Thanksgiving! ~ Grace and Truth Week 46

Happy Thanksgiving, faithful readers! Whether you live in the U.S. or not, I pray you take time today to count your many blessings and give thanks to the Lord Almighty!

If you are a blogger, take notice on my sidebar that Christian Bloggers Bootcamp is re-opening from Black Friday to Cyber Monday only. I highly recommend this course – it speaks to the unique nature of the Christian Blogging niche (and you can use my affiliate code for a discount, too)! Read more about the practical help available to Christian Bloggers here.

I’ll catch up with you all next week!

Because of Christ,
Jen :)

 

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Grace & Truth : A Weekly Christian Link Up

Grace & Truth exists to point people to Jesus! We hope this link-up will be a source of encouragement each and every week. If you’re a blogger our hope is that you’ll use this space as a way to meet new friends within the Christian blogging community. If you’re a reader our hope is that you’ll meet new bloggers that love Jesus just as much as you do! Most of all, we hope you’ll meet Jesus here.

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Satisfaction Through Christ
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Arabah Joy
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A Divine Encounter
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Being Confident of This
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1.) Follow your hosts via their blog and/or social media channels. This is not mandatory, but appreciated!

2.) Leave 1-2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. Please do not link DIY, Crafts, Recipes, etc. Links of this kind will be deleted. We also reserve the right to delete posts that don’t align with the theme or that are deemed by the hostesses to be inappropriate.

3.) Visit 1-2 other links and leave a meaningful comment! We want to encourage community, so please don’t link and run!

4.) All links are randomly sorted – feel free to link as early or as late as you’d like. The playing field is even!

In order to be featured next week:

5.) Grab a button or link back to encourage new linkers. This is not mandatory to participate, but is required to be featured.

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Grace and Truth Week 45

Hello, faithful readers! Did you all find some encouragement in the link-up last week?

Apparently the Lord had a special lesson for me since everywhere I went, I received something similar.  I’m not surprised because I’ve been feeling just a little bit whiny and discontent on the inside lately. Yes, I knew my attitude was wrong, but I felt somewhat justified, I guess.

Well, no more!

I’m hearing clearly that I should do everything as unto the Lord, even this hard season that we’re in currently. And if I’m doing it for the Lord, I can’t exactly be whiny about it, now can I? :)

So, I hope you enjoy this post from Sarah over at The Life of This Mother. I normally don’t mind taking care of most of the household responsibilities, but in my recently whiny state of mind, I began to resent many of them. This was a good reminder for me of the importance of what goes on in the home!

 

 

And if that weren’t enough, read through Deb’s excellent post on Ed the HVAC Guy over at Faith’n’Friends – what a testimony! This man’s story certainly caused me to recognize my own selfishness.

 

All for the Lord,

Jen :)

 

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Grace & Truth : A Weekly Christian Link Up

Grace & Truth exists to point people to Jesus! We hope this link-up will be a source of encouragement each and every week. If you’re a blogger our hope is that you’ll use this space as a way to meet new friends within the Christian blogging community. If you’re a reader our hope is that you’ll meet new bloggers that love Jesus just as much as you do! Most of all, we hope you’ll meet Jesus here.

Meet Your Hosts

Satisfaction Through Christ
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Kaylene Yoder
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The Brown Tribe
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Arabah Joy
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A Divine Encounter
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Being Confident of This
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Busy Being Blessed
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Grace&Truth-Rules2

1.) Follow your hosts via their blog and/or social media channels. This is not mandatory, but appreciated!

2.) Leave 1-2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. Please do not link DIY, Crafts, Recipes, etc. Links of this kind will be deleted. We also reserve the right to delete posts that don’t align with the theme or that are deemed by the hostesses to be inappropriate.

3.) Visit 1-2 other links and leave a meaningful comment! We want to encourage community, so please don’t link and run!

4.) All links are randomly sorted – feel free to link as early or as late as you’d like. The playing field is even!

In order to be featured next week:

5.) Grab a button or link back to encourage new linkers. This is not mandatory to participate, but is required to be featured.

6.) Each host will choose one link to feature and promote via their social media channels next week.

7.) By linking up you agree to allow the hosts to use your featured post image if you are chosen as a feature for next week.  By linking up and leaving your email address, you also agree to receive e-mails relating to Grace and Truth.

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The Family Thanksgiving Tree

We started the tradition a year ago, when the leaves first began to blaze and all of the store shelves filled prematurely with Christmas items – our first Thanksgiving Tree.

