Joy Found in Thanksgiving

Do you remember when I wrote about Counting to One Thousand? Well, it's a new year, and I was thinking it might be might be a helpful exercise for this selfish heart of make it a daily habit. To list things as they come share them with you. So I'm daring to take the "Joy Dare," and I pray that as I count the gifts that my Father bestows on me, my gratitude will equal greater joy in Him.

Three things about Myself I am Grateful For:

#1 The touch of keys that open my heart

#2 Songs overflowing from within

#3 A hunger and thirst for righteousness


#4 A Gift Outside: Privileged to see Colorado

#5 A Gift Inside: Little girl's carefree bouquet

#6 A Gift On a Plate: Just crumbs, proving delight in a meal...and a happy, healthy child holding it 




Three Lines I Overheard that were Graces:

#7 "all I have needed Thy hand hath provided..."

#8 "this is just so beautiful"

#9 "let them ring, let them ring, sweet carols of a King"


#10 Something I'm Reading (with others)

#11 Something I'm Making

#12 Something I'm Seeing


#13 One Gift Old

#14 One Gift New

#15 One Gift Blue


#16 A Gift in My Bag: Tiny earbuds (Thanks to my dear friend, Stephanie!)

#17 A Gift in the Fridge

#18 A Gift (or Four) in My Heart:


Three Graces from People I Love:

#19 Babies Loving Babies

#20 Best Daddy Ever

#21 Daughter Joy


#22 Light That Caught Me

#23 A Reflection That Surprised Me

#24 A Shadow That Fell Lovely


#25 A Gift in My Hand

#26 A Gift I Walked By

#27 A Gift I Sat With


#28 A Gift That's Sour

#29 A Gift That's Sweet

#30 A Gift That's Just. Right.


Three Yellow Things That Strike Me as Fresh Mercy




#34 Something Above Me

#35 Something Below Me

#36 Something Beside Me

Three Sounds I Hear:

#37 Brothers bonding over the clink-clanking of Lego bricks

#38 Sweet, little daughter voice learning songs by heart

#39 The magical jingling of CHRISTmas stockings being put carefully away for another year, another holiday season (one of my life's most favorite, most memorable sounds)

Three Ways I Glimpsed the Startling Grace of God

#40 My little music lover

#41 A boy excited to help

#42 Childish delight in a well-placed slide

#43 One Thing I Wore

This little shirt was my Young Musicians shirt from third grade. It always makes me smile to see it, because I have such good memories of learning to sing in a choir with a fabulous, inspiring, godly, encouraging director and friend. 

#44 One Thing I Gave Away

I made this giraffe-print, homemade "Snuggie" for my mom for CHRISTmas. The tag says "Made By Elves" because she once made a tag like that and put it in a coat I got for CHRISTmas one year when
I was growing up. (She wanted to make sure the manufacturer's tag didn't take away the magic for me.) And by giving this gift, I was blessed by her reaction. She cried. Which was precious.

#45 One Thing I Shared
(And I still do.)
A life, including four beautiful babies, with my best friend--the man I love. I'm so blessed to share this crazy, wild, no-idea-where-we're-headed adventure with him.


Three Ways I Witnessed Happiness Today:
#46 Growing-up son asking...and learning to cook eggs

#47 The way "Nemo" can elicit a smile even from the sickly

#48 Still such a little girl--playing dolls with her Mommy


#49 One Gift That Made Me Laugh: 
Four-year-old fixing breakfast for three-year-old and wanting it to be just right

#50 One Gift That Made Me Pray: 
Big boy made vulnerable in illness

#51 One Gift That Made Me Quiet: 
All napping after virus wreckage


Three Gifts From God's Word:

#52 "Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."  Lamentations 3:22-24

#53 "So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him."  2 Corinthians 5:9

#54 "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory."  Colossians 3:1-4


#55 A Grace in the Kitchen: 

Nana's couch warming us here, just as she herself did

#56 A Grace in the Weather: 

Bluest sky ignoring wintery trees

#57 A Grace That Might Never Have Been: 

Miracle of a fourth when a third had only recently arrived
(Thank you, Lord, for this precious little soul I never would have 
purposefully attempted to have so soon.)


Three Gifts I Saw Only When I Got Close-Up:





#61 One Thing in the Sky

#62 One Thing From My Memory

#63 One Thing That's Ugly-Beautiful


#64 One Grace Wrinkled

#65 One Grace Smoothed

#66 Once Grace Unfolded


Three Gifts Found in Christ:

#67   'a LOVE unexplained'

#68   'a LOVE longer and wider and more constant than time itself'

#69   'a LOVE spilled out'


Three Things Blue:



#72  Oh, Those Eyes


#73 One Grace Borrowed

#74 One Grace Found 

#75 One Grace Inherited


#76 A Gift Before Nine AM

#77 A Gift Before Noon

#78 A Gift After Dark

Three Gifts That Might Never Have Been

#79 Soft, sweet boy with no words, grown into one now talkative and confident

#80 Incomparable friendship...'cause they're close

#81 Baby girl, healthy and pink, a little miracle out of unforeseen dangers, pointing me again to God's almighty, sovereign hand on us all


