Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Count Your Many Blessings

During this Thanksgiving week a song has been stuck in my head.  It was written by Rev. Johnson Oatman in 1897, but it is still very relevant today. All of us have so much to be thankful for.

From time to time I have shared an update on our new Towne View Baptist church building. Our congregation finally moved in the first week of November and shared our first Thanksgiving meal in our new facility last Sunday. We were all asked to contribute to a Thanksgiving Tree. Scattered on each table were colorful leaves and markers. Everyone was asked to write something they were thankful for on each leaf—not just generic stuff like food or family, but something specific. 

The children gathered the leaves and taped them on the tree as a reminder of all our many blessings. I wrote on my leaf “organ transplants and donors.”  I wouldn’t be here without that second chance at life.

So my challenge to you is to find something specific in your life that is a unique blessing to you and take time to thank God for that blessing not only at Thanksgiving but all year long. Here are a few words from the song chorus that inspired this blog and a UTube link if you would like to sing along.

“Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
 And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”

Here are photos of our new church building and our Blessings Tree. Have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Our Far Flung Family

It’s the time of year when many families are planning large family gatherings and times of celebration. Since Charles and I have only a few family members who live close by, our holiday events are usually small. This year Christmas came early and all before Thanksgiving! Frieda’s son, Stuart and his family visited from Toronto, Canada on Veterans’ Day weekend.  His wife, Ruth, along with granddaughters Rose and Belle, really enjoyed the Atlanta area shopping and filled their suitcases to the limit of their customs’ allotment. Then they filled their bellies with Chick-Fil-A, barbecue, and Mexican food which are not available in Toronto. They safely flew home before the first major blast of winter hit their area. 

Four days later my niece Sally, from Rochester, New York, came for a visit since her husband was in Atlanta for a convention. We had lunch with my other niece, Sandy, and enjoyed travelling down memory lane. They left Monday just as the lake effect blizzard was crossing the Great Lakes. They have been stranded in a Motel 6 ever since with their car buried under massive mounds of snow. They are staying warm, but food for two days was limited to the contents of a vending machine. I just received word that a McDonald's in the area opened with walking distance of the motel. With no winter clothes between them it was a very cold trek, but at least they got some hot food. It’s probably two more days before they can travel.

Today Charles’ grandson, Jesse, flies in from Hawaii to join his wife and three girls. He was able to get leave from the Air Force and, hopefully, can stay through Thanksgiving. They are staying elsewhere, but will visit with us this weekend.

Then Frieda’s college-age granddaughter, Marcella, takes a break from her studies at Texas A&M and arrives here a week from today. We will have a great time catching up with her life and doing some Black Friday shopping. 

It’s an exciting time for us to be ground zero for so many family members. This is one year I will sail through the Christmas season very thankful to have been so blessed by the presence of our far flung family.

During the holidays there is a special joy in sharing with those who hold a special place in our hearts.  Psalm 128:5 (TLB) “May the Lord continually bless you with heaven’s blessings as well as with human joys.”

                                    Nieces Sandy DuVall, Sally Weidert, and Frieda enjoying lunch