The Secret to Getting What You Want

How many times have you wanted something more? New car? A baby? To go to work? To stay home? An extra vacation?

I can raise my hand and say I’m right there with you.  That grass is always greener on the other side mentality can be a real doozie to beat.  We see our neighbors with the new boat and the new car and think, “why geesh…I want that too!” We buy a new house and it’s not long before we wish we had a different one…a bigger more fancy one.

The problem with this…

It puts us in a state of want and need.  That’s no good. We end up operating from a state of lack. Like what we have isn’t good enough. We lose our gratitude. We lose our contentment.  It robs us of our joy.

So the remedy…

  1. Practice Gratitude
  2. Give freely
  3. Bless those who have what you want

There isn’t a quicker way to finding joy, happiness, and contentment than through gratitude and shifting your mind to believing your life is abundant.  When you hold onto things or money like you’re supply is going to run out, you hoard.  You begin to hold on to it. And when you hold on….more stops coming to you and you begin to lose the joy and contentment.

Being thankful for what you have puts you in a place of feeling abundant.  You begin to give more, live more, and be more satisfied.

This morning I read this verse in my Bible.

“If you give to others, you will be given a full amount in return.  It will be packed down, shaken together, and spilling over into your lap.  The way you treat others is the way you will be treated.” Luke 6:38, CEV

Sometimes I read about gratitude, mindfulness, and the law of attraction and feel like it’s venturing into a little bit of the woo-woo territory. Like how does our minds really have that much impact on our lives.  Then I read a scripture like this and it all comes together.

xoxo- Renae


Photo by Chungkuk Bae on Unsplash

5 Ways to Teach Children Gratitude


There’s nothing more powerful in changing our lives than having an attitude of gratitude. But in today’s society, it is SOOOO easy to overwhelmed with wants, efficiency, and discontent. I love November because of Thanksgiving, but if you are like me, I don’t want November to be the only month my kids show thankfulness. You too?

So here are 5 simple ways you can teach your children how to have a heart of thankfulness. I mean after all, those who are more thankful and content have an overall more satisfied and happier life (there’s tons of research out regarding how it effects so many areas of life like self-esteem, optimism, etc. Go check it out!)… And isn’t that what we want most for our children?

Daily Gratitude

This one is SO simple and something I try to practice myself. Each day as I tuck my ids away to bed (or even periodically throughout the day), I’ll ask them to name something they are thankful for. Some of the answers are TO DIE FOR cute. Seriously! I think my son is thankful for garbage trucks nearly every day 😉

Encourage Generosity

This past year we’ve been attempting to make major changes in our clutter around the house.  As a part of that, we’ve all given away a TON of stuff (Checkout my 5 Steps To Break Free From Clutter if you want to ditch clutter). We encouraged the kids to choose one thing to give away each day. I was actually amazed at how little resistance we experienced from them.  They were actually very excited to give to others.

Turn around the No

It’s sometimes so hard to go into a store with my kids because I feel like I get bombarded with the “I need this” or “will you buy me this” questions.  I hate using the word no and try to use it sparingly but geesh….shopping can be downright exhausting.  A huge focus for us this year is to eliminate ‘stuff’ so that we have more time and space to focus on our relationships.  So now, instead of just saying no I remind them of why we are saying no…. so that we have more time and money to spend on things we all enjoy like vacation, trips to the zoo, or Disneyland.  The no to the impulse buy becomes now something they are excited about and willingly put the item back on the shelf.  Kids crave relationship. And while they would love the latest and greatest toy, they more desire YOU.

Encourage them to Serve Others

I grew up serving people who were homeless or living on the streets and I cannot say enough about how it shaped my view of the world, gratitude, politics, and so much more.  Last year our family took coffee and breakfast to people who were homeless the day after Christmas.  It was an AMAZING experience for them. But in this stage of life, I just don’t feel it’s practical for us to do on a regular and ongoing basis.  So we’ve found other ways to serve.  We’ve connected with an amazing organization called Safe Families.  It’s given us the opportunity to bring children into our home, love them, and serve them.  My kids then have hands on real life, tangible exposure to serving those in need.  There are so many ways for families to serve together, whether it be as simple as picking up trash, serving food in a homeless shelter, giving gifts for Operation Christmas Child and others.

