30 Days of Joy v. 3

In years past I’ve chronicled bits of my holiday season here on The Daily Grace, with two things in mind.

One: To experience this holy season with greater intention.

Two: To bring the joy and light of its sweetest moments into sharper focus.

My heart is pulling me in that direction this year, and it is my hope you will join me as we travel these last days of 2017 together. Here we go, 30 Days of Joy, III!




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Day 30: Joy Shared

There’s been joy every day, that is for sure, joy every single day since I started this latest 30 Days project here on The Daily Grace. We were running full speed toward Christmas at the time and I knew there was goodness ahead. It would be a season filled with grand moments, gorgeous ones worth celebrating. But there surely would be sweet, quiet moments as well, and I felt myself at great risk of running right through them in the rush to get to those more sparkly ones.

No, I thought. I want to notice them all. I want to take note of them all.

And so I started to write about them on The Daily Grace. And now we reach Day 30 and one of the best Joy lessons of them all. It is this:

Sometimes the very best joy is sharing someone else’s.

Right? Do you agree? Did you already know?


I woke up this morning to an email that made my heart rejoice with so much happy I giggled. I giggled! It was from my dearest of friends, Julie Turner, a bright light in this world who spreads joy like a farmer spreads fertilizer.

Um. Yeeeeeeaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhuh

is what the email said. That’s so Julie, is what I thought. And then I saw what she was referring to. It seems her hero–okay, her ultimate hero if you wanna know the truth of it–had just retweeted her.


Lyle tweet


Wow oh wow, I thought. And then I clicked on the photo link in the tweet.




That’s so Julie is what I thought again. She recently painted the risers of her stairway with chalkboard paint, and she and her husband and two boys always have something fabulous written there.


when their new puppy, Jerry, came to live with them
Thanksgiving, of course

Aren’t these chalkboard stairs the best idea?

Isn’t it swell that Lyle responded to her tweet?

Isn’t the lesson so true????

Sometimes the very best joy is sharing someone else’s.

Yes. Yes. Yes!


30 Days of Joy

*Want a little Julie joy in your life? Follow her on twitter and instagram @juliesturner


Day 1: Keeping Watch

Day 2: When Morning Comes

Day 3: Eight Minutes

Day 4: Hello House Finch

Day 5: For Love of the Cranberry

Day 6: When Joy is Bittersweet

Day 7: Remembrance

Day 8: Now Christmas Can Begin!

Day 9: Home for the Holidays

Day 10: Keeping Watch

Day 11: Making Time

Day 12: The Annual Corporate Christmas Party

Day 13: A Room at The Inn

Day 14: Waiting

Day 15: #IAmNedd

Day 18: Road Trip!

Day 19: Secret Gardens

Day 20: Walks, Dogs and Spanish Moss

Day 21: The Very Last Day

Day 22: Beginnings

Day 23: Playing Favorites (or 6 things I learned during Christmas Break)

Day 24: in january

Day 25:  A Bit of Chit Chat

Day 26: On Dreams. And Courage.

Day 27: Sail Away

Day 28: Taking Note

Day 29: Take A Hike






Day 8: Now Christmas Can Begin!

It’s the phrase my Mother repeated year after year the moment I opened the old screen kitchen door, stepped into her 10,000-Santa breakfast room and, three or four or five dogs sniffing at my knees, wrapped my arms tight around her. You are home. Now Christmas can begin! she’d say. I’d inevitably traveled back to Virginia from South Carolina (whether home from college or my grown-up life) and while I appreciated her enthusiasm, I didn’t really understand the magnitude of the sentiment.

Now I do. Boy, do I.

Look who finished exams this morning and came home this afternoon.

eliza and the bit doing their thing
Eliza and Little Bit, doing their thing

Now Christmas can begin!

30 Days of Joy



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Day 1: Keeping Watch

I’ve been out of commission for the past week due to a little surgery on my shoulder. As I rest and recover, forced to moved slowly through these weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it seems like a fine time to kick off 30 Days of Joy. I hope you will join me as I look for the light in this blessed season of Advent.

