#1000 Gifts and Counting – New Journal Reveal!

My 2014 Joy Dare- counting blessings daily. 
My (not so) Secret journal is one I began with many, along with Ann Voskamp. I dedicated a small notebook to the exclusive task of the counting. 
By my bedside is where I prefer it. But, on a bad day, or a desperate one, I’ll grab it and take it with me. I toss it in the book bag, or purse. Because when I feel least grateful, and the storms are kicking up, and when I lose sight of God. I do this one thing. I look hard and seek. I start my counting and it saves me. It is this continued practice…that keeps me, and my eyes heaven-bound, instead of bound by the things on earth that bind me. 
Yes, I’m a little late in my jumping back into this particular journal activity, but after looking at the fancier ones, I set my feet to the drugstore and once again purchased a simple Cambridge-Mead Notebook– This particular one is just the right size for me to hold and write in anywhere. It has a heavy card-stock cover which is great for my ModPodge collage cover. It also has a pocket, although I did not use it much, but one never knows. It has 140 pages and measures 7 in x 4 3/8 in. 
I actually also kept an online count separately- on Mondays, but I am unsure if I will continue. The Monday post, that is, not the counting!
I don’t do the three a day that Ann prompts, but I just count away as they come! 
Here is the first journal dedicated exclusively to the counting to 1000 and beyond. 
After perusing many fancier journals, this habit gently nudged me to stay with the simple spiral bound notebook that escorted me through my first counting of thousands…
Side by side, new and old.  

The first gifts...

My last counted gift…onward! 
Will you be keeping a Blessing or Gratitude Journal this year? 
Will you count your blessings?
Will you take this Joy Dare– right where you are?

1000 Gifts Devotional by Ann Voskamp (Book Review/Giveaway)

I read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Life Fully Right Where You Are, about a year and a half ago. This best seller introduces readers to a word, Eucharisteo and a philosophy of living in light of the grace of God, as it says, right where you are. This idea of giving thanks always and living in the awareness of the brevity and fragility of life with joy is the theme of One Thousand Gifts. It inspired me to start counting along with a whole community of others who were counting their gifts to 1000 and more. When I was contacted about receiving the devotional One Thousand Gifts: Reflections On Finding Every Day Graces, which is based on the book, I was thrilled to have the daily refresher from this humble, much loved author. If you are not familiar with Ann Voskamp’s writing, she shares her child filled, Canadian farmer’s wife life at her blog called A Holy Experience. Considered one of the most influential Christian women of our day, Ann writes about giving thanks in the sometimes harsh realities of daily life.

What I love most about this book is that the length of the 60 individual devotional readings are not to short or long but just the right amount. Ann has a writing style that takes a bit of grasping. Tender and beautiful, it can be like catching glimpses of deep truths while gasping for air. She does not always follow straightforward sentence structure, which can leave you feeling, at times inspired and deeply moved, but at other times slightly exasperated! Her heart is poured out on paper and her courage shared is powerful. She shares with a gentle graciousness, and honesty that is hard to describe unless you read her for yourself.

Each devotion begins with a scripture, continues in Ann’s unique, in the moment, voice which brings you up close to the grace of God: “Gratitude is not only the memories of our heart; gratitude is a memory of God’s heart and to thank is to remember God.”
“This is the crux of Christianity: to remember and give thanks, eucharisteo.”
These are very much like her blog posts (possibly some portions are from posts?) but edited down to a very manageable daily portion. Each devotion is titled for a different grace: Humble Grace, Dark Grace, Small Grace, Wedded Grace, Standing Grace. As she herself believes, ALL is grace. Each devotional thought ends with a brief, heartfelt prayer, and a few lines for you to add your own thoughts, prayers of graces.
The first part of the book is reserved for these devotions but the second half (pages 205-245) are for you to personalize and begin counting “1000 Ways He Loves You…” Included are some quotes and the numbering of 1 to 1000. This makes this devotional/journal a great launching pad for you if you have not started listing your “gifts”, but also makes for a great gift. The book itself is beautifully covered with a bird in hand pictured and includes a pretty blue ribbon to keep your place.

A gift for you or a friend. For those who enjoy Ann’s Blog and book already, you won’ be disappointed, but thoroughly blessed with this treasure. This is a lovely devotional.

I received a copy of this book through Shelton Interactive in return for a review.
All opinions are my own.

Shelton Interactive has offered to give one winner a copy of Ann Voskamp’s book.

Giveaway Directory
Reading List: Cozy Reading Spot

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My Life in 60 Seconds {The Return of Monday Posts}


Well it has been quite a month! 
Hang on to your hat and I will catch you up.
Sorry, but it will be more than a minute.
Go grab yourself a coffee, I have so much I want to share with you-
 Go, hurry up. Come on!
How about a ten minute chat  strong, long cup of conversation?
I’ll start…

Although I have been linking up to most of my regular places, during the month of October there were times I was unable to make all my usual rounds with the 31 Day Challenge hosted by The Nester over at 
 The Nesting Place. Pop on by if you missed it for some great reading. 
I do not know what possessed me to do it as I honestly was considering stepping back from blogging a bit to work on other writing projects BUT I ended up with this crazy idea of 31 Days of Faith Life Preservers…and wala! I was in. 

Top Five Posts of The 31 Day Series 
(based on views)
My sweet baby turned 12
on the 9th!

Seriously, her Dad made this sweet party cake for her and her friends
for the birthday celebration!
She had a surprise mini cake delivered from our lovely Pastor’s wife
and also a (Dadmade) Cherry Cheescake on the 9th. We are caked out!

The Pumpkin from start to finish!

Of course hubs roasted these and we ate them all up!

He is pretty amazing.

The last week of October blew me away,
seriously. The Hurricane blew in, blew a tree down in our front yard, took our power for a few days and then left us a heap of mess to clean up. I took pictures of the storm but they came out terrible.
I know full well how lucky I am.
How minimal in actuality the inconvenience and damage that we experienced.
So many are still dealing with the aftermath.
Praying for New Jersey, New York and also the devastated areas of coastline in my own area.
It seems so incredibly fast paced to me. 
Sandy came through like a freight train and people just want life to return to normal.
But some things will take time…as well as prayers and hands to help when possible.
 We squeezed in Halloween and still the Book Fair at school. 
Some families still did not have power throughout the week, including the poor teachers. 
But God has dealt mercifully with us.
My heart goes out for those who have more loss and damage.
These rocks on the sidewalk as well as the torn up parking lot
are remnants of Hurricane Sandy
Many hands make the work light…
Church team work and community action!
This Sunday our church joined in the town efforts to clean up the debris that overflowed from ocean to the nearby lake property. Sadly the fresh water lake was overtaken by the saltwater of the sea and much of the animal life has been negatively impacted. Fresh water and saltwater fish who cannot survive in the opposite water environment were left dead. So many things I did not even think about which are impacted by the storm. 

I also wanted to share with you all a really cool ebook 
I won (I love to win stuff) on a twitter party this weekend for the books release party!
 You might very well be interested in it too!
Reach by Laura Krokos and Angi Pratt
I loved the video below and was really excited to win a copy.

Oh and one more thing…
I shared some Really Big News yesterday:
I am very honored that I will be a Regular Contributor
at the excellent faith devotional site for women
5 Minutes for Faith.
I am grateful for God’s continual leading
in this writing endeavor and adventure!

My Multitudes continue…
324. safety through the storm
325. our neighbor helping remove the pine tree
326. Our humble, faithful Pastor and his wife who lead our church
with love and sweet example
327. The way God hints and gives glimpses into the future but beckons us to wait for Him and trust in His timing and leading perfectly
328. Progress not perfection
329. Musical opportunity for my girl at school from a wonderful music teacher, praising God for this hope and gift
330. This hubby and dad who works hard and still is willing to help at home and serve his family 
with love, patience and faithfulness

You are officially caught up with me-
Now tell me all about your month!

Aiming to link Here:

On In Around button 

miscellany monday at lowercase letters

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Surfer Girl, Monday!

Well this week has been a great week. Not only did I see my long lost Mainiac BFF twice but I converted her to being …A BLOGGER! Yahoo! I will wait until she gathers her thoughts and situates herself before I ask you to go right over there and encourage her, OK? 
So you are asking yourself,  “Why, Dawn, is this week so special?”
Well, Monday is my one day on the blog that I actually get a bit …well, personal. Kinda.
I mean, really, share more than my heart in Him, right?
Like my actual above the surface life so to speak! 
This week was a fun, above the surface week.
Maybe I should I have a new blog: Above the Surface: Breath of Hot Air?
That’s a giggle. And yet, it resonates with me! lol.
Still squeezing in beach days, and of course it was Shark Week. 
I am excited to announce, here on my blog a most lofty achievement. 
This year during the 25th anniversary of Shark Week, I finally made a dream come true.
 No, I did not go into a Shark Cage, although that has always been a dream of mine as well. 
I actually surfed for the very first time
During Shark Week. 
Enter Jaws theme HERE!
Can you feel the Epic-ness of the timing. (yes, I know that is not a word). 
Now look at the pictures at the top of the Blog Post.
The top picture is not how I actually looked.
But this picture below is a pretty accurate depiction.
Thank you.
On top of all that, yes there is more. I actually co-taught for three days, with my new partners in the fitness field, a local Women’s Boot Camp Program. Because I love Jesus AND hurting torturing people this way. It is a gift. I really enjoy bossing and bullying people for money. No, seriously, I really missed teaching classes and am very happy to be back in action. It has been a long, sedentary year, friends. It brought me to you all though. For that I am grateful and blessed! 
The converted blogging friend. 😉
My Friend Lauree is (almost) a Blogger:
We brainstormed to find a name that she felt was a good fit and in the end,
 my busy but determined friend chose one.
She has a lot on her plate attending school,
managing a household and homeschooling one of her two children,
 but I am hoping when she can she will share her meanderings with us!
Don’t we find Blogging to be a great clarifying of the thoughts kind of journey?
Here is my wonderful Surf Coach Sara.
Seriously, she gave some great feedback and input.
She is a natural athlete and coach.
Her brother Ryan also helped me,
once Sara got bored with me was finished teaching me.
I have a suspicion we might see Sara in the Olympics or possibly even as
President someday. Either that or she will easily handle a household
 as large as The Duggars. 

The reason my Thursday beach days have been fantastic!
This is my Sunshine Sister in Christ and Prayer Partner Natasha.
Grateful. For. Her. 
We met through Moms In Prayer when she co led our group
with me, now we have become beach buddies as well!
Surf’s Up! This is Sara’s mom BTW and she also received her first surf
 lesson this day with her girl!

Oh, and for those of you who are off to see The Odd Life of Timothy Green. The oddest think about the star, CJ Adams is the fact that he is in my daughter’s class at school and well, basically, is just another classmate to us. The movie does look really cute. But we will most likely wait until it is out on DVD to see it.
I get a little teary eyed on the Trailer, though, I admit. I am a sucker for Disney Magic.  
Remember my Necklace to celebrate my birthday 
(which is really not until August 24th) and my one year of Blogging?
Well I got it this week in the mail!
I know these pics aren’t the best BUT well, hey there they are.
That’s the way it goes. 
I am very happy with this special creation. 
You must check out Becky’s Etsy Shop

Can you see why now it has been a pretty great week?

272. God’s amazing provision and direction (Proverbs 3:5-6)
273. How He surprises us with our heart’s desires in His perfect timing and way.
274. Sisters in Christ who love Jesus and enrich my life by spending precious time together.
275. The answered prayers that my girl would have good friends. She does. I am thankful.
276. Hot, beautiful beach days, and air conditioned nights.
277. Time to write daily
278. Two people who commented on my enthusiasm, before ever meeting me!
279. The generous provision of God. Knowing He has been busy behind the scenes (is always) 
orchestrating the “right fit” for me to return to work. 
280. Knowing that His blessing follows me wherever I go-looking forward to see that for those I will be working with in  the days ahead! 

miscellany monday at lowercase letters

Santa’s Summer Visit

This past week suddenly felt like Christmas in Summertime
My daughter has been playing Christmas music. 
She said to me one day while riding in the car, “I can’t wait for Christmas.” 
I replied, “Why? Snow? Gifts?”
“Is it because it’s the birthday of Jesus?”
She said, “Everyone is just happier at Christmas time.”  

This made me think of this song….
Everywhere I turned it seems I was getting gifts!
Not just any gifts. 
I think these were on purpose gifts.
It was really odd, the trickling in of these particular gifts.
*A valid paid writing offer. 
*A third interview with what seems to be a wonderful win-win situation 
and great fit for work back in the field of fitness
-followed by immediate involvement.
*Seeing my daughter respond well to a new Piano instructor

Our family celebrates 
Friday with “Champagne” and pizza.
The two wonderful gifts below: one was won, the other was given
for me to use and review at my request.
See this beautiful Word Art plaque. 
Friday I found an e-mail from Jennifer from Sweet Blessings
which told me I won this lovely sign By Grace Alone.
A sweet reminder for my week. 
As well as loveliness for my wall!
Thanks to Jennifer and Melanie @Only A Breath
for making it possible.
I am very thankful and excited about the opportunity to utilize the 
Detailer Planner as I enter into this new season of life. 
I am not sure exactly what God has for me but it is going
to take some good organizing on the go to keep 
all of the balls in the air!
I will be sharing a review in the next few weeks. 
I will also share periodic updates and useful tips 
to help you plan your days well!
(For more details on the DETAILER GO Here
This cartoon was circulating on Facebook and gave me quite a laugh.
Yes, I have been dragged. 
More times than I care to admit.
Grateful for His faithfulness. 
Praise Him for He is Faithful, to drag this unworthy disciple.
Praise Him if He has dragged you and you are grateful, My friend!

Here in Rhode Island we cool off in Summer by enjoying the local 
delicious Frozen Lemonade. 
This is Peach Mango but I usually stick with lemon but I was feeling 
extra fruity on this particular day. 
When in RI in the Summer you must enjoy the local flavor.
Insider Tip: It’s Del’s.

A little Blog Announcement for my fellow Random Journal Day friends.
Susie and I have decided to change our weekly Link Up and Blog Hop
to  MONTHLY instead of WEEKLY.
We appreciate all of you and just feel that this will be best a this time.
Perhaps this will be better for many of you and encourage
 those who have been on the fence about joining in.
We will leave the link open for the month and see how it goes.
All that being said our next Link Up won’t happen until 
September 7th! 
Save the dates:
September 7, October 5, November 2, December 7 
I hope you will all be there!

Stay Cool my Friends!

Let us not forget what week this is.
You know it truly is the most wonderful WEEK of the year-to me!
So don’t call me, I’ll be in front of the tube. 

271. The reality and acceptance 
all is Gift.
miscellany monday at lowercase letters

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