Inappropriate Prop

And your point is?

In spite of my love for alliteration, this “inappropriate prop” photo of the leader of our country holding up God’s word is absolutely ridiculous and pathetic. And sad. And frustrating. That book is holy to me. Sacred. I read it everyday (most every). I had a conversation with a friend yesterday about how I like the convenience of the Bible on my phone, but prefer having the actual book in my hands so I can write in it and highlight it. Then I can look back over passages I’ve read and be reminded of how those words saw me through difficult and even happy times.

So I would ask the man in the picture holding up this Book of Books, what scripture does he turn to when he needs wisdom? Guidance? Strength? What are some of his favorite passages he reads to begin his day? End his day? In which of God’s words to us in that Holy Book does he find Hope? What page does he turn to, to find the words of Jesus showing him how to live? How to treat people? What story does he read to learn empathy? Compassion? Understanding?

Here are some of the passages from this beloved book I turn to:

When I begin my day:

Psalm 5in the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you…let us who take refuge in You be glad…spread Your protection over us…

Matthew 6do not worry about your life…seek first His kingdom…do not worry about tomorrow…

When I’m scared:

Psalm 121…my help comes from the Lord…the Lord watches over you…He will watch over your coming and going…

Psalm 62…find rest, O my soul, in God alone…I will not be shaken…God is our refuge

Zephaniah…seek the Lord…wait for Him…He does not fail…He is mighty to save…He will quiet you with His love…

When life is hard:

John 16…He will guide you into all truth…in this world you will have trouble…but I have overcome the world…

Habbakkuk 3…though the olive crop fails…the fields produce no food…no sheep…no cattle…yet I will rejoice in the Lord…He enables me to go on the heights

When I need guidance in the face of injustice:

Micah 6:8…He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

II Chronicles 7:14if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray…turn from evil ways…I will forgive them and heal their land…

Proverbs 3…do not forget my teaching…let love and faithfulness never leave you…trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…acknowledge Him…do not be wise in your own eyes…fear the Lord…honor the Lord…

When I need my 92 year old mother to have a good night’s rest:

Psalm 86…guard my life for I am devoted to You…You are my God…listen to my cry for mercy…there is none like You…great is Your love toward me…You have helped me and comforted me…

Now I know I am sounding a wee bit arrogant, but (and I know when you say “but” it negates everything before it…BUT) if you’re going to hold up a Bible, God’s word, The Holy Scriptures, then you’d better at least be holding up your own Bible and not just “A Bible” (in case a reporter happens to ask you). And if you want to be associated with the teachings of the Bible please at least know what that book says and apply it to your life (especially if you’re going to break up a group of peaceful protestors to get to a church, that you don’t even attend, for a photo op).

I’ll stop being an arrogant putz now and leave you with thoughts from one of my favorite passages of the Bible. My Bible. God’s words to me.

Psalm 27…The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?…One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord, and to see Him in His temple. For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock…wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord…

Question: What are some of your favorite Bible passages?

(I can’t take responses here, but please feel free to comment on the Facebook post. Thanks!)

Single Social Distancing

“We’re All in This Together”

Is it just me or does anyone else want to bust out their best HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL dance moves when you hear a newscaster or public service announcement say, “We’re all in this together.” (I taught junior high music when these movies were popular and my students told me I reminded them of Ms. Darbus. Not sure it was a compliment.)

During this time of social distancing due to COVID-19 you hear all different kinds of reactions to staying home. Introverts say they’ve been preparing for this their entire lives. Extroverts are going crazy. Memes tell us folks will either come out of isolation with the cleanest house ever and down 20 pounds or an overweight alcoholic with a deep indentation of their butt on their favorite chair. Which are you?

Being the extroverted introvert that I am, I’m doing fine. My “demented” mother keeps my sister and I entertained. Each day when she wakes up she gets to learn about the virus all over again. I’m not sure she really gets it. But do any of us? Lots of uncharted experiences out there.

If this had happened a few years ago I would have been living by myself and not with my mother and sister. I keep wondering how I would be doing if I really was isolated. I think I would be fine for a while. I’ve lived alone most of my life so I think I’d be okay, until one day I’d wake up, mid-pandemic, and it would hit me—I’m alone. Single. Siiiinglllllle.

Does this time of social distancing exaggerate that point for you? Probably. It does for me. Especially when you see silly Facebook posts that say how busy maternity wards will be 9 months from now. I do think that would be a much more fun way to pass the time than organizing your closets. But also just another reminder that I don’t have a snuggle partner.

