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Thankful 30: Day 12–She’s a Winner

I have joined Emily’s* 30 Day Challenge:

I’m challenging myself to post a picture every day during the month of November (30 Days To Be Thankful For) and to add a caption as to why I am thankful. — Emily

Day 12, November 12

I am grateful for Barb’s gift of photography.  Many of the photos in my posts are hers, including the beautiful sunflowers in the background.

Today I learned that she has won second place in a national photo contest:  Capture the Heart of America–Celebrations of Agriculture category (SilosandSmokestacks.org).

Here is her winning photo.

In Exodus 31 the Lord is talking to Moses about Bezalel, a craftsman he’s chosen to make the Tent of Meeting and the objects in it.  God explains that the artistry is a gift from the Lord.

I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills—to make artistic designs . . .  Exodus 31:3,4

Barb’s gift, her skill in photography is from God, too.

Here are a few more of her photos.  Enjoy.

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photo by Barb Briggs

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photo by Barb Briggs

barbs bee and round sunflower

photo by Barb Briggs

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photo by Barb Briggs

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photo by Barb Briggs

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Art is born when the temporary touches the eternal.G.K. Chesterton

See Thankful 30 page for every day’s entry.

* name changed

Thankful 30: Day 11–Vegetable Soup and the Church

I have joined Emily’s* 30 Day Challenge:

I’m challenging myself to post a picture every day during the month of November (30 Days To Be Thankful For) and to add a caption as to why I am thankful. — Emily

Day 11, November 11

Today I am thankful for vegetable soup.

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A dusting of snow fell this morning, and later in the day a biting, north wind leaned against the kitchen windows.  Vegetable soup and banana muffins sounded very appealing on such a chilly day, so today I gathered the ingredients and made soup, filling the kitchen with its steamy aroma.

First, I sauteed the onions, celery, garlic, and carrots in the stock pot.  Next I added canned green beans from the store and frozen, diced tomatoes grown in the garden.  I searched the refrigerator for small bits of leftovers to add to the soup:  two mushrooms,  a jar of beef broth, a container of roast beef from Sunday’s roast,  two leaves of kale, and fresh parsley from my CSA box.  In my pantry I found four, small potatoes, so I peeled and cubed them and threw them in the pot, too.

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To season the soup, I add salt and pepper and a dash of chili powder à la Evelyn.

Nearly 30 years ago, Evelyn, a member of my church, taught me how to make vegetable soup and how to make it taste like love.  I had been bronchitis’ prisoner for  a week and had two small children to care for.  I was exhausted, I was discouraged, and we all were hungry for something homemade.  Evelyn knew and brought us a meal of vegetable-beef soup (with a dash of chili powder), bran muffins, and raspberry jello.  It was more than nourishment for our bodies;  it was food for my discouraged heart.  She taught me about doing simple, servant things,  to show others in the body of Christ that we care.

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Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.  I Corinthians 12:12

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.  I Corinthians 12:27

The church is also like a big pot of vegetable soup, many ingredients long-simmered together to make a nourishing meal.  In the church we have those who are brightly colored as carrots or as ordinary as a can of green beans, but who could do without either of them?  Some are a little trendy like kale, but full of vitamins.  Some of us are a little old like the leftovers, some new like the freshly picked parsley.  There are those who are seemingly “bland” as a potato, but, oh, so comforting, and there’s always someone who adds a little spice like the chili powder.  Each of us as individuals has something to offer the stockpot–a flavor, an aroma, a texture that’s unique to us.

I remember Evelyn’s gift as I ladle the steaming soup into bowls tonight, and I’m thankful for her example.  I try to make my soup (and my church) taste like love.

See Thankful 30 page for every day’s entry.

* name changed

Thankful 30: Day 10–A Short Walk and Small Things

I have joined Emily’s* 30 Day Challenge:

I’m challenging myself to post a picture every day during the month of November (30 Days To Be Thankful For) and to add a caption as to why I am thankful.

