Monthly Archives: September 2009

The Road

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Photo by Mary Sutterby

The Road Not Taken

( aka The Road Less Traveled)

by Robert Frost – 1915

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Peace and Grace to you as you travel the road that leads to Christ…

Donna

 

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A little history on Martin Luther…

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Hi!

I am excited this morning because I have been studying Martin Luther and his “95 Theses.”  We serve a God who has all things planned out and there is no way we will ever comprehend it while we are here on earth.  I am sure that Luther is shaking his head in awe as he sits in the heavenlies.   I know I am.  I have come to love history and I love looking back to see how God puts all the pages together in an orderly fashion.   

This past week I was thinking about Martin Luther and how he nailed his “note” on the church door.  Well, that was really all I knew about him.  I knew it was an important note and that he was a vessel that helped make changes in the way the church was “thinking” about salvation.  He was a leader in the period known as the ” Great Reformation.”   So, I started a drawing of the note on the door.  I often like to include little details about myself in the drawings and in this one the cross is made up of two pencils.  The door is wood and the note is nailed to the door with a big spike.  Jesus is on the cross and the crown of thorns is around the whole thing.   It’s an interesting drawing. 

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Ok, now this gets interesting, so I hope you have your cup full of coffee because I just love to tell you how GREAT our GOD is!  This isn’t earth shattering or shaking, rather, it is a minute detail in the life of one person, a detail that is unimportant to the rest of the world, but so very important to this person!  A detail that says, ” yes, you heard Me!”  God speaks to us in all sorts of ways and we should never ever discount that fact.  If we aren’t hearing Him, we need to step back, reflect,  study the Word, pray, be still and listen.   Gather your prayer warriors around your feet and PRAY together!  I am here to tell you that we serve a MIGHTY GOD who is the author and illustrator of ALL the details!!!!

So, I started to read about Martin Luther and what I found out was quite amazing to me!  God is IN EVERY LITTLE THING!!! 

Martin Luther was born as ” Hans Luder” in 1483.  At age 34 He was an  Augustinian monk in Germany.  At the time the Pope was ” selling salvation.”  He was selling salvation in return for a hefty fee.  Some might say it was a gift to the church, but Martin Luther thought differently.  Martin Luther took the TRUTH of the Word of God and wrote it on a piece of paper ( several) and nailed it to the door of the church.  He was challenging the Pope to the TRUTH of God.  Martin Luther taught that salvation is a free gift of God, not earned by good works or “gifts” to the church.  Martin Luther studied the book of Romans and this led him to believe that salvation came by faith alone, by the belief that Christ died on the cross to save us.  Not something that we can buy.  So, you could say that the Great Reformation came about by one mans belief IN THE BOOK OF ROMANS.  This belief has affected the entire WORLD and still is today. Martin Luther stood on the Holy ground of the Word of GOD.  The bible.  He took a bold stand to challenge the POPE!  And challenge he did.  Martin Luther’s zest for the Truth changed history and lives forever.  Mine and yours!

This is the second drawing, after studying Luther’s life.Luthers Theses

At the time, bibles were hard to come by and they were expensive.  In 1455 the Gutenberg bible was printed on the first printing press.  There were only 180 of these bibles produced.  Today there are only 48 known Gutenberg bibles left in the world.   Handwritten bibles took a scribe a year to produce and were quite expensive.  At the time it cost a clerk 3 years wages to buy a bible, so needless to say, not many people could afford bibles.  So what they heard about the Word of God came solely from the pulpit, from the POPE, who was selling salvation.  God placed a desire in Martin Luther for everyone to have access to the truth of the Word of God.   From 1522-1534 Martin Luther translated the bible into common language and this bible was called the ” Luther bible.” 

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So, how did Luther spread the Word of God if bibles were so expensive?  Well, this is the fun part!  He used the printing presses of Lucas Cranach.  Who was Lucas Cranach?  He was a German artist!  Of course!  Lucas Cranach was an artist who did woodcuts of the Virgin Mary and painted images of Madonna’s, martyrdoms and the passion of Christ.  He illustrated the thoughts of the reformers… thoughts on the trinity, sin,divine grace, Adam and Eve, John the Baptist, Satan, the Resurrection, etc..   Do you see how I can relate to this guy?

