Sharp Paynes

Never a dull moment…

Archive for the category “Giving Thanks”

When People are Big {Overcoming the Fear of Man}

 

Of course it’s a bad-hair-day.

We’re visiting a church in another town, my husband speaking about training native pastors and the work of Master’s Bible School, and we’re all a little uncertain of what to expect.

Do I wear a dress?  Are shorts o.k. for the boys?  It’s an outdoor service – is it o.k. for Tim to wear his Birkenstocks when he teaches?  Ethan wants to know if this church will be shorter than ours, and is there a potluck afterward?

I look like I rode in on a Harley, my big hair flying to the four winds in crazy curls.

On the drive in, Ethan also wants to know if daddy gets nervous when he has to stand in front of people.  “I like to be in the back, behind the people.  But everyone is bigger than me,” Ethan says.

There is a God-confidence that is bigger than those social fears, the ones that plague Ethan and I.  Tim is prepared and Birkenstocks are o.k. and we even sing some songs we know, out in the beautiful little amphitheater behind a country church that welcomes us in the Lord.

I don’t really think anyone is concerned with my hair or our clothes.

“Mom, can you find me some different swim shorts?” he asks later that night.  “Henry makes fun of the flowered-ones.”

Another round of swim lessons tomorrow and another bout with the fear of man.  I don’t laugh at his fear or look down on these worries because they are mine, too.  Flowered-shorts and wild hair and one huge pimple, all these giants we have to slay just to get out the door.

“Those flowers are called hibiscus and they’re cool Hawaiian shorts, bud.  That’s what the surfers wear,”  I appeal.  It’s not the best parenting, I know, but it’s all I can come with at the moment.

“Ya, but Henry would make fun of the surfers, too.”

Good point.

Henry wants to make you feel less, and when you already struggle with those insecurities it doesn’t really matter what surfers wear or what mom thinks is cool.

Henry will laugh.

Henry has also laughed at your pink palms and your brown skin that mommy thinks is lovely.  I want to send your big brother in the locker room with Henry, to teach him a little compassion and maybe put some flowered-shorts on him.  But Henry is just a little boy who is very observant and likes to talk, and Henry probably has his own Henrys  in his life.  So it’s me, the one who professes Christ, that needs compassion for the Henrys.

The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe. – {Pro 29:25 NKJV}

This fear of man has never accomplished anything good in us, and most of our insecurities are just a self-absorption that takes us away from Christ and distracts us from serving others.

I’ve heard it said this way:  If you realized how little time people spent thinking about you, you’d spend less time thinking about yourself.  A little cynical, maybe, but isn’t that the cure?  That we ought to trust in the Lord and put others first, thinking less of ourselves and making more of Jesus?  And truly, the ones who are laughing at you are probably the ones hurting most, the ones who have learned that it’s better to hurt you before you hurt them.

The giants we have to slay today are not the Henrys in our life, but the value we place on other’s opinions of us.  

