30 November 2014

On Giving Thanks – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

As hoped I am writing this from home.  The journey was free of incident if one discounts the illness of a toddler.  At least one of the adults in the car was tasked with keeping him comfortable as we traveled.  I found that I was thankful for the cooperation of my children in exercising this care.

As I close out this year’s writing on gratitude I was to be sure that I express that I am working toward showing it in every moment.  If I regularly review the blessings in my life it is easier to show gratitude for all of them regularly.  It is also easier to combat greed. 

As I prepare for the Christmas season I want gratitude for what I have to supersede my desire for things.  I want to find contentment in the moment every moment.  I want to marry that contentment to godliness.  Moving through the world in this way can benefit others.  

I hope this portion of the journey has benefited you as well.  As I sit at home comfortable and rested I realize how much I have to be thankful for in every moment.  Filling moments with that thankfulness can result in a life of gratitude.  That is a life worth living.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

29 November 2014

On Giving Thanks – Chick-Fil-A

Greetings Dear Reader,

I realize that a chicken restaurant may seem like an odd thing to be thankful for but its placement here is both intentional and worthy.  A short time back this business received a lot of bad press over and ill-timed comment in our all too sensitive political society.  I am thankful for the food, work, and advertising of this amazing restaurant chain.

I first want to talk about what is really important; the Chick-fil-A Foundation.   Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-Fil-A believed in hard work and good ethics cemented in Biblical principles.   We lost Mr. Cathy this year but what he build will long honor his faith and his memory.  The foundation he funded through his company works hard to build solid youth with a good education.  Learning mattered to Mr. Cathy and his foundation has that as one of its core missions.

This is a business that puts its valued out front.  They are closed on Sundays.  They are good to their workers.  They treat customers with respect and like family all at once.  More than once on a visit home to Georgia I have told a Chick-Fil-A manager that I lived in the frozen north and that my arrival at his establishment signaled my first chicken sandwich in months or even sometimes years.  This is several times resulted in a free chicken biscuit.  I am always grateful.

Another of the things for which I am thankful is the food that they make.  It is clearly the  best chicken sandwich  I have ever had and the chicken biscuits are beyond compare.  I yearn for this when I return to the south and count the minutes when I arrive in the vicinity of the franchise until I can garner some of their cuisine.  I will speak more about this in a moment.

One of the tortures I have endured is that Chick-Fil-A has amazing advertising that sometimes reaches in my home market.  This advertising is in the form of some very clever cows admonishing us to eat more chicken.  The ads are brilliant and compelling.  They are also painful when you know the nearest restaurant is over three hours away. 

Recently these commercials began showing up on my local stations with great regularity.  Had I not th the town in which I live will get its own Chick-Fil-A with all the perks that accompany said event. 
been preparing to journey south for Thanksgiving it would have been unbearable.   It was painful anyway.  Then I learned that on December 4

As I journey home today instead of the sadness I often feel when I pass the last opportunity for a real chicken sandwich I anticipate five days hence when I can get one any morning I wish except Sundays.  It is truly a blessing to our community and me.  Well Dear Reader, I am off to grab a couple of chicken biscuits for the road.  Tomorrow I will close out this series from my writing room at home.  Until then know that I am thankful for you and your company on the journey.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

28 November 2014

On Giving Thanks – Black Friday

Greetings Dear Reader,

I usually spend the Friday after Thanksgiving bell ringing for the Salvation Army and putting up Christmas decorations.  I really do feel that there is both wisdom and foolishness to be had in the merchandising aspect of this day. 

It is not wrong to advertise, host sales, and generate excitement about gift giving.  I do find that the statistics reflect greed more than giving.  According to one report 76% of the people out shopping this morning are shopping for themselves. 

As the shopping has bled over into merchants opening on Thanksgiving Day the greed has become more obvious.  I cannot imagine asking someone who worked for me to work on Thanksgiving Day.  I realize that emergency and care giving services are necessary.  I also know that there are plenty of businesses that do just fine without being open on holidays. I will talk more about that tomorrow.

There is also good to be done on Black Friday.  If one does go out amongst the bargain miners one can be kind and courteous.  One can remember to represent Christ in the congress had with shoppers and shop keepers.  It works best if we remember that even if we are angling for the last on sale whiz bang thing that we are obligated to represent Christ. 

I will be working all day today and then resting for the drive home tomorrow.   I will decorate my home this weekend and my get around to shopping next week. For now I will listen to my Daughter snore as she grabs a few hours sleep having been out all night shopping.   I know that whilst she was in the fray she was kind to others.  She will have stories of the people she encountered.  She will have been wise with her money 

Currently I am looking forward to a few hours of quiet whilst I wait to being my day.  I hope you are well fed and comfortable Dear Reader.   If you are out shopping when you read this let me know how you are faring.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

27 November 2014

On Giving Thanks – Thanksgiving

Greetings Dear Reader,

As I spend my quiet time this morning praying, reading, and writing I am also anticipating a day of feasting and reunions.  I was able to see some of my family last night and it was joyful.  I want to assure that in all I do I show gratitude today and every day.

