Life Changes

Life changes have complicated my life and prevented my being onsite for awhile. Life hit me with what seemed to be a million curve balls. I’ll give a short summary here for any of you who have been wondering.

The years 2015 – 2016 were pretty brutal. You would think there was enough going on with just work things and family issues, but evidently I needed some refining in my life. This refining came about by a ton of life changes – some good, some not so good.

There were a number of funerals that I attended – my dad, my favorite great aunt, another great aunt, and a few others. There were the usual work issues. There were health issues. 2015 ended with a tornado which took my home (it collapsed, had to be gutted and re-built). 2016 was the year I became a juggler: contractors, work, family, personal, contractors, church, insurance, contractors…..and tons of paperwork. All of these changes were pretty difficult.

The really cool thing?  God became so very real and personal; He took care of so many things for me and I saw HIS hand in everything. These life changes were rocking my world and showing me things I would never have seen otherwise.

2017 – got my house back, fostered some children, and again dealing with health issues. And hackers took over my website. Talk about life changes!

I’m still seeing God at work.  My plans are to write up my last 2 years’ experiences, to share these life changes and some photos with you. It’s been an amazing ride; I wouldn’t change it for what I’ve learned and become.

More later – I need to prepare for our family’s Christmas/New Year’s party. I just wanted to reach out to you all.  I look forward to the life changes that God will bring about this year.

May God bless you in the new year!



Are Children a Detour along my Journey?

In this journey of mine, I have met and bypassed, or so I thought, the deeply ingrained emotions and wants of having a husband and children. I am content in my life. I like my “aloneness,” the quiet, and the ability to just do what I want, when I want (for the most part).

However, there are those folks who scrape that little scab open by asking the most – ah hem – (put your word here) – questions to my private life: why aren’t you married? don’t you want to be married? why don’t you have children? don’t you want to have children? Most people your age are already grandparents? Who is going to care for you when you get old and sick? You’re too picky; maybe you should lower your standards? You seem like a nice girl. Is something wrong with you?”

And then, I am quickly sifting through (and if you have had this, you are as well), the individual’s relationship to me, possible motive, face/emotions/tone of question, etc. before answering. Whether an innocent question or not, it stirs up lots of things about children and husbands once again that I have to re-address.

Do I like being single? Yes and no. Yes – I like being single. I like not having: to be aware of and juggling someone’s else’s schedule, to cook for more than one, to just BE. And NO – I do long for a husband, a companion. Sometimes, being single just isn’t enough. Sometimes, there is the great need to bounce off ideas, to have someone walk beside you, to help bear burdens, to help with challenges, to enthuse over successes, to admire beauty in nature, and lest I forget, to help with my To Do List that is getting longer and longer and harder and harder to do.

Do I like not being a Mom? Again, yes and no. See above for the Yes’s and add avoiding for the most part the childhood/teenage dramas/traumas. On the NO side, I deeply long for children. I would love to share my life, my history, my future with youngsters. I would love to see the joy of successes and learning flash on their faces, to feel little hands/arms wrap around my neck and whispered words in my ears, read bedtime stories, cuddle, teach them how to make and do creative stuff, to explore nature and life and wisdom, to mentor, to raise good and godly citizens. It’s just hard to put into words. If you are a Mom, you know what I’m trying to say.

So, I’ve been asked dozens of times why I haven’t adopted or fostered children. My standard answer was always: I’m single, I can barely take care of myself financially how can I add children to that, and I think kids need two parents not one. Meanwhile my heart breaks every time I see “Wednesday’s Child” or “Ellen Foster.” My favorite aunt once asked this question, and to my standard answer(s) responded: Kids need SOMEONE and ONE parent is always better than none.

Here I am. I attended an adoption/foster conference, and I am super excited. I want to delve further into this, to investigate it deeper. Is this something God is calling me to do? To add this detour to my long, winding path? I guess we’ll see. Meanwhile, I will pray, investigate, and learn. I hope this is part of my journey, and not just a peak into someone else’s window, so to speak.

What about you? Have you had a detour in your journey to “peak” at something that may have been dormant in your life wishes? Have you experienced the foster / adoption journey? Let me know your thoughts.

