Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thankful- Part 2

I can hardly believe this year has gone by so quickly. Thanksgiving is past and now we are on to Christmas! Jason and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with our families. Our friends from North Carolina came and stayed with us for a couple of days with their little ones which was a lot of fun! We had Thanksgiving with Jason's family on Thanksgiving, then with my family on Saturday! So much yummy food and so much fun!

It's my goal to name 30 things that I am thankful for this holiday season. Unfortunately, my computer is not working right now. I'm having to borrow Jason's, so I won't get to post any fun pictures this time!

There is so much to be thankful for even though sometimes we can easily forget all we have been blessed with!

16. I am thankful for my health. I'm glad that Jason and I are both in good health.

17. I am thankful for freedom. We have such great freedom in this country! I am thankful to be able to worship Jesus freely and openly. I am thankful to be able to make my own decisions about my life without government input. I am so thankful to all the soldiers who have fought and are still fighting to protect all the freedoms we enjoy!

18. I am thankful for the Neti Pot! I used to have so many problems with my sinuses and being stuffy until a friend introduced me to the Neti Pot. It washes out your sinuses using saline. It is amazing! Jason completely hates it, but I do it at least 3 times a week. It makes such a difference! You don't realize you aren't breathing as well as you could until you do it and you can breathe!  Give it a try :)

19. I am thankful for prayer. I am so glad that God gives us a way to communicate with Him personally! Prayer allows us to give all our anxieties, worries, and struggles to God. It also allows us to receive comfort, peace, and guidance from Him. What an amazing gift! :)

20. I am thankful for the rain this week. Rain is not my favorite, but we desperately need it. The lake and rivers are way down. Rain is a good thing!

21. I am thankful for holidays! Holidays are so fun because they are the perfect excuse to hang out with family and eat some really yummy food! 

22. I am thankful for appliances! What would I do with out the washer and dryer, the oven, or the dishwasher?!? And what about my cell phone and computer? All of these things make life a lot easier!

23. I am thankful for God's word! I am so glad God gave us such an easy way to learn about Him and His heart. He doesn't make it difficult for us. His love for us is spelled out on each page of the Bible.

24. I am thankful for leaves. When they are green, they help produce oxygen for us to breathe. Then they are beautiful as they change colors in the fall. And even when they fall to the ground I love hearing the crunch beneath my feet.

25. I am thankful for peace. I am so glad that God is control, and I am not. There have been so many times in my life when I thought I knew what was best, but the truth is I don't. If I had my way, so many things in my life would be messed up right now! God is the only one who can see the big picture. I am happy to rest in Him, knowing that His plan is always perfect.

26. I am thankful for football. Jason and I had a great time going to the Georgia games and even a Tennessee game this year! It was great time to spend together and with our friends.

27. I am thankful for Jason's smoker and grill. Jason is a great cook when it comes to the meat! He can smoke some awesome ribs and grill some great steaks. We had some for dinner last night. So yummy! :)

28. Today it is cold and rainy and I am thankful for blankets, sweatpants, and the heat! And of course in the summer I am super thankful for the air conditioning! Also to go along with this, I am very thankful for the heated seats in my car! They are probably my favorite thing about it! Perfect on these freezing days.

29. I am thankful for running water! I take this for granted every day! It is so hard for me to fathom that people in other areas of the world don't have drinking water or bathrooms. I am so blessed to have both of those things to use whenever I want to!

30. I am thankful for air to breathe and lungs that are able to take it in and use it. This is something else I take for granted! I am thankful for the way God made our bodies- lungs to  breathe the air He provides and a heart that beats to bring the oxygen all over!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! 
What are you thankful for?

"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Thursday, November 17, 2011


I have noticed a lot of my Facebook friends are posting something they are thankful for each day. I think this is a wonderful idea! I know so often I get caught up in the one or two things that don't seem to be going my way that I forget how many things I have been blessed with. There is so much to be thankful for! I want to list 15 things I am thankful for on this post, then I will post 15 more next week around Thanksgiving!

1. I am thankful for my gracious God who gave His precious and perfect son, Jesus, to conquer death so that I can have a relationship with Him. God has shown me so much love, mercy, and grace that I do not deserve. I am so very grateful!

