Saturday, January 16, 2016

How Grateful looks from here- Bloghop!

It's a Blog Hop!!  Scroll down to see other great posts  about Raising Grateful Kids!!

The morning started gloomy and if I am honest--- whiny. It wasn't the dog, it wasn't a kid with any demands; no it was that unsatisfied pathetic sound of my own voice pounding against the walls of my head. I had barley been conscious a full minute and I had complaints dominating my thoughts.  There wasn't anything in the day ahead that I was dreading; in fact the day held a celebration . So why did I start in on everything negative? The thoughts ran quickly  from " Man my neck hurts." to "I should have read more to my  kids when they were little, I've ruined them." ( drama much?)

As I lay there waiting for a surge of serotonin to miraculously save me, I finally came back to reality and remembered very simply to be grateful. This is something that we have been working on in our house.  3 kids, 2 dogs and one busy life have distracted us a bit from stopping to observe our blessings and be grateful. We have just come  off a big push getting our 2nd daughter off to college.  We have been a little tired. We have one precious child left at home and we want to finish strong giving her the same discipline and values we have practiced over the years. We cannot afford to get lazy.

I have been reading Raising Grateful Kids and was extremely convicted by the fact it brings up that if we want grateful kids rather than entitled ones, we ourselves have to show gratitude.   I can't adopt the attitude that I am a certain stage in life and I deserve such and such . I can't expect my child to continue to have a grateful attitude when I am not displaying one.  I have so many blessings that I take for granted every day: freedom, access to Scripture, health,  children, marriage, living parents, running water, friends, the ability to read and many more. 

Many years ago we would talk about the best and worst of our day at the dinner table, we made Thursday into Thankful Thursday and would thank someone in our lives that we loved with a note, card or cookies. These small acts that my children did when younger were reminders to be thankful.  Somewhere along the way we let these little acts slide off our radar.

We have kept up with some habits. I am a stickler for hand written thank you notes. No text or email.  This is a wonderful habit instilled in me by my parents, and I am glad I passed it on to my children.  But more is needed, and the best place to start is with myself and my attitude.  So as I lay there like Eyeore from Winnie the Pooh I had a decision to make: let the language of Whinese continue its rant or take inventory.

 I choose to the inventory. 

I opened my eyes and was grateful for sight. I listened  and heard the dogs barking in the yard. I can hear-  check.  I have warm covers on me , I have a ceiling above me . As I place my feet on the floor, I am aware of a working body and a carpeted floor. I have warmth, shelter and health.  I check my phone on my bedside table. There is text message from my daughter.  I can read, I have access to communication, electricity and  and a message from a beautiful child who loves me.  That is 10  things I can be grateful for before I even take my first step of the day.
We plan on bringing back  best of day and Thankful Thursdays but if I am to be consistent on these small acts I have to first consistently have  my thoughts be grateful.

Then my thoughts will become my words of gratitude
My words will become acts of gratitude
My acts of gratitude will become my habits of gratitude
And my habits of gratitude will become my legacy of gratitude.
And that is something worth getting out of bed for everyday.

Inspiring an Attitude of Gratitude - by Alison Rasisng Grateful Kids - by amanda Why You Can't Buy Gratitude At The Dollar Store - by Andrea Missing - Gratefulness in our home - by Ange Choosing Gratitude - by Angela Gratefullness - by chaley 5 Steps to Gratitude-Fille Family - by Christa Practicing Grateful Parenting - by Dana Sing a Song - by Hannah Cultivating gratitude in our family - by Jamie Gratefulness In Our Home - by Jana Gratefulness In Our Home - by Jana Let It Begin With Me - by Jen Choosing Gratefulness - by Jennifer Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World - The Book - by jeri Eradicating Entitlement - What are you rooted in? - by Jessica Gratefulness in our home - by Kate The Problem With Entitlement is that it begins with us - by Katelyn 7 Unusual Ways I Know How to Be Grateful - by Kathryn Raising Grateful Kids - by Keri How My Children Remind Me to Pray with Gratitude - by Kishona Grateful - by Kristy Entitlement: The Ugly Truth of a Beautiful Lie - by Leigha The Most Important Thing You Can Do To Raise Grateful Kids - by Lindsey Dear Son: How Do I Teach You To Be Grateful Without Guilt? - by Marie Osborne Gratitude, A Practical Definition - by Mia Cultivating Gratitude in Our Home - by Nancy Learning Gratitude through Chronic Illness - by Rachel Being Grateful - by Rebecca I've Found Something I Can't Live Without - by Sarah The Power of Naming our Gifts - by Sarah Outfitted - by Sarah Jo Growing Gratitude in our Family - by Sondra Teaching Gratefulness - by Stephanie How Grateful Looks From Here - by Alison Fighting Entitlement in Children and All of us - by Leah Entitlement Problem - by Karrie Grateful Today - by Krystal

