When Thanks-giving is Hard

Hi everyone~  And a Happy Thanksgiving to each of you.


When Thanksgiving is hard. SmellingCoffee.com

Isn’t this quote above so true?  Among the hundreds and thousands of people and things for which I am grateful, I am so very thankful to the Lord for you and for this blogging platform He has given me. :-)

Yesterday I was thinking about you and this Thanksgiving holiday, and of how holidays are especially hard if (or when) life isn’t necessarily “good” at the moment, or family isn’t functional, or nearby… and sometimes, it’s just down-right-hard to celebrate Thanksgiving.

If you find yourself having a hard time today, I’m praying for you, and want to encourage you with something God gave me yesterday.  (I hopped on Periscope for the first time to share it, and am still learning how to “scope like a pro” –  it’s also on YouTube in it’s most raw Periscope form – AND… its turned sideways.  Oh well.)

((We’ll talk about Periscope on here as I learn more hints and helps to share about it.  The videos will last only 24 hours, that’s why I added it to Youtube. If you scope, let me know.  I’d love to follow you and see you face to face. ))

The gist of the message is that no matter who we are, or how privileged we are or are not… every one of us can counsel our hearts into an attitude of Thanks-giving when we fill in the blanks below:

Fill in the blanks to find your Thanks-giving. SmellingCoffee.com
Though I don’t have __________, I DO have __________.  And for this, I am truly grateful.

Though you may not have {whatever it is that you are feeling downcast about today}, you DO have {look around you… what DO you have?  Your mind?  Your health?  A roof over your head?  Clothes?  Community and Encouragement via cyberspace? People in your life who care about you – physically kin to you or not?, etc…}.  And for those things, especially on today, be truly grateful.

The eight minute message from Periscope and Youtube is here (in case you can’t see it below).

Oh my friends, what is it that God has given you today? What do these 24 hours hold for you?  Will you do like the Psalmist in Psalm 42 and 43 and counsel your heart not to be downcast, but to put your hope in God instead and to praise His Holy Name?

You are loved and valued, both by God your Daddy, and by so many on this planet.  Truly.  May the Lord bless you as you bless Him in your Thanks-giving today.

Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and my God!
Psalm 42:5 (NLT)



Monday’s Makes Me Smile – The Turkey and Thanks Edition

Happy Thanksgiving week, my friends! Hope these funnies about turkeys and Thanksgiving dinner bring a smile to your Monday. You still have time to make your own set of “Joey’s Thanksgiving pants” before Thursday, if you haven’t already. hahaha… :-)



This next one is one of my all time favorites (minus the cr*p word)! hahahaha








A very blessed week to each one of you.  As always, I thank my God upon remembrance of you…




*All pictures are from Pinterest and linked to their originating site.




Advent Ideas – A “most popular post” on SmellingCoffee.com – and a Pinterest Fav!

Lots of Ideas for Advent. SmellingCoffee.com

I rarely pay attention to my site stats.  Maybe I should, but because I blog to please and honor Jesus, I can’t put too much stock in how well pleasing this blog is to others.  If it pleases Christ, then whether one or one million read it, in my way of thinking, it is accomplishing its full purpose.  But I did notice something last year: This post has been getting multiple hundreds of hits a week, and for this little ole’ blog, that’s pretty amazing… Especially since it shows that people are searching for ways to celebrate Advent. I’m so glad these searchers stopped by, and pray that even if they didn’t linger long, the presence and love of Jesus Christ could be sensed here on SmellingCoffee.com.

{And if you are one of the “searchers” who popped in, Welcome, my new friend! Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!  I hope you’ll pour yourself another cup of coffee, or tea, or diet coke, etc… and visit a while. You are loved by the King and counted as precious to Him… and because of that, you are precious to me, too!}

In light of those stats, and because there is still plenty of time to make some Advent plans this year, I thought I’d repost these ideas.  Maybe this weekend a new Advent observance can be born in your heart and home.  It’s never too late to set our eyes on Jesus!  :-)

Love to you all…






Post from 2012 with a little bit added:

Do you observe Advent?

Advent means “Coming” or “Arrival”. When we celebrate Advent, we are looking toward the coming of Christmas ~ the coming of the time where we celebrate the Greatest Gift of All ~ The Gift of Jesus Christ and Salvation from God Our Father.

Individuals and families celebrate Advent in many different ways. For some, Advent begins the Sunday after Thanksgiving. If I have it together by then, we will too. However, most years, we begin our Advent countdown on December 1st. We do something each day that points us to Jesus Christ and sets our hearts on Him.

The internet is full of Advent ideas – and if you have Pinterest, you’ve got access to just about them all.  I’ve been collecting a Pinterest Advent board for over a year now.  If you’d like to see/follow that board, click here.  Many families use Advent to count-down the days until Santa comes.  There isn’t anything wrong with that.  But as Christian familes, Christmas is to be so much more to us than the day that Santa comes.  So, I seek to offer our family something each year that will help us put our focus on Jesus Christ and on His Gift to us.

As our children have grown older, the Advent activity has needed to grow with them.  But I couldn’t find much to offer to a household of teens.  So the Lord helped me write an Advent Devotional to be used with teens and adults. Click here for more info on that.  PS: It’s free! 

25 Days of Adult & Teen Advent Devotionals. SmellingCoffee.com

For young children, what can we put in these little envelopes, drawers, or pockets?  
Some people put candy in each one.  Or money.  Or a fun activity for the day. (This site has some good ideas for that.)  But in order to use Advent as a focus toward Jesus, we also include either a scripture verse (part of the Christmas story), or a Name of Jesus.

