Category Archives: Thankfulness

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Pay It Forward

“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard.” Galatians 5:22 MSG

By: Jennifer Mullen

One afternoon when I was at Wal-Mart in the check out line, there was man in front of me who had just finished and awkwardly stood at the end of the lane as if waiting for someone.  The cashier started my ticket.  An elderly lady came around the corner holding a loaf of bread.  The man said to her, “You’re too late, Mom.”  I said, “I will get it for you. No big deal.”   The man, his mom, and the check out clerk were shocked.  The lady got out her wallet to pay me.  I said, “Please don’t do that.  Just pay it forward.  Do something nice for someone else.”  To which the son said, “We don’t do anything nice for anyone.” The lady gave me a dollar and a quarter and they left in a hurry.

That event made me so sad.  The man not only robbed me of the joy of giving, but the kindness ended in that moment.

Kindness is a fruit of the spirit.  As Beth Moore* said, “Every time you bear fruit, you are producing the seed for the next fruit.”  Fruit is yummy.  Most often we eat fruit and throw the seeds away, but a wise farmer knows to save and sow the seed.  As Christians we must be faithful to sow those seeds.  We must take what we have been given and pay it forward.

So what have you received lately?  What was your response?  Did you reject the gift?  Did you repay the gift?  Or are you going to sow the seed and pay it forward?

pay it forward

What are ways you have paid it forward?  Tell us your story. We would love to hear your comments.

*Session Five of the video for the James:Mercy Triumphs

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The True Meaning of Memorial Day

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 

By: Sarah Smith

As a child, I can recall spending Memorial Day weekend with my grandparents.  And that weekend always ended with a trip to the cemetery where most of our relatives were buried.  I remember seeing the names of ancestors I had never met.  It was a time of honoring those who had gone on before us.

It wasn’t until I married into a military family that I understood the history behind Memorial DayContinue reading

Newborn

An Open Letter to My Daughter on Her First Birthday

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matt. 11:29

By: Dana Baran

Newborn CharlotteAs Charlotte’s first birthday looms ever nearer, I find myself becoming more reflective and sentimental by the day. I even wrote her a letter to be read sometime in the future (her eighteenth birthday? College graduation? Wedding day? Birth of her first child? TBD) but it is rather sappy and lengthy so instead of sharing the whole letter I’ll just give you some highlights. I hope my musings and confessions might prompt you to reflect for a bit on the lessons the Lord has taught you through your own motherhood journey. Continue reading

What’s Your Narnia?

By: Kerri Young 

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

“I want to go to Narnia.” “I want to go to Narnia.” This phrase can be heard around our house at least 10-15 times a day from my strong-willed middle child whenever he gets frustrated or doesn’t get his way. (He’s actually saying the place where we are moving in May, but I can’t put that on this blog…so “Narnia” will suffice.) =)

When we ask him why he wants to go to Narnia, he responds, “Because it’s pretty there and there aren’t any mad guys.”

The funny thing about it is that he’s never been to Narnia before. He has only seen pictures and we certainly have never told him there are no “mad guys” in Narnia. But, for some reason, in his head “Narnia” is a better place than where we are now.

When he breaks into one of his whining fits for Narnia, we try to gently explain to him that we aren’t ready to go to Narnia and that Narnia is not what he thinks it is. Because when we go to Narnia we won’t get to come back here for a LONG time. Because it takes a LONG time to get to Narnia and he had a difficult time travelling 12 hours in the car to Granny’s house for Christmas. Because there are “mad guys” (or, in his four year old psyche, people who don’t like you or who are mean just because) in Narnia who, just like here, don’t believe in the same things or live in the same way we do and will most certainly act…well, “mad”, at us sometimes. Because when we leave for Narnia we are leaving most of our “stuff” — his toys, books, bicycle, etc.—behind. Because we aren’t financially ready to go Narnia. And the list could go on as to why going to Narnia today is not possible, or really even desirable.

Last night my husband and I were talking about the day and specifically how little man had a lengthy crying fit over his yearning to be in Narnia. My husband was wondering what is causing our sweet boy to feel this way, and it occurred to me that his irrational desire to go to Narnia today is no different than my desire to fast forward through today to get to what lies around the bend tomorrow.

I know what my desire is…and it’s actually a lot like my son’s. I want to get to Narnia, too. But for all the same reasons we tell our son that we aren’t ready to go to Narnia and that Narnia isn’t the fairy tale land he thinks it is, God is telling me it’s not time yet.

