The Tradition of the Silver Box

The Tradition of the Silver Box

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

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One of the most sentimental memories from my childhood is Christmastime. The glow of the Christmas tree on the night of Christmas Eve. Candles lit throughout the house, special trinkets on display, festive music filling the air. The glowing fireplace filling the room with warm air, stockings hung on the mantel. Such beautiful traditions took place in this setting. Under the tree were beautifully wrapped packages–our family gifts, of course, as Santa had not yet visited. The sweetest gift we had to offer each other, however, could not be wrapped, but was symbolized by a small silver box that hung on our tree.

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Proverbs 16:24 tells us that kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Words of affirmation and life are something we all need from others and something we should be able to sincerely express to those around us.
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Family so often gets our worst. They are the ones on the front lines when life is stressful or frustrating. How beautiful it is to take a moment to say something lovely and life-giving to each other.
Our family had a special tradition of passing a silver box around on Christmas Eve, and with it, saying something kind to each other. We each took a turn to speak about every person. While it’s important to speak encouragement all through the year, there was something extra special about doing it at Christmastime. Our remarks to each other required time and forethought. Our kind words truly were a gift to each other. A sweet and precious gift.
Our silver box tradition was based upon the book Silver Boxes by Florence Littauer. In this book is a special poem that we read each year before we exchanged our kind words.

“Silver Boxes,” by Michael Bright

My words were harsh and hasty and they came without a thought.
Then I saw the pain and anguish that my bitter words had brought.
Bitter words that I had spoken made me think back through the past;
Of how many times I’d uttered biting words whose pain would last.
Then I wondered of the people I had hurt by things I’d said;
all the ones I had discouraged when I didn’t use my head.
Then I thought about my own life. Of painful words I’ve heard;
and of the times I’d been discouraged by a sharp and cruel word.
And now clearly I remember all the things I might have done;
but, by a word I was discouraged and they never were begun.
Lord, help my words be silver boxes.
Neatly wrapped up with a bow; that I give to all so freely, as through each day I gladly go.
Silver boxes full of treasure, precious gifts from God above;
that all the people I encounter might have a box of God’s own love.

On a night where God’s love is at the forefront of our minds as we are thinking about the babe Jesus, it is a beautiful thing to share God’s love in the words we say to each other. Oh, that our words might be silver boxes!

As we are mindfully preparing for our Christmas this year, let’s look for ways to speak life to each other, and to encourage each other with words as sweet as honey. The best part about this tradition is that is costs nothing, yet it is truly meaningful!

Merry Christmas, friends!

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Laura P

Laura P

Hello. I grew up traveling the world as a military brat. I ultimately felt God's pull to Oklahoma Christian University where I met my husband. We now have 3 beautiful children and have settled in Mustang, Oklahoma.I am a homeschooling mom and with 3 kiddos it is a full time job! I am daily encouraged by God's great patience and grace in my life. In my free time I enjoy reading and crafting.
Laura P

It’s 3:30 P.M. and I am DONE with this day.  How in the world will I make it until Dad gets home?  The baby just won’t take an afternoon nap anymore, which of course means she will be incredibly cranky by 6:00, but that’s far too early for bedtime.  The big kids are in quiet time, but somehow I can still hear every single thing they do or say.  My quiet time is obviously nonexistent since the baby has decided not to nap.  Instead I’ll have a snack that I have to share.  Did I mention I am thirty weeks pregnant with my fourth child?  Or that I home school, so I am solely responsible for the needs of all of my children all day long?

OK, the baby is playing and reading books happily, I’ll get something to drink and catch up on Facebook happenings and my email.  Then I realize I’d better be sure I have everything I need to make dinner.  Speaking of dinner, what time will Dad be home tonight?  I’d better text him to find out.

Me: Hey, how’s your day going?
Him: Blah.
Me: I’m sorry.  Working late?
Him: I won’t be early.

Great.  Another late night.  Another night that my duties just don’t end.  It’s ok.  Deep breath.  Be thankful he has a good job that pays all the bills.

This is the moment my peace begins to crumble.