I truly do have much for which to be thankful.  This month of counting my blessings has reminded me to be more thankful for things.  Today, I wish to make sure that I thank God for all that I have.  It is his orchestration of the universe that allows every good thing in my life. It is his provision and blessings that grant me the privilege to write and have my words published.

No matter how far down the path I go I am tethered to the moment when God reached into the life of suicidal teen and told him that he mattered.  He used a man who was determined to show love to show that teen that he was lovable.  The Father used the words of his Son to enact an adoption. 

I am alive and continue to live through the grace and mercy of a God who loves me and everyone he created.  For this I am truly thankful.  Happy Thanksgiving Dear Reader.

Now Thank We All Our God – Martin Rinkart

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessèd peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And free us from all ills, in this world and the next!

All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given;
The Son and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven;
The one eternal God, whom earth and Heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.
  
Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

26 November 2014

On Giving Thanks – Family

Greetings Dear Reader,

This will be the first time that I am in Georgia for Thanksgiving in fifteen years.  The weather seems odd and reminds me of standing in the November rain waiting for the school bus.  I will meet relatives I have never met today.  I will see others I have not seen in seven years or more. 

As I think about the things I am thankful for one of them is the diversity in my family.  We do not always agree and we do not always get along.  We do love each other.  We do help each other when we can. 

I have driven through the night to be here.  I am excited about tomorrow and being with people I love.  I pray for them.  I hope for them.  I long for a day when we can all gather with Christ for that eternal reunion that has neither tears nor pain.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

25 November 2014

On Giving Thanks – Travel

Greetings Dear Reader,

I love to travel.  There is something so peaceful about the road at night and the fellow travelers along the way.  My mind goes to good places when I am driving.  I pray, ponder, and create.  My imagination gathers fodder for my musings.  Stories unfold in my mind as my passengers sleep around me.

I also look forward to landmarks that are familiar in my journey.  The windmills of Paw Paw, the cross in Effingham, and the drive over Mount Eagle are all beautiful things to me. I relish the sunrise after driving all night.  I love the first taste of coffee as we stop for breakfast.

Sometimes I think that I could enjoy a life on the road but there is also something about this home that I have that is peaceful.  I know that it is always the journey that matters and that may be why I life travel so much.  I mentioned that I pray when I drive.  I pray for my friends and family.  I pray for people I encounter as I travel.  It is such a beautiful long conversation with God as I drive.

As I journey home to give thanks with my family I pray for you Dear Reader.  May your journey be filled with blessings that move you to give thanks as well.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)



24 November 2014

On Giving Thanks – Writing

Greetings Dear Reader,

As I sit here free to put down whatever words I wish I want you to how much that fills my heart with gratitude.  Not only does it help me work through the mess in my head, it also allows me to create, make a modest income, and share my journey with Christ.

There have been times when I thought to walk away from the blank page.  I think that if I did I would retire to Bedlam.  I work toward doing a certain amount of writing every day.  I work at disciplining my mind and developing my craft.  I pray that my writing helps others. 

Much of what I write is fiction.  This daily send-up that you are reading is my way of chronicling my thoughts and questions along my journey.  Writing allows me an honest opportunity to work out my troubles and struggles.   It allows me to express my joy and hope.  It allows me to speak of things in a way that is safe.

I am thankful for the writing and for your input Dear Reader.  I read, save, and ponder every comment.  As I give thanks for the gift of writing I give thanks for you as well.  I try to choose every word to honor the living Word.  Each word is the essence of communication.  I am thankful for words.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

23 November 2014

On Giving Thanks – Mercy

Greetings Dear Reader,

There are times when we just need a break.  We do not do what we should or we do not behave properly.  We do not listen to the good advice of others.  We choose to do wrong. 

After the fact we sometimes need mercy.  Mercy is compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone to whom it is within one's power to punish or harm (Webster Online).  There are times when we all need mercy.  I need it every day.

Paul tells us that Jesus is the throne of mercy.  Mercy is seated in Christ  and God’s approval is given through faith in Christ.  There is nothing to be more thankful for than Christ.  His choice is to be merciful to us when we are helpless and completely at his disposal.

