Click below to listen to Episode 62 – Being Thankful In 2019

Being Thankful In 2019

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

As Thanksgiving approaches, Bob and Mary Jo share their personal stories about what they are grateful and thankful for and the importance of always having a thankful attitude. No matter what stage of life you are in or what circumstances have affected you, having a thankful spirit can make a huge difference when it comes to a positive mindset, even if it’s just being thankful for tiny things.

As Christians, we have so much to be thankful for as well because we know this life on earth of just a very tiny percentage of the eternal life we have through Christ.

HOSTED BY: Bob Barber, CWS®, CKA® and Mary Jo Lyons, CFP®, CKA®

Mentioned In This Episode

Christian Financial Advisors
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Bob Barber, CWS®, CKA®
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Mary Jo Lyons, CFP®, CKA®

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Bob: Welcome to Christian Financial Perspectives, a weekly podcast where we talk about ways to integrate your faith with your finances. This is Bob Barber.

Mary Jo: And I’m Mary Jo Lyons.

Bob: Are you ready to learn how to apply biblical wisdom to everyday financial decisions?

Mary Jo: Join us as we look at integrating your faith with your finances. If it’s your first time listening, welcome to our podcast, and if you’re a returning listener, welcome back.


Bob: So here we are. Welcome to our Thanksgiving podcast. I can’t believe it’s that time of the year already, but it’s time to show your thankfulness and to be thankful for all the things that God has given you. And today, before we start out the podcast, you know we always love to start with a scripture. So we picked Psalms 106:1-5 to start off today’s podcast. Here’s what it says. “Praise the Lord, give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his faithfulness and love endures forever who can list the glorious miracles of the Lord. Who can ever praise him enough. There is joy for those who deal justly with others and always do what is right. Remember me, Lord, when you show favor to your people. Come near and rescue me. Let me share in the prosperity of your chosen ones. Let me rejoice in the joy of your people. Let me praise you with those who are your heritage.”

Mary Jo: Man, Bob, 2019 – what a year. It’s been quite a roller coaster. There’s been a lot of turmoil, but yet there’s been so much to be thankful for. As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I’m reminded of just how important it is to be grateful and to be thankful because we have so many blessings.

Bob: You know, we really do, Mary Jo. We have so many. We don’t realize it, living in America, how many we have so many times.

Mary Jo: We definitely take them for granted, that’s for sure. I tend to be a glass half full type of person. What do you think?

Bob: I think you are, and I try to be that way, too, because I’ll tell you, it’s not any fun to look at when it’s half empty.

Mary Jo: No, I feel like I’ve trained myself to expect the best, the best possible outcome in just about every situation. Just having that mindset, it’s a great way to put positive karma out there in the universe, except for last night.

Bob: I know, I know. I love you, Mary Jo. Go for it.

Mary Jo: We’re not supposed to time ourselves, but we’re recording this the night after the Astros’ lost the World Series. So, I tried to put positive karma out there.

Bob: That was a little depressing, but life goes on. You gotta realize though, if you were from the Nationals team, it was a really great day.

Mary Jo: Well, this is true. Yeah. And there’s always next year.

Bob: You Got it.

Mary Jo: So there you go. By thinking positive, more good happens than bad, at least it seems that way to me. I always try to focus everything with a positive attitude and it makes life better all the way around.

Bob: It sure does.

Mary Jo: I have a little sign on a shelf in my bathroom that I look at each morning when I’m getting ready and it’s “start each day with a grateful heart”. It’s a great way to start the day and it’s just a gentle reminder. Do you have anything like that that kind of helps spur you on when you need it?

Bob: No, I don’t, but I agree with you definitely. I remember as a kid growing up though, I had this little sign and my grandmother loved Oral Roberts. Do you remember Oral Robert from a long time ago? She just loved him. There was a little sign that said “expect a miracle” and there was another one said “something good is going to happen to you today”.

Mary Jo: Oh, there you go.

Bob: I remember I’d go to her house and she’d watch it on TV and it’s sing “something good is going to happen to you”. You know, I’m not going to sing. I don’t have a good voice for that, but happened to you this very day. My dad was that way too. He was a very strong positive thinker and it really helped him. It helped our family cause it just doesn’t do any good to look at it the other way.

Mary Jo: Absolutely. And that kinda just reminds me, you started off with a scripture, but there’s another one that I’ve always liked and it’s from the first book of Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Always be joyful, never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Jesus Christ.” And on that note, I just thought it would be fun to take time on this week’s episode of Christian Financial Perspectives to actually share our gratitude list with our listeners. You think that’s going to make for a good show, Bob?

