Happy Thanksgiving 2016!

It’s hard to believe it’s that time of year again. Time to pull out the turkey and dressing, all the fixin’s and indulge just a little more on those pecan and apple pies! Yet, I wonder, sometimes, if we fail to remember the real reason for this Thanksgiving season. It’s to give thanks, not only for the delicious food we have but for the people in our lives who mean so much.

Let us look beyond the table today and see who sits across the way. Let’s remember to thank our God, our parents, our spouse, and our families for their love and support. May we remember our friends who have helped us along the way and those who have gone the extra mile when we needed them to stay. May we remember even those who might not be present but who have made an impact on our lives throughout the years.

Let us, also, remember those who might not be at the table but who do so much to keep us safe and secure in this world of uncertain times. Let’s remember to thank the men in blue, the men and women who serve in the armed forces and all those who sacrifice so much to ensure our freedoms in this great nation we call home. May we extend a welcome, a thank you, a heartfelt note of gratitude for all they do.

Last, but not least, may we remember those who don’t have what we have. May we reach beyond our homes and beyond our comfort zones and lend a helping hand that those who don’t have so much for which to say, “Thanks,” can one day turn around and lend the same helping hand to show their thankfulness. May we allow our hearts of gratitude to become an act of love and support for them.

On this wonderful day of Thanksgiving, I say, “THANK YOU to all who have been such a blessing to me. Thank you for your love, support and prayers. No matter if your impact has been as deep as my husband’s and my sons’ or if it’s a little lighter as I am just getting to know you, you each hold a piece of my heart, and without you, I would not be who I am today. For you, I am forever grateful. ❤

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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A Grateful Heart

Happy (early) Thanksgiving! It’s that time of year when we start thinking of all those things for which we should be grateful…like turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes and green beans, pecan pie and sweet potato pie! … Are you hungry yet? I know I am!

Maybe your thoughts of thankfulness are turned toward your family, your spouse, your children or even your co-workers and employers. Maybe it’s for more material things like a roof over your head, money in the bank, or transportation to get you from place to place. Maybe it’s a good job, a good church or a good network of friends.

During this season, for me, I am thankful for my husband, our boys, my extended family and our home. I am thankful for my faithful God, our wonderful staff, our great church body and our freedom to worship. I am, also, so very thankful for our law enforcement, our military and all those who fight so hard for our freedom and our safety in these uncertain times.

There are really too many things I could list; so, I will pause here to say, Whatever it is for which your heart is grateful during this season, relish in it. Cherish it and share your gratitude, especially when it’s people; for, we have no guarantees, and no promises even for the next breath.

Yet, really, we should carry this heart of gratitude every day and not just during the holiday seasons. I was reminded of this so vividly this week as we received a call that you never wish to receive. A husband, father of five, and an incredible man who served our nation at the federal levels, was killed in the line of duty. It was an act of senseless violence and hate.  Honestly, it will take some time for all to process this level of grief. Yet, as we walk this journey, it is crucial to remember our gratitude for him, as well as, for all those who might have impact in our lives. 

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A heart of gratitude can change your attitude, your countenance and your perspective. A heart of gratitude will cause you to see farther, hear clearer and receive far more than when you are not. A heart of gratitude doesn’t always come easy, but it grows from a thought life of thankfulness. 

What do you think about? On what things do you allow your mind to dwell? Let’s make a point today to think on “whatever is TRUE, whatever is NOBLE, whatever is RIGHT, whatever is PURE, whatever is LOVELY, whatever is ADMIRABLE, [let’s] think on these things.” (Philippians 4:7-8)

When we focus our thoughts on these things, our hearts will follow, and when our hearts are full of gratitude, we will see both the big and small things in which to be grateful!

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? 😉

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/ *

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. 

We Will Not Forget

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I don’t consider myself an incredible poet, but I wanted to have something to pay honor today to those who have given their lives for our freedom. Thank you to every service man and woman who gave your all so that I and my family might live in the freedom for which you fought so hard to obtain, and thank you to your families who have had to say the hard goodbyes. We are forever grateful, and we will never forget…

  

Young men with hopes and dreams

Old men with wives and little sunbeams

All head to war. To serve their land. 

