Thursday, January 31, 2013

January 30 and 31 Joy Dares

January 30 Joy Dare - 3 old things seen new.

My car. Let me explain. My car and I have not always been friendly. I've even been quite mad at it sometimes. However, I'm so grateful that my car, with 183,000 miles, is still chuggin along for me. I drive between 80-100 miles on a normal day and even more when I have errands and such to run. It was a little quirky for a while, but it seems to have healed itself to some degree in order to let me continue to stack the miles on. I pray I can make it last another year or so, if not longer!

My boy and his manners. You know that moment when you just know something is different and you're able to recognize it. I've noticed, in the last couple of months, anywhere and everywhere I drive my son, ends with a thank you. Even if I'm picking him up from work, dropping him off at work - simple tasks that all moms do. He will seek me out to thank me, in case he forgot as we were getting out of the car. He was always mostly polite, but lost some of his touch during his mid-teen years - thank yous became hit or miss, depending mostly on the mood.  They've returned, full-force, and it makes my heart happy.

Me. I can hardly begin to understand God's grace, mercy, forgiveness, love... yet, here I am. Forgiven. Loved. He has made me new. He has washed me clean. He has given me a heart that breaks for Him. A heart that seeks Him. He has redeemed this old gal.

January 31 Joy Dare - A gift on paper, in a person, in a picture.

This paper greets me each morning as I sit at my desk. Nothing fancy. Just a piece of paper. Gentle reminder. My Jesus. 

Nicole. One of the things I love most about my day is snuggle time with Nicole. Hardly a night goes by that she doesn't jump into my lap and tell me about her day. She brings me joy. 

My heart longs for this place. This nation. One day, I will walk amidst these trees. Love the people. Share the gospel. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January 29 Joy Dare

January 29 Joy Dare – A song heard, a soft word, light seen.

Have you noticed my absence? Perhaps not. It’s okay, I’m not too heartbroken. =]

I had a little mini-vacation last week! And while it was mini, prepping for it and recouping from it to dive right back into my regular schedule was pretty hectic.

I did my Joy Dares throughout the week, and I am not going to feel one bit guilty about not noting them here. It takes time for that, and I just don’t have that today. So, I’ll pick up with today's Joy Dares and let you all sit in wonder about last week! =]~

A song heard – Jamie Grace’s Holding On. It melts my heart

If only I can fight just a little longer
I know I’ll be stronger

A soft word – mama. My dear friend’s son, calling out her name, through his sniffles. It was a sweet sound this morning.

Light seen – The sunrise this morning was absolutely incredible. Yesterday we had an icy start to the morning, most commuters running behind or staying home all together. This morning, walking out the door, it was an amazing 48 degrees and it just felt beautiful. Watching half the sky covered in clouds and the other half preparing the way for the coming sun was just breathtaking. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Days of Joy Dares

Joy Dare catch up! Whew! It's been one doozie of a week! I've been trying to keep track of my Joy Dares, but I admit – I missed a couple days. These things happen. I have grace with myself. =]

January 15 Joy Dare – A gift worn, given away, shared.

A gift worn were these beautiful earrings. My son is not a gift giver. It's not his thing. However, now that he's a working man, he asked me if I'd like to go to WalMart and pick out a gift. How could I refuse?! A pair of earrings, a new journal, a coke, and a kit kat later – my $12 Christmas shopping spree was over. I loved every minute of it!

A gift given away are these scarves. I made several of them this Christmas season and I was able to bless quite a few women I love with a handmade gift!

A gift shared was my annual review at work. I know this may sound weird, but I had my review on the 15th and it was great to have my manager share with me areas I've grown and areas he'd like to see improvement. I think critique, done right, is a great thing! And my manager does it right!

January 16 Joy Dare – Three witnessed blessings.

I'm sad to say this is one day in which I didn't keep track. I'm sure I witnessed blessings on this day since not a day goes by that I don't witness blessings, I just didn't capture any specific ones that day.

January 17 Joy Dare – A gift bringing laughter, prayer, and quiet.

