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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July 31, 2012: Counting the Difficult as Joy

3 gift difficult:
  • waiting for answers to prayer
  • trusting God's timing
  • doors closing

Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30, 2012: How Loud Do You Need the Volume?

3 gifts heard:
  • agreement from another leader on the direction God is leading us, confirmation from the Holy Spirit.
  • honesty and truth from sisters in Christ as we discussed joy, gratitude, expectations, and lament.
  • the Shema: Sh'ma Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai EḼad - Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.  

Sunday, July 29, 2012

July 29, 2012: Together by Heart

3 gifts together:
  • our family in a row at church, family not of blood or background or even race, but of heart
  • my husband and I reading the Sunday paper at the kitchen table after lunch
  • a bike ride through the park in the cool of the evening

July 28, 2012: The Gift of a Clean Slate

3 gifts of beginnings:
  • new opportunities to watch what God has planned. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
  • additional time to grow trust. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.   In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. Psalm 56:3-4a
  • fresh starts. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:11-12

Friday, July 27, 2012

July 27, 2012: Home Sweet Home

a gift on vacation, at home, in relaxation
  • freedom from To Do lists
  • comfort of knowing you can be completely yourself
  • blessing of God-given rest  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Thursday, July 26, 2012

July 26, 2012: Fresh Joy

3 gifts fresh:
  • my attitude after stopping by our refugee family's apartment for a visit.  contagious joy.
  • blueberries for lunch
  • basil growing in my windowsill

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July 25, 2012: The Ending Is Only the Beginning

3 gifts of endings:
  • I have no reason to fear. I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. Job 19:25
  • the comfort of knowing I am never alone. For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end. Psalm 38:14
  • the knowledge that he has already been there. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Revelation 22:13

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

July 25, 2012: Joy That Can't Be Numbered

3 gifts of sand:
  • the sinking sand around me, causing me to lean more fully on Jesus
  • memories of last week's vacation
  • God's counsel.  How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
        They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them;
        they outnumber the grains of sand!
      Psalm 139:17-18

Monday, July 23, 2012

July 23, 2012: Whirling Gifts

a gift high, low, far away
  • the ceiling fan whirling above my head
  • freshly laundered rugs
  • the author of a little book that has changed my life: Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

Sunday, July 22, 2012

July 22, 2012: It's the Little Things

3 gifts understated:
  • air conditioning
  • clean laundry
  • a peaceful Sunday evening

July 21, 2012: Adventure Story

3 gifts of story:
  • hearing new pieces of their story and knowing that God is redeeming it
  • celebrating my mom's birthday and how her story is also mine
  • sharing laughter and stories newly made with a day at an amusement park

Friday, July 20, 2012

July 20, 2012: Reflecting on Joy

a gift in light, dark, shadow:
  • an afternoon spent floating on a raft in the lake
  • time spent reflecting on a beautiful week of vacation
  • packing up to return home

Thursday, July 19, 2012

July 19, 2012: Cinnamon Joy

3 gifts baked:
  • extreme cinnamon bread from Harvest Bread Company
  • french toast at breakfast
  • waffle cones with Moomer's homemade ice cream

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

July 18, 2012: Soul Music

3 gifts musical:
  • the call of the loons on the darkness of the lake
  • the Psalms of David, music to my soul.
  • contemporary worship music that speaks from and to my heart as a hymn on the organ never did

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

July 17, 2012: Lessons and Truths

3 gifts learned:
  • stories of one just returned from Africa
  • this truth: "I'd seen our orphans suffer without complaint as they endured fevers, cuts, hunger, death of family members, and many other things.  I wondered if that was why Jesus said we must become like children if we are to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  They accept whatever is offered them and learn from it."  Passport through Darkness: A True Story of Danger and Second Chances, Kimberly L. Smith
  • Watching Downton Abbey makes an evening of scrapbooking even more fun :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

July 16, 2012: The Gift of Shade

3 gifts hanging down: 
  • tree branches shading on a very hot, humid day
  • the sunset over the lake, casting pink on the water
  • wild raspberries, pink, red and purple, in various stages of ripeness

Sunday, July 15, 2012

July 15, 2012: Saved by Stone

3 gifts of stone:
  • the patio of our rented cottage where we sit to watch the beauty of the lake
  • the retaining wall which separates land and water
  • my Savior. Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’
    Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:11-12

