Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wait! There's a holiday before Black Friday?!?!?!?

So as you may or may not know I work in retail, which means Black Friday is not a long night of lines, finding that much sought after amazing deal, and crazed post-turkey dinner madness.  What it means is that I have a long, all-night shift tonight and it has been weeks of preparation, planning, and stuffing the store full of the items people will be breaking the door down to get.  The responsibility of which has fallen more so then before on my shoulders since I’m one of three people responsible for product receiving and placement and that I’m the one in charge of the women’s department, which is a one of our key departments.  Let’s just say there’s a lot of new stuff to learn and a lot of running around.  So as today has been rapidly approaching I’ve been more focused on tomorrow then today.  Sadly at times I’d forget that there was even a holiday.  I was convicted of this last Sunday at church as a friend asked me if I was free anytime in the afternoons to catch-up.  She was talking in general but I thought of the week ahead (this week) and said, “Yes normally I am, but not this week because it’s Black Friday week.”  She responded, “Oh yeah, not this week because of Thanksgiving, I meant maybe after.”  Oddly this response made my heart sink.  I started thinking about what I had said.  I had TOTALLY forgotten about Thanksgiving, awesome K  I started realizing how often I said “Black Friday” instead of “Thanksgiving.”  The ratio was not proportionate; in fact it was very much lopsided in favor of the wrong side.  So I decided to actively get myself into the spirit of the holiday.  I started thinking about things I’m thankful for, I started trying to focus on the days of the week in order, which meant Thursday before Friday, and started listening to Winter/Christmas/Holiday music.  Now I know that listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving may seem like I was skipping Thanksgiving and not giving it it’s “own space.”  Well that’s not how it works for me.  Christmas music for me focuses on God, family, friends, joy, and truly living the reason we celebrate.  Even though some of the songs specifically focus on Christmas a lot of them simply focus on all the things I mentioned before.  This has helped me get my priorities in order, at least most of the time; Rome wasn’t built in a day after-all.  Anyways, it’s been nice to get rid of the stuff in the way and take back Thanksgiving, even if I am still having to think about Black Friday.  I have always wanted to do the 30 days of thanks giving thing that a lot of people do on Facebook but never have.  I remembered that I wanted to do those far to far into November so I wouldn’t be able to catch-up in time without bombarding my status’ and everyone’s news feeds with my massive posts.  So I decided instead to blog them J  So here goes my catching up on 30 days of thanks giving (P.S. these are in no particular order) (P.P.S. I’m going to have keep these things short since there will be 22 of them… I could write forever about each one, gonna keep it short and sweet):
1.     Salvation:  I’m thankful that God has given me the gift of salvation.  I’m thankful that everything in my life led me to accept the gift He offered and that to this day He is working in my life to continue to prefect my very imperfect life.  Ephesians 2:8-9 For by Grace you have been save through faith, this is not of yourself it is a gift of God, not of works so that no one can boast.
2.     My parents:  God gave me the perfect parents to train me into the women He wants me to be.  Like any relationships, ours isn’t perfect but I know they love me, pray for me daily, and would do anything for me.  I love them and know I will continue to learn from them.
3.     My siblings: Four siblings is a lot at times, but like my parents I know that God gave me each of my siblings for a reason.  I’ve loved growing up with all of them and have a lot of great memories with them, individually and all together.
4.     My pets: Past and present!  Animals make the world a better place and pets make my life a lot less stressful (most of the time).  They may make a mess but their unconditional love sure makes up for it!
5.     My house: I lived on the BEST street growing up and continue to live in a great neighborhood.  Our house is such a blessing and I know it came directly from God.
6.     My schooling:  From being home-schooled, to S.T.AR., to Cypress College, to UCR, all of them were exactly what I needed and where I needed to be.  I’m so appreciative for the things I learned, the opportunities I had, the people I met, the hard work of my teachers, and the abilities to be educated in general. 
7.     Hope:  Hope is a powerful thing.  I have hope because I know the promises of the God who loves me.  There are a lot of things I hope for, some silly and some heart wrenching but they are all things that keep me moving forward.  Maybe someday I write a blog about some of my hopes… I think that’s something I’d like to write about!   
8.     My country:  The good ole U.S. of A.  God was gracious enough to have me be born in the States and I’m grateful for it.  Now I don’t agree with everything that my country has done or is doing and I LOVE quite a few other countries, but overall the U.S. is a great nation that has done and is doing a lot of good.  I pray that God continues to bless us and that we will continue to be a tool in His hand.
