[After the SuperBowl]
Why It’s Good to Think About Losing This Week (Because This is How You Win)

In the middle of a stiff winter wind, she asks to go to the beach.

That’s where she says she wants to celebrate the turning of her calendar year.

To stand on the frozen snow and turn her face directly into whatever is coming this way.

We’re the only ones there.

Nothing can mean nothing, and everything means something. Yes — everything.




We walk the long boardwalk, our footsteps echoing hollow. She will be 61 this year.

We stand on iced sand hemmed with white snow and she says nothing, just gazes out at bared waters. I don’t ask her what she’s thinking.

The sunlight seems paled, hardly there in the numbing cold.

I do watch the way her hair moves in the wind, white waves of their own.

We wander down to where the waves crashes on the stones. The water breaking its way on the unwavering.

Does her silence say this, that this was the way to live? The water lets go again and again on the granite, this oceanic surge of song, this symphonic crescendo. Is there anything more beautiful than the wild surrender to the rock?

The song is always found in the surrender.

Mama knew there’d be days like these, when I’d see. How many more years do I have Mama to walk the winter shore?

Her hair is whiter than winter and is this the season we’re already in? I want spring again. I feel like the child, our shoulders touching here at the sea.

There’s a whole lifetime of memories here at the lake and how many Sunday picnics of fried chicken have we had right up there at the lighthouse?

She’d serve extra helpings of green coleslaw and I’d pump the swing high and I could see how we might soar straight out over the lake. There’s a time when you think nothing will end.

I lean into her and she leans into me, and we’re warmer like this, close. Doesn’t there have to be more than a decade left of this? And there doesn’t have to be anything. The waves keep breaking. Couldn’t she stay until she’s 117?

When you wake to losing someone, you win love.

When you realize that what you have, you will lose —  you win real eyes. You win grateful joy.

It comes across the water and I turn to face it directly:

It’s only when you realize everyone you love will one day leave you— that you really begin to love. I reach over for Mama’s hand and she does that, she squeezes mine softly and that says more… most.

Someday, it is possible, I could stand here on my own 61st. I can close my eyes and almost see that.

How then she will be the memory already flown across the waters. How the song will sing on and I will hear notes that were long hers.

And it comes, a wave over me: How I will miss her.

That may be it: The way to experience a moment of unlimited elation — is to take a moment to imagine unexpected limitation.

Close your eyes long and imagine days without sight. And you open them to a brighter light. Imagine no water. And the next cold glass quenches like desert rain. Envision life without the loveliness of those you love — and you see how much you love.

Her half smile there in the wind, it makes me half hurt, her pure worn beauty.

There’s a way to wake up and not to live numb.

The way to love life is to imagine losing it.

He who loses his life finds it.

The water keeps giving away to the shore.

One day, all this will be gone.

The sun, it seems so strong now, bright across water.

Mama, she lets the wind blow her hood right back and I don’t feel numb and there is a theological term for this– all this:


Fullblown grace.


Standing there, her and I,  we watch as it comes straight across the waters–

as it comes directly this way.

Us here and and alive and in awe that any of this is at all …

This wind awaking everything.





Happy February! Research shows counting just 3 gift-blessings/day increases happiness by 25%… Why yes, please!
Come on a scavenger hunt for God’s gifts every day? Screen Shot 2014-02-01 at 7.47.41 PM
Why bother?

Why bother keeping a gratitude list of His gifts?

Because if you keep a gratitude list, you:

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 your happiness by 25%(Who wouldn’t want a quarter more happiness!) (McCullough et al., 2002)

Who doesn’t want all that? Just three gifts a day. 

… that habit of discontentment, it can only be driven out by hammering in iron that is even sharper —

The sleek pin of gratitude.” ….

~ {One Thousand Gifts}

 How to Count Gifts?

~ Print out the whole year of Joy Dares — put on your fridge, have it at the dinner table, over the kitchen sink. Have a family scavenger hunt for His gifts everyday and enter to win a Nikon D90 camera

~ Check out the free #1000gifts App … for iPhone or iPad… the (free) #1000gifts app is like your own mobile gratitude journal to snap photos and record notes of your gifts from the Giver. So many so loving it. 

Blog your 1000 gifts, or tag #1000 gifts on Instagram, or join us on Mondays and link up to the list on your blog, or record a legacy of your 1000 gifts in the One Thousand Gifts 60 Day Devotional

And, if you’d like to be entered into the monthly draw for a JOY BASKET  (including a $100 Amazon gift card), share your gifts everyday in the Facebook Gratitude community and come the end of the year (after recording only 3 gifts a day/1000 gifts) … be back here to enter for a Nikon D90 camera! Give thanks to Him in the assembly!

Giving thanks in everything because we fiercely believe that Christ can redeem anything.


Join us? And happily change everything by keeping your own crazy list of One Thousand Gifts? Dare you to Joy! Take the dare to Fully Live!
1. Grab this month’s Free JOY DARE Calendar with 3 daily prompts to go on a scavenger hunt for God’ gifts … {or write down any gifts you choose. Use the free app.} 2. Count 3 gifts a day and you have over #1000gifts in 2013. Jot them down in the numbered One Thousand Gifts devotional journalThe Farmer’s writing in his with a red pen and daily – the numbers in the journal already there! Motivating… 3. Share your gifts everyday in our beautiful Facebook community to enter everyday for the monthly $100 Amazon draw (or link to your blog post with your list of gifts). 4. Count #1000gifts in 2014 and enter to win a Nikon DSLR camera with lens. Slow Down. Savor Life. Give thanks. Believing something is one thing. But the Best only comes when you decide to Be Living it. 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!

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