Sunday, September 8, 2019

Sunday Songs of Grateful Praise


That's me with my dad! I had an incredibly wonderful, loving, kind, gentle and Godly father. He was a preacher and anyone who knew him knew he always lived what he preached. And that's true - what you saw in public was the man he was at home. He was a good father - and I was blessed!

Quite a few years ago a new song appeared in worship music in churches around the world. It had special meaning to me and I immediately identified with it. You see, the way we visualize God is often influenced by our relationship with our earthly fathers. That was true of me. The Heavenly Father described in this song touched my heart deeply because my earthly father taught me by his example that I can trust my Heavenly Father.  He taught me that God means what He says. He taught me that God loves me more than anyone on earth will ever love me and His love will never fail. He taught me that God is good, even when it seems things are wrong or unfair - because God is a good, good Father.

I've sung this song many times as I've walked through tough times. It's always a reminder and a comfort and it brings reassurance and peace to my troubled heart. As my father was about to leave this world I sat beside his bed in the middle of the night and sang this song. I sang it repeatedly through the last days of my dear mother's life and I sang it again recently as I faced a serious health crisis. The words are true - God is a good, good Father. No matter what things look like. When life is good and all is well. In those in-between times when you don't know what's going to happen. In the hard times that seem as if they will tear you apart. God is good all the time! I know it's true because He has proved it to me over and over again. He's a good, good Father - that's who He is. And I'm loved by Him - that's who I am!

Oh, I've heard a thousand stories of what they think you're like
But I've heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night
And you tell me that you're pleased
And that I'm never alone

You're a Good, Good Father
It's who you are, it's who you are, it's who you are
And I'm loved by you
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am

Oh, and I've seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we're all searching
For answers only you provide
'Cause you know just what we need
Before we say a word

You're a Good, Good Father
It's who you are, it's who you are, it's who you are
And I'm loved by you
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am

'Cause you are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us

You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us

Oh, it's love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think

As you call me deeper still
As you call me deeper still
As you call me deeper still
Into love, love, love

You're a Good, Good Father
It's who you are, it's who you are, it's who you are
And I'm loved by you
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am

You're a Good, Good Father
It's who you are, it's who you are, it's who you are
And I'm loved by you
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am

You're a Good, Good Father
It's who you are, it's who you are, it's who you are
And I'm loved by you
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am

You're a Good, Good Father
(You are perfect in all of your ways)
It's who you are, it's who you are, it's who you are
And I'm loved by you
(You are perfect in all of your ways)
It's who I am, it's who I am it's who I am 
  
So if you sinful people know

how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father
give good gifts to those who ask him.

Matthew 7:11
(New Living Translation)
Song: 'Good, Good Father'
Sung by Chris Tomlin
Written by Pat Barrett and Tony Brown

(you can hear the song here)

With A Grateful Heart,
Adrienne

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Sunday Songs of Praise


The splendor of the King
Clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice
All the earth rejoice
He wraps Himself in light
And darkness tries to hide
And trembles at His voice
And trembles at His voice

How great is our God
Sing with me
How great is our God
And all will see how great
How great is our God

And age to age He stands
And time is in His hands
Beginning and the End
Beginning and the End
The Godhead three in one
Father Spirit Son
The Lion and the Lamb
The Lion and the Lamb

Name above all names
Worthy of all praise
My heart will sing
How great is our God

 
Blessed are you, God of Israel,
our father
from of old and forever.
To you, O God, belong the greatness and the might,
    the glory, the victory,
the majesty, the splendor;

Yes! Everything in heaven, everything on earth;
    the kingdom all yours!
You’ve raised yourself high over all.

Riches and glory come from you,
    you’re ruler over all;
You hold strength and power in the palm of your hand
    to build up and strengthen all.
And here we are, O God, our God,
giving thanks to you,

    praising your splendid Name.
I Chronicles 29:11-13 (The Message)


Song: ' How Great Is Our God'
by Chris Tomlin
You can listen to the song here

With A Grateful Heart, Adrienne

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Sunday Songs of Grateful Praise


One  of my favorite hymns was written in the late eighteen-hundreds by an English lady named Francis Ridley Havergal. She wrote many well-known hymns, poetry and children's books.

While vacationing she became seriously ill with pneumonia and was not expected to live.  Her friends were amazed at how peacefully she received this information. She survived and later that year she wrote the hymn "Like a River Glorious". She pointed to the source of her perfect peace: "Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blessed, finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest."

