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August 2014

It’s My New Year!

harvest moonI blogged last Labor Day weekend that Labor Day Monday is what I consider the start of my official new year. It just makes way more sense than January because this is when our lives pivot on going back to school, end of summer celebrations (read: “freedom from structure”), and setting our minds toward accepting another winter which will blow in before we know it.

A year ago, I began blogging earnestly about giving continual thanks (in all things), using Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts as my guide. Because it’s my new year, I took time to review the old year to remind myself of the various ways I was able to find joy and give thanks through everyday living. Thank goodness One Thousand Gifts has an app so that I don’t have to try to read my handwriting. Also I lose almost everything I touch, so paper isn’t a wise venue for me to use when keeping records.

Here is a sampling of entries:

  • Pillows that are “just right”
  • Not barfing over the side of the boat–truly (right Lee Ellen?)
  • Holy ground even when I don’t recognize it
  • Google Earth
  • Being crafty (those of you who know me well will wonder when I was every crafty; the truth? i can’t remember!)
  • Surprise generosity
  • A black purse found tucked away in the closet
  • That I have bifocals without lines
  • Regular garbage pickup
  • Ladies lounges in department stores
  • The breeze that keeps mosquitoes at bay
  • Family movies
  • “Sharing” my daughter’s scarves

My point in sharing some of the items from my personal list (currently at #535), is to provoke you to thought about where you can find joy, gratefulness, and thanksgiving. Life is full of opportunities–some profound, most basic–to recognize the good things in life. Go find them this weekend. And Happy New Year!!

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That it May Bear More Fruit

Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. John 15:2

Almost September, so almost time to prune the Ninebark in front of the house. I am merciless. Whack ’em down to nearly nothing so that next spring they will sprout new green life and by summer be gloriously full of lush green leaves and tiny white sprigs. It’s certainly more fun to enjoy the beauty of the benefits than to engage in the actual hacking–I mean pruning.

So why has that been so hard to figure out in my own life? I’ve got the first part of John 15:2 down pat. That is, the part about my branches that don’t bear fruit being taken away. (Honestly, Lord, sometimes the blade cuts so close it scares me.) But it wasn’t until I read this verse two nights ago that the second half of the verse struck a chord – And every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes.

I read that to mean he is focusing his pruning where I’m already bearing fruit. And that gives me tremendous hope. First because I wasn’t sure there was even a seed, let alone a trace of fruit. Second because sometimes I have so many worthless branches hanging all over me it’s a wonder he can still see me inside of that mess. But he does. And John 15:2 tells me that not only does he see me, he sees a bit of good. A bit of good that with expert trimming grows into something beautiful and worthwhile.

Budding Branch

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