{Thanks}giving Week: The Blessings We Take For Granted

Hi guys and gals! I hope you are enjoying {Thanks}giving Week as much as I am! We’ve got some more great posts for you as the week continues. Whoo-hoo!

My friend Natasha is sharing some thoughts about Thanks with us today. Natasha and I had a blast working in Sports Media Relations at East Carolina University together a wee while back. Go Pirates! She has a wonderful sense of humour, coupled with a zest for life that makes her fun to be around, and the kind of gal who’ll try baking chocolate chip cookies on the dashboard on a hot day. When she’s not busy cheering for ‘Bama’s football team, (Roll, Tide, Roll!) she keeps the laughs rolling at The Chronicles of Nat.

You’ve probably noticed by now that I like letting the guest post-ers introduce themselves. I hope you don’t mind the occasional slight redundancy — I just love how much you can tell about a person by asking them to introduce themselves. Natasha is no exception! I’m gonna stop talking now, here’s Nat.


The Blessings We Take For Granted are the Greatest Ones of All

We as people and especially those of us who are Americans, often take many of the small blessings in our lives for granted. It’s the abilities we have as humans that we don’t think about very much yet use everyday.

When was the last time, for example, that you woke up and thanked God for your ability to walk from your bed to the shower or the coffee pot?  It’s not something we think about often is it? Those of us with a relative in a wheelchair probably think about it more than others. Walking is such a minute task but helps us in everything we do. Our legs and feet carry us from here to there often without complaining yet at the end of the day when we are thanking God for the blessings he has bestowed upon us we neglect to thank him for the ability he gave us to accomplish the tasks that were set before us that day. The next time you stand up and walk about remember to thank God for that ability, an ability that not all of us have.

When was the last time you listened to your favorite band or musical or the laughter of people around you or the voice of someone you love and stopped to say, “Thank you God for my ability to hear”? I have a great love for music and just this past week I went to a showing of the 25th Anniversary concert of Les Miserables and thought about how awful it would be not to be able to hear music and I thanked God right then and there for giving me the gift of hearing. Music moves me as it does many people, and I cannot imagine life without being able to hear all the wonderful sounds around me. Our sense of hearing allows us to listen for a crying baby during the night or an intruder in the bushes or the laughter and joy of friends. The next time you talk to God thank him for your ability to hear; it’s a privilege not all people are granted.

How long ago did you stop and thank God for the ability to see all of the wonderful creations he placed for us on this earth? I’m sure that you, like me, don’t often think about how wonderful it is that we can see the faces of our loved ones when sitting around the Thanksgiving table or that we can watch the football game after dinner is served. Our sight allows us to see when someone is in need; it allows us the ability to read  – the Bible, billboards as you are driving down the street, emails from friends halfway across the globe, a calendar so we can know what day of the week it is. Think of all the colors your eyes allow you to see, the landscape of the world, the ability to pick out clothes that match. Sight is a blessing from God – thank Him for it the next time you have a chance.

How recently did you thank God for your sense of smell? Have you ever thought how life would be if you couldn’t smell the foods cooking in the kitchen or breathe in the smell of fall in the air? When was the last time you smelled the top of a baby’s head or warm cookies baking in the oven and thanked God for your sense of smell? Smelling allows us to know when something is burning and as a result can save us from dangerous situations. The aroma of clean clothes fresh out of the dryer would be pointless without our sense of smell. Thank God for blessing you with your nose – no matter its shape or size!

The ability to talk is yet another blessing from the Lord that we often take for granted. Our ability to talk gives us a voice to say what’s on our heart, to teach others about Jesus, to sing when we’re driving down the road. Being able to talk allows us to call our friends and family on the phone and talk about nothing or everything. Our voice allows us to yell out across a crowded room to someone we haven’t seen in years or to whisper when telling a secret to a friend. Voices are recognizable, each one is unique, just as we are – use yours for the betterment of this world, to lead people to Christ, to give words of encouragement to a friend in need.