Dear Single Friends, you are not alone. You are not. Reach out to folks via social media or even an old fashioned telephone call. If you’re shy, get over it and reach out. Someone may be needing interaction as much as you, but are afraid to initiate it. Be that for them! You can do it.

So everyone, let’s join that cute Zac Efron and remember we’re all in this together. Hmmm, Zac Efron, such a cutie. Social distancing with him would be much more fun than with my mom and sister. But I do love them and am grateful for their presence in my life. Especially now.

Take care and remember …come on now sing it…We’re All in This Together!!!!!

See Yourself Through God’s Eyes

The group minus two.

It was the day after Friday the 13th, in the middle of a pandemic and during a snowstorm.  Other than that, last Saturday morning 17 of us had a great time together discussing what God thinks of us.

Sweet friends.

Mom and daugther.

We ranged from college women in their early 20’s to women in their 60’s. Some never married. Others divorced or widowed.  All there for one purpose. To find out for the first time, or remind themselves again, who they are in Jesus; who and what God made them to be.

The traits list we made taken from scripture.

We belong and are chosen, loved, graced-filled, created for a purpose, free, refined, more than conquerors, heirs, rescued, set apart, made new, saved, God’s dwelling place, protected, brave, light, wonderfully made and known before we were born, precious, honored, pressed but not crushed, persecuted but not abandoned, perplexed but not in despair, struck down but not destroyed, and we have a spirit of power, love and self-discipline. Among other things.

Discussion Circles.

It was inspiring and encouraging to see the different ages and stages of women sharing together. We are all important and have a role no matter our circumstances. When you’re young you may think you have nothing to contribute. Or if you’re older you may think your time has come and gone. That is not how God sees us. But if we don’t know Him it won’t matter what He thinks of us, has planned for us or who we are in Him.  Because we won’t know. Until we spend time with God in His word we have no idea who we are to Him or for Him.

Working on our positive statements to keep us focused on how God sees us and helps us.

I hope you take the time to know Him. It is worth it.

Finding Your Identity in Jesus

All the Single Ladies, All the Single Ladies.

Happy Valentines Day!

Valentine’s Day may be rough for some single women.  If it is, then please don’t stay home with a bowl of ice cream watching the Hallmark Channel!!

Gunne Sax dresses were oh so very popular in the 1970’s and 80’s. I rocked several of them during those years.

I broke up with my boyfriend in high school right before the Senior Ball. Instead of spending that evening home alone moping, a bunch of other “dateless” girlfriends and I bought prom dresses (since it was the ’70’s of course they were “Gunne Sax”), went out to dinner and had a great time together.  It was what we call a “rotic” evening–Romantic without the man.

And if a constant stream of “rotic” weekends is getting you down, then please consider joining a bunch of fabulous single ladies on Saturday, March 14th, 9:00-noon, getting to know our true wonderful selves in Jesus.

Click on the link below, register and we’ll see you there!

XO!!!!

Dana Brown Speaker

A Younger Perspective

I’ve never had children of my own, but I do claim the children of many of my friends (it’s a much easier, less expensive parenting plan). Enter Madolynn Hurley.

I sang with her mother in college and met her father a few years later. Then a few years after that I was in their wedding. Ten months after that I met Madolynn. 26 years after that I’m beaming with pride on how well she turned out. Read on to see for yourself…

Madolynn Hurley

I am 26 years old and single.  In a few months, I will turn 27 and then I can no longer deny that I am in my late 20s.  For those of you that are beyond your late 20s, I’m sorry for sounding like a whiner when I’m really quite young.  Boy, do I know it.  Singleness is weird to me because everyone is born single.  Maybe it’s in my head (I’m pretty sure it’s not), but people have made it seem like getting married is a “level up” or somehow moving on to the next stage of adulthood.  Being in my late 20s and unmarried means that I’m not as “adult” as the 21-year-old girls who are married, right?  And don’t get me started on how having kids factors into that.   All that to say, I’m getting older and am still young all at the same time.

People seem to have low standards for single women.  They recommend that we pursue guys that have bad theology, bad hygiene, or are just overall not great guys.  These recommendations, of course, come from women who are themselves married or pretty seriously dating.  I want to ask, “have your standards lowered since getting into a relationship or do you just have low standards for me?”

 If I get married (and yes, I would like to be married), I want to be married to someone amazing.  Someone who treats me well and treats others well.  Someone who loves Jesus and challenges me as one of Christ’s disciples.  Someone who will work alongside me to usher the Kingdom of God into the here and now.

 The thing is, I don’t want my life to wait until I meet a man.  I want to be challenged to grow in serving God, not beginning to serve Him.  I can love the Lord my God with all my heart and soul and mind and love others as myself by myself.  Nothing about those commandments indicates that I should hold off until I am married.

