New Beginnings

My son said this to me out of the blue about two years ago.

“You’ve changed mom, you don’t seem so angry any more.”

Let me tell you, hearing your son tell you his thoughts about you are tied up in the notion that you’re angry all the time gets the guilt moving full throttle.  Beyond the guilt however, there was something else that struck me about his remark.  The use of the word “seem.”


He wasn’t tying my identity to anger he was simply stating what he new to be true based on my outward actions and, I’m sad to say, reactions.

When your soul is withering it’s pretty hard to maintain the pretense of bravado and, even on your best days, it’s pretty hard to muster joy for much of anything.  So losing your temper, slamming the doors and speaking through clenched teeth are on wash, rinse, repeat  all of which has your family running for cover most days.


I pressed my son a little more, I wanted to know what he saw that was changing the way he saw me.

He, of course, shrugged his shoulders in typical teenage fashion and getting him to elaborate was; well let’s just say pulling teeth might have been easier.

“Maybe it’s the counting thing you’re doing.  You know how you started counting all of your gifts.”

I almost smacked my hand to my forehead.  But of course.


I had been counting.  I had cracked the spine on this book and I took up the dare, right after I whispered “God save me” on a hot summer day.

I knew that something needed to change.  I could not continue to live as if nothing was wrong.  I could not continue to let anger and fear (aren’t they the same thing?), be how other’s perceived me.

That small, seemingly innocuous list was actually transforming me.  Not only was God using it to change my heart, he was using the changes IN me to change how others saw me.

I was being transformed.

By laying my joys down one by one  at the feet of my Saviour I was able to see things more clearly.  My son was able to see things more clearly.

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

God’s spirit in me, manifesting itself in my life, so much so that it made my son notice and use more than monosyllables and grunts to communicate that to me.

It was the happiest day of my life.  The day I knew I had been TRANSFORMED!

When I was thinking about a giveaway for today’s post I couldn’t think of anything better than my friend Debra’s beautiful jewelry.  Today I am giving away this fabulous necklace!  Isn’t it pretty? 

Sunset moth BB5 website-377x281

Artisan Debra Jeffries is an established jewelry designer known worldwide for her handmade real butterfly and insect wing artisan jewelry. She is a self taught artist and has learned different aspects of jewelry crafting in stained glass, fused glass, metal forging, wire wrapping, gemology and dabbled in basic silversmithing skills.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Lovely site, Tonya. 🙂 So glad your switch went smoothly.

    I really didn’t realize how much we had in common with our past of anger “issues”. For different reasons… but all good changes for the glory. From glory to glory. I’ve always loved that.

    Bless you on your journey. I know He will.
    XX ~ Heather

    • Heather – Anger is long been my posture – so grateful for grace and the glory to glory changes in my life! Thank you so much for coming along side me in this journey.

  2. Your son is a pretty bright kid! It’s amazing how others can see the slow changes in us, when we have no clue they are happening. And pretty amazing that your son figured out what’s changing your heart. You are clearly raising him right! 🙂

    Such an encouraging story!

    • Thank you friend. He is a pretty bright kid! I am so glad that my kids have often been the hands and feet of Jesus in my life.

  3. It’s beautiful Tonya! I know how excited you are. Thanks for sharing the story of your true new beginning. Congratulations on both counts, my friend.

  4. Congrats on your new site friend. God used THAT book to change me too.:)

  5. I’m so excited for you! The site looks great! I believe you and I have already discussed our mutual history with anger, and it’s like living under a red cloud that threatens to rain down at any moment, with the slightest provocation.

    • It is like that isn’t it. I’ve come to realize that finding joy really does lessen the impact of anger… Love you friend. Thank you so much for supporting me – we are soul sisters and always will be.

  6. Ambia

    Love God’s transformation stories! Thanks for sharing!

  7. I’ve seen God’s hand in my life in so many ways–but especially in my relationships with our daughters. I’ve learned to let them make their own decisions and not try to micromanage their lives. I’ve learned the beauty of spending time with them and building true relationships. The new site looks wonderful :).

    • Isn’t it incredible what happens when we let go just a little bit – particularly when it comes to our children. I know this well friend. Praying for you as you continue to forge strong relationship with your girls.

  8. What a beautiful transformation story. I love how much God teaches me thorugh the wisdom of my kids.

    PS. I love the new site.

  9. Love your new space here, friend! Just beautiful. God has been working his transformation in my these last few years, and I tell you – when I read about your struggles with anger – I know right where you’re at. But staying in his word, building community, and yes, that book, have made a difference.

