Friday, November 30, 2012

Day 30

I never really know what I'm going to post each day.  But today, God let me know quite early what today's post would be... and it's called Toilet Trouble.  My alarm went off this morning and I wanted to hit the snooze button, but God gently reminded me that I was supposed to be excited about my morning quiet time (thanks to my seven year old's enthusiasm from last night), so I got out of bed and obeyed.  And I'm so glad I did.  I listened to 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman and was reminded that I needed to be thankful at the end of the day, no matter what happens by this verse:  "Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes."  God was preparing me... I even got to experience God's living and active word this morning!  My day was off to a great start.

The boys got up, we were on schedule, and things were lookin' good.  Then, I got a call from my son from the bathroom and I knew what was coming... the toilet was clogged.  How did I know this?  I discovered it last night, but wanted my hubby to take care of it... and I forget to mention it to him.  So, now it was up to me.  Let me tell you, I'm not a plunger kinda gal, but today, I was me or nothing.  So I found the plunger and was anticipating success.  I pumped it a few times and nothing happened, so I got the bright idea to flush the toilet to see if it secretly worked and I just didn't realize it.  Big mistake!! Whatever you do, do not flush the toilet if the water level didn't decrease after using the plunger.  Why, you ask?  Because it floods.  Yep, you got it.  My bathroom floor was flooding with sewage water.  As I yelled "No!," I did have quick enough reflexes to grab my Christmas rug off the floor before it got contaminated.  And the flood didn't just stick to my bathroom.  Nope, it spread into the hallway.  I quickly grabbed a roll of paper towels and started tossing them all over the floor... all the while looking at the toilet full of brown liquid that wasn't going anywhere but on the floor.  I was starting to get frustrated and a thought flashed through my brain.  Guess what it was... Heather, you're supposed to give thanks in all circumstances.  Ha!  So I was at a crossroads... give thanks or get mad.  The choice was mine.  And today, I chose thankfulness, thanks to the Holy Spirit's still small voice reminding me of 1 Thessalonians 5:18.  I wasn't quite sure what to be thankful for yet, but I was gonna find something...

After I had paper towels on the pools of sewage water, I had one last task... to fix the blockage.  I grabbed the plunger and thought... I don't know if this is gonna work.  So, I said a prayer.  You got it, I prayed "Dear God, please let this plunger work."  I plunged a few times and voila!  The blockage was removed.  Thank you, God!!  I'm so glad the God answers prayers about my clogged toilet!

No time to clean up the rest of the mess, so the paper towels covering the floor would have to do until I dropped my son off at school.  As we said our prayers in the car, I started off with "Thank you God for toilets, plungers and paper towels."  And the boys and I cracked up laughing together.  Choosing to be thankful was so much more fun that choosing frustration. 

I had to run an errand after dropping my son off at school and we got to drive by the sewage plant.  Pretty funny after my toilet trouble this morning!  And it stunk sooooo bad.  I mean it was really nasty.  My three year old exclaims "P-U!  What is that smell!"  And I replied "It's the sewage plant.  Aren't you glad our house doesn't smell like that?"  He said yes.  It brought a smile to my face because even though I had sewage all over my bathroom, my house didn't stink one bit.  Pretty miraculous in my book... another thing to be thankful for!

Now, the floors are bleached and smelling like swimming pool water according to my three year old.  The toilet works.  It's a good day.  And I hope that you chose some thankfulness today too!  So, here's my Psalm of thankfulness for today...

I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips.  My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.  Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together.  Psalm 34:1-3

Tonight, I am thankful for...

  1. Toilets that normally work properly
  2. Plungers
  3. Paper Towels
  4. Laminate floors that make cleaning up sewage easier
  5. Sewage plant smells that make me thankful that my house doesn’t stink even though I had a sewage flood
  6. Giggling about our toilet troubles with the boys
  7. Bleach
  8. Praying for my three year old to take a nap… and him falling asleep shortly thereafter… Thank you Jesus!
  9. Silly Putty
  10. Experiencing God's living and active word this morning
  11. A devotion my hubby sent me that was just what I needed to hear
Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 6,807 to go...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day 29

Mornings can be hectic at the Snider house... especially school mornings.  Packing lunches, eating breakfast, brushing teeth and getting out the door on time can be a real challenge.  But there is one thing we do each morning that I love... I pray scriptures over the boys and we read a devotion.  The scripture prayers are called 31 Ways to Pray for Your Children  by Bob Hostetler.  It's a simple, easy way to not only pray scriptures over my sons, but also for them to hear the truth and be reminded of how God wants them to live.  Here's a link if you want to check it out:

Any guesses on the devotion we read each morning?  You got it!  Jesus Calling 365 Devotions for Kids.  Yep, they tweaked the devotions to relate to a younger audience.  My boys love it and even remind me to read it sometimes if I forget. 

To be honest, I sometimes wonder if any of it sinks in.  My three year old might be playing with his plate... they could easily be daydreaming about something else, you know, just going through the motions of our morning routine.  But today, I discovered that it was sinking in.  My seven year old was ready for bed and came downstairs carrying his Bible.  He informed me that he was going to drink his milk and read his Bible, because he remembered that the devotion said it was important to read the Bible and spend time with God.  Then he said, "I love to read my Bible!!"  Another moment I will treasure in my heart.  As I gave my three year old a bath, I could hear my son reading out loud.  I can only imagine the smile on God's face...

And then it hit me... I was being convicted unknowingly by my seven year old.  When was the last time that I was that excited about reading my Bible?  Don't get me wrong, I really do enjoy studying God's word and it is part of my routine... but typically when things are part of your routine, you just do it.  It's not exciting.  You don't really jump for joy.  You just execute the task and move on to the next thing on your list.  I'm thankful that my seven year old's enthusiasm reminds me to be excited about reading my Bible too. 

Hebrews 4:12 gives us some insight into why we should be excited about reading our Bible:  For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  What other book is living and active?  This may sound kinda strange, but God's Word really is alive.  I've experienced this.  I might read some scriptures one day and not get much out of them, then all of a sudden, I read the same scriptures another time and God speaks to me when I read the exact same verses.  That's God's living Word in action!  We can read God's Word again and again and He can use it in different ways to communicate with us. Aren't you glad that God loves us so much that He speaks to each one of us individually using the same words in the Bible?  That's definitely something to be thankful for!!  And a good reminder for me to get more excited when I spend time studying His Word.

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1.  A lukewarm shower this morning that reminded me how much I appreciate my typical hotter showers
2. My three year old sneaking back into bed so I would sing to wake him up
3.  An unsolicited hug from my son
4.  My seven year old doing an amazing job setting the table for company tonight... no complaints and it looked perfect!
5.  Tylenol
6.  The lessons God teaches me through my children
7.  The reminder to get excited about studying the Bible because God has a message just for me each time I read it - amazing!
8.  Smiling snowman mug filled with peppermint tea
9.  God answering prayers
10.  The Excel spreadsheet that allows me to track our 10,000 reasons for being thankful

Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 6,868 to go...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 28

We officially hit 3,000 reasons for giving thanks today!  How exciting!  Your lists inspire me to be thankful.  This journey is so much more fun because I get to share it with you.  I hung the 3,000 milestone ornament on the Thankfulness Tree, which is now located behind our nativity scene.  I thought it was a fitting spot for the tree since Jesus' birth is the beginning of our salvation stories.  Here's the latest picture of our tree:

I had plans today.  (Notice the word "had"... it will clue you in to what's coming.)  I was super excited about these plans.  And this morning as I was getting the boys ready for school, God gently reminded me that I needed to cancel my plans.  (Ah, the "had").  I was not happy about this, but I knew He was right.  So, I made a phone call to cancel them... and we were both super bummed.  But, we did get to chat on the phone (which really did help).  And we both knew that the decision to cancel truly was the right thing to do.  But it sure did stink!

