Appetite Driven Consumption

With Thanksgiving tomorrow, there’s a good chance that you & I will be eating some tasty food, along with second’s & possibly third’s. It’s also likely that you’ll skip some food that’s not in your favorite list. For me, I’ll take a pass on the cranberry relish but maybe double up on my mom’s chorizo stuffing 🙂
With the quantity of food that’s available tomorrow, let’s consider that our flesh appetites, left unchecked, can be highly destructive.  As we are being thankful in this season, let’s also remember to cultivate or appetite for spiritual food, like daily Bible & prayer time!

Too Much Gratitude

I don’t like cinnamon & this is only a recent development. Maybe I  don’t like cinnamon because at this time year, everything seems to have cinnamon: coffee, ice cream, apple cider, pies, smoothies, etc.
So it’s possible to overdose cinnamon, but I  don’t think it’s possible to overdo gratitude. Maybe we should think in terms of spreading thanksgiving throughout the year & not only a seasonal overdose. Feel free to leave a comment to express something or someone for which you’re grateful!

What Do You Think?

I seriously want your feedback!!  Every Christmas season, I do a blog series about looking for Jesus & I post goofy pictures of baby Jesus in various settings, to reinforce the reminder to look for Jesus in the busy-ness of the Holidays.

So where would you like to see Jesus in the upcoming Holidays?  Please give me your suggestions in the comments below, on FB, twitter, etc.  Last year, I took Jesus to the ICU at a local hospital, He drove with me in my car (Jesus take the wheel), I perched Him on a park bench & did lots of other creative things.  So what would you suggest for me to do this year, in the theme of looking for Jesus?

Thanks LOADS for your input / help!!

Let’s Practice

Since we are really close to Halloween, that means that Thanksgiving is fast approaching. So let’s get an early jump on being thankful. By starting to practice gratitude now, we’ll be certain to have maximum proficiency by the time Thanksgiving lands. Another benefit to practicing gratitude now is that we increase our chances of creating a lifestyle of thanksgiving rather than the seasonal experience. Finally, the Bible tells us to be thankful, not only for the obvious & good stuff, but also for things that are difficult. Let’s be sure to practice Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Micro & Massive Miracles

I’m so very happy that God does all sizes of miracles! The massive miracles, like healing from cancer or supernaturally providing a job or the forgiveness of a debt or the reconciliation of a long broken relationship. These kinds of massive miracles along with others seem to catch our attention & easily welcome our gratitude.
Let’s be mindful, as well, that the micro miracles are also magnificent! Let’s celebrate those times when the Holy Spirit gives us the self control to not shoot off our mouth. Perhaps you had a small miracle when your schedule went better than you planned. Or maybe it was miraculous that you bumped into someone coincidentally & it turned out to be a divine appointment.
Let’s be committed to give God praise for the micro & massive miracles that happen throughout each day!

Hurray for Practice!

My family made the Thanksgiving meal yesterday & it was a smashing success! I’m not saying this to brag, but rather to acknowledge years of practice that have finally culminated in success – YAHOOOO!! In any given year in the past, I was practicing on how to cook a turkey that wasn’t dry or under-done. I was also practicing a few other dishes to make them not only edible but also tasty! And this year, I’m celebrating success!!!

We all want to be successful, but we don’t often celebrate the practice required to be successful – so let’s take a moment to applaud attempts & failures more than victories 🙂

Here are some things that help us to be successful:

Teamwork: yesterday, my whole family pitched in to make various parts of the meal & no one was unraveled by too much work!
Practice: keep trying!!
Testing: the guests that came to our meal were the testers. It helps immensely to have objective input on our journey to success

Hot Topic: Pivot Gratitude

 

Happy Thanksgiving! In the US, we celebrate being thankful today, enumerating our blessings & acknowledging the abundance that we have. But alas, sometimes the mindset that looks for abundance can get disappointed. Indeed, on this day, we often turn a blind eye to the deficiencies we have, choosing to ignore lack or gloss over the absence of things we want.

Let’s pivot this thinking. Today, I’m not only thankful for what I have, but I’m also thankful for what I don’t have.

