Well, it's been one of those weeks... you know the kind I'm talking about... stress, drama, sin, sadness, burdens, frustration, anger, loss, disappointment, bad news, sorrow, etc.
I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed today, and honestly, I just about blew off blogging at all.... The thought of making a "gratitude list" seems annoyingly Pollyanna-ish at the moment... I'm more in the mood to curl up on the couch with some empty calories and numb my brain with a Monk marathon or a good book.
Despite my current feelings, I know that we are commanded to give thanks in ALL circumstances.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
- I Thessalonians 5:18
If Paul and Silas could sing and praise God when they were chained up inside a Macedonian prison, then I can certainly come up with ten things for which to be thankful in my own better-than-chained-up-in-prison circumstances....
And along those same lines, we need to remember to pray for the thousands of Christians around the world who are not free to worship as they wish. They are being fined, boycotted, imprisoned, tortured, and even killed (along with their families) simply for professing faith in Jesus.
Clicking on the above link will take you to the Voice of the Martyrs website, where you can get informed about the persecuted church and how you can help.
Clicking on this link will take you to a website where you can help persecuted Christians make a living by purchasing their handcrafted products. There are a lot of items that would make great Christmas gifts, and you would be supporting a great cause.
# 492. ... for a day nationally designated to the giving of thanks.
# 493. ... for the life and memory of our family friend, Charlie, who passed away a few days ago. (Please keep his family in your prayers...)
Serve the LORD with gladness: come before His presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.
Hi there. Just popping in for a little miscellany today....
1. First of all, I have a little favor to ask...
As many of you know, my husband is currently in Physician Assistant school. He's finishing up his first year next month and will begin his rotations in January. We just found out that the first three rotations are going to be in Portsmouth, VA, so we are currently scrambling around looking for a place to live. Here are our needs:
furnished - we don't want to move all of our furniture since it's only 4 months
pet-friendly (one small, clean dog - miniature schnauzer)
available for a four-month rental (Jan. 3rd - May 1st)
safe area (we'll have to walk the dog)
preferably in Chesapeake or Norfolk, with easy access to Portsmouth Naval Medical Center
affordable -we are a student and a starving artist, after all. ;o)
I realize it's a long shot, but if any of you are in that area and know of something like this that might be available, PLEASE e-mail me. We're open to house-sitting for someone who will be gone/deployed during that time too... We're very neat and quiet.... :o) If you can give us any leads, I would GREATLY appreciate it... thank you!
2. How is it already almost Thanksgiving???
I can't believe how fast November has gone by.... Here is a link to my "Giving Thanks" board on Pinterest - I've collected some pretty decorating ideas, recipes, crafts, and reminders to go along with the holiday...check it out if you need some last minute ideas... We will be celebrating Thanksgiving twice next week - on Thursday with my family, and on Friday with Josh's family. That's the nice thing about living close to family. Another nice thing is that we always make it a pot-luck, so one person doesn't get stuck with doing everything. I'll be making some sourdough rolls, sweet potato casserole, and probably some sweet potato muffins, among other things. Here's my sweet potato muffin recipe - they're delicious!
I think this recipe originally came from Christiana Campbell's Tavern in Williamsburg, VA, but it's been a tradition in my family for years.
1/2 c. butter
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. sweet potatoes, mashed (I used canned)
1 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. milk
1/4 c. pecans
orange or lemon flavoring or zest (to taste)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs & mix well. Blend in sweet potatoes. Sift flour with baking powder, salt, cinnamon, & nutmeg. Add alternately with milk. Do not over mix. Fold in nuts. Fill greased tins 2/3 full (I use the mini muffin tins). Bake for 10 minutes. Enjoy!
3. Mystery, anyone?
I just discovered that there are several Hercule Poirot mysteries on Netflix and can't believe that I've never watched any of these before! I'm enjoying the similarities between this and one of my other favorite shows, "Monk." If you're a fan of "Monk" or any other mystery shows, you'll probably enjoy these too....
