Rolling Over Thanksgiving

I’m annoyed today so watch out, people. I’m on a rant about the soon-to-be-forgotten holiday once known as Thanksgiving.

What is the dang rush all about? We can’t even get through that stupid “holiday” known as Halloween without seeing the first glimpse of Christmas decorations being erected in the mall. (Sorry if you love Halloween. I don’t. But that’s another blog post.)

And heaven forbid we take one day – one day out of 365 we get every year – to thank Jehovah for His outpouring of blessings in our more than enough American society. One day, people. We give more attention to breast cancer awareness and March Madness than we do Thanksgiving.

We just roll on through – or over – Thanksgiving so we can hurry up and get to Christmas. I know what is driving most (if not all) of this insanity – money. Retailers start earlier and earlier with their Christmas push, luring us in with shiny objects and early-bird specials, pre-black Friday sales and deals you just can’t get ever, ever again as long as the world will spin. (And I used to work in retail so I get it. But that doesn’t make it right.)

 Christmas_shoppers_in_Leeds_in_December_2009

And I used to think retailers opening up at 5:00 a.m. on Black Friday was ridiculous (I’m so NOT a morning person). Well, hold on missy – for those who just can’t wait you can now throw down that Turkey and dressing (it’s dressing in the South, not stuffing. Do NOT call it stuffing in my house) and be at no less than 37 stores who will open their doors Thanksgiving night.   Oh but don’t worry – I’m pretty sure within a year or two they’ll be open all day on Thanksgiving so you won’t have to spend but maybe 30 minutes with your crazy uncle or annoying second-cousin-twice-removed.

So I’m annoyed. I like Thanksgiving. I like spending time with whatever group of family and friends show up. I like the feeling of fall in the air, colorful leaves on the ground. I like families playing tag football in the yards and falling asleep in chairs after a wonderful meal. I like taking time to pause and enjoy family without any expectations of gifts. I like Thanksgiving, dadgumit.

I refuse to put up the first Christmas decoration before Thanksgiving. Now it may kill me getting it all up before Christmas day actually arrives (that dang Snow Village will be the death of me yet) but I for one am going to take one day – just one – and celebrate the holiday the way it was meant to be celebrated – thanking God for all He has done and will do with my family and a few friends.

“You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you.” (Psalm 118:28)

Just one day. One day with family thanking God for His mercy, His grace, His blessings. Is that too much to ask???

Blessings!
Leigh

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!

 

 

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Not So Thankful

I learned in kindergarten all about Thanksgiving Day. The pilgrims started the tradition to thank Jehovah for safe passage, survival, bountiful food and friendships with the Indians. I still have a 5 year old picture of that day in my head – I see a long wooden table with two benches on either side, pilgrims dressed in their finest black and white ensembles, Indians with their colorful face paintings and beautiful feathered headdresses sporadically sitting with their new friends.

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Fast forward to 1863, when President Lincoln designated the last Thursday of November to be a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” He made that proclamation during the Civil War, one of the worst periods in American history.

Now if anyone could find a million reasons not to be thankful, it would be pilgrims and Lincoln.

The pilgrims endured a transatlantic voyage on a dirty, wooden ship, not a multi-million dollar cruise ship where you have your own state room along with food and beverage showing up 24/7. Hundreds lost their lives and never saw the promised land. They arrive in the north, God bless ‘em – not the most pleasant year round climate, for sure. Pilgrims endured harsh winters, Indian attacks and new diseases. They could have – and maybe did – put the grumbling Israelites to shame with their complaints.

President Lincoln was taking a stand against one of the biggest atrocities this nation has ever been a part of – ownership of another human being. The nation was split in two, brothers fighting brothers, death and destruction from Boston to Atlanta. America was on the verge of going down in literal flames, and he certainly could have – and maybe did – gripe about being President during this time.

