Giving Thanks

ThanksgivingWe each have our favorite ways to celebrate Thanksgiving.  Each tradition brings families closer as we gather to be thankful for what God has blessed us with during the year.

Like many other Americans the third Thursday in November we give thanks for our blessings throughout the year.  Thanksgiving is a beautiful part of our American heritage in thanking God for a bountiful harvest. 

When I was growing up we did not have much.  My dad’s favorite quote was “why is there so much month left at the end of the money” he even had it on a plate that always hung in our home. There were times that we had breakfast for supper (which I still enjoy today!), and a German meal called Eintopf (one pot) basically a meat broth base that has whatever is in your kitchen thrown in – still a favorite. 

But Thanksgiving, we would always have turkey; during our lean times and during our times of plenty.  And trust me every part of that turkey was used for meals for over a week. We would have a table filled to the brim of all the holiday fixings. I can still hear my mother saying how she never understood the holiday and why we only have turkey once a year and why do we need to eat it to be thankful.  Never one to really like turkey she once told me every year she always tried to get my dad to get a ham. Yet when dad passed away we still had turkey. Traditions gotta love them!

We may have struggled all year but there were many blessings to be thankful for.  The year my mother had her first heart attacked, thankful she survived.  Then there was the year my father passed away and my brother killed in an accident, when it was hard to find thanks – we found God’s blessings.  My faith still growing and being attacked by other events, I could not understand how a loving God could take half of my family away.  But blessings were found in His presence and in the love between a mother and a sister.  I would have to say that was the first time I saw God. He was in each face of the people who gave us comfort, support and food. I would see God’s face many times in my life; in the doctors and nurses who cared for me when I was battling breast cancer and in the pouring of love from close friends and strangers when my husband passed away. And every day in-between in the different way God reveals Himself to all of us, I see Him.

There are many joys to be thankful for; parents who cared for us the best way they could, finding a godly man to share my life with and my children are just a few.  I am thankful for our Heavenly Father who sees to our needs and provided a way for all of us to be in a restored relationship with Him, through His Son, Jesus. 

We can have thankful hearts toward God even when we do not feel thankful for our circumstances. We can grieve and still be thankful. We can hurt and still be thankful. We can be angry at sin and death, still being thankful toward God. Scripture calls it a “sacrifice of praise” – “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name”. Hebrews 13:15.

Giving thanks to God keeps our hearts in a right relationship with Him and saves us from a host of harmful emotions and attitudes that will rob us of the peace God wants us to experience.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6–7

This Thanksgiving when you gather with friends and family offer your sacrifice of praise to our Lord.  Then the day after Thanksgiving make it a daily practice. Lift praises to God during the times of blessings and the times of trial.  And watch God at work in your life. 

Greet each day with thanksgiving remembering what Jesus did for you.   





This Is The Day The Lord Has Made


“This is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it” Psalm 118:24 

Start your day with God’s joy in your heart.

What exactly is God’s joy? 

God’s Joy is not the type of joy people would normally associate with the word, such as happiness, delight, enjoyment or cheerfulness. It is the inner joy that only comes from knowing God.  

{ Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin} 

Each day is a gift from God. Every morning when we wake up, we have a clean slate, a brand new day awaits us – a day that is filled with the presence of God. How exciting is that?  

God’s presence is all around us. We see God in the birds singing as the sun rises, the sound of children playing on a warm summer afternoon, in the smile of a friend, memories that warm our hearts and the colorful sunset on the horizon. All we need to do to experience God’s Joy is slow down, be still and watch in wonder as God reveals His presence to us.

So let us rejoice today and be glad as we experience the presence of God today and every day in our life.  




Rediscovering Joy

Sunrise over Halifax
Sunrise over Halifax
This Christmas was difficult.  The first Christmas without Tom. My faith has been able to get me through all the other “firsts” of living without him.  Until this Christmas season. We have always enjoyed all the festivities and family gatherings of Christmas. Tom would light up the house with strings of color lights and we would tease him that our house was looking like the Griswold home in the Christmas Vacation movie!  But it was the Advent season that brought us to a deeper relationship with Jesus.  The songs of His birth and the special Advent devotionals led us to the true meaning of Christmas and the birth of a baby that is our Savior and Lord, making Christmas a very special day for us.
This year I knew we would still celebrate our Lords birth even knowing it would be difficult. Spending time with my children made my Christmas complete and we knew Tom was with us.  We said good-bye to some old traditions and started a few new ones. Without Tom to share this season, there was no more joy.  Or so I thought.
A few days before Christmas I read this verse in my devotional, “This day is holy to our Lord.  Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” {Nehemiah 8:10}  When I read that my first thought was, “Where can I find that joy again?”
God answered on December 22 when our church held our Christmas Cantata.  The children’s choir sang and their voices sang loudly and joyously.  Singing loudly and joyously, all of them reflected God’s light.  That glimmer of light started to shine again for me.  When they were finished one child clapped and gave a happy shout, “yea!”.  The grief in my heart was soon replaced with the joy that came from the voices of children singing.  
God was not finished with me yet.  Our church holds two Christmas Eve services, the Family Service at 5:00 pm which offers child care and an early night for excited children and the 7:30 pm Candlelight Service for the rest of us.  Normally we do not see children at the 7:30 service but this year we were blessed with a few little ones.  As the service began, one child starting fussing, not to be out done, the second child joined in.  Then they started to babble – you know the sounds, the cute baby sounds that make everyone smile!  Sadly I cannot remember in detail what our pastor told us but from what I remember he told us that through these children we were blessed to experience what the shepherds saw all those years ago – a little baby crying. Those children reminded me that Jesus did come as a baby; He cried, He giggled and He cooed.  And like the Shepherds we were given an amazing gift on Christmas Eve, a chance to experience Jesus as a baby. Throughout the service these little ones made their presence known and with each little cry or giggle they  reflected God’s light that was beginning to shine brighter and brighter in my life once again.  
January 5 was Epiphany Sunday, our first hymn was “We Three Kings” and one young child sang joyously and loudly – his voice ringing out above the choir.  It was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard – a child singing, making a joyful noise unto our Lord.
Joy had returned through the blessed children.
Each day I am rediscovering joy in my life.  Over Christmas is it was the children in our church.  A few days ago it was the crazy antics of our dogs.  Last night is was our bible study leaders meeting.  It was the sound of rain falling on my windows on a Saturday morning.  I found it today with new shoots on a spring plant that I have been taken care of all winter. Each day I discover joy seeing Tom in my children and knowing through them he will live on.  
The psalmist wrote, “This is the day The Lord has made.  We will be glad and rejoice in it.” {Psalm 118:24}  
If you are also going through a difficult time and the darkness has stolen your joy – Make the choice to rediscover the joy that is in each day and be blessed with all that is good, in Jesus Christ.

Sunny Thoughts


“Being tickled to death is a great way to live. Jumping for joy is good exercise”
Barbara Johnson  {Living Somewhere Between Estrogen and Death)

Barbara Johnson is one of my favorite authors.  She lived a life of adversity but through trusting God she found His peace.  And through that peace she found joy.  It is that joy that she shared with us through her many books and her appearances at the Women of Faith Conferences.  I had a chance to meet Barbara at one of the conferences and it was indeed a joyful experience.  Whenever I read that quote I think of her life and how she lived it and how she blessed all that knew her with the joy of the Lord.

So this coming week – let us jump for the joy that comes from God and fill our world with laughter as if we were being “tickled to death”. Do you remember as a child being “tickled to death” and what fun that was? When our children were younger we had the tickle monster; their laughter still rings through our hearts.

Keep smiling and enjoy the sunshine even on the cloudy days.