When I first realized that I had to cancel my plans, I was so frustrated.  And my poor boys got the brunt of some of my frustration since they were not being obedient.  It was a rough morning!  I'm so thankful that we pray in the car each morning and that I was able to apologize for my behavior to both God and my boys.  It feels great to know that I'm forgiven!

If I would have chosen to be thankful for God's wisdom up front, instead of choosing frustration... maybe I would have been more patient with the boys.  Maybe the morning woulda been smoother.  Thankfulness can really make a difference in my attitude.  It's just taking some time for me to make "giving thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thessalonians 5:18) my FIRST reaction.  Can any of you relate?

Psalm 50:23 puts an interesting spin on thankfulness:  He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.

Have you ever thought about how thanking God in all circumstances is a sacrifice?  And not only is it a sacrifice, it honors God too!  God recognizes that thanksgiving can be difficult... that thanksgiving can be a sacrifice.  And when we choose to sacrifice thank offerings to God, it shows that we are treating God with respect or reverence (1).  Pretty amazing stuff to think about!  I'm so glad that God understands that it's hard to give thanks sometimes and that He recognizes that it can be a sacrifice.  Aren't you? 

God is so amazing!  His love for us never fails.  He never leaves us or forsakes us.  We truly are blessed.  Thanks for sacrificing thank offerings with me during this experiment!

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1.  God's wisdom... even when I don't like the fact that it means canceling my plans
2.  Getting my grocery shopping done for the weekend
3.  Listening to my seven year old praise God tonight, singing at the top of his lungs without any reservation
4.  Two new Christmas magazines waiting to be read
5.  Having my parents over for dinner and them joining us for worship tonight
6.  My mom helping clean up after dinner so we wouldn't be late for worship
7.  Getting my first Christmas card today and the creative efforts that went into making the letter one of clever humor
8.  Creative problem solving with my friend and the Excel spreadsheet that laid out a potential solution
9.  God knowing that sometimes thanksgiving really is a sacrifice

Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 6,951 to go...

(1)  The Life Application Study Bible, New International Version. (1991). Definition of honor (p. 2463).  Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day 27

Today, I got to hear my three year old share a theology lesson with his cousin.  But before I explain, you need a little bit of background information.  A few weeks ago, my three year old told me he didn't want to go to heaven because it was in outer space and he was scared of outer space.  I tried to reassure him that it wouldn't be scary at all... in fact, it would be so much better than living here on this earth.  He didn't buy it... and he dropped the subject after a few nights.  Today, we were at lunch and my niece and my son were sitting across from each other.  There were two empty chairs between my mom and me and the kids... it was almost like they were big kids sitting by themselves.  Pretty cute!  And so, they decided to have a big kid conversation.  My son looked at my niece and said "God says that when we die we go up to heaven." She agreed.  Then he shared, "When we get to heaven, we go alive again."  I was quite surprised that out of all the things two three year olds could discuss, heaven was their topic of choice.  This is a conversation that I will treasure in my heart.  And hopefully, this demonstrates that maybe he's over his fear of outer space and heaven...

I've mentioned how being thankful in all circumstances can haunt me because I'm not there yet.  But the theology of a three year old can help me find ways to give thanks in all circumstances... John 3:16 says:  For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  When we invite Jesus into our hearts as Lord and Savior, our eternal destiny is secure.  Romans 10:9 explains this in more detail:  That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  Once we confess and believe in Jesus, when we die, we go alive again in heaven and get to spend eternity in the most marvelous place... in the eternal presence of God!  That is something to be thankful for all the time, regardless of our circumstances.  This thankfulness stuff is starting to click... one lesson at a time.  I hope you're learning as much as I am.  God sure is using some creative ways to teach me.  Thanks for letting me share them with you.

Tonight, I'm thankful for...

1.  The theology lesson from a three year old 
2. My hubby's text tone from Duck Dynasty "Everybody happy, happy, happy" that makes me laugh out loud
3.  Date night with my hubby (and yes, I did wear my black dress that arrived safely from the hotel where I left it)
4.  My parents not only watching the boys, but also driving them to our house and putting them to bed so they won't be up too late on a school night
5.  Seeing the full moon rising behind bare, lacy tree limbs in a cloudless sky
6.  Christmas lights in our neighborhood and my hubby's commentary that brings a smile to my face

Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 7,063 to go...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Day 26

Have I mentioned that I love my Jesus Calling devotion by Sarah Young?  God gave her such an amazing way to share His truth through this book.  And it should be no surprise that the devotions this week focus on thankfulness since we just celebrated Thanksgiving, so they are especially encouraging to me in my thankfulness journey.  This morning, I tweeted a quote from Jesus Calling (while I'm not doing much on Twitter yet, I am on there and you can follow me @HeatherSniderKY).  Here's my tweet:  When your mind is occupied with thanking Jesus, you have no time for worrying or complaining. B thankful

Pretty good stuff, right?  Well, God was giving me some good advice this morning... that I quickly forgot by the afternoon.  My day started out great with a super productive meeting regarding the mom's group at my church.  The ladies who lead it are both godly and wise and I'm so blessed to have them serving in this ministry.  I made a quick stop at the grocery, got my three year old down for his nap.  Got my quiet time with God and even had time leftover to get some work done on the computer.  And I got my black dress in the mail today, just in time for a date night with my hubby tomorrow. (Remember, the one I left in the hotel closet?  Check out the whole story on Day 18.)  But somewhere along the way, I turned into Oscar the Grouch.  Not for any particular reason that I could pinpoint... but it happened.  And I couldn't shake it.  My hubby even noticed and asked why I was grumpy.  I had to apologize to the boys for being harsh.  Yuck!  So much for keeping my mind occupied with thanking Jesus.  I didn't do so great today. 

So once again, I'm haunted by what the Bible says about being thankful.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  I'm supposed to give thanks all the time, regardless of my circumstances... regardless of whether I feel like it.  The benefits of giving thanks are spectacular... and I've experienced these benefits during the first 26 days of the experiment, yet I can quickly choose to wallow and complain and feel sorry for myself.  I didn't splash some thankfulness sunshine on my circumstances today (see Day 11) and the result was Oscar the Grouch. 

I'm so very thankful that God does not expect perfection from me.  I'm so glad that God extends His grace to me when I mess up.  So as I'm confessing my lack of thanksgiving today to you, I'm also confessing it to God and I know that He forgives me.  "Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23  I can have a fresh start right now, and for that, I am thankful.  Just like God doesn't expect perfection from me with this thankfulness stuff, He doesn't expect perfection from you either.  We're learning how "to give thanks in all circumstances" together.   Thank You, God, for giving us second, and third, and fourth, and infinite chances to grow and learn how to be thankful.  We truly are blessed by our Lord whose love never fails. 

Today, I am thankful for...

1.  God's amazing grace when I fail to choose thankfulness
2.  Hot tea warming my hands
3.  How orange peel in the garbage disposal creates instant air freshener
4.  Meeting with two amazing ladies to plan our mom's group for 2013
5. Getting my black dress in the mail
6.  Watching the boys delight as the North Pole Express train circled our Christmas tree

Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 7,144 to go...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Day 25

Well, Christmas has arrived at the Snider house.  The tree is decorated, the stockings are hung on the bookshelf with care (yes, we have a fireplace, but no mantle, so the bookshelf comes in handy for our stockings).  The boys joyfully helped with all the decorating.  It was an afternoon filled with Christmas fun.  I'm so glad to have the house officially decorated!  Here's a picture of our tree (with all the lights now fixed thanks to my hubby's research and a light tester that uncovered the culprits of the black holes on our tree).

