January 31, 2007

Hiding in Plain Sight

Donna Dawson copywritten January 2007

You walk through this world with a confidence that tells all who see you that you are happy. A cloak of sophistication rides your shoulders in a silky covering. A bright smile hovers on your painted lips and light dances in your eyes. But I know.

I see beyond the lovely clothing and the graceful steps. I look deeper than the surface glance and pasted on expressions. I hear the distant call of a lost soul buried deep within the furthest recesses of your busy mind. And my heart breaks.

You think your lifestyle will bring joy. And those who see you might believe that. But your laughter rings hollow and the blackness of your pupil leads to the darkness in your heart. I follow that abysmal tunnel. Past irisis of unusual blue/green. Past the flesh that makes up veins and nerve endings. Past neurons to the very essence of thought. You struggle against the intrusion. Against the quiet whisper of a voice that calls your name in longing.

But I will persist. Because I love you and it isn't my will for you to walk this life alone and lost. I will continue to call to the silent ears that can't be seen. And I will wait in hope and anticipation until the filthy rags and sickening stench of wasted struggling come to an end and you see me as you were meant to see me.

And then you will set aside your lost soul and take up my love. You will cover yourself in my embrace and you will truly dance with the beauty of a child reunited with her parent. And we will rejoice together, forgetting the fake and useless existence that you now cling to. And you will revel in the relationship that is meant to be.

January 30, 2007

Jesus the Rabbi

By Donna Dawson
copywrite 2007

Sometimes the simplest teachings pass us by simply because we can't see the forest for the trees. Day after day as I study the New Testament, I never cease to be amazed by the things I discover. A case in point: recently our Bible study group stumbled onto a discovery through a DVD series we were using. In one particular episode, the DVD begins by talking about the Jewish religion in Jesus' time and how boys studied the Torah until they were twelve. At age twelve, they would either go on to study the rest of the Old Testament or they would take on a trade. Those who continued their studies, did so with the intent of becoming a Rabbi. In the New Testament, we are shown a brief scene where Jesus at age twelve comes before the teachers of the law at the temple and astounds them with his knowledge. What we aren't told is that those teachers would have immediately encouraged Joseph to continue Jesus' studies. Rabbis chose deciples based on their abilities in the scriptures--the more adept the student was--the more likely he would be chosen by a Rabbi.

At age sixteen, those who had memorized the rest of the Old Testament would then approach a Rabbi they wished to become a disciple to and ask if he would consider them. Rabbis only considered the best of the best since their disciples were a reflection of themselves. Once accepted, the young disciple would then take the Rabbi's yoke upon himself. A Rabbi's yoke was actually his teachings. When we think of a yoke, we think of the cumbersome piece of wood that lies over the necks of a team of oxen. While the term may have found its origins there, in religious terms it was the Rabbi's interpretation of scripture and their disciples would take that interpretation upon themselves. For the next ten or so years, the disciple would follow the Rabbi and learn everything possible. He would then move on to becoming a Rabbi himself at the approximate age of thirty.

Jesus began his ministry at age thirty. Instead of choosing the best of the best to be his disciples, he chose those that society despised--fishermen, a tax collector, a zealot--and called them to follow him. In doing so, he showed those around him that his interpretation of scripture was one based in humility. He wasn't a carpenter--merely the son of one. His Rabbi status is firmly established in John 8:3 when even the Pharisees refer to him as 'Teacher'--a name they would not have given him unless he was one.

Jesus used many terms associated with a Rabbi's position. He told his disciples to 'take my yoke upon you'. He was asked to read the scriptures in the synogogue--not something offered to anyone but a Rabbi. By being a Rabbi, he was in the perfect position to refute the abuses that had been incorporated into the Jewish faith in that time--he could call the Pharisees a brood of vipers because he had the authority to do so as a spiritual leader.

My daughter finished off this profound study with a revelation of her own. After having discussed it amidst our group, she piped up, "So that's what it means when the Bible says we're not to be unequally yoked. We're not to marry someone who has a different interpretation of faith." I was proud of her insight and wisdom and amazed by the many ways we can see scripture--it is an exciting yoke to bear.

January 26, 2007

Whispers in the Wind

It's been said that you can always tell a Saskatchewanite anywhere in the world. When the wind stops blowing they fall over.

It's true that the wind is paramount in Saskatchewan. We don't bother checking the thermometer, instead we check to see which way the wind is blowing. And there's nothing better for a weather vane than the tire swing in our back yard.

If it's swinging as high as the garage, we apply extra hold hairspray and hang onto the door with both hands. If it's only swinging as high as the apple tree, it's a lovely day for kite flying. And if it's not swinging at all, well then we're hallucinating about Florida.

