Friday, February 27, 2009

Gratitude 16--Feeling Clean

This week all in our family are finally well. With family coming in to town this weekend--and dust so thick I was concerned small critters might find it a great place to burrow--I decided it was time to clean. I don't mind cleaning. In fact, I was very thankful to be able to clean this week. Some things that made me sigh with contentment and whisper, "Thank you, Lord," include:

1. The smell of clean.
2. Brooms.
3. Mops.
4. Dustpans.
5. Open windows.
6. Antibacterial wipes.
7. Ironing boards.
8. Electric irons.
9. Washing machines.
10. Dryers.
12. Clean Sheets.
12. Dust clothes that capture the dust instead of dislocating it so it can settle elsewhere when I have left the room and am not looking.
13.Windows with children's fingerprints. They won't always have them.
14. Clean windows that will gather more fingerprints.
15. Glass table tops that shine.
16. Sinks without toothpaste or whiskers.
17. Bathtubs with a basket of toys but no soap ring.
18. Polished china hutch from Greatgrandma.
19. Nativity figurines that sparkle in the light.
20. A bedside table without used kleenex, waterbottles, or empty glasses.
21. Being able to sit a book on the now clean bedside table.
22. The removal of dead spiders and their magnum opi.
23. Carpets that are not covered with a few layers of white hair haplessly deposited by a lovable Lab-experiment.
24. Woodfloors that no longer serve as a habitation for an entire colony of dust bunnies.
25. Bleached white sinks.
26. Mirrors that show one's reflection, not toothpaste splatters.
27. Tile floors that don't make you nervous to walk barefooted.
28. Green plants without the dead leaves of neglect.
29. Books in order on shelves.
30. Getting rid of the nuclear experiment that spilled in the microwave.
31. The satisfaction of a job finished.
32. The sleep of contented tiredness.
Monday, February 16, 2009

Gratitude 15--Slow Mornings

This morning my littlest one woke up too warm and pretty queazy, so we had a slow morning. While I hate when my family is sick, there are so many things about slow morning that I love.

Thank you, Lord, for slow mornings and all they entail.

1. Warm blankets.
2. Snuggle buddies.
3. A Big Bed with room for everyone.
4. Clifford the Big Red Dog.
5. Soft pillows.
6. Soft sheets.
7. Poodles that like to lie on our toes.
8. The sun slipping through the window.
9. Birds singing praise to you.
10. Cool washcloths.
11. Meds to bring down fevers.
12. Being able to lie in bed and doze.
13. The sound of a daughter's voice wandering down the hall as she prays in her room.
14. Little hands that pat my face.
15. Small fingers that wrap around mine for comfort.
16. Arms to hold precious jewels we call children.
17. Gentle music.
18. Cold water.
19. Overhead fans.
20. The amazing sound of a child's breath while he sleeps.
21. The privilege of being a mom.
22. The ability to rub aching muscles.
23. The soft voice that says, "I'm glad you're here, Mom."
24. The knowledge that when I am looking at that sleeping face, I am beholding one of the great masterpieces of all time.
25. Knowing you are right there with us, curled up in the bed, listening, loving, healing.
Saturday, February 14, 2009

Just Another Day

The smell of chocolate chip cookies baking fills the house.

Laughter comes from the children's bedrooms where they play together as brother and sister and best friends.

The man of my dreams sits across the room from me reading his Bible, seek the Lord, desiring wisdom.

Three four-legged family members lie like furry rugs on the floor, breathing softly, warm, making our family complete.

I sit with my computer taking in the smells, sounds, and sights. A smile crosses my face. Joy fills my heart.

This is the place love resides. These are the ones from whom it flows. This is where I find it, day in and day out.

On the counter sit three cards, two addressed to "Mom" and one addressed to "My Wife". They are pretty. I have already forgotten what they said.

However, I remember earlier this week, the precious boy with wiggling toes lying on my bed with me, reading favorite book after favorite book, letting my silenced vocal chords heal.

I remember many mornings recently, the young daughter making breakfast while my body rested under the drowsy effects of medication.

I remember the many meals, shopping errands, and homework help given by the man who reads his Bible, desiring to learn to love like Jesus.

I remember the emails, the chicken soup, the prayers sent, given, and offered up to us and for us.

I remember these actions and the love they spoke, the love that wrapped around my weary body and cheered my discouraged heart. They come to life over and over in my mind. Another smile touches my lips. Joy explodes anew in my heart.

These were not acts of love given because a calendar said it was the day for them. These were gifts offered because love does not have a holiday. It has a drive to give and be given. It needs no reminder. It is not confined by a special day but rather searches relentlessly for a moment--any moment--to pour itself out and lift others up.

For love, every day is just another day, and that is what makes it everyday so amazingly special.

Copyright Jerri Phillips 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009

Rejoice with Me!

