Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Levels of Gratitude and Thanksgiving

One of the biggest misconceptions is that everyone's gratitude will look the same. That is the biggest downfall of practicing gratitude: comparison. 

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak with a group of church ladies. When I arrived, I had no idea that they were studying: Lord, Change MY ATTITUDE by James McDonald & Barb Pell 

The chapter just happened to be about gratitude

I love how God works all things together for our good. He even works out the smallest of details and if we are present and conscious enough we won't miss them. 

I can vividly take myself back to that moment in the small church that so much resembled the little church I grew up in. Their smiles, their stories, their hearts opened up so much love in my own heart. I was so glad I took my oldest daughter with me. We were able to share our mission of #OperationLove with them and to sit with them during their study of McDonald's book.

My biggest takeaway was this: Our gratitude cannot be compared because we are all on a different level on any given day. 

When we look into a mirror we see our own reflection. We do not look exactly like anyone else. We do not think like anyone else. We do not THANK like anyone else. 

"Faith grows in the soil of gratitude." 

Earlier today on I posted this photo: 

This level of thankfulness is what we all want to achieve but just like we cannot go from kindergarten to college we cannot easily be thankful for the bad. 

It's easy to be thankful for the good. To be thankful IN the bad, THAT is what we all need to strive for daily. 

Some of us are on the "kindergarten" level of thankfulness. We are thankful when the good stuff happens, when it's Thanksgiving Day/Week, when we are reminded by others to be thankful for what we have, but mostly the feeling just isn't always there and we fall into complaint more often than we'd like to admit. 

Others of us are on the "high school" level of thankfulness. We are thankful and can make the choice to be thankful. We also can always find something to be  thankful for, but in the bad times we are, typically, tripped up and fall back into the "why me?" state of mind. 

To experience pure joy, we have to reach the collegiate level of thankfulness. "To give thanks always for all things." That's the goal. To be able to be thankful even in the bad things, even in the things you wouldn't choose - that's where the joy is. 

I'm often told "This isn't as easy as I thought. How do I find gratitude now? I just can't be where you are. I just don't know how you are being thankful while cancer is changing your life."


Granted, I've had lots of practice. 

If you took time to read the journals shown here and were able to weed through all of the "boy nonsense," you'd be able to see that I have always tried to see the good in the worst situations. I could look at my life as a journey filled with the worst, but doing that only makes my present worse. As my journals become more recent, my gratitude comes out in full force and is much more apparent. I began seeing what was REALLY important and that put me on a spiritual journey that I'm still growing in. 

It did not happen overnight. Nothing ever does. It's all about being consistent. If you aren't good with consistent healthy eating, working out, spending, or prayer, then you can bet your consistency with gratitude will also need some work. 

You didn't graduate from kindergarten and immediately graduate from high school. You had a lot of work, practice and consistent accountability first. The same thing has to happen with your gratitude. 

Leave a journal by YOUR bed, leave a sticky note pad, keep a stack of 3 x 5 cards and every night before bed write down ONE thing you're thankful for EVERY night. That alone will take you to a new level of gratitude and change your attitude. 

If someone were to be able to see your thoughts, would they mostly see negative, unappreciative, and petty frustrations? Or would they see you being full of praise even during illness, loss, or struggle? 

In every moment, ask yourself: AM I CHOOSING THANKFULNESS NOW?

Gratitude isn't something I've "achieved." Gratitude is something I have to consciously choose every second just like the next person. I just know from a lifetime of experience that gratitude will ground you so that even tragic life-changing events cannot tear you down. 

And on that note, from my family to yours, we wish you the happiest of Thanksgiving Days filled with joys, laughter, and love even if it's in the midst of loud kids, dirty dishes, or lots of travel. 

"The smallest things really are BIG things." 

Love & gratitude,

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Operation Love

Jason and I are proud to introduce a new project we've been working on for a while. After being caregivers to #SuperJace the past few months as he went through intense chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), we realized there wasn't a lot of support for the caregivers (or siblings). After an amazing experience at Camp John Marc and several months of discussion with our clinic nurses, it was evident that caregivers NEED someone speaking love, life, and hope into their days. Especially into their days. The job is, frankly, more exhausting than you can even imagine. Just when you think you might get a break, typically, things just get more difficult or so it seems in the moment. 

