Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day

DaySpring Cards

Every year since 1621, Americans have planned and gathered together for one day for a single purpose: to give thanks. It’s a day to ponder, remember, celebrate, break bread, and share stories of God’s abundance, both big and small. Whether for His blessing of provision, victory in battle, or the very gift of life, giving thanks has been an annual tradition since the founding of this country. Likewise, since the founding of your salvation – the day you came to accept Jesus as Savior – every day is cause to lift up your hands in praise and speak gratitude from your heart. You can shout out loud or whisper softly, just remember to let the words Thank You be said.

David’s song of thanksgiving: The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my mountain where I seek refuge. My shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold, my refuge, and my Savior, You save me from violence. (II Samuel 22:2-3 CSB)

O Lord, I will praise You with all my heart and tell everyone about the marvelous things You do. (Psalm 9:1 TLB)

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. (Psalm 107:1 CSB)

Then say, “Save us, O God of our salvation; Gather us together and rescue us from the nations, that we may give thanks to Your holy name, and glory in Your praise.” (I Chronicles 16:35 AMP)

You turned my lament into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, so that I can sing to You and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise You forever. (Psalm 30:11-12 CSB)

Father, THANK YOU. Thank You for Your perfect provision and love .For armor to fight the enemy, and for Your Word to stand in truth. Most of all, for Your kindness and forgiveness of my sins. Thank You. Amen.

This is an excerpt from 100 Days of Grace & Gratitude by Shanna Noel and Lisa Stilwell.

Changing Our Posture by Practicing Gratitude

Changing Our Posture by Practicing Gratitude

DaySpring Cards

My kids are fifteen months apart. All they’ve known is being with each other, occupying the same space, having a constant companion. My daughter’s like my husband — logical, introverted, often craving space to herself so she can read or play unbothered. My son, on the other hand, is like me — affectionate, empathetic, always craving company and someone to play with. When they’re apart, they miss each other, wondering what the other is up to, what things they might be missing out on that the other is doing. They play well and fight well; it’s a “can’t live with or without each other” situation.

After separate playdates yesterday, I picked them up, and less than five minutes into the car ride home, they start arguing, their tones twisting into whines and their voices rising in volume and sass. I have no patience for this; they’ve been whining since they woke up that morning. So I yell,

“YOU’RE ALREADY FIGHTING?! YOU’VE ONLY BEEN TOGETHER FOR FIVE MINUTES! I’VE HAD ENOUGH TODAY! NO ONE CAN TALK UNTIL WE GET HOME!”

They scrunch their faces at me in frustration, but I don’t relent. We all need a timeout to take a breather, to let our emotions simmer down. Their last whines fade out, and as we drive the rest of the way home in silence, my anger subsides. I recognize my overreaction, and I remember the conversation my husband and I had about how it seems that every podcast or sermon or health tip we listen to these days talks about practicing gratitude.

Am I grateful or do I whine just like the kids do? Am I grateful for them? If they’re gifts from God, how do I practice gratitude when I’ve lost my patience and am beyond annoyed, when I’ve just yelled at them, when they don’t behave as I wish they would?

I check my heart and see the rigidity of my posture. When provoked, I often stand on a soapbox of my own righteousness and lord it over my kids, my finger wagging, my tone condescending. I feel entitled to them conforming to my ways, for them to obey me the first time every single time, for them to play well with each other and be happy and grateful.

Though I do want them to learn to listen, to respect me and each other, my expectations for their behavior is unrealistic. I’m asking for robots instead of children who need grace and reminders. And am I not also a child who needs the same things from the Father?

I’m not that much different than my kids: I also need to try again, to use my words nicely, to say sorry and ask for forgiveness. So I get off my soapbox and relax my stance. I look into the rearview mirror and see their faces, obediently quiet. I can tell they’re ready to be silly again, and I’m grateful their spirits haven’t been broken.Our postures determine our attitudes, and I’m understanding more why so many people across the spectrum are talking about practicing gratitude.

Gratitude changes our posture, and practicing gratitude means we must slow down our minds and our hearts to remember, recount, and recognize what we have to be grateful for. It helps us to make mental and emotional shifts throughout the day when it’s not going well, and it grounds us and gives us a better perspective.