Praise be to the Lord
my Rock
who trains my hands for war,
my fingers for battle.
He is
my loving God,
my stronghold,
and my deliverer,
my shield,
in whom I take refuge,
who subdues people under me.
Psalm 144:1-2
Wednesday, February 11, 2009

gratitude 14--On the Couch

This is my second day of being confined to my couch. A trip to the doctor yesterday confirmed I am sick with a bronchial avalanche of illness. I spent most of yesterday feeling sick and sorry for myself. However, my friend Debra, who is fighting an attack by MS, picked up her sword and went to war by saying, "Thank you, Daddy." Talk about an attitude adjustment.

My body is still on my couch, but my spirit is in the heavenlies, and I am thankful.

I'm thankful for...
1. Debra
2. Friends who give a good kick in the pants when necessary
3. A comfy couch
4. Lots of pillows
5. Warm blankets
6. Judie Hall, FPCN, who gives the meds that are necessary and doesn't take excuses
7. FPCNs who are moms and treat all their patients like their children--loving but firm, "Yes, I expect you to take this--ALL of it."
8. Husbands who go get the 6 prescriptions necessary for healing
9. Money to see the doctor
10. Movies on video
11. HGTV
12. MP3 players
13. Good worship music
14. A Bible in my language
15. Micorwavable meals
16. Children who are so helpful
17. Disciplined children who do their homeschool even when I can't talk
18. My voice
19. Telephones with text messages, for when I have no voice
20. Email to let folks know how I am and what our family needs
21. People who pray
22. Tortilla soup just the way I like it
23. Lisa Bell, who makes the best tortilla soup in the world and makes the trip over to bring it to me
24. Friends who understand "one more thing, and I'm going over the edge" emails and grab me by the back of my collar to pull me off the edge.
25. Good books
26. Vaporizers
27. Steamy showers
28. Children who like to snuggle
29. Children who read to me. Precious times!
30. Hot liquids
31. Ibuprofen
32. Soldiers in Iraq who send emails to let us know how they are
33. Soft kleenex
34. Living in a country where we can get medical help when we need it
35. A warm house
36. Rain
37. Warm socks
38. Comfy clothes
39. Cool weather to open bronchial tubes
40. Facebook, where people send me chicken soup, warm drinks, and gentle hugs
41. Ann Voskamp, who started logging her infinite gifts and spread the idea throughout a blogosphere
42. My God who gives all good gifts
43. Precious verses that pick me up on rough days
44. Anthony Evans, who sings some of my favorite refocus music
45. The chance to sleep when my body needs it
46. Movie bloppers that make us laugh
47. Seeds with promise, working silently underground until just the right time
48. Rockers on my deck where I can relax and let my lungs work better
49. Donette donuts for breakfast
50. Winning the book at Jan's contest
51. Having people on my side
52. For people who rejoice with me in our Father's goodness
Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sovereignty--Perfecting Imperfections

Hannah Farver posted a wonderful entry on her blog. It is exceptional, and I suggest you read "Trusting When Everything Falls." Her initial introduction addresses the sovereignty of God and how hard it is to reconcile a loving God who, in His sovereignty, allows painful things to happen.

I have often heard people who are unwilling to thank God for giving them a job accuse God when they lose one. There are a myriad of questions asking why God allows certain things. It's because He has the eternal picture.

I have two children. If I wanted, I could lock them in padded rooms and never let them out. They would never fall out of a tree. They would never scrape their knees. They would never suffer the pain of a dead pet. There are many things they would never do.

They would never learn the joy that comes from persevering. They would never know the effort and release that comes from forgiving...and being forgiven. They would never know the cost of freedom.

I know letting my children live in this world means they will hurt. I know it means physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually they will struggle. Sometimes their struggles will be more than they think they can handle. Sometimes they'll be more than I think either of us can handle. I do not ordain those struggles. I do not desire those struggles. However, because I believe in the bigger pictures, the larger Truth, the eternal outlook, I give them room to walk into those dangers, to overcome them, to be hurt by them, to be thankful for the healing, to find joyful in laughter, and to know how quickly it can be gone.

It is not a lack of love that leaves me with white knuckles when my daughter goes on a mission trip or that makes me hold my breath when my son does a multiple rotation dive off the diving board. It is my love for them that forces me to allow them the freedom to do the very things that can bring harm...and joy.

If being a human, I understand that it would be impossible to understand freedom locked in a padded cell, surely a Father with perfect love knows we will never understand faith, hope, or freedom without staring at a mountain too big for us, clinging to the embers of a dream that could easily die, or looking at prison walls that surround us.

Sovereignty does not allow situations and events to create fear and dread for us to hide in. To the contrary, sovereignty holds out hope, trust, and faith despite all the things that can...and sometimes do...go wrong.

Sovereignty is not about making things perfect. It's about restoring life despite the imperfections.

Yes, technically, God could make us act perfectly, do everything right, and never cause pain, but then that would slavery, not sovereignty, and where is the love in that?

Copyright 2009 Jerri Phillips

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"It's not the wind in our hair that makes us free. It's the movement of the Spirit, the growth of our invisible side." --Amber Haines

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My simple life plan: To live the kind of life that when asked, "If you could be anybody, who would you be?", I'd choose me.

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