A Measure of Thankfulness

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It is easy give thanks.  They are words we say, lists our lips speak around the Thanksgiving Table.

Family. Home. Health. Friendships. Faith. Travel. Opportunities. Blessings.

Giving Thanks With A Grateful Heart, however, seems just a touch more difficult.

To GIVE THANKS is to speak.

To BE GRATEFUL is an act of the heart.

It means that we mean our thanks, deeply, truly.  With all of our soul. Maybe that is easy?  The list above is beautiful, sweet, full, joyous.  We can deeply feel the thanks.  But God asks us to give thanks in all circumstances:

Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18

So what about the list that comes from that?

Sickness. Death. Pain. Broken Dreams. Loss. Sadness. Loneliness. Unwanted Change.

We are asked to give thanks when things go well, and not so well in life.

We can, possibly, maybe on our best day, do that.

But with a Grateful Heart also?

I ran into an old friend at Costco the other day. We used to teach together and hadn’t seen each other for about fifteen years. She reminded me as we caught up that her son, a junior in high school at the time, died in a car crash shortly after I left the school where we taught.  As she recalled that night she said, “The moment I found out my son had died, I cried out to God, ‘God, thank you for all the years that you gave him to me.”

These were not just words. My friend had a grateful heart.  She meant her thanks.  She deeply meant it because all those moments of his life now were infinitely more precious to her since he was gone.

I think Giving Thanks With A Grateful Heart means we MEAN our thanks….from the bottom of our soul.  In life’s highest highs and lowest lows.  We are deeply, deeply thankful for it all because we believe that God is Good In All Circumstances, and that he will bring healing and blessings out of our trials.

Pain has nuggets of peace within….Gratefulness is the pan that sifts peace to the top.

May we Give Thanks With A Grateful heart today! We have so so much to be thankful for.

xoxo,

Amy

 

 

10 Things

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I heard recently someone say that the best way to get through difficult times is to recite ten things you are thankful for every day.  It’s all about perspective, right?  If we have tunnel vision regarding our circumstances, and we are only focused on what is going wrong, we lose perspective, and things become dark and heavy in our hearts.

However, if we are somehow (and this is not always easy) able to find a few things each and every day to be thankful for we find ourselves feeling lighter, and our circumstances, while still grim, don’t quite overpower us like they did the day before.

A few years ago I heard another quote that has literally changed my life.  The quote read, “Life can be hard and good at the same time.”  At the time I heard those words, I had been working under a belief system that when things were hard, THEY WERE JUST HARD.  Somehow the difficulty I was experiencing in my life stepped on to the stage and everything else had to sit down and wait for the difficulty to remove itself, and then the good things could stand up and be forefront in my life again. Silly!!  Where did I get that?  So when I heard that BOTH could take front and center it changed me.  I began to focus on being thankful for the good things that were always going on (truly, I can always find at least 10 things to be thankful for, and rarely if ever can I find 10 things to be struggling with).

The pilgrims, who left their lives of familiarity in England, and crossed treacherous seas in unfathomable travel conditions to make a new life for themselves in a new land filled with hope and promise, experienced difficulties beyond compare once they reached what we now know as America.  Death of children, spouses, hunger, cold, attacked by those defending their land, were just a few of the trials they overcame.  Yet, they persevered, and the very circumstances they were in made them MORE grateful for what they had.  Hence, the Thanksgiving Feast they celebrated.  They gave thanks for what they had–hope, shelter, native friends who helped them learn to successfully grow food, freedom to practice their faith, and for God, who had brought them this far.  They knew life could be both hard and good at the same time.

This Thanksgiving week, try this experiment.  Starting today, right now in fact, list 10 things you are thankful for.  I’m sure that won’t even scratch the surface.

Then tomorrow, write 10 more, and the next day 10 more.  They can be the same things, or new.  Try to do this through the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  Let’s not just say were thankful, let’s know it in our hearts.

“You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God and I will exalt you.  Give thanks to the Lord, for he endures forever.” Psalm 118:28-29

 

 

Thanksgiving Prayer

Posted by Jen

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thanksgiving Printables

Amy

Here are some fun activities for your kids to do before or on Thanksgiving day as they wait for the meal to be served!

http://familyfun.go.com/thanksgiving/thanksgiving-printables/thanksgiving-printable-activity-pages/thanksgiving-day-bingo-703911/

http://familyfun.go.com/thanksgiving/thanksgiving-printables/thanksgiving-printable-activity-pages/a-thanksgiving-fill-them-in-tale-704245/

http://familyfun.go.com/thanksgiving/thanksgiving-printables/thanksgiving-printable-activity-pages/awesome-activity-page-for-thanksgiving-704242/

 

And here’s a great activity that helps kids express what they are thankful for:

http://familyfun.go.com/thanksgiving/thanksgiving-games/what-are-you-thankful-four-792378/

All of these came from the Family Fun website…if you like them, head there for some more ideas.

 

Are You Kidding ME?

Written By Jen

DMV, 2 hours and 15 minutes and 3 kids.  Need I say more?  My 3, 6 and 7-year-old and I were at the DMV getting myself a new drivers license.  (Later, I found out a 2nd grader found my ‘lost license’ and kept it in her backpack for 3 months, as a ‘play-date reminder card’.  Yes, to help her remember she wanted to have a play-date with my daughter someday.)  Back to the DMV.  It was crowded, there was little movement in the line, it was overly hot and the chairs were plastic and awkwardly upright.  We were there from 10:30 to 12:45, so my kids were also getting hungry.  When the complaining started, which surprisingly, wasn’t until the last hour, I started having all of us say things we were thankful for in this moment. It started like this, “I am thankful we can stand in line.”  There was an elderly lady in front of us and it was very difficult for her.  “I am thankful we have a car to drive.”  “I am thankful we have the finances to pay for a new license.”  “I am thankful we had Starbucks before we went in there”.  We laughed a little, “I am thankful my dad doesn’t have a beard like that guy’s.” (Ok that’s not nice, but it added a little humor).  Soon the hour passed and their attitudes lifted.  They were thankful, and so was I.   I am thankful for the gift of thankfulness.  Thankfulness is a skill, it is learned and taught.  It’s a perspective.  It’s free and it’s good. (And, you can really get a lot of practice at it while waiting at the DMV.  Ha-ha.  I am thankful that’s over.)

Colossians 3:15-17 says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

For the rest of the month of November Amy and I are going to add a few things we are thankful for at the end of our post.  The message says, “Cultivate Thankfulness”.  I love that!  Would you like to cultivate thankfulness with us?  What are you thankful for this moment?  We would love for you to add-on to our lists at the end of our posts this month.

By the way, Rachael, I drew your name for the let it snow comments, so you have a fun prize heading your way!

Here are free printable note cards you can use at home to cultivate thankfulness!  Do you think your family could have some fun with these?

Today I am thankful for:

The nice guy who helped me carry all my kids rented ski gear to the car and the extra 15% off he gave me.
A clean house.
My husband’s smile as he was trying on his new ski pants.
My youngest sons laugh as he is running around in his ski helmet.
When my older kids go with the flow.
The INCREDIBLE people we met last night at my in-laws.
Time with Scott’s family.
My mom!
That’s a long list to start with!  I guess I am feeling thankful!

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