The Gifts Overflow

This habit of thanks is a life-changer.

I realize that I’m only on the tip of the blessings that come from thanks. 
Yet, here at the tip, while there are things in my life that ache, my heart is simultaneously overflowing with gratitude. 

Gifts #99 ~ 122

A picnic with the Blessings on (likely) the last warm day of the year
The peace-making practice of prepping Thanksgiving food early
A 50 pound turkey
Working with my love on a daunting task
Learning to welcome help
Release from decorating expectations
Our Thanksgiving bush

New (to me) music on sale Thanksgiving weekend
Two big stock pots living up to their name, making us gallons of healthy delicious turkey stock as I type
My man on the way home to me
Those familiar arms wrapping me in love
A long-missed brother at our Thanksgiving table

Gifts of love
Family games and laughter
Dear friend come to visit
Snow covered world on Thanksgiving

Artificial tree casting away water/wood floor worries
Three-year old wonder at the Christmas lights/trees
The beginning of the Advent season
Advent Week 1 – Hope – When we take a closer look at the prophecies telling of the Savior’s coming
A thoughtful new Jesse Tree resource
Tracing the story of redemption
Free-to-play music to focus our hearts this season
God in flesh. Bent and raised for my eternity.

This Week’s PHSS (Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs) + Gratitude Monday

Our hymn this week is Awake, My Soul, In Joyful Lays. Here are the lyrics, with some of my favorite lines in bold:

Awake, My Soul, In Joyful Lays
by Samuel Medley

Awake, my soul, in joyful lays,
And sing thy great Redeemer’s praise;
He justly claims a song from me
His lovingkindness, O how free!
Lovingkindness, lovingkindness,
His lovingkindness, O how free!

He saw me ruined by the fall,
Yet loved me notwithstanding all;
He saved me from my lost estate –
His lovingkindness, O how great!
Lovingkindness, lovingkindness,
His lovingkindness, O how great!

Though numerous hosts of mighty foes,
Though earth and hell my way oppose,
He safely leads my soul along
His lovingkindness, O how strong!
Lovingkindness, lovingkindness,
His lovingkindness, O how strong!

When trouble, like a gloomy cloud,
Has gathered thick and thundered loud,
He near my soul has always stood –
His lovingkindness, O how good!
Lovingkindness, lovingkindness,
His lovingkindness, O how good!

Often I feel my sinful heart
Prone from my Jesus to depart;
But though I have Him oft forgot,
His lovingkindness changes not.

Lovingkindness, lovingkindness,
His lovingkindness changes not.

Soon I shall pass the gloomy vale,
Soon all my mortal powers must fail;
O! may my last expiring breath
His lovingkindness sing in death.

Lovingkindness, lovingkindness,
His lovingkindness sing in death.

Soon shall we mount and soar away
To the bright realm of endless day;
And sing with rapture and surprise,
His lovingkindness in the skies.
Lovingkindness, lovingkindness,
His lovingkindness in the skies.

This treasure is #1 in Hymns of Worship and Remembrance. The music with which I’m familiar is written by William Caldwell. I found sheet music, including chords in a pdf for that tune.

Psalm 104.33-35 is our Scripture song this week. One of my Gospel Chapel favorites.
I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.  My meditation of Him shall be sweet, I will be glad (I will be glad) in the LORD.  Bless thou the LORD, O my soul! Praise ye the LORD!

We’re adding in a little chorus this week, both because we love to sing and because I thought it would be fun to add a “spiritual song” to our “psalm” (scripture song) and “hymn” each week. Our focus this month is giving thanks, and I love this reminder.
Count Your Blessings
Count your blessings, name them one by one.
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one.
Count your many blessings, see what God has done!

And speaking of counting blessings…
#’s 79 – 98
Fresh Juice made with loving hands
Forced Relaxation
God-timed visits with grandparents and friends
My Mama’s sweet voice on the other end of the phone line
Late night IM’s with my Papa
Shared tears
Shared laughter
My sin debt – paid in full
Giveaways won
The Ultimate Giveaway – eternal life – so precious and costly, yet freely given
God is good. All the time.
Throne access
The written Word in abundance
The Word hidden in our hearts
The first Adam, picture of the coming second Adam
The Second Adam, completion of promise
Bulbs safe in the ground
Dirt under my fingernails
First lard rendering successfully completed
Spray-painted candlesticks

holy experience

Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,

teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom,

singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,

with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Colossians 3:16

We recently added something to our morning routine of memory work and Bible reading. We choose one hymn and one Scripture song to focus on each week, and sing them daily (or as faithfully as we can). The Blessings are loving it, and so am I.

