Thursday, March 31, 2011

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]sunrise on a beautiful morning[/caption]

A decade has come and gone, and yet I still remember those early days...

God, are you there?

A whisper in the darkness... my voice deep with emotion.

Do you hear me?

Heart heavy with the grieving

My emotions bleeding out all over the floor.

Too exhausted to even raise my head,

I lay prostrate-

the scratch of the carpet against my face.

Whispers to The One who promises me He will never leave me

I am humbled and broken.

The living room becomes a most holy place

as I quietly worship, through tears, the One who I know is a defender of widows

and a father to the fatherless.

"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling."  Psalm 68:5 NIV

The loss of my first husband and my journey through the valley of the shadow of death is just part of my story.

All glory be to God, that it was not the end of my story!

He takes the broken. The bruised. The hurt. The sad. The angry. The bitter.

The Great Physician performs surgery on the heart,

and breathes new life into a grieving soul.

After stumbling in the darkness of grief, I know that joy comes in the morning.

I also know that joy comes after the mourning.

Joy does come again.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted

and saves those who are crushed in spirit."  Psalm 34:18 NIV

She-Speaks Button

The She Speaks conference is about women connecting to the hearts of  other women, and more importantly connecting to the heart of God. If you might be interested in going to this conference, please visit Ann Voskamp's blog at A Holy Experience, where she is offering a scholarship opportunity for the conference.

My name is Dawn. The name means "sunrise" and is often used to signify new beginnings.  That is what God did for me. I am a new beginning through Him.

I am living, breathing proof of God's tender love and mercy.

When the pain is so great that words are not enough...

God will meet you there.

It is because of this, that my heart's desire is to help others who are suffering through the loss of a loved one.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."  2 Corinthians 1:3-5  NIV

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Relationship Is Important

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image by wader via Flickr"]hand clasp[/caption]

At Faith Barista this week we are discussing the question, "How do you spend time with God and experience spiritual rest?"  Click on the Faith Barista graphic on my right side bar to find out how others experience rest.

All good relationships require communication. If I want to have a better marriage I need to spend time with my husband. We need to talk. Laugh. Cry. Be goofy.....together. If I want to maintain my friendships I have to find time to get together. Chat on the phone. Walk together. Talk together. If I want my relationship as a mother to be nurturing to my children, I need to take time to find out what is important to them. I email family and friends. We keep in touch. We reach out.  Without communication...without sharing... relationships die. Sometimes the death is long, slow and painful. Sometimes not.

I make time for the relationships that are important to me.

My relationship with God is no different. Some people would question me with, "How can you have a RELATIONSHIP with God? God is all about religion...and rules...and church."  My reply is that God, and His son, Jesus are ALL ABOUT relationship. Yes, Jesus came to this earth in the form of man BECAUSE of relationship. God wants relationship with me, not because He NEEDS too, but because He WANTS too. Even though I have been a Christian for many, many years I am still in awe of the fact that the God of the Universe wants to know me....and even more importantly He wants me to KNOW Him.

Sometimes all I need to do, to experience spiritual rest, is to talk WITH Him, the one who knows me most intimately. I commune with the One who knows my heart.


I long for peace and rest

From You, who knows me best.

I stumble through my days

turning from Your gaze.

I am full of pride

thinking I can hide

all my stress inside

far from You.

Forgive me Father.

I am so stubborn.

I need rest.

Rest for my body.

Rest for my soul.

I need You.

Thank you for your provision for me.

As I draw close to You,

You draw close to me.

And I can rest in Your love.


Snow. Again?!

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image by nutmeg66 via Flickr"]Snowflakes![/caption]

I just returned from a two day trip. As I was driving back into the state, I saw that it was snowing. What?! It's a wonder we don't all keel over from this crazy weather. We'll all catch our death. Just a light jacket one day and then it's snowing. Should we all get our parkas back out? My mom bought me some super cool zebra print boots for the Spring mud season. I suppose they would work in the snow too. Ugh.

As I sit here at the kitchen table I see the big, fat flakes falling outside. A lot of them. This is crazy. April Fools Day isn't until Friday, 'cause this is a joke, right?