Luther printed simple pamplets, with imagery, to share the word of God with everyone.  Oh how I would love to own one of these pamplets today, to touch the paper and smell the ink of Martin Luther’s convictions and faith in God.  WoW!  It makes my heart go pitter patter a little faster.  To be bold like Martin Luther is my prayer for myself.   Luther was quite successful in his attempt to reach the laity with these simple pamplets, and the printing press,  immensely helped to change the world’s religious views by making  God’s word available to ALL!  In 1518 there were 87 printings!  I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but it was considering it took a half day to set up the presses for one page.  That took 25 workers!   In 1523 that number increased to 390!

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Today we have keyboards, computers, the internet and laser printers that print at the speed of light.  It would make Lucas Cranach and Martin Luther’s head spin!  I am sure that they are looking down cheering us on now as we use these devices to spread the Word of God!  I think a Blackberry would really blow him away, don’t you?  I mean, think about it…it’s not the Blackberry that is important, it’s WHAT you do with it!  Are we using our cellular devices to spread the Word of God?  If you have a Blackberry or like to text, I challenge you today to use it to spread the Word of God!  Make God and Martin Luther smile! 

There is a bible study on Romans that I wanted to take, but because of other commitments I wasn’t able to sign up for it.  My schedule recently changed, opening up time for me to take the bible study. The group has already started and I was invited to join them anyway.  So I picked up my study guide and when I opened it up I went, ” WOW!”  Here is what it says:   ” On October 31, 1517, an obscure Augustinian monk and teacher of biblical studies at the University of Wittenberg, in Germany, nailed a sheet of paper onto the church door at Wittenburg.  …………….This monk, Martin Luther, was incensed by the actions of Pope Leo X…….”   A coincidence?  I think NOT!  I don’t believe in coincidences!  This is a God ordained study that I am to take.  God has plans for me to learn something about Martin Luther and about the book of Romans.   

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So far I have learned that Paul, the writer of Romans, was determined to do everything he could to teach people about Jesus Christ, even if that meant being in chains, beaten, and tortured.  I think Martin Luther heard that call loud and clear.  The question is, do I?   The study guide says that Paul was a pioneer at heart, that he liked the thrill and adventure of plowing new ground for the faith.  I think Martin Luther did too!  God put a fire and a passion in the heart of Paul and Martin Luther to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, not just where they were, but the world over.  They were men who were committed to sharing the Good News.  They shared a common goal…that EVERYONE has the CHANCE to BELIEVE in the LORD JESUS!  If we don’t go and teach, how will they know?   Like God told Paul, he tells us, to take courage! ( Acts 23: 11)

Let me ask YOU a question…

Does it matter to YOU if everyone has a chance to believe?

I am talking EVERYONE!  God doesn’t want one person left out, He wants the entire human race to be able to make the choice to know Him on a personal level and it is up to us, who know Him, to share Him. That means sharing with the grocery clerk, with the little boy next door, the guy who walks down the street in a daze, the hunched over man who works at the corner lot, the kid who serves you at the drive thru window at Burger King, the woman that no one sees who lives in the house on the corner all alone.  EVERY SINGLE PERSON IS IMPORTANT TO GOD and TOGETHER we CAN DO IT! 

ROMANS 10:14

 14How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Who are YOU going to bring the GOOD NEWS to today?

I am touched by God’s presence and His voice and it is my heart’s desire to be an obedient servant of Christ, to serve and not be served.

Thank you Lord Jesus for waking me up!

Blessings,

Donna

 

The Words I Would Say

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Have you ever heard the words to a song that spoke to you?  Well, this one speaks to me and I want to share it with YOU!  I especially want to share it with a dear friend who I have not spoken with in awhile.  I think of her often and this song says how I feel about that lost relationship. 