Our hands provide us the ability to do so many things – lift a heavy load, carry a tired baby, type emails to friends and co-workers. Our hands and arms allow us to give a warm embrace to those in need of encouragement or hold the hands of those we love. God provided our hands so that we can work and earn a living. Some people use their hands in the kitchen to chop vegetables, to stir batter, to pull warm dishes from the oven. Some use their hands to plow fields and plant seed and reap the harvest. Others use their hands to make crafts. Our hands are useful to us in so many ways, yet when was the last time we truly thanked God for providing us our hands so that we can do all the things we want to do day in and day out.

Ephesians 5:19b-20 says, “Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The next time you thank God for the large blessings in your life, be sure and thank him for the small ones as well, which when you really think about it are the biggest ones of all.


Natasha lives in Huntsville, AL, and has known Caroline since before she was a Collie! She works for a defense contractor and also covers high school football and basketball for her hometown newspaper, The Huntsville Times. Her favorite pastime is laughing and hanging out with her dog, The Tide. She has never been married and is currently accepting applications for a boyfriend. You can catch up with all the weirdness that is Natasha’s life on her blog, The Chronicles of Nat. Leave her a comment – she likes to hear what you have to say!


Thanks so much, Natasha! We do have so, so much more to be thankful for than I think we can ever fully realise! Amen!


P.S. If I remember I might link up this great guest post with the thankfulness happening over at Chatting at the Sky this Tuesday! If you’re visiting from there and would like to contribute to {Thanks}giving Week, let me know!

{Thanks}giving Week: I Am Thankful She Was Dying

Top of the week to you, friends! I am excited that another voice will be joining the thankful chorus today, as we enjoy {Thanks}giving Week together. Especially because this girl can sing. 🙂

My dear friend Amanda Avery is sharing with us today! She is a sweetie-pie Southerner with a notable affinity for Christmastime. Amanda is remarkably able to speak her mind with wit, humour and honesty. And she blogs at Seriously. {which I must note is the first blog I noticed getting decked out for the holidays this year} so feel free to click over and read some more! I hope her thoughts will inspire you to find reasons to be Thankful in every circumstance.


Amanda is a regular woman, wife, mommy, and friend who enjoys good coffee, conversations, and laughter.  Amanda’s blog, Seriously., features her regular musings of everyday life in North Carolina.

I Am Thankful She Was Dying

She had a terminal disease.
She was going to die.
She was going to leave me and everyone else behind to be with Jesus and obtain her perfect body.

Everything within me screamed, “Don’t get too close!  Don’t love her too much! Don’t let your heart get broken when this ride comes screeching to a halt!”

However, for once in my life I ignored that bossy lady who resides in my head and followed my heart.

And I am incredibly thankful she was dying.

As callous as that seems, it forced us to get past the niceties very quickly.  No chit chats or shallow conversations about the weather when Death is tapping his feet in anticipation.  Life was too precious, too pressing, too much.

Wanting to squeeze in every opportunity to talk before the disease took her voice.

Always telling her how much I loved her and valued her because there was no guarantee of a “next time.”

She forced me to get out of my little world and let go of my security blanket of pride and to finally embrace living.

She taught me in just a short while what it really meant to love people.

And what it meant to love life.

And what it meant to love and follow Jesus.

And I am forever thankful.


Thanks so much for sharing those challenging thoughts with us, Amanda! May we find the strength to be Thankful in the midst of even the most difficult circumstances. It seems like those are places where there is so much wisdom to be learned. Wow and Amen.


{Thanks}giving Week: Uppercase Thanksgiving

I hope you weren’t waiting up all night, just so eager for the first {Thanks}giving post to hit the web. Cos that would mean neither of us got any sleep.

I kid!

In case you’re just joining us, some new voices will be echoing through the halls of this space this week, with thoughts about giving Thanks in unexpected ways, at unexpected moments, perhaps for what are rightly considered the unexpected gifts of Life. Cue sassy advert…

I am excited to introduce you to a dear friend of mine named Pam Lewsey, who has danced with me breathing Edinburgh air, waved goodbye to me from a Johannesburg airport, and blessed me with a shortbread tin that now elegantly holds my measuring cups. She is full of life and her emails are like a fabulous short story that you don’t want to end. And while I could go on for a bit, perhaps let’s shift to her more aptly written introduction, and her wonderful guest post.


