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This is my favorite flower this week and it grows in my backyard, near the garage.

I have been waiting and eagerly watching for these flowers to bloom. And, let me tell you, they have been more than worth the wait.

The outer color is the most amazing and vibrant pink and the inside is soft, pastel pink and white. They smell absolutely incredible! Literally, I stood outside, in the rain, in work clothes, holding my purse, and kept smelling them repeatedly. They smelled that fantastic!
There are several other flowers new to our yard this week. I actually don't know for sure what any of them are called, but I love looking at them. I love driving up to the garage and seeing beautiful flowers growing by my house and thinking, wow, that was not there before. And, wow, I live here! It's like an extended game of surprise as we wait to see everything that previous owner's of our house have planted. I am very thankful to them, whoever they are, because our yard is a delightful place and teeming with color and life. I pray that God blesses them as they have been such a blessing to me.

Life is also feeling vibrant and colorful this week. I got really sick, again, on Friday night. (I was just sick at the beginning of April for two weeks.) On Saturday, I felt so miserable that I didn't even know what to do with myself. I missed my last run. My 10 mile run, which was supposed to help me feel oh, so ready to run a half-marathon this very Sunday.

I asked Karyn, twice, could I please come be sick at her house because Ben was farming all day long. He kissed me good-bye as I was sipping Theraflu at 6:50 AM and did not return home until after 11 PM. She was so kind and invited me right over. She sat with me on the couch while I blew my nose and tried to carry on a conversation with my stuffy head and sore throat, while also caring for Ava, who was sick with a sore stomach and throwing up. She warmed up chicken and wild rice soup for me when I came back at dinner time. She was even willing to sit in the center of the "sick sandwich" with me and Ava when we watched Rio 2.

My sister is completely wonderful and amazing!

I was starting to feel better on Sunday and Monday, but the weekend was not nearly as productive as I had hoped it would be. Instead, it was filled with rest, reading, sleeping, healing and connecting with family and friends.

In my times with God, I am sometimes completing lessons from the Breaking Free study and sometimes reading from my 1000 Gifts devotional. It's been a wonderful blend of identifying areas where I'm feeling stuck and recognizing how God is infusing my life with joy shining through the darkness.

As Ann Voskamp quotes Amy Carmichael saying, "Joys are always on their way to us. They are always traveling to us through the darkness of the night. There is never a night when they are not coming."

I am struggling with things like physical illness, fears, professional challenges, authenticity in my relationships, idolatry, worry over finances and many other things.

God is inviting me to experience pure joy and complete satisfaction in Him.

He is not pretending that my struggles do not exist or minimizing them in any way. God enters into the darkness of my soul and it is like light to Him. He engages me there and breathes life and love right into me. God reassures me that His presence is always enough.
So I keep on breathing in and out and looking to Him. I keep confessing over myself that God is my peace. I keep praying, like that desperate father in Mark 9:23, I do believe! I really do! Please, help me overcome my unbelief. Please push out all my doubts and give me your peace. Please show me just how able and willing you are all over again. I keep opening my hands and my heart to receive whatever God offers me because I believe that His gifts are good.

Still Counting Gifts:

  • #1105: Ben and I leave tomorrow morning for a wedding with his family
  • #1106: I discovered a delicious recipe for kettle corn this afternoon
  • #1107: Naps are even better when you feel sick
  • #1108: Weeding is actually fun when it's been rainy and the ground is wet and soggy
  • #1109: Honest conversation with trusted people
  • #1110: Praying for someone else when I could just be offended
  • #1111: I finally checked out a copy of Sara Hagerty's Every Bitter Thing is Sweet
  • #1112: Reading time in the car while we drive
  • #1113: Sunday evening Narnia readings with my parents
  • #1114: Ben's sweet parents are coming to visit us for a few days after the wedding weekend 
  • #1115: The severe cold and sinus Theraflu really is wonderful when you feel terrible!

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