Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Today is the last day of November, which means it is the last official day of my "Month of Thankfulness". Hard to believe it is already over and tomorrow begins December.

But, tis true. Thanksgiving Day has come and gone --- though the leftovers still linger --- and our thoughts are turning to our Advent wreath, Christmas tree, holiday parties, and kids' wishlists.

Before I completely leave this special Thanksgiving season, though, I must take the chance of saying thanks to God for my two youngest daughters. My 9 year old LG and 5 year old Miss M are obviously sisters in appearance. From their straight, blonde hair to their big, blue eyes, there is no mistaking them as siblings. But that is just about where the similarities end. Like their two teenage sisters, they are about as different as two sisters can be in temperment and taste.

LG loves things to be organized and tidy. When she was a preschooler, she'd spend big chunks of time arranging dominoes and other manipulatives into orderly patterns. She can tell you the exact number of Littlest Pet Shop creatures that she owns and can always close her drawers. She is a conscientious student with neat handwriting and always has her lessons done right on time. She is simple in her clothing and hair style tastes. She rarely breaks the rules and does the chores assigned her. She carries bandaids in her purse (did I say she is NINE???) and her daddy and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if she grows up to be a nurse...or her generation's Martha Stewart.

Miss M is all about drama and motion and music and bright colors. If we were to let her go the Hollywood track, this girl would wow the world with her acting abilities. She could sing before she could talk. She loves wild clothes. Her favorite thing to wear is a black, froo-froo tutu skirt. She says she wants to be a police officer when she grows up because it would be fun. And that about sums it up...this girl is all about having fun!

Despite their major differences, they do have some things in common. They both love cute critters and love to spend time outside playing with the kittens that are always being born around here. They are both girlie girls. They both like baking with Mommy and their big sisters and cuddling up on the couch for storytime.

Something else that they have in common is that they both love their mommy very, very much...and their mommy loves them like crazy.

Today, I say thank you for my little girls...the last, but not the least...even if they are the littlest females in the MacLellan household.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Normally I would wax eloquent about the merits of my sons...their handsome looks, smart minds, good hearts, etc. etc....but a fierce storm is heading this way and I'm working frantically to get stuff done before we have to turn off the computer and/or we lose power.

So, in lieu of a long and thankful soliloquy on their amazingness, I will tell of my appreciation of them through some photos. After all, a picture paints a thousand words, right?

Sunday, November 28, 2010


For over 4 years now, our family has been blessed to have a pastor who loves us enough to preach the truth. He is passionate about his biological family and pours himself into that heritage. He is also passionate about his spiritual family and the heritage he is leaving behind in this world and in our church.

Brother Freddie loves them and us so much that he refuses to water down the truth. He is encouraging and generous with the "atta boy"s when they are needed but is also more than willing to tell us what we need to hear, even when it isn't pleasant. Even when it means we might not like it.

But always from the heart of a father who loves his children...and that's a reflection of the heart of God.

I can trust Brother Freddie to encourage and affirm us when that's what he knows we need and trust him to point out to us when we need to shape up and change.

And that's what real love does.

So today, I thank God for Brother Freddie and his love for his church family.... love that is sometimes a comforting, bear hug and sometimes an equally needed, well planted, kick in the rear.

By the way, his wife is pretty awesome, too!

To listen to some of Brother Freddie's sermons, visit our church website: http://www.restorationms.org/html/multimedia.html

Saturday, November 27, 2010


This morning we woke up to a house with no electricity, which meant no central heat, which meant with the temperatures outside running below freezing that the house was cold.

But I was thankful that I had a snug house that would help to block out the worst of the cold and that the power company was working hard at getting the downed power line back up and working.

And as I rejoiced that I had plenty of warm clothes to bundle up in until the power was restored, I was reminded of the many out there that don't have the luxury of a heated home. Whether it is because they live in a house that doesn't protect them from the cold --- such as the Swazi child living in an unheated, drafty, mud hut --- or they don't even have a home --- like the homeless old lady or family trying to escape the bitter temperatures by climbing up under an overpass or breaking into a falling-down, crack house.

