Monthly Archives: November 2017

11/21/17

The Power of Giving Thanks

Give thanks with a grateful heart… 

Give thanks to the Holy One… 

Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son… 

Give thanks with a grateful heart… 

Give thanks to the Holy One… 

Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son… 

Familiar lyrics to a song I sang as a young child.

Give thanks.

The lyrics go on to say that the weak should proclaim strength and the poor should proclaim riches because of all the Lord has done for us. So, in that, and in all things, Give Thanks.

But as we utter these words, have they become empty somehow?

Do we truly feel grateful for our gifts, for our blessings, in all things and in all circumstances and in all situations? 

“Give thanks in all circumstances.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18a (NIV)

It’s a commandment of the Lord to give thanks and to offer up praises, even when our hearts are far away. Even when thanksgiving may be the very last things on our minds.

Thanksgiving may not change your circumstances, or change your current situation, but it may very well change your outlook, the attitude of your heart, your well being, and your very soul.

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I read the below devotion last week and was personally challenged to prayerfully consider what the role of thanksgiving plays in my own personal life. How I relentlessly pursue true and everlasting joy on a daily basis. How I put it into practice and how it influences my faith walk.

Read below and I hope you feel blessed, as I did…

The Power of Giving Thanks 

Alicia Bruxvoort

by Alicia Bruxvoort

“Years ago, I hid 1,000 pennies around our home.

There were pennies in our pantry, cupboards and underwear drawers. There were pennies on our bookshelves, bureaus and countertops. I hadn’t lost my mind, but I had lost my joy. And I wanted to find it again.

Back then, my hours were a monotonous blur of diapers and dishes, noise and needs. I wore a smile on my face but harbored a grumble in my heart.

I knew Jesus’ joy was mine for the taking, but I couldn’t figure out how to grab God’s gladness amidst the drudgery of my daily grind. So I set my feet to the dirge of discontent, and figured I’d reclaim my joy when my circumstances changed. When the baby sleeps through the night … or my husband gets a raise; when we can finally take a vacation … or at least I can take a nap, then I’ll have reason for rejoicing.

Then one day, a friend shared how her life had felt grim and weary until she’d begun the daily practice of thanksgiving. She grabbed the small notebook that was sitting on the coffee table in front of us and turned the pages tenderly.

“This is my secret weapon,” she said. Proudly, she showed me the scribbles inside. “I know it doesn’t look like much,” she admitted as tears brimmed, “but this little book has changed my life.”

Could gratitude really change a life? It sounded too cliché to be true, but when my little ones were tucked in bed, I grabbed a notebook of my own, and I decided to jot down some thanks of my own.

I sat poised with pen in hand and let my mind tarry backward across the hours. I didn’t discover mounds of miracles to tally, but I did remember little gifts of grace tucked into the corners of my day.

And for each gift, I scribbled a note of thanks … Thanks for the smell of baking bread and the feel of my husband’s hand in mine. Thanks for the sing-song of our children’s laughter and the sight of golden dandelions in my daughter’s outstretched hands.

Night after night, I recorded God’s gifts in my notebook. And eventually, I found myself greeting the day with wings of expectant hope rather than with shackles of silent dread. I no longer needed to muster up makeshift optimism or cover up my grumbles with try-hard cheer.

Gratitude was prying open the eyes of my heart, and I was beginning to see my daily drudgery in a new light. For the first time ever, I recognized God’s beauty in my bedlam and His presence in my pandemonium.

Perhaps that’s why our Heavenly Father urges us to “Give thanks in all circumstances …” (1 Thessalonians 5:18a). Because God knows thanksgiving may not change our situation, but it will always change our soul. And when gratitude shifts our gaze from our circumstances to our Savior, we find the joy for which our hearts have been longing.

Eventually, I decided I didn’t want thanksgiving to be just an end-of-the-day ritual or merely a chorus in my bedtime prayers. I wanted gratitude to become a way of life for me and for my family. That’s why I devised “Project Penny Praise.”

The idea was simple: Each time we found one of the pennies, we’d pause and give God thanks for something. It was like a treasure hunt for joy-seekers.

There was nothing special about those pennies, but there was something powerful about the praises they provoked. Of course, our house was still steeped in ordinary life — tears still spilled and quarrels still erupted, feelings were still hurt and knees were still scraped — but with every gleam of the copper penny, our eyes shifted toward heaven. And right there, in the middle of our daily grind, we found extraordinary joy.”

