"…And she smiles at the future." ~Proverbs 31:25

Posts tagged ‘grateful’

What I learned when she sang my praises

We were in the car, heading off to her weekly swimming lesson, when my five-year-old daughter broke out in this joyous, made-up-on-the-spot song:

I love my mommy!

I love her so much.

She takes care of me.

She feeds me yummy food.

She takes me places I need to go.

She doesn’t leave me alone.

Remi's flower

She plays with me.

She teaches me.

She makes school so fun.

She is the best mom ever…

On and on and on she went, and I’ll admit it: With each line, my heart swelled a little more. Oh, I know I’m not “all that”…but in HER eyes, I am! And it was really nice to hear her singing my praises.

  • It reminded me how much she truly loves me.
  • It made me feel appreciated.
  • It thrilled me that she was so sincere in her thoughts that she just couldn’t help but sing them out.

And then it hit me.

How must our God feel when we sing praises to Him?

          When we can’t help but shout about all the great things He’s done for us?

          When we list off all the people and things we’re thankful for?

          When we tell Him everything we love about Him?

          When we acknowledge that He is the BEST?

In God’s case, He actually deserves all the praise we can give Him, and it must warm His heart to hear His thankful children giving glory and honor to His name.

So…when was the last time you just couldn’t stop telling your Father in heaven what you love about Him? How long has it been since the list of what you are thankful for was so long, that it far outweighed all the things you asked Him for? I know I need to do better about that, and this experience motivates me to try.

Let’s make it a point today–and every day–to let our hearts and mouths overflow with praises for the One who does everything right.

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth;

Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises.

(Psalm 98:4)

Thanks for stopping by!

That’s what I call a fortune

In dressing for a funeral this morning, I donned a strand of pearls. My ten-year-old daughter looked at me, surprised, and asked, “Are those real?”

I laughed. “Umm…no.”

“Oh, right,” she said. “If those were real they’d cost a fortune.”

I laughed again and replied, “And I don’t have a fortune.”

It took each of us just a fraction of a second to realize the fallacy in that statement. Because the truth is, I do have a fortune.

I have a faithful, Christian husband whom I love and respect.

He is an amazing daddy to these four precious kiddos:

I adore each of them, and feel incredibly blessed to be able to spend my days learning right alongside them.

I have parents who love me and taught me to love God.

I have friends I enjoy and friends I miss.

I lived in a country so great that men have been willing to give their lives for her.

I have plenty to eat, plenty to wear, and plenty to keep me busy.

I have more books than I can read and more happy memories than anyone deserves to have.

I have opportunities to serve and teach, and the ability and desire to learn.

I have role models whom I look up to.

I have a healthy body and a healthy family.

More important than any of these, I have the hope and expectation of eternal salvation because Jesus loved me enough to give His life for me.

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.  (II Corinthians 8:9)

So yes, I have a fortune!

My life isn’t perfect, but I’ve been given so much to treasure.

How about you? Have you thought today about all you have to be thankful for? Your list may be different from mine, but I’m betting you can list off plenty of your own treasures.

While you’re at it, why not share a few of them here? I’d like to know: What makes you rich?

Thanks for stopping by!

Clay and gratitude

I like this piece. I like being reminded to be grateful every single time I walk through the living room.

Now, I am also reminded each time I pass it that I have a very creative and imaginative son, who can turn a piece of clay into just about anything. Because this is the little guy who’s taken up residence on top of the frame…

Yep, Chandler can do anything with clay.

Are you thankful today?

Thanks for stopping by!

Even the spills

We were sitting around the table, ready to eat supper. As usual, our three-year-old daughter wanted to lead the prayer, and as usual, we couldn’t say no. She squeezed her eyes shut tightly, we all bowed our heads, and she began…

Dear God,

Thank you for the drink…

…the drink I keep spilling…

It was true. She had already spilled her drink two or three times before we’d even made it to the pre-meal prayer, and it had been frustrating. But then she prayed that prayer…and it immediately made me think—Thank you, Remi!—of a couple of different verses, both of which I evidently needed to be reminded:

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials…”        (James 1:2)

“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  (I Thessalonians 5:18)

I am thankful for my walking, talking, Scripture illustration…

…and I’m so grateful for her earnest prayer of thanksgiving—another much-needed reminder to be thankful in all situations.

Are you thankful?

Thanks for stopping by!

From where I stand

I was waiting on my little one to finish up her afternoon snack. She was strapped into her booster seat, babbling away as she ate, and I was too tired to even sit down.  (Been there?) I leaned up against the kitchen island, just staring off into space at first. But then, the view in the mirror in front of me came into focus and I began to think. No, I wasn’t looking at the smudges—in fact, I didn’t even see them at the time. What I saw instead was how much I have to be thankful for.

