Eighty One

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A conversation I had with my eldest daughter on the way to nursery today…

LJ: Does God talk to us?
Me: Yes, but usually he’s quite quiet so you have to listen very carefully… But he might talk through the birds singing or through the beautiful sky, or through the bible. We’ just have to listen.
LJ: He’s talking to me now.
Me: Really? What’s he saying?
LJ: That he knows my name.
Me: Yes, he does! What else is he saying?
LJ: That he’s on my side.

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72 through 80

72. Big, perfectly-formed snowflakes on eyelashes. Such tiny but magnificent works of arts!
73. The sweet anticipation for Christmas
74. “O come, O come, Emmanuel”
75. “Oh Holy Night”
76. A long catch-up with a dear cousin-friend who is such an inspiringly-beautiful woman, inside and out. Thankful for Mrs. Emily Johnson!
77. Concocting holiday plans 🙂
78. A handsome hubby’s first Christmas with my family, as patched-up as we are!
79. Glowing and bright victorian-style Christmas trees!!
80. My big sister, and the friendship we’ve carved out in these past 27 years 🙂

Seventy one

I’m thankful for how living and alive Your Word is.

I can come to it at any time and find it awakens in my soul something that has been sleeping, or speaks into just the ache needing soothing, or convicts just the selfish thought needing convicting.

Lord, you lavish Your love on us in too many ways to count. Thank You so much that one of those ways is giving us Your Word to light our path…

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Seventy

Today we’re thankful to have been nominated for a “Liebster Award” by a reader over at thecoffeehouseblog.com. Make sure to go check them out and leave them some love!

We were told to:
– Accept the award by posting the logo on your site, thanking and linking back to your nominator. One doesn’t have to participate, but what does it hurt?
– Explain the rules of the award
– Answer a set of questions asked of you by your nominator
– Nominate 1-10 blogs you wish to recognize (with 200 WordPress followers or less), notifying them by
commenting on their site and . . .
– Interview your nominees with a set of 10 questions

So, Lizzie and I thought as this blog for counting blessings is a collaboration, we should both answer the 10 questions from our nominator. Read on to see what each of us had to say!

1. What does writing do for you?

Lizzie:  It’s always cathartic.  I am a talker, I don’t keep much in, so those things that I can’t say aloud for whatever reason, need to be released somewhere, and paper, or screen, are sometimes the only places I can let it all out.

Leah: Writing frees me. It untangles the myriad thoughts in my mind and emotions on my heart and allows them to fall on a blank canvas in delicate strokes to paint some kind of picture of what I need to say, to myself as much as to anyone else. God convicts me in my own act of getting words on paper. He calls me to obedience. He encourages me to carry on believing what I know is truth, and to encourage those around me with that same hope… He clarifies my mind, sets my intention, and glorifies Himself…

2. What writer feeds your soul? Why?

Lizzie:  John Eldredge.  He seems to understand my heart.  I love the way he writes.  It is straighforward, but beautifully evocative.  I love how he draws upon some of our popular stories to point to God’s great story, as it’s something that I’ve always done myself in my writing.

Leah: Oh wow. There are so many and as many different reasons as different authors– mostly because they either call my mind to dwell on the beautiful, or resonate with my human condition, or both! Beth Moore. Carolyn Weber. Francis Chan. Liz Curtis Higgs. Betty Smith. The Apostle Paul. Thomas Hardy. Edna St.Vincent Millay. Wilkie Collins. Philip Yancey. e.e. cummings. King David. Ian Morgan Cron. John & Stasi Eldridge. Bob Goff. Charlotte Bronte. David Platt. Donald Miller. L.M. Montgomery. Ann Voskamp. Amy Carmichael. Shauna Niequist. Francine Rivers. Charles Dickens. Leigh McLeroy. Louisa May Alcott. And a million others that aren’t coming to mind right this moment.

3. What is your favorite subject (category) to write about?

Lizzie:  Our God identities, and how Jesus changes everything.

Leah: Life. Struggles. Hope. Loneliness. Joy. Relationships. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, and how He is there through it all.

4. What post of yours means the most to you? Why?

Lizzie:  It’s too hard to pick!

Leah: It is very hard to narrow it down as I have been blogging for over a decade now! (Woah!!) But a few which are pretty precious can be found here: A Story of Boy Meets Girl,
here: …On Fear, Confession, and Grace,
here: Made More Faithful in the Wait,
here: Blessed are The Poor in Spirit (Again, and Again, and Again),
here: Overcoming,
and here: Approaching the Throne with Faith like a Child,
in no particular order.

5. What about you will be most instrumental in God’s eternal plan for you, whatever that may be?

Lizzie: My insistence on being completely, unrelentingly vulnerable; laying myself bare to most everyone I meet.

