Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I Have Moved... Please Come Visit!

Hello dear friends!  I have done it.  I have made the move... and I am nervous. :0)

I do SO hope you come over with me...

I can't wait to see you!
Love, Dawn

Friday, January 25, 2013

Five Minute Friday... "Again"

So there is this thing this wonderful chick has started... her name is Lisa-Jo Baker.  She is seriously cool and you can meet her HERE.

It's called five minute Fridays and she gives a word to prompt us (her twitter/allume/blogger friends) to write.  No editing... no pondering... no rewrites... just flow.  Today's word is "again"... and I can write on that with ease today... and so here it is...



Again, I am faced with my daughter's fight for life.  As she shakes violently in my bed, eyes rolled back, every muscle tightened beyond belief... I face the seizure twisting her face and choking her breath and stirring that wad of emotion I keep buried inside.

Again, I take her in my arms and proclaim the name of Jesus over her.  Again, and again, and again.  Until it stops.  Again, I fight back tears and anger and rage and embrace the promises of the One who created her.  Again, I wonder how long it will last.  Again, my mom's heart takes the punch full throttle and tries to remember this is our normal.

Again, I soothe her back to sleep and pray for the Lord's strength, guidance, and hope.  Again, I call the neurologist to report this new ugly seizure.  Again, I ask questions and again, get little unclear answers.

Again, I cling to Isaiah 43 and again, I remind myself He loves her more than I.  Again, I wait to see how she will be when she awakes.  Again, she starts her day in strength and again, I am amazed.

Again, I remember we once lost her and again, I praise the Lord for so many days with her.

Again, I walk through my day looking like any other mother.

Again, I am not really like any other mother.

Again, we have dinner and I realize we made it through another day.  Again, I sleep with her to see if she has another one.

Again, God is sweet and covers her with peace. And again, we start our count at ONE... one day seizure free.

Again, I am amazed my friends do not tire of our request for prayers.  Again, I am blown away by their love and the love of strangers.  Again, she pulls people into the throne room to meet with God.  Again, I am humbled... overcome with thanksgiving.

Again, I sing praises to the One who created her and shares her with me.

Again... we start again.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Saddened By Seizure

Dear friends,

I had all intention of posting a book review today.  You have been so patient this week.  I have spent this week really investing in quality time with my kids and I have just not made it to the computer to write.  And yet, you come each day.  Humbled.

My husband was on a trip last night and so I had Abby sleep with me to see if she had a seizure.  At 6:15 a.m. I awoke to find her violently shaking, making troubling sounds and choking.  As she shook for what seemed like five minutes (in reality only about 45 seconds), I held her and praised the name of the Jesus as my heart sobbed in sorrow.

Her resilience leaves me in awe.  After her body calmed down enough to start breathing properly, I soothed her back to sleep and she slept just one hour before waking for school.  She awoke bright eyed and even almost cheerful.

So my entire day was thrown off.  I am awaiting a call from the neurologist.  The type of seizures we are seeing are new and much more intense and violent than her "normal" ones.  This saddens me greatly.  We are almost already maxed out on the two medications she takes... not many more options.

I am wondering if it has something to do with puberty and hormones.  I am wondering if it could possibly have something to do with the new medication.  :0(  Unknown after unknown after unknown... leaves us guessing and searching and most often empty handed.

And that is where you all come in.  Your prayers and your friendship and your encouraging words help give me breath.  I am amazed at the faithfulness of so many.  And I am so blessed by you.  Each and every one of you and your prayers are a part of my dear little Abby's tapestry.

Thank you.

I will so try and post my book review tomorrow.  It is about a great little book with BIG blessings!

Much love, Dawn~

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday's Beautiful Moment...

I have been posting pictures of "beautiful" on my One Beautiful Life's Facebook page.  It amazes me how a picture can say so much.  I think that is why I love to take them.  You can capture so much with just one click of the finger.

