Only one prayer? Give thanks!

Only one prayer? Give thanks!

I’ve been feeling rather blank, dull, fatigued from a strenuous, constant, energy-expending fall. I even had to pass when my husband and I were praying together the other evening…I couldn’t think. But then I remembered this thought, first posted in 2014 … one of my very first “blogging Thanksgiving” posts. And so I’m no longer blank but rather voicing my thanks to my God and to others. Join me here even if you have “no other prayer”?

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Only one prayer? Give thanks!

Only one prayer? Give thanks!

Early one fall, I had a few moments in between errands, so I decided to follow the "garage sale" signs into a neighborhood off the main road I was traveling on. It was at the end of the day...and the house I stopped at looked a bit bare and disheveled.  But I got out of my car anyway.  And by the time I got back in my car, I was so glad I had stopped.

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Embracing my Real Life

We often fight against our own reality, don't we? If you have trouble, as I do, with owning and living your real "today" life, why not pause here with me and reflect on this repost from last month: Living the Life I Have, not the One I Wish I Had

Have you ever thought you didn't have a problem in an area and then all of a sudden you came face to face with the truth? I have! In fact, that happened again to me just the other day.  Here's how it played out:

I was whizzing down my Facebook news feed when I came across a link shared by my sister-in-law Vicky. Now Vicky has been posting some really good stuff lately, and I had a few extra minutes...plus I was drawn into it (could that have been the Holy Spirit?), so I parked there for awhile.

the-scream

the-scream

As I went through the list of quotes for "anxious, highly sensitive, and creative people," BAM! Right between the emotional and spiritual eyes!

We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. Joseph Campbell

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

So that's my problem! I had been in a funk, a blue mood, lonely,...ok, depressed, for weeks. I haven't wanted to be here in Ohio, starting my job again, beginning a new commitment.

Beth & Nate and boys (3)

Beth & Nate and boys (3)

I've wanted to be back in Delaware...with my new grandson William and his brothers Eli and Kaden and my daughter Beth and her husband Nate (whom I am teaching to crochet, by the way...what fun!)

Or...

Sunrise 8-14

Sunrise 8-14

I've wanted to be in New Jersey...watching the sun rise over the ocean every morning and walking on the beach with my cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee with no one else around, except fishermen like my brother Billy, and photographers like Bill McKim.

sunrise, bill McKim 8-23-14

sunrise, bill McKim 8-23-14

And visiting with my siblings and my dear mama in her new home at Manor by the Sea in Ocean Grove.

mom, sibs, & me Aug 2012

mom, sibs, & me Aug 2012

My subconscious (and conscious) mind has been working on "how can I get back there...sooner instead of later?"

John on Thanksgiving at Beth's

John on Thanksgiving at Beth's

Now I have a good life here in Ohio, great husband, lovely home, awesome son and family, amazing friends, a one day a week teaching job that I love, a new opportunity to teach ladies the scriptures.  BUT...somewhere along the line, I've quit embracing my life and hugging it to my breast and being thankful for it -- both the good and the hard.  And that isn't good at all!

Jeremy & fam...JOY

Jeremy & fam...JOY

I can't live where I'm not! I need to live where I am each day...owning my reality. WHY? Because that is where God is and that is where I meet HIM! He is the I AM in my "right here, right now!"

After reflecting along these lines for awhile, another quote from the list got me:

Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there.’ Eckhart Tolle

Is that what is disturbing my sleep lately? I'm fighting against my own life! How many times have I "preached" against this very thing to others?

So what did I do? I chose to receive the truth the Lord was revealing. "Jan, you need to be fully HERE!"

So here I am in Ohio...not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually. I'm meeting the Lord in my "here" and receiving at His hand "this day, this bread" as the Lord's prayer says.

What about you? What is the life you have? Is it the one you are embracing, or are you reaching out for another...which is not really your life "right here, right now" at all?

Why not do what the Lord led me to do this morning?  Agree with Him, and then list your life and give thanks for each and every part of it by name, the good and the hard.

Then keep on adding to the list each day...till that eternal day when you see Him face to face, when He says, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord!"

"Come on home...to a perfect place, a place you never dreamed possible!"

I looked again and could hardly believe my eyes. Everything above me was new. Everything below me was new. Everything around me was new because the heaven and earth that had been passed away, and the sea was gone, completely.

And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride on her wedding day, adorned for her husband and for His eyes only.

And I heard a great voice, coming from the throne.

See, the home of God is with His people. He will live among them; They will be His people, And God Himself will be with them.

