This blog is my response to The Joy Dare by Ann Voskamp, author of the book "One Thousand Gifts". Every day (hopefully) I will be recording three things that bring me joy, three gifts from God, three things that I am grateful for.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

December 29, 2012: Hope:5-6

3 gifts of hope:
  • rest. Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. Psalm 62:5-6
  • confidence. For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you. Psalm 71:5-6
  • blessing. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them-he remains faithful forever. Psalm 146:5-6

Friday, December 28, 2012

December 28, 2012: Love Lingers

3 gifts lingering:
  • lingering in bed this morning, such a treat
  • lingering over dinner with my husband and son, reflecting on all we accomplished today
  • lingering on memories of Christmas, sweet time spent with family

December 27, 2012: Memories Found

a gift found, shared, saved:
  • a Bill Knapp's birthday cake for my son's upcoming birthday.  memories
  • a relaxing evening at my son's house, the drive behind us.  grateful
  • an uplifting newspaper article about Philadelphia Eagle's wide receiver Jason Avant. inspiring

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December 26, 2012: Gifts from the Manger

3 gifts in Christ:
  •  salvation.  An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21
  • presence. The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:23
  • fulfillment.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:11

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

December 25, 2012: Gifts for All

3 gifts in Luke 2:
  • joy.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 
  • hope.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
  • peace. Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."

December 24, 2012: Perfectly Humble

3 gifts humble:
  • His birth
  • Christmas Eve with my family, perfect
  • a late night talk with my daughter

Sunday, December 23, 2012

December 23, 2012: Starry, Starry Joy

3 gifts starry:
  • the candle of love on the advent wreath, flame dancing and reminding
  • the Christmas story, read from Luke 2 in church
  • the laughing eyes of my kids and their cousins, as they joke and tease, a blessing to watch them together

Saturday, December 22, 2012

December 22, 2012: Grace in a Grocery Bag

a gift rejoicing, wonder, praising:
  • rejoicing with my full nest for Christmas
  • the wonder of family, the joy of relationship
  • praising for the privilege of bringing Christmas dinner to a family in need.  There but by God's grace alone go I.

Friday, December 21, 2012

December 21, 2012: Star Light, Star Bright

3 gifts lit: 
  • the Christmas tree, lit early this afternoon to dispel a dark, stormy day
  • the darkness, on the birthday of the world. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Genesis 1:1-3
  • the star, lighting the way for the Magi to worship the newborn king

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December 20, 2012: Where Angels Never Fear to Tread

3 gifts angelic song:
  • Christmas music on the radio, reminding me of the real reason
  • This Scripture in my morning devotions: For you make me glad by your deeds, O Lord; I sing for joy at the works of your hands. Psalm 92:4
  • These words spoken long ago and to my heart today: Do not be afraid.  Luke 1:13, Luke 1:30, Luke 2:10

December 19, 2012: Stuffing the Stockings with Joy

3 gifts manger-small:
  • treats made for her teacher, she so excited to give the gift
  • her giggles as she reads aloud the stories about the snow she's not yet experienced
  • stocking stuffers, ready for Christmas Day, a tradition my grown children still love

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December 18, 2012: Painting Miracles

3 gifts miraculous:
  • the pastels of the sunrise painted in the morning sky
  • the incarnation. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. John 1:14
  • God's unconditional love. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. Romans 5:8 (The Message)

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 16, 2012: A Lineage of Grace

3 gifts Bethlehem-unlikely:
  • the peace of a quiet evening at home with my husband
  • a lineage of constancy and courage
  • family stories of God's faithfulness

Sunday, December 16, 2012

December 17, 2012: Frosting on the Family Cake

3 gifts frosted:
  • delicious homemade Christmas candy, frosted with chocolate and love
  • a family meeting, frosted with laughter and grace
  • old pictures of relatives long gone, the ability to scan and preserve them technological frosting

December 15, 2012: Golden Gifts

a gift gold, scented, bent low:
  • a beautiful piece of cloth from Africa given to me by my dear sister and friend, printed with the words translated, "God is the giver of every gift"
  • the perfume chosen by a son for his mom's first ever Christmas with wrapped gifts 
  • shoppers searching for gifts for their loved ones, unsure of how to make a selection amidst such abundance when they've already been given more than they ever dared dream

Saturday, December 15, 2012

December 14, 2012: Stamp of Approval

3 gifts stamped:
  • a letter from our World Vision child in Rwanda, Africa
  • a Christmas card received in the mail
  • God's promises. Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident. God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting his Yes within us. 2 Corinthians 1:20-21 (The Message)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 13, 2012: By His Stripes

3 gifts striped:
  • shadows on the living room, striped from the sun shining through the blinds
  • healing from a vertigo attack, by the stripes on my Savior's back. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
  • the Christmas tree, striped with gold ribbon, so pretty when the lights are on

