Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Here's my list...

As promised yesterday, here is my to-do list for the week:

First and foremost... write, write, write! I'm registered for NaNoWriMo which is National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to write a novel (or at least 50,000) words of it during the month of November. I'm a little behind. The challenge ends at midnight on November 30th so my big push will be to write as much as possible before then. Will I make it?  I'm really not sure, but I'm going to give it my best shot.  Check out Thursday's post to find out.

Once that humongous challenge is out of the way there are some other things on my list:

  • clean out some closets and drawers
  • put some things on Craigslist to sell
  • color my hair - yes I wrote that on my blog. It's either color it now or decide to fully embrace the skunk look
  • plan some blog posts for next month
  • go see a movie
  • visit Jeff's granddaddy
  • walk in the Christmas Parade with the Red Cross
  • go to Market Days in Tallahassee on Saturday with my mom and sister
  • get some Christmas cards ready to send
  • meet my new neighbors
Will I get it all done? Don't know. I'm motivated though, so anything can happen. I love having the week off and I continue to be thankful every morning for time to ease into the day and work on the things I love. 

I hope your day is blessed and your week is productive. What do you need to accomplish today? This week?
Leave a comment below, and then come back and let us know how you did. 


Monday, November 28, 2011

A whole week of possibilities....

Today I'm thankful to begin an entire week off from work! 

I've been thinking about what I want to accomplish this week and my first to-do item will be to sit down and make a list. If I have a plan I can accomplish a lot. What will be on the list?  I'll let you know tomorrow.

How about you? If you had an entire week off what would you put on your to-do list? 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Real Reason We Give Thanks

The Gift....        

The Sacrifice...

The Victory...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Please join me in praying...

If you're visiting the post today I would be especially grateful if you would take a moment and pray for my friend Tracy's family. Her funeral is today and it will be one more in a line of unbelievably difficult things for the family to endure.

I can't imagine the heaviness of their hearts...but God is bearing it with them and holding them up.

I can't imagine the emptiness, the hole left by her passing...but God knows the pain of losing your most precious loved one.

I can't imagine facing a future without the one I love the most...but God knows the future and has a plan - a beautiful plan full of love and grace and healing.

So many things I can't imagine, for which I'm grateful. One thing I don't have to imagine, though, is the presence of God. He is there in every moment, the best and the worst.

Tracy loved Jesus and she's with him now. She also had the privilege of seeing both her girls give their hearts to him. Even though she never would have imagined this, I know that she trusted her girls to God's love and care and believed in his promise for them.

She trusted her Christian friends and family to lift her family up in prayer, not just today, but in the days to come.

What a privilege it is to lift one another up in prayer. It is the way we release the power of God into our lives. Imagine God granting us that gift!

Thank you Lord for the gift of intercession. Thank you for the life and testimony of Tracy and her family, that even in their worst grief they honor and trust you. Thank you for walking with them in this time of unbearable loss. Protect them, love them, and give them the peace that is beyond all understanding. You are an awesome God! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Second Chance - Again and Again

Have you ever had to say I'm sorry? I don't mean sorry I bumped into you, or sorry I walked off with your pen, or sorry I took the last Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, or even sorry I burped out loud. We all say "sorry" many times each day for all kinds of things and it barely registers to either the speaker or the hearer. It costs us nothing and often even makes us laugh.

I'm talking about saying, "I'm so sorry. I was - fill in the blank here... wrong, an idiot, so insensitive, selfish...

I'm talking about the kind of sorry that makes your heart hurt to speak your transgression aloud. The kind that brings the heat of shame to your face and the uncomfortable knowledge that someone - maybe many someones - now knows that you're not all that great, really. The kind that can instantly humble you years later just by recalling the episode.  That kind!

The kind that when you're through with your confession you must humbly ask, "Will you please forgive me?"

If you're feeling the heat start to creep right now, then you know what I'm talking about, don't you? The truth is whether we've acknowledged it or not, we've all been there. We've either had to do it, or we still need to do it.

The good news is that we have the perfect example of forgiveness in Jesus. And the rest of that news is...we don't have to go first. Scripture tells us that God's plan for forgiveness was established before the world was even made. He knew everything we were about to do. And he made us anyway. Amazing!

Read Matthew 18 and the parable of the unmerciful servant. This is where Jesus tells his disciples that they should forgive 70 x 7. That does not mean 490 times. It means, do not keep score. God doesn't! He removes our sins as far away as the east is from the west and "remembers them no more". Can mere mortals do any less?

