About the Author

Mary is a writer and speaker who lives for good books, spicy queso, and television marathons – but lives because of God’s grace. She writes about giving up on perfect and finding truth in unexpected places at MaryCarver.com. Mary and her husband live in Kansas City with their two daughters.

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
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(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. God used Nancy L. DeMoss’ book “Choosing Gratitude” to change my life and prepare me for a major bump in the road that we were going to face. I would call it a “MUST READ”!

  2. I really needed to read this today Mary! Beautifully written! You are so right…gratitude is a whole other ball game! Thank you for this reminder!

  3. Ah, yes, it is easy to get caught up in our issues with our blessings! One solution to that is go see what others have (or DON’T have!) We have taken our teens to volunteer several years to a small poor Kentucky town. We helped build a new “house” on the side of a hill for a family of 5. The house was 14×40. They were SO excited. Their old home was a trailer that the floor was falling in. No insulation, old gas heater, plumbing that sometime worked. They have even had snakes come up through the holes in the floor.
    After visiting there, I don’t feel so bad that I STILL don’t have molding up around my ceilings, or that the stone has not been stacked for my fireplace. I have a house that keeps me safe from critters, is warm and dry, and has been my home for 21 years.
    It’s all a matter of perspective…

  4. There is a growing movement of parents who are refusing to teach their children these manners – to say please, thank you, you’re welcome. They think that true gratitude will come with maturity and through their own modeling, and that prompting their children to say these words does not instill true gratitude but only teaches them to mindlessly parrot the words. Food for thought? I personally teach my children these words and how to use them, I also teach them to look people in the eye when speaking to them, to hold doors for people going in/out of buildings, and pray before meals, and to serve our Lord and love each other – whether they feel like it or not.

  5. Mary,
    Thank you for your article today!

    Sometimes I forget to be truly thankful for the most important things in life; God, health, my children, and stability. Often I find myself only expressing thanks when I “get” more than I am expecting. Talk about entitled!

  6. Such a good word, Mary, on what it means to be grateful–and how hard it is to CHOOSE that so often. We have had a disappointing year as a family– a move, to a new culture, with a lot of frustrating daily life things–not to mention the loss of friends and family. I have had so many days when I have not led my three kids well in gratitude, and it seems that when I am not choosing joy and thanksgiving, they don’t have a shot at it (they are 7, 5, 3). The mom really does set the tone for the house in many ways, I think.

    We have started practicing two practical things to encourage gratitude:

    1. At the table, we play a game where each person says one thing they are thankful for and quick-point at someone else, then they have to say something fast that they are grateful for, etc. It doesn’t last for long, but it does seem to break the negativity cycle.

    2. Sometimes if we are having a particularly whiny day, I put a paper on the fridge. Everytime they complain/grumble, they have to go and draw or write three things they are grateful for. Again, it seems to help pull them up out of the pit. Pulls ME out, too!

    Thanks, again, for this encouraging post, Mary!

  7. I have been studied intentional gratitude recently too. How I desire to not only be aware of all that I have to be thankful for, but then also express that gratitude and act on it, too!

    Thank you for this reminder today.

  8. I love the way I can start reading a post of yours and as I go through your warm words I know quickly, “Oh, this is Mary!” Your voice, your heart, are like a hug and hot fudge sundae all rolled into one and delivered on silver platter. Sweet to the soul, girl, that’s you.