The Best Gift for the Overwhelmed:
Sometimes You Need 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 flew in a window, flew behind the couch, perched there on the arrow of the vane up on the mantle.

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 in the left margin just above the social media buttons? 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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The Best Gift for the Overwhelmed ? Joy-in-A-Box


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Free Printables for Joy-in-a-Box:

How to Make the Best Gift for the Overwhelmed:

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 2014 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 gift book or maybe  one devotional, with 60 devotionals for months of finding joy right where you are and includes a numbered journal to write your own 1000 gifts — a legacy of joy… — and put it in the Joy-in-a-Box too?

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


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Related:  In case this helps just one person? For less than a coffee & a donut, have some joy on hand to hand out? Christian Book Distributors tells us that for a limited time:  One Thousand Gifts is on sale for just a sweet $5?

One Thousand Gifts Devotional: Reflections on Finding Everyday Graces 
Photography Book: Selections from One Thousand Gifts


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 the 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  new 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 2013 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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