As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

{30 Days of Thankfulness} Day 30

It is hard to know how to end these 30 days . . . because thankfulness should never end really.  There is ALWAYS something to thank the Lord for! His mercies are new every morning!

I am thankful for sweet time spent with family.

It was good to gather with my dear ones on Thanksgiving Day. We missed my parents greatly, as my dad was under the weather and my mom stayed at home with him. We had no extended family or other guests this year, so it was "just the twenty of us." (Andrew is amused when we say that. 😄)

"Just the twenty of us" sang together on Thanksgiving evening. Here is one of our songs:

I am thankful for my new iPhone. 

Yes, I am joining the 21st century and I am looking forward to learning how to use the camera and posting more frequently on Instagram and who knows what else. I can also record videos (like the one above), although I don't want my family to be afraid to see my get my phone out. 

I am thankful that we had a long visit from Kati. 

It has done my heart good to have her here for these thirteen days! Kati was able to come early while Andrew was on a business trip and working, so we had some extra time with her. We enjoyed  that thoroughly. Kati is such an easy person to be with. (Don't you think that's a good thing to say about a person?)

She and Andrew leave for home early tomorrow and I am trying hard not to be sad. (Christmas decorating and a busy week will help.) 

I am thankful for leftovers. 

Really! I love leftovers . . . especially Thanksgiving leftovers, (That's one of the benefits of hosting Thanksgiving dinner.) Tonight we had turkey pot pie and we also used up all of the smidges of Thanksgiving dinner. A few Brussels sprouts. The rest of the stuffing. Some mashed potatoes. Bekah made our quick cranberry conserve and we were good to go.

Oh, and leftover dessert is good too! 

This evening (and always), I am thankful for His amazing grace!

I am amazed that He reached down and shined the light of the Gospel on me!
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die. 

Thank you, friends, for joining me on this 30-day journey of thankfulness! It has been a pleasure to share my "gratefuls" with you . . . and to hear some of yours! 

Friday, November 29, 2019

{30 Days of Thankfulness} Day 29

I am thankful for answered prayers. 

I am amazed that the God of the universe hears my simple pleas to Him. 

(Of course, He doesn't always say "yes." Sometimes He says "no," but that is no less an answer. I must trust that He is all-wise, all-knowing, and always, always good.) 

This year, He has answered Kati's prayer (and ours) for a Christian husband . . . and also her prayers to be a mom.

He has answered our pleas for help in planning a wedding, finishing homeschooling, and planning a graduation

He has answered our prayers for restored health for a loved one

He has answered our prayers for grandchildren to walk with the Lord. 

Those are big prayers and big answers.

But there are also prayers like daily bread and daily grace and forgiveness and direction and wisdom and guidance. Those are certainly no smaller, but the answers may be slow and subtle and only noticed by one who is paying attention.

And sometimes there are prayers that are not known to anyone but the pray-er. And the answer may seem small to an onlooker, but is no less than miraculous to the one who has prayed. Let me tell you about one such answer.

Since a car accident eleven years ago, I have suffered from travel anxiety. I am not a good passenger, and I am only comfortable driving in my "safe" zones. When Deanna and I started talking about meeting somewhere for a visit, I was secretly hoping it would be a little closer to me. Not because of the time or the distance, but because of the drive. But, as it worked out, the place we found to meet would take me out of my "safe" driving zone, through more traffic and major highways than I had personally driven in those eleven years!

The day came (eek! no one had cancelled!) and off I drove to meet my friend. I prayed before I left . . . and basically all the way! 

And the day was glorious! It was a beautiful autumn day (my favorite kind of day). There was beauty all around. I enjoyed the time to talk with the Lord. Not just about travel, but about lots of things. I usually listen to music in the car, but I was enjoying this uninterrupted time with God. I felt His presence.

As I drove to the tea room, I experienced unexplained peace. On the way home, there was more traffic, and yet, I remained calm.

