4 Ways to Chase Slow

I just finished the book Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner. It was so good and exactly what my heart needed. As you know, I’ve been on this journey myself. I read Present Over Perfect a few months ago and it kind of propelled me on this journey. This book was just the encouragement I needed to keep going against the grain.

4 Ways to Chase Slow

These things are just things God has been teaching me. They weren’t necessarily listed in the book in this way, but just themes God is placing on my heart time and time again lately. I hope something here resonates with you, too!

  1. Say no. Say it once today. Say it again tomorrow. Keep practicing. It won’t get easier but you WILL get better at it!
  2. But say yes to what matters. Saying no to some things allows us to say yes to the right things! As an example, my schedule was freed up just a little bit when I decided to stop teaching piano lessons. While that was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made before, it has allowed me to say YES to more time for homeschooling and  time for exercise and cooking healthy dinners!! I’m saying yes to the most important things in this season! But it had to start with a “no.”
  3. Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. Keep up with God instead. Don’t look to the left or the right…don’t feel inferior because of what so-and-so is doing. You look at the path God has given you and put one foot in front of the other!
  4. Abide in Christ. Read John 15 and ask God to show you where you are abiding. To abide means to dwell. To reside. Where are your thoughts residing? What about your heart? Where is your heart’s home? What are you dwelling on more: Pinterest or God?

Favorite Quotes from the Book

“Ask an Ethiopian what they need and they might tell you with a wide smile: amassing is meaningless. There is only today, with holes in our pockets, with time spilling out. We cannot keep it for tomorrow. We cannot mend our seams to hoard, save, carry. Ask a bird how to fly, and it might tell you to remove the weight from your wings.” Erin Loechner

“Sometimes choppy waters teach us to sail better.” Erin Loechner

“We changed the rules, that is all. The instructions told us that hard work means logging a lot of hours at the office to pay for more things so as to appear you are logging a lot of hours at the office. The instructions tell us to work hard, then play hard, but mostly work hard. You can play hard when you’re dead. Isn’t this called responsibility? Isn’t this called wisdom? Straighten up, young man, you’ve got a mortgage to pay. 

We tore the instructions to shreds, and then, Lord, have mercy, we bowled. [referencing an earlier portion where they began taking “off the bumpers” of life.]

Ken quit Hollywood and began freelancing for film startups and marketing firms. I left the ad agency and filled in the pay gap with income from my blog. I began producing an independent design zine. We visited gallery shows and shopped artist warehouse sales. We went to the pier, over the Ferris Wheel, to the shore. We held hands in the grocery store. We once ate a pint of ice cream for dinner. For dinner!

…It was not without work. It was not all fun and games. It was not effortless, discarding the rules you’d memorized as a kid. There’s a reason those bumpers exist – so our balls don’t end up in the gutters. But Ken and I would never again step back into our life of fast, our Hollywood rat race, our productivity spin cycle. We had come to love our slower life – a life less stressed, less scheduling, less stifling.

For the first time in my life, I was beginning to see the appeal of less.” Erin Loechner from Chasing Slow

What do you think?

I would love some input from you! What are ways we can purposefully CHASE SLOW?

And, what books help you keep this mentality? I need to keep reading for motivation and inspiration to keep saying NO to the things I need to say no to in order to say YES to what is best for this season.

Facebook Live Video Discussion

Happiness and the Christian

Are Christians supposed to be happy? Are happiness and joy really that different? What exactly *is* the difference? Aren’t we supposed to strive for holiness more than happiness? Was Jesus happy on earth? Is God happy?

The gospel is good news, right? If we believe it to be such, I think living lives of misery likely doesn’t do much toward showing others the love of Jesus.

My ideas about happiness have certainly changed in the last year or so. It started when I read The Happniess Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee. Her message so deeply resonated with me that I blogged about it, I led an online book club through it and I’ve given the book as gifts. The message has been further applied in my life as I have read 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life and 60 Days of Happiness: Discover God’s Promise of Relentless Joy by Randy Alcorn.

