So Much To Be Thankful For


Thanksgiving Contest - What Are You Thankful For?

During this season of thanksgiving I thought it would be fun to make a list of some of the things to be thankful for. This list is really quite short – there are countless blessings to thank God for. I challenge to you add to this list. May you be richly blessed today and everyday. Happy Thanksgiving!

  1. A Bed
  2. A Home Cooked Meal
  3. Ability to Choose
  4. Animals
  5. Aquariums
  6. Art
  7. Babies
  8. Baseball Games
  9. Beaches
  10. Bicycles
  11. Books and Libraries
  12. Braces and a pretty smile
  13. Bubble Baths
  14. Candles
  15. Candy
  16. Cards and Letters
  17. Chocolate
  18. Christmas Lights
  19. Christmas Stockings
  20. Christmas Trees
  21. Church
  22. Clothing
  23. Coffee and Tea
  24. Color
  25. Creativity
  26. Curiosity
  27. Cute Shoes
  28. Desserts
  29. Dishwashers
  30. Doctors and Dentists
  31. Education
  32. Family and Friends
  33. Family Traditions
  34. Fireplaces
  35. Fireworks
  36. Five Senses
  37. Good
  38. Fountains
  39. Four Seasons
  40. Forests
  41. Freedom
  42. Fresh Bread
  43. Fresh Water
  44. Gardens
  45. Gentle Rains
  46. Glitter
  47. God
  48. Good Manners
  49. Google
  50. GPS
  51. Hairstylists
  52. Holidays and Vacation
  53. Hot Showers
  54. Hugs
  55. Imagination
  56. Jesus
  57. Jewelry
  58. Language/Communication
  59. Lipstick
  60. Medicine
  61. Mementos
  62. Memories
  63. Military and First Responders
  64. Movie Theaters
  65. Music
  66. My Home
  67. My Job
  68. Naps
  69. Pajamas
  70. Parks
  71. Pastors
  72. Paved Roads
  73. Pedicures
  74. Pets
  75. Photographs
  76. Prayer
  77. Puzzles
  78. Rainbows
  79. Right to Vote
  80. Salvation
  81. Saturday Mornings
  82. Second Chances
  83. Snow
  84. Spell Check
  85. Spices
  86. Stained Glass Windows
  87. Stop Lights
  88. Sun, Moon and Stars
  89. Sunshine
  90. Teachers
  91. Technology
  92. The Beach
  93. The Bible
  94. The Ocean
  95. The Radio
  96. Theme Parks
  97. Today
  98. Travel
  99. Trees
  100. Wildflowers
  101. Wine

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

 

Images: Google Images

Scripture: Biblegateway.com

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In The Eye Of The Storm


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Psalm 91:2

I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” 

My family moved to Jacksonville, Florida a little over a year ago. When we made the decision to move I never considered that we would deal with hurricanes. For the second time in as many months, a huge storm drew near to us. Herminie came through Jacksonville as a tropical storm, but Matthew passed dangerously close to our coast line as a category 4 hurricane.  Schools and businesses closed in preparation for the storm. Meteorologists warned of the danger of the storm and explained it could reshape parts of our coastline. We stocked up on supplies and water and made provisions if we lost power. Millions of people living right on the coast were evacuated. As the hurricane drew near to us the wind and rain became frightening, and lasted for hours. I made several Facebook posts with storm updates and asking for prayers. I felt those prayers. Our Heavenly Father saw us through the storm. As I type this blog the storm has passed. We are waiting for morning to survey the damage.

We also face many metaphorical storms in life; job loss, illnesses, infertility, not getting that promotion, betrayal, and death to name a few. We try to control these storms, but we cannot. In some cases we just prolong the pain. The storms we experience leave different kinds of marks on our lives. Some of these storms will change us forever. But the one thing that will never change is God’s love for us. He will see us through these storms; He is faithful and in control. Psalm 33:4 tells us, “For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness.”

I don’t know what storm you are facing, or the severity. All I can tell you is to put your faith in God, and let Him have control of the winds and rain. Something beautiful awaits you on the other side of the storm. I’ve always experienced an unexpected blessing when the storm passes.

The events of the past few days remind me of the song “In The Eye of the Storm” recently released by Ryan Stevenson. May it bring you peace.

https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?hsimp=yhs-att_001&hspart=att&p=youtube+eye+of+the+storm+ryan+stevenson#id=4&vid=047eeca0aa8530c95519b676266aa85b&action=click

Psalm 107:29  He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.

