A Grateful Heart + A Free Tee!

I received this shirt to review from Cents of Style. This post contains affiliate links.

There is a spirit in the air that only comes around each November. We can see and feel it on social media, in communities, in homes. When we enter the month of Thanksgiving, a spirit of gratitude magically appears and I find it one of the happiest times of the year to interact with people!

All you have to do is log on to Facebook to see daily posts giving thanks for family, friends, food, and more. Social media platforms that are commonly used for complaining and criticizing are transformed by hearts full of gratitude. Yes, I love this time of year, but I also wish our hearts were this focused on thanksgiving year round.

A grateful heart can change so many things. I’ve looked at the act of giving thanks so differently since being inspired by Ann Voskamp’s counting of 1000 gifts. Looking for the gifts all round us each and every day positively impacts our attitude, family, friends, work, minsitry, and so on.

Friends, let’s carry our grateful hearts with us past Thanksgiving this year. I have just the shirt to keep gratitude fresh in your mind all year round!

Cents of Style has the best graphic tees around and that is true once again with their Grateful heart tee!

This classic fit tee with a message of gratitude comes in three colors and fits true to size (I wear a size small).

Did I mention you can get this tee FREE this weekend?!

The Grateful Heart shirt in the color of your choice is yours FREE with ANY $29.95 purchase, + FREE SHIPPING! Just use the code FREETEE after you have items totaling over $29.95 in your cart! Anything on the Cents of Style site is fair game – any purchase that totals $29.95 qualifies for the free t-shirt!

Here are steps for purchase:
1- Find products you love (jewelry, clothes, shoes, whatever you have to have) and add it to your cart.
2- When the cart totals $29.95, add the Grateful Heart shirt from our Fashion Friday to the cart.
3- Hit Checkout.
4- Put the code FREETEE in the “Gift Card or Discount Code” Box to make your t-shirt FREE!

If you’re looking for items to fill your cart, these hilarious food tees are perfect for Thanksgiving lounging!

I have to admit I just went over to Cents of Style to look around and there are SO many new things to love – you’ll have no trouble hitting that $29.95 mark to get your free tee! Happy shopping!

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Thankful, Grateful, Blessed, and a FREE Tee!

I received this shirt to review. I was not compensated in any other way and all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

Thankful. Grateful. Blessed.

Do you know what these words make me feel?

These three words make me feel cozy. Warm and fuzzy.

Maybe it’s because we talk a lot in the fall about thankful, but I think it goes deeper than that.

Gratitude does not come naturally to us. It is something we must practice frequently in order to make it a more regular part of our lives. I became more fully aware of just how little I was giving thanks for the things around me when I first encountered the writings of Ann Voskamp. Her simple, but powerful idea of counting the gifts in our days changed everything.

Here is what I found: when I am deliberately looking for the gifts in my life AND giving thanks for them, I can’t help but be filled with joy. I feel warm and cozy, wrapped in the knowledge that God’s love is everywhere in my life, present in sunrise and dishes dirtied by my children and the kiss from my husband as he gets home from work.

When I’m giving thanks, I am lighter, not weighed down by the stress, but lifted by gratitude. This changes not only how I feel, but how I act:

“A life contemplating the blessings of Christ becomes a life acting the love of Christ.” – Ann Voskamp

I can tell you that in this season of life, the thanksgiving has slowed greatly as busyness takes its place. It shows up in how I feel and how I treat those around me. Then this shirt showed up on my doorstep:

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I think Cents of Style has been reading my mind because I just had to smile and know God was sending me a message with this shirt. The answer to happiness isn’t in doing more or having more – it’s in the gratitude for what we already have surrounding us. I started looking for gifts and wouldn’t you know? I felt warm and cozy and happy because I have so much to be thankful for, even in a stressful season.

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“Eucharisteo—thanksgiving—always precedes the miracle.” – Ann Voskamp

This is it, friends. We give thanks because it shifts our focus off of us and gives glory to God, and then comes the miracle – we are changed. Thanksgiving isn’t just a day on the calendar – it is an every day act that will transform us.

And this shirt? You can get it FREE today!

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Sorry. I get a little excited about Cents of Style deals. This weekend, when you spend $25, you will get this tee FREE!