Miss Havergal was a devout Bible scholar. She incorporated the truth of Scripture in this hymn where God promises "peace like a river." This hymn paints the picture of this peace. The hymn was first published in its present form with the name "Perfect Peace," in Hymns of Consecration and Faith in 1876.

This hymn has touched my heart all through my life - from my youth until now. I have sung it often when peace seems impossible. I have sung it joyfully as a statement of what I truly believe - God does us give His peace when we focus on Him!

 Like a river glorious
  Is God's perfect peace,
Over all victorious
  In its bright increase.
Perfect, yet it floweth
  Fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth
  Deeper all the way.
Stayed upon Jehovah,
  Hearts are fully blest,
Finding as He promised,
  Perfect peace and rest.

Hidden in the hollow
  Of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow,
  Never traitor stand.
Not a surge of worry,
  Not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry
  Moves the spirit there.
 Stayed upon Jehovah,
  Hearts are fully blest,
Finding as He promised,
  Perfect peace and rest.


Every joy or trial
  Falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial
  By the Sun of Love.
We may trust Him fully
  All for us to do,
They who trust Him wholly
  Find Him wholly true.
Stayed upon Jehovah,
Hearts are fully blest,
Finding, as He promised,
Perfect peace and rest.

You will keep in perfect and constant peace
the one whose mind is steadfast
[that is, committed and focused on You -
in both inclination and character],
because he trusts and takes refuge in You
[with hope and confident expectation].

Isaiah 26:3 (Amplified Bible)

You can hear the beautiful melody of this old hymn are recorded by one of my favorite Pacific Northwest musicians, harpist Bronn Journey, here.

With A Grateful Heart,
Adrienne

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sunday Songs of Grateful Praise


Today I'm starting a new feature on my blog. On Sundays I plan to share a song that has special meaning to me and speaks to my faith. I love the old hymns and some of the newer songs of praise and faith. I hope they speak to your heart as they do mine. I may share the stories behind the songs and a Bible verse or two. I might share how a song has touched my life and I may share how songs have touched the hearts of other people.

If you know me well, you know that music has always been an important part of my life. I started singing almost the moment I realized I had a voice. When I first discovered my grandma's piano I couldn't keep my hands off of it. I studied music through my growing up years and through college and taught piano lessons for many years.  I've used my music gifts to serve God in many places. Music seems to be embedded into my soul. I can't imagine a world without it. If you visit my home you will most likely hear music playing or you may catch me singing as I go about my day. It's only natural that music has been a part of my life - in the best of times and in the hardest of times.

During my recent health crisis and through the continuing recovery time there have been many songs that have spoken deeply to my heart. Some were prayers asking God for strength to walk the path ahead. Some were songs of praise and faith for what He has done and will continue to do. Some were songs that brought joy and peace; others were songs that caused me to stop and worship Him. One song that was new to me has become a song I sing often these days. The words are exactly what is in my heart! I hope it blesses you, too.

 Lord You've been good to me
All my life, all my life
Your loving kindness never fails
I will remember
All You have done
Bring from my heart
Thanksgiving songs

New every morning is Your love
Filled with compassion from above
Grace and forgiveness full and free
Lord You've been good to me

So may each breath I take
Be for you Lord, only You
Giving You back the life I owe
Love so amazing
Mercy so free
Lord You've been good
So good to me


I lift you high in praise, my God, O my King! and I'll bless your name into eternity. I'll bless you every day, and keep it up from now to eternity. God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough. There are no boundaries to his greatness.Psalm 145:1-3
(The Message) 


Song: 'Lord You've Been Good To Me'
Written by Graham Kendrick
Listen to the song here


With A Grateful Heart,
Adrienne

Friday, August 16, 2019

Simply Grateful

It's been a long time since I've shared anything here on my blog. Too long, in fact, but life really came hard and time away was necessary. There are so many things I want to share - and I will. I honestly hope to get back to being here often to share my comings and goings and things on my heart. Today I will just share the big reason I've been away so long. Later I'll catch you up with other things I've done through this year.

Life can take a major turn when we least expect it and that's exactly what happened early this Spring. Tests to determine the cause of continuing upper digestive pain revealed that my gallbladder was one hot mess! I knew where that diagnosis was leading but I was totally unprepared for a more serious health crisis that ensued. The ultrasound also showed that I had a large mass in my left kidney. Consultation with my doctor led to a CT scan that revealed that the mass was a large tumor. The tumor appeared to be renal cell carcinoma. Cancer. Not an easy diagnosis to hear. Your life can never be the same again when you hear the words 'very high probability that you have cancer'.

