Gratefuls in the midst.



We are all broken people capable of causing great hurt to others when we act out of that brokenness. – Roberta Lyle, COR GPS Insights, 10/31/16


I am grateful for a text message this morning from Paul, reassuring me that I am loved.

I am grateful for a phone call from Sam a few minutes ago, reassuring me that I am loved.

I am grateful for a text message from my sister, from my boss, and from Elaine, all three giving me encouragement.

I am grateful that God is continuing to heal my broken spirit through others.

And I am grateful for two little girls who make it all worth the effort and sacrifice.

Gratefuls from every broken piece.


2 am. I am grateful for restlessness that causes me to rely.


I am grateful for the purr of a cat in the 2 am.

I am grateful for the sweet words of Parker Grace who lives her middle name.


I am grateful for a rainy day, inside and outside.


I am grateful for strength to smile.

I am grateful for 2 am to be held and comforted by the Comforter.


I am grateful for reminders that I am broken.


I am grateful for an internal jukebox that plays hymns for encouragement…


…why should I feel discouraged? Why should the shadows come? Why should my heart feel lonely, and long for heaven and home? When Jesus is my portion, a constant friend is He, His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.


I am grateful for this picture of an umbrella that reminds me when it is raining, I am covered, and I should look up and see the beautiful and not the dreary. I like this umbrella…

img_1979…grateful, all the day, and through the night, long.


Gratefuls in the early morning.



Daily Scripture: Colossians 3:9-16

9 Don’t lie to each other. Take off the old human nature with its practices 10 and put on the new nature, which is renewed in knowledge by conforming to the image of the one who created it. 11 In this image there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all things and in all people.

12 Therefore, as God’s choice, holy and loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Be tolerant with each other and, if someone has a complaint against anyone, forgive each other. As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other. 14 And over all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 The peace of Christ must control your hearts—a peace into which you were called in one body. And be thankful people. 16 The word of Christ must live in you richly. Teach and warn each other with all wisdom by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

It’s 5 am. My devotion from church this morning by Ginger Rothhaas ( included a challenge to take the following list and post it somewhere and work on one or more of Paul’s directives. I see several I need to focus on.

  • don’t lie
  • put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience
  • be tolerant
  • forgive
  • put on love
  • have a peaceful heart
  • be thankful
  • teach and warn with wisdom
  • sing with gratitude

I couldn’t sleep. By the time this traveler arrived at her weekend destination, granddaughters were already asleep. So, I am up and waiting to hear the first sounds coming from their room this morning. It’s a good time to reflect, to study, to be grateful, and to pray from my list of requests while I wait for whispers and little voices.

A challenge to begin my day. Accepted:

I try very hard these days to not lie, but sometimes wearing a mask, pretending things are different, omitting details, and responding with, “I’m fine” fall into this category.

Aunt Patsy exemplifies compassion, kindness, gentleness, humility, patience. Be more like Aunt Patsy. And Aunt Estalene. And Roxanne and Linda.

Tolerance is something I am getting better at, but why is it harder to be tolerant of family? Why do we treat others better than the ones who know us best? Why do we sometimes have two separate personalities, public and private?


Will I ever fully learn to forgive? I hope so. Because sometimes it hurts so bad.

I have found peace in my heart, I have been blessed with a peaceful life, and for this, I am grateful.

I’m pretty sure I have the thankful and gratitude thing down, but it’s like my walk with God, always growing, always something more to learn, until the day when I meet Him face-to-face.

I taught. I tried to share wisdom. I could say I’m done, I failed. Move on. But I am learning that the best teacher teaches by doing. Walk the walk, because sometimes words are shallow when they aren’t followed up with action. Living example right here.

Sing with gratitude. My internal jukebox sings constantly with gratitude. I’m not a singer. But when Kevin Bogan orchestrates Sunday morning hymns to end with acapella singing…I’m done. It’s over. I am crying gratitude and want to replay it over and over and over. So I do. I’m a pianist. PLAY with gratitude. As long as my fingers will allow.