Remember that part where Jesus said if you are offering your gifts at the altar and remember that you have offended someone, leave your gift and go make it right? (Matt 5:23) That is a daily commission to us. And it works both ways. Sometimes we need to offer forgiveness, sometimes we need to ask for and accept it. A humbling task? Absolutely! But here are some of the perks of obedience:

  1. We actually are obedient - God loves that!
  2. We get out from under the weight of sin.
  3. We may enjoy the beauty of restored relationships.
  4. We set an example for unbelievers of the grace and mercy of Christ.
  5. We let go of the anger that can grow and fester in us like a poison.
There are lots of others. You can add some here.

Today, during this season of thanksgiving, I will be thankful for the gift of forgiveness - giving and receiving. I need it every day, don't you. I'm glad that God doesn't keep score. If he did he would have run out of paper a long time ago for me. Because he doesn't I can call on his grace and mercy to me when I need to forgive. 

It feels good. It feels right. It's so hard sometimes. 

Thank you Lord for forgiving me so long ago, and for making it real every day. Thank you for not keeping score - I couldn't stand up under the weight of that. Let your grace and mercy run deeply in me to extend forgiveness to others as you have done for me. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Loving and Losing Tracy - God's Promises in Our Grief

My friend died yesterday, very unexpectedly. She was younger than I am by several years and leaves behind a wonderful Christian husband, two beautiful little girls, parents who love her very much, a sister, school children that she taught, Sunday School friends...the list goes on and on. 

Those left behind are stunned and grieving. As Christians we know that God is sovereign and doesn't make mistakes or get caught off guard - EVER.  As humans we experience all the emotions associated with grief and recognize that grief is a journey to be traveled, not something to "get over" so we can  check the box and move on.

How do we reconcile the human experience of grief with the promises of God? 

1) By recognizing that one does not negate the other. God created us to laugh and to mourn (read Ecclesiastes 3). He prepared us to have seasons of life-some good, some bad. 

2) By remembering that we walk by faith and not by sight - or emotion.

3) By remembering that God is able to bear our grief and all that entails: anger, denial, depression, questioning... all of it.

4) By remembering that the words in Romans 8:28 about God working all things for good for those of us who love Him, are not just feel good fillers in the middle of the chapter. They are a promise from God that He will use this tragedy to accomplish great things in his name. God always keeps his promises. Always. 

5) Mostly right now, by remembering that in his sovereignty God sees our tears, he understands the pain of our loss and the sacrifice that we didn't even have a choice in. He understands. Even as he rejoices in the presence of my friend with him, he captures every precious tear shed by her loved ones. He grieves with his children whose hearts are broken. 

Scripture promises that weeping is for a night, but joy comes in the morning. I think that for Christians joy can also come in the mourning. God will wipe away every tear from our eyes - when the time is right for that. For now, we cling to the promises he makes and renews each day. We allow him to hold us in his lap as we cry our hearts out to him, and we rest in the loving arms of our Father, knowing that he will keep us safe as we cry and when the time for weeping has passed, he will, as the best of fathers always do, make it all better. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fun thanks and a little shameless self-promotion!

Back in September I entered a "Flash Fiction" contest sponsored by the Colorado group of the ACFW -American Christian Fiction Writers. You can click on the icon to visit their website.
ACFW Colorado

In this contest you are given a beginning line, an ending line, and a non sequiter that must be used somewhere in the first part of the story. Everyone gets the same lines. For this contest they were:

Opening line:  'There she was, Amy Gerstein, over by the pool kissing my father'

Closing line: 'That tear in her dress'

Non sequiter:  'a diamond bracelet in the back of the car'

Interesting, huh? I don't know how many entries there were, but I would love to know how many different stories were imagined based on those three lines.

Anyway, here comes the shameless self promotion:  I won second place! My first contest win EVER! I wrote a story called  "Escaping Amy Gerstein", and apparently the judge liked it - he called my ending clever! That just made my little heart sing. I am excited by the win, but the more amazing thing is that God provides encouragement and validation along our journey's just when we need it. Did I need to win to keep writing? No.Did I need to win to know that God has a purpose for my writing? No. Was it a really cool email to open? OH YEAH! In fact, I sat and reread it several times, just to let it soak in. If you want to see a list of the winners on the ACFW site just click on the icon below.
HIS Writers Flash Fiction 1st Place Winner

I think that God grants moments of encouragement to all of us and we need to remember to be thankful for each one. I never want to take a single blessing for granted, do you?

