Thanksgiving: A Countdown to Joy – Day 1

Thanksgiving: A Countdown to Joy - Day 1 | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

It’s finally Turkey Day!!

Are you ready? Or are you dreading it?

I, my friend, am looking forward to it. And as I’m sitting in my living room waiting for the rest of my clan to get their hind ends in gear so we can head over to “the gathering”, my mind is swirling with all of God’s graces that I will enjoy today:

28. Seeing family that I don’t get to see very often

29. Sharing stories that are told over and over again

30. Laughing at each other – Oops! I mean laughing with each other!

31. Remembering those family members who are no longer with us and maybe even shedding a few tears

32. Enjoying a feast and filling our bellies with the comfort foods of the holiday

33. Listening to the craziness of a full house, taking in all the chaos and loving every minute

34. Gathering in the living room to watch “A Christmas Story” for the umpteenth time while waiting for the food coma to subside

35. Comfort, love, happiness, security, and all the fuzzies of being with family and friends

No matter where you are today, no matter your circumstances, it is my prayer that you will have a

Joyous Thanksgiving Day!

And remember, the Journey to Joy begins with giving Thanks!

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Thanksgiving: A Countdown to Joy – Day 2

Thanksgiving: A Countdown to Joy - Day 2 | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

It’s Thanksgiving Eve
And all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring,
Not even a –

Wait! That doesn’t quite work for the night before Thanksgiving, now does it?

On the night before Thanksgiving, there’s plenty a stirring going on! There’s stirring of dust as you’re frantically cleaning. There’s stirring of batter, pumpkin purée, sauces and all sorts of yummy creations for the Thanksgiving feast. There’s stirring of refrigerator space as you’re struggling to make room for just one more casserole, and there’s even a bit of stirring of your sanity as you ask yourself why you keep doing all this work every year!

Is it worth it?

I don’t know. I don’t do it! Hahahahaha!

I’m sorry. (Hehehe!) That was wrong. (Hehe!)

But the meme floating around out there is absolutely true. My family has accepted my lack of culinary skills; therefore, my contributions to Thanksgiving dinner are the rolls and the drinks. Oh, and the green bean casserole because that requires no skill whatsoever!

Don’t worry, though, my lack of contributions on the front end is fully compensated by my active participation in the aftermath. Isn’t that how it should be?

After all of these blessings:

22. A mother who lovingly prepares Thanksgiving dinner for her children and grandchildren, even if she isn’t feeling well, even when the kitchen is too hot from all the cooking, even when she’s been hinting that one of her children with more space ought to offer to host Thanksgiving next year (She has six kids. There’s no way she could be talking about me! 😉 )

23. Mom’s homemade dressing

24. and squash casserole

25. and sweet potato casserole

26. and pumpkin pie (I should probably move on from the menu items, shouldn’t I?)

27. A father who lovingly helps rearrange the furniture to accommodate “the gathering”, who always reminds his family to be thankful and who always points us to the One who is the Giver of our blessings

How could I not jump in and help with the dishes, put away leftovers and straighten up the kitchen to show my gratitude?

Yep. Living a life of Eucharisteo is more than simply giving our thanks to God for the blessing He bestows. It’s also showing our gratitude to family, friends, co-workers and even strangers who bless us along our journey to Joy.

“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Thanksgiving: A Countdown to Joy – Day 3

Thanksgiving: A Countdown to Joy - Day 3 - Wanna double, triple, even quadruple your Joy? Find out how in this post. | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com/

Day 3 of my Countdown to Joy: I was feeling great. My spirits were high. My socks were clean. Life was good. Until…

Mayday! Mayday! We’re taking heavy fire!

I was ambushed by a down pouring of negativity. It was rapid. It was strong. And there were no signs of it stopping.

You see, we will encounter many types of people on the Journey to Joy. Some will be encouragers and supporters, like-minded in our decision to live a life of Eucharisteo, a life of giving thanks. And some will be distractors and scoffers, determined to keep us from our destination.

There will also be those who simply haven’t discovered the secret to a Joy-filled life, yet. Their focus is on all that is wrong with the world, with their lives, and the resulting negativity spills out onto everyone around them. These hopeless wanderers are in desperate need of someone to point out the blessings in their lives. Even more, these folks need someone to BE their blessings.

That someone can be you!

“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. ”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭6:38‬ ‭NLT‬‬

As we count our blessings, giving thanks for all the graces God shows to us daily, our lives begin to fill with Joy. But the cool thing about Joy is when we choose to give it away, we find that it grows even more inside of us.

The more blessings you give, the more blessings you have.

So as I reflected on the graces I’ve been discovering every day, like:

16. Programmable coffee makers (Whoever is responsible for this miraculous contraption should receive a special place in heaven! 😉 )

17. The “Good Mornings” that come from each of my co-workers as I make my way into work each day

18. Texts I receive from my children (even if they’re only asking for something)

19. The gentle breeze blowing through the open windows of my car today as I ate breakfast for lunch and

20. Breakfast for lunch (It is my favorite meal!)

I decided to combat today’s unexpected barrage of negativity by:

21. Sharing donuts with my co-workers after lunch!

And what a difference that one box of donuts made for all of us! Joy and SMILES all around!

