It's the morning after Thanksgiving, and I'm laying here in bed, shamelessly enjoying this rare opportunity to be lazy. (But to be fair, I have already been up once and started a load of laundry!) My mind is already moving forward to all the things I want to accomplish today: decorate the tree, set out the rest of my Christmas decorations, enjoy some turkey leftovers, etc., etc.
I find myself also reflecting back to yesterday. I think I'd have to say that Thanksgiving 2015 will go down as a good one. My family was all together, safe and healthy. And despite a few minor mishaps (including a scorched hot pad, a broken measuring cup, and spilled milk!) we made it through with a lot of laughs, a few new memories, and plenty of good food! Whether it was my sister walking around with big Christmas ornaments hanging from her ears, or my dad and brother's resignation at watching The Walton's Homecoming movie again, or all of us sitting around the table sharing what we're thankful for, I will cherish every moment of it.
I realize, though, that not everyone was so fortunate. My mind goes to friends that I know personally that have loved ones on hospice, knowing that they will not be spending many more days with them. I can't help but think of Joey Feek of the beloved country duo Joey and Rory, how she is bravely and gracefully facing her last holiday season with her family.
I also think of others that are missing someone from their table already, such as the many families with military sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, etc. Others are spending their season in a hospital room, praying for a sick or wounded family member.
I think of two of my favorite gospel singers, Scott Fowler and Jim Brady. Scott lost his mother earlier this year, and Jim recently lost both his father and sister just weeks apart. While both have made it clear that they still have much to be thankful for this season, I know in their hearts they are still grieving. (Though not as one without hope!)
And I remember the dozens of families in Mali and Paris who have experienced unspeakable tragedies recently. So many other families all over the world struggle just to survive and stay alive.
I may not have much to brag about. My home is simple. My family is not rich or cultured. But I have absolutely nothing to complain about. So, my Christmas tree is a little shorter than I like. I am now sans a hot pad AND a cup holder. I have a mess to clean up from all the preparations yesterday. But, considering what so many others have had to endure this year, I wouldn't trade any of it.
God bless you and yours!
In His Grip!
This time of year always brings out the reflective side in me. I start thinking about my many blessings and how sometimes I take them for granted. I think about holidays past, present, and future. I always feel a sense of wonder and contentment and gratitude when Thanksgiving rolls around. While I should (and try to) remember to be thankful year round, I believe a specific time set apart to remind us of our blessings is a good thing, a way to get us back on track.
So, on this chilly morning, as I lay here in bed, I ponder on the things that I'm really thankful for. And if you'll indulge me, I'll share just a few with you.
I'm thankful for a warm house on chilly mornings.
I'm thankful for a vehicle that gets me where I'm going.
I'm thankful for the chance to go to church today.
I'm thankful for my little dog, all curled up in his bed.
I'm thankful for the gift of music and song.
I'm thankful that my problems are no worse than what they are.
I'm thankful for this season of singleness.
I'm thankful for a family that, though imperfect, loves me.
I'm thankful that I live in a country where I'm free to worship and live for God.
I'm thankful that I'm still able to walk, breathe, and do the things I love.
I'm thankful that my family is still whole, healthy, and safe.
I'm thankful for the sight of our horses grazing in my parents' field.
I'm thankful for friends that care about me.
I'm thankful for a job that is challenging and rewarding.
I'm thankful for our veterans that have given so much to preserve this land.
I'm thankful for parents that loved me enough to raise me to know God.
I'm thankful for a brother and sisters that will forever be my best friends.
I'm thankful for this peace that passes understanding.
I'm thankful for a Savior who left His home to give His life for me.
I'm thankful for a Heavenly Father who loved me enough to give up His own Son.
I'm thankful for my salvation and that blessed hope of a life beyond this one.
I'm thankful there is a Heaven where there will be no more death, sorrow, or pain.
I'm thankful for a Friend that sticks closer than a brother.
I'm thankful that God has a specific plan for my life.
I'm thankful that I am His, forever and always....
In His Grip!
"In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18
So, what are you thankful for? Feel free to comment and share! God bless you this holiday season!
Nothing brings me more contentment and appreciation than this season. Watching the leaves turn vibrant colors. Decorating my house with pumpkins and cornstalks. Wearing my cozy hoodies and boots. Going to bonfires and hayrides. Watching my sisters’ goat get positively plump with their thickening coats. And baking! I go crazy for baking fall-inspired flavors, such as pumpkin, apple, caramel, etc. etc!
It may sound corny, but my family seems to come alive this time of year. We tend to participate in more outdoor activities, such as impromptu games of volleyball and romps with the dogs, rather than in spring or summer. To me, it’s a wonderful time of year, full of beauty and promise.
Sadly, not everyone feels this way. I have known people personally who hate this season. I can understand their reasoning: chillier temperatures, darker evenings, and the inevitable winter that’s right around the corner.
However, I choose to look at the fall as one last gift of beauty before the cold days of winter descend. And, I refuse to allow myself to miss what opportunities this season may hold for me. Maybe a framed snapshot of my parent’s fields, awash with color. Or a walk down the leaf-strewn driveway with my sister. I don’t want to spend this whole season with my head down, in the mullygrubs, just because it’s not what I would prefer for this time.
I’m trying to take on that attitude about life, as well. When I’m in a possibly less-than-ideal season, I don’t want to miss out on what it has to offer because I’m wishing for it to end, or dreading what’s to come. I choose to look at this time of my life as a season of beauty and opportunity; it’s a chance to grow in contentment and appreciation for what is front of me right now. Whatever it may be.
I know that I have to have those seasons of fall and even winter, so that I may fully enjoy the seasons of spring and summer. I would never be able to witness the trees’ new blossoms if they never shed their former glory. The trickling spring beds would soon dry up if not for the fall rains and winter snows. The fields would never produce their bounty of wheat, corn, or flowers if they did not have those seasons of rest that autumn brings. I can’t have one without the other. And if I had nothing but spring rains and flowers, it's inevitable that I would soon grow weary of those. Maybe it’s those “undesirable” seasons that teach me to appreciate the others. They all work together to create this wonderful, beautiful life that I’m a part of.
So, this fall, I challenge you to look at this season of your life differently. Whether it’s this fall season, or a time of singleness, or a challenging job situation. Choose to have an optimistic view. Look for the beauty in it. Learn from it. Grow with it. Make memories. And always find contentment in being…
In His Grip!
"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
― Albert Camus
“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen."― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”
― Lauren DeStefano, Wither