Hello Swamp Bloggers!

Welcome back to the blog. Happy early Thanksgiving! I hope this blog finds you as you are getting ready for family and friends and plates full of good food. Yum. :)

This week is a holiday that can sometimes get overlooked as people prepare for the Christmas holiday. Yet, it is a great opportunity to start having a changed mindset on gratitude throughout all seasons of life.

For me, Thanksgiving is coming at the very end of the roughest semester of my life. Never before has school challenged my mental, emotional, and spiritual health as much as this semester. It has also been difficult as I have been trying to decide where I'll be living and what I'll be doing after I graduate in May. I've felt this pressure to define who I am outside of just being a Christian. During those times, I have not necessarily felt very thankful.

Family and Friends are one thing we can be thankful for.

Yet, thankfulness is not just a feeling. I am reminded of Mr. Jeff's words from before the grateful devotional Friday mornings at camp. Many times he tells the story of a time when he didn't feel like things were going right in his life, so he decided to make a list of things he was grateful for. Shortly after, he said, his list kept building and he realized he had no reason to be ungrateful.

I am not sure which season of life you are in. It may be a time full of blessings, or it may be a time of grief or of feeling insecure. Maybe, it is a little bit of both. If you are struggling with hard times, I send my love and prayers to you. You are stronger than you imagine. Yet, regardless of what season of life we are in, we all have things to be grateful for.

One thing we can all be grateful for is the Swamp!

One of my friends was telling me recently that she wants to get a tattoo that says, "We did it." She said it is the phrase that her favorite band ends their concerts with, and that to her the significance of those words mean: we're here; we made it another day. It inspires me that she fights for every day and is thankful to God for taking her through each one.

For me, I am grateful for my brother becoming a disciple this year, my nephew being born, my Swamp Corps trips, my roommates, my education, and my parents. What are you all thankful for this Thanksgiving? Leave a comment below or share and tag someone you are grateful for. It may be very encouraging to them.

I hope and pray that your Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of celebration for all that God has done and that you are able to give to those around you. Thank you for being wonderful readers, and for loving the Swamp as much as you do.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Until next time...

Much Love & Respect,

Julie