Giving Thanks through the Years

Giving Thanks through the Years

This year, I thought it would be fun post a round-up of all my Thanksgiving posts through the years. Now, sometimes I took the week off and other years my post simply said “Happy Thanksgiving!”, and there have even been a few times when I re-shared a post from previous years so you’re not going to see an entry here for every single year…but then again, other years I posted several different Thanksgiving items, so you’ll get multiples from that year. =) Regardless, it was fun to travel back through the last 13 years on my blog and see the research and expressions of gratitude I’d composed before and compile them into one place.

My musings on Thanksgiving Day, specifically as concerns my writing career in the month before I re-released A Stray Drop of Blood in the version you all know now.

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I reflect on how grateful I am for the history of the Church that we have to stand on.

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Remember When…Thanksgiving Was Optional

Here I explore some of the history of our American holiday.

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Remember When…Thanksgiving Came

Musing on how Thanksgiving became a holiday, a link to a friend’s post, and a bit of my own history with Thanksgiving and why I love it.

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Stolen Blessings

Thanksgiving is a time we focus on blessings…but are we allowing others to participate in the giving?

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Our Five Kernels of Thanksgiving

One of my favorite Thanksgiving posts I’ve done was for Colonial Quills, where I tell the story of the Second Thanksgiving, and why five kernels of corn can mean so much.

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A Thanksgiving Prayer

There were several years in which I shared this same prayer of Gratitude and Thanksgiving from Valley of Vision, a book of Puritan prayers. It’s worth rereading annually!

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The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

Giving thanks isn’t easy…can we do it even when we’ve lost it all?

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I’m So Grateful for YOU!

As a writer, I often feel like I’m typing into a vacuum…but you all make it worthwhile, and I’m so thankful for you!

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Being Thankful…Especially Now

The year of All the Bad Things in many ways, 2020 was still a year for gratitude!

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Word of the Week – Cornucopia

Because obviously I have to look into the history of this Thanksgiving icon!

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No More Complaining, All Gratitude!

This year, I challenged us all to give up grumbling and complaining and focus instead on gratitude and compassion. There’s even a printable journal to help you out!

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Throwback Thursday – My Unceasing Thanksgiving

Throwback Thursday – My Unceasing Thanksgiving

As we draw ever closer to Thanksgiving, my thoughts go not only to where I am this year in terms of my own attitude and state of thankfulness, but also back over where I’ve come from. Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays–I love that we have a day set aside to praise God for His faithfulness! So today and next week, on Thanksgiving itself, I’m going to revisit some of the reflections I’ve shared in Thanksgivings past. Why? Because they continue to linger in my heart and mind, and I revisit them myself regularly…so why not share?

I’m going to begin this week with last year’s reflection. This is one I think about regularly–not because of any insight of mine, but because of the insight of the author I’m quoting, which has lingered in my heart ever since I first read it. This in many ways sums up what I truly believe the purest form of thanksgiving is: quick obedience to our Lord.

My Unceasing Thanksgiving

first posted on November 25, 2021

“Why do I follow you? Because you are who you are, Lord, and because I rejoice in having been called by you. Let the swiftness of my feet in following you be my unceasing thanksgiving.”
~ Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word

When I read those words a few weeks ago, they resonated deep in my spirit. So often we view thanksgiving as something we have to pause to do, a state of mind that we have to work to get into. When Paul tells us to give thanks always, we think of it as something tending toward the impossible–at least if we’re not staying constantly conscious of it.

But I love this perspective, and it’s one I’m dwelling on this year as I celebrate our official Thanksgiving. That sometimes, the loudest praise is doing what God has called us to do. It’s abandoning our fishing nets and following after Him. It’s pouring our offering of perfume onto His feet. It’s rushing through the busy streets of life, just seeking the hem of His garment. It’s doing the work of the Kingdom. It isn’t a big meal or reflecting on all the “things” He’s given or even the people we love. Thanksgiving is about Him.

Obedience is thanksgiving. Honoring His call on our lives is thanksgiving. Rejoicing in the One whose path we follow is thanksgiving.

Lord, I thank you. I thank you with my lips. I thank you with my words. But I also thank you with my feet–may they be ever swift in chasing after you!


Come back next week, on Thanksgiving, for a full roundup of all my Thanksgiving posts over the years!

