Friday, January 29, 2016

Why do we give thanks?

This week my husband and I attended a training workshop every morning related to our ministry with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Although it seemed important for me to go, I really did not want to be there.  I find sitting that long is hard on my body and I had plenty of other things I would rather have been doing.

Since I didn't have a lot of time and energy for anything else, I did not blog my thankfulnesses. In fact I didn't even think my thankfulnesses, because I wasn't thankful!

Today the last session was on, guess what--gratitude!

It was a good reminder and encouragement to keep going with this. I wonder, maybe if I had pushed myself to think about and express my gratitude in my blog this week, maybe I would have felt grateful in spite of the workshop and even had more energy.

In that last session the leader asked, "Why do we give thanks?" Here are some of the answers people gave:

  •  God instructed us to
  •  It helps me not take things for granted
  •  It is central to the rest of life –in Romans, chapter 1, it shows that a lack of thankfulness leads to a very negative downward spiral. Original sin is possibly even a result of lack of gratitude—Adam and Eve focused on the one thing they did not have--fruit from the tree of "the knowledge of good and evil"--and forgot to be thankful for the fruit from all the other trees they did have.
  • Expressing gratitude for things others do for us helps maintain and even create relationship
  • Makes me more grateful when I express gratitude and then I usually start to notice other things to be thankful for
  • Gives joy for the day
  • Can break a worry "train of thought." Not possible to worry at same time as being thankful
  • Reminds me of God’s faithfulness
The leader said that "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it."

What are some things you are thankful for? Please leave comments telling of something you are thankful for:

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Today is Sanctity of Life Sunday

This morning we heard from the new director of our local crisis pregnancy center. It was a beautiful and challenging presentation.

I'm thankful:
1. for the 81 babies who were saved this past year through the ministry of our local crisis pregnancy center (Sound Options Pregnancy Services --soon to be called Southwest Pregnancy Services).

2. that God cares about widows and orphans and the poor--James 1:27

3. that we are all made in God's image and are precious to Him. Genesis 1:26; 9:5-6

4. that "God created my inmost being" and "knit me together in my Mother's womb... I am fearfully and wonderfully made!"--Psalm 139:13-14

5. That "all the days ordained for me were written in [His] book before one of them came to be"--Psalm 139:16

Friday, January 15, 2016

Being thankful helps prevent discouragement

I'm thankful,

1. John is scanning another box full of papers! Yay! This time Bible study notes and articles on various topics. A number of years ago I carefully organized them into hanging files arranged by topic. They have since sat untouched in John's closet! But we can't bring ourselves to just pitch them into the recycle bin--what if we want them some day? :-/ So John is scanning them. This has the added benefit of freeing up the hanging file folders for other things. There will also be more space in John's closet. I am hoping (against hope) that it might then have the affect of helping him to get better organized and tidy away some of the clutter in his room! But now I'm meddling.

2. This morning at breakfast I read some sermon notes on discouragement that were unearthed by the scanning project. One of the ten causes of discouragement listed is "failing to be thankful for small things." A nice little encouragement that I am on the right track :-)

3. It also said being too easily influenced by others is another cause. Also a timely reminder since I tend toward that weakness. In fact was feeling it's influence today especially.

4. Tonight we finally used up the Pei Wei gift card! --we actually got there and remembered to use it once there!

5. The food at PW was much better than it has been for a while! My new favorite thing is their Gluten Free Vietnamese Chicken Salad Rolls--yum!!

Please feel free to leave comments and tell some things you are thankful for!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

"Thank" in Bible 133 times

Psalm 107:1 "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever."

The Psalmist then recounts various scenarios when the people suffered afflictions: some wandered in desert wastelands, hungry and thirsty; some were prisoners sitting in darkness bound in iron chains; some were subjected to slave labor; some were pushed to their wits end during perilous storms at sea.

In two of these scenarios their afflictions were punishment for their rebellious ways (v. 10-12, 17-18). In the other two they were apparently just experiencing dangers of ordinary life (v. 4-5, 23-27). In each case, however, they "cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress." The Psalmist then exhorts, "Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men." This pattern repeats four times in this chapter. He also adds additional instructions in verse 22, "Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy." And in verse 32 he says, "Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people and praise him in the council of the elders."

"Give thanks" is repeated five times in this chapter alone --*thank* occurs 133 times in the Bible!  I just looked it up on (That includes every occurrence including: thanks, thankfulness, thanksgiving.) I guess it's pretty important!

I'm thankful:

1. That the crew of the boat who were detained by the Iranians were safely released (whatever the motivations of the Iranians we can at least be very thankful the crew are safe!)

2.  for God's unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men (yes, that includes women too!)

