How to Make Joy in the Hard Places {Printables}

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. The way to crazy joy.

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 watch 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 take the difficult and thrum with thanks again and again and again.

And this is how a sparrow flies…


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4th day of having a fever here — thank you for grace as I post from the archives…

Day 4: Catch the whole 31 Days to Crazy Joy series right here

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Give the Gift: Joy – in- A – Box

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How to Give Joy-in-a-Box

To download the Complete Joy-in-a-Box & 1000 Gifts Journal Kit? Head right here for the whole happy thing!  
Or… download individually:

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. 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 whole year’s collection of monthly Joy Dares  — (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!

8. You might too, at the last, wrap in some tissue and tuck a feather in the bow — a gift book: Finding JOY in what really Matters — with 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: 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.”

Joy can be our wings.  I just want you to take to the sky… to find Joy in Who really Matters

For all the overwhelmed ones to find the sky…

{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 … We’d love to see your creativity with these printables and we can all be inspired to share joy?!}

Soar, friends, soar!