Happy Thanksgiving

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. 2 Corinthians 9:15

Taking a short break to be with family. I pray you all have a warm and happy Thanksgiving! God bless.

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Feel free to download the Thanksgiving picture to your desktop. To do this, right-click your mouse on the picture. Then left-click on the set as desktop background link.

Picture courtesy of Pixabay. Public domain

Thanksgiving Traditions

Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD shall choose: because the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice. Deuteronomy 16:15

For the coming holiday, I thought it would be fun to share some interesting facts about Thanksgiving. For example, although Thanksgiving is often described as an American holiday, its roots can be traced back to the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Chinese. And it doesn’t stop there.

For centuries, Israel has celebrated a harvest festival. It’s a time set aside for rejoicing and giving thanks for God’s blessings throughout the year. The holiday Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles, commemorates the 40 years in the wilderness after the deliverance from Eygpt. Today, Sukkot begins five days after Yom Kippur and last for eight days. During this time, the people build small huts and hang fruits and vegetables inside. These harvest-filled huts reminded me of a cornucopia.

Cornucopia

cornucopia-1789664_1280The cornucopia is a horned shaped basket filled to the brim with grains, vegetables, and fruits. Its roots can also be traced back to the Greeks and Romans. Cornucopia means horn of plenty from the Latin term cornu copiae. To those searching for freedom in the new land, the cornucopia became the symbol of America, the land of plenty.

Turkeys

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Another famous symbol of the holiday is the turkey. Ben Franklin thought the turkey to be a bird of courage, unlike the eagle, a bird of bad morals. (Read the article here.) Whether the turkey is a courageous bird or not, its popularity is linked to the Thanksgiving holiday. And while the sides depend on family favorites, the turkey is always the main attraction. Unless your family doesn’t like turkey. Oh, my! What to do, then?

To Turkey or Not To Turkey

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The truth is traditions surrounding this autumnal feast can vary from house to house. As children, my husband and I both ate turkey. It didn’t matter whether we liked it or not. Our moms were traditionalists. On Thanksgiving, you ate turkey. Period. But when my kids came along, we changed that tradition after we’d cooked the traditional bird every imaginable way known to man. Fried, baked, roasted, or barbecued, they still refused to eat it. Now, we have chicken and dressing along with the “must have” side dishes.

Must Have Side Dishes

  • Cornbread Dressing
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Gravy
  • Pecan Pie
  • Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping
  • Grape Salad (Recipe below.)
  • Sweet Iced Tea

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Grape Salad

  • 4 lbs seedless grapes, halved
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 brick cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup brown sugar

Blend brown sugar, softened cream cheese, and condensed milk with mixer until smooth. Combine grapes and pecans. Pour in a lidded bowl. Chill. Serve. Enjoy!

Note: The amount of fruit used is according to individual taste. I prefer fewer grapes for a creamier salad. Pssst…the fruit is just an excuse for me to eat the brown sugar and condensed milk. 🙂

Reflection

No matter how you celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, grab your neighbor’s hand and gives thanks for His bountiful blessings!

Are you a traditionalist? What is on your list for must-have side dishes

Pictures courtesy of Pixabay. Public Domain.

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Blessings in Disguise

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. Isaiah 43:2

This past week I read an article written by Courtney Westlake on Michelle Cushatt’s blog, Making Peace With an Imperfect Life. In the post, Westlake talked about preconceived ideas in our lives—how we think something should be or ought to be.

Life teaches us to expect certain outcomes in certain situations. Plant a garden, reap produce. Get married, have babies. Work hard, enjoy retirement. Serve God, be blessed. Right? But what happens when things don’t turn out the way we imagine? What if the blessings come in unrecognizable packages?

“Sometimes, when something is different than we anticipated or hoped for, it leaves us disappointed, confused or even grieving a kind of loss.” Courtney Westlake

As you can tell, the story resonated with me because I’ve lived long enough to know we don’t always get what we imagined. As children, we imagine a blessed life to be:

  • happily ever afters
  • healthy babies
  • perfect jobs
  • more-than-enough income
  • successful kids
  • retirement
  • disease-free lives

But then life happens and the enemy whispers, “Where is your God in all of this?”

Sometimes, the questions are instantly silenced. Othertimes, years may pass before the taunts are quietened. Still, other questions will never be resolved until we stand face to face with Him. In those instances, let us be reminded we are not alone.

I don’t think…

  • Job thought he would lose all and be stricken with a disease that left him sitting on a trash heap listening to accusations from his so-called friends.
  • Joshua and Caleb pictured themselves remaining in the wilderness for forty years watching their kinsman die when they departed Egypt.
  • Mary imagined herself pregnant and unmarried.
  • The disciples visualized their Royal Deliverer hanging on a cross and buried in a grave.

 

At the onset of heartache, we see nothing but what we didn’t get or what we’ve lost. That is the goal of the enemy of our souls. However, whether that heartache is divorce, disease, or even death,  we are blessed because God is right there with us through it all. He will never leave us nor forsake us.

  • Job talked with God.
  • Joshua and Caleb saw the promises of God.
  • Mary birthed the Savior, Emmanuel, God with us.
  • The disciples realized Jesus was more than just an earthly King. He was the Lamb of God.

Truth, we will face heartache that will almost destroy us, but in the end, if we allow God access to the deepest regions of our heart, that heartache will make us stronger. And what we see as a trial, will turn out to be the very blessing we need to teach us of God’s faithfulness.

We are blessed no matter our circumstances. God has always been and always will be with us through the waters of uncertainty, the rivers of faith, and the fires of impossibilities. And. He. Will. See. Us. Through.

May we always recognize the blessings in disguise!

What about you? Have you any blessings in disguise?

 

 

Click here to read A Different Beautiful

Click here for more on Courtney Westlake

 

 

His Way Is Perfect

As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God? It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places. Psalms 18:30-33

Whether in pain, suffering, or heartache, we are not alone. He is our healer, comfort, and our peace. His way is perfect.

 

The Undeniable Truth

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Trusting is never easy! To trust means giving up what we know for the unknown. It’s letting go when desiring to cling. It’s following while another leads. It’s waiting…waiting…waiting.

Therefore, trust must be a deliberate decision based upon undeniable truth.

Truth says:

I am not forsaken.

And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. Psalm 9:10

He is faithful.

They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:23

He will answer.

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. Jeremiah 33:3

Nothing is impossible.

For with God nothing shall be impossible. Luke 1:37

He will deliver me.

Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. Psalm 91:14

 

Trust says:

I trust you.

What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. Psalm 56:3

I am determined.

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 2 Timothy 1:12

I will wait and hope.

I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. Psalm 130:5

I will not fear.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

I will praise you.

And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long. Psalms 35:28

 

God is trustworthy. Don’t give up. What God has promised He will do!