I think constantly of you, my readers, and how I can encourage, uplift, and/or challenge you. Today, I’m including you in my journey. The Lord blessed me with a whirlwind season of travel that put the heart back in me, bringing great joy and encouragement. We hit the road at the end of August, and I have just returned.

Sometimes a change of scenery and a visit to faraway places and people we love, gives a new perspective. Have you found this to be true?

I’m giving thanks to the Lord for:

  • Time with two pairs of our married children. The joy of meeting and loving a new member of the family and sharing precious time with dearly loved children and their beloved spouses warmed my heart and filled me with joy at the goodness of God. We split our time between both families and shared meals, laughter, and fun—a great blessing!

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  • Time with a grandchild. The treasure of grandchildren is such a gift from God! So is watching their parents do a fantastic job parenting! Our granddaughter thought we planned this surprise rain shower during our walk just for her! As we prepared to end our stay, she held my hand tightly to keep me from leaving. Then, solemnly, she released my hand and stepped close to whisper, “I love you. I will miss you.” Be still my heart! How I love her!
  • Time with new friends. One pair of our married children took us to dinner and a movie with a large group of their friends. They also invited us to their church on Sunday. Not only was it a blessing to worship with them leading us, but we had a blast with their friends! A stimulating intellectual discussion of philosophy, the film Hannah Arendt, and the “banality of evil” topped off the evening.

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  • Time with my parents. I am blessed! I still have both of my parents here on this earth. They hosted me on the business portion of my travels. My chronically fatigued body was a perfect fit for their routine, including the daily afternoon nap! I’ve missed my parents, so I really treasured this. I was with them for my 55th birthday. Since they are the only people living who were actually present for that event, it was a special day!

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  • Time with the awesome women of Village 7 Women at the Well—new friends all. I combined many of my Bible study discussions and prison teaching sessions to create the God’s Purposes in Trial and Suffering Workshop. The responses of the women and the encouragement given to them from God’s Word provided uplifting and empowering feedback! I will now be making this workshop available to more participants! Two links: See more info. AND See contact form.

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  • Time with a new “fan” who invited me and others to breakfast on my birthday. Unwittingly the hostess invited a fellow Chronic Fatigue sufferer! He shared twenty-plus years of wisdom and helpful tips for how to manage my time and my health! Our breakfast group sang Happy Birthday to me, and we engaged in a lively and intriguing literary discussion. We batted around publishing ideas for my future writing. I’ll be sharing this soon.
  • Time with a book club. At our small gathering, we discussed my story Refuge, why I wrote it, and how God has given me a heart to share his mercy with others. Then I asked one of the participants to share her story. She had recently married a Marine whom she met while in Africa serving in the Peace Corp. I knew there had to be a good story there! And there was! Her story will be providing fodder for future fiction. Watch for it!

image Such a blessing of time, relationships, and love! Lord of all, to Thee I raise, this my hymn of grateful praise! I’d love to rejoice with you…

Do you have any recent blessings you want to share?