Here are the words to the song by the Sidewalk Prophets:

 Three in the morning,
And I’m still awake,
So I picked up a pen and a page,
And I started writing,
Just what I’d say,
If we were face to face,
I’d tell you just what you mean to me,
I’d tell you these simple truths,

Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope,
You’re going to do great things,
I already know,
God’s got His hand on you so,
Don’t live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don’t forget why you’re here,
Take your time and pray,
These are the words I would say,

Last time we spoke,
You said you were hurting,
And I felt your pain in my heart,
I want to tell you,
That I keep on praying,
Love will find you where you are,
I know cause I’ve already been there,
So please hear these simple truths,

Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope,
You’re going to do great things,
I already know,
God’s got His hand on you so,
Don’t live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don’t forget why you’re here,
Take your time and pray,
These are the words I would say,

From one simple life to another,
I will say,
Come find peace in the Father,

Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope,
You’re going to do great things,
I already know,
God’s got His hand on you so,
Don’t live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don’t forget why you’re here,
Take your time and pray,
Thank God for each day,
His love will find a way,
These are the words I would say

A picture says a thousand words…

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In 16 days I will be boarding a plane with 11 other people to go on my first mission trip to Slovakia.    As the time nears I get more excited!  I have compiled this journal of pictures for you to view as well as myself to view when I get there. ( If I can access a computer!)  This will help me keep my focus as I am away from my Homeland,my family, home, church , and community. 

If you look at the rubber band on the globe, it’s not really that far away…( ha!)  I did this for the kids, so they can refer to it and show thier friends.  I will also be leaving some special things behind for the kids to read each day, words of encouragement and thoughts of love. 

This is my small new testament bible that a friend gave me.  I carry this in my purse and refer to it often.  Today I had to reinforce it with some clear packing tape.  Some of the pages were loose.  I took a picture of my family and taped it to the front page and taped my parents picture to the back page.  We are limited to how much luggage we can carry, so I thought my New Testament bible would do well, rather than my heavy study bible.  My traveling buddies, the two pencils, will join me also.  ( and probably more!!) They are on the bible, which is opened to John 3:16, in the shape of a cross to remind me of why I am going and what God’s purpose is. 

 

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 I thought this was rather interesting….after I took the picture I realized how dirty the eraser was…yuck!  But then I thought about how it is GOD who erases our sins with the blood of His Son…so that dirty eraser is a reminder to me of my own sins, and how God is constantly cleansing my heart with His own great big eraser!  The wonderful thing about that is, he no longer sees the dirt!  🙂  john bible 2

 This is my amazing family who I love very much.  I will miss them more than I can probably imagine and I have a feeling we will all be going through some growth spurts!  That is always a good thing!  We learn who we are and what we can do in GOD’s strength when we are apart.  Then when we come back together, it will be ever sweeter, like a hot, sticky, cinnamon bun fresh out of the oven!  ( get the hint MOM??)  Mmmmm….GOOD! 

 

Family

 

This is my heavy study bible, along with my traveling pouch of assorted drawing devices! 

God has poured His love into my heart and He has compelled me to pour it onto paper in the form of drawing. 

I plan to take some of my art with me and today I have been working on tshirt transfers so I can WEAR it!  It will be a great testimony tool as we work.

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Here is one  of the shirts I have already done.  ( The drawing in the middle is actually ironed onto a tshirt!) 

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Can you tell I LOVE this picture? haha!  It says it all.

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These are my parents!  This picture is taped into my bible so I can “take them with me.”  I get my creativity from both of them. My Dad is an amazing builder, carpenter, genius and Dad.    My mother is an awesome photographer, seamstress, cook and Mom!   They are taking time out of thier busy lives to come and take care of my family while I am gone.  This makes me teary eyed and happy because I know how much they love me and I know how well Cort and the girls will be cared for.

Thanks Mom and Dad! I love you very much!

