A thank you gift for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving EASY and Homemade Hostess Gifts

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A thank you gift for Thanksgiving

Thank you for dinner or Thanksgiving party

Are you look for some Thanksgiving EASY and Homemade Hostess Gifts to take during the holidays?

I believe that showing appreciation for someone who has taken the time to invite others over for a meal, pie, or simply to share company goes a long way; especially these days of such little face-to-face communication because of our amazing technology.

Expressing gratitude like these Thanksgiving EASY and Homemade Hostess Gifts can be inexpensive, quick, usable and very meaningful. 

Let me share with you some ideas and you can get your creative juices flowing from there:)



This is SO quick, simply stop at your local candy store and Dollar Tree, or grocery store and pick up a plate and bowl (or just one) and fill it with seasonal candy.  Wrap it all up in the clear cellophane and tie it with a bow.

A thank you gift for Thanksgiving

Thank you for dinner or Thanksgiving party


This is a terrific idea if you have been invited, but you cannot attend because of distance OR you want to send a Thanksgiving Thinking Of You to a family or college student.  Check out my post on sending THIS in the Mail

A thank you gift for Thanksgiving

Thank you for dinner or Thanksgiving party


A nice candle with the Unique GRATEFUL Stenciled Towel HERE tucked in a nice gift bag or a basket would be a terrific gift. 

A thank you gift for Thanksgiving

Thank you for dinner or Thanksgiving party


Or the Creative PUMPKIN Stenciled Towel HERE with a Pumpkin Scented or decorated candle in an orange gift sack, or in a pumpkin basket would be fabulous!

A thank you gift for Thanksgiving

Thank you for dinner or Thanksgiving party

 bag or basket would be really appreciated


In a clear cellophane bag or a fall themed bag, fill with any one of my popcorn recipes.  I have a link HERE with SIX of my most popular Popcorn Recipes that I think you’ll want to make one, or all six of them to take as a hostess/host gift, or to family and friends to let them know how grateful you are they are in your life. 

A thank you gift for Thanksgiving

Thank you for dinner or Thanksgiving party


Or you can simply fill the bags with purchased candy.  If you can find fall colored candy, such as these here:  Hershey’s Kisses, Sixlets and M&M’s that makes it even more fun. 

A thank you gift for Thanksgiving

Thank you for dinner or Thanksgiving party



To finish the easy cellophane bags off with one of the BEST and favorite treats, these White Chocolate Covered Corn Pops are scrumptious.  Click HERE for the recipe

A thank you gift for Thanksgiving

Thank you for dinner or Thanksgiving party


Simple is great!  A nice soap with a bow on it is usable and budget friendly.

A thank you gift for Thanksgiving

Thank you for dinner or Thanksgiving party


Now if you want to thank YOUR guests for coming, or if you want to take a little gratitude treat to those who will be there, here is an idea. Something like these little triangle boxes hold about 1 full Tablespoon of Sixlet and M&M candies and 1 Hershey Kiss.  

These could also be NAME PLACE CARDS at the table, or put on a THANK YOU or THANKSGIVING sticker to personalize them. 

A thank you gift for Thanksgiving

hank you for dinner or Thanksgiving party

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2018

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

A quality flour sack towel with the words #Pumpkin Everything stenciled on it

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels

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A quality flour sack towel with the words #Pumpkin Everything stenciled on it

Kitchen Towel stenciled with #Pumpkin Everything and Towel stenciled with GRATEFUL

Sometimes we forget to take a thank you or host/hostess gift when invited to Thanksgiving dinner or the events surrounding it.

But what to take?  It’s just good manners and polite.

I like to take something useful….and hopefully that they want is preferred.

These DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels are perfect for everyone!

They are very easy to make and gorgeous too.

We have joined up with our friends over at STENCIL REVOLUTION for another fabulous project and I LOVE how this came together!

The towels we used are nice quality flour sack towels (I’ll give you the links), the paint does not wash out or fade when washed (at least in our experience) and the  stencils from STENCIL REVOLUTION are the BEST!  They have different sizes you can choose from because they are awesome like that, and in these two patterns they  offer at least two smaller sizes than what we used.

