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    The Thanks Giving Key

    A few years ago I was invited to go on an overseas mission trip. This journey was to a country on the other side of the world with a foreign culture and language, and would take almost 24 hours to get there. No doubt many of you readers have done the same, and know the planning, anticipation and excitement of such a trip. Still, it’s not unusual to have a little nagging insecurity regarding the unknowns, and that was how I was feeling. I would be traveling alone on a long leg of the trip, navigating an unfamiliar airport with a tight connection and felt a little uneasy about it.…

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    Blessed: I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means

    Ever since I studied the life of Mary of Nazareth, Jesus’s mother, and wrote a 31-day devotional study, I choose my words with care around the concept of blessing. I think twice now before using the phrase “I am blessed” or the hashtag “blessed.” In the western world, blessings typically refer to our good fortune or whatever makes our lives comfortable. We feel blessed when a new countertop graces our cabinetry, the trip goes without delay, our children make us look good, or the Wi-Fi is strong. However, problems arise when we equate material blessing with God’s favor. If we are blessed because we possess physical comforts and live in…

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    Thankfulness As Our Purpose

    As the calendar winds down on another unprecedented year, we gladly enter this joyful season of giving and thanksgiving. Many of us feel a gentle nudge toward understanding God’s call to purposeful daily life. Have you ever asked God about His will for your life?

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    Do You Box Up Your Thanksgiving?

    This week I boxed up all our Thanksgiving decorations to sit in the closet for a year. The handwritten thanksgiving banner, the small jars with prompts to thank God, the cup with past subjects to be thankful for, and the abundantly full cornucopia. The Thanksgiving season is over for another year. Out of sight and out of mind. Or should it be? Various research has been conducted on the benefits of thankfulness (gratitude). Gratitude is associated with an increase in well-being, self-esteem, self-support; improvement in relationships, sleep, overall health; enhancement in positive emotions and optimism.[1]   One study revealed gratitude led to less depression, more happiness, release from toxic emotions,…

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    Toasters, Faith and Remembering

    This post was originally posted in June of 2019 as Thanksgiving nears in 2020 I thought it may do us all well to reflect and remember. It has been quite the year since this post first circulated. Yet even with all of the upheaval and strangeness that 2020 has brought our way-when we pause to remember we see that God is still good! A toaster was all it took to throw me into a crisis of faith yesterday. I love toast as much as the next person, but it wasn’t the actual toaster that triggered my downward spiral, but what the toaster represented. About a year ago, my family took…

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    Preparing Our Hearts for Advent: Hope Has Come, Hope is Coming

    By Victoria Monet*  Even though Thanksgiving has yet to come, many people are already putting up their Christmas trees and decorations. Christmas decorating before Thanksgiving usually happens, but this year, it seems that people are trying to get in the Christmas Spirit even earlier. And can we blame them? It’s been a rough year. In addition to facing a global pandemic that’s affected many people’s physical, mental, and financial health, we’ve also had to process the tragic reality of police brutality against African Americans, the surfacing of racial tensions, and one of the most intense, heated elections in American history. We’ve felt anxious, scared, sad, overwhelmed, and exhausted. Many of…

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    The Thanks Giving Key

    A few years ago I was invited to go on an overseas mission trip. This journey was to a country on the other side of the world with a foreign culture and language, and would take almost 24 hours to get there. No doubt many of you readers have done the same, and know the planning, anticipation and excitement of such a trip. Still, it’s not unusual to have a little nagging insecurity regarding the unknowns, and that was how I was feeling. I would be traveling alone on a long leg of the trip, navigating an unfamiliar airport with a tight connection and felt a little uneasy about it.…

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    Running the Race of Life

    As Thanksgiving approaches, many of us are gearing up for our favorite running day of the year. Even non-runners love the annual Turkey Trot where young and old alike jog in anticipation of the great feast ahead. Then you can eat all the turkey dinner you want AND have a second helping of dessert guilt-free. Okay, maybe that last part is just my tradition. Unfortunately, I can’t run this year due to a back injury. Doctor’s orders. As I’ve lamented and longed to run again, a new picture has emerged: Life as a race with hurdles and PR’s (personal records). Scripture says: “Since we are surrounded by such a great…

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    Give Thanks In…

    At the height of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln formally scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November. He implored all U.S. Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation” (History of Thanksgiving). With Thanksgiving just 17 days away, families and friends are making preparations for food, festivities, and football. We excel at making external preparations. But are we preparing internally for Thanksgiving? Are our hearts ready to give thanks? With the political intensity of the last several months, it’s easy to forget that…

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    Keeping Grace at the Holiday Table

    When my husband and I would visit my parents, we liked to take bets about how long it would before my Dad would bring up the subject of the driverless car. After all, he was a transportation engineer for more than 3 decades, so he couldn’t help himself. It was fun for us to exchange knowing glances when the conversation really picked up steam, and Dad never disappointed.  Time with family can be so fun.  It’s often predictable.  I have highlighted a pleasant, recurring theme in my family, but I definitely have some recurring behavior that I unleash when I’m with my family that isn’t so sweet or benign.  So…