1000 Gifts ~ #16 through 30

This is a continuation of my list of 1000 Gifts, something Ann Voskamp with her book One Thousand Gifts has inspired me to do also. . .to see God in the minute blessings of every day that usually roll right past me, usually without a word of thanks to their Giver for their incredible beauty.

I SO want the Holy Spirit to change me. . .   I SO want to live “in the moment”. . . and appreciate the intrinsic beauty in each and every gift my amazing Heavenly Father gives!

If you haven’t already, please read Ann’s book, One Thousand Gifts, and start your own “1000 Gifts” list. It will be a meaningful spiritual sojourn, I guarantee you. I’ve barely begun, but this new heart of thankfulness has humbled me and hungered me more. . . for this One Who Loves Us So.

This post comes after a several-day car trip  with my parents for my uncle’s funeral. My uncle fought a long battle with illness, and his body was laid to rest in the old family cemetery in Vaiden, Mississippi. One unwritten praise–my sweet mother, who was lying flat in a hospital bed after hip surgery when I last saw her–was walking upright! She walks with a cane now, and even though she’s  under her own steam, she seems much frailer. . . and less like the determined,strong woman I’ve known all these years. Daddy too has his health issues and cannot see well enough to drive long distances. So my baby sister Nancy chauffeured my parents and niece there, and Al and I followed behind.

God gave me so many “jewels” from this trip, I probably could have listed a whole 1000 items from it alone. A few made it to the written list below:

 

16. Four days in the company of my parents, sister, and niece, whom I don’t see nearly often enough

17. My daddy’s throaty laugh

18. Eulogy of a life well-lived (my uncle) and most importantly, who’s now in heaven!

19. Gaping two-tooth grin of a 5-year-old second cousin

20. Yummy goodness of skillet-fried sweet corn served at the Vaiden Baptist Church (and everything else we ate!)

21. Rusty-red, chalky dust of country roads, same as my childhood memories

22. Discovery of the clapboard Methodist church where my mother gave her heart to Jesus

23. A shy reuniting of cousins who haven’t seen each other in years

 

24. Massive oak tree under which my mother, her siblings, and friends played, still standing!

25.  The sandy clearing where their two-room elementary schoolhouse once stood

26. Vaiden High School, where Mom graduated valedictorian at the age of 16

27.A white marble moon rising in the evening sky

28. The blue and gray mountain layers of North Carolina on the horizon

29. Cathedral mountain walls, cloaked in night shade, as we drive home

30. Music of the heart that swells and overflows with God’s wonders

 

I’ll write more down in the weeks ahead–

What are you thankful for?

Lookin up,

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Are Blessed!

One of my favorite Christian bloggers recently recommended a real find–it’s a book called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. (I’ll give you a link for a free download her first chapter below–)

This book is Ann’s story, and what a testimony it is! A tragic early remembrance shaped her life and attitude toward God for a very long time. She says she listened to Satan’s lies that whispered, that have whispered since the garden of Eden, that “God is not good.” All the bad things that happen in the world are because God is not good. How can you trust a God who is NOT GOOD?

Even we long-time, baptized, dyed-in-the-wool Christians can bend our ear to this lie. . . . and doubt God. That’s why this book is so. . . needed. It’s honest and fresh and beautifully written. A jewel of a book.

I encourage you to read 1000 Gifts for yourself, borrow one from a friend, get it from the library, download it on your Kindle (only $3.99).

But don’t take my word for it. . .  here the link I promised:

http://onethousandgifts.com/the-book

One Thousand Gifts has begun a national movement of sorts, to chronicle the gifts God gives us. Each believer, shaking their fist in the evil one’s face, and saying, “God is good! And this is proof of it!” There are a multitude of bloggers doing this, there’s even an app for you to register your blessings! An app–pretty cool!

 And in honor of Ann’s book, I am starting my own list of 1000 Gifts that I will run on Thursday/Fridays. Feel free to add your own listing of current gifts in the comments section!

1. Waking up this morning

2. After a great night’s sleep

3. A sunshine-filled fall day outside

4. My perfectly-toasted English muffin with cream cheese spread

5.  A great cup of coffee

6. God’s Word where I read this morning, specifically II Corinthians 8: 1-24

7. The privilege of praying for family and friends

8. My job and the money it provides my family

9. The delight of connectedness, through Facebook

10. My friend, Robin, on her birthday today!

11. The mail, which brought me two books I ordered

12. The excitement of learning new things, a new online course I’m participating in on Thursday nights

13. The mere act of writing and creating

14.  A feeling of accomplishment when something is done

15. Realization that I have SO MANY more gifts from God. . . and they are all good.

 

What are five gifts of which God’s made you aware today?

