29 July 2011

What Breaks Your HEART ?

“Hearts will never be practical until they are made unbreakable”
- The Wizard of Oz (Fleming, 1939)

The Great and Powerful Oz understood the hazards of having a heart – a heart can be broken. But God uses even broken hearts to His glory! Casting Crowns has a new song called Jesus Friend of Sinners and one of the lines says, "Jesus, break our hearts for what breaks yours.” While I was listening to the song, I thought about how Jesus wants the things that break His heart, to draw us in to service. So I ask you, What breaks your heart?

Lately several of my friends have been feeling like God is calling them to serve in different ways than they have been serving, or in addition to how they are now serving within their churches and communities. I think sometimes when we get comfortable, in the areas we are serving, God begins to “nudge” us. He wants to challenge us, stretch us, to get us out of our comfort zone and force us to rely on Him. I’ve experienced this “pruning” myself and there are three suggestions I would offer to anyone currently going through this “season.”

First, spend some quiet time with God. It’s never a good idea to set off on a new mission without taking it to God first. He will direct your path and give you peace in your decision-making process.

Second, do some “soul searching.” If you don’t know where to being, there are many resources available that will aid in this process. Here are two websites that offer free spiritual gifts inventories:



Spiritual gifts are called "spiritual" because they come from the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 12:1-31, Romans 12:3-8 and Ephesians 4:11, Paul gives us three lists of spiritual gifts which include prophesy, serving, teaching, exhortation, giving, leadership, compassion, healing, miracles, wisdom, knowledge, faith, missionary, administration, helps, discernment, evangelism, pasturing, tongues, and interpretation.

Your personality, experience, and passions, combined with identifying your spiritual gifts, will help you understand new ways that you can best serve the Lord.

I am a list person so one thing I always do when I am going through the soul searching process is ask myself some questions and write down the answers. Here are some questions that might be helpful in getting you started:

1. What breaks your heart? When you look at the suffering in the world today, where do you see yourself trying to help? Is it hunger, abuse, homelessness, elderly, missions,
2. I heard another thought provoking question on the radio one morning. The DJ asked the question, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
3. Think about all the things that you do in your life. What brings you the most joy? What excites you?
4. What resources do you have to offer? (time, money, supplies)

In answering these questions, if you are drawn to specific people such as youth, volunteers, or the elderly, then you might want to consider working with that group of people. If you are concerned about certain issues, such as the environment, health issues, or other causes, then why not get involved in ways to make a difference in those areas. If you get excited about a particular program or activity at church, then maybe you should work in that area. (ie. If you love singing - why not join the music worship team?) There is another site that offers great resources for “issues, people, and ministries” – check it out: http://mintools.com/heart.htm

And the third and final step is, pray about it. More quiet time… lay the results of your soul searching out before the Lord. Ask for His guidance about the actions you should take next. Involve others…. ask them to pray with you and for you, as you make decisions and take steps on your new journey.

Now it's time... God just asks us to be willing and to be available.  Here is a personal example of stepping out in faith.  I have a passion for the elderly and hospice patients. Because I work full time, I’ve tried to find small ways to make a difference in the lives of these two groups of people. I’ve worked with a group of kids, making cards and delivering them to people in the local nursing home. What a blessing for the kids and the seniors. I have also served as a Hospice volunteer, which was so rewarding. God began to show me how He was using my passion to make a difference in the lives of others. I believe that while I was spending time volunteering, God was preparing me and helping me realize the next step He wanted me to take in my servant-hood. I felt Him calling me to go back to school and it is my hope that someday I can become a Chaplain, working in nursing homes and/or with a Hospice organization. God may have other plans down the road, but for this season of my life, I am serving and learning, and following God’s “gentle nudges.”

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle… action required… Many times we get busy trying to find our “calling” and forget that everyday there are small ways we can serve others and help those in need.

“Back to School Sales” have already started and the first day of school is right around the corner. This can be a very expensive and stressful time of year for single parents, families with lots children, and others who are already struggling financially. Many churches and community organizations are gearing up for “backpack projects” to help with supplies for those in the community that can’t afford even the basic back to school needs. Also, many stores like Walmart post the “needs lists” for local schools. While you are buying supplies for your child, why not let your child help pick out 2 of everything on the list and make a donation to a “backpack project,” your child’s school, or give the extra supplies to a neighbor family that has several children.

