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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful Thursdays

This is the last installment of "Thankful Thursdays" for 2013. It doesn't mean that I plan to stop being grateful of course, just that I now need to come up with other things to write about.

As this Thanksgiving Day draws to a close (it is nearly 11:00pm right now) I want to talk about a few of the things that I am most grateful for. As we put the kids to bed each evening we read a few passages of scripture and then say a "kneeling prayer" as the children call it. We all kneel down on the floor, fold our arms, bow our heads, and one of us offers words of prayer on behalf of the family.

I really look forward to our family "kneeling prayer" each evening. Despite the chaos that is getting the kids ready for bed and the sheer exhaustion that Cami and I often feel when we kneel to pray it is a time that our family is united and, for the most part, reverent as we worship the God in whom we believe.

Source
This evening I chose to offer the words of prayer on behalf of the family. I felt prompted, perhaps even inspired, to simply say a prayer of gratitude. As I prayed I mentioned that we have so much to be grateful for that it would take hours if not days to enumerate each blessing that we have received from God our Father and thanked Him for that.

I offered our thanks for the pilgrims who valued their religion and their relationship with God that they were willing to set off into an unknown world and build a new life where they could worship Him according to the dictates of their consciences. I expressed gratitude for the example of the Native Americans who helped the pilgrims of reaching out to those in need regardless of our differences.

I next proceeded to thank Him for some of the things I feel most grateful for right now. I thanked Him for the knowledge that we have that He exists; for His Son and the perfect example that He set for us, His atonement and resurrection, and His love; I thanked Father that we are a family and that we love one another and feel that love grow stronger daily; I thanked Him for Cami's and my marriage and the happiness and blessings it brings to our lives and our little family.

As I closed our "kneeling prayer" in Christ's name I felt overcome with gratitude once again to know that I have a Savior, that I have a wonderful nearly perfect family, that all of our temporal needs are met and many of our wants as well, that I am loved, healthy, and strong.

Then, as we said "amen" in unison, I opened my eyes and quickly and quietly surveyed our little clan and had the idea of creating a gratitude wall in our home. I'm not sure exactly what it will look like yet but I'm thinking either painting a wall in chalkboard paint (though this probably wouldn't work very well since our walls are textured) or getting a large cork board or dry erase board or something. On this wall we could all write down the things we are grateful for when we feel especially grateful for them. I think it's a neat idea.

On this day of Thanksgiving I am grateful for all that I have. I am truly blessed above all men.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Advice for Dads

I really appreciate people who take the time to make videos like this. Advice from children is precious and so very true. Here's the advice that one little girl shares. She has a knack for the truth.



As I watched it with my kids they completely agreed with her, especially the part about coming home from work. :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Love is Blind

Last Monday I explained just how silly a reader comment on ToLoveHonorandVacuum.com was. He made the statement "love is choosing." This runs completely contrary to popular wisdom and many of the cliches we are most familiar with. Obviously, then, he must be wrong (I'm being facetious). Read my explanation.

Today I want to talk about another cliche: love is blind. What does this even mean? People who are in love keep optometrists in business?

No. When you love someone you can't see them. That's what it means. They exist but you physically lose the ability to visually perceive their presence. It's kind of unnerving at first but you get used to it over time. When Cami and I first met I could see her clearly but she began to fade the more I got to know her. Now I love her so much that she's completely invisible to me.

I think we all understand what is meant when we say that love is blind. But do we understand WHY love makes us blind?

Here's what I think. When I was a teenager my bishop (basically our congregation's pastor) told me that he was impressed with my parents' marriage. He said that of everyone in the world my dad knew better than anyone else my mom's flaws but the way he talked made others think that she was perfect. What a beautiful sentiment!

This is what love blindness is: knowing your spouse's every flaw and yet not seeing them. 


Why does love make us blind? Because we care so much about the other person that we are spending our time and energy focusing on making ourselves better, more worthy, for our spouse that we don't have time (or the inclination) to see their flaws. When both husband and wife are doing this the marriage blooms and love abounds.

In marriages where blind love is found the husband and the wife are uplifted and slowly perfected by the love they feel for each other. And the more we love there is the more blind we become.

Cami is perfect. She has some flaws and imperfections and she is actively working on them. But she's perfect. And no one can convince me otherwise, not even her. Sometimes she tries to tell me that she's not PERFECT but perfect for me. Yep, she's perfect for me. But she's also perfect, and that's that.

