ok, ladies and gentlemen, let's be honest, shall we? (hopefully no one answered a big, fat, "no!")
thanksgiving is a time where most of us are "thankful" for a couple extra days off from work, for turkey and dressing, for football, and for black friday. am i right, or am i right? trust me, i wish i were not right.
and hey, those are not bad things to be thankful for in and of themselvs. personally, the whole thanksgiving food issue isn't as much of a big deal for yours truly because, as some may say, i am a pretty "boring" eater. i prefer to call it "predictable and consistent", but whatever. in case you haven't been reading my posts for very long, i will enlighten you. i personally believe there is a special place in heaven for the blessed person who invented divided paper plates. whoever you are, wherever you are, i am thankful for you! and i am not one to pile on a little bit o' everything on my thanksgiving plate. that, is, however, how my dear husbands rolls. i mean it. i can hardly even handle sitting next to him. i love him, so i do. but it ain't easy. now, let me preface by saying that my sweet mom, step-mom and all of my various family members are truly all very good cooks, i mean it, they are!! but, is it just me, or does the thanksgiving food look fairly normal when it is in each of its respective decorative dishes, but then once piled onto a plate all next to each other, it all looks kinda...well, weird. (yes, i am sure it is just me, no shocker there) the colors and textures...all differet and mixed up all there thrown together. something just isn't right about it to me. and for ryan... really, you literally can see no, and i mean NO, little dixie paisley pattern creeping up from under his plate once he has gone through the line. he has a little bit o' everything on that plate, and yes, it is all touching each other...all of it!! (insert silent shudder from his lovely wife sitting next to him trying to avoid eye contact) he has turkey and gravy, and dressing, and green bean casserole (which i am proud to say i have now embraced but i honestly wouldn't touch the stuff for about the first 27 years of my life) sweet potatoes (his fav!), some sort of rice mixture that is too non-descript to identify clearly but nonetheless, he's served himself a heap-full, and regular mashed potatoes with gravy that yes, has oozed onto everything else (c'mon, seriously!?! i can hardly even type this out to you people) and sliced ham and some sort of congealed orange-mold-delight-thing complete with chunks (don't even get me started), and of course to top it all off, he has the cranberries. i'm sorry y'all...what is that about? i can't handle the texture of the cranberries. i mean it. are cranberries a solid or a liquid? (or do they give you gas?) sorry...i couldn't resist! :) i am quite sure i am forgetting a few things, but honestly it is out of sheer survival that i don't pay closer attention to his plate. if i did, i wouldn't survive sitting next to him. i know, i know...i'm horrible.
but, then there is my plate. simple. understated in its simplicity, really. it has....ham, of course, if we have it, which we usually do. i prefer that to turkey, but i do like both. i am happy to be a carnivore. and yes, i am a grown up now so i will eat the green bean casserole. (yea me! hey...a little self-affirmation never hurt anyone, right? especially since i am quite sure you all are sitting there reading this now thinking i am a complete fool!) a very, very healthy helping (or two) of mashed potatoes and a roll...or two, or three (especially if they are sister shubert's rolls...heavenly. and yes, this was life pre-gluten free. sigh) and we're out. that's it. i'm happy and done. yes, i can still appreciate the pleasant blue paisley print on the dixie plate. and yes, i can still eat my fill. and yes, i made it through the line in record time. and no, i did not accidentally overlook the cranberries. and no, i am not a communist.
to each their own, friend, to each their own. :)
and i love watching football. i really do. i know some of my girlfriends think i have joined the "dark side" and that i am not helping the "cause" of us women-folk, but i can't help it. i love it!! and i think ryan likes that i love it. i remind him of how lucky he is. i am sure he likes that too.
black friday is more of something my sweet ryan looks forward to. ya see, his birthday is the first of november and so, usually he gets a little birthday money each year and he looks forward to the ads and seeing if there is "that deal" that he wants to get at home depot that will make him one happy boy. it really is cute about it.i lkien it to the grown up version of getting the toys r us catalog as a kid and circling the toys you wanted santa to get you. me? i like to sleep. i am sure once our kids are older and asking for presents that i really do need to get at half off the full price in order to be able to afford, i will be up at 4am with the rest of my budget conscious friends. for now, we can just say "oh look, isn't this fun what you got for Christmas!" i know, i know...my days are numbered!
