Gratitude Day 126 – Stringers of Annoyance

Fri., Sept. 28, 2018

Psalm 32:5 – So I admitted my sin to you; I didn’t conceal my guilt. “I’ll confess my sins to the Lord,” is what I said. Then you removed the guilt of my sin.

It was a 30-second project that went array.

Ever have those?

Fall has arrived in Wisconsin. For the last week, we’ve had an extra blanket floating on top of the bed. I know, some blankets look really cute on top of the bed. However, this blanket is old enough to vote. Hubby Rick and I received it as a wedding present … 18 years ago. It’s not really a member of the “cute” category anymore.

But it works as a blanket.

I love a cotton blanket. 100% cotton. It’s just what I prefer. And this one is all cotton.

Even if it isn’t really cute anymore, it still works in the “warm” and “effective” categories.

My intention was to take off the top quilt and actually put the blanket on the bed with the sheets and other blankets. A 30-second job, right?


20180927_092007The weave on this blanket looks kind of like a basket. What happens is these random strings become stragglers and get bunched across the blanket. Are they a big deal? No. But my Type A personality just can’t quite let them hang around on the blanket.

So, I start pulling them off the blanket. I know … someday, this means the blanket will begin to disappear. But when a blanket is old enough to vote, I think it’s earned it’s keep.

It’s not a big project or a demanding one. It’s really more of an annoying little project that takes time.

But as I pulled each strangling string off the blanket, it becomes this little self-revelation time for me.

I think about the person who I said something to that might have annoyed them.

I recall the situation in which I was more hurtful than helpful.

I realize that I promised to contact someone and haven’t followed through with it.

Big things? On a scale of 1 to 10, no. But little annoying things? You bet.

No different than the little annoying strings on the blanket.

Little things that I could have so easily changed, realigned or approached differently.

As I finished pulling the strings, I saw the rolled-up ball of strings in my fist. Once again, I am faced the reality that when I do one or two small but annoying or distracting things, it may not seem like a lot. Until they get bunched together. Roll them together and wow. It can become a whole bunch of yuck.


On most days, I focus on the positive things that I do. How I am trying to add value to life than be a detractor. This is good and important. But some days, it’s OK to realize we need to acknowledge our less-than-stellar moments. It’s impossible to grow and move into living more as God would love for us to life if we only continually cheer ourselves up with all the positives and continue to gloss over and hide our “opportunities for improvement.”


The whole process wasn’t terribly time consuming. Yet, it gave me moments to reflect upon where I can step up my game. Where I might need to be more humble. Reflect upon really trying to treat others more like how I want to be treated.

The blanket is now covered up by the beautiful quilt my sister made for me. The remaining stringers are covered up and out of sight. But … they are still there. Just like the shortcomings in my life. Why is it easier to hide them than expose them?


Wanting just a little pretty in my life and bedroom, I walked out to the garden and cut some of the beautiful zinnias still blooming. We might have frost Friday night. Why not bring some of their beauty into the house for a few more days?

Even when we let others down, even when we let ourselves down and even when we let God down, there is still beauty in our lives. Let’s not forget the annoying stringers in our lives … as well as the beautiful zinnias.


For small opportunities to change and see beauty, I am thankful.

Lord God – thanks for being patient with me when I have moments which are less than stellar. Thanks for not giving up on me and overlooking the balls on poor behavior that accumulate in our lives. Thanks for always seeing the beauty in me, even when it may take a little unearthing to discover. Amen.

Blessings –


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Gratitude Day 53 – The Growth of Beauty

queen anne's laceWed., May 30, 2018

Isaiah 40:8 – The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”

Look at these Bridal Wreath shrubs. Simply stunning. Even Hubby Rick thought so. We went for a bike ride on Monday and rode past them. (FYI – Rick fixed the back tire of my bike. The nubby, hard to ride tire has been replaced with the normal hybrid tire. Much better!) While Rick is not really a flower connoisseur, even he remarked how beautiful they are.

The last four days in Wisconsin have been hot. Blistering hot for us. Four days of 90+ weather. While this may be normal in other parts of the U.S., this is highly unusual for us in May. Like maybe the first time ever?

Winter ran very late this year.  We skipped spring completely and went right to summer. The flowers aren’t quite sure what season it is. So many have bloomed in the last few days. Just like this bank of Bridal Wreath.

This picture isn’t from our house. We took a little detour and rode past them because they were so stunning. Rick suggested we plant a hedge of these in our yard. He thought they would look great! Yes, he is right. I gently reminded him that this hedge took years to grow. Years.

Likewise, faith takes years to grow. Years. Yes, faith can accelerate and take off. However, the more contemplative, deep-rooted faith which does not get easily shaken takes more than a few full moons to develop.

If you feel like the depth of your faith is not where you would like it to be, do not become discouraged. The Bridal Wreath didn’t grow overnight. Neither may your faith.

Feel like you have years of faith under your belt and it still gets tested? Not to worry. We quickly find a whole bunch of people in the Bible who should have known better … and didn’t. David, Solomon, Elijah, Peter are just a few names that come quickly to mind. I left off a whole bunch more possibilities.

There are days when our faith may be at its peak and it is a beautiful display. Other days, our faith cannot seem to find a way to get up and make it out of bed. And this is OK.

No matter where your faith is today, it’s OK. God is with you right where you are. God will be with you. God’s word will endure today, tomorrow and the next day. Even after the beautiful flowers have faded away.

For this, I am grateful.

Lord God – may we be amazed at the beauty to grace our world with. May we strive to bring beauty through our actions to our little corner of the world. When our faith is not as stellar, may we simply be sustained by Your word, which never ends. Amen.

Blessings –


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Gratitude Day 35 – Trillium


Wed., May 9, 2018

Song of Songs 2:12 – Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come; the cooing of doves is heard in our land.

My heart sang when I noticed the white flowers peaking out between the dark green leaves on the north side of our porch. They beckoned me to come take a glimpse.

Yes, the trillium are just beginning go bloom.

Trillium are a flower from my childhood. I grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm. Our land included acres of woods. I always felt spring had arrived when blankets of trillium covered the floor of the woods. They would arrive around Mother’s Day and grace the earth for about two weeks. Normally pure white flowers, towards the end of their blooming season, some trillium will have pink streaks across their petals.

This is how I remember celebrating Mother’s Day. After morning chores, we would go to church, which was followed by dinner at home. (Growing up, the meal in the middle of the day was not called lunch. It was called dinner. The last meal of the day was called supper.) In the afternoon, we would take empty ice cream buckets to the woods and pick trillium. Buckets of them. We’d each be carrying two or three buckets of the tri-stared flowers. After getting them home, we would display them throughout the house. Their beauty would bring a breath of spring to the house for the next week or so.

In Wisconsin where I live, trillium are a protected flower. This means they are not to be picked unless they are on your private property. The buckets of trillium picked off our land? Perfectly fine. One year while in college on Mother’s Day, we had made our annual trek to pick trillium. I wanted to take just a few back with me to college. I set a bucket of freshly-picked flowers on the floorboards by the front passenger seat in the car. During the 150+ mile trip back to school, I kept an eye on the speedometer. If I was stopped, I didn’t want to lose the precious trillium.

Today, my heart feels like spring has finally arrived. The trillium are here. A season of singing has commenced. The cooing of people’s voices as they “ooh” over them can be heard.

For this, I am grateful.

Lord God – the delicateness, the beauty, the memories certain flowers drum up in our hearts and minds. All created by you. Just for our benefit. Thank you so much.  Amen.

Blessings –


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