A Thankful Heart

During my prayer time this morning, my 3-year-old son came to sit out in the room with me and my husband.

When I heard his body wrestle out of bed and then his little footsteps coming my way, I initially thought, “oh no, now my prayer time is going to be cut short, I should’ve stayed in bed.”

To my surprise, he didn’t ask for a snack, he didn’t ask me to get him dressed, he didn’t ask anything!

He was content just being close to me. Listening to us pray.

He melted my heart. He reminded me that God loves a grateful heart.

We melt the heart of God when we choose to wake up early and tell Him how wonderful He is.

I tend to complicate things. I need to set more time aside where I just sit in the room mediatating on Him. In the quiet. In the stillness.

O give thanks unto the Lord , for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Psalms 107:1

Come to him with a thankful heart and know that just being in God’s presence brings peace.

Just to be close to Him satisfies our souls.

Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well:

Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:  But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
John 4:13-14

He was talking about spiritual thirst. Not physical. Earthly things do not make us happy, except for a couple of days after we purchase them and the rush we get when we hit the purchase now button online.

He is Joy. He is Peace. He is Love. He is Good. He alone brings TRUE contentment.

Eventually, my son did ask me for a drink of water. And I was more than happy and more than ready to grant his request.

I’m not saying we will always get what we want, because that’s false, but God will be ready to pour out his blessings on his children when we keep a grateful heart.


…Blessing and glory and majesty and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might belong to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
Revelation 7:12


This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for my family, friends, and freedom.

What’s something you’re grateful for? I’d love to hear from you.

I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving -Tonya

Gladness

It was morning. I opened my eyes, rolled over, looked at the clock on my nightstand, 5:15 am


I was debating in my mind. Get up now (before the kids) grab a cup of coffee and have some one-on-one time with Jesus OR “sleep in.” (just until 6:30 am. That’s when my kids come barreling into my bedroom letting me know they made it to the potty and they were ready for breakfast to be hot and ready on the table, right now… please mom?)

Thinking of the latter, I couldn’t help but despise the rude wake-up call. It made me eager to catch as many snoozes as I could before my day would begin.

So without further ado, I turned my head on the pillow and closed my eyes. I had made my decision.


Suddenly a voice inside of me loud and clear proclaimed,

“Serve the Lord with GLADNESS!”


It was so thunderous it was as if it shook me right out of bed. I got up to pray with a smile.

The Lord gave me the strength and encouragement I needed!

God knows what YOU need too!

Matthew 6:8 says…” for YOUR Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”

Simply talk with Jesus when you are feeling low and drained from life’s errands. Cleaning up toys. Wiping messy hands and faces. Changing dirty diapers. Oh yeah, the laundry needs to be put away and those dishes need washing, and Oh it’s supper time… already? … I think I made my point.

Remember, His strength is abundant. He has unlimited resources for us. He isn’t going to go bankrupt. God’s got YOU. Ask Him for a double portion of strength. I know it’s available because I have received it.

“Serve the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” Psalms 100:2

Has God ever given you the energy you needed right on time?

I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading!

Colorado Road Trip (with kids and COVID restrictions)

Our Colorado vacation was phenomenal and very achievable, even with all the new restrictions. You need to put in your time planning for a successful visit. It’s more work, but you’ll be glad to did the extra planning.

First of all, Colorado has an all-state mask mandate. Though most of the places we visited were outdoors. We went out to eat one time which required us to wear face masks if we were not sitting at the table eating.

We had 13 people in our group. 6 kids ages 9, 5, 3, 2, 1, and 1!

We drove 2 vans. We decided to drive all night; 16 hours from Milwaukee to Denver. I drove 8 and then, my Dear Husband drove 8. My brothers and sisters joined us. It was so much fun because Tasha ( my sister) would call me when she felt tired and I would call her if I got bored. I was on the phone with her when she hit a flat tire from a semi-truck! It left a tire shaped dent in their front bumper. We were thankful they were fine and their van was driveable.