To fight for their freedom. To save their fellow man. 

  

They fought hard. They fought brave. 

Some were wounded, captured, never saved. 

We will not forget them. We will not close the door. 

They gave us our freedom. We owe them so much more. 
  

  

Their graves are marked with flags so bright. 

Their memories held tight within our sight. 

They gave the ultimate sacrifice. They paid the highest price. 

Gave they their life that I might live. Reminds me of my God, my Christ. 

  

Let us not be so busy that we pack their memories away. 

Let us not be so focused on now that we miss their pathway. 

This is Memorial Day. The day we honor, we remember, and we say, Thank you. 

We will remember the heroes, for our lives are here because of what they went through. 

  

We promise to never forget what you gave up. 

What we have to offer can never really be enough. 

We will forever say Thank You to our heroes. 

We will fight to remember, hoping our debt and gratitude eternally shows. 
  

They fought hard. They fought brave. 

Some were wounded, captured, never saved. 

We will not forget them. We will not close the door. 

They gave us our freedom. We owe them so much more. 


Penned – MG – 5/23/15

Random Thoughts…

Wrote this on Thanksgiving morning but failed to post until today.

…just a “random thought” I was having, but maybe you can relate…IMG_8860.JPG
I wasn’t going to post today, not because I’m not thankful, but rather, because I posted my “thankful blog” yesterday, and today, we’re going to spend the whole day with family. However, presently, we are in the car, in our way to the family gathering, and we’re late! We’re almost always late, and I hate it.

I know I should be thankful today, and I am, I really am (If you don’t believe me, just look at my LONG grateful list from yesterday)!  However, I guess, I just get so frustrated at myself when I am late to a family event, or any other event for that matter. When you’re late, everyone that was there on time, or even early, has to wait on you, and it is an incredible waste of their time. I wish that I did not have late in my “make-up,” and I could blame it on my upbringing (my mom is notoriously late). I could blame it on my kids. I could blame it on the weather, but it wasn’t raining today, and really, it just comes back to me. I simply try to pack too many things into a small window of time, and I should just step back, prioritize and focus on the main thing: to be on time!

So, for this Thanksgiving Day, I will say I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to recognize my faults, and I have the opportunity to change. I am thankful I have a loving husband and family who love regardless of tardiness. I am thankful I have a family with whom to gather today, to eat till my tummy is stuffed, and a warm home to enjoy the festivities. I am thankful for a Savior who loves me and refuses to leave me where I am…He is always challenging my heart to be more like Him day after day.

So, I say, “Happy Thanksgiving” to all who are celebrating today, and “Happy Day” to those who are not! I hope you have a very blessed one! 🙂

…random thoughts from a thankful heart…

Be Grateful Always

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All over social media this month, you can find daily posts of things for which to be thankful, what people are being thankful for, and, of course, the daily “thankful status” updates. I have noted these over the past several years, and even taken part in quite a few from time to time; however, this year, I thought maybe I’d take a little different approach by writing my “Grateful List” here on this blog (a 31-numbered list to represent every day of the month, plus a bonus), many of them including what I will call an “emphasis question,” to further prove the point, and maybe also share why I have a philosophy to be “grateful always”…

Even as you read, if you and I simply disagree on our likes and dislikes, I do encourage you to at least skip to the end and read a little more…you might find we don’t disagree as sharply as you might have first assumed. 😉

(*Look out:  this is a little lengthy, but on social media, this would be a “once a day, every day for 30 days” status update…)

30 Reasons To Be Grateful (please note, after #15, these are in very random order! 🙂 )
#1 – I am thankful to love a God who loves me beyond measure, forgives me beyond reason, and redeems me beyond understanding…How could I ever ask for more?