 

my parents

This is my adoring hubby, the love of my life!  He has been the most supportive of all in my going on this adventure with God!    I couldn’t do it without his love, support and encouragement.  I love this guy sooooooo much and am really going to miss him!  He is an amazing mechanic and can fix everything I break! 

Wait…Who is going to fix things when I break them in Slovakia ???  Oh, wait…that would be Pastor TY! haha!  You better PRAY HARD! 

I love you hon!

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This is my cute little sister, Linda.  Isn’t she adorable?  She flies all over the world with her hubby…well, mainly Ireland.  She has been to Paris and Israel too!    She has given me tips on how to pack and is lending me her luggage to take.  I am sure she will be spoiling the kids with Mom while I am gone! 

I love you Sis!

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This picture makes me smile!

This is Emily and Cort.  Emily is 8 going on 28!  She is our “Mother Teresa!” 

 Our host in Slovakia has a little girl that is 7, so that will help me get some little hugs in! 

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Look Ma!  You can see my tonsils!

I love you Emily!

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This guy…well, this is my screwed up brother in law, Brendan.  I don’t know if he’s eating the crab or if it’s eating him! 

Love you bro!

 

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And then there’s Corynn, my firstborn!  She will be our next missionary!  She wants to come with me and I wish I could take her in my suitcase…

She has a heart that is on fire for GOD and she is very bold in her witnessing!  I want to be like her when I grow up!

I love you Roo!

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They are forever clowing around….

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This is Cheri with the girls and Cort. She is my “first” daughter ( stepdaughter) and she lives in NY, near my parents. 

Funny how they all resemble each other…

I love these people soooooooooo much! 

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This is my Mom, Betsy, Emily and Corynn. 

A few of my favorite people…they will be near and dear to my heart as I am in Slovakia. 

 They are my prayer warriors!

Mom, Betsy and Girls

This is our dog, TROUBLE!  Need I say more?

Love you pooch!

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This is my church. First United Methodist Church Hillsville.

This is the place where I have been  brought to my knees and filled with compassion and love for God’s people, the compasssion that it takes to have the heart for missions of any kind. 

If you think about it, we are all missionaries right here in our own communities.  The way we live, the way we act, what we say, how we love, how we serve. 

God has spoken to me time and time again underneath this steeple and inside these walls.  I have felt His Holy and all consuming presence  here, beckoning me to come closer, to draw nearer to Him.  This trip is a part of that calling.  I long to embrace Him and I can only do that by doing this, by being obedient. 

I am taking this whole congregation with me in my heart.  God has used these folks to affirm that I am to go on this trip.  They have loved, prayed, encouraged  and supported me financially.  God has used them to multiply my faith in Him.  As Pastor Ronnie says, We serve a BIG God who does HUGE things!  This is one of them!  Thank you FUMC! I love you all more than you know!

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This is the place where I fell in love with Jesus.  Dinwiddie Church.  It is an important part of the journey that I am about to embark on.  I love these people and I love what this church stands for…JESUS!  They gave me the foundation I needed to be able to hear God, to be guided by God and to be able to step up and out of that boat!  I will be taking all of YOU with me too!  I love you all very much!

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This last picture says it all.  They say a picture speaks a thousand words and these words are found in the bible.  The entire bible is a story about God,  who loves you so very much that He will do anything to get your attention!  He created the world from nothing, he made man from a lump of dirt, he parted the Red Sea, he built an ark, he brought a flood, he built a wall, and he sends us on mission trips.  The greatest thing He ever did was send His Son, Jesus, to die for us.  Why would anyone do that?  It is hard for us to comprehend.  Just believe it! HE DID IT!   He certainly got my attention and I pray that He captures yours too.  I pray that you will let Him transform your life into something that is bursting with an overflowing love for Him!

It is the greatest story ever told…

John 3:16

He loves you…

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He believes in YOU…won’t YOU believe in Him?

Serving a BIG God who does HUGE things!

Donna

 

 

 

Thoughts for today…

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Hi!

