Woven Together

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100

I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to spend thanksgiving with my family, my husband’s family, and my brother-in-laws family. Tyler’s mom has an incredible gift for hospitality and serving others. Bringing our families together on this day so that we wouldn’t be scattered at separate houses was a very special gift to us all and symbolic of how she views family.

Tonight, as we drove Gram home, I noticed all the homes with one room lit up showcasing families gathered around the table. It struck me because so often we spend our time in separate rooms, not tuned into each others’ lives.

I’m thankful to be part of a family that not only values time spent together, but also opens their home to others, extending their love and generosity even further.

We stood in a circle before the meal, holding hands while little Eli said a blessing (with some help from Mimi!). We ate, laughed, and celebrated and now the 9 of us remaining are cuddled up on one couch watching the Patriots.

I am so thankful for my family. I can’t imagine anything more important on this earth than spending time with the people who share my history and my genes and the ones who have welcomed me as their own.

To my own family, thank you for all the wonderful memories you’ve made possible over the years. Watching the parade, baking special treats and watching Dad try to figure out which way the turkey should go in the pan. We can’t forget Gram’s festive turkey sweaters and fun table games.

To my in-laws, thank you for the traditions that you’ve shared with me, whether we are visiting the extended fam in Pennsylvania or celebrating all together in Maine. Thank you for welcoming my whole family into your celebrations.

Father, thank You for the families that you have blessed me with, both by blood and by marriage. I praise You for the way You have woven us together and I pray for continued unity. We are all part of the same family, Your family, brought together by the grace of Your son. We praise You for all the blessings of this past year and ask for Your favor in the year to come.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

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Wisdom from the Greatest Generation

O my people, listen to my instructions.
    Open your ears to what I am saying,
for I will speak to you in a parable.
I will teach you hidden lessons from our past—
stories we have heard and known,
    stories our ancestors handed down to us.
We will not hide these truths from our children;
    we will tell the next generation
about the glorious deeds of the Lord,
    about his power and his mighty wonders.
For he issued his laws to Jacob;
    he gave his instructions to Israel.
He commanded our ancestors
    to teach them to their children,
so the next generation might know them—
    even the children not yet born—
    and they in turn will teach their own children.
So each generation should set its hope anew on God,
    not forgetting his glorious miracles
    and obeying his commands.
Psalm 78

I’m thankful for my wise and wonderful Grandmother. My Gram is a treasure to everyone who knows her and especially to me. She has always provided wisdom and encouragement to me from the time I was very young. She is sharp in her intellect and kind in her actions. She has accomplished so much in her lifetime as a nurse and advocate for the elderly (She even made it into the New York Times!).

My Gram continues to amaze me with how she spends her time and her talents. For the recent election, she organized a van to take the residents in her community to vote.  She also collaborated with the municipalities to ensure that those who couldn’t get out to the polls were able to fill out an absentee ballot. She helps facilitate a current events discussion among her peers every Friday and takes classes at the University of Southern Maine. Did I mention she’s in her 80s?

My Gram has taught me so much about faith, family, work, love and what it means to be a woman of strength. She continues to pass her wisdom down through the generations, sharing her experience and her heart with my niece and nephew and even my friends. I can’t wait for my own children to get to spend time with her. She truly embodies what it means to be a part of the Greatest Generation.

Gram, thank you for being such a pillar of strength in my life. I cherish the time we spend together and am so looking forward to being a bigger part of your life in Maine. I love you so very much!

A Psalm for Our Soldiers

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
Psalm 91

I’m thankful for the veterans and soldiers who have fought and continue to fight so that we may be free. It’s amazing to me how many men and women willingly put their lives in the line of fire for us. I am not that brave! Thank you for your courage.

I’m especially thankful for my grandfathers who both served in WWII. I honor both of you on this special day. Thank you for your example of bravery, discipline, and commitment. We grandkids have all benefited from your hard work and service!

I pray this psalm over all our soldiers and especially over our veterans who face many difficulties when they return. We need to do a better job supporting them.

Interested in helping veterans in your area? Check out volunteer opportunities here:

http://www.volunteer.va.gov/apps/VolunteerNow/

If you see a veteran this week, tell them you appreciate their service. Thank you can go a long way :)