If you're a person who doesn't mind driving (I was once that person, so I understand!), you may think that this was no big deal. But it definitely was a big deal and it was an answer to prayer! 

Again, I am amazed that the God of the universe hears my simple pleas to Him . . . but I am so grateful that He does!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

{30 Days of Thankfulness} Day 27

The l-o-n-g table is set, festive and ready for our dear ones to gather around. Andrew has arrived safely; the newlyweds are reunited. Tomorrow is the day of Thanksgiving . . . 

but the thanks giving should not end there! 

Thanksgiving is a spiritual exercise, necessary to the building of a healthy soul. It takes us out of the stuffiness of ourselves into the fresh breeze and sunlight of the will of God."   ~ Elisabeth Elliot in Keep a Quiet Heart 

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

{30 Days of Thankfulness} Days 25 and 26

It's been a busy month here and my "daily" posts have not always happened, but we're almost at the finish line and truly the easy part is finding reasons to be thankful. So I'll double up (again) tonight and I'll keep posting gratitudes for a few more days. 

Day 25:

I am thankful for these birthday boys, brothers whose birthdays are on consecutive days. Peter is 9 this year; Paul is 5. 

I am thankful for all of my grands. They bring us such joy. And I am thankful that their parents bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord

I am thankful for family gatherings. We gathered this past weekend to celebrate the November birthdays: the brothers and their Aunt Kati. I love when my people are gathered! 

Day 26:

I am thankful for good times in the kitchen today. The aroma of Thanksgiving. Happy smiles. The three of us cooking together. The new Collingsworth Family Christmas album on Spotify. 

Stuffing. ✔ Chocolate pie. ✔ Sweet potato pie. ✔ 

Sunday, November 24, 2019

{30 Days of Thankfulness} Day 24

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.

Psalm 103:1-5

Saturday, November 23, 2019

{30 Days of Thankfulness} Day 23

I am thankful for my "servants." 

I just heard the buzzer ring in the basement, letting me know that the laundry is dry. That reminded me of how thankful I am for such "servants" . . .

          my clothes dryer

          my washing machine

          my dishwasher

          my hot water heater

          my oven

          my boiler

          my coffee pot.

These tools work for me, helping me with my daily tasks of keeping a home. 

Friday, November 22, 2019

{30 Days of Thankfulness} Day 22

I am thankful for God's assurance that He will direct our paths. 

When we're faced with the unexpected and with decision and dilemmas and forks in the road, it is so easy to be overwhelmed. But then I remember:

~ He has promised never to leave me or forsake me. (Hebrews 13:3)
~ He is with me always. (Matthew 28:20)
~ He will direct my paths, if I have submitted those paths to Him. (Proverbs 3:5.6) 

Thursday, November 21, 2019

{30 Days of Thanksgiving} Day 21

I am thankful for a day that we could continue a favorite tradition. 

It's a simple Christmas tradition that we have carried on for years. We call it Girls' Day OutWe go to Barnes and Noble and drink Starbucks holiday drinks. We peruse magazines as we sip. We chat. We take selfies. Then we browse the books. 

But now Kati is married and living far away. She and Andrew won't be home for Christmas this year. 

Soooo . . . we decided to go while she is home for Thanksgiving. Because, why not?!

Today was the day!

It was a day for memories and for making memories. So thankful for our time together! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

{30 Days of Thankfulness} Day 20

Today I am thankful for a gathering of homeschooled girls at our monthly book club. 

Even though I have "retired" from homeschooling, I decided to continue with book club again this year. It is a sweet time of book talk, tea and goodies, creativity, and fellowship. I am blessed to have these girls in my life! 

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

{30 Days of Thankfulness} Days 18 and 19

Day 18 and 19: 

I am thankful for travel safety, overdue hugs, an unexpected meeting with friends, a grandmother visit, a big pot of vegetable beef soup, catching up, planning, lingering conversations, laughter, coffee stops, car rides, company in the kitchen.

It is good to have our sweet girl home for a visit. 

