Archive for the ‘One Thousand Gifts’ 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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As we continue to pack I am finding little time to find my thoughts and little time to put them down and I worry I am just filling space. I do not want to fill just to fill. I long to fill with meaning and with passion.

With a higher purpose, a holy vision.

All of our time is just waiting to be filled. Like an empty glass. Each morning we are given a day empty waiting to be filled. Time is more than a gift, it is our life. Seconds make up the hours in our existence, they fill the space of our being and living how are we going to fill them?

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16

Time is ours to use, to fill remembering that all time is ulitmately His. Grace gives us every second of air we breathe, every minute our heart beats, every hour spent alive. How will we decide to walk with in His seconds and minutes? Will we make the best use of His hours, filling them with wisdom and purpose.

It is so easy to just fill up time with things that require little thought void of love and praise. We have been given time to fill, let us fill it up with the only thing, the only one that matters, with Him. Fill your days with God, fill them with worship.

Every second counts. Count Him in your days, filling them with purpose…


Counting with Ann… giving thanks for the time given this week, time for…

::the first letter of John, read every morning filling the soul with truth

::prayers that have filled this home over the years

::prayer a wise way to fill the time

::a means of grace

::grace found within the day

::days full of family

::filling boxes full of me, full of us

::the blessing of giving

::worship at home, just us and just Him

::for cuddles

::reading the Hobbit, story time with daddy

::his voices of Gollum

::reading the Pilgrims Progress snuggled under covers with momma

::reading and meditating on the Word of Life

::peace pursued between brothers and sisters

::singing the hymns over a sick baby

::prayers of healing over his little body

::healing grace

::a day full of fellowship


I still haven’t learned how to truly fully live in eucharisteo. Still on this hard journey. I will continue to learn this hard eucharisteo as long as I live… as long as I am given His gift of time. Filling up the days with thanks and prasie.

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Well, the sun is awake and shining both inside and outside. It is a beautiful morning filled with hope. There is much to do around here and I am determined to not lose my focus, to remember Him as I work. Striving to be a submissive and respectful wife, gentle and loving mother, and productive homekeeper while making the best use of my time, along side packing and saying goodbye is treacherous and emotional.

My hallway is a reminder to me {if I can remember to look at it with eyes wide open} that today is the day that the Lord has made so rejoice and be glad in it. As I walk down this narrow way the Son is always shinning upon me, smiling down on me, strengthening, encouraging, and loving me. He is our sunlight, the Light of the world.

To rejoice in all things, what an adventure! What a life. We can live always rejoicing, giving thanks for marvelous deeds of the Lord, for the grace that surrounds us and covers us. We must wake up our souls to the sunlight, to the Son.

The LORD is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us… You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!  Psalm 118:27a, 27-29

Let our hearts rejoice in His steadfast love that endures forever! Let us awake every morning in the joy of His love over us, that covers us scarlet red making us whiter than snow. Sing it out!

Awake, my soul, and with the sun
Thy daily stage of duty run;
Shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise,
To pay thy morning sacrifice.

 Thomas Ken, Awake my Soul and with the Sun


Making the invisible visible with eucharisteo…

::the voice of truth

::police reports a step towards student visas

::contact with our big brothers in Costa Rica, a bridge from here to there

::the gift of fellowship with a friend over coffee

::finding I have curly hair

::a Blue Jay in the early morning sunrise

::a Hummingbird peeking in my kitchen window

::a good book, for a good girl in need of grace

::quiet afternoons

::Tuesday night bible studies

::lies revealed with truth

::a sister re-united with her sisters

::trying to forget myself and get lost in Him

::realizing that it is in Him that I find my identity, my worth

::being loved dispite my faults

::my children coming home after a long visit at Nana’s

::taking care of a little sickling

::late nights of fellowship

::hope of the future

Praying for grace to live more fully right here… chasing hard after it and humbly letting go to receive it. Counting with Ann to make Him known.


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There were 8 million other people who could have been here instead of me… am I going to be ungrateful?

Imagine this reality, let it sink in deep. Eight million other people could have been here instead of you.

What does that mean to you?

Does it fill you with eucharisteo, with awe and wonder of His amazing grace. Will you walk outside this morning and see with eyes wide open to His gifts, to His gift.



Can you embrace your smallness, that you are but a snowflake in this blizzard?  Can you give thanks, see the beauty of it all swirling around you. You are surrounded, we are surrounded by grace.

Live now. Relish the tensions, the challenges, and laugh at the pains. N.D. Wilson

Can we do this…live now, relish the tensions, the challenges, and laugh at the pains?? Really. Is he just crazy, or can we get here one day where our hearts are so full of grace that we can truly live and trust… and laugh at it all?

I wonder.

Because I am not quite there yet.

So I continue to count, to chase His grace that surrounds me.


::orange sunrises

::little stray cats that come everyday to our back door, beggers for survival

::their little reminder of the broken and hungry souls that are begging for the bread of life

::the call to go even though it is painful

::this pain of going, of saying goodbye

::a week of purging my heart from the here

::of looking to the future of there

::filling boxes to sell and to store away

::the uncertainty of our future

::living on faith

::walking blindly yet with eyes wide open

::naked walls; more pain of this reality

::11 years of love

::love; this miracle that won’t let me go

::a man who won’t let me go

::strong and deeply passionate for the things of God

::his smile

::his laugh; the most joyful comforting sound that fills my heart

::his eyes; blue-green hazel goodness that captures my soul

::his leading; knowing I can trust him with my life

::his deep reverence for the word

::his heart pouring out every Sunday in truth and in love

::the grace that fills him up and enables him to live joyfully

::his imperfections and all those little things that annoy me, I love them all

::a massive garage sale…

::finding Him amongst the chaos

::this journey of giving thanks, this opening of my eyes to see the world wide awake

::book; pages filled with words that breathe life and encouragement

::cool morning breezes

::laughing children

::the warm colors that are filling my home again

::the arrival of Autumn, slowly


::little things like toys left on the coffee table from a baby boy

::an early morning trip to the bathroom by two wispering boys

::the plastic butterfly that sits on my commentaries

::the soft humming of a humidifier

::Josai talking himself awake

::friends who labor in love

::soft baby cheeks

::a boy home from a 3 day youth hunting trip with his Papa Pat

::his smiling face walking through the door

::a little brother with a love drawn note awaiting his arrival

::an evening of UNO won by the girl in the bunch

::a night of wispers, laughter, and joy from the bedroom

::baby language

::signing a bridge of communication

::little hands signing more


Counting with Ann this morning, chasing hard after grace…

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This journey of learning to live eucharisteo is still proving to be hard. I can see more clearly how decieved my heart has been, how often I choose to be blind to the magic in the ordinary because I refuse to humble myself and live with my eyes wide open.

What would it be to live with eyes wide open to the grace of the Giver in my life? What exactly does that mean, anyway?

The grace of the Giver?

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

{Romans 6: 23}

Our free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. Eternal, everlasting life is the grace of our Giver. He gave His Son to pay our wages and give us this free gift.

If we miss all other gifts, let this one never escape our sight. The gospel of Jesus Christ, the One we remember. The center of our faith.

All other gifts find their being, their beauty in this one truth. This is what it is all about, this eucharisteo and I do not want to miss it.


Every eucharisteo is remembering Him, lest we forget.

When he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in rememberence of me.” 

{1 Corinthians 11:24}

I long to live and breathe this eucharisteo because I long to remember Him in this vanishing life with every breath.

Reflect today on simply remembering Him.


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