Want to Save the World?

As far back as I can remember my goal was to save the world. What else would you expect from a firstborn over-achiever?

In junior high, I dreamed of going into the depths of Africa as a medical missionary. What probably initiated that desire was a combination of watching Debbie Reynolds in the movie, The Singing Nun, and knowing my grandmother thought missionaries were the most wonderful people on earth.

In high school, after reading The Cross and the Switchblade – and everything else that Rev. David Wilkerson wrote - I decided my place was on inner city streets. I was convinced that once I had Bible college under my belt, I could rescue drug addicts, prostitutes, and run-a-ways from the horrible life they led. My parents – convinced that I would get myself killed – insisted that I attend a university and get a “real” degree.

I married three weeks after graduating from college. Three years later my first daughter was born, and I made the decision to stay home with my children. I was blessed to have a good friend in a neighbor, who was also a stay-at-home mom with girls. We focused on giving our daughters the best childhood they could have. I’ve never regretted that decision.

However, during those years, my friend and I talked about our deep need to make a difference “out there". We wanted to believe that once the kids were older, we’d be provided the opportunity.

But nothing glorious or romantic materialized. We didn’t join the Peace Corp, nor did we travel into the Amazon jungle to deliver needed medical supplies. Instead, she went back to school to become a social worker and I took an administrative job in order to pay bills.

Two weeks ago I left a position I held for nine years. Every time I got a whim to try something else, the door to the opportunity closed. I questioned God. Was this it? Was this all He wanted for me? What was I supposed to do with my life? There had to more!

Even though I didn’t like the job, I enjoyed my co-workers, and God used me to be their sounding board. I became the person they could trust to listen to their problems and rejoice with them when good things happened. And because I didn’t push my beliefs down anyone’s throat, there were many opportunities to have dialogue about my faith. I think God kept me there to be His small light and share of myself what I could.

I start a new job tomorrow with a different company. I’m excited about the positive changes this position will bring. I’m also wondering what purpose God has for me there, besides what I’m going to be paid for.

Outside of my job, I’m called to be a supportive wife and mom. I can be an encourager to my friends. I can share the gift of music to reach a person’s spirit. I can write blog pieces, articles, and books, believing they will touch someone’s heart.

Be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.
1 Corinthians 15:58

I’ve had to accept that I’m not going to save the world. But, I can do my part to make things better in my little corner of it.

You can too.

Dawn

Patrick Henry Hughes - An Inspiration

I’ve written before about my feelings in regard to the show, Extreme Makeover, Home Addition, which airs on Sunday nights.

It’s fun for me to see the creativity used in designing the new homes. I enjoy the reveal when I can see the color schemes and d├ęcor chosen for each room, not to mention the landscaping implemented.

But far greater than my enjoyment, is the impact the story makes on me each week. To hear about the struggles and sacrifice people make out of love, is truly humbling. I’m often inspired by these families and last night was no exception.

The extreme makeover team visited Louisville, Kentucky, to help out the Hughes family. Patrick Henry Hughes, age nineteen, was born without eyes and the ability to use his legs or stretch out his arms.

His father had looked forward to the arrival of his first born and when it was discovered the baby had disabilities, he asked God, “Why us? Why did you do this to us?” Now his outlook is different and he calls Patrick Henry his hero.

At an early age, Patrick Henry was fitted for glass eyes so that his appearance would look more normal. There's no way for him to get around except by wheelchair or sliding his body along the floor. Their home had become almost a prison for him because of small spaces and narrow doorways.

This young man is a gifted musician and started playing the piano at nine months old. He also plays the trumpet for the University of Louisville Marching Band. Along with a beautiful new home, the extreme makeover team fixed up the practice field used by the band. In order for him to play with the group, his father pushes his wheelchair and follows the changing formations of the band.

Patrick Henry blew me away. He’s an amazing and intelligent person who focuses on what he can do, as opposed to what he can’t do. This young man stated that because he has no concept of white, black, yellow, or red – the color of a person’s skin has no meaning for him. He only sees what a person looks like on the inside.

