one thousand gifts {2949-3038}

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
{2 Corinthians 12:9}

2 Corinthians 12:9

It’s not Monday and there’s not a multitude, but I do have a moment…a moment that’s free. (And I thought I was crazy busy last month. HA! God showed me.) So I’m using this short moment to remember. To remember how good He’s been even in the busy of ordinary life. I’ve had so many “Just keep swimming…Just keep swimming… moments this past month that it’s been borderline ridiculous, but the Lord has constantly reminded me of my need for His grace and strength and He’s been faithful to fill me with both.

He’s also been so good to let me continue to do things I love in addition to working multiple jobs that I enjoy. This past month, I’ve been able to teach music, play music, eat delicious food, spend quality time with many friends, celebrate my church, interact with new people, and so much more.

In all reality, I’m a girl who deserves to be eternally separated from God. But God, in His rich mercy, while I was wallowing in my self-centered sinfulness sent His Son to live a perfect life that I could never live and to die the death I deserved. If that isn’t grace, I don’t know what is! With Christ covering me, everything is a blessing. 

2949. biking in the basement with bonhoeffer
2950. covenant Maker becoming covenant-Keeper & dying for covenant breakers
2951. pep band–past and present coincide

Pep Band with Madison piccolo2952. thank yous
2953. new tasks
2954. not of this world
2955. smashfries with erin
2956. staying late
2957. chats with cute neighbors and a delicious dinner
2958. not having a spare second to be bored
2959. singing along with T4GII
2960. chats with a smily, happy aly
2961. “did you get the dress?!” hahahahaha!

I was responsible for getting a high schooler's dress to a college girl. From Lindsey to Aly's locker to the ensemble room to the band office to my car to my closet, to my car, to Wilmore. It went through a lot to be safely transferred to Kerry's hands. You have no idea how many people asked me with very wide, concerned eyes, "Did you get the dress?!"

I was responsible for getting a high schooler’s dress to a college girl. From Lindsey to Aly’s locker to the ensemble room to the band office to my car to my closet, to my car, to Wilmore. It went through a lot to be safely transferred to Kerry’s hands. You have no idea how many people asked me with very wide, concerned eyes, “Did you get the dress?!”

2962. faithful to promises: He gives His beloved sleep (even when they’re stupid).
2963. breakfast and sweet chats with helen
2964. the kentucky symphony with gilbert rollins
2965. kerry playing clarinet in a college concert & seeing miss bailey
2966. having kerry over for a comfort food meal in wainrights’ kitchen
2967. being appreciated with breakfast at the bob brown house
2968. miss erica rose’s squishy cheeks

Erica Rose2969. way beyond. way past. {ephesians 3:18-20}
2970. seeing dr. patel for the first time in 3 years and getting my sugars straightened out
2971. practicing the tinman run at the doctor’s office on a pencil via my phone
2972. playing all night after a full day of work
{you can read a full recap of things i learned from playing in the wizard of oz here}
2973. going silent to end it
2974. snow in my hair
2975. practicing piccolo in the pizza plaza parking lot. high A-flats. yay!
2976. dinner with the golden girls at saul good
2977. mrs. b’s faces. my favorite!
2978. ||: ding dong the witch is dead :|| (in case you missed it the first 423 times)
2979. writing hard words
2980. chatting with crows and hugging jitterbugs

Jitterbug Crow
2981. “why is she said?” -little kid in the audience asking about dorothy
2982. hugs from ellen!
2983. God’s rich mercy & compassion
2984. lunch with friends & familiy
2985. rolling xylophones and carrying cabasas and timpani stools in heels and a dress. favorite!
2986. the gruesome finale of judges {Jesus, be the King on the throne of my life!}
2987. “My grace is sufficient for you.”
2988. sadie loving me in my mess
2989. 5 months worth of work in a couple of days. o.O
2990. catching up with charla at dinner
2991. watching friends perform at the station show with mom & seeing other friends unexpectedly
2992. kind goodbyes–so courteous
2993. God answering prayers for the words i needed to hear to be placed in bro. vance’s mouth
2994. the urgent reminder to be in the Word and to pray
2995. lunch at shaker village!

