Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thanksgiving to God – I wrote this devotion last year and in 2013 and it still holds true….Please read these reflections on why we all have so many reasons to be thankful and sing your own song of Praise to the God of Creation for all He has given us!!!

Praise God from Whom ALL Blessings Flow! Praise Him all creatures here below!! Praise
Him above ye Heavenly Hosts! Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost!!! AMEN!!!

Find your favorite song of Praise and Thanksgiving and SING it!!! Sing it in the shower, sing it as you are cooking, sing it as you are cleaning for all the guests, sing it as you prepare your heart for ALL God has to offer you this holiday!!!

Remember these Songs and Old Hymns???
Give Thanks
Come Ye Thankful People Come
We Gather Together

The Lyrics to the first of these songs are as follows:
"Give thanks with a grateful heart, Give thanks unto the Holy One, Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son. (Repeat the refrain)
And now, let the weak say I am strong, let the poor say I am rich because of what The Lord has done for us. Give thanks....give thanks....give thanks!!!"

Thanksgiving....an act of giving thanks or expressing gratitude especially to God - wow!
The United States of America celebrates and gives thanks to God for this special day this week on Thursday – it is a U.S. national holiday set apart to give God thanks!!!
YES, let's do that!!!

As I opened my Bible this morning that my beloved grandfather, "Gramps" gave me in 1962, I was blessed to find this verse and thoughts:
Psalm 138:1
"I will give thanks to you, O Lord with all my heart..." The latin word for gratitude is gratis or grace.

What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving holiday??? What grace has been extended to you this day, this month, this year? Have you stopped to take note of the many blessings that are in your life? If not, why not do that today or this weekend!!!

We have so much to be grateful for in the United States.....it is truly incredible!!! I know my gratitude list swells each day as I stop, breath and think about all that God has blessed me with - a wonderful family in Ohio, Virginia, California, Tennessee and Texas, a son that brings me more joy than I thought imaginable almost 20 years ago, a job that allows me to serve our elderly with honor and praise, a church that feeds my heart and soul each week, prayer warriors that support and encourage me by praying for me and those people and situations that God places in my life and in our church family, incredible friends that fill my life with laughter and fun, and finally God has sustained and blessed our country from many disasters...........ahhhh..........our God is SO good!!!

I read years ago: "When we express gratitude something wondrous fills us! Gratitude nourishes our souls immediately and the wonder of the moment swells in our hearts." Simple gratitude brings simple happiness...simple gratitude shows us what is utterly amazing in our lives. We have been so blessed, so fortunate, so favored, so richly given abundance....and it is all by the Grace of God alone.
So, let's celebrate! Let's appreciate and acknowledge what we have been given even on the tiniest level......offer a sacrifice of praise to our Heavenly Father this Thanksgiving and KNOW how much you are loved!!!

Finally here is a fun way to say: "Many thanks" in many languages:
English: Many thanks!
French: Merci!
German: Danke Schoen!
Italian: Gramercy!
Spanish: Muchas Gracias!
Archaic: Much obliged!

And, one of the many things I am grateful for are all of you who read this blog….Thank YOU for reading these ramblings and encouraging me to continue to write this blog!!!

Blessings Abound!!!!!!!!
Look up….look around……and look for JOY!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family – Gobble, Gobble!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Grateful Nation has not forgotten....

Today is Veterans Day here in the United States of America.  It is a day of remembering.  A day of celebrating the greatest generation of our time.  Today we honor Veterans of World War I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War as well as current or modern day Veterans such as Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans.  And, there are many unknown/unnamed wars that take place that are fought by our braves service men and women across the globe.

Today was a special day for me.  I am lucky enough to have my very own personal hero, my brother, Scott.  He has fought in places that I cannot imagine going, but am grateful that he and all of his comrades were brave enough to stand in the gap for me and my family.  And, for every American.  I am awed by his courage and his stamina and at times wonder how he has stood the test of time in battle.

Also, I have a cousin named Steve in Ohio who served in the Vietnam War.  It was a tough war and those Vets came home to a very ungrateful nation.  We did not say thank you at the time, but we do say thank you now.  And, I am proud to say he is my cousin and continue to tell him how thankful I am that he fought for me.  That he fought for our family.  That he fought for our country.  And, I am truly grateful.
Today, I had the privilege of honoring many older Veterans today at several nursing homes and Assisted Living communities for my new job in Hospice.  We gave presentations to honor each one of those heroes that have gone before us and those who still stand with us in the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and even as old as 100 years.  As I looked around the room at our older Veterans, I had to stop and pause to realize what a privilege it was to be in the room with these men and women.  They each stood tall and proud and were glad that they served our country.  They fought for our freedom.  They fought for you and me.  Wow....It was quite a day!!!

Our Chaplain and Hospice team read several meaningful articles and poems about Veterans and the history of Veterans Day was explained quite well in this piece called:  Veterans Day by Marion F. Sturkey.  It is an excerpt from Warrior Culture of the U.S. Marines, copyright 2001.

"After four years of carnage in Europe when the giant cannon finally fell silent.  At 11:00 a.m. on 11 November 1918 (which is the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month) the Allies and Germany signed an armistice.  The Great War, The World War, The War to End War mercifully ended.  The whole world rejoiced.  Thereafter, the eleventh day of November became Armistice Day in most of the western world.  In Canada, it became known as Remembrance Day.

In the United States, Congress officially recognized Armistice Day in 1926.  Twelve years later, it became a national holiday.  Unfortunately, three decades and two wars later America realized that world order had been equally preserved by veterans of World War II and the Korean War.  So, in 1954 Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. President, signed an act which changed the name of Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

In 1968 (the flower-power generation was hard at work again) Congress changed the day of observance to the fourth Monday in October.  Veterans Day had temporarily become just another long three-day weekend.  The reason for the holiday had been forgotten by many.  Fortunately, the public outcry rose steadily over the next ten years.  Finally bowing to public pressure, Congress reversed itself in 1978.  The eleventh day of November again became the day on which Americans observe Veterans Day.

By law, Veterans Day is set aside to honor our nation's military veterans both living and dead, who serve in time of war.  The focal point for national observance is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.  At 11:00 a.m. on 11 November, a color guard that includes all military services executes "Present Arms."  The President of the United  States lays a wreath upon the tomb, steps back, and salutes.  A bugler plays Taps.  A grateful nation has not forgotten."

I pray that each of us will not forget.  I pray that we will remember and honor those who have gone before us and those who are still with us each day.  Freedom is not free.  Let us truly be a nation that will not forget those sacrifices.