Praying and Living with Joy (@5MFF)

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Happy Beautiful Sunday Morning! On Sunday’s during October, and always, actually, we shift our eyes toward the Holy.

How are you liking the Planning with  Purpose series? Is there anything you want me to cover that I have not yet? Please let me know, and I will do my best to address it!

Today I am at 5 Minutes for Faith sharing how you can  plan for  JOY. I’ll start you here, and would you join me there?

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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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Joy {Wordless Wednesday}

A post on Joyfully Serving Him
and the power behind it found HERE.
Joyfully linking (a little late) with Ramona!

Birdbath Blessings (Repost)

You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 16:11
If I asked you what was one of the things that brought you the greatest pleasure, 
on a daily basis in your life, what might be your answer? 
The goodbye kiss every morning from your significant other, perhaps? 
The satisfaction of preparing a meal for your family?
 The home that you now enjoy, which was a fruit of many years of labor and penny pinching?
Can you name one specific thing or activity that brings you the sweetest inner pleasure and reminds you of the Father’s joy and pleasure in you?
One such activity that truly brings me inner joy, and pleasure immeasurable and surprising, is when I am watching the birds do the things that birds just…well…things that birds just DO!
One of these is watching them bathe. Now don’t get the wrong idea, not pleasure like David watching Bathsheba pleasure. Oh my! No! Can you believe I went there? Yup, I know. Issues.
But truly, the pleasure that reminds me, not of my own sinfulness, (not so easy- since it seems ever before me) but the kind that is soblivious to external distractions and overflowing with grace that it becomes blissful, beautiful and holy. When I watch the birds roll, dip and rustle themselves so blatantly unaware of my presence and pleasure, yet so completely present in their own precious moment, it brings me delirious inner joy and amazing delight!

It has often brought to my mind the possibility of God’s pleasure
in me as I go about my day.

All because of Jesus.

I have watched from my kitchen window and from my back patio. I have been blessed and reminded again and again in this one small activity: watching the birds in the birdbath.
 It has brought to mind that though rejected: He is aware of me. Though downcast: He has not forgotten. Though uncertain of the future: He knows my needs. Though in need of cleansing: He has provided. 
He has made all things possible. By grace through faith in Christ. Though my sin seems to be ever before me, he takes pleasure in watching me come to Jesus again and again to be cleansed. 
When I fly away, I am clean, holy and free.
My greatest need and yours, is the promise of Him and His presence in all of our various circumstances. In this one thing we can be fully satisfied. In His presence is fullness of joy. Oh may we not forget. I am grateful for these birdbath blessings and gentle, sweet reminders of His love, grace and faithfulness.
O, Lord I pray that I may be satisfied with the good things you give. Amen.

 Praise the LORD, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:1-5

Friends, this is one of my personal favorite posts. I just longed to share it with you and hope it is a blessing. It was from my early days and got 16 views. I figure it should get a little more wear and tear since it was such a pleasure to write! 
I will be posting the Rene Swopes story on Friday!

Hope to see you here then! 
In His Grace, Dawn

The Day He Remembered He Was A Dog

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 
1 Timothy 1:7

He is a funny character.
He still growls when my hubby kisses me goodbye.
He makes grunt sounds as if he tries to speak at times. 
He likes to be the center of attention and makes it known in a variety of ways.
He thinks the couch makes a fine bed, although he will settle for his own when told.
He is one happy tail wagging, welcome wagon to his family members when they return home.
He gets along well with the cats and does not eat the bunny, to our great relief.
Sometimes, I wonder if he thinks he is one of us. He looks to us for his cue to where he fits in. 
Like a child at times he competes for attention. He never misses scrap opportunities while I prepare lunches. He believes he should have a taste of everything that we eat. When I walk him at the beach he is uninterested in people, and only has eyes for me. Occasionally he will look at a dog and bark to make sure they know that I am his bone. “Back off”  in doggy language is pretty easy to understand.
Until this one day.
 Something was different.

As we were coming near the end of our beach walk on a chilly afternoon.
He noticed the Piping Plovers. It’s not like they are not always there when we walk, but this time he seemed to be awake to their presence. It was as if someone knocked him upside the head and said, “Duh, hello- see the birds? You are a dog and you should chase those guys!”
But, the leash.
Ah, sweet restraint. 
I sensed his interest. 

Off the leash has led to many, frustrations and altercations.
I looked around. It was cold, and some droplets of rain were falling. The beach was pretty empty.
I paused briefly, as he sought assurance in my face. I let him loose on those birds, knowing full well he did not have a chance. I would have never done it had I thought otherwise. 
What joy I beheld, as he seemed amazingly enthralled with the idea that he should chase these creatures.
At last he remembered who he really was. I was like an overprotective mother hovering over and not trusting that some unleashed beast would suddenly appear and wreak havoc on his joyful moment. 
But the moment was not stolen away from that old pup renewed!
This dog who walks the edges of the shore and runs from the rolling in waves dashed toward those precious plovers, given to the thrill of the chase and hope of a catch. Into the wave kissed shore toward the water; not too deep. Yet. I laughed and felt the pleasure of his moment, with an ever doting presence of my own. 
Always cautious, ever suspicious the moment will be robbed. At last realizing we would enjoy this gift and momentary pleasure together. I leashed him back up as we came to the parking lot. I saw him notice the gathering of sea gulls. He glanced at them, and back at me, eyes pleading approval. I dropped the leash and watched as the gulls easily stole away.
Ah, but the joy of it.
I would not let him be deprived of it.
The fleeting moment, beautiful.
The day he remembered he was a dog.

Friend, God has spontaneous moments of joy prepared for you. He delights in you as you delight in Him and receive from him with thanksgiving each moment fearlessly. Let’s consider embracing all He gives with thanksgiving. Trusting in His goodness. Not expecting to be robbed of it, like I was in the story…suspiciously awaiting the Goliath moment; almost allowing fear to rob the present joy. 
I am learning this…even as I walk the beach with my sweet pup. 
One day at a time. 
Seeing his joy and the way he forgot his fear of the water and waves in the moment reminded me that I too, need to be fearless in embracing the future with my faithful God. 
I need to Fear Less. 
Trust more.
Embrace each moment as a gift from the Giver of good things. 
Shall we run toward the waves, fearlessly?
Will we trust, repenting and fleeing from the sins of doubt and fear of the unknown? 
Will we embrace faith running toward the everlasting arms?
Are you ready? 
On Your Mark- Let’s Go!
We all win, dear one. Of this you can be sure!
I did it at the start of the year…perhaps this is another in my lessons of Less for the year. 
For to the man that pleaseth him God giveth wisdom, and knowledge, and joy...
Ecclesiastes 2:26


Here are the pictures I snapped,  in the order of the story. 
I completely dedicate this writing to my friend Susie and her new fur baby, Layla, in light of the current growing pains the family is experiencing during their adjustment period! 

Be ready for joy in unexpected moments!
Linking up with Bonnie at Faith Barista!

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