Bob: Absolutely. I think it’s always good to be thankful. You know, and I liked that from first Thessalonians 5:18 it says, “Be thankful in all circumstances,” because, you know, some of our listeners may not be going through the best circumstances right now, but try to be thankful and realize it’s all in eternity. You know, if you’ve got Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, you really have nothing to fear and I know that’s easier said than done, but it’s always good to be thankful no matter what circumstances you’re in, and there’s something that you can be thankful for, if not the very fact that you’re just alive and still able to take a breath.

Mary Jo: That’s right.

Bob: As Christians, we do have so much to be thankful for as well because we know that life on this earth, it’s a very small, tiny percentage of the eternal life that we’re going to have through Christ.

Mary Jo: Well, and there’s always eternity to be thankful for, assuming we’re all right with the Lord and we’ve given our life and our heart to him and lived accordingly. That is always something amazing to be grateful for and thankful for and looking forward to.

Bob: Well, I’ll tell you what. I’m thankful for that grace, cause I need a lot of it.

Mary Jo: Yeah, absolutely. I need a lot of it.

Bob: I remember our pastor in our church one time, he took a tape measure and he went from the very front all the way to the back of the sanctuary. We have a pretty big church. It’s one of those mega churches and I think it’s probably a 100 to 120 feet between the front and the back. And he came and he said, “You realize in eternity, your life is only like a 16th of an inch on this entire tape measure.” So that made a difference. I listed seven things that I’m thankful for. One of the things is, especially this year, my wife Rachael, as many of you’ve heard me talk about on the podcast, last year, she had cancer. Actually, two years ago is when we found the cancer. She went for chemo and radiation and then last year, in 2018, the cancer came back. She had to have a radical 8 hour surgery in July of 2018 to remove it.

Mary Jo: I can’t believe it’s been that long.

Bob: I know. It has been that long. So you know what we’re thankful for. We’re thankful that this year she’s had no recurrence of her cancer. You know, we’ve had to go through every six months. So we’ve had two checkups this year. We just had one a few weeks ago at MD Anderson, came back, and everything was clear. That’s so much to be thankful for. And we praise God for every day because you know, you never know when that cancer could come back. None of us know. So we have to praise God for every day that he’s given us. We’re also thankful that we’ve had our first grand baby. He was born last year and this is his first full year he’s going to have. And we’ve watched him grow up and we’re thankful that we get to see him almost daily. It’s like the old saying that you’ve heard every grandparent say, if I knew it was this much fun, I’d have had the grandchildren first. You know, and I know why they say that, you know, because when they’re good, you can play with them and love on them, but when they start to be cranky or get a dirty diaper, you can just hand them back. Yeah.

Mary Jo: Ah, that’s how it works, I think. Uh, unless it’s the weekend that they’ve left them with you and they’ve bailed the coop.

Bob: We haven’t had one of those yet.

Mary Jo: Oh, okay. They’re coming.

Bob: And another thing I’m thankful is my adult children, they’re doing well. And that’s the great thing. If you have children and they’re doing well, praise the Lord for it. But you know, I know some of you that are listening, you may not have this same thing going on, but still try to be thankful that they’re still here. I’m really thankful for the staff I have here at work that has become so much like family to me. Cause you know, some have been here a long time. I mean, Nathaniel’s been with me for nearly 17 years and Kirsten’s been with me for 14 or 15 years. They’ve watched me grow old, and it’s just so humbling that I get to come to work every day and have such a staff that all love the Lord. And I’m thankful for that because a lot of people don’t have that. So that’s something to be thankful for. And along with that, I’m thankful for so many clients because they’re like family, too. Over the years we’ve just walked through life together. About 90% of our clientele are strong believers in the Lord, so they’re brothers and sisters in Christ. I get to stay at their homes when I go out of town, you know? And it’s just so much fun. So, you can tell the glass is half full and that’s just awesome.

Mary Jo: I feel the same way. I just wanted to stop you here for just a second, Bob. I’m also very grateful for the staff at the office at CIS and you know, they do so much to support us each day, every day and the way they take such great care of your clients and my clients or our clients. Each and every one of them, they are a gem. So you’ve done a great job of hiring and I’m grateful for them, as well, and absolutely best possible clients. It’s so awesome to do life with them.

Bob: Oh, thank you. Thank you. That means a lot. Okay, so I’ve got a couple more here I want to share. I’m also thankful for you, Mary Jo, you put up with a crazy guy in me. Especially, you know, I could not pull off all of these podcasts like, I mean I can’t believe it. I don’t know which one this was is when we come out. I think it’s going to be podcast number 60 or 61, and I think I’d be maybe podcast number 15 without you.

