COUNTING + one thousand gifts {#3327-3502}

 I’m one of those people who can push and push and push…but only for so long. I LOVE being involved in a myriad of activities, but there comes a time when I just have to stop to rest and reflect or else I will be absolutely good for nothing. This is the first free weekend I’ve had since Christmas Thanksgiving (I think) and it’s been SO wonderful to catch up on some much needed sleep. And now that I’ve slept most of the weekend, I’m trying to cram in some time for reflection because when I don’t reflect, my life seems as if it is in great disarray.

Much of my time outside of work the past couple of weeks was spent counting–yes, counting (mainly to four), as I was given the privilege of playing for another production of the Wizard of Oz. During our second night of rehearsal while we were on a break, we discussed the importance of counting. (See Gift #3460 below.) This provoked all sorts of interesting thoughts in my little mind about similarities between counting in music and counting grace-gifts, but my brain was too drained to formulate any kind of post.

Ironically, the very next day Ann Voskamp wrote a whole blogpost centered around the importance of counting. “When you are a musician and you stop counting — it’s like running around in the forest in the dark without a flashlight.” This is SO true. (I had just experienced it firsthand!) When you’re playing a song and lose count and have no idea where you are in the piece, you become very unsure of yourself and playing is not at all enjoyable. Playing is most enjoyable when you know right where you are. I’ve found this is true in everyday life as well. Counting gifts helps you keep the rhythm of grace! (It especially helps to keep your eyes on the conductor, particularly when the conductor is gracious enough to help you count along.)

“Without counting, keeping the rhythm of grace,  life gets a bit like smashing into trees in the dark without a flashlight.” In the dark without a flashlight…kind of like the first little bit of the Wizard of Oz. But, never fear! When you count through the cyclone and darkness of Act I, you’ll soon be out of the woods, out of the dark, and out of the night. And you can step into the sun, step into the light. [Wow. Please forgive the cheesiness. I’ve sat through no less than probably 15 performances of the Wizard of Oz the past year alone.] Keep counting His faithfulness and you’ll see His hand was guiding you all the way.

As I muse on what has transpired over the past month or so, it becomes obvious that even through the 70+ hour work-weeks and all the go-go-go, God is the only One who could give me strength. When I see the Lord blessing in the little things, it helps me trust Him in the big things. And through it all, I see Him always looking out for me in His love. Counting His gracious gifts reminds me that He loves me and is always working for my good. In life, as in music, it’s a lot more enjoyable to play when you know right where you are. And I’m right in the blazing center of His love.

“She who re-views her blessings, re-views herself — sees herself as beheld by her Beloved.”
{ann voskamp}

Keep counting, friends.


3327. having time to put up my little charlie brown tree
Christmas Tree
3328. such grace all over my life today. He continues to prove the wonders of His love
3329. others being thankful. love the quirky traits of people i’m surrounded by
3330. grace in a response
3331. so much done. such tired eyes.
3332. insulin vouchers?! for real?!
3333. just to think that God loves me
3334. gentle, kind doctors
3335. having to work late, meaning it was dark outside, and being able to see that i really do have enough lights on my tree
3336. filet & potato cakes from sal’s and a hilarious precious convo with our waiter (“Lord, please help these idiots”)
3337. sweet far-away friends who popped up tonight saying they were praying for me ♥
3338. an exceptionally rough and challenging day
3339. the privilege of praying at all times
3340. spoken words of affirmation
3341. election training that was entertaining and fun spent talking with anita c.
3342. the Com-Forter (with strength!)
3344. almost cancelling a flute lesson because i was so swamped and running late, but pushing anyway and God affirming His love in a foggy window where my student and her little sister had written, “welcome flute teacher” with their fingers 😀
3345. thankful friends
3346. God ordaining my day and inserting surprises like a laughter-filled lunch with erin & will and getting sent home early to work so i wouldn’t slide around
3347. grace to finish
3348. those lady cats! 4 OTs!
3349. lunch in my favorite room at the glitz with the golden girls
The Glitz 2013
3350. a nonesuch kiss
3351. a lovely post about “my favorite things” provoked by laura’s pork schnitzel recipe link. ha!
3352. ♪ the punishment of God on God has brought me peace ♪ {stuart townend}
3353. three languages still going on in our little service despite the ice
3357. the life, love, and contagious cackle of mrs. cantrell ♥ small words with such an impact.
3358. acoUstiKats on NBC! ahhh.

3359. election day. so thankful for a stress-free day
3360. a houseful of ladies focused on the true meaning of Christmas
3361. tired eyes
3362. a full wednesday night service
3363. breakfast at bob’s with ashley parks. so thankful for friendships God sustains
3364. playing prelude music at Bluegrass’ sweet Christmas program
3365. ross hill’s smoother than josh groban voice. love.

