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.

Amen.

© 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

Seeds of Friendship

My Burmese neighbor brought a package of homemade rice-coconut cakes in banana leaves to celebrate their daughter’s 13th birthday. Feeling very blessed with learning to share our lives. We share back as well. Learning each other’s names and languages. Hope to share more about how to plant and grow food as they do as we nourish the seeds of friendship.

© Bonnie Smith-Davis 2022

My Child…Awakening

My child,

Do you know who I am?
Listen deeply and be filled as I enfold you.

Delicately graceful birds floating gently

Silver scaled fish glimmering as one
Soft purring cats rubbing those they own
Yipping dogs rolling over for best friends

Life force surging within all beings
Tender, glowing sunsets kissing all they touch

Life-giving air filling and enlivening
Eternal stars burning radiantly above

Yearning children hugging mothers
Gentle mothers cuddling babies
Elderly parents facing transitions

Brokenhearted mothers losing children

Virulent dandelions flourishing through the rocky soil
Strong oak branches budding
Deep, sunshine searing, warming
Powerful water flowing into depths unknown

Encrusted moistness, constantly nourishing Mother Earth

Deep eruptions changing the face of the Universe

Star-filled darkness exploding Earth with encompassing Light

Minuscule darting atoms swirling, connecting life

Ancient wisdom revealing all Truth
Wholehearted belly laughter awakening twinkling eyes

Deep seated Essence of all that live, move and have their being

I am the Body. One with the All in All.
I exist only because of the One.
Now and forever.

Who am I? I am You. I am Love.

© Bonnie Smith-Davis May 2022

Trusting

The Holy Spirit is tapping me on the shoulder again. Wake up to trust me who loves you unconditionally. always. …God

… But if I wag my tail furiously, someone will come by and give me a wonderful home. I will just be. I will trust completely…. Rascal G. Smith-Davis

Every day for three months I came to the door of the cat room to greet the people that came to the shelter, trusting that someone would give me a good home.  I trust completely. ……. Blake B. Smith-Davis-Cat

A wonderful dinner awaits me while I busily work on my assignment due today. I trust Roger will provide.

Neighbor stops her busy day to read my paper… I care about you. …T.

Can I do any less?

God provides for me (for us) in all things. I declare my weakness but know I will succeed at what is most important by letting go to trust God who loves me just as I am. Be renewed. Declare how despite the fact you fall on your face; you still are loved. Completely. For who you are secretly deep inside by Him who gave his Life for you. …Bonnie

Psalm 139 V.1-12

O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    O Lord, you know it completely.

5You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is so high that I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from your spirit?
    Or where can I flee from your presence? If I take the wings of the morning
    and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light around me become night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is as bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

©2022 Bonnie L. Smith-Davis

My Heart Knows I Believe

Rascal Smith-Davis-Dog waits for his human
Rascal

Open your eyes a little wider, please.  What do you believe you will see with your eyes wide open? I believe that the healing process of Light penetrates the eyes so you can see more. But what is it you wish to see in the busy-ness of the present and planning for what is to come?

Do old songs ever get into your head? Your heart? I believe the healing Spirit puts them there for a reason.

Also, I believe that what I intend to perceive is what I will see. I must be open. God knocks at the door; I must open the door to let in the Light.  Yesterday the Spirit touched my heart and stopped my “busy” plan cold with the radiant, sweet lines of the old song “I Believe,” slowly ungunking my sight with its message…

“I believe for every drop of rain that falls…”

“What is on your to-do list for today?”

 “Where are you going, honey?”

These questions are answered in myriads of ways…lists of to-dos. Check off one, go to another… Little Rascal stands wagging his tail. He just doesn’t understand why the list doesn’t seem to include him.

“A flower grows…”

I sit, looking down at the phone in hand, answering yet another text message from a friend while sweet puppy Rascal wags and quietly stares in my direction, peeking around the Christmas tree. He asks with big brown eyes, “What is so important to you? Pet me. Please.”

“I believe that somewhere in the darkest night…”

Slightly irritated at Rascal, but more at myself, I get up and pad in my muk-luk socks down the hall toward my room, I peek in to see the computer light shine on my husband’s glasses as he works on another project. He’s busily involved in family finances. Looking beyond him, I see through the darkness… fresh fallen snow. Christmas week.

“A candle glows…”

Turning the corner into our family room, I sigh at stacks of books and files left over from a conference I returned from a week or so ago. Projects seem endless and I have reports to write, but where is the time to share the candlelight glow of a warm fire with a loved one?

Pet the puppy?

Extravagant use of time, right?

“I believe for everyone that goes astray.”

Digging down into my pile of books, I find the one I was looking for to handle a business issue that has come up and move down the hall toward my study, when a glint of light flashing off the brass lamp at my piano calls me over.