Three Graces Found in My Friends

#82 I know I can call on my Krista any time of any day, and she will do all she can to help / pray for / be with / listen to / understand me. And even though it's a great sacrifice on her part, she never makes it seem so. Besides, hanging out with her is pretty fun, too. ;-)

#83 I have a kindred spirit in my Kelly, though she's lived through more years of parenting (with twice as many kiddos) than I. She always makes me feel at ease, understood, and liked. She knows when I need to just sit and talk (and laugh...a lot). I miss that. But as much as I miss her, it's strangely comforting knowing I have someone halfway around the world who prays for me and loves the Lord with all her heart.

#84 Many (so very many) church and family friends regularly bless me with words of encouragement, practical helps, and thoughtful gestures. I am always so humbled by how beautifully God uses His saints to bless His child.


#85 A Song Heard:

"We will stand as children of the promise. We will fix our eyes on Him, our soul's reward. Till the race is finished and the work is done, we'll walk by faith and not by sight."   --The Gettys

#86 A Soft Word

#87 Where I Saw Light


Three Old Things Seen New:

#88 Beloved old favorite, loving once more

#89 Bedside gift-book I used to enjoy as a child at Mamaw' meaning as I learn more about joy through thanksgiving

#90 From one another...


#91  A Gift Found on a Paper:
Memento of a younger, smaller boy's heart, something to ground a weary mommy

#92  A Gift Found in a Person:
The way he loves them...and the way they think he hung the moon

#93  A Gift Found in a Picture


 #94  A Gift at 11:30 
Littles working side-by-side

#95  A Gift at 2:30 
Reading aloud a favorite--Farmer Boy

#96  A Gift at 6:30
A favorite for dinner


Three Things Overheard Today...All Gifts:

#97  "Have a nice day!" expressed from little pretending-gatekeeper to little rider passing through

#98 The youngest among us laughing contagious on a video played over and over and over

#99  Brothers giggling together


Three Gifts Found in Writing:

#100  Real poem by a real poet...for me...(seriously). This is an excerpt from "You're Dreaming." Click the link below to read the entire poem. Written. for. me.

(..........)    Oh, you're dreaming all right, and you're gold as an angel yourself, with your Botticelli curls and your small hands, and I'm watching you sleep and I'm older than you, but I know that dream, to fly until you die of flying.

               This is what it means, I tell you, in the deepest female parts of our dreams--comets, burning, ecstasy, nothing at all.

                    for Lori

--Lola Haskins, Desire Lines: New and Selected Poems


#101  "It is far better to endure patiently a smart which nobody feels but yourself, than to commit a hasty action whose evil consequences will extend to all connected with you; and besides, the Bible bids us return good for evil." (Helen Burns in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte)


#102  "Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters."

--Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories


Three Gifts Found When Bent Down:





#106  One Gift Stitched:

Mamaw's unfinished something

#107  One Hammered

Twinkly eyes, captured

#108  One Woven:

Scratchy, surprisingly gorgeous burlap


Three Gifts Found Outside:





Three Gifts Red:





#115 A Gift Broken

Favorite handed-down beads, loved even more now they are broken

   #116 A Gift Fixed
A working dryer makes all the difference

#117 A Gift Thrifted

Laura Ashley gem for a Laura Ingalls girl


Three Gifts That Were Surprises--Unexpected Grace!

#118  Little out-of-the-box thinker figuring out how to make a picture differently.

#119  No therapy today means we can stay home together with no obligations. Love.

#120  Little joy-list-maker remembering, all alone, a rule for 'y.'


Three Times I Heard Laughter Today:

#121  Kids watching Kipper

#122  Two littles in the bath in the middle of the afternoon

#123  Snickering at the silliness of Scarecrow and Tin Woodman in a classic book


Three Gifts Found in Working:

#124  Laundry all. done. The freedom (and wonder) of that.

#125  Shiny counters' reflectiveness

#126  Homemade foods nourishing my family


Three Hard Eucharisteos:

#127  Accepting someone new, knowing it will change things

#128  Broken-hearted big boy, victim of mean boys' words, sitting in my lap shedding tragic tears

#129  Being too sick for too much


Three Gifts Found Behind a Door Today:


#131  Folder full of speech progress



Three Ways I Feel the Love of God:

#133  The security and confidence in God I feel, when my husband humbly, faithfully 
leads us in prayer...

#134  The hope of sanctification I have when God teaches me the same truth in several 
very different areas of my life, simultaneously...

#135  The joy of praying in small groups with godly women...


