Jan 30, 2014

Redeeming Love Chapters 4-10

* Hope was a dream, and reaching for it turned her life into an unbearable nightmare.

It's as if we can bear what we know... but not what might be...because it also might turn out not to be.

Have you ever been in a place of utter hopelessness?  If so...what pulled you out?

Or have you ever ministered to a person who is in that place?   Do words suffice/  What words?

*  While in her room...begging her to leave with him...Michael asks Angel... "What's keeping you here?" 

"I like it." is the reply he gets.

Angel does not like it.  We know that she does not.

Why do we stay in situations that are bad for us?  That are hurting us?  That we hate?   Why do we not take the way out that the Lord provides?

*And the next time he prayed for God to send him a woman to share his life,  he would be a lot more specific about the kind he wanted.

Think of a time (or 100x)  you got what you needed rather than what you asked for.

I'm pretty sure we all have...but can you think of a specific time that you treated God as a genie in a bottle?  Like a Buddha...who's belly you rub to get what you want. 

Originating in China as Budai, the Laughing Buddha statue depicts a Chinese deity from pre-Buddhist folklore. This deity is referred to as Hotei in Japan, and considered one of the Seven Lucky Gods, Shichi Fukujin, with Hotei being the lucky god of happiness and abundance – thus his fat, smiling appearance. 

* She smoothed the flowing red silk of her lounging gown.  It did little to conceal the rolls of flesh gathering around her waist.  Her cheeks were puffy and she was developing a second chin.  A pink ribbon held her graying hair back.  She was obscene.

She was obscene brought images of female televangelists to my mind.  Then as I went deeper...I wondered if those in terrible situations...maybe the homeless...those in 3rd world countries...those living in slums......foster kids...those in orphanages....ever think of us as obscene.  Me as obscene?  It's not exactly the same....but is it ever somewhat the same?  

"I don't see what good will come of it, but I'll go back, Lord. I don't like it much, but I'll do what you want."   When he finally went back to bed, he slept deeply and without dreaming for the first time in days.  

Obedience brought Michael rest.  Think back to a time in your own life when obedience brought immediate relief.  Why do you think we forget this?  Doesn't it seem so foolish to think that we forget this and yet we do.  

* Angel, she never asks for nothing."  

Sometimes when we are so disappointed we stop asking for what we long for.  Have you ever been at a place with the Lord...where you stopped asking Him for what your heart longed for?  

The good news is that He knows our hearts...better than we know them.   

*  "When you're living out there in your cabin with the climbing roses all around, think about me once in a while, will you?  Remember your old friend, Lucky." 

I have a thought on this one.  It's that hope begets hope.   Hope is contagious.  

* But she had never had this silence, this quiet that rang in her ears.

In wisdom...Michael allows Angel to be by herself.  Quiet.  Still.  Alone.   

Have you ever had an extended period of silence?  No conversation.  No t.v.  No computer.  No busyness?  No distraction?  

Does it sound wonderful or frightening?  If it sounds frightening...why does it?

*Why are you tearing up your garden?"  Michael glanced up at her tone.  Her face was white and drawn.  He straightened and brushed his hands on his pants.  "I'm pulling up weeds.  They're choking everything else.  I haven't had time to work out here.  One of the things I'll ask of you is tending the garden.  When you're ready."

Michael does not know of Angel's history with gardens.  

Isn't it exactly like the Lord to bring us to the very thing we are afraid of...and walk us through it?  Has he ever made you face a very specific fear and met you there?  

*She was so tightly wrapped in herself, her own misery and dark thoughts, that she was blind to everything else.

Been there.  Done that.  You too, I bet.  

What are some ways that we can help others when they are in this very place? 


Let's have Chapters 11-17 read by next Friday...Feb 7th.

Jan 29, 2014

Me & Writing


Wouldn't you know it...THIS SERMON is preached as I am going through this process with my writing.   The Lord. 


I'm sure some of you might be tired of hearing me talk about my writing.  I know this because I am tired of hearing myself talk about my writing.

Or to put it in more honest terms...my lack of writing.

My false starts.

My stalls.

My paralysis.

Here is what I'm thinking.  Even when I am not writing I am writing.   It's always been that way in my brain.  I am constantly writing and sometimes...what I am writing makes it onto paper.

Being back in LA has been so strange.  My mindset here is so different than it used to be.

The bottom line is...I used to write cuz I was trying to prove something.  To others and to myself.  I found my glory in writing.  My security.  My value.  It's one of the places where I found my identity.

We Burn Our Idols 

Now...I see all that as so pointless.  It's all vanity.

