Happy is the man that findeth wisdom …. -Proverbs 3:13 (KJV)
My career in wealth management, my community, activities, and my family involvement have opened many windows into the world as it unfolds around me. I see people who seem to have everything and others whose possessions are meager. Some almost drip with awards and accolades, while the goodness of others is never publicly recognized. I see people who shine with happiness and others who spread misery. People who are generous beyond measure and a few who cling to the first dollar they ever made.
In all of this, sizing up a successful life is more than a little elusive, and when I reflect on how I want to live my life, my thoughts fly to my father.
My dad served as a minister at the same church in Nashville, Tennessee, for thirty-eight years. Even though he was offered positions at bigger, more prestigious churches from all over the country, he felt called to remain where he was.
I can’t count the number of people who consider my father “the smartest man I’ve ever known.” In addition to his unparalleled intelligence, he forgives without hesitation and radiates a kindness that draws people to him.
I guess he’s a bit like King Solomon who, when given a choice, looked beyond wealth, power, and prominence. My dad’s choices, like the great biblical king’s, radiate wisdom. If a contented life is a measure of success, Dad rises to the top.
So as I gaze at the panorama of life that my particular windows offer, I try to look first for the people who wisely chose happiness, generosity, and fulfillment, no matter what their position in the world happened to be. Like my father, they are God’s people, and I want to be counted in their number.
Father, my earthly father reflects Your wisdom. Let me be like him.
-Brock Kidd
Digging Deeper: Proverbs 16:16, 18:19; Ecclesiastes 8:5


NASA was interviewing professionals to be sent to Mars. Only one could go and couldn’t return to Earth.

The first applicant, an engineer, was asked how much he wanted to be paid for going. “A million dollars,” he answered, “because I want to donate it to M.I.T.” The next applicant, a doctor, was asked the same question. He asked for $2 million. “I want to give a million to my family,” he explained, “and leave the other million for the advancement of medical research.” The last applicant was a lawyer. When asked how much money he wanted, he whispered in the interviewer’s ear, “Three million dollars.” “Why so much more than the others?” asked the interviewer. The lawyer replied, “If you give me $3 million, I’ll give you $1 million, I’ll keep $1 million, and we’ll send the engineer to Mars.”


Thursday, November 29
The Lord will settle international disputes; all the nations will convert their weapons of war into implements of peace …. -Isaiah 2:4 (TLB)
Sometimes it’s hard for me to love my neighbor. Especially the cranky lady downstairs who won t speak to any of us and who continually fires off nasty letters to the management. But when I see her out back,
trimming the bushes, pulling weeds, and trying to make our backyard beautiful, I am reminded that I must love her in spite of her crankiness
Loving my neighbor brings to mind one of my favorite pieces of art.
It sits at the United Nations Building in New York City: a colorful mosaic, nine feet by ten feet and weighing twelve hundred pounds. It was created by Norman Rockwell and is titled The Golden Rule. Across the front are these words carved in gold: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
The mosaic shows the faces of twenty-eight people who represent all the different people we must love: black, white, Asian, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, atheist, racist, addicted, imprisoned, gay, homeless, young, old, sick … the list goes on.
When I saw Rockwell’s mosaic for the first time, I was stunned by its intricate beauty and even more so by the variety of people depicted in the work. The piece has since been restored and will remind visitors
for generations to come that we must love, accept, and respect our neighbors-all of them.
This year, for Christmas, I’m giving my cranky neighbor a gift of one of my small paintings. It isn’t much, but she is, after all, part of the mosaic of our community.
Lord, help me to love, accept, and respect my neighbor, and thank You for the variety of people You have put in my life.
-Patricia Lorenz
Digging Deeper: Hebrews 13:1-3; 1 Peter 3:8-12; 1 John 3:11-24


Q: What do you get if you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter? A: Pumpkin pi.
Q: What is a pumpkin’s favorite sport? A: Squash
Asked to write a composition entitled, “What I’m thankful for on Thanksgiving,” Little Johnny wrote, “I am thankful that I’m not a turkey.”

