Choosing to Notice the Graces of Life

They encircle me.

My job is to notice them. Rejoice in them. Be thankful for them.

I step out of bed and my feet hit the floor. Gravity is still in effect. No ceiling walking today.

The sun shines through my window. Again it has risen.

The birds belt tunes from the fence top. The toothpaste lid is where it should be. Warm water sprays my tired body. My husband greets me with a hug. My child with a jump, some nonsense words, and a big smile ending in a full body-almost-land-on-the-floor hug.

I am loved by my family. God is in charge. My salvation is assured. Another day has begun. Grace abounds and overflows in uncountable small and big ways.

I can notice these graces of life and rejoice, or I can shut my heart to them and wish for more, bigger and better, even different.

It is a matter of perspective. A matter of choice. Realizing that life and all its quirks and mess is a gift from God who set us here on this beautiful earth surrounded with all we need to create comfortable lives.

Warm water is delightful in the early morning. A grace of life I often take for granted, until my water heater breaks and I no longer have warm liquid to wash dishes, clean hands, wipe counters, rinse hair.  Lack of it can be painful.

If I look, I notice so many graces of life. The man who offers to carry my books out of the library when my hands are full with an infant. A store full of choices, and not just three mustard tones to choose from, but a plethora that makes my choice even harder, yet in a good manner. A waitress who jokes and teases a smile and then laughter from my throat. A neighbor who waves and stops to chat. Clean dishes in the cupboard. A dishwasher to clean dirty dishes. Two hands and water and soap to clean dirty pans. So many little things. So many big things.

Every day there are so many graces to count, give thanks for, ponder. Blessings from God, nature, life, and those around us. The plants grow and bloom, our children grow sturdy and mature, the rain falls on us all, waves roll in and out. God holds it all in His hands and causes it to happen.

We often assume we deserve all this, these never ending blessings, these daily gifts, and then complain for lack of more. But do we deserve them? What makes us more deserving than the next person? Or the next next person? What have we done to deserve all the little and big things of life that come with just living as a human? The things we take for granted, like air to breathe, the seasons, human kindness and honesty, the pursuit of happiness, water, and sunshine.

We deserve nothing. Nothing but death because of our sins and the penalty they carry. And yet each day our cup overflows. It is our choice. We can complain or rejoice. See life as half full or overflowing.

I can complain when my child disobeys. Or I can be thankful I have a child God has entrusted me to teach His precepts, to mold his character, to pass on the joy of living, forgiving, grace, and loving. I can mourn my unfulfilled dreams, or I can latch onto the dreams God has for me. I can view my husband as an irritant or as a gift from God. I can envy my co-workers, or rejoice in their triumphs. I can compare my life with others, or enjoy and embrace the life I currently have. I can covet my neighbor’s flower garden or plant and pursue my own. I can be angry about the problems that surround me, or realize God is in control and look forward to that next life alongside Him.

We are graced with more good gifts than our hands can hold, enough to pass on to those around us. All because of love. God’s love for us. His continual, never ending, never severing, forever and always love he bestows on us. A love so great that Jesus took our penalty of sin upon himself. He died so we might live encircled by all of life’s free and abundant graces that surround us. He died so that we might abundantly enjoy his gifts of life that he freely bestows upon us.

Live abundantly. Live Joyfully. Live acknowledging the graces that come attached with being a participant of life and beloved child of God.  

“Lord, help me to notice all the graces of life that encircle me constantly and daily. The little and big things I take for granted, complain about, and that frustrate me. Give me eyes anew to perceive your free gifts of love, grace, and freedom. Then help me to pass your precious gifts of life to those around me.” 

Fun video to change our perceptive:

Linking up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory); and Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart)

For more encouragement visit: Jenny at Blessings and Raindrops and Anna Rendell, girlwithblog.

Life as it Comes #28 | Traveling Toilet Seats

Traveling Toilet Seats

A humorous podcast about life.When our toilet seat breaks, sending someone sliding to the floor, my son and I hatch a new plan. The Traveling Toilet Seat Plan. No laughing, please. This may be one  you want to implement too. Just remember, you first heard about it here.




