Welcome There once was a song, probably from the 80’s decade, and the lyrics included “I’ve got a new attitude.” We all need to change our attitude a little, from time to time. But with my attitude change, I probably need to change my gratitude also. Read on to find out about my recent “gratitude adjustment” and the recipe for my Christmas main dish this year.
Food For Thought Recently, while reading Lysa TerKeurst’s Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl, I came across the following quote, “Thanksgiving is the very way that Jesus helps us get our groove back.” I am so thankful for reaching a place in my life where I recognize this to be true. In 2016 and 2017, I completely fell apart. I lost my groove, in what felt like a most-epic way. I couldn’t manage my physical health…hello, high blood pressure! I couldn’t manage my family relationships…hello, anger and tears! I couldn’t manage my home…hello, baskets of dirty and/or clean laundry! I couldn’t manage my job as a kindergarten teacher…hello, unintentional, but major mistakes! And I certainly couldn’t manage my spiritual life…goodbye prayer and devotional time! It is easy to say that in my late thirties, I lost my groove. I thought I wanted to bury myself in the covers and never come out, or worse. A combination of real life, including depression and anxiety, and a serious lacking in gratitude, contentment, and spiritual focus led to this misplaced groove. But through all of this, I am entering 2018 with a new gratitude, a new attitude, and a happiness and joy that I haven’t felt in several years.
I’m going to be completely honest with you…it is not easy! When it feels like everything in your own little world is falling apart, even when we know deep down we have been blessed with so much, the last thing you want to do is stop and say prayers of Thanksgiving or write down a list of things you are grateful for. I know because I’ve been there. In my lowest place this past year, I had to CHOOSE to be grateful and look for the positives in my falling-apart-life in order to bring myself out of the funk. In January of last year I was in a place where I had to make some big decisions. My choice could have been to focus on all that was wrong, blame God for “abandoning” me, and resign to live my life as a failure in every sense of the word. But somehow, I had enough spiritual awareness to know these things weren’t true. I’m so grateful God was standing beside me during that time. I started reading inspirational and uplifting books and blogs. I began to pray deep and heart-felt prayers. I started reading my Bible and working in a prayer journal each day. I started taking the time to do things that made me happy. I took a look at my life and decided what was really important and determined what negative things I could remove from my life. I’m not trying to make myself sound like I have all of this figured out and I didn’t suddenly stop experiencing difficulties in life, but I promise that seeking gratitude in my every day life made a huge change for the better.
Like any area of life we need to make stronger, we must engage in exercise targeting that specific area. If I want stronger legs for hiking, I need to do workouts that target those muscles. If I want to get a stronger memory, I need to do brain exercises. If I want to grow my gratitude, I need to seek out intentional activities that make being grateful like second nature to my thought processes. In fact, last month I completed a “30 Days of Gratitude Challenge.” It was amazing how many “little” things in life I am immensely grateful for and would not have given a second thought about if I had not been intentional in my gratitude. Some of the daily prompts were “no brainers,” but others were much more challenging, causing me to dig deep and think about what’s really important. And then comes the day when life gives you a test to see if all this “training” has paid off. Like when my husband came home and shared he needed to take his car in for repairs. My knee-jerk reaction was “Oh, my gosh, we can’t afford that right now!” But that thought was brief, because my gratitude muscles were strong. I’m grateful that his year-end bonus check comes the same week as the repairs. I’m grateful that we have a second car that is not being used as much right now since I work from home. I’m grateful that the part is still under warranty from the manufacturer. I’m thankful that he took his car in instead of asking me to deal with it…I hate dealing with car repairs and maintenance. I’m grateful the problem was discovered before it progressed into something worse. I’m grateful my husband doesn’t freak out like I do when these things come up. I’m grateful the problem was discovered before we set out on a cross-state trip for the holidays. And I’m grateful that I have a new attitude and a new gratitude! Happy New Year!
Today’s Scriptures Living a life of gratitude is a part of our daily Christian walk. The verses do not direct us to make lists or even that we have to express our appreciation in written form. However, we should look at the opportunity of thanksgiving as a privilege, and not a mere obligation. I have picked three verses to share related to gratitude today. I find there to be many examples of gratitude in the Psalms. I have selected two of these along with a New Testament passage. Although I’m only sharing one verse from each of the Psalm passages, I recommend reading the entire chapter to get the fullness of emotion embedded in the gratitude.
Psalm 118:24 “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Psalm 136:1 “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.”
Colossians 3:15-17 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as a member of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Today’s Prayer My Dear Heavenly Father, I have so much to be thankful for…family, home, health, material possessions, comfort, and most importantly, Your grace and mercy through Jesus Christ. Please forgive me, Father, when I fail to acknowledge all the many ways I am blessed in my every day life. May I continue to grow in my gratitude and may those who read these words experience the same wonderful growth that I have recently had in my life. My words and deeds pale in comparison to the many blessings you have given me, but again I thank You. In Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.
Today’s Recipes The week before Christmas I was asked by a reader what I would be making for my family’s holiday meal. Since my husband, daughter, and I stay home together on Christmas day, I have a small dinner, but a little nicer than what we may have for a typical night’s supper. This year’s Christmas meal was Marinated Pork Tenderloin, Roasted Potatoes and Carrots with Herbs, Green Beans, and rolls (not even homemade, gasp!) It was enough for our meal on Christmas and for lunch left-overs the next day, and so yummy! So today’s Two-For-Tuesday recipes are for the pork tenderloin and potatoes and carrots. Don’t think you need to wait for a holiday for this meal! It’s great for any day you can put your food in the oven and just let it do it’s thing…hands-off cooking for the most part, but you do need enough time to get everything fully cooked. To have your meat and vegetables finished at the same serving time, start the vegetables first since they require a slightly longer cooking time. And don’t forget to allow time for marinating your tenderloin.Roast Pork Tenderloin
- 1.5-2 pound pork tenderloin
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 brown sugar
- 3 TBS grill seasoning (I like Penzey’s Northwoods Seasoning)
In small bowl, stir together soy sauce, oil, brown sugar, and seasoning. Place tenderloin in large zip top bag and pour in soy mixture. Turn to coat and place in refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Remove tenderloin from bag and place on prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes. This will leave little to no pink in your meat, which is how I like my pork to be prepared. Remove from oven and allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing, to preserve juiciness.Herb Roasted Potatoes and Carrots
- 1.5 pound bag of assorted baby potatoes (I like Little Potato Company-I used “Terrific Trio” for this recipe)
- 1 pound bag of baby carrots
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 TBS herb seasoning blend, such as Penzey’s Mural of Flavor or Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb blend
Heat oven to 375 degrees and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place vegetables in large bowl. Add olive oil and toss to coat, followed by seasoning, giving another thorough toss for fullest coverage of herbs. Spread vegetables evenly around pan and roast 50-60 minutes. Vegetables will be fork tender and slightly darker in color when fully cooked.