Focus on the Family

Focus on the Family with Jim Daly

The Year My Family (Sort of) Didn’t Complain

The Year My Family (Sort of) Didn’t Complain

Best-selling author Tricia Goyer discusses the challenge she issued her family to go a full year without any kind of negative talk, highlighting the valuable lessons they learned and suggesting practical ways you can cultivate a more grateful attitude.
Original Air Date: November 27, 2019

Child #1: I’m thankful for my country.

Child #2: I’m thankful for my family.

Child #3: I’m thankful for my dog, Briar.

Child #4: I’m thankful for my mom and dad.

Child #5: I’m thankful for everything that God made.

Child #6: I’m thankful for my school.

Child #7: I’m thankful for all the animals in the world.

Child #8: I’m thankful for the people who help us through the hard days in our lives.

Child #9: I’m thankful for my friends.

John Fuller: Mm, lots to be thankful for. Love those kids and their voices and their expressions of gratitude. This is Focus on the Family, and today, we’ll give you some ideas about how to have a thankful attitude. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, tomorrow in the United States is Thanksgiving, and what a wonderful time to be thankful – right? – as the turkeys cook and the table gets set and all those incessant football games that Jean puts up with. I mean, how many games? They run, like, four games…

John: (Laughter) They start at, like, 7 a.m. and run till 10 p.m.

Jim: Yeah, exactly, so I’ve got to wean myself off. That’s always my challenge – is, Stop. Watching. Football; pay attention to your family.

John: That’s what Friday is for.

Jim: Yes, so all the guys out there, I’ll put that out for you. Pay attention to the family. Don’t get submerged in football games. And as you refrain from too many football games, the challenge we’re going to have for you today is to not have a bad attitude. Not just about that, but about anything. And not just on Thanksgiving but maybe for the entire year. Today, we’re going to hear from someone who set that goal for their family. To go a year – two parents and eight kids – without complaining. Without being grumpy. And if you’re in that spot where you want to say, “Yeah, I would love that,” stick with us.

John: This is a good time to get a little energy for a reset. Our guest is Tricia Goyer, a homeschooling mom, wife and bestselling author, who has written a book called The Grumble-Free Year: Twelve Months, Eleven Family Members (and I believe that includes grandmother as well, right Tricia?)

Mrs. Tricia Goyer: Yes.

John: … and One Impossible Goal. And we’ve got that book at

Jim: Tricia, welcome back to Focus.

Tricia: Thank you. It’s always so wonderful to be here.

Jim: I think you’ve been here four or five times, if my math is correct.

Tricia: I think five, yeah.

Jim: There you go, yeah. Well, it’s good to have you back. And now on this topic, a grumble-free year – I mean, really, really, a year? Why didn’t you start with a day or maybe a week?

John: Yeah, something more attainable (laughter).

Tricia: Well, I know myself, and I know that if it wasn’t a big goal, it’d be easy to give up. Well, you know, just like dieting on January 1, by January 5, I’m done.

Jim: (Laughter) Yeah.

Tricia: I’m eating the chocolate cake. So, it had to be big enough that we were going to focus on it for a while. Also, it’s a big issue. Thankfulness really is something that needs to go deep in our heart. And I knew it would take us a long time especially to work on it.

Jim: OK, moms are listening – and I’m sure many dads. And they’re thinking, “Yeah, a year without whining and complaining. It sounds unachievable.” Um, you just had a breakdown. What happened? I mean, your family – what was the situation that made you say, “OK, enough”?

Tricia: OK, 2,500 miles in the car with my kids – that was it.


Jim: Twenty-five hundred miles?

Tricia: Yes, OK.

Jim: Now, tell me about your family makeup, though. These eight kids, are they all yours?

Tricia: So, we have 10 kids total.

Jim: They’re all yours, obviously.

Tricia: They’re all – well, we have three biological, yes. And then we’ve adopted seven.

Jim: That’s amazing. Just as an aside, thank you, and congratulations.

Tricia: Yeah, it’s been a challenge, but we are very thankful for them.

Jim: So, tell us about this story, your big drive when you got to your breaking point, saying, “Can I just have a little peace and quiet?”

Tricia: Yeah, so I was speaking in Seattle, and I thought, let’s take the family. They’ve never been to the Northwest. Why not go 2,500 miles?

Jim: And the problem is your husband, John, was in favor of this.

