And Give Us Thankful Hearts

 

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I received a message.. “Do you remember what Daddy said for Grace?”

MY mind started reeling. Repeating it over in my head.. Again and again. Was it this? Wait, was it that?

Then I finally got it. As close as we can remember. He’s in heaven now. We are left with memories.

We are thankful for the memories. A father who said grace before each meal. I often wondered why it was the same prayer. Now, I’m so glad it was. Repetition drives it deep into our minds and hearts.

My husband was impacted by a line in the prayer. He said that our Daddy must have really had a lot to be thankful for and knew it because Daddy always said : “And give us thankful hearts for all those our many blessings.” I’m still not sure if it was thankful or grateful. It’s crazy how the smallest things matter now.

Today, on my family’s first Thanksgiving with Daddy in Heaven and the rest of us here, I’m choosing to be Thankful for all those our many blessings. Daddy taught us that.

So, here is Daddy’s “Grace” as good as I can remember:

(Bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies and our bodies to thy service. And give us thankful hearts for all those our many blessings.
Amen.)

I may not remember it all.. Perfectly.. But what I do remember is this: Daddy was thankful. He loved life. He didn’t waste a single moment of his life. He was selfless and his hearts desire was to never be able to “say no to those who need and ask for help.”

 

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I’m choosing thankfulness today and every single day.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I love you! Most importantly, JESUS loves you. He commands us as CHRISTIANS to give thanks in all circumstances. It’s not a little suggestion.. It’s a command.

Truth is, you can’t give thanks and not be filled with joy at the same time. Try it.


 

RELEVANT SCRIPTURE

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ~ Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.


 

REFLECTION

Today I am thankful for:

1) The grace and mercy that Jesus shows me.

2) A legacy of a father who modeled thankfulness and a true heart for Jesus by his actions.

3) A husband who loves Jesus and loves me.

4) Our daughters. They make my heart swell.

5) My Momma…she models The Proverbs 31 woman. She’s my momma and my friend.

6)  All of our family…sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins.

7) My husband’s parents..who have always been so good to me and treat me like their own. They both Love The LORD so much and model Jesus to everyone.

8) Friends…so many who bless me in so many ways. Near and far, old and new. I am blessed.

9) My church family..Missions..

10) That Jesus would choose an ordinary person like me as HIS vessel for serving. 

What are you choosing to be thankful for today?


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Until Next Time,

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A Way of Life

For the past two years I’ve done Thankful Thursdays here on the blog. I’ll be doing them again this year as well.

Thankfulness is a way of life.Being grateful is a choice and attitude. For Christians it’s a requirement as well.

Ephesians 5:20 ~ And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ~ Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

James 1:2,3 ~ Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

 

To give thanks in ALL circumstances. To count it all joy. To have an attitude of gratitude.

On November 1st I’m going begin the weekly Thankful Thursday posts. These weekly posts will supplement something that I try to do daily, a thankful list in my journal. These intentional practices help remind me to be thankful no matter what.

I also plan on making a Thankful Tree. The Thankful Tree will be a great way to include my husband and our daughters. I’m going to make one similar to  one that I saw on Pinterest. It’s the cutest thing!  {Branches from the yard, a mason jar filled with nuts, and pretty card stock for leaves.} 

My sis in law did a thankful tree last year and I just loved it! It was a great way to teach her children about giving thanks. (She’s a wonderful mommy) Discipling my niece and nephew every day. Being present with them and teaching them about Jesus.

Maybe you’ll join us on Thankful Thursdays or even with making your own Thankful Tree. Thanksgiving really shouldn’t just be a November thing. It’s a way of life.

There are so many cute ideas for trees on Pinterest. I have pinned a few on my HOLIDAYS board on my Pinterest page. I’ll share a picture of mine when I make it.

{New here? Lets’s be blog friends! Sign up here for email updates and/or Like my FB page. Still planning a giveaway on the FB page. Over halfway to the goal.}

Until Next Time,

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What are 3 things that you are thankful for this week? 

I am thankful for:

1) Thankful for each one of you! That you take the time to read these words that I share.

2) Thankful that Logan wanted to be homeschooled and wouldn’t give up until I said YES. She is now a college student at age 16 with 3 college core classes under her belt and signed up for 3 more next semester..FREE because of the Accel program. 

3) Thankful that I was able to take my Momma and daughters last week to North Ga. and spend time with family up there! 