Please remember that we are each, only one person. You don’t have to do it all, but we are all called to do something. I pray the words of Psalm 20:4 for each of you as you seek ways to serve in God’s Kingdom here on earth... “May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”

Serve the least, the lost, and the lonely...
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“Be who you are meant to be and you will set the world on fire”
- Saint Catherine

26 July 2011

Ramblings on a TUESDAY

I know it’s not Monday or Friday, but it’s been quite a day and I just felt like I needed to share my thoughts with you…

Lately I’ve conveyed the fact that my busy-ness seems to be stealing my spiritual peace, and yesterday I wrote about it in my blog. I received a much appreciated comment from one of my readers and found such encouragement in her words. She wrote, “I too struggle in this area so please know that you are not alone,” then she went on to include the following prayer “Donna, I pray that we all FIGHT for time with JESUS, that we FIGHT for peace and stillness in our everyday lives, and that we FIGHT for spiritual wholeness.” Last night as I prayed to God, I thanked Him for the blessings of the day, including those people He brings in to our lives when we need to be reminded, taught, and encouraged.

... I guess He thought that I hadn’t quite gotten the message because it continued throughout my day today…

As I was driving to work, my heart felt heavy. I prayed to God, but my thoughts wandered and I had trouble focusing on MY list of concerns.  Finally, I just cried out, “I need your help Lord. Please show me how to achieve spiritual peace in my life. Is all of this “busy-ness,” my doing or something you are calling me to? Are the things that “consume me,” my will or yours? Is my motivation, “all about me” or is it truly to Your Glory?”

… Stillness, followed by “no answer,” or so I thought…

I got to work, turned on the radio and the song Motion of Mercy by Francesca Battistelli was playing. What beautiful words! They grabbed my attention right from the first verse which started off with “I was poor, I was weak, I was the definition of the spiritually bankrupt condition.” Wow!  As the song continued the words of the chorus were just as powerful, “Changing the way and the why we are, that's the motion of mercy.” But, it was the ending of the song… “Living for the lost, loving ‘til it hurts, no matter what the cost” … that revealed once again, how God speaks to us through the words of others.

… but He wasn’t done yet...

Each day I receive an email containing an encouraging word from scripture (via K-Love).   How was I not surprised when I read today’s verse?  Micah 6:8,  “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”

… God speaks again, but that was still not the end of it…

I follow the writings of a missionary named Michelle who is serving in the Sudan. A link to her website has been provided at the bottom of this post. Anyway, last week her blog brought me to my knees, both in tears and prayers. Her story (blog dated July 22, 2011) was about a little girl. Here is just a small sampling of what she wrote, “I come walking out of the markets to be introduced to a little girl with burnt orange rags tied on by a plastic bag. Her hair matted and eyes wild, she stares and rocks. … This little one of eight, with special needs, severely abused by men, desperately hungry and tormented by demons. OF course we take her home. SHE is the reason why I came here five years ago.”  By the way, they've named her Mercy.

Yesterday Michelle continued the saga with a powerful story about the reality of her work (blog dated July 25, 2011). She shared an amazing story about the dangers they faced just yesterday.  Again knees, tears and prayers.

Today Michelle’s blog talked about what love looks like in her world (blog dated July 26, 2011). Several of her thoughts caught my attention, especially in light of my thoughts and prayers over the last few days. She wrote that love looks like…

… laying aside the necessary and the pressing for the eternal that outweighs them all
… seeing beyond what is visible to what is true
… trusting Jesus really does have a plan for getting done that which needs getting done
… and her final sentence said, “Love looks like lessons in Mercy.”

… God used the words of others, one more time…

Today I was reminded, taught and encouraged. Through the words of others, God revealed some pretty amazing things:

… doing Kingdom work is never easy, no matter what our calling may be
… we all face unique challenges and have prayer needs, but we are not alone on the journey
… my "busy-ness" is okay, because God calms the “chaos” when I “seek” Him
… my heart is heavy, not because of my own suffering, but because of the burdens of others that God has laid upon my heart
… He knows our needs and answers our prayers, in His way and in His perfect timing
… I need to continue to listen and walk humbly
… and most importantly, I was reminded that God’s mercies really do begin afresh each day!

Today I am fighting for time with Jesus.

Today … God spoke.
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

Michelle’s blog from the Sudan:

Song - Motion of Mercy:
Words and Music by Francesca Battistelli / Ian Eskelin
from the album Hundred More Years

25 July 2011

The Domino Effect

"You will seek me and find me
when you seek me with all your heart."
- Jeremiah 29:13

As kids, I think we all liked to play dominos.  In our family the traditional game of dominos took back seat to the challenge of gathering all of our blocks and standing them on end, in hope of being able to touch the first block and watch them knock each other over, all the way down the line.  I remember how frustrating it would be if someone bumped the table and all the dominos began to fall.  Back to square one!

