As we prep for the rest of our day, and as we gather around tables with few or with many, may we remember what’s truly important this season…
More than the tables beautifully decorated,
More than the dishes piled high with flavorful foods,
More than anything today,
May we remember the people beside us and connections between us. May we choose joy as we celebrate the gift of being grateful together, whether celebrating in person or over video calls…may we give thanks to God for the gift of His love, the beauty of community, and the blessing of friendship.
“And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:15-17 CSB
From our family to yours, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving, full of love & hope & faith!
peace & pumpkin pie – liz:)
Go The Extra Mile: One song that has been on repeat for me these past few months is this one right here. May we find ourselves with our hands lifted up in surrender as we express our gratitude to Our Loving, Gracious & Generous God. Enjoy friends!
A love story is still worth celebrating, even when the ending isn’t what we thought it would be.
For more than 44 years, my parents shared a love story that was real, honest, good, and hard. Not the kind you see on a movie screen with the right music in the background, or the characters played by leading men & women. No, my parents shared in a love story that shouldn’t have made sense, but it did.
A California kid & a Colorado girl who, by all intents and purposes, shouldn’t have made it, created a love story all their own. Full of risks and full of joy. Full of heartaches and full of hope.
They met. Got married. Grew together. Stayed together. Raised a family together. Grew their family together. Worked together. Made ends meet together. Trusted God together. Prayed together. Laughed together. Cried together. Adventured together. Fought together. Fought for each other together. Believed together. Lived out vows together.
Last year, we watched as our Mom kissed our Dad goodbye. She thanked him.
We stood there in the apartment- myself, my sister and my husband, and watching and crying as she thanked him for the years they spent together and for the beautiful family he gave her. And as our kind and gracious funeral director left the apartment, Mom grabbed onto my sister and I, holding us firmly by our arms. I’ll never forget what she told us with tears in her eyes and with a trembling in her voice…she encourgaed us to love our families.
These are the words we have seen our mom live out everyday for years, especially in the last years of our father’s life.
In that moment, she never stopped loving him. She didn’t forget all the good from their life together. She remembered the good, and so did we. She thanked him and also encouraged us to love. If you know our Mom, you know she lives from a place of love, so here response to us was fitting – because that’s what she does. She loves.
Mom & Dad’s love story was worth celebrating then, and today, on what would’ve been their anniversary, it’s still worth celebrating. That kind of a love story – the kind you choose, the kind you work for, the kind you sacrifice for, the kind you ache for is still worth celebrating.
Maybe you’re family is walking on this similar path of grief, and these anniversaries and holidays feel really, really tough. We get it; we truly understand. But no matter how long our love has lasted, no matter how brief it was, that love is still worth celebrating.
Today, I’m choosing to celebrate the love that our parents shared. Today, we as a family will give thanks to God for the love He allowed our parents to share for so many years. It’s still worth celebrating – even through the tears and the ache. Today, I’ll love my people a little harder in honor of my parents’ love story. I’ll also pause in the midst of the grief to try and encourage others to love their people too. After all, Mom still continues to love every single person she comes in contact with. May we know that love is still worth celebrating in the midst of the grief and heartache, and may we make it a point to love and appreciate each moment we have with our loved ones. Let’s love well my friends.
Go TheExtra Mile: In honor of our Dad, I wanted to share one of his favorite songs. I can imagine he’s cruisin’ the streets of heaven blasting this song. He loved taking drives and listening to good music, and this one always makes me think of him. Thank You Rare Earth for reminding us to celebrate. Take a listen and take a drive and remember to celebrate love today friends.
Last Sunday we came home from a whirlwind weekend in which we both celebrated our oldest daughter turning 20…#weareold, and we also celebrated and cheered on our middle daughter performing in the State Band Competition. Lots of travel, lots of activity, lots of planning and prepping, and partying. All of it was awesome!
I don’t think I’ve cheered quite as loud as we did for our percussionist. We (our family and some amazing friends) screamed loudly and shouted her name and funny phrases until she could hear us over the crowd and until we saw that we had sufficiently embarrassed her – blushing face and brilliant smile:).
I don’t think I’ve smiled as wide as I did the night we (our family and some amazing friends) sang to our young girl who is now growing into this incredible woman. We sang until we had acheived 3-part harmony, and until her face was blushing from the attention, and yet again, another brilliant smile:).
We later smiled and shared time at a local favorite lunch spot with some other amazing friends – a little itty bitty funny guy and his precious mama- and we laughed until our sides were hurting, and smiled until our cheeks were sore and our faces were blushing as well:).
In each moment, I was reminded how every person on the face of the earth needs these exact kind of people to surround them in this life here on earth. Friends who are timeless; friends who cheer you on and stick with you long enough on the journey to cheer on your kiddos too. Friends who show up to help in the hard times, and friends who show up to celebrate the good times. Friends who can literally call you on your junk and let you fall to pieces in their arms. Friends who want to take the time to go grab a coffee and walk around Target, even if just for an hour so you can let it all out while you find the thing you didn’t know you needed until Target told you so:). Friends who need a break and know you might need one too, so they take you for a coffee or Slurpee or if you’re far away in miles, they send you a hilarious text mesage or meme to brighten your day, helping you to breathe a little easier in the middle of your season.