This week...in the news...I see that a man who secretly gave his girlfriend the abortion pill was sentenced to 14 years behind bars.  One of the screenplay treatments I burned in that there  fire ^ ...written 20 years ago....was titled RU486 and it was pretty much this current events story verbatim.  

I'm not really sure what that ^ has to do with me and the Lord and my writing...except for the fact that I think it means something.  To me. 

The Lord has been so silent for so long in this area of my life.  Occasionally...I get little whispers.  Like little prompts.  Then nothing.  Long periods of silence.

This has happened in other areas of my life as well.  Relationally.  With certain sin areas.  Little nudges show up then disappear.  Then..it always comes to a crisis moment...where all the little nudges add up to action.  And I go forth confidently...in obedience.

Last week I told the Lord that I would be obeying Him and writing things down on paper.

Since then...nothing has come to me.  No inspiration.  No middle of the night downloads w/ a need for a pen & paper on the nightstand.

It's frustrating.  Cuz I want to do what He has for me to do.

Today I woke up with a sense of urgency.  Today is the day.  Today is the day I write down what is in my head.

There you have it.

Jan 27, 2014

Prayer Cards

On our way to Runyon Canyon...up in the Hollywood hills....off the beaten path....we passed by an odd sight.  A pole covered in what looked to be notes.  As we got closer...we saw that they were wishes.  Dangling in unison.  All individuals yet part of something bigger than themselves.

Our girls changed the wish cards into prayer cards.

Zion's was so sweet.  I love her.

In our limited understanding...it would be so wonderful if Bradley were blessed with some acting work right about now.

Any work that the Lord sees fit for him to do.  He's been sending out resumes like there's no tomorrow.

Prayers for work & encouragement would be greatly appreciated.  

These two wishes caught my eye.

I wonder...who it is or what it is that people offer up their wishes to?  Who or what grants wishes? And how does who or what decide on which wishes get granted or not?

Jan 24, 2014


One of my greatest joys is witnessing the love between these four boys.  What a bond they have. 

Jan 23, 2014

Redeeming Love / Prologue & Chapters 1-3

This will be my third time going through Redeeming Love.  My first time with friends and...I'm so pleased about this...with my two eldest daughters.  I pray that the Lord would soften hearts...expose lies and fill us with hope and a peace that surpasses all understanding during this journey.

If you are so led...please leave your remarks in the comment section of each post.  I trust the Lord will speak through each of you what He wants the others to hear. 

Love, Dawn 

First thing that hit me...the Shakespeare quote at the start of the Prologue...

..."The prince of darkness is a gentleman."

*  Isn't it the truth?  The enemy of our souls hardly ever shows up as an ugly beast.  Right?  Not at first...at least.  Whatever he has to offer is wrapped in paper that glitters.

Think back to a time in your own life when the prince of darkness attempted to entice you.  Was he successful?   Why was he able to succeed?  If yes...why do you think?  If no...why wasn't he?

*  I was struck by Sarah's/Angel's  discernment.  As a child...she quickly works through the confusion she has about her "beautiful" birth father and comes to a place of heartbreaking realization.   With her mother as well.  With Cleo...with Merrick...with Rab...with Duke...it's as if she is given insightful eyes to see. 

"Sarah thought it was the most fearsome sound she had ever heard.  The wind howled in the trees like a wild beast searching for warm-blooded prey, and when the door to the Four Winds opened, she heard loud laughter and men shouting.  Sarah drew back sharply, not wanting to go inside."

After reading this passage....I thought to myself...the Lord is giving Sarah a glimpse behind the curtain.  It is being drawn back for her.  She is witnessing the heavenly realms...where spiritual battles are being waged.

Has there ever been a time in your life where the Lord has given you a very obvious RED FLAG?  Where you feel as if you've been given eyes to see beyond the curtain?  

"Moonlight flowed over the flower garden and Sarah saw her mother kneeling in her thin white nightgown.  She was ripping all the flowers out.  handful by handful, she yanked the plants up and flung them in all directions, weeping and talking to herself as she did.  She picked up a knife and came to her feet.  She went down again on her knees besides her beloved rose bushes.  One after another, she cut the roots.  Every last one of them."

What do you think Mae's garden represented?  Why did she destroy it?

*  And oh the heartbreak when Mae's earthly father fails her.  When he fails Sarah.  Personally, I feel as if Mae's mother should have done more.  I'm wondering now if I'm awfully rebellious?  I would absolutely struggle with submissiveness in an instance like this. 

*  At the end of Chapter One  Angel says, "I don't look back, and I don't look forward."  "Now doesn't exist."