Tricia: Yeah.


Jim: I mean, wasn’t he the brain of reasonableness?


Tricia: We get there, 2,500 miles, so that’s halfway. You know, we still have to come back. And I said, “This is crazy. Everyone’s complaining.” I knew it was the breaking point when the waitress put our plates down and they were arguing over the fries that spilled on the table because    they all wanted the three fries that we on the table. And I’m like, “There’s so much grumbling, there’ so much complaining. We cannot, first of all, go all the way home like this, but we really need to work on it.”

We had a lot of anger in the past. My last book was Calming Angry Kids, so we dealt with a lot of the anger, the big issue –  the tantrums. Now it was the more subtle grumbling. But it was getting on all of our nerves. All of us were tired of it.

Jim: Just so we can identify, what – from a mom’s perspective – what are examples of those grumblings? What does that sound like?

Tricia: Yeah, so every time I’d say, “Do your chores,” there’d be mumbling under their breath. Rolling their eyes when I’d say, “Go put your clothes away.” When I say, “It’s time to get your shoes on for church,” they’d be mumbling as they headed to the car. There’s always something that they’re complaining about. And it was really getting tiring.

Jim: OK, now most of us are going to say that’s – that’s kind of normal parenting.

John: Mm-hm.

Tricia: That seems like normal parenting, but I knew it was a deeper heart issue. And I knew that I was kind of doing the same thing because here, again, my life had changed. We’d taken in seven extra kids in five years. And so, there’s always shoes lying on the floor. There’s always all – you know, all the added laundry, all the added dishes. And I found myself feeling unappreciated, again, over and over.

And trying to deal with that, I knew it was deep in my heart, and I knew it was deep in their heart. Even though we were all together as a family now, we really needed to focus and make a change.

Jim: And I want to – I want to cover that lack of appreciation in a second. But before we get there, one of the observations you made about Scripture is how often the Lord tells us in his word to give thanks or to praise him, to praise the Lord, to rejoice. In fact, I think you make the observation that it – behind fear not, it’s, like, the No. 2 thing…

Tricia: Right.

Jim: …That God’s encouraging us to do.

Tricia: Rejoice always. Give thanks in all things. Make a joyful noise to the Lord. He wants us to praise him. And instead, we get stuck in the rut of repeating those grumbles over and over again. And basically, we’re saying, “God, you’re not doing enough for me here, so I’m just going to complain about everything.” Our heart isn’t lifted to God in gratitude. We are just complaining.

Jim: Tricia, now back to that comment when you felt underappreciated. So many moms are connecting with you with that. And I think us dads, we can tend to be a little oblivious to that empty tank that a mom can have. First describe that. What – what does that feel like when mom’s tank is low and she’s just kind of going through the motions? And how did that apply in your life?

Tricia: Right. Well, I think it’s something that I came from my family of origin with because – instead of, like – there was a lot of big arguing, but it was, “I wish someone would help me out.” “No one appreciates me.” “That must be nice they get to go on vacation.” So, I heard that growing up. So, I kind of took that into my own marriage and parenting. It’s like, “Man, I’m in here all alone with the dishes and this – I wish someone would help me.” Instead of asking for help, I was expecting people to know what I was thinking and just let those grumbles build.

And I didn’t realize how serious it was until I had an old boyfriend actually reach out to me. It was about 15 years into our marriage. And all of a sudden, I get this email, and I knew I shouldn’t have emailed back, but – you know, just the, “Hey, how you doing?” Pretty soon, it’s, like, as I’m telling him about my life and my family, “Oh, it seems like no one appreciates you. It seems like you’re doing all this work for everybody and they’re not caring for you.”

And I knew right then that if I let those words take root from this person outside who I had dated, had been my, quote, “first love” – although looking back now, it wasn’t love at all. If I would have let that take root, it really could have led me in an emotional affair and maybe even gone farther than that. And so, I asked my friends to pray. And a couple days later, I told John about it, broke off communication. But still, that burden of, “I don’t feel like anyone appreciates me here” lingered for a while.

And it took me realizing, like, maybe I can just start asking for help instead of just expecting everyone to know what I needed. Maybe I start being thankful for what God was doing for my family, for our life, instead of filling – you know, always focusing on what wasn’t working in my life, what wasn’t going well.