We get up in the morning, check our schedules, plan out our every moment, plot each activity and our busy-ness begins.  But sometimes we try to line up too many things, over-committing ourselves, ignoring important things, or letting the tyranny of the urgent take hold… then, along comes a forgotten appointment  ("bump”), unexpected company (“bump”), or car trouble (“bump”).  Our dominos come tumbling down, chaos takes over, and our life becomes “messy.”  Chaos affects our family, our jobs, our physical being, our relationship with God and others.

Last week I made a statement that my “spiritual peace” is an area that still needs a lot of work.  So, I went back and re-read a blog I had written January 24, 2011 entitled “I Choose a Cloud of Dust Peace."  The following words caught my attention... “I think about Jesus’ life and how it portrayed the perfect balance.  He spent time talking to people, took care of the needs of others, gave instruction to the disciples, yet took time to go to his Father in prayer.  He sought God’s direction and was given great discernment for his tasks at hand.”  The answer to my “spiritual peace” was right before my eyes... A life of peace needs quiet time with God.  Jesus knew the importance of quiet time with God, but I had forgotten!  The busy-ness of my daily routine had caused my messy life to demand all of my attention and I lost touch with my only true source of strength.

So today I went searching on-line and found an article that offered tips on “how to spend quiet time with God.”  In the following excerpt, the writer describes three elements that need to be addressed:

An Area Free of Distraction – Each time Jesus wanted to spend time with His Father, He always retreated to a secluded area free from distractions. He could talk with God, and listen to Him as well. The same is true of us. Our quiet times with God should be in a place where we are alone with no TV or phone -- only God and us.

Prayer and Thanksgiving - Jesus’ prayers were not always for Himself, but for others. In our quiet time spent with God, we use Jesus’ example by offering prayers for others and thanksgiving to God for what He has done for us. These prayers should also include a time of reflection on how God has seen us through the good and bad times.

God’s Word - Just as our bodies need food to keep it going, we need to spend quality time with God to feed our souls. Jesus often quoted from God’s Word in His quiet times. Quiet time with God is also a time to read God’s Word. If we don’t understand a certain passage of Scripture, we can ask God to help us understand. It is through daily prayer and reading God’s Word that we will grow in our walk with God.

(Excerpt taken from http://www.allaboutprayer.org/how-to-spend-quiet-time-with-god-faq.htm)

The information above is nothing I hadn't  heard before, but sometimes we all need a reminder.  There is one additional step I need to take, to make the conscious effort to spend quiet time with God, I need to answer the following question: What activities are draining my spirit and stealing my quiet time with God?

I'm not sure what the answer is.  Could it be watching too much television?  Spending too much time on Facebook?  Doing nothing but worrying?  I think I need to pray to God and  ask Him to show me the answer. The Bible reminds us over and over again to “be still” and “seek the Lord”...

“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."
- Exodus 14:14

"Seek the Lord and His strength… seek His face continually"
- Chronicles 16:10-11

“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me
lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he
restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his
name's sake.” – Psalm 23:1-3

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth." - Psalm 46:10

One pastor said this about life being  like a domino effect, “Generally, how we begin our day will determine how our day will end.”  Think about it,  if we continue to start our day plotting out how to accomplish all of our busy-ness, we will most likely end our day feeling stressed, worried, frazzled, anxious, troubled and completely exhausted.  However, if we start our day in quiet time with God, praying for Him to direct our path, and turning all of our concerns over to Him, our stillness opens our hearts and allows God to speak words of guidance, wisdom, and direction throughout the day.  As a result, we can experience a day filled with blessings, joy and God's peace.

Scripture tells us that time spent with God brings joy to our lives. “Being still” quiets the chaos. And when we are obedient, we allow our minds to focus on God. This week I am going to lay my dominos out flat before the Lord. I will let Him build my day, block by block, according to His unique plan!

Peace, it’s all about the small steps on the journey!

Thanking God for each of you, as I keep you in my prayers.
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“Peace on the outside comes from
knowing God on the inside.”
- Author Unknown

22 July 2011

Shall we Dance?

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to weep, a time to laugh, A time to mourn, and a time to dance.”
- Ecclesiastes 3:1,4

Years ago I fought a battle with cancer. At the time I was a single mom, with two young children and had a full time job. I was scared, unsure of my future, and as my treatment progressed I grew tired and weary. But, God never left my side. He was with me and also put others in my life at the very moment I needed them most. I remember one dear friend, a co-worker, coming to visit. She prayed with me, offered words of encouragement, and brought me a very special gift. It was a framed picture – a beach scene which included a poem - “Footprints.” To this very day, I still remember the peace and security I felt in knowing that God was carrying me through those trying times.