Shaker Village2996. gathering with a family who waits peacefully for their mother’s coronation moment–so precious.
2997. such a sweet spirit
2998. breakfast with iron-sharpening sweet ashley~laughing about birds in plane engines, hilarious parents, and life in general
2999. awnings–especially on a rainy day
3000. washed clean–showered with His love and numberless blessings. Hosanna has saved me–a scumbag who deserves death. He gave me life–abundant & eternal life–instead.

Gift #30003001. buying too many passion cd’s on my lunch break
3002. saul good being out of plastic spoons for my to-go french onion soup & trusting me with a metal spoon. of course i’ll be back.
3003. getting glory bumps during EVERY song on the passion cd at some point and nearly crying during “we glorify Your Name”
3004. mom making waffles after dinner–just because
3005. catching up with a far-away friend who is always so swift to give a compliment. kind words soak to the depths of my soul and can keep me rejuvenated for days. may my words ALWAYS do the same for others.
3006. words of appreciation not often expressed
3007. hysterical laughs with erin midday over a “hu hu ha” call from george
3008. smiles from a squishy baby!
3009. doing a myriad of tasks–may of which convenienced others and eased their burdens. my favorite.
3010. ♪ the Lord our God is ever faithful, never changing through the ages! ♪
3011. words of affirmation
3012. streamers and choreography. oh my.
3013. isaiah 26:3-4 being repeated in my life. emphasis much?!
3014. going with my gut
3015. ♪ wake up! open your eyes–no longer dead, we are alive! ♪
3016. hearing a voice that sounded trinidadian–almost made me cry.
3017. reuniting with kerry! laughs on top of laughs. 😀
3018. returning the spoon to saul good (see #3002)
3019. $5 ballet flats!
3020. windy country road adventures for a windy corner breakfast with kristen

Windy Corner Breakfast3021. God’s grace triumphing in the life of trick–such a beautiful testimony at her funeral
3023. jamie grace being so presh in person. (“i’ll thank my husband for paying the bills and buying me chickfila!”)
3024. worshipping with TobyMac & his little indoor drumline. band geek love. ❤

TobyMac Drumline
3025. celebrating 16 years of God’s faithfulness

16 Years @ NLBC3026. being a treasured jewel {malachi 3:17}
3027. church pot-blessings complete with anita’s chocolate pie
3028. promises to keep His promises
3029. eating, fellowshipping, and memphis reminiscing with the drurys
3030. hearing how a friend is being obedient and walking in the truth
3031. an ordained open night to catch up on a little work
3032. talking to myself
3033. being loved because i am covered
3034. prayers being answered–urging & encouraging me to pray more
3035. feeling put together–on a wednesday, nonetheless
3036. finally feeling like i’ve hit a point of true friendship
3037. a premature “amen” from lucy. so cute!
3038. peace through His blood & ordained good works

“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. 


one thousand gifts {#1750-1794}

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

{2 Corinthians 12:9}

Most of my week is a blur. I caught the infamous New Life stomach bug on Monday evening. Couple that with diabetes and I was pretty much dead for a couple of days. Thank the Lord for His mercy in stabilizing my blood sugars and restoring me to health. It wasn’t a very fun time, but I feel MUCH better now. For those who interceded on my behalf, thank you so much. I was both honored and humbled. 

And just in case you were wondering, His grace IS sufficient.