So on the towel you could use the stencil in the corner, or one side, both sides, two corners, all corners, or like we did by taking up pretty much the entire towel.  

Let me show you how we made these and what more of what they look like.

When you see these, you are going to want to make them for everyone, not just the person making the turkey:)






High Quality Flour Sack Towels like these, preferably 28″x 28″ (these have a loop for hanging) meant for holding paint, embroidery, etc.

Plastic Paint Tray Palettes like THESE

Acrylic Paint like THIS

Round Sponge Brushes like THIS

Painters Tape – optional, like THIS

Non Stick Parchment Paper like THIS

Older Bath Towel to cover the area and give padding OR Disposable Table Covers, THIS is a pack of 4

Painters tape to hold down the stencil if desired




A quality flour sack towel with the words #Pumpkin Everything stenciled on it

Towel stenciled with GRATEFUL

Cover your table or work area with an old bath towel as we did, or disposable table covers

Cut a long length of parchment paper, plenty to go the length of the stencil and place on top of your towel or table cover where you are going to work. 

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels

Place your towel on top of the parchment paper

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels

My handsome Hubby Stan is the amazing creative painter – all around fabulous brain – and loves STENCIL REVOLUTION products!  He is showing us how how he creates the ombre effect on these towels.  I have a video with him demonstrating this technique at the end of this post HERE if you’d like more detailed information. 


Stan begins at the bottom of the stencil on this particular towel. 

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels

Then layers colors, building upwards,


Towards the top, until all of the letters are covered. 

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels

When finished, take off the stencil and there you have the fabulous GRATEFUL towel!

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels





A quality flour sack towel with the words #Pumpkin Everything stenciled on it

Kitchen Towel stenciled with #Pumpkin Everything

Begin as with the other towel by placing down a towel or disposable table covers

Cut two long lengths of parchment paper, plenty to go the length of the stencil and place side by side on top of your towel or table cover where you are going to work. 

Place the kitchen towel on top and then the stencil you are going to use.

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels

If you want to do it like Stan did, he filled in the letters and the outline of the pumpkin and leaves first. 

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels


So it looked like this

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels


He then filled in the leaves and stem.

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels

Next he dobbed the pumpkin with the colors he wanted to work with and blended them.

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels

Removed the stencil and there you have the AWESOME #PUMPKIN EVERYTHING TOWEL!

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels

Cleaning the STENCIL REVOLUTION stencils is a breeze.  

Simply scrub lightly with a soft cloth under running water.

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels

Rinse well and dry.

If all of the paint does not come off, or the stencil appears stained, it is OK.  Our have been used over and over and over again, and they work perfectly!

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels

DIY Stenciled Thanksgiving Kitchen Towels

Please share what you did with the Thanksgiving themed stencils so we can enjoy and maybe do the same thing too:)

You can see my post on DIY Stenciled Pillowcases HERE

And my post on DIY Homemade Stenciled Windsocks, along with a YouTube Video on how to stencil HERE

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2018
Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

story of Squanto's life and how he helped the pilgrims

Thanksgiving and Squanto, A True Hero

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story of Squanto's life and how he helped the pilgrims

A true story of how turning hard experiences into positive ways to help others. Trusting God and His ways in our life.

Thanksgiving and Squanto, A True Hero

Do you know the story of Thanksgiving and Squanto, A True Hero?

The story of the pilgrims is familiar, remarkable and exemplary; however, the story of Squanto completely intrigues me.

Granted as you investigate, you will find many variations of the story, but here I have done my best to bring you the most common and universal one that has been researched best possibly since it happened so long ago. 

It a story of miracles, forgiveness, love, surviving with  dignity and seeing God’s hand in ways never imagined.

You will never think of Thanksgiving the same after reading this amazing life of Squanto.

To easily teach your family his story I have a Family Time-Family Home Evening (FHE) Lesson all about Squanto HERE


Squanto, or his Indian name, Tisquantum, was a Patuxet, which was a band of the Wampanoag tribe.