Strangely, all these gifts came in the same package. We have a baby in the house! He brought me laughter, prayer, and quiet. He's such a handsome, small, beautiful blessing.

January 18 Joy Dare – Three gifts from Gods Word.

Matthew 21:22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.

Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

January 19 Joy Dare – Three gifts that might never have been.

The first one is easy. Some of you know this, some of you don't. It's not something I share, but I couldn't help but share it now. My boy! When I found out I was pregnant, after saying that I never wanted children, I was petrified. My first call was to the abortion clinic, the second to my mom, the third to his dad. I had no intentions to have a baby. I DID have a baby and now I have an adult son! The best gift that might never have been.

My friendship with the family I live with presently. Had we not both started going to the same church, the same weekend, we may have never met. The Lord guided each of us to that place. I'm grateful.

My job. I saw an email. Had no expectation or hope, but I did have prayer. And I prayed. A lot. I've been there 5 ½ years. =]

January 20 Joy Dare – Three gifts only seen close up.

Shame, this is the other one I missed. =\

January 21 Joy Dare – A gift in sky, water, memory.

The Sun! It was present today! While it was still cold and windy, the sun did make an appearance.

I don't think I have a water gift today. Of course, I've been holed up, working, a good bit of the day, but I surely can't think of a gift in the water!

My mom. My aunt. These two women are so precious to me, but since we're spread all over the country now, I can only keep my memories in my heart to keep me from being too sad. I sure miss them! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Swedish Meatballs!

Have you ever wondered what makes Swedish Meatballs Swedish? I mean, is there something to it that only Swedish people do? So, since I’m curious minded, I had to find out. It really is a traditional dish served in Sweden. I read about it here. The recipe I’m posting isn’t quite as authentic, but it’s still really good!

Since I’d never made them before, at least not that I remember, I had to find a base recipe. I did made a few changes, not because I thought the original is bad, it’s because I had to use what we had and adjust to our own tastes.

Swedish Meatballs

3 slices whole wheat bread
1/2 cup milk
1 small purple onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tablespoons salted butter, divided
1 pound ground pork
2 pounds ground beef
2 large eggs
About 1 Tbs. dried parsley*
Kosher salt

2 tablespoons salted butter
Few Tbs. flour
Kosher salt
5 cups chicken broth
1 cup half and half cream (or ½ heavy cream and ½ milk – which is what I did because I had no half and half)

*Did you know that when you use dried herbs, you should mash them in the palm of your hand before adding them to the dish? It releases oils and other yumminess trapped inside! =]

Cut the bread into small pieces. Put them into a large bowl and pour the milk over the bread – leave it sit for a while. Meanwhile, add some butter into a large skillet, once it melts, add your onions with a bit of salt. 

After the onions have softened and have some nice color, add the minced garlic and cook for another minute or so. Remember, garlic will burn very easy, so you want to keep stirring it and only cook it barely.

In the large bowl, with the bread, add onion and garlic, pork, eggs, parsley, salt, and pepper. Get your hands in there and mix it really good. I know – it’s kinda gross, but it’s kinda great, too – admit it! Finally add the ground beef by breaking it into small pieces and mixing after every addition. It should take you about 3-4 turns with adding beef and mixing.

Once the mixture is all good and mixed together, use a large cookie scoop (about a 3-4 Tbs. one) and scoop out the meat, roll it in your hands to form the meatball. I did this in batches so while some were cooking, some were being rolled.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in the large skillet used earlier – about medium-medium high heat. Let the pan get nice and toasty, you want a good sear.  Add a batch of meatballs to pan and cook, turning frequently with tongs, until browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the first batch to a large stock pot and move on to the next batch. I think I did about 4 batches, with 14 or so meatballs per batch. I use a really big skillet. You shouldn’t have to add any more butter, but keep an eye on it because it might need a tad more.