My picture today is one of my precious Abby, boogie boarding in the ocean.  When this child was three years old, she was having sometimes 30+ seizures a day, could not walk anymore, could not talk anymore, and could not even hold her head up.

The above picture captures the Almighty mercy, grace, healing, love and generous power of the living God.  And it fills me with joy.

It was during this time that my prayer was something like this:

"Lord, please, I beg you... just give her one thing. Bring healing in one area.  Please give her the ability to walk and play again.  If you allow her to walk again, I will accept never hearing her voice again.  I will teach her sign language and that will be enough.  And if she can't walk again, then please let her talk and communicate again... let me hear her say, "I love you," again.  Let me hear her sing again.  And if she can talk and communicate and laugh and sing again... then I will push her in a wheelchair and carry her to the bathtub for the rest of her life... that will be enough.  Just one Lord... just one.

How generous God has been to this child... to this mama... to this family.  Abby sings, laughs, talks, reads, whines (lol), runs, scooters, rides a bike, swims, boogie boards, jumps, plays basketball and dances.  And I was asking for one... just one.

This is beautiful.  This is His presence.  And I am flooded and overwhelmed with gratitude today.

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen."  Ephesians 3:20,21~

"How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!  Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.  They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.  For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light." Psalm 36:7-9~ 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Saw this on facebook yesterday and had to share it with you.  I need this framed in every room of my house.

I really think it is God's heart for me right now and I am SO going to try and receive it.  I hope you can too.

Happy Thursday sweet friends!

Be encouraged...

Love, Dawn~

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My Open Letter to Lance Armstrong

Dear Lance,

In the wake of your behavior, last night's confession, and new allegations... I am compelled and feel very strongly obligated to write you this letter.  I hope to keep it as short and plain as possible without there being any chance of you not fully understanding it's intent.  And I hope to deliver my thoughts in two questions to you... the first being...

How dare... WE?

How dare we stand in judgment of you and your mistakes?  How dare we pretend we don't make them daily?  How dare we stand here and cast stones upon you as if we are sinless?

How dare we act as if we know you and you have personally let us down, affected our lives, and ruined some media-driven image created in our minds?

How dare we have put you up on a pedestal and idolize you as if you were perfect in every way?  How dare we forget only ONE is worthy of being lifted up and that He has already been... on the very cross that wipes out our transgressions?

How dare we splash words of disgust, hatred, self-righteousness and pride towards you in every social media outlet possible?

How dare we have looked to you to fill any void in our own lives?

How dare we toss aside and pretend to bury the reality of our own past mistakes and the damage it caused in our lives and to our loved ones and friends?  And how dare we take for granted those mistakes were not made into daily headlines, magazine covers, interview questions, subject lines of tickers, late night talk show entertainment, and public humiliation and shame?

How dare we quickly and casually jump on the nearest hater band wagon instead of praying for you?

How dare we forget the hundreds of thousands of people who were encouraged by you to fight the disease attacking their lives?  How dare we say, now, it does not matter?

How dare we forget the same grace, love, mercy, and forgiveness that is offered and FREELY given to us daily in Jesus Christ is offered to you?  How dare we not pray that the same grace, love, mercy, and forgiveness that is offered to us finds it's way to you?  How dare we not pray God brings beauty from these ashes and is glorified through it?

And how dare we buy into the money making... marketing strategy... and branding campaign of "Live Strong" when it was missing the two most important words... "In Him,"?

And lastly I ask you this, "Will you forgive us?"

My prayer and desire is for you to find Him in all this mess, for you to be used to share His truth, and for you to live a life branded only with "Live Strong In Him."

In His love for you... one of the millions of people who have never crossed paths with you and yet knows your name and story...

Encouraged at (in)courage

I was driving down the road two days ago, thinking about all the things left to do in the day.  It became clear, something was going to have to go.  Wait.  Who am I kidding?  LOL  Several things were going to have to go!