Life declutter and growth

This year is the year I declutter, send away, throw away, and fix-up or remodel. If I’m to experience growth in my Journey, some things must be shed. The first thing to get ransacked was the cedar chest. In the cedar chest, I found my old Blue Bird and Camp Fire Girl uniforms,

My BlueBird uniform

Donna cowboy shirt

Donna’s Cowboy shirt – only worn by true Heroines riding horses.

my favorite “cowgirl” shirt, and what I called “my Indian Princess” dress. I can remember wearing each of them and loving them so much! I would LOVE to sell them to someone who would love them as much as I.

Then, yesterday, in my sewing material, I found a long, fully-lined wool skirt (in burnt orange). I remember making it and the job that I was in when I completed it (yes, as an adult). Never worn! When I finished the skirt, we stopped having winters cold enough to wear it.

Now, ummm….. something happened to my body since I made the skirt. I don’t know when or how. People who see me tease me about being very small and not needing to lose weight. Some dark night, I experienced growth and unfortunately growth outward. This picture proves my point about weight gain. But then, I suppose it’s all in perspective.

wool skirt

My never worn wool skirt (because we stopped having winters) with the shocking 24″ waist.

OK All of you people who say I don’t need to lose weight, please take a very CLOSE look at the yardstick above the waistband. You will notice that it says 12 inches (which means the waist is 24 inches). I’m rather flabbergasted myself! I remember the year I made it! It wasn’t THAT long ago. I don’t think it was that long ago. At this point, the only girls that I know that could wear this would be my five and six year old cousins, a friend’s little girl, or perhaps my co-workers one year old little girl!!

Wow. I think my next project is to pull out all of my pictures and see if I can see when the changed happened. Growing up is a journey of excitement. Growing out, well, that’s not exactly the path I wanted.

New Year 2015

Once again we find ourselves at the closing of one year as a new year prepares to dawn, pondering on hopes, dreams, realities, and possibilities. Perhaps you are at a party, singing and making merry while counting down the hours (soon to be minutes); perhaps you are at home watching your favorite movies with family, a few close friends, or your furry love, contemplating a warm bed vs. counting down New Year 2015.

Last year, I had decided that my “resolution” would be one word: TRUST. I would spend my year in learning to really trust God. Personally, it seems as if it were only yesterday or last week that my journey began in 2014. It seems that my journey was really very short and I wonder if I have gained anything on this “one word journey.”

I have learned. It has been an interesting road. Not easy, for me. Suffice it to say, that I have learned of “trust” and my life has been better for it. Calmer and more peaceful, internally. I can’t explain it here; I will do that another time.

So on to New Year 2015. What are my hopes, dreams, realities, and possibilities? Do I have one word to focus on this year?

My hope and dream is to write, create, and sing – again. Reach into my deepest soul and bring forth those things that give me life and share them once again. I have let my job beat that out of me, and that is wrong. God gave me certain talents that not only glorify Him but give me life. It’s time to turn them loose once again this new year.

Realities and possibilities? One word? I’m not sure of the one word. This new year, I want to focus on Health. I think that health also encompasses the soul – and those things in the previous paragraph will be healthy. It’s not just exercise and nutrition (or I would be lost here), it’s whole life. The realities of my life are like yours: work, responsibilities, family, and juggling time. How do I balance possibilities with hopes and dreams and realities? If you have figured that out, let me know 🙂

Tonight as I watch the New Year come in, one cat asleep on the couch and one cuddled closely in my lap while a movie plays on TV (and my foot has fallen asleep), I will think about what I would like to see happen in my life the new year.

What about you? What are your hopes, dreams, realities, possibilities, or “one” word for the New Year 2015? Please share and let’s encourage one another.

A Christmas Card for a little old lady

As one of the ladies left the nursing home Christmas party with her two young Santa’s helpers, the littlest girl scanned our table where a few of us were sitting and eating with our loved ones, their presents next to us on the table or on the floor. In her arms, she carried homemade Christmas cards of sky-blue construction paper with large, jolly, white snowmen on them. Her job was to give a Christmas card to each of the residents of the home.

