Thankful Thursday: My Tallest Mountain

Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!

I was fried Lord…



And consumed with worry.

As I followed the familiar route into my office earlier this week, my chest tightened while my mind raced; methodically detailing each project and deadline that loomed ahead of me, and allowing those shadowy voices of foreboding to gain audience in my heart.

“It’s not the mountains that you face that are the obstacles Phil, it’s your doubts.” You interrupted…

The world paused for a second; my thoughts held hostage by Your statement…

And then I realized You were right… I’ve been my own tallest mountain.

You know my needs Lord, far better than I do…

And yet, I often view the trials and challenges in my life as if I’m the only one who understands,

As if I’m facing them on my own;

Allowing those whispers of self-doubt to draw me into myself,

And obscuring me from knowing Your loving hand in every facet of my life.

Help me climb that lonely mountain Father;

To scale its craggy face and stand high upon the summit,

Boldly facing all life’s moments in Your steadfast company.

Such is my prayer Lord… In Your precious name,


As I continue to list some of Your many Blessings in my life Father, my heart swells with the recognition of finding Your loving hand in more and more places every day.  And while I know that my existence is awash in Your grace Lord, this week I want to give special thanks for:

691. Both my boys having the opportunity to attend Camp Pecometh this summer.

692. An inexpensive repair to our air conditioner.

693. Shannon having a safe flight home from Florida.

694. An inexpensive update to Lightroom 5 that was released last week.

695. A wonderful Father’s Day spent with people I love.

696. Wonderful photo opportunities while walking in Blackbird State Forest last week.

697. Watching the sunrise over Port Mahon this past Saturday morning.

698. Your protecting and healing presence while a friend of ours recovers from surgery that was performed last week.

699. The Histiocytosis groups on Facebook that allow us to share information, encouragement and prayers for other families dealing with LCH.

700. The encouraging comments I’ve been receiving regarding my photography work on

701. Your protecting and comforting hand as I drove through some very severe weather last Thursday.

702. Your patience with me.

703. The opportunity I had to watch and photograph an osprey flying in to feed it’s young at Port Mahon.

704. New glasses for Jonathan.

705. The wonderful message and discussion about living in a state of gratefulness at our “Where Two or Three Are Gathered” Tuesday night small group.

… And for so very much more.

I Thank You Lord.

~Phather Phil

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Thankful Thursday: Missing the Point

Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!

I fear Lord, that we miss the point far too often…

Jesus taught us to reach out to all those in need… Yet, we find ways to justify being selective with our service to others.

You make it very clear through Scripture that Your primary desire for our lives is to love… But more often than not we cling to judgment in its stead.

As the body of Christ, the church’s mission is to act as the hands and feet of Jesus and aid one another on our walk to You … However far too regularly that directive is tainted by individual ambitions and agendas.

We sit in condemnation of the sins of those around us, feeling superior for our elevated moral perspective… All the while completely missing the plank sticking out of our own eye.

We dwell on legalism and focus on how many Bible verses we can recite on command… Instead of praying for Your truths contained therein to guide our hearts…

And yet, even with all that corruption peppering our mortal lives Father…

You love us,

And comfort us.

You shower us in your mercy,

And fill our world with signs of that gracious love.

Thank You Father.

From Christ’s perfect example, the presence of the Holy Spirit within us and the blessings you pile upon us each and every day, I pray we draw ever closer to Your true intent…

And get the point.

As I continue to list some of Your many blessings in my life Father, this week I’d like to give thanks for:

676. Your nourishing and cleansing rain which is helping our new garden grow.

677. A wonderful “ministry moment” while chatting with a friend the other night.

678. Your perfect timing, even when I don’t recognize it.

679. A safe and uneventful flight for Shannon yesterday on her way to visit her family.

680. A fun evening of fellowship and good food with some dear friends.

681. A good checkup for Jonathan at the eye doctor this week, and finding an optician who takes his insurance for glasses.

682. The opportunity to visit Aidan’s class for “Culture Day” and see him be a living statue of the Greek deity Poseidon.