3. I finally got my Christmas decorations taken down and put away

4. and a few other things done that I had been procrastinating

5. our garden club went to a retirement village this week and helped residents make flower arrangements. I felt a little clueless but in the end was able to help one of the ladies make a pretty arrangement.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Life is short

"Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12
Lord, help me not to waste precious time on fear, worry, anxiety or fretting. Help me learn to focus on you, Jesus. To still my mind and heart, and listen. To pray what you want. To have a heart of thankfulness and praise.
"Lord you have been our dwelling place through out all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God." Psalm 90:1-2
I'm thankful:
1. Headaches of last week are gone.
2. Excruciating leg and foot cramps have also stopped
3. We made several meals to restock the freezer
4. God does not give us what our sins deserve! His mercies are new every morning!
5. Great is Your faithfulness O Lord!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Maybe it's just hormones

I'm thankful:

1. the white turkey chili i made last night turned out better than i expected--despite my leaving out the garlic and cayenne pepper.

2. so far no digestive disturbances from the "hatch" green chilies i put in it (they definitely have more heat than the regular mild canned green chilies i have used in the past.)

3. my loving husband finished washing the rest of the dishes last night after i went to bed.

4. i made another batch of bone broth yesterday (started the afternoon before) with leftover turkey bones. The timing was unexpectedly helpful as i needed more for the chili than i expected.

5. Maybe I'm not crazy after all, and i suspect the headaches, foot cramps, and clumsiness this week are likely mainly hormonal--and not early onset dementia or Parkinson's!! What a relief! (i won't mention why I think that here. If you really want to know you can email me ;-) (since my Mom developed both dementia and Parkinson's, I have occasionally worried I might be getting them too :-(

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Even in the mully-grubs

Feeling crabby and glum this morning. So I reminded myself to try to find things to be thankful for in the middle of it:

I am thankful:
1. although my tooth is still cold sensitive at least it's not heat sensitive too (at least not as much :/).

2. at least we do have the dried beans and the means to cook them-- (but I decided today I am so done with using dried beans! It's canned for me from now on! They are so much easier. I just don't have the time and energy to mess with the dried ones! John never does I notice--whenever he makes chili he always buys the canned ones!)

3. at least i can stand at the sink and do dishes! A year-and-a-half ago my feet were giving so much trouble I couldn't do that.

4. We do have the food to make the dishes dirty, and the water and detergent to wash them with!

5. I had a fun time with L yesterday at Panera. (that one is easy to be thankful for :-)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Are we really thankful?

I'm thankful:

1. Yesterday the devotional book* I'm using took me to one of my favorite thankfulness passages: Philippians 4:6-7, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." I thought it especially encouraging since I was wanting to write something here to celebrate my 5 year anniversary of keeping a thankfulness journal! (see yesterday's post)

The devotional goes on to ask, "But are we really thankful? Are we thanking Him for His presence, or bewailing our difficulties?"

Good questions! I often struggle with that. But even the Psalmist David spent some time bewailing his difficulties. I think the key is that he took his frustrations to God. He did not let them turn him away from God. Eventually he came around to praising God and giving Him thanks. No matter how dark the circumstances he always chose to trust in God's love and faithfulness.

2. The devotional* reading for the day also featured the hymn: "Now Thank We All Our God" (by Martin Rinckart, c. 1636; translator Catherine Winkworth, in the public domain)

1 Now thank we all our God
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom his world rejoices;
who from our mothers' arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.

2 O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us,
to keep us in his grace,
and guide us when perplexed,
and free us from all ills
of this world and the next.

3 All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given,
the Son and Spirit blest,
who reign in highest heaven
the one eternal God,
whom heaven and earth adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore. 
3. For the lovely piano music N played during Communion this past Sunday. It actually facilitated my prayer and communion time! Normally I have trouble praying during the Communion time. The music is usually pre-recorded stuff played by the sound person and is so loud and the lyrics so dominating that I can't filter it out. I was planning to start using earplugs, but I did not need them this week!

4. i just figured out how to block the blog stat counter from counting my activity. So i can tell if other people are reading this.

5. The Lord is Risen! Risen indeed!

*"Healing Devotions" by Anne S. White

Monday, January 4, 2016

Celebrating Five years of Thankfulness Journaling

Yesterday was the 5 year anniversary of keeping a Thankfulness Journal! I found all my Thankfulness Journals this evening and was astounded to see that there are 14 notebooks from these past five years! It begins on January 3, 2011. That day I recorded what led me to start this journey:
"Bought a book by Debbie MacComber about generosity called "One Simple Act." The first part talks about how important gratitude is and that it is a prerequisite for generosity. On page 21 she quoted from Stephen Post who said that, 'grateful care-givers are healthier and more capable than less grateful ones.' Interesting in light of how God keeps prompting me to give thanks for all the help he has given me when I start pleading with Him lately for help and saying, 'I can't take it. Help me know what to do. Bring this trial to an end, etc.' On page 23 she gives a list of ways to become more grateful (so we can be more generous.) She says, 'each day write 5 things you are grateful for... practice praise... stay alert to God nudges,' and act on them. And the biggy--'thank God in all circumstances.'"
She told the story of how Corrie Ten Boom learned to give thanks even while being held prisoner in a  Nazi concentration camp. The barracks that Corrie and her sister Betsy were held in was seriously infested with fleas. One day Betsy, said they should give thanks even for those. Corrie didn't see how or why they should give thanks for the fleas, but she reluctantly did it to please Betsy. Later they found out that the fleas had kept the prison guards at a distance so the sisters were able to freely have Bible studies with the other ladies who were with them. 

