Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Count Your Blessings & Give Thanks

“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

What a difference a year makes.

This year, more than any other in my life, it is painfully apparent how drastically life can change from one moment to the next, let alone one year to the next. By the time you read this, my family and I will be in Florida attending a family reunion. The reunion is for my father’s side of the family. He was very much looking forward to this gathering and had every plan of making the drive down to Florida himself. Daddy loved his family. He wouldn’t have missed this event for the world, but our heavenly Father had other plans for him. Daddy is greatly missed.

My dad was a great, no a PHENOMENAL cook! I promise I’m not just saying this because he was my dad. If you need me to, I can round up many others who will bear witness to this truth. 🙂 His meals and all of the preparation that went into them were a huge part of any holiday. Thanksgiving just happened to be his favorite holiday.  He would begin preparing at least (bare minimum) a week in advance, and the finished product (including a kitchen that looked as if it had been plundered by looters) was truly something to behold.

Although I’m excited to be with my sisters and my mom and to see cousins I haven’t seen since childhood, I’d be less than honest if I didn’t admit  the delicacies, the stories, and the laughter will all be like my favorite holiday menu minus my favorite holiday food. It’s Thanksgiving without dad’s famous sweet potato pie or collard greens. This year, daddy is my missing collard greens and my missing pie.

As my thoughts drift and my heart struggles to adjust to a holiday without my father, now more than ever I recognize the need to focus on the many blessings of my life. Even in this very year, under these circumstances, it is important to give thanks. I praise God. For I know ALL of my blessings flow from Him.

I give thanks for life, health, and a family I love dearly. I give thanks for a reunion (outside of Facebook) with some awesome cousins – take pictures, get hugs, share laughs, and hopefully build relationships. I give thanks for being close to the ocean (and you KNOW how much I appreciate the ocean). I’m praying my toes will get to taste the salt water. I give thanks for employment, an income, a roof over my head, a car to drive, food to eat, and friends who love me. I give thanks for a wonderful man in my life. He is making this bittersweet journey to Florida to be by my side and put a smile on my face or kiss my tears, whichever is needed at the moment. For him, I am very thankful. Last but not least, I must give thanks for you, the beautiful women who stop by to read my words in your spare time. I’m so aware that you don’t have to spend any of your free moments with me, but I am just so thankful that you do.

So today, whatever your circumstances, I hope you are able to find the strength and courage to focus on your blessings and to give thanks.

“… for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18b

Have a safe, blessed, and WONDERFUL Thanksgiving!

Completely thankful ME,

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Saying “Happy Birthday” to Jesus?

 

There are no kiddos in the house, this Christmas.  Yet, I still awakened around 5 am this morning.  Maybe, since I slept in my childhood bed, last night, my internal Christmas memory clock was working overtime.  🙂

My ears take note of  the sweet little birdie chirping outside my window.  As I stop to listen to her song (of course, I think she’s a girl :-)), I begin to wonder if she knows what today is.  Is she singing happy birthday to Immanuel – God with us?  Her sound is so sweet.  As she continues to sing her praises, my mind begins to wander.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6 ESV

How do I say “happy birthday” to Jesus?  Suddenly, the words “Happy Birthday” seem far too impotent to offer up to the one who was born simply to die – for me, for you, for us.  Doesn’t “Happy Birthday” just sound too simple for a Savior?

I’m so thankful the Father knows the limitations of the English vocabulary.  On this Christmas morning, I’m so humbled to know that I can utter a “Happy Birthday” and rest assured that those modest words are translated from my mouth to His ears into the unspeakable joy, indescribable admiration, and unquestionable appreciation of my heart!

Merry Christmas to each one of you who stops by this post today.  I pray your day is filled with an acute awareness of the unmatched love of Jesus Christ – the one who came to this earth, born as a baby, with an assignment to die.  May we joyfully celebrate Him with our loved ones today and be a little envious of those loved ones who have gone on to celebrate with Him in heaven!

Wise, Virtuous, Valuable,