The big kids get done with quiet time and the battle to clean up their rooms begins.  Everyone is bickering or distracted.  Everyone is hungry and tired of each other.  Here’s the thing: I know what to do in these situations, right?  I mean, I have a degree in child development.  I have an arsenal of clean-up songs and games and quick activities that can give us all a break.  Except all of those things are lost in my pregnant brain…OK, prayer, right?  I can say a prayer; read a verse; have a breath of fresh encouragement to pull from.  Except who can say a prayer or read the scriptures when there’s a screaming banshee baby attached to my legs?

I’ll stop there.  As you can see this scenario is set up for defeat.  Mom is over-tired, over-worked, under-encouraged, and too pregnant!  Obviously not every day goes like this.  Some days the baby will nap, or Dad does come home on time.  Occasionally, everyone can manage to get along.  Some days.  But some days are just hard.  And in that moment, a mother can really start to spiral downward.  Especially when there is no one else there to provide back-up, relief, or just run interference for a while.  Single moms.  Moms of overworked husbands.  Working moms!  Any mom can find herself here.

But take heart, Momma!  There is hope.

Here are some verses I have found helpful and will be referring back to during these particularly turbulent days.

Psalm 120:1

I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me.

This is step one!  Call upon the Lord, He will hear you.

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

Step 2.  Cast your cares upon him.  There is nothing too small or too insignificant for God.  He cares about YOU.

Psalm 46:1-3

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.


Oh my goodness, yes!  Isn’t it funny how the children’s fighting and the baby’s crying and the mother’s exhaustion can be so symbolically perfect with this verse?  It can so easily feel like the earth is giving way and the mountains are falling into the sea. This verse is a soothing balm to my soul because I know the Lord is my refuge during these times.  He is a safe place for me to rest, if only for a moment!

More Verses of Encouragement

Isaiah 1:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Step 3.  Do not fear.  God will strengthen you and help you.  He has not left you or forgotten you.  You are important to Him!

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Step 4.  You have peace.  After approaching God and casting your cares on Him, He will give you strength and peace to endure.  Praise the Lord for His promises!

Psalm 16:8

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Step 5. Keep your eyes upon the Lord.  I frequently struggle with this step.  If I were able to keep a proper perspective in the beginning, I would not be so easily overwhelmed.  However, we know that the flesh is weak but in God we can be made strong!

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Encouragement on the Motherhood Journey

I hope that these verses can be an encouragement to you like they are to me.  I find myself dealing with an easily overwhelmed spirit as I enter the end of a pregnancy and exhaustion creeps in.  These verses are a great help to me in those times.  I hope these can be a help in whatever trials you find yourself struggling through during your motherhood journey.

What are some ways that you find renewal during the particularly tough days of motherhood?

What encouraging words would you give to yourself or another struggling mother during the hard times?

 

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Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

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this-post-may-contain-affiliate-links-for-your-convenience-and-at-no-extra-cost-to-you-1

My daughter and I were recently reading The Scarecrow’s Dance by Jane Yolen. In this story a scarecrow gets blown off his post and in his happiness of freedom he takes off dancing from the cornfields. He comes to a window at the farm house, where he looks in on a little boy saying his prayers.

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“And bless tonight
Our old scarecrow
Who guards the fields
And each corn row
So that tomorrow,
When we reap,
There will be lots of corn to keep.”

 

Touched by hearing his purpose he danced all the way back to those fields, and feeling proud of his duty to defend the corn leaped back on to his post.

Everyone needs encouragement to stand tall with purpose

From a mother’s perspective I held back tears. For how many times does the job of a mom feel thankless and trapping? I’m so thankful for the times my family have let me known why I’m important to them. Knowing what we mean to our family will give us purpose and joy as we fulfill our maternal duties.

