Friday, January 27, 2012

How to Give Thanks.

There's been a lot about thankfulness lately.

I'm reading the words of this beautiful book...almost finished and I have an urge to turn to the very first page again after I've read the last and start it all over again seamlessly.
Maybe I'll read it on a loop.

We've been centering nightly prayers around thanking God for our blessings,
consciously stating the things we are most grateful for at the dinner table,
making an effort to notice the good.

Dinner time one night this week almost brought me to my knees...
seeing through the simple eyes of children sometimes will.

Something like this:

"This food is good mom, thanks."
It's Beck...he loves his mama's cooking.

"Thanks, bud. It's so great to be thankful because some people don't have this kind of food.
Some people don't have any food at all in a day.
So we need to show our thanks to God for blessing us."
I was trying to tie it together.
Trying to guide a little mind to bring praise to God.

But he trumped me.

It was this:
"But mom, why are we thankful that we have a lot and other people don't have any?"

A punch to the gut.

Why are we thankful for our plenty...our blessings...while others are wasting away?
We sit around our brightly lit dinner table, inside our bustling, warm homes and blithely give "thanks" to God for the good.
While others...what are their lives like?
I have no clue, because I have never had to live a semblance of a life less blessed.

Why do we get the blessings poured out?
Are we more deserving? More loved by God?
Are we more His than they are?


These blessings given to us were not only meant for us...
they were meant for them too.

"Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required."Luke 12:48

Can I tell you something?
I wanted to pull those three children up from the table, leave the steaming food to cool, pull on coats and mittens, empty our cupboards and head out into the dark night to give.
To give just a little of our much to anyone who wanted it.
To show real thanks to our God for his blessings.

Because, I'm coming to realize that thanksgiving isn't about murmuring a few words of acknowledgement... (although it might start that way)
it's about giving it away.
Pouring it back out.

He didn't give it to us to hoard.
He gave it to us to bless.
...and bless
...and bless.
To be the face of God to some people who haven't seen it yet.

I stammered something about giving thanks and then showing thanks by helping the people with less.
But it was so pitiful. So vague.
I didn't have a plan.
I had no idea how to carry it out with these three little searching souls...
how to make it really mean something.

I kind of left it at that.
While my mind was spinning, they went back to their blessing of a meal and our night plowed on.
Nightly baths in warm, sud-sparkled water.
Minty toothbrushes.
Brightly-colored story books and bedtime prayers snuggled into flannel sheets and down comforters.

I haven't stopped thinking about it.
Wondering how I can fit real thanksgiving into my life and into theirs.
I mean...we have a plan.
A shimmering hope of moving away from here and going where they need us...where we can be the face of God...
But can we do it here? In the meantime?
While we wait?
While life is so busy and the days and months slip by before I can catch my breath?

I don't know.
I think we can.
I'll keep you updated on that.

But if this post and Beck's simple question hits you as hard as it hit me...
you should read Ann Voskamp's book.
It is a dangerously breathtaking look at real gratitude.

...I am torn wide open.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Some pics from my photo a day challenge.

It's been a happy January so far.
: )

We're on day 13. There's still time for you to join and catch up (or just jump right in).

Let me know if you do!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Little Girl, Big City {Part Two}

If you missed Little Girl, Big City Part One
{or...ahem...forgot because it's been so long...}
Click here to read.

Where were we?
Oh yes, in a taxi, in Chicago, on the way to the American Girl Place.

That taxi driver whizzed the taxi through the crowded streets and there were horns honking and people scurrying.
It was only one week before Christmas, after all.
There were places to go and presents to buy.

But soon enough they had arrived and were standing happily outside of the American Girl Place.

That little lady was so excited to get inside and look at all of the beautiful things.
But first, she had to admire the windows...

...and then she had to give the bell-ringer some change...

And then it was okay to go inside.

It was better than she even imagined...
all of the pretty things to see.

She learned about some of the historical dolls and found all of their miniature accessories quite enchanting...
even if her mama did think she was a little too young to have most of them.

She got to pick out a special Christmas outfit for her doll, Rebecca.
And her mama helped her put it on and said that she had "impeccable taste."

The little girl was so happy to be having such a wonderful day.
But, by the time 3 o'clock rolled around she was feeling especially tired.
And, although she wouldn't admit it, her mama and Grandma Honey could tell by her many yawns and sleepy eyes that she needed a break.

The idea of a fancy tea in a room bedecked in pink Christmas decorations was just what she needed to perk up...

Silly girls are still silly no matter how fancy the occasion.

She got the special birthday treatment and basked in the glow of being birthday girl.
And her dolly sat right by her side in a 'specially made doll seat.

Hot chocolate is the perfect afternoon sip but, oh, when the server brought out the plates of tea treats that girl, her mama and her Grandma Honey lit up!

Flaky chocolate chip scones, small peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches and delicate cookies.

That little girl ate to her heart's content and she even tried some new things.
She wasn't so sure about the raspberry tart...
but decided she liked it right away!

Soon after tea and a few special gifts to open it was time to leave the magical American Girl Place.
But the day wasn't quite over.
There was one more short train ride to the hotel.

And, you would never believe it, the train station was under the ground!
In the basement of the city.

The three ladies, weary but smiling after their long day, plopped into the train seats and let the train click clack down the track to their fancy hotel for the night.

And, even though her mama was sure she would, the little girl didn't snooze a wink on that train ride.
She couldn't close her eyes.
There had been too much to see and learn on her trip.

But boy, did she sleep like a little log in the grand hotel.
And, you know what?
She woke up the next morning (her actual birthday morning) to a beautiful sight:
the city dusted in perfect, white snow.
The ultimate gift for the ultimate girl.

The End.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

January Photo Challenge

Fun lil photo challenge to keep the blog and the instagram movin'.
Found via Beka.
Feel free to join!

Day #1

{yes, I got a haircut!}

P.S. Little Girl, Big City Part Two coming soon.
Click here to read Part One.

And...what do you say to a series of Bachelor posts?
I may not be the most regular with them but I can promise to try!
Anyone watching cute lil Ben this season?

Happy Saturday!