Monday, November 18, 2019

Thanksgiving Thoughts 2019

My home has been decorated since September for fall. The blues and greens that I used in preceding years gave way to more traditional rusts and oranges this year. The front porch and dining room were shared in previous weeks. The freezing temperatures have killed off my mums on the front porch. I threw them out today and will start on Christmas out there this week.

But inside it is still fall.

I have so much to the be thankful for but today I am thankful for a set of sixty (maybe more) year old dishes.

My dining table had been set with everyday, plain, white dishes but they have now been replaced with my great-grandmother's dishes. My mom had married her grandson, my step-dad, when I was seven. The first time I met her I was about ten years old. We flew to Florida that year for Thanksgiving at her house. She was originally from New York City but had retired in Florida. We lived on a military base in Washington state so this was our first meeting.  I remember being struck by the fact that her dishes had turkeys on them! Her table was full of crystal serving pieces, silver plated dishes and real silverware as opposed to the flatware and Corelle ware that graced our table back home. People "back east" entertained differently then and way different from what this poor girl was used to. Imagine, plates that were just for Thanksgiving!

Two years ago I was enjoying some free time visiting some of my favorite blogs and I saw someone's post about their Thanksgiving dishes. It immediately sparked the memories of that ten year old girl. All my loved ones that are no longer with us were happy and well in those memories. I knew those dishes had been passed onto my mother a few years before she had passed. My dad had not gotten rid of them but also had no idea where they were. It took a trip to my dad's to find the dishes, pack them up and ship them home.

They are only out for a short time. They are not dishwasher safe, I don't think. (I wouldn't want to test it.) But to me they are worth the extra care and the extra space they take in my cabinets.

The table is set and ready for celebrations, conversations, and laughter. When I walk through the room during the day memories flood my mind. I can almost smell my great-grandmother's mincemeat pie. It was the first time I had ever had it or heard of it! It mingles in my brain with the fragrance of my grandmother's perfume, my grandfather's tall frame, and the sound of my mother's voice. I am thankful for these people that loved me so well. Even though they are no longer with us the dishes remind me of them and of that time; a time when my own version of the Norman Rockwell family was carefully sown into my brain. I had no idea at the time. I took for granted the gathering of family and, knowing me, I was probably bored out of my 10 year old brain with all the "grown up talk".

So now, how amazing it is to me that the memory is so precious that it ignites a heart of thankfulness. Thankful for the love, thankful for the memories and thankful for an incomplete set of dishes that are used for a very short time every year. Perspective is everything, friends.

May your Thanksgiving celebrations be filled with moments that plant memory seeds of family and love. I also pray that you are able to appreciate moments as they happen and that you intentionally take time to look at the faces, hear the laughs, see the eyes, feel the love (no matter how imperfect it may be) and to give thanks to God for the people He has put into your life. We and they are not promised tomorrow. We have today and today is enough to be thankful for.

Psalm 100:4 - Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

Happy Thanksgiving, friends. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

When Things Don't Go The Way You Had Planned- Do The Next Thing


Friends, do you have those days when you cannot see what the future has for you?
 Do you have seasons you must to walk through and they make absolutely no sense as to how they fit into God's big picture? 
Do you struggle with your plans for the future looking like they are seemingly nothing more than dust caught in tornadic winds? 
Is the fog so thick that you cannot see where to place your next step? 

Sometimes all we can do is the next thing. You may be numb as you take that next step; not able to feel your legs beneath you but step you must. 

God has called us to a particular walk, a definite road, a predestined path. 

Proverbs 16:9
The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. 

The following is an old poem that encourages me in those seasons when the cares of this life make things so murky and obscure my view to what lies beyond this day. 

Do the Next Thing

From an old English parsonage down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message for me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, as it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
And on through the hours the quiet words ring,
Like a low inspiration: DO THE NEXT THING.

Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, guidance, are given.
Fear not tomorrows, Child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus. DO THE NEXT THING.

Do it immediately; do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command,
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
Leave all resultings. DO THE NEXT THING.

Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
(Working or suffering) be thy demeanor.
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance be thy psalm.
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing!
Then, as He beckons thee, DO THE NEXT THING.
(source unknown)

Whatever today brings for you, whatever tomorrow has in store- fear not beloved for you are His. 

Love, Jolena