I am proud to say that I am blinded by love. Are you? If not, give it a try. Here's how you do it:

  1. Think about your imperfections and the things you need to work on and do better at
  2. Think of all of the wonderful and good qualities in your spouse
  3. Think about all of your imperfections and the things that you need to work on
  4. Think of the wonderful and good qualities in your spouse
  5. Rinse and repeat until you're convinced. I know I am. Your spouse really is perfect (at least you're blind to their imperfections anyway)
Now I repeat, I am proud to say that I am blinded by love. Are you?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Weight Loss Update

This week I weighed in at 210 pounds...again.

I'm getting there but not as fast I would like. 10 pounds down and 30 to go.  Same as last week.

Therefore, there is not much to report.  Thank you to those that provided additional suggestions to me last week on how to get off of this plateau. I want you to know that I have begun to take them into consideration. This week I doubled the distance that I normally run (so I did just over six miles) and am trying to eat more fruit and veggies.

With Thanksgiving being this week I'm not sure how I will fare.

Until next Saturday!

-Tyson

Friday, November 22, 2013

Real Men

This is a good little video made by the folks at FamilyShare.com about what makes a real man.



In your opinion, what is a real man?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

25 Acts of Kindness Wrap Up (by Cami)

Sorry this has taken so long to wrap up, Tyson was waiting for me to actually finish the 25 things. And I had finished it, I was just waiting for the last nice thing to show up at his office but it took a lot longer getting there than I thought (for any of you who don't know what I'm talking about, last month Tyson and I put together a competition to see which couple could do 50 kind things for each other, 25 each. You can read about if you want).

I REALLY loved this challenge (as anyone and everyone knows that reads this blog). I love doing nice things for Tyson. Surprisingly though, I had a hard time thinking of 25 different things. I guess I am just so nice in the first place that thinking of anything more was quite the challenge. :)

I mean, I do the dishes and a million other chores (it feels like it) every day, I take care of the kids, I do his laundry, AND he is trying to lose weight so giving him candy or baked goods kind of wasn’t a nice thing. 

But then again, withholding food was kind of a mean thing too. Plus, spending any money on him I felt bad, because he earns the money so it was like, hey, work some more so I can get this nice thing for you. Yeah, so I was having a hard time coming up with things that were actually nice.

But I did. Finally. 

Tyson and I really loved reading all the lists couples sent him that participated in the challenge (anyone that didn’t email him, even if you didn’t finish the 25 things, still email him, he is always looking for ways to be nice to me or to share with others so they can get ideas of what they can do for their love).  Seriously, the lists were so cute. Some of our favorites were:
  • Spelled out "I love you" in licorice on a table for him to find when he got home from a meeting
  • Created a puzzle mat to make it easier for her to do puzzles, a hobby of hers
  • Made him a Google search printout that had personalized search results for "the love of my life."
  • Let her win a game we were playing
  • Forwarded an IFunny pic to him (and his dad) that I knew they’d enjoy
  • Brought home a KitKat for her
Tyson was amazing and seriously, I felt overwhelmed with niceness. I loved that everything he did were things that I really loved and appreciated. I could tell he really thought about it. I so love being loved.

So congrats to the first three couples that finished, you are awesome. You totally did beat us and we hope you enjoy your gifts!!

So what do you think, should we do another challenge anytime soon?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

10 Tips for a Happy Marriage

Ten good tips from a couple married for three years.



Are they right? What advice would you add?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Love is Choosing

I read a reader comment on ToLoveHonorandVacuum.com last week. He said "love is choosing."

Love is choosing? I don't think so. According to popular wisdom you don't have a say who you love, at least romantically. We hear regularly "love at first sight", "we fell in love with each other", "we fell out of love", "they just don't love each other anymore", and "lucky in love". These phrases obviously teach us that we don't have any control over love.

Apparently, love comes and goes as it pleases. Those of us who are blessed to have it in our lives, directed at a single person, for an extended period of time are just extra fortunate. Still, we can't control love. You can't bottle it after all.

So, if you love someone today count yourself lucky. Tomorrow you might not love them anymore. But then again, you might. Don't worry about it though. You don't have any control over it anyway.

I mean, if love were choosing then when people "fall out of love" it wouldn't be something that happened to them, it would be something of their own doing, perhaps caused by some form of neglect? That's ridiculous.

If love were choosing then it would be my choice to experience "love at first sight." In other words, I was just walking down the street, saw a woman, and decided that she's the one I want and love. Absurd.

