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From the Cottage-by-the-Sea, #15, 5/4/17

You gave flesh, blood and life
To bones dry beyond death and skin.
You parted the Red Sea for the Israelites,
Saved Daniel in the Lion’s Den.
You caused a bush to burn
But never turn to soot and ash.
Told Noah to build an ark
Then guided it so it didn’t crash.
Your Son, Jesus was born of a virgin,
Became the way of Salvation for men.
Called Peter, John, Thomas and Paul,
Taught us to pray and say “Amen”.
Our history is filled with Your wonder,
Our hearts truly fill with You here,
So why Precious Lord have You turned,
Your face from me over there?
I’ve searched for You haven’t I?
Sought You to fill my aching heart?
Why do You remain so silent?
What here is the missing part?
You are listening I know for certain,
You will answer when Your time decrees.
Meanwhile, I will remain ever faithful,
Waiting my God, the Holy Trinity.
          —-dfav, 5/3/17

—Donna

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From the Cottage-by-the-Sea, #14, 4/28/17

The very air is stale,
As if no fresh air has blown for weeks.
The memory of abundance is pale
Amongst the weight of needs.

It’s not that I’ve forgotten,
What walking close to You is like,
The sweetest mountain tops have been
Lasting monuments in my heartscape.

Only the assurance of Your presence
Feels further away each single day.
I refuse to put up some pretense,
When truth is I’m really hurting.

I will not forsake the journey,
I will not neglect to feel You out,
Though You may hide from me,
I will continue to repent and seek.

Draw me closer to You, Sweet Master,
Make clean my muddied heart,
Hear my prayer, reunite us faster,
Work Your way in me again today.
         -dfav 4/27/17

—Donna

From the Cottage-by-the-Sea, #13, 4/26/17

Following You, Father God, shouldn’t be so hard.
I love You and I want to please You.
I want You to respect me.
I want You to be able to depend on me.
I want to make You proud to have me as Your daughter.

Sadly, living seems to catch my heart off-guard.
Bad news arrives on the worst day.
Temptations confront me at my weakest moment.
Something major breaks in opportunely.
Chance alters everything including the plan.

Suddenly what felt like firm ground seconds ago,
Turns into quick sand in an instant.
Shakes beneath my feet.
Drains of all life giving nutrients.
Opens up and swallows me whole.

All I know for sure is I know what I know.
You’re the Alpha and Omega, now and then.
You sent Jesus to die for my sins.
You rose Him from the grave after three days.
You, and You alone are truly victorious.

Please let this be a start.

Amen
           —dfav 4/25/17

—Donna

From the Cottage-by-the-Sea, #12, 4/25/17

Lord,
You’re the Lord God Almighty,
Master of this universe.
Sustainer of all life and more,
I come to You at prayer’s door
Seeking Your counsel as before.

We know today the news will come,
If cancer is back and what it’s won.
If surgery took all of the diseased bone,
Or if more treatment is needed alone.
On this today our attention is honed.

But let us not forget the blessings,
Those woven in and out of today.
The sun that rose in the Eastern sky,
The kisses of loved ones saying goodbye,
And the goodness spread beneath Your eyes.

Be our strength as we face the day,
Enrich our walk with You throughout,
Speak to us through Your word
Be our ears so we know we’ve heard,
Keep our hearts though the news seem absurd.

Nothing will happen You don’t already know,
News to us doesn’t mean new to You.
Answers to needs You have prepared.
Comforts for worries are within Your care,
Resources You’ve gotten ready to share.

Quiet now, God, may we sit?
Saturate my soul with Your Spirit.
Flow into every nook of my heart,
Flood every cranny, fill every part,
Make this day Your work of art.
                dfav 4/25/17

—Donna

Counting on Tomorrow


Tomorrow I’ll spend time with God,
Read more of His Word,
Take time to pray.
Tomorrow I’ll sing out a song,
Worship God in His glory,
Stop to hear what He has to say.
Tomorrow I’ll count every blessing,
Remember each name,
I’ll do just that just another day.
Tomorrow I’ll decide what God would do,
Does He say yes or no?
Are blessings coming this way?
Tomorrow will be the day I return,
God will be waiting,
It’ll be a fine and grand day.
But that tomorrow I counted on?
The clock stopped ticking,
Tomorrow went away.
          —dfav 4/20/17

—Donna

From the Cottage-by-the-Sea, #11, 4/17/17

This is a sanctuary,
A place of solitude and prayer.
A place I can carry myself too
Where You ease my frets and cares.
It is these things You know
Because You are here and there
Here within me and about me,
A sanctuary.
          dfav 4/17/17

—Donna

God is Surely Stronger

You’re hurting and you’re tired.
You’re seeking answers.
You’re asking God above,
The one you’ve always tried to trust,
But this battle?
It’s really just too much.

His relief hasn’t yet arrived.
His answers unspoken.
Isn’t God in Your heart?
Doesn’t He understand your need,
Why doesn’t He act?
Why aren’t His angels set to intercede?

I’ve no idea how to help you.
I’ve questions of my own.
God is greater than we know.
We have to hang on a little longer,
His answers are on​ the way,
The pain is great but God is surely stronger.
           dfav 4/9/17

—Donna

Lie vs. Truth: Steepek or Lyle

image (Original photo by Brad Gerrard, viewable on flickr Photostream. All rights reserved.)

This post originally appeared on fvbf in July of 2013 when it made rounds on many social media sites.  It is making the rounds again.  I received a comment from Willie Lyle regarding this blog post.  I feel compelled once again, to share the truth not the lie. –Donna

A story just over 48 hours old is making the social media and email realms.  Pictured above is the photograph circulated as being Pastor Jeremiah Steepek, a newly elected pastor of a congregation of 7,000-10,000 members.  Sight unseen, apparently except for the church elders, Pastor Steepek reportedly went into his new church disguised as a homeless man.  He was largely ignored and even asked to sit in the back of the sanctuary.  The elders introduced him and Pastor Steepek’s first sermon shamed his congregation.  It makes for a potent reminder we are to actively serve and love one another. Sadly, Pastor Stecpek is not a real, verifiable person.  When I read the story I found a few red flags about it’s truth.  So I checked. The picture is of an actual homeless man, taken by Brad Gerrard in Richmond and posted by Gerrard on flickr Photostream and obviously used in a case of fraud. Whoever wrote and first posted the false story very well may have based it on a true story out of Clarksville, Tennessee.  The newly appointed pastor of Sanyo United Methodist Church was under a huge tree on the church lawn his first Sunday.  He had spent a week living as a homeless person. image (Photo from June 23, 2013 report on LeafChronicle, all rights reserved.) His 200 member congregation witnessed his daughter and daughter-in-law help him transform back to himself during his sermon.  Twenty of his church’s members offered him assistance when he was posing as a homeless person.  This pastor’s name is Willie Lyle and his sermon though meant to move Christians to action was not, as I understand it, about shame. In the fictional account Pastor Steepek also wants change, good change, and the author of his story agrees.  The real man and Pastor Lyle wanted change too, equally good change. Which of these two stories shows real hope?  Points out a real plight for thousands of people?  Why was the real story so less impressionable? How many of us read this first story and felt a flicker of self-righteousness?  How many of us had a feeling that, “…they got what they deserved”? Why does the first story become an social media sensation in 48 hours and the second story not? When the mighty fall they fall loudly don’t they?  When our hands in the cookie jar we see the speck of dust in brothers eye but not the planks in our own, right? -Donna (a.k.a. Faye)

Lie vs. Truth #2: Words Betray the Veteran

What was passed along to my Facebook notifications was this:


“When I first saw this I thought
the girl was one of his daughters.
Green and white shirt, black tee shirt, …
gray pants and tennis shoes.
How many people know that President Bush
hosts a few Wounded Warriors at his ranch
10 weekends every year?
Every year! All expenses paid!
Not what you expect to see, huh?
There he is, dancing with a
“Wounded Warrior”
who has lost a leg but still dances.
I guarantee we will NEVER
see a story or picture like this
from NBC, CBS, ABC,
The New York Times, or The Washington Post.”

 

 

 

 

Truthfully, what made me look twice at the post was the line, “There he is, dancing with a “Wounded Warrior” who has lost a leg but still dances”. The implication that former President George W. Bush was consenting to dance with a woman wearing a prosthesis, as if he was bestowing upon her some great honor he’d not usually lower himself to do.

