Tag Archives: thankfulness

Preparing Your Heart and Home for Thanksgiving

Do the holidays sneak up on you?  My daughter said, “Mom! Only six weeks until Christmas!”

Six weeks?  Last time I checked, I had six months and was feeling the hopeful thrill of actually accomplishing  Martha Stewart type holidays.

But, I don’t like to let rush into Christmas and let Thanksgiving go by unnoticed, since it’s a holiday of spirit and remembrance.  It’s a time to relax and be together as a family.  We lived in farmland and hubby worked as a farmhand for many summers,  so fall is also a time to think of harvest and abundance.

In September, the kids and I begin decorating with leaves, moss, pinecones, seed pods and any gift of nature we find on our nature walks.  When we have the energy, we climb into the attic and dig out a few of our favorite Thanksgiving decorations.

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I blogged through using these wonderful vintage postcards Thanksgiving in My Heart and Home. These  are a free printable download from Hub Pages.

 

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One year I had a bug to decorate My Chairs Are Ready For Thanksgiving. I know, way over the top, who decorates their chairs,  but I’ve used them for several years now so the effort was worth it.

 

Thanksgiving crafts 034You either think I’m ridiculous, or you thought of a way to improve them.

 

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On the way to my house for Thanksgiving,  my in-laws experienced a horrible blizzard.  Their train got stuck on the tracks in Spokane, WA, and I had one extra day on my hands.  So, I Just Had to Make One More Thing, this Thankful Garland that’s tacked to my fireplace.  I have left it up and changed the season décor for several years now.

2010 Thanksgiving Buffet

Even though I enjoy decorating for the holiday season, I know what is The True Measure of Thanksgiving.

 

Thanksgiving 090I love decorating with what I have, especially old books.


Give Thanks

Boggle cubes spell out a heart  reminder. Some years I spell out messages with Scrabble tiles.

Because I need the reminder.  I feel grief and sorrow so deeply, I have to remind myself there is always joy somewhere amidst the sufferings in my life.  The joy comes from the fact that there is always something to be thankful for.

Joy isn’t the rah-rah kinda’ false cheerfulness people wrongly expect out of Christians who are sick, lost their jobs, lost a loved one to death, or have been crippled by unfaithfulness of others.  People expect that reaction, until it’s their turn to be tested. Then they understand. We aren’t to be running around yelling, “Yea, I have cancer!  Praise the Lord!”  It is more of a calm delight, trusting  in His presence and His plans for our life.

In James 1:2-3 we’re told, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”

Count it joy.  That seems a tough expectation until you understand  the definitions according to the Strong’s definition of the Greek words.

COUNT -  to go before, to be a leader

JOY – rejoice exceedingly, in salutations, hail!

FALL – descend from higher position to lower, fall prostrate

TRIALS – trials of a man’s fidelity, integrity, virtue, constancy, temptations, as the devil used to keep the Lord Jesus from His divine mission.

Loosely paraphrased with these ideas in mind, “Go into your trials as a leader, hail them with joy and fall prostrate in worship, because these trials prove you have a divine mission and the devil doesn’t want you to succeed.

This is how we can count it joy and “give thanks always for all things,” because this was the same attitude the Lord Jesus had when He went to the cross for our sins.  He was willing to suffer for us, so we always have a reason to wrap joy and thanksgiving around our weak bodies when we’re besieged by life.

We also have a divine mission, gifts and ministries the Lord has given us to accomplish.  Thankfulness keeps your heart on your mission when you are suffering.

Being joyful and thankful is a choice, not a circumstance. A choice I remind myself to take.

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A free Thanksgiving printable from Naomi at Delight Creative Home.

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Another beautiful creation from Naomi.  Check out her blog, she generously provides many free printables.

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Laurie and Emily at the Glo Girl Blog provided this download created with words from the Psalms.

Now you have beautiful reasons and ways to remind yourself to choose joy and thankfulness during the entire year, not just the holiday.

Making your home sing Mondays WHWButton#2

Almost Free Teacher Gifts

I’ve gradually learned thankfulness over the years.  It didn’t come naturally.  For 18 years, my Mom taught me manners, but often I said “thank you”  from compulsion and expectation, not conviction or true appreciation. I knew it was polite, and wanted to be polite, but often I thought that person owed me something, so the thank you was to make me look good.

Afterall, why thank Mom for making dinner?  She’s the mom, isn’t it her job to make dinner?

Then I became a mother.

Why thank someone for a service? They’re getting paid to do it, right?

Then I started working as a busboy.

Over and over in life I realized I failed in thanking others. The biggest conviction came when I studied the Word of God.  Word studies on “give thanks” and “thanksgiving” gave me a deeper desire to improve. The basis of a thankful heart comes from thanking the Lord for our salvation.  Daily we should marvel that the Holy One who knew no sin became sin for us.  How can our hearts not be thankful?

When I learned to notice and appreciate the cost of what I received, financial, effort or time, it increased my thankfulness.

I learned to watch the examples of others as they ministered to others.  One thing I learned was giving little gifts of thanks.  You don’t need to empty the bank account,  pour out from the heart and hands. In other words,  my gifts are simple and inexpensive.

It never occurred to me until I saw others bringing them,  but this year I planned and conquered teachers’ gifts.  You might be thinking I’m pulling a fast one since I homeschool – making my kids give me presents.  They’re for the teachers who instruct my adorable, smart, house-trained kids in a homeschool co-op.

Succulents grow well in our climate and add color to the garden all year ’round.  When the skies are gray for months and months, these babies are always green.  They’re a comfort plant for me, since My mom usually had hen and chicks in her gardens.  This was a $.99 vase from Value Village.

These little terra cotta beauties were in my craft room because I found  a box of them at a thrift store for $1.99.  Who can pass up a bargain like that?  I bought the saucers for our Resurrection craft this spring. I like to plant them into little odd corners between rocks where I don’t want to weed.

This green and yellow plant grows prolifically and brings great color into the fall.  I can’t remember what it’s called and the little plastic identification tag  disintegrated years ago.  Another $.99 pot  I knew would perfectly compliment the plant with no name.

It was supposed to be a quick 5-minute job making the Thank You Flowers. Afterall, I still had flower scraps leftover from the Graduation decor I crafted last May with my Cuttlebug.  Some were  used some to make the Multiplaction Flower Power Manipulative, but there were still shapes longing to be crafted into usefulness.

I couldn’t find my glue gun.  I couldn’t find my 1-inch circle punch. Afater a half hour of hufingf and puffing, my way of expressing frustration, I found everything and glued them together.

DONE!  As long as they survive the car ride in commuter traffic, we should be good to go!

While junkin’, my mom’s term for hitting the garage sales and thrift stores, I also look for mugs with Bible verses  and vintage baby planters.  I also love unusual items, like old tea kettles and coffee pots.

My gifts of thanksgiving were almost free, but they express my heart.  I’m always thankful when someone invests in my children. I want the teachers to know that. A thankful heart overflows in word or deed.

How do you show your appreciation to others in word or deed?

I’d love to hear your ideas, I’m still learning about being thankful!