How appropriate that this page, this moment, begins with a choice. I can let the blackness consume the screen before me and wander back to the soft contentment of dark slumber or I can stay. So I choose. I choose to begin the future with the words given me, jotting them for the eyes of others.
|Posted by donnadawson on November 28, 2013 at 7:30 AM||comments (0)|
It's white and cold and hideous and yet I am called to rejoice. Rejoice in what? The crystalline stuff sucks at boots heavy to begin with. I shiver and trudge; shiver and trudge. The barn door won't give with the pull of the fist. Frozen. Soldered together with more of the white crystals. I shove hard, grumble some more and clomp into the darkness. Warm red glows from under stall doors where heat lamps hold the cold at bay. Water buckets have not yet surrendered to liquid concrete. I can see my breath even here--great puffs of silky white trailing each exhalation. Bah humbug! is my annual cry. I want to hate winter with its chilling grip and its deep blanched mire and its slate skies.
I look into each stall. Balls of fluffed up feathers huddle in fresh straw, stealing warmth where they can. The occasional crow of the rooster tells me that life is unchanged for these creatures. The seasons mean little to their day-to-day life other than to count down the clock to brooding season. Hens still churn out their oval produce. Roosters still march the stall perimeter seeking intruders. Turkeys gobble out their hysterical babble. The ducks quack and sift through the kiddie pool's liquid contents. A water tank heater has made their life pleasant. All are content. The horses munch hay, lazy eyes peering out from beneath a mantle of fuzz--giant teddy bears where sleek steeds stood in warmer climes. I am the only malcontent.
Their calm over-rides my foul frame of mind. I blow out another breath and see the fairy-like mist. There's warmth in this dim haven--body heat from creatures content so long as they have food, water and place away from the arctic blast. I am humbled.
I leave the barn and look to the skies. Fat flakes of snow gyrate through still air, their millions creating a blanket of grey/white to cover the azure. All is silent. Peacefully so. As though a hush has fallen and creation is waiting for the next move by the Creator. I let my eyes pan the scenery, awakened now by the gentle rebuke of the creatures under my care. The ground is thick with wool so white it is blue. Fragile looking twigs hold layers of the stuff giving the trees an air of supplication--as though robed in a white gown and humbly offering themselves to the One who made them. I am shamed. I complain while creation glorifies. The snow is cold--yes--but it is beautiful in its pristine starkness.
My feet no longer trudge. I slip them into the indents made by my grouchier self and follow them back to the warmth of the house. I am fed and watered and sheltered too and I am surrounded by a canvas of purity. What do I have to complain about?
|Posted by donnadawson on November 23, 2013 at 9:55 PM||comments (1)|
I have taken the plunge into my fears and discovered they are benign. Stepping out the other side I see the Light of lights. Joy bursts into my soul and I gain courage to step deeper into adventure.
The airplane pulls me from earth on silver wings. Muscles clench and relax; clench and relax. The idiocy of the idiot box on the back of the seat I face chews away at the hours--seven of them. It is a waste of time but time is all I've got. Plenty of it.
Night drops over the metal bird and those it carries. I nestle against the crook of the shoulder beside me--the shoulder that is beside me through life. Sleep doesn't come. The presence of joy doesn't always insure the presence of peace and my eyes remain glued to the screen of dancing puppets.
It is noon when the rubber talons touch tarmac. The peace is there finally. I have allowed it to squeeze next to the joy. Sunshine blares warming skin that longs for heat. The land of God's chosen. A dream come true. A dream stronger than fear that kills dreams.
Ten days of activity. Dashing and driving and drinking in the living history. Faith renewed over and over and over again. Depravity displayed as we rehash the holocaust and we cry. Yet joy stays because I am in the place I have longed to visit--the place of God's union with man.
We touch stones coated thick with the touches of men of renown. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon. We drift through the mighty ruins of mighty civilizations bereft of their might. We bob like corks in a sea so thick with salt we dare not blink.
