A Different Thanksgiving

IMG_4855-0Thanksgiving is so different for so many this time of year…
Some have great big family gatherings with homemade dishes, roasted turkey and giblet gravy… Some have smaller gatherings with a few homemade foods and a catered meal…Others gather two by two and cook something meaningful…and still others make reservations or simply stand in line to have their meal served to them on this glorious day of Thanksgiving.
It doesn’t really matter how you celebrate, or even for some, if you actually commemorate the day with a fulfilling meal. There are so many who are simply grateful for the roof over their head, the clothes on their back or the plain fact they finally have a day off after too many weeks of overtime. There is no right or wrong way to observe the day. There are no set rules that each person must follow. I believe what matters most is realizing your heart is full of thanksgiving for what you have, and even sometimes, for what you have not.
Some will be thankful for their family, their friends and the food that has been placed before them, and I am definitely appreciative of all that I have been given. I am so grateful for a wonderful husband, two incredible boys, a great extended family, church family and new home. I had so much fun this past week, as we traveled to my hometown to celebrate the holiday with my 86 year old grandmother, and I got to see so many relatives whom I only see once every couple of years. We made memories of which I will cherish for years to come.
I am so overwhelmed by the many blessings God has given me even within the past few months and year, but I think today, I might even be thankful for those things which I don’t have…
Like…
Hatred, anger, and strife…rebellion, confusion and apathy within my heart.
A husband who doesn’t love this world more than he loves Jesus nor does he love another woman more than he loves me.
Children who don’t respond to me with revulsion, malice or bitterness.
A family who doesn’t return ill will for the love I send.
A church who doesn’t worship the standards of this world above their God.
A home that doesn’t cause me to shiver in the cold of loneliness or the heat of revenge.
And a God Who doesn’t demand my works above my relationship to Him nor my chants of submission above my love for Him.
All in all, I’d say I have many things for which I can be thankful today, and maybe, even a few more for which I can be thankful to be without.

Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

…Being thankful for those things we don’t have can bring our Thanksgiving into a whole new perspective, now can’t it? 😉

Advertisements

Answer to Friday’s Angle #41

Did you get it right yesterday?

   
If you guessed a concrete picnic table, you got it! 😉 

    
See you again next week, or better yet, come back by on Monday and take a peek at what’s going on. 😉

Friday’s New Angle #41

It’s Friday again; so, it’s time for another new angle! 🙂

  

 Answer here tomorrow! …same time, same “channel.” 😉

Happy Thanksgiving!

  
I hope you each have a very blessed Thanksgiving today! 

Enjoy being with family and friends, and remember to be thankful for the things you have and the people who mean so much!! 😊

If you don’t have family or friends to be with today, I pray you are able to reach to someone who may be as lonely, or lonelier, than you on this holiday of gathering. There are so many hurting, desolate and abandoned souls just longing for someone to say, “hello,” so many who long to be welcomed and included. 

Enjoy this day doing something memorable and full of a grateful heart. 😊

*I do not own not possess this picture. Found by simple Google search: http://nampalibrary.org/library-will-be-closed-the-26th-and-27th-for-thanksgiving/ *

Wednesday’s Ode #42

  
I love Thanksgiving! I am so excited we have a day to celebrate thankfulness tomorrow. I have so many things of which to be thankful. I have a great husband, kids, home, extended family, church, town and nation. My heart is just overwhelmed with thankfulness, and I do try to maintain this thankfulness not just once a year, but rather, throughout the year. 

Yet, sometimes, I think we can get so caught up in the thankfulness of the “good things” that, maybe, we forget about the not so pleasant things for which we should be grateful, or, maybe even, the mundane things for which we should still carry a grateful heart. You might ask, “For what bad things could we ever be thankful? For which unanswered prayers could we possibly be grateful??” 

Well, let me share a little in a personal note…

I am thankful for the pain I experienced as a child when I grew up without a father around. Not because it was heartwrenching and left me with scars, but rather, for the joy in knowing what it’s like to have a grandfather who stepped into that role for me. I am thankful for the void that led to the fulfillment I felt when my stepdad walked me down the aisle. I am thankful for the maturity I experienced early in life and the ability to make better choices for my future than the harder lessons my mother had to learn at the same age. 

I am thankful for the pain of losing our first child through a miss carriage. Not because of the heartwrenching tears I cried, nor for the fear in wondering if we’d ever have another, but because I learned what it is to experience true loss and to have a heart-stopping doubt within my soul, wondering if God even cares, which caused me to the realize He loves me unconditionally and that love caused me to grow so much closer to my God during this time of doubt and pain. 

These are just two examples of when my pain and times of difficulty have caused a deep gratefulness within my heart for the things which I learned. So, today, as we get ready to celebrate a day of Thanksgiving tomorrow, let us be thankful for not only the “grand and glorious” things in our lives, but let’s also be thankful for those “not-so-grand-and-glorious” times when the pain of our experience elevated us toward our destiny! 😉

What surprising, and maybe painful, things have caused you to grow, learn, change and to become more grateful?

Grateful Thinking

  
I believe a grateful heart, first of all, must come from grateful thinking. When our thoughts are right, our actions are soon to follow. When our thinking is purified, authenticity, kindness, gratefulness and grace is to follow. Think about it. 

