Tag Archives: Family

Thankful Hearts

I can’t believe it’s already the beginning of November!  My mind is spinning toward Thanksgiving and thoughts of  how to make this holiday season particularly special. This year has been so crazy, that I really want to slow down and take it all in.

Here are some things I have chosen to create a memorable Thanksgiving season for our family this year.

Countdown to Thanksgiving 

To get the kids excited about Thanksgiving and to help them focus on others instead of themselves, I have decided to do a countdown to Thanksgiving.  I had the kids give me a list of things they are thankful for. I took the list and compiled activities to go along with each “thankful”.  Then, I made paper baskets and put some string on them so they can be hung. I made little pumpkins to go inside of each basket. On the pumpkins, I wrote the “thankful” and the activity to go along with it. I put them in order and strung them up in a large doorway.  We will begin on November 7 and have a 15 day countdown to Thanksgiving.

Here is what are “thankfuls” and activities look like.

We are thankful for….

Nov. 7     Freedom to worship God

–Pray together as a family and take turns thanking God  for His blessings.

Nov. 8     Jesus‘ Birth

–Come up with a new Christmas tradition. Make a decoration.

Nov. 9   Our family

–Family Game Night

Nov. 10   The things God has given us

–Donate to those who aren’t as blessed.  (OCC)

Nov. 11 Our church leaders and teachers

–Make a special treat or gift for Sunday school teachers.

Nov. 12   Our mom and dad

–DATE NIGHT!!!

Nov. 13   Our friends

–Make a special treat for friends. Acorns and pilgrim hats

Nov.14 Our clothes

–Donate extra clothing to those in need.

Nov. 15  Our food

–Donate to the church food pantry.

Nov.16 Our school and teachers

–Make a special card or treat for our teachers.

Nov. 17 Our home

–Decorate for the season.

Nov. 18 God’s creation

–Take a walk or drive and admire God’s creation.

Nov. 19 Our grandparents

–Call or send a special note.

Nov. 20 Our extended family

–Call or send a special note.

Nov. 21   Family memories

–Make a Thankful Journal. Family Game Night.

Nov. 22 THANKSGIVING

–Read  “Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving”

Our Thankful Journawill be a simple journal where each member of the family will record what they are thankful for this year. It will be kept and brought out each Thanksgiving to record what we are thankful for that year.  It will become a family tradition and a great keepsake for years to come.

We will also be doing a Thankful Wall.

For the Thankful Wall, we will use post-it notes and every day, each of us will write one thing we are thankful for. We will stick the post-it to the wall. Viola! Thankful Wall.

Make Great-Full Jars for each member of the family

For the Great-Full Jars, we will get a jar or cute decorated box for each member of the family. Grab some cute paper and cut it into slips. Write down things we are grateful for about the recipient. We will write each memory, reason, gift, on individual slips of paper. Fill the jar with the great notes of memories and joys and love, noting why we are so grateful for that person. They can go to the jar anytime and pull out a note of encouragement.

For our Family Devotions, we will intentionally focus our prayer time on praise and thanksgiving.

Another thing we are going to do is throw in some “fun” days.

No Complaining Day: Dare to go all day with no complaining. Slip a rubber band on your wrist and every time you complain, move it to the other wrist. Dare everyone in the whole family to go the whole day without moving their wrist reminder. We will celebrate with a special treat when the whole family can go the whole day with no complaining!

Random Acts of Kindness Day: This is a character trait I have already tried to instill in the kids, but how fun to have a day when we intentionally do random acts of kindness. At devotion time, we will share what we have done!

I am excited to really take time this year to intentionally Thank God for all his blessings to us. Sometimes in the busyness of life, and the trials and struggles  that we face, we forget about all the amazing gifts we have.  I encourage you to spend some time today to look beyond the pile of laundry, the fussing kids, the stack of bills, the long hours at work, or whatever those things are in your life that wear you down, and open your eyes to the many gifts that God has given you.

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December Resolutions

Family: Pursue Peace

☐ Remember I love them and they are mine.
☐ Remember they love me.
☐ Show them my love.
☐ Let it go.
☐ Don’t harbor hurt feelings.
☐ Touch base once a week.
☐ Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. I Thessalonians 5:11

Occasionally we have moments when we don’t want to claim our family. There is something they do that embarrasses us and we would rather not be associated with them. This month my resolution is to focus on the good qualities and attributes of my family, from my grandma all the way to my kids. Occasionally we need to remind ourselves why we love them. For this reason, my first resolution is to remember I love them and they are mine.