In my gratitude for that mercy I must also show mercy to others.  I must be the one who is channeling the mercy of God through me to others.  I must give what I am given.  I must show what I am shown.  That is the true key to showing that I am thankful.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

22 November 2014

On Giving Thanks – Orion

Greetings Dear Reader,

Yesterday I wrote about the stars and I mentioned that today is Orion’s birthday.  My eldest Grandson turns four today.  I am so very thankful for him.  He has changed all our lives in so many ways.  He is intelligent.  He is kind.  He can already outwit us when he wants something. 

Beyond that he has drawn things out of me that are precious and vital.  He makes me want to be calm.  I need to be as close to Christ as possible so that I can be a good example.  My prayers are deeper.  My heart is more loving. 

I feel more connected to everyone.  I realize that who I am with strangers influences who I am with Orion.  I understand that I must be consistent, committed, and free of pretext.  As I celebrate this child today I am filled with a passion for gratitude.  I am carried away with the joy of God’s gift of family.

In this moment as I prepare to decorate, cook, and celebrate I want to tell the whole universe that I love the constellation of boy and spirit that is Orion.  He is a bright spot in the nighttime for us all.  Happy Birthday Orion: I love you.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

21 November 2014

On Giving Thanks – The Stars

Greetings Dear Reader,

I watched Neil and Buz walk on the moon before I was a teen.  Before that I was in love with the idea of space, space travel, and the amazing vastness of the star.  One of the great things my mum did when I was a child was make a way for me to watch Star Trek.  I was only six when it premiered.  She would send me to bed early and wake me up to watch it.  I fell in love with the idea of space travel.

What I see when I look up is potential.  I see the vast reaches of the cosmos and think of the creativity of God.  What wonders does he have in store for us that we have yet to discover?  Whatever they are I am anxious to discover them.  I think that basically I am a starship captain two hundred years too soon (I hope Jimmy Buffet will forgive me for that).

I am so thankful for the stars.  I contemplate them often.  Tomorrow is my Grandson’s birthday.  He already likes the stars too.  His birthday will have a star theme this year.  It amazes me that there is such a beauty and depth to the universe and that it can also be reflected in a four-year-old boy. 

I clearly see the creativity of God reflected in both.  I hope to nurture his love of the cosmos.  I hope to show my gratitude to the Creator by loving this aspect of his creativity.  I met never get to space in the conventional way.  I know that if it were up to me the place that Christ is preparing for me would be a Starship.  .

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

20 November 2014

On Giving Thanks – Diversity

Greetings Dear Reader,

There are some things that I always want to be the same.  I always want my steak to be rare and juicy.  I always want the Braves to win.  I always want the time with my children to last forever.  There are things that I want to be a constant in the universe.

But I am also thankful for diversity.  I do not mean the political diversity that seems to be pushed at any cost.  I mean the infinite diversity that exists in the world because of divine and human creativity.  I am thankful for the uniqueness of every sunrise, every cloud, and every snowflake.  I find awe and wonder in the natural world.  

I celebrate and love the diversity of people.  Everyone brings his or her own gifts and talents to the world.  Each person offers the particular beauty created in him or her by God.  I love seeing that uniqueness and seeing my Creator reflected in it.

If I am giving thanks I can do it in every moment with others.  Since I am commanded to love everyone if I am looking for how they are fearfully and wonderfully made then I am more likely to overlook flaws and imperfections.

The imperfections will pass when God makes all things right again.  What will remains will be the unique good things created in each of us from the beginning.  I would love it if I had focused on those things in others enough to barely notice the difference.   

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

19 November 2014

On Giving Thanks – Coffee

Greetings Dear Reader,

Some of you will get this instantly and some never will.  That is understandable on both ends.  My first best memories of coffee are with my Grandfather.  There is a smell and taste associated with percolated coffee that can instantly take me back to his kitchen table and morning breakfasts.  Those memories are sweet and bright.  They are some of the best of my childhood. 

As an adult I used to drink too much coffee.  I even met with a group of fellow coffee addicts.  We called ourselves the Brotherhood of the Baleful Brewers of the Bitter Black Bean.  Then I stopped for a year.  I drank no coffee at all for a year.  After the sabbatical I was in a diner where the smell of the coffee reminded me of my Grandfather.  I ordered a cup.  It transported me back to the kitchen table on a bright Saturday morning.  At that point in my life I severely needed to be reminded of who I could be as a man.

Since then I allow myself a single cup a day.  Except on Friday I have two at the diner where I have breakfast.  The coffee reminds me of my Grandfather.  I have learned to make good coffee not just caffeinated fuel.  I roast my own beans or choose coffee that is quality. 

We have transmuted coffee into a tapestry of drinks that can be both sublime and confusing.  I occasionally indulge in the hot milkshakes that others refer to as coffee.  My preference will always be simple freshly ground beans and hot water properly brewed.  