About five years ago, I started making calendars for the grandparents at Christmas.  This seemed like a great idea, especially since I'm not so great about sharing pictures throughout the year.  The calendars were the solution to share pictures in a format that they could use all year long - brilliant!  So, I went to Archiver's and found calendars and kits that included all the paper, stickers and embellishments you needed.  Perfect - a calendar in a box.  This should be easy.  How naive I was!  First, I had to review all the pictures we took that year and choose which ones to put in the calendar.  Yep, it took hours.  Next, the pictures were uploaded and printed.  And then, my creative juices had to kick in to layout the pictures, papers and embellishments for 12 months.  Did I mention that I was making 6 of these?  Yikes!  It took me about 3 hours to design two calendars.  And to top it all off, I'm a procrastinator and tend to work better under pressure, so I'd be working on these calendars right up to Christmas Eve.  Let's just say that I was NOT enjoying my evenings very much.  The calendars were a huge hit... and guess what that means?  You got it... I was now on the hook for making calendars each year.

You would think that I learned a lesson to start on the calendars earlier, but nope, I didn't.  I would follow that same pattern of procrastination for the next several years.  My dear friend, who knew the amount of stress this caused me, suggested doing the calendars online.  But I resisted because the handmade version showed I cared.  Well, last year, I decided it was time to enjoy the month of December, so I took her advice and tried out the online version.  I was shocked at how much time it saved me!  No cutting, slicing, or resizing things by hand.  No measuring.  The layouts were right there at my fingertips and all I had to do was drag and drop the pictures.  It was amazing!! The scrapbook calendars are now a thing of the past.

Last week, I received an email stating that my calendar website was having a Black Friday deal on calendars... buy one, get one free.  And I thought, can I pull this off in three days?  I was up for the challenge.  My hubby showed me a new way to review all the pictures from the past year and it saved me hours!  We uploaded the pictures, I dropped them into the template, and Ta da... the calendars were done.  Yep, as of 3:20 PM today, all six calendars were ordered!!  This is a banner day - I'm done with my calendars in November.  I was so excited, I did a happy dance for my family.  (I'm serious... I really did jump up and down with my arms in the air going "Hoot!  Hoot!").

The calendars became easier and easier once I let go of my old way of doing things and accepted the fact that everyone would love them even if they weren't handmade.  I think The Thankfulness Experiment is the same... giving thanks becomes easier and easier as we let go of our old way of thinking and choose to give thanks.  Ephesians 3:20 haunts me because I know it's not easy to give thanks for everything.  But I'm learning, and God is changing my thoughts and my perspective through this experiment.  Are you experiencing a transformation too?  We'll keep working on this thankfulness stuff one moment at a time.  I'm so glad you're on this journey with me!

Tonight, I am thankful that...

1.  My calendars are finished!!!
2.  My house is decorated for Christmas
3.  I got to teach a discipleship class on The Thankfulness Experiment and for the great insight that those attending shared with me
4.  Remembering past vacations while putting ornaments on the tree
5.  Italian Chicken Soup

Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 7,229 to go...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day 24

Today began the Christmas Transformation at the Snider house.  And boy, does it take a lot of work!  I tend to forget the effort that it takes to get everything decorated.  Can you relate?  In order to begin decorating, I had some much overdue dusting to do.  Then, we had to rearrange the toy room, because that's where the Christmas tree resides.  Not only did we have to rearrange the toy room, but we also had to find some new homes for the toys.  Thankfully, we had some tubs that could serve as toy chests and it gave us an opportunity to select some toys to give away because the boys outgrew them. 

After dusting, rearranging and vacuuming, it was time... to bring down the tree.  My hubby had the mood set with a fire in the fireplace and Christmas music playing in the background.  He got the tree set up, and my boys discovered patches without lights.  Never a good sign when you have a pre-lit tree.  But that gave us the excuse to put off decorating until tomorrow, since it was time for the boys to go to bed anyway.  My hubby was able to fix the light issue, so now we have a beautiful, undecorated tree waiting for the transformation tomorrow. 

Christmas decorating is lots of work, but the outcome is so worth it.  Giving thanks can be like this too.  If you're having a rough day, it can be a lot of work to choose thankfulness.  But taking the time to give thanks is so worth it because it helps you think about things that are true, right, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).  Giving thanks changes your perspective and reminds you that there are blessings all around you... you just might have to take a little time to notice them.  So keep your eyes open for all the blessings and take time to "always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."  Ephesians 5:20

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1.  My comfy mattress and warm down comforter
2.  Mommy/son date with my seven-year old
3.  Mommy/son lunch with my three-year old at Panera - his choice!
4.  My seven-year old going to the football game with his dad, grandparents, uncle and cousin
5.  Getting started on my photo calendars - the earliest I've ever gotten started!!
6.  The sight of our Christmas tree lit up
7.  The sound of the crackling fire
8.  Christmas deals at Lifeway
9.  Whoopee cushion and the joy it brought my boys
10.  My dishwasher

Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 7,290 to go...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Day 23

Thanksgiving is over and Christmas has officially arrived with Black Friday.  Crazy how at the stroke of midnight, the Christmas frenzy settles in as people do whatever it takes to get the great deals they scouted out on the Internet or in the newspaper ads.  Did any of you brave the Black Friday frenzy?  My mom and I did, however, it's not what you think.  We started our Black Friday shopping extravaganza about 10:45 AM.  Yep, we slept in, ate breakfast and took our time.  What did we miss?  Long lines, traffic jams, and lots of frustrated customers.  What did we get?  Everything on our list.  Isn't that amazing?  God was so good to us today!  We may have gotten the LAST of some items we were looking for, but we got them nonetheless.  We even got the special Bath & Body Works Bonus bag at 11:30 AM (which is amazing because the associate up front said they were out).  But they found one more box of the special bags right when we were checking out.  Pretty cool stuff! 

Believe it or not, my hubby decided a few years back that he was in... he was going to take the Black Friday plunge.  This was quite shocking to me because my hubby hates crowds AND long lines.  But he was determined to experience it once.  He got up before dawn, took a picture of the car clock, and drove to his destination. He got out of the car, saw the line, got back in the car and drove home.  With a final picture of the car clock when he arrived home less than an hour later, his Black Friday experience ended.  He got back in bed and caught some more zzz's. 

It's pretty incredible to think about what people go through to get those "good deals" on Black Friday.  Getting a good deal feels great and can be worth all the effort, especially if the recipient of the gift shows great delight after opening the present.  Doesn't it bring you so much joy to know that you gave someone the perfect gift? 

I think God experiences great delight when we take the time to thank Him for all the "good deals" He gives us each day.  The "good deals" He gives us are everywhere if we just take the time to notice. I'm noticing a lot more "good deals" from God since we started this experiment 23 days ago.  Are you? 

Zephaniah 3:17 says:  The Lord your God is with you.  He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.  God takes great delight in our thanksgiving.   Let's keep " thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."  Ephesians 5:20

Today, I am thankful for...

1.  Prayers and snuggling that comforted my son after a bad dream
2.  Compassion of my son
3.  Gangman style dance re-enactment and the giggle fest that followed
4.  My three year old's great delight and mischievous laugh because he was wearing his favorite beach shirt for the third day in a row
5.  Black Friday shopping with my mom
6.  Thanksgiving leftovers at my parent's house - even yummy on day two!
7.  Cracking up over the mashed potato mishap... you've never seen flying butter like this!
8.  Fresh Balsam Candle making the house smell like Christmas - even though we don't have decorations up yet
9.  Steven Curtis Chapman's Joy CD
10.  My hubby sewing up my shirt for me - I'm one lucky gal!!

Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only  7,371 to go...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Day 22

It's only fitting that we would reach another milestone on Thanksgiving Day... and that we did!  We reached 2,500 reasons for being thankful today!  I love how you are thankful for simple things in life... for friendships... for food... for graces like safety in car accidents and short lines at the grocery... for love and small acts of kindness.  The reasons for giving thanks are infinite... and our lists reflect this.  Thank you for joining me in this experiment!  It's so much fun to celebrate these milestones with you.  And here's a picture of the Thankfulness Tree with one more milestone to decorate it:

I love Thanksgiving!  I love the smell of turkey filling the house.  I love eating all the yummy food.  I love spending time with family.  And I love that this holiday isn't about presents... it's just about being together and giving thanks.  It's fun to be part of The Thankfulness Experiment on Thanksgiving because I'm learning that giving thanks can be a lifestyle... not just something we focus on during the fourth Thursday in November.  I'm enjoying this new way of life... and the challenges that come with choosing thanksgiving.  God is teaching me so much and I hope you are learning things too. 

So, thank you for being thankful.  Thank you for taking a few minutes out of each day to list 5 things you're thankful for.  Thank you for giving me a peek into your lives as you share your list with me.  And thank you for holding me accountable each day.  You are such a blessing to me and for that, I am so thankful.

Give thanks for the Lord, for He is good.  His love endures forever.  Psalm 136:1

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1.  Watching my boys play XBOX and witnessing them both stick their tongues out in concentration
2.  Watching three generations play Battleship... even if it was only for 5 minutes thanks to the short attention span of my three year old
3.  Broccoli Casserole
4.  Introducing the in-laws to Duck Dynasty
5.  Answered prayers and experiencing, once again, God doing immeasurably more

Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 7,447 to go...

Day 22 - Happy Thanksgiving!

We just left our first of two Thanksgiving celebrations today. Are any of you having two feasts today like us? I wanted to share a few Thanksgiving quotes right now... And another post later. I know, two in one day, but with it being Thanksgiving, it makes sense, right? So here it goes...

Thank God that even when we are not worthy of His blessings, He still loves us and bestows peace, joy, and happiness. Gary Smalley and John Trent

Our thanksgiving today should include things which we take for granted, and we should continually praise our
God, who is true to His promise, who has provided and retained the necessities for our living. Betty Fuhrman

And here is my prayer for you today:

May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

This afternoon, I am thankful for...

1. Giggles of my sons wrestling with their Daddy
2. My sons battling it out over the wishbone
3. My 7 year old's uncle teaching him how to negotiate and the giggles that followed
4. Sweet potato soufflé
5. Doing dishes with my hubby

Here's to 10,000 reasons...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 21

My eyesight is pretty bad.  Yep, if I didn't have my glasses on right now, the computer screen would be completely fuzzy.  That's why I'm so thankful for glasses and contacts that allow me to see clearly.  I can see my sons playing, my hubby's smile, the beauty of creation... all because of my glasses and contacts. 

This experiment is teaching me that thanksgiving is kinda like my glasses. When I choose to notice the little blessings throughout my day and give thanks for them, it changes my focus.  The inconveniences throughout the day can be transformed through thanksgiving, turning fuzzy gloom into clarity and beauty.  Are you noticing it too? 

My Jesus Calling devotion this morning summed it up perfectly:  It is impossible to spend too much time thanking and praising Me. (p. 221).  What if we choose to find some form of thanksgiving for everything like the Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18?  Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  How will this kind of thanksgiving change our vision?  Trust me, I know it's not easy.  Remember my dress story from Day 18?  Thanksgiving is not my natural response either.  But imagine the power of seeing God's blessings through everything... the transformation can be extraordinary.  We'll keep practicing this together... making progress one thankful reason at a time.

Since Thanksgiving is tomorrow, I wanted to share a blog article written by my pastor.  Ever wonder why George Washington originally established Thanksgiving?  You'll find out on the blog.  You'll also learn 5 ways to keep Thanking God at the Forefront on Thanksgiving Day.  I hope you take a few minutes to check this out:

Today, I am thankful for...

1.  A Dustbuster that cleaned up multiple spills this morning
2.  Homemade oatmeal cookies packed up and ready for transport
3.  My three year old cooking making helper
4.  Playing Battleship with my seven year old
5.  Being packed and ready for our Thanksgiving trip to Ohio
6.  Broccoli Casserole ingredients waiting for their ultimate transformation tomorrow

Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 7,560 more to go...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 20

My parents have a beautiful home.  It's warm and cozy and the perfect spot for our family to hang out each week at family dinners.  However, at Christmas, their house transforms from beautiful to magical.  The entire downstairs is decorated with twinkling lights, Christmas tress, snowmen... every room has a special Christmas touch.  And tonight... the final Christmas touches were completed because we decorated the Christmas tree together.  It was so fun to watch the kiddos put ornaments on the tree.  Their tree is a little bottom heavy, which isn't too surprising when you have two seven year olds and two three year olds on the job.  I suspect some rearranging might take place now that the grandchildren are gone.  And there were a few ornament causalities, but the end result was a beautiful tree filled with memories of Christmases past... even back to the 1980s!  It's amazing how ornaments transform an ordinary tree into something extraordinary.

Have you ever had something ordinary turn into something extraordinary like the Christmas tree transformation?  My friend experienced this today.  An ordinary sickness, which typically brings a diagnosis followed by instructions on how to get better and maybe a prescription or two was transformed into extraordinary by receiving unsuspected news that was jaw dropping.  The news was jaw dropping because she experienced God doing immeasurably more in her life right there on the spot.  And she immediately started putting this week's memory verse into practice: Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.  Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Ephesians 5:19-20

The immeasurably more of God can come in all different packages.  Sometimes it's beautifully wrapped like a present under the Christmas tree... I experienced this on Day 17 when He provided a solution to my tough situation that was completely a surprise.  Other times, His immeasurably more can come disguised as something ugly or unwanted... something you initially want to avoid at all costs.  Yet by persevering, trusting and giving thanks for everything, over time, He can reveal the immeasurably more and it just blows your mind. 

Open our eyes, Lord, to the immeasurably more that you are doing in each of our lives... and let it transform our vision from the ordinary to the extraordinary.  Let us give thanks to you and tell of all Your wonderful acts.  Psalm 105:1-2

Tonight I am thankful for...

1.  God's miracles and truly doing immeasurably more
2.  The power of praying scripture
3.  A much needed afternoon out with a dear friend
4.  Sunshine bursting through the clouds
5.  Lights that allow us to see at night
6.  Hearing my son sing to the radio in the car
7.  Pizza, decorating the Christmas tree, and Arthur's Christmas at my parent's house
8.  Encouraging words received in different forms... all in one day!

Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 7,639 to go...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Day 19

Do you ever have one of those days where you feel blessed, really blessed?  Well, today was one of those days for me.  Now the blessings were not anything extravagant... they were just little blessings woven into the fabric of my day.  But when lots of little blessings are knit together, it adds up to big blessings in my book.

It all started with meeting two gals who are helping me plan a Winter Retreat.  I've never planned a retreat before, and God has definitely lined up the perfect pair to partner with me on this.  Not only do they both have experience in retreat planning, but they were also filled with great ideas about marketing strategies, next steps and scheduling.  The wisdom they shared was invaluable to me.  I'm super blessed that God raised up these two ladies for the retreat planning leadership team!

