A Few Personal Updates on This Notorious Day

’Tis the season to be grateful. Actually, gratitude is a year-round virtue, isn’t it? But it’s nice to have a special day of focus. Cicero, the Roman philosopher and statesman said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” Orrin Woodward, NYT bestselling author on Leadershift, said, “Ingratitude produces pride while gratitude produces humility.” And G. K. Chesterton, the English writer, literary critic, and Christian apologist, said, “When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” We have much to be thankful for, even though life has been challenging lately.

One. My mother-in-law continues her steady decline. She’s now on hospice, and we’ve had to learn how to use the equipment necessary to take care of her in (what appears to be) her final months. It’s been a real challenge, and that’s one of the reasons I’ve been so slow to post lately. I really do want to finish sharing those summaries on the book of Daniel. It was such a rich, encouraging, and eye-opening study, and it was hard for me to bring the series to a close. The book is timely as well as tremendous in its own right. I also have a backlog from the “Carved in Stone” series on the Ten Commandments. It just hasn’t been a good year to stay up on these kinds of tasks. I’m pretty sure my life is going to get a significant realignment in the New Year, as my health and sanity will require it.

Two. The boys continue to be a supreme blessing to me in these days. I never realized the joys of love could run this deep, but they do with these two munchkins! They are beyond adorable. When asked what the days of the week are, Samuel says, “Monday, Tuesday, Papa, Thursday….” (Yes, we keep the boys on Wednesday) 😊 That makes me want to melt into a puddle of gooey milk chocolate on a hot gas stove. Below are a few recent pics. We get to host them for Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday; otherwise, it’s a low-key weekend in our house, which is fine by me. Only after Thanksgiving do we start putting up Christmas decorations. That’s carved in stone, too. 😊 Next week we celebrate Samuel’s second birthday. 

Three. Speaking of stove, our kitchen renovation project is nearly complete. We’re just waiting on one final cabinet and the new backsplash. The transformation has been amazing. I can’t remember if I mentioned this before, but by securing and managing the subcontractors ourselves, and helping where we can, we’re saving about $20,000 over the estimate we received a couple years ago when we first started kicking the tires on this idea. Given the horrendous inflation over the past several years, that probably translates to about $25,000 today. Happy dance. Even though I can’t dance.

Four. My yearly Advent sob-fest has begun already. This one took me by surprise. I was doing some worship planning recently and wound up listening to the Tabernacle Choir’s rendition of “Lo! How a Rose E’er Blooming.” For some reason, it hit a tender spot, and the floodgates opened, perhaps because the load is quite heavy right now.

True man, yet very God,
From sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.

I’ll post the song below.

Five. COVID killed our wonderful choir, but I wouldn’t mind seeing it resurrected in due course, especially since our church is getting a new organ this week. (It’s a gently used though lovely Rodgers organ from Ephrata.) A few of us have been crawling around the organ chambers over the past several days, cleaning things out and getting ready for the new installation. We’re all a bit stiff and banged up from that venture, but I’m ecstatic that it will be operable in time for Advent and Christmas. I’ll also post our church’s Advent letter and lineup in case anyone is interested.

Six. My dissertation is trucking along, but it’s taking longer than it should. Even I—yes, I—am starting to drift into the “Let’s get this thing done, already,” mode. It’s just so tedious to write at this level and do a thorough job of engaging all the heavy hitters who’ve written on my topic over the past two millennia. At last count, I’ve gotten up to 19 languages, and that’s more than enough, don’t you think? Still, I love the research. It’s the academic writing (i.e., being precise, anticipating objections, making and defending an argument, documenting everything, etc., etc.) that’s so time consuming. All in good time, though, right?

Seven. By the time I publish this post, it will be November 22, 2023, the 60th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. I wasn’t born yet when that awful tragedy took place, but I became fascinated by all aspects of it when I was in elementary school. And, yes, I’ve done an awful lot of reading on this subject over the years, keeping up with old details and major developments in the case. I had hoped to write more extensively about it on this anniversary, but that’s just not possible this year. Maybe someday. What do I think happened? Let’s just say, “Things aren’t settled until they’re properly settled.” And this crime was never properly settled. Enough said?

Eight. In the spirit of JFK (who died on the same days as C. S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley), let’s end where we began—gratitude. It was President Kennedy who said, “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” In my case, that would take a whole lot of time. And it would include you, the readers of TNL. Thanks for stopping by.

And Happy Thanksgiving to all. Be blessed.



Oddly enough, today I’m thinking about the death of another larger-than-life personality, Princess Diana. Last night I finished watching episode 3 of the final season of The Crown, so it’s fresh on my mind. And it’s stirring up in me the loathing I already had for the media. I’m sitting here wondering if the paparazzi have learned their lesson, or if they’re still greedy, corrupt, and dangerous.

When You Have Eaten and Are Satisfied

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” – Cicero

“Ingratitude produces pride while gratitude produces humility.” – Orrin Woodward

“Gratitude bestows reverence…changing forever how we experience life and the world.” – John Donne

 “God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say thank you?” – William Arthur Ward

“It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy.” – Anonymous

Prior to the Israelites’ entry into the Promised Land, Moses issued a call to his countrymen for the ongoing praise and remembrance of God for his miraculous deliverance from Egypt and his gracious provisions in everyday life. His call is really a summons to daily thanksgiving—a fitting reminder on this day of feasting in the United States:

“When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

 He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.”

Deuteronomy 8:10-18

The Apostle Paul echoes a similar sentiment in 1 Corinthians 4:7: “What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” 

Israel’s many psalms of thanksgiving in the Psalter fulfill Moses’ call to the Israelites to express their grateful praise to God. Moreover, such is the abundant blessings of God to his people in all ages that Paul can instruct believers to “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess 5:18). As Nancy Leigh DeMoss has said:

“I have learned that in every circumstance that comes my way, I can choose to respond in one of two ways: I can whine or I can worship! And I can’t worship without giving thanks. It just isn’t possible. When we choose the pathway of worship and giving thanks, especially in the midst of difficult circumstances, there is a fragrance, a radiance, that issues forth out of our lives to bless the Lord and others.”

DeMoss is right. The latest lockdown has altered our plans for today, but we still have much to be thankful for. The table will be full and so will our hearts. We’ll eat and be satisfied, sharing the delights of the season, albeit with a smaller group than originally planned. And in the process, we’ll remember the Lord our God for who he is and what he has done.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all the readers of This New Life. Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to drop me a line if you have a need, would like to share a prayer request, or just want to chat.

May God richly bless you!

Image Credits: shutterstock.com.