Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

The Small Joys in Life

 

I decided not to neglect my blogs anymore. Writing is one of the sure things that bring me joy. I’ve not spent a lot of time doing it lately because I have let other things get in the way of my joy. Funny how we do that sometimes. We worry about our spouses, our jobs, our children, or our parents. Perhaps the worry is for our pets, or the bills, maybe even the housework (okay not the housework; no one said that, ever).

We live in this world of instant gratification. Sometimes we forget the value of the simple things that might not seem like much, but they really are important. That first cup of coffee in the morning. Being cuddled up on the couch in a pair of worn jammies. A journal and a pen in hand. The cat laying close by. The warmth of the sun shining through the window. A good morning greeting from a child. So many positives to be thankful for.

Our neighbors have begun putting up Christmas decorations. I love seeing the red bows pasted on the window sills of their house. It reminds me of the season.

The leaves have covered our lawn. I’ve raked them no less than three weekends in a row. Today I look out and see that the trees have dropped leaves and covered the lawn yet again. We compete with the squirrels to find the hidden treasures underneath all of those brown crunchy leaves. This year the pecan trees brought forth a huge harvest. My mouth is watering for the famous Captain Morgan’s Pecan Pie. 

With the holidays upon us I consider the people who struggle during this time of year. The struggle is real because I experience it too. I have such high expectations of what the holidays should be. I set myself up for failure so often because when they don’t turn out the way I portray them in my mind, it turns into a huge disappointment. It depresses me. Sometimes I start my depression even before the holidays arrive. Tall Cool One reminds me I am not in control (sometimes I hate that truth). I am learning to just be thankful for the things I have and the things I can control. It is a slow process but a sure one. It is a reminder… joy is an attitude. What are the small things that bring you joy?

Thanksgiving — Day 6: F-Words

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Day 6 of Seven Days of Thanksgiving
F-Words
Day #6: Seven Days of Thankful Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving: the act of giving thanks; a prayer of gratitude to God.

For Thanksgiving, a little ditty with some F-word fun,
Have faith and give thanks to the Father, Holy Spirit, and Son.

Don’t forget about your family and friends,
Forgive a debt and make amends.

Do something fruitful; feed the famished,
They’ll be grateful, and may even feel lavished.

During this fellowship, please try to remember
Life’s hard for some in November and December.

Realize some people are bearing a façade,
Don’t find fault, it’s never been outlawed.

The fact is, some people have issues, and are fearful,
Do them a favor and don’t ask, just be cheerful.

Ignore the temptation of the family feud,
Let them say what they want, it’s best to be shrewd.

Count your blessings for freedom in all your activities,
And please do enjoy all of your holiday festivities.

Thanksgiving — Day 5: Koinonia

Twelve Days of Thanksgiving
K is for Koinonia
Day #5 of Seven Days of Thankful Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving: the act of giving thanks; a prayer of gratitude to God.

Koinonia: community, communion, joint participation, sharing and intimacy. Koinonia can therefore refer in some contexts to a jointly contributed gift.

Let me be honest with you; I had a hard time with this word. It left a bad taste in my mouth. When I first learned about Koinonia it was not like it was explained to me. Church uses it as a way to get people to come together in small groups because Koinonia is the way Jesus wanted people to be. Unfortunately, and I’m saying this from my own experience, Koinonia is all well and good as long as you are in the small group and participating. As long as you are in their face, Koinonia is great. But the minute you miss a meeting or become AWOL, your Koinonia is over.

I know the old saying of “You have to be a friend to have a friend”. But in my experience I’ve found that more people will let you be their friend, more so than they want to be one. I’m sure you have experienced it. Most people would tell me I have to give them the grace that they need, but I don’t look at it that way. Don’t use the need for grace as an excuse to be a lazy friend, relative, companion, etc.

Koinonia can be a wonderful thing in its context. “Jointly contributed.” It’s not one-sided and it’s not out of convenience. It’s not all about the church either. I have more Koinonia with my un-churched friends than I do with the Christ followers. It’s what you have when you come together with family and friends during the holidays, and you share with each other.

Who can you extend the act of fellowship with this Thanksgiving? Don’t wait for someone to come to you, go to them.

Thanksgiving — Day 4: Need

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N for Need

Day #4: Seven Days of Thankful Thanksgiving

 Thanksgiving:  the act of giving thanks; a prayer of gratitude to God.

Need is something that is a requirement not a desire-ment.

Need verses greed; an interesting concept.

