Posts Tagged ‘thankful’

Thankful Cards

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012


Why not write thankful cards to each member of your family this year, and hand them out at the Thanksgiving table? You can tell each person what you enjoy about them and why you are thankful for having them in your life.

My kids created some thankful cards by gluing pieces of textured paper, scrapbook paper or cloth onto a folded piece of card stock paper. Make sure you have envelopes that fit the card size. For me, it was easy to cut a card stock paper in half, creating two cards with each piece of paper. This fits the bulk envelopes I bought years ago for regular-sized cards. Then we arranged different shapes on the card. Make sure the colors go together—I used autumn-colored paper and cloth samples. We glued them to the card with white school glue.


For family members not coming for Thanksgiving, you can put the cards in the mailbox. Imagine the surprise people will get when they open the card to find how precious they are to you, and why they are important in your life. It reminds me of those old Hallmark greeting card ads on television, you know, the tear-jerker ones that made you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Yes, those…

Thankfulness Tree (with Maple Leaf PDF)

Monday, November 5th, 2012

thankfulness-treeI’ve never actually done a thankfulness tree with my kids until this year. What inspired me was the dead tree on my landing that looked so pitiful that it was just begging for some gorgeous autumn-colored leaves to be artificially hung from it. Sure enough, it sprang to life, as if God’s design for this twig was to remind me of all that I have to be thankful for. My children actually thanked God for each other (which I found endearing), and for our warm house and their toys. Because we often forget to be thankful, this thankfulness tree will be a visual reminder during the month of November that I’m thankful for so many things.

I created the maple leaf PDF by drawing the outlines of four maple leaves. I then printed the PDF on card stock paper, two of each of the following colors: yellow, orange, red, and brown. You can cut out the maple leaves, punch a hole through the top of each with a thumb tack, and hang them up with Christmas ornament hooks. My children really enjoyed doing this activity.

Maple Leaf PDF

Thankful in the Small Things

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Recently one of my children got sick with a flu which was somewhat explosive. There was diarrhea everywhere in the bathroom. The first thing I thought to myself was that I was thankful that this child had never had a pooping problem. This was, to my knowledge, the first time I’ve cleaned up poop since this child was potty trained years ago. Secondly, as I went to get the wipes, I was grateful that we had wipes, because we went a lot of months without wipes. Our family decided to buy them again because they are great for cleaning counters and bathrooms and countless other things.

Oddly, this was just days after I had posted my “Anger and Potty Training” article, as if the enemy once again would accuse me before God of not having learned my lesson. I’m smiling because God boasted in me. He knew I would pass the test. That is why He granted permission for the trial to occur. I love reading the book of Job, because God only gives us trials that He knows we will pass. And we always pass them, sooner or later.

So I scrubbed the poop for probably half an hour, trying to breathe through my mouth. I wasn’t angry, which is what my reaction used to be toward cleaning this sort of thing. I just calmly endured. I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. It had to be the Holy Spirit, because to have joy in the middle of a yucky circumstance is impossible, and yet there I was, feeling joy.

Two days later I had a high fever. I had not felt this bad in years. I couldn’t get up without feeling like I was going to crack my skull on the ground. I thought to myself, “I can’t function. I am completely helpless. I wonder if I should call Alan to come home from work, because there is no way I can take care of the kids.” But my husband had taken the previous day off to do a webinar on the Homeschool Channel with me, and if he has a day off, I would like it to count for something. I decided against it.

I told the children to pour their own cereal. Thankfully I had trained the older two kids, 10 and 11, how to pour their own cereal. So they helped their younger brother and sister to have breakfast. For lunch they were all able to make sandwiches. I was thankful that I had trained them how to make their own lunch. Off and on throughout the day, my daughter would come into my room and hug me. Oh, I forgot to say that all four of my children were also sick. But I was grateful for my daughter’s hugs, her checking in on me. One time I asked her to get her brother, who brought me a yogurt container so that I could eat breakfast. My children took care of me, and I got through the day. I was thankful for the fact that they didn’t fight that day, probably because they all had low-grade fevers and were mostly watching DVD’s.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you can be thankful for something that looks like misery on the surface of it. It’s a tailor-made circumstance through which you can do the right thing. My greatest desire is to be transformed into the image of Christ, so if I can stop thrashing about and yield to God in my circumstance, the growth will happen at an accelerated pace. And then it becomes easier and easier, because the closer you are to Christ, the more joy you have in the midst of your circumstances.

Don’t Force Your Children to Be Grateful

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Thankfulness is choked out of our children by us trying to “make them grateful.” This happened to me. I grew up being thankful, but then I felt forced to be thankful, and suddenly I wasn’t thankful any more, because I felt that the only reason the other person gave me something was for me to be grateful to them. Forget it. Don’t give me a present. Can’t you see I loved it? Why do I have to chant stupid words for people not to be upset and angry and threaten to never give me anything again? It makes me want to dump the thing on the floor and walk away. I do not feel loved by a person who demands thankfulness. I don’t. I feel that they’re in it for what they can get out of it.

This affected my relationship with God. I felt that relationships were an exchange where you now had to be grateful. And even though I had always been grateful for Christ’s death on the cross, I now saw Christ’s death as something He did so that we would be grateful, and if we weren’t grateful, we weren’t allowed to have a relationship with Him. It suddenly felt selfish on God’s side, and I knew this was a warped and demonic view caused by being forced to be thankful to have a relationship with another person. This view, by the way, is completely wrong. Christ didn’t die to make us grateful; He died to free us from sin. It wasn’t for anything He could get out of us. Christ died for us expecting nothing in return. Anything good in us is because of Him anyway, and our deep love for Him includes gratefulness, but it was never demanded. It was spontaneous due to love.

I wish the person could have seen my eyes, that I was truly grateful with all my heart before she demanded it, and that after demanding it, it was suddenly gone. In its place was the wrong feeling that the other person was selfish and demanding, and I wanted no part of it.

It took me years to get over it. Then gradually God gave me back my gratefulness, but it took a painful process. Now I’m more grateful than I’ve ever been in my life, but it’s because of the grace of God, God directly teaching me about it and convicting me and transforming me. Because the way I had been acting toward this other person had been sinful.

So how did I teach my own children to be thankful? Anyone who has been invited to my children’s birthday parties can attest to the fact that I have the most thankful children on the face of the earth. Yes, in third world countries you see children who are so extremely grateful, and they’ve never been taught gratefulness. My children are identical to that. They are so excited at anything that is given to them, even if it’s a cheap toy from the dollar store. They even say thank you, though I didn’t force them to do that. In good conscience, the only thing I could do is to thank the people myself when they gave my child a toy. I quietly thanked them, not for the sake of the child to hear. But when my children heard my real thankfulness, they emulated it and actually said it.

My children burst with thankfulness, but it’s not because I forced them to say it. It’s because I myself said thank you to the giver for the sake of the giver not being offended. I didn’t care whether my children said it or not because their whole body already indicated that they were grateful. And in being genuine in my speaking directly to the giver, my children now say thank you continuously, and it bursts out of their soul.