rejoice in the LORD always...always

A week of
wonderful work,
excellent endeavors,
energetic exploration,
raucous recreation,
leisurely lounging,
inspired ingenuity,
marvelous meals,
wondrous worship.

A lovely week away from schedules and math and grammar.  My husband was home, as well, so we all flittered around together.  Since we weren't traveling anywhere for our spring break this year, my husband surprised me with my own vacation of sorts....a vacation from making dinner....we would go out every night!  Now, you might remember that I enjoy cooking...I really do.  But I do sometimes tire of thinking about cooking and what to cook.  So we took a culinary tip around the globe, introducing the kids to grape leaves and falafel, egg rolls and lo mein, enjoying pasta and tacos.  I so enjoy the privilege of watching the kids experience something for the first time (even if that something produces a grimace).  

With a contented sigh, I'm coming into this new week refreshed, organized, ready to take on the days before me, the days that are already written in His book.  I'm leary to make my life sound like endless sunshine and roses when it most certainly isn't.  There are messes, there is frustration and yelling, there is SIN!  That's why I'm ever so thankful for His boundless, endless grace!

That said, I've recently been struck anew with awe of how lavishly He pours blessings upon my head.  He's chosen to give me my heart's desires with this family...with allowing me to be home with them.  I'm mindful of how easy it would be to to worship the blessings...turn them into idols.  If He stripped all of them away, He would still BE.  WITH me, still loving, forgiving, unchanging, faithfully guiding, strengthening.

So I want to consciously thank HIM, praise HIM for HIM...for who He is.  Rejoice in Him always.  I love what Randy Alcorn says here:

"After commanding the Philippians to rejoice twice earlier in his letter, Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). When he repeats a command that often, I suspect he thinks we may tend to overlook or neglect it.
Notice our rejoicing has an object: rejoice in the Lord. Living here in a sin-stained world we can nevertheless get a real foretaste of Heaven, of living without sin and curse and death. How? By going to Christ, calling upon Him, reflecting on His grace. By recognizing and taking pleasure in our God. By repeatedly coming into his presence, where we are always welcome. By meditating on His Word and praying and seeking His face, as we meet with Him. We can rejoice when we join with His people to say thanks to our amazing God.
If we see God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—as He really is, if we contemplate what the Godhead has done for us, what else can we do but rejoice?"

I continue to count....

#142. being given the gift of a whole day to myself
#143. an hour away from home, sipping on my favorite coffee (i.e. breakfast) (milk chocolate latte with chocolate-covered spoon)
#144. warm car retreat against the blustery, 39 degree April day
#145. blasting praise! singing my heart out

#146. crazy Michigan weather
#147. snow, rain, sun all within 30 minutes
#148. stunning clouds
#149. pictures snapped without taking my eyes off the road
#150. wind blown sand
#151. laughing at myself

#152. the gift of time to spend in one of my favorite activities...ambling through musty antique malls...searching out junky treasure
#153. not being hurried
#154. knowing kids are happily bowling with Daddy
#155. coming home again
#156. to boys who are ever doing this...

#157. and find such joy in Your creation

#158. and do things like this...

#159. and to this prayed-for girl
#160. who is spoiled by her Daddy

#161. who adores her chickens

#162. and to hard-working husband

#163. dirt under my fingernails
#164. preparing for planting
#165. hope for things to come
#166. and to being able to do this again...

"There, in the presence of the LORD your God,
you and your families shall eat
and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to,
because the LORD your God has blessed you."
Deuteronomy 12:7

holy experience

Walking with Him with you,
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you and your words are a GIFT to me! thank you!