Sunday, November 29, 2009

The After Thanksgiving Glow

It's the Sunday night after Thanksgiving and I feel more stuffed than any turkey that graced a table on Thursday. Every year it's the same. I look forward to all of our traditional dishes and then eat like I will never ever have that food on my table again. I always seem to cook more than we can possibly eat, knowing that everyone is tired of leftovers long before the weekend is over. This year was no different! Friday evening we shared a Hoptown tradition with our out-of-state relatives -- Ferrell's burgers! A yummy treat to offset all the turkey and dressing. Can't say that it was the healthiest of meals but hey, what is healthy eats this time of year?

So now I sit here in the after glow of time spent with family and again count blessings. My brother fought a battle with cancer this year and won. My sister-in-law continues to deal with serious health issues but drew on strength from our Lord to make the trip. I am thankful we had another Thanksgiving to sit down at the table together.

A new grandson, just seven weeks old, brought the number of grandchildren to five. Along with my 11 year old great-nephew, needless to say 'quiet' was not something you found in our house for a couple of days! But what fun to watch the cousins have time to play together. My niece & her husband brought gingerbread cookies for them to decorate (and eat) plus a fun placemat craft project. (Thanks, Andrea & Terry, for helping create special memories for the kids!)

I know that it is easy for us to take time to give thanks at Thanksgiving. After all, the whole reason we have the holiday set aside is because our forefathers took time to thank God for His provision after surviving their first year in this new country. What is not so easy is to cultivate an attitude of gratitude that continues throughout the year. Every year I hear comments around Christmas time from folks who 'wish we could have the spirit of Christmas all year.' It's the same with Thanksgiving. Our natural tendency is to pour it all out for a few weeks every year and then go on with our crazy lives. I don't want to live like that any more. I want to live out a true attitude of gratitude every day of my life. I want to live my life so that others see the Spirit of Christmas that lives within. I encourage you to do the same!

I pray that you are also basking in the afterglow of Thanksgiving. Pause right now and thank the Giver of it all. And when we get up in the morning, let's make it a point to continue to thank Him for everything He allows in our lives.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Taking Gratitude to a Higher Level

If you are looking for ways to increase your gratitude quotient, then check out my friend's blogspot and her post from Wed., Nov. 18 entitled "37 Days of Kindness". (

I think this will be a great way to spend our days from now until Christmas. In the middle of the hustle, bustle, and our culture's definition of Christmas perhaps we can daily make it a point to reach out to others. Who knows it may even start a whole new way of doing Christmas!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Are You Ready For Some Turkey?!

Can you believe we are only ten days away from Thanksgiving? And can Christmas be very far behind it? I don't know about you but it does seem like that month between keeps getting smaller and smaller. Maybe it's because retailers begin advertising Christmas sales earlier and earlier?

I find myself in the middle of preparing for both days. As part of my 'kick the procrastination' habit, I started my Christmas shopping a few weeks ago. It is actually quite refreshing to know that I have part of that behind me, not to mention the fact that it is a much more budget friendly way to pay for gifts. I also joined some of my girlfriends at Chatty Cappuccino Cafe on Friday night and got a head start on making some Christmas cards, plus got some quite creative tips on making my very own Christmas wreath. I was so inspired by that project (thanks Lauren!!) that I went right out to Hobby Lobby on Saturday and purchased all the materials. Yes, Christmas is definitely underway in the Lewis home.

On the other hand, I'm not quite ready to rush past Thanksgiving. This happens to be close in ranking to Christmas as my favorite holiday. Christmas will always be number one and not because of all the decorations, candy, music programs, gifts, etc. It is number one because it is the most important of celebrations - celebrating our reconciliation with God through the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ. If all the cultural manifestations of Christmas were to be taken away, it would remain the most important of all celebrations. A world changing event. The beginning of God's redemption plan come to earth.

Thanksgiving ranks a close second because it is my family's time to get together. Growing up with only one sibling makes it easier to manage schedules for a get together. In years past we alternated years, one year traveling and the next year being host. These days because of my adult children's schedules, my brother and his family always travel and we host. Our menu remains pretty much the same every year. Each person has their favorite dish they can't make it through Thanksgiving without so there is always an over abundance of fool. Some of the gals join the throngs on 'black Friday' to shop - I stay home and play with the grandkids. Some years we watch movies, at other times we play games. Oh, and did I mention, we eat a lot? Most importantly, we share time together. Talking about our memories from the past while making new ones to add to the memory vault.

And as we reminisce, we give thanks. As we sit down to our bountiful dinner, we give thanks. As we watch the next generation playing together, we give thanks. Even now as I am preparing by stocking the pantry and cleaning house, I give thanks. Thanks to the One who has blessed us with the priceless gift of family. Oh, we could choose to dwell on the battles of the past year with health issues, financial difficulties, and other things that satan wanted to use to rob us of our joy. But we will choose to thank our God for His provision, for granting us one more holiday together, for the bountiful blessings that He pours out each and every day.

My prayer for you is that you will find reasons to give thanks as you prepare for Thanksgiving. Look beyond the difficulties faced this year and choose to count your blessings.

By the way, I'd love to hear about your family's traditions at Thanksgiving. Tell us about it by leaving a comment below.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Finding Suzy

You know that God is trying to get your attention when the same theme keeps popping up. If you are like me and struggle with time management, check out the Girlfriends and God devotion from Oct. 29, 2009, entitled 'Time-Friend or Foe, Part 2'. Good tips on how to retrain our focus.

As for Suzy, she is visiting. I 'co-cooked' two meals this weekend! Hubby grilled brats and I fixed the sides yesterday, then today he cooked blackened fish on the grill (too smoky to cook indoors) while I fixed roasted red potatoes and cole slaw. We enjoy cooking together so I felt like Suzy was reasserting her flair. I also tackled one of those tasks that I had put off for too long - clean out the freezer. Y'all things climb into my freezer and hide! I found stuff that had been hiding for two years. (I did warn you that I procrastinate.)

In his sermon this morning, Bro. Greg talked about temptation, the importance of turning away from it and turning toward God. I have determined that procrastination is one of those areas of temptation for me. I can easily live out the motto "It can be done, it should be done, it will be done...tomorrow!" To overcome this temptation in my life I believe I must deliberately choose 'do', not 'wait to do'. Procrastination is a thief of precious time and time is not a cheap commodity.

So I ask you to help me. Hold me accountable. When you see me, ask me how I'm managing my time. Celebrate with me when I get it right and pray with me when I'm struggling. I promise I will do the same for you if you want me to. After all, we are on this journey together!

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