SILENT NIGHT

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So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.  – Luke 2:4-7

Most of us grew up singing this Christmas carol.  It’s like saying the pledge of allegiance or reciting Scripture we’ve learned by heart.  The lyrics just roll off the tongue with little or no thought.  Today I want to make you think about the words of this old carol.  Why was “Silent Night” written?  Why not “Bright Night” – although early in the song it’s mentioned that all is calm and all is…  bright.

On Christmas Eve, 1818, “Stille Nacht!  Heilige Nacht” was heard for the first time in a village church in Oberndorf, Austria.  The voices of the assistant pastor, Father Joseph Mohr, and the choir director Franz Xaver Gruber, rang through the church accompanied by Father Mohr’s guitar.  All the congregation at that Midnight Mass in St. Nicholas Church listened intently.

On all six verses, the choir repeated the last two lines in four-part harmony.  A carol was launched that would soar into the hearts of folks throughout the world.  It’s been translated into hundreds of languages and is sung by untold millions every Christmas from small chapels to great cathedrals around the world.

Keep in mind that this simple tune was written to be played on a guitar.  The effect is so profound because of its simplicity.  It’s as though as lullaby is being sung – and what better accompaniment than a guitar?quiet-time-prayer

Often our Lord speaks to the human heart in a whisper.  Why are we so surprised when it is the soft and simple song that penetrates a hard heart?  Christmas softens most hearts by its very nature because what’s more precious than a baby?  Of course, Christ was not just any child, but He did enter into our world in the same way we as humans do.  It’s the first small bit of common ground He established in order to become a part of humanity.

When I think of what He left behind to begin His mission, I’m so very thankful He decided to follow through…  from cradle to glorious resurrection – for even me.

Take a look at Lucinda’s cute poem about that silent night.

my-christmas-storyIsn’t that cute???  🙂

 

 

 

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NATIONAL DAY OF GIVING #GivingTuesday

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In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  – Acts 20:35

All you have to do is watch television…  any channel – choose one, to see the faces and hear the voices of people in need.  Charities are taking to the airwaves like never before, keeping their cause near and dear to our thoughts and hearts.  These days it’s not just human beings, but animals too.  I love animals (and humans most of the time), but how do we know which charities are best to contribute to?

Charitable giving is what this day is all about.  On the heels of Thanksgiving, when we are thankful for our many blessings – and on the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, when we save a ton of money on things, the idea is to give back today.  That savings you realized, you could choose to bless someone, whether 2-legged or 4-legged, with the money you saved.

We all tend to support the causes that are closest to our hearts – and that’s only natural.  I support causes in my mother’s honor and ones that she would find important.  I can’t tell you what charities to support any more than you can tell me – but if you are in doubt about whether your dollars are being used wisely, I have a suggestion.  Pray about it.  I believe if we ask God what is best, He will guide us.

Also, click on this link:

https://www.charities.org/charities?gclid=Cj0KEQiAperBBRDfuMf72sr56fIBEiQAPFXszTdIkCQTJGxbaV3p1f3WjCcA6Q1oQNDcE96jHDn4D9MaAoLB8P8HAQ

This is a charity search engine that will let you know if an organization is legitimate.  A generous soul does not have to be a blind one – or a dumb one.  It’s sad to think there may be bogus charities out there, but they do exist.  People do desperate things to get money!

Maybe today you would rather take the opportunity to give on a more personal level.  Do you know someone who could use a visit, phone call or card?  Has God brought someone to mind that you need to tend to?  Before you get too busy – stop what you’re doing and make that visit, phone call or send that card!  God will bless you for making the effort.

What sort of gifts could you consider giving?

  • Does somebody need to be warm?  Give the gift of a coat, mittens or a scarf.
  • Does somebody need food in their pantry?  Give the gift of a fruit basket, box of nuts or a gift card for the local grocery store.
  • Does somebody need gas in their car to get to work?  Give the gift of a prepaid card for that.
  • Does somebody need to be heard?  Give the gift of a listening ear with a closed mouth.
  • Does somebody need help paying for medication?  Give the gift of support by going with them to the pharmacy and helping them pay for it.  Some medication is literally life-saving.
  • Does somebody need a hug?  Give the gift of a hug – at least 3 seconds.  I read somewhere that a hug has to be at least 3 seconds long to be effective.
  • Does somebody need God’s Word?  Give the gift of a new Bible – or even a gently used one.  At one time a local antique store in our city sold Bibles for a dollar.  They looked brand new.  That’s where I got award Bibles for Sunday School promotions.  Our local Dollar General has Precious Moments children’s Bibles for less than $10.
  • Does somebody need prayed for?  Well, isn’t that a silly question?  We ALL need prayers.  If we can’t afford anything monetarily, we can sure afford to send up some prayers for those who cross our path and those God lays on our heart to pray for.  And don’t forget to tell the person you’re praying for them.  It always encourages my spirit to know when someone lifts me up in prayer.