If love were choosing then no one could be "lucky in love" because luck is totally outside of my control. When I play poker with my friends (we don't actually put any money in, we just play with the poker chips and pretend) the person with the best hand didn't work at it or really have any control over which cards he received. How can I choose to be lucky in love? Laughable.

This reader's comment, "love is choosing", is contrary to popular wisdom, therefore, I conclude that it must be wrong.

Does all of this sound ridiculous to anyone else? Or is it just me?


Come back next Monday for Part Two: "Love is blind"

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Weight Loss Update

This week I weighed in at 210 pounds...again.


I'm getting there but not as fast I would like. 10 pounds down and 30 to go.

It seems that I've plateaued again, which is really frustrating. For about a month, the middle of September through the middle of October, I was losing a pound or two a week and was getting really excited. Then it slowed way down. I'm afraid that I'm going to have to go even more extreme with cutting back what I eat and increasing my exercise, and I really don't want to.

I am already limiting my eating to about 1,500 calories a day. I workout each morning and run two or three times a week. This week I ran just over four miles. That's more than I think I've ever run in a week.

On Wednesday Cami went to the store with our oldest son. They came back with donuts as a treat for him since he was so good. He was very thoughtful and brought me back a maple bar (and a donut for each of his brothers) and I gladly accepted it. After I ate it looked up the calories...420. That's right, a simple and delicious little maple bar was the same amount of calories as a normal breakfast. Disappointment.

I'm not giving up but I'm hoping I don't need to run anymore or eat any less. Of course with the holidays rapidly approaching I am sure that my progress will be further stunted. Hopefully I can shed another couple of pounds before then.

Wish me luck (and if you're so inclined, pray for me)!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Learn to Live with Royalty

I've shared videos before that were made by the folks at FamilyShare.com. They're great videos and share little truths about marriage and families. Well, this video is no exception. It's fun to listen to this man's perspective with five girls because I have the exact opposite (almost) with my four boys. I'm just one shy of a basketball team.

And, while his advice is fun to hear and the video is put together in an entertaining way, his point number two "Learn to Live with Royalty" is dead-on. The statement that really stood out to me, and I add my voice to his, is "children are going to look at their parent's relationship as a pattern for their own."


Let's recommit today to giving our children the best pattern possible for their future marriages.

Those of you with girls, is he right?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thankful Thursdays

The first year Cami and I were married we had a friend mention to us that in the days leading up to Thanksgiving they would write down ten things each day that they were grateful for. The lists had to be unique, nothing could be repeated. We thought it was a great idea and have been doing it ever since. This year I wanted to share my list with you.

Here are most of my lists from this past week:
  • Thursday, November 7
    1. Meatloaf and mashed potatoes
    2. Shingles (on a roof, not the disease)
    3. Ladders
    4. Cereal
    5. Towels
    6. Milk
    7. Daily showers
    8. Mirrors
    9. Slippers
    10. Dry erase markers
  • Friday, November 8
    1. Dinosaurs
    2. Legos
    3. Dryers
    4. That Cami washes my clothes
    5. Jeans
    6. Qtips
    7. Tarps
    8. My problem solving skills
    9. The Book of Mormon
    10. The ability to write
  • Saturday, November 9
    1. Combustion engines
    2. Clouds
    3. Sunsets
    4. Sunrises
    5. Flannel pajamas
    6. Home teaching
    7. Joshua's pictures and notes
    8. A little extra money to buy treats for Matthew and Cami
    9. College ruled notebook paper
    10. My projector
  • Monday, November 11
    1. Veterans (it was veteran's day)
    2. Active duty military personnel
    3. Reservists
    4. Memorial holidays
    5. Shampoo
    6. Soap
    7. Hand soap
    8. Towels
    9. Showers
    10. That I can snuggle with Cami
  • Tuesday, November 12
    1. Vitamin C pills
    2. Book of Mormon
    3. Bible
    4. Disposable diapers
    5. The priesthood
    6. Mirrors
    7. Bananas
    8. Beef Jerky
    9. Shopping carts
    10. Grass
The thing I am most grateful for though is Cami and our boys. What are you most grateful for? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words


I saw this picture and couldn't help but think of Thumper. I assume that you have seen Bambi (did you know it was made in 1942? I couldn't believe it). It's a classic and is jam packed with great advice for life. One of my favorite nuggets of advice comes from Thumper's dad. "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all."

