Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Neighbor's Bounty

It is the generous giving of ourselves that produces the generous harvest.  ~Orison Swett Marden

November is quickly coming to an end.  This afternoon was spent wrapping up Thanksgiving decorations and pulling out Christmas.  I hope your Thanksgiving was filled with well, thanks giving. I was thankful my parents were visiting from Pennsylvania.   We all went to The Mansion for our Thanksgiving Dinner; since Melanie and her family spent Thanksgiving with Shawn's parents, we opted for dinner out. I did bake a turkey at home for supper sandwiches.
My final gift of Thanksgiving was to our neighbors.  They have a summer garden that could come out of a magazine.  All through harvest time they bless us with their bounty.  Peppers, potatoes, green beans, etc.  She even shared her cantaloupe jelly.  I purchased Family Life Today's, Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember.  The book has read aloud stories of Thanksgiving and in the back is space to record your gratitude list from year to year.  It also has a CD of praise and worship songs.  RB wrote our appreciation on leaves I attached with raffia.  The book is $9.99 through Family Life Today.

Throughout our Thanksgiving Day, these words kept running through my mind,
How can I say thanks
for the things you have done for me -- 
Things so undeserved,
Yet you give to prove your love for me?
The voices of a million angels
Cannot express my gratitude.
All that I am or ever hope to be -- 
I owe it all to Thee.
As this beautiful season (my favorite) is ending, I'm asking God to keep me mindful of my blessings, sharing the gratitude with others, and most of all, serenading my God with daily praise.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving and Praise


Words and Music by Jerald Glick

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Helpful Hands

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor ~Ecclesiastes 4:9a

Two years ago this coming January, I met my new best friend.  I was a wife and mother of three, and most of my highschool friends were still single.  Shawn was in the process of starting on the building our new home and had asked a friend of his to come and give a quote on heating and cooling. 

As promised, the friend came to do an estimate--and--he brought along his wife and four children.  What a blessing I found in this wife and mother!  Kristen and I hit it off that very day and started a friendship that continues to blossom.

Fast forward to last month.  If you know me, you certainly know that I have extremely rough pregnancies.  Kristen knew company was coming and she so kindly offered to drive an hour to come and help ready the house.  (Whenever I thank her for doing this, she jokingly says there will be a time when I will have to return the favor so "it was no problem!")

I decided I wanted to give her something to let her know I thought is was wonderful (helpful, nice, fantastic, to name a few) of her to come and make the beds and bunk beds, dust and vacuum, etc.  Well, let me back up.  Maybe it was because the day before she came I had made caramel dip and just had to give away some of the yummi-ness I made...!  Well either way, it was a fun gift to give.

Can't take credit for the delicious recipe that I came across, but I'll let you take a look in case you want to give it a try.

Aunt Kay's Buttery Caramel Sauce

3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup whipping cream
Makes 2 1/2 cups

In a medium saucepan combine sugars, syrup and butter.
Cook over mudium heat, stirring occasionally until mixture comes to a full boil, about 5-6 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.
Stir in whipping cream.
Pour into a jar and store in refrigerator.  It will thicken when cold.

Take a peek at the ready-to-go thank you gift...

In a calendar I made for Kristen at Christmas last year, I added this quote.  I believe it is so fitting for our friendship.  I trust you have a friend/friends you are thankful for, as well!
 In everyone's life,
at some time,
our inner fire goes out.
It is then burst into flame
by an encounter with
another human being.
We should all be thankful
for those people who
rekindle the inner spirit

Christmas gift ideas:
Jar of Caramel Dip and attach note with red and green ribbon (any size) and jingle bells.
Need a bigger gift?  Add a bag of apples.
Ideas of your own?  Share them with us!
We would  love to copy, er, compliment your creativity!

This post was linked to Not So Homemade

And the Winner is...

I used the Generator and found my winner! 


You'll love reading her blog, Life & Godliness

Send me your mailing address, Rebecca, and I'll get your book sent to you at the end of the week.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Shelter-er or Shelter-ee?

Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.  ~W. J. Cameron

Oh my, is everyone else racing the clock to get everything done?  I'm busy, but there's that undercurrent of excitement that makes me smile.  I found myself singing Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow while I mixed up pumpkin rolls at six o'clock this morning.  A little later in the morning, I went to the office; and as a typical day in the life of a two-year-old would run, Morgan crashed riding her bike but her daddy fixed her up with a bandaid.  She bounced over to my desk and said, "My wegs all better now."  Again, I smiled and thanked God for my three precious grandchildren, each so different, all so loving and sweet. 

Melanie came in from her doctor's appointment, sick and having back pain, but with the joyful news from the doctor who said the baby was perfect.  Another smile.  Another praise.  I filled my cart at the grocery store and the man at the checkout asked if I needed help.  Assuming he was going to help me I said, "Yes."  Instead he asked a lady to take my groceries out.  I was embarrassed because she looked older than me (or at least what my perception of me is).  She got her coat, hat, mittens...unloaded the bags...I hope she knew my "You've been such a blessing to me today" was heartfelt.  As I drove away I was thankful for an abundance of food and a warm van. 

So much to be thankful for--a husband who offered to get our groceries if I had not been able, a grandson's sweet giggling on our way to school this morning, a daughter who cheerfully helps scrub floors and move furniture, parents who are well enough to come from Pennsylvania to share in the blessings of Thanksgiving Day, the anticipation of seeing my sister...Blessings are everywhere and I feel like I have more than my share. 

The more I try to shelter, the more I find myself being sheltered.  Renee handed one of those famous green and brown bags Sunday.  She said it was a his and her gift.  Starbuck Thanksgiving Blend coffee beans for RB and Tazo black tea for me.  Tazo tea can get me through the frantic pace of Thanksgiving, one strong sip at a time. 

A young mother from church left me the sweetest note this week.  Even with work, a baby (who just decided to crawl!) and much to tend to, I am amazed she took time to bless me. 

My brother called me this afternoon to catch up.  Another blessing.  Through all the parts and pieces of my day, the peace that passes understanding, joy unspeakable and the love of my Heavenly Father fills my soul with thanksgiving. 

My passion for sheltering others pales in comparison with the sheltering I receive from family, friends and most of all, God Himself.  I am blessed.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Thankful Heart Giveaway

As we seek to cultivate thankful hearts, the blessings of God open to us.  ~Carole Lewis

Carole Lewis wrote A Thankful Heart: How Gratitude Brings Hope and Healing to Our Lives.  Kendra Smiley reviewed it in these words, "The lesson is simple and yet profound.  God tells us again and again in His Word that we are to be thankful and Carole Lewis has illustrated the power of thankfulness beautifully in this book."

This isn't what you would think a typical Thanksgiving book would be.  It's Lewis' personal experience of adopting a heart of gratitude after the untimely death of her daughter.  Gratitude is a way of life, not a one-day-a-year activity.  It's often the hardest times of our lives we need to thank God for.  I may not be thankful for Sarah's death, but I am so thankful for God's people who comforted in so many practical and emotional ways.  My heart is full of praise for the comfort of the Holy Spirit; without Him I would have lost my way.

Sarah's birthday was this week, and although I still picture her as a beautiful baby, she would have had her 24th birthday.  This book seemed like the perfect give-a-way for my readers.  Just leave a message before Wednesday and I'll choose a winner. (I have enabled the anonymous setting since many of you have said you'd like an easier way to comment--I'll see how it works out.)  I'm especially thankful for all of you who have encouraged this new venture for my daughters and me.

Daddy and Sarah Janene
July 1987

I leave you with a quote from my favorite book.  Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 4:18.