but, truly, this year has been a tough one. a very, very tough one. but, i mean it with all my heart, friend, when i say i have seen God's hand all over it. and as i have been lying around this week (hey, it's what i do!) i have been thinking A LOT about where God has brought me over this last year. well....last year at this time, my world wasn't a whole lot different from it is right now. i was lying on this very same couch for most of the day, stuggling with spinal fluid leak issues, unable to sit upright for long....and also struggling with God as to why He was allowing this to happen again. (again)
however....this year, i am a bit stronger that i was last year. in more ways than one, i am blessed to say. so, this year i have chosen to be thankFULL. i mean it. i have chosen (and yes, friend, it is a choice) to thank my great God for a whole lotta different things. and i'm bringing you in on this deal. welcome, friend.
and you may be wondering why i am doing this the week after thanksgiving? well, that's actually one thing i am thankFULL for. my computer crashed on me last week. and yes, i am choosing to be thankful for that. we have one laptop here at our house. and last week, early one morning when i had gotten up super early with the very specific intent to write this exact blog before anyone was up...my sweet jacob got up hours before i thought he would. all the kids had the week off for thanksgiving so i was letting them get some much needed extra sleep. (meaning they all slept in until like 8:30...those lazy bumbs!:) so..here it is like 6:15 and in strolls my sleepy jacob and says, "mama, i wanna cuggle (our family nickname for "cuddle") with you." well, clearly i'm never gonna turn that down. especially from my six-year-old, because i am all too aware that those days are numbered with him!
so, we curled up on the couch and "cuggled" and talked and loved on each other. he started asking me questions as only jacob does. and it spurred off onto thanksgiving stuff. and he asked to see a real picture of a pilgrim and an indian. i already had my laptop on, ready to write, so i put it on our laps and googled some images for us to look at together. all was well, until apparently i clicked on something i shouldn't have. all of a sudden, lots of bad red flashing things started happening and virus warnings started going bonkers on my computer. huh!?! what in the world. i had never seen anything like this. but, i knew it wasn't good. so...i did my best to un-do what had been done. (which, with my vast computer expertise took a whopping 8 seconds) and then i began to panic. ryan was already outside....he, too wanting to get a lot done before the kids got up that day. i yelled at him and he came and looked at it. he had no idea what to do but was unwilling to spend the $50 to buy the virus protection program that my computer was flashing at me that i needed to buy. ahhh! i was in panic mode. jacob was fine, wathing diego, at this point. his thanksgiving lesson was over anyway and he had moved on. long story short, we got some virus on our laptop and our brilliant and super wonderful friend and neighbor will fix it for us, once we get an external harddrive to put ryan's itunes and my pics on soon. but, it is the end of the month and mr. budget says we aren't doing that yet. so...i was without a laptop for a few days. ahhhh!! me?? no email? no facebook? no blogging?? no downloading pics of my babies?? yikes! but, it was good for me. and i am thankFULL for it.
you see, friend...it is soooo easy to get caught up in all the drama of life. it is sooo easy to get affected by it. and i'm not going to lie to you. i was boderline sqealing at ryan at one point "for the love of God, man, if you love me at all, just buy the $50 virus protection and save my computer!!" a lot of good that did. ryan stayed calm and, after kinda blaming me (half teasing...yes, only half) for the whole deal...said that i just needed to find a way to fix it without spending the money. ugh. i did, but it wasn't pretty. and it wasn't fun. but...still...i wasted so much energy on that. i let it ruffle my feathers.
i am well aware that this is kind of a retarded example. i get that. but, friend. my last year has been FULL of true, real life, hard core examples of how life can get super intense and i could have (and often did) get caught up in it and let my circumstances ruffle my feathers. and once again, a lot of good that did.
so...here we are... the week after thanksgiving. the tryptophan from the turkey has worn off. the black friday sales are over. the cowboys lost again. (ugh.) how much time did you really spend being thankFULL?? really? did you sit down and OUT LOUD thank your God for all He has done for you since last thanksgiving. no, i'm not talking about the 2 minute prayer that was said while you were really thinking about cutting in line in front of aunt josie because she hogs the sweet potatoes. i mean it. have you been thankFULL??
