Beautiful Sky

Amputation—what a heart wrenching word, especially when applied to Sky, a beautiful 7-month-old pit bull mix with a wide-open, loving heart. We met Sky at the Cedar Bend Humane Society, where my husband and I had gone to sponsor kennels to care for adoptable animal residents. Jessica, the public relations coordinator at CBHS, excitedly said,” I have got to show you this very special puppy!”  For a few minutes, she disappeared beyond a fence.  

My heart skipped a beat, as from behind the fence bounded a beautiful grey and white puppy that Jessica held close on a lead. When the sweet creature spied us, she immediately strained forward on her leash, tipped to one side, and
rebounded with unbelievable effort. Then she moved clumsily forward, aiming to give us lots of licks and love. 

My heart reached out to this three-legged puppy struggling to maintain her balance. Finally, she won the fight and was able to able to reach her head up to lick whatever parts of us she could reach. It was clear that she could not fully understand that she no longer had the strong right front leg she once had. Instead, she experienced the sensation of a phantom leg like those of veteran amputees.

“Say hello to Sky,” Jessica murmured quietly as she lovingly petted and calmed the excited puppy. We sat down on a nearby bench so Jessica could bring Sky up close, steadying her against my legs. As we petted her, Jessica explained how 
Sky came to them.

After Animal Control services received Sky, through x-rays and an examination, they determined that an old injury to her front right leg had healed inappropriately. Sadly, the recommendation revealed by specialists at Blue Pearl Animal Hospital was amputation.

Since Cedar Bend Humane Society’s veterinarian had been currently out on medical leave, Sky’s surgery took place at Cedar Valley Veterinary Center, with an estimated cost of around $1,000 with ongoing medical care required during her healing and rehabilitation.

As I stroked Sky’s ears and looked into her beautiful deep, dark eyes, I could feel that this beautiful creature wanted desperately to run free and enjoy life and love in a new home. We love all animals, but this one burrowed deeply into my 
heart. At that point, Sky had been set for adoption twice, but the potential owners backed out for different reasons. Our own dear Rascal was a Humane Society dog who apparently had experienced a tough time in his last home too, before getting adopted. We knew the risks of adopting a pet with a history.

Dogs truly are God’s amazing creatures with the amazing gift of being present with joy and love in their forever pack that will love them back. They are “Guardians of Being”, as Eckhart Tolle said in his must-read book of the same name. Animals are fully present, living a full life in a way we might feel if we were intensely connected to the here and now deep within our souls.

Animals do not worry about bills, their jobs, or how to fit in. They have the ability to “just be”. They are always loving and caring. Waiting for us, they watch for the next squirrel, bird, or sunset. Whatever is there, they feel it to the core.

Sky pulled me out of my reverie with a sigh and a shake as if to say, “Ahh. Someone cares. This feels good! A little lower please.” Then, with the impetuosity of a puppy, she made a quick turn, pulled me up from my seat and nearly jerked the leash from my hand with a yip at something in the distance.

Jessica stepped in at that moment and took hold of the leash. She glanced at Sky’s surgery incision and turned to us. “Her stitches are coming apart a little where she is still healing. Sky needs to go back to her kennel and settle down for a while.” Jessica bent down to whisper to the puppy, who now had rolled over onto her back. Three legs dangled in the air. “Do you want me to carry you?” This “little” girl, well on her way to a healthy 50 pounds, wagged and smiled broadly at Jessica. “Yes, please,” she seemed to reply as Jessica gently stroked her tummy.

I looked at Roger, who already knew what I was thinking and nodded. Then I offered, “Jessica, can we help pay off the bills for Sky?” “You mean in addition to the sponsorship of the kennel?” I nodded. Jessica smiled. A paw and wet muzzle reached up and Sky licked me right on the chops, seeming to agree with our suggestion.

As Jessica carried a contented Sky back to her kennel, Roger and I smiled at each other, knowing we had made a good decision. God’s love had shone through both Jessica and Sky that day, piercing our hearts. We need to be the face of God for one another and for God’s creatures, as well.

We must be love for Sky’s deep love-filled heart which would not give up but shows endless determination to love others in spite of her missing limb!

