Tag Archives: gratitude

Family Home Evening: Gratitude

Welcome to today’s Family Home Evening! This time of year always seems to take a back to basics theme where we focus on the fundamentals of the gospel. Today’s lesson on gratitude is absolutely fundamental.Family home evening mountain top

Opening Song: High on a Mountain Top

Prayer

Scripture: Matthew 26:3-6

Lesson: Gratitude

What is gratitude?

  • It’s an attitude of thankfulness.
  • We choose to have it or to focus on those things we don’t have or aren’t going our way.

How to we express gratitude?

  • We express gratitude with our words, our actions and by making it a habit.
  • Gratitude unexpressed is like a gift unopened.

Why do we need gratitude?

  • To let people know we are grateful.
  • To have good manners.
  • We’re happier when we’re grateful.
  • It’s a commandment.
  • It helps us find the good in our trials. In her book the Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom wrote of an incident of living in a concentration camp where the beds were infested with flees. Her sister insisted that they express gratitude for the flees, much to her dismay. It turned out the flees kept the guards away and they were able to read and share their smuggled New Testament. This scripture study brought them peace, even though their surroundings were horrific.

Activity: Phase 10. We played the phases in reverse order to change it up a bit.

Closing Song: Scatter Sunshine

Prayer

Treat: Ice cream

What does gratitude mean to you and your family?

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One Thousand Gifts Book Review

I eagerly agreed to do a book review for One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I heard the concept was listing 1000 gifts or blessing – that’s right up my alley! One Thousand Gifts book review

Just like you, Ann Voskamp hungers to live her one life well. Forget the bucket lists that have us escaping our everyday lives for exotic experiences. ‘How,’ Ann wondered, ‘do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does the Christ-life really look like when your days are gritty, long–and sometimes even dark? How is God even here?’ In One Thousand Gifts, Ann invites you to embrace everyday blessings and embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God’s gifts. It’s only in this expressing of gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we’ve always wanted…a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others. We come to feel and know the impossible right down in our bones: we are wildly loved–by God. Let Ann’s beautiful, heart-aching stories of the everyday give you a way of seeing that opens your eyes to ordinary amazing grace, a way of being present to God that makes you deeply happy, and a way of living that is finally fully alive. Come live the best dare of all! {Amazon}

I expected it to be more about the gifts than her journey, but her journey was very thought provoking. Her journey was one of learning the language of gratitude. It reminded me of Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance with its gratitude journal.

My favorite quote was “Joy. Ah…yes. I might be needing me some of that.” What she calls joy, I think of as peace – who doesn’t long for more?

I also loved how supportive her husband was during her journey; not a I’ll give you the space to do this kind of support. He did more than that by showing her a magnificent moon and encouraged her to visit a friend in Paris. We all need someone in our lives giving us that kind of support!

There were many things to like about One Thousand Gifts, but I had a hard time with Mrs. Voskamp’s writing style. It was too poetic for my taste. I’d give it three slices.

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Beans for Christmas Dinner?

Welcome to the final installment of the series of Christmas stories from my mother in law.  Merry Christmas!

Beans for Christmas Dinner

When I was a little girl, I lived with three sisters and three brothers.  My mom and dad gave us a childhood filled with memories; mostly of fishing and hunting and going camping.

We had a fruit farm with three big vegetable gardens.  It also included a a cow, two horses, a pig and some chickens.  It was my job one summer to heard a bunch of ducks.  I took it seriously, and would gather the eggs for my mom to make custard.  Most of the family liked it, but I wasn’t one of them.

We were all expected to do our part to keep the farm running.  In the 50’s that was a way of life to grow our own food and then harvest and preserve it.  Fall would come and Dad would always get us a deer and quite often an elk.  I watched he and Mother cut it up on the old kitchen table. Then I would wrap the pieces up in white butcher paper and mark them.  I remember once I got bored and wrote funny sayings on the wrapper and scribbled pictures.  Dad was not pleased.

My brothers did the chores and we girls helped mom with the cleaning and cooking.  School started before all the canning was through, but we were still able to pick the fruit, wash bottles and help put them in the basement.  Sometimes my aunts would come over and help.  We always looked forward to those days.  Even now as I am much older, the smell of a ripe apple sends me back to that memory.

