All I Want for Christmas Part 2

There are a number of Christmas stories, books, and movies that begin with the line, “All I Want for Christmas…” — and one very silly song. I won’t mention that one, because I don’t want to get it stuck in my head. Hey, I’m doing you a very great favor here.

Christmas time is here...
Christmas time is here…

So, Hallmark Christmas movies are a genre all their own. The tendency is toward sap and silliness and incredible situations. Even the credible ones tend to be quite predictable. Don’t get me wrong, I love some of those silly offerings. And every once in a while, you stumble across one that is truly delightful.

I have a few favorites. They’re not all made by Hallmark, but definitely in the genre:

  • One Christmas Eve is a total blast! I laughed so hard.
  • A Season for Miracles–angelic!
  • The Christmas Bunny–different, but I liked it.
  • Christmas with Holly–mostly because of the location, and the Basset hound.
  • A Christmas Card–it has everything–an icky fiance, and curly fries.
  • The Road to Christmas–wonderful actors.

Okay, that’s enough. Most of these are romances or contain romance, but not all. The couples meet and fall into forever love in just days! But something in them appeals to me. Laughter, love, warmth…and honestly, by the time Christmas gets here, I’ve watched too many. I feel like a total glutton. I’m ready to move on. But if you like to watch them all year, they are available. Nice to know.

But the time comes when you need to get your head out of the Hallmark movie and face real life.

family-310364_1280Because there are some people out there who need a positive influence in their lives. They need us to share the love passed down from our Heavenly Father and the Savior we celebrate during this season. Hey, if your pocketbook is a little too slim, find other ways to bless your friends and family. Don’t be a Scrooge!

So what’s my Christmas wish this week? Time to watch movies? No. That would be a little shallow, don’t you think? Fun, but frivolous. And besides, I wished for time last week. So this week, I wish for gatherings and fun and fellowship. My holiday house is open to sons and their wives, their families, and carloads of granddaughters (one of my favorite things). The best recipe for fun and laughter is a house filled with those you love.

chip-1And maybe someone will come and bring their dog. I’d love that.

What’s your greatest wish? Is it an impossible dream, or is it a maybe–something within the realm of possibility. Faith is believing, so I’m going to stock the fridge, do some baking, and be ready for that wish to come true.

Gratitude

Gratitude. It’s not just a synonym for thankfulness, it’s a state of being. Something that is often forgotten. Those nine lepers in Jesus’ day (Luke 17:11-19) missed a blessing by not sticking around to say, “Thank you.” Yes, they were miraculously healed, which is a gift in itself. But in their haste—their excitement over being cleansed of this horrible disease, did they forget something? Where was the gratitude?

“Were there not ten of you,” Jesus asked the one who came to thank him. “Where are the nine?”

Shame on the nine.

Shame on me, when I forget to say thanks.

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What does the word gratitude mean to you? What thoughts enter your mind when you read that word? Do you think of things (inanimate objects)? Do you gaze around at your personal possessions? The roof over your head? Or do you think of your health? Are you thankful for each new day when you wake up and get out of bed?

Some don’t wake up. Some can’t get out of bed.

I tend to think of people. Those who are special to me. Family, friends, and those acquaintances who may become good friends in time. These are the most pleasant of gifts. Folks who actually care whether or not you wake up in the morning.

Some don’t have anyone.

turkey-1456681_1280On Thursday, we gather together to celebrate a turkey. Of course, I’m kidding, but it does sometimes seem that way, especially at my house. If I put a turkey in the oven, they will come to see me. If there’s pumpkin pie, it’s pretty much a guarantee. 🙂

This year, I’m especially grateful for the loves of my life, my husband, my sons, their wives, and those precious grandchildren. I plan to make gratitude a big part of our celebration.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. And if you have all the things above—a roof, possessions, health, family—I hope you remember to express your gratitude for those gifts. If you don’t have some of these things, but you have your health, you can be grateful for that.

In Philippians 4:11-13, Paul the Apostle writes:

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (New International Version)

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Standing Out or Outstanding?

outstandingI love my friends and family. I have an amazing group of people surrounding and supporting me.