I was thinking earlier about how many Sunday’s there are before I leave for Slovakia…only 3 now!  WOW!  I can’t believe it is nearly here!  Everyone keeps telling me how I will have a different perspective on things when I get back.  I hope so.  I’ve felt like I’ve needed to go on a mission trip for a long time now.  God has made my heart burst with compassion for His people over the past several years.  I am just now getting to the point where I don’t cry very much in church anymore.  I have been like a weeping willow tree, crying at the least little thing. 

You know I haven’t said a whole lot about the trip lately because I’ve had every anxiety imaginable come into my mind over leaving.  I decided that God didn’t want me to live in anxiety and fear, so the best thing for me to do was to put my focus on Him.  He has been keeping me busy!  It has worked and the time for us to leave is drawing near.  I thank my precious Savior for keeping my mind focused on Him and not anywhere else.   When Pastor Ty called and asked me to join the team I gave him every excuse why I couldn’t.  But it didn’t take long for God to tell me otherwise.  Once I wrapped my mind around what God wanted, the rest was up to Him.  I’m not even gone yet and I have already experienced the power of God in the generosity of His people.  When God wants something to happen, trust Him!  He WILL make a way!

I didn’t have my passport or any money saved for a trip.  Pastor Ty told me to let God work all that out and to pray about it and see what happened.  Well, the next day I sent off for my passport and later that week I sent out a letter seeking donations for my trip.  Within 5 days I had right around $1000!  Our Missions Committee gave each of us $500 and then each first timer received $100 from the District.  So, right there was $1600!  I still don’t know what the final price is, but we are hoping it is around $1650.  I was told it would be between $15-1800.  So my goal was $1800.  Today I have a total of around $1700 AND a passport!    We serve a BIG God and He can do HUGE things!  For me this has been majorly HUGE!  Pastor Ty told me that this was an affirmation that I belong on this trip.   I believe it is. 

My beautiful daughter, Corynn has decided not to live in fear any more and I am right there with her.  God did NOT send His Son to die for us to live this way.  We are to be HOLY and PLEASING at all times.  Fear should NOT be in our vocabulary ( thank you for the reminder, my wise daughter!)  You know what Corynn and I have in common?  We both lost long time relationships this year and in doing so, we were “set free” to experience God to the fullest.  I think our focus was lost.  I was an “enabler.”  When I decided to focus on God, things changed. 

 Sometimes the  hardest thing to do is to let go.  My life has changed drastically since this has happened and I can’t help but wonder if I’d even be going on this trip if that hadn’t happened.  Only God has those answers.  I know that the doors of opportunity have opened wide for me since that day and it’s almost like I was set free.  I can’t really explain it any other way.  Today I am doing things I never thought I would be, why?   Because God has set me free!   My focus has changed and today it is on Christ.  That doesn’t mean I am perfect, because I am not. ha!  Far from it.   God loves me warts and all! 

I thank everyone out there who has been praying and who has donated funds for this once in a lifetime trip to Slovakia!  I especially thank my family who has been extremely supportive of me going!  I love you all!  A great big thanks to my parents for driving all the way here to help with the kids and keep Cort out of trouble while I am gone!  You are giving much and I love and appreciate you from the bottom of my heart!  I still can’t believe I am going!  I know that God is going to “wreck my life in the best way possible!” ( LEH) I will be taking all of you with me in my heart and prayers and it is through your efforts that we are able to go and serve in Slovakia as THE BODY OF CHRIST.  Listen to me…I Said WE…because WE are ALL GOING on behalf of Jesus Christ, FUMC Hillsville, CARROLL COUNTY, VIRGINIA and the great USA!   I can’t wait to do chalk art in the streets of Bratislava and I can’t wait to come back and share the new creativity that God will give me.  I love you all and thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul and my toes!   Here’s to ” fear NO MORE!” 

In Christ’s Service,

Donna

I am the vine

She’s what?

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Hi!
The title of this post is called, ” She’s what?”  When I first found out I was pregnant with Corynn, no one believed me!  We had been trying for a long time…years!  We had been married nearly 7 years before getting pregnant. 
So, that’s the reason for the title! 
 
