As we express our gratefulness to God this Thanksgiving (and all year round), it is helpful to read the prayers of others to be reminded of all we have to be thankful for. From The Valley of Vision, this is one such prayer.
“Praise and Thanksgiving”
O my God,
Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects,
my heart admires, adores, loves thee,
for my little vessel is as full as it can be,
and I would pour out all that fullness before thee in ceaseless flow.
When I think upon and converse with thee
ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,
ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,
ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart,
crowding into every moment of happiness.
I bless thee for the soul thou hast created,
for adorning it, sanctifying it,
though it is fixed in barren soil;
for the body thou hast given me,
for preserving its strength and vigour,
for providing senses to enjoy delights,
for the ease and freedom of my limbs,
for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding;
for thy royal bounty providing my daily support,
for a full table and overflowing cup,
for appetite, taste, sweetness,
for social joys of relatives and friends,
for ability to serve others,
for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,
for a mind to care for my fellow-men,
for opportunities of spreading happiness around,
for loved ones in the joys of heaven,
for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly,
I love thee above the powers of language to express,
for what thou art to thy creatures.
Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.
Even though I’m not as loud or talkative as my two sisters, I can be
fiercely competitive when it comes to playing games—especially the
annual Mahaney Family Turkey Bowl.
For years, Dad has insisted that the family football game be a fixed
part of our holiday, and like everything else, “What we do we do
together.” That means everyone participates. It doesn’t matter how cold
it is, or whether you want to or not, or even if you are pregnant!
I know a lot of families watch or play football on Thanksgiving. But
I doubt you’ve ever seen a game quite like ours. There are still first
downs and fourth downs and touch-downs and punts. However, the
permanent quarterback (Dad) likes to have a little fun. So he calls
plays like: “Go three steps, drop to the ground, do a summersault, and
then break to the right” or “Everyone hold hands and go in a circle and
then scatter while Mike goes long” or “All players tackle Brian before
running their route.”
And for years, this game has taken place in the center of Colonial
Williamsburg on the lawn next to the courthouse. We’ve definitely
received some funny looks and even attracted the occasional fan.
Even though Mom, Nicole, Janelle, and I sometimes complain about how
cold it is or how we don’t feel like playing this year, it is actually
a treasured memory for all of us. It’s so fun to laugh and joke about
the funny moments from past years—especially when the game is over and
you’re in a warm place with some hot chocolate! And now it’s a
tradition I can share with my boys, as Andrew is old enough to join in
However, my greatest satisfaction comes from the fact that my little
brother Chad still can’t cover me. To Chuckie: You can “trash talk” and
deny it all you want, but my record still stands. You have never beaten
your sister, a girl, and I still remain Dad’s go-to receiver. And this
Thanksgiving isn’t going to be any different!
I hope you’re inspired to organize your own Turkey Bowl this year.
You’re sure to have affectionate rivalries and wonderful memories for
years to come.
Usually Friday Funnies is our way of signing off for the weekend, but this week we are going to make an exception. Our Thanksgiving count down will continue Saturday and Sunday. So check back tomorrow for more Thanksgiving fun.
Here’s another Friday Funnies especially for moms with young children. Chances are, you may have already read this as it’s been around a while. But no doubt, you can relate. Enjoy!
If You Give A Mom A Muffin
Original Author Unknown
If you give a mom a muffin,
She’ll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
She’ll pour herself some.
Her three-year-old will spill the coffee.
She’ll wipe it up.
Wiping the floor, she’ll find dirty socks.
She’ll remember she has to do laundry.
When she puts the laundry in the washer,
She’ll trip over boots and bump into the freezer.
Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan for supper.
She will get out a pound of hamburger.
She’ll look for her cookbook (“101 Things To Do With a Pound of Hamburger”).
The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail.
She will see the phone bill, which is due tomorrow.
She will look for her checkbook.
The check book is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two-year-old.
She’ll smell something funny.
She’ll change the two year old’s diaper.
While she is changing the diaper, the phone will ring.
Her five-year-old will answer and hang up.
She’ll remember she wants to phone a friend for coffee.
Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup.
And chances are…
If she has a cup of coffee,
Her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.