We hear the wind whistling around our doorframes and clawing through the attic every day. We've learned to tune it out. But calm days do occur. There was that one back in 1920. And then everybody wanted a cool breeze.

God's voice is like that, too. We take Him for granted, assuming that He'll always be present to instruct and comfort us. However, we must listen for the gentle breeze of His love while He's near.

The Prophet Isaiah said, "Seek the Lord while He may be found, call on Him while He is near" (Isaiah 55:6).

We cannot summon the whisper of God anymore than we can command the wind to fill our sails.

Do you hear the voice of God today? Perhaps He's wooshing in around the window frame of your soul. Open wide the window, breathe in the rush of His Spirit.

Tomorrow may be too calm.

Pam Mytroen

January 23, 2007


It stays in the pantry I tell myself today
I must resist, eat lettuce, drink
my eight glasses
behave myself.

Wandering mind and growling
I yearn not
for peas and carrots
beef and chicken fat-free
soups and whole wheat bread.

But I insist it stays in the pantry
for dinner table later, not for me
I don’t need this now...
I don’t need this now...

Wandering mind, discontent
though dutifully plied
I draw my fill from
insipid food groups four
but then there is the pantry...

Please, let the doorbell ring
and rescue me, my hand
reaching touching, fondly
anticipation rising
My tongue runs
along my upper lip
one glance and all resistance melts

If chocolate cake had eyes
they would smoulder
with seductive passion.

© 1997 Elsie Montgomery, and ten years later, still having a problem resisting chocolate!

January 22, 2007

War of the Weather

As published online by
Donna Dawson
Author of Redeemed and The Adam & Eve Project

A war has been waged between snow and rain in our little world. Neither has won and both have settled for a compromise. As I trudge to the barn, my feet crunch over a carpet of ice, crushing the layers with my weight into shards of rotted vegetation and firm fluid. The Manitoba maple, its massive crown sheathed in a glittering coat, bows only slightly as though this is a covering of little significance. The row of cedars that run along the southern fenceline droop and sag, green bows decorated as though adorned with jewels of great value. They look sad in spite of the splendor and I can't help but feel their effort to remain erect.

It is as though I have stepped through the wardrobe into that barren and bitter world of Narnia and I shiver against the sterile beauty. My wire fences have a scalloped appearance as they swing from one ice-glazed post to the next. Silence reigns supreme, interrupted only by an occasional tinkling as droplets of ice break free from their coniferous perches to skitter across the unending skating rinks. The apple tree sends skeletal arms outward, not quite able to reach heavenward because of its shining fetters.

I enter the barn and instantly leave the ostentatious sameness of the outdoors for the variety of sounds and smells and colours. Bubba greets me with his eager yowl and embraces my leg with the shrug of a furry side. The horses grumble their hunger and watch me as I load up the sled with the muted green hay. And then I step back into the fairy land of still giants and ice statues and I deposit my cargo in the center of the paddock. It looks out of place, the only speck of colour in this whole landscape.

The horses smell the crisp, moist air and shuffle in their haste to be out in the open. I throw wide the stall doors and allow them their freedom, watching them in return as they gingerly follow my footsteps to their meal. One last pat for Bubba and I close up the barn and head back across this foreign world to the warmth and safety of my house.

January 16, 2007

Sluggish Systems - Marcia Laycock

This is a recent edition of my column, The Spur

I had a friend over recently to have a look at my computer because I was having a few annoying problems - nothing that shuts everything down, but annoying things that get in the way of it being able to function the way it should. The whole system was kind of sluggish. Shawn checked for adware and spyware and began to clean things up. He often mumbled, "hmmm... lots of pollution here."

The programs he installed will help to keep that pollution to a minimum and make my system run more efficiently.Our lives are a lot like that - we get polluted by our own sin, the distractions of the world, etc. etc. You've heard it all before. But do we do anything about it? How often do we do a 'virus check' or run spybot on our lives? What have we installed that will help our ‘systems’ run more efficiently? The more often we do it - the more often we take the steps we need to get rid of the junk in our lives - the closer communion we will have with the Lord.

My husband preached a great sermon on Sunday that relates to this. Okay, I'm biased, but it really was.(If you’d like to hear it click here). Sometimes it astounds me how things that we have known since becoming a Christian can suddenly hit you between the eyes and you have an 'epiphany' so to speak. This was one for me - that we can have a relationship with Jesus that is the same as the relationship he has with his Father!! Astounding! Profound! And true.

Look at John 10:14,15 – “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father …”I so look forward to the day when we will be in his presence, face to face, and all the pollution will be gone. But for now we are able to move toward that kind of communion. The challenge is to get all the inhibitors out of the way so that the communion will be whole and clear.