 

But it’s not just moms. Everyone needs words of encouragement and life spoken to them! All of us long for purpose. The single woman who lives away from her family, the widower or the retired couple, the teenager, the parents of the teenager, the young couple couple without children. All of us!
Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. Hebrews 10:24 

 

let-us-consider-how-to-stir-up-one-another-to-love-and-good-works

Preparing for Thanksgiving

As we are preparing to gather with friends and family for Thanksgiving might I offer a suggestion? Let’s use Thanksgiving as an opportunity to let those we love know why we value them. It doesn’t have to be a formal ceremony! You might make a comment to them about how they are making a difference, or perhaps a short handwritten note to them as they leave. You could publicly share your thoughts at the Thanksgiving table, everyone taking turns to talk about someone.
However it’s done, let’s fill our Thanksgiving guests not only with food but also with purpose so that when the weekend is over and they return to normal life they will know that they matter. If you are the host or not, I encourage you to find a way to speak words of purpose to those you are celebrating Thanksgiving with. Would’t it be wonderful to know they might stand tall like the proud scarecrow on his post, filled with honor for the duties they hold? What do you say? Let’s celebrate Thanksgiving by honoring the precious people God has put in our lives!
standing-tall-with-purpose-social

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Tracy Watts

Tracy Watts

Wife, mom, daughter, teacher, blogger, crafter, organizer - but most and best of all, I am a Christian. I am passionate about my family and my God. I am married to my best friend and am blessed with a one year old son who keeps me busy all the time staying at home with him. And I am glad to be in the service of our incredible and awesome God.
Tracy Watts

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My husband is a man.

And as such, he does manly things.

He likes sports and to grill out, and he enjoys wrestling, throwing, swinging, and other very physical activities with my son. He is a provider and he is a leader, albeit sometimes a quiet one.

My husband has always been happy to do things around the house–but here is where things get a little hairy.

You see, he doesn’t do household things like a woman. He does them–well, the way that a man would.

I realize this may come as a shock. My husband does not load the dishwasher like I do. He does not fold and put away the laundry like I do. He doesn’t even clean the bathroom like I do.

Is there a “right” way to chop an onion?

Well, even if it’s not the way I would cut it, it will still flavor the soup and still be able to be chewed once we eat it.

Is there a “right” way to load the dishwasher?

Well, perhaps if you didn’t put soap in it, but otherwise, the dishes will still get clean. And isn’t that the point of a dishwasher?

Is there a “right” way to fold the laundry?

Well, as long as all of us get clean underwear and towels, wasn’t that the point?

It’s easy to get into the slump of “he didn’t do it my way.” But–maybe I didn’t do it his way. And you know what? He probably didn’t complain about it. He just accepted it because it’s who I am.

Sometimes, I think we lose sight of the big picture.

Is it more important to get help around the house? To share the burden of budgeting and finances? To let someone else take a turn watching the baby?

Because I guarantee you–it won’t be done exactly how YOU would have done it. And yet, if we let go of that control, of that “need” to have things done a certain way, we may find that our lives are richly blessed. We may find it easier, in fact, to follow 1 Thessalonians 5:18:

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Instead of, “Why did he load the dishes this way!” perhaps we can say, “Thank you, Lord, for giving me a husband who helps clean up supper!”

Instead of, “Why can’t he find a matching set of clothes to put on the baby!” perhaps we can say, “Thank you, Lord, for granting me time to rest while my husband made sure the baby is warm, clean, and dry.”

Instead of complaining, perhaps we can learn the not-so-easy-as-it-sounds task of saying “Thank you.” To God. To our families. To anyone around us.

And that may make all the difference.

 

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Laura P

Hello. I grew up traveling the world as a military brat. I ultimately felt God's pull to Oklahoma Christian University where I met my husband. We now have 3 beautiful children and have settled in Mustang, Oklahoma.I am a homeschooling mom and with 3 kiddos it is a full time job! I am daily encouraged by God's great patience and grace in my life. In my free time I enjoy reading and crafting.
Laura P

Something Better to Solve My Problems

I’ve been noticing something about myself lately.  One of those light bulb moments when I wonder how long this particular aspect of my personality has been manifesting itself. Then I get a little self-conscious about how many other people know this about me.  Of course, you introspective types generally know yourself well enough that you are probably seldom surprised by these types of revelations. I live in a cloud of oblivion and have these types of sudden revelations happen more often than I’d like to admit.

