Thursday, January 28, 2016

Busy Hands: Houndstooth Infinity Scarves

This houndstooth scarf was one of my big crochet projects last year. I used this free pattern from the ELK Studio blog. I used a much finer yarn, though, so I had to do more stitches per row to make the scarf the right width. It took me several months to make this scarf. Working with a fine yarn, and switching yarn colors often, took a lot of time, but the finished product was worth it!

Adelaide liked the scarf so much that she asked me to make one for her too. Of course, I was happy to do that! I also made a third houndstooth scarf for my sister, and I gave it to her for Christmas. She is an Alabama fan, so houndstooth is perfect for her. 

I really like the houndstooth crochet stitch. It is pretty and classic. Making these scarves was the first time I had ever tried this particular crochet stitch. I ended up liking the stitch so much that I made a houndstooth walker bag too.

Adelaide and I love to wear our matching scarves! I made Adelaide's scarf a little on the big side so that she can wear it for several years before she outgrows it.

What have you been doing lately to keep your hands busy? Are you working on any fun projects?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Choose Joy: When Healing Doesn't Come

Choose Joy: Finding Hope and Purpose when Life Hurts

Each Monday in January I have been sharing quotes from Choose Joy by Sara Frankl and Mary Carver. I hope that you have enjoyed Sara's words as much as I have. If you want to purchase the book, it is available at Amazon, Christian Book, and many other places.

Today I am sharing quotes from Sara about healing and prayer. Sara was completely confident that God could heal her, but she knew that sometimes healing was not God's plan. She prayed for a heart that would seek after His desires instead of her own wants, and she trusted God to do what was best in her life, whether it be healing or sickness.

I believe in a God Who is so much bigger than I can imagine Him to be that anything is possible.
I believe in a God Who is so much bigger than I can imagine Him to be that anything is possible. I also believe that sometimes healing must not be what He needs for us, or it would happen to everyone.  
– Sara Frankl, Choose Joy, page 89

I'm not wasting a moment of what is by waiting for what could be.
I do tell God what I think would be lovely for my life, but I also tell Him that I am fully open to whatever He needs from me. I don’t think prayer is just about changing my circumstances, although sometimes it does. I think it is about letting God know I’m here, I’m paying attention, I love Him and honor Him with my whole heart. It’s also about changing my heart, aligning my will with His, and asking Him to give me a heart that would rather serve Him than serve my own desires. 
I would love to wake up and never have pain again. I would love to open my windows and sit on my patio or go for a walk or swim in a lake. But I don’t want those things if they don’t serve Him… 
I don’t think healing is about who puts their faith on the line better; I think it’s about fulfilling a mission. Some are healed because that miracle will spur some on to faith. Some are not healed because that suffering will help others in some way. I’m not big enough to know which should be true for me. I trust God to make that decision. I am open to either option and I believe that if healing is meant for me, He’ll make it happen. 
In the interim I’m not wasting a moment of what is by waiting for what could be.  
– Sara Frankl, Choose Joy, page 90

Laura and Sara
Photo Credit: Gitzen Girl

The Lord did not choose to heal Sara on this earth. He chose to glorify Himself through her sickness and suffering. When her time on earth was coming to an end, Sara was still filled with joy. She was excited that she was going to meet Jesus soon. Her only concern was for her family and friends whom she was leaving behind.

Sara's sister said: 
“Sara’s focus was on making sure those of us left here on earth were taken care of. That we were okay. She said, ‘I’ll be fine. Isn’t this exciting? I want to make sure you’re okay…’ She was so courageous. Without shedding a tear, and filled with joy, she told us how excited she was to meet our Heavenly Father. Even in those last days, she continued teaching us—how to love, how to be brave, how to choose joy.” 
Choose Joy, page 158

Sara and Riley

A final word from Sara: 

“Make it about Him, not you. Enjoy every second. Choose joy.” 

- Choose Joy, page 172

Friday, January 22, 2016

Book Review: Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World

This month I have been reading Kristen Welch’s new book, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World. Kristen is the author of Rhinestone Jesus and the blog, We Are THAT Family. She is also the founder of Mercy House and Fair Trade Friday. Based on Kristen’s experience and previous writing, I knew that Raising Grateful Kids would be an excellent book, but it exceeded my expectations!