Do you ever feel that you can’t go any further? At those times all God asks is that we keep walking. He knows when to rescue us. Here is what Scripture says…

“I am holding you by your right hand—I, the Lord your God.
And I say to you, 'Do not be afraid. I am here to help you.”
- Isaiah 41:13

“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy.”
- Psalm 30:11

“He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.”
- Psalm 40:2

“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and
not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” - Isaiah 40:31

A few years ago I came across this updated version of the “Footprints” poem. I love it... enjoy!

(author unkown)

Imagine you and the Lord Jesus are walking down the road together. For much of the way, the Lord's footprints go along steadily, consistently, rarely varying the pace. But your footprints are a disorganized stream of zigzags, starts, stops, turnarounds, circles, departures, and returns.

For much of the way, it seems to go like this, but gradually your footprints come more in line with the Lord's, soon paralleling His consistently. You and Jesus are walking as true friends!

This seems perfect, but then an interesting thing happens: Your footprints that once etched the sand next to Jesus' are now walking precisely in His steps. Inside His larger footprints are your smaller ones, you and Jesus are becoming one.

This goes on for many miles, but gradually you notice another change. The footprints inside the large footprints seem to grow larger. Eventually they disappear altogether. There is only one set of footprints they have become one.

This goes on for a long time, but suddenly the second set of footprints is back. This time it seems even worse! Zigzags all over the place. Stops. Starts. Gashes in the sand. A variable mess of prints. You are amazed and shocked. Your dream ends.

Now you pray: "Lord, I understand the first scene with zigzags and fits. I was a new Christian; I was just learning. But you walked on through the storm and helped me learn to walk with you."

" That is correct."

" ... And when the smaller footprints were inside of Yours, I was actually learning to walk in Your steps; followed you very closely."

"Very good. You have understood everything so far."

" ... When the smaller footprints grew and filled in Yours, I suppose that I was becoming like you in every way."


"So, Lord, was there a regression or something? The footprints separated, and this time it was worse than at first." There is a pause as the Lord answers with a smile in his voice. "You didn't know? That was when we danced."  ~ ~ ~

The original version reminded me that God is always present. Sometimes He leads me, sometimes He follows me to pick up my broken pieces, and other times He carries me. But the reason I like the newer version is, because it reminds me that He also rejoices with me. I think we all need to recognize those moments, and appreciate the times when we get to “dance with Jesus.”

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle… action required… I got to thinking about how many opportunities we have to dance, rejoice and have fun along our faith journey. We raise our hands and move to the music in our worship services each week. We go to Christian concerts, clap our hands and dance in the aisles. My church even offers a “Faith, Fitness and Fellowship” class. What fun!

Here are some other suggestions of how you can sparkle (share your faith) as you dance with Jesus:

One of the most popular ways to interact with others and get our bodies moving is with the Wii. Why not have a “Wii love Jesus” party … invite your small group from church, youth group or some families you’d like to get to know better. Great fun & fellowship!

Put your headphones on and walk (or dance) around to some great Christian music. When you need a little break, change to some quieter tunes and continue your walk… prayerwalking around your neighborhood and community. Why not invite a friend to join you, it's twice as fun!

Why not take advantage of the beautiful days of summer (that will quickly be fading away)… organize a “Dancin’ for Jesus” block party. Invite your neighbors to bring their beach chairs, and a snack to share. Crank up the music (or invite some local Christian musicians) and dance the night away. It might just turn in to an evangelism opportunity… a chance to invite others to church, Sunday school or youth group.

Or, if you are one of those people who are blessed to have a pool in your backyard, why not have a "pool party" with dancing, of course. No, I am not suggesting synchronized swimming, but there’s nothing like dancing around the pool (or in the water) to fill a day with fun in the sun. Blast your local K-LOVE station on the radio, and don’t forget to invite Jesus and your friends to join in the dancing!

I think I’m showing my age…. gotta love those crazy “fun in the sun” movies (like Beach Blanket Bingo, Gidget goes Hawaiian, or Ride the Wild Surf)… we’re just putting a new twist on the fun! Got any other ideas? I’d love to hear how you “dance with Jesus.”

Soaking up the Son…
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“Delighted, they dance all day long… they can’t keep it quiet!”
- Psalm 89:16

18 July 2011

Which Way Next?

“For He Himself is our peace.”
– Ephesians 2:14

It’s hard to believe that our Peace Journey (and this blog) have been going strong for a little over six months now. God has been leading me on this expedition ... I've seen His footprints all over the path. He has given me the words to write when my mind just couldn’t come up with a topic, and stopped me in my tracks during the times when it became more about me and less about Him. God is so good!

I feel like I am standing at a crossroad and need to look back to see where I’ve been, before I can determine what direction I need to head next. Come join me and take your own personal assessment. When we are finished looking at where we’ve been, I’d love to hear your feedback. Feel free to post comments about your favorite topics, suggestions for topics you would like more information on, feedback on what was most helpful, and also any constructive criticism. We are all on this journey together…. you, me and God!