683. Your gentle hand holding my heart and guiding my words when upsetting situations arise.

684. Eggs cooked in bacon grease.  🙂

685. Finding a wonderful deal on some photography equipment I needed.

686. Your protection and comfort for Shannon and her family as they were hit with a tropical storm this week while she was visiting.

687. That both my boys are finished another school year as of tomorrow.

688. Simple solutions.

689. Pastor Kris receiving her well-earned official Ordination by the United Methodist Church this week.

690. That even when we “miss the point”, Your gracious love for us remains.

And so very, very much more Lord…

For it’s in Your precious name I pray,


~Phather Phil

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Thankful Thursday: Footprints in the Sand

Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!

As the Labor Day weekend beckons me welcome Lord, I find my spirit more at ease; bolstered by the coming days of rest no doubt, but mainly fueled by a reminder of Your divine and loving nature.

I feel as if I’ve been treading water lately Father; constantly shifting focus in an attempt to quell the rising trials, yet never gaining ground.  More than once in recent weeks Lord, those waves of fear and doubt have sought my breath, and left me weakened.  And yet Father, even while that sinister undertow threatened my heart’s footing…

I knew You were with me.

The “waters” have receded a bit these past few days Lord, delightfully revealing what I felt all along…

Your footprints in the sand, right next to mine.

Thank You Father; for being my anchor against the raging tide, even when I couldn’t see the rope.

As I continue to list some of Your many Blessings in my life Lord, today I’m feeling particularly grateful for:

621. The wonderful summer break my children have had, and that they’re heading back to school on Tuesday excited and refreshed.

622. The revealing and powerful video study our Tuesday night small group has been doing on the Beatitudes, and the truths You’ve brought us through those discussions.

623. Reconnecting with a friend I’ve not heard from in a while.

624. A fun time spent with friends at a BBQ this past Saturday.

625. A visit from a dear friend last weekend, and the visit of another one this coming weekend.

626. My son Jonathan being confirmed as a member of Ewell’s-St. Paul UMC this past Sunday.

627. Seeing Your light overcome pain, fear and doubt in the heart of a dear friend.

628. A new job for a close friend and young Christian after a long period of unemployment, and the fact his negotiations included the need for time off to attend church and our Tuesday night group studies.  🙂

629. A wonderful new job opportunity for my wife Shannon, and the call You’ve placed on her life to shape young minds and hearts.

630. The radical forgiveness modeled by our Savior on the cross, and the inspiration to strive towards that grace in my own life.

And so many more…

Heavenly Father,

I thank You Lord, for the many Blessings You grace us with each and every day; both those that shine like a lighthouse in the night, and those “hidden ropes” that anchor us to Your strength.

In Jesus’ name we pray,


~Phather Phil

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Thankful Thursday: Through Brighter Eyes

Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!

“Count your Blessings…” You instructed.

“Really Father??”  I responded…

Following what could easily be described as a week of nightmare situations Lord, I’ll be honest, I was having a rough time focusing on the positives in my life.  But driving into the office this morning, as I mournfully ran down the tasks at hand for the day in my head, You made it clear my head was in the wrong place…

“It’s Thankful Thursday, Phil.”


I’d nearly forgotten about those posts Father…

It’s time to see through brighter eyes again;

Focused on Your light that surrounds my life,

Not on the shadows that lie in waiting.

So today Father, I pick up where I left off in March… Counting Your many gifts, and giving thanks for all You are:

601. Celebrating 17 years of marriage to my wonderful wife Shannon on June 29th.

602. Being involved in a very successful Vacation Bible School at Ewell’s-St. Paul UMC last week.

603. A wonderful week away at Chestnut Grove Resort with my family and friends.

604. Attending an amazing night of music and worship at the Casting Crowns and Building 429 Concert at the Delaware State Fair last Friday.