3366. piercing truth. “the sin under all other sins is a lack of joy in Christ.” {tim keller}
3367. a christmas card that made me cry
3368. singing with jane
3369. sarah bartsch’s beautiful wedding. what a sweet couple.
Sarah Bartsch Wedding
3370. remembering what Christ did for me, an unworthy rebel.
3371. ♪ and now i’m loved forevermore because of what You’ve done ♪ {bob kauflin}
3372. {nahum 1:7}
3373. hugging aunt janna on her bday
3374. an angry person who drove me to Christ {psalm 55:22}
3375. lca love all over my phone
3379. the little bellmer boys rescuing me from being “stuck in the muck”
3381. catching up with will sallee–always such an encourager and so aware of  how God is working. ever learning and growing
3382. trying to bless someone and them trying to bless you instead and then the cashier intervenes and decides to really bless and it just becomes one big “God’s so watching out for you” blessing!
3384. crepes with all the cousins
3386. kerry spotting a dci sticker in the culver’s parking lot and then walking in to see the wades and bsip staff. hahaha!
3387. running into ashley parks outside sally beauty supply. love that.
3388. dad coming to rescue charla’s dead car
3389. He came. for me.
3390. bob brown christmas dinner. so much appreciation from the residents’ families. love hugging their necks.
BBH Christmas Dinner 2013
3391. alumni band. oh my. so much fun.
3392. candlelight service. a drunk pentecostal. oh goodness.
3393. ♪ ruined sinners to reclaim ♪
3394. a messed up pizza mix-up resulting in a free one
3397. my mema’s chicken salad
3400. driving to the beach in scarves and sweaters to hug my aunt rhonda
Beach Christmas 2013
3402. frogmore stew served with bearded cousin hugs
Clayton Frogmore Stew
3404. giving a gift that was so appreciated and humbly received
3407. getting chosen to play at the u of l game. what a privilege!
Alumni Band
3409. when we uncover our sin, God covers it! grace!
3412. bob’s with aunt janna and nancy
3413. mercies anew for a rough monday morning
3414. faithfulness proved with every breath
3415. kind words and wishes from bro. dunbar
3417. TWO pairs of jeans that fit. what?!
3419. such kind, affirmative words from kerry. “i look up to you even though you’re shorter than me.”
3420. a full house of laughter, love, good food, apples to apples, and catch phrase
NYE 2013
3421. an absolute whirlwind of a year: mostly eaten up by work, but a lot learned about the importance of balancing life and keeping Christ as my constant focus. lots of friends moving far away–some friends moving back. a record number of weddings. transition. friends lost~but experiencing life everlasting…life to the full.
3422. the Lord sustaining me through another year AND another night! He’s so faithful!
3424. starbucks date with lindsey. so uplifting to hear her share her beautiful heart
3425. LOVE {ephesians 5:2}
3427. a lower a1c!
3428. snow drifts dancing in swirls to the rachmaninoff playing in my office
3430. He loves me. unconditionally.
3431. a frigid, frigid morning
3432. surprise lunch with erin
3433. spending the evening with 24 precious band friends
LCA Band Reunion 2013
3434. sweet wishes
3437. another trip around the sun!
3442. the kingdom in my heart…reign supreme, Lord Jesus
3444. getting to know some fellow piccolos at the florida game
3446. running errands all night in frigid temps. 13 hour days
3447. a monday and a half
3448. a dad who brings forgotten office keys
3449. no internet at work, giving me plenty of time to hang out in munchkinland with my headless piccolo
Headless Piccolo in Munchkinland
3450. frost inside my nose and IGLOOS on my weather app
3457. a most beautiful sunrise
3458. practicing piccolo at every stoplight
3460. KEEP COUNTING! just keep counting. every four. keep on
3463. curtain torn in two…
3464. ♪ tomorrow’s freedoms are today’s surrenders ♪ {all sons & daughters}
3468. jitterbug all over the stage

Privileged to play in The Rep's production of The Wizard of Oz!  [pic compliments of their FB page]

Privileged to play in The Rep’s production of The Wizard of Oz!
[pic compliments of their FB page]