#GivingTuesday

Is it silly to pray for those people and animals in advertisements for charities?  No, I don’t think it’s silly.  Even though they don’t have a clue who I am, I know they have a need, and I know that God can meet that need.  So I pray for the 2-legged and the 4-legged ones who need help.  give

I can’t give money to every one of them, but my prayers are certainly with them.  I would add; however, that prayers are not tax-deductible.  Not yet.  🙂

 

 

 

CYBER MONDAY

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Today is the day to stay in your pajamas and take advantage of the bargains available online!  There are literally tons of deals out there, so no matter what you are shopping for, there is surely a bargain waiting for you to find it.

15239340_1849686458609149_912808752_nLucinda is a talented poet and contributes regularly to my blog.  Her book “Coffee with Jesus” has been my go-to devotional for many years.  Every week I read a poem and companion Scriptures.  Her words inspire and encourage my spirit to do the things that God has called me to do.15218701_1849714758606319_1672215540_n

Her poem “The Napkin” is particularly inspiring – and mine serves as a reminder of the sacrifice that Christ made to save me for eternity.  I could imagine a table setting with these napkins being so lovely at Christmas.  What a unique touch for a family gathering!

the-napkinHere is a better photo of this high-quality linen napkin ❤15207832_1849714225273039_1946476464_n

I cherish mine and keep it displayed year around.

15175485_1849714205273041_1937375671_nThere’s just something about having a journal to jot down thoughts as you have devotionals.  Sometimes the Lord speaks and inspires us and it’s great to have this companion to “Coffee with Jesus” close by when God inspires us – right?  When you buy the book today, this wonderful journal (a $6 value) can be yours for free!

And wow – upgrading to hard cover – how great is that???  Since this is a devotional book and will be used time and again, year after year…  I mean – when it’s a paperback, it will begin to show wear so much sooner than the hard cover would!  That’s a fantastic bonus, isn’t it?

Today’s the day to buy “Coffee with Jesus” and choose a bonus!  Decisions…  decisions!

When you finally decide which bonus you want to choose, go to www.lucindaspoetry.webs.com

Although not part of the Cyber Monday special…  Lucinda’s book, “A Second Cup with Jesus” is a must-have!  I’m a little biased and like this book in particular because, well…  I got to help with it!  When Lucinda asked if I would like to write prayers to go with her poems, I was so excited and anxious to do that!  We hope and pray that this book will be a blessing to you.  It also makes a great gift.  ❤15211774_1849714728606322_459068675_n

Everyone needs a great devotional book – and I can’t think of a better one!  These poems & prayers will be a blessing.  It’s our prayer that God will speak to your spirit through them.  🙂

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

tl-12-1-adventToday is the first Sunday of ADVENT.

As we look forward to the celebration of the birth of Christ Jesus, certain truths naturally surface to the top of our minds.  For me, one of the most obvious truths is that without the birth of Christ, our Redeemer and Savior…  we would most assuredly be doomed in a spiritual sense.  That would make us completely hopeless, wouldn’t you agree?

The word I want to focus on today is HOPE.  Christ came to earth as a baby, was raised in our world as a normal human, then gave His LIFE – for mankind.  That is the essence of HOPE.  It’s hope in a nutshell, you might say.the-name-of-hopeIf we as Christians really stop and think about it, we have absolutely no excuse to worry about anything!  There is a complete assurance for not only the present, but for all eternity, when we place our full trust and dependence on God.  His provision for us, physically, spiritually, in all ways – is perfect!  He really is ALL we need in this life and in the life to come.  Do you believe that?  I do!christmas-prayer-about-hope

The good thing about the HOPE we find in the Holy Trinity is that, it never fades.  HOPE from the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit is with us from the moment we accept it.  Hope is not here one day and gone the next.  As much as I enjoy receiving Christmas presents from friends and family – I know that those MATERIAL THINGS are going to perish at some point.  They will get broken or lost – they could easily suffer in some manner because they are only things.  The HOPE in my heart that comes from God is never going to go away.  And, while there are some who think that the government can somehow take their hope from them…  I do not subscribe to that belief at all.  The world did not give this hope to me.  The world cannot take it away from me!