Image: Artist Unknown – found on Facebook 10/7/2016

The Gift of Another Day


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Psalm 90:12

Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should.

Once every four years the calendar gives us an extra day. There’s a scientific reason – the earth rotates around the sun every 365 ¼ days. Those who created our calendar added an extra day every fourth year to make up for this. There’s actually more to it than my brief explanation, but you get the idea – we have the gift of another day this year.

How will we use the extra day?

We take so much of life for granted, especially those of us blessed with families, jobs, and good health. We race to get our commitments completed, then complain that we have too much to do – work, errands, children’s activities and the like. We don’t stop often enough to enjoy or appreciate life’s many blessings. I am guilty of rushing through life like there is always tomorrow.

But life is brief. We don’t know how much time we have. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Our extra day falls on a Monday this year, so how about celebrating our “leap day” this weekend? Leave your watch in a drawer and unplug for the day. Think about how you can enjoy – really appreciate – the many blessings our God has given to us. Connect with your friends and family and hold them tight. Savor each moment with them. Go on an outing. Gaze at a landscape, or a sunset. Take a nature walk. Stop to really look at flowers, or a lake, or the clouds. Become aware of the gifts we so often overlook. Live.

Psalm 118:24

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Blessings on your “leap day.”

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com (The Living Bible Translation)

Images: google images

Acts of Kindness (and 100 Acts of Kindness Ideas)


 

 DChitwood_NoActOfKindnessIsEverWasted

 Proverbs 21:21

Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.

 Proverbs 11:17

A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself.

My life has been touched many, many times by simple, unexpected acts of kindness. Those instances include receiving unexpected notes from friends, flowers, and meals when I was a young mother. There was the couple who helped me with my bags when I was traveling alone, and countless times someone has held the door for me. There was the time someone stopped to help me change a flat tire and the time I was not charged for a service call. Such a simple gestures can really add to someone’s day. One simple act of kindness can spur another on to do the same thing.

The opposite is also true – it’s easy to aggravate someone by being thoughtless, rude, or just insisting on our own way. Maybe it’s because we are in a hurry, or are thinking too highly of ourselves, or perhaps we are reacting to a bad situation – but there is really no excuse for being rude. Sometimes we just don’t show emotion because we don’t know someone we are interacting with – like a cashier. Keep in mind that a simple act of kindness can derail a thoughtless act.

Yesterday, someone bought lunch for everyone in my office. What a pleasant surprise! I watched how faces lit up when given the news. Everyone was smiling and enjoyed pleasant conversation with the welcome diversion from our usual busy Friday afternoon. Later I noticed one of the lunch recipients holding the door for not one, but three coworkers. Someone else held the elevator door. The lunch act of kindness was passed on.

God expects us to act with kindness towards one another. Kindness is a Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). It is also mentioned several other places in the Bible. Consider the Prophet Zechariah’s words: “Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” (Zechariah 7:9-10). We are commanded to act kindly toward each other.

If we listen to the news it would be easy to become cynical and assume no one is kind to each other anymore. However, we have all experienced acts of kindness at some point. Pass it on.

 Micah 6:8

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

 The following list is just a few ideas to show kindness to someone. It’s so easy. I’m challenging myself to act more kindly to others, especially those I don’t know.

