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A REAL THANKSGIVING

NORMAN ROCKWELL THANKSGIVING

Norman Rockwell painted the above painting during World War II,

when the world was in pain. We are in pain today as well, and how we must continue to help one another remember who God is, to let our requests be made known to Him, and to do it with thanksgiving. We will continue to practice prayer this week in our secret place, but to give thanks here on the blog, and hopefully, at our Thanksgiving tables.

I KNOW IN YOUR HEART OF HEARTS,

YOU WANT “A REAL THANKSGIVING.”

ONE WHERE YOUR LOVED ONES GATHER AND THERE IS A

TIME OF MEANINGFUL SHARING.

It was 1998, and I was blessed that my parents were coming all the way from California. It is the only time I remember them coming to my home for Thanksgiving, and oh how I prayed. Neither were believers yet and I hoped God would come in some way that they would recognize as well. I prepared questions that my children were accustomed to, but I didn’t know how my parents would respond. Mother did get tired after about a half hour of sharing and took a nap. But Dad stayed and stayed and we kept sharing until the sun was sinking in the Nebraska sky, flooding the sky with the same warmth that was in our hearts.

feb-12-sunset-copy

My dad stood, with tears in his eyes, and said,

“THAT WAS A REAL THANKSGIVING!” I weep today to remember that benediction, that great answer from God who met the desire of my heart.

Within seven years my dad, then my husband, and finally my mother were safe in the arms of Jesus. Today I cherish the memory of that Thanksgiving day.

How I pray something like that might happen for you this Thanksgiving.

I know many of you are not going to be the hostess, but it is possible you could suggest one of these plans. I have three, and I’ll start with the the first two, which are short, easy, and fun, and should work with a group that has secular people in it as well. Then I’ll give you the longer plan, which was similar to what we did that day.

But even if you can’t do any of these on Thanksgiving, we will be sharing thanks together here this week. WE WILL HAVE A REAL THANKSGIVING! Keep going to your closet for confession, petition, and praise. But share your thanks here on the blog by answering the questions and sharing any other thanks.

Plan 1: Have everyone share something they are thankful for this year that they couldn’t have been thankful for last year.

Plan 2: (I stole this from a Hallmark Christmas movie called “A Very Merry Mix-up” They are always about love and not Jesus, but I still liked this one.)  If your group is large you’ll have to divide. Give everyone index cards on which they write each person’s name along with one thing they are thankful for about him or her. Don’t sign the card you write on. Then each person reads their cards aloud and tries to guess who wrote each.

Plan 3. Click here: THANKSGIVING QUESTIONS

Sunday:

1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

2. Might you try any of these plans? (you can even e-mail the plan ahead so they can be thinking!)

Monday:

AND THOUGH THE WRONG SEEMS OFT SO STRONG…

www.youtube.com/watch?v=byIpfEVxhs4

3.  It certainly feels like God is allowing our world to be shaken, but the author of Hebrews tells us to give thanks for what cannot be shaken. (See Hebrews 12:26-29) What cannot be shaken for which you can give thanks? 

Tuesday/Wednesday:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CwmP95-gGw

The above is sung by Amy Shreve, whom you may know from either Idol Lies videos or The God of All Comfort CD. Amy and her husband have ministered with Voice of the Martyrs and are so dear to me — Amy is fighting an aggressive cancer and I’d be thankful for your prayers for her.

4. For what things are we exhorted to be thankful in Philippians 2:1? List them and then give an illustration from your life for at least two of them.

5. What commands therefore follow in Philippians 2:2-5? How could you apply this this Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving Day and Friday

www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMTmZKotTYw

6. What are some ways God has blessed you this last year?

7. How has He sustained you in suffering? 

8. Have you had any especially wonderful answers to prayer? 

Saturday

9. What’s your take-a-way from these last two weeks and why?

Advent Begins Next Sunday!

 

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159 comments

  1. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    Of course I loved the story of when Dee’s parents came for Thanksgiving! I always excitedly anticipate Dee’s suggestions for conversations around the table. We have used them in our family Thanksgivings which include many unbelieving extended family members. This year we are going to Oklahoma City to be with my stepdaughter and her husband. I hope we can do Dee’s plan #3 or maybe plan #1. 

  2. 1.  What stood out?  That your parents came to know the Lord!  What a blessing.  The ideas for conversation around Thanksgiving are great.
    2.   Might I implement any?  Well…I’m not sure.  My situation is that we go to one aunt’s house for Thanksgiving and she has anywhere from 30-40 people there, mostly non-Christians and it would be pretty hard to go around and have everyone share these things but I’m contemplating how I might memorize a few of those questions in option 3 and try to incorporate them in individual conversations that I have with family members.  That same aunt also has “left over day” on Friday!  So I’ll have two opportunities! 😀
     

    1. Mary, happy belated birthday! We are on same birthday month! Praying for you right now and thankful for you.

    2. Just seeing this thread Mary….Happy belated Birthday!!! 

  3. Just wanted to jump on and quickly say HAPPY BIRTHDAY ERNEMA! Bing, you have been an incredible blessing to us here–such rich wisdom and honest sharing. We love you!

      1. Thanks, Dee! I feel blessed today and the “clouds” hovering the last few weeks are slowly clearing up for me. I just keep on clinging to Jesus and trusting Him and His Word. The thanksgiving time has been so precious.

    1. Thank you for the greetings, Lizzy. I am thankful for this blog too and appreciate all the welcoming attitude and insights and openness to share.

      1. Oh, happy birthday, Bing! I have been without internet for a couple of days so I’m glad I didn’t miss the opportunity to wish you a happy birthday!

        1. Thanks, Diane! The ” clouds” are parting. The fellowship here has been a balm to my spirit. There is nothing like burdens shared and burdens divided. My birthday brought some AWEsome “kisses” from the King.

      2. Happy belated birthday Bing! I’m sorry I missed this thread. I hope you had a wonderful day!

    2. Happy Birthday Ernema!!!  And thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes for mine…it was nice.  

  4. Oh I just love any “snippets” of your Dad–he reminds me of you, Dee–so tender and thought-filled. I love how you moved out of any fear about hosting for the first time, you prayed, and God allowed you to give your parents such a gift–“a real Thanksgiving”. Wow.
    We are several states from all our family, so Thanksgiving is just us. But we have had sweet devotions all month–and been creating a “tree of thanks” on our table. Yesterday we were able to bring Thanksgiving meals to several in a project neighborhood. It always amazes me the way some, not all, will welcome us so graciously into their “home” of usually 2 rooms. We always ask if we can pray for them–and yesterday–oh a few really gripped my heart–one had almost no material things, was single and pregnant, but she had Jesus. Sorry–didn’t mean to digress, but after yesterday, I feel I’ve already had a “real Thanksgiving”. I was so grateful to have the opportunity to stretch my usual definition of “family” and love beyond race and “status”–just share Him. 
    And I love your questions too Dee–we’ll be using those! 

    1. This really touches my heart, Lizzy;  oh the impact of this gracious exchange on your children.  I don’t think they will ever forget it.  