Revelation 21:1-3 VOICE


Living the Life I Have, not the One I Wish I Had

Have you ever thought you didn't have a problem in an area and then all of a sudden you came face to face with the truth? I have! In fact, that happened again to me just the other day.  Here's how it played out: I was whizzing down my Facebook news feed when I came across a link shared by my sister-in-law Vicky. Now Vicky has been posting some really good stuff lately, and I had a few extra minutes...plus I was drawn into it (could that have been the Holy Spirit?), so I parked there for awhile.

the-scream

the-scream

As I went through the list of quotes for "anxious, highly sensitive, and creative people," BAM! Right between the emotional and spiritual eyes!

We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. Joseph Campbell

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

So that's my problem! I had been in a funk, a blue mood, lonely,...ok, depressed, for weeks. I haven't wanted to be here in Ohio, starting my job again, beginning a new commitment.

Beth & Nate and boys (3)

Beth & Nate and boys (3)

I've wanted to be back in Delaware...with my new grandson William and his brothers Eli and Kaden and my daughter Beth and her husband Nate (whom I am teaching to crochet, by the way...what fun!)

Or...

Sunrise 8-14

Sunrise 8-14

I've wanted to be in New Jersey...watching the sun rise over the ocean every morning and walking on the beach with my cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee with no one else around, except fishermen like my brother Billy, and photographers like Bill McKim.

sunrise, bill McKim 8-23-14

sunrise, bill McKim 8-23-14

And visiting with my siblings and my dear mama in her new home at Manor by the Sea in Ocean Grove.

mom, sibs, & me Aug 2012

mom, sibs, & me Aug 2012

My subconscious (and conscious) mind has been working on "how can I get back there...sooner instead of later?"

John on Thanksgiving at Beth's

John on Thanksgiving at Beth's

Now I have a good life here in Ohio, great husband, lovely home, awesome son and family, amazing friends, a one day a week teaching job that I love, a new opportunity to teach ladies the scriptures.  BUT...somewhere along the line, I've quit embracing my life and hugging it to my breast and being thankful for it -- both the good and the hard.  And that isn't good at all!

Jeremy & fam...JOY

Jeremy & fam...JOY

I can't live where I'm not! I need to live where I am each day...owning my reality. WHY? Because that is where God is and that is where I meet HIM! He is the I AM in my "right here, right now!"

After reflecting along these lines for awhile, another quote from the list got me:

Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there.’ Eckhart Tolle

Is that what is disturbing my sleep lately? I'm fighting against my own life! How many times have I "preached" against this very thing to others?

So what did I do? I chose to receive the truth the Lord was revealing. "Jan, you need to be fully HERE!"

So here I am in Ohio...not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually. I'm meeting the Lord in my "here" and receiving at His hand "this day, this bread" as the Lord's prayer says.

What about you? What is the life you have? Is it the one you are embracing, or are you reaching out for another...which is not really your life "right here, right now" at all?

Why not do what the Lord led me to do this morning?  Agree with Him, and then list your life and give thanks for each and every part of it by name, the good and the hard.

Then keep on adding to the list each day...till that eternal day when you see Him face to face, when He says, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord!"

"Come on home...to a perfect place, a place you never dreamed possible!"

I looked again and could hardly believe my eyes. Everything above me was new. Everything below me was new. Everything around me was new because the heaven and earth that had been passed away, and the sea was gone, completely.

And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride on her wedding day, adorned for her husband and for His eyes only.

And I heard a great voice, coming from the throne.

See, the home of God is with His people. He will live among them; They will be His people, And God Himself will be with them.

Revelation 21:1-3 VOICE

[youtuber youtube='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtxmSAqMtDA']

Overflowing with Gratitude

fall trees

fall trees

It's not the happy person who is thankful but the thankful person who is happy. Anonymous A few years ago, I started teaching language and writing to GED students.  Every Wednesday, we would do an exercise together as a class to practice writing a five paragraph essay.

As the end of November approached, I chose the topic of Thanksgiving.  I thought that in this age of entitlement it might be a double "win" for the students to count their blessings and practice their writing.

So to prepare for my lesson, I sent out an email to friends and colleagues for quotes about being thankful.  I received some great ones!

Some were fun:

What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets.  I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving? Erma Bombeck

pilgrim family

pilgrim family

May your stuffing be tasty May your turkey plump May your potatoes and gravy Have nary a lump May your yams be delicious And may your pies take the prize And may you Thanksgiving dinner Stay off your thighs! Anonymous

Others, really profound:

Gratitude is the least of the virtues, but ingratitude is the worst of the vices. Thomas Fuller

The pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts....nevertheless, they set aside a day of thanksgiving.  H.W. Westermayer

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the others. Cicero

And my favorite:

It's not the happy person who is thankful but the thankful person who is happy. Anonymous

But as always, God's Word takes the prize for the most profoundly sublime quote on being thankful.