Better Is One Day In His Presence

copyright 2014 heatherdawkins.com
copyright 2014 heatherdawkins.com

 

I’ve loved the Psalms ever since I can remember.

As a young girl in Sunday School class, I remember an assignment from our teacher. Come back next week and tell what our favorite book of the Bible was. Mine was Psalms.

I remember well, going to vacation bible school with my cousin out of town. We memorized Psalm 23.

I imagine that reciting a Psalm back to God is a beautiful way of praying to Him. His words, God-breathed, right back to Him.

Psalms are so beautiful aren’t they?

So applicable in our everyday lives. They are timeless. Beautiful.

Some mornings while sitting at my kitchen table, I will flip my Bible open, and read wherever I feel led to read.

Today it was Psalm 84.

Absolutely beautiful. These words. They are deep and my heart overflows with warmth after soaking in these words.

Rest a moment. Be Present. Soak in these scriptures.

Psalm 84:1-12

How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of Heaven’s Armies. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the LORD. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God! What joy for those who can live in your house, always singing your praises. What joy for those whose strength comes from the LORD, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem. O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies, hear my prayer. Listen, O God of Jacob. O God, look with favor upon the king, our shield! Show favor to the one you have anointed. A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you.

I long..yes, I faint with longing…to be in the presence of my LORD.

Better is one day in HIS presence..

What joy! What joy…for those who can live in HIS presence.

Nothing better. Nothing more important. Than being in the presence of God.

Father God, 

Please forgive me for the times that I don’t seek your presence first. I long to be in your presence. All day long. I need your presence. You never leave or forsake me. You are faithful and just and good and always present. There is nothing more important than being aware of your presence each day, and all day. Help me to be obedient in seeking you first. 

Love, Me

Do you know HIM? Is HIS presence most important to you? Are you intentional about BEING PRESENT with GOD? He loves you. 

Until Next Time,

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New Year New Me

New Year New Me

Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15 NLT)

It’s been quiet here on the blog. Not because my mind has been quiet.. Because it has not. My mind and soul have been overloaded lately. When that happens, I still write, I just don’t publish. Sometimes it’s quiet on here because God is allowing me some time to learn and grow and even rest.

Learn and grow … I’ve definitely been doing that.

Last year God pulled me back from leading a women’s bible study. I wasn’t quite sure as to why at the time. I still obeyed. Around that time, our oldest daughter, a high school sophomore, began expressing an interest in being in a private school or being homeschooled. She’s a wise teen with big plans and dreams for her future. We looked into both, prayed about it, and sent her back to the public high school.

Still praying. Still growing. Learning new things about myself. Learning that boundaries were biblical and good and healthy. Studied a book called Boundaries by Henry Cloud / John Townsend. I did some bible studies on my own, and completed reading and studying through the entire Bible for my first time ever.

Through the last half of last year, I had shingles.. Which was very rare for someone my age. Stress can cause them to appear to anyone who has ever had chickenpox. I was definitely under some stress. My husband had a back injury that had him confined to the bed and then with a walker for several weeks. Things fell apart in different areas and other things fell together.

I got well, He was healed while on vacation. I mean healed. Instantly.
God was good and always faithful.

We also suffered a tragic loss of a family member in December of 2013. God has been faithful and good to our entire family through that as well. Our family’s faith in God is what has sustained everyone. I honestly don’t know how those who don’t have a relationship with God survive the hard, tragic, and trying times in life.

Now on to 2014. After much prayer and research and more prayer, we signed our oldest up with a wonderful Homeschool group… Classical Conversations. She had her first official day of school this Thursday and we couldn’t be more pleased! Never say never… No, really.. Because that’s what I had always said.

God orchestrated every event and meeting and circumstance in a way that led me to meet with a fellow blogger, friend, and homeschooling mom. Which in turn led to us following HIS call on our life. To begin this journey with one of our children. Praying that our youngest will decide on her own to join as well.

Oh, I forgot to mention something. I was asked in the fall to speak at a girl’s conference at a local church. Talk about out of my comfort zone. The thought scared me to death. Me? Yes, HE said.. me. So, after much prayer and seeking wisdom from other Godly women, I agreed. Why? Because praise GODHE uses the ordinary to do the extraordinary. Thank goodness, HE also equips the called. AND… Because I don’t plan on speaking MY words. I only want to speak HIS. If one girl’s life is impacted, then I can handle a little stage fright.

