The Blessing of Thankfulness

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!! For those of us who are turkey overloaded and too stuffed to work, I thought I would “repost” one of our 30 Days of Blessings emails from last year! It is always a great idea to say thank you, so let’s do it again!

(For those of you who are new to the mittonmusings adventure, we ran a fun 30 days of emails last year, prompting us to a new “blessing” each day! Should we do it again?! Should we try another one?! Wanna get in on the action?! Subscribe to mittonmusings and get a weekly blog post straight to your inbox — and special invitations to campaigns and studies just like this one! Join the adventure here! )

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Say also: ‘Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather and deliver us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.”  1 Chronicles 16:34-35 (ESV)

 Remember that list of Blessings we made back on Day 2?  Time to pull it out and send some thank you’s to the people on it.  Often we are truly thankful for our friends and family… but we don’t show it in tangible ways.  Send a card (or flowers?) to a person to simply say “thank you” for the influence they are having in your life.  Maybe take them out for dinner.  The how is up to you… but be sure to include the reason why: to say thanks!  This is also a good way to be an example for our children.  Remind them to be thankful as well, by showing them how!

This is also the perfect opportunity to spend some time saying thanks to God for all your blessings.  He is called Jehovah-jireh in Hebrew:  the one who provides.  Spend a few minutes giving Him thanks today.  

  • Challenge yourself to think of obscure or difficult people to be thankful for… like government leaders or your boss, or that person on your “hard to love” list
  • Write some old fashion thank you cards and actually put them in the mail with a stamp!
  • Share ideas with family and friends… get the kids involved or post your thanks on the group chat so everyone can see
  • If you are joining us in October, send a special thank you to your church leader for #pastorappreciationmonth
  • Can you think of another fun and fabulous way to thank someone?
  • Remember to take a few special minutes to thank your Heavenly provider as well

“Now may the LORD show steadfast love and faithfulness to you. And I will do good to you because you have done this thing.” 2 Samuel 2:6 (ESV)

The Next Step

Do you have a fitbit? One of those little devices that count how many steps you’ve taken and what you need to make your optimal steps for the day? Or how much you’ve slept and ate and who you should marry? I don’t have one. We did have a “pre-fitbit” step counter once… I think we got it out of a cereal box. You clipped it to your pant leg and you could trick it into adding steps by swinging your leg or frantically waving your arms. It obviously didn’t fulfill its purpose very well.

Funny how we focus on “steps”. Moving forward, moving back, constantly checking where you are and where you should be going. Now, I am a girl who likes to plan. I like to check off my steps and put the x in the boxes. I follow the list and love instructions with bullet points and numbers. I follow the steps. But what if you come to the fork in the road? The edge of the cliff, and you are unsure of your next step? What happens then?

Perhaps it is a big decision. Perhaps a life goal. Perhaps a next stage in life. How do you feel when you are tip-toe with that edge and your next step will determine whether you soar or fall off the cliff? What happens then? The fitbit doesn’t tell you what to do with your steps, it just shows you how many you have taken. You have to set the goal.

We studied John the Baptist at church this week, and I couldn’t help but compare his ministry to a few people I follow on social media. There were “big announcements” posted and “new projects” to be taken on, and I noticed that life seems to be timeless when it comes to the edge-of-the-cliff decisions. Everyone eventually comes to that point where you have to take the next step. Sometimes you celebrate it, sometimes you mourn it, and sometimes it just quietly moves forward.

If you are diligent, you make informed decisions… you pray, study, ask the experts, debate, consult, read… and then? John chose to end his career of “preparing the way” because the Messiah had showed up! He worked himself out of his job. Some people set the stage ahead of time and contract themselves into a plan or timeframe. Then the time ends and you stop. Some of you are vision castors — entrepreneurial types who love the prospect of something new — and your life just becomes an ebb and flow of projects and plans. Some of us peddle backwards, afraid of the unknown and where the path may lead.

I’m learning to be patient. To plant my steps purposefully. But the journey is hard and the path rocky. My footing is not always secure and I seek answers. What now? Which way? Should I wait here while others catch up, or plunge ahead and take the risk of not knowing the path? A wise person once told me: Just take the next step.

This is My Father’s World

Ahhh… today is the first of October. And in Canada, fall is beginning to show itself in full colour. With it, comes the sigh of satisfaction at a bountiful harvest, and the joys of quieter days. (We are going to ignore the fact that the weather can’t make up its mind and both snow and 30 degree celsius temperatures happen all in the same time frame — just work with me and my idealized vision of autumn, okay?!). I wasn’t sure what to muse about this week, and was going through the things that have been recently on my mind: Greta Thunberg and her fight for global change, aboriginal celebrations of strength, fall fairs, baked warm apples and pumpkin spice lattes, and for some reason, this old hymn popped into my head:

This Is My Father’s World (Lyrics)

This is my Father’s world,

And to my listening ears

All nature sings, and round me rings

The music of the spheres.

This is my Father’s world:

I rest me in the thought

Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;

His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world,

The birds their carols raise,

The morning light, the lily white,

Declare their maker’s praise.

This is my Father’s world,

He shines in all that’s fair;

In the rustling grass I hear him pass;

He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world.

O let me ne’er forget

That though the wrong seems oft so strong,

God is the ruler yet.

This is my Father’s world:

Why should my heart be sad?

The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!

God reigns; let the earth be glad!

“This is My Father’s World”, was originally published, posthumously, by the author’s wife in 1901, in a book of his poems. Maltbie Davenport Babcock, was a New York minister who frequented the Niagara Escarpment and Lake Ontario, simply to marvel at “His Father’s World”. I think he was close enough to Canada to appreciate the true beauty displayed, especially during autumn. The popular hymn was adapted from Babcock’s poem by his friend and musician, Franklin Shepherd, in 1915. (The original poem contained 16 verses of 4 lines each).

I was reminded of the hymn back on my travels to Wolfville, Nova Scotia this summer, (you can read about that adventure here) and discovered it is also themed in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. As the camera pans the rolling hills of the Shire and all the familiar simplicity of a hobbit’s homelife, we are reminded that despite this era of evil, this is My Father’s World.

So, as our sunflowers begin to droop from faces ladened with seeds, as the leaves change colour and eventually die, as fall mums and ripe apples display their ruby redness against a backdrop of golden hues, I hope you relish the thought that this is my Father’s world. Perhaps you’re off to drown your troubles in a quiet coffee shop with a “grande PSL”. I’m here to remind you: That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet. Happy first of October, my beloveds!