Today has been much like yesterday, with the same arguments and whining, but my posture is softer, my heart more open. I’m running through the things I’m grateful for, and this is what I know:

I’m thankful for my kids, whom I get to raise and love and who make me proud and make me laugh. I’m thankful for second chances throughout the day, so we don’t have to be stuck in bad attitudes and crabby moods. I’m thankful for my husband, who has started asking us what we’re grateful for at the end of each day, a way to recalibrate and center us back to what’s most important. I’m thankful for the quiet hours of the night when I get to work, for the work I get to do, and for the rest I get to relish at the end of the day.

I’m thankful for the depth yet simplicity of living out our faith and for Jesus who walked the way ahead of us. I’m thankful that we are being constantly broken and reshaped into the mold of Christ. All is grace in Him, and all thanks be to Him.

How to Leave a Family Legacy of Gratitude

How to Leave a Family Legacy of Gratitude

DaySpring Cards

There’s just something special about celebrating the holidays as a child. Everything is new and exciting, the cousins are all in one place, playing and making memories, and you look forward to every special tradition and new activity. But as we grow up, schedules get busy, we forget about our traditions and maybe miss a year or two. The “kids” get engaged and married and then have their own families that they have to consider when planning Thanksgiving dinner, and you realize that the holidays don’t stay exactly the same forever. I didn’t realize until I was much older how profoundly the holiday traditions that my parents and grandparents intentionally created for us would affect me as an adult and affect how I will approach the holidays someday when I have a family of my own.

Thanksgiving in my family has always been centered on gratitude for our abundant blessings. That legacy of gratitude has been built over time by the practice of praying together, thanking God for our blessings, and my very favorite family tradition – the Thanksgiving Journal. This tradition, more than any other that I can remember, has instilled a true spirit of gratitude in my family and the intention of documenting that gratitude so that we can leave that legacy for generations to come. Like any tradition, you can start this in your family today, and all you need is a notebook or journal. It’s that simple!

In 1991, my grandpa (we call him Pop) picked up an emtpy journal and asked everyone at Thanksgiving to write what they were thankful for. I can imagine it may have been a little awkward and out of their comfort zones to be so honest in a book that everyone could read, but they did it for him. It was the year my parents had gotten married, so there was much for them to be thankful for! Every year, he continued the tradition. He would write an introduction at the beginning with a prayer and some Scriptures that were on his heart, a little recap of what happened over the last year, and what he was thankful for before handing it off to someone else to share. In 1992, my mom wrote, “I am thankful for a sentimental dad who cares about making new traditions.” Year after year, the blessings and heartaches and abundant thankfulness for how the Lord provided for my family was written onto the pages of this unsuspecting little book.

In the almost thirty years that we have honored this tradition, our little notebook has documented hundreds and hundreds of blessings from God, the marriage of my parents, the passing of both of my great-grandparents, the birth of four grandchildren (myself included), big moves, new jobs, pets, kids growing up, graduations, engagements, and more marriages. And to think what thirty more years will bring.

There are years we’ve forgotten the special tradition, but we always pick right back up where we left off. We actually have two different notebooks because the original got misplaced and we had to start a new journal to keep the tradition alive. But the physical journal itself is not where the tradition lies, although it is a nice time-capsule of sorts to hold on to. The legacy isn’t because of the cover design or the size of the margins. It doesn’t disappear just because the pages are yellowing or beginning to fall out. If we lose the journals and never find them again, all those years of thankfulness will be just as real and special and important. But this practice of gratitude far exceeds the bounds of Thanksgiving.

The legacy of gratitude was instilled in our family because of my grandparents and parents living out their faith and expressing their gratitude day in and day out. Thirty years from now, I hope to be honoring this tradition with my own children and grandchildren, and I hope in thirty years, they share this same love and thankfulness as I do now.

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! (Psalm 107:1-8, noted in the first entry of the Perkins Family Thanksgiving Journal)

Make This the Best Thanksgiving Ever

Make This the Best Thanksgiving Ever

DaySpring Cards

Didn’t you just love Thanksgiving as a kid? For me, this holiday meant the excitement of time with my cousins – running and jumping in huge mounds of leaves, hanging from trees until we were red-faced, playing in the garden, and eating my grandmother’s amazing (and I mean amazing), cooked-from-scratch Thanksgiving dinner.