(P.S.) To those of my loyal readers that have been following the mouse saga....I hear them again.They are back. I guess I need to serve up the "green pellet" buffet again. If you are a mouse lover, don't talk to me. Joe,the cat, caught one too. Mice reproduce way too fast. Just sayin'. And now with all this new snow they will be cold outside, and want to come in to warm up. Listen up little micey, this is NOT the Motel 6!!!!  I love all of God's creatures with the exception of small little field mice that want to become my room mates.

I will blog tomorrow after I unpack, and after giving a pep talk to the cats about needing to "patrol the perimeter" for incoming rodents.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Barns Of NorthWest Ohio

Sun bleached.

Rain beaten.

Utilitarian buildings

that are beacons

to the farming way of life.

Barns standing

over the years

as a reminder of those

that work the land

and raise the animals.

Strong. Sturdy. Dependable.

Though my family does not farm, we are surrounded by those who do.

I am thankful for them.

Each day, I am reminded more and more of God's grace.

Wonderful. Amazing. Grace.

I have much to be thankful for...we all do.

I continue with my list of thanks, my eucharisteo, to the One who gives the moments. Each one a gift.

#350 laughter

#351 time spent with the ones I love

#352 contentment

#353 family

#354 deep conversations

#355 warm chocolate chip cookies

#356 non-busy Friday night

#357 Saturday afternoon

#358 my son cleaning the kitchen for me

#359 soft cats

#360 bedtime

If you want to learn more about Eucharisteo, click on the Multitudes on Monday graphic on my right side bar.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Time To Come Near

[caption id="attachment_4603" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Country Church"][/caption]

A time for prayer

and wonder.

A time for quiet

and contemplation.

A time for praise

and song.

A time to read

and study.

A time to give

and share.

New International Version (©1984)
Come near to God and he will come near to you...James 4:8

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image by Josh Michtom via Flickr"]Our Kitchen Counter[/caption]

The morning is quiet.

Time to think...before the day begins

I prepare breakfast.

Pour coffee

Wipe down counters

Notice the fur bunnies that need to be swept

See the explosion in the microwave, that needs to be cleaned

Remember an activity the kids want to attend

Remind children of school work that needs completed

There is laundry to wash before a trip

The big and little things that make up the life of a mom

My life

Sometimes the day to day is overwhelming....other days I am bored.

I look in the mirror.

I wonder what my life is worth?

On days when I don't feel like what I do is exciting, or interesting...

When I feel trapped in the mundane

I am reminded of what I am truly worth to the One that loves me beyond measure.

It is WHO I know that gives me value.

It is WHAT I know about Him that brings me worth.

It is WHERE I go that fills me.

It is WHEN I go that humbles me.

It is WHY I go

To live......


New International Version (©1984) Luke 12:24
Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!

New International Version (©1984) Hebrews 11:26
He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.

3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. I Peter 3: 3-4 NIV

Friday, March 25, 2011

Train & Graffiti

I can hear the sound of the whistle. The train is nearby. The ground shakes as the freight moves closer. Flashing lights.

I got stopped yesterday at the RR crossing in town. The train was long...and it was in no hurry. I sat for 12 minutes, parked, as the cars rolled by. There is something about a train. I'm not sure what it is...almost mesmerizing...the clack, clack, clack as the cars pass over the rails. Trains slow us down. Whether we like it or not. Yesterday, I chose to like it.

Since I was the first car at the guard, I had a great view of the train car graffiti. Have you ever had opportunity to really look at the graffiti that is sprayed  all over the train? Honestly, a lot of it was really good stuff. I know people should not spray paint on other people's property. It is vandalism. That is just the truth. But, if I owned a train I think I'd hire some kids to "paint" it. Um....I'd call it something like "Art On The Rails".

One graffiti artist had painted an entire person on the car.  I was thoroughly impressed with the detail.

As it turns out, the brief intermission of rail road art was just what I needed.

Living in the moment.

Enjoying something as simple as graffiti.

And I drove away, smiling.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

In His Grip

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="196" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Picture of Horatio Spafford[/caption]

This month at Faith Barista we are talking about rest. Click on the Faith Barista graphic on my right side bar and join us!

This song always makes me think of rest. Emotional rest... even in the storms of life.

It Is Well With My Soul

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, 'tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Horatio Spafford

You cannot fully understand this song, unless you know the whole story.