I know a family that is right on the edge of living on the streets. The single mom is trying to make a new start for their family but it isn't easy. Anyone who thinks that the poor are poor and the homeless are homeless just because they aren't willing to work doesn't understand how vicious the extreme poverty cycle is and how difficult it is to break. She is doing what she can to find permanent housing and get a job so she can support her family, but for now, they are living in a pay-by-the-week motel and depending on God to provide the weekly rent thru the generosity of churches and individuals.

In the middle of the night, just before our power went out, she texted me. She didn't know where the rent was going to come from. She's been praying and seeking God and choosing to trust Him to provide for them.

I also started praying and letting my little corner of the world know about their needs.

Unless someone stepped up, this family would be evicted. Despite the cold. Despite the number of young children.

But people did step up. A family in a nearby town got the word out to their friends and church members through facebook. By the end of the day, enough people had pitched in as they could to cover the rent for one more week.

This is how it is supposed to be. Those of us who have are supposed to share with those who have not. Those of us who follow Jesus are supposed to do to others as we would want done unto us and ours.

Today, that's what happened.

The body of Christ really was the body of Christ.

And one more family continues to see God's love and provision.

Pray for them, when you think about it. Pray that they'll continue to see God's abundant blessings and that they will soon, very soon, be established in their own home with a nearby job for the mom.

Because all of us should be able to say, "thank you God for a roof over our heads"....especially on really, really cold days and nights.

Friday, November 26, 2010


What? You thought that just because Thanksgiving is officially over for another year that the "Days of Thankfulness" would end?

Au contraire. An attitude of gratitude should never end. It should stay with us every day and in every situation.

That said, no, I will not be doing "Day 12,224 of Thankfulness" when I'm nearing my 100th birthday and blogging with my great-grandchildren gathered around me. BUT, I will finish up November with my thankful posts and hopefully remember long past this month is up to always have a heart filled with joy and contentment due to an awareness of truly how much God blesses me, even in the midst of hardship and struggle. I'm already a pretty happy and content person, but even I find it so easy to slip into complaining and whining. After all, I live in a culture where every day I am told to "have it my way" or that "I deserve the best today", which can make it hard sometimes to not get dissatisfied even though I live a life overflowing with so much. Just the fact that I have enough food to eat, clean water, modern medical care, and an adequate roof over my head means that I have more materialistically than the majority of the world does.

So really? Do I need to be complaining that the marshmallows on the potato casserole got a little too brown or that I couldn't find just the perfect Thanksgiving themed paper plates? Ones that had both yellow and blue? In the light of how much we have and how little so many have, I really, really, really have so very little to honestly complain about.

But in America, we've elevated complaining to almost national pastime status.

So today, I recommit to just saying no to seeing the glass half empty. I commit to seeing God's goodness every where I turn. I choose to seek to be content in all things. And I will rejoice in today, because this is the day that the Lord has made. And so was yesterday.

And speaking of yesterday, here are some shots from the very blessed Thanksgiving Day I spent with my mom, my brother's family, and my hubby and kids here at Graceland:


Thursday, November 25, 2010


Thankful for Thanksgiving Day? Yep...and not just because of the scrumptious food and good times with family and friends.

I mean, those things are great, don't get me wrong.

But today, I'm specifically thankful for Thanksgiving Day because it reminds me to stop and think about all the many ways that God has blessed my life. And that gratitude is important. It keeps me content with where He has me and joyful over all the ways He is good to me. Because He is so very, very good. Even when I'm not good. Even when I don't deserve His goodness.

So on this Thanksgiving Day of 2010, I say thank you to God for reminding me of His extravagant love and faithfulness. I also say HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all of you.

And by the way, He loves you, too.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I usually enjoy grocery shopping.


I like it for two main reasons.

First of all, I am a foodie. I love learning about it, cooking it, eating it, and even making decisions concerning buying it.

Second, it is one of the few things I can actually spend money on and not feel guilty about or have to justify to the family budget. After all, we have to eat. We do NOT have to have that beautiful, aqua-blue, butterfly-festooned scarf or those cute little, knicky-knack things for sale at Cracker Barrel.

