Book Title:  Free to Learn:  Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier,More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life

Author:  Peter Gray

Genre: Psychology

Publisher:  Basic Books (A Member of the Perseus Books Group)

Why Did I Choose It?  I chose this book after asking a friend to give me her favorite resources on unschooling as I have become more and more interested in this type of education for my youngest son.  She recommended any book by Peter Gray or John Holt.  This was the book title that intrigued me the most in my brief search of the authors.

A Bit From The Back Cover:  In Free to Learn, developmental psychologist Peter Gray argues that to foster children who will thrive in today's constant changing world, we must entrust them to steer their own learning and development. Drawing on evidence from anthropology, psychology, and history, he demonstrates that free play is the primary means by which children learn to control their lives, solve problems, get along with peers, and become emotionally resilient...

Review:  This book was amazing.  Absolutely amazing and I'm sooo sorry I didn't read it 12 years ago when we first pulled out daughter out of the public schools to homeschool.  I think I was in the right mindset then, to let her be and learn in a less structured way but let the years of public education and judgments of others cloud my thinking and raise my self-doubt and anxiety to the point of basically doing 'school at home' for a several years with only a bit of freedom here and there.  But enough about my failings...  here's the thing about this book!

Free to Learn is the most comprehensive and convincing book on how children (naturally) learn that I’ve ever read, and being a dedicated homeschool mom and former public educator, I have certainly read quite a few books on how children learn!  Gray includes an extensive amount of research in this book. Actually, the beginning which focused on hunter-gatherer cultures drove me a little batty...but I stuck with it and I'm glad I did.  Really , I totally get why he included it all and it is relevant and very important to his overall message. Dr. Gray also included an abundant amount of other research as well as well as  his personal experience as a parent and experiences with Sudbury Valley - a highly unconventional school but one with idealistic standards! Free to Learn explains, and includes the research that proves it, how we can work with a child's natural drives to learn and not using the compulsory education system which forces lessons, standardized tests, and activities that crush a child's innate drives to learn.

The overall message of this book is that children must play and explore to learn (and that the way children are taught in most schools today denies that to a harmful effect). He presents overwhelming scientific evidence that play and exploration, self-directed learning, and being in mixed age groups (something most public schools restrict)  permit children  come to their full potentials and enable them to grow, learn and develop positively and naturally. “Children need freedom in order to be happy, to learn how to be responsible, and to develop the character traits needed to deal with life’s inevitable dangers and setbacks.”

“Nothing that we do, no amount of toys we buy or ‘quality time’ or special training we give our children, can compensate for the freedom we take away. The things that children learn through their own initiatives, in free play, cannot be taught in other ways.”

If you want an understanding of why schools today are failing and we are not finding the results we seek from our standard system, or simply why 'schooling at home' (mimicking the public school system at home)  is still  not the most beneficial answer and  what can actually be done differently with success, I  strongly urge you  to read this book. I sincerely believe that the overall message of Free to Learn has the potential to direct our culture toward a better system- whether public or private or at home.

"...self-directed learning and free play permit children to realize their optimum abilities to learn, grow, and develop naturally and positively..."

Notes About The Author:  Peter Gray, Ph.D.,  is a research professor in the Department of Psychology at Boston College and author of the college textbook, Psychology, now in its seventh edition.  He writes the Freedom to Learn Blog for Psychology Today.  Peter Gray is a well-known critic of the  standard educational systems. He speaks often to groups of parents and educators about children’s needs for free play and the detrimental effects of the current methods of schooling, Mr. Gray, along with other concerned citizens, has created a website titled AlternativesToSchool.com.

2

I wasn't sure how to even begin on this post. Or what to call it. It's been a long time coming though.  In the back of my mind, I've considered for quite some time writing on this topic : Freedom of speech as well as  discipline in our words and actions. But I'll admit it was prayers to my Lord over a situation that greatly upset me a week or two ago that made me decide I needed to address it in a blog post.   It's a situation in our society that bothers me.  It bothers me a great deal.  I worry over it.  I pray a lot about it.  Yet it seems to be increasing and, over the last several months, lines of respect and decency have been crossed over and over again on so many different levels.  And not just in stories you hear of people that are known for crossing lines, but in families that are taught the value of treating humans with decency, among friends who have treasured one another for years and sometimes a life time, among leaders who are supposed to be protectors of our government and setting an example for the country,  and yes, among people that barely even know one another.  There is a great lack of respect, a lack of allowing someone to express an opinion without personal attack, a judgment or slander about a person based on one thing they believe in.

