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.

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things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. I love this challenge, Mary, to make the most of the days ahead — not to slide aimlessly toward the finish line and hope for better things on a new calendar. May your 2018 begin with a full gratitude list, and may you find many opportunities to hold your sweet-smelling littles before this year comes to a close.

  2. Thank you! I am going to challenge myself to end each day well. As, I type these words I have already faced two minor challenges this morning(it’s only 6:30). However, I am determined to move forward with a new resolve. Today is the best day of my life!!!
    Merry Christmas and many blessings to you and your family.

  3. Mary,
    So true that no matter how sideways a day, a week, a season, or a year goes, there is always something to be grateful for. Gratitude and hurt or pain can coexist….it’s not an either or. Often holidays are a mix of both. There may be pain and hurt, but there is always the promise that Christ is with us – Emanuel. No matter what we’re going through we don’t go through it alone. Keeping my eyes firmly fixed on Jesus and then looking outward as to how I can help someone else, help me combat any disappointments that are there. It truly is a balancing act at times. Praising God for all that I am thankful for and for His grace and mercy that are sufficient to get me through what isn’t picture perfect. Great post!
    Christmas blessings Mary,
    Bev xx

  4. What a great post, Mary!! I’m creating my gratitude list today. Here’s to finishing well! Praise God from whom all Blessings flow! <

    In Him,

  5. Mary, I was blessed by your words today! In the aftermath of a year that was filled with highs and lows, I took your advice and reviewed the year in photos. The photos were a reminder that God was in it all, using it all, and painting silver linings in even the darkest storm clouds!

  6. Mary, thank you for your encouragement to focus on what went well and celebrate the photographic evidence. I abandoned scrapbooking when my kids were born and have experimented through the years to find what works for us now. Now our tradition is I handpick photos from throughout the year – which I love doing – and my husband compiles them into a slideshow. Some years it’s really basic, other years include video clips, etc. The kids love watching past years and the grandparents love receiving a copy as a gift. It’s a lot of “wins” rolled into one. Thank you for confirmation that it’s a good tradition to keep. May you be blessed now and in the new year!

  7. Mary,
    I really appreciate your encouraging words this morning……. thank-you so much.

    Blessings to all,

  8. I have many friends that need this message right now. They’ve experienced serious life changes and have said they’re not in the holiday spirit.

  9. Wow! You spoke to my heart this morning! Thank you for your great words, wisdom and inspiration!

  10. I always try to pray in the New Year, this year I’d like to sing it in even if I’m alone, instead of being on my knees, I want to raise my hands in praise and magnify Him instead of a ll the things gone wrong this year. There has been a lot gone right, it is just His timing but worth the wait. Merry Christmas!

  11. Mary, I love this and have shared it with many people. I even posted it to my Facebook today and shared it with our MOPS FB group. Thank you for a practical way to end the year well.

  12. Mary, I love this and have shared it with many people. I even posted it to my Facebook today and shared it with our MOPS FB group. Thank you for a practical way to end the year well.

  13. Mary,

    Great advice. Often times when I get down & feel some depressed I use my go to Gratitude list. I write out ALL the things God has given me-big or small. My latest list has 234 items on it. Just added a few more. It helps me realize how blessed I am compared to many in this world & turn my frowns upside down. I love giving back/helping others. Constantly look for ways to assist or encourage others. This year I brought toys for a toy drive in our area. I heard about an angel tree for elderly people. I decided to check it out & pick someone. I chose a lady who just wanted some new pant suits. I was able to get her two nice outfits. It blessed my heart. Wish I could see her open the gifts. Saturday our church will be making desserts for a “feed the multitude” feeding program. I will take my brownies & go help serve. Tomorrow our church will go caroling to nursing homes. So easy to make someone smile & brighten their other wise dreary days.

    Have a merry Christmas & a great 2018!

    Blessings 🙂