Fast Food Gratitude
It isn't often that all eleven of us have the opportunity to go to dinner together. With work, school, and extracurricular activities, when we're able to be in the same place at the same time, it seems like a miracle.
One of those miracles took place a few days ago when everyone had the same evening off, to celebrate our granddaughter's participation in a school musical.
As a treat to our granddaughter, her parents asked where she'd like to go for dinner. Her response wasn't McDonald's or KFC (as in the photo), but if you put an oriental twist on it, you get the idea.
So, there we were, all eleven of us seated at a long rectangular table, our food orders before us. It was a rare occasion that I'd eaten there. I raised my eyebrows as I stared at the bowl of seasoned noodles, with sparse amounts of vegetables and tiny bits of chicken throughout.
Our oldest grandson piped up with a most heartfelt prayer for our meal, for his sister's role in the play, and our time together as a family. Onlookers gazed our way. It may have seemed odd--eleven heads bowed together in prayer at a fast-food restaurant.
The food wasn't five-star, but the occasion for celebration and and our being together filled my heart with joy. Just a few days before Thanksgiving, it was an evening I will fondly remember as one of "fast food gratitude."
This Thanksgiving we are lucky to be able to gather together again, and with all the good cooks in the family, I have no doubt the meal will be excellent. But, even if it was fast food--like the other night--I know that any occasion we have--no matter the menu--can be one of thankfulness and gratitude!
May your Thanksgiving be a Blessed one!
"You're grounded!" The words shoot out like tiny daggers at your tender ears.
"Not fair!" you cry. But, most likely Mom or Dad sent you to your room because you did something wrong. You are left alone to think about what you've done and to learn from your mistake.
Fortunately, being grounded doesn't last forever. The day eventually comes when you're too old to be sent to your room: welcome to adulthood. Now you're expected to figure out things for yourself.
Life can be tough. There might be times when you secretly wish someone would shake their head and say, (Your name), "You're grounded!" (Inwardly you smile, for you desperately need a temporary reprieve from the troubles of the day).
The "grounding" you seek isn't the punishing kind for mistakes made; instead, it's a longing to be grounded in body, mind, and spirit.
Jesus never erred, but Scripture indicates he often took time to get away to a quiet place to reflect and pray. Deeply rooted, Christ was perfectly grounded in faith.
May you, too, take time to step away from the troubles of your day. Push the chaos aside. Seek a quiet moment to call upon the Lord in prayer, and immerse yourself in the spiritual rootedness that the Lord offers.
As a child, being "grounded" isn't fun, but as an adult, it takes on a whole new meaning.
Now go. Be "grounded"--in faith!
"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." - Colossians 2:6-7 NIV
"After He had sent them away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone." - Matthew 14:23
"Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up and slipped out to a solitary place to pray." - Mark 1:35
Photo courtesy of Vecteezy.com
“All of the answers on your math homework are wrong. You’ll need to do them over again," my fourth-grade teacher admonished.
I slumped in my chair. Unfortunately, staying after school to work on math had become a daily occurrence. To say I disliked math was an understatement.
Eventually, my stay-after-school days ceased, but one thing didn't cease. I still got problems wrong--life problems. You know how it is? Struggle to keep up with it all, do you best not to err and get it right. But sometimes, what we think is right, is wrong. Then we're frustrated when we have to go back and do things over again.
But, alas, let us look at another perspective to this dilemma. We may balk at the number of do-over's it takes to make something right. But, imagine Thomas Edison's frustration at the 10,000 attempts it took to make the light bulb work. Where would we be if he had given up, succumbed to failure? But he persevered and his “again and again” attempts paid off.
Now, here's a twist. If we pull apart the word, "again," and make it into two words, it becomes “a gain.”
So, if we don't give up and learn from our failures, we will have gained and not lost.
I wished I’d realized this as a youngster. But, years later I faced my fear of math when I applied to nursing school. "You'll have to pass a math entry exam," the nursing advisor said. Determined to succeed, I spent weeks studying, but happily passed the exam and was accepted into the program.