Pam Lewsey was born in a place most people call ‘Where?’. She has travelled widely but doesn’t have much to show for it, aside from a motley bunch of wide-eyed friends and a collection of teapots. She may or may not become famous one day. God is especially fond of her.

Uppercase Thanksgiving

There are very few unexpected situations more unexpected than Life itself. You know, hello, welcome, it’s cold, turn you upside down and slap you on the backside and all that. Ever since then I’ve been expecting unexpected situations and every day I cannot be really sure what’s going to happen, and whether it’s going to happen or Happen, or whether you’ve got it the wrong way around and it’s actually Happening not happening. It’s tough to know, which is why it’s just better to follow God’s advice and then chill out.

There’s a bunch of stuff in Life which is uppercase. That means it’s important. God. Family. Growth. Laughter. Hope. Prayer. Thanksgiving is one of these important things which we have managed to reduce to the lowercase: ‘thanksgiving’. What I mean is, it’s become a chore instead of something as easy and habitual as breathing in and out. Lowercase thanksgiving is the mumbled and self-conscious grace said quickly before the meal. The Uppercase Thanksgiving is, at the end of the meal, a metaphorical Loud Burp which reverberates through the year to come.

Lowercase thanksgiving is about words. It’s about ‘what do you say?’ to your kid and about clapping politely because that’s what’s expected. Uppercase is running to meet your brother at the airport, about hugs, about standing ovations when they’re deserved. It’s about wishing there were two of you so you could handle all the enjoyment you’re getting out of your team winning their match or getting to see a West End show with folk you love. It’s about being so hurt but being glad you have a heart that can feel hurt. It’s about flavour. And music. And wearing bright colours in winter.

And surprising people when you take an interest in whether they should buy an English or an Ashley cucumber in the vegetable aisle.

It’s about having time when people phone you. And about dorky high-fives. It’s about sleeping hard. And trying out phrases in different languages and joining in the laughter. It’s about honest sweat. And diving for that volleyball. It’s about knowing that none of this needs to matter 100 years from now. And loving the rain and the mist because it speaks to the quiet (and sometimes grieving) places in our souls. It’s about using your God-given voice against injustice whenever you have the opportunity, whether you’re given a mic or whether you’re gently explaining to the guy in the bookshop that he can’t close at 5 minutes to 5 when his sign says open till 5. It’s pulling faces in your mirror and enjoying the company of animals. Rocking in a rocking chair, and talking to your plants. And it’s about the secret place where you get a glimpse of God’s sense of humour. It’s about living with your eyes wide angle and seeing and being one photo opportunity per split second.

(I should be a commercials writer. Throw ‘relaxing in Barnard’s Garden Furniture’ in there and the phones won’t stop ringing!)

I read a story about a woman who was rescued from the 7/7 disaster. I can’t remember her exact words but she said she was now living her life to the full to make it worth her rescuers’ efforts. I thought, am I living a life worth Christ’s efforts on the cross? Eish. And we know he did it ‘for the joy set before Him’. For Joy. Enjoying life is an act of gratitude – an act of worship. If you are not enjoying life you are not being his living trophy of Joy, and how can you express words of gratitude if that is the case?

Don’t use empty, obligatory words. They’re a waste of air. Rather use your energy to ask yourself some honest questions – why am I not enjoying my life? Is it my job? My  relationships? The weather? My body? What can I do about it? Do I like church? Do I like God? What can I do about it? Do I need to check my theology? What are my motivations for the stuff I’m doing? Am I addicted? What’s the rush? What can I learn from Creation about the timing of things? Do I often do two things at once and divide the pleasure of one in half? Are my goals in life reachable? Am I depending on other people and activities for the affirmation only God can give me?

As I face up to these and other things, by God’s grace, and recognise my ‘life like grass’ that fades away, stuff gets into perspective and I just get joyful every day. I like being Glad and ‘thank you’ just tumbles off my tongue before I can stop it. Uppercase Thanksgiving is a grateful lifestyle. It’ll set you apart from the pious platitudes of the lowercase.

I’ve had fun writing this! Thanks for reading.


Thanks so much for sharing your words and your heart with us Pam!! Wowzers! I am left wanting more, and hoping I can learn that Thanksgiving which deserves a capital T! I’ll be coming back to read this again!