Please and Thank You’s

There is some thing so fundamental in manners that can have profound impacts on gratitude.  But rather than forcing your kids to say them just out of formality, make them meaningful (this is similar to why I never force my kids to say sorry).  When saying something is forced, it loses its value and meaning.  A gentle reminder such as “did you say thank you when Maya gave you a flower” reminds kids that even simple actions are something to be grateful for.  Just the same, encouraging them to write thank you notes reminds them of how many things in our lives we have to be thankful for.


Do you have any fun ways you teach gratefulness? I’m going to share some of my favorites in the next month and would love to highlight yours! Drop them below or email me

How Do We Not Teach About Santa Clause?

santaI grew up pretending in Santa but all the while knowing what the true meaning of Christmas was…the birth of Christ Jesus.  We still had the joys of traditions such as putting cookies out for Santa and opening stockings on Christmas morning.  We never had the great reveal that the figure we’d believed in for so long was false.  I have to give props to my parents for such a great balance.

As my daughter is now 2.5 years old, I feel she’s starting to comprehend significantly more than before and thus how I manage this balance has come into question this year.

First and foremost, I want my relationship with my daughter to be built on a foundation of trust and knowledge.  When she asks me questions, regardless of what they are, I want to answer her honestly in the most age appropriate way as possible.  This concept has had a lot of thought lately due to the fact that I’m pregnant and I would love to have her present for the birth.  We talk about body parts in their anatomical names, describe body functions honestly, etc. I want her to be prepared for what to expect when the baby is born and for her to understand that it is a natural process, as well as breastfeeding and many other taboo things, and that it isn’t something to be ashamed of and label with other words. Wow, I just got off on a small tangent….trust and knowledge! That’s what I’m striving for.  This will go so far as the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy and such.  I want her to have the fun of pretending but all the while knowing the truth about the holiday or event.

Honestly, Christmas is one of my favorite times of year.  I think the real reason is the emphasis on giving to others (which I wish were more a part of my constant mentality throughout the year), spending time with family, and celebrating the real reason both those two are important, the birth of Christ.

Thus, Jesus and the nativity story has been my emphasis. We spend a lot of time talking about Jesus and the story of his birth.


I created a felt nativity set for her last year and my grandma gave her a Little People Nativity set.  We still participate in fun things like the Elf on the Shelf and I plan on putting cookies and milk out for Santa.  However, with both, I intend to let her know that it’s just mom and dad pretending.


Our elf, Sprinkles, isn’t intended to scare our children into acting in a particular way or behaving in order to get toys.  It’s the fun of waking and seeing where and what the elf is going to be doing the next morning.  We haven’t even really talked about the elf leaving to go report to Santa. We still take pictures with Santa each year if the opportunity arises, but we haven’t encouraged her to ask for gifts from Santa.  We want her to know, the gifts she receives are from the people in her life that love and care from her.  Just as I emphasize the nativity, I will tell her Santa and all are pretend.


We’re attempting to teach her gratefulness (building off of last month in which people are most thankful one day and then running people over for sales for more stuff on Black Friday–whole other topic there). We have the things we have, the life and family we have because of Jesus.  I have wanted to participate in an activity Advent calendar for the last few years (I found this one at Target this year and really like it), with emphasis on being together as a family.   Yesterday, our activity was to buy a gift for someone who may need it.

sleep train

We decided to donate a toy to the Sleep Train’s Toy Drive for Foster Children.  We prepared our daughter with such statements as Jesus gave us all and so we share and bless others that may not have or be in need.  Amazingly she got it and talked about it the whole way to the store.  When we were walking up and down the toy store,  I thought for sure it was going to turn into a battle to give the toy up as she’d continually state “I want that” as we walked up and down.  We let her choose a toy, which even upped the ante a bit too.  She was so excited to be carrying this dog in a purse through the store.  But when she walked into Sleep Train, she carried it right over, put it in the basket and told the man it was for kids that may not have toys. Wow! That’s the heart I want to cultivate and the reason for this season.  I want her to be able to be grateful for the gifts she’s received at Christmas, knowing who they came from and the sacrifices people made to give them to her, rather than an imaginary figure whom she can’t really demonstrate gratitude.  Next year, I plan to have more items in our calendar with the intention of teaching her Jesus’ character rather than just spending time together as a family.

Granted this is my first attempt at raising children.  I can’t claim to have it all figured out but I hope that I’m making at least an honest attempt at raising a daughter with a relationship of honesty and knowledge, and instilling a heart of gratefulness and giving in a season when so many focus on the receipt of gifts.

I discovered Truth in the Tinsel as a part of my search recently.  It might be something I’ll plan to do next year when I’m prepared a little more in advance. Has anyone used it?