(Andrew is working and will be coming later. We can't wait to see him too!)

Sunday, November 17, 2019

{30 Days of Thankfulness} Day 17

I am thankful for the gift of music. 

🎹   One of the joys of my life is listening to my daughter Bekah play the piano. She treats us to impromptu concerts and she takes requests. She plays classical music, show tunes, folk songs, and hymns.

Recently, Bekah was looking at some Christmas music on Amazon and came across a book of songs from Josh Groban's album, Noel. She grabbed her tablet, opened the "look inside" feature, and played sample pages of several beautiful Christmas arrangements. Of course, since these were sample pages, each selection ended abruptly and the lovely music ended. I think we're going to need to purchase this book . . .

Yes, definitely one of the joys of my life. 

🎹   I love Thanksgiving music.
🎜  "Come, Ye Thankful People, Come"
🎝  "For the Beauty of the Earth"
♬  "We Gather Together"

Or the newer . . .
♫  "Give Thanks" (worship song)
🎝 " My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness" (by the Gettys)

I have told you before about the CD that we play in November, a wonderful collection of Thanksgiving songs and hymns. It accompanies the book Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember by Barbara Rainey.

We sing a hymn together each year before we eat our Thanksgiving dinner. Last year was "Come, Ye Thankful People, Come." This year, we think it will be "My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness." It is so meaningful to sing a song of praise before the feast.

🎹   I am especially thankful for how music is a vehicle for worship.
A hymn or a spiritual song can stir your soul, teach doctrine, convict your heart, encourage you in the journey, and inspire you to worship the Creator. Singing words of truth transcends the everyday, the commonplace, and takes us to Heavenly places! 

Saturday, November 16, 2019

{30 Days of Thankfulness} Days 15 and 16

A potpourri of thanks . . .

I am thankful for a brand new opportunity to serve. 
I am volunteering with a local ESL (English as a Second Language) ministry, and I love it! It is such a blessing to see students young and old, from many different countries, gather each week and work hard to learn English. I enjoy it all, but perhaps my favorite part is during the short devotional each week when students stand and read the Scripture verse in their own language. It moves me every time.

I am thankful for friends. 
I had coffee this morning yesterday with a dear friend and as we talked about everything from our adult children to food to deep spiritual topics to the squeaky restaurant door that was in desperate need of some WD-40, I was reminded of how we need one another on this journey. "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works." (Hebrews 10:24)

I am thankful for an at-home kind of Saturday.
The furthest I went today was my back step where I shook my wool duster. From changing the linens on the guest room bed, to ironing the napkins for our Thanksgiving table, it was a day for domesticity. To me, that is a good day!

I am thankful that we are expecting a special guest next week.
Can you guess?

Thursday, November 14, 2019

{30 Days of Thankfulness} Day 14

I am thankful that a loved one has finished her cancer treatments. 

She had some real challenges through the months. Some huge bumps in the road, including several hospitalizations. What a year it has been! But she is on the other side of treatment now and is doing well. 

Praise the Lord! We are so grateful!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

{30 Days of Thankfulness} Day 13

Is it odd to say that I am thankful for Thanksgiving? 

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year! 

It is celebrated during the glorious autumn season. I love dishes and napkins and tablecloths and a reason to use place cards. I love being with family and hosting family gatherings. The traditional Thanksgiving meal is sooooo good. But also, Thanksgiving is a holiday that is simple and straightforward; it is a low stress, one-day affair.

I think about the Thanksgiving table for weeks . . . sometimes as soon as the previous year's table is set. 

Hmmmm . . . this year we used the Grandmother Dishes, white napkins, and gourds of green and white, so next year we'll use Blue Willow and rust/orange . . . or Friendly Village and other brown transferware and burgundy mums. 

It is a thrill for me to ponder and plan. 

When November rolls around, it's time to get out the turkeys . . . and I am not talking about the one that will be carved on Thanksgiving Day!

I love my turkeys! 