We cannot have any more posts about Thanksgiving until we talk about one of the best things about this holiday. Yep, you guessed it, FOOD! Thanksgiving comes with that wonderful thing called Thanksgiving dinner.
The Mahaney family’s Thanksgiving dinner ranks rather high in the calorie department. It would be very interesting to see the percentage of daily-recommended saturated fat contained in our Thanksgiving meal. We are way beyond the 100 percent mark, I’m sure. (Good thing we don’t eat this way the rest of the year!)
We’ve got the turkey (of course) with stuffing and gravy, sour cream mashed potatoes, Green Bean Supreme (don’t let the name fool you,it’s one of my favorites), homemade dinner rolls, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce. This gets topped off by homemade pumpkin, cherry, chocolate cream, and banana cream pies. Why so many pies, you might ask? Because of course everyone has a different favorite.
The other day, Nicole was trying to convince us to veer from this perfect meal and add some strange things that I had never heard of from Gourmet Magazine. She was quickly voted down. Thanksgiving dinner is one of those meals that you just don’t mess with. I mean, who wants to eat squash soup (yes, this really was one of her suggestions) when sour cream mashed potatoes are calling your name? No,Thanksgiving dinner at the Mahaney table will remain unchanged for yet another year.
Now, this post would not be complete if I did not mention Thanksgiving breakfast. Our breakfast consists of my mom’s famous homemade cinnamon rolls, fresh oranges and grapefruits (all peeled and sectioned by my mom), and those cute little cereal boxes that come in a pack with a bunch of different kinds. I’m already gearing up to fight off my little brother and my nephews to secure my box of Corn Pops.
As you can tell, I’m getting rather excited about Thanksgiving. Now that I am officially “eating for two”, my portions will need to be a little larger than usual this year.
I threw a couple of our recipes into a Word document in case you want to take a look. Just click here.
I hope you enjoy all of your Thanksgiving food as much as I will be enjoying mine!!!
Mom has an article posted at Crosswalk.com today. Moms and daughters—check it out! Thanksgiving Countdown and Friday Funnies are coming to you shortly.
Hey everyone, I have to tell you what happened to me. The other day I posted about a Thanksgiving tradition where my mom would give us coupon books (click here if you haven’t read it). I mentioned that she stopped when we reached our later teens and that I really missed this little tradition.
Anyways, I was in my kitchen yesterday when I noticed something hanging on my refrigerator. I glanced over and saw a little stack of torn notebook paper (no ribbons, no construction paper, no stickers) suspended by a magnet. It had “Thanksgiving Coupons” written on the front. Yes, my friends, my amazing husband read my post and made me my very own, first in years, Thanksgiving coupons. They were great. There was “One night off dishes,” “One 30-minute back-rub,” “Game night,” etc. I’m so excited and now I feel that old dilemma creeping back in…Should I have one amazing day where I use ALL of my coupons or should I space them out???
For all you husbands reading this blog—why not rip up some notebook paper yourself? Think through five or six things that would really bless your wifey and present her with her very own Thanksgiving coupon book. She’s gonna love it!
P.S. Love you, Mike!
Sometimes the very people with whom we have the most difficulty (see yesterday’s post by Nicole) are members of our own family. Since the holidays typically provide opportunities to spend time with extended family, it is important that we prepare our hearts to honor God on these occasions. This year (and every year that follows, of course!) let’s choose the way of the prudent, described in Proverbs 22:3: “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.”
In other words, we need to think about the unique temptations that we face each holiday when we are with our families (this is seeing danger), and then we need to devise a plan to not sin and please God instead (this is hiding ourselves). Below is a simple 2-part plan that is guaranteed to help us honor God if we but implement it:
1. Pray to get ready.
Prayer is an act of humility. It is an honest acknowledgment that we can do nothing apart from God’s help. We can’t even spend God-honoring time with relatives without His aid. Therefore let’s pray. And do you know what will happen when we do? James 4:6 informs us that God will give us grace. Grace to not sin. Grace to love others. Grace to please God this holiday season.
2. Get ready to love.
First Corinthians 13:4-8 shows us “the way of love.” In order to get our hearts ready to love that family member whom we may have trouble loving, it can be helpful to insert their name into this passage. How can I be patient and kind with “Uncle Harry?” How can I make sure I am not envying or boasting when I interact with “Suzy?” What is my plan to not be irritable with my mom or resentful toward my dad? And then let’s ask the Holy Spirit to equip us to love in this way.
