Can you believe this is the last Joy Day! for 2014?

Weekly we’ve been gathering together and counting the good and not-so-good things from the year.

Often, I feel like I have nothing to give other than just being here and trusting God with you.  Kind of like friends who go for a walk together, not saying much, just being together for the journey.

Always I ask God to give me something.  Something that will encourage your heart and mine.


Sycamore Tree with lovely bark at


This year has been a trying year.

As the hands of the clock turned synchronously with the calendar’s pages to the new year, I believed this was going to be the year where we would see God’s hand of restoration.  So much so, my word for 2014 was Restore. 

With all I am I believed God was going to restore “what the locusts had eaten.”

Instead, things became more challenging.


I never stopped believing that God would intervene and make a way for us.

In many ways my faith is stronger than before.  In other ways… I struggled with God more than I have in years.

I grew weary.  I became frustrated.  And I pulled back.  Always believing.  Always trusting.  But, I did what we do in our earthy relationships when it hurts… stay a little bit distant.

I’m not really sure why I do that.  This relationship we have with God isn’t like any earthly relationship.

He’s always with us and wants us to lean on him more through the difficult times.

Much more.


Mottled trunk of the Sycamore tree at


My word for 2013 was Joy.

I boldly went forward with that word and that post, despite a dismal beginning to the year.

And though it was an incredibly difficult and painful year… I know I was a joy-seeker and a joy-splasher.


As 2014 comes to a close, I am not thinking about a new word for 2015.

Instead I’m thinking about the words for 2014–Restore… and 2013–Joy.

In doing so, a portion of Psalm 51 come to mind…

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

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I’m so grateful that God’s word is living.  It breathes life into us.   It’s not a dusty history book.  The Holy Spirit whispers into our spirits God’s word that we’ve read or put away in our hearts.  That’s what happened today.

For me it was a reminder of what’s more important than a job or a house… it’s being in humble awe of this grace that God extended us through his greatest gift… the gift of his only son, Jesus.  It’s being willing to be malleable, to allow God to do his work in our lives in the midst of our circumstances, regardless of how things appear.  It’s being willing to be content in these circumstances.  And it’s being willing to obey.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and make me willing to obey you.

Psalm 51:12


As I seek God… and ask him to restore to me the joy of his gift of salvation, I’m thinking that this just may be what God desires most for us.


Just because the presents have been exchanged and the “wrappings” of the season put away, Christmas is not over.   In many ways, Christmas has just begun.

As I stood in church on Christmas Eve singing carols, I was overcome with the meaning of several verses (some of which I had never sung before).  This broken world was very much in need of a savior.  And still is today.

But our Savior has come!

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees!  O hear the angel voices!

(from O Holy Night! a John Sullivan Dwight version)

Do you need a fresh dose of hope?

Your HOPE has come!


Are you, like me, weary?



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Through the challenges and difficulties, I confess, these past few months I have not been as faithful in counting gifts each day.   I started believing the lies… thinking it didn’t matter.   After all nothing seemed to change, whether I did, or didn’t.   But you knew.  You knew.  And in my heart of hearts, I knew too.  Daily counting pushes back discouragement and weariness.

 A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,

Because we have Jesus, our hope and our salvation, we must rejoice.

We must count our blessings.

In doing so… our hope is renewed, our weariness dissipates, and most of all we lean in on God, our Hope, in newness and freshness.  We see him for who he is… bigger than our problem, greater than our need, and most of all more loving than we can even imagine.

Yes… let’s rejoice.

Let’s make JOY DAY! every day!


Sycamore tree with beautiful mottled bark -


Joy Day!

On Joy Day! we look back over our week and count just seven things for which we’re grateful.  As I already mentioned… the benefits are amazing.

I’ll start…
Thank you God for..

  1. helping me get so much done in one day.
  2. fabulous weather to travel for Christmas and touching our car.
  3. having so much fun decorating Christmas cookies with my dear friend.
  4. seeing a “kid” who came to my house for Christmas Eve for 8 years, now married and living in a different state, excited to unexpectedly see me on Christmas Eve.
  5. frozen dough and being able to bless the family with lots of yummy cinnamon and dinner rolls. (Why should I ever make them from scratch again??)
  6. having time to walk my favorite beaches on Christmas Day without snow, too.
  7. Your loving GIFT… the very best one ever… Hope for the weary.

