Tag Archives: thanksgiving

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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Giving and Thanksgiving

This month I worked on having a grateful heart. I was blessed, during our family’s devotion time, by the children’s hearts of thanksgiving. This month has gone well and I have felt as though my resolutions were completed.

UNTIL…Yesterday we unexpectedly received a check in the mail. I was excited, thinking of how I could use it towards Christmas. It was not an extremely large amount, but would definitely help out. This morning I began thinking about the little things, or not so little, that God has done for our family this month. Providing when we needed it, allowing “issues” to fix themselves, and then giving us this money for Christmas. I was thinking about how awesome He is and how grateful I am for His provisions and His hand in our lives. The things that we tend to take for granted are truly God’s handiwork.

Just as quick as these thoughts arrived, new ones entered my mind. But these were more than just thoughts, this was a strong conviction that flooded my heart. “Give it away.” Are you kidding me!?! We need this! I need to think of my family! I don’t want to give it away! I struggled with God. I tried negotiating with Him, but the conviction continued to get stronger. So, what do I do? I try to reason with myself. “Give and you will receive.” If I give this away, God will give back to me. As if I am entitled to something in return.

One of my resolutions this month was to give without feeling prideful. This was not the problem today. Instead, I was fighting the act of giving altogether. I don’t want to give it away. I want it for myself, for my family. I called Hunter to get his insight and he said “Sounds like we need to give it away.” I was nearly in tears when I called him. I was struggling with it THAT much. Why was I feeling so selfish? Why would God ask me to do this? I know there are people who give to others, having faith that God will provide for them, but it’s not feeling like faith to me. I haven’t agreed to this with a willing heart. How can God possibly bless that?!?

After talking with Hunter and allowing the shock of this mission to wear off, I am feeling at peace with it. I’m sure it will greatly bless our hearts to give to others that are truly in need this Christmas season. That’s what it’s all about.

God, Thank you for softening my heart today and for opening my eyes to the desires of Your heart. I long to have a heart like Yours. Thank you for all You have done and continue to do for our family! Thank you for the gift of Your Son, it makes the gift we are giving seem insignificant. You gave Your Son for me and yet I struggle with this small task. Forgive me for my selfishness, and open my heart and my eyes to the peace and love found in You! You are the giver of life and everything we know and hold dear! Thank you, God, for the grace and mercy that You pour out on us! Your love is unfathomable.