I cannot count the number of times my parents, my mom especially, repeated this phrase (and ones just like it) when I was growing up. I would probably be a millionaire if I had a dime for every time I've heard this phrase during my life.

Then there's "what goes around comes around." 

Way back in the day when Cami and I started dating one of the things that impressed her the most about me was my ridiculously high self-esteem (when I was a teenager I would often say "it's not my fault God made me perfect") and self-confidence. I still believe with my whole heart that I can do anything I set my mind to. The problem is that I am also very lazy by nature. Not the best combination.

Back to dating Cami. I also believe, and was shown by my dad, that you compliment and say kind things to those you care about. Thus, that is what I did with Cami. At the time she would deflect my compliments. For example, I would tell her that her hair looked nice and she would respond by telling me that it was because her friend had helped her.

I am the opposite way. Pay me a compliment and I gladly accept it. That's right, I know I'm amazing and don't mind that you know it too.

A little while after we were married I finally confronted her about it and told her that I didn't like that she deflected my compliments. They were meant for her and were from my heart. She needed to graciously acknowledge and accept them. It took her a few years with occasional gentle reminders from me before it became second nature to her.


Now when I tell her that her hair looks nice she responds with something like "yes it does, doesn't it?" and a coy, confident smile. Victory!!

The point is that what we say has a great influence on those we say it too. I have a friend whose elementary school teacher told her she was stupid. Guess what? She has struggled with that ever since.

Tell your spouse you love them. Tell them everyday. Tell them several times each day. Let your wife know how beautiful she is. Share with your husband how intelligent you find him. Tell your children how special they are. Radiant kind words and uplift others with the things that you say. 

Remember Thumper's dad's advice, "if you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all."

How does all of this fit in with "what goes around comes around" you may be asking. The more nice things you say to other people the more nice things get said about you. And it always feels good to have someone remind you how amazing you are.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

YouTube Addict

Okay. Once again I've spent too much time on YouTube.

During this time I came across this video put together by a bunch of teenage guys for a church youth project (or something like that). It's a pretty good video but the two really cool things about it are:

  1. It was done in ONE take. It's a continuous video. No editing. Pretty cool.
  2. The commentary at the end explaining how they did it!
The other reason that I'm sharing this video is because of the house that it is filmed in. Watch it. Then we'll talk.



Did you see the fireman pole? What about the phone booth in the basement? Cool, huh? But my favorite part of the house was the theater room. How awesome! After I saw this I made Cami watch it and then we added a few things to our "dream home checklist". The fireman pole is a must have.

Now that I mentioned our "dream home checklist" that might make a good post sometime. Hmmm.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Weight Loss Update

This week I weighed in at 211 pounds!!

I'm getting there. 9 pounds down and 31 to go!!

Now I'm going to try to lose some weight by laughing (you can burn up to 40 calories by laughing hard for 15 minutes!!). You should too!



Have a great Saturday!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thankful Thursdays

The first year Cami and I were married we had a friend mention to us that in the days leading up to Thanksgiving they would write down ten things each day that they were grateful for. The lists had to be unique, nothing could be repeated. We thought it was a great idea and have been doing it ever since. This year I wanted to share my list with you.

Here are my lists from this past week:
  • Friday, November 1
    1. Cami
    2. Physical intimacy
    3. Garrett popcorn
    4. airplanes
    5. small towns
    6. Netflix
    7. Having the scriptures on my phone
    8. computers
    9. the internet
    10. electricity
  • Saturday, November 2
    1. indoor plumbing
    2. cold water
    3. a big yard so that I can teach my boys how to work
    4. a wife that works beside me
    5. that I'm not bald
    6. Dallin who helps me to be muscle-y
    7. Google
    8. ballpoint pens
    9. our oak trees
    10. that I can see colors
  • Sunday, November 3
    1. Eyesight
    2. touch (said in a seductive voice to Cami)
    3. taste
    4. hearing
    5. smell
    6. alarm clocks
    7. the printing press
    8. leaf blowers
    9. french fries
    10. carrot cake
  • Monday, November 4
    1. mechanical pencils
    2. toilet paper
    3. eggs
    4. journals
    5. lamps
    6. roller coasters
    7. fingernails
    8. flashlights
    9. TV shows
    10. books
  • Tuesday, November 5
    1. pillows
    2. chap stick
    3. microwaves
    4. fingernail clippers
    5. wristwatches
    6. swimming suits
    7. nose hair
    8. forks
    9. email
    10. light bulbs
  • Wednesday, November 6
    1. Water to drink
    2. refrigerators
    3. blankets
    4. cameras
    5. UPS
    6. Paper
    7. Amazon.com
    8. Rain
    9. Rainbows
    10. the leaves changing colors
The thing I am most grateful for though is Cami. What are you most grateful for? Leave a comment to let me know.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Bologna, Loads of It

Last month Jenny Erikson at Cafemom.com reported on a new study conducted by researchers at Berkeley. According to the researchers the level of happiness we experience in our marriages is to some degree dictated by our genes.