 

Lookin’ up,

 

 

 

 

Memories of Elton: Guest Blog by Rose Ann Palmer

Rose Ann Palmer and her husband Donnie are members of Ridgecrest Baptist Church, if you’re not a local. The “Elton” to whom Rose Ann is referring is long-time Ridgecrest Church member Elton Earp, who passed away this summer from a long battle with cancer. When I asked Rose Ann to do a guest blog, she immediately responded that she wanted to share some of her memories of Elton in tribute to him.

Elton made Rose Ann and Donnie his official caregivers when he got sick, then made them promise to never put him in an “old folks home.” Which Rose Ann and Donnie did, thus allowing Elton to live out his final days in the comfort of his own home.

The following is an excerpt of what Rose Ann wrote, as she had a LOT of great things to say! I will post other pieces of Elton’s story in the future, so stay tuned!

 

When I first met Elton back in the early 80’s, his first wife had just died. Our family would sit in the back of the church on the right side and Elton was up front on the right in his seat, on his row. Pastor Carl Garner was our Pastor. I thought Elton was a “mean” man because he “looked” mean and came across as “gruff”. My children were tiny and we were not close to him like we were later on. I can remember when Elton married his second wife, Ida. She was in my mother’s Sunday school class. And I remember seeing him at the church with his dog in his truck…and I got to see him for who he really was…a kind, giving man.

First, he loved Jesus with all his heart and would tell anyone he met. He loved his church, the pastors, the staff. When he could still drive, he would take his dog and get in his old blue pick-up truck and “visit” the church office. The secretary even had treats for his dog in a cabinet near her desk. It was a pleasure for him to buy things for the Pastors whether it was a new suit, breakfast or lunch.

Every fall, he would go to the mountains and bring back country ham and cabbage. Of course, he bought enough to give away to everyone who knew him! And when he went to the Farmer’s Market, you would get peaches, corn, strawberries. Then there was Stone Bros. in Durham where he would get molasses…to share with everyone.

Elton loved our son, Jason, and the friendship they shared. When Jason got married to Charity, Elton was honorary Grandfather at the wedding. Jason would always be late and Elton was amazed that Jason was on time for his wedding to Charity. He always said Charity must have told him the wedding was an hour earlier than it was…He loved them both dearly and we would bring him to our house to Skype with them in Slovakia and he would always cry. He missed them and so wanted to hold their baby girl, Elise.

When Marianne [ Rose Ann and Donnie's daughter] became pregnant he said he was going to take her baby boy to Chick-Fil-A for the men’s breakfast with Donnie on Tuesday mornings (This is something else he did. Every Tuesday at 6:30 Donnie would take him to the men’s breakfast with Shay and others from our church). He was so excited about his “great-grandchildren.” He had no living blood relatives. His first wife, Stella, had nieces and nephews.

Elton had “girlfriends” everywhere! The doctor’s offices, restaurants, even at the Farmer’s Market, he was well-known and he would make the rounds to buy corn from Jeannie, onions and squash from Beth…well , you get the idea. One time I drove him and my mother to the Farmer’s Market and missed the exit. He knew and let me know it real quick. For a man who could not see, he saw more than we could ever imagine. He would tease me and tell people that I go to the Farmer’s Market by way of Garner and anytime I would drive anywhere, he always asked if I knew where I was going or tell me that maybe Donnie should drive…

If you ever talked to Elton on the telephone you know he never liked to hang up. He would say “well I’m going to let you go now” about 5 or 6 times before he actually hung up. He called certain people every night and certain people called him every night and he did not go to bed until he heard from all of them. He loved to talk and tell stories about Durham. In the spring, Donnie would take him to Carolina Avenue where he was born to see the house and the trees in bloom. It looks like you are driving through a cloud when the Bradford pear trees are in bloom. Then on to Guess Road to the first house he and Stella lived in. He had such a great memory! Elton always had a story of days gone by – whether riding in the car and passing a particular place or while just sitting on his carport with his dog and him – he had something to tell you. This is what Donnie misses the most – the conversations.

 

Thanks for sharing, Rose Ann! Elton was special. . . now he’s in heaven, enjoying Jesus and all the folks who got there before him. We bet he’s probably still telling his stories!

Lookin’ up,

 

 

 

 

Elton, in foreground, sitting next to Donnie and Rose Ann at a church dinner

Elton, in foreground, sitting next to Donnie and Rose Ann at a church dinner