  1. It all starts with a smile. Look people in the eye and give them a big smile.
  2. Open the door for someone.
  3. Bring flowers to a friend or neighbor.
  4. Buy a co-worker their favorite soda or treat. Leave it on his or her desk with a smiley face sticky note.
  5. Drop off toys, a game, or stuffed animals at a homeless shelter.
  6. Introduce yourself to neighbors and bring baked goods or sweets.
  7. Pay the toll for the car behind you.
  8. Wash someone’s car for them.
  9. Send a card or handwritten note to someone you hardly know.
  10. Help an elderly person cross the street.
  11. Help someone carrying a lot of stuff.
  12. Pay someone a sincere compliment.
  13. Leave a nice note for your spouse/child/friend.
  14. Open the door for someone.
  15. Help a younger sibling with homework.
  16. Let a car merge in front of you and do it with a smile.
  17. Participate in a park or beach cleanup.
  18. Exercise patience.
  19. Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.
  20. Help someone with their bags or luggage.
  21. Offer to take a picture for tourists.
  22. Pay for the coffee for the person behind you.
  23. Share your class notes with a classmate.
  24. Help a friend move.
  25. Strike up a conversation with a stranger.
  26. Make your sibling/child/roommate’s bed for them.
  27. Help a lost tourist find his or her way
  28. Mentor someone.
  29. Give a generous tip to your waiter.
  30. Bring a welcome gift to new neighbors.
  31. Befriend a lonely person.
  32. Reach out to someone you haven’t talked to in a while.
  33. Compliment a stranger.
  34. Let someone take your parking spot.
  35. Don’t honk at cars (or people).
  36. Bring baked goods to the office to share.
  37. Donate your blood at a blood drive.
  38. Sit with someone who is eating alone.
  39. Go visit strangers in a nursing home. Read to them.
  40. Let someone go in front of you at the cashier.
  41. Bake cookies for the firemen.
  42. Donate clothes and shoes to the needy.
  43. Clean up after someone in the lunchroom or cafeteria.
  44. Recommend your favorite restaurant to a tourist.
  45. Do your sibling’s or roommate’s household chore.
  46. Praise a child to the parents while the child is present.
  47. Hold the elevator door for others.
  48. Text a friend to say you’re thinking of them.
  49. Offer someone a piece of gum or a mint.
  50. Bring misplaced shopping carts back to the designated area.
  51. Organize a study session for your classmates.
  52. Offer to babysit your friends’ kids for free.
  53. Donate your locks of hair.
  54. Tell someone you’ve fought with that you’re sorry and that you forgive them.
  55. Sign up to be an organ donor.
  56. Leave extra time in a parking meter.
  57. Pay for your friend’s tab.
  58. Give a blanket or umbrella to a homeless person.
  59. Be kind to someone you dislike.
  60. Encourage someone who is working hard at the gym.
  61. Vacuum the floor for your roommate.
  62. Take a shorter shower to save the hot water.
  63. Make a donation to a charity you care about.
  64. Bring homemade food to a new mom or single mom.
  65. Teach a child how to ride a bike.
  66. Bring a homeless person some food and a drink.
  67. Send a care package to someone in the military.
  68. Email your boss or professor and tell them how much you love learning from them.
  69. Be sure to say “good morning” and “thank you” to all service workers (bus drivers, police officers, mail carriers, and firefighters).
  70. Help a friend look for a job.
  71. Let your friend vent and listen to her problems.
  72. Make a playlist for your friends.
  73. Let someone else take your seat on public transportation.
  74. Praise the work of others.
  75. Let someone cut in front of you in line.
  76. Donate $1 to the next tip jar you see.
  77. Tell a street performer how amazing he or she is.
  78. Share your umbrella with someone who didn’t bring one.
  79. Help someone carry groceries to the car.
  80. Offer to work late for a co-worker who needs to leave early
  81. Donate books to the local shelter or hospital.
  82. Volunteer at an animal shelter during adoption events.
  83. Sponsor a child in a developing country.
  84. Write a letter to your former schoolteachers and tell them how much they influenced you.
  85. Help someone change their tire.
  86. Sign up for a bone marrow donation.
  87. Volunteer at a disabled student’s learning center.
  88. Shovel someone’s walk or driveway.
  89. Rake your neighbor’s leaves.
  90. Bring in a neighbor’s trash bins.
  91. Offer your seat on a plane so a family or couple can sit together.
  92. Support your own and your friends’ kids at their recitals and games
  93. Participate in a fund-raiser or donation.
  94. Offer to pick up your friend’s children after school.
  95. Offer to pet-sit for your friend for free.
  96. Pay someone a compliment.
  97. Bring a treat to share with your coworkers.
  98. Send someone a small gift anonymously.
  99. Leave a nice comment on a blog.
  100. For no particular reason, hug someone you love like you mean it.

Colossians 3:12

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience

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The Faith of my Daughter


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Rising up a child in the faith is a constant thing. We can’t just let Children’s Ministers and Youth Group leaders be responsible for the spiritual training of our children. Parents must also cultivate a deep faith in our children and constantly set an example. I’ve tried to do that, by answering my daughter’s questions, and keeping our faith alive at home. In addition to regular church attendance, my daughter watches her parents pray, attend Bible Study, and listen only to Christian music. Sometimes I wonder if I am being successful. Monday morning I got my answer.

My 10 year-old daughter had knee surgery yesterday. I spent quite a bit of time in prayer leading up to her surgery, asking God to guide the surgeon’s hands, keep the medical staff alert and accurate, and for my daughter to not feel significant pain. I prayed for quick and complete healing. I alerted my church and posted my prayer request on Facebook; many friends lifted my daughter up yesterday morning. I knew she was covered in prayer.