#136  A Gift in Losing Something:

 Precious pink "Silkie" lost by this same girl's five-year-old version--lost so long 
that the thumb was forgotten

#137 Finding Something:

Same beloved "Silkie" found much later and serving as a memento of a sweet, soft moment in time

#138 Making Something:

Colorful fabrics...colorful boys...coloring their world


Three Gifts in Shadows:





Three Gifts Found Giving/Serving:

#142 Sweetness in a girl's "heart" for her daddy

#143 Precious joy from the offer to help with a spill

#144  Sense of awe being amidst lovers of Christ pouring out practical helps, nourishment, smiles, conversation to those in need of all.


Three Gifts on Paper:





Three Gifts That Were 'Plan B's':

#148 Finding a cheaper, prettier, longer-lasting tree at a local grocery store this year rather than cutting it ourselves, though it was our 'Plan A' to do so...

#149 Relenting to finally list our home with an agent/good friend after trying FSBO and loving being connected with her more.

#150  Spontaneously stopping to see historical beauty, to take it all in for several hours we hadn't planned on...


#151  A Gift at Breakfast:  Soaked oatmeal waiting to nourish and warm us.

#152  A Gift at Lunch:  On this day...Daddy being home. So rare. So needed. So wonderful.

#153  A Gift at Dinner: Losing Tooth #3...a momentous occasion.


Three Gifts White




Three Gifts That Changed Today:

#157  Book that has my anti-reader choosing to read.

#158  Preschooler almost lasted through one entire educational video.

#159  Somebody's sudden awareness that he's big enough to do certain things all by himself.


#160  A Gift of Tin

#161  A Gift of Glass 

#162  A Gift of Wood 


Three Gifts Before 11 am:

#163  Being awake to see my man before he leaves for work

#164  Littlest cuddle-bug in my bed

#165  Chores that help a mommy


#166  A Gift Nearly Worn Out
Well-loved, well-worn, dependable Silkie

#167  A Gift New
Bag full of new, amazing cleaning tools

#168  A Gift Made-Do 
Still works, however make-shift and ugly


Three Gifts Seen as Reflections

#169  My Mamaw's sister, a love of mine all her own, but family resemblance graciously recalls my Mamaw's face and warms my heart ever more.

#170  "Tree of Life" film, a reflection of the unsurpassed beauty of creation and the awestruck wonder of the Creator Himself. "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?..." Job 38: 4-6

#171  My little one with his pointed eyebrows and dancing eyes, mimicking his Nana both without and within.


Three Ugly-Beautiful Gifts (See Beauty in Ugly)

#172  Grassy dirt on the floor, evidence of four kids spending an afternoon together in the beautiful weather outdoors.

#173  The boy, who seemingly hides behind the hoodie against this mother's wishes, has the confidence to be unconventional.

#174  When the daughter starts her day distraught and sobbing over a lost item, we are given the opportunity to talk about the unimportance of possessions, being content in the Lord.


Three Gifts From the Past--That Help Me Trust the Future:

#174  Once upon a time we lived in another house, and I thought we'd never sell it. But we did.

#175  God has provided...and will continue to provide. Sometimes in ways I wouldn't have guessed, sometimes at the last minute, but faithfully...always.

#176  The knowledge of who my husband and I once were...and how God has redeemed us and is ever sanctifying us. How far we've come! And He is graciously faithful to journey with us all the way, making us into His Son's image, "until He completes the work begun."


#177  A Gift Dull: Regular day, nowhere to go, nothing exciting children fill the dullness with smiles and play and just being-togetherness.

#178  A Gift Shimmering

#179  A Gift Cleaned


Three Gifts at 3 PM:

#180 House vacuumed.

#181 Gun fight with a grandfather.

#182 Floor mopped...because children were occupied. (See #181.)


Three Gifts Green





Three Gifts Wore:

#186  New clothes.

#187  Borrowed "life-saver." (double meaning)

#188  Everything about this.


Three Gifts Hard to Give Thanks For:

#189  Two lives, precious and beautiful in the sight of God, unseen by us who miss them, living in heaven...and in my heart.

#190  When life necessitates change. (Change is never 100% easy.)

#191 Sickness.


Three Gifts Found:





#195  A Gift Bent

Busy with the business of learning.

#196  A Gift Broken

Because of brokenness, walls are now protected from bangs and bumps.

#197  A Gift Beautiful

Enough said.


Three Gifts in the Kitchen:

#198  Carmelized onions.

#199  Little helping hands.

#200  Fatty, nourishing foods.


Three Gifts Loud:

#201  Boys celebrating birthdays.

#202  Boys experiencing speed.

#203  A boy and his guitar.


Three Gifts Carved:

#204  Gifted silver finding its way out of its box.

#205  Names left behind.

#206  A symbol handed down, signifying so much more.


Three Gifts in Christ:

#207  Grace that is greater than all my sins.

#208  New mercies.

#209  My righteousness.


