AUTUMN TREASURES

May the seasons — ever changing as they are — breath life and hope and beauty into your being .

#1 HE IS SOVEREIGN IN EVERY SEASON! HE WORKS IN OUR WAITING!

#2 IN THE IN BETWEEN… HE PREPARES US FOR WHAT IS TO COME.

#3 WE MAY WALK THRU UNCERTAIN PLACES, BUT WE TRUST IN HIM!

#4 IN EVERY MOMENT WE FEEL HIM BESIDE US, AND WE HEAR HIM SAY, “THIS IS THE WAY, WALK IN IT.”

#5 IN THE HERE AND NOW… IN THE THERE AND THEN… HE IS PRESENT!

#6 THERE ARE GIFTS AND ANSWERS HIDDEN IN HIS PERFECT TIMING!

#7 THROUGH EVERY SEASON HE IS KIND, FULL OF GRACE, EVER FAITHFUL, TRUE!

CRYSTAL

A DAY OF THANKSGIVING–A YEAR IN THE MAKING

I applaud the many folks who have committed to an intentional list of thankfulness for the month of November.    2012 has been a YEAR of documented gratitude for me.   On track to reach 1000 gifts of thankfulness by December 31,2012,   it has been an exercise that has refined me, that has tried me, that has  made me a new person — better, more complete, and more THANKFUL!

THANKSGIVING HAS A WAY OF MAKING PROPER, OUR PERSPECTIVE.
AND….PROPER PERSPECTIVE FILLS LIFE WITH RICHNESS THAT OVERFLOWS!

I printed out my list this week and took the time to read back over each and every gift and reason for the gratitude within (825 thus far).   A year in review simply stated = my cup runneth over.    As we gathered around an intimate table of Thanksgiving celebration today, (we kept it simple this year due to Rick’s knee surgery) and will later gather with extended family for all the sweets and treats of Thanksgiving, no one can deny HIS goodness in our lives.

As we celebrate, as you celebrate, may we do so by giving thanks with a grateful heart; for a grateful heart is the source of thanks giving!

CRYSTAL   

EXPRESSIONS OF GRATITUDE, IN ALL THINGS, EVERYDAY.

Recent studies have concluded that expressions of gratitude can have profound and positive effects on our health, our moods and even the survival of our marriages.  A growing body of research also shows that gratitude is truly amazing in its physical and psychosocial benefits. 
We don’t have to look far for reasons to despair.   However, in cultivating a sense of genuine gratitude in ALL things (1 Thess. 5:18), life gets better not just for us, but for everyone around us.  
I began my own “intentional” journey of gratitude almost one year ago, while reading  One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp, with my daughter Sarah (a gift in itself).
With each passing day my list grows, but at nine months and counting, it has become way more than just “a list”  (and some amateur photography).     It has become a daily reminder to bow my heart in gratitude, finding beauty in the mundane, making the small stuff count for more than the bad stuff, and looking at everything in life with new purpose and a thankful perspective!

673.  The colors of autumn. 
674.  The silver lining in every cloud. 
675.  The wilderness, don’t miss it (there’s something to be learned there too).
676.  Celebrating new life (with old friends in new houses)  
677.  A perfect autumn day.  
678.  Friendships, birthdays and layered pumpkin cheese cake.  
For another day my sense of well-being leaves me happy, healthy and giving thanks in ALL things. 
May expressions of gratitude do the same for you. 
CRYSTAL

EARLY IN THE MORNING–My song will rise to Thee!

 For as long as I can remember the stillness of the early morning hours has always brought about a heightened sense of THANKSGIVING.   Growing up on a dairy farm, meant a lot of early mornings.    As I would trudge my way to the barn under the clear moonlit sky,  (even through my sleepy teenage eyes) there was a deep sense of peace that gave way to THANKFULNESS.   The early days of my professional career had me walking the streets from my 3rd floor apartment to the community hospital downtown for a double shift.  The only activity along the way was the flicker of the street lights and the corner bakery.  Yet again, a deep sense of goodness and joy gave way to THANKFULNESS.  Life would later bring with it wedding bells and precious little babies, and yep, you guessed it…..early morning hours.  As the glider moved back and forth, the sweetness and wonder of new seasons in life gave way to THANKFULNESS.   There have been some blunders along the way too.  Seasons that have spelled grief and heartache and pain, but even in those moments of early morning wakefulness, no one could deny that  God’s presence right in the midst, left my heart overflowing with THANKFULNESS.   I rise early today, for there is much to do.  Food and tables to prepare, guests to entertain, friendship to be shared and so many blessings to count—-but before I begin, I pause.  The sun is kissing the earth, a new day is dawning and in the perfect stillness, my heart is overflowing with a song of THANKSGIVING.


Crystal

Tea Time Thankfulness

 You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. ~C.S. Lewis

Somehow, I don’t even mind that the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder.  I’ve come to savor this time of year.  Just as the season of harvest is coming to an end and the fields are quieted for a much needed rest,  so do I settle in….with a good book, a cup of hot tea and a heart overflowing with THANKSGIVING.

It’s the simple pleasures of autumn leaves and blue cloudless skies that stretch out with ease.  The north wind is blowing, the fire is glowing and my family knows abundance from diligently sowing.  As I gather my thoughts, and assess the results, I am blessed beyond measure with goodness I treasure.  Who would think through the rigors of life’s daily clutter, would yield such contentment and peace for another.  I’m thankful for so many wonders discovered, yet so many more in life to uncover.  Faithful with all that you give to me Lord, in the stillness of my heart, I  long to give back to you so much more.   
Crystal