It is powerful.

It's much easier to say "it is well with my soul",  when everything is going well. Life goes according to plan. The waters are glassy smooth. It's not as easy to sing this song when bruised and broken. When tears flow and hearts leak. When the waves pound hard.

But, it is at those times when the words of this song have the most meaning...

Tired of struggling. Exhausted from treading water. Almost down for the count.

He reaches out.

The hand that grips me strong.

And doesn't let go.

When the wind and waves threaten

He gives me emotional rest

A calm

In the midst of the storms.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Letting Go Of Expectations

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="255" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Great Expectations (1999 film)[/caption]

Have you ever read something and realized it was YOU the writer was talking about? Okay, well maybe not really you, but it may as well have been. The words hit so close to home that you look over your shoulder to see if anyone is watching you, as you read...

I've finished One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I'm reading it again. It's that good. On pages 168-169, Ann discusses "expectations". During book club it was discussed that expectations are premeditated resentments.


How many times have I let my expectations, ruin the moment? How many times have I expected something, only to see that others can't meet that bar? How many times have I expected perfection in the moment, only to be sorely disappointed? I struggle with the way I think things "should be". When things don't turn out the way I had hoped, I am left frazzled, irritated, and resentful.

Resentment. I know it well. I wish I didn't.

That insidious word, feeling, has stolen my joy on numerous occasions.

It builds up inside of me, until it blinds me to all else. I can no longer see the joy of the moment because resentment has me standing in darkness.

I bite the words as they come out of my mouth. Hard and bitter.

I need to let the expectations go.

Do I want to enjoy the moment that God gave me, or do I want to "be right"?

"Expectations, kill relationships", Ann surmises. I tend to agree.

I'm a work in progress.

Joy is in the moment.

I'm learning to "let go" so I can enjoy the moments God has given me. The lessons are not simple, nor easy.

All of life is learning.

It's hard to stay resentful... if I'm giving thanks. The two don't mix well. I will continue with eucharisteo.


We are discussing "letting go" this week at A Holy Experience. If you would like to read more, click on my Walk With Him Wednesdays graphic on my right side bar.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Move Over Montana...We've Got Big Sky Too!

[caption id="attachment_4507" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="The Barn And Pasture"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4510" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Our House In The Background"][/caption]

Who says that only Montana is "Big Sky" country?  Would you look at that beautiful sky with the big puffy clouds!

Ohio has some pretty sky too. I want to lay on my back in the front yard.

I love living in the country.

I soak it all in.

Time slows down.

I feel blessed to be able to experience this.

Some times the best things in life,  are also the most simple.

It's All Grace

I had just returned  from an early morning walk.

I was struck by the beauty of this scene...a  scene right in my front yard.

I'm so glad I took the time to snap the picture.

My peaceful morning picture.

I enjoy looking at it. Over and over again.

Saturday night I was completely awestruck by the beauty of the "super" moon. The moon was huge. And perfect.

The light it cast was reflecting on the winter lake across the road. Out here, in rural America we have "winter water lakes" .  The lakes are not real lakes. In our case, the farmer across the road has a low spot in his field. The rain and snow melt cause a lake to form. It doesn't last forever but, for now the geese and ducks love it....and so do I.

The moonlight rippled across the water. The black silhouette of a still bare tree. The moon. The beautiful moon.

I had a difficult time pulling my gaze away from the scene.

I could hear frogs croaking in the darkness, along with the shrill sound of a killdeer.

I attempted to take a picture. I wanted to capture the beauty of the moment. Alas, my camera was unable to accurately copy the night time scene. My picture was dark.  I wonder if  catching moonlight is even possible?  I ended up with a dark picture with a white spot in the middle...which was the moon. No aura. No still beauty. No moonlight.

I wanted to savor the moment so I grabbed my Eurcharisteo journal...and I gave thanks.

#281  bright moon, close to Earth

#282  cool night air

#283  silhouette of bare tree under moonlight

#284  moon mirrored in the winter lake, in the field

#285   enjoying the beauty of God

#286   afternoon nap

#287  snuggling

#288  breath taking views

#289  pink

#290  the awe in the Almighty

#291  warm sweater

#292  smooth hair

#293  my tall son

#294  blue tennis shoes

# 295  Jeremiah 31:9

#296 comfortable clothes

#297  early morning quiet

#298 breakfast

#299 sunlight on the barn

#300 the mail van stopping at my house

It's all by His grace. Every bit of it.