Take a moment a leave a comment. Tell us about a little blessing that made a big impact on you.

If you want to read my little story, click on the Flash Fiction contest tab and read away. Thanks for visiting today. I hope that Saturday is a wonderful day of rest and relaxation for you.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thank you for...

I appreciate you


Independent, capable, self-starting people that we are, we are still created for community. There's just no escaping it. Even the most hermit-like among us has to come up for air occasionally to interact with other living beings. 

We need each other. 

From the moment of birth we become indebted to others for our care, our comfort, and our very survival. Because of others we not only survive, we succeed and thrive. We achieve and accomplish. The circumstances will change over the course of our lifetimes, but we will always need one another. 

The result: we will always have someone to thank for something. Think about those who have given you a word of support or encouragement, the waitress who always serves you well, the author who writes words that touch your soul or just entertain you, the agency that worked with you to accomplish a task, the woman who cleans your house, the people who keep your city safe, the godly man or woman who teaches your kids, your pastor who stands in the gap and supports and prays for you...

We say thank you quickly and often more as an automatic response rather than a heartfelt sentiment. Sometimes something with a little more substance is in order. 

This time of year I am usually writing Christmas cards so that they're ready to drop in the mail box the day after Thanksgiving. This year I'm doing something a little different. Instead of working on Christmas cards, I am making a list of people who have helped and supported me in some way this year. I will send a thank you card to each of them stating specifically how they have touched my life. 

It will 1) be a great reminder for me of all the blessings in my life, and 2) I hope it will serve to encourage these people to thank the special ones in their lives. Who knows where this could lead??

How about you? Who are the special ones in your life who have made a difference this year? Start your list here:






I know you can think of many more than five. Keep going. Find some thank you cards or just grab some notebook paper. I really prefer handwritten notes for this kind of thing. I think it's so much more personal, but if you must (sigh!) an email will do in a pinch. 

Take a few moments to invest in someone today. The investment will pay off in your own life and you will be obedient to the teachings of scripture to encourage one another. As you write the notes thank God for that person and ask for his blessings on them. Can you think of a more productive way to spend a few minutes? 

Your turn:  How do you show thanks to the special ones in your life? Share your thoughts in a comment today. Here's a start for you...

Thank you for reading my blog. It means a lot to me that you make time to come here and spend a few minutes each day. I appreciate you more than you know. Each one of you is a blessing to me and I am truly thankful for you. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Thank You Note to God

One of the best ways to start or end your day is by writing in a Gratitude Journal.  Pick up your pen and start writing and don't stop until you have at least five things on your list. You can probably go much higher than that, but make it at least five. Some positive things that come with this habit...

1.  You begin to look for things for which to be thankful

2.  Your attitude gets turned around - it's hard to be sulky and sullen when you're concentrating on all of the blessings that God places into your life every day

3.  You will develop multiple lists that you can go back and read as a reminder when you need it

4. It will document the hand of God as he works in your life daily

5. You will find yourself speaking your gratitude throughout the day

6. Your attitude of gratitude will be contagious - people will notice and want what you have. What a great open door to share Jesus with them!

7. It is good practice in the good times that will build up your "gratitude muscle" for when times are difficult. You will be in such a habit of thanking God that you will continue to do it, and will be able to find the blessings in the middle of hardships. 

8. Focusing on your blessings in the morning sets the perfect tone for the rest of the day. 

9. Focusing on your blessings at night clears out the concerns of the day and lets you fall asleep with a thankful, peaceful heart as you focus on the hand of God in your life. 

10. You will be blessed because of your obedience. How many scriptures can you list that direct us to give thanks at all times, in all situations? 

So...get a notebook, grab a pen and start listing....you have no excuse and much to be thankful for!

Your turn:  leave a comment sharing 1-5 things for which you are thankful. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Thanksgiving Devotion

This post is a devotional written by Chad Young and is taken from his new book: 
Authenticity: Real Faith in a Phony, Superficial World

I hope you will read it prayerfully and allow God to speak to your heart through it. I'll tell you how to contact Chad at the end. 

