How to Mine Your 2015 For Unexpected Diamonds [ and a giveaway for DSLR camera]

So after they hugged us all goodbye, the two of them both ran out into the snow, out past the old porch swing.

Jumped straight over the picket gate. And cranked over the old Honda in the midst of all that blowing white coming down slant —

And with that, the Honda headlights flashed on, and the holidays were over.

The two big boys drove back to university.

And their mama stood long at the window, watching the snow & their tail lights fade away, standing there holding the pieces of her heart & this melting gift of time.

How to Mine Your 2015 For Unexpected Diamonds

How to Mine Your 2015 For Unexpected Diamonds

How to Mine Your 2015 For Unexpected Diamonds

How to Mine Your 2015 For Unexpected Diamonds

How to Mine Your 2015 For Unexpected Diamonds

How to Mine Your 2015 For Unexpected Diamonds


How to Mine Your 2015 For Unexpected Diamonds

The melting gift of time that melts into our hearts, that melts our hearts. And time runs on, the river flooded with all our melting hearts.

I whispered that to a dying mother once. Whispered that to her with her four little kids running through the house — that “Time is a relentless river. It rages on, a respecter of no one.

And this, this is the only way to slow time: Fully enter time’s swift current, enter into the current moment with the weight of all your attention, you slow the torrent with the weight of being all here.

You can slow the torrent of time by being all here.

Weigh down this moment in time with attention full, and the whole of time’s river slows, slows, slows.

You only live the full life when you live fully in the moment.” ~One Thousand Gifts

We’ve all got only so much time on this side together…

Maybe the best way to live a New Year — is to choose to be fully here.

How to Mine Your 2015 For Unexpected Diamonds

How to Mine Your 2015 For Unexpected Diamonds



I’d stood there long at the window after the two oldest boys had driven away and I wanted to murmur it out loud, all these heartbroken cliches: “How fast they grow up  — and yet so slow that somehow you can miss it until they’re gone…”

Stand there and murmur: “How time flies!”

Yeah — you raise kids to watch ’em fly, but when they go, you forget that they take bits of your heart with them.

Yeah — we say time flies because we are so ruffled by time, so unsettled with the idea of time, that it’s something beyond us — something that flies.

Time baffles and surprises us like a bird baffled and surprised by the feeling of air lifting under its wings. But that wouldn’t be unusual at all — if the bird were meant only to fly until it were Home and rested under His wing.

Time flies but one day this strange sensation of us and time flying will all end — because we’ll finally have all arrived Home.

We’re all just flying Home.

That mama I’d sat with a wrestling terminal cancer, she told me that whenever she met with her doctor — what she wanted most was a number. All the terminal patients really wanted a number — how long have I got?

She said: The real wrestling in living and in dying is always a wrestle for a number.

I’d fingered the fraying edge of my sleeve.

We’re all terminal — we all just desperately want a number.

How long have we all got here together?

How many weeks do I have left with these kids before they fly off with time and the nest is empty and this season’s really forever over and all our beginnings are over?

How many months do I have left before my mom gets too sick, till my dad doesn’t remember me anymore, till we can’t do any of this anymore?

Give me a number — how many more times do I get to do this — before it’s gone forever?

All these last fading days of 2104 and the dawning days of 2015, my friend Kara’s words have lingered with me like the scent of wisdom:

Yesterday I drove for the last time and didn’t realize it was the last time.

I don’t remember the last time in the drivers seat or the music we played…

I listened to my husband make the impossible phone call this morning. He called hospice. He told him that his young wife was dying…

… our hands have been pulled wide of our story, and peace enters. Jason walks into the room and said, “I did one thing I needed to today. Needed to but never wanted to: he called Hospice because I am dying…”

Our Kara’s dying. His Kara. And how in the world are we living — because we’re all dying here by degrees too.

Knowing that you are terminal changes nothing and it changes everything.

Because we all know this every day: We will only get so much time — we just don’t know exactly how much time.

Which is exactly what we all know the day after a terminal diagnosis: We will only get so much time — we just don’t know exactly how much time.

Nothing changes and everything changes. We’re all terminal — we all just want a number. We all have to figure out exactly the very same thing.

You have absolutely only one decision to make every day: how will you use your time?