Day 1

Keeping watch over me
keeping watch

Sweet Little Bit came to us in a most unexpected way. She was rescued by my mother many years ago, and to tell the truth, she was a dog I never paid any particular attention to. There were always so many dogs at Mom’s house—who wouldn’t want to be adopted by Posey Rigg when dinner was finished off each night with ice cream sandwiches for all? In fact in those days, Little Bit was such a strange looking little thing, as big around as she was tall, she looked for all the world like a Macy’s Day Parade balloon.

And then Mom’s health began to fade, and she ultimately moved into a skilled nursing facility that couldn’t allow dogs. At the very last second I put Little Bit in the car with me and drove her back to South Carolina, praying that when I arrived my dear husband (and our handsome cat) would both open their hearts to this funny looking little creature.

They did. And from that moment on, Little Bit has been our joy and my faithful companion.

How devoted she is. What a powerful reminder she has been, this week in particular, of the kind of love that says I am here, keeping watch. Rest.

30 Days of Joy

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30 Days of Joy

Let’s kick it off again, shall we?

What better way to launch this Season of Happy than with one of my great joys: Winn Collier’s #adventpicaday. Last year we looked for the light, and this search brought unexpected grace to every corner of my life. This year’s theme is the search for hope. Details here. (Give yourself the gift of Winn Collier’s blog. Smart. Lovely. Rich, in a most beautiful way.)

Do join in, won’t you? Even if you haven’t tried your hand at the photo app Instragram yet, this is the perfect way to wade in. You are so gonna love.

Day I: #adventpicaday #hope

Day 1 #hope #adventpicaday

Grace and peace to you this season of Advent.


Day 23: How You React When Lee Smith Reads Your Post And Writes You Back

1. You stare at your computer screen in disbelief for 2.8 minutes, maybe longer.

2. You close the email.

3. You open it again, just to make sure it is really there.

4. You obsess over every sentence.

5. Especially the one that says: And you are quite a writer yourself.

6. You close the email.

7. You open it again, just to reread that one glorious sentence. (see #5, above) And, the part that says your letter has been the best part of my holiday.

8. You make yourself step away from the computer.

9. You wait four days.

10. You open the email again.

11. You smile all the way to your liver, thinking to yourself: Lee Smith read my post. And then she wrote me back.


Day 1: Sasanquas, and the Yuletide

Early, and unexpected, my first bit of holiday joy came peaking over the kitchen windowsill Thanksgiving morning. There’s nothing I love more than greeting the sunshine of a new day from that spot—the birds hop from the bare oak to the feeder and back again; the squirrels scamper about as if winter is on its way. This particular morning, a surprising spot of pink caught my eye as I gazed beyond the window toward the pond.

What is that? I wondered, leaning forward for a better look at the blossoms hiding there. Sure enough, right there under my nose, the most glorious Sasanqua Camillia, fully in bloom.

I don’t remember having ever noticed this bush, not in the four years we’ve lived in this house. Perhaps I haven’t looked. Or maybe this just happens to be the right time, this particular November, for that Sasanqua to have finally reached a height that brought it into my view. Whatever the reason, I am rejoicing.

I got lost among its blooms, my camera and I, and decided right then: I will keep a bowl of blooms on my desk as long as there are blooms this winter. And while this varietal doesn’t officially qualify, I shall nonetheless refer to this holiday season as the Yuletide. In honor of the Sasanqua Yuletide, yes. And also because I just like the word.
















30 Days of Joy 




The Very Best Days of the Year

The days the Miller sisters visit the office are the very best. They’re joyful, they’re stylish, and they always bring with them the most interesting things in their back packs.

For instance, Eva travels with her own computer (pink). She also wears cowboy boots (pink), and sometimes a cowboy hat (pink).

Helen, on the other hand, whipped this sock puppet right out of nowhere.

She also always packs a magic wand in her purse. I respect that.

See? Helen and the magic wand, from a previous visit
















This past Wednesday, Eva and Helen were clearly in the Christmas spirit when they visited us at the WECO. They happily skipped off to the Green Room for a little dry erase action on our brainstorming wall while their Mom and I had a quick meeting. In no time they came running, ready to Ta Da their new artwork Right That Very Moment.

We weren’t disappointed. In fact, I was so inspired by Eva’s creation I’ve decided to start a new series just for the holidays.

original art, in dry erase, by Eva Miller

I hope you will come along.