Thankful Hearts Giveaway: Sondra Kraak

November 19, 2016 Christian, giveaway, historical, Sondra Kraak, Thankful Hearts giveaway 97

 

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Welcome to Day 8 of the Thankful Hearts giveaway! Just as a reminder – You can keep up with all the posts in the giveaway series by clicking on the Thankful Hearts giveaway graphic in the sidebar. More chances to win each day!

Today, Sondra Kraak brings us an important reminder about what can steal our gratitude and how to refocus.

Gratitude has many enemies, but today, I’m grieving the thief of entitlement and how it has stolen the joy of gratitude from me and from others.

We are soaked daily in messages of individual rights, self expression, and personal identity, whether through advertising, social media, news venues, or academia. And I even see these messages wrapped with a gospel bow and presented in Christian forums as well. The sense that you are and I are free to be or do whatever we want, that we are okay just as we are in our natural empowered selves, pervades our culture’s worldview.

Consider the fallout over the election and the frenzy created on social media. If it’s demonstrated anything to me, it’s demonstrated our culture’s love affair with self. We love to hear ourselves talk. We love to prove ourselves right. What I’m feeling and thinking must be expressed right now, and if you disagree, you are labeled (buzz word alert!) intolerant. Intolerant is, I think, a fancy way to say someone is inhibiting free individual expression.

But here’s the deal. Narcissism kills gratitude. Obsession with my needs and identity undercuts the very foundation of thankfulness. Gratitude, by nature, looks out at others—and as a Christian, I believe it first and foremost looks up to Jesus Christ. Worship in spirit and truth is rooted in the person and work of Jesus, and gratitude is an expression of worship. When the eyes of the heart linger on self, false worship occurs (also called idolatry). When the eyes of the heart linger on our creator God, his glory, and the lordship of Jesus Christ, gratitude ensues. Because seeing Jesus as he truly is puts me in my place—on my knees in worship—and that’s such a thankful place to be.

Here’s the good news. I see an entire sub-culture of grateful people rising up. Strong voices are calling out the idolatry of self and urging others to look out and up. Intentional efforts of gratitude are rampant, thanks in large part to Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. I love to see people counting gifts of grace on social media. It’s a refreshing contradiction to the self-focused complaining that too often jams our feeds (and yes, I’m guilty of such posts. No finger-pointing here!).

Will you join me today in an effort to refocus? Let’s use these verses from Psalm 95:

“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.”

the-book

One of the books included in the Thankful Hearts giveaway is Sondra’s new novel and the first book in her Paths of Grace series, Such a Hope.

such-a-hopeWashington Territory, 1871

Anna Warren grew up on the seat of a wagon, the daughter of Seattle’s busiest freighter. After her father’s death—a tragedy away from home—she returns to their cabin on the outskirts of Seattle, seeking the sense of belonging that eluded her childhood. But will her desire to pray for miraculous healing for the sick and wounded endear or alienate her to the community? Her most aggravating challenger is also her staunchest defender and has brown hair and eyes, stands six feet tall, and farms with unchecked tenacity. Tristan Porter. This farmer her father had befriended holds more secrets than Yesler’s Mill holds logs.

When ugly rumors arise about her spiritual gift and her property, Anna fears her quest to find belonging will be thwarted.

Tristan holds the truth to set her free, but revealing it will require him to face the disappointments of his past and surrender his plans for the future—a sacrifice he’s not sure he can make.

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the-author

sondra-kraakA native of Washington State, Sondra Kraak grew up playing in the rain, hammering out Chopin at the piano, and running up and down the basketball court. Now settled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children, blogging about spiritual truths, and writing historical romance set in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She delights in sharing stories that not only entertain, but nourish the soul. Her debut novel, One Plus One Equals Trouble, was an ACFW Genesis semi-finalist (2015) and the winner of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Unpublished Women’s Fiction Award (2015).

Connect with Sondra on her website, on Facebook and Twitter.

giveaway RIMSP

Comment on this post by answering the question below and then head over to the kickoff page to claim the new entry for today!

Question for giveaway entry: How can you refocus on gratitude today?

Tomorrow we’ll hear from Joanne Bischof – plus another chance to win!

Carrie

97 Responses to “Thankful Hearts Giveaway: Sondra Kraak”

  1. Carla Moore

    Beautiful Cover. By attending chilcare class an having gratite that I have someone to use it towards.