Monday, January 4, 2016

Time Matters

Chapter 2 of Raising Grateful Kids is a real  throat punch for me. 

 As Kirsten Welch describes life in the 21st century  I was highly convicted of some aspects of our lifestyle that we had let slip a bit. She states that " It’s as if our culture has amped up life and made things more complicated, not because we have to but because we can. " Those words " because we can" really got my mind going.  Things have become so easy for us in daily life. We don't struggle for our food,water or shelter. We don't  repair anything anymore; we call someone or buy new. We can be reached at any time in multiple ways .

 Now I'm not saying that I want to go back to the 1900's but I so long for simplicity and self control in my choices for simplicity. I am as guilty as the next person when it comes to the quick and easy. I have  said yes to to many things knowing I can quickly do a lot. I have more done but I have lowered the quality for myself and others.  

On the simplicity standpoint I really wish our culture and manufacturing heard this cry. I don't want a computer on my washing machine or 500 features . A gyrating machine does not need electrical unit on it that after so many shakes it will fail me and I can't wash a thing. I just need some water, an extra rinse and some longevity and I am good to go. (Sorry a bout the side bar rant..... I am not bitter about being out of warranty, I promise.)
We need a happy medium, where what we have is enough and indulgence isn't the  norm , it's the exception and the worked for, effort put forth thing that we really wanted ,and will take care of to keep.

 We now have, as RGK states, "  time and money to focus and care deeply about things that really don’t matter." This is incredibly true. ​ We fill our time and our children s time to the brim with  activities, These are not necessarily  bad but when they  are all  about "them" , how do we expect to magically have children one day that will be jazzed to serve others?  Our time is also  taken up by  social media and we look at our screens more than we look others in the eye. (more on this in upcoming chapters)

 Now a little distraction isn't wrong,  but if we really knew how much time we spent on worthless things we would be shocked.  As a mama of 3 girls, two in college and one in high school my advice to those with littles would be not to rush or worry about sports or a to spend your time ,energy and money on what matters and last, spending  as much of it as possible together as  family for as long as you can.
The chicks when they were little


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Raising Grateful Kids



I have recently begun reading the book Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World (RGK)  by Kirsten Welch as part of a book launch team. It is a timely and convicting read laced with confessional encouragement and inspirational guidance. It is available here for pre-order for January.

The first chapter discusses wants vs. needs and the American dream.  I can remember doing a school assignment with my oldest years ago on wants and needs. It was a      mixed lesson discussing the economy, budgeting and essentials of society.  Pretty ambitious for the second grade. It asked the students to list in two columns wants and needs.  It encouraged you to list general things and then break them down.

