November 26

            “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name, for the Lord is good, and his love endures forever.” (Psalm 100:4-5a) You might be thinking, Give thanks? For what? The world is teetering on the brink of insanity, hatred is drowning out love, and everybody is feeling helpless to do anything about it. And we’re supposed to give thanks?
            While all of that is true, there is still much for which we may be thankful – second chances comes to mind – if we but take the time to stop and realize it. As for me, I am thankful for the people who have come into and gone out of my life. Some of them have shown me who I want to be like; others have shown me who I do not want to be like. There are good people in the world, and though their deeds may not be as widely known as the bad people, they can still make a difference in at least some small corner of the world.

            And the one overarching thing behind all of this is that there is a God who is so truly,  deeply, passionately in love with us that he is willing to forgive at any sign of contrition and penitence on our part. And for that, there is only one thing that can truly be said: Thank you, God.

November 19

“Each day carries the potential to bring the experience of heaven; Have the courage to expect good from it.” - John McQuiston, Always We Begin Again

In this season of Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the little surprise glimpses of heaven I get, usually when I least expect it. We usually think of heaven as “up there somewhere”, but I truly believe that we get little tastes of it throughout our lives.
On my walks through the woods with my dog Rudy, I periodically see something in nature that I haven’t seen before. I have to pay attention. I have to be quiet, stop, and look carefully. Sometimes when I do, I get to hear and see an owl, stare into the eyes of a buck and watch him leap away as gracefully as any ballet dancer,  or watch in wonder as a heron dives into the stream then sails up into the treetops and navigates its way through all the trees with its huge wingspan. I see many of my glimpses of heaven in nature, but everyone is different. 
Find your place that refreshes your spirit. And then, be grateful as you get a preview of heaven.

Dear mother earth, who day by day unfolds blessings on our way, Alleluia!  Alleluia! The flowers and fruits that in thee grow, let them God’s glory also show!  O praise ye! O praise ye! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia! - Verse 4 of the hymn “All Creatures of Our God and King” , words by Francis of Assisi.


November 14

Thank you, Lord, for those bright days in the midst of the darker times. Thank you for the splendid carpet of Ginko leaves that filled my path with greens and golds. Thank you for the neighbors saying hello. Thank you for the huge white dog and her owner who let me greet her in the pet supply store. Thank you for warm blankets on cool mornings as I awake. Thank you, Lord, for the grace-filled moments. In Jesus' name, Amen.