Are you having trouble finding the blessings in your life, why not start by being a blessing to others?

Thanksgiving: A Countdown to Joy – Day 4

Thanksgiving: A Countdown to Joy - Day 4 - Can you be thankful even on the difficult days? If you’re having trouble counting your blessings, this post is for you. | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com/

There’s nothing like a Monday to create an inconvenient detour along the pathway to our Joy!

Is it even possible to wake up on a Monday morning with an attitude of gratitude?

Is it?

This morning, I would’ve bet good money my husband tried to punk me by setting my alarm an hour early. (He didn’t. It alarmed me at exactly the same time as every other morning. I checked. He’s off the hook.)

As I was getting dressed, I discovered the socks I wanted to wear were dirty because I didn’t have time to do laundry over the weekend. (I wore dirty socks to work. They were the only pair that matched my outfit. We can keep that fun fact between us, can’t we? 😉)

Then, on the way to work, I was entirely too short for the sun visor in my car to do its job. I stretched as much as I could to be taller in my seat. It didn’t work. Not only did I end up with permanent blind spots singed into my corneas, I’m pretty sure a trip to the chiropractor is now in order. (I can hear the conversation. Doctor: How did you hurt your back? Me: I was trying to be tall. 😉 )

But the cherry on top was the spinning circle of lies taunting me from my computer screen as I tried to clock in. “Ha ha ha!” my computer laughed. “You just think I’m about to open up the time clock for you!”

<SIGH>

It sure is easy to be negative, isn’t it?

Of course it is. Negativity is all around us. It’s in our faces, on our TVs, in our news feeds, on our social media walls.

To live a life of Thanksgiving, however, is to find the good in the midst of all that darkness, to look for the silver linings, the little things that God places right in front of us, the countless blessings that we miss because we are preoccupied with the negative.

“From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.”
‭‭John‬ ‭1:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The graces of God are all around us, too! If we fix our eyes on those blessings, I bet even our worst days can yield reasons to give thanks. And I’m sure I can find a few more blessings from this “horrible” Monday to continue my list of graces. Let’s see…

11. Waking up to another opportunity to get something right, to bless someone else, to honor my Heavenly Father (Did I make it count?)

12. Hearing my husband say, “I love you” before he leaves for work

13. Watching the yellow, orange and red leaves of the trees dance like flames of fire in the brightly shining sunlight (We have quite a talented Creator!)

14. Seeing the shadow cast by my car on the road in front of me (It reminds me of the character Shrek. The side mirrors poke out like Shrek’s ears. I know. I’m weird. Oh, well. It makes me smile. 🙂 )

15. Realizing that this is only a 3-day work week for me! WooHoo! That blessing right there can make any Monday worth enduring.

Now quit focusing on your negatives. What are the wonderfully positive blessings God has given you?

Thanksgiving: A Countdown to Joy – Day 5

Thanksgiving: A Countdown to Joy - Day 5 - The countdown to Thanksgiving and to Joy has begun and my reasons to give thanks might surprise you. Check it out! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com/

The life of Eucharisteo, the life of giving thanks – it takes determination, a keen awareness of one’s attitude and a sharp attention to the surrounding world. It’s a choice to be made daily. Sometimes hourly. Sometimes minute-ly (I know. That’s not a word, at least not how I meant to use it. But I was on a roll! 😉 )

And so I begin my list of blessings, my reasons to give thanks:

1. The sound of the box fan lulling me to sleep each night

2. The softness of my pillow that my husband constantly tries to claim as his own

3. The security I feel in my home allowing me to sleep soundly through the night

4. The cozy slippers I reach for every morning when I wake

5. The quietness of the morning as I sip my first cup of coffee

6. Coffee

7. A second cup of cup!

8. Listening to my favorite tunes on the way to work,

9. Flawlessly executing Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” before the clock even strikes 8 AM while I’m sitting in a line of traffic… waiting… (Yes, I’ve broken my rule that all things Christmas must wait until the day after Thanksgiving. And who’s to say my singing wasn’t absolutely perfect? When you’re in a car alone, your singing can be anything you say it is! 😉 )

Waiting. Hmmm. Is waiting one of the graces God bestows on His children, a gift for which I should be thankful?

When I’ve left the house five minutes late and find that everyone else must have done the same causing traffic to be so congested that there’s no way I’ll make up those lost minutes on the road, am I to be thankful for the wait?

When the driver in front of me insists on poking his way onto the expressway rather than using the onramp to reach the speed needed to merge with the flow of traffic, am I to be grateful that I was almost run over by the semi that couldn’t slow down to accommodate the careless driver’s pokiness?

When I see a friend or loved one making the same mistakes, living the same consequences, though I’ve prayed steadfastly for their eyes to be opened, for their deliverance from their chains, can I thank my God for their extended suffering, for the help that has been seemingly delayed?

Is there a place for waiting on my list of blessings? Does God truly expect me to be thankful in those situations that test my patience, my sanity, my ability to keep my frustrated (and often sarcastic) thoughts to myself, in those situations that test my faith?