Let me give you a little history here:
I met many of these friends when I was a teenager; while I was still in my formative years. Friends I didn’t know in childhood and friends I didn’t know I’d walk into and through adulthood with. But God did.
These friendships, like many of the friendships I’ve been blessed to be a part of, have been lifelines for me. Providing pivotal encouragement and support, sharing wisdom and hope in the seasons when needed most and sharing laughter and joy like good medicine for the bones. Even sharing in several greetings including many hellos, and farewells, as life has taken us each to different places than our original starting point.
That’s the beauty of friendship though, isn’t it?
Sometimes you don’t know how much hope it gives you to have a friend until you need a friend & have a friend by your side. In the seasons where they know you can use the extra hope to hold onto, and even in the seasons where they have no clue how much their presence, their smile, or their messages mattered.
We arrived back home and after a fun weekend and while unpacking, my husband brought in a rose that he had just cut from one of our rose bushes outside. He’s a keeper:). This rose was exceptional (see pic below). It was huge, in full bloom and it’s petals were various shades of hot pink. Mind you, it was end of October, almost November here on the Western Slope of Colorado. Our area has already experienced the dry heat of Summer, the chill of Fall setting in, and frost covering the housetops of our neighborhood. But this rose you guys, this rose held on through all of it to display it’s most beautiful colors and fragrance at the most unlikely time – in the middle of Fall. Not when the climate was sunny enough or when the sky was brilliant and bright; this rose was in bloom in the middle of a grey and overcast day.
My pink rose held on during the heat that saps life out of most everything, and endured rising and falling temperatures in the days that followed Summer. It endured wind and rain, tons of dust blowing around from nearby construction. It held on, and we noticed it’s beauty.
Friends, I don’t know what kind of season you’ve been enduring through. I don’t know what kind of season you are in the middle of right now. What I do know is that if ever there was a time for us to hold on, it’s now.
We must hold onto hope.
We must hold onto friendship.
We must hold onto God Himself.
Whether you are walking through some difficult times and need a friend to lean on, or maybe you are enjoying the best times in life, everyone is in need of friendship that both endures and helps us hold on to hope. I encourage you today, call up a friend, text a funny message to a loved one, or tell your coworker to send you their coffee order and pick up coffee before heading into work. Look for flowers and bring them indoors to bring a smile to someone’s face and joy to their heart. Here are the lessons I learned about friendship and flowers this past week – They are gifts that help us hold on. And through holding on, we have been given two gifts:
The ability to receive hope and healing when our friends speak words of encouragement and display actions that speak louder than words,
the ability to offer hope and healing when we allow our hearts to hold onto hope and overflow with that same love through our words and actions.
When we have received that burst of hope and that healing medicine to our bones, we too can be like that rose from my hubby – A display of enduring beauty in the midst of a cold season while sharing a sweet fragrance of strength for those around us to be impacted by.
Friends, may we not just know friends like the ones I have shared about today, but may we also be friends like that. May we also remember that because Our God offers comfort and hope to us daily, that we can choose to do the same for those around us too. And the next time we see flowers in the store or in our own garden, may we remember that they endured some seasons of their own, and we can too.
Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenely Father, thank you for the blessing of friendship. Thank you for the gift of receiving love and hope from others on the days we need it most and on the days that we didn’t realize how much it would mean later. You are the giver all all good gifts Lord – may we never take for granted the gifts of the family and friends in our lives who uplift and encourage us. Lord, we ask You to help us be those kind of friends for others – noticing where we can offer a smile or where we can administer a healing word or action. We thank you Lord that our life happens in seasons, and that no matter the season, You reveal to us that You Jesus, are truly the friend that sticks even closer than a brother. Thank you for demonstrating friendship to those around You all throughout You Word and for giving us a model to follow. You are our hope in the middle of every season we experience and You are the Author and Sustainer of Life. Lord, we humbly ask for Your help as we offer hope, love, and support to those around us. We also pray that in the seasons where our own spirit could use a boost of hope, that we would have eyes to see it around us and the endurance to fiercely hold onto it as we go from one season to the next. Lord as we hold on to Your hope, may we bloom beautifully right where we are and in doing so, may it bring beauty and hope to the lives of those around us. You are so kind to us – giving us the gift of friendship and God, we thank you for the blessing it is to share this life with others near and far. Amen.
Go The ExtraMile: It might be beause we have lived in the country a little bit these last (almost) 4 years, but this song hit just right today! Check out this song by Chris Tomlin & Chris Lane, “Gifts From God” and then calll up your friends to let them know how much of a gift from God they are to you! Such a cool song!