<![CDATA[Inking the Heart - Counting the Gifts]]>Fri, 01 Jan 2016 23:01:49 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[The Gift of SUNIEMI]]>Tue, 28 Jul 2015 06:04:08 GMThttp://inkingtheheart.weebly.com/counting-the-gifts/the-gift-of-suniemi

Taking the Moments of Life and Creating the Big Picture

Suniemi, according to Strongs, means to put together, unite parts into one whole.  So I write down the parts and I number them and so far I have 6,277.  

I call it a gratitude journal.  Those 6,277 thankful moments are creating the scenery of my life. Focusing on each piece being a part of a whole is suniemi.  Although I can't see the whole, I know that each moment has it's place, and when placed in the proper perspective, that piece adds beauty to the whole, even if I can't see it right away.

Even if the colors don't seem to match the borders.

Even if the shape doesn't look like it should fit, I keep turning it until there is perfect union.

Sometimes I have to take the reality of those moments that are too hard and painful to write down, the ones where thankfulness doesn't flow easily, and I look at them for what they are, I assess the perspectives: my perspective, others' perspectives and God's perspective.  This takes time. Like the four sides a puzzle piece I try to figure out which perspective fits perfectly,  I look at each side, feel each side searching for the perspective that creates the proper relationship between my finite view of my life and God's ever evolving masterpiece he is creating through me.

The proper perspective is always God's.  If the moment has made it into my book that means I have laid down all others and accepted His as perfect.

The gift of Suniemi: the ability to understand how each moment adds beauty to the whole.

Singling out the experience without putting it in the proper perspective of the big picture could result in tragedy, a downward spiral of bitterness, contempt and anger.  Or worse, an inability to see the beauty in the created masterpiece by the Creator.  

This summer has been good, but not perfect.  The perfectionistic side of me needs to continually be reminded and retaught over and over that nothing is perfect: no day, no summer nor any other season, no person, no trip and no relationship.  

I am okay with that.

There is one lesson I don't need over and over:  The lesson of
GRACE.  And with that lesson I build the roots of GRACE deep through thankfulness.  

thankfulness has given me the gift of SUNIEMI.  

I don't want to miss the blessings of seeing the pieces fit together.

I don't want you to miss those blessings either.  Writing down the good moments full of joy is easy but what about those moments that you could have done without?  Don't discard them, hold them a bit longer,  assess the perspectives, pray to see the beauty in the moment by feeling the pain then laying down all but God's perspective.  Only then will you be able to see the purpose of the piece.  Then you, too, shall receive the gift of


Love, Rachael

Continuing to count the gifts, to put the pieces together:  

- for fellowship around the pool
- sustaining life for my pastor as he awaits surgery
-to be fully on vacation at home
-my mom's generosity
-to arrive in NY after a long day of waiting in the Phili airport
-time with Aunt Esther
-a summer cabin on Lake Ontario
-time with my dad
-a clear day for our Niagara Falls adventure
-that my son didn't get a head injury
-that he will heal and be restored completely
-for Cole, and to be with him to celebrate his birthday
-for pizza and wings NY style
-for so many picture memories
-being back in my bed, in familiar arms in warm weather
-rest for Adam
-that my mom is getting the care she needs while in the hospital
-that He listens to the cry of my heart
-plans made for a fun-filled two days
-a friend to share them with
-fresh flowers from the farmers market
-for a pastor diligent to inform parents of unfortunate events
-dinner with an ocean view
-24 hours to myself
-the smell of rain
-long hugs
-when Christ takes anxious thoughts captive
-an afternoon nap

Just a few grace moments I am thankful for, each a piece of the puzzle,
each a Gift of Suniemi.

<![CDATA[Choosing Gratitude]]>Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:47:34 GMThttp://inkingtheheart.weebly.com/counting-the-gifts/choosing-gratitude
It has been about 10 months since I have added to this page.  So much LIFE has happened in the past year.  As my kids enter with full force into the double digits,  I also have entered a new season of life.  It is called work.  LIFE has always been about work, but this work is not family work, it is career work.  

