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Why Everything Looks Wonky

When some things quit working correctly (like comments no longer showing on posts), I realized it was time for a little TLC under the hood here at My Home Sweet Home. I just updated my theme and not only does everything look different out front, but here behind the scenes, too. Y’all have patience with me while I work out the kinks and figure out how in the world to make it look normal again, okay?

xoxoxo,
Dawn

 

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Throughout history, man discovers the secrets God chooses to reveal. Sometimes they make Bible verses come alive with meaning not understood by the divinely inspired men who penned them or those who read them in the centuries that follow.

“IT IS THE GLORY OF GOD TO CONCEAL A THING . . .” ~PROVERBS 25:2

 
Sometimes we make the discovery ourselves and gasp, awed by the unmatched creativity of our Creator God, who breathed our world into being by His spoken word.

From the detail of a dandelion to the center of a sunflower, God delights in the minuscule: facets found, easily overlooked but revealed to those with eyes that seek Him everywhere.

“CONSIDER THE LILIES HOW THEY GROW: THEY TOIL NOT, THEY SPIN NOT; AND YET I SAY UNTO YOU, THAT SOLOMON IN ALL HIS GLORY WAS NOT ARRAYED LIKE ONE OF THESE.” ~LUKE 12:27

 
Man creates macro lenses to capture what cannot seen by the naked eye and God uses our macro technology to reveal His micro detail, a living art like the golden spiral of a Fibonacci sequence.

Please join me today at (in)courage for the rest of the post, God Both Conceals and Reveals, a photo-filled tribute to the creativity of our Creator.

 

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See Dolphin Tale 2 in Theaters Today!

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Dolphin Tale 2 opens in theaters everywhere Friday, which is also Homeschool Day. For your chance to win free tickets for your entire group from Homeschool Movie Club, share an image of your group seeing Dolphin Tale 2 on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook using the hashtag #HomeschoolDay or post the photo to Homeschool Movie Club’s Facebook page.

Homeschool Movie Club will chose a random winner to cover and reimburse their Homeschool Day tickets. This contest is only good for opening day, Friday, September 12, and ends at 8 p.m. Pacific time.

My kids begged me to become a Homeschool Ambassador for Dolphin Tale 2; we loved the first movie. This is our chance to show the movie industry that people want to see clean, family films. Will your family see it?

She loves her new #DolphinTale2 duds!

 

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TheBestYes

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Contest closed! The winners are Southern Gal, Erin, Darleen, Alicia, and Jolanthe.

I jog on pavement wet from last night’s rain. Water drips from leaves overhead and a cool breeze drifts in from the woods to caress my legs. I follow the trailhead until it hits the greenway, like the stem of a T joining its top.

A glance to the right to make sure I don’t run in front of a bike or a dog walking its owner and then I veer left, following the path my kids’ cross country team took earlier and the woman who crosses before me as I approach the fork.

Since she looks neither 20-something nor in training for a marathon, I challenge myself to match her pace. I’m not a morning person—my name, Dawn, the great irony of my life—but I feel more alive during these early practices than when I sleep later, use folding laundry and cleaning house as forms of procrastination, and then force myself into the mid-morning heat to jog in my neighborhood.

Still, the beginning is the hardest part and I question the wisdom of choosing a wild card runner as my guide. 

Before I started running two summers ago, I marveled at the number of devotionals and blog posts which center around it. Now I understand. It’s amazing how life experiences translate into running analogies.

One of our cross country coaches uses a C. S. Lewis quote in her email signature: “If one could run without getting tired I don’t think one would often want to do anything else.” Although I don’t fully agree—I want the satisfaction of a bone-deep exhaustion at the end—it’s no surprise that a gifted writer would also be an avid runner.

In that space where physical exertion and endorphins mingle, thoughts ferment, sentences string smooth, tangles unwind. My husband worked math problems in his head during distance runs in high school.

Mental distractions keep me from focusing on being tired and thirsty. Or wanting to quit. Or the fact that the woman ahead of me doesn’t stop to walk occasionally. Great, I chose to follow the Energizer Bunny.

I wonder if anyone follows me, but to look behind would feel like cheating. If no one’s there, I might be tempted to stop.

After all, it’s easier to push forward when you’ve got an audience. 

This woman before me, unaware that she’s my leader, proves to be a good choice. We never know who, if anyone, follows us, who grits her teeth and says, “If she keeps going, I can, too.”

Seek wise examples but remember that human ones may fail. Will fail. Wisdom tell us not to follow a man, but to follow that man’s God.

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Pink highlights cover the pages of my copy of Lysa TerKeurst’s new book The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands. It’s full of helpful, memorable ideas, but this one has affected my thoughts since I read it: “We have to put our hearts and our minds in places where wisdom gathers, not scatters.”

What do you think? Where does wisdom gather? Where does it scatter?

I’ve noticed how wisdom gathers when I sit down with Bible and journal, digging for wise words and writing them down, or when my husband and I talk about the future and examine where our choices might lead. But wisdom scatters—no, it’s tossed far and wide—when I get sucked into a debate with a willful and illogical teenager or play a game of Bejeweled Blitz when I’ve got a writing deadline.

Smart decisions can be difficult to make in stressful situations or under pressure. Lysa provides solid processes and practices for discerning your best yeses while saying no with less guilt, freeing you to use your time and resources in the wisest ways.