And I’d really like to know – how do you help your kids (or yourself) overcome this fear of man?  Will you join us in the comments?

~~~~~~~~

This right here, the cure for Big People!

Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! – {1Ch 16:8 NKJV}

 332.  Seeing precious friends before their firstborn leaves for college

333.  good neighbors

334.  finding my son on his bed with his bible 

335.  free summer weekends

336. new friends

 

 

{Linking up with A Holy ExperienceThe Better MomTitus 2sdaysScribing the Journey, Growing Home}

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For Those Days {You Know the Ones}

Some days are just like that.
Some days you don’t listen to your child-feeling-ill and you clean lunch off the bathroom floor instead.
Some days you try to do something nice for someone and it turns out all catastrophic, with smoke and charcoal and flaming chicken.
Some days you stand over the blender and get a mini-smoothie-facial, and it makes your kids laugh hysterical.

And sometimes it happens all in the same glorious, blessed day.

All those days, the ones that don’t go as planned and the ones that seem to crash in the middle, they all string together to make up this life.  You look back and remember that you let your kids laugh at you, that you gave grace to the sick child, and someone tired and poured-out was blessed by your meal anyway.

And families stick together through those imperfect moments because moments make memories, and these are some of the best.

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Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!

Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:

Who forgives all your iniquities,

Who heals all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from destruction,

Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,

Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

{Psa 103:1-5 NKJV}

Blessing the Lord for all this:

326.  the Gospel, preach all weekend to 130+ kids

327.  the 26 who are new creations!

328.  creek baptisms

329.  friends who make themselves at home in our house

330.  coffee, half n half, and fresh morning air

331.  podcasts to divert my mind from my burning lungs on my run

{Linking up with A Holy ExperienceThe Better MomTitus 2sdaysScribing the Journey, Growing Home}

When Summer Freezes

There are carefree days of childhood left to enjoy.  Trees to climb and knees to scrape, bikes and bubbles and building forts.  There’s still time to enjoy sticky cotton candy and salt water taffy, and it’s ok if you want to color, too.

There’s no rush here, no need to hurry up and be all mature.
In fact, can we just freeze these moments and really soak them in?
Time hiccups and I revel in the moment, you all happy and carefree, all giggly and silly and laughing at my jokes.  We can color together or splash in the pool or paint our nails wild.  We can stay up till 1 a.m. watching the opening of the Olympics, and in the morning we’ll eat more junk food for breakfast.
Show me your paper boats and lego kingdoms, tell me the coolest thing you saw on pinterest, and build your train tracks right on through the living room.

I think if it weren’t for children I’d have to be all mature, too.

Change comes inevitably down the time-line, with no mercy.  “Time waits for no man” they say and we can’t really get any more of it than God has allotted.
We have only to be good stewards of it.
So if I rush you, I’m sorry.
When I don’t make time for a picnic with all of us freezing the moment together, I’m sorry.
If I put burdens on you that don’t belong in childhood and if I forget that this is the only guaranteed moment, I’m sorry.

Time is flying and only grace gives the wings fit for enjoying it.

So we’ll all give grace and live in grace and together we’ll enjoy this childhood, the one that comes in 24 hour increments.
The one too good to rush.

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Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!

Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:

Who forgives all your iniquities,

Who heals all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from destruction,

Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,

Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

{Psa 103:1-5 NKJV}

Blessing the Lord for all this:

321.  Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Truffles and…

322.  The sweet friend who brought them

323. excited little people

324.  squeaky voices and morning breath

325. our new volleyball net : )

{Linking up with A Holy ExperienceThe Better MomTitus 2sdaysScribing the Journey, Growing Home}

When Sin Leads to Thanksgiving

Parenting is tough.

Parenting is day and night, 24/7, clinging-to-grace and praying-in-faith.  It’s discipleship of our children and it’s discipleship for us, because who can teach and not learn?

It’s rewarding and it’s exhausting and it makes you question your sanity, like I imagine a marathon would be.