Today, I will count every. last. thing. Name them one by one. Beginning with Katrina. And then Parker. And then Reilly. And then…

Time to enjoy. I hear little voices and two years has been too long.


Gratefuls from Seat 19D.


I am grateful, Sam, I am.

I am grateful way up high.
I am grateful as I fly.

I am grateful in this seat.
I am grateful at 33,000 feet.

I am grateful in a cloud.
I am grateful when it’s loud.

I am grateful for the snow.
I am grateful for beauty below.

I am grateful sun or rain.
I am grateful in this plane.


I am grateful for good weather to fly.

I am grateful for the kindness shown to me by so many today.

I am grateful for a ride to the airport from Karen.

I am grateful for a window to my right, and an empty seat to my left.

I am grateful that I do not need to use the bathroom on the plane. Yet.

I am grateful that I can use the iPad to write my gratefuls.

I am grateful for a new book to read, The Princes of Albion, by Jon Hopkins, given to me by Elaine.

I am grateful for Philip Gulley sermons that Dad let me borrow to read and absorb.

I am grateful for a big suitcase. With wheels.

I am grateful that my suitcase didn’t weigh over 50 pounds. Close, but no penalty.

I am grateful for gum to help with sensitive ears.

I am grateful that tonight I see my sweet baby girl again after two long years.

I am grateful that half of my suitcase is full of dress up clothes from City Union Mission thrift store for two little granddaughters.

I am grateful for this morning’s devotion that brought back memories…

Matthew 18:10

One of the most famous paintings in Christian history is Heilger Schutzengel, which means “Guardian Angel.” It’s the scene of two children – a girl and her small brother – crossing a rickety bridge over a roaring stream. A beautiful angel hovers above them, arms outstretched, wings expanding, silently watching the youngsters complete the perilous crossing. The origin of the painting is unknown. A company called Lindberg in Switzerland produced the first copies many years ago. We can only assume the artist was thinking of Matthew 18:10.

The Bible gives few verses on the subject of whether or not everyone has a specific guardian angel, but there’s no question we have angels watching over us all the time. Whether we have one specific angel guarding us is uncertain, but what is clearly indicated in the Bible is that God has His angels watching over us constantly. Don’t worry about whether you have one angel or many. In either case, the angelic host serves as the security detail for believers. They are our heavenly helpers whenever we’re on a bridge over troubled waters.


Aunt Drula and Uncle Fred gave us a gift when one of the girls was born. I don’t remember now which daughter… It was an old picture of two children crossing a bridge with an angel watching from above, a fairly known picture that I had seen many times. It wasn’t anything I would have chosen to decorate a room, but because it was from Aunt Drula and Uncle Fred, two of my favorites, I hung it in the girls’ bedroom for years.


“I believe there are – angels among us,
Sent down to us, from somewhere up above,
They come to you and me, in our darkest hour,
To show us how to live, to teach us how to give,
To guide us with a light of Love.”

This was the chorus to a song my choirs sang one year at a Christmas program, when our theme had something to do with angels, I suppose. We asked the audience to donate teddy bears to the local police department to keep in the trunks of their cars to give away to children facing trauma. And another year, at another school, we collected coats and hats. During the song, the audience passed their gifts to the front of the stage as my kids sang. I was always a sucker for sweet emotional endings with a message.

My sister’s name is Angela, and she was so named because Mom needed a little girl so badly after Judy died, and God answered her prayer.

My granddaughter-to-be, chosen by God to bless my oldest daughter and her family in a few more weeks, will be named Aynjel, a name that will inspire and lead others. Perhaps she will be a teacher or a counselor or a nurse or doctor. Perhaps she will watch over and protect those in need…

So, as I read my devotion this morning from Dad’s David Jeremiah book, I thought about that picture. I thought about my sister who is headed to Texas to be an angel this next week to women and children who have no hope. I thought about little Aynjel. I thought about past Christmas programs. I thought about the scripture of “entertaining angels unaware.”

