A Measure of Thankfulness


It is easy give thanks.  They are words we say, lists our lips speak around the Thanksgiving Table.

Family. Home. Health. Friendships. Faith. Travel. Opportunities. Blessings.

Giving Thanks With A Grateful Heart, however, seems just a touch more difficult.

To GIVE THANKS is to speak.

To BE GRATEFUL is an act of the heart.

It means that we mean our thanks, deeply, truly.  With all of our soul. Maybe that is easy?  The list above is beautiful, sweet, full, joyous.  We can deeply feel the thanks.  But God asks us to give thanks in all circumstances:

Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18

So what about the list that comes from that?

Sickness. Death. Pain. Broken Dreams. Loss. Sadness. Loneliness. Unwanted Change.

We are asked to give thanks when things go well, and not so well in life.

We can, possibly, maybe on our best day, do that.

But with a Grateful Heart also?

I ran into an old friend at Costco the other day. We used to teach together and hadn’t seen each other for about fifteen years. She reminded me as we caught up that her son, a junior in high school at the time, died in a car crash shortly after I left the school where we taught.  As she recalled that night she said, “The moment I found out my son had died, I cried out to God, ‘God, thank you for all the years that you gave him to me.”

These were not just words. My friend had a grateful heart.  She meant her thanks.  She deeply meant it because all those moments of his life now were infinitely more precious to her since he was gone.

I think Giving Thanks With A Grateful Heart means we MEAN our thanks….from the bottom of our soul.  In life’s highest highs and lowest lows.  We are deeply, deeply thankful for it all because we believe that God is Good In All Circumstances, and that he will bring healing and blessings out of our trials.

Pain has nuggets of peace within….Gratefulness is the pan that sifts peace to the top.

May we Give Thanks With A Grateful heart today! We have so so much to be thankful for.





GraceFullHome Update


It is good to be back.beach pic

I took a break from blogging starting at the beginning of this past summer to focus on the kids being home from school along with the YouTube channel I had started for middle school girls.  I fully intended to start writing when the fall school bells rang, but then we decided to put our house on the market in early September which turned into a story that is too long to share right now (future post on
that coming…).

We just took our house off the market and I have decided that I need to choose between writing (which is food for my soul) and shooting videos (which feels like exercise–a good thing but not always so enjoyable).  While both are valuable endeavors, one of the most important lessons I have learned in 2015 is that for every “Yes” there is a “No.”  If I say “yes” to both, then something else sacrifices….my part time job which brings in needed income, my energy and time available to my kids, my ability to fully be present for my husband in the important areas of our life.

There are SO many great opportunities that we have in life.  That is the gift.  The challenge is to pick which few deserve our time.

I have learned to ask myself–does this activity, project, effort bring me joy and excitement?  Or does it cause me stress and sometimes dread–even if it is a GREAT thing to put effort into?  I believe God has given us gifts and talents to use for His joy and good purposes…and as a result they will bring us the same in return….joy and good purpose.

So I am saying yes to GraceFullHome and no to HairstylesandHallways.  While I love the idea of speaking into the lives of tweens and teens, I have to choose to listen to my heart which knows there is something better for my time and energy investment.  Yet, I want to finish that effort well, so I am wrapping up that project with three videos on Dating and Middle School.  I believe this is so important to talk about with our girls, as they are in such malleable and formative years.

I have big plans for GraceFullhome in 2016–including a total re-brand with a new look, new topics, and hopefully a lot of content that is practical and inspirational for you!

Here is the Dating video if you want to check it out!





Silencing The Most Critical Person In Your Life

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When you think of someone who tends to be the critical voice in your life, who comes to mind? Is it a friend, a parent, a child, or a boss? Who is that person who is never pleased with your efforts, who makes comments that sting and guilt?  That person you are thinking of…make an imaginary list and put them at the top.

Then, just bump that person in the number one spot down….way, way down.  And replace your name with theirs.

“What? No…there are other people who are way more critical of me–than me.”

Really?  How often are those people critical?  Once every couple of years, maybe a few times a year?

Probably peanuts compared to how often you criticize yourself–my guess is daily…even hourly.  Think about the voices in your head. Do they praise your efforts in parenting, cheer you on when you make a mistake, whisper words of encouragement on your housekeeping, cooking, marriage relationship,  job performance? Or, are they more like mine:

“Well that parenting moment didn’t go so well did it?  You didn’t keep calm–you let your emotions win over self-control and then there went the volume on your words.  Now your message was not received because your child is upset and angry.  Way to go.”

“Darn, you blew it with the communication with your husband again.  All those things you were going to try to do next time a hard subject came up–listen before speaking, don’t get angry, try to understand his position before making yours known–well, what happened there?  Will this ever get easier?”

“You didn’t make enough of a dent in your to-do list today– your house is messy, the laundry is not put away (again), and you didn’t get the grocery shopping done.  No toilet paper for everyone tonight!  Wait…do we have enough Kleenex?  You better do more tomorrow.”

Think about it.  There is no one in your life who will give you a running list of critical comments everyday on all subjects like your own self.

Lets take it one step farther. When we talk to ourselves this way, we live on an island of self-sufficiency.  There is no solution unless we change and do better.  Which often feels hopeless. Where does God fit into this picture of messy life?  Let me show you:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. ~John 14.27

 But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. ~ Isaiah 40:31

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  ~ 1 Corinthians 12-9-10    

In our barrage of self-deprecating remarks we completely cut God out of the equation. We limit him powerless to help us because our own voices muzzle his work in our lives. But look at His promises–to renew our strength, give us peace, His power in our weakness, to take away our fear.

