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It’s been many many years since I have made a New Year’s Resolution. I have done various reflection activities and chosen verses and words for given years, which I’m doing this year as well. I’ll write more on that someday. But I am excited to report that this year’s resolution is to walk every single day no matter what or weather or where. It doesn’t sound life altering or even exciting, but it is. It is exciting because I can. Since about 2013, I have struggled physically with a sort of nameless dysfunction. It falls under autoimmune disorders but I don’t have a specific name to give you. It also wasn’t just one thing, but I’m going to spare you lots of boring details. Let’s just say, there were many days in the last 4 years when I could not physically take a walk, I could not stand to do dishes, I could not lift my arms to knit. I could sit or lie down for most of the day. On days when I could move about, I may get only part way through a walk before my man would run home and get the car or my daughter would come get me. My son still asks before we head off to town on foot if I’m sure I won’t crash. If we are going up steps, I notice my teens check back over their shoulders or reach back to grab my hand or arm to make sure I’m gonna make it to the top. Tears come as I realize how early they’ve had to care for their not-so-old-Momma. And they’ve done it very well. 

I wasn’t looking for a resolution, it just kind of came quietly as I realized how much I was desiring to move and exercise. Over the last few months I’ve actually been able to work out and move so much more without having major ‘crashes’. I haven’t had to nap in months. Huge! (more tears) So at the very end of December I decided I would walk every day for at least 10 minutes no matter the weather. And the super fantastic thing is I’ve even gone all by my own self a couple times! And I did not worry that I would have to call for a rescue from my family. I feel like such a big girl now. And I’m generally out for longer than 10 minutes too. And I shoveled today, the hard stuff at the end of driveway after the plow comes by even! I’m getting carried away, & I promise not to give a play by play of every physical activity I do via social media. 😊 I am just so thrilled and grateful that God has given me back the ability to move more than I could. It’s not where I was once was, and I’m really ok with that. I am happy to do what I can right now. Last night was a short walk because I felt like I was coming down with what my son has been fighting for a few days. I wanted to walk more, but I listened to the Holy One as He whispered it was enough. I needed to rest. Today I got to tromp through snow, which is about one of my favorite things to do. This whole journey has been amazing because God took my focus off just getting better and put it right on HIM. Today was fun walking with Him through my neighborhood, but I’m reminded that it was also pretty amazing to know He was right there with me when I couldn’t move from the hammock swing and had to wait for Parker to carry me in the house. 

I walk everyday cuz I can, & I think He wants to celebrate that with me. But what I love the best is that whether I’m walking or napping, alive or dead, my Jesus is with me going through every part of all eternity with me ALWAYS. Nothing can separate me from HIM. Yeah, I’m way excited about that. 

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When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The “worst” is never the worst. Why? Because the Master won’t ever walk out and fail to return. If he works severely, he also works tenderly. His stockpiles of loyal love are immense. He takes no pleasure in making life hard, in throwing roadblocks in the way. Lamentations 3:28-33

Yesterday Kris shared another guest post on her blog, and honestly I was not able to really sit and read it until this morning. And yet again, God’s timing is perfect. It. Always. Is. 

To be perfectly honest, today is a sad day for me. Never, in all the years of voting, have I left a poll barely able to restrain sobs. I could not hide the tears that rolled down my face as I made my way quickly to the car. I didn’t have to explain to the kind gentleman offering the “I voted” sticker why I refused it, I think he understood my tears. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to voting or stickers. Although, as a rule, I don’t like stickers on my clothes and I’m quite sure there’s a much better use of money than buying stickers. I’m sure I’m a disappointment to many with these words, but I just don’t buy into the idea that what I did today makes much of a difference. Maybe in the past it did, I hope so but I honestly don’t know. I’m sharing my heart here, so take it for what you will. It won’t be long before the losing side claims that the voting was corrupt or fixed or whatever. By no means is this all over at the end of the day. I am grateful to live here and ever so thankful for the freedoms we have, but quite aware we cannot take those for granted. Those freedoms are not guaranteed. I generally don’t let these things get me down, I know God is in charge and aware. I’m actually very excited to see what He has planned. I trust Him. I do not trust our system or the people in it. We know it’s not perfect, but it’s what we have. So, as a “good American”, I did my duty. And I’m just sad, so I let the sobs come thanking Him for such a way to release and heal. 

