Saying Thank You

The one thing we don’t really have to spend much work on with Becca is saying “thank you” when people do things for her. Somehow, it seems to roll naturally off of her tongue. Help her work a puzzle, you’ll get a “thank you.” Hand her something she has dropped, help her put on her shoes, or turn on her favorite show, and you’ll hear it too. It’s so natural of her. Which I think is awesome. Her primary love language is words of affirmation. She has learned that telling people “thank you” makes them happy. And she always wants to please.

My primary love language is acts of service. But I’m not as quick to say thank you for those acts of service as I should be. So today, as I sit and think about the things, and people, and acts of service that I am thankful for, I have some thank yous to post here. And I’d like to challenge you, as you think about all the things and people that you are thank you for- how often do you say thank you for acts of service? And who do you (or your child) need to say thank you to?

The first person I’d like to thank is my husband. Cody is the rock that keeps everything solid in our house. He often comes home in the middle of a struggle at the dinner table, a crying baby, and a stressed out me. And he can assess the situation and calm it so easily. Our kiddos both adore him, and so do I. But what I really want to say thank you for are the times of escape that he provides. He lets me take off and go scrapbook with friends. He lets me go grocery shopping solo. He encourages me to just go spend a few minutes alone. And for that, I am eternally greatful.

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I’d also like to thank:
-My mom, for always being there to listen, and just always being there. Period. You’re a steady person I can count on, and so many people don’t have that.

-My dad, for the example that you set of how a husband should treat his wife, and what a marriage looks like. I knew what to look for in a husband because of the way you lived your life. You truly are the best daddy in the world, and now the best PawPaw in the world!

-Ray and Sherry, for raising Cody to be such a wonderful husband and father to our kids- he is today who he is because of your love and care and example. I am so blessed to have him, and to have you guys for inlaws. So many people I know cringe at the word “inlaws”… But I smile. I love you guys so much and I really appreciate how much you have welcomed me into your family and become a second set of parents to me.

-Rena, for being my shoulder to lean on when I need Mommy advice, or an escape from being “Mommy” to remember the woman I am in Christ.

-Ora, for leading our MOPS group fearlessly and allowing our friendship to grow.

-Amy, for being a second mom to Becca and being someone she can trust and love and run to when I’m not available.

-Lena, for being an awesome mentor mom that I know is praying for me and can offer godly advice from years of experience.

-Sherry, for always being willing to help as I continue to encounter new travel agency questions even several years into my career.

-Naomi, you are the dearest friend I’ve never met. My “soul sister,” my encourager, my spiritual uplifter- you keep me on the path and your accountability plays a key role in my daily walk with our Father. I can’t begin to thank you enough for who you are to me.

-Jenn, Jamie, and Wan- you three are my iron. Thank you for being there every day to sharpen me, to pray for me, to encourage me, and to keep me on the narrow path. I love our accountability group, and the three of you and Naomi are some of my dearest friends. I pray that one day I can meet each of you like I have Jenn.

-Jenn, thank you for your books. You are the most amazing author, and to know you personally is such a great honor. You write such encouraging, wholesome, pure stories and I am constantly in awe of you… And the fact that I know personally, deeply, this awesome woman that is Jenn Faulk. (www.jennfaulk.com – totally shameless plug!)

-My whole scrapbooking crew- thank you for your friendships and for the laughter we share. Thank you for listening to countless stories about my kids (because you know they are my whole world), and for the encouragement and inspiration to express myself creatively through my scrapbook art.

-My clients- the travel agency continues to grow for me, and I’m so blessed. This past year despite having a baby, I helped well over 50 individuals/couples/families/groups with travel, and each one of them is a blessing to our family in such a tangible way. Being able to work from home is a blessing so many moms don’t get to experience, and I am truly so thankful that each of those clients chose to work with me and allowed me to have a part in their lives.

-My readers- this blog has grown in the past few months from some occasional ramblings into what I hope will someday become another source of income for our family. I love writing, but the awesome thing is knowing that you all are there- on your computers, tablets, and phones- wherever you are… Reading. And entering into a very small portion of my life because we share a common interest- the education of our kids. Or maybe you’re more interested in my art posts. Or maybe you prefer just reading my ramblings. Whatever it is that brings you here, I’m thankful for you, and I hope you share. Remember that you can also like my page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/butterbeesandbumbleflies) because I share lots of links over there that don’t get shared here.