The Father has used hymns often in my life to remind me of His truths, and I want for our Blessings to have the rich heritage of hymnody. I think that unless we are deliberate about preserving it, our children/grandchildren are likely lose that heritage.

I’d like to make a practice of posting our hymn and Scripture song each week. Prior to this week, we’ve sung Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lamentations 3.22&23, A Debtor to Mercy Alone, and I Chronicles 29.10-13. We’re currently singing A Thousand, A Thousand Thanksgivings and Philippians 4.4 (Rejoice in the Lord Always).

A Thousand, A Thousand Thanksgivings

Thou Life of my life, blessed Jesus,
Thou death of the death that was mine,
For me was Thy cross and Thine anguish,
Thy love and Thy sorrow divine;
Thou suffered the cross and the torment,
That I might forever go free—
A thousand, a thousand thanksgivings,
I bring, blessed Saviour, to Thee!

For me Thou hast borne the reproaches,
The mockery, hate and disdain;
The blows and the spittings of sinners,
The scourging, the shame, and the pain;
To save me from bondage and judgment,
Thou gladly hast suffered for me—
A thousand, a thousand thanksgivings,
I bring, blessed Saviour, to Thee!

O Lord, from my heart I do thank Thee
For all Thou hast borne in my room,
Thine agony, dying, unsolaced,
Alone in the darkness of doom,
That I, in the glory of heaven,
Forever and ever might be—
A thousand, a thousand thanksgivings,
I bring, blessed Saviour, to Thee!

The words are by Ernst C Homburg (1605-1681) and were translated from German by Mrs. Frances Bevan (1827-1909). The music is by Alfred P. Gibbs. It’s #128 in Hymns of Worship and Remembrance (the chapel “black book”).
I couldn’t find a video or even a midi file of it, so I recorded it myself, for those who are not familiar and would like to hear it.  Nothing fancy, and I post it in fear and trembling.  But I know my parents will be thrilled.

A Thousand Thanks

I lay in the dark, sleepless, emotions roiling, saying in my head what I might say aloud if he were awake.

In the midst of my rant comes, “Any other time, I would be thanking God that I’m lying here with your arms around me, with your breath on my neck, and your gentle (for once) snore in my ear. But… (blah, blah, blah about the incident that had me all in a twist)!”

And then the still small voice, “Why don’t you thank Me anyway?”


I began the thanks.
And gradually the hurt, anger, and frustration slipped away, to be replaced by peace, joy, and gratitude.

As I drifted off to sleep, I was reminded that I haven’t established the gratitude habit as I should. I’m seeking to change that, and part of the process will be officially joining the Gratitude Community and trying to post faithfully each Monday. If I slack off, please hold me accountable.

A Thousand Thanks #s 61 – 78

His arms around me as I fall asleep

His gentle snoring

His breath on the back of my neck

Finding out what was making Andrew miserable

Allergic Collitis and the opportunities it brings to die to self

Almond Milk (and dark chocolate almond milk!)

Chocolate without dairy or soy

A foundational school routine that seems to be working for us

Learning flexibility

Principles (versus Boxes)

Ephesians 1 mostly memorized by most of us

Learning to walk in grace

Reminders to give thanks

A three-year-old who loves to cuddle with Mama

Sin discovered

The humbling, heart-breaking, joy-bringing honor of being parents

Friends who encourage and pray

Parents who have lived out unconditional love; who think I’m wonderful even though they know my flaws

holy experience

Preparing for Life

Though autumn has long been one of my favorite seasons, it is generally associated with death.  Is that how you’ve viewed it?

In the “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies” sense, yes, autumn is tied to death, but as I’ve walked in creation this fall, I have been struck by how busily nature is preparing for new life.

Will you walk with me around our pond and catch a glimpse, through my meager photographic offerings, of some of the preparations being made for new life?

Our wise Father has creation sow her seeds throughout the year – some in the spring and summer, to quickly sprout and bear new life; some in autumn, left to winter in the cold hard ground.  He has created the times and the seasons, and His infinite wisdom has devised a planting plan far superior to any we could develop.

So too does He have plans for our lives better than any we could concoct for ourselves. 

Does it feel as if you are in a season of death?  Left to winter in the cold hard ground?  Does it seem unfair?

He knows. 
He sees bigger than I do, than you do. 
He loves greater. 
He works stronger. 
He has a plan.
And He is preparing you.

The Lord brought to mind verses about His ways being higher than ours.  I went to look them up, and was tearfully surprised by the surrounding verses.  I’ll hush and let Him speak:

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:6-11