Throwback Thursday – New But Eternal

Throwback Thursday – New But Eternal

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)

Original post published 10/10/2019

One of the most amazing things about our God is that He’s eternal. He exists somehow outside of our understanding of time, beyond the line of it that we perceive. We can understand the “unchanging” aspect of His nature best when we realize that change requires time, and He is not subject to it. Now, our perception of Him can change. Our understanding. That can evolve and grow over time, as we experience more and contemplate more. But God Himself remains unhindered by time. Eternal.
Perhaps this is also how His love can be unceasing. How His mercies can be new every morning. They are new…and yet older than anyone. As is everything else about our Lord.
Several months ago I came across a discussion about a current movement among women in the church, women whose message seems bound up in the idea that they’ve discovered something their mothers and grandmothers didn’t know about God. Okay…understanding can certainly evolve over time, so maybe. Until you ask those mothers and grandmothers, who look at these young women like they’re crazy and say, “Well of course. We’ve always known that. Weren’t you listening?”
On the one hand, this sort of example makes me shake my head in dismay–why can’t we just learn from those who come before without thinking we’ve grown beyond them, that we’re better, more faithful, closer to Him than they could have been? It’s really kind of strange–we look to the first century church for so much wisdom and so many examples…but many people also just dismiss those early church fathers out of hand, unless their words were canonized in the Bible. Not named Paul, James, John, or Peter? Sorry, dude. Not interested.
And there’s still something relevant to this idea of “new knowledge.” It is new. New every morning, like His mercies. It’s new to us. We get to discover it every day, every year, every generation. More, we must discover it anew, for ourselves. We have to find that thing that makes us go “Aha!” and internalize it. That thing that makes the faith ours, not just theirs.
There’s truth there. But there’s opportunity for deception too. Because we need to understand what that possessive pronoun means. It’s ours, not just theirs…but NOT “ours, so not theirs.”
See the distinction?
Faith, Christianity, Truth itself is not like a shoe. One person owning it doesn’t mean another can’t. It’s more like…a planet. We can all live here. There’s room. We can occupy different parts, we can travel around, seeking to understand. One person can study one aspect, another a different one. It’s big enough, mysterious enough to accommodate all our curiosity.
But let’s not fall into the trap of saying, “Oh, no, you’re so wrong to describe it as mountains. Clearly it’s plains. God wouldn’t have done that.” Or, to go back to my original example, “Look at this waterfall I’ve discovered, that’s been completely unknown until now!” (And it turns out to be Niagara Falls.)
The faith is new every morning. Every generation. But it is also–MUST also be eternal. Otherwise, why would it have survived this long? The Truth we discover today is the same Truth Jesus preached. The same Truth that founded the Church. The same Truth that led Christians onward before there was even a Bible compiled. The same Truth people have been contemplating and writing about and preaching about all these centuries.
We need to learn anew each day what those before us have already learned. We can follow their examples, we can build on their work. We can discover new facets…but chances are, if you pick up a few ancient works, you’ll find those same facets already explored. Because He is new every morning–always relevant, always discoverable, so vast we’ll never comprehend all of Him–but He is also eternal. Unchanging. The same today as at the dawn of time.
He is new every day for us. But let’s remember He was new every day, in the same way, for them. For all who have come before, and for all who come after. Our faith is ours, but we don’t own it. If anything, it ought to own us.
Throwback Thursday – The Power of Words

Throwback Thursday – The Power of Words

Original post published January 30, 2020
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.


Familiar words, right? We’ve all read those verses a million times. I was pretty sure I’d examined them from every possible perspective. But last time I read them, a new little seed of inspiration was planted that I’ve been keeping an eye on. 😉

I’m a writer (which you obviously know). I love words. I love philosophizing about them. I love making art with them. I love harnessing them to express Truth and Light. And I LOVE when God talks about them–and about their power. Power which John 1:3 states in a way that sheds new light on the nature of those words I so love.

In Genesis, God SPOKE the world into existence. “And God said, ‘Let there be…’” Here in John, Jesus IS that Word through which all things were made. Have those two pieces clicked in your mind before? I can’t believe it took this long for them to click for me, LOL. That our Savior is the thing by which and through which creation happens. And THAT is why John calls him the Word. (To which my husband said, “Well yeah…” proving that I’m definitely late to this epiphany, LOL. But I’m going to keep talking about it anyway.)
So what does that say about the true power of words?

Words are the creative force. It is through words that things happen. 

I need to think about that for a minute. I use words for a living–I create a lot with them. Whole worlds, one might argue…but imaginary ones. When it comes to actual building, I guess I always thought that the ACTIONS were the more important thing. The other day my husband and son were building a desk together from some scrap wood (a.k.a. an old bookshelf that had collapsed, LOL), and if you ask me what effected the creation, I’d say “screws, wood, and a screwdriver.”