Three Gifts Read:

#210  "Hush, Jane! you think too much of the love of human beings; you are too impulsive, too vehement; the sovereign hand that created your frame, and put life into it, has provided you with other resources than your feeble self, or than creatures feeble as you. Besides this earth, and besides the race of men, there is an invisible world and a kingdom of spirits: that world is round us, for it is everywhere; and those spirits watch us, for they are commissioned to guard us; and if we were dying in pain and shame, if scorn smote us on all sides, and hatred crushed us, angels see our tortures, recognize our innocence (if innocent we be...), and God waits only the separation of spirit from flesh to crown us with a full reward. Why, then, should we ever sink overwhelmed with distress, when life is so soon over, and death is so certain an entrance to happiness--to glory?"  
--Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

#211  "It took me seventeen years to realize I couldn't parent on my own. It was not a great spiritual insight, just a realistic observation. If I didn't pray deliberately and reflectively for members of my family by name every morning, they'd kill one another. I was incapable of getting inside their hearts. I was desperate. But even more, I couldn't change my self-confident heart. My prayer journal reflects both my inability to change my kids and my inability to change my self-confidence. That's why I need grace even to pray. (...) It didn't take me long to realize I did my best parenting by prayer. I began to speak less to the kids and more to God. It was actually quite relaxing." 
--A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World, Paul Miller

#212 "For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"  --Esther 4:14


#213  A Gift in Wind

#214  A Gift in Water

#215  A Gift in White


Three Gifts Round





Three Gifts Found in Silence:

#219  Nap time respite.

#220  The sound of my man sleepy-breathing, just as he dozes off, right next to me.

#221  A smile in sunshine.


Three Gifts Given Away:

#222  A bite of my [fill in the blank] at the request of one who came from my womb--irresistable.

#223  A few precious moments before bedtime to act crazy. 

#224  Music for our special friends. Blessing in knowing they've enjoyed it.


Three Hard Eucharisteos:

#225  Wanting the ONE thing. So badly. And seeing so many around me WITH that thing. That's hard. Must. trust. God.

#226  A busy life.

#227  Missing friends who live far away.


#228  A Gift Turned

Little boy turned big boy this week, giving up his beloved Silkie--with. no. problem.

#229  A Gift Folded

#230  A Gift Hung


Three Gifts Red:





Three Gifts Eaten:





Three Gifts That Made You Laugh:

#237  Quirky fashionista.

#238  Atticus (enters room suddenly 'in character'):  Mousey wants some cheeeeeese. 'Cause Mousey wuuuuuuvs cheese!
Me: He does? Well, can Mousey say 'please'? 
Atticus (aka Mousey): Pweeeeeeze can Mousey have some cheese?
(Atticus, taking cheese, then exits stage left.)
<nibble nibble>

#239 Little Bit helping Big Brother out with a "better" spoon.


#240  A Gift Salty

#241  A Gift Sweet

#242  A Gift Just Right


Three Gifts Found in His Word:


"Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!

Bless the Lord, O my soul, 
and forget not all his benefits,

who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."

Psalm 103:1-5


#244  "'This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.' For the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, 'Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.'"  Nehemiah 6:9,10


#245  "And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you."  Psalm 9:10


Three Gifts Found in Women Today:

#246  Thinking today about what a privilege it is to have three sisters-in-law. About what a joy it is to get together, to chat, to share struggles, to empathize, to love.

#247  Female authors teaching, inspiring, being the tools He uses to form and shape.

#248  Refreshing company.


Three Gifts Spoken:

#249  Prayers with a husband.

#250  "Yes, ma'am."

#251  "That's 'rrrrr!' And 'ehhhhh?!' And 'ti ti ti!' And 'wooguh wooguh...Aaaaaaaa!!' And what's that? Double u? Wuh wuh whut's happenin', dude?  Mommy! I think that's a water in there!"


#252  A Gift Sung:  Alphabet letters all jumbled, so softly melodic.

#253  A Gift Written:  Diligent cursive.

#254  A Gift Painted:  First-grader's map of Bible lands--her loving the blue waters best.


Three Gifts Almost Gone:

#255  This baby... answering my offer to help with, "No, thank you. I can do it. I'm a super hero!" 
Baby almost...(already?)...gone.

#256  Brown grass on its way to greening up.

#257  Dwindling vat of before-the-rate-hike peanut butter. Making it last...


Three Gifts Redeemed:

#258  He ransomed me.  "Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!"

#259  Improving health. Slowly, but surely. Thank you, Jesus!

#260  Somehow we've gone from this...

to this...


Three Gifts Entwined:





Three Gifts of His Promises:

#264  "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honor your father and mother' (this is the first commandment with a promise), 'that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.'"  Ephesians 6:1-3

#265  His grace is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9) "Grace that is greater than ALL my sin!!"

#266  "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."  Romans 8:28


Three Gifts Uncovered:

#267  Tots in tents.

#268 The eyes of a superhero.

#269 Bare, but beautiful.


#270  A Gift Heard:  Softest trickling of a tent-side brook, lulling me--miraculously.