As I've been writing down in my notebook.... filling it with eucharisteo, I have become more and more aware of this fact.

If you are interested in reading more, click on the Multitudes on Mondays graphic in the right hand column.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Saturday Morning In My Kitchen

Candles and warm light in my favorite nook.

Hmmm...What to fix? The possibilities...


Writing down daily thanksgiving on the family Eucharisteo board.

It's all grace. Every bit of it.

Even this...

This is one of the first things I see....Lonnie refused to eat his nutritional bits.AGAIN.

Animal House

Pets make me smile. They are so goofy, I can't help but love 'em.

Ace and Junior--The Greeters. This is what I see when I look out the van window. "We are so glad you are home! Pet us."


[caption id="attachment_4478" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Nikki, My Stalker Kitty"][/caption]

Please ignore anything you might see under my daughter's bed. Nikki is guarding the dust bunnies. Nikki is my stalker kitty. She was taking a break from her stalking duties, under my daughter's bed. She is a brave cat.


[caption id="attachment_4479" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Joe, the 'fraidy cat"][/caption]

Joe is very sweet, but very skittish. He doesn't want any funny business going on. He's 13 so he's allowed to lay under the bed if he so chooses. When I'm old, if I choose to lay under my bed, then let me. Just sayin'.


[caption id="attachment_4480" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Shamus, the kitty"][/caption]

Shamus is the youngest of the "crew". He is either fearless or has no sense, we're still not sure. Please ignore Junior sniffing Shamus' backside. Animals do not understand social etiquette....especially while getting their pictures taken. Sigh.


[caption id="attachment_4481" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Shamus and Salem-- Outdoor porch guards"][/caption]

Salem is the queen. She is beautiful. She puts up with nothing. Don't mess with her. She has claws and is not afraid to use them.


[caption id="attachment_4484" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Lonnie, Terrier Extraordinaire"][/caption]

Lonnie is the newest member of the family. My son got him from the local humane society. He is the sweetest guy, I just love him...even though I've nicknamed him "The Furinator."


[caption id="attachment_4482" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Jazz"][/caption]

This is a picture I took of Jazz during our last snow. I took the picture through the living room window...where it was warm.


[caption id="attachment_4483" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Llama Love"][/caption]

These are not my llamas, but I love them anyway. The neighbor across the road owns the llamas. I just get to watch them. I can't wait for all the babies that will appear this Spring!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Peace Be Still

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image by solidether via Flickr"]III[/caption]

Scheduling. Errands. Cleaning. Chauffeuring. Teaching. Cooking. Consulting.

Being everything to everybody.

Listening. Answering questions. Shaping lives.

So much to do, so little time.

I'm stressed...and tired.

There are days, even whole weeks, when I long for quiet.

It's how God made me.

Need for physical rest

Longing for spiritual renewal

Calm, in the stress filled.

Peace in the anxiety driven.

Rest in Him.


Sometimes He calms the storm...other times He calms His child. (Song by Scott Krippayne)


This week we are discussing physical rest over at The Faith Barista Jam. Click on the graphic on my right side bar if you want to learn more!




Wednesday, March 16, 2011

For A Season

wave crash

Ecclesiastes 3

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens

. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

I became comfortable in my life. There was a certain predictability, that brought not boredom to me, but security. I grasped hard. I wanted to hold on to what is...scared of what might be.

Fear does horrible things to a human heart.

It paralyzes. It cowers. It handicaps.

The grip of fear made me timid. It limited me.

Instead of stepping out into God's plan, in confidence, I stayed back in the shadows. Unsure.

I needed to loosen my grip...and let it go.

My husband lost his job of nearly 23 years. It was no fault of his own. That is what made the news so much more difficult. I hated the economy. I hated the company's decision, handed down my executives that didn't even know us. I hated the change that swept over us like a dark wave of the ocean...we were drowning.

My grip tightened. My knuckles were white from the death grip I had placed on my life.

NO, God! NO!

I resorted to begging. Crying. Pleading.