My challenge for you: think about a personal “limb” that you really focus(lean) on, spend a lot of time being concerned about, like a job, bill, illnesses, or possible outcome of an event. In other words, what are you willing to cast aside in order to focus on showing the love of Christ?

Then, set an intention to read Corinthians 1, chapter 13 (below) every day for ten days. Ponder what deep love might look like for a person or creature in your life.


Verses to Ponder: First Corinthians 13

“If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,] but do not have love, I gain nothing.4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres…8 Love never fails. 

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

*Good news for Sky and those who love animals. This past weekend, a loving, caring individual adopted dear little Sky. We wish both Sky and her new best friend all the joy and love possible

For more information on sponsoring a kennel at Cedar Bend Humane Society, call 319-232-6887 and ask for Jessica, or visit
https://www.cedarbendhumane.org/noseworthy/2021/08/18/sponsor-a-kennel

© 2021 Bonnie L Smith-Davis

Manna from God

Guest blog by Laurie Stawicki

Video of me singing and playing the guitar to a song I wrote called “Manna.”

Today, I looked at Facebook. On it I saw the daughter of an old friend. It looked like she was having a great time! She had a beautiful house, a fun business that she enjoys and that she works hard at, and she had a husband and a couple of good-looking children. Not only that, she was beautiful too! Like a model.

While part of me is telling me that she had help from her parents and maybe she married a rich husband to have such a wonderful house, I must remind myself that my destiny, to some degree, is in my own hands. What are some steps I can take to make a life that I feel good about?

First of all, are there things (or people) in my life that need to go to free up space for the new and the beautiful? Objects, clothes, certain acquaintances, time wasters and poor habits could be cleared to make way for the best.

What are the things I could change in my life to create a more wonderful life for myself and my family? Am I living where I want to live? Am I working at what I love? Am I living this week, month, year vibrantly, as if it were my last?

Some people, me included, have wondered where the line is drawn with how much God wants us to take care of ourselves, versus how much time we are caring for others. And most of us who are mothers or caregivers have experienced fairly long periods of time where we barely had any time for ourselves. I think this is normal. However, the question is, at what point does God want us to take more time for ourselves and the gifts and talents he has given us?

Jesus told us to love others AS we love ourselves. Some would say that I need to love myself a little bit more. It may be hard to find the line between service, sacrifice and what we do for ourselves, but here are some questions that could help us gauge the time commitments that some might to expect of us.

We could ask ourselves for instance,

  1. What is my mission from God? Do I know what my life mission is?  Am I doing it?

The good Samaritan did not abort his mission. He stopped and helped the person by the roadside and took him to the Inn he was going to stay at. He went on his journey and paid the inn keeper to look after the person, continuing on his own mission.

  • In any situation that arises, one could ask themselves, “Am I the good Samaritan, or the Inn Keeper?” In other words, when I come across a person in need, is it my job to take this person to the next station? Or is it my job to stay with them and help them. Knowing one’s boundaries is good, but trusting that God will lead you and guide you in each situation is better. Some people or situations we are only called upon to help for a little while until the long-term helper is available. And with some situations, God surprises us with the duration of what we think is a detour.
  • Do I have a clear vision for the details of my life? Prayerfully write the vision for each

category of your journey (Habakkuk 2:2). For instance, when shopping for a house, make a list of the “must haves”, the “would like to haves”, and the “optional” characteristics. Then when a house pops up (or a job, spouse, vacation) exhibiting all of the things on your list, you can know that most likely it is the right one. It saves a lot of time if you know what you want. Psalm 37:4 says that God gives us the desires of our heart.

  • Am I taking care of myself with proper sleep, healthy food, fun, fellowship, reasonable work load, family time, church, and exercise? Am I growing in my skills, and enjoying my day with a relaxed attitude? Am I spending time with God?

These, and more, are questions we can ask ourselves when we are wondering if we are on the right track with taking care of ourselves and our own mission on earth. Loving ourself means loving who we were meant to be, and living our life feeling good about our decisions.

