Thankful

We are all thankful, aren’t we? Especially around Thanksgiving!

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”
― William Arthur Ward

I had been keeping an eye on a few thankful lists throughout November and loved seeing what popped up on them. Intrigued, I started a mental list for myself. Halfway through I forgot everything I had on it and started whining. So, I’m making a list of a few things to help me to remember.
Obviously, this was started back then and we’ll just pretend it is still November but who says we can’t be thankful in December.

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  Grandparents who love my kids and in return the kids can’t wait to see them come.
I told my girls I hope my grandkids are just as happy to see me someday. I received the appropriate eye roll for that comment.

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color – sight – fall – beauty
I drove through this tunnel four times a day!

Crispy weather
Warm and cozy never-ending project of a house
kids crowded around the kitchen table
cookies & milk for those kids
a noisy house – my kids are fit and fine
Dentists – because we sure use their services
Health – because when you aren’t…

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coffee, all the coffee, and especially coffee ice cream
all things apple and pumpkin
brunch with family
pretty food plates
I may as well just say food! Give me all the good food!

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memories – What we have without these?
Jesus – Where would we be without him?
grace – In need of this every day!

church | community
Invest in the people around you. Care. Put forth an effort. Love. Reach out. Go the extra mile. Be their servant. Do the little things. Tell them what you appreciate.

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My Mr. Fix-it Handy-man husband
The list of things I cannot, or do not, or will not try to do because I know he will do them is endless.

spilled milk early in the morning = clean floor
electricity – because I hate when it goes off
the smell of fresh bread
Saturday = everyone home
Christmas cards in the mail
warm sweaters & blankets

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Funny nephews
This guy makes me laugh every time I am with him.

A School for my kids – every time I have to help with homework, you can just find me over here whispering, “Thank you, Jesus, for teachers. Bless them real good, would ya please because I need them in my life!”

Friends who turn 40 – So we can get together for good food and conversations
My Sunday school class last year – many good conversations
Teaching the Youth girl’s class this year – I did not want to be thankful for this but it will make me dig into the Bible and hopefully learn new things.
Appliances in my house – because I would not have made a good 1800 woman
A rainy day – because Christmas music, coffee, and candles

Reagan's art

Talents – I love to see an interest take root and a talent develop. God-given for sure because they didn’t get baking and artistic skills from me. Reagan drew this for Grandma to hang in the cabin.

My Children – I am thankful for each one of them. Sometimes I sit and wonder at the fact that this is me with my crew, and when did they get to be this age, and how are we having actual conversations now, and what happened to the babies, and for real, I am not old enough to be at this stage, am I?

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 time at home with my people
remembering Tris

loud and fun conversations in a kid-pack living room
a day spent at my sister’s house – if you live close to your family, you cannot fully appreciate this one. It is a rarity for us.

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Time Together
quiet conversations
A Dad who says “God is good, no matter what!”
Cousins having fun
Photographs
Life
Little things

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 Hope and Heaven someday

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How Was Your Thanksgiving?

And were you thankful?
Of course, you were! We are all thankful the month of November and for sure on Thanksgiving day. What about now? Holiday stress, so much to do, what to buy for gifts, and on and on. How quickly do I lose the thankful spirit?

I lost it as soon as we arrive home and I cleaned out a dishwasher with dishes that did not get a proper cleaning. I was quite irate and ready to throw the whole machine out the back door. At 9pm we tore it apart and gave the innards of it a good cleaning. It is now in working order and just that quick, my thankful spirit was back. Why can I not remember, “In everything give thanks” even when the dishwasher fails?  Why do I forget so quickly?


We had a good Thanksgiving weekend. It was busy. Every day was packed with lots of people, good times and good eating.

The Hostetlers are fairly religious about their family get-together at Thanksgiving. You are allowed to skip occasionally, but they’ll want to know where you were and why you were missing. We shall refer to it as ‘loved and missed’ versus nosiness. We are spread far and wide across the states but when Thanksgiving weekend rolls around, most of them gravitate toward the gathering.

There is always, always good food with the Hostetlers. After the good food is consumed they will bring out the snacks. Usually there is an entire table full of snack and the kids think it’s a full feed weekend of junk food. No wonder they don’t want turkey and potatoes.

 I wanted to take a picture of the two girls in the middle because they are twins. The other two thought they needed to be in the photo also …
“because our birthdays are really close.”


We were also with my family and some extended family over the weekend.

Tys arrived on Saturday loaded to ride with one for every size.

When an entire family makes the effort to come and spend a few days with you remembering Tristan, you know they care and you feel loved. This is what my Uncle Dave’s family did for us. We loved every minute of it and are so thankful for them.

If ice cream is your happy place and there is a machine in the garage, you are all smiles.

