Gratitude in Action

Gratitude in Action

Photograph Credit: Microsoft Images

Coordinators of Vacation Bible School programs hold a special place in my heart. Having coordinated a Fine Arts Camp with a similar feel to a VBS, I understand the investment of energy and time poured into making the week special for the attendees.

Receiving Gratitude in Action

Being a previous coordinator, I remember the early mornings and late nights prior to and during the week of camp. The highlight of my week was when a lady in our church showed up on Thursday with a meal for my family. She simply said, “I could not help with the week, so I decided to do what I could for you.”

I cannot begin to tell you what her gift meant to me. At the time of camp, I was 8 months pregnant with my second child, my feet were swollen, my son sought constant attention when I arrived home, and dinner was the last thing on my mind. Seeing this lady’s gratitude in action for my investment of time, met my family’s physical need and gave me a time of rest with my feet up.

Knowing the huge blessing of receiving a meal during a week of service, I enjoy sharing that same gratitude with others. The Lord gave me this blessing years ago to teach me how to better serve others, who are actively giving of themselves.

Planning Gratitude in Action

As my children attended a wonderful VBS last week, I was honored to put my gratitude in action by bringing a meal to the coordinator. Now, I had planned to do this, so we entertained on Tuesday evening.

I made a large pan of lasagna to serve that evening. Then I packaged up the leftovers for the coordinator’s family, made a loaf of bread, added a side, and included the remaining 6 brownies from our dessert.

With a little advanced planning, our meal blessed our family, our guests on Tuesday evening, and a VBS coordinator and her husband. Having been the recipient of a blessing, I was honored to pass along my gratitude in action.

If you have a child attending a VBS and/or camp or if your church is hosting a VBS, consider putting your gratitude in action by making a meal for a coordinator who is investing time and energy for others. If you choose to do so, plan a double batch of a weeknight meal or make a large meal to entertain guests with enough to share.

In using time wisely, you must make the best choices that fit with your schedule. I’m only sharing this option as it was such a blessing to me, and I know it is a blessing to those who serve.  Happy meting out gratitude in action!

Question: What acts of gratitude have you received or granted to others? 

Personalized, Handwritten Thank You Notes

Photograph Credit: Microsoft Images

In an era of texting, social media, and e-mail, the art of sending handwritten notes is fading.

With the passing my grandmother earlier this year, I treasure her handwritten birthday cards and notes of encouragement that I kept throughout the years.

No one else writes like my grandmother and seeing her handwriting brings back sweet memories. Her investment of time to handwrite those cards and notes continues to bless me today.

Learning the Skill

Writing thank you notes has been a part of my life. As an elementary-age girl, I still remember sitting at our kitchen table and writing my thank you notes after a birthday party or Christmas season. My mom taught me how to write personalized thank you notes that I continue to do today.

Expressing my gratitude with a handwritten note is more personal than shooting off an e-mail or Facebook post. Though there are times when I do send those messages, I value the personalized, handwritten notes for special occasions.

Practicing the Skill

Spending my time writing notes shows my gratitude for the recipient’s gift. After a party, event, or gathering, I write personalized, handwritten thank you notes expressing my appreciation to all the helpers. Without others’ assistance, these events would take more money, energy, and time.

In using time wisely, writing personalized, handwritten thank you notes is a small token of my appreciation for a job well done. Happy writing!

Question: How often do you write personalized thank you notes?

Cookout Meal Options

Photograph Credit: Flickr (D'Arcy Norman)

How are your summer events going? Are your cookouts successful? With our busy schedule, I have not yet entertained this summer. Our grill has gotten used a little to help keep the heat out of the kitchen.

Though I love a good hamburger and sometimes a hot dog, having them at every cookout gets to be too much for me. So, as I prepare for up-coming family gatherings, I am considering some other cookout options. Here is my current list of possibilities:

  1. Marinated grilled chicken, pasta salad, and corn on the cob
  2. London broil steak, baked potatoes, and green salad
  3. Shrimp, fettuccine alfredo, and vegetable tray
  4. BBQ chicken, potato salad, chips, and green beans
  5. Vegetable kabobs, cold cuts, and rolls

If your family enjoys seafood, then a fish fry theme, complete with hush puppies, could be another possibility. Since our family does not care for seafood, I will keep our possibilities fish-free. 🙂

By planning ahead, I can watch for sales on these items. Purchasing the ingredients on sale will save me money, energy, and time. If you have additional suggestions, please leave a comment.

Timesaver: Veggie Cups

Timesaver: Veggie Cups

Photograph Credit: Microsoft Images

Do you get inspired from magazine articles? Though I do not read many magazines, I scan pages for ideas. One magazine I enjoy skimming is “Martha Stewart Living.”

Now, I do not have my own garden, bake from scratch, make my own spices, entertain each week, sew, or make my own centerpieces and décor.

However, I am a homemaker, event planner, and organizer, so I love picking out tips and tricks that will save me time, money, and energy.

The Inspiration

While browsing the latest issue of “Martha Stewart Living,” I was inspired by a party trick I can adapt for my style. The author suggested:

    1. Placing vegetable dip into the bottom of clear shot glasses or votive candle holders,
    2. Adding sliced veggies (carrot sticks, cucumber spears, celery sticks, etc.) to the containers, and
    3. Serving the glasses or candle holders on a serving tray among a layer of ice.

My Adaptation

I loved this idea. I often serve colorful, accessible vegetable trays at small parties. With a little adaption to my style and my budget, this event trick can be useful.

Buffet-style Event

I am thinking of events where many attendees need to be served in a limited amount of time. For this type of event, a buffet line works well.

With about ½” ranch dressing poured into the bottom of each clear plastic cup and a handful of veggies placed upright, event attendees can quickly pass through the buffet line, pick up a veggie cup, and  continue to the next station.

Sit-down Event

For a sit-down event, having the veggie cups prepared on the serving trays would make the delivery to the table quick and efficient.

Formal Event

For more formal events, the container could be upgraded to fit the occasion. Click here to view Snack Girl’s detailed instructions with a photograph showcasing her Veggie Shots.

Just taking a few minutes to glance through a magazine has inspired me to use a new tip at my next party. I’m excited as this solution is easy which helps me in using time wisely. Happy creating!

Question: What tip or trick have you discovered that can be adapted to your style?