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meets.” Fredrick Buechner

Ephesians 2:10 says,” We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Each one of us has a purpose, and it’s up to us to find it and to discover what God has written into our DNA that will delight us and serve the world in a powerful way at the same time.

What’s in your heart? Write it down and make a plan. If you miss when shooting for the moon, you will at least land among the stars. Happy trails!

© 2021 Laurie Stawicki

Laurie Stawicki is a singer-songwriter, poet, and author of the upcoming memoir, “Sacrifice of Tears.” She is mother of five and lives in Iowa.

No problem! I got this…

8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

“No problem! I got this…” 

Do you ever feel this way? 

I received a strong reminder of God’s power when the neighborhood cat Daisy triggered a gut feeling in our Rascal dog that cleanly knocked obeying his master out of the park. 

“My territory. My way.”

We were walking Rascal in the neighborhood when all of a sudden, I saw a flash of fur ahead of us in the near distance. Before I could react, the leash flew out of our hands with a big sudden jerk, trailing behind a disappearing Rascal around the corner of a house. He was chasing Daisy, who was scared for her life. 

Oh no—he’s loose! This was the cry of my heart.

A deep wrench of “why didn’t you” flashed before me as I ran with heart thumping …Why hadn’t I had (didn’t I) keep a stronger grip on his leash? I clearly did not “have control“ and there was a problem. Rascal was gone! 

Why, Why, why… A busy street lay just beyond Rascal’s disappearing tail. Roger hurried around the other side of the house in an attempt to head him off. But no such luck.  As I ran, I prayed that Rascal would be found safe from danger away from the busy road in front of our house and return to us.  I caught my breath in the front yard and surveyed the landscape in an eerie out-of-time pause.

When time picked up again, I returned to the present, seeing Roger across the busy street yelling to me, “I see him! Rascal, come see dad!”  

A splash of light brown tail raced in the other direction. Then, as Rascal finally heard our voices, an “Oops I forgot look.” appeared on his face. He stopped dead in his tracks and faced us as Daisy scrambled behind her house.

Rascal approached Roger, much like a child after being caught with his hand in cookie jar. He slowly dipped his head, tentatively wagged his tail, and bowed deeply, as if asking for compassion and understanding.

As his contrition unfolded, my heart reawakened me to how our loving God welcomes us as we truly observe our weaknesses. He reveals them in what we are doing to ourselves and others, and bids us come back to Him.

When we awaken to the realization of our thoughtless actions, judgment of others, and disregard of God’s ways, we hear God’s voice calling us. 

In the same manner as Christ, Roger leaned down, joyfully surrounding forgetful, cat-chasing Rascal with his arms.  Roger’s loving tone rang out, “Rascal! You heard me and returned when I called.” Rascal’s tail immediately wagged faster and smiled. He behaved as if he were home, welcomed into His master’s arms.

We may say, “I got this! No problem!“ 

But do we?  Our Savior says “Come to me. I Love you no matter what, I will surround you with my Love and strengthen you throughout your life. My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Not our power, but His holds us in life.

My challenge: read and meditate on the following verses from Corinthians 1, chapter 13 about LOVE.  Perhaps, replace the word LOVE with your own name or God’s. Try doing so twice daily.

13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Awaken to others by learning more about what our Lord Jesus did when he came to us as a man, choosing to be present with lovingkindness for all. Pray ceaselessly, giving God praise and worshiping him. Come back home.

Later, as we rested, I felt such gratitude and love as Rascal jumped up and nestled close with a sigh. As I petted his soft curly fur, he looked up, ears flopping open with his deep, soft brown eyes melting into mine. 

God’s Love whispered, “I’ve got this. I Love you. You are Mine.”

© 2021 Bonnie Louise Smith-Davis

Holding Center for Each Other

Inspired by The Invisible String by Patrice Karst *

https://youtu.be/n5w3dfVFxcw (the author reads on You Tube)

Colossians 3: 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

*We are intricately connected to who we love. The Invisible String inspired me to write a little bit about a close relationship I share with a dear one and perhaps like one you have as well.