Do you ever do this?  Think about things that await on your "to do list" and decide what HAS to be accomplished and what can be penciled in for the next day?  Thinking about what I have to do on a daily basis can leave me feeling overwhelmed.  Like today, for example... I have to make dentist appointments for two of my chillies (kids), call the church and RSVP for church dinner that is TONIGHT, do at least two loads of laundry, clean the kitchen from morning madness, get a work out accomplished, have quiet time, shower (big event around here), pick up three chillies from school at three different times, get my post published, help with homework, "play school" with my middle daughter, reply to an important email, have 30 minute "pick up" party here in the house, attend church dinner/meeting, and other little odds and ends that arise in the moment.   

I forgot to mention watching soap operas and eating bon-bons.  Wait.  I don't do that!  Praise the Lord!

So as I was trying to think what I could slide to tomorrow (which was yesterday) I realized something.  I LOVE ah-ha moments.  God moments.  The reason it overwhelms me is because I have this IDEA that it ALL has to get done for the day to be a good day.  I realized that my IDEA of a good day was one where I got all my "to do's" DONE.  I WAS SETTING MYSELF UP FOR A BAD DAY WITH THE IDEA OF A GOOD DAY!

Does that make sense or did I lose you?

Then I was flooded with thoughts of peace.  I don't HAVE to get everything done for this to be a good day.  Not getting everything done DOES NOT mean I failed.  Not getting everything done DOES NOT mean I am a bad wife, bad home domestic goddess, bad mother, or failure as a whole!  And I smiled... inside.  I LOVE inside smiles.

I do not have to be perfect... or even better... I DO NOT HAVE TO BE MY IDEA OF PERFECT.

I do not have to have perfect time management.  I do not have to have perfect responses to my children's not so great moments.  I do not have to have the perfectly in order house.  I do not have to have perfect hair.  I do not have to have the perfect body.  I do not have to have perfect children making perfect choices with perfectly clean rooms.  I do not have to have the perfect husband.  I do not have to have the perfect faith walk!

I just about wrecked the car.  I felt such release.  Really?  It seems so simple.  Too simple.  But there it was... a releasing of MY IDEA OF NEEDED PERFECTION... MY IDEA OF GOOD... MY IDEA OF PLEASING... MY IDEA OF LIFE.

Sweet friend, I pray this is an encouragement to you.  I am so humbled when I feel God shows me something and I get to share it to encourage others.  The emails, comments, facebook messages, tweets, and conversations I am having with you echo what has pecked me to death like a wood pecker sitting on my head... I am not good enough... I am not enough.

If that is all we listen to... if that is all we hear... then we will be pecked down so deeply into the mud that it will take a crane to lift us free enough to even breath!

We are NOT enough.  WE ARE NOT.  BUT HE IS!  As believers, JESUS CHRIST LIVES INSIDE US!  There is the joy.  There is the peace.  There is the freedom.  There is the gift.  There is the release.  There is the love.  There is the way.  THERE IS THE LIFE!  HE is perfect and we are not!  WE ARE IMPERFECTLY PERFECT!

When we hear, "You are not enough," we answer it with, "But greater is He who lives in me than he who is in the world!"  When we hear, "You are not enough," we answer it with, "BUT HE IS!" 

And THAT is enough.  And THAT is what matters.  All the rest fades away in comparison to THAT!

I have met a wonderful group of women through my attending the Allume conference.  Imperfect women who love the LORD with perfect passion.  And they encourage me.  They encourage me to embrace my imperfectness with grace and joy.  

There is a wonderful place you can go to meet many of these women... right where you are.

 (in)courage is a place where women come and share their hearts, their trials, their ah-ha moments, their joys and sorrows, and their testimonies.  You can check it out HERE.  You WILL be blessed.

