Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving Crafts

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday! What a spiritual renewal to take a day to reflect over the past year about just how good God has been to you and your family, to give you harvest and shelter, health and hope. To get the most out of this joyous occasion, make some holiday crafts with your children. These days, Thanksgiving often gets squeezed out by Hallowe’en’s spooky decorations and the lights and gala of Christmas. With the following holiday crafts, your home can be decorated for this quieter but important celebration.

Turkeys are a natural choice for decorations. A familiar project at this time of year is for a child to trace around her hand and make the resulting drawing into a turkey. The thumb is the head and the fingers are the tail feathers all displayed. While many of the turkeys that are raised for food are now the domestic white variety, the turkeys eaten by the Pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving were the wild brown ones. The tail feathers on a wild turkey are brown, but they are iridescent. catching light and appearing to be multi-colored. This is why children color the tail feathers in bright colors.

The turkey’s head has a wattle under the beak. This is a vertical flap of loose skin that is red colored. Be sure to draw this in order to make the hand turkey look like a turkey. Add skinny legs and bird feet. When done, the children can cut out the turkeys and hang them on the wall. It’s really cute to make a whole flock of these turkeys in the sizes of all the hands in the family. The little hand shapes are particularly sweet.

Another nice turkey decoration to make when making Thanksgiving holiday crafts is a turkey door decoration. Make a brown construction paper body and head of a turkey. Now make a large number of colored feather shapes. Each family member writes on a feather something he or she is thankful for before attaching as part of the turkey’s tail. Repeat until all the feathers are used, and hang the turkey on the front door to greet visitors with a message of gratitude. Make a sign to accompany the turkey that says “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good!” or simply “Be thankful!” or “We’re thankful for you!” or whatever you like.

Children love making construction paper chains. To further decorate the house for Thanksgiving, let them make a paper chain in fall colors as one of their holiday crafts. Using 9 by 12 inch construction paper, cut the paper in half across the long side and cut the halves into one inch thick six inch long strips. Use a stapler to attach the ends of the strip into a circle. Loop the next strip into the circle and staple it. Continue the process alternating colors of brown, red, yellow, and orange. When the chains are long, you can drap them along the ceiling or stair rail. If you don’t make the door turkey, the children can write something they’re thankful for on each strip of paper before adding it to the chain.

Thanksgiving is too nice a holiday to let the other more commercial holidays crowd it out. By making holiday crafts to decorate the home for Thanksgiving, you can keep this day special, too. The extended family, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc., will be pleased to see the holiday crafts the young ones have made to decorate the house and make it cheerful for their visit.

Friday, November 14, 2014

9 Steps to Living a Better Life

9 Secrets to Living a Meaningful Life

The hustle and bustle of daily life can sweep us away from what really means the most to us. It’s up to each of us to figure out how to live a personally fulfilling life. Although much of your life is shared with others, you can still carve out your own space for a rich, meaningful life.

Take action now to live a life that you love:

  1. Clarify what matters to you. How you spend your time largely determines what’s important to you. If you say your family is at the top of your list, do you spend the bulk of your spare time with them? When you know for sure who and what matters most to you, then that’s where you want to focus your time and energy.
  2. Stay in the moment. If you’re planting flowers, think about packing the earth well and digging the hole deeply enough. Remind yourself to water them immediately afterward. Regardless of what you’re involved in, keep your mind focused.
  • Even when you’re washing the pots and pans, you can concentrate on having nice, hot water and shining the outside of the pans the way you like them.
  1. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Do your words carry importance and honesty, along with kindness and care? Avoid mincing words. Get to the point, but remember to take the other person’s feelings into consideration. When your discussions contain subjects of interest and heartfelt feelings, it’s meaningful for you and the listener.
  2. Find your passion. What gets you interested, excited, or fascinated? Has there ever been a topic that you think about all day long to the point where you can hardly stand it? If so, follow your passion. Make it an important part of your life as often as you can.
  • If it’s golf, play it as often as you can. If your passion is working with children, then pursue it, whether it’s through working at a nursery school, becoming a school teacher, or serving as the neighborhood babysitter. Make it happen.
  1. Worry less about what others think. Pay more attention to what you think. If someone isn’t a relevant player in your personal life, then what they believe about you is irrelevant. What you believe about yourself is what matters.

  • Use your emotional fortitude in ways that make your life better. Ensure that your opinion of yourself is great!
  1. Instead of complaining, accept the situation or take action. If what you’re upset about is out of your control, it might be time to just accept it. However, if it’s something that’s within your power to change, take action. Complaining is a waste of your precious time. Focus on problem-solving instead.
  2. Accept responsibility for your life. If you’re unhappy, there’s no reason to blame your parents, spouse, or boss. Step up and make some decisions to alter what troubles you.

  • You are the captain of your own ship. Figure out the course you want to take and then stay on it.
  1. Refuse to criticize. Focus on assessing your own life instead. Notice the good qualities in others. Making positive changes in yourself is where your power lies.
  2. Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi, a great man of peace, first said this quote. Make a difference in your own life and the lives of others. You’ll absolutely love yourself for it. Others will love what you’re doing, too. Volunteer. Join a club. Get involved!

An enriching life is here for the taking. When your focus is clear, you can then expend your energy on the people and things that matter in your life. Isn't it time to begin the journey toward a life filled with positivity and meaning? You deserve it!