My crazy husband and I ran a half-marathon.  I paid money to expend every ounce of energy I could muster over 13.1 miles, to get blistered and chaffed, to fight off the urge to quit at mile 10 and the need for a potty at miles 5 through 12.  For about the last 7 miles all I could think was, “I’m paying to do this?”.

At the end we got oranges and bananas, some gatorade, and a t-shirt.  Actually, we didn’t even get the shirt because that was more money.

So parenting is tough like running, but the rewards are greater.  Boxes full of drawings, paintings, macaroni necklaces, precious notes and baby teeth in sandwich bags.  Morning-breath kisses, sticky faces, Dr. Seuss by heart, billions of questions, thousands of I love you’s.  

The rewards of parenting aren’t always warm and fuzzy.  A house full of sinners brings tension, lots of correction and training, and really the greatest reward is seeing the gospel work itself out in your children.

Sometimes I stop nagging long enough to allow grace to lead to repentance.

Oh happy day, when my children confess sin without being guilted into confession.  When the Holy Spirit is unhindered and quietness brings conviction.

I have just an ounce of understanding of the joy of this verse:

“I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” – {Luke 15:7 NKJV}

Yes, we want to raise godly children.  We want them to love Jesus and love their neighbor and overcome evil by doing good.  But if we teach them the truths of scripture, that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, that Jesus came as a friend of sinners to seek and save the lost,

then every sin-moment is the perfect time and place for grace to pour in and for sinners to bring joy to their Savior.

And I give thanks for the repentance, not the sin.  But without the realization of the one, the other is never needed.

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Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!

Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:

Who forgives all your iniquities,

Who heals all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from destruction,

Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,

Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

{Psa 103:1-5 NKJV}

Blessing the Lord for all this:

305. siblings that miss each other

306. my hard-working, sensitive and giving children

307. making my tired husband smile

308. The wonderful burning ball of warmth in the sky!

309. Shelby’s Super Nanny impression (crack. me. up!)

310. dancing wild in the living room to Sharri’s piano playing

311. inside jokes 😉

312. forgiveness

313. talented friends making beautiful music on our piano

314. long-lost friends

315. big words with Shyla!

316. standing in the rain with the boys, watching the lightning

317. barbecuing again

318. guitar music from the bedroom

319. swim lessons

320. repentant hearts

Linking up with

A Holy Experience

The Better Mom

Titus 2sdays

Scribing the Journey

The Staged Life

I don’t always give my best.

Sometimes ‘my best’ is too much work and I settle for doing ‘just enough’ or even ‘maybe later’.  I’ll go to bed with that sink-full of dishes and toppling pile of laundry, with no idea what’s for breakfast and with a lovely, crumb-crusted floor.

Once or twice, I’ve even fallen into bed fully clothed and with un-brushed teeth.  Sorry, honey.

I just thought a little confession would be good.

Someone called and told how guilty she felt for going back to bed that morning.  She thought about all the things  I had probably already accomplished that day, and what a loser she was for snuggling back in.
Funny thing is, I often have the same thoughts about her.
So many times in my day I think she could have done this faster or better.  She probably always knows where things are, and how embarrassed I ‘d be if she opened this cupboard or looked in this shower.
And it’s not just one person, it’s every other woman out there.
I am forever comparing myself.  But I always seem to compare my worst  with their best.  
If only I could take the best of everyone and combine them into one, like some Suzy Homemaker on steroids.

As though someone really does have it all  together, all the time.

You know that those pictures are staged, right?
We take pictures because we want to remember that one time, we did make a beautiful meal for our family and everyone liked it.  Or we want to remember that we do sometimes have fun together and everyone laughs.
Someone said jokingly, “It’s not about having fun.  It’s about the pictures!”.

But having it all together in real life is more illusive, more of a special occasion.

There are those days where everything clicks along, every meal is planned, the house is clean and I even see the bottom of the laundry baskets.  School happens peacefully and the kids play a game together.  My husband walks in to the smell of his favorite dinner, sits down to eat it with his favorite people, and we all have a lovely discussion that is relevant and fruitful.

The trouble is that I expect  the days to always be that way.  And what do expectations get me?