To the pans drippings, add 2 tablespoons of butter and let melt. Add flour and salt and whisk; you’re making a roux so you want it to thicken up. Add broth a little at a time, whisking constantly until smooth. Continue until all broth is added. You may find you need a little less. I made this last weekend, I don’t remember exactly how much I used. Add half and half at end and stir well. It should have a nice gravy consistency.

Pour the gravy over the meatballs waiting in the lonely stockpot and cook for another 5-10 minutes over medium-low heat. You’ll need to stir it so all the meatballs get a good gravy drench! =]

Serve with egg noodle. And peas. Cuz I like peas. Then invite me over for dinner. Thanks! 

Oh, and I didn't take a picture. How am I supposed to call myself a successful blogger if I never remember to take pictures of things? Bah! One day! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Constantly moving... hopefully, forward.

I stirred through the night, wrestling with my thoughts. Prayed all the way to work, trying to make sense of the things in my mind. I was baffled. Isn't is amazing when the Holy Spirit prompts something we weren't expecting?

Ready for my head trip? Probably not. It's super spooky in there. 

Why am I always searching for approval? Someone to make me feel legitimate? I've come to the place that I know God has me for right now. I don't know how long this season will last, but I know it's where I am and where He wants me. Why isn't that enough for me? Why do I have this need to be needed? This longing to be sought after? Is it my own pride?

More so, why am I not being sought after? Am I not loving enough? Is my wisdom not valuable? Am I not righteous enough?

It's me. It's me? Not only me - it's satan having power over me. 

I'm not a good enough leader. I'm not a worthy professional. These are lies that I allow satan to place in my thoughts. However, I have some responsibility in this. As much as I would like to blame it all on him, it's also my own weakness allowing him power over certain parts of me - my life

While considering my word, constant, I had a list of areas where I knew this word would be relevant. I just didn't think it would hit so close to home - I thought it would work for tasks, ministry, to-do lists - not work in myself. What?

Here's the thing. We're being transparent here. And I'm learning. Always learning. 

I'm mean. My words cut. I can be harsh. Unexpectedly crass. 

I can blame this on many things. But I won't. It's my issue. Here. Now. I need to own it. 

My delivery of one-liners is quick and can hit the deepest nerve in another womans soul. Why do I do this? I want to be dependable, loyal, constant, steadfast, faithful, unswerving in love. Yet, I hurt people. Why? Proverbs 15:1 - A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

I'm sarcastic to the point of pain - of course, I don't realize it at the time... it's only afterwards, when someone has the guts to tell me how I've acted. Confronting me isn't easy. I can be defensive. I can debate and justify with the best of them... why do I do this? 

Ephesians 4:29 - Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

satan. I've given him a foothold in my life. 

I have to learn to find the balance between doormat and aggressive. The ability to be passionate about something, yet honor God and be obedient when it's time to not fight that fight. Proverbs 12:18 - There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

When I see injustices in my friends lives and feel the need to fight for them. It isn't my fight. When I feel like my words are falling on deaf ears, I feel attacked - emotionally and spiritually. I take it personal. It isn't my fight. I'm learning. Always learning.

I've grown. In so many areas, I'm different. Not who I once was. Isn't that what God does in our lives. We have Jesus and we become born-again. We are new creations in Him. Why isn't that enough for me? 

I'm still searching for validation from people

I need to be needed. It's the desire of my heart. Yet, my need to be needed is contradicted by my bad behavior. My swift words. My heart that loves too much. My passion for everything to be right, just, true. 

Here I sit - just me and my word, constant. Just me and Jesus. He's loving me enough. He's glad for me and in me. Psalm 19:14 - Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

In Him, I find my peace and joy. The unswerving love to pour out into other people. Into women. Women who need to know His truth and love. Women who want to know Jesus and not by way of my cutting words. 

Ephesians 4:32Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

I'm working in this, on this, because of this. A constant work in me is being done. Today. Tomorrow. Always. 

January 14 Joy Dare

January 14 Joy Dare - 3 startling graces of God.