At the time, it was just plain fun, but as an adult, I now know it was more. There was a warmth there – an indescribable feeling of love, joy, peace and belonging. I can just picture God smiling down on us as we sat around that dark wood table, holding hands and bowing our heads.  You see, He designed families to hold onto one another – encouraging one another, building each other up.

Nowadays, I make the 8-hour round trip to my parents’ house with my two little girls, who can’t wait to see their cousins, to roll around in the leaves, and to eat my sort-of amazing (and I mean sort-of amazing) chocolate pecan pie. Because if I can pass that indescribable warmth on to my children, nieces and nephews, then this might just be the best Thanksgiving ever.

Here are four simple ways I plan to accomplish this hefty task…

1. I’m going to start talking to my children now about what it truly means to give thanks. I’ll surround them with thankful, thought-provoking messages, using décor such as the Give Thanks Wood & Metal Wall Art and the Give Thanks to the Lord Throw Pillow to remind them of God’s unfailing love. These are conversation starters that help guide these conversations. Maybe we’ll pass the pillow as we sit in the living room, each of us naming the top three things for which we are thankful.

2. By allowing my kids to help me write Thanksgiving cards to my friends and family, I will teach them the value of gratitude, while also reminding those long-lost cousins of God’s goodness in our lives.

3. I will reserve time to connect with my kids and the whole family. Instead of spending the whole holiday in the kitchen, I will cook what I can ahead of time, put it in inspirational paper bakeware, then heat it up when the big day comes. And I’ll spend the time I save jumping in the leaves with the kids.

4. I’ll manage my expectations. Thanksgiving can be overwhelming, such as when you’re pulling hot rolls out of the oven while little ones are running underfoot, everyone is talking at the same time, and your niece has been banging on the piano for the last half hour – you catch my drift. This year, I’m going to rest in the Lord, and when things get a little out of control, I plan to sit down with a hot cup of tea, take a deep breath, and enjoy the scenery.

Whatever you do, be sure to take time to breathe in God’s blessings this holiday season. Take some time to enjoy the family, share some joy and encouragement and gratitude with others, be good to yourself, and invite your family and friends to do the same!

 

When It’s Hard To Be Grateful On Thanksgiving

When It’s Hard To Be Grateful On Thanksgiving

DaySpring Cards

DaySpring.com

When It’s Hard to be Grateful on Thanksgiving

It’s a story of sacrifice and survival; partnership and progress.

It was our country’s very first Thanksgiving.

Imagine the challenges the first settlers endured in 1620. They left everyone they knew and everything that was familiar. The Mayflower carried 102 voyagers across the Atlantic on a 66-day journey full of sickness and storms. That winter, nearly half of the voyagers died from disease and lack of shelter.

Yet, when the harvest season arrived, they set aside three full days to give thanks. In spite of the hardships, there was still much to be grateful for. They were alive. They were welcomed as strangers into a new land. The natives taught them how to grow their own crops. They had food to eat and friends to share it with. And…they had religious freedom, which is the very reason they came.

The settlers’ simple decision to be intentionally grateful led to centuries of Americans doing the same every November.

Let’s be real though. In some seasons of life, being grateful is just plain hard. We find ourselves overwhelmed with circumstances and underwhelmed with relationships. With preoccupied minds and aching hearts, it goes against our nature to give thanks anyway. But that’s exactly what the Lord asks of us.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:18 NLT

But…

How can we give thanks if we lost our job?

How can we give thanks if we’ve been diagnosed with a disease?

How can we give thanks if we can’t conceive?

How can we give thanks if our friend refuses to talk to us?

How can we give thanks if we are spending the holidays alone…again?

How can we give thanks if our marriage is falling apart?

How can we give thanks if our child is suffering?

How can we give thanks if we lost a loved one?

How can we give thanks if we don’t know what the future holds?

Because even though we are struggling, our God is still sacred.

In each difficult situation, our Creator gives us glimpses of hope in a sacred silver lining. It’s the place where God is working all things together for good. It’s where the hidden blessings are stored. They aren’t always easy to find, but they’re always there.

The secret to giving thanks in all circumstances is to find His sacred lining.

