The Thanksgiving Special

Sandra felt low as she pushed against a November gust and the florist shop door. Her life had been easy, like a spring breeze. Then her father’s company threatened a transfer. On top of that her sister, whose holiday visit she coveted, called saying she could not come. Sandra shuddered. Thanksgiving? Thankful for what?—she wondered.

“Good afternoon. Can I help you?” The flower shop clerk’s approach startled her. “Sorry,” said the clerk, whose name was Jenny. “I just didn’t want you to think I was ignoring you.”

“I need an arrangement.”

“For Thanksgiving?”

Sandra nodded.

“Do you want beautiful but ordinary, or would you like to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the Thanksgiving Special?” Jenny saw Sandra’s curiosity and continued. “I’m convinced that flowers tell stories, that each arrangement suggests a particular feeling. Are you looking for something that conveys gratitude this Thanksgiving?”

“Not exactly!” Sandra blurted. She regretted her outburst but was surprised when Jenny said, “I have the perfect arrangement for you.” The door’s small bell suddenly rang.

“Barbara! Hi,” Jenny said. “I have your order ready. Just a moment.” She politely excused herself from Sandra and walked toward a small workroom. She quickly reappeared carrying a massive arrangement of greenery, bows, and long-stemmed thorny roses. Only, the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped, no flowers. “Want this in a box?” Jenny

thanksgiving-thornsSandra watched for Barbara’s response. Was this a joke? Who would want rose stems and no flowers! She waited for laughter, for someone to notice the absence of flowers atop the thorny stems, but neither woman did.

“Yes, please. It’s exquisite,” said Barbara. “You’d think after three years of getting the Special, I’d not be so moved by its significance, but it’s happening again. Thanks.”

Sandra stared. Why so normal a conversation about so strange an arrangement? she wondered. Sandra pointed and blurted out, “That lady just left with, uh…”


“Well, she had no flowers!”

“Right, I cut off the flowers.”


“Off. Yep. That’s the special. I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet.”

“But, why do people pay for that?” In spite of herself, Sandra chuckled.

“Do you really want to know?”

“I couldn’t leave this shop without knowing. I’d think about nothing else!”thanksgiving-florist

“Barbara came into the shop three years ago feeling very much like you feel today,” Jenny explained. “She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had lost her father to cancer and she faced major surgery.”

“Ouch!” said Sandra.

“That same year,” Jenny explained, “I had lost my husband. I assumed complete responsibility for the shop and for the first time, spent the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too great a debt to allow any travel.”

“What did you do?”

“I learned to be thankful for thorns.”

Sandra’s eyebrows lifted. “Thorns?”

“I’m a Christian. I’ve always thanked God for good things in life and I never thought to ask Him why good things happened to me. But when bad stuff hit, did I ever ask! It took time to learn that dark times are important. I had always enjoyed the ‘flowers’ of life but it took thorns to show me the beauty of God’s comfort.”

Sandra started to ask Jenny to go on when the door’s bell diverted their attention.

“I’m here for twelve thorny long-stemmed stems!” Phil laughed, heartily.

“I figured as much,” said Jenny. “I’ve got them ready.” She lifted a tissue-wrapped arrangement from the refrigerated cabinet.

“Beautiful,” said Phil.

Sandra could not resist asking. “Why thorns?”

“I’m glad you asked,” he said. “Last Thanksgiving I stopped in here for flowers. I must have mentioned surviving a tough process because Jenny told me that for a long time she had kept a vase of rose stems—stems! —as a reminder of what she had learned from thorny times. That was good enough for me. I took home stems. I decided to label each one for a specific thorny situation and give thanks for what the problem taught me. I’m pretty sure this stem review is becoming a tradition.”

Phil paid Jenny, thanked her again, and as he left, said to Sandra, “I highly recommend the Special!”

“I don’t know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life,” Sandra said to Jenny.

“Well, my experience says that the thorns make the roses more precious. We treasure God’s care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember, Jesus wore a crown of thorns so that we might know His love. Do not resent thorns.”

Tears rolled down Sandra’s cheeks. “I’ll take twelve long-stemmed thorns, please.”

“I was hoping you would,” Jenny said. “I’ll have them ready in a minute. Then, every time you see them, remember to appreciate both good and hard times. We grow through both.”

“Thank you. What do I owe you?”