Fear, it is a terrible thing. It preyed on me, like a wild animal. It wanted to devour me, to destroy me.....and I was letting it.

I'm not exactly sure when the change happened. I'm sure it was months into the unemployment, my working part time substitute teaching, with the help of family and friends. Never once did we miss a bill. We finished building the house we were right in the middle of constructing, when my husband lost his job.

I realized that things did work out for us. Life was not what it had been, but we were (and are) okay.

It might not have.

God spoke to my heart. No, not in an audible voice. And no, I was not having a break down. His Word echoed over the waves of the ocean, that were crashing all around me.

God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)

God did not want me to have fear of the unknown...He wanted me to trust. Trust Him. Trust Him and let it go. Let go of the fear.

5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)

My security never came from things. Never from a steady paycheck. Never from money in the bank. Never from paying bills. Or being able to go out to eat on a whim. Never from knowing what each day held on the calendar.

My security was, and is, always in HIM. I had known this....but, it took a job loss...the strain.....the not be reminded.

Phil 4:19........."And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

Mt 6:8............"your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him."

Ps 34:10.........."...those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing."

I continue to stumble, but I am learning to let go.....


This week we are discussing "Letting Go" over at, A Holy Experience. Click on the WALK WITH HIM WEDNESDAY graphic on my right side bar, to read more!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Written In My Own Hand

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image by Bob AuBuchon via Flickr"]Pen & Journal[/caption]

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~ William Wordsworth

The leather bound book feels smooth in my hands. I open it to the page, after my last entry. The white emptiness awaits my pen.

I've kept journals my entire life. For me, there is something therapeutic  about putting feelings, thoughts, experiences down on paper. I like to express myself with words on the page. I've had people say to me that they could never keep a journal....because they would be afraid that someone would read their journals, or family would read them after he/she is gone.  My thought is, read them! READ THEM. I hope my family reads all my boxes of  journals. I think they will see that I was a real person, with real issues, joys and sorrows. I had dreams and I tasted grief. I was sometimes goofy and yet a deep thinker.

*In eighth grade I wrote poetry and doodled hearts in the margins of my journal. I practiced different styles of handwriting to see which one was the most beautiful. I wrote of the seasons and time.

*In college I wrote letters to my boyfriend. I'm reminded of some of the deep issues we discussed on paper. (yes, the 80's were still pre-personal PC days)  I could hold my own in a debate.

*As a college graduate I wrote about my search for a job and my desire to teach. Once I landed my first job, I wrote about my days as a teacher, and my students that made it all worth while.

*I wrote as a newlywed, learning how to share my life with another.

*I began to write a journal to my son when I was only five months pregnant with him. I wanted him to know that he was loved from before he was even born.

*I wrote a journal of grief, for the whole year after my first husband died.

*I wrote when I was a single parent. The joys and the heartaches.

*I wrote when I started dating again. Dating in one's mid 30's is a lot different than dating in one's early 20's. Just sayin'.

*I wrote to my new husband. Of course, my witty banter won him over....along with my amazing email skills and my otherwise complete lack of knowledge of computers. (Giggle)

*I continue to write in my prayer journal. I pour out my heart to the One who knows and soul bleeding out on each page.

Each day I etch words into time. I write how I am feeling at that moment. The ups and downs of my life. The bubbled up laughter spilling out in joy. The anguish of dreams not met.

I love writing.  I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.  ~James Michener



Monday, March 14, 2011

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image by davco9200 via Flickr"]Towels at my Other Gym[/caption]

It's a Monday morning...after yesterday's time change. I know it is only an hour difference, but I feel like someone hit me over the head with a sledge hammer...and no, that didn't really happen. I'd know if someone hit me with a hammer. I think. Unless, I was really sleeping hard. Then maybe not so much. Just sayin'.

Monday mornings. Are. Not. My. Thing.

I've decided that today is the day to wash all the towels and washcloths from the master bath. A large pile of white. Er...supposed to be blindingly white. Not so much right now. Sort of dirty white actually. That's what I get for choosing all white for the bathroom.


I'm not letting this stop me from my daily Eurcharisteo. It's hard to be a grouch if one is giving thanks.