Traders were known to the Indians as they came from far away Europe, including, of course, England. One day in 1614, a Captain Hunter directed his ship along the coast of what we now call Massachusetts to trade with the Indians. Squanto and some friends went to see the Captain, as he had traded with them before. Rather than trade with the boys, Captain Hunter and his men hit the young men over the head. The boys were immediately transformed into his captives.

Can you imagine the terror these Indian boys felt as they regained consciousness in a dark, stuffy, rolling vessel? The food was putrid; rats were scampering about; the water was rancid; not to mention the sheer brutal treatment as a young Indian captive. After what would have been several months, the ship stopped in a land the youth had never imagined even existed: Malaga, Spain.

The Indians were herded off the ship and into the sunlight. The light stung their eyes and drove an intense pain right to their brain after spending several months in the dark hull of the ship. Horror, dread, and shock were likely but a few of the emotions these boys felt as they were lined up to be sold as slaves.

Here is one account of Squanto’s kidnapping:

When Friars, or Monks as they are also referred to in many historical accounts, in Malaga discovered that Squanto and others had been kidnapped and were being sold as slaves, immediately took custody of as many of them as they could.  

The Monks took them to the Catherdral where they were taught the Christian faith, the Spainish language and the culture of Spain. 

Many did not believe in slavery or what was happening all over the world  and did not agree at all; knowing it was inhumane, cruel and evil .  In fact, Sir Ferdinando Gorges states, the Friars (Monks) were “so disappointed this unworthy fellow of the hopes of gain he conceived to make by this new and devilish project.”

Although living with the Monks was unfortunate, in the circumstances that took him there in the first place, he must have realized  how different his life could have been, had someone else purchased him that day at the auction.

Naturally he missed his home, his family, his people, and his land.  The Monks, understanding this, managed to arrange for Squanto to travel to England from Spain, in hopes of finding a ship. It must be noted that the odds of Squanto actually traveling back to the American continent were stacked high against him.

It is unfortunate that we do not have the history of how Squanto traveled from Spain to England. Did he have a map? Did he travel with a caravan?

The speech he had learned as a baby was now replaced with the Spanish dialect of the monks.

As he traveled, he likely did not understand English, which would be a major detriment once he entered the country.


Squanto somehow came to reside as a stable boy for a family in London, England,whose name was Slaney. He prayed fervently every single day to someday return home to his family, to hug and kiss his parents, his siblings, his friends. The longing for this reuniting must have been agonizing.

Finally, a trading ship was scheduled to sail to the coast of North America. It was around 1618, and another five years had passed while he was in England and learning the English culture and language. Because of his linguistic capabilities, he became the translator on the ship in trade of passage.

Another Popular Account of the kidnapping:

After landing in Spain, Squanto was taken by a ship captain to London, then to Newfoundland, then back to England after a few years to be an interpreter.   While working as as an interpreter he was on a ship that sailed back to New England and to his homeland. 

Back to our story:

Any travel by ship back then would have been rigorous and long.

It was now 1619 when the ship landed and, by providence, it stopped on the coast of Massachusetts. He must have bolted off the vessel and ran as swiftly as he could to the home of his boyhood. I’m sure tears of joy were streaming down his face as he made his way to the village.

Horrified, he saw the place was abandoned. There was no one there, not even a dog to bark and announce his arrival.


Traveling on, he found Indians in a neighboring tribe who told him the devastating news that a disease had struck and everyone had died. There was not a soul left of his family or his friends.

The heartbreak and sadness, even depression hung around him, weighing  like the smoke of the continual camp fire.

He had yearned for this moment: to see his beloved people for over ten years, and now it was never to be.

Squanto went to the woods to live by himself, in self-designated seclusion.

He was no longer an Indian with the ways of the tribes. 

He was not an Englishman or a stable boy.

He was not an interpreter to merchants, sailors or those who needed his language skills. 

His family and tribe were gone.

He found himself as a lone man without family or country; truly a stranger in a strange land, if there ever was one.