We made a lot of good memories again. Back in the day when we were all kids, Dave’s would come out to visit and we would have a grand time riding the trails on 3-wheelers and driving jeeps to the cabin. After a while, the boys would give the motors a rest and play football on the front lawn until the grass had given up the ghost. When the game was finished, they piled into the house for more food and good laughs.

Not much has changed. This time they merely upgraded to bigger and better things for the trails and roared through the fields on bikes. Football was given over to the younger generation and a plate of ice cream and cake with coffee sounded like a good idea to add the conversation.

Not too many foods in life are better than this combo.

Grandma had a little tea party with these two little girls.

This Grandma is a special one. She caters to all the grandkids and they know it. She’ll buy their favorite foods, candy or little toys. She stocks up on junk food just for them. If one of them needs something, she is the first one to jump up to help them. She pays attention to each one in special little ways. All the grandkids (and the big kids for that matter) like to go to Grandma’s house because they know she’ll have something for them. We all love Grandma and are happy to be celebrating her birthday next week.


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Back to the issue of ingraining thankfulness into a daily part of our lives.
How do you instill that into your children?
How do you incorporate it into your life?
Talk to me.

 

Of Thanksgiving and more…

 

When you were a kid, going to Grandma’s house was a highlight. I remember many trips to Ohio to see Grandma Yoder and we always had the best weekends in there. We also loved going to Grandpa Stoll’s house with Dad any chance we could get. There was always a piece of candy waiting for you from the corner cabinet before you would leave.

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Now my kids love to go to Grandpa and Grandma’s too. The last year we have spent more time out in IN than normal and so far I haven’t heard any of the kids complaining. Grandpa just added a cherry to the top of the weekends when he bought a little cabin for the grandkids. I declare the last weekend we were there was the absolute quietest Saturday we have had out there in years. We actually had to go get the kids for meals, otherwise, they were cabin dwellers all day.

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I thought Reagan might just move in permanently. There were so many things to do, see, and so much to explore. She is wishing and hoping it will be warm enough to play at the cabin when we go out the next time.

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Grandma and Grandpa stopped in for a chat. Anyone who went for a visit came back smelling like a smokestack. The kids had the fire going all day and I thought they might cook some food for themselves, but they didn’t catch anything to grill. They did inquire about snacks and some hot chocolate a time or two between meals. Delivery service was requested.

As with everything new we do, it brings an ache. Tris isn’t here to see the changes, to enjoy watching the kids grow, to make dumb jokes about the oddest things. He would have been moving and shaking things to get this cabin into place, full of big ideas and plans for what all we could do back there. Sometimes we still look up and expect his jeep to come rolling in the lane.

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Mini Mouse wasn’t in the smiling mood. She so badly wanted to stay at the cabin but it was just a little too chilly for her little size.

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My brain feels like it is suffering from an overdose of too much food and sugary goodness over Thanksgiving. Not that I have ever given up all things sugary like some {strong} people, no I just keep tormenting myself and sneaking little bites thinking they won’t add up as quickly as one large plateful. I have no idea where I am going with this, as I said, my brain… it is rather muchly on overload right now.

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Madison doesn’t help the problem by making things like this. I wasn’t tempted with more than a taste or two since I am not a true lover of chocolate.

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Speaking of Thanksgiving…

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Some of Eric’s extended family was around here for a few days.
They are the game players, I am the roaming one that watches all the games, but plays none. I feel a rash coming on at the thought of being pinned to a seat playing a game for an hour or three. Say the word game and my legs start twitching and I have to get up and move around. I’m glad not everyone is like me and they enjoy a good game!

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Bethany did crafts with the kids. It was most lovely of her to spend her time doing this, although I’m pretty sure she made all my kids an extra big project with an extra lot of extra glitter.

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And more game playing, see what I said!

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This game was called, “See how many guys can fit in the same spot!” 🙂
Not really. It is just that the closer you sit, the better you can hear the other conversations around you.

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This used to be the wild and wooly little gang doing donuts around the room. When did they get this big that they sit quietly and play games?

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“Let’s reconstruct the tower of Babel!” they said.
“Everyone else holds really still!” they said.

And like the tower, all good things must come to an end
and Thanksgiving vacation was over entirely too soon.

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From my Instagram:

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The Amish schoolhouse that I sneakily take pictures of when I see the kids out. One day I was not so stealthy and the little girls held their hands over their faces. It embarrassed my kids which made it totally worth it.

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Y’all have yourselves a very merry weekend!

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Of Thanksgiving

“How was your Thanksgiving?” you ask.

We did what everyone else did.
We gathered around the table,
we ate, we talked, we laughed sometimes.
But most of all, deep inside, we hurt.
We cried, we talked about Tris,
we remembered good times
and a few more tears fell.
The sadness of missing him
has settled deep.
His presence was so large, so full of life,
there is a lot about him to miss.
It is just unbelievable what a hole
one person can leave.

