Blessings, Celebrations, Culture, Giving, God's Love, Living Free

What are You Most Thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!! 🙂

I hope you’re enjoying today with your family. We are, and we’re so excited about it! We’ve been busy getting our home ready, planning the menu, & setting up to host our family tomorrow. Yayyy!

I have a few quick thoughts on my heart tonight. Before sitting down with your loved ones tomorrow and celebrating with cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie & too much stuffing — take a few moments with everyone to do the following…

  1. Gather in a circle & ask each person to name a few things they’re thankful for (including the kids!). It’s always neat to hear what matters most to each person. It’s like a little glimpse into everyone’s hearts each year. I love that my family does this, & I think it sets a great precedent for our little guys! 🙂
  2. Give thanks to God & bless the feast before you with a heartfelt prayer, not just a quick nod to heaven. He has so richly blessed each of us, and it is SO so easy to forget that when our entire culture bombards us with feelings of “lack”. Look around & think about your life: You likely have a home, drive a car, have a closet full of clothes, a job & money in the bank, & bins full of wonderful items stowed away. God has given us WAY more than we could’ve ever imagined, don’t you think?! It is so incredibly easy to forget, though. Let’s remember in our Thanksgiving prayers to not just be thankful for “the stuff” we all have either, but also for the awesome people He’s placed in our lives & the peace we have with Him. He’s given us each an abundance of goodness.
  3. Consider donating or blessing others in some tangible way {not just your own family} — through inviting ‘outsiders’ to share your meal, donating to a canned food drive, giving online to a charity, or sending someone in need a gift.

In years past, I’ve sometimes given to others & sometimes not, but the times I did made this holiday so much richer. There’s nothing like being a blessing to others to completely reframe how you see Thanksgiving, and I imagine nothing makes the Lord prouder & want to bless us more than us being a blessing to others.

This year, as a new mom, it’s on my heart to start a tradition of being generous to others around the holidays — so that each year, our focus becomes on giving, not just getting gifts {or showering our kids with more than they need!} #guilty 🙂 Our kids will learn to be so much more grateful when we model true generosity in front of them, not just TO them. I so need to remember this at every major holiday! Do you?

I also believe that as our children grow up, when we consistently demonstrate the true heart of the holidays by loving those around us (including our family, neighbors, coworkers & those in need), they will learn how to be a blessing wherever they go in the future. This is my prayer for my daughter — and one I’m starting to pray for myself, too — because I always want to be a blessing & I want her to be, too. {I need to grow in this area for sure!}

What are some things you’re most thankful for?

Stop & list 5, or 10! 🙂 Then consider ways you can show your gratitude to God by loving on those around you. You’ll be beyond blessed, and so will your family and kids.

Let’s not get sucked into the American philosophy of MORE FOR ME each year when the holidays roll around. Let’s remind ourselves that this time of year is about God’s incredible generosity to us — not only in bringing our forefathers to this great land but also in giving us His Son, who changed our entire destiny!! — and about how we can be like Him to other people.

This year, I’m most thankful for:

  1. Abigail, our 1.5 year old daughter. No question, she’s been the biggest blessing of this year! She is full of joy, growing so much, & thriving thank You Jesus!! I am so so grateful that she’s doing so well & that the Lord is providing for her every need. She is an amazing little person, & it’s so neat to see her little self unfold before our eyes (& cameras!).
  2. Stability. The last 3 years have been a little crazy, with 4 moves (including cross-country from Texas to Florida), job & career changes, income fluctuations (a bit scary!), & the newness of becoming 1st time parents. We’ve also started settling into life living near my family, when our entire marriage leading up to 2 years ago we’d been states away. We said goodbye to so many wonderful things — including an incredible job, church & amazing friends — but for all we’ve given up, we feel God has blessed us so much with things we didn’t even know we needed. I’m grateful that our lives have settled down this past year and that we’ve been able to give our daughter a semblance of normalcy after upending our lives these last several years.
  3. My husband’s job. As new parents, this has been a TREASURED time together as a family to have my husband working from home for the 1st time ever!! He left corporate America after we moved to Florida, and though it’s been a huge adjustment for us, we’ve both said we wouldn’t change a thing. He has so much time with our daughter & I, and he’s able to help me out with Abigail at times when I’m really struggling. I’m able to bring him lunch at his desk 😉 & hello — zero commute! So nice. After spending the bulk of his career in the rat race, often driving 1.5 hours (or more) roundtrip & spending 13 hours away from home, we’re amazed at the difference in our quality of life now that he’s working here. Our daughter LOVES her Daddy more than words can say & they have such a special bond!! I think this is in part because he’s been part of every milestone she’s had, not just relying on my secondhand accounts, because he’s been able to be there for them and spend quality time with her every day. She is one lucky, happy little girl!! 🙂

Pay it Forward

The next step after counting our blessings is to pass them on. Ask Him how you can be a blessing on Thanksgiving this year {& at Christmas}, and how you & your family can continue blessing others throughout the new year.

Have you ever had someone unexpectedly pay for your coffee, or gas, or groceries? I have, and it was the most amazing feeling. Every day we have the opportunity to do the same for the people we come across — strangers, yes, as well as those closest to us — so don’t let it end with you.

Keep being kind & generous & pay it forward! Our world will be a better place because of you ♥

Happy Thanksgiving!!

xoxo,
Summer