Thankful Thursday: Christmas Spices

 

Welcome to Thankful Thursday, hosted in December by Iris at Grace Alone.  Do visit her blog and join us!

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.” (Psalm 34:8)

This week, as Christmas approaches, I am thinking about the fragrances and flavors we associate with the holiday — especially cinnamon, nutmeg and other spices. Sometimes the mere thought of these aromas brings a cozy feeling…and we can be thankful that many of them are even good for you! For example, I am thankful to learn that…

…cinnamon has antibacterial properties, and may even help reduce blood sugar in people with diabetes. Cinnamon tea can also help with cold and flu congestion.

Cinnamon stick tea can help fight a cold!

…nutmeg can help with a wide range of symptoms, including insomnia, anxiety and joint pain. For centuries, it has been a remedy for digestive upset.

…ginger is a classic remedy for stomach upset, as well as for coughs and nasal congestion. You can make tea from grated or sliced ginger, or add a few drops of essential oil to steaming water and breathe in the vapors.

…cloves, with their atibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties, help relieve coughs from bronchitis and maintain digestive tract health.

All of these benefits are gifts directly from God’s creation. And they taste so good, too. In Psalm 34:8, we are reminded that the Lord is good; here, the word “good” can mean bountiful, cheerful and yes, merry. What could be better than that?

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Thankful Thursday: No Way Out?

 

Thank you to Iris at Grace Alone for hosting Thankful Thursday in December. Won’t you join us?

Sometimes we can feel as though we are trapped by our emotions. Sadness or anxiety can form walls around us that are as real as as any prison. A couple of days ago, stress had me boxed in on all sides, and it seemed as if there was no way out. The saddest part of all? I had forgotten that I am never at the mercy of my emotions, and that my Comfort is with me at all times.

On this Thankful Thursday, I am grateful for a moment of peace and joy that I know was a gift from the Lord. We recently moved to a new apartment complex, which has a spacious lounge with overstuffed chairs and high, sunlit ceilings. I often take my computer to the lounge and write, listen to music, and drink hot chocolate or cappuccino.

On this particular stressed-out day, as I sat in the lounge and threw myself into my work in an intense effort to forget my troubles, a recording of the Little Drummer Boy began to play. It wasn’t just any recording — it was the Harry Simeone Chorale’s recording, which my parents used to play at Christmas. Tears of relief came as I was transported back in time, to winter evenings when I sat at the kitchen table with my parents and listened to that Christmas album. As I sat with my laptop, I even smelled the Christmas cookies baking in my mother’s kitchen, and sensed the childhood excitement of Christmas Eve. I thanked God that my mother is still here to enjoy the holiday with me, and that I now have a loving husband and a beautiful home.

When Peter was in a physical prison, waiting to be executed, his friends gathered together and prayed. The chains fell from Peter’s hands after an angel of the Lord raised him up. (Acts 12:7) I know that the continuing prayer of my own friends and family sustain me. We are never truly alone or trapped by our emotions. I thank the Lord for giving me that sweet moment to remind me that joy and peace  are always with me, even in stressful times.

 

Thankful Thursday: Paying Attention

Thank you, Laurie, for hosting Thankful Thursday this month at Women Taking a Stand.

“One thing that  have desired of the Lord, that I will seek: that I will dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.” Psalm 27:4 (NKJV)

This week I am paying attention.

One of my greatest joys is writing poetry. Thanks to encouragement from my husband — a talented poet himself — I have spent many hours this week writing poetry. I have enrolled in a one-week writing course called The Art of Paying Attention, which involves writing very short poems called “small stones”.  These poems focus on fine details of a moment in time, paring away non-essential words and including precise descriptive words. I have written small stones about chocolate, coffee, books, and our cat. I write down color, texture, sound, smell, taste.

I thank the Lord for my senses, for my ability to understand that something is beautiful, and for the increasing ability to recognize beauty. And I thank the Lord that His beauty shines through every day, in all places, on all of us.

A happy note of thanks this month — my husband John and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary. I am thankful for the friendship, love, and creativity we have shared these past two years, and I know that God has many more blessings in store for us. Thank you, God, for bringing this man into my life!

Thankful Thursday: He Gave us Rain

Thank you, Laurie at Women Taking a Stand for hosting Thankful Thursday this month.

“Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” Matthew 5:45 (NKJV)

Two weeks ago, my Thankful Thursday post mentioned our desperate prayers for rain here in Texas.  Wildfires were springing up all over the state — too close for comfort. Our governor asked Texans to join together in prayer for rain. The following week, an entire day of rain was in the forecast, and…nothing. Yesterday, the clouds darkened and the wind blew, but still no rain.We continued to pray, thanking the Lord in advance for rain, in His timing.

Today we got it! Here’s a picture of an actual puddle next to our walkway! The brown, crunchy grass is soaking up the water and the blackbirds and sparrows are splashing in their ready-made birdbaths. Severe storm watches and warnings accompany the rain, but we’re so thankful!

Yep, that's a puddle!

I am also thankful for a thoroughly enjoyable Saturday afternoon spent at the college graduation of my husband’s daughter. Congratulations to the graduate! It was a beautiful afternoon. My husband and I were so blessed to have been there!

Have a blessed week, everyone, and won’t you join usat Thankful Thursday?

Thankful Thursday: A Dry and Thirsty Land

Thank you Lynn, for hosting Thankful Thursday this month at Spiritually Unequal Marriage.Please join us!

“O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory..” Psalm 63:1-2 (NKJV)

“Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63:7-8 (NKJV)

This week, many of us are facing uncertainty, loss, natural disasters and emergencies. Alabama suffered especially heavy devastation from a tornado yesterday. Here at home, I checked the Texas wildfire map online this morning, and noticed that the red dots are getting closer to our town. Meanwhile, our state is in the midst of a severe drought.

But there are many reasons for gratitude! First, I am thankful that my family and friends are safe and still in our homes. I am thankful that in the midst of fires, storms, and any other furies that we face, God upholds us. On this Thankful Thursday, I thank God that He will strengthen all who are affected by these fires and storms. I especially thank the Lord for this community of friends who lift up each other with prayer and gratitude.

Thankful Thursday: Taste and See

On this special week, thanks to Lynn for hosting Thankful Thursday this month. Please visit her blog and read her beautiful series on Easter.

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.” Psalm 34:8-10 (NKJV)

This week I am thankful for one of my earliest loves…chocolate! Every time I walk into a store this week, the first display I see features chocolate: chocolate and peanut butter Easter eggs, chocolate Easter bunnies, raspberry chocolate, hazelnut chocolate, and those wonderful bags of miniature chocolate bars. Not only does chocolate taste great and look pretty in its holiday foil wrapping — I keep reading that dark chocolate is also good for you! It must be true…this Cleveland Clinic article says so. 🙂

The past week has seen its challenges, with delayed paychecks and unexpected expenses (rent increase, rising gas prices, a broken vacuum, etc.). A small bite of chocolate can briefly short-circuit the endless replay of worries and what-ifs. Isn’t it true that if someone is feeling under the weather, a surprise batch of chocolate chip cookies never fails to bring a smile?

But the greatest gift is our Savior Himself. In my quiet times with the Lord, I find solace in the sweetness of His presence. I am thankful for the sacrifice which we commemorate this week, and for the Resurrection which gives hope to the world. When we bring our sorrows — and our joys — to the Cross, we taste and see His unfailing love for us.

Thank you, Lord, for Your ultimate gift to us.

Thankful Thursday: “Become as Little Children”

Please join us for Thankful Thursday this month at Lynn’s blog, Spiritually Unequal Marriage. Thanks, Lynn!

I am grateful for answered prayer this week. A few days ago, I felt discouraged, incompetent, and misunderstood. I wondered if my life would be easier f I simply adopted a more cynical world view. After a sleepless night trying to work through these sorrows on my own, I poured out my heart to God. The Lord led me to two verses which reminded me that when we are born again, we see the world through fresh eyes. I am grateful for these words, which remind me that God loves our childlike faith, and wants us to approach Him as children.

“Assuredly, I say unto you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3 (NKJV)

“Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” 1 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)

God put even more encouraging words in my path this morning. Two e-mail devotionals addressed the theme of discouragement. In today’s Thankful Thursday post, Lynn — our host this month — reminded readers that we must not let the enemy silence us. All week, my husband has encouraged me to keep writing — especially my blog.

The wisdom that we gain from our faith may not always make sense to the world. In fact, we have an adversary whose purpose is to stop us in our tracks. I am thankful that the Lord has reminded me that it can be a blessing to not “fit in” with the world, and that He hears us when we bring our sorrows to His throne. He really does!