I am thankful for this because it is a luxury that I once abused.  I have learned the lessons of excess and recaptured the memory of moderation.  My first sip each morning reminds me of the blessings in my life and the lessons from my Grandfather.  Roasting coffee for others allows me to be an artist in another way.   As I approach the day each morning coffee is my companion in prayer and devotion.  In those first solemn moments of solitude I approach God to give him back my life for the day.  I am always thankful for the coffee.  It reminds me to be thankful for all of the small luxuries that have been given me by God.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

18 November 2014

On Giving Thanks – Faith

Greetings Dear Reader,

I know that I have written about faith often.  It would be repetitive to define and show its import here.  Not that I am not repetitive but rather that I have another purpose.  I want to express my gratitude for the gift of faith.

I worked hard to get to the place where I believed but once there it was cemented and strong.  I can stand on faith as if it were iron.  There are times when I fear or doubt but beneath that is a bedrock of faith that does not fail me. 

I do err in thinking it is that easy for others.  That error is what necessitates the gratitude.  I do not wish to take faith for granted.  It like any good thing is a gift from God.  It is a treasured gift since without it one cannot please God. 

The other prime reason to be thankful for faith is that it is a primary element.  It is what forms things that are hoped for.  It is what proves the unseen.  When God gives us faith he gives us a scaffold, a tool, and materials. 

As I move toward Advent and the celebration and the object of my faith I feel great gratitude for that faith.  The primary way to show that gratitude is to live my faith.  I must also keep in perspective that faith comes easy for me now and that is not true for everyone.  I am thankful for its protection as well.  It is what fuels my hope when I feel hopeless.  It is what quells my fear when faced with terror and pain.

By Faith – Michael Card

By faith one was commended
For the sacrifice he made
Another out of holy fear
Built an ark the world to save
Another left his homeland
and as a stranger he'd reside
But none received the promise then
And so, in faith, they died.

Others conquered kingdoms
Quenched the fury of the flames
Some made strong in battle
Some were raised to life again
But many more were martyred
Midst the crowds loud clamoring
By faith they would not bow the knee
Nor kiss the emperor's ring

Faith understands and offers
It assures and calms our fears
It can shut the mouths of lions
And make sense of scars and tears
We persevere in hope
And with conscience clean and clear
We walk this fallen wilderness
With Salvation's Pioneer

Being sure of what we hope for
Seeing what is yet unseen
A universe from nothingness
New life where none had been
The known made from unknowable
And hope for the comfortless
Who hear and hold on firmly to
The faith that they possess

Faith understands and offers
It assures and calms our fears
It can shut the mouths of lions
And make sense of scars and tears
We persevere in hope
And with conscience clean and clear
We walk this fallen wilderness
With Salvation's Pioneer

So fix your eyes upon the Champion
As you seek to run the race
Understanding that He cheers you on
As you long for His embrace
So hold on and do not grow weary
Of the faith that you profess
Remembering that you are ringed around
By this cloud of witnesses

Faith understands and offers
It assures and calms our fears
It can shut the mouths of lions
And make sense of scars and tears
We persevere in hope
And with conscience clean and clear
We walk this fallen wilderness
With Salvation's Pioneer

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

17 November 2014

On Giving Thanks – Books

Greetings Dear Reader,

In the office where I do most of my writing I am surrounded by hundreds of books.  As a writer I know the value of reading books.  I read much more than I write.  I read across the centuries.  Fiction and non-fiction are both vital to reading.  I have difficulty making the adjustment to reading digitally.  I love the feel of a book in my hand.  There is not a room where I spend waking time where there is not a bookshelf of sorts.

It needs to be clear that what I love is reading and not just books.  There is a difference.  I know people who collect books and those who collect reading.  I am the latter.  For me books are the collection of the thoughts and questions of others.  It is a chance to see this world or an imagined one through the eyes of someone else.  I have the opportunity listen to and learn from people long dead and in the midst of history.  I get to feel how they felt in the moment.

So much about reading is immersing one’s self in the mind of another.  For a time we become selfless in a fashion.  We give the mind over to the way in which another sees, thinks, and feels.  Even if it is fiction we are seeing the world through the eyes of the writer.  I am so thankful for the many authors who have taken the time and risk to share their thoughts and questions with me.

I pass on this gratitude by giving books to others.  It is with thankfulness that I reach to my shelves for relaxation or research.  It is with a grateful heart that I pick up a tome for some time away from this world.  It is with anticipation that I read to learn a new thing.  It is with yearning for understanding that I read what others have written about God.

Throughout our history when evil men wish to oppress others they take away books.  I am very thankful that I live in a world where my books are mine to read, enjoy, share, and even write.    

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

16 November 2014

Second Thoughts – Fall's First Snow

Greetings Dear Reader,

Sometimes I will end the day with thoughts that are important to get out.  Usually I just write them and put them in my journal folder.  I have chosen that on occasion I will share them with you Dear Reader.