Meanwhile, in 1620, a little band of Pilgrims suffered great persecution from their own countrymen and government.  They decided to sacrifice all for the opportunity to worship God freely, and in their own way. Crossing the great Atlantic in a relatively small boat for a long ocean voyage, and put complete trust in God and His purpose for them.

Landing at Plymouth, they anticipated and dreamed of a life of freedom to worship as Christians, along and with enough prosperity to raise their families.

The first year for the small band was nightmarish. Disaster struck the settlement, and fifty percent of their population died. No one could have blamed them had any questioned God’s purpose in all that had happened. Their disastrous situation was catastrophic, leaving the Pilgrims barely able to see any light or prospects in the situation; only more death and starvation.

An Indian from a neighboring tribe tried to communicate with the Pilgrims, to help them; but to no avail. He traveled to find Squanto, knowing he had lived with the white man and could communicate with these people who were obviously suffering.

Squanto sympathized with the news of the strangers, ignored his own pain and sorrowful circumstance and walked to the village.  As he approached he spoke to them in English. Can you imagine the shock of the Pilgrims? An Indian brave speaking the King’s English in 1621!

Ironically, the Pilgrims had settled and made their homes on the very spot that Squanto’s parents, friends and family had lived.

See, the village that had been abandoned, providing the Pilgrims a much needed place of shelter.

Squanto not only taught them, but was such a good and trusted friend, that he was adopted by this group of people as ‘one of them’! A place, friends, FAMILY!



Squanto knew this land well as he had worked alongside his parents; now he could teach the Pilgrims how to plant corn with fish as a fertilizer, how to embed a gourd around the cornstalk to help it grow and other ways to live on the land.

Not only that, but he taught them to fish, to get eels out of the muddy streams, and to find lobsters.

Because Squanto  had been in the places he had, learned the language to communicate, had the vast resource of knowledge to communicate AND chose to look to God for His will and purpose in his life, Squanto was prepared and able to be a savior to this very special group.

Why is that important?

Because this little band of struggling Pilgrims would be a seed, the beginning and foundation for the United States of America!

Squanto opened relations and trade with various Indian tribes and the settlers which was critical for survival.

In fact, Plymouth Governor William Bradford was moved to declare him a “spetiall (special) instrument sent of God for [their] good”.

We all have struggles, trials and circumstances that are so foreign and even incomprehensible at times that we naturally question why we must endure these incredible hardships.

We may even wonder if God is there, knows us, and has a plan that is for our good?

I know that if we pray, stay close to Him and remember that He loves each one individually, because we are His son or daughter, then we can begin to realize that His love is unfathomable and enduring.

Our Father in Heaven has not sent us here to fail, but to overcome the things of the world that do not matter, to be triumphant in overcoming our own weaknesses, to be steadfast in persevering through difficulties and to endure well to the end by never losing faith in Him, His son Jesus Christ, or our ability to love as He loves us.

We may not have the spectacular events of Squanto, but be assured, and do not doubt that God has a plan for you!

His loving and kind eye is always on you.

His love is continually there to surround you.

His ways are not always going to mirror ours, but they are perfect. His hand is outstretched continually, never failing to lead you along on correct paths.

As we celebrate this Thanksgiving season, let us count our blessings one by one. It is amazing what the Lord is doing to help us be more like Him. Let us have courage and determination to be victorious while on our journey here in this life, despite challenges that may be placed in our way. For this I pray, for each and every one. Happy Thanksgiving.


Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014 (edited by Dallin Groneman 2016 – THANK YOU son!!!)

Recognize a blessing and Be a Blessing today  

KeepSake Kids Handprint Apron

Easy Kids Craft Turkey Hand-print Apron

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KeepSake Kids Handprint Apron

Turkey Hand-Print Apron


This personalized apron would be perfect for mom, dad, or grandparent, or kids to make one for them self while waiting for dinner to be ready. 

Seriously, it’s the BEST gift ever!!

You could  write the child’s name and year under the hand-print and even a few things they are grateful for. An older child can write it them self.


Kids Craft Turkey Hand-print Apron


Canvas apron’s like these are inexpensive to make for everyone!

