Jackson Five Friday: ThanksLiving

Hey Friends,

It’s been a while.  Two Fridays ago I couldn’t post because I was driving over 500 miles.  The last time I did that was back in July.  And that ended badly, as in emergency surgery for a detached retina.  Now, I can hardly help but worry that I’ll repeat that whole experience.  I envision myself like Gary the Snail in SpongeBob.  His valiant effort in the big race resulted in an exploding eye, and while I’m driving I can almost hear SpongeBob egging me on, “Go Gary!  Go Gary!”  Anyway, I know some of you prayed about that trip and I am happy to report that I arrived safely with two eyeballs fully in tact!  And Will was with me on the way back, so I didn’t drive a single mile.

Then last Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, I was able to park myself at the beach with a good book.  In fact, this book is now required reading for my boys over Christmas break.  It’s a quick, easy read but truly profound on many levels.

One day over our extended Thanksgiving break — by the way, I think the increasingly common full week for Thanksgiving is the most brilliant innovation of the 21st Century — I did manage to write a post on my phone while two of my boys played miniature golf.  But then, while I was reading through the finished product one last time, I somehow managed to delete every word.  Anyhoo, it’s a treat to sit in front of a real computer and share a few thoughts.

On Monday, I hit Costco to stock up and saw a church sign that said something like, “We’ve had Thanksgiving, now time to start ThanksLiving.”  I am sort of hoping the word mashup thing is about to wrap up.  You know, it was kind of cute, for a while maybe.  But hasn’t it run its course?  I mean some may be here to stay: jeggings, chillax, and crapiversary come to mind.  But I’ve reached the point where if any kind of promotion uses one– and they’re ubiquitous in advertising — I make a solemn and silent vow not to buy.  I laugh easily, but I’m ready for some real creativity again.

Of course, even “Thanksliving,” silly as it is, does communicate an important truth.  Living life with an attitude of gratitude, no matter how platitudinal it sounds, is indeed the answer. Counting your blessings on the fourth Thursday in November is certainly nice, but we should be doing it all day every day.

Psalm 9:1 says, “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.”  How are you doing with this?  Are you constantly recounting all of your blessings?  One thing I aim to do, and sometimes succeed at, is to sing the Doxology before I get out of bed, even if it’s just in my head.  Today I didn’t remember until Nate and Sam were leaving for school.  And I don’t care if they think I’m crazy — I’m happy for them to start their day with a loud and lyrical reminder of the truth about from Whom ALL blessings flow.

Praying that I’ll give thanks with my whole heart this weekend and always, and praying the same for you.

With Love,


P.S. My Advent devotional is available on Amazon.  Just click here.

Jackson Five Friday: “That’s My Number One Fantasy”

Hey Friends,

Have you seen that Snickers commercial where the guy, Don, is zoning out at his fantasy football draft?

He stares blankly, longingly, and says, “No job.  No family.  Just walk away.  That’s my number one fantasy.”

Then his friend reminds him, “Number one fantasy draft, Don.”  It’s kind of terrible and kind of hilarious, and I have no idea if it sells Snickers.  Anyway, I shared a variation of it with Will today.

I told him, “It’s cold.  It’s rainy.  Just nap away.  That’s my number one fantasy.”  Seriously, the picture above is from last Saturday.  So perfect!  But it has turned foggy, wet and cold and honestly I feel like I could nap for a week.  Are humans really not supposed to hibernate? Not ever?

I don’t think it’s just the weather either — it’s the world.  Sometimes the beat down of everything going on in the world is overwhelming.  I don’t think we were designed to carry so many burdens.  I don’t think we can do it.  Sometimes we need to turn off social media and the news and focus on the people we live in community with.  That means praying for the people in my life instead of napping, it means doing something tangible for someone instead of flooding my mind with the worries of the world.  We can pray and we can give, and we should.  But we need to know that, for most of us, meaning comes from investing in the little world we physically touch.

C.S Lewis wrote of this struggle in a personal letter, saying, “We are not kings, we are not senators.  Let us beware lest, while we torture ourselves in vain about the fate of Europe, we neglect either Verona or Oxford.”

Do you tend to torture yourself about the fate of the US?  Or even the world?  Does it make you want to crawl in bed for a week, whether it’s rainy and cold or not?  Is it all in vain, while you neglect where God has placed you to live?

Surely it’s an effective tactic of Satan to discourage us about the state of greater society, when we have true power to change the neighborhood we live in.

Thankfully, I fought off the urge to nap and happened on that quote from Lewis.  And what’s even more awesome is that God has a plan.  He is on the throne.  He is a God of justice and love.

So this weekend, go out and reflect the Light of Jesus in your corner of the world.  You are there, in that very corner, for this reason.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.  Matthew 5:14-16 ESV

With Love,


Jackson Five Friday: Foals and Cubs

Hey Friends,

Hope you are well. Last week got away from me and I didn’t have a chance to post. Friday combined the first swim meet of the high school season for Dub, followed by sending Sam off on his first middle school retreat. Then Saturday was consumed entirely by a college visit. Anyway I’ve been thinking about baby animals — cubs and foals specifically.

Did you know that a panda cub weighs about three ounces at birth? Isn’t that incredible? In other words, it is so so so tiny that it is about 1/900th of what it will weigh as an adult.

Recently the ever-interesting and always random Sam said, “I don’t even know if pandas are real.”

“Of course they’re real,” I answered. “Don’t you remember the pandas at the National Zoo?”

He did not. I proceeded to tell him how minuscule pandas are at birth. I’m an unlikely source for animal facts — even simple ones — but a panda cub’s birth weight is so surprising that it’s hard to forget.

My husband once told me about working out with Nate for the first time. He described Nate lifting the barbell like a newborn foal taking its first steps. God knew I needed a funny man who would entertain me with apt but uncommon descriptions. I could immediately picture Nate wobbling the barbell around, fiercely determined and strong, yet not immediately the pinnacle of grace. But truly, is it not stunning that a newborn horse gets up and walks within an hour or two of being born?

Why is there so much diversity? Why are pandas born so small? Why are horses born so able? Why so many variations of birds, flowers and human faces? Scientists do not seem to have the answer. In fact, more and more scientists –highly respected scientists, mind you — believe life must have been planted here by aliens. It seems their research and lab findings offer no better explanation. But I just don’t have enough faith for that! Do you?

It’s interesting that life seeded here by aliens is proposed when the Bible gives us a far more logical explanation:

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.

‭‭Colossians‬ ‭1:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

You and I have been created through Him and for Him. The tiny pandas, the wonky walking foal, the lilies, the sparrows, the oceans, the stars — every last atom — through Him and for Him.

And I love these words from Job:

But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.

‭‭Job‬ ‭12:7-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Have a fantastic weekend knowing and celebrating that not aliens but the hand of the Lord has done this!