More often, those events don’t all line up on the same day.  Monday I might have all our meals planned.  Tuesday school might go peacefully and the kids might play a game.  Wednesday may be a marathon laundry day, and Thursday we might have a really good discussion at dinner with no bathroom noises, no 5th grade humor, and no fighting over who-sits-where.

But rarely does it all happen in one day.  That would either be exhausting, or a waste of time, or The Cleavers.  Surely there are better things to do than live in a photo shoot.  Is a picture really worth a thousand words?
We live in the real world with real mess-ups and do-overs every morning, and I’m so thankful for that.
My heart’s desire is to honor God and my husband, and that needs to be the driving force behind all I do or don’t do in a day.  They both know my weaknesses and love me anyway.
… walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; – {Col 1:10 NKJV}

Are you stuck comparing yourself with others?  How do you guage your accomplishments – what makes you feel like you’ve done enough for the day?
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Counting all the gifts this week, some of them numbered here:
298. The full moon
299. The fog clearing away in the morning
300. Motivation!
301.  Bailey, thanking me for making her do hard things
302. Bible discussions
303. good friends at the river
304. 3 things that were broken or lost, that are now found or fixed

The Value of You, Right Where You Are

Already, there is this desire to choose.
Are we born with that?  Do we come from the womb defiant at the choices made for us?
Why did God put me here?  Why am I different?  Maybe I am not supposed to be in this family, in this place.
He’s seven and where did he get these questions?
The not-belonging and the longing for something else, something we know nothing about, all those thoughts started in the garden.
Adoption is not all warm-fuzzy and we never thought it would be.  Sometimes, it is such a clear picture of our life in Christ, of God choosing us and giving us family.
But truly, we have to choose that adoption for ourselves.  It’s the one case where we do choose our Parent, but do we ever really get to choose our place?
He’s seven and he is upset about some discipline handed out, and isn’t that when we all question our place?
So he thinks he belongs somewhere else but he doesn’t see the big picture.
Like the children of Israel longing for Egypt.
I tell Ethan that we couldn’t hold him and love him and laugh with him while he was in India. That we’re all different, with different gifts and personalities and talents, different colored skin and eyes and hair, but God has put us together and our family is perfect this way.
I give him a hug and tell him I love him, because that’s what he really wants.
Do you ever question your place?
Do you possibly mistrust the God Who holds your breath, the One Who preappointed your times and the boundaries of your dwelling? (Acts 17:26)
Do you long to be somewhere bigger, better, more important or more satisfying?
Wherever you are, God is sovereign.  Whatever your struggle, rest in His handling of it.  He sees the biggest picture.
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Counting all the gifts this week, some of them numbered here:
291.  Jacob enjoying the outdoors, and waking up thankful for his bedroom – the deer, the turkeys, the yellow birds at the feeder outside his window
292. our first 7-miler in 7 months
293. hot water and epsom salts, the morning after 7 miles
294. Ethan, the first child up this morning, monopolizing the one-on-one time
295. this verse:
And by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.
~ Acts 13:39
296. children with eyes to see His goodness and to delight in His creation (Jacob calling me upstairs this morning to see the bird in the window, because he knows I love birds!)
297. Sisters making a picnic

Meeting One Person {Risk Part 2}

Friday, I said that risk was good and that we need to meet lots and lots of people.  Then I drove off to the big city, full of people, and ran into several that I already knew.  I gravitated towards them, the known and the safe, and walked by hundreds I didn’t know.  Hundreds I didn’t meet.

Dinner at The Horn of Africa {in Portland!}

Stopping for fuel

I suppose I took my turtle shell with me.

Saturday in the Goodwill, two men mocked Christians and laughed at one very dear, very devoted and well-known saint.  They bantered and built their conversation around lies, and I just looked at the clothes on the hanger.

A real risk-taker, I was.

I was a country mouse in the big city without my husband and I just felt little.  I felt sure that my husband would want me to keep to myself in that situation, but honestly, I was happy in my shell.  Happy and risk-free.

Then Sunday, back in familiar fellowship, there was a new family.  I swallowed hard and fought down the self-doubt and really, fought down the pride that worries about self.

I extended my hand and forgot names and had to ask again and I may have talked too long or too loud or too irrelevant, but I did it anyways.

