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.

Monday, April 30, 2012

April 30, 2012: A Sacrifice for Joy

a gift given, made, sacrificed:
  • time given to play Uno, a game which, as it turns out, needs no common language except laughter
  • cake made to celebrate our last evening together before the move tomorrow
  • fear sacrificed for joy as I realize reluctance to say goodbye has replaced hesitancy to say hello

Sunday, April 29, 2012

April 29, 2012: Joy in a Jar

3 gifts found in dirt:
  • with 3 extra people in it, definitely my house.  The good news is that the fruit of the Spirit is growing in that same dirt, patience and self control blooming.
  • apples, and most especially their sauce with cinnamon.  A favorite of my new family members.
  • the flowering tree that stands beside the front porch.  Lovely pink flowers = joy.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

April 28, 2012: It's a New Orange World

3 gifts orange:
  • a box of markers,  for drawing new things seen in her now world
  • scissors, for opening a box of breakfast cereal never before tasted
  • Ibuprofen capsules, for easing pain incurred when injuries heal without medical care

Friday, April 27, 2012

April 27, 2012: Evidence of Beauty

3 gifts ugly-beautiful:
  • the TV constantly on.  Ugly, but beautiful as it helps teaches English.
  • shoes and suitcases piled in the front hallway.  Ugly, but beautiful evidence of the children of God newly arrived in our home after living 12 years as refugees.
  • plans disrupted.  Ugly, but beautiful as God shows me how to love in his name.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

April 26, 2012: Seeing Through Another's Eyes

3 gifts moving:  as seen through the eyes of a family who lived in a refugee camp in Uganda for the past 12 years
  • a machine that washes the dishes.
  • a soccer ball in the front yard.  Not everything in the US is strange and new!  The delight of discovering sameness.
  • a computer that shows you a picture of yourself last night when arriving at the airport.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April 25, 2012: The Gift of Familiarity

a gift cloth, steel, wood:
  • an ancient pair of jeans, faded to familiarity.
  • two bed frames, usually empty, now readied for a Sudanese refugee family arriving tonight.
  • an old nightstand in the refinishing process.  A reason for my daughter to be home.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April 24, 2012: Fragile Desire

3 gifts fragile:
  • the new moon, valiantly lighting the dark sky
  • a butterfly's wings as it flits from flower to flower, evading the picture taker
  • my desire to follow God's will when he asks for something that seems hard, out of my comfort zone

Monday, April 23, 2012

April 23, 2012: God's Love Reflected

3 gifts reflected:
  • the sunlight through the windows.
  • God's love for me in allowing me to run into not one, but two friends when I was feeling down. 
  • God's love through me, by none of my own doing.  His perfect timing when prompting me to send out an overdue email and using it to minister to another's heart.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

April 22, 2012: Sabbath Gifts

3 gifts close:
  • God's presence in worship this morning
  • a restful Sunday afternoon
  • telephone calls from each of my children

Saturday, April 21, 2012

April 21, 2012: The Gift of Continual Connection

3 gifts found in Christ:
  • the Holy Spirit. Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38
  • life. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Romans 8:11
  • love. neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39

Friday, April 20, 2012

April 20, 2012: Joy Stashed

a gift stacked, stashed, stilled:
  • pillows stacked on shelves today when I went shopping with my mom.  I've been looking for quite a while for new pillows for my couch and found some that were a bargain.
  • my plans for the evening stashed when my husband called wondering if I would join him for dinner to entertain two Chinese visitors he is hosting this weekend.  They were so tickled to visit our house and see how an American family lives.  I feel extra blessed after seeing our home through their eyes.
  • my worries stilled upon reading this passage this morning from Psalm 73: Whom have I in heaven but you?  And earth has nothing I desire besides you.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (verses 25-26)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 19, 2012: It's Good to be Square