Suddenly,the little voice wailed: “MAMA! WAIT!!! WAIT, Mama!! That little old lady didn’t get a Christmas card with her stocking!”

As the little girl’s mother stopped to wait, I and several other ladies looked around our table for the little old lady without a Christmas card.

At that moment, I felt a tiny hand on my arm and a winsome little voice say, “Ma’am? This is your Christmas card. It goes with your stocking!” I looked down at her in surprise and some amusement as she proudly pulled a snowman card from the group she carried.

I’m afraid that the table began shaking as several of the folks tried to keep from laughing outloud. I looked in her confident innocent eyes, happy in the thought that she was giving me something precious in a Christmas card. I thanked her appropriately for the beautiful snowman card. She proudly told me that her class made the cards. She was six years old. I enthusiastically told her that I loved it. She almost skipped away in her own happiness of providing a gift.

After she left, the Christmas card was given to the correct stocking. We have been given much joy and laughter from that incident. Yes, it was incredibly funny! And a number of people have laughed with me and at me over this incident. However, it was very precious! This little girl was so concerned that every single resident receive a Christmas card, and had observed that there was no Christmas card with the stocking at my elbow. She immediately stopped everything to provide this, so I would not be left out. She was a precious little jewel.

If you have any troubles finding the joy of Christmas, perhaps you might find part of the secret here. Find it in giving something of yourself (a homemade Christmas card made with love) and giving it to someone who does not have one, or may not even receive one. It’s not in the big, expensive gifts; Christmas is encompassed in the small, seemingly insignificant things given with love and sacrifice and selflessness.

May you find the joy of Christmas in the small things this year and then multiply them to others in the New Year!

Choose Me!

“Choose me!”


“No – ME!!!”

Hands raised high, straining towards the heavens. Small bodies leaning forward, stretching high, jumping up and down. Eager voices clamoring for attention. Smiles, cheers, high fives on each choice.

“Choose ME!”

Now agonized, anxious, hurting as the final three stand, desperate to not be the last one standing.

The furrowed brow as the final choice between two: which one is better than nothing?

Two. One. Unseen pain sears through the one soul.

Don’t be fooled that this only applies to young, immature people. I daresay you choose all kinds of things based upon an inner drive to “improve” or “bring excitement” to your life, or even to prevent loss of perceived prestige. Meanwhile, who is on the sidelines, begging to be noticed and chosen?

People choose to make decisions on things they perceive will further an agenda, meet the bottom line, cause them to look good. Things like popularity, attractiveness, athletics, politics, finances, tricky, sneaky, tough, fashionable, sexy, snarky, gossipy, devious, and all sorts of nameless things. Typically, moral character, intelligence, loyalty, trustworthiness, love, faith, and such things just aren’t in the race. And heaven help if you present a walking conscience – verbally or otherwise.

May I suggest another choice that brings very definite decisions either for or against? That provides an inner angst of perceived losses? Should you choose yes or no? If you choose yes, might you be required to give up such things as: popularity, freedom, fun, risqué, and all that stuff that you know is not healthy but feels good (tobacco, drugs, alcohol, parties, sex, greed, bad friends…)? Might you be forced to do something you don’t WANT to do (like marrying the worst looking person imaginable, being a missionary to some outlandish hateful place with horrible food, etc.)? Yes, I’m suggesting God – Jesus Christ – as a choice; an important choice. And I’m willing to bet that you have had such similar secret thoughts. Actually, I have heard those thoughts expressed. Do they sound as ridiculous as they look in black and white?

I chose Him. I made the choice to have God on my team; to bring Him off the sidelines and become an active player on my “team.”

He has provided for me in some amazing ways, a little too specific to be coincidences. He has not insisted that I marry some horribly ugly person nor go to some outlandish location. I still maintain my ability to choose everything in my life. Sometimes, I choose wisely; sometimes, not. Consequences of choices are experienced. Life is life; however, life with Christ has infinitely been better in all ways.

What do you have to lose be choosing Christ? Nothing. Seriously. Everything to gain. Really. Perhaps you are interested and would like to choose Christ. If so, contact me. Or if you wish to be more private, think and act on His Words. The best known: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believed on Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). He says, “I stand at your heart’s door and knock. If you hear my voice and open your heart and allow me to come in, I will come in” (Revelation 3:20). You only have to ask.

