Being Thankful – Black Friday

NOTE: I’m posting this a bit early because I bet not a single one of you will be reading blogs on Black Friday. So read on – early.

Well – I bet you didn’t see this one coming? Who in their right mind would be thankful for Black Friday? Okay – you guessed it, I’m not really THANKFUL for Black Friday. I’m thankful for things associated with Black Friday.

  1. Thankful I’m not a retail cashier. I apologize to all of you that are, but I’m not. I did work in retail at one time and I’ve worked Black Friday. It’s a nightmare. People are RUDE. So if you’re going out today – BE NICE! Especially to those that got out of bed to stock those shelves and ring out your purchases. You couldn’t get that deal if they weren’t there!
  2. Thankful I don’t have to go. I AM going to go… it is undetermined yet though at what time. I think it INSANE to go before 6 am. Alas, I may miss a good deal if I do wait. But it’s the chance I’m willing to take. I don’t normally go, but there is something I’d like to get someone this year and it’d be great if I could get a deal. However, an extra $30 off of something is not worth risking my life. And I don’t HAVE to go – it’s not mandatory. I could make gifts instead – they mean more usually anyway.
  3. Thankful that everyone is shopping. Why do you ask? Because in past years I’ve gone to the movies instead. My girlfriend and I used to always go on Black Friday – sometimes taking in more than one movie in one day. Now my husband and I often go. It’s the best time to see a movie because there is almost always no one in the theater! We typically have the place to ourselves.
  4. Thankful for the added day off. I work from home now so I can take days whenever I want, but my husband has a more limited vacation time. Due to the popularity of the day, it’s often given as a day off work. This means an added day spent with my hubby and an added day to clean up from the day before, put up Christmas decorations and, as I said before, take in a movie. Even if we do go out shopping, it’s usually not for very long and we’re home and enjoying each other’s company instead.

So, see… we CAN find things to be thankful for even during things that might not be such blessings. Remember this: you don’t have to go out. Spend time with your family instead. In the end, they won’t remember that gift you almost got yourself killed for – they’ll remember the time you spent with them. Give the gift of love – not stuff. Think of all the ways you could spend your time, AND MONEY, more wisely. God Bless.

Posted in Life and Happiness | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Thankful – Mini Post

Well here it is Monday. Again. Seriously where is November going? It’ll be Christmas before we all know it and I am NOT ready. I’m barely ready for Thanksgiving! Who’s with me?

So – it’s important now to remember the things we’re thankful for – despite all the work we still have to get done.

  1. I’m thankful I didn’t have to do jury duty. If you’ve been reading my posts, you know that I was picked for jury duty and was actually (mostly) looking forward to it. But then I had a VERY busy week scheduled and I was fretting if I’d get everything done. Then – the best phone call ever: “You do not need to report for jury duty. The case has been closed. Thank you.” WOOT! It was an unexpected gift of a whole day’s worth of time. (And I used it wisely.)                                  juryduty1
  2. I’m thankful last week is over. I don’t like to wish away my time (see above), but last week was a tough one. I’m hoping now that it’s over, the rest of the year will be mostly smooth sailing (fingers crossed and prayers said).
  3. I’m thankful I got stuff done. With the added bonus of no jury duty, I was able to get slightly ahead on my “to-do” list and I also was able to start feeling a bit better health-wise (although it will still be a long road.)takingabreak
  4. I’m thankful God has given me insight. I’m working hard at eliminating stress in my life (again, if you’ve been reading – this is an ongoing process). Now it is truly affecting my health so changes must be made. I started on a good road, but I’m actively now making choices that help ME. I’ve been praying for God to show me the way and to be clear about what needs to go and He has given me the insights I need. The changes will be difficult – I may fail – but I know He’ll be right there beside me along the way.
  5. I’m thankful (again) for a great husband. I can’t say this enough and I could write it in every single post. My husband is the best and I mean it. He is completely selfless and giving in every way. When I think he should be tired of my griping and complaining and sickness – he isn’t. He holds me, wipes away my tears and encourages me to keep going. “We’ll get through this,” is his favorite phrase. I sometimes hate it, but I’m thankful for one part of it: “We’ll” – I’m not in it alone.

So as we start counting down the month of being thankful and we soon fill our bellies up with scrumptious turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and all sorts of pies – what are you thankful for?

I will praise the name of God with song, And shall magnify Him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69-30

Posted in Life and Happiness | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Thankful – Being God’s Servant

Last Saturday I set up at a craft show for my mom. She wasn’t feeling well so I handled the set-up and sales for her crocheted doily hobby for the day. I’ve helped her before so I was accustomed to how it worked, what she expected for prices and what people would be like. What I wasn’t prepared for was the outpouring of conversation that enveloped and blessed me throughout the day.