I thought about the bridges over troubled water in my life that I have had to cross, that I must cross. I know that He holds me in the palm of His hand. I know that He goes before me, He walks beside me, and sometimes He carries me when I just don’t have it in me to take another step. I know that His angels will keep charge over me…

And for that and so much more, I am grateful.

Smooth flight. The pilot announced we were flying over Wyoming a short while ago, so I know it won’t be much longer. The flight attendants are offering last refills, one last pass before clean-up time.

I am grateful for three hours to reflect, to read, to sit in silence and reminisce.

I am grateful for an abundance of friends with whom I’ve reconnected in the last week. Elaine, Cindy and Keith, John and Linda, Donna, Shirley and Lacey. Friends make my life so rich and full…

I am grateful for the support of my husband who praises my independence and continues to encourage me to grow and fully live.

I am grateful for the song, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” that is playing on my internal jukebox right now.

I am grateful for a hug from Dad today and grateful that he and Natia will “hold down the fort.”

I am grateful for a dinosaur phone that at least holds pictures so that I can scroll through and enjoy three years of grandchildren while I become more and more anxious to begin the weekend.

I am grateful for Joyce, and Karen, and Moira, and Mary, who understand the importance of this trip and wished me well just before I left.

I am grateful for shuttle rides and rental cars.

I am grateful for memories of Mom hugging my girls when she saw them. “Grandma, you’re squeezing my guts out!” I get it now. I will TRY not to squeeze their guts out…

I am grateful for instrument flying or whatever you call it, because those pilots cannot see a thing in the middle of this rain cloud as we begin a slow descent.

I am grateful that my seat is in row 19 rather than row 20, because if it had been row 20, I would have spent three hours listening to the woman behind me talking about every. single. presidential. candidate. detail. I’m fairly certain she has expounded on every, and I mean, EVERY. thing.

And I am grateful that we’re almost there, because I have to use the bathroom now.



Because he felt loved, he felt healed.

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I’ve saved this little illustration for a while now, just because it tapped into tenderness inside of me. I re-read it today, and as I anticipate seeing my granddaughters this weekend, I decided to share it and be grateful.

When my oldest son was about 4 years old, he told me that “The bandaids at Granny’s are better. I like it when Granny puts on my bandaid.”

I immediately called my mother to find out what magic brand of bandages she was putting on skinned knees and sore fingers, only to discover that they were the same brand we bought in the large economy size at our house.

The next time we visited, I had a chance to watch her in action and I learned why Granny’s bandaids were better. It had nothing to do with size, shape, or what cartoon character was printed on the bandage.

When Granny put a bandage on your skinned knee there was quite a bit of ceremony attached to the event. There was discussion of the wound and how it came about, examination of the cut or scrape with commentary regarding the size and shape, a listing of possible treatments, and then the careful and ceremonial placing of the little piece of plastic and gauze, followed by a big kiss on the sore spot and a hug. If the injury was particularly painful, or inflicted in a way that also resulted in hurt feelings, quite a bit of lap time was often added until the wounded child felt healed and able to return to the business of being a kid.

As I watched, I realized why Granny’s bandaids and her method of healing bumps and scrapes was better. The healing offered was complete and addressed not only the injury to the body, but the spirit. The injured child got focused attention, hugs and kisses. Granny didn’t just see a cut finger; she saw whole little person it was attached to.

Because he felt loved, he felt healed. – Author Unknown

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I am grateful for the opportunity to be a grandparent again.

I am grateful for flexible bandaids and cartoon bandaids and clear bandaids and a new box of bandaids and the different kind of paper wrapping that comes with a bandaid.

I am grateful for people who throw their used bandaids in the trash and wrap them in toilet paper or a kleenex so other people don’t have to witness ewww.

I am grateful for sweet words like “boo-boo” and “ouchy.”

I am grateful for Moms (and Grandmas) who counteract tough Dads and others. You know, those tough Dads who say, “It’s just a scrape/cut/little blood/broken elbow/gash (take your pick at the injury inflicted). Don’t baby her! She’s just fine.” Sometimes, that creates a mental injury inflicted… Just sayin’.


And I am grateful that even though my scars are visible…

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Listen & silent are spelled with the same letters. Think about it.