The joy sits there beside me; bubbles within; overflows through tear ducts weary from weeping.
I leave the place of living faith but I carry it in my core. My beliefs have been confirmed--stamped with an assurance as incorruptible as mathematics. It is no longer faith that resides in my cells. It is faith and truth. What was once an ideal is now what defines me.
|Posted by donnadawson on November 9, 2013 at 8:10 PM||comments (4)|
Those in the know say 'it' but I say 'he'. He is, after all, a spirit though his characteristics aren't remotely as awe inspiring as that of the spirit bearing the title 'Holy'. This spirit--this 'he' who is too often benignly called 'it'--worms his way into the shadowy places of my mind with the intention of side-railing my meager faith. The vague recollections of infancy remind me that he has been with me--hovering--for more than a handful of years.
There's a monster under my bed! The piping voice screams down the passages of time from my youthful throat to my aging ear. It is his--this subtle spirit's--debut performance enacted on the mind of a toddler but he doesn't stop there. He drags that child through the possibilities of things that might happen, that might hurt, that might undermine the belief in being made in the Image.
But they don't like me. They might hurt me. He speaks lies to the little darling--lies that become truths because the insecurities they cause are worn about the face for bullies to see. I gape at the growing child as she--as I--hurtle in the downward spiral that is the belief of the lie. The spirit eggs me on. He sees my doubt and tweaks it.
Don't step outside the door. Something bad might happen. He has carefully groomed my terrors hoping that I will cling to them and in doing so, remain chained in the dark.
But this spirit--he knows his expiry date. He knows he is bound by the Word who became flesh and who will come again. He hopes against hope that the child traversing through the elements of time will not become aware of his powerlessness. He strokes the belief that if he can hover over my darkness that I will not see that my faithlessness is the fuel that feeds him.
It is in the dark journey that this spirit--the spirit of Fear--meets his match. That other spirit--the Holy one--is at work too. He also hovers waiting for me to reach beyond fear's deception and take hold of His hand.
He calls to me with honey soaked syllables. Words that caress and coddle me. Words oozing with love. It is enough to crack open the sable box of my mind so shafts of silver/gold can pierce the corners. I choose. I see the familiar darkness--predictable and explicable. I see the light--unfathomable and beyond description. One choice is easy. The other choice leaves me with unanswered questions.
I abandon the easy path and explode out of the darkness into the light. Much is left to faith--faith in the spirit called 'Holy' but I am no longer living under the lie fed me by the spirit of Fear. He has been vanquished.
I step outside my door and suck in a lungful of sweet crisp air. The monsters under my bed are laid to rest. The bullies that struck terror are nowhere to be seen. With faith forging the way, I let the spirit who is Holy light the path on which I tread no longer shadowed by the lies of Fear. I choose life.
|Posted by donnadawson on October 30, 2013 at 5:30 AM||comments (1)|
Night gapes at me with jeering eyes. I have stayed the hand of pain for one more moment. I wish I could say it was an act of faith but the chemicals in the bottle course through sleep slowed veins, searching for the source that steals my respite. God never promised that I would feel not the bite of pain only that he would carry me through it and so I rest in his hand, in this moment. I choose. I choose to believe he is. I choose to believe he can and will and while invisible fingers pinch and press and slowly release a hungry grip on the endings of nerves and the vise on my skull cranks open the fraction, I choose. He is God. He has spoken and either he lies or he doesn't. I choose to believe he doesn't. So while one of man's attempts to be God speeds through my plasma and I ponder the frailness of my faith, I choose to believe that his choice wasn't the giving of the pain but the holding me through it.
|Posted by donnadawson on July 3, 2013 at 2:30 PM||comments (2)|
You Should Write
By Donna Fawcett
"If you do nothing else in life, you should write. You're good at it."
The words sat in my mind—a nice sentiment from a kind person who was paid to encourage my work. It took me two decades to believe and act upon the words of my high school English teacher. I think it was fear that held me back—the belief that I couldn't be as good as she suggested.
