3 Exercises to Grow in Gratitude

3 Exercises to Grow in Gratitude

Newsflash Erin –  Thanksgiving is past. But before you look the other way I have a question for you… 

Have you ever felt like the Christmas season has surfaced unrealized hopes, unmet expectations, and unrelenting comparisons?

They have for me.

Images of perfectly behaved children in matching Gymboree attire dance in my head. Hopes of a Hallmark holiday for friends and family capture my heart. Dreams of baking something that looks like the picture fixates my hands. The compare snare seems to work overtime in this month, snatching away my heart of thanks-living.Continue reading

Thanks-Living: The Real Wonder Women

Thanks-Living: The Real Wonder Women

Confession: I absolutely loved this past summer’s blockbuster – Wonder Woman.

It thrilled audiences and captured my heart. My favorite scene is when Diana (aka Wonder Woman), out of the compassion of her heart for a captured people, steps into her identity and onto the battlefield. Taking all the enemy fire, she leans into the opposition to allow her team to overthrow the unwanted militia.

One particular image stands out in this scene. Diana crouching down behind her shield. Face grimacing. Muscles flexing.  Bullets pounding. Yet despite the opposition, she is resolving to push through and press on for the people.

As much as I love this movie, wonder women in real life are way more inspiring. Women whose lives testify that though “we are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

Wonder women who live out this verse with joy, gratitude and strength. Women who embody thanks-livingThey capture our attention and move us to action. They envision us. Change us. Grow us.Continue reading

Thanks-Living: Opposition our Opportunity

Thanks-Living: Opposition our Opportunity

One word – empty.

The walk to our car was long, dark and quiet. Not a word muttered between my husband and me. Deep sadness dug its trench in the pit of our souls. Our hearts were overwhelmed with this unfamiliar, unforeseen experience. Our hands – empty.

Three times before, it had been a right of passage. Whisked by a wheel chair out of our safe domain to take our new adventure home. Decked out with balloons, adorned with flowers of celebration. My lap, typically, weighed down by an oversized car-seat filled with bundles of blankets and a tiny cherub.

But this time all my hands held was my husband’s. No entourage. No balloons. No baby.

We were discharged from the hospital and had to leave our precious baby girl behind. Of course, it was for her best. She couldn’t breathe on her own. But my empty womb and empty hands threw my heart into crisis. And this opposition seemed more than this mama could overcome.Continue reading

Thanks-Living: More than a Meal

Thanks-Living: More than a Meal

The plump turkey slowly roasts. Sausage stuffing sizzles in the skillet. A mixer cuts through creamy potatoes like butter for the garlic mash of a lifetime. Heavenly aromas waft throughout the house greeting it’s guests. Candles aglow, real ones. China polished to perfection. A table set as if Martha were coming herself. Chimes beckon guests to gather and recline at the Thanksgiving table.

As we sit down to feast, the host (the one that wasn’t in the kitchen) invites everyone to share what they are thankful for. It’s at that moment one blurts out, “I am so thankful for all the time and effort it took to make this delicious hot meal. So why don’t we eat it while its HOT!”Continue reading

A Parenting Confession

“Mommy and Daddy don’t give more things to an ungrateful child!,” I have said over and over to my son. Have you ever had spoken words you knew figuratively, were going to smack you straight between the eyes?

Recently, I had time of confession with the Lord. My mind was focused on the have-nots rather than the haves. Rather than seeing the richness of my life, I was looking at my requests. And the words I have said to my sons hit me straight between the eyes and a spirit of conviction washed over me as I realized how ungrateful I really was.

My problem was my focus and it left me with an ungrateful heart.Continue reading