Tag Archives: thankful

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE #3

Not a big fan of daylight saving time. Not a big fan of switching the clocks. Not a big fan of helping my critters adjust to new feeding schedules. Just not a big fan.

I do like when we get back to “normal” time though. It seems right to have the skies darkening by 5 P.M and lighter at 7 A.M. Then again, I enjoyed in summers past those same hours way before “daylight saving time” became standard changes every year. In fact – I remember when we had to drive to nearby city in a different county that was on “daylight saving time” when our county was not. Needless to say, made getting to doctor appointments interesting.

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.”~1 Chron 16:8-11

Fall days find me wandering outside to do a few things. Returning inside to do a few more things. It is the “perfect” seasons for wandering – even if the leaves have not been spectacular this year. I enjoyed today’s sermon by a veteran. I swept the porch and patio, painted the rest of the living room/hallway walls (at least the parts I could reach). Went back outside and painted another plant stand. Did a few loads of laundry. Read a few devotions. Walked my chocolate labs a few times. Kicked a few leaves and then sat on my swing.

“Let the trees of the forest sing,
let them sing for joy before the Lord,
for he comes to judge the earth.”~1 Chron 16:33

For whatever reason, I am thankful and fully aware of My Father’s presence when I sit on that patio swing. Rocking back and forth. Back and forth, as I let the movement and the squeak of the swing settle into the deepest part of me. Those rhythms and sounds jostle awake other rhythms. Soon I am singing with the trees – singing for joy before the LORD – and thankful.

November is that month. That necessary month of transition in our mortal minds. After all, the worldly celebration of Halloween’s frivolity and pretend has passed. Christmas is a month in the future. We need these thirty days to realign our centers so that our focus can be on what is important – the greatest gift ever given to anyone – anywhere.

So this week, I am enjoying the wonder in my freedom that others sacrificed much to ensure that I could sit on a swing singing on a fall day. I am enjoying the transition from worldly concerns to that of thankfulness and praise for a Father who has held me securely within the shelter of His promises and wings over the past months of 2019. I am breathing in His name with every breath as I swing – breathing in: Yah – breathing out: weh – YHWY – Yahweh – Yahweh

A month of transition. A month of to enjoy transition. A month to humble myself. A month to prepare as I swing back and forth – back and forth – Yah – weh — Yah – weh — Yah – weh.. 

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GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #4

After a day of starting the transition into Christmas season, giving “thanks” comes much easier than when one was a youngster. One is thankful when one can climb the step-stool ladder and not fall. Thankful that when the knee pops, it still manages to stand strong enough to not let one fall off said ladder. Thankful that the inversion board can remind the spinal cord what shape it should be retaining these days. Thankful for a walk-in tub to spend a relaxing hour – – – well almost an hour. Thankful for note from a former student that makes one cry happy tears. Thankful that God is in His heaven and all is well with one’s world.

“And do not imitate this world, but be transformed by the renovation of your minds, and you shall distinguish what is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.”~Rm 12:2

Except for devotions, I’ve taken a couple weeks off from “renovating” my mind with “educational, inspirational, motivational” challenging materials. Instead, I’ve been just reading for fun. Reading magazines. Reading fluff books. Reading newspapers. Working a couple puzzles here and there. Reading the back of the Oreo cookie package. (Yes, to all my students and teacher friends who are wondering – I still eat the occasional Oreo…..or two…or three…sigh)

I’ve never figured out why I go in spurts like this. It is as if there is some inner “messenger”, that pings me that it is time to: “READ SERIOUS” “READ FLUFF” “READ-THE-STUPID-BOOKS-THAT-CRITICS-RAVE-OVER” “READ NOTHING” (Well – I am thankful that last one hasn’t happened for a long time, but it has happened periodically in my life.)

But as I was typing that last sentence, I realized that “thankfulness” is ultimate renovation of the mind. Every morning when I wake up, I take a few minutes to stretch (trying not to let the critters know that I am awake because they are very distracting when they are bouncing on me) and express my awe at seeing this world anew all over again. That simple act changes the lens of the eye, making everything brighter – clearer – almost unblemished. Not an easy thing in this world these days.

