Tuesday, October 28, 2014

30 days of thanks and giving

Thank you so much for coming back!  I have been so excited about sharing this with you! Darn those human errors that accidentally delete posts the day before you want to publish them!  :)  I hope that I have remembered everything I wanted to tell you!  If not, I'll add it to my Make a Difference Monday posts in November.

So...what has me so excited?!  Let me back up and provide you a little history so that you can understand the present.  In Christmases past, my bigs have loved having Advent calendars.  They love the daily countdown to Christmas and I'm sure the little trinkets they found each morning were fun too.  Last year as I was looking through Pinterest, I came across the advent calendar below and knew it would be perfect!
Gotta LOVE Pinterest!  I don't have any original thoughts or ideas, but I can take something I see and make it work for me.  I did't want this to be like our typical Advent calendars in the past, I wanted it to be...well, more!  So, instead of little trinkets each day, we set out to do 25 days of fun service projects for others!  Each day was a way that we could love on others and as a treat - there were chocolates to share once the project was complete.
here's our 2013 advent calendar!
The kids and I had a blast doing this!  We did fun things from chalking our friends' driveway to leaving a note and treat for our garbage man.  The kids loved opening up the tiny boxes to see what we were doing next.  Now, don't get me wrong, while we were having fun, some days were harder than others.  In addition to the normal December goings on there were school plays, sing-a-longs, a fun run, work Christmas parties, school Christmas parties, a soccer tournament, a few birthday parties - and some where in there I had to do some Christmas shopping!  Mama.was.tired and something had to give.  We pressed on and completed 22 out of the 25 days of advent but I vowed to make some changes this year.  I wanted time to just soak in the season!
I've mentioned this before but I have recently completed reading Lysa TerKeurst's book The Best Yes.  It truly has changed the way that I make decisions.  So, while I LOVE the thought of doing another Advent calendar this year, I knew going into it that we would struggle getting it all done.  Then, the thought crossed my mind that our advent season doesn't have to start in December -  we can use the month of November instead.  We can then use the extra white space on the December calendar to truly celebrate the reason for the season.  This is my Best Yes!  So, with tons of excitement coursing through my veins, I give you my idea - 30 days of Thanks and Giving!
When I first started thinking about 30 days of Thanks and Giving, I had ideas swirling around in my head like a thought tornado!  So I did what any person would do and consulted a friend who I thought could help organize all the madness and narrow it down to one central thought!  Let me introduce you to Sara!  I met Sara a few months ago and was drawn to her because of all the sweet things that she and her kiddos do for others. She seriously has the most precious, giving heart of anyone I have ever met!  She has been married to her best friend, Matthew, for seven years and they have two adorable kiddos, Hunter, age 4, and Savannah, age 2.  Oh, and did I mention that I have never met her in person?!  We met over Instagram and quickly started a friendship - isn't social media great?  Sara, thank you for your support, encouragement, for being my personal cheerleader, and for your help with ideas and all the great visuals for 30 days of Thanks and Giving!  I am so thankful for you!!!
I'm sure you are asking - exactly what is 30 days of Thanks and Giving?  It starts with a simple list - you and your family jot down 30 things that you are thankful for.  For my family, I asked each kiddo to come up with 10 things each - the oldest texted his list to me, the middlest wrote her list on notebook paper, and I used time in the car with the four year old to come up with her list.  When she prays she always says "Thank you Jesus for..." so I used the things that she has been praying for.  Sara talked with Hunter and Savannah much the same way.  Then after you have your list, find a way that you can bless someone each day during the month of November for those things that you are thankful for! 
isn't her family adorable?!
Sara created this cute calendar that you can print out to keep track of your days!
We've also included a few ideas below to help get you started!

Hunter and Savannah are thankful for eyes to see so they are going to donate old 
eye glasses to their local Lions Club.
Hope is thankful for her dance teacher and soccer coach.  I came across these 
blessing jars on Pinterest (of course!) and thought they would be perfect for 
her to give them!  We'll probably use this idea on more than one day!
Holden is thankful for the Earth so we'll spend an afternoon cleaning up around the 
creek near our house.
Food was listed on more than one list and volunteering at your local food bank or 
pantry is a great way to bless others.  No time to volunteer?  You could always 
host a food drive!
Holden is thankful for books so I'll let her go through her bookshelf and donate 
some books that she no longer reads to Books & a Blanket.  If you aren't sure 
where to donate books in your area, check with local schools.  Teachers are 
always looking for books to increase their classroom library.
Hope mentioned being thankful for "funder, rain, and white-ning".  Hmmm... maybe 
we can give a cute umbrella to a stranger on a rainy day?!  That's where this gets 
fun - it can be anything!
Colby listed being thankful for sports.  His football season wraps up next week so we 
are thinking of a way that we can bless his team.  Any ideas?!
All the kiddos are thankful for their friends.  A fun way to bless friends is by chalking 
their driveway with fun messages!
Hunter and Savannah are thankful for feet to walk so they will donate socks and/or 
shoes to a local women's and children's shelter.
And, four out of the five kiddos listed teachers as someone they are thankful 
for (the lone tween who didn't will remain nameless!).  Sara found these cookies 
that would be fun to make!
Please join us for 30 days of Thanks and Giving!  You've got a couple of days to work on your lists and beginning on Saturday, November 1st - start blessing others for the very things that your family is thankful for!  If you have Instagram, share your pictures with us and use #30daysofthanksandgiving.  Sara and I are looking forward to getting lots of inspiration from you guys!  If you get stuck and need a few ideas, send us a message and we'll do our best to come up with a few ideas for you!  
And, don't think you can do 30 days?  No worries - do what you can! This is meant to be fun!  One act of blessing is better than nothing!
Each Monday during the month of November, I'll post a recap of what Sara, myself, and our kiddos have been up to the previous week.  I would love to share what you guys are doing too!  Don't forget to tag your pictures on Instagram with #30daysofthanksandgiving. I get so much inspiration from seeing what other families are doing!

Thanks for your patience! I'm looking forward to November 1st!  

Gig 'em and God bless!


  1. Well done friend! Looking forward to seeing what everyone puts together. I would ask the coach about things they see "forgotten" most often...socks, travel size deodorant, antibacterial soap..of course all of these will be more important next year when they practice in the morning.

    1. Thanks! Awesome ideas! I'll send an email to his coach right now! :) Have I told you how excited I am about tomorrow?!

  2. I love this post :) The calender is super cute, I need to buy a printer :) I want to make an advent calender like that but I don't have any kids.... hmmm...

    1. Hi, Stefanie! Thanks for stopping by! You definitely don't need kiddos to join us! You can work on a personal list or grab a couple of friends and work together! Would love to have you join us! Have a fabulous day!

  3. I'm so excited to join in on this! Thank you for putting this together! What a beautiful season of Thanks and Giving!

    1. Hi, Sara! So glad that you will be joining us! We are so excited to get things started! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  4. The time is almost here! I'm excited friend!!

  5. Such a fun idea! Thank you for joining in on my new Thursday Thankful List Link-up! I'm excited to gather as a community and focus on gratitude!

    1. Hi, Angela! Thanks! I'm super excited too! I was so glad to find your link-up! I'm looking forward to being inspired by others and have our hearts right for this very special season that we are about to head into! Have a great weekend and I'll catch up with you next week!


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