Drop and Give Me Twenty!!! (Growing Grateful and Staying There for Thanksgiving – Part 1 of 2)

Getting bused to a brand new school is no fun. Our little neighborhood in Lexington, KY, just because it was on one side of a certain road, suddenly became a part of a different school district, busing us to an unfamiliar high school.  Of course now, Henry Clay High School is near and dear to my heart.


Knowing very few students there, a friend of mine and I signed up for summer school to meet some new friends, thus making the transition less painful.

Confession for vanity’s sake: We signed up for P.E., so we wouldn’t have to be groty (as we used to say back then) during regular school hours. Who cared during the summer?

Much of the summer P.E. class involved swimming. I’d been swimming for years. Piece-of-cake, right?

Ready swimming pool

Yes, until….we met the teacher. Turns out Mrs. Rentz was a former coach. Think of the toughest type of coach you’ve ever known and he/she would be a veritable wimp compared to Mrs. Renz.

The first morning of class, Mrs. Rentz had us arrive super early at a local public pool. Early and teenagers don’t mix.

“Let’s warm up with twenty laps!” She barked.

Man swimmer swimming crawl in blue water. Portrait of an athleti

“Oh, nooooooooo.” We’d groan.

“WHO just groaned?” She screamed.

“Ummmmm, we did…” Several of us sheepishly replied.

“This class will not tolerate complainers!!! DROP AND GIVE ME TWENTY!” She spewed.

Instructor with group of fitness class doing push ups in the par

As in twenty push-ups. Like girls can do that….come on. Well, some of you can. I can from my knees. But that was unheard of in the 70’s.

Somehow we survived that summer. We did more than our fair share of push-ups, too. Looking back, Mrs. Rentz taught us more than swimming. She taught us respect. Respect for our teacher. Respect for our classmates. Thankfully, her bark was worse than her bite.

While “Drop and give me twenty” has one connotation, I’d like to offer you a newer, and nicer phrase, thanks to Lisa Harper. Her most recent book is:

Overextended and Loving Most of It: The Unexpected Joy of Being Harried, Heartbroken, and Hurling Oneself Off Cliffs. It’s one you don’t want to miss.


We’ll be hitting highlights for part of a series coming in December on “Surviving the Season of Christmas”. Truthfully, this book is excellent for any season you may be in.

I’ve been blessed to hear Lisa Harper speak on several occasions. One of her many God-given gifts is teaching the Bible. Reading this book is a blast because she writes like she talks. You’ll howl one minute and cry the next.

One part in particular will help us as we prepare to be grateful Thanksgiving hostesses, wives, Moms, Mother-in-laws, sisters, sister-in-laws, daughters, daughter-in-laws, etc. (I’m often tempted to pose the question, “Is ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ an oxymoron?” Shhh, don’t tell!!!)

Lisa tells us she and her road manager, Sharon, have come up with a simple game when they’re traveling. She says, “It’s for when one of us notices that the other is especially grumpy or negative. We call it the ‘Stop and Give Me Ten’ game.”

Good news? It has nothing to do with push-ups!!!

Lisa explains: “The ‘ten’ in the title refers to all the fingers on two hands’ worth of things we’re grateful for.”

Recently when Lisa and Sharon were traveling to a speaking engagement, everything that could go wrong did, and then some. After listening to Lisa whine one too many times, Sharon “commanded in her best impression of A Master Army Sergeant: ‘STOP AND GIVE ME TEN!”

Mature Soldier Shouting Through Megaphone

Lisa said, “…then I submitted, held my hands up, and raised all ten fingers and stated in quick succession:


(I’ll give you my favorite five of her ten, but you’ll get the idea…)

“I’m thankful our flights were only delayed and not canceled.

I’m thankful we’re in a car instead of on foot.

I’m thankful I get to see women launch themselves into the arms of Jesus for the first time almost every weekend.

I’m thankful God is so strong when I’m being such a weenie baby.

I’m thankful He’s slow to anger and rich in compassion.”

Compassion sign with a beautiful day on background

Lisa concludes, “It’s amazing how just thirty-six seconds of practicing gratitude totally changed my mood. I went from Eeyore to Tigger in less than a minute!” She says this works even when you’re in ultra difficult circumstances.

She adds, “…extending past the pain of life to reach for the joy God promises is so very, very worth it.”

Footnote: Ann Voskamp further expounds on this concept of counting your blessings in her book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.

One Thousand Gifts

Finally, Lisa concludes with an awesome visual and Scripture:

“Thankfully, the Holy Spirit motors around in a big four-wheel drive truck with a winch. After He pulls me out, He leaves notes like this on my windshield:

Notebook page2

Stop and give me ten!!! Try it….you’ll like it.

May we grow grateful and stay grateful as our Thanksgiving Day quickly approaches.

Next week, we’ll hear another grand idea to help with Thanksgiving from none other than Max Lucado.

‘Til next time!



Filed under Book Reviews, Friends, Life Lessons

3 responses to “Drop and Give Me Twenty!!! (Growing Grateful and Staying There for Thanksgiving – Part 1 of 2)

  1. Pingback: When Your Day Seems Impossible to Unscramble…(Growing Grateful and Staying There for Thanksgiving Part 2 of 2) | Worship with Words

  2. I’m teaching a Sunday School lesson this Sunday on Thanksgiving. Thanks for these additional ideas. Love the “Give me Ten” idea. There’s nothing like a heart of gratitude to undo frustration and stress.