When Giving Thanks is Worship

I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel ready for Thanksgiving. I’m not really talking about thawing a turkey, preparing a feast or packing for grandma’s. Every year, about this time, it seems like time speeds up and the calendar is bulging and there’s so much to do and buy and be.

It’s ironic since the purpose of Thanksgiving and even Christmas contradict that feeling entirely.

The older I get, the more I realize the best gifts have nothing to do with presents at all. Giving Thanks is the best we can give others. And when we wrap up gratitude with a bow and offer it to God, it’s called worship.

I love worship music and when I’m alone in my minivan, I blast Matt Redman’s “You Never Let Go” and I sing off key. God doesn’t mind.

But worship isn’t just amazing music, it’s giving thanks in every situation. Last week, influenza slammed out house. It’s in the messy and mundane, pausing to thank God for medicine and a warm home and healthy bodies that fight infection.

So, as you prepare your heart and home for a feast this week, stop and worship. Because that’s really what Thanksgiving is all about.

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Speaking of Matt Redman, his new CD “Sing Like Never Before” will usher you right into worship. It’s called the Essential Collection and that’s exactly what it is. It has some of my favorite worships songs on it: “You Never Let Go,” “Blessed Be Your Name,” and “The Heart of Worship,” along with new recordings of “Our God,” Better is One Day,” “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord),” and the new song, “Love So High.”


WFMW: Family Game Night- Simply Fun

Three times last week after dinner we went dinosaur hunting. We grunted like caveman. And drug around our children by their hair.

Okay, so two out of the three.

We were actually playing a game called Ooga, a really fun board game created by Simply Fun, a company that helps families learn and connect through play.

Me hungry, bring food. Get ready for a prehistoric banquet with Ooga! Everyone hunts dinosaur tiles with suction-cup spears for their daily feast. Menu cards tell you which dinosaurs to hunt. Toss the dino bones and capture the most menu cards to earn the honor of being Supreme Tribal Chief.

I enjoy playing games, but my husband loves to win games. It’s such a fun, bonding experience for our family. And I’m always looking for creative ways to engage with my kids that include turning off the media and screens and just laughing and being together.

Ya know, like hunting each other. Good quality fun.

My favorite thing about Simply Fun is the oodles of unique games for all ages that really bring the family together. And get this, for the entire month, if you order online, 50% of the profits goes to Mercy House from the independent consultant site above.

Disclaimer: Simply Fun sent us a couple of games to try out. No humans were harmed in this post.

Family game night works for us!




Petite Lemon {Giveaway}

UPDATE: Melody, comment #88, has been selected as the winner of this giveaway. Congratulations – an email has been sent your way.

I’m a sucker for personalized shirts.

I’d have family uniforms with our names on the back if my hubby would let me.  I think it all goes back to those matching red Christmas sweaters we wore in family pictures with our dogs (yes, they matched too) before we had kids. This is where I don’t insert that picture because I value my relationship with my spouse. Ahem.

When my newest sponsor, Petite Lemon, said they were going to send a Little Sister shirt to our little sister, we couldn’t wait! Look how cute. She may be turning six soon, but she’s my baby and I’m going to personalize that child as long as I can. We chose this cute Lil Sister baseball shirt with friendly owls. It’s a super soft adorable shirt!

I also LOVE Petite Lemon’s birthday, name and special occasion shirts:

Colorful Number Girl Tshirt

Playful Doodles - Big Brother Tshirt

I Love Dad Boy Tshirt

This great company also does personalized posters, growth charts, and more!

So fun! Today, Petite Lemon is offering a $100 gift card to one lucky winner! 

Go look around and leave a comment on this post with what you love.

This giveaway will end Tuesday.


Decorating Cookies: A Family Review

The UPS man handed me a package and before he could tip his brown hat, I was holding Bridget’s new book, Decorating Cookies.