It irked me and pricked my sensitivity as I am an amputee and pity is something I detest. Really the un-named woman in this photograph is certainly not the reason for the internet pass-along. But her presence is what screamed at me and a few clicks of my laptop mouse soon revealed a lot of truth behind the photo and a “pity dance” was not one of them.

The first line of the post could be true, the writer clearly says this is their opinion, their first thought when seeing the photograph. The second sentence, “Green and white shirt, black tee shirt,…gray pants and tennis shoes” call your attention to the attire of the man in the photo at which point you are to notice the man is the former President of the United States, George W. Bush. He’s dressed so casually because he’s removed himself from the spotlight (which is true, he doesn’t seek public attention) which sets the reader up for the good work President Bush is supposedly doing behind the photo.

Per this short post President Bush hosts a “few Wounded Warriors at his ranch 10 weekends every year” “all expenses paid”! You do the math, 10 weekends a year is one weekend 10 of the 12 months of the year. That’s a lot of entertaining of wounded veterans.

Our men and women in the military give a lot to our abilities to remain a free country. But, even if this didn’t have a veteran involved in the story or a former president of this country, why stretch the truth? Why not just tell the truth like it is? The lie sure sounds good. The words attached will rile up the blood of some. It’s a reminder that the truth isn’t told. But there’s various versions of the “story” according to the Truth or Fiction web site. All with remnants of truth, none accurate.

In this case, as written about in Lie vs. Truth: Steepek or Lyle published on this blog, the truth is better than the fiction so why not post it?

The woman in this photograph is 1st Lieutenant Melissa Stockwell, US Army Retired. Leading a convoy in Baghdad a roadside bomb exploded and she became the first female to lose a limb in the Iraq War. Dancing is truly one of the little things this amazing veteran does since retiring from the military.

The Wounded Warrior Project has had her on their board since 2005. She is a motivational speaker for other veterans who have lost limbs or have other challenges from incidents in the war. In 2010, 2011 and 2012 she competed for the United States in the ITU Triathlon World Championships, taking the gold in all three years in the Tri2. This is just the beginning of her accomplishments.

As for the picture, on April 26-28, 2012 the George W. Bush Presidential Center hosted a 100K mountain bike ride in Palo Duro Canyon State Park. As part of the festivities after the ride 1st Lt Stockwell and former President George W. Bush danced. Someone took their picture. Now this post and email “pass along” post accompanying the picture dishonors two people, Stockwell and Bush.

Turns out the former president hosts this 100K, three-day extreme mountain bike ride annually. He does a lot of “good deeds” since his years in the White House have passed and he tries to stay out of the spotlight but today the greatest injustice is the one this post does to the first lieutenant.

The former President George W. Bush is pictured here, also with 1st Lt Stockwell, shortly after the 100 K was completed. (Photo from Truth of Fiction web site, photographer unknown or not listed.)

Here is a remarkable woman, strong in every way, inspiring others to push beyond their limits regardless of their challenges and she’s used as fodder for a “pass along” social media post to highlight the good deeds of a former United States president whose time in the spotlight is over at his own choice. This is what I find most offensive about this “story”.

The truth would make an even more remarkable report and social media again chooses to pass along the lie. Sometimes, though I know human nature is fickle and Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:3-4 that the time will come when men will only want to hear what pleases their ears, not sound doctrine, I never thought Paul’s words would also be talking about the same ailment in every day news.

“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

–Donna

 

 

Another Woman’s Child-Part 1

There are lots of questions couples have about adoption. One of which is can they love someone else’s biological child as much as they would their own biological child. The desperate search for a way to have a baby can be heart breaking. Remember with me the journey Kevin and Sarah have in their quest for a child to call their own.

fvbf

The tears in his wife’s eyes, rolling down her face and falling unheeded onto her blazer made Kevin twisted him with guilt. He gripped her hand more tightly, fumbling with the key fob, silent in his fear. Internally he thought only how this was his fault.

“Kevin I just really feel God leading us to trust Him to provide and not to go through infertility treatments again of any kind.” Sarah had said.

“Honey trusting God to provide food, a job, or clothes is one thing, but last time I checked He didn’t walk around handing out babies.”

“Try telling Abraham and Sarah or Jacob and Rachel that Kevin.”

“That was Old Testament times. These are modern times,” he countered back picking up his mug-to-go and heading out the front door, “God uses modern science and medicine to work His miracles now.” He paused. “Just one more time? For me?…

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