Saying yes all the time won’t make me Wonder Woman.
It will make me a worn out woman. ~ Lysa TerKeurst

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Win one of 5 copies of The Best Yes!

For a chance to win one of 5 copies of The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands leave a comment telling one of the best decisions—the best yeses—you can make today.

{This post is part of Lysa TerKeurst’s “The Best Yes” Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with many other inspiring bloggers. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE.}

 

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Download Your September 2014 Calendar!

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In July I visited northwest Arkansas and DaySpring headquarters as part of our yearly (in)courage authors’ retreat. A lovely path wound through woods and flower gardens leading from our hotel to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, so my camera and I took an early morning walk there the day I left.

Carrying a heavy bag and multiple lenses didn’t sound like much fun, so I limited myself to my macro lens, which still challenges me. When I get it right the results are worth the effort, and even more satisfying because of it. I decided my early morning would be worth it if I walked away with one good shot—just one—and I don’t throw away extra sleep without good reason.

I pray this calendar brightens your September days and reminds you of the One in whose shadow you rest.

Download September’s Desktop Calendar!

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Just Hold On

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We’ve been at Six Flags since noon on a perfect July day, but it’s dark now and we haven’t eaten in hours, the kids determined not to waste a moment when they can stroke the sky, inhale the wind, defy gravity, or test the limit of their fears.

Food in your tummy isn’t wise when roller coasters are involved, anyway.

The park closes in 30 minutes and my 12-year-old son leads us to the Gotham City section of the park, his day apparently incomplete unless he rides the Batman, a roller coaster too intense for my 9- and 10-year-old daughters. He races away and they steer me to the Mind Bender, which they rode once with an older brother.

A sign tells us that only one coaster runs the tracks now instead of two as the park nears closing time. We get in line but it’s dark and all I can see through the trees is a spin-you-upside-down-and-backwards loop, which makes my stomach clench. When my daughters note that only two fit on a seat and I’ll be on my own, I get snippy because I’m afraid. I hate to be afraid.

I haven’t been to the park in years and most of my visits involved pushing a stroller or taking little people to the carousel or the bumper cars. I can point you to an air conditioned spot to nurse a baby or change a diaper, but I can’t identify the attractions that make your heart race and your eyes clench shut.

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We probably won’t make it to the front of the line before closing time, anyway. The thought comforts me briefly before it starts to nettle. The children in this line know what they’re in for, right? Grow up, girl.

At the front of the line I realize we’ll be allowed to ride and I get in the line for single riders, to be paired with a stranger. My girls will ride four cars behind me. It’s time now and I walk forward, step down into the roller coaster, and then out the other side, where I place my bag on a shelf near the exit. My nerves crackle.

When I turn around it’s my youngest daughter standing there, not the man who stood behind me in line. “Mommy, I want to ride with you!” she pleads and I see her panic. My other daughter decides not to ride. Quickly we sit and lower the metal bar across our laps.

“Mommy I’m scared, I want off.” I try to lift the bar, but it won’t budge. An employee walks towards us, checking that lap bars are snug, and I know we’ll be okay.

“She’s afraid and doesn’t want to ride, but I can’t lift the bar.” He sadly shakes his head: once we’re locked in he can’t release us. Now my daughter cries pitifully and holds me, head buried into my shoulder.

I chant aloud: “Lord, please don’t let Lily be afraid. Let her be okay. Please be with her.” I’m vaguely aware that the people in the seat ahead of us look back and whisper about the little girl who wants off the ride.

The man who was behind me in line looks at us with kind eyes and we share an unspoken connection, parent to parent: he feels my helplessness, shares it. And then we move.

My daughter clings as we climb and time stretches, achingly slow, as the gears grind. She moans, “It’s about to go really fast.” I dread the drop and the loop that follows, but that’s all I can see, blinded by the night sky. “I’m scared, too,” I whisper and hold her close, wishing I could shield her, thankful I’m beside her, fear replaced by a mother’s instinct to protect.

I look forward, eyes wide open, determined to calm my daughter and face my fear. I will not scream. She never raises her head, tucked against me as we plummet 7-stories, loop upside down not once but twice, and twist and turn through the dark. Finally we slow and I tell her it’s over and praise her bravery.

As we enter the station, the crowd erupts. For my girl. “You did it!” yells the man with the kind eyes, relieved, and I exhale.

We step on solid ground and my daughter’s arm wraps around my side, good and tight, and mine around her. She sniffles as we walk to her sister, meet her brother, make our way to the exit. Even when she calms and begins to laugh she stays close, tucked under my arm. It feels right.

I see that my girl with the big personality isn’t afraid to be small. She trusts me with her fear, trusts my ability to protect her. It’s said that a parent’s example forms a child’s view of God: do I model sacrificial, unconditional love?

I hope she learned from me, saw that my prayer for her was instinctive, but I think I learned more from her, the child:

How often do I become small in the face of fear and lean on the One who can shield me?

When Jesus walked this earth—both fully man and fully God—I believe He experienced real, human fear; He understands our hearts. But unlike me, a protector who comforts my daughter while confessing my own fear, He is a sure defense.

My girl tucks herself under my arm again when we stop to eat. At home, she asks to sleep on the chair in our bedroom, still safer in my presence than away.

Lord, teach me to hold onto you instead of trusting in my own strength. I want to love you as a child, willing to be small and humbled, not too proud to seek you.

Psalm 91-1

 

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