* I have an abundant supply of towels and washcloths.
* A glass of ice cold tea.
* I have cold medicine to give a sick child.
* My children hugged me this morning.
* I emailed a friend.
* People that love me.
* I'm not alone in this world.
* The smell of a new candle.
* The llamas are out grazing this morning.
* The mud is drying up, from the wind.
* How I can silently glide around the house in my stocking feet.
* The cat going berserk this morning, that made me laugh.
* Lonnie dog as he looks at me with big, brown puppy dog eyes.
* A clean kitchen sink.
* Warm light.
* My husband told me that he loves me.

My heart is full. So is my washing machine. It is impossible to stay down when I count all the ways that God loves me.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Love Is A Sacrifice

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image by harold.lloyd via Flickr"]As good as heart can wish[/caption]

Love is a sacrifice... I wrote this note in my Bible, in the margin of the page,  next to the story of  The Good Samaritan. (Luke 10:25-) A story that Jesus gave as an example of love. A man hurt, beaten and bleeding, on the side of the road. Ignored by some. Cared for by a stranger. The stranger showed compassion and mercy to this man that he did not know.

As I looked to this story, I pondered the words of the Lord. He ends His parable referring to the actions of the good Samaritan, "Go and do likewise."

Go and do likewise. Jesus' words echo in my heart.

How many times am I like the priest or the Levite in the story? The first people to encounter the wounded stranger. The priest crossed to the other side of the road, as did the Levite. Was the sight of the man too much? Were they too busy? Did they owe this stranger their time? Could they be bothered with the ache of another?

I've known this story since childhood...but, today I looked at it with new eyes.  A story with a lesson. Relevant to today.

"He bandaged his wounds."

"He took care of him."

To the inn keeper he said, "Look after him, I will reimburse you."

This man was not too busy to slow down.  He knelt to help another...with no expectation of reward or reimbursement. We do not know (Jesus never says)  if the hurt man ever thanked the Samaritan that had helped him.

Love calls for sacrifice.

A sacrifice of time. A sacrifice of energy. A sacrifice of what I might want, for the benefit of another. Selfishness can't survive in the presence of love.

Real love for others, always requires a sacrifice of self.
"The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."
Mark 12:31

" Do to others as you would have them do to you."
Luke 6:31

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."
Ephesians 4:2

"We love because he first loved us."
1 John 4:19

Friday, March 11, 2011

For The Love Of Laughter

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]you laughed so hard you cried?[/caption]

"A cheerful heart has a continuous feast."  Proverbs 15:15

When is the last time you laughed out loud, tears streaming down your face?  Laughed so hard you snorted? Got the hiccups? Your stomach ached from the muscles you used for a good belly laugh?

Laughter feels good.

Nikki, the family calico cat, has a special fondness towards me. Some might call it stalking. She follows me around the house like my shadow. She makes me a little paranoid when she follows me into the bathroom...and sits and stares at me. Eh, hem....I can do this myself, kitty cat. This morning I was making the bed when she came flying out from underneath it. I didn't know she was there so I nearly had a heart attack. She made me laugh out loud because she was covered with dust bunnies. Okay, I admit to all my blog readers that cleaning under the bed is not at the top of my list. Not this week. Um... okay. Not ever. Nikki looked hilarious with a big  ol' dust bunny right on top of her head, between her ears. She did not appear too humiliated by the whole thing.

I laughed so hard this evening! My son's dog, Lonnie is a terrier mix. He can stand and walk around on his hind legs. Lonnie loved the smell of the pot roast that I was serving for dinner. Boy, did he want some! He walked around on his hind legs trying to get at the plate. He was so focused on the plate that he backed right up  into the garbage bag I had setting on the floor, ready to go out. The expression on his face was priceless.

This is the same dog that I blogged about last week that would not eat his yummy, dog food, nutritional bits. Go figure.

Tonight, while preparing dinner, I was singing and goofing around in the kitchen. My son said, "Mom, you are very 'bubbly' today. I like it when you are in a good mood. It makes the whole day better."  His words struck me. How often do I forget, in my day to day busyness, to smile and laugh, and joke?

My son reminded me  that

Laughter is the best medicine and....

It makes the whole day better.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Just Plain Weary

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="169" caption="Image by CRASH:candy via Flickr"]Description unavailable[/caption]

There are days when I am beyond tired.

