Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving musings...


I'm thankful for a lot of things.

My husband.
My children.
My family members...

But, that's not what this post is going to be about.

This past Sunday, our family had the opportunity to visit my cousin's church in Colorado Springs. We headed that way to see them for a bit while my grandpa was visiting.

During the service, they showed a video made the day before of their church members putting together these insane boxes of food (canned goods, turkey, etc) to hand out to 800 families in their community that maybe otherwise wouldn't be able to have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with their families.

Let's face it; even though there are no presents involved, Thanksgiving is an expensive holiday.
You go through all month with your normal grocery bill and then have ONE DAY where you spend as much as you would spend for at least a week of food!

I really love Thanksgiving. It's full of fun and fellowship. We spend the day remembering the ways we are blessed with some of the people who happen to BE those blessings in our lives.

I love it.

But, shopping for it stresses me out.

You see, my family has been on the receiving end of this "giving thing" for a long time now.

We've always had just enough.

Occasionally we get a little extra (but it never fails... as soon as we get a little extra, something huge or unexpected comes up). God has always provided our needs and I'm so so grateful for that.

We have been SO blessed by people who are willing to give to us. Being in a ministry where we raise our own support can be stressful, but it gives you hands on experience trusting God for your every need.

That's why it was so amazing to see people giving up their Saturday to give something to so many families who may not otherwise been able to have a meal on Thursday that is simply assumed for so many others.

We weren't one of the families that received a box from that church (we don't live in the area), but we did receive a voucher from our town that allowed me to pick up a turkey and some other ingredients to make Thanksgiving memorable and festive for our family. I'm so grateful.

So, please, if you see one of those donation boxes and you can spare a few cans of condensed soup or a box of stuffing, throw in a couple things. You may be changing this Thanksgiving from one of need to one of overwhelming blessing. You might bring so much relief to a mother who wasn't sure how to make a special meal for her kids. You may just make it possible for a family of children to go to school not ashamed of their Thanksgiving stories, but so excited to share with their friends about what they got to eat.

And, you might be blessed in the process.

Paul tells the Corinthians:

"You will be enriched in every way for all your generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God."   2 Corinthians 9:11-12

In saying this, he's not promising wealth to those who give generously, but he is encouraging them to share because as they do, people will be helped and will praise God and pray for them. They may not be blessed in return in financial ways, but maybe in the unseen spiritual realm. And, I think that's pretty great, too.

We don't have a lot, but we know that everything we have has been given to us by God, so it's not ours anyway. We try to share when we can. And I encourage you to do the same.

So, from someone who is truly blessed by the generosity of others, I encourage you to think about what you can do to be a blessing to someone this holiday season.

It doesn't have to be huge... tiny gestures can go a long way.

Leave a comment it you come up with something or have a story to share so we can encourage each other!
And, Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cheap, Quick and Easy DIY Thanksgiving Banner

My home needed a little something.

We live 2 1/2 hours from the nearest Target.

I'm pretty sure I'm about 4 hours from a Hobby Lobby... although I can't even tell you where one is located.

I couldn't just run out to find something new to add to my holiday decor. And, I have two little tornadoes that keep me plenty busy!

So, I can testify that this is super QUICK and EASY... it makes a great last minute project to add a little pop to your decor. 

Everything I used I previously had on hand.

Here you go:

Start by picking what you want it to say. I was torn between "give thanks" and "happy thanksgiving" - but since I've been striving to focus on what good is happening in our lives without wondering how all of our circumstances are going to work out, I settled on "give thanks." 

I'm choosing to praise the Lord in the midst of the unknown.

Anyway, then head to and print out the letters you need.
I printed mine onto card stock and cut them out while sitting next to the tub as my kids bathed.
Multitasker. ;)

Then, I grabbed these paints that I had bought for another project.

I painted the letters while watching this during nap time (even though they weren't actually sleeping)...

Again, multitasking. ;)

Let 'em dry...

and hang em' up. (I used tiny clothespins and twine)

It's really that simple. (I put gold glitter on the yellow letters to give it a lil' something extra)  ;)


Hope you enjoyed this! 
What's your favorite piece of holiday decor? (homemade or store bought)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013

Not growing weary in the waiting...

I feel like this is my current challenge.

We're waiting on so much...
   ...waiting to afford a vehicle
   ...waiting to see if my husband has a job in a few weeks
   ...waiting to find out how to deal with the Little Miss's seizures
   ...waiting to find out if we're moving or staying where we are
   ...waiting to make holiday travel plans because of the previously mentioned reasons
   ...waiting to think about baby #3 because of all of this uncertainty
   ...waiting to find out about my dad's health
Those are all really big things for us.

But, I'm waiting in the little things, too...
   ...waiting to go grocery shopping to see how far we can stretch our food from the last trip
   ...waiting for the kids to start playing together more consistently
   ...waiting for a big snow to hopefully push animals down for next hunting season
   ...waiting to decorate for the holidays in case we are moving soon
   ...waiting to dust because, frankly, I don't feel like it!

People say all sorts of different cliche things, like "God can't direct your path unless you're moving," or "The only way you'll know if the door is opened or closed is if you try walking through it."

All of the big things in the first list are kind of out of our control. We can't take steps of faith in them. We are really just stuck in a place of waiting for others to decide our fate.

It's really hard not to grow weary of the waiting.

It's hard not to get bitter/scared/frustrated that we live a lifestyle that provides absolutely no security.

A friend of mine and I were recently discussing how great people of faith were often looked at as being foolish.

Abraham almost sacrificed his son Isaac.
Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
              Genesis 22:9-10 (Read the rest of the story. It's a good one!)

David danced like a crazy man.
And David was dancing before the LORD with all his might,... Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD...
              2 Samuel 6:14a and part of verse 16

Joshua was told to march around Jericho for a week straight playing instruments so the wall would fall when they hollered on the seventh day.
Then on the seventh day they rose early at the dawning of the day and marched around the city in the same manner seven times; only on that day they marched around the city seven times. At the seventh time, when the priests blew the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, "Shout! For the LORD has given you the city." So the people shouted, and priests blew the trumpets; and when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat,..
              Joshua 6:15-16, 20a

Joseph married Mary anyway.
And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly... When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife.
              Matthew 1:19 and 24

But, I think the truth was that they realized God had their backs.
That no matter what the world said, no matter how the world defines success, security, etc, that God is the one who is ultimately in control of the end game anyway.
I believe they had a peace about the fact that God was working in the details, in the stuff we can't see, behind the scenes.

Yes, sometimes He tells us exactly what to do and gives us what we need to do it.

But, sometimes He makes us wait.
     and wait.
          and wait.
                and wonder how He's going to make it right.

The people in those examples I mentioned didn't have the details. They didn't know how God was going to fix it. They just trusted that He would. Even if it wasn't exactly how they wanted it to turn out.

In those moments, we probably look foolish, because with so much up in the air, shouldn't we be doing something?!

I want to do what God has for me.
But I really don't want to do the things He doesn't have for me.

What if He is asking me to wait?
What if I tried to reconcile all of these things and ended up messing up His plan?
What if, by not being comfortable just waiting for Him, I miss out on something great?

So, for now, I wait.

and pray for peace.

and wait.

Because I know that if I let Him work it all out for us, it'll end up so much better than we could've orchestrated on our own.

It always works that way.

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall fun and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:30-31