I was checking Facebook this morning and I saw that Corynn ( my 14 year old daughter) had posted this note that she had written for everyone to read.  She amazes me with her tenacity, stubborn will, and with her love for GOD and all people.  She is a good mix of everyone in the family!  She is the cookie that doesn’t crumble! ( from Bruce Almighty)  She is always laughing, singing, and cracking jokes!  She takes my breath away!  I love you to the moon and back Corynn! 
Love,
Mom
 
 
corynn and hannah
 
” WATCH THIS”
by Corynn Godwin

9 months ago, i met my best friend, and she is amazing. she’s not afraid of anything, and she’s trying to get me out there, too.

so, i was a loser from kindergarten through 7th grade, but only because i chose to be. i was scared. i was absolutely terrified of making friends; because the “friends” i had in elementary school made fun of me all the time. that was elementary school.

i’ve been afraid ever since.

well, in the amount of time i could’ve had a baby, i’ve decided that fear is not going to rule my life anymore.

back in november, we went to Dollywood. i only rode two rollercoasters. because i was scared. i regret that to this very day.

there have been so many wonderful people i was missing out on because i was scared. then, in march, it took me losing my best friend to finally get out there and talk to people.

yes i’m very loud, and yes i’m quite noticable, but i wasn’t the best at making friends or even just associating with people. but a game of football brought the three of us together; me, hannah, and chelsea.

and since then i’ve learned to make new friends everywhere you go, and treasure the friends you have; get close to them; and above all, never make someone your priority, when you are only their option.

fear should never, ever govern your decisions. i’m not talking about fear of the dark, either. i’m talking about fear of rejection, of failure, of other people’s opinions. who cares what they think? and with rejection, just get back up and try again! and everyone fails. there is no way to get around failing, so you might as well look it in it’s ugly face.

it’s a lot easier to face fear than it is to go around it. if you just face it and get over it, you’re fine. but if you go around it, it lurks behind you, wherever you go.

that’s NOT something i’m going to live with any longer.
i refuse to let fear rule me.
i refuse to let the idea of failure be my guiding light.
i refuse to stay down when knocked over.
i refuse to give up.

why are we afraid when we have the biggest chair to lean back on;
God?

why are we afraid when we have the strongest, yet softest, safety net ever imagined;
God?

why are we letting fear control us?

the word fear shouldn’t even be a word.

the word fear, and all it’s connotations, should be abolished from today’s society.

why should we let fear get in the way of doing the things we love?
of having fun?
of making friends?
of laughing?
of loving?
of living our lives?

the word fear doesn’t exist to me. not anymore.

i’m throwing it out the window.

no more “i can’t”s or “i’m afraid”s

from now on its
watch this.

 

Corynn  I will never let you fall

“I will never let you fall, I’ll stand up with you forever; I’ll be there for you through it all, even if saving you sends me to heaven.”

The Old Rugged Cross

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Hi!

This is a drawing that I practiced this morning, before the 8:30 am service.  The same drawing I did at 8:30.  Last Sunday Janie, our wonderfully gifted pianist,  asked me to listen to a CD she had and then asked me to draw to the song ” The Old Rugged Cross.”  The music was done by the Tennessee Baptist Men’s chorale.  It was gorgeous!    My beautiful girls both helped me this morning.  Corynn videotaped the drawing being done and Emily joined me in doing the drawing.  Jackie and Terri Dunevant and their children also helped.  Morgan, Emily’s friend, helped too! 

Terri placed the blood of Christ on the crosspiece and as she did so, she looked down at her red chalky fingers and shook her head, looking mournful as she walked back to her seat.   When I asked her if she minded getting her fingers dirty with chalk she said it was the least she could do considering what Christ had done for us. She said,  ” It’s the blood of Christ.”   As Emily and I finished the drawing, 3 kids came forward holding signs.  JESUS LOVES YOU!  The signs were black with the words written in white chalk.    Then our Worship Leader, Sue , said a heartfelt prayer over the service and over the ministry that God has called me to do.  When she was finished I noticed many tears and heard many sniffles.  Sue is a mighty prayer warrior who has a direct connection to God Almighty. 

