June 27, 2016

Looking for Small Wonders and Counting Gifts...

Last Friday I wrote about Rest real quick like, before I ran out the door and hit the road running... in search of a little R&R while doing some dream team strategery (read: planning) for the year ahead at Dad's House.

The irony was not lost on me.

When the Lord is not being Oh. So. Obvious. in His attempt to capture my attention and slow. me. down. again, back to the rhythm of rest, then He is reminding me of one of the best ways to do that... by counting gifts!

Seriously - in the last couple of months, these are a few of the books He has put in front of me... 

Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs, One Thousand Gifts (again) by Ann Voskamp, and The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee. 

Now these books are inspiring and different and amazing and (of course!) I think you should read all three of them. But the overlapping theme they all share is this: Lovely (or Gifts/Blessings... or Happiness!) is all around, if we will be slow to look (or to count... or to dare!)...  You see what I did there?

So I am getting the message loud and clear and I have pulled out my One Thousand Gifts journal again and have returned to the practice of actually writing blessings down.

It makes such a huge difference!

I take note in my mind as I go about my day, but there really is something more that unfolds when we slow to put pen to paper and to write them down and list them off!

We discover once we start finding... well, our eyes are opened and our heart is warmed and we begin to remember that we are surrounded every day with gifts, with little offerings and blessings that point our heads and our hearts heavenward, eyes lifted up to God, our minds often filled with shock and awe because this life is hard sometimes and there is darkness closing in.  

And yet... 

Light bursts forth all around and filters down through the trees and all of the sudden, there is glory in our midst, praise on our tongues, and a smile spreading wide across our lips.


Joy is happening as we list off gifts - both big and small. 

Happiness, it turns out, is not just an emotion - but it is a gift and He means for us to receive it... to unwrap it and share it with those around us! He means for us to dare to seek and find, --to taste and see, --to fill up and then go and let it spill right out of us wherever we go!

Jennifer Dukes Lee says it like this:
"Happiness is the feeling of contentment that wells up inside of you when you are at peace with who you are and the life you've been given. 
Happiness is a feeling, but it's also a decision. It's a choice we get to make every day, even on our hardest days. Happiness is an outward expression of an inward joy that is found in Jesus. Happiness is a gift from a happy God."
~ The Happiness Dare
I remember hearing Bill Johnson say years ago,
"God is in a good mood." 
They say it all the time at Bethel but I recall the first time I heard him say it and it shifted something in my spirit. I had already had the revelation that He was a good, good Father... but God being in a good mood? It made sense, but it sure wasn't how He is portrayed very often, is it?

I think that's on us, really!  I think we have misrepresented Him... but as we slow down time, look for gifts and look for the way He shows up for us in our ordinary everyday lives, we begin to see His great love for us... for all of us. 

And how could we keep that to ourselves? 
Why would we even want to?

So I count on... I list off blessings and little gifts that I am unwrapping in my normal life.  I am looking for lovely and daring to be happy... and I am finding it, and feeling it, and writing it down!

How about you? Do you keep a gratitude journal or a list of blessings? Do you count gifts, or look for lovely, or dare to be happy?  I hope you do!  If you haven't, or like me -you fell out of the practice, I invite you to start with me here today!

List three things that you are loving about Summer so far... and something that makes you happy!

P.S.  I'm linking up with these lovely writers:

Kelly Chripczuk  for #SmallWonders 

Holly Barrett for #TestimonyTuesday

Kelly Balarie for #RaRaLinkUp

Holley Gerth for #CoffeeForYourHeart

Lori Schumaker for #MomentsofHope

Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory

OK... I will go first! 
Three things that I love about Summer:
1. My Garden
2. Morning Coffee on the Patio
3. Sundresses!

One thing that makes me Happy:
An Attack of Puppy Dog Kisses from Mr. Bentley!

Now it's your turn!


  1. It makes me happy that you referenced three of my favorite books in this post-Jennifer's being my new favorite as I read through it slowly. Slowing down, looking for lovely, counting our gifts does bring joy. In this process, our focus is shifted toward the negative to the positive and the blessings that our good, good Father has graciously gifted us with. Love you words, friend!

    1. Amen! I love that these books have and are impacting you, too! Thanks so much for stopping by and saying hello, Mary! xoxo

  2. Your joy makes me happy - and then there was that picture of bacon. :) Thank you for the reminder of the gifts all around us. Big hugs.

    1. Ah yes... Bacon! And that omelette there is a French Omelette and OH MY!!!? Love you, Tiffany! LOVED your post this week, btw!

  3. Beautiful, encouraging words. What you share reminds me of one of my favorite Scriptures: Jesus said, "Your eye is a lamp, lighting up your whole body. If you live wide-eyed in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar." Luke 11:34 The Message. It's so very true. I have stopped writing gifts down, but recently made the happiness jar with my girls and it's helping me be more intentional. Each night before my girls sleep I pray a prayer of thanks with them for the good things in their day: this also helps me to look for it.

    I am really enjoying the Happiness Dare and One Thousand Gifts was eye-opening for me two years ago...slowing me right down to rest until PTSD hit (I am certain this rest was needed to prepare me).

    Love the beautiful pics. You've also quoted another favorite Scripture "Taste and see that the Lord is good"...also love the worship song for this!

    1. All the Yes and Amens, my friend! I love how you are using the Happiness Jar with your girlies! And yes - He is so smart in how He knows what we need... and how often have I fought Him on Rest when I didn't know what was around the corner that would require me rested! Thanks so much for stopping by, Anna!

  4. Beautiful pictures, Karrilee. I'm so longing to slow down in July and find a more sustainable rhythm. June has been far too busy (unusual, for us) and I'm ready for some rest.

    1. I feel ya, Kelly! June was very full for us as well and I am suspecting I will need to find the rhythm of rest even in the midst of busy for a bit longer!

  5. Beautiful photos! Yes Blessings are every where if we're look we'd see them.
    Thanks for the books you recommended.
    Enjoy the rest of the weekend.
    God bless

    1. Amen, my friend! So happy to see you stop by here, Ifeoma! (And you know how I love to read all the books! I am happy to share what is really speaking to me!) Have a rest-filled weekend!

  6. Love all of these books, and I count on also because through all the difficult parts of life, the counting helps to realize that God is always in a good mood:) Your photos are spectacular, and your message encouraging!

    1. Amen and Amen... (and thank you! You are welcome any time!) Count on, my friend!


Thanks so much for stopping by! I always love to hear your thoughts! Remember to: Speak Life - Be Love - Shine On!

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