I love this one! =]

When the Holy Spirit guides me down an unexpected path. The are some things we know God calls us to do and then there are things that just *BAM* show up and slap us upside the head... for me, that's sometimes how the Holy Spirit has to work in me. I'm hard headed. =]

His forgiveness. When I mess up, which, let's face it, is often - I know that if I am truly sorry for what I've done, I can just wash it away. It doesn't matter. It's gone. He loves me.

His love. Again, no matter where I go wrong, right, sideways... He's there and He loves me. He never turns from me or gives up on me. Ever. Isn't that refreshing?!

Weekend Joy Dares

The weekend just gets away from us sometimes, doesn't it? It especially gets away from us during NFL playoff games - I'm just sayin... =]

I was hoping to gather a couple photos on Saturday for my Joy Dare, but it didn't happen - life happened. It happens.

January 12 Joy Dare - Something above, below, beside.

The roof above my head! I've had a really difficult couple of years financially and I've been so blessed to have great friends to offer up a wee bit of their home for my son and I to call our own. While I really, really miss having my own home - sharing one with people who love me so much is pretty awesome, too.

My gift below is my footing. I think that even though I still tremble at times and even though I still slip a little, I'm grateful for the firm foundation that Christ has allowed for me. I feel as if my footing is more secure than ever and I can stand firmly on it.

isn't he precious?!
My gift beside (on Saturday) was Tiki... Tiki is my obnoxiously fat cat. On any given evening - he is the first to greet me when I get home, the one who sits beside me while I pine away at the laptop, catch up on some work, or even while I'm in the bathroom. He's been a constant companion to me since I moved to this area in 2004. I love him mucho!

January 13 Joy Dare - 3 things about yourself that you're grateful for.

hmmm... how can I spin this so it looks like it's about me, but it really isn't... Oh!

I have really great taste in friends! I have some of the best friends ever and a really love the support system that God has put around me. =]

I am grateful for my desire to learn. It's almost obsessive. Okay, it probably is obsessive. I think sometimes others may think that I'm being freakishly demanding, but I really just want to know what makes things tick, what makes YOU tick, where does it say that, why did that happen, why did she choose that road and not that one. It isn't judgement, it's curiosity and the desire to know why, how, when, where... don't hate me for asking a gad-zillion questions. It comes from a good place, I promise.

I'm grateful for my path. I do my very best to not have regrets. Sure, there are things I wish I would have done differently, but that doesn't mean I regret those choices. It means that those choices are the ones that led me to this exact place at this exact moment. There may be a whole gang of women that I get to minister to because of those choices. No regrets.

January 11 Joy Dare

**Who knew I had a draft of this just sitting on my blog waiting to be published?!

January 11 Joy Dare - 3 yellow gifts of fresh mercy.

I think the most obvious choice for this is the sunrise. I talk about the beautiful sunrise I get to see each morning and it really is just a reminder to me that each day is new and fresh. It also reminds me that yesterday is gone and mercy awaits me!

Fresh tulips. I'm not a HUGE flower fan, but there are some that I just really like. Tulips in the Spring are one of my favorites. It means a fresh new year of productivity. I like anything fresh and whole - and when flowers start to bloom, it means that gardens will soon be ready to be started and all that bounty will need to be eaten! =]~

A little redundant, I know, but sunsets are also a yellow gift of fresh mercy to me. Similar to the fresh start, the sunset is a reminder that the day is done - rest is near - new mercies are coming! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

January 10 Joy Dare

January 10 Joy Dare - A gift sour, sweet, and just right.

A gift sweet is the candy cane full of Mike and Ike's that I was gifted on Christmas morning. I just finished off my supply of them today and they were GOOD! =]

A gift sour is this beautiful jar of pickles that my friend made and gifted to me. It's almost ridiculous how I can eat them every, single day.

A gift perfect was tonights Discipleship class. I'm literally in love with this time spent with my church family. Don't get me wrong. We're not perfect. We don't say all the perfect things. But it is perfect time together studying God's Word.

That's all I got tonight! Share your joy dares! I'd love to hear them! =]

Constant - sticky!