Here’s how it works:

  • Find products you love (jewelry, clothes, shoes, whatever you have to have) and add them to your cart.
  • When the cart totals $25 or more, add the Thankful Grateful Blessed shirt from the Fashion Friday page to the cart.
  • Hit Checkout.
  • Put the code THANKFUL1 in the “Gift Card or Discount Code” Box to make your t-shirt FREE!

Remember: the code is THANKFUL1 and it will make this brand new t-shirt FREE with any $25 purchase, + FREE SHIPPING! Anything on the Cents of Style site is fair game – any purchase that totals $25 qualifies for the free t-shirt!

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Pick out $25 of great items, grab your free tee, and let’s practice gratitude together right now!

What are you thankful for today?

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Day 30: The Secret to NOT Trying to Have It All {Part 1}

31 Days of NOT Having It All Banner

There are two key secrets to keep in mind if we want to stop trying to “have it all.” After going through many things we don’t HAVE to do or have this month, these two secrets are actually quite simple, but must be brought to our minds often in order to do their magic.

Secret #1 to Stop Trying to Have It All:

Gratitude.

Yep. It’s that simple.

It’s really hard to be discontent or want more when you are practicing regular gratitude.

Eucharisteo as Ann Voskamp says. The counting of our gifts. Discovering the blessings right in front of us. Giving thanks to the Giver of all good things.

Secret to Having It All

When I took Ann’s Joy Dare, counting three gifts a day for an entire year, I felt a shift and this is why…

Giving thanks in all things is how to pray continually — and this is the way to get to the joy. ~Ann Voskamp

I’ve had lapses in the Joy Dare throughout the year and that’s when the discontent and comparison creep in. It usually takes me a little while to realize it, but once I get back on track, those feelings get swept away pretty quickly. And they are replaced with joy. I stop TRYING to have it all and realize I already do.

So let’s start practicing secret #1 right now. No delay. Share three blessings. The first three that come to mind. And encourage a friend to do the same. Let’s fight the discontent + comparison bug by spreading gratitude + joy!

 

This post is part of the series, 31 Days of NOT Having It All. You can find the rest of the posts in this series here!

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My Life Isn’t Perfect

There is a lot of talk everywhere I turn about being “real” with another and I am ALL about it. When the life you live in front of others is different than the life you ACTUALLY live, there’s a problem. Showing a “perfect” life to your friends and readers and co-workers may make you look better, but it won’t make people like you more. In fact, putting up a perfect facade will most likely push people away because no one can relate to perfect.

I have actually had people say the words, “Your life is so perfect,” to me before and it made me upset for two reasons.

  1. My life is NOT perfect.
  2. I don’t want it to ever come off like my life is perfect.

Here’s where I get into a dilemma.

I am an extrovert who likes people and sharing life and wants people to like me…

AND I want other women and moms and Christians to know that I struggle with the same things they do…

BUT I don’t want to come off as a complainer or downer…

AND I don’t think everyone needs to know ALL of the mud and slime I’m working through as I walk with Jesus…

So…

Where do I draw the line?

How do I “be real” with others, but not dwell on the yuck?

How do I show the world the countless ways Jesus has blessed me without coming off as having a “perfect,” unrelatable life?

And what about building up and protecting my family and friends with my words – does choosing to talk only positively about them make people think all is perfect?

This is what I’ve come to as my answer to this conundrum:

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When I write here, there is no false front being put up. I’ve written about my struggle with yelling and shown you my dirty dishes. I’m keeping it real here.

But I also feel like this is my place to celebrate the blessings of God, especially our families, so that’s where my focus is going to be! I don’t write a whole lot of deep posts about the hard stuff because that’s just not me – just ask anyone who has met me in person! I LOVE a good, deep talk with friends {small talk is NOT my thing}, but I am generally a pretty positive person all round, so what you read here is what you get in real life.

I have plenty of days when my run didn’t go as well and the kids wouldn’t stop complaining about chores and the little one is STILL sick – those days DO happen. Just yesterday in fact.

And the negative was all I thought about, until God sent The Hubby and a good friend to basically say the same thing – “Yep. That stuff stinks. I hear you. But it was just one day. And a lot of things you are upset about are not in your control. And God still loves you and He is GOOD.” {my own paraphrase}

So that’s where I’m dwelling. Not in the perfect life, but in the perfect God.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. ~Philippians 4:8

And if anyone approaches me with that dreaded line about a perfect life again, I know just what to say…

My life isn’t perfect, but my God is. I choose to dwell on His blessings, not my imperfections.