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December 12, 2012: Minty Joy

3 gifts berry red:
  • plump berries on otherwise bare bushes, adding a needed splash of color to the landscape
  • stripes on the free candy canes offered by the bank, a minty treat during my errand running
  • bows on packages wrapped beneath the tree, awaiting Christmas Day

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December 11, 2012: Cold Gifts, Warm Heart

3 gifts ice cold:
  • snow flurries, looking so Christmasy this morning
  • a water bottle, refreshing during my treadmill walk
  • peppermint stick ice cream, a much anticipated holiday treat 

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 10, 2012: Art Frosted

3 gifts unframed art: 
  • ice covered tree branches this morning
  • frost etched windows 
  • Christmas lights brightening the darkness

December 9, 2012: Away in a Manger

3 gifts ugly-beautiful:
  • my son's church, ugly in a rented school gym, but beautiful in worship and mission
  • the manger, ugly in crudity but beautiful in purpose. and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. Luke 2:7
  • rain for the drive home, ugly, but beautiful when compared to snow for safety and nerves

December 8, 2012: Nothing Better Than a Hug

A gift hung, held, heard:
  • pictures hung in my son's house, making it look more like a home
  • my son held in a hug, so much better than phone calls and texts
  • a compliment heard from an employee in a home improvement store that my son frequents, blessing for a mother's heart

December 7, 2012: The Gift of New Life

3 gifts from your Savior:
  • grace. "Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, freely bestowed on all who believe." (Grace Greater Than Our Sin, Julia H. Johnston, 1911)
  •  new life. We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Romans 6:4
  • my ransom. The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb and they sang a new song, saying:
    “You are worthy to take the scroll
        and to open its seals,
    because you were slain,
        and with your blood you purchased for God
        persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. 
    Revelation 5:8a, 9

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December 6, 2012: Spreading Sweetness

 3 gifts sweet:
  • Amish honey on my toast for breakfast
  • encouragement on my Facebook page to start the day off with a smile
  • God's Word in my morning devotions: I said to the Lord, "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing." Psalm 16:2

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December 5, 2012: One Thousand Gifts!

3 gifts silver:
  • silver wrapped chocolates, a treat from a friend
  • the silver beaters on my mixer, whipping up butter and sugar for a new cake recipe
  • a sweet and funny email from a silver friend  (from the song..."Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver and the other gold"--one of the only things I remember from my brief stint in the Girl Scouts)
These 3 gifts are number 1000-1003.  All thanks and praise to God for the grace to keep counting for the past 334 days!  There have been many days when I didn't feel very thankful, but Ann Voskamp taught me, and the Holy Spirit kept convicting me that gratitude is a discipline.  That I must unclench my fists in order to receive His joy.  

I am still seeking and fail again and again, but I pray that God has been glorified through my list.  The dare to name 1000 gifts has been, to quote Ann, "God's necessary tool to reshape me, remake me, rename me." (One Thousand Gifts). I have seen that He is good even in the hard eucharisteos, the thanks I dread.  

And so I keep naming, counting on past 1000 because it has made me a more joyful person, and that is grace.  To Him be all glory and honor, both now and forevermore.  Amen. 2 Peter 3:18

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December 4, 2012: Coronation So Undeserved

a gift circling, crowning, crafted:
  • my family circling the table at dinner.
  • my Jesus, replacing my shame with a crown of beauty. Praise the Lord... who  redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion. Psalm 103:1 & 4
  • birthday gifts crafted for three birthday girls, ready to celebrate tomorrow

December 3, 2012: Perfectly Shining

3 gifts shining:
  • the sun on an unbelievably warm December day
  • Christmas lights in a lovely green glass bowl, a gift from my daughter
  • God's beauty. The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth. Psalm 50:1-2

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December 2, 2012: All Is Bright

3 gifts bright:
  • the candle of hope lit on the advent wreath
  • the smiles of our beloved family, every time we pick them up for church
  • the one star in the night sky upon leaving church tonight

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December 1, 2012: Making a List

3 gifts white:
  • notebook pages with menu plans listed for a weekend visit with my son
  • more notebook pages with Christmas ideas written there, because ideas are 90 percent of it
  • a roll of adhesive to complete the scrapbook I am almost done making of my son's most recent backpacking trip

November 30, 2012: Astonished by Grace

3 gifts astonishing:
  • The Father's love. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
  • The Son's sacrifice. We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Hebrews 10:10
  • The Spirit's indwelling. Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 1 Corinthians 3:16

Thursday, November 29, 2012

November 29, 2012: Seeing Red

3 gifts red:
  • a beautiful red poinsettia, a gift from an equally beautiful sister
  • a delicious red velvet cookie, a lunchtime surprise from a friend
  • a crimson tide, flowing wide to wash away my sins.  Hallelujah!  What a Savior!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November 28, 2012: Taking Up the Mantle of Prayer

