Move that Mountain

Move that Mountain
First Published at 1st Corinthians 13 Parenting.com on April 17, 2015

I stood in the middle of a room full of women, all different ages represented, all gathered for a prayer retreat, taking time to worship together, singing Christy Nockel’s song, Waiting Here for You.

In our busy lives that are so hard to get away from, a full day carved out of the calendar seemed impossible to attain. I was ready for solitude and thinking about things I needed to chat about with God. Things that feel like there will never be an answer to. Impossible situations. But then I started singing this song and looked out the large window and in my view was the majestic snow capped Pikes Peak.

Pikes Peak is the same mountain that in 1893 inspired a young English teacher named Katherine Lee Bates to pen words to a poem that turned into the beloved song “God Bless America”. I grew up in Colorado Springs which is the city at the base of this mountain. I remember as a little girl staring out the front window of our living room in awe of it’s grandeur and beauty. As a college kid, I would hike up various trails that led me to the top of the mountain and I could look out over the city in awe.

There have been times in my life where I have faced mountains.

Literally. I grew up in Colorado and spent many hours of my life in the Rocky Mountains, but also figuratively as I look back at various trials in my life. There was a day several years ago when I stood looking at this same mountain and feeling as if the trial I faced was as large and rugged as Pikes Peak and that I would never be able to conquer it. I remember reading in the book of Psalms and God’s Word says “the mountains melt like wax”. That was my prayer that day. I was in the middle of treatment for breast cancer and was struggling with health and what felt like an uncertain future.

Standing today staring at this mountain I was reminded of God’s faithfulness and praising him for being 9 years cancer free.

A mountain moved!

I will continue my time of prayer sitting on a front porch in a rocking chair, looking at my beloved Pikes Peak, thankful I love and serve a faithful God who is capable of moving mountains.

Are you facing a “mountain” of a situation? Be reminded that nothing is impossible with God, nothing!

I lift my eyes toward the mountains.
Where will my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1,2 HCSB
FullSizeRender

9 Things I learned from Sports

First published at 1 Cornithians 13 Parenting.com on March 17, 2015

” Its the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”

sports1-300x300

I grew up in the 1970’s and most Saturdays we sat down as a family to watch ABC’s Wide World of Sports. The opening segment was always the same, dramatic music playing while various athletes raised their arms in victory and then the next clip showing a skier catching an edge and flipping end over end until he lies in a heap of defeat. The announcer saying, “ It’s the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” It was something I looked forward to watching every week.

It was also the era of women’s gymnastics with the likes of Olga Korbut and Nadia Comaneci. I aspired to be like them. I was part of a gymnastics club and at the age of 5 I started practicing everyday and had childhood aspirations of going to the Olympics. I trained hard and had a lot of success taking my turn at the podium with my arms raised in victory. I competed until I was 18 so I also had my share of not standing on the podium and sitting in the stands defeated or injured. Both situations shaped who I would become as an adult and I am very thankful for the role sports has played in my life.
In the last few years I have had the privilege of watching my kids participate in sports and I can tell you the lessons they have learned from competing, being part of a team, stretching their bodies and minds to compete at high levels has been inspiring.

Sports has a way of uniting groups of people in community like nothing else. ( Just ask my fellow Denver Bronco fans).
I know there is a lot of negative press about athletes too and that yes you can learn discipline from music and art as well, and I would agree. However, for those of us who have pushed through adversity and performed beyond ourselves, there is something unique and special about that.
We have entered the Month of March and in the US that means March Madness and all of our TV’s and phones are tuned into the college basketball world. A few years ago I was talking with a friend of mine, who happens to be my pastor, and he came up with a list of what he has learned from sports inspired by watching the Final Four tournament. I have added to that and with his permission I will share our list.
There is no substitute for hard work and attention to detail.
Teamwork is the building block for future relationships.
Passion makes a BIG difference.
Practice and commitment create great time management skills.
We all need coaches to get the most out of us.
There are rules and referees that, if not followed, will bring disqualification.
Without discipline and commitment you cannot become great.
There’s offense and defense, not just offense, and not just defense. You need to become good at both.
Winning and losing are both realities and you must learn to deal with both.
Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1b
To the kids on the soccer fields and the parents who are driving them around town, to the high school and college athletes, to the few who become elite and the weekend warriors they become, be thankful for what you have learned and will be learning from the wide world of sports!

What would you add to the list?

