"You are where you are for such a time as this -- not to make an impression -- but to make a difference." AnnVoskamp

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Gift Hung, Held, Heard

 Gifts Hung:

79. My beautiful Botanica pictures. 

80. My "hippie-chick-wall-decor"

(this is the first piece of "decorating" that Randy and I bought together! 
I fell in love with it in the store. We got home and the side of the 
box said "Hippie-Chick-Wall-Decor."  Who wouldn't love something named that?)

: )

 Gifts Held:

81. Jackson

82. Riley

83. Josie

84. Ava

85. Alyssa 

Gifts Heard:

86. "Grammy"

87. "Mammy" 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gifts from my Savior

76. Eternal life

77. Peace that passes all understanding

78. Randy - my grace gift

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

3 Gifts Sweet

72. I mean really, have you ever seen/held anything as sweet as a baby??? There is absolutely no comparison to any other sweetness in the world! Love babies!


73. I was raised on a farm... So, there is nothing that tastes better to me than Southern Sweet Tea!!

When we would be working in the field, my Mom would bring us Iced Tea and cookies. That's when it tastes best - when your hot and thirsty!! 

Monday, December 10, 2012

3 Gifts in Community

46. My favorite place to visit in our community is the Botanica Gardens. I've blogged about these gardens H.E.R.E.

I love to visit these gardens and walk - looking at all the plants and flowers. God has given such a great gift with His creation.

48. Our Church supports several ministries in our community. One is the ARC. Learn more about them H.E.R.E. At Thanksgiving every year we serve their members and families a Thanksgiving meal and we have a dance for them. It was so fun serving food this year - my first year to help.

Getting ready to serve 800 people!

Unfortunately, I was too busy once it started to get any pictures...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Gift Handmade, Held, Happy

I've already listed my gift made H.E.R.E.

44. A gift held. Sometimes, even when I'm not reading it or studying it or looking in it - I just like to hold my Bible. It's a blessing to me. To know that the actual word's spoken by God, spoken by Jesus are right here at my fingertips. Ready for me to explore, learn and be comforted!

70. Another Gift Held - I love holding the hands of my grandchildren. Walking through the zoo or just anytime.  I love to hold their faces in my hands and kiss their sweet noses. I love to hold them in sweet hugs. 

45. The gift of my dear husband makes me very happy.

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Gift Unexpected

75. Today, Randy and I went to our community Christian Bookstore to buy a couple of Christmas gifts. 

Randy was picking the gift he was wanting to buy for a friend.

I was looking for a book I want for Christmas. - you know, to show him so he won't forget!

: ) 

For some reason I couldn't seem to find it on the shelves. 

So I started looking for a sales clerk to help me. 

She wasn't dodging me, but was staying an aisle or two ahead of me. 

I finally chased her down!! 

I asked for the book I was looking for

and this beautiful sales clerk with the name "Tobi" on her name tag gave me such a gorgeous smile! and said:

"I love her books. Have you read 'One Thousand Gifts'?"

We had a wonderful conversation! 

Shared our blog information!

What a blessing an unexpected gift from God truly is!

3 Gifts Preparing

By now, you have probably realized that I am not publishing all of my "gifts." Only a few of  them. I'm also not following the prompts exactly as Ann Voskamp suggests. Just kind of being a free spirit in this "joy dare" that has become a way of living.

We live such a big part of our lives in preparation. Glorious preparation! The birth of our children. The birth of our grandchildren. Preparing for company. Preparing for weddings - all special occasions. But the most important preparation for each of us is my 43rd gift.

43. Preparing for Jesus Return!! 

"It will all happen so fast, in a blink, a mere flutter of the eye. The last trumpet will call, and the dead will be raised from their graves with a body that does not, cannot decay. All of us will be changed." 1 Corinthians 15:52 The Voice

Come quickly, Lord Jesus 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

3 Gifts Humble

37. When going through good times - I often hear "You deserve this."  This statement causes me to pause - my out loud response is "I'm not sure I deserve it, but I'm very thankful for it."