Well, our meeting ran a little long and I had to rush to pick up my three year old from pretty-school (his name for preschool).  I said a little prayer asking God to expand my time... and even specifically requested that school get out a little late today.  God is good... I showed up and the car pool line was still inching along AND I wasn't even the last parent there.  I was the second to last parent, but not the last one...

My three year old took a great nap and I got some quiet time with God.  My seven year old had no homework.  Dinner was easy and everyone ate it (that's a five-star meal in my book when two picky boys are at the table).  My seven year old got to have some special one-on-one time with his Daddy at Cub Scouts.  And they even did something secret afterwards that can't be shared with Mommy.  Special memories were made tonight.  I love it!

See, nothing extravagant... just little blessings that God wove into my day.  I'm discovering the beauty of my days as I become aware of the blessings and take time to express my thankfulness.  Are you discovering the little blessings God weaves into your day too?  I can't wait to see what blessings you share with me today!

Ephesians 5:19-20 are the memory verses for this week.  Why, you ask?  Because yesterday God used these verses to remind me that I need to always give thanks to Him for everything.  Writing this verse on my heart will help me remember to be thankful even when I don't feel like it.  And the verses seem quite fitting too since this week is Thanksgiving.  So remember to "Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."  

Today, I am thankful for...

1.  My two retreat planning friends and the wisdom they shared
2.  A beautiful fall day that allowed us to meet outside for a bit
3.  God's grace in getting me to pretty-school on time
4.  Hot drinks that warm from the inside out
5.  My hubby who loves me so much
6.  Unexpected compliments
7.  My neighbor who is a nurse
8.  Benedryl
9.  Prayers of my son
10.  Each of you joining me in this experiment!

Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 7,788 to go...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Day 18

According to, thankful means feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative.  This is something we do a lot... someone helps us, we say thanks.  Maybe you said thank you to a friend today for caring... or to your neighbor because they lent you something you forgot at the grocery.  We thank our servers at restaurants and our kids when they obey (especially if it's first time obedience!).  Being thankful is easy, right?

Well, I'm learning that being thankful isn't always easy.  God is funny.  I'm discovering that He  presents me with opportunities to put thankfulness into practice... and I don't always pass the test.  Let me explain.  This morning, I got up and read my Jesus Calling devotion by Sarah Young.  One of the verses from today's devotion was Ephesians 5:19-20:  Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.  Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  There are two words in these verses that make thankfulness a little more difficult... always and everything.  Ephesians 5:19-20 says we should always give thanks for everything... which translates into giving thanks when things are great... and not so great.  I should have known I was reading this for a reason...

I go upstairs to get ready for church and decide to wear a dress since we were visiting a different church this morning to watch my friend's daughter get baptized.  I thought... hmmm, I'll wear the dress I wore for my anniversary date.  I go to the closet to get it out, and I'm mortified... it's not there, and I know exactly where it is... in the closet of the hotel where my hubby and I celebrated our anniversary.  Let me tell you, I am NOT giving thanks for two reasons.  Number 1:  This is my favorite winter dress.  Number 2:  We checked out of the hotel two weeks ago... yep, you read it right, it took me two weeks to realize I left it.  And to top it all off, I remember thinking as I hung the dress in the closet,  I sure hope I don't leave this here.  Should've left it out...

I called the hotel and they told me they'd check the lost and found for my clothes.  This didn't look too good.  However, they promised to call and let me know whether they found our clothes or not.  I'm still pretty hot about it and then I remember I'm supposed to always give thanks for everything.  And knowing I'm accountable to you, I thought I should put this into practice.  So, my half-hearted attempts at thankfulness were "I'm thankful I have other dresses I can wear.  And if someone else found it, I'm thankful they have a nice new dress to enjoy."  That's a little bit of progress... and if I wasn't doing this experiment, I doubt thankfulness in this situation would even cross my mind.

And then, just to make sure I got the point, God reminded me of thankfulness yet again by having the first worship song be none other than 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman.  As the tears steamed down my face, I confessed and asked God to forgive me for not being thankful like I should. 

But God wasn't done with me yet because later, I drove past a church marquee that said "Give thanks with a grateful heart."  Ah, so my heart needs to be invested too.  I'm so very thankful that God doesn't expect me to be perfect with this thankfulness stuff!  And that He gently reminds me to CHOOSE thanksgiving even when I don't FEEL like being thankful.  Can any of you relate?

And now for the rest of the story... after lunch, I received a phone call from the hotel and they found my clothes and are shippin them to me.  How cool is that?  After the phone call, I stopped and said a prayer of thanksgiving to God, letting Him know that I appreciate that He even cares about my lost clothes.  God cares about every detail in our lives... no wonder we should always give thanks for everything.  The Thankfulness Experiment can help us practice Ephesians 4:19-20... even when our feelings don't match up with our decision to be thankful.  Keep those lists coming so we can help each other with this thankfulness transformation stuff.  Here's to God's grace and learning how to be thankful one day at a time.

Today, I am thankful for...

1.  Watching my friend's daughter get baptized... so beautiful!
2.  God's grace when I'm not being thankful like I should... and His gentle reminders to obey
3.  Dress found and on it's way back home
4.  My son getting to do his favorite thing in the world - ride his motorcycle
5.  My hubby doing dishes after dinner

Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 7,922 to go...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Day 17

We have another milestone to celebrate tonight!  We hit 2,000 reasons for being thankful!  Thank you so much for partnering with me.  I've enjoyed seeing your creativity each day... sometimes a list is one word, other times it's detailed.  Sometimes it's five reasons, and other times you list even more.  I'm so glad you're putting your own spin on The Thankfulness Experiment.  And here's a picture of our updated Thankfulness Tree:

One of my favorite Bible verses is Ephesians 3:20:  Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever!  Amen. 

This verse is my favorite because it lets us in on a little secret about God... He can do so much more than we can ever imagine with any situation we face.  Pretty encouraging stuff... which is why I love to pray this verse.  When faced with life in general, whether joyful situations or tough ones, we can invite God to do immeasurably more. 

I experienced God's immeasurably more today, as a matter of fact.  I knew I was going to be in a tough situation, so I had two plans in place to make it easier to handle.  However, neither plan was presented to me as an option.  So I was in a tight spot.  I took a moment and prayed about my situation and God just blew me away with the result.  He took care of every detail... and His strategy was a bazillion times better than my two plans.  I was touched that He cared about me so much... that He took control and didn't follow my plans, because He knew the best approach.  God did immeasurably more and for that I am one very thankful gal.

Have you ever experienced the immeasurably more of God?  A time where God just blew you away with His love, faithfulness, miracles, truth... or maybe you can fill in the blank with your own personal experience?  Take note of these moments and allow them to settle deep into your heart.  Remember the immeasurably more when you are faced with trials because our God is so much bigger.  And if you haven't experienced the immeasurably more of God yet, I'd like to invite you to pray Ephesians 3:20... because God keeps His promises.  And be on the lookout for God to blow you away as He shows you His love.  After you experience the immeasurably more of God, you'll be ready to put this week's memory verse into practice:  Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done.  Sing to Him, sing praise to Him;  tell of all His wonderful acts.  Psalm 105:1-2

Today, I am thankful for...

1.  God's immeasurably more in my life
2.  A fire crackling in the fireplace
3.  Celebrations
4.  Hats of all shapes and sizes
5.  Loving words from my son

Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 7,976 to go...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 16

Sing along with me... "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... everywhere we go."  It's true, right?  I experienced a day filled with Christmas, even though it's not Thanksgiving yet.  Let me explain.  My mom and I went on a shopping extravaganza today with my three year old son and my three year old niece.  When we walked in the mall, it was completely decorated for Christmas.  There were huge wreath chandeliers hanging from the ceiling covered with red and gold ornaments.  Stores were filled with Christmas treats ready to be shared.  Christmas has arrived.