  5. My Thanksgiving season started Wednesday. I got to make a Thanksgiving meal for my students in active Christians today. I was able to teach one student how to make a turkey and she was so excited to know so that when she got married she would be able to do it herself. We had a wonderful time together. We weren’t even able to invite  a Chinese family to join us.
    My best friend is on her way from Colorado and I will get to spend the next 3 days with her. On Thanksgiving we are going to my friends house and we are hosting international and then we will go to lukes fiances mothers house.
    Then on Sunday all of my kids will go with us  grandma’s house for a chili cook off because by then we will be so sick of Turkey its not even funny

    1. Tonight I am hosting for tables at an international Thanksgiving. Our church is feeding 300 international students and scholars a real Thanksgiving meal. I don’t have to cook I just get to decorate and host the table. We put 5 kernels of corn on each plate and go around each table sharing five things we are thankful for this year

      1. Cyndi-what a great idea!!

    1. 🙂 4 turkey dinners is PLENTY 🙂 🙂 🙂

  6. Would love to have a Thanksgiving like the one you wrote about, Dee! Praying now I might have the courage to suggest it! Bless you Dee and blog sisters. Have a blessed Thanksgiving celebration, everyone.

    1. good to see you again Kim! Happy Thanksgiving to you too~

      1. Thank you, Lizzy. I enjoy reading the blog even though I’m not here. Always good things to learn!

      1. Thank you, Dee. Great post. Considering how I might make thanksgiving more of a blessing.

    2. Hi Kim! Glad you are back 🙂

      1. Laura, nice to see your picture. Dee is kind to email the blog to me. Like to stop by once in a while.

    3. What a lovely surprise to “see” you here, Kim!

      1. Thank you, Susan. Nice to touch base with all the lovely ladies here.

    4. Hi Kim!! Glad to ‘see’ you again. We have missed you here. :))

  7. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
     
    The norman rockwell and the story of the best thanksgiving you have ever had 🙂 love it! 
     
    So funny though….one of my kids says we always fight on holidays; that we don’t do holidays well as a family! Maybe we can try to do better this thanksgiving.
     
    2. Might you try any of these plans? (you can even e-mail the plan ahead so they can be thinking!)
     
    I would like to try your questions (plan 3), but I wondered how you did it? Did you ask everyone all the questions or did you ask one question per person?

    1. We are small…my husband and me, Sarah and Cooper, and our youngest son Wesley. I would like to do many of the questions.

  8. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?    Dee’s father standing with tears in his eyes and then his comment of a ‘real Thanksgiving’.  That is priceless.  Only God knew what the next 7 years would bring.  
    2. Might you try any of these plans?    Our Thanksgiving dinner will be just five people:  my husband and I, our college daughter, our oldest son and his wife.  I suspect we will have some kinds of deep sharing.  It’s not often the way I think it will go, but I am praying that it will be peaceful and focused.  All 5 of us have had some intense experiences lately:  I’m not free to say what they are, but they vary hugely, in the values projected.  In other words, there are many points of view.  Often the same root; but expressed and lived out SO differently.  It gets even more diverse, when my entire family is together.   We are also planning to help serve a community dinner for those who have no where else to go.  This is a ministry of our new church, so we have never been there before.  Our kids (the 3 that will be with us) were all happy to join in.  I’m praying that will be a positive experience; especially for those family members who don’t embrace the gospel; but who very much look out for those who are less fortunate.

    1. PS: I did copy the questions.  I think a few of them would illicit good discussion amongst our five.  I may adapt one or two.  I am thinking on it!  

      1. Sorry to be so disjointed here.  I keep adding on.    I re-read the intro and I missed a couple things.  I really like the #1 question: that it emphasizes something new this year.  I may ask that; because we often do say something we are thankful for; but it’s good to think of how THIS year we were blessed. 
        We did #2 several years ago.   My husband had the idea and asked everyone to write something they were thankful for.  He collected the cards and read them and we tried to guess which belonged to whom.  The funny part was that he couldn’t necessarily read all of the handwriting…..so a couple messages were changed a bit!  🙂  

    2. Wanda–my sermon today was on Luke 14–and serving the least–humbly, without self-interest. I so love all your examples of how you serve the needy. Your love for others, especially the less fortunate, radiates with Him and I pray that this time of serving together will stir His Spirit in the hearts of those in your family who yet don’t embrace the Gospel. Oh Lord, we ask that You would soften their hearts and break through–replace the stone with flesh~

  9. Thanksgiving; It evokes so many memories and will not be like many of those memories this year.
    I am thankful for the family memory, Dee. What a blessing for your Father to share in that special time with your family.
    My Mother loved to plan Thanksgiving at her home in Vt. She is now with Jesus.
    There will be 8 of us together this year, at my oldest daughter’s home with her husband, daughters, son and girlfriend. We will meet the girlfriend for the
    first time, and she is Jewish. I do not know how much tradition she has in her family, but we are getting together on Tuesday as she and our grandson will travel to her family for Thanksgiving Day.
    I will pray about conversations and let God lead as we are so new in this small group.
    I am also sad that one member, our adopted grandson, has left the family this year and we have no contact with him. That is the shadow.
    I covet prayers for this family and our time together. Thanks

    1. Shirley,  I’m sorry to hear that you have this shadow hanging over your family gathering this year.  Thank you for sharing.  Oh…so very hard to not know where a loved one is.  I hope that your visit with the others bolsters you and that the time with your grandson’s new girlfriend is a very good beginning.  

  10. what stood out?  We have done three beans for years, going around three times saying something we are thankful for.  But to throw in that you couldn’t be thankful for last year puts a new spin on it.  This year we will have Norm’s nieces and families, which adds 10, 5 of which are under the age of 8.  They are secular, so with the space and dynamics we will do the beans with the spin for the adults.
    what cannot be shaken?  There is only one unshakable, and He is God.  Everything else is shakeable.
    Phil 2:1 the fellowship of His Spirit.  Having just come through a long dry season when I heard nothing, felt nothing from Him, and to now be back out in the light I am so grateful!  I did a word study on grateful vs thankful and found they are in essence the same.  Grateful feels deeper to me, maybe because thanks is used every day, often flippantly.
    Phil 2:2-5 how can I apply these commands this thanksgiving?  The answer is in the very word, by giving.  Giving to others all day long.  Not looking for return or applause or even empathy.  To look for opportunities to touch them for Jesus.
    wonderful answers to prayer.  My sister with dementia getting on the plane to relocate close to her daughter, without the cat or the cigarettes that were problems.  The twelve year old girl who medically should have died three times but is still alive and starting to recover.  On a trip to see missionaries, being in the pickup that hit a native boy and crying out for the Lord to have mercy, and for the boy to live without serious injury.
    take away.  I think of myself as a grateful person, but this stirred up the fire even more.  Thank you, Dee

      1. Dee-How i love hearing about The Orchard! :))) How did it go?

  11. MARY E just told me her birthday was Friday! (she’s on my list now!) (and she’s not on FB so I wanted to share this here) So happy belated birthday to our dear Mary E. : )

    1. Oh yes,  HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY wishes from Minnesota, Mary E.!     I hope your Friday was a happy one.  I have to say that I would love for one Thanksgiving, to be with an extended family gathering such as yours.  30-40 people!  We are only our immediate family, except some years, we invite a friend of our kids or someone we know who has no where to go.  My youngest daughter has sometimes said,  ‘How come we don’t have ‘normal’ holidays like everyone else?’  She means…..BIG gatherings!!  (I guess that’s how many of her friends experience holidays)  We just never have.  Geographical distance, I guess.  And work schedules.  And small houses.  Our own family can be 13 if everyone is here at once)  but we will only have 5 for Thanksgiving.  I hope you have a chance to have some meaningful individual conversations! 

