I just learned this is the last Quotography challenge of the year. This has been an enjoyable linkup for me, so I'm looking forward to its return in the new year. It is such a natural pairing with the Scripture and a Snapshot challenge, that unless that link up also takes a break I'll probably just stay in the normal routine. It will also be a good opportunity to add to my line of spiritually oriented greeting cards that I'm offering at Greeting Card Universe.
Since I'm new to this I'm wondering if other linkups will start to break for the holidays as well. Taking a break is a good thing. After blogging consistently every day since September, I expect at some point that I'll feel the need for a little blog hiatus. I'm not there yet!
The upcoming four day weekend is certainly a desperately needed break from the normal routine. It will be a time for catching up with the rest of my life, since my day job has taken up more than its fair share lately. There are Christmas projects I need to either finish or get started, blog housekeeping (and the other less pleasurable kind of housekeeping) and I intend to take lots of time for photography, processing, planning, and learning.
As much as I adore Christmas, I haven't yet decided whether or not I'll put up the tree and decorations. It's not the putting up that's the problem, its the taking down! One way or another, the decision will be made this weekend and if I decide to go ahead, that's another thing on the overflowing list of things I'd like to do on my break. Suddenly, four days doesn't seem like so much time any more.
We are keeping things low key for Thanksgiving this year. With my son in Afghanistan, and other family members not coming into town, my oldest son and I accepted an invitation from my boyfriend's family for dinner. I'm grateful that I don't have to cook this year, although I do love to cook and entertain in my home. Next year, we'll throw down!
Last night my boyfriend and I attended a joint Thanksgiving service of three area churches - Presbyterian, Anglican, and church of Christ. It was my first Anglican service ever, as my spiritual heritage is of that third flavor. Depending on where you live in the world and what your spiritual background is, you may or may not realize what a miracle this was.
In fact, most churches of Christ would frown mightily on a gathering such as this, but the church of Christ I attend is notoriously different in that way.
These services have been held for the last 15 years, rotating which church holds the service in the tradition of their church. One of the guest pastors/ministers/priests give the lesson and the other two participate differently in the service as needed.
I must say that I really enjoyed it even though it was very different. The members of the congregation were also about the warmest and friendliest I'd ever encountered.
There is something about the ritual, interaction, and reverence of a liturgical service that enriches the experience of worship in a profound way. A discussion of my spiritual journey and how I came to where I am could fill a book, so I won't attempt to delve too deeply in a blog post. Suffice it to say I am grateful for the experience.
Gratitude is what its all about this season. The quote I used for today's image could not be more applicable in times such as these. I suppose it is human nature to complain and focus on our problems, and Lord knows I do my share of it. But, lately I seem to be more aware of the grumblings and complainings of my fellow humans. I suspect this awareness has a lot to do with facebook and social media.
With my son in Afghanistan, I don't watch the news very much, so all my news and information comes via others through my social networking. The more people I have on my friends list, the greater the chance I'm going to hear someone bitchin' and moanin' about one thing or another in their world, and everyone rushes to sympathize over bad hair days, hangnails or iPhone trouble.
I'm fairly certain that if I'd had an online platform for telling others what is wrong in my life ten years ago (maybe even five years ago), I would have thrown one never ending virtual pity party featuring big problems and small. To be honest, if I let myself go there, I could put on a pretty good one right now.
Let's face it, fostering an attitude of gratitude is just harder than its opposite. Today's quote speaks to me because it reminds me to be receptive and grateful for all that I'm given, including what I reject because my humans eyes and blinded heart can't see the gift in it.
It is easy to feel gratitude for the good things that come to us in life, but we are told that NOTHING is to be rejected. Even if what is happening at the moment hurts, annoys, is not what we think we need, or is not what we want, we can rest assured that there is a gift in there somewhere.
Some gifts are harder to see than others, and it may take a long time to get to it. But, being receptive to the idea that all we are given contains a gift for our good we can resist less and move forward in peace. Maybe the only gift in a given situation is a peace that passes our understanding in the midst of our turmoil because we approached the situation with an mindfulness of God's promises and a belief that our prayers are heard. But, what a tremendous gift that is!
Here on this Thanksgiving eve, I wish everyone overflowing feelings of peace, joy, and love in all circumstances.