But little did I know that on top of store decorations, Santa has arrived too!  It's true and I have a picture to prove it.  I got a text this morning that said "We put in a good word for you," followed by this picture:

You got it!  My two friends, sporting The Thankfulness Experiment t-shirts, chased down Santa to get his picture.  Who knows?  Maybe he will join the experiment! 

After a meltdown in one of the most non-kid friendly stores at the mall, we ran across Santa.  And since there was no line (when does this ever happen?!?), my mom and I decided to let the kids stop by.  When Santa asked my son if he was good, he looked Santa straight in the eye and said no.  Can you believe it?  My son was being honest because he knew he was not so good at the store we just left.  Santa walked my son through some questions to show him that he really wasn't bad (how's that for some grace in action? Without even mentioning the naughty list!).  Santa then asked my son what he wanted for Christmas.  The list was shared, surprisingly limited to three things, and off we went.

Remember how I told you that my day was filled with Christmas...  well, to wrap up the Christmas theme, my family watched The Muppet Christmas Carol tonight.  Since thankfulness is on my brain these days, one line from the movie really struck me.  Scrooge just visited with the Spirits of Christmas Past and Present, and he now faced the Future Spirit.  As Scrooge embarked on this last phase of his journey, he said "I am prepared to follow and learn with a grateful heart."   Interesting turn of events with Scrooge... the grumpy, pessimistic man from a few hours before was transforming... mostly because of the Cratchit family and their grateful hearts.  Scrooge just witnessed Bob Cratchit toasting him, of all people, before eating their meager turkey dinner.  Bob Cratchit chose to be thankful for the blessings received instead of focusing on what his family didn't have.  What a lesson we can learn from this!  Just think of how we might influence others as we overflow with thanksgiving...

Am I willing to say "I am prepared to follow and learn with a grateful heart" like Scrooge?  Are you?  This means that we have a new outlook... one that focuses on thanksgiving in spite of our circumstances.  One that recognizes blessings in the midst of trials.  Definitely something to strive for... and when we put this thankful outlook into action, it's like living out 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:  Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.   This outlook defies reason at times, but the impact it can have is mind-boggling.  Look at Scrooge's transformation.  How exciting to be the thankful sunshine that radiates on a world that can be so dark!  We can do it... one day and one thankful thought at a time.

Today, I'm thankful for...

1.  Shopping extravaganza with my mom... and getting everything on our lists! 
2.  Chili's chips and salsa - quite possibly the best around
3.  Snuggling with my 7 year old while watching The Muppet Christmas Carol
4.  Thankful lesson coming Scrooge - who knew?
5.  Surprise Santa photo from my friends
6.  Santa showing grace to my three year old

Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 8,081 to go...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 15

I had a very interesting conversation with my three-year old son in the car today.  He loves the number three and is always on the lookout for it when we're out and about.  Today, he saw a three and said there's my letter (because his name starts with the letter E).  I explained that no, the three was not the first letter in his name... E was.  And guess what his response was?  I want a number to be my name.  You got it... my three year old son is already on track to become a famous rock star like The Artist Formally Known as Prince... except instead of changing his name to a symbol, he wants to change his name to a number.  Priceless! 

I want to make a change too... but this change is not about coming up with a new name for myself.  This change goes much deeper... it's more like a transformation... the thankfulness transformation.  That's what this experiment is all about, right?  Becoming thankful by choosing to be thankful.  It's not rocket science, but it's not always easy either.  What I've discovered during these first 15 days is that I'm not taking things for granted... as much.  Are you experiencing this too?   This week, I've been thankful for my contacts (although it hasn't made it to my published list yet.)  Last year at this time, I had terrible issues with my contacts and could only wear them on special occasions.  And now, I can wear them comfortably again. I'm so thankful to have comfortable contacts that allow me to see clearly.  But before my contact mishap, I completely took them for granted.  I never imagined I wouldn't be able to wear contacts... until last year.  Amazing how we can come to appreciate things even more after we've struggled with them for a while...

I find myself sending up mini thankful prayers throughout the day... for things like boys that make me laugh, my hubby making it home safely from his business trip, an impromptu chat with a friend face to face (not even over the phone), my friend and neighbor giving me ribbon and letting me borrow a pen for a project I'm working on... each of these is a blessing from God.  I'm so glad that God is revealing his limitless blessings to me through this simple experiment. 

My friend sent me a song yesterday that could very well be the theme song for The Thankfulness Experiment, simply because it says "I want to thank you, thank you, thank you" so many times throughout the song.  (36 times to be exact... yes, it's true, I counted.  But I guess you're not too surprised since I'm tracking 10,000 reasons, huh?)  The chorus is catchy and sticks with you.  As a matter of fact, I heard it on the radio this morning while dropping my son off at school and it's stuck with me all day.  Take a moment to listen to Peter Furler's song "I'm Alive" and let it encourage you to say "Thank you, thank you, thank you" all day long.

Today, I'm thankful for...

1.  A good night's sleep last night
2.  A surprise Caramel Apple Cider from Starbucks waiting for me at Bible Study this morning
3.  Frito Pie for dinner - not only yum-o, but also made from leftover chili so I didn't have to cook - is this worth two?
4.  Magic Eraser that makes cleaning the bathtub a little bit easier
5.  My hubby making it home safely from a business trip
6.  Jumping on the bed together as a family - yes, all four of us jumped on the bed together, giggling the whole time

Here's to 10,000 reasons... only 8,133 more to go...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 14

We are two weeks into The Thankfulness Experiment.  I'm so glad you decided to join me on this journey... not only because I need the accountability, but also because I love reading your lists.  It's touching to see you choosing to be thankful for tough situations by shining some sunshine on them with your thanksgiving... it makes me smile to see your sense of humor and appreciation for simple things... like llamas, for example.  It's inspiring to see you give thanks for people in your lives... people who have touched you or people you love dearly.  I so appreciate how you are using this blog to put your thankful thoughts out there... to make known among the nations what He has done (Psalm 105:1).  We have no idea how God is using our thankful lists to encourage or inspire someone else who's reading through the comments. 

I had a teachable moment with my son tonight.  He was working on his homework and was stumped.  Unfortunately, the nature of the homework would not allow me to help him without doing it for him.  I gave him some examples, but by that point, he was beyond frustrated.  So, I told him to take a break, eat a snack and we could revisit it after some TV time.  About 45 minutes later, he was ready to start again.  And this time, he knocked it out quickly.  I asked him what he learned from this experience, and he said "Sometimes you need to take a break and try again later."  Lesson learned.

This same lesson applies to us.  I wonder if any of you have days where you sit down to write your thankful list and you completely draw a blank.  Nothing comes to mind.  Your day, quite honestly, stunk.  We all have days like that... so maybe taking a break and reading through other comments - not only on the current day, but also on previous posts (and maybe even reading your OWN lists on previous posts) - will give you the "break" you need to start again, newly inspired.  Be faithful, dear friends.  We're on our way to making thanksgiving a habit, one reason... and one day... at a time.

Today, I wanted to take some time to address a question I was asked yesterday.  What inspired you to start The Thankfulness Experiment?  It all began in March, 2011 when I read 1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  This book gives an incredibly raw, honest account of Ann's journey to joy through thanksgiving.  There were times where I wondered if she had read my thoughts... because I could completely relate with her struggle.  And the transformation began with a simple challenge from her friend to keep a journal of 1,000 gifts, or 1,000 things she was thankful for.  Writing that list changed Ann's life.  Her story inspired me and I began keeping my own list of 1,000 gifts.  Remember how I told you I needed accountability for this experiment?  I discovered this need for accountability while writing my own gift list.  I would get started and be diligent - even up to 44 days in a row... and then I would fall off the wagon.  I did reach 1,000 gifts in February 2012, almost a year after I started. 

