13 Readings to Help You Find the Thanksgiving Spirit


13 readings to help you be thankful

Image courtesy of Pixabay

In honor of Thanksgiving, I’m honored to share with you thirteen fantastic articles from blogger friends, all about gratitude. If you haven’t caught the Thanksgiving spirit yet, these will do the trick. Some readings are devotion–style, with scriptures to meditate on; others are essays to get you thinking; a few give practical tips for cultivating a spirit of gratitude in your family life; all will inspire you to feel (and live) thankful! Read one a day, or splurge, Thanksgiving–style, and read several at once—this is the best kind of feast, one that lets you go back for seconds and thirds, without getting a stomachache!

Bringing Gratitude into Your Daily Life as a Parent

71 Ways to Show Gratitude to Family, Friends, and Strangers by Lauren Cormier (Oh, Honestly). I absolutely love this list of fun, practical ideas for ways to show gratitude—things like giving lots of hugs, or doing a chore no one else wants to do. Lauren writes, “By living life in a way that constantly looks for ways to improve the lives of others, we are showing gratitude.” Read the article here

Today’s Lesson from a Grateful Mom by Traci Rhoades (Traces of Faith). Track writes about slowing down the hectic mom-life pace, and choosing gratitude along the way: “When we force things to slow down, things get better… Because the years we have together are gifts. Memories in the making every day.” Read the article here

4 Tips to Teach Your Children Gratitude by Lauren Cormier (for MissHumblebee). This is an insightful take on getting to kids’ hearts, raising grateful kids, not entitled ones. And guess where it starts? “Model gratitude. This may be the most important tip of all since our children learn what they see.” Read the article here

Gratitude Turns Who We Are into Enough, by Meredith Ethington (Perfection Pending). Encouraging thoughts for moms who never feel like enough, who think, “I yell sometimes, and a good mom would never do that… I want peace and quiet at the end of the day instead of loud laughter and kids running through the house wild and happy. Good mothers don’t think like that. But this mother does.” Read the article here

Devotional Thoughts on Gratitude

Which Letter Is Yours? by Jeanie Shaw (My Morning Cup). This is a hilarious rewrite of the letter Paul wrote to the Philippians. He had every reason to complain, and yet he chose joy. But what if he hadn’t? “Nobody really cares about me…everyone is just thinking about themselves. Well, except maybe Timothy and now he’ll likely go to you and then you will ‘need’ him.  Sheez…what else do you want?” Read the article here

One Thing to Be Thankful for (that’s Not Based on Your Circumstances), by Ellie Fulton (Gumption). Ellie writes about the wondrous reminder that God is always at work in the details of our lives, to bring us to him: “God worked in the very details, every day, of these twenty souls. And I was reminded—it is not just those twenty people. God has worked in the very details, every day, of my life since before I was born…and he keeps doing it…” Read the article here

Giving Thanks, by Debbie Williams (Blogger Loves the King). Debbie writes a simple reminder to live (and thank God) intentionally every day, not just on Thanksgiving Day: “We may not be able to change our circumstances, but we CAN change our attitudes to attitudes of gratitude.” Read the article here

How to Have a Real Thanksgiving This Year, by Stephanie Robertson (Barnabas Lane). Seeking a true Thanksgiving, the kind that begins in your heart and not with your fork: “Heaven forbid we put more preparation into the meal we eat or the way we eat it on Thanksgiving than the way we really experience and really have Thanksgiving.” Read the article here

Monday Thankfulness: Simplicity, by Destin Wells (Arrows of Content). Destin writes about finding joy in life’s simple, daily blessings: “We don’t have much, but we have everything we need. We aren’t wealthy in terms of money, but anytime I spend a weekend doing simple things with the ones I love, I feel like the richest person in the world.” Read the article here

Looking for family devotion ideas? I’ve written a couple of devotion ideas to teach gratitude to kids: A Fun Family Devotion to Teach Kids Gratitude, and A Fun Way to Teach Gratitude to Kids of All Ages.