Have you ever been in this place?  Numb?   Merely surviving.  Alive but not really. 

* At the end of Chapter Two Michael Hosea is faced with something that makes no earthly sense at all.

"Lord, "  he said heavily.  " Lord, this isn't exactly what I had in mind."  But he knew he was going to marry that girl anyway. 

Think back to a time when the Lord impressed something upon your heart that seemed ridiculous at the time.  Can you laugh about it now?  Does it make you cry?  Did it grow your faith?  Convince you of His sovereignty?  His goodness?  His provision?

*  The William Walsh quote that Chapter Three opens with kills me cuz I've experienced a thought like it.

"I can endure my own despair, but not another's hope."

Can you relate?

*  And at the end of the chapter Angel more or less tells Michael that he wouldn't be able to handle the truth when she says... "Mister, five minutes and you'd run like the devil."  

Have you ever felt like if others knew the full truth about you...the whole truth...the ugly truth...that they'd run?  Does anybody know you?  Really know you?

Let's read Chapters 4-10 and be ready to ponder with one another by next Friday...January 31st.

Jan 21, 2014

Highland Park

Paid a visit to Highland Park tonight. 

We've decided to visit all the local Farmer's Markets and this one was on our list.  

NEVER in my life have I seen such HUGE heads of cauliflower!!!!!!!!

Brad made friends with a local business owner/politician of sorts.  He wants the area...overrun by gangs in the 80's... to revive...BUT..... is fighting against revitalization methods that would drive out much of the Hispanic population that has grown such deep roots in the neighborhood.  Highland Park was one of LA's earliest settlements. 

Bringing in new restaurants...shops...businesses...is always good for a community....but it will  mean rents rise and those who struggle already...are pushed out and forced to relocate. Hipsters take their place I suppose.

It's such a tragic tale that never ends.   For some.

For others...it's the beginning of a fairy tale ending I suppose.

Infused water is all the rage here in LA.  Vendors make their batches in the morning and the later in the day you buy a glass...the better it tastes.

Jan 19, 2014

The Shadow of His Hand

I've been crocheting a lot.   Three blankets in the last week.  

Brad and I have been having lots of conversations about how unbelievably silent the silence in our life is right now.  It's so strangely silent that the silence MUST be of the Lord.  There is no other explanation for this quietness.  This stillness.

I crochet when I don't know what else to do.  While I am waiting...I crochet. 

I'm pretty sure I'm thinking while I'm crocheting...but I'm not entirely sure that I am. 

Jan 18, 2014

Saturday People

Mr. Linblad is running for for office.  I asked him about his platform and he told me all about it.  We weren't really like minded politically speaking so I didn't sign his petition.  I gave him an A for effort though...standing out there talking to people...one on one. 

I didn't get the names of these two.  They were at the Farmer's Market collecting signatures for the ACLU.  The specific cause they were fighting for...Women's Reproductive Rights.

I told them we weren't gonna be signing their petition cuz we're a hard core Pro Life Family.

They thanked me for being so nice.

I guess they meet some not so nice pro-life people sometimes. 

Alex organizes the NoHo Arts District Farmer's market...and invited me to show some of my photography work in the future.  Hmmmmmm...........maybe.  Gonna think about that some more. 

Barbara.  We met her on our walk to CVS.  She was sitting out front with a sign.

You can never be too sure.  So many people have stories to tell...and so many of them are fairy tales.  I suppose us standing outside talking with Barbara for like 20 minutes caught the attention of the store manager...cuz he approached us when we went inside.  Paul's his name and we talked to him for like another 20 minutes.  He knows Barbara.  He confirmed her condition (leukemia) and her need for very expensive meds.  Her story is legit.  

On our way out....Brad offered some cash and I took her business card...telling her I would post her video plea for help.  I told her that I'm a Christian and that I would be praying for her healing and  for some relief for her...she told me she believes all roads lead to God.  She's a Buddhist.

We met The Bird Lady on the bike path.   She would have talked for twenty minutes about her birds but we cut her off at ten.  I did learn one thing...if you ever run into her don't ever call her birds "pets."  They are her "babies." 

Jan 17, 2014

Book Club / Redeeming Love

Francine Rivers dedicates this story to ...those who hurt and hunger.

Before we begin our journey into this retelling of Hosea and Gomer's story set in California's gold country/1850....  the author quotes Jesus.  

"Let anyone among you who is without sin, be the first to throw a stone at her."  John 8:7

Let's all have our books read through the Prologue & Chapters 1-3  by Friday...January 24th.  

Jan 14, 2014


Got a late reader?

Do not panic.  I've had two.

Both of mine were super early in other areas.   Both are art world contenders if they'd like to be.   