After my daughter was prepared for the operating room she asked for a moment of privacy – to pray. A 10 year-old asking for privacy to pray! My heart leapt for joy!

Children surprise us sometimes, don’t they? Just when we think they haven’t heard a word we said, we find out that they have been listening – intently. Proverbs 22:6 tells us “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” This verse tells us that what we do as parents does matter and should give us encouragement to continue set the right example and to train up our children in the faith.

That my daughter’s faith is growing should not come as a surprise to me. During the summer of 2014 my daughter asked for a Bible and a cover. She wanted to pick a Bible that was meaningful and useful to her. That trip to the Christian book store was a wonderful experience. We prayed she would select the Bible God wanted her to have. I watched as Elianna opened different versions, read some verses, and finally selected a simple, NIV Bible. She still uses that Bible frequently and has highlighted numerous passages. She was only 9 at the time she chose it.

My daughter knows the words to most of the Christian music we listen to, and often signs along. She knows my favorite songs and has a knack for knowing when to play a specific song for me. Until yesterday I didn’t realize what a big deal this was. I just thought she was playing music like any tween would. But when we drove her home from the hospital, it was Christian music she wanted to listen to. It calmed her and gave her peace.

My daughter’s story of faith goes back to when I was pregnant with her. I had prayed for a daughter for many years, but had lost several precious babies to miscarriage before I became pregnant with my daughter. To honor God for this special, precious gift of a baby, we gave her a name that would also be her testimony: Elianna. Elianna is a Jewish name that means “The Lord has responded, or God has answered my prayer.”

I have prayed other prayers for my daughter: for her safety, her spiritual growth, to do well in school, to meet and marry a godly man, and to have a career that will bless many. Parents, prayers for your children are powerful, and our great God hears them all. Won’t you pause for a moment and lift up your precious child (ren) to Him right now?

Father God,

We lift up the child(ren) You entrusted to us. As parents, we ask for wisdom to guide them to You and be godly examples. We pray earnestly for them to know You and accept Salvation through the precious blood of Your Son, Jesus. We pray for them to be obedient to You. We pray for our child(ren) to trust You fully and grow deep roots of faith. We pray for them to gain spiritual wisdom so they can make the right choices and follow the perfect path You have for them. Lord, we ask you to protect our child(ren) from every harm. Grant them wisdom to recognize the tactics of the enemy and flee from every temptation. Help them be strong in this broken world, and grant them the ability and courage to share Jesus with many others. Amen.

May you recognize how the Lord has richly blessed you and your precious children!

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Image: Google Images

 

Prayer Journaling


a-prayer-journal

I’ve been keeping a prayer journal for several years now. This daily ritual helps me remain focused so my mind does not wander. It’s also a record of my requests. I can go back and look at how God has worked in my life. This is part of what I wrote this morning:

Dear Heavenly Father,

It is the dawn of a New Year and I look forward to all the possibilities it holds. But I will need Your perfect guidance in my life. Please be there to silence the lies of the enemy and remind me of whom I am in You. Help me rest in Your truth. Grant me clarity of purpose and the courage to carry out Your will in every aspect of my life.

As I was praying this morning, I was prompted to turn to the prayer I wrote January 1, 2015. Reading that prayer almost brought me to tears. Throughout the year God’s faithfulness was evident as I remembered how he answered my prayers and prepared me for the big change coming to my life.

Keeping a record of your prayers is also a record of the faithfulness of our Lord. Turn back to any date, read your prayer and remember how God has helped you face your struggles by being by your side. It reminds me of how much our Lord has blessed me and helps me feel a renewed sense of gratitude.

If you would like to start a prayer journal today would be a great day to start. You can write your prayers in Bibles created for journaling, in the margins of devotionals, decorative journals, spiral notebooks, or even electronically. (Electronic versions are easier to search, but I prefer to write to God in longhand.) After a few months, go back and review your prayers. Thank God for answering your prayers. This is a great exercise to remind you of our Lord’s faithfulness. If you don’t know what to say, listed below are a few ideas to get you started.