 It has taken me a lot of time to come to this conclusion and I can’t promise that I’ll always be strong enough to feel it with all my heart.  I know that the feeling will ebb and flow just like every feeling does.  This, though, is what I believe:  It is not better to be married.  It is not better to be single.  The best thing for you is to be where God wants you to be at this moment.  Let me say it again for myself, but feel free to say it with me: The best thing for me is to be where God wants me to be at this moment.  God can bless every circumstance.  God can use you no matter your marital status.  True, holy, pure joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.  Abide with God now!  To quote Elevation Worship, “come today, there’s no reason to wait.  Jesus is calling” (“O Come to the Altar,” 2016).

 We have each been uniquely and carefully created by God with different gifts, talents, and passions.  Colossians 3:17 says “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  Immediately following this verse is a list of ways that people can lay down pride and exchange it for love.  One of the many great mysteries of God is that when we surrender control and pride, we have more room in our arms to receive blessing.  When we give ourselves for the sake of others, we somehow end up more filled.  Married or single, I hope that all people would recognize how special they are to God and how much they are able to contribute to His Kingdom.

You go Madolynn!

Are you as impressed with Madolynn as I am? We can’t take comments here, but please feel free to leave them on the Facebook post.

One Word

Lookout at the top of Loop Road in Washing Park, Anacortes, Washington.

The title of this blog is misleading.  As if I could ever speak just “one word.”  I’m awful at being succinct.  That’s why I fail at playing games like Password where you have to give one word clues for your partner to guess a specific word. I’m much better at Taboo. Hollering out a bunch of words at the top of my voice over everyone else is where I shine.

During my final year of college at ACU I lived in a house off campus with 4 other girls. One roomie was engaged and her fiance was a friend of mine. At least I thought he was until one evening he asked me if I could go for at least five minutes without talking. I looked at this sweet guy and tried to figure out if he was serious. He was. Game on! The timer was set and when it went off he congratulated me, but I just glared at him and didn’t speak for the rest of the evening (or maybe just another five minutes, which felt like the rest of the evening to me) proving I wasn’t the chatterbox he insinuated I was.  (But I was!)

A few years later I was playing a Mash trivia game (I loved Hawkeye!) with my singles group from church. Midway through my winning streak one young man came over and taped my mouth shut.

So see, I have proof that I fail at the one word thing.

However, this will be the third year in a row I have chosen one word to concentrate on in the new year as opposed to making official resolutions.  I thought this endeavor was something I came up with on my own. Since then I’ve seen many a blog and Facebook post on the idea so I guess I didn’t.  (Just like having to tell my friend he indeed did NOT invent “The Wave” at sporting events, as well as all the folks who think they coined the “Have 20/20 vision in 2020!” phrase.)

2018 I selected Health (Romans 12:1-2).  It wasn’t just physical health, but spiritual and emotional health as well. In addition to the numbers on the scale creeping higher, I was feeling selfishly unhappy with my living situation and was allowing myself to fall into a bit of depression. I’m happy to say I ended 2018 in a much better frame of mind.

2019 Discipline became my focus (II Timothy 1:7).  Wanting to keep the progress I’d made in 2018 going I thought a good dose of discipline was needed.  And since I finally published the book I’d begun 15 years earlier I’d say I did rather well.

Lovely Anacortes Sunset

2020 will hopefully bring Contentment to the forefront (Philippians 4:4-9). Life is good. I have a loving family, fun and supportive friends, a great job, dependable vehicle, good health, and countless other blessings. So why do I spend so much time living in the future? I am seven school years away from retiring and moving to Anacortes, Washington and spend way too much time daydreaming about 2027. Doing so wishes my current life away. Time is precious and I don’t want to waste my present on living in the future.

Washington Park Loop Road.

On a 17 day (17 day!) visit to Anacortes last summer I was awakened in the middle of the night with the words written below. I got up and wrote them down. The next morning I set them to music.

I will walk through ’cause  it’s leading me to You

I will walk straight then wait…’til You show me what to do

I will walk through this and come out the otherside

See Your arms open wide

So I will walk through

‘Cause it’s leading me to You

My role in life now is to live with my mom and partner with my sister to take care of her. I am blessed in this. Wishing I had my own home again won’t change a thing, except to frustrate me. That’s what the enemy wants–discontentment. God wants to bless me. And He has, so richly. I will walk through this season of life and come through it stronger, more aware and appreciative of my God who brought me through.

So….

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

What would your “One Word” for 2020 be?

I can’t take comments here, but please feel free to comment on the Facebook post.