Thus, while I am thankful for many things tonight, I am especially thankful for the “renovation” of my mind. It is part of the reason, I call this series the “Gratitude Attitude”. Gratitude is an attitude – – – IF we let it be. Thankful for the long line ahead of us for it gives us time to pray for those in front of us. Thankful for the lack of money because it helps us notice the pennies in our pocket. Thankful for the challenges that seem way too hard to accomplish because it makes us question, focus and hopefully – pray.

“You are from God, children, and you have conquered them [challenges/worldly spirits], because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”~1 Jn 4:4 Aramaic in Plain English 

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BLESSINGS TRIAD #10-12

thanksgiving2A TENTH BLESSING OF THANKSGIVING

“I will sing the LORD a new song –
To praise Him-
To bless Him –
To bless the LORD –
I will sing His praises while I live
All of my days.” – Simple Song from Bernstien’s Mass

Today, November 10, 2015, I am thankful for a new day. A new day to sing a song to my LORD. A new day to offer praise that bubbles over in Joy. A new day in my walk of faith, stumbling over rocks others have place in my path and falling into pits that I have dug myself. A new day to pull myself upright once again and stand upon His rock. A new day to bless Him with all that is in me. A new day to gaze upon all that is around me. A new day of reflection, gleaning wisdom where I can. A new day to bend my knees (as painful as it is at times) and wonder, “I Can Only Imagine”. A new day in Christ who has forgiven me over and over and over…..

“Lauda, lauda, laude, lauda, lauda di da di day
All of my days……”

A ELEVENTH BLESSING OF THANKSGIVINGl721flag

“…the LORD Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’… ‘and I will return to you,…’ Do not be like your ancestors…”

Today is one of those days that warm my heart. The posts supporting our current and past veterans brought a smile to my face and tears to my heart. I love looking at my father’s photos from his time in China during WWII. I love looking at the pictures of my uncles and the elders of the small rural town where I grew up.

daddy 1945 (2)The “Greatest Generation” are the men and women that set a standard before me as they wove the stories of their lives into my mind around the Thanksgiving table. They are the ones that showed up for every volunteer community program – built youth buildings, led scout troops, played Santa, inspired my brother, cousins and classmates to serve our country as well.

Today has been one of the few areas where our country appears to still be united. For the most part – on this one issue – we are not Hyphenated Americans. For this one day, I am thankful to feel that rare concept that used to be the fabric of our everyday life: We are all Americans – united.

This was the miracle of the day. God granted me a second miracle of the day as well. I got to play with the Grands all morning. Teach a little piano. Teach a little math (see, God, I got the hint). Walk the land with the pups and get home to find a third miracle – God has already answered a prayer – in an “impossible” manner, natch (as my mom would say) – that had been at the back of my mind all day.

Today, November 11, 2015, I am thankful for 3 miracles. God is moving. Believe. Blessings!Be!

“…this is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Turn from your evil ways and your evil practices.’ “…”Proclaim further: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘My towns will again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem.’ ”~Zech 1:3a, 4b, 17

A TWELFTH BLESSING OF THANKSGIVING

“We gather together to ask the LORD’s blessing…”

2 weeks from today will be Thanksgiving. The football games will still be on the TV. In many homes, the bellies will be way over-filled. In others, the bellies will be112913turkeydinners-1p - Copy a little fuller than usual. Churches or community centers will be cleaning up after feeding many of homeless and heading home. Cell phones and/or video games will be whirling away in hands of children and adults alike. People will be crowding into the theatre to see the newest release. Others, like the family I married into, will probably be still playing cards. While Christmas music and movies will appear on a more regular basis – except for Hallmark station which is already playing them non-stop. And some overly excited shoppers will be adding to their personal debt, supplynng more totals of early “Black Friday” stats.

1671301-slide-inline-norman-rockwell-freedom-from-want-thanksgivingIt just makes me sad. Somewhere, our culture has lost the history behind the day. I still remember when every story, gas station, and banks were closed on a holyday. For that matter, they were closed every Sunday. The roads were empty unless you had gas in the tank and wanted to visit family or just go for a drive. I don’t remember the TV being on at any of our Thanksgivings until I was in high school. After all – it was cousin time. Games to be played. Plays to produce. Music to sing and elders that sat around playing guitars and banjos. It was Thanksgiving. People remembered.

I was lucky. I grew up in a family that knew history and told stories. I wasn’t wise enough to always listen. My brother was much wiser that way. But thanks to a couple of marvelous history teachers, including my dad, I learned the basics and began adding to those as I grew wiser. History points the way if we are smart enough to remember.