Unexpected detour

Have you ever had your day completely planned out (on paper no less), were actually working your plan, and then received an unexpected detour? an extra long interruption? Were you irritated? Frustrated? Or did you just go “with the flow”?

I had an unexpected detour, today. I got outside early, was working diligently on an outside project, hoping to be done before it got too hot to work. I had about 70 linear feet of garden that had gone riotously wild: bindweed that had bound and was dragging everything to the ground, weeds, grass, coneflowers needing deadheading, cannas, wisteria that had wistfully overtaken the area and is in a fair way to overtake the world, fairy rose bush flying into the mowing area, antique hedgerose complete with killer thorns reaching out for any possible threat, climber rose bush climbing to the top of the house and chimney, and Texas sage billowing out over the yard. Not to mention, the 10 foot tall sunflowers at one end of the house/garage, and the over-abundant rosemary at the front of the house. The birds LOVE this. On the other hand, the neighbor who tries to mow my yard, code enforcement, and I, do not.

There I was clipping, pruning, dragging, piling, when I heard a very young voice nearby. Here began my unexpected detour of the day. For the next two hours, my young neighbor boy spoke his heart, his grief (his cat died, and his dad is having severe health issues), school, life, skateboarding, grief, cat stories, first aid, life skills, computer games, testing out my reel mower, discussion of mowing, what career to take, was it true that older siblings made more money than younger forever, and many other things. At first, I was a bit irritated at the interruption, but then I realized what a wonderful opportunity I had – and so I thanked God for it and listened closely…and responded like an older sister or aunt. When he finally wound down, he said, “I’ve really enjoyed talking with you. Thank you” and he skipped off to do his chores.

Not many youngsters will tell you that they enjoy talking with you. Most don’t even know that is a proper piece of etiquette. It’s not often that I get a wonderful opportunity to know the “inside-out” of folks in my community. I am thankful for this day, this moment that I was able to listen and be there for someone. It was a wonderful day; I am grateful for this unexpected detour.

Bullies, Bullies, Everywhere, and NO one seems to Care

Bullies, Bullies, Everywhere, and NO one seems to Care

If you have lived anywhere other than a cave, you are aware of or have experienced,
“Bullies, Bullies, Everywhere, and No one seems to Care.”

Bullies on the playground, at home, and in the church,
People you don’t know, people you do, friends, and family are the worst.
It comes out of nowhere with seemingly innocent guise,
Speechless, hurt, no one to protect, nowhere to hide.

Bullies refuse to apologize, acknowledge, or repent,
It’s not THEIR fault, their spleen they had to vent!
Someone MADE them do it, or perhaps a chemical imbalance,
Whatever it was, you must bear their despicable talents.

Sometimes out of anger, Sometimes out of fear,
Most times out of jealousy, sometimes on a dare.
A lot of times out of transference – the Walter Mitty syndrome
(passing on resentment that should have been handled at home).

Verbal assaults, not just once or twice, but almost constantly,
A punching bag receiving snide remarks and taunts – just ugly!
Character assassination, defamation, in the family, church, and all around the town,
No one confronts, questions, or protects, but happily sends it on around.

Not limited to just gangs, criminals, or evil, wicked men,
It’s found in schools, at home, at work; no less among Christians.
The end result is brokenness, death, destroyed homes,
Without sincere repentance, change, restoration remains unknown.
– Dlw 8/12/14 7:30 p.m.

If you couldn’t tell, bullies are on my mind and heart. Bullies, bullies everywhere, and friends have disappeared: in the news, TV, papers, magazines, blogs, schools, homes, neighborhoods, churches. It is epidemic. It hurts, badly.

Our children and young people bear much. There doesn’t appear to be a safe, quiet, place to hide and regroup. There are few who stand up or speak up. I admit, as a young person, I was terrified of having the bullies turn on me, so I didn’t speak up at times when I should have – to my shame. Nor did anyone ever stand up for me.

However, people seem to overlook the ADULTS who are victimized by bullies. This is really concerning. I have met far too many adults who are bearing abuse that they should not have to bear. And the worst of it? Others are standing by, listening in, NOT speaking up and confronting the bullies, nor protecting the bullied. The stories that I have heard would fill a library.