3 gifts square:
  • low sodium chicken broth in a carton with a pour spout.  Such a great idea--I can use just the amount I need and keep the rest in the fridge for another time.
  • my kitchen window.  I'm so glad to have a window above my sink so I can watch spring come alive.
  • my TO DO list.  Keeps me organized and on task.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 18, 2012: The Keys to My Inheritance

3 gifts inherited:
  • the enjoyment of setting a beautiful table.
  • a love of books and reading. 
  • the kingdom of God. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you the kingdom of God. I Peter 1:3-4

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 17, 2012: Woven Together with Love

3 gifts woven together:
  • me.  From one of my favorite psalms, Psalm 139:
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.
 My frame was not hidden from you
   when I was made in the secret place,
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
   all the days ordained for me were written in your book
   before one of them came to be.
(verses 14-16)
  • the fellowship of believers.  I have witnessed it several times lately, when someone is in crisis other Christians come together in prayer, support and encouragement.  Beautiful.
  • my heart with Women of the Word and the amazing women I have had the privilege of studying, journeying and leading with.

April 16, 2012: Clinging and Waiting

3 hard eucharisteos:
  • endings. Celebrating with the other women I lead Bible study with, knowing that one will not be returning next year as a leader.  Happy about her new path, but sad to say goodbye.
  • waiting. Accepting that I don't know what God has planned for our Bible Study next fall. 
  • suffering. Clinging to the promise that God will use it. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:17

Sunday, April 15, 2012

April 15, 2012: The Gift of Tortilla Chips and Friends

a gift found in a bag, in a box, in a book:
  • a bag of tortilla chips to serve with the yummy dip we ate tonight when our house church gathered at our house.
  • a box containing the DVD teaching we watched and discussed as a group, helping us better understand who God is.
  • the book One Thousand Gifts and how it's changing my faith, but also the hearts of two friends I talked with today.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

April 14, 2012: I Lift Up My Eyes

3 gifts found looking up:
  • a robin sweetly singing her Maker's praise way up in the top of a tree this evening.
  • much needed rain.
  • comfort and peace from knowing the Lord is watching those I love. 
 Psalm 121. A song of ascents.  I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
  where does my help come from? 
 My help comes from the LORD,
 the Maker of heaven and earth.
 He will not let your foot slip—
   he who watches over you will not slumber;

indeed, he who watches over Israel
   will neither slumber nor sleep.

 The LORD watches over you—
   the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

the sun will not harm you by day,
   nor the moon by night.

 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
   he will watch over your life;

the LORD will watch over your coming and going
   both now and forevermore.

Friday, April 13, 2012

April 13, 2012: The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

3 gifts bright:
  • the contrast between the blue sky and the pink flowers.  A beautifully bright spring gift.
  • the bright spot in my day--lunch with 2 special friends.
  • my daughter's future. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11  The Scripture God gave me to hold onto when she was only three years old.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

April 12, 2012: The Fruit of the Spirit is Joy

3 gifts worn:
  • a bracelet that was a gift from my mom.  It has the fruit of the spirit on it and besides the fact that it's pretty, it is a good reminder of how I should strive to live.  The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control.  Galatians 5:22-23
  • a favorite pair of shoes.  They are gray and are not quite flats, but are very comfy and I think, very cute.
  • an antique card table that was my Grandma's.  The table has a wood frame and legs and a print of an oil painting in the center. It says on the bottom that it cost 2 1/2 books of green stamps!  Used it tonight for my bunco group :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April 11, 2012: Fresh Joy

3 gifts budding/blooming:
  • the big tree in the backyard, unfurling its leaves a bit more each day.
  • the lilac bush next to the deck.  It was an anniversary gift years ago and I don't know if it has ever actually bloomed, but this year it has.
  • My Bible study group.  We met this morning to discuss the first two chapters of One Thousand Gifts, and I sense we are on the verge of budding into a fresh understanding thanksgiving and joy.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April 10, 2012: Open Heart, Closed Hands

3 gifts opened up:
  • the blossoms on our neighbor's tree.  I don't know what kind it is, but it's covered in billowy cotton candy pink flowers and it is gorgeous. Although not in our yard, I get such enjoyment out of it through our dining room window.
  • a coupon that came in the mail for a complimentary drink at a nearby coffee shop.  I'm not a coffee drinker, but I can stop in for a chai tea or a frozen something-or-other.  Nothing better than a freebie!
  • a text from a friend asking me to intercede for a crisis situation in her family.  What a blessing to be counted as a friend who will pray.