And once I started asking for help, amazingly, my family started helping. But really, that could have been a moment that could have ruined our marriage…

Jim: Yeah.

Tricia: …and taken us in the wrong direction all because I was feeling empty, unappreciated, um, and then kind of unloved. Because if you feel like no one’s seeing you, no one’s appreciating you, then they don’t love you, which, in turn, my family loved me; I just wasn’t making my needs aware.

Jim: And Tricia, it’s really powerful. And this aspect of your story is so important because so many women are living in this place where they don’t feel appreciated. And it’s such a – a moment, or a time in a woman’s life, where she’s very vulnerable emotionally and maybe in other ways, too.

But again, that vulnerable woman who may be on social media today talking to that old boyfriend. Not feeling appreciated in her 10-, 15-year marriage, um, what do you say to her right now? She’s listening.

Tricia: Right.

Jim: She’s leaning in because you’re – the point of the spear is right there at her heart. Tricia: Well, I think the thing that helped me – once I told John, like, I am…

Jim: So, confessed to what was going on.

Tricia: I confessed what was going on. Like, there’s this boyfriend that’s emailing me. And I felt these emotions rising up. And I knew that I had to tell John. Otherwise, it could go farther. And his love and compassion for me, his care for me – and probably, he was a little bit scared, too; like, “What do I need to do to help out so you don’t feel underappreciated?” It just opened up the communication.

And I think, so many times, we’re afraid to reveal that inside self. To tell that we’re really struggling with our spouse, even though, you know, that’s what intimacy is, asking someone to see into us. And so just – just that conversation just made me realize, like, I can open up to him more.

Jim: Right, and John responded well as your husband. How did you approach the kids? And how’d they respond?

Tricia: You know…

Jim: “Mom needs help.”

Tricia: Yeah, we sat down. And we just had three kids at the time. We’ve had to do this multiple times since then. But, like, just sitting down with the kids and saying, “Mom needs help. This is everything that’s going on. You know, she’s trying to work. She’s trying to raise you guys. She has the laundry. Let’s figure out ways to help them.” And I think part of the grumbling is that we just get in the rut thinking things can’t change when things can change.

Jim: Right.

Tricia: We can make diff… So, we’ve done chore chart with the kids that we have at home now, and it’s just been the same one three years in a row – who does the dishes on one day, who does the bathrooms on the other day.

Jim: (Laughter).

Tricia: And it has worked. And it took me probably 30 minutes sitting down. I laminated it (laughter), so it’s on the wall in my kitchen laminated. We – you can make solutions instead of just getting in the rut of grumbling.

Jim: Yeah and trying to do everything. Let me ask you this, in terms of the difference between unhealthy complaining and healthy complaining.

Tricia: Yes.

Jim: I mean, a lot of Christians are going to say it’s never healthy to complain. Is it healthy to complain at times?

Tricia: I think – I think that word complaining is – there’s the muttering, this grumbling beneath your breath – that’s really, you’re becoming – you’re making yourself a victim. So, when you’re feeling like, “I’m a victim, no one appreciates me,” that is unhealthy. When I can go to my husband saying, “You know what? I’m really feeling overwhelmed, I need some help there,” I wouldn’t really say that’s complaining. It’s just, like, opening up the conversation. It’s saying, “This is what’s going on in my life,” and John and I are good now about saying, “OK, if we add on this sport activity with our kids, what are we going to do ahead of time?” Because we know this is going to add busyness to our life, so we’re kind of being proactive now. So, it’s having the conversations. So, it doesn’t always have to be complaints. It can just be communication.

Jim: Yeah, and I appreciate that. You know, so often, the Scripture talks about bringing something to the light.

Tricia: Mmm hmm.

Jim: Meaning the presence of all, including God, so that the thing is known. Why do you think we struggle as human beings doing something so simple, which is to be vulnerable and to let people know that you’re in trouble, you’re in some pain?

Tricia: Yeah.

Jim: And what’s causing that pain. Why do we fumble with that or hide that thinking? And maybe this is oftentimes a wife thing, where, “If he loved me enough, he would know where my pain is.” But I’m telling you, ladies, just from a male perspective…

Tricia: (Laughter) They can’t read our mind.

John: Exactly.


Jim: No kidding. We are not capable.

John: Yeah.

Jim: You may love us a lot, but we’re – we don’t get that.