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End Your Day Like The Robertsons

I have two words for you today:

Duck. Dynasty.

Please tell me you’ve watched it. If you haven’t, just head over to the A&E website right now and watch an episode. Or two. Or five. I bet you can’t stop at just one.

The show follows the Robertsons, a Louisiana family who struck it rich making duck calls. When I met Korie, wife of the CEO of Duck Commander and a main “character” on Duck Dynasty, at dotMOM in September, I had never watched a single episode. I hardly knew what it was about.

After several lovely conversations with Korie and her mom, Chrys, I decided to give the show a try. Then I showed it to The Hubby. I could hear him laughing from two floors away.

We’re hooked.

It’s quotes like this that have us in stitches…

“Frog catchin’ is the most fun a human being can have on this earth.” ~Jase

“Parenting is a constant struggle between making your kids’ lives better and ruining your own.” ~Willie

“I am the MacGyver of cooking. If you bring me a piece of bread, cabbage, coconut, mustard greens, pigs feet, pine cones…and a woodpecker, I’ll make you a good chicken pot pie.” ~Uncle Si

“Squirrel brains make you smart.” ~Miss Kay

Well, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Anyway, the show is super funny, but that is not the point of this post.

The Robertsons are big on faith and family. Every episode ends with the family gathered around the dinner table. Phil leads the family in a prayer, and then Willie sums up the episode with a lesson learned.

I’m thinking it would do every family some good to end each day like the Robertsons.

1. Gather for a meal. Breaking bread binds us together. That’s why Jesus did it so often with his disciples. It’s not a coincidence that many of my favorite memories of family get togethers include us sharing a meal. Willie {Duck Commander CEO} talks more in the book The Duck Commander Family about just how important family dinner was to shaping who is he and what he values.

2. Say a prayer of thanks. Prayer and gratitude are two of the most powerful forces out there. And neither one is focused on ourselves. They are focused on our Creator and Provider. Speaking words of gratitude help dispel the negativity of the day and bring right perspective.

3. Reflect on the lessons learned from the day, both good and bad. Looking back over the day and distinguishing the good from the bad helps us move forward. If we just plod from day to day, never taking time to assess what worked and what didn’t, we will make the same mistakes over and over again. And sharing our “lessons learned” with the family brings accountability into the picture. You know how strongly I feel about that!

Around here, dinner can be a somewhat stressful time with two slow, highly-distractable, picky eaters and a super-active baby {just being real!}, but the Robertsons have inspired us to use dinner time to connect and reflect. I am working on taking a deep breath as we sit down, giving sincere thanks to God for His provision and love, and sharing the highs and lows of our day together.

Those Robertsons have the right idea.

*****

What does family dinner time look like at your house? What do you WANT it to look like?

 

*This post contains affiliate links.

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From Where I Sit: Giving Thanks

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

November is known to bring out extra expressions of gratitude, but we really are to be giving thanks at all times.

So I’m sitting here in my home, working out my thankful muscles by counting TEN blessings I can see right now…

1. Baby toys spread out on the floor.

2. Sunshine peeking through the blinds.

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3. My Cheerio-eating, Cheerio-dropping littlest.

4. Overflowing blanket basket.

5. The fireplace.

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6. A new Bible story book the boys and I read and laughed over last night.

7. Elephant stuffed animals {Did you know elephants are my favorite?!}.

8. Big brothers quietly eating breakfast.

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9. Train Like a Mother.

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10. My first fall mantle.

Your turn! Give thanks for ten things you can see RIGHT NOW! Go!

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Get your FREE 31 Family Ties Printable this week to hang up in your home as a reminder!

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*This post contains affiliate links.

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31 Days: Picture This… {And 31 Days of Thanks!}

There is one simple activity that has brought me to a place of true gratitude for my family more than almost anything else:

Looking through pictures.

I find this to be especially true after a family trip, a big birthday party, or even a field trip with the kiddos. These kind of activities, while fun, often leave me feeling drained. But that weariness seems to diminish when I look at images I have captured of our family in action!

Whether I’m browsing through them myself or with The Hubby or kids, I am flooded with gratitude at the images on my screen and here’s why…

1. Pictures allow me step back and really see my children outside of my daily mothering duties.

In a picture, I catch personality glimpses I may have missed while trying to keep an eye all three kiddos. I notice little things that are hard to catch in the day-to-day, like the way the older two stick out their tongue when working hard on something or the expressions on their faces as they discuss something out of my earshot.