Personal experiences aside, I have heard painful stories from acquaintances, friends, neighbors, students, pastors, and co-workers of brutal attacks from the ones that were considered “safe,” considered “friends.” The things said, the behaviors, are unbelievable. The devastation left behind is awful to behold.

Everyone seems to be talking about ways and means of protection from bullies, but they focus pretty much on passive tactics. Turn OFF the cell phones, the texting, and all social media. Good ones, for sure, and I totally agree with those things.

It is true that technology has created a bedlam paradise for bullies, leaving people (children especially) with no safety zones; however, I blame it more on the lack of what the Good Book calls “good men” standing up to evil. James says, “He who knows to do the right thing and doesn’t do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17). Edmund Burke’s statement is so true: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

We need MEN (and women and children) to stand firmly courageous and do the right thing. To confront, to speak up, to GO get help from someone who CAN and WILL stop the bullies. Also, to insist upon a real and sincere apology from bullies, the recanting of lies (as publicly recanted as was told), and repentance (a complete and permanent U-turn of behavior).

Too often, bullies behave as if multitudinous good actions (after being “caught”) will substitute for apologies and should automatically receive full forgiveness and restoration. Unfortunately, many will allow it because they are already beaten down by bad behavior, and they just want it over with. “Let bygones be bygones.” However, if this happens, the bullies have received what they want and will continue with bad behavior. It may be hard, it may bring more sorrow and harassment from unthinking and unknowing people (how DARE you not forgive and forget!), but the bullied must stand firm. The sincere apology for the offense(s) and complete repentance MUST come first. Only then can there be the possibility for forgiveness and restoration.

If you are the bullied, you do not deserve it. If you are a bystander and hear or see bullies in action, please step in – you have more power than you think; you are in the right. If you are a church member and hearing or seeing another church member (or your pastor) being bullied, definitely confront and stop the behavior. If you have been the recipient of some sort of “gossip,” please go to the one spoken about and discover the truth. Stopping bullies, bringing forgiveness and restoration, will take the firm stand and courage of us all.

Under His Wings; a Lesson from the Doves

A pair of Mourning Doves discovered my rather wild looking tiny yard: a climbing rose “umbrella” over the back corner of the yard, overgrown Rosemary, tangled trailing periwinkle, and tallish grass. Not only an enclosed yard replete with shrubbery, bugs, and seeds, but nearby bird feeders.

They chose to nest in my gutter – the one along my fence, draining into a rain barrel. In fact, they enthusiastically built the nest on the wire screen covering the downspout, providing both a good foundation and drainage. The gutter walls offered a stable shelter, impervious to winds, immoveable, so unlike the rose vines shading the nest.

Painstakingly, the nest was built. She diligently pushed dead leaves and wove twigs into place. He scavenged for perfect twigs, grass, and string. He watched her weave each piece before flying for more.
Dove building nest

My cats (aka The Girls) often use the patio. Nearby, dove parent crouched with one eye peeking over the gutter, watching closely. I longed to see the eggs, yet the nest was never unprotected. Finally, a few brief minutes revealed two beautiful eggs, and I managed a photo.

Papa Dove takes up his post on the electric lines behind my house, watching from there. They switch off nest duty. If Papa Dove’s on the eggs, he faces my patio door, tail straight up and merging against the fence post. When Mama Dove’s on the eggs, she cuddles tightly over them and turns her body (or head) to follow possible danger, only her tiny black eye visible.

The doves take turns covering, turning, sheltering them from sun, thunderstorms, and all possible danger. So quiet and still, their fluffed wings as a disguise to avoid notice.

Then came the day when The Girls discovered the doves. Both were at attention, one at the base of the rain barrel looking upward intently. The Girls were instantly banished to the house for the duration.

Doves are not the run of the mill birds.

They seem to be very protective of the nest, and unlike other baby birds, the dove babies are never popping up and down, clamoring for food. It is eerily silent. Momma Dove has discovered that I am often at the patio door watching. At the first hint of movement, she turns so that her back is towards me. She fluffs up her body so that she completely covers the babies with her wings, and cocks her eye to watch me.

