10,000 Reasons for My Heart to Find

Instead of counting 1000 gifts in 2014, I was inspired to set a goal of finding 10,000 reasons to be grateful.  Yesterday, thanks to God’s grace and sustaining power, I made it.


The screen shot shows simple things. I also counted profound things, and everything in between.

I’ll keep counting through New Year’s Eve.

This practice of counting the gifts over the past few years helped turn my negative spirit around, and helped keep my eyes focused where they should be: up.

And for that, I’m eternally grateful.

(Here is the song inspired me.)

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Can’t? Really?

I’ve already named 2015, but I’m not going to say anything else about that until New Year’s Day.

I will say this:  God is asking me to let go of some things.  (Ouch.)  

These things (and others) I’ve tried to let go of before, and I’ve consistently failed.  I finally began to think that I literally couldn’t let go of them.  Really?

What I know now is this:

It’s not that I can’t let go, it’s that I’m afraid to.


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GREAT Educational Game/Toy Resource

Timberdoodle, wow!  I’ve been a fan for years.  But this?

And this?

My search was born out of a recent conversation I had with a tutoring student:

Me:  What do you like to do?  What makes you want to learn more?  Is there something for centers that would make you say, “WOW?”

Student:  Yes!  I’d love to learn about circuits.  Is there something like that available?

The answer = Yeah, there is.  Thank you, Timberdoodle.

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A past version of me offered advice to others whether they asked for it or not. They rarely asked, and I offered a lot of advice.  (Picture a verbal steamroller.)


Beyond that, I expected people to conform to my advice, and even to my opinions.  If they did not, I used the above word pattern and debate tactics to try and convince them.

Then,  I came across a few wise people whose policy is to not offer advice unless it is requested.  I watched these people with fascination and respect.  I’ve decided their policy is a good one.

It was interesting to examine the reasons for my overwhelming advice-giving.  What I found was not pretty.  But I believe that’s a good thing, because the most freeing thing I’ve ever experienced is looking at myself with brutal honesty.  It helped me to change the world starting with myself.

I slip back into my old, bad habits in a heartbeat, so I have to be vigilant.  Thankfully, I personally know the Light of the World, who helps me see my dark corners, and sweeps the dirt away. I meet with Him regularly, one on one.

Actually, I cling to Him as though my life depended on it, because it does. 

And if you’ve encountered me on one of those days when I wasn’t vigilant, please accept my humble apologies.  (Poor you.)

(This post was inspired by J. T. Alewine, who recently passed away, and by my husband.)

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The Hard Lesson of the Joy Day

Somehow, I knew it.  I knew the lesson from the Joy Day would be something completely unexpected, and it was.


At 4 p.m. on the Joy Day, two disturbing things happened:

  1. I opened a folder on my computer called “Taxes 2013:  To Do”, and my stomach literally lurched.
  2. By chance, I viewed a news story, with a video, that was so unsettling that it left me shaking, tearful and gasping.

The story depicted example after example of decent, ordinary people suffering tragically, unnecessarily and unjustly at the hands of powerful forces. It told of a congresswoman losing her seat and possibly her life for speaking out against the injustice. I had to walk away from the screen to get myself together.  That story probably represented one of my worst fears.

But it’s a joy day, Lord…

I didn’t understand, and I was gripped by sorrow and fear.  So, I went back to the Joy Day verses that God lovingly, patiently brought before my eyes that morning.  And I read them over and over, saying them to myself, as I went about my tasks:

1.  22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.  (John 16:22)

2.  24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.  (John 16:24)

3.  11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.  (John 15:11)

4.  11 You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.  (Psalm 16:11)

Friends, I don’t have the Joy Day lesson all sorted out yet, and maybe I never will, but here’s what I have so far:

  • I overlooked one little phrase in my excitement over the joy verses:   “So also you have sorrow now…”
  • We live in a broken, fallen world.
  • We are not promised comfort and ease.
  • In fact, we are promised the opposite.
  • Jesus has overcome the world, no matter how things look in the here and now.
  • We will see Him again, and when we do, our hearts will rejoice, and no one will be able to take that joy away from us.
  • That joy will be so complete, we will not want to ask anything at all of Him.
  • In His presence is fullness of joy, and as Christians, we can access that at any time.
  • Part of my upset was my own problem of not wanting to be called to fight such a fight, not wanting to go through such a thing, and not wanting to suffer.
  • If I am not willing to suffer if necessary, I am not worthy of being called His child.
  • He suffered.  I am not greater than He is.
  • He is enough, and He’s got this, too.

And most importantly (thank you, Rene’), it’s a pretty cool, tender thing that God knew what I would face at 4 p.m., so He equipped me in advance with four verses to give me comfort and truth.  The enemy knew my worst fears, and he tried to use them against me. But I was armed and protected. How amazing is that?

By 6 p.m., I was joyful again. A past version of me would have been devastated for days. Thank you, Lord.

It was a pretty good Joy Day after all.

 Note:  All scriptures are from the English Standard Version (ESV), and have my emphasis added.


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It’s a Joy Day

I love how God patiently repeats a theme so I can get it.

Today’s rotating Bible reading (John 16:16-24) from Call to Growth yielded these 2 scriptures, which leapt off the page to my eyes:

1.  22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.  (John 16:22, ESV, emphasis added)

2.  24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.  (John 16:24, ESV, emphasis added)

Joy, and joy.

Later, when reviewing my Jesus Project verses, the new verse for the week of September 6 was:


Joy again.

So, I told my husband about this coincidence, and I proclaimed the day, for whatever reason, a joy day.

Later, the hubbs came in and showed me the randomly-generated verse of the day from his You Version app:


Joy again.

Looking at him knowingly, I said, “See? It’s a joy day.”

We don’t know why it’s a joy day today yet. We’re waiting to find out. We’ll keep you posted.

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The Hard Work of Living

Life is hard. So why do I live like it’s an endless carnival, where I should have every cotton candy moment that I want?

God is parenting me through this classic book:


I read it in the late 90s, and thankfully, I’m re-reading it now. I’m actually terrified as I read, because this book is calling me to do the hard work of living. I have the easy part down.

Today, this statement about teens struck me:

There is always a higher agenda than personal happiness, there is a bigger, more significant story than their story of the moment. And in every situation, they are called to trust and obey God.

Their? They? This passage speaks to me.

The above statement may seem basic and obvious, but in many ways it was news to me today. At least I’ve been living that way, if not on the outside, then certainly in my heart.


Thank you, God, for being my literal Heavenly Father in this. I am afraid. But like a child, I put my hand in Yours, so that You can help me walk more steadily through the hard parts of life.

And P.S. I love You.

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