IMG_4405

Saying Thanks and Sharing Some Stats

What fun it was to read your comments on last week’s “Wonder” post! Collectively we expressed wonder for the delicate beauty of flowers and  amazement at creatures as tiny as hummingbirds and ants and as large as polar bears. We only need to look at God’s creation to find wonder. Beyond the things we can see and touch, the kindness of generous people and the soul-touching power of music were called wondrous. Wasn’t it good to focus on the beauty in life and tell someone else about it?

I saw this beauty on a recent walk.

I enjoyed celebrating the 1-year anniversary of Thoughts Collected By Lisa with a giveaway. The recipient of the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet gift card is Barbara Repan. She is a fellow blogger who inspired me to give writing for the internet a try. Congratulations, Barbara!

As I pick up my pencil and begin the second year of writing, I’m taking a look back and sharing not just thoughts and words, but numbers with you today.

One. That is the number of opportunities that I had to write for someone else’s blog, and that is one more than I anticipated. Thank you, Bethany Eicher!

Four to Six. The hours between beginning writing a post and hitting publish. Those hours may be spread over a couple of days and include an initial draft, looking up relevant information, a frequent re-write, getting photos inserted, and several proof readings. It’s not a small task, but it is immensely rewarding.

Seventeen. The number of countries where someone has viewed Thoughts Collected. Every continent except Antarctica is included! By far, most of the views are in the United States, with Canada, China, and Australia holding very distant second, third, and fourth places for views.

Twenty-three. The number of posts that fell into the FAITH category of my blog. The FAMILY category was a close second with twenty-two entries, some of which overlap with FAITH.

One hundred. The number of Facebook readers who have liked and/or commented on Thoughts Collected at least once. This is so encouraging to me. Thank you.

Five hundred. The number of words that I initially set as a limit for each post. I held to it for a while. Then it increased to six hundred, then eight hundred. I just LOVE words!

Nine hundred forty-eight. Number of words in my longest post, which happens to be the One I wrote as a guest blogger. Summing up 32 years of parenting and how to deal with getting older in one post was quite an undertaking!

While I’m still under 500 words, I’ll publish this 52nd post and look forward to sharing more collected thoughts with you in the coming months and maybe years. Many of them will likely relate to faith and family. My prayer is that all of them will bless you and give glory to God.

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

 

 

Please follow and like us:
IMG_4405

Wonder Under a Polar Bear & Anniversary Giveaway!

Oxford’s online dictionary defines wonder as “a feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar.” He observed the intricacy of the ironwork with the wonder of a child.

Have you considered the wonder of a child? In his book, The Call to Wonder, R. C. Sproul Jr challenges grown-ups to cultivate childlike qualities of wonder, trust, joy, and desire to please, particularly as they relate to loving God. I found the book at Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, noticing the cover photo of a butterfly resting in a child’s hand. Now, as I sit outside with the book beside me, I am delighted to see a butterfly land in front of me, opening its wings a few times before gliding off the deck. Wonder.

Children, so inexperienced at life, often squeal with amazement at simple, beautiful things. They’re easily surprised and quickly caught up in new sights and sounds. Sadly, as adults wander though life, they’re not so easily impressed. We find ourselves “bored or lacking enthusiasm, typically after having had too much of something” – Oxford’s definition of jaded. We’re busy, tired, or distracted, not noticing amazing things that are in front of our eyes or under our feet. Not so with my grown-up friend, Gail. She told me of the funny looks she got when she bent down to watch an unending line of ants, each with a triangular piece of leaf, hurrying along on their mission. Tiny wonders doing what they were created to do.

Wonderful things come in all sizes. Another friend expressed amazement at the Grand Canyon, exclaiming “His creation shouts His praises; thank you for eyes to see you!”

Wonder has presented itself in small packages in my life – seeing kittens play when I was a child, nursing my newborn as a new mom, finding a fawn in my landscaping this summer.  And I have been awestruck by the magnitude of creation – marveling at the night sky as a teen, standing on a high point at a summer festival in West Virginia, and UNDER A POLAR BEAR!

The amazing walk-through polar bear exhibit at the Pittsburgh Zoo. The woman with the camera is not me, but I looked just like that moments later.

So thankful this guy decided to play in the water while I was in the tunnel!

Overcome with AWE as I looked up at the bear, I couldn’t keep from crying.

Too often, I work to stay in control, not cry, act like an adult – and suppress my wonder. Once in a while, it blessedly breaks through. Many of those times involve light or music. On the first day of creation, God said, “Let there by light,” and he has been using it to communicate his awesome love to me. Two instances come to mind.

I was spending an autumn day at Seven Springs Mountain Resort. Perhaps my jadedness was showing as I looked out the window at the  slopes divided by groups of trees in fall color.  I wanted to feel delight, but didn’t, so I did something bold. I asked God to open my eyes to the wonder of his creation. Then I watched and waited. The sky was overcast when the performance began. A break in the swiftly moving clouds allowed sunshine to spotlight the tree lines one – at -a- time, beginning to my right and moving across the mountain! I squealed and clapped. Then, (since I was alone in the room) I said with little girl enthusiasm, “Do it again!” AND HE DID – Wonder!

A photo from a different day when the sunshine was widespread on the mountain.

It is not necessary for me to travel to a resort or even leave my house for God to shine into my day. As I spend time in prayer in my own living room, I have seen sunlight suddenly stream in the window to illuminate the photo of a loved one or to signal His peace replacing my anxiety. Wonder!

I’ll wait for a later post to describe the wonder of music in my life  and move on to the giveaway.

As the 1st Anniversary of Thoughts Collected by Lisa arrives, I invite you to tell me what moves you to amazed wonder. Anyone who does that here in the comments section of my blog site or on Facebook will be entered for a drawing on Friday, August 5. Since I reference so many books from Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, I am giving away an Ollie’s gift card to one of my readers.

It takes a shift in FOCUS for adults to experience the wonder of a child. In her book The Magnolia Story (my sister’s copy – not from Ollie’s), Joanna Gaines tells of her obsession with keeping her house clean and the frustration of looking at the messes created by her children. One day as she was about to”lose it” in anger over black fingerprints on a white sofa slipcover, she heard her kids laughing in another room. At that moment, she made a decision to focus on their JOY rather than the dirt. With a new mind-set, Joanna replaced the exhaustion of perfectionism with the wonder of relationship with her children. More about Chip and Joanna’s story in a later post.

Stop and consider God’s wonder. – Job 37:14

Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!” – Psalm 66:2

 

Please follow and like us: