Sunday, November 29, 2009

1st Sunday of Advent

From "The Upper Room" Daily Devotional Guide

Read: John 1:6-8, 19-28l 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

The season of Advent lays the foundation for the celebration of Christmas. Luke tells us in his Gospel (4:16-21) that Jesus proclaimed himself the fulfillment of the promise God made to restore the people (See Isaiah 61:1-4). This is our hope. This is what we look forward to in the birth of the Christ Child. In the meantime, we enter into a time of expectation, a season pregnant with what is to come.

The scriptures show us how to receive again the Gift of Love that is to be born. The first letter to the Thessalonians tells a faithful community how to live expectantly; to rejoice and pray, to give thanks in everything, to cling to the good and reject evil. It is good counsel for us in Advent.

We have become part of a sacred history, and we are called to live responsibly--faithful to the purposes of God. In Advent we have an opportunity to prepare to receive the Christ anew in our lives, refreshing and restoring our faith with ancient truth and future hope.
F. Richard Garland

Friday, November 27, 2009

Now that's a speech...

A copy of George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclomation...

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Something different

Since my last 2 posts were about being thankful...I thought today's post would be a little different...the questions and answers are courtesy of The History Channel:

How Much Do You REALLY Know About Thanksgiving?

1. Fact or Fiction: Thanksgiving is held on the final Thursday of November each year.

Fiction. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln designated the last Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving. However, in 1939, after a request from the National Retail Dry Goods Association, President Franklin Roosevelt decreed that the holiday should always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month (and never the occasional fifth, as occurred in 1939) in order to extend the holiday shopping season by a week. The decision sparked great controversy, and was still unresolved two years later, when the House of Representatives passed a resolution making the last Thursday in November a legal national holiday. The Senate amended the resolution, setting the date as the fourth Thursday, and the House eventually agreed.

2. Fact or Fiction: One of America's Founding Fathers thought the turkey should be the national bird of the United States.

Fact. In a letter to his daughter sent in 1784, Benjamin Franklin suggested that the wild turkey would be a more appropriate national symbol for the newly independent United States than the bald eagle (which had earlier been chosen by the Continental Congress). He argued that the turkey was "a much more respectable Bird," "a true original Native of America," and "though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage."

3.Fact or Fiction: In 1863, Abraham Lincoln became the first American president to proclaim a national day of thanksgiving.

Fiction. George Washington, John Adams and James Madison all issued proclamations urging Americans to observe days of thanksgiving, both for general good fortune and for particularly momentous events (the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, in Washington's case; the end of the War of 1812, in Madison's).

4.Fact or Fiction: Macy's was the first American department store to sponsor a parade in celebration of Thanksgiving.

Fiction. The Philadelphia department store Gimbel's had sponsored a parade in 1920, but the Macy's parade, launched four years later, soon became a Thanksgiving tradition and the standard kickoff to the holiday shopping season. The parade became ever more well-known after it featured prominently in the hit film Miracle on 34th Street (1947), which shows actual footage of the 1946 parade. In addition to its famous giant balloons and floats, the Macy's parade features live music and other performances, including by the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes and cast members of well-known Broadway shows.

5. Fact or Fiction: Turkeys are slow-moving birds that lack the ability to fly.

Fiction (kind of). Domesticated turkeys (the type eaten on Thanksgiving) cannot fly, and their pace is limited to a slow walk. Female domestic turkeys, which are typically smaller and lighter than males, can move somewhat faster. Wild turkeys, on the other hand, are much smaller and more agile. They can reach speeds of up to 20-25 miles per hour on the ground and fly for short distances at speeds approaching 55 miles per hour. They also have better eyesight and hearing than their domestic counterparts.

6. Fact or Fiction: Native Americans used cranberries, now a staple of many Thanksgiving dinners, for cooking as well as medicinal purposes.

. According to the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association, one of the country's oldest farmers' organizations, Native Americans used cranberries in a variety of foods, including "pemmican" (a nourishing, high-protein combination of crushed berries, dried deer meat and melted fat). They also used it as a medicine to treat arrow punctures and other wounds and as a dye for fabric. The Pilgrims adopted these uses for the fruit and gave it a name—"craneberry"—because its drooping pink blossoms in the spring reminded them of a crane.

7. Fact or Fiction: The movement of the turkey inspired a ballroom dance.

Fact. The turkey trot, modeled on that bird's characteristic short, jerky steps, was one of a number of popular dance styles that emerged during the late 19th and early 20th century in the United States. The two-step, a simple dance that required little to no instruction, was quickly followed by such dances as the one-step, the turkey trot, the fox trot and the bunny hug, which could all be performed to the ragtime and jazz music popular at the time. The popularity of such dances spread like wildfire, helped along by the teachings and performances of exhibition dancers like the famous husband-and-wife team Vernon and Irene Castle.