We will find His sacred lining when we give thanks for what we do have, instead of complaining about what we don’t have.
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13 NLT

We will find His sacred lining when we give thanks for what is right instead of worrying about what is wrong.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

We will find His sacred lining when we give thanks for the process instead of grumbling about the problem.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:3-5 NLT

We will find His sacred lining when we give thanks to God first.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 118:1 NIV

Before we gather around the table this year, gobbling up turkey and a slice of pumpkin pie, let’s be intentional about giving thanks no matter what. We can be personal about it by starting a gratitude journal, or we can share it with others in a prayer before dinner. Yes, circumstances can be challenging. Yes, relationships can be broken. But we serve a God who is for us, not against us. There is a holy gift waiting for us amidst the hardship. Let’s look hard for His sacred lining and give thanks to God when we find it, not just on Thanksgiving, but every day.


Know someone who is having a difficult holiday? Send them 
a handwritten greeting cardencouraging Ecard or check out our Difficult Times section to find just the right gift to lift their spirits this season.  

How to Have Joy in Any Circumstance

How to Have Joy in Any Circumstance

Guest Post by Gina of GinaMPoirier.com

It isn't always easy to choose joy. Here is how to have joy in any circumstance.“I just feel like I’ve lost my joy,” she told me one day over coffee and a few tears. “And as a Christian, I feel horrible about that.”

My friend was in the situation many of us find ourselves in: taking care of kids (or something else) and trying to keep our acts together while we’re exhausted, overwhelmed and downright cranky about all. And to top it all off, we feel guilty for not being more joyful.

I wish I could have told her the magic formula, something like prayer + Bible study = joy. And there have certainly been times when I have naively thought it should be that simple.

But in response I simply gave her a hug and maybe cried a little myself. Because in truth, life is hard. Joy isn’t always an automatic response just because you’re a Christian.

Yet on the other hand, the Bible does instruct us to rejoice always, in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:17). I mean really, God? (He says yes, really.)

So how, exactly, do we have more joy, even when life is really, really tough?

I’ll try to handle this carefully, since I truly don’t think there’s a formula. But here are a few things I like to remember that help my own heart feel more joy when the circumstances bring anything but.

Related: How to Trust God’s Plan for Your Life

 

1. Look to Jesus

 

I don’t know about you, but a lot of times when I’m dealing with my not-so-joyful emotions I fall into a thought pattern that goes something like this: this is too hard, and nobody understands what I’m going through.

That’s one of the hardest things about pain and suffering: sometimes it does make you feel isolated. Proverbs 14:10 says, “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.” But the good news is that there is actually one person who does “get it.”

Hebrews 4:14–16 say that Jesus empathizes with our weaknesses and was tempted in every way we are. And as our friend he gets us and is there for us, and wants to show us the way through our pain (John 15:15).

So in other words, take your pain to Jesus. Pray to him; confess your weaknesses and ask for help. Study his life and his words, that it may increase your faith (Romans 10:17). Sing to him. Meditate on his promises.

Having said that, God is not a genie and doesn’t magically turn your emotions off and on whenever you ask. But I believe he’s the way I must turn when I’m hurting, if I want to heal.

 

2. Fill Your Mind with Truth

 

I’m fascinated with the human brain, and I’m even more fascinated by the fact that the Bible supports a lot of what modern psychology has discovered. In particular, we have the power to change the structure of our brains by redirecting our thoughts.

If you’re in the habit of negativity and toxic thinking, your thought patterns will continue down those well-trodden paths (you literally can get into “ruts.”) But if you are more conscious about what you’re putting your mind to, you will change the way you think.

Scripture supports this (Philippians 4:8, for starters), and Brittany has some great suggestions here: Want to Take Every Thought Captive? It’s Easier Than You Think!

I’ve found that copying Bible verses and memorizing them is a way to keep my mind focused on what is true. (Want some suggestions? Check out the printables I offer.)

Another way to fill your mind with truth is through habitual gratitude. Keeping a gratitude journal is a scientifically supported, biblical way to rewire your brain for joy.

 

3. Reach Out for Help

 

When I think of some of the toughest times in my life, I don’t know how I would have gotten through without the support of the body of Christ. And few things make me smile more than thinking about those who have been there for me when I’ve needed them.

When a part of your physical body gets hurt, other parts of it provide healing by delivering the oxygen and immune support it needs. It’s the same way in the church (1 Corinthians 12:21–26). We need each other through good times and bad, to help us heal and grow through our trials and weaknesses.