Yesterday when I returned home from running my errands the sun was out.  It was a chilly 29 degrees.  There was a light wind out of the north.  This morning my yard, my home, and my cars are covered in three inches of beautiful white precipitation.  The snow is clear and fresh.  The air is frigid breezy. 

I have listened to people complain about this impending snow all week.  I rejoice in it.  The world that had turned brown and dull is now white.  The air has that snowy taste and smell that makes me feel young.  The world changes for me when the snow falls each year.

I will sit out on my porch and take it all in for a bit tonight.  I will ponder the beauty and symmetry of the billions of crystals in my yard.  I will also shovel and salt.  Even when the snow becomes a hindrance I will not complain.  It is in this snow that God reminds me that he has the power to make all things beautiful again.

“…though you sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.”

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

On Giving Thanks – Meals

Greetings Dear Reader,

Last evening my Son, my Grandsons, and my Daughter all joined me for dinner.  My other Son was working and could not make it.  He was missed.  I attempted homemade gyros for the first time.  By this I mean actually preparing the meat from scratch and making my own Tzatziki sauce.  In addition I made sautéed eggplant with sweet curry.

It was fun to try something new.  I need a few more attempts to get the meat right but the meal was a success.  It was a success because of the company.  My Daughter, Christmas helped with the prep.  My Grandsons helped with the fun.  My Son, Maxim helped with the dishes. 

I am so thankful for meals.  For the first time in over a decade my family will gather together for Thanksgiving.  I will see nieces and nephews that I have not seen in years.  I will meet a couple I have never met.  I look forward to gathering around the table with people I love and rarely see. 

Before that I will prepare food for my Grandson Orion’s birthday party.  Shortly after that I will prepare food for our Christmas open house.  I try to express my gratitude to God for every step of the process.  The planning is good for my creative mind.  The prep brings to mind other good times in kitchens across the years.  It is also the time where I pray out my thankfulness for God’s provision in my life. The meal or the party allows me to show love for others and enjoy them. 

There is something about a meal around a table that enriches me.  There is something about preparing a meal for others that heals bits and pieces in me.  I know that Jesus understood this and he often used meal time as teaching time.  I am thankful for food well-made and enjoyed by others.

I am very thankful for time with my children last night over a good meal.  The leftovers later will extend the joy through the memory and extend the thanks as well.  It all helps keep Thanksgiving in perspective. For me must be about the gratitude for all my blessings and then about the food.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.” (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

15 November 2014

On Giving Thanks – Love

Greetings Dear Reader,

I have said before that Christ Followers deal in grace.  They also deal in hope, mercy, kindness, and forgiveness.  This is all fueled by the same thing: love.

At the base of everything that we are to be is the command to love.  At the heart of every act of God is love.  At I prepare my heart for Advent I am thankful for love.  I am amazed by its power. I am astounded at the way it invades and permeates.  I am constrained by its force.

I am thankful for God’s love for us.  It is immutable.  It able to walk through any barrier I put up to block it.  It is the prime force in all that I can become.  It is why Christ came to seek us out.  It is why he courts this fallen race.

I am thankful for privilege of loving others.  It keeps my mind in focus and pushes me to be and do better.  And the end of all things it will be what remains.  The thoughts and actions of love will be what endure beyond time.  I am thankful that I am allowed to be a vessel to show love to others.  I love you Dear Reader.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."  ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

14 November 2014

On Giving Thanks – Work

Greetings Dear Reader,

I know so many people who will at least once today celebrate that it is Friday.  Many people have work that is unpleasant or even depressing.  In the past I have worked at a job that I dreaded.  I have traveled to it out of duty with no joy on the journey.  I worked only for the weekend, wasting my week wishing I were elsewhere.

Whether it is because of the security of income or that I do something that I love I am thankful for my work.  Life is too sweet and precious to spend the bulk of my day doing something unrewarding.  I am thankful for the skills and gifts that allow me to work.  I am thankful for the education that has prepared me for work.  I am grateful for all that is involved in work.

I enjoy time off to be with family and recreate myself.  I cannot do those things if I am exhausted from doing work that drains me instead of fulfilling me.  I am thankful that the work I do no longer detracts from who I am.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."  ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

13 November 2014

On Giving Thanks – Children

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the things that I find an endless well of gratitude for is my children.  They are all three uniquely beautiful to me.  They all have hearts filled with compassion for others.  They know how to work and play with true spirit.  I see potential greatness in all three of them.

I know that my children are not perfect.   They are, however, amazingly gifted.  All three are intelligent in ways that awe me.  The eldest, Maxim, has a keen intellect and lightning insight.  When he combines that with love and compassion he can see to the heart of a matter and truly be helpful to others.  His commitment to his sons is without equal.