It has been hard.        

Today I find myself at the front end of T H A N K S G I V I N G vacation.  It was a hard morning and I had to work through some stuff to get to the place of giving thanks.  So after a few tears and a long walk I found much to be thankful for.

5354)  the flood of tears released

5355)  a long walk to process and find balance in the gratitude and disappointment

5356)  green landscape

5357)  for paths I have already walked and truths learned

5358)  for the stings of life

5359)  knowing the stings are in every season; they just come by different means

5360)  when weeds produce beauty

5361) when flowers remind me of my grandmother

5362) for beauty and how necessary it is for life to continue
5363)  for perspective and being small
5364)  for hope

5365) to keep climbing uphill
5366)  that Christmas is coming
5367) that this is just a season
5368)  a bench to rest on

5369)  for my friends and family that are like fence posts, pillars of strength, during hard seasons

5370)  that the flow of blessings always trickle down

5371) to be blessed and be a blessing
5372)  Truth that upholds in a harsh world

Happy Thanksgiving
<![CDATA[Resting in Thankfulness]]>Sat, 08 Feb 2014 00:40:41 GMThttp://inkingtheheart.weebly.com/counting-the-gifts/resting-in-thankfulness
Highlighting some blessings of rest that I have recorded over the past few weeks:

4006) laughing together                                 4011) a simple dinner       
4013) minion photo app fun
4015) hot tea and honey
4016) Starbucks and friends
4027) sitting in the sun
4032) a Sunday movie and rest
4033) to sleep in on a holiday
4046) for writing time
4064) a breakfast date
4071) a weekend of rest
4074) worship music in my home
(one of my favorites)
4076) an hour alone
4078) a night at home to cook for my family
4081) a walk
4083) alone time with a friend
4084) alone time with a friend
Yes, I wrote that one down twice, back to back on accident. . . that is how much of a blessing our time was!
4103) for father-daughter dances
4105) thrift store bargains
4108) redecorating
4113) linking hands in worship
4116) a day of fellowship, relaxation, rest and football
4126) to intentionally walk in my purpose for today
4129) a pep talk from a friend
4130) for scripture promises
<![CDATA[Winter Thanksgiving]]>Sun, 29 Dec 2013 01:46:51 GMThttp://inkingtheheart.weebly.com/counting-the-gifts/winter-thanksgivingPicture
With the year coming to an end and as the last lines of my gratitude journal are filled, this space draws me close. Remembering the Lord's faithfulness depends on recounting those blessings.  I just finished reading Nehemiah chapter 9 where, once again, the history of the children of Israel is recounted . . .  so they could move forward.  I tend to approach each new year with a sense of slight trepidation. Lots of "what if" questions fly at me like those fiery darts from the Enemy.  But these gifts, each line in my journal, each post of thanksgiving, are the gold plating of my shield of faith.  I wholeheartedly am in agreement with the Israelites when they delcared:

"Nevertheless in Your great mercy You did not utterly consume them nor forsake them; for You are God, gracious and merciful." 

Nehemiah 9:31

Giving thanks for. . . 

3693 our after Thanksgiving Day tradition

3694) time spent with my closest friends

3695) worship and reflecting on God's goodness around the fire

3696) to be part of the details of life with these friends

3697) a new game for the girls to win
3698)  Christmas decorating began
3699)  all things yellow this first week of Advent
3700)  my grandmother's homemade nativity set up
3701)  our first Advent night as a family
3702) an evening Christmas movie
3703) a night around the table with friends
3704) the glow of Christmas lights and candles
3705) the season of Advent
3706) my pastor, on his birthday
3707) my friends Christmas letter to me
3708) and her gift
3709) an evening to read and relax
3710) for very warm coats in the cold
3711) for friends who go out of their way to help
3715) using coupons

3716)  alone time in the quiet of the early morning

3712)   our annual night out with friends

3713) hand and feet warmers

3714)  Christmas shopping with the kids
3717) Christmas pictures in the last light of the day
3718) bad attitudes turned silly
3719) that the day has come - baptism Sunday - when her new life in Christ is celebrated
3720) the going down into the water at "death" and the rising into new life into the baptism of faith
3721) for all the babies we have prayed for
3722) for the prayers of their parents as they dedicate them to the Lord
3723) my new gratitude journal

Happy New Year!