His positive and appreciative outlook touched me.

The show closed with Patrick Henry playing the piano and singing about faith. One of the show’s team members broke down in sobs. Patrick is truly an inspiration and an example of what it means to walk by faith, not by sight.

Like Patrick’s father, we may cry out to God at times, asking why us? Only He knows the reason why some things are allowed to happen. Our job is to trust.

The Hughes family may have been given a new home – but I think they gave the builders and viewers far more.

To learn more about Patrick Henry Hughes and listen to his music, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qTiYA1WiY8

Or check out his web site at http://www.patrickhenryhughes.com/

Dawn

Perfect Sight

For years I had perfect 20/20 vision.

Unfortunately, that didn’t last.

One day…as hard as I tried…I couldn’t read the fine print on bottles of non-prescription pain relievers and cold remedies. My eye doctor explained it away as part of growing older. There was nothing I could do. I couldn’t believe it. Me? I'd grown old enough that my eyes had started to fail?

Now without my reading glasses, I can’t read anything that isn’t in large print. Did I say large? I should have said VERY LARGE.

I keep pairs of reading glasses in strategic places – my home office, the kitchen, the bedroom, and in my purse. I have one consolation. My husband and most of my friends have also resorted to using them. It’s quite humorous when four or more of us simultaneously pull out glasses in order to read a restaurant menu.

As much as I dislike the handicap of having to use glasses, I’m also very thankful to have them. It’s not worth the struggle - or vanity – to not wear them. It’s too frustrating to only see a blur when trying to make out words on a page. It makes me feel excluded from the world. And helpless.

Yet – when I’m willing to put them on, everything on the page becomes miraculously clear…

Sometimes I feel that God’s will and direction for my life is fuzzy. I not only want Him to clearly lay out the right path for me, I want to know what waits down the road. I don’t want any fuzziness…confusion…or frustration.

But, God doesn’t work that way. He doesn’t reveal all to us. Instead…He asks us to trust and follow.

“We live by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV)

One of my favorite songs is by the band, Petra. They use the words, "We walk by faith, not by sight." We need to keep putting one foot ahead of the other, even if we don't know where God will take us.
And don't forget to pay attention to hindsight. It has the ability to reveal answers to questions. I’ve been able to look back and say, “Thank You, God. You knew better than I…”

Trust that someday - when we join Him in heaven - we’ll clearly see all. We’ll understand why things happened the way they did. Why God allowed us to struggle. And we’ll know His infinite wisdom. We’ll have perfect sight.

Keep the faith – and don’t lose your glasses!
Dawn

Don't Be Robbed!

This past week I took a big step. I resigned from a job I’d held for nine years to take a new position at the corporate office for a telecommunications company.

I’m excited about this venture. I’ll be working in the same department as a close friend and my oldest daughter. Both had encouraged me to apply for some time. Frustrations connected to the other job will be eliminated. And I know from my friend and daughter how well employees are treated.

When I gave my resignation letter to the General Manager, he responded with few words. During the year he’s been employed by the dealership, he and I never “appreciated” each other.

I learned that he wanted to release me that day, believing they didn’t really need me, but the other three managers talked him out of it. I also learned that he’d made the decision to not replace me, feeling that it would be easy for them to cover my responsibilities. The managers and other employees were upset about his plan…and so was I.

It felt like all the years I’d given to the company weren’t valued by this man. Knowing how he felt about my presence there…and with the blessing of my husband and heartfelt understanding from my co-workers…I spent the next day orienting them to various pieces of my job, packed up, and said goodbye.

I talked to a friend today about my feelings regarding the situation. She suggested the GM hadn’t made the statements out of personal feelings toward me, but was only seeing a way to eliminate costs. She could very well be right.

Today I was also reminded of what my friend, Annette M. Irby, recently wrote in her blog about our value in the Lord’s eyes. I have VALUE regardless of what man may think or say. (check the post for January 24th at www.annetteirby.blogspot.com)

It’s not my job to please men (or women) or seek value in their praises. I’m a child of the King. As long as He looks upon me with favor, why stress about what other people think?