We do not want to be like “the simple” in our proverb who “go on and suffer,” or more specifically in this case, who go on to reap the same consequences of sin year after year at our family celebrations. Instead, we must be prudent. So, let’s pray. Let’s love. And thankfully, we still have one whole week to get ready!
P.S. Holiday celebrations with family are also a wonderful opportunity for the gospel. We will consider the topic of evangelism in an upcoming post.
Well, once again we are going to defer Q&A for another Wednesday. For all of you who have sent in questions—we have not forgotten about you! We’ve saved all the questions in our folder and will continue to try to answer them. You may have sent a question in June and figured it was lost in cyberspace somewhere. But keep checking back. One day you might be pleasantly surprised to find we’ve attempted to answer your question!
On a different matter, we have received several requests for a downloadable pdf version of Dr. Powlison’s Personal Reflection, and he has graciously agreed to allow us to make it available to you. We hope everyone who reads this blog will download this material, re-read it, and apply it often. We don’t say this lightly: many questions can be answered as we simply learn to bring Scripture into the details of our lives.
(Personal Reflection, copyright Dr. David Powlison, editor of the Journal of Biblical Counseling, published by the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation.)
As the topics of gratefulness and thanksgiving get more exposure this season, I inwardly cringe. I’m uncomfortably reminded of my chronic ungratefulness and propensity to grumble.
In spite of all God’s goodness to me (forgiveness from sin and fellowship with God, my family, my church, my home…), I often spend my days griping about the little things I “don’t appreciate,” such as: my schedule not working out exactly as I had planned, a friend or family member not treating me just the way I think I deserve, not having nearly as much energy as I would like. It’s shameful. I think I probably make the Israelites look grateful.
One way I’m tempted to complain is when I think I am treated “unfairly” by someone else. (Although, in truth, hell would actually be my “fair treatment.”) But as I was re-reading a portion of Dad’s book, Humility, yesterday, I was struck afresh by 1 Corinthians 1:4. There Paul tells the Corinthians, “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus.”
What’s amazing about that verse isn’t necessarily what Paul says, but who he says it to. The Corinthians, besides being an extremely immature church with numerous problems, also included a group who were personally opposed to Paul! And yet, Paul was thanking God for them. And he didn’t just begrudgingly thank God for them at Thanksgiving time. No, Paul’s gratefulness to God for the Corinthians was a joyful, year-round tradition!
I wonder: how often do we include the people we have difficulty with on the list of what we’re grateful for at Thanksgiving—or any other time of year? Paul’s example is perspective-altering. It’s where “difficult people” become yet another reason to give thanks to God.
Truly expressing gratefulness for others is only possible because of the one act in history for which we ought to be supremely grateful: when our perfect, holy, Savior died in our place. It is only by the grace that flows from the cross that truly difficult people can genuinely thank God for other difficult people.
And you know, I may just have been added to several people’s Thanksgiving lists!
This time of year always brings back tons of memories. One of my favorites is “coupon books.” Every year, on Thanksgiving day, my mom would present each of us with our very own coupon book. These little books were like gold to us. They weren’t complicated. My mom would cut out several pieces of construction paper (about the size of a note card), punch holes on one side, and tie the cards together with ribbon. She would write “Happy Thanksgiving” on the front and decorate it with stickers or something similar. The first page contained a note from Dad and Mom expressing their gratefulness for us. Each subsequent page was a coupon that could be redeemed for a special surprise or activity, before the end of December. There was “One day off school,” “One day off chores,” “One special time out with Mom,” “One special time out with Dad,” “A special cooking project” etc. The use of each coupon took intense planning for me. Do I want to have a whole day off of school and chores or do I want to space them out? Serious stuff. This may seem small, but this tradition is something that I have never forgotten. In fact, I still remember the first Thanksgiving that I didn’t receive a coupon book, because Mom decided I was too old. I informed her that I I could think of plenty of coupon ideas for an 18 year old, but she didn’t buy it. And these days, Chad seems to be the only one still receiving coupon books.
Hmmm…maybe I will have to drop a few hints to Mike.