Forever Blessings

First published at 1st Corinthians13Parenting.com 2-20-2015Forever-Blessings-300x300

I was handed a beautifully embroidered silk pouch and tucked inside was a gleaming gold charm, a Chinese symbol. How could she have known, was this a sign from God? Those are the thoughts that raced through my mind as I continued to stare at my new treasure. My sister-in-law was the one who had given me this present and there was no way she could have known that her brother (my husband ) and I were spending every morning in prayer. Should we adopt a little girl from China? A co-worker who worked at a missionary organization had brought back charms from Asia and my sister-in-law picked one out for different members of her family. We found out that I had received the “Fu” charm – it represents double happiness and forever blessings in the Chinese culture.

I came home and showed my husband and of course we both laughed thinking God has a sense of humor. I proceeded to place the charm on a gold chain and wore it everyday. It was a reminder to pray for our decision and also pray for orphaned baby girls in China. Our prayers became a reality when we began the process of our adoption. Eighteen months of paperwork, prayers, tears, and more paperwork ensued until the day we received a phone call from our adoption agency telling us we had been placed with our child and she was healthy and beautiful and we would be traveling in two weeks. I was able to see her picture that day and look into those beautiful brown eyes. I have never been so overwhelmed by God’s goodness and the amazing way in which he put all the details together allowing me to be the mom to this precious baby half a world away. We were told that day that her Chinese name was Yi Yong Fu. The adoption representative looked me in the eye and said, “Her name means Forever Blessings, just like the charm you are wearing around your neck.” Tears were streaming down my face as I realized that every morning when I touched my gold “Fu” charm and prayed for the orphans in China and for my little girl, I really was praying for Fu.

We traveled two weeks later and the afternoon our daughter was placed in our arms, the first thing she did was reach for my necklace. I kissed her little red cheeks and she kissed me back. I was in love! We were told later in the day that her care giver at the orphanage had given her the nickname, Fu Fu. Double happiness, forever blessings!The charm is now tucked away in its beautiful little pouch waiting to be shared with my daughter when she is older and as a forever reminder of God’s goodness and my thankfulness that He cares about the details.
Blessed is she who has believed
what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!
Luke 1:45

Travel Light

Travel Light

First Published at 1st Corinthians 13 Parenting on January 21, 2015

“Please place the heaviest bag on the scale.”

This was the instruction from the lady standing behind the ticket counter as we began our process of checking in for our international flight. Of course all eyes from my family locked in on me as I sheepishly gave a shrug and with all my might flung my bag onto the scale. 51.3 pounds, 1.3 pounds over the limit. I quickly unzipped my bag and started distributing shoes and my make-up bag into my children’s bags. I then noticed swim goggles, books, and suntan lotion had all been tucked into my bag as well. I again redistributed the load and weighed in at a very light 46 pounds.

Lesson # 1 Just like in life, it is better if we don’t carry a burdensome load. Allow others to help in the process. Distribute the responsibility. This works well in my family as well as in my leadership responsibilities at work.

I then make my way to the terminal and stop to purchase a bottle of water and a magazine. One clerk is bright and cheery and the other is very grumpy and rude leaving her co-worker to say to me, “I am so sorry, something must be wrong. She is never crabby.”

Lesson # 2 When we hold onto “baggage” it robs us of the joy of truly being present and interacting with those we love as well as those we come in contact with every day.

I continue my walk to the gate and in front of me is a very enthusiastic three-year-old little girl. She is so excited to be traveling. She is skipping and twirling and talking to strangers. She is stopping to look at all the display cases of gadgets and goods most people don’t even see. She stops at a beautiful painting and stares at it, causing me to stop and look too. Taking in this colorful painting and listening to the excitement of this little girl describing it to her mom made the painting come to life with a vibrancy I am sure I would not have experienced if it weren’t for the commentary of this little girl.

Lesson # 3 Enjoy the journey. Much joy can be found in all the twists and turns life has to offer if we just open our eyes to see and have faith that God’s plan for our life is better than we could ever imagine. What if we didn’t always look to the final destination but enjoyed the journey it takes to get there.

I caught up to my family with a new sense of excitement about the trip and all it had to offer each step of the way. I am approaching the new year with the same anticipation.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew 11: 29 – 30

NOT SO PERFECT CHRISTMAS

Not-So-Perfect-Christmas-300x300

First Published at 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting.com

Oh the stress of trying to be perfect! We all know there is no such thing, right?! But why do we try so hard to make our lives seem perfect when they aren’t even close. Christmas time just magnifies this ten fold, doesn’t it?