2. I am thankful for my sweet husband, Jason. Jason loves Jesus and people! He is continually challenging me to step out of my comfort zone and think outside the box. I am truly blessed that God brought us together, and I am super excited about our first holiday season as a married couple!! :)

3. I am very thankful to finally be done with school! Six years of college was a little bit long for me, but I am grateful to live in a place with the opportunity for education.  Now I am Kristen Ellis, Pharm.D. 

4. I am so thankful for my wonderful brother, Charles! Charles is the best brother ever. I am so grateful that God placed us in the same family. I have never understood those who do not get along with their siblings. Charles is one of my closest friends! He has always been a person I can go to for sound advice. 

5. I am thankful for my amazing parents. When I was growing up, I often did not appreciate my parents or their rules. But now that I am a grown up and more mature, I am so glad that they raised me the way that they did! They have taught me so much. I am thankful to them for teaching me about the love of Jesus and instilling in me good values and work ethic. I am so glad to have their unconditional love and support. They are an example of true love for the Lord, for each other, and for their children. 

6. I am so incredibly thankful for all the years I had growing up with my sweet grandparents, Nana and Papa. They are so special to me and made such a difference in my life! They also taught me so much about loving the Lord and loving on people. Their 62 year marriage is an incredible example of true love and commitment! 

7. I am thankful for my dog, Daisy Duke. She is a sweet girl. I love that she is always happy to see me and greets me with a wagging tail and kisses. I love that she takes walks with me around the neighborhood. I love that she is a snuggler! And she is the most beautiful dog ever, of course :)

8. I am thankful to have a job. God has blessed me with a wonderful work opportunity. Jason and I are so grateful for His provision for us! I am looking forward to starting my new job on Monday!

9.  I am thankful to have a roof over my head! I am so glad that we have a little basement apartment to call our own. And we are thankful for all of the hand-me-down furniture that fills it up!

10. I am thankful for our wonderful church. Jason and I have finally found a place where we can worship and serve the Lord alongside our fellow Christians! We have really enjoyed meeting so many new friends through Sunday school and our small group. We are working with the youth and enjoying them as well! I am especially thankful for the pastor and his wife who have been so sweet to Jason and I!

11. I am thankful for all of the wonderful friends God has blessed me with. Whether I have known them for a long time or just a short while, God has placed some amazing people in my life that I am blessed to call friends! Special shout our here to my sweet friend, Kristen Eleveld!!

12. I am thankful for desserts! I have such a sweet tooth! I pretty much cannot eat a meal without having something sweet at the end of it! :)

13. I am thankful for the beach. I LOVE the beach. The feel of the sand between my toes, the sound of the waves, the breeze, seafood,  the sun on my face, and everything else about it. The beach just seems peaceful to me. It's calming. And it really cries out to me all of God's glory. I look out and all I see is water and waves.

14. I am thankful for my car. In August, I rear ended a giant Tahoe. My little Infiniti of course got most of the damage. For a few days I was concerned that it would be totaled, but it wasn't! It is fixed and good as new! I'm thankful to not have had to figure out what to do about a new car too!

15. I am thankful for my in-laws. Jason's family has been so sweet and welcoming to me! I love having a big family. I have always wanted a sister, and now I have two sister-in-laws. We are also blessed with nieces and nephews and even a great nephew! 

"Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT)

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Special Veteran

My Papa was a walking miracle. When Charles and I were very young Papa had his first heart attack. We don't remember this happening, but I'm sure it was very scary for my Nana and my Mom. They knew that Papa's father and most of his brothers had passed away early in life as a result of heart problems. But God had big plans for my sweet Papa, and he recovered amazingly from that heart attack. 

Charles and I spent so much time with Papa and Nana when we were young. We had lunch at their house every Sunday after church. We spent every summer at their house. They always took time to do special things with us. During the summers we would go to the mountains for a picnic or to the Cabbage Patch Factory or to American Adventures. 

