The Psychology of Thanksgiving
There is a lot to complain about these days…..
Traffic on my way to work… doesn’t anyone know how to merge lanes properly instead of racing ahead and cutting people off?
Prices at the grocery store are noticeably much higher than a year ago. Filling up my car cost double than it did two years ago.
It seems most of what I purchase is made in China. Our house has had four leaks in our slab. We have had floods in the kitchen, bathroom, and garage.
And the list goes on… and on… and on.
Sometimes my adult children who grew up on the Coco River in Nicaragua sleeping in the bottom of dugout canoes and bathing in a cappuccino-colored river hear their friends complaining about some aspect of life in America and usually the turn to one another and say simply “First World Problems.”
Laura and I often have conversations that begin well, but then we take a side street called “Complaint” and find ourselves lost in a dark hole of negative comments. It’s a rough detour from pleasant conversation.
Interesting, God knows how easy it is for us to get mentally off track, and the damaging effects of letting our minds dwell on negative aspects of our lives. He tells us often in His Word how to counteract that, and keep our minds focused.
For example, the people of Israel were told to
Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim his greatness.
Let the whole world know what he has done. 1 Chronicles 16:8
King David though it important to give thanks:
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart;
I will tell of all Your wonders. Psalms 9:1
The Governor Nehemiah gave orders to his people to give thanks:
I led the leaders of Judah to the top of the wall and organized two large choirs to give thanks. Nehemiah 12:31
Paul told his friends in Ephesus and Colossae (and to all of us):
Give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20
And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. Col. 3:17
God knows that something happens to our soul when we pause during the day to acknowledge his goodness and care for us.
It puts things in balance.
Most dictionaries define “Thankful” as “Aware and appreciative of a benefit received.”
I asked one of my close friends who claims to not acknowledge the existence of God in her life if she was thankful for anything. “Of course I am.” She replied. “My husband, my family, my health, my home.”
“To whom are you thankful for all that?” I asked.
She smiled. She knew where I was going.
The first settlers in our country had a rough first winter. The following year, 1621, God supplied a Native American who spoke English who taught them how to plant crops in this New World. If it wasn’t God then it was one of those incredible history-changing coincidences. They decided to have a celebration at harvest time to give thanks to God for their provision.
President George Washington called for a “celebratory day of thanksgiving an prayer” in 1789 after years of war with England and the establishment of the American Republic. President Abraham Lincoln likewise issued a proclamation for a national day of thanksgiving after the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War for Thursday, November 26, 1863. After that “Thanksgiving Day” became an American tradition which was finally set into law as a national holiday on the fourth Thursday in November by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1941 after years of economic depression.
See the trend?
When we face national struggles successfully, our nation afterward turns to God to give thanks for His intervention into our affairs.
Perhaps this is a strategy in our present situation. Let me begin.
I thank God for:
The wife that He has given me. She has been the very best companion that I could ever have in so many ways.
My four children whom I get to share meals with, work out, travel, and work with every day. They are my best friends now that they are responsible adults.
My four parents, Mabel and Forrest, Jean and Ron, who greatly and positively influenced my life as well as my family, who taught us and served us very well, and were great role models for us all.
The challenging and fulfilling assignment that He has given me on Planet Earth, to reach out and serve many in remote places, as well as my own community here. It is the ultimate adventure of my life.
My brothers and sisters whom I share life with- from many parts of the world. I am a man rich in relationships.
My passport: that I grew up in a country where I could experience freedom and take advantage of incredible education and professional opportunities not available in other parts of the world.
My travels: I have resided in eight different countries and spent time in at least 26 others, which has given me a rich perspective of life on Earth and formed my opinions and character.
My health, which allows me to move freely, and now win foot races now because there are so few contestants in my age group.
My future: The conveyor belt of my life on this Earth ends at a timeless place with my King, my family, and many many many brothers and sisters.
We celebrate Thanksgiving Day this week. Take opportunity actively and conscientiously give thanks to God for His many blessing not only this national holiday, but every day. It will change our lives and as well as those around us.
Thanksgiving may be the key to fundamental transformation in our communities.
Happy Thanksgiving!!! Michael
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Then the God of peace will be with you. Phil 4:8-9
We said until we meet again to my beautiful Honorable Father who made it to 84 years and passed peacefully after the visits of many loved ones. Ronald Nobuo Uyeda was the oldest son of Richard Yoneto and Irene Shimizu Uyeda. He had a younger brother that left for heaven already and two remaining younger sisters. Daddy left 14 grandkids along with 11 great grand kids who he got to hold, smile at and sometimes yell at to be quiet. The past eight years have been truly difficult for him after Mom’s passing.