I read somewhere recently that "freedom of any kind is impossible without discipline.  There is no such thing as unlimited freedom, because what we do affects other people and their freedom." ...continue reading "Discipline & Freedom"

With Great Lent coming up, I always try to pick a particular book that is connected to my Orthodox Christian faith.  This year I've selected Thirty Steps to Heaven by Vassilios Papavassiliou.  It directly pertains to understanding the Ladder of Divine Ascent and applying the lessons of the monastic text to our everyday lives.

I don't know whether it's because I homeschool or because I'm an Orthodox Christian mother or both--  but I always think 'what can I do for my child during this season?'  as well.  It's probably more just the mother in me than anything.  My older children are old enough now to decide for themselves.  They have an understanding of what Lent is about and know what things we have done in the past during the season to prepare ourselves for Holy Pascha and place extra focus on our relationship with God during this season- even more so than usual.  They know Lent gives us a chance to enter fully into that relationship and focus on the upcoming Passion and Resurrection of our Lord. They know it's a chance to get back on track and remind ourselves of what we should be doing all year. They know it is a season filled with extra church services, prayer and fasting.

But my youngest is six.  So he needs more guidance. And while he will of course be going to those services, I've  pondered over thoughts of what we could do this year to make the Lenten season more meaningful to him and focus on his own relationship to God, I came to wonder what books we could use - if you know me in person or by my blog- you know I have a tight relationship with books!  I view them as friends and they are a wonderful way to deepen our children's knowledge and begin a wonderful conversation about what is important in our lives!    I wondered what others use.

Below is a list of books I have found on my internet searches, on my own shelves and what others have shared with me as good sources/books to use during Lent.  Of course, many of these, if not all, can be used any time of the year and should be.  But if you are wondering what some good books are to add to your collection or to use during this season in preparation for Holy Pascha, perhaps this list can help you.  I'd love to add to it-   so if you know of others, please share with me so I can add to the list !  I have tried to order them in terms of age, interest levels, etc.  Of course, you know your child or children better than me or anyone else.  So review the links (I'll provide them if I have them) and make your decisions accordingly.  I will mark with an * those that I have indeed read for myself.  Hopefully , at some point, I can add some book reviews on these for your use.

Happy reading and God Bless!

The Story of Easter by Patricia Pingry  -  a lovely picture book for small ones, ages 2-5.

*Getting to Know God by John Kosmas Skinas  - another lovely picture book for small ones, ages 2-6,   that accentuate the sense we use in our Orthodox Faith.

*Rechenka's Eggs by Patricia Polacco  - a lovely folktale picture book telling of Ukrainian eggs for 4-8 year olds.

In The Candle's Glow  by Elizabeth Crispina Johnson  -  A beautifully illustrated picture book tells of Felicia taking the fruit of the bee and the beekeeper's efforts , lighting her and how she prays.  This story is for ages 2-8.

*The Hidden Garden by Jane G Meyer - A picture book parable encouraging children to open the gate to Christ and tend to the garden their heart.  It is suitable for ages 4-9.

The Blackbird's Nest: Saint Kevin of Ireland by Jenny Schroedel  THis lovely book tells of Kevin who learned an unforgettable lesson from an unforgettable teacher.  This book is suited for ages 6-10.

*Catherine's Pascha by Charlotte Riggle  With delightful intricate illustrations and a lovely tale, children will learn much about the celebration of Pasch with this book geared for ages 4-10.

*The Miracle of the Red Egg by Elizabeth Crispina Johnson  For ages 4-10, this picture book shares the story of St. Mary Magdalene and the miracle that occurred in the presence of an unbelieving Roman emperor.

*Pictures of God:  A Child's Guide to Understanding Icons by John Kosmas Skinas  A lovely picture book for ages 5-12, explaining in simple  terms what each icon means and the importance of these people and stories in our lives.

Holy Week and Pascha by J Euphemia Briere  The book takes will take the child, ages 5-12,  through the period in the life of Christ starting at the raising of Lazarus to the Resurrection, as reflected in the Divine Services of the Church.

Lent! Wonderful Lent! by Debra Sancer  This book offers a summary of the weeks of lent for children, ages 4-10.

Glorious Pascha by Debra Sancer   This book offers a nice summary of the days of Holy Week. for ages 5-12.

