicking up, and when I lose sight of God. I do this one thing. I look hard and seek. I start my counting and it saves me. It is this continued practice…that keeps me, and my eyes heaven-bound, instead of bound by the things on earth that bind me. 
Yes, I’m a little late in my jumping back into this particular journal activity, but after looking at the fancier ones, I set my feet to the drugstore and once again purchased a simple Cambridge-Mead Notebook– This particular one is just the right size for me to hold and write in anywhere. It has a heavy card-stock cover which is great for my ModPodge collage cover. It also has a pocket, although I did not use it much, but one never knows. It has 140 pages and measures 7 in x 4 3/8 in. 
I actually also kept an online count separately- on Mondays, but I am unsure if I will continue. The Monday post, that is, not the counting!
I don’t do the three a day that Ann prompts, but I just count away as they come! 
Here is the first journal dedicated exclusively to the counting to 1000 and beyond. 
After perusing many fancier journals, this habit gently nudged me to stay with the simple spiral bound notebook that escorted me through my first counting of thousands…
Side by side, new and old.  

The first gifts...

My last counted gift…onward! 
Will you be keeping a Blessing or Gratitude Journal this year? 
Will you count your blessings?
Will you take this Joy Dare– right where you are?

1000 Gifts Devotional by Ann Voskamp (Book Review/Giveaway)

I read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Life Fully Right Where You Are, about a year and a half ago. This best seller introduces readers to a word, Eucharisteo and a philosophy of living in light of the grace of God, as it says, right where you are. This idea of giving thanks always and living in the awareness of the brevity and fragility of life with joy is the theme of One Thousand Gifts. It inspired me to start counting along with a whole community of others who were counting their gifts to 1000 and more. When I was contacted about receiving the devotional One Thousand Gifts: Reflections On Finding Every Day Graces, which is based on the book, I was thrilled to have the daily refresher from this humble, much loved author. If you are not familiar with Ann Voskamp’s writing, she shares her child filled, Canadian farmer’s wife life at her blog called A Holy Experience. Considered one of the most influential Christian women of our day, Ann writes about giving thanks in the sometimes harsh realities of daily life.

What I love most about this book is that the length of the 60 individual devotional readings are not to short or long but just the right amount. Ann has a writing style that takes a bit of grasping. Tender and beautiful, it can be like catching glimpses of deep truths while gasping for air. She does not always follow straightforward sentence structure, which can leave you feeling, at times inspired and deeply moved, but at other times slightly exasperated! Her heart is poured out on paper and her courage shared is powerful. She shares with a gentle graciousness, and honesty that is hard to describe unless you read her for yourself.

Each devotion begins with a scripture, continues in Ann’s unique, in the moment, voice which brings you up close to the grace of God: “Gratitude is not only the memories of our heart; gratitude is a memory of God’s heart and to thank is to remember God.”
“This is the crux of Christianity: to remember and give thanks, eucharisteo.”
These are very much like her blog posts (possibly some portions are from posts?) but edited down to a very manageable daily portion. Each devotion is titled for a different grace: Humble Grace, Dark Grace, Small Grace, Wedded Grace, Standing Grace. As she herself believes, ALL is grace. Each devotional thought ends with a brief, heartfelt prayer, and a few lines for you to add your own thoughts, prayers of graces.
The first part of the book is reserved for these devotions but the second half (pages 205-245) are for you to personalize and begin counting “1000 Ways He Loves You…” Included are some quotes and the numbering of 1 to 1000. This makes this devotional/journal a great launching pad for you if you have not started listing your “gifts”, but also makes for a great gift. The book itself is beautifully covered with a bird in hand pictured and includes a pretty blue ribbon to keep your place.

A gift for you or a friend. For those who enjoy Ann’s Blog and book already, you won’ be disappointed, but thoroughly blessed with this treasure. This is a lovely devotional.

I received a copy of this book through Shelton Interactive in return for a review.
All opinions are my own.

Shelton Interactive has offered to give one winner a copy of Ann Voskamp’s book.

Giveaway Directory
Reading List: Cozy Reading Spot

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Where My Heart Belongs (5 Minute Friday: Belong)

This sweet gift was outside the door at our vacation cabin in Maine.

Well, Ann Voskamp is hosting Lisa-Jo Baker’s 5 Minute Friday this week, and we are all excited with this sweet surprise.
So, join us and write your heart out for 5 minutes. 
Ann chose the prompt, “Belong”
*******
It’s funny, I was just thinking I was invisible. So often I feel I don’t belong. I mean I do belong. Here, right? I mean, after all He put me here…in this place, at this time, gave me the desires of my heart. Yet it still creeps right in to my stream of conscience. That voice. It’s alien, yet clear. “You don’t really belong.” My mind reels. I reject it. Taking that thought captive to the obedience of His great, unfathomable love. For me. Sometimes I don’t feel like I belong. Heck, most times. But I do, belong. We all belong. To Him who belongs to we who believe. To  all…Oh, but I long to know it through me. Like an inside out hug. All the way through, I long to belong. 
Five Minute Friday

No Bad Beach Days {The Requirements of Friendship}

To myself I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me. ~Isaac Newton
It was a grey day following a stream of hot, sunny days that bore down on our little state sticky and relentless. But, it was the day we had planned to go to the beach. The official Beach Day. 
This one grey day, with 70 percent chance of rain threatening our anticipated plans.
Yet, there was beauty in it.
When you live this close to the ocean- a hop, skip and a jump away,
others from everywhere do like to come and play.
But not on a grey day. 
Not on a day when sweatshirts and blankets from Fall will make an impromptu appearance in June. And although the concession stand was closed, the bathrooms were open. 
What do brave and crazy children care if the sun is beating, or not, because once they arrive they pick up as if the sun is shining anyway. Into the chilly water, back out, rolling in sand, and digging in coolers looking for more and still more. Ball throwing, walking, wrestling and talking. Surfing and soaking in salty air. Minus the sun.
Minus, sweat and sunshine and sunburns.
Minus forgotten reapplication of sunscreen.
Minus overcrowded beach sand.
Yet, still this.
Beach chairs, blankets, books and conversation.
Friendship does not miss what it does not need.

And what does friendship require…
but present, willing, available hearts.
Friendship does not require sunshine and better still, there really are no bad beach days.
Life is better when we roll with what we get and make the best of it.
Because there is beauty to be had in it.
And in the end the rain never came. 
“Giving thanks to God is what ushers one into the very presence of God. And this is why He asks us to always give thanks. He comes to those with open, grateful hands. ~Ann Voskamp

 (From One Thousand Gifts Devotional -pictured above-which I will be reviewing soon but will tell you this. I am really enjoying these short but beautifully profound devotions from this best selling and dearly loved author!)
Linking with:
Christian Mommy Blogger for Fellowship Friday!

Reading List: Cozy Reading Spot
1-Minute Bible Love Notes
Missional Women


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