Weekend Walk: Thanksgiving Traditions, Pilgrim Cookies and Tree of Thanks

Hiding the Word

What could be more appropriate this week than to meditate on a verse of praise and thanksgiving?  So, I’ve chosen one of my favorites.  I’ll be writing this on index cards that I place on my stove and bathroom mirror and all week long I’ll pray over this verse, memorize it and consider it’s application.  I hope you’ll do the same either with his Scripture or one of your own choosing:

“We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks!  For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near”
Psalm 75:1

Thanksgiving Traditions:

We are less than a week away from my most favorite holiday of the year so I’m going to share just a few more of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions with you!

You can read about keeping a Family Thanksgiving Journal here.
You can read about Operation Christmas Child here.

Pilgrim Cookies

Today, I’m making some Pilgrim hat cookies with my kids.  These are simple, fun, totally adorable, and (perhaps unfortunately) totally yummy.  I confess to eating far more than I should every year!

I got the idea for these a few years ago from the FamilyFun website.  You can visit their page for an official recipe and even a video.

Our ingredients are so simple: Large marshmallows, chocolate chips, fudge striped shortbread cookies and some yellow decorating icing.Melt the chocolate chips.  Our favorite way of melting chocolate is in the crock-pot.  It keeps it continuously warm, is super-simple, and is deep enough to help contain the mess.

Dip each marshmallow so that it’s covered in melted chocolate and set it in the middle of a cookie turned upside down.

When the cookies are totally cool, you can use yellow icing to decorate with a buckle.

How precious are these?  And they are basically just chocolate-covered marshmallows!  Now that’s something to give thanks about!!

Tree of Thanks

We’re also working today on our tree of thanks.  We take large butcher paper (or large sheets of poster board taped together).  Tape the pages up on a wall of your home and draw the shape of a large tree.

Trace and cut out several leaves on a separate paper.  Do at least five leaves for each person in your family.  You can color them if you like or use construction paper to save yourself a step.  Go for bright, fall colors!

Each person needs to write one thing they are thankful for on each of their leaves.  Then you can tape or glue the leaves to your family tree of thanks.

I love this so much, but am sad to think we’ll just take it down and throw it away.  You can either roll the tree up at the end of the season, store it in a safe place and then add to it next year.

Or, you can make a smaller version on a 8-1/2 x 11 sheet of paper, copying the reasons to give thanks on miniature leaves, and frame it.  This will make a unique, beautiful and inexpensive Thanksgiving decoration to hang on your wall for seasons to come!

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King


Weekend Walk: Thanksgiving Tradition II: What’s in the Box?

Hiding the Word:

For this week, a thanksgiving verse for you to meditate on and hopefully memorize:

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”
Psalm 107:1

Thanksgiving Tradition II: What’s in the Box?

A week ago, I told you that I’m going to be posting some of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions throughout November—some for families with kids, some that could fit anybody’s life.  You can check out my first Thanksgiving Tradition: The Thanksgiving Journal here.

Today, I’m excited to share about my very favorite Thanksgiving tradition of all—Operation Christmas Child (OCC).

Those of you who are familiar with OCC may be thinking I’m off my rocker officially because surely this counts as a Christmas tradition.

I beg to differ!

Every year, the organization Samaritan’s Purse collects shoe boxes stuffed full of goodies that they then deliver to needy children all over the globe for Christmas.

National Collection Week, though, is in November, before Thanksgiving—this year, November 14-21!

My kids are adding everything they see on TV and in Wal-Mart to their Christmas lists.  So, it’s the perfect moment to take them shopping for gifts to give to another child, a child they’ll never meet on this planet and a child who isn’t likely to be opening any other packages on Christmas morning.

It’s a reminder to be grateful.  It’s a way to shift our focus off of getting and onto giving.

I hope that you’ve packed a shoebox before and are making one again this year!  If not, here’s everything you need to know to get involved in Operation Christmas Child.

You can begin by learning more about the organization here, like:

Check out this video of Scotty McCreery on How to Pack a Shoebox:

If you make a $7 donation online to cover the shipping for your box, you can even print off a label that lets you track it here!!  A few weeks after delivery, they’ll send you an email telling you what country your box was delivered to and some general information about the needs in that area.  Our boxes last year ended up in Tanzania.