In Erikson's article, The Secret to Marital Bliss May be Totally Out of Your Control, she's speaks candidly and calls the research a load of baloney concluding by stating her opinion: "I believe that the marriages that last are the ones where there is mutual respect and honest admiration for your partner."

Way to go Jenny! I totally agree with you!!

My post on Friday, Happy Marriages Show Some Respect, is worth you taking a minute to read. I expound on the sentiment that Jenny expressed and share my own insights. You'll enjoy it, I promise. And, not to give away all of the surprises in the post, but there is mention of a rooster. What?! :)

Monday, November 4, 2013

The #1 Secret to Being Happy (for husbands)

I have been blessed to be around happy marriages from the day I was born. I have watched my parent's and seen the happiness in their marriage. I have had youth leaders whose marriages I was able to observe. Friends, neighbors, coworkers, and even people I don't/didn't particularly care for have had happy marriages that I had the opportunity to witness.

Thankfully, Cami and I have also been blessed with a great deal of happiness in our marriage and so I have not only observed but experienced first hand a happy marriage.

When I was a sophomore in high school I took a chemistry class. I loved that class. Learning has always been a passion of mine and I am perennially curious. I ask questions about everything and want to know how everything works and why.

My chemistry teacher knew this about me and, about midway through the year, told me that when she prepared her lesson plans she would do so with me in mind. She told me that she always knew that when a new concept was presented my hand was going to shoot into the air and I would ask why.

I still do it. My bosses at work must get tired of me because I haven't changed. I know that Cami sometimes gets frustrated because I am constantly trying to figure out the "why" behind everything.

As I have watched married men and women through my life, and when I realized that Cami and I were VERY happy, I have asked "Why? What makes a marriage happy?"

I'm still working on the ENTIRE answer but after all of my observation and study I am absolutely confident that for me, and other happily married men, there is a simple mathematical equation that explains how to achieve happiness in marriage. It is:

A HAPPY WIFE = A HAPPY LIFE

That's it. This is the #1 secret to being happily married (for husbands, that is). Work to make your wife happy and you will be too.


Anyone want to share a testimonial? :)  (use the comments so that we can all benefit from your experience)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Weight Loss: Secrets to Success

155 pounds.

That's what I weighed when Cami and I were married. I was a roofer at the time and working between 10 and 12 hours a day with the occasional 15 hour day. All of which was hard manual labor. I also possessed some very toned muscles at the time (which Cami "appreciated" a lot).

At the end of that summer we went back to school for our senior year of college. I did a lot of sitting, reading, and studying. We did have an early morning jogging class together though. That was fun.

The next spring we found out that we were expecting our first child. Cami lost something like 10-15 pounds right off the bat (and she was already pretty skinny). As the pregnancy progressed, and she "craved" chocolate milkshakes (I still think this was an awfully convenient craving), her belly grew and, as expected, she gained a few pounds. After our first son was born she was a few pounds heavier than before the pregnancy.

This was no surprise and, as is common for many women, she lost the extra weight in a couple of months thanks to breastfeeding. I, however, realized that I had also picked up a few additional pounds and they were still hanging around.

"Don't worry about it" I thought. "They'll go away. You have a high metabolism" I told myself. Over the next few years I found myself repeating this often. Guess what? While Cami continued to return to her prepregnancy weight after each child, I didn't.

About a year and a half ago I finally hit my peak. 220 pounds. Yep, I had gained weight at a rate of about 12 pounds a year since our wedding. I did the math and was surprised that if I continued without making changes to my lifestyle I would weigh 275 pounds by our 10th anniversary and almost 400 pounds by our 20th anniversary. That simply wouldn't do.

Now you have to know me to realize that I am a process person. I am also lazy and try to do as little as possible to get the maximum effect. That being said...

First Try...

My first decision was to begin going on daily early morning walks. This gave me a chance to get a little bit of exercise, enjoy the outdoors, and time to think (which I enjoy doing). I figured that after a couple of months I would have lost maybe 10 pounds. Nope. Not a one.