But do you know what else I noticed while they were building? The words exchanged. This is the first real building project they’ve done together, and I loved hearing the instructions float out to me in the kitchen. “Now this is how you do this…” my husband would say. And, “How do you want this part?”

Then would come my son’s answer. “Yeah, that looks good. Let’s put this piece here…”

A simple exchange between a very earthly father and son who were repurposing something already made. The desk could have been built without those, right?

Maybe…because they are a very earthly, physical, corporeal father and son. The Father and Son, on the other hand, at the brink of our creation…they’re something different. They are, the Bible tells us, Spirit. That’s why it was such a miracle that Jesus wrapped himself in flesh and became one of us.
Pure Spirit doesn’t have hands like we do, or like we’d recognize. Pure Spirit certainly doesn’t have (or need) an electric screwdriver or cheap particle board. Pure Spirit does not interact with this physical world as we physical beings do. How does it?
Through words.

Let that sink in–I know I am. How did God create? With words. How did God interact with man from the dawn of time through each of the prophets? With words. What did God-Made-Man do when he began his ministry? Teaching and preaching–WORDS. Yes, he healed too. I know he did. And how did he often choose to heal? With words. Sometimes he touched, yes. But did he have to? I’m reminded of what that faithful centurion said in Luke 7:7. “But say the word, and my servant will be healed.


The fact that God shared these with us–gifted them to us and then exchanged them with us…that’s pretty amazing. More, it’s not only a gift, it’s a responsibility.

He gave us the very tools of creation. And what are we doing with them? How often do we use them to tear each other down instead of build each other up? To complain instead of praise? How often are our words careless, thoughtless, unbridled?
What might change in our lives if we could see what each of our words did, like we can see what God’s words do? We’d see the harm that thoughtless verbal jab really did to our coworker or spouse or child. We’d see what worlds were built in them instead when we instruct or praise or encourage. And I have a feeling what we chose to say would be very different.
Well, my friends, our physical eyes may not be able to see it–but it’s no less real for that. So perhaps our new prayer ought to be, “Lord, open our spiritual eyes, so that we might see the true power of our words…and use them for You.”


Throwback Thursday – The Revealer of Secrets

Throwback Thursday – The Revealer of Secrets

Original post published 9/12/2019

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
For wisdom and might are His.
21 And He changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have understanding.
22 He reveals deep and secret things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And light dwells with Him.

~Daniel 2:20-22


Daniel–one of the wisest men we ever read about in the Bible. Daniel, who rose from captive slave to ruler of provinces. Daniel, who remained ever faithful to God. Daniel, who served king after king with his knowledge and wisdom and always remembered to point to the Giver of said knowledge and wisdom.

I’ve always loved this second chapter of Daniel, where Nebuchadnezzar calls all the wise men in to tell him what his dream was and then the interpretation. No one else could do it (duh), but Daniel, upon hearing that the king had ordered all his wise men killed in a fit of rage over their failure, begs for just a little time. He closes himself in his room with his friends and fellow God-followers. And he prays. He prays, and God reveals the secrets. God brings light to the darkness.

It was a literal life-or-death situation–one that affected not only Daniel and company, but hundreds if not thousands of other learned men who had been asked to do the humanly-impossible. It’s no surprise, then, that God provided. God saved not only Daniel, Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael–God saved all the wise men of Babylon through them. God made His might and power known to the king. God proved Himself not only faithful but omniscient and omnipotent in a land known for its value of things of learning.

We’re never surprised when God shows up on the grand scale. But if you’re like me, sometimes you forget that He shows up just as spectacularly when the secrets that need revealed are small.

Daniel needed God to move in a big, noticeable way that day–just as his friends needed Him to do when they were tossed into the fiery furnace. As Daniel needs later when he’s thrown into a den of hungry lions. But let’s not forget chapter one, shall we? From the moment they were brought to the palace, these four young men were determined to remain faithful to their God–and from that first moment, God answered by revealing His small secrets to them…which is to say, by filling them with wisdom and knowledge. They could out-think the Babylonian sages. They could out-perform the wise men in their own realm.

Because God gave this to them. God filled them. Their lives weren’t yet in danger…and if He hadn’t filled them with all knowledge and learning and wisdom, one could argue that they wouldn’t have been in positions to need His later intervention. But our God is one who sees far ahead…and into all the crevices.