My turkey candy mold is on the new (but really old) stepback cupboard this year. 

This turkey is a new one purchased on our Lancaster trip in September. I had packed him away and had forgotten about him, but Ron remembered!

Primitive Tom has made a November appearance ever since I made him in 2011. He moved into the living room this year, since there were several turkeys in the dining room.

The Thanksgiving Mice are ready for the grands to come and play.

There is one more thing left to do (besides food prep, of course). I have not yet hung our Thankful Tree and here it is nearly the middle of the month! I need to get busy with that . . . 

When it comes down to it, Thanksgiving is a time to focus on gratitude. But being thankful is an empty idea, merely a feel-good exercise in positive thinking . . . unless we are offering our thanks to the Giver of the gifts! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

{30 Days of Thankfulness} Days 11 and 12

Day 11:

Yesterday, we continued the tradition of our Annual Mother/Daughter Christmas Shopping Trip.  My sister Linda and I have had a special Christmas shopping day with Mom almost as long as I can remember.  Neither of us knows exactly how many, but it has been more than 40 years. 

When Linda and I were little girls, Mom took us to a big shopping center in the city with large department stores and escalators and spectacular decorations. I remember Mom selecting gifts for sisters and aunts and uncles and grandparents. One time, Mom was perusing a table of women's lingerie and she held up some underwear and said to me, "Do you think these would fit ______?" . . .  only to discover that she was speaking to a gentleman customer and not me. Oops!  I also remember the treat of going down to the  basement cafeteria and getting hot chocolate. 

Most years, we have gone to malls. A couple of times, we went to an outlet center. The year that Ron was sick, we shopped locally so that I could be home in time to administer IV meds. And as the years have gone on, our shopping days are shorter. There was a time when we'd leave before dawn and arrive home after midnight! These days, we're home in time for dinner.

We shop and we eat and we drink fancy coffee drinks and caramel apple cider.  We ooh and aah at Williams-Sonoma and at Pottery Barn.  We listen to Christmas music.  We walk our legs off.  (And that "walking our legs off" part does not take much time any more.)

Sometimes a baby has joined us, or a daughter who has reached the required age of eighteen*.  Sometimes a new daughter-in-law, or a new grandbaby. Sometimes a minivan full of mothers and daughters, sometimes just the three of us.  This year, we three and Bekah made four.

*We waived the minimum age requirement a few years ago when none of the "over 18s" could/wanted to go, but Bekah most certainly did want to go. 

We love this tradition and we are thankful for another year of being together! 

Mother/Daughter Christmas Shopping Trip 2019 

Day 12:  

As I look at the snow falling outside my window, I am thankful that our trip was yesterday and not today!

What are you thankful for today? 

Sunday, November 10, 2019

{30 Days of Thankfulness} Day 10

I am thankful for His grace. 





Saturday, November 9, 2019

{30 Days of Thankfulness} Day 9

Our weather has taken a cold turn. 

Autumn is here, but winter is making her way. It is time to prepare for the turning of the seasons. 

Today it was time to clear the gutters. Time to drain the hoses and the running water in the garage. Time to remove the potted begonia my parents had given us in early summer. The vivid pink blooms had brightened the door by the sun porch, but it was bitten by frost last night. 

Today, we sipped hot coffee in the afternoon. We took a short drive to look at lovely homes and autumn wreaths and lingering color and pumpkins on front stoops because we need to soak it up while we can. Back at home, we lit candles as we did our household chores. We ate pumpkin waffles and bacon for dinner.

I am thankful for the gentle rhythm of the seasons. The day-by-day changes in the air and the sunrises and sunsets. The slow changes in our views, in the smells, in the routines of our days and our nights. 

Friday, November 8, 2019

{30 Days of Thankfulness) Days 7 and 8

I have had some busy days this week, so I'll play catch up tonight . . . 

I have been thinking about a simple but profound truth a dear friend shared with me:
Time is love, she said. 

Time spent with people has made my heart grateful this week.

