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

The Rusty Shed and God’s Transforming Love 2021

Rusty shed
The rusty shed in my back yard

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

What do you see when you look at this shed in this picture? On first glance you may see an old, well weathered, square steel structure with its white sides, corroding a little bit more each day. Recently, one sliding green panel door twisted and nearly came off in a violent wind storm. My husband had to hammer the panel to protect its contents. But, despite his best efforts, a space in the door could not be repaired and allows in light and weather. The open places outside of the shed’s floor, covered by bricks, have expanded to allow determined little furry little creatures enough access to bury themselves under the shed for protection from cold, rain and snow.

Through the door panel space, you see the shed’s “treasures”. The light reveals the lawnmower, the gardening tools, the chairs and table to sit comfortably on the outside patio. Assorted nutrients and other lawn machines are nestled in their places. All of the treasures are now vulnerable to what the outside world may bring.

Today I feel a kinship to our shed with my “rusty” spots. Some outside, some inside. It can be hard to get out of bed and get my energy up and going. Titanium body parts let me know now and again that they are not original parts of God’s gift to house my soul. The tennis game that once took me to a championship falters as I push to make moves that I once felt mimicked the best in the game. My fibromyalgia that once wracked my body with pain, now chooses to push my brain to forget things and makes finding an antibiotic that I’m not sensitive to in my system a real challenge. My eyes work extra hard to see past cataracts, and night driving is out of the question.

I will turn 70 soon. Under my somewhat “rusty” belt of experience, I have lived with my generation through three national wars with family members called to active participation, September 11 Tower attack, 15 Presidential elections, a Presidential assassination, assassination of national leaders as Martin Luther King, recession, disease and virus isolation and death, campus riots, introduction of television, computers and cell phones, disappearance of typewriters and carbon paper and the nearly lost personal art of beautiful cursive letter and card writing to name a few things. These “weathering” experiences have helped me explore my beliefs, courage, compassion and love of God more deeply.

And, unlike the rusty steel sided shed, the Light that shines within us (me) continually renews, nourishes and transforms the amazing treasures God created inside each of us because we are His beloved children. With gratitude I feel the Breath of life that starts and threads each day with prayer and praise.

For example, after prayer and Scripture, I often feel led to often follow my dog outside in our yard while he runs after and plays with the squirrels. I look toward our dying backyard elderly trees and wrap my arms around them. This will be their last winter. After the run I often end up in the living room where I am immersed in practicing my piano, letting the Joy-filled praise of God release from my heart and my fingers into all that is around me. I find that I often can lose track of time when I play.

Like the shed and all the other things of this world that may disappear, we all have our “rusty” spots. But we have God’s unending Love to connect and hold us all as the Light transforms the inner treasures just as God plans for us. All is well and all will be well in 2021 because of the One who truly leads us forward. This I believe. Peace, Joy and Love be yours.

Challenges for you today: What do you see are “treasures” in your shed? Let God’s Love flow through you, seeing the Love of Christ that is in everyone and everything. These moments, perfectly planned by God, won’t come again but the memories and love will regenerate throughout time and space. Joy without end. Amen.

© 2021 Bonnie L. Smith-Davis

God’s Plans for Your Holidays

Guest Blog

By Laurie Jane Stawicki

The holidays are upon us. But they look different now. The frenzied fun of yesteryear involving grandparents, aunts and relatives around a loaded Christmas tree is now a more sedate occasion. I miss the happy shouts of glee as fun toys are uncovered from under shiny wrapping paper. And I haven’t felt very festive for years.

As my toddlers turned into kids, and then teenagers and young adults, the gift giving scenario changed. Now as my twenty-something son sits at my table sipping hot chocolate, I decide to share a nugget of wisdom.

“Son,” I say, “If you ever have a family, sit down with your wife two months before Christmas and decide on a budget, pray about the budget and what God would have you do for Christmas. It could be different than you expect. Maybe it would be a trip or a visit to family.”

I don’t want my kids to feel they have to spend a lot of money for Christmas.  I add, “Or it may be small gifts for each family member and people that God has placed around you at work or in the neighborhood.”

