Where was My Thankful Heart?

I had to work Thanksgiving eve day and on my drive home, it was raining.   I tried to be excited about the Holiday; we were to celebrate Thanksgiving with Bob’s dad up at the farm as we have done the past few years.  It was even going to be more of a treat for me because my baby twin brothers and their family were going to be up there.  But, to be honest, I had a complaining spirit.   All I could think about was the Thanksgiving meal and meals that had to be made for the entire weekend. I had even made up a three day menu of what I was going to make (breakfast, lunch, dinner).  I did not have the time to get the things on my grocery list, or the money,  so the thought of going to the store with every other last minute shopper in the rain didn’t help my attitude.

I got home and as started to pack for the week end Bob’s dad had called and said that we didn’t need to go to the store.  He had bought everything needed and to just to drive safely up there.  He had even made us dinner to eat when we got settled in.                                   You think that would have relieved some stress for me but it didn’t.

I hate the extreme pressure I feel every year on Thanksgiving Day.  Breakfast is just as important on turkey day, because it has to hold everyone over until the feast is ready, which is always at least an hour after the announced time dinner would be done.

By the way, did I mention that several families drive in for the Holiday and stay at the farm?  It is truly wonderful but can be a lot of work.  My poor father in law has gotten used to his big old house being quiet, with only the occasional noise of his two dogs chasing the old fat cat.  I know that he loves us and loves it when we “all” come into town but the sweet sound of silence has to be a relief for him after the 3 days of listening to all our voices.

Thanksgiving day I woke up with this horrible headache, probably because the drive up the night before I had attitude and was having quite the conversation in my head.  And with that attitude I got a stiff neck from holding a “pouting” posture for two and half hours as we drove up to the farm.

I was asked to make one of Dale’s favorite breakfast meals, it was out of the ordinary but I did it for him. I had no excuse he bought up the store and had everything need for me, and his other daughter in law, to make all his favorite meals.  By the time I got that done and the kitchen cleaned up my head was pounding!  I was walking around somewhat like a zombie, asking myself what I needed to do next.

My sister in law, Sallyanne, jumped into action, she had cleaned out the two roasters that we use every year and started to prep the casseroles dishes.  As I stood there, not really thinking about anything, and not aware of the expression on my face she stopped suddenly from her prep and asked, “Am I doing it wrong?”  The look on her eyes made me feel horrible, did she really think that I was judging her the way she was putting the ingredients together?  What kind of maniac have I been over the years in the kitchen?  I by no means claim to be some master chief but she looked at me as if I was the “Iron Chief”.   I assured her that she wasn’t doing it wrong and that I was so thankful for the help.

We worked together in the kitchen getting things ready.  This year we actually had ovens to bake in but decided to use the roasters, again, for the turkeys to free up the ovens (it’s a double oven).  Not only did we have two turkeys to cook but a ham to bake along with all the casseroles.  Needless to say once everything was on and cooking we sat down and chatted.  That is when Sallyanne told me that over the years she had always thought she was in my way in the kitchen and felt very uncomfortable around me.

I felt awful!  Every year as I stressed out and in my head thinking the whole thing was on my shoulders, I was making everyone feel as if I didn’t want their help; which is the farthest thing from the truth!  Wow I guess I have been a total pain in the “neck”.  What a wake up call.  With me stressing out every year and thinking everyone is counting on me to make the meal, the whole time I was making them stress because of my attitude.

Well 45 minutes after we walked away from the kitchen we noticed the roaster light was no longer on, they weren’t even hot anymore.  To our horror we realized that we had too much plugged in on the wall outlet and had tripped the breaker on the fuse box.  This whole time those ugly turkeys were not cooking.
Again, Thanksgiving Day 2010 the people starve as they all anxiously wait for the button to pop “up” from the turkey’s behind.  With one question on their minds; “When will it be done?”

That final 30 minutes was a race to the finish!  Mashing potatoes, pulling casseroles out of the oven in enough time to cool but not get cold, heating the up the dinner roles without burning them, carving the turkey and ham, and oh yeah make the gravy I had enough!  I announced; “It is finally done, get in her in eat before it all gets too cold!”

Yeah, again I made everyone feel uncomfortable.  They all timidly fill their plates as they walked around the banquet of food almost afraid to ask, “Is anyone going to give thanks?”  I can’t imagine the look on my face by that time, and I am embarrassed to say, that we did not give thanks before we ate.

And I as I type this out to you today I have tears of regret and shame, that I let my emotions get the best of me on the very day people, that don’t usually pray, take the time to bow their head and give thanks.

I have so much to be thankful for how could I have done such a thing.  I feel as if God himself was waiting anxiously that day too, waiting for me to say thank you.  As I think back at that moment, I can almost see Him walk away as everyone started to eat and it breaks my heart to think that my own attitude grieved Him so much that He was not invited at our meal.

With Thanksgiving Day 2010 gone I now want to say this:
Lord God, you have so much mercy on me, and have given me so much more than I am worthy of. I  may be a little late but I want to thank you for all you have done in this past year for me and my family.  I am truly blessed beyond belief.  Forgive me for grieving you with my unthankful heart.  Always remind me when my attitude is not becoming, of the vision of You quietly walking away like you did on Thanksgiving Day.  I never want to feel your presence walk away from me again. In Your Name, I pray, Amen.

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People really do want to be nice.

Driving into work one morning I noticed a tall man walk out of the local donut shop with a box full of, what I assume donuts. He had a smile on his face it was almost as if he was skipping. “Why is this man so happy about a box of donuts?” I asked myself, “Is he going to eat them all?” Then I heard God say, “He is happy because he is doing something nice for his fellow co-workers.”
I thought about that for a few minutes… I like to nice things for people, it makes me smile when I know I can surprise someone. I felt ashamed to think the worse of this man, that he was going to eat all those donuts. Think about it, people really do want to do nice things for others. I believe it is in our make up, it makes us feel good when we do nice things. So the next time a fellow co-worker does something nice for you, do be suspicious of their actions, they just want to be nice.

