Six Questions

Today, I want to pass along an email from my opthalmologist. She asked five questions. I’ve added one of my own at the end of the list.

  • What am I GRATEFUL for today?
  • Who am I CHECKING IN on or CONNECTING with today?
  • What expectations of “Normal” am I LETTING GO of today?
  • How am I GETTING OUTSIDE today?
  • What BEAUTY am I either creating, cultivating, or inviting in today?
  • How much am I REMEMBERING GOD’S PRESENCE today?

These are primarily food for thought. Nevertheless, I’d love to hear your answers!

photo credit: @jules_bss via

Grumbling about a Gift

Grocery grumbling about a gift Fikri Rasyid via unsplasAs I write today, I’m hungry. And my cupboard is bare. Okay, not really bare. By third world standards, it’s bursting at the seams. But I’m out of vegetables, almost out of fruit and down to my last container of homemade soup. Definitely time to hit HEB. (The best grocery chain in the country, for all you non-Texans out there.) I’m a little tired. It’s Friday afternoon, (I write my blogs ahead of time) so the place will be mobbed. Moments ago, I was feeling just a little sorry about having to leave my quiet computer corner in order to go shop, Then I came across this excerpt from my sister-in-law’s most recent email regarding the task of grocery shopping.

“[Grocery shopping is] one of those very gratifying chores, where you have a task to complete and it gets done!  And it’s lovely along the way… I honestly think grocery shopping is good for my soul, since I am more reflective about the abundance of variety and colors in fresh food, extra grateful for provision and the means to buy things that are healthy and good, etc.  Okay, enough of that, but I am with you.  And seriously, thank you for always making time spent on your turf so easy and fun!

She’s coming soon, you see. There will be 13 of us gathered together, and I was telling her how I’m looking forward to stocking up on all the food for our celebration. Usually, I like grocery shopping for the same reasons she mentioned. And as I re-read her quote, I was reminded again of how easy I have it, how easy almost all of us have it.

  • I’ve never had to wring a chicken’s neck or butcher a cow.
  • I don’t even have to weed a garden or grind flour unless I want to.
  • I only pick fruit or harvest fresh veggies when out on a lark in the country.

So, yes, I’m thankful! And yes, I will go shopping—today! In the crowds. As I do, I’ll think about the abundant gift of being able to buy all the food my family needs in one place in about an hour’s time.

  • And when I do the laundry this week, I’ll remember how unusual it is, by global standards, to have so many shirts and pairs of pants.
  • And when I mop the floor, I’ll think of those who barely have a home or maybe have a dirt floor.
  • And when I have to pay those gas prices? I’ll remember how excited some missionary friends of mine were to get a car.

Do you ever complain, then realize you’re actually grumbling about a gift, feeling bad about keeping up with all that you’ve been given? Let’s stop all that nonsense. Begin anew with me today to have a thankful heart. And if you care to share—I’ll be checking in here to read all about it.

May God bless you with a healthy dose of gratitude all week long!

Photo by Fikri Rasyid via



House Rule Number Two: BHFWYH. (Be Happy For What You Have.) We all need to create (and maintain!) a habit of happiness, to make looking for our blessings a conscious choice. Being happy for what we have is not about creating better circumstances. An ungrateful attitude can sneak up on us in the best of times, and a determined attitude of gratitude helps carry us through when times are tough. In Hebrews 13:5, God tells us to be content with what we have, because Jesus has said he will never leave us or forsake us. He has told us to be content today, not when we have more money or time or sleep or respect, but now.

For years my husband helped create the BHFWYH habit in our kids by sharing three good things from his day, and then asking them to tell him about three good things in their lives as well. It occurs to me as I type this that we should be continuing that habit over our dinners-for-two! When life requires that we, or our kids, take “no” for an answer, it’s a whole lot easier to stay happy if we have already learned to be grateful for what we have.

Rule Three is really more of an adage than a rule: If You Fuss, You Lose. Take a look at Numbers 14:29, “In this wilderness your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me.” When the Israelites fussed, they ended up in the desert for 40 years. When we fuss about the tough stuff in our lives, at the very least we lose our joy. We are so much better off when we learn to trust God cheerfully, even when he says no.

When we let our kids whine, they get grumpy and so do we, do here’s my unsolicited advice on that sort of lose-lose scenario.  If you offer one scoop of ice cream to Junior, and he fusses because he can’t have two, calmly put the unopened carton back in the freezer. If Sally and Susie grumble over who gets to play with a certain toy, calmly confiscate the item. Don’t be mean or vindictive about it. Just make whining a useless ploy.  (And if you’ve become a whiner yourself, it’s time to stop!)  

Two questions I’d love to have you answer by posting here: How do you and your family help each other to BHFWYH? Have you ever “fussed and lost”?