Love holds us all close, like a string connecting hearts with the truth…that of abiding friendship. That yes!  “I can do this” and feel the tug to stay connected, despite pandemics, snowstorms, illness…write cards, calling… surfacing above the fear of the deadly pandemic that once appeared to threaten so many in the world. Perhaps you, like me, have been blessed with zooming and could feel the energy of others right through the screen, with those that care about each other.

In my relationship with Jesus, I openly share deep in the heart, but I don’t even need to say a word. The Word reaches out and touches my heart… comforting me as I listen …though sometimes, I am not awakened to know it.

This open, heart-based relationship comes through between my friend Debbie and myself. We continue to hold center for each other… present and praying for each other in whatever we go through. God blesses us continually no matter what circumstances appear in our lives. Sharing God’s love through presence and lovingkindness, we look forward to an open, trusting conversation every time we get to talk with each other.

No matter whatever else happens to us, we have had a phone call invitation waiting for each other nearly every day. (My husband knows to expect the call and sometimes the whole family joins in!) Feet remaining firmly planted in Scriptures, we share Scriptures, day’s events and remind each other of how blessed we are in this world with God’s love living in us and through us. (We had called our loving mothers every day and years ago when they passed away, we started this tradition whenever our hearts speak out the other’s name.)

We continually share a love of music. Me with piano and bagpipes, she with her gift of playing 10 musical instruments to bring joy to people all over her metropolitan city at church, nursing homes, wherever called and even at my 70th bday party online earlier this year. She played over 5 beautiful songs on her harp to the entranced guests celebrating with me. For her birthday, I tried my hand at making a birthday cake which I presented at my house… almost 2 years since we were in same room.

Debbie cocked her head and smiled as she looked at my sorrowful, slightly lopsided Bundt confetti cake. I knew she would like whatever I did, as I do for her, but truly, it looked like a five-year-old had frosted it. I looked up at her quizzical look and said, “Okay. I know. I am a writer, not a cook.” “Yes, you are,” she says lovingly. No more was needed.  As the prodigal child, I was accepted for being me, just myself. Knowing that no matter what we do, we will still be connected by loved and accepted. No questions asked.

The next morning, I picked her up at her sister’s house and drove off for breakfast to have one last conversation before she left to go back home to Minnesota. In a Snuffy’s shirt and slacks, Debbie joined me for a casual breakfast at McDonalds.

As I poured hot sauce on my breakfast burrito, I caught a look out of the corner of my eye at Debbie. She was looking at me like she was gazing at a picture she wanted to remember…and said “It is one thing to get all dressed up and go out to eat for a special dinner, but having a burrito in old clothes early in the morning, that has to be with someone who really loves you.” She bowed her head and grasped my hand tightly for the blessing. We were so grateful that we could be together for a little while. It is well and always will be. Lopsided cake and all.

Idea to Ponder…

Dear readers, as we venture out now, it can be like learning how to behave with others all over again, dipping our toes in the water. Let a tug from your heart, a smile and a loving word lead as you sing with your heart to others. With faith, we all are connected and need to hold on to each other. Love holds all of us in fact all of Creation snuggled as one big family. How can you send Christ’s Love down that invisible string with others in your life? © 2021 Bonnie L. Smith-Davis

Choose to See God

Hands

Question. Where do you see God?

Answer: everywhere and in everything. In every molecule of water, every blade of grass, all animal life, every living, breathing human on the planet, every star in the sky, every breath we breathe.

Alive and well. All is well.

But how can we say that all is well when a loved one passes, friends argue, a job is lost, an illness arises, crimes are committed, COVID-19 continues, hunger and homelessness live on, forests are burned, and smog fills the air? Anger arises and trials run on and on….

Above all, be aware, choose joy and love, patience and kindness, acceptance, and hope. We can choose to love because God loves us without reservation— just as we are.

We can choose to see God through a beautiful phrase I heard the other day…

Life events happen for us, not to us. The more difficult the day, the more we can choose to rise to meet it with God’s help. God is in every crack and cranny of this world and beyond.  We can choose to see with the eyes of faith and be made stronger when we recognize our dependence on God to help us through each circumstance.