So, I was cleaning off my desktop at work and I grabbed up the sticky note with my word. The sticky I wrote about in my original one word post. The one that sat looking at me for days.

I couldn't throw it away.

I know it may just be chicken scratch to you, but it means everything to me right now. To be honest, it was only chicken scratch to me a week ago...

I wrote this post a couple days ago and I thought taking a picture and posting it would give me the freedom to throw it away. However, it's still on my desk. I'm attached.

How's your word coming along?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

January 9 Joy Dare

January 9 Joy Dare - a gift held, passed by, sat with.

Don't get bored with this post. Okay, you can do what you want, but I don't want you to get bored. I'm having a mommy moment!!

My son, who just turned 18, has wanted to get a tattoo for a few years now. All of his friends have them - even some of his youngest friends! I told him, waaaaay back when he was 16, that if he waited until he was 18 and didn't tattoo himself, I would pay for his first one.

Here were the stipulations: I had to approve the tattoo and I had to pick the artist. My overall goal was that he didn't go into something half-cocked and end up stuck with something forever that he didn't really think about completely. Also, I wanted to be sure that we went to a quality artist and not some buster trying to make a few dollars, all while taking risks with my kids life!

The very first tattoo he showed me, I fell in love with it! I thought it represented him and his personality and it wasn't something he'd regret in a few years. So, I made the appointment and waited for him to become "legal."

All that to share my gifts for today...

A gift held was the conversation time with my boy. We were in the car for a little while, then got lost, then waiting for the tattoo to be drawn, and all the while we filled the space and time with great conversations. It was memory making in my book!

A gift passed by was the tattoo shop. Like I said, we got lost. We found it. We laughed. It was all great.

A gift sat with was my boy getting his tattoo done! I was able to share a first time experience with my son as a grown man. What a strange, wonderful feeling. I was watching skin that *I* created, in my womb, being marked up by something I didn't play a part in (I know, God was really the Creator of his skin, but I did have a little something to do with it!). It was a weird, beautiful experience. I also was able to be the fly on the wall being part of his grown up conversation, with a grown up man, about grown up things - like tattoos and girls and music. I glimpsed my son with new eyes tonight and I loved every second of it.

Reppin' the "D" and music - his true love. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Joy Dares are comin atcha!

I have to make up for lost time! I have three days worth of Joy Dares to share. =] Is anyone doing this with me? Am I all alone here? Comon y'all!

January 6 Joy Dare - One thing in your bag, your fridge, your heart.

In my bag is always lotion. Some people may think that's a weird thing to find joy in, but I have an extreme love of lotion and it's always being passed around at church, meetings, etc... because people know I always have it!

In my fridge (on Sunday) was a big supply of chili! I love making chili. I love eating chili! I love making chili for other people to eat! It was a good football, chili kinda day.

In my heart is love. Not a love I understand either. I mean a deep down, overwhelming, well of a place I didn't know existed. It's there that I find joy.

January 7 Joy Dare - Three graces from people I love. 

My dear friend at work asking me if I was okay and sticking around to actually *hear* the answer. 
An untimely, unrehearsed, and completely random jam session with a great couple of people! It made my heart soar!
Snuggle time with my favorite 7 year old.

January 8 Joy Dare - Dusky light, surprising reflection, lovely shadow.

Ugh. I wish I had see this one earlier in the day. I would've loved to snap some pictures!
Dusky light as I was driving home and passed a farmer burning brush on his property.
The surprising reflection was the mini rainbow I saw in the sky as the sun was setting and it wasn't even raining! =]
I don't think I've seen a shadow today! At least not one that I recall. Weird, right?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Not forgotten!

I haven't had time... wait that's not completely true.

I've had time, but I took a detox from electronics day on Sunday (except the TV... NFL Wild Card games were on, man!) and I'm battling strep throat today. It's 9pm and I'm heading to bed. That's when you know I'm unwell. heh.

