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November 25, 2010


I do believe it is fair to say that I worry too much. Anxiety often gnaws at my mind, begging me to become overly concerned about my health, the things I want but am not able to have, the depth of my spiritual walk... or lack thereof.  My marriage. My family. Our money. Our debt. Our wedding thank you notes. Time. Time well spent... or wasted.  Soon my mind is swept up in the whirlwind of fear and self-doubt, and guilt for wrestling with either or both.

I was reminded today how difficult I  make the act of overcoming fear and anxiety.  I see these things as vices and sins, and I, the chief of sinners.  Though I have been redeemed and choose to accept the free gift of forgiveness, I don't always walk in the freedom that forgiveness promises. 

I was reminded today to praise.  A simple act with benefit tenfold.  I read a quote by Henry A. Ironside saying,

"We would worry less if we praised more. 
Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction."

Again, a simple truth: of course thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent.  It is an antonym in the dictionary, after all!  What challenged my heart more was not just the act of being thankful, but the way it is related to praise.  We praise God not only because we are thankful, but because it is a powerful tool to overcome our sin.  Praise pulls us out of the quicksand that drags us into worry and anxiety.  Try it.  I challenge you to put on this new frame of mind and not see results.  I think that would be near impossible.

And, because I adore all things quotable, I am linking to the blog of an extremely talented writer, one of my first friends in Atlanta and a consistent source of inspiration to me...  Abbie (Smith) Sprunger.  Her entry of quotes that honor this day of praise can be found below.

Additionally, here are a few photos of fall in Portugal... vineyards in Estremoz, in the Alentejo region, after the grapes have been harvested, now yielding only rich color for the eyes to taste.

These photos barely do justice to the glory that the naked eye can see... and I have not yet figured out how to get the color I see on my computer to appear the same in photos I post on this blog!

Here's to worrying less and praising more!

"Giving thanks to God for both His temporal and spiritual blessings in our lives
is not just a nice thing to do - it is the moral will of God.
Failure to give Him the thanks due Him is sin."
[Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins]

"O Lord, who lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness."

"He who remembers the benefits of his parents is too much occupied with 
his recollections to remember their faults."

"We never approach God without cause for gratitude.
Thankfulness, a duty and delight greatly prominent in the Bible, is the declarative mood of gratitude - a bright fire in the world's frigid zone, the memory and homage of the heart, 
a master force in soul-building, the greatest tonic faith has.  
Be ye thankful."
[Robert G. Lee]

"I hate ingratitude more in man than lying, vainness, drunkenness or any taint of vice, 
whose strong corruption inhibits our frail blood."

"Pride slays thanksgiving, but a humble mind is the soil of which thanks naturally grow. 
A proud man is seldom a grateful man,
for he never thinks he gets much as he deserves."
[Henry Ward Beecher]

"Gratitude is born in hearts that take time to count past mercies."
[Charles E. Jefferson]

"That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works."
[Psalm 26:7] 
"Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road."
[John Henry Jowett]

"To hear someone say 'Happy Turkey Day' makes me sad because they have nothing to be thankful for and no one to whom to be thankful."
[Robert Flatt]

"Perhaps it takes a purer faith to praise God for unrealized blessings than for those we once enjoyed or those we enjoy now."
[A. W. Tozer]

"We would worry less if we praised more. 
Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction."
[Harry A. Ironside]

"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.
No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, 
set aside a day of thanksgiving."
[H. U. Westermayer]

"In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give,
and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich."
[Dietrich Bonhoeffer]

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it."
[William Arthur Ward]

"You say, 'If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.' You make a mistake. 
If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled."
[Charles Haddon Spurgeon]

"Our rural ancestors, with little blest, patient of labor when the end was rest, indulged the day that housed their annual grain, with feasts, and off'rings, and a thankful strain."  
[Alexander Pope]

"Remember God's bounty in the year. String the pearls of His favor. Hide the dark parts, except so far as they are breaking out in light! Give this one day to thanks, to joy, to gratitude!" 
[Henry Ward Beecher]

“A thanksgiving-day hath a double precedency of a fast-day.
On a fast-day we eye God’s anger; on a thanksgiving-day we look to God’s favor.
In the former we specially mind our corruptions; in the latter, God’s compassions;
therefore a fast-day calls for sorrow, a thanksgiving-day for joy.
But the Lord’s day is the highest thanksgiving day.”
[George Swinnock ]

The Christian who walks with the Lord and keeps constant communion with Him 
will see many reason for rejoicing and thanksgiving all day long."
[Warren Wiersbe]

"No longer forward nor behind
I look in hope or fear;
But, grateful, take the good I find,
The best of now and here."
[John Greenleaf Whittier]

November 13, 2010


It's not necessarily that I like things big... at least not all the time.

I love small babies, for instance.  I love small cards that you can tuck away in a drawer to surprise someone.  I like small animals.  I like small vases that can sit on the corner of a desk or dresser and look classy with just one fresh flower in them.  I love small titles on blogs.  I like small portions, because you always have room for dessert.  I enjoy small photos, because they are most likely antique and most likely have a story.

I do not, however, love small refrigerators.

I have never owned my own refrigerator, but I can confidently say that if I had, it would have been big (translated into American English = "average size").  It would have adequate shelf space, at least two drawers, and I most likely would not have to kneel on the floor to see the top shelf.

It would not have been something like this:

 Imagine my surprise on my first visit to Portugal when I enter the home of a man who LOVES food and find THIS fridge.  Imagine also that it is sitting in a space that comfortably holds a fridge almost twice its size.  Imagine my confusion as to why the space capable of something bigger would not, in fact, be holding something bigger.  Upon asking why, I received the answer that, "This is what everyone in Europe has".  And I rested.  At the time, my mind fast-forwarded to my potential future, and when thinking that large families with multiple members could survive with a fridge this small, surely I could! 
That was, until I moved to the aforementioned Europe.

Now, I don't really consider myself to be "high-maintenance" on a regular basis (though my husband may disagree!), but I can occasionally have "very specific ways of operating".  With each passing day, I became more annoyed with the fridge.  It was so small and always held cheese (fabulous!), so it always smelled strongly of cheese (not so fabulous)... not to mention that I am a planner and like to utilize my freezer, but was limited in this regard with such a small space.  There also weren't many bottles that could stand in such a small space, and the idea of squatting every time I wanted to view this fridge's contents did not appeal to me.  The only idea that appealed to me was the jogged memory of playing baseball in the backyard with my dad when we were kids.  I distinctly remember that after every ball we returned to him short, he would respond, "The pitcher should never have to bend down."  I digress.

Imagine, now, my delight when I was told that Luis's colleagues from his clinic had contributed to get one large wedding gift, and they bought us a fridge... and to my delight, an "average" size one at that!  Though the freezer is not open, but 3 big plastic crisper-style drawers, it still is wonderful.  You can meet him here:  
The actual refrigerator portion is the same height and only 3 or 4 inches wider than his little brother, but having the fridge on top and the bigger freezer makes all the difference in the world!

Who would have thought that a [big] fridge could make me so happy?!?!  :)