Bezel, my second Son has the same intellect coupled with lightning responses.  When he chooses to reach through the fog with love that loves burns bright and clear in a way that few can provide.  I think that he possess the kind of love that can crush any barrier that stands in its way.

Christmas, my daughter is much more intelligent than she believes.  When she looks at the world she assesses the needs of others and reaches out to them without fear or hesitation.  Her insight into the needs others is profound.  Her compassion makes a difference. 

I pray for my children every day.  I love them.  I enjoy being with them.  I try to balance helping and staying out of the way.  Above all today though is that I am thankful for them.  They challenge and improve me.  My life is richer because of them.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."  ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

12 November 2014

On Giving Thanks – Forgiveness

Greetings Dear Reader,

We will get around to my gratitude for divine forgiveness.  I first want to dwell on my gratitude for the forgiveness of others.  I have done some terrible wrongs to people both intentional and unintentional.  Most of them have forgiven me.

I first value forgiveness for the sake of those who are doing the forgiving.  Failing to forgive carries such a heavy burden.  It gives place to anger and bitterness.  Were we not able to forgive then the wake of broken relationships would be unbearable for us all.  For those who fail to forgive it often is.

I am thankful that if we choose to we are able to forgive others.  On that point, saying that we are unable to forgive is a lie.  We always have a choice.  Choosing not to forgive is dangerous and damaging to us.  Failure to forgive leads to divorce, hatred, and wars. There are other causes but this is at the core of it.

The other aspect of human forgiveness is that of being forgiven.  It gives us a glimpse of the divine.  We act in a divine way when we forgive.  We exercise power over another individual with grace and mercy.  We act in the mode of divine love. 

When we are forgiven we get new ground on which to stand.  We have an opportunity to do better than we did.  We can better the relationships around us.  It becomes possible to follow Christ more closely.

I know that I am also deeply thankful for God’s forgiveness.  He renews it daily because he sees me as his own.  The process of redemption requires that God both forgive and forget my sin.  In God’s eyes I am already perfected and he is just waiting for me to catch up with his vision of me.  I do that by following Christ.

A friend of mine in Tennessee shared with me a song that reflects how we are to see ourselves.  When guilt or regret try to assail me I need to remember that I am both in the process and complete.  I am forgiven for all that I have done and will do.   I am redeemed.  I am truly thankful for this.  It is the wellspring of my hope.

Redeemed – Big Daddy Weave

Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me "son
Stop fighting a fight it's already been won"

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I'm redeemed

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, "Child lift up your head"
I remember, oh God, You're not done with me yet

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be

Because I don't have to be the old man inside of me
'Cause his day is long dead and gone
Because I've got a new name, a new life, I'm not the same
And a hope that will carry me home

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, 'cause I'm not who I used to be

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, yeah, I'm not who I used to be
Oh, God, I'm not who I used to be
Jesus, I'm not who I used to be
'Cause I am redeemed
Thank God, redeemed

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."  ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

11 November 2014

On Giving Thanks – Veterans

Greetings Dear Reader,

I hate war.  It is one of the few things I truly hate.  Were it in my power war would not exist, full stop.  Unfortunately it does.  People decide the values of others or wanting their possessions makes it allowable to kill them so we have wars.  This means that when the war ends we have veterans.

I hate war but I love our veterans.  I am thankful that there are men and women who are willing to risk it all so that I can safely sit in my Victorian office and write my books and musings.  I am thankful that I get to look them in the eye and express my gratitude.  My heart tightens and my eyes moisten when I ponder the good people who carry physical, mental, and emotional scars so that I can have this privilege.   

I am thankful and want every veteran to know that I am.  I care about your pain and sacrifice.  You are why I vote when I don’t feel like it.  You are why I cherish the freedom I have.  I love you and honor you.  I know we do not do enough for you. 

As I pray I ask God to heal you.  I ask him to bring you peace.  I ask him to provide for all your needs.  I get it that no one can really know until they have been you and I allow you that solitude.  All that you have done matters.  All that you have endured has value.  All that you have lost cannot be measured. 

What I am left with feels so inadequate but it is what I have.  I pause today to humbly say the only thing I can – THANK YOU.

Freedom Never Cries – Five For Fighting

I took a flag to a pawn shop
For a broken guitar
I took a flag to a pawn shop
How much is that guitar
I took a flag to a pawn shop
I Got me that guitar
What's a flag in a pawn shop to me?

I Saw a man on the TV
In a mask with a gun
A man on the TV
He had a ten-year old son
I Saw a man on the TV
His son had a gun
He says that he's coming for me

I never loved the soldier until there was a war
Or thought about tomorrow
'til my baby hit the floor
I only talk to God when somebody's about to die
I Never cherished Freedom

Freedom never cries.

