I recently discovered a treasure of a blog called *A Holy Experience* where it’s owner, Ann Voskamp has posted a challenge. The challenge is called The Joy Dare As I read through Ann’s challenge, I could feel an excitement rise up inside me. I was reminded of a verse in the Word of God that has proven powerfully effective for me throughout my walk with Jesus.

Isa 61:3 KJV To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness ; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

Ann describes her challenge as a dare to live fully right where you are. I love that! I pray daily that my life would be pleasing to the Lord…..that it would bring Him glory. What better way could I reflect His glory than to learn the practice of gratitude and praise? This challenge is to declare and document 1000 gifts the Lord has blessed our lives with for an entire year. I know that sounds daunting but that is only three a day! By the end of the year….the challenge will have been met, a brand new healthy habit will have been developed….all the while reflecting glory to God. Because I am starting in the middle of the first month……for the rest of the month…..I will journal four a day.

I was struck by a quote Ann posted on her challenge page:

“A nail is driven out by another nail;
habit is overcome by habit.” ~ Erasmus

This suggests to me that taking up this challenge will require some firm and diligent effort on my part….some decided effort. I am familiar with praising my savior when things are bright and sunny in my life….but sadly….not so familiar when I am facing challenges….heartbreak…..oppression….depression.

Yes….I accept! I am accepting Ann’s challenge today…..right now…..I start! I pray that *praise* will become second nature to me…..my first *go to* behavior when trials come my way. I pray that my life would glorify my King!

On Ann’s challenge page….she has provided a way to journal the commitment throughout the year. There is a daily calendar to help with ideas to express own own personal gratitude. She also suggests several different methods for documenting your daily expressions of gratitude. These are only suggestions and one could adapt the challenge to fit our very own preferences.

I will be blogging mine…..in fact…it’s a perfect activity for me as I’ve just started blogging again after almost nearly a year. So grateful the Lord provides as He leads!! There’s one for me! Thank you Father God for the intimate ways you lead and provide for your children!

So…I begin!

1) I am so grateful for God’s Son. He is my Lord and Savior. He took upon Himself the weight of all of my sin and bore it on the cross for me. The punishment that I deserve…He took for me. He purchased my pardon….forever…..I am free because of Him! I get to live eternally with He and the Father because of His love! I just can’t resist love like that!

Lion of Judah
2) God’s written word…..His word is alive! It guides, comforts, teaches, corrects, provides power, wisdom, understanding, strength……to name only a few of the things it means to me. I haven’t always loved the word like I do today. I never sat still with it long enough to hear…..and to see….to experience its power.

The Bible
3) My husband and best friend Bryan. I would rather do nothing with him than anything with someone else. We’ve been married almost 29 years and I love him more every day we are given together. I am convinced that God had me in mind when he created Bryan……He knew I would need this man…..

My Bry-Guy!

4) Family and Friends~ I know this one sounds like it should be a given….and it is…however I am beyond grateful for the gifts the Lord has given me in the family I’ve been born into and the friends I’ve met along the way. I will number each them specifically throughout the year, but for today….I am grateful for all of them!

There they are....I bet you love them too!


Give Thanks!!


Grateful to be In His Grip~