“Among Christ-followers, happiness was once a positive, desirable word. Only in recent times have happiness and joy been set in contrast with each other. This isn’t just biblically and historically ungrounded; it has undermined our understanding of merriment, pleasure, and joy. Are laughter, celebration, and happiness God-created gifts, or are they ambushes from Satan and our sin nature that incur God’s disapproval? Our answer determines whether our faith in God is dragged forward by duty or propelled by delight.” Randy Alcorn from 60 Days of Happiness.

I knew that my life as a believer would include suffering. I knew that Jesus suffered and so would we. I honestly thought that God desired my holiness and NOT my happiness.

God does call us to holiness, of course, YES. But, through our lives of obedience and service and living out the uniqueness of who God has made us to be…there is joy. There is happiness.

I don’t think that there truly is so much difference between joy and happiness. I think we use those words interchangeably and try to make joy sound a little holier. {grin} Not that there is anything wrong with choosing our words carefully or feeling strongly about certain words.

Did you know the Bible references happiness?

Have you ever read this famous passage from Matthew?

The Beatitudes

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Blessed = Happy

In the original language, the word that Jesus is using in this passage means happy. Hmmm. Although He uses the word happy, the things he tells us will make us happy are not traditionally thought of us happy things. Oh, but that is the way of the cross…that is the way of Jesus…and I think that is the key to understanding happiness as a Christian.

Happiness doesn’t look like what the world says happiness is. As believers, we can find happiness {and joy!} in things that the world may think are crazy. 

For the JOY set before Him, Jesus endured the cross. (Hebrews 12)

Finding joy in giving of your life on a cross?

There is joy to be found in living a life of love. Jesus was the perfect and ultimate example.

There is joy to be found even in sorrow.

There is happiness to be found in obedience.

There is a deep seated happiness in knowing our eternity is secure.

There is a blessedness in knowing Jesus and reminding our hearts that we are never alone.

Let’s take back the word HAPPY

So, I say it’s time that we, as believers, TAKE BACK the word happy. Let’s not look at it as a bad word. Let’s remind our hearts that joy and happiness can be very similar and both can be wonderful benefits of living a life in Jesus. Let’s not look condescendingly at people who use the word happy, but on the same token, if someone has a conviction about the word let’s show grace. Either way: grace. Whether you like the word happy or you don’t, there is grace for you.

And you know what? Grace is one of the ultimate happy gifts of Christ. Let’s enjoy Him.

Craving Connection

We all have a God-given longing within us for meaningful and authentic relationships. We were created with that longing because God desires relationship with His children. He created us for intimacy. But, getting to that place can be difficult for many of us. I have struggled with friendship over the years. That is probably why I love this new book, Craving Connection, from the (In)Courage writers so much.

This book discusses improving our connections with God, with friends and with our communities. Each day there is a suggestion for engaging those around you, a 3-4 page devotional, connection questions, a prayer and a challenge.

Simple challenges like “text a friend and tell her how much you appreciate her.”

How could your life be different after prayerfully and intentionally connecting with God, friends, and your community?

Craving Connection is a journey where (in)courage writers share real-life stories, practical Scripture application, and connection challenges that will encourage you to find out!

Craving Connection Devotional Kit

Along with the new book, the Illustrated Faith devotional kit for this month goes along with the new book!! It is BEAUTIFUL. Such pretty colors, fonts and flowers!

The new kit is also called Craving Connection

My Unboxing Video

 

Craving Connection Video from (In)Courage

Find the Book & Illustrated Faith Kit

You can find the book AND the devotional kit at Dayspring! 

Let’s Be Women of the Word Together

 

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Do you want to be a woman of the Word? Me, too.

Join me beginning January as we begin our next book study with the book Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin. 

Together we are going to grapple with questions like…

Why do we study the Bible?

How do we study the Bible?

What are practical tips for studying God’s Word?

How can we make our Bible study about God and not about ourselves?

In her book Women of the Word, Jen tells us that when we read and study the Bible looking to learn more about ourselves, we are doing it for the wrong reasons. The Bible is a book about God. We learn about Him, we look for Him, and we find Him.

This isn’t to say we don’t learn more about ourselves in the process, but HOW we go about our study will help us learn more about God, which is the ultimate goal.

