After some research, I discovered that Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain. The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and is sometimes regarded as the "Celtic New Year."
So where did the ghosts, ghouls, and witches come from? Turns out the ancient Gaels believed that on October 31 the boundary between the living and the deceased dissolved, and that the dead could actually walk among the living. The Gaels became concerned that the dead would cause problems for them such as sickness or damaged crops. Their festivals would frequently involve bonfires, into which bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown. Costumes and masks were also worn at the festivals in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or placate them.
The transatlantic migration of nearly two million Irish following the Irish Potato Famine that took place during the years 1845–1849 finally brought the holiday and the traditions to the United States. Of course, we took it and added our own unique twists. That is, after all the American way, right?
Anyway, I thought it would be nice for a change to focus on the celebration part of Halloween and not in a trick-or-treating sort of way but a celebration of Thanksgiving as I'm sure the Gaels did when their harvest came in. What did you say? That's what Thanksgiving is for next month? That's true, but it is stated several times in the book of Psalms, "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever." So I think it's okay to count my blessings more than just once a year, hmm?
A beautiful young lady who is a Senior at our school and who is an amazing witness for Christ at her young age (Really. See for yourself. The link is under My Favorite Blogs and it is the one titled "Set Apart for the Grandeur of My Master".) came up with the idea on September 30th to name 30 blessings, 1 for each day of the month that had just past. So, I hope she won't mind if I "borrow" her idea for October.
I have compiled a list of 31 blessings in my life, not counting the Lord, my family, or my friends. Obviously, there is nothing in this whole world more important to me than my Lord and the ones I love. These are the little blessings (listed in no particular order) that sometimes I forget to be thankful for. Read on and you'll see what I mean:
#1. Clean sheets. I LOVE the feeling of snuggling down into freshly laundered sheets.
#2. Gut busting, roll on the floor laughter. Whew! There's nothing like it!
#3. "Holy Spirit tears" - the ones that come when He's moved you. It's so cleansing.
#4. Imagination. I love slipping off into my fictional world, and I love watching my kids play make-believe.
#5. Parents at our school who show their appreciation by taking time out of their busy days to make lunch for the teachers. We've got the best parents in the world!
#6. Children at our school who ask Jesus to come and live in their hearts. A little girl from my class did yesterday during our chapel time and I am just so thankful that I get to be a part of that. It was beautiful, truly beautiful!
#7. My little girls' teachers. Thanks to the wonderful ladies who have dedicated their life to serving the Lord, Ali and Livi are already getting a firm foundation in the Lord at 7 and 4 years of age. It makes my heart just soar! I'm so thankful, SO thankful!
#8. Cool mornings that warm up into beautiful, sunny afternoons - like today!
#9. I'm also thankful for the gloomy, damp, cold days that are good for putting a fire in the fireplace and curling up on the sofa with a cup of coffee and a good book.
#10. The patchwork landscapes you can often see driving down any road at this time of year in Tennessee. Truly the work of an Artist!
#11. The doctors at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. Man, they are the best!
#12. Our health. Oh, I'm so thankful for our health!
#13. Good medical insurance . . . for when we do need it.
#14. Okay. I'm gonna sound a little shallow here, but . . . texting. I am thankful for texting. It's just so convenient.
#15. While I'm going in this direction, I might as well add digital cameras. Now, I would HATE to wait to get a roll of film developed to see what kind of a picture I took!
#16. And even though it crashed on me, I'm thankful for my laptop.
#17. I'm thankful for my dishwasher. Quick story: when my sisters and I were growing up we'd tell my mom she really, really needed to get a dishwasher. Her response? "I have four of them!" (My three sisters and I!) Love you, Mom! :)
#18. Ooo, and along that line, I'm really thankful for indoor plumbing. Just imagine what our lives would be like today without it! Let's just say it would really stink! Ha!
#19. Serious now, I'm thankful for the sound of children singing, especially during our chapel time.
#20. I'm thankful for the sight of children worshiping. I promise there is nothing in this world more honest and pure than to see a child worship our Lord and Savior.
#21. I'm thankful for what the Lord reveals to me in His Word.
#22. For His peace, especially in uncertain times like we're facing.
#23. I'm thankful for the excitement that builds from now until Christmas.
#24. And for little, fun surprises like SNOW DAYS! (I love my school. I adore my class. But snow days are FUN! Every teacher reading this understands that!)
#25. I'm thankful for lazy Saturday mornings (especially after late but productive Friday nights)
#26. I'm thankful for the Charlie Brown T.V. specials that are on at this time of year. I have favorite parts in each one, but my very favorite is in "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown" when they all make fun of Charlie because of the puny tree he picked out so he goes home and decorates it himself and "the gang" shows up, says, "It wasn't so bad after all." Then they all gather around the tree and sing "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing". It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.
#27. I'm thankful for the lights that will be coming out soon. Who doesn't look forward to taking a drive through the neighborhood to see the lights???
#28. I'm thankful for my home, humble as it may be, and that our cupboards are stocked. There are so many needy people in this world!
#29. I'm thankful for hardships. Yes, I am. They may not be fun, but they build character. It took me a while to learn that - a long while.
#30. I'm really thankful for the hugs and kisses I get from my girls. They keep me going.
#31. I'm thankful for prayer. I've seen what prayer can do. It's surely a supernatural weapon of defense in any situation.
There you have it. A list of random blessings. I'd love to hear what you are thankful for at this time of year and all year long! Doesn't it make you feel so much better to focus on the blessings in your life than on the worries of the world that is plaguing us from every branch of media? Come on! Count your blessings with me!
Going back to #31, it's time for PRAYER REQUESTS AND UPDATES: I don't have any new requests at this time, but I do have several updates. Our 2-year-old, Tyler, has had about a 50% reduction in the size of his cancer. Praise God! Please continue to pray for Tyler that God will heal that last 50% and that little boy will be a walking talking miracle. Also, please continue to pray for strength for Tyler's parents. Larry Harris continues to improve. Just the other week he drove himself to get his hair cut so that was a big step for him. Please pray for continued healing and returned strength. I have a feeling it won't be long before we have to take Larry off the list. :) My best friend from high school, Patty Smith, is feeling pretty good. The cancer seems to be negatively affected by the chemo, but her blood platelets are down so that is a concern. Please pray for her continued healing and strength. Kelly M. is still very sick and the doctors are having a hard time diagnosing her illness. Please pray for her, her mother who is is nervous wreck, and her doctors. I have a great update to share. My sister and brother-in-law, Julie and Jon, just found out that they will be having another little girl in March! Their 2-year-old daughter, Mallory, is thrilled to be having a sister! Always remember, if you or someone you know has a prayer concern (even if it is unspoken - God knows all of our needs after all) please email me personally through my profile and I will be more than happy to post it. There IS power in prayer!
Wishing you all a happy harvest celebration!