Posts Tagged thankful

Be Kind

Parade Magazine in a major article on January 1, 2017 stressed the idea that we should all strive to be kind this year. The author suggests many reasons why this is a beneficial thing to do. I agree with the premise of the article 100 percent. Just be kind.

Being kind sounds simple enough, but when reality sets in it’s a different story. I was riding with friends this week when the car in front of us took longer than usual to move on. One of the passengers in our car became irritated and began to shout at the driver in the other car. His yelling served no purpose except it irritated me. I am afraid I was not too kind.

We all become frustrated. We often feel that we have been mistreated, taken advantage of, or put down. It is at these moments that we need to hit our pause button and re-think the situation. Be kind. The Parade article editor encourages us to write a Thank You note once a week for the following year – a great idea. About ten years ago I started Thankful Thursday on my blog. The idea is that each Thursday we will single out a different person to thank for their contributions to our lives. Please join me in doing that. Tell the people around you just how much they mean to you.

We are talking about simple things. Put the neighbor’s newspaper on his or her porch. Bring their recycle container back from the curb. Ask if a shut-in needs something from the market when you are going. Hold the door for a mom pushing a baby carriage. Just find simple ways to be kind.

Saying something nice to every person you meet is easy If that is too difficult, just smile at her or him. You can create a better world.

Tags: , , ,

Encourage One Another – Week Two – FBC – Say Something Nice Day

Scripture Focus: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

My friend has been unable to have full use of his right arm since having open heart surgery a few months ago. On the way back from lunch he said to me, “I can complain about all the things I can’t do with my right arm or I can be grateful for all the things I can do with my left arm. I choose to be thankful.” Wow! These words came from a man who has just lost his only daughter to a rare lung disease. His faith and courage under such circumstances gave me courage to walk back into my own house where my wonderful wife is plagued with Alzheimer’s disease. Carol taught in the public schools for twenty-eight years. She holds a Master’s degree plus thirty more graduate hours. She is the only person I have known who received more money on a grant request than she asked for. Five years ago she helped me edit my book, Christian Civility in an Uncivil World. She loved singing in the Sanctuary Choir. When our faith grows weak we can lean into the faith of someone’s whose faith is stronger. Peter Gomes said it best in his sermon for Christmas Day, “The House of Bread,” “The miracle of Christmas is that God cared enough to send the very best and that he continues to do so in the gifts now given to us in one another.” God has blessed me with friends whose faith helps me strengthen my own.

Prayer Focus: Dear God, thank you for all the wonderful people you have sent into my life. You have blessed me beyond measure. Amen

Tags: , , ,

Independence Day 2014

12989702-waving-usa-flagEvery day of my life I give thanks for being an American. I had nothing to do with where I was born, but I am grateful for this accident of birth. I mean no disrespect for any other country. I was born into a working class family in upstate South Carolina. My parents were the salt of the earth. They worked hard to earn a living and to make a home for my sister and me. They were the kind of people who made this the great country that it is. They believed in the American dream and they instilled that belief in the two of us. They taught us that all honest work is honorable. They taught us to respect ourselves and that all people are God’s children.

My wife was born into poverty in West Virginia. Most would have said that she had no chance for a successful life. A caring public school teacher saw her potential and inspired her to want more for herself. Both of us received good public school educations. Both of us enjoyed wonderful, successful careers and after different paths we found each other later in life. Neither of us could have had the lives we have enjoyed any place else in the world.

I am proud that my country is still striving for that more perfect union. I am proud that we elected an African/American as president, but I will be just as happy when we elect a woman or a Hispanic. I will be even happier when those qualifiers are not even mentioned. Freedom and opportunity still ring from every hilltop and valley

I am thankful that we are free to worship or not to worship as we choose. I salute the flag. I proudly recite The Pledge of Allegiance and my spine tingles with the sounds of our national anthem, America the Beautiful and God Bless America. In the words of the country song, “I am proud to be an American.” My heart aches when our government abandons out time honored values of just treatment of our enemies.

I pray without shame, God bless America. I pray for our leaders and for those who protect us at home and abroad. I pray that we will always be that land that proudly proclaims, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” We are a nation of immigrants and our society has profited from the contributions of all those who came.

As we celebrate Independence Day, give thanks for all of those who gave their lives that you and I could enjoy this great land of freedom. Give thanks for those who strive every day to make this a more perfect union. Give thanks for those whose political opinions are different from yours because that means that we are still free to disagree and to express those disagreements. I did not ask anyone’s permission to write or publish this article and there are no guards outside my door. I can read whatever I choose to read and I can travel whenever and wherever I choose without interference. I will spend the day celebrating with my family the blessings we enjoy but too often take for granted. We must learn over and over again it seems that freedom isn’t really free.

On this Independence Day and every day of my life, I am blessed to be an American and I am grateful for the privileges and responsibilities that go with being a good citizen.

Tags: , , ,

Thankful Thursday – Thanksgiving 2012

On this Thanksgiving Day my heart overflows with gratitude. I am thankful for my faith that sustains me whatever the circumstances of my life. I am thankful for my family immediate and extended. My late wife, Liz, was a blessing to everyone who knew her. Carol gave me my life back. Suzanne and Michael are constant sources of blessings and joy. No one has ever been blessed with a more wonderful sister than I have with my sister, Jean. Her husband, John (Bunky), is more than a brother-in-law. He’s my brother.

I am thankful for the church I attend that has guided people of faith for 330 years. I am thankful for the United States of America. I had no part in being born here and I have no disregard for any other country, but I am eternally grateful for my good fortune. I am thankful for my hometown of Woodruff, South Carolina and the values I learned growing up there. I am grateful for the people of Northside Baptist Church who encouraged me in all that I attempted to do. I am thankful for my teachers. All of them gave of themselves that I might have a better life. I am thankful for the influences of Mars Hill College, Furman University, the University of Alabama and Louisiana State University for their part in lifting my vision for what could be.

I am thankful for my friends who are truly gifts from God to my life. I am thankful for those with whom I have disagreed over the years. They have helped to sharpen my thinking. I am thankful to the many that served on the Board of Directors of the Charleston Speech and Hearing Center. They allowed me to have a career that was fulfilling and meaningful. I am grateful to the many staff members over the years who helped me grow and forgave my failures. I am thankful for my colleagues and students at Webster University where I have taught for 34 years. I am grateful to the contributors to my book, Christian Civility in an Uncivil World. They are a remarkable group of extremely dedicated and talented brothers and sisters in Christ.

I am thankful for all the committee members and speakers for the John A. Hamrick Lectureship for their devotion to a cause that honors the life and work of this great servant of God. I am grateful for all of those who have helped to make Say Something Nice Day and Say Something Nice Sunday successful movements that continue to gain support. I am thankful that at this point in my life that God has given me a new vision for helping people of different faiths, the same faith, and no faith talk with each other in a more productive and respectful way. I am thankful for my adopted city of Charleston, one of the most beautiful and hospitable cities in the world. I join with the psalmist in singing, “My cup runneth over.”

On this Thanksgiving Day of 2012, I am more aware than ever and humbled by the realization that I cannot count my blessings. They are too numerous. As I recount one, ten more spring to mind. Join me as I strive to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Celebrate this Thanksgiving Day with joy, gratitude and peace.

Tags: , , ,