*From God to You:  The Icon's Journey to Your Heart by John Kosmos Skinas     This book, a nice addition to the library of 6-12,  is a nice follow-up to  Pictures of God,  introducing children to ancient icon archetypes and encourages children to "mindfully consider icons and their stories as windows of inspiration and doorways to prayer."

St. Seraphim's Beatitudes: Blessings for Our Path to Heaven by Priest Daniel Mar  This book contains short sayings patterned after the Lord's Beatitudes  in clear, memorable phrases.

*From I-ville to You-ville by Mersine Vigopoulou   Wonderfully written and appropriate for ages 6-12, this best selling Orthodox Christian children's book of Greece, is a Christian allegory reminiscent of Pilgrim's Progress.  A young man makes his way from I-ville to the unknown, long-for kingdom of You-ville, a kingdom where humility and kindness have their home and people put the good of others first.

*Journey To Pascha: An Explanation of the Holy Week Services by Ayman Kfouf   This book was recommended to me as a lovely guide to older children as it offers a simplified explanation of the theological and liturgical themes of the services of the Great and Holy Week.

The Zacchaeus Tree: A family guide through the season of the Great Fast by Lynne Wardach   While seemingly written for Byzantine Catholics from what I can tell,  it seems to offer a nice prepatory discussion of the season and daily meditations for children and adults for throughout Lent.

 

 

 

 

 

One of the many books I'm reading (there's always many!) is A Beginner's Guide to Prayer by Michael Keiser. This is one I keep for my morning prayer time.  This is also, for some reason,  one of those books that have sat on my shelf for over 14 years - why I haven't ever read it all the way yet through is beyond me. But it has finally found its way into my 'Devotion Bucket' - a rustic wooden basket that sits by my comfy chair and lamp where I sit in the morning to do my devotion time with God.  Oh how I love and cherish that time.

 

If we love God, we want to get to know Him.  We want to spend time with Him.  We want to become one with Him.  This is why we pray.  Anyone who truly desires to grow closer to God must develop a disciplined prayer life.  Now what that looks like is probably  different from one person to the next.  But it's there.  And, I believe, the more disciplined you are, the closer you become. Many of us have struggled with prayer life, including me.  That's why this book was written and that's why, finally, I took it off the shelf.  I was motivated because I've recently been inspired by a friend who has gone through a terrible ordeal in her life over the past year. Despite the hardship,  through it all, she is constantly turning to God and finding her strength in Him.  She spends about two hours a day with Him.  Every morning.  I admit jealousy. To have TWO hours each day. I don't know how she does it.  But rather than brood over the impossibility of getting in two hours myself, without additional sleep deprivation, I allowed it to inspire me.  Surely, if I desire it, I can get in a half hour occasionally? Yes.  I can.  So my alarm on my phone each morning, set at least an hour before my youngest usually rises, reads "Wake and Pray".  And I stumble out to the kitchen, mumbling the Jesus Prayer as best I can, drink my first 16 ounces of H2O while I make my bulletproof coffee and head for my chair. I know that when I open my bible and do the day's readings, study a psalm or two (I'm currently trying to memorize psalm 1 - my favorite), read and study another chapter of Isaiah (my most current study) and a few pages of another book in my basket (A Beginner's Guide to Prayer, 1,000 Gifts Devotional, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day devotional, and several others), he will open Himself up to me so that I can learn about Him, so that He can speak to me and , yes, so that I can, over time and with all the other apects of a faithful life taught to us by the Church, become one WITH HIM.

There are some that don't believe we need to pray at home or at divine services, or fast or partake of the body of our Lord. But I agree with St. John Kronstadt who wrote "Why is it necessary to pray at home, and to attend divine services in church?  Well, why is it necessary for you to eat and drink, to take exercise, or to work every day?  In order to support the life of the body and strengthen it." The author of this book says, "Prayer is not an end in itself, but a means by which we draw closer to God."  We pray as a response to God's love for us, and we pray in order to show our love for God.  Just as we reach out to talk with others that we love, we reach out in prayer to talk with God.  And the more you do this, whether it is during a set morning prayer time or another part of your day, the more you can hear Him speak.

I'm so glad God woke me early this morning.  I spent extra time with him and this blog post just rolled right onto a piece of notebook paper in the comfort of my chair.  I'll be typing it up later - and more posts on prayer will be coming.  I promise.  It's important. I leave you now with the words of Psalm 1 and our Lord's Prayer.  Have a wonderful blessed day full of prayer.

Psalm 1

 Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the troublesome.

  But his will is in the law of the Lord; and in his law he meditates day and night.

