Monday, October 8, 2012

Blessings and Books

It's Thanksgiving Monday, and I don't know if I've ever been more thankful for a grey and cloudcast day because, Hallelujah!, there are Heavensent puddles dotting the driveway. I just pray the rain keeps on coming. There is a peaceful silence in a morning such as this and I feel compelled to sit a little longer, breathe a little deeper and enjoy the moment. It seems fitting to have come across this quote today:
 “We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence. We need silence to be able to touch souls.”  - Mother Teresa of Calcutta
As soon as the stillness of fall arrives I love to delve into my passion of reading. I am so thankful for the gift of the written word. It changes the world, changes lives, changes the soul. I've been reading for several weeks now when I have spare time; whether it's time of devotion, a recipe book, doing homework in my Bible study book, a series of non-fiction or keeping up with my favorite blogs. I admit sometimes I get caught up in reading so much that my work slacks a little, the clean laundry stays kind of wrinkly and I only respond to the kids after several repeated questions. Sometimes I've used reading as an escape to find a fictional world different than my reality. Many times I read with a searching heart and it's amazing how so often I come across exactly what I need to hear, whether it something I need to change within myself, words that heal a wound and phrases that give new perspective. There is a miracle in picking up something to read without realizing when you start how much the words will apply uniquely to oneself and the moment you're in. Of course we found those miracles in many different sources, through music, relationships,nature,  pictures and so on. These gifts of teaching lead us to a better understanding and passion for our broken world. We are led through the mess to a path of thankfulness. I found some of that teaching through a novel I read this weekend. It's a powerful story that affects all of ones emotions, convictions and stirs the heart. A soul wrenching story about a young girls journey and the choices she makes to rise above the despair. I couldn't put it down and can't quit thinking about the character Millie Reynolds in the book "Into the Free" written by Julie Cantrell. Even if reading isn't your thing I would urge anyone to seek out this book. I will eagerly await a sequal and maybe reread this one.
Leaving you with a portion of the Author's words:
I am here. I am here for a reason. for something more than to just breathe, blink, swallow. I am worthy of happiness and love. Worthy of a good life filled with good people who love me in return.....I turn again to the words on the wall just as morning breaks through and beams of sunlight reach the wooden cross. It may make take a long time, but somehow I believe that the broken pieces of me will come back together. Someone, somewhere, is on my side.
Through this story I was reminded that Thanksgiving is not a day or a turkey dinner. It's looking back on our journey and finding blessings through the joys and pains of our life, through the times that led us away from Jesus and the times that we joined Him in his Grace again. That though we have control over our choices we are predestined to intersect with God's plan to bless us and when we search closely we can see clearly how much Thanks we have to offer back.
Not what we say about our blessings but how we use them, is the true measure of our Thanksgiving. -W.T. Purkiser

Monday, October 1, 2012

Turkey Talk

This past weekend I enjoyed the privilege of cooking a Thanksgiving meal for my In-Laws. It was a first time for me to cook a complete stuffed turkey dinner with the trimmings. In order to to avoid the anxiety I usually get with preparing for company I started two days in advance so that I could take things in stride. I stayed home Sunday morning while Wayne took Hanna to church so that I could get the turkey in the oven on time. It took me back to the days when my mom would stay home from church to cook her holiday meals. Dad I would come to savory smells and country gospel music on the radio. Sure enough, I got in two full hours of the Sunday Request Show and turkey in the oven by Twelve. It felt great to even get a nap in before company arrived. I woke up to a well done turkey and visitors at the door shortly after. It was a pleasure to have my mom-in-law work beside me in the kitchen, she did a beautiful job of carving the turkey that I'm sure I would've mutilated. And thanks to Brian 's forearms we had smooth and creamy mashed potatoes.
So the menu:
turkey with stuffing
mashed potaoes(mom and Brian) and gravy
peas and carrots, marinated carrots(mom)
cranberry jello salad, lovely fruit salad brought by Sonya
butterhorn rolls, rhubarb punch
pumpkin pie and banana cream pie
Menu for the next week? many turkey inspired meals as we hardly made a dent.

We realize at times like this how small our table is when our elbows are touching. However many hearts at the table is much to be thankful for.

After full bellies and a hot house we followed the kids outside. It was a beautiful evening for a bonfire. Mom suggested a family photo and so we wrangled the kids together, wiped dirty mouths and set ourselves up in front of the wood pile while the sun was quickly setting. Pretty good photo for  a self timed shot set up on a Little Tykes car.

Jake looking rather grown up these days with his curls trimmed away.

Here's me at around seventeen weeks with Hanna proudly patting. She asks me almost every day if my tummy is still growing. It surely is, as I'm starting to feel a bit like a stuffed turkey myself.

So one Thanksgiving feast down and a few more to go over the next weeks. I absolutely love this holiday. The thankfulness season sets the stage for the coming of Christmas. Each morning I look out in awe of the colors that are so refreshing after the dull dryness of this past summer. The vibrant colors paint a picture of how I want my life to portray living out the vibrancy of 1Thessalonians 5:16-18:  Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

I pray that this beginning of October will be such a month, a new beginning of giving thanks in all things.