“It’s a tradition!” This declaration was joyfully made by my favorite 10 year old. She was talking about our yearly gingerbread house creation.


This year she decided to shake things up a bit and went with a gingerbread village.


She and her brother patiently waited as each little piece was prepared.


Then it was time for the creating to begin!


In between finding excuses to eat the gumdrops and lick the spoon,

Noah spread snow all over his roof.


I think the village turned out great!


So grateful for traditions!

I thought about the sticky frosting that works like glue to hold this little gingerbread creation together.

Traditions are kind of like that–glue that keeps a family together.

What are some of your traditions?

We’re a ‘put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving’ family. It’s become a tradition for two special little people to help. I must say they are getting to be quite the decorators.

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As we were decorating Jolie stepped back to admire the tree and said:

“Anyone looking at your tree would know you love God. There are lots of crosses, stars, angels and manger scenes.”

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I look at the tree and see just as many Santa and snowman ornaments, but it was interesting to hear her view. It was a great opportunity to talk about what’s on the outside matching the inside. We talked about important things like whether anyone looks at my life and knows I love God? I can decorate my life with crosses and talk of Jesus, but if it doesn’t come out in my words and actions, it’s no more than a shallow decoration.

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Who knew that decorating a Christmas tree could bring such meaningful conversation? Grateful for such moments to celebrate the coming Advent season.

One of the favored traditions of our family during my husband’s active duty service was celebrating Thanksgiving with the soldiers my husband served. For my husband, that meant wearing his dress uniform to preach at the chapel Thanksgiving Day service.Following the service, our family would head to the dining facility, otherwise known as the mess hall, for a Thanksgiving feast.

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The Thanksgiving day meal for a military dining facilty has been described as the Super Bowl for military cooks. They go all out with decorations and create a feast in the truest sense of the word. From the printed menus and ice sculpture for ambiance, from shrimp coctail to pumpkin pie for appetite, it is special. Oftentimes my husband and other officers would go behind the chow line to serve the solidiers, giving them opprtunity by way of a symbolic gesture to show their appreciation to the young troops.

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It was during a time of war that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed an official day of thanksgiving to be observed on the thrd Thursday in November of every year in America, making this a national holiday. And it was President Woodrow Wilson who during World War I declared Thanksgiving a special day for those in military service. On military installations this day was to be complete with a church service and full dinner in order to acknowledge “the great blessings God has bestowed upon us.”


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Even in faraway lands in the midst of combat zones, on Thanksgiving Day the chaplain will be flying to forward operating bases to conduct a Thankstiving service for troops. Along with the chaplain will be freshly cooked turkey and all the trimmings.

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As you enjoy this Thanksgiving holiday and all the traditions that accompany it for you, won’t you join me in praying for military personnel serving around the world? Consider the attitude and thoughfs of the originator of America’s Thanksgivng Day, President Abraham Lincoln, as he instructed a nation to thank almighty God.

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I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience , commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the imposition of the Almighty to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility , and union.

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~President Abraham Lincoln, Washington, D.C., October 3, 1863

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Taken from the November 26 entry of The One Year™Yellow Ribbon Devotional: Take a Stand in Prayer for our Nation and Those Who Serve by Brenda Pace and Carol McGlothlin

Can’t let 30 days of gratitude not include books!

via http://www.flickr.com/photos/senyoriguana/4732925143/in/faves-girlhula/

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Books I’m currently reading include:

The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns

The Christian Athiest by Craig Groeshel

Villette by Charlotte Bronte

?Come Walk With Me: A Practical Guide to Knowing Christ Intimately and Passing it On by Carol Mayhall

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So grateful for books and the friends who recommend great titles.

http://www.etsy.com/listing/60926857/i-will-be-grateful-for-this-day

Gratitude is always a choice. There are days when it is easier to choose to be grateful than others.

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I’m usually reminded of the choice it is on days I don’t feel very grateful. (Like this week when rain is in the forecast every day. House building stops when it rains.)

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It is then I am further reminded of Scriptures that instruct me to give thanks no matter what I feel:

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Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Philippians 4:6).

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Sing and make melody in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:20).

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This exercise in 30 Days of Gratitude has been a wonderful practice of choosing to look for the blessings of life. I pray it is my default attitude each and every day.

Dear Diary

As I was posting yesterday I noticed I had entered my 100th blogpost!  I don’t know if this little spot on the internet means anything to anyone else, but for me it has been a place to keep a record of a journey of faith. That journey includes views on a variety of interests from leadership. books and ministry to food, family and fun! It has been a place where I have had the opportunity to discipline myself to write…just for the joy and sometimes pain of writing.
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This quest to discipline my thoughts in the form of writing started young. Searching through stored boxes in my parent’s home I came across an old diary.  Long gone was the key that locked the little book. However, it wasn’t difficult to jimmy it open.  Inside I chuckled as I read the thoughts of a 12 year old.  There were events of the day…feelings…goals…stories…observations…even prayers.  In some ways it was much the same as my journals of today, in some ways not at all.
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The calendar from my diary!

I still write of the same struggles: wanting to do better…to be more disciplined.  I looked at my old diary and several other notebooks I had begun and noticed there were many blank pages. For years I longed to write and put thought to paper, but I never could keep it up.  I would buy another journal thinking this one was attractive enough to draw me to it on a regular basis and I would write every day for a few weeks and then get involved with life and forget about the pretty book.  The notebooks became guilty reminders of my lack of discipline rather than motivators to cultivate discipline.
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I’m not sure what changed, but today I give myself permission to not write every day, plus I enjoy writing about views of God’s grace in ordinary days. That has certainly helped the process.
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Anyway, today I’m grateful and I’m celebrating the delight of having a record of 100 views of life. Thanks for those of you who have stopped by to share an encouraging word. I’ve heard from many more on Facebook and appreciate those comments as well. Grateful for you and for written reminders of God’s grace in ordinary days!
©Brenda Pace, 2010
There are times when I say, “You’re welcome” to solicit a thank you. But this week I’ve listened closely to my favorite tween and I have rejoiced in unsolicited gratitude.

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After kicking off the covers and discovering she is cold at 2am.
I rise from deep slumber, cover her with a blanket and tuck her in.
As I leave the room I hear a sleepy:
“Thank you for the blanket.”
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After picking her up from school she is tired and hot from waiting in the sun.
I turn the car into a drive thru and order a cookie dough shake.
As the last slurps are taken through the straw I hear:
“Thank you for the milkshake.”
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After telling her it is time to stop playing with her friend across the street
because I must take her home.
She smiles as she crosses the street, climbs into the car
and instead of words of complaint for the short duration of the visit, I hear:
“Thank you for letting me play for a little while. It was fun!”
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These are small moments that I pray will grow into a lifestyle of thanksgiving in this young heart.
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Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:15-17