That said, I do not always want to go grocery shopping.

I do not like to go to the grocery store when it is raining. I am a wimp and don't like getting wet...makes the big hair go flat, don't'cha know.

I do not like to go grocery shopping with a million of my blessing children.

I do not like to go grocery shopping when I have to leave my nice, cozy house and my family and go out by myself at night just for that sole purpuse...unless I am desperate for a break but as my kids get older, those times are rarer and rarer.

I do not like to go to the grocery store when I'd much rather be taking a nap.

That is where my amazing man comes in.

My husband is willing to shop for me. In fact, he is gone right now shopping with my son for an upcoming Boy Scout trip --- his second grocery excursion of the day. He went Krogering for me this afternoon to pick up the last minute things needed for Thanksgiving that we didn't get last night.

Yep, that's right. He went shopping last night, too. I had been procrastinating buying the remaining Thanksgiving feast ingredients as I'm wont to do, but knew I had to get it done yesterday if I was going to get the second turkey bought and thawed in time. I had already been out with the little kids for our yogurt outing and run other errands. I really, really did not want to go two days before Thanksgiving to a crowded Kroger with 4 under-the-age-of-10 children. It also was raining. And I also wanted a nap. There were 3 out of the 4 reasons I use for NOT wanting to go grocery shopping. It was the perfect shopping storm.

BUT, brilliance hit as it often does in desperate times.

I called up the hubby and asked him to go with me that night. I sweetened the deal with the promise of a dinner date out first.

My husband's love language is quality time and, no immodesty intended, I am his favorite love and favorite person to spend quality time with. So it was an easy sell and after I had fixed a pot of split pea soup for the kids and gave grilled-cheese-sandwich-making-lessons to the 17 year old, it was off to McAlister's for Holiday Panini sandwiches (SO SCRUMPTIOUS) before hitting the aisles of Kroger.

Two hours later, we had bagfuls of cranberry sauce, marshmallows, sweet taters, Brussel sprouts, and a hulk-of-a-turkey among various other seasonal goodies along with another evening of good couple-time to show for it.

I love my man. I could go on and on about all the aspects of Jim that make me thankful to have him for a husband, but on this Thanksgiving Eve of 2010, I am especially grateful that he is not only willing to be the bread winner, but the bread buyer as well.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Today I'm thankful for something simple --- just some sweet time with my three youngest and one of their friends.

While the big boys were at a Scout function and the fifteen year old was babysitting, I took them to get frozen yogurt where their big sister Anna works.

They --- and I --- had fun sampling all the different flavors and deciding on just the right toppings.

My favorite of all ended up being a peppermint pie of sorts...crushed Oreos, peppermint frozen yogurt, semi-sweet chocolate chips, chocolate nonpareils, and a touch of whipped cream. That one was shared by all the kids and me.

Yep, shared it using the same spoon and sharing the same germs.

But also sharing a fun time and making some very, happy memories.

So today, I say thanks to God for letting me just have a sweet time with my kids over some very yummy,sweet treats.

Monday, November 22, 2010


As a parent, I have been truly blessed by my sons' participation in their local Boy Scout Troop. Through David and Patrick's involvement with Troop 757, they have made great friends as well as growing in maturity, leadership, confidence, toughness, honor, responsibility, physical fitness, and independence.

Some of the highlights of their years in Scouting include a 12 mile hike, annual summer camps, leading cub scouts during day camps, overnight canoe trips, first place in camporee competitions, camping out in the snow, mastering Morse code, a trip to Ship Island, and working towards earning historical merit badges.

David has also gotten to participate in the National Jamboree and be inducted into the Order of the Arrow, which is the BSA honor society.

Boy Scouts of America is a good organization with a hundred year history of raising leaders, but I have to say, that we are especially blessed by an exceptionally outstanding troop. I know I'm a bit prejudiced since my husband is a leader, but truly, the troop leadership determines the personality of the group and can lead a group of boys to levels of achievement that go beyond the expected to the excellent. Troop 757's Scout Master and Assistant Scout Masters are committed to helping the troop become a Scout led troop, one comprised of boys on their way to becoming real men...men who will be true leaders and heroes of our nation one day.

