when you’re seeking happiness

The hour drive it takes to get to the lake on a Sunday afternoon, I think of the Sunday morning sermon.

The preacher preaching pure gospel, how to be born again.

25 years he’s been preaching it in our little country chapel, to the hog farmers, the corn-croppers, the mothers with babies in arms.

How you can’t work for it, angle for it, or jockey for it — You can’t earn God’s love. You can only turn towards God love.

When we all unpile, the little girls run and cousins squeal happy at the water’s edge.

My mama and I stand there, toes in sand and the wind blowing back hair —

Our faces turned straight into the sun.















It’s a gift, the preacher said.

Salvation is the gift, the one wrapped in God taking on skin, laying his bare love out for the world, arms spreading to the very ends of  the limbs of the tree of life.

There is their laughter. There is their running. There is my mama smiling. There is the that singular sea gulls writing across the sky. These are gifts. They beg praise to Him. Holy joy lies in the habit of murmuring thanks to God for the smallest of graces. I falter, but this is the habit to wear for a lifetime.

But really — There is only one gift — the one ocean of Christ that falls as rain over us in a thousand ways.

Christ is the offering and salvation is the gift and repentance is what makes us recipients of grace. Christ is the gift. Christ is the bridge Home. Christ is our joy. How can I forget this, ever stop giving thanks for Him alone? Happiness is not getting something but being given to Someone.

It is the sacrifice of Christ that returns us to God and communion with Him is possible anywhere and bless the Lord, oh my soul, bless the very maker of my Soul.


Water keeps washing up over my toes.

A whole sea rushing up to meet the feet turned.

A sea rushing up to the shore and washing the feet turned…

And the Father catching his girl falling… all this happiness — just in Him — right into last light.

The ::




For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ…. ~ Romans 5:15

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord
~Romans 6:23

the One Thousand Gifts that never end… thanks for the grace moments from Christ who does it all, gives it all…

#2721 – #2731

… Sunday afternoons just up at the lake with cousins and grandma and sisters and kids and husbands, right until the sunsets

women reaching out in real healing friendship to one another all over the world

… porridge in September

… the crops turning in the fields

… pumpkins on the porch

the truest good news that everybody just has to hear

… boys playing catch on the front lawn at sunset

… giggling cousins

… taking deep breaths and staying just in the grace of this moment

only God, only for God: #7 on New York Times Best-sellers list, week #18

… the promises of God, fulfilled in Christ — waves of grace washing up,  carving out hope in everything…


kaileaves.button onethousandgiftsbutton
the book button

Free Printables to wear the habit of Joy

September’s Free Gratitude Calendar

Gratitude List Screen Shot

Write down 7 gifts, 7 days of the week, 1 sheet of paper :

(folding instructions for booklet here)

Picnik collage

Will you join us? And happily change everything by keeping your own crazy list of One Thousand Gifts? Please, jump in, make your life about giving thanks to God! — Just add the direct URL to your specific 1000 gift list post… and if you join us, we humbly ask that you please help us find each other in our refrain of thanks by sharing the community’s graphic within your post. Give thanks to the Lord! His Love Endures Forever!