Some of our the stepping stones ...
• Taking care of the Big 3 - clutter, commitments and chaos
• Choosing our words (and the impact they have on others)
• Being a Woman of a Generous Spirit
• Holy Boldness (our ability to stand firm in our beliefs)
• Taking an inventory of our Fruits of the Spirit
• Cleaning our Spiritual House
• God carrying us through our storms (worry, fear, despair, change)
• Being Stewards of God’s Green Earth
• Reflection and time of Restoration
• Looking forward… we have Choices!
• Blessings of friendship and tips for being a friend
• Developmental and Spiritual Milestones
• It only takes a stamp (writing letters/cards of encouragement)
• Do not live in fear (wake up each morning to the “good stuff”)
• Random Acts of Kindness
• Passing on the foundations of faith to the next generation
• Throwing “spiritual confetti” (encouraging others)
• Being Keepers of Peace (bringing peace and God’s love to the lives of others)
• Ways to share God’s word
• Becoming a “dandelion” kind of Christian (spreading His word)
• Shared Blessings

Some of the questions we've asked ourselves ...
• Am I out “living” my life, or is it my goal to “outlive” my life?
• Do my acts of service reflect my gratitude and joy for Jesus’ gift of salvation?
• Is there someone I need to make peace with? (forgiveness)
• Does my “to do” list need a Mary-Martha adjustment?
• Who is God to me? (Names of God)
• What is my legacy?

Some of the “sparkle” ideas we’ve shared...
• How bright is my light (sparkle)?
• Confessions of a “post it” junkie (writing random notes)
• Being anonymous (reaching out to strangers)
• I love to tell the story (sharing Bible stories with kids)
• Let’s play hug-of-war (encouraging others)

Some people we’ve met along the way...
• Kim: Clown/ Encourager   
• Scott: Singer-songwriter/ Pastor   
• Peggy: Recycle Artisian/ Friend

When this journey began, I challenged myself to focus on four areas of my life that needed more peace. I’ve listed those areas below and made some personal observations as to where I see myself at this stage of the journey...

1. Peace in my Heart (seeking peace by praying, being still and staying in God’s word)

Observation: I have been doing better at finding more time to “be still.” Also, keeping a small journal handy to write down names of those I need to pray for. I still need to be more disciplined in reading my Bible and my study time... always a challenge!

2. Peaceful Environment (simplify = less stuff, more God)

Observation: My clutter is disappearing (somewhat), but it still seems like it’s always a work-in- progress. I think I’m going to need to set aside a certain amount of time each week to whittle away at the remaining piles.

3. Spirit of Peace (joy not busyness/ chaos)

Observation: This area still needs a lot of work. I’ve realized that my busy-ness definitely controls my joy. When I become overwhelmed or weary I have a tendency to hibernate at home and seclude myself from others that could encourage me and bring joy to my life. Changes needed here!

4. Sharing the Peace (sparkle – be a light to others)

Observation: This is one of my favorite areas. I love finding creative ways to share my faith and God’s love with others. I’ve been trying to challenge myself to look for new and exciting ways to “sparkle.”

WOW.... we sure have traveled a distance, but the journey is not over. I don’t know about you, but I still have a long way to go – and God has promised He will be with me every step of the way. Time to put on my hiking boots, tennis shoes, flip-flops and take the next step. Are you ready?

At the beginning of this blog I said that I needed to figure out, “What direction I need to head next.” Well, I’m just going to start walking the path and continue to let God lead the way. After all there is only “one way” to go and that is “God’s way!” Come along, and we can share our stories, tears and joy on our journey to seek more PEACE.

A Reminder to Me ... Strive for a Peace-filled Year while taking others along on the journey.  Have a blessed week and please don’t forget to share your thoughts and feelings. All comments welcomed!

Love ya lots....
Peace be with you all, Donna Weaver

“Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So... get on your way.”
- Dr. Seuss

15 July 2011

Thoughts on JOY and PEACE

"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you
were called in one body; and be thankful."  -  Colossians 3:15

What a week this has been - blessings upon blessings, and I realized that it doesn’t take much to fill my heart with JOY. For me, joy is not in the major happenings, the expensive gifts or the elaborate plans. It is in the simple things in my everyday life.

I’ve been blogging about the Shared Blessings journals that my friend, Peggy and I have been keeping. Our plan was to exchange the journals (via mail) around the 15th and 29th of each month and continue recording our blessings in the other person’s book. Well, this week it was time for our first exchange and something unexpected happened. I got a FaceBook message from Peggy on Monday saying she and her husband would be in town (Denver) that evening and wanted to get together for dinner. So, not only did we get to see a beautiful double rainbow before dinner, have a yummy meal and awesome conversation (“girl talk” till wee-hours of the morning), but we got to exchange our journals in person! My heart was filled with joy - Ann Voskamp (author of One Thousand Gifts) was right, “Blessings definitely do precede the miracles!”