The kidney was high priority so I saw a kidney specialist first.  Due to the size and location of the large tumor, my left kidney would have to be removed - cancer or no cancer. Two surgeries would be required. My kidney specialist would remove my kidney and a general surgeon would remove my gallbladder.  I asked if it was possible that I could have both surgeries done at the same time. His answer was a relief. Yes, the two surgeons will coordinate one surgery - one surgeon and his team will begin the surgery and exit the operating room. The second surgeon and his team will take over and finish the job. Two surgeries in one! One hospital stay; one anesthesia and recovery.

I had surgery early in May and stayed in the hospital for three nights while my body began to adjust to life with one kidney. My remaining kidney is strong and healthy - that's good news - but the best news of all was the phone call from my kidney doctor with the lab results from my tumor. He had joy in his voice when he told me - NO cancer. Benign! The percentage of possibility for this outcome was very small. But many people were praying for me. I was at peace no matter the outcome because my life is in God's hands. But this news brought tears. Tears of gratitude. And such relief.  We laughed together on the phone as tears poured down my face. Because of the type of tumor I had I will have to have a yearly ultrasound for the next two or three years, but I am healthy and doing well.

Recovery is long and slow when a kidney is removed. I knew this going into surgery so we planned for me to live life at a slower pace as long as I need to. It's amazing how God created our bodies to handle this situation.  A Bible verse I learned as a child has taken on a whole new meaning.

Thank you God for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

Psalm 139:14
New Living Translation

During recovery my remaining kidney is adapting to life on its own. It's actually enlarging as it adds more filtration tissue to handle the load it carries. It's strong and healthy and working exactly the way it should.  This could take up to a year. While that happens fatigue is an almost constant companion during this process. I never understood fatigue before. I have been exhausted in the past but this is different. It's the feeling that I'm a big rag doll. I can't push myself and I run out of steam quite fast but the fatigue is getting less and less and one day won't be a part of daily life. It's beginning to taper off and I'm so grateful to have a day here and there with no fatigue. I really am doing great. I'm able to do some simple tasks again - slowly - and, if you could see me, you would probably say I look good. I look healthy - and I am healthy.

The support and prayers and love I've had from my family and friends who have walked this journey with me means more than words can say. My life has changed. I'm different now. I'll never be the same again. I don't take life for granted. Each day I thank God for another day to live and to serve Him.

Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise You!

Psalm 63:3
New Living Translation

There's no way to describe what I feel in my heart except to say that I am simply grateful!

With A Grateful Heart,
Adrienne


       


   


Friday, November 30, 2018

A New Use For A Gift Box

The holiday season has begun and it seems to be moving by quite fast. Before I jump into the holiday season with both feet - well, I might not jump, I may try to sneak or stroll in - I want to share a way you can use a gift box in a new way. Something you might not have considered. I certainly didn't but my sweet, little dog gave me the idea.

Shortly after my dear mother passed away early last year I cleared some things from a storage cabinet in her garage. She had a big gift box that I decided to take home with me. Another thing I added to my car that day was a very soft, cozy blue throw pillow. The pillow fit inside the gift box so that's where it traveled as I drove a few blocks to my house. The box and pillow stayed on the back seat of my car for a few days. A few days later my little dog, Joey, rode in the car with me while I ran an errand. It wasn't long before he discovered the box and the soft pillow on the seat of the car. He must have decided that it was the perfect place to curl up and take a nap. He loves to sleep on cozy, soft things and this was an opportunity he just resist. I'm sure he thought the box and pillow were meant for him.

After that ride in the car I took the box into the house and decided to let him have it for a bed. Joey is not allowed to have a 'real' doggie bed anymore - the fabric kind with stuffing inside. He chews holes in the fabric and delights in pulling the stuffing out. We have tried nasty-tasting spray made to prevent dogs from chewing things. It works for a few hours and then he ignores it and chews his bed anyway. We've tried many times and no soft dog bed has survived. So, when he adopted the big gift box and soft pillow it seemed like the perfect solution. He doesn't chew on the box or the pillow and that's a good thing. The gift box and pillow even ended up on the back seat of our truck when we left for our Grand Trip last year. It was a good place for Joey to nap while riding down the road on our long trip.
Time went by and the gift box began to show wear. Joey had stretched and moved so much that he eventually kicked out one end of the box! My sweetheart did what a lot of guys would do - he fixed it with duct tape! The box held on for a year, then a year and a half and a few more months. Recently, it seemed it was time to replace the box. But where would I find another big, square, sturdy box? Putting on my thinking cap - and arming myself with coupons - I headed to a fabric and craft store nearby. And I found the perfect box. It was more sturdy than my sweet mother's big gift box. It had a lid but that didn't stop me. I knew exactly what to do - and it was just right. So, the new gift box came home, was thoroughly inspected by Joey and then. . .he hopped in and settled down. He liked it! Lid and all. (Notice which box I chose. Perfect, isn't it?)
A day or two later - when he wasn't looking! - I carefully cut the lid away from the box. He knew immediately that something had changed but he checked it out and hopped right in - yes, he hops in - and he settled right down for a long nap.
Sometimes he just sits in his new box with his head held high as he watches the world go by. . .
And sometimes he rests his head and pays attention to the world outside his little box.
And when the mood strikes, usually when the sun shines, he hops out of his box and climbs up on the love seat to see what's going on outside.
When there's nothing exciting going on outside he closes his eyes and goes back to sleep.
So, my friends, if you ever need a doggie bed you might want to try a gift box. If you have an extra big gift box lying around you might try to find a little dog who needs a bed!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Lost and Found

A lot has happened since I shared my last post. We've made a couple of short trips with our cabin-on-wheels and made more memories to treasure. And - in the middle of it all - my blog disappeared. Again! I shared the loss on Facebook and some of my blog friends questioned why my blog was lost when they have never had that problem. I shared the issues with them and how my blog differs from theirs. Here's what happened. I first started blogging with a 'generic' blog through blogger. That meant that my blog address ended with blogspot.com. Then, a few years ago I decided to purchase my own domain so my blog could easily be found. That's when the 'address' changed to withagratefulheart.com. No blogspot. Just my own blog name. And that's exactly where the issue all came about.

This is the third time my blog has disappeared - all because my private domain didn't renew as it should. So - it expired. Thankfully, each time a family member or friend has alerted me that my blog wasn't where it should be. The first time took some serious detective work to get a solution. The second time it happened I had to jump through many, very confusing hoops to get it back. It seemed that the issues had been resolved and this wouldn't happen again. Both times - and this time - they were certain that I received an email notice that my blog renewal was due. My annual payment was set to auto-renew but that didn't happen. Google's Customer Service can be very confusing and I was never able to get back to the online account where I could check my billing and contact information.  Then, it happened again. When it shouldn't have. Again I was not able to get into my account so I could do anything about it. Requests for help were sent and no one responded. Then, in desperation I did more research and found that Google is the 'third party owner' of my private domain. So I reached out to Enom, one of several companies who sell private domains, the company that sold it to me - with Google in the middle. I found a phone number for Enom to see if someone there could intervene and help me. I was very pleased to see that they are in the U.S. and based just a few hours north of my home. In the same time zone.  A very sweet young lady answered my call. Within minutes she discovered and explained the problem. My email address on file was wrong. It had never been changed as I was told it had - and it had not been set to auto-renew, as it should have been. This sweet, helpful young lady made an offer for me to consider. Since my 'Google' affiliation had expired and Google's policy does not give a grace period, I could renew it directly through Enom and she offered to take care of the details to restore my blog. That means in the future I can deal with them directly. With no one in the middle. I was already impressed with the level of Customer Service she offered and it appeared that their site is extremely user friendly.  I didn't have to think about that offer for long. Within minutes she set up an account for me, sent me an email with details about how to pay and where to check to make sure my information was correct and up-to-date. Then, within minutes, my blog was back online. It was found! I am very happy with the decision I made.  Not only did she give me kind, courteous help to get my blog back - she emailed me after everything was said and done. She expressed thanks for allowing her to help me! Her thanking me? Really, I was the one who was thankful for her. She gave me her direct line and email so I can contact her in the future if I have questions or need help. So - I'm back! Ready to go and encouraged that there are still people 'out there' who are kind and patient and helpful. And grateful for the chance to help.

Now all I need to do is to sort through and organize about a million photos and get back to more regular blogging. See you here again. Soon.

I'm grateful to be here and I'm grateful for you, my dear blog friends, who add a bit of sunshine to my day.