This Thursday is Thanksgiving. If you are like me, you are finding this hard to wrap your head around. It has been so warm here in the metro Atlanta area that has made it even harder to grasp.
The whole purpose of Thanksgiving is for us to give thanks. As a nation, we have set aside this one-day each year to do just that: give thanks. But, as Christians, shouldn’t we be doing this each and every day anyway? My answer is YES!
Knowing that God loved us enough to send his own son to die on the cross for us should make us thankful every single day. (See John 3:16)
Knowing that God is full of grace and mercy that is new each day should make us thankful each day. (Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23)
Knowing that if we are truly sorry and ask for forgiveness from our sins, God is faithful to forgive us. (See 1 John 1:9)
These three truths alone should be enough to make us grateful and thankful each and every day. Cicero was noted as saying, “A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.”
But, just as a reminder, below I have a list of other things we can be thankful for. Now, all of these may not apply to you, but I am hoping that most of them do.
Things to be thankful for:
I also wanted to share with you some of my favorite quotes on gratitude and being thankful. These top the list:
It is necessary, then, to cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude. ~ Wallace D. Wattles
Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. ~ Denis Waitley
O Lord that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.
And though I ebb in worth, I'll flow in thanks. ~John Taylor
For hearts that are kindly, with virtue and peace, and not seeking blindly a hoard to increase; for those who are grieving o'er life's sordid plan; for souls still believing in heaven and man; for homes that are lowly with love at the board; for things that are holy, I thank thee, O Lord! ~ Walt Mason
Got no check books, got no banks. Still I'd like to express my thanks — I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night. ~ Irving Berlin
Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving. ~ W.T. Purkiser
I hope these reminders will help you to be thankful not only on Thanksgiving Day, but each and every day of your life. Because, as an unknown author has so rightfully shared, “Gratitude turns what we have into enough."
I hate to say it, but it’s that time of year again--that time of year when we have to start thinking about Christmas shopping. Some of you may actually enjoy it, and I hope you do. Me? I am not really a fan. For some reason, I find shopping for others hard.
Luckily I don’t have to do that much of it, so for that, I am thankful. But, for the majority of you who do have to shop, I wanted to share an idea with you: Shop Senoia.
It is no secret that The Walking Dead is filmed in Senoia. And, thanks to all the publicity that comes along with that, we have some great shopping here. The reason I like it so much is because, being in a small town, it has a genuine small town feel. And, I think that that makes your shopping experience so much better than if you were just shopping at the mall.
We have a variety of one-of-a-kind shops and places to eat that will make your visit worth the time from just about anywhere in the metro Atlanta area. Come early and plan on spending the day, you won’t regret it.
My favorite food in the world is breakfast food. And, if you want to start your day out right, I highly recommend having breakfast at Katie Lou’s Café. They offer fresh, homemade breakfast starting at 8:00am on Fridays and Saturdays. But, best of all, they serve breakfast all day long. All. Day. Long. YES!
The parents of Rutledge Wood own Katie Lou’s. If you a NASCAR fan or like the TV show Top Gear, you probably know who he is. You will usually find Rut’s mom, dad or sister at the café. They are really nice folks who serve up some really good food!
Do you have a thing for antiques? If so, Senoia is going to quickly become your favorite place. With shops like Beyond the Door, Foxxhollow Antiques, Gail’s Antiques, and Relish, you will be in hog heaven! Oh and Gail’s Antiques sometimes has set pieces from The Walking Dead for sale. It is creepy cool!
Are you more of a clothes hound? Yes? Then you have definitely GOT to come here. We have a vast variety of new and slightly used clothing stores that carry men, ladies, and children’s fashion. Get your shop on in Southern Heritage Outfitters, The Pink Chair, Sam’s Eclectic Collections, or Lace N Boots.
How about just some cool, unique gifts? We have got you covered there too! With shops like Table Talk, Beads & Lace Boutique, and The Woodbury Shoppe, which is the official Walking Dead Store, you can count on finding something that you and loved ones will melt over.