Time is a great equalizer. We all equally get the same number of hours in a day. The hands of the clocks points to no favourites. The pedestrian truth that you just have to live your one day at a time may not be very helpful at all — because the real question is: How are you supposed to live your one day at a time?

The real question isn’t ever How long do I have to live?
The real question always is — How do I really live?


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How to Mine Your 2015 For Unexpected Diamonds

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How to Mine Your 2015 For Unexpected Diamonds

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How to Mine Your 2015 For Unexpected Diamonds

Sure, you can live just one day at a time, but living the  length of your days, your life, doesn’t matter —- what matters is that you know how to live the whole breadth and the depth and warmth and wealth of your life.

If someone would just give you a number — say they told you that you had just 2 months left — you’d know how to live:

You’d go hike the Appalachian Trail with the kids, laugh louder than the waves with them at the ocean, sit with them under holy stillness of the Sequoia trees, take their hand and feel their skin again next to yours, and you’d look them in the eye and whisper to them of love and glory and eternal, forever things, things that time can never touch.

If someone would just give you a number — say they told you that you had just 3 years left — you’d know you to live:

You’d go to Africa and dig a wealth of wells, spoon-feed some starving, wide-eyed children, free some women from being trafficked in India, let Jesus be like a river running out of you, and the world would change because you’d walked brave and bold here, the planet tilting on its axis toward love.

If someone would just give you a number … 2 months left? 3 years left? 15, 27, 42? …. you’d know what to do….

Every year since our first year in the old farmhouse, winter hissing in through all the cracks around the wavy glass of those hundred year old windows, I can count on my brother to give me a new calendar on New Year’s Day. And you can count all the squares of that calendar, all these stacking blocks of days.

365 squares. 365 breakfasts with the kids, 365 nights of stars, 365 days to laugh loud and love large. 52 weeks of little squares in one year. That’s all.

Some guy tells me that if you get to live 90 years, you get to live 4,680 weeks. Kara’s thinking she’s not getting her 4,680 weeks here. Less than half that? A life total of 2,000 miraculous weeks? This year’s got 52 wondrous weeks — how will use however many breakfasts and stars and miracle moments you get?

You have absolutely only one decision to make every day: how will you use your time?

New Years comes right after Christmas because the ultimate bottom line is:

Time is certainly one of the most precious gifts you ever get, because you only ever get a certain amount of it.

A long ago Christmas Eve when those two oldest boy now driving away were only 8 and 6 — I lost the diamond out of my wedding ring, somewhere coming in from the barn and evening chores. A 2mm, .05 carat diamond — the only precious stone I’d ever known.

They say if you multiply the volume of a .05 carat diamond by the number of weeks in 90 years (4,680), it adds up to just under one tablespoon of diamonds.

Time is preciousall the weeks of your life here might add up to a spoonful of diamonds. Time is precious — how do you use your One Spoonful of Diamonds? 


How to Mine Your 2015 For Unexpected Diamonds


How to Mine Your 2015 For Unexpected Diamonds


It’d be a mighty sad way to spend your one Spoonful of Diamonds — complaining that your diamonds aren’t good enough, shiny enough, beautiful enough — that God and His grace aren’t enough.

It’d be a heartbreaking way to spend your one Spoonful of Diamonds — ignoring this diamond while wishing for another diamond, not enjoying this diamond because your too busy, too distracted, too stressed, or losing this diamond out of worry or hurry or a flurry of unimportant.

It’d a terrible waste of your one Spoonful of Diamonds — if you didn’t make time to enjoy them or use them so others can enjoy.

The best way to spend your one Spoonful of Diamonds — is to deeply enjoy each and every one; and invest each and every one in ways that every one can deeply know Joy.

Lost Diamond Weeks — are the weeks that aren’t counted and given or numbered as grace.

Brave and Beautiful Kara, she whispers it on the edge of her number that will whisk her into eternity and His arms, whispers it with the last of her diamonds left in her spoon, just before she receives her crown of glory:

“I do not feel like I have the courage for this journey, but I have Jesus – and He will provide it.

He has given me so much to be grateful for, and that gratitude, that wondering over His love will cover us all.

And it will carry us – carry us in ways we cannot comprehend…”

That gratitude for all the ways He love — and counting all those ways that Jesus lovesthat will carry in ways we cannot comprehend.

Want a number?  There’s your number.

There’s the number that you can always get — count 1, 2, 3, 4, 1000 ways He loves you…. count a thousand ways, more, 10,000 reasons for your heart to find.

