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

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

Advent and Hanukah, 2021

By Laurie Stawicki      

                Did you know that Advent and Hanukah begin on the same day this year? November 28, 2021 on the Gregorian calendar, is also the 25th day of the month Kislev on the Hebrew calendar, which is always the date Hanukah starts. (By the way, there’s no correct way to spell Hanukkah. Common spellings are the two I’ve used, plus Chanukah, Chanuka, and Chanucah.)

Advent in the Christian tradition is the 40 days leading up to the celebration of Christ’s birth which is celebrated December 25, however erroneously, since the birth has been suggested to have occurred in early September, according to astrological calculations. That is when the planets of Jupiter, the moon and Saturn, aligned, and were possibly the “star of Bethlehem” referred to in the gospels, and which will not align that particular way again for another 16, 000 years, according to nationalpost.com.

Hanukah, a Jewish holiday, is also called the Festival of Lights. It is the celebration of when the oil found in one jar, normally enough for one day, miraculously burned for 8 days in the temple during the Maccabean Revolt in the 2nd century BC.

My thoughts about these two important calendar dates coinciding is that it is the greatest message. The light of the world, Jesus Christ, has come for both Jews and Gentiles. And as Christians, we believe that he came for all, lived for all, and died for all, making the way clear into the Holiest of Holies, the Presence of God, for all who believe.  

Male and female, Jew and Gentile, all are one in the gospel which says that all who believe are being formed into a spiritual temple, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (Galatians 3:28, Ephesians 2:21, 1 Corinthians 3:16 and 2 Corinthians 5:1) The Bible says that we are the temple of God, when we believe and have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. And that we are the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14-16). That is such a cool statement!

Some special ideas for personal and family growth in Christ through Advent are to study the differences and similarities between Advent and Hanukah, and read the Bible passages about the birth of Christ in Luke 2 and elsewhere.

In addition, to clear our hearts and minds, we can seek to forgive all who have wronged us this year in any way, and to pray blessings over our enemies. (Mark 11:25, Matthew 5:43-48) We can also confess any sins to God and another trusted person, so that they may pray for us so we can be healed. (James 5:16)  And we can ask God to shine his light on our path so that our way is clear before us and so that we do not stumble. (Psalm 119:105). 

As Christians consider the Advent season, attempting to clear hearts and minds of any unholy clutter from the year and to focus on God’s light and word for our lives, it’s good to come apart and rest, maybe light a candle, and give thanks to God for all his benefits.

I pray the love of God shines on each one of us this Advent and Hanukah season and that we all seek the purest light from heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ, who alone can save us from our sins and make us worthy to join him in Heaven eternally.

Author:

Laurie Jane Stawicki, mother of five, singer-songwriter, speaker, and author of the upcoming memoir “Sacrifice of Tears,” and “Don’t Count Your Chickens.” LJ loves and writes in Iowa.  You can contact her at LJStawicki@yahoo.com. Please put “Sacrifice of Tears” in the subject line. Thank you for reading!

© 2021 Laurie Stawicki            

Good Morning, Gratitude!

Sometimes I wake up feeling grouchy, and really, really want to cover my head with my pillow and snuggle down, but I know down deep, that if the day is to go well, I know I must follow a routine doing exercise (like yoga) and reading Scripture, group prayer and a good breakfast.

But before all that, I will try to push myself to wake up by plumping my pillow, putting my hands on my stomach and just slowly breathing. As I take my breath in, I often say a favorite Scripture as I read like “This is the day the Lord has made, and on the outbreath, let us rejoice and be glad in it” several times…Whatever comes to my head through the grace of the Spirit. I thank God for this life, this day, my heartbeat, my breathing, the ability to use my senses…maybe not as well as I used to, on and on. Till I feel a smile of gratitude coming on my face, connecting me to the Lord who created me and every other particle of matter that exists.

And later, as I get out into the world to walk my dog, I often have a song come to my mind as I interact with nature around me in the stillness of the morning. One particular song of gratitude often comes into my heart and continues to fill me deeply with the way we can see the connections in the world today and must be to each other. All affects all. Everything comes from God. We love because God first loved us.

A nutritious question for your day: What serves to help you get past grouchy moments to starting a good morning? …to have a grateful attitude, remembering Christ’s abiding Love in and through us, the indwelling Holy Spirit who comforts and guides you? Perhaps an old song, a beautiful memory, a Scripture, the Spirit’s quiet words leading when you are tired, grouchy or just in need of an attitude change?

© Bonnie L. Smith-Davis

A beautiful song of gratitude … click on the title below to hear the song

I Believe – by The Bachelors

By Ervin Drake, Jimmy Shirls, Irvin Graham and Al Stillman, 1953

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.

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