Standing in line at the post office yesterday was eye opening.

I’m not sure it is a good idea to put a lot of people in a tight space with heavy boxes and ask them to stand in line with strangers and be cordial for over an hour, someone is going to get cranky. In front of me was the sweet mom with two adorable little kids in matching snowflake sweaters. Her boxes were organized and she had all the tags matching and color coordinated, her forms were filled out, and she appeared to be on her A game. The guy in front of her, not so much. He juggled boxes and made numerous phone calls to try and get a correct address for his sister, much to the annoyance of the crowd as he began to use not so nice language and stormed out of line bumping into others as he left the building in a rage. The older gentleman behind me appeared to be immune to it all as he read his book and smiled politely at me.

For those of you who know me, you know it is impossible for me to stand in a line and not try and talk to somebody! So I made small talk with the toddlers and shared high altitude baking tips with the organized mom. I didn’t want to disturb the gentleman reader so I once again politely smiled and then he said, “You know what everyone’s problem is? They want Christmas to be perfect and it was never meant to be that.” He put his nose in his book and looked very serious.
A few moments passed in silence and then he said, “Baby Jesus is why we celebrate Christmas and yes he was perfect.”

I bravely said, “I agree,” which began a few stares and some uncomfortable shifting of boxes.

A meaningful and at times spirited conversation ensued amongst my new postal acquaintances.

Some of us believed in Jesus and others said they didn’t. They all agreed they liked to hear “Merry Christmas” and they all agreed the true spirit of Christmas has been lost in the consumerism and quest for perfection. Strangers started sharing traditions and we all agreed how annoying it could be when half the strand of lights goes out. We shared a few good laughs at stories of what goes wrong during the holidays and how the imperfect really is better.

A lady who had remained silent for most of our chat time piped up and said, “I think it’s good for things to be off a little then we don’t get too big for our britches.” How true.

A special hour for sure shared among strangers who all really just wanted someone else to affirm them and remind them it is OK that we are not perfect. Our gentleman reader turned to leave and said, “I wish you all a not so perfect Christmas. Enjoy life!”
I came home and plugged in the Christmas tree and yes, a strand of lights was not working. I laughed out loud and decided to keep them that way.

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.
2 Corinthians 12:9

How can you embrace the imperfect this Christmas?

Thanksgiving T A B LE Tips

get-attachment-10.aspxFirst published at 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting.com on November 20,2014

November has arrived and if you live in the United States that means it is Thanksgiving time.

I think it is great that we set aside a day to give thanks. I’m wondering though if our hearts are truly thankful or if that gets pushed aside by the preparation of the delicious turkey dinner and the football line-up on TV.

Or perhaps we want to give thanks to God but become so consumed by our menu and decorations that the beauty of a thankful heart is lost in the translation.

This thought reminded me of a year when my kids were little and in setting the Thanksgiving table, “kids table” to be more exact, I had purchased chocolate turkeys – think chocolate Easter bunny but in the shape of a turkey. My youngest son took a bite of his chocolate turkey and quickly proclaimed, “Hey – there is nuffin’ in this, it’s all empty inside!”

I think that’s how thanksgiving can be if we lose site of our focus in thanking God and caring for one another.

I recently hosted an event for our Women’s Ministry. It was a cooking event featuring Tammy Maltby and Cathy Vogel. The food was amazing but what stood out to me the most was Tammy sharing about true hospitality. What better time to think God-inspired hospitality than the month of Thanksgiving.

The following acrostic is helpful as we host and attend our annual dinners and gather around the TABLE. May these words guide us to life – giving hospitality this season.

T – Take the time

Make it your mission to be intentional with each person at the Thanksgiving table. Taking time to interact and love on those around you.

A – Ask the questions

People enjoy talking about themselves, ask questions that make them feel that you are genuinely interested in what is going on in their lives.

B – Be more interested than interesting

This reinforces the first two points for sure. It’s great to be part of the table talk not monopolize it.

L – Laugh and Listen

There is nothing better than laughter. Sharing old stories, recalling childhood memories or learning about new friends. Laughter is good for the soul.

E – Enjoy yourself and others

Remember this is not about perfection it is about being thankful !

Our gratitude is magnified when we take the time to love others and thank God for the privilege to do so.

Happy Thanksgiving !

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others,
faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
1 Peter 4: 8-10 NIV

How will you be intentional this Thanksgiving ?

Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink

First published at 1st Corinthians 13 Parenting.com on 10-17-2014

pink-ballooons1-231x300
Like a lot of little girls, my favorite color growing up was pink. Pink to me is always soft and pretty or bright and sassy. All shades of pink I like.Eight years ago I officially became a member of the pink ribbon club when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and pink no longer looked pretty to me.
It is once again the month of October and the world becomes colored in pink. Everywhere you turn thousands of products are emblazoned with pink ribbons all being sold with the promise that the company will give back to breast cancer research. I sure hope that is the case. Many stories in the news lately have altered that view and have cautioned us to “Think before we pink”. My concern is that we have taken breast cancer and transformed it from a serious disease and individual tragedy into a marketing darling sometimes forgetting the real reason we all wear pink in October.

For years I participated in the Race for the Cure, got sponsors, and ran in the race with my friends and family. The first race I participated in following my diagnosis I could barely walk in the family 1-mile walk. I was still recovering from a double mastectomy and coming to grips with my uncertain future. That walk was brutal as I held my husband’s hand and looked around at all the pink and the smiling faces. I wanted to be one of the happy pink ladies not another picture placed on a t-shirt in remembrance of someone who didn’t make it. I prayed for healing and hoped one day I would return to loving pink.

Today I remain cancer free and I have once again embraced all things pink, yes, even pink breast cancer ribbons.

This past weekend I went to a Bronco Football game and I have to admit I love seeing all the big dudes wearing pink socks and gloves. The helmets adorned with pink ribbons. The actual half-time show was completely devoted to honoring many women in our community who have battled this disease. A large contingent of ladies in pink flocked to the field and formed a human ribbon. Several stories were shared over the loud speaker and the crowd clapped in honor of these women. I was surrounded by strangers and no one knew my story. In a crowd of 75,000 it is safe to bet there were many of us in that same situation. You never really know what the person next to you has faced or is facing, just another reminder to be kind. The ladies behind me were chatting about their recent scare in the mammogram office and how they were glad they weren’t one of the ladies on the field. The lady next to me turned and looked at her friend and said, “ I guess we better schedule our mammograms.”

The awareness and research prompted by the pink ribbons has played a huge role in my diagnosis and success and for that I am very thankful.

During half -time I began thinking anyone can go out and buy a tube of pink lipstick, put a bumper sticker on their car or walk in a designated fundraising walk. What if we all took it a step further? Ladies, encourage each other to do self breast exams and make those mammogram appointments. Men, remind the ladies you love to do those things as well. We also know that men can be diagnosed with breast cancer so guys be aware of anything that looks or feels unusual in your own breasts. Reach out to a family who is struggling with this disease by making them a meal, watching their kids or doing some yard work, something tangible to help. If you know a survivor, let her know you are happy she is here to enjoy life with you.

Each of us in our sphere of influence reaching out to those directly affected will make a difference.

At the end of the half – time, thousands of various shades of pink balloons were released and as they started floating toward the heavens I smiled. I remembered the beautiful ladies in my life who because of this disease are no longer with us but their legacies live on. I thought of my friends and family who are currently fighting to stay alive and those of us who are surviving.

Hope is what I felt.

Thankful to still be here sitting next to my husband and enjoying a beautiful fall day, embracing the color pink once again.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.
Hebrew 6:19

What difficulties have you faced? How have you reclaimed your hope?

By Sherri Crandall
Wife to Rusty
Mom of 4
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Associate Director of Women’s Ministry at Mission Hills Church
– See more at: http://www.1corinthians13parenting.com/pretty-pink/#comments

Who Are You Becoming?

Who-Are-You-Becoming-100x100

The most important thing in your life
is not what you do:
it’s who you become.
Dallas Willard

Awhile back a friend of mine asked my twelve year old daughter this question, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” “ I don’t know,” was the reply and then she went on to list the possibilities all the while looking at me as if to say, is this okay? I don’t know. My friend replied he still didn’t know what he wanted to do either and he was 50. We all had a chuckle.

Fast forward to four days ago when someone I knew died unexpectedly. A stage 5 brain aneurysm. I had just met her briefly a few months ago, her husband is the Executive Pastor where I work and they had just moved to Colorado from Dallas. I liked her right away because of her smile and the genuine way in which she engaged in conversation. We had a few brief talks with the promise of getting together to have coffee and looking forward to getting to know each other. That is no longer an option and that makes me sad. I attended her funeral and was amazed to see the number of people who came even though she has not lived in our community for very long, she still was unpacking boxes.