Life poses different struggles for each of us. What is an “again” struggle for you, and how have you—or will you—work toward a “gain” because of it?
May you tackle your “again” moments and discover the “gain” therein!
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9
Photo courtesy of Vecteezy.com
What's Your Story?
When I was young, I rarely gave any thought to getting old. Like many youths my age, I thought I was invincible.
A recent visit to a cemetery was a sobering reminder that my timeline on this earth (nearly seven decades) is now shorter rather than longer.
Meandering through the burial grounds and visiting the sites of those who had preceded us, I thought of my ancestors' lives and also wondered about the stories that could be told of the hundreds of others buried there.
The oldest cemetery headstones and markers were from a time in history when smallpox and other diseases often resulted in early mortality. It was sad to see the headstones of children and infants, lives lost much too soon. Many graves were of veterans who lost their lives fighting for our country. Some were lucky to have lived many years.
I thought of my own mortality. What will my story be? What will it sound like when I am gone? Will what I have done in my life make a difference?
I hope I will have been an encouragement to others through my faith in God and that I might lead others to hope and joy, despite life's trials and tribulations.
In the big scheme of things, we’re only here for a little while. So, I hope to accomplish what I had set out to do, to make the best use of every twenty-four hours I have, and for my family and friends to know I love them unconditionally. I hope my story will be a good one.
So, what’s your story? What will it sound like? What would you like to accomplish in the time that you have?
My prayer is that you find goodness in each day, and that your story will be extraordinary and beautiful!
"The grass withers and the flower fades, but the word of our God shall stand forever." - Isaiah 40:8
"Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away." - James 4:14
The Balancing of the Clouds
We pulled out of the driveway for our road trip. "Look at the sky," I remarked to my husband. "Not one cloud. It almost doesn't look real." My husband nodded in agreement. Indeed, residing in the Southwest, we enjoy many sunny days.
But, as we headed from the desert terrain into the mountains, little by little, clouds began to appear. I was mesmerized at the way they seemed to congregate. Starting with a mere white puff, one after another, they expanded into a handful. Within the hour, it seemed as if they had called upon others to join the throng.
"The clouds are congregating," I chuckled. "I think they're having a party. How do they know where to go or what to do?" I marveled. "Odd. There appears to be a balance between their beginning and their end."
My husband, who had been a weatherman in the military, smiled. I knew he was resisting the temptation to go into a lengthy explanation about the science behind their formation. Instead, he kindly went along with my dry sense of cloud humor and silliness--a film-like glaze which often hangs over my reflective nature.
But as we ascended to a higher elevation, those same white, fluffy clouds began to transform to a misty gray color, then to pencil-gray, with numerous cloud "bottoms" turning to a dark charcoal. Weighted down with precipitation, they threatened to burst.
The darkness put a damper on the view--and on my mood. Why did clouds have to get in the way? Within moments, heavy rain pelted the windshield. Even with the wipers turned to high, it was futile for my husband to navigate due to the poor visibility.
Fortunately, he was able to pull off the road and we waited until the deluge subsided. But, this wouldn't be the last of the congregating clouds. Our destination would be a high-altitude mountainous region where daily thunderstorms and showers are common.
My husband would have gladly explained the science behind the rainstorms, but we both knew there is more to science behind those congregating clouds. Only the God of Creation could design their form and pattern to provide the water needed to nourish the earth.
Sometimes we complain when the weather doesn't cooperate with our plans. But our plans--and our ways--are not God's way. If the clouds need to congregate to "have a party," that's the way it has to be.
Then, after the storm, we rejoice as blue skies re-emerge and the sun comes out. May we be thankful to God for His Creation, and for all He has given to us, for days of sun--and days of cloud.
"Do you know the balancing of the clouds, the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge." - Job 37:16
Through God's Word!"
Find inner peace through Positive Thought, through Faith in God and through God's Word.