Knock Knock. Who There? Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving for what? Thanks giving us this turkey.


And Jesus said, “Come.” Then Peter got out of the boat and was walking on the water toward Jesus. -Matthew 14:29 (CEB)
They’re my favorite socks: blue, gray, and black, with a little bit of writing on the bottom. They’re warm, wooly, and I always search tor them on each first cold day of the year. You can’t really see the most significant thing about them unless I take off my shoes and show you the bottoms of my feet. But there, on each sock, is a bluish puddle labeled the Sea of Galilee. My friend Edward bought them for me on a trip to Israel, a fine souvenir.
“You gave them to me because I can walk on water?” I suggested.
“Because I thought you’d like them,” he said.
I don’t walk on water. Don’t even come close. If Jesus asked me, as He asked Peter, to step out of the boat and walk with Him on the Sea of Galilee, I would surely sink at the first step, faltering in my faith, not even hearing Him call out, “Be encouraged! It’s me” (Matthew 14:27, CEB). And yet I love having something on my feet to remind me, ever so subtly, to walk in Jesus’s footsteps.
That cashier who was so rude to me, couldn’t I have been a little nicer to her? That guy who cut me off as I tried to move into the right lane on the highway, did I really need to shout at him from behind the wheel of my car? That sympathy note I’ve been meaning to write, the check for the worthy cause, the get-well card: it’s time to get to them tonight.
Most important, the fears that prevent me from trusting, why not give them up?
“I’m wearing my favorite socks today,” I tell Edward at the office.
“Glad you like them,” he says. “Nice to feel like a disciple, with the Sea of Galilee at your feet.”
“Come, ” You said, and I come, knowing that as long as I keep Your gaze, I can walk where I never expected to go.
-Rick Hamlin
Digging Deeper: Luke 5:11; Romans 15:5


Q: What was the turkey suspected of? A: Fowl play
Q: What smells the best at a Thanksgiving dinner? A: Your nose.
Q: What do you wear to Thanksgiving dinner? A: A Har-VEST.
Q: What do Thanksgiving and Halloween have in common? A: One has gobblers, the other goblins.


Tuesday, November 27
Be clothed with humility …. -1 Peter 5:5 (KJV)
A new grandbaby! When Tom and Canay shared the news, I swung into turbo-grandma mode, buying baby clothes and enthusing over knitting projects with my sister-in-love, Dana. Of course, I’m not much of a knitter, but my enthusiasm outraced my ability.
First, we ordered fine merino yarn from Peru. Dana, a knitter with some experience, would craft a sweater and booties from variegated blue and green fibers. The parents-to-be wanted “something different,” so I would knit a fine-gauge stroller blanket in sunset colors: indigo, coral, and violet. After all, the pattern was just an enlarged dishcloth, all knit stitches and one yarn over. How hard could it be?
Once I had knit the first six inches, I knew my piece would have many “spontaneous design elements,” as the knitting circle women generously called them. To me, they looked like holes, lumps, and repair jobs. I suppose I could have started over, but I stubbornly plowed on.
By the time I finished the blanket, Baby’s arrival was still five months away. I certainly could have redone my project perfectly with time to spare, especially now that I had seen the layette whipped up by Baby’s other grandma, a knitting whiz. Should I scuttle my embarrassing blanket, thirty hours, and nearly as many dollars?
At the baby shower, I shall offer my lumpy, love-filled artwork as a metaphor for parenting. The card will read: “This blanket is not perfect, yet I give it to you as a reminder that parenting isn’t about perfection. Baby won’t care about your flaws and inconsistencies when he’s wrapped in your warmth and love. “
Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us, flaws and all.
-Gail Thorell Schilling
Digging Deeper: Proverbs 10:12; Matthew 18:4; 1 John 4:17


Q: What do you call the age of a pilgrim? A: Pilgrimage.
Q: What do you call a pilgrims vocabulary? A: Pilgrammar.
Q: What was the turkey looking for at the Toy Store? A: Gobbleheads.
Q: What’s the best way to stuff a turkey? A: Serve him lots of pizza and ice cream!