The HOPE is Christ.  The HOPE is given to us by God.  All you have to do is receive it with a grateful heart.  I receive His gift of HOPE today, tomorrow and forever – do you?  🙂

SHOP SMALL SATURDAY

images-3I’m the first to admit that I spend a lot of time and money at the big box stores like Walmart and Sam’s Club.  It’s convenient and I know what I need will be there for a reasonable price.  But today is going to be different because I’m going to check out some of the small businesses in my own back yard!  I’m excited because many of these stores are filled with unique items that I’d never find at a big box store!

When you’re Christmas shopping, it’s nice to find one of a kind gifts.  There’s nothing like walking into your Walmart after Christmas and seeing a whole rack of the same sweater you got…  am I right?  Maybe it’s a girl thing – but I think guys like to get unique items too.

It’s not easy to maintain a small business, and if we don’t want them to disappear, we need to do our part to frequent and support them.  Today I’m going to share some of my favorites and spark some interest hopefully in shopping at small businesses.

www.lucindaspoetry.webs.com

cyber-mondayIf you have enjoyed this blog through the years, then you will really like Lucinda’s devotional book “A Second Cup with Jesus”.  Her writing is so spot on and heartwarming.  I believe that the Lord will speak to you through it.  ❤images-222

chellees-pieVisit my friend Chellee’s restaurant in Marion, Kansas!  It’s called Aunt Mae’s (named after her mama).  I’m so very proud of her because I know it’s something she has worked hard to accomplish.  Y’all let her know I told ya to come see her, okay?  And save room for some of that delicious cherry pie!  Stay on main street and you can’t miss her place – it’s the cute little white place with a spacious parking lot.  Enjoy!images-218

https://www.facebook.com/toddscustomboards/?fref=ts&__mref=message_bubble

Check out Todd’s deal for today only…  a 10% discount on orders made today!

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imagesbk2p4f0zSome folks are not into antique shopping like I am…  but there are some amazing antique stores in my area!  I could never pay retail prices for Longaberger baskets, but sometimes I can find some good deals in antique stores and flea markets.

https://www.facebook.com/FlyingMooseAntiqueMall/?fref=ts

The Flying Moose Antique Mall here in Wichita is having some good sales on their stuff through Christmas.  I may see if they have a Longaberger acorn basket – I’m determined to find one for a reasonable price!  I’m patient…  the right one will come along.  😉  I have a few Christmas gifts to shop for as well.  That may be a destination for me today!

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https://www.facebook.com/Hen-Feathers-Quilt-Shop-137758583334/?hc_ref=ADS&fref=nf

If you have a quilter to buy Christmas gifts for, there are discounts to be found at Hen & Feathers Quilt Shop in Wichita, Kansas today!

And Wichitans should also think about supporting the small businesses in Old Town!  Sometimes they have pretty good sales and you’ll find unique items that those big stores don’t carry.

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lifeisagardenparty.blogspot.com

Judy Janowski is the very talented author of a wonderful book called, “Life Is A Garden Party”.  She writes poetry and prose that centers around gardens and the beauty of God’s creation.  If you want to read a book that is uplifting and positive in nature (nature…  see what I did there?)  I think you’ll really enjoy this wonderful book!  Sign up to follow her inspirational blog at this link also.

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Here are the kinds of shops that I like to go in and browse – and by browse, I mean not be rushed through.  LOL!

I like handmade stuff – soaps and such.  I like little boutique shops tucked away…  my heart beats a bit faster when I spot one of these out of the way places!soap-1209344__340

I also like the flower shops that are also antique stores – have you seen any of those?  What an unusual combination, but it works!

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There are literally hundreds of small businesses in communities all over the country.  These are just a few of the possibilities!  Don’t forget to click on these links not only for Shop Small Saturday – but on Cyber Monday also!

On Saturday the 26th of November, plan to shop small.  Bring along a bestie to help you carry your haul.  – seen on facebook today.

buy-1299519__340If you do take a bestie along to help carry your haul…  make sure you buy them a coffee!  I mean, seriously – that would be nice, don’t you think?  When you go to get it, think small…  remember, today is all about supporting the small businesses!  I would go along with a friend and carry bags for a good cup of coffee and girl talk and all that…  jus’ sayin’…  😉

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This special emphasis on small business has taken place the Saturday after Thanksgiving since 2010, and the impact has been felt by small business owners everywhere.  It’s not easy to start a business these days, so everything we can do to support small business owners is greatly appreciated.  🙂

 

 

 

 

THE BEST BLACK FRIDAY DEAL OF THEM ALL

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It’s BLACK FRIDAY…  which means different things to different people.  Some folks are all hyped up and memorizing every sale circular and online resource they can get their hands on.  For them, black Friday is about getting the best deals while keeping the store in the black as opposed to them going into the red.  That is the intended meaning of black Friday – to do your “part” to keep businesses in the black.

