Cultivating Gratitude {Family Resource}

It’s the one thing I long for my family to learn, live:

Gratitude.

It’s the one thing I teach by example (or lack of), a heart full of thanksgiving, overflowing on my husband, surrounding my children. They are watching, waiting. Not just for the outward, polite, mandatory “thank you.” But the grateful heart that spills out and is contagious.

Gratitude is the one thing that gets me through a hard day.

It’s about choosing to be grateful, when I want to complain, opting for thanksgiving when I long to whine, it’s looking for the good when it all feels bad. The best kind of gratitude is when I don’t feel it at all.

It’s not just the gratefulness for new things, a comforter on sale for my daughter’s bed brings praise, “thank you, Mom!” It’s thankfulness in the trials, the hard times, the difficult spots we find ourselves. These are the moments that define us: digging deep when gratitude isn’t easy.

Thankfulness isn’t inherited. It often doesn’t come easy. It needs to be practiced, made a priority.

Gratitude is what will change our home.

How to Stir Up Thanksgiving in Your Family:

  • Record your gratitude-write it down!
  • Read past entries aloud
  • Reflect on the day, the good and bad. We “play” highs and lows. What is your high for the day. How can we encourage each other in the lows.
  • Reinforce-no gratitude is too small.
  • Resolve to give thanks, in all things

As we head into fall, I’m excited about this new family resource to help cultivate gratitude as we move towards the Thanksgiving season. It’s called the  12 Day Holiday Countdown by Dayspring.

I believe it has the potential to be a very meaningful family tradition. I love it because it’s perfect for the entire family, from the smallest to the oldest. It’s multi-functional and it’s designed to be used at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter with corresponding story blocks and scripture!

Each small box holds a card for the day and corresponds with the included guidebook. You can add a slip of paper or small treat to the box as you countdown to Thanksgiving (Christmas and Easter).

Sample Text from guidebook:
THANKSGIVING
Day #1 FRIENDS
We’re thankful for friends.I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his
master’s business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I
learned from My Father I have made known to you.  John 15:15 NIVGod is a friend to us.What does it mean to be God’s friend?

And get this, for the next 4 days, the Holiday Countdown is on sale for ONLY $10! Reg. $24.

Dayspring sent me one to try with my kiddos. It came yesterday and before I could hide it, they saw it and are begging to celebrate something. I just know your kids will love this intentional time together too.

Get one today at a great price!

*I’m a Dayspring affiliate and the links in this post are affiliate links.

Make Some Crazy Noise

I live with noisy people.

We have loud meals, rambunctious bedtimes and chaotic car rides. It’s just how we roll.

It may also be why I have chronic headaches. Oh, I kid.

But I’d much rather have planned crazy noise than just crazy noise, especially in the car. The other day, I popped in this CD that Hillsong Kids JR sent me for my preschooler:

Everyone got quiet and I couldn’t help but capture this while my hubby drove:


Only don’t let her adorable innocence fool you.

That girl is the boss of our family.

But then the song Crazy Noise came on and my kids went wild. In a totally holy way, of course.

The lyrics are about how everyone who makes a noise can praise the Lord and then there are some funny exaggerated noises. My 5 year old loved this song and giggled.

Apparently so did my son.

Because since then, he (the in-house comedian) keeps clearing his throat and making this awful racket until I make him stop.  When I get onto him for being annoying, he says in an angelic voice, “but I’m praising God.”

All I can do is laugh. That kid.

So, I give this CD two thumbs up because you can never have too much crazy! Plus, we love Hillsong around here and every song is based on Scripture! Perfect for your toddler and preschooler. And perhaps your big kid will give you something to laugh about too.

You can get a copy for your little one here and stay tuned for a very fun, very big giveaway later this week…

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, but the opinions are mine. So is the crazy.

80+ Books to Inspire and Challenge Your Family

We love books and we try to spend a little time everyday reading together as a family (and by ourselves).  We have books on shelves, next to beds, piled on counters and tucked away throughout our home. We are working our way through a big list of books to inspire and challenge our family. I’ve been adding to this list for a long time and I thought I’d share the books that inspire and challenge our family:

Disclaimer: I love reading on my Kindle app on my phone, but in an effort to be unplugged more when I’m with my kids, I only read fiction on my phone (usually while I’m waiting somewhere). I purchase almost all our books from Amazon (prime member), so these affiliate links are from there.