Life happened, muffling the call to do what I had been called to be. Marriage, children and the empty nest carried me through the years and yet the voice whispered on. You should write.
The persistent call of impending maternal redundancy screamed at me until the echo from the past had its way.
The story was a simple one; an event where my dog had rescued my daughter from the path of an oncoming truck. I expected rejection. Anticipated it. Prepared for it. Then the envelope came, nestled in the dark confines of our rural mailbox alongside the bills and the fliers. Its contents contradicted my expectations. I stood in stunned silence as the cheque and the edited version of my story mocked my self-doubt. My first story. My first published work.
You should write. That voice that had nagged and promised now seemed to crow in triumph as I stumbled back to the house. My heart pounded as the past and the present collided in one euphoric moment. Perhaps I was meant to write. Perhaps my teacher had said more than what her pay cheque required of her. Perhaps her encouragement was genuine.
I sat at my computer and between glances at the confirmation of my calling and the keyboard, I pecked out another tale. And another. As though a seal had been broken, words flooded from my mind through my fingertips and onto the page. That's when I knew. I was a writer.
|Posted by donnadawson on June 19, 2013 at 9:50 AM||comments (0)|
Today we have a guest blogger, Marcela De Vivo. Duke, Bee and I offer a hearty welcome and hope you enjoy what Marcela has to say. Duke has just asked if Marcela is related to Leonardo Da Vinci. I showed him the difference between the names and told him to be on his best behaviour. He is sufficiently repentant for his faux paw. Bee says she has drafted a lovely disclaimer and would like to post it below:
Not all of the views expressed in this article necessarily reflect the views of this website and its owners and adherents.
I have suggested that Bee might want to read up on copyright infringement and own up to the fact that she copied her disclaimer from the credits of her latest doggy movie "Gone with the Hound".
Tips For Achieving A Positive Affirmation
by Marcela De Vivo
Making positive, bold changes in our lives can be a major challenge. Old ways of thinking, limiting beliefs and other rigid ways of existing can stand in between who we are and the better selves we have yet to become.
A great way to overcome your past and boldly step into the future you want to live in is to use daily, positive affirmations. Partly grounded in spiritual wisdom, partly based in psychological fact, simple and regular reinforcements are miraculously effective in overcoming obstacles.
Here are some general guidelines in the power of positive thinking:
Accentuate the positive; overcome the negative
A great way to move forward is to catalogue the various ways we’re already on the right track. Too often, we’re become caught up in what we see as limitations that we become blind to the things we already have.
On a regular basis, tell yourself aloud the things you like about you: “I am funny”; “I am a good listener”, and so on. Similarly, voice the many things you take for granted that you should be truly grateful for. Although it may seem a bit corny to some, reciting such affirmations in a mirror can lead to life-altering breakthroughs.
At the same time, be conscious of the negative self-images you want to rid yourself of. We often repeat self-defeating tape-loops in our head that only negatively reinforce our fears and anxieties: “I am fat”; “I can’t stand up for what I want.” Take note of these negative self-fulfilling prophecies, and counteract them with positive counterparts.
Put it in writing
Once you’ve taken inventory of your best qualities and greatest insecurities, write them down in addition to using them to guide your mental affirmations. Positive mantras are powerful, but for some reason, the act of setting intentions down on paper is even more so. As with inner monologues, you should write “I”-directed statements that are direct and concise.
A journal chronicling your inner growth cannot be overemphasized. On top of setting daily, positive thoughts, it can be surprisingly useful to record your dreams as soon as you wake up. While we might not see it at the time, our dreams can be a powerful conduit to our higher, unconscious path, so keeping in touch with our dream-life often awakens us in ways we don’t expect.
Furthermore, it’s psychologically potent to see a slowly-but-surely gradual record of our closing the gap between our current desires and our goals.
Writing is a great means of reinforcement; using visual cues is another. Internal guided imagery is a tested means of growing confident in whom we want to be. In particular, if you’re facing a challenging upcoming event, such as a job interview or a public presentation, spend time beforehand imagining yourself mastering that situation, driving it all home with the same verbal statements you should be writing in your journal: “I am a specialist in my field”; “I really know what I’m talking about”.