    • Rebekah – Yes! Yes! Staying right there with Him in every aspect of our lives… Thank you sweet friend for all you are in my life!

  10. I love this idea of gratitude changing our perspectives, our hearts, and our actions. I think these changes happen a little bit each day, and we may not even realize the transformation is happening. But one day something tells us, “Hey, you’re different!”. Sounds like your son was that something. 🙂

    • Shannon – it really is a wonder isn’t it how Christ uses the simple and the ordinary to woo us back to Him and then shows us the changes in ourselves through the eyes of our children.

  11. Beautiful writing for a beautiful website launch. Congratulations and know i am happy to be apart of your first giveaway. It’s a real honor. If anyone asks, all my butterflies are farmed and collected once naturally expired. xo

  12. Welcome to your new place, Tonya! It is lovely. And what a beautiful story of God’s transforming power and work. He is so good and faithful, isn’t He?!!
    I have been contemplating the unveiled faces concept lately. My husband is preaching through Revelation and I am struck with how incredible it will be when we stand before the Lamb with unveiled faces!!! Blessed to be on a transforming journey by your side. When I count my blessings, you are one of them!

    • Becky – sweet friend – thank you so much for being a constant source of love and encouragement! That will be an incredible moment won’t it – unveiled gazing into His full glory!! Love it!

  13. Oh my friend… what a lovely new space you have here! I love it! …and you, and your story, (and that book… and that necklace!) There is just a whole lot of love going on over here!

  14. What a beautiful new space! I’ve seen God’s transforming work in my life in the way I love my children. I am learning I don’t have to give them gifts to try to earn their love. All they want is my time and love. Blessings!

    • Oh friend… I am with you on that one. Our kids really do just want us! Praying for you friend that you will know your value as their mother!

  15. Love your new web-home Tonya! Beautifully done!
    My heart has been transformed lately in the way I view my work. Rather than seeing it as a job – something I HAVE to do – I am oh-so-slowly seeing it is my ministry, my way to reach out to others. Not necessarily easy but it’s making a huge difference.

    • Amy – I too have, in the past, struggled with how I view my job. It’s hard sometimes to see past the drudgery into the beauty that Christ makes of our work… Praying you continue to see Him in the midst of your tasks.

  16. Loralee

    I remember the first time my son cried because I did not get angry and yell and he didn’t know how to live with stress of waiting. The bitter sweet emotions as I explained not yelling did not mean not loving but rather I loved enough to stop. Freedom from anger is a sweet victory!

    • Loralee it really is! And looking back – I don’t think I realized how angry I had been living until my son pointed it out to me that I wasn’t so angry…

  17. Oh, this site is beautiful. . . just like you!

    It is welcoming, fresh, and full of hope coming straight from your beautiful heart!

    I can’t wait to see what God does in this next chapter of your life! XO

  18. I am late getting to reading my blogs today. I have to say I love your new site!!!

    Isn’t it amazing how God can change us, even when we think it is close to impossible!! I was just sharing with someone the other day about how God has taken me from the pits of depression, complete with suicidal thoughts and wanting nothing more than to die….to living the abundant life, complete with a God Sized Dream and a purpose that is so bigger than me. I stand constantly amazed by what God can do with a willing heart.

  19. Counting blessings brings us joy from the inside out! Love the new look and the fact that your son is one smart kid. Sometimes those around us know us better than we know ourselves. Beautiful story!

  20. I love the new blog, lady!!! And what a great testimony!

  21. Yay! You made the big jump. SO fun to see you in your new spot. Counting gifts was a big turning point for me as well. My sister in law and a friend went through the book together. We’d meet each week at 5 am and talk about it. Like for real, me at 5 am out of my house! I was a hot mess but it was such a time of growing. I started blogging not too long after that season. I’m excited for all the things God has for you in this new place. Love you so much, friend. Wishing you all the biggest blessings, yummy chocolate, and squishy table jumping hugs.

  22. Deb Cote

    What a great step you’ve taken Tonya, with your new website. Imagine, just a couple of years ago…you’ve come so far. Beautiful!

  23. Oh, friend… my transformation has been sloww… very slow, even with the counting of the gifts. Sometimes I forget to count and then I start again.
    and oh how I know the rinse/repeat cycle of yelling, slamming doors and talking through clenched teeth… Thank you for your words of encouragement

  24. Well here I am. One of your biggest fans here… with a couple-many of our closest friends. Celebrating with you because I KNOW what transformation means. I know it’s value. Yes.


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