Is Today Thanksgiving?

Growing up I remembered the joy of Thanksgiving Day. I would wake up early to watch the Macy’s Day Parade, while my mother would be in the kitchen making our Thanksgiving meal. She cooked for our lunch as our neighbor across the street always brought us a plate from their meal for our dinner. So it was super neat. You got to eat turkey twice but different turkey and sides.
As an adult for some reason Thanksgiving was the highlight of the holidays for me. I was always invited somewhere for Christmas and we had a neighborhood tradition for New Years Eve, so I hosted every Thanksgiving. The day before, I cooked until late hours in the night. I made sure my Christmas tree was up because in my mind it was going to be my only chance for others to see it. It was a very exciting time.
I know times change, but there’s something very wrong about what I see starting to happen this year. I get the whole Black Friday thing. I’ve never participated and if you ever catch me at 2 am in the cold waiting for a store to open to buy anything, you have my full permission to commit me. But I do get the chase for a sale, the opportunity to buy things at a better price for the holidays (although those are not really sales, but that’s a different argument). However this year we have moved it to Thursday. There are stores that are opening all day on Thanksgiving Day for people to go buy stuff. Can’t we just wait a day?
I also understand that there’s people that rather be in the stores than at home with their families for whatever reason, but sometimes we have to think about others as well. This is a time to be thankful for everything we have, and sometimes we do not realize how much we DO have? If you’re reading this post, it means you have some kind of device and internet access to read it. It also means that you are literate, when there are tons of people without the ability to read. It means that you’re not blind, when some wish they could see anything. If you are standing by the door of a store or find yourself in one, it means you have means of transportation, that you have health, that you have money or balance on that credit card to make the purchase. Those are things to be thankful for. But you also have a choice, the person working at that store doesn’t.

When you sign up for a career as a doctor, a nurse, a fireman or a policeman you know that the job has no holidays. When you where hired for a retail store you expected that you could spend the holidays with your loved ones.
Do you remember the movie Scrooge? Do you remember Tim’s mom who was forced to go to work on Christmas Day out of her boss’ greed? She was a single mother trying to provide for her kids and all she wanted was some time with them. How many of those men and women we have taken from their families today over a sweater, a tablet or a television set that could have waited until tomorrow?
In case you’re missing it, this is what is really about:

Stay warm, be safe.
Happy Thanksgiving!

The Economy Frenzy

Well, this is the beginning of the year and what do we hear, we went halfway over the fiscal cliff. Can I be honest with you? I am not concerned. Yes, I just got my first paycheck of 2013 and has less money than the one before. Yes, I have a lot of debt and expenses to pay. Why I am not concerned? First of all, as it says in Psalm 54:4 “Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.” God is my provider and I assume responsibility for the debt that I have. This was not something that the government made me do, I got into that debt. I was fiscally irresponsible and my mistakes have consequences. I disobeyed to the instruction on Proverbs 22:26 “Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts” So if I have to tighten up, I will do so knowing that my Heavenly Father will provide for my needs. My wants will have to wait.

As I say that, we just watched with glee how much was spent just a few weeks ago. Christmas has moved from a spiritual celebration to a worldly, expensive one.

My 9-5 is very close to a shopping mall. My office has a window that looks directly onto the road in front of the mall. I would stare with amaze at how crowded that road was. Leaving work was painful during that time because the traffic was insane. I’m not against celebrations and presents. At the same time I know that people stretch themselves for the wrong reasons during this season, struggling in the aftermath.

Black Friday was just as eventful and successful as days prior. There were people camping in front of stores since Tuesday to buy a television. That’s beyond my comprehension. It all comes down to stewardship. Are you being a good steward of everything the Lord has given you? When I say everything that means your time, your resources, His Money…because it’s his, your body.

Trust in the Lord. Seek the kingdom of God first. He will supply your needs and instead of agonizing over the world’s economy, agonize over what else you can do to further the kingdom of God.

Be blessed.

clip_image002

In Growth Lessons, I was reminded of this beautiful truth: Our walk with the Lord is a process of growing up into the image of Christ. P. Yates

I would recommend this book for anyone who would like some common sense and light added to their life. C. Cunningham

Great for meditations and daily devotions. N. Thames

WF: Thank you and Book Giveaway

After eating a week’s worth of food in one sitting, remembering why you don’t call your Aunt Molly the rest of the year and standing in the cold outside pushing through the crowd to get a towel for 99 cents, it’s time to settled down and refocus. Yes it was fun or stressful but was it really what it was all about?

If you didn’t have the opportunity between pies, turkey and the sales, you have another chance today to just stop for five and a half minutes and understand how blessed we are.

Author Kristen Lamb said on her blog on Wednesday about the things she was thankful for and I wanted to share those because it really places things in perspective.

“I am thankful for all the laundry I have to do, because it means I have clothes to wear.

I am thankful for the dishes that need washing, because it means I didn’t go hungry.

I am thankful for the big electric bill, because it means my home has lights and heat.

I am thankful for the sheets that need to be changed, because it means I own a bed.

I am thankful for all the reading I have to do, because it means that I am literate.

I am thankful for the car that needs an oil change because it means I don’t have to walk miles and miles to get what I need.

I am thankful for that parking space waaaaayyyy out in the back, because it means I don’t have to park in a handicapped space. I can walk.

I am thankful for the garage that needs to be cleaned out, because it means I am blessed with plenty.

I am thankful for the chores to be done, because it means I have family who love me enough to travel to see me.

I am thankful for the litter-box that needs cleaning and the dog blankets that need washing because it means I have pets who love me unconditionally.

I am thankful for the split ends I have, because it means I haven’t lost all my hair to chemo.

I am thankful for the Christmas cards I need to send, because they could as easily be funeral announcements.

I am thankful for the traffic snarls that catch me, because the body the firemen pulled out of the fatality accident could have been me.

I am thankful for the gutters I need to clean, because it means that I have a home.

I am thankful for all the Christmas shopping I have to do, because it means I am not alone.

I am thankful for my less than perfect thighs. It means I didn’t lose my legs in a car accident or to an IED.

I am thankful that I sometimes have doubts and confusion about my future and my purpose when I think of the lives cut short before they ever had a future.

I am thankful for the government I like to gripe about, because I don’t fear going to prison or being shot if I disagree with my country’s leadership.

I am thankful for my freedom and the amazing men and women who put their lives on the line to protect it.”

So sit with me and enjoy this video that also places in perspective the things we need to be grateful for and sometimes take for granted.

May this so called Black Friday shines the light of God in you. As a token of my gratitude to all my readers I’m giving away two copies of my new book Growth Lessons. So if you comment on this page, post this link on your Facebook page or tweet (‎#99centevent #blackfriday Growth Lessons @NatyCMatos http://tinyurl.com/3pzxopg RT & you could win free copy #book #giveaway) I’ll put your name in a hat and you can win the copy of the book.

If you tweet more than once, your name will go in as many times as you tweet it! The same with the Facebook postings. The winner will be announced on Monday here at The Rising Muse, so you have all weekend to increase your chances.

Enjoy your family and be safe

God bless you!