My friend Shawn warned me that the programs he installed on my computer would help but not completely cure the problems. "None of them will catch everything," he said, "but each one has its strengths." It's a combined effort. Kind of like the combined effort of praying, reading the word, attending church, teaching Sunday School, reaching out to our friends and families, writing the words God gives us to glorify Him. Put all of those together and it's a pretty powerful program that leads to communication.

I think maybe it's time I started using the programs God has built into my life to help me reach that place of communion with Him. Some of them have been sitting idle for a while and things have gotten a little sluggish.

Blessings to you all as you strive toward that place of whole, pure, delightful communion with our Father.

January 10, 2007

The Christmas Guest - Donna Dawson

As Written in the Journal Argus' column 'Out of the Blue'

Donna Fawcett
Author of Thriving in the Home School--A Parent's Guide
Author of the Donna Dawson books Redeemed and Word Alive Press's 2007 feature novel The Adam & Eve Project. www.inscribe.org/donnadawson

The Christmas Guest

I’ve been asked many times what Christmas means to me and have always been able to sum it up in one incident that happened many, many years ago.

I was quite young and had already enjoyed the excitement of unwrapping my gifts. Being the youngest of six children, you can well imagine the mayhem in our household on Christmas morning. But as the noise of the gift exchange faded and the preparation of the feast ahead commenced, the old bell chime at our front door rang.

Anyone familiar with our family knew that the front door was never used so when the shrill ring announced a guest, we crowded into the front hall curious as to who it could be.

Dad opened the door, welcoming onto the narrow carpet of the hall the blast of a winter storm and a ragged figure. The strong smell of an unwashed body told us instantly that our Christmas guest was a homeless wanderer and I was sure that she would be quickly sent back out into the bitter blast from whence she had come.

She carried a covered bird cage that held a thin, shivering rabbit—her only companion—and she was clothed in bits and pieces of cast-offs that had seen better days. Grey, greasy hair hung in limp and stained ropes around a thin, wrinkled face. Her eyes had that watery, faded essence to them that comes from living too long in the streets and she hunched into her scraps of clothing as though to shoulder off the wild winds.

As young as I was, I wondered why my parents didn’t just tell the old woman to be on her way. After all, it was Christmas Day—our family day—and she really shouldn’t be bothering people—so I thought. She had come to the door, fingers blue with the cold, asking only for a bit of lettuce for her bunny, and I watched in amazement as my parents ushered her in and settled her near the fire. Their kind gesture became a lesson of true Christian love stamped firmly into my youthful mind—one that I will never forget.

My mother, as tired as she was, asked the old girl if she had eaten.

“Not in awhile,” was the timid reply amidst the chattering of teeth.

“Come join us for dinner, then. It would be our privilege.”

I was floored. My parents were inviting this dirty, smelly, strange woman into our home for Christmas dinner? And so I watched with fascination as Mom and Dad settled this new guest at the head of our table and treated her to a feast such as she had probably never had. They would have offered her a bed for the night too if she had agreed to stay, but the old woman had her fill, warmed herself by the fire for a bit longer, then creaked to her feet again and headed to the door.

As I watched her thank my parents, tears in her faded eyes, I understood what shame was for the first time in my life. I, who had been taught about a God who loved me enough to send his Son to earth as the child of a poor carpenter, hadn’t thought enough of that love to pass it on to someone who desperately needed it. And as young as I was—I knew better.

My parents had taught me of the love behind the first Christmas. My church had taught me of it. But until that Christmas Day, when a vagrant landed on our doorstep, I hadn’t really understood it. As I watched my Mom and Dad fuss over society’s outcast, I began to see what sacrificial love really was. In that brief span of time, my parents showed me the true spirit behind Christmas—a giving of one’s self with no thought of gain—a helping hand to those who are without help—a demonstration of love for love’s sake alone.

Since that time, I’ve seen many Christmases come and go. None have affected me as that one did but all have reinforced the beauty of that one moment in my own history. And that single moment reminds me every year to look beyond my safe, warm cocoon and remember the reason for the season. May God bless you with a very Merry Christmas!

January 01, 2007

January, February . . .

It's January, all must change
my resolutions cry it!
I'll clean the cupboards, shine the glass
completely change my diet.
The constant list of things I need
has changed from Christmas treats
to organizers, storage boxes
and a set of sheets.

It's February, nothing's changed
the bathroom scales decry it
(that frozen stash of Christmas treats
has sabotaged my diet).
The hopeful list of things I pledged
discreetly tucked away --
ten months to do just as I please
until next New Year's Day!

c. 2004 - Violet Nesdoly

Happy New Year everyone! Hopefully you'll do better with your resolutions than I usually do with mine.

This bit of light verse was first published in a Faithwriters Anthology and also in the poetry journal Time of Singing.