 He shall be like a tree planted by streams of waters, that produces its fruit in his season; and his leaf  shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

Not so are the ungodly, not so: but they are like the dust the wind drives from the face of the earth.

 Therefore the ungodly shall not rise in the judgment, nor sinners in the counsel of the righteous.

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

 

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father In Heaven

Hallowed be Your name

Thy kingdom come

Thy will be done

On earth as it is in heaven

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil

For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.

 

  WHAT DOES YOUR PRAYER LIFE LOOK LIKE?

2

Welcome to the Many Hats of an Orthodox Mom! 

I know.  Many of you have already been here, so what's the 'welcome' for?  Well, because I feel like I'm at a NEW BEGINNING.  I'm excited and  I'm welcoming you, friends and newbies, to that beginning.

I've really wanted to get back into writing here.  There's soooo many times I read something or think something and think, "Oh I could write a blog post on that!"  But time passes and, regretfully, I haven't and I've really missed the writing and I've missed connecting with my readers.  So I am trying to muster up the courage and time (mostly it's the time thing) to get back on here and make another go at it.  I will definitely NOT be posting 3 or more times per week as I was before.  I'll be lucky if I can stick to my new goal of once per week but....  one time a week would give me the goal of consistency and I'm giving it a shot.

I'll be sticking to my main categories/topics as I have before:  Faith, Homeschooling, Natural Health & Food, Books, Writing and General Life....pretty much everything that sums up me, who I am and what I'm passionate about and feel I can lend a helping hand with to you- my reader!

As you can see, I'm making some other changes too....  like the new Theme and the photo.  Do you like it?  I'm not 100% satisfied with that photo but I like it better than the old one... we'll see.  I'll be making a few other changes to on the design here but nothing major.  I'll be making some updates to the side bar, the About Page, updating the Book Review page, and occasionally, when time allows, updating old posts.

I can't wait to interact with you, my readers, again and hopefully make some new friends along the way too!

Drop by and let me know what you think!

2

As parents, we can simply SHUT UP! If we can sit back and listen to ourselves, we can hear how much negative harassment we throw at our kids.  If a parent would seriously and objectively listen to what he says (through his child's ears), he would be appalled and could probably with some effort change that kind of "No".

I think here of Lisey (then 3) who was pouring herself a glass of milk yesterday.  She had gotten it from the fridge, opened it, poured from a fat 2-quart carton a very small juice-glass of milk, had drunk it, then had gotten a paper towel and was wiping up the milk spilt on the table.  There was more milk spilt than the towel could absorb so as she wiped now, the milk was being pushed off the table onto the floor.

I walked in at this point and started with the running "No, No" commentary in a whiny voice:  "oooooh, no, Lisey, you should have asked someone to pour you a glass of milk-no, don't wipe it up, it's going on the floor; now stop, don't do it, I'll do it, it's bad enough on the table- look, now you've got it on the floor- you're making more work for me."

Happily at this point I was struck by a rare beam of sanity and it said to me, "Oh, quit being such a bitch, Lisey has just poured her first glass of milk all by herself and you're ruining the whole thing for her."

And suddenly I looked and saw a very little girl trying very hard to grow up- trying to wipe up herself the mess she had made getting herself a drink of milk.  And I said, "Lisey, I think Sparkle (dog) would like this extra milk."

Lisey stopped and looked at me.  I had finally said something of meaning.  All the negative harassment up till then she had been trying to ignore.  I said, "If you get Sparkle's dishe, we can put the milk in it."

She got it and we did.

And immediately she began an animated chatter about how Sparkle would like this milk and how she had poured them both a drink of milk, etc.  Until then, she had barely said one word. In fact, if I had pushed her far enough- "Ok, Lisey, get out of the kitchen while I clean up your mess"- she would have probably ended up crying (over spilt milk!).

But the happy ending here did not require much effort on my part because I wasn't very emotionally involved.  My mind could still be objective about the situation to the extend of being ale to control and change it.

The above was taken from Teach Your Own (The John Holt book of Homeschooling) by John Holt.  It really struck me this morning as I read this passage, recognizing my own self in the story, both as a parent and as a child and the view of the child in today's society.

