Eric Dishongh, PhD
Connecting others to Jesus and His church as a husband, dad, minister, counselor, professor and friend
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I woke up this morning in a bit of a panic and asked the Mitz, “When does the Elf on the Shelf go out?"
It's not even Thanksgiving yet, and I'm already worried about Christmas.
It’s probably because we have Christmas decorations already setup at our house. Or maybe it’s because my in-laws already have their tree up. Or it might be that my parents have already bought and wrapped all of the presents for their grandkids (and hopefully kids too!).
Anyone who knows me well knows that I'm not a fan of shopping. However, the day after Thanksgiving is when I get excited about shopping. When I was younger (and dumber), I remember standing in line all night at Wal-Mart trying to buy the latest and greatest game set with the hopes of turning around and making a profit on eBay. I did the math and I think I made $1.50 an hour for my efforts! I also remember standing outside at Toys-R-Us for several hours on Thanksgiving night to buy a toy four-wheeler for Brayden. That was definitely well worth the time and energy! These days, I mostly like looking at the newspaper on Thanksgiving day to see the Black Friday sales at Jos. A Bank.
All of that is part of the holiday fun, and there's nothing wrong with hurrying and scurrying on Thanksgiving night or Black Friday. The problem comes in when we end up living every day of our lives focused on the next best thing that we don't currently have.
Instead of always rushing to get what we want, let's slow down and be thankful for what we already have.
As I try to help people deal with their problems, I often talk about the “attitude of gratitude” and how that can shift our focus away from being upset about what/who we don't have and towards being thankful for what/who we do have.
This “attitude of gratitude” is needed every day, not just during the Thanksgiving holiday.
God promises in Scripture that he will provide for our needs as we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (see Matthew 6:25-34). Since that's the case, we have many blessings to count on a daily basis!
And it's not wrong to want more out of life and more out of others, but we have to make sure our prayer requests to God have an “attitude of gratitude” attached to them, as expressed in Philippians 4:6-7…
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
My life purpose is to connect people to Jesus and His church by providing a Christian example and by reaching out in spiritual, relational, academic, and community levels.
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I just finished reading Shirley Parram Sims’ book You Don’t Know My Story, an autobiography chronicling her childhood experiences of abuse, neglect, and rejection and how they later impacted her adult relationships and quest to be loved and accepted…
I first met Mrs. Shirley in 2009 in conjunction with my involvement with Creative Family Solutions. At the time, she was beginning “Alpha Daughters of Zion,” a nonprofit organization for victims of domestic violence (which includes the only emergency shelter in St. Charles Parish). For the past several years, the program has grown significantly, including continual support from the United Way of St. Charles and other local supporters...
While reflecting on her mother’s betrayal, Mrs. Shirley writes, “It is a hurting thing when the people whom you expect to protect you make you feel like you are at fault instead of the person who is causing the problem” (p. 46). She later says, “As a child, I remember I was never a part of anything, never felt wanted, never listened to, never being heard or seen. My life was nonexistent. It’s just like one day I opened my eyes and there I was. I came from nowhere and was going nowhere. Nowhere from nowhere equals nowhere” (p. 54)...
I’m thankful, though, that Mrs. Shirley’s story doesn’t end there. Rather, she’s living proof that people who have come from “nowhere” can end up "somewhere" in life...
To do so certainly requires faith in God and forgiveness of others...
I recommend You Don’t Know My Story. More information can be found here:
Also, if you or someone you know in St. Charles Parish (or surrounding area) is currently in a domestic violence situation with nowhere to turn, call Mrs. Shirley at 985-308-0819 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She’ll provide a safe place for you. And, she’ll listen to your story as well...
Finally, if I can be of help to you, please let me know. My life purpose is to connect people to Jesus and His church by providing a Christian example and by reaching out on spiritual, relational, academic, and community levels.