An Open Letter to Fear

I’ve got eggs ready to pour  into the bowl. Miss E and the radio are both contending for my attention. She wants to pour the wet ingredients into the dry and the talk show host wants me to fear Ebola.

I can’t concentrate on both and at first the radio starts to win, drawing me into the conversation of fear and outrage. Then it hits me – even though I’m not sick, I’m letting Ebola take my life. I’m letting it steal the moments I have with my family. And it ends here.


Dear Ebola, ISIS, Doomed Economy, and the gunmen who live in Talk Radio Land,

(An Open Letter)

Today I decided to not let any of you take my life. You see, you almost had me. I’ve never met any of you, for which I’m truly grateful. I don’t even know anyone whose ever associated with any of you. But still I’m aware of your presence. You lurk at the outer reaches of my mind, whispering words of FEAR.

But not anymore. I know that you’re still there. But there are two things that my Heavenly Father has gifted me with today – reminders that have been my armaments against your words.

First, He’s reminded me that He’s greater. He is greater than he that is in the world               (1 John 4:4) .

No matter what happens, I’ll speak this truth to my heart –

He is greater

He’s greater than a disease.                                                                                                                   He’s greater than an enemy force.                                                                                                        He’s greater than poverty.                                                                                                                     And, He’s greater than death.

Secondly, He’s reminded me that He hasn’t given me – given any of us – the spirit of Fear, but He’s given us love, power, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

So, I’m turning off your voices – one by one shutting off your voices of fear. Because those whispers, they aren’t from Him. His Words are True. His Words are Life.

Sincerely,

Danielle


My mind comes back to the present. I raise my hand to turn off the radio and the silence is jarring for a moment.

“Mommy, can I stir now?” Her sweet voice cuts into my thoughts and I grasp that                   moment – that moment of LIFE.

 

Reflecting His Image

The bell rings and we scramble from our seats. It’s recess time at last! The weather is beautiful – perfect for playing and not at all conducive to arithmetic.

I grab my library book and hold it close as I shuffle into line. Books have become my       best friends.

We stream out the door, finally freed to play on the swings and the jungle gym, but I hold back and take my place on the steps, nestled against the old stone railing. The Bobbsey Twins and me, we’ve had so many adventures so far.

The teacher stands behind me further up the steps and I can feel her presence. I scoot ever closer to the railing and hold my book tight. She never says anything. Books aren’t allowed on the playground but she never makes me put it back. Just lets me read.


I can’t remember what grade that was – 1st maybe? And I don’t remember the teacher, only and an image of a floral skirt and brown shoes. But I realize now, that faceless teacher, she gave me a gift. Maybe she saw that I had no friends. Maybe she saw my need for quiet. I don’t know, but I’m forever grateful to her, for allowing me to be myself and for giving me the chance to recharge through story.

Tonight I had a similar experience only this time I’m 35, the teacher is my husband, and the recess wasn’t from math, it was from life.

I escaped to the back deck and finished The Last Battle by CS Lewis. Once again my soul was recharged by story. Some things, many things change from childhood to adulthood,

But the core of who we are remains the same.

God has allowed me these past few years to learn about, and finally understand how He has wired me.

reflected

So, I pray today for you. The woman who is still conflicted by how God made her and the expectations of others. I pray that you will feel His presence as He guides you. He made you exactly how He wants His image to be reflected in your life.

Revel in that and be free.

A Year of Rest – Join me?

Welcome back!

Last week I wrote about how my soul has been longing for REST, and at the end I invited you to join me in this endeavor. I’m so glad that you came back so we could talk a little bit about what that might look like in the upcoming year.

I’ve been thinking and praying about this for the last couple of weeks and have had ideas percolating. I’ve really felt the Lord leading to work on one thing a month  – one area in which we can implement REST. So each month I or a guest writer will be talking about REST and what that means in our lives.

And, though this is an introductory post into this foray of REST, I’ve picked an area for this month - Media. Specifically social media and talk radio. I love knowing what’s going on in the world – hearing opinions and keeping up with events. I love reading the articles that people link to. But I’ve noticed that talk radio, especially, stresses me out because I’ve found that there isn’t much of a balance. The ‘gloom and doom’ isn’t ever balanced by HOPE. And if I’m leaving a program or discussion depressed and worried, it isn’t worth it. God says to trust in Him and these two mediums aren’t helping me in that task.

