Thursday, November 24, 2011

In A Spirit of Thanksgiving

We are feeling greatly blessed today. Our mission ended just yesterday, so on this Thanksgiving we are basking in the joy of having given all we had to give to the Institute students of Northern Virginia. We received far more than we gave -- from the students and from the Lord. This is a Thanksgiving of abundant blessings. 

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are ten of the things we're most grateful for today:
1. To spend Thanksgiving with Amy and Colin in Alexandria.
When we arrived at their front door this afternoon we were met with the most delicious smell coming from their kitchen -- and a big bear hug from Colin when he opened the door. He gives the best hugs! He had just driven home from seven weeks of training at Wright-Patterson AF Base in Ohio (two weeks to go). Susi Carpenter, our niece, joined us and we had a spectacular feast.
Amy roasted a brined turkey, which has just become my favorite kind of turkey ever.
Amy baked four different kinds of pies in different shapes and sizes, then put together a presentation fit for Martha Stewart.
I have now decided - finally - that having all grown children is a great blessing. It's hard to watch them all leave home, but it is a delight to see them use their talents and abilities to create a new life and a new family.
2. The ways all of our daughters, their husbands and our grandchildren have become involved and encouraged us on our mission. Phone calls, cards, drawings, Skype, visits, and taking care of our home, to name a few. Their help and support truly strengthens us.
3. Challenges that give us chances to grow.
4. The opportunity and means to serve a mission. Service can bring love into your life.
5. Increased time to study and teach the restored gospel of Jesus Christ together, gaining greater faith, understanding and testimony.
6. Knowledgeable, faithful Young Single Adults who give us hope for the future.
7. The health, energy and safety we need:  a great blessing we never take for granted.
8. Friends old and new.
9. The diversity and beauty of the different regions of this great land and it's people.
10. The values, goals and inspiration that led our founding fathers to establish the democracy that has guided our country for 235 years.

This week, we read a statement made by General Robert E. Lee at the end of the Civil War. Even though it's been almost 150 years since then, it's a timely reminder of everything we hold dear and to whom we owe our thanks:
     "Knowing that intercessory prayer is our mightiest weapon and the supreme call for all Christians today, I pleadingly urge our people everywhere to pray. Believing that prayer is the greatest contribution that our people can make in this critical hour, I humbly urge that we take time to pray -- to really pray. Let there be prayer at sunup, at noonday, at sundown, at midnight -- all through the day. Let us all pray for our children, our youth, our aged, our pastors, our homes. Let us pray for our churches. Let us pray for ourselves, that we may not lose the word 'concern' out of our Christian vocabulary. Let us pray for our nation. Let us pray for those who have never known Jesus Christ and redeeming love, for moral forces everywhere, for our national leaders. Let prayer be our passion. Let prayer be our practice."                                ~Pat~

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