To others, the meaning of black Friday is quite different.  They do everything they can to not leave their house all day long because there will be wall to wall human beings no matter where you go.

I fall into a third category of thought regarding black Friday…  I believe I can tell you about the best BLACK FRIDAY deal of them all.  Please show this blog some love if you agree.  ❤

There was a Friday a long time ago…  and a man named Jesus.  Here’s what He went through just for you:

At 6am, Jesus stood trial before Pilate.  Would He had had to do that?  No, but He loves you and me.  He did it in love because He wants us to place our trust in Him.

 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”  “You have said so,” Jesus replied.  When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer.  Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?”   But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.  – Matthew 27:11-14

 “Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate.  “You have said so,” Jesus replied.  The chief priests accused him of many things. So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.”  But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.  – Mark 15:2-5

Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate.  And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.”  So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”  “You have said so,” Jesus replied.  Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”  But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”  – Luke 23:1-5

Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”  “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”   Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”  “But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected. This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.   Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”  “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”  “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”   Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”  “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.  Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”  – John 18:28-37

Jesus was sent to Herod:

 On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.  When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort.  He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.  – Luke 23:6-12

At 7am, Jesus returned to Pilate:

Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate.  – Luke 23:11

Jesus was sentenced to death:

Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.  – Matthew 27:26

 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.  – Mark 15:15

But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed.  So Pilate decided to grant their demand.– Luke 23:23-24

Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.  – John 19:16

At 8am, Jesus was led to Calvary:

As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.  – Matthew 27:32-34

A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.  They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.  And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.  – Mark 15:21-24

As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.  A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.  Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.  For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’  Then “‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”  and to the hills, “Cover us!”  For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”  – Luke 23:26-31

Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.  – John 19:16-17

At 9am, Jesus was crucified.  The soldiers cast lots for His clothing:

It was nine in the morning when they crucified him.   – Mark 15:25

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.  – Luke 23:34

And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.  – Mark 15:24

At 10am, Jesus was mocked and ridiculed:

Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”  – Matthew 27:39-40

In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! – Mark 15:31

The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar  and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”  – Luke 23:36-37

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”  – Luke 23:39

At 11am, Jesus offered hope to a criminal:

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”  Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”  – Luke 23:40-43

Jesus spoke to Mary and John:

When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,”  and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.  – John 19:26-27

At noon, darkness covers the land:

At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.  – Mark 15:33

At 1pm, Jesus cried out to the Father:

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?  – Matthew 27:46

Jesus got thirsty:

Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”  A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.  – John 19:28-29

At 2pm, It is finished:

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.”With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.  – John 19:30

Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.  – Luke 23:46

3pm was the ninth hour.

black-fridayWhile you’re out grabbing up good deals on material things, please keep in mind that the offer that Jesus has to give you (it’s a gift and costs nothing)…  well, it really does offer eternal savings.  How long does eternity last?  Well…  it lasts forever, which is a very long time!

You know, I can’t remember what I got for Christmas last year.  I remember being with the one I love and enjoying his company…  but the stuff – well – not so much.  I’m pretty sure I got some great coffee and tea.  I remember that.  😉black-friday-door-buster

When I trusted Jesus with my life at 13 years of age, I remember that time well.  Jesus gave His very LIFE for me!  It was a Black Friday for Him that He chose to go through just for me.  He is my personal Savior.  I hope He is yours too.  Have a blessed day.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRAYERS & WISHES FOR THANKSGIVING

tl-thanksgiving-2016-11-12-thru-11-24HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!  Obviously, today I am very thankful for…  FOOD!  Yes, family and friends make it all taste better…  but today is the day that is all about the big meal.  The day I allow myself to eat a hot roll and mashed potatoes.  I will – and I’ll enjoy every bite, thank you very much!

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.   – Meister Eckhart

Let’s say a prayer of thanks for our meal today:a-poem-prayer-for-thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.  – E.P. Powell

Of course I’m thankful for so many things…  so is Lucinda!

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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, “No One Diets on Thanksgiving,” 26 November 1981

I wish for you today fullness in a physical sense, of course, but also a spiritual sense of fullness.  I wish that you will not just see the blessings before you – food, friends, family, furbabies, shelter, warmth, love…  and yes, card tables.  But may you also literally feel a sense of thankfulness to God for all of it!  Have a lovely and blessed Thanksgiving!  🙂