All posts by Sue

Thanksgiving Blessings…

     We were driving a back road somewhere between Massachusetts and New York, when I saw this beautiful little church. “Oh, Ron! You’ve got to get a picture!” There are certain scenes my husband knows I love. Churches, whether majestic cathedrals or small chapels tucked away in the woods, are right up there alongside interesting doors, pathways and empty benches.

     Today is Thanksgiving. I’m sure by the time today’s post arrives on Facebook or in your email inbox, I’ll be busy prepping for dinner.

     Recently, in my spiritual direction exercises, I’ve focused on the five senses with which God blesses us. Thanksgiving, I thought, is one of those days when every sense awakens.

     We see the faces of those we love or are keenly aware of faces from bygone Thanksgivings we wish we could see or realize we may never see this side of Heaven.

Thank you, God, for the sense of sight!

     We hear a cacophony of sounds—lively conversations, laughter, clanging pots and pans, and of course, football announcers droning in the background.

Thank you, God, for the sense of hearing!

     Warm hugs incorporate the sense of touch as does the practice we have at our house of holding hands during the pre-meal prayer.

Thank you, God, for the sense of touch!

     Thanksgiving must be the best day of the year for our sense of taste! Savory stuffing and gravy; creamy mashed potatoes; tart/sweet cranberry sauce; spicy pumpkin pie topped with sweetened whipped cream.

Thank you, God, for the sense of taste!

     Finally, the smells of Thanksgiving. Roasting turkey; pungent herbs and spices; autumn-scented candles. The sense of smell is linked to memory more than any other sense. Scents of this family holiday resurrect memories of Thanksgivings long ago. For some those memories bring pleasure. For others, the recollections are unpleasant.

Thank you, God, for the sense of smell!

     The following photos from our recent vacation are from Plymouth Rock where the pilgrims landed in 1620. Even though Plymouth Rock is a tourist destination with a bit of glitz, Ron and I enjoyed our time spent strolling through the quaint New England town, reflecting upon our nation’s heritage of faith.

     Plymouth Rock is in fact a relatively small stone. It is on display in this columnar monument, guarded by a nice park ranger who answered cheerfully every child’s question.

     Many of the Pilgrims died while traveling to their new home and many more didn’t survive that first brutal year. What a debt of gratitude I feel this Thanksgiving Day for these brave men and women who left homes and loved ones they knew in search of religious freedom. It reminds me of a saying I believe the Spirit implanted in my thoughts a while back: “God Always Calls Us to Good; God Never Calls Us to Easy.”

     Myles Standish Monument is located a few miles from Plymouth Rock. Ron climbed to the top while I made it only about a quarter way up. Looking down from the circular stairway was too scary for this granny!

Myles Standish (c. 1584 – October 3, 1656) was an English military officer hired by the Pilgrims as military adviser for Plymouth Colony. (taken from Wikipedia)

May your day be blessed. I am thankful for you on not only Thanksgiving Day but all year long…

Sue Reeve

Thankful for Four Powerful Freedoms…

     January 6, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his famous “Four Freedoms” speech. In preparing this speech, the president understood even though many citizens in the United States wanted to remain neutral, our nation was on the brink of becoming involved in war because of the advancing German military, already taking over much of Europe.

     President Roosevelt explained to Congress and the American people these “Four Freedoms” must be preserved:

freedom of speech

freedom of worship

freedom from want

freedom from fear

     To encourage citizens to support the war effort, the famous artist, Norman Rockwell, depicted the Four Freedoms in paintings, which were used as posters to sell War Bonds. The messages in his paintings resonated with the people and resulted in record sales.

     On the final full day of Ron’s and my recent vacation to New England, we visited the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. It was a great way to wind down our 40th anniversary getaway.

     The immensely gifted Rockwell wanted to portray commonplace people, living out their commonplace stories in commonplace locations.

     How like the message of the Gospel, I thought. God Incarnate came as a common baby and entered the commonplace stories of common men and women.

     The way we live out our common lives, I believe, can result in some of God’s finest works of art.

     Here are photos Ron took of the War Bond posters (some glare because of the glass protecting the posters). While searching for symbolic details in each, I hope you will not only enjoy them but that you’ll also take a moment to give thanks for the many freedoms we enjoy personally and collectively.

Prayer:

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of freedom. In my lifetime:

  • I’ve enjoyed freedom to speak, to write my heart in these blog posts. Thank you!
  • I’ve been free to attend the church of my choice, to read The Bible, quote scripture and to worship you openly. Thank you!
  • I’ve been blessed with freedom to spend every Thanksgiving with loved ones and can’t remember one Thanksgiving when I wasn’t privileged to enjoy turkey. Thank you!
  • I’ve been able to read bedtime stories, say nighttime prayers and tuck my daughters and sometimes my grandchildren into their beds at night without fear for their safety tomorrow. Thank you!

Blessings as you prepare for Thanksgiving in a few days…

Sue Reeve

Thankful for Each New Day…

     Defining events leave indelible marks on every generation. Those impacted will always remember where they were and how they felt when they heard or saw the news.

     Many Baby Boomers say the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, was the defining event for their generation. Certainly, for me, that is the case.

     I wasn’t feeling well that day. Instead of being at school when the news broke, I was home with my mom, dad and little brother watching when breaking news interrupted the soap opera, Days of Our Lives. Walter Cronkite, the respected, well known television anchor, made the announcement:

At 1:00 p.m. CST President Kennedy died in Dallas, Texas, from the gunshot wound he’d received earlier.

     Cronkite chocked up as he continued to give a shocked nation additional information about the appalling event.

     My dad’s eyes filled with tears. I’d never seen my dad cry. In fact, it hadn’t occurred to me before that some news makes even strong men cry.

     A little less than 56 years since that ill-fated day, these thoughts and many others flooded my memory when we visited the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in South Boston.

     I hope you’ll appreciate this brief jaunt down memory lane.

     Remnants of the tempestuous nor’easter that ravaged New England the night before remained. Those 40 mph winds were challenging. On our walk to the museum, I was much more concerned about staying upright than what was happening to my hair!

     Much excitement marked the campaign for the young, attractive, articulate senator from Massachusetts. Like my dad, John Kennedy, had served bravely during World War II. His older brother, Joseph, lost his life in that brutal war.

     A replica of President Kennedy’s Oval Office. Because of a wartime injury, the president suffered chronic back pain, which was helped by sitting in a rocking chair designed especially for him.

     John Kennedy loved the sea. This sailboat, The Victura, was his favorite and is displayed on the lawn outside the Library. Notice those menacing clouds!

     I thought of the words of the psalmist when I read this quote from President Kennedy’s Inaugural Address.

“Lord, help me to know how fleeting my time on earth is.
Help me to know how limited is my life
and that I’m only here but for a moment more. 

What a brief time you’ve given me to live!
Compared to you my lifetime is nothing at all!
Nothing more than a puff of air, I’m gone so swiftly.
So too are the grandest of men;
they are nothing but a fleeting shadow!”

Psalm 39:4 & 5 (TPT)

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for the United States. Thank you for every man and woman, including President John F. Kennedy, who has been willing to serve and sacrifice for our nation in so many ways.

Help us Lord, remember how brief are the days of our lives. Help us learn to love better our God, our neighbors, and ourselves. Thank you for faith, family, friends, freedom and the gift of each new day. ~ Amen

May this day be blessed for our nation, for you and for those you love…

Sue Reeve