#271  A Gift Held:  Summer favorite.

#272  A Gift Hoped For:  Each one of them.


Three Gifts Round:

#273 Amazing architecture lasting.

#274  Childhood delight.

#275  Pan of favorite comfort food.


Three Gifts White:





Three Gifts Surprisingly Found:





Three Gifts in His Word:

"Give ear to my prayer, O God, 
and hide not yourself from my plea
for mercy!
Attend to me, and answer me;
I am restless in my complaint and I moan..."
Psalm 55: 1-2


"My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death have fallen 
upon me.
Fear and trembling come upon me,
and horror overwhelms me. 
And I say, 'Oh, that I had wings like a
I would fly away and be at rest;
yes, I would wander far away;
I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah
I would hurry to find a shelter
from the raging wind and tempest."
Psalm 55: 4-8


"But I call to God,
and the Lord will save me.
Evening and morning and at noon
I utter my complaint and moan,
and he hears my voice.
He redeems my soul in safety 
from the battle that I wage..."
Psalm 55: 16-18


Three Gifts... 11 a.m.: Brothers bonding. 2 p.m.: Remembrance. 6 p.m.: Rag curls.


Three Gifts Nailed Together:

#288  Inspired history.

#289  Redeemed history.

#290  Cuteness within a pen...and without.


Three Gifts Waited For:

#291  Nap time.

#292  Blackberry season...(is on its way).

#293  All four beautiful babies.


Three Gifts Rising Up:



#296  "Praise is rising...hearts are turning to You. We turn to You."


#297  A Gift Hiding:

Littlest Superhero

#298  A Gift Held:

Warm-weather treats

#299  A Gift Heard:

"In Christ alone, my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song. This cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm. What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease! My comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand."


Three Gifts Opened Up:

#300  The tomb did not STAY closed. He is risen! He is risen, indeed!

#301  A boy's heart poured out to his mommy, window to a soul, precious, needed gift.

#302  A hero for a hero


Three Gifts Budding/Blooming:

#303  Pinkness in the backyard.

#304  A reminder of childhood.

#305  Something that leaves me speechless...


Three Gifts Worn:

#306  Little boys' earphones.

#307  Easter bonnet

#308  Favorite-color shoes.


Three Gifts Bright:

#309  All the things surrounding children.

#310  Birthday boy's face lighting up at the sound of his Mimi's voice.

#311  Smart, little, developing mind.


Three Gifts Found Looking Up:





#315  A Gift in a Bag: 

Cool bag given to me by a student who visited The Philippines--zips up compactly and fits inside my purse. I use it all the time!

#316  A Gift in a Box

#317  A Gift in a Book


Three Hard Eucharisteos:

#318  Waiting. (Though He waits with me.)

#319  The unknown. Thank You, God, that You DO know.

#320  Relying on "time" to heal us from unbearable loss--yet knowing it will.


Three Gifts Woven Together:





Three Gifts Inherited:

#324  Convertible crib, marked by its one-day heiress. Lovely little teeth marks.

#325  Squinty, smiling eyes.

#326  My very own ice cream set enjoyed by my very own daughter.


Three Gifts Square:

#327  Mommy's helper.

#328  Favorite family game.

#329  A cake fondly remembered.


#330  A Gift Stacked

#331  A Gift Stashed

#332  A Gift Stilled


Three Gifts Found in Christ:

#333  "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin."  Hebrews 4:15

#334  "I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus."  1 Timothy 1:12-14

#335  "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."  John 16: 33
Take heart! Take heart!


Three Gifts Close:

#336  A sweet, little fella snuggled up riiiiiight next to me.

#337  Close UP

#338  Sixteen months...close.


Three Gifts Reflecting:

#339 Father and son.

#340  Colored egg bearing reminders: hard shell broken open like the tomb, new life inside like ours in Christ. A beautiful symbol.

#341  Looking in, looking out; looking back, looking forward.


Three Gifts Fragile:

#342  Puppies needing homes. Boys needing puppies.

#343  When in pain. When helpless. I am my weakest.
"May I be low, low, low, so You're made higher. And I'll be weak, for You are strong. Weak, for You are strong in the weak man."



#345  A Gift Cloth:

#346  A Gift Steel:

#347  A Gift Wood:


Three Gifts Moving:





Three Gifts "Ugly Beautiful":

#351  Stretch marks.

#352  Worms in a flower bed.

#353  Hurts that will one day heal.


Three Gifts Orange:





Three Gifts in Dirt:





#360  A Gift Given: Nephew's belated birthday present. Loved hearing his excitement.

#361  A Gift Made:
 Birthday cookie for my biggest boy.

#362  A Gift Sacrificed:

Most innocent, perfect life taking on all my ugly wickedness. He stood in my place.

"He was pierced for [my] transgressions
He was crushed for [my] sins.
The punishment that brought [me] peace was upon Him.
And by His wounds, by His wounds [I am] healed."
--Steven Curtis Chapman


Three Gifts Tasted:





Three Gifts Flat:





Three Gifts Found in Difficult People:

#369  Practicing patience.

#370  Finding acceptance in my God rather than man.

#371  Learning to extend as much grace as I've been given.


Three Gifts Before 9 AM:





#375  A Gift in a Sign

#376  A Gift in a Smile

#377  A Gift in a Snack


Three Gifts Found in Christ:

#378  Unfathomable forgiveness for my unbearable sin.

#379 A position in heaven with Christ.

#380 Free gift of grace.

Thank you, Jesus!


Three Gifts About My Home:

#381 Storage

#382  Place to relax

#383  A room to school them


Three Gifts Inside a Closet:

#384  Fun in a box

#385  Built-ins

#386  Pinkness organized


Three Gifts Found in the Dark:





#390  A Gift Outside


#391  A Gift Inside

#392  A Gift Upside Down


Three Gifts About My Parents:

#393  They've stayed together.

#394  They make me laugh.

#395  They paid for my piano lessons. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)


Three Gifts Held in Hand Today:





Three Gifts Found in My Mother:

#399  She remembers the exact time I was born.

#400  She knows my personality flaws and still claims me.

#401  She's helped with children, projects, last-minute moments of panic...countless, countless times. And has never complained.


#402  A Gift Picked Up

#403  A Gift Put Away

#404  A Gift Put Back


Three Gifts About Me:

#405  Striving for organization.

#406  Photography, creating, writing. (Especially about inspirational butterflies).

#407  Motivated to be a good steward of my body and to feed my family foods that are raised the way God made them.



Three Gifts Found in His Word:

#408  "Words of power, strong to save, that will never pass away...I will stand on every promise of Your Word."  --Keith Getty


#409  "Then Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal robes of blue and white, with a great golden crown and a robe of fine linen and purple, and the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced. The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor. And in every province and in every city, wherever the king's command and his edict reached, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a feast and a holiday. And many from the peoples of the country declared themselves Jews, for fear of the Jews had fallen on them."

Esther 8:15-17


#410  "The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; 
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; 
great is your faithfulness.
'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul,
'therefore I will hope in him.'"

Lamentations 3:22-24


#411  A Gift in a Box:  Care package on its way to Africa.

#412  A Gift in a Bag:  How they honored me.

#413  A Gift in a Book:  Healing hope.


Three Gifts Unexpected:





Three Gifts From My Childhood:





#420  A Gift Sweet: Crispy, rich topping.     #421  A Gift Sour: Tart, magenta, favorite rhubarb.

#422  A Gift Salty:  The way Mamaw made it.


Three Gifts Found in Little People:

#423  Innately knowing how to have fun.

#424  Creatively using what's available.

#425  Sharing experiences, laughing together.


Three Gifts That Made Me Laugh:





Three Gifts Found in Community:



Friends coming over to help clean with me when I'm overwhelmed and getting ready for a house-showing. Humble blessing.

#431  Union Rescue Mission


#432  A Gift in a Plate: Grilled Caesar Salad. Oh, my.

#433  A Gift in a Pot

#434  A Gift in a Package


Three Gifts Hard Giving Thanks For:

#435  How fast they grow.

#436  Trips to the ER.

#437  Boo-boos.


#438  A Gift Worn

#439  A Gift White: A certain farmhouse we love

#440  A Gift Whispered

"I need you."


Three Gifts Found in Church:

#441  Role models

#442  Fun concerts

#443  Precious friends


Three Gifts in Today's Work:

#444  Growing clean-laundry pile, dwindling dirty one.

#445  Daddy and son cleaning the car together.

#446  Having nothing else to do on Memorial Day but enjoy my family--with my husband
off work.


#447  A Gift at 8 A.M.

Armour Thyroid

#448  A Gift at 12 P.M.

Silly lunches with the kiddos.

#449  A Gift at 8 P.M.

Summer evenings giving us cooler outdoor playtime.


Three Gifts Blue:





Three Gifts I Gave:

#453  An afternoon for jumping

#454  Clean laundry, organized for their trip.

#455  A birthday cake for my little artist.


Three Gifts Orange:





Three Gifts Funny:

#459  How Gabriel loves to impress his Poppy.

#460  Three kids in a tub.

#461  The love of heroes and villains.


Three Gifts From Today's Conversations:

#462  Revelation about the needs of a silent one.

#463  Having someone to dream dreams with.

#464  Comfort in company.


Three Gifts Found in Christ:

#465  Acceptance, astounding me.

#466  Most beautiful Savior.

#467  Wanting His humility.


#468  A Gift of Peace: Morning wandering alone, finding beauty here.

#469  A Gift of Hope:  Remembrance of one evil, stopped.

#470  A Gift of Love


Three Gifts "Ugly Beautiful":

#471  Missing friends for years...but reuniting over dinner--catching up and seeing their sweet faces. 


#472  Scary, yet awe-inspiring.