From where I stood, I could see the little antique sewing machine that belonged to my mother when she was a little girl, and I thought once again that I have been blessed with the best and sweetest mom in the whole world. I can’t imagine how different my life would be without her godly influence and fun personality. I stood there, thankful for her and the rest of my sweet family.

Next to that on the bar sits the row of little Dutch houses I brought back from The Netherlands. Seeing them reminded me of the years we lived there, the work we were blessed to do, and the amazing people we had the privilege of knowing while there. I miss those friends, and I’m always a little wistful when I think about those days, but today I was just thankful that we had such a unique opportunity and that we have a gazillion great memories of our time in Holland.

As I continued to stare into the mirror, I noticed the clear clothes hanger dangling from the ceiling fan. (Can you see it?) There seems to be one hanging there just about every day. Sometimes I get so used to them I don’t even notice them, and when I do it’s not something that makes me smile….but today I looked down below it in the mirror and saw the empty kitchen sink, and noted that the same person who’d left the hanger on the fan had also washed all the dishes, without my asking. And that DOES make me smile!

From where I stood, I also had a glimpse of the back yard. I could see the corner of the porch swing Troy gave me one Mothers Day, and beyond that the trampoline where the kids (and we) have spent many happy hours laughing and bouncing. I was thankful that, for the most part, our children have been healthy. They are able to play, and we have plenty of sunshine to enjoy around here.

Yes, I was exhausted. But now I was also thankful. So many reasons to be grateful were found just in that one moment’s view.

So, here’s my challenge for you today. Take a look around, wherever you are.  Pick a direction, look straight ahead, and notice—really notice—the things that surround you.  Let them remind you of how much you have to be grateful for.  It’s just one more way to count our blessings, and that’s just one more reason to smile.  I’d love to hear what you see from where YOU stand.

Thanks for stopping by!

On being content

We don’t have an expensive stereo system in our home…but I am sure enjoying listening to the Christmas tunes emanating from my little one’s Dora the Explorer CD player.

We have a small tree that won’t win any beauty contests…but it was chosen as a family and joyfully decorated by our children with ornaments received as gifts from friends around the world, and it makes me smile every time I catch a glimpse of it.

I made a lot of my own gifts this year in order to include everyone I wanted to give to…but I am so excited about each and every one of them and thoroughly enjoyed putting together things I thought others might enjoy.

During this season there’s a whole lot of wishing and wanting going on. I think it’s important to stop and think about all that we have to be grateful for. It’s important to be content. Is that what we’re teaching our children? Is that what we’re practicing ourselves?

Today, let’s appreciate where we are and what we have. I think it will make us all smile!

P.S. This year, for the first time ever, I let the kids do ALL the decorating in our house. I set out the boxes, let them go for it, and didn’t change a thing.  Here’s a little glimpse of what they did:

Most of the decorations were clustered along the bar and on a couple of living room tables, but Addy proudly showed me that she had decorated the island, too:

Here was Remi’s contribution:

It says, "Dear Mommy, I love you so much!"

And, although not specifically for Christmas, this little guy has recently become a part of our living room decor, too:

Thanks for stopping by!

Nightly prayers

One of the highlights of the day for our family occurs right before our littlest one goes to bed. That’s when we all stop what we’re doing and gather in her room to end the day with a family devotional. We all crawl up on her bed together and listen to my husband read the Bible out loud. We work on memorizing Scriptures as a family. We talk about how we can apply what we’ve read in our own lives, and usually this gives us a little glimpse into the minds and hearts of our kiddos. Then we join hands in prayer.  I love this time of sharing and growing together at the end of the day.

Some nights, our schedule doesn’t allow us to spend as much time on reading and memorization, but the one thing we try not to miss is the time spent in prayer together.

Listening to your children pray can be enlightening. Praying with your family strengthens bonds in a way nothing else can. (You’ve heard the old saying, “The family that prays together stays together.” I think there must be some truth in that!)

Our two-and-a-half-year-old daughter has really gotten into these prayer times together. She loves to have her turn to pray out loud, and has thanked God for some very interesting things, such as:

~our walls

~the mail we get

~storms

~drawings

~the blinds

~two-year olds

~”bwessings”

~towels

~butter

~”little raccoons, but not in our house”

~helping us read

~”letting us eat free at restaurants” (???)

~tot school

~”napkins, but not in our mouths”

~and even Captain Kirk!

(And I’ve lost count of how many times she’s asked God to “please help us all be miserable.”)

While she squeezes her eyes tightly and rambles on and on (and on and on and on) about all the things she’s thankful for, I am reminded to be grateful…and to take note of the simple things in life…and to give God credit for each one.

Are you praying with your family? Today would be a great day to start!

Thanks for stopping by.

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