Tricia: Well, in a way, our grumbling is power because all of a sudden, if we’re grumbling, we feel powerful because all of a sudden, um, you know, especially my kids. I’d be crumbling and, “This is horrible,” and, “Look at this room.” Then they’ll, like, start picking up. And I’m like OK, that’s a little bit of power. It’s not solving the solution. But in the moment, it’s feeling like you’re powerful, like something’s happening, at least, because I’m grumbling and because I’m complaining…

Jim: So, it’s getting you some satisfaction.

Tricia: It’s giving me some satisfaction, which – I realized actually working with the kids and training them and guiding them is a lot better satisfaction because I don’t have to deal with my grumbling or their grumbling. It’s something that we can work on.

Jim: Hmmm.

John: This is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. And our guest today is Tricia Goyer. Uh, her book The Grumble-Free Year: Twelve Months, Eleven Family Members, and One Impossible Goal is available.

That’s our thank you gift to you when you make a generous donation of any amount at Or call 1-800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Tricia, let’s get to the practicals of your grumble-free one-year project. One thing is context. I mean, and I – I just know as a dad of two boys, I mean, oftentimes, what we would miss – Jean and I as parents – is we’d say, “Do this, do this for a year,” but we wouldn’t give them context. And you had a good spiritual insight about the grumbling issue. I think it dealt with the spies of Israel.

Tricia: Yes.

Jim: But describe how – and I’m sure you used that with the kids to say, “Let’s look at a biblical understanding of grumbling.”

Tricia: Right.

Jim: So, how’d you apply that?

Tricia: Yeah. So, we read through Exodus, and we read through Numbers. And those are some very long chapters with a lot of grumbling Israelites (laughter) in it. And so, after chapter, after chapter, when they’re grumbling and complaining, the kids are like, “I’m so tired about listening…”

Jim: So, they’re…

Tricia: “…About their grumbling.”

Jim: …Grumbling about grumbling (laughter).

Tricia: Yeah, they’re grumbling about grumbling.


Tricia: But when we talk about the spies in Israel – so you have Joshua, and you have Caleb. They went in. They saw the same thing as the 10 other spies. But they saw that God could provide. And it goes to – in our lives, we can see that either God is there, he’s going to provide, or we could see all the problems. So, it’s really turning our attention to finding the good inside of whatever is going on in our lives.

And so, we – Pollyanna‘s a book that we were listening to on audiobook. And it talked about – you know, she played the glad game. So, every time something happened, she would try to find something glad. Well, we tried to do it – that the first day (ph), and it just got, like, too mushy, too over-the-board.


Tricia: Like, “Oh, look at this, my broken tooth.” No. “I’m glad because I get to go to the dentist.” No, it did not work that way. But instead, we got to see, “OK, what is going on in our lives? Where is God showing up? How can we be thankful for it?” And kind of turn our attention just like those two spies in there saw that God could provide. And they were the only ones that got to see the Promised Land because they were focusing on the provision of God instead of the difficulties happening in their lives.

Jim: Do you think your kids understood the reward of that? That, you know, God’s plans for you unfold when you have a – uh, a cheerful heart toward your circumstances

Tricia: You know, it – it – it took over and over again talking about these things.

Jim: That’s a good lesson.

Tricia: And I think that’s why we did it over a year, because we would bring it up. We would bring it up again. We would memorize a Scripture first with, you know, do everything without grumbling and complaining. I mean, I think the year working on it was something that we came back to over and over again. And there’s months that I was thinking, “Nothing has changed” (laughter).

Jim: No, that’s good to hear because we’re all gonna try this, and we’re going to go, “Nothing has changed.”

John: (Laughter).

Jim: But what your goal was, was to help your children develop a grateful attitude.

Tricia: Yes.

Jim: So, you start this one-year journey. And, of course, you have holidays that come along. Christmas came along. And it was going to be a tough Christmas, if I remember the story correctly. What happened? What was the grumbling scene?

Tricia: Yes.

Jim: And how did you deal with it?

Tricia: Well, on Thanksgiving, my grandma broke her back.

Jim: Ooh (oh).

