Monday, January 25, 2016

Raising Grateful Kids - book review

    I was fortunate to be chosen this past fall to participate in the book launch group for Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch of We Are THAT Family.  I received an advance version of the book to read over the holiday season.  It gave me a lot to think about, and I can't wait to have my paper copy (that I purchased with my own money) in my hands this week!  The official launch is tomorrow!

Raising Grateful Kids has been an interesting read for me for several reasons, but mostly because my husband and I have already made some counter-cultural choices - and this book addresses how gratefulness has become counter-cultural and entitlement the norm.

Eight years ago, my husband and I started working hard to become debt free, living off of what we earned and not relying on credit.  From there, we have learned so many lessons (and are still learning them!) about wants v. needs, enough v. excess, and being content in our circumstances.  We haven't always made the right choices, and of course - for better or for worse - we are role models for our children.  As he and I learn, change, and make different choices, we are teaching new lessons to our children and ourselves.  It is not always easy - we have made sweeping lifestyle changes over the years - but we are so much happier because we live a bit differently.  Because we have more content in our circumstances, not the circumstances which society says we should create for ourselves.

Of course entitlement hasn't entirely disappeared from our family.  Remember that I mentioned I got the book just before the holidays?  I may have seen some moments of entitlement in our home in the last couple of months. I also saw many, many links to articles online around this same topic, so I know we aren't the only folks who deal with these issues.  But more than that, I've seen examples in our culture that encourage entitled behavior.  How can we fight that?  Maybe you have the entitlement handled, and are simply trying to encourage gratefulness - I know we could definitely do this more in our home.  Either way, I think you might find Kristen's book to be a helpful and interesting read.

Kristen addresses gratefulness and entitlement across several different topics, including wants and needs, technology, and the normalization of that which was previously taboo.  Whether I found confirmation from her words or encouragement to change, each chapter gave me plenty to consider.  There were definitely portions that I needed to read and ponder before I was able to move ahead in the book.  There were some moments when I had to "agree to disagree", but I think that's the mark of a good read - not simply blind agreement with everything written.  Another important note, especially since I have know way of knowing how far this post may go, is that this book, while written from a Christian perspective, can be helpful no matter your level of spirituality.  Entitlement and gratefulness affect each of us.

We've been snowed/iced in for a few days here.  We've cooked, eaten, played outdoors, played card games, played video games, done chores, read books, watched tv, and more.  We have watched the entire season of Fixer Upper with the kids and oohed and aahed over the cool, beautiful, or funky updates that we loved.  We voted on which house families should select and why.  We all enjoyed a show together - and then the "wants" came for a visit.  So then we had a discussion about appreciating the home we have, and perhaps ways we could  make it work better for us that didn't require many thousands of dollars (which don't happen to be in our budget).  You see, teaching gratefulness isn't a one-time lesson.  I'm so thankful to have had the opportunity to read Kristen's book and participate in this book launch - and to have a little more encouragement to continue living against the grain when the "wants" tried to settle in again.

Buy a copy -
Learn more about the author -

Read what others think:
Life in Lape Haven
Let Every Heart

Cranberry Tea Time
(and more to come, I'm sure!)

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

We're home from what I affectionately call "the Southern loop" - the great, not-quite-circular sweep from our home to the homes of the grandparents and back. We slipped in time with three (three!) sets of friends along the way. Our "sweep" looked more like a poorly-thrown pottery pitcher - but I guess that's not really the point!

We started with a few lazy days, which was just what this mama needed. The boys helped grandpa with some work on Uncle J's vintage ride. My boy was under. a. car.  But he thought it was fantastic, and can't wait to do even more work. My girl gets to change the oil on Grandpa's vintage ride next time we are there. I'm sensing a theme, as there's talk of picking up another vintage ride (the very first car I ever drove) as a restoration project. The family that drives vintage together....

While at our first stop, we were able to share a meal with friends who moved away from our area back in the spring. Thankfully, they are just a few hours away - AND near the grandparents- so we get to see them fairly often. We miss them a LOT (and their nieces, too, who we got to see on occasion), but are so happy for their opportunity to grow their respective careers in their new hometown. 

Our next stop - after an across-the-state drive - was meeting my sister at our mom and (step)dad's place. It was just the five of us, as the 'rents were still on their way home from a trip to NOLA!  And next up - Thanksgiving! A table for fourteen, please - with the 'rents and four of the five daughters (and their kids and significant others), it was a wonderfully full house! We met a sweet poodle, Chloe, who needs a new home. I wanted so badly to bring her home with us, but it's just not the right time to add a new, four-legged family member. (If anyone's looking for a 10yo standard poodle, let me know). 