9.     The Bible:  People have died for having a piece of the Bible and in the very room I sit in I have at least six… that’s just my bedroom.  God out of love for us gave us His amazing book to draw us closer to Him, give us Hope, and teach us things that are beyond man’s capabilities to teach.  What a gift to have one in my own language and to live in a country where I can read it without fear. Without the Bible I’d be lost.  
10.  My time abroad:  I have been to Mexico, Canada, Guatemala, Spain, Portugal, and Italy and I’ve loved each and every one of places I’ve visited.  Whether it be for school, missions trip, or fun, each adventure is a life experience I’ll never forget.  I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am without these opportunities.  I am grateful not only for the time there and the things I got to do and see but also for the people who helped make these trips a reality and the amazing people I met along the way!
11.  Work:  I may not always appreciate my jobs but I’m so grateful to have work to be able to pay of loans, bills, and to have fun.  In this economy so may people are out of work, I’m luck to still have more than one job. 
12.  My friends:  Past and present, new and old, they are all amazing!  God truly uses you all to shape me into a better person.  I love the memories I have with each of them and for the deeper relationships I have made with them as we have grown up.    
13.  Aunts and Uncles:  I’m grateful for the time I have had with each of my aunts and uncles.  Some I’ve had LOTS of time with and some I sadly have not.  I’ll never forget all the fun times and all the things they all have taught me.  I’m grateful that God gave me each of them. 
14.  Cousins:  Some of my longest friends are my cousins.  We have been through a lot together, both good and bad, and that means a lot.  I’m thankful for each one and the uniqueness of each of our relationships.  I have to say that God picked some pretty awesome cousins for me! 
15.  Grandma Max:  I love her and miss.  I’m so thankful for the time I had with her and for all that she taught me.  To this day I accredit my love of games and skill at a lot of games to her.  She was one of my first card buddies!  She loved her grandkids and “adopted” grandkids with all that she had and did everything to make our little dreams come true!   
16.  Church Family:  Village Bible Church is my second home.  I’ve spent a good portion of my life in that building and with my church family.  I’m thankful that we landed at VBC so many years ago and that God continues to use it to grow me into a godly woman.  I have SO many good memories with my church family and miss them so much when I’m away.  A great community of faith is of importance in a Christian’s life and I’m blessed to have found just that.  
17.  AWANA:  I’m SO grateful that I grew up going to AWANA programs!  They were fun and exciting but more importantly taught me discipline and SOOOO many Bible verses.  I may not be able to spout all of them perfectly at the drop of a hat today but it built a foundation and to this day all of the verse are familiar and common to mind often, even if I can’t remember the darn references!  I’m also thankful to be able to be a leader in AWANA now, what a joy every Wednesday night!!
18.  BYT:  While I may never have been the star of the show, but Biola Youth Theater was amazingly fun and helped me come out of my shell.  I overcame fears, learned so much about the ins and outs of theater, met a lot of great people, and just loved doing it!  So thankful for the 2 ½ years I had there J
19.  Passion:  I thankful that God has given me passion for certain things.  Languages and volunteering being two big ones.  I’m grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had to pursue and satisfy my passion and I’m SOOO looking forward to a job that allows me to use those passions every day!  
20.  Creation:  I LOVE the outdoors, I love all the different types of plants, weather events (minus heat waves!), landscapes, stars, and animals.  I’m thankful that God carefully crafted this world to be perfect for sustaining life and that all creation points back to Him!
21.  Nieces and Nephews:  Some of the dearest things in my life!  God has blessed me with some pretty amazing nieces and nephews and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.  I’m thankful for their little hearts, for the chance to see them grow, for the chance to be a good role model for them, for all their questions, for their AMAZING laughter, and so much more!  Love those kids!!
22.  My medicine:  I know this is an odd one… but my life before figuring out I have a thyroid problem was harder.  I’m thankful that God led me to amazing doctors and surgeons to help figure it out and find solutions.  I’ve seen what happens after not having medicine for a day or two and it’s not pretty so I’m very thankful that I live in a day and age were people much smarter than I know how to make medicine and that I live in a place were I can easily get it!

Well there you have it, sorry that was long… as you can see I have a lot to be thankful for!  So, I hope that this will bless you in some way, maybe it will convict your heart, maybe it will just be a nice break from all the junk around us, maybe it will teach you something new.  Maybe it won’t do any of those things, but it was on my heart and I wanted to share.  When things get in the way of what’s truly important take a second to refocus and then enjoy!  Happy Thanksgiving and remember who we truly have to thank for everything we have!

James 1:17

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.



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