Let’s study the One we want to become more like…

It’s been said that we become what we behold. Let us behold our God through the pages of His Word! 

 

Write the Word with us!

In the book Women of the Word she very strongly encourages us not to take verses out of context and to look at the Scriptures as a whole. I completely agree with this. However, before we look at studying a book of the Bible in depth, I would like for us to spend a few weeks looking at many passages about God’s Word itself. I want our hearts to be reminded of the importance and treasure of His Word.

Let’s see what God’s Word has to say about God’s Word. These are all verses that will stir our hearts to know His Word more and more!

I will be starting this Write the Word schedule on January 1st, 2017. Join me on Instagram if you’d like to see nearly daily morning nuggets of truth from these passages. 

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Join our Closed Facebook Group

We will be discussing this book weekly in our closed facebook group! We would love to have you.

Click here to join our group. I will look to make sure your facebook account is a real person. And then we will approve your membership. Look for a notification for His Mercy is New Community of Encouragement.

Reading Schedule

January 6th – Introductions in the closed group – come by and introduce yourself!

January 9th – discuss Introduction, Chapters 1 & 2

January 16 – Chapter 3

January 23 – Chapter 4

January 30 – Chapter 5

February 6 – Chapter 6

February 13 – Chapter 7

February 20 – Chapters 8 & 9, Conclusion

Free Study Guide

Jen Wilkin & her team at Crossway have put together a FREE study guide for this book that you can find here! I will be using portions of this in our closed group as well!

Passage to Memorize Together

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After Women of the Word

After we finish this study of the book Women of the Word, it is my hope and prayer that you will continue with us as we take a look at 1 book of the Bible and study it more indepth using the tools we’ve learned from this book!

Books I Read in 2016

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2016 has been such a glorious year of books!! So many great books, so little time! But I did get in quite a few that I LOVED. I will also list my VERY favorites of 2016 down at the bottom of this list!

Years Past: Books I read in 2012,  Books I Read in 2013Books I Read in 2014, Books I Read in 2015,

Books I Read in 2016

  1. Fearless (wrote a whole series of posts on this book)
  2. Wild and Free
  3. Loving Our Kids on Purpose (I did a series of posts on this book as well, this was the 2nd time I read this book, this is one of my favorite parenting books)
  4. Precious In His Sight (read my post on this book)
  5. Too Busy Not to Pray (this was a book we did in our closed group for encouragement, so so good! Read a little more about this book here.)
  6. Dear Mr. Knightley (I read all 4 of Katherine Reay’s fiction books this year. Some of my favorite fiction ever!)
  7. The Bronte Plot
  8. Lizzy & Jane
  9. The Awakening of Miss Prim
  10. The Happiness Dare (another book we did in our facebook closed group! This was a hugely paradigm shifting book for me. I wrote more about it here.)
  11. Fresh Out of Amazing (read my post about this book here)
  12. All The Pretty Things (oh my. Hardest yet most beautiful read of 2016. I wrote more about it here.)
  13. Uninvited
  14. A Gracious Space (The author of this owns the homeschooling company Brave Writer. Her writing is not faith based but has been some of the BEST advice and wisdom about homeschooling for relationships that I’ve ever read! Check out all her periscopes and facebook live videos!)
  15. Raising Grateful Kids (read more about this book here)
  16. Choosing Gratitude (I based my October 31 day series on this book and the topic of gratitude, read those posts here.)
  17. 40 Days to a More Joy-Filled Life (The 4:8 Principle) (another favorite of the year! So very practical and helpful in learning to CHOOSE joy.)
  18. Present Over Perfect (most convicting book I read this year. I shared the 10 things I learned from this book in the video below.)
  19. A Portrait of Emily Price
  20. A Baxter Family Christmas

10 Things I Learned from Present Over Perfect

Favorite Books of 2016

And now for the books (all listed above) that were my FAVORITES by CATEGORY!

FAVORITE FICTION: I read all 4 of Katherine Reay’s books and I think her latest one might be my favorite. Loved them all. A Portrait of Emily Price

FAVORITE MEMOIR: All the Pretty Things by Edie Wadsworth. The book that will break your heart and heal it all at once. I cried, I laughed and I was reminded that Christ redeems all things.

