The Vine

Our family recently gathered for a family reunion. But before our arrival, some of our younger members expressed apprehension, saying,”I don’t know those people”. And much to my surprise, I spent most of the day trying to identify who was who, or to which branch of the family they belonged.I was amazed how much the “little ones” had changed in the past ten years. They were grown…with families of their own!

Fortunately, one of our daughters took time to make name tags. She organized and categorized everyone according to their family branch. So, it became an adventure to discover how our family had grown and blossomed into the next generation.

Just think, after ten years, we became reacquainted. The younger crowd played games, while the older members sat around sharing stories of the past. There was much laughter, and some tears, but that’s the essence of life. I was reminded of a verse of scripture: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26).

Afterwards, when I took time to reflect on the day, I was reminded how Jesus used the “vine” to explain our connection: “I am the vine, you are the branches” (John 15:5). If we take time to focus on our roots,we discover no matter how much we have changed, or how far we have traveled, we remain a family. And that is something to celebrate.

To all my family,and friends, I wish you a blessed day.
Until next time, Donna

Wanting the Best

A few months ago, I attended a meeting of local writers. Since I was new to the group, I was allowed to talk about my journey in becoming a published author.

When I mentioned WestBow Press, another author interrupted with a challenging question: “Why don’t you do it yourself?”. My answer was immediate: “I can’t do everything on my own.”

Later, I realized the honest truth about my publishing experience. My book was a labor of love. It was created after many hours of prayer and soul searching. In many ways, it was like giving birth. As usual, I began to think of all the things I should have said in that meeting. The basic fact about my story was this: I couldn’t be careless with God’s creation.

When I signed a contract with WestBow Press, I wanted, and expected, professionals to guide my steps. There was still so much I didn’t understand about the literary world. And I must say…I was not disappointed with my decision.

God has not given me every gift necessary to create a finished product. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years…it’s the importance of team work. Jesus worked with a team of twelve disciples, and when he sent them out to spread the Word, they went “two-by-two”.

I consider myself on the same level as a disciple, because I’m still learning. Time doesn’t change the basic principals of learning. When I want answers, I always search for the truth. So, I take this time to say,”thank you WestBow Press”. I wanted the best to guide me along this path of discovery, and you earned my trust.

“I See You.”

I have known many children in my lifetime. As a foster parent, and later a pediatric nurse, I have seen innocent lives scarred by abuse and neglect. Please understand… I didn’t choose the life of caregiver because it seemed a worthy occupation.I believe the Bible, which says: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you…” (Jeremiah 1:5).

On the day I was born, my parents didn’t celebrate. They considered the fact of my existence a source of public shame. But God has taken what the enemy meant for evil and turned it to good. He has turned rejection into compassion. He has given me a purpose for being.

As I write this, I know there are many children in this world who were born under the same stigma of shame and regret. But I have come to learn that life is not the result of sin. I believe each child born into this world was created by God, and each life has a purpose.

So, if you ever suffer feelings of depression, rejection, or hopelessness, I wish to say: “STOP”. The all knowing, all powerful creator of this universe sees you. He loves you, and He has a purpose for your life. Take time to ask, and then wait for His answer.

Until the next time…”May God bless you and keep you in the palm of his hand.”
Be Blessed, Donna

“The Cares of This World”

There comes a time in life when you realize what is most important in the over all scheme of things. And I have decided…I’m thankful to be getting older.

Our pastor once preached a sermon about this topic, and I must say, “I finally get it”. When I count my blessings, I find most things I once considered important don’t make the list. I don’t think about high school achievements, or the exams I faced in nursing school. I rarely think about my work as a nurse, the titles of responsibility,or the paychecks. I don’t consider the four-bedroom house I once thought so important.

When I think about closing my eyes for the last time, I remember the people I’ll leave behind. I thank God for the man I met when I was only 15 years old, the three sons we raised, and their precious families. I also thank God for the dear friends I met along the way.