I pray you are blessed today.  Find comfort and hope in knowing you are not alone!  You are dearly loved and sought after... just the way you are. :0)

Much love, Dawn~

Monday, January 14, 2013

"Chick Flick" Therapy

I wish I could be all “holy” and say the first thing I did on my little retreat was hit my knees and jump into prayer, but I can’t.  My first desire was to snuggle down to a good chick flick.  I knew I needed what I sometimes refer to as “brain candy”.  I needed to decompress and just have some moments of little thought sprinkled with laughter.  So I sat down with my catfish comfort food and popped in 
 “Two Weeks Notice” with Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant.

It didn’t take long before I realized something that I had not really noticed before.  Lucy (Bullock) was me to the next degree.  In the opening scenes of the movie, she is lying on a yoga mat in protest of a historical building being torn down by a progress pushing - money hungry - powerful company.  I smiled inside.  “She is me,” I thought.  She is what I so want to be in so many ways… she does what I think about doing in my head.  I like her.  No wonder I love that movie.

Well there went my hope of thoughtlessly watching a movie!  Everything she continued to do went right along with things I WANT to do and I just continued to laugh at the whole thought of it.

There was a large plot of land for sale right outside our neighborhood.  It was for sale for a long time.  It was wooded and bordered a hidden little nature area that many people in our city don’t even know about.  It was the home to many deer who often stepped outside the wooded area to eat and lay in the sun.  And every time I saw that for sale sign and the word “Commercial” written on it, I would just fill with anger.  I wanted to stand on that property with a sign and declare that we did not need another nail salon, another frozen yogurt attempt, another restaurant, or even worse…  another strip mall that sits ¾ empty for years!

I often had thoughts of going out at night and tearing the sign down… or spray painting on it, “Let the deer live here and GO AWAY!”  Thoughts of getting caught and nasty mug shots on facebook kept me away from that one!  Or gathering like-minded friends and protesting with big signs. We could make our pleas on sheets and hold them up during rush out traffic.  How fun would that be? But that is where it stayed.  In my head.  Lucy would have done those things… all of them.  Hmmmmm.  Again… I like her.

And then, not too long ago, we saw trees being torn down by bulldozers.  My heart sank and I was yet again filled with anger and disgust.  And then we were told what was going to be built there… a gas station.  Mercy.  Really?  A gas station!  I went postal inside.  I imagined all the birds and squirrels and chipmunks and deer whose homes were being thoughtlessly destroyed and just wanted to go right up to those machines and kick them!  I know.  That would have sent them running!  “Halt this needless, wasteful, and destructive operation,” would have just rolled off the contractor’s tongue for sure after such an act of protest!

Later in the movie, Lucy went on to show me up even more when she confronts Grant’s character outside his work place.  She confronts him about his plans to tear down the community center and tries to make a deal with him to save it.  He asks her to get in the car and asks to hire her!  I laughed again.  How many times have I thought about stalking Gary Kelly (CEO of Southwest Airlines) and confronting him about the way he/his company is treating the AirTran pilots in this merger.  I have visualized myself walking up to him in an airport somewhere and presenting my thoughts in the most loving manner possible... with homemade cookies, even!  Lucy would do that. Yep.  She would.  And then he would probably hire her and “One Love” (Southwest’s merger campaign slogan) would finally become a reality.  And that corner of the world would be a better place where everyone received a free pair of rose colored glasses and lived happily ever after! 

But I soon realized something else.  God was not mentioned.  Prayer was never offered.  His will never consulted.  And there was my revelation… Lucy relies on herself.  There is one part in the movie where she doesn’t want to try anymore.  And yet again, Lucy and I are alike.  That was the very reason I was sitting there, in that moment, on that sofa, alone on my little retreat… because I didn’t want to try anymore.  I was feeling defeated… just like her.  I was eating catfish and she was ordering a crazy amount of Chinese food!   