I opened it and my heart flip-flopped. It’s stunning and yummy and I was overwhelmed with emotion (and hunger). I love watching dreams come true. I also love cookies. It’s a complicated bag of emotions.

Ten minutes later, my “old” next door neighbor was at my door with her signature pink box of cookies for our Mercy House volunteers. (And suddenly, we have a peak in volunteer interest). I hugged her tight.

I introduced y’all to Bridget back in February of 2009. It’s an awesome story.

So, about decorating cookies. I have become an expert at eating cookies (and hiding them from my children), but I’ve never once tried to make them. If I had a baking blog, it would be called I AM NOT A BAKER. Subtle, I know.

But when I took this picture, I knew I had to try.

And let me tell you, I don’t know if I’ve ever been more intimated. My family was encouraging, but I think they had pretty low expectations. I mean, seriously, who could blame them. We’ve eaten Bridget’s “mistakes” for years AND WE COULDN’T FIND THE MISTAKES. So, yeah, the pressure, it was heavy.

So, I got the supplies and ingredients and read her very detailed, clear instructions written for people like me (but also written to the gifted bakers out there).

I could’ve just served the dough. SO yummy! I was surprised at how simple and easy the recipe was. I did forget the egg and added it in last (I bet Bridget is dying reading that!) And while I’m confessing, I learned the difference between wax and parchment paper. You can read more insightful commentary at I AM NOT A BAKER.

I loved the part in her book about cookie decorating with kids. Wait until you’ve got everything ready before you call them in. My daughter helped me more, but my younger two were all about licking the beaters once they cut out a few.

We decided to go with pumpkin cookies because most real ones are mismatched, lumpy and unique. Seemed fitting.

While the cookies baked (loved all the helpful how-to’s on keeping cut-out cookie shapes and dipping cutter in flour), I called in the big guns to help me mix up the colored icing. It calls for meringue powder. I’m an adult now.

I just love the way a man looks in the kitchen. Delicious.

Tinting Royal Icing is fun and hard work. But starting a maternity home in a developing nation might be less intimidating then icing the cookies. My hand shook and my writing was wobbly. At one point my husband said, “Let me try” in that tone that said “I will show you how to do this.”

He looked up from his work and said, “I really respect Bridget.”

After outlining the cookies, we flooded them. That’s how the professionals talk.

And then this happened:

I can never refer to myself as a professional again.

Moving on.

We ended up with a lumpy, bumpy pumpkin patch.

It was a super fun experience and the best thing about it?

THE COOKIES.

Once they dried, we ate them. The respect level in this house went way up. My kids fought over the last one! (Well, I hid the last one, but you probably already knew that!)

Not so bad for a first try, eh?

So, *go buy this beautiful book (seriously you will not believe the picture tutorials) and make some family memories! It will make an awesome Christmas gift! It’s only $10! 

*Amazon affiliate

 


Don’t Be Afraid of the Light

When I was a teenager, my parents took a stained glass class. It was random and sort of embarrassing as a kid, but they became experts on fitting broken pieces together to create a new beautiful picture. Then it was cool.

They would come home from their time together with bandaids on their fingers and art in their heart. One-by-once pieces of their work begin to show up in our house. A stained glass rose hung in the kitchen window, glistening glass angels on the Christmas tree.

All these years later, I love seeing these pieces of art still hanging in my parents home. I didn’t know then I would see myself in the broken pieces, I didn’t know God would use the shattered remnants of my life to create a brand new picture. I didn’t know he would use my brokenness to let his light shine thru and reflect Him.

I think that might be one reason I love Matthew West’s new album so much. God used the broken stories of people to change Matthew’s life and his music reflects this so well.

The story behind my favorite song on his new album Into the Light is “Forgiveness.” Get ready, it will move you. I promise.

Did you cry?? Please tell me I’m not alone.

Matthew West’s new album Into the Light. Available today.

What story is God writing with the broken pieces of your life?

EMI Music sponsored this post. But the love of music is all my own.