Any significant change in our lives is going to take time, so don’t give up after only a few days or weeks. Building emotional and spiritual “muscle” is no different than physical workouts-- it can be hard at first, and big goals can seem so distant that we can give up all too easily.
Therefore, in addition to setting aside regular times for affirmations (first thing in the morning; last thing at night), think of ways to reward yourself for partial victories. If you’re trying to quit smoking, for example, take yourself out to eat after you haven’t lit up for two weeks.
When it comes to making significant personal transformations, we can all be our worst enemies. With regular affirmations, however, it’s not difficult to become our own personal cheerleaders, rooting us on for victories that once seemed impossible.
Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer from Southern California whose writing specializes in a range of health topics, including diet and exercise, holistic medicine and vitamins and supplements. She starts and ends each day with positive affirmations.
|Posted by donnadawson on June 11, 2013 at 10:20 AM||comments (0)|
You would think after a bazillion years of writing articles, short stories and books (ok so one book) Duke would know enough to write what he knows. I guess we are all entitled to a few relapses. For that matter, I have had my share of faux paws when writing beyond my scope of knowledge.
In Duke's case he decided to write about the psychology of the mother cat. He figured that since he'd been in a litter during his younger years and cats had litters too, that it couldn't be that much different. Never mind the fact that Duke is a male dog and has never once had the experience of having his own litter. He threw out inaccurate tidbits with the flippancy of a court jester in King Henry's time--as you can see below.
The mother cat isn't a very good mother. When she isn't out cavorting, she lies around all day, sniffing cat nip and drinking bowls of milk while her kittens fight constantly.
That was just one of Duke's epiphanies from the 1,000 word article he wrote--and somehow managed to get published--in He Barks A Lot Journal. To say he redefined the quality of hate mail is an understatement. Cats are, after all, rather catty. I chuckled over one particular note received.
First of all, you are a dog. Think Odie. Dumb as a post. You drool. You tote along behind your pet human like you haven't enough brain cells to exist without him. You don't have an ounce of independence. (Obviously this cat hasn't met Duke but I digress.) All of this makes you incapable of understanding even a cat of the lowest social standing never mind one as exalted as a mother cat. We mother cats are quite excellent in tending our kittens. You state that we are out cavorting. No. We hunt mice while our kittens sleep--kittens which are hidden in discrete hiding places so as to protect them from the predatory instincts of marauding dogs. We bring our kittens meat to eat and then while they feed we relax so we have the strength to do so again. I don't know where you got the idea that we sniff cat nip all day. It sounds to me like you've been having a go at the stuff yourself. (I wonder if she knew about the Christmas Eve party? Hm.) And I have seldom had the privilege of lapping bowls of milk. Yes. My kittens fight. They are learning to survive in a harsh world dominated by misinformed and rather rude canines. Perhaps you should consider doing a bit of research before blathering all over a piece of paper and calling it an article. And perhaps the publisher who accepted the piece should consider another line of work. Thank you for your time.
So. Duke has been duly chastised and I have something to share with readers. If you don't know enough about an idea to write about but wish to write about it--don't make it up. Find a professional in that field. When I wrote my novel Rescued, I was well aware of my inability to comprehend the medical industry. I asked every professional I could find. I'm still unable to comprehend the medical industry but I know that the information in the book comes from credible sources. Duke would have been wise to find a cat willing to spill her thoughts to him. Perhaps old Marble the shop cat. Age has mellowed her enough that she might consider an interview--and she has populated the region several times over with felines gifted in the art of mousing.