Too often, we believe we can do whatever we choose, say whatever we like, and there will be no consequences; however, I’d like to challenge you today. Change your thinking habits, and see what happens. I believe, you’ll see that you’ll change the way you talk, as well as, what you do and how you act.  

When we have thanksgiving running through our thoughts on a daily basis, it’s not hard to speak kind words or to give encouragement. When we have gratefulness on our minds 24/7, we will find we desire to share thankful ways with those around us. When our hearts and our thoughts are filled with a sense of awe and wonder for those who live in our tiny world of influence, we will find we give grace more readily. We will smile gracious smiles, and random acts of kindness will just seem to follow along on our path of life. 

So, why don’t we try this today? It might have been a long time since you’ve made a spontaneous move to brighten someone’s day. It might have been forever since you’ve asked someone how you can help them, but I believe we all can do this! 😊 I believe we all can make this week of Thanksgiving more than just a week of eating, shopping and getting together. I believe, one by one, we can be life changers of a thought-filled Thanksgiving. 

A Note of Thanks

Thanksgivingimage
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up…. Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12
Yesterday was our Staff Appreciation, and I, personally, just have to give a note of thanks. I think we have the best pastoral staff on the planet! Now, I know. You don’t work with them; so, some of you might like to argue that your personal team is better, or some could argue that they “can’t be the best, because no team can be a ‘dream team’,” and that’s ok; you are entitled to your own opinion. However, from where I stand, we couldn’t ask for better.
First and foremost, they love God with all their hearts. Each one of them, in their own way, portray their love for God in the way they speak, the way they teach or preach, in the way they carry themselves on and off “the stage,” and even in the way they treat each other. They are gracious, honorable, full of integrity, servant-minded, and deep of character. They are never competitive, slanderous or spiteful toward one another. They are always seeking to be better Christians, better husbands or wives and better influences to those around them.  I have worked alongside each of them for the last 3 1/2 years here, as well as, for some of them, much longer, and I am a witness to their depth of Christ-like characters and servant-minded lifestyles. They may not always be what everyone expects them to be, nor do they always react in the most “pristine, perfect, superhuman” fashion that some may believe they should, because they are, after all, still very human.  However, I will say that each of them is the most humble individual I have ever met, and they seek with all their hearts to be closer to God while they serve in the ministry to which He has called them.
There are so many qualities they possess, it would take me all day to list each of them, but I have to say, one of the most valuable characteristics they give to our team (aside from loving God, of course!) is they truly love my husband and our family. This is such an important asset to the unity of this team, and I, as a pastor’s wife, am so appreciative. Honestly, it brings tears to my eyes when I think about the graciousness with which they treat my husband, our boys and me. You just don’t find this with every staff dynamic, and we have not always found this to be 100% true everywhere we have been.
Let me share a little of what I mean…
Sometimes, I watch their eyes as my husband challenges them with a new idea, or maybe even a needed rebuke, during a staff meeting. I hear their words of comradery and encouragement to our oldest as he walks into one of their offices and their tone of warmth and acceptance to our youngest, even when they might have better things to be getting accomplished. I see when they go the extra mile to make an adjustment that their pastor has suggested, even when they might not yet completely understand or be incredibly enthused about.  I have even caught a glimpse of their sincerity when they have encountered someone with ill intentions toward me, my husband or our family, as they speak words of admonishment and confrontation to that individual.  These are just a few of the acts of kindness which each of them shows to my family day in and day out, and these are the things which make me love them like family.
Rest assured, these members of our pastoral staff whom we celebrated yesterday are not simply employees of our church nor are they just plain co-workers who ‘pitch in to get a job done.’  They are each a part of, what I choose to call, a great “dream team” helping my husband to be a better pastor, and our church to be a better Body of Christ for the betterment of God’s Kingdom. They and their spouses are a true blessing to us, and I am thankful to have them and to consider them friends, as well as, staff members. These words don’t seem quite adequate today, but I’d like to say, “THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. I love you guys!” ❤
*Note: I do not own, nor do I possess, this picture. Found it simply through Google and sharefaith.com.*

Answer to Friday’s Angle #40

How’d you do yesterday? It was a little fuzzy on purpose, because the clarity matched the item. 😉 

 
Actually, I don’t know the name of this plant, but it looks like miniature pieces of wheat out in a field of green…

   
 
Hope you had fun with this one! See you again next week! …or on Monday…if you follow my blog. 😉

Friday’s New Angle #40

Guess what time it is? Time for another New Angle! 🙂

  
Remember, the answer will be posted here tomorrow around this same time! 😉

SCARRED

Words can be spoken in an instant, but it may take a lifetime to heal the wounds they bring. Be careful with your words. Be deliberate, and do not simply throw them away…

the grizzle grist mill

IMG_8148.JPG

I stand here in shock, not knowing what to do;

I cannot believe the feelings I’ve caught here from you.

Memories from the past overwhelm my weary mind,

But now, in chains, these memories they do bind.

My hands to you, we were reaching for the stars.

My dreams, our friendship, now you have scarred.

The distance you’ve placed, this I do not understand.

Between us, our sisterhood, is it now banned?

The anger, the jealousy, I pray it does not last.

So many questions I’m left with, only not to ask.

This brokenness and pain, I wish I did not feel.

They all say it takes way too much time to heal.

As I stand here with this bleeding heart,

I pray that one day we have a brand new start.

God can cleanse, forgive and always can mend,

But it takes you and me with this friendship to tend.

View original post 5 more words