Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters

Letters displayed on the side of a building…a building that holds millions of letters.  Millions of letters divided into thousands of books.

Books that have stood the test of time…books that have changed lives.  Books enrich, encourage, teach, and take us to places we have never been.

So go ahead, get a good book….and read some letters 🙂

Powell's bookstore

And if you find yourself in the Portland area, do yourself a favor and visit this amazing place….Powell’s Books.  It’s everything they said it would be, and more!

Take a look at some more photos of letters by clicking here!

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Thankful Thursday: 3 gifts found on paper

3 gifts found on paper

1. I’m so thankful for the little hands that drew this picture of penguins playing in the snow…and then proceeded to proudly hang it on my refrigerator, just for me.

drawing by A

2. For the millions of books that have been written and printed on paper…I’m so thankful for moments like this.

photo credit: my daughter, book from Grandma

photo credit: my daughter, book from Grandma

3.  The love notes, sweet wishes, and kind words, all written down and tucked safely away. I’m so thankful for the hearts and the hands of the people who wrote these for me. They are my life.

cards and letters

These are just a few of the many things that I am thankful for today.

It’s important to stop…take a moment…and reflect on the good things in life.

Will you join me in counting the blessings on your journey through life?

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”
― William Arthur Ward

Thankful Thursday: 3 Gifts Flourishing

3 Gifts Flourishing…

When I think of something that is “flourishing“, the first thing that comes to mind is relationships, life and love.

Each one flourishes in its own unique way, and yet they often interconnect. It might even be safe to say that one often has influence on another. It certainly makes for a happier life, when it’s filled with healthy, loving, relationships. 🙂

So I took a look at those three things again today, from another level, and I came up with this.

I’m pretty sure it’s nothing new or profound, it’s just my take on things that are flourishing, and how very thankful I am for all of them!

1. I am so thankful for the growing relationship of books, flourishing in the life of this little guy!

R reading books

2. My beautiful rose plant that just keeps giving life and flourishing year after year, in spite of my lack of knowledge of rose care!

rose

3. And last, but certainly not the least of all, the most important thing that is flourishing in my life is my love for my amazing man! Can I just shout it out from the mountain top?

I am so VERY thankful for him, and I love him so much! 🙂

me and my man

These are just a few of the many things that I am thankful for.

What are your “heavenly blessings“?

Will you join me in looking for these gifts and sharing them with others?

The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.”
― Henry Ward Beecher

The peace of forgiving

“Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.”
― Lewis B. Smedes

Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts we Don’t Deserve” by Lewis B Smedes, is probably the best book I’ve ever read on the subject of forgiveness.

The impact it had on my life was a sense of freedom and release from the bondage of the inability to forgive.  I knew that it was the right thing to do, and I would often get to the point where I thought I could forgive, and then I would stop.

Nope! in my mind, I didn’t want to give the other person the privilege of my forgiveness.  I wanted them to feel the pain that I had felt! Maybe even more!

The reality of it is this, it just doesn’t work like that.

Anyone who is cruel enough to cause pain and not ask for forgiveness after the fact, does not feel any guilt or pain by our resistance to forgive them.  Their life goes on, and they probably continue in the same vein of hurting others.

They are not even giving a second thought to the deed done to me. But my life becomes consumed by unhealthy emotions.  I become conflicted with my own guilt over the unwillingness to forgive, and the bitterness and anger caused by the hurt and the pain.

I learned that the act of forgiveness does not mean that I can or should forget, nor is it required of me to forget. However, forgiveness is still required. It doesn’t mean that I never experienced the pain and the hurt, and it doesn’t mean that I will never remember it again. What it means is that I have made the choice to forgive.

And in choosing to forgive, I move forward with new hope and peace in my heart. I can’t excuse, tolerate or forget, I can only forgive.  And in forgiving, I am released from the bondage of guilt and bitterness.

(Interesting note, Lewis B Smedes died on this day in 2002.  I had no knowledge of this until today.  I am thankful for his insight into a very painful subject.  He certainly had an impact on my life.)

counting gifts along the way

I read a very interesting book about a year a go.  The title of the book is “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp.

This is not an easy-to-read book, it’s more of a read and re-read kind of book.  The kind of book that made me stop and think, and then think some more.  A soul-searching book, full of challenge.  A challenge to live a life full of joy, no matter the circumstance.

It took me a few months, but I finally finished the book, and the effects this book has had on my life, still continue to shape me to this very day.

The concept of the book is simple.  The challenge suggested in the book, not so simple.

The challenge?  I am to look for the “gifts” that have been given to me in my every day life.  The simple things, and some times even the hard things that while I might not think of it as a gift at the time, will eventually be used to make me a better person.

The author encourages me to make a list.  A list of the gifts that I have in my life.  I thought about this, and after I have gone through all of the obvious things/people who I am thankful for, this task becomes a little more difficult.

It’s when I am forced to concentrate on the positive things, and set aside the negative.  When I “count it all joy“, I become more aware of all the good that God has given me.  And this is when the life changing effects of taking note of the gifts in my life takes place.

I have tried in the past to keep a list.  I haven’t been too successful at it.  I think to myself that I already know what I am thankful for, so is it really necessary to make a list?  Well, it appears that there are some good reasons for it, and as noted by the author, here are just a few of them.

So, I’ve decided I am going to give it another try.  I’m going to take up the challenge, and keep a list, and each day I am going to add 3 things to the list.

Today’s challenge: 3 Gifts Eaten

  1.  salted caramel gelato
  2.  lemon pound cake
  3.  chicken apple sausage

Soon, I will have my own list of 1000 things, and maybe even more.