Thanksgiving speaks so many things to me.
Time passing on traditions in the kitchen.
No matter where we are, Ohio or New York,
just the four of us or extended family,
I always try to take extra time to reflect on our blessings.
The word God gave me for 2013 was abundance.
What a beautiful word.
And what a faithful God.
Abundance of healing after losing my mother-in-law.
Abundance of family time with a vacation we saved years for.
Abundance of unity with fellow believers as we chose forgiveness together.
Abundance of God’s provision as we have a new pastor we know God handpicked for such a time as this.
Abundance of time to write so I could finish my first novel.
Abundance of prayers from others to help direct my writing steps.
Abundance of laughter as I navigate life as a wife, mom, writer, mentor.
Abundance of healing as my wrist is well.
Abundance of unexpected blessings as I was able to travel to the Adirondacks with my mom.
Abundance of new opportunities as we close doors and open new ones, with His leading.
Abundance of clothes on our backs and closets.
Abundance of food on the table and in cupboards.
Abundance, abundance, abundance.
I also realized this season to have abundance also means choosing perspective, perspective, perspective.
May your perspective this Thanksgiving be about abundant blessings!
Thank you for reading today. I appreciate you!
The Ordinary Life
Most of us live what is considered an ordinary life. We go through life each day with the typical routine of getting up, going to work, doing laundry, shuttling children to their events, and retiring for the evening. The days and months pass by and before we know it, November hits and we are reminded to be thankful.
The retail stores force images upon us, the commercials on television have us grabbing the tissue box, and the Hallmark channel releases heart-warming movies with happy endings. It is that time of the year when even the most ungrateful person finds a reason to be thankful. We look around and begin to be appreciative even in the small things.
A few years ago my husband and I decided as parents we wanted to begin to lay the foundations of thankfulness in our children. To be completely honest, instilling the practice of thankfulness in our children forces us, beckons us as parents to model for them an attitude of appreciation. Beyond Thanksgiving, we wanted our children to recognize how blessed they are and to be thankful for how God has provided for our family daily. We began by asking a simple question, “What are you thankful for?” Most responses seem so child like. “I am thankful I got to eat lunch at school today.” “I am thankful that I got to jump on the trampoline after school.” “I am thankful I got to stay up, watch a movie, and eat candy!”
As they have grown, their thankfulness focus has turned from “I am thankful I got to watch Veggie Tales today,” to “I am glad I met a new friend at school.” As I listen to my children express their thankfulness for what seems like the “mundane” things in life, I am reminded where Christ tells us to come to him as little children, with child-like faith. A childlike faith finds good in the simple things, gives the benefit of doubt, extends grace when there is hurt, and even can be thankful for getting to eat candy before bed!
Being thankful for the small things helps to provide us with eyes that see how blessed we truly are in our lives. We have opportunities to be thankful for something small like having a friend who can be your running buddy, finding a $5 bill in last year’s winter coat that has been packed away, folding laundry which means we have clothes to wear, or a friend sending a text saying that she is praying for you and thankful for your friendship. These are the things in life that swell our hearts with gladness. It is in the ordinary things of life that we find God moving and blessing us.
It seems this time of year more than any other we find ourselves evaluating, assessing our thankfuls in life. We contemplate because we want to have attitudes of gratitude. The challenge of thankfulness is not just being thankful during the Thanksgiving season but creating mind-set of being grateful in the good, the bad, and the ugly. Being thankful that God is in control no matter the circumstances. Being thankful that we woke up this morning with hands and feet that move and eyes that see. Being thankful we live in a country where we can freely worship. Creating a year around attitude of gratitude starts with a speck of gratefulness for the ordinary life so when the big blessings come we have no trouble recognizing them, but we also realize that the ordinary life is our biggest blessing.
Leslie Umstattd has been involved in women’s and children’s ministry areas for over 15 years. Before moving to Missouri in 2008, she was an elementary school teacher in both the public and private sector. She recently graduated from Midwestern Seminary with her Doctorate in Educational Ministry and currently serves as Adjunct Professor in the Christian Education department at Midwestern. She has been married for 12 years and has two daughters.
This has been a tough month. If it were only the government shutdown or healthcare issues.
But it seems so much more, you know?
My inbox has been fuller than usual with requests asking, “would you pray for me?”
- There have been jobs lost
- New diagnosis
- Family issues
- Relationship troubles
- and more.
It wasn’t that long ago that I was in a season where the hits came coming. They were so fast, so devastating that as a pretty solid in faith Jesus girl, I was reeling. To the point of wondering if God had a punchline, and I was it.
I learned a lot from that season, and the ones that have followed it. Earlier this week I was at Christians Read and I shared what my husband did to help me.
Do you have a confession? If so, share here. Let’s encourage each other. You are not alone.
I’m coming in WAY late on this one but I’ve been blogging ahead to keep up with a busy schedule. I love this meme, I learned about it from Lynda at On the Write Track and Joanne at an Open Book. It’s called “As of Late”. It’s a great way to reflect and share. I think Critty Joy is keeping the meme up through today, but it is typically the third Thursday of each month. Join us, won’t you?
As of Late…
-God is using me in mighty ways that is making me lean hard on Him.
-I’m watching faith unroll and it is awesome.
-I’m teacher and student.
-I’m reading more than writing and going with it.
-I’m buried in paperwork but tackling it.
-I’m busier than ever in every role God has me.
-I’m learning about tabernacles, craving God, and insights.
-I want to smell real lilacs.
-I want people to live free in Christ more than I ever have.
-I’m looking forward in a weird way to April 28 for the laparoscopy.
-I’m blessed, God is moving everywhere around me, and through me and I love it.