With all the turmoil and chaos, death and destruction surrounding them it would be easy to be mad at God, to fuss at Him for all He didn’t do. Thankfully these were God fearing people, and they made the choice to thank Jehovah for everything despite their circumstances, despite how they saw the world that day. They chose to thank God for all He had done, for all He would do and for all the blessings they had received from their heavenly Father.

So today, even if your circumstances are desperate, chaotic, depressing or just simply not what you want, thank Him. Thank God for it all – the good and the bad. Thank Him for His great love for you, for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Your circumstances may not change, but your attitude will.

“Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:20)

Just be thankful. Always.

And if you’ve never read Lincoln’s proclamation (I admit I hadn’t until I wrote this) here’s a link to it.  It’s a great reminder of why we should always be thankful:  Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclomation

Blessings!
Leigh

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!

If I Die Young…

You may be familiar with The Band Perry’s song “If I Die Young.” Kimberly Perry sweetly sings, “If I die young, bury me in satin; Lay me down on a bed of roses; Sink me in a river at dawn; Send me away with the words of a love song…”

Thebandperry

I’ve got my own version of “If I Die Young.” Yep, I know I’m 47 and that may seem old to some of you, but every time I have a birthday I realize I’ll never be this young again so…

If I die young, will someone please wash out and recycle the 3-4 jars of salsa my son goes through every week? He refuses to wash them out because “When all that stuff is in the sink it looks like someone threw up.”

If I die young, will someone please come scoop out my cat’s litter pan? Gross, I know. But for the health of my family and the sanity of my cat, someone’s gonna have to step up.

If I die young, will someone do my laundry in color-coded, temperature-designated piles and not throw clothes of every color from the rainbow into the washing machine at the same time? I know my husband does it and the colors never bleed together, but I think he has a supernatural power over laundry that no one else possesses.

If I die young, will someone cart 6 tubs full of t-shirts, cheerleading uniforms and football jerseys up to school and have a prep sale on THE HOTTEST day of August, a day equivalent to what hades feels like when satan is on a roll? A hint: you better wear clinical strength deodorant if you sign up for this one.

If I die young, will make sure the meat doesn’t touch the starch and the starch doesn’t touch the veggie and the veggie doesn’t touch the meat on my 20 year old daughter’s plate? It’s a phobia she carries with her to this day.

And if I die young, will someone please unbox, unwrap, set up and light up every piece of our Christmas Snow Village under the kids’ Christmas tree upstairs? For some reason EVERYONE wants all houses, churches, businesses, vehicles, people & animals who are literally frozen in time on display but NO ONE wants to help make that little miracle village happen.

I don’t plan on dying young, but it really doesn’t matter what my plan is. God’s plan is bigger. God’s plan is better. Only God knows how many days I’ll have on this earth.

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16)

“You have decided the length of our lives. You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer.” (Job 14:5)

So until God calls me home, I’ll wash out salsa jars, scoop litter pans, wash laundry according to colors, sell t-shirts in the heat, make sure my daughter’s food doesn’t touch and set up the Snow Village every Christmas.

But if I die young… Lord help ‘em.

Blessings!
Leigh

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!

My PSA for Today

Here’s my PSA for today:

Wear your dang seatbelt, people!

I am a seatbelt FREAK – just ask my children.  It all stems from the death of a close friend years ago.  My friend Mary Margaret unbuckled her seatbelt to change the movie in the car for her twins on the way home from the beach.  A tractor trailer had gotten stuck under a bridge that was being constructed.  Her husband swerved to miss the truck but it was too late.  A horrendous accident followed, her husband and twins surviving, Mary Margaret perishing.

So ever since then I’ve been a crazy momma about seat belts.  Oh, no no no we won’t be “double buckling” in my car.  If I was taking a bunch of kids somewhere my car stayed in the “P” position until every child had strapped themselves in with a seatbelt.  And yes, my children were confined to a booster seat WAY past any of their friends. (Yes, I know it’s extremely embarrassing to hop into a booster seat at age 10.  I didn’t care.)