Love, Rachael
<![CDATA[Fall Thanksgiving]]>Mon, 28 Oct 2013 02:10:09 GMThttp://inkingtheheart.weebly.com/counting-the-gifts/fall-thanksgiving
"Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms."
Psalm 95:2

3525) cloud cover, hot coffee and fresh pumpkin bread

3526) half-day jobs

3527) for homemade chicken soup

3528) Leave it to Beaver laughs
3529) the quiet, the candlelight, and the spicy scent
3530) a new book to read
3531) the uncovering of a buried dream
3532) enough chicken soup to bless a sick family
3533) grace, compassion and insight from teachers
3534) playing hooky with my little one
3535) a day at the fair
3536) candy corn season
3537) for prayers of protection over my kids minds, hearts, eyes, and ears

3538) Italian cookies and coffee for breakfast

3539) Harvest Festival thrift store shopping success

3540) memories that are continually being made through all the senses of the season

3541) when a door closes and I can believe and have faith that God is watching over me

<![CDATA[Family Vacation Thanksgiving Pt. 2]]>Sun, 04 Aug 2013 20:19:59 GMThttp://inkingtheheart.weebly.com/counting-the-gifts/family-vacation-thanksgiving-pt-2Please click here for Part 1 and an quick intro to this two part post!
A few days after our coast trip, we packed the car up for 4 days and 3 nights of camping fun along Tioga Pass, just outside of Yosemite National Park.  It was probably the best family time we have ever had.  And I am so thankful for the memories!
3051) when cell service disappears
3052) claiming the last campsite available
3053) father and son working together to set up camp
3054) rainbows in the sky
3055) friendly chipmunks
3056) watching my girls get along so well
3057) a fresh fish breakfast
3058) and dinner
3059) roasting and toasting fun:  grapes, hot dogs 
3060) claps of thunder and lightening flashes
3061) a stroll through a ghost town
3062) good silly family time
3063) the perfect length hike
3064) the peaceful beauty of Dog Lake
3065) and a walk around it
3066)  the middle one's awesome hiking attitude
3067) beautiful scenery up to Elizabeth Lake

Thank you for allowing me to share my family and the beauty of the oceanside and mountains around us.  If you have a similar post I would love to see what it looks like in your neck of the woods.  Feel free to leave a blog comment and a link and I will return the visit.

Blessings to you!  
Love, Rachael
<![CDATA[Family Vacation Thanksgiving Pt. 1]]>Wed, 31 Jul 2013 02:33:51 GMThttp://inkingtheheart.weebly.com/counting-the-gifts/family-vacation-thanksgiving-pt-1
We have just spent about 6 days out of the last two weeks together as a family on some short vacations.  We began with two days on the California Central Coast and then headed to the Yosemite area to do some camping (Pt. 2). We are blessed to be close to both the ocean and the mountains, and we take advantage of that throughout the year.  As the kids get older, our family vacation time is becoming more and more precious to me.  In the next 5 and 6 years the two older ones will be ready to move on.  Time goes by too fast and I don't want to look back and have regrets about not investing enough time into their lives while they were home.  My husband is a photographer and I am the recorder-of-moments.  I enjoy looking back and remembering those moments in time, moments where I am so thankful for time, for my family and for life.  Here are just some of those moments recorded:
3023) to know that I am going away to the coast today
2024) safety
3025) a hot latte and comfy chairs
3026) for 2 hotel rooms
3027) a bakery with worship music playing
3028) for ostrich feeding fun
3029) flying dragons at the beach
3030) for help available if needed
3031) beach sounds: waves, seagulls, laughter
3032) their trip to the cliffs so I could rest
*but I actually went to buy myself candy: marshmallows and gummies
(my favorites)
3033) an unsuccessful wanna-be thief
3034) a nap in the sand