The people we love the most are the ones that hurt us most and vice versa. Not they we intentionally hurt each other, but when someone you love disappoints you, it hurts. If a friend or acquaintance disappoints us, it’s much easier to let it go because we don’t have as much invested in that relationship. When family members hurt us, it’s easy to feel unloved regardless of the fact that we KNOW they love us. My second resolution is to remember they love me.

Often we think of how we want others to treat us and have high expectations for others and yet don’t hold ourselves to the same standard. Resolution three is to show my love.

Resolutions four and five go hand in hand. Let it go and don’t harbor hurt feelings. This is not easy. When someone hurts you it’s hard to let it go and it’s even harder to leave it there. We tend to hold on to things. Even if we have apparently forgiven someone for hurting us, it’s easy down the road to pull that back out and dwell on it. This month I want to examine my heart and ensure that I am not harboring past hurts and that I really let them go for good.

I am embarrassed to say that I have gone months at a time without talking to my brothers or having any contact at all. To maintain my innocence I acknowledge that they don’t call me either, so I shouldn’t feel bad. In the end, I still end up feeling guilty. Touching base once a week will allow me to build stronger relationships with my family.

It’s easy to allow little things to hinder a relationship. It’s hard to let go of hurt feelings. This month my resolutions are meant to remind me to encourage and build up my family. Friends come and go, but your family is yours for life.

On to the next stage…

It doesn’t seem like long ago, my parents were sitting me down and talking to me about being cautious to not make hasty decisions. They wanted me to use the things they had taught me, to make wise decisions regarding my life choices. I remember feeling as though they could never understand what I was thinking or feeling. At sixteen years old, those conversations never ended fast enough.

Now, I have a teenager of my own, a wonderful thirteen year old son whom I am proud of. He is kind and caring, and is always thoughtful of others. He’s a friend to the underdog and stands up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. He’s a hard worker and a great athlete. He has grown to be a wonderful young man. And yet with all of these great qualities, he is still a normal teenager who struggles to make the right decisions.

Last night for the first time, I felt what my parents must have felt nearly 15 years ago. As we were talking with him about the choices that he is making, his eyes were glazed over. As soon as I saw it, I quit talking. I knew that nothing I could say at that point would have any effect on him. He didn’t say it, but it was written all over his face. “Are you kidding me? Are we really having this conversation? You have no idea how I feel or what I am thinking. Can we be done yet so I can go to bed?” There’s no way to express how I felt at that moment, knowing that we have arrived at the point where it’s time to let him make his own choices and suffer the consequences. We can guide him, but ultimately he has to make his own decisions. We have sown the seeds and now it’s time to watch them take root.

I struggle when thinking about how he will respond in different situations, feeling as though if he makes a poor choice it reflects directly on me, that I have not done a good job parenting. And yet I think about the poor choices I made as a teenager and don’t think of it as being a parenting issue at all. We like to think that if we do everything right, our children will turn out okay. We may cling to Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” We can be great parents and there is still a chance our children will stray from the path they know is right.

There is no such thing as perfect parenting. We are all going to make mistakes. There are many areas that we question ourselves as parents. Did I make the right decision? Maybe I overreacted. Was I too hard on him? Was I too easy on him? And the list goes on. We only get one chance. We can’t dwell on the mistakes we have made. We need to acknowledge them, learn from them and move on.

No matter what choices our children make, if we give them to God, we can find peace and comfort in Him.

God, I have done my best to raise my children in a way that is pleasing to you. I have not been perfect, I have made many mistakes. God, I give you Justin. He is my son, but ultimately he is Your child. You know the desires of his heart, God. Bless him, raise him up as a man of God who is willing to take the narrow path for You. Give him courage to stand up for You when faced with difficult circumstances. Give him strength to make wise choices that will be pleasing to you, give him a hunger for righteousness and a thirst for salvation through Your Son. God, give him a passion for Your Word and give Hunter and I strength and wisdom as we continue on this parenting journey. Give us peace in times of chaos. Bless our home, God. In Your Name, Amen.

November Resolutions

I am late posting this months resolutions, but it is none the less important in my heart.

Gratitude: Thankfulness and Giving

☐Thank God for everyday.
☐Give to others without feeling prideful.
☐Be content.
☐Teach the children to truly have thankful hearts.
☐Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

Life doesn’t slow down. With all of the activities and responsibilities that we have, sometimes it’s hard to remember everything we have to be thankful for. A heart of gratitude is something we should carry always, but in the every day grind of life, sometimes it gets lost in the shuffle. This month I want to truly focus on having a grateful heart and giving to others.

This is a great song. It’s audio only.
watch?v=3K5rzgVt5iY

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