Why Thanksgiving is the Color Brown

The plentiful trees outside my window are diligently shedding their leaves. The green foliage that once danced with the summer winds is now pale and crisp awaiting fate. These leaves have provided a shady relief on the hot sweltering days. And now as they succumb to their demise, I feel a vague sense of loss. This bereavement stirs in me every autumn when the warm sun has faded to cold days, daylight has diminished, and tawny landscapes portray a lifeless reflection.  Mounds of fallen leaves announce a visual end of terrain life that was in abundance during summer.

Autumn is a brown season. Brown is an earthy hue, suggestive of dried corn stalks and fields at rest after harvest.  Much of nature comes to an end in the midst of autumn—meadows stand still and stark, covered like a woolen blanket.

It seems a contradiction to have Thanksgiving Day noted in such a season.  Would not the life-renewing month of April be more likely to excite gratitude?  Surely, thankful hearts are found everywhere leaping and bounding on the green grass and fragrant blossoms of early summer.

Feeling gratitude in the brownness of November, in the midst of barren horizons, encircled by cold and dark dawns can be difficult to summon. It seems easier to be grateful when the sun is shining, the wind is warm, and gardens bloom from naked branches.

But an attitude of thankfulness requires no precedent. It seeks expression in all circumstances, especially in the stark rawness of the autumns in our lives. In fact, the heart that is thankful in all seasons will find the shadows in life easier to maneuver. The hearts that believe in the sun even when it is not shining have an umbrella over their stormy days. In all circumstances, they can site a list of blessings for which they are grateful.

Every new day magically unfolds in grandeur for each one of us to use. To use giving back. To make a difference in someone’s life. To be kind and helpful. To be generous if able. To tell another human being that you care.

May you know happy thanks and happy giving, even in the brown seasons of life.

Think about it.

drsandynelson@gmail.com

©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life101Blog.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good and Evil Are Roommates At War Here

One word: paradise.

Blue skies stretch across a vast horizon. The soothing sounds and colors of a landscape come alive along paths of trees bearing fresh fruit for the picking. The scenery is a tropical postcard—gentle river streams babble along with waterfalls that outline a garden of extraordinary design and resource.

Everything needed for happiness is present. Here is a paradise of abundance. Here, there’s no want. There’s no hunger, thirst, or need of a doctor. There’s no white collar or blue collar, first class or coach, millionaire or minimum wage. No sorrow, worry, or problems.

It’s a place of good and right and truth. It’s where you don’t live, nor do I.  We don’t live in the Garden of Eden.

You and I live in a place of disease, struggles, and mistakes. We live in a land of inconsideration, crime, and loss. We’re surrounded by tragedies, unspeakable acts, and fears. We dwell among those who seek to define winners by possessions, status, and bank balances. We’re exposed to the greedy, the unkind, the bias.

This is a place of bad and wrong and lies. This is our place—our world—the outcome of Adam and Eve’s choice. Good and bad, right and wrong, truth and lies are roommates at war here. This is where you and I live. This is our reality.

Adam and Eve had it all—no wishful thinking, no bills, no body aches, no wants, no worries.

They possessed a park-like mansion and owned a river that divided into four more rivers (two are still identified today in Iraq each over 600 miles long where Eden existed). They had land bigger than the size of Texas. They were given forests, beaches, oasis, mountains, prairies, and golf course landscaping. They had security for themselves and inheritance for their children to come.

Still, there was one tiny, very small part of the whole earth they did not have—a tree. Just one tree. The Lord asked Adam and Eve, who stood as the sole receivers of the Earth, to recognize one, just one, itsy bitsy tiny request. You are free to eat from any tree, but you must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Assurance of life to them, immortal life, was theirs if they would honour this one request asked of God.

It required a decision.

They had the freedom to choose whether to focus on their paradise or to focus on the one forbidden tree.