Gratitude During Hard Times

Choose Gratitude, by Sarah Philpott (All–American Mom). I loved this reminder that gratitude is a choice, even we’re struggling, or suffering, or grieving: “Anchor your soul in gratitude for what the Lord has done.  You might not be rescued from the storm, but you can look around for the beauty in the midst of the upheaval…in the midst of the tempest choose to cherish.” Read the article here. (Sarah blogs about miscarriage and pregnancy loss, so if you or a friend is going through this, Sarah’s blog is a great resource.)

Giving Thanks: Not the Usual Suspects, by Bonnie Lyn Smith (Espressos of Faith). This Thanksgiving, we’re all wondering, how do we find gratitude in the midst of so much fresh pain and terror in the world? What does it really mean to pray for our enemies? Bonnie writes, “…Good rises up in horrifying circumstances, and I have the privilege to pray for change and sometimes to participate in it… I cannot be as self-focused when I am willing to pray back the dark.” Read the article here.

You Are Alive! Savor It, by Christine Carter (The Mom Cafe). If you battle depression during the holidays, this post will encourage you, helping you find ways to savor life even when it’s hard, or you’re not up for the daily grind: “Despite those hard days, those trying trials, those sometimes suffocating sacrifices we endure just to get through the day, we are aliveWe haven’t been taken from this world, just yet.” Read the article here.  

This Is Living, by Jennie Goutet (A Lady in France). Jennie lives in Paris, and had a birthday in the midst of the recent tragedy—and yet she found joy and light in the midst of heartbreak: “Outside it’s dark and it feels like the night is only getting darker. It feels like the heavens are weeping over the tragedies without cease. But we, my friends, are lit from within.” Read the article here


Want more parenting tips and devotion ideas? Sign up for my monthly parenting newsletter, and you’ll receive a free download with seven two-minute devotions to do around the breakfast table with kids!


If you enjoyed these readings, you might also enjoy: 

A Fun Family Devotion to Teach Kids Gratitude

10 Ways to Encourage Kids to Open Up

13 Scriptures to Help Siblings Get Along

These Days of Small Things

When Being a Grown-up Means You’re Still Growing Up

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A Fun Way to Teach Gratitude to Kids of All Ages


teaching kids to be grateful via @lizzylit

Image courtesy of Pixabay

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we’re all looking for ways to have a thankful spirit, and to encourage our children to be grateful. Last week I posted a super silly way to teach kids about gratitude. 

Here’s another devotional idea to encourage gratitude—for kids and grown-ups:

We did this activity last year with a small group at church, and credit for the idea goes to Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome. (We had a room full of adults and kids, including my very loud toddler, who had a lot to say all throughout the devotional!) We started by reading some scriptures about gratitude, then Kevin handed out notecards and pens. He asked us to write down things we were grateful for in different categories:

  • an activity we enjoy
  • an experience we’ve had
  • something we own
  • something in nature
  • a person outside our family circle

Then we took turns sharing what we’d written. This devotional was so fun because it made us stop to appreciate the simple things, experiences, and people in our daily life that we are grateful for. Sometimes when we think about gratitude we make it big and virtuous and intangible—”I’m thankful for relationships,” “I’m thankful for freedom,” “I’m thankful for grace”—and while those things are wonderful, they feel kind of . . . theoretical. It also helps our hearts to think, “You know, I’m grateful for my new shoes. And I’m grateful that I get to take piano lessons. And I love jumping in piles of raked leaves.”

I especially loved the way this devotional got adults and kids involved, sharing our thoughts together! The kids had a lot to say, and we all laughed and smiled a lot. Everyone left thankful and happy, feeling more connected to God and to each other.


Want more parenting tips and devotion ideas? Sign up for my monthly parenting newsletter, and you’ll receive a free download with seven two-minute devotions to do around the breakfast table with kids!


If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy: 

A Fun Family Devotion to Teach Kids Gratitude

The Tradition that Teaches Kids to Give at Christmastime

10 Ways to Encourage Kids to Open Up

13 Scriptures to Help Siblings Get Along

These Days of Small Things

When Being a Grown-up Means You’re Still Growing Up

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A Fun Family Devotion to Teach Kids Gratitude


how to raise thankful children

As we begin the holiday season, we’re all looking for ways to encourage our kids to be grateful. Here is a family devotion we did last year with our kids to encourage a thankful spirit. We called it…

“Overflowing with thankfulness. Literally.”

How’s that for a creative title?!

Anyway.