Because we won’t be coming back for a long time. Because the trip there is going to be LONG. Because there are people there who will not like me for following Christ and letting my light shine is going to probably be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Because we do have to leave most of our stuff behind, and all that stuff still needs to be dealt with here. Because we do have some work to do financially so we can not only get to Narnia, but stay there long-term. And, mostly, just because God hasn’t given us the green light yet and there are still things that need to be accomplished here…today.

Sigh. How often do we yearn for and crave something that’s coming or even something that might not be coming but we think we want or need? What’s your Narnia, friend? What are you whining in your heart about to God that you wish you could have today?

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I typed up this post two and a half weeks ago. You must understand that I am a highly trained, first class procrastinator who works best under pressure. I NEVER blog that far in advance (ask Jennifer) because I typically have about five different topics milling around in my head that I pray over until the very last minute. =) But, the Lord had been telling me that entire week this is what I needed to blog about, so I sat down and wrote it while it was fresh. Imagine my surprise when I read Gretchen’s post on perfect timing last week. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s a must read.

Friends, I can’t help but think the Lord is trying to teach all of us an important lesson on this very thing since it was on Gretchen’s heart last week, too. It’s not a coincidence that we both felt led to write about waiting on God’s timing a week apart.

So, I, too, want to encourage and challenge you to trust in what the Lord has for you today…because you can’t get to tomorrow without it. Will you join me in praying that we can all rejoice in the Lord today and rest in the promise that He holds our tomorrows in His hands?

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble

By: Kerri Young

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

In honor of Thanksgiving tomorrow, I thought it would be fun to share a few fun and simple craft ideas the whole family can participate in to celebrate and get in the spirit of thanks! Please feel free to add some ideas in the comments section if you have Thanksgiving traditions or crafts you’d like to share.

Affirmation Place Cards

What you’ll need:

  • Orange or yellow construction paper or cardstock
  • Markers

How to make your Affirmation Place Card:

  1. Take orange or yellow construction paper or card stock and fold a paper for each guest coming to share your Thanksgiving feast in half from top to bottom.
  2. On one side of each paper, write the name of a guest.
  3. Let your kids decorate around the name if you’d like.
  4. When all the guests arrive, take a few minutes before sitting down to eat to allow each guest to write one reason they are thankful for each person on the back of his/her place card.
  5. During your meal have each guest read their cards out loud.

Fingerprint Turkey Place Cards

What you’ll need:

  • Red, orange, yellow and brown paint or stamp pads
  • Black marker
  • Card stock, thick paper, etc.

How to make your Fingerprint Turkey Place Card:

  1. Cut a square piece of paper/cardstock and fold it in half so it stands up.
  2. Have your child make an orange, red and yellow fingerprint all in a row (touching is best).
  3. Add a brown fingerprint in the middle of the colored fingerprints.
  4. Once the paint/ink is dry, use the marker to add the face and a person’s name. 

Thankful Placemats

What you’ll need:

  • Magazines
  • Scissors
  • Construction paper
  • Digital prints
  • Crayons, Markers, etc.
  • Glue
  • Laminating paper

How to make your Thankful Placemats:

It might be too late to do this for tomorrow, but it might work for future Thanksgivings.

  1. Have your kids look for pictures in magazines, pick digital pictures to print from your camera from the past year, or color pictures of all the things for which they are thankful.
  2. After gathering them all together, let them create a collage and glue them on construction paper.
  3. Next, laminate them.
  4. Use them as placemats and great conversation pieces over your meal as your children explain each item.

Old-Fashioned Turkey Hand

What you’ll need:

  • White paper
  • Pencil
  • Crayons
  • Black marker

How to make your Old-Fashioned Turkey Hand

Why do something complicated when you can just trace your kiddo’s hands onto paper and turn them into turkeys?

  1. Trace your kids’ hands onto white paper using a pencil.
  2. Have your children use a black marker to write one thing they are thankful for on each finger (or let little ones dictate and you write it for them).
  3. Let them color the palms of their hands brown and then color each finger a different color to make “feathers”.
  4. Make sure to put a name and date on each paper and then display them proudly for all to see.

I found this website with some great ideas for crafts, activities and games. If you have a free moment, go check it out.

Praying you are counting your blessings and having a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Related Article: Five Fun Family Activities to Teach Thankfulness