Thanksgiving is the holiday that seems to get lost in the shuffle anymore, and that’s a real shame, isn’t it?

Listen, no matter what hard things we have going on in our lives right now, we still have things to be thankful for.  If we don’t mark Thanksgiving in some sort of significant way, then we’re missing out on an opportunity to look back over the year and remember.

Each year the season for Thanksgiving seems to be shortened. Halloween has nearly taken over the entire Fall season. So it's more important now than ever to take the time to mark this special holiday.  Use a Thanksgiving Tree as a visual reminder of all you or your family has to be thankful for!  A Thanksgiving Tree provides family fun and a wonderful teaching opportunity, as well as opportunities for further conversations down the road. Kids love it!

Why is remembering so important?

Because we fickle humans so quickly and easily forget our Father God’s goodness, just like the Israelites forgot the goodness of Yahweh time and again throughout the Old Testament.

In fact, I found myself guilty of the same trap just a few weeks ago. In spite of the magnificent and awe-inspiring ways God has provided for our family during this pastor-to-church-planter transition, I became discontent.

I grumbled. I complained. I resented the hard work we’ve been doing.

I wanted an easier way, and I failed to remember the glorious things the Father had already done on our behalf.

So this year, the Thanksgiving Tree tradition continues, but along with each family member’s “thankful leaves,” we added a whole extra section in green – the living color – to demonstrate God’s show of faithfulness.

The Thanksgiving Tree is an fun way to mark the importance of this holiday. Kids will love making their own leaves of thanks and attaching them to the visual reminder of all that we have to be thankful for!  Parents will appreciate the teaching opportunity.

The Thanksgiving Tree is an fun way to mark the importance of this holiday. Kids will love making their own leaves of thanks and attaching them to the visual reminder of all that we have to be thankful for!  Parents will appreciate the teaching opportunity.

 

You see, I want our children to remember.

I want that image burned into their little brains and hearts, the tangible green of God’s goodness to our family. I want them to see how plentiful the green is on our Thanksgiving Tree.

Once we finished hanging each leaf of thanks this evening, I told them, “Turn and look again at the tree. See all of the green leaves at the top! How many do you think there are? Probably at least 20, maybe even 30. That’s how well God is caring for us. Do you see it?  Look at it a little longer because I want you to remember this for years to come.”

 

The Thanksgiving Tree is an fun way to mark the importance of this holiday. Kids will love making their own leaves of thanks and attaching them to the visual reminder of all that we have to be thankful for!  Parents will appreciate the teaching opportunity.

And I know they will because to this day, I savor my own childhood memories of missionary life and the often miraculous answers to prayer that I experienced as a child.

The thing about remembering is that it naturally boosts our faith. Remembering His provisions encourages us to endure the hard things in life!

I’m sure that’s why the Father continually reminded his people throughout His Word to remember the great things He had done for them, to remember His very character.  Is anything too hard for Him?

We need to believe in possibilities rather than probabilities.

Even more, being thankful for what we have brings a joy to our hearts like none other.

When I saw this particular orange leaf way up at the top where only our oldest and tallest young man could have placed it, my heart nearly burst.

The Thanksgiving Tree is an fun way to mark the importance of this holiday. Kids will love making their own leaves of thanks and attaching them to the visual reminder of all that we have to be thankful for!  Parents will appreciate the teaching opportunity.

For that moment, I caught just a glimpse of what the Lord is doing in the midst of this tough season – that it isn’t just about us, or even this town we attempt to minister to, but it’s about the generation to come, too. It’s about the budding faith of each child who lives here in this house.

I’m so very thankful that despite our frequent parenting failures and our own often-weak faith, our teenage son sees clearly the importance of living out an authentic faith.

That’s the bright spot in this struggle, friends!

So even if you don’t have anything particularly special to celebrate this Thanksgiving, why not use this opportunity to create a visual display of God’s gifts in your home?

There is something special about writing out your blessings one by one on colorful leaves and then holding them in your hands, touching His gifts to you, knowing you could fill up a thousand leaves with the Father’s goodness.

There is something special, too, about catching glimpses of the things your children are thankful for, and for them to see the things you are thankful for, as well.

Why not take this opportunity, even just for a few minutes, to make the Lord’s goodness clear to your children, to read about it in the Word, and to take turns sharing the things you are thankful for as you place them on the Thanksgiving Tree?

I know that when we walk by that wall in the center of our home, we’ll remember God’s many gifts.  And it will last long after the Thanksgiving meal has come and gone.

Every time the little ones make a remark about our Thanksgiving tree, it’s one more opportunity to tell them about the Father God we serve.