I hope that today you will stop and say “thank you”- not just to God (as I’ve posted about previously this week), but also to people for their acts of service. And as a mom, my big challenge to you is to find time to stop and talk to your kids one-on-one, and tell them what you are thankful for about them. What acts of service are you thankful for? What character traits are you thankful God has given to them? Stop today, and say thank you. If you’re half as blessed as me, you’ve got a LOT for which to be thankful!

Being Specifically Thankful

This week, I’ve wanted Becca to extend her prayers to God by praying with a purpose. That’s hard when you’re two… And especially hard when you like to tell stories in the middle of your prayer regularly. I often imagine God during prayer time- He clears the room by simply saying “Becca’s about to start.” And then she starts and as she prays, His smile gets wider and wider, as she begins to tell Him ALL about some specific part of her day that is stuck in her mind. I can even hear Him chuckle sometimes when she says “It’s MY turn, Mommy!” She’s always so eager to pray and SHE wants to do the talking. She does love speaking to our Father.

So night before last, she wasn’t “allowed” to say thank you for anything but people. I had her name out all the people she could think of to say thank you for. Mainly she named family members, and her best friend. Last night, it was stuff. She could say thank you for any thing she thought of… And pretty much just named stuff that was within sight. Tonight, we’ll work to name more “obscure” people- and only name people- again focusing our prayers on the fact that God didn’t just put “stuff” in our life, but gave us meaningful relationships for which we should be thankful. Fittingly, tomorrow night after having opened her first round of Christmas gifts for the year, she will focus again on saying thank you for “stuff.”

I think with many of us, it’s easy to say “thank you” to others and to God when they give us stuff… But how often do we tell a person “I’m so thankful for YOU.” ?!? Focus this week of Thanksgiving on being thankful not only for all the “stuff” He has given you, but for the PEOPLE He has placed along your path, as well.

And now, because it IS Wednesday, after all, here’s a couple of cute little things Becca has said this week:

-“Oh, that’s just perfect!”

-“Oh, how wonderful!”

-“Mommy, why is that man (in the hotel lobby) yelling at the tv?” Not really the time, place, or age to explain all that is going on in Ferguson… Me: “Well, Baby, what do you think?” Becca: “I think he’s mad at that man who they keep showing his picture.” Me: “I think maybe so.” Becca: “But why, Mommy? Did that man do something bad?” Me: “Well, Baby, it’s complicated and I don’t know all the details because I wasn’t there to witness it, and I’m glad.” Becca: “I’m glad too. I don’t want him mad at you.” Me: “Me neither, Sweetheart.” Becca: “I don’t think we need that breakfast. (Implying the area of the breakfast bar where the man was standing.) Let’s get THIS breakfast!” Smart girl.

-“I’m gonna see Granny and PawPaw and give them big ole hugs!!”

People, Get Ready

Well, here we are.  The countdown to Thanksgiving has begun.  The turkeys have been flying off the shelves (though thankfully not literally) the past few days, and will continue to do so in preparation for the big day.  Kids are off school, or will be soon, and fall is here – even in South Texas.  Yesterday when we ran a couple errands, Becca was in awe of the yellow and orange and brown leaves that have suddenly appeared out of nowhere.  Fall is no longer just on a television show.  It’s real.  And after watching “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” with her, I’m reminded to make sure she realizes that Thanksgiving is real, too – and it’s not just a meal around a table with family we haven’t seen in a long time.  And it’s not about the Christmas presents she’ll get to open with my family on the very same day.

Thanksgiving is an attitude.  It’s real.  It’s tangible.  It’s something we should be doing every day.  But somehow, for many of us, it gets secluded to a single day in November that is overrun by Christmas preparations and shopping.  We’re so busy getting ready for Christmas (starting in October!) that Thanksgiving gets shoved further and further to the back burner.

I know all about back burners.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that right now, for me, blogging is on the back burner.  Because so many other things are about to boil over… so I gotta have something on “simmer” in the back.  I love blogging.  And I’m hoping for lots more time for it soon.  (I won’t be quitting, don’t worry.)  But seriously… it seems like Thanksgiving is stuck somewhere in a little simmering saucepan with Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day.  They used to be big… and then over time, it’s enough to be patriotic on 4th of July, and to say “thanks” to God for His blessings half-heartedly before dinner each night (if then).

It’s time to get ready, folks.  To get ready for our world of the future… If we spend so much time getting ready for Christmas presents that will spoil our already spoiled children that we forget about the importance of a day to stop and thank God for the freedoms we have in this country, and for the fact that some crazy hard-headed people left tyranny behind to start a new life in a new “world,” we’re going to find a generation of children who are so focused on themselves that they don’t even know what being thankful is.