Parenting… marriage... balancing attempts… trying & failing… seeking… battling the enemy… it had all pushed me to throw my hands up in defeat.   I was tired.  I was not “seeing” progress… I was not “seeing” fruit from my labor… and yet that was it… “my”.  I was relying way too much on “myself”.

I looked through a notebook I have of notes…  notes on all kinds of things.  And I found a statement from  a book, “Marriage, The Journey.”  I must have checked it out from the library.  But the statement had stars all around it and so it caught my attention.  “If you are disappointed in yourself, then you must have been believing in yourself.” 

There it was… the basis of my wanting to give up… the foundation of my depletion… the root of my problem.  My eyes were on myself instead of on the One who can deliver me from all snares, fill with me His strength, whisper to me His wisdom, guide me with His hand, shelter me from the arrows of the enemy, and clothe me in armor and righteousness.

As the movie ended, I smiled again.  I love the ending.  She gets the guy, the guy gets free of his bondage, the community center gets saved, and she gets to order Chinese food for two.  

I love Lucy.  I love her passion for all things right.  I love her passion for taking a stand or lying on a mat!  I love her desire to help the underdog and protest against the often destructive greedy machine of progress.  And I love that she ever so sweetly represents my greatest need… my need for Him.  My need for the Lord.  She represents my passion and longing for all things right... and my need for the ONE who can make it all right... I CAN NOT.

As I thought about the above quote, it made me think of the story of Peter walking on the water towards Jesus in Matthew 14.  As Jesus comes to them in the midst of a storm, Peter doubts who He is.  He asks Jesus that if it is indeed Him, for Jesus to command him to come.  Jesus responds with, “Come.”  Peter starts walking towards Him… on the water.  And then, Peter seems to take notice of what is going on around him… a storm.  The scripture in verse 30 says, “But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out saying ‘Lord save me!’”

The wind’s power, fear, and lack of trust are what caused Peter to doubt the Lord again.  Peter is walking on water.  That seems like a pretty powerful thing… something that would build my faith! (or would it?)  And yet the power of circumstances around him proves more powerful… causes him to doubt Jesus again in the midst of something amazing… in the midst of a miracle.

I am not just like Lucy… I am also like Peter.  I am smacked, again, with this scripture. 

And Jesus responds by “immediately” stretching out His hand and catching Peter.   But Jesus follows with a rebuke.  “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (31)

That rebuke rang loud in my ears and pierced my heart.  Those words for Peter are words for me. 
Oh me of little faith, why do I doubt?  Again. And again?

And that sent me into a word study the next day for hours on “faith”.  As God revealed His word and as I sought Him, He answered and refilled and restored and renewed.  My faith has been being attacked.  My faith has been being tested.  My faith has been being stretched.  My faith will be increased!

I look forward to sharing some little sweet nuggets on faith with you soon.

Are you doubting God?  Are you doubting His word… His presence… His promises…  His power?

We are all like Peter sometimes.  We are all human and we still battle the flesh… the flesh that tells us, moves us, and tempts us to act and move in our own power… in our own strength… in our own way.

And yet Jesus is the way... the only way… and His way is best.

If we could only remember that and walk in that truth daily. If we could only get our eyes off ourselves and onto and stayed on Him!  Let’s try.  Together.  

I think it leads to abiding.  And I know it leads to intimacy with Him and transformation.  There really is nothing better than that.

I encourage you to claim at least two promises that will help you remember to trust in the Lord, to lean on Him, to wait for Him, and rely on Him.  Write them down and put them in your car, on your fridge and on your bathroom mirror.  Let them become the words that echo in your mind, heart, and soul.  You will be amazed and encouraged by the peace and joy that comes from His word covering you and your day.

If you aren’t sure where to go in His word to look for promises… the book of Psalm is a great starting place.  The book of Romans is another treasure box!

“Trust in the LORD with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In ALL your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5,6~

“As for me, I will call upon God, and the LORD shall save me.  Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.  He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me.”  Psalm 55: 16-18~

Have a beautiful day!