Thanksgiving Blessings

rbtc-sealThanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

It’s a great time to reflect on the blessings of being in Christ—He’s given us everything!—and to recall all the ways His hand is moving in our lives.

Did I mention that turkey and dressing is one of my most favorite meals?

There’s nothing like a good pan of dressing (or stuffing as it is known by my friends above the Mason-Dixon Line) to make the heart happy.

And while I am thrilled that my family is invading Broken Arrow to visit me, I was reminded that many of my fellow Rhema classmates will not be sitting around the dinner table with their natural family.

The good news, though, is that no one will be alone because the Rhema family is huge—and worldwide!

Many graduates add extra dinner plates to their tables.

Many current students bring a passel of people home with them for the week.

I’m reminded of the words of Jesus in Mark 10:29-30:

Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.

I am so thankful for the friendships that are burgeoning this school year!

My more extroverted personality makes me a social butterfly, so leaving the place where my roots run deepest was a challenge for me.

Jesus’ promise, however, remains a source of constant comfort and encouragement.

I have sat around numerous tables with new friends, both students and alumni, since moving to Oklahoma. Every single person has told me the same thing:

If you ever need anything—and I mean anything—do not hesitate to call.

This one statement illustrates the Rhema family at its best. And it’s one of the many reasons I give thanks for Rhema Bible Training College.

One thankful girl

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s hard to believe 2015 is almost over.

It’s hard to believe that I’ve accomplished so much this year. 

Blogging everyday, learning sign language, running a half marathon, and going to Rhema?

Wow. I am a truly thankful. 

Here’s few other things I’m thankful for:

  1. My family. I have a big family and it only keeps growing. I’m an aunt now and we’ve added a lot of cousins. 
  2. My friends. I’m thankful for my friends who’re actually more like family. They’ve been with me through everything. I’m also thankful for new friends. The Lord continues to send the most amazing people into my life. 
  3. My job. I have a great job. It’s been nothing but a blessing since day one. 
  4. Reading. I’m really close to my goal of 50 books. The gift of reading is something that I do not take lightly. 

I can go on and on…

How about you?

What are you thankful for this year?

Take some time to write it out. 

Talk about it with your family over dinner.

 Praise God for being the giver of all these precious gifts. 

Simple gifts

What’s the best meal you ever had?

Was it a complicated, picture worthy affair? Or was it simpler fare with a close friend or family member?

I remember this one meal with a close relative. He diced up hot dog wieners and put them in a pan with tomato paste, a dash of garlic powder, and some Italian seasoning. 

That was it.

 He stirred it up, got it warm, and dished it out generously on our plates. 

I felt like a queen. Life was going good for this 9 year old! 

I “learned” a new recipe and spent the evening enjoying myself and the time with my relative. 

How many times do we agonize over big, fancy meals? 

How many times do we stress out over minor issues, berating and belittling our family in the process?

There’s nothing wrong with great food, but missing out on the important moments is not worth the exchange. 

The things we attach a memory to are quite small. 

Filet mignon on vacation might be overlooked while cheese and crackers on Tuesday is precious. 

Thanksgiving is a week away. 

Cook up a feast! 

Eat yourself silly. 

Clean up later if a fun opportunity presents itself afterward. 

Just don’t stress out over the inconsequential elements of the celebration. 

Remember: It’s the simple moments of intentionality that make the holidays special–not a gourmet meal. 

North American Problems

I believe Dave Ramsey was the first person I heard use the phrase “That’s a North American problem.” His platform is devoted to helping people get out of debt. Of course, money is the biggest resource lacking across the globe, especially in third world countries.

This leads me back to North American problems…those of us in North America rarely find ourselves lacking.

Now, I understand that there’s a lot of people who really struggle to make ends meet. However, even those citizens who fall below the poverty level are still considered to be some of the wealthiest in the world.

All of these thoughts were swirling around my head as I was faced with a frustrating dilemma: cancelled my book order and I had pre-ordered six weeks in advance.This is a perfect example of a North American problem.

So would Starbucks not having your favorite drink flavor or having to wait in a long line to return an ill-fitting blouse to the store.

Most of our modern day conveniences—which we perceive as our right to have—are not readily available across the globe.

This is not meant as a slam against anyone.

I love hot showers, gourmet coffee, and electricity as much as the next person.

What I am learning is that my true needs are few. Many of the items on my “needs” list are merely wants—justifiable as they may seem.

Don’t go into the holiday season feeling condemned because Audra is a meanie.

Just don’t take for granted the blessings in your life.

I’m guessing that your closets are full, your electrical outlets are overloaded, and your pantries are stocked. That’s a huge blessing in itself!

It’s my goal this holiday season to get my mind off the need to buy everything. Sure, stuff can be useful, but I’d much rather focus on the people who are most important to me.