Anyway, I wanted to let anyone who's reading me in this bloggy world to know that even when we get behind, it doesn't mean we give up! I've still been working on my Roman's Project - though slower than I'd like - and I've been thinking about my Joy Dare's - though I haven't written them yet.

Don't be discouraged if life gets in the way and you get behind, just get back up the next day and make it happen!

See y'all tomorrow!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

January 5 Joy Dare

January 5 Joy Dare - Something you're reading, making, and seeing.

Right now, I'm working through Romans. Since it's a memorization project, I'll be taking it in very small bites. But it's what I'm reading right now. I also have a book on my Kindle that I've been listening to today, but for the life of me, I can't remember the name of the book. =]

This is a scarf I'm making. This yarn and I have been in a battle for months. I've finally found something I can do with it and it was supposed to be a Christmas gift for someone, but I ran out of time. However, I'm still working on it and hope to give it to the intended before too long. 

Today I was able to see a dear friend I haven't seen in a few weeks. She's been very ill and between illness, freaky snow storms, and the holidays - coupled with the hour and a half - two hour commute to see her, it's been very difficult. BUT! Today I got to see her sweet face, pray with her, and just spend a few hours loving on her. It really couldn't have been a better day. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Romans Project

My word is constant, right? That means I need to be constant. Remain steadfast. Be loyal. I need YOU to help me. Hold me accountable. Be my sister and tell me when I'm not being steadfast.

Another challenge presented by Ann Voskamp today was to join her in The Romans Project.

If you visit her page, she has quite a few ways to tackle this project and to find a way to make it work for you. More or less, she's asked us to memorize 3 chapters in the book of Romans in little pieces at a time.

Let me be transparent. I don't memorize anything. Not recipes. Not scripture. Not remedies. I'm just not capable. I can't do it. I can paraphrase until the cows come home, but word for word? Nope. I'm not that girl.

Can I tell you a secret? I totally just memorized the first two verses in Romans 1! I did it! Yep, this girl!

Ann encouraged using a program called Scripture Typer. Anything that can get ME to memorize is no joke. =]~

One Word 2013 - Constant

Constant. constant. c o n s t a n t. Isn't it weird when you say or type or read the same word and it starts to look wrong? That's what I've been thinking about the word constant for the last few days. It's been staring back at me from a yellow post-it at work.

Almost willing me to challenge the word.

I couldn't.

It was MY word.

As soon as I wrote it I knew it was mine. When I looked it up - I felt it was mine. When I looked at the synonyms - there was no question.


1. unchanging, immutable, permanent. 2. perpetual, unremitting, uninterrupted. 3. incessant, ceaseless. 4.loyal, staunch, true, faithful5. steady, unwavering, unswerving.

Black beans and Sausage with rice!

I love Basmati Rice. Whew... there. I got that outta the way. I mean, really, you have no idea of the depth of my love for it! haha. It is my go-to rice for everything. On New Years Day, I made a pretty yummie, last minute dish and I wanted to share it. It was fairly simple, but also quite delicious!

I was cooking for 6 adults and 1 child and we only had a few leftovers for lunch the next day.

12 Italian sausage links
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
About 3 cups black beans (you can use 3 cans or a whole bag of dried beans that have been soaked and cooked)(If you use cans, don't rinse the beans, just lightly drain - you want some of the juice)
1 pint or can of diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cloves minced garlic
salt and pepper
Cooked rice (see note at bottom)

In a large skillet, add the whole sausage links and cook until every side has a nice sear. They don't have to be cooked through at this point, we just want a nice crust on the outside. Once that's done remove them to a plate or cutting board. Add the onions and peppers to the skillet, season, and saute until tender. Meanwhile, slice (on a diagonal) the sausage links into 1-2 inch pieces and add them back into the pan with the peppers and onions. Add garlic. Let them mix together for a couple of minutes, then add the beans and tomatoes and season again with a bit more salt and pepper. Finish cooking until the sausage is done in the middle and the beans are heated through, about 20 minutes.