8. Fact or Fiction: On Thanksgiving Day in 2007, two turkeys earned a trip to Disney World.

. On November 20, 2007, President George W. Bush granted a "pardon" to two turkeys, named May and Flower, at the 60th annual National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation, held in the Rose Garden at the White House. The two turkeys were flown to Orlando, Florida, where they served as honorary grand marshals for the Disney World Thanksgiving Parade. The current tradition of presidential turkey pardons began in 1947, under Harry Truman, but the practice is said to have informally begun with Abraham Lincoln, who granted a pardon to his son Tad's pet turkey.

9. Fact or Fiction: Turkey contains an amino acid that makes you sleepy.

Fact. Turkey does contain the essential amino acid tryptophan, which is a natural sedative, but so do a lot of other foods, including chicken, beef, pork, beans and cheese. Though many people believe turkey's tryptophan content is what makes many people feel sleepy after a big Thanksgiving meal, it is more likely the combination of fats and carbohydrates most people eat with the turkey, as well as the large amount of food (not to mention alcohol, in some cases) consumed, that makes most people feel like following their meal up with a nap.

10. Fact or Fiction: The tradition of playing or watching football on Thanksgiving started with the first National Football League game on the holiday in 1934.

Fiction. The American tradition of college football on Thanksgiving is pretty much as old as the sport itself. The newly formed American Intercollegiate Football Association held its first championship game on Thanksgiving Day in 1876. At the time, the sport resembled something between rugby and what we think of as football today. By the 1890s, more than 5,000 club, college and high school football games were taking place on Thanksgiving, and championship match-ups between schools like Princeton and Yale could draw up to 40,000 fans. The NFL took up the tradition in 1934, when the Detroit Lions (recently arrived in the city and renamed) played the Chicago Bears at the University of Detroit stadium in front of 26,000 fans. Since then, the Lions game on Thanksgiving has become an annual event, taking place every year except during the World War II years (1939–1944).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving Thanks...

I was digging through my nightstand drawer last night...if yours is like mine, it is the depository for all things that you have no place to put but wouldn't dare throw away...and discovered a Mother's Day Present from my son, from 1993. A little ceramic pillow that says "Happy Mother's Day" and when you push the button on the back it plays "Somewhere over the Rainbow". Joy, of Joy's, it still plays!

I spent a few minutes thinking of the child he was and the young man he has become...and then of my daughter, my husband, my grand-son, my late parents and grandparents, the sister I lost 2 years ago and all of my husbands beautiful, warm family, his parents, sisters, brothers, in-laws and nieces. It dawned on me how many that involves and I didn't even get to extended family and friends. I have all these to be thankful for, and that is just the people!!!

We're told to count our blessings and I for one do not do it often enough...If you're the one chosen to say the blessing before your Thanksgiving meal tomorrow, don't take time to mention each one or the cooks will kill you (not to mention all the famished guests)! But sometime during the day take a few moments, lift up your heart to God and be glad...for He is Gracious to us!

Monday, November 23, 2009

I will enter

It's Thanksgiving week and despite the fact that most of us stress at some point or the other...because of travel, cooking, entertaining or any number of other reasons...We should be thankful...

Thanksgiving always makes me think of Psalm 100:4 "Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name". Enjoy the song and take joy in the Lord for "He has made me glad"!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The picture of patience

Just had to post this for all the cat lovers (Rich!) out there. Watch this interaction between a kitten and a cop. Give the man credit for trying to ignore it and continue with his job. Despite all the kitten can do he does not get angry...good guy!

Now, having been the wife of a policeman I know how these uniforms are made and his wife is NOT going to be pleased with all the "pulls" in the material. Each time the sweet little kitty puts a claw into the uniform, it will pull a thread. She can take scissors and snip them but my, oh many do you think there will be? But then again, maybe she'll just let him take care of it!

(BTW, the video was captured on the dash board camera in the patrol car, there is no sound)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Is this you?

By Naked Pastor

This cartoon made me many times have you heard someone say (or said yourself), Where has God gone? We humans are so quick to lay the blame at the feet of someone else, even God. With prayer, petition and meditation it may soon become evident that YOU are the one who has moved away from God, not vice versa.

Fortunately for us, He remains steadfast and constant. We can always find Him if we look. A good place to start looking is on your knees...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I know I've been linking to lots of other sites and stories lately but I just keep running across things that I really want you to see...

Today is the New Oxford American Dictionary's "Word of the Year". And it is...Unfriend! Basically it is defined as a verb and means to "remove someone as a friend from a social networking site such as Facebook".

Unfriend...with one word someone goes from being on your list to being branded as someone you want no association with. You can have all kinds of friends on a Facebook site and perhaps never meet them face to face. Our society is becoming isolated. You can "talk" to someone in any number of ways and never ever hear their voice...e-mail, texting, Facebook, Twitter. While any and all can be useful tools, how can we be a friend if we have no physical contact? If you spend your time using these modern tools, are you really developing a friend? One that sticks with you and loves you in spite of your faults?

Something precious is being lost and the invention of a word like "unfriend" shows us how deep the loss goes.

Monday, November 16, 2009


The annual Circus Festival of Monte Carlo is a tradition of showcasing Circus acts from around the world...take a moment to watch THESE performers from China. The last part is astounding...and WOW was the only comment I could make!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Symphony of Science

God uses the most unlikely people in the most unlikely ways, to reach us...

As in this Symphony

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Peer Pressure

When we think of peer pressure, we usually think of friends persuading us to do things we shouldn't. But, as we see in the Book of Daniel, it can also be a positive thing. The story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego is the perfect example of peer pressure.

These 3 young men had been taken into captivity and were expected to give up all they had been raised to believe was right. They were told they had to follow another...a mortal man who proclaimed himself god or face the consequences. Because they would not follow the little "g" god, they were locked in a furnace to be burned to death. As they stood in the midst of the flames, a wonderful and miraculous event ocuured. Their faith in one another as well as their faith in God gave them the strength to withstand the pressure to change. In the midst of men who wanted to take their faith, and fire that wanted to take their lives, Christ stood with them. Needless to say, they walked out unharmed.

Has your friendship with another ever been tested like this? How about your faith in God? Would you do the right thing?

Friday, November 13, 2009


There are two freedoms--the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; and the true, where a man is free to do what he ought. Kingsley

Originally I wrote several paragraphs in light of the quote shown above and the recent events...Veterans Day and the shootings at Ft. Hood...but then it came to me that perhaps I should just provide the equation and let you come to your own conclusion. Of course, if you'd like to discuss...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Emperor Penguins

Photographer David Schutlz of Utah had been photographing Emperor Penguins for several days. He noticed that the chicks were exceptionally curious about him and his equipment and that the parents seemed to be encouraging them to check it out. From this picture, it looks like they were watching him much closer than he imagined!

You can read the rest of the story here...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mansions of the Lord

In honor of all our and dead...Mansions of the Lord

To fallen soldiers let us sing,

Where no rockets fly nor bullets wing,

Our broken brothers let us bring

To the Mansions of the Lord.

No more bleeding, no more fight,

No prayers pleading through the night,

Just divine embrace, eternal light

In the Mansions of the Lord.

Where no mothers cry and no children weep,

We will stand and guard though the angels sleep,

Oh through the ages safely keep

The Mansions of the Lord.

Written by Randall Wallace and Nick Glennie-Smith

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

God Singing

God looks at us with love, kindness, and great compassion at all times. Zephaniah 3:17 tells us that God takes great delight in us, calms and quiets us with divine love, and rejoices over us with singing. I wonder what song God is singing over me right now? What song is God singing over you? Scripture says that it is a song of rejoicing and delight. I wonder what effect it would have on us if we could hear, just once, the words of God’s song for us.

- Leigh Harrison

UT Marching Band....

Having way too much fun at Halftime Halloween Night

Gotta love it!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fort Hood

Our hearts go out to all those affected by the shootings at Fort Hood Texas last week. The victims, their families and friends, those stationed on the base, those who serve in our military and the community that surrounds them. And yes, we lift up our prayers for the shooter. Although we cannot begin to understand his motivation and what caused him to perform this senseless act, God knows.

We pray that the Father of all Mercies surround all those affected with his love, peace and grace.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Monastics (Nuns and Monks) schedule their day around the "Liturgy of the Hours", certain times of the day that they meet together to pray, sing and praise...They are:
Matins (during the night)
Lauds (at Dawn)
Prime (6am, the first hour)
Terce (9am, the third hour)
Sext (Noon, the sixth hour)
None (3pm, the ninth hour)
Vespers (Evening, at "the lighting of the lamps")
Compline (night or just before bedtime)

Watch and listen to Lauds...see the pictures of the earth as it wakes...hear the bells as they call to prayer and then the singing!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Holy Spirit

Many of us understand (or feel we do) what the Holy Spirit IS...but when it comes time to explain or describe it for someone else we get stuck...Gavin has a unique way of looking at it...Kleenex and the Holy Spirit.

And Youth, once you watch, lets discuss!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Living the Prayer

So many times in life, I have found myself at a loss for words when it comes to Praying...times of sorrow, pain, desperation, depression...the need and desire to pray is there but the words just won't form. I cannot put together a coherent sentence, much less a request. In those instances I have found myself repeating the Lord's before you say it cannot fit all situations, stop and think...what situation does it NOT cover? For me anyway, it has been a bridge to God in those dark times when I felt lost and alone. Those times when I had wandered away from Him...

According to this story, I'm not the only one!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Take a moment to read this story and see what a blind Army Captain can teach about the absolute need of forgiveness...