Now it’s your turn!
In the “share your extraordinary thoughts” below… list your “seven.”
Your JOY meter will rise.

I dare you to count “seven” today… and to keep counting as many as you wish each day. Maybe this is the year for you to start a Joy Journal.

Thanks so much for joining me here today!
There really is Hope for the weary!
May the weariness of 2014 fall off as you embark on a new, refreshing, and joy-filled 2015.

A Happy, Joyful, & Blessed New Year!


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  1. Betty Brown says

    Thank you God for1.MY legs feeling better.2.Finally taking the step to get a new doctor to help me figure out my health issues.3.James only stay in the hospital two days and not seven like he did in November.4.Unity with we it family during Christmas 5.Giving me strength when I feel I don’t have any.6.All the sights and sounds of the season.7.Knowing that the season is all about YOU..

    • Diane says

      Oh Betty…. God’s hand is on you. I rejoice at all these good things and know that the New Year will bring even more from our loving Father. [hugs]

  2. Teresa Villasenor says

    I am joyful and thankful for:
    1. Hearing that my mom is finally getting the proper care from doctors that she needs.
    2. Having a loving husband put his arms around me when I am feeling my worst.
    3. Thoughtful friends.
    4. The abundance of little ones in my family, all of a sudden!
    5. Receiving the very first Christmas card from my daughter’s adoptive family.
    6. God’s patience with me.
    7. Feeling inspired to pray when I normally wouldn’t! That’s a huge grace!

    • Diane says

      I rejoice with you Teresa at God’s goodness lovingly expressed in your life. May your New Year overflow with JOY!

  3. Mel says

    I need some of that hope..
    I know where to find it, gosh golly that I’m weary enough to maybe go looking for it. *sigh* If I would JUST surrender IT would fine me, huh…

    Let me celebrate the joys….
    ….having the 5 year old for a part of the holiday.
    ….watching the grandad and 5 year old build a Lego tree house.
    ….confirmation that I need an appointment for the lump on my wrist.
    ….being present for the celebration of a 33 year sobriety anniversary.
    ….gifting strangers, multiple times.
    ….making a point to go out of my way for others the past two weeks, feeling humble and joyful for the efforts.
    ….the “Nana” ring I was gifted.

    • Diane says

      Mel… my heart hears your weary spirit. Praying now for relief. And…”I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

  4. Mary Barber says

    1. Celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
    2. Christmas Eve candlelight service
    3. My husband, family and friends
    4. Good health
    5. Two great grand babies
    6. Another grand baby on the way
    7. My church family
    I am blessed beyond words!

    • Diane says

      Mary… I rejoice with you at God’s wonderful hand of blessing in your life. And most of all for the gift of his son, Jesus.
      All the best for a joy-filled New Year!

  5. Debbi Saunders says

    I am thankful to God for sending us his precious Son Jesus!
    For the Awesome Spiritual Connection with 5 Strong ,Christian women that He has sent into my life!
    For a Peaceful and Joyful Christmas Day!
    For this Galaxy Tab3 tablet!
    For my restored, like brand new computer, !
    for my Home <3
    For strength, health ,and my job!

    • Diane says

      Debbi… I just want to shout a great big AMEN!!!

  6. Kim says

    Diane, once again, I’m so touched by your post. I relate to much of it, but in different ways and for other reasons. You know. I stand with you, my friend. Praying continually. Please read my post from yesterday. I would love for you to join the Jubilee Journey challenge! God is already moving and shaking. He will astound us in 2015, especially for those who seek Him as you do. Big hug, my dear friend!

    • Diane says

      My sweet dear friend… that is so like God.
      Thanks for continuing to stand with me (as you know I do with you, too). It means so much! [[hugs]]


  1. […] Last week I mentioned the importance of counting gifts and talked about how I pulled back from the practice.  This week, I started a new gratitude journal for the New Year to count the gifts and blessings of daily life.  I wasn’t sure how I would count, but thus far it feels right to sit down at the end of the day and count ten from the day.  I’m sure I might write something down during the day, occasionally as a remembrance, but the bedtime counting just feels so right. […]

Please Share Your Extraordinary Thoughts!


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