Saturday, July 14, 2012

July 14, 2012: Yellow Joy

3 gifts yellow:
  • tasty corn paired with ripe red tomatoes in a basil pesto pasta salad
  • the sun glistening a bright path on the water
  • bees busily collecting nectar on a flower studded bush

Friday, July 13, 2012

July 13, 2012: Curly Joy

3 gifts curled:
  • waffles curled into cones around Jones' homemade ice cream
  • my hair in the humidity at the lake
  • my son in bed after an 8 hour drive

Thursday, July 12, 2012

July 12, 2012: Checking My Gift List

a gift of life, growth, decline:
  • a roomful of sisters laughing at Bunco tables
  • my level of trust in God's sovereignty
  • the To Do list of vacation preparation

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July 11, 2012: Joy in a Jar

3 gifts in a jar:
  •  assorted buttons on my crafting table.  I love spilling them out to search for one just right.
  •  brightly hued zinnias on my kitchen counter (only $1/bunch at a local farm stand!).
  •  allergy medication in the bathroom drawer.  Grateful for their relief.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

July 10, 2012: Weight Training

3 gifts in weakness:
  • His grace. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Corinthians 2:9
  • His strength. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 2:10
  • His mercy. Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief. Psalm 31:9

Monday, July 9, 2012

July 9, 2012: The Rhythm of Life

a gift of rhythm, rhyme, reason:
  • the gift of quiet and rest, a blessing necessary for rhythm, God's design for life.
  • the beautiful poetic writing of Ann Voskamp in One Thousand Gifts. Spent the afternoon discussing chapters 5 and 6 with a group of wonderfully insightful women.
  • the unexpected, upside down economy of God: "Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. Isaiah 1:18

Sunday, July 8, 2012

July 8, 2012: The Gift of Flowing Water

3 gifts water
  • the fun of squirt guns at the Refugee Picnic
  • the blessing of a cold glassful on a hot day
  • the forever gift of living water. Jesus said, "Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”  John 7:38

July 7, 2012: The Gift within the Challenge

A gift of challenge, conflict, change:
  • trying to remember how to play pinochle
  • the realization that I can learn and grow from it
  • the beginnings of acceptance and a wondering what God has for me next

Friday, July 6, 2012

July 6, 2012: Car Wash Joy

3 gifts of enthusiasm:
  • my hard working husband, washing the car in 100+ degree heat
  • the car buyer, as happy to buy as we are to sell in God's perfect timing
  • the air conditioner, working constantly to cool in this heat wave

July 5, 2012: Finish Line Joy

3 gifts of persistence:
  • after much back and forth trying to come up with a mutually agreeable date, a wonderful dinner with a long-time friend. 
  • hope found in persistent prayer.  Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8
  • the finish line on physical therapy.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4, 2012: 4th of July Joy

a gift in red, white, and blue:
  • thick slices of juicy watermelon for lunch
  • the plastic bag full of candy from her first ever parade
  • the sprinkles we used to decorate 4th of July cupcakes

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July 3, 2012: The Gift of Choices

a gift in faith, family, freedom:
  • the faith promise that God knows the way, even when the path ahead looks perilous. "I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths ... I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them." Isaiah 42:16
  • the happiness and appreciation in his voice as I called to invite our family to celebrate their first American Independence Day with us.
  • the freedom of choices.  I was reminded of this tonight as I passed by a Burger King advertising a Bacon Sundae.  All our choices are definitely not good ones, but they are many.

Monday, July 2, 2012

July 2, 2012: For the Love of Reading

3 gifts read:
  • This in my morning devotions: But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.  Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.  For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.  Psalm 5:11-12
  • These words of encouragement from a fellow church secretary: I also remember the parable of the prodigal son. The son had to get to a pig sty before he recognized his need to repent. So the deeper he gets in trouble the closer he is to coming to the end of himself. So I may be weird, but the worse my children get, the closer I know they are to coming back to Jesus! So it is a time of rejoicing!
  • this quote: When we step out boldly and confidently, enthusiasm usually shows up, too.  And when enthusiasm is at the party, fear doesn't have room to dance. From One Thing That Will Help You Shine Today by Kristen Strong.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

July 1, 2012: The Gift of Love

3 gifts loved:
  • my husband--he has a generous servant's heart, always willing to help others
  • my son--so great to spend the weekend with him
  • worship--what a privilege and joy to praise my Lord