#2 – I am thankful for a husband who seems to love me almost unconditionally. (That’s actually not humanly possibly, but I bet he comes pretty close! …you can’t tell I’m a little “love-blind,” can you? ) He is my best friend, my love, my confidante, my coach, my “cheerleader,” and my secret admirer…Why would I ever look anywhere else?

#3 – I am thankful for our two boys who bring so much life, joy and excitement into our lives! I love watching them grow, mature and become the men God has called them to be…How could life get any better than this?

#4 – I am thankful for the life I have with my little family…great God, great family, great church, great job, great town, great state, great nation (I definitely agree, it has it’s issues and problems, but hey, I’m not in prison, this land is still free, and we are still able to vote, speak, and do so many more things that are protected by our Constitution!). Sorry, that was surely too many “greats” in one sentence, but I suppose I really couldn’t help myself…Why would I want someone else’s life?

#5 – I am thankful for a terrific extended family who love mine, and me, and are willing to support “up close and personal” or “from afar,” allowing us to set the boundaries needed in the seasons of need and plenty. They are a blessing!…Why would I ever try to be demanding or have ridiculous expectations?

#6 – I am thankful for a church family who loves mine, and me, and is supportive and encouraging…not all church families are the same…Why should I ever expect perfection when we’re all just human?

#7 – I am thankful for the breath I breathe, the ability to walk, to talk, to move, to run, to rest, to do so many things in life…Why would I complain about a little ailment or pain?

#8 – I am thankful for two sons who are growing into two “fine, upstanding young men” who love God with all their hearts and have deep convictions for their faith that I know could have only come from Him above…Why would I ever try to hinder their faith or temper their passion?

#9 – I am thankful for two children who are so very different, and yet, both came from my womb. They have different personalities, different likes and dislikes, sleep and eat differently, and even share their faith with others differently; however, they both bring so much joy and feelings of pride and love to my heart…Why would I ever let differences or similarities cause me to favor one over the other?

#10 – I am thankful for the little things in life: the laughter of our boys, the breeze that blows, the wink of approval from my husband, an encouraging note sent from a friend, the simple, “Have a great day” from the Walmart check-out cashier…Why would I want to be grouchy simply because things don’t always go my way?

#11 – I am thankful for good friends…friends who are friends for life, friends who are friends for a season, and even friends who are friends only for an ‘event.’ I learn so much from these; each one leaves something for me to grow from, learn from and ponder upon…Why would I ever take for granted what we have had?

#12 – I am thankful for enemies with whom I have had an encounter, for they each sharpen my resolve, strengthen my faith, and develop my character…Why would I not want to rise up to this challenge and fight for those things I love and cherish?

#13 – I am thankful for the smiles of my children…Why would I want to cause them agony or strife?

#14 – I am thankful for the good country in which I live. As stated above, we’ve got our problems, and we’ve got our issues, of this, I am fully aware. However, this nation was founded for freedom; we still have our freedom, and for this, we can be forever thankful!…Why would I want to live elsewhere…and why would I ever want to be so focused on what’s wrong that I miss out on the stuff that’s really great?

# 15 –  I am thankful for hard times and the hardships along the way, for I learn from the perseverance. I gain assurance from the trials, and I grow in character through the challenges…Why would I ever shy away from the tough seasons when it is there that I find my wisdom and grace?

#16 – I am thankful for beautiful waterfalls to hike to and upon which to gaze. There is strength in that sound…Why would I want to miss out on this beauty?

#17 – I am thankful for trees…large, small, fat, skinny, it does not matter to me; however, I do have a bias toward big, Live Oaks and large, wispy Hemlocks. There is refuge and solace among them…Why do I not climb up in those now that I’m grown?

#18 – I am thankful for the mountains…rolling hills, high and lofty, sharp and rugged. I’m not sure I have a particular preference. There is breathtaking rest on top and and incredible peace below them…Why would I want to stay on the asphalt, suffocating from the fumes every day?

#19 – I am thankful for dishes, laundry and beds to make…not because I really “like” these things, but rather, I am thankful for these items, because they are an indicator of the people who “dirty them up.” If I didn’t have these to clean, it would indicate these people, whom I deeply love, were no longer here. (*note: I don’t always act so thankful for these “messes” …just another ‘work in progress.”)