We don’t know yet what Big Deals will be coming later in our lives, do we? We don’t know what moments of life-or-death will await us. We don’t know if or when we’ll be in a position where we need to cry out to Him for our very survival. But we do know this:
Our God doesn’t just move on the grand scale–He moves on the small.
Our God doesn’t just reveal the big secrets–He reveals the tiny.
Our God doesn’t just direct the movement of kings and prophets–He directs the faithful widow.

Our God doesn’t just heal the generals–He heals the servants.

My family’s in one of those places where our feet are pointing toward new, unknown paths. That’s stressful. Not life-or-death. But stressful. And as I contemplate Daniel this week, I’m reminded anew that we all find ourselves in those places, right? We all have been and will be there. But the God who foretold the rise and fall of the greatest kingdoms of the ancient world is the God of this too. If nothing’s too great for Him, then nothing’s too small either. He’s the God of the infinite…in both directions.

More, the God who holds us all in His hand will fill us when we ask. He’ll give us what we need to know to take the step He wants us to take. Now, He doesn’t usually reveal EVERYTHING, right? When Daniel prayed for revelation about Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, God didn’t show him that if he revealed this to the king, he’d be given a promotion, but that it would make him enemies so numerous that they’d start plotting ways to kill him and his friends so that, for the rest of his life, he’d be miraculously avoiding other death sentences. That may have been too much even for Daniel!

No, God told him what he needed right then. To save his life. To take the next step. And because he was faithful in that, more followed.

My friends, we don’t always have to know what our grand calling is. We just need to be willing to take one step with our hand in His. We just need to trust Him in this mystery, knowing that the rest will follow.

Whatever unknowns keep you up at night, know this: they’re not unknown to Him. He is the Revealer of Secrets. And, more importantly, He loves you.
Throwback Thursday – The Difference We Can Make

Throwback Thursday – The Difference We Can Make

Original post published January 24, 2019

When God created the earth, what did He say? That it was good. What do we yearn for at the end of our lives? That He’ll say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Not only in the Bible, but in pretty much every piece of literature, ancient and modern, we can find this familiar theme. This yearning. This basic condition of humanity.

We yearn for approval. For praise. For confirmation.

This is not a matter of wanting to think we’re better. Just a matter of needing–yes, NEEDING–that basic encouragement. That we are good. That we’ve done well. That our efforts are noticed and appreciated.

Given how basic this is, I’m sometimes surprised by how easily we seem to forget that others have this need as surely as we do. But all too often, this is something we neglect to give those around us–our spouses, our kids, our coworkers, our underlings, our superiors, our pastors, our teachers, our students, our…fill in the blank. And yet, it’s been proven, time and again, that people respond better to encouragement than to chastisement. Sometimes we have to correct, yes. But if we don’t also add those positive words, people aren’t inspired to actually improve.

This baffles me. Kind words, encouraging words, edifying words are no more difficult than harsh ones. They don’t cost us anything. So why are we stingy with them?

When I was in college, I worked in the admissions office of my school, and I would make it a point to give my coworkers compliments. It didn’t start as pointedly. It just started as an honest exclamation. Something like, “Oh, I love those shoes!” But this coworker seemed a bit startled at the compliment. And very much pleased. So I started looking for things to compliment her on as the weeks and months and years rolled by. At one point, she mentioned how she appreciated my attitude, and I replied with a laugh, “Hey, compliments are free! Why not spread them around?”

This holds true with all encouragement. It costs us nothing to praise our family when they do something well…even if they’ve also done something else not well. And you know what? When we receive praise for the thing we’ve done right, we want more of it. So we’re going to do a better job on that other part too. We’re going to try harder. Over and again this has been proven as a better tool for motivating than just correction.

And I think that, as believers, this is even more important. We’re called upon to speak nothing that will tear each other down, but rather only that which will build each other up (Ephesians 4:29). Are we doing that in our churches? In our Bible studies? In our classes? In our committees?

As a writer, I’m keenly aware of the power of words. And as a reader, I will steer clear of authors whose stories don’t offer me hope, edification, and encouragement through their characters’ lives. But this is something I need to remember in all aspects of my life.

Our words make a difference to those around us. So are they making a difference for good…or for ill?

I’ll leave you with this wonderful quote from a Quaker missionary. Something to keep in mind–that we need to seize each moment’s opportunity to share those good words, because now is the only time we know we’ll be able to.

“I shall pass this way but once; any good that I
can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now.
Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
~ ETIENNE DE GRELLET, Quaker Missionary