*Books we have read (or are reading):

Board Books:

  1. *Because I Love You
  2. *Just in Case You Ever Wonder
  3. If You’re Happy and You Know It 
  4. *I Love You Just the Way You Are 
  5. *Counting Kisses
  6. *Jesus Loves Me!
  7. *Really Woolly Bedtime Prayers
  8. I Love You So Much
  9. If Jesus Lived Inside My Heart
  10. Recordable Storybook-My Rainy Day Imagining Book

Picture Books:

  1. *Love You Forever
  2. *You Are Mine (Max Lucado’s Wemmicks)
  3. *Punchinello: One of a Kind (Max Lucado’s Wemmicks)
  4. *The Boy Who Changed the World
  5. You Can Do It!
  6. *Parable Series: An Audio-Book for All Seasons [Audiobook on Cassette] (Parable Series, All 4 Seasons (Together))
  7. The Tallest of Smalls
  8. *Just in Case You Ever Wonder
  9. *The Giving Tree
  10. The Oak Inside the Acorn

Read Together Books:

  1. *The Chronicles of Narnia Scholastic Box Set (Book One Through Book Six) (all ages)
  2. *The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name (all ages)
  3. *The Complete Little House Nine-Book Set(all ages)
  4. The Story: Teen Edition (Chronological Bible)
  5. *Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions For Kids (all ages)
  6. Take Your Best Shot: Do Something Bigger Than Yourself (8 and up)
  7. My Life, His Mission: A Six Week Challenge to Change the World (inspiring stories)
  8. Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board (8 and up)
  9. *Place at the Table: 40 Days of Solidarity with the Poor (family devotions w/missions focus, edited while reading)
  10. *Window On The World (missions focus)
  11. kisses from katie
  12. Running for My Life: One Lost Boy’s Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games

Tween/Teen Books:

    1. *Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations
    2. Start Here: Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are
    3. *You Were Made to Make a Difference
    4. *It’s Not About Me Teen Edition
    5. *Make Every Day Count – Teen Edition
    6. *Jesus Freaks: Martyrs: Stories of Those Who Stood for Jesus
    7. The Hiding Place
    8. I Kissed Dating Goodbye
    9. Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is): Sexual Purity in a Lust-Saturated World
    10. *Truth and Dare: One Year of Dynamic Devotions for Girls (ages 9-12)
    11. *Triple Dog Dare: One Year of Dynamic Devotions for Boys (ages 9-12)
    12. Wild grace
    13. End of the Spear

Parenting Books:

  1. *For Parents Only: Getting Inside the Head of Your Kid
  2. *Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman’s Battle
  3. *Preparing Your Son for Every Man’s Battle
  4. Raising a Modern-Day Knight: A Father’s Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic Manhood (boys)
  5. Five Conversations You Must Have with Your Son
  6. Five Conversations You Must Have with Your Daughter
  7. *Have a New Kid by Friday (Strong-Willed Kids)
  8. Shepherding a Child’s Heart
  9. *Grace-Based Parenting
  10. *Your Girl: Raising a Godly Daughter in an Ungodly World
  11. *Your Boy: Raising a Godly Son in an Ungodly World
  12. *Raising Kids Who Turn Out Right
  13. *You Can Raise Courageous and Confident Kids
  14. *Raising Kids for True Greatness
  15. Bonus for Moms: Don’t Make Me Come Up There!: Quiet Moments for Busy Moms

Books for Husband and Wives

  1. *For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men
  2. *Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs
  3. *The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex: (And You Thought Bad Girls Have All the Fun)(her)
  4. *NIV Couples’ Devotional Bible
  5. *Men Are Like Waffles–Women Are Like Spaghetti: Understanding and Delighting in Your Differences
  6. *You’re Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be(her)
  7. *For Men Only: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women
  8. *Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul (him)
  9. *Every Man’s Battle: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time (The Every Man Series) (him)
  10. Don’t Waste Your Life