Internet, cell phones, computers, laptops, iPods, iPad, Notebooks, Kindles, and so many other technological gadgets that most everyone has at least one of, and some people have one of each. How many televisions do you have in your house? How many houses do you have?  How often do you go on vacation?  How many vehicles do you have sitting in your drive-way?  How about boats and jet-skis and hot tubs and swimming pools and campers and motor-homes and dirt bikes and four-wheelers and snowmobiles?  How many pairs of shoes and clothes are in your closet that you don’t wear?  How many times do you go out to eat, or stop for a coffee, or a soda in a week, or even in a day?

Living down to our need instead of up to our greed can make a huge difference in our perspective on life.

The next time you think you need something, reconsider. Do you really need it or is it something you can do without? What kinds of luxuries can you give up?

Thanksgiving Day 3 — Actions

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A is for Actions

Day #3: Seven Days of Thankful Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving:  the act of giving thanks; a prayer of gratitude to God.

Many people are dealing with affliction this Thanksgiving. Never judge anyone because you don’t know what they are experiencing. Thanksgiving is hard for a lot of people for whatever reasons, many we can speculate on, but some we cannot imagine. Be a gentler person this year during the holidays. Practice plenty of kind acts to the people you know as well as the people you don’t know. Here are some you can try.

  1. Be considerate by just listening to the person who wants to grumble about their life, instead of telling them how they can make things better.
  2. Let the lady with a basket of twelve items step in front of you at the check-out line instead of making her wait for you to empty your full grocery cart.
  3. Open the door for someone.
  4. Say thank you more often than not.
  5. Smile at everyone.
  6. Write a thank you note to your mail carrier.
  7. Bring your co-worker a coffee.
  8. Apologize.
  9. Be spontaneous and do something out of the ordinary with your spouse.
  10. Leave a tip for the cashier at the fast food drive-thru.

Actions speak louder than words.  What kind of action can you be loud at?

Thanksgiving – Day 2 – 10 Healthy Habits

health

H is for Healthy Habits

Day #2: Seven Days of Thankful Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving:  the act of giving thanks; a prayer of gratitude to God.

I am far from what you would call the poster child for “healthy”.  I’ve never been a size 6 (it just seems to me like a lot of women want to be a size 6) — maybe in the sixth grade I was but quite frankly I think that if I was a size 6 now I would look sickly.  I don’t consider myself fat, but I’m sure the powers that be in Hollywood or the rest of the world would call me just that.  Personally I like to refer to my curves as voluptuous.  When I dug out my winter wardrobe my voluptuous butt cheeks had a hard time squeezing into my voluminous jeans.  It has been a challenge to make a lifestyle change and adding exercise into our daily routine.

I can honestly say putting the extra pounds on is a lot easier and enjoyable than it is trying to take them off.  God’s word tells us that we reap what we sow in due season.  I was a Big Mac, large fry, diet coke, super-size, please, once a week kind of girl.  I remember hitting the salad bar thinking this was a good healthy choice as I loaded up my plate with cheese and ham and macaroni salad and all those other goodies you find on salad bars that are not actually salad items.  While I was hogging it into me I had no idea that the little butt cheeks were growing into bigger butt cheeks, or I should say, I refused to acknowledge that they would.

We know when we have that extra helping of mashed potatoes that we need to do a little extra work to burn the calories.  Look at the average kid today.  They are HUGE!  Yeah, you have some parents that will argue and say it’s a thyroid problem.  Most generally it has everything to do with laziness.  We live in a fast food and super sized kind of nation.  If your kid works on a farm and takes care of the animals a Happy Meal once in awhile isn’t going to make him fat — it might clog up his arteries in the long run, but how many kids are working the farm and taking care of animals?  Most kids have their butts plunked on a couch somewhere with a bag of Doritos playing a video game.  And the parents wonder why they have to pay more money for the extra-large size clothes and the kid is at risk for childhood diabetes.

Thanksgiving is definitely not a healthy holiday for me.  Too many temptations to deal with: egg nog, turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, squash soufflé, candied sweet potatoes, oyster casserole, stuffed mushrooms, bacon wrapped scallops, apple pie, pumpkin roll, pecan pie, oh YUM!  Even one bite of each of those goodies is way over a normal 2000 calorie plan.  It will be a struggle for sure and thank God for it only coming once a year.

Our health is important to all of us.  Some people take their health for granted.  If you don’t think it’s important ask someone who doesn’t have theirs. Ask someone who is sick.  It’s never too late to make a change for the better. To help with that, I’ve composed a list of ten healthy habits you can do every day that will help you live a healthier lifestyle.