I'm not just sleepy. I don't need a nap.

My spirit is sagging. I am worn down and run ragged.

The race is long and the finish line is no where in sight.

I'm about to give up... or give in.

I am soul weary.

My weariness drives me to the only One who can give me the rest that I yearn for.

The One whose words are true.

The One who walks with me...and on days when I am too weary to walk on my own,

carries me.

Psalm 91:1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. ----- My shelter.

Isaiah 40:31 But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. ---   My renewal.

John 14:27  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. --- My peace.

This month we are talking about rest over at Faith Barista. Click on the Faith Barista Jam graphic on my right sidebar to find out more.

Letting Go

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Vlčice (Wildschütz) - old gravestone[/caption]

This week, we are discussing "letting go". (Click on the Walk With Him Wednesdays/One Thousand Gifts on my right sidebar if you want to read more.)

Letting Go...

So hard for me. I struggle. I cry. I'm stubborn. It hurts.

I hold on until my hands ache. My muscles spasm. I can hardly breathe.

NO, GOD!!!

My grandmother laid in her bed. Family gathered around. We knew her time was short. She was ready to go home, but only days away from being 20 years old, I didn't want to let her go. The memories washed over me, salty tears coursed down my face. I watched, sadly, as the funeral worker came to the house to take her away. She was buried on my birthday. The day I turned 20. The day I told her goodbye.

In November of 2000, the hospital lights glared as I stood over my husband's bed. The nurse asked me if I wanted my husband's wedding ring? And did I want to say a final goodbye to him before they took him away? My pastor friend was there. A friend from Sunday School. I explained to my 5 year old son that Daddy was with God now, and he wasn't coming back.

I got the call early, before I left for work. It was a chilly March morning, that day in 2002. My aunt's voice carried hundreds of miles across the phone line. "Dawn, I called you first. Will you call your sister? Your father is dead. He took his own life."  The air sucked out of my lungs. "What?!" My brain was numb as I attempted to process what she had just told me.  My dad left....and he didn't even say goodbye.

I got a call from my husband, Scott, in January 2009. We had been married for just a tad over 3 years. Scott had a good job (he worked remotely) with a company that he had been with for 22 years. We were in the process of building a house out of state. Exciting times.....until that fateful phone call. His company was letting him go. No fault of his own. Economy. Since he worked remotely, he couldn't be put in a new position. I was trying to process the news....we were a single income family, we were in the middle of building a house, what were we going to do?!  I had to say goodbye to the life that I had known.

Letting go. Saying goodbye. Starting over.

My knuckles were white from the grasping hard.

And yet... it is when I let go, give up, release, that I can watch God in action. When I stop wrestling with Him for control, I can see Him at work.

When I stop saying "me", and start saying "YOU", I give Him glory.

Letting go is not easy. Humanly speaking, I don't know if it ever is. But, it is only when I let go and rest in Him that I fully begin to understand who God  is.

Psalm 34 ...4.I sought the Lord and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.....8. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. 17. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. 18. The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

God is good. All the time. Even when we have to let go.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

De-Cluttering Life Stuff

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image by tiexano via Flickr"]Moving in: Day 1[/caption]

I just read my friend's blog, over at Faith Barista.  Bonnie was talking about De-Cluttering. It got me to thinking.

I have always been an organized everything in its place, kind of a gal. I put things back after I use them, so I know where to find them for the next time.

And yet...... I have things that I don't need. Things I haven't looked at for a very long time. Why do I keep stuff? Why do I hold on tight to things that really don't matter?

Is it really comforting to keep things? Or is it a strangle hold?

Does relaxing my hand to let things go, bring peace? Peace... so that I can focus on the things that are truly important?

I believe it might be time for me to pare down---again. I've done it in the past, and to be honest with you it was extremely liberating. I can truly live on less, and still be happy.

I will admit it is not always easy. Watching television fuels the, "I have to have it" mentality. Turning off,  "the junk, the possessions, the things"  is a good lesson to learn.

Physically throwing out, or giving away stuff is good. It's also good to do a clean sweep of my schedule. What is truly important to me? What are the things I really want to do? Are my days so full that I can't breathe? Or am I able to relax and enjoy the moments? The ones that matter....

Cleaning up and clearing out!