Where is Joy?

IMG_0918I always hated my first name, mainly because no one used it. When I heard it used, it wasn’t me.  My middle name is my identifier – Martell, a created name by my parents. Growing up, whenever someone learned my first name, they would use it teasingly, and I would cringe.  On the first day of classes each semester in college, I didn’t respond when my name was called because they always used first names!

The irony is that I have a lovely first name – Joy.  I don’t think I truly appreciated this name until I read Ann Voscamp’s book one thousand gifts.  Now I want to use it – put it on my website, use it in my signature because I truly do feel the joy that comes from God’s blessings.

As you learn more of my story you may be surprised that I would choose “countingjoy” for my blog title.  And I confess that I question God at times – “where is the joy here?”  I have been in some pretty intense struggles with God at times in the last 10 years.

I’ve had a broken heart that I blamed on God, and He patiently held me, waited for me, loved me. He was the loving Father to an angry and devastated child.  This heart is mending – probably in the best shape it’s been in the last 10 years. Begin here to read about my broken heart.

Ann Voscamp inspired me to write this blog.  Reading her book one thousand gifts gave me a different perspective for living.  I started counting the gifts God gives me each day in March, 2012; by December 31, 2012 I’ve counted 2559 gifts.  Who knew there were so many things to count!  Are some of them repeats?  Sure, but only because they are worth repeating.  I usually count 10 a day, some days I’m able to count my Morning Blessings as well as the gifts at the end of the day. It has become a habit that I seldom skip.

I like to write about a variety of subjects, so keep reading to learn more about my categories. See What I Learned This Year About Blogging.

Click on “Blog” in the Menu to see the most recent posting.




Heart Lessons:   These posts are about my journey of healing from a broken heart. On April 13, 2002 our only child, Jennifer, fell to her death while hiking with her fiancé, Josh. The post of Sept. 21, 2012 in this blog gives the complete story about her accident. My purpose is to share how I coped — what worked for me but also my struggles. It has taken me ten years to share this story in such a public way. I pray these thoughts help those who mourn as well as those who want to help the mourner.

Great Uncle George when he was a dashing young man!

Great Uncle George when he was a dashing young man!

Family Legacies. Both my parents and all of my grandparents are no longer alive, but I have plenty of stories that their grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren have never heard. One series contains the journals my mother kept while a missionary nurse in Haiti in 1988. Another series chronicles her work in Ghana, West Africa.

School Supplies

Tuesday is for Teachers is dedicated to ALL teachers to encourage them to find joy even on those really tough days. I taught in public schools more than 30 years and teaching will always be in my DNA. I may not post every Tuesday but keep watching for these on Tuesday.

compl 4Sharing Joy posts are random stories of ways to share joy with others.  Sometimes these are specific how-tos such as How to Make a JoyBox or Giving Your Child A Blessing. The point of counting blessings is to remind yourself of the grace God has placed in your life and then it just spills over into sharing with others. The Sharing Joy Tutorials give specific instructions.

Five-Minute-Friday.1Five Minute Friday
  Lisa-Jo Baker started this link up, giving a topic every Friday and challenges bloggers to write for only five minutes.  It is a writer’s challenge to not edit your own writing and stopping waaaay before you planned to!  Kate Motaung now hosts this community of bloggers.


Living Dairy-free & Wheat-free  I developed some serious food allergies after I turned 60, placing me on a totally different path as I learned how to cook without using wheat or milk products.

Join me as I share what I’ve learned, ponder soul-searching questions, and tell stories about my family and other folks on my journey. I am blessed to have you stop by and read.

Please leave a comment if a post touches you in some way, and don’t forget to count your blessings!


17 thoughts on “Where is Joy?

  1. Beth Ann Fisher

    Hello there dear Auntie! So pleased to learn your first name. Don’t think I ever was aware. I am happy to see you and learn of your heart.

  2. Carol Gooto

    Martell..this is Carol Gotto..today I bought a hand cross for myself but driving home the Lord spoke to me to give to our son Brad. Brad is 30…lives with us ..been sobef 5 years first of May..but got caught for his 4th DUI last Sat. It takes about 6 -12 months for blood test results to come back to see if he is over legal limit…Brad suffers from depression & he struggling ….the Lord told me Brad needs this cross & I talked to him 5 minutes ago & he wants the cross. He needs it. Thank u for being at Ladies Day today & having the crosses which I believe will b the comfort he needs. Thank u for being the Godly woman u are. Love u….Carol

    1. JoyMartell Post author

      What a blessing to hear how that piece of clay can help a wounded heart! I pray he can find healing from the great healer. The ladies day was so well organized and inspiring!

  3. Dana

    Hey, friend. I was so blessed by your comment on my blog this evening that I wanted to come over to your space and leave you some love. 🙂 What a neat story about your name. Love how the Lord has emphasized the meaning of it for you. And of course, LOVE Ann V. 🙂 Blessings to you!

  4. Carrie

    I love your first name! It’s always been a favorite name of mine but we could never use it because it rhymes with our last name. What a great name you have and a great blog too!

  5. rosebudmama

    My blog was also inspired by Ann Voskamp’s 1000 gifts. I wanted a place that I could record the gifts in my life. I am stopping by from FMF. 🙂

  6. Joy Lenton

    Hi Joy, it’s lovely to meet a fellow ‘Joy’ who has not only been inspired by Ann Voskamp’s books but has also named her blog/s with God’s joy primarily in mind! Thank you for visiting Poetry Joy and leaving a lovely comment. You can also find me writing deeper things at wordsofjoy.me which is my main site. Last October, in the midst of some seriously hard stuff, God invited me to participate in the #write31days writing challenge. The topic He gave me? None other than ‘journeying into joy’. One day I hope to turn those thoughts into a book. May God bless the journey into joy you share here. Counting all things as joy is no mean feat but a heart set on gratitude can see God’s hand at work in everything. 🙂

  7. JoyMartell Post author

    When I talk about the transforming change that counting 1000 gifts, I remind myself to clarify that it was not like magic. As I often said to my 8th graders, it’s a process. The joy came bit by bit, and I finally felt healing in my soul. It only took 12 years! I’m in the process of writing about that journey, but knee problems and finally knee replacement surgery interfered. Hoping to attack it in earnest in the next month. So glad to have found your sites. I need your words that cause me to stop and ponder!

    1. Joy Lenton

      Joy, I’ve found that good, lasting, transforming change rarely comes swiftly. It usually requires deepening awareness, openness, time and application, just like habits take a while to become established. Soul healing, especially, cannot be rushed. it definitely is “a process” in my experience! I look forward to hearing more about your journey once your health has improved enough to allow you to focus better. It’s a joy to have discovered your site! Blessings of health and strength to you. xo


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