Monday, November 26

Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.   -Psalm 119:18 (NKJV)
Want to see something weird?”
The bus driver stopped. We were at an airport, being transported from the parking lot to the terminals. She invited us to look out the front window at a sight that made us gasp.
“It’s been like that all morning.” There was a skunk, wandering the parking lot, its head stuck inside a yogurt cup. It ambled in circles, bumping into parked cars and heading off in random directions, its tail standing tall at the ready.
A Good Samaritan stood by, trying to figure out what to do. My kids offered to run out and yank the cup off the skunk’s head, but my wife and I persuaded them to let the gentleman have a try first.
I watched the poor little creature and commented, “I feel like that sometimes.” I can’t see where I’m going. I don’t know what’s ahead. I’m not sure of my direction. At times, I’m not even sure about God. “I get you, little one,” I said. My family smiled.
Finally, the Good Samaritan made his move. He made sure the skunk’s business end was pointing away from him. Then he reached out his hand, grabbed the yogurt cup, yanked it off while jumping as far away as he could, and ran.
So did the skunk … in the opposite direction, as if to say, “Thank you, sir, for rescuing me.” It was a bona fide feel-good moment. We sat down, the bus resumed its route, and I thought of how privileged I am whenever I see the blessings that God has prepared for me.
Gracious Father, please yank away the blinders that keep me from seeing Your everyday, everywhere gifts of grace. Amen.

-Bill Giovannetti  

Digging Deeper: Ephesians 1:17-18


Q: Why did the turkey cross the road twice? A: To prove he wasn’t a chicken!
Q: What did the mother turkey say to her disobedient children? A: If your father could see you now, he’d turn over in his gravy

Q: What happened when the turkey got into a fight? A: He got the stuffing knocked out of him!


Then Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it …. -2 Kings 19:14 (NAS)
Shortly after I sold my mom’s place, the new owner called, saying, “There’s a disintegrating trunk in the corner of the shed. It has some letters in it.”
The trunk turned out to be filled with my grandmother’s last possessions. Priceless for me were those letters-written from my mother to her mother when I was just a one-year-old.
I kept them to read on the first anniversary of Mom’s death. Hearing how she felt as a young wife and mother more than sixty years earlier gave me back my mom that day. I savored each word, sorry to come to the last one.
In two of her letters, Mom revealed my toddler personality. One said I’d been sick and was feeling better-“Carol is back to her usual cheery self.” I sucked in a surprised breath. Mom and I had talked often about my being her “song of joy” -the meaning of my name.
Another stated, “Carol sure does jabber a lot. I think she’ll talk before she walks.” How I laughed. I am a talker-much more than my mother, who was always an excellent listener. It comforted me to know
that verbal expressiveness was in my makeup from the beginning- something to monitor but important to who I am.
I thought I’d known most things about Mom. But the unexpected gift of the letters in the trunk revealed more. They spoke to me of the strong tie between us that would always be there. On what might have
been a despondent day, they helped me find my “usual cheery self.”
Jesus, Lord of deep bonds, I offer gladness for my bond with Mom and our bond with You-an unbreakable union among us.
-Carol Knapp
Digging Deeper: Jeremiah 31:25; John 14:16-21; 1 Corinthians 13:11


Q: What did the turkey say to the computer? A: Google, google, google!
Q: Why did the turkey cross the road twice? A: To prove he wasn’t a chicken!