  2. Debbie Clatterbuck

    Read scriptures pertaining to and focusing on gratitude and being thankful.

  3. Jan Hall

    Take some time to be quiet sip some hot tea and to write down the things I am thankful for.

  4. Anne

    By realizing how fortunate I am and being grateful. Even with illness and problems.

  5. Becky Smith

    Wow! I LOVE this song! I focus more on gratitude when I have first spent time in His Word and Presence. When I stop and think about how I have been undeservedly and overwhelmingly blessed. When I take my eyes off of ME and focus it on HIM. That special time with Him this morning helps me refocus my eyes for the whole day.

  6. Janice Moore

    This site has helped direct my thoughts to gratitude, with the words and music. Thank you. I am struggling physically, and that seem to make it harder to be thankful.I am praying that as this day passes, as each negative, critical thought comes to mind that I will be helped to combat it with God’s truths. Listening to Christian music, reading the Bible and thinking how I can help others will help, too. This was a special request asked of us, and very meaningful for me. Thank you so much.

    • Carrie

      Janice, I’m so glad this post has helped. It IS so tough to be thankful when you’re in pain or ill. I know firsthand how difficult it is. I will be praying for you 🙂

      • Janice Moore

        Thank you very much, Carrie, I know you have shared how you have faced difficulties, too. I hope you are better, too! I wrote this much to help you know how much these posts are helping and encouraging others, along with the fun part of reading addressed! You are a blessing!

  7. Dana Michael

    Refocus my gratitude? Be grateful for small and big things. Count my many blessings and name them one by one. Thanks for the reminder to refocus. I needed that. 🙂

  8. Deana Dick

    By reminding myself of all the things I have and focusing on the positive instead of the negative. Continue to deepen my relationship with God and be grateful for His unconditional love.

  9. Connie Saunders

    There is so much negativity in the world today so we need to focus on the positive. Yes, the weather is changing but God is the Creator of our four seasons so it is as it should be. Yes, our economy is in shambles but my family has a place to live. food to eat and clothes to wear. Yes; we are getting older but that means that God isn’t finished with us ? How can we not be grateful?
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

  10. Andrea Stephens

    Thank you for the song today. It is beautiful. How I refocus on Gratitude. Though it is difficult, I have to set aside the illnesses and worries that go along with them. I make myself take a moment to acknowledge what I do have and I am so grateful for it. I don’t always remember to do it every single day (pain wins those days) but when I do, it makes such difference. This week’s posts have helped me remember MANY things I have to be grateful for. So…
    Thank YOU, Carrie, for putting this together and everything you do. And I’d like to thank the authors for participating.

  11. Winnie Thomas

    Sondra, thanks so much for your thoughts. I think you hit the nail on the head. It’s hard to feel gratitude when you are thinking only of yourself. Your book looks and sounds wonderful. It’s going on my TBR list.

    Thanks, Carrie, for doing this fun Thanksgiving giveaway and for the chance to hear the thoughts on thankfulness from all these amazing authors.

    • Carrie

      haven’t their posts been so great? They have truly blessed me as I’ve put them together!

    • Sondra Kraak

      Thanks for stopping by, Winnie! I hope you enjoy Such a Hope. I’d love to hear a testimony of how Jesus speaks to you as you read, if you feel so inclined. 🙂

  12. Janet Ferguson

    Wonderful post today, Sondra! Hugs to all the commenters! I’m on the road to a football game with family. I’m thankful for this pretty day. I love that scripture and the Thousand Gifts study, and I need keep praises in my lips in life’s hard stuff❤️

  13. Marilyn

    Gratitude should come automatically to others . Thanks or the giveaway.
    Marilyn

  14. carylkane

    Choosing to be grateful is key! May we daily reflect upon His Goodness. He has given us life and ALL we need to live it to the fullest.

    Sondra, thank you for this wonderful post!

  15. Jocelyn

    We each have so much to be grateful for. The enemy works to steal our joy, but it is my goal to remember to be grateful for the blessings the Lord freely gives.

    • Carrie

      We have to be on guard, don’t we? And make that choice to remember how much we have to be grateful for!