 For instance:

Shelter is a need but what kind of shelter could be listed under both need and want.  This is where it got blurry.  We live in a 2300 square foot house of brick, wood and dry wall. It has air conditioning and heat. Electricity and running water. A fine home indeed.   Now I believe everyone would consider four walls, a floor and a roof over their head a need.  I live in the deep south of Alabama. As I type this it is late December and 75 degrees so I consider AC a need; yet people have lived in this region for centuries without it. (and yes I realize some have died due excessive heat.)   But there are people all over the world, in places far hotter than Alabama such as the Middle East and Africa who have never nor will they ever have AC.    Another example was food. Everyone must eat to stay alive. We need food, but we don’t have to have lobster everyday of our life.  Here is where of course the budgeting lesson came in.
Then there were some intangible needs like safety or education.  Everyone needs to be safe. But exactly what does that look like?  Military? Police? Handgun? Gated community? Guard dog?  The discussion could go on and on. What the exercise did was not only allow you to see the very basics of human need (food, water, shelter, safety, education, love, employment) but also required you to consider the specific way in which those needs were filled and if those ways blurred into wants. 
Now this is not to say that it is wrong to want things above our needs. It simply lets us see that many of our needs are met and it changes our perspective into one of grievance to gratitude.  In addition it helps us to analyze how we go about meeting those needs and which ones we place as priority. Striving to make a basic need made better isn’t greedy either, when it’s launched from a platform of gratitude and kept within the boundary of enough.

This was a great lesson for my second grader and an eye opening one for her mama. Kirsten Welch writes   that “ as uncomfortable as it sounds, parents who want less-entitled kids have to be less entitled themselves, and parents who want to raise more grateful kids need to start by living more grateful lives.”  Wow -this moment was brought to me by Rude Awakening Productions

This realization coupled with the simple second grade exercise is a sign that it is time for a reevaluation of our family’s current wants and needs.  I have a sneaky suspicion there will be some category hopping.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Staying out of jail

I don't even know if I can do this post justice. I am incredibly grateful for my man. We have been together for 25 years, married for 24 this July and I can honestly say there is no one else I would rather be with.  That is not to say that every moment has been bliss- far from it. There have been good, joyful loving wonderful times. and there have been bad, moody, frustration suxy times too. as well as the just plain mundane, hectic and ordinary.
  Such is a thing called life.  All these days , emotion and events fall into every ones timetable. Its who you spend those times, whatever they may be, that counts. and I have been privileged enough to spend those times with a kind, smart man named Marc Hill,  After so many mistakes (read date bad boys reeling in selfishness) how I landed this gem is purely grace.  
Please stop making me laugh!!

We are so very different in personality. I'm loud, he's quiet. I'm impulsive, he's contemplative. I think out loud, he thinks before he speaks.  He cooks, I don't. The list could go on and on . I once told someone that Marc married me so he would have some fun and spice in his life and I married him so I would stay out of jail.  So far , so good!  ( seriously, you have no idea)

But for all we have that is opposite, we have the core things down.  We're both honest, we're both loyal. We both fail. We both forgive. We both love and trust God. We both work hard. We both are willing to sacrifice for the other. We are both kind (in very different ways)
And we are both fun , also in different ways. We both love our children unconditionally.
Prom 2012
Fixing the retaining wall- but time for a pic!
The dog we got when I was out of town!!

Our love has changed and grown over the years. It manifest itself differently than when we were younger. We are still very much attracted to each other but flirting is where it's at and on weeknights and where it ends because baby we are 3 kids, 2 dogs and a mortgage into this thing- were kinda tired. :) 
But were closer than ever.  We know how to love each other, whats important to the other one. 
We know each others love language and we know how to just "be". Even if we are not doing the same thing, we can be in the same room, near each other . We enjoy each other.
Friday Marc will be having surgery to remove part of his colon.  While this isn't celebratory news, it is news that has a lots of reasons to be grateful : 
there is no cancer.  

we got the surgical procedure to laproscopic along with the surgeon we want. 

He is young and this is semi elective to remove damage from 10 years of diverticulitis. 

The surgery will improve the quality of his life.  

We have parents that  are going to come and help .

 Friends that are praying for us and helping with our children and 
most of all a God who is the healer of all flesh.  
So I am forever grateful to be married to Marc Hill.
I am blessed to be loved by him.

Thursday, December 3, 2015


So when you just do the next thing on front of you, it awesome when it gets mixed up a bit!!
The is is where I have an advantage over most. My fabulous sister. She is  unpredictable, creative and spontaneous.
I'm grateful! ! 
Nothing can say -cheer up chick
Like a crazy as sister! !