always-looking-for-something-better-pinterest

But I digress.  The other day, I realized that I am regularly looking for some amazing solution for my problems.  On Amazon I can generally find something that might solve whatever homemaking, homeschooling, or other problem I may be having for about $12.99.  Unfortunately that solution may or may not fix my problem.  If it does, that’s great, but inevitably another issue will crop up that I then have to find the solution to.

a-discerning

The Foolishness of Searching for Something Better

This verse brought my previous thoughts rushing back to me this morning at Bible Study.  Our ladies’ Bible Study has been working through the book of Proverbs.  Some proverbs have been relatively straightforward and easy to talk through. Others have been a little more thought-provoking.

This was one of those passages for all of us ladies in the study.  Through cross-referencing and a little help from the footnotes, we were able to glean the picture of a wise man looking towards the plans God has for him and storing up treasures in heaven while a foolish man chases his desires to the ends of the earth.  As profound as that is, it seems a little silly to relate it back to what has become a shopping habit.  However, when I look at the heart behind the behavior I recognize that very verse.  I recognize the foolishness of chasing material possessions to alleviate discomfort or stress because of clutter, disorganization, or bad habits.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about a few sanity-saving necessities! The fact that Amazon Prime allows me to put those products to use in my crazy home in two days is amazing!  It has been one of my very favorite modern amenities.  However, when I dig to the root of my behavior I begin to ask myself, “Did I pray about this problem before I hopped online?”  Uh, nope.  Didn’t even cross my mind.  I’ll admit that I am regularly at fault for this transgression.  In fact, the bible is very clear:


Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Philippians 4:6


So the bible is telling me to bring everything to God in prayer.  Not some things.  Not a particular list of things God deems important enough to listen to.  Everything.  So when I’m struggling with something and I bring it to the Lord in prayer, He will hear it.  And perhaps instead of buying my idea of a “solution” from my favorite online retailer, the Lord will reveal to me an attitude that needs to be fixed, or a habit that needs to be built, or perhaps just patience on my part.

I’ll send you off with the words from one of my favorite hymns:

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
And what a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer

Oh, what peace we often forfeit
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer

Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness
Take it to the Lord in prayer

Are you going through a struggle that you could bring to the Lord in prayer?

I’d love to hear the ways you remind yourself to take everything to God in prayer!


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Tracy Watts

Tracy Watts

Wife, mom, daughter, teacher, blogger, crafter, organizer - but most and best of all, I am a Christian. I am passionate about my family and my God. I am married to my best friend and am blessed with a one year old son who keeps me busy all the time staying at home with him. And I am glad to be in the service of our incredible and awesome God.
Tracy Watts

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Dear Small One,

to-my-unborn-child-p-in

Each day brings us a little closer–not to meeting (I feel we have already done that) but to meeting face to face.

I loved you before I knew your little life was blooming inside me. I loved you before I knew logically you could be a possibility. And I love you even more fiercely today.

Each time I hear your heartbeat or feel the flutter of your movement, I am filled with awe. It’s not unexpected. I knew it with your brother. And yet, it never seems to grow old. The wonder and the excitement and the awe-inspiring beauty of you being formed inside my womb.

Before I knew you were here, I prayed for you. For you to come, for you to join our family, to make it one person bigger, and one person richer, I have prayed. I prayed for you to be healthy and to grow, not just physically and mentally inside me but also when you grow outside of me, that you will find the best the world has to offer: the Lord and His people. I pray for you still. And I pray for me to be the kind of mother that you need, the kind of mother that God needs.

And though I have not seen your face, though I have not held your tiny fingers, though it is only on the inside that you are being held and not by my arms, I know a little bit of you. I sense your curiosity and strong will as you push back when your brother leans against me. When I take the time to be still and lie down, I know your joy and energy as I feel you swirl inside me. I hear your fluttering, pounding heart and I know that you are made deftly, creatively, uniquely by the strongest and gentlest fingers there are: the Lord’s.

And dear small one, I am so glad that I know you. You are an answer to prayer.

For this Child I Prayed

I love you, always and forever,

Your mom

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