Have I convinced you yet? :)

It doesn’t need to be a complicated tree, or even a tree at all, but some sort of visual reminder that your blessings are many. It could be as simple as a hand-written list posted somewhere prominent in your home. (Grace in all things, friends!)

Let’s mark Thanksgiving in a special way this year!

Instructions for a Thanksgiving Tree:

The Thanksgiving Tree is an fun way to mark the importance of this holiday. Kids will love making their own leaves of thanks and attaching them to the visual reminder of all that we have to be thankful for!  Parents will appreciate the teaching opportunity.

The tree trunk

  • For the trunk and limbs of the Thanksgiving tree, cut apart a couple of paper grocery sacks into long strips (discard the bottoms – they are too thick).
  • Then, twist the strips by hand to make a long paper rope of sorts.
  • Once the paper is twisted, you can untwist it little by little to get the desired trunk or limb thickness.
  • For the very bottom of the trunk, you will not need to even twist the paper, just sort of crinkle it up and then shape it with your hands.
  • To make the smaller limbs and twigs, use a thinner, shorter strip of paper.

The Thanksgiving Tree is an fun way to mark the importance of this holiday. Kids will love making their own leaves of thanks and attaching them to the visual reminder of all that we have to be thankful for! Parents will appreciate the teaching opportunity.

The leaves

  • Use your favorite leaf template or trace some real leaves from outside. You might even try making some leaf rubbings and cutting them out.
  • Even though it’s not scientifically correct, our kids like a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors of leaves from various trees.
  • I recommend tracing onto card stock so that the leaves will last a little longer.
  • Give each family member a handful of leaves to write on.
  • For younger kids,  have them make a practice list before they write on the leaves themselves. :)
  • Use a sharpie or other dark colored marker or crayon to write each thing you are thankful for on each of your leaves of thanks.
  • Then, hang the leaves on the tree or fix them to the wall. (I just use tape!) We like some of ours to be falling through the air and some around the base of the tree. (As much as possible, I try to let the kids do this on their own and resist the urge to re-position any clumpy areas, haha.)
  • After the Thanksgiving tree is decorated, take turns sharing what you wrote on your leaves.

The Thanksgiving Tree is an fun way to mark the importance of this holiday. Kids will love making their own leaves of thanks and attaching them to the visual reminder of all that we have to be thankful for! Parents will appreciate the teaching opportunity.

The Lesson

  • Read Psalms 100 and 1 Thess. 5:18 and discuss why it’s important to give thanks.
  • Or Read Matt. 6:25-34 and discuss why we don’t need to worry.
  • Pray together as a family – thank the Lord for His goodness.

Last year, I had plans to turn our Thanksgiving tree into a Valentine’s Day tree and an Easter tree, and so forth, but I never did. This year I am determined. So, you might want to keep at least the bare bones of your tree for a while (hint, hint). :)

Don’t just celebrate Thanksgiving at the family gathering this year, friends. Give it the same thoughtful treatment you do Christmas. Start talking about it with your children now.

Make a plan for how to take advantage of those teachable moments whether it be through a Thanksgiving Tree or some other way to remember and give thanks.

After all, our God deserves the glory!

Jen :)

Sharing with: Tell It To Me TuesdaysWholehearted Wednesdays, A Little R and R, Tell His Story, Think Tank Thursdays, Wedded Wednesdays

When the Father Prunes~ Grace and Truth Week 44

I’m sure you’ve experienced it before, and perhaps you find yourself smack in the midst of it now – a season of pruning.

The purpose of pruning is to cut dead branches off or sometimes even to remove living ones in order to encourage more fruit-bearing in the following season.

And anyone who has been pruned before knows that the cutting off is painful, sometimes exceedingly painful, yet there is purpose in that pain, friends!

So when the pruning shears come out, perhaps we should willingly submit ourselves to the Master Gardener instead of trying to avoid His work at all costs.  How much easier would it go for us if we appreciated the pruning for what it is?

The pruning is a gift really, is it not? The chance to be more.

The pain of pruning is worth the final product!

Haley from the Long Way to Go shared a beautiful perspective on pruning with us in the link-up last week.

“God showed me that there is color in a season of pruning.”

Read the rest of this week’s feature by clicking the photo below!

Look for the product, friends.

Jen :)

 

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Grace & Truth : A Weekly Christian Link Up

Grace & Truth exists to point people to Jesus! We hope this link-up will be a source of encouragement each and every week. If you’re a blogger our hope is that you’ll use this space as a way to meet new friends within the Christian blogging community. If you’re a reader our hope is that you’ll meet new bloggers that love Jesus just as much as you do! Most of all, we hope you’ll meet Jesus here.

