Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Psalm of Thanksgiving

“Make a joyful shout to the Lord all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.”
- Psalm 100

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone from Johnny, Me, and Scarlett. This has been a happy holiday for us indeed. We have so much to be thankful for. These holidays have been filled with all the usual trimmings –

1. A table adorned with turkey and ham, dressing and giblet gravy, fresh snapped green beans and potatoes, fresh shelled white acre peas, homemade macaroni and cheese (Scarlett’s personal request), rolls, southern style sweet and unsweet tea, fresh Vidalia green onions, pumpkin pie, pecan pie etc. Of course there were snacks to tide us over until dinner was done – fresh boiled peanuts and old fashioned party mix made from Chex cereal, pretzels and mixed nuts. Heaven forbid we should go hungry at any minute!

2. Family gathered together. Scarlett and Rhett spent the night and it was like old times hearing her knock around the house upstairs, with her music and TV and stuff strung all over the bathroom (which used to be hers but now is mine.) It was so joyful having her “hang out” and sitting in her Daddy’s chair with him as we watched television together and talked about life and old memories and her ever growing successful career. She’s on her way to Savannah and Hawaii next week for work and conference and pleasure. So it was good to see her before her jet setting life zooms into the fast lane again.

3. Time with the parents! Mom and Dad drove in from Orlando for Thanksgiving Day to share our glorious meal and bring desert. Mom and I had a chance for long overdue “girltalk” as we prepared dinner together and Dad spent a lot of time with Johnny solving the world’s global crises, predicting our country’s economic and political future and armchair coaching the various football games on TV.

4. Shopping! Scarlett ventured out to the new outlet stores with the fabulous new shops with Rachel and together they set a new family record for an 8 hour shopping spree. It’s a rough life but someone has to do it.! The grand prize in her treasure hunt was nabbing a pair of first time ever Jimmy Choo shoes.

5. Rummaging through the Christmas decorations and wishing I had a band of elves handy to put it all up. I used to go to such extremes with decorating the house and yard all by myself. These last few years the decorations get smaller and smaller. Last year it was pretty much just a wreath on the door and lights around our wrap around porch. Ah for the days of the big sled and reindeer in the front yard with lighted fences and holly draping everything in sight and poinsettas everywhere, and the nativity scene on our corner.

6. Neighbor visits. Our next door neighbor Brenda brought her latest bundle of joy , 9 week old grand-daughter Bria, to light up our day. She was so pretty in pink and holding her in my arms brought dreams of my own grand-child to come one day. She just cooed and gurgled at Johnny in her own baby language. When they left they left us with smiles all day long.

7. The annual FSU/UF football rivalry game which takes place every Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It was an action-packed soggy game in the rain for the boys and spectators. The end result is one I hate to mention. The Gators got us again! That Teebo is a force to be reckoned with, but I can’t complain cause he is a godly guy! I love that we have role-models like him out there for young kids to emulate. As for our Seminoles – at least we had our wire to wire year back a decade ago! Every dog has his day and just for the record – Bobby Bowden can stay as long as he wants to as far as I’m concerned! No matter what! Another godly guy there I might add.

There you have it in a nutshell. All the blessings and more than a family could ever pray for. And that’s just touching the tip of the iceberg. Just ask Johnny. Folks ask me everywhere how he is doing. My best response is this – spiritually he is doing fine as he continues to place his total trust in God. But as he said at the end of today’s holy healing prayer session – “and thank You Lord for creating pain pills as your will is done!”

Johnny does not complain. He is stoic as he battles for the healing. The avalanche of blessings that have landslided into our life from this journey is hard to fathom. It is indescribable. It boggles our minds and fills us with such joy that I think it is like it has taken on a life of its own. A community of love has been formed that is the best medicine that could possibly exist. There could be no better healing. A family of old and new friends join in a circle with our own family to form a hedge around us.

It keeps us in a place called hope. No matter what the circumstances we are able to deal with fear and anxiety in a unique way. We lift it up to God and praise His name. We praise Him as we lift up the pain or hear the Doctor tell us that the tumor has grown. We praise Him in the moments when Johnny finds a comfort spot as he lays and feels temporary relief. We continue to give thanks every night for every day we have together.

I encourage you to give thanks in your own life no matter what struggles you face. Look for the good. It is always there. Appreciation is a fruit of the spirit that boomerangs back at you in multiplied blessings. It’s like stoking a fire. The more kindling you add the bigger the flame. Appreciation is a very magnetic force attracting all God’s best your way.

Tomorrow is another chemo day for Johnny. We give thanks that they continue to tell us we have weapons to fight with. But we know the best weapon is prayer so we thank each of you who continue to provide us with ammunition daily as we storm the gates of hell and claim the victory in the name of Jesus.

Beautiful Blessings,

Rene and Johnny and Scarlett

1 comment:

Janice said...

I am sooo thankful that all of you had a great Thanksgiving day and I will definitely be praying more for Johnny because I know that the chemo will knock his strength back down, but not his WILL!!! Even with all the battles my family has been through I always just reflect on God's promises that "he will never leave me or forsake me." I know how hard this has been on all of you because I have been in your shoes--the caregivers shoes. May the Lord continue to give you all the strengh you need for each day. In Jesus' Love---Janice