Monday, April 9, 2012

April 9, 2012: The Joy of Unexpected Gifts

a gift hiding, held, heard:
  • a most enjoyable TV show watched tonight on PBS after I whined to my husband about how when I have a rare evening in which I might like to veg out in front of the TV, there is never anything on.  It was a documentary called "Being Elmo" about a puppeteer named Kevin Clash.  Touching and funny, it even made me cry.
  • a cup of tea and One Thousand Gifts.  The electricity went out shortly after I arrived at work today so I received the gift of unexpected time at home and spent some time (re)reading chapter two.
  • some good news shared by my son.  Those are the kind of phone calls I am always glad to get.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

April 8, 2012: Hope Rising

3 gifts rising up:
  • the sun on this beautiful Easter Sunday.
  • voices in praise of our risen Lord Jesus at church this morning.  
  • hope and joy within my heart.  So good to see a loved one today who seems to be moving in the right direction after a time of derailment.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

April 7, 2012: The Gift of Community

3 gifts waited for:
  • my son coming home to celebrate Easter with us.
  • my second reading of One Thousand Gifts. I've been wanting to reread it and to talk it over in community. Discussion starts next week with my Bible study group!
  • my husband did a painting job today that was one of the last items on our house "to do" list.

Friday, April 6, 2012

April 6, 2012: A Framework for Love

3 gifts nailed together:
  • a small table that stands in my front entryway.  Its purpose to house mail in a drawer and a bowl to hold keys.  A gift of love last Christmas, chosen by my daughter who found it and knew it was just what I had been wanting.
  • a wooden cross, a visceral reminder in church tonight as I ponder anew the passion story, his sacrifice for me.
  • canvases placed around the church tonight, framework for testimonies of thanksgiving to God for his hesed, his loving faithfulness which constantly pursues and relentlessly woos.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

April 5, 2012: A Cup of Grace

3 gifts at 11am, 2pm, 6pm:
  • a cup of tea at my desk, made tastier by the fact that the tea bags were a gift from a friend.
  • one of the officers stopping into the church, saving me a phone call asking someone to come in to sign accounts payable checks.
  • grace from my husband when dinner was blandly mediocre after an extremely busy day at work.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April 4, 2012: The Ultimate Gift

3 gifts in his Word:
  • This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations. Luke 25:46-47
  • For it is by grace  you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
  • Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.  1 Peter 1:3-4

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April 3, 2012: I Love Surprises :)

3 gifts surprisingly found:
  • a bunch of daffodils from my husband
  • time to finish a scrapbook I've been working on for months
  • a fun (free) new game for my touchpad

Monday, April 2, 2012

April 2, 2012: The Gift of Fortitude

3 gifts white:
  • onions and garbanzo beans in the soup I made for dinner.  A new recipe I tried for Tuscan Vegetable Soup.  Chock-full of veggies of all colors, we rated it a 10.
  • two little ceramic rabbits from my Grandma that I've had for many years.
  • beautiful blossoms on our apple tree.  My husband cut most of the tree down but didn't quite finish the job yet.  That little stump of a tree blossomed anyway.  I guess it didn't know that it's destined for the trash heap. That's fortitude, beauty from ashes.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April 1, 2012: The Gift of the Earth

3 gifts round:
  • drums.  I love the rhythm of the drums in the band at church during worship.
  • my tape runner.  Spent some time scrapbooking this afternoon and sure am glad to have such a handy tool.
  • the earth.  What an amazing gift, created just for us by the Master Artist, a place of beauty and wonder. The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.