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Attitude

I hate to admit it but my attitude can, at times, be based on the weather (cold and gloomy), the amount of traffic on my way into work, the way people treat me (superior over me), or many other things. When I base my attitude to random circumstances I become, to be honest, very unstable and moody. Then it becomes hard for me to show love and kindness to people around me, and become very “snappy” towards people. On the other hand when I choose my attitude despite what is going on around me, I tend to have a good day. But I know it is hard at times to CHOOSE the right attitude.
One morning as I got around I realized I pushed the clock to the very last second again. I left the house behind schedule thinking in my head that I can make up time as I drove to work. I asked God for all green lights and no traffic, even that time could stand still so I could clock in on time. Me! Me! Me!
Not following the law I tell myself, “its ok if I go 9 over the speed limit,” or, “I didn’t notice the light being red” (and really I did) as I drove through it. I was making my guarding angles work harder to protect me. I got aggravated with fellow drivers as they follow the law and stop at the light when it just turned yellow. Grumbling and complaining in my spirit before I even got to work.
Then, on my last stretch to work an old beat up truck was driving very slowly, I came very upset. This driver did not have his flashers on to indicate that he was having any kind of mechanical trouble; if he did I would have gotten around him before I was block in by other cars. So I drove behind this man, throwing my hands up the air and shaking my head, it was very obvious that I was “ticked”. This went on for about 50 yards and then he turned and as I drove on past him I laid on my horn as I approached the last traffic light.
Then I heard God ask this question… “What if that was my son Jesus driving that truck, would you have been so rude?” I instantly felt lousy, and ashamed. I started thinking what this man must have felt; he himself might have been trying to get work on time too. He probably felt embarrassed knowing that he was making the traffic back up behind him.
I asked God to forgive me for being rude and uncompassionate, then I said a quick prayer for this man, that his day would go better and that God would bless him.
With that little lesson tucked in back of my mind, I left for work yet another morning a little behind, not as bad as the day before but I wasn’t going to let the traffic upset me. Then all the sudden this red car pulled out in front of me, I instantly felt my blood pressure rise. How dare this person pull out in front of me, her car even seem to be running poorly. I had to stop that train of thought instantly! So I chose to think differently about the fact that she was driving in front of me, I started to look closely to her car and noticed that the rear right tire seemed to be low and very wobbly. So instead of grumbling about the situation, I started to pray for this person. The Lord God knew what was going on in her life; I just prayed that HE was watching over her and that she would have a peaceful day. Just doing that simple thing help me have a different outlook on my day. So instead of using my words for complaining, I want to choose to use my words for praying and by doing just doing that little thing I have a better attitude.

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He watches over me

One morning I was on the back deck with my coffee mug in hand, doing some reflecting. It was one of those rare calm and peaceful moments, like the whole world was sleeping. As I was enjoying the silence I decided to let our two dogs outside to just stretch their legs. The sun was just peeking out from behind the clouds and the air had that autumn hint to it, it was relaxing to take a couple deep breaths of the crisp air. I went back inside but left the patio door open so that I could keep and eye on the two mischievous canines.

The dogs continued their investigating with their noses to the ground not aware that I was standing in the door watching to see if they would go outside the perimeter of our yard. All of the sudden a loud noise cut into the silence that startled the dogs. Automatically one dog looked up toward the house to see me standing there watching. It was like an instant of security for her, everything is ok, and she went on with her investigation. But my other dog ran away from the direction of the sound.

I then thought; I am like those two dogs. I get busy going about life, nose to the ground, moving on my path, all of the sudden I hear something that makes feel frightened. I sometimes run away into the opposite direction to get away from that thing that is making me feel anxious. Then, there are other times when I look up, and see that my Father in Heaven watching me. He has his eye on me. I then can rest assure that I am ok and can keep moving ahead on my path. I pray that I remember to keep close to Him in the “perimeter of His Protection” and feel secure that HE is watching over me.

How about you? Can you think of times that fear makes you just want to run in the opposite direction? Don’t run, just look up.
Psalm 121:1-3
I lift up my eyes to the hills- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth. He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber.

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Cackle like a Chicken

A girl’s night was scheduled at my home church at 6:30 p.m. and as tired as I was I pushed myself to go, I arrived a little late but was there. Different activities were planned throughout the night and as I got comfortable I was really starting to enjoy the ladies. By the end of the evening I was “cackling” like a chicken, it has been a long time since I laughed so hard. I think that I surprised many of the women that night, even though they see me each week at church I don’t say too much, maybe a little giggle here and there but never a heart felt laugh. As we were parted for the night I thanked the ladies that organized the night, and I went on to say that I really didn’t have any “girl” friends and it was just nice to be just one of the girls.

The next morning when I was getting around for work I was reminiscing about the night before, I even started to laugh again about some of the things that were said. That is when God told me; “You have girl friends Georgia, you just choose not to do fun things with them. I want you to enjoy your life that I have given you; it isn’t always about things that need to get done. It is ok to relax and do something fun. I love to hear your laughter.”

How about you? How long has it been since you had a heart felt laugh? Or how long has it been since you allow yourself to have fun, doing maybe some things you haven’t done in a real long time, like go down a water slide?

Being a mother I love to see my children play and have fun, laughing so hard that it gets the whole room laughing. I believe God is the same; He loves to hear our laughter! So go ahead “Cackle like a Chicken.”

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