There is beauty in a child.  They are gifts.  Gifts from our creator.  And they can be the most joyful blessing if we open our eyes to see it.  They can teach us by far more than any textbook, lecture, magazine article written by a scientist, lab experiment, or intellectual conversation.  A child can change us, mold us into the beautiful work of art intended by our God. But if we take society's stance as an unborn child has no right to live and that toddlers are A**holes (yes, a real book title that totally appalls me to the deepest core) whether it be in a joking manner or not, we miss the true essence.  We miss the chance to be shaped and yes, even work through our salvation, through the experience of carrying a child to term, giving birth, raising or even spending time with a child and enjoying that child to his and our fullest potential.  That is a great tragedy.

Today's society seems to tell us that children are born trouble makers....even viewed as a problem from within the womb.  It is not the child that is the problem.  It is our selfish worldview that is the problem.

When I walk into a room cluttered with my son's toys and artwork, it is me with the problem.  It is me that has trouble with how to accept that clutter as beauty.  It is me that grimaces at his noises and interruptions as nuisance to my ears rather than music and opportunity for my betterment and growthn. It is me that worries over insects or a cool wind as he goes in and out the door enjoying his world. It is me that doesn't take the time to observe the things he is learning as he builds the mountains of blocks or stacks his 20 animals around him in the living room or the mountains of papers on the kitchen table and floor surrounding it.  It is me that is not grateful for the messes.  It is me with the problem.  It's not my child.

As a child,  I was raised in a situation in which everything I did seemed to be a problem...  whether it was an accidental spill, noise, moving my lips when reading, a thought of my own, forgetting to pick something up off the floor or table, a question that wasn't wanted to be answered, or simply not performing to the adult perfection or timely fashion expected of me.  No and consequences for simply being a child and doing things that children do, did not shape me in a  positive manner. I grew up, even after that environment changed, believing I must perform perfectly (in the eyes of others and myself) to be worthy of love or acceptance.  Which means I often gave up many things before even trying due to fear, or didn't and still don't give myself credit for a job well done.

Is that what I want for my child?  Is that what we want as a society for our children?  For the young men and women that are growing up who will become the leaders of our society? I see myself, though over the years I've certainly changed for the better, still saying no when it could really be a yes.  There are still so many cases where I really just need to shut up and listen. I need to stop condemning my child for being a child and just shut up....listen, observe and soak it all in like a beautiful symphony. Listen to my child and realize he (they) is there to teach me just as much if not MORE than I am to teach him.  Observe from his perspective and see the beauty that God has given me through the eyes of this child.  Yes, we are here to guide our children-  but how do we do that?  It need not be in the words of "No", "Get out of there," or "Not now". Learning not to say no in a way that demeans or stifles their spirit is a challenge but so necessary for them to be themselves and freely learn more than a school room or academic lesson will ever teach them- or ourselves for that matter.   We don't HAVE to panic at every mess (though I still stick to my rule that he has to ask before he tapes one more thing to my walls.....) or assume the worse at their every move.  We can enjoy these moments.  Savor them really.  Use them to awaken and change our spirits.

 

Create in me a clean heart O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me.

Psalm 50:10

 

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

happy-thanksgiving

It's been so long since I posted, I actually panicked for a moment when the screen came up asking me for my Name and Password....  but as you can see after a moment it all came back.  Whew!  😉

Well ,  lots have happened since I last posted...  but I'm not going to go into all that right now.  Right now I sit in front of the TV watching the Macy's parade with my family (except for my beloved husband who has to work nights this holiday so he is hopefully resting well in another part of the house) - a tradition we've had for years, with the newspaper awaiting our perusal for seeing what's the best sales and gaining Christmas gift ideas.

The rest of the day will be spent prepping foods for our celebration on Saturday when we can all be present for the entire day, beginning the making out of Christmas cards, making Christmas lists - presents, cookies to bake (gluten free and paleo), things to do before that blessed day in December, and trying to relax and enjoy the non-typical day.

Photo by Edge of the Woods Photogrphy
Photo by Edge of the Woods Photogrphy

I hope you are all well.  I'd love to hear from you.  And yes, I hope to be back on here soon.  I know it will not be in a consistent manner.  But perhaps I can at least get back in touch with all of you, my faithful readers.

 

Until then,

Have a Blessed Day and a day , month and year full of things to be Thankful and Grateful for!  God bless you all!

Carol

2016-06-02 10.41.58

 

Sometimes,  words get in the way.....

and a picture is worth a thousand words they say, so...

here's a few things I'm grateful for in pictures!

