Choosing to focus on what is there, not on what is missing

It is so easy to focus on what we are missing right now, isn't it? The list is long and the prayer lists are becoming even longer. 

As I've written in my daily "gratitude journal," I've asked the Lord to help me focus on what is right in front of me and to be thankful for every-little-thing. Like yesterday, when my 2-year-old said, "Mommy, I'm hungry. I have a snack please?" Normally, I say ok, give her a string cheese or fruit cup, and move on with my day. But this time, I thanked the Lord for food to feed my family. My kids have all their needs met, they are safe in our home, and everything we have, snacks included, are a gift from the heart of our loving Heavenly Father. HE is our Provider, Protector, and Refuge!

Journalling through pictures refreshes me and I'm thankful for these every-day-moments. Focusing on what's there. Not on what's missing. Like veggies, eggs, and bacon to make a frittata. Simple and one of our family favorites!

I fell asleep with Cora one afternoon and woke up to the news of a cupcake-war in our kitchen. After chores were done. Ahem. Look at the creativity and they were scrumptious!

Levi's cupcakes

Savannah's cupcakes

Alisa's cupcakes

Joshua's cupcakes

We've been on our lanai and in our driveway A LOT! School on the porch, meals on the porch, games on the porch. Thank you, Jesus, for sunshine and the beautiful creation you've made!

A few days before we were "sheltering in place" we brought home a new class pet for our homeschool! In the past, Savannah and Alisa had rabbits and Levi had a turtle. It was Joshua's turn and we got him the cutest teddy-bear-hamster! We've been studying hamsters, love the printables here, and the kids have enjoyed watching her stuff her cheeks, run on her wheel (did you know hamsters can run up to 6 miles a night?!), and make nests in her tunnels. 

Sunsets and our flag. Breathtaking. Thank you Lord for our earthly home and thank you that we aren't "home" yet. The hope of heaven is better than anything temporary in this life.

A favorite holiday in our home is "The 1st Day of Spring!" I'm thankful that the virus hasn't changed the calendar. When my big kids were little, I prayed for a way to enjoy all the "spring-y" things, while helping us to focus completely on the Gospel as we move toward Easter. Out of that prayer came a tradition to celebrate pastel flowers, bunnies, baby-birds, and decorating eggs on the 1st day of spring! I've found this tradition to be incredibly special and a wonderful way to keep Holy Week (Passover, Good Friday, and Resurrection Sunday) totally focused on Jesus.

Cora continues to talk to Minnie Mouse and all her "friends"!

One evening our Hero made a campfire in our driveway! We roasted marshmallows, Alisa brought out her guitar for some music fun, and Joshua asked to set up his Army tent!

Lots and lots and lots of messes and washing our hands! Lots of baking (Alisa made some yummy bread. It's so easy and you have to try it!. Lots of trying new recipes with what we have in the house (thank you Savannah!) Lots of school work. Lots of Legos. Lots of make-believe-play. Lots of needing to ask for forgiveness. Lots of praying for patience and grace. Lots of God refining. Lots of memorizing scripture. Lots of prayer. Lots of tears. Lots of joy.

Learning to use ZOOM and utilize other social media tools to meet with our local church. I was blown away last week by the kindness of my middle-school and highschooler's youth and small group leaders. Reading God's Word together. Leading worship. Connecting. Praying. Talking. Sending "snail-mail-letters." It's been so good and I'm very thankful for our local church family at this duty station. Love you Grace Family Church South Tampa!

I'm also thankful for "date walks" along the bay with my Hero, after dinner. This is a hard time for so many around the globe and that includes our military service members. I have never been more honored to stand beside and support my Hero (and our military community) as he serves... holding hands and soaking up the stillness of the ocean, we've talked about the many ways the Lord has protected and provided for us in the past. We remembered out loud His goodness through the darkest times and the best of times in our 20-years of marriage. We reminded each other of God's faithfulness. The ways He has drawn us closer to Him through trials, given us peace in the midst of many storms, and has directed our steps - wherever we've walked on the globe. Jesus has always been our shelter and refuge. Our Rock. Our Helper. Our Redeemer. Our Healer. He has never changed. We've trusted Him in the past and we. will. trust. HIM. now.

"I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds." Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph." ~ Psalm 78:11-15

Our shadow.