Second Try...

Next I decided to cut back, ever so slightly, my food consumption. I mean, would I really struggle to eat one less brownie each week? I didn't lose any weight but at this point, with the walking and slight decrease in the amount I ate, I stopped gaining weight. This lasted for about a year.

Third Try...

Then in May I asked my brother-in-law if he would teach me how to work out and help me get back into shape. He's a great guy and agreed to help so on the first of June I met him at the weight room at the local college.

That first week was torture! I was sore and exhausted and that Saturday my arms and joints hurt so badly that I just sat around whining all day long. Cami wasn't very impressed. After that it got easier, well I wasn't as sore anyway.

We worked out every weekday morning in June, July, and August. I was dedicated. I felt better and the fact that I was getting physically stronger was evident. But...still no weight loss. At this point I was feeling pretty discouraged/frustrated. I was lifting weights every day and running twice a week. We ran further and faster than I had run in at least a decade. What was going on?

Success!

I kept at it because, well, what else could I do? Then, about a month ago, I hopped on the scale. I looked down, as I had done literally a hundred times before, and waited for the depressing, same result: 220 pounds. To my surprise and utter disbelief the scale said 218. What!?!?

I redoubled my efforts at this point hoping it wasn't just a fluke. I didn't weigh myself for a few days for fear of being disappointed. You might know the feeling.

The next time I hopped on the scale I was filled with anxious anticipation. I felt like a kid waking up the day after he lost a tooth hoping that the tooth fairy had come. She had!! The scale said 217! I was actually losing weight! After months of effort and self-deprivation (okay, it wasn't that bad just a baked good passed up here and there) I was finally winning!

Since then I have continued to lose weight. To aid in the effort, and to accelerate it, I downloaded an app on my phone to track my calorie consumption and set the daily limit to 1,500 (that has been HARD). I am losing between 2 and 3 pounds a week now. It's great! Another two months of this and I should be where I want to be: 180 pounds.

Cami has encouraged me to chronicle my "journey" here on the blog. I've tried to think of a catchy title like "weight loss Wednesday" or "fit Friday" or "miserable Monday" (I think this one is funny) but haven't come up with anything. Therefore, I'm going to go the traditional (and boring route) and call my updates "Weight Loss Updates". If you have a better name (and I'm sure you will) please let me know. I really do need something more clever and catchy.

By the way, the secret to my success thus far: persistence.

I look forward to reading your suggestions in the comments. Wish me luck!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Thankful Thursdays 2013

Back in 2006, the year we were married, we were attending our church's Sunday worship services in early November and the topic of the messages was gratitude. We heard many of the normal and standard aspects of the gratitude message: be grateful, count your blessings, say thank-you, etc. 

There was one suggestion, however, that stood out to both of us. The individual speaking said that the week leading up to Thanksgiving each year they would write down ten things each day that they were grateful for. Nothing on the list could be duplicated so on Thanksgiving he had a list of seventy unique things he was grateful for.

That evening Cami and I were discussing the messages that we had heard and some of the things we had learned and enjoyed as we often do. I mentioned that I thought it would be fun to do this grateful list and Cami jumped up with a twinkle in her eye and squealed "me too! Let's do it!" 

For the seven days leading up to Thanksgiving we kept our lists and would share them with each other before we went to bed each evening. It was fun and really cultivated a greater sense of gratitude in us for the blessings we had received.

When November came around the next year we decided to make it a little harder, and a little more competitive. We were going to write down ten unique things each day starting November 1st and going through Thanksgiving day. The competition part arose unintentionally as we raced each evening to finish our list before the other.

On Thanksgiving day we reviewed our lists for the month and had well over 250 things each for which we were grateful. Intellectually we were surprised at the size of our lists and their breadth and our hearts were truly amazed at the generosity of our Father for His wonderful kindness and mercy toward us. We resolved to do it again the next year.

We have done this each year now with this November being the eighth year. Through the month I will be posting my "grateful lists" and Cami will post those that she feels inclined to share. We'll call this series "Thankful Thursdays".

We invite and encourage you to keep a list too. It's easy. Each day write down ten things that you are thankful for. You cannot duplicate any items. That way when you are done you will have a list of things, each one unique, for which you are grateful. I promise that doing this will help you to have the best Thanksgiving ever.

For those that don't mind, we would love to hear some of your lists. Please share those that you are comfortable sharing in the comments.

Now, let's be thankful!
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