A Week of Giving Thanks // Days 3 & 4

This week I am writing a short Thanksgiving post series. Each day this week I will talk about something I am thankful for and include a Bible verse to meditate on for the day, plus either a song or book recommendation and a recipe. I’ll also highlight posts from other blogs that have given me something to think about this season.

Days 3 and 4 are combined because yesterday ended up being too busy to post. This week is a fun kind of busy; on Monday and Tuesday I got to help with children’s programs at work, tonight I’m looking forward to a special song-focused church service, and tomorrow I’ll spend Thanksgiving with family. The weekend will have its own chaos and fun, too! Luckily, the topics I picked for days 3 and 4 are complimentary, so combining them actually works really well.

For day 3, I’m thankful for the chance to participate in different hobbies through the years. Whether individual or collective, long-term or just a short foray, I’m thankful for all the blessings that different hobbies have brought in various seasons. Through reading I’ve gone on adventures without leaving my house, learned new things and expanded my understanding of the world and many things in it. By blogging and talking about the things that I read, I’ve been able to share what I learn, make connections, solidify my own thoughts on what I read, and simply have fun with other bookish people. With knitting and other yarn crafts, there is usually a physical product which I either am able to bless someone else with or add to the comfort of my own home. It’s also a comfort to be part of a thriving online yarn community.

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!

1 Chronicles 16:34

Even with things like the sports that I have dabbled in – soccer, skating, volleyball – with a good team, you’re able to grow both in the sport and other less tangible areas of life. The city volleyball team I joined over the summer helped me to build friendships in a community I was new to while also being a motivating factor to exercise and be healthier in a way that I had not recently put much thought into. Even following sports can be a hobby that brings communal and individual benefit. As I mentioned in yesterday’s spotlight post, the only sport that I regularly follow in figure skating. Watching each athlete’s journey, cheering for them to do their best, and witnessing both artistry and athleticism is inspiring. At the end of the season, and even moreso in Olympic years, watching those who have made it to the top can make us feel like we are part of something larger, too. I see this especially with team sports; watch parties bring together people who enjoy watching a certain sport, and sometimes they expand to include those of us who don’t care much about the sport or even the team, but are all for the chance to hang out with friends. Particularly if there are snacks involved.

For day 4, I’m thankful for music and the simple joy that it brings.

I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.

Psalm 69:30

As a musician and as a Christian, music is a big part of my life. In a sense, music is one of my hobbies. Playing the piano or ukulele is often how I destress. When I was in college, even though I was not a music major I often visited the practice rooms. Participating in ensembles gave me something to pour creativity into without being graded and a chance to socialize and work with others toward a shared goal. In another sense, music isn’t a hobby. It’s an act of worship, a means of communicating that is deeper than spoken words, an expression of emotion – in essence, something completely intangible and rewarding.

Further Reading

Grace Unplugged by Melody Carlson (fiction)

Grace Trey is an eighteen-year-old singer as passionate about her Christian faith as she is her phenomenal, God-given musical talent. Both traits come from her father, one-hit wonder Johnny Tray who found Jesus after losing his chart success two decades ago. When Grace encounters her own music break of a lifetime, the sudden dive into the “real world” puts her deeper beliefs to the test. Pop superstardom is just within reach but appears to require some spiritual compromise. Will Grace reject her faith, or will she own it?

Finding the Edge: My Life on the Ice by Karen Chen (nonfiction)

In 2017, Karen became the US National Champion, winning gold in two programs and receiving the highest score ever recorded for the short program at the US National level. Now for the first time, Karen shares the story of how she got where she is today—and where she’s going next. Karen has already overcome astounding obstacles, and her grit, determination, and positive attitude have made her future truly limitless. In Finding the Edge, she shares, in her own words, what it’s like to be Karen Chen—and what it takes to achieve the impossible.

One Jump at a Time: My Story by Nathan Chen (no relation to the above-mentioned Karen Chen) (nonfiction)

Pulling back the curtain on the figure skating world and the Olympics, Chen reveals what it was really like at the Beijing Games and competing on the US team in the same city his parents had left–and his grandmother still lived. Poignant and unfiltered, told in his own words, One Jump at a Time is the story of one extraordinary young man–and a testament to the love of a family and the power of persistence, grit, and passion. 

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms by Laura Danner (fiction, novella)

“What have I to dread, what have I to fear, Leaning on the everlasting arms? I have blessed peace, with my Lord so near, Leaning on the everlasting arms!” As the words float by her, Meg is bitter. “What have I to dread? Life without either of my parents!” she fumes inside. “What have I to fear? Going to live with a family we’ve never met!” Follow along as Meg Sonnenfeld is orphaned, come with her as she goes to live with a large family a few hours away, learn why Lissie, one of the girls she goes to live with, is so bitter, and see what happens when cholera strikes—again. Will Meg’s sister die? Why has all this happened? Will Meg learn to “Lean On the Everlasting Arms”?

The Flip Side by Shawn Johnson (YA fiction)

Charlie Ryland has a secret. She may seem like your average high school sophomore—but she’s just really good at pretending. Because outside of school Charlie spends all her waking hours training to become one of the best gymnasts in the world. And it’s not easy flying under the radar when you’re aiming for Olympic gold…especially when an irresistible guy comes along and threatens to throw your whole world off balance.

Outcry: New Voices Speak Out About the Power of the Church by Ryan Romeo

Outcry declares that local churches are at the heart of Christianity and you can make a difference in your community. The OUTCRY tours were born out of a desire to be the lights and sounds of the greatest movement in the world the local church. While studies and critics may indicate a decline of the local church, Ryan Romeo’s Outcry attests that the movement is only increasing. It’s time we band together to empower the local church to influence the surrounding culture. It’s you. It’s us. Stand behind the church Jesus gave His life for. The part you play in your local church matters. You are an integral part of bringing God’s story to all corners of the world. God’s church isn’t finished! Her best days are ahead.

Okay, I originally meant to include one recipe per post, but I just can’t limit it that much! There are so many good-sounding recipes out there and they are flooding my feeds this season. So, today here is 25 Best Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes from Ahead of Thyme (that blog name makes me so happy whenever I see it. Love the pun!).

What are you thankful for today?

Until the next chapter,

Jana

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