Tag Archives: traditions

The Word Became Flesh: Lenten Advent Calendar

14 Feb


I have written again and again and again about our wonderful Christmas Advent Calendars. Those advent calendars have become such a significant component of Christmas for our family. I longed for this same Scripture-rich, God-honoring, daily-reading family activity… for Easter.

Thankfully, 3 years ago, my dear friend, who first introduced me to the Advent Jesse Tree, wrote a book, The Word Became Flesh, which is a devotion used as an Easter Advent calendar during the 40 days or Lent. In addition to the daily devotions designed to use with your family, Faye, a gifted artist, has included hand drawn sketches that can be photocopied and used as “ornaments” much like the Advent Jesse Tree. We participated in an ornament swap and hang our ornaments on a grapevine wreath. This is a peek at what ours looks like.


To read more about how The Word Became Flesh works and has impacted our family, read these two previous posts here and here. When I first wrote about The Word Became Flesh two years ago, Faye’s book had not been published and was, therefore, only available to purchase from Faye. Last year, Faye was able to get her book published (wahoo!!!), so you can now buy it from Amazon and have it arrive just in time to start next week on Ash Wednesday, February 18.

I can’t wait to hear how this book blesses your family and leads you to focus on Christ this Easter!

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy here.

Blueberry Pumpkin Poundcake–with Butternut Squash

17 Dec

BlueberryPumpkinPoundcakeOne of my Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions is to make this fabulous, I-always-want-two-pieces-at-a-time Blueberry Pumpkin Poundcake. Well, this week three butternut squashes kept staring me in the face in my fridge, so I decided to make the cake for our small group Christmas party substituting butternut squash instead of the pumpkin. I assumed that it could be substituted easily and without sacrificing amazing flavor. It was a gamble, but I rolled the dice. Guess what? Same ol’ yumminess. So, if you ever have butternut squash staring you in the face, try this recipe and wow your friends with your this amazing cake! For the original recipe, visit this previous post.

Merry Christmas!


Friday Favorites: Christmas Cards=Prayer Cards

28 Nov

FRIDAY Favorites

I am excited to have a dear friend and mentor, Dr. Kimberly Thornbury, with a Guest Post today. I had the splendid pleasure of working with Kimberly while we were both at Union University. It was then that she introduced me, a newlywed at the time, to her family’s House of Prayer. At the time, I longed for the day that I could start this tradition with children of my own. If you are wondering what to do with the charming Christmas cards forthcoming in your mailbox once December 26 arrives, enjoy Kimberly’s tradition and incorporate it into your home during 2015.


When my two daughters were very young, I wanted to teach them about the importance of prayer, and also help them understand more about family and friends they had not yet met. In 2004, shortly after Christmas, I took an old green Pampers wipes plastic bin, covered it with construction paper, and filled it with Christmas cards our family had received that holiday season. I stapled a 3 x 5 index card to each of the Christmas cards, and wrote down specific prayer requests related to that particular family or individual.

During meal times, our two daughters were very interested in the new ritual of pulling out a colored photo. We would pass around the photo and pray specifically for the person or family on the card. Often times, we would write updates on the back of the card. Although we didn’t pray for these people daily, we would pray for them regularly and most certainly consistently. Our prayers became less monotonous, more creative and more intentional.

Sometimes if we didn’t have a card on someone, the girls would take time to find a picture of someone in a magazine (for example the president of the United States) and create a card. Tragic situations, would often result in the girls writing words like “Haiti” on 3 x 5 card.

That little Pampers box looked like a tiny house, and it was also a symbol for the Thornbury family being characterized as a “house of prayer.” Over the years we have moved to a small cardboard “Amazon” box, but I am sure more “pinterest” moms would make something super cute out of wood.

House of Prayer.Blog

I have worked with college students for over 20 years. As I mentor college students throughout their tenure at the University, often times I will pray over the students I am mentoring through my house of prayer card system. You can imagine their delight, when I copy the back of the card a few weeks before their wedding day, reminding them of God’s answered promises to them. Biology tests were passed, boyfriends who were not God’s best for them faded away, they reached their goal of graduation, and will soon be married to their beloved.