Today, November 12, 2015, I am thankful for Thanksgiving. A day set aside to remember. A day when two different races — two different cultures — sat down to eat a meal together. Each honoring their Creator. Each coming from a differnt space and finding each other. For a moment in time, the gates of the Garden were thrown wide open, so that we might learn and remember how to give thanks to the One that breathed into our nostrils the breath of life. It is time to remember.

Blessings!Be!

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BLESSINGS TRIAD 7-9

A SEVENTH BLESSING OF THANKSGIVING

Today, November 7th, I am thankful for the written word and for special people who sense in their souls what others can not.. Thanks, Ruth Bell Graham

Listen, Lord,

a mother’s praying

low and quiet:

listen, please.

Listen what her tearsRuth-1b

are saying,

see her heart

upon its knees;

lift the load

from her bowed shoulders

till she sees

and understands,

You, Who hold

the worlds together,

hold her problems

in Your hands. ~ Ruth Bell Graham

A EIGHTH BLESSING OF THANKSGIVING

“A land so distant that some never knew it existed.”

rigolettoDon’t you love fairae tales – especially the “happily ever after” endings? They remind us of the theme that we are to imprint in our hearts for the rest of our lives. Painful times – scary times – evil times – all pass. Love – however – triumphs and lives forever. “Restored to his kingdom, Rigoletto took his beautiful bride and left the world of men to dwell happily ever after.” Gotta love fairae tales – especially, fairae tales with beautiful music such as Rigoletto.

sept 1989 at the old brick

sept 1989 at the old brick

Some weekends are just fairae tale type of days strung together. Got to spend alone time with eldest daughter. Nothing special – just a few hours out of our busy lives, but a time shared by just us once again. A time to re-connect. A time to remember watching that tiny baby girl morph through various stages of life into the wife, mother and published doctoral student that she is today. A time to remember how blessed I am to be trusted with such different gifts from Our Father.

Today has a restful, healing day. Finished a book. Took a short nap. Played with the dogs. Watched a couple of fairae tales. The niggles from earlier in the week have turned into a full-fledged cold, but hopefully the happy ending will be watching the niggles ride off to a distant land – one so distant that they can never come back. Now that would truely close the book on this fairae tale weekend.

So today, November 8, 2015, I am thankful for a fairae tale weekend and hopefully – waving goodbye to the cold niggles.

A NINTH BLESSING OF THANKSGIVING

1959 dining roomToday, the ninth of November, I’m thankful that Billy Graham has not gone home yet. With my mom on one side and the dad on the other, black patent leather shoes swinging in time to a tent full of music. white socks decorated by pieces of sawdust, and the hem of my dress twisted around my fingers, I listened, and eventually fell asleep But somewhere in there, I internalize this memory and started an important journey that has never stopped. And – if I can keep my eyes open and my feet on the path, I will find that “…so distant land that some never knew it existed.”

“But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, and upon the heart of man has not come up that which God has prepared for those who love him.”~1 Cor 2:9

As probably most of you know, in the early days of the church, no one had their own Bible or scrolls. They depended on rabbi/priests to teach them. We all know that the stories of the Bible are much easier to remember than those hard complicated verses that jump in non-linear movements and crazy visions that seem too complicated to try to figure out. Hence – enter the teachers who attempted to educate.

ND2015-coverI read a Saturday Evening Post editorial that quoted David McCullough who said if we want to improve the teaching of history, we should, “Tell stories”. Teachers talk, recite, tell stories, – some even sing – crazy ones like me might add a little goofiness and a horse whinny or two.

Fairae tales are one of the earliest forms of story-telling. Some are traced right back to the WORD. A prince comes to rescue his bride from the great dragon beast. After dispatching the evil one, the couple live in rooms especially designed for them in a beautiful castle….happily ever after. Sounds familiar, right? Check out Isaiah or Revelations.

"Where I Am: Heaven, Eternity, and Our Life Beyond," by Billy Graham. Photo courtesy of Thomas Nelson

“Where I Am: Heaven, Eternity, and Our Life Beyond,” by Billy Graham. Photo courtesy of Thomas Nelson

Anyway, it all comes back to the fact that I am thankful that once – long ago – on a warm summer night, I heard a master story teller who wove music and the WORD into a Light that brightened my path and is still lighting my way when I am tempted to step off the path. His new book is a good one, “Where I Am”.