So, this month I’m turning off talk radio and limiting social media. That pains me to say, just so you know, but it must be done in this pursuit of rest.

Recently I was reading a blog post by Emily Freeman over at Chatting at the Sky and she mentioned an app that she installed that keeps track of her time online. It’s called Rescue Time. It tracks the time that you spend and shows you where you’re spending it. I’m excited to see where I’m spending my days. Hopefully this will help me be more disciplined in my time in social-media-land.

It’s fun to see what’s going on in other’s lives, but more often than not, it means that we’re not living our lives to the fullest.

I’ll be checking back in with you throughout the month to share what progress is being made in the area of the month. I hope you’ll join me in this journey.My heart is to encourage you in the many facets of REST as we explore some of the practical applications and abstract ideas behind the idea of REST.

Be sure to let me know what you’re doing in your pursuit of REST!

 

rest

 

 

Rest 2015 – A Word to define a Year

It’s been quiet here lately in this little corner of the web. The words haven’t come as easily lately because I’ve been struggling. Between all the outer turmoil in the world, the trying to process it all, and trying to manage my own crazy, I’m just plain tired.

I’ve been yearning for REST.

And though the striving for approval is less, there has still been this disquiet, an unsettling in my soul.

Last year I chose the word Intentional as my ‘word of 2014′. I kept coming back to it when my mind needed to be centered. How could I be intentional in home management, homeschooling, writing … So many things to do and implement.

Toward the end of the year I lost steam and my soul started getting restless. I needed something.

Finally, it came to me. I needed rest.

So, that is the word that I’ve chosen for 2015. It’s a word of inaction, which totally rubs me the wrong way. Who wants to be know for inactivity?

rest

When I first started to think this through, the question I asked myself, was,                        ‘what can I do to pursue rest?’ But that’s the wrong question.

The question that needs to be asked is,

What do I need to stop doing in order to pursue rest?

I wonder if our pursuit of activity is a need to fill the space because                             we’ve forgotten how to rest?

There is no standing ovation for resting. Few people clamor to read about a person who does little.

But I’ve never been one to go with the flow. My drive goes in the opposite direction most of the time – against what’s typically popular.

So, will you join me this year? Will you pursue REST with me?

Come back Monday and I would love to share some thoughts with you on how we can walk this year of REST together.

 

 

Allume – Come and Dine

For several months I prayed for this year’s Allume Conference. Every month I picked a different area to pray for – the worship, sponsors, speakers, staff – you get the idea. And for October, I picked “Unity”. I prayed that all of us there would put aside our differences, what’ere  they may be, and come together to learn how to better glorify our King.

This was my second year to attend and I had been looking forward to going for several months. I expected to grow and learn. What I never planned on was to come away feeling raw.

The verse for this year’s conference was Revelation 3:20

rev 320

As the director gave the keynote my eyes kept wandering to the easel that held the verse. I grew up with those words, we even sang a song about it, how many dozens of times, I don’t remember. But it’s there, etched on my mind. Though I never understood them until now.

This year’s theme was Hospitality. We were admonished to open our hearts and online spaces to everyone. We were encouraged to be a people of heart hospitality, leaving people feeling better about themselves than before they encountered us.

But I want to ask you this, how can we be hospitable when we don’t realize that God is a God of hospitality?

I never really felt that verse was for me. For everyone else, sure. But not me. I always pictured myself opening the door, serving Him His food, and then hanging back as He ate in silence, never feeling worthy to sit and eat with Him.

As I sat there reading those words over and over, the truth hit me.

“I will come in to him and dine with him and he with Me.” Then I looked around at all of us at the table. Every  meal consisted of friends and strangers sitting together over a meal and communing.

We were sharing something intimate with one another – we were getting to know each other over bread, laughter, and tears.

He showed me that weekend, in late October, that no matter the shame, no matter the sin struggles, He wants to eat with me – with you.

And that humbles me because I know that we don’t deserve it. But He calls to us, comes to us, and communes with us because He wants to.

He wants to.

I’ve always know Him as God, Creator, Lord, and even Father. But now, He’s offered me a seat at His table and I know Him as Friend.

Smokey Cheese Spread

This is a fun appetizer, compliments of Better Homes and Gardens, that can be made ahead either hours or even a day before you need it. Typically I’ve used the smoked Gouda option and haven’t tried the other two. There have been times  when I’ve not had enough time to make a ‘cheese ball’, so have made this into a spread.