3035) a taste of east coast home

3036) safety home
Visit Part 2 Here
<![CDATA[Thankful for a Mountain Escape]]>Thu, 20 Jun 2013 19:10:54 GMThttp://inkingtheheart.weebly.com/counting-the-gifts/thankful-for-a-mountain-escape"Memory keeping is the opportunity to leave a tangible legacy for our children and family members.  In my life, I have found that the more ways I incorporate memory keeping into my life, the more blessings I discover from God."
Jessica Turner
My husband and I just spent a getaway weekend at Hume Lake.  Hume Lake Christian Camp is located in the Sequoia National Forest.  It is one of my favorite spots to escape to from the valley.  Although it is primarily used as a Christian camp for all ages throughout the year, we were able to reserve a room in one of their lodges.  We spent our time relaxing along the lake shore, hiking around the lake and to the top of one of the mountain peaks and canoeing.  Hume Lake is such a place of peace and I am thankful for my time enjoying the many amenities it offers.

2840) a scenic dinner view

2842)  bats and bullfrogs
2841)  a familiar lodge

2843) that I know my kids are safe

2844)  half-moon dessert
2845)  a latte lakeside

2846)  the social dynamics of ducks observed

2847)  a good laugh 

2848)  canoe #19 for 19 years celebrated

2850)  a refreshing swim

2852)  the discovery of the male ducks man-cove
2849)  a canoe trip around the lake

2851)  a glittery lake

2853) the beauty of the mountain butterflies
2854)  pushing through the 5 mile hike to the top and back

2856)  the evening glow of the sunset
2855)  fresh tracks

2857)  the colors painted in the sky
2858) a mountain escape
"The mountains will bring peace to the people . . . "
Psalm 72:3a

<![CDATA[Camp Thanksgiving]]>Mon, 03 Jun 2013 05:29:21 GMThttp://inkingtheheart.weebly.com/counting-the-gifts/camp-thanksgivingI had the privilege of spending 3 days away with my daughter at 6th grade camp.  I am very thankful for the time away, time with my daughter, and to be in the mountains!  I am also thankful for. . . 

2754) the "village" of women who helped while I was away

2755) a McDonald's hot chocolate stop
2756) silence in the night hike

2757) bedtime cabin prayers with the girls

2758) remembering the Lord at mealtimes

2759) cell reception

2760) to be in my daughter's group

2761) the crisp morning mountain air

2762) a room with a view

2763) cabin decor smuggled in

2764) the majesty of the redwoods

2765) for God's math in creation:

     -there are 5 needles per clump on the Sugar Pine trees

      - the Ponderosa Pine has bundles of 3 needles

2766) for boat duty

2767) teachers with authority

2768)  working together with other parents

2769)  early morning half-moon blue sky sighting (one of my favorite things)

2770) a hike with a view
"The practice of giving thanks . . . eucharisteo . . . this is the way we practice the presence of God, stay present to His presence, and it is always a practice of the eyes. We don't have to change what we see. Only the way we see."
Ann Voskamp
<![CDATA[May Wedding Thanksgiving]]>Fri, 17 May 2013 17:17:43 GMThttp://inkingtheheart.weebly.com/counting-the-gifts/may-wedding-thanksgiving"God makes love with grace upon grace, every moment a making of His love for us.  And He invites the turning over of the hand, the opening and saying the Yes with thanks.  Then God lays down all of His fullness into all the emptiness.  I am in Him. He is in me."
Ann Voskamp
2588) a winery wedding

2589) 2 cords bound with a 3rd - the strength of Christ

2590)  the love between brothers

2591) the tears and words that express that

2592) mother and son embraced dance
2593) my tears in the anticipation of letting go of my own son someday

2594)  those who cry with me because they know my heart
2629)  "little" girl wedding excitement

2630) the purity of and in this union
2631) a father to walk his daughter down the aisle

2632) love and respect in the cycle of unity

2633)  the celebration of a prodigal son returned home
2634) the joyous wedding feast for him and his bride
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Isaiah 61:10