WFMW: {Guest Post} 5 Ideas to Make This Year’s Thanksgiving Your Best Of All Time


Hi, I’m Robin! When Kristen invited me to step into her space while she and her family are loving on those babies at Mercy House, fistpumping I thought, “Thanksgiving Week?  Yes!!  I know exactly what I’ll write!”

And then she wrote most of it for me in her WFMW last week. ~ smile ~  Wonderful thoughts on taking back Thanksgiving, her ideas embody my soul’s cry for the holidays.

So I re-grouped, incorporating one or two ideas in a new way and adding a few others, and today I’m happy to share What Works For Me this week:

5 Ideas to Make This Year’s Thanksgiving Your Best Of All Time

1.  Require a ticket to the table.

When I host our family Thanksgiving meal, I require a ticket for admission for everyone.  We do this by way of our Thankful Box, and it’s as simple as writing down at least one thing for which you’re thankful and slipping it into the box before dinner.  After we’re done eating, we pass the Thankful Box around, taking turns reading the slips of paper and trying to guess who said it.  It’s a great conversation starter, it holds us together just a little bit longer, and it serves as beautiful reminder for why we’re together.  If you’re interested, I penned a little poem to go with mine, and one year gave it as an inexpensive but priceless Christmas gift, tucked inside a pretty box.

2.  Establish Your Signature Dish.

Can you think of specific dishes made by members of your family, the ones that are as eagerly anticipated as the holidays?  Well, if you don’t already have one that everyone is begging you to cook, make that your goal this year!  Mine is apple pie; it’s a definite labor of love because I have to make two to have enough (four homemade crusts!)…but the lip-smacking and declarations that I make the best apple pie in the world are big paychecks.

3.  Do Something Different.

As host this year, I was thinking through details for dinner when it occurred to me I couldn’t remember a single specific Thanksgiving meal with my parents.  Horrified and wanting to make sure this wasn’t the case for my babies, I asked my youngest (the only one still at home) for ideas.  Though I don’t think I’ll take the advice of my teenage son, I’m cooking up some surprises to go with our turkey.  Feel free to offer YOUR suggestions in comments–I’m listening!

4.  Give Surcies.

Wanna fill your family’s and friends’ cup to the overflow?  Gift them a little something that demonstrates your anticipation of their arrival.  Among family, this kind of thoughtfulness is unexpected.  It’s a way tangibly to express I love you, and can be as simple as a scripture verse rolled in a tiny bottle (I received one of these and it MADE MY DAY!), after-dinner mints (or if you have time,  hand-pressed buttermints) wrapped in a little bag to freshen post-turkey breath.  Love notes at each table setting don’t cost a thing, but they’re word treasures.

5.  Remember Others.

It’s likely you have family members too far away to visit, those who have experienced great loss since last year (through death of loved ones, marital strife), and others who are struggling through difficult circumstances (illness, financal, etc.).  Pick up the phone and call them.  Drop a card in the mail.  Serve with your family at a local ministry.  Don’t feel like you have to talk an hour or write a dissertation–the act of remembering is a beautiful expression of love, and it could be the very thing someone needs to hear.

Heartfelt thanks to Kristen for allowing me to share Wednesday with you, and if you’ve never visited my blog (or it’s been a long while), I’ve just unveiled my new design and I am thrilled to the moon!  Pop over for a visit?  I’ve got a few surprises waiting :).

Sweet [Exhausted] Mercy

We made it.

And I’m almost too tired to type another word.

30 hours and mostly still smiling (not one meltdown, so clearly miracles happen).


We landed at 7am and hit the ground running. We arrived at the home and got reacquainted. Everyone is shy at first, babies tentative to white strangers.


Well. Most.


We shared gifts with all the residents and staff and took a tour of our new home and the recent additions.


It’s surreal being in Kenya again. Loving mercy, being eyewitnesses to all God has done.


Also: What happens in Kenya stays in Kenya


One of my kids got stuck in a bathroom for half an hour and we had to break the door down. That was fun. You can take that family out of the USA, but you can take THAT family out of us. Apparently.

I’m so glad you’re here with us!

P.S. Don’t you love my Team Mercy shirt? Our new Team Mercy Advocacy Program starts in 2014. It’s the perfect way for families to join our team and help reach more girls in Kenya for Christ.