Day 10, November 10

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I am grateful for small things today:

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  • the three-year-old hands of a grandchild, happily splashing in the sink

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  • diminutive crab apples, food for hungry birds

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  • fine curlicues on a yucca plant

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  • delicate veins of a husk cherry

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  • seed head of a stunted purple coneflower
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  • gossamer “wings” of milkweed seed

The sun sets so early now that I didn’t think I’d have time for a walk outside before the light failed, but I decided a short stroll was better than none.  If I hadn’t gone, the silky filaments of the milkweed would have been unobserved.  I could have been too busy to watch my grandson playing in the water, too rushed to follow a wayward robin hopping branches, eating crab apples, or too distracted to see the setting sun ignite the translucent oak leaf.  I might have missed seeing these small graces and lost the opportunity to give thanks–and missed the miracle of joy.

Small things, the stuff of miracles . . . do you remember this story?

a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish  John 6:9

and then

Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.  John 6:11

Gratitude peels away the veil of the mundane, the every-day-ness so that we encounter the miraculous, and then we experience the joy.

For small things, the stuff of miracles, I’m grateful.

See Thankful 30 page for every day’s entry.

* name changed


linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee

Thankful 30: Day 9–Leadership Training

I have joined Emily’s* 30 Day Challenge:

I’m challenging myself to post a picture every day during the month of November (30 Days To Be Thankful For) and to add a caption as to why I am thankful.

Day 9, November 9

I am thankful that so many people turned out for a Church Leadership Training Seminar held this weekend.

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I am grateful to the host church that provided the space, brewed the coffee, and prepared the meal.

hos·pi·tal·i·ty

noun:  the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers.

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I am thankful for the wisdom of the speakers and their servant hearts.  Just as the yellow and green in this hosta leaf complement each other, love and truth together are needed to grow a leader.

Love and truth form a good leader;
sound leadership is founded on loving integrity.

Proverbs 20:28  The Message

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It cheered my heart to see the parking lot nearly full when I arrived.  I thank you for church leaders who want to serve God with love, insight, and common sense and become that sweet fragrance of Christ in all our actions.

Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life.

2 Corinthians 2:15,16

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Thank you, Lord, that so many people who have non-pastoral positions of leadership in their local churches (whether dealing with spiritual issues, finances, or business meetings)  were willing to take time away from their weekend activities.  Lord, I ask that you give all church leaders wisdom as they serve and immerse their attitudes and actions in love,  which will make even the smallest things beautiful.

Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.  John 13:35 The Message

Photos taken at Leadership Training host church.

See Thankful 30 page for every day’s entry.

* name changed

Thankful 30: Day 8–Refrigerator Art

I joined (belatedly) Emily’s* 30 Day Challenge:

I’m challenging myself to post a picture every day during the month of November (30 Days To Be Thankful For) and to add a caption as to why I am thankful.

Day 8, November 8

Thank you, Lord, for photos, drawings, clippings, invitations, and cards that amass on my refrigerator.  I put the newest items on the front and then retire them to the side when I add something new to the gallery.  I am sometimes irritated by the clutter, but I need to remember it means I have family and friends, as well as church family.

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy . . . It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart . . .  Philippians 1:3,4,7

Thank you for the niece who drew the illustration for an idea shared at a retreat.

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I thank my God every time I remember you.

Thank you that this letter “F” now reminds me more of friends and family than failure.  (The full story of the letter “F” magnet is here.)

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I thank my God every time I remember you.

Thank you for the many friends who encourage me, like the one who generously shares photos like these for me to use on this blog.

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I thank my God every time I remember you.

These refrigerator art images jog my memory, which prompts me to be thankful and to pray with joy.

What’s on your refrigerator, and how does it encourage thankfulness?

Day 1, 2, & 3 Oak leaf, sunrise, shelter

Day 4 Pumpkins

Day 5 Rain

Day 6 Vegetables

Day 7 Clean Water

See Thankful 30 page for every day’s entry.

* name changed

Thankful 30: Day 7–Clean Water

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I joined (belatedly) Emily’s* 30 Day Challenge:

I’m challenging myself to post a picture every day during the month of November (30 Days To Be Thankful For) and to add a caption as to why I am thankful.

Day 7, November 7

God, I’m thankful that I have clean, safe water for

drinking,

washing,

bathing,

and cooking.

