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Advent: 1st Sunday – HOPE

November 26th, 2012 by stephanie

Hard to believe it, but the season of Advent is already here!
So, just what is Advent anyway? You might have seen or even used one of those clever Advent calendars at some point in your past. You know the ones. Where a door is opened each day in December and a surprise awaits you behind it.

Advent used to be the beginning of the Church Year for most Christians in the Western world. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, and ends on Christmas Eve (Dec 24).

Advent has colors too. I have an Advent wreathe in my house. Yesterday, the 1st Sunday of Advent, those of us who follow this tradition lit the first candle in our advent wreathes. (There are four candles in those wreathes by the way.) Three are purple. One is pink You light one candle each Sunday. This past Sunday’s candle was called the candle of HOPE. I’ll tell you more about the 4th candle and the Christ candle in time.

The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” The focus of the entire season is to be on the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the Christ – his first Advent – and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent.

Basically, it is about anticipation. Anticipation of the coming King. The Anointed One. The Messiah. And the hope He would bring. To Christians, that Hope is the assurance of eternal life.

Light a candle this week won’t you? And be reminded: we live in the hope that He has come.

Just my thoughts.

Thanksgiving: The Continental Congress 1777

November 22nd, 2012 by stephanie

During the American Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress in 1777 wrote this Proclamation: the First National Proclamation of Thanksgiving.


FOR AS MUCH as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for Benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of: And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy, not only to continue to us the innumerable Bounties of his common Providence; but also to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War, for the Defense and Establishment of our unalienable Rights and Liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased, in so great a Measure, to prosper the Means used for the Support of our Troops, and to crown our Arms with most signal success:

It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive Powers of these UNITED STATES to set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for SOLEMN THANKSGIVING and PRAISE:

That at one Time and with one Voice, the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and

That, together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favor; and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please GOD through the Merits of JESUS CHRIST, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance;

That it may please him graciously to afford his Blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public Council of the whole: To inspire our Commanders, both by Land and Sea, and all under them, with that Wisdom and Fortitude which may render them fit Instruments, under the Providence of Almighty GOD, to secure for these United States, the greatest of all human Blessings, INDEPENDENCE and PEACE:

That it may please him, to prosper the Trade and Manufactures of the People, and the Labor of the Husbandman, that our Land may yield its Increase: To take Schools and Seminaries of Education, so necessary for cultivating the Principles of true Liberty, Virtue and Piety, under his nurturing Hand; and to prosper the Means of Religion, for the promotion and enlargement of that Kingdom, which consisteth in Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost.”


Happy Thanksgiving!



Thanksgiving 101 (Part 3)

November 21st, 2012 by stephanie

And our stories on the Journey to Thanksgiving continue. I love this one…

Meanwhile, back in Holland, the Pilgrims (that would finally come via the Mayflower) were still in Scrooby but were preparing to finally set sail for the New World. Their destination was supposed to be the Hudson River. (The area we currently call Manhattan.)

But the weather and tides weren’t cooperating when they arrived. After two attempts, they realized landing as planned just wasn’t going to happen. They simply acknowledged fate and wound up finding themselves reaching land, but only very far north of their goal. And just where was that place? Plymouth, Massachusetts. Ironically, this area was outside of the legal boundaries of their Company Contract. They were now accidentally “free” of their original obligations. hmmmmm

Another little known fact is this: during the two years before their accidental landing, small pox had literally wiped out almost all of the Indians on that very piece of Massachusetts shoreline. (Interesting).

It was now nearing winter. The ship-weary pilgrims were sick from the journey. The only thing there to greet them when they did land was sand — and the coming snow. No buildings. No food. So, they begged the Mayflower to stay for the winter in order to provide them food and lodging. The Captain and crew were not happy, but they finally agreed to stay.

Many of these poor souls died within the months that followed. By the next fall, only about 53 of the original pilgrims remained. They were the ones present when they did finally gather together to give thanks to God who had brought them to a land they hadn’t planned on and that wasn’t too welcoming. An area that had been cleared out, however, and prepared for them, ahead of time, if you will.