For these reasons and more, I am thankful for Boy Scout Troop 757 on this 22nd day of November.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Today we spent a few hours in the heart of our city. We worshiped, prayed, served, fellowshipped, laughed, and loved. And we were blessed...we are always blessed at WE WILL GO. Some Sundays, I'll be honest, I don't feel like going. The bed looks really comfy and seems to be calling me to come and indulge in a long, long nap. But inevitably, when I say know to sleep's siren call and go on into the city, I never regret it.

What an amazing privilege it is to be even a small part of something so big and beautiful. I am thankful that we have been changed through their ministry and in turn, have a chance to serve the least and lost.

WE WILL GO is a light in the darkness. In a city with one of the highest murder rates per capita in the nation, located in a state with the highest teen pregnancy rate and the one of the very worst public education systems in the nation, WE WILL GO has been called by God to make a difference.

Despite the statistics, the history, and the overwhelming odds, WE WILL GO is on a mission from God to change Jackson, Mississippi.

Through the power of God, WE WILL GO is bringing hope to the hopeless and love to the abandoned. They are preaching the truth of God and putting his principles into action with every person they pray for, child they make smile, hungry person they feed, street person they clothe, prostitute they befriend, crack baby they rock, single mom they comfort, struggling Christian they disciple, and church member they set free from the bondage of dead religion.

WE WILL GO is willing to go to the hardest,darkest, scariest places. They are willing to go back to the parts of our city that have been forsaken. They are willing to shine the light of Jesus ... the light that will bring true life to our state's capital and to me and you.

To read more about the ministry of WE WILL GO, visit their website: http://www.wewillgo.org/Welcome.html

Or read past blog posts I have written about WE WILL GO:

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Today I am thankful for The Orange Peel.

"What? You're thankful for the skin from a citrus fruit?", you may be thinking.

As lovely as citrus fruit refuse may be, that is not the peel I speak there of.

The Orange Peel is a fun, funky consignment store specializing in vintage items (including clothing, accessories, household items, and record albums) as well as high fashion pieces and original artwork.

Now that we are straight on what kind of peel I'm thankful for, you still might be a bit confused about why I am thankful for The Orange Peel.

Well, for quite a few reasons, to be honest.

First, as I just said, it is a great place to find wonderful clothes and home accessories at a great price. And hey, who doesn't like a bargain?

Second, it is a shop that my daughters and their friends and I all agree on. When they are out on the town with their friends, it is a frequent destination and a place worthy of spontaneous photos shoots. I love shopping there as much as they do --- sometimes even with my friends --- and with the prices being so great, I rarely have to say "no" to a purchase based on the asking price. As anyone out there with teenagers will tell you, this alone is worthy of praise and gratitude!

Third, it is just darn fun to browse around. The over the top shoes and clothes are a hoot to look at or even try on. The old record albums bring back fun memories or maybe just induce some howls of laughter. And the bright colors inspire me to do the same with my dream house in Africa.

And fourth, it provides finances for missions, mostly African and Swaziland ministries. A couple of years ago, I started collecting items to sell at The O.P. and over that time, I've made hundreds of dollars to either help support missionaries financially or provide funds for ministries that primarily take care of orphans. If you ever want to donate to the cause, just let me know.

Today, my teenage girls and I had a successful outing at The O.P. Anna scored a gorgeous, black velvet, full length coat a la Jane Austen along with a great, grey, dress with an asymmetrical hemline. Betsie found a green top with a lovely cut. And me? I just enjoyed spending some fun time with my big girls. With graduation looming in the not-too-distant future for the both of them, I'm cherishing every single one of these days while I can.

So for today, I want to say that I am thankful for The Orange Peel in the Fondren District of Jackson. And if you're in the area, you really need to head on over to one of the funkiest places in Mississippi and spend a little time ... and maybe a little money ... at The Orange Peel Vintage Consignment Boutique.