Several people spoke at her funeral and I can tell you they didn’t dwell on her long list of accomplishments, her degree, or her physical self. They talked about things like how much she loved the Lord. How she adored her husband and kids and grandkids. How she was a mentor to so many younger girls. Her laugh, her smile, the warmth of her spirit and personality.

They talked about who she was, not what she did.

Later that day I sat in the orthodontist office waiting for my daughter to be seen and I began browsing through all the magazines on the table in the waiting room. The articles telling me what I should wear, how I can have fewer wrinkles, and beautiful hair. I read how I could have an organized closet and be the best cook and have the prettiest yard and make the best pie.

We are bombarded with shallow.

Not to say that I don’t like all of those ideas, I do. But am I really taking care of my soul and making a difference in the lives of those God has placed in my life? What will people say about me one day?

In the book of Ecclesiastes it states it is better to go to a house of mourning than to a house of feasting. Now that I am in my forties that makes more sense to me. If I am at a party it is easy to have lots of small talk with everyone. Focusing on the shallow parts of our lives, never really getting past the football score or the cute dress. If I am at a funeral, I am looking at my own life and reflecting but also asking deeper questions of those around me.

How are you doing, really, how are you doing?

I am hoping to relay the importance of this message to my kids. It really is more important to consider who you are than what you do. Yes, I still will encourage them to be the best they can be at school and what they are pursuing in sports and life but I want to stress to them the essence of who they are in Christ will far outweigh any earthly accomplishment they can achieve. Teaching them that real fulfillment is found in serving, not being served. Teaching our kids the importance of placing God first in their lives is vital to who they become.

Parenting is a challenging task for sure. Many of us as adults still struggle with this concept and will ask the question, Who am I? It’s a good question to ask. It also is a question we should ask frequently. Is who I am who I really want to be? I will continue to rely on the Bible verse that guides me and work diligently to relay this to my children as well.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding:
in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Practicing the art of who I am over the what I do. Challenging for sure.

Now I challenge you to ask the same question of yourself, Who am I?

Read full story · Comments { 2 }
– See more at: http://www.1corinthians13parenting.com/blog/#sthash.ApC9P26c.dpuf

First published at 1Corinthians13parenting.com

Solitude, A Precious Gift to Yourself

solitude1-246x300

Solitude, A Precious Gift to Yourself

First published at 1Corinthians13Parenting.com

Posted on August 19, 2014 in Just for Mom, Sherri Crandall, Special Topics

“In solitude I sit quietly and listen to the whispers of His wisdom.”

Those words are written on a plaque that is propped on my bookshelf in my home office. Great words, but I have not been so great at practicing the art of solitude – just spending time alone with God. No agenda, no music, no set study, just being quiet…

Noise, lots of noise.

Most of my life consists of being around a lot of people. Naturally that creates a lot of noise. I am a mom to four kiddos ages 12 to 22 which means each child has a group of friends and noise makers. My husband and I love that our house is the place where the kids like to hang out. We have tried to make our doors the open doors where all are welcome. On any given day you will find a group of teenage or college age guys at our kitchen table or in the basement along with a group of loud giggling middle school girls. I have joked they are like locust in the kitchen. They step in and the next minute all that is left is wrappers and crumbs. Teenagers have a different time table of noise too. Just as I am winding down my day their noise level starts to reach the highest octave.Solitude, is there such a thing for moms?

Solitude, is there such a thing for moms? 

I awoke early today before anyone else, even the dogs were still sleeping quietly. I tip-toed to the coffee maker scared if I made too much noise someone would wake and join me. Selfish? Maybe, but I just wanted some time to myself. Most of us spend so much of our lives doing, striving, struggling, coping, trying to meet our goals and deadlines. Being outgoing, being available going here and there and everywhere that we become fragmented and less productive, less, just less.

I made my cup of coffee and sat out on our back deck watching the bunnies nibble away at my flower garden. Soon I was joined by a few hummingbirds and various other feathered friends eating from the feeders in the yard. I closed my eyes and just listened, taking in every sound, and then the sound of silence. It is overwhelming when you really become a part of the silence. It is uncomfortable for most of us just to sit and be. I began to pray, not reading from a book or doing a set devotion but just praying from my heart. I sat for a few moments with my eyes closed, snuggled beneath a blanket in the chill of the early morning. Alone, refreshed.

We all tend to schedule time for others, for work and chores and various obligations but how often do we schedule some time just to be alone? My answer is seldom.