I’m guilty of being extremely independent through my pain and struggles, as I think a lot of us are. We come to the church putting our best foot forward, when it should be the other way around.

I’m not saying you should go to worship service a weeping mess all the time, but I challenge you to be bold in your vulnerability. Meet with mentors and peers who can cry with you over coffee, watch your kids so you can rest, celebrate your victories and pray with you through your trials. And if you don’t have these people in your life, go find them. Pray for God to lead you to them.

Related: 3 Truths to Remember When Battling Mom Loneliness

 

4. Let the Holy Spirit Do His Work

 

It occurred to me recently as I was thinking about this that joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23). Here’s the thing about fruit: it doesn’t appear magically. It takes time and cultivation.

Jesus is the vine, the Father is the Gardener and we are the branches that bear fruit through the work of the Holy Spirit (John 15:1–8). There have been times when I’ve been impatient and even felt guilty because the joy simply wasn’t there when I thought it should be.

But if joy is like fruit, then that means that it will take time to grow into maturity. It will be more plentiful in some seasons than others. And at times we need to be pruned in order to produce more.

We may not fully understand this process, but we don’t have to. All we have to do is stay in the vine (the steps listed above are some practical ways that help with this), and God will grow the fruit.

 

I don’t know what your circumstances are, but I do know what the Bible says about working through them. And I believe that given time, you’ll find the joy that God calls us all to.

Article Credit: equippinggodlywomen.com

 

FREE Scrapbooking Supplies?

FREE Scrapbooking Supplies?

Hello Dear Friends,

Here is an amazing offer via Creative Memories for FREE SCRAPBOOKING supplies!!!

The Creative Memories scrapbooking supplies are the best!!!  This offer is unbelievable!!!

PLEASE take just a moment and read below!!!

If you are interested in becoming a Creative Memories Advisor, there is an amazing bonus for signing up right now as well!!! (See my website for this sign up offer.) This is the best time to sign up!! You can sign up as a hobbiest, as there are NO minimums!!! Many of us start out as hobbiest and then decide to make a business. Or you could start your own business…the decision is all yours!!!

On a personal note, Creative Memories home office and all the local Creative Memories advisors are the warmest most supportive friends…ever!!! I love my CM family and all the beautiful memories I am saving for my family!!! CM makes it all soooooo very easy!!! I complete beautiful pages in absolutely no time and I have a story to pass onto my children and one day my grandchildren!!

If you are interested in this great offer as a customer or a potential advisor, just contact me at: JosephinesDesigns.com@gmail.com. I am happy to help!!

Here is a link to my website as well: http://www.CreativeMemories.com/user/JosephinesDesigns.com

If you shop on my website and want to receive this wonderful offer..BE SURE to click on the Mystery Bag button to add to your cart!!! It’s amazing!!! Remember, there are 3 different bag with different sayings and many different colors of the albums. Both are the “luck of the draw” and you can see all the gorgeous papers included!! FUN!!!! None of us know which bag we will receive or what color album until we open our box when it’s delivered!! It’s like Christmas in July!!! Woo Hoo!!! 🙂 And you can place as many seperate orders for $150 in product to receive as many Mystery Bags as you like!!! (Until supplies run out.)

My first Mystery Bag comes in Friday and I am considering 2 more orders!!! 3 albums, 3 paper kits and 3 bags!!! Yeah!!! Love, love, LOVE my Creative memories!!! I will have one album for each of my children for Christmas!!!! Shhhhh don’t tell them!! 😉

Great big hugs and hoping this post helps you with you being able to save your family memories and saving money too!!

You can be the story teller of your family…for generations to come!!

Blessings and happy Scrapping,

k

PS…be sure to read all the way to the end of this post!! 🙂

GET YOUR MYSTERY BAG!

Available Until July 31 at noon CT or while supplies last

Now through July 31 (or while supplies last) you can get a FREE exclusive Mystery Canvas Bag, 12×12 Mystery Camera Album Cover and exclusive 12×12 Secret Garden Tone-on-Tone Paper Pack (12/pk) with your order of $150 or more!

My link to my website again… ; )

http://www.CreativeMemories.com/user/JosephinesDesigns.com