Sleep came labored last night. Pain seems to recur with this surgery more often than I ever dreamed…..

3 a.m. awoke me, signaling a need for Ibuprofen. There’s something about 3 a.m. It’s not the first time I’ve been wakened at this hour to hear things from God that I may not have heard in the busyness of the day……so I stumble to kitchen and shhhhhhh….Nick’s wind chime is going wild outside. I even turn on the floodlight. Did I think I might see him there grinning? I felt crazy but hopeful.

Crawling back into bed, I know that sleep has left me lonely. Eyes wide, I reach for my Bible. I read more of God’s Words to Job. Fire-breathing dragons???? Did God really talk so much about them? I had forgotten this chapter’s details.

Like Job, I’m left feeling speechless. Who am I to question God’s plans?

So I reach for a book about thankfulness… new book by Ann Voscamp, A Thousand Gifts. As I read I am sure that we are twins somehow separated at birth. She struggles, she says thank you, she feels grace, she struggles more………Oh Ann, to hug you. A dream I hope one day comes true.

I can’t stop reading. Page after page until I reach the end… a hungry wolf I devour the book and long for more. But finally, sleep returns quickly and says, “Enough reading.””

I awaken to the alarm realizing that even though the doctor will not release me for at least two more weeks to work, I must help with Olivia. Oatmeal, orange juice, lunch……I say “thank you” for the chance to serve. Thank you, Ann, for reminding me that this is a gift.

Returning to my covers after the house empties, I fall fast to sleep. But early morning deep sleep often brings a friend…….vivid dreams.

I dream of walking up a sidewalk to a beautiful house, music playing loudly from inside. I ring the doorbell, certain that no one inside could hear it; but the door opens!

And there is my sweet Nick! Grinning in his jammies! We hug and hug and hug…….and he is well! No misshapen head from tumors, no pain, no wheelchair! My whole Nick grinning!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then a voice awakens me. My friend has come to help me with my morning medical treatments for my incision, and in a fog I look to her and remembering my dream, I start to cry. I’m overwhelmed with the reality that Nick is not here….and for a while my heart is broken.

Then saying bye to Tiffany, I know I have a choice today. Choose sadness or choose to be thankful.

I see a lamp in my bedroom casting light both up and down and I know that God lights the way for me on the up days and on the down days.

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So I do what I’ve done so many times before, I grab my camera and start a journey. I want to know where God is casting light for me today.

I journey to the deck because I have heard that there is ice today.

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january last day 002_resize I wonder what the Bible says of ice, and I smile when three of the four verses are found in Job.

The breath of God produces ice,
and the broad waters become frozen.


Do we witness God breathing and simply call it ice? Thank you for allowing me to see Your breath today.

I look across my yard as I hear the clinking of the windmill blowing as He breathes… windmill.january last day 004_resize

A reminder of my Oklahoma roots-my childhood days of running on my grandpa’s farm. Thank you for my windmill moving with the breeze.

I turn to my kitchen and find myself unable to stop snapping pictures.

january last day 029_resizeFrom telephone poles….another Oklahoma memory.

Thank you for insulators that remind that words have travelled so many different ways.january last day 005_resize My favorite quote, never flipped to read another. Thank you for my scars.january last day 006_resize Get well cards from funny friends. Thank you for smiles that come from greetings.january last day 007_resize january last day 008_resize january last day 009_resize january last day 010_resize Scriptures lining my kitchen window. Thank you for Your Word that carries me.january last day 011_resize A snowman’s message and reminder…..”Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” Thank you for helping me feel Heaven’s closeness when it snows.

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Just a few of my Willow Tree figurines….each with a special story from a special friend. Thank you for gifts wrapped in meaning. january last day 018_resize His Word over my stove reminding me that He truly doesn’t ask the impossible. Thank You for making Your desires clear.january last day 019_resize Mom’s special Christmas recipes….Thank you for a mom who inspires me with her love. january last day 021_resize A special sign Tim bought me one day when I was journaling Nick’s fight with cancer through emails to the world……Thank you for email but mostly for knee mail.january last day 022_resize Words to enter by……Thank you for all four.

january last day 023_resize A reminder of how I want to live and how I feel when I am living in that way.

Simply = Well

Thank you for not making it difficult and forgive me when I do.january last day 024_resize Nick’s bird clock. He wanted one like Mamaw’s for his bedroom. I moved it to the kitchen after he died so that I could hear the promise of Spring every hour. Did Nick know I would need the promise of Spring after Winter? God did. Thank You.january last day 025_resize

Memories…….thank You for all of them even the tough ones.january last day 026_resize A special day……thank you for Erich’s happy marriage to Mallory. january last day 028_resize My old chalk holder loaded with key chains and laynards….and the ornament I bought after Christmas that I might not put away……Thank You for all.

So I end my morning tears with a smile. I think of my lamp, my first morning photo, and I realize God often lights up the low places so that we can then look up. I choose joy today knowing Nick is in the house of God and he is grinning. I hope that in some small way I have “passed joy on to you.”

In His Arms,