Duke is busy penning a reply. His eyes are bulging and I think I see steam rising from his ears. I might just have to intercept that letter before it makes it to the mailbox. I suspect there are few platitudes there.
|Posted by donnadawson on February 25, 2013 at 9:45 AM||comments (1)|
It's quite the thing, watching a Chihuahua do his best not to laugh. In Duke's case, he's kind of got a puckering about the lips while his whiskers are twitching upward. Eyelids stretch tight in an effort to cover the bulbous orbs--or perhaps to hide the mirth in them. He stands stalk still as though each muscle fights to control an outbreak of jerking and heaving. I'm proud of him for his restraint.
Bee is not quite out of her teen equivalent years yet and as such, she is prone to bruised feelings on occasion. I can pretty much guarantee those feelings would rear an ugly head if Duke did let loose on his humour because Bee is the unknowing instigator of that humour.
It goes back to the essay that she decided to write for the Canine Confessions anthology. The content is fine--very moving and deep. It isn't that which tickles Duke's funny bone. It's the abundance of exclamation marks. Apparently Bee doesn't know the purpose for which they should be used. An excerpt of the said manuscript might make my point. She set up her scene beautifully, describing the trip to the groomer's and the deluxe digs where she would be bathed, de-scented and pawdicured. That all went quite well. And then she blew it.
I hadn't expected to see anyone I knew there. With delicate steps, I followed my pet human up the stairs to the salon. Imagine my surprise when there, in the waiting room, sat Molly Pug! I hadn't seen Molly for years!
"Molly! Oh Molly! Where on earth have you been all these years?! I've missed you! Duke has missed you!" We embraced as best our leashes would allow and I cried the tears of happiness!
Exclamation marks are like chili peppers. They are to be used sparingly. Good old Webster understood this when he wrote: Exclamation point--a mark used especially after an interjection or exclamation to indicate forceful utterance or strong feeling.
Duke thought it would be a good idea if I shared this tidbit of knowledge with Bee and in view of the fact that he could fit into her jowls quite nicely, I agreed. I read the dictionary definition to her. She looked at me sideways when I mentioned the word 'interjection'. I explained that it was a kind of outburst like 'wow' or 'cool' in which case an exclamation point was perfectly acceptable. I took her through the above-mentioned excerpt and discussed the use of her particular choice of punctuation. We agreed that the first 'Molly' was deserving an exclamation point and possibly the second. I suggested she not use it twice so close together though. We ruled out the question mark/exclamation point, leaving only the question mark. And we deleted every exclamation point before and after. I did my best to explain that exclamation points give the appearance of shouting and that she should try shouting out the paragraph to see if it works. I also mentioned that using it once in dialogue where shouting is actually done would get the point across without the overkill.
Duke, apparently, found the idea of shouting the paragraph out as more than funny and a loud guffaw flapped through that toothless yap of his. Bee's reaction surprised me. She levelled a look at him, licked her lips once and smiled. It appears that she knows that Duke would fit nicely between her teeth too. The threat was effective. Duke stopped laughing.
|Posted by donnadawson on July 16, 2012 at 8:15 AM||comments (1)|
Ok so it is one of Duke's pet peeves and I don't really blame him. He works hard, long hours to dig out the facts and hammer them together into a wonderful article and then the publisher says, "I can't pay you but I can give you a by-line." Duke fell for it a couple of times until his bills started to pile up. When the dog-catcher came knocking at his door asking him to cough up the funds for his tags and he couldn't pay, I received a distressed cry for help. I don't often open my purse strings but those bug eyes are pretty convincing and so I handed the pittance over and reclaimed our linguistic lap dog. Then Duke and I sat down and had a chat.
"Duke, my friend, does the local veterinarian charge you when a particularly nasty piece of grizzle gets caught in your gums and you need a good cleaning?" He nodded after a short ponder. "And does Carmen's Canine Candy Shop charge you for those extraordinarily yummy goodies you get?" Again the nod. "So why do you think you need to give your writing away?" It was a treat to see his bulging orbs bulge more as understanding dawned.