I’ve learned to balance my life. Put my husband first, after God. I’ve learned that it’s okay to say no. That it is NECESSARY to eliminate stress. I’ve learned that it’s okay to set boundaries. I’ve learned that I do not have to allow negative opinions to affect me. I’ve learned that sometimes God requires me to do things that make no sense to me or anyone else at the time. I’ve learned that I do not have to make everyone happy and that I can’t. I’ve learned to be still and bridle my tongue. I’ve learned to set limits. I’ve learned to trust HIM more.

I can’t wait to see what else I learn this New Year!

It’s a New Year and each day HE is making a new me.

As a quote I found yesterday on Pinterest says: “I may not have always known what I wanted to be, but I’ve always known the kind of woman I wanted to be.”

I’m on my way.

I’m living for God.

I’m not backing down.

I’m not entertaining negativity.

I’m seeking HIS WILL in everything.

I’m stepping out, even further out, of my comfort zone.

I’m NOT feeling guilty for saying no to negativity or drama or for eliminating stress.

Lots of new changes this year. One homeschooled by me, one still in public school ( middle school). A 16 year old with a driver’s license… (Learning the real meaning to praying without ceasing). Speaking at an event for the first time, (In front of teen girls). Who knows what else.. I do know that whether it be good or tragic, God is good and will hold me and my family in the palm of HIS hands.

One last thing, I wrote a list of my goals for this year in my journal. Maybe you have already done the same thing, if not, maybe you should.

Just know this… Your goals are great but be willing to let God interrupt your plans. For HIS plans are much better. Even if we don’t always understand them.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8 ESV)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Seeking HIS Will,

Heather

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Thankful Thursday ~ October 17th 2013

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A wise person once said:

” Every day may not be good….but there is something good in every day. “

It is only 6 WEEKS until Thanksgiving! Here in South Georgia the extremely hot days have turned into 80s on some days. That’s better than 100 though! Leaves are falling. The skies are looking more fall like. There’s a slight breeze on most days. Fall decorations are going up outside of homes. Fall is in the air. Even if the air is still a bit warm and humid. 🙂

Time to do the weekly Thankful Thursday posts again!

Thanks Giving should happen daily. There is no way to be sad while expressing gratitude. There is JOY to be found in giving thanks.

Everybody has something that they can be thankful for. I’m asking you to think of your top 3 things. If we are unable to think of anything then we have a serious reality problem.

Have you heard of the saying: “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.” ?

See, everyone has STUFF. But, everyone has some good STUFF too!

It’s a matter of perspective. How we choose to look at life. Life is a gift. Each day is a gift…each breath is a miracle. That in itself is something to be thankful for.

The next time you are feeling grumpy or aggravated ask yourself why? Could it be that you have chosen to look at things negatively? Could it be that you haven’t thanked God for anything that day?

God tells us to GIVE THANKS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. Why do you suppose He commands that of us?

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ~ Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Maybe when we THANK God in the hard times and even for the hard times…He is pleased and it shows our trust and faith in Him. Faith that He will and can if He so chooses…make all things work together for good for those who are the called, according to HIS purpose. He wants us to trust Him. AND….it plainly says that “this is God’s will for you”.

Some days it is easier and more natural to give thanks. Have you ever given thanks when you didn’t like the situation? No, I don’t mean FAKE thanks. But…thanking God for being there for you when you were not happy. Telling HIM that you don’t understand but you do trust HIM. Thanking God when you were sad or disappointed.

How? By trusting HIM.  Thanking HIM for never abandoning you. He will never abandon HIS children.

Psalm 37:28a ~ For the Lord loves justice, and he will never abandon the godly.

That is something to be thankful for.

Now for my list!

Here are 3 things that I am THANKFUL for today:

1) A husband that loves others with compassion and treats all people with the love of Jesus and equally. So proud to be his wife.

2) Grace from God and family and friends. For loving me when I least deserve it. For loving me when I am unloveable.

3) Family devotions 2 nights in a row. One led entirely by our oldest daughter (picking the topic, verses, etc.. and sharing) and one last night by my husband.

What 3 things are YOU thankful for today?

Share them by replying to this post…or write them in your journal.

Giving thanks is contagious and addictive. A GOOD thing to be addicted to!

Blessings my friends!

 

UNTIL NEXT TIME,

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Thankful Thursdays ~ March 21st

 

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I decided to start posting these “Thankful Thursdays” again. See, it is easy to get out of the habit of practicing thanksgiving, and I need little reminders from time to time. Maybe you do as well.