Which just means that I put it into a container for later use.

I hope you enjoy this – it’s really yummy!

 

Smoky Cheese Ball

Ingredients

  • 2   8 ounce package cream cheese
  • 2 cups finely shredded smoked cheddar, Swiss, or Gouda cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons steak sauce
  • 1 cup finely chopped nuts, toasted
Assorted crackers

Directions

  1. Let cream cheese, shredded cheese, and butter stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Add milk and steak sauce; beat until fluffy. Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours.
  2. Shape mixture into a ball; roll in nuts. Let stand for 15 minutes. Serve with crackers. Makes 3-1/2 cups spread (56, 1-tablespoon servings).

Communication, or the lack thereof

My husband looks at me and asks me what’s wrong. Did he offend me? Did he do something wrong? And, instead of being honest, I swallow my hurt and frustration, tell him no, and continue to fold laundry. I tell him I have a headache and I’m tired. He gets me some water and aspirin – the lie having caused the headache and the lack of communication causing a rift.

Communication is such a murky subject. There are numerous levels. There’s the ‘survival communication‘. The “did you get the clothes out of the dryer? S is out of underwear!” Then there’s the surface talk’ The “How was your day? Rough, yours? Kids were crazy, cute, then crazy again.”

It’s the deep talk, the heart talk, that is difficult to get to. Between the busyness of the day and the weariness in the evening, sometimes there’s nothing left to give.

How many times have we had to peel back the layers of life to get back to the ‘us’ – the couple that used to talk for hours? We have to make the time to communicate. We have to take it and put that time to good use.

My husband and I live in the same house together, we live life together, but communicating what’s on our hearts is sometimes difficult. After mulling this over and trying to get to the root cause of our lack of communication, I’ve come up with a couple of things. They may not be your reasons but perhaps they’ll help you figure out yours.

The first is complacency. Sometimes talking takes too much effort (there, I said it and my husband admitted this too). Much to my chagrin, sometimes I’m okay with not making that effort. It’s sort of like when you know you should be spending time with your kids but you know that pile of dishes won’t clean itself and you choose the dishes over love (please tell me I’m not the only one doing this!) You’ve lost that moment, to what, housework? But the times that you’ve chosen play over work have been so sweet.

That’s the way it is with talking with my man. When I choose talking over the 25 tasks on my ‘to-do’ list, it reaps so many more rewards. The dishes will always be there but the opportunity to build that relationship might not be.

Okay, so I told you that there were a couple of things – here’s the second. FEAR. One word, but such a big one. I’m afraid sometimes to tell that man that I love with all my heart, what is going on inside my brain. I’m afraid because with love comes the power to hurt, and if I don’t talk, I don’t give him that power, right?

Wrong.

But how many times have I been surprised when I do bear my heart and we have had a wonderful conversation?

Fear will do that to you. It’ll creep in and tell you things that aren’t true. Lies that will keep your relationship from growing because you believe them over what you know to be true. And the truth is my husband loves me and  wants to talk too. The truth is, he holds my heart protectively.

Do you know something wonderful? God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)

When I am fearful, I am weak, undisciplined, and selfish. These character traits don’t build relationships but rather tear them down.

The love of God is amazing and more powerful than we could ever fathom. He can give us the strength to have genuine heart conversations. And, He alone can conquer the fear that holds us back from becoming a couple who brings Him glory in our relationships.

He can give us the strength to make the

Berries w/Whipped Cream

This may sound like a ‘no-brainer’ recipe, but sometimes the most simple desserts can be the most seductive.

Spring and Summer offer a wonderful variety of berries all with go fantastically with fresh whipped cream.

If you’re pinched for time don’t hesitate to purchase Redi-whip. But, if your have a moment, freshly whipped is divine and can be made ahead of time.

A simple summer evening can turn into a sizzling summer night with berries and cream.

DSC_0424

 

Berries and Cream
  • 1 Pint of your favorite Berries
  • 1 C. Whipping Cream
  • Sugar or sweetener to taste

1. Rinse berries and divide into two bowls.

2. Starting on low speed, whip your cream, increasing speed gradually. Once it starts to thicken add sweetener and keep beating until stiff.

3. Dollop whipped cream on berries and serve. Have fun!

 

 DSC_0420