I came home and read what I had set aside for today and this passage from Lamentations hugs my heart. I also love how it is said in the NIV ’84:

Let him sit alone in silence, for the LORD has laid it on him. Let him bury his face in the dust-there may yet be hope. Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace. For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. For He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.  Lamentations 3:28-33

My tears and frustration and doubt are welcome in the arms of God. He bends low and holds me close reminding me that He knows what He is doing and that my true freedom is in Christ which cannot be taken by anybody. He is so very present & working in the waiting of everything in this world. He cannot be removed and He is not defined by outcomes in this earthly realm. And I can add yet another entry in my eucharisteo journal – voting with tears in the 2016 Presidential Election. 


Yesterday, Mandy Lawrence-Hill shared her insights on what God does in the waiting. It’s a beautiful testament of our God. 

http://kriscamealy.com/the-gift-of-waiting/


This quote from Come, Lord Jesus: the Weight of Waiting seeps right into my heart this Tuesday morning.  It often, sometimes daily, FEELS as if I’m still captive to my sin and brokenness.  It does today if I may be so transparent.  I scrolled through the quotes from this beautiful Advent book, and Jesus had me rest on this one.  Regardless of my feelings, I am not imprisoned by my sin or my brokenness.  I am captivated by the HOPE of Jesus – of His first coming as a babe in a crèche, of His promised return, and the reality that He walks this present day with me.  Not only does His hope seep deep in the brokenness of my physical body and heart, HE Himself penetrates and surrounds and goes before and brings up the rear.  And I am left to praise Him.


The goal is not to get somewhere or someone or something, the goal is to acknowledge & celebrate the presence of Jesus on the journey. EVERYTHING you could ever need or want is already walking beside you, gone before you, and brings up the rear. This is relationship with Jesus, God Almighty, Holy Spirit; doing life with the AUTHOR. Sharing each thrill & heartache and always having THE ONE who loves you best. 

Thank YOU from the depths of my heart & soul. 

Hosea 14:8  I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.
Lamentations 3:24  I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!”.


Psalm 139:5  You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.


Fifty-seven days ago, I started posting pictures that brought me joy on Instagram after reading another’s post inviting people to look for & post the “joy”in their lives. It’s been fun, joyful even. 😊 There have been days in which I did not feel like posting anything. However, the whole point of the challenge is to look for the joys of life, especially on the days we’re not feeling it. Even if we’re not feeling it for really good reasons. Such was the case yesterday. 
Day 56/100 #100daysoffindingjoy this little guy crawled right into my “finding joy” picture and helped me to smile today. Planted these last night and knew I wanted to feature them today. Having a hard time feeling joy today given the events happening on this globe. The most publicized in my corner of the globe is the shooting in Orlando. And the more I see in the media, the sadder I become. Sad because it happened and people are hurting and just gone, sad because the editorials I see just reinforce the divisions among people, sad because death and destruction are just a part of our reality and many, many people are destroyed daily but never get any media coverage. My heart just hurts for the hurts of this world. I was reminded today that Jesus told us that in this world we will have troubles, but to take heart because He has overcome this world. So I rest in that and in Him. And I pour out my requests for those hurting and my frustration of all that will be said in social media because of this tragedy and I find joy in the life of beautiful plants and bright green insects and in the security of knowing that God is God and that I don’t have to understand or even have answers. #100dayproject #1000gifts #eucharisteo #succulents #gardens

   
    
    
 
Always…each day, throughout each day He restores my soul. He doesn’t always do it in the same way. Different seasons and in different places, He chooses different things or experiences. I don’t know how He will do it each day, but I know that I can count on Him to always restore me. And I count the eucharisteo (those things for which I’m thankful) in my journal or through photos to keep a record of all He does and is. 

