The Rainbow

IMG_9650

“God is always good and I am always loved.”  ~Ann Voskamp
http://www.onethousandgifts.com

I have this quote posted in my kitchen.  I believe this but sometimes I forget it…the times that I am struggling, the moments of sadness or stress, the days of discomfort or weariness.    When I start to dwell too much on the hardships or trials, I find myself drifting away from this truth.  Life can be hard and moments can be trials.  But, through it all I do believe that “God is always good and I am always loved.”

It helps me to count the good things, to write down the gifts, to focus on the blessings and thank God for them.  One of my very favorite books is “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp.  She was challenged by a friend to write down one thousand things she loved.

On page 45, she says, “On a whim, a dare, I scratch it down:  Gift List.  I begin the list.  Not of gifts I want but of gifts I already have…That is the beginning and I smile.  I mean, they are just the common things and maybe I don’t even know they are gifts really until I write them down and that is really what they look like.  Gifts He bestows.  This writing it down–it is sort of like…unwrapping love.”

I too began this challenge and it has been one of the best ways I know to remind myself of His goodness and love…to keep reminding myself so I don’t forget.  Taking the time to write down the blessings has helped me worry less and thank Him more.  I have been keeping this list for over five years now and although I may not write the gifts down daily, this simple routine has helped me greatly.  In the hard moments and difficult days, my mind goes back to counting the blessings and noticing the gifts He’s given me.  My mom also kept a journal of gifts.

I wanted to share with you the details of a God-given gift that happened recently.  My dad and my mom celebrate birthdays 6 days apart.  Without mom here now, the week is somewhat bittersweet and especially hard for Dad.   This year we celebrated his 75th birthday! We gathered all together with extended family to celebrate the gift of him.  We sang “Happy Birthday” and he blew out the candles.  A few raindrops had begun to fall…it was dripping lightly on us from above.  Moments after we sang to him, the sun came out and a glorious rainbow appeared in the sky.  This rainbow had the entire color spectrum and even turned into a double rainbow toward the end as it faded away.

Some might say, it was just a combination of sun and rain that came together at the same time to form a rainbow.  I believe it was an extra-special gift from God, sent at a perfect moment with precision timing.  Dad had been especially sad having to celebrate this monumental birthday without his bride by his side.  I don’t know exactly how things work between heaven and earth. But, I do believe that God knew exactly how to show us His love and help us feel close to her at a very special moment.  Maybe she got to see this amazing gift and even got to see the tears of joy that fell from our faces as we gazed up into the sky?  Either way, I am grateful!

Thank you God for the gift of this rainbow, the colorful reminder of your promises and your love.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  ~James 1:17

“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” ~Psalm 9:1

 

Anchored to Hope

This Saturday will mark the second birthday my Mom is spending in heaven. It gives me great peace to know she is in the presence of her Lord and Savior, fully alive in a place of overflowing love and joy beyond anything we can imagine. I look forward to being with her again one day…but the loss here remains and I miss her greatly.

This post was written by a close friend of hers recently. Cheryl taught me piano lessons when I was a little girl. I appreciate her insights and hope that her post will encourage you this day.

An Apple of Gold

While HOPE is one of my favorite topics to blog about, I have chosen to emphasize it today in honor of a dear friend of mine, Judy, who went to be with Jesus a year ago in April. June 17 was her birthday on earth, and while she is celebrating that day in heaven now, I want to honor her with the following insights regarding HOPE. She anchored her faith to hope throughout her illness. The anchor with a yellow ribbon pictured above, was given to each of us at her celebration of life service. I still cling to this anchor pin as well as to the spiritual promises of hope.

In the bigger picture, the view from which Judy now experiences it, hope is the eternal full manifestation of eternitywith God. Our eternal hope is promised in Revelation 21:4, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There…

View original post 1,126 more words

Live Like Yellow

IMG_9952I want to live like YELLOW…

let me explain…

Yellow was my mom’s favorite color.
It was a perfect color for her…bright, cheerful, uplifting…a JOY-full color and one of HOPE.  The yellow-ish sun and stars…both bright lights, just like her.  We might say she had a “sunny disposition.” An article in Psychology Today says if yellow is your favorite color, “Finding happiness comes easy to you and others would compare you to sunshine.” She was like a ray of sunshine, and radiated love and warmth to all who came into her path.  She had a way of warmly caring for people she knew well and those she didn’t.  Many have shared they miss her smile.  Mom looked on the bright side of things and focused on the positive always.  She rarely complained, even when she was in the battle of her life and in great pain.  Oh, how I want to be more like that…

I want to live like YELLOW.