Prayer Prompts:

Copy the Lord’s prayer, and then expand on it. Pray a prayer of confession.
Rewrite the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, and then add to it. Pray for safety.
Pray for someone you don’t like. Pray for the nation’s leaders.
Pray the Psalms. Pray for your health.
Pray for your family. Ask God for the ability to make wise, godly choices.
Pray for your friends. Pray for the world, one country at a time.
Pray for your co-workers, and your boss. Pray for an end to terrorism.
Pray for the military and first responders. Pray for Christians where Christians are in the minority.
Pray for your schools. Thank God for the people in your life.
Pray for every family on your block. Thank God for your job.
Pray for your physicians. Thank God for your possessions.
Pray for your community leaders. (Try to) List your blessings.
Pray for peace and goodness to fill your home. Thank God for pure water and plenty of food.
Pray for your pastors and church elders. Pray for missionaries.
Pray for those who write books that explain God’s Word in more detail. Pray over your daily calendar.
Pray about your goals. Pray for our nation’s leaders.
Ask God to guide you through His Word. Pray for healing to broken relationships.
Pray for Wisdom. Pray for your future.
Pray a prayer of confession. Ask for guidance on how to serve the Lord.
Pray for safety. (Try to) List your blessings.
Pray for the nation’s leaders. Thank God for pure water and plenty of food.
Pray for your health. Pray for missionaries.
Ask God for the ability to make wise, godly choices. Pray over your daily calendar.
Pray for the world, one country at a time. Pray for our nation’s leaders.
Pray for an end to terrorism. Pray for healing to broken relationships.
Pray for Christians where Christians are in the minority. Pray for your future.
Thank God for the people in your life. Ask for guidance on how to serve the Lord.
Thank God for your job. Thank God for your possessions.

 

May you be richly blessed as you discover God’s faithfulness to you as you turn to Him in prayer.

Psalm 77:11-12

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

50+ Reasons I’m Thankful For My Husband


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My husband and I are celebrating our 20th anniversary today. I thought it fitting to reblog my post from our 18th anniversary, with a few changes. My prayer is your marriage is as richly blessed as ours is.

50+ Reasons I’m Thankful for My Husband 

Twenty years ago I said “I do” to the most wonderful man I have ever met. I would do it all over again. We’ve had our share of ups and downs, joys and heart breaks, but our love and faith in God has sustained us. Today, I thought I would let you know why I love my husband so much. I pray blessings on your marriage, as you read about mine.

  1. I’m grateful he shares my faith in Jesus Christ.
  2. I am grateful to have a teammate as we face the challenges of life together.
  3. And reminisce over the life we have built together.
  4. I’m grateful he chose me to be his wife.
  5. I’m grateful he is an excellent father.
  6. And provider.
  7. And comforter.
  8. I’m grateful he’s good at things I’m not, like fixing computers and knowing what to do with the cars.
  9. I’m grateful he shares my love of cooking, and wine.
  10. And travel, and adventure.
  11. We love the same music.
  12. I’m grateful he maintains a few of his own interests, and lets me have a few of mine. It keeps life interesting.
  13. He fretted over me when I was pregnant and our children were born.
  14. He helped change the diapers.
  15. And care for the kids when they were little.
  16. He appreciates and defends my role as a mom.
  17. He encourages me.
  18. His sense of humor.
  19. His service to our country.
  20. He’s a great role model.
  21. He helps with the laundry and dishes.
  22. He helps the kids with homework.
  23.  He’s a human jungle gym for the kids.
  24. He’s romantic.
  25. He spoils me.
  26. He always holds the door for a lady, not just me.
  27.  He’s a man of integrity.
  28. He doesn’t complain.
  29. He handles the yuckies in our house.
  30. He pumps the gas for me.
  31. His willingness to sacrifice.
  32. He knows how to talk to anyone.
  33. He doesn’t mind when I’m home for the night, comfortable and don’t look all that great.
  34. He volunteered to teach our son to drive.
  35. His willingness and encouragement to try new things.
  36. His loyalty (even to a losing sports team).
  37. That he calls me a couple times a day just to check on me.
  38. He always puts up the Christmas lights.
  39. And takes us to see fireworks (that can be metaphorical).
  40. He’s the most patient person I know.
  41. He supports me and my goals.
  42. He respects and loves his parents.
  43. And puts up with my family.
  44. Because he always remember special days, like today.
  45. Because he rubs my feet after a tough day.
  46. Because he will go shopping with me.
  47. And he shops for me; he really puts thought into gifts.
  48. The house is decorated pretty much the way I wanted it.
  49. So many little things he does that make me feel loved.
  50. I would rather be with him than anyone else, even if we aren’t doing anything.
  51. And because of things I won’t post on a public list. 

Ephesians 5:31

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

May your marriage be richly blessed.

Scripture: openbible.info