      1. Ha!  Sometimes (in the past) I have said to my mom  “why can’t we have just our immediate family?!” 😀  Ours is so large it is almost overwhelming…you sort of feel like it is hard to really get to talk to anyone much, but I’m thankful for my family who actually want to be together, unlike some broken situations.  

  12. This is the first Thanksgiving Day that we are gathering without my mother-in-law, Evelyn. (Ralph, her husband and my father-in-law has been gone 6 years now). My husband and I are kind of hosting his 2 sisters and their families at the farm (where Evelyn continued to live after Ralph passed away). We will be doing what my mother in law would normally do and I know it would be bittersweet. I am thankful, though that we can do this and am praying for a spirit of love and support for one another. Evelyn’s absence would be palpable; I am expecting some sharing of grief. 
    I am praying about suggesting a combination of 1 and 2 with my husband and his 2 sisters. This would be a first for us and there might be some awkwardness. So I plan to ask the three first before I E-mail the rest. There would be 13 of us the youngest being 10. Our daughter has to work in Chicago so she will not be with us. Still I thought I can include her by sending the instructions and having her E-mail her response and I can scan her own “paper’s so she can read what we are thankful for her.
    Please include us in your prayers.

    1. I see so much thought and sensitivity to how everyone is going through grief and also how you are including your daughter, Bing.  I will pray that you have a blessed day.  Those firsts are so hard; especially when the ones missing were such a part of that particular event.  May grace and peace flood your gathering.  

      1. Thank you, Wanda! I need those prayers as I know we will be missing both of my parents in law while we will be at their house they lived at for almost 60 some years.

  13. I like the deeper questions on Dee’s Thanksgiving plan. It is not Canadian Thanksgiving here but I plan to contemplate the questions myself, see if I can find some answers myself. However,  we will get turkey meal anyway as we have been invited to go to my American stepmom’s Thanksgiving dinner! Perhaps I can incorporate the questions into our conversation there, somehow. 

    1. Nice you can celebrate Thanksgiving again, Diane!  

    2. lucky you!  I never get tired of turkey!  There never seems to be enough, and I love leftovers, especially white bread turkey sandwiches!

      1. I’m with you, Laura!   Turkey and cranberries; my favorite food 🙂   

        1. In fact, I am very thankful for lots of food on that day! My mouth has been watering thinking about Thanksgiving dinner! I wanted to make it this past weekend….I know, so shallow.

      2. Laura-we were supposed to go to OKC to be with my stepdaughter and her husband but two of my boys came down with fevers yesterday so we decided to stay here. I ordered a Thanksgiving meal-already made from Price Chopper. It is cheaper than me making it, and it will be a sweet time together. We are going to use #3 questions. 🙂

        1. So sorry about the sickness, but what an AWESOME idea about the meal 🙂 I wish I had thought of that!!! Have a great day!

  14. Happy belated birthday, Mary e. God bless you!

    1. Thanks Diane, and Happy belated Thanksgiving to you! 😀  

  15. Sunday:
    1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    The grace of God to you and to your parents, Dee-that they came to know the Lord before they passed away. The story about your Dad just touched my heart. And when you said you are praying for us that something like what you have experienced would happen to us-that just made me smile as I think of this coming Thanksgiving Day without my mother-in-law. I am praying for some breakthroughs in my relationship with my husband’s sisters. We are in good terms, have been through some hard stuff together but would like to see a deeper spiritual connection not only as family but as brothers and sisters in Christ. I am excited and expectant of what God will do! May I not be a hindrance to His wonderful working power in my life and in the lives of my loved ones.

  16. 3.  It certainly feels like God is allowing our world to be shaken, but the author of Hebrews tells us to give thanks for what cannot be shaken. (See Hebrews 12:26-29) What cannot be shaken for which you can give thanks?        I am still pondering the meaning of this passage.  I’ve read a few versions.  What really stands out to me is that our God is a consuming fire; so when He purifies, the work is complete.  ‘Thy dross to consume and Thy gold to refine’   (a phrase from How Firm a Foundation)  He does that in our own lives in daily ways and in big, dramatic ways; usually associated with pain and sadness.   How this will all look on a grand scale, I have not yet imagined.  But HIS true and pure Kingdom will remain; never to be shaken.    As I was just pondering these thoughts, I came across this verse which I found written on the caringbridge site of a friend who is fighting breast cancer. I reposted it on my cousin’s caringbridge.   My cousin was recently dx with a very serious cancer.   This week, we will go to the funeral of yet another friend, who just passed away, at a young 55 years, following a year of fighting a brutal cancer.  He is now in the presence of our Lord.  These words from Psalm 62 bring me comfort, even as I type.    As comes to me, every time a loved one dies of cancer; when I know that they know the Lord;  ‘Cancer doesn’t win.  Cancer doesn’t have the final say.’    Our Lord; the Resurrection and the Life gives us a hope that cannot be shaken.  
     
    “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.   He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.’  Psalm 62: 1,2

    1. Agree Wanda. The verse is empowering. Reminds me of the verse I would say to myself over and over when I received radiation treatments. 
       
      “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.””
      ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭41:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬
       

      1. And as you know, Laura,  I had the very same verse which I repeated to myself over and over before each of my 4 cancer surgeries in 2004 and ’05.   It has always amazed me that the Lord gave us both that verse; years and miles apart and we didn’t even know each other existed.  🙂  His orchestration of our lives is beyond our understanding!  

        1. That’s right Wanda!!! So thankful for our recoveries :). 

  17. 3. What cannot be shaken for which you can give thanks? 
     
    Gods love for me, of course, can’t be shaken. Love of family members and close friends who are like family members; I am thankful for love.

  18. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
     
    I love the Norman Rockwell painting! I think it portrays something of the longings of our hearts…not so much the delicious food, but what a blessing a delicious meal is – but the happy smiles at the table, the warmth, the fellowship, the picture of everyone getting along with each other. I always have to be cautious with these ideals and expectations at the holidays, though, as I can find myself saddened and disappointed when my expectations are not met. For example, last year we spent Thanksgiving at my sister’s, and her husband is a huge sports-guy, and due to the open-concept of her home, the giant TV with football game on dominated everything…the TV was never turned off. I often am left with the feeling that my family holidays are inadequate in some way.
    I also love Dee’s story of her parents spending Thanksgiving with her family. And that her dad said that this was a “real Thanksgiving” – and what prompted that was the deep, meaningful sharing of their hearts…it was experiencing connection, intimacy. That’s what made the biggest impression!
     
