The Christmas Joy Project

“When obstacles tempt us to give up, God’s Word calls us to give away.” (my New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p1398. I love that Bible)

Christmas is the season of giving. Just writing this blog post is an act of giving on my end. Really. I loathe public opinion. I disdain my own visceral reaction to WordPress stats, Facebook like’s, and even the dreaded public opinion contrary – silence. I hated my own heart after writing blog posts so much that last winter that I ran. Like a fugitive, I ran out of the blogging world screaming.

“Tell me I can quit!” I screamed. “Tell me I can throw out the crayons I use to scribble  stories, and the binoculars I stare through looking for my loyal tribe of readers. Tell me I can quit!”

And Praise the Lord for His mercy. For just as soon as this proverbial toddler stopped pounding her foot, He scooped me up, drew me close, and breathed James Earl Jones deep:

“Now you’re talking, dear one. Quit. Quit scrutinizing. Quit scrambling. Quit your frenzied spiral dance and whipping up wild dust. But never, ever, ever stop giving.”


He has a way of doing that, doesn’t He? Taking your pain in exchange for a cure?

Unwittingly, I had been writing to earn approval. Your approval. (A distressing and laborious burden that one). But Jesus. He took my feverish offerings and exchanged them holy opportunity. On the cross, Jesus opened up a whole new way of giving. We can no longer pay or sacrifice our way into God’s mercy. Our giving is no longer a debt that we owe (anyone!) but a seed that we sew. (paraphrased from that Bible again. p.1398).

And then. Then He set my feet upon a rock I could never climb alone. “You need to make this,” He said:


No, I had never made something like this before. No, I don’t own power tools. No, I don’t even have one of those nifty Cricut machines to help make a stencil for this project.

So, I shelved the idea until He felt the need to clue me in on just how and why this was to be done. In the mean time, I ran into my friend, Sonya, who filled me in on all the details of her faith walk into adopting baby “Joy.”

Their paperwork was completed. They’d been approved. They’d even been matched!! (She called it being paper-pregnant)

Now, they just needed to stay faithful until the Lord clued them in on just how this was to be financed.

Wallah! The answer to my, “why”. {This project would help fund her adoption.}


I didn’t reveal God’s plan to Sonya just yet. (I still didn’t know how to accomplish all this). But I did drop in on Gigi (my favorite coffee-sharing friend) a few days later, and shared this big idea with her.

No, she had never made something like this before. No, she didn’t own power tools. No, she doesn’t even have one of those nifty Cricut machines to help make a stencil for this project.

But she has the Lord, too. And I asked her to pray. Little-known to me, she also contacted her good friend Kelli, who has made something like this before (many somethings like this), who did own her own power tools, and did have one of those nifty Cricut machines. And not only did she want to help me out. She made the templates free of charge!!

Wallah! The answer to my “how.” {Others would help me get there.}


I sanded,stained, and stenciled 10 (!!) pallets over the next few weeks. Two were “sold” to neighbors curious of my carport assembly line, seven were snatched up by friends and family online (even as far away as Hawaii!), and one was reserved as a surprise gift for Sonya – a memorial to all that the Lord knit together to bring Joy home for Christmas. Oh for Joy!


And you know what? None of it felt feverish. I gave, and no one scrambled. I sacrificed and no one whipped up wild dust. I danced, but did not take one frenzied step.

And you gave. Pam, Jeannine, Chris, Claire, Valerie, Mary, Betsy, Mark, Kate. You gave and helped make a life by what you give.



Vivian Joy landed on American soil Dec 22, 2016! And the very next day we presented Sonya and her family with a little extra Joy of Christmas.




Thank you!!  Thank you everyone who gave, everyone who gave away, everyone who refused to give up.

Thank you for being part of this Christmas Joy Project!


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