I wrote a song for a dead man
To settle my soul
A song for a dead man
Now I'll never grow old
I wrote a song for a dead man
Now I'm out in the cold
What's a song to a dead man to me?

I never loved the soldier until there was a war
Or thought about tomorrow
'til my baby hit the floor
I only talk to God when somebody's about to die
I never cherished Freedom

Freedom never cries...

You can cry for her
Die for her
Lay down your life for her
Kiss and wave Goodbye to her
Anything at all

You can cry for her
Die for her
Make up your mind to her
Anything at all

There's a baby on the doorstep
Wailing away
There's a baby on the doorstep
Longing for the day
There's a baby on the doorstep
Who'd give his life to take
A flag to a pawn shop
A flag to a pawn shop

May he forget why he is crying some day

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."  ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

10 November 2014

On Giving Thanks – Cars

Greetings Dear Reader,

We are planning a trip to the south for Thanksgiving this year.  We are driving.  Since I drive a smaller care I have reserved one large enough for the lot of us.  I love driving.  I like getting out on the road and going somewhere.  I love the sights, the conversation, and the travel.

As I pause to consider the impending journey just two weeks away I know that I am very thankful for cars.  They carry their share of problems.  They also are a great luxury.  I have friends who do not even own cars.  I have friends who do not drive. 

So many things about my life would have to change were I not to have this blessing of immediate travel.  This year both my Daughter Christmas and I had to acquire newer cars.  God preceded us and provided two excellent vehicles.  I am blessed to have two excellent and honest mechanics I can go to when needed.

I am thankful for this gift which I do recognize as a luxury.  Plenty of people live their entire lives without a car.  Many never even get to ride in one.  As I turn my eyes toward a heart of gratitude I try to count everything.  My car is decidedly one of them.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."  ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

09 November 2014

On Giving Thanks – The Salvation Army

Greetings Dear Reader,

My favorite waitress at my favorite diner also works for the Salvation Army overnight at one of their shelters.  She often shares stories with me of the people that the shelter helps and the opportunity they get to get real jobs and real homes.

No organization is perfect but the Salvation Army succeeds in doing some very fine work.  Most of the donations they receive actually go to helping others.  According to the BBB only about 11% of their donations go to overhead.  That is remarkable compared to some other charities that do the same work.  One such popular charity is at 25%.  The next best is at 18%.

Each year the Salvation Army counts on donations from it Red Kettle Campaign to supply a large portion of its annual operating budget.  I realize most of us associate this with Christmas but the campaign begins before Thanksgiving.   This year bell ringing shifts begin on November 14th.  You can sign up at their Ring Bells web site.

One of the ways I show my gratitude is by volunteering to ring bells for the Salvation Army.   We make it a family event and I provide breakfast for any of my kids who show up.  What matters is that the kettles get filled.  The money goes directly to those in need. 

I realize this sounds more like an advertisement than my usual musings.   So be it.  I think that following Christ sometimes requires that I promote others who do the same.  So here is the challenge Dear Reader.  Sign up for one shift.  I have already signed up for several.  It is fun and only costs two hours of your time.  Let me know if you do.  I promise to share in the joy.

If you cannot then remember to drop a few coins in the kettle every time you can.  Listen for the bells ringing as you shop and count it an opportunity to help people you will never meet.  Who knows you may encounter me if you do.  After all the silver bells you are the sound of thousands of people in need asking for your help.

Silver Bells – Anne Murray

Silver bells silver bells
It's Christmas time in the city
Hear the bells go ring-a-ling
Soon it will be Christmas day

City sidewalks busy sidewalks .
Dressed in holiday style
In the air
There's a feeling
of Christmas

Children laughing
People passing
Meeting smile after smile
And on every street corner you'll hear

Silver bells silver bells
It's Christmas time in the city
Soon it will be Christmas day

Strings of street lights
Even stop lights
Blink a bright red and green
As the shoppers rush
home with their treasures

Hear the snow crunch
See the kids rush
This is Santa's big scene
And above all this bustle
You'll hear

Silver bells, silver bells
It's Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling, hear them ring
Soon it will be Christmas day

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."  ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

08 November 2014

On Giving Thanks – Music

Greetings Dear Reader,

Perhaps one of the things I am the most thankful for is music.  I have explained before that it permeates my thinking always.  As a way of expressing my gratitude I wish to share some of the music that has attached itself to my soul.

First my favorite piece of music in the universe.  Whether you like Star Trek or not this piece of genius stands on its own.  There are not words.  Let the music take you where it will.  I am thankful for the way it brings me peace.