Mary Jo: Well, thank you.

Bob: Oh gosh, y’all don’t know me. I mean, but a lot of you do. But you know I’m very high energy and I’m all over the place.

Mary Jo: Is that what you call it?

Bob: I don’t know, what do you call it, haha? But you help keep me on task on the podcast, too, cause I’ll start the go off on rabbit trails everywhere, you know? So thank you for that. And most importantly, I am thankful for my relationship with Jesus Christ and that joy that he gives me from having that relationship with him. I just, I cannot imagine living as a non Christian without so many brothers in Christ all around me in my church, my men’s group. Everywhere I go, I meet brothers and sisters in Christ. This morning, I had a guy come out and measuring our new home to put gutters on it. He’s a brother in the Lord and we just talked about Jesus for, you know, about an hour. And we talked about the gutters for about 15 minutes, so that was fun. So Mary Jo, those are a lot of things, and I want to hear your list cause I know you have quite a list here, too. And hopefully as people listen to this, they start thinking, “Yeah, you know, I’m thankful for some of those same things.”

Mary Jo: I’m sure we are. And I think one of the things that’s just so important is to actually pause and take time to reflect on it. I think in our hearts we’re all thankful, but we really need to focus on that more. Bob, there’s so much that I’m thankful for. I’ve got a few things that I’d like to highlight, some interesting things that are going on in my life. But first, like you, I want to give praise and thanks to my heavenly father who’s given us so much, given me so much. I’m grateful for his favor, his guidance, and his word that serves as a map on how to live our best life. And without my faith I’d have nothing, so I’m grateful for that first and foremost.

Bob: Amen. Amen.

Mary Jo: After reviewing my list, I realized some of what’s on there, it couldn’t happen or may have had a very different outcome if I had not learned a very important lesson first. So that lesson is what I am most truly thankful for.

Bob: Well, I want to hear what that lesson was.

Mary Jo: Okay. So, we encounter so many events that are teaching moments when it comes to integrating our faith and our finances. And for me, one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is the importance of establishing a substantial emergency fund. And I know I said important in there a couple of times because I’m just so passionate about it. As I get through my list, you’ll understand why. I’m thankful that you and I, as host of this weekly podcast, Christian Financial Perspectives, have the opportunity to help others and share what we’ve learned in both our professional capacity as financial advisors as well as in our personal lives, walking the same walk as everyone else. I’m very grateful for that.

Bob: We do. We walk beside them. People don’t know that, but our podcast is made by walking through life with people. So that’s why it comes out on the program

Mary Jo: Across the globe, across the country, across the great state of Texas, and you know, in our local communities, there’s so much going on. This week, we’ve been impacted by mother nature once again. In that regard, I’m very thankful that I live in the home of the brave and the land of the free. So the first thing I want to share is how thankful I am to our first responders across this country. As I’m working on our outline and we’re getting ready today for the show and the podcast, reading more about those fires in California and how they’re burning out of control once again. And I just pray that everyone in their paths stay safe and everyone, including the first responders, they’re quickly out of harm’s way. But I am just so grateful that there are people willing to risk their lives every day for the safety of others.

Bob: You know, when I see a policeman or fireman, I always like to go up to them and say thank you for your service. They never say, well, who are you? They always say thank you.

Mary Jo: Those that have the inner courage to run toward danger and not flee at the expense of others. So, to our men and women in uniform that are listening, whether it’s a military uniform, a fireman’s uniform, police uniform, emergency technicians uniform, and EMT or what have you, I salute you and just want to say thank you for your service to our country and our communities. On that same note, I’m also very grateful to our many freedoms we take for granted and those that the men and women in uniform fight for every day. As a woman, I’m grateful that I live in a country where I always have a choice. Not every woman does. So ladies, let’s be thankful for that. As I approached my list, a lot has happened this year, most of which I don’t know that I’ve shared with our listeners, but I thought today’s episode would be a good day to do that. And you touched on it with Rachael and your situation. So, I think what I’m most grateful for are the people at MD Anderson and how much they do for the patients that they serve, as well as the families that they serve.

Bob: I can relate to this as you know, because Rachael was an MD Anderson patient.

Mary Jo: Absolutely. So it impacts a lot of us, unfortunately. I lost my younger brother, Ken, at the age of 59 to diffuse gastric cancer earlier this year, and my older brother, Mike, has stage IV liver cancer and lung cancer. Again, he’s a very young age of 64. Needless to say, it’s been a very tough year for my family and I mentioned their ages because I know a lot of our clients as well as our listeners, they fall into this age range. This is one of the main reasons why I talked about having such a substantial emergency fund. You never know when this is going to hit you, but it comes with deep price tag.