Our family has used the Names of Jesus in various ways at Christmas.  I’ll usually choose 25 favorite names, or let the family contribute to choosing the 25.  Then each name and reference is written on a small strip of paper.  I’ll tuck it in whatever calender we are using, and if there’s room, I’ll include a little candy or something.

Or: How about putting a letter of the alphabet in each pocket/drawer?  Whatever letter is drawn out for that day, have everyone list things they know and love about God and Jesus that begin with that letter… or a Scripture verse with a key word begining with that letter…  or list things begining with that letter for which they are thankful.  Just a thought I’m kickin’ around… 😉

As James 1:5 promises, if we lack wisdom, we can ask God, and He will give it to us!  So ask Him what He would like for you to put in your advent envelopes and boxes this year. He will show you.  It’s a promise! :-)

Advent Ornaments

Last year I finally got around to making a set of ornaments with the names of Jesus on them.  We used them in the mantle greenery – but then I saw an idea of using them as an Advent activity.   We placed the ornaments in a beautiful bowl and each day we drew out one ornament, read about that Name from Scripture, then hung it on the lighted mantle greenery.  It was a special way to begin each day as a family.

Advent Ornaments with Names of Jesus. SmellingCoffee.com

Advent Ornaments with Names of Jesus. SmellingCoffee.com

Here are a few of my favorite Advent Calendar ideas from Pinterest.  If they were linked to a blog/website, I’ll link to that site.


Advent Envelopes

One envelope to be opened a day.


Advent Matchbook Calendar

The instructions to make this cute little thing are on this site.

Other Advent Calendar calendars:

This blog contains links to each of these cute ideas.


Advent Coloring Book

If you have young children, you could print out one page for each day and read the Scripture as your little ones color.  This is the website for these pages (one per week).  And this site has 25 individual pages to print and color.


Jesse Tree

Another wonderful Advent idea is The Jesse Tree.  The Jesse Tree represents the family tree or the geneology of Jesus Christ, telling of God’s salvation plan beginning with creation and continueing through the Old Testament, to the comming Messiah.  The name comes from Isaiah 11:1, “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.” 

Each day of Advent, a homemade ornament is added to the Jesse Tree.  Each ornament represents a prophecy fortelling of Christ, or the ancestors in the lieneage of Christ, or symbols of Christianity.  As the ornaments are made, and then later placed on the tree, the story is told, imprinted and remembered.

We did this last year using Ann Voskamp’s Jesse Tree Journey (free e-book for anyone who follows her blog via email.)  It was wonderful.  We made the ornaments and set up a tiny tree on our kitchen table.  Because of our crazy family schedule, we usually did this devotion at nighttime before everyone went to bed.  It was a special family time.

Other Jesse Tree Ideas:

Jesse Tree Magnets

The directions for this Jesse Tree are in this blog post.

Felt Advent Jesse Tree Ornaments

These ornaments and the verses accompanying them can be found at this blog post.  These ornaments could be made from paper, felt, fun foam, cardstock, anything.

Wooden Jesse Tree

These are just a few of many ideas. The fun thing about a Jesse Tree is that it doesn’t have to be perfect or extra beautiful.  It can be made from paper and hung on the wall with the ornaments taped on it each day.  You could even use those coloring pages (shrink, of course) as your Jesse Tree ornaments.  If you have children at home, let them make the ornaments.  I promise – it will be a treasure in the years to come!

One more thing:

This is a wonderful idea.  A 12 day advent activity to begin on December 13th.  Click here for the details and printables.

No matter what type of activity you choose, in order to help your household keep Christ AS Christmas, tuck in a little something extra of the Lord and His Word during the days leading up to the celebration of Jesus’ advent.  You and all in your home will be blessed. :-)

E-book by Jennifer: Keeping Christ AS Christmas: Preparing hearts, households, and homes for PEACE this Christmas season.  Click here for more details, and “like”the Keeping Christ AS Christmas facebook page to share YOUR ideas on keeping Jesus as the Center of the Christmas season.




Preparing for Thanksgiving Day, especially if you are the hostess this year… {a Throwback Thursday Post}

{an original post written by my friend, Amy, back in 2008}    O Give Thanks to the Lord for He is Good! Thanksgiving is just (next week). Are you ready?  Each year I host the meal for our family. It’s usually around 15 – 20 people. If you are the host in your family, I […]

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Prepare your Heart for CHRISTmas. SmellingCoffee.com MelanieRedd.com

Happy Monday, my friends!  And hello to my new (and seasoned) friends from Nashville… it was a balm to my soul to be back in our former FBC Donelson church {where my heart was overflowing with sweet memories of early motherhood} and to serve the Lord and those He brought to Saturday’s event!  What a […]

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Friday’s Focus on CHRIST-mas: “Seek-and-Find-Jesus” (an alternative to Elf on the Shelf)

Seek & Find Jesus ~ An alternative to Elf on the Shelf. SmellingCoffee.com

*** Let me start this post by making it clear that I am in NO way dissing the Elf. I think that, like every other Christmas-themed festivity, with some Spirit-inspired creativity, little Elfie on the Shelfie can be used in such a way that points children to Jesus. In fact, I bought our family an […]

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Anyone out there need a gentle “Attitude Adjustment” today?

The Benefits of Counting Blessings. SmellingCoffee.com

What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday? What would you have? Since November hosts the holiday of Thanksgiving, our minds regularly turn to things for which we are thankful. But like a billboard on the way out of our town says, “Gratitude Has No Season” – and […]

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Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes – Time’s almost up!

Do you have your OCC shoeboxes packed yet?  (I don’t! – they are still sitting in our daughter’s room! – which is what prompted me to write this post!!!) 😉 That, and this wonderful article that my friend, Cindy, brought to our Sunday School class the other day.  It’s been around the web and Pinterest […]

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