Archive for the ‘Joy’ Category

Joy Dare: {Week 3}

Still counting by faith and into joy, filling up 2012 with hopedoubling wonder by thanks!

a successful week back to school

planning the future of great minds

letting go, of fear

holding on, to grace

making memories with pastel joy

making messes

death and ressurection in everyday life

a boy and his favorite book

chocolate chip muffins, her favorite

magical dinosaurs

an afternoon running by the lake with my husband

a running faith

walking in his shadow

surviving the first week of public school

becoming a teachers wife

a basketball game with the family

the untouchable gospel

doubts that lead to more faith

learning to live more simply

an afternoon of footballs and good conversation with friends

early mornings with my husband before work

Making JOY a habit that I wear with Ann and a multitude of other obsessed counters…

holy experience


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You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink. ~G.K. Chesterton

The unthankful heart… discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!  ~Henry Ward Beecher

This week has been busy with life and with grace… crazy grace! We received news of hope and a future this last Thursday and are on a path completely foreign to us, each step is being taken in His strength and mercy.

I have so much to be thankful for, more than what I can catch with my pen…

new beginings

fresh joy

wonder doubled by thanks

an undeserved job teaching English

yellow mercies found glowing through out the day

sounds of laughter, pure joy

of chirping crickets to bring in the new day and fresh mercy

the privilege of being a teacher to my children, growing minds of wisdom

for a reluctant reader, teaching me patience and grace

boys and sticks

an afternoon of 4 leaf clover hunting

life behind the lens

a father daughter game of dance tag

finding the beauty in a blurry background

new curriculum for a new year

a glittery ditch, a magical wonderland for a boy in love with water

a paper winter wonderland above my head

Counting by faith and into joy with a community of world changers.


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“Seek God, not joy.” Elizabeth Prentiss

She says, this wise woman from the past, a woman who was said to have breathed sanctified air as a child. An old soul lost in the years. Her words are on my wall, a constant reminder that it is Him that I seek and there that true joy is found. A mysterious joy of the believer.

And so counting itself takes faith.

After each number I find a little more of Him, a counting not only into joy but into faith. We are told to “Count it all joy, when we meet trials of various kinds” in James.

Count it all joy?

Only faith can count it all joy in the midst of trials, see grace among the chaos, and find joy. Ann is daring the world to count God’s gifts right into JOY, and making it a habit, a new way of life.

It’s a dare to see God, a dare to believe God, that He is who He says He is… Emmanual, God with us. That even when our hearts are so full of worry, fear, grief, and pain we can have that joy that James talks about because we are loved. Counting the joy even in the midst of trials, those trials that dare us to ask the question, “is God enough?”

A dare that can change our lives forever.


I will be starting over, again, for a fresh start in 2012. 1000 gifts in a year, 3 gifts or more a day. I really like her JOY Dare calendar and will try to capture the gifts she suggests as well as others that introduce themselves to me through out the days.

So here is what I have captured so far…

 The passions given to me to love my family… reading… and writing. {3 things about myself I am grateful for}

  Tom-cat our adopted outside cat… Spice our soft furry white angel, a companion to us all… dirt and leaves left out in the grass from boyhood experiments. {a gift outside, inside, on a plate}

“She was beautiful” of the girl all dressed in white, the bride of the day… Kai speaking of bubbles, “they are like little friends, but they die… because they pop.”… “Amaris you are beautiful”, Eli spoken sweetly to his little sister. {3 lines I overheard that were graces}

Peace and Joy, my two Willow Tree angels that stand on my kitchen window sill from my sweet and lovely husband during a time of need… two sweet little fabric birds that match my bedding bought by a friend… the cross neclace around my neck with the little blue gemstone that I have worn for years. {one gift old, new, & blue}

Reading James with my husband in the evening… a future… his breathing heavy in sleep, sweet rest for a weary, tired soul. {something you’re reading, you’re making, you’re seeing}

M&M’s spilled all over the bottom of my purse, colors of love and chocolate… sour cream a close friend of ours… love. {one thing in your bag, your fridge, your heart}

Daily big wet juicy kisses given with no expectations from Josai… an I love you Momma note… a message of encouragement from a friend. {3 graces from people you love}

The sun going down as we drive over the bridge into town…  a cats reflection in the window in the darkness… kitchen chairs on the hardwood floor. {light that caught you, a reflection that surprised you, a shadow that fell lovely}

A book, read aloud before naptime to a tired little boy… laundry clean and ready to fold… my oldest son on the kitchen counter while we did math together. {a gift in your hand, a gift you walked by, a gift you sat with}

27 gifts captured

and also…

a last minute afternoon walk by the lake.

a beautiful smile, a pause in our walk

brave boys on bikes going down steps

a wild soul, always a wild soul pedaling fast through life

a boy and his pink car, love

the rocks that sit quietly in the water, a reminder to be still

a pause for a sunset full of geese

34 in all


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Fighting for Joy

How do we walk through grief and still experience the miracle of joy?

The grief I am experiencing is nothing compared to some, to the some who are or have experienced real death. I know that my sorrow is nothing compared to theirs. It is still, none the less, grief.

A broken heart.

A heart full of doubts, of fears, and anger.

My joy is gone; grief is upon me; my heart is sick within me.

Jeremiah 8:18


There is a gaping hole in my heart right now. A wound that if I am not careful can quickly become infected by bitterness and hopelessness. This hole needs to be carefully treated with the balm of the truth of His promises.


He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Psalm 147:3

I know that this hole in my heart will with time and careful attention, heal. My hope of the future was crushed and so a piece of me died but as always He continues to always be my unfailing hope, my eternal future, and joy.