And for months now I’ve read or heard about some serious, serious injuries and what’s worse – several deaths – because people were not wearing their seat belts.  I really don’t understand what the deal is with this. Is it uncool? Confining? Restricting? Do people forget?  I don’t get it.

Over the summer a father told me the story of his daughter who was hit head on while sitting still at a stop light. Some drunk nut going 60 mph in a 45 zone plowed into the front of her car. She and her friend were wearing their seatbelts and were injured but out of the hospital. The friend’s mother in the backseat wasn’t wearing hers and was in critical condition in the hospital.

And perhaps the most well-known story recently publicized is that of former Auburn football player Philip Lutzenkirchen who was ejected from a car and killed after he was in an accident without wearing a seatbelt. ESPN told the story through his father’s words, and you can watch it here if you missed it or want to see it again:

 Live Like Lutz

Lutzie
Image courtesy of the Auburn Plainsman

Wearing a seatbelt isn’t supposed to be burdensome or a problem for us. Seatbelts are designed for our protection.

So why don’t we follow the guidance found in the Bible? God’s teachings are not burdensome or a problem – they are designed to protect us from the “glory” the world offers but never provides.

“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (1 John 5:2-4)

KNOW God’s word so that you can be PROTECTED by God’s word.

And PLEASE wear you seatbelts!

Blessings!
Leigh

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!

He Should Be Fired

It’s Monday after a Saturday of college football, so you know what that means.

A football rant.

So sorry if you’re not a football fan, but 1)football is just awesome and 2)football provides a plethora of life lessons week in and week out.

Saturday night my team did not play well – at all. And as I scrolled through my Twitter feed and FaceBook posts, I read several comments from “experts” demanding the firing of our defensive coordinator. Again, Auburn isn’t unique to these comments – just throw out a search on Will Muschamp and see what you get.

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I used to be one of those people who were smarter than the coaches. I would yell or post a “He should be fired” comment freely and often when I thought it was warranted. And while I do believe people who underperform should have to answer to their boss for their performance, I’ve stopped the demand for someone to be fired.

Why? Because 7 years or so ago I became friends with a coach’s wife. A high-level football coach’s wife. She helped me to see that a coach is an actual person with an actual family. I was ashamed I had never really looked at them as people but as pawns in a high stakes game of ultimate importance in the lives of so many fans.

She helped me to see that every time a coach is fired, he must face the public embarrassment that he failed at his job. He has to go home, face his family with the news. He has a wife who has friends, children who are ingrained in schools and activities. They will most likely be uprooted and moved to a new town where they will already have a reputation before people even know them and have to start over, only to face the scrutiny of a crazed fan base all over again.

Do coaches know all the possible pitfalls when they take the job? Sure they do. Do they make lots of money? Some do. Do they receive perks along the way? If they perform, yes. But do you really think knowledge and a check take away the feelings of failure and loss? I’m sure those help, but even then a fired coach will have some issues to work through. Wouldn’t you?

And one more thing – as you scream at the top of your lungs or post on social media how a coach should be fired, just imagine him doing the same thing in your office in front of your boss and coworkers. Not the same thing? Oh, but it is.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:1-3)

So how about we encourage and support our coaches instead of tearing them down?

Blessings!
Leigh

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

Part of my football Saturday routine is to leisurely wake up around 7:30 (only people over 40 think that time is leisurely), have my quiet time (Jesus is available on Saturdays too, ya’ know) and turn on ESPN’s College GameDay show.

This year I’ve been waiting and turning it on around 8:02 because my ears started bleeding the first time I heard the new chic who screams – I mean sings – with Big & Rich.

But I digress.

For the most part I love the GameDay signs. College football fans have proven themselves to be very funny and creative. Any sign referring to someone wearing “jorts” just makes me laugh. This one was my favorite last week:

 mark may

 It makes no sense. That’s why it’s funny to me.