Now that I am getting older, I wish I could tell the younger generation about the lessons I have learned. It’s very easy to get caught up in things that don’t matter. Jesus warned people about this: “the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” (Mark 4:19) Unfortunately, there are those who don’t even consider the Word to be important. And that’s what worries me most.

May God Bless those who follow.
Be blessed,Donna

“What is in your hand?”

Last Sunday, I spoke to a tearful young woman who said, “I feel like a failure.”
I think we have all shared in this experience. And I feel inspired to share my own feelings of inadequacy.

Like most writers, I learned very early that we live in a competitive world. When my work is rejected I suffer the same response as anyone else. But after much prayer, I have found that we are each given a gift from God. It is our responsibility to use that gift to the best of our ability, but we should never forget its source or its purpose.

I was not born to seek fame or fortune. I came from humble beginnings, and I expect to leave this world the same way. Whatever talent I have…. writing, singing, or simply making a home for my family, those gifts came from my creator.

God often calls people to fulfill jobs where they feel inadequate. When he called Moses to go to speak to Pharaoh, their was the initial moment of self-doubt: “What if they do not believe me or listen to me…?” But God told him to take the one thing he had in his hand, a staff, and it would be used for God to reveal his glory.
So,dear friend, whatever God has given you to do in this life, I promise you are more than qualified.

There are many talented people in our family; artists,architect,actors,computer technicians,military leaders, musicians, nurses, pastors, singers, and more than one writer. I do not believe these gifts were developed merely from our DNA. When I read the Bible, I see Jesus taught his disciple a parable about “talents”. He explained: “The man with five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more” (Matthew 25:16).

The lesson is simple, if you take what you are given and invest it for God, you are trusted with more. So whatever I am inspired to write, I trust God will use it and multiply it. The same is true for each of us. Take what gifts you have, and trust me, you DO HAVE AT LEAST ONE GIFT. Use it for the glory of God. Use it to help and encourage someone else. And I know you will be blessed beyond measure.

For all those who question your ability…take a moment and see what God has placed in your hand.

Be Blessed, Donna

Finding Home

This morning I woke from a dream about a child I once knew. Of course, he is no longer a child. By the grace of God, he has survived his troubled childhood and is now a man.

Since I was awake, I started reading my daily emails. I was horrified to read a report about three little boys who were removed from their home because of abuse.
The letter stated: “The boys were malnourished, and had whelps across their backs from beatings with a belt.”

I realize, in this day and time, we have come accustomed to reading horrific reports about the suffering children of this world. We see new reports everyday, but I fear the continued exposure has hardened our hearts to the harsh reality of their pain.

For some of us, we say: “It’s not my problem!” And a few may ask: What can I do?”
But I must tell you, dear friend, the letter I was reading didn’t come from Syria, or some other foreign country. These three little boys live in our own beautiful country…right here in Texas.

I pray my heart is never hardened by new reports of this world. I take this time to pray for those who are trying to find a place called: “HOME”.

May they all be blessed, Donna

His Great Love

How many of us can truly understand the tangible presence of God’s love?

Yesterday, we celebrated Resurrection Sunday by attending church services. Going to church has become a weekly routine in our family, because we understand the importance of worship. But before we left home, I wanted a private time of prayer.

If you have never taken time to enjoy God’s presence, I encourage you to try it. For it was during that special time that the Lord explained a simple truth: “There is nothing you can do to earn my love.” He helped me to understand this fact by reminding me of my children.

During my younger years, I was blessed with three beautiful sons. And each time I gave birth, the nurse would place that precious life in my arms. Only a mother can truly understand that feeling. But I have learned something about that incredible moment: we experience love in this life, because God first loved us.

There is no mission in life my children are expected to fulfill to gain my love. It is a simple fact,that love exists, and there is nothing they can do to earn it or deserve it. And the same is true in our relationship with God.

On the Cross, Jesus said, “it is finished.” God sent him to seal the bond of our relationship. At that moment, His work was complete. There there is nothing we can do to earn or deserve the love of God, but accept its truth. And I pray you will accept that love, dear friend.

Be blessed, Donna