As our hearts heal we strive to move forward in His grace pursuing a new future with Him ever before our eyes, battling infection and fighting for healing, and for our joy.


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“Instead of filling with expectations, the joy-filled expect nothing–and are filled”

Ann Voskamp

Is this how I enter out of unconsiousness, into the new grace–given light of each day… expecting nothing… and being joy-filled in return? Isn’t it magical how we can almost seem to not exist for a time, in the darkness of night and then be brought back to life and into rising light of day? It is magical in a sense, but grace always is…

What if we were truly suprised by joy everyday… expecting simply nothing. Walking in the footsteps of Humility…  tuning our hearts and minds to a humble joy, living fully everyday right where we are. Is that possible? I suppose that depends entirely up to you, up to me. What are my expectations? What, if I were honest… if we were honest… are our expectations of the Gift Giver Himself… expectations of His gifts to us?

I was reminded yesterday by a brother that grace is undeserved favor… and as N.D. Wilson says “are we going to be ungrateful“…well are we, am I? Every breath is grace undeserved. Is grace enough for me? Am I commited for it to be my only expectation? Nothing but grace, magical grace. Depends on my prespective of how small I am here. And am I willing to be small enough to be suprised by it… by joy undeserved…

“The humble live suprised. The humble live by joy.” Ann

I do not wish to be proud and opposed by Grace Himself… but overflowing with Grace Himself.

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

Counting makes the invisible visible, God himself. It is Him I am in search of, that my sould yearns to know more fully… may each number represent more of Him and less of me…

::Sunday afternoons long

::piano lessons

::crocheting lessons

::little girls, crayons, and tattoos?

::finding out that a group of seagulls are called a “scuabble”

::and then deciding that a group of little girls must be called a “giggle”

::when things just feel right some how

::a pool full of water, deep theological water

::peaceful mornings

::quiet stories before bed

::The Hobbit, a read alound with children cuddled up under covers

::discipline, a reminder of a loving Father

::a messy home

::chairs exploding in laughter

::the reality of heaven misplaced

::awaiting books

::a new start

::renewed zeal, my heart being more and more rooted in home

::organizing rooms, again

::a new clean room, toy clutter system (maybe)


::clouds, real and the felt kind

::the sun, real and the tissue paper kind

::sewing clouds now hanging in our hallway, a truly magical experience

::new traditions

::long conversations with a “kindred spirit”

::embracing the mess of living art

::seeing things from a new perspective

::seeing things for the very first time that have been right in front of you all the time

::grace, magical invisible grace

::a new found love for fairytales and folklores

::time spent with good friends at a homeschool convention


::finding it with in me to inspire my kids to love colors and coloring with paint and with life itself

::understanding the my children’s education is all in His hands

::knowing that this life is beautiful

::remembering that our battles with people are not wrestlings against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Eph 6:12)

::understanding more about myself and the inner struggles I battle

::the love of a kind, thoughtful husband

::Ann with an e

::and Ann with out an e

::a full day of hospitality

::men and their table talks over coffee

::eternal friendships

::chaos of mind and plans, trusting the Bridge Builder

::walking completely by faith

::marriage; the gospel lived out in one flesh

::the beautiful heavenly planning of the marriage of two very special people

::re-evaluating past covictions

::the joy of meal making for a sister in need

::praying for those who are in need of His healing and grace

May we wake in the glistening dew of each new day expecting nothing, becoming less, and being genuinely suprised by joy as we pursue God in the moments… counting into His presence with Ann

*ugh I have so many more pictures to share with you but wordpress will not allow it…

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It was one of those mornings… I stumbled out of bed an hour after my determined time to get up, somehow not hearing 2 alarms ringing forth from my phone, forfeiting my time to sit at His feet. Josai was awake, my third alarm that I could not ignore at 6:30. We started a new sleep solution training last night after months of little (very little) sleep, I finally realized that this is not good for either of us and it is only getting worse. I decided to do some research and found Richard Ferber M.D. through what is called the Ferber method. I found it to be an interesting gentle cry it out method and decided to check his book out from the library. After reading over it, I was fascinated… would this work? Well, so far it is working like a charm (whatever that means lol)! He is falling asleep on his own with some crying  but a lot of reassurance from his momma… I am not one to beable to listen to my baby cry for long lengths, I just am not capable (we both end up crying at some point and I just cave) and it never works. This seemed like a good compromise for us, and it is.  It was a good night but still difficult. I am looking forward to sleep, soon.

Needless to say I woke up struggling to find my joy this morning. I searched in many places…under  my heart, in my accomplishments, a neatly made bed, a clean sink, a happy baby and happy children, my husbands schedule, behind my performance and even though there was some sense of joy found in those things they didn’t last long. They quickly evaporated with the time. Finally, I remember a quote written on a dry erase board in my dining room, “Seek God, not Joy” Elizabeth Prentiss. Yes, seek God. It is amazing how such a simple truth gets lost among the rubbish of self, piled high. I search and find my bible, the eternal words. I open it up, desperate for His words to bring me into His presence again. I find them or they find me.

“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them every sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.” Psalm 5:11

My joy is hidden in Him… I woke up forgetting this reality for me as one of the righteous. I forgot who I was, and I who I belong to. My joy isn’t found in anything, ANYTHING, other than Him. He is my refuge that I run to… in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening… in the middle of the night nursing a baby who just wont sleep with out me. Where can I go from His presence?

When your joy is playing hide and seek… remember where you will always find it, always.

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He is here!

Birth Announcements at WiddlyTinks.com
Birth Announcements by WiddlyTinks.com

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