Friday, November 15, 2013

Practicing Thankfulness...

Practicing thankfulness is such a good thing to learn to do. And it's something we're trying to instill in our kiddos. When I look around me and stop and truly take in all that God has blessed me with, it's inspiring, overwhelming, challenging and convicting. Thinking of people who worry about where their next meal is going to come from or where they'll lay their head at night; not being able to sleep because they don't feel safe or realizing that they have no one, NOT.ONE.PERSON who loves them, are things I CANNOT identify with, thanks be to God! And it reminds me of just how thankful and grateful I am and how much more thankful I need to be, on a continuous basis. God has blessed me with loving parents, a husband who honors and cares for me, children who are healthy and growing, a home to live in and decorate, a car to drive, food in not just one refrigerator but TWO and friends who love and care for me! The list goes on and on. As I've sat and pondered different things that I'm thankful for, and put pen to paper, it has led me to be more content as I've thought of what I DO have and not what I DON'T.

In the past we've done a "thankful turkey" where we wrote what we were thankful for on the feathers, but this year we're implementing a "thankful tree". We've done our "thankful leaves" around the dinner table at night because that's a time when our entire family is usually all together and has time to talk and share (amidst the chaos of mealtime with young ones of course!)

My Mom and I made this "tree" by going out into the woods and cutting down 2 good size branches, then she took a flower bucket from Sam's and used plaster of paris which is like concrete but fairly light, and voila, its made for quite a sturdy tree! Then we just wrapped the bucket in burlap and tied it with twine. I took my colored paper up to our church and used their cutter to make all my leaves. So really it wasn't that hard to make, just took a little time.

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Some of you have heard of Resurrection Eggs, but have you heard of Thanksliving Treasures? Something else we've used the last couple of years in preparing for the holiday is Family Life's Thanksliving Treasures. I was really disappointed to find out that these have been discontinued and are no longer in print but I wanted to go ahead and share it with y'all anyway. It's been such a great tool to teach our kids the history of Thanksgiving and why we celebrate it. It's a box that looks like a treasure chest, so that in itself makes it fun for my boys! There's pictures and objects for them to hold and a devotional guide to talk through. There is very interesting historical facts as well as Bible verses and great biblical application questions that are broken up according to kids ages. They also provided creative ideas to celebrate Thanksgiving which I really appreciated. I've enjoyed using this tool and seeing (and hearing) my kids be able to articulate more specifics on what Thanksgiving is.
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And as I think of things and people I'm thankful for, these little people come to mind...oh how I love them!
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They test me, they try me, I get exhausted and tired, but when push comes to shove, I wouldn't change a thing. I'm thankful for the chaos, I'm thankful for the noise, I'm grateful for the constant questions and the never ending "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy", because with all of that comes the fact that they're alive, thriving, engaging with people and learning how to be in relationship with others. I am truly thankful for my "quivering" quiver, as I so lovingly like to call it. I have been blessed beyond measure and I am so grateful!

So, thankfulness, it takes practice, it takes stopping and realizing what you do have and not focusing on what you don't. It creates contentment as you stop and realize all the many blessings that God's given you. I LOVE the holiday season, and Thanksgiving is a great way to roll into Christmas, as we thank God for His provision and sacrifice in the gift of His Son as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Savior!

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