“The Thankfulness Commandments”  by Chad Young
One of the clearest things God has been teaching me this past year is to be thankful.  In the past, I have struggled with cynicism and being critical of other people (putting them down so I can feel better about myself), but thankfulness has become one of my most prized tools in the battle against a critical spirit.

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.  And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:15-17, NIV)
I call these three verses “the Thankfulness Commandments” as they can be summed up by the following three commands:  Be thankful (verse 15).  Be thankful (verse 16).  Be thankful (verse 17).  Three times Paul repeats this command. 

This passage in Colossians led me to form a habit, radically changing my life.  As soon as I open my eyes each morning, I begin thanking God for his grace, his goodness, and for allowing me to live.  I then go and spend some time with the Lord, reading His word and praying with a thankful heart.  Expressing my gratitude to the Lord has helped me to be less critical, and it has also helped me to be steadfast when I face trials.  Earlier this year, I tore the ACL ligament in my knee while helping a friend move into an apartment.  This wasn’t my first knee injury.  With previous injuries, it took me weeks to get over the frustration I felt.  This time, amazingly, my first thought was, “Thy will be done, Lord!  If this is the trial you have for me this year, I’m ready for it.  Blessed be your name.”  I know this attitude is the fruit of the Lord working in my life and cultivating a thankful spirit in me.

How often do you thank God for things in your life?  Just before you eat at lunch or dinner?  Only when you pray with others?  Spend some time today thanking God.  If you have trouble, try writing down a list of 100 things you are thankful for as quickly as you can (it only takes a few minutes).  Try it!  Your list may include big things like “my family” or things we take for granted like “my washing machine is working.”  This exercise will help you to see that God has indeed blessed us, and we have a lot of reasons to feel thankful.  If you have recently had a critical heart, confess your sin to God and ask him to transform you into a thankful person.
Spend time today thanking the Lord for all He has provided and done for you.  Watch and see how life-changing it can be when we have a thankful spirit!

****The “Thankfulness Commandments” are taken from Chad Young’s new book, Authenticity: Real Faith in a Phony, Superficial World, available at Amazon. If you'd like to read more about Chad and his ministry just click here  Chad Young.

Thank you Chad, for sharing from your heart. 

Your turn:  How has being thankful changed your attitude and your life? How do you remind yourself to be thankful in all things? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thankful Thoughts from Dove...

I am so very thankful for a loving and merciful God and for His salvation that was given to me, as undeserving as I am. I am also so very thankful for my wonderful husband and children that God has blessed me with and for all of my family and friends. God has given us a wonderful church to attend that is filled with loving people. God is so great and I can not thank Him enough. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Running to the Battle

Steve Camp did a song years ago called Run to the Battle. It was a song about how as Christians we need to be actively involved in the world around us, ministering to the world and sharing Jesus with them. It is a song about not getting complacent and comfortable in our church pews while refusing to get our hands dirty or break a sweat, or take a risk to get right into the heart of the battle - you know, follow the example of Jesus and go where the people are. Here's a line from the song that captures the essence of it:

"Some people want to live within the sounds of chapel bells, but I want to run a mission a yard from the gates of hell"

It takes courage to do that. It takes sacrifice. It takes vision.

Today, as we celebrate Veterans' Day I think about this song. I have watched TV footage of the war in the Middle East. Sometimes I sit with my husband and watch the documentaries about bomb squads or special forces groups. It is intense just watching those things and I can't begin to imagine living them day in and day out, for months at a time, separated from my home and my family, never knowing if today will be the day that something goes horribly wrong.

Today I am thankful that God instills in some the extraordinary courage to choose a life that places them directly in the path of danger - for me. I am humbled and amazed by them, and honored to be an American because of them.

Do you know what it is to have someone place themselves between you and danger? I do. When I worked at Florida State Hospital in the forensic womens' admissions unit we got patients from all over the state of Florida, most of whom had been sitting in jail cells for months without medication and were very sick by the time they got to us. Many were aggressive and violent. It was a frightening place at times. The ward staff - those who were on the unit with the patients for eight straight hours - bore the brunt of this behavior. They were often attacked by the residents - hit, kicked, jumped on, spit on, etc... They came to work every day knowing what would happen. On several occasions a resident would be angry at me or just psychotic and out of control., and would start to come after me. More than once our wonderful ward staff would place themselves between me and that resident - to protect me. ME. That was humbling and reassuring at the same time, and I was grateful every day.