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:3-4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Yes, there’s a reason for our times of waiting. With waiting comes patience and understanding. With waiting, we discover what it means to have hope, to trust in a God who knows our every need, whose help always arrives on time, and who works even the times of waiting for our good.

Let’s see. Where was I in my list of blessings?

Oh, yes, that’s right.

Reason to give thanks #10:

Waiting.

 

Thanksgiving: A Countdown to Joy

Thanksgiving: A Countdown to Joy - Have you lost your Joy? Keep reading to discover the secret to finding it. | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Five days.

FIVE DAYS.

Only five days til pumpkin pie, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, savory stuffing, buttery dinner rolls and, oh, yes – that plump and juicy turkey!

Ahhhh… I can smell the heavenly aroma already.

Can’t you?

To be honest, though, my anticipation of Thanksgiving has been at an all-time low this year. In fact, I haven’t thought much about it until last night when my husband asked, “So, am I deep frying a turkey this year?” (I may have drooled just a little bit. 😉 )

I don’t know what it is. My mind, of late, hasn’t been filled with thankful thoughts. To the contrary, I feel as though a cloud of negativity has been looming over me and that ugly, overbearing attitude is beginning to take its toll.

It’s time to refocus.

I’ve been reading a daily devotional entitled, One Thousand Gifts. In this book, the author shares her journey of living out Eucharisteo, which is the biblical Greek word meaning “to give thanks”. Her journey began with a challenge from a friend to make a list a 1000 gifts – 1000 graces God has shown her, 1000 reasons to be thankful. (Hmmm… kinda reminds me of my reasons to SMILE!)

As she made her list, the author realized that God continuously showers us with blessings each and every day. Even in the midst of difficulties, she found that there are always reasons to be thankful; there are always graces to be discovered. And  before her list was complete, her choice to look for these gifts of grace every day filled her heart with an overwhelming Joy.

And there it is – the secret to real Joy. It’s a life of Thanksgiving. You can even see it in the word itself. For right at the center of Eucharisteo, Thanksgiving, is the word, Chara, which means “JOY”!

So, today, I begin my countdown to Joy. I’m challenging myself to begin a list of graces, a list of blessings, no matter how small, and hopefully, on our celebration day of Eucharisteo, Thanksgiving, I’ll truly be able to joyfully thank God for the graces He continuously shows.

So Much More

 

So Much More - Embracing the true meaning of Thanksgiving | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

More than a holiday.

More than a gathering.

More than a meal.

It’s an attitude of gratitude.

It’s choosing to count your blessings

instead of your sorrows.

It’s a way of life.

Always be thankful.

“Giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:20‬

May the spirit of Thanksgiving fill your hearts and carry you through all of your days!

A Year of Smiles – Day 326: THANKSGIVING DAY

Reason to SMILE and BE THANKFUL #326: THANKFULNESS

Adobe Spark (42)

Before the Thanksgiving meal each year, my family gathers together to pray. My dad usually says the blessing but before he prays, he is faithful to remind us of how good our God is, of the many blessings that have been bestowed upon our family and of the hope we have in Jesus. Dad reminds us to count our blessings and sometimes, he gives each family member the opportunity to name one thing for which he or she is thankful. It is a special time of Thanks Giving and though it usually makes me cry (because I am a huge crybaby), it always brings a SMILE to my heart.

In the midst of all your Thanksgiving festivities, remember to take the time to give thanks for all the blessings in your life. Everything that you call yours – your loved ones, your friends, your possessions, your job – is a gift from the Heavenly Father. He lavishes these blessings upon us because of His great love for us. The least we can do is pause for a moment to say, “Thank you.”

Giving thanks – what a fabulous reason for a holiday! And what a fabulous reason to SMILE! The great thing is, if you make Thanks Giving a daily habit, you’re guaranteed a daily SMILE.  Now, who wouldn’t want that? 😉

A Year of Smiles – Day 325: Thanksgiving Countdown

Reason to SMILE and BE THANKFUL #325: THE AFTERNOON COMA

Plates have been emptied.

Bellies have been filled.

Belts have been loosened.

The afternoon food coma has begun.

As the miserable groans of overeater’s remorse begin to replace conversation, there’s nothing left to do but retreat to the living room and kick back in the recliner or relax on the couch. As a collective, my family doesn’t care much for “the game” (Unless it’s golf, which I don’t understand at all.) so our afternoon recuperation usually involves watching a movie. Let me clarify – a movie suitable for kids.

Yep. All of us from grandparents down to the kiddos sit together and watch the latest children’s movie. It’s fun to see who laughs the most, who makes it through to the end, who falls asleep and who bails on the family time first by pulling out their technology. I would name names but I do have to spend the entire day with these folks tomorrow so…

The afternoon food coma – it’s a SMILE that begins with the blissful agony of being stuffed to the gills, continues with a restful time of movies and relaxation and always ends with,

“Okay. Who’s ready for pie?”

My belt has no more notches (Heck, I’m not even wearing it anymore.) and my eyes are swimming in gravy but “Me, me, me! I’ll have a piece of pie!”

Adobe Spark (41)

And the SMILE of the Thanksgiving afternoon food coma keeps on giving. 😉