FAVORITE CHRISTIAN GROWTH BOOK: The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee was such a paradigm shift for me! God gives JOY and HAPPINESS! Really!? Yes! <3

MOST CONVICTING TITLE: Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. This book was just written for me in this season. God has used this book to show me the need to slow down and take some things off my plate. If you look in my video section I talked about 10 things I learned from this book a few weeks ago.

MOST PRACTICAL & HELPFUL: 40 Days to a Joy Filled Life was just full to the brim of practical ways to help us LEARN to choose our emotions and find joy.

So, tell me! What will YOUR favorite book of 2016 be?? 

One Year Praying Through The Bible For Your Kids

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I was so very excited to see this brand new resource! Y’all know how much I love praying God’s Word!

This brand new book called The One Year Praying Through the Bible for Your Kids is a Bible reading plan that takes you through the entire Bible in 365 days. Along with the Scripture you are to read for that day, there is a page with a short devotional based on one of the passages for the day, and then a prayer that goes along with that devotion and Scripture.

 

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Praying through the Scriptures has changed my prayer life. To pray God’s Word, we must be IN God’s Word. We must be reading and meditating and asking God to show us more of Himself. And as we read, we can offer back His very words as prayers. Asking Him to do in us what we are reading about. Asking God to work in our children’s hearts the passages that we are reading. Asking Him to make us all more like Jesus.

The devotions in this book are written by Nancy Guthrie and I really like them. The devotions are written for the parents to read and have lots of parenting wisdom shared throughout. I love how she applies the Scriptures to her devotions and to the prayers. It’s my favorite way to pray.

You can read samples of the devotions on Amazon’s page, but I also thought I would list a few samples here for you to glance at. I really like to see the INSIDE of the books I’m reading, especially if it’s a devotional with a Scripture reading plan all in one!

If you’d like a new devotional and Bible reading & prayer plan for the New Year, I can highly recommend this one to you

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More Resources for Praying the Scriptures

FREE verses to pray for each month of the year

31 Verses to Pray When Doing Battle With Our Fears

40 Days of Waiting on God Alone

Praying the Scriptures through Advent

 

 

3 Reasons We’re Lonely and How to Cure It Now

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{Please help me welcome Lea Ann Garfias to the blog today!}

Like every great mom, I exert enormous amounts of time socializing my children. The extra classes, music rehearsals, soccer practices, part-time jobs, parties, play dates, and church activities crowd the calendar into a cacophony of social commitments — for everyone but me. Everyone is having fun with their friends except me.

I thirst for friends every bit as much, nay, more than my children do. I yearn for a kindred spirit, a companion in arms, a gal-pal. My husband is great — no, he’s smokin’ hot and crazy funny — but he doesn’t get coffee, clothes, and mental exhaustion jokes like a true girlfriend. The need is real.

But when I finally realize my thirst, it’s too late. I’m already emotionally dehydrated, parched from lack of fellowship. I have companions, prayer warriors, and soul sisters right there at my left hand, waiting for me to reach out, and I don’t even see them. All I can see is my to-do list in my right hand. My own life, my own agenda, my own needs grow great in my own sight until everyone else has faded to invisibility.

So I minimize the problem. Seriously, when was the last time we saw a mother keel over from thirst inside the Sack-n-Save? “Mom down with dehydration on aisle 7!” blares the loudspeaker. Tsk, tsk. Should have brought her water bottle, or bought a coffee on the way in, or at least sipped some of her toddler’s apple juice, we think as we nudge our cart around the corpse. Amateur.

Of course getting thirsty isn’t that big a deal — until you are admitted into the hospital for kidney problems (don’t ask me how I know). Similarly, neglecting friendships isn’t that big a deal — until our very souls are on life support.

Those dark days come when we desperately need a prayer warrior, a confidante, a warm hand. The days when the laundry won’t end, the phone won’t stop ringing, and the toddlers won’t stop destroying. The days when the sky falls, the diagnosis comes back, the job ends, the parent dies, the teen rebels, the church splits. The days when all our carefully laid plans and gingerly balanced spinning plates come crashing down, shattering at our feet. The days the dreams die.