Then, on Tuesday I happened to be flipping through a Parents magazine and came across a Johnson’s baby shampoo ad. What caught my attention was the caption at the top of the page. It said, “Make a promise…” followed by the statement “… to pause, reflect and recognize the everyday joy that is already there in your everyday life.” Coincidence or God Wink? You decide.

I believe that acknowledging and appreciating the blessings in all things and all circumstances, has already begun to change my attitude. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that we should go around pretending to be happy all the time, even when we are going through struggles. There is a difference… happiness is an outward expression, based on circumstances - whereas joy is an inward feeling, based on attitude. We need to recognize our blessings, so that even in troubled times we can find joy and peace. Joy in knowing that God is at work in our lives, and peace in knowing that God is in control and always present. I am beginning to see the difference…. contentment, comfort, gratitude = joy and peace.

As I thought about the changes in my attitude a song came to mind, one I use to sing when I was young. It was a popular Christian song called Down in my Heart, often sung around the campfire and during scouting events.  There were many verses to the song, but here are two that really speak to our topic of joy and peace:

I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart
Down in my heart
Down in my heart
I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart
Down in my heart to stay

I've got the peace that passes understanding
Down in my heart
Down in my heart
Down in my heart
I've got the peace that passes understanding
Down in my heart
Down in my heart to stay

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle… action required… Monday I posted a blog about crayons.   Joy, peace, smiles, and color crayons – there is a connection! The childhood memory of coloring pictures put joy in my heart. It also reminded me of a way that we can share our joy with others.  A non-profit organization called Color A Smile provides a way for any one of us to pass along our joy to those needing a “smile,” and to do it, all you need are some color crayons…. how cool! Here are the details:

Color A Smile was started when Jerry Harris was in the kitchen at a friend’s house and noticed how cheerful the refrigerator door looked with all the colorful artwork from their children. Since 1986, Color A Smile has been collecting crayon drawings and distributing the colorful masterpieces to Nursing Homes, Meals on Wheels programs, and individuals all across the country. Their goal is to make people smile… and they are always looking for more suppliers of drawings. The Color A Smile website allows you to down load pictures to color or templates for drawing your own pictures (their guidelines are included on the website). You can also add a name of someone you know who might be needing a smile, and would benefit from receiving a masterpiece.  An easy, free and fun way to spread joy, peace and God’s love… for the price of a box of crayons!  Check out their website: http://www.colorasmile.org/

I couldn’t resist… I bought a box of 64 beautiful colors this week and look at my masterpiece.

As our heart fills with joy, we receive a peace that passes all understanding. The same peace that scripture talks about in the following verses:

"and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."  - Philippians 4:7

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
- Romans 15:13

"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.
In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer
I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33

I’m putting my masterpiece in the mail to Color A Smile today… and passing along my JOY. Why not join in the fun?

Have a blessed weekend. Pass on your joy!
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon.
A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed,
we would launch one. It would explode high in the air – explode softly –
and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air
Floating down to earth – boxes of Crayolas.
And we wouldn’t go cheap, either – not little boxes of eight. 
Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and
gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and
all the rest. And people would smile and get a funny look on their faces
and cover the world with imagination.”   – Robert Fulghum

11 July 2011

What is your favorite color?


“We could learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty,
some are dull, while others bright, some have weird names,
but they all have learned to live together in the same box."
- Robert Fulghum

The weather here in Colorado sure has been wet lately... it seems like every afternoon a thunderstorm has rolled in. It’s during those times I think of my childhood and one of my favorite rainy day activities. I long for a brand new box of color crayons (preferably the BIG BOX of 64) and a fresh, new coloring book. I remember looking through the book and picking out my favorite picture. Then I would carefully choose my favorite colors and line them all up to begin making my page come to life. I would get lost for hours in blending the colors, outlining my designs, coloring the background and even adding my own person touch. But the picture was never complete until I had signed my name at the bottom.

As I reminisce about those rainy days, I compared my favorite activity and those sticks of wax (crayons) to being a Christan:

1. Crayons are made on an assembly line but individually molded and labeled with their own unique paper. Then they are placed in a box where they reside with a variety of other unique, individually created colors.

2. To continue to be useful, a crayon can’t stay perfect and sharp (unused). It has to become worn, sometimes the outer wrapper needs to be peeled down, others times it gets broken but still can be used for awesome shading, and other times (especially if it's your favorite color) it gets used up.

