January 2022

A New Year of Possibility

As we start a fresh new year, it is always good to take stock of what actions, thoughts, or beliefs are serving you well, and which ones need to be changed, both personally, and as a family.  A good way to start that process is by reflecting on what you are grateful for.   Coming off of such a wonderful holiday season that was starting to get back to normal, I am feeling especially grateful for my family and the time were were able to spend together.  It felt so good to be able to go back to many of our traditional activities that we could not participate in last year.  As we start this fresh new year, and the kids head back to school, I am looking for ways that I can keep the feeling of closeness and magic from the holidays in more of our day to day life. 

As school and activities resume, it will be very easy to become busy and loose that feeling.  One of the ways I hope to hold on to the closeness and magic this year, is with an intentional practice of gratitude.  Intentionally focusing on the good parts of each day, no matter how hectic the schedule gets, or how the errands and chores pile up, is one of the keys to a balanced and happy family life.  I know that some days will be better than others, and there will be days when it is hard to find ANYTHING that went well.   That is why they call it a "practice of gratitude."  I don't have to be perfect and feel grateful all the time, I just have to keep trying.  I am hopeful that my "attitude of gratitude" will becomes contagious and our family can stop often and reflect about all the blessings we have on a more regular basis, keeping the magic and closeness of the holidays all year round.                 


Accessing the Power of Gratitude

by Melissa Middelthon


The practice of gratitude as a tool for happiness has been in the mainstream for years. Long-term studies support gratitude’s effectiveness, suggesting that a positive, appreciative attitude contributes to greater success in work, greater health, peak performance in sports and business, a higher sense of well-being, and a faster rate of recovery from surgery.

But while we may acknowledge gratitude's many benefits, it still can be difficult to sustain. So many of us are trained to notice what is broken, undone or lacking in our lives. And for gratitude to meet its full healing potential in our lives, it needs to become more than just a Thanksgiving word. We have to learn a new way of looking at things, a new habit. And that can take some time.

That's why practicing gratitude makes so much sense. When we practice giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, we give ourselves the chance to see all of life as an opportunity and a blessing.

Remember that gratitude isn't a blindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed or ignored. It's more a matter of where we put our focus and attention. Pain and injustice exist in this world, but when we focus on the gifts of life, we gain a feeling of well-being. Gratitude balances us and gives us hope.

There are many things to be grateful for: colorful autumn leaves, legs that work, friends who listen and really hear, chocolate, fresh eggs, warm jackets, tomatoes, the ability to read, roses, our health, butterflies. What's on your list?

Some Ways to Practice Gratitude


Keep a gratitude journal in which you list things for which you are thankful. You can make daily, weekly or monthly lists. Greater frequency may be better for creating a new habit, but just keeping that journal where you can see it will remind you to think in a grateful way.


  • Make a gratitude collage by drawing or pasting pictures.
  • Practice gratitude around the dinner table or make it part of your nighttime routine.
  • Make a game of finding the hidden blessing in a challenging situation.
  • When you feel like complaining, make a gratitude list instead. You may be amazed by how much better you feel.
  • Notice how gratitude is impacting your life. Write about it, sing about it, express thanks for gratitude.

As you practice, an inner shift begins to occur, and you may be delighted to discover how content and hopeful you are feeling. That sense of fulfillment is gratitude at work.





Want more information on the practice of
Gratefulness?  Gratefullness.org is full of
resources and ideas to strengthen your practice.






FREE Introduction to Positive Discipline Class

What you will learn:

  • What is Positive Discipline?
  • 5 Criteria for Positive Discipline 
  • Where we are & where we want to go with our children and learn the most important parenting tool! 
  • Positive Discipline Tool Exploration 
  • How you can learn more! 

This class is interactive and experiential. Please be prepared to participate. I will send you an email prior to class with useful tools and tips as well as material for our activities.

Date: Tuesday February 22, 2022
Time: 7:00pm - 8:00pm EST
Location: Online via Zoom
Cost:  Free!

 Registration Deadline is Sunday, February 20, 2022 and will be limited to the first 24 participants.


Inspiring Parents with Positive Discipline - 6 Week Course


Join parents & caregivers like you for 6 weeks of Positive Discipline classes taught by Melissa Middelthon. Based on Jane Nelsen's Positive Discipline books, you will learn to discipline with firmness and kindness. Have fun with kids and set the foundation for important social and life skills. Help children feel a sense of belonging and significance through mutual respect and encouragement. These classes are a fun way to connect with other parents in the community and practice the skills over a few weeks so that you can go more in-depth with the material.


"The class was very helpful in reducing stress and frustration in parenting. The knowledge that it is never too late to change your approach...we are so adaptable." 

"Taking this class was one of the best things I've done for myself and my family since my child was born. I refer back to the class's concepts in order to deal with day-to-day issues and also feel like I have an overarching philosophy to help me as I navigate the parenting world."


A course for parents and caregivers

This course will be focused on parenting children ages 4-12 years old.

Tuesday evenings for 6 weeks
March 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, April 5, 2022
6:30-8:30pm - Eastern Time
Class size minimum 8 - maximum 24

Based on the best-selling Positive Discipline parenting books by Jane Nelsen, Lynn Lott and others, parents and caregivers will learn long ­term solutions for raising kids to feel “I am capable, I can contribute, and I can use my personal power in useful ways to improve my life and the lives of others!” Positive Discipline teaches long ­term parenting skills that will encourage children to think for themselves, become more responsible and have a greater respect for themselves and others. Feel supported while learning some non­-punitive, respectful methods that will incorporate kindness and firmness into your relationship with your children. Get to the core of your children's misbehavior, practice encouraging tools and gain a sense of accomplishment.

This is a highly engaging ONLINE course that works best if you can participate on a computer or tablet. We will be co-creating a safe and supportive space that will include a mix of lecture, small and large group activities, role play and collaboration. 

Course Registration: $199/single or $335/double

Register Now!!!

Pricing includes one digital set of all materials needed for the course:  Positive Discipline, by Jane Nelsen, The Positive Discipline Workbook, Parenting Tool cards, and bonus access to videos of key lessons and a Family Meeting Album.


Registration Deadline is February 24, 2022 and will be limited to the first 24 participants.