“Nothing. The first year’s arrangement is always on me.” Jenny said, “Happy Thanksgiving, Sandra,” handing her the Special. “I look forward to our knowing each other better.”

Sandra smiled. She turned, opened the door and walked toward hope.

Author unknown, story adapted from Activated! magazine. Used by permission.

Image Credits:

Image 1: Sayuko via; used under Creative Commons License

Image 2: Sayuko via; used under Creative Commons License

Image 3: ProFlowers via Flickr; used under Creative Commons License

Early Bird Readers 7 & 8

Early Bird Readers is a twelve part sight-reading program that includes over 100 basic vocabulary words. It is ideal for preschoolers and kindergarten students learning to read and can also be easily used for children’s ESL (English as a Second Language) classes.

Los pequeños pueden aprender a leer a los dos o tres años de edad. Esta serie de libritos en color le permitirá a su hijo iniciarse en uno de los aspectos más cotizados de la enseñanza elemental: el inglés. 

Click on the following links for the read-aloud books / Haz clic en los siguientes enlaces para los libros de lectura en voz alta:

Early Bird Reader 7: Tommy and Meg Pray

Early Bird Reader 8: The Things we Like Best 

List of words from each book / Lista de palabras de cada libro:

Book 7/Libro 7

pray – orar

together – juntos

do – hacer

much – mucho

prays – ora

her – su

thanks – da gracias

he – él

them – ellos

go – ir

but – pero

talk – hablar

Thank – dar gracias

when – cuando

Book 8/ Libro 8

things – cosas

best – mejor

say – decir

our – nuestro

says – dice

Then – entonces

Yes – sí

song – canción

Be – ser

songs – canciones

being – siendo

And – y

balls – pelotas

cars – carros




Dar gracias a Dios por cada estación

Four seasons Earth Day activity¿Disfrutas de los paseos primaverales por campos de flores silvestres, de los días estivales de ocio en la playa o junto a una piscina, de los colores intensos y los aromas profundos del otoño, de los vastos paraísos invernales y los deportes que en ellos se practican? Paisajes de montaña, pampas y grandes espacios abiertos, espesos bosques, misteriosos mundos submarinos… Dios es quien lo hizo todo posible, desde lo infinitesimal hasta lo infinito.

Con todo y con eso, la belleza y majestuosidad de la creación de Dios es frágil. Todos debemos aportar nuestro grano de arena para protegerla en consideración a las futuras generaciones.

Para este ejercicio, divide una página en cuatro partes, una para cada estación del año. Piensa en las características que más agradeces de cada temporada y apúntalas. La lista que elabores probablemente diferirá de las de otras personas y reflejará tu modo de ser y tus preferencias singulares. Eso de por sí evidencia la variedad que introdujo Dios en Su diseño del mundo.

Coloca la lista en un lugar donde la vayas a ver los próximos meses y dedica de cuando en cuando unos momentos a repasar todo lo que disfrutas y dar gracias a Dios por ello.

Gentileza de la revista Conéctate. Usado con permiso.

Thank God for His Creation

Four seasons Earth Day activity Do you enjoy spring strolls through fields of wildflowers, lazy summer days by the beach or pool, autumn’s rich colors and smells, winter wonderlands and snow sports? Mountain vistas and wide-open spaces, dense forests and underwater worlds, from the infinitesimal to the infinite, God is the one who made all this possible.

The beauty and majesty of God’s creation is fragile, though, and we must each do our part to preserve it for future generations.

For this exercise, divide a page in fourths, one section for each season. Think about what you are most grateful for about each of them, and write that down. Your overall list will probably be different from anyone else’s and reflect your unique makeup and preferences. That in itself is a testimony to the diversity of God’s design.

Put your list where you will see it throughout the coming months, and take a few moments each time you do to recall your blessings and thank God for them.

Adapted from Activated magazine; used by permission.


Día de Accion de Gracias: Versículos Bíblicas para pintar – Thanksgiving Bible Verse Coloring Pages

To download these Thanksgiving coloring pages for children, right click an image and then select “save” or “save file as…”

Para descargar estas páginas para pintar para los niños, haz clic derecho en una imagen. A continuación, seleccione “Guardar” o “Guardar archivo como …”

Día de Accion de Gracias: Versículos de la Biblia para pintar - Thanksgiving Bible verse coloring pages 1

Día de Accion de Gracias: Versículos de la Biblia para pintar - Thanksgiving Bible verse coloring pages 2