Leah: This is a hard one. I guess we won’t find out til those eternal plans unfold, right? But I think my dogged pursuit of  placing my trust in Him above all else will have huge repercussions, as it’s pivotal to knowing, loving, and serving Him, and holding open the way for those around us to know Him, love Him, and serve Him… I just desire to trust Him more fully than I can conceive of, and to have the wisdom and obedience to follow Him in each new thing…

6. What are you most passionate about in ministry and/or life in general?

Lizzie:  I’m passionate about my family; my husband and my two little girls.  In ministry I’m passionate about helping women in particular understanding that they are beautiful, significant and loved.

Leah: I suppose the above question kind of answers this as well. Trusting the Heart of this God so that I will follow Him whole-heartedly, and encouraging others to firstly see Him, know His love, and trust Him this deeply as well. We are so loved, and if we only grasped the depth of that unconditional love that sacrificed everything for us, we would live so differently, love so differently, and know hope and healing and share it all around. Isn’t that what it means to be a part of the kingdom of God? My heart is especially tender toward orphans, abandoned babies, and anyone else who feels orphaned or abandoned and desperately needs to know of His life-changing love– with a particular bent for cross-cultural ministry!

7. If your writing were discovered a thousand years from now, what would people learn about you, today’s world, and your interests?

Lizzie: I just hope that it’d lead people to Jesus.

Leah: I hope they’d find a story of a lost heart redeemed by His grace, a life lived radically obedient to bring Him glory and draw people to the truth of His love, and a kinship with me as a hurting and healing human so that they might realize that God, in His grace, can be their hope too…
 
8. Talk about meeting your favorite Bible character (not Jesus).

Lizzie: I am so intrigued by Gideon in the Bible.  The smallest man from the smallest tribe…  I love how God uses the weak to shame the strong!  God places significance even on the shoulders of the seemingly insignificant.

Leah: I think I’d like to meet Anna, the old widow who prophesied about Jesus and “never left the temple, but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.”She must have had an extraordinary relationship with the King of Kings. I am drawn to such faithful hearts and encouraged by them. I would have loved to spend time with her. I think I would also have liked to walk alongside Ruth and Naomi, and hear their stories from their own mouths, and share that sisterhood. Plus, what can I say, I’m a sucker for romance and I would have loved encouraging Ruth in her unfolding relationship with Boaz 🙂

9. Describe your writing process for something that moves you deeply.

Lizzie:  It just comes out of me, like a geyser!  I can’t stop it, and I write in a frenzy, rarely pausing to think or edit.  I usually don’t edit, but re-read quickly, and leave it as it is!

Leah: Um… It tends to sort of tumble out. I tend to work out exactly what I’m feeling by working it out in words on the page. Various things I’m reading or studying in the Bible tend to speak into it as it’s bubbling up on my heart, and then eventually it overflows through my fingers to the keyboard…

10. Describe your perfect meal and ultimate dessert.

Lizzie:  I love a good old roast chicken dinner.  It doesn’t have too many airs and graces but I always enjoy them!  My ultimate desert is creme brulee.  It is heavenly!

Leah: Haha. This is a funny ending 🙂 I LOVELOVELOVE Thai Chicken Curry. Red or yellow. Massaman is especially delicious. I love Indian curry too, especial butter chicken. I tend to love curried-anything, just not too hot, but not too mild either! haha. And dessert… hmm… Anything cheesecake, or chocolate & peanut butter 🙂

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And now we get to announce our nominations for the Liebster Award! Drum-roll please…
Lizzie nominates: thestarfishdiary.wordpress.com and Leah nominates: alwaysheld.blogspot.com and trustforthejourney.wordpress.com. Do participate, if you’d like!

Thanks, thecoffeehouseblog.com for nominating us, and thank you even more for reading our little list of thank-yous here however they bubble up 🙂

With love,
Leah & Lizzie

Sixty through Sixty Nine

I am thankful:
60. For Thanksgiving weekend! A set-aside time to dwell on what we are grateful for. I think it’s a brilliant idea, and endeavor to carry it on year-round…
61. This helpful blog post: http://identityrenewed.com/2013/11/21/15-things-i-wish-id-known-about-grief/
62. That my handsome love made it home safely through his first ever driving experience in a proper MN snow storm. My heart was in knots waiting for him to walk in after work!
63. For booking sessions. And I WILL be thankful for all the hours of processing that brings with it!
64. For a quick catch-up with a darling bestie miles and miles and oceans away.
65. For the scent of clean laundry
66. For having procured the pumpkins I need to try my hand at homemade pumpkin soup! Now… just to procure the time to make it in…
67. For baby nieces (14 months and 9 months) to delight this Auntie heart
68. A new (to me) mustard yellow cardigan arriving in the mail
69. For the beauty of a pure white winter world. It looks a little bit like His redemption…