"A Christ-centered home starts with us as parents. It involves intentionality and hard work and inviting Jesus to be part of our lives."
Kristen's family was living the American dream several years ago, but then, through a Compassion International trip, God broke Kristen's heart and opened her eyes to the great needs of people in poverty around the world. This led to a huge change in the way Kristen's family lived and served the Lord. Kristen and her husband began the hard work of moving from a child-centered, entitled home to a Christ-centered home.

In the introduction of Raising Grateful Kids Kristen says, “This book is my confessional. It’s a record of our journey of attempting to raise grateful kids instead of entitled ones. It’s the ups and downs, the defeats and victories of such a difficult task. It’s my unfinished story. It’s also a history lesson from the past, a cultural lesson for the present, and a daunting challenge to learn from one and overcome the second. But mostly, this book is an encouragement to parents swimming upstream in a society that demands we do what is culturally accepted.”

Raising Grateful Kids is filled with words of wisdom and practical advice based on Kristen’s personal experience and research. Kristen is very humble and real in this book. She doesn’t claim to be an expert or to do everything perfectly. She shares stories of their mistakes and failures and what works for their family. She comes alongside the reader as a friend who is in the thick of parenting and making hard choices.

Kristen does a great job of giving practical advice for raising our children to be grateful despite the entitled culture we have in America. At the end of each chapter, she shares specific ideas of ways we can live counter-cultural lives, be grateful, and serve Christ.

This is a helpful book for any parent seeking to raise their children to be grateful, Christ-followers in a world that wants to teach us that it is all about having more. Whether you are dealing with heart attitudes of wanting more, or are needing to make big changes in your family to move away from living an entitled life, this book will be encouraging and helpful.

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World releases on January 26! You can read more about it at

I received a copy of Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World from the publisher through the Tyndale Blog Network. All opinions are my own.

Kristen Welch

Kristen Welch
Kristen's Blog: We Are THAT Family

Monday, January 18, 2016

Choose Joy: A Moment to Be Embraced

Choose Joy: Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts

Each Monday in January I am sharing a few quotes from Choose Joy, by Sara Frankl and Mary Carver. Sara lived with Ankylosing Spondylitis, a disease that was progressive and caused her to be in constant severe pain. She was completely confined to her home, but through the internet her words reached far beyond her own walls. Sara encouraged me through her example of perseverance and joy in the midst of a very difficult life. Today I am sharing a few quotes from Sara in which she talks about embracing the life God gave her.

The truth is that life is no better or worse than I wanted; it’s just completely and utterly different. The wisdom comes in knowing that it is exactly as it should be.
The truth is that life in my thirties is no better or worse than I wanted; it’s just completely and utterly different. The wisdom comes in knowing that it is exactly as it should be. The joy comes in learning to live it, not despite all I’ve lost, but because of all this life has brought to me. 
– Sara Frankl, Choose Joy, page 68

I see every moment of my life now, both the difficult and the joyful, as a moment to be embraced. Because I know that God is in the middle of all of them.
So I’ve changed my thinking—and it changed my heart. Just as much as I would embrace a miracle of healing with open arms, I choose to embrace all that comes into my life the same way. I’ve learned to embrace the pain. Embrace the solitude. Embrace the constantly changing plan of my day as my pain and energy levels fluctuate… 
I see every moment of my life now, both the difficult and the joyful, as a moment to be embraced. Because I know that God is in the middle of all of them. He is in the center of my storms and my blessings. He sees it all with eyes that know and understand and foresee the purpose of my situation. And I want what He wants. 
So I no longer adapt, compromise, or adjust. I surrender. I simply trust that whatever is in front of me at any given moment, He is in the center of it. And there’s no place I’d rather be. 
– Sara Frankl, Choose Joy, pages 96-97

He is good. All the time.
He knows my past, present, and future. He is surprised by nothing. He is with me, never leaves me even when I feel alone, and holds me up even when I think I am standing on my own two feet. He is good. All the time. I am going to ask Him to help me see that, and I will praise Him through all of it. 
– Sara Frankl, Choose Joy, page 108

You can learn more about Choose Joy here:

Is your life different than you expected or wanted? How are you embracing the life God has given you? How are you praising Him through all of it?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Learning Gratitude through Chronic Illness

I will never forget the first time I visited my dear friend, Arlene, a few years ago. Arlene was a godly woman who was homebound and living with a terminal illness. She and I sat in her living room in the comfortable recliners, and our husbands served us lunch. I remember Arlene thanking her husband so sweetly and sincerely as he served her that afternoon. She was mostly confined to her recliner, but her heart was filled with gratitude. She told me, “I can’t imagine not being thankful. When someone does so much for you, you have to be thankful.”