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I had lunch with a friend today. This is a friend who is always smiling, always pleasant, always so warm and engaging.

I had no idea.

I talked and talked and talked about life these days and filled her in since it had been awhile. And when I was unloaded, I asked, “So. How are YOU?”

I had no idea.

Behind the smile, behind the warm and engaging, there is pain and anguish.

It was a reminder to me that even though I sometimes bare my soul to the world and leave nothing left to the imagination in my writing and in my unloading…

I need to listen.

I need to inquire.

I need to stop talking and observe.

Because not everyone bares their soul to the world, and behind every smile, behind every “I’m fine,” there is a story that is worth telling.

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I am so very grateful for this friend who models for me a positive outlook.

I am so grateful that she chose ME to befriend.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to try again.

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I am grateful for the sound of a thumping tail, happy to see me.

I am grateful for the sound of my husband, first thing in the morning, after he’s had a restful night’s sleep and calls me to say, “Well, hello there, darlin’” in his drawl and smiling, playful voice.

I am grateful for the sound I make on the keyboard when ideas are flying through my brain and I can’t get them out of my fingers fast enough.

I am grateful for the sound of leaves crunch underfoot and leaves scattering in the breeze.

I am grateful for the sound that babies make when they are sleeping deep.

I am grateful for the sound of a friend who felt safe enough to confide in me…

Because I had no idea.

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When my heart is overwhelmed…

…lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. – Psalm 61:2

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Life is like a messy desk right now. Everything is right there at our fingertips; we’re just having a hard time making sense of the piles and figuring out which pile to tackle first.

Life is like a Martha Stewart garden right now. There are so many beautiful things, but there are so many, we tend to overlook each individual beautiful thing and neglect to appreciate the individual loveliness.

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Life right now is like a really great buffet, the buffet that has multiple buffets with an ice cream station that includes lots of toppings from which to choose and a chef at the end of one of the lines with a big carving knife and other chefs preparing your omelet any way you so desire and bread in the form of fresh hot rolls with honey butter brought to your table and vegetables you actually WANT to eat and fried chicken piled high so that you don’t have to search for the breast piece…and it’s so overwhelming, I choose mashed potatoes, green beans, and a slice of roast beef and then I don’t return for more. I stick with the familiar and load up on the hot rolls that were placed in front of me.

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The weekend was a blur.

Between my brother’s visit and rescue help with our investment property, heaven-sent time with Elaine and sharing every possible thing in such a short time to catch up on the last 15 years, a visit from Cindy and Keith and much-needed laughter and fun and familiar, and the extra stresses of life these days, I am overwhelmed. I don’t know which way is up, who’s on first, when it’s due, what I overlooked, and what comes next.

So, today, I am just grateful for a messy desk full of possibilities and opportunities and busyness so that I don’t get bogged down in TV watching and boredom and feeling sorry for myself-ness.

And I am just grateful for a Garden of Eden all around me, a garden of friends who are as different as the flowerbeds of Stewartville, friends that give me hope and happiness and encourage me and allow me to listen to their stories and when I see them, they are like a bouquet of beautiful.

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And I am just grateful for buffets of issues and problems that add spice, and buffets of dull, same ‘ol same ‘ol fare that allow me to breathe and sit in what is comfortable and rut-like, if only for a few moments…and buffets that include some surprising “wow factor” that make me want to go back for more.

But just so you know:


We did the mahhhhnster mash.

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All I needed was the plastic pumpkin bucket with handles for collecting candy, an old black dress with a little stuffing, Mom’s hose, some old lady black shoes, and a plastic old witch’s mask that was smashed to my head with the thin elastic band. The elastic band always got tangled in my hair and it hurt! The mask smelled funny and freaked me out but was so fun to put on when I got ewwww! reactions from Mom and Delores and Mrs. Schrag. I am pretty sure I wore that same costume several years in a row, even though there was a black-markered HALLOWEEN box of other possibilities to put together.