In truth, I don't "deserve." I am a sinful woman. I don't deserve that Jesus took all my sins to the cross with Him. All I really deserve is death. But because of Him I've been given so so much more.

 I'm so very very grateful. 

 I'm so very very thankful.

I'm so very very humbled.

38. I'm so humbled when watching others hurt, struggle, my life is so good. God has truly blessed me.

39.  Thinking I am doing so good spiritually. I'm so humbled when looking into the mirror of God's Word and realizing - Oh, Brenda, you have so much growing to do.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Gift Grateful

I've lived in so many strange ways. I am so grateful for:

29. Running water

30. Hot running water

31. Clean sheets

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Gift Made, Shared, and Passed On

13. Probably the most fun I've had making gifts were the quilts that I made for each of my grandkids.  I've made more than one for the older ones, but the first ones I made after I learned to piece together quilts were the most fun!!  (sorry the pictures aren't the best)

Jack's Quilt

Riley's Quilt

Josie's Quilt

Ava's Quilt

Alyssa's Quilt

14. A gift shared - anyone who knows me knows my love of books and how much I like to share them - share about them! I love talking books and I've probably "lost" a library full of books from sharing and not getting them back!! But that's okay! I just like to encourage others to read.

15. A gift passed on. My faith is the most important attribute I have to pass on. I worked hard as a young Mom to make sure my kids understood how important my faith was/is to me. I wanted them to build a faith within themselves that would weather them through life.

You know the catch phrase "pay it forward?" Well, I do believe we should be kind to everyone and "paying forward" our faith is a gift well worth passing on. 

3 Gifts of Tradition

19. Family gathering for holidays.
A Side Story:

For years whoever was living at home at our house and whoever was still at home at my brother's home - would all pitch in some $$ and buy fireworks then all meet out at the farm for the 4th of July.

Dad always made home made ice cream. In the earlier days he cranked the freezer, then he purchased an electric one. We always bragged on his ice cream. It really was the best vanilla ice cream we had ever had. Then one summer, it dawned on me - Mom really "fixed" the ice cream. She mixed all the right ingredients to make that perfect - delicious taste...

Dad only "cranked" it!!! but he still got the credit! 

good times

20. The different tradition of each holiday - nothing unusual, just the regular traditions. That's what made it solid. The feeling that - the holiday had arrived. Our family firm, solid,  - the decorations, the different food for the different holidays, the church services, the exchange of gifts, the thanksgiving, Easter egg hunts, fire works. The legacy we leave for our children, their children and on and on.

21. A new tradition for me - never traveling to Oklahoma without taking food to my parents. Never enjoying my children's visit without sending food home with Jay.

So many of our good times together - our family traditions - are shared around the table - food - laughter. Sometimes sadness or strife are involved. - 

The Gift of family

My best tradition? - having children 

raising them to have faith

raising them to be independent

3 Gifts of Autumn

16. Of course the first gift I think of are the colors!! Fall is so beautiful. God using his paint brush and giving us a masterpiece! - year after year! How glorious!

17.  The satisfaction of my Dad - each and every year - knowing his year's work of planting, praying, harvesting had been completed!! 

18.  You can't think of fall without thinking of school! When my kids lived at home - I loved the schedule of school! I was always ready to return to a structure after a summer of rest (ha).

3 Gifts Laughter

10.  The laughter of Randy and I while dating. - It had been so long since I had had good old fashioned laugh out loud times. It was so much fun. - the best thing - we still laugh. A LOT. I am so thankful for this man and the gift of laughter he brings to my life.

