Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving is a State of Mind

As we head into the holidays again, I am conflicted with being homesick and not quite living in the spirit of the rapidly approaching season. I miss my friends, I wish I was with my family in Florida and not so burdened by professional obligations and restrained financially. This was shared with me by someone very special and I thought I would share it here. From our family to yours, a very Happy Thanksgiving

This article was originally written for and published in World Magazine, November 18, 1995.

Even in the midst of temporal troubles, there is always something to be thankful for. Thanks-giving isn't easy. Two things make it difficult.

(1) Our sinful natures act like a ship's anchor let down at sea. When we try to stir ourselves to give thanks, we find our souls are "dragging anchor." In the Bible, lack of gratitude is a characteristic of the unbelieving heart. Even Christians have to struggle against this "tendency to ingratitude" that remains with us. As Bishop Ryle once observed in his quaint way, we are prone to hide our blessings under a bushel and to set our troubles on a hill.

(2) That brings us to the second hindrance to thanks-giving, which is the troubles we all experience in our lives. It seems that every time we get the wind of thanksgiving in our sails, a front of reality moves through our lives, and our souls are becalmed.

This Thanksgiving many of us will be struggling with such things as ill health, job uncertainties, inadequate finances, family tensions, spiritual depression, disappointed hopes, fresh grief, and lonely isolation. It's not easy for your soul to feel gratitude or to give thanks when it struggles against the drag of natural ingratitude and the becalming effects of reality. But let me give you one fundamental reason to be thankful. You're supposed to! One verse among scores is sufficient.

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus"

(I Thessalonians 5:19).

Maybe you were expecting me to say something different, but don't discount the value of knowing it's a Christian duty to give thanks. Sometimes I ask my wife if she loves me. Usually she answers, "Yes." Then I ask, "Why?" and her usual answer is, "Because I'm supposed to."

I might prefer to hear that she's compelled to love me by irresistiblepassion, or that I'm so wonderful that she can't help but love me. But I've learned to take comfort and to feel security in her commitment to love me because it's her duty as a wife and a Christian.

The Pilgrims who celebrated the first Thanksgiving in America were similar in their outlook. They arrived in December 1620 as a band of 102 men, women, and children. By April 1621 only 50 remained. But they planted crops, hunted, and fished, and when the fall arrived they decided they had much to be thankful for. So in October, a community of Christians, who had lost half their population the previous winter, who had no more than a toehold on their new homeland, did their duty and set aside a day as a feast of Thanksgiving.

Giving thanks because you're supposed to is not an impossible task. If you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit has planted a seed of gratitude in your heart. As you look at life through the eyes of faith, you'll see many expressions of your heavenly Father's goodness. And as you face with faith the sometimes harsh realities of life, you'll see that the really important things can't be taken away. The Father's love, the forgiveness of sins, the promise of the resurrection are blessings you can't lose. The seed of gratitude, watered with faith, can produce a great harvest of thanksgiving in your life.

Let us give thanks. It's our duty!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Precious Ema Prater

Below is an email update from Laura. Sweet Ema has come home and is being monitored closely. Please continue to pray for their family and remember to hug your own sweet peas every chance you get. You just never know when it's going to be your turn to request prayers.

Thank you all so much for your prayers, support, and fabulous dinners! We're so blessed to have such wonderful friends surrounding our family.

Ema is on oral antibiotics for a few weeks and is thankfully tolerating the taste. She'll continue each week with lab work, x-ray, and doctor appointments. The first of December we'll have another cat scan done to take a closer look at the progress of her lung. We're hoping the cavities that are developing will scar and she'll be over this crazy infection. Otherwise, she'll need surgery to remove any remaining infected tissue in her lung. Please continue to pray for Ema's ability to heal without the need for surgery.

She's so happy to be home, and we just love having our three beautiful girls playing together again!

Thank you again for your continued prayers and friendship.

The Prater Family

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Differences Between Grandfathers and Grandmothers

A friend, who worked away from home all week, always made a special effort with his family on the weekends. Every Sunday morning he would take his 7-year old granddaughter out for a drive in the car for some bonding time. Just he and his granddaughter.

One particular Sunday however, he had a bad cold and really didn't feel like being up at all. Luckily, his wife came to the rescue and said that she would take their granddaughter out. When they returned, the little girl anxiously ran upstairs to see her grandfather.

'Well, did you enjoy your ride with grandma?'

'Oh yes, PaPa' the girl replied, 'and do you know what? We didn't see a single dumb ass or lousy shit head anywhere we went today!'

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Halloween, Birthdays, Anniversaries and More!

November is Celebration Month. We celebrate the birthdays of my Dad, his wife, Ed’s Mom, a couple of cousins, lots of good friends and their kids. It’s also Anniversary month for Ed & me, and several other couples that are near to us. Whew! It’s a good thing we have a whole two weeks before Thanksgiving ; )
We ended October and had a great time celebrating Halloween with two parades, a lunch party and trick or treating in San Clemente. My Dad and Lana were here for the weekend as part of their US Tour and the kids had a great time enjoying the great outdoors at their Grandparents’ RV. We cooked hot dogs over an open fire and LOVED the smores. We got lucky enough to treat Lana to dinner ON her birthday and celebrate the special part of our family that she is.

The same week saw a rowdy softball game in honor of my “That Friend” Amy’s birthday. I think we may be getting too old (or out of shape) to (try to) run that fast, throw that hard and drink beer simultaneously. Good times!!

Less than a week later we celebrated my super special Mother in Law’s birthday. A Girls Only Surprise Party was just what the Dr. ordered for the busy lady and boy was she surprised. We had a great time playing birthday bunco and even more fun toasting her.

Ed and I have decided we officially that we need a break before the hoopla of the holidays. I have cancelled all of our plans for the coming weekend and are looking forward to a little Thanksgiving getaway with the kids in San Diego. I have a couple of quick trips to Vegas in between, but I am hoping that my willingness to get on an airplane will directly correlate to collecting a paycheck. Business is NOT booming around here, ya know?

I am praying for the well-being and care of everyone who is being affected by the tough economic times. We have lots of friends and acquaintances that aren’t faring so well and I continually search for the lessons that are being shared so that I can glean something good from a bad situation. I continue to pray for our friends, The Praters, and their baby girl, Ema. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers, too.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Please Pray

Our friends, the Prater Family, have sent us a prayer request. I am in turn asking you to pray for them, too. I worked with Laura at Ingram Micro in the late 90’s and she and Tony were our neighbors in Las Flores. They are a wonderful couple and parents to three gorgeous little girls. Devyn is 8 (with a crush on Max following a late summer BBQ : ) and their twins Halle & Ema will turn 3 in December. Their family sacrificed a lot to conceive their girls through IVF and this family praises God every day for the special blessing of their daughters. Below is a frantic note from a mother who has been at the hospital with her little girl for over a week. I spoke with her this morning and while Ema is not currently a candidate for the surgery, the stakes are higher. They’ve found that they can’t simply drain the abscess, the surgeon will need to take part of this baby girl’s lung. She is currently on high doses of antibiotics and steroids and they are taking every day with a wait and see approach. Please pray for the healing of Sweet Ema and for patience and strength for her parents and loved ones. Don’t forget to hug your loved ones today.

ema has been in the hospital at mission, choc since monday with complications with pneumonia. figured out today that she has a pulmonary abscess the size of a tennis ball. very serious surgery required - transferred to choc in orange. please pray and pass along. she needs prayers for recovery and her strength.


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