3. Combining colors can create a brand new color (ie. red + yellow = orange) or can be used side by side to make a beautiful rainbow.

4. Whether you color inside the lines, on the lines, or all around the outside of the lines, each page which started out as black and white comes alive in its own unique way!

Can you see the similarities?

As Christians we are meant to love and encourage one another, to be in relationship with one another and to live in peace together. The poem below is a perfect reminder that NO CHRISTIAN IS MEANT TO BE AN ISLAND.

Just A Box Of Crayons
- written by Shane DeRolf

While walking in a toy store
The day before today,
I over heard a Crayon Box
With many things to say.

“I don’t like red!” said Yellow.
And Green said, “Nor do I!”
And no one here likes Orange,
But no one knows quite why.

“We are a box of crayons
that really doesn’t get along,”
Said Blue to all the others.
“Something here is wrong!”

Well, I bought that box of crayons
And took it home with me
And laid out all the crayons
So the crayons could all see

They watched me as I colored
With Red and Blue and Green
And Black and White and Orange
And every color in between

They watched as Green became the grass
And Blue became the sky.
The Yellow sun was shining bright
On White clouds drifting by.

Colors changing as they touched,
Becoming something new.
They watched me as I colored.
They watched till I was through.

And when I’d finally finished,
I began to walk away.
And as I did the Crayon box
Had something more to say……..

“I do like Red! ” said the Yellow
And Green said, “So do I !”
And Blue you are terrific!
“So high up in the sky.”

“We are a Box of Crayons
Each of us unique,
But when we get together
The picture is complete”

Crayola Trivia: In 1902 Crayola introduced its crayons not with one box, but with a full product line. By 1905, the line had expanded to offering 18 different-sized crayon boxes with five different-sized crayons, only two of which survive today - the "standard size" and the "large size.” The product line offered boxes containing 6, 7, 8, 12, 14, 16, 18, 24, 28, or 30 different color crayons. Some of these boxes were targeted for artists and contained crayons with no wrappers, while others had a color number printed on the wrapper that corresponded to a number on a list of color names printed inside the box lid, but some boxes contained crayons with their color names printed on their wrappers. As the size of Crayola crayon packs increased, the variety of colors available has also increased — reaching 120 colors by 1998.
Colors of Faith  - author unknown

Red is for love and service to others,
treating all people as sisters and brothers.

Yellow represents the value of hope,
helping you hold out, hang on and copy.

Green is for trusting that God’s always there
listening, answering every prayer.

Orange is for following Christ every day,
with the light of your faith leading the way.

Blue is for joy and the peace you’ll receive,
when you open your heart and choose to believe!

Have you ever wanted to color an object a certain color, but someone else was using that color. So, you use another color as a substitute and your picture came out even better than you could have imagined. Sometimes in life, we don’t have all of the colors we want, but we always have the colors we need. I pray that we will all color our lives in such way, with whatever colors are available to us, that the finished picture brings glory and honor to Christ.

Have a colorful, imaginative, and creative week...
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world.
Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will
always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture
by including humor, and your picture begins to lighten up.”
- Allen Klein

For more Crayola trivia checkout : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crayola

08 July 2011

SHARED BLESSINGS: The Journey Continued

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies,
those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we
experience life and the world.” - Sarah Ban Breathnach

July 1st marked the big day ... the start of a journey of SHARED BLESSINGS. My friend and I set out on a mission to thank God in all things; the little joys, the unexpected blessings, and yes, even the hardships, disappointments, and challenges (read the entire story - blog posted 6/27/11). I am already enjoying seeking the little things that normally go unnoticed in the busy-ness of my day – and in the process, I have found unexpected moments of pure joy and peace (that is a huge blessing in itself)!

Since I will be sharing tidbits of our journey in future blog posts, I thought it would be fun if you got to know a little about my traveling companion.

Meet my friend, Peggy New ...

Donna: I know you are currently living in South Carolina. Were you born and raised there?
Peggy: I grew up in Guatemala as the child of missionaries. My Dad rigged the first flush toilet in the village and the Indians used to come by to “visit” and ask to see how it worked. I was twelve when we returned “home” to the US. Having dual-citizenship I used to “threaten” I would choose to be Guatemalan instead of American. It was a rough transition.

D: Tell us about your family and your faith?
P: I attended Wheaton College and met my husband during orientation week! On August 18th, we will be married 38 years. As I look back on those 38 years (and 20 before that) I am awed by how present God was in everything I did, everywhere I was, and everyone I knew. He surrounded me with His grace. Without it I would be dead or locked up. Rick and I have 4 children and 5 grandchildren. Our son was killed in a car accident when he was a freshman in college; it changed our lives forever. It drew us closer to God and to each other in ways that would take countless words to share.