When I was in middle school Papa had another problem with his heart. He and Nana went to Washington for a family reunion. They were ready to come home, but they had a lay over in Minnesota. Papa complained a lot about having to stop; he just wanted to fly straight to Atlanta. The lay over might not have been in Papa's plans, but it was part of God's great plan. Papa suffered another heart attack during the flight from Washington to Minnesota. When they landed in Minneapolis, he was taken to the hospital there. One of the top heart centers in the country. Of course, back in Georgia we were all scared to death. My parents flew to Minnesota as soon as they could, but Charles and I were left here. We prayed so much for Papa during that time. Charles and I stayed with one of Nana and Papa's close friends from their Sunday school class. I remember going to church with her and her husband and sitting in their classroom with probably 30 people from Nana and Papa's Sunday school class just praying for him. There is such power in prayer.

In Minneapolis, Papa was given a pacemaker/defibrillator to regulate his heart.  He and Nana were there for a few weeks, but he was able to come home. If Nana and Papa had not had that lay over in Minnesota, Papa probably would not have made it home. Isn't it amazing how God works? 

After receiving the pacemaker, Papa wasn't able to be as active as he was before, but we were very thankful to have him back home with us! God wasn't finished working through Papa. Nana and Papa continued to be very active in their church and their Sunday school class. They were also very active in our lives! We continued having lunch with them every Sunday after church until after I started college. Nana and Papa showed God's love to everyone. And they were an amazing example of a Christian marriage. 

Two years ago, everything changed. On November 1, 2009 Jason and I got engaged. It was a Sunday. I remember coming home and sharing the news with Nana and Papa. They were so happy for us. The following week Papa went into the hospital. Looking back, I can see now that his heart was getting weaker and weaker. At the time, I felt that he would be fine. He had always been fine. He stayed for a few days at the hospital but was able to come home at the end of the week. I remember visiting him the weekend he was home and wondering why he was still in his pajamas. He just wasn't feeling well. The next week he went to follow up with his regular doctors after the hospital stay, and they sent him immediately back to the hospital. His blood work was still out of whack was the reasoning. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 is a day I will never forget. I was at my apartment after a day at school when my dad called me. He called to say that there wasn't much time left for Papa. At first I didn't know what to do. I asked what that meant. I wanted my dad to tell me if I needed to come right now or if he thought I could wait until the next day. Then Daddy told me that Papa had asked the doctors to turn off his pacemaker. I knew then that I had to go. I think it was about 5 o' clock that I left Athens. Praying the entire way that I would make it in time. Praise the Lord I did. I really think that God understood how devastated I would be if I didn't. When I got to Papa's room my parents and Nana were there along with our pastor and Nana and Papa's pastor. I didn't know what to say. I could only say "I love you, Papa". It was probably less than 20 minutes after I got there that Papa went to be with Jesus. 

His pastor told me later that Papa had told him he was in a win-win situation that day. If he got better it was a win because he could stay with Nana and with us. But if he didn't, that would be a win too, because he would get to be with Jesus. What a powerful testimony of peace!

So this and every Veteran's Day, I will remember my special veteran, my Papa, who not only fought in World War II to protect this great country and our freedoms, but who also fought daily for the Lord and His Eternal Kingdom. 

I love and miss you Papa, and I look forward to the day that I will see you again!

"So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please Him."
2 Corinthians 5:6-9 (NLT)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Jehovah Jireh

Jehovah Jireh
It's one of God's many names in the Bible.
It means that the Lord will provide.

I feel that God is reminding me of this particular name. Many, many times God has taught me the lesson that He provides. Throughout the years that Jason and I have been together, Jason has lost his job more than once. Each and every time God has provided. Whether it be construction work with his dad, or now construction work through his own company, Jason has been able to keep busy and working. When I graduated there was a real possibility that I would not have a job, yet God provided and I was able to find a job.

Recently, God is reminding me again that he does provide. Why should I worry about all the little things in my life when I know that God will take care of me?

Matthew 6:25-34 (NLT)
"That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life - whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Any why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all this glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' These are things that dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your Heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today."

God feeds the birds and clothes the lilies of the field. He loves each of us far more than the birds and lilies. He loved us enough to allow Jesus to die so that we can have relationship with him. Of course he will feed and clothe us and provide for our needs! Why do I have so little faith? 

It is so easy to get caught up what is being thrown at me in the world. If I focus only on what I think is lacking, of course I will not see what is actually there! God knows my needs and yours. Seek Him first and He will ALWAYS provide.