1750. being able to work from home
1751. reading just for fun
1752. a providential peppermint
1753. doctors on-call
1754. a mom who stays up with me when i’m sick
1755. feeling halfway human
1756. lemon-lime gatorade
1757. a precious doctor that calms me just by hearing her voice
1758. saltines
1759. prayers and kind words from friends around the WORLD!
1760. a day to recoup and recover
1761. laughter with aunt janna ~ very good medicine
1762. a dad who brings me chicken noodle soup
1763. the power going out

1764. a sweet ate offering to teach my class
1765. a fresh face
1766. pushing on in spite of
1767. privileged to hear one final performance of paganini from those precious percussion people

1768. mama neal & holidays. that is all.

1769. i ♥ band moms
1770. a broken belt in the booth. hil-ar-i-ous.
1771. sitting on the perch
1772. depearling and desashing for the last time
1773. {hard eucharisteo} letting something trivial get under my skin, revealing the ickiness of my heart (and the timeliness of this post)
1774. catching up with suesue
1775. peach greek yogurt
1776. accidentally hearing the amy grant line as “turn my back on justin bieber.” oops!
1777. feeling SO much better by the late evening!
1778. morning iced mint green tea
1779. lots of laughs at work
1780. God orchestrating the woodwind quintet dinner into a duet
1781. He is enough.
1782. simple cane’s for dinner
1783. desperately wanting to have dinner with suesue
1784. josie’s pancakes and sweet conversation with natalie
1785. God finally washing my car 🙂
1786. finding a new sweater
1787. shrimp linguine alfredo & a movie with shanna
1788. sharing life dreams in the car
1789. a found occlusion
1790. color-blocking

1791. that He wants to draw me closer
1792. seeing neighbors out of context. giving neighbors eggs.
1793. half price frapp…mocha light + 2 pumps of coconut  FTW!

1794. {hard eucharisteo} things starting to sink in

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. 

What I’ve learned from trying to live James 1:27 every day {Personal}

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this:
to visit orphans and widows in their affliction,
and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
{James 1:27}

I have a feeling that this little collage will be used for years to come to sum up a good 6 years of my life. It’s something I hardly ever talk about unless someone asks. But once I’m given the opportunity to share, there’s a good chance I won’t shut up.

The year was 2006. I was a senior in high school. My parents and I moved in with my then 87 year-old grandmother to take care of her. We’d been taking care of her for years, but she’d gotten to the point where she absolutely couldn’t live alone anymore. She was losing her eyesight and her dementia was getting worse.

If any believing woman has relatives who are widows,
let her care for them.
Let the church not be burdened,
so that it may care for those who are truly widows.
{1 Timothy 5:16}

Through a long road of watching my grandmother revert back to her childhood and become like a toddler in a big-person’s body, I’ve learned a lot of lessons I wouldn’t trade anything for. You’ve never experienced the grace of God in one of its sweetest forms until you’ve had to change an adult diaper. I’m serious. There are things I never ever thought I could do. And really, I never ever could if it wasn’t for the grace of God.

So here we are. 2012. She’s been completely bed-bound for two years now. Ensure has been her only form of sustenance for years on end. Her heart rate is healthier than ours and she’s never had a bed sore. The Lord preserves the faithful for sure. {Psalm 31:23} Though she might not remember who we are or who she even is, she has never forgotten her Savior. She can still quote the 23rd Psalm. She still sings hymns. She’ll still let out a “hallelujah” every now and then. He is faithful.

Caring for a family member at home is not what everyone is called to do, but the Lord has called my family and I to do that for my grandmother. If He calls you to it, He will bring you through it. We have the everyday joy (don’t misunderstand me…it’s sometimes hard to find the joy in it) of living out James 1:27 in our home. A lot of times, people put emphasis on the orphan part of that verse and snip out the widows. Widows are there, too. Don’t neglect them!

There’s a lot more to our story than this and I’m always willing to share if you want to hear about it. But if there’s one lesson I have learned through every changed diaper, every forgotten name, every repeated story, every milkshake given, every hymn sung, I’ve learned that the Lord is faithful and He will always~always~always~supply the grace that we need.

But He said to me,
“My grace is sufficient for you,
for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses,
so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
{2 Corinthians 12:9}