I go on. “You should be OK to give a four-dollar box of cookies to each person and not be ashamed. If money is the thing we are comparing then that’s not really the Christmas spirit. We should be able to give as we wish, without compulsion or shame, and just enjoy the fellowship and the fun.”

I think about the stress I have felt over the years as I tried to make a nice Christmas for my family, often with little money.

“The pressure of buying and giving should not be what marks the holidays,” I comment, “and it’s totally ungodly to go into debt to buy things people don’t need to impress whom?”

He smiles at me and nods. “If I get married, I’ll let you know,” he says drolly. We both laugh.

I smack his arm and give him “the look.” “I better be invited to the wedding,” I exclaim.

“You will be,” he says, munching on a cracker.

I go in my office and pray. “Lord, what is on your mind for the holidays here this year?” We may have a daughter’s boyfriend for Thanksgiving, but no grandparents or aunts or uncles because of COVID-19.

“I want you to have fun,” is what I hear Him say. Board games come to mind. Maybe charades or a nerf gun war. Yes, that would be fun! We also could play instruments and have a jam session with everyone.

I cheer up a little. It should be OK. Maybe even the hassle of making the food could be divvied up as well. Each person could be responsible for an item. Or we could get carry out!

As I try to bypass the stress of the expectations from each of my children and myself to have a happy holiday, and how I always try to create a Norman Rockwell kind of homey photo op, I decide I need to re-frame the holiday to the kids.

Maybe it would be appropriate to talk about our feelings of sadness over the changes we are experiencing due to COVID-19, and just growing older. And then we could talk about what things we can still enjoy and for what we are grateful.  We can still create good memories within our new boundaries. We are still family and still together even though some of us will be missing.

Thank you, Lord, for the thoughts. I lift up our prayers to you for blessings this holiday season. I also ask you to open my eyes to any in need around me for an encouraging word, a batch of cookies, or a prayer. Please help us as a family to be givers into your treasure trove of heavenly stores.

This week: As you make plans for the holidays, consider stopping to pray about what God would have for your family this year: who you can be a blessing to as well as how to celebrate within your family. Maybe he will surprise you with some fresh ideas! I pray you have a lovely holiday season filled with God’s love. He is the reason for the seasons. He gives us hope for the future. He gives us all we need for the present. And now I think I’ll sit and sip some hot cider while I compose a new family email, and hum the doxology.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow

Praise Him all creatures here below

Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.

© 2020 Laurie Jane Stawicki

Laurie Jane Stawicki is a Christian mother of five, a poet, singer/songwriter and author. She started writing as a child to hang onto sanity in a troubled household. Her writing mission statement verse is Luke 2:35, when the angel says to Mary, “A sword shall pierce through your own soul also that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” Laurie Jane believes that her writings could be a voice for those who can’t speak for themselves and she’d like to inspire others to trust more in God. She would like to encourage people to bring their experiences to God’s presence for healing.

Tale of Twin Trees

The lemonade quenches my thirst after a hard day.  A squirrel catches my eye while gracefully jumping across the chasm between neighboring trees in our backyard. I strain to focus on the little acrobat as the Sun radiantly peers down between our dear old trees which struggle to thrive.

Their leafy branches protect me and contain the strong fire of the Sun while a deep gurgling reminds me of the “swamp” sump pump runoff that saps away some of their strength.  The Sun slides down into the honey locust as the yellow fireball steadily moves across the yard. My eyes travel down its trunk as a glint of Light gently caresses its rough bark scorched with dryness from lack of nourishment to its roots.

To the left of my chair, its roots reach up to the surface of the grass, as if pleading for nourishment from the Earth. More than once I have mowed over one of the roots as it reaches out to get something, anything to grow. Its very life threatened by the sandy soil it was growing in and the swamp tearing away life-giving nourishment.

As the Sun moves across the yard, its light holds for a moment where the honey oak’s branches seem to grasp its neighboring ash tree gently with its leafy limbs as if for help…as they seem to be giving strength to each other. The ash has required a lot of love this year, but it refuses to give in and reaches up to the sky with fresh new leaves. I admire its strength and will to focus on surviving. The borer will not claim this one despite years of damaging storms tearing its limbs and insects crawling all over it … all wounds that our arborist said could eventually kill it. Yet, they both hold on. They remain strong fed by the Love that have helped them grow to magnificent height.

Gentle reader, how do we get fed? Do we reach out as these magnificent trees? Each form of life has its own needs, just like each person. All interconnected to the rest of the world and universe, dependent on each other – overcoming, surviving the cracking, hurting, being fed. When we look at each being, do we see Christ’s face?  Do we reach out to assist or turn away? Do we shine the Love indwelling in us?

A simple takeaway: find one thing in this moment you are grateful for in your life and reach out with Joy and Love to someone or something else. Perhaps share a smile or an encouragement to a dear one, a stranger, a struggling friend, or just someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. Or, volunteer to help victims of a storm when headlines disappear, while hurt and destruction remain. Listen quietly to the Spirit inside and be there as the One who is always there for you. Love will return to you as surely as the Sun consistently rises and sets each day.

Reach out to quench the thirst with Love.

© Bonnie L. Smith-Davis 2020

Awareness

Tree and sunlight

My child, do you know who I am?
Be filled and listen deeply as I enfold you.
I am the joy of the bird floating gently on the depth of air
I am the song of the bird that sings its song to the heavens
I am the heart of the fish swimming in the sea searching for food
I am the soft breeze gently moving in the atmosphere
I am the radiant candle flame burning eternally

I am in the hope of a child gazing at his mother
I am in the deep trust of hearts entwined
I am in the heart of the mother gazing at her baby
I am in the heart of the parent nearing eternity
I am in the heart of the mother losing her child

I am within the swirls of air tantalizing and filling all that lives
I am within the ever growing dandelions through the rocky soil
I am within the growing of branches and budding leaves on trees
I am within the deep, searing warmth of the sun
I am within the powerfully life flowing waters of the river
I am within the star-filled darkness that encompasses the Earth

I am embedded in blueness of the sky
I am encrusted in the moist, constant warmth of Mother Earth

I am part of the glowing sunrise encompassing the Earth
I am part of the ever flowing thought that provide wisdom
I am part of the laughter, the smiles, the twinkling eyes
I am part of the soft, purring of the sleeping cat
I am part of the gentle yip of the dog that sees its best friend
I am part of the Essences of all that live, move and have being

I am one with the All in All.
I exist only because the One exists.
Now and forever.
Who am I? I am Love.

(C) 2020 Bonnie Louise Davis

Sacred Valley

Written at Snowmass Retreat looking at Mt. Sopris above St. Benedict’s monastery, Colorado

March 2020

Mountain peak with pillow soft, slow walking clouds walking on their backs

Sacred valley of strong faith!

Heart strings entwine pulses with surge of love, throughout the overlying sky.

Snowy bright diamonds of melting snow glistening cells huddling, meshing, flowing together melting away into the warming ground of Colorado highlands

Earth welcoming the moisture feeds the undergrowth

Like the babies welcoming their mother’s warmth.

Black and white magpies bounce, caw and flit from twisted branches and perch on the arches of support beams on our cozy retreat home.

Cold, purposefully walking hikers dot the grounds going from hermitages to monastery to retreat house.

Vehicles that come by give wide birth to the hikers with climbing poles trudging uphill on their journey…-“real” world meets solitary stillness.

Meanwhile inside the retreat, the savory, kitchen fragrances waft down the long hallway to fill the seekers senses. Our extraordinary chef servants of God finish final preparations for supper.

Seekers gather senses and move quietly down the hall, in anticipation of mixtures conceived delicately making just the rights sparks of joy rewarding our work during prayerful hours.

How many eyes have gazed through out on Mt. Sopris…pondering their spiritual journey …memories etching themselves in our hearts…?

Dear Lord Jesus, how your community of faith functions wordlessly united, pulsing together hearts joined in Love.

An empty chair sits in solitude awaiting its evening seeker to give rest to weary, but spiritually nourished by prayer.

Sunset and tomorrow’s inevitable dawning …a new day awaits.

copyright 2020 Bonnie Louise Davis