#473  Frustrations ending in apologies.


Three Gifts in What I am Reading:

#474  "I don't believe God wants our church life to be centered on buildings and services. Instead, God wants our churches--whatever specific forms our gatherings take--to be focused on active discipleship, mission, and the pursuit of unity."

--Erasing Hell by Francis Chan


#475  "If you are pessimistic about your lot in life, science suggests, you can create a self-fulfilling prophecy that leads to disease.... No matter how dire your lot, just being optimistic engenders success, health, and happiness. [...] So what is it that makes 'the days of the oppressed' so wretched? I believe it's their own tendency to see the cup half-empty, instead of half-full. They are oppressed by their own fears and anxieties, their own selfish desires, their own ungrateful hearts--hearts that dwell on the bad instead of believing the best, hearts that covet what they've been denied instead of contenting themselves with what they've been given. [...] 'Happiness is not having what you want, it's wanting what you have.'"

--Love Your Husband, Love Yourself by Jennifer Flanders


#476  "...dying's part of the wheel, right there next to being born. You can't pick out the pieces you like and leave the rest. Being part of the whole thing, that's the blessing."

--Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt


Three Gifts Empty:





Three Gifts That Made Me Really Smile:





#483  AGift at 8: Sitting outside in Mimi's garden with two little wonderers.

#484  A Gift at 12:  Lunch with Mamaw.

#485  A Gift at 2:  My dad installed car seats for me. 


Three Gifts Painted:

#486  Sweet face, so unaware.

#487  Solar glower.

#488  Masterpiece.


Three Gifts Full:

#489  Happy, entertained crowd.

#490  Little hands full of fun gifts from a mommy and daddy who've been away.

#491  House full of dolls, tiny treasures.


Three Gifts Smelled:


#493 Harbor fishiness.

#494  Freshly-minced garlic, combining with its best partner, olive oil.


#495  A Gift Unexpected: Free, fun present.

#496  A Gift Unwanted: House sale falling through...but God's will is still and always a blessing.


#497  A Gift Unlikely:  Two gentlemen on two planes, both noticing a wife needs to sit with her husband when a plane is full. Both sacrificing to make it happen.


Three Gifts in His Word:

#498  "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
John 1:1


#499  "Therefore thus says the Lord God:
'An adversary shall surround the land
and bring down your defenses from you,
and your strongholds shall be plundered.'"
Amos 3:11


#500  "For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind, 
and declares to man what is his thought, 
who makes the morning darkness, 
and treads on the heights of the earth--
the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name!"
Amos 4:13


Three Gifts Moving:





Three Gifts in My Dad:

#504 He is "fix-it-man extraordinaire"and has never complained about all the hundreds of times I've asked him to "fix it."

#505  His loudest, early-morning sneezes are seared into my brain, and I can actually laugh about them now.

#506  He named me.  


Three Gifts From My Heavenly Father:

He made me, fearfully and wonderfully.
(Psalm 139:14)


Sovereign. Sovereign. Perfectly sovereign.



"[He makes] beautiful things;
[He makes] beautiful things out of the dust.
[He makes] beautiful things;
[He makes] beautiful things out of us."


Three Gifts I Became in Serving:

#510  Splattered by a helper.


#511 Surprised at how much I can sometimes accomplish.


#512  Emotional, singing for her mama on this day of remembrance.


#513  A Gift Bent: Boy on the brink of manhood.

#514  A Gift Beautiful: Everything right here in front of me.

#515  A Gift Loved:  Pinkest ballerina.


Three Gifts Found in Light:

#516  Four littles with glow sticks twirling by the light of a street lamp.

#517 Music maker in the spotlight.

#518 Our city, festive and sparkling.


Three Gifts That Are Difficult:

#519  Keeping children on task and having any patience doing it.


#520  Waiting to find out what it is God has for


#521  Leaving vacation for reality.


Three Gifts Found Around a Table:

#522  Breakfast helper.

#523  Laughter.

#524  Smiles brought on by dessert.


#525  A Gift in Water 

#526  A Gift in Words

#527  A Gift in White


Three Gifts Today in Someone Older Than Me:

#528 Comment here on the blog pointing out that my children are having fun in their homeschool. Encouragement.

#529 Moral support from my realtor, who is a wonderful friend.

#530 Friend who checks on me regularly.


Three Gifts in Fabric:





Three Gifts Framed by a Frame:





Three Gifts Eaten:





#540  A Gift Small

#541  A Gift Big

#542  A Gift Just Right


Three Gifts I Gave:

#543  Encouragement to meet someone famous.

#544  Asking a favor of a friend so that she could go to church.

#545  Popcorn at the movies.


#564  A Gift of Challenge: Four years with difficult, but inspiring professors

#565  A Gift of Conflict: True playmates...

...come back together...even after inevitable conflict

#566  A Gift of Change:  Never having to go back to this building for these tests


Three Gifts Water:

#567  Summer splashes.