Many people know my mom’s work because she’s been at this fair before. Some even come to see the “new” things she has every year and most of them buy at least one item from her. We hear the same thing every year from almost every person that passes, “This is a lost art,” or “my grandmother used to crochet these.” Plus, so many stop and say, “Oh this is the crochet lady! Her work is so beautiful!” I feel honored to say, “It’s all my mom that does this – not me. She is talented!”

But this year, I was surprised to get a little more.

One woman told me this story.

“I used to crochet things like this all the time. In fact, my daughters have many that I’ve made for them. But that was before my husband died. He used to love to sit out on the porch and I would sit with him, crocheting in hand. He would love to sit out there and I just wanted to be with him. Since he died… I haven’t picked it up again. I just can’t seem to do it.”

Tears filled both our eyes as she fingered one of the largest doilies, lost in remembrance. I could tell she perhaps missed the art, but simply could not bear to do it without her husband by her side. And her daughter, who’d she told me on the side, had suffered a stroke, could not stop touching the doilies as well. Perhaps, conjuring up her own memories of her father.


Then there was a woman who told me how she had taken up crocheting just to make a hat and booties set for her cousin. Tragically, the cousin lost the baby two weeks before it was born – leaving the newly crocheted pieces to be abandoned. She didn’t know what to do with it. She’d finished it, but it was for baby Jayden – how could she give it to someone else? But she tried, offering it to this cousin and that friend, but no one would take it. She felt like she had wasted her time and crocheting was also ruined for her. Her husband suggested burning the set, but she refused, holding on to it and trying to decide its fate. Then came the news – the same cousin was once again pregnant. But would it be tacky to “regift” it to the new baby? She consulted the cousin’s mother and she thought it would be accepted warmly.

When the baby was born… her cousin gave him the middle name Jayden – after his lost brother. Now this woman knew in her heart that God had saved this set just for him. No one else accepted the gift because it was meant for this family only. Her time had not been wasted – the set would be worn in remembrance of their first unborn baby in celebration of his healthy newborn brother.

Why did these people tell me these stories? Do I have a kind face? Or did the crocheted doilies merely evoke memories too deep and personal to NOT be told? I don’t know. All I know is that I felt God in these moments. It was about more than simply selling doilies. I sensed His presence and I did my best to give each of these ladies (and others that day) my utmost respect and attention because I sensed God was using me for a purpose. I was blessed by their ability and willingness to share with me even though they had never met me before. Perhaps God just opened their hearts that day to share. Perhaps they just felt they could share with someone they’d never see again.

Even though I really didn’t want to be at the craft show that day, I felt that God put me there simply as a kind and open person to receive the stories of these people. I’m blessed to have been able to be His servant that day and I pray those women also feel blessed by our encounters.

Posted in Life and Happiness | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Being Thankful – Keeping it 100

My grandmother told me a long time ago that the thing she hated the most was when someone lied. As I get older, I’m finding that I, too, have come to appreciate honesty, real honesty, in people. I don’t like to be lied to and it’s probably one of my biggest pet peeves. I wish I could ask my grandmother if she meant that she liked it when people “kept it 100.”

Now, if you’re of an older generation (like just slightly past my own), maybe you don’t know what this slang means. Urban Dictionary defines it as this: To tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. AKA “Keep it Real” or be honest with yourself as well as others.

And today, that’s what I’m thankful for: people keeping it 100.

We all have had times when we didn’t keep it 100. Maybe it was telling someone you were having a good day when you weren’t. Maybe it was telling someone they didn’t look fat in an outfit. Or maybe it was even faking the big O. All things to not hurt the people in your life with the truth.


I get that. I’ve done it.

But I’m learning to truly appreciate the times when people do keep it truthful with me – even if it sometimes hurts.

Not too long ago, I wrote a chapter for my work in progress (WIP) and brought it to my critique group. So often I wonder if they are really telling me the truth about my work because, to keep it 100, I don’t often feel like my work is that great. Although they give me feedback, very frequently, they make very few comments. But on this particular night, they let me have it. What I had written wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t on the mark and it wouldn’t make sense related to my WIP. It was hard to hear – basically everything I’d written needed to be scraped – but in the end, I rewrote it and it came out better than the first.

I’m thankful that I have a group like this in my life that will make those hard comments even when they know it’ll hurt because they love me enough to want to see me succeed.

All too often people tell each other, “It’s okay,” when it really isn’t.

We too frequently say, “I’m praying for you,” when we’re not.

And it’s the norm to say, “I’m good,” even when we aren’t.