At first, Adam and Eve must have passed the forbidden tree many times without a thought. After some time, perhaps they would look at the one tree as they walked to the river to swim. They didn’t talk to each other about the forbidden tree, but they each knew it was permanently off limits or as God told them, the consequence would be they will surely die.

One day Eve walked up to the tree, stopped and stared at it—focusing on the one thing she and Adam didn’t possess.

She dismissed the truth, denied the existence of repercussions, and justified listening to the words of a snake over the Word of God.

The rest is history.

Many people choose to focus on what they lack, what’s unfair, what they should have, and they are soon blinded from the blessings already bestowed upon them.

Like Adam and Eve, the given abundance is lost in the more they seek to have. These individuals focus on the one tree—the one thing they don’t have, don’t possess, don’t experience, or don’t feel.

What they do have is taken for granted. We can’t appreciate what we take for granted.

When a problem gangs up on us, all the struggling aspects of living seem to take the stage and the positive advantages of our lives—the blessings—seem to be missing from the role of credits.

Enter the nature of God—abundance.

Look around you. There isn’t just one leaf, one river, one snowflake, one flower, one feeling. There isn’t just a single dollar, a single gemstone, or a single piece of gold. These things are in abundance!

Jesus said that He came to give life—not just ordinary existence, but life in fullness, abundance and prosperity.

The choice of what to believe and what to focus on requires your decision—the same decision required of Adam and Eve—are you going to focus on what you don’t have or are you going to focus on a life of gratitude for what you do possess?

Are you going to believe what God says or are you going to doubt God exists?

On one side is God with goodness, eternal life, and “plenty” of all that is necessary for life and on the other side is the enemy of your soul who comes to rob you of God’s blessings, to oppress your mind with lies, and destroy an attitude of gratitude.

You choose every day what you’re going to believe and who you’re going to believe.

Choose wisely, my friend.

Think about it.

drsandynelson@gmail.com, © Life101Blog.com, Sandy Nelson Ph.D., All Rights Reserved

When Did You Last Hear “Take Your Time?”

We are all ruled by time. It controls our daily lives. 

Do we ever have enough time?

Time is attached to all events—births, meetings, flights, dinner, classes, family visits, accidents, celebrations, weddings, and deaths.

Time changes the seasons. It ages all life and awakens the new.

Time. It’s a priority—so be on time. We give it honor—we thank you for this time. We curse it—what’s taking so long? It deceives us—we think we have more time. We live it one day at a time.

Time. A commodity that cannot be ruled or bought or threatened or bargained. It cannot be stolen, bribed, or tortured. It holds no bias. It passes with no thought of our peril.

It’s both a mentor and a master. It’s a lifetime.

Free time has a price. This minute becomes history in 60 seconds, never to be revived. It’s opportunities vanish. Another delay in a pursuit of dreams. Maybe another missed chance. Are we waiting for time?

Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein. –H. Jackson Brown Jr.

We can feel validation when we mark our time with worthwhile moments. Stop waiting, stop postponing. Reach for that destiny. Make a plan. It’s worth the time.

Make the choice to be mindful of every minute spent with family and friends. Take time. Be present. Remember the details. With each passing day, children and family are older.

The pressure of time is stress.

Things need to be done by a certain time. Maybe a lot of things need attention after a workday. Take it from a recovering perfectionist, not everything is urgent. Some things can wait, if not many.

Discovering and maintaining relationships is probably the best use of time. The ones that are supportive and understanding. The ones whom will rally when needed. Nurture those relationships. Be a friend, too.

Use some time running interference with your purpose in life–what you feel driven to accomplish. There will be obstacles. Some people won’t understand and won’t be supportive and won’t get it. That’s okay. Sometimes illness or something else happens that threatens to derail your calling. A genuine passion for something will not budge regardless of events.

Helping or inspiring other people is always a good use of time. This is a blessed time to give humanity. To contribute to something bigger than one person.  It steadies the belief that mankind is compassionate, capable, and helpful.

The trouble is, you think you have time. -Buddha

Think about it.

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