“I’ve read the last page of the Bible. It’s all going to turn out all right.” Billy Graham

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BLESSINGS TRIAD #4-6

Holy-Spirit-10

A FOURTH BLESSING OF THANKSGIVING

On November 4, 2015, I am thankful that the Holy Spirit is present in my life and in the world. Until Christ comes again, what more could I ask except that I have the wisdom and discernment to pay attention whenever and however He speaks. Blessings!Be!

“I have spoken these things with you while I am with you. But he, The Redeemer of the accursed, The Spirit of Holiness, whom my Father sends in my name, he will teach you all things and he will remind you of everything whatsoever I have told you.” Jn 25-26

A FIFTH BLESSING OF THANKSGIVINGscaffolding

Today, my students hugged me, made a game of touching my peek-a-boo strands of blue or purple hair, and untied or tied the long necklace of cooper beads that hung around my neck as we worked our 3rd grade division problems. I hear God laughing everytime I work with them doing math because He knows it is not the thing I love best in the world. I laugh because, even now, He is still trying to teach me.

So tonight, I as I finish up devotions and scan back through my ever circling prayers of petitions, praise and thankfulness, I remember He is a God who “delights in mercy” (Micah 7:18). He is the God who taught His people in the early days through Abraham, Sarah, Moses and on and on and on. He sent His Son to teach and model for us what could be done when we stand firmly upon the rock of faith. He sent the Holy Spirit to continue to teach us when things threaten to break us and remind us of His promises.

me 1978Lev Vygotsky may have written it down for our modern culture, but Rabbi Yeshua lived it as He taught. Scaffolding works in so many areas, but especially, teaching. So today, I am thankful on November 5, 2015, to have been wise enough to choose the path that my Father set before me so long ago.

“Stand up and bless Yahweh your God from everlasting to everlasting! Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise!” Neh 9:5b

A SIXTH BLESSING OF THANKSGIVING

On this 6th day of November, I am thankful that I am not going through a testing period right now. Several people I know are going through challenging times right now. Some through illnesses. Some through financial crisises. Some through relationships. And some – through choices of their own desires.

I told my son earlier this evening that life is like a classroom – one pop quiz or test after another. Some tests seem to go on forever. Some are only one question long. Some are full of long disjointed essays, and our head hurts after awhile – not to mention our hand cramps.

The Bible is filled with such stories – from Adam and Eve to John on the Isle of Patmos, so I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. The good news? Tests never last. The classroom soon fills with yakking teachers. Students questioning. Laughter. Games. Celebrations. Naptimes. “To everything there is a season…” -.even testing.

Tonight is a good night to be smiling and thankful. Still struggling with a cold that just won’t walk out the door and leave me along. But over all – instruction time is still taking place in my classroom. Sometimes, I’m doodling and looking out the window (much like I did through most of my classes – ever). Rare times – I am focused and paying strict attention (but I am getting better – I think). Most times, I am just content. Loving my family, friends and always – my students. Basking in His mercy. Sleeping in His palm. Praying always that I am learning enough. All-in-all – thankful.

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Attitude of Gratitude #8-14

porch days

Gratitude #8: Books. Books. And more Books. As much as I like technology – especially typing things instead of writing things (it goes so much faster…especially when I make mistakes ), but books are my still what I love best. Fiction. Non-fiction. Humorous. Informational Text. Devotionals – or spirit filled. Biographies. Autobiographies (obviously, as all my students will tell you). The WORD. Even books that are in the “oral tradition” (storytellers) capture my attention and hold me enthralled. Touching pages that others have touched. Smelling the paper on which it is written. Entering a world that was once in someone’s mind or is part of their knowledge base challenges me to get out of “me”. I am deeply thankful for books – especially the WORD which always challenges, humbles and blesses.

Gratitude #9: Laughter. After starting my Sunday with Tim Conway,Carol Burnett, Vikki Lawrence, and Dick Van Dyke – how could it be anything else. Our world needs more laughter. Laughter transcends so many barriers and elevates our perspective on life. My father used to say, “Thunder is God’s laughter,” and I loved the image of God’s laughter booming over our house every time a storm rolled through. Somehow, I was never afraid of storms. Though I might have cringed when mom told my boyfriends some risque joke, I loved the fact that she could tell jokes so well and so often. Our home was filled with laughter – commediennes on LP records, TV variety shows, minstrel late-night-endmen-joke-planning. So who better to end my day than – Bob Hope? Gotta the internet’s access to old video clips. With Veternans Day approaching, I chose an overview of all Bob Hope’s trips. I am thankful for laughter and so thankful for those who can tell jokes – cuz I sure cain’t.