Note about the rice: SEASON YOUR RICE. Yep, I said it. One thing that makes me crazy is food that isn't ready to eat when it gets on my plate. I don't wanna add salt, pepper, butter, etc... I want it all done and ready to go in my tummy! When you have nice flavorful food like the beans and sausage dish, but then add it on top of a rice that's bland, you end up with a bland dish.

Flavor + bland = bland
Flavor + flavor = flavor

Simple equation! =]

Also, you'll notice that I season at most every step. Even if it's just simple salt and pepper... every level of your dish should have attention. It shouldn't be ignored just because it's "only peppers and onions" - NO. Give it some love, man! I'm not saying you have to add a lot, but it does deserve some attention. =]

January 3 and 4 Joy Dare!

I didn't get to post my Joy Dare yesterday. I wanted to wait until the end of the day because it just seemed like that kinda thing... yanno?

January 3 Joy Dare - Three graces overheard.
The giggles of the sweet 7 year old with whom I have the pleasure of sharing a home. 
The cooing of a new mom with her sweet baby boy. 
"Good night" whispered to me by my friend when she knew I had a long day and just couldn't do one.more.thing.

January 4 Joy Dare - A gift old, new, blue. 
An old gift is my car. The poor thing has been through a lot and drives me hundreds of miles a week just to get me back and forth to work. I would really love a new car, but this one has been so good to me! When it's time to say goodbye, it might be a bit of a moment for me.
A new gift is the new approach to life we each get to take - sometimes at the beginning of the year or sometimes midway. When we decide to turn our lives around or focus on a new step or a new lifestyle, it's like a new breath! We don't have to wait until January 1, we can take that breath anytime!
A gift blue is the sky! We are having a beautiful morning here in VA/WV today. My drive to work was spec.tac.u.lar! I absolutely love watching the sunrise over the mountain. It really is one of the best parts of my day. For the next week or so, we're being told about mild temps and sunny skies - that all makes me very happy!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My Joy Dare and One Word 2013 challenges

Last year when I decided to do Ann Voskamp's Joy Dare challenge, I didn't document it the way I should have... I would either post things on Facebook, in different FB groups, share it with friends, or maybe journal about it some days. This year I have a desire to be consistent with how I approach my Joy Dare. The best time of the day for me to do this is lunchtime. I'm usually at work during lunchtime. I don't always have my journal with me and the need to carry one more thing every day is not high on my list of things to do. However, I almost always have access to a computer somewhere - so, this shall be my vehicle for carrying out the Joy Dare this year.

I am also praying about my One Word 2013 like crazy! I sort of did the same thing last year with my word. I used many different avenues to talk about it or write about it, but never one consistently. This, too, I hope to change this year! And, as soon as I know my word, I'll be sure to share it. It really was very valuable for me to cling to last year and I saw many areas that benefited because I had a desire to be better at whatever was in front of me.

So, on to the Joy Dare's for January. This is a printable available on Ann's website, but she also has a printable on her site for every month through October! If you've never gone to her site - go. Go now. She is a daily read for me - it's that good. =]

January 1 Joy Dare - three things about myself for which I am grateful. Hmm... she really knows how to kick off a new year, right? I mean, right away I have to shed my modesty and find something in me that makes me grateful... about myself?! Does she realize that she just gave me a blow to the heart?! This will probably be one of the hardest and it's only the first one! Okay, okay... so... let's see. I'm grateful for my heart that overflows with love for others, for the brokenness that I've gone through to get where I am today, and for the Son who died on the cross so that I may be saved. - There... that wasn't so hard. =]

January 2 Joy Dare - A gift outside, inside, and on a plate. Well, right now there is snow outside, while that may be a gift for some people, it isn't a gift for me. However, it isn't snowing today, so I suppose my outside gift today can be that there's no more snow! =] My gift inside is warmth. Many people don't have the simple luxuries of having warm places to go. I have only warm places to go and that is surely a gift. My friend gifted me some french fires today - I didn't put them on a plate, but I could've had I known that would have been one of today's Joy Dares! French fries are always a gift for me! =]