After reading Ann's book, thankfulness was on my heart.  I felt like God wanted me to do something with it, but I didn't know what.  Maybe a Bible Study, I thought.  But each time I tried to start studying, I would quickly lose motivation.  This Fall, I was encouraged to start using social media, and God used that encouragement, combined with some thoughts He planted in my head over the summer, to bring The Thankfulness Experiment to life.   So here we are, 14 days into this 66 day Thankfulness Experiment.  I'm noticing positive changes in me already, and I hope you are experiencing positive changes too. 

Thanks to those of you who shared your favorite praise and worship songs along with your thankful lists yesterday!!  If you're looking for some new worship songs, check out the comments on Day 13.  I look forward to listening to them so I can continue to put Psalm 105:1-2 into practice:  Give thanks to the Lord; call upon His name; make known among the nations what He has done.  Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts." 

And now for today's thankful list... I am thankful for:

1.  Two loads of laundry washed, dried and put away
2.  Another organization project completed - this is a major breakthrough!  Three this week!!
3.  Fuzzy socks that keep my feet warm and cozy (I'm not a fan of cold feet)
4.  Bedrooms clean and vacuumed (I was on a domestic roll today!)
5.  The sounds of childhood laughter filling the house

Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 8,240 to go...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day 13

Congratulations everyone!  We reached another milestone today... our 1,500 mark!  Thank you for partnering with me on our journey to 10,000 reasons.  I just hung the ornament on the Thankfulness Tree and here's the picture:

Don't you love it when you hear your favorite song on the radio?  It's so fun to jam along with the tune - and even sing out loud (as long as you don't mind strange looks from others if you're really getting into it).  It's special when you hear your favorite song because there are so many songs out there to play.  I remember, back in the day of cassette tapes (wow - does this make me feel old!), that I wanted to tape a song off the radio for my brother's birthday.  I called the radio station and made the request, and then waited around, for what felt like hours, until they finally played it.  I quickly hit the record button and successfully taped the song (which is a pretty big achievement for a non-techno gal like me).  I'm definitely thankful that we don't have to do that anymore!
Today was a banner day for me in the radio department.  Now, you may have a hard time believing this, but I heard all three of my favorite songs on the radio AND each of my son's favorite songs too.  Is that miracle or what?  Definitely something to add to my thankful list for the day.  And more importantly, I recognize that this was a miracle and a total blessing from God because God and I had just finished working through a wrestling match that I didn't even realize I was in until He brought me to my knees.  God won through His gentle conviction and then opened my eyes to His power and His control over things in my life.  He even opened my eyes to the fact that He loved me so much that He was willing to withhold certain things to get my attention.  Was it a painful process?  Absolutely!  But it was totally worth it because I learned that God will do whatever it takes for me to become the lady He designed me to be. 
After all these revelations, I needed to put my memory verse into practice for this week (Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make know among the nations what He has done.  Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts.  Psalm 105:1-2).  By playing all my favorite songs on the radio, I was able to sing praises to God all afternoon, and my sons even jammed with me!   
I noticed that the verses for last week and this week have something in common besides some form of "thanks."  Both verses also talk about songs/singing.  Psalm 69:30 says "I will praise God's name in song and worship Him with thanksgiving."  Psalm 105:2 says "Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of His wonderful acts."  Seems like there could be a link between thanksgiving and singing praises... 
So, I'm gonna ask you to do something a little bit crazy today... only if you're up for it though. In addition to listing 5 things you're thankful for today on the blog, I'd also like to invite you to share your favorite praise and worship song.  (This is an option, not a requirement... you can absolutely just list your 5 reasons.)  I can't wait to see what songs you love!
Today, I am thankful for...
1.  God loving me enough to do whatever it takes to transform me into the lady He wants me to become
2.  Hearing all my favorite songs on the radio... and a bonus of my son's favorite songs too!
3.  Having leftover muffins for my boys to enjoy... and to use as leverage for good behavior with one certain three year old
4.  Drinking a cup of my favorite Chai Tea Latte - mmmmm!
5.  Using coupons to buy the Chai Tea Latte
My Favorite Songs (right now... and I'm throwing in the boy's songs too)
10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman
Not for a Moment (After All) by Meredith Andrews
One Thing Remains by Jesus Culture
God is Not Dead by The News Boys (my three year old)
Me without You by TobyMac (my seven year old)
Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 8,376 to go...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Day 12

You have heard of a smart phone... and if I had to guess, most of you probably own a smart phone.  But, have you ever heard of a smart sink?  Me neither, until I discovered that I actually have a smart sink today.  The faucet on my sink is a two-in-one deal... we don't have a separate sprayer.  Instead, there is a button on the head of the sink that allows me to switch from a single stream into crazy spray, as my three year old likes to call it.  I was doing dishes this afternoon and used the crazy spray to rinse off a bowl.  When I turned the sink back on, it had automatically switched back to the single stream.  Amazing!  (And a little embarrassing because I've had this faucet for several months now...)  I wasn't sure it really happened, so I tried it again, and Ta Da!  The faucet switched from crazy stream to single stream just by turning it off.  Pretty fancy stuff in my book. 

My desire is for my automatic reaction to be thankfulness, regardless of what's going on... kinda like my smart sink.  When something happens, I want my automatic single stream to be thankfulness, instead of the crazy spray of doubt, fear, anger, frustration... and whatever negative thoughts that can so easily consume.  I want to shut off the negative and turn on my single stream of thanksgiving.  Now, I've got a long way to go with this.  For example, when my son stepped in vomit in the parking lot tonight, my initial reaction was frustration.  And while I was thankful my friend had a bag to put the soiled shoes in, it still took me a while to flip from frustration to being thankful that my son was healthy and not the one throwing up.  But after 66 days of being thankful, hopefully I'll be a lot more like my smart faucet - choosing to give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for us in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  I hope you are closer to this too!

The memory verse I'm learning this week is Psalm 105:1-2:  Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done.  Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts.  I love how these verses remind us to not only give thanks, but to also tell others how God is blessing our lives.  We aren't supposed to keep these blessings a secret - and by listing your thankful list on the blog, you are doing just that... making known among the nation what He has done. 

So, here's what I'm thankful for tonight...

  1. The sound of rain hitting the windows
  2. Singing Toby Mac’s “Me Without You” at breakfast with the boys – what an energizing way to start the day!
  3. Quiet time with God this morning
  4. My favorite, over sized, comfy sweatshirt and my 3 year old sticking his feet in the kangaroo pocket and giggling mischievously
  5. Learning the importance of “lightly beating” the egg BEFORE putting it in my favorite muffin recipe… and making the recipe enough times to realize I made a mistake before baking them
  6. The smell of homemade muffins filling the house
  7. My 7 year old completing his Extreme Dot to Dot – all 721 of them!  In case you can't tell, it's a mummy in a sarcophagus. 
    Here's to 10,000 reasons... only 8,531 to go...

How to Post a Comment

In case you need some help with posting a comment, here are a few tips.  Know you are not alone on needing some help... I'm still figuring it all out too!

After you read the daily blog entry (I post a new entry each day... you can read through all of them by clicking on the Day # in the column to the right of the blog entry), the word # comments: appears at the bottom of each entry.  Click on comments.  This will take you to a new screen with the same blog entry AND all comments posted for that day. 

Scroll to the bottom of the page and a blank box will appear.  Click in the box and type your thankfulness list.

