A Thanksgiving Wish…

And it’s the eve before The Day of Thanks.

Ovens are warming, last minute whirs of a vacuum can be heard, gas stations are seeing car after car come in as they prepare for their special trip, fresh linens are being laid out on soft beds in anticipation of the arrival of overnight family and friends, grocery stores are filled with visits for that “one missing item”…the expectancy of what tomorrow brings is rising with every moment today.

But — maybe not.

Perhaps, today is ordinary. Perhaps, today is mundane. Perhaps, today is somber. The above paragraph is not the song ringing from every heart. For some, there are loved ones missing – whether in spirit or in physical presence. The dagger of loneliness, hurt, and of all that was supposed to be might drive harder today. The pain may quicken with what is not or what might never have been. For some, the dullness of tomorrow is beginning to set in.

But — then there He is.

In possession of a goodness that is not reliant on circumstantial moments of life, He is there. He holds the cup of life that flows everlasting and He has brought it to the table and offers it to us with nailed scarred hands. He whispers in this moment…because He knows. He has felt the weight of unimaginable hurt and pain. He bore the shame and humility of loneliness and of being forgotten. He opened outstretched arms on a cross and, through an obedient and sacrificial love, bore the heaviness of our sorrows, our pain, our undoings, our mistakes, our shame and of our suffering. He smiles…because He knows. In the midst of darkness and the shadows of all that is tainted with the despondency that is sin, He overcame. His victory, is shared by those who have said “yes” to Him. A new kind of joy can be felt. A joy that flows from a well where – hope, love, and victory can be tasted with every sip drawn out.

Tomorrow, some people will gather. Tomorrow, some people will long. Tomorrow, all should give thanks.

Gratitude in its purest form, is offered up and felt from a place that is nearest to the heart of God. It is not calculated up by moments of life – a total sum derived from “pluses” and “minuses”. Gratitude…it is a thankfulness for who He is. When you look past the dust of life, you can see clearly the beauty of grace, mercy, and love that is our God, our Hope and our Redeemer.

No matter where tomorrow finds you, I hope that you experience the joy that is found in a spirit of thanks that is only found in and to Him. I hope you take a moment to draw close and bask in all that He is. I hope you can look around and see His gifts – little or big. I hope that your heart will be full in Him…and I hope that your fullness in Him will shine to all around you.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

   

 

 

Make it Monday – Advent Wreath

So, I battled it out today for Make it Monday…Thanksgiving or Advent. I mean, in all appropriateness, I should be sharing a fantastic “must have” recipe for your upcoming Thanksgiving meal. However, next Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent, so I feel like I would be in remiss if I wait until it has already started to share this idea with you. Quandary.

Well, since I am really excited about doing Advent this year (our first year to do it), I went ahead and moved forward with the Advent post. Also, the candles might all be sold out by next week if you decide to wait until then to buy them. Soooo….here we go!

I really wanted my wreath to be different and representative of our home and style. I found some nice and fancy ones online, but they definitely were not us. So, I scoured Pinterest for some ideas and I fell in love with so many! My friend made her own Advent wreath and took a picture so I could see how hers turned out —- it was perfection. With all the lovely ideas floating in my head, I finally had a mental image of what I wanted mine to look like. I went to the store to buy the said supplies for my lovely homemade wreath….and could not find half of what I needed. So, I improvised.

Make it Monday – Advent Wreath

Supplies:

I snatched the only Advent colored candles I could find.

I then found these cute little bottles (on sale) for the candles to go into.

I spotted a tray that would do just fine for holding everything.

I bought some Epsom salt to fill the bottles and help hold candles in place.

Then a little Christmas garland.

  
What to do:

I recommend placing candles in the bottle before filling with Epsom salt, it is much easier.

  
Then, it was just adding a little of this and a little of that.

  
And…

   
I’m still not sure what I will write on the bottles…so they are staying blank for now.

    
   
  

I hope you enjoyed today’s Make it Monday! What are you making today? Please, share!

Stories from the Homestead: Just Breathe

This last week has brought an unfolding within the global community. There is confusion, mixed feelings, strong feelings, love, hate, passion and apathy. It is overwhelming and difficult to take it all in. This, cupped with the struggles and problems of every day life, can leave a person feeling suffocated as we breathe in all the smog of life.

Then, through the smog that chokes and stifles, He whispers “I’m still good”.

The world is swirling. I stop and I look around. I’m gasping for any untainted air that is left.

Here in the middle of a November month, the unexpected grows.

Beautiful shades of not-quite-ready green  to ready-to-be-plucked red.

A rain kissed rose in full bloom.

I think, do they not know they are supposed to be dormant? In this month where fullness of life tucks itself away until the warmth of spring – here I witness the few hanging on…the beauty of living holding on. I am reminded of His gifts. I inhale and in that moment air is clean and crisp.

Another day passes.

There they are – little prints in once soft padded dirt. A reminder of a little one’s free spirit roaming freely and curiously as she breathes in life fully. 
I inhale a little deeper from air that is good.

I can smile; I can laugh.

Little mouths nibble. Little pointed feet remain still long enough to fill belly. Momma goat grunts her impatience at little ones who get in her way.

Wet-milk kisses and nibbling on ears are just fine when coming from one’s favorite.
Another inhale.

I am reminded – His goodness, it is unfolding all around. His gifts are spread wide, lying in anticipation and waiting to be found. These are the moments where my anguished and fear-stricken mind can find reprieve. These are the moments that belong to Him.

When the madness of the world weighs heavy and thick, I breathe Him in.

When the moments of life that constrict and crumble, I breathe Him in.

I breathe Him in.

 

It is then that the choking stops. It is then that the smog is blown away. It is then that I can exhale back into the world His goodness, grace and mercy.

Is that not what we are to do? Those of us who have breathed Him in and felt Him course through our veins, are we not to then breathe Him out into the miasma of brokenness and hate? Not to turn away from and ignore the cause, but yet not to be consumed by it either. What we breathe in, is what we breathe out.

The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. Nahum 1:7

He is good. He is good. He is good.

So today, as I scroll through the many social media outlets and see the bombardment of discouragement and hate and as I feel anxious and worried for things near and far…I will remember – I am His and He is mine. So today, I will just breathe.