D: You have quite a unique business. Could you tell us a little about it?
P: Currently I am a recycle artisan! I take glass wine bottles and turn them into night lights. The process has been both educational and challenging, but I love what I do. I learned to use a diamond-tip drill bit and electric drill; how to paint palm trees and add unique decorations to make each bottle a one-of-a-kind creation. Of course, inserting lights to make them sparkle, adds the finishing touch. I participate in local (and not so local) art shows and festivals, and have even learned how to sell without taking refusal personally. It’s been a learning journey.

D: What are some of your other favorite things to do?
P: For some years I have interviewed people and written articles for a friend’s monthly magazines. I meet some fascinating people and learn so much. I also get to babysit my 7 year old grandson who loves baseball and all other sports. He’s a challenge sometimes and we can both be cranky in the late afternoon, but have learned the importance of a snack and space.

D: Would you like to share any other “words of wisdom?”
P: Our lives are composed of so many layers; so many interconnecting and concentric circles. It amazes me to think that God designed each of us and knows everything about us; I have trouble remembering my daughter’s favorite foods or colors!

D: I have shared with my readers that you and I would be traveling a road together.  And last Friday we began our journey - to recognize all of God’s blessings and record each wonderful gift in our journals. Any thoughts you’d like to share about our adventure?
P: In this season of my life I am re-learning gratitude and looking forward to practicing it with a friend. Practice makes perfect – yes?! Each day I look for something that fills me with gratitude and write it in my journal. As we exchange our journals every two weeks, and continue the process of recording our blessings, together we will share in each other’s lives. What will be the outcome? God knows and I am willing to journey along and see the changes it will cause in my life and the lives I touch. With a grateful heart – Peggy New.

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle ... action required ... I have been blessed to know Peggy for many years and there is still so much to be told about this beautiful woman of faith. She is active in her church and community, teaches at a local college, and in her spare time she reads and knits ALOT! A woman of many talents ... and everything she does reflects her love for the Lord. She has been a role model, a mentor, and a dear friend to me, and I thank God for bringing our paths together.

Is there someone in your life that you could embark on a “shared journey” with? Maybe it could be an adventure like Peggy and mine, a journey of Shared Blessings. If you are doing a Bible study together, why not record scripture verses in shared journals. Or if you pray together, a prayer journal would be a wonderful shared experience. Share your faith, hold each other accountable, encourage one another, and travel life’s road together on your spiritual journey – the possibilities are endless!

2 friends ...  journals ...  2,000 blessings

Count your blessings together ...
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward
for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other.”
- Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

You can check out Peggy’s wine lights at - www.facebook.com/thewinelights

04 July 2011

Meet Sam

And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.
- Lee Greenwood

This weekend I met a new friend.  As I drove down the road, his amazing height and welcoming smile caught my eye.  He was standing so tall and proud.  Taking a deep breath, I decided to circle around the block, park the car, and introduce myself.  I knew I just had to be bold ... I wanted to take his picture.

I’d like you to meet Sam.

We quickly became friends. As I got to know more about Sam, I understood why. There were many things that made him special. We had a lot in common, but he also made me take a good look at myself. Here is what I learned:

He was beautifully and wonderfully made by a master crafter.
I too, have been beautifully and wonderfully made – Psalm 139 tells me so.

He boldly wore his tall hat and carried a large flag, revealing the fact that he was proud of who he was created to be – a symbol of our country, a proud American.
I too am proud - to be a daughter, a sister, mom, grandma, and friend. But, do I reveal the holy boldness of someone who is proud to be a Christian?

He stood strong, weathering all of the elements and unshaken by passers-by.
I try to stand strong in my faith, but when I am grow weak and tired, God is my strength (Isaiah 40:29, 31).

He had a contagious smile that drew me closer. I wanted to know him better.
I asked myself ... Do others want to learn the source of my happiness and peace? Am I a contagious Christian?

As I said good-bye to Sam, I realized that friends come in all shapes, sizes and elements. We can learn a lot about ourselves whether it is through a true friend, or an unexpected object. Keep an eye open, you never know who, or what character, God will put in your path today. The time spent with my new friend, Sam, gave me moments of insight, self-reflection, and even a little inspiration.

Inspiration ...
I bought some red and blue star-shaped balloons to release in memory of some very special people. The blue star was in memory of a friend’s son who passed away a few months ago, and the red star was in memory of those who have and still are fighting for our country. Thanks for the inspiration, Sam ... I’m proud to be an American, and I’m proud to be a Christian.

What an awesome weekend for peace, love & sparkle ... what a great time to celebrate life!
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver 

“I thank my God every time I remember you.”
– Philippians 1:3