At the end of neighborhood trick-or-treating, it was the anticipation of dumping the bucket on the floor in the living room to see the loot I had gathered all evening. I recall that any candy was good candy in our house, since the only candy we ever got was coffee candy in the crystal jar or an occasional walk downtown to the drugstore for shoelace licorice or sixlets behind the big glass case. I loved those little white paper candy sacks that made me feel like I had just won the lottery… I digress.

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I went to the thrift store this week to peruse the racks of costumes for fun things to take on my trip to the great Northwest. I have two granddaughters that need a big box of dress-up fun. Furry hats, a cape or two, some princessy-looking numbers, a police jacket, leopardish and leathersome, and…a puffy great white shark.

I scored.

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So, on this last Friday before I head Northwest for Halloween…

I am grateful for a little Ama fun and anticipation. And racks of unwanted costumes.

I am grateful for Halloween memories.

I am grateful my parents didn’t buy into the evil of Halloween but allowed us to enjoy the fun of All Hallow’s Eve.

I am grateful for my years at St. George Episcopal School where I learned about All Saints Day, the day after costumes.

I am grateful for masks, as long as they are plastic to hide my face, not internal to hide my reality.

I am grateful for candy in an old faded orange pumpkin bucket.

I am grateful that I do not have to watch scary movies if I do not so desire.

I am grateful that my husband does not find pleasure in scaring me for fun.

But I am grateful that he enjoys handing out candy to children who ring our doorbell, and I am especially grateful for the tears in his eyes when little Cinderella sang “You are My Sunshine” as her “trick,” and I am grateful that she and her sisters came back the next year and remembered our home as the one where Sam asks for a trick.

And finally, I am grateful that I do not have to wear hose ever again, neither the real pair nor the old witch-y hose for fun.


Do what you can do and let it be.

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I want to fix. I want to help. I want to solve. I want to serve. I want to participate. I want to support. I want to assist. I want to resolve. I want to offer.

I want and I should are completely different and I NEED to separate.

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I am finding myself and my calendar busier these days than they should be when I am in the city. I’m missing the changing colors of this beautiful season. I’m missing the sounds of the leaves crunching underfoot. I’m missing the wonderful that is all around me, the things that bring such enjoyment in my life. I’m missing just being, because I am doing and scheduling and working and running and those things are okay IF I am finding benefit and fulfillment in them and am enjoying.

In my Michelle calendar on my desk, here is today’s thought:

Dust if you must, but there’s
not much time,
with rivers to swim and
mountains to climb,
music to hear and books to read,
friends to cherish and life to lead.

My thoughts this morning are scattered – there is so much inside that I want to unload.

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But for now, I will be grateful so that I can begin to see the beauty and possibility of the day.

So I am grateful for an early morning wake-up.

I am grateful for the anticipation of seeing Elaine tonight.

I am grateful that she has the opportunity to attend the writer’s workshop and learn more about writing her untold story.

I am grateful for a brother and a Dad who is working so hard to help us.

I am grateful for a happy dog every morning.

I am grateful for the off button on a remote when the political negativity gets to be too much to bear.

I am grateful for an egg in a cup every morning for breakfast.

I am grateful for a morning phone call from Sam to tell me he loves me.

I am grateful for my job and for my bosses.

I am grateful for Lysol wipes.

And I am grateful for Philippians 4:7

“God’s peace…is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.”

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Little things make life big.

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I am grateful for the strength in an iris leaf that makes it stand tall and proud.

I am grateful for puffy clouds against a blue sky.

I am grateful for the support of my sister and my brother.

I am grateful for warm hot fudge sauce cake with a scoop of ice cream on top.

Don’t worry, be happy (15 photos):

I am grateful for open windows on a cool morning and the smell of fresh air.

I am grateful for a talkative CASA girl who is figuring out life and making good choices.

I am grateful for fresh popcorn.

I am grateful for Maya Angelou.

I am grateful for things crossed off the list.

And I am grateful for someone else to mow the yard.

Maya Angelou Quote -- Living for the Now // @BuddhaBird (Hand-crafted, earthy yet elegant art for everyone. Shop online soon @ Etsy ) //: