Monday, January 7, 2013

The Joy Dare

It sounds trite to put it in writing like this but last year my life was truly impacted as I “happened” upon the book “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp.  It led to lots of new things in my life and ministry and the book helped me develop to a new spiritual discipline, the JoyDare.   It is keeping track of my gifts.  Those found around me in the world.  Not those things I want, but those I have.  Those given by the Giver of all.

Did you know that people who keep a gratitude list:

1. Have a relative absence of stress and depression. (Woods et al., 2008)
2. Make progress towards important personal goals (Emmons and McCullough, 2003)
3. Report higher levels of determination and energy (Emmons and McCullough, 2003)
4. Feel closer in their relationships and desire to build stronger relationships (Algoe and Haidt, 2009)
5. Increase happiness by 25% —  (McCullough et al., 2002)

 Knowing all that is true is a bonus.  The reality in my life is that my list helps me to find joy in little things and see God’s presence in more ways than I thought possible.  I started a list late last year and found as this year began, so did a new list.  So watch here on Mondays as I share gifts from the previous week.  I am going to count, beginning at one and see where Gods leads.

1.       Welsh Rarebit for supper
2.      A word found

3.      Texting love at the stroke of midnight
4.      Wise words from an elder
5.      A dream realized
6.      Cards to send to brave girls

7.      Onion rings
8.      A job to return to
9.      Listening in on 98 years of history
10.  New loved ones who become encouragers
11.  Sad boys who cry for their mama in love
12.  Rain on a tin roof as we say goodbye to a much loved woman
13.  Cows that are named

14.  Words of a sister that bless at just the right time

15.  Wise ones who seek after stars
16.  Epiphany celebrations full of love, laughter, mistakes, grace, and God’s presence
17.  Being able to tell the epiphany story as a community and complete the crèche with little ones
18.  Excitement of a sweet little one about to be baptized
19.  God’s Word heard
20.  Holy sounds

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