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Let’s take time to remember

Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks.
It is also a time for family, friends, food and drinks and most important conversation around the warm fire.
One year we tried a new tradition; before we ate the ‘meal’ we went around the table and said what we are most thankful for.
It keeps the perspective of the day as a posture of being thankful not just eating and watching football.
(which I do not like to do)
I really love the tradition of making memories.
Before we do that we have to return to making lists and figuring out what will be on the table.
Meal preparation can be days before the big meal, this year we already ordered the turkey off the farm.
I feel kind of bad it will be processed a few days before we cook it.
The reality is; it will give it’s life for our table. (hard to think about)
Then what else goes with it? potatoes, gravy, dressing, green beans (no casserole) just fresh beans, relish plate, cranberries made fresh, homemade pumpkin and maybe apple pie with real whipping cream.
Always a glass of wine, coffee and fresh water.
The menu cannot change as the grand children love the traditional meal.
I cook the dressing in a separate baking dish not inside the turkey the way some people do.
This year will be a little different as we will be getting new windows the day before and it might be messy.
I like to dress up a bit, not just jeans and whatever top, the tradition of a festive meal calls out for nice clothing.
Thanksgiving, is a time for slowing down.
Perhaps as we make a list for the meal we also can make a list of who we are thankful for and send out cards.
Mail is a dying way of correspondence now and to receive a hand written letter or card is priceless.
It adds meaning to the special time of year and gives depth in our relationships.
What do you do in anticipating the festive meal?
Let’s take time and remember the real reason we set a day aside for Thanksgiving.

Traditions around the holidays

I mentioned already that we used to have very special traditions around the holidays when we went to our grandparents house.
After my husband and I got married we established new traditions as a couple.
The first mistake we made was to spend our first thanksgiving holiday as a couple with his family.
It created a lot of ‘feelings’ and after that we decided where to spend our time during the holiday seasons.
My family didn’t really do anything on Easter and they always did Christmas on Christmas Eve.
So we set it up that Easter and Christmas day would be his side of the family and Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve for my side.
It worked wonderful when we had children as I was determined to not drag them to different homes with different foods.
Good way to have sick kids and I was not going to do that to any of us.
Now that our children have grown, we still have our traditions only they have changed to adapt to the ‘grandchildren’.
We always have an Easter dinner. That is a tradition and anyone is free to join us.
We always have a big brunch on Christmas morning at some point in time we have had up to over 20 around the table.
I love to use china and pretty glasses, and we have old country rose dishes for Thanksgiving.
Then I purchased Christmas china dishes for brunch.
I love to see a beautiful table with pretty flowers and a fire in the fireplace warming the room.
Traditions for the holidays are so important.
Now that we are writing down a list of important things in our lives, what would your traditions be?
What is negotiable and what is not?
It’s important to know what you need for family and for peace in the holidays.
I am not one to over pressure our ‘grown’ children to be here for the mealtime.
They are making their own traditions and at some point in time my husband and I might be alone.
Restaurants make wonderful meals and if you choose a nicer one the meal can be a real treat.
I challenge you to figure out what your traditions are then do what you can to make that happen.
We can make our holidays full of tension or we can make them very peaceful by deciding what is most important.
It’s really a matter of choice and decisions for each family.

Shall we make a list

In our pursuit of giving thanks; it might be helpful to start a list in a notebook or scratch pad that you can carry with you.
Many times thoughts will come to me as I am shopping or writing or cleaning my home.
Write it down. Name it, give it a purpose and meaning.
It is a really easy habit to begin and once you start; it would be easy to exceed the list of one thousand.
I love to be with people who have an attitude of gratitude.
They have a circle of hope all around them and they are positive people to be with.
When you think of giving thanks it is a time for appreciation too.
When someone gives you something, the polite response is to say to them, “Thank you.”
Meaning I appreciate your thoughtfulness, I am in honor of your thought of me.
It makes me feel really special that they went out of their way to do something nice.
It is gratitude, and a posture of receiving.
In the same way; when we begin an attitude of gratitude and apply thankfulness in our hearts we make a choice.
Have you ever done something for someone and a few days later you received a thank you note in the mail?
Remember the surprise at receiving such a lovely hand written note?
That it would matter that much for them to take the time to say, ‘thank you?’
It kind of makes us want to do more.
Not for the notes in the mail but for the goodness that it creates.
I looked up the meaning of Thanksgiving, here is what it said:
the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors, especially to God.
It doesn’t take much to say Thank you. If we are a believer it is really easy for us.
We can be thankful for every breath we receive, we can be thankful for every one in our lives who we love.
We can be thankful that we live where we have freedoms and choice in fact sometimes too many choices.
We can be thankful that we have medical care should we need it, and doctors who are prepared and trained.
We can be thankful that we have comfortable homes, and reliable cars.
So much of our every day, we can be thankful for and be in the posture of ‘I am so thankful.’
I do believe the first time you have a cold shower; you would so appreciate the hot water when it returns.
Little things, like light fixtures, washing machines and dryers.
There is so much around us on a day to day experience that we can be thankful for.
In our pursuit to create more thanksgiving in our lives, may we learn to integrate it so much that it is natural.
Shall we begin today to make a list and speak it out?
God I am so thankful for… and write it down.

A time for giving thanks again

Our anniversary is over and now we are moving in to the second week of November.
A time for giving thanks.
Anne Voskamp wrote a book that shared how she began to give thanks for everything,.
Everyday, she would name one or two things she was thankful for, heading to one thousand thanks.
In fact her book is called One Thousand Gifts.
When we integrate within ourselves a time for giving thanks, we choose to change our mindset and our heart.
We cannot complain when we are grateful.
We cannot be sad when we are in a state of hopefulness.
We cannot be negative when we choose to look at all the positive.
It becomes a time for giving thanks and living in a thankful place deep inside ourselves.
I love Thanksgiving. I love all that it stands for and the memories that surround me about the day.
Growing up it was always a special event. A day for family.
Our family was not always warm and fuzzy, but we did have traditions and one of them was a Thanksgiving dinner at our grandparent’s house.
We always dressed up and I remember sitting in the bedroom waiting for the curlers to dry.
Remember the old fashioned wire ones with prickly plastic sticking out of them and a plastic poker to keep them in place? Oh I so remember those nasty things when trying to create a curl or two from naturally straight hair.
We always dressed up in our dresses and fancy socks.
It was tradition to dress up and you would never arrive in old casual clothing.
I am thankful for the expectation to make that one day a special one.
A time for giving thanks.
I am not often able to remember good and positive moments when we were growing up.
But I do remember the table in it’s beauty, the food prepared by grandma’s hands and the fine china.
I don’t remember conversation or other parts of the day other than grandma always made a pumpkin pie.
The men would sit in the living room and the girls would be in the kitchen, while grandma cooked.
I pray that each holiday we have in our home our grandchildren will remember with warm fondness.
Our table, our food, our conversation, our warm fires and our pumpkin pie.
One day in the month of November we set aside a time for giving thanks.
A time for gratitude and appreciating all that we have been given.
I pray as we head to this ‘wonderful day’ we remain steadfast in our attitude of thanks.

An anniversary shared together

Today is our anniversary.
Forty four years ago we walked down an aisle of a wonderful old church facing the lighted cross to say our vows and begin a life of living together as husband and wife. I accepted his name and our life began the moment we said, “I do.” At ages eighteen and nineteen did we know what love was?
Did we know what for better or worse would mean, or sickness and health?
Did we realize what richer or poorer meant when the cupboards were low and fridge empty?
Did we know that babies and all that required of us to raise them would be our biggest challenge as a couple?
Did we know what we promised when we stood there in front of several hundred people?
Life has changed our many ways of thinking.
It is good. We have faced many journeys with courage and strength and we move on to other ones that are ahead of us.
Age and life will teach us more.
We have lost parents and friends, through death, we have seen many changes throughout the years. What really matters is our choices in life to live true to our word.
From this day forward, we stand together.
For our children, our grand children and our legacy that we leave them.
The Pastor who married us was also our youth pastor. Such a wonderful man I remember him so strong in his faith and family values. He encouraged us in many ways.We saw him a few years ago at a memorial service and it was such a wonderful time of reuniting.
He said, “I wasn’t sure about you kids but I had hoped it would work for you.”
Today we are sharing our forty fourth year together, and miraculously we made it.

A time for giving thanks

November 1st … A time for giving thanks.
For gathering all our precious ones in our heart and saying a ‘heart felt’ prayer for them.
We live in times of stress and worry and often times of danger too.
In saying all that we cannot let the world dictate our hope and safety.
As I look around my home and see the many things that are traditionally enjoyed in this season.
I realize it’s a time for giving thanks.
We have a roof over our heads, a furnace to keep us warm, a refrigerator to keep our food safe, a stove to warm it.
We have hot water whenever we want it, and fresh cold water to drink when we are thirsty.
How blessed are we to see and acknowledge all that we have been given.
I love to put a fire in the fireplace, brew a cup of hot coffee or wind down with a glass of wine.
It is peaceful, and a safety to us, our Home.
The colors of fall will soon leave us and the grey of winter will arrive.
It still gives us many things to be thankful for, grateful for and appreciate.
A time for giving thanks.
For health, and love and family and friends.
I challenge you today, to set aside some time and write down what you are thankful for.
It is a good habit to begin perhaps every day, a time of giving thanks.

Do you trust me

After my last writing for our church it would seem fitting for me to expand a bit about the story and the dream shared.
Within the course of my recovery journey, I was often asked these words, “Do you trust me, and will you?”
When children grow up in non trusting or unsafe environments, trust does not come easy.
As an adult now I am able to discern when trust is safe and healthy and only by listening to my first instinct; have I learned to trust and follow.
The question was asked surrounding the healing process of memory.
It came from the Lord working through the Holy Spirit and also guided by my very trained and gifted counselor.
“Do you trust me enough that I can show you and walk with you into the hard places and allow me to reframe them into something more healing and healthy for you?”
When there is a lot of pain often times we want to hide. I sure did.
I wouldn’t offer anything to anyone about how I felt.
Someone would say to me, “how are you?” I would always say fine.
For I thought in my mind if I said, “not so good,” they might want to know why.
I wasn’t ready to tell them. I wasn’t ready to tell myself.
It was only when I hit a wall, emotionally, physically and in my health, that I felt like I had to submit.
God showed me slowly and carefully that I was not going to be harmed in the process of remembering.
Sometimes when you relive something years later you see it through adult eyes seeing it as the child might have experienced it.
There is power when you see something through the child’s perspective.
Have you ever watched the movie Scrooge, where the spirit of his past shows him the room where tiny Tim was sitting.
How Ebeneezer ‘saw’ him through different eyes; as an observer not as a mean boss.
Recovery from memory is a lot like that. It is re-framing and showing a scene in a new way.
Seeing and observing the child through different and more healing places of perspective.
Remember the scene when he said about tiny Tim, “but I didn’t know.”
Healing comes to us through accepting and allowing the places of memory to be exposed for what it was, what it did and how it made us feel.
These are very hard things to acknowledge. Remember: the only way out is through.
When the question comes to us, “Do you trust me?” It is like the question Jesus asked before healing someone.
“Do you want to be well?”
It arrives with many layers to peel back like an onion.
“Yes I trust you”… peel off…
“Yes I trust you” peel more…but my eyes are burning and my nose is stuffed.
The aroma stings our senses. We get choked up for the oil of the onion is strong.
Memory is very similar.
When we choose to remember the pain from our past, it is the beginning to a new and refreshing beginning.
Remember :The only way out is through.

It was a tear filled heart healing journey

MY BLOG WRITING FOR OUR CHURCH:
When we choose to take the next adventure, it can come with unexpected terrain.
Sharon Osterhoudt writes for the blog again with a deep and personal account of how she navigated an adventure where the Lord became her surgeon – the One to work over her and remove her “tangled and twisted old wounds”.
You all just need to stop by the blog and finish the story. It will leave you reaching for the hope only Jesus can give.

