1 Samuel 7 tells the interesting and sometimes overlooked story of the return of the Ark of the Covenant to Israel. It had been stolen by the Philistines, where it's presence caused tumors to break out. The Philistines decide to return the Ark. It ends up at Beth Shemesh, where the men opened it up and were struck dead. In fact, a great number of men died that day as the "Lord struck the people with a great slaughter".
Naturally, the rest of the Israelites are filled with fear of God, and seek the Lord through Samuel to defeat the Philistines at Mizpah. God hears their cries and thunders. The Philistines are confused and the Israelites win their territory. Then verse 12 says, "Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, 'Thus far the Lord has helped us.'"
This passage has inspired me to set up my own Ebenezer, so to speak. With 2006 approaching, I have filled a glass vase (from Ikea $2.99) with flat, black rocks (purchased at Wal-Mart for $1.46). My intention is to use a gold metallic marker and record special milestones upon the rocks, where "the Lord has helped us". Hopefully, this will be a visual reminder of how God is at work all the time. I desire this as an object lesson for my children, but I suspect it will be a good reminder for mother as well.
The Israelites often set up markers to remember the times when the Lord had helped them. It is surely a good practice to notice and acknowledge God's work in our lives. I pray this inspires you to do the same.
P.S. This makes a great gift! Just wrap it up in some cellophane, attach a marker with a raffia bow, add some instructions (complete with 1 Samuel 7:12), and away you go to your best friend's house!