Bob: Yeah, it does.

Mary Jo: We’re so fortunate to have savings to be able to help, but it also gives us choices.

Bob: Well, I want to say Mary Jo, thank you for sharing that. This is what a podcast is so deep about and good about is we can share our heart, and people need to know what you’re going through so that they can lift you up and your family.

Mary Jo: Well, thank you Bob, and it’s not with a heavy heart that I wanted to bring this out. It’s actually with a very joyful heart because they do so much good. There are wonderful cancer centers all over the country, but there’s one that is extremely good that’s right in our own backyard in Houston, and they’ve done such a fabulous job of making patients comfortable, as well as informed as possible. My brother, Ken, that I spoke about, he was actually on staff at MD Anderson. He had a PhD in cancer research. Knowing everything he did, doing all the good work he did to fight and research cancer, it didn’t stop him from getting cancer. So I’m going to give a little background, so I just ask our listeners to be patient with me as I kind of go through this, but I think it’s a real, real important message. My family has learned a lot about how some cancers have a genetic component and can run in families and that’s what we have learned a whole lot more than we ever wanted to know this year. My grandfather was a carrier for what’s known as a CDH1 Mutation. We all have a CDH1 gene, Bob, but some of us are carriers of a mutation, and there are other mutations that cause other types of cancer, but this is just the one that my family is dealing with right now. So my grandfather was the carrier who passed it to my mother who passed it to my brothers. It definitely runs in families. Thankfully, my sister and I have tested negative to the mutation, but my brothers were not so lucky. They both had the mutation and, as such, their kids have a 50/50 chance of getting it. Now, we’re working with the younger generation. So my siblings, I don’t have any children, but you know my nieces and my nephews and their children in determining whether they decide they want to get tested or not. My mom was the youngest of 11, so there are a lot in that generation to be considered, and this has already impacted several of my second cousins who were only in their forties

Bob: You know, as I listened to this Mary Jo, really it tells me the importance of getting screenings and finding out what your family history is. Now, you can do that with all the DNA testing and everything so that you beat this thing by getting to know about it in advance versus after.

Mary Jo: That brings me to my next point, but you’re absolutely right, Bob. You know, I’ve mentioned how much we’ve learned this year and this is why I just wanted to start my list with being thankful for my personal relationship with my savior, as well as the lesson of maintaining a substantial emergency fund. We never know when something like this will impact us or our loved ones. Needless us to say, the medical bills for my brothers have been piling up. It has such a huge impact on the family, especially the ones left behind. That’s another reason why I’m so passionate about planning. This brings me to the next item on my list. In my mind, as a Certified Financial Planner, all roads lead to planning. I know Bob laughs at me a lot, but you got to live for today, but plan for tomorrow. And I’m also thankful that in 2019, we’re able to take advantage of things like genetic testing that can help us make more informed decisions about our healthcare. This science, it’s amazing. And I know that in our listeners’ minds, some of them may say, “Yeah, but.” Well, it definitely has its good and bad aspects. So do we always want to know? There is a cost of knowing, but there’s also a cost and not knowing.

Bob: There is that. And you know, Rachael’s mom had the same, close to the same, kind of cancer Rachael had. And if we had just detect the this three years ago, there’s so much of this we wouldn’t have had to go through and we didn’t know. So if anybody’s listening to our program today, Mary Jo.

Mary Jo: Get tested.

Bob: Exactly, exactly.

Mary Jo: Know what your options are, and that is the benefit. The earlier it can be found, the more options you have and the more chance of curing it. That’s our message. And I’m grateful for the good folks that have helped. So we’ve got a few more rough months and hopefully more time, but only God knows. I’m also thankful, on another note, I wanted this to be such an upbeat program, but you know, I think there’s so much potential out there now. I’m also thankful for those fighting for brain health for life, and I know this resonates with so many of our listeners out there, those at the Alzheimer’s association and other similar groups, including a gentleman named Ken Dychtwald. He owns a company called Age Wave. As I’ve shared on earlier podcast episodes, I lost my mom in 2017 after 12 years fighting Alzheimer’s battle, and it’s a horrible disease. I also continue to volunteer in order to share what I’ve learned with others to help them navigate this road. I’m thankful for all the people that are continuing to fight this fight and look for a cure, and I just wanted to share a couple of recent statistics that I’ve come across. Did you know Bob, we are about to have 1 billion people in the United States impacted by this awful disease?

Bob: No, I didn’t realize it was that high. Oh wow.

Mary Jo: Yes.