Last year, I experienced what doctors labeled a deadly serious illness in my digestive tract and ended up “alone” in the hospital because of COVID-19, with technicians and doctors working hard to get me through. Throughout this time, I felt so close to God, just depending on him. My husband and I trusted God’s plan. I prayed that God hold Roger and the rest of the family close if I didn’t make it.

Through this struggle, I learned to have more patience and acceptance, among so many other things. Prayer and love held us together. Throughout my life, God has continued to provide people—just the ones I need—to be there for me. As God is for you. God loves us. Each one of us.

Recently my husband underwent an MRI. He had gone through an ultrasound that did not show any conclusive reasons for a problem that was becoming an enigma. He had been experiencing dizziness and had previously had a mild mini-stroke that left him with difficulty speaking and in need of medical treatment for a long time.

God chose to let him stay with me and healed him. The current MRI showed residual effects. Perhaps this dizziness was a wake up blessing, spurring us to take needed measures.

We will continue to search for answers, but will continue with trust, knowing peace and having hope, for this situation has been given to God. The unbreakable thread of Christ’s Love holds strong in our lives. We will keep praying, believing, and doing all we can.

We feel a wellspring of gratitude for the breath of life and the opportunity to love and serve as we are able. Not that we do not grumble or complain at all, because we do. But life events happen. How we take those moments is up to us.

We can choose to see Son shine in each moment, whether breaking a garage door, cooking a meal, doing the dishes, walking the dog, changing a tire, serving at church, praying with others, or sharing a celebration – endless circumstances in which we can grow more like Christ.

Intentionally, we can choose to see and be Christ’s presence as we are called. We can know God is in us and completely with us… working in our lives. We know this is true in the depths of our being. In our heart.

We may spiral down but come back up through the power of Christ’s Love.

Alive and well. All is well.

Where are you seeing God working in your life today? No way is too small. Praise God!

© 2021 Bonnie Smith-Davis

Kitchen Chair Love

Bonnie, Buddy and Blake

For as 1 John 4:19 tells us, “we love because he first loved us.” It is the effectual love of God that first changes our hearts in order to make us capable of love.

The truth is that what we “see” is not what is visible to the heart. You can’t make an animal love you. For example, this photo of our animals shows love profoundly in my heart. The newspaper explains what the world might have seen as very important at the time. The headline blares out words of “this is something that you must know”.

My dear Buddy dog and Blake cat are focused on what is important to them. I look at their eyes. Seeing through their eyes, Blake is looking at the “world” around them…the kitchen, the food on the table, the next fun thing for him to do. Buddy focuses on Roger, my husband, and the photographer. He immediately loved and wanted to rescue Buddy from the “pound”. Roger saw what was beautiful inside of this sweet creature, once bedraggled, mistreated, scruffy, and flea -infested and, even to me, not so special to any other visitor to the humane society. Buddy knew that in his heart. His wounds heal from love inside out. Like ours.  You cannot make an animal love you or you love any of God’s creatures.

Claws dig into my lap and my eyes focus on the two dear, sweet animals that want to share a little lap time with Mom. Normally, I realize they would probably not have chosen to spend much time so close to each other. But these sweet boys come up to visit Mom and share the warmth of sweet trust and love. Each sees what is most important to him or her as we live and love in our small community.

God’s love Light encompasses the whole picture. Simply love all, deeply, truly and forever. Christ’s love lives and loves through us. May we strive to do this for others and ourselves. …each moment be in the present, alert as your heart peels away the wounds of your hurt and below the surface reveals to you the deep love hidden in plain sight beneath.

© 2021 Bonnie L Smith-Davis

Who are the faithful?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There is a prayer vigil today. Where are the faithful? Praying at home? Coming to church? Going to work? Prayer comes in many forms. Taking care of family. a garden, pets, making phone calls to friends, walking in Nature…Smiles, helping those in food banks, what is your prayer today?

Who goes to their knees, to speak words of kindness and joy? To be compassionate and loving. Churches, unite in love in your hearts. It began with Christ. It continues with you. At home. Everywhere we are, God is. Each and every moment give thanks for God’s everlasting Love.

