The Giving of Thanks

Today’s post is written by my sister, Rebekah. Her unique perspective on Thanksgiving is an encouragement to me. I think it will be a blessing to you as well.

There cannot be enough said about our generation’s lack of thankfulness. We cannot be reminded too many times of the gratitude we owe our Savior for what He has done and is doing for us. There are not enough articles on how to teach our children how to say “Thank you!” and mean it. All of these things need to be written about, but this article is about none of these. I want to share with you my journey to a thankful heart.

I began a tradition my junior year of college around Thanksgiving time. I had lived on campus since the summer before my freshman year and through all the summers in between! Like most college students at the beginning of the Holidays, I was severely homesick. I wanted to hang out with my best friend, my mother. The thoughts of all the things my mother has taught me; all she has done for me; and her enduring love, patience and friendship; flooded my mind. In a few moments, I opened a new email message and began my first gift of thanks. Then the following week I wrote one to my daddy.

We usually think of giving gifts at Christmas time but every year around Thanksgiving time I wrap a gift of thankfulness. I choose a person that has influenced me greatly and write them a thank you letter. With many tears of gratitude, I write a note of appreciation for what they have done and what they are to me. This gives back by reminding me of the love and friendships I may have taken for granted over the years. It reminds me that life is short and the person you are thankful for today may not be here tomorrow!

Photo Credit: Love is the key via Compfight cc

This year I have chosen to thank my siblings for the impact they have had on my life. My sister, Dawne Hart, invited me to right a piece on giving thanks for her new blog. Little did she know that I would be giving her a gift of thanks on her own blog for the entire world to see!

This year give a gift of gratitude to those who mean the most to you!


Thank you for being my sister. Some would say you did not have a choice, but you could have chosen to push me away and not love, teach, and endure the millions of questions I would ask you every night before we would go to sleep. You are smart – you were the “Google Search” of my childhood. Now that I have Google and Pinterest, I don’t bug you quite as often!

You are an amazing woman with a caring heart, an awesome talent, and an immense inner strength. We have always teased you about panicking at times, but you have the fortitude to endure difficulties and hardships. You have dealt with less than ideal circumstances without complaint. Thank you for encouraging me to endure the hardships I face in my life.

Your relationship with God is an inspiration to me. You have followed the Lord’s calling through many mountains and valleys. You have kept your commitment to God for many years and continue to do the work He has called you to with dedication rarely seen in our generation. Thank you for doing what you know is right and providing an example to me.

Thank you for the French braids, the manicures, the knitting help, the piano lessons, the clothing advice, the knitted treasures, and the long conversations while N was deployed. Thank you for the colorful knitted socks you made for me to cheer me and keep my feet warm after I broke my back. I am still wearing them SIX years later! God made you the sister He knew I needed.

I am proud to call you my Sister.

Your Inquisitive Little Sister,


Creating Traditions

It’s that time of year again. You know the one I mean. The holidays! Just today I was preparing a shipment for my sister’s family in the States. A Christmas shipment filled with presents for the nephew and nieces. If I don’t send it now, it might not make it in time for Christmas day. In fact, it may already be too late. We will have to see!

Such emphasis is placed on Thanksgiving and Christmas and being with family. This emphasis makes it hard for those of us who are single and away from family. My least favorite Christmas song is ‘I’ll have a Blue Christmas’ and I LOVE Christmas songs. However, every time it comes on, I skip to the next song.

So what can we do for the Holiday Blues? (That sounds like it should be a song. A 1940’s song with a swing rhythm. Hmmm, that is an idea!)

How about creating your own traditions? One’s that take your focus off yourself and put it on someone or something else.

My brother inspired this blog post. He is a former soldier with at least two tours overseas and lives in a part of the US that is far from family. When I talked to him a short time ago I asked him, ‘What are you doing for Thanksgiving?’ He proceeded to tell me.

He will be following a tradition our family has had for many years.

This tradition started when my parents were in college. They invited single college students with no place to go for Thanksgiving. This tradition continued when we left for Portugal as missionaries. In Portugal we took in soldiers from a local air base, basketball players in a foreign country, British ex-pats, other American missionaries and anyone who needed the closeness of family.

My brother is following that tradition by starting his own.He will be inviting friends who have no family close, have no family or cannot travel to visit family. He will be creating his own ‘family’ for Thanksgiving.


Photo Credit: knitting iris via Compfight cc

The holidays are hard for single people. Usually they are away from family and have no way to get home for the holidays. Their thoughts turn inward. ‘I am away from home.’ ‘I have no family around me.’ ‘I am by myself during the holidays.’ ‘Poor me!’ Instead, why not say, ‘That person has no family or friends and is alone on Thanksgiving (or other holiday), I will help him be less lonely on the holiday.’

If you are living in a foreign country, at least share the spirit of thankfulness. You never know who you can touch. This year, my co-workers and I are sharing our holiday with our church. We have made it a time of remembrance and thanksgiving for what the Lord has done this year.

Is this to say my brother and I are perfect and never get lonely on Thanksgiving or any other holiday? NO WAY! We are still people and people are people as the saying goes. We still feel the lack of our loved ones, but our focus is not on what we cannot have. Our focus is on what we can do for others. Having this view point takes courage and fortitude. It takes courage to turn your focus outward and fortitude to keep it outward.

So … what are you doing for Thanksgiving? What traditions are you starting? Where will your focus be during this holiday season? Remember God has placed you where you are for a specific purpose. There are people around you who need YOU! When you feel lonely or depressed at the lack of family, look around. With whom can you spend your holidays?