TEN HEALTHY HABITS

  1. Be thankful for something every day.
  2. Do something productive every day. (Playing video games, watching TV, or surfing the internet does not count as being productive.)
  3. Say no to that second helping. (Serving sizes were created for a reason. Don’t be one who lives to eat, change that thought to ‘eat to live’.)
  4. Drink more water. An adult body is made up of about 70% water. Water does a body good.
  5. Set goals and don’t stop trying until you reach them.
  6. Get a hobby. (Again, playing video games, watching TV, and surfing the internet does not count as a hobby.)
  7. Learn something new. Discover a new recipe, go back to school, pick up knitting/crocheting, or visit a library. Never stop learning new things.
  8. Exercise more. Park in the farthest parking spot from the store, take the stairs, vacuum the whole house, or walk the dog instead of tying him out. Just move. Anything is better than nothing.
  9. Work on quitting a bad habit. Smoking, swearing, gossiping, chronic grumbling about things you cannot change, etc.
  10. Be happy. Be content with what you have because there is always someone out there that is much worse off than you are.

What change can you make to your lifestyle to be more healthy?

Thanksgiving- Day 1— Thankful

thankful

Day #1: Seven Days of Thankful Thanksgiving

T is for thankful

Everyone has heard of the 12 Days of Christmas.  I thought I would do my version of Thanksgiving. I don’t have twelve days before Thanksgiving … so I’m going to improvise and do seven.

Thanksgiving:  the act of giving thanks; a prayer of gratitude to God.

The holiday season is here.  Everything is so festive decorated with pumpkins and turkeys (more like Christmas decorations).  I remember in grade school we used to pencil or crayon around our hand and fingers and then create a turkey out of it.  How fun!  This is the time of year when most people get into the giving mode and they are more generous than usual.  It is also the time of year when the non-profit organizations need help and donations as well. Unfortunately it is also a time where people seem to forget about being thankful and take too many things for granted.

I love this time of year. It is perfect for cooking pies, cookies, cakes, and filling the kitchen with the scents of cinnamon and cloves.  It is the time when Egg Nog and candy cane coffee creamer is on the store shelves, as well as all of that other festive yummy stuff only available during this time of year.  It is the time of year to dig out the wool sweaters, polar fleece, flannel P-jammies and big fluffy warm slippers.

T is for thankful, time to count our blessings and stop to think about some of the things we complain about.  I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because I find myself grumbling. Mostly because of how ungrateful other people can be. But when I stop and think about what I’m peevish about I have to kick myself for being so absolutely self-absorbed and ridiculous.

For example, when we go to the grocery store to do our shopping, I am sickened by the prices that we have to pay.  Everything is so wicked expensive and I find us cutting back in more areas than I care to.  Then I realize we are blessed enough to have the means to go do groceries.  When I find areas where we can cut back, I realize we were spending money on pleasure items that we don’t really need like Egg Nog and candy cane coffee creamer.  I am thankful that we are able to buy the groceries needed to prepare the nutritious and delicious meals we get to eat.

I remember growing up I hated, absolutely hated mashed potatoes. (Yes, I know hate is a harsh word. Believe me when I tell you how much I HATED mashed potatoes.)  My mother would always tell me to quit complaining and eat them.  My stepfather wouldn’t let me leave the table until I did.  My mother would make some comment about how children in Ethiopia were starving.  It always amazed me that my sister never HAD to eat the liver on her plate, but I had to eat those damned mashed potatoes. I had no problem if my mother wanted to box up the mashed potatoes on my plate and send them to Ethiopia.

I grew up and had to purchase food with my own hard earned money.  I had kids of my own and saw food not be eaten and thrown away.  I finally understood what it meant about starving children in Ethiopia.  I think about the waste that gets thrown away everyday and I want to send potatoes to Ethiopia. (I really wish we could walk along the side of the road or go to a field and pick up free potatoes like we did when I was a kid living in Fryeburg.) By the way, my taste buds acquired a taste for mashed potatoes and I’m looking forward to them on my plate on Thanksgiving Day.

This morning when I took my shower I stood under the hot water a little longer than usual because I didn’t want to get out into the cold air. I was convicted writing this because there are so many countries that have no water and I wasted gallons by letting it run down the drain so I could prolong the inevitable cold air.

I have a feeling the Seven Days of Thanksgiving will be difficult and convicting.

T is for thankful and I am very thankful for the time God has given me here on this earth to make a difference and bring glory to Him.  What are you thankful for?