Monday, January 9, 2012

Daily Practice

When we lived off grid in an old mobile home with five children and then for a year with our sixth baby, practicing gratitude became a habit for me.  I just knew that God had a plan for us and that He would not give me any more than I could handle.

So while carrying water from one end of the mobile home to the other to wash dishes or while scrubbing clothes by hand in the wash bucket or filling our "refrigerator" with a bucket of snow, or wondering how we would ever manage with yet another baby, I had a choose to either embrace what I had or be miserable.  I did often come to God in tears, but through it all, giving thanks daily and often became a habit.  I would thank God for the food we did have to eat, the clothes I was able to wash, for my husband and children, for a roof over our head, and so on.

Now that our lives are truly much more comfortable, I don't have to be working from the time I wake to the time I go to bed just to meet our family's needs, and now that our business is providing for us plus, now that our home has ample space for all of us, running water, electricity, a washing machine - it is so much harder to remember to give thanks continually - to remember that all comes from God.

I bought this book this past summer and have read it once, but pick it up often to re-read sections and now with the near year, I have begun my own thousand gifts journal.  I need to do this to remind myself of how much I have been given but even more so I need to do this to be reminded of how much I have to give.

"Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble.  Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.  The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring."   --Isaiah 58:10 - 100--

Warm wishes and blessings as you begin the work of a new week,

(Ann Voskamp, the author or One Thousand Gifts, has a wonderful blog - A Holy Experience.)


  1. Beautiful Tonya! I have yet to read Ann's book, but like she states, giving thanks for everything changes your life.

    Our Lord wants us to because He knows we need it too!

    Be blessed today,


  2. I am rereading One Thousand Gifts again too and have started my list, isn't it just the best? Ann has a wonderful Joy Dare going on in case you haven't seen it.
    I love the quote you posted. I have made the book of Isaiah my study for 2012 so seeing your post just touched my heart.
    Have a super duper Monday!

  3. This is such a lovely blog post Tonya. Thank you for the book link in the photo, I think I need to put this on my wish list. Practising gratitude and helping others are some of our greatest gifts.
    Wishing you a wonderful 2012

  4. I practice being thankful daily for however God chooses to bless me...I have so much less than some but,so much more than others......he is faithful and will never forsake me.....with food,shelter and clothing I am very grateful and content....blessings

  5. Wow! I didn't know you folks ever lived off grid. I find that really neat! :)

    Beautiful thoughts this morning. Thanks for sharing!


  6. We were very blessed last year..although it was one of the hardest years we have ever had. We can see a light at the end of the tunnel...which is nice.

    I know this year will be challenging for I pray for wisdom...knowing God will give us strength during this time. I like the mountain tops but I learn so much more in the valleys.....I know that God is close by during both times....and oh am I so thankful!!!!!


  7. Tonya-- I really thought I was the only one to feel those things. I do give thanks daily. And there was more than one time I was scrubbing my floor with tears in my eyes. Thank you (and Thank God)for sharing it.

  8. What beautiful thoughts! Thank you for sharing them, Tonya! It really sounds like a lovely book.

  9. yes!

    so beautifully written.

    this book {is} changing my life:)


  10. Gratitude is tough sometimes. We let our "I wanna/needa/gotta/hava" get in the way!

    You sound content ... like a sweet cat who has had cream and a good petting... Have a joyous week!

  11. I've been thinking about that book for quite some time & had gotten excited to read it. But then I read the reviews on Amazon and had second thoughts. Several people mention that Voskamp discusses God in unbiblical ways, such as describing having intercourse with Him? (bizarre) But I enjoy hearing that you're enjoying it. Perhaps I will give it a try after all.

    Your post brought up several other thoughts I'd love to share but darn it, I'm super busy today & shouldn't even be chatting here at all! :p S, I'll be back..... Have a wonderful Monday, Tonya!

  12. I've started keeping my own gratitude journal, too. I'm finding it to be such a blessing, and also agree with you: when we are more comfortable and things are going easily, it's much easier to forget to give thanks.

  13. Thank you ~ I needed to hear this today! :) Have a wonderful week!

  14. Thanks so much for your encouraging words...our pastor gave a sermon this Sunday on the first few verses of James, and it was a great reminder to me to persevere through the hardships because they strengthen our faith and build our character. We, too, are facing some financial fears as my husband's job is in limbo and we are having to re-evaluate some of the choices we've made. Again, thanks again for sharing your story!

  15. In this country of extreme plenty, we really do forget to give thanks. We have more even when we are living in the most primitive of circumstances (such as your mobile home story~done something very similar) than most countries have all the time. This is one thing God has taught me (or better say is teaching me)~be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave nor forsake you." I have to remember this when I look around at all the big, beautiful, decorated to the max houses so many others seem to have, when I have duct tape over my thresholds, no dishwasher, cracking tile floors, etc... We have a roof over our heads, we are so very warm, we have lots of love and laughter, and most of all, we have the Lord Jesus Christ who is our All in All!

    As I was reading something from Beth Moore, I was struck about her talk of a prayer journal, now you, and so many others. Lightbulb moment~I think this is definitely something I need to start as well to remind myself of His abundant mercies, love and grace. Thanks for the inspiration! ~Jan

  16. You have so much courage and I am proud of your faith. God will see you through only as much as you can handle and he DID!! That was precious to hear and I admire you. I admire you for having as many children as you do, I would love more but I am contemplating whether I can share my time anymore. I'm a quilter and beadworker, plus I bake for pleasure when I am able. Maybe you can share how you find time for yourself. I feel selfish as I am already doing more things for myself than I am spending time teaching my five year old things. She does get a lot of time with me and is very attached, and we have done some very creative things, just not as many as I know we can do. In any case, God bless you for your trials and your mountain peaks. I enjoy reading your blog!

  17. you've said it so well here Tonya.