In the same way our country's armed forces willingly take up the job of protection. They deliberately put themselves in harms way, not because they are less valuable or more expendable than we are, but because the honor that is part of them drives them to do it. They do battle every day, not just with human enemies, but with loneliness and fear, with despair, and with their own private demons. They are ordinary people just like us, who have taken on an extraordinary task. Because they do it with excellence we live freely, able to grumble about politics and politicians, taxes and the economy.

We go about our days uninterrupted by danger and most of what is going on in the world because these men and women have disrupted their lives to serve in our places.

Today, remember our serving armed forces. Pray for their safety and for their families. Pray for God's presence with them in a special way today. Thank God for these honorable servants. Pray also for retired veterans dealing with the aftermath - physical and emotional - of service, and pray for those who have been traumatically injured in service. Ask that God will make clear to them the amazing plan he has for each and every life.

Make a special effort today to say "Thank you" to a Vet. Let's never forget or take them or their service and sacrifice for granted.

Do you know a family with a parent or spouse who is deployed? What can you do for them today, this week, during the holidays? 

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Today I am thankful for the gift of anticipation. I don't mean living so far and so extensively in the future that you miss the blessings of today - and the opportunities - but rather that energizing, tummy jumping, little zinging something in your system that you get when something good or exciting is about to happen.

Remember birthdays and Christmases when you were a child and that first squeal-inducing peek at the Christmas loot from Santa?

Remember the first time you got to drive a car -all by yourself?

Remember your first date with that perfect someone?

Remember the interview for that job you really, really wanted?

Remember the day you got married? The day your first child was born?

Remember planning that dream vacation?

None of those things are what we would call spiritual and yet they really are, aren't they? James 1:17 says: "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights."
All those things we mentioned above are gifts from God to the children he loves more than life itself. He gave his life for us and I believe that he delights in our pleasure as we enjoy his gifts. 

Anticipation is one of those gifts. The pleasure of planning and saving and plotting and working toward something we want, and then to achieve it, well that is truly a wonderful and amazing gift. 

I want to learn to anticipate God every day. I want to believe so strongly that he is actively at work around me that I wait in excited anticipation to see what he will do. Will you join me in thanking him for the gift of anticipation, and in asking for his favor as we anticipate the moving of his mighty hand each day? 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thank God for the fleas?

“Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Last fall I was reading a book by Debbie Macomber called One Simple Act: Discovering the Power of Generosity, and discovered a simple truth that has had a profound effect on my prayer life and subsequently what God has been able to do in my heart.
            In chapter one she tells the story of Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsie imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp in an over-crowded, flea-infested barracks. They had a bible and were able to read God’s word and pray together. When Betsie insisted that they thank God for the fleas, the other women, including her own sister, thought she was crazy. But she insisted. She had read 1 Thessalonians 5:18 and taken God’s words to heart. So they followed her lead and thanked God for many things – including the fleas.
            It was not until later that they understood why they had never been bothered by the guards as they prayed, and why the bible they had in their possession had never been found; why there had never been a search. The guards would not step foot in the barracks because of the fleas! What had surely been a constant torment for those women, and could have been a source of anger and resentment was actually a gift of protection from God!
            Let your mind wander back over the last few days. What has frustrated you, irritated you, made you want to take prisoners and eat way too much chocolate? Did you stop to give thanks in any of those times? No? Well, you’re not alone. It is not human nature to respond with gratitude for those things that irritate us. Had I been in that concentration camp my response – if I was talking to God at all – would likely have been something like, “Is it not enough that you let me be brought to this horrible place? Do I have to endure being eaten alive by fleas too?” I know me. Gratitude would not have been my first, second, third, thought. How about you? 

Is there a difficult circumstance you're dealing with right now? Something that seems bad no matter what angle you approach it from? If so, try this today: don't ask God to fix it or remove it, simply thank him for how he will use it in your life to make you more like him. That's all. Just thank him. Don't forget to come back later and let us know what a difference God has made in your life because of this prayer. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Right before my eyes!

It's so easy for our perspectives to become skewed, isn't it? When you work in certain fields you are so overexposed to things that you tend to think everyone in the world is like that. When you work in corrections you tend to see the worst in people and begin to believe that all people are bad and untrustworthy. When I worked as a counselor in a community mental health center years ago it seemed that everyone I saw - adult and child - had a history of childhood sexual abuse. I began to equate the name of that town with this tragic issue. If you work with troubled teens you may begin to think that all teenagers are horrible monsters that should be sent to military school until they're thirty-five and someones else's problem (just kidding about that one, a little!).