 

2016-06-21 15.04.14
Happy faces on a happy day!
The memories I have of this sweet creature who we had to lay to rest just two weeks ago.... her brown eyebrows brought so much joy...and she gave so much love.
The memories I have of this sweet creature who we had to lay to rest just two weeks ago.... her brown eyebrows brought so much joy...and she gave so much love.
All of the beautiful aspects of God's glorious creation!
All of the beautiful aspects of God's glorious creation!

 

2016-06-01 11.27.42
Up close encounters with His creation!

 

The man that captured my heart and holds my hand.
The man that captured my heart and holds my hand.

 

Some people write with words.  But some express through drawing and photography.  If one of the later suits you, why not create a gratitude journal with one of those media instead of writing?  Either way, it's the expression of gratitude each day that changes us.  May you find fulfillment in your journey in becoming a person of gratitude!

What are you grateful for this week?

"Salvation is our cooperative effort with God's grace through keeping of the commandments and the acquisition of the beauty of the virtues, which bring man, who is in the image of God, to the likeness of God."

~Taken from Acquiring The Mind of Christ by Archimandrite Sergius (Bowyer)

 

This, to me, has got to be one of the most profound and wonderfully simply stated explanations of the Orthodox view of salvation I have ever come across.  It is short and simple and to the point.

Salvation is not a one time experience and guarantee.  It is a process.  And while I can say I was saved when Jesus died on the cross, I also know that it is, indeed, a process.  I can mess up that salvation for myself if I part from God- my relationship with Him and His commandments.  For in parting from those, I am furthering myself from becoming like Him.

Yet as I go through the day-  seeking Him in prayer, attending Liturgy and taking part in the sacraments, reading the bible and books that encourage my faith, surrounding myself with others of the faith, teaching my children about the faith, singing hymns, practicing gratitude, and attempting to avoid sin,    all of those things bring me closer to Him and, therefore, is me demonstrating that cooperative effort with His grace.

I've always enjoyed reading explanations of salvation.  This one really struck me this morning and I was compelled to share.  Hopefully it gives you as much to ponder as it did for me.

What are you doing today to keep that cooperative effort going?

2

2016-06-02 10.41.58

O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever

-   Psalm 136:1

 

Consider This:

As many know,the book of Psalms were written by David.  But did you realize how many of those psalms were written while David was in agony and moments of extreme distress? Yet David continued writing of giving thanks,   praising and singing to the Lord!  This is the perfect example of having deep gratitude.  Surely if David can find reasons for gratitude,

I can.

You can.

Photo by Waldryano/Pixabay
Photo by Waldryano/Pixabay

David certainly had good reason to give thanks to God. God did, afterall, choose him to be the king over Israel while he was just a young  boy.  David was king over all of Israel and its people! Furthermore, his first victory, killing Goliath, occurred long before that-  when he was just a boy! David owed all of his  triumphs over all of his enemies, including Goliath,  to God.  We may not have quite the same blessings as David (kingship, heroship and more) but we all have our blessings.  Many Many blessings!

And yet...  just like you and I....

David sinned.

And while God forgave David's sin, he was not spared from paying the price of sin. He was not spared from the challenges of the human life and the sadness and grief that is part of our lives.  He had to witness the unwanted pregnancy in Bathsheba. His first child died. His own son  pursued to kill him. He army was defeated.

Even so, David knew that God had not left him. In fact, God declared, according to the Apostle Paul, 'I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do' (Acts 13:22) .

Why?

Because David sought God in times of his needs.  He was GRATEFUL for all of the mercies he received from God, giving thanks and recognition to the God that gave those mercies to him. And David  continued to sing unto the Lord! When we show gratitude on a daily basis(such as writing in our journals!), this is one way that we too can sing unto the Lord.

The thanksgiving that David offered to God was not just because he knew it was the right thing to do or because he thought he'd get away with more...David was relieved from troubles and his sorrows through his gratitude and it was in offering thanks for His mercy that he called upon the LORD and God answered his prayers!

Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles;

Praise Him, all you peoples,

For His mercy rules over us;

And the truth of the Lord endures forever.

~Psalm 116 (117)

Have and show gratitude.  It will set you on the right path. It will bring forth blessings. May God bless you forevermore.

Gratitude Sharing:             2016-06-21 15.04.14

  1.  The way my sons enjoy wildlife and see God's glory in it all.
  2. Creativity and fun that was held at the Crayola Factory this week!
  3. Invitation to get together from a friend.
  4. The sense of accomplishment & freedom at seeing clean open spaces.
  5. Finding messages in scripture that speak to my heart.

WHAT'S IN YOUR GRATITUDE JOURNAL THIS WEEK?