Grateful in a week of birthdays and backpacking

A day late, I know, but WordPress wasn’t cooperating yesterday. It was a week of firsts–first birthday in his forties for my husband and first backpacking trip for the two of us. He survived turning 40 and I survived the backpacking trip without poison ivy, insect bites or getting hurt. Here’s my list:

Gifts hiding, heard and held:

  • Paintings from Passion week by my daughter–enjoying having her “hidden” talent revealed
  • “Uno!” Playing card games with a daughter outside on a picture perfect weather day
  • holding my five-year-old, who climbed up for a snuggle

Three gifts opening up:

  • Doors of change in our future
  • An open Mennonite greenhouse to stock my garden with more tomatoes, peppers, and herbs and plenty to share with friends
  • back door opening for a surprise chat with a friend

Three gifts budding and blooming:

  • sugar snap peas uncurling in the sun
  • tiny stalks of corn
  • Dutch Iris

Dutch Iris by the back door

Three gifts worn:

  • A word straight from the mouth of the Lord, to aching and wondering hearts, given by a man who’s body is a bit worn after 83 years of righteous living,
  • A pirate patch that brings so much laughter and fun to my boys (and girls!)
  • My first inductive study Bible–cover’s hanging by a thread, but I love it so

Three gifts bright:

  • Bright stars seen from a sleeping bag in a tent
  • Bright wildflowers, blooming on the ridge
  • Bright flames to distance the night chill

Three gifts found looking up:

  • Limestone overhangs to shelter tired hikers

    A narrow path between overhang above and bushes by the stream below

  • Glints of blue sky over the top of the ridge, seen from the valley below
  • Boulders so huge and old they have trees and wildflowers growing over them

A gift in a bag, in a box, in a book:

  • Last of the trail mix, stuffed in the bottom of the bag, to energize the final miles of the trail
  • curly fries in a box from a mom-and-pop Dairy Bar, after an 8 mile hike–the. best. ever.
  • “For to be with Jesus Christ, whenever and wherever it takes place, is to be in paradise. It is an experience that doubtless will become more perfect and complete when we have passed beyond the limitations of this mortal life. But that does not preclude its beginning here within the limitation of this mortal life. Heaven, as we call it, is not a totally distinct realm from earth into which we will be translated by the fact of death. It is an experience that interpenetrates the experience of our mortality. There is no heaven, no paradise possible in another world for those who have not begun, however imperfectly, their experience here. ” Howard Hageman in Paradise Now
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