This devotion comes with a super silly illustration, but our kids loved it. We started by reading Colossians 2:6–7: “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

Then we gathered around the kitchen table and I asked if they wanted some milk. I put a cup in a bowl, and started pouring…  and pouring… and pouring… until my kids were gasping in horror and the milk was spilling out all over the top of the cup, filling up the bowl. The milk was overflowing! We talked about how our gratitude should be like that—so big that we just can’t hold it in, and it spills out all over everything.

Then we stuck straws into the bowl (germs? what germs?) and let the kids drink the milk from the bowl.

teaching kids to be thankful via @lizzylit

Of course, this turned into a milk-bubble-blowing fest. Who says the Bible can’t be fun?!

raising grateful kids

You could do variations on this devotion with a bowlful of marshmallows or even a basket full of toys.

Here’s to a holiday season that’s overflowing with thankfulness . . . and fun!

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Want more ideas like this? Click here to sign up for my monthly parenting newsletter, and you’ll receive a free download with seven two-minute devotions to do around the breakfast table with your kids! 


You might also enjoy these posts:

Two-Minute Devotions (Scroll through the list for a whole series of devotion ideas.)

When Your Kid Won’t Stop Whining

13 Scriptures to Help Siblings Get Along

5 Foundations in Early Parenting

10 Ways to Get Kids to Open Up

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10 Ways to Encourage Kids to Open Up


how to be close to your kids

I’m over at BonBon Break this week, taking about 10 simple ways we can help our kids to open up: 

Two of my kids talk so much the rest of the world can hardly get a word in; the other two are more thoughtful and reserved. My greatest wish as a mom is to be close to each one of my children, at every stage in their life. How can we draw our children out—even the quiet ones? How can we cultivate the kind of relationship that allows us to become their lifelong confidants, even as they enter the tricky preteen and teen years? Here are 10 simple practices that encourage kids to open up.

Get active

Some kids feel uncomfortable just sitting down and having a talk—they get tongue-tied because they feel put on the spot. They open up better when you’re doing something active: throwing a ball in the yard, coloring side by side at the table, even washing dishes together.

Listen more and talk less

If children feel like we are always going to launch into Advice Mode every time they start talking, they may shut down. Just like grown-ups, sometimes kids don’t want to be fixed, and they don’t want a solution—they just want to be heard. If a child confides a worry or problem to you, just listen, and listen thoroughly. Ask questions like . . .

Click here to read 8 more tips for getting kids to open up—on BonBon Break! 

Click here to preorder Elizabeth’s next book, When God Says, “Wait,” coming March 1 from Barbour Publishing! 


Other posts you might enjoy:

When Life Poops on Your Party

13 Scriptures to Help Siblings Get Along

These Days of Small Things

Teaching Kids to Be Good Listeners

 


Little Things


savoring childhood via @lizzylit

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

It’s the little things I love the most,
the little things that make the good life good.

It’s brushing fingers with the boy-turned-man
I once begged God to turn my way,
and he smiles, twinkle-eyed,
and it’s still all for me,
and still my heart stands still.

It’s miniature pajamas hanging in an empty closet,
waiting,
and I never thought we’d have someone to wear them.

It’s the delightful exasperation of
folding tiny mismatched socks
I thought I’d only buy for friends.

It’s my chubby alarm clock waddling in,
well before the dawn,
lisping, “Mommy, can I snuggle you?”
In she climbs, and she smells like strawberries
and promise.

It’s a victory dance for that first-time triumph;
it’s a wacky dance
just ’cause we feel like dancing
and the sillier we look,
and the faster we spin,
and the harder we laugh,
the better it feels.

It’s a monkey squeeze from a blue-eyed boy
who still begs Mommy to carry him,
and I’ll do it till my arms fall off
—which they may—
because I know it will end soon.

It’s the welcome sinking of the sun—just barely night—
and I’m so weary I can hardly cross
the toy-nado zone
to collapse and prop up my aching feet,
but as I close my eyes,
I groan a prayer of thanks,
and drink it in,
and promise never to forget,
never to squander
these little things.


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If you enjoyed this poem, you might also enjoy:

First Dance

Freeze-Frame

These Days of Small Things

You Can Go Now, Mommy

13 Scriptures to Help Siblings Get Along


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