I have been thinking of Arlene and her example often in recent months. My body is still recovering from the summer, and I spend a lot of time confined to bed. As I lie in bed and thank my husband for bringing food and water to me, I remember Arlene lying in her recliner, thanking her husband for serving her. She was a godly example to me of gratitude in the midst of illness.

Chronic illness is not something I would have chosen, but it has been a gift of grace because it teaches me hard lessons of gratitude. It is hard to humble myself and let others serve me. It is hard to see my husband’s workload increase as he has to do more physical tasks to take care of me each day. But I am learning humility and gratitude through it all, and that is a good thing.

I want to raise grateful children, and that starts right here at home, right here in the midst of life with a chronic illness. I need to model a life of gratitude not just on my good days, but on my bad days too.

We live in a society where it is easy to feel that we are entitled to good health, a big house, the latest technology, and a life of ease. But we are not entitled to those things. I want to teach my children to see the many blessings they have and to be grateful for what the Lord has given them. Modeling a grateful life in the midst of chronic illness is one of the ways that I can do that.

I am currently reading a new book by Kristen Welch called Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World. It is an excellent book, and it is giving me a lot to think about. I hope to share more about this book with you next week. Stay tuned! :)

How are you currently learning or practicing gratitude? Are there hard things in your life that are helping you learn to be thankful?

Raising Grateful Kids Blog Hop

Today I am co-hosting a Raising Grateful Kids blog hop. A group of bloggers has teamed up to share about what gratefulness looks like in our homes. You are welcome to read any or all of the blog posts linked up below! Let's encourage one another to be grateful in whatever circumstances God has placed us, and let us seek to teach our children to be grateful.

Inspiring an Attitude of Gratitude - by Alison
Rasisng Grateful Kids - by amanda
Why You Can't Buy Gratitude At The Dollar Store - by Andrea
Missing - Gratefulness in our home - by Ange
Choosing Gratitude - by Angela
Gratefullness - by chaley
5 Steps to Gratitude-Fille Family - by Christa
Practicing Grateful Parenting - by Dana
Sing a Song - by Hannah
Cultivating gratitude in our family - by Jamie
Gratefulness In Our Home - by Jana
Gratefulness In Our Home - by Jana
Let It Begin With Me - by Jen
Choosing Gratefulness - by Jennifer
Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World - The Book - by jeri
Eradicating Entitlement - What are you rooted in? - by Jessica
Gratefulness in our home - by Kate
The Problem With Entitlement is that it begins with us - by Katelyn
7 Unusual Ways I Know How to Be Grateful - by Kathryn
Raising Grateful Kids - by Keri
How My Children Remind Me to Pray with Gratitude - by Kishona
Grateful - by Kristy
Entitlement:  The Ugly Truth of a Beautiful Lie - by Leigha
The Most Important Thing You Can Do To Raise Grateful Kids - by Lindsey
Dear Son: How Do I Teach You To Be Grateful Without Guilt? - by Marie Osborne
Gratitude, A Practical Definition - by Mia
Cultivating Gratitude in Our Home - by Nancy
Learning Gratitude through Chronic Illness - by Rachel
Being Grateful - by Rebecca
I've Found Something I Can't Live Without - by Sarah
The Power of Naming our Gifts - by Sarah
Outfitted - by Sarah Jo
Growing Gratitude in our Family - by Sondra
Teaching Gratefulness - by Stephanie
How Grateful Looks From Here - by Alison
Fighting Entitlement in Children and All of us - by Leah
Entitlement Problem - by Karrie
Grateful Today - by Krystal
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