“Someone will come to show the way…”

My eyes are drawn to the light falling on a song that I was practicing for an upcoming meeting. I stop in my tracks, entranced by the title…” I Believe…” I make my way around the piano and continue reading the words. My hands are drawn up to the keyboard and I start playing and singing the words dear to my heart.

“Then I know why…”

The busyness of the day fades away, and I smile as I hear Rascal jump into a nearby chair and cock his head toward the piano. My heart radiantly fills up with the Holy Spirit, Who once again gently taps me on the shoulder and encompasses me with a loving warm embrace.

Rascal sniffs the book sitting quietly on the table beside him and loses interest as the melodic tones flow into him.

Rascal comes next. That report can wait awhile.

“I believe…”

Jesus lives on, in, and through us, God’s Will is continuing to manifest now and will forevermore.

How is the Holy Spirit tapping you on your shoulder today? How are you seeing the world at this moment?

© 2022 Bonnie L. Smith-Davis

I Believe – The Bachelors – 1964

Words for “I Believe”   

I believe for every drop of rain that falls
A flower grows
I believe that somewhere in the darkest night
A candle glows
I believe for everyone that goes astray
Someone will come to show the way
I believe
I believe


I believe above the storm the smallest prayer
Will still be heard
I believe that someone in the great somewhere
Hears every word
Every time I hear a newborn baby cry
Or touch a leaf
Or see the sky
Then I know why
I believe
Every time I hear a newborn baby cry
Or touch a leaf
Or see the sky
Then I know why
I believe

Writer/s: Al Stillman, Ervin M Drake, Irwin Graham, Jimmy Shirl
Publisher: CONCORD MUSIC PUBLISHING LLC, T.R.O. INC.

Beautiful Sky’s Gift*

Bonnie & Sky
Sky
Sky and Jess

*Sequel to earlier story Beautiful Sky on my site

Sky greets me, tail wagging and straining forward as before, in her new warm grey- and -white sweater. Her new mom Jess smiles as Sky confidently moves forward. As I get reacquainted with beautiful Sky, Jess reaches down to stroke her sweet pup. “Sky is improving in her balance and in learning how to be with others after her amputation,” but really doesn’t seem too sure about coming back here to the humane society for our visit. A tentative wag combined with a gaze around the animal pen and while leaning in to my leg confirms her guess.

After a pause Jess continues with her eyes steadily on her pup, “Sky loves to be close to me and play with her tug/toss toy at home. She knows that I need her as much as she needs me. We help each through each day.” Sky gazes back at her mom and gives her a reaffirming sniff and nose lick.

Jess continues stroking her little girl and adds that it has been a tough month or so for both of them…and that they are so grateful for all the loving, caring friends at the humane society in the Second Chances program that allows pets with special considerations to be readied for adoption. Also, that new owners as herself wish to show deep appreciation for those willing to devote sponsor kennels and surgery sponsors. ** Thank you!

Bored by all of our continued “barking”, Sky spots a tug toy by the dog house and runs over to check the scents. Conversation turns to the holidays and the fact that soon Jess and Sky will celebrate their very first Christmas together. Sky seems truly a special gift from God for Jess and Jess for her. Love. Pure and simple Love. As Sky wanders back, she nuzzles closer when Jess bends down to adjust her pup’s sweater to keep warm in the November chill.

Sky, looking up obediently at her forever mom for the next instruction, lays down on command, now just contented to be beside her mom. The bond of trust and love that has been building since they first met is clearly growing stronger.

Jess quietly adds that throughout the decision-making process of whether or not to adopt, each time she visited Sky or Sky was allowed to visit at her home, she quietly believed with all the love in her heart that she would be Sky’s forever friend. They would be together throughout all their challenges. Still, Jess had to consider would be best in the long run for Sky who had gone through so much with coming to the humane society with a deep hurting body, the amputation process. for her loved ones, and for herself.

Finally, Jess listens to her heart and decides to take the necessary steps to adopt her inspirational, loving, young pit bull mix with her missing right front leg and the enormously loving heart!

Since that decision, these two friends have been at each other’s side through periods of adjustment in their life and the lives of those they love. Sky comforts and remains very close to Jess as Jess has needed her during a dear friend’s illness. Jess has consistently been there for Sky, taking her into the vet for regular checkups following Sky’s amputation which the vet says is healing well. Also, Jess, as alluded to earlier, keeps working with Sky in conjunction with her training to grow more comfortable with her new gaited walking, to act appropriately and to be more comfortable around others.

As the chill nipped underneath our coats, and a few more questions are answered, we all have the warm feeling spoken only through our hearts. Joy and Love. Sky has her fur-ever home. Her amputation is over, and the healing takes over, not only of the body, but in her deep, loving heart with so much to give! Sky was home. And so was Jess.

Merry Christmas, dear readers. We must continue to be love. Sky’s deep love-filled heart which does not give up but shows endless determination to love others in spite of her missing limb!

My challenge for you: about a personal “limb” or wound 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 gift of 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.”

**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 Smith-Davis