Who do we call when we have no words to say? Who do we turn to when the burden sickens our bellies? Who can hold our sighs and our secrets until the skies clear?

God Himself knows we need others, and He declared it not good, not right at all that we be alone (Genesis 1:18). We are created for communion, for companionship. Our togetherness itself glorifies God as His ultimate plan for unified praise.

We need friends, and a friend needs us. It’s a basic life principle that we too easily forget, too casually set aside, until suddenly we find ourselves unprepared for troubles.

Two are better than one,

Because they have a good reward for their labor.

For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.

But woe to him who is alone when he falls,

For he has no one to help him up.

Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;

But how can one be warm alone?

Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.

And a threefold cord is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:9–12; NKJV).

We struggle to make friends, making excuses instead. I’m shy. I’m an introvert. I am busy at home with my children all day. I work full time. I work from home. My church is too big; my church is too small. The church people are not friendly; there are too many cliques. But that’s all we make — excuses. More small reasons to ignore the greatest working of God through me.

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13; NKJV).

God works His love into my life, through my life, out of my life. He reaches out of Himself to love me, shape me, grace me with His likeness, and I reflect Him by doing the same, reaching outside my four walls toward others. God’s love sees through my eyes the needs, reaches through my hands toward the needy.

Thus, the shining badge of faith becomes loving friendship. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34–35; NKJV).

So there are two reasons we find ourselves lonely; yea, three situations that find us without a companion: a cross-country move, a selfish attitude, a schedule that leaves no room for others. The good news is, we can cure all of those.

Moving Away

I’ve moved eight times in my life and across the country twice as an adult. I can assure you beyond a shadow of a doubt that even introverts can make friends quickly in a new town with this simple speech:

Hi, my name is _____________. I just moved here from ___________.

That’s it. Most of the time, a stranger will do the rest of the talking for you after that, maybe asking a few questions to get to know you. They will pretty much fill you in on what you need to know about the street, organization, or store you find yourself in at the time. After that, just accept her invitation to meet at the park / come over for dinner / visit her church. Keep repeating the speech until you have met so many people you can’t remember their names.

A Selfish Attitude

The second cause of loneliness, a selfish attitude, is harder to overcome, because we first have to recognize it. Indeed, it took me way too long, too many years, to recognize the real fallacy of my thinking. I was focused on the wrong things — friends for me. How selfish is that? But of course, I don’t need friends. As long as I continue evaluating relationships based on what they are doing for me, then I’m not going to value the people and opportunities that God has blessed me with. I’m not loving the way Christ loves if I’m only loving myself.

Sometimes I’m not looking to the friend at the left because I’m whining that there is nothing at the tip of my right hand. I demand my friend dress a certain way, educate her children like I do, attend my church, agree with me on politics, doctrine, music, and movies. Stay right in this place, and then I will allow you to meet my needs.

How foolish is that? Such critical attitudes oppose the very love Christ demonstrates on our behalf. The Pharisaical pride in status and association slips into our hearts and lives easier than we care to admit. God places people, loves people in various backgrounds and perspectives all around me. He’s calling me to look around and reach out.

Busy Schedules

Finally, we may be lonely because scheduling conflicts render our calendars more important than Christ-like love. Task-oriented overachievers like me fail to remember that the things we do are less important than the people we touch. If I complete all the to-do lists of men and of angels and have no time to talk with a live person, I am a worthless machine or a faithless robot (to paraphrase 1 Corinthians 13).

God’s plan is to use each of us in extraordinary ways . . . through these ordinary relationships. Our spouse. Our children. Our friends. We are not called to celebrity or fame, we are called to loving relationships. That all starts when we simply reach out.

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LEA ANN GARFIAS believes there is enough coffee in the world to make even dreadful Thursdays tolerable. In her book Rocking Ordinary (New Leaf Press), she helps ordinary moms realize their extraordinary influence. When she’s not homeschooling her four children, cheering at soccer matches, or performing the violin, she’s passed out asleep. You’ll find evidence of her existence at lagarfias.com.