I usually let each of my girls pick items to fill a box for a child their gender and age.  This year, we’ll be sending off a box for a 2-4-year-old girl, and two 5-9 -year-old girls.  We picked out jump ropes, toothbrushes and toothpaste, combs, socks, t-shirts, small games like jacks and dominoes, stuffed animals, some candy, some shiny pencils and a pencil sharpener and more.  We practically have to sit on the boxes to make it all fit!

Most important of all, pray for the child who will receive your shoebox!  Prayer is so powerful.  Don’t just send stuff, send gifts along with time spent on your knees.

Here are some of my favorite OCC videos.

Matthew West shows the Great Lengths OCC goes to bring shoeboxes to kids around the world.

Check out how excited this boy from Angola is to receive his shoebox!  This is my most favorite OCC video!

There are so many opportunities to give every holiday season, but this is my very favorite.  I hope you’ll make Operation Christmas Child a part of your Thanksgiving traditions, as well!

Have you packed a shoe box before?  Where did it end up?  Are you packing shoeboxes this year?

Do you have any favorite Thanksgiving traditions you can share with us? 

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King

Weekend Walk, 11/05/2011–Celebrating Thanksgiving

Hiding the Word:

For those reading Lisa Harper’s book, Stumbling Into Grace, along with my small group, today’s memory verse will match up with chapter 11, “Empathizing With Enemies.

In her book, Lisa Harper writes, “We can become less critical by choosing to focus on the whole of other people’s stories as opposed to one irritating chapter” (p. 129).

It’s so easy, too easy really, to judge others.  That they’re flaky.  They made a bad decision.  They’re sinful.  They’re a mess. They’re rude, impatient, annoying . . .


We’re generally just masses of human opinion waiting to jump on a soapbox at the slightest provocation.

I’m so thankful God has so much more grace for us than we have for each other.

So, this week, our verse is a reminder to love one another.  After all, God has shown an awful lot of love to us.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:8

Celebrating Thanksgiving:

Well, my faithful blog readers, normally in this weekend space I’d be sharing with you a rerun of a post from the past.

But, I just can’t contain my excitement about Thanksgiving.  It’s far and away my most favorite holiday.  This mystifies my children, who cannot understand how a turkey dinner can compete with Christmas presents.

Yet, there it is.  The month-long inspiration to give thanks, the emphasis on family, the traditions of spending time together in the kitchen baking—it’s yummy to my very soul!!

So, when I thought about how to spill some of my Thanksgiving excitement over to you all, I decided to take one post a week in November and share some ideas on how to make my favorite holiday truly a celebration for your family.  Some of these ideas will work well with kids and grandkids.  Some don’t need anybody but you in order to participate.

I sure would love to hear your traditions and thoughts on this, too!  So, I hope you’ll hop on here and post your ideas about making Thanksgiving special.  What traditions does your family enjoy?  What’s your favorite Thanksgiving recipe and your favorite reason to be thankful?

The Thanksgiving Journal

 Remember the wonders he has done,
   his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced (Psalm 105:5)

So many of us go around the table each Thanksgiving day and say “one thing you’re thankful for . . . other than family.”

But it’s hard to remember year after year what that one special bit of Thanks was about.

And sometimes we really need a record of gratitude so we can indeed “remember the wonders He has done” (Psalm 105:5).

So, this year, I’m taking an idea from Focus on the Family’s magazine, “Thriving Family” in their Oct/Nov 2011 article “Turn Turkey Day into Thanksgiving.”

Create a family Thanksgiving journal.  This can be a blank spiral bound journal or even a notebook with pages that you insert year after year.  On Thanksgiving day, take the time as a family to list off the blessings and answered prayers from God that year.  Be specific.  Truly consider what God has done.

List your thanks into your family journal and say a prayer of gratitude.

For the ardent scrapbookers among you, add pictures and decorate the pages so the book of thanks becomes a true family keepsake.

Or, keep it simple!  The important thing isn’t the artistic value; it’s the giving thanks that matters.

The next Thanksgiving, pull out the very same journal and look through the reasons to give thanks from years past before adding to the list for the new year.  Over time, this Thanksgiving journal will be a record of blessing, answered prayers, and gifts from God, a way of remembering all that He has done.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King