    2. Might you try any of these plans?
     
    We alternate between our two families every year for Thanksgiving, so this Thursday we will be at the home of my in-laws…both of my sons will be there (ages 21 and 24) and also a friend of my in-laws who is a widow and all of her family live out of state. Also my husband’s brother will be there. I’m thinking maybe Plan 2…
    I love to play games at the holidays and always try to come up with something fun, but it isn’t always met with much support…some sighs and groans, even from my husband. It’s hard to explain, but with my husband’s family – his parents and his brother – they just are not the kind that have deep, meaningful conversations. Conversation is mostly superficial with them. His parents are Catholic as well as their friend who will be there. They are faithful to attend Mass every week and my father-in-law, in particular, seems to derive much from his faith, but they don’t talk about the Lord. My brother-in-law is not a believer and he is uncomfortable at family gatherings, usually leaving the table after the meal to retreat to the television. I doubt very much that I would be able to get 100% participation from everyone.
    As an aside, I found out yesterday that my mom and dad will be by themselves on Thanksgiving. They were supposed to go to my sister’s and her husband on Thursday, but my dad told me yesterday that my sister and her husband are in a fight and therefore she isn’t having Thanksgiving on Thursday. But they will be going over there on Friday because my sister’s daughter, her husband, and their baby are going to come on Friday for a Thanksgiving dinner. My oldest sister and her husband will be at his mother’s house on Thursday – they started alternating turns every year like we do, but they no longer will spend any holidays with my side of the family any more because last October, this sister and my other sister got into a fight and they haven’t spoken in a year. But I feel badly that my parents will be alone on Thanksgiving day.

    1. Susan,   I feel for you in the scenarios you described.   Your words are nearly identical to what my daughter is feeling as she goes to her fiancee’s home again for Thanksgiving.  They have gone 3 of the last 4 years to his family and she longs to be with us.  She said, too, that the TV is never turned off and everyone retreats to their phones and the Black Friday ads.  Both things she detests.   I am glad to know that she appreciates and misses our family Thanksgivings without TV and with games and family stuff, but I’m sad that she is heading reluctantly to his family again.  I am disappointed for her.  🙁  However, she did say that last year, they came armed with puzzles and games and people DID participate.  She has now been dubbed the ‘one who loves puzzles’.  Ironic, because she actually doesn’t like puzzles very much, but just had to do something to get people interacting and away from electronics!  I am hoping that works for them again.  They would have been with us this year, but her fiancee’s step dad is fighting cancer and they wanted to spend the holiday with him again.  Today, as I putz around my house trying to get some pre-Thanksgiving things done, I will be talking to the Lord about these things you just shared.  

      1. Oh Wanda…so hard for your daughter, yet appreciate the fact that they want to be there for the step dad. That’s a good idea that they come prepared with some games, though! I did that last year at my sisters – I looked on the internet for some kind of a Thanksgiving trivia quiz – found one, typed and printed enough copies, brought my own pencils, and asked everyone to participate. I remember holidays at my mom and dad’s when I was growing up…after dinner, the women would be out in the dining room, conversing, playing games, and the men would be off in the family room watching sports, but sometimes one of them would venture out to the dining room. But everyone came to the dining room for dessert and coffee.

    2. Lord I agree with Dee. Comfort Susan with your presence-Be the joy of her heart as she steps into this and I am grateful you have walked in her shoes when you put on flesh and dwelt among us, so you know how her heart will ache! So thankful you know! 

  19. Happy Belated Birthday, Mary E! I hope you had a very special birthday and thankful you are here on the blog with us!

  20. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why? Stories. The Rockwell painting tells a beautiful story and the mental picture of Dee’s family sitting around sharing till sunset. Both are easy to covet. I long for stories such as these, not having family close, always being in a new home every couple of years, sweet memories seem “harder” to come by let alone traditions. But as I stood on the stoop of sadness God reminded me that He is given me a story, too. It just looks different. If  I embrace that picture and let it be told, instead of straining in vain to make it look the way it “should,” I will find His hand and His goodness in the midst of it. I will let Him tell me my story, rather than me telling Him how my story should be told. 
     
    I was was also struck that I need to be praying, specifically, for those that will be ’round my table this year (we always host single soldiers from my husband’s unit).
     
    2. Might you try any of these plans? Oh yes. Probably something in between #2 and #3 depending on who ends up coming to dinner but we will have a time of sharing! =) I always appreciate Dee’s suggestions for questions with groups at dinner And usually use them.

    1. But as I stood on the stoop of sadness God reminded me that He is given me a story, too. It just looks different. If  I embrace that picture and let it be told, instead of straining in vain to make it look the way it “should,” I will find His hand and His goodness in the midst of it. I will let Him tell me my story, rather than me telling Him how my story should be told. 

       
      Those words are pure gold, Jill.  God bless your Thanksgiving.  I know that He will.  My story is different, but we have almost never been with extended family for holidays. (though now that my own kids are grown,  having them and their spouses/families come has become a treat.)   The years that we invited others; (mostly internationals who had no place to be and had never had an American Thanksgiving meal, a couple of times, a gay young man who did not have a welcoming family;)  I have felt so blessed by their time with us.  Your kindness will long be remembered.  

    2. Jill, your words also touch my heart…“I long for stories such as these…but as I stood on the stoop of sadness God reminded me that He is given me a story, too. It just looks different. If I embrace that picture and let it be told, instead of straining in vain to make it look the way it “should”, I will find His hand and His goodness int he midst of it.”
      I agree with Wanda – this is pure gold, Jill. We/I create so much unhappiness and discontent when I look longingly at someone else’s “story”, wishing it were mine, instead of focusing on the blessings He has given me and the words He is writing in my story.

  21. As I read of some of you who have less than “wonderful” Thanksgiving memories and fear for this week, my heart goes out to you as I read each story. I want to paste Scotty Smith’s prayer for us all today, hoping that it will encourage you all to look to Jesus, our Great Hope.

     
    Heavenward by Scotty Smith

    A Prayer in Praise of Our Father Who Loves to Encourage Us
    http://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/scottysmith/2015/11/23/a-prayer-in-praise-of-our-father-who-loves-to-encourage-us/

    Posted: 23 Nov 2015 03:03 AM PST
         May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thess. 2:16-17 
     
         Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Rom. 15:4
     
         Dear heavenly Father, I praise you today for your compassion-driven, wisdom-laden, Swiss-timed commitment to encourage us. You could delegate a legion of angels or you could send a raven to feed us breakfast—either of which would be cool, but instead, you personally come to us in the Scriptures by your Spirit.
     
         Indeed, the Bible is such a gift to us—a treasure trove of hope, an artesian spring of refreshment, a perpetual supply of redemptive surprises, an always-working GPS for return trips to gospel sanity; for it’s the “cradle of the Christ,” not a manual for self-reform. It shows us that wisdom is a Person—the Lord Jesus, not a formula for success. It reveals the depth of our need, so we might boast in the riches of your provision—the gospel of your grace.
     