As they were now legally outside of the geographical area that had been specifically outlined in their Company contract, they were unexpectedly finding themselves a people on their own. Free. Without a formal, written law. And that my friends…is how the Mayflower Compact came to be.
These settlers needed some form of government. Due to circumstances beyond their control, there were now completely on their own and rightfully in a position to create their own. And so…they did.

Interesting isn’t it? How delays, complications and unexpected diversions can, if we allow them, become the very blessings for which we end up giving thanks. They sometimes provide us with opportunities that we never anticipated, prepared for, or even saw coming.

As you journey through this holiday season, whatever you encounter, maybe this story will encourage you on your way…if anything, hey, maybe you learned sumthin’ new. 🙂

Just my thoughts,

Thanksgiving 101 (Part 2)

November 16th, 2012 by stephanie

In continuing our story…
While the Pilgrims were learning to survive in Holland, other settlers from England had already set up shop in the new world (America). At that time, the entire Eastern Seaboard was called “Virginia”. Jamestown by now was already up and running as well.
Times were tough. And things weren’t going as planned at that particular settlement. At one point, out of supplies and exhausted, the homesteaders gave up, loaded up the ships and begrudgingly began their return to England.

At the very moment they released the boats from shore, fully loaded supply ships from England came around the corner and floated into the mouth of the river. Heading right towards the weary settlers. The people saw this timing and event as the hand of the Lord. The leader on that ship, Lord De La War, exited the boat, bowed in prayer, and then walked immediately to the chapel those very Englanders had built.
That’s another ironic thing. The tradition was, if you were leaving an area, you burned down all of the buildings before you left. The chapel, in this situation, for some reason had been left standing! So…they all got off their boats, went inside and gave thanks.

There’s so many more great stories. And we will share more here in the days coming. Be sure and come back!
Just my thoughts,

Thanksgiving 101: The Robin Hood Connection.

November 12th, 2012 by stephanie

So, what does Nottingham Forest have in common with the Pilgrims? The answer: Scrooby, England.

For those of you that immediately think of Robin Hood when you see the word “Nottingham”, you are not alone. But now it can ring a bell for you in regards to our journey to Thanksgiving. Here’s the scoop.

During the 1500s, the Catholic Church was at war with those who were protesting the Catholic religion (The Protestants).  Apparently, a few extremists, or rebels,  up in Scrooby, (Nottingham area) were fed up with the new Church of England. And they  decided it was time to leave. They wanted to worship the Lord their way. Not the way the State demanded and ordered. To them, religion was between a man and his God. Not a government mandate. (sound eerily familiar?)

In their first attempt to slip out of the country, they were arrested. At that time, people who rebelled against the church were’nt allowed to leave the country. Finally, in about 1608 A.D.,  a merry band of “brothers” managed to escape over to Holland.  But in time, the poverty, the Dutch culture their children were absorbing, and other political pressures had them thinking that this new world was not their final destination.

In time, they connected with a company that was looking for settlers willing to trek to the New World (America).  It wasn’t part of the original plan of these pilgrims from Nottingham, but after careful thought and much prayer, they began to look at another new land and a new life.

And thus began the journey that truly led to the first Thanksgiving. Stay with us…there’s more to come!



Is it just me?

November 2nd, 2012 by stephanie

Is it just me, or does it seem like Christmas is getting set up in the stores by August these days? I mean, can a girl get a little turkey first? 🙂 That’s the line that keeps rolling through my head as October closes and November unfolds.

I love the holidays. And if you know me, or my basement, it’s time to dig into the inner depths and begin pulling out my holiday files and stuff. Yes, I said files. I know…. I know…

I have family recipes, and traditions, that I have kept for years. And I don’t intend to change any of them one bit. My boyfriend groaned the other day when I mentioned it was time to start the baking and cooking plans.(#needtocontacttrainer) but I was relieved when he was helping a friend move and she had seven Christmas trees! Woo hoo! I am not alone!

So, am I excited? You bet!

For those of you who follow this blog, and may I humbly say a big THANK YOU!, I am going to do a bit of a Journey to Thanksgiving in the days ahead. So, if you are not subscribed, please do so today! And stay tuned. We’re gonna have some trivia fun. Great hallway or board room chat, or whatever. Sound fun?

Talk to you soon!



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