you want to know the great news? God doesn't care about pilgrims and indians. i mean...He does. but, not any more that He cares about shamrocks or Easter eggs or jingle bells or fireworks. this is all our deal, people. thankFULLness is year round. yes, this time of year is special because we are supposed to stop and think. we are supposed to designate this time as such. but, if you didn't, it's all good. do it today. and the next day. and the day after that. take note of a few Truths with me...
colossians 3:15 says "let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as memebers of one body you were called to peace. and be thankful."
please note that it doesn't say... "since as member of one body you were called to peace. and somewhere in the last couple weeks of november, be thankful" see? it just says, BE THANKFUL! are you? am i? let peace rule. let it reign. and be thankFULL.
i took a few minutes over the lasst week and made a little treat for a handFULL of people in my life who have gone above and beyond to serve and honor myself and my family throughout this last year. i made a little magnet with the following verse on it:
1 thess. 5:18 says "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
when you have been served and loved on and prayed for and encouraged and humbled as i have over these last twelve months (and more), you cannot help but want to thank them. you honeslty can't help but be thankful all the time. i am sure i've gotten a little annoying about it. (i know that is a shocker...me? annoying?) :) but, i have had a few people say, seriously, stop thanking me!?! nope. not going to happen! but, really, friend....how cool would it be if God felt that way?? what if we thanked Him that much? now...to be clear...i am quite sure..in fact, i am positive, that for all He has done for us, there is no way we could thank Him enough, but oh, to have a heart to try!
now, about this verse...i have always heard that it says to give thanks IN all circumstances and not FOR all circumstances...which was comforting to me. life is tough. really bad stuff happens. painful stuff. unfair stuff. heart-wrenching stuff. stuff that i should NOT have to thank God for. and honestly, this "reasoning" i heard kinda gave me an "out" about it. that is...until the other day. in fact, it was right around the computer craashing day. my devo that morning (amazing little book title "Jesus Calling" - i love it!!!) was about thankfulness and i crept upon this verse...or maybe i should say it crept up on me...
Ephesians 5:20 "sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
ah, man. that one does say to give thanks FOR everything. shoot.
friend, i am in NO way wanting to dimish any sort of pain you have had in your life. i cannot begin to imagine the pain and grief some of you have been through. honestly, my heart breaks just imagining it and i have a very active imagination. but, at least for me...i have had to come to terms with my heart issues over this last year. no...i shouldn't "have to" go through what i'm going through. no one should. but, i am. and i shouldn't "have to" thank God for it. but, i want to. so i am going to try to. i figure that by doing this...i can only grow closer to Him. and then i can only be more like Him. truly. it can't hurt, right?
this last year has been tough. i have had so many heart-breaking moments that i do not ever want to re-live and that i wouldn't wish on my very worst enemy. but God, right here and right now, i am typing and saying this to you OUT LOUD...I THANK YOU FOR EVERY ONE OF THEM!! because i know you love me, and i know you are always good. i know you wouldn't allow one single thing to come to my life that didn't need to come to bring YOU more honor and glory. i know you are with me. i know you always will be.
friend, if you can't think of one blasted thing to thank Him for right now...i get that too. i have been there. i have sat at my very own pity party (party of one!) and sunk lower than low in my very own pit of despair as i sloshed around in my "woe-is-me" thoughts all the live long day. trust me. been there, done that...got the ugly, faded tshirts to prove it. so...i offer you this last bit of Truth for you to dwell on and repeat to yourself until you can be reminded of all that you do have to be thankFULL for...
hebrews 12:28 says "therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverance and awe"
His kingdom cannot be shaken. wahooo!!! that is great news!! if you are a Christian then you at least have that! even if you feel like you have nothing else right now, you do have that!!
and for the rest of you....it is not too late. stop and be thankful. for something. for someone. write a note. send a text. do something. be thankFULL. it is not too late. i know that tomorrow is december 1st. but, who cares. i know the thanksgiving food is gone, but the thankFULLness should not be.
by the way...the food should be gone, friend. if you haven't thrown it out..please go do that now. especially the cranberries. just let it go...for goodness sake, man...let. it. go. :)