Duke was taken by the 'poor me' attitude that is prevalent in the publishing industry. I had to gently remind him that any business struggles and any businessman will do all he or she can to get a product or supply for free. That's just business. Where writers fall flat is in their emotional connection to their work. They either don't realize or have forgotten that writing is a business--or should be--and emotions should be set aside. Writers are so keen to see their words in print that they forget they have to pay the necessary bills which will allow them to continue to write. We writers need to step back and ask ourselves if all the effort was worth something. It's one thing if we are millionaires with nothing better to do than to research and write. Most writers are not. Knowing that we must receive something in order to give something should help us to refocus on the one reality of writing--it is a business and should be treated as such.
Duke was quick to point out that we, as Christians, should be willing to 'give all for the cause'. I countered that the Bible states that a 'worker is worth his wages'. If we don't value our writing who will? If we think that our writing doesn't qualify us to receive what is needed to pay the expenses incurred while doing it then why would an editor or publisher?
Since that brief confab, Duke has been much more assertive--and has managed to keep his writing business in the black. I find it rather amusing reading some of his emails of late.
Yes, I do understand that you have limited funds. I do as well. It's very difficult filling an empty stomach with a by-line and a free subscription will not keep the bill collectors at bay. Please do send a cheque in the amount of the above mentioned free subscription and I will be happy to take the free by-line along with the remuneration. Thank you for your time.
I have suggested that he might be a bit snippy in some of his replies but his logic is flawless.
They aren't likely to pay if I say nothing. If I assert myself in a polite and friendly manner and hold my ground, I may get nothing--or I may actually get paid. If I get nothing, I can send my article elsewhere.
What a smart dog.
|Posted by donnadawson on July 9, 2012 at 11:00 AM||comments (1)|
Childhood Talents -guest post by Laura J. Davis.
Welcome Laura and thank you for posting today. Laura can be found on facebook at Laura Davis or you can visit her website at Laura Davis. Laura is an award winning novelist and a professional singer. Laura please tell us how we can know we are following God's plan for us.
Laura J. Davis:
I was at lunch with my friends one Sunday and one of the topics of conversation had to do with our children. We observed that certain passions or talents exhibited during childhood led our kids to the careers or ministries they have chosen today. For example, my daughter Sarah took an interest in drawing and displayed a natural talent for it when she was no more than two years old. Today, she is planning a career in animation. One friend related how her son, as a wee boy, would be drawn to police cars and loved dressing up as a policeman. Today, he is a police officer. The granddaughter of another friend loves to video tape herself doing cooking shows. I’m guessing she is either going to be a cook, or an actress, as her grandmother tells me she’s quite a natural in front of the camera!
As we continued to talk, we started to see a trend – what we were passionate about as children or had a natural talent for, eventually led us to what we would do in our adult years. I used to sing myself to sleep at night and began singing at a very early age. As I grew older, God led me into a singing ministry. I also spent countless hours reading when I was growing up and writing all kinds of fanciful stories. So, I shouldn’t have been surprised when, after my singing ministry ended, I started writing.
So, I started to wonder – what did Mary see in Jesus when he was growing up, that led her to ask him to turn water into wine? Had Jesus performed other miracles before this one? None are recorded in the bible. So, what made Mary force his hand at the wedding in Cana? How did she know he could help them in a miraculous way? By her knowledge of his birth and childhood! She knew Jesus was God’s son. She didn’t need any convincing on that score. So, like any good Jewish mother she nagged, pushed and prodded until her child did as he was told. Not that Jesus would need to be nagged – the bible said he was obedient to his parents (Luke 2:51). Despite the fact that Jesus was reluctant to display his power so early in his ministry, he obeyed his mother and his first miracle caused his first disciples – James, John, Peter, Andrew, Philip and Nathanael, to put their faith in him.
When I look back on my life, even that part of my life when I did not acknowledge God, I still see His hand governing my life – and I stand in awe. My interests, passions and talents started as a child and grew to the point where now I am right where God wants me – writing for Him.
You are God’s workmanship and He designed you with particular passions and talents in mind. He has a plan for you and made you for a specific purpose. Examine your life. What are your passions? What are your talents? Are you doing what God created you to do or what others expect of you?
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)