Jason and I have been so incredibly blessed to have so many people around us from work, church and the community to speak life and victory into our days, especially on the hardest of days. We know not everyone has that support and we want to pay it all forward. Our vision for now is to help those affected by childhood cancer, but this past week God revealed that so many caregivers need this. 

I was able to speak with a local Youth Leadership Team and a women's church group, recently. Both have graciously agreed to help us launch our project. We are SO thankful to them! Also, A big thank you to everyone who helped plan this project while we were still in the middle of intense treatment. And to Josh, who continues to help us with his graphical design talent. :)

We are calling it "Operation Love" 

On the Wings of Gratitude’s  ( mission is to make life easier and more comfortable for families of childhood cancer, to love on families, & speak life, hope and love into their lives. After going through a leukemia diagnosis with our own son, Jace, we realized that their was very little support for the families and siblings during our journey. We also saw a need for continued support outside of the hospital and clinic. With the help of the community, school organizations, church groups, and individual donations, we can empower the families with hope, gratitude, and affirmation that they are not alone in their journey.  

What is it?

Chemo Care Kits and Gratitude Bags give people a tangible way to help families affected by childhood cancer and helps to bring awareness of a growing need to not only support the kids, but their families and siblings. The impact of families is much deeper than the cancer, chemo and hospital stays. Items do not have to be expensive to have a great impact.

Here is an example of the postcard we will put in the bags/baskets: 

How can YOU help?
Drop off locations will be created so items can be dropped off.
With the help of volunteers, items will be organized in a chemo care kit for families on both Dallas/Legacy Campuses of Children’s Medical Center.
Other items will be organized in smaller “Gratitude Bags” for the families who attend out-patient treatment on both Dallas/Legacy Campuses of Children’s Medical Center.
Item List (You can donate 1 single item or multiple items.)
*Please ensure items are new and packaged. Devices or other expensive items can be donated directly to Tisha or Jason for cleaning or safe keeping before delivery. )
  1. Purple tissue paper (any shade) for bags
  2. Purple gift bags (any size)
  3. Clear or Brown gift bags (any size)
  4. Rolls of quarters
  5. Travel size laundry soap
  6. Laundry bag
  7. Travel size shampoo & conditioner
  8. Travel size toothpaste, toothbrush, & mouthwash
  9. Travel size deodorant
  10. Chap stick
  11. Socks for men or women ( or kids)
  12. Men and/or women razors
  13. Nail Clippers, nail file, nail polish remover
  14. Q tips
  15. Cotton balls
  16. Ponytail holders
  17. Socks or slippers
  18. Blankets
  19. Water bottles (small)
  20. Granola bars
  21. Fruit snacks
  22. Chips
  23. Popcorn
  24. Candy
  25. Hot chocolate packets with a mug
  26. Instant items for microwave cooking
  27. Travel speakers or headphones
  28. Thank you cards & pens/markers
  29. Envelopes & stamps
  30. Packs of paper, stationary or construction paper
  31. Scotch tape
  32. Food gift cards, iTunes gift cards, VISA gift cards for gas/toll expenses/parking
  33. Any extra used IPads/IPhone chargers
  34. DVDs
  35. Older iphone, ipad, or ipod devices that can be reset for patient/family use

When and Where? 
Current Drop Off Locations/Dates:
  • December Drop Off - TBD
  • January Drop Off - TBD
  • Mailed-In Donations PO Box 6, Celina, Texas 75009

*1st target delivery date is December 5.
*Additional drop off locations will be announced when they become available.
**All advertising for this project needs to be pre-approved by Tisha & Jason Poncio.
For inquiry on advertising, kit contents, or speaking engagements, please contact
"The smallest acts of kindness and love can have a giant impact."

Jason and I want to thank you all in advance for your donations. We know that many families will be blessed to know they are not alone and are thought of and prayed for even if they didn't realize it!

So, as you're stocking up on Thanksgiving items, food drive items, or even stocking stuffers, throw in a few of the items listed above and help us love on others!

Big love and gratitude,