Yes, it’s fine to try to avoid hurting someone, but I’m truly thankful for people who don’t just say, “I’m praying for you,” but they actually just do it. I have two or three friends who will stop what they are doing and either pray with me or type out a prayer and send it to me when I need it. And one of these same friends also doesn’t try to fix it when things are going bad. Instead, they’ve said to me, “I can’t fix it. But let’s pray.”

How honest, truthful and refreshing it is! And I think so many things in our lives would be better if we could just say that to one another on a daily basis. If we could just “keep it 100.”

So, today, I’m thankful for keeping it 100. And that means this:

  1. I don’t know how to solve everything
  2. I can’t fix everything
  3. I’m just as lost as you are
  4. I’m hurting just like you are
  5. God still loves me (and you)
  6. With Him we can get through anything

Think about these things the next time you tell that little “white lie” – instead, keep it 100.


Posted in Life and Happiness | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Thankful – Jury Duty

Jury duty. It strikes fear into the hearts of many. Sitting for jury duty selection – even more fear and loathing. Time lost from work, loss of pay, and long boring hours listening to tedious testimonies. But when I originally received my summons I thought, “Wow. That might be fun. After all – I’m a writer! I might get something useful out of it!” (Hence this blog post…)

jury duty

Except me

So as the day approached, I had a really good attitude about the whole thing. I felt like I was above the fear.

Then I got sick.

I’ve been battling intestinal issues for about three weeks now and when the day finally came for my jury duty selection, I wasn’t really feeling up to it. Plus, I realized my schedule was quite full – how would I ever know what to juggle if I was picked for a trial? But I resolved that it was my duty (the name’s in the title after all) to serve in the judicial process, so I got up early, found the courthouse, got my parking pass and arrived on time to sit in the wooden pews along with about 100 hundred other ordinary folks awaiting the judge to divide us into 12-person juries.

But the judge never showed.

Turns out he was sick too. But the day had to proceed, so after MANY hours of reorganization (in a freezing cold courtroom)(thank God I took my Kindle), we finally got down to the first selection.

And I was picked.

“Great!” I thought, “I can go home now and it’s only Noon!”

Not so fast, rookie. Turns out you have to stay all day, wait out all the cases they need jurors for and you might even be picked for more than one. I was not impressed.

Eventually, the day came to an end and I was not picked again (after a close call). During my down time, whilst trying to stay warm, I came up with the following things I could be thankful for during this time.

  1. I’m thankful I can serve. It means I have the right to vote. Back before the mid 1800’s women did not have that right. In addition, many people in other countries live in dictatorships or places that do not allow voting for elected officials. It’s an extreme privilege that I can serve on a jury because it means so much more than just casting my judgement on someone.


    These women stood outside – probably in cold weather – just for the right to vote.

  2. I’m thankful for our judicial system. Granted, I felt like the system worked VERY slowly during this process, but I also noticed how many people it took to organize a trial. Lawyers, judges, clerks, stenographers, police officers, district attorneys and public defenders to name a few. So many people working hard for the rights of people and trying to keep people like me safe.
  3. Thankful that the process is pretty pain-free. Yes, I had to wait a long time. Yes, the room was cold. BUT – the parking was cheap and close-by, everyone involved was friendly and knew what they were doing (not their first rodeo), there was decent food close-by for lunch, and I even met a really nice woman who helped pass the time by chatting with me. Plus, I remembered to bring my notebook so I could write down things for this post!
  4. Thankful I was on this side. Let’s face it – being a juror is better than being the defendant. It could be MUCH worse.
  5. Thankful I wore warm clothes. I saw one guy in shorts. I would have frozen to death. I did have two layers on and heavy socks. I’ll still need more when I go to serve next Wednesday, but at least I had worn enough to avoid frostbite.


Overall, it was a decent experience and I’m looking forward to the actual trial (even though it means rearranging my schedule and busting my hump to get my to-do list done sooner.) Also, I’m thankful that God has given me this new-found spirit of thankfulness. It took me over 40 years, but I’m almost there.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thes. 5:16-18

Posted in Life and Happiness | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mini Post Monday on Being Thankful

As you know I’m working on posting thankful posts all this month (on my scheduled blog post days – I don’t have time for every day!) Today, I thought I’d make a mini post and just list a variety of things I am thankful for because many of them are not “enough” to write entire posts about.

