Lilacs and the Spirit

In deep vibrant purples with fragrance as strong as their apparent will to grow, my 7-year-old lilac bush thrives virulently in our backyard. Why are these plants, or any life so special? Just like their owner, this baby cutting has grown despite the sometimes hidden, sometimes overgrown challenges in its life. Snow, rain, cuttingly cold winds. My most recent example is a medical diagnosis of my ADHD that until very recently had gone “unpruned” for over 40 years. Racing thoughts, lack of apparent focus, impetuosity, self-esteem, organization and more, I have with God’s help made it through to where I am, my will trying to shadowbox in ways difficult to win… bending, flowing, doing the best I can. Like my lilac, I continue to grow, sometimes seemingly hurt by reactions of myself and others, sometimes aware that God was guiding me, pruning me to make my life more beautiful, a difference for others. Nonetheless, praying for guidance, love and support with needed wind, nutrients, water.

Whatever you need pruned in your life, in you, the Master Gardener knows what you need and how to guide you there. I have been slowly opening and becoming receptive to following practices to meditate, to face the day, to be open to the hurt. Letting go in such Contemplative practices of praying without words, just sitting with God, with practices as centering prayer and lectio divina of the daily Scriptures and mindfulness (all prayer is good) daily, following my heart in playing piano and writing, dancing, deepening my connection with Nature, with photography, journaling, exercising and my dog and I training for and doing Pet Pals As I have opened, like the lilac blooms, the Gardener moves in my heart. In the stillness, there are answers through listening.

In John 15:1-17 Jesus says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the Gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. With each “pruning” I learn more about the wonder of being present, rusting the process, not determining the result. Let it come. Wonder.

Whoever looks on the outside dreams, whoever looks on the inside, awakens…Carol Jung. The Flow of Love, Life. Christ is in all. Are you willing to be still to perceive Him?

What do you see? An unruly child getting messy with paint on her hands and clothes or a work of unjudged, loving creation springing forward. Paint on the face, with a giggle and joy of look what I did, Mom! Just for you! Curls tangled with a bow tilted at a cockeyed angle. We progress in our seeing with the joy deep inside your heart. Only one Being will judge.

Notes from a page or a piano solo expressing gentle, wordless joy of harmonies from the soul? A photograph of almost perfectly correct. The right composition or the capturing of an unjudged image of God’s love across the sky. Is it in the doing or in the process of being in faith? Becoming? A poem flowing from the heart of God’s love creating the world or a series of syllables flowing in exactly correct measure?

My constant fight with trying to fit in, to match up, struggles in life may be partly, but not completely over. Racing thoughts, self-judging, lack of focus lessened with less pressure to be that dependent on others person, that was part of the struggle I have faced. Understand that no one way is right for everyone, and I have found solace in guidance from those who have training to guide me. But I have had to be ready to listen. Are you ready to listen?

The Light in my heart is slowly showing me how to trust, like my lilacs trust their Creator. To be receptive. For example, to see the Gardener in loving friends who have not judged but love, meditation, caring words from the Scripture come to life, and yes, finally try medical intervention as food for the body, nutrients, wind under sails, water. My world may be a little different now. There is much value in knowledge, facts and figures in this world. But it isn’t the only way to gain understanding. Words are only what you allow them to be. Do you take steps to see past the words?

Friends, we all have the opportunity to grow, like the lilacs, giving Glory to the One tending us and with trust in our Master Gardener. Our own pressures created in this world can serve us helping us grow in love with our God. There is a Way to turn that negative hurt with fear of change into an acceptance of Grace from the Father who will give you all that you need if you just take time to see the world as it is. Will you take the time to see, accept it? To reach out in prayer, in Nature, in Scripture, to ministers, trusted friends, family, for example.

As the birds sing out on rainy days and the squirrels scurry along precarious fences, dandelions bloom in the sidewalk cracks, trees naturally bend not questioning the flow of the nutrients. All grow, all accept and move into the flow of being a part of that growing Creation, patience in seeing, accepting yourself and others just to be a part of the whole.

Open, receptive and loving. The fruits of the spirit are the pruning tools. Will you grow as my lilac grows, giving and accepting with love.

Reference also: Guardians of Being by Eckhart Tolle.

© 2023 Bonnie L Smith-Davis

Perception Matters And How It Changes Everything

Kayla Becker loves to serve and inspire others as a friend, school teacher, yoga instructor, success coach and more. I have known Kayla as a contemplative friend for quite awhile now and truly love the beauty of her heart. The wisdom in her article about truth versus perception in seeing can easily be applied to how to see God and His children with an awakened heart. Thank you Kayla for your service to God and His creations! Blessings, Bonnie

Kayla Becker, guest blogger

One of my first mentors always talked about beach balls

As a metaphor

For how people see a situation.

Depending on which side of a beach ball you are standing

You will see different colors –

If you are standing on one side of the beach ball,

You’ll see the colors green, orange, and white

And if you are standing on the other side of the beach ball,

You’ll see the colors yellow, blue, and red.

And as my mentor told me,

Each person is right

Regardless of what they see –

Because they can only see what is in front of them.

And it’s what we currently know

That is guiding our reality.

Whatever side of the situation – of the ball – we are seeing

Is our truth.

I think about this analogy often when I am working with my clients

Because it is often our perception, our truth,

That is impacting us –

For better or for worse.

Sometimes it’s our perception of ourselves –

“I’m not good enough”

“I’m not where I want to be”

“I always mess up”

“I’m going to fail”

“I don’t know how to get over this”

“I don’t fit in”

“No one understands me”

“I can’t figure out how to change (fill in the blank)”

“I’m such a (loser, screw up, disappointment, hot mess, black sheep…)

And it is these perceptions –

These “truths” –

We have about ourselves

That keeps us stuck.

And other times,

It’s these big, looming thoughts we have about being





Being all alone

That frightens us the most

Because of past experiences

And memories

That holds us hostage

In our own lives.

And when this happens,

We need to pick up the beach ball

And examine it.

We need to turn it to the other side,

Flip it around,

Turn it upside down

And see what we see …

And that’s one of my roles with my clients –

To help them see and explore something different,

So, they can decide for themselves.

Because sometimes seeing something different is really hard

Especially when we’ve believed something about ourselves, or others, or a situation,

For so long.

Because many times

Those are the ones that are causing us the most anguish

Because they are so ingrained in who we are,

And how we see ourselves…

And when we’ve believed something for so long

It becomes a “truth”

Rather than a perception.

If you’re seeing only one side of the beach ball,

You aren’t seeing the whole thing clearly

And that’s a problem.

© 2023 Kayla Becker

Write to Kayla Becker

Being Grounded in the Presence

A big brown bunny quivers deep into the green grass with fear remaining still in front of our garden. Not even 10 feet from him, our terrier Rascal had just been let out into the yard, but was totally focused on the yard next door and the fence. It was a chilly morning, sun shining brightly on the lawn, bouncing off the aging oak tree. The rabbit loves the cracked corn left in the grass and like us, is drawn into temptation.

Lately, I have had several occasions lately to wonder if I really was being present, attune to God’s Will. Decisions of consequence to me right now. A far away conference to attend, a class to take, giving up the question to God. Can I do this?  I have prayed about it now, darn it. I am trying to take it back again. Think of blessings. Joys. Be grateful. Knowing His Presence is always with you no matter what.

The Holy Spirit inspires me with insight sometimes, to be present to seeing as perhaps God sees. From “above” (i.e. knowing what could happen and seeing his children and creatures in the darkness of their world.) I really don’t see Rascal as evil or darkness, but to a rabbit, he could potentially tear his long-eared friend apart. And Rascal loves chasing rabbits, but the bunny seemed so scared.

My thoughts drift to the Scripture readings I did earlier in the day that we can count on our Lord to watch over us. The Bible says, ” the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).

Our bunny, quivering in fear of impending events, seems like he could have been you or me in our wilderness of Lent as our Lord remains vigilant with us through our little trials.

My heart races. Rascal’s cataracts dim his vision, but his sense of smell and hearing are excellent. From my perch, I watch as he sniffs about in the yard, oblivious of the impending danger. He rolls over in the grass, enjoying the day.

I open the door a crack. The sound turns Rascal’s head toward me while a new creature steps into the adventure. Ralph Jr., the squirrel, doesn’t see Rascal either, and ducks under the wire fence and confidently scampers over toward the oak tree.  Word of our yummy cracked corn must have spread around the neighborhood.

God provides so many blessings to us. We could be aware of his goodness. I yell out, “yum-yum. Rascal, come on.” Just a second or two of diversion as he looks at me, considering his fun in yard versus his treat. Then, his ears perk up. Rascal turns as he hears something moving in the grass and barking loudly, he jumps toward the flying gray fur. With a split second to spare, Ralph Jr. makes a successful leap into the tree. The bunny watching carefully, hunkering down, disappears quickly under the fence. Rascal continues with his assault on the tree for a while, but decides the treat in hand is worth more than a squirrel in the tree, so to speak and heads for the door.

Sometimes, we don’t escape our troubles like the bunny, though. There is not always a happy ending. But whatever happens, I have a deep and growing sense of trust in God’s Presence in this moment. Jesus hand on my shoulder gives me peace and calm. That doesn’t take away the confusions and temptations, but He is my Rock through them. His Presence lies in, around and through us. Though we can be in difficult situations, we can be above them, as I was above the unfolding drama.  Perhaps, it is good to have the insight to be awake, aware of others’ dangers, and be Christ’s hands and feet in this world.  Knowing that our love for others can make a difference.

The Father takes care of his children. He gave up His Son’s life to give us salvation from all our sins. We may tremble, quiver and hunker down in the grass, or make flying leaps without knowledge of what will happen. But the Light of God’s Presence will warm and hold you firm. Be grounded in God’s Presence, we will make it through.

I offer many practices to get grounded in God’s Presence in the beginning of the day. Today I offer just a start for you. Before the day begins, in that moment list in your mind, or in a journal, a gift from God that continue to bless you. Savor this gift: a family member, a pet, time with friends, a walk-in nature, gardening, music. Continue this practice five times a day. Give gratitude for what you see as a gift from God, just for you. When your feet hit the floor, remember to be present and look around for God’s Presence holding you strong. When you fall, and we all fall, just look up and thank the God who is helping you through this moment.

Another thought is to wake up to a beautiful piece of music that you love, savoring the harmonies that God created in this music just for you. Google your choice if you wish. I prefer soft guitar and piano music. Or, take in several deep God-given breaths breathing in the deep love of God and breathe out the Love of God for the World.

© 2023 Bonnie L. Smith-Davis

Serving with Love in your Heart

At a recent community event called Pack the Dome, A young girl whom I will call Jenn, 6, held her own in a group of 10 adults at our table (one of 30 such tables in our shift) helping the serve up around 1,000 meals in just under 2 and ½ hours.  Pack the Dome 2023 for feeding children in the community! Over 80,000 children will be fed, over 30,000 from our afternoon shift alone!

This awesome community gift of love project involved community nonprofits and businesses including the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, Volunteer Center of the Cedar Valley and UNI.

Jenn’s broad smile lighting up her face shown with this light of love. For 2 solid hours straight, she added her two elements to each pack. I just want to help others, she said and her mommy hugged her. No playtime with friends on her day off from school, just because she wishes to serve others…her mom said, giving her a big hug. That is the way she is…To make something good happen for others. With gratitude for the life, she has. Be merciful as your Father is merciful, Luke 6:36.

Jenn inspired all of us at her table be present, to raise the level of our work. Even occasional moments of building sun butter containers Jenga Style didn’t keep her from her work! (While patiently waiting for adults to bring in more boxes of food to pack). What a blessing to have parents that will raise children to care in countless ways in their communities. These parents are just two of many I encounter.

Jenn was one over 2000 volunteers willing to give their time to serve up over 80,000 food packs for children in this area. In point of fact, there were volunteers turned away due to the overflow of people willing to serve.

Further examples…

During a holiday trip throughout the journey, we were encountering Christ’s amazing Love presenting itself in the most ordinary places from deep South to the Midwest.

The presents that we often plan so intricately with just the right gift for just the right person really doesn’t hold the proverbial candle to the joy of a shared smile and much needed and deeply welcomed service. For example, Annette, the hotel employee who lovingly provided for us in our trip South. “She welcomed us with a big smile, not intruding in our forage into the “breakfast buffet”. Singing the hymns of Spirit, she made her way back into the preparation area to find more of the craved smoked bacon bringing immediate smiles to waiting guests.

We are not television watchers, so her love of her service to others held our attention.  Annette carefully watched her guests and attended to each one’s needs. When it came time to leave, we had a few items we wanted to carry back to our room. A bit unwieldy, I almost dropped a couple items. Annette was at my side immediately saying, would you like a baggie? I have one. It’s no trouble at all. Humming quietly, she disappeared quietly to bring it to us.

We finished our delightful visit with friends to a nearby Cracker Barrel, delicious food by the way, when my husband tried to start our vehicle. Less than two hours from a highly anticipated glorious holiday play, the battery would not start. Of course, we could call the Auto club, but that could take hours. We had just studied about acceptance and gratitude for what we had. And if we missed it, it was what it was. But my mind kept working…What to do in a spread-out city without friends nearby? Thoughts of missing this beautiful event caused a deep sadness and tightness in my chest.  Then, an inspiration hit me, go ask Cracker Barrel if anyone could help. A long shot.

But at the Barrel checkout, their GM came out and said he had just the ticket and it wouldn’t cost us extra time or money. A quick start battery charger he had just got that had already saved him a couple of times. Flutters of anticipation. God provides. Not only did manager help us, but he recommended an auto shop that sold quick starts. Off we went, got to the store and bought one just before closing. But what if it died again? We need it charged. At the hotel we searched our car, but no extension cord. So, we asked at the desk. This attendant on duty said there was a cord, but she didn’t know if it could work. A big smile lit her face. It seems her boyfriend was coming with dinner soon and was an electrician. He would know. He did! In fact, it was already charged. Off we went and got to the play just in time to meet our friends at the play.

As you go out into your day, remember how you have your own special heartlight to shine in unexpected ways as no one else can. Be merciful because you can, not because you are expected to do so. Stop to say a prayer of gratitude for what you have that God has provided. 

© 2023 Bonnie L. Smith-Davis

Another excellent article on motivation of the heart…please read

What Gives you Joy?

Sometimes it is the little things, you know? I have had a lot going on in my life lately but today, my body seemed to say, “enough!”

Some elements of my day: getting up really early to go to the car shop to get a spare key made. How many of you go to a car shop at 7 am in snow with a slippery road? Great service in speedy amount of time, just enough to grab a cup of coffee to go!

Next, I make a quick stop at the credit union to get a draft to send to a business. I can just pop in and get it, right? Wrong. Only the drive through was open so early which made necessary fiddling with cards on my lap to get the right one and using my wallet to write the signature on. Nice lady teller, but her spelling of the receiver of the draft was incorrect…so we corrected that. Sign the card and lick the envelope. Checking the address on phone Google. Whoops. Called out by mistake. Sorry, honey. I’ll talk to you more when I get home.

Next is the gym to get my membership updated, but of course, this was a new plan we are on, so the paperwork hadn’t gone through. Would you please email or call the company that gave you the plan so you can get enrolled? Sure. Add to list.

Then, we had an appointment at the docs for a follow-up. Yes, it includes the scale and yes, I know it is a bit vain, but I don’t like that machine. Especially in the winter with all the extra clothes on me. I have been weight-watching, but still fighting to lose. Never ending battle, I believe.And the fun mammogram all ladies need, but I would imagine, few would say they enjoy. It would be a month or so to get results, but could be earlier. Learning by experience to set more boundaries for use of my time. Wait to say, “yes”. Add to list.

Then came a business zoom with a lovely lady who has so many great ideas. A lot of brain-picking, thoughtful sharing , planning. I go away energized with new thoughts for our prayer group meeting in January. But my brain was calling for a rest. Time out, please.

Whew! I went online to do my yoga with a lot of good stretching and strengthening that my body did and did not want to do. My amazing yogi understands and , as the loving person that she is, shares a few stories of family and friends and an upcoming musical. Yes, it felt good, but my arthritic knee (the other one replaced with metal already) let me know that it didn’t appreciate all the balancing on one leg. Add to list.

Next came my physical therapy with who I thought would be someone I had worked with before… he knew me so it would be easier, not starting from the beginning… but learned he would be changing to a different health care system before I finished my therapy, as another therapist explained. So, would I like to just switch to a new person now? Sure. As it turns out, she works with my husband for his pt, and does really well for him!

Now, there is just enough time to get home to go to a prayer meeting on zoom with another group from across the state. First ever combined meeting. Cool. All went well overall, lots of shares about Scriptures discussed. But, I may need to send zoom address to group member… add to list.

Look at the clock. Dangerous move. I have 30 minutes to sit. Might I fall asleep? Nope. Just enough time to check late expected emails. Quickly review the syllabus for an upcoming prayer class and see a very intense required movie about bi-polar disorder. Wow. Such respect for parents and children having to go through all this. Need to take notes. Add to list

I breathe.

And take a few minutes to look at some pictures my husband took of me and my dog at “de-stress” days at our neighboring university to help students de-stress during finals. Hmm. It looks like the most stressed one is me. Three dogs there, Rascal the smallest and oldest and can’t see so well. But he won the hearts of the students and faculty, as always. Me the frazzled one.

I start to laugh. Uncontrollably laugh. Out loud laugh. Gulp in air, take a deep breath, breathe. And repeat. Again. Bubbling laughter spills out. In one picture I hold, Rascal and the student both smile and stare up at me.  The woman I see is frizzy, funny, a bit overwhelmed with details of life and uncertainty of what might happen next, but she, I, feel totally glad to me just where I was…I wasn’t in control. Just like now. None of us are totally in control of life. Life happens.

One more prayer group online that day…still bubbling but holding in giddiness and laughter. The quiet prayer group was wonderful. Peaceful and I could feel the relaxation washing over me. God provides. Laughter, rest, experiences that test us and hug us close with love.

Writing and calling. Amazon orders not arriving, texts to answer. It would all get done.

Why all these things in a story about Joy? Because it is so necessary to remember that Joy is being in community of life. God is present and we can be present with gratitude as well. Glad to just be alive and in the flow of life.

This Christmas, this day, this moment, touch the moment that has a hidden Joy. Live it. Enjoy just being alive and smile with Love to the God who loved you enough to create you to be uniquely you that is so necessary to our lives. Radiate joy. Enough sadness exists. Breathe.

What gives me Joy? Freedom to give control to God. Live it fully in God.

© 2022 Bonnie L Smith-Davis

Guiding my Way

The meeting will start at 7pm. It is now 6:15. Close, but I am pretty sure I can make it. The topic of the evening will be the fragmentation of the Body of Christ for which I already have studied and done homework. A blast of night air pierces through my sweater coat as I pull the door shut, take a breath, and start the car heading toward the main highway.

The dark night clouds my vision, and I wish the event I had just left at the career center had been in the afternoon. Seeing a sign up ahead, I bite my lip with a bit of doubt in my thoughts and make a guess that this the next familiar road might be right way to go, but something tells me to go a different direction. As I continue on into the darkness, I go through the homework thinking of how we could be more unified in working together on our faith journeys. We seem to be going in different directions sometimes when teamwork and camaraderie of caring educators and committed student showcased at the celebration brings a smile to my heart. Focus and moving forward is possible once commonality is seen. I feel blessed to have even a small part in making the dream come true for children in our school district. I wish to send pictures to the coordinator. Yummy leftovers… Lots of details swirl in my thoughts.

As I round the bend in the road, I find a “Road Closed” barrier with lights flashing into my headlights. Oh, no. I veer away and keep going. Another street sign appears, I slow down a little to look at the street sign. Hmm. Unfamiliar territory for the way to class. 6:25pm. As I continue on the road, I notice a church on the left side where I had attended a meeting earlier that day. But I was backtracking. This wasn’t what I had planned. In the dark I am going the opposite direction from the way I want to go.

Now I have the choice to take a possible detour and get turned in the right direction on another side road, but would I make it by the meeting time or just get more lost? Or, should I go another way… which may be a lot longer? Which one? How important is this meeting that the thought of missing time started my mind to work overtime. Darkness. Unknown. Uncertainty.

I take a breath and remember how the Holy Spirit can give lessons on our journeys…tonight’s lesson seems to have started early… actively showing life doubts, fragmentation which need the Light of clarity and wholeness. Life decisions involve a lot of unknowns, every moment, every day. How to proceed?

I remember a prayer friend’s advice that when difficulty arises, I have the beautiful opportunity to let the Lord fill my heart with Jesus’ guiding Light. Take a few more deep, deep Spirit-filled breaths, praise God for the opportunity to trust Him to guide you, remember a beautiful Scripture or hymn, focus on Jesus’ face in your heart, simply ask for “Help” from the One who already knows the Way and then just listen and Let Go. There are many turns and as humans, we will have our fair share of challenges with no apparent “best” answers appearing in neon lights saying…this is the way ahead.

I have the opportunity to thank Jesus for awakening me to His steadying hand and guiding Light. I am and will be where God wants me to be. I reach down deep in my heart and said a thank you and a prayer for Help. I know that I have to do my part to reach my goal of getting home, so I just forget about the time and focus on being present to what is in front of me. With gratitude.

Road signs come and go, as one of my favorite hymns, “Be Thou My Vision”, came floating into my consciousness. My heart slows a little and I feel more peaceful. Indeed, Jesus lives in me and I can remember to “see” through His eyes. The street lights of the neighboring city came into view, but familiar territory. I may not be on time for the meeting, but I am moving ahead with a clear discipline letting in Jesus’ radiant, guiding Light. A smile touches my heart. Turn after turn, I became more sure that this was how this small bit of my journey was meant to go in the first place. A new way. A transforming heart less fragmented, open to the unknown of unfamiliar ways. Not the wrong way. His Way. Which way will you go?

© Copyright 2022 Bonnie L Smith-Davis

Realization of Beauty

What is most lovely?

Awareness. Presence. Gratitude. Love.The deep aromatic fragrance

Soft, fragile petals silken and radiant within and without

Upright, graceful stems reaching up to the collar holding awakening, nursing color

Flowing full on with the energy of life-giving nutrients

delicate loveliness within thorns gently protect its joy

Wherever it is, the magnificence stays

Nourishing the world’s heart with never-before thought of possibilities

Wholly love. Beauty in and of itself growing strong with the Gardener’s hand

Hello, my rose. Fill your world.

© 2022 Bonnie L Smith-Davis

image free in Microsoft Word

Grow Strong in Joy

When are you aware of gratitude in your life? Can you find any reason to be grateful during this devastation in Florida? Are you grateful only a few times a day like at meals or when something special happens like a medicine takes away pain? Or, perhaps, see it in every moment …Just looking around. This question was proposed by my good friend Kayla Becker in a Jo-Yo session at a retreat recently. I take this question to heart and find that there are days when I really do find little to “cheer” about.

Certainly, the devastation caused by the storm Ian has provided a lot of destruction. I have several relatives and friends throughout Florida as in Orlando whom I was praying for, that they be spared from a lot of hurt and loss. Our concerns are legitimate and truly could make life a series of “What ifs”. I don’t minimize any difficulties anyone faces and pray often with deep pain in my heart for those lives and properties lost. Beauty in nature seems to turn to rubble or cause the rubble from the perspective of the storm itself.

People are torn from their homes or businesses, families broken, pets lost or hurt, innumerable situations arise. My nieces have often told me how their homes are protected by their structure and that they are willing to live in Florida because they love it there, despite the risks and possibilities. Perhaps the fact that they face these dangers makes them stronger and able to face the daily challenges of life. They appreciate the little things, the special moments of being together, sharing a lovely sunset, wonderment of creatures that appear in their yard, the antics of their pets and children…Having fun just being alive and together.

I reflect on recent moments, looking around through my heart, really seeing with Jesus’ eyes. Can I always do this? No, but when I do I see the look of love that comes from knowing everything, yes everything and everyone was made through God and by God in His Creation. Each precious molecule of life has a purpose and place in life, even for a short time. Sometimes, the “thing” seems ugly and vicious with no purpose. So why does a beautiful, Loving God who loves us more his own Son’s life create such things?

We ponder a lot of life’s questions like this and often come up blank, because truly, the whole story has not been written yet. Each day is new with the sunrise with each breathe we take opening the door on new adventures.

“Guardians of Being” by Eckhart Tolle reveals that animals are the true guardians of being in that they show us how to be. Just be. They don’t worry about bills, diet, job changes, retirement, speeches, sporting contests, future relationships, on and on. They see life as it is with each moment to be with their friend in their forever home, romp or fly or smell sweet fragrances. Look at the leaves turning color and the sky brilliant with stars and planets far away lending dreams of what is. Just seeing. Breathing. Being. Each moment.

Let us as Ann Voskamp in “One Thousand Gifts” maintains God re-members our broken places together with joy. Let us exercise our gratitude muscles. As the women in the Bible who took their musical instruments with them in Exodus to exercise their “tambourine of thanks”. God is with us.

Grow strong in joy. Don’t snap shut to grace. Live seeing God’s Love.

Everyone has their stories of moments they would like to erase. But the moments linger. For me, witnessing the death of my parents, my dear dad and dear mom holding my hand once full of life with a smile always on her lips and making everyone who was in her presence feel so special. My grandad dying after a life-struggle with polio as millions of people have suffered this disease, my young cousin dying with his fiancé in a moment in a car crash, another cousin killed in an icy cave in Alaska in front of her family who couldn’t save her.

A dear friend whose daughter never was able to sit up a day in her life with her beautiful spirit lighting up a room but never able to run and play and hold in an embrace and walk smugging her feet in the sand dying in her 30’s teaching school from a wheelchair. Her name was Joy. And no matter what, that’s what she was. Joy in the midst of pain. Seemingly senseless uncaring people hurting others after drink or deep emotional pain. Or as this week, a storm that snuffs out life in an instant. Hundreds of men and women without power, food or water on the street without a home.

Can we find the God of Love and feel grateful for everything? Are each of these things wished for? No, of course not. But they do make us stronger, if we choose to look at them that way and give your life to God. Read his Word. Follow his way. Support each other in fellowship.

I wish to say yes. I believe with all my heart that is true. God is good. Take one step at a time. One small step at a time.

Grab a piece of paper or just close your eyes and think. What do you see that brings you joy, gives you a sense of peace. A beautiful flower, a sunny smile, a kind word, a pet wagging his tail, an unexpected letter in the mail from a friend who loves you… Challenge yourself this day to find one thing, just one and reflect on it in your heart of hearts. God created it for you.

Will you try? Or simply remember God created you to bring joy to everyone to see Jesus’ face in theirs. To Love even when it hurts, through the hurt. Will you try?

A day care center I visit with Rascal dog has a beautiful practice of having a basket of simple stones by the door, lovingly colored and then hand lettered by the sweet, caring owners’ mom with simple loving words that little chubby hands clutch that simply says “a big hug for you”, Hugs…Out of breath, anxious moms or dads, sisters, babies come into this place and leave with a stone, a smile, and a heart of gratitude. Someone cares. They encounter each other in the day care clutching their rocks and the smile of a dear one who does care. Do they cry, have tantrums? Sure. They are human. But Love is there. Deep within them and all around them.

Will you try too? In the midst of pain, you will find joy. Hidden in the clouds washed clean by the rain, is a moment of sunshine you can bring. And please don’t forget the Word. To Love as He Loved you. No matter what. Because you can simply choose to do so.


© 2022 Bonnie L Smith-Davis

Return to the Moon

How did you sleep last night? Sometimes deep sleep evades me when I allow my mind to work overtime trying to determine why answers don’t come as planned. Tonight, tossing and turning just pulls at my peace.

So, I do what I often do … get up and go out in our quiet backyard. Dressed in warm pullover and sweatpants, I kick off my shoes and pad with bare feet on the concrete patio into the deep darkness of lush, deep uncut grass barely visible in the shadows. 

The earth’s softness tickles my feet with loving tendrils of bending growth. The fresh wet air deeply fills my nostrils and flows down into my lungs. I start to feel some grounding.

Tonight, as I look up a blanket of thick cloud masses cover my vision of the sky’s starlight. 

I settle in a deep patch of Earth to rest thoughts return that seemed to prickle my mind and try to spin me in sleeplessness. 

Bugs find their way into my flesh making a tasty meal for themselves creating a sure-to -come itch in a few hours.

Eyes closed; I stretch out on my back with my arms wide open to the universe. I focus my attention by caressing the grass with my hands bringing them to rest on to my stomach feeling the inhales and exhales, slower and slower. Concentrating on my breath. 

Rising to sit in meditative prayer, I feel cradled in the fullness of God’s loving embrace that holds me close.

As time passes, the gentle warmth of white light nudges me to open my eyelids. Slowly I open my eyes a tiny bit to look up…to find a smiling, radiant moon searing a wider space between the thick, dark clouds. Its brilliance pulls my attention into focus. 

Entranced, I rest my growing awareness on the power of God’s light as it gently penetrates whatever it touches. Thoughts melt away.

This Light infuses my shadowy body, and my heart trustingly responds with a deep “yes” to “Let go. Breathe. Let go”. Somehow, now less tired, I feel my heartbeat flowing, restorative energy of God’s Love interconnecting all beings including me! 

The cloudy darkness will eventually cover the radiant moon, but now, I remember seeing Light behind the darkness. Sleep will come. Infinite Peace. Sleep well, my Child.

© 2022 Bonnie L. Smith-Davis

Realization of Beauty

Where is a rose most lovely?
The deep aromatic fragrance of beauty
Soft, fragile petals silken and radiant within and without
Upright, graceful stems reaching up to the collar holding awakening, nursing color
Flowing full on with the energy of life-giving nutrients
Thorns gently protect delicate loveliness within
Wherever it is, the magnificence stays
Filling the world’s heart with never-before thought of possibilities
Because it is wholly love. Beauty in and of itself
Hello, rose. Fill your world.

© 2022 Bonnie L Smith-Davis