Tricia: So, this is not something that – and she lives with us. She just turned 90. And this isn’t something that we expected when we’re planning our year. And, uh, it took us a while to even figure out that she had a broken back. So, she’s in the hospital. I’m not able to buy all the Christmas gifts. We’re not able to do the activities. But she came home a couple days before Christmas. And the kids understood. Like, I said, “You know, guys, I haven’t been able to do the shopping. We haven’t decorated the cookies,” but we were caring for grandma. And that actually ended up being one of the experiences that was most meaningful. And if you ask any of my kids, that they would say, this is what they learned the most. Because here grandma is in her late 80s at the time. She has dementia, so every day, she did not remember that she had a broken back. So, we had an alarm. So, when she tried to get out of bed and she’d start moaning, we would go and put her back brace on, and she would be grumbling – I mean, she would not be grumbling actually. She would just be confused. And then we would tell her, “You know, you broke your back,” and we were helping her. And here she is, laying flat on her back, and we would hear her praising. We would hear her singing praises to Jesus. So, she couldn’t remember that she had a broken back. She couldn’t remember that she couldn’t get out of bed. But she remembered to praise God. She remembered to be thankful. We’d hear her praying for all her family members.

And that makes me think about, even with the dementia, even though she couldn’t remember she just had breakfast, she remembered every word to those hymns. She remembers Scriptures that she was quoting. And all those years of that praise being hardwired into her really made an impact. And I would sit there, and our homeschool room is right next to her bedroom. And I said, “Listen to that” and be like, “She has a broken back, but she is praising God.” And so, it just really was impactful. So, this was not something we expected in the year. But that was a perfect example of, we could either hardwire grumbling into our lives and our hearts, or we can hardwire praise into our hearts. And…

Jim: That’s good.

Tricia: …That was… [God] showed up.

Jim: That’s excellent. And your kids caught it.

Tricia: And my kids caught it. And if they – if you asked them and said, “What did you learn?” We’re like, “We learned, like grandma, that even in hard stuff, that we could praise God.”

Jim: That is so good. You also had – which I read this to Jean, and she was mortified – the story of you going to the mall for the stuffing of the bear.

Tricia: (Laughter).

Jim: I can’t remember the name.

Tricia: The Build-A-Bear day.

Jim: Build-A-Bear day. We were cringing for you.

John: Yes.

Jim: So, tell the listeners what happened that day. And I would get in a safe place right now, everybody.

Tricia: (Laughter) OK. So, I thought it would be a good idea to – this Build-A-Bear was you pay your age. So, if you were 5 years old, you pay five bucks. So, we thought this would be a fun thing. It was kind of…

Jim: But you and how many kids?

Tricia: …In the middle of summer. We had eight – I had eight kids with me.

Jim: (Laughter).

Tricia: So, we’re in the mall. There’s hundreds of people…

John: What could go wrong? (Laughter).

Tricia: ….Ahead of us. What could go wrong?

Jim: So, this is the point. You show up, and…

Tricia: Yeah, there’s hundreds of people.

Jim: …There’s hundreds of people.

Tricia: And so then, you know, at first, it’s fun because we’re, like, we’re standing in the mall. They’re running to get snacks. I’m passing out my credit card like crazy as we’re standing in line. And at first, it’s moving. Well, I found out later because people were leaving.

Jim: Right.

Tricia: But then it gets to be like five hours, six hours. And I’m like, “Guys, I will take you to the store and buy you a bear.” Like…

Jim: Yeah, any bear, any size.

Tricia: …We do not need – any bear. And they’re like, “No.” They – they were having fun with it. And then, when the last, like, seven hours, you could see the storefront…

Jim: You were in this line for 10…

Tricia: We were in the line for 10 hours.

Jim: …Hours. OK. That’s the cringe factor.

Tricia: OK.

Jim: Jean was like, “What?”

Tricia: Yes. Then we get to the threshold.

Jim: That’s commitment.

Tricia: Yeah. We get to the threshold, and so we’re the next ones in. I mean, we’ve been waiting 10 hours. It’s, like, 9 o’clock at night. And I see the people on their radios talking back and forth. And I’m like, “Oh, no.” And there’s still a line behind us. And so, I asked the security guard. I said, “Are we gonna be able to get bears?” And the manager comes out, and she said, “Ma’am, we have been here all day. I need to send my employees home. The mall has to close.” She said, “You can come in, and you can get a bear, but we are not stuffing your bears. You’re gonna have to take a flat bear home.” And my kids were like – I mean, we’re – we’re the next ones in. And the first thing in my mind is, of course, we’re doing the grumble-free year. ‘Cause…

Jim: Yeah, wouldn’t you know it.

Tricia: …We’re – we’ve been working about not grumbling. Here, by this point, it was, like, 10 months. And so, at first, my kids were like, “That’s not fair. Just let us in.” And I said, “You know, that wouldn’t be fair to the people behind us.” And so, then I said, “Guys, remember, when we grumble most when we are tired, when things aren’t going our way. We’ve been working on this. Like, this is our chance.” And so, we turned it around. We talked – we started like, “We’re the first ones to get flat bears.”

Jim: (Laughter).

Tricia: And we talked about this is the best day ever. And there were some tears. The little ones definitely still had some tears. But I was amazed that we were able to turn it around because I was able to say, “Remember that we can be thankful.” Like, “We still have bears. We can be thankful. We can come back to the mall again next weekend and get ’em stuffed.” And they were able to actually pull it together. On the way home, we shot a video about the best day ever. And we had our flat bears ’cause everyone on social media have been, like, following us through the day.

Jim: (Laughter).

Tricia: And now everyone saw our flat bears. So, I was amazed that because we had been working on it, we were actually able to, like, “OK.” They were able to find ways to have fun and be thankful even in that very disappointing situation.

Jim: You mentioned that social media component, being in line and people following you, and being in your pain all day…

Tricia: (Laughter).

Jim: …Helping you laugh, hopefully.

Tricia: Yes.

Jim: But social media itself can be kind of a downer.

Tricia: Yeah.

Jim: Especially, I think, for moms because, you know, everybody puts their best day forward. Look at us. Aren’t we happy? Look at me.

Tricia: We clear off the homeschool table of all the junk…

Jim: (Laughter) Right.

Tricia: …And, like, show the three books that we’re reading (laughter).

Jim: And the perfect kitchen – and look, all the laundry’s done. And aren’t we having a happy day? But how do we guard against that kind of, uh, bar being set that we have to measure up to social media?

Tricia: You know, one thing that I tell myself is that I always compare my weaknesses to other people’s strengths. And so, there’s people probably out there comparing themselves to me…

Jim: All day long.

Tricia: …And what we’re doing. All day long. And so first of all, trying to be authentic. Like, sharing struggles as well as sharing the good stuff. So, when we’re in the line, we’re definitely sharing, like, “We are in the line for 10 hours.” But also, just realizing that people are always putting their best foot forward and that they are human just like us. We all have struggles. We all have grumbles. And sometimes, when I find myself, like, “Ooh, I wish I had that,” just praying added blessing on that person. Say, “God bless, I’m thankful that you’re blessing my friend with this opportunity or this house she has.” You know, I just pray to add a blessing. It turns it around from me comparing myself and feeling those grumbles to being thankful for what I have and then praying a blessing.

Jim: Well, and the big aha for you, I think, in this as – as read the book is, you know, you realize that perfection is not attainable.

Tricia: Right. Absolutely.

Jim: And I think this is really critical for the listeners to hear ’cause, you know, we can set the goal for the year being a non-complaining family, but things are still gonna happen. And feelings are gonna be hurt. And…

Tricia: And giving our self grace (laughter).

Jim: …Grumbling – well, that’s what I’m leading to – is that what you maybe most profoundly learned in the year is how short we come as humans to meeting that perfect standard. And that’s the whole point of the gospel, right?

Tricia: Yeah, absolutely. That we have that grace, that we can turn to God. And we don’t have to be perfect. Like, he covers all of it. He gives us the love, the joy, the peace. And we could just turn to him over and over. And I really had a moment when, you know, we’re nearing the end of the year. We’re – I mean, I definitely feel strides forward. But we had a – a time when I – I set aside four days to myself to be able to write, get some work done. And my husband had set up to get a colonoscopy. And I’m like, “In the middle of my time, I have to go pick you up from the hospital.” Well, I go to pick him up, and there’s a doctor waiting in the waiting room for me. And he had gone under. I mean, he, like, flatlined on the table during a routine colonoscopy and had to be resuscitated. And they said, “We don’t know what happened. His heart stopped.” And so, suddenly, I’m grumbling because, in my mind, again, of having to go and pick him up from hospital, which I could have lost my husband. And my friend Wynter Pitts, she ended up passing away that same day.

Jim: Yeah.