Also, when someone is going through a particularly hard time (like a friend whose son was recently diagnosed with leukemia), we will find their card in the stack, update it, and pray for them right there on the spot.

When we have guests come over, the house of prayer is a way for us to explain the Gospel to others, and our belief in intercessory prayer.

I’m a fallen mom, and so thankful for God’s grace in my life. I am far from perfect, but this God-given idea has really worked for our little family, and been a tool to draw us closer to Him.

Dr. Kimberly Thornbury is the Vice President for Institutional Research and Strategic Planning at The King’s College in New York City. She can be reached at kthornbury@tkc.edu or on Twitter @kthornbury

What We’re Reading Wednesday: Squanto & The Miracle of Thanksgiving

12 Nov

What We're Reading WEDNESDAYS

Here’s a repost from the archives. Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving is our favorite Thanksgiving book because of how it has led our family to celebrate the greatness of God. Read more here.

Also, this previous post features other Thanksgiving reads that our family has enjoyed. Of particular note is Thank You, Sarah, which was a new one that we read last year. It is a delightful read about the woman who petitioned for Thanksgiving to be a national holiday. 🙂

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy here.


Friday Favorites: Handprint “Thankful Tree”

24 Oct

FRIDAY Favorites

When I observe my calendar inching ever so close to November, I know that one of our family’s favorite traditions is right around the corner! Each November our family erects a tree in our kitchen. It’s not just any tree; it’s a tree filled with handprints from all 5 family members. During the month of November, we daily each add a handprint to our tree, and on each handprint is written something for which we are thankful.

Handprint Thanksgiving Tree

This short moment during breakfast or dinner seems microscopic when compared to the remaining 23 hours and 50 minutes in the day’s remainder. However, by intentionally pausing, even for only a few minutes, to reflect on God’s gracious, abundant, never ending blessings in our lives is refreshing, humbling, beautiful. I pray, too, that is memorable for my children. I pray that they will clearly see that “every good and perfect gift IS from above…” (James 1:17), that Mommy and Daddy, aka “the grown ups”, also, need the discipline of regularly, consistently coming before God to thank Him for all that He does for us.

No matter how you decide to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, find creative ways the entire month of November to cultivate thankfulness within your family. Hearing your children and family members articulate reasons of thankfulness is truly something for which you will be thankful this year and the years to come.

For details on how to create your own Handprint Thankful Tree, read this previous post.



Easter Traditions Pep Talk

13 Apr



Happy Palm Sunday! I’m reposting from last year’s Easter archives. Here’s the article from last year. It’s a pep talk to get you ready for being purposeful and celebrating Christ with your family this week. You can do it, and have fun!! 🙂

Praying that your family will have a wonderful week celebrating Christ’s death and resurrection. He is risen!


HeartFELT Truths Easter Banner (& a Coupon Code!)

18 Mar


Whitney from HeartFELT Truths graciously gave our family an Easter Banner to use last year. Awwwwwwwwwww, we love it!

The Easter Banner is for use during Holy Week. Day One begins on Palm Sunday, and the Easter Banner concludes on glorious Easter Morning! For more detailed information, aka “the girl version,” read my review of the HeartFELT Easter Banner.

Here’s the finished product with all pieces on the banner:


Whitney has multiple options for her Easter Banner.

Option #1: You can download FREE instructions for her Easter Banner on this blog post (Scroll to the bottom of the post to see “Free Instructions” in a downloadable .pdf form.)

Option #2: You can order the complete Easter Banner or a DIY Easter Banner kit from her Etsy Shop. Suzanne Shares readers get 10% off when you use this coupon code (expiration: 3/27):


If you have problems with the coupon code working, mention it in the “Order Notes” box and Whitney will refund them the difference after your purchase.

I love having this wonderful resource to purposefully engage our family with Scripture during the Easter season! I’m excited to share this resource with you!