There’s the number your life can always have.  And when you have that number in your heart, the innumerable ways He loves you,  you know how to live, you know how to live fully here.

All Here New Year.

That’s what slows down time, that widens joy, that awakens wonder, that grows awe, that enriches living, that enjoys God, that makes sense of time.

Count the ways He loves you — and you know Who you can count on.

Don’t think that anybody can count on sarcasm and cynicism to carry them over the last bridge and to the Other Side.

Don’t think anybody can count on criticism and complaints to carry them through this year in ways they can’t comprehend.

Don’t think anybody can count on a good year without counting His Good Grace.

I’d watched when Robin Williams turned and said it in Patch Adams, said it in his appeal to the Medical Board,

“Now you ask me if I’ve been practising medicine?

Well, if this means opening your door to those in need, those in pain, caring for them, listening to them, applying a cold cloth until the fever breaks — if this is practising medicine… then I am guilty as charged, Sir.”

And yeah, you ask me if I’m always about this practising of faith, this practising of gratitude, a shifting of perspective, to see that there’s always, always, always something from Him to be thankful for, so His joy can always be had — so that every precious week, every Diamond Day, can be enjoyed for His glory?

Yeah, if this means, seeking for a treatment of indifference, a medicine for cynicism, a healing of apathy, if this means applying the practice of gratitude so there’s miraculous revival of really living, Living and Loving Large enjoying God in the moment — then yeah, I won’t stop, I’m guilty as charged.

Patch Adams had turned to the gallery and begged:

“Don’t let them anesthetize you.

Don’t let them numb you out to the miracle of life.

Always live in awe…”

Don’t let the schedule anesthetize you.

Don’t let the calendar and the routine and the headlines and time numb you out to the miracle of life.

Don’t do anything less than enjoy the gift of every Diamond  Day — for the chief end of man is to enjoy God and glorify Him forever.

You’ve only got one today. You’ve only got one now. You’ve only got one 2015.

You’ve only figured out how to really live one day at a timewhen you count one gift at a time.

… the happy of popcorn popping, kids making up loud, off-tune songs in the kitchen, popcorn squashed all over the floor of the kitchen, the snow coming down slant, the warmth of their wool coats as they hugged in muffled goodbyes, the tail lights down through the woods and their music still playing on downstairs ... His grace upon grace — all these Diamond Days. 

Don’t let the routine anesthetize you to routinely being filled with awe.

Don’t let routines of life numb you out to the miracle of life.

Kara stands like a fading bold beacon with her near gone Spoonful of Diamonds and declares her enjoying of God and all His grace:

“Today, I’m here.  So we are living to enjoy these moments even as we know they are fading….

 Mostly, we are savoring our moments.”

That’s how you live — enjoying the moments and giving away moments so others can enjoy. All these Diamond Days. 

When the hands of the clock turn and it comes to live a New Year, there is Nothing to Fear. Just Be All Here.
He is.

When the hands of the clock turn and it comes time to die, there is nothing to fear — because there is nothing in the universe that can separate you from the loving hands of God.

Kara whispers her love. And I whisper it back to her. And how I’ve learned from her and am indebted to her and how she’s mentored and led and loved and I will never, ever be the same. We cry a bit together.  We believe. His love makes us brave.

And I keep counting, my life having a number:  tickle fests, overflowing sinks, burnt eggs, making beds, sorting laundry, read-alouds, piano lessons, crummy-sticky vans, evening prayers, kisses and caresses and longest hugs — Diamond Days.

How to Mine Your 2015 For Unexpected Diamonds



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No one can tell you how much time you’ve got. But as long as you’ve got time, you can give this time all you’ve got.

Live everyday like you’re terminal. Because you are.
Live everyday like your soul’s eternal. Because it is.

Hold your Spoonful of Diamonds and hug the people who you love and hug the people who you don’t so maybe soon you will, and laugh when it’s hard because that makes it easier, and catch the rhythm of Living Large by counting the grace of the small, and never stop looking for the shimmer of diamonds in the rough, beauty in the ugly, God in the moment.

Carry your Spoonful of Diamonds, your teaspoon of weeks, and make Diamond Days with your babies and your big kids, your crazies and your people, read out loud to them late into the night and turn the music up loud when you wash that mountain in the sink, and give your Diamond time to the crying kid, and share your Diamond Days with the lonely-shut in down the street, and offer bits of your Diamond Week to those who need to know Joy and don’t lose even one of your Diamond Weeks by losing your Joy in Him over something that won’t even matter one iota come eternity.


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How to Mine Your 2015 For Unexpected Diamonds

When the big boys drive away through the snow, away from this season, I stand there long after they’re gone and I watch how the snow catches light.

Like when I see the last pictures now of the wonder of Kara laughing love outside with her kids

how the snow keeps catching light like diamonds.




In every thing give thanks:

for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus

concerning you…  1 Thess 5:18.


Capture His grace & the gift of the miracle of now: Camera Giveaway

I only do a little something like this once a year, but wouldn’t sharing a camera and bit of joy be a good way to really slow down and see the miracle of an All Here, No Fear New Year? A way to celebrate Kara and life and the staggering grace of God? Cranking open the rusty comment box and enjoying community & Loving Large:




Just leave a comment and enter today  to win a gift basket:

– a signed copy of One Thousand Gifts,
– a signed copy of the One Thousand Gifts devotional & numbered journal to record 1000 gifts in 2015

– a signed copy of One Thousand Gifts: A DVD Study with study guides for your own gathering
– a turquoise nest pendant with necklace offered by our son Caleb
just wave in the comments box today with one thing you are thankful for (yes, the comment box is OPEN!)

Reading via email or in a reader: click here to join our Comments Celebration
For another entry (or two): Tweet or share this Facebook status update:
Dare you: Count #1000gifts in 2015. Who doesn’t take a dare to Joy? {the free camera would be bonus} #JoyDareand then leave another comment here for each share?

Entries for the Books/giveaway package will remain open until January 10th, 8 AM EST.

To Enter to win the Nikon D90 DSLR camera:

Did you take the Joy Dare and count your own 1000 gifts in 2014? If you counted 1000 Gifts all in just 2014  — enter to win a Nikon D90 & 18-105 mm f/3.5-5.6G Zoom Lens 

If you counted 1000 gifts in 2014, enter for the camera like this:

1. Post a photo of you holding up your entries of 1000 Gifts over in the Facebook Gratitude community  (it could be a photo of you with entries from  your 1000 Gifts Journal, a screenshot of your blog, or you holding up your mobile device with the 1000th entry from the free 1000 gifts app? Just any photo of you (or screenshot) with the way you recorded your 1000 gifts)

2.  Then come back and leave a comment here with the subject heading: CAMERA … and what the Joy Dare has meant for you…  Entries for 2014’s Nikon D90 {& 18-105 mm f/3.5-5.6G Zoom Lens will remain open until January 10th, 8am EST.



Annnnnd… to enter for 2015’s Nikon D90 Camera!
Are you ready to make this the year you wake to really living & deep joy ? Count your own 1000 gifts in 2015… How?

1. Check out the whole year’s Joy Dares! 3 prompts everyday adds up to more than #1000gifts!

2. or… Blog your 1000 gifts, or tag #1000 gifts on Instagram, or record a legacy of your 1000 gifts in the numbered journal, and, if you’d like to be entered into the monthly draw for a JOY BASKET mailed out to you (including a $100 Amazon gift card), share your gifts everyday in the Facebook Gratitude community Joy Dare … and next December (after recording only about only 3 gifts a day) …  be back here to enter for the camera!

What do You Get when you Count 1000 Gifts?

Write 1000 gifts and keep a gratitude list and the research proves this is what you really get:

1. a relative absence of stress and depression. (Woods et al., 2008)

2. progress towards important personal goals (Emmons and McCullough, 2003)

3. higher levels of determination and energy (Emmons and McCullough, 2003)

4. closer relationships and desire to build stronger relationships (Algoe and Haidt, 2009)

5. Increased happiness…. by 25% — (Who wouldn’t want 25% more happiness!)

Doxology — or Dark? We Decide… diamond days

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
The 60 DAY DEVOTIONAL with 1000 numbered journal: 
One Thousand Gifts Devotional: Reflecting on Finding Everyday Graces
Selections from One Thousand Gifts: Finding Joy in What Really Matters
One Thousand Gifts: A DVD Study : One Thousand Gifts Gratitude Journal Entire Joy Dare collection

Join the comments? Farm’s front door is wide open!