  1. The sun. It sounds like a weird thing to be thankful for, but since I’ve started working from home, I’ve realized I have a bit of seasonal affective disorder. When days are cloudier and the sun doesn’t make its appearance for weeks on end, I become lethargic, depressed and moody. I had trouble some days getting out of bed. But today, (as I write this it’s November 3) the sun is shining and I’m thankful. It’s not often that sun continues into November – especially with the stupid time change – so its very uplifting to see it today.
  2. The neediness of my pooch. Another odd one for sure and my husband would not agree on this one. But here’s the thing. Just a bit ago I came back from a walk (I went to cast my votes at the local polling place and couldn’t take Max with me). Max is hard of hearing and losing some sight. He didn’t even know that I had returned and I let him sleep as I went about putting some things away and going to the bathroom. While I was in the lavatory, Max came out into the living room, realizing something was amiss because his gate was open. But he couldn’t see me and became alarmed. He put out a pitiful bark (in human language it would have probably sounded like, “I know you’re here… I have a gun!”) while I hurried to get out to him. When I turned the corner, his countenance immediately changed into one of relief and he jumped on me in gratitude. He is now once again asleep in his bed, content to know that I am watching over him. It’s good sometimes to be needed in such a tangible way.
  3. Cuddl Duds. If you don’t know what these are – check out this link. I am personally in love with this clothing line for the winter. I own four shirts of this line – mostly of the Fleecewear stretch variety. I wear them under sweaters and sweatshirts and sometimes even on their own. They are stylish and warm. And I’m always cold especially in the winter. I am not a paid spokeswoman – they are just awesome and you should try them. (Although I’m not opposed to being a paid spokeswoman if any of the Cuddl Dud family is reading this…) Especially if you hate cold winter weather the way I do. I have not tried the pants yet because more than likely they won’t fit me. I did see they have hoodies too now… I may have to check those out very soon. #liveinlayers

So there you have a short list of things I am thankful for in this very moment. I pray that you too are finding things you’re thankful for during this month. Please share in the comments below! I’d love to hear your thankful stories too!

Posted in Life and Happiness, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Thankful – God’s Provisions

When we moved to this home over seven years ago, there were two grape arbors on the property – one white and one red. Neither of us had ever dealt with a grape arbor, but we secretly prayed they would be great for wine.

No such luck.

However, the red vines proved to be great for jelly. After the first year, our white vines slowly died. We have no idea why – they just didn’t thrive. When we built our new garage a few years later, we lamented that it may just have been part of God’s plan because we would have had to move the arbor anyway since it was right next to the existing garage.

Two years ago, after much debate and online research, we decided the red arbor needed to be cut back drastically. Doing so, the articles said, would help create a stronger vine and produce more grapes. In addition, the vines were encroaching dangerously on the house.

“…but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what is left. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.” Exodus 23:11

The down side? No grapes last year. When you cut vines back you have to deal with a year of no grapes. We rationed our precious jelly from the year before and prayed that the plant would rebound as we’d read.

As the growth season started this year, my husband anxiously watched the vine day after day.

“I think it’s going to be fine,” he said. “I HOPE.”

My husband and I waited patiently, checking the vines daily. As months went by, we saw more and more growth and, finally, grapes. We were so elated! We had done it! But the waiting process was not over – it takes months for grapes to come to maturity and ripeness. We tested morsels periodically to ensure the best quality, but it was all God’s doing really – only He would know when it was time to harvest.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

By the end of September our grape vines were finally ready for harvest and we started the process of jelly making again. Our cup literally overflowed with the amount of grapes that God had provided. We’ve streamlined the process quite nicely over the years:

First, John picks the grapes. He’s so much better at it than I am – I hate the bugs that sometimes come along with it. And he isn’t bothered by standing on the ladder. (Do you like the little stone path we put under there so it makes it easier to pick?)


Second, I process the grapes. I take all the leaves, twigs, and other non-grape stuff out and put the beautiful grapes into a separate bowl.


We did these first two steps one day and then made jelly another day. It helps to break it up so you don’t feel overwhelmed and exhausted.

Third, we cooked the grapes down. A potato masher works well to mush the grapes into submission. (FYI – the recipe for the jelly comes in every Sure-Jell package [which you need to make jelly.])

20150924_160303 20150924_160306

Finally, we pour the mixture into jars (I wash and sterilize them in the dishwasher first, keeping them hot until I’m ready for them) and do the “water bath” for each. John and I each have our tasks (he gets the hot jars, I cook grapes and pour juice, he puts the jars into and out of the water bath.)

God has provided not only these beautiful grapes for us every year, but also each other to help divide these tasks that helps to make this a fun and productive event. We actually look forward to doing this with one another!

I’m so thankful that God blessed us with bounty on our land (in the middle of town) that not only saves us money every year, but also brings us closer together doing something we love.

Here is the final product! That’s a lot of jelly!


We’re thankful for God’s providence in our lives in even this small way.

What are you thankful for today?

Posted in Life and Happiness, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment