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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 31, 2012: Taking Off My Sandals

3 gifts hallowed:
  • an in-depth discussion on joy and perseverance with the women in my Bible study group
  • a testimony of hope from a sister who has received the news of a third occurrence of cancer
  • a dinner of Jack-o-lantern pizza shared with our refugee family in celebration of their first Halloween in America

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October 30, 2012: Over the Top Joy

3 gifts overjoyed:
  • a sister who experienced victory over the enemy's lies when a community of believers lifted her up in prayer
  • my refugee friend, at the prospect of her very first Halloween party at school tomorrow
  • me, at finding a pair of warm winter boots at the thrift store for the mom of our refugee family

Monday, October 29, 2012

October 29, 2012: Tick, Tock, Joy

3 gifts on time:
  • my daughter, for work, since I was able to drop her off when she had car trouble
  • God, always. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
  • a great recipe for dinner, a real hit with my family

October 28, 2012: Cleaner Than Soap

3 gifts in Christ:
  • squeaky cleanness.  But 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. 1 John 1:7
  • encouragement (and don't we all desperately need that in this world so often hard?). 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. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17a 
  • victory. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57

October 27, 2012: Measureless Joy

a gift humbling, honoring, happy:
  • Humbled by the ultimate gift from the ultimate gift giver.  He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24
  • My son, honoring his God and his heritage, in mealtime prayer
  • The happiness of watching the work crew enjoy my cooking all weekend

October 26, 2012: Extravagant Love

3 gifts extravagant:
  • God's love for us.  See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1
  • my parents' gift of time, energy, and copious doses of pain reliever to spend the weekend working on my son's house
  • Christ's sacrifice on the cross.  Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.  He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:1b-2

Thursday, October 25, 2012

October 25, 2012: Enjoying God's Gifts

3 gifts enjoying:
  • gorgeous Indian summer weather
  • a half day of vacation
  • a cup of honey vanilla chamomile tea

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October 24, 2012: Mission Accomplished

3 gifts accomplished:
  • the leaves in the backyard raked
  • menus planned and food purchased to feed the work crew
  • God's will and purpose for his people. So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October 23, 2012: Good Beginnings

3 gifts begun:
  • thunder rumbling, the beginnings of a rain storm
  • a great conversation with our small group on the book of Acts and money
  • God's good work in me. Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6G

Monday, October 22, 2012

October 22, 2012: Loud and Strong

a gift silent, still, strong:
  • my office at work, silent, so that I could get much accomplished today
  • my home this afternoon, still, so that I could focus on my Bible study
  • the team of Christ followers who ministers to our refugee family, strong in not just their faith, but matching it with action

Sunday, October 21, 2012

October 21, 2012: The Value of Apple Pie

3 gifts undervalued:
  • putting together a Halloween costume for one who can't quite imagine this holiday where you can go door to door and people give you candy
  • baking an apple pie, his favorite, for my husband's birthday
  • corporate worship: joy!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

October 20, 2012: Not Your Normal Gifts

 3 gifts unconventional:
  • texting with my husband while he sat in his deer blind
  • getting along with my daughter all day while shopping together
  • a baby in a manger, sent to save the world

Friday, October 19, 2012

October 19, 2012: Joy Unexpected

3 gifts unexpected: 
  • the fun of watching 3 episodes of "Downton Abbey" with my mom
  • a great thrift store find from my daughter
  • a blessing from a friend

Thursday, October 18, 2012

October 18, 2012: Sharing Sorrow

a gift shared, saved, surrendered: 
  • Hugs and tears shared with friends at the funeral home; the beauty of community
  • Saved from last minute panic mode by a batch of cookies that my daughter baked
  • Surrendered to God's grace and the knowledge that He wants none to perish (2 Peter 3:9)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

October 17, 2012: Spattered Beauty

3 gifts ugly-beautiful:
  • the spent flowers and plants in my yard waiting to be pulled out or cut back for the winter
  • my kitchen stove, stained and spattered after dinner
  • a sister who bravely dared to share her fears

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October 16, 2012: Burning Joy

3 gifts burning:
  • the sun, rising pink and blue, burning away the morning fog
  • the pilot light on the furnace at work, burning away the chill in my office.  Not taken for granted while those in the rest of the building are out. 
  • flames burning in the grill, cooking turkey burgers for dinner

Monday, October 15, 2012

October 15, 2012: The Recipe for Joy

3 gifts re-read:
  • an email from a new friend, her excitement contagious
  • a recipe for tortellini vegetable soup, perfect for dinner on a cold day
  • this verse from James, as I continue to work on hiding it in my heart: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds. James 1:2 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

October 12, 2012: An Ancient Gift

3 gifts said:
  • this truth: In Christ we do not lose our identity, but we grow into the fulness of who we are in Him. (Pastor Kent Dobson)
  • these lyrics: In Jesus’ name we are changed, we are called,
    We are chosen, adopted, and named!
    In Jesus’ blood we are loved, we are healed,
    We’re forgiven and free of our shame! (Aaron Niequist)
  • this prayer: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. (St. Francis of Assisi)

October 13, 2012: Reading of Joy

3 gifts read:
  • a funny cartoon in the lobby of the hotel--laughter always a good way to start the day
  • an email announcing a Kiva loan payment--amazing to be able to help someone on the other side of the world with a $25 loan [www.kiva.org]
  • a text from a friend laying fear to rest

October 12, 2012: Small Graces

3 gifts small, smaller, smallest:
  • a glass of iced tea, so refreshing 
  • a GPS to guide us through a city much bigger than I am comfortable driving in--amazing technology
  • the way of salvation and the One who leads in grace.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:14

Thursday, October 11, 2012

October 11, 2012: Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

3 gifts of change:
  • the glorious maple tree in my backyard, changing colors daily, displaying its Creator's artistry
  • a new purse, changed out for the one I carried all spring and summer
  • great sleeping weather with the change of seasons

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October 10, 2012: Counting the Hard

3 hard eucharisteo:
  • a final goodbye to a most amazing group of sisters-in-Christ
  • the embarrassment of my tendency to cry at the drop of a hat, at the merest suggestion of another's tears or the crack of their voice
  • an encounter with a man on a street corner, holding a cardboard sign reading, "Need help.  Wife just had a baby."

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October 9, 2012: Because He is Worthy

3 gifts praised for:
  • the beauty of a pink and blue morning sky, the moon still visible while the sun just breaks
  • truths discovered with a new Bible study group
  • the right words to minister to one afraid
 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. Psalm 145:3

October 6, 2012: Redemption Revealed

3 gifts redeemed:
  • time spent sanding and painting trim, used to begin memorizing the book of James.
  • the wood floors in my son's house
  • my life, by the blood of the Lamb. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed  from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors,  but with the precious blood  of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.          1 Peter 1:18-19

October 8, 2012: Traveling Mercies

3 gifts prayed for:
  • a productive day working on my son's house
  • a safe trip home
  • the resolution of a difficult situation

October 7, 2012: Eat this Gift

a gift baked, stirred, eaten:
  • oatmeal chocolate chip bars as a pick-me-up for weekend work breaks
  • a cup of tea at church, my favorite Earl Grey
  • stir fry for dinner, tasting even better when shared with loved ones

Friday, October 5, 2012

October 5, 2012: Returned and Redeemed

3 gifts returned:
  • a return visit to a newly discovered store, so much more fun with a friend
  • an email sent to the wrong address returned, along with a very kind note from a complete stranger
  • me, returned to my God.  Forgiven and redeemed by grace.  I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you. Isaiah 44:22

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October 4, 2012: A Harvest Reaped

3 gifts reaped:
  • a clean out of old office supplies reaped a package of name tags needed next week
  • a visit to a different grocery store reaped the cinnamon baking chips that my regular store is apparently no longer stocking.  My most recent batch of pumpkin cinnamon chip muffins is no longer my last!
  • my spirit reaped the joy of a warm, sunny autumn afternoon

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October 3, 2012: Changed by Change

a gift caught, let go, mid-way:
  • excitement caught from the women in my Bible study
  • my own agenda let go
  • an attitude adjustment mid-way through the day when I dropped off groceries to our refugee family and had the privilege of helping with English class homework: learning to count change.  Oh, the things I take for granted.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October 2, 2012: Falling into the Arms of Jesus

3 gifts falling:
  • autumn leaves, dotting the green grass with oranges and reds
  • the intensity of a headache after a brief nap on the couch
  • my plans, replaced by something completely other

Monday, October 1, 2012

October 1, 2012: Nothing Rhymes with These Gifts

3 gifts orange:
  • pumpkins for sale,displayed on a old wooden wagon at a farm stand
  • flamboyantly colored autumn leaves
  • little flags in my email inbox, indicating people who have signed up for our upcoming short circle on Acts

September 28, 2012: Gifts Not Seen at First Glance

3 gifts shy:
  • beautiful wood floors, hidden under ugly old carpeting
  • little yellow wildflowers at the back of my son's yard
  • the sun, making it easier and cooler to work indoors all day

September 26, 2012: Joy with a Flourish

3 gifts flourishing:
  • the fall colors
  • the word of God.  As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.          Isaiah 55:10-11
  • my own joy, as I continue to count God's good gifts (#792)

September 30, 2012: Paint It All Joy

3 gifts shining:
  • the sun on this beautiful Sabbath day
  • the freshly painted walls of my son's house
  • my son's face, so happy with all the work accomplished

September 29, 2012: Gifts Counted and Shelved

3 gifts shelved:
  • old wallpaper from the walls of the bathroom in my son's new house
  • dishes and glasses after a delicious family dinner
  • stacks of trim that had been waiting to be sanded and painted

September 27, 2012: UNbelievable Joy

a gift unexpected, uneven, unpopular:
  • an unexpected deal on a new ceiling fan for my son's new house
  • an uneven number in our work party as my son's girlfriend joins us to paint on her day off
  • an unpopular green-colored carpet that saves us from having to worry about the hardwood floors underneath it