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.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

May 31, 2012: The Joy of Rejoicing

3 gifts you gave today:
  • a listening ear to one who every time lists their health complaints in full detail
  • a homemade dinner to my husband who doesn't feel well (even though I don't either)
  • a congratulatory note to friends who are celebrating good news, because that's what we are called to do as the body.  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May 30, 2012: Joy Written in Blue

3 gifts blue:
  • today's sky
  • the ink in my pen as I scratch out grocery items on a list as we shop for our cooking lesson.  A very proud mom made her family homemade spaghetti sauce and chocolate chip cookies this afternoon.
  • the Tupperware container holding meatloaf for dinner tonight.  The first of our cleaning-out-the freezer meals.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May 29, 2012: Joy Reminders

a gift at 8am, 12pm, 8pm
  • from Jesus Calling at breakfast, the reminder that Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us.  I am never alone.
  • In my work email from a devotional by Renee Swope of Proverbs 31 Ministries: If you are living and breathing, your purpose has not yet been fulfilled. No matter what you have done or what has been done to you, God does have a plan for your life.
  • God's provision to pay a pile of bills

Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28, 2012: The Gift of Freedom

3 gifts found in today's work:
  • packing up: it's always good to go home
  • food prep and clean up: a blessing to feed my family
  • grocery shopping: where else would one find such abundance and selection but in the USA?  So grateful for the gift of freedom and those who defend it on this Memorial Day!

May 27, 2012: Jesus Is the Answer

3 gifts found in church:
  • This reminder from the sermon text:  “The Mighty One, God, the Lord! The Mighty One, God, the Lord! He knows..." Joshua 22:22a.  He knows.
  • A blessing needed and received: May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,  encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
  • Children who have learned that the answer to almost any question asked of them at church is "Jesus" and who eagerly wave their arms in the air to share it.

May 26, 2012: Whispered Joy

A gift worn, white, whispered:
  • the toe ring worn that I thought I had lost
  • sweet little white wildflowers growing in the woods
  • my gratitude whispered to God at bedtime for a really fun day spent thrifting and antique shopping with my daughter, sister-in-law and niece

Friday, May 25, 2012

May 25, 2012: Thanks in Suffering

3 gifts hard giving thanks for:
  • what our refugee family had to endure in Africa.  The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.  Those who know your name trust in you,for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:9-10
  • change not yet seen.   As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. James 5:11
  • months of physical therapy. Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3

Thursday, May 24, 2012

May 24, 2012: Joy Comes in P's

a gift in a plate, pot, package:
  • fresh, spring vegetables on a dinner plate.  Roasted asparagus and grape tomatoes--mmmmm!
  • deep pink New Guineau Impatiens in a pot in my yard
  • a freebie in a package in the mail.  A coupon for some sort of new iced coffee.  I don't like coffee, but hey, it's my favorite price!  I think I'll give it to a friend and pass along the joy :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May 23, 2012: The Joy of Community

3 gifts found in community:
  • accountability.  This I need so much, for someone to ask me the hard questions.  
  • perspective.  Love hearing others' viewpoints, seeing through another's eyes, considering an angle that I didn't measure.
  • fun.  Because two (or ten) are better than one (Ecclesiastes 4:9) and laughter is a healing gift.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 22, 2012: The Joy of a Good Laugh

3 gifts that made you laugh:
  • an online video of a father and daughter doing a surprise dance routine at her bat mitzvah.  Found here if you want to check it out too: http://shine.yahoo.com/author-blog-posts/father-daughter-dance-hit-222800635.html
  • a posting about typos on a Facebook group called "Church Secretaries Rock".  This advice was my favorite: "Don't forget the 'r' when you're writing about your local food pantry."
  • an episode of "Big Bang Theory". 
Laughter truly is good medicine!

