Gratitude Challenge: The End That Inspires Great Beginnings

Our Gratitude Challenge was an intentional attempt to catch all the tiny drops of rain falling over our lives on a daily basis. We have been counting our blessings one by one and the end of our challenge perfectly aligned with the end of the school year. We have much to celebrate and be thankful for!

So we got together and created a gratitude display of the highlights of this year so far.

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This was a tangible and creative expression for us as a family. We reflected on our school year and family and found pictures, words and inspiring hymns and quotes. I had picked up some pine planks that someone was getting rid and the ideas sprung from that. I used gift wrapping to modge podge every second plank. And then glued on small clothing pegs to hold the gratitude reflections.

What we ended up with was a display that we can hang up and keep adding to throughout the year.

I am also using the gratitude board to inspire me for preparing for our family learning life in the upcoming school year. We will carry occasionally use the question prompts from our gratitude jar and use it throughout the year.

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For now our heart is full of gratitude and thanks for all that we are as a family and for the journey that we are on. I am going to put up my feet with some wonderful good reads over the summer, while ensuring that I am making time to rest, reconnect and revive for the new school year.

I am confident that gratitude will continue to inspire us to move wholeheartedly into all the new things ahead of us.

 

Gratitude Challenge: Days 17 and 18

Better late than never, here is what we got up to during days 17 and 18 of this challenge.

During Day 15 and 16 of this challenge, we started using songs as a springboard to reflection, discussion and worship in cultivating gratitude in our home. Any song that you and your family know and love and have a connection to can serve this purpose.

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In this season of our family life and for me personally, the words to the song “Faithful To The End” by Bethel Music  reminds me of where we have come from and the anchor in the truth that our lives are wrapped in the faithfulness of our Father in Heaven who loves us deeply and will never leave us.

[Verse 1]
We’re heaven-spun creations
His pride and adoration
Treasures woven by his love
His careful hands they hold us
Safe within His promise
Of calling and of destiny

[Chorus]
I will sing of all You’ve done
I’ll remember how far You carried me
From beginning until the end
You are faithful, faithful to the end

[Verse 2]
A Father’s heart that’s for me
A never ending story
Of love that’s always chasing me
His kindness overwhelming
And hope for me unending
He’s never given up on me

[Chorus]
I will sing of all You’ve done
I’ll remember how far You carried me
From beginning until the end
You are faithful, faithful to the end

[Outro]
There wasn’t a day
That You weren’t by my side
There wasn’t a day
That You let me fall
All of my life
Your love has been true
All of my life
I will worship You

We have played this song in our home and used for some discussions, prayer prompts and worship.

I am currently reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp in my personal reading.

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I have not finished the book yet, but it has certainly been an inspiring read so far, a reminder of  tremendous power in a deliberately seeing the gifts in every moment despite what life brings to us.

For the last part of this gratitude challenge, we are busy creating a family memory space that will serve as a lasting “memorial stone”. A place to continue capturing gifts of gratitude in our lives.  In the next post I will share some of these ideas and I hope it will inspire you to do the same in your home.

 

 

Gratitude Challenge Day 15 and 16

Songs, Hymns, Poetry and Books shared over meals, tea time and bedtime can be a beautiful and practical way to point hearts towards truth, beauty and goodness. Listening to and reflecting on songs of gratitude is what we did for days 15 and 16 of this challenge.

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We have been listening and playing this song around our home. We got lyrics with its three verses and we had a reflective, worshipful time pondering and discussing:

  • What faithfulness means and what makes God faithful.
  • The the story behind this famous hymn, written by Thomas Chisholm
  • What each of the verses of the songs were about
  • Using the verses as prayers of gratitude in the morning or at night together as a family. For example with “Morning by morning new mercies I see”, We FOCUSED ON THE GRACE AND MERCY OF GOD even over the very breath that we breathe even morning. Two easy gratitude questions for kids, from the very first verse are    ” I wonder what new mercies a waiting for you today?” Perfect for morning wake up call! Or ” What new mercies did you see today?” Perfect for bedtime.

I find myself seeing so many ways that we are living out new mercies and displays of God’s faithfulness in our lives. It is a privilege to see them and to count them. I think it blesses our Father’s heart.

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Gratitude Challenge Day 13 and 14

We woke up to the sound of rain.
It has been raining here for more than two days.
I love the Rain.
Rain is the sound of comfort, of mercies made new, and the promise of fruitfulness
It is the sigh of relief for all the dry and hard spaces.
Every beautiful season of my life, His rain has  showered faithfully upon my heart
And I am grateful that in every single day, all the longings of my heart are fulfilled by waterfalls of His unfailing love.

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Just like the rain that falls and seeps deep into the ground and nurtures it from within, our intentional gratitude during every moment of our lives, softens the ground of our hearts, so that we can truly receive all the gifts and blessings God has given us, and in turn create the best kind of environment for the seeds He is planting in our lives right now. We are continuing with the daily practice ideas that I mentioned in our Gratitude Challenge Day 11 and 12 .

While we do these daily practices, I am prayerful throughout the day, and pointing my kid’s hearts to all the many raindrops of gratitude that we are surrounded by.

 

Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves and spend without fear of bankruptcy.” Fred De Witt Amburgh

 

Gratitude Challenge Day 11 and 12

 

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Morning-Time Gratitude

We continue to make entries in our journals. Kids are free to write or draw anything that they are thankful for. Usually when they write simple things like ” I am grateful for my music”, I use this as conversation, and ask questions like ” What do you love about music?”, ” What is your favorite song?”. I notice that two of my kids, the boys, do not always enjoy writing everyday. I encourage pictures, one word gratitudes (which they can elaborate by telling me more). For reluctant writers, here are some ideas for adding variety into the gratitude journaling practice:

  • Draw pictures
  • Cut out magazine clips
  • Use the camera to take a picture
  • Use a one-word gratitude bomb
  • record a voice note
  • do a video interview, siblings taking turns
  • use “guess-it game”, where a person picks an object to represent their gratitude and we guess why they picked it.

Bed-Time Entries and Family-Time Discussions on Gratitude

We created a gratitude jar, by putting gratitude questions on strips of paper that each person had come up with. I opted for questions that we as a family could come up with as a start because I was keen to get us thinking and investing in this challenge and I was curious about what we could come up with.  Each person had to complete the sentence    ” 3 THINGS …..” as gratitude prompts. For the remainder of our gratitude challenge, we will be drawing from our gratitude jar for our bed-time gratitude focus. We have at times written in our journals and other evenings ended our dinner with a discussion from the jar. Simply drawing from our jar has been an easy way to keep us focused on this challenge amidst the busy times.

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Here are some of the prompts we have so far in our Gratitude Jar:

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“Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say: Rejoice!” Phil 4:4