         Father, may the “eternal encouragement and good hope” of the gospel free us for a week of gratitude, not grumbling; blessing, not cursing; giving, not grabbing; encouraging, not criticizing—loving one another as Jesus so radically loves us.
     
         As this day begins (and continues), fill our hearts with your beauty, that our words will offer life-giving encouragement—no matter what we experience from others. May the overflow of our hearts reveal the wonders of your love. Give us thick skin and big hearts for whatever providence determines for this day and week.     
     
         Should we “leak grace” (and surely we will), refuel the joy of our salvation that we might love and serve you well until we climb, once again, into our beds. How we praise you for your steadfast commitment to our encouragement and hope. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ merciful and mighty name.

  22. Just pondering a bit on Rockwell’s famous painting.  I’ve known for a long time that it was part of the Freedom Series he did in the 40’s which were made into posters and promoted the sale of war bonds; this one entitled Freedom from Want.  The series was inspired by FDR’s State of the Union speech.  Such an interesting history and I do like the comparison that Dee made about the pain the world was in then and the pain now.  There are other comparisons too.  An immigrant from the Japanese occupied Philippines wrote an essay critiquing the painting, based on his experiences as an immigrant.  The essay was almost lost but was recreated.  I didn’t get far enough to find and read it.  I’ve always enjoyed this painting but never stopped to think about the mastery it required to paint so much white on white.  That’s where Rockwell got such critical acclaim for it.   (In fact, I always thought it should be more colorful, as since there is not yet food on the plates, there is so much white visible everywhere.  Which I now realize, is quite genius!    Here’s one little commentary from Wikipedia about that.
     

    The people in the painting are not yet eating, and the painting contrasts the empty plates and vacant space in their midst with images of overabundance.[12]

     
    No matter how you think of it,  the disparity of people in the WW II era and the disparity now, is so real.  Sometimes, depictions like this cause me to think about the stark contrasts in life.  But I guess Rockwell thought about it too.  When asked about his idealism,  he is said to have remarked that he painted life as he wanted it to be.      He also said that their cook made the turkey, he painted it and then he ate it.  Not often did he eat the models he painted, he said.  🙂  
     

    1. Wanda-Dee’s pointing out your eye for the details made me think–how your keen eye blesses the artist. If Norman Rockwell were here, I’m sure it would bless him to have someone notice what must have required incredible thought, and patience! And then, it struck me how much of the Master Artist’s details I so quickly overlook. I may enjoy the big picture, but to look even closer at the care and concern for every part–I can thank and bless Him for each one. Not sure I’m making a lot of sense, but I appreciate your thoughts here, and they led me to desire to see more of His beauty…not miss the details…for how that noticing brings joy back to the Giver~

  23. 3.  It certainly feels like God is allowing our world to be shaken, but the author of Hebrews tells us to give thanks for what cannot be shaken. (See Hebrews 12:26-29) What cannot be shaken for which you can give thanks? 
    All things of eternal value cannot be shaken:
    God’s kingdom cannot be shaken
    His Word cannot be shaken
    The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” Isaiah 40:8
    God’s love cannot be shaken Jeremiah 31:3  The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying:  I have loved you with an everlasting love;  I have drawn you with loving-kindness.
    PRAYER Father, I thank You for loving me with a love that will never run out or dry up. May Your loving-kindness seep into every area of my being…spirit, soul and body. I want to experience Your love in a deeper way than I have ever experienced before. I pray that my heart may be rooted and established in Your love, and that I might have power to grasp how wide and how long and how high and how deep is your love for me expressed in the person of Your Son, Jesus Christ. In the name of Your beloved Son, Jesus I pray, AMEN.
    (a poem/prayer from http://www.fathersloveletter.com/Devotionals/)
    My salvation based on the finished work of Christ cannot be shaken Ephesians 2:8-9
     
     

    1. Bing–I love your reference to Isaiah 40:8. You remind me of one of my favorite Fernando Ortega songs, I think it will bless you too: 
      https://youtu.be/TJ7_fFipwxU

      1. Thanks for sharing, Lizzy. I love Fernando but I have never heard of this song. “The Word of the Lord endures forever.”

  24. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
     
    The Norman Rockwell painting just exudes happiness, love, and joy.    I feel like that is the kind of Thanksgiving I want to have.    I was noticing that no one is looking at the turkey — they are looking at one another.   Their expressions reflect  how happy they are to be together.   I also loved Dee’s story of The Real Thanksgiving when her parents visited her for Thanksgiving — that warmed the cockles of my heart!
     
    2. Might you try any of these plans? (you can even e-mail the plan ahead so they can be thinking!)
     
    I think I might use plan #1.   We will have 12 people here in our home for Thanksgiving.   I haven’t done that for awhile — we have been guests in other homes.   I am fortunate that my daughter who recently got married will be able to spend Thanksgiving with us along with her husband, as they have already celebrated an early Thanksgiving with his family.  His parents are flying to Florida for the holiday.   We will also have my husband’s sister, the son who lives with her, and another son and his wife and three children.    If my husband’s family ALL got together, they would be more than 50 people.   When the family was smaller (around 35) we would all try to get together for Thanksgiving, but 50 is a pretty awesome number for most homes!    However, it still wouldn’t happen, if we had the space, because unfortunately two of my husband’s sisters are not speaking, and so their two families can’t be in the same room with one another!   🙁      The 12 who will be in our home are all Christians, but two do not attend worship.  I feel certain they will all go along with plan #1 just fine.  I anticipate some very deep feelings from some.   Thanks, Dee, for reminding us again this year to plan for a “Real Thanksgiving!”   

  25. Struggling here.   My head and my heart really want to participate, but the carpal tunnel stuff in both hands is increasingly painful, no matter how much I limit my computer time  As soon as I begin typing and scrolling, my shoulder flares up and my wrists hurt.  If I vary my activities all day, I can manage, but still, when I go back to the keyboard, it’s very hard.  SAD.  There’s so much one needs to do on a computer every day.  Now I will be trying to prioritize and do as little as possible.  That’s not me.  You know how much I like to write and converse and process here.  
     
    The next two days are the visitation and funeral of our sweet friend, Joe who fought so hard, but didn’t win his battle with cancer.  (Well, yes he did win.  He is with our Lord.  But oh, the pain for his wife and family.  He was only 55).    I’m sad on many accounts tonight.    
     
    If I can manage, I will try to keep abreast here and maybe write something at the end of the week.  

    1. Wanda,  it makes me so sad to learn how much pain you are in and how it may limit your participation here.   I will sorely miss you.   You bring so much life and love to this blog.   Perhaps if you rest your hands for a little while they will improve.   I’m sure you have already studied the ergonomics of your computer position and height of your chair, etc.   Those things can make a big difference, so I’m told.  Do you sit at a computer desk with an office chair?    Or are you using a laptop on your dining room table?    Laptops are very convenient, but seldom is one in a truly good osition when using one.    If you haven’t already,  check things out.   We don’t want to go the way of surgery unless absolutely necessary!  
       
