Category Archives: Thanksgiving

Choosing A “Nontradtional” Holiday Season…

When Bear and I were raising our man-cubs, we marked our seasons with a scrapbook of traditions.

These traditions were  created or adapted to fit our Christian faith, our beliefs and the history of our family. There was comfort in the structure. However, as grandparents aged, children grew then moved away, and work schedules changed, those traditions began to unravel…


Today what remains is fragmented and honestly, far less complicated.

Today we snatch and hoard moments of time with loved ones and those moments are not tied to a date on a calendar. Windows of time have become our tradition…or rather our “nontradition” because how we spend the time can change with  each new season…weekends at the beach, time in a cabin in the mountains, a Broadway musical, a women’s retreat, concerts, etc…

The only tradition we currently observe is that we  “traditionally” change our traditions to meet the needs for that season. Therefore, I guess they are not traditions…really.

The gifts are fewer because we have everything we need. Holiday meals are simpler, and they are based on the individual favorites of those gathering with us.  A Crock pot of baked potato soup, grilled steaks, buffalo chicken dip, or late night breakfast casseroles…Food and family time  are shared in a variety of ways.

More importantly than the traditions and the food, our focus has become Father and family.

During advent we preparing for Christ’s birth and Lent leads us  to Resurrection Day, we pull in and regroup.  We spend more time preparing our hearts and minds than we do  decorating or shopping or cooking. Serving others takes precedent.



Cooking…eh…not so much anymore…

I opt out of ridiculously long cooking events and laborious hours of washing fine china.  Simple fare on festive disposable tableware…satisfying and comforting…I am deliberately choosing a “Mary-at the feet of Jesus” position over that of “Martha- overdoing it in the kitchen” during these seasons (Luke 10:39-42).

I applaud others who enjoy elaborate holiday preparation. High fives all around! Truly! So many of my friends are fabulous with holiday details and extreme food preparation, but it’s just not me… anymore. Again, I would rather be a Mary…in the living room  taking in the moments and watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Elf…with my family.   I am passing on the physical exhaustion and the frustration that follows when things do not meet with my expectations.

This year, I  will spend a large part of Thanksgiving Day in the hospital with my sweet momma, a.k.a. the Bionic Woman, as she recuperates from knee replacement surgery. Uninterrupted time with  my 73 year old momma means more to me than a huge Thanksgiving meal or being among the masses for the Black Friday sales. 

I am curious…

Do you adhere to strict timeless traditions or are you finding that your holidays are becoming more “nontraditional”  these days? If so, why?

Best Intentions For Gratitude Journalling But…

This Phili 4:8 girl is all about the big picture. Details allude me at times…

Not something that I am especially proud of.

My New Journal

My New Journal

So it was with a genuine heart I began my November gratitude journal on Friday,November 1st, but…

I just could not keep up!

I had the best of intentions. It’s not that I am ungrateful or that my life is lacking in any way, but  actually living out all of the Lord’s blessings takes time for one who has so many…blessings…that is.

I am tremendously thankful for the big things…

a Heavenly Father who loves his whiny rambunctious girl, a husband who lives with her and all of my sweet family including my lab, Bo, who love me in spite of me.

I am also grateful for the little things.

And this year, the Lord seems to draw me to the little things that I tend overlook so often. Waking up to a picture or video of my granddaughter Hadasah on my iPhone, hot showers, texts from my sons and daughter-in-love, quiet evenings with my sweet Randy, time with my mom, funny phone calls from my seriously wacky but brilliant sister…

BUT…remembering to write them all down in my journal each day? Well now, that’s a different subject altogether.  Maybe I lack self-discipline.

The heart of this Philippians 4:8 girl means well…

but my human nature is pretty weak.   I honestly try to live before the Lord in continuous conversation regarding my grateful heart.

So, in reality  I did not keep up my November Facebook gratitude postings or a daily entry in my  gratitude journal.  I have not been as faithful as the amazingly gifted author  Ann Voskamp who penned One Thousand Gifts, but I recognize that everything I have is from God’s hands. I applaud those who post each day!

I want to be just like you when I grow up…

But today…I am just plain grateful, journalling, posting and writing aside.

Have you kept a gratitude journal this Thanksgiving season?

Teaching Gratitude…

Ridiculously blessed!

No doubt about it…is there? No.

As an elementary teacher, the hearts and minds of my students are a constant concern.  How do we teach children gratitude and thoughtfulness?

As teachers, parents, and grandparents, we model it.

Quite honestly, today  in our society…there are many adults who need these lessons as well.   

10 Ways to Infuse Our Daily Lives With Acts and Words of Gratitude.

1. Serve others.

2. Write thank you notes often for all gifts.

3. Keep a  daily gratitude journal.

4. Become aware of the tremendous need around you.

5. Eliminate excess in our  homes.

6. Be generous with others, especially those in need.

7. Make a point to say “Thank you” often to those who offer service…Waitress, waiters, cashiers, the precious people who clean public restrooms…These people are often neglected and ignored.

8. Give away something you  love.

9. Spend time weighing wants versus needs.

10. Learn to take care of what you have and value.

Great Sites for Teaching Gratitude

Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts

Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts

Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts impacted my heart with the force of a semi-truck…The book, coupled with her website,, are powerful reminders of God’s grace during this Thanksgiving season. It tangled thankfulness and grace in ways I had not considered.

November 1st …Day 1 of Gratitude Journal


November 1st… Today I am tremendously grateful for God’s blessing abundantly poured out in my life…This is a season where my focus is on God’s gifts (as it should be every day)…

I am eternally thankful that my God loves me beyond what I can humanly fathom. A crown of thorns and a cross bear witness to His great consuming love…

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