Acrylic Paints in a set like this will last a long time and wash well

Foam paint brushes are awesome to reuse or toss, depending on the how chaos:)

This Round Foam Sponge Paint Set is also inexpensive to toss or reuse, with various sizes to make it fun

Thin paint brush, and THIS SET is a fabulous value with various sizes

Sharpies like this will serve many purposes and are water resistant too

Googly eyes if desired make an eye

Fabric Glue like E6000 works well if using Googly eyes


Paint child’s, or adults hand with paint, using the foam brush, covering well and the entire hand.

Press the hand evenly and firmly onto the apron

Hand Printed Turkey Apron 1

When the hand-print is dry,  draw the wing on with a black sharpie

With the paint brush paint on the beak and legs

If using the googly eyes attach with glue.

With the round sponge daubers, randomly make circles of different colored paint.



















With the round sponge daubers, let the kids randomly make circles of different colored paint. 

This can be done before you create the turkey or after.

If the kids are older, they can make the turkey them self!

Allow the apron to dry completely. Sitting overnight gives best results.

Hand Printed Turkey Apron

When laundering, do so according to paint instructions (usually in cold water and hang to dry)

ENJOY the memories and fun with the family!

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014, 2017

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.




gratitude tree

Ever giving Gratitude Tree

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gratitude tree

Ever Giving Gratitude Tree

Isn’t this time of year crazy?

It’s hard to find ways sometimes to get our family to think outside of themselves – or an activity that’s affordable, easy, quick, worthwhile, have positive results and will engage everyone.

After some brainstorming this idea came to me –  a Gratitude Tree!   

With this little tree, teaching gratitude will come naturally to your family.

The concept is so simple.  See each leaf will have a word on it that can be chosen as a family or by a parent, depending on the age, or your situation.

For example, if the leaf  has the word neighbor written on it, then the leaf could not be hung on the tree until a service is done by the entire group for the neighbor of choice by the family – or at least by the majority 😉 

Now the fun begins as  everyone puts in their suggestions, which could include: anonymously raking leaves, making and taking cookies or spending a little time visiting an elderly neighbor.  

More than just reporting or saying what family members are thankful for, this little activity will motiviate and involve everyone into ACTION to fill the tree! 

Effortlessly on your part, everyone will want to help and bless others, and leave the entitlement attitude behind Service naturally brings out the best in everyone.

I have everything easily ready for you to start and have FUN together!



Tree,  is one to check out

Pre-cut leaf shapes, THESE are perfect

Assorted Sharpie Markers 

Twine, is a nice fit

Directions:gratitude tree1Trace desired shape onto paper and cut out OR use pre-cut shapes I suggested above.

Punch a small hole at the top of the leaf.gratitude tree 2Tie a square knot with the string through the hole in the leaf.gratitude tree 3Here are some ideas for ‘words’ your family might want to include for people to serve: gratitude tree

Neighbor(s) Grandparent(s) Teacher(s) Mail person Family – think extended; aunt, uncle, cousin, etc. Veterinarian Doctor Dentist Church leader(s) Military Foster Parents/kids Animal Shelter Brainstorm with your family, the list will amaze you and the results will bless you.  

This Gratitude Tree can be easily adapted for the Christmas season also.

Click HERE for the ornaments

gratitude tree 4Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2013, 2016

A treat cup for kids and adults for Thanksgiving made to look like a Pilgrims hat from a paper cup

Thanksgiving Pilgrim Treat Cups

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A treat cup for kids and adults for Thanksgiving made to look like a Pilgrims hat from a paper cup

Pilgrim Hats made out of paper cups and embellishments

These Thanksgiving Pilgrim Treat Cups are perfect for the Thanksgiving kids table.

Simply fill with crayons, pretzels, popcorn, goldfish, colored pencils – the options are limitless.

Or as a take-home gift for your guests. Fill with candy or chocolate as a thank you. 

This craft is easy, quick and very inexpensive to whip up to make the holiday festive and fun for everyone.