After you type you list, select an option from the Comment As: drop down menu.
If you have a Google account, you may have to click Sign In in the top right hand corner first. Then your user name should appear in the Comment As box. Then click the Publish ButtonNote that when you hit Publish, you should get a message that says Your Comment Was Published. If you don’t get the message and the box appears blank, the comment did not post.

 If you don’t have a Google account, scroll down and choose Anonymous in the Comment As drop down menu.  Then, hit Publish and make sure you receive the message that your comment was published.
I’ll keep you posted with more tips as I figure them out. Let me know if you’re still having issues and I’ll see what I can find out for you.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Day 11

Have you ever felt intimidated?  I have... as a matter of fact, I'm a bit intimidated with this whole blogging thing.  The Thankfulness Experiment is my first blog, and honestly, I don't have much experience following other blogs either.  I do have a few favorites that I check time to time... like Your Cup of Cake by Lizzie Early (I'm a sucker for cupcakes and I love to check out all her new recipes) and Your Homebased Mom by Leigh Anne Wilkes, but other than those two, I'm just learning as I go.  Here's links to their blogs in case you want to check them out:  and
So let me thank you in advance for partnering with me on my maiden blogging voyage! 

Now back to intimidation... last night before bed, I was journaling a prayer and let God know that I was feeling intimidated.  And taking note from the Brave Bible Study by Angela Thomas, I even posed it as a question in my head:  "God, do you know that I'm intimidated?"  And guess what?  God let me know that yes, indeed, He knew that I was intimidated.  How, you wonder?  When I got up this morning to read my Jesus Calling devotion by Sarah Young (which is absolutely amazing... I would highly recommend it!), the very first line for November 11th was: "Do not let any set of circumstances intimidate you.  The more challenging your day, the more of My Power I place at your disposal... Try to view challenging days as opportunities to receive more of My Power than usual.  Look to Me for all that you need, and watch to see what I will do..." (p. 330).  Wow!  It brought tears to my eyes... I'm so incredibly thankful that God knows how I'm feeling and also promises to equip me each day.  God is so good!  And that give me all the more reason "... to praise God's name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving." Psalm 69:30

Speaking of thanksgiving, this afternoon my hubby asked me if I saw our neighbor's tree.  When I told him no, he encouraged me to check it out and I was blown away.  The sky was filled with these incredibly unique scarlet leaves - and against the blue sky with the sun shining on it... it was stunning. Definitely something to be thankful for.  I thought, "I need to get a picture of that for the blog tonight."  When I went outside to take the picture a few hours later, I was disappointed because the sky was now gray and my picture did not capture the beauty of the tree at all.

I considered not including it tonight, since the picture didn't do the tree justice.  But God had something else in mind.  About an hour later, the setting sun lit up the tree again and I jumped at the chance to get another picture:

Beautiful, right?  Isn't it amazing how a little bit of sunshine changes the appearance of the tree?  A little bit of sunshine goes a long way in our own lives too.  I'm starting to view thankfulness as that little bit of sunshine that has the power to change the appearance of my situations.  For example, while I feel intimidated about blogging, I can change the appearance of it to "I'm thankful for being intimidated because that teaches me trust in God's strength , wisdom and power."  How's that for shining some sunshine on my intimidation?  I'm so thankful God revealed the power of changing the appearance of my situations through sunshine and my neighbor's tree. 

Tonight, I'm thankful for...

1.  The lesson God taught me through sunshine and my neighbor's tree
2.  The amazing bright orange Thankfulness Experiment t-shirts and the gal who designed the logo.  Check them out:

3.  Working with my son on his Extreme Dot-to-Dot puzzle.  What's this, you ask?  A dot-to-dot that breaks all the rules and has over 600 dots.  I'll share a picture when he completes it.
4.  Encouraging words from my hubby
5.  Blue Post-It notes decorating my house - courtesy of my 3 year old
6.  Watching AFV and laughing out loud with the boys before bed.  Nothing like ending the day with laughter and snuggles!

Here's to 10,000 reasons... only 8,656 more to go...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Day 10

With any experiment, you never know what the outcome will be.  You can do some research and make your best guess, but you just might be surprised with the final outcome.  I must admit that I'm already surprised with my personal reaction to this experiment.  I'm learning that accountability is a good thing for me.  Knowing that I'm posting each night keeps my thankfulness radar on high.  I find myself thanking God throughout the day (much more than before November 1st) and creating a list in my head.  I never quite know what will ultimately end up on my top 5 (or 10 if I'm feeling really crazy...) that evening.  So here's a little peek into my brain today (and yes, I'm feeling a little crazy tonight). I was thankful that...

  1. It was warm enough to wear shorts today in Kentucky
  2. My 7 year old son, who is great with directions (unlike his mamma), gave me correct directions to his basketball tryouts
  3. My 7 year old was so thankful for the beautiful weather that he took time to thank God for it
  4. My hubby came home safely from his retreat
  5. My family got to shop together for an Operation Christmas Child shoebox
  6. I got to watch my hubby and three year old skip across the parking lot, and my 7 year old and me followed suit... instant smiles and so thankful to revert back to childhood for a moment!
  7. My hubby makes me laugh
  8. Homemade chili for dinner... and my three year old helping me and telling me it was fun
  9. God knows me so well and loves me so much that He sends encouragement my way at just the right moment
  10. God also loves me enough to remind me to seek wisdom BEFORE taking action
I wonder if you are experiencing any unexpected results since you started The Thankfulness Experiment... I sure hope you're enjoying it as much as I am.  I can't wait to see where we end up on January 5th!  Keep your thankful radar on high and "... praise God's name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving."  Psalm 69:30

Here's to 10,000 reasons... only 8,791 to go...

Friday, November 9, 2012

Day 9

Welcome to Day 9!  I have great news... today we reached another milestone... we hit our first 1,000 reasons!!  I got to hang the second milestone ornament on the Thankful Tree (for more about this, see Day 4).  It's so fun to celebrate these milestones with you.  Thank you for partnering with me on this thankfulness journey.

Today, I found myself tuned into nature.  Now this is NOT normal... I'm not really an outdoorsy kinda girl.  I guess going on a field trip with my son, to a farm, kinda helps explain where all this is coming from.  While driving to the farm, the warm sun shining on me felt amazing and I thought "Thank you, God."  Then, when we were on a hay ride, I witnessed leaves gracefully spinning and dancing to the ground, followed by a yellow moth (which is similar to a butterfly and I love butterflies), land on some harvested corn stalks.  My boys and I joined my parents for a visit to another farm this evening to buy apples and to eat a delicious turkey dinner (I know, can you believe it, two farms in one day for this city girl?!?).  And while we were driving, we saw the most beautiful sunset:

I noticed something new about sunsets tonight.  After the sun has officially disappeared from view, it splashes a beautiful display of colors across the sky... tonight the sky was painted with pinks and purples.  It was stunning.  I never realized how some of the most beautiful colors show up AFTER the sun has set.  This sunset pattern can apply to our own lives... sometimes our most beautiful colors shine through after a tough experience is over.  I can think of one friend in particular who is radiant with beauty as she's learning to work through some of her past experiences.  She is stunning, just like the sunset tonight.  I love how God displays His beauty through nature and through us. 

So, tonight I am thankful for...

1.  The warm sun shining on me while driving today
2.  Leaves dancing gracefully in the breeze
3.  The beautiful sunset and lessons God taught me through the sunset
4.  My amazing mom who helps me out so much... and who I have so much fun with too! 
5.  A hubby who loves God and serves Him

Here's to 10,000 reasons... only 8,937 to go...