      Also so sorry to learn of your 55-year-old friend’s death.   We have spent time at the mortuary this week also for an 84-year-old, former neighbor.  Still it was impacting for me, because I got to figuring out that she was the last one of my neighbor group who raised all our kids together — now it is only me and a woman who is in a nursing home, who is barely aware of anything!  We no longer live in that neighborhood, as we moved into a condo in the suburbs about 12 years ago.   Old age can be very difficult in so many ways!    I have a friend who says “These are  not the golden years — they’re pewter!”   🙂
       

      1. Yes, Deanna……it is so hard to feel like a certain circle of friends or even acquaintance have all gone before us.   Sitting in the pew at the funeral today, I kept thinking that, while it used to be the generation above us, now it is more common to be saying farewell to our friends and age peers.  Kinda makes one look around and the people next to you and wonder.  

    2. Wanda!!! Don’t give up…Do you have a tablet or iphone? You can talk text your answers and it works great! I do it when I am handling baby in the morning and I have hands free 🙂 Try it you’ll like it!

    3. Wanda, I’m sorry you are having such pain.  Will pray for the carpal tunnel situation!

    4. Wanda, I’m so sorry you’re in so much pain. Have you found a hand specialist yet? Also, my mom, many years ago, had carpal tunnel and she wore some sort of a soft brace on her hand at night and found that it helped because it held her hand in the correct position during the night. She still wears it on occasion. Now she did have to have surgery, but mainly because she had this strange lump that would appear on the back of her hand and it was some kind of a neuroma that was destroying the tendons in her fingers, causing her fingers to droop. So they fixed that and at the same time did the carpal tunnel. She did very well.

      1. Thank you, Deanna, Laura, Mary and Susan,
         
        I am wanting to learn about better ergonomics but am overwhelmed looking online.  So many products and I don’t want to invest in things that aren’t helpful.  Hoping someone in person can direct me better.  I do use a lap top.  I have a desk top in the basement but it is inconvenient to run down there very often.  I know I need a better situation.    I am seeing a hand specialist on December 15 I think it is.  My dominant hand hurts way more than my other, even though the electrode/needle test said the opposite.  But it’s definitely in both hands.  I’ve been sleeping with a hand support for 2 months now.  I have one that is good quality and really helps.  The other, is not as effective.  Need to buy a second good one.  I don’t have a smart phone and really don’t want one.  Laura, I’m such a writer/processor/editor, I don’t think I could ever ‘speak’ my messages or thoughts!  It’s just inborn in me to be a wordsmith; never wanting my words to be misunderstood.  (Which, when I speak, they often are!)  Writing has been my favorite mode of communication for a very long time.  But also, I watch my husband speak into his phone all the time, and he constantly has to edit because it doesn’t say exactly what he just said.  Anyway, I’m pretty low tech, but the larger the key board the better.  My husband has an ipad that I’ve used with a stylus, but don’t think I’d be able to type as much as I’d want to if that were my only option.  I’ll keep working on the problem.  Just felt so down when I wrote this, because I’d been doing a lot of research and other writing online and it made me sad that doing what I like and feel I need just hurt so much!  Thank you all so much for caring and for your thoughts and ideas.

  26. Back from an amazing trip, but then spent a couple of days in bed with unpleasant after effects 😮
    First few questions are a bit difficult for me… Thanksgiving is not a tradition I’ve experienced. Sounds rather like our Christmas, with family coming together? Having just returned from very troubled parts of the world where police and military presence was very obvious and sometimes confronting, it’s very clear how easily most circumstances in my world could be shaken. Giving thanks for the good things I have living in this peaceful part of the world, but saddened that our government is holding onto that so jealously that they are unwilling to let any fleeing trouble share our blessings. Even the UN is asking the government to change their policies – turnbacks, indefinite detention, forced repatriation, offshore processing… some really cruel stuff going on. They are even trying to pass a law that will make it illegal to report child abuse in immigration detention!!! Community protests occurring to try and get all children out of immigration detention – some are there for years…

  27. 3.  It certainly feels like God is allowing our world to be shaken, but the author of Hebrews tells us to give thanks for what cannot be shaken. (See Hebrews 12:26-29) What cannot be shaken for which you 
     
    Oh, how I loved the video of “This is My Father’s World!”    The photography was particularly beautiful and fit the lyrics so well.    With all the present concern about terrorists, etc., it is so comforting to remember “God is the ruler yet!”     I keep praying, “O God, please thwart the efforts of the evil-doers!”    
     
    We had the most beautiful wet snow over the weekend, and it is still clinging to the branches of the trees.  As we left to go to church on Sunday,  I was under stress — preparations for a church potluck, I was worship leader,  I was responsible for gathering up all the food parishioners brought as Thanksgiving offering and deliver it to the food pantry.   Then I noticed what I was driving past — a fairyland of pristine, white snow, lace-like on the trees.  I could just feel my blood pressure lowering.  I was reminded that God was still in charge, and He would get me through all my responsibilities — which He did!   

    1. I love this post, Deanna and can so relate to the stress and then catching the beauty around me and feeling the blood pressure lower.  Such a good reminder.

  28. 4. For what things are we exhorted to be thankful in Philippians 2:1? List them and then give an illustration from your life for at least two of them.
     
    (1) Encouragement
    (2) Being united with Christ
    (3) Comfort from His love
    (4) Fellowship with the Holy Spirit
    (5) Tenderness
    (6) Compassion
     
    I could easily comment on all of them.  However, “comfort from His love,” and “fellowship with the Holy Spirit” jump out at me now.     Comfort from His love, especially in some of the health issues I have been through with my husband.  Without the comfort from His love I would not have been able to endure the admissions through the ER (stressful to say the least) and coming home to an empty house by myself.  But I was aware of His presence with me, holding me up and nudging me forward.  Right now things are pretty good with John, for which I am truly thankful!  
     
    Fellowship with the Holy Spirit.   I have felt this personally and witnessed it corporately, as our congregation has nested itself within the building of another church.   We are Disciples of Christ and they are Lutheran, but it is obvious that we are all God’s children.   They have been so kind to us, and I see people in our congregation reaching out to those in the other congregation.   I think this is a very good thing that we are doing, and I feel we are being led by the Holy Spirit!  
     
     
    5. What commands therefore follow in Philippians 2:2-5?
     
    (1) Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit
    (2) In humility consider other better than yourselves
    (3) Look not just to your own interests but to the interests of others
    (4) Have a Christ-like attitude
     
     How could you apply this this Thanksgiving?
     
    I think just the very situation of my being hostess to a gathering of twelve in my home should put me in a position to be more concerned about the interests of others than of my own interests.  By God’s grace, may I do it totally cheerfully.   Sometimes when I put myself aside I am guilty of resenting it all while I am doing it.  I need to have the Christ-like attitude and consider that I am giving a gift joyfully, not lying down and allowing myself to be a floor mat!   
     
    Just in case I don’t get another chance before the actual day,   I want to take this opportunity to wish all of my blog sisters a very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!     I love you all so much!