While at our second stop, we connected with friends from home who were on vacation for the holiday week. Our schedules are so busy that we rarely see them outside of school, so it was a treat! It was a party of 8 for putt putt, and the kids were glad to be with friends their own age (they were the only kids at Thanksgiving).  Our kids also helped clean magnolia leaves out of grandma's flower beds and fed the ducks and turtles living in a nearby pond, so we had plenty of ways to #OptOutside on Black Friday. 

The next day, we were on the road again with a detour to see college friends in their new home. They moved in July, and now live close enough that we can make a day trip or stay for the weekend. We stayed for dinner, and then finished the drive home. 

And now, it's our day to "reset" and get ready for a new week. Coming up in just a few days, our boy turns 12! I simply cannot believe it. For today, laundry, groceries, someone has a school project that needs a little bit of attention, and we have to finalize some birthday plans!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

(Re)start your engines!

Hi friends! I think I've still got a few readers left out there ;)

It's time to fire the blog back up! I've got some exciting news. In the past few days, I have been invited to join two (two!!) book launch teams. 

I'll be reading and posting about Brandon Hatmaker's new book, A Mile Wide. I'll also be reading and posting about Raising Grateful Children in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch (of We are THAT Family). 

The timing is peeeerfect! I'll be wrapping up my current group Bible study very soon. I'd been planning on reading All I Really Want: Readings for a Modern Christmas (Quinn G. Caldwell) again this year, which I'll still read, but the opportunity to dig into two new books (because I usually get some reading in over the holiday break) is a gift itself!

Oh, yeah - I do still have that stack of "waiting to be read" books. I don't think they'll mind waiting a little longer - though I am currently moving at a pretty speedy pace through For the Love (J Hatmaker). I've heard parts of it will wreck me (which might have also happened when I read 7), so we shall see. 

So excited to share this news - and to keep sharing through blog and social media! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Snippets of my days...

A few photos from the past week or so. I've been camera-happy, it seems!

Look at that cute fox duct tape! It's giving my retro funky flowers a run for the money. Allllmost bought a roll. The green scroll to the left isn't bad, either!

My favorite fall foliage - burning bush. I love how bright these leaves become, and I'm always a little bummed when the leaves are gone. 

Impromptu visit with a friend. We had some adult beverages and heavy (but needed and good) conversation. I treasure these visits, and I'm so happy we are putting time with each other on our calendars! She's a homeschooling mama to many, so it means the world that she makes time for a visit every other week or so!

I should probably have taken the mommy-van on a Costco-and-groceries run, but I still managed to get everything in the trunk. The front of the car had to have room for people after school pick-up!

My favorite store, REI, has decided to close on Black Friday. Now I love them even more. I do not enjoy the holiday shopping chaos. Give me baking or grocery shopping chaos any day ;) 
(image credit, REI)

We visited the Apple Store in the "big city" and I snapped this shot. I wish I had taken a similar image of sleeping bags hanging up on display at REI (which we also visited on that trip). My other family members love this store about as much as I love REI.

Get thee to Costco and purchase a bag (or two). They are delicious. I'm putting this on my Christmas list. Really. 

Yum. And a splash in your coffee isn't a bad idea, either. 

Blueberry cobbler - a late-evening baking whim. Maybe I should have a small business on the side - cookies, cakes, quick breads, etc. I love to bake waaaay too much!

You guys. Santa brought me one of these last Christmas. I am such a "saver" when it comes to fancy dark chocolate treats - it took me months to finish these. I can't decide if I want another one this year or not. I was going to spring for the grown-up chocolate advent calendar, but it has glutinous ingredients. Boo. 

One of our favorite local restaurants serves some of the best breakfast and brunch I've ever had. My favorite is the Benedict- you can make your own, or try the weekend specials. This is my own recreation with a biscuit and my first try at Hollandaise - not too bad, and lessons learned for next time. Also, not the prettiest egg ever, but overall it was good!

Pretty apples, nice lighting. Ahhh, fall..

In other news, I'm hoping to shuffle a few rooms in the house. Big J's office has moved from the "den" - which will become the guest room/mom cave. Don't worry, the den has a door. Miss M's room will go to the former guest room, and her "old" room may get Mr. J as the new occupant. Whichever room is then vacant will hopefully get some use as a craft space while I get some scrap booking caught up. So very far behind, I don't want to talk about it - but I have the supplies just sitting there, and I want to get them caught up and get all of the memorabilia either tucked away or tossed. My goal is to keep the most meaningful items and get rid of things that are truly not important or loved and enjoyed. We will see how it goes, as this (the room-moving more than the scrap booking) is not a solo project! But I'm very excited about the "new" guest room.