TRUTH FOR TODAY:

Psalm 86:12, “I give thanks to you, O LORD my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.” (ESV)

Philippians 4:4, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again — rejoice!”(NLT)

*For more on this post/devotion and so much more, please visit https://proverbs31.org/read/devotions

 

A very happy and blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours! But, may the premise of this holiday live in our hearts each and every day.

xoxo…

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11/16/17

Soup’s on!

Y’all.

I can feel it.

It’s in my bones. It’s officially the dawn of winter here in the Deep South, and all I can say is that it’s about time!

This time of year I always crave one thing- soup.

Soups. Chilis. Stews. I love them all. But, I do play a few favorites.

So, make a big, big batch in your dutch oven or crock pot and then freeze your leftovers for another night when you are running low on time and still want all the comfort and flavor slow-simmered soups have to offer.

Here are a few I return to over and over… and I think you will too!

Crock Pot Ham & Bean Soup

Crock Pot Ham and Bean Soup is the perfect meal to come home to and easy to make. No soaking is required, just place your ingredients in the slow cooker and this recipe is effortless! Dinner is ready when you are!

This is a shortcut miracle soup that begins with Hambeen’s 15 Bean Soup from your grocer’s shelves and ends with a totally amazing supper! If you aren’t crazy about ham, I have also had great success with ground Italian sausage or even slices of smoked kielbasa as well. It’s all good!

Pasta a Fagioli

I first fell in love with this soup as a young girl at the local Olive Garden, and the truth is, I still love it as an adult, but I love my version of this recipe even more than the kind that comes with unlimited salad and breadsticks.

amazing-slow-cooker-soupThis recipe has been adapted for your crockpot and it’s full of hearty Italian flavors, lots of veggies, beans, pasta, and herbs.

You will love it!

Zesty Chicken & Rice with Lime and Cilantro 

Is there anything in this world more comforting than chicken and rice?

Not for me at least!

Zesty Chicken & Rice Soup, and Finding Pleasure and Gratitude at the Bottom of an Empty Bowl

And this recipe is a zesty, Tex-mex version of the classic with big, bold flavors of both lime and cilantro. And, it’s absolutely delicious!

Serve with some tortilla chips and sliced avocados for a great meal, anytime!

Blissful Butternut Squash Soup 

Slow Cooker Blissful Butternut Squash Soup – an EASY crock pot recipe with very little prep and only 6 ingredients!

For a great Vegan soup that eats in a very non-Vegan way, try this Butternut Squash Soup from SkinnyTaste. It’s super simple, only 5-6 ingredients, and is both Gluten-free and Paleo!

I am very partial to Butternut Squash soups this time of year. Love the color and love the flavor!

With a big piece of crusty bread for dipping and maybe a simply-dressed tossed salad on the side, I don’t know anyone who would turn this down!

And speaking of another 5 ingredient soup…

5-Ingredient Black Bean Soup 

Another tremendous recipe that is both easy to make with just a handful of ingredients, but is also incredibly economical as well.

5 Ingredient Black Bean Soup Recipe -- full of amazing flavor, and ready to go in just 20 minutes! gimmesomeoven.com

I love a big ladle of black bean soup served over some hot, brown or white rice for soaking up all that rich bean broth. So comforting!

And a tip for this recipe? If you prefer a smoother finish, like I do, just simply pulse your salsa in a food processor before adding to the soup and it will become a part of the broth and not be quite as chunky as pictured above, but still, every bit as delicious!

Crockpot Magic White Chicken Chili 

White Chicken Chili by www.cookingwithruthie.com is delicious magic in your slow cooker!

“Magic” because you dump all the ingredients in a crockpot, walk away, and come back to something totally amazing, comforting, and delicious!

I’d choose a white chicken chili over red beef chili any day of the week.

Potato & Corn Chowder 

Because no list of soups would be complete without a good, creamy potato soup!

Slow Cooker Potato and Corn Chowder - The easiest chowder you will ever make. Throw everything in the crockpot and you're set! Easy peasy!

This soup is unbelievably easy, makes a ton, and freezes beautifully. Makes a great gift also to someone needing a little extra help over this busy holiday season. Make a big pot and share it with the ones you love!

Hoping these soups give you some ideas and some inspiration to pull out the crock pot, Dutch oven, or Instapot and get cooking!

Enjoy!

xoxo….

 

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