I tried to complicate my Balcony Girls lesson this week by looking for the perfect lesson. I finally came up with having my girls make their own butter, and we’d spread it over warm rolls. At first it seemed like a “cooking lesson,” without a spiritual application. But then I thought it through a little further.

What is thankfulness? It has little to do with what we own or what we look like. It guards us from greed and selfishness. And it can actually soften our hearts when we practice it.

Thankfulness means having a heart of appreciation. And it doesn’t happen overnight. Here’s the secret that I shared with the girls about thankfulness: it takes time.

Shake, shake, shake. I told the girls that we were making butter, as they each had their own baby food jar filled with whipping cream. Shake, shake, shake. We talked about how building relationships with girls takes time. It takes effort. It takes specific care to get it just right. And, you need to preserve it so it doesn’t go bad.

Shake, shake, shake. We all wondered if our little project was going to work?* Shake, shake, shake. Then our real lesson began. We took the time to go around the room (as we continued to shake, shake, shake!) and give thanks for a person. Shake, shake, shake. Then we all gave thanks for a thing, then back to a person, then back to a thing.

For ten minutes we shook our butter and we gave thanks to God. We started feeling lighter, our minds went to things of importance, we began to see problems in a different way, and we even began to forget what was bothering us!

What was the end result? Our butter was made – perfect, creamy and smooth, soft yellow in color. We then added a pinch of salt to each baby food jar full and each girl stirred her butter.

Another Balcony Girls’ lesson was learned today: being thankful should be something we strive for every day, not just during mealtime or on Thanksgiving Day.

Being thankful not only gets our minds off of ourselves, but it brings us closer to God and changes our perspective when we are bothered by people and things. It knits us closer together as friends (great lesson for the girls!) and it even tastes good on hot rolls!

We learned that being thankful should be a way of life.

We also divided up into two groups and went on a Scavenger Hunt as each group had to collect five items of food: a can of fruit, soup, vegetable, box of cake mix, and a box of cereal!

The goal for each team was to explain who there were (a Balcony Girl), collect the items, and then run back to the house. I think my husband and I had just as much fun as we each escorted a team (running through our neighborhood)!

We didn’t get a chance to deliver the food today, but one little girl said: “I really want to see the look on their faces when we bring them the food!”

Leave it to a child to think such a beautiful thought. And I’ll make sure the food gets delivered this next week – just in time for Thanksgiving.

*(OOPS! I originally filled the jars with ½ and ½ – we couldn’t figure out why it was taking so long to make our butter. We rinsed out the jars and re-filled with whipping cream, and then our experiment worked within minutes. I’ll blame it on my mid 40-year-old eyes that didn’t read the label right! LOL)