Easter Advent Calendar: The Word Became Flesh

5 Mar


With today being the first day of Lent, our family is starting my friend’s book, The Word Became Flesh, which is a devotion journeying through the life of Jesus during the 40 days of Lent. I wrote a summary about it last year, you can read it here. It works similarly to the Advent Jesse Tree that we use at Christmas. There is a Scripture to read each day, and you can make ornaments to go along with each day’s reading. (My boys love this part! We hang ours on a grapevine wreath.) It is a wonderful, focused time of daily Scripture reading with our family anticipating Easter, and I LOVE IT! 


Last year, I had the books available for purchase through my blog, and the good news, this year, is that you can now purchase the book from Amazon! Follow this link to do so.


We have a second Easter Advent Calendar that we use during Holy Week. I will be writing more about it soon as well! To make sure that you don’t miss a single post, go “LIKE” Suzanne Shares on Facebook or sign up to receive blog updates via email on the right hand side of my blog, “Follow Blog Via Email.” Exciting, exciting stuff going on at Suzanne Shares! YAY!

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy here.

“Love Is…” Mobile & Valentine’s Day Books (FREE PRINTABLE)

6 Feb

I Corintians 13.4 to 7

Here’s my fun Valentine Day-inspired FREE Printable! Download by clicking here: I Corintians 13.4 to 7

We used this in the preschool Sunday School class that I teach when they were memorizing I Corinthians 13:4-7. I printed these off, cut them out, and the children colored them. I then mounted them on foam hearts that I got at Michael’s. We punched holes in the top and bottom of each heart, and they made a mobile with the verses. They were SO CUTE! I encouraged the children to hang then in their rooms, so they could remember (and their parents) all of the truths God taught us about love.

You could do a million things with this printable. You could make a mobile for your child’s room. You could make this and give it to a grandparent or a man or woman in a nursing home. You could use it as garland to decorate your mantle or fireplace. If you don’t have foam hearts, construction paper, scrapbook paper, or card stock would work. You could paint, finger paint, do-a-dot marker, or (dare I say it??) glitter the hearts. Each family member could decorate one heart, and then it becomes a family project. You could even laminate them to use it every year!

Alas, I took a picture of our I Corinthians 13 banner and can’t find it. Since then ours has been destroyed. (Did I mention that I have three boys?!?!?)  Maybe those of you with daughters will have more success with the permanence of this.

St. Valentine (Robert Sabuda) –We read this because I enjoy unearthing the origins of holidays. I have no clue of its historical accuracy, but we enjoyed it.

The Legend of the Valentine: An Inspirational Story of Love and Reconciliation (Katherine Grace Bond) -I love “The Legend of…” series and have enjoyed several of these during Christmas. I was excited to find a Valentine edition. This is the story of a young African American boy named Marcus in Alabama in the 1960s and a decision he faces regarding love or forgiveness. The story time warps back to Ancient Rome and tells the story of St. Valentine and relates it to Marcus’s dilemma. (For my CC readers, this would be a great tie-in to Ancient Rome and Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement.)

The Story of Valentine’s Day (Nancy J. Skarmeas)-This is on our “to read” list this year for Valentine’s Day. I love Candy Cane Press books, so I was excited to find a Valentine’s Day book by these great folks. Excited to check it out!

What about you guys?!?!? Do you have any fun Valentine Day traditions, activities or books? I would love to hear and share with other Suzanne Shares readers! 🙂

Valentine’s Day tradition: Valentine’s “stockings”

3 Feb


I’m reposting this from last year. We introduced Valentine’s stockings in our home as new tradition. It was a HIT with our boys, and since I LOVE giving gifts, it was a hit for me, too! ha! I know people have mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day, but for my husband and I, it has become a fun day to verbalize, yet again, to our sons that we love them and are thankful that God gave them to us! Parents, kids never get tired of hearing that from their parents. (I’m a “grown up” and still find joy, security when hearing that from my own parents!) So, parents, lavish your children with words expressing your love of and for them on Valentine’s Day and every day!


Read the post to learn how to make these, or let them inspire you to make your own “bag” of some sort. Seriously, a decorated brown paper sack would suffice! Just do something FUN together with your family to remind each member that he/she is loved: 1) First and foremost by their Creator, God and 2) by YOU!

“We love because He first loved us.” I John 4:19

Come back tomorrow, and I’ll have a FREE Printable and some Valentine’s Day book suggestions. 🙂