I’m grateful that God doesn’t give me everything I want because this would be very destructive to my soul. I’m grateful for struggles & hardships because I don’t develop patience & persistence without such struggles (James 1:2-4). And let’s not forget Paul who was thankful for the thorn in his flesh in 2Cor 12:9ff because this thorn cultivated reliance on Jesus like nothing else in his life.
Let’s not only be thankful for abundance but let’s be grateful for some difficulties as well. And of course, let’s always be mindful to encourage & love the people around us! We can’t always understand their decisions but we can always chose to be loving & encouraging!
Be super clear that I’m thankful for you! Feel free to pass this along to friends & family today! It could be really helpful to lots of peeps!

What Do You Like?

We are well into April & I was thinking this morning about things I like & stuff for which I’m grateful. It’s important to be grateful because this is how we enter God’s presence, according to Ps 100:4. So let’s practice being thankful together 🙂
Here are some things for which I’m thankful:

active children, clean water, phenomenal friends, a supportive husband, a drivable car and more than anything, God’s love for me. 

Your turn:

  • What is something good that has happened today?
  • Think of something nice someone has said to you in the last week
  • What is something better this year in comparison to last year?
  • What is something wonderfully unique about you – a talent or ability?

Let’s be grateful in April & not just at Thanksgiving 🙂

Avoiding Disaster

Cooking a turkey has the potential to be a dance with disaster. I know this to be true, based in years of practice & research. But this year is likely to be different, probably. I say this because of not only years of practice & failures but also because of preparation. 
I’m learning that I can avoid lots of disasters with a little bit of preparation. For example, Gideon in the book of Judges, avoided various disasters because he walked a path of preparation with God. Seems to me that God primed Gideon for his massive victory over the Midianites through extensive preparation: angel visitation, tearing down an altar to idolatry, fleece adventures, people screening & even eavesdropping. 

I may not always enjoy the preparation process but I certainly like the outcomes better than the results of poor preparation. Let’s be careful not to belittle the process of preparation 🙂

Black Friday

Black Friday seems to be kind of like the starting gun for the Christmas season – ready, set GO!!!!  So here’s my weird question for today:  why do we call Black Friday “black” and Good Friday “good”?  Good Friday is the day when we acknowledge that Jesus was cruicified and the Friday before Easter, when Jesus rose from the dead.  Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving & supposed to be a day when loads of people “start” shopping for Christmas – the launch of holiday festivities.  Both Fridays have their pluses and minuses – solemn and celebratory.  But on this Black Friday, let’s consider a few things:

  • being thankful didn’t stop yesterday when the dishwasher turned off or the last football seconds ran off the clock
  • Good Friday is good because Jesus took our place on the cross & that news is very good indeed!
  • Black Friday doesn’t mean Debt Friday
  • let’s remind ourselves in this holiday season to keep room in our thoughts, time, actions & priorities for Jesus and His presence 🙂

4 Brief but Insightful Thanksgiving Observations

Happy Thanksgiving! May your day be overflowing with joy & peace 🙂
As we think about gratitude today, consider a few thoughts to pass along:
*being grateful increases contentment & likewise being whiny increases dissatisfaction
*if you want to come through difficult seasons well, gratitude is an essential ingredient
*when you begin thanking God for being so good, it quickly becomes difficult to stop
*turkeys are tricky birds to bake #nuffsaid
Happy Thanksgiving dear friend!

Thanksgiving with Minions ,)

Holy cow or Sacred turkey!!
I’m very happy to report that my kids & I have been working this afternoon on our Thanksgiving meal for tomorrow & I have never been this well prepared! We have a traditional meal for tomorrow for some wonderful guests & I sincerely hope that we are a blessing to our guests! In the meantime, I have to give out a MASSIVE shoutout to my kids for all of their help!!!! They’re making the cranberry sauce, pecan pie, sweet potatoes, Apple pastries, setting the table, organizing the serving platters & lots more! I never knew Thanksgiving could be such family fun! YAHOOO!!!! If the turkey comes out well, we are most certainly on the cusp of Jesus’ Second Coming, so I hope you’re ready ,)
I’m very thankful to my kids for their invaluable help this year & more so to God for such an extravagant & continuous display of Genuine Love – happy Thanksgiving dear friend!
Thank you so much for reading my blog! 🙂

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good, better, best!

We are on the cusp of entering the annual holiday season with Thanksgiving & Christmas just around the corner.  While this season is filled with festivities, fun and frolicking, it can also be frenzied and full of fatigue (wasn’t that FUN?!??).  I want to be more intentional with this holiday season.  In many previous years, I’ve felt driven and drained by all of the demands that seem to accompany these weeks so if I’m not careful, I just kind of mentally and emotionally switch off and go into “automatic mode”:  get ready, show up, socialize, leave, repeat.  While the “automatic mode” can be good, it’s not always the better choice and more often, it’s not the best.