I actually introduced myself to someone new.  And today we talked for 30 minutes on the phone.

I had thought that I had failed after the Goodwill incident.  I felt guilty for not standing up for the truth and for being timid.  I read about Stephen this morning,  his boldness and his risk, and thought again about my lack of both.

But another good friend put it this way.  What’s risk to you is not necessarily risk to me.  What’s hard for you may be natural to me, but there other things that scare me, and other places for me to take risk.

Introducing myself to new people really is hard, as silly as that may seem to some.  It really seems like risk to me.  That’s one of the reasons I write.

So I overcome, one baby step at a time.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Giving Thanks for all this:

281.  Good friends

282.  A day with far-away friends

283.  Working on the dam with Jake

284. Being with my sister

285. Catching Fred {?I’ll be asking some questions ’bout this one?}

286. Jacob making soft pretzels, and taking bits of mom’s granola

287.  Bailey saying something not funny, and only her laughing

288.  Three people asking if we’re sisters : )

289.  driving 8 hours round trip  for a few good books,  a homeschool shot-in-the-arm,  and lots of good memories

290.  Good stories from the kids at home

Marveling at Grace

No man is born, either naturally or supernaturally, with character.  He has to make character.  Nor are we born with habits; we have to form habits on the basis of the new life God has put into us.  We are not meant to be illuminated versions, but the common stuff of ordinary life exhibiting the marvel of the grace of God. ~ Oswald Chambers

Practicing thanksgiving…

 262.  smiling sleepers

263.  Hank the Cowdog, and getting to do my best Drover voice

264.  my wonderful wife of 16 years, today *blush*

265.  God’s provision for our family

266.  All 5 of my special children

267.  one home

268.  kind words from others

269. beautiful, quiet Wildcat Rd.

270. morning runs

271. instant hot water

272. summer break

273. 4 kids cuddled up in one bedroom, listening to a book on tape at bedtime

274.  sunshine in my window and a happy anniversary kiss on the forehead to wake me up.

275.  wonderful dads, awesome Father

276. fishing, swimming, swamp-walking together

277. a phone that withstood the swamp

278.  kids camping in the yard

279. coffee with my husband

280. friends coming to play

Choosing Rightly {Overwhelmed by Your Options?}

How do you  make choices in this world of infinite options?  And are some decisions just too small to fuss over, or do you think He cares about them all?  I’m curious.

Sometimes the problem is not that you don’t have enough options.

It’s not that you have a big decision to make and your choices are just too few, and you feel forced to choose between the lesser of two evils.

The problem  sometimes is that there are just so many good choices.

Whether it’s which charity to support, which cause to throw your voice behind, which restaurant to eat at, which outfit to wear, or what books to read.  Being in the Land of the Free can be such a huge burden.

A friend asks for homeschool advice, which curriculum to use, what do I love the most?  Do I open up the myriad of catalogs-websites-books-opinions out there and boggle her with the next 12 years of planning her child’s life?  Do I tell her all the pros and cons and finish with, “But whatever works for your family!”?

I need toothpaste.

Whitening, natural, sensitive, mint, cool mint, peppermint, or spearmint?

Bible?  KJV, NKJV, NIV, ESV, NASB…

And do I expose my kids to this smorgasbord?  Do I give them so many choices for breakfast that they feel entitled to always have it their way? 

It used to be nothing but oatmeal.  Why did I waffle?  What have I done to the simple life I wanted for us?

I like having choices, don’t get me wrong.  I like what I like and sometimes I like to change what I like.

But I get easily overwhelmed.  When it seems like the decisions are huge and there can only be one choice that’s right, I feel like that man at the fair, juggling knives.

You’d better get this right.

But there are a few things I’ve learned about making decisions, mostly from my husband.

1. God knows your heart.

This brings me peace in the swirling.  He’s not waiting to pounce if I choose A instead of B, not crossing His fingers hoping I make the right decision.  If my heart is right with the Lord and I am not purposely ignoring Him, I can trust His guiding.  I can rest in His grace.

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you.  But to do justly, To love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? – {Mic 6:8 NKJV}

Doesn’t He make it simple for me?

Yes.  Because I need that.

And I need to know that He sees me as His child, trying to please Him but getting sticky jam-fingers all over the kitchen.  Would He scold me for the jam and tell me that He wanted eggs, not toast?

2.  Once you make the decision, go with it.