My point is, sometimes in the midst of our work we need to come up for air and for perspective. Balance is important in life. God made us holistic creatures, many parts that make up the whole, and each part needs it's own time for expression, renewal, and rest. It's amazing to me how God knows just the right time to bring us what we need.  

Lately I've been seeing and hearing so much that makes me wonder if there are any good, kind, giving people left in the world. I won't go into detail here, but you know what I mean. Just watch the news or read your newspaper. So very discouraging!

Today, though, I am thankful for those who persevere daily. They live from the goodness of their hearts and kindness and compassion flow through them to others - and they inspire and renew my soul. Think over the last few days. Who have you seen speak a kind word, offer a hug, take time to listen, prepare a meal, go the extra mile, just because they can and it's the right thing to do? Those things inspire me and restore my faith in the part of us that is created in the image of  God. 

Some days I need that desperately, and God always seems to know. He makes sure I catch a glimpse of someone being kind, hear a snippet of a conversation between friends sharing a laugh and encouraging one another, or see someone take on a task just because they can help. 

I want to inspire others the way God allows me to be encouraged and inspired so today I will make a conscious effort to commit a few random acts of kindness. I will do something wonderful and anonymous and
it will make me smile all day long as I think about the recipient of my act of kindness wondering about it all day long. Will they wonder if I'm 'religious' or a Christian or a fanatic or some kind of kook? I don't know, but they will wonder something, and maybe they, too will be inspired to pass along a random act of kindness.  

Ask God to make you aware today of the things that people do around you that reflect his image and goodness. Don't miss those things in the chaos of your day. Let him inspire and renew you through those things, and be willing to be the instrument of someone else's inspiration. 

Today, thank God for those who inspire you every day. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Little Things

Today I am giving thanks for the little everyday things that bring me such pleasure and enjoyment. I once read about a woman who kept a gratitude journal. Every morning as part of her quiet time she would list in her journal all the things that were special and precious to her from the previous day. Sometimes it was someone special, sometimes it was simply a sound or a smell or something she saw during the day. There were so many things that happened that she often forgot about them and forgot to be thankful for them.

When she started listing these things in her journal she found that she was much more aware of them throughout the day. She began looking for the blessings of God in little things and making an effort to specifically thank him for each one.

Several things happened. The little things that used to annoy her all the time suddenly had less power to disrupt her day. She was too busy counting her blessings. She found herself more open to hearing God speak during the day because she was listening for him and watching for his hand working in her life. She stopped putting herself at the forefront of every day, and returned God to his rightful place in her life.

In other words, living with a thankful heart every day helped her to see God in everything. It put life and its troubles back into perspective and freed her from the bondage of anger and frustration, pettiness and small-mindedness.

All because she started to count her blessings every day.

Following her example, here are some of the blessings for which I am thankful today:

  • warmth from the sun soaking into my bones as I stepped outside
  • a good book
  • a candle that smells like chocolate
  • a husband who loves, encourages and supports me
  • my home
  • a car that runs and is paid for
  • my job
  • laundry that is completely finished
  • an office that is neat and organized
  • DVDs of the original  Hawaii 5-O series (still have a crush on Steve McGarrett!)
I could continue for a long time. My blessings are many and varied. I needed to remind myself of that, and to remember that in times of the greatest chaos and stress God is mightily at work. Instead of grumbling like someone with no hope, I need to be waiting in grateful anticipation to see the victory of his hand. 

Have you become so focused on your trials and troubles that you have forgotten to be thankful for the little things? You can change that right now. Stop and write down three things for which you are thankful. Once you get started it's hard to stop, so don't! Begin a gratitude journal in which you record your blessings every day. You'll be amazed at the change in you. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thankful Thoughts by Nanci

"I am so very thankful for my family.  God gave us a wonderful gift when He created the "family."  Also, am forever grateful to be in the "family" of God, and Jesus' sacrifice to ensure me a place."

I met Nanci through ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). I love this simple 'thank you' for God's blessings of family and salvation. It makes me think how often I take my salvation for granted - and my family. 

Thank you Nanci for this reminder to all of us. I have some thanks of my own to pass along to my family now, and to God. 