Tricia: So, I’m like – I was so thankful…

Jim: Oh, my goodness.

Tricia: …That it was that same day that my husband had to be resuscitated that when my friend Wynter passed away – and the next day, I just, like, was so – like, we don’t know if we have tomorrow. Like, why do we spend so much time grumbling and complaining and trying to set up our agenda? I’m just thankful that John is still with me. I mean, Jonathan doesn’t have that with Wynter. And it just gave me, again – like, we need to take every day and just be thankful for what we have and not be grumbling. Sure. My – I thought my day was being interrupted. That did not even matter (laughter) in the…

Jim: Yeah.

Tricia: …In the big scheme of things.

Jim: And I think you’ve answered, perhaps, that final question – is for that person living in – in that pit. You know, I’d hate to use that movie line – but the pit of despair from [The]Princess Bride. But…

Tricia: Yeah (laughter).

Jim: You know, it is kind of that – that moment where you don’t feel like there’s a rope, a ladder. There’s no way to climb out of this. You feel – you’re just in a dark place. This is your last at bat. You’ve answered it partially a moment ago. But what do you say to that wife and mom who isn’t feeling appreciated? That is buried in stuff. Looks invisible to her family and is wondering, “Why am I doing this?”

Tricia: Yeah. And I think that going to God and realizing that what he has given us, what he has already done for us – I mean, just the fact that we have salvation. That we have Christ and turning our attention to those things. Being thankful and having grateful hearts will make all the difference. And it does. I mean, this is not something like we’ve arrived. Our family has not arrived. But we – we go to God sooner than we did before. We have thankful hearts sooner than we did before. And it has made a huge difference in our family.

Jim: Well, and I think the other thing is putting that as your first thought…

Tricia: Mmm hmm.

Jim: …Which it sounds like had happened throughout the year.

Tricia: Yes.

Jim: God gave you choices throughout the year. I mean, I’m sure he was smiling with this challenge, “Oh, this’ll be fun.”

Tricia: Yeah (laughter).

Jim: And then all these things began to happen.

Tricia: All these things.

Jim: Your – your grandmother’s back being broken and – you know, again, not that God does that. But we can learn so much in all of our circumstances.

Tricia: We can.

Jim: And I think that’s the point.

Tricia: That’s the point.

Jim: That’s what the Lord puts this life together for us for, is to learn to draw closer to him, be more like him, right?

Tricia: Absolutely. And see that he has given us so much.

Jim: Yes. Tricia, this has been so good. I hope if you, the listener, are in that place like we just described, get a hold of us here at Focus on the Family. Let us get you a copy of Tricia’s book into your hands. And, uh, I think what a wonderful goal that would be for all of us to have a grumble-free year in mind. Put that challenge to you. Let’s try it, see if we can make it happen. Now that my boys are moving out one by one here, it might be…

John: You’re really thankful?

Jim: …A little easier.


Jim: The empty nest – it might be a little easier for the grumble-free environment. But, uh, do that. Get a hold of us. We wanna help you. We have caring Christian counselors that can help, along with Tricia’s great resource.

John: And to help jump-start, uh, between now and the time you get that book, The Grumble-Free Year, from Tricia Goyer, uh, we do have an online document of a collection of Bible verses. So, hit the website and download that and put that on the fridge and start there. And then, when you get Tricia’s book, you can move it along. And maybe, uh, after the holidays, you could start.


Jim: If you do it for a year, you’re gonna hit the holidays.

John: True enough. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Online, we’re at

Jim: Hey. One other thing, John – uh, for the listener. If you can help us financially, we’ll send you a copy of Tricia’s book as our way of saying thank you for a monthly pledge or a one-time gift. It doesn’t matter. And if you can’t afford it, we’ll trust others will cover the cost of that. So just call us. Let us know your situation, and we’ll take care of that. And we believe others will take care of us.

John: Yeah. And we won’t grumble about it…

Jim: No (laughter).

John: …at all. We’ll thankfully send that to you. Again, our number – 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. Jim: Tricia, thank you again for – what a really good half hour. Thanks for being with us.

Tricia: Thanks for having me.

John: Well, be sure to listen with your family next time for our Thanksgiving Day program as historian Rod Gragg shares the Pilgrim’s story of heroic faith and freedom. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back next time as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

The Grumble-Free Year

The Grumble-Free Year

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