But, that’s exactly what I’d done. I’d become so affected by one person who I felt didn’t appreciate or approve of me, that I allowed him to rob me of my joy.

The joy of starting a new job that has the potential to bring good things my way.
The joy from hugs and affirmation given by co-workers.
The joy of knowing that God has His loving hand in the new direction my life is taking.

We take precautions so no one robs us of our identity…our money…our time. Then why are we willing to let things or people in the world rob us of our joy?

Sometimes we even make it easy.
We just hand it over without a fight.
But, as a child of God – a life filled with joy is our birthright.

As children of the heavenly Father, our joy shouldn’t depend on our circumstances. God not only watches over us, He also sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace… Gal 5:22

I need to let go of the situation with my “former” manager and allow the Holy Spirit to do His job.

Does anyone…or anything…have the potential to steal your joy?

Dawn

DiAnn Mills, Author of "Awaken My Heart"

I’m pleased to have author DiAnn Mills visit today. I just finished reading her latest release, Awaken My Heart. Fans of Zorro will especially enjoy this novel. I’ll let her share more about the story and why she wrote it.

Happy Reading!
Dawn

From DiAnn…

When I was a kid, I used to get spanked for lying. Now I get paid for it! Ah, such is the life of a fiction writer. Hi, I’m DiAnn Mills, and I’m excited about Awaken My Heart, my new historical novel published by Avon Inspire.

I live in Texas, the Lone Star State, where history and adventure are carved out of ordinary people and presented in novels and across the screen. Texas provides the perfect setting for tales of adventure. Here you can find cowboys and rodeos, deserts and mountains, bluebonnets and cactus, rattlesnakes and alligators, trail rides and space exploration. The romance and intrigue of those who helped build this State weave powerful stories. You name it, and Texas has it. But it’s the stories about the courageous people who stand tall and make this state what it is today that captures the readers’ attention.

Let me introduce you to my February release!

Awaken My Heart is set in 1803, when Texas was Tejas, a colony ruled by Spain. Indians, Mestizos (native-Spanish lineage), and the elite ruling class of the Spanish lived and died here. The priests living in the Catholic missions helped educate and train the people in various crafts and how to serve God. From this culture was born my story of forbidden love.

Which brings me to one of my greatest heroes—Zorro. Who can forget the handsome, daring masked man who championed the poor and fought the injustices of his people? His flashing sword, generous smile, and chivalry would bend the strongest woman’s resolve. It also helped Zorro’s cause to be portrayed by Antonio Bandera in The Mask of Zorro (1998) and The Legend of Zorro (2005).

Is it no wonder that I call Awaken My Heart my Zorro book? My hero, Armando Garcia, is passionate about the cause of his poverty-stricken people, but his passion also extends to Marianne Wharton, the daughter of a wealthy American rancher. The wealthy and the peasant. The Diablo and his angel. And her daddy ain’t happy. Oops! I mean Marianne’s father is out for blood.

This isn’t the first book I’ve written about historical Texas. The Texas Legacy Series was set in the period of the Old West when lawlessness and unscrupulous characters crawled out from under rocks and attempted to claim the state. I chose unlikely heroes and heroines who made a courageous stand for what they believed in.

Hop into the saddle and grab the reins. This ride will keep you up all night.

http://www.diannmills.com/ Let me hear from you!


DiAnn Mills Bio

Award-winning author, DiAnn Mills, launched her career in 1998 with the publication of her first book. Currently she has over forty books in print and has sold more than a million copies.

DiAnn believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” Her desire is to show characters solving real problems of today from a Christian perspective through a compelling story.

She lives in sunny Houston, Texas, the home of heat, humidity, and Harleys. In fact she’d own a Harley, but her legs are too short. DiAnn and her husband have four adult sons and are active members of Metropolitan Baptist Church.

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