This Thanksgiving

We haven’t even made it through Thanksgiving as I sit and type this post, but that hasn’t stopped the local Wal-Mart and other big box stores from inundating their customers with Christmas music, to enhance shopping experience perhaps? It hasn’t impeded upon the numerous Christmas displays and red and green everything consuming the shelves on just about every aisle…except for maybe the automotive departments or the place where they stock the toilet paper.

For all intense purposes, it’s Christmas, people. Once again, the turkey gets the shaft. 

I like this little holiday. It’s just big enough. It isn’t the biggest or the flashiest of them all, but it’s respectable and meaningful in its own right. I’m happy to oblige the notion that we need to eat until our pants don’t button, then take turkey induced naps on the sofa afterward, and still be able to indulge in left over pie and stuffing for days to come. I’m happy to reflect and ponder all that I have been given and acknowledge just how much it changes from year to year.

More importantly, I’m glad that I am finally in a place in my life where instead of just showing up to indulge in a holiday feast with all of the trimmings, I am instead thrilled to be a part of its construction. This is a complete 180 for me. Thanksgiving preparation either always intimidated or simply didn’t appeal to me. Now, it’s quite the opposite. I want to be up to my elbows in a turkey’s butt or putting a dish of green bean casserole into the oven.

It feels right. It feels like I have arrived. Sort of.

Isn’t that somewhat true of life? There is a time where you’re happy to merely be a consumer, happy to be the recipient of the goods that others are ready and willing to offer up. There is a time when that is what you NEED to be due to necessity or the season of life that you are in. And in a sudden, or sometimes gradual, turn of events, we come to find that though it is stressful and hard work, it becomes a greater joy to be involved in the preparation, in the giving and service part of everything. I know that this is true for me, at least.

It is greater to give rather than receive. 

Even though I will hate that alarm clock tomorrow morning when it chimes in my face at 5 a.m., and even though I won’t ever be alright with getting out of bed to put food into the oven in the wee hours of the morning. Even though I would rather not have to get my house in order or clean up after all is said, done and eaten, I’m actually kind of excited about it.

Just don’t tell anyone. 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Thank you so much for reading all of the junk that I have to say. I hope that you have a wonderfully blessed holiday!

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22 Days for Gratitude- Day 5: Neighbors/Friends

Today, I am grateful for my friends.

Friends who never turn you down when you bug them to let you come over.

Who always have good coffee ready, and even better conversation.

Friends who pray for you, who lift you up.

Friends who can be honest with you.

Friends who also know that honesty isn’t what you want to hear, it is what you need to hear.

Friends to laugh with.

Friends who are there for the simple things, the last-minute babysitting and that critical cup of sugar or egg.

Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls,

but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.

I am fortunate to know more than a few friends, neighbors, who love as they would want to be loved, plus some.

To know one or two would be a blessing, to know dozens is nothing short of miraculous.

Thank you.

Won’t you be my, won’t you be my…

We are not just children of a most high God. We are able to sit at His table now as His friends rather than be shunned as enemies. And He gives us good instruction as to how we should treat our friends, or rather, our neighbors.  We are to love God first and then our neighbors as we would love ourselves. It is interesting that God chose the word ‘neighbor’ as sufficient in describing whom we should love instead of using the word “friend.” We could easily be confused as to who God is referring to..well, confused or lazy. We may consider only the friends that we keep in our immediate social sphere, see more often than not and have committed (spoken or not) relationships with. But a neighbor, a neighbor can be anyone to us. It is a universal term, not referencing one group of people or another, one label or another. It means anyone. Whether there is a formed and personal relationship or not we most certainly should take to heart that God instructs us to be kind to those, anyone, that we meet throughout our lives. This should be our default frame of mind.

This instruction means that we should regard one another as higher than ourselves, seeking to bless one another, serve one another, encourage one another, speak truth to one another and to honor one another. Regardless of whether or not a neighbor we meet would be someone we would watch “Mean Girls” with on a Friday night for the 50th time like we would our besties, this is our high calling. It is easy to be kind, loving and intentional with those that we adore. It is harder to do so with those that we don’t know as well. But how much does it magnify God’s grace when you show unfounded kindness, love and common courtesy and care for those that you don’t know as well? This is how we shall make disciples of all the world. This is care, this is love.

Thank you so much to those of you who have maybe stepped outside of your own comfort zone to love me. I am so very, very grateful. You are an example of God’s love and an enormous blessing to me. I could list all of you…but that might take to long.

Hint hint: try acting this love for your neighbors out right now, after this heated and tense election season. Just say a prayer first…  😉

The Great Commission

16 But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated.

17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful.

18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, 

baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,

 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;

and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

22 Days For Gratitude – Day 4 – ‘Merica

I avoid getting political in my conversations if I can. Especially on any of the various social mediums that I have an account with. Unfortunately, between some who have keyboard courage and partisan views, I can say that I have almost never gotten into a discussion about politics that leaves me feeling enlightened and fulfilled. At least, like I said, whenever I have become involved in a conversation online.

I can’t stand how people are so quick to label, judge or disavow themselves from someone so easily over political views. Sure, I can agree that I don’t really want to listen to some people talk about politics, like Cher for instance. But just because Cher and I disagree it doesn’t mean that I wish bad things for her. And it doesn’t mean that I won’t listen to any of her songs ever again (…not that I do…) It means that we just disagree.

What bothers me is that people use politics as a way to be divisive, or perhaps consider themselves more highly than they ought. They use political affiliation to write someone off. Have we become so divided that saying, “I disagree” just isn’t enough? We have to cut someone off at the knees? Or put them down?

We shouldn’t be divided after an election, we should at the very least be united in our expectations so that once the dust settles, our elected official do what we elect (and expect) them to do, lead. We get so busy trying to tear one another down during election season that I think we forget to hold our elected officials accountable. It is our duty to be informed, it is our duty to be involved and we should accept those tasks with pride. Being in the know doesn’t stop after an election. Our leaders will only operate on the standards with which we allow.

Today, I am grateful for the chance to vote. Do I always agree with the outcomes of elections? Heck no. Do I think that there is always room for improvement in our political system? Um, YAH.

But I am grateful that I get the same chance to make my voice heard as anyone else.

There are so many things that we take for granted in this day and age. Being informed and being able to vote shouldn’t be one of them. Like it or not, our interests ARE the same, no matter which party leader tells you otherwise.

So before I start reading the , “if so and so wins, I’m moving to another country…” posts, let me just encourage you to 1.) make sure you vote today 2.) that you put on your big-girl/big-boy underpants and deal with whatever happens and 3.) remember that God is sovereign, He is our true leader.

That is good enough for me.