But the story doesn’t stop there!   The kids and I went to SS  and after SS I picked them up at thier classroom.  Morgan, Emily’s friend, had a drawing in her hand and it blew me away!

Here it is:

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Do you see what it is?  The same thing I had drawn during the serice!  I am amazed at how God is working through this ministry to reach kids and adults.  This isn’t the first time this has happened and each time it does God blows me away!  I am so thankful and appreciative of all that He does, all that He IS and all that He has yet to do!   Morgan was going to take this home to her family and minister to them.  I am so thankful for Morgan and her obedience…

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A child ( or 2)  shall lead them….

I love you Lord, Creator of Heaven and earth!

You rock my world!

D.

Famous Photographer wins photo contest!

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lighthouse by Mom

This is the winning photo that took FIRST PLACE in the WAYNE COUNTY HISTORIC PHOTO Contest!

Can you hear the waves crashing  against the pier and feel the fine spray of Lake Ontario against your cheek?  The clouds are moody and looming in the distance like a storm is approaching.  The water is ominous. The lighthouse stands at the watch, firm, tall and unwavering in the choppy water and unpredictable summer weather of Upstate NY.  Your eye is drawn to the stark white lighthouse set against the blue gray sky.  The spray of the waves reaching over the pier leads your eye right to the lighthouse, like a directional signal.  The pier is the path that takes the lighthouse keeper safely to the place that keeps the light.  It is the light that keeps the fishermen away from the dangers of the rocky shore.  Without the light we are all doomed to live in darkness.

Jesus is our lighthouse.  Like this picture, He stands tall and firm in our lives, always ready to shine His beacon of hope through us.  We are the keepers of the light.  He has entrusted us with this job.    We must always be ready to share the light and keep it burning, in the storms of life, in the sunny days and at whatever cost it takes. 

 It cost Him his life. 

What are you willing to risk?

This picture also took BEST IN SHOW!

The photographer is my Mom!  My mother has been taking photographs for years and just recently she has gotten up the courage to enter them in contests. 

My mother has a keen eye for getting a picture ” just so” and this one says it all!  This one catches all the senses Mom! 

 I can feel it, taste it, hear it, see it and smell it!   This is an amazing photo!

It leads us right to the Lighthouse…

Thanks Mom!

I love you!

D.

 

 

 

The Studio Library

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Hi! I have been working on this for a week.  I have been wanting to get my books organized and shelved in a way that makes sense to me.  Cort got me two bookcases and they are loaded up.  There are over 200 books, 41 sketchpads and 150 pencils, among various other things, on the bookcases.  This is in the corner of my studio, where I reside when no one needs me ( or sometimes when they DO need me and I am hiding…haha) .  This is way neater than it was a week ago and I even downsized some of eclectic collection of “things.”  That didn’t hurt too much.  Yes Mom, the walls are yellow, the chair is blue and the rug is chocolate brown.  I will be hanging my Willard Gayheart print called ” Virginia Beauties” on that wall by the chair.  It is a beautiful pencil drawing of 2 older women sitting around baskets of apples as they peel apples; along with an older gentleman playing a fiddle and a younger fella helping peel apples. 

Today I ran around getting supplies for Sunday’s drawing at the 8:30 service at FUMC Hillsville.  I will be drawing a picture to the song ” The Old Rugged Cross.”  As I began to think about what to draw, I also thought about the words to the song:

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

 
What do you see in your mind’s eye as you read these words?  We all see something different, yet something the same.  The same cross, the same Savior.  We each have different trophies we need to lay down, or different “stuff.”  These are the things that keep us FROM God.  We need to lose them so we can focus ON God!  I have a lot of things like selfishness, pride, lack of self esteem, feelings of inadequacy, jealousy, anger, depression. These are things we all face from time to time and when they come around we must remember that Jesus didn’t die for us to live a depressing and burdened life.  He died for us to be able to live a FREE and JOYOUS life.  It is only in being FREE from these “trophies” that we can live IN FREEDOM.  The only way to get rid of them is to lay them down at the foot of the cross.  Sometimes over and over. 
 