#20 – I am thankful for all the people who have made, now make, and will one day continue to make up the tapestry of my life…the past, the present and the future. For these are the people who, “like iron sharpens iron,” chisel and fine tune me to be a better “me.” …Why would I want to isolate myself from this pruning and growth?

#21 – I am thankful for a car that runs smoothly and transports me and my family to wherever we must go. There are so many, all over this world, who have to walk miles and miles to arrive at their destinations…why should I get so annoyed at those who cut me off, ride my bumper or drive too slow when I’m in such a hurry?

#22 – I am thankful for the times my 13 year old son comes up to give me a hug for “no apparent reason.” These precious moments are slipping by like sand through my fingers…Why would I want to be too busy to stop and take notice?

#23 – I am thankful for clean clothes to wear, a roof over my head and food on my table. There are so many by whom this would be considered “high-cotton living.” …Why would I want to complain about what I don’t have when I have so much?

#24 – I am thankful for the moments at bedtime when my 9 year old son asks for “just one more snuggle.” This heart rendering request won’t always be spoken…Why would I want to be so consumed with motherhood responsibilities that I don’t take the extra time to show love?

#25 – I am thankful for the ability to pour my heart out with pen and paper, and, while I am living, maybe some of those words will never be read by anyone but me ; yet, maybe one day, those very words might just bring comfort, strength and refreshment to a weary soul…Why would I stifle a gift I’ve been given?

#26 –  I am thankful for pure water to drink. There are many countries who don’t live with this luxury…Why would I want to be wasteful of something so life-giving?

#27 – I am thankful for the journey of this life and for the destination for which my hope awaits. The best is yet to come…Why should I be fearful of the future, the unknown?

#28 – I am thankful for sunrises, sunsets, moonrises, ocean tides, mountaintops, and all the moments in between. The memories made can never be forgotten…Why would I become so worldly focused that I miss out on these beauties of my Creator?

#29 – I am thankful for this blog and for those who read it. It is a great outlet for my pondering and a wonderful avenue for gaining knowledge, confidence and appreciation for those with my same likes and for those with more differences than mine.

#30 – I am thankful for a month where people become thankful, simply, because they are reminded there are things for which to be thankful!

#31 – I am thankful for a designated day upon which we can join together with other people, especially family and friends, and remember so many things for which we are thankful. Happy early Thanksgiving!

Well, if you read all the way to here, I am honored you stayed with me. That was quite a long list! I was thinking the same thing long about the 18th reason, and I realized I was barely over halfway done! haha. However, I am thankful (there it is again!) to have kept the tenacity to finish the list. These are things for which I am always grateful, and I’m glad that now, I have a reference point to which I can return often, especially, when my mind begins to forget a few things, and I’d rather complain than be thankful.

Perspective:
I did not write this blog, or post this list, to brag or to somehow imply I have a perfect life. I did not pen these words to try to prove everything is without trouble, sadness or pain. I simply jotted down these notes, because this is the way I live my life. I strive to see the little things and appreciate them. I strive to keep my mind on good things rather than dwelling on the bad moments of life. I seek to keep my perspective tuned into higher things, happier seasons, better memories instead of allowing my focus to become distracted by the realities of evil, fear and violence to which our times are plagued.

It’s not that I don’t have hard times, sicknesses, pain and sorrow which I encounter and see all around me. It’s not that I am blind to the suffering and turmoil of this world. I would probably have to shut myself away in a hidden cave to avoid all of this; however, it is a daily choice I make in the way that I live. It is a matter of perspective. It is a matter of choice. I will make a conscientious effort everyday to seek out truth, to search for love, to look for joy and to reach for peace.

I will choose to keep a positive outlook.

I will choose to not only be thankful one month or day out of the year.

I will choose to be grateful always.

“…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18

 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Philippians 4:8

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Philippians 4:11-13