Bob: I was just thinking, cause you were just telling me about your mom, and just last night in my men’s group at my church, his mom’s going through this right now and it’s just so sad to see what is happening.

Mary Jo: Yeah, it’s terrible and there’s so much that we focus on, but this is huge, and it’s being ignored at the highest levels. Here’s another statistic that’s quite interesting – somewhere between one and two or one in three, depending on which study you look at, at those age 85 or older will be impacted by some form of dementia. So that’s pretty much about half.

Bob: Yeah, that is a lot.

Mary Jo: It’s a good cause, and I just urge our politicians to really wake up and start doing something about this. Last but not least, I’m very thankful for Mike, my husband of 37 years. And if you’ve been listening to our podcast, you know he’s a good sport. He takes the brunt of a lot of our jokes here on the show, but he’s been putting up with me for a long time, my snarky sense of humor, and he’s been making it easy for me to continue to do the work that I love to do. He’s doing life with me, and I’m grateful for that. So, thank you, sweetie.

Bob: So I love this next thing that you’re going to share. You take the word “THANKS” and you have something behind each letter there.

Mary Jo: Exactly. So we’ve been talking about our thankful and our gratitude list for the year. One of the things it’s kind of reminded me to actually execute on something that I’ve been meaning to do for a while. You and I’ve talked about it in the past, and it’s creating a gratitude jar. It’s been popular for a while now, but there are 6 easy steps you can follow. As you mentioned, you take the word THANKS. It starts with a T; think about what you’re grateful for. H; have an open mind. A; allow yourself to feel gratitude. N; note your gratitude. Write it down. K; keep it in a jar or other special place. It certainly doesn’t have to be a jar. And then S; share it with someone else. We talked about this in my Bible study group, and my approach was to create a jar, leave it in a prominent place on the shelf in the dining room, and with a marker and a stack of sticky notes right there. So each time my husband and I, we have something that we’re thankful for, we’re gonna write it down and put it in the jar. And then on December 31st of each year, sit down and review the notes. This way you’re ending the year with a grateful heart for the many blessings we have in our lives. And you know, if there’s some particular idea that you really like, you can put it back in the jar and keep it in there. I think that’s kind of awesome. So it’s a popular idea for several years now. I’ve heard others talk about it, there’s books about it, but I haven’t executed, but I’m on it now. There’s also some kits you can buy, which I thought were pretty interesting. So some customized versions available. And I just thought these would make great wedding gifts and great for young adults in your life – college kids, you know, really help get them started on a gratitude mindset.

Bob: That is a great idea. You remember a few weeks ago we went to that conference in Austin and we had that great speaker that he spoke about doing that same thing? They took a fish bowl and they put some cards beside it and did this. And every day you write down three new things that you’re thankful for. So three new things. That’s the big key is new things.

Mary Jo: It may take you a minute, but there’s always something, even if you’re just thankful for the breath you breathe.

Bob: Oh exactly. And you put that on a small piece of paper and you put it in a fish bowl, and he challenged everyone that day to do that for a 60 to 90 day period. And he says it’ll totally change your perspective on life. So I thought this would be something all of us could do starting on Thanksgiving Day all the way through January. Just look at doing that for a solid 60 to 90 days. Go buy yourself a little fish jar from Walmart or wherever and doesn’t have to be much and just get you some 3 x 5 cards and put them beside it. Do this in your home, do this at your workplace, and write those three new things that you’re thankful for every day and watch it change you. It’ll change your perspective of life.

Mary Jo: Oh, just how wonderful. On that note with this message today in our podcast, Bob and I, we just want to wish our listeners out there, that we are so thankful for, a blessed Thanksgiving and to enjoy the time with family and friends. You know, friends are the family that you choose. So, don’t ever underestimate being with those that you love. And in that, I’d like to end on another scripture note, and this is from Psalm 107, “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His faithful love endures forever. Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out. Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies.

Mary Jo: You’ve been listening to Christian Financial Perspectives. Join us next week as we explore more about how to apply biblical wisdom to your financial situations.

Bob: To make sure you don’t miss any of our podcasts, you can subscribe to Christian Financial Perspectives on iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher. To learn more about integrating your faith with your finances, visit out website at or call 830-609-6986.

Mary Jo: That’s all for now until next week.


Comments from today’s show are for informational purposes only and not to be considered investment advice or recommendations to buy or sell any company that may have been mentioned or discussed. The opinions expressed are solely those of the hosts, Bob Barber and Mary Jo Lyons. Bob and Mary Jo do not provide tax advice and encourage you to seek guidance from a tax professional. Investment advisory services offered through Christian Investment Advisors Inc. DBA Christian Financial Advisors, a registered investment advisor.