2. Pictures emphasize the positive in my children.

Like how stinking cute they are. How can I not smile when I look at those faces and the precious – or precarious – things they are doing?!

3. Pictures serve as “stones.”

Just as God commanded Joshua and the Israelites to set up stones to remember what He had done for them {Joshua 4}, pictures are “stones” or milestone-markers for me. I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of thanksgiving as I look through photos of birthdays and gatherings and “firsts” and backyard fun and so on. Memories pour back into my mind when I flip through pictures, both old and new, and my internal “blessings meter” goes through the roof!

Photography leads me to a place where I am more grateful for my husband, children, and family as a whole.

And for that form of strengthening of my family, I am even more thankful.

*****

Family Tie #25: Take lots of pictures and look at them more often! You don’t need a fancy camera – use whatever you have and snap away! And as you look back through them, thank God for each blessing in those moments frozen in time!

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To keep up with this 31 Days series, you can sign up to get each post sent right to your inbox for FREE! I will also link to them at the bottom of this post as they go live!

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31 Days of ThanksThis post is also a part of 31 Days of Thanks, a wonderful month-long blogger celebration of gratitude organized by Meg from Homeschoolin Mama! So blessed to be included in this fun!

As part of the festivities, there are a TON of prizes being given away! Here’s a look at this week’s prize package:

Amazing, right?! And there are new prizes every week – a $1450 value total! Talk about celebrating Thanksgiving the right way!

Just use Rafflecopter below to enter and make sure to follow this great series all the way through for new prizes every week!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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They Get Me

It’s Friday morning. I’m headed to a new Bible study I just started last week. Childcare is provided at the same location. {Hallelujah!} And the Bible study is with several other wives of residents.

We’re actually doing a Bible study about being a doctor’s wife. I could not have thought of a better way to start off our three years of residency than studying the Word of God and discussing our unique situations together.

Although I don’t know them well yet, this group of women is an answer to prayer.

I’ve never been one that has a hard time connecting with other women, but moving away from our home and church family of 12+ years, my prayer was to meet other women who really GET me.

God has always provided this in the past, so I shouldn’t be surprised that He is doing so again…

I have a best friend who knows my dislike of small talk and feels the exact same way. Let’s not waste time with any of that – life is too short to talk about “nothing.” With us, there is no fluff. There is no beating-around-the-bush. Real is all you get when we are together.

She totally gets me.

As a mama of two boys who grew up with no brothers, I found myself wondering what in the world I was doing raising these crazy, wonderful little men. Enter The MOB Society. Boom – 8,000+ boy moms sharing in the chaos and joy of bringing up boys. Boy moms wanting to raise strong, godly men who will take a stand for Jesus. I feel surrounded by wisdom and camraderie there.

Those boy mamas really get me, even if they have no idea who I am.

Then there was the time we decided to start homeschooling. God put just the right women in my life who would be starting the same journey. We get the fact that the life of a homeschool mom is hard and awesome and tiring and blessed and very hard to describe.

We get each other.

Now, I have these doctors’ wives. From just one Bible study meeting, the consensus was clear. We need this time together because we GET what each other is going through. There were lots of heads nodding in understanding as life stories were told – the journeys that led us to all be in a common place.

Nothing sounded unfamiliar as we discussed our current lives and schedules. And on top of it all, we all love Jesus and want to walk more fully in His calling for us as medical spouses.

One meeting and I can tell we GET one another.

Near or far, in person or online, new or old, each one of these is a blessing straight from heaven because we are on a similar path. I feel community and normalcy when I interact with these beautiful women.

It’s a good thing to be “got” and get through this life together.

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Which connections are you most thankful for in your life? Is there an area in which you really need someone to “get” you? I would love to pray for you today!



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Grace In All Forms

Today, I am thankful for grace in all its forms.

Have a blessed Sunday, friends!

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The Wait Is Over!

And the wait was TOTALLY worth it…

Baby Boy 3.0 finally made his appearance into this world Wednesday, March 7th at 6:20 p.m….

He weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces and measured 20 3/4 inches long – bigger than his brothers were!

And we shall call him Double J 🙂 {Big J, Little J, and Double J}

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your prayers and sweet words – YOU are such a blessing to us!

Now, excuse me while I go back to snuggling… {more birth details and a plethora of pictures sometime this week!}

 

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