The Inner Light – Jerry Goldsmith


Written by Randy Newman and featured on his debut album, this song has been covered by many artists.  My favorite is Neil Diamond.  When I cannot tag the sadness that I am feeling this song often gets me there.

I Think It’s Going to Rain Today – Randy Newman – Performed by Neil Diamond

Broken windows and empty hallways
A pale dead moon in a sky streaked with grey
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it's gonna rain today

Scarecrows dressed in the latest styles
The frozen smiles to chase love away
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it's gonna rain today

Lonely, lonely
Tin can at my feet
I think I'll kick it down the street
That's the way to treat a friend

Bright before me the signs implore me
Help the needy and show them the way
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it's gonna rain today

Lonely, lonely
Tin can at my feet
I think I'll kick it down the street
That's the way to treat a friend

Bright before me the signs implore me
Help the needy and show them the way
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it's gonna rain today

When I truly want to remember that I belong to God or need to pray and cannot find the words, this song helps.  I once listened to this song all night long when I was praying for a friend in great peril.

Hungry Falling on my Knees – Joy Williams

Hungry I come to You
For I know You satisfy
I am empty but I know
Your love does not run dry
So I wait for You
So I wait for You

I'm falling on my knees
Offering all my needs
Jesus You're all
This heart is living for

Broken I run to You
For Your arms are open wide
I am weary but I know Your touch
Restores my life
So I wait for You
So I wait for You

You're all I'm living for

So I wait for You
So I wait for You

I'm falling on my knees
Offering all my needs
Jesus You're all
This heart is living for

I'm falling on my knees
Offering all of me
Jesus You're all
This heart is living for

Hungry I come to You
For I know You satisfy

I could go on and on but you get the point.  What music moves you Dear Reader?  Please share it with me.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."  ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

07 November 2014

On Giving Thanks – Grace

Greetings Dear Reader,

All too often I forget the power of certain words.  “Grace” is one of them.  I like the Merriam-Webster definition: “unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification.”  Let me explain.

"Grace" Eric Enstrom
Unmerited – a primary function of grace is that we do not deserve it.  God does not owe us anything. 

Divine – It is God that provides it solely of his good will

Assistance – It is something we need.

Given – once again it is a GIFT.  We cannot earn whatever it is that we are given by grace.

Humans – this is available to everyone.  There is no elitism or favoritism.  If you are human God has grace for you.

For Regeneration - We need to be made alive again.  Sin is what is killing us and by grace God wishes to give us new life in Christ.

For Sanctification – We also need to be “cleaned up”.  We are messed up, fallen, crooked sticks.  God uses his grace to draw us closer to him and make us more like him.

Paul wrote it this way – “It is by grace you redeemed through faith; not from your own good deeds, but as gift from God.”

I have said before that you can come as you are.  There is no need to clean up, shape up, or give up.  You do not need to do anything.  The gift is there if you will simply accept it.  Grace is one of the key reasons that we give gifts to each other.  We may not acknowledge it but it is true.

I am so thankful that God accepts me as I am.  It is in his grace that I find the power every day to follow Christ.  It is because of grace that I lived long enough to come to this place.  It is grace that will lead me on the journey until I find home. Come taste the grace.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."  ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

06 November 2014

On Giving Thanks – Snow

Greetings Dear Reader,

Now if I offend you Dear Reader I will ask your forgiveness in advance.  I love snow.  I realize it poses challenges and often causes delays in our lives.  In most cases the adjustment is easy if we undertake it and prepare.

There are reasons why I love the snow.  First and foremost is the natural beauty of my home when surrounded by a fresh blanket of the stuff.  The billions of tiny crystals unite to form a new and fresh landscape outside my window.  It warms and wonders me as I write.

And then there is November 6, 2008.  It was just dark when the dance of white fluffy flakes began to fall.  Christmas had only come to live with us ten days earlier.  She had only ever seen snow once and at a distance.  I called her outside to show her the crystal beauty drifting down on a gentle evening breeze.

The gasp of wonder and awe is forever imprinted in my mind.  What burned even deeper were the tears.  Christmas was a new Christ follower emerging from a life of pain and abuse.  She had risked everything for a chance at a better life.  She had gambled it all on God and my family.

We had talked often about snow and how much I loved its beauty and grace.  Tears were running down her face as she watched the snow whiten our yard and cars.  I asked her why she was crying.  Her response made me value forever the creation of very flake.  “It is all true,” she said.  “Everything you told me about being safe and free is true.  You even told the truth about the snow.”

Today I am thankful for snow more than ever.  We had one hundred inches of it during Christmas’ first winter with us.  Many painful things unfolded during that winter.  The price for my attempt to do good carried a price I could not imagine. Every time, however,  I looked at the snow I was reminded of the power of Christ’s love to change lives and bring hope.

I am very thankful for Christmas and snow.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."  ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)