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. Col 2:6-7

Let's meditate for a few moments on this beautiful phrase, overflowing with gratitude:

What does it mean to overflow?

roosevelt dam overflow

roosevelt dam overflow

A reservoir holds water.  When it rains too much or the snows in the mountains melt, the water flows over the edge.  When my husband John was a child he lived near the Roosevelt Dam.  When the dam spilled over, it was quite an event...a wonder to behold!

And that's what this word in the original language means:  to be in excess, to have more than enough, to super-abound...to overflow!

What is gratitude?

This word means appreciation, thanksgiving and and praise to God...and to others who have enriched our lives. After all, ...what do you have that you did not receive? 1Cor 4:7

communion set

communion set

The original word in Greek is eucharistia. In Christian liturgical traditions,

Eucharist is used in modern language for Holy Communion, embodying the highest act of thanksgiving for the greatest gift from God, the sacrifice of Jesus.  It is the grateful acknowledgement of past mercies. Spiro Zodiates

In fact, Jesus Himselfgave thanks to the Father as He broke the bread and blessed the cup at the Last Supper with His disciples.  He acknowledged His Father as the Giver of every good gift and every perfect gift.James 1:17

So let us also, dear brothers and sisters, be a people overflowing with gratitude...not just at this season, but all year long!

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Thanksgivng Exercises:

  1. What 5 things can you thank God for right now? In your journal list them. Then chose one of the 5 and list 5 more. Keep going if you'd like. :) If you're having a hard time getting started, take a peek at this link and thank God for the gift of sight

  2. Have a time of family or personal communion, thanking the Father for the gift of His precious Son.

  3. Do this Bible study exercise:

Kaden the student

Kaden the student

Read through the book of Colossians and find at least one verse in each chapter about giving thanks. Be sure to read the context to get the complete message.

Only one prayer? Give thanks!

garage sale

garage sale

Early one fall, I had a few moments in between errands, so I decided to follow the "garage sale" signs into a neighborhood off the main road I was traveling on. It was at the end of the day...and the house I stopped at looked a bit bare and disheveled.  But I got out of my car anyway.  And by the time I got back in my car, I was so glad I had stopped.

No, I didn't buy any treasures....in fact, I didn't spend a cent.  But I did leave with the treasure of a truth etched in my mind.  It was from a somewhat banged up looking plaque:

If you only have one prayer...give thanks!

I wrote the words down in my little notebook, and I've been mulling them over ever since:  Just one prayer...thank you!

I've thought of the words that we love to hear from our babies...ma-ma, da-da, wuv oo...  Wouldn't tah-too {thank you} be in that early list?  How lovely as a mom or dad to be appreciated!  And when those kind words just tumble forth from a toddlers mouth...oh, sweetness and delight!

So then it makes sense that the primary characteristic of a child of God would be gratitude.

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught abounding in thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7 ESV

In fact, the first words of affection coming from a baby believer may very well be "Thank you, Father God!"

give thanks

give thanks

Our modern culture has lost the art of "thank you"...no more "thank you notes"...more about entitlement, I guess.  But I suppose that it's not just our modern culture.  In the epistle to the Romans, Paul points out that one of the main characteristics of the pagan was not giving God thanks, despite knowing and seeing Him in creation.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened... Romans 1:20-21 NIV

{If you want a real eye-opener, read the surrounding verses in Romans.  It sounds more like modern day America than we might like to think!}

I wonder if that's why our own minds, though believing, may at times be plagued by dark and depressing thoughts.

Give thanks, O child of God!  Abba, our Creator, is worthy!

So as we approach our very American holiday of Thanksgiving, start your list...and never stop!  Thank God and others every day.  What a great way to prepare for the language of heaven...where we will thank our Savior face to face...and perhaps thank those He used in our earthly lives to draw us to our great God!

...since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God... Hebrews 12:28 NIV

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Don't miss this -- For an amazing story and video of modern day pagans spontaneously bursting into thanksgiving at the moment of salvation, view Rich & Karen Brown's account.  Click on picture to read their story and view the video at the end of the post:

6-brown_family

6-brown_family

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Are you overflowing with gratitude?  For some fun, as well as profound, thoughts about Thanksgiving, click on picture:

pilgrims dancing

pilgrims dancing

My Mother...My Hero

mommy & me
mommy & me

Mothers are awesome creatures.  They are the lovely reflections of our Father God's unconditional, sacrificial, faithful LOVE!  Moms are the true HEROS of life, or should I say, HEROINES! My mother, Jeanette Galuszka Renner, is MY hero!