3 gifts in community:
  • prayers raised, hands laid on a sweet sister with an achingly empty womb
  • the comfort that we are not alone in our struggle to be more like Christ
  • the echo of joyous laughter and the way it lifts my spirit to laugh together

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

December 27, 2012: Happiness Held

a gift handmade, held, happy:
  • a potholder handmade by a friend as a surprise gift, a sweet reminder of her generosity as I pulled dinner out of the oven tonight
  • my phone held in my hand, texts received from praying friends to lift me up on a down day
  • the happy feeling I get from plugging in the Christmas lights when evening falls

Monday, November 26, 2012

November 26, 2012: Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room

3 gifts preparing: 
  • my house for Christmas
  • a favorite dinner for my family plus a guest
  • room in my heart for Him

Sunday, November 25, 2012

November 25, 2012: Uneven Joy

3 gifts ugly-beautiful:
  • praying with my son as he left to go back
  • a friend's daughter leaving her abusive husband
  • my Christmas tree, the ornaments unevenly distributed, hung by an excited 11-year old girl decorating a tree for the first time ever

Saturday, November 24, 2012

November 24, 2012: Joy at Home

3 gifts humble:
  • sharing a relaxing dinner with my son, home for the Thanksgiving weekend
  • a quiet evening, the whole family at home
  • a fresh baked cookie, still warm from the oven, a gift from my daughter to her brother

November 23, 2012: The Gift of Fellowship

3 gifts in Christ:
  • the fellowship of believers. If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. . I John 1:7
  • the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14
  • the fellowship of Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9

Thursday, November 22, 2012

November 22, 2012: A Full Nest

3 gifts grateful:
  • grateful to have all my chicks in the nest, nothing makes me happier
  • grateful for the entire family around the Thanksgiving table
  • grateful for a movie night with my daughter

November 21, 2012: Those Who Know You Best

3 gifts family:
  • my loving husband, who appreciates and values me
  • my sisters-in-law, who make family gatherings fun
  • my mom, who always has a listening ear

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November 20, 2012: Traditional Joy

3 gifts of traditions:
  • thanksgiving dinner with the whole family, all the cousins together at one table
  • decorating the house for Christmas, the anticipation beginning
  • the memories behind each ornament hung on the Christmas tree

Monday, November 19, 2012

November 19, 2012: Soups On!

3 gifts autumn:
  • sleeping with a blanket on the bed
  • anything and everything pumpkin flavored
  • weather cool enough to make soup

Sunday, November 18, 2012

November 18, 2012: Passing on Joy

A gift made, shared, passed on:
  • Christ's sacrifice made on my behalf, remembered in his supper at church today
  • a long walk shared with my husband on a sunny fall afternoon
  • sewing lessons passed on from my mom to my daughter

November 17, 2012: Filled with Laughter

3 gifts laughter:
  • a hilarious card sent in the mail by my sister-in-law that made me laugh out loud
  • a funny joke sent via email by a friend
  • a humorous cartoon posted on Facebook

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”  Psalm 126:2

Friday, November 16, 2012

November 16, 2012: Hard Questions

3 hard eucharisteos:
  • boxes yet unpacked
  • the conviction to begin anew memorizing God's word
  • one young woman expecting while another waits and wonders why

Thursday, November 15, 2012

November 15, 2012:Gifts of Gold

3 gifts golden:
  • a beautiful sunrise, only seen because I committed to be at the gym this morning
  • the delicate, old fashioned ring of my grandmother's that I wear on my right hand, a gift from her parents on her sixteenth birthday
  • God's prayer bowl. The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. Revelation 5:8

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November 14, 2012: Silence is Golden

3 gifts silent:
  • my house this afternoon, enabling me to get some long procrastinated tasks done
  • the sun, glowing yellow and orange, as it slipped beyond the horizon
  • my Savior, despite being falsely accused--oh, that I would learn from him to tame my tongue. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. Isaiah 53:7

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

November 13, 2012:Opening the Door to Joy

3 gifts behind doors:
  • behind the refrigerator door, leftover broccoli cheese soup to bring to work for lunch
  • behind the oven door, my favorite chewy oatmeal chocolate chip bars
  • behind the front door, a group of brothers and sisters coming for our final discussion of the book of Acts

Monday, November 12, 2012

November 12, 2102: Midday Gifts

3 gifts at noon:
  • a visit from my dad, who stopped by to see me at work
  • a lunch date made with a friend
  • anticipation of time to spend in Bible study this afternoon

November 11, 2012: In Remembrance

3 gifts of remembrance:
  • gratitude, remembering our veterans, active military and their families in church
  • increased trust, remembering God's blessings
  • humbleness, remembering what I once was

Saturday, November 10, 2012

November 10, 2012: Gifts Written and Read

3 gifts found in Bible reading:
  • knowledge
  • encouragement
  • hope
 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans 15:4