Do not hastily bring into court, for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor puts you to shame? -Proverbs 25:8 (ESV)
My dog was gone.
We had searched everywhere-driving up and down neighborhood streets late into the night, scouring the neighbors’ yards, trekking into the woods to see if he had wandered too far and gotten lost. But my precious, thirteen-year-old golden retriever, Jack, was gone.
I was devastated. I called every animal shelter in town asking about him, praying that somehow, somewhere, someone had found him.
Then a glimmer of hope: A woman posted on the neighborhood boards that she had a sweet elderly dog in her possession. My Jack had been found!
And then the bad news came: The woman, seeing that my old, beloved dog was scraggly and thin and that he had trouble walking, turned him over to the city animal authorities, filing a report of animal abuse against us.
Talk about a flood of emotions! Relief mixed with frustration. Anger mixed with hope. Tears followed by more tears. We did get Jack back. Our wonderful vet came back early from a family vacation to make a full report, sending all of his previous veterinary records to the city, showing the officials that Jack was, in fact, well cared for, albeit old and partially lame. Charges were dropped. Fines were excused. Jack came home to a jubilant welcome as three kids surrounded him with hugs and beef strips.
And my neighbor? Well, I’ve forgiven her. It took a while. I went from frustrated to angry to finally recognizing that her reaction was a well-intentioned attempt to protect a precious animal. I now know that she meant well. And that’s all we can ask of our neighbors.
Lord, give me the ability to assume the best in people.
-Erin MacPherson
Digging Deeper: 1 Corinthians 13:7


Q: What do you get if you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter? A: Pumpkin pi.
Q: Why did the police arrest the turkey? A: They suspected fowl play.
Q: What key won’t open any door? A: A turkey!
Q: What did the mother turkey say to her disobedient children? A: If your father could see you now, he’d turn over in his gravy


Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. -Psalm 37:7 (NIV)
Mother,” my daughter said gently. “Do you know that when you ask questions, you don’t give anyone a chance to answer?
“Yeah,” my not-so-tactful son chimed in. “You talk a lot.”
Nursing my bruised feelings, I stopped by the Athens Area Humane Society, where I’d just signed up to be a volunteer. “Welcome!” The gal in charge smiled. “We’ll assign you to Precious. She’s been here two-and-a-half years. Was mistreated as a kitten and now doesn’t like people or other cats. Been returned by two families.”
Precious had her own little room with a baby gate, which encouraged her to stay inside.
Still feeling glum, I was left to befriend Precious. I climbed over the baby gate and sat down in the middle of the tile floor, cross-legged.
Precious perched atop a purple shelf and turned her head to the wall.
So I sat. Quietly. My children should see me now. I left Precious after about thirty minutes. A failure-but for some unknown reason, I continued to visit her.
Ours was a strange, soundless relationship. A few months later, as I sat there on the floor, she offered a distinct “Meow.”
I caught my breath, surprised and delighted. “Meow,” I told her softly. Lo and behold, the huge black-and-white, long-haired beauty sashayed over to me. She stepped daintily into my lap and got situated comfortably.
She purred.
I smiled.
A short while later Precious was adopted by a family who totally understood her. I was given a picture of my feline friend standing on her hind legs, leaning against a human.
Jesus, You have the most unique methods of teaching a chatterbox like me.
-Marion Bond West
Digging Deeper: Psalm 141:3; Proverbs 17:28; Ecclesiastes 3:7-8, 9:17


​ Sven and Ole worked together and both were laid off, so off they went to the unemployment office.
Asked his occupation, Ole said, “Panty stitcher; I sew the elastic onto cotton panties.” The clerk looked up panty stitcher. Finding it classified as unskilled labor, she gave him $300 a week in unemployment pay.
Sven was asked his occupation. “Diesel fitter,” he replied. Since diesel fitter was a skilled job, the clerk gave Sven $600 a week. When Ole found out, he was furious. He stormed back into the unemployment office to find out why his friend and coworker was collecting double his pay.The clerk explained that panty stitchers were unskilled and diesel fitters were skilled labor.