Thanksgiving Pilgrim Treat Cups


Black paper cups

Ribbon 3/4″-1″, or your preference

Gold card stock

Black card stock paper

Glue gun



Find a bowl or something round as a template that suits your size.

Pilgrim CupsUse this as a guide 
Pilgrim Hat 3

And cut a circle out of the black card stock paper.

Pilgrim HatMeasure the paper cup to the level you desire, depending on what you are going to fill the Pilgrim hat-cups with and mark.

Using an exact-o knife, or pierce with the end of a pair of scissors  and cut all the way around.

Pilgrim CupAssemble these items: 

Make a buckle out of the gold card stock, the cup, cut circle, ribbon that fits around cup and a glue gun.
Pilgrim Hat

Using care to glue towards the inside of the cup so it doesn’t ooze to the outside and make it messy.Pilgrim Hat

Glue the bottom of the cup.

Attach cup to the card stock circle.

Pilgrim Hat


Put a spot of glue on the back seam and attach the edge of the ribbon. 

Glue in spots as you wrap it around the cup.  

Pilgrim Hat Decoration

Glue at the seam to match the other end.

Pilgrim Hat DecorationGlue the buckle onto the front.Pilgrims Hat DecorationFill as you wishPilgrim Hats Decoration

Works very well for a Kids Thanksgiving Table filled with crayons, snacks and treats to keep them busy and having fun while the adults fix food and visit. 

Pilgrim Cups


Copyright Carrie Groneman, 2015, 2018

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today

Thanksgiving Kids Table

Kids Thanksgiving Table 1












Kids Craft Indian Head Band

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Indian head band made from paper and feathers

Indian Head Dress

Kids Craft Indian Head Band or Native American Head Dress as it is also called is the perfect craft to teach the kids about those who lived here when the pilgrims arrived. 

You could teach your family about Squanto a very courageous Native American who was very important in helping the Pilgrims click HERE that gives the story, and a link HERE for a Family Time-Family Home Evening Lesson (FHE) about him.  


Kids Craft Indian Head Band or Native American Head Dress


Brown Butcher Paper and always lots of uses for this handy paper too

Ruler & yard stick

Long colorful Feathers

Markers or crayons

Glue guns are always useful/Glue Dots are awesome around young children

Print out of Indian Pictographs below

Patterned paper to cut circles, optional  


Measure butcher paper with ruler.

Make small marks at intervals across the paper, then mark with yard stick all the way across. 

Indian Head Dress 1

Kids Craft Indian Head Band

 Cut the strip of paper.

Indian Head Dress

Kids Craft Indian Head Band

*I cut the following measurements to have for toddlers and up through most sizes to fit the older children.

Have extra on hand so if one is ripped or a child feels they made a mistake, the headband is easily replaced and only fun for the memory.

1  1/2″ 


1  3/4″  

AND   2″ 

2   1/2″  

Indian Head Dress

Kids Craft Indian Head Band

These should fit any kid  

However, you can have the paper on hand to hurry and cut to size if needed.

Indian Head Dress 5

Kids Craft Indian Head Band

Here are the supplies laid so you can see what I used.

With the colored paper I cut circles with a circle cutter, or you can trace anything round that you have around the house.

These circles will be used for decorating the headband as you will see in the finished head band below.

head dress how to

Kids Craft Indian Head Band

Copyright Carrie Groneman, 2015, 2018

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.


What to do with Empty Jars

Empty Jars

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What to do with Empty Jars

Empty Jars

Do you ever feel empty? 

Do you long for true joy and happiness?

Do you feel like you are sitting on a shelf and not as ‘full’ as you could be?

Do you want to know how to love and appreciate others more deeply?

Then come read about my Grandma’s jars and the difference they made.


FILLING The Empty Jars

My wonderful Grandma collected little jars, small bottles, glass containers and cute bowls that sauces, jellies, condiments and the like they came in.  She was very frugal and did not want to waste them, so they were washed, dried and put in the basement on a shelf – to sit, and wait.

After she and grandpa passed away, as a family we were getting the house ready to sell.  I saw the rows of bottles, containers and bowls, and asked if I may have them.  My mom and aunt were very generous and let me take all I wanted.