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We take potable water for granted, but

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Every day over 4,000 children are dying of water-related diseases such as cholera and typhoid that are easily preventable. Many more are suffering sickness, diarrhea and acute stomach pains – illnesses that stop children going to school and growing up into healthy adults.  Compassion

Consider giving a gift to Compassion that will help provide a well for those who don’t have a source of safe water.

* * *

Day 1, 2, & 3 Oak leaf, sunrise, shelter

Day 4 Pumpkins

Day 5 Rain

Day 6 Vegetables

* name changed

Thankful 30: Day 6–Vegetables

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Sunday I joined (belatedly) Emily’s* 30 Day Challenge:

I’m challenging myself to post a picture every day during the month of November (30 Days To Be Thankful For) and to add a caption as to why I am thankful.

Day 6, November 6

I am thankful, Lord, for the CSA (Consumer Supported Agriculture) box full of vegetables that I picked up today.

He makes grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for people to cultivate—
bringing forth food from the earth  Psalm 104:14 NIV

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I’m especially grateful for the beets.  However, other members of my household believe this verse applies to the lowly beet:

I refuse to touch it;
such food makes me ill.  Job 6:7 NIV

More for me!

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Day 1, 2, & 3 Oak leaf, sunrise, shelter

Day 4 Pumpkins

Day 5 Rain

* name changed

Thankful 30: Day 5–Rain

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 I joined (belatedly) Emily’s* 30 Day Challenge:

I’m challenging myself to post a picture every day during the month of November (30 Days To Be Thankful For) and to add a caption as to why I am thankful.

Day 5, November 5

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the rain today–

gentle, all day,

replenish the fields,

green up the pastures,

drip off the eaves,

trickle down the pumpkins,

and splash off the leaves,

kind of rain.

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He covers the sky with clouds;
he supplies the earth with rain
and makes grass grow on the hills.  Psalm 147:8 NIV

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* name changed

Day 1, 2, & 3 Oak leaf, sunrise, shelter

Day 4 Pumpkins


linked to http://www.emilywierenga.com

Thankful 30: Day 4–Pumpkins

Yesterday I joined (belatedly) Emily’s* 30 Day Challenge:

I’m challenging myself to post a picture every day during the month of November (30 Days To Be Thankful For) and to add a caption as to why I am thankful.

Day 4, November 4

Thank you, God, for creating pumpkins and their tasty, green seeds, so that I can make my daily granola.

The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.  Genesis 1:12 NIV

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* name changed

“I’m Cheating, and It’s OK If I Get Caught”

I’m cheating, and it’s ok if I get caught.  I am copying what high-school student Emily* is writing, because she is so smart.  She’s got the right answers, and this is a test I want to pass.

She has written this on Facebook:

I’m challenging myself to post a picture every day during the month of November (30 Days To Be Thankful For) and to add a caption as to why I am thankful.

She’s done it:  three photos, three captions, three days of gratitude.

She’s learned that thankfulness is a habit to be cultivated.  It’s a challenge to our callous hearts.  One of the old meanings of the word “challenge” is “a call to fight.”  So fight for your distracted mind to center on the truth of God’s goodness.  Fight for your aching heart to see the sun behind the storm clouds.  Fight for your weary soul to be at rest in his love.

I’m going to peer over Emily’s shoulder and copy her answers.  I want to ace this test on gratitude.

Will you  join me in thanking God  the rest of November?  It’s a good habit to make.

What are you thankful for?

* * *

Day 1, November 1

Thank you, God, for the ragged beauty of a back-yard oak leaf that reveals your glory.

And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.  Isaiah 40:5

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Day 2, November 2

By the time I grabbed the camera and hurried outside, much of the red was gone.  It was glorious.  Thank you, Lord, for another day.

his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;  Lamentations 3:22-23

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Day 3, November 3

Thank you, Lord, for unexpected blessings.  When I took this picture of the fall-colored vine, I didn’t notice the praying mantis near the bottom.  It has escaped the hard freezes by sheltering on this warm, south-facing brick wall and hiding from predators under the leaves of the vine.

You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.  Psalm 32:7

Thank you, God, for being my shelter in times of trouble.

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* name changed

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