How often do we schedule some time just to be alone?
Why is that?

I walked back into the house and heard alarm clocks going off and the dryer telling me it was time to retrieve the laundry and the dogs were stretching and ready to be fed. A brief moment of refreshment that didn’t last long, but… a perspective change happened. No one else is going to give me my own quiet time, that is for me to create. I stepped forward into my day with a renewed sense of the importance of finding time to be alone.

No one else is going to give me my own quiet time, that is for me to create. 

The rest of the day was filled with lots of people and noise and obligations and I enjoyed every moment. However, tonight I set my alarm 15 minutes earlier than normal just so I can start my tomorrow in solitude. I have learned that quiet sacred time does not just happen – it must be created.

Be still and know that I am God
Psalm 46:10

How do you carve out time for solitude?

– See more at: http://www.1corinthians13parenting.com/blog/#sthash.JLx4vyyB.dpuf

Rethinking Gratitude

Grocery Store, Guatemala, and Gratitude
First published at http://www.1Corinthians13Parenting.com

grocery-store1-300x223

My stomach was literally growling so loudly that others could hear it standing next to me. I awkwardly smiled and went about my business of picking out peaches. It was the 4th of July weekend and I was preparing to go on our annual camping trip. My list was rather long so that I could accommodate everyone in my family’s favorite holiday foods. Some of us like green apples, some Honey Crisp, and some just Red Delicious. Don’t forget the traditional summertime watermelon and of course the fixings for s’mores.
The grocery store was filled with an abundance of choices.
In the midst of all of this abundance my thoughts kept returning to a little village on the out-skirts of Guatemala City where the kids don’t have abundant choices. With the exception of its natural beauty and its warm, friendly people, this area of Guatemala has few resources. I had so many choices in front of me that could appease my grumbling stomach, knowing these little ones didn’t have that choice made my stomach ache in a different way.

Several months ago I had the privilege of traveling to the beautiful country of Guatemala. I was part of the first Latin American MOPS conference and while I was there our team traveled with a team of local Guatemalan moms to an area where there is great need. I was speaking to the moms who live in this village on the importance of being a mom, that what they do to take care of their children really matters. We met in an old abandoned school house. I was standing in the front of the room watching their beautiful brown eyes looking at me and soaking up every word I was telling them. Several with tears in their eyes, being told God loves them was overwhelming. I too was feeling overwhelmed.
Oh, how much I take for granted.

In addition to meeting with the moms we had the opportunity to help feed the kids of this village. ADORABLE! Even though they don’t have much in terms of material things or even food for that matter, they are joyful, loving, and kind children. They were patiently waiting for the food to finish cooking and being entertained by all of us taking “ selfies” with my camera phone. When mealtime came around they were all so grateful and I was smiling from ear to ear as one after another said, “ Gracias, gracias, gracias !” The food was simple – beans, rice and a corn tamale with lemonade to drink. Not one child complained. I watched as several of them put the lid on their reusable dish and I was told they would take this home and share it with other family members. On our drive back to the city my thoughts wondered to a few weeks prior when I was serving cupcakes to my daughter’s elementary school class and several of the kids were complaining about the choice they had, “ I don’t want chocolate”.
Sometimes an abundance of choice can leave us with a complaining heart.

sherri-in-guat-225x300

I started to think about how often I complain, how I grumble about carrying all my groceries into the house. How I don’t like to unload the dishwasher or how annoyed I can become over the piles of laundry. Those complaints I have come to realize, require an attitude change. I am thankful I have food to eat and laundry to wash. I realize I take many of my modern day conveniences for granted along with my abundance of choices. Just today I stopped to get a coffee and thought, “Wow, so much to choose from.”
So what do I do with that knowledge moving forward? My heart that hurts for others in need. I know we cannot solve the world’s wrongs all by ourselves, but each of us can do something. My family will continue to serve and give to others but with a new found attitude of gratitude. Many times we have heard “To whom much is given, much is required,” this is true. I believe “without a grumbling heart” should be added to that.
The gift I received from those beautiful children is to live in joy despite any circumstances.

I am reminding myself of how important it is not only to observe all God has done for us but to take that and pass it along to others. The gift I received from those beautiful children is to live in joy despite any circumstances I perceive as being difficult, there are many others whose circumstances are harder, yet they still have a joyful disposition. When you have next to nothing, you take nothing for granted. God, help me to remember.
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22

How do you encourage your kids to have an attitude of gratitude?

Blessings !

SherriCachedBlob.aspx