Now on my shelf they sat. However, they seemed to call out, almost shouting to be filled, to be used, to be a part of something larger than them-self, useful and beneficial.

So what could I do? It was then I decided to give away the precious and long kept pieces. 

I would pray every day to receive inspiration of who needed needed a little pick-me-up, treat or gift, whether I knew them well or not.  Sometimes a name came quickly, other times I had to listen very intently and the name would come later in the day, or days later, of who needed the very special present from me, and Grandma.  I would then fill one of the jars, bowls or bottles with a homemade treat, or something purchased and leave it on the doorstep along a little note that I was thinking of them.  It took over a  year to pass out all those containers .

Some might ask: what was the point of all that extra work and the resources to leave something for someone who might not even care, or appreciate the gesture?  I cannot give hard facts, or even life-changing experiences stemming from the  filled jars to support why it was worthwhile.

Nor can I produce evidence of why it was better than throwing them away, giving them to a charity or even leaving them on the shelf ‘for someday’.  Yet I can attest to what it did to me.

Every time I prayed to know who needed something; whether a treat, a call, a note, I looked beyond myself. Blessing ONE

Something extraordinary happened inside of me as I passed out the jars, bottles and dishes:  The containers were all unique, none the same, each exceptional in its own way; whether ornamental or simple in design, the beauty was undeniable in every single piece.  It became quite evident and obvious, that when choosing the piece to give, as I looked to appreciate the exquisiteness the containers, I also saw in each person I was looking to serve a bit of glory. I was able to see the magnificence that is in every person, as we are a child of God – distinctive, remarkable and magnificent. I could see a sign of Him, of unparalleled greatness not even found in the most glorious beauty of nature. I could love people that I knew, and those I did not more fully just because of who they were, a part of heaven! Blessing TWO

We are all so very busy, with heavy demands and pressures from so many angles coming at us.  So for me to sincerely want to know who I could reach out to and serve by giving of my time, takes the focus off of myself and my own family for a bit, and is a way for me to be more like Christ.  He always looked to do what His Father wanted, and was consequently perfect. I will never be completely ‘perfect’, but I can try my very best to be better. I will certainly fall short, but can keep trying, and that’s what counts. Blessing THREE

When we put our self ‘on a shelf’, though attractive, we are empty. There is nothing of worth or value to offer out of an empty container. Conversely, when we search, ask and quickly respond to an impression, a thought, to do good to help someone else even when it is awkward or tiresome, we are filled.  These acts of selfless service and generosity, combine to make us much more valuable to our family, others and God.  Blessing FOUR

Serving is never, ever convenient or easy.  It does not need to be something spectacular such as traveling to a foreign country to give aid – though that is very commendable, but not available to most of us.  However, a note, a smile, a kindness is always doable and works miracles in our own life. 

  • Interestingly, as we serve, we become filled with goodness and true joy which cannot be bought, nor obtained in any other way. 
  • As we relieve another persons burdens, our own trials and cares are eased. 
  • As we reach out, our level of happiness is deepened and our souls are much more content. 
  • Pain, suffering and loss we often feel, are lessened, making way for an exhilaration for living, regardless of our circumstances. 

I know from personal experience, this is factual, and will be true for you also.

As we are looking to the Thanksgiving holiday, and the miracles and blessings surrounding the events that give us cause to celebrate, let us look for ways to reach out; which in actually demonstrates our gratitude to God for all we have.

  • Do you have ‘jars’ to fill? They may not be actual jars, but a note to send, a smile to share, an apology to give, anything to relieve anothers burdens
  • Could your attitude and outlook benefit from a surge of gladness and appreciation for what you have? 

I challenge you to reach out and serve someone who is not expecting it.  When you hear the quiet whispering of who needs you, do not ignore it.  As you act on this feeling or thought, your life will be even more blessed than the person you are serving – this I know.  Blessings imagined and IMMEASURABLE

Recognize a blessing and Be a Blessing today 

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014, revised 2015

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