I had to choose a sink recently.  I stressed over it, really.  Stainless, I knew for certain.  One-hole, definitely.  Deep enough for a big pot.  But in order to have a row of drawers to the left of the sink, I had to order one narrower than my current sink.

Would I like it?  Would it work for our family?  Should I choose a bigger sink instead of the drawers?

Because now  is the time to decide…this isn’t something we can just change later if it doesn’t work out.

I ordered the smaller one and decided  I would like it.  It would be perfect and I’d be happy and it all would be great.  And guess what?

It is.

That’s not to say that we need a ‘my way or the highway’ attitude.  Not to close ourselves off from other opinions or suggestions or, especially, clear direction from the Lord that we are wrong.

But just that convincing yourself is sometimes the biggest obstacle and once you’ve narrowed down the choices, prayed, sought counsel, and have peace, go for it.

And I know, it was just a sink.

But if you’re choosing something a little more life changing than a sink,  pray, read, ask, pray again, check your heart, and go for it.  Move forward until God tells you otherwise.

In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge. – {Pro 14:26 NKJV}

3. Deal with your mistakes.

You will choose the wrong thing sometimes.

Some mistakes only require a little paint to fix, or a phone call or a letter or some elbow-grease.

Some mistakes really can’t be fixed, but you can start doing things right from this point on.  You can own up to the mistake and endure patiently, you can trust God through the consequences, and you’ll have gained wisdom when it’s all said and done.

We’ll know more when it’s over,  my husbands says.

Maybe you chose the wrong job or the wrong neighborhood or the wrong way to spend your time.  Maybe it was the wrong ‘parenting technique’ and now you feel like it’s too late.

It’s not.  Start doing the right thing now.  

Maybe you feel like you chose the wrong spouse, in which case I would refer you to #2 above and pray that you pour yourself into  being the right spouse.

Whatever the mistake, there is grace sufficient for a repentant heart, and times of refreshing will come (Acts 3:19). That’s always the best choice.

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Choosing thanks….

250. starting over, again, because Mercy is new every morning

251. friends and family that stop by

252. my ‘new-to-me’ computer hutch, given by a friend

253. unprompted apologies

254. Jan : )

255. Academy for Character Education

256. odd jobs

257. two red-winged blackbirds out the window

258. sunshine and fresh air in the morning

259. 5 flat acres, a creek, good neighbors, and no oak trees  : )

260. crazy kids in the creek

261. 6 minuscule fish that become 22 whoppers in Ethan’s retelling of it

Raising Ebenezer {When Worry Steals Your Moment}

I smile and enjoy the moment.  Everything is right with the world and I am happy as a clam.  The day was perfect, the conversations edifying,  a little work happened and a little play and rest.  Now the children are tucked in and it’s just me and the man of my dreams.

Some days everything just lays out perfectly.

But what if…

What if something happens to one of us under this roof and our bliss is taken?  What if there comes a day when my husband gets up and there is no job for him to go to?  What about fires, earthquakes, floods, and cancer?

But what if…

What if I reach 80 and have bitter regrets?  Or I realize that I chased the wrong dream, loved the wrong things, and sacrificed for what perishes?

They flood into my moment and steal my joy.  Those thoughts play on the unknown and they mock me because truly, everything could change in the blink of an eye.

But what if I just always enjoy this moment, because it’s the only one outside of eternity that I’m sure of?  Can’t I be happy with this?

 Thus far the LORD has helped us. (1 Samuel 7:12)

I have no reason to doubt His goodness, and if all else fails, then my default is eternity.  If all else fails then this life was just a blip on the screen and the good and bad all wrap up in Forever, where there is no ‘what if’.

 Worry can take a hike.

So the Philistines were subdued, and they did not come anymore into the territory of Israel. (1 Samuel 7:13)

 Have you had moments stolen by the ‘what ifs’ this week?  Maybe you, like me, need to remember that thus far the LORD has helped us and we have no need to fear that He would suddenly stop.  His faithfulness is to all generations.

So the reminder for us is in everything give thanksThe only thing to come, the only future we need to dwell on, is the certain one bought for us by our Redeemer. 

Be thankful for, and live in, the now.

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Some things I’m thankful for now, added to the slow-growing list:

250.  starting over again, with new mercy for every morning

251.  friends and family that stop by

252. my handy-dandy, new-to-me computer hutch, given by a friend

253.  un-prompted apologies

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