  16. Karen

    My friend gave me a gratitude journal, and it’s helped me to refocus my thoughts on the Lord every day. It’s a wonderful way to remember all of the people and circumstances that have blessed my life.

  17. Pam K.

    This is the first time I’ve heard this lovely song. Listening to Christian music is one way I focus on gratitude. I just need to take time to “count my blessings” regularly. Thanks for the reminder to do that.

  18. Trixi

    Counting the blessings in my life is a way for me to focus on gratitude! God has been so good to me 🙂

  19. Bekah

    Omg, this cover is beautiful! I think prayer and meditation always help me to focus and count my blessings. Thanks for the much-needed reminder! 🙂

    • Carrie

      isn’t it gorgeous? And yes, it was a much-needed reminder for me too!! I’m so thankful for these beautiful posts from these fantastically talented authors!

  20. Donna B

    I agree it is hard sometimes to be grateful. It all depends on how we look at things. We can be ungrateful when a problem arises or we can be grateful that we have God to call or lean upon. A lot of things we see or hear in today’s society tries to bring us down and make us think we have nothing to be grateful for. I’m grateful for all the blessings God has given me.

  21. Heidi Robbins

    What a timely reminder. I find myself lately feeling like I should be living in the kind of house that I was raised in, but in reality we’re living in a much different world now. When I find my “house-envy” getting a little too strong I focus on the home I do have and why it’s a blessing to our family at this time.

    • Carrie

      it’s easy to get house envy, Heidi! I have the same problem sometimes. Focusing on the blessings of what we do have is a great way to calm that though 🙂

  22. Jen

    “Gratitude, by nature, looks out at others.” Yes. This. Thank you for this reminder today, Sondra.

  23. Rebecca Maney

    Psalm 69:30,31 reminds us that God would rather have our thanks than “an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hoofs.” Now I haven’t tried to give God either of those lately, but I certainly forget to give him my thanks. It’s so important to Him and I hate to think that it takes a holiday to make me remember.

  24. Annie JC

    Dwell on God’s words. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever.” – Psalm 118:1 This verse have been on my heart for past several days.

  25. JACKIE MCNUTT

    Sondra, Your book looks wonderful and I am adding it to my TBR list. Thank you for your encouraging words.
    Carrie, Thank you for all of the wonderful authors you have featured here, I have been Blessed.
    I think gratitude comes from trials, and while it is very difficult to focus on gratitude sometimes, I feel better even if I get my mind off of whatever challenge I am facing for even a few moments at a time. God really does bring hope and strength to help me face the difficulties moment by moment.

  26. JJ

    Love your statement that “narcissism kills gratitude.” Remembering that all the commandments are summed up in loving God first and then loving my neighbor can help me express gratitude.

  27. Sonnetta Jones

    I focus on God and what he has done. I look to his words to be reminded that having a relationship with him is all I need.

  28. Kirsten Rinehart

    Instead of looking at all the negatives in my life I should start listing the positives and look back at the memory and give thanks to God for what He has done during that time and ask Him to keep guiding me on the right path

  29. Kelly Blackwell

    Wonderful post Sondra.

    I have a prayer journal and I try to always thank God first. I also keep looking back to remember how much I do have to thank Him for.

    • Carrie

      I am so bad about not being consistent with a journal of any kind but looking back on His faithfulness is so important

  30. Julie Jobe

    By choosing to make myself aware and being on guard against an attitude of ingratitude. I think being purposeful and intentional about it is important. Choosing to do the opposite of what we feel sometimes, choosing to be grateful even when at the moment we don’t necessarily “feel” it. Thinking on whatever is good and true and reminding ourselves of the blessings we do have on a daily basis and sometimes even a moment by moment basis.

  31. Bonnie Roof

    Refocusing on gratitude to me equates to the amount of time I spend in prayer, Bible study, listening to praise/worship music, spending time with godly people – whether in person or online, and thinking positive, spiritual thoughts. The more I do these things, the less the focus is on me and the more often I am reminded/aware of my many blessings.

  32. Beth Erin

    Hi Sondra! Focusing on prayer is the best way I can refocus on gratitude. Quieting the everyday and thanking the One from whom all blessings flow.

  33. Nancy M

    I like to take days and every hour focus on something to be thankful for during that hour. You’d be surprised your attitude after a day of finding things to be thankful for every hour!

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