Day 25: Sharing and laughter

HARRIET BECHTEL

Expressing gratitude is not a difficult assignment for me! My parents greeted each day with praises.  My Dad lived in Holland during the war and knew the value of food and friendship. Respect for others was part of his ministry – with nine around our dinner table, there was plenty of sharing and laughter. Living in a foreign land was a challenge, but the Taiwanese language and customs became part of my life – singing hymns was beautiful in the tonal language. Teaching English was part of my life – getting to know students and their challenges.

Gratitude is a part of my life – for health and medical care, family and fellowship, worship and service. Friendships among church friends are cherished. God has blessed me, and I am grateful.

Day 24: Helpers

HANNAH FOX

I am thankful for the people who help others and me. First, I am thankful for my mommy and daddy and all my family members for taking good care of me. I am also thankful for all my teachers and my school for teaching me new and fun things! In my nighttime prayer, I say I am thankful for the many helpers during these challenging times. When I give thanks this holiday, I know I have many people to be thankful for!

Day 23: Small Things

BAILEY PRATT

Given the craziness of the last six months, I feel extremely grateful for the small things in life which I think I notice more than I ever have before.  Below are a few small things that I am most grateful for:

Taking my daughter to Chick-fil-a for Chicken Minis
Taking my other daughter to her therapies and watching her getting better
Having brunch with my wife at Ruby Sunshine
Swim lessons and snacks with my Son
An afternoon playing golf with my dad and or friends
Dinner with my wife and good friends

Day 22: God is the Constant

CAROL DUBLIN

When my world is spinning, gratitude grounds me. In all the turmoil this year has brought, taking the time to name the things for which I am grateful has kept me calm. Some days, it’s the little things like seeing deer when I run, noticing a bluebird, or watching a beautiful sunrise. I’m grateful for this community of faith and the connections I’ve felt through the online worship and devotion videos, as well as the calls and cards from members reaching out.

Another blessing is God’s continued grace, mercy, and faithfulness, which I have felt in very real ways. Over a year ago, I started a 40-day prayer journal and wrote out my prayers faithfully every day. I had a couple of situations in particular that I was praying over, and God very dramatically answered one of my prayers ON Day 40. As I continue to write out my prayers, he continues to give clarity to other situations. Through all the uncertainty we’ve been through, God has been the constant in my life for which I am most grateful.

Day 21: Chaos

DAVID BELL

I am thankful for chaos.

I have lived for over 28,000 days but remember very, very, few of them. Events have provided an adequate share of notably wonderful days. I remember them and am grateful. They have also provided some not so pleasant experiences when absolutely everything went wrong, total chaos, even spectacularly disastrous events. These events were not enjoyable at the time, but have become as important to me as the good events, and I look back on both with fondness. They all are chapters in my life story, and they make me who I am. Those numerous days when I remain in my comfort zone are soon forgotten; it is those events at either extreme for which I am grateful. Any day, good, bad, or ugly, that I will never forget, is a great day.

I think the same can be said of our country. We have a great history, but not all of it is admirable, and it seems today we have an inordinate number of challenges. As is often the case, problems are not adequately addressed until they deteriorate into chaos. Chaos is the wakeup call to get to work to solve these problems. That is where we are now, and I am optimistic that this is the beginning of the transformation. There are times in the past when things were so interesting we can say it would have been a great time to live. I fully expect historians will say centuries from now, that this time would have been a great time to live. I am grateful to be part of it.

Day 20: Cross Country

EMMA PEARSON

One thing I’m grateful for in this season is my cross country team. I’m grateful for the community of people that have grown to becoming my best friends. They make me laugh everyday and are just great people to run and hang out with. COVID has definitely shaken up a lot of plans, but God has blessed me with a bunch of amazing friends, and for that I’m grateful 🙂

Day 19: Beauty of everyday life

PHILLIP WHITESIDE

When I think of gratitude and what I am grateful for, the obvious things rise to the surface as I am sure they do with others—God, family, health, FPC-Franklin, friends, job, hobbies, living in the greatest country in the world, just to name a few. However, during the past seven months I have grown to be more appreciative and grateful for the opportunity that God gives others and me to experience life with our own five senses the wonders of the world and God’s hand in these earthly creations. Sunsets, beautiful blue oceans, mountain ranges, crystal clear rivers, cascading waterfalls, flowers, animals, gardens, different seasons—both in life and each calendar year—and the changes that come with each. Gratitude wakes us up to the beauty and magic of everyday life. What really brings me happiness and makes me smile is that all those wonders mentioned above will not even compare to what is to come in God’s heavenly kingdom. What a sight and feeling that will be!  I am so grateful that God is my life and that I have a personal relationship with him. I am truly blessed. God is great!

Day 18: The people within the church

OPAL PLUMLEY

I am reminded of the childrens’ poem using the hands:

‘This is the church.

This is the steeple,

Open the door,

and see the people’.

I am so grateful, especially during this pandemic, for the people within our church who have shown their love in many ways–calls, cards and flowers.

Also, I am grateful for my four wonderful sons and daughters-in-law and their families. They are in my prayers every day.

Day 16: Scents of the Season

CHRIS PIANTA

With Fall in full swing, I am thankful for my nose. With my nose, I am able to enjoy all of the wonderful scents of the season. From pumpkin-spice beverages to tasty treats that have been baked with apple and cinnamon and drizzled with maple glaze. Or the smell of a warm fire on a cool, crisp evening as friends huddle around sharing stories and toasting s’mores. The aroma of Fall brings a smile to my face and the loosening of my belt. And the smell of family as we gather on Thanksgiving. Grandma’s perfume she has worn since before you were born, your uncle’s cigar, or the smell of your newest grandchild, covered in baby powder and lotion. Nothing evokes memories and emotions like our sense of smell. These fragrances remind me of how blessed my life has been and continues to be, even as we endure these days of having to breathe and smell through a mask. So, with a grateful heart, I thank God for my big Italian nose, and for all of the blessings he has given me.

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