Listen to this story podcast by clicking one of the triangles on either player below.

Fun Link to Check Out:

For your entertainment, or a unique gift idea, check out these toilet games. Who says bathroom time should not be fun?


Join the Discussion: So what are your thoughts on the Traveling Toilet Seat Plan? Should we be patenting this idea soon?

Need another smile or story? Listen to earlier story podcasts here

If you enjoyed this episode, consider sharing it with a friend. Or leave a review on Stitcher, iTunes, or Google Play. A sentence or two is fine. Thanks.

Linking up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory); and Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart)

Description: When our toilet seat breaks, my son and I hatch the Traveling Toilet Seat Plan. A hillarious, free, and family-friendly podcast.

Living in a Different Land and Reality

I watch my son build a Lego city. A round parking garage takes shape. High rises sprout around the city with various roof top designs. One triangular, one tall and spiky, one with a fly through. A park is installed in the middle of the city, which sits alongside a riverfront.

We talk about the city. Together add various Lego shaped blocks to building tops.

He adds some Lego people.

The city grows.

It looks believable.

But does it look believable enough to join the world?

Would you want to stop your current life and live in a Lego City?  How about a Lego movie?

Lego chicken legs and plastic white coffee cups anyone? Maybe try a hard slice of Lego pizza?

Come on, sleeping on a Lego bed is not that hard when you have a Lego spine. Nor is sitting in a Lego chair that difficult when you have Lego knees.

Now try and walk with your Lego legs. Pretty disjointed. And finer motor skills are reduced with your Lego elbows and gripper hands.

Come on. Don’t tell me that you are giving up already and heading back to planet earth, your comfortable zone?

Most of us do not want to live in a world created by ourselves or others. A movie set. A miniature doll house. A comic book. Disney World.

All these created worlds have limitations and drawbacks. No world created by man is as good or better than our own world.

Yet Jesus came and lived in his created world, not as God, but as a man. He came to live in a world with many limitations he was not used to. Gravity, air, laws of nature, time constraints, pain and suffering, illness, death, sin, decay, childhood and aging, war and hate. These things do not exist in his world—a world so perfect we can’t even begin to imagine.

He came to this world not only to experience all those limitations, but to experience what it was like to be human. To be one of his created beings going through all the stages of life, including birth and death.

And not just for a few weeks, or days, but for thirty some years he lived as a human in this once perfect world he had created. He experienced all the emotions of a human. He saw first-hand how man had changed his world for the worse, how his animals were treated, how man degraded and regarded other humans. He saw the laws humans put upon other humans. Noticed those living in excess and poverty. He personally experienced the sinful world and understood how deeply we needed his salvation. Heard the creation groaning for change.

We cannot say that he does not know what it is like to be a human. To live as a child under the rule of parents, a man under the rule of government. To learn to eat with utensils, to be potty trained, to do chores, learn to read,. He saw loved ones die; experienced hate and anger, love, and fear; was kind to those who mistreated him, experienced pain and cruelty; knew life and its problems and routine in so many ways. He felt every emotion, yet never sinned.

So as Christmas moves closer and we celebrate this time where Jesus came to earth as a baby, let’s think about how remarkable it really was for a creator to join and live amongst his creation. To experience all the normal limitations, we live with daily.

And if you are wondering if you are loved. I mean truly loved by your creator, think about what he did for you by doing the unthinkable — by coming into this imperfect world as a human. Think about how he truly knows what it is to be a human and live with problems amid the consequences of sin.

Think anything you might tell him will shock him? He has seen it all. Heard it all.

He lived in a family and community. He had neighbors. He knows joy and sorrow, despair and beauty, bickering and love. He lived on earth so he could be our brother; our advocate; our savior.  He joined us in this beautiful but messy journey called life so he could better understand us, better serve us, and better love us.

He came into this different world, this different reality, for you.

Join the Discussion: What are you thinking about this Christmas season? What land or reality would you like to live in?