Favorite Thanksgiving Picture Books

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I guess I’m reminiscing this week. I’m remembering when my children memorized and recited Psalm 100. I’m thinking back to all our years making Thankful Trees in November. And today I’m recounting all the lovely picture books we usually read this time of year!

Some of these books we read every year for probably 10 years or so. And I must admit, I still pull out Cranberry Thanksgiving and read it to my kids. And then we make the cranberry bread recipe that is in it. Best bread ever. Oh the memories!

Favorite Thanksgiving Picture Books

Cranberry Thanksgiving – this is a Five in a Row title (our old homeschool curriculum) and so that is how we were introduced to this book. It was out of print for awhile but it looks like now the price isn’t too bad on Amazon!

Giving Thanks to the Lord – I love all of Karma Wilson’s books! I also love rhyming books AND books that include Scripture, this one is based on Psalm 92.

God Gave Us Thankful Hearts – if you’re familiar with the precious “God Gave Us” series of books, this is another one of those!

Thanksgiving Is… – Gail Gibbon’s books are usually good homeschooling books that are informative. She has books on many, many subjects! 

Gobble Gobble Mad Libs – Ok, so this isn’t a picture book, but, my kids LOVE Mad Libs! We all need more Mad Libs in our lives. 😉

The Story of the Pilgrims – a simple re-telling of the pilgrims and first thanksgiving.

Twas the Night before Thanksgiving – just a cute and funny story for thanksgiving time!

Do you have favorite Thanksgiving picture books not listed here? Please let us know in the comments so others can find your good suggestions as well! 

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I would love for you to post PICTURES of your gratitude journals or quotes or thoughts as we go along…use the hashtag #CultivateGratitude on Instagram and we can find each other!

Gratitude Resources

Raising Grateful Kids

 

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When I began feeling led to do this 31 day series on cultivating gratitude, this idea was mostly sparked from reading and doing virtual book club on the book The Happiness Dare. I knew I wanted to linger over that book and not just set it aside after I was done reading. I wanted to be intentional about cultivating joy and gratitude in my own life.

I also knew I wanted to take my kids along on this journey. For years we have kept thankful lists, made thankful trees each fall, kept notebooks and named blessings each morning together. But, I still find that we can (all) be rather ungrateful and even entitled in our home.

I have had the book Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World on my shelf for a long time. I decided it was time to pick it up. Wowzers.

This book is wonderful. But it’s not for the faint of heart. As I read it, things cropped up that I didn’t even realize I was doing…things that are so much a part of our culture today that we think it’s normal and right. Like the things we buy our kids, their clothing, our homes, and even how much we use technology and allow our kids to use it.

Besides the actual materialism, this book gives so much practical advice. It isn’t preachy at all, the author is a mom in the trenches with teenagers just like me.

There are some neat resources in the back as well, like a “Cellphone Contract” between the parent and child. I am totally using this and copying it and going over it with my kids. There is a Christian Parent Manifesto that is wonderful. And recommended resources. Each chapter ends with some practical suggestions for “going against the flow…” and I LOVE these points in each chapter!

One of my favorite chapters in this book is called Gratitude is a Choice. She talks about helping our kids to be more intentionally thinking about gratitude and how blessed we are. Our kids aren’t going to go there on their own. As mothers, we must be intentional ourselves and with our children. She talks about complaining and grumbling and how our negative thoughts impact our gratitude. She also talks a lot about SERVING with your children and how that impacts our gratitude, too!

So, taking this knowledge and knowing how true it is in my own life, I need to be even more doubly intentional with my kids.

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What are you doing in your home to raise grateful children? I would love to hear your ideas! 

Join our Facebook Group of Encouragement

If you’d like to discuss this series, encourage others and receive encouragement along the journey, come to our closed group of encouragement and join us! You will need to request to join, I will click on your profile and as long as you look like a real person {grin} I will accept your request to join us!

I would love for you to post PICTURES of your gratitude journals or quotes or thoughts as we go along…use the hashtag #CultivateGratitude on Instagram and we can find each other!