Adventure: Rugged Terrain

In the 1980’s this song came out and it has always been a part of my journey.
“You are my hiding place, you always heal my heart with songs of deliverance whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you,let the weak say I am strong in the strength of the Lord.” (psalm 37:2)
when I was asked to write about my life with the Lord as an adventure.
I was not sure what to say. so I prayed and ‘you are my hiding place’ came to me.
My husband and I often like to take a drive with no idea where we might end up.
It’s a bit unsettling for me as I like to know the end result, he likes the adventure of not knowing.
In my early thirties and forties, I went through a very rough stage with health issues.
The doctors were unsure of why I was very ill, they thought it might be lupus, as I had a positive reading for a connective tissue disease. They said it could be an auto immune disorder or chronic fatigue, they just didn’t know.
At that time we had our two children and also I did full time day care.
When I look back now it amazes me how much was going on.
The adventure/journey began when Jesus alongside the Holy Spirit showed up in a dream, a very intense one.
He told me I would go through an emotional ‘surgery’ guided by the Spirit and I would be healed when it was over.
It scared me. You know those kind of dreams that seem very real?
In this ‘vision’ I saw (The Lord) working over me slowly removing tangled and twisted old wounds;
and as He did the surgery, He would sing over me.
[The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.] Zephaniah 3:17
It was a tear filled heart searching intensifying series of songs.
As I began to slowly heal; the Spirit showed me I had to not only deal with the physical issues but my emotional issues too.
Depression and pain, followed me like a crutch on each side walking with me as I took each step.
When memories of childhood flooded my daily walk often times I would sing, “you are my hiding place, you always fill my heart with songs of deliverance.” It was gentle and healing to my heart.
I needed the assurance that throughout the years of working with a skilled therapist and with the guiding of the Holy Spirit; I would remain protected and safe.
Any time trauma comes to the surface it is stored not only in memory but also within cells.
So my body was remembering what my mind tried to hide but couldn’t forget.
As the uncovering took place God continued to work with me and strengthen me, taking away old ‘lies and replacing them’ with words of truth and affirmation.
Memories flooded me, and truth exposed the ugliness and as we walked through the hard places it was very much like a back packing adventure.
The journey would be rough, I would say, “I can’t do this” and the Spirit would encourage me, and whisper;
‘YES you can, I am guiding you.’
During this time I was lead to read a little book called, “Hinds feet on High Places” by Hannah Hurnard.
It touched me in such a deep and profound way I knew it was meant for me.
It took years to heal both physically and emotionally.
It took trust to form for myself towards my counselor, and for me to understand the ‘little girl’ who had a hurt heart, and it was up to me, the adult to change/heal her story.
The journey took a long time but it was worth each and every step along the way.
I also learned and came to understand, it was never ‘the little girls fault’.
The journey of healing was from the inside out and I was healed on every level.
The connective tissue disease not only went into remission but was not visible through any test.
I know without a shadow of doubt, God healed me.
It has been a journey filled with hope, healing, truth telling and powerful love.

To infuse and inspire one another

In my last writing there was a description that said, to infuse or belong to, and it was speaking about a friendship.
Looking up the word infuse: Dictionary.com says it is to ingrain, pour in, cause to penetrate; instill and inspire; as if by pouring; to steep or soak as to extract; to undergo infusion.
I looked up the word friendship and it said that it is to value the state of being a friend or association with friends.
When we choose to invest in others we choose to pour into their lives and infuse our caring, our encouragement and our prayers towards them.
I like the thought of infusion because it is a steeping like a hot cup of water with a tea bag, slowly allowing the contents of the bag to pour into the clear water, merging and changing itself.Friendships are like that too, they are a reflection of ourselves.
We choose to inspire them with words of affirmation that says, “you can do it I believe in you; or I have thought about you and want you to know it.”
We ingrain and pour into them with our hopes, our prayers, our compassions and concerns.
To instill and inspire someone; is giving them a belief in themselves maybe they can’t see.
I see it as an internal process from an external source.
Infusion could be similar to a change within like that tea cup.
Hope fills within and removes doubt. Peace removes confusion and belief removes disbelief.
Oh that we may see and take seriously our choices in who we invest in.
I personally do not want to waste time in a relationship or friendship that is not mutual.
We can pray for others from a distance and let them know, but if it’s not a good healthy relationship for us to be involved in; then we need to let it go.
Choosing wisely who we invest in and how often is a choice we all have to make.
To infuse in one another is not a ‘light thought’.
It’s a challenge, and a determination for us to make good choices to infuse and inspire one another.
Let us be encouraged as we go through this process.

What do we choose to invest in

When I search the word ‘invest’ and it’s meaning; I am challenged by what I need to do to make it more real.
Dictionary.com says: to use, give, or devote (time, talent, etc.), as for a purpose or to achieve something:
to endow with a quality or characteristic: to invest a friend with every virtue.
to infuse or belong to, as a quality or characteristic: Goodness invests his every action.

It takes intentionality and thought to invest in something.
If I have an investment in something it is has to be what I believe in, have hope in and find a future within it; whether that be a cause or a relationship.
Relationships are like that.
To say “I believe in you” to someone; is making a choice to invest in their character, their spirit and the world that surrounds them. Building up who they are.
We have six grandchildren and each one have the promise from us that we will invest in them to the best of our ability and resources.
Our friendships require intentional phone calls and dates set on the calendar to continue our caring and relationship.
Family too, putting it down and setting it aside as a sacred day not to be changed or modified for something else less important.
Our anniversary is coming up soon and we will invest in it as a day for us to remember ‘us’ and our life shared together.
What we choose to invest in tells us a lot about our personality.
We have three little girls in Haiti that we invest our money for their schooling and health care, my husband has been in Haiti and knows the need is great.
We have a local soft ball team we invest our time and our funds so they can become who we believe they can be, and of course our grand daughter plays on the team.
What do we choose to invest in? It’s a great question to ask ourselves.
Perhaps every January we can set this question on a calendar and plan around it, as the new year begins.
I know I am taking this challenge very seriously.