“What skill?” yelled Ole. “I sew the elastic on, and Sven pulls on it and says, ‘Yep, diesel fitter.'”


The Lord is close to the brokenhearted …. -Psalm 34:18 (NIV)
Evie wasn’t friendly or accommodating like the other servers at the Waffle House. The day before Thanksgiving, when she charged me $1.70 for an ounce of milk for my coffee, I slapped a couple of choice labels on her too. “Grumpy” was my favorite.
“You sure aren’t in much of a Thanksgiving frame of mind,” my sister said. “Where’s all that kindness and gratitude?”
So I decided to change my tack. “You like magazines?” I asked Evie.[‘d brought along a couple of home decor glossies.
“Don’t have time for picture books like some,” Evie grumbled.
Then she paused and took in the cover. Featured was a mouthwatering pie.
A slow smile crept across Evie’s face. “Well, I’ll be,” she said. ”A pee-can pie. Gimme that thing. I’m going to make my man a peecan pie for Turkey Day.”
Another server stole a glance at the photo of the pie and at Evie.
“Don’t be thinking that magazine’s yours,” Evie said, jabbing the server’s elbow. “My friend at table five just gave it to me. I’m making my Sammy one of those pies. It’s his favorite, you know.”

Later, when Evie brought my order of scrambled eggs and bacon, she related the story of “her man.” They’d been together for thirty-five years. She’d baked him a pecan pie when they were newlyweds, and he’d raved about it ever since. But now he had end-stage lung cancer.

Doctors predicted this would be his last Thanksgiving.
I’d been all wrong to judge Evie without knowing what made her the way she was. I’d thank God for her and ask Him to give her a double helping of blessings too.
Evie wasn’t mean-spirited at all, Lord. She simply had a broken heart.
She can be my Thanksgiving teacher if I only let her.
-Roberta Messner
Digging Deeper: Psalm 147:3; John 14:27; 1 Peter 5:7


Q: Why did the turkey cross the road? A: It was the chicken’s day off!
Q: What do you call a running turkey? A: Fast food.
Q: Why does a pilgrim’s pants always fall down? A: Because they wear their belt buckle on their hat.

Q: What’s the best dance to do on Thanksgiving? A: The turkey trot  


Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in [union with] Him … having been deeply rooted {in Him} and now being continually built up in Him and … established in your faith, just as you were taught and overflowing in it with gratitude. -Colossians 2:6-7 (AMP)
I recently read a story about the first settlers who came to New England and the great hardships they suffered those first few winters. During one of their public assemblies, a member of their group proposed that they proclaim a fast and remind God of their many needs. Another man stood and declared that, instead of bombarding heaven with what they lacked, they celebrate all that they had for which to be thankful. Rather than fasting, the man suggested, they should hold a day of thanksgiving. It could be from this very meeting that we now have come to observe the tradition of Thanksgiving. I’d like to think so.
Having an attitude of gratitude is something I learned from reading Norman Vincent Peale’s books. I found his words compelling enough to start my own gratitude journal. Every morning I list five things
for which I am most grateful. My list isn’t anything profound. This morning I noted the music of the songbird outside my window and the excitement I feel for a knitting project I’m about to begin.
I discovered that counting my blessings starts my off day on a positive note. Instead of worrying about my to-do list, I take a short pause to thank God for this day and all that it will hold. It helps me to remember how very blessed I am.
All the paper produced in the world could not contain the blessings You have poured upon me, Lord. May I always have an attitude of gratitude.
-Debbie Macomber
Digging Deeper: 1 Chronicles 16:34; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


Q. If pilgrims traveled on the Mayflower, what do college students travel on? A. Scholar ships.
Q: When do you serve tofu turkey? A: Pranksgiving.
Q: What did the turkey say before it was roasted? A: Boy! I’m stuffed!
Q: Why do turkeys always go, “gobble, gobble”? A: Because they never learned good table manners!



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