Happy Thanksgiving

Sometimes life weighs us down, but there is always, always something to be grateful for. May we take some time today to reflect on the goodness of His blessings and the promises of His grace.

Enjoy those around you. Be grateful for the everyday blessings admist an imperfect life.

Today, just be thankful for today.

What is one thing you are grateful for today? 

For me, it is the gift of time this weekend with my family.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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Looking Back

Sometimes, we become anxious about the future. Other times, we dwell on the past. We may wish things were the way they once were or we might perseverate on how we could have done something differently.

I have been working through my anxiety struggles. I find that I worry about the future…I play over past events over and over. Neither one of these are healthy. While self reflection is essential for personal growth and planning for the future is responsible, anxiety can wedge its way in quickly. 

I am learning to combat fear and anxiety with prayer and Scripture. Another thing that is extremely helpful to keep my focus where it needs to be is by consciously choosing an attitude of gratitude.

One of my favorite verses is this one:

Do not worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Philippians 4:6

I have shared about how I like to break down that verse and pray through all the things weighing heavy on my mind and heart. Big and small. 

It is in this verse that I am reminded that looking back on the past can be a really good idea.

 When we take a moment to reflect on all the ways God has answered our cries for help, carried us through trials and tribulations, and answered our prayers with grace in ways we could not have imagined, then there is a sense of peace and reassurance that He will not forsake us now through these present day struggles.

Another important lesson in this is the attitude of gratitude. A heart full of gratitude changes everything.

Gratitude has nothing to do with our circumstances and everything to do with who God is.

We praise Him because of who He is. We trust He will carry us through this journey called life.
This Thanksgiving season, I’m not sure what you are struggling with or if your heart is heavy or overflowing with joy. Maybe your path is rocky and uncertain and the way ahead so unclear. Take a moment and look back. Remember how God has carried you before. Focus on His goodness. Share with others what you are grateful for. Tell someone how much they mean to you. Trust that God has greater things in store than you can imagine. 
When we can’t see the road ahead and we choose to trust and be thankful along the way despite the twists and turns, we realize how much He can bless our mess when we have a grateful heart.

Happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful for all of you who take a few minutes of your day to read my reflections. 
Choose gratitude. ♥

Gratitude thoughts

My emotions are truly all over the place this Thanksgiving weekend. Thanksgiving encourages an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude is intertwined with perspective. You can’t have one without the other. An attitude of gratitude implies that you are trying to find things to be thankful for when honestly it would be easier to whine, complain, feel sorry for yourself, etc. This is where I am right now. I am choosing to have an attitude of gratitude because I don’t want to whine or complain or feel sorry for myself….although, honestly, that would be easier.

For example….While I am excited and looking forward to starting a new job in a few weeks, I have nine potentially high-stressed filled days remaining at the present job. During this past week and a half since the news of my resignation was announced, co-workers and others I regularly come into contact with through my job, have blessed me with the humble opportunity to hear expressions of gratitude of how much they have enjoyed working with me and will miss me. Even as the chaos of the work day swirls around me and the overwhelming “to do” list grows, I am choosing to be grateful for the relationships I have formed while serving in this position. I can also trust God to take care of leading the right person to fill my position after I leave.

I am also learning to live with a chronic condition of pain and exhaustion and regular headaches called fibromyalgia. Through this condition, I am learning to rest. I am learning to lean on others in my life just a little more and to embrace the belief that it is okay to lean on those God has placed in my life. I am thankful for a best friend who completely gets  what I am dealing with because she lives with the same condition. So, instead of dwelling on the nerve, joint, and muscle pain and stiffness, I will choose to focus on the blessings of fibro….which requires a daily effort on my part. (One that I am not always the best at).

I love The Message translation of the first three verses of the 23rd Psalm:

God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, You find me quiet pools to drink from. True to Your word, You let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Psalm 23:1-3 The Message

I love this translation…He allows me to catch my breath through a release from a stressful job situation and sends me in the right direction to a wonderful new opportunity. Even through something like a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, I have to hold onto and believe He can and will use it for something good for His glory.

This Thanksgiving weekend, take a few moments and embrace an attitude of gratitude. Even through the hard stuff of life, God can and will use everything for something good.

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Thanksgiving…a day early

I love Thanksgiving…time with family, delicious food, a day off work, and the reminder to pause and reflect on all I have to be thankful for. That being said, I will admit…I loved Thanksgiving much more a few years ago before all these stomach issues. I loved the stuffing (especially the oyster stuffing), Aunt Linda’s date pudding, sweet potatoes oozing with brown sugar topping, buttered dinner rolls, Buckeyes (a delicious chocolate peanut butter combination), and all the pies. It was also much easier a few years ago before I had to juggle multiple family get-togethers and a career in healthcare which operates 365 days a year and 24 hours a day.

Even with the challenges the day brings, I still look forward to Thanksgiving. Thankfully, I love turkey and sweet potatoes although I have learned to always ask before I eat anything I did not personally make. One year, the sweet potatoes had been dredged in flour before they were coated in the gooey topping. Who does that? Oh well, they were good, but I paid for it later.

As I am now. This morning after a delicious cup of coffee, I visited one of my favorite natural, locally owned health food stores. I wanted gluten-free oats. This store sells them in bulk, and they are the cheapest I have found. I meandered around the store and that’s when I saw it….staring back at me…enticing me with all its pumpkin-y Thanksgiving charm. A generous slice of gluten-free pumpkin roll. I stared, considered, and walked away. Then, I came back and my resolve had dissolved…I succombed to temptation and bought the slice of gluten-free pumpkin roll telling myself that I would save it for my Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.

Thanksgiving came early for me. I no more than walked through my front door before I had a bite in my mouth. I savored that cream cheese filling smothered between the sweet pumpkin. I stopped myself, though, and placed it in the refrigerator. For tomorrow.

I exercised. I ate lunch. I helped my daughter on her paper. And tomorrow came….like 3 hours from the first bite. Only I didn’t stop there. I made hot chocolate with new Silk Cashewmilk and Caffe D’Viata organic hot cocoa mix with a little extra carob powder for good measure. (I love the new cashewmilk from Silk!!) I ate that entire piece of pumpkin roll while I drank my hot chocolate. Yup, I ate my Thanksgiving dessert a day early.

It’s been about 2 hours later, and my stomach is churning. I am completely uncomfortable and in pain. And yes, I regret giving into temptation. So, my feet are up in the recliner, and I am having a lazy afternoon like my favorite chocolate lab as I wait for the tea kettle to whistle. I need ginger tea.

SadieAll I want to do is sit in this chair and be lazy like my lab. The chocolate, sugar, and dairy are definitely not settling well. I seldom eat sugar, and I rarely drink hot chocolate. And I consume very little dairy for this reason. It’s frustrating to have to be so careful with what I eat. I am recovering from a nasty reaction to tuna last week. My lips swelled, and my skin around my mouth peeled. I wanted to wear a mask at work! Thankfully, it’s better now.

The thing is, I have a general idea of what I can and cannot eat. Unfortunately, the cannots outweigh the cans. I am human, though. I give into temptation like that pumpkin roll today.  I am reminded that life is like that sometimes. I am enticed by the instant gratification of something. I don’t pause and take the time to really reflect on whether it is worth the potential consequences. Whether it is food, purchasing shoes I don’t need, or trying to get ahead of God’s will for my life, I can make the decision to say yes or no to temptation. Sometimes, I am succesful at being stronger than the temptation, and other times like today, I am not. My stomach-ache will pass with time, and hopefully I will remember the lesson from today.Thou shalt not eat things that look delicious when they will cause horrible stomach pains later!

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