Last Minute

Our bags are packed, weighed, rearranged, unpacked, repacked ready for Africa. (And I have a large supply of chocolate and Xanax for my travel anxiety. And all the other passengers said AMEN).


We leave on a big plane tomorrow and layover in Amsterdam. Since our kids are traveling with us this trip, I was on the hunt for cheap plane tickets a few months ago, which should explain the 12 hour layover in Holland and the 9 hour red eye to Kenya. And also the cranky exhausted kids I’m expecting.

Remind me of that okay?

I’m always excited SLASH nervous when I travel to Kenya. It’s like stepping into a completely different world where you lose control and expectations. I’ve gone half a dozen times now, but this trip, this trip will be like no other. 

12 babies, y’all. 

I want you to come with me. I want you to taste, smell , hear and see. I can’t wait to show you what you’ve helped create. I can’t wait to show you joy only God can bring.

I can’t wait to show you miracles.

Would you pray for us? (Specifically for peace and wisdom, endurance and grace over the next 12 days)

I’m praying for you, too. 

WFMW: 5 Ways to Take Back Thanksgiving

“You mean we won’t be eating turkey?” my 6 year old asked in surprise.

There won’t be a turkey.

Or a pumpkin pie.

No, mashed potatoes or a food-coma-football game.

For the first time in our family’s history, we won’t be celebrating Thanksgiving.

We will be living it.

5 Orange Pumpkins In A Row

We will be holding babies in Kenya that weren’t supposed to be born. We will be hugging girls that should have died. We will be eye witnesses to the remarkable story that God has written.

“Will we even know it’s Thanksgiving Day?” she asked.

Yes, we will know, darling. Because Thanksgiving is more than food and parades and bounty. It’s testimony. It’s looking at what God has done-from the mundane to the miraculous- and breaking bread, our lives, in thanks for it. We will know.

Your Thanksgiving won’t look like mine. But I urge you to take it back. We live in a world that has turned a turkey into a god and God into something routine.

Five Ways to Take Back Thanksgiving:

1. Be intentional. Write down your thanks–on a paper tablecloth, pinned to a wreath, in a gratitude journal. Read it out loud. Share your thanks.

2. Share your table. Invite a single friend, a new divorced mom, neighbors, strangers and feast with them.

3. Don’t be a consumer. I’m all about a good deal, but let’s not turn this day of thanks into another day of shopping.

4. Give thanks by giving your life away. Find some way, someone to share your resources with. Look at your excess (toys, clothes, food) and find someone who needs what you have too much of.

5. Include God. It sounds trite, but it’s powerful and freeing to remember and acknowledge where every gift comes from (God in Heaven).  Offer gratitude to the One who gives us breath and hope.


Life Verse Design {Giveaway}

UPDATE: Gretchen N. has been selected as the winner of this giveaway.

If you stood in the center of my home and read my walls, you would get a pretty clear indication that I’m trying to send a message. I love inspiration.

Because sometimes you just need to walk in the bathroom on a Monday morning and see this on the wall:

Doesn’t that make you feel better?

The other day I was talking to a new Christian. She said, “I’m trying to figure out how to fit Jesus into my life.” The words were profound and I thought about them all day. I realized I spent the first 37 years of my life trying to fit Jesus in my life and the last 4 trying to fit my life into Jesus.

Life Verse Designs sent me this beautiful 11×14 gallery wrapped canvas. I love the reminder. The truth, especially in this season of Thanksgiving.


Words are moving. Scripture is powerful. I want to be reminded throughout the day and I want my home to reflect what God has done in me.


Life Verse Designs takes Scripture, inspiring words and pictures and creates art to decorate your life with. Check out some of these favorites.

Plus, check out these combined offers so you can get your Christmas shopping done early:

* FREE shipping on any order in the shop {no coupon needed}
* BUY 3 8×10 fine art prints & receive the 4th print FREE {do NOT put the 4th print in your cart or you will be charged for it; at checkout in “Other Instructions” box write in the name & color of the 4th print you desire}
Life Verse Designs is also generously donating a portion of any sale made to Mercy House. At checkout in the “Other Instructions” box, simply write in “Purchase to benefit Mercy House”.
Today, Life Verse Designs is offering one reader their choice of any 11×14 gallery wrapped art in the store (no custom orders). A $125 value! Tell me what you love for an entry.