Thank You, Abba!

  

No matter how crazy or out of control this world appears, it is still His and He remains in control always. Many nights I fall asleep with these words scrolling through my mind. Thank You, LORD JEHOVAH for Your truth! 

When I focus on Him and His truth, this world is not so scary & my anxieties fade away…

I woke up this morning with this idea scrolling through my brain.  It was one of those ideas that wouldn’t go away, and I felt my Daddy saying, “Yup, this is me, wake up Sunshine and get busy!” Yes, He calls me Sunshine sometimes. 😉  It’s an assignment for my kids and I have invited my man into it if he so chooses.  We often do this assignment as a family discussion, but lately the oldest of our kids is out and about, which limits full family discussions.  She’s not home this morning as she spent the night with friends after their high school program at church last night.  This is one of the very fun benefits of home schooling.  She takes advantage of it as much as possible. 🙂  Thankfully this internet/email technology affords me the ability to send assignments even when she’s gone.  I truly intended this only for my family’s benefit, but then another whisper came.  It would also be fun to invite you all into this assignment.  So, if you feel led, please jot down your list for this day and share with us.  This blogging world has definitely made my list.  I feel like God has introduced me to new friends and sisters and brothers.  He knows just how to connect His kids and when.  Thanks Daddy!  So, I’m just going to paste into this post my original email to my precious Loves.  I am looking forward to reading some of your lists.  Hugs Precious Ones!!

I woke up thinking about this and it wouldn’t go away. Thus, I’m doing it. Cannot promise or threaten, however you all want to see this, that this will happen every day. But for today, here it is! I want you to email me (you do not have to reply to all unless you want all to read it) or both Dad and myself your response. Today is a list. Just a list. You certainly may include explanation with any list item in which you feel led. Personally, I will be adding my list to my eucharisteo journal. I want your list to be as long as possible. When you run out of things, ask God to reveal more. I’m not going to give you a limit or a minimum number of things, just write from your heart and what God reminds you of. Ok, no, it cannot be too short. If it is, I’ll respond back to you asking for more. 🙂

Today what are you truly thankful for?

I woke up this morning hearing Dad and Garrett getting ready to go to Trader Joe’s and to a warm puppy curled up beside me…my heart immediately began to thank God for:
Daddy and the man he is to me and all of you
a warm puppy who curls up between my knees every day
a promise of eternal life because of Jesus
3 amazing kids that I get to school either home or via email 😉
an upcoming Jamaica trip that brings me to prayer and kind of tears every day
a home to clean and decorate and heal and live in
beautiful trees that surround our home
a season to look forward to gardening and beautiful flowers coming soon
dark mornings so I appreciate the bright ones even more
hand drawn cards
a beautiful girl bent over paper sketching, always sketching something
a beautiful girl standing at keyboard studying and figuring out the notes, singing, always singing and leading me into worship
a beautiful girl singing along quietly with sister adding to my worship
a strong and handsome boy who shows his mumsy affection and kindness and strength every day
my two men hanging out and just doing life together; like yard work or grocery shopping
the humming and silly songs of my man child
the sound of the coffee grinder and aroma of fresh coffee
the sizzling of eggs on an iron skillet
mornings, for His mercies are truly new every morning…all fears from the previous night are gone and He is loving us and preparing us and our future that always is with HIM!
a Sissy that makes us smile and laugh who loves us so
Ben who has come back to Jesus and loves His truth, he’s come back to all of us
the hope that the others will as well…
a big family with lots of littles to knit for and love on!
OakPointe Church and the truth it speaks/Bob, Mark, Chelsie, Rick, Christi, Celeste & Sarah
read alouds with my youngest 2, (I miss you being here for these, Riley Quin)

precious friends that I know are praying for me and are always there

I think I could keep going, but that whole coffee line is distracting me. I love you all to the moon and back and then some. You are each a gift to me every single day. You are my immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine! Thank you Loves. Thank you!