While doing one of my morning daily devotions, One Thousand Gifts Devotional by Ann Voskamp, I just really became convicted of my lack of daily thanksgiving. I mean, it’s easy to give thanks in the exciting and good things that occur on a day to day basis. Yet, we are commanded to give thanks for the not so good stuff too.

Believe it or not, I actually found myself thanking God today for the not so great things that I face …and it wasn’t that hard after all. When we thank HIM for the yuck, we realize that HE is greater than any circumstance that we may face. We are truly TRUSTING God to be enough. And, isn’t HE really enough?

These words in my devotion today really stuck out to me:

I’m not sure how my life stands. How my inner and outer walls stand, how I make a home. Unless we make it a habit to give thanks, we habitually give our family grief. Unless we consistently speak praise, we consistently speak poison. Unless we are intentional about giving God glory throughout the day, our days unintentionally give way to grumbling. ~ Ann Voskamp (One Thousand Gifts Devotional..Devo 40)

 

It takes being intentional in order to bring God glory. Gratitude must be continuous. Our words are either pleasant or like poison. POISON. Convicted.

Matthew 12:35-37 really hit home this morning..and really made me want to be more intentional about my giving of thanks to God. Read it and really think on it…This is JESUS talking..

 

Matthew 12:35-37 (NLT) ~ “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgement day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”

 

May our words be words of grace…and thanksgiving..bringing glory to God. May we always give thanks in everything..even the yuck. May we think before we speak..and not use words carelessly.

 

 I am thankful for the sweet friends that God has blessed me with..who send me random messages and let me know that they love me and are praying for me. I am thankful for the gift of prayer and that I can pray for others and talk to God anytime and anywhere. I am thankful for healthy children.

What are some things that you are thankful for today?

 

 Colossians 4:2 ~ Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.

 

 

              Until Next Time,

 

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BE Little Again

 

Puddle Jumping
Puddle Jumping

 

   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.

 

It’s been raining..raining…and raining some more in our “neck of the woods”. 🙂 Puddles everywhere. As we were getting ready to leave one of the buildings at the women’s retreat that I was at this weekend, the bottom fell out. Yuck. No umbrella….

That’s when one of my dear friends reminded me of something. She said we could play in the rain..have fun..enjoy it. Me, being the spontaneous person that I tend to be…said, “OKAY”! So, four of us took our shoes off..rolled up our pants..and commenced to playing in the rain. We ran straight to the biggest puddle that we could find. We got WET..and it was so much fun!

 

We are back home now, and it is STILL raining. So, this morning, I chose to have a good attitude about the wet weather. I threw on my rain boots and embraced the rainy weather. I don’t always do this. Some days I complain about it. I’ll let you in on a little secret….Enjoying the rain is so much better than complaining about it. 🙂

I enjoyed splashing in the puddles outside. (If you don’t have a pair of rain boots, you should really consider getting some. They don’t have to be expensive..just rubber boots…so you can play in the water. )

It’s all a choice. Perspective. How you look at things…

Every single day..In every single circumstance, we have a choice to make. Find the good or dwell on the not so good.

Back to puddle jumping…

On the way home from school and appointments, I shocked my girls. See, a few minutes earlier it was the typical not so joyful car ride home..that some of us parents are blessed with at times. All day I kept thinking about how fun it was to “play” in the rain this weekend. So, I just blurted out: “I want us to put on our rain boots and jump in puddles when we get home!” 

My youngest just smiled really big and giggled and said: “OKAY!” Not so sure that my oldest was quite as excited at first..(she may have thought that her Momma had finally lost it)….BUT, she did it. 🙂 We all had the best time. Just being. Just puddle jumping. Water splashing. Fun.

Our youngest having fun!
Our youngest having fun!

Because…….sometimes, we forget to just be.

   We forget to play.

   We forget that the simple things are the best things.

   That memories made are precious.

   That just jumping and splashing in the rain can make you feel pure joy. 

   Perspective.

   Changes everything.

Making Memories...
Making Memories…

 

I’m quoting my dear friend now: “Sometimes it’s nice to forget all our cares and be little again” 

   (Thank you, Amanda..for reminding me of this truth.)

So, I am challenging you to “be little again” every now and then. AND…if you’ve been looking at something in a negative light, to try to find the “good” in it. Maybe, just maybe, it isn’t so bad after all.

 

 

         Until Next Time, 

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