They think I’m outstanding. I guess that’s what I love most about them. They believe in me.

lonely-273629_1280Sometimes, we don’t really appreciate the ones that God has placed in our lives. They might be the ones who are encouraging us to try harder–don’t quit–don’t give up. Keep on going, even when things look really bad. Even when you want them to stop encouraging you, because you really don’t want to keep going.

You want to quit. You want to forget you ever tried. But that’s not really an option I can take. No matter how much I might want to. The degree of OCD in me won’t let me quit. If I’ve misplaced something in my house, I WILL NOT QUIT until I find it. I will move everything in my house–clean out every closet and drawer–until I find what I’m looking for. I’m pretty much the same with other things in life.

I can’t let it go–which  can be a positive trait–or not.

You can stand out in any arena.

What does it take to make it? Here’s my list–

  1. Work hard.
  2. Study hard.
  3. Stay focused.
  4. Be friendly.
  5. Be kind.
  6. Help others.
  7. Pray hard.

startup-593324_1280These are not necessarily in the right order. I’m still working on them. Number 7 has become very important in my life. I know it helps me stay focused. And probably helps me with all the other ones.

“Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.”–2 Timothy 2:15 NLT

If you do the things described in this scripture, you’ll stand out. Most people will appreciate your efforts.

However… in Ecclesiastes 12:12, we read: “But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out.”

I had to laugh at that one, especially since it seems to be aimed at writers. 🙂

And then in Acts 26:24 — “Suddenly, Festus shouted, ‘Paul, you are insane. Too much study has made you crazy!'”

He definitely stands out! I think perhaps Paul was talking the civic leader’s ears right off his head. From my research, I believe Paul could’ve done that.

So the end of the matter is this:

If you choose to go for outstanding in life, yours will most likely NOT be an easy life. However, the rewards are great, though you may not receive them until after you’re gone. But if you’re passing knowledge along to those coming after, either through writing, teaching, or spreading the Gospel of Christ, the reward is ongoing.

sisters-781098_1280And don’t forget the ones who are encouraging you in your daily life. Listen. Learn. And as you have opportunity, thank them. Give them a hug, let them know you were listening. Sometimes the encourage-r needs encouraging.

May you stand out in life. May your path be blessed and your life outstanding.

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Daddy Was a Musical Instrument

No kid in my family, or the generation before mine, took music lessons. But we had the music in us. I know, because if Daddy was with us, there would be music wherever we went.

He didn’t need to haul around a guitar, a banjo, or even a pair of bongo drums. He was the musical instrument. Yes, you read that right.

Mom grew up on the West Coast. Dad was born and raised in West Tennessee, so we traveled back and forth across country many times. He always had the radio on. He’d listen to it all–hillbilly, cowboy country, rock-n-roll, or preachin’. But during those times when radio was not available, he made his own music.

He was not singing. There were no words to his music. Literally.

music-624421_1280Daddy played the nose trumpet, the mouth harp, the pec drums, the ab drums–you get the picture? He also played the harmonica, but not as often. And once, when I was ten, I saw him strum an electric guitar.

Oh, this man was talented. He had rhythm. He was right on key, and his nose trumpet was to be envied. His audience adored him. We laughed till we cried and sometimes had to beg for a potty break along the way.

Mom was a little less enthralled by his grand abilities. When she wouldn’t laugh at his concerts, he’d make his pecs dance. Guaranteed giggles, especially from the peanut gallery.

Tom was a navy boy
Tommy Thomason, US Navy

Where did he develop these wondrous talents? We’re not really sure, but he definitely honed them in the Navy. I guess they had a lot of down time on board ship and  had to learn to entertain themselves. And he was guaranteed a captive audience.

It’s not really something he passed on to the next generation. I don’t think either of my brothers inherited this talent. But in my mind and heart, I can still hear Daddy playing his music. The memory always makes me smile. And I really believe that was the purpose of his one-man concert.

“All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.” Proverbs 15:15 NKJV

Scripture from <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+15%3A15&version=NKJV>