We drove straight to downtown Denver to see the “Big Blue Bear”. The 40-foot bear is peeking in the window of a museum. (Which was not open because of Covid) but we got a photo with the bear!

Coloradans I met at a park told me they stay clear of Denver because it’s not family-friendly with all the homeless people on the streets. (Although we walked around one block; we didn’t see any homeless or vandalism.)


We walked through the Garden of the gods. (No reservations needed) We saw the mysterious beautiful red rock structures in front of the mountains.


Next, we went to Cheyanne Mountain Zoo. (Reservations required) This zoo is in the top 5 zoos in the nation. The whole zoo is on the side of the mountain. The more animals you want to see the higher you climb the stairs. (They do have elevators and ramps)

We toured The Garden of the Gods, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and a playground! It was a full day. Everyone was tired and ready to nap for 3 hours in the car. Heading toward Great Sand Dunes National Park for the next day’s adventures.


The Great Sand Dunes National Park: The scenery is epic. We rented sandboards and sleds to go down the dunes. (Snowboards and snow sleds DO NOT work) you need to use the special sand sleds with wax.

Bring lots of water! We spent around 4 hours here. That’s including the time waiting in line for board rentals. (No mask no service.)


Next, we drove to Glenwood Springs, CO. 4 hour drive from Sand Dunes. We stopped at a free fish hatchery. There was a TINY hike in the forest with a beautiful lake. I recommend stopping there to stretch and let the kids out of the car.


We hiked at Saint Mary’s Glacier and boy, are we glad we did! Just make sure you take the trail IN THE WOODS instead of the rocky way all the way up like we did. We just followed everyone else. There were many people. It was almost impossible to park in the parking lots. We walked further to park on the side of the road.

The view was worth the trek. The glacier is always there. Some guys from the group hiked all the way to the tip-top.


I sent 8 from our group rafting. Roaring Upfork is a good rafting trip for kids. My daughter is 5, she enjoyed it. We went with Glenwood Rafting Company because we did the 8 person raft.


Next we went to Glenwood Caverns Amusement Park. You take a Gondola ride up the side of the mountain to get to the park. I definitely recommend the Cliffhanger Ride and the Alpine Coaster, they were worth the long wait in line! It was such a fun. Don’t forget your mask. (They enforce the mandate IF you are standing in line or in the caves.) Online Reservations required


We drove to Estes Park and stayed at an Airbnb with gorgeous views. We rented an entire house it was perfect for all the kids and adults!

We went horseback riding at Cowpoke Corner Corral. We went with them because they allowed the youngest ages to ride. We did the 2-hour ride tour for $80/person.

Let me tell you! These are mountain climbing horses! The horses we rode had 10+ years of experience! The horses were experts. Our guide was fun and down to earth as well. It was quite the adventure as the horses literally had to climb up and down boulders at times!


We tried to get into Rocky Mountain National Park, but you need reservations. They go on sale 2 days prior to the date you want to go. The tickets sell out in 3-4 mins at 8 am. I was unable to get early morning tickets ( what we preferred) but we made it work. Without reservations, you can still get into the park after 5 pm with a $25-day pass at the gate. We waiting in line for 50 mins just to get into the park.

We hiked to Dream Lake (at Bear Lake trailhead) we all agreed the wait and cost were worth the views!

Even though is started to pour rain when we reached the top. It was very windy and chilly by the lake. Bring sweaters and ponchos. Again we did this hike with 4 kids ages 3 and under!


We stopped at Stanley Park 3 times during our visit at Estes Park. It had the most gorgeous views. They had a new zipline swing that my kids loved! They had play grounds for older kids and one for younger toddlers. This park has rock structures too. Micah found a cave he didn’t want to leave. Cindee like climbing high on the rocks.


The best thing about vacations is the time spent with the people you love and care about most. We did some devotionals. Which were some of my favorite times. There’s just nothing like praying together and talking about the Lord. I’d definitely go back to Colorado someday.

I hope this helps you. Below are links to the websites we reserved online.