Meet Your Hosts

Satisfaction Through Christ
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Kaylene Yoder
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The Brown Tribe
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Arabah Joy
BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST | G+

A Divine Encounter
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Being Confident of This
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Busy Being Blessed
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Sharing Redemption’s Stories
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1.) Follow your hosts via their blog and/or social media channels. This is not mandatory, but appreciated!

2.) Leave 1-2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. Please do not link DIY, Crafts, Recipes, etc. Links of this kind will be deleted. We also reserve the right to delete posts that don’t align with the theme or that are deemed by the hostesses to be inappropriate.

3.) Visit 1-2 other links and leave a meaningful comment! We want to encourage community, so please don’t link and run!

4.) All links are randomly sorted – feel free to link as early or as late as you’d like. The playing field is even!

In order to be featured next week:

5.) Grab a button or link back to encourage new linkers. This is not mandatory to participate, but is required to be featured.

6.) Each host will choose one link to feature and promote via their social media channels next week.

7.) By linking up you agree to allow the hosts to use your featured post image if you are chosen as a feature for next week.  By linking up and leaving your email address, you also agree to receive e-mails relating to Grace and Truth.

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Christians and Sin ~ Grace and Truth Week 43

It’s Friday, and I’m just thankful to have made it through this week with a smile still on my face (well, mostly, haha). You?

I’m thankful for the Lord’s goodness in giving me the energy I need to get through each day lately.  I’ve started asking Him ahead of time when I know our day is going to be particularly long or potentially stressful to give me His strength and peace and patience. He always does. :)

But some days I don’t choose the opportunity for demonstrating patience or joy or strength. Some days I fail.

Some days I willingly sin.

I read a meme earlier this week on facebook that said something along the lines of: The mark of Christians is that they keep on fighting against sin. It doesn’t matter how many times they fall as long as they get back up and resume the fight.

How true.  We cannot expect perfection on this side of Heaven, but neither should we give up!  We choose to persevere, having faith in the results to follow.

This week my friend Dawn shared an excellent post on the mistakes we make.  She wrote of how they can lead to shame, but also to redemption. That’s the amazing Grace we experience as children of God!

 

Friends, this is one of those posts that bring a smile to your face and gratefulness to your heart – and maybe even a loud, “Amen!” to your lips.  So be sure to stop by and be encouraged. It’s well worth the time!

As we finish off this week, let’s remember how great a God we serve.

We may feel weak, but He is strong.

We may feel inadequate, but He is sufficient.

We may be weary, but He promises rest.

Let’s do it all for His glory!

Jen :)

P.S. I think I have fixed my Grace and Truth buttons, so if you’ve had issues with them in the past, give them a try today and let me know if they work! Thanks!

 

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Grace & Truth : A Weekly Christian Link Up

Grace & Truth exists to point people to Jesus! We hope this link-up will be a source of encouragement each and every week. If you’re a blogger our hope is that you’ll use this space as a way to meet new friends within the Christian blogging community. If you’re a reader our hope is that you’ll meet new bloggers that love Jesus just as much as you do! Most of all, we hope you’ll meet Jesus here.

Meet Your Hosts

Satisfaction Through Christ
BLOG
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Kaylene Yoder
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The Brown Tribe
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Arabah Joy
BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST | G+

A Divine Encounter
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | G+ | STUMBLEUPON

Being Confident of This
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Busy Being Blessed
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Sharing Redemption’s Stories
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Grace&Truth-Rules2

1.) Follow your hosts via their blog and/or social media channels. This is not mandatory, but appreciated!

2.) Leave 1-2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. Please do not link DIY, Crafts, Recipes, etc. Links of this kind will be deleted. We also reserve the right to delete posts that don’t align with the theme or that are deemed by the hostesses to be inappropriate.

3.) Visit 1-2 other links and leave a meaningful comment! We want to encourage community, so please don’t link and run!

4.) All links are randomly sorted – feel free to link as early or as late as you’d like. The playing field is even!

In order to be featured next week:

5.) Grab a button or link back to encourage new linkers. This is not mandatory to participate, but is required to be featured.

6.) Each host will choose one link to feature and promote via their social media channels next week.

7.) By linking up you agree to allow the hosts to use your featured post image if you are chosen as a feature for next week.  By linking up and leaving your email address, you also agree to receive e-mails relating to Grace and Truth.

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