A few years ago, I wrote a letter to honor my "Mommy" as she turned 85.  We published mine, along with others from her children, grandchildren, and other relatives, in a book to honor this amazing lady.

I'm posting my letter to thank God again for the gracious gift of my MOM, my HERO ...and to encourage YOU to give thanks to the Maker of Mothers...for YOUR mother!

letter writing
letter writing

Also, don't wait to eulogize your mom.  If you are blessed to still have her in your life, tell her!  Better yet, prayerfully and thoughtfully write her a letter.  Don't assume she knows how wonderful and important she is...put it in print! (I think there's something sacred about the written word!)

Summer 2009

Dearest Mom,

Someone once asked me, “Who was the person who influenced you the most?”  Without hesitation I answered, “My mother!”  You, dear Mommy, more than any other human being, have profoundly impacted who I am and how I live my life.  I will be forever grateful to God and to you for your sacrificial love, your teaching, and your example.

young jeanette
young jeanette

There was never a question in my mind that you loved me unconditionally and with great sacrifice.  You were always on my side and helped me with school work, projects, etc. even though you had the others to take care of too.  I remember how skinny and tired you always were, forgetting to even to eat lunch (amazing to me as a child!) because of your constant care for all of us. You would always make sure we had what we needed and often even stayed up late sewing to make clothes and costumes for us.  I remember wondering how you could be happy never getting anything new for yourself.  Now I know that your happiness was in giving to your family.

mom & dad, young
mom & dad, young

I also remember your teaching.  You taught me to write my name in cursive before I went to school – something I took pride in!  You taught me to crochet, which gives me great pleasure even today.  I know you drilled school work with me and really wanted me to do well.

But most of all, I remember you taught me about God.  I have memories of us sitting together on the couch in our living room in Tucson, looking at the big family Bible together.  There were some pictures in it, so you told me about those Bible stories.  I remember that you often quoted a verse from the Bible that I have never forgotten:  “Eye has not seen, nor has ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1Corinthians 2:9)

You gave me a view of God and His ways that has remained at the center of my life to this day.  You instilled in me that the most important thing in life is to do the will of God.  I heartily agree!

mommy & me
mommy & me

But you not only taught me about God and His ways and about life in general.  You showed me and my brothers and sisters what it is to live out faithfulness to God and your family by your example.  You didn’t have an easy life…there were heartaches, difficulties, and struggles.  You have often doubted yourself, but you have never doubted God and your love for your family.  You have always set us a good example of devotion to God through prayer, giving, and attendance at church.  And you have always been loyal, loving, and generous to all of us, your children, grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren.

It is a great pleasure to honor you today at this celebration of your 85th birthday!  The Bible says that a woman like you is a treasure to find.  I consider you among the greatest treasures of my life, and I do truly “rise up and call you blessed!”  (Proverbs 31:28)  You are my hero!

My love always

Janet Gale

mother of 7
mother of 7
great-g'ma of 4+
great-g'ma of 4+
grandmother of 12+
grandmother of 12+

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I cry every time I hear this song...always thinking of my mom!  My niece Noelle sang it to my mom at her celebration. Listen and think of your mom...

Wind Beneath My Wings

It must have been cold there in my shadow To never have sunlight on your face You were content to let me shine, that's your way You always walked a step behind

So I was the one with all the glory While you were the one with all the strength A beautiful face without a name for so long A beautiful smile to hide the pain

Did you ever know that you're my hero And everything I would like to be? I can fly higher than an eagle For you are the wind beneath my wings

It might have appeared to go unnoticed But I've got it all here in my heart I want you to know, I know the truth, of course I know it I would be nothing without you

Did you ever know that you're my hero? You're everything I wish I could be I could fly higher than an eagle For you are the wind beneath my wings

Did I ever tell you you're my hero? You're everything, everything I wish I could be Oh, and I, I could fly higher than an eagle For you are the wind beneath my wings 'Cause you are the wind beneath my wings

Oh, the wind beneath my wings You, you, you, you are the wind beneath my wings Fly, fly, fly away, you let me fly so high Oh, you, you, you, the wind beneath my wings Oh, you, you, you, the wind beneath my wings

Fly, fly, so high against the sky So high I almost touch the sky Thank you, thank youThank God for you, the wind beneath my wings


1000 Moms Project