The Best Gift: When You want to Give Someone Joy-in-a-Box

A bird flew straight into the kitchen last night.

Perched  right on the top of that weather van on the mantle.

And I looked up from the sink and thought it was you right there,

your heart pounding right there out of your chest.

It’s hard to be overwhelmed.

What if we could do that — hand each other Joy in a Box?










That one overwhelmed swallow perched there on the arrow of the vane.

On the weather vane on the mantle, eyes flashing, lost and only silently wild.

Drying dish hands on the edge of my apron, I can see it, that singular pounding of that one feathered breast.

The tremor of one heart, it can shake a whole house.

The whole earth it does that, the whole earth quakes.

What if we did that — stand with arms stretched right out and point in the right direction, point in the direction of the best place to to land?

Grace could line our days and Joy can be a nest. 

The Puritan Thomas Watson wrote, “He who takes a review of his blessings, looks upon himself as a person engaged for God… He dedicates Himself to God.”

This way. This way, I tell the sparrow. Pointing in that direction, the direction of grace, gratitude, joy — this is the best gift.

She who re-views her blessings, re-views herself —  sees herself as beheld by her Beloved.

When you re-view blessings, you view your life right and you re-joice — and who doesn’t want joy over and over again?

Rejoice – it means that: to swell with joy again, again, again. Who does this, who lives in a repeating joy? Sparrow with your wildly thumming heart in a very big world  — do you know this? Repeat the sounding joy. 

The thing is: we only repeat the sounding joy, re-joice, re-joy again and again, when we remember to give thanks — and again repeat.

And when I remember to give thanks in a fallen and broken world, this is what re-members me and I am put together again. That sparrow,  I can see it’s beautiful shadow on the wall, how she opens her beak, her mouth, but she is too tired, too scared, too lost, and there is no sound. She is looking for song… right where she is. 

Richard Wurmbrand, imprisoned in communistic Romania for His joy in Christ, he had said it — how he’d used his chains for Christ to make songs of praise to Christ.

It could be like that. I could tell the sparrow that and it could begin with me:  Followers of Christ take the inconveniences of plans and make them into instruments of praise. 

Followers of Christ take the inconveniences of life — and make them into instruments to love. 

The sparrow on the weather vane, she turns and the weather vane it does, it creeks the highest notes.

We watch. We wait.

Will that sparrow…?

Sometimes you feel caged when really you’re only cupped.

And then she does — she spreads her wings and she finds out: He is the air of this world and she’s meant to soar.

She swoops right towards the open window and I can hear it, re-joy, those wings that thrum thanks again and again and again.

And this is how a sparrow flies…






{Consider pausing music by clicking the slider directly under the header? If reading in a reader or via email, click here to sing this amazing little songview?}

They are singing our song, fellow sparrows!

Isn’t this the perfect song for us counting One Thousand Gifts, wanting to share the dare to fully live — to live in His presence and the fullness of Joy! Sing on, friends, our theme song!}


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How to Make the Best Gift: Joy – in- A – Box

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I couldn’t be happier — giddy, really — to offer you Selections from One Thousand Gifts: Finding Joy in What Really Matters — and our oh, so talented son Joshua (14) and I have been working quietly here this past week to give you what I’ve long wanted to:

Free Printables for Joy-in-a-Box:

How to Make the Best Gift: Joy-in-a-Box

1. Print out & cut out a Joy Bunting (or the Eucharisteo Bunting) — tuck into a box with tissue paper…

2. Print and cut out the bookmark on 10 Reasons on Give Thanks and Find Joy. Punch a hole in the end and slip a pretty ribbon through. A perfect — oh, so necessary — reminder on how to find Joy on the Hard Days. {I’ve soul amnesia and need to preach the gospel to myself everyday…}

3. Print out all these free gratitude journal graphics to beautify, pretty up, customize and make lovely your own 1000 gifts journal. (So grateful for Joshua’s loveliest work! We had such fun dreaming of pretty things for us all!) Customize your own journal — or make one for a friend and tuck into the box? Or print out several copies and slip them all into the Joy Box so she can have the happy fun of creating her own. {Send a blank journal too?}

4. Print out this recipe and bake up a few of  the bird nest cookies, just a sweet treat and prayer for her to nest in His constant care….

5. Print out and send the monthly Joy Dare  — (oh, do the dare!) a dare to find just these three gifts every day. To begin to shift perspective and look for His grace everywhere… a hunt for His glory right where we are! {Invite her to join the community at where we share the gifts found each day. Count 1000 gifts in 2012 and at year’s end enter to win a Nikon D90 camera?)

6. Print out the Free 7 gifts, Good and Lovely, booklet  and tuck it into the Joy-in-a-Box too? To put in her pocket and write down His graces throughout the day? {Or download the free app?} Maybe include the free Year of Graces Calendar, a space to write down joy everyday?

7. The Best Part? Print out and tuck the 4 JOY Bible verses into the Joy in a Box —  to direct one beating heart back to Him in all things. Just hit print and ta-da — Joy-in-a-Box! Our happy, free love gift to you!

To download the Complete Joy-in-a-Box & 1000 Gifts Journal Kit?
Head right here for the whole beautiful thing!  

8. You might too, at the last, wrap in some tissue and tuck a feather in the bow — one little book  with a bit of my heart  and so much of His joy — and put it in the Joy-in-a-Box too? … A little book I am so very, very, very happy about. A little book I love, all about the Jesus we love…

This beautiful gift book of photographs from the farm and joy words from my heart, all these joy words — easy to read, simple excerpts from One Thousand Gifts, and each page full of God’s full color art:

Selections from One Thousand Gifts: Finding Joy in What Really Matters features powerful, life-changing passages from Voskamp’s compelling story and her own exquisite photography, framing a seemingly ordinary, gritty life around truly amazing grace.

Because if joy is a matter of gratitude, and gratitude is a matter of perspective, then giving thanks changes not only your perspectiveit changes your life.”

This exquisite little book with one sparrow on its cover — Joy can be our wings. 

I just want you to take to the sky…

To Find Joy in What Really Matters…

For all the overwhelmed ones to find the sky…

Know someone who needs a bit of Joy? Selections from One Thousand Gifts: Finding Joy in What Really Matters is in Family Christian bookstores today and releases everywhere tomorrow… this little sparrow could land in the open hands of someone who needs joy by the end of the week?

And then print out the free Joy in a Box for a friend?… send them this song that all us sparrows are singing… tuck in a copy of this gift book of photographs and joy text and help them Finding Joy in What Really Matters {save a copy for your bedside stand or coffee table too?} … and Share the dare to Really, Fully Live!     

{If you share the Joy -in-a-Box — will you share a photo of it over at the FB Joy Community at One Thousand Gifts … I’d love to see your creativity with these printables and we can all be inspired to share joy?!}

Soar, friends, soar!soar! 


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An offering of thanks, Multitudes on a Monday… #3263 – #3270 of One Thousand Gifts

~ dreaming up all this loveliness for you all with our Joshua {Thank you for being friends through all of this… our family is so grateful!}

~ that the gratitude to God alone and in all things continues on the New York Times Best-seller’s list

~ that Point of Grace is singing our song, a thousand little things! The endless, countless graces of God…

~ Kai and Shalom walking in town, holding hands all down the street {best friends}

~ Hope and I laughing in the kitchen over a recipe and a deepening friendship

~ hard, teary parenting eucharisteo … and repenting to a child, to our Father

~ the sparrow that flew into the house last night… and flew so free, to all our cheers!

Thanks be to God for all things….
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!