"Sisterhood - Encourage"@ Grace Full Mama - what would the blog world be like if we promoted others more than ourselves? This post inspired me to start sharing links like this on a more regular basis.... I hope you've enjoyed them.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner... I've noticed that a lot of folks are doing a countdown each day of things for which they are thankful on Facebook. While that's a great thing to be doing, I hope they're not limiting their gratitude to this one season. Thankfulness is something we are supposed to be expressing to God on a daily basis....not just once a year around the holiday that is becoming more about pigging out, watching football, and scoping out the sales for the biggest coveting day shopping day of the year than it is about true gratitude.
One way you can avoid falling into that trap is to begin counting your blessings on a regular basis. Not only will it change your attitude when it gets selfish and stinky, but it will also make you much more aware of just how much you are truly blessed, which, in turn, will make you even more thankful, and so the cycle continues. It's good for the soul.
Thus, I continue to count.....
Today I am thanking God....
# 471. ... for a great fellowship dinner and Bible study with our small group last night.
Oops - shaky hand!
# 472. ... for salad with arugula, avocados, kale, spring mix, spinach, red onions, tomatoes, craisins, and the signature "Stone" dressing - olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and fresh ground pepper. Yum..... (this is a staple at just about every meal at our house).
# 473. ... for a beautiful day on Saturday that included a bike ride, golf, dinner, and just hanging out and having fun with Josh. It was a good day....
# 474. ... for my Mom, who is celebrating a birthday this week (happy early birthday, Mom!).
# 475. ... for living in a place that experiences all four seasons... and the fact that fall-ish weather (my favorite) is lasting a long time this year.
# 476. ... for space heaters on chilly days.
# 477. ... for Maribel and Tamrat, the two children we sponsor through Compassion International, and the opportunity to be a blessing to them. (Watch the video below to learn more about child sponsorship.)
# 478. ... for another opportunity this coming week to help others through the Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child shoebox ministry. (Watch the video below to learn more about getting involved in this ministry.)
# 479. ... for hot tea and apple cinnamon oatmeal on chilly mornings.
# 480. ... for the inspiration and encouragement I've gotten recently through a few special blogs.
Just popping in to wish you all a happy Veteran's Day, and to send out a big THANK YOU to all of our military personnel - past and present - and their families. Thank you for your service to our country and for putting your lives and loved ones on the line in order to protect us and our freedoms. We appreciate you!
Veteran's Day has become a little more significant for me this year.... because my husband is now in the US Navy! He's currently going back to school to become a Physician Assistant, and once he finishes the program, we will be heading off on our first tour....
Here he is at his commissioning service earlier this year...
A few weeks ago I became an aunt again for the 20th time. (No, that's not a typo!) :o) Since I like to give homemade gifts as much as possible, I took a few hours to whip up a little something for my new nephew....
I had seen this pattern for a crocheted sock monkey hat on Ravelry a while back and had been wanting to make one. It was a fairly easy pattern and a fun little project. Here's how mine turned out....
The pattern on Ravelry actually suggested buttons for the eyes, but since it's for a baby and I didn't want to risk the choking hazard, I decided to do the crochet eyes instead.
Max in his new hat!
It was a fun project, and I love the pattern.... sock monkeys are classic. If you're interested in the pattern, you can find it available as a PDF download on Ravelry for $3.99. And be sure to look me up if you're on Ravelry - my user name is "artknitwit." :o)
I love Thanksgiving. Over the past few years, it has replaced Christmas as my favorite holiday. Not that I don't enjoy Christmas...but there's just something special about Thanksgiving... You get all of the perks of a big family holiday - the nostalgia of togetherness, time with family, delicious food, cozy fires, etc. - without the stress of shopping for a bunch of gifts that nobody really needs. Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for what you already have instead of wishing for a bunch of things you don't have. It's nice.
However, we shouldn't be limiting our gratitude to one month or day a year.... it should be something we're doing on a daily basis - always taking note of the blessings in our life, and acknowledging that they come from God.
Which is why I continue this list....
Today, I am thanking God....
# 461. ... for pumpkins... those happiest of squashes.
# 462. ... for Sunday afternoon naps - I got one yesterday. :o)
# 463. ... for fall colors - the trees' last hurrah.
# 464. ... for my dog in a sweater.
# 465. ... for lip balm.
# 466. ... for potluck dinners with friends - one of my new favorite traditions.
# 467. ... for some positive things happening in what seemed to be a pretty unpromising situation.
# 468. ... for beauty in unexpected places.
# 469. ... for Josh's malapropisms that always keep me laughing.