© 2021 Bonnie L. Smith-Davis

Lenten Retreat Reflections

John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Sometimes when I go walking, I feel so attune with Nature, hugging a tree, letting my fingers caress the rough bark weathered by the seasons. So, longing to be bubbling inside feeling God sparkle in every moment everywhere I look. I remember how much I long to just be in His Presence.

Today I start my day standing in my yard, listening to the wind on a cold Lenten March day. I feel the chill of the day precluding a coming storm. The cold tears my eyes and my heart bleeds for my once beautiful trees with infestations eating away at their core.

Remnants of a ripped apart limb broken off during a high wind show me how this strong tree has stayed with us throughout the winter months. No matter what, it stands tall hoping to see another spring. It sheds small teardrops of twigs at its base.

My ash still embraces the squirrels that climb its limbs enjoying each moment with these little ones. Enjoy your run, your home may be gone before you know it. Like the squirrels I climb upward, jumping from one limb of life to another with faith that there will be a branch that will hold me, food to feed me. Positive energy surges through me, the seed of faith planted early in life still grows facing adversity.

My dying ash seems to have compassion for me. As I hug it, its strong base just holds steady. Why is it that those most hurt seem to share the most love? Rough bark seems to like my touch.

Love is like that, holding onto you, enfolding you, enlivening you as it reaches out in its own joyfully proclaiming every moment. Do I share this aliveness so clearly embedded in creation?

Filled with years of systems, plans, hurts, last chances, I urgently wish to see beneath the exterior/facade of busyness…

The more that life tears at what I think is real, the more I see layers of “truth” fall away. I bow in quiet prayer to open my mind to the wisdom and truth plugging into the beautiful source generating flooding light.

Time and again these moments of quiet prayer hold me. Its cousin Nature renews and lifts me above the seemingly unending timeline onto the dimension of being, knowing somehow all is connected…the heartbeats of trees, birds, pulsing stars, flowing water from the sky and rivers, budding growth on bare branches and me. On a speck of a section of a tiny planet within a smaller solar system within a galaxy of planets.

How can I be important to the absolute, the Source…my development, His wish to see me become more like Himself get out from under your circumstances and get tuned into God shining patience joy filled in the deepening of Love.

Be humble, accept your humanness living in Christ in God. Be grateful for each moment to extend, infuse and live the Love that God so lovingly has for us. We live unaware of how He feeds us with every moment, we must just listen with our hearts.

© 2021 Bonnie L. Smith-Davis

Starving

Guest Blog by Laurie Stawicki

Hello Friends! Have you ever awakened from a dream and discovered that in your dream, you had become or accomplished so much more than you are right now? Have you ever wondered what life would be like if you let go, really let go of the past, and started taking steps towards your dream life? Have you ever meditated on what you’d really like out of life, and what you want your accomplishments to be at the end?

We only have one life to live. And it is so important to take a few moments or even an hour, a day, or a week or more away, and write down your hopes and dreams and what your goals will be. (Get out your notebook today! Start with a dream brainstorm.)

If you need help with confidence, get help from a coach or a counselor or even a friend. What God has put in you, do not allow to fade like a flower and forever be unused. Bring forth your gifts and talents for the community around you to be blessed by and to encourage others towards being all they can be, and so it becomes a circle. 

You give who you are and what you have so the next person is inspired to do the same, and we all feed off of each other in a good way, to edify, uplift, purposefully contribute who we are and who God made us to be, functioning in His body, and blessing God and ourselves with our gifts and contributions to others and the world. 

Let’s not give up! This is your day! Never, never, never give up the dreams God has put in your heart. And if for some reason you have moved away from them, do a recovery dive! Take a new step in your original direction! There is no time to waste!

“This poem is about the dreams God has put in each child, including you, and what might become of them. Amen.

Starving for Dreams

They scrounge in the
Dust looking for something
not Remembering
what it was they Lost
So Long Ago
Children’s Young hopes
Set Aside for the time
But Time became long
And Longer they served
Someone else’s dream
Slaves to the fact that they
Dependent on others for the
image of freedom
Forgot their own
and Died, remembering Not
from Whence they Came
from God their thoughts
Put to rest as Young adults
Never to be seen again
except as a foggy dream
in the night, half asleep
half awake, an angel’s reminder
that they were made for MORE—
Thoughts in the pallor of busy lives
Forgotten as in Dis-Believed, as In
not Honored for their Whole Purpose—
to Love, to be LOVED, and to Die with
their hands full of
what could have been
Had they Listened–
Had they Heard—
Had they begun to Believe
that inside their future
they held the Seed, As Children,
to Become All they were Meant
TO BE—
Had they Not compared
their Dreams to Another’s—
Had they Known that in the Internal
Gold Treasure Trove of
their gossamer Thoughts, Intentions
and Hopes—
they could Have It ALL—
Don’t let GO—
Remember
Who You Are
What You Dreamed (before Someone
taught you they were impossible)
Keep Listening to the Deep
Impregnable Art of the
Threads of Design in Your Mind
and Heart—
Creator and Created One
In Sync.

Blessing Others, Self and God
By Keeping to Your True Destiny
Fullness of Joy
Being Doing Dreaming
Art in your music,
numbers, architecture
of a life fully lived
before God—
as in—Who You Were Meant to Be—
Amen.

© 2021 Laurie Stawicki

The Snow Blanket

  • Mark 4:27 Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens.
  • Ephesians 3  ….20 Now to Him who is able to do so much more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, 21to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

More snow. A beautiful thick blanket of white tucks in the Earth below every night now. As my feet touch the ground a soft crunch radiates up from my boots to my ears. Icy cold too. As I struggle to focus through glasses fogged with breath, evergreens gradually appear to my right standing tall and strong with snow heavily resting on their branches. An occasional bird and squirrel peek out from under the green cover.

Close by, the empty bird feeder glass shows hunger of the wildlife. Time to feed again. The chill blazes down through my nose as I breathe in the winter air. As I move to get the mail and garbage container, the deep silence resonates a loud chill into my soul.  Next week is Ash Wednesday.

With measured steps I make my way to my destination. Quietly I move as the earth rests preparing itself after a very long year open to all that came seeking. I see no one which seems so much a part of last year. Separation from those of us that are dear to us. Not able to see the vibrancy of their lives close up, their breath, touch and dear faces within an arm’s reach. Yet. Hope sustains.

I see a small bit of earth peeking out where the plow has dug deep down, bleeding the life underneath. I remember the lesson that resonates throughout the Gospels. Infinite Beauty calls us to stop, rise above the noise to listen and feel the warm embrace that surrounds all life everywhere. The quiet growing of Life beneath the Earth seems to shout “I Love you. You are mine. I forgive you and you will be with me forever.”

Scratching the ground for a bit of food and chattering to himself, an impatient squirrel hears me bringing the empty garbage can up to the house. Ralph, as we call him, scampers up the tree. Hurry up human, I am hungry. “Patience,” I say under my breath. I observe that I feel a lot like Ralph sometimes. Just digging and searching impatiently for quick wisdom and reassurance of what I think I need.

How will we approach Lent this year, as we are rooted and grounded in Christ, to proclaim our beautiful connection to all that exists in this world? Deep inside the seed that grows within …Jesus shows us how as we listen, observe, participate fully in life.  I wish to grow, to learn as I push upward through the snow with Christ as my closest friend and guide through in whatever “weather” I find myself.

And, as Ralph reminds me so lovingly, don’t forget along the way to feed the animals and all creation, including yourself. Nourish tenderly with kindness, service, joy from deep within your beautiful self that God created. Live in the moment and perhaps, hug a tree…

Takeaways: Stop and warm yourself with the joy of Life. Listen with your heart to the message of the following beautiful old hymn of faith and trust.   Listen as the Spirit leads you to grow…to push upward through whatever “weather” you find yourself. Find the Light in others.

Begone, unbelief, My Savior is near
Author: John Newton

Begone unbelief,
My Savior is near,
And for my relief
Will surely appear:
By prayer let me wrestle,
And he will perform,
With Christ in the vessel,
I smile at the storm.

Prayer: Jeremiah 15:16 When I received your words, I ate them. They filled me with joy. My heart took delight in them. Lord God who rules over all, I belong to you. Amen

© 2021 Bonnie L. Smith-Davis