Gratitude Resources


5 Amazing Books for Cultivating Gratitude

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The books I’m going to share with you today have radically changed my perspective. I would venture to say that a few of these are books everyone should read!

Contentment, peace, joy, happiness and gratitude all go together. We must fight for this joy that God wants for us, this abundant life.

{descriptions taken from Amazon}

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5 Amazing Books for Cultivating Gratitude

Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh Demoss (wonderful book with 30 day devotional in the back of the book!)

Gratitude is a choice. If we fail to chose it, by default we choose ingratitude. And once allowed into the heart, ingratitude does not come by itself, but with other seedy companions that only succeed in stealing joy.

Every Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagerty (a wonderful book for choosing to praise and adore God even when life is hard)

{Read my thoughts on Every Bitter Thing is Sweet here}

Sara Hagerty found Him when life stopped working for her. She found Him when she was a young adult mired in spiritual busyness and when she was a newlywed bride with doubts about whether her fledgling marriage would survive. She found Him alone in the night as she cradled her longing for babies who did not come. She found Him as she kissed the faces of children on another continent who had lived years without a mommy’s touch.

In Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet, Hagerty weaves fabric from the narrative of her life into the mosaic of a Creator who mends broken stories. Here you will see a God who is present in every changing circumstance. Most significantly, you see a God who is present in every unchanging circumstance as well.

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp (one of my all time favorite books ever)

Just like you, Ann Voskamp hungers to live her one life well. Forget the bucket lists that have us escaping our everyday lives for exotic experiences. ‘How,’ Ann wondered, ‘do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does the Christ-life really look like when your days are gritty, long–and sometimes even dark? How is God even here?’ In One Thousand Gifts, Ann invites you to embrace everyday blessings and embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God’s gifts. It’s only in this expressing of gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we’ve always wanted…a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others. We come to feel and know the impossible right down in our bones: we are wildly loved–by God. Let Ann’s beautiful, heart-aching stories of the everyday give you a way of seeing that opens your eyes to ordinary amazing grace, a way of being present to God that makes you deeply happy, and a way of living that is finally fully alive. Come live the best dare of all!

The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee (We did an entire online book club on this book, it was just so good!)

{Read my thoughts on The Happiness Dare here}

Would you like to be happier?
No matter who you are or how you feel, chances are you would answer yes. And Jennifer Dukes Lee was no different. For years, she wrestled with a constant nagging sense that she wasn’t as happy as she could be. At the same time, she felt guilty for wanting something so “shallow.” After all, doesn’t God only care that we find joy in our circumstances? Or is it possible that God really does want us to be happy?

40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life {The 4:8 Principle} by Tommy Newberry

This is a new book to me, but I’m reading portions of it with my kids each morning. It is SO good. It is based on Philippians 4:8 and is full of practical suggestions!

No more waiting and hoping―Experience 4:8 thinking right now! 
Drawing on the core message of the New York Times bestselling The 4:8 Principle, 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life is a fun and highly practical action plan providing readers with time-tested strategies and exercises for experiencing joy by design―God’s design. Fans of The 4:8 Principle will love the fresh format and timeless reinforcements offered in 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life, while new readers will be introduced to the life-changing power of The 4:8 Principle for the first time! All readers will benefit from the uniquely packaged inspiration and encouragement delivered in bite-size chunks for easy consumption and in a “sticky” style custom-made for easy retention and long-lasting joy.

 

Bonus Book

This book came recommended to me, but I admit I have not had time to dig in yet…so, have any of you read this book??

Gratefulness: The Heart of Prayer by David Steindl-Rast

A monk reflects on the many aspects of the spiritual life with the basic attitude of gratefulness. 

“A true delight.” —Henri J. M. Nouwen

What books have you read that have inspired gratitude in your life? 

Join our Facebook Group of Encouragement

If you’d like to discuss this series, encourage others and receive encouragement along the journey, come to our closed group of encouragement and join us! You will need to request to join, I will click on your profile and as long as you look like a real person {grin} I will accept your request to join us!

I would love for you to post PICTURES of your gratitude journals or quotes or thoughts as we go along…use the hashtag #CultivateGratitude on Instagram and we can find each other!

Gratitude Resources