Monday, November 22, 2010

Grateful Thanks!

Today as I look back over the past year with its challenges and changes, I am so grateful to know that our God has been in control of our goings and our comings! Nothing was a surprise to Him and He orchestrated a few surprises for us that have all been for our good!

I am so thankful for the love of my wonderful husband, who continues to love me unconditionally and unselfishly! With 40 years of marriage under our belts this year, I have another gratitude to our Father for that fete - we could not have made it without His guidance, forgiveness and mercy! I'm thankful for the love of my three children, their spouses and my eight grandchildren! God is so good and He has blessed me with many blessings through them this past year. I thank God for my siblings and my mother who help keep me grounded and appreciative of all the opportunities and help their love has provided. I'm thankful for my Christian family that is spread throughout the world. The love of Abba Father that binds us together and makes us one is the most powerful force in the universe! I'm grateful for the friends from my past that have been brought back into my present and, hopefully, my future! I'm excited and thankful for the plans that Abba Father has for me in this next year and for the health to be able to participate in all His plans.

Oh, He is so good and He's so loving! I'm very grateful to be called His daughter, to hear His voice and to know His love! There is nothing to top it in this world or the next! I love each of you and pray that you will find much to be grateful for as you reflect back on this year. God bless you in His love! Happy Day of Giving Thanks, dear ones.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Prime Your Pumps! or Thanksgiving Blog

Growing up on a farm in Pennsylvania, we had no running water or bathrooms in the house. We did have a wondeful, old, red-handled pump right outside the kitchen door where we could get the coldest, sweetest water on earth! The water came from the flowing creek at the bottom of the pasture and was pumped up to the house from a pump house down by the creek. Frequently, after not being used for awhile, we would have to prime the pump by pouring some water down it to get the water to come out. Once it started coming, we could pump as long as we wanted and the water would keep pouring out!

I've said all that to prime my Thanksgiving Blog! When My husband and I started our family and celebrated our first Thanksgiving in our home, we decided to start doing "Thankfulness Rounds" around the table. Everyone was expected to participate by sharing something for which they were thankful. At first, as young children, they were excited about thanking God for their sister, dog or new toy. As they entered the teenage years they became less excited about our traditional rounds. Each year our children would start off complaining about having to participate in the rounds, so each year we would have to prime the pump and start sharing our own thanks and then passing the turn around the table. Some years we only managed three or four rounds before we stopped and other years we would go about ten rounds. Each year there were tears and laughter by the time we finished and there was the determination by Allen and me that we were doing the right thing. Whenever we had guests join us for Thanksgiving, we always shared our tradition with them and welcomed them to join us in the rounds if they so desired. I don't recall that anyone ever refused the invitation even if they were a mite apprehensive. We have had some wonderful thanks given around our dining room table, thanks expressed by friends of old, friends we met that day, people of other faiths and nationalities and our own dear children as adults! Tears have flowed and laughter has been shared. How enriched and blessed we've been as we've been entrusted with thankful hearts. There is a vulnerability in being thankful. It denotes our dependence on our God and His access into our lives. It relates our interdependency on others. Ephesians 5:20 tells us to give thanks IN everything for this is God's will for us in Christ Jesus. Being thankful keeps our eyes on our Father and what He is about rather than our circumstances. Being thankful is certainly a God thing and because of that, it's a good thing!

Our three children are married with children of their own and all of them now do the Thankfulness Rounds as part of their celebration. Now they're hearing some of the same types of things we did and are also experiencing the joy of thanks given and thanks received. There are now tears at numerous tables and family gatherings. Guests and family members who shared those times with us in the past have also incorporated it into their holiday traditions. So, if you haven't already done so, prime the pump in your own family or gathering and get those thankful hearts going in grateful praise to Almighty God! Start small if necessary, but start & don't quit because if you prime long enough the cool, sweet, water of thankful hearts will come pouring out and will keep coming long after the day of Thanksgiving has passed!