Mcabe's pre-school private school teacher was very concerned during a Parent Teacher Meeting that her student...our son... wasn't reading yet ...and..... 

......there was another thing.  Something that she couldn't really tell us.  She had to show us

Our 4.5 year old had drawn something in class which triggered much wondering & severe puzzlement on her part.

The pre-school teacher held up a drawing of an upside down tree.

It was amazing.  

We loved it.  

Like seriously...it was brilliant.

After we laughed at her ( I don't think to her face) we pulled him out of pre-school WHAT THE heCk WERE WE THINKING EVER PUTTING HIM IN PRE-SCHOOL IN THE FIRST PLACE???!?!?!?!)

Zion's 10 and she is just now getting her footing as far as reading the written word is concerned.  She no longer mixes up her b's and d's.  Or her p's and her 9's.  But that's recent.

I'm not lying to you when I say out of our 5 kids...she's the only one we've ever considered getting tested for a gifted program.  There's no point though...cuz we don't care about labels and cuz our home-school doesn't have any such thing that would make sense to us or anyone else and who cares?

All this to say...got a late reader?????  


*On a side note...HOME-EDUCATING PARENTS...when older siblings help younger siblings read...you can give them credit for it.  Public Schoolers get credit.  Why shouldn't we?  

Jan 10, 2014


The day she found out about the Johnson's move to L.A. Zion made a COUNTDOWN Calendar.  She climbed up to the art supply cabinet ...found the markers...located a poster board and got to work.

She has had a very difficult time lately....processing loss.   Her childhood home.  Not living near her grandparents.  Proximity to friends.  Her losses are felt physically.  Her grief is palpable.   All this drama stuff only popped up a few months ago...triggered by some trauma stuff.   It's taken us all by surprise though...how deeply she feels and how articulate she is about what she's experiencing.  Emotions....lots of them.  Deep sighs...so many of them.  Discussions...they seem to be never ending.

This kid's mind would blow you away.  Even a brief glimpse into it would.  I've had the great honor of having a backstage view. 

Knowing her cousins are on their way has been one of the ways the Lord has ministered to Zion's bruised heart.  

The Lord is steady...even when the world isn't quite so.  He will finish what He started.  He is reliable.  He is trustworthy.

He reminds me of a rock...or a stone.

Just like Elijah's middle name.

Titus 2: 3-5

I will forever be grateful to the older women in my life who model Godly living and come along side me...during various seasons...in various ways...helping me grow in wisdom and the knowledge of the Lord.

They are amongst the ladies I turn to when in need of counsel & prayer.

I can only hope that I am an encouragement to those coming up under me.

Marriage...raising boys...raising girls...adoption...raising a kid who has struggled to attach...home-education...the heartbreak of miscarriage...lack of employment...times of plenty...times of want...stress...family planning...leaving a career...being a homemaker...running a cottage industry...artistic bent...worldview bent.......thrifty living...relational devastation...struggles with sin areas....writing...political bent...loving those with depression...anxiety...the gift of discernment...re-locating...times of transition...supernatural trust...supernatural hope...

...why do I have experience with all of the above...if it's not to share with and come alongside others who are dealing with the same sorts of things?

Jan 8, 2014

Sun, Sep 9, 2012, 12:31 PM

Have you ever heard from the Lord about something in a very precise manner?

It's not an audible message that you've received from Him...but a heart whisper.  Only it's not exactly a whisper at all...it's actually a shout that sounded something quite like a whisper

And then all you can do is hold your breath and hold on to what He told you...and wait until it comes to pass. 

All the while you are attempting to breath while holding your breath.

There have been a handful of these moments in my walk with the Lord.

They are touchstones.

What I have been shown on the mountaintops helps see me through the valleys.

Jan 7, 2014


I dislike zoos...but I like hanging with Cate and the kids....so this morning...I took Zion to the zoo cuz that's where they were gonna be.

We saw zoo workers feeding large lizard creatures dead baby chicks feathers and all...two adorable monkeys hugging which was so precious until one turned around and stuck out it's butt so the other one could pick whoknowswhat???? out of it...and a pair of very large/feisty/angry/maniacal gorillas who would have eaten our faces off if they could only get close enough to do so. 

Jan 5, 2014

Franklin Canyon

In all of my years living in LA...I had never heard of Franklin Canyon.

And neither had Brad.

Out to lunch.  Both of us.

Guess where we will be spreading out a blanket on Saturday afternoons?  Sketching and reading...and writing. 

And why would we do lessons inside when we can do them out by a lake?  Wanna join me sometime, LA Home-Educators?