Friday, November 20, 2015

My thanksgiving challenge

3 years ago I gave myself a challenge to only say prayers of gratitude for two weeks leading up to thanksgiving. When I put my plan into action, I immediately felt a difference ripple through my days. My prayers changed from "please help me, please help me" to "I'm grateful for" and "thank Thee for." 

I stopped asking for help parenting my stubborn kid, and started expressing gratitude that she is persistent, hard working, and creative-I started telling My God  "I am grateful I have a kid that achieves what she sets her mind to, doesn't give up or back down from challenges, and thrives on self sufficiency." Suddenly I went from having a difficult child to a dream child. Gratitude changed my attitude.

I stopped asking God to bless the poor and the needy, and started expressing gratitude that I have enough to share, and "thank Thee for the opportunities to do so." Suddenly I wasn't worried about the poor, I was helping the poor. Gratitude moved me to action. 

And so on and so on. 

Then came the big test. One night after a phone call with a loved one wading through deep challenges, I knelt with a very heavy heart. My lips parted, and I almost started to plead for a blessing for this dear one. I stopped short and swallowed down my plea. I had to quiet my aching heart, and ask myself to find gratitude. I started simply by saying how grateful I was for my relationship with this person. And with just a simple start, my heart burst with sorrow and gratitude sweetly mixed together. Once I got started, it was hard to stop. So I didn't-until ALL my gratitude was out.  I poured out my heart in gratitude for Jesus Christ and the hope, light, and Life He gives. I praised the Lord for giving all men second and third and fourth and 52nd chances. I gloried in God's ability to heal all hurts and bind up all wounds. And I humbly thanked Him for His unconditional love for me and all His children. 

And I felt peace descend upon my troubled heart. It was so healing, so relieving to be grateful. All my anguish for my dear one was soothed away, and replaced with peace, love, and hope. So much hope. Gratitude washed away my grief. 

Rarely have I ever felt so near to my Father. Gratitude brought me closer to Him, and it can bring you closer too. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Trick or Treat

Grace in her peacock glory
Amelia as Super Why. The happiness this costume produced cannot be measured.

I have YET to take a picture of Katie in her costume, so we will have to reenact it! 
I snapped this picture after trick or treating. Katie's head was drenched and she even had a wig on over her hair most of the time. It was raining buckets and buckets and buckets, but our kids were determined to go anyway. I mean we've gone trick or treating in the rain pretty much every year since we've been here, but this was a torrential down pour. The kids lasted two blocks and were done. Whew. Our neighbors were giving out handfuls and handfuls because so few trick or treaters dared the weather, and they didn't want to be stuck with the candy. So even with doing two blocks instead of the four we usually do, they still got tons of what to do with it all? Happy Halloween

Happy haunting

Like I said before, the kids talked me into doing a haunted house. With sick kids
and a busy month, this is what we came up with. 
Grace made just about the cutest witch ever stirring our witches brew. 
Katie arranged this little vignette in the laundry room. 
The end of the haunted house was in the garage where we had a black light and an assortment of glow in the dark decorations with Halloween music playing. It was fun and the girls really enjoyed it even though we didn't have the time to do things as elaborate as they originally envisioned. 

I don't know if I am up to it next year though. As simple as we did it, it was still a lot of work. Totally worth their smiles and giggles, but I hope they don't rope me into it next year.