Tag Archive | thanksgiving

Lavish

This season of giving thanks always reminds me of bounty. The colors of burnt umber (How I love Crayola’s original color names!) painted on a cerulean canvas create soul sparks of thanksgiving that fly heavenward!

Pumpkin aromas waft upward through our log cabin, infusing our home with warmth and richness. They too draw my heart to inhale and ruminate on the goodness of the everyday, the seemingly mundane. How often do I wander through abundance and not acknowledge the sheer extravagance?
Do I see the artistry of an evening’s sunset or rush off to get somewhere without pause or reflection? Have I consider all the Lord has lavished on me? Lavish, by definition, means “to expend or bestow profusely.” Such an over-the-top word gets limited play in today’s speech. It may even sound stuffy to some. But yet..

The lavishness of autumn reawakens  me to a spectacular truth that outshines even the beauty of fall:

“We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” Eph 1:7-8

This wood carving at Leheman’s Hardware in Dalton, Ohio, reminds me that God’s lavish grace had an unimaginable cost. With bowed head, I offer a prayer of thanks.

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A Heart Full of Love

The title of this tune from Les Miserables has run through my head as I’ve baked the last couple of days. I also thought of that musical title as I chose a series of family photos and dropped them into the Christmas card design I had chosen Through grace, the Lord has given me a heart full of love. How could I not be thankful?

IMG_3814 A heart full of love does not come from man. As a matter of fact, in the days of Noah, God said this:

“God saw that human evil was out of control. People thought evil, imagined evil—evil, evil, evil from morning to night.God was sorry that he had made the human race in the first place; it broke his heart.” (The Message)

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The message brought by the angels singing over Bethlehem changed our lives as Jesus Christ entered the world to exchange our stone-hardened hearts for fleshly hearts the Holy Spirit would mold.  Ezekiel 11 foretold this:

“And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.” (ESV)

Then with the tenderness of a butterfly landing on my soul, Jesus exposed my sin  and called me to Himself when I was about five. The exchange began a life-long journey of thankfulness in good and, in difficult times, through there were flesh and blood battles on my part along the way.

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Thankfulness fills my heart when I think of my faithful, God-sent husband. Yes, Dave knew my checkered health past when we married in 1968, but he didn’t know the bedside stands he would make, advocating, sitting, praying. Yet, he has held me up through it all, filling my heart with godly wisdom and his quiet spirit.

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Dave also knew, before he ever asked me to marry him, that my doctor had told me the number of full-body X-rays I had as a teenager meant I would not likely have children. God had other plans and blessed us with two sons.  Brent and Becky married in 1998, and then God blessed them with two adorable southern belles.

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Bryan and Stacey married in 2003, and then God blessed them with two cuties while  they lived in Hawaii. This summer the Lord heaped yet another blessing as the Hawaii Wolfes moved back to the mainland, getting all 10 Wolfes on the East Coast.

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On this Thanksgiving Eve, I find myself musing over some of the amazing adventures God has allowed me to take part in through the years. God went out on a literal limb, the cross, not only people who fill big roles for Him, but for the likes of you and me. He has trusted us with the ministry of reconciliation, the most exciting job in this world. But the Apostle Paul says it much better in I Timothy 1:

I’m so grateful to Christ Jesus for making me adequate to do this work. He went out on a limb, you know, in trusting me with this ministry. The only credentials I brought to it were invective and witch hunts and arrogance. But I was treated mercifully because I didn’t know what I was doing—didn’t know Who I was doing it against! Grace mixed with faith and love poured over me and into me. And all because of Jesus.” (The Message)

Little wonder I have a heart full of love — Jesus placed it there.

Thanksgiving in Hawaii

On Thanksgiving Day one of the naval communities here in Hawaii begins the day with the Turkey Trot, a 5 K race through the neighborhood. Baby Tyler smiled his approval of the festivities and his new turkey bib.

Three members of the Wolfe family donned their official Turkey Trot tee shirts in preparation for the first race, a contest for  those age five and under.

With her official number pinned in place, Kelsey followed her Mommy’s instructions to stretch out…

and then do toe touches before beginning the keiko (Hawaiian for children) race.

Daddy pushed Baby Tyler and Kelsey ran with real flair!

Even Zeus, the family dog, got to run in before settling down for the holiday feast scheduled for later that afternoon.

Don’t let the outfit of the lead runner fool you as he sets the pace for the adult 5 K. This turkey is a serious marathoner!

Returning to the house at a more relaxed pace, Kelsey met her little neighborhood buddy and the two finished together.

Thankful for family and friends? Absolutely! Little children still lead us in praise and thanksgiving.

Culinary Delights with a Toddler

Are you all cooking in the kitchen this week as you prepare for Thursday’s feast and time of giving thanks? My husband and I traveled to Hawaii to spend this all-time-favorite holiday with our younger son, his wife and their two children. Since Kelsey turned two in August, she and Grandma tackled two holiday recipes that have been part of our family for many years. Two days ago we started our holiday baking, warming up the kitchen by having a hearty breakfast. Behold the ice cream pancakes we ate. Make a pancake, roll it like a tortilla, stand it up in an ice cream cone, and drizzle with syrup. Instant success and the syrup is caught up in the cone, at least limiting the mess!

With a hearty, but perhaps not too nutritious breakfast under her belt, we toured Mommy’s recipe box in search of the family’s Vermont Maple Cookie recipe. A soft cookie that includes a cup of sour cream, gets topped off with a dollop of maple frosting.

Can you tell Happy Face loved the beaters? Of course! Still the real joy comes in the memory, even more than the food. Once I’m back home, thousands of miles from this bubbly toddler, these photos will make my heart sing as I thank the Lord for the experience we had together.

Good to the very last lick! Even Zeus, the wonder dog got to lick the cook’s feet!

Things went so well with the Vermont Maple Cookies that we decided to make Daddy’s favorite today: Pumpkin Cake. Since this recipe calls for the fine art of cracking eggs, my little pastry chef had to get into her serious culinary apparel.

All serious chefs sample taste as they work. The wise grandparents dress the associate cook in orange when making a pumpkin recipe. As you can see, Rachel Ray had better watch her ratings. Here comes Kelsey’s Kitchen!

Happy Thanksgiving from Kelsey’s Kitchen. Catch you on the Food Network real soon.

Lists for Most Everything!

LISTS! LISTS! LISTS!

I confess…  not only to being a list maker, but also to later adding to a ready-made list, things I have accomplished that were not on the original list! How sad is that!  I love to scratch things off my lists. When I get to the point of having only one or two “to do’s” left on a ragged piece of paper at the bottom of my purse, I start a new list with those “not-yet-completed” items now topping  a new memo. Like the leaves swirling down to the ground at this time of year, I get some sort of glee from watching the checks or cross offs confirm that I’m really accomplishing things! Surely there’s a support group for people like me!

In the Old Testament God’s people received instructions to remember important things, not by writing lists, but by stacking stones. And Garrett County has plenty of rocks!  So, like many others at this time of year, I’ve begun counting my blessings and expressing my thanks to my heavenly Father.

First, I want to shout my thanks for God-given wonder! Not surprise, but absolute wonder that takes breath away! I saw it when Taylor Faith rode “It’s a Small World” at Disney World last January. She gasped, grabbed her Daddy’s shirt, expressed her wonder with her eyes, mouth, and all the fibers of her little body! Everything about that ride transported her beyond sensation, spectacle, or beauty to astonishment, amazement.

When do we lose that kind of awe for the God of the universe? When does the symmetry of a single, unique snowflake get lost in our grousing about having to shovel? When do we start thinking one sunset this afternoon is just like yesterday’s? When do we complain about the lack of variety in apples rather than pause to offer praise for the sheer array of color, crispness, and flavor in just this one fruit?

Personally, going back to God’s Word alone allows the Holy Spirit to speak to me of wonder, majesty, the other worldly. I need the reminder to take off my shoes, for I tread on hallowed ground. When I inhale the Gospel, drink deeply from the streams of living water, I take the first steps beyond mere lists and move toward true Thanksgiving. This year, Lord, teach me more about awe, that I may enter Your gates with thanksgiving, Your courts with praise.