Gratitude #10: Unexpected gifts. Holiday season – decorations going up – gifts wordare on the mind. Those to buy – those to make – those in need. But sometime – it is the unexpected gift that means the most. A butterfly on a beach. A choc lab that whines to sit in your lap. A child’s trust. A late fall flower in bloom. The sound of geese flying low over the lake. A hug from a stranger at church.on Sunday who said, “Your mom said you needed a hug today.” All gifts that I didn’t deserve and yet blessing my life in more ways than I could ever imagine. I can’t be thankful enough to Our Father for dropping unexpected gifts on to my path these last few days.

Gratitude #11: Veterans. This one was obviously the choice of the day. Originally, the world set aside this day to remember those who had died in WWI. Whether it is called Armistice Day – Rememberance Day – or it’s more modern freedom to voteterm: Veterans Day – it is now a day to remember all veterans and say thank you. In America we have Memorial Day, so 11-11 at 11 A.M. was changed in 1947 to honor all Veterans and the sacrifices they made for our country. Leaving home. Leaving family. Leaving the comforts of home. Heat. Cold. Impossible tasks and choices…Life…Death. They have made sacrifices that I can’t even imagine. I admire all the veterans I have known growing up: my father, my brother, my uncles, my peers, my former students. Veterans are truly an example of: “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Jn 15:13

Gratitude #12: Mothers. I was talking to one of my FB friends about how I have had many mothers in my life, and I couldn’t get that thought out of my mind as I said my devotions. Who would I be without my “mothers”? They carried so much 254942_1682499116937_4399549_nknowledge, practicality and wisdom that proved invaluable to my life. They emerged from my family, extended family, peers, collegues.and miraculously (as if God didn’t plan it that way ), they manage to appear right when I needed them. They “mothered” me through those tough times and stepped back when I spread my wings. Lucky for me, I had a great mother, so I was able to recognize it when I saw it. So thankful for the many mothers in my life – but mostly thankful that Our Father sent me to learn from the best. Still missing her and still thankful.

Gratitude #13: Devotions. A day can be so-so and then something happens that makes it – the same – great – or terrible. The interesting thing is that we often have normanvincentpeale130593a choice. Each day I try to spend a couple different times in devotions (needless to say – this does not always happen…to my detriment ) A new Jewish wisdom story started the day (seeing the OT in a new way made me wonder all day long) – a preacher who (with lots of jokes and stories thrown in for fun) reminded me why one little verse in the NT can change the way we think – then change our heart – then change our mouths – was the way I ended my day. Thinking about God always makes me truly thankful. “…whatsoever things are TRUE, whatsoever things are HONEST, whatsoever things are JUST, whatsoever things are PURE, whatsoever things are LOVELY, whatsoever things are of GOOD REPORT; if there be any VIRTUE, and if there be any PRAISE, think on these things.” Phil 4:8

Gratitude #14: Excitement. There are days that are totally “God-blessed” from start to finish. An unplanned day trip with the hubby to Nashville – not OH, too small – not TN, too big – NC, ahhhhhh….just right! And in that small town there was a cafe. Good food, interesting local arts and used books. The excitement comes in here. We went to Nashville to buy a kitchen island with a slate top that we had been looking for since last year. It is beautiful and perfect. That is still not the excitment. It was finding two books out of hundreds that I found in 5 minutes and knew deep within me that I was supposed to bring them home as well. You know – that little voice that nudges…”look at the books…old books…that one that you can’t read the title…don’t leave…look at that other book two cases over…” Excitement builds as you pull out the first one: His Eye Is on the Sparrow: the Autobiography of Ethel Waters. One of my favorite jazz singers/actresses from my mom and dad’s era. The second was: The Best-Loved Religious Poems by James Gilchrist Lawson. Excitement is bubbling. There is much more I want to share about these wonderful gifts, but that’s not the message of the day. Sometimes (as I am reminded by that same small voice} we must stay focused on the message – I’m just thankful for God-blessed excitement of the day and where it is leading me. Long video but such a great example of Ethel Waters talents.