So here are a few thoughts about making this holiday season the best:

  • be on purpose – make attentive decisions about what you agree to attend:  some invitations are a command performance & some are optional, don’t try to do everything
  • pay attention to time – it seems to me that time can totally evaporate in the holidays, so I want to be careful and selective with my time during these busy weeks
  • homemade, store bought or hybrid – many of the season’s festivities require us to bring something tasty, so let’s try to plan ahead to be ready
  • breath – with all of the hustle, bustle, excitement and buzz, it helps me to pause, be still and exhale

cooking turkey

With Thanksgiving  popping up in less than 48 hours, I am facing my age-old nemesis, the turkey.  I think that I’ve figured out almost every way to ruin a turkey (undercooking, overcooking, offering a burnt sacrifice, along with many other accidents).  So I’m totally keen to throw in a lasagna & call it good 🙂

But alas, I will do the traditional turkey & there’s a good chance that I’ll get it right this year – hope springs eternal.  And this is exactly my point:  hope springs eternal.  Just because I’ve had a litany of turkey traumas doesn’t mean that this year is going to be another “challenge.”  After a 1,000 failed attempts with his light bulb invention, Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Happy Turkey Day! 🙂

Is there a problem with Thanksgiving?

Tomorrow is our wonderful American holiday of Thanksgiving, the day when we do some of these activities: overeat, watch football, enjoy or tolerate family & cook boatloads of food, among lots of other things. Generally, Thanksgiving is perceived as a nice holiday & to be really honest, I’m close to deciding that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
With all that being said, here are a few problems that we can work on to make this an awesome holiday:
*culmination rather than celebration: lets aim to make gratitude a lifestyle rather than a 1 day event
*just like turkey & stuffing make a nice complement, so do thanksgiving & forgiveness 🙂
*fellowship trumps football – ‘nuf said ,)

Opportunities to be thankful

I’ve been in Albania now for about 4 days & I’m simply amazed at how wonderful this country is – truth be known, I’ve wanted to come to Albania for more than 20 yrs. Now that I’m here, I’m finding myself becoming more & more connected w the Albanian people. They are very strong in their hearts & relationships. They’re rich on love & community – simply amazing!
We’ve made some fantastic connections w wonderful opportunities for saving Moses. Like Moses, many babies have been abandoned & like Moses they have tremendous potential but just need some help to have a better future than present day.
We’ve seen God do some completely miraculous things that take your breath away – a 10 year old boy whose hearing was compromised was totally healed after his mom prayed for him. We’ve also been able to provide essential humanitarian support for some very impoverished Muslim communities – such warm & gracious people!!
Thanks so much for praying, your encouragment & support. We live to be part of Jesus’ love revolution!

skil – more than a powertool

I talked w one of my friends recently & she had just finished putting in a doggie door, using power tools & feeling very empowered.  You could hear in her voice that she felt very fulfilled by this accomplishment – power to the people!  😉

Here’s a useful power tool for the holidays (family occassions, work parties, etc) – forgiveness & yes, this takes skill.  I say this because it takes work to get skilled in forgiveness & most of the time, we’d prefer to avoid this kind of work or skill development.  In Greek, the word for forgiveness also means to leave (or we would say, “drop it”), with the idea of not returning to whatever has been left behind.  Its easy, but not always constructive, to revisit past hurts (or to be reminded of them over the holidays).  Please be careful that such visits don’t trap you in the quagmire of unforgiveness.  The walls close in really fast when we make the quick & easy decision to not forgive.  This path is suffocating.  Make the choice to forgive & grow this skill.  Forgiveness is an essential powertool for life – may you have the power & wisdom to forgive through Jesus’ death & resurrection!

marching toward thanksgiving

Thankfully, this year, I’m not making a turkey & everyone says, “whew!”  So in all of my free time, here are a few things floating around – my food for thought:

  • listening to Reece discuss potential ski purchases
  • snuggling w Benji
  • passed my greek quiz tonight
  • some of my friends are really hurting – I feel this very deeply
  • looking forward to riding this week
  • I want to dream about Jesus tonight
  • computer frustrations I think I finally solved
  • began working on beatitudes book – takes me to great depths. 

Here’s a closing thought – be God’s child by imitating Him. 🙂