I was already learning to be more thankful for minor inconveniences and seeing that they often brought unexpected blessings. But when I thought of some of the really big stuff I was struggling with (Mom's dementia and my own frequent health problems) I didn't know if I could be thankful for those. I wrote it, "feels like a real stretch...-- a leap of faith," but "what is there to lose?"

Looking back I would say the answer is: Nothing. Nothing to lose and much to gain! I admit I haven't ever really been able to give thanks for my Mom's dementia or my continuing health problems. I'm not sure I should. But I am learning to find things to be thankful for even in the middle of the suffering.

My first Thankfulness Journal entry was all nice warm-fuzzy stuff.

However, my determination to continue keeping the thankfulness journal faced one of it's toughest tests on the second day! I remember having a particularly painful misunderstanding and blow-up with one of my then care-givers. I was also apparently super stressed about my never ending to-do list as a full time care-giver. Life clearly felt out of control. I wrote:
Can't do it too many things feel like I'm going to explode or implode maybe both.
I know, supposed to list 5 things I'm thankful for and include the fleas--yikes! HELP!!
here goes...
    I'm thankful for
1. the opportunity to learn how to better communicate with B [care-giver]
2. the opportunity to learn to delegate more effectively
3. the opportunity to learn to plan and organize my life better
4. the opportunity to learn to to be more patient and trust God
5. the opportunity to learn to become more efficient in the use of my time
Looking at my messy handwriting and poor punctuation my emotions were clearly not warm and fuzzy--more like hot and bothered!

I don't remember the details of my misunderstanding with B.  I do remember that after writing this I accidentally called a good friend, K, on the phone when I meant to call one of my Mom's sisters. It was a happy accident! Although I had not talked with K for a long time we had a nice talk and I shared the struggle I was having with B. She was able to give good impartial feedback and calm advice that really helped a lot! A little later, by God's grace, B and I did get our troubles sorted out.

I'm thankful:

1.  For Five years keeping a thankfulness journal--doing anything steadily for that long is a big deal for me.

2.  That even though I don't do it every day there is still grace and blessing in it. (I did do it faithfully every day for the first year. After that I gave myself grace to be a little more relaxed. I also determined ahead of time that i would not try to catch up and make up for days missed--I wanted to keep it up and knew if there was too many rules I would not be able to!)

3. That I am sure it has been good for my health and competence as a care-giver (see above quote from Stephen Post.) Considering how many health problems I have had these last five years, though, if I had not been keeping a thankfulness journal I would probably be dead, or in a nursing home myself!

4. That John and I survived another drive up to Addison today--It seemed doubtful a couple of times!

5. Dr. K did not give me a hard time for continuing to have problems with the crown. He adjusted it a bit more and said that sometimes things shift. (Please God help them only shift the right direction from now on!)

Saturday, January 2, 2016

I can swish again!

I'm thankful:

1. I can swish again! (after the implant surgery they said: NO SWISHING! But now I can. What a relief!)

2. Today we nearly caught up with entering receipts and reconciling accounts in Quicken for 2015!

3. had a fun time Thursday celebrating our anniversary. Went to Dallas Arboretum and saw the 12 Days of Christmas displays and the Nativity collection in the DeGoyer House. Then we met my brother for lunch in downtown Dallas /or should I say "uptown" Dallas. After lunch we three went to see "Jerusalem 3D" at the Perot Museum.That evening John and I had a special dinner at home--candle light, roses, real linen table cloth and napkins. We topped it off with strawberry "cheesecake" (gluten free & dairy free)! It tasted like the real thing to me. That could be partly because it's the first time in two and a half years that I've had anything approximating a cheesecake! But I'm fairly picky about tastes and textures and this is a very good imitation. We will definitely be buying those again!

4. managed to figure out how to iron the linen table cloth with out dragging it on the floor or getting it too tangled around the ironing board. Iron the edges then fold it in half length wise then iron it on one side. Turn it over while keeping folded and iron the other. Fold it in half again this time cross wise and repeat. I guess I could have folded it differently. But anyway the result is the same. Do until it seems wrinkle free and folded to the size you want. Fold more if desired.

5. finally got the blood stains out of my comforter/doona cover. And then washed, dried and a few minutes ago put back on the comforter and on my bed just in time for beddy bye!

6. Managed to write this blog post in under 30 minutes! I'll add pictures later!