3469. knowing confidently that His mercy will endure and preserve me
3470. safety
3471. above and beyond, way past way past
3473. grace in my fingers
3474. counting. (!!!!)
3475. He holds me that i shall not be moved ♪ (and so to Him I leave…it all)
3476. {hard eucharisteo} the growing pains through conflict
3478. gentlemen holding doors
Jeremy Wizard of Oz
3479. silence
3480. that He loves me unconditionally in spite of me and my quackiness
3482. {psalm 27}
3484. secret doors
3485. hazelnut coffee mid-afternoon
3486. {psalm 106:7} He paraded them through dry land 😀
3487. la rosa’s for dinner and going to williamstown to cheer on those harden coaches and their dubtown boys! big win over bellevue and an even bigger shot in the arm spending time with all of them
3488. hugs. ones that mean something like a “thank you”
3490. swamped.
3491. hugs from diane aubrey at the dermatologist. makes that getting up early thing worth it!
3492. showing up for a drums only pep band game but getting to spend time with friends
3493. He is mighty to save! {isaiah 63:1}
3494. that God’s promises were meant to be used!
3495. chicken risotto from bella notte
3497. being dressed in birthday love
3498. braving the waffle house for lunch alone because i was craving breakfast something fierce!
Waffle House
3499. snow falling gently outside my office window
3500. {isaiah 41:14}
3501. rest and relaxation. bliss.
3502. symphony for unstrung tongue!

“To see the glory, name the graces.”
Since reading One Thousand Gifts, I started my own journal of grace-gifts God blesses me with every day. I will spare listing all of them here, but I will try to share some of my favorites as I have the opportunity. 

one thousand gifts {2785-2840}

♪ And it will surprise you what the Lord has done. ♪
{Count Your Blessings}

It has been all grace to count the 2784 gifts God has blessed me with since August 2011. I’ve learned by listing ways He’s shown His love for me that He’s always working for my good and His glory–even when it doesn’t seem to make sense. Whatever He gives, whatever He withholds: it’s all grace.

After taking a couple-month break from listing gifts, I want to start back. It’s easy to forget how blessed I am. I must make myself constantly aware that He is indeed showing me grace.

With faith that He’ll continue pursuing me, even when I’m faithless, showing me His grace in a thousand ways and proving His love for me minute-by-minute…

♪ 10,000 reasons for my heart to find. 

2785. a blessed Thanksgiving with a full table
2786. tobymac Christmas cd
2787. decorating the tree with kerry and mom

Tree Decorating with Kerry
2788. baby chicks in a box by my desk
2789. successful performances by those precious LCA kids

LCA Stomp Kids
2790. the little things in life
2791. lunch at the glitz with my mom and her girls

The Glitz
2792. peruvian dinner and laughs with the stantons
2793. not being in my car when it was hit
2794. buying starbucks for life
2795. crawling over

Crawling in the TearsMobile
2796. seeing will’s sugarplum fairy masterpiece come to life

2797. making peanut butter balls with kerry
2798. laying a wreath on my grandparents’ grave

Wreath on Grave
2799. kayla and angie being baptized!
2800. being in the middle lane as the tractor-trailer veered off I-75S
2801. the boys chopping down a tree while the girls made chicken salad with mema
2802. aunt rhonda surprising us!
2803. frogmore stew

Frogmore Stew
2804. our whole family at the table ♥

Cousin Love
2805. roger’s
Roger's Woodstone BBQ

2806. disney yahtzee with the vance kids
2807. watching band with friends old and new on nye
2808. safe trip to the atl for passion

Passion 2013
2809. box7 welcoming a non-corps kid

Box7 in it to End It
2810. watching God move and change hearts
2811. making new friends
2812. “i loooove caribou”
2813. singing hymns at midnight on my birthday
2814. hearing scouts sing “you’ll never walk alone” as i took a shower

2815. hu hu ha!
2816. talking about everything under the sun to keep erin awake while driving
2817. birthday dinner at olive garden and dessert at shakespeare & co.

2818. reinforced conviction
2819. seeing all the yorks and baileys at red lobster
2820. dinner and laughs with ashley & kristen

Sweet friends
2821. medicine
2822. coughing lungs out at lunch with erin. oh passion plague. tragic train for sure.
2823. leaning on the Lord
2824. spending time with charla

2825. resting to heal
2826. feeling alive again, astounded at His manifold new Monday morning mercies
2827. being spoiled by my mom…cabbage beef soup
2828. ♪ thank You, God, for saving me! ♪

2829. answered prayers and the Lord bringing my papa safely through shoulder surgery.
2830. a skype with kerry
2831. thanking God for free chicken minis with erin
2832. surprise hugs from jenna & katie
2833. a new flute student
2834. a timely hug to fix my funk
2835. texting mishaps. “hooray!”
2836. hilarious moments with kerry. do you need to go to the bathroom? here’s a lemonade.

Kerry TearsMobile
2837. les mis. such grace.
2838. singing. in this life.
2839. desiring to be a servant
2840. a new comfy dress as a bday present from my ate

“To see the glory, name the graces.”

Since reading One Thousand Gifts, I started my own journal of grace-gifts God blesses me with every day. I will spare listing all of them here, but I will try to share some of my favorites every Monday.