Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Here's what GRATITUDE looks like today.

Gratitude each day looks different and yet the same.  There are the constant promises: forgiving love, mercy, grace, eternal life, peace and joy in turmoil that are always present.  There are many other constants: a comfortable home, food, caring family, encouraging friends, loving church family, health and so much more.  These are the gratitudes that remain the same.  The ones summed up in our little one's frequent prayers,

"Dear God, Thank you for everything you've given us.  Thank you for taking care of us."

Yes, thank you, Lord.  Your goodness is so great, it seems impossible to list all the ways you provide.

Then there are the gratitudes that change by the day.  The things I have to open my eyes to in the everyday, normal, and mostly chaotic of days.  The things that might be harder to see when the day has been challenging, frustrating, overwhelming.  These are the gratitudes that change and here are mine for today.

Today I'm thankful for....

1. doctors, dentists, and easy to obtain medical care.  With five medical appointments in the past week between two of our children, it is easy to think, "Oh no, not another doctor's visit.  Not another copay!" but today I'm choosing to say thank you Lord!  You have provided professionals that have the knowledge to care for my children and make them feel better.  We have medical care closely available and affordable.  Thank you.

2. compassionate professionals.  Two of our very recent family situations come to mind.  Just yesterday my husband was stopped by a police officer.  My husband deserved great penalty.  What he received was compassion and understanding.  We know he did not deserve it and that makes one all the more grateful.  Just a few days before our middle child was suffering with a swollen face and great oral pain.  A professional who did not even know us, intervened with compassion and care.  She provided an intervention that has provided our child pain relief, a treatment plan, and the road to healing.  Thank you.

3. snow.  Now, if I'm being honest, I do not like snow.  Nope.  I grew up in northern Illinois where we endured at least six months of winter and plenty of snow.  More than once there was snow on my birthday......the very end of May.  So needless to say, I feel like my snow tank is full.  But then a day like today creeps upon us and I am surprisingly grateful for snow!  Here in eastern Tennessee, snow brings beauty, terrible driving conditions, and closings.  Yep, all the unnecessary businesses close and life slows down.  AND that is the part I like.  I enjoy a day or two at home with my family of five near, warm, playing, eating, and peaceful.  I like the opportunity to stay in.  Thank you, Lord, for the snow.

As a part of the Raising Grateful Kids launch team (Kristen's book will be released January 26th! Order it now at Raising Grateful Kids or amazon for $10), writers were asked "How does gratitude look in your home?"  As I thought on this question, these steps came to mind.

1. Choose a grateful heart.
2. Look for gratitude opportunities in your day.
3. Speak your gratefulness out loud.

When our children and those around us hear us thank God for the big and little blessings in life, they too begin to notice the details He provides.  Gratitude becomes contagious.

Here's my thoughts on gratitude for today.  So many others have shared their thoughts, ideas, and lessons learned below.  Check out Marie's thoughts and others' through our Raising Grateful Kids Blog Hop.  Read on and be encouraged!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

So I've got a 'lil secret....

Well....its time I share a 'lil secret with you.  It's an exciting one for me and one that I just have to share with others!  I am participating on the launch team for Kristen Welch's soon to be released  book, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World. You can preorder your book here.:)  Here's Kristen, also author of an excellent life-changing book, Rhinestone Jesus  and blogger at


If I talk about Kristen like she is my friend,  it's because.....well, I think she is.  I mean I have never met Kristen and I get no monetary compensation for promoting her book but I believe in her message.  She writes in such a real, down-to-earth, catching-me-up-on-the-latest-story voice that I feel like we are chatting about our kiddos and doing our best to raise kids that honor God.  She has encouraged me and in return, I want to encourage you.

Here's the thing.  Have you ever read a book where you think, "oh yeah! yes!" or "That's right!" or "Okay, Lord, maybe there is still a great work to be done in me."  You will think all of this and so much more while reading Raising Grateful Kids.  This book is a tool.  A tool the Lord can use to shape you and your children.  You see, this book  is not just about raising grateful kids but so much more........raising children who are kind, thoughtful, self-less, considerate, respectful, display self-control, and are a joy to be around.  Who doesn't want to raise this child?

Are your children babies, toddlers, school age, teenagers, adults?  This book is for you!  Kristen covers thoughts on gratitude, wants vs needs, teaching self-control, managing technology in our homes (and on our kids' phones), craving obedience, and how to get on the boat if you feel you've missed it and it is far out to sea.  She also provides practical tools at the end of each chapter, entitled "Going against the flow".  Here Kristen provides simple, practical, real-life methods to put the chapter's themes into your lives at  home.  She breaks it down into suggestions for parents, toddlers, elementary age, and tweens/teens.  If your children are grown, you will find your life enriched by the self-examination that comes from  reading this book.....and you just might be able to encourage another Mommy or Daddy.

Raising Grateful Kids is full of good stuff.  I mean real, practical, you want to read this and be a better parent stuff!  I am so excited about all I am learning and contemplating for our family that I just have to share with you.  Kristen grabs your attention and heartstrings from the intro when she dives into the joy of giving one of  her children a very special gift and then having to revoke the gift. Ouch!  We as parents enjoy giving gifts that our children will enjoy and no parent wants to steal a child's joy but sometimes it's just necessary.

From this bittersweet story, Kristen dives into chapter one exploring what the American Dream means to each of us and how our expectations and (uh-oh.....) maybe our own entitlement lends to our children's entitled behaviors.  (Yep, this book is a whole LOT about us as parents and a lil about our kiddos.)

So clearly I'm all for reading Raising Grateful Kids but I'm not alone.  As  members of the launch team, we received pdf copies of Kristen's book in November.  Here are what other launch team members are saying:

"One word for this book: AH-MAY-ZING!!!!! Also see: conviction, tears, fist pump, joy, frustration, elation, solidarity....." 
-Amanda Wissmann

"Such a great book and message!" -Sarah Bernstein

"It's amazing how just one chapter can spill over into every area of our lives." -Chrissy Petty

"After reading the first chapter of the book, I was a mom on a mission."

 -Jennifer Wicker Thorvaldson

So if the holiday hustle and bustle has left you weary, overwhelmed, and maybe a bit saddened by all the stuff received and remaining feeling of emptiness;  buy yourself (and your family!) a gift..........Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World'll be glad you did! Promise.

💗It's amazing how just one chapter can spill over into every area of our lives.