Times were hard financially, especially during the winter months.  But we always had a warm house, plenty to eat and pretty new clothes that my mom had sewn.  Life was good.

But Christmas, that was spectacular!  We wouldn’t get a tree until a week or so before.  Dad would hang one of our stocking, one right from our drawer, on the the wall with a nail close to the tree!  Mom would always get us kids riled up with her rendition of “The Night before Christmas” and how ol’ Santa would look at each name on the list and take a minute to decide if we had been good enough and then pick a present for us to put under the tree.  We were spellbound.  As we listened, she then would make a progressive jingling sound. “Jingle, jingle, jingle!”  At that point, we would hurry off to bed to try and get some sleep.

I still don’t know how he managed, but Dad would somehow get Santa to bring us all kinds of wonderful toys and specialty foods to eat.  The stockings were filled to the brim and always with an orange in the toe.  When we got up the next morning, it looked like Santa had just dumped his whole bag right down in the middle of the room.  Or sometimes the stuff had been put into little piles and we always knew just which one was ours.  There wasn’t a bunch of happier kids anywhere.

Now that brings me to tell you about the title of this story!

This one Christmas, when I was about 10, seemed different.  Oh we were pleased with what we got, but there were only a few toys and our stockings were only about half full.  Of coarse we didn’t any of us say anything; we didn’t want to seem ungrateful.  We were happy with the orange in the toe of our stocking; but we did question, if only in our minds, when the smell of turkey was replaced with a big pot of beans. That’s right, beans!  Naturally they tasted real good, especially with Mom’s homemade bread and butter with a spread of her peach jam on top.  It was just different than the Christmases we’d had before.

Years later, when I was an adult, I ran into a friend of mine at the mall.  It was Christmastime again.  We got to reminiscing about our childhood and the Christmases we’d spent together.

“I remember one year” she said, ” that your Dad really saved our Christmas.”  She went on, “I was one of the older kids and my mom told me in confidence earlier that afternoon that there wouldn’t be any Christmas that year.  Dad had been out of work and she had been sick.  Imagine my surprise, when we woke up the next morning to a fantasy land of presents and a big turkey for dinner.  Mama never did say anything, but I knew it was your dad who’d left it there after his visit earlier that evening.”

Of coarse I never said anything either.  I was just so proud of my dad and his generosity.  It was a story that took on a whole new meaning and made my memory of those beans taste a whole lot sweeter.

Cathern Davis Roberts

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The Gold Locket

Here’s the second story in this week’s series from my mother in law.

The Gold Locket

When Mom and Dad were young  and raising us seven children, they had a group of friends in the neighborhood they would get  together with frequently.

My favorite, I lovingly called Uncle Lamar.  He had a daughter my same age named Virginia Lee.  The said you could not tell us apart, especially from the back.  Our mothers would fashion little finger curls in the back of our little blonde heads.

When we were about 18 months old, Virginia Lee died of pneumonia.  Everyone was heartbroken, especially Uncle Lamar.  But, somehow it seemed that my resemblance to her, helped ease the loneliness.  Watching me grow up, we became very close.

When I was just about eight years old, my uncle gave me a hug, and told me what a big girl I was; then whispered in my ear, “On your eighth birthday, I am going to give you a gold locket!  Now let’s keep this our secret.”  Well, I did and I thought about it some, when I turned eight and then again when I turned nine.  But nothing was said about the locket until I was nearing twelve.  Once again when our families were together, I got another hug from my uncle, and once again he noticed how grown up I was becoming.  He whispered in my ear, “Cathie, you are getting so pretty, and you are almost a young lady now.  When you turn sixteen, I am going to give you a gold locket.”  Well I was not going to count on it, but he had sincerity in his voice.  I figured that there was hope because a girl younger than that probably wouldn’t have appreciated it as much.

Nothing more was said until just before my marriage, and of course my very much loved uncle promised me another gold locket for my wedding day.  I remember thanking him and never saying or hoping about it anymore.

Years later, as I stood by his hospital bed, as he was nearing the end of his mortal existence, he gave me what was to be my final hug.  “Cathie” he said, “you have always been such a pretty girl and now you are such a good mother.”  Then he asked, “Do you remember the gold locket I gave you when you were a little girl?”

“Remember it” I replied, “I still have it; I will always wear it close to my heart.”

Cathern Davis Roberts

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