One of the definitions in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is  “a color whose hue resembles that of ripe lemons or sunflowers.”  Again…perfect for her.  She loved lemons, all things lemon…she loved lemon slices in her water, squirted lemon juice onto vegetables and chicken, and baked lemon squares with powdered sugar on top.  And sunflowers…we had sunflowers on the tables at my parents 50th wedding celebration.  Sun–flowers…always lifting their heads up to the sun…how perfect for my mom…always pointing me and so many others to the Son, her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Just as anchors mean so much to me, so does the color yellow.  Both remind me of my precious mom and I notice them wherever I go.  There have been so many gifts of yellow and gifts of anchors this past year…such precious gifts from God.  Seems like I notice these things everywhere I go now.  They are reminders of her love, her life and they always brighten my day when I see them.

I want to live like YELLOW.

Gifts of Yellow:
*Anchor Pillow:  When I returned back home a year-ago April after Mom’s Celebration Service, my bench in the front yard had a beautiful large yellow pillow sitting on it with a big white anchor on the front (along with beautiful planted flowers nearby).  This was a gift from a friend.  She had been at Marshalls looking for something special to give to me from my Bible Study group.  She saw one large pillow and “pulled it off the shelf because it was yellow.”  She couldn’t believe that it had a large anchor on the front and she got chills when she saw it.  (Nautical themes often have anchors, but they are very often patriotic colors).  The fact that an anchor was on a yellow pillow was quite unique…a special gift from God.
*Goldfinches:  I have a bird feeder right outside my kitchen windows and I love to watch the many colorful birds that eat seed there every day.  I see bluebirds, cardinals, sparrows, chickadees, and blue jays there daily.  I have never seen gold finches.  But, the first Sunday after I returned back home, there were two bright yellow gold finches at my feeder.  My husband noticed them and when I saw the two bursts of bright yellow that morning, tears came to my eyes.  Following that sighting, I purposely bought special thistle seed to attract more gold finches.  I watched and waited day after day, week after week, month after month from last April-September for the goldfinches to arrive.  They never came.  My Dad was here for a visit this past October and I asked God if He would send us a goldfinch…One of the last days my dad was here, he was working outside in our yard.  I went out to check on him and just as I got close to him, I looked up at the tree and there sat a goldfinch for both of us to see!  The only other time I saw a goldfinch that first year without mom here, was this past April 13…the one-year anniversary of Mom’s departure to her heavenly home.  Once again, I asked that God might send me a goldfinch as it would be such a special gift on a day of missing her greatly.  I went to my neighborhood Bible Study and couldn’t believe my eyes…my friend, who was hosting, also has a bird feeder out her kitchen window.  But, she gets a constant flow of bright yellow goldfinches at her feeder daily!  There were several of them!  How like God to send these bright yellow gifts to me to make me smile on a day of sadness. How wonderful for Him to use a friend to encourage me in the process…

So once again, I’ve bought some thistle seed and I’m happy to report that this May, gold finches have found the seed.  Daily now,  I get to admire these beautiful gifts of yellow and I am so very thankful.

I want to live like YELLOW.

*There have been so many other yellow gifts that I might write about in the future…my yellow knock-out rose bush that bloomed this past December for the first time, the beautiful yellow swallowtail butterfly that lingered at my butterfly bush often this past summer, a yellow iris that bloomed for the first time at my Uncle’s home last spring (It had never been planted), the gift of the yellow ribbons/anchor pins for my Mom’s celebration service…

So, on this Friday before Mother’s Day…I thank God for the gifts of yellow and the gift of a Mom who brought so much Son-shine and happiness into my life.  Her love and life shine brightly still and will continue to inspire me to live more like the color yellow.  

I also want to thank God for her identical-twin sister, my dear Aunt, whose favorite color was also yellow.  She truly was a blessing, full of overflowing kindness, warmth, love, as well as the same Son-shining faith.  It gives me great comfort knowing that these twin-sisters are in heaven together, shining brightly like the stars and in the presence of their Savior, Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 60:1 (AMP) says:  “Arise [from spiritual depression to a new life], shine [be radiant with the glory and brilliance of the Lord]; for your light has come, And the glory and brilliance of the Lord has risen upon you.”

The Message version says it this way:  “Wake up. Put your face in the sunlight. God’s bright glory has risen for you…But God rises on you, His sunrise glory breaks over you.”

The brightness of a sunrise…the magnificence and beauty as the sun breaks into the darkness at the beginning of each day…radiance…glory…beauty…

I want to live like YELLOW!