    1. Deanna–what a beautiful post. Thankful John is doing better, and praying for your time at Thanksgiving to be filled with His blessings. Love to you~

  29. So thankful for sweet students today! In my 20 years of teaching, I have never received a Thanksgiving gift. Today, one of my students gave me a small baggie of fall mix…pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, graham cracker crumbs, etc. with a note that says “thankful” adj\thank-ful\ Synonyms: appreciative, grateful, delighted, pleased, joyous, happy, glad, contented.” She also gave me a “stovetop simmer.” I was astonished that I received this very thoughtful gift, and it kind of makes me want to cry really 🙂

    1. oh Laura! what a sweet affirmation of the difference you make in these students lives! You deserve “thanks” from all of them, but how sweet of this one to stop and say it, and so thoughtfully! Hang on to that in the hard-to-press-on days…you make a difference, and you are loved! 🙂

    2. That’s really sweet, Laura! It is nice to know that you are appreciated by your students!

  30. 3. What cannot be shaken for which you can give thanks?
     
    I am thankful for JESUS. I am thankful that the Father saw me and knew me before I gave any thought to Him, and that He enabled me to come to Jesus. ‘No one can come to Me unless the Father has enabled him.” John 6:65  I am thankful for my relationship with Jesus. There are so many verses that speak of what cannot be shaken, cannot be taken away from those who belong to Jesus. “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:28  And even when life gets shaky in the worst way, when grief and sorrow comes, I remember Jesus’ words to Martha, “I AM the ressurection and the life.” John 11:25Jesus not only gives life, He is the life.

  31. 4. For what things are we exhorted to be thankful in Philippians 2:1? List them and then give an illustration from your life for at least two of them.
     
    *encouragement from being united with Christ
    *comfort from His love
    *fellowship with the Spirit
    *tenderness
    *compassion
     
    I have been listening to podcasts from Chip Ingram for the past several weeks now. I listen while I do housework, while I drive, sometimes when I can’t sleep. To have my mind filled with the truth from God’s Word and to be reminded of what I have in Him and His love for me, comforts me when I’m feeling lonely or discouraged or afraid. When I even get an inkling of His love for me, it fills me with hope. Sometimes I lie in bed and imagine that I am reaching up my arms to God, like a child who wants to be picked up, and He reaches His arms down to me. I’ve been reading Windows of the Soul by Ken Gire, and I find this word picture especially comforting…
     
    “We long for the assurance that we are not taking this journey alone. That He is walking with us and talking with us and intimately involved in our lives. We have all had moments when we’ve experienced something of that intimacy. Moments when God has touched our lives like a soft hand of morning sun reaching through our bedroom window, brushing over our eyes, and waking us to something eternal.”
     
    It is those moments, when through listening to a message, or reading His Word, or through a friend, or when I sense His love and compassion for me, that I feel thankful. I have been hiking a lot this Fall, and feel His presence in the world He has created, in its beauty, because it reflects His beauty. A lady in my Sunday school class coming up to me last week and giving me a hug and saying she was glad to see me – that was encouragement from being united in Christ. I am thankful for this place where we are all united in Him, and there sure is a lot of compassion, tenderness, and comfort here.
     

    1. Susan, I love these words from  Windows of the Soul by Ken Gire. So precious! Yes, how I long for Him to walk along with me, talk to me and as Beth Moore might put it, “love on me.” I am so thankful that God is making Himself known to you this Fall. Me too. I feel like I am beginning to revive after a long illness.
      May God bless you this Thanksgiving!

  32. 3. What cannot be shaken for which you can give thanks? The Kingdom of God. And this God is OUR God.

  33. 4. For what things are we exhorted to be thankful in Philippians 2:1? List them and then give an illustration from your life for at least two of them.
    My response here is a tad too long but wanted to share songs I found realted to the joys we have in Christ:

    encouragement from being united with Christ
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBcqria2wmg  Who am I by Casting Crown
    comfort from His love
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rR_Rdb1CTE     Lord, I need you
    fellowship with the Spirit
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPPMSfCdUng   Kari Jobe Come Holy Spirit you are welcome here
    tenderness and compassion
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpA27IZ6Gwc what a friend we have in Jesus (a background of the song and some fiddle tutorial) bluegrass J
     
    COMFORT FROM HIS LOVE
    As a mother, one of my greatest desires is that my daughter walks with the Lord. Many of you know, she is struggling with her faith. I have derived COMFORT from Jesus’ love for me and for my daughter. And that He is working out something beautiful in our lives through the HARD and DIFFICULT.
    Through the LOSSES this year, Jesus has been my COMFORT.
    FELLOWSHIP WITH THE SPIRIT
     
    There has been times this past year that only the Spirit knew of my inner struggles. No amount of psychology, no close best friend, no human wisdom has understood/explain the cries of my soul but the Spirit had! And He will continue to do so! Praise God!

  34. My post is gone so I am going to copy and paste it on here again. I wonder if it is because I added about 5 youtube links?

  35. Oh, boy! Now it shows up after I posted that it was gone. Sorry!

    1. Now it is gone again.  Will try to see about just posting some comments I wrote.
      4. For what things are we exhorted to be thankful in Philippians 2:1? List them and then give an illustration from your life for at least two of them.
       
      encouragement from being united with Christ
      comfort from His love
      fellowship with the Spirit
      tenderness and compassion
      COMFORT FROM HIS LOVE
      As a mother, one of my greatest desires is that my daughter walks with the Lord. Many of you know, she is struggling with her faith. I have derived COMFORT from Jesus’ love for me and for my daughter. And that He is working out something beautiful in our lives through the HARD and DIFFICULT.
      Through the LOSSES this year, Jesus has been my COMFORT.
      FELLOWSHIP WITH THE SPIRIT
       
      There has been times this past year that only the Spirit knew of my inner struggles. No amount of psychology, no close best friend, no human wisdom has understood/explain the cries of my soul but the Spirit had! And He will continue to do so! Praise God!

      1. Bing–this blessed me “There has been times this past year that only the Spirit knew of my inner struggles. No amount of psychology, no close best friend, no human wisdom has understood/explain the cries of my soul but the Spirit had! And He will continue to do so! Praise God!”
        OH how I relate to that, and the thanksgiving of a Savior who loves us so well~

  36. 5. What commands therefore follow in Philippians 2:2-5? How could you apply this this Thanksgiving?
     
    Be like-minded with others – be agreeable instead of disagreeable…work together with others instead of insisting on doing things your way.
    Don’t be selfish – trying to impress others…being conceited…having to be right…put others before yourself…defer to others…you don’t have to “win”…cater to the interests of others…seek to make them comfortable…you don’t have to run the show.
    If you need help, examine how Jesus lived.  (My paraphrase after looking at a few different translations!)
     
    I see how all of these can apply to Thanksgiving or any other holiday/family gathering! Everyone, including myself, has their own way of doing things, and often when other people try to help, things can get testy. I have had, for example, people get a little upset if you don’t load the dishwasher the way they like it done! Too many cooks in the kitchen…I can apply it this Thanksgiving at my in-laws. I really had wanted to bake a pie or some other dessert, but my mother-in-law has all these pecans she wanted to use and she said she wanted to make two pecan pies. So I offered to bake a pumpkin pie, and she said that she would just buy one at Sam’s Club and not to trouble myself. I offered one more time and she still said the same thing, so I let it go. Personally, I prefer a homemade pie and I like to bake, but it’s not my party. I also think it’s important to not have an “agenda” for the day, as far as I want everyone to play my games that I bring, etc… You just have to accept people for who they are and respect what they want to do, especially if it’s not what I want to do. Better to enjoy being with everyone and drawing them out in conversation and let them talk a bit about themselves.