Monday, May 21, 2012

May 21, 2012: The Gift of Children

3 gifts found in little people:
  • contagious smiles
  • abundant enthusiasm
  • innocent openness
 Children are a gift from the Lord.  Psalm 127:3

Sunday, May 20, 2012

May 20, 2012: Joy, Both Sweet & Salty

a gift sweet, sour, salty:
  • an amazing baptism celebration at church today, with a sweet reminder that with God there is always hope
  • ibuprofen to ease the ache in my legs a sour gift that reminds me that even an extremely enjoyable18-mile bike ride isn't as effortless as it once was
  • a bowl of salty tortilla chips shared with old and new friends

Saturday, May 19, 2012

May 19, 2012: Lifelong Gifts

3 gifts from your childhood:
  • a legacy of love. Great grandparents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and loads of cousins all living nearby ensured no shortage of love.
  • a heritage of faith.  A blessing never to be taken for granted is growing up in a Christian home.
  • lifelong friends.  I am so thankful for two friends, Sue and Mary, who I went to school with from kindergarten through high school. They were both in my wedding and eventually our babies played together. In both cases, we drifted apart for a few years while our kids were growing up, but we never lost touch completely and today have renewed our friendship once again.

Friday, May 18, 2012

May 18, 2012: Unexpected Joy

3 gifts unexpected:
  • an unplanned visit with a favorite aunt and uncle
  • a 66% off clearance sale at Hobby Lobby on home decor
  • encouragement from two different people about this blog
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

Thursday, May 17, 2012

May 18, 2012: Berry Joy

a gift in a box, a bag, a book:
  • strawberries.  My very favorite fruit-- a taste of spring.
  • roasted almonds. A yummy, healthy snack.
  • this verse from my morning devotions:  And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19  There is nothing he cannot do; I have no need too great.  The vastness of his riches will never run short.  Hallelujah!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May 16, 2012: There Is Such a Thing as a Free Gift

3 gifts found in His Word:
  • Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. Ecclesiastes 5:19
  • 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
  • The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. Revelation 22:17

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May 15, 2012: The Joy of Giving

3 gifts about you:
only because any gifts I have are given by Him, the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17), to be given away.  It is when I give myself away that I find joy.
  • the gift of organization
  • the gift of service
  • the gift of compassion

Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14, 2012: Joy Watered

a gift picked up, put away, put back:
  • my cell phone to text my sister-in-law about plans for a Girl's Night Out with our daughters.  Joy in the planning itself.
  • God's wrath when he forgives our sin.  You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins. You set aside all your wrath and turned from your fierce anger. Restore us again, God our Savior, and put away your displeasure toward us...Show us your unfailing love, Lord, and grant us your salvation. Psalm 85:2-4,7
  • a watering can after giving my beautiful New Guinea Impatiens a needed drink.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

May 13, 2012: The Joy of Being a Daughter

3 gifts found in your mother:
  • the gift of life
  • the gift of acceptance
  • the gift of love
I love my mom!  I count her as one of my best friends and people I most enjoy spending time with.  She is one of God's greatest gifts to me.

May 12, 2012: Joy in Hand

3 gifts held in hand today:
  • a City Barbeque sandwich with Sweet City sauce.  Heaven on a bun!
  • a camera while my mom and I took a walk and shot pictures of some lovely spring flowers.
  • my Kindle as I enjoyed sitting in the sun and reading a while.

Friday, May 11, 2012

May 11, 2012: Generous Joy

3 things about your parents:
  • the faith they shared with me and modeled for me as they took me to church every Sunday, read me Bible stories, prayed with me.
  • their generosity of time, energy, listening, gifts, advice, and prayer.
  • their unconditional love extends to my husband and to my children.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

May 10, 2012: Fuchsia Joy

a gift outside, inside, upside down:
  • gorgeous fuchsia flowers outside on a rhododendron bush
  • a sister in Christ who modeled true hospitality, focusing not on perfection or attempting to impress, but on welcome and fellowship.
  • the upside down kingdom of God. His order is the first are last and the last first (Matthew 20:16), the servant is great (Matthew 20:26), the rejected stone is the chief cornerstone (Matthew 21:42), and the foolish and weak shame the wise and the strong (1 Corinthians 1:27).  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May 9, 2012: Free-falling Joy

3 gifts found in the dark:
  • the sleeping form of my husband next to me in bed.
  • the quiet of night.
  • God's presence.  "Dark is the holiest ground, the glory passing by.  In the blackest, God is closest, at work, forging His perfect and right will.  Though it is black and we can't see and our world seems to be free-falling and we feel utterly alone, Christ is most present to us, I-beam supporting in earthquake."  Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May 8, 2012: Abundant Joy

3 gifts found in a closet:
  • a new pair of shoes that I really like--bright pink.  So cute.
  • several Christmas presents.  Yippee for early shopping.
  • abundance.  How many people in this world have closets as full as mine?  I am blessed beyond measure.

Monday, May 7, 2012

May 7, 2012: There's No Place Like Home

3 gifts about your home:
  • my home is a place that expresses my faith.  I read a number of years ago an article that asked the question, "Would others know you are a Christian when they walked into your house?"  That really made me think and I began being more intentional about expressing my faith in my decor.  I hope my home now witnesses of my Lord.
  • my home is warm and welcoming.  Those two adjectives have been my goal as I have chosen colors and furniture.  They are words often used by visitors, so I think I have accomplished that.
  • my home is a place where family and friends are often found.  I believe my home is a blessing to be shared with those I love, so I enjoy opening it to others.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

May 6, 2012: The Gift of Compassion

3 gifts found in Christ:
  • compassion.  Moved to tears tonight when a brother in Christ shared a portion of his own pain.  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
  • hope.  Often I wonder how people can keep keeping on in a world filled with so much evil and despair if they don't have the hope found in Christ of something better to come.  May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
  • love.  I am again amazed at how much I already care for our family of refugees--only possible in Christ. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. 1 John 3:16

Saturday, May 5, 2012

May 5, 2012: A Sign of the Times

a gift in a sign, a smile, a snack:
  • a sign of encouragement in a devotion read today about waiting on the Lord's perfect timing.        He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11
  • a smile on my son's face.  His unexpected visit home this weekend providing joy all around.
  • a snack of dried berries and dark chocolate replenishing lagging energy this afternoon.

Friday, May 4, 2012

May 4, 2012: Refreshing Joy

3 gifts before 9am:
  • a phone call from my daughter seeking my advice
  • a whirling fan to cool and help me sleep
  • refreshing rain. You gave abundant showers, O God, you refreshed your weary inheritance. Psalm 68:9

Thursday, May 3, 2012

March 3, 2012: Clothed with Christ

3 gifts wore:
  • sunscreen.  So glad to be able to extend my time out in the sunshine.  Without it I'd be a very tomato red.
  • my mother's ring.  A daily reminder of the gift and privilege of being a mom to my kids.
  • unity in Christ. I can't think of anything I'd rather wear! So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26-28

May 3, 2012: Joy Is a Choice

3 gifts found in difficult people:
  • an unexpected thank you.
  • the reminder that complaining lifts no one's spirit.
  • the lesson that words can either encourage or discourage.  My choice.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May 2, 2012: The Gift of God's Word: Always in 3-D

3 gifts flat:
  • the slice of leftover pizza that I enjoyed for lunch.
  • the table between us as I spent several hours catching up with a dear friend over dinner.
  • the pages of my Bible as I turn to his Word tonight for words to pray for a family in despair. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Psalm 23:4

May 1, 2012: Tears of Joy

3 gifts tasted:
  • the salt of my own tears as they moved out of our own home into their own apartment.
  • the joy of freedom, their opportunity for a fresh start in a new country.
  • God's goodness. Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.  Psalm 34:8