605. Being presented with new opportunities to minister to others in unexpected places.

606. Quiet evenings at home watching movies with family and close friends.

607. Having the opportunity to spend lots of time with my best friend.

608. Jonathan getting to attend another amazing week away at Kay’s Kamp this past June.

609. Having a new “furry family member” in our lives; my Pomeranian puppy Guinness.  🙂

610. That when the lies of the enemy invade through my weaknesses, You remind me who I really am.

And so many more Lord…

Heavenly Father,

I thank You Lord, for the many Blessings in my life; both those that light up the skies with Your radiance, and those that soothe my tattered spirit in the stillness of the nighttime hours.  Help me Father, to speak with a heart unburdened, and see with eyes that clearly rest on You.

In Jesus’ name I pray,


~Phather Phil

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Thankful Thursday: A Day Late, But Still Thankful

Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!

You know Lord, as I look back over the “Emails to God” I’ve written to You over the past year, it amazes me how much we’ve discussed, how much ground we’ve covered, and most importantly how far I still have to go on my Walk to Your side.

The other thing I find fascinating Father, is to see how those who’ve come to share this journey have found us.  Through the statistics engine in place “behind the scenes” here on, I can drill down and get very detailed information as to what sites, searches and links were followed to land people on these posts and pages.  It also allows me to see which of our conversations generated the most interest, and which posts led the most readers to comment as well.

It’s a fun look back over our year together Lord, and today I’d like to share those results.

Top 5 Search Terms Used

Google’s engine is some kind of mystery Father.  While in some cases I understand completely how certain search phrases lead people to find this site, there are others that just leave me scratching my head.  Nonetheless, the top five phrases that were used last year to find this site were:

1. my son’s birthday

2. come to me all you who are weary

3. being used

4. mercies in disguise

5. a beautiful prayer

Top 5 Posts by Views

It’s always interesting Lord, to see exactly which of our conversations were most sought out.  Not only does it help to give me a better perspective on what topics are close to people’s hearts, but it also serves to help guide my prayers going forward.  Funny enough, the top five posts for 2011 contains several of my personal favorites as well:

1. Jumping In

2. On My Son’s Birthday

3. Come to me, all you who are weary

4. Really God??

5. A Beautiful Prayer

Top 5 Commenters

One of the most profound Blessings that’s come from sharing our time each day Father, has been the wonderful people I’ve connected with.  Through their emails, comments and fellowship, these beautiful souls have been an important part of our conversations Lord, and I am forever Blessed by their contribution.  Everyone I’ve connected with has been a true gift Father, but in 2011 these ladies were a part of the most conversations:

1. Lisa from A Moment With God

2. Jenifer from ~Sweet Blessings~

3. Kandi from Get Out of the Boat

4. Jean from Healthy Spirituality

5. Martha from Martha’s Daily Devotions

All in all Lord, 2011 was an amazing year of spiritual discovery and growth here at, and I’m very excited to see where You’ll take this journey in 2012.

And now Father, on to the Thankful Thursday list of Blessings!  This past week has been an eventful one to be sure, yet through all the peaks and valleys Your Blessings have shone brightly.  I’m truly thankful Lord, for all of the many gifts You surround our lives with, but this week I’m especially grateful for:

496. A fun “dinner and games” night with some wonderful friends last Saturday.

497. A powerful, inspiring final session of the “Plan B” group study this past Tuesday.

498. That You are a God of infinite contingencies.

499. The cleansed feeling the world gets following a morning rainstorm.

500. The difference in perspective I’ve received by listing these first 500 Blessings.

501. Fresh Draft Beer.

502. The outpouring of compassion and support we received upon the passing of our dog this past weekend.

503. That when I begin to doubt that I’m following Your desire, You find a way to send me reassurance.

504. Friends with beautiful hearts who share them willingly.

505. That even when I’m clumsy in my Walk to You Lord, You’re there to steady my footing.

506. New members to our Tuesday night small group.

507. Being given almost seventeen years with our little Pomeranian, Hunny.

508. A good friend who came to my aid last Saturday morning.

509. That following a week-long illness, Jonathan is back to his happy, obstinate self.  🙂

510. Situations that stretch my faith, and help me grow in my Walk.

Heavenly Father,

I thank You Lord, for the multitude of Blessings You grace our lives with each and every day; both those that reveal Your presence with splendor, and those that Bless us in the Stillness.

In Jesus’ Name we pray,


~Phather Phil

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