So how do you not lose Thanksgiving in the shuffle?  How do you not lose your kids to the commercial idea of decoration and sparkle and packages full of fun things?  I don’t have it all figured out.  I really don’t.  But I think it begins in our own hearts.  I think we have to get ready to be real with our kids.  To tell them what things WE are thankful for – every day.  And to show them that it’s not just STUFF we are thankful for, but PEOPLE and IDEAS (insert your lesson about the pilgrims and American freedom here) that are top on our lists.

I’m all about Christmas.  Heck, I worked super super hard to try and get our advent calendar finished this weekend so that I could post it here early for you.  Ya know what, it’s not gonna happen.  It’s gonna be fabulous when it’s done, and yes, I’ll share, but right now, this week, the focus is gonna be on Thanksgiving.  Because it’s time to start getting ready.  And this week despite all of it’s craziness, is gonna be all about being thankful – and then carrying that attitude beyond this week so that by the time a month from now rolls around (seriously, ya’ll… today is a month til Christmas Eve!), all that stuff under the tree won’t just be boxes and paper to rip into, but there will be a realization that inside each box is a specially selected gift that the giver has spent money and time and thought on purchasing.  No, I don’t expect my two year old to say “thank you” to each giver after she opens a present.  Not all on her own.  But I will remind her to say thank you for all of her presents after opening.  And we will write thank you notes.  And I will remind her as she plays with things, who got them for her.

Because I’m getting her ready.  Preparing this little girl for the big wide world that is SO much bigger than lil old her.  The world doesn’t revolve around her – it has many, many gears that all intertwine together.  She needs to begin to realize that she is just one of them – and that God has placed her where He has placed her for a reason – to impact the lives of many people.  NOT to focus on herself and what she wants and what she thinks she needs.

How will you get ready THIS WEEK to start building thoughtful, thankful children?  And how will you carry that thoughtfulness and that thankfulness through the Christmas season?

Recycling Rocks!

I’ve had a lot going on lately… to say the least.  So just this week I finally picked up all the signs of Halloween around the house and got them tucked away for next year.  I wanted to do one more sensory bin for Becca before putting the water table up in the attic for the Christmas season (way too much stuff will be in our living room…), but WHAT?  I wanted something fallish, but different from her pumpkin center.  So I looked around and found some items that have long since been forgotten… her fall leaves number tree, her box of beans (minus the pom poms), and her tub of beans, leaves, and pumpkins.  And I’m pretty pleased with what I came up with!  (And she was, too!)

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I emptied all of the beans, leaves, and pumpkins I could find into the main part of the water table, put her rake and shovel with the number tree in the top, and then put the Indian corn in a festive pumpkin basket that she can’t seem to get enough of (she hauls the thing all over the house at least twice a day).  She loved digging around using her tools, and just running her fingers through the beans again.  “This is fun, Mommy!  I like it better in here than that other place.”  So see, part of my problem before had been not enough space to dig in!  Now we know.  The container really DOES make a difference, and this water table (affiliate link – thank you!) is FABULOUS for way more than just water play!

I also showed her how she can pull the silks off the Indian corn and make fun strings, and how to pop the corn kernels off (into the table), which she had a blast doing!  Once she tired of it, she immediately pulled the fall number tree out, and we did that together.  Such fun to revisit old favorites – in a new format!  Recycling really does rock, ya’ll.  No need to throw out those activities because she was seemingly done with them!  Just gotta find a way to make things new!

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What activities do you have around your house that could stand to be recycled or “up cycled” into something new and different?

Being Thankful

So what’s a good way to encourage thankfulness in your preschooler? Helping them think of all the things they have that are blessings! Here’s an easy activity you can do TODAY!

I’ve programmed pieces of construction paper with the letters of the alphabet, and then throughout the past few days, Becca and I have added to the list. (It’s now much longer than what this picture shows!) Then later this week, I will take the pages down off the easel, and put them together in book form.

There’s so many options of how to do this. You could make an “I’m Thankful for my Family” book and put each person’s picture on one page and then write their name. That would be perfect for a young child who is just learning everyone’s names.

For us, list form is fabulous. I’m sure she’ll be thinking of things to add to our lists later, so I don’t plan on laminating this one. But you totally could. I just like the idea of having a running record of our thankfulness!

Note: I’ve just had her tell me things she’s thankful for as they pop into her head, and I put them under the correct letter. Later this week, before we pull down the list, I’ll change up the challenge- and ask her to think of things that begin with the specific letters we haven’t filled up yet. 🙂

What are you thankful for?

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