I especially like Beads & Lace Boutique, as 90% of their store is filled with handmade items from local artists! Plus, owner Lindsey Frazier has a heart for giving back and helping local people in need. She states on her website, “When you buy one our pieces you are blessing someone in need. God has blessed our business and we love to give back.” They support Community Welcome House and Pathway Home. So, if you are looking for some cute artisan gifts, accessories, jewelry making supplies, or bridal gifts, be sure to check them out!
Now, I have saved my two favorite stores for last. First up: The Queen’s Jewels.
The Queen’s Jewels is owned and operated by Jan Hipp. She, along with Master Jeweler, Jimmy Wheeler, make you feel right at home in this fabulous jewelry store. They have a nice assortment of jewelry, from items for special occasions to items for your everyday wardrobe. But, what I really like is that they don’t pressure you to buy anything, or spend more than you have allotted. If you tell them what your spending range is, they gladly show you what they have. They treat you like a friend, which is so refreshing in a jewelry store environment! They also sell Firefly jewelry, which if you haven’t seen it, you MUST check out. The Firefly pieces are bright, colorful, and gorgeous!
My second favorite store is The Georgia Mercantile Company. They specialize in Georgia based items such as jams, jellies, sauces, rubs, books, art, postcards, t-shirts, stationary, and more. All of their items are locally made, grown, or produced. It is an awesome place to find gifts for the foodie or hard-to-shop-for people on your Christmas list.
I told you to start out your day with breakfast, but shopping is hard work. As you shop your day away, remember that you need to stop and eat some lunch, snacks, and dinner as well. We have plenty of fabulous food options for you to choose from. Grab a great chicken salad sandwich at Senoia Coffee & Café, or some yummy pizza from Matt’s Smalltown Pizza. There is also Maguire’s Irish Pub, Main Street Fudge & Ice Cream, The Tomato House, or Nic & Norman’s Bar and Grill. All of these places are good in their own right. Actually, you probably want to make plans to come back and visit again, just to eat at all of these places. They are that good. Really.
I am sure I have left out some places…and I didn’t mean to. These are just the places that I frequent as a resident. There are lots of great places in and around downtown that you can visit. I hope I have convinced you that you need to come down and spend a day with us. We would love to have you!
There is this myth floating around that God will not give us more than we can bear. People often spout this out to family and friends in times of heartache and distress. And, I know they mean well, but nowhere in the Bible does it say this.
I had someone in my life about 5 years back that had a nervous breakdown. At the time, I could not figure out what had been so horrible in this person's life, that it would cause them to have a nervous breakdown. Now I understand. I also now know that God does indeed put a mighty heavy burden on us at times. And, sometimes it is more than one person can bear. Or, actually, as I think on it, it may not necessarily be God, but the devil. Either way, God does allow these heavy burdens from time to time. He uses these times of trial and hardship to teach us—they are an opportunity to grow and learn. If you believe and trust in Him, he makes beauty from ashes. (See Isiah 61:3)
Over a stretch of a number of years, my family and I have been through some significant and enormously stressful and life-changing events. While it may sound crazy to say this, I am now grateful for them because of what they taught me. Without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Without them, I would not have Jesus as the focal point of my life. (At least, I do my best now to have Him as my focal point.) Some of these things I have shared here, and some things I haven't. There have been many times I didn't think I could carry on. But, over this long and taxing journey I have learned two invaluable lessons:
While I know some of you don't believe the same way I do, or even believe in God at all, that is ok. I love you all anyway. God says, "Judge not, least ye be judged yourself." (See Matthew 7:1)
Plus, I think it is important to accept people the way they are and not push your beliefs on anyone. I wouldn't want anyone doing that to me. But, that is not to say that I won't tell people about our amazing God, or that I won't make it known how I feel about Him. I will sing His praises until I die. And I hope those of you who don't know God or believe in Him, will ask me about Him. I also hope and pray that people will see God through me, that I will do and say the right things and do His work here on earth. Maybe then those of you who don’t believe in God, will start to believe in Him.
So, anyway, I have come to realize that I have so many amazing, supportive family and friends. You are all my brothers and sisters in Christ. I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart.
I am still on my faith journey, but I have taken enormous strides these last few years. If you put your trust in God and give Him your worries, and you are lucky enough to have the love and support of family and friends, you can get through anything!
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.