But of course you have the people who are out there to ruin good fun for everyone else. This week I was a little disturbed at how many times the word “suck” could be used in signage. That word has become an accepted word in our culture, people saying it without thinking about the intended meaning behind the word. Some Michigan State fans wanted to make sure we got the meaning with a sign that was so vulgar I was truly shocked ESPN didn’t make the sign owners get rid of it. I won’t show it here – you can look it up if you really want to see it but trust me you don’t.

And then there was this sign:

  sign

If you think that was bad you should have seen the other side which read, “Urban Meyer stole Tim Tebow’s virginity.”

Yep, I’m on my southern momma rant about these signs. ESPN’s College GameDay show attracts fans of all ages, from young boys who hope to one day play the game in college to young men and women in college to parents, grandparents – you get the point. I’m mad about these signs for 2 reasons: 1) the people who made them couldn’t care less that they are spreading their vulgarity across all of America to people who just want to hear the latest predictions and enjoy just one G rated show in their day and 2) ESPN executives show no concern for the appropriateness of the signs that are seen by viewers of all ages.

You can call me overprotective, but for the love of all that is good and kind it would be nice for my 15 year old son to be able to watch a show that airs at 8:00 a.m. and not have to process sexual images and words while making his football picks for the day. And I know – If I don’t like it, I can just turn it off. And if this inability to squash the signs that are blatantly spewing sexual innuendos continues I will do just that.

“The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked, but those of the pure are pleasing to him.” (Proverbs 15:26)

I’m praying the ESPN crew will raise the standards for their signs so that fans of all ages can watch, laugh and enjoy their show without mommas and daddies having to scramble for their remote controls…

And just because I’m an SEC fan…

 urban mayer sign

Blessings!
Leigh

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!

No Words

I’m usually full of words (just ask my husband). But today, no words can truly convey my gratitude for the men and women who serve in all the branches of the United States armed forces and their families.

I am a mother of 2 children, neither one serving in the military. So I cannot fully understand the anxiety a mother feels as she watches her son or daughter be deployed to a war zone far, far away. I will never know the pride that mother feels when the news is conveyed of her daughter’s heroic actions. And I will never sit at my child’s funeral with a 21 gun salute sounding his final return to home.

I am a wife of a husband who works very hard, but he hasn’t ever served in the military. So I cannot speak as a wife who prays every day for her husband’s safety as he patrols a deserted village in Afghanistan. I’ve never had to tell my children that “Daddy will be home soon,” not knowing if he will ever come home again. I’ve never had to help my husband recover from injuries suffered in combat, both mental and physical, praying that we can somehow find our way to a “new normal.”

I am a daughter, but my father didn’t serve in the military. I cannot give advice to children who haven’t seen their father in 6 months or a year – or longer. I’ve never missed my father’s birthday because he was in a jungle fighting the Viet Cong. I have no idea what it’s like to hope every day while I sit at my desk at school that my daddy will walk through the classroom door giving me the biggest surprise of my life.

I’ve never served in the military. I will never know the emotional upheaval of leaving the people I love to fight an enemy I hate for the protection of so many I don’t even know.

My grandfather served in the army, my father-in-law served in the navy and my nephew is currently serving in the navy, so I have a bit of knowledge but no real comprehension or understanding of the mental and physical challenges our soldiers experience. I cannot write as a contemporary, as a fellow soldier or family member of someone who serves. Those words would not be legitimate because I’ve never been there.

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My grandfather, Colonel Clinton Adams

But I have these words to share, found in the book of Numbers, chapter 6, verses 34-36: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

And I do have words of encouragement, words of thankfulness, words of gratitude for those who serve and the ones who love them.

Thank you. God bless you. Amen.
Leigh

You can follow me on Twitter @LeighThompsonAU and enjoy my sometimes inspirational, sometimes humorous, sometimes quirky Tweets!