#568  Vacation scenery.

#569  Beauty in serenity.


#570  A Gift of Rhythm

#571  A Gift of Rhyme

#572  A Gift of Reason:  One who's honest about being tired, going to bed when she should,
so rare, so rare


Three Gifts in Weakness:

#573  It humbles me.

#574  It teaches me to seek help and to be grateful.

#575  He carries me.

Three Gifts in Jars:

#576  Vessels for party girls to "churn" butter

#577  Friends teaching me to ferment

#578  Makings of our favorite, healthy "soda"


#579  A Gift of Life:  Crazy but beautiful

#580  A Gift of Growth:  Growing into a little mommy

#581  A Gift of Decline:  End of a long day, sun setting upon a sweet moment between father and son


Three Gifts Curled:

#582  Delicate wisps to twirl on a finger

#583  Calf cuteness

#584  Girly party ribbon


Three Gifts Yellow:





Three Gifts of Stone:

#588  "Holy Family" imagined in a stalagmite

#589  Boys' fire contained

#590  Magnificence visited


Three Gifts Hanging Down:

#591  Little symbol of the way God made my daughter

#592  Pennants for our hero

#593  Decorations on a date


Three Gifts Learned:





Three Gifts Musical:

#597  Carousels

#598  Kids on keyboards

#599  Talented friends


Three Gifts Baked:





#603  A Gift in Light: Her

#604  A Gift in Dark: Summer movies with kiddos

#605  A Gift in Shadow: Playful silhouette


Three Gifts of Story:





Three Gifts Understated:

#609  Glimpses of red

#610  Eyelash splendor

#611  Personality plus


#612  A Gift High: Piece of history

#613  A Gift Low:  Little flutist

#614  A Gift Far Away: Luscious farm land


Three Gifts of Sand:

#615  Delight in digging

#616  Texture fascination

#617  Common bond

Three Gifts of Endings:

#618 Finishing up a good book

#619 Lots of practice...culminating in a single, momentous event

#620 Guests all gone after a birthday party, relaxing with leftover cake


Three Gifts Fresh:

#621 Summer peaches

#622 Warm bread, apparently irresistible

#623 Restaurant food made with locally-raised ingredients


#624  A Gift on Vacation: Chance meeting?

#625  A Gift at Home: Cinnamon-y, apple-y, buttery breakfast

#626  A Gift in Relaxation: Driving underneath bluest skies with Allison Krauss in my earbuds


Three Gifts of Beginnings:

#627  The start of a family

#628  Excitement of a first night on vacation in a hotel room

#629  Gathering supplies for a new school year


Three Gifts Together:





Three Gifts Heard:

#633  Little girl singing along with worship music

#634  Brothers playing together nicely


Me:  "Oh, Gabriel, you can't fill the tub with the very hottest water. It's much too hot for you."
Atticus: "Yeah. If we get in it, we'd be cooked!"


Three Gifts Difficult:

#636  Releasing my own plan in exchange for God's

#637  The process of getting healthy

#638  Cleaning--every. single. day


  Three Gifts White:





Three Gifts Eaten:





#645  A Gift at 10AM: Library computer fun

#646  A Gift at 1PM: Water play

#647  A Gift at 10PM: Cards with long-lost family


Three Gifts Sitting:

#648 Empty seats in an otherwise crowded stadium. Breathing room.

#649  Time for contemplation

#650  He can.


#651  A Gift Outside

#652  A Gift Inside

#653  A Gift Upside Down


Three Gifts in Water:





Three Gifts in His Word:

#657  "Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."  

--Isaiah 40: 30-31


#658  "He established a testimony in Jacob
and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
to teach to their children,
that the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments."

--Psalm 78:5-7


#659  "Delight yourself in the Lord, 
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
trust in Him, and He will do this.
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
and the justice of your cause like the noonday sun."

--paraphrase of Psalm 37: 4-6 from Seeds Family Worship's "Delight Yourself in the Lord"


Three Gifts in Summer:

#660  Da is able to visit (and help)

#661  Crazy, splashy pool time

#662  Local fare


#663 A Gift Hole

#664  A Gift Whole

#665  A Gift Half


Three Hard Eucharisteos:

#666  Trusting when life makes me feel so unsure.

#667  Holding out hope through the hard times.

#668  Letting go of the past.


Three Gifts of Metal:

#669  A heart on a happy home

#670  A memory with a sports-loving husband

#671  A spot to share a breakfast


Three Gifts Half-Hidden:  


#673  Far-away family



Three Gifts in Green:





#678  A Gift in a Ring

#679  A Gift in a Curve

#680  A Gift in a Sphere


Three Gifts Ugly-Beautiful:

#681  Gaining weight while growing a baby.

#682  Labor pains.

#683   Stretch marks.

All worth it.


Three Gifts of Family:

#684  Growing up together

#685  Helping one another

#686  Having someone with whom to experience life's highs and lows


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