How has God blessed you through your family?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thankful Thoughts from Joy

I am thankful for each dot God has used to connect the dot-to-dots of
my life He had planned when I was created in my mother's womb.
I am so thankful for the way He's used each connection to draw me
closer to Him, to others He has used to draw the line along the dots
there by connecting others to the same goals and making the projects
really His and not mine.
He has planted the desire to write for His glory into my heart and
with each passing year I'm more dedicated to it. I am so thankful I
can look back over that dot-to-dot picture and see HIS hand drawing
the lines and making those wonderfully special connections.
I met Joy online through ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers)and we have shared writing stuff and prayer requests. I so appreciate her sharing her thoughts on Thanksgiving today. If you would like to learn more about Joy you can check out her blog by clicking here: Joy.
Thank you for visiting today. Please feel free to leave a comment sharing what God is doing for you. What are you thankful for this season? 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

From Renea's Heart...

Thanksgiving thoughts

I've really been overwhelmed lately experiencing the Lord's unfailing and everlasting love. I wake up each morning and think "Wow, God's been merciful again!", and Lamentations 3:22-23 echoes in my head..."Because of the Lord's great love (mercy) we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail, they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.". I know that I am so undeserving of God's grace, but He continues to grant it. I know I have been a "good" person (most of my life!), yet I also have so many memories of the myriad times I have sinned; so many times I have hurt others and hurt God. I ask forgiveness from my fellow man and hopefully it is granted. I ask forgiveness from God and I KNOW it is granted! It doesn't seem to matter what I do, the Lord chases after me...He pursues me...He longs to reconcile me and to pour out his love to me over and over. I do not deserve anything from God except to be consumed by Him. I am a sinner and deserve death, but in my recognition, announcement, and acceptance of Jesus as Savior, I am spared death and freely, mercifully given life!  (Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord)

So, most of all in this Thanksgiving season, I am thankful for God’s love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation.  I am so awesomely blessed by God, I could type for days to name them.  He has spoiled me with life, breath, family, etc.  He has met my every need and supplies my “wants” as well!  I see and experience God as a loving Father who lavishes me with all of His abundance.  And I am overwhelmed that falling before Him does not seem adequate...and yet...He loves me anyway!!

List all of the reasons why you “think” you don’t deserve to be loved by God.  Then take a red marker and strike through each one.  Imagine that to be the blood of Jesus cancelling every one.  Even though you cannot comprehend it, listen to God say “I love you anyway!”  Then respond with “Thank you, Lord, I love you, too!”

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Season of Giving Thanks

Is your heart ready?

Luke 10:38-42

"As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, 'Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me!'  'Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'"

In less than four weeks we will celebrate the day of Thanksgiving. Many of us, especially women, barely slow down enough to taste the wonderful food we have prepared for our families, much less to consider the blessings that have come to us from God's gracious hand. The story of Mary and Martha illustrates the busyness that we often substitute for righteousness, forgetting that our own works do not make us so. 

God often requires action, but he never sees a full-to-overflowing appointment book as a sign of righteousness or rightness with him. There are many good and right causes and activities to choose from and we can fill our lives to the brim with good things. 

Our challenge today and in this season of Thanksgiving is not to choose the good things, but to choose "what is better". 

That always starts with choosing God first. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33.

Thanksgiving is a mere few weeks away, followed closely by the madness that is Christmas in our society. It is so easy to get caught up in good things - even doing things for others - that we fail to acknowledge or even think about the true giver of blessings. 

Take a moment to consider your typical family drama during the holidays. How can you help your family refocus on the giver of all good things and find rest and renewal during this time? How can you find it yourself? Do you cringe at the thought of something not getting done? Are you like Martha, wondering why no one sees how hard you are working, why no one cares? Are you already simmering with frustration and resentment at being the 'worker bee' and missing the sweet moments of learning at the Master's feet?

It doesn't have to be that way. Pray this prayer today and pray it everyday until God answers:

Lord, I want to honor you this year, first in my heart, and then in my family and my home. Please give me your thoughts as I plan. Help me to have your perspective on what is right for us, and help me to create a place of peace, refuge and worship for my family. Take away my anxiety about getting things done and replace it with excitement as you speak to me and show me more of yourself. Let my attitude this holiday season reflect the peace and joy you have placed in my heart and let that be my legacy this year. Help me to be truly thankful to you as I count my blessings every day. I ask in the patient, loving name of Jesus. Amen. 

I am thankful for your visit here today and hope that God blesses you abundantly in this season of grace.