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The Blessing Box

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One of our family Thanksgiving traditions is the Blessing Box. The concept is simple. As family members arrive, they take a moment to write down on a colorful strip of paper the one thing they are most thankful for from the past year. These written blessings are placed in the Blessing Box. Just before dinner, the collected strips are distributed randomly among the guests. We circle around in anticipation of the sharing and begin with “May the blessings of one be the blessings of all.” Then we take turns reading what is on each slip. When the circle of sharing is complete, we say the meal prayer.

We were blessed with Elmo, “blankies”, and school when the children were younger. As the years go by, our blessings are becoming more profound and sentimental. Each year, these collected blessings are placed in scrapbooks. The scrapbooks have become part of the Thanksgiving tradition as well. It is fun to look back on pictures of dearly departed family members and their blessings written in their handwriting. These little nuggets of history begin “remember when” conversations that knit our family tighter together, and when we do have guests join us, they become part of our story too.

Posted by Jill Fischer

The Beauty of Prayer

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I spend a lot of time in prayer. It is woven through the fabric of my day. The beauty of prayer - when you are quiet and listening to the stirrings of your soul - is that you will hear the voice of those you pray to and with. That is why I love going to Adoration. It is a quiet spot in my week to just "be" before the Lord. I love it when I am actually able to adore alone. That is some powerful stuff - to be alone with the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. That quiet time can exhaust me of the need to talk and move me into listening mode. In listening, God reveals His plan. I feel I've become a good listener. I'm a good listener, but I am not patient. I’ve learned that God does answer in His own time and in His way - the best way.

I spend a lot of time in prayer. Always have. Always will. I won't ever make a decision without it. God is my best friend. He never steers me wrong.

Built Solid & Strong

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It was a black Brimnes wardrobe with 3 doors. It had a mirror mounted in the front and lots of shelves inside for storage. I was so excited to make my purchase at Ikea, deliver it to my house and prepare to put the entire wardrobe together. I opened the box, laid out all of the pieces and began the assembly process. Not too bad, I thought. I can look at the final photo and figure everything out. I mean, how tough could it be to put together?

Yeah, right. It took me three minutes to get confused. Was “A” a left side panel or right? Which screws was I supposed to use for the top? Did I attach the shelves first or last? I knew I was in over my head and reached for the instructions.

That made me think about how I assemble the days of my life. Am I simply laying out all my pieces and randomly trying to put things together? Do I know my priorities ? Do I know the steps I should follow to get things accomplished?

If only life came with instructions.

Ah…but they do. God has given us two simple instructions:

  1. Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength.
  2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

That’s it. The instructions are clear and easy to understand…IF we take the time to read them. So often we think we can do everything on our own. I don’t need God’s help. I can figure this out on my own. I have all the answers.

But there always comes a moment when we realize that our lives are made up of lots of screws and lots of shelves, each with different uses. If we take the time to ask for help and follow God’s instructions, there is no doubt that our lives will be built solid and strong.

Posted by Dan Herda

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