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Grateful girls

Busy week and busier days,ahead.  Tonight I went out with the youngest chick.  After work and school we hit the ortho
Chik  fil a
Haircut-eyebrow wax (so on fleek- new teen word of the week)
The Prodisee pantry
And finally Moe's (we never say no to moe)
I had the best time and she was reletively unphased by hanging with me in public-score!!!

And here is a picture at Moe's with those on fleek eyebrows just gazing you down! !

Here we are trying on winter hats at Target. Does the purple make my for heads look wrinkly?

So happy to be with this chick.
Grateful and Goodnight!!!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Sunday- Day of Thanks

I flat out didn’t post. But it was a rough day. My emotions were high. Older girls went back to school which is always hard. My man’s health has been not so great lately and my mind was in an uncooperative state went it came to being happy.  But looking back on it I can be grateful for endurance. Because I basically journaled  it out with God and ended up with the fact that this is just a season and rather than run and curl up in a ball of denial, I could just stare the trash in the face , decide not to be afraid and trust God will get me through .  I could ask “What I am supposed to learn in this season? “ What lesson.  Sometimes the answer isn’t fun. 

The lesson might be how to endure, how to be grateful in hard times.
 Or this is a sticky one: Dependence.
Dependence on God to meet my needs.
Dependence on God to be faithful.
Dependence on God’s love even when I don’t feel it.

I think this is part of what I am learning, because so far the begging for relief and the hiding coping skills I possess (insert sleep, apathy, resentment) just haven’t really gotten me anywhere. Shocking I know , right?  This stinking thinking reminds me of a line from a country song: “You ask a Jeannie in a bottle of Jack Daniels and she lies to you.”  Yeah that kind of face palming epiphany.

I also received a dose of conviction about my emotional/spiritual laziness. I called it “ If I just ignore it , it will go away” but alas the toma-to/tom-a-to doesn’t really apply here. Ignoring darkness doesn’t destroy it only light can do that.  So it requires – wait for it – exposure.  It’s hard to get that in the fetal position, covers overhead, cry festival. But I looked for it there anyway. 

  This realization brought to the forefront that I need to work at  (read- participate in ) being happy. Now this is not to diminish the times I have tried and still didn’t feel better. It happens, but I am coming to accept that anything is better than lying down in the depression/ anxiety.  Because even if my efforts result in very little betterment, the act of not giving in, however that looks, counts in and of itself. It builds up muscle against the darkness and next time I’m that much stronger and experienced.

The act of NOT giving in can look different every day.  It can be a funny movie, purposely thinking of someone’s else’s needs and acting, reading scripture, praying for myself and others, stating truth out loud, exercise, walk the dog or maybe even a nap; (if it’s not in the I need to be unconscious sad hide mode) Just resting in God and doing the next thing in front of you is enough. Sometimes I clean a lot or organize something just to be moving and then even if my mood stays the same at least I have a clean organized area.

Dancing with a large shrimp- just one depression buster idea!
 Sometimes it’s intentional self-care. How long has it been since I shaved my legs?  How about a face mask, treat myself to a pedicure or attempt something on Pinterest.   Think about how awesome my abs would be if I dropped and gave 50 every time I had a distressing, negative thought.  12 pack baby- nothing but steel.

Anyway I am grateful I kept on keeping on yesterday.  The day was better for it. I was better for it. Everyone around me was better for it.    And even though at the end of the day I was still a little down in the dumps I looked back at all that went on during the day and it made me smile. I was glad I did it even if it was like walk in through jello .  I got to kinda have a yeah baby- take that dark cloud –moment and I got to be grateful.  
  Victory and Gratitude.  Nice combo.

So I am choosing to be grateful for the struggle and the presence of God while enduring tough seasons and I choosing to be grateful to let the outcome of be in God’s hands.

Because at the end of the day I can depend on God because He is dependable.