~ I am thankful for an outing with a precious longtime friend. A "treasure hunt" of sorts and some driving time which is perfect for chatting. It did my heart good to be with Frances.

~ I am thankful for a little road trip with Bekah. A history CD, a piano lesson (we sound like homeschoolers, don't we?), shopping, and one last PSL to savor before the holidays. (We were afraid we had missed our opportunity to have one, so we really were thankful for that little pleasure.) We always love taking a ride together! 

~ I am thankful for a wee grandgirl sleeping in our guest room tonight. Three-year-old Macie is joyful and enthusiastic and adores her Aunt Bekah (the feeling is mutual!) and she had lots of fun here tonight . . . playing game after game, eating Chick-fil-A, watching The Grinch, eating Nerds. As soon as her head hit the pillow, she was asleep! Hers is the last of the first round of Grand Sleepovers in the new guest room.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

{30 Days of Thankfulness} Day 6

I am thankful for my kitchen!

About a month ago, I have you a progress update. Ron was off that week and we (mostly he) were working hard on the kitchen checklist. Our goal was completion by Thanksgiving. But guess what?

We finished last week! 

I plan to do a separate blog post sometime soon (need to get some good photos). But in the meantime, here's a sneak peek. 

Yes, I am thankful for my kitchen . . . and for my handyman!

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

{30 Days of Thankfulness} Day 5

As I sit here in front of my laptop, struggling to stay awake long enough to post . . .

I am thankful for shelter, for a warm home, for a cozy bed, for rest.

This gift is not something to take for granted, for even our Lord said, "Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

Good night, friends.

Monday, November 4, 2019

{30 Days of Thankfulness} Day 4

I am full of thanksgiving tonight! 

I am thankful for the gift of music. 

This evening, Bekah's piano students presented their fall recital, a mix of classical and sacred music. It was a delight to hear the students, to see how much they have improved since the last recital, to be inspired by the works that they played.

Here are four of her five students (one was unable to attend), ready for the program to begin!

I am thankful for all of the family and friends who came. 

Richard's family (who are also our neighbors and friends) . . . longtime friends Gary and Frances who come to support Eve, Nora, and Peter . . . and tonight, some extra special guests. Friends of Ryan and Sarah (John and his wife Susan who was Eve's and Nora's first piano teacher!), traveled from out of state so that they could visit and come to the recital! It was such a delight to meet them!

With both teachers!

I am thankful for rich discussion. 

As we enjoyed refreshments after the program, we (folks over eighteen) talked about the rapid passage of time. Two of the couples in the room will be observing their 50th wedding anniversary next year and were remarking about how quickly the years flew by. We talked about Psalm 90 (lots there about the passage of time).  Ryan told about 92-year-old man in their church who was asked if his years had gone by quickly. He whispered, "Like a vapor." Our guest, John, told us that the word "vanity" in Ecclesiastes (as in chapter 1, verse 2 which reads "vanity of vanities; all is vanity") can be translated "vapor." So when Solomon was referring to something as a "vanity," he was referring to its transient nature, its brevity.

Isn't that an encouragement to "number our days"? To invest in the things that are not transient, but the things that are eternal?

Good discussion. 

I am thankful for a new-to-me (or at least, I thought it was) song. 

In the comments on yesterday's blog post, Melissa mentioned the song "Ancient Words" by Michael W. Smith. I loved the lyrics she shared and did a search for a recording.

Well, come to find out, my daughter says that we have sung this at church! Bekah says that she remembers singing it, Ron says that he doesn't, and I am thinking that that must be why it sounded vaguely familiar but I never would have said that I knew it.

Regardless, I know it now and love the message.
Ancient words, ever true
Changing me, changing you
We have come with open hearts
Oh let the ancient words impart.

For the handful of people who are not familiar with the song (most of my Facebook friends were!), I'll share the video here:

I suppose this was one of those nights when I chattered on about my blessings! Feel free to leave some of your "gratefuls" in the comments. I love to read them! 

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