11. I love laughing with and about my Grandchildren!! Jack is now 16, so I've had 16 chuckle filled years with these kids! First - Jackson (I called him Jackson for so long - then shortened it to Jack), then Riley (which I mostly call Ri), Josie (which is really Ayden but I mostly call Jo), Ava (I call her Ava, Grace or Gracie) and the youngest, Alyssa (I call her Lyssa). I always tell people to look at a name good before you name your young - one way or another it will have a nick name! Which is kind of funny because I didn't "nick name" my kids. Heather was Heather, Holly was Holly, Tim was Timothy - until he became an adult and wanted to be called Tim, Jonathan was Jonathan until he started playing basketball and screaming JONATHAN took me too long so I started calling him Jay. His high school coach called him Jonny... So did the team mates and a few of his friends during that time but to me it's Jonathan or Jay. Ok, sorry, I've chased that rabbit long enough.

ANYWAY - these beautiful grandchildren have kept me laughing for 16 years. And it has been a joy unbelievable. 

12. "Laughter is the best medicine"  Who doesn't believe that? It's so true. I love to laugh - as they sing in Mary Poppins. Again- that is so true. A good laugh always makes me feel better. A smile during the day always lifts my spirits. I often say to people "you make me smile" - that is a great compliment from me because smiling - chuckling - laughing - so so important to me. It keeps me going - I love to make others laugh, too.

A good play on words always makes me chuckle. When my mother-in-law was in hospital y.e.a.r.s. ago, I found a card for her that I still remember because it was so funny to me. The front had a picture of a cow (cartoon drawn) in a hallway. Inside it said "Cow in the hall are you?"  for some reason, Anne and I thought that was the funniest card!! She still had it years later when her things were sorted and divided. - So now I have it back!

Laugh everyday, find the small funny moments in all things - and life will look up and so will you!!

"I love to laugh"

Then enjoy and laugh!!

: )

3 Gifts Hard

Hard Eucharisteo.  Finding thanks in the hard things of life...

November 26, 1961
7. My small church in Oklahoma just wore out. All the members were older, the minister resigned and after much prayer, much thought, much agonizing, these beautiful, wonderful members decided to close their doors. This was one of the hardest times of my life but I was and am so very thankful that I had an opportunity to share in the lives of these people. Jonathan rang the church bell every Sunday after services until he went away to college. Then Jackson was living with us and he took over that responsibility until he went to live with his Mom. Then I took over this blessing! The day they sold the building at auction, before I left, I rang the bell one last time. Beautiful memories in that old building.

8. Going through a divorce after 37 years of marriage was another hard time in my life. When my marriage ended, I also lost my life long minister. That was a double blow. I determined to let God get me through these times and let Him give me the courage of Joshua and the grace and dignity of Esther. He provided. He blessed me tremendously. He helped me get through a "mess" while holding my head up high. I am so thankful for what He taught me during these bleak years. - and so very thankful for His blessings.

My Mom and Dad before their 50th wedding anniversary in 2007

9.  At 1:07am I awaken, hearing the muted sound of my parents voices through the wall.  Then I hear her walker as he helps her down the hall. I want to get up to help but I know they need to do this by themselves. I'm leaving tomorrow today. "Help me Lord to find joy in this. Help me to find your peace." 

At 1:43 things quiet down again. I have reached that time in my life. Children worrying caring for parents. I've heard about it for years. Helped with my Mother-in-law, Anne. But now it's my turn. All of our lives have been changed by that one fall. The one that broke her hip.

As I think  pray through this "gift hard" - I realize that thanksgiving - grace - joy can't be just this isolated instance of life with my parents but this life as a whole.
My story with my Mom begins H.E.R.E at this blog and it's been a gift  hard from that point.

I'm so thankful for my story with my Mom. With my Dad. I'm who I am today because of the foundational years from them.

And I would be very remiss if I left out my Thanksgiving for my brother and his wonderful wife - who became my sister when they married.

Giving Thanks


This word meaning Giving Thanks.

With a base word of Joy.

And of Grace.

What a challenge from Ann Voskamp in 

 Making a list of 1000+ gifts from God.

I can see the change.

In me.

In how I see others.

In how I treat others.

I am looking at small moments of my life with new eyes.

What a journey my life has been.

What a journey I have left.

The gift of my life, right here, right now-

Thank you. 

3 Gifts Golden

4.  God's yearly gift of the fall colors here in the Midwest.

5. The golden hues on the soft skin of my sun kissed grand kids.

6.  God's gift of my Dad's beautiful golden wheat fields. -
 And the ability to drive those old combines 
to harvest this provision from the Great Provider.
- And my Dad's ability to repair them!!

3 Gifts Silent

1. I am thankful for the silence of time with my husband when we are quiet and comfortable in our quietness together.

2. The gift of early morning when I take time for quiet reading and praying.

3. The gift of riding in the car with no radio. No noise. Just quiet.


There have been times in my life - where in a moment - a small glimpse of time - I knew my life would be different from this moment forward. Defining moments, so to speak.

Holding each of my new born babies was a moment of change. I knew my life would be different from that point forward. Even with no sleep, dirty diapers (and not the disposable ones!), bottles, just the normal change in schedules I knew this was a good change. Each time, with each child. The love that explodes in a new mother's heart is a moment that forever changes her. Even when Aunt Frances told me I would never get a full nights sleep again - it was okay. I cherished the change that came.

The day my first husband came home from a "retreat" in the Kiamichi Mountains and told me he believed God was calling him into the full time ministry. In that moment, I knew my life would never be the same. It was an exciting change of hearing and responding to the Word of God. 

With the change of each new ministry came a different life. Not on the inside, inside I was still trying to live within the grace of God. But these changes came with new houses, new friends, new styles of ministry. Again, all were exciting times for me.

Then there was the day, a man came to visit and told me my husband was having an affair with his wife. That was a moment that changed me forever. A defining moment in my life. One that changed me inside as well as outside. This was the moment in my life that I knew either I believed the God of grace was in fact the God of my bad times as well as my good times or that I had been living a sham. It was a fleeting thought that He wasn't with me, and I decided to let Him lead me in this new change in my life, in this moment. I determined to let Him give the the strength and courage He gave to Joshua - the dignity and grace that He provided to Ruth, to Esther, to all the women in His Word.  He provided. In my changing times, God led me, He comforted me and at times he admonished me. He showed Himself to me so strongly, being a follower of Him is my only option. I have no other.

Then meeting and marrying Randy was another defining moment in my life. God blessed me - "a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over." I am deliriously happy with the changes that have come from sharing a life with this man. Inside and out.

Over the years of changes, I have had many opportunities to attend National Youth Leaders Conventions, of hearing wonderful preachers, God gifted speakers. I have been to many women's conferences, Women of Faith Conferences. All have made changes in my life with encouragement, Bible knowledge and giving me moments to define my walk with God.  I have read books that have done the same.

Earlier this month I had the wonderful opportunity to attend another Women of Faith Conference in Kansas City. I traveled with a group of women that I'm just now getting acquainted with. And the conference  was not a disappointment. Encouragement. Worship. Blessings.

But  there was a point when I realized my life would change from this one moment. It came as I listened to Ann Voskamp speak. In her speaking, I heard the voice of God urging me to take this small simple task and let it change me - from the inside - forever. 


 Give thanks. Grace. Joy. Be grateful.

On purpose. Making a daily change.

A change on the inside which will change me on the outside.

I've taken the challenge. I will make a change. This one a conscience change on my part. Not a change from someone else's actions. A moment each day that can make a difference in my life which in turn will make a difference in other's lives. A challenge I gladly accept. I realized that when I heard a women, striving to live in God's grace, speak about the defining moment in her life, that it can also be a defining moment in my life.

I will make a list of 1000 gifts and more - of all the small things. Of the large things. Of all the gifts from God that I am so grateful for. I will do it with joy.

one thousand gifts 
by Ann Voskamp

I hope you share in my change.