  37.  
    6. What are some ways God has blessed you this past year?
     
    God continues to bless me through our fellowship here. When I feel all alone in my faith, I have somewhere to turn, a place where I know we all believe the same things and we encourage one another to keep going. This past year I was introduced to the life and music of Rich Mullins, who I heard of through this blog. I have been so blessed by his music. I have been blessed by a new job which allows me so much flexibility in my hours, is part-time, is on the day shift, and with co-workers who are truly nice and caring so there isn’t any strife or stress at work. My family is my biggest blessing…we were able to travel to RI to see my oldest son graduate from Navy Officer School…I think of a day this summer when both my sons and their girlfriends came for dinner and afterwards, we were all sitting on the front porch talking and I thought how can it get any better than this? I was blessed on my birthday to cook dinner (I didn’t really want to go out to a restaurant) and my son and my mom and dad were able to come and celebrate with me…that I am 51 and I still have my parents with me. My daughter and I always hike in the Fall, and as she’s 15 now, this year I wondered if she’d not be interested, but as September was approaching she told me how much she was looking forward to our hikes because it’s so much fun and I treasure that time with her. Due to our unseasonably warm weather this Fall (yesterday it again was almost 60) I’ve been able to take my mom every week for walks at a nearby park and yesterday we even went for ice cream after our walk and I am trying to hold on to being thankful that she still knows all of us as her Alzheimer’s progresses…the joy on her face yesterday as she saw my son, Ryan, who came home from school for Thanksgiving – he has always been her special buddy. I am thankful for good health for myself and my family. I was blessed with a great-niece, Ginny.
     

    1. Susan–love this post, rejoicing with you over all the blessings!

    2. I loved reading all your thanksgivings, Susan. I am so glad you have had so many happy times with your family this year, and, especially, that your mom still knows all of you and that the Fall has been good for walks with you mom and your daughter.

    3. Amen to all, sister!

  38. Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone! Love you!

  39. Yes, happy Thanksgiving dear sisters! So thankful for each of you and the laughter, wisdom and joy you have brought into my life! Blessings!~

  40. Thankful for this blog community of sisters in Christ seeking to know Him more and sharing this walk together.  Following when I can still trying to see how this can fit without overwhelming me. Thankful I have a peace about it. My husband is coming to our families Thanksgiving.One day at a time. Praying He can feel love and the acceptance of Christs love which is unconditional. Trying not to expect too much yet open to expect anything the Lord may have in store for Me knowing He has it all under control.
    Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!

    1. oh Liz! Your husband coming to Thanksgiving…..I wondered how you were doing. I hope all went well. Blessings to you!

  41. Happy Thanksgiving to all! Philippians 1 selected verses I thank my God every time I remember you…in all my prayers for you I pray with joy…it is right for me to feel this way about all of you since I have you in my heart… 

  42. Prayer of Gratitude from The Valley of Vision:
     
    O My God,
    You fairest, greatest, first of all objects,
    My heart admires, adores, loves You,
    For my little vessel is as full as it can be,
    And I would pour out all that fullness before You in ceaseless flow.
    When I think upon and converse with You
    Ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,
    Ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,
    Ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart,
    Crowding into every moment of happiness.
    I bless You for the soul You have created,
    For adorning it, for sanctifying it,
    Though it is fixed in barren soil;
    For the body You have given me,
    For preserving its strength and vigor,
    For providing senses to enjoy delights,
    For the ease and freedom of limbs,
    For hands, eyes, ears that do Your bidding;
    For Your royal bounty providing my daily support,
    For a full table and overflowing cup,
    For appetite, taste, sweetness,
    For social joys of relatives and friends,
    For ability to serve others,
    For a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,
    For a mind to care for my fellow-men,
    For opportunities of spreading happiness around,
    For loved ones in the joys of heaven,
    For my own expectation of seeing You clearly.
    I love You above the powers of language to express,
    For what You are to Your creatures.
    Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.

    1. Lizzy, I almost posted the very same thing here from Valley of Vision which I saw posted in the TGC site! Thanks for bringing it up here. Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.

  43. Happy Thanksgiving all my American friends. Hope you had a lovely day with blessings from the Lord. We had a lovely dinner with my American step-mom and my Dad. She is originally born in Puerto Rico but has lived all her adult life in America until she married my Dad and moved to Canada. She is a lovely Christian. It is an honor to get to know her. Today, I am thankful for her and the joy she has brought to my Dad these last few years.

  44. 4. For what things are we exhorted to be thankful in Philippians 2:1? List them and then give an illustration from your life for at least two of them. 
     
    So again, I get stumped by Dee’s questions and put them off. I didn’t log on to the blog yesterday because I literally cooked for 5 straight hours!! I had tried to answer this question the day before and wasn’t sure I really understood what was being thanked for in the scripture. In fact, I wondered if I was reading the correct one! I had to think a few days and read different versions (not very helpful), and here is what I came up with; we should be thankful we can “receive” encouragement from Christ, love, affection, sympathy, and, I think, times when God “speaks” to us (kisses from the King).
     
    Since I am 51 now, or maybe it’s due to medivine I take?, I have trouble remembering all the ways Christ has interacted with me this year. I know there was a time last spring where I was mulling over what to do in regards to a family member and I was praying for God to lead me. I ran into a person 2 times in the span of 24 hours, in the exact same location, when I hadnt seen this person in a long while. I truly believe God sent me that person to help me. 
     
    God has shown me how to love well this year. We have a new baby in our house who is precious. My relationship with my daughter is very good compared to the last few years; I have watched her be “saved” from a life of debaucherous living. Thank you Jesus.
     
    5. What commands therefore follow in Philippians 2:2-5? How could you apply this this Thanksgiving?
     
    Think of others before ourselves, take care of others before ourselves, act for others before ourselves.
     
    I think I did this by my cooking the entire Thanksgiving meal myself. It was hard! I’m not the best cook, and I was using a couple of new recipes, so I was slow 🙁 
    It wasn’t the best thanksgiving meal, but we didn’t fight! That’s a plus 🙂  I asked some of the questions on Dee’s list, but I don’t think it went over as well as I wanted it to. I had to prompt them for the answers! When I told them what I thought, they agreed. Baby steps I suppose.
     
     

  45. 6. What are some ways God has blessed you this last year?
     
    Friends and family; so grateful for others showing us mercy when we needed it.
     
    Meeting our blog sisters was a blessing!

    1. Laura, when you said above and you have trouble remembering all the ways the Lord has interacted with you over the last year, I can relate! It’s hard to think past over an entire year…maybe I should start writing things down! But, when you said here the blessing of meeting our blog sisters, that certainly jogged my memory and I can’t believe I didn’t mention that! The weekend in Ashland was a huge blessing, for sure! And how wonderful that you and Sarah are having a better relationship!

      1. 🙂