The second line of the song calls the cross an “emblem” of suffering and shame.  What is an emblem?  Webster’s says it is a design symbolizing an idea or quality.  Like a flag or a badge.  Well when Jesus was tortured and put to death on the cross by man, the cross symbolized death.  For me, today, it symbolizes life.  Why? Because it is EMPTY!  Jesus has risen from the dead and in doing so, He has given the believer an eternal life everlasting.   
I AM attracted to the cross. Why? Because of what Jesus did for me.  It is unfathomable that one man would live and die for the whole world.  And even more so that He would rise and live again!  This alone fascinates me and I don’t want to miss out on seeing Him for one minute.  To think that one person can love that much is quite overwhelming, isn’t it?  We will never ever be able to understand it as long as we are here on earth.  That’s why I have bought my ticket of salvation so I can spend it with the One who loves me!  Can you think of anything better than that? 
THIS is why I cling to the cross because I see a future and a HOPE!  One that God planned from before the beginning of time…
…and one day I will humbly and thankfully receive the crown of LIFE…
 

Praise Be to GOD!

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We attend a church that is on fire for the Lord.  We are so blessed to be a part of this congregation and a part of all the work that God has planned for us to do as First United Methodist Church of Hillsville.  John Wesley said, ”  Catch on fire with enthusiasm and they will come for miles to watch you burn.”  We all like to watch a fire as it burns, don’t we?  I know I do.  I love the way the flames flicker and change colors and how the sparks light up the night sky.  People who are enthusiastic for the Lord are this way too.  Their enthusiasm is contagious.  This is what John Wesley means. 

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Our church has been blessed with God given Pastors and leaders who love Jesus Christ.  God is using them to rebuild and reshape each of us into a flame that lights the darkness and leads others to Christ.  As we leave the church building, we take our flame of light out into a dark and cold world for all to see.  We burn our lights to help people see the way to the cross.  Some people are groping around in the dark and cannot find thier way without this light, without the firm grip of another person’s hand, a person who will guide them beyond thier stumbling steps and onto the firm ground of LIFE in Jesus Christ.

If you are reading this and feel like you need some light, let me encourage you to visit our church and come to one of our many services there. 

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FUMC- 225 Fulcher Street, Hillsville, VA.

We have something for everyone of all ages.  On Sunday mornings we have an 8:30 am service, 11:00 am service and a 6:30 pm service called Sunday Night Live.  Come as you are.  On Wednesday evenings we have bible study, youth group, children’s and adult choirs.  All starting at 6:45pm.  We would love to have you join us!  We have a Men’s bible study, Ladies bible study, United Methodist Men and United Methodist Women , a Senior Ministry, a Motorcycle Ministry, a handbell choir, children’s choirs and adult choir.  We have Sunday School classes of all kinds.  We have a rockin’ praise band called SOULED OUT.  We have two youth groups.  TWEENZ meet at the church.  This is 6th grade to 8th grade.  The YOUTH meet at our downtown location, called Out of the Box.  This is 9th grade – 12th grade.   We have awesome TWEENZ and YOUTH leaders who teach our kids about the love of Christ.  It is very evident that our kids are learning and listening!  Every Sunday the front three rows of pews are FILLED with teenagers!  Yeah, I said the FRONT! 

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Many Pastors have been called from Hillsville and are now out in the world with their own congregations.  We serve an awesome God with a BIG plan!  We cannot see the whole plan, but God can!  We must trust our lives to Him and to His plan.  Part of His plan is sending each of us out into our communities, families, schools, etc. to BE THE LIGHT for HIM!   Will you join us?

” The earth shall be FULL of the knowledge of the LORD.”  Isaiah 11

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