Monday, October 1, 2012

{Hope for the Home}: Fall Tree of Thanks

Last year on October 1st, we held a family reunion at our home. I love the Fall and this time of year and wanted to decorate our house beautifully for the occasion. But of course, as most of us are, we were on a budget. So we put our heads together and came up with some fun and free decorations.

We had a blast stuffing scarecrows, using my husband's old clothes and some hay from our barn.

And painting signs, which my husband made out of old pieces of siding found in our barn.

The kids put hand prints on them using craft paint and I wrote their names on them using a permanent Sharpie. When they were dry, I sprayed them with a clear coat so that the paint would hold up outdoors.

But the best decoration we came up with on a budget was our Fall Tree of ThanksThis will definitely be a must have, must do, every year.

It brings so much warmth to our home and makes for a great craft project. Not just for the kids, but for the
whole family, including dads! *Smile*

What you will need is...

1. A tree of course. We used our smaller fake Christmas tree. You could also use a potted tree. If you do not have a spot inside your home, this would make a great addition to any porch as well.

2. Lights, if your tree is not already lit. 

3. Construction paper

4. Hole puncher

5. Any old yarn

6. Scissors 

7. Crayons, pens, etc.

Every member of the family traces their hand onto construction paper and cuts them out. 
You can stack several pieces of the construction paper together before cutting to get more hands faster. 
I chose colors that I felt were Autumn appropriate. 

Each family member then writes something that they are thankful for onto each hand. 

Then cut long pieces of yarn and string the hands, tying light knots at each hole, rotating hands so that you get a good variety of size and color in each chain. Or simply let every family member make their own chain of just their hands. All of the chains are then strung around the tree. 

You can also decorate the tree with other Fall type of decorations, such as sunflowers.

This is a great time for conversation. A time to remind ourselves and to teach our children some basic Bible truths. It is also a time to remind ourselves and to teach our children that many of the little things in life we take for granted daily are really the big things we ought to be thanking God for on a more regular basis. 

For example...our health, each other, a roof over our head... you get the idea. 

We live in a day and age where we are all bombarded by the false ideas and hopes that material possessions 
bring happiness. We are always surprised at how early our children begin to buy into this thought process. 

True happiness comes from being thankful, from giving, from working through the hard stuff, 
the ugly stuff, and seeing the beauty that can come from the ashes.

Most importantly, happiness comes from a close walk with God through our Savior Jesus Christ.

None of us are promised another day.

Our health can take a turn for the worse at any moment.

God gives and He takes away.

It is not bad to have material possessions, but we must be good stewards. We should be seeking 
the Lord and His will before making many of the purchases that we are so accustomed to just splurging on. 

Are the things we have or want becoming idols to us? Or do they distract us from our walk with the Lord?

Are we so caught up in what we want, in getting the next best thing, or in drooling over what someone else has, that we lose sight of what we have that truly matters? 

Another good exercise...

Have every person make lists of things they like, enjoy, and are thankful for. Then discuss how it might affect them or their life if that thing or person were taken from them. It is a good way to put into perspective what truly matters. Food or an iPod? Mom and Dad or a laptop? Salvation and eternity with God, or an eternity of torment and fire (This is a very good exercise to do with teenagers)!

And here are a few verses you can use in your discussion...

Philippians 4:11
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Hebrews 13:5
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said,
I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Proverbs 15:16
Better is little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure and trouble therewith.

Matthew 6:21
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Go here for more ways to make God apart of your everyday life and home!

About the Author: Melanie Hartman blogs about her life on the farm and her family's rescue adoption over at Happy Hartman Farm. Her, her husband Ben, and their 5 children are just an average American (Military) family trying to serve Our Lord and Risen Savior, hoping not to live their lives in vain, with hearts that are burdened for the orphan crisis in this world.

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