He struggled greatly, but put on a brave face especially for me who he tried to protect till the end. How precious he was and will always be to each one of us that are left with his amazing legacy, countless blessings and lessons in life that he gave to us.
A faithful family man of Integrity with the ability to accomplish whatever he set his mind to. He loved learning but hated being in school to do it. He was a reader and had a side career in the stock market where he read the Wall Street Journal everyday, watched Joe Cramer’s investment tv show, and invested what he didn’t mind losing. He told us “never get greedy.” He said the stock market was like the “emotions” of our times and culture. He was observant and asked many questions. He was so wise.
Early on he worked with his dad as a plumber and did a bunch of dirty work and gave all the money he earned back to the family. He was independent and married my mom when they were just 21. He went into the Air Force and was stationed in Tachikawa, Japan where I was born. They loved their time in Japan with my brother Jason and I. Jason was always an entertainer and friendly to all. Daddy said I was quiet and shy and one of his friends asked him if I was retarded. I thought it was so funny but daddy wanted to punch his friends lights out. He had a temper at times, but always going for improvements and learning in his life.
He was an athlete, quick and nimble and we would watch a variety of sports together from boxing, basketball, football, baseball, golfing, fishing, and he even said he loved watching hula with me which we got to do one season of my visits. We played cards, ping pong, pool and occasionally catch. He always thought I should stick with girl activities so always said no to me for my own BB gun or outside guy stuff. He wanted me cleaning, cooking, baby sitting my younger brothers— which was actually the greatest thing in my life.
I remember while we shot some pool together he started to school me on how I needed to think ahead in the game and not just get the shot in front of me in the hole but to begin to set myself up for the next shots and how I needed to place the cue ball in a position that would be to my advantage for the next shot. Preparation was his thing. He hated tardiness and procrastination of any kind and would say “Don’t be half a—at anything…or just quit if you can’t give all.” When he would go fishing, he would have all of his things ready to go the night before and I cannot remember a time that my dad was ever late for anything. He would say, “if you get there on the time, you late already.” He was a man of his word and when he said he was gonna do something it was gonna happen.
I remember when I became a follower of Christ I would urge him to come with us to church or tell him about God. One day as I was asking him to please pretty please come with us, he said to me, “Don’t ask me again. When I am ready, I will come.” The certainty of those words was enough to shut me up. I was settled and rejoiced the day I sat next to him singing songs of praise to God together. He had a good voice too which I find inspirational. “Was there anything my dad wasn’t good at?”
He gardened, fixed cars, built objects for us (pigeon coops, ramps etc), tiled floors, and whatever needs came up, he knew he could somehow figure it out and did.
I loved my dad and I knew he loved me and he let me know how proud he was of his family and how thankful he was that we were all close and loved each other. He would say frequently,
“ I always wanted a close family.”
Daddy: mission accomplished.
We all know you are soaring like an eagle and have no restraints.
Until we meet again. In God we trust. Laura
We are in the final month of our 2022 school year on the Rio Coco. Our teachers are preparing for final exams in a few weeks, and we are happy to see a successful year 36 coming to an end.
Imagine that! 36 years of educating children on the Coco River in one of the most remote corners of Central America. Thanks to so many of you who have made it possible through your monthly gifts to our school project as well as to our missionaries.
Please help us end the year strong with our 13th month salaries due this next month. You gifts are very welcome.
Here is our Seek The Lamb Giving page.
Rio Coco Beans Coffee
One of our most naturally sweet coffees is our Colombia Golden Honey.
Normally when after you pick a coffee cherry, for the "Wash' of Wet" process, you removed the pulp of the sweet fruit, and then let the beans soak for 36 hours in water, which removes the mucus film. After the beans are "washed" they are spread out on a patio for drying.
In the "Honey Process", the pulp is remove from the fruit and then the beans are placed on racks and sun dried, leaving on the mucus film, which contains a high concentration of sugar.
When these beans are dry, then they are washed in water and dried again. This process produces a very noticeable sweetness to the roasted bean.
This coffee comes from a group of indigenous farmers who cultivate their coffee in the mountains of southern Colombia, literally at the end of the road, near the Ecuadorian border.
We roast these beans slowly to a medium level, which is optimal for the flavors inside these beans.
Remember, your purchase of Rio Coco Bean Coffee helps us pay our teachers each month.