We put our best foot forward
since the Holidays give us no choice
but to face life head on.
It wasn’t easy,
sometimes it felt downright unbearable,
but we tried and with the trying,
there was grace, once again sustaining us.

Children crave normalcy
so for their sake, we had to try.

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All Eric had to do was continue reading
and he had a revolving audience of little people.

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Madison had a good time Thursday.
Now guess what they think they “need” around this place.

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Grandpa loaded all the littles up for a ride.
The oversize load behind him followed for back up.

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We spent a lot of time just talking, being together.
The best conversations happen around this island.

Tris is often in our conversations.
Looking through photo albums,
laughing at his jokes,
talking about his likes and dislikes,
the things he did and said.
(all of which were many)

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There was teasing, lots of it from this one.
They may fight with and yell at him,
but they wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Grandma snuggles make little girls feel better.

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We even went out to eat one time because tired minds
have a hard time thinking of something to cook all the time.

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Beside Grandpa’s fireplace is the best place to set up a game.
Their parents don’t play games but the kids seem to like it.

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Saturday mornings at Grandma’s call for pancakes.
Grandma usually makes big ones
but when the favorite aunt comes to visit,
she makes fun size pancakes.
How many silver dollar pancakes can you eat?

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Tris’ shop is a good place for little people
with lots of energy to hang out,
especially on rainy days.

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Anytime spent outside was under an umbrella.
She was happy with that!

Days that are dreary and rainy make
grief-walking even more difficult.
The cloudy winter days in our future look long
but one thing we have learned
is to take one day at a time.
Tomorrow doesn’t matter, only today.

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This little chair was just her thing!
She read one book after another
with her little feet all relaxed.

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Sunday the Master griller fixed a bird for us.
It was delicious.
We hereby proclaim that the women of this family
are done fixing the food.
Have at it guys.

Someone’s sense of humor is still intact
because we found a bag of turkey bones
under Eric’s seat on the way home.
They thought he might need a snack. 🙂

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So the questions remains,
“How was the weekend?”
Good and bad.
Good to spend time with family again.
Hard to see what a hole is left in our family.
Good to see the small amount of progress we’ve made.
Sad to think of moving on without him.
To sum up and answer,
“We survived.”

 

 

Thankfulness

Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? Who can declare all His praise?” Psalm 106:1-2

Thankfulness is on all of our minds right now.
What am I thankful for?
What all have I been blessed with?
The list is huge.

I’m glad people are thinking about this right now, it’s natural to do so at Thanksgiving.
But what about the rest of the year?
Do we practice the “Attitude of Gratitude” then to?

Look for the positives instead of the negatives.
(I am the queen of negative so that statement needs to be hammered in for me!)
I have an “Attitude of Gratitude” journal but it gets neglected far too often.
It’s far more easy to see things that I “want and need” and all that instead of my blessings.
I want to work on a year round attitude of thankfulness, not just during this season.

Do you know how much better you feel when you are thankful instead of ungrateful?
Try it and see.

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Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1Thess 5:16-18

It’s easy to feel thankful when things are going our way, flowing smoothly and there are no glitches in our easy life. I can write a list of thanksgivings a mile long during those times.
But what about when your daily routine is met with unexpected challenges.
You don’t know how on earth you can feel grateful in the middle of those overwhelming circumstances.
What is my attitude then?
Am I feeling gratitude toward the one who gave me all things?
Or are the negatives back and everything around me looking much worse then it actually is?
There is a positive in every negative situation.
Sometimes we can’t see it. Maybe we never will here on earth, but God can create something beautiful out of something we think is a nightmare.
He is the Creator of Blessings!

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 Some quotes I’ve read recently:

 It’s not the happy people who are thankful, it’s the thankful people who are happy.

The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they make the best of everything.

Dear God, I want to take a minute, not to ask for anything, but to thank you for all I have.


What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?


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Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness… Ps 107:8-9

God is good. We are blessed beyond measure!

What are some things YOU are thankful for?


One thing I am very thankful for is family.
My family was all here last weekend and I was just reminded again how much I love them.
There is also Eric’s side of the family that I’m thankful for to, just don’t have a picture of them. 🙂

I’m thankful for:
A grumpy little boy- because what if I wouldn’t have him.
A cluttered house – that means I have more then I need.
Dirty dishes – I have food to eat.
Jesus – Salvation.
My husband and girls.
Friendships.
Grace. Mercy. Love. Peace. Faithfulness.
Sticky hugs and kisses.
Music.
 fuzzy blankets. coffee. cool days.
….
the list just won’t end.

Tell me some of your blessings.