What if we spoke different, better words to ourselves.

“Just because I have a less than perfect response to my child it doesn’t mean I have failed.  God has the power to give me patience and wisdom in my parenting journey–I just need to ask and invite him into this situation! I will remember that God loves me and my child and is bigger than my parenting flaws.”

“Lord, you know I struggle with wanting to be right. Forgive me for my pride and self-sufficiency in my marriage. Give me courage next time to defer my way. I know you love me and I’m a work in progress.”

“Tomorrow I will give my to-do list to God in the morning. I will ask him to help me manage my time and keep me focused on his plan for my day. I will get done the housekeeping that I can, but I will have grace for myself when I don’t accomplish it all. My home and homemaking doesn’t need to look perfect–God cares much more about me having margin for joy and energy with my family than to be a ragged mom striving to keep up with imaginary Pinterest perfection.” 

When we change the way we speak to ourselves, we change how we invite God into our moments and struggles.

Here is a three step process to changing the voices in your head:

  1.  Confess your sin/issue/struggle to God
  2. Invite Him into the situation. Ask for wisdom, hope, guidance…whatever you need
  3. Resolve to move forward, even to do better, but not on our own–with God, and with kinder self-talk.

What kind of self-talk can you invite God into?  How might it look different?

Let’s silence the inner critic today :)




The Parenting Battles We Should Choose To Fight


little women

Tonight I made a parenting decision that I’m not sure would score high on the “How To Do Parenting” scale (where can I find that by the way?).  Yet, I am glad of the decision.

I forced my thirteen-year old daughter and fourteen-year old son to watch the movie Little Women.

Yup, forced. Laid down the law.  Made butts sit on couch next to mine.

This typically isn’t my parenting style, but I had just reached my limit of You Tube “Tutorials” and “Epic Fails.”

It is actually a compromise on my part as I see it, since I have been completely unsuccessful at convincing my children that reading classics is well worth their time.

So a movie it was.

There was dissension and moaning, which my realistic mind realizes is normal for this age group when asked to do something mature and good for the intellect.  That they would desire to be well versed in the romantic story line of Meg and her courting of Laurie’s tutor or to be excited to understand the historical significance of children trading “limes” at school and the family’s struggle to make ends meet during war times is just too much to expect…but I still do!

Virtue over wealth! Pushing against confining gender roles—oh the themes!

And then I am disappointed when my two teens keep calling to the dog in a high pitched squeal over Jo’s soliloquy of her newly written manuscript.

But wait, during the final minutes of Beth’s life a question is asked by my daughter with hushed silence in the room,”Why didn’t the other sisters who got Scarlet Fever as young children die of it then?”

And somehow I feel like I have won, this little tiny victory. My children will be able to speak of with some knowledge when met with future commentary or reference about Scarlet Fever and Mary Louise Alcott’s classic.  Possibly with a little scarring. But they will remember it.

And all the other battles I fight or choose not to this week will be okay because of this small champion. History, family, modesty, poverty, love, pain, perseverance, joy—all in a story.  It’s worth it.

Often in parenting we feel like we are fighting our children, when really we are fighting FOR what is good for them.  It feels like a battle we choose against them because their natural tendency in the teen years is to push back.  We must remember that the battle is not about us winning and them losing, but about the things that are good and virtuous and right winning over in their lives.

And for you, what will you put your stake in the ground this week as your parenting non-negotiable?  That is the battle you must choose.

Roll the credits.


Summer Mornings–Something For Your Inbox

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Hello! It is certainly summer around here–I know because on my to do list which has multiple tasks (including posting here) there are only four each day that seem to be accomplished–writing a new to-do list in hopes to accomplish more than yesterday, waiting for my kids to wake up so I can know who I am driving where and why, grocery shopping (again! where does all the food go in the summer!), and packing or unpacking from latest camping trip or summer outing.

The 30 other items on the to-do list continue to wait-not so patiently-for me.

One thing I do love about summer, however, is the mornings.  They are relaxed and lazy (for my kids) which means I have total choice in when I wake up and how I spend the quiet moments before sleepy bodies come down the stairs looking for sustenance.

This morning, for example, I am sitting at about 10,000 feet in the mountains of Breckenridge, CO, on the couch of a beautiful home that we are staying in for the week with some dear family friends.  In front of me is a large picture window with this view:



The sliding glass door is cracked a bit and the cool mountain morning air is drifting in.  It is a little slice of heaven.

On these mornings, I have my routine.  Eat a bowl of Wheat Chex, and then snuggle under a throw with my bible and devotional.  When I am finished with those, I lift the top to my computer and begin my routine there–deleting spammy emails, and then opening the two devotionals that appear in my inbox every morning.  One of them is a daily marriage prayer…I love it because it is short and sweet, but gives me great perspective to enter the day.  I am posting today’s prayer below, and if you would like to see it in your inbox each morning also, click the link I posted at the bottom.





Dear Heavenly Father,

Some days we feel helpless–helpless over the state of our marriage, our finances, our employment, our health, our family, and our friendships.

It’s during those times that we realize we can’t control our surroundings. It’s also then that we realize our need for Christ and the power of Your Holy Spirit working within us.

Without You we are helpless, but with You we’re triumphant!

You give us beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

Empty us of our sorrow, our fear, and our doubt, so that we might be filled with power and praise.

In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. – Isaiah 61:1-3

 Written By Darlene Schacht

To subscribe to the Marriage Prayer of the Day, click here.


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