Mama Dove covering babies by Donna Ward 2014

Mama Dove covering babies by Donna Ward 2014

One hot day, my outdoor work frightened the parents from the nest. When I noticed their absence, I grabbed the camera and managed two quick photos. The babies looked so vulnerable. An hour later, the parents returned.

Baby Doves by Donna Ward July 2014

Baby Doves by Donna Ward July 2014

Incredible, but these doves are providing the one illustration that I have been longing for – a visual example of “trust.”

Trust, I’ve told you before, is difficult for me, especially, when it concerns certain aspects of my life. I seek for physical realities in a spiritual realm; it doesn’t happen. Often, anyway.

The doves are a living example of: “I will trust in the covert of thy wings” and “He shall cover thee with His feathers and under His wings shall thou trust.”

Do you know how many times “under His wings,” “cover you with His feathers,” and various forms of trusting under the shelter of His wings occur in reference to God? What exactly does this mean?

Did you know that “covert” in Psalm 61:4 means a hiding place, protection, disguise? I have seen the doves use their wings to be a covert for their babies. She poofs her wings up and covers them closely; she has disguised and protected the babies. I don’t see them, I see a fat dove.

And “trust”. There are two common forms of the word (using Strong’s Concordance numbering, I will call them 982 and 2620). Both mean “trust” and “confidence in,” but the first meaning for both is “flee to for protection.”

982 says “to hie for refuge but not as precipitately as 2620” and 2620 says “to flee for protection.” Scripturally speaking, to “trust” means to run, or as Gandalf would say, “fly, you fools!” for protection and refuge to the one in whom we are trusting; that we should have full, bold confidence in this one. And this one should be cover or protection for us.

The very instant that danger is suspected, babies flee to Mama Dove, she nudges them into a corner and fluffs out her wings to instantly cover them. They are silent; her eye watches; papa guards nearby. There is no movement from the nest until long after any possible danger has passed. My simple motion at the window will put them in cover for as long as an hour. The babies rush to the protection of her wings. I am being shown by living illustration how God, “under whose wings (I) have come to trust,” provides protection.

If God is God and I claim to have trust in Him, then at the very instant that danger is suspected (perhaps even before), I should fly to Him for protective covering. “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.”

Do you have areas that are difficult for you to trust to God? What ways has God shown you His covering and protection; that your trust in him is well placed?

Scripture references: Psalm 61:4, Psalm 91:4, Ruth 2:12, Nahum 1:7

Conundrum of Summer

I live through the conundrum of summer every year. You see, summer is always a season of fun and incredible emotional difficulties at the same time. Something I’m “supposed” to enjoy becomes something that I dread, and most often just live through.

On the one hand, summer means: vacations, trips, sun, new sights, swimming, games, a short time of relaxation, seeing folks you don’t normally see, a break from school/work (well, at least until you’re adult), special outings, animals, nature, and all that sort of thing.

On the other hand, I have yet to have a summer when there wasn’t a minimum of three major crises which cancelled all plans, sudden deaths that cut trips short and caused u-turns back to home from somewhere hours (or days) away, and well, just very difficult and challenging times.

In fact, experience has taught me NOT to make plans, not to schedule things in advance – or if I do, not to announce them and definitely not to set my heart on them. This is my dilemma, my conundrum of summer, the thing that causes great anxiety every year. I am a planner; spontaneity is not part of my make-up. I am required to plan; however, the past has told me “don’t plan on it” and be prepared to experience a little spontaneity (like it or not).

So here I am, approaching mid-summer with a bit of disquietude. Will there be a time of rejuvenation, of much needed relaxation and change of scenery; or will, once again, be a journey through the shadow?

Already, I am journeying through the shadow. There have been a number of deaths and medical crisis (friends and relatives), and other difficulties much closer to home (electric fire, house and car dealings). I long for the light; to leave this shadow and travel upward.

Trust. Trust God in the conundrum of summer time. My times are in His hands. Deuteronomy 33:26-28 says that: There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms….

I am so glad that in the conundrum of summer, in fact the dilemmas of every day, God is my refuge and I can rest in His everlasting arms.