Big hugs & so sweet kisses,
Momma/Lori Jean

It’s 10:10 a.m. where I live.  I’m curious to see if I hear from my kids first or from some of you.  🙂

Ephesians 3:20-21

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen.

IMG_7705I woke up this morning to a less than bright room.  I figured it was a cloudy day and realized I did actually have to get up and start this day.  I have a most magnificent picture window in the front room of our house which I call our library.  It’s technically the living room of our home, but it is full of books and our piano and there’s no bothersome television and it has a great window with wooden panes that create 9 boxes in which I get to look out over the front garden.  As I came out of the hallway I could see the beautiful snow falling freshly over the garden and piles of old snow.  My heart automatically began to praise our God who created this thing called snow.  Living in Michigan and being on FaceBook, one gets to read all sorts of complaints and various post about our weather.  I’m always surprised at the number of people who are shocked that we have a winter and snow.  These are not people who are new to Michigan.  I’m not trying to be cranky, but it is this time of year that I am truly weary of said complaints.  And it’s not just FaceBook, although that certainly allows for exposure to more complaints.  Any social interaction one has generally ends up in some discussion of our weather.  Perhaps this happens in other states, I do not know as I have only ever lived in Michigan.  I really do love the diversity of our seasons, I am well aware that I am in the minority this day in my delight over this March snow.  As I was scrolling through FaceBook, a certain post caught my heart and I was prompted to write this.  It was not meant in any way other than humor, because I know the heart of this dear one who posted it.  She referred to Mother Nature and it was lighthearted and even funny.  But the Holy One quickly brought to mind the verse posted in the picture above.  This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24  And as I read through other politically charged world events, my heart kept rejoicing in the fact that our God is in charge completely, He chooses ultimately what will happen each day in our lives right down to the weather.  Yeah, I know that weather can be bad, really bad, but I know that I don’t and cannot understand all the ways of God.  But I know that our days are not left up to Mother Nature or whatever the government is attempting to do to take more of our freedoms or grant more freedom, depending on who you are listening to.  I rest in the fact that He does what He does regardless of the season that the calendar dictates.  If He chooses to shower us with lovely snow kisses the third day of March, I’ll take it.  I’ll take whatever He brings because I know who I believe and know that He is able to complete what He has started in my life and the lives of all the people who are in this world in this time period in which He has placed us.  I know that if God is for us, NOTHING can stand against us.  We don’t have to be swept away in the complaints of this world or the fear that is so easily spread through social media or conversations.  We can be still and know that He is God, He will be exalted in the nations and in the world and He will fight for us and never leave us.  We truly can FEAR NOT because He goes before us, surrounds us, and has our backs all at the same time.  That’s our God, our Father, our Savior, our Holy Guide.  Those of you who have accepted His salvation, this is your reality.  Those who have not, please ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a new way, talk out your doubts or concerns or whatever is holding you back from truly trusting or believing in Him.  He doesn’t dislike our doubts, He came to us to obliterate our doubts and fears.  Believe Him.  He will not let you down.  Oh how He loves us.

YOU unravel me, LORD GOD!! These are the words of the song that spoke to my heart all day yesterday.  I’m no longer a slave to fear.  I am a child of God.  (No Longer Slaves written by Jonathan Helser, Joel Case, & Brian Johnson/2014 Bethel Music Publishing (ASCAP)).  I encourage you to go to YouTube and watch the video.  It’s just WOW!

And I encourage you to just dance with our God this day.  Ask Him to open your eyes to all He has for you this day.  Enjoy Him, because He is crazy in love with you and rejoices over you with singing and quiets you with His LOVE.

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