Tag Archives: thankful

Cultivating Gratitude All Year Long



As cooler temps are coming, one of my favorite holidays is also right around the corner, Thanksgiving. There’s something warm and familiar as families all over gather together, surrounded by favorite dishes such as turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, warm rolls, pumpkin pie, and many other delicious eats. The highways are crowded, as many travel from afar to visit loved ones on this special day. And many families, full bellies and all, flock to the couches afterwards, and enjoy the football game together. It is truly a day to be thankful, indeed.

Being thankful is something we can practice and teach our kids all year long.

To read the the full article, go to: Rio Grande Valley Moms Blog

New York, New York

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Will be writing more about what the Lord did during my time at the Women’s Retreat, but I had a 40 minute layover and wanted to share some of my sights & sounds from my little adventure!

The leaves… their red and brown and orange hues are rich and vibrant. I could swim atop their crisp & crunchy colors. The lush, full trees gently reminded me of Gods goodness. My eyes were overjoyed to see the green rolling hills, the apple orchard, the many pumpkin patches, and the postcard picturesque little red barns. He made all of this for our enjoyment. As we walked downtown and I saw the eclectic variety of people, I was reminded that we are all so unique and different and needed.
The little shops were my favorite. I saw a woman making candy, mixing the caramel back and forth with her giant wooden spoon. I listened to the music players on the street strum a delightful jazzy tune. I smelled the fresh, warm bread. And as I entered the local coffee shop, I inhaled the scent of fresh coffee beans as I listened to the upbeat tempo coming from the speakers. Downtown Saratoga, Vermont, and New Hampshire all delivered many pleasant surprises to my senses. All of which I am delighted to say made me a little more thankful to my Heavenly Father that He is the giver of all good gifts.

James 1:17 (NLT)- Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.

Psalm 107:1 (ESV)- Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!

Oh Summer… You’re So Hot!

I LOVE summer. I love everything (with the exception of Texas humidity) about summer. When I think about summer, I think about watermelon, and chicken salad sandwiches, and juice boxes, and chips, and swimming (lots of swimming), and movies, and ice pops- I  could go on, I’m sure. I also love tank tops and flip flops, but those are almost year round here in South Texas. 🙂

I also love a little more freedom to enjoy the kids in the summer. Don’t get me wrong- we still stay busy. As Children’s Pastors, one of our highlights of the summer is 2 weeks of Vacation Bible School. But, with no more uniforms to wash, or lunches to make, or homework for hours, there’s just something about summer that allows you to let your guard down a little and enjoy the season of sunshine.

This summer, I am trying to be a little more intentional. The Lord has really put it on my heart to pour a little more into my kids, especially my Noah. I have a friend who has a journal and writes in it to her kids and will read from it every now and then. I made my journals today- one for the boys and one for Hope, my 12 year old. For the boys I really want to encourage them in their walk with the Lord- with scriptures and also just write stuff from my heart to them. I want to touch on peer pressure, how to treat girls, being respectful, and different things like that. Here’s the boys journal:

For Hope, I want to write things to encourage her in her walk with the Lord, I want her to know Gods love for her and for her to realize the beautiful gem she is. I will also encourage her in lots of other girl stuff! And share my heart a little about some stuff I had to go through, so that hopefully she doesn’t make some of the same mistakes. I’m so excited about how hers turned out!

I also made 3 smaller individual journals that we are simply calling their Summer Journals. I got inspired from Ann Voskamp’s book ‘One Thousand Gifts‘ and wanted them to at least write one thing per day that they’re thankful for this summer. At first when I told the kids I was making them a thankful journal, Noah, my 10 year old said, “huh?” He asked if he could journal about ‘regular’ stuff too (he’s my writer). So I added in a section for journaling too. And the 3rd and final section is a special spot for them to write to mom & dad (us) if they want to say or ask something. I told them we would randomly check it through-out the summer and write them back. On these, I simply glued cardstock with mod podge and used tabs from Smashbox (Bought both at Michaels). Tomorrow night I’m going to let them decorate however they want with stamps & stickers. Here are our summer journals before the kids decorate them:

And these are the Smashbox tabs:

Here’s section one, Journal:

Here’s section two, Thankful Heart:

And third and final section, Talk to Us:

Okay- and final Summer Fun Project. I love reading and my kids seem to enjoy it too! This year Noah got nominated highest reading points in ALL of Elementary. Let’s just say, I was one proud mamma! I really wanted to encourage them to read over the summer without them feeling like, oh, more work, ya know? So I came up with a plan. We have our own Summer Reading Program! Every time they read an age appropriate chapter book, they get to pick out a toy from the reading treasure box. I went to Michaels and rummaged through their dollar bins. No prize was over $2.00. Then I made a checklist where they write down the books as they read them (simple on Word document). They have already started their summer reading!

Here’s the Reading Treasure Chest:

And here’s our sheet where they log their books:

And here’s the inside of the Reading Treasure Chest. This might also be used if they do something above and beyond this summer- but for now, it’s reading:

Anywho- I’ve rambled enough about my excitement for summer. Be blessed and visit me again soon for my list of kids books for the summer and my own personal summer reading books!