when you’d really like to wear sheer joy

When Rosa’s youngest, little Liliana, scooped up that puppy right there next to the potato patch, she just hid behind his gaping mouth, eyes all large and laughing.

Rosa told us what Liliana had done — that Liliana had found that puppy wandering abandoned — lost— outside her classroom.

That Liliana had brought the puppy home to love.

That Liliana loved.

And when Liliana gaped all happy, just like the puppy, I laughed right out loud.





And there it was again, words from One Thousand Gifts

and I could feel it again, the joy of it welling:

We receive grace.

And through us, grace could flow on.Like a cycle of water in continuous movement, grace is meant to fall, a rain … again, again, again.

We could share the grace, multiply the joy, extend the table of the feast, enlarge the paradise of His presence.

We are blessed.

We can bless.

This is happiness.

We are blessed and couldn’t we bless and couldn’t this fullness flow on and on and on and isn’t this the realest happiness?

Liliana without sponsor and less than little, she brings a puppy home just to love, and I’m the one scooping it up, what really is–

The giving away — is the getting of joy.

We fly a continent home and I fly home with that.

A week later, and a whole half a world north of Liliana and her puppy, I wake up strangely happy —

Life-change is as simple as changing our choices — and transformation is fully possible when we form our decisions differently — form them into the image of Christ.

The Anthropologie catalogue comes in the mail the first day home.

Models standing beside llamas in the village of some cobbled South American street. I’ve just seen it, the dirt floors, the dark and no sinks, behind the doors on the street where the model sways thin in her $588 dress. I think of Rosa’s one bran-sack window and how she turned away when her heart rained. Poverty can’t be airbrushed and it hides its tears and you won’t see it modeling on the front covers of glossy magazines. I like the model’s shoes.  How in the world can I like her shoes?

There is this, and it unknots everything in me, smoothes me out, and it’s the way the choices change:

What if we wanted to be beautiful more than we wanted to buy beautiful?

The enemy tempts that stuff is what makes us lovely — when the Truth is surrender makes us the loveliest and what is more lovely than love? Love, it knows no other way than to give away.

Liliana, she had imitated puppy joy and I had laughed right out loud and so had she, and the moment, it had light all along the seams. What could be lovelier than this? Her loving a lost puppy and me loving her and Christ loving all the lost? Why not change all the choices for this? Model all that matters, the Beautiful, a life like Christ’s —  and imitate Christ’s joy —  the way He gives.

The way the happiness and healing is always in the opening of a hand.

— the opening a life to the largeness of God.

It stays with me and I wear this, the joy of it —  the way Liliana laughed, all sheer loveliness…






Counting more of the endless, One Thousand Gifts

Thank you, Lord…

that all our thanksgiving — might become thanksliving

that Jonathan’s name means Gift of God and You watch over him, Your gift of great treasure

that You, God, not only bless us — but You offer the wild joy of becoming the very blessing itself

that we could open our hand and give more away and get a crazy amount of joy

that beautiful people sponsored